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Can I catch AS? Is it curable?

I have been asked to write a little about something that may affect many of you directly or indirectly…..Autism Spectrum Conditions (ASC’s for short)….all seems so complicated, let’s make it easy. I am diagnosed on the spectrum as are my five children, so I have lived it, breathed it and studied it for years! I am a trained State Registered Nurse and have a Post Grad Cert in Autism (Children). There seems to be a bit of a mystery surrounding it all that maybe we can shed a bit of light on. Many parents have obtained a diagnosis only to be completely perplexed as to what it means and what they should do next!

Let’s get one thing straight before we begin, this is Jelibean's take on the subject…..the most recent academic research strongly suggests that ASC is GENETIC. So NO it can’t be caught, contracted or even caused by mercury poisoning or the MMR jab. I am glad I got that out of the way early. That said what is it all about?

ASC’s are a neurodevelopmental difference, that’s all. We are not brain damaged or disabled we are ‘different’ and there are millions of us about! For this article I would like to concentrate on the high intelligence autistics if I may. These are the children who are in mainstream schools right now, struggling to cope and often failing. These are the children who are being missed and let down most. ASC’s are invisible unlike many physical disabilities or Downs Syndrome which is clearly recognisable. Many children on the spectrum are cherubic looking with no easily recognisable differences to the majority….but to an expert eye they are often there.

ASC’s present with differences and some weakness in communication and sensory issues in particular. That is why some of ramble on forever about what WE want to talk about! Favourite topic being OURSELVES. Some prefer to keep quiet for most of the time, often feeling awkward in others company.

All of us have trouble in processing all five senses together so if we smell something, we can’t talk about something else…it distracts us. Fabrics and certain clothes may bother us to the point we end up cutting out labels and choose to wear the same garment over and over!! If I could live my life in pyjamas I would!

Or maybe we have to wear sunglasses in winter as the light is too strong. Many of us are very picky eaters….takes me hours to feed my brood, everyone wants something different! So imagine sitting in a classroom having to listen to a teacher and understand it AND then write it down? Impossible for many on the spectrum.

Most people simply look at ‘children’ as being ‘autistic’….but Autism has been around a long time so where are the geriatrics and MY generation (I am 52, can’t be the first surely?). So let’s stop pointing the finger at our children and take a sneaky look at ourSELVES! It takes a JELIBEAN TO MAKE A JELIBABY. The diagnosis of Aspergers Syndrome only became official in 1993 before then it may have been wrongly diagnosed as another psychiatric condition such as Schizophrenia or Borderline Personality Disorder. AD/HD although diagnosis has been around since the 1940’s, gets easily confused with Bi-Polar. So you see we are still learning heaps.

It all sounds horribly scary, but actually when you understand it and embrace the spectrum it becomes like a parachute jump – exhilarating, unique and exciting! Don’t be scared be empowered! We will help you understand. And we will endeavour to keep you smiling all the way through! A sense of humour is essential!

And a cure? We are not disordered? We are not ILL! We are DIFFERENT......WE ARE WHAT WE ARE! It's a wiring issue that's all.........Our family wouldn't change who we are for the world. we like being  jelibean's now we understand our many  differences :)