Living With Autism

Imagine getting the news that your son or daughter has been diagnosed with a condition where there is no known cause or cure? That is the reality for parents everyday who find out their child has autism, launching an exhaustive and frustrating search for answers, while at the same time, seeking help and treatment.

Ten-year-old Isaac Soderstrom of Greenville has an amazing memory. His mother Amy says he can recite an entire movie after watching it only a couple of times. Isaac's incredible ability, known as echolalia, is actually a coping mechanism of his...a discovery his parents made after he and his twin brother Samuel were diagnosed with autism. Amy says, "We had gone into a regular pediatricians visit for an ear infection and the p.a. we saw that day noticed they weren't speaking much and they were two years old. So she referred us to a speech therapist and I thought a whole twin speak thing was going on. The autism thing really floored us. We weren't expecting it."

While the news came as a surprise for Amy and her husband Ken, It's something more and more parents are hearing. Autism is the fastest growing developmental disability, a diagnosis made in one out of every 110 kids, leaving most parents asking the same question as the Soderstrom's: "What happened to make autism happen to us."

Dr.Susan Foreman, a developmental behavioral pediatrician at Eastern Psychiatric in Greenville specializes in treating kids with autism. She says that quest for answers can be a frustrating one filled with false hope. Recently, a 13-year-old study linking a childhood vaccine to autism was determined to be a fraud. Dr. Foreman says, "Frankly, very few people were surprised when the article was refuted."

But for parents looking for answers, it was yet one more theory thrown out the window. That's why Dr. Foreman tries to get parents to focus on treatment, not cause. "Because with autism it's crucial we have early intense treatment and if you spend too much time asking why then you're not going to be spending the energy you need saying O.K. now let's do something about it."

And taking action is exactly what the Soderstrom's are focused on. Not only do they concentrate on reading, letters and numbers, they converted their basement into an occupational therapy room. Amy says, "What's important is the two kids who live with me and that they're happy and developing. I'd much rather at this point focus my energy on what I can do for them versus why it all happened."

Amy says she has seen some progress in both of her boys. Dr. Foreman says that is ultimately the goal, to continue to see improvement. She says she has had some patients who have made such strides with years of treatment that they would no longer meet the criteria for autism.

To learn more about the symptoms and treatments of autism just click on link below to the Autism Society of North Carolina.


You must be logged in to post comments.

Username:
Password (case sensitive):
Remember Me:

