Well the Twitter and Facebook community exploded yesterday, the numbers from the Center for Disease Control released the latest statistics for Autism in the US. The numbers were at 1 in 110 Children, 1 in 80 boys. The numbers released yesterday are 1 in 88 Children and 1 in 54 boys.
These numbers do not surprise me, there was no shock on my face, I just looked at them and thought- yeah that sounds about right, even a little low maybe. But maybe, just maybe people will begin to realize we really need to do something! We need more services, more support, more awareness and acceptance…
But then I keep reading the articles, everyone has an opinion. They say people are just now AWARE of Autism, it’s been around like this all along. The numbers haven’t grown at all. I don’t swallow this argument. I never have. Not even scientists are believing this argument. The numbers have definitely grown tremendously in the past few years, and no matter what is causing the increase, what everyone needs to know is that these numbers aren’t just numbers these are our children, they are people. So whether you think it’s been around all along like this or not- you must realize we need to help these kids get services. And help them RIGHT AWAY!
My son, Mateo had very few words by the age of two. When evaluated in 6/2009 at the age of 3 and 2 months, Mateo had the Expressive language of a 13 month old. He had the receptive language of a 14 month old. He was 2 years behind in speech, fine motor skills and cognitive skills. See his chart here. https://mateosstory.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/progresschart.jpg
He has come so far, he will be 6 in April. But it has taken 40 hours of therapy a week, speech therapy, occupational therapy, ABA, Preschool with Aides, Social Group Classes, and Parent Training to get him where he is today. It takes work. It takes money. It takes so much time. It takes a team. It takes a lot of patience. And Mateo still has few words. He hasn’t “caught up”. He will always have challenges, his brain works differently. He does a lot of stimming. He has a hard time keeping still. He doesn’t always look at people. He gets overwhelmed. He has many sensory needs.
But he is a kid, and he deserves every chance in this world. And that’s what I am going to give him. But every kid out there deserves those chances. Not every family has two parents dedicated to making this happen. Not every family has the money to stay home and do ABA therapy with their children. Not every kid has parents who know the laws and how to fight for them. And why do we have to fight so hard? Why can’t these kids just get the help they need.
How many of those 1 in 54 boys aren’t going to have the same chances Mateo has had? What are we going to do to help those children? So they have every chance in this world that they deserve!