This past weekend (11.9.03), I watched some parts of the movie-"Rain Man"-a popular movie back in the 80's with Tom Cruise (plays a character taking notice-"using"-of the amazing mathematical skills of his new friend with autism) and Dustin Hoffman (plays a character with autism). This movie was a "classic" grown-up, which touched my heart still as I currently work at a group home for developmentally disabled adults.
My only experience so far working with people with autism was back in Elementary School in St. Paul. I somehow got paired up with a friend who had a mental disability around 4th grade (10 years old). I would work with him on improving his physical skills and other tasks that I can't remember exactly. I just remember it was a very fulfilling (feeling good on helping someone) and heart changing experience for me at a young age. The ironic story to this is that I would end up working with his olders sister at Taco Bell during high-school to college many years later-what a coincidence or God divine intervention!
It seem like God was preparing my heart to do what I do know. Life is just all stages of preperation for God's plans for you. Not just "me" self-centerdly, but for Him and others-a blessing to "the least"...
'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'-Matthew 25:40
"Viola Smith’s hero will never save the world. All he has to do is smile, give her a hug or sing a song – and she is totally inspired.
"I love my brother,” said 23-year-old Viola, an Alexandria resident. "He doesn’t care what people think or say. He can’t really take it all in and understand, but he still smiles, he still does things every day. And he is carefree.
"In a way, he is my hero.”
If Joey Smith could vocalize his feelings, he would probably say the same thing about his fiercely loyal younger sister. But Joey is severely autistic, and also suffers from obsessivecompulsive disorder.
"He will talk, but he can’t say how he’s feeling and know what he means," Viola explained.
Joey, 25, and Viola were born in California to a mother who was schizophrenic and a father who also had "mental issues." The children’s maternal grandparents, Roy and Dorothy Weller, adopted Joey when he was a baby, and did the same two years later when Viola was born.
When Joey was 3, his grandparents found out he was autistic.
"At that time, no one really knew much about autism," said Viola, adding that Joey would not make eye contact and never wanted to be held. “We knew something was wrong but no one could put their finger on it."
As they were growing up, Viola became her older brother’s teacher, friend and protector.
"I was the one who stood up for him,” she said. “Any kid who has a sibling with a disability has a choice. They can be there to defend them and help them. Or they can just be there. I decided to be there and help him, teach him.”
Because of her grandparents’ age, Viola also knew from the time she was 6 years old that someday, she would be the one to take care of her brother. It was a thought that was always with her.
The family moved to Minnesota in 1996. Joey went to high school in Morris, where he was known as "the singing guy."
"If you start a song, he will finish that song. You turn on the radio and he will start singing away,” Viola bragged. “He’s very musically talented. He can’t play instruments, but he has a beautiful voice. When I was in high school he would sing in the hallways and everybody would stop and listen to him.”
At age 16, Joey had to move to a group home in Morris because he had occasional bouts of violent and aggressive behavior that his grandparents and sister were unable to control.
"It was the hardest day of my grandma’s life,” Viola lamented of moving him to the home. “At the same time, it took a lot of pressure off her."
He continued to attend school, and after spending a couple extra years in high school, Joey graduated at age 20, a day Viola says was “awesome."
With her grandparents in their 70s, Viola knew that she had to take steps to ensure that Joey’s best interests were always in mind. At age 18, she tried to become his legal guardian, but found out that it wasn’t possible until she was 21.
"I counted down the days,” she said. “The day of my 21st birthday I was right there at court saying, ‘I want to be his guardian.’ "
In that role, Viola can make decisions on behalf of her brother. She will ultimately be responsible for all decisions regarding his care when her grandparents, who now reside in Herman, are no longer able.
Although Joey still lives at the group home in Morris and Viola lives in Alexandria, she visits him as often as she can. He currently works at the Developmental Achievement Center in Morris with the help of an aide. But Viola has higher hopes for her brother’s future – she wants him to be able to "do something musical.”
And Viola’s brother, her hero, has inspired her own choices in life.
"I work with people with disabilities,” she said. “It’s my dream job, really.”
Viola knows that as Joey’s legal guardian, she may have a long road ahead of her. But she’s ready and willing.
"I would do anything for him,” Viola concluded. “I could lose my job…anything could happen. But I don’t care as long as I’m there with my brother. When our grandparents are gone, we are all we have of each other.”
What is autism?
April is National Autism Awareness Month.
Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are a group of developmental disabilities defined by significant impairments in social interaction and communication and the presence of unusual behaviors and interests. Many people with ASDs also have unusual ways of learning, paying attention, or reacting to different sensations.
The learning abilities of people with ASDs can vary – from gifted to severely challenged. ASD begins before the age of 3 and lasts throughout a person’s life.
