Cave Dwellings: The Gifts of Autism..“Different, NOT less than!….”
Cave Dwellings

Buckhorn Creek, Lake O' The Pines, Jefferson, TX

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Gifts of Autism..“Different, NOT less than!….”

“Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a range of complex neurodevelopment disorders, characterized by social impairments, communication difficulties, and restricted, repetitive, and stereotyped patterns of behavior.  Autistic disorder, sometimes called autism or classical ASD, is the most severe form of ASD, while other conditions along the spectrum include a milder form known as Asperger syndrome, the rare condition called Rett syndrome, and childhood disintegrative disorder and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (usually referred to as PDD-NOS).  Although ASD varies significantly in character and severity, it occurs in all ethnic and socioeconomic groups and affects every age group.  Experts estimate that three to six children out of every 1,000 will have ASD.  Males are four times more likely to have ASD than females.”    

Dennis and I are blessed..We have 5 wonderful grandkids, 3 awesome step grandkids, and 3 super step GREAT grandkids…Whew!!  One of our grandkids is a very “special” kid.  Terrie and Tim’s 3rd child, Campbell, was diagnosed early on with “sensory disorders”…He was never diagnosed with autism or asperger’s  syndrome, but in that spectum of autism, he has many of the same idiosyncrasies..

He was born with a hole in his heart, and spent the first days of his life in the NICU at Copley Hospital in Aurora….

He was watched closely by a Cardiologist, and the hole eventually closed up…Thank the Lord!




I think Terrie questioned some his early development..his motor skills, his fearfulness of motion (the fluttering of birds was especially troublesome for a while), his “rocking” while sitting on the floor, and a weakness in his “gait” when he  ran…I think the fact that Ter was a teacher helped her to question and pursued it when he was small….She began talking to the pediatrician and asking questions.   They hesitate to put labels on kids, but they said Campbell had “sensory disorders”, one of the autistic “red flags”.


He is a very smart child, but has gotten teased about his little “special ways”.   But I’ll tell ya one thing…His older brother and sister watch out for him and protect him!!

He went to a pre-school for special needs kids and has taken lots of occupational therapy.    He even rode the little school bus all by himself..(He was the only one they picked up in his subdivision).  What a great day it was when they decided to mainstream him into regular Kindergarten…and an even greater day when he graduated and went into the “regular “First Grade!!!


He is now getting ready to go from First to Second Grade.  He has had a few issues.  Tying his shoes was tough because of his challenge with motor skills…and he needed some reading help…But his Mom and Dad helped him get through it and he is doing OK now.  He still needs a little consideration for his “Campbell quirks”, but it gets better everyday…

I am blogging about this because I wonder how many of us are touched by “autism, asperger’s or sensory disorders” in our families…I would bet there are more than you think….If you have a child, grandchild or friend who is touched by this, there is a great movie out to rent called “Temple Grandin”.  I know, it sounds strange, but is actually the name of a grown woman who currently is “the most accomplished and well known adult with autism in the world”…She is Dr. Temple Grandin, and is now the Professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University.  She was called “weird” in her younger school years.  She was laughed at and ridiculed.  Back then, there was no help for these kids.  She has overcome all of that and now she is a successful livestock-hauling equipment designer..and there are very few in the world…and she also travels and lectures on how it was to grow up as an autistic child.

  Dr. Grandin is also a celebrated author, and I highly recommend checking out the links I have put on the blog…I think this woman will give you hope, where maybe you thought there wasn’t any..I find it very curious that so many kids are diagnosed with autism…I never even heard the word when I was growing up….But today it affects 1 in 110 children AND 1 in 70 boys…There is a website called Autism Speaks that is really fabulous and has lots of information…







  1. I think that the television show "Parenthood" has done an excellent job of informing the public about Asperger's Syndrome, especially in showing how their character is receiving help so that he can be mainstreamed into a regular classroom. I have tried to stress to my own children (two of whom were in resource classrooms) that we all have unique learning styles, but some of us just need more assistance than others.

  2. What a beautiful smile!! God bless wonderful parents and grandparents!
    Thanks for the information and links. Education is the key!

  3. As a Special Ed makes my heart smile when a family celebrates ALL of their children...Thank you!!!

  4. He is a handsome young man with a great smile. Good blog and thank you for the infomation.

  5. Thank you for writing about this. It's amazing to realize that some of the more out-there misfits we may know may have some form of Autism. Now informed parents and teachers pay attention, but back in the 50's these brilliant people were just considered "problem kids" or just plain nuts. Thanks, Donna.

  6. Campbell would be Special no matter what .And he has Special Parents and Grandparents to help him along lifes way.I was always my Mom's special child, don't know if I had any learning disorders although I always struggled with school. But in those days nobody knew what they do now. When someone would ask Mom how many children she had she would always smile and say "I have one of each. I have Bill, Wendy, and then there's Sam , you know one of each .Be safe out there. All our love. Sam & Donna...

  7. Such beautiful eyes! What's not to love?

    A good way to bring autism to readers in a personal way. Thank you! :)

  8. Great blog on such an important topic. I'm sure Campbell will grow up to be a fine young man.

    I've seen Temple Grandin in the audience at shows like the Academy Awards where a movie of her life won several awards.

  9. Campbell has been blessed to be born into your 'family'!..what a special boy he is with a winning smile...thanks for celebrating him with all of us...and for all the information about autism/aspergers..have a great day Donna!

  10. Wonderful, wonderful blog/story!

  11. We have some Asperger's in our family and echo your sentiments about Temple Grandin. Thank you for sharing a very personal story. Campbell is fortunate to have such a supportive family.

  12. Campbell is a handsome lad, and very special. And you are a very special grandmother for telling his story, helping to make the rest of us more aware of "differences." Just this week we were sent an email showing dozens of excellent photographs, really outstanding pictures. The presentation ended with a statement by the photographer that he was autistic. Autistic, but with a very special gift of ability and sense of beauty.