Archive for July 24th, 2008

Mike Savage Lives up to His Name

There is a fury going on about Mike Savage, the radio talk-show host who has cast his very negative and demeaning opinions about children with autism out over the airwaves. 

Savage made some ignorant and hurtful comments that have parents, family, friends, advocates and supporters of individuals – especially children – with autism in an uproar.  For starters, he called autism a “hoax” and said that children with autism were simply “brats”.  He added that bad parenting is to blame for a “fraudulent” epidemic of autism.

Besides being insensitive and insulting, these comments could not be further from the truth.  In reality, autism, affects 1 in every 150 children to one degree or another.  It can be very painful both physically and emotionally and can take a huge toll in many ways upon the family of a child with autism.

Savage’s comments have drawn outrage from families dealing with autism and from the National Autism Association (NAA).  They – and families with children who have autism throughout the country – are demanding a retraction of Savage’s statements, a public apology and a show to be aired explaining the truth about autism.  There is a demand that experts be involved with the show regarding autism, both in an advisory capacity and as guests.

It is unfortunate that at a time when society is being called upon to be more tolerant and to learn more about all disabilities – including autism – an individual, such as Mike Savage has the means to help educate and enlighten people, but instead has used those very airwaves to create hurt, misinformation and disrespect. 

Ignorance of a subject is one thing, especially if an individual takes the time to learn about the subject.  However, using one’s position to hurt others is uncalled for and unkind. 

Mike Savage has the opportunity to use some humility, swallow his pride and do the right thing.  Time will tell if this will happen.  The nation is watching.

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How do Doctors Identify Autism?

There is a lot of talk going around lately about what autism is, what it isn’t and whether it exists at all.  We’ve gone through this for years, many times before, involving other unexplained medical ailments.  We still do.  Whether it’s fibromyalgia, PMS or any other ailment that sounds like a catchall or an excuse, there are still those ailments that we are dealing with, we keep hearing about what is, what isn’t and what might not be at all.

Autism, along with these illnesses, is very much a real disorder that researchers and physicians have learned much more about in recent years.  It has become much easier for doctors to diagnose autism and to treat it. 

Doctors identify autism by studying the child and the symptoms over a period of time, based on findings regarding initial symptoms.  Researchers are trying to find new treatments and improve current treatments for children with autism.  There is more information being discovered regarding genetics and some encouraging newer information regarding various therapies that are helping children with autism on a long-term basis. 

In fact, there are various therapies that have been helping children with autism show improvement in many areas from language skills, interacting with others and learning, in general.  Researchers, educators, physicians, and others are working feverishly to deal with the symptoms that doctors are finding and find ways to diminish them, making life easier and more productive for children with autism and their families.

Basic autism symptoms have not changed over time, but the way doctors diagnose and treat them – including the genetics of the disease – has been changing.  There is more information being discovered all the time.  With continued research there is increased hope that this disease will be understood much better, helping individuals with autism to live more normal and much richer lives.

Add comment July 24th, 2008


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