On the stroke of midnight this Friday, the ball will drop in Times Square and the world will celebrate the arrival of another new year. For tradition’s sake, people will reflect on the events, incidents and accomplishments that have shaped their lives this year as 2010 draws to a close. Resolutions will be planned by many in attempt to break old habits and aim for self-improvement. (more…)
Record-breaking snowstorms and temperature lows are raging across the country. Traffic-congested shopping malls are littered with masses of frantic customers scrambling to get the next hottest selling toy for their kids. The office will hold another mandatory Christmas party that distracts employees from meeting project deadlines. This is a special time of year indeed!
The holiday season is upon us once again. People across the globe, representing several faiths and cultural backgrounds, will take the time outside their daily schedules to participate in annual rituals, exchange gifts and unite with relatives and loved ones. Although many share the feeling that the holidays have lost their integrity due to the wave of consumerism that lasts from Black Friday to Boxing Day, a kind of miraculous wonder and magic still persists, and it’s far more impressive than anything seen on a a Christmas TV special.
This year, thousands of families will spend this Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza or Ramadan tending to the needs of their child placed within the autism spectrum. Some of these children, like most, will have their own detailed gift wish list to present to Santa. Others will beg for one specific toy or object and nothing else, while others won’t be able to express to their parents what they want. There is one gift that all of these children are asking for; the kind of gift that will leave a profound impact on them and their families forever. Once almost impossible to find, it has improved the lives of countless individuals and its influence continues to expand across the world year after year. In short, it’s the gift that keeps on giving.
The one gift, the greatest a parent can ever give to a child with ASD, is a chance to overcome the condition; to grow and develop as any child should. Options for treatment have never been as readily available as they are now. ABA providing clinics are widespread across major U.S. cities; workshop services allow therapists to treat patients in remote, rural areas, and even online programs that allow users to assess and create their own treatment plans are now available to anyone with computer and an internet connection. Parents that give the gift of treatment just might receive an even better gift in return: a son or daughter.
A Safe and Happy Holidays to All!
I read an article a few days ago that touched on a very interesting topic in the world of autism: the increase in the number of children diagnosed in the last few years. The number of children affected with autism is now up to 1 out of every 110. That’s pretty big. That’s more common than juvenile diabetes and cancer and this condition can be just as debilitating if left untreated.
This article introduced a study that measured the amount of influence living in proximity to a child diagnosed with autism has on the future rates of diagnoses. In the study, “Social Influence Playing Role in Surging autism Diagnoses,” published in Psychology and Sociology, the researchers are not claiming that living near a person with autism is the cause, what the researchers sought to prove was that there is a link between diagnoses and the strength of social influence when it comes to seeking a diagnosis if the symptoms are apparent.
The study found that “children who live within 250 meters of a child with autism have a 42 percent higher chance of being diagnosed with the disorder in the following year compared with children who do not live near a child with autism. Children who live between 250 meters and 500 meters from a child with autism were 22 percent more likely to be diagnosed. The chances of being diagnosed decrease significantly the farther children live from another child with autism.”
This study is very important because it shows that despite autism being diagnosed more than before, it could be that people are more aware of the symptoms rather than it being an epidemic of our time. It is becoming very important to spread the awareness of autism because there are those people who live in rural areas where a neighbor is not in sight, therefore what seems like an oddity in behavior could very easily be an Autistic symptom.
Please visit ACT Today!, Autism Speaks and the Autism Society of America to help spread the word about autism. You can also donate to these causes if you are feeling a little charitable. Remember, every dollar helps!
When I began work at an autism treatment provider over two months ago, I was just as energetic as any young adult college graduate, eager to start a career after a few years of singing the recession blues. Although I was fully aware of the generous services the organization has provided to children and families affected by autism throughout its history, I had no idea of what to expect from my new employer or what kind of impact it would have on me.
Settling in a small but cozy desk kiddy corner to the staff kitchen, I began my new life at the corporate headquarters becoming acquainted with my department team as well as a fair portion of the friendly staff walking back and forth to get their lunch or the usual cup of coffee. Some of them were therapists, who work on a daily basis with children affected by ASD and their parents. There were a number of occasions in which some of the young clients would walk near my desk while under guidance.
