Friday, April 27, 2012

Lesson 144: Gross

Gross.  That is what a dozen, dozen is.  A gross.  You know what else is gross?  I dozen, dozen autistic kids.  I love them, and that is not meant as a slam.  But it is gross that it is still happening.  More are being diagnosed every day.  The epidemic is not stopping.  The above youtube post, made just last year states the old statistic, 1 out of every 150 kids will be diagnosed with autism.  The recently released statistic is now this:


To put it in perspective, think of it this way:

  • When Natalie & Erik were diagnosed 12 years ago, the doctors told us that autism was purely genetic and it appeared in 1 out of ever 10,000 children.  So in people terms, this would be one child out of the county schools in Erie County.
  • Shortly after they were diagnosed, a new statistic for the "new autism" was released:  1 out of every 500.  For you locals, that is one kid in Rolling Ridge Elementary.
  • By the time Natalie and Erik were school age, the statistic was this:  1 out of 250.  So again for the Lamp Post locals, one child out of Clark School.
  • Two years ago, the updated statistics were:  1 out of 150.  Local Yocals, that means one kid out of ever graduating class in my hometown.
  • Last year, the statistic was re figured to be:  1 out of 99.  In HC, you'd have a kid plus another cut in half out of every graduation year.
  • And now this:  1 out of 88.  Two from every class.
I guess were just getting so much better at diagnosing autism, aren't we?  Yep.  We missed these kids before.  We missed the tics, the screaming, the public tantrums, the weird routines, the OCD, and the fact that most can't communicate effectively.  They were just labeled something else before we became all the wiser.  Untrue.

The statistics for the Life Skills and Emotional Support classrooms are still holding steady.  None have disappeared from any of those places. We've ADDED autism classrooms. The numbers are increasing.

If you watch the above video, Bianca's Daddy is correct in his index card appeal to the viewers:  More kids will be diagnosed with autism than AIDS, Juvenile Diabetes, and Cancer COMBINED!

Remember science class?  Did you pay attention?  If not, let Eloise refresh your memory.  There are 23 human chromosomes.  They look like this:
Once in awhile, something goes wrong with them---an abnormality.  Then a body produces someone born with Downs Syndrome, Cystic Fibrosis, or even something as mild as Color Blindness.  A genetic abnormality.  Accepted.  But you cannot have a genetic epidemic.  Otherwise we'd have Down Syndrome surging at epidemic proportions.  

Yes, genetics come into play.  Obviously so for my family.  Believe me, if you are a relative and you are reading this blog, know that you have been discussed. Sorry.  We've got to look at this thing from every angle.  Kenyan and I have many a time said, "Maybe Natalie's just weird like.........."   You can fill in the blank.  

But genetics alone are not enough.  They are the foundation, but how the environment plays a hand is the key.  From the foods we eat to the air we breathe to the water we drink to things we inject into our bodies.  All those environmental factors come into play with our genetics.  They mess with them.  They twist them up, and sometimes the result is a twisted up child born to this world. And that is gross.

I am thankful this post fell to 144.  A dozen dozen.  A gross.  A square number.  

This is a bit of a stretch, but somewhat related.  You know what else 144 is?  The number of career touchdown passes by Quarterback Warren Moon when he played in the Canadian football league.  Can you even believe you can find stuff like that on Wikipedia?  It was a good excuse to sneak in this MOON picture I took tonight.  Check out the craters from my amateur lens.  I took that from my own camera, right in my own back yard just an hour ago.  I had to find some way to share it.  So cool!

But you know what is even cooler?  The square root, of 144.  It's 12.  Like District 12 in the Hunger Games.  It's the hope.

Twelve is the square root of 144.  It is the number of months in a year, and the number of doughnuts in your *Mighty Fine box (for the locals, the rest of you readers insert Krispy Kreme at the asterisk).  But 12 is also known as the Kissing Number.  According to wikipedia, this is what a kissing number is:

Kissing number problem

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Kissing number)
In geometry, a kissing number is defined as the number of non-overlapping unit spheres that touch another given unit sphere. For a lattice packing the kissing number is the same for every sphere, but for an arbitrary sphere packing the kissing number may vary from one sphere to another.

And it looks like this:

It kind of looks like a daisy, doesn't it, Readers?  Daisies are my favorite flower.  I think this is a good sign--a sign of hope..
I need to kiss Natalie and Erik tomorrow.  Kiss them and tell them that Kenyan and I, like Bianca's Daddy in 
the video, will fight for them.  Always.  I'll get a picture of the kisses at the Autism Walk tomorrow and put it on the next
blog post for you.  Check back later this weekend.

Saturday, April 28th, is our Erie Walk for Autism.  My family hoofs it out to the Peninsula every year.  April around here is iffy.  It can bring anything from 75 and sunny to 51 and sideways rain.  The weatherman says this about tomorrow:


Mostly cloudy and chilly
Mostly cloudy and chilly

High: 44

Winds: NNE 6 mph
Gusting to 12 mph
Mostly cloudy and chilly High: 44
I heard the collective groan from all of the walkers.  It's OK.  I groaned too, AND I have to haul an autistic kid along who does not like the wind.  But I'll come out, as will thousands of others to show support for families and children suffering from this baffling condition.  We can take an hour or two to brave the wind and rain.  Our momentary suffering cannot compare to the daily frustrations that these kids face.  We show up for them.

To close this post, I will do so with a Marine Prayer.  What do you know?  The bravest and most dedicated fighters in our country have adopted Psalm 144 as their prayer, taken directly from the Holy Bible.  Thanks, David.    I think it is perfect, and exactly what Kenyan and I plan to do.  Fight on.  In advance, we thank you for your continued support in the way of kind words, donations, and taking the time to include our children into your lives.  Here it is:

Marine Prayer - Psalm 144:1

Please check back later this weekend for a photo story of pictures from the walk, as well as another call to action about a sister-issue this weekend:  CANCER.
Thanks for reading,

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