Social Question

Faidle's avatar

Do you have any close relatives with Autism?

Asked by Faidle (668 points ) June 17th, 2011

I have a cousin, Jason, who has autism.
What are some of your experiences with them? What are some challenges? What do you love about them? Etc…
If you’re a parent of an autistic child, how did you feel when you found out your child had this disability?

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18 Answers

AshLeigh's avatar

Well, cousin, as you know I have a brother with autism.
I remember once someone called him a “retard” and I punched them in the eye… Good times.
Challenges… There are a lot. He gets confused. He gets angry. He’s confused, and agry about why he’s different. Why kids are mean to him.
I honestly don’t see why kids are so cruel…. Jason is the best person I know. He’s understanding, and loving, and kind. I love my brother.

Faidle's avatar

@AshLeigh,
Haha. I remember that… He never did it again. xD
He is, indeed, all of those things, and so much more. Kids just don’t realize it…

gailcalled's avatar

My niece’s middle son, aged 5, is autistic. HIs parents had the diagnosis when he was about 18 months. He has been getting intense and ongoing behavior, physical, and occupational therapy since then.

He’s adorable but hard to relate to intuitively. He tends to isolate himself when there are more people around than his immediate family.

Intellectually, he is a whiz kid.

I am rereading a brilliant http://www.amazon.com/House-Rules-Novel-Jodi-Picoult/dp/0743296435 novel about autism by Jody Picoult, “House Rules.”:

Faidle's avatar

@gailcalled,
They’re so brilliant aren’t they? Sometimes I think of it more as a blessing, than anything else. How lucky we are just to know them…
That book looks good. :) I’ll check it out.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I’m in my mid 40’s and haven’t known anyone who’s autistic. What blows my mind is autism seems like the affliction du jour for the 21st century.

gailcalled's avatar

Every decade more and more kids (especially little boys are being diagnosed. Something like one in 70, I believe. I’m doing this from memory.

Kayak8's avatar

One in every 110 according to Autism speaks. That includes diagnoses across the autism spectrum. There are a number of Jellies with Aspergers (hello). I have a friend whose son has autism and he and I are both fascinated with trains so we get on very well.

KatawaGrey's avatar

I don’t have any autistic relatives, but I did just spend a few days in the home of a family with a severely autistic son. Truth be told, I’m not entirely sure if he’s autistic per se, but he can’t walk or speak and he has little reaction to what goes on around him.

The first thing I noticed was how he did not care at all that two new people entered his environment and generally disrupted his schedule and his home life. In fact, he was quite cheerful when he did respond to us. When we drove to a restaurant for his sister’s birthday dinner, I was in the back with him. He just grabbed my hand and held it tight almost the whole car-ride there. Apparently he usually is much more active in the car but he was content to just drink his juice and hold my hand.

Pandora's avatar

@Neizvestnaya I think many of these conditions existed throughout centuries. Only they where either killed or put into mental facilities or died by experimental cures or shunned and abandoned because it was seen as some curse and so they would die out in the streets, homeless.

Faidle's avatar

@KatawaGrey,
Juice, and hand holding. That’s cute. :D:D:D

Cruiser's avatar

I have a very good friend whose son is autistic and the worst is behind them as he is older now and better able to control his “outbursts”. I empathize with them as my own son has sensory processing disorder and that was a challenge in itself and could only imagine what it must be like to take on an autistic child. Every child has their bright and beautiful moments and challenged children seem to at times shine brighter than the perceived challenges would allow for.

SpatzieLover's avatar

My son (almost 6) and husband have Asperger’s Syndrome (a high-functioning form of autism).

We homeschool our son.

Like @Cruiser‘s son, both my husband and son have SID (sensory integration disorder aka SPD, sensory processing disorder). In itself, that is a lot to manage. We did do some OT work for our son, but he fairs better figuring out what he needs by himself. The OTs weren’t accustomed to working with a child as intelligent as ours. He constantly needed to know exactly what each bit of therapy would help him with. Since therapy doesn’t work immediately, he’d question their ability to know what they were doing.

Our son was diagnosed almost a year ago now. I knew the day he was born something was different. Our doctor just kept brushing off any questions we had.

My husband’s diagnosis came this past winter. It cleared up a lot of the confusion I’d been living with.

Both have regular therapy with a psychologist that specializes in AS. She’s been able to greatly assist our family. We’ve also done supplementation, light therapy for SAD (seasonal affective disorder…it tends to affect those with AS), and have implemented picture charts with our daily schedule/chores/hygiene..etc.

They both need alone time, transition time, and time to decompress after social interactions.

My husband is a computer geek. My son is an artist.

