More work needed for autism

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By Staff Brunswick Beacon

To the editor: Children are the future of our nation. Early intervention for our special needs children is the key to a brighter future for these children.

President Obama is backing the funding for research on autism. My son recently turned 2 years old. Just before his birthday, he was diagnosed with autistic spectrum disorder. More specifically, he was diagnosed with pervasive developmental disorder-NOS (not otherwise specified) and restrictive expressive language communication disorder.

There is no cure for autism. It is a brain disorder. There is a lot of speculation about what causes autism, but no one really knows.

My son was diagnosed as mildly to moderately ASD. My son should be speaking several words by now. He says a lot that is not understandable. He has his own language. He has a vocabulary of about three or four words that he speaks occasionally.

When he says, “Ma Ma Mama,” it makes me feel so good. I get so excited and give him praise for the tiniest things, things most parents take for granted.

He needs to know he is having successes. Amazingly, he can sing the entire “ABC” song, “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,” and part of the theme to the Wonder Pets cartoon. He is currently working on “Old MacDonald” and “B-I-N-G-O.”

He can carry a tune much better than his mother. He substitutes one or a few syllables for the words to these songs, but you can understand what song he is singing.

He has other developmental delays, such as eating. He has not learned to feed himself. If I try to feed him anything that he has to chew, he chokes and gags. He likes to run in circles and sometimes walks or runs on his toes. He shuffles his feet a lot. He doesn’t point. Kids should be pointing by age 2.

There is a lot of research and work being done to help autistic children and other special needs children. Love is the best medicine. It also takes a lot of patience, time, and work to help build a brighter future for these children.

My son is only mildly to moderately ASD. I believe his chances for an independent and successful future are great. We need to raise awareness for our special needs children. Investing time in our children is the greatest investment guaranteed with an excellent return in the future.