People who have an ASD are different in how they act and what they can do. No two people with ASDs will have the same symptoms. They can have serious impairments with social, emotional and communication skills. They might repeat certain behaviors over and over again and don’t react well to changes in their daily routine.
It is estimated that three to six out of every 1,000 children in the U.S. have autism – and the number of diagnosed cases is rising. It’s not clear whether this is due to better detection and reporting of autism, a real increase in the number of cases, or both.
There is no cure for autism but treatment is typically behavior and communication therapies, educational therapies and drug therapies."
"Autism is a more common disorder than people might think, yet what it is remains a mystery to most people, even among those who live with it every day.
That could change locally. Amy Brandt, a mother of an autistic child and a Public Health Nurse for Stevens Traverse Grant Public Health, is...
working to organize a support group for people living with autism and its �spectrum disorders,� such as Asperger syndrome.
�Early intervention is so crucial,� Brandt said. �The earlier you start to deal with it the better outcomes you will have.�
April was Autism Month, and the 2008 Minnesota State Autism Conference wrapped up over the weekend. Brandt wants to keep that momentum going by starting the support group.
Brandt�s son, Dylan, 5, was about 2-years-old when Brandt and her husband, Jared, suspected something wasn�t quite right. One sign cropped up at his birthday party that year.
�He wanted nothing to do with it,� Brandt said. �He wanted to sit in our neighbor�s yard.�
That�s one sign of the brain development disorder. It impairs social skills and communication. Another is repetitive behavior. Mostly, Dylan�s vocabulary consisted mostly of repeating lines from movies, and he was obsessed with light switches, turning them on and off compulsively, Brandt said.
But Dylan has an amazing memory, she said, and had a firm command of colors, numbers and letters at a very young age. And yet because the causes and hallmarks of autism are hard to pin down, so is a diagnosis. Dylan was diagnosed by age 3.
�Everybody but me was in denial,� Brandt said. �They said I was just a nervous mother. I was nervous but because I knew something was going on.�
With the help of special programs and the understanding of his family � Amy, Jared and 2-year-old Ethan � Dylan has made great strides. He rides the bus to school and he has been mainstreamed into regular classes with the help of an aide, Brandt said.
There will always be difficult times ahead. Because it�s a social disability, Dylan sometimes has problems in public. Because he appears in many ways to be a typical child, people don�t understand why he sometimes acts up. He has sensory issues, so an environment that�s too loud or has too much activity can be a problem, Brandt said.
�People with autism are very intelligent and they can get better,� Brandt said. �But there�s this wall to get across.�
For more information about a local autism support group, contact Brandt at (320) 589-7425. For more information about autism in Minnesota, see the Web site www.ausm.org."
"An article in the August 20th CityPages in Minnesota suggests that it’s rather the North Star state that has the highest rate, 1 in 81....
The parent of an autistic child, Dan Hollenbeck, arrived at this figure by finding the number of cases of autism
services provided by each state’s public schools and then dividing this by the number of children enrolled. The figures that Hollenbeck arrived at provide an idea of how many children who are classified under the code of autism are receiving services in school districts across the US. But, it should be noted that school districts around the country vary in how they classify children as needing to receive services for autism, and services and programs for autistic children in public school vary widely from state to state (and within states—that’s certainly the case here in New Jersey–between rich and poor school districts, for instance)..."
Students at Westwood Intermediate School come to Kristin Anderson's room for extra help with things like social skills.
According to the Centers for Disease Control about one in 110 children have some form of the disorder. That's a jump from the one in 150 kids the CDC used to use as a guideline. They think the jump is in part due to better diagnosis and recording of kids with Autism.
With more children identified with autism spectrum disorders, there is more demand for special education services. In Minnesota, there's an effort not just to provide special education, but to raise the bar.
Students at Westwood Intermediate School come to Kristin Anderson's room for extra help with things like social skills. Anderson is an Autism teacher, though she didn't start out with that intention. This job came along and she's learned to employ a lot of different strategies to help her students with Autism Spectrum Disorders or ASD.
"They have a very different learning style. So, just figuring out how they learn best is one of the key things. And there's constantly different things that come up," said Anderson.
Although there is a growing need to teach kids with ASD, the state does not require specific training to teach these students. There is an effort underway to change that. The state board of teaching is working on creating an Autism teaching license. This plan began a couple of years ago at the urging of the Autism Society of Minnesota. Teachers earning the license would get specialized training.
"The preparation would be very targeted to meeting the needs of ASD kids. And it's similar to what we do in eight other special education areas right now," explained Karen Balmer, Executive Director of the Board of Teaching.
