Autism: Taking the long road through daily life

Me feeding the boy way back in 2002.

OK, the title is a little melodramatic, but the path of a child with Autism – or his parents’ path, for that matter – is rarely a straight line.

For example, yesterday it was time for Ethan to have his teeth cleaned.

No big deal, right?

Well, no. The process itself was not a big deal. Finding, and keeping, a dentist that makes it all go smoothly was a little more difficult.

You see, the boy’s dentist is in Wake Forest.

It is, quite possibly, the finest medical establishment I’ve ever dealt with. They schedule us in such a way that the waiting room is quiet and virtually empty.

That makes the three-minute wait very pleasant for a child that copes with Autism.

Then, they take us back for the X-rays and cleaning – and the place is almost empty. Another quiet, friendly and attentive environment where Ethan is the focus of everyone’s attention.

This is 3:30 in the afternoon, by the way, at what I know to be a very busy dental practice.

So the fact that I had to take a half-day off work and shuttle him an hour each way was very much worth the trouble.

I bring this up to illustrate a point.

Autism affects 1 in 150 children. Not all parents have the knowledge and resources that Shanna and I have to help Ethan cope with the condition.

Not all parents know that quiet, calm waiting rooms make a huge difference in the few minutes leading up to medical procedures.

Not all parents know that word problems and rounding can seem like Greek to a child with Autism – since abstract thinking is one of the areas that takes the most time and effort to properly develop.

Not all parents know that there are places to go for help, like TEACCH and the Autism Society of North Carolina.

Well, with the annual Triangle Run/Walk for Autism coming up Saturday, here’s a chance for you the ASNC help others.

Here’s the link. Donate today!

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