Monday, October 6, 2014

The "Spectrum"

Before I entered the special needs "world," about eight years ago, I had never met anyone with Autism. While I certainly don't proclaim to be an expert, I definitely know a lot more now than I did when Dominic was first diagnosed. Autism Speaks ( has an amazing website and if your child is newly diagnosed, please take the time to look at all the resources they have. Even if your child doesn't have Autism, chances are, you probably know of or know a family who does have a child with Autism.  Here is a great definition of Autism from the Autism Speaks website:
 "Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and autism are both general terms for a group of complex disorders of brain development. These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors. With the May 2013 publication of the DSM-5 diagnostic manual, all autism disorders were merged into one umbrella diagnosis of ASD. Previously, they were recognized as distinct subtypes, including autistic disorder, childhood disintegrative disorder, pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS) and Asperger syndrome. ASD can be associated with intellectual disability, difficulties in motor coordination and attention and physical health issues such as sleep and gastrointestinal disturbances. Some persons with ASD excel in visual skills, music, math and art. Each individual with autism is unique. Many of those on the autism spectrum have exceptional abilities in visual skills, music and academic skills. About 40 percent have average to above average intellectual abilities. Indeed, many persons on the spectrum take deserved pride in their distinctive abilities and “atypical” ways of viewing the world. Others with autism have significant disability and are unable to live independently. About 25 percent of individuals with ASD are nonverbal but can learn to communicate using other means."

I have had more than one person ask me "so, where does Dominic fall on the "Spectrum?" Since the word "spectrum" means a way of classifying something between two opposite ends, my response back is usually, "mild to moderate."  I would much rather someone ask me where he falls on the "Spectrum," versus not ask me the question at all :)  Every day with Dominic is definitely not the same, just the way it is if your child is typically developing. My hope is that through my blog posts, it gives you a deeper understanding and possibly a different perspective of what it is like raising a child on the "Spectrum." 


  1. A lot of autistic people identify Autism Speaks as a hate group. As a fairly high-functioning person, I feel like I am a bridge.

  2. As a person with a very mild ASD, I sometimes feel like people downplay it. A judgmental person might tell me something like "There's no way you're autistic" or "You just need to try harder."


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