Today we achieved a major milestone: Tosh watched a new movie all the way through, and only used his iPad once.
This has been a long time coming. We first took Tosh to the movies three years ago. At that time, he was five and if you have a moderate to severely autistic 5-year-old, you already know how that turned out. It didn't go well.
He kept running up and down our row and wanted to sit in the row in front of us. At one point, he crawled under the seats so he could get there.
This all happened during the previews. Mid-way through the animated short, we left. He just couldn't handle it.
But we didn't give up. I'm very passionate about the belief that everyone deserves to go out and experience the world. Whether it's going to the movies, out to eat at a restaurant or on vacation, kids and adults with autism are capable of far more than we realize.
They just need lots and lots and lots of practice.
It's a real conundrum: the only way to learn social skills is...
A controversial new mandatory vaccine law was passed by the California state senate recently, which means people are once again debating whether or not vaccines cause autism.
This blog post is not about that issue.
It's about an argument people make when they debate it.
It usually goes a little something like this:
Even if vaccines do cause autism, I'd rather take that risk than worry about my child catching the measles. After all, autism isn't fatal.
The way this argument trivializes autism is bad enough, as if it's merely a behavioral inconvenience, rather than the serious neurological disorder that it is.
But even worse, it's wrong.
Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.
Autism is absolutely fatal, and there is data to prove it.
According to an April 2017 study published in the American Journal of Public Health, and reported in Psychology Today, the average life expectancy in the United States for those with ASD is only 36 years old.
For the general population, it's 72.