Comparision between Alzheimers and Autism.

I guess you can say I have a unique perspective on this subject. My father has Alzheimer’s and I work in an elementary school helping kids with special needs “mainstream”. I currently aide a student with moderate to severe autism. I am constantly amazed by the similarities of the two. First, the frustration levels. All is good until you require them to do unfamiliar tasks. Almost instant volcano. BOOM!! Both will react with rage, physical and emotional. If that doesn’t redirect the request, then they go to belligerence. In the case of my student, she’s non-verbal, so she whines and moans. My dad, belittles and insults. Second, both have repetitive requests and questions. Over and over, the same things. I try to be patient…but wow. The only difference, I am extremely excited when I see my student learn a new word or action. It makes everything worthwhile. Sadly, I know that my Father will never be able to regain what he’s lost. So I sit with him, answer his questions over and over, hoping that the next time I visit, he’ll remember my name.