Autism Awareness Day


April 2 is Autism Awareness Day, and the month of April is National Autism Awareness Month. Current statistics show that 1 out of every 54 children today are diagnosed with autism. These statistics may seem high, but the increase in diagnoses is largely due to increased awareness. Parents, schools, doctors, and more are much more aware than in past years.

What is Autism?

Before I delve more into my family’s personal story, I’m going to briefly explain what autism is. In general, I think a lot of people are familiar with autism, but struggle to relate if they are not affected by it somehow.

This basic definition from describes it best. “Autism spectrum disorder is a difference in the way a kid’s brain develops. Kids with autism may have trouble understanding the world around them.”

This difference in their brain can present in a lot of different ways. Symptoms can range from mild to severe (hence why this is a spectrum), and why I may use the word “high-functioning” when I discuss my daughter. Some of the common denominators that a lot of people with autism share are challenges with:

  • Making friends/fitting in
  • Speech, whether with talking and/or understanding the meaning of words
  • Difficulty with change/likes repetitiveness and routine
  • Overstimulation (could be from crowded areas, noises, lights, etc)

This list is in no way comprehensive, but it gives a basic explanation of challenges people with autism face. The National Autism Association website has a great comprehensive list of signs/symptoms that are indicators. If you think your child may be on the autism spectrum, the first thing you should do is discuss this with their doctor. Additionally, you should reach out to their school if they are school-aged. They will get you pointed in the right direction and can share valuable resources with you.

The Beginning Stages

The first article I wrote for Toledo Moms was about discovering our daughter Izzie probably had autism. At the time, we had just had our first visit with staff at Sylvania Schools (our daughter is enrolled at a private Catholic preschool, so we hadn’t had any interaction with them before). We had also just started visiting a developmental pediatrician. Essentially, we were in the very beginning stages of a diagnosis.

The different specialists at the school told me that because she is in preschool, they were just going to diagnose her with a developmental disability. This is a common thing for any child that isn’t in kindergarten yet. Since they don’t have to have a diagnosis yet, they don’t want to push for one. Having a diagnosis in preschool doesn’t really change how they work with the child. This is what was “on the record”. As for “off the record”, we discussed the possibility of high-functioning autism and ADHD.

Where we are Now: School

Izzie will be in preschool the remainder of the year, and likely for two additional years due to her late August birthday. Obviously, things can and might change, but as of now, she has an IEP with Sylvania schools. Once a week, someone comes into her classroom to help her out with all of the goals we have set. These goals were set by the various professionals that tested her through a play-based assessment with input from my husband and me.

For those that are unfamiliar, IEP stands for an individualized education program. It’s a lengthy document that goes into detail about the child and comes up with a plan for their special education instruction. It outlines the extra support and services they need to help succeed in school. Different goals are set for the child that they hopefully can meet with the support they are being given in the school. Every child is different, so no two IEPs are the same. With Izzie, the IEP focuses heavily on social and motor skills.

Where we are Now: Developmental Pediatrician

Every 3 weeks, we have a meeting with a developmental pediatrician. We’ve tackled topics from tantrums to poop regression to the best way that we can set routines for Izzie. This last one might be the most important because routine is incredibly important for kids on the spectrum.

Additionally, we are working with them to get an autism diagnosis. We weren’t sure if we were going to go forward with a diagnosis this early, but they recommended it. A diagnosis means we can get more assistance from different programs out there that we couldn’t utilize if we didn’t have one. As a family, we are all for getting Izzie all the help she can get, so we are looking at this as a positive. Everything is slow-moving, but we’re hoping we’ll get a diagnosis and get on the list for different assistance within the next few months.

Autism Awareness

Awareness is important, but I think acceptance and even appreciation are better “A” words that this month should be about. Yes, my daughter is different in a lot of ways, but some of those differences are GREAT. To name one, she is incredibly intelligent and her memory is remarkable. This is something to celebrate! Additionally, as my child gets older, I know differences will become more evident in school. I would love if other kids were aware of autism and didn’t think of her differences as weird.

If you have taught your kids to be aware of these differences, to be helpful, and inclusive, you are amazing, and I thank you. I also want to take the time for anyone that has reached out to me to share their own story. Autism is so common, but sometimes you can feel like you are alone. It’s great to feel like there is a community out there to reach out to.

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Lindsey Kosik
Lindsey has spent all of her life in Northwest Ohio and currently resides in Sylvania with her husband, Jordan, her 4-year-old daughter, Izzie, and their two dogs, Frankie and Charlie. Lindsey currently works part-time as a website admin and SEO analyst. You will find Lindsey and her family at Disney World multiple times a year as vacation club members and annual pass holders. It is safe to say the whole family is a little obsessed with House Mouse! Besides going to Disney, her favorite things include reading (mostly chick lit and suspense/legal thrillers), finding and sharing great deals she finds and enjoying a nice glass of red wine with some mindless reality tv.


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