The Sydney Opera house has even been lit up blue to acknowledge it!
After a spot of baby whispering and helping a couple of children learn to sleep peacefully in their beds I did my usual wind down before my own bedtime! Even baby whisperer's have routine and sleep associations! LOL!
However my interest was soon raised when I watched the SBS program on a crisis in China and raising rates of Autism in their population.
The soon to be published DSM V which is the diagnostic manual that psychologists and psychiatrists define mental health disorders, has erased Asperger's from its definitions and replaced it with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
After watching the SBS programme it made me realise how much and how little we know and understand about this disorder. As a nurse I've met many children pre and post diagnosis and there are certain things common to know. Early detection is vital to helping functioning. Its a huge thing for any family and treatments are constantly evolving.
A very close friend of mine has a teenager with Autism. He is high functioning but this doesn't take away from his inability to form friendships with others his age. His knowledge of most things is above anything I have ever come across. He has a photographic memory that constantly astounds yet his parents constantly worry about what will become of him. Will he get a job? make friends? manage independent living? Only time will tell. He attends a special school which has only 5 children in each class and each pupil has one on one teaching. He has difficulty reading emotions and forming relationships. He has moments of anger which are getting less. His parents do a truly amazing job. His mum is a midwife like me and she realised something was a bit different with him very early on. He had poor eye contact and didn't smile like all her friends babies did and his speech was delayed. In retrospect all telling signs.
He has a very tolerant brother and his parents have put a lot of work keeping him in a good routine and keeping him in school. He's been through the system and been education statemented. Its been tough but his parents refused to give in. He is a credit to them and I spent a few days on my holidays last year with them. Yes, he takes Ritalin but it gives him a better quality of life. Without it his life would be less certain.
This blog is for my friend and her son and all the other families with children who have autism. By having an Autism Awareness Day we can hopefully all learn a little bit more to improve the lives of all children, all over the world who have been diagnosed with Autism.