Ever Wondered What Autism Is? This Is a Fantastic Explanation!

Maybe your child was just diagnosed with autism. Maybe you were just diagnosed with autism. Maybe you want to know more about the disorder. Maybe you’ve been hanging out here on The Autism Site Blog for a while now and always wondered what exactly autism was, but were too scared to ask (no shame, friend!) Whatever your situation, you may be asking that huge, intricate, and complicated question: What is autism?

Image result for Ever Wondered What Autism Is? This Is a Fantastic Explanation!

Amythest Schaber is an autism advocate who runs the YouTube series, “Ask an Autistic.” (By the way: if you’re wondering why she prefers identity-first language [i.e. “autistic”] as opposed to person-first language [i.e. “has autism”], feel free to check out her explanation

In this video, she answers that big question about autism: What is it? Where does it come from? What is it characterized by? Is it caused by vaccines? Is it curable? And what can we do to help?

Whether you’re just learning about autism or are an autism expert, I think you’ll agree with me that her explanation is fantastic. I seriously wish I’d been directed to this video when I was first learning about autism



Awesome UK Teacher Inspires A Student With Autism


As a leader in the special education, we know and understand the needs of students with cognitive, learning and behavioral disabilities. However, their attempts to be “normal” often turn out to be unsuccessful, painful, and difficult. For instance, what would happen if a student with Autism Spectrum Disorder decided to sit for one of the “normal” exams? Some might be able to pass with flying colors, some might struggle but succeed, and some, might fail. The Mighty has recently published an article, written by Jordan Davidson, telling the story of a boy with Autism who tried to pass a standardized test, and his teacher, who definitely “saved the day.”


Brave 11-year-old Ben Twist at Lansbury Bridge School and Sports College decided to take a standardized test for a high school placement. Unfortunately, Ben, who is an autistic child, did not pass the exam. In Ben’s defense, these tests are really tough, even without Autism. What happened afterward is much more interesting. His teacher, Mrs Clarkson, wrote a special letter to congratulate the boy on his achievements. Clarkson, who is indeed amazing, also listed Ben’s qualities, skills and talents because, according to her, “these tests only measure a little bit of you and your abilities.” She couldn’t be more right.

Students With Autism Show Strengths in Different Ways


“I am writing to you to congratulate you on your attitude and success in completing your end of key stage SATs.

Gil, Lynn, Angela, Steph and Anne have worked so well with you this year and you have made some fabulous progress. I have written to you and your parents to tell you the results of the tests.

A very important piece of information I want you to understand is that these tests only measure a little bit of you and your abilities. They are important and you have done so well but Ben Twist is made up of many other skills and talents that we at Lansbury Bridge see and measure in other ways.
Other talents you have that these test do not measure include:

• Your artistic talents
• Your ability to work in a team
• Your growing independence
• Your kindness
• Your ability to express your opinion
• Your abilities in sport
• Your ability to make and keep friends
• Your ability to discuss and evaluate your own progress
• Your design and building talents
• Your musical ability

We are so pleased that all of these different talents and abilities make you the special person you are and these are all of the things we measure to reassure us that you are always making progress and continuing to develop as a lovely bright young man.

Well done Ben, we are very proud of you.

Best Wishes,
Mrs Clarkson”

Lets Continue Inspiring Autistic Students

It’s wonderful to see that some teachers appreciate and value skills other than the “typical” ones: kindness, ability to make friends, musical and artistic ability, are incredibly important in life and may benefit Ben more than arithmetic. This attitude is crucial especially if you work with students with special needs. The education system in general should focus more on the individual approach rather than treat all students as a whole. This is the only way a teacher can find the “special” thing in a student and therefore spur their willingness to develop this ability. Last but not least, teachers should inspire their students. If knowledge is the seed, motivation is the soil, the water and the sun. As for Mrs Clarkson, we can surely nominate her as a Teacher of the Year, with the hope to have more nominees in the remaining months of the year.



A 7-Year-Old Autistic Girl’s Beautiful Letter To Her Mother

A series of letters written between a seven-year-old autistic girl and her mother has captured the hearts of thousands after being uploaded to Facebook.

A series of letters written between a seven-year-old autistic girl and her mother has captured the hearts of thousands after being uploaded to Facebook.