The hope is more teachers like Anderson will step up. She's glad she did.
"They really, really just touch your heart. The things they say, and the relationship you build with them. They let you know that you're somebody they can trust. It's very rewarding."
Eventually, the state would require teachers working with students with ASD to have an Autism license.
The earliest the state might start issuing the licenses would be the fall of 2011 and then there might be some phasing-in time as teachers get the training they need."
"NOTE: This Disability Services Guide, a comprehensive guide to available services for people with developmental disabilities including autism, was scanned by people with developmental disabilities for use on WCCO.com. The work was performed at Midway Training Services, a private company in St. Paul. Midway Training Services partners with the Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities and Johnson Condon Attorneys at Law, P.A., to provide people with autism and other developmental disabilities meaningful work in the area of document imaging." Experts Recommend Gluten-, Dairy-Free Autism Diet, # Jul 24, 2008 11:32 pm US/Central (WCCO.com) "She decided to start her son on a gluten-free, casein-free diet after hearing from other parents it could work miracles. But, to fully understand the science behind the diet, it's important to note what gluten and casein actually are.
Gluten is a protein found in foods like wheat, rye, oats and barley. It helps hold things like breads together and makes them soft. Casein is a protein found in dairy products, and one of the things that makes cheese melt.
Some doctors say these two proteins act like the drug opium in children with autism, impairing both the immune system and the brain.
"We're not 100 percent sure, but what's happening is that the body may not be completely breaking down those proteins," said Dr. Paul Nash, a nutritional wellness practitioner.
Nash, who is what's known as a "DAN" (defeat autism now) doctor, said the partially digested proteins are getting absorbed, which can have effects. DAN doctors believe gluten and casein can change how some kids on the autism spectrum think and act.
"They've done studies where they've injected lab animals with these compounds and they've seen behaviors similar to autism and schizophrenia," Nash said.
On the contrary, medical doctors have been slow to embrace the idea that the diet could change a child's behavior.
"I think a lot of it is just the history of what autism used to be thought of, as a behavior disorder and that there was no medical link," said Dr. Bryan Jepson, a biomedical expert on autism who is considered an expert in the biomedical field and practices at an autism-focused clinic called the Thoughtful House Center for Children in Texas.
Jepson is one doctor who said the diet does work, but that those in his profession are often skeptical. He said with some children, you can see an immediate response, but it will often take about a month or sometimes even a few months.
"I think a lot of the argument from the doctors would say well, it's expensive, it's hard, you're wasting money, it's a false hope," he said.
At the same time, Jepson said that, in reality, 60 to 70 percent of his patients who have tried it have in fact had a response..."
In three weeks a new Miss America will be crowned.
Miss Minnesota will be competing with a special goal in mind -- to teach about Autism.
"There are misconceptions about pageant girls," said Miss Minnesota, Jennifer Hudspeth. "I want to dispel those myths about pageant girls."
Beneath the evening gown, crown, and sash of Miss Minnesota lies a young woman with a purpose.
"I've devoted myself this year ... to teach people about tolerance and acceptance of people with Autism," said Hudspeth.
Hudspeth knows plenty about the subject after growing up with two autistic brothers.
"It's a spectrum disorder that affects a person's social skills," she said.
It affects each of her brothers differently.
"(My younger brother) Shane has a hard time answering certain questions and knowing what's appropriate to say when and where," said Hudspeth.
As for 18 year old Caleb:
"I struggle more socially, like being able to make conversation," said Caleb Hudspeth, Miss Minnesota's other brother.
Hudspeth is always there to support them both.
"She's been the perfect role model for me. She's taught me how to behave in the public," Caleb said.
Hudspeth has learned from her brothers too.
"They've taught me patience and they've taught me a joy for life in general," she said, "and that it's OK to be different."
To spread that message nationwide as Miss America would be a crowning moment in her life.
"If people could learn to be more tolerant and accepting, that would be my dream," she said.
For the first time this year, the public can vote on who they want as a Miss America finalist.
Her brothers think Jennifer is already a winner.
Census estimates found one in 134 Minnesota children are receiving services for autism."
Alkaline Diet : Live On CBS News -- Is Your Health At Risk?
"http://www.AlkalineDietAdvisor.com - Discover how an alkaline diet, eating right and hydration can lead to a healthier lifestyle.
The Standard American Diet could be killing you. That may sound like a strong statement, but facts back it up. Oversized portions of over-processed foods have created diets loaded with calories that are probably lacking in the vital nutrients your body needs to stay healthy.
We are living in an epidemic of obesity and increased occurrences of diseases, atherosclerosis and cancer. Yet all of that can be changed by a few simple changes in your lifestyle.