Their brains are wired differently than mine. Both are literal, logical and need facts and rules. I’m figurative, and am regularly reminded that I should “say what you mean”. (don’t tell your Aspie son that you are stumbling through a book…when you are sitting down ;)

TexasDude's avatar

I have a cousin who I am almost certain is autistic, though his caregivers seem to be in denial about it. He recites the alphabet forwards and backwards constantly, speaks in a weird made up language, is exceedingly good at math and music, and he hates being touched. He’s almost 6. He’s very bright in regards to the things he does focus on, but he’s clearly at a disadvantage with his glaring lack of coherence. His doctors and teachers have apparently not said a word about it, which is fishy, because it’s obvious that something is wrong. I wish someone would get the kid some help. :-/

jerv's avatar

I am related to myself; does that count?

As for the challenges, I don’t find myself that hard to deal with :D

Stinley's avatar

I have a nephew (my sister’s boy) who had been diagnosed autistic with learning difficulties. He is 17. I also have a cousin (my mum’s sister’s daughter) whose son is the same, but with less severe learning problems. I also have a cousin (mum’s other sister’s son) who is dyslexic and shared some of the ASD characteristics as a child, although he is not so much affected now as an adult. There’s definitely something in my mother’s family genetically pre-disposing the boys to this, although I think I am a little affected by it too. There are a lot of females on that side of the family.

It was quite sad when my cousin (dyslexic cousin’s sister) had a baby boy recently and we all looked at each other and said that we hoped he’s ok – meaning not ASD. I hope the people here with ASD are not offended by this and realise that for the first two boys, life is not easy for them or their carers. They are quite severely disabled, not able to live independently.

One of the main things, as @SpatzieLover says, is the words you use. My nephew’s behaviour deteriorated when he wasn’t understood, didn’t understand, or a combination. Usually the combination. Giving him a set of steps to follow, reflecting your understanding of what he’s saying and not using metaphors is key. For example saying ‘Get ready, we’ve got to fly’ would be incomprehensible to him but saying ‘You need to put your shoes on and your coat. We are going in the car to see Granny. I know you want to stay and play here but Granny is expecting us’ would be better, although he has the common trait of not being able to sequence – with a jumble of clothes it was impossible for him to sort out which to put on first to get dressed. My sister and my mum taught him lots of stuff like this, that we take for granted that kids will just pick up. He does pretty well now and can do a lot of the basics for himself but with a bit of help or supervision. He is great on computer games, and we both like watching CSI

BeccaBoo's avatar

My 10 yr old son is Autistic, and hell it’s hard, but it is almost always topped off by a small flicker of something great when he decides to do something out of the blue that’s really amazing.
Zac was almost 4 before he spoke and then he said mum, I cried for a week because I did not ever think he would.
He was nearly 6 before they gave him a full diagnosis, and he is on the far end of the Autistic Spectrum, with higher needs and complete care.
He does the usual things like most kids, walks, talks, runs (although very clumsy). He looks normal. But he can not communicate normally, he struggles with any social aspects, strangers, new faces, places etc. He does live in a bubble 80percent of the day. Will only eat certain foods, likes certain colours ONLY. He hates the sun and loud noises. Takes everything you say to him literally, does not understand emotions at all. Along with a lot more complex physical disabilities.
Life is tough, we as a family try to make it easier for him, we all adapted and we know Zac’s needs, even his younger brothers are great with him.
I hate it when I take him out and we get looks, because he is having a massive hissy tantrum, rolling about on the floor with his nappy hanging out and people stare. It makes me sad, they have no idea, If they asked me I would talk to them, try to educate them, But people tend to be ignorant when they see things that are strange and out of the norm. This is my child, I am massively proud of him. He used to be a little boy that I could not cuddle, get close to, talk to or have any form of communication. In 4 yrs all that has change, he has worked with some excellent specialists and we now have the bond that was supposed to be there from when he was born.
But you know what, it has it’s rewards too, so when i do get my cuddles, or I hear him laugh because he finds something funny (usually something quite random) it makes me so happy, only because its something I never thought I would see.

Faidle's avatar

@BeccaBoo,
My cousin, Jason, is 24 now, and he didn’t talk until his sister, @AshLeigh, did. She’s Seven years younder than him, so he talked at about eight.
The doctors said he’d never talk, or walk. He can do both of those things.

AshLeigh's avatar

@BeccaBoo,
I hate the looks they give him. But worse, I hate when they think it’s okay to mumble “Retard” as they walk by. Who do they think they are?
If they would just stop judging him, and try talking to us, they’d understand.
I remember being so angry at people. “I hate that kid. He’s a retard.” Like it’s his fault? People are so cruel when they can’t understand something…

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