The post has been shared over a thousand times, and was written while Cadence, who has autism, sat beneath her teacher’s desk, which is a “safe space” for her.

In the notes, Cadence asks her mother if her autism “makes her bad.”

In the notes, Cadence asks her mother if her autism "makes her bad."


When asked why she would think that, Cadence references the many “grownups” who say it’s hard to be a parent when your child has autism.

She finished off the note by writing about her desire to not hurt anyone.
“I don’t like hurting people. I don’t like being scared. I would be scared in a jail room. I was born [with] autism but that doesn’t mean I was born bad.”

Cadence’s mother, Angela, told BuzzFeed News the letter acted as a reminder that the way adults talk about children affects them more than we consider.

Cadence's mother, Angela, told BuzzFeed News the letter acted as a reminder that the way adults talk about children affects them more than we consider.

“The burden of responsibility for enabling all children to feel safe, accepted and loved, rests with us, the ‘grown-ups’ – and sometimes we need reminding that we don’t always do a good job of it,” she said.

Cadence’s response led to Angela crying “happy tears,” touched by what her daughter had said.


“There have, on a handful of occasions, been scenarios where grown ups who are either not familiar with her challenges, or not tolerant of how she experiences the world, have behaved and responded poorly to her,” said Angela. “The negative impact on Cadence of these incidents have been very clear.”

Angela runs a Facebook page called “I am Cadence” that focuses on the idea that every child is innately special in their own way.

“Perhaps it is through the sharing of individuality over ‘fitting in,’ of encouraging curiosity and discussion over ‘gossip’, of promoting the right to child hood innocence over grown up perceptions – that it might just be possible, in some small way, to impact the world – one story at a time.”



My Son Has the Kind of Autism No One Talks About This Part 3-Term Life


Like most parents of children with autism, I have been reading about the family in California who is being sued by several families in their neighborhood. The lawsuitcontends that their child is a public nuisance because of his behaviors that his parents failed to fix.

One of the plaintiffs in this case stated “This is not about autism. This is about public safety.”

But he is wrong. This is absolutely about autism. It’s just not about the autism people hear about.

The media shows us all of the feel-good stories, like the child with autism who gets to be the manager of the high school basketball team, or the boy with autism who goes to the prom with the beautiful girl, or the girl with autism who is voted onto the homecoming court. We light it up blue every April and pat ourselves on the back for being so aware.

But we aren’t aware.

Because for every boy with autism who manages his high school basketball team, there are 20 boys with autism who smear feces. And for every girl with autism who gets to be on the homecoming court, there are 30 girls with autism who pull out their hair and bite their arms until they bleed. And for every boy with autism who gets to go the prom, there are 50 boys with autism who hit and kick and bite and hurt other people.

This is the autism that no one talks about. This is the autism that no one wants to see.

We aren’t aware.

One of the plaintiffs said “We’re not upset about him being autistic. We are concerned and upset about his violence (toward) our children.”

There is no way to be upset by this child’s behaviors and not be upset about autism.

Autism and behaviors go hand-in-hand. Why? The behaviors are communication. Individuals with autism often can’t communicate in a way that typically functioning people can understand. So they do things to get their needs met. And often the things they do are scary and violent.

My Son Has the Kind of Autism No One Talks About — Part 2

We aren’t aware.

My son, who is the same age as the child in this story, was extremely aggressive when he was younger. He did all of the things that the child involved in this lawsuit did. My son ran after other children on the playground just to push them down. He hit. He kicked. He bit. He pulled hair. And I never knew what was coming. For the longest time, I would flinch when he ran up to me…I didn’t know whether he was going to hug me or hit me. Can you imagine, as a mom, what that’s like? To flinch when your child runs to you?

We aren’t aware.

Because I didn’t know what my son was going to do to other children, we stopped going to the park. We stopped going to the Mommy and Me class at the library. We started going to the grocery store at 6:00 a.m. when most people weren’t around. He didn’t go to daycare but had a sitter at home so he wouldn’t be around other kids in a daycare setting. I essentially isolated him in order to keep other people safe. Can you imagine what it’s like to be a mom and not be able to take your child to the park? Or have your child attend birthday parties? Or have play dates?

We aren’t aware.

