Mason County News
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Letters to the Editor: A Public Forum
Wednesday, December 19, 2012 • Posted December 19, 2012

Hello, I write to you today as a mother of a 7 year old Autistic son. My family moved back home to Mason in late June of this year to raise our four children. We loved the school and what the great community of Mason could offer our children. Since the horrible tragedy of the CT school shooting and all the media attention pointing out that the perpetrator was indeed diagnosed with a form of Autism called Asperger’s. We know there is a small population of children who are on the spectrum and there is not enough education or awareness on this neurological brain disorder within the community. Now I fear because of the lack of awareness on the disorder, is my child at risk for bullying, ridicule and judgmental harshness since this horrifying shooting? Obviously we feel very safe in this community but are we too comfortable? I felt the need to openly invite the topic and educate any one person who was curious to the mystery of “Autism”.

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a range of complex redevelopment disorders, characterized by social impairments, communication difficulties, and restricted, repetitive, and stereotyped patterns of behavior. Autistic disorder, sometimes called autism or classical ASD, is the most severe form of ASD, while other conditions along the spectrum include a milder form known as Asperger syndrome.

Our son was diagnosed by the age of 2, he was developmentally off by birth. Something was clearly wrong when he could not communicate with jesters or words. Our family was in Japan at the time of the diagnoses and had no clue what Autism was. We were a military family faced with many hardships to come. Upon arriving back in the states we still had little information of the disorder, we dove head first into the very deep pool of Autism. Researched showed that therapies were key in rehabilitating our child. That was easier said than done....our son was now a guinea pig moving from one therapy to the next. With much perseverance we started to make progress, he had finally said “momma and dada” by age three and by age four was talking 2 to 3 word sentences! Still with all the excitement we had to endure many melt downs. He had no awareness of his surrounding, many sensory problems and needed 24/7 supervision as his curiosity was dangerous. It was a very rough patch for a couple of years but as he continued to grow he taught himself how to function independently to his best ability. We still have a long road ahead of us but we love that he chose us. He has transformed us into something more than just parents. The best quality he possesses is his loving heart. He loves everyone unconditionally, leaves his imprint on everybody he meets, smiles despite any sadness he feels, sympathizes with the most complicated situation and judges no one. We can only hope that everyone would wish to share his infectious joy of life. I have faith as his mother and a member of this community that we can take the unknown fear of Autism away and instill the raw beauty it holds. I look forward to starting a support group for families alike and help parents that may have concerns. Autism affects 1 in every 88 kids today, Autism has no face, color or gender, Autism is the world I live in!

Thank you,

Samantha Avalos

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