Wednesday, February 14, 2007
This picture comes from one of my favorite scrapbookers sites. I get Creating Keepsakes magazine and Ali Edwards is one of the writers for the magazine. Her son, unknown to me until recently, was diagnosed with autism.
Autism has gotten a lot of press lately, but for me it has been a special passion since graduate school.
When contemplating what I wanted to do after getting my B.S. in psychology, I wanted to go into clinical child psychology, always saying I never wanted to work with kids with autism or anything that severe. Luckily for me, I fell into a program for counseling psychology at the University of Houston. Why, luckily? Because I had one of the best experiences in my life working at Texas Children's Hospital's Learning Support Center. There, I helped to do group behavioral interventions and evaluations for children with many diagnoses, but primarily PDD (Pervasive Developmental Disorder) better known as the lower end of the autism spectrum. I loved these kids. They were each different and had different abilities and personalities. But what I loved most was seeing them make real progress. They could learn to speak, use sign language, communicate and socialize, if only we worked with them intensively and playfully.
We followed a wonderful model by Stanley Greenspan, and for anyone who has children, not just autistic children, I highly recommend his book The Child With Special Needs. I hope that in the future I can make a lasting contribution to helping families and children diagnosed with autism. Until then, I hope that you will consider helping Ali in her effort to raise money for Autism Speaks.