Autism: Who & What?
Saturday, September 24, 2011 ( 1:29 pm )

Another boring Saturday.
Great for reading British sarcasm from "About A Boy", the novel by Nick Hornby.
And I, for one, can't neglect the images of Hugh Grant and the voice of that little boy singing "Killing Me Softly" inside my head.
One of my favourite, About A Boy is.
But I suppose.. I should do some studying... Later.
It would be lovely if it were to be less difficult to escape the land of Puncak Alam. It's only because it's hard to move around, especially via public transport. But once you're outta here, shouldn't be that difficult.. Or so I heard. Probably gonna head out with my housemates later on. If we're not that lazy. But let's do a little bit of typing.

And so I have entered a few classes this week, Introduction to Occupational Therapy, Introduction to Psychology, Therapeutic Activities & Anatomy & Physiology(the most feared). Since Occupational Therapy(OT) is under the Health Sciences division, it is quite close to the developmental disability area, which is close to Autism, where by to me, is a golden opportunity to understand my dearest, eldest brother, Fazly, better. Fazly, per se, means "istimewa" or special. And truth to that, ladies and gents. He is doubtlessly the special one. He is of special needs. And he has autism. You see, there are different types of autism.

First thing's first. What on Earth is Autism? Probably have heard of it, probably haven't. Probably've heard of it but don't even know what it means. I admit. Sometimes, I, myself do not know how to explain what autism is. The most basic thing I can say is those with autism live in the world of they're own, unwell with their social skills. Well that is according to what I know and what I've seen. But there is definitely more to that. According to wikipedia, "a mental condition, present from early childhood, characterized by great difficulty in communicating and forming relationships, and in using language and abstract concepts" or "a disorder of neural development characterized by impaired social interaction and communication, and by restricted and repetitive behavior".

So what could cause autism? Is it preventable? Is it curable? Can you improve it or do you have no hope at all? Well, for what causes autism, there are many explanations and theories proposed, but there is no exact cause of it. Many causes of autism have been proposed, but understanding of the theory of causation of autism and the other autism spectrum disorders is incomplete. Heritability contributes about 90% of the risk of a child developing autism, but the heritability of autism is complex and typically it is unclear which genes are responsible. In rare cases, autism is strongly associated with agents that cause birth defects. Many other causes have been proposed, such as childhood immunizations, but numerous clinical studies have shown no scientific evidence supporting any link between vaccinations and autism. I assume you've guessed that I copied and pasted that from Wikipedia. Excellent copycatdar you have there *wink*. There's so much more to autism that you don't know. And autistic kids, they look just the same as other kids. It's how they behave is different. Just imagine you having a baby, and it looked so cute and normal. But once you noticed the difference, you take him/her to the doctors, and bam, they're diagnosed with autism. Unfortunately, you can't get rid of autism. However, with the technology we have, with the skills our pros have learnt, I assure you, your child can have a better life. There are speech therapists, who can help teach them how to speak, as some of them can't. There are occupational therapists, who can help them live their daily lives without having to depend on someone too much. There are other specialists that can help some more, and doctors that can give special medication. We didn't have this back then. Or so, we never really bothered to think about having it. Just look at how people looked Temple Grandin. Temple Grandin has autism. But she managed to improve herself, and she's a very very smart lady. She is, surprisingly, listed in the 100 Most Influential People and has been categorized under "Heroes". Wonderful, she is. They even made a movie out of her. Those interested to know more about her, I suggest you watch "Temple Grandin". Saw it on HBO weeks ago. (Y)

So what are the different types of Autism? Like Temple Grandin, there's Asperger Syndrome. People with Asperger could be everywhere as they have brilliant IQ and they are very smart and particular. Asperger syndrome describes individuals at the highest-functioning end of the autism spectrum. Unlike other autism spectrum disorders, Asperger syndrome is often diagnosed in teens and adults. People with Asperger syndrome generally develop spoken language in the same way as typically developing children, but have a tough time with social communication. These difficulties that become more obvious as they get older and social expectations rise. Because people with Asperger syndrome are often very intelligent - but "quirky" - the disorder is sometimes nicknamed "geek syndrome" or "little professor syndrome."

