April 10, 2014

Nursing Poems from a Nurse Working with a Severely-Autistic Patient

                  Poems from a Nurse Who Works With a                                          

                       Severely-Autistic patient


    My friend

My Severely-Autistic Patient: "To hear you laugh makes me smile. To see you walk, makes me proud. To help you learn, makes me stronger. To feel your touch makes my heart grow. For you help make me a better person. You, who says so little, yet says so much. It's not the words that I hear daily. But the actions that show me the way. To live for me, without worry of what others think. That is what you have showed me. That is why I am a better me: for knowing you." 

"As I sit and watch you sleep, my mind is full of questions. Who are you? What do you like? Why are you this way? Yet you answer these questions everyday. You are who you are. You like the outdoors and music, you love bath time. And cuddling with me while looking at pictures. You are who you are. And you are here to show love.  And, be loved. In your own unique way."

You Make my heart grow. Whether you know it or not. My love grows larger each time you laugh. You show me what it is to be strong. People may not understand you, but you just keep living. 

Watching him sleep, I sometimes wonder what he dreams about. Does he dream of having of voice? Being able to tell people about himself, what he likes and such. Then I realize I am one of his voices..........

To help him  share and show who he is. Does he dream of what he wants to ? Does he dream of being an astronaut? Painter? Singer? Or even the President? Hes' all of these things. And more: He enjoys using crayons. He sometimes claps his hands and hums along with the radio. He is my mentor, showing me what he wants. In my time with him, I believe he has taught me. More, than I've taught him. How to not judge. To love unconditionally, to never give up, I am a different person because of you Jamey..and for that I am eternally grateful. 

Sometimes I get frustrated with you. Why? It's not that you really know better. Or maybe you do, and this is my test? I mean, with every slap and punch to yourself, you're trying to give me a hint as to what you want. So, why can't I figure out your hints? This is how you communicate. Sometimes when I try to help, and it seems nothing works, then I just sit next to you, and you lay your head on my shoulder. I wonder....could that really be all you wanted? Or did you just wear yourself out? It seems to me, the more I try to understand you, the closer I get to understanding you, the answer seems far away. I guess, it will move in this cycle. But know this, my friend,...that I, as a nurse... I will never give up on you. 

San Diego Nurse working with Severely-Autistic Patient

March 29, 2014

Autism Rates in US, not 1 in 68

Award Winning Non-Fiction Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory CNN, Washington Post and other major media news outlets are reporting that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has "estimated one in 68 US children has an autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

" And that the "number of U.S. children with autism has surged," according to the CDC. 

This is so not true. 

Go read CDC's recently released report: "Prevalence of Autism Spectrum disorder Among Children 8 years old--Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network, 11 sites, United States, 2010."

Yes, you read it correctly, it was a study based on 8 year old children in a few different states. 

CDC does not state in their press release that it's 1 in 68 US children, but rather the mainstream press states it's 1 in 68 US Children. 

CDC clearly says, "1 in 68 children in multiple communities in the United States has been identified with autism spectrum disorder." Specifically, if you read the report, it's 11 states sampled. 

Furthermore, CDC's press release says that the 2010 autism study recently released, is based on... 

..."information collected from the health and special education records of children who were 8-years old and lived in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Maryland, New Jersey, Missouri, North Carolina, Utah and Wisconsin." CDC admits they were not able to verify the birth certificates of some of the children who were included in this "surveillance system" type research. Surveillance meaning the children's special education and health records were read. At least we hope they were...It's not like anyone was there video taping the research project. 

CDC also admits in the study, "Some educational and health records were MISSING for certain children, including records that could not be LOCATED for review." That's always helpful. CDC also states that they chose some children to review, based off an autism diagnosis as per a generic "billing code" used at some healthcare sites, though the code wasn't specifically for autism. Equally helpful to gain a better understanding of autism rates in the USA. 

 (See CDC website, "10 Things to Know About New Autism Data)

Read the actual report on the CDC site. It says researchers looked at 5,300 EIGHT-year old children's health records, across 11 states of the U.S.A. One age group. A small number. In 11 states. 

Not one 8 year old was directly observed. Not one parent was interviewed. All the CDC research did was review health and special education reports of 5,300, 8-year old children, in 11 different states.

Interestingly, back in 2012, CDC released a similar autism study, that created media buzz, and parental panic, claiming that 1 in 88 children in the U.S. were autistic. Yes, back in 2012, CDC actually said "in the U.S." on their website, much to the chagrin of some researchers who knew this was not an accurate statement, since the CDC didn't do a true epidemiological study.

One neuroscience researcher even called into question the study,

"It's not a representative sampling of the United States. If you don't use a representative population, then your findings don't generalize to the whole population," said Mike Milham, a neuroscience researcher at the Child Mind Institute in New York. 

So don't panic. Autism rates aren't on the rise. No doubt, better statistical analysis of autism is needed. What is on the rise is an epidemic of children who aren't truly autistic being slapped with the autism diagnosis, or squeaking into autism programs with another diagnosis, so they can secure services. 

According to a July, 2011 news report, 

"Some parents and doctors are colluding to deliberately misdiagnose school children as autistic so they can get help for other problems, a medical professional claims. Clinical psychologist and manager of diagnostic assessment services at Autism Spectrum Australia, Vicki Gibbs, said there were various reasons for the surge in the number of children diagnosed with autism. 'The most obvious is that people are more aware of it than before and people are also more aware of the more subtle forms of autism. Another reason is autism now attracts more funding, especially in the early intervention years. Ms Gibbs said there was a small group of people happy to have their children diagnosed with autism because giving them a label was the only way they could get help." 

 In reading this news report, I found it hard to believe doctors would "collude" to deliberately misdiagnose a child with autism. Some doctors don't know what autism is, so they misdiagnose the child after a pushy parent pushes the diagnosis to get services. 
This goes on a lot more than you'd care to believe, all across the USA. It's not fair to autistic children who are truly autistic. And it's sad that if your child isn't really autistic, you would have to resort to pretending they are autistic to get help. Surely, there should be support for all special needs children, teens and adults who need services and supports. 

Title of the last CDC report that claimed 1 in 88 children had autism is:

"Prevalence of autism spectrum disorders--Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network"