Beginning to Understand Autism, Aspergers, PDD-NOS

There is Nothing Wrong with Me After All!
Susan Wright Kermon
Kim Shufran
From Barbara
In getting to know her, I became aware of the tremendous
struggle she has to just live.
Her extreme intelligence and exceptional artist abilities
mask this struggle to most people.
Although, as my sister says, you never know how
she is going to act.
And another friend admits she is scared around her because
her mood can switch so dramatically.
The friend thinks she has done something wrong to make
Susan mad, which may or not be the case!
From Barbara
Susan is so smart, ethical, responsible, kind, thoughtful…
it is hard to believe she cannot help the way she
sometimes acts.
I have come to know
that she cannot.
Some behaviors she has learned to “control,”
but I see the effort it takes.
From Barbara
When she told me about the possibility of the
Asperger’s diagnosis, I cried.
Out of relief for her that something may
finally explain and make sense out of
how hard life has been.
And it made me feel sorry that I
haven’t always been patient and kind.
July 2011
An email from Susan
October 25, 2012 after attending the Atlanta Autism Conference
Well, I made it there and back but I’ve been sleeping a great deal
since my return.
I have taken the week off and now it’s Thursday,
and I think I’m finally awake.
I was in quite a state when I got back.
It seemed like my brain was a deck of cards flying around in the air.
Now they are all lying on the floor and I’m ready to start
stacking them back in order again.
That doesn’t sound so good but I’m thrilled I was able (and willing) to go.
And Susan continues…
I thought of you and iCan many times while I
was there as you seem to have so figured out
how to fill a need.
The more I learn,
the more impressed I am,
the more ideas I have,
and the more I want to be a part of it.
• Complex neurological differences impacting how one
learns and communicates
• Involving developmental delays
• Affects a person’s social relationships, communication,
and behavior
• Includes alterations in sensory processing
– taste/smell, movement, touch, auditory, visual, and activity
• No two people are alike
– “When you’ve met one person with autism, then you’ve
met one person with autism.”
• Individuals are often object, rather than relationship
• Diagnosis is difficult to obtain
– Requires behavioral observation & history
– Often takes years
– Prolonged ambiguity and uncertainty is very stressful
A Diagnosis, Redefined
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM)
• 5th edition, 2013
• Changes prompt significant controversy
• Approved and adopted by American Psychiatric
1 in 68 children has been identified with autism spectrum disorder
– 1 in 70 in North Carolina
ASD reported to occur in all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups
ASD 5 times more common among in boys (1 in 42) than among girls (1 in 189).
Studies in Asia, Europe, and North America have identified individuals with ASD
with an average prevalence of about 1%. A study in South Korea reported a
prevalence of 2.6%.
About 1 in 6 children in the United States had a developmental disability in 20062008, ranging from mild disabilities such as speech and language impairments to
serious developmental disabilities, such as intellectual disabilities, cerebral palsy,
and autism.
Data from the CDC website
Impact of a Diagnosis
• Many adults do not know they are affected.
• Many age 30-40-50-60+ are receiving ASD diagnosis
• Obtaining a diagnosis can facilitate an understanding
of past difficulties with parents, siblings, friends,
partners, and coworkers.
Defined the Problem
Designed a Solution
Club-based model
No diagnosis required
Positioned to expand
iCan House Mission
With a foundation in positive thinking,
iCan House seeks to enhance the lives of those with social
challenges by:
• teaching social skills,
• providing educational opportunities,
• maintaining a hub for resources,
• and providing a support network for those in need.
862 West 4th Street, Winston-Salem
[email protected]

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