Renowned microbiologist and nutritionist Dr Robert O. Young and Shelly Redford Young look at three changes that you can make in your life. These changes in turn will give you increased health, stamina and protection from illness.
Starting with supplementation, Robert Young and Shelly young explore the benefits of Super Greens. This proprietary mix of vegetables, grasses and greens is an excellent supplement that can be easily added to any diet to provide your body with more than 125 nutrients.
But good health doesn't result just from adding a quality supplement like supergreens. They also explore what a good diet is an ho to change yours for the better. Proper hydration, is another key aspect of god health.
If you're tired of being sick and lethargic, or if you want to overcome the hampered lifestyle that you're living, then visit http://www.AlkalineDietAdvisor.com to stat you down the road to better health with simple-and-vital-changes that anyone can make."
"What on earth are gluten and casein? Can removing them from my child's diet really improve the symptoms of autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)?
Gluten and casein are getting a lot of attention in the autism community and from doctors in the "Defeat Autism Now!" biomedical movement. Some parents, doctors and researchers say that children have shown mild to dramatic improvements in speech and/or behavior after these substances were removed from their diet. Some also report that their children have experienced fewer bouts of diarrhea and loose stools since starting a gluten-free, casein-free (GFCF) diet. Author and autism consultant Donna Williams, who has autism herself, says she has been helped by "nutritional supplements together with a dairy/gluten-free and low Salicylate diet." Some people report no benefits from the GFCF diet. (Salicylates are found in some fruits likes apples and other foods).
Gluten and gluten-like proteins are found in wheat and other grains, including oats, rye, barley, bulgar, durum, kamut and spelt, and foods made from those grains. They are also found in food starches, semolina, couscous, malt, some vinegars, soy sauce, flavorings, artificial colors and hydrolyzed vegetable proteins.
Casein is a protein found in milk and foods containing milk, such as cheese, butter, yogurt, ice cream, whey and even some brands of margarine. It also may be added to non-milk products such as soy cheese and hot dogs in the form of caseinate.
The theory is that some people with autism and PDD cannot properly digest gluten and casein, which form substances that act like opiates in their bodies. This "drug" substance alters the person's behavior, perceptions, and responses to his environment, according to this theory. Research in the U.S. and Europe has found substances with opiate activity in the urine of a significant number of children with autism. A doctor can order a urinary peptide test that can tell if proteins are not being digested properly.
There is growing interest in the link between autism and gastrointestinal (GI) ailments. A study by the University of California Davis Health System found that children with autism born in the 1990s were more likely to have gastrointestinal problems, including constipation, diarrhea and vomiting, than autistic children who were born in the early 1980s. Some people use the GFCF diet mainly to ease gastrointestinal problems and food allergies or sensitivities.
Studies are currently underway to examine the effectiveness of the GFCF diet, which has not gained widespread acceptance in the U.S. medical community. One recent study found behavioral improvements in children on a GFCF diet, while another study found no significant effects from the diet...
Medical tests can determine if your child has a sensitivity or an allergy to gluten, casein and other foods such as eggs, nuts and soybeans. Any pediatrician or a physician from the DAN! (Defeat Autism Now!) list can order these tests before you begin the diet.
Before you consider a change in your child's diet, consult with a physician and nutritionist to make sure you are providing an adequate diet and nutritional supplements, if necessary. Also, please read any of the books and web sites about the diet (listed below).
Some advocates of dietary intervention suggest removing one food from the diet at a time, so you will know which food was causing a problem. It also is helpful to ask people who do not know about the dietary change if they see any improvement after a few weeks.
It's often suggested to remove milk first because the body will clear itself of milk/casein the quickest. Gluten may be removed a month after the elimination of milk. It may take up to six months on a gluten-free diet for the body to rid itself of all gluten. That is why most advocates suggest giving the diet a trial of six months.
