News and Notes from The Johnson Center

Science Doesn’t Have to Be Scary

A. Ryland | Mon, May 21, 2012 | [Community][Research][Webinars]

The Corkboard of Questions! And Science!

The day the doctor told me my son would never talk, never have friends, never have a “normal” life, was the day that I started learning how to ask questions. Mary Astor once said that once you start asking questions, innocence is gone. Answers lead to more questions and the path forward is never easy or clear.

Once autism enters your life, the only guarantee is that there are more questions than answers. Anyone who tells you they have all the answers is lying or deluded. An autism diagnosis presents a complicated, confusing path to a parent…our quest to love and support our children while providing what is needed to live the life they desire is no small feat.

As parents, we face many challenging questions. Which interventions do we seek out for our child? Which treatments should we invest in, and which services should we seek from our local school districts and providers? Which interests and behaviors should we indulge, and which should we redirect? Whom do we trust?

After living in this community for eleven years, the only thing I know for certain is that we as parents have to ask questions and become savvy consumers to best serve our children. As the number of children diagnosed with ASD grows, so does the number of people looking to profit off of this population. This isn’t to say every professional in this community is a profiteer (quite the contrary – many I have met are genuinely committed to serving kids and adults with ASD). But given the lack of concrete answers, many schools of thought and many enterprises have popped up seeking to address the needs and absorb the resources of this community. And it is up to us as parents to be smart and savvy consumers; we must know how to ask questions and research information to best advocate for and support our children.

I have had the opportunity to work with several clinicians, researchers, and parents to prepare a presentation on how to think critically about intervention, how to find and understand research, and how to make sense of the mixed messages we often receive from different sources. We presented this information earlier this year and received great feedback and requests to repeat it, so join us on Thursday, May 24, at 12 pm CST for a webinar presentation to learn more about navigating through the options that may be available to your child.

To register for the webinar, Science Doesn’t Have to Be Scary, click here. To learn more about webinars and how they work click here.