Because of my need to isolate my son, I also isolated myself too. I watched from my window as other moms in the neighborhood sat in their camp chairs and chatted while their children played. I couldn’t join them because my son couldn’t be around the other kids. Once a mom asked if my son could come to their house and play with her son. Can you imagine what it was like to feel so excited and then feel so ashamed when, after explaining my son’s issues to her so she would be aware, that invitation was rescinded?

We aren’t aware. Not at all.

But we can be. We can open our eyes and understand that autism isn’t all about the high functioning child who is “quirky” but OK to be around. Autism isn’t all about the six-year-old who can play Piano Man better than Billy Joel. Autism can be hard. Autism can be sad. Autism can be messy. Autism can be violent. Autism can be isolating.

My Son Has the Kind of Autism No One Talks About — Part 2

Once we become really aware, lawsuits like this won’t happen. Why? Because instead of putting blue lights on our front porches, we will go outside with our kids and we will help them play together…typically functioning kids and kids with autism. We will get to know our neighbors and we will embrace the children with behaviors and embrace their parents along with them.

We will learn what things trigger our child’s classmate who has autism so that we can help the children interact while avoiding things that will cause aggression. We will be a true village, including those who can model appropriate behaviors and those who are trying so hard to learn them. We will work on teaching our children not to hit and how to avoid being hit.

The parents involved in this lawsuit, on both sides, need to do more. More education, more understanding, more inclusion and more involvement.

Now tell me, is autism the real public nuisance?

We can become aware … if we really want to.



Autism could be caused by herpes Infection

Image result for autism viral articles on twitter

WOMEN with herpes during early pregnancy could double the risk of giving birth to a child diagnosed with autism.

A new study has found a link between an infection in the womb and autism – especially in boys.

Experts have said the link is not caused as a result of direct infection, as these are often deadly. Researchers have suggested it could be triggered by the mother’s immune response to getting an infection  causing neurodevelopmental problems.

It was linked with inflammation in close proximity to the womb when the unborn child is most vulnerable.

Norwegian and US scientists said there was a link between maternal anti-herpes simplex virus-2 (HSV-2) antibodies and risk for autism spectrum disorder in their child.

Dr Milada Mahic at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, post-doctoral research scientist, said: “We believe the mother’s immune response to HSV-2 could be disrupting foetal central nervous system development, raising risk for autism.”

Genital herpes is a common incurable sexually transmitted infection caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV) leading to painful blisters.

It is highly contagious and a long-term condition with the virus remaining the body living in nerve cells.

However the body can build up immunity to the virus.

Herpes simplex virus-2 could be one of any number of infectious agents involved

Dr Ian Lipkin

Until now the NHS said the risk of the virus to the unborn child in early pregnancy was low and women infected or experiencing a flare up are prescribed antiviral medicine.

The study explored the link between maternal infection and risk for autism, focusing on five pathogens – types of bacteria known collectively as ToRCH agents – which the herpes simplex virus.

Blood samples were taken from 412 mothers of children diagnosed with autism and 463 mothers of children without autism enrolled in the Autism Birth Cohort (ABC) Study overseen by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.

Samples were taken at around week 18 of pregnancy and at birth and analysed for levels of antibodies to each of the bacteria. .

Herpes and autism link: Blood samples were taken from 412 mothers of children diagnosed with autismGETTY

Herpes and autism link: Blood samples were taken from 412 mothers of children diagnosed with autism

They found high levels of antibodies to HSV-2, not any of the other agents, correlated with risk for Autism.

Experts said the link was only found in blood samples taken during early pregnancy.

It found an eighth – 13 per cent of mothers in the study tested positive for anti-HSV-2 antibodies at mid-pregnancy.

Of these, only 12 per cent reported having HSV lesions before pregnancy or during the first trimester.

Herpes and autism: Women who carry the herpes virus are usually prescribed with anti-viral medicationGETTY

Herpes and autism: Women who carry the herpes virus are usually prescribed with anti-viral medicatio


The scientists said the effect of anti-HSV-2 antibodies on risk for autism was only seen in boys not girls.

But they noted the number of girls with autism in the study was small.

Professor Dr Ian Lipkin of the Centre for Infection and Immunity at Colombia University said: “The cause or causes of most cases of autism are unknown.

“But evidence suggests a role for both genetic and environmental factors.

“Our work suggests that inflammation and immune activation may contribute to risk. Herpes simplex virus-2 could be one of any number of infectious agents involved.”

