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It's hard to believe it's been five years since autism entered my life. My son is eight now. Raising him remains a mystifying experience, yet I have learned some valuable lessons along the way:
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In the 18 years since Kilee was diagnosed, David Patchell-Evans' evolving understanding of her condition has mirrored changes in the way scientists talk about autism. From an incurable disease to a spectrum that will affect one in 68 children, we now view autism as a range of conditions that are distinct in every individual.
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No big crowds, long lineups or loud noises at this Edmonton mall.
Take my little man, for instance. If the mere sound of nail clippers is 'painful' to him, you can imagine how torturous Christmas is. Before he was diagnosed with autism, we spent the better part of a gathering holed up in a bedroom away from the very family we were there to visit.
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Have you ever used headphones that were turned up way too loud? If you were wearing them all the time, how hard do you think it would be for you to be able to you to concentrate on other things? Have conversations? Ask questions like these to help kids understand what autism's like.