There's also High Functioning Autism. Like "mild" autism, high functioning autism (sometimes shortened to HFA) is a made-up term that's become more and more commonly used. HFA is a tricky term, because it can be hard to distinguish a person with HFA from a person with Asperger syndrome. The official distinction is that people with HFA had or have speech delays, while people with Asperger Syndrome have normal speech development. But there may also be very real differences in terms of social awareness, personality characteristics, and other traits. The jury is still debating the fine distinctions.

Besides those two, there's Severe Autism. Severe autism is officially termed autistic disorder. It goes by many other names, though, including profound autism, low functioning autism, or classic autism. People with autistic disorder are often non-verbal and intellectually disabled, and may have very challenging behaviors. This what my brother probably has.

Well there are more types, but these are the common ones I've heard of. So let me just give a little thought. These people of special needs, be it kids or adults, how do you treat them? Do you treat them well? Or do you just call of them "retards"? Do you assume that all of them aren't smart? Do you think that they deserve to be treated horribly? THEY ARE DIFFERENT, NOT LESS. So I think that they deserve to be treated right. I know some of you like to stare at them in public, like they're from some kind of undiscovered planet. Or is it just Malaysians? Oops. I won't say any further. Except, I am very thankful that I have an autistic person in my family, as now I know more about Autism, and I don't judge others that show the symptoms of autism so quickly, so and so forth. Do a little volunteer work with them once in a while. I'm sure that's not so bad. Make others smile make you smile too, no? I'm sure that there are many of you that care out there. Let's not wait for a family member. Let's just do it.

Hope I've done enough explaining here. I can't explain the whole thing as I've lots more to learn. And I can't just simply copy paste things from the net without understanding what it says. I am sure that there are many other resources out there, perhaps better than mine. The whole purpose here is just to share, and to let some of my friends understand more about what my brother is like. But words are just.. not enough sometimes.

I am not a scholar in this, but hopefully one day I could work together with my mum and we could open up a home for people with special needs back in my hometown, insyaAllah. And so let's pray for the best for everyone.

He's 30, now. And hopefully, my brother will survive his eye surgery, which insyaAllah will be on the 11th of October, with hopes that he will recover well(he has a cataract in his left eye.. or it could be right. Oh my, I don't remember. Sigh).


A New Beginning
Monday, September 12, 2011 ( 7:19 pm )

So I'd like to wish all of you out there Selamat Hari Raya, Happy September, Selamat Hari Merdeka and Selamat Hari Malaysia that celebrate them. Haven't touched these keys in a looooonnnggg time. Busy as usual when approaching Eid. But now that Eid is done, well actually.. It's not yet done as Eid is celebrated throughout Syawal. But you get the picture, don't you? Let me know if you don't. *wink*

So that's that with Eid, and let's move on to the next best thing that's happening right now. To those whom may or may not already know, I am currently pursuing my studies at UiTM Puncak Alam, doing my degree in Occupational Therapy(OT). So are you "huhh??"-ing right now or are you "aahhh"-ing? To be honest, it is an absolute relief when people say "ahh that's good" when I tell them what I am studying instead of those that ask me back "what the bloody hell is that?". Haha OKAY fine no one said "bloody hell"(unless it was Ron Weasley) but yeahh you get me, don't you? Awesome. I'd really like to let you know what OT is all about, but maybe I'll make another post, just especially for it. Maybe, though. So yes, amigos! Here I am, finally at uni. Still have not completely explored the whole campus. People here are pretty nice. Some of them seem to be abit too nice. I'm not sure if they are the type that would understand my loco-ness. But never mind, it's still a fresh start, gotta do abit of warming up and then we'll see what happens. Oh and the internet connection seems pretty fast over here! And this is via the cable. I am not so sure about telco broadbands, but I hear the performance is prett-ty slow. Oh, and just so you know, I am absolutely against the 6% service charge for prepaid users. It's ridiculous. Absolutely ridiculous. Anyhoo, back to campus life. The food is pretty good, but slightly pricey. Not alot of guys over here, and there's only one dood in my programme, out of 34.

So that's the new beginning, ladies and gentlemen. A new life, but still in The Real Life. Last but not least, never forget who you are and where you come from.
Til then, keep smilling :)

P/S: To all Gleeks, I am officially Gleek no. 11303. Yes, I have finally been listed. How awesome is that? Huzah!

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