Monday, April 14, 2008

When Sports Become a Small Matter

Biz of Baseball impresario and friend of ShysterBall Maury Brown makes a candid announcement and a call for awareness in light of a new challenge he and his family face:
Over the past year, our youngest son has not been developing at the rate that most children do. At first, we chalked this up to him just not accelerating at the rate of our first son, who was ahead of the curve. Now, coming up on the age of three, we saw that he was not communicating, even on rudimentary levels such as pointing when he wanted something. Only when prompted would he respond verbally to a very small list of known words. Things that we initially thought were cute were really signs of something else. There was the jumping up and down when he was excited, spinning in circles, and the one we thought was the funniest… never calling me “Daddy”, but rather, “Mamma. “

Given these signs, we met with his pediatrician and from there, other specialists. The diagnosis was that our son is autistic.

As my wife and family come to grips to this news, we now find ourselves in a life altering experience. The good news is that with early detection, one-on-one and what is called “mainstream” therapy, we can hope that our son will eventually be a productive part of society. What was alarming to me was the incredible trend of more and more being afflicted with this disability. There was a point where the word “autism” would elicit confused stares. Now, nearly everyone in America has a family member or friend touched by this disorder.

Based upon this, I am challenging all that have a platform to do so, to link to this news below, or pass it along. Call it the sports autism challenge, whatever. The hope is that by getting this news to as many as possible in the hope that others can be educated to this disability.

The following information comes by way of the Autism Society of America:

  • 1 out of 150 children in U.S.
  • 1 out of 90 boys
  • Affects four times as many boys as girls
  • Lifetime cost of caring for a child with autism: $3.5 to $5 million
  • Current annual cost to U.S.: $35 billion
  • Estimated annual cost by 2010: $90 billion
  • 1.5 million Americans affected

Researching has found information that will be valuable to my wife and I, and some indications that we now see as classic traits of autism spectrum disorder that are within our son’s behavior. Passing some of these behavioral traits along may help you, or someone you know, get their child to their pediatrician for an evaluation. Early detection is critical as the earlier a child is enrolled in therapy, the better the odds are that when they grow older they will be able to function in society.

Best ShysterBall wishes to Maury and the rest of the Brown family, along with the hope that the rewards outnumber the challenges encountered as they embark on this new journey.


Jason said...

Having a TV in my office, I often have CNN on during the afternoon, after I get CNBC'd out. Over the past several weeks, they have been running an Autism special and it's been enlightening.

My nephew, not yet age 3, has been very slow to develop with a very limited vocabulary. He's been tested numerous times and thankfully he's not autistic, but it was a very real and scary possibility.

Best wishes to the Brown family as they push forward meeting the challenge. Glad they identified the disease early and can get their son treatment.


Jake said...

My nephew has some sort of learning challenge that has been as-yet undiagnosed. It may be a form of autism, the doctors say. But why has this happened all-of-a-sudden like? Is it better diagnostics, greater awareness of the condition (as opposed to calling someone "different" or "weird"), or some real medical trend? Anyone out there with ideas?