Autism

Florida's Voice

All children have different personalities and needs, and children living with autism are no exception.  Autism usually shows itself during the first three years of life, when family members may notice a limited or complete lack of verbal communication, little or no eye contact, and behavior that “is just a bit different” from that of other children the same age.

Families who have a child (young or adult age) with autism may find themselves frustrated by the child’s lack of communicative and social skills and may wonder why their child is unresponsive to ordinary stimuli and disinterested in bonding with other family members.

Medical experts agree that identifying autism early and beginning cognitive therapy is critical to the developmental success of the autistic person as they age.  Since there is a broad spectrum in the degree of autism, early intervention techniques are critical as they reduce the need for intensive supports in the future.  Children with early intervention may have significant progress in verbal communication skills by the time they reach kindergarten age.

Some adults with high-functioning autism or Aspergers syndrome are able to work successfully in mainstream jobs.  Nevertheless, communication and social problems often cause difficulties in many areas of life.  They will continue to need encouragement and moral support in their struggle to maintain an independent life.

There is hope; there are those who listen and understand; and there are choices for those affected by disabilities.  FVDD can help by offering the research, resources, and support so that families and individuals can make informed choices. We advocate for dignity and choice for persons with developmental disabilities. You are not alone. Contact Us for information or guidance.

“As any parent will say, each child is unique in his or her own way.”

Deena’s Story

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    When Deena’s son, Jake, was turning two, he began to exhibit personality traits that were increasingly troublesome to his mother.

    “He became more and more remote, just very silent, and content to just sit there and stare. Jake was such a beautiful baby, big brown eyes, lush eyelashes, those cute puffy cheeks that I would just want to kiss and kiss,” Deena recalls. “But there was something different in his eyes . . . he would sometimes look towards me as if he were looking past me, and it would make me so sad. He looked vacant, as though I  just any other person, a stranger.”

    Deena struggled to make sense of this. Being a first-time mom, she wondered if this were really all that motherhood would offer. What about the mother-child bond everyone told her was so gratifying? Deena grew more frustrated and wondered if she were lacking the motherly bond. Jake grew more distant, and she blamed herself for not being “equipped with the mommy gene.”