Monday, February 23, 2009

Do your homework

From the 'just because its hard doesn't mean it is isn't worth it category' we have a recent post from Lisa Jo Rudy over at the Autism blog on :

Why "Doing Your Own Autism Research" Is Tougher Than It Sounds

Go read the post.

Apparently doing your homework and taking the time to read the research is hard, especially when it comes to an emerging field like autism. She does have a point that it can be overwhelming, especially at first, when you find countless opinions across a huge range of topics.

After the diagnosis you are left to deal with the enormity of the change in your (and your child's) life not to mention where to turn for assistance for how best to approach the problem. What do you try?

To digress for a moment, this is where I have a huge problem with neurodiversity. As I have written about before, if a parent of a newly diagnosed child runs across one of their sites soon after a diagnosis, they run the risk of deciding to do nothing to help their child. This is what neurodiversity preaches as part of its "acceptance" mantra. If you have been around the block a few times and decide that this approach works better for your child then so be it.

But if you are new to the autism world and don't really understand it yet and fall into believing this without first fully understanding the ramifications and other options available, then this is a problem.

Anyway, back to the post at hand. Lisa Jo Rudy continues by pointing out that it is hard to understand and make sense of the science and it is equally hard to separate the "good" from the "bad" studies.

She finishes up by recommending the book "Understanding Autism for Dummies".

Now, for full disclosure, I have not read autism for dummies, I am sure it is a good book. However, I think I have to disagree with what what is being said here.

It is true that it is difficult to get started understanding what autism is all about. But that does not mean you should not make the effort. Just because it is a daunting task does not make it not worthwhile to undertake.

Because like it or not once autism comes into your life in the form of a child or other family member diagnosed with autism it is going to be a major part of your life from that day forward.

It is definitely worth the time and effort that you put into it and, in reality, even though the subject area is large it isn't that complex. You start with the basics and work your way up from there - you literally have the rest of your life so take your time and work up slowly.

So if you have a child that is depending on you for support and to help them on their path to dealing with their condition, don't think of it in terms of hard or being "tough". Think of it in terms of something that is needed for you to help your child.

Because honestly, if you aren't going to put the time in to help your child then no one is.


  1. honestly, I never said "do nothing!" I don't do nothing. I don't recommend "do nothing." I do say, however, that immersing yourself in "the research" could easily consume all the time and energy in the world, leaving nothing left as you try to actually spend time with, support and engage with your child with autism. It can be, and often is, a HUGE time sink - and as misleading as it is helpful!

    Lisa Rudy (

  2. Sorry I was not trying to imply that you were saying "do nothing. My point was that even taking the time to educate yourself is worth it is in the long run. But in like everything you have to have a balance - if you focus too much on education and not enough time actually paying attention to your children it is a bad thing as well.