AUTISM FACT - The World Health Organisation estimates that there are 1,100,000 cases of autism in China; 650,000 in the UK; 500,000 in the Philippines; and 180,000 in Thailand. Approximately 67 million people worldwide are affected by autism. The rate of autism is growing at 14% per year around the world. In China it is growing at a rate of 20% a year.
Autism has a wide spectrum, as anyone with kids suffering from it can tell you, and somewhere along the graph is ADHD. My two grandsons, Nerd-Boy and Geek-Boy, both have ADHD - Attention Deficiency Hyperactive Disorder - the younger more so than the elder. Both of them swing between the inability to concentrate to total obsession/fixation/concentration, which, in two very intelligent children, was and is frustrating for all concerned *g*. Their schools varied in their ability to cope with them, especially Geek-Boy.
With Nerd-Boy, always a quick-witted [and manipulative!], articulate child, older by two and a half years, ADHD was controlled by Ritalin during school days. Weekends and holidays he was pill-free. When he was fourteen, something changed, and the symptoms of ADHD lessened. Puberty kick-starting the connections in his brain? Maybe. Oh, he's still an argumentative, manipulative little sod at times, but what teenager isn't? *g* The Clinic decided he might be able to manage the condition himself, so the treatment was stopped. Yes, he managed it with few problems, and at eighteen he has a part-time job in a pet store chain, is taking his A Levels and has a place in a nearby University waiting to study Organic Chemistry, if he makes the grade. If he doesn't, he's thinking about taking an Education degree course and becoming a teacher in Maths or Science.
Geek-Boy ticks more boxes in the spectrum, showing signs closer to Autism and Aspergers on occasion. At sixteen and a half, he is still on Ritalin for school, and while just as bright at Nerd-Boy, his grades are a lot lower due to his lack of concentration [and stubbornness!]. In junior school he would solve the maths question on the chalkboard almost as soon as the teacher finished writing, yelling out the correct answer before anyone else had a chance to put up their hand! He is currently in a smaller school that has a good track record with Special Needs kids, keeping them in the mainstream rather than excluding them to their own classes. His grades took a sudden improvement last term, and out of the blue in this term he had an A grade in a Science exam. We're hoping he'll get good enough marks in his GCSEs to allow him to go to the local college and study his first love, Computer Games Design. Failing that, he wants to take a Cookery/Catering course, which doesn't require such high qualifications.
To be honest, living with their ADHD isn't been as hard as it is in the more extreme forms of Autism. The temper tantrums, arguments, stubborn refusals to do as they're told [the Naughty Step got a lot of use] were no worse than kids without the excuse of ADHD. Their mother is an avid researcher, and she scoured the internet to learn everything about the condition, what foods seemed to trigger adverse reactions and experimenting at home to eliminate them from the boys' diet, and how to help them maintain concentration on homework and chores at home. As a family, we found ways to work with it, and they've grown to be happy, affectionate, active, well-adjusted and articulate kids despite the ADHD handicap. Both boys are avid readers [thank God!] and like so many of their peers, addicted to computer games.
We are so lucky.
Then there's the Spectrum Competition being run by Silver Publishing in support of Autism Awareness hosted on Silver Publishing's Forum. If you haven't already, register to be a part of the Forum and have a chance at the Awesome Prize.
For more information on Autism, visit the WorldAutism Awareness Facebook page.
Don't forget, comment here and you could win an ebook *g*.
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