I was given the chance to say hello to one in particular, no older than four. When he looked at me in response, I looked back and suddenly saw myself at his age; in a set of unpredictable and often frightening circumstances that I had no control over, being exposed to applied behavior analysis and given a chance to lead a normal life, defying societal expectations. I was in this child’s situation once, and the same behavior approach that he was receiving was given to me.
Granted, it’s been over two decades since I was treated for autism with ABA (applied behavior analysis), which was considered to be radical and groundbreaking in the field of psychology at that period, even after its successful study eight years earlier in which nine out of its nineteen subjects recovered, conducted by the approach’s brilliant founder, Dr. Ivar Lovaas. Much of the material, such as the assessments, learning curriculum and lesson plans, has been updated and improved since that significant period in my life and has continued to help countless children live healthy, productive lives as ABA becomes more readily available in health and treatment facilities across the nation.
I was more than certain this child would one day leave this building with his family able to talk, learn and play, just like any kid his age. Since that encounter, the warm feeling of hope and certainty returns to me whenever I see other patients being led by determined therapists near my desk. If I could recover from autism with applied behavior analysis as it was practiced in its days of infancy, then I have no doubt that, after years of vast improvement and research, the outcome of each child through the program will be a shining success.
It is not a secret that insurance companies refuse to cover treatment, ABA and bio-medical, for those children affected by Autism. Well there is now an option from a very well-known source.
The Center for Autism and Related Disorders, Inc. (CARD) is launching its first ever do-it-yourself version of the same applied behavior analysis therapy (ABA) that they have employed over the last 20 years to help recover hundreds of children around the world.
“Shaping Knowledge Through Individualized Life Learning Systems, also known as CARD SKILLS ©, is a three part system designed to give anyone who will be a behavioral educator of children with autism (including parents, teachers, behavior analysts, and other professionals) access to: (a) training in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and how it is used to teach skills to children with autism, (b) an assessment (SKILLS Index) to identify the child’s mastered and unmastered skills, and (c) a set of curricula that can be utilized to design an individualized ABA-based program based on the needs of the child identified by the SKILLS Index.”
SKILLS is perfect for those families who simply cannot afford to take on the huge cost of ABA due to insurance refusal or lack of insurance. No child deserves to go untreated and I believe the SKILLS training program will help many of those families who thought they would never be able to recover their child. Take a look at their website and take advantage of the limited time offer they have: SKILLS IS FREE UNTIL 2011! So run and visit http://www.skillsglobal.com!
I’m a cynic, and a selfish person. Yet, I’m bearable enough to feel guilt for not giving back to those from whom I take so freely. I also feel fear payback, or karma – one day finding that I’ve emptied this kindness account that I’ve been tapping all these years. This guilt and fear of retribution affects me, yet I feel unable to change – I’m a big stubborn asteroid in a stubborn orbit. Thankfully for me, a fortunate chain of events occurred recently that acted like a giant space whale to gently nudge and bump me out of my stubborn asteroid orbit and onto a more virtuous trajectory.
It started last Thursday, at bedtime, when I read an article about an event hosted by the U.S. State Department in commemoration of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. I fell asleep thinking “How pointless. What good does ‘observing’ such a day really produce?” Then, at 3 in the morning, I awoke with my TV tuned to a showing of ‘Changeling’, a movie about a woman in 1920s-era Los Angeles whose only child is kidnapped by a convicted child murderer, and is assumed to be among the victims. Near the end however, we learn that he was last seen running into the woods following a late-night escape. During the final scene, the mother says “Three boys made a run for it that night. If one got out, maybe either or both of the others did too. Either way, it gives me something I didn’t have before tonight. Hope.”
The film made realize that I really CAN help people and avoid divine retribution. I may still be selfish in the sense that it may never be easy for me to exert physical effort or to dispense funds to help someone, but I can certainly give hope in other ways. Through the simple act of giving a pep talk, by dispensing advice, or by making someone laugh, acts which do come easy for me, I can dispense