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AUTISM and the Hurtful Misuse/Abuse of LABELS

As Autism Awareness Month (April) draws to an end, the topic of labels become prominent in my mind.  I’ve had yet another horrible experience with audiologists. My son is congenitally Deafblind, a term I don’t always use because of people’s preconceived stereotypes about what Deafblind means.

Audiologists often fail to understand the diverse community of people they serve. The reason – nearly all accredited audiology courses in th US have no requirement to learn about Deaf culture, American Sign Language, or Deafblindness. Autism is a prevelant diagnosis today, audiologists are usually somewhat familiar with Autism. SOMEWHAT FAMILIAR is a relative term.

Parents should know audiologists are by no means qualified to make an autism diagnosis, nor to apply the label to a child with a complex medical history.

Parents should also be aware that use of the autism label in the audiological setting is ill-advised. The reason – audiologists often fail to recognize hearing loss, auditory processing disorders, auditory neuropathy, Deafness (as in respect to language acquisition), blindness – particularly cortical visual impairment (the fastest growing cause of blindness), Deafblindness, as well as the combined effect of multiple sensory impatient and/or multiple handicaps, when a child is labeled autistic.

Deaf-blindness is a low incidence disability and within this very small group of children there is great variability. Many children who are deaf-blind have some usable vision and/or hearing. The majority of children who are deaf-blind also have additional physical, medical and/or cognitive problems. Children are considered to be deaf-blind when the combination of their hearing and vision loss causes such severe communication and other developmental and educational needs that they require significant and unique adaptations in their educational programs.

Autism and Deafblindness are two different and unique conditions.

Why Deaf-Blindness and Autism Can Look So Much Alike

 For example Autism does not cause abnormal findings on a Brainstem Auditory Evoked Response (BAER or ABR.)

The ABR is used for newborn hearing screening, auditory threshold estimation, intraoperative monitoring, determining hearing loss type and degree, and auditory nerve and brainstem lesion detection.

Hearing loss alone (with no other medical, behavioral, or social issues) significantly impacts language acquisition. A child with a mild hearing loss can miss 25-50% of spoken language in the classroom.

What Is Language? What Is Speech? 

What are the effects of different types of hearing loss?

What is hearing ability?

The current DSM-V diagnostic criteria for autism requires specification of:

With or without accompanying intellectual impairment

With or without accompanying language impairment

Associated with a known medical or genetic condition or environmental factor

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Images Courtesy of:

I am not Autism – dnagengaCC-BY-NC-SA 2.0 Generic

see past labels – Krissy Venosdale – CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

I don’t know.” – Krissy Venosdale – CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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Love Support Educate Advocate Accept by Liana Seneca is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Vacation

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We’re having a good time on vacation. Stephen lost his front tooth. I think he ate it. I noticed blood on his pillow and when I asked him he wouldn’t open his mouth. It seemed like he was crunching on something. He swallowed and then slowly opened his mouth. Missing tooth – nowhere we could find it. I guess he didn’t want the tooth fairy to get it 😉

One Word Photo Challenge: White

One Word Photo Challenge White

This post is in response to: One Word Photo Challenge: White | Jennifer Nichole Wells.  For more weekly photo challenges click here: One Word Photo Challenge | Jennifer Nichole Wells.


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Love Support Educate Advocate Accept by Liana Seneca is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

To Those Who Sacrificed

May a grateful country remember your service, today and always…

Memorial Day 2006 - Washington, DC

Paige Lavender captures in stunning pictures and videos, “Here’s A Reminder Of What Memorial Day Is All About.”

homeless veteran

Kevin Freking writes about the challenges formerly homeless veteran, David Dyer, faces to support President Obama’s pledge to eliminate homelessness among veterans by the end of 2015. Formerly Homeless Vets Return To Streets To Help Others In Need.

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Jose Antonio Vargas remembers immigrants who serve the military in Defining American on Memorial Day.

Sabrina Siddiqui reports, “Sen. John Walsh (D-Mont.) posed a question to his colleagues on Capitol Hill… If lawmakers are willing to spend billions of dollars on war, why are they less willing to invest in the welfare of veterans when they come home?” in John Walsh: Preventing Veteran Suicide Is ‘The Cost Of War’.

May a grateful country always remember the cost of war…

Charity Navigator advises how best to Support Our Troops.


Image Sources:
Flag by Kim Hill – CC BY-ND 2.0
Memorial Day 2006 – Washington, DC by jdcdc – CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Homeless Veteran by Alaina Abplanalp – CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
American flag, Navy Pier, Chicago by Franken Teacher – CC BY 2.0

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Spring!

We had fun at the park skipping pebbles by the stream. We made new friends. We shared our favorite things. We took turns.

skipping pebbles

The boys were 5 and 7-years-old. The younger had a speech delay. It didn’t bother Stephen. He was happy to have some company doing the things he loves most. I sat on the wall and picked up handfuls of pebbles from the stream bed. Each child held out his hand for a small handful at a time. Sometimes they would find a larger pebble, but mostly they were happy with the tiny handfuls…

skipping pebbles2

Three boys and just another neighborhood mom at the park…

skipping pebbles3

Friends and strangers…

skipping pebbles4

The simple joys of spring!

it's the simple things in life...

Spring! | The Daily Post.


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Love, Support, Educate, Advocate, Accept… by Liana Seneca is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

We Made it to the Top!

enjoying the view

We made it to the top, taking breaks along the way and taking turns carrying the little guy. His low muscle tone and leg braces made it a work-out for everyone. It was a steep rocky hike, maybe a mile to the top of the mountain. The view is beautiful. Kids big and small love it!

we made it

family fun

This post is in response to: On Top | The Daily Post.

view from the top

my boys
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Love, Support, Educate, Advocate, Accept… by Liana Seneca is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Help! My Valentine Smells like Poop!

Help

No, not you honey – my other valentine. The little guy. Stephen is 7 years old and still not potty trained. We’ve had our share of challenges. Stephen has special needs. He’s non-verbal autistic and legally deaf-blind. This past summer he finally graduated to eating solid foods. Now we have our sights set on the next big milestone. I’m going to need you to cheer me on for this one. In all honesty, I’d rather go mountain climbing. Read More

The Saga Continues…

Life is always a long story (or at least one would hope!)
No discontented ramblings here…

“The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.”

Harvest_Mouse_(face)

Today I am both, mouse and man, as referred to in the poem.
My family’s plan to move is subject to constant revision.

Weekly Writing Challenge: Fifty | The Daily Post

Continue reading The Saga Continues…