Rotten Food, Lousy Service: Dodge the Restaurant Mentality to Get Your Kids the Services They Need

Carol Ann Greenburg Brooklyn Special Needs Consulting, www.bklynsnc.com Sometimes I feel like getting services for my autistic son is like trying to dine at the world’s worst restaurant. You can’t afford the best eatery in the city, who could? You’re still really hungry so you walk into some local dive and the wait staff, whose entire job it is to feed you, is standing around staring blankly at the many obvious health-code violations. They’re clearly offended by the interruption when you ask for a menu. You’re the one who is hungry after all, why can’t you come in knowing what you plan to eat? Finally someone ambles over with a menu, drops it on your table like they’re doing you a favor, and you realize there’s nothing even remotely edible on it. Specials, Substitutions? Forget about it! After you wait an unholy amount of time, someone brings you the wrong…

How I Know Vaccines Didn’t Cause My Child’s Autism

Devon Koren Asdell community.advanceweb.com/blogs/ot_9/default.aspx   Eleven years ago, as I lounged in my mother’s apartment at the tender age of twenty, overwhelmed by the heat of the summer combined with my final trimester of pregnancy, I finally settled on a name for the creature who kept poking her tiny feet into my ribcage, the creature who was poised at any moment to completely and irrevocably change my life. I decided on a name derived from the Irish language — “Aisling,” which meant “Dream,” and “Stoirm,” which meant “Storm.” A Dream Storm. At that moment, I had no idea how completely that name would end up describing my beautiful, blond-haired daughter, who would spend much of her time lost in the dreams inside her head, and who would also grow to rage against the confusing world around her. I did not realize that the child in my womb would be diagnosed…

Reflections on Mature Autism

Rory Patton springingtiger.wordpress.com I love it when someone asks me to write a guest piece about my experience of autism because it compels me to think about it in a way I don’t in my blog. On this occasion the invitation has been more or less coincidental with a recent blackout and even more recent meltdown. I don’t pretend to be an expert on autism; sometimes I am not certain I am even an expert on me! There has been some debate over whether Asperger’s Syndrome should disappear as a discrete diagnostic category and instead be subsumed into the more general description of Autism Spectrum Disorder. I personally prefer the label Asperger’s — much more socially acceptable than “Autism” — but recent events have reminded me of just how firmly we are part of the Autism Spectrum. I am very much inclined to believe that the key difference between Asperger’s…

All His Base Are Belong To Him

Susan Senator www.susansenator.com When Benj was a very little guy, he used to sit on my lap at the beach, holding on tight to some little palm-sized truck or being. He did not like to move from there. I was his base. He took a long time to get himself into the sand, and even longer to play in the waves the way he does now. It worried me, of course.  All the other little kids were sitting on their fat, puffed-up diapers and digging, crying, yelling, laughing, pointing. Benj could do all of it; he just had to do it from my lap. I tried pushing him off, prying him loose, setting him down, showing him how to play, but generally, he preferred my cushiony self. Sweet Baby. But oh, God, was I worried. He wasn’t like Nat, but he wasn’t like Max. So what was he? He was…

The Keeper: A Tale of Late-Childhood Asperger’s Diagnosis

Mir Kamin Woulda Coulda Shoulda (wouldashoulda.com) For the first time in a very long time, it felt like things were okay. Good, even. Things were going to be great, in fact, and once I got the kids settled in to our new town, new house, new life … things would only get better. So there I was in the office of the one and only psychiatrist in town our new health insurance would pay for, who would also see children younger than twelve. My son was only seven, but for the past year he’d done well on an anti-depressant to help control his anxiety. I’d had reservations about medicating him — of course I did — but it helped. It helped a lot, actually. All I needed from this doctor was a new prescription for the medication that we already knew was working fine. I’d brought his medical records and…

What a Great Speech-Language Pathologist Can Do for Your Child With Autism

Jordan Sadler, MS, CCC-SLP www.communicationtherapy.net When your child is diagnosed with autism, one of the first professionals you will need on your child’s team is a high quality speech-language pathologist (SLP). This is because challenges in communicating and relating are core features of the diagnosis, and improvement in this area will make a tremendous difference in a child’s — and family’s — life. For many children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), the speech-language pathologist is the cornerstone of the therapeutic team. A speech-language pathologist may also be referred to as a “speech therapist” or the more descriptive “communication therapist.” Whatever the title, parents will want to be sure their child’s therapist is licensed by the state and certified by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Furthermore, be sure to work with a practitioner who has extensive training and experience in the field of autism, and don’t be afraid to ask the therapist…

When a Mom Says Something Works: The GFCF Diet

JoyMama elvis-sightings.blogspot.com My six-year old daughter Joy loves Baby Einstein videos, and has found them mesmerizing since infancy. I’ve heard them so often that I practically know them by heart, including the promotional material at the end of the VHS tapes. In one of the self-advertising sequences, Julie Aigner-Clark, creator of Baby Einstein, is heard to exclaim, “As moms, we’re all looking for help … and if a mom tells you, ‘Try this, it works,’ you automatically try it if you’re a mom!” She wasn’t talking about alternative therapies for autism. But as the mother of a child on the autism spectrum, I hear the echoes. One place I heard such reverberations was in a Time magazine article on Jenny McCarthy and autism1, in the March 8, 2010 issue. Actress and former Playboy Playmate Jenny McCarthy, whose son was diagnosed with autism in 2005, has become the celebrity-mom face of…

Writing Effective IEP Goals and Objectives: Suggestions for Teachers and Parents

Daniel Dage http://specialed.wordpress.com Note from the author: This article is part of a larger series about Individual Education Plans (IEPs) and the IEP process in which I go over each part of the IEP in-depth and describe the process from both a teacher perspective and a parent perspective. By far, this article seems to be the most read and searched for of the entire series. However, in actual practice I have not attended many IEPs where the goals and objectives were actually the subject of enough scrutiny by the attendees. Most of the time, the biggest issue of contention is during the discussion of placement. What most parents (and an embarrassing number of teachers) don’t realize is that goals and objectives are what are going to drive the students’ placement and services during the coming school year. While a Behavioral Intervention Plan (BIP) is the most abused part of the…

Autism and Environmental Chemicals: A Call for Caution

Emily Willingham http://daisymayfattypants.blogspot.com Pardon me for a moment while I get a bit sciency on you. In a former life, I was a scientist who conducted research in the field of endocrine-disrupting compounds. We focused on compounds that accumulate in body fat. The list of these compounds is long … almost endless … and many of these chemicals occur in what we consume, wear, sit on, wash with, and eat from. The term “endocrine disruptor” doesn’t even encompass the physiological systems that some of these compounds affect, and one system that interacts and overlaps with the endocrine system — the two cannot be separated, frankly, and I dare anyone teaching physiology to try — is the neurological system. Our neurology and our endocrinology are integrated, and compounds that influence or disrupt one often will do the same to the other. It all started with what we used to call environmental…