Read Comments

Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Autimom on Feb 24, 2011 at 09:50 AM
    In reply to "Back"... No Autism has not always been this prevalent. It was once a rare disorder, in the 1980s Autism struck 1 child in 10,000. Now estimates are as high as 1 in 100.
  • by sorry on Feb 24, 2011 at 06:39 AM
    If your child is not "normal", "average", or "perfect", you will not get anything extra from Pitt County Schools. They will lead you to believe you are, but don't fall for that. I'm not blaming the teachers, but the administration and people like the principals that cut things like special ed. Our principal KNEW we had more children in need than EVER and actually LOWERED the number of special ed teachers at our school. Somehow she should have fought to keep the positions. I have NEVER seen a school system as bad as Pitt County and it looks like there are some other surrounding counties with the same issues, which I'm also very sorry to hear about. We chose to Homeschool 2 years ago and we've had nothing but a WONDERFUL experience. The growth and confidence that has been built is SOOOOOOOOOOO worth it. Good luck to everyone that has a PERFECT child like mine. I wouldn't take him any other way!
  • by Endurance Swimmer Location: Greenville on Feb 22, 2011 at 11:05 PM
    I'm female and well over 40, but didn't find out that I had a slight autism spectrum until I was about 30. I also have OCD/ADHD that counteracts with the autism too. I like routines, sameness/structure, etc...
  • by Rae Location: Grifton, NC on Feb 22, 2011 at 09:02 PM
    Totally agree that Pitt Co. needs a specialized school for our autistic children to learn at their own level. They are sometimes put in regular classrooms where the teacher is not trained to deal with them and they are expected to learn in a typical way that is sometimes impossible for them all in the name of "inclusion". If you want to include the autistic child with regular students, then include enough help for them to be successful in that classroom.
  • by meerkat Location: blounts creek on Feb 22, 2011 at 06:47 PM
    I have a 15 yrs old son who was diagnose with Asperger and its really fustrating that here in Beaufort, and Craven County there are no group activities in his age group for him to attend. If there is one you would have to drive an hour or two just to get to one!It breaks my heart to see him having to play by himself cause he doesn't have anyone, but his brother. He is really great at building and drawing things but he have his limits, and that is what setting him back. Schools should have resource to these kind of situations, but they don't. Teachers should be well inform about Autism as well as other special needs children. My son told me he wanted to join Science Oylimpiad, but he said he couldn't cause he doesn't make good grade to join. For those with Asperger kids you know where I'm getting at. But because he have Aspergers and have difficult in obtaing good grade he can't join. Now, tell me does that give anyone with or without being autistic good self esteem?
  • by Patricia Location: Greenville on Feb 22, 2011 at 05:52 PM
    We knew at an early age that there was something different with our son. He failed to reach benchmarks like others his age. He had multiple diagnoses. He was 6 yrs old before Asperger's (aka High Functioning Autism) was detected. Asperger's children have inherent social & other problems. Our public school system has neither the financial resources, nor properly trained human resources, to fulfill the government's mandate for an equal & appropriate education for children with Special Needs. As the parent of a child with Asperger's it is your responsibility to be an educated advocate for your child. Some of the things I would advise include: 1)read the Wright's Law book re IDEA (504's and IEP's); 2)read the PCS Parent Handbook; 3)watch documentaries and movies on Autism; 4)immediately begin to organize your child's papers as suggested in Wright's book; 5)be patient with your child; 6)contact the Greenville TEACCH center; 7)work closely with your child's doctor; 7)NEVER, NEVER GIVE UP.
  • by FATHEROF1UNIQUE Location: GREENVILLE on Feb 22, 2011 at 05:37 PM
    THEY ARE SPECULATING MY SON TO HAVE AUTISM.I HAVE READ A WHOLE LOT ABOUT AUTISM AND THERE IS A WAY TO REVERSE IT IF IT IS CAUGHT SOON ENOUGH.PEOPLE ARE LABELED WITH AUTISM AND MOST DOCTORS DON'T EVER TRY TO FIND OUT WHAT CAUSES THIS,THEY JUST TREAT A LABEL INSTEAD OF FINDING OUT THE UNDERLYING REASON FOR THE ISSUE AND TREAT THAT.A LOT OF THE ISSUES COMES FROM DIGESTION WHICH CARRIES OVER INTO THE NEUROLOGICAL SYSTEM. IF YOU FIND OUT WHAT ISN'T BEING DIGESTED AND WHAT THE CHILD IS LACKING AS FAR AS VITAMINS GO THEN YOU CAN SUPPLEMENT FOR THESE AREAS.i BELIEVE THERE IS A FULL REVERSAL POSSIBLE AND PEOPLE NEED TO EDUCATE THEMSELVES ON THIS DISORDER AND DON'T JUST LISTEN TO THE DOCTOR AND LET THAT BE FINAL FOR YOU .STAND UP FOR YOUR CHILD AND FIGHT FOR ANSWERS,THEY ARE ALL WE HAVE FIGHTING FOR THEM.IT WONT BE AN EASY TASK BELIEVE ME.
  • by FatherofAutisticChild Location: Formerly Winterville on Feb 22, 2011 at 05:12 PM
    I have to tell you that I have lived all over the US and NEVER has my daughter had a more caring or capable teacher than when I lived in Pitt County. Thank you Mrs. Zavala!
  • by momof3 Location: Vanceboro on Feb 22, 2011 at 05:02 PM
    My youngest son was diagnosed with autism at age 3. He attends Craven county schools, and has progressed such a tremendous amount. He was able to start talking with speech therapy. He loves math and computers, and is able to read and write. He may never go to college and have a great career, but I am so proud of all that he has accomplished. I give alot of credit to the teachers, who take extra classes to be able to teach autistic kids, and have the patience to deal with their different personalities. Craven county schools do offer "special ed" classes, and I am forever grateful that they do, since I would have no idea where my son would be without them.
  • by parentofautism Location: gville on Feb 22, 2011 at 04:22 PM
    Unfortunately in greenville your given information pointed in the direction of a few agencies and told "good luck".I am particularly speaking about the schools have you noticed the no specialized schools for children with Autism in Pitt Co? Raliegh and bigger cities have them and when parents can't move we are stuck with what we have.My son has autism but to get educated at the public education level he has been placed with "other defined" so he has failed to progress in the school system.Teachers have not been trained to deal with autism or behaviors of autistic children.they like them to be medicated and sit quietly in the classroom and push them along so other kids can make fun of them or stare at them.Grow up pitt county and make a school that specializes in autism I mean you focus so much on white and black you could at least focus on something that really matters.Instead what you will get in ten years is an influx of autistic adults in Pitt county with very little living skills.
  • Page:
WITN

275 E. Arlington Blvd. Greenville, NC 27858 252-439-7777
Copyright © 2002-2016 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 116658954 - witn.com/a?a=116658954
Gray Television, Inc.