The study was published in mSphere, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.



6-year-old girl defends autistic brother with viral letter

When a 6-year-old girl heard another child calling her autistic brother “weird,” she decided she needed to take action.

Her heartfelt, handwritten note to her student body has inspired a movement across the globe.

Image result for autism sister and brother

Lex Camilleri and her brother, 9-year-old Frank, have always been close. While Lex is the younger of the siblings, she often serves as Frank’s protector, her parents told Today.

“Lex absolutely loves Frank,” Sophie Camilleri, the children’s mother, said. “She’s always by his side … she always looks out for him.”

So when a girl at her school approached her and told her that her big brother was “weird,” she immediately tried to explain to the child that Frank has autism. Her classmate had no idea what that meant, Camilleri told Today.

“The fact is, she has lived and breathed autism for the first six years of her life,” she said. “Ultimately, she was taken aback by the lack of understanding.”

So with a little help from her parents, Lex sat down and wrote a note to present at her next student council meeting.

“My brother has autism and is not weird,” Lex wrote. “I would like it if we could learn about all disabilities in schools so that everybody understands that some people are different, but we should all be treated the same.”

“Im so very proud that Lex has this view and wants to change the way other children view others with disabilities,” she wrote in her caption.

As of Thursday night, the post had been shared more than 36,500 times. Even the National Autistic Society caught wind of Lex’s crusade — praising her for her efforts on its Facebook page and encouraging others to share her note.

“We think there should be much more autism understanding in the classroom which is why (we) are encouraging all schools and nurseries around the country to sign up to our free autism resources,”

With just a few sentences, Lex has touched thousands of people — most of whom are strangers to the 6-year-old.

“Lex, you are miles ahead of the rest and I wish everybody was as forward thinking as you,” wrote one commenter. “My son has Autism and I wish more people (adults as well as children) would ask more questions about it so they can understand the day to day challenges he faces.”

Lex and her family are set to meet with a member of Parliament about implementing disability education in schools across England, Today reported.

Lex’s dad, Jace Camilleri, told Today he couldn’t be more proud of his brave little girl.

“It’s a critical subject,” he said. “So it was fantastic just to see her write it down. It spread like wildfire. We were overwhelmed with pride.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports about 1 in 68 children in the U.S. has been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. Autism is five times more common in boys than among girls.



Parents Tell Their Kids To Avoid Boy With Autism. Then Mom Writes Viral Letter On Facebook

Being a kid is hard. The world is a new place to you, everything is a novel experience and the entire experience of growing up constantly provides new obstacles to overcome. Although growing up comes with its fair share of valuable lessons, it also comes with its drawbacks. While it’s in every mother’s natural instincts to defend her child, this story is an example of one mom going above and beyond.


The mom in question is Nicole Duggan, an Irish woman with a three-year-old son with special needs named Riley. More specifically, Duggan’s son is on the autism spectrum and needs just a little extra care and attention. Riley is non-verbal and is easily set off by intense emotional stimuli. Although many kids may be accepting of Riley’s differences, Duggan noticed some hesitancy among the parents in her son’s class. As any thoughtful mom would, Duggan wrote an open letter to all the parents in the class:


My little boy is just like your child, he loves to dance, he loves to be cuddled, he cries when he falls, and he adores Mickey Mouse. He is however “wired differently.”

The small things we take for granted every day are the hardest things for him to cope with. Different lights, sounds, smells or even the look of something can cause an overload that is too hard for an adult to deal with, let alone my little boy.

To the people that stare at him because he hums, join in with his little singsong, because in his eyes he is singing the best song in the world.

To the mothers that pull their children away from him, you are creating the bullies of the future. Children don’t notice the differences; they just want to play, let them.

To the lady that called him bold in the supermarket, try to look at things from his perspective. An overload of colors and sounds. People whizzing past you. You too would cry your eyes out if you could not tell anyone how you are feeling when it all gets too much.

To the friends that have disappeared, I hope this never knocks on your front door. I would not change my small man for the world and if you cannot understand him and how he works, then you do not deserve to be in his life in the first place.

Children with needs are the bravest, most courageous and most amazing little people in this world. They are fighting battles nobody knows and I guarantee not one adult would make it through half of the obstacles they do. Just because there is not a physical difference does not mean they are simply bold.

