Raising autism awareness

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MASON CITY, Iowa – A new study shows when a family has one child with autism, it’s more likely their other children will be diagnosed as well.

All the more reason for autism support groups to form and now there’s one in Mason City

For Lacey Carpenter it’s enjoyable to see her three year old playing in the water at the pool in YMCA, just like anyone else.

But she’s not here just for the play time.

She’s taking part in a support group for parents dealing with autism in their family.

“Life for me has been very challenging since our diagnosis, we have faced a lot of struggles and definitely have fought our way through that,” said Carpenter.

Carpenter is a mother of three.

Her youngest was diagnosed with autism at about a year old.

And when she hears about studies like the one done by the a University from Denmark, saying autism may be caused in part by genetics as well as environmental factors, it’s hard to hear.

“Everyone is looking for an easy way to point the finger in what it could be and I think for me and for our group specifically we are trying to look past that,” said Carpenter.

But Dr. Mark Peltan, Director of Behavioral Services with MercyMedicalCenter, says what the study is saying has some truth to it.

“It’s pretty well known that there is some genetic component to autism. The study also indicates that the prevalence rate may be a bit lower than some of the information we’ve heard recently,” said Peltan.

Dr. Peltan says while this may be the case, no matter what getting help right away when your child is diagnosed can be life changing.

“First of all early intervention is key.  The sooner we intervene even with infants the better the outcome will be and the more likely that the child will function at a higher level over the course of their life,” said Peltan.

And for Carpenter, being a part of a support group like this is making an autism diagnosis easier to handle day by day.

“This group has been a tremendous help for me because I do not feel like autism is taking control.  I feel like I am the one in control and that’s big, that’s very big,” said Carpenter.

Special Kids Special Love was created last July.

Carpenter says the group is working very hard to get the word out about autism, and showing people all the different resources that are available.

For more information on the group visit https://www.facebook.com/SpecialKidsSpecialLove#!/SKSL.AutismAwareness

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