What can the people (audience) do to address the issue of autism? What resources can they seek out?
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There is a great deal of information on the Internet on autism, and most cities have at least one organization devoted to education, fund-raising, and support. One issue in this area is that most resources are devoted to treatment and support, and there is not enough research into causes and possible cures. There has been a great deal of "voodoo" science, for example, the now discredited research on vaccines, that has led many people into thinking a cause has been found, and which also has led people into not vaccinating their children. These are both areas in which the public needs to be better informed. Additionally, an audience can better address the issue of autism if it is made clear it is a disease or condition, not simply some sort of behavior problem and how terribly prevalent it is. Acceptance of those among us who have a disease or condition is crucial to dealing with the issue, as is the understanding that it is far more common than most people would like to believe, something that could and does happen in any family.
I wouldn't call it controversial, not anymore. It is a condition that encompasses a very broad spectrum, and includes kids who function at a very high level, and some who struggle to function at all in regular settings. As with so many things in life, communication is key. I have personally interacted with the parents of many kids who fell at the outer edges of the spectrum, and I learned much from them about how to best serve their kids. They were very valuable discussions, and I don't think I would have been anywhere near as effective in dealing with the kids if I hadn't had them.
Is your intention to instruct the audience of your speech or paper to "do something" about autism? Are you looking for a "call to action?" If so, I would suggest that the audience should be encouraged to learn as much as they can about the disorder and to improve they way to react to children and parents who are struggling with austistic children. It is pretty easy to shy away from children who behavior differently or oddly at the park, but the parents of those children are human beings who deserve compassion and friendship, not judgement.
I think that realising autism is a condition which affects a person who is still a living human being is really important. I have had the privilege to work with several autistic children and adults whose unique perspectives on life were fascinating. One young lady knew everything about the white tiger, another was able to memorise the timetables of all of the teachers. We should all tryto cope in their worlds for a few minutes, it helps understand what a nightmare they can have in ours.
There are a great deal resources for autism. I think the main thing is to be educated and informed. For the parent or care giver of an autistic child, one of the most important things is early intervention. Each county will have different resources available. In my area, for instance, there is an early intervention program through the county school system. Social workers and nurses are also assigned to special needs to children to help provide support to the families. Parents/care givers can also seek out private therapy and assistance.
Autism is an area of much controversy. It is also a highly charged emotional issue. Part of the problem is that we still do not understand how Autism works, what causes it, and how it can be treated and if it can be cured. It is terribly hard for parents, family members, and siblings. I think the most heartbreaking part is that children are often perfectly normal until one day they aren't, with no explanation.
You make some good points.
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