So this year I ask you to think before you judge, live a day in my small man’s shoes and you will understand how much of a superhero he really is.


Above all, Duggan’s story is a reminder that we all view the world differently. All of our experiences are unique and deserve respect. To foster a more welcoming world, we should make pains to be more awake to the struggles of others, especially those who can’t communicate as fluently as we can. While it may be difficult to stretch our patience, it always results in a greater understanding and appreciation of the world around us.

In this case, Duggan’s note is a reminder of a mother’s undying love which we could all use a reminder of. Click below for the full story and remember to slow down and appreciate the wealth of the world we all live in.

Please SHARE this with your friends and family.



What experts know—and don’t know—about autism and its causes

The prevalence of autism is on the rise, but its causes remain unclear—though there is no evidence to support a link between vaccines and autism

White puzzle pieces with on piece removed to reveal blue underneath

This much we know for certain about autism: it is being diagnosed with more frequency now than ever before.

According to figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in 68 children in 2012—the most recent year for which data is available—was identified as being on the autism spectrum. That’s up from one in 88 in 2008 and one in 150 in 2002.

Whether that trend is the result of the medical community looking more closely or becoming better at detecting autism, or whether its a sign of something akin to an epidemic, is altogether unclear. In fact, very little about the developmental disorder or its underlying causes is straightforward.

M. Daniele Fallin

Image caption:M. Daniele Fallin

With so many unanswered questions related to an issue that impacts millions, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in 2013 launched the Wendy Klag Center for Autism & Developmental Disabilities in an effort to build a community of investigators and students to take a closer look at autism.

The Hub recently reached out to M. Daniele Fallin, the center’s director and chair of the Bloomberg School’s Department of Mental Health, for insight on what we know—and what we don’t know—about autism spectrum disorder.

What is autism, and how is it diagnosed?

Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by deficits in social and language communication, as well as repetitive behaviors and restricted interests. Children and adults with autism spectrum disorder have a wide range of abilities. Some people cannot speak at all and many have delayed or limited verbal communication. Some are greatly impaired in their cognitive thinking while others are extremely gifted.

Autism spectrum disorder, or ASD—the diagnosis described in the DSM-5—is usually made by a specialist based on observations in multiple situations and interviews with family members or others close to the person.

Do vaccines cause autism?

No, vaccines do not cause autism. Many studies have examined this question and none have shown any evidence for linking autism and vaccines, including the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine, vaccines with a mercury-based preservative (thimerosal), or simultaneous receipt of multiple vaccines.


M. Daniele Fallin
Director, Wendy Klag Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities

This overwhelming evidence has been examined and summarized by multiple professional boards and organizations, including the Institute of Medicine, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the American Academy of Pediatrics. All of have unequivocally discredited any link. The research and energy spent on discrediting anti-vaccination rhetoric takes attention and resources away from what is most important: Figuring out what does cause autism and doing something to prevent it or treat the associated impairments.

A number of years ago, there was a study in The Lancet by Andrew Wakefield that asserted a link between vaccines and autism. Is that study accurate?

No, The Lancet officially retracted the 1998 paper in 2010. Most of the co-authors of his paper had already removed their names from the work. An investigation concluded that Dr. Wakefield intentionally manipulated data to support a connection between MMR vaccines and autism. His medical license, which was issued in Britain, was revoked based on evidence of deliberately falsifying data.

What factors have scientists determined do contribute to autism?

This is such an important question, and we are working hard at finding answers. In recent years, we have made great progress toward understanding the genetic and environmental factors that contribute to autism. We know that children of older parents have an increased autism risk and that boys are four-to-five times more likely to be diagnosed with ASD than girls. We also know that genes play a role, and we’re starting to learn more about biological pathways involved in autism based on clues from rare genetic anomalies found in some individuals with autism.

Environmental factors likely play a role in autism risk as well. Decades ago, children whose pregnant mothers took the drug thalidomide for nausea or valproic acid for seizures were reported to have autistic symptoms. Fortunately, these are no longer in use for pregnancy, but these findings informed our understanding that autism risk may begin as early as in the womb.

We are learning even more about environmental risk factors, primarily exposures occurring during fetal growth. For example, there has been strong evidence implicating exposure to air pollution during pregnancy, as well as exposure to pesticides during pregnancy. Many other chemicals are being investigated by multiple groups around the world to see if they play a role in the development of autism.

