Part 1 was about Crane, and here is Part 2 about how Autism has affected the Martin County community and could be a key contributor to the city's Alzheimer's crisis. Helping families and the community heal for those who are affected by the disease like myself and my family.
My mother would tell me, before being diagnosed with autism in July 2005 by a group of autism specialists at Riley Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis, Ind., the thought of having autism never crossed my family’s mind because no one knew what this mental incapability even was.
In fact, for too many Martin and Daviess County residents, the thought of autism spectrum disorder never crossed the minds of those in the county because the disease in 2005 was pretty much unheard of.
My mother speculated whether she had autism, but the Loogootee School District “would view me as crazy,” if she had tested for autism. Given her family situation, there was no one she could say to her whether she had autism or not.
Martin County residents do hide autism and other mental health issues from plain sight for the public to witness or see. It is a gag if you see someone with autism walk through your city streets in Loogootee or Shoals because of the hidden stigma of mental health issues invading the area.
Through researching Project 12776, I have realized that there are more questions than answers needing to be solved as the city of Loogootee is that many people want to hide what is going on in their life with any mental issue, or they will change the subject as suggested throughout our research throughout these last seven years.
It can be hard to talk to someone about issues other than drug or alcohol problems in this region alone. More than other regions in the state, Martin County residents will not talk about mental health issues at all at certain points.
Economic disparity is more common in the city than autism rates.
According to the Indiana Resource Center for Autism along with the Indiana Institute of Disability and Community Center at Indiana University, in research conducted in December 2022, they found that 1 in 63 kids and 1 in 44 adults across the state of Indiana have reportedly been diagnosed with autism on average in the state of Indiana.
The problem is not just talked about less in Indiana, but also throughout the state.
As it was hard to find people to talk to about the issue, the autism problem and the Alzheimer’s problem don’t match up because some people had autistic kids with parents who were bound with dementia and others were not. However, one thing does line up with the fact that dementia and autism can be linked to each other and that happens to be, what I mentioned before in, economic downturns, stress, the environment, Crane Naval Base, and family matters all tie to this problem that is now getting awareness throughout the Martin County community thanks to outside help and more accessibilities for resources for families in need.
As explained in the article about how Crane Naval Base and their corroding environmental factors have affected the city and its surrounding area’s water system, soil, and land, one of the symptoms caused by
Of course, much of the research that was found about autism in Martin County being a contribution to those with Alzheimer’s is very timid, and through more research, the odds of someone giving birth to a child with autism and having the disease is very low.
Our family has been affected by autism on all sides along with bipolar, schizophrenia, and depression along with narcotics and alcohol abuse. In 1998 the Department of Defense and the Defense Technical Information Center investigated the Naval Base and found five toxic chemicals were noticed affecting the drinking water around the city.
The findings showed that autism spectrum disorder, PTSD-like symptoms, and bipolar disorder were a few factors causing many kids to experience symptoms after drinking tap water near the counties of Martin, Daviess, and throughout the Crane Naval Base region.
In 2019, as the base alerted residents to not drink the water, many of the Amish community families who do live near water wells continued to drink the water periodically. There was limited data from health experts and parents on how the problem with the water, soil, and land could affect those with autism, but we do know that this is happening from generation to generation across the city.
As many kids might develop autism-like symptoms, memory loss, or bipolar-like disorders throughout the years if nothing is done about the water issue which has raged on since 1941.
The people in the main low-income and elderly communities of Martin and Daviess County, Ind. show several autism-related symptoms that could lead also lead to many having bipolar-like symptoms due to stress and anxiety due to economic downturns or relationship issues.
STATS Indiana, the state’s public data utility system, said in reports the number of those who are married with children is 18% lower than those who are married without children. The number of those with food stamps and on welfare is higher in Loogootee, but combining the Bloomington, Bedford, Bloomfield, and Spencer regions, the welfare and food stamp percentage is lower than the state average.
The report from 2022 also concluded that Loogootee is in the third-to-last spot behind Spencer and Bloomfield for economic growth.
Combine drug usage, alcoholism, and substance abuse at high rates throughout the state, including in Martin and Daviess counties. The number of those who suffer from mental illness should be higher, but no data showing how much autism and Alzheimer’s are linked to autism. Many parents in Loogootee in the 1980s were over the age of 30, by birth, we were able to see that parents of those with children who have kids by 2000 have a slightly higher rating for problems down the road after the pregnancy.
The scarcest part of this is those with disabilities could be on the rise in the next few years as many workers from Crane and opportunities up north pop up for those out west. No one has reported on this issue, neither in the state nor elsewhere, of autism and Alzheimer’s until our findings showed these difficulties.
But there are resources more available for those with disabilities compared to the 1980s.
Researchers at Purdue University created a service-learning community program by developing an app, SPEAKAll, that helps those with autism learn how to speak.
According to Purdue's research team involved in the study was Loogootee resident Nick Schuetz, then a senior, who led another autism services program at the time and encouraged town leaders to give the application a shot in his public school district back home. He said, “One cool thing is that you can record a voice and add whatever pictures you want. The child could combine his mother's voice and his father's picture to say, I want dad home.”
Years he and other disability activists encouraged leaders to use the service for those with autism, which has made steady progress, but more is needed in this problem to recognize and combat the issue of autism, along with Alzheimer’s.
This still begs the question, “How much more can Martin County residents learn about Alzheimer’s so I can help my elder in need?”
In the next article next Tuesday, we will explore the world of narcissistic personality disorder and eating disorders which have affected the female elderly community, and how that links to dementia.
Comments / 1