Wednesday, July 8, 2009

"Obsessive" Stacking and Autism?

Today, I was reading an article online: "New Study Finds Differences in Way Autistic Children Learn." ( ) It was an interesting article, which I enjoyed reading. My primary problem with the article was the caption to the photo of an adorable little boy making a stack of tin cans that he'd gotten from his kitchen.

Here is what the caption said: "A young autistic boy by the name of Quinn is shown here obsessively stacking cans." I don't know about you, but when I was young, we called that building a tower! I guess we'd better haul all of the kids in preschool that build with blocks to have them evaluated for autism!

I'm being sarcastic here, but it seems to me that we have two problems relating to children with special needs represented here:

1. We tend to label (as something bad) many things that autistic kids do. Special talents are not recognized as such, they're called "splinter skills." A joyful motion of repeated throwing leaves in the air is called "stimming." Let's not forget that autistic kids are still kids, and all kids do weird stuff! And, that's okay.

2. I think that we, as an American society at least, are making every negative or unusual behavior a clinical diagnosis. As I said above, all kids do weird things. All kids act out to test their limits sometimes. What all kids really need is consistency, kind discipline, responsible parenting, and plenty of structure. We don't need a pill or diagnosis to fix our problems!

This is not to say that there are some legitimate medical behavior issues, because there certainly are. I just think that we're going overboard with labeling.

Have a blessed day,


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Hand Flapping - Another Great Use!

A few days ago, I noticed my toddler son flapping his hands. I thought, "Oh my goodness, that's a sign of Autism for sure!" Upon closer inspection, I noticed that there was a fly flying near him. I remembered that we had attended a 4th of July picnic, and I had been "shooing" some flies away by, of course, "flapping" my hands!

Now, when I say, "Shoo fly," my son will flap his hands, and he thinks it is really funny. See, another great use for hand flapping!

Have a beautiful day of making the world a beautiful place,