Wednesday, April 02, 2008

April - Autism Awareness Month

Yes, I know I am late. By all rights, I should have had this post written and up hours ago. By now you must be figuring I am a strong advocate of "better late than never" and yet, normally I do try to be as punctual as possible. It's just that a few other things sort of got in my way today - like that need (again -or is it still?) for sleep! One of these days I swear I am going to get an adequate amount of sleep, each and every day. Yes, I will.

But I am digressing there from the topic of today and for the entire month of April for that matter. It's a subject that as you all know by now, is very, very near and extremely dear to my heart as my two youngest grandchildren, my younger daughter's two little ones, are both now diagnosed as autistic.

Before I go any further in this post, let me tell you this - I am linking my blog to one of my all-time favorite bloggers - Linda of These Are The Days and would ask that you check out her blog, read her posts about her family and how she and her husband, Tom, are pulling together to get the help, treatments, therapy necessary for their little guy, Connor, who by the way is the same age as my grandson, Kurtis, and both these little guys are autistic. Linda, like me, will also be posting this month about autism, about her son, their family and how this has impacted their lives to date. Please, spread the word to your friends too about Linda's site and perhaps take a peek too at other blog sites on my favorites list and read what many other bloggers have to say on this topic and their experiences dealing with autism too.

I will tell you this about others blogs that you might read and their experience with the disorder alongside mine is that each of us may have a very different experience overall with autism and how it has impacted our lives, our entire family's life, but each of us is committed to doing the best we possibly can to ensure our family member gets the help necessary to live a full and enjoyable, enriched life as much as possible. Here then are the blogs I read written by people whose lives have been impacted by this disorder - stop and read them -pass this information on to others too, in order that we can reach many others and make people AWARE of AUTISM and that others can possibly learn the markers, early signs and in doing so, can reach out and get the needed help for more children through Early Intervention.

29 Marbles,
Autism Bites,
Autism Diva,
Kristina Chew,
Dear Noah,
Jen P,
Hidden Recovery,
Miss Nelson
LAA in Virginia
Autistic Dad
Joy of Autism

Now that I've given you directions to some other bloggers who write learn, and love someone -or many more than one someone too -with autism, let me tell you about another website too.
This site has many, many posts by parents, siblings, grandparents (such as myself) as well as by individuals who are autistic, with photos and many, many videos too -all about autism. Go and click and read to your heart's content. It's an excellent learning site from personal view points.

Here too are a couple photos of what you've come to see are my most favorite topics to talk about!
This picture is Maya at one day old -the first time I saw her, the first time I held her. And, I have to tell you too the first time I held her, looked into her face and it seemed then she was searching with her eyes for someone who would be there as her worshipful servant for as long as possible and I told her then, I would do that, be that for her in every way possible. Our own private little bonding as it were, ya know!

She was then, as she is now, just my sweetheart, my beautiful little Princess Maya and she just gets better and better by the day too!

This is Kurtis -the first time I saw him -in the hospital as we were getting ready to bring him home. He was four days old at the time.

Kurtis spent three days of his first four days in the NIC unit at the hospital because during the night of his first night, it appeared he was having some distress, breathing issues, etc. Plus, he also had a touch of jaundice -nothing all that unusual in a newborn -and had to spend some time under a special light too. So although Mandy came home from the hospital when he was two days old, he wasn't discharged for another two days after that. Thankfully, all the issues he had that first day though, dissipated and he's had no repercussions of any of them since. Today, he's almost two years old and is a hale, hearty and healthy little guy who just happens to have Autism.

I'm giving a plug here too -again -for the Penn State Autism 3K Walk and 5K Race to be held on Saturday, April 12th in State College, PA. My family and I -along with several other good friends of ours -will be walking to raise money to go to Autism research and educational aspects. If you live in the central Pennsylvania region and would like to get out, get some fresh air, have a lot of fun and support our team in the process, please do! Come join us. If you can't do that, please consider donating to support our team too. You can do that HERE -online! All you have to do is go to the bottom of that page, click on the line that says "Search for a Team" and then go to Page two (2) where, near the bottom of that page you will see our team name - WE ARE for Kurt and Maya - click on View by our team name and then you can register to walk or simply click on donate to our team - or, if you'd like, you can also click on one of our team members by name and donate to sponsor that person in the walk.

A big thank you too goes out from me, from our team as well to another of my blogger buddies, Keith -out in Arizona -who is also trying to help our team not just through his generous donation but also, by helping us to help others to learn as much as possible, become aware of Autism, what the signs are, what the needs are -just spreading the word! Thanks, Keith! Your efforts, your support, are so very, very much appreciated!

And finally, tonight I'm going to leave you with an excerpt about the early indicators -or markers -in infants and toddlers that can often be indicative of autism. Point these signs out to your child's doctor too then and if the doctor tells you it's nothing to worry about, that this or that will go away or the child will outgrow it, etc., DON'T take no for an answer there! Early intervention with these children is the best way possible -as early as possible -to enable the child to get the best attention and help which will give them the best help possible then to as full and functional l life as possible! (This article is from

Here, a list of possible warning signs for autism that your doctor may use to determine if your child's development warrants further testing. Remember: Don't panic if your infant exhibits a symptom or two on occasion, but do alert your pediatrician if you notice any of the following:

By 2 to 3 months, your baby isn't making frequent eye contact.
By 3 months, he isn't smiling at you and the sound of your voice.
By 6 months, he doesn't laugh or make other joyful expressions.
Around 8 months, he isn't following your gaze when you look away from him towards something else.
By 9 months, he hasn't begun to babble.
By 1 year, he isn't consistently turning to you when you call his name
By 1 year, he shows a general disregard for vocalizations (ie, lack of response to his name), but has a keen awareness of environmental sounds.
By 1 year, he isn't engaging in back-and-forth vocalizations with you.
By 1 year, he hasn't begun to wave bye-bye.
By 1 year, he isn't "following a point" (looking towards something you point at).
By 16 months, he has no words.
By 18 months, he isn't pointing to things that interest him.
By 24 months, he has no two-word meaningful phrases.
At any time, he shows a loss of any of his previously mastered skills.

For more information, check out our Baby Milestone Checklist.

See you tomorrow with MORE about Autism Awareness Month!


Dianne said...

Great post jeni! No wonder you don't sleep, you have to much to write about.

Thank you for all the information - presented so clearly and carefully.

and thank you for the wonderful photos of brand new Maya and brand new Kurtis.

You're the best Jeni.

Sunshine said...

I'm still planning on that guest post day, just have to find the best time to do it!

Did you notice my new header, in honor of Autism Awareness?

Minnesotablue said...

Wonderful post Jeni.

Linda Murphy said...

Excellent opener for this month and I am so looking forward to meeting some new bloggers, especially seeing how autism is touching all of us.

I really love reading about Kurtis and Maya-the pictures are wonderful too!

Raven said...

Well done... you have offered so many resources on this first day... what will you do for the rest of the month? I look forward to visiting some of the sites you have posted.

Your grandchildren are beautiful.

Posol'stvo the Medved said...

Jeni - although there is no autism in my immediate family, my sister has two boys who are in the spectrum, and certainly exhibit some of the traits that you listed. Luckily we're in a pretty good part of PA for support in that, and my other sister who lives with them is an Occupational Therapist, so things are wild and woolly, but under control.

Travis Cody said...

We're going to learn a lot of good info this month.