Thursday, July 21, 2005

Asperger's Syndrome and My Little Rain Man

I posted this on Multiply and sent this as an email to all my friends and relatives, sharing the good news about Dale... this has a more happier tone to it, that's why i'm posting it here, too.

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Hello.

Yesterday, we went to a Developmental Pediatrician to have Dale assessed for the second time. The first time if you remember was when he was almost 3 years old.

He was diagnosed as having Autism Spectrum Disorder. I know mahirap siyang intindihin... ako rin nung una, nalilito nung pinagaralan namin ito sa UP.

Nasa ibaba ang medyo scientific na page-explain ng differences ng AUTISM per se, at ng AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER (ASD), in which Dale falls.

Ngayon, under ng ASD, meron pang ibang categories, kaya tinawag na spectrum (meaning range).. which u can also find below.

Since bata pa masyado si Dale noon, hindi pa talaga pwedeng ma-pinpoint kung talagang AUTISTIC si Dale or under lang siya ng ASD.

Ngayong 6 years old na siya, the Dev Ped pinned it down to Asperger's Syndrome, which they also call high-functioning autism.

He has certain qualities or characteristics as that of an autistic child, but he has normal or even above average intelligence, and can express himself using the appropriate language.

Whereas, pag autistic, low ang intelligence (in all aspects, or is exceptional to only one--autistic savant) at hindi rin marunong mag-express ng feelings.

If you are thinking if it makes a whole lot of difference, the answer is very much so. Coz people with Asperger's Syndrome, with the right intervention, can live a normal life in the future.

he may finish school, and land a job. These aspects, I was very much worried about before.

So when the doctor told me that what Dale had was Asperger's, I could've jumped for joy... natanggalan ako ng napakaraming tinik sa dibdib...

Today, all my colleagues told me I looked it... and I told them it's because i really was happy.

Even if I didn't jump for joy, I settled to treating the kids with pizza yesterday. Hahahaha. I told them that we have to celebrate that day for Dale.

Masaya din ako because konti lang talaga mali ni Dale sa assessment. When he was asked to draw a man, he drew a stick figure. when he was asked to draw a woman, he drew another stick figure, but this time, it had two curved lines on its head resembling pigtails, and it had a skirt on. meaning: he can distinguish. even if it did looked like an ant to me.

when he was asked to draw a house, all of us cracked up. Coz he drew it complete with a chimney with smoke coming out of it.

the doctor was impressed. all of us where. nagulat din ako coz he answered questions when i didn't know he could do so. nagulat ako kasi alam pala niya yung mga bagay na yun.

Now to tell it all... syempre happiness is coupled again with some small problems.... all can be remedied with money. hahahaha.

intervention needed was behavior modification therapy which costs about 500 per session... which the doctor told us will be at least once a week depending on the therapist... so if the therapist decides that it's twice or thrice a week... it resembles an arm and a leg to me. haha.

the therapist's assessment (2500) is different from the Dev Ped's assessment which cost us 1500. the therapist's assessment is more thorough and for 3 consecutive days.

and the Dev Ped decided Dale can already be mainstreamed into a regular school... but not next year. and not in the nearby public preschool. She wants it to be done NOW. in a private preschool with only 10-15 students (Prep level). this will be done together with SPED school. so parang 2 schools ang aatenan niya... pero less na sa SPED.

these are some problems i am facing right now... but i know i can cope with it in some way.

i will be talking to his teacher on my day-off and we'll start from there. kasama rin kasi ang teacher niya sa pagpa-plan ng intervention for him.

for now, ninanamnam ko ang happiness. ayoko munang isipin ang mga kontra. hahahaha.

As i've said before, in terms of Dale's condition, God gives me happiness in small servings... but now, God gave me more than I could swallow.

my little Rain Man Please join me in thanking God for this big miracle.

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Autism is a developmental disability that affects a person's ability to communicate, understand language, play, and interact with others. Autism is a behavioral syndrome, which means that its definition is based on patterns of behaviors that a person exhibits. Autism is not an illness or a disease. It is not contagious and, as far as we know, it is not acquired through contact with the environment.

Autism is a neurological disability that is presumed to be present from birth and is always apparent before the age of three. Although autism affects the functioning of the brain, the specific cause of autism is unknown. In fact, it is widely assumed that there are most likely multiple causes, each of which may be manifested in different forms, or subtypes, of autism.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is an increasingly popular term that refers to a broad definition of autism including the classical form of the disorder as well as closely related disabilities that share many of the core characteristics. ASD includes the following diagnoses and classifications:

(1) Pervasive Developmental Disorder—Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS), which refers to a collection of features that resemble autism but may not be as severe or extensive;

(2) Rett's syndrome, which affects girls and is a genetic disorder with hard neurological signs, including seizures, that become more apparent with age;

(3) Asperger syndrome, which refers to individuals with autistic characteristics but relatively intact language abilities, and;

(4) Childhood Disintegrative Disorder, which refers to children whose development appears normal for the first few years, but then regresses with the loss of speech and other skills until the characteristics of autism are conspicuous. Although the classical form of autism can be readily distinguished from other forms of ASD, the terms autism and ASD are often used interchangeably.

Asperger's Disorder is the term for a specific type of pervasive developmental disorder which is characterized by problems in development of social skills and behavior. In the past, many children with Asperger's Disorder were diagnosed as having autism, another of the pervasive developmental disorders, or other disorders. While autism and Asperger's have certain similarities, there are also important differences. For this reason, children suspected of having these conditions require careful evaluation.

In general, a child with Asperger's Disorder functions at a higher level than the typical child with autism. For example, many children with Asperger's Disorder have normal intelligence. While most children with autism fail to develop language or have language delays, children with Asperger's Disorder are usually using words by the age of two, although their speech patterns may be somewhat odd.

Most children with Asperger's Disorder have difficulty interacting with their peers. They tend to be loners and may display eccentric behaviors. A child with Asperger's, for example, may spend hours each day preoccupied with counting cars passing on the street or watching only the weather channel on television. Coordination difficulties are also common with this disorder. These children often have special educational needs.

Although the cause of Asperger's Disorder is not yet known, current research suggests that a tendency toward the condition may run in families. Children with Asperger's Disorder are also at risk for other psychiatric problems including depression, attention deficit disorder, schizophrenia, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

The outcome for children with Asperger's Disorder is generally more promising than for those with autism. Due to their higher level of intellectual functioning, many of these children successfully finish high school and attend college. Although problems with social interaction and awareness persist, they can also develop lasting relationships with family and friends.

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