Are there any ways to prevent autism?

Because we do not fully understand specific causes of autism, we do not currently know how to prevent it. But there is hope that insights from genetics work and environmental studies will create opportunities to prevent autism or to minimize deficits among those who have autism, through interventions that help individuals maximize their potential.

Is ASD something that happens during infancy or childhood? Or does it happen earlier?

The best scientific evidence right now suggests that ASD may begin as early as in the womb. Findings in brain pathology and imaging, gene expression, and prenatal exposure risk factors all point to in utero development as the critical period. Further, infant research in the first year of life shows behavioral and brain growth differences suggesting that ASD starts very early.

What do I do if I think my child might have ASD?

If you suspect your child has ASD, the best approach is to bring up your concerns with your pediatrician, who can guide you through further assessments if needed and refer you to the appropriate specialists and resources. Additionally, check with your local school district about early childhood developmental evaluations and services. Early-life interventions have been shown make a substantial difference in maximizing a child’s long-term potential.



Dear Autism Mom Do You know How Incredibly Awesome You Are?

This letter of hope, encouragement is to all the Autism Moms out there. I see your struggles. I see your worries. From one Autism Mom to another, here's my Dear Autism Mom Letter!

This letter of hope and encouragement is to all the Autism Moms out there. I see your struggles. I understand your worries. From one Autism Mom to another, here’s my Dear Autism Mom Letter.

Dear Autism Mom,
Let’s face it; life has thrown you a few loops and curves over the past few years (or months, or days). You’ve had a tough road. Some days are up and some days are down. Having a child on the spectrum is not something other moms understand completely. Sometimes you feel like a complete failure, and other times you feel like you can conquer the world (like when you walk out of the IEP meeting after getting everything on your must-have list!).

This letter of hope and encouragement is to all the Autism Moms out there. I see your struggles. I see your worries. From one Autism Mom to another, here's my Dear Autism Mom Letter.

I’m here to remind you and me of a few things:

You are Awesome

The mere fact that you are reading this means you are an awesome mother. Even in those quiet moments, in the times when all through the house, not a mouse is stirring, you are reading and researching about Autism and ways to help your child.  Do you know how incredibly awesome you are?


Every Child has a Purpose

You may never know the exact purpose of your child, or the way in which your child impacts this world, but with you as a mother, your child is going to rock this world! Whether it’s that one outburst in the store that changes the mind of a judgmental parent or brings awareness to your city, there’s a purpose. You never know the trust and love your child can bring a complete stranger, it just may save their life. With your child’s deep analytical skills and one mind focus, they may be what our world needs for a cure for cancer, advanced technology, or tools to improve our planet.  The world keeps spinning and, although, you may not see it, your child has a purpose.

It Gets Easier { I think…}

It may not seem like it will ever get easier, but it does. If you look back a few years or even a few months, you can see the positive changes your child has made. Maybe it’s your child’s ability to communicate from no words to two words. That’s an improvement worth congratulating! Maybe it’s a behavior plan finally working at school; congratulate yourself because you helped your child reach this goal. When I think how far we have come with the Twins, it brings tears to my eyes. I remember listening to all of the things we were told they wouldn’t be able to do. I laid in bed many nights wondering if my boys would ever talk, would they utter the words, “I love you, Mom?”

This letter of hope and encouragement is to all the Autism Moms out there. I see your struggles. I see your worries. From one Autism Mom to another, here's my Dear Autism Mom Letter.

You are a Constant

You are your child’s strength, their biggest love, and the one person they can trust no matter what. You, Autism Mom, are loved beyond knowledge. With you, your child is flourishing, learning, changing, adapting, and making improvements. You are your child’s constant, and if all else fails, you are their rock. Never forget how much you mean to them.

You are Strong

Raising children, in general, can be difficult, but having a child on the spectrum requires even more strength. The more that gets thrown your way, the more you keep going, reading, learning, and teaching. I remember telling my Mom, “I can’t do this. Maybe you should take them; I can’t raise them. I don’t know what to do!” She gave me this look as if she wanted to slap me back to reality and remind me that I could do all things with just a little prayer. You have strength beyond most others. Whatever is set out to conquer you makes you stronger!

