Before• Before I read Mockingbird, I didn’t know much about autism, and even confused it with Down syndrome.• I was looking forward to reading Mockingbird because it seemed more intriguing than many books I’ve read. This was a book from an autistic girl’s point of view. I compliment Kathryn Erskine for thinking of this fantastic idea for a book!• Now, my mom is reading Mockingbird, and already loves it!
I Wanted to Know• I wanted to know how being autistic affects their everyday lives, such as going to school.• I was curious to find out how many people have autism.• Does it come in different forms, such as mild, moderate, or chronic?
Related Case/Storywas shot• Not only does Caitlin have to deal with autism, her brother and killed at his school.• After reading the Author’s Note, I learned that this book was written after the Virginia Tech shooting in 2007. I wanted to know more about it. I was curious to know why it happened?
Virginia Tech Shooting• On April 17, 2007, Cho Seung-Hui, who was 23 years old, and a Korean student at Virginia Tech, walked through the school, firing at anyone in sight.• Thirty-three people were killed. Seventeen were injured.• Some of the injuries were from jumping out of a top-floor window to avoid being shot.• One girl, pretending to be dead, was able to avoid being shot.• Two students shoved tables against the door to try to keep Cho out. In the end, Cho shot through it, hitting a girl in the hand.• A surgeon who treated many of the injured, said Cho was “brutal,” and shot many of the students multiple times.• No one knows why Cho did it because he shot and killed himself after shooting others.• This was the worst school shooting in American history.
What I Learned: What causes aut• Before reading, I had no idea what causes autism. I knew that a person was born autistic, and autism was not contagious.• Now I can explain that autism is caused when the brain cells aren’t developed properly or are damaged.• Some scientists think autism can run in the family, while others think environmental factors are to blame.
What I Learned: How is autism diag• Before researching, I thought autism was diagnosed by a blood test. Now I know that is not true.• Autism is diagnosed by the child’s behavior. There is no test to 100% guarantee a child as autistic.• Some signs of autism are, not responding to their name, avoiding eye contact, staring at an object for a long period of time, loss of language or social skills, or not smiling.• Another sign, not speaking, doesn’t always mean autism. It could be a variety of things, maybe a hearing problem.
What I Learned: does it mean to be What• Before researching, I had never thought about what being autistic meant.• Now, after researching, I can say that being autistic means seeing the world in a whole new way.• Kids with autism are annoyed by common sounds, and often cover their ears.• Being touched, even in a gentle way, can make them feel uncomfortable.• Autistic people have troubles linking words with their definitions. That being said, sometimes they can’t come up with the words to say how they feel.• They also have a hard time figuring out emotions. When a kid smiles, we know they’re happy. Autistic people have difficulties connecting smiling with being happy.
What I How common is autism? & Learned: Can it be prevented?• About one out of every one-hundred fifty kids have autism.• Males are four times more likely to have autism than females.• Autism cannot be entirely prevented. However, if the child’s mother took prenatal vitamins, which contain folic acid, before and after conception, her child’s chance of autism may be less than a child of a mother who did not.• Unfortunately, autism cannot be cured. However, autistic kids can still grow up to have bright futures!
What I Learned: What can autism l• Autism can lead to many other complications, which I didn’t know about until I began researching.• The risk for Fragile X Syndrome, tuberous sclerosis, Tourette syndrome, learning disabilities, and ADD are greater for autistic people.• 20-30% of kids with autism develop epilepsy (seizures) before becoming an adult.
After• After researching and reading, I learned many things, and my thoughts about autism now, are way different than before.• I feel that autism is a condition that shouldn’t set people apart from each other. Why can’t we all treat each other the same, autistic or not?• People are so worried these days about looking good, and don’t want to hang out with the people that aren’t “popular.” When will we all be friends, no matter what sets us apart from the rest?
Sources• I used the following sources to gather my information: – Clearthefogaboutautism.org – Autismspeaks.org – Kidshealth.org – http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/17/us/ 17virginia.html?pagewanted=all