Next month (April) is autism awareness month. I’m aware of autism every month of every year. My youngest brother, Scott, is autistic. His form of autism is what is now referred to as classic autism. Over the years the diagnostic criteria for autism has expanded pretty widely to create what is now known as the autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
ASD incorporates several pervasive developmental disorders, each varies in levels of severity as far as communication and social impairments. The most recent statistic is that 1 in 50 children are now diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum. In my opinion this is the result of diagnostics and not an increase in instances of autistic disorder, but I’m no doctor, so what do I know? The point is, more and more children are being diagnosed as autistic, which means more and more family members are being exposed to secondhand autism.
Secondhand autism is the phrase I came up with a few years ago to describe the effect of autism in a family on the non-autistic members. Depending on how I’m feeling it either has a negative connotation like in secondhand smoke, or a more positive connotation like in extending the life of something passed down to you secondhand. I love my brother, but I don’t like the disorder.
I wrote some of my thoughts on the subject and related some of my family’s experiences and called it a book. The book is now available in eBook form and will shortly be available through Amazon’s affiliate CreateSpace for a paperback version. In support of autism awareness month the eBook will be free each Monday in April.