Lipstick and Autism

Autism is the fastest growing and most common developmental disorder. Imagine the frustration and anxiety over taking your child to a team of medical specialists to be told that they have a lifelong and often debilitating developmental disorder with no cure and limited treatment options? Lauren Ratcliff’s parents knew something was different about her from the time she was an infant but as she entered Kindergarten in the fall of 1986 her differences were very obvious to everyone around her as compared to other children her age.

A few months later in early 1987, Lauren’s parents took her to see a team of pediatric specialists and it was then confirmed that she had an incurable and lifelong disorder then known as Pervasive Developmental Disorder and was later diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome when it was listed in diagnostic criteria. Today that would be known as autism spectrum disorder classified as level one to three based on the type and severity of the disorder.

Like so many other parents with special needs children Lauren’s parents faced many trials and tribulations with treatment options including health costs, limited yet very expensive treatment options that did not always work, and dealing with people who oftentimes misunderstood Lauren.