Forget perfect, Forget normal

I don’t know what or who defines normal in our world, but toss those two words out of the window. There is no perfect Mom, and there is no normal life. Those are both myths made up by someone who wanted to be perfect and normal but realized they could never achieve those things because they don’t exist. Again, trust me on this. I have tried to find a normal life and be the perfect Mom. Here’s what happened; I failed miserably. I was stressed out in attempting to make my family, my boys with Autism normal. I put pressure on them by trying to make them fit into what society thought of them. One day the light bulb popped up, and I quickly realized I was causing a lot of this stress and pressure. Your child was not born to fit in; they were born to stand out.

You are Helping Others

Until you go through it yourself, you never really know how many mothers are going through this same thing. Every obstacle you go through is one more piece of advice you have to help others on this journey. The more you read, the more you talk, and the more you tell your story, the more inspiration you have to give to other moms. Trust me on this!We all need each other to lean on and support. Remember that each challenge is one more gift you get to help other mothers overcome every obstacle in their way. The moment you feel like giving up, remember you are one step closer to the next goal, the next breakthrough. Autism Mom, you don’t know the light and affect you are having on your child, your family, the school, and others around you.
Autism Mom, you are special, you are strong, you are helping, and YOU ARE AWESOME! Never forget that. You are going to make it, and it’s going to be ALRIGHT. The more tough decisions you make and the more you go through, the stronger you become. Love yourself because you are doing the best you can do!


Portrait of a cheerful girl and boy hugging fun in outdoor

Things Autism Siblings Know to Be True…And What Parents Can Do to Help

If a member of your family is on the autism spectrum, it will affect you in some way, regardless of what your role is. We often talk about how parents are affected, what they can do to help their child, and how to alleviate some of their own stress. That’s because parents are probably the ones most affected by their children’s autism (other than the ASD children themselves, obviously). However, in focusing so hard on the parents, we often leave one important group out of the picture: neurotypical siblings.

While our pool of research on them is fairly limited, there are some things we do know and have noticed about this group. And we want to shine a light on them—celebrate the awesome things, acknowledge the difficulties they may face, and highlight ways that parents can mitigate some of the difficulties.

So to all the neurotypical siblings of people with autism, this one is for you.

Hispanic brothers hugging with football


If you’re the neurotypical sibling of a person with autism, you probably have a ton of cool aspects to your personality, behavior, and overall disposition.

For instance, autism siblings tend to be fantastic kids. Having a family member on the spectrum isn’t always easy, and it can often be very stressful for the entire household. But for many autism siblings, this stress doesn’t affect them in the same way it affects kids in other situations; kids in other situations may engage in risky behaviors or cause trouble. But autism siblings are often the exact opposite of that! They tend to be dedicated and caring, and many of them grow up to obtain careers dedicated toward helping people, like nursing or therapy.

Stephanie Morales, a thirteen-year-old with a brother and a cousin on the spectrum, is one of these individuals—she wants to be an O.T. or speech therapist when she grows up. “[Being an autism sibling and cousin] has opened my eyes to seeing that they really need people that understand them and their needs,” she says.

Going along with that, autism siblings are often incredibly self-sacrificing—sometimes to the point where they neglect their own wellbeing. And many of them expect absolutely nothing for the help they give. This is probably because they’re used to pitching in and helping their parents handle challenging situations, whether that means working directly with their brother or sister, or completing other tasks while their parents devote their attention to the other child. That’s really cool. Just remember to stay balanced, autism siblings; you can’t do everything, and you need to take some time for yourself every once in a while!

Perhaps some of the coolest aspects about many autism siblings, however, is their passion, loyalty, and devotion toward their brother or sister. If anyone bullies or messes with their brother or sister? Well, they’d better watch out because their siblings are NOT standing for it! One autism sister, Marissa, can personally vouch for that. In an NPR article, she recalls how she went after a bully who had thrown a rock at her brother, Andrew. “I smacked him across the face and he was cornered, and my face I’m sure was beet-red, and I was like, ‘Just do it again and I’ll punch you right in your mouth,’” she explained. “I was mad because no one can beat up my brother except me.”

Little siblings

Needless to say, autism siblings are very protective—not only toward their sibling, but also toward others who are a little different. They tend to be more cognizant of differences in other people, and therefore more compassionate. Many autism siblings are also passionate anti-bullying advocates—people the world desperately needs.