Once again April is upon us and while it brings the thought of spring time, it also reminds us as a community how important it is to address the subject of Autism. While some of us discuss Autism all year long for many April is the one time of year when society discusses Autism; how does it happen, why does it happen and what can we do to not only be aware of Autism but to accept all forms of neurodiversity. These are all valid discussions but let’s not forget those who have yet to be diagnosed. In spite of what the statistics say, I believe there are many more children and adults who are never diagnosed. Read the rest of this entry →
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The phone rings. I don’t recognize the number but pick it up anyway. The woman with the southern accident on the other end tells me how she is not a solicitor. She thanks me for my recent contribution to the children’s hospital. She tells me what my measly donation will do. I feel guilty that I did not give more but I just don’t have it to give. She talks about what they can do with more money. I listen not wanting to be rude. Besides I am thinking of a nice way to tell her no, a word I have a hard time with. Finally she pauses. Read the rest of this entry →
As I was perusing the Los Angeles Times website this morning I came across the L.A. Affairs column which chronicles romance and relationships. Normally, I would just move on but the first paragraph caught my attention:
My daughter Peyton is nonverbal and severely challenged by autism. I once believed she’d never experience a meaningful romantic relationship. Then, at a monthly workshop in Los Angeles for people who communicate via keyboard, she met Gabriel, a young man who traveled from Ventura with his support team. Dressed in preppy khakis and a plaid sport shirt, he seemed to turn a few heads, including Peyton’s. Read the rest of this entry →
When professionals develop ABA intervention programs for students with ASD and other disabilities, they use many different approaches when selecting goals. Some use criterion-referenced assessment tools such as the Assessment of Basic Language and Learning Skills- Revised (The ABLLS-R) or The Verbal Behavior Milestones Assessment and Placement Program (VB-MAPP) to set intervention goals. Others use informal assessment procedures such as interviews with students, caregivers, and teachers, checklists, and informal observations to set goals for ABA interventions. What professionals do not typically use nearly enough are ecological assessments to set goals for ABA interventions. Read the rest of this entry →
Assessing the Efficacy of Sensory Diets on Latent Responding and Frequency of Inappropriate Behavior
Typically developing people can take in all sensory input (i.e.: visual, tactile, auditory, olfactory, etc) and regulate their sensory systems to remain at a state of homeostasis (i.e.: sensory integration). However, people with Autism do not have the same ability. It has been described by people that are on the Autism Spectrum (e.g.: Temple Grandin) as an experience that leads them to seek out sensory input that allows them to regulate their behavior (i.e.: sensory seeking-squeezing themselves into small places, stereotypic behavior-hand flapping, toe walking, visual “stimming” [self-stimulation], etc.). Read the rest of this entry →
Due to the media speculation that Adam Lanza, the suspect in the recent Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy, may have been affected with Asperger Syndrome, concern has developed on several fronts. Of immediate concern is fear that students returning to school who have been previously identified with having an Autism Spectrum Disorder may now be stigmatized, especially those who may exhibit meltdown behaviors in the educational setting. Read the rest of this entry →
Some time ago I was reading a post by a parent who was commenting on her surprise that her child was suddenly gaining a myriad of skills – seemingly out of the blue. This was not just happening in one area, but in multiple areas: her previously non-verbal child was using new words and in the correct social context, and also trying new foods, and open to new sensory experiences.
What I have noticed over the years with H is that his progress is anything but even – especially if we look at it on a small scale. There are days when it has definitely felt like the cliché two steps forward – one step back. (However, I suppose there is often truth or reality at the centre of a cliché – and a noticing of a pattern or a tendency – or it wouldn’t be a cliché in the first place.) Read the rest of this entry →
It has been well documented in the literature that individuals with ASD have impairments with what it called “theory of mind.” Basically, theory of mind refers to the ability to take the perspective of other people, or to see things from the point of view of someone else. Some refer to the difficulties with theory of mind in people with ASD as “mind blindness.” I find that to be quite a harsh description of individuals who have amazing minds and much to offer the world. I’m not going to discount the fact that many people with ASD do have difficulty understanding the perspective of other people. But what I am going to point out is this: so do a lot of people who don’t have autism. Let’s not deny that many people in this world spend the majority of their time thinking from their own perspective and have great difficulty seeing things from the perspective of others. It may be true that people with ASD have more difficulty with perspective taking than individuals without ASD, but they are not a rare species of humans who are the only people who have difficulty with theory of mind. Read the rest of this entry →
In October 2010, The Atlantic Published an article entitled, “Autism’s First Child.” This article chronicled the first documented case of Autism in medical literature dating back to 1943. However, this article was really more about the man, Donald Triplett, a 77-year-old Mississippian, and his enviable life. The author of the article, Caren Zucker, explains it best when she said:
We wanted readers to come away with a critical lesson — that in real and material ways, the quality of life achievable by a person with autism (or with any disability for that matter) depends significantly on how successfully and spontaneously any society recognizes the humanity of that person in its midst. In short, pity isn’t much help. But community is, when community implies connectedness, inclusiveness, caring, and, quite simply, good old-fashioned friendship. Read the rest of this entry →
Today my boy and I were skulking in a thrift store – hunting for treasures. It is one of our favourite pass-times: something we can do together, an adventure of sorts, and always there is the promise of finding something absolutely remarkable. For me that would be some lovely 1940′s kitsch, movie memorabilia, photos or art, or old miscellaneous collectible bits and pieces. For H the treasure could include old movies or electronics, retro pop culture stuff, anything Star Wars or Star Trek, or even a really cool hat. Read the rest of this entry →