Friday, January 20, 2012

Change...for Better or Worse?


There has been much talk lately about the upcoming changes in the autism diagnosis.  Opinions range from acceptance to blatant hatred of the new measures.  It is a difficult topic for me to consider.  I can't help thinking how different I would be today if I had not received the help I did at age twelve that altered my life.

My specific autism diagnosis is pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified, which is one of the autism diagnosis specifications that will be eliminated once the new measures are introduced.  Concerning this legislation, I see two areas of implication: the medical implications, and the social implications.  Grouping the autism diagnosis into one category does add convenience and understanding to doctors and parents, but as an individual on the mild end of the autism spectrum, had I gone on with my life without the diagnosis and without the change in medications, I would still be struggling now as I was when I was twelve.  I would not be able to relate such insights through writing as I do now because I would still be in the same mindset I was at age eleven.

This would only be the case if my autism had continued to go unrecognized.  I have to say that those with PDD-NOS have more to be worried about than those with Aspergers Syndrome because the PDD-NOS diagnosis is such a subtle condition that no two doctors will give the same results.  I am a successful person now because of the intervention I received more than ten years ago.  It pains me to think that had I been born twenty years later, I would face the prospect of never receiving the intervention that I did and thereby never fully recognizing my potential, as I am today.

People tell me all the time that I do not seem like I have autism, and there are times when I would agree with them.  However, they do not know of all the effort that my parents and I went through to get where I am today.  It didn't just happen, it was hard work.  To think that children today who are like I was when I was younger face the prospect of never receiving intervention, to live their lives without fully recognizing their potential...it is frightening to me.  It really is.

There are many different viewpoints concerning this issue and I have just presented mine.  I am interested to know whether my readers agree with what I have to say.  Feel free to leave any feedback you might have as comments following this blog post or on my Facebook page.

1 comment:

  1. The reason I wasn't diagnosed until age twelve is because I was misdiagnosed with something I didn't have when I was very young. I had to live with that throughout my childhood. Some of the medications I was placed on had adverse affects on my behavior. I am less worried about myself than I am worried about others like me who may never receive the help they need under these new requirements. And this is the same help that literally turned my life around. I might be stable now but that is only because of the intervention that may be denied to many if what I saw on the evening news was correct: that instead of displaying a few representative behaviors of autism, and individual has to display all listed autistic behaviors. Those excluded will be at the same disadvantage I faced as a child.

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