The second part in our Autism Awareness Series features Logan David Jenks. Autism, or autism spectrum disorder, refers to a range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication, as well as by unique strengths and differences.
Three-year-old Logan was diagnosed with autism at the age of 2, in June 2017 and is nonverbal.
“He started speech therapy at age 2 because he was still not saying any words and could not communicate with us. He just recently started school on his 3rd birthday and is learning so many things!” said his mother Nicole Garcia.
She wanted to share a little about what Logan goes through.
“Having an autistic child means there are good days and there are bad days. Sometimes we don’t know what kind of day they will have. There can be days where he will have a meltdown and it can be at home, at school, or in public, it doesn’t matter where we are. It can happen anywhere and the looks we sometimes get are very offensive, but when you are in our shoes you learn to never judge anyone because you just never know what they are going through! I hope we can raise awareness for people to learn exactly what autism is and the many different types of things these children, even adults, go through on a daily basis,” said Nicole.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates autism’s prevalence as 1 in 68 children in the United States. This includes 1 in 42 boys and 1 in 189 girls.
Here are some myths about autism explained, courtesy of Autism Speaks:
•Myth: People with autism don’t want friends. Truth: If someone in your class has autism, they probably struggle with social skills, which may make it difficult to interact with peers. They might seem shy or unfriendly, but that’s just because he or she is unable communicate their desire for relationships the same way you do.
•Myth: People with autism can’t feel or express any emotion—happy or sad. Truth: Autism doesn’t make an individual unable to feel the emotions you feel, it just makes the person communicate emotions (and perceive your expressions) in different ways.
•Myth: Autism is just a brain disorder. Truth: Research has shown that many people with autism also have gastro-intestinal disorders, food sensitivities, and many allergies.
•Myth: People with autism are just like Dustin Hoffman’s character in Rain Man. Truth: Autism is a spectrum disorder, meaning its characteristics vary significantly from person to person. Knowing one person with autism means just that—knowing one person with autism. His or her capabilities and limitations are no indication of the capabilities and limitations of another person with autism.
•Myth: People who display qualities that may be typical of a person with autism are just odd and will grow out of it. Truth: Autism stems from biological conditions that affect brain development and, for many individuals, is a lifelong condition.
•Myth: The prevalence of autism has been steadily increasing for the last 40 years. Truth: The rate of autism has increased by 600 percent in the last 20 years. In 1975, an estimated 1 in 1,500 had autism. In 2014, an estimated 1 in 68 had an autism spectrum disorder.
More families will be featured in next week’s part of the series.