The diet can seem like a lot of work, at first. You must carefully read the ingredients on food packages. Beware of "hidden" casein and gluten in ingredient lists, such as curds, caseinate, lactose, bran, spices or certain types of vinegar. It may be hard to locate a substitute for the milk your child loves, although many children do adapt to the gluten-free, casein-free (GFCF) soy, potato, almond and rice milk substitutes available. (Companies listed below). Many of these substitutes are enriched with calcium and Vitamin D. In addition, many parents provide vitamin and calcium supplements to their children on the diet... Re: Help; violent autistic boy, Posted By goldie on December 19, 2000 at 03:47:08: from autismtreatmentcenter.org "Dear Goldie.For us diet has been important ...a variety of things but our son is much more prone to temper and upsets if he has gluten[wheat/flour/bread etc] or chocolate especially.[after chocolate the living room has on occasions looked like we've been burgled] we notice these have a delayed effect of 2-4 hours before kicking in but also a build up effect which wears off after cutting them out over several weeks there are a few other triggers too for him we know so far.....for quite a few others milk products[cassein] are a trigger....it might be worth considering.Music[eg tapes in the car] help too.Trying to keep calm and remain peaceful is helpful but no help if a seatbelt is undone in the car whilst driving somewhere and some tempers go beyond this I know.We are making steady progress partly as we learn more and partly as he matures...we are so much further on than we were 2 years ago.Good luck.Having a loving attitude and approach to him as you clearly do must be a great starting point.Keep trying think laterally ask around and keep trying to find the way foreward and you will surely progress with this.Love Jeanie" Re: Help; violent autistic boy Posted By Bram Hornstein on November 25, 2000 at 13:59:36: "..Almost forgot about diet. He may be responding to something he is eating. Also, I would try an experiment giving him 2000-3000mg vit C each day for a month and see if you note any changes. Vit. C has been proven to be helpful in this area. ARI has a good paper on this on their web site. See my web page for more info about other possibilities. www.bhare.org Good luck,
PART 1 - DO NOT LET AUTISTIC TANTRUMS \ MELTDOWNS TAKE CENTER STAGE! DOING SO EMPOWERS THE AUTISTIC WEREWOLF & WILL SURELY UNDO ALL YOUR CONSTRUCTUVE EFFORTS!
"...The tantrum or meltdown part of an autistics nature is like a werewolf that comes out only when a convergence of sensory overload events behave like a full moon calling it from its resting place. Oh for sure a autistics tantrums are like the sudden appearance of a werewolf as both are violent, angry, antisocial and as such can not be missed when in full reversion. However just as you would not want to be stereotypiced by a part of yourself that appears only some times. Autistics do not want their entire identity as autistic beings lumped into the fact that when we are overloaded we revert to using primal coping systems that make most neurotypicals extremely uncomfortable..."
"..The most important part about dealing with meltdowns is finding out what is causing them. While a lot of what is causing them can't be avoided, there will be some that can, and you can work on keeping him away from them, or removing him from the stimulus if it starts...
*11.3.09 "Make sure to be sensitive to their needs. Sometimes the tantrum is simply a result of their frustration at not being able to communicate. Pay special attention to the child, particularly if you think they are trying to let you know something, and be patient in trying to figure out what he needs or wants...
Don’t be afraid to punish. Most autistic children are very intelligent, and although they process thought differently, they do understand when they are being punished. Although these punishments may require modifications, they are still sometimes a necessary discipline. Consider time-outs and withholding special treats or privileges. Explain in simple terms why they are being punished, and avoid lengthy punishments, as they may not be effective--or even understood.
"When dealing with tantrums and difficult behaviors in autism spectrum disorders, using behavioral approaches alone can sometimes fail. What is the missing piece to managing these behaviors that a behavioral approach alone may not address?
To start, we need to look at the reasons for behavior. According to behavioral approaches, most of the behavior we see results from one of three reasons: a request, seeking attention, or a sensory reason. Let's look deeper at these three reasons for behavior and the ways we currently handle them....
This situation calls for tools to deal with overwhelming thoughts, feelings and strategies in the moment before the tantrum, not just consequences after. ..
Neurodevelopmental Disorders: Fragile X and Autism
"2003 UC Davis M.I.N.D. Institute Summer Series on Neurodevelopmental Disorders presents Randi J. Hagerman, M.D., F.A.A.P. discussing advances at the molecular and behavioral levels and features that they have in common as well as differences in regards to Fragile X gene and autism. Series: M.I.N.D. Institute Lecture Series on Neurodevelopmental Disorders [2/2004] [Health and Medicine] [Professional Medical Education] [Show ID: 8484] " What is Fragile X Syndrome, from fragilex.org "...fragile X syndrome (FXS), the most common cause of inherited mental impairment. This impairment can range from learning disabilities to more severe cognitive or intellectual disabilities. (Sometimes referred to as mental retardation.) FXS is the most common known cause of autism or "autistic-like" behaviors. Symptoms also can include characteristic physical and behavioral features and delays in speech and language development...." Fragile X syndrome
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia "..Martin and Bell in 1943, described a pedigree of X-linked mental disability, without considering the macroorchidism (larger testicles). In 1969 Chris and Weesam first sighted an unusual "marker X chromosome" in association with mental disability. In 1970 Frederick Hecht coined the term "fragile site" (Renpenning's syndrome is not synonymous with the syndrome). In Renpenning's syndrome, there is no fragile site on the X chromosome. Renpenning's cases had short stature, moderate microcephaly, and neurological (brain) disorders....
"There is no known single cause for autism, but it is generally accepted that it is caused by abnormalities in brain structure or function. Brain scans show differences in the shape and structure of the brain in children with autism versus neuro-typical children. Researchers are investigating a number of theories, including the link between heredity, genetics and medical problems. In many families, there appears to be a pattern of autism or related disabilities, further supporting a genetic basis to the disorder. While no one gene has been identified as causing autism, researchers are searching for irregular segments of genetic code that children with autism may have inherited. It also appears that some children are born with a susceptibility to autism, but researchers have not yet identified a single "trigger" that causes autism to develop.
Other researchers are investigating the possibility that under certain conditions, a cluster of unstable genes may interfere with brain development, resulting in autism. Still other researchers are investigating problems during pregnancy or delivery as well as environmental factors, such as viral infections, metabolic imbalances, and exposure to environmental chemicals."
*see GoodnewsEverybody: Science-Environmental
"...Heritability contributes about 90% of the risk of a child developing autism, but the genetics of autism are complex and typically it is unclear which genes are responsible. In rare cases, autism is strongly associated with agents that cause birth defects. Many other causes have been proposed, such as exposure of children to vaccines; these proposals are controversial and the vaccine hypotheses have no convincing scientific evidence....
What Causes Autism?
By Lisa Jo Rudy, About.com
Updated: October 20, 2006
About.com Health's Disease and Condition content is reviewed by the Medical Review Board
"...Do Vaccines Cause Autism?: There are two theories that link autism and vaccines. The first theory suggests that the MMR (Mumps-Measles-Rubella) vaccine may cause intestinal problems leading to the development of autism. The second theory suggests that a mercury-based preservative called thimerosal, used in some vaccines, could be connected to autism...." What Causes Autism, from nationalautismassociation.org "...Thimerosal should be removed from all of these vaccines. No amount of mercury is appropriate in any childhood vaccine..."
'.."I've always enjoyed unique and one-of-a-kind designs, and from that Fabil was born", says Diana, who also has a talent for poetry.
After Fabil's success in helping Selena learn important concepts that facilitated her ability to live in the modern world, Diana found her calling in wanting to help other families with autistic children. So she created 'Fabil Teaches', in which this special character appears in three different sets of colorful flashcards to help children understand prepositions, tenses, pronouns and feelings. With 24 cards in each set, they are available to parents and professionals at Diana's website, dianaoriginals.com.
Since starting down this road to help other families in similar straits, Diana has given card sets to families with children who have learning disabilities, receiving a lot of positive feedback as the families feel Fabil is entertaining and helpful, she explains.
"The parents have appreciated the simplicity of the cards as well as the colorful designs. I very much welcome special requests for cards knowing that what may be appropriate for my daughter at the moment, could be too advanced or not advanced enough, for another child. As my part in helping the world, I sent some card sets to a Christian organization that helps the homeless in Mexico. I thought it would be a good way to teach those children the English language."
.."I firmly believe that the good in our lives comes from the good we give to others. God and prayer have been the source of our family's strength through this journey".
"..., new abilities are discovered every day. While adults with disabilities often experience isolation and the feeling of being alone, at Pine Tree Society Community Services they are part of a supportive family..."
"... is an evidence-based service, training, and research program for individuals of all ages and skill levels with autism spectrum disorders. " Autistic adult residential center expands; studies confirm benefits
By CAROL HENDERSON
UNC-CH News Services June 2, 1997 -- No. 387 "CHAPEL HILL -- This month, the Carolina Living and Learning Center -- a residential and vocational training program for adults with autism -- will triple in size. The expanded center will house 15 residents, up from five, and increase from three to five the number of day students.
Located on a farm in rural Pittsboro, the center was founded in 1990 and developed by Division TEACCH, a branch of the psychiatry department at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill School of Medicine. Residents receive vocational training in farming and landscaping.
"The beauty of this approach is that it is meaningful,” said Dr. Mary Van Bourgondien, clinical director of the center. “Even a person with a communication handicap has a concept of growing and preparing food. Tasks are individualized to meet each person's level of skills. We've also found that the daily exercise involved in working on the farm not only promotes fitness but also reduces behavioral problems. .." The relationship between existing residential services and the needs of autistic adults-
Journal Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
...An innovative community program is helping young adults with autism improve social cognition with the hope of improving opportunities for employment and community involvement. Jonathan J. Kaufman, PhD, is codirector of the Adaptations program at the Manhattan Jewish Community Center (JCC) and founder of Disability Works, Inc., a consulting company that helps corporations, government organizations, and educational institutions develop strategies and initiatives to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities. Kaufman helped launch Adaptations, the first initiative of its kind in the United States serving young adults in their 20s and 30s who have learning disabilities and/or are on the autistic spectrum. The program develops social skills and job strategies and provides social events, including social skills groups, cultural events around New York City, lounges, dinners, and use of the JCC facilities for activities from photography, cooking, and fitness to integrated programming with other young adults. ..
For more information, visit http://web.syr.edu/~jisincla/person_first.htm.
Editor’s Note: Social Work Today currently uses "person-first" language (e.g., adults with autism) commonly accepted in the social work profession. However, Mr. Robertson’s quotes and text related to his statements reflect his preference in autism-related language."
Which Autism Diet? Three Autism Diet experts share advice at the Autism One Conference
"Betsy Hicks, Sueson Vess, and Julie Matthews speak about beginning diet and nutrition intervention for autism. The Mom, The Chef, and The Nutrition Consultant comprise this informative trio. See more videos of the Autism One Conference at http://ZenWorksProductions.com"
"Uta Frith is Professor in Cognitive Development at the University of London. She has proposed and tested two of the main theories of autism, mindblindness and central coherence. Behavioral studies over the last twenty years have shown that mentalizing is severely delayed or absent in individuals with autism spectrum disorders. Series: "M.I.N.D. Institute Lecture Series on Neurodevelopmental Disorders" [10/2006] [Health and Medicine] [Professional Medical Education] [Show ID: 11861] "
*referred by Natan E. Ory (spoke at a conference in Mahnomen, MN on Wednesday, October 3rd of 2007)
Bio: "Nathan Ory, M.A. is a registered psychologist who has worked in Victoria, British Columbia since 1978 with children and adults with mentally handicapping conditions. He specializes in clients with autistic features, extremely challenging behavior, and diagnosis with a concurrent mental illness.
Since 1990, Nathan has been a member of a multi-disciplinary support team on Vancouver Island (Island Mental Health Support Team) which assists persons to remain in their community settings. He describes his role as including direct counselling, functional behavior analysis, prescriptive behavioral strategies, emotional management strategies, and caregiver training about the effect of an individual's cognitive limitations on a person's coping ability.
Nathan contributes a articles to our website and also to AutismVictoria.com. His book Working With People With Challenging Behaviors: A Guide for Educators and Caregivers has been a steady seller since its publication in 1995. He also has produced seven video-tapes of presentations based on chapters from this book.
Nathan presents spirited workshops and seminars for parents and professionals on a regular basis and often donates a portion of his book sales back to the non-profits that sponsor such events."
"Working with people with challenging behavior
by Nathan E. Ory, M.A." "...2. Is there any behavior in the individual's existing repertoire that is an acceptable alternative?
Although their own repertoire of positive behaviors might be very small, the assignment is to make a list of everything the person ever does, either prompted or spontaneously that is an acceptable alternative to their maladaptive behavior of concern.
Instead of trying to get the non-responsive person to respond to "no", "don't" and "stop", work on trying to get them to respond to "yes", "do" and "start" their own repertoire of positive behaviors.
3. Is there anything the individual would work hard to have or do?
To begin with, this might be access to some maladaptive sensory behavior that you are trying to inhibit or stop. It may be possible to use access to this maladaptive behavior to motivate other, more positive behavior. This is called using the Premack Principle as a reinforcer, where the opportunity to do a highly likely behavior can be used to motivate a less likely behavior.
"...The Health Department studied Minneapolis public school autism programs for the three years starting with the 2005 school year. Researchers found the percentage of Somali children in the programs was two to seven times higher than non-Somali children....
Some Somali parents have theorized the higher autism rates were related to vaccines, lead exposure or vitamin D deficiency, but the Health Department report does not address causes. The cause of autism disorders in general isn't known....
"The Somali community is justifiably concerned that there is something happening here in Minnesota or Minneapolis that could be causing autism that they weren't seeing in their children in Somalia," she said....
Minnesota Department of Health: http://www.health.state.mn.us/
MDH Somali-autism page: http://www.health.state.mn.us/ommh/projects/autism/index.cfm
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
"When parents William and Bobbie Gallagher pressed government officials to
investigate why their children and so many others here are autistic, they
suggested it might be worth checking into pollution and environmental
Even with that caution, several Brick parents, who worked to focus official
attention on the township's autistic population, said the latest findings
may lend credibility to the idea that local environmental conditions can
play a role in autism.
"Do I think it's environmental? I'm leaning that way," said Diana Gerlach,
president of a newly formed parents-teachers association for Brick's
"..."There's really the role for something in the environment that could be triggering someone who is genetically susceptible,” said Goldstein.
“I think there's a real concern that there's been a change in our environment,” said Dr. Carol Berkowitz, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics. “An exposure to some toxins, chemicals, environmental factors — either when a mother is pregnant or after the delivery of the child — that has led to autism.”
Possible exposures include pesticides, flame retardants and even pre- and postnatal viruses.
One possible factor still remains controversial. Though health officials insist that childhood vaccines are safe, some believe that exposure to the mercury preservative once found in most childhood vaccines can cause autism....
Dr. Kenneth Bock believes that autism can be effectively treated through special diets, nutritional supplements and removal of toxins. Bock tested Paul's urine and found elevated mercury levels.
“He had elevated levels of not only mercury but cadmium, lead, arsenic and tin,” said Bock. “There may be a subset of children that are more susceptible to mercury and therefore react this way in terms of the autism spectrum.”
Bock detoxified Paul's body of heavy metals through chelation therapy. He used an FDA approved medicine, called DMSA, which has been used for decades to treat lead poisoning. It has the potential for side effects like liver problems, but Bock says the drug has a good safety profile.
“Two years after he started treatment, he would look at me and say, ‘Momma, I love you,’ ” said Avram, who lives in Cheshire, Conn.
Bock also treated Paul with glutathione, a protein that detoxifies the body of heavy metals. ...
Others point out that if the mercury in vaccines was the culprit, the rate of autism would have started to decline after 1999. That year, health authorities urged manufacturers to remove thimerosal from all childhood vaccines except the flu shot — in order to make sure parents would vaccinate their children....
Must-See! Audience Helps Autistic Man Sing National Anthem - Inspirational Videos
"When this autistic man started having trouble singing the national anthem, something happened that could bring you to tears. What an amazing display of humanity. Thank God there is still goodness in the world. "
"..Sensory integration therapy is essentially a form of occupational therapy, and it is generally offered by specially trained occupational therapists. It involves specific sensory activities (swinging, bouncing, brushing, and more) that are intended to help the patient regulate his or her sensory response. The outcome of these activities may be better focus, improved behavior, and even lowered anxiety...
"As described by individuals with autism, sensory integration techniques, such as pressure-touch can facilitate attention and awareness, and reduce overall arousal. Temple Grandin, in her descriptive book, Emergence: Labeled Autistic, relates the distress and relief of her sensory experiences....
Sensory integration focuses primarily on three basic senses--tactile, vestibular, and proprioceptive. Their interconnections start forming before birth and continue to develop as the person matures and interacts with his/her environment. The three senses are not only interconnected but are also connected with other systems in the brain. Although these three sensory systems are less familiar than vision and audition, they are critical to our basic survival. The inter-relationship among these three senses is complex. Basically, they allow us to experience, interpret, and respond to different stimuli in our environment. The three sensory systems will be discussed below...
"In contrast, autistic children with hypoactive sensory systems actively seek activities that involve motion. They may enjoy swinging or other activities involving motion. They may not become dizzy after spinning around in circles. They may need to be retrained from excessive motion, rather than needing encouragement to simply engage in motion (as may be the case with children with hyperactive sensory systems).
Sensory integration activities address autistic children's sensory needs by either lessening or amplifying the intensity of various forms of sensory stimulation that children receive. Most sensory integration activities work with children's vestibular, proprioceptive and tactile sensory systems.
The vestibular sensory system helps people to be able to stand upright and to coordinate their movements. It involves sensory input from vision, and also from special sensory organs located in the inner ear. Activities that stimulate the vestibular system involve movement; swinging, jumping and spinning are good examples. Children with hypoactive sensory systems may engage in such activities as a means of self-stimulation. A therapist looking to help children with hypoactive sensory systems might engage them in learning alternative structured movement exercises which would meet their sensory needs, while helping them stay within socially acceptable bounds. "
"There's a new study out in JAMA (free full text here) on the incidence of autism in the US population. Before getting to what the article actually says, it's worth seeing what the media are saying it says. The New York Times headlines it "Study Shows Increase in Autism", and Yahoo runs it as "Study Confirms Marked Rise in Autism."
The AP ("CDC Study Finds Autism To Be Less Rare") and Reuters ("Atlanta Study Finds Rise in Autism Diagnoses" do better. That's because it's very hard to tell if there's a real rise taking place or not. The numbers are going up, but the interpretation isn't as easy as it sounds. ...
The mandate for early intervention services for children with DDs, including autism, also has contributed to greater attention being placed on autism. At the same time, studies are suggesting that some children with autism respond well to early, intense educational intervention. The combined influence of these factors has probably contributed to the identification of more individuals with autism. However, it remains unclear whether specific environmental, immunologic, genetic, or unidentified factors also have contributed to these higher reported prevalence rates..."