08 December, 2006

Autie-dar (Kind of Like Radar)

One of the funniest phenomenons my wife and I have experienced since we were introduced to Autism is the acute awareness that I like to call autie-dar. If you’re reading this blog, you most likely have already experienced autie-dar yourselves; you just didn’t use my clever name for it. So, I hereby give you, my loyal readers, expressed permission to use the term autie-dar to describe the phenomenon.

Oh, what is autie-dar? Well, it is kind of like radar! (I know you already got that from the title.) More specifically, it is the ability that parents of a child on the spectrum develop which allows them to identify an Autistic child out of a busy crowd. I attribute this phenomenon to the fact that many signs of Autism, once you know what they are, tend to stand out. I can’t even begin to count the number of times that I have caught glimpse of a child doing a little hand flapping or looking at things from different angles. While these actions, on their own, are not definitive indicators of Autism, they are great clues, which can be put together with observations of how the child is reacting to the stimulus around them or interacting with their environment, that act as prime signs of someone on the spectrum.

Of course, nothing about autie-dar can replace a diagnosis by a qualified professional. It is important to remember this when you do see someone who shows the signs of Autism. Another thing to keep in mind is that some parents may be in denial or may even be hostile towards people suggesting that their child is on the spectrum. So, if your autie-dar goes off, smile to yourself or your spouse, even lend an understanding hand if the situation allows it, but please keep your discovery to yourself.


Anonymous mcewen said...

Indeed. I find that once I spot it, I then feel very uncomfortable - to say something or not? To a total stranger - get out of here!
But then once my boys were officially diagnosed, oh how so many people said a variation upon ' well I did think...but I didn't like to say...' In there defense I should point out that I would have vehemently defended my child. [translation = denial?]
BEst wishes

08 December, 2006 10:49  
Anonymous Sandrissimo said...

Brain, you are so right on this!

My husband and I often look at each other in understanding, when we see some one acting in this specific way.

I've hardly ever had the courage to say someting about it to that person, or to these parents. Only if I feel that they are noticing it themselves, I mention it very carefully.

In such a case you often see a reaction of relief. They have thought about it too, but you are the first person that acknowlegdes their feeling and doesn't tell them they are seeing ghosts...

By the way, the name you gave it is cool!


09 December, 2006 08:04  

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