Supporting and Promoting The Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism

Some of you have asked how you can help us promote The Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism. Here are three simple actions: Follow our Twitter stream at @thinkingautism and retweet our posts. We publish a new essay every weekday, between midnight and 3 AM PST. Join the conversation: comment on our posts! We’ve had some great discussions, and look forward to more. Visit our Facebook page. You can also install “like” code for our Facebook page on your blog, as we have in this blog’s right-hand sidebar.  Email us and we’ll send you the code. Thanks so much, Shannon, Liz, Jen, & Emily Editors, The Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism

Choosing a School for Children on the Autism Spectrum

Kristina Chew autism.typepad.com My son Charlie has been in both public and private placements. He is 13 years old now; he started attending school — a special education preschool classroom in the St. Paul Public School District — when he was just around 2 years old. Looking back, he’s been through most every kind of placement, from special education classrooms located in a public elementary or middle school, to a small private school only for autistic children, to a large public center for some 200 children with autism and other disabilities. Again and again, we have found ourselves looking for a school for Charlie. Too often, we have thought we have found “it” — a school, a school district where the right program and supports and staff seem to be in place, and then things started to seem not so good, and then to fall apart. At no point have…

The One-Two Punch of Autism: The Case for Insuring Our Kids’ Future

Liane Kupferberg Carter http://www.huffingtonpost.com/liane-kupferberg-carter Though this essay references legislation and congressional matters specific to New York State, the entire autism community could benefit from improved insurance coverage. -Eds “Your child has autism.” It’s a devastating diagnosis for a parent to hear. But it’s a one-two punch when your insurance company then refuses to cover the critical, medically necessary therapies your child desperately needs. When our then-2-year-old son was diagnosed with a developmental disability 16 years ago, a team of medical experts prescribed a rigorous program of therapies. However, state-funded early intervention services were only able to offer us an hour and a half a week of speech therapy — for a child who wasn’t talking. We found private therapists to work with our child. But when we tried to file an insurance claim, the insurance company turned us down flat. “We don’t cover educational treatment,” they told us. We appealed.…

Autism and Biomed Protocols: A Primer on Pseudoscience

Emily Willingham and Kim Wombles Emily’s family has kept their biomed treatment — or any treatment excepting occupational and behavioral therapies — to a minimum, primarily because of some inherent skepticism. Their current biomedical interventions are limited to fish oil, probiotics, and some vitamins.  The Wombles brood has generally taken a similar approach, although they spent four years gluten and dairy free (with Kim worried she was getting ALS every time she ate her own GFCF baking! Cough cough — dry stuff) before admitting that it made no difference for them whatsoever, except that there were five much happier people once they went off the diet. Many autism parents investigate biomedical or “biomed” approaches as a way to ameliorate negative manifestations of their child’s autism. These parents can also find themselves overwhelmed by biomedical protocol possibilities. Sorting through these protocols can be a daunting task, which is, of course, one…

So What’s the Fascination With Autism and Sex?

Lindsey Nebeker nakedbrainink.com A slight uncomfortable laughter was shared among the crowd of mothers sitting in a circle as one mother said quietly, “I’m really trying to avoid bringing up the topic of sex to my son. I hope that day doesn’t come up soon.” This was during a recent speaking engagement I gave to a parent support group. I arranged for all of us to sit around in a circle since the group was small enough to pull that off. I often find that with circle-style seating, the conversation becomes more open-ended, and I hear more from my audience. And the conversation can get very interesting — such as when it turns into a conversation about autism and sex. I was tempted to chuckle at the level of discomfort these mothers had in linking the words “autism” and “sex,” but kept to myself and gave a quiet smile. I…

The Eyes of Autism

Brenda Rothman mamabegood.blogspot.com It was a coolish summer day, no humidity, a perfect day on the porch. We have an old-fashioned front porch, meant for eating, for socializing, for calling out over the railings to neighbors and friends. A large, narrow-planked porch with columns, rockers, sofas, ceiling fans, and lemonade. We dragged the sand box, literally a box filled with sand, to the middle of the porch. I lugged buckets of water from the kitchen and kaplooshed the water into the water table. I fetched a spoon and a tin of baking powder and Jack was set. Jack: Then a little salt and a little more sand and stir, stir, stir. I could watch him do this all day. When he was three and the other three-year-olds at preschool were doing this, Jack wasn’t. He wasn’t talking, he wasn’t interacting, he wasn’t playing. And he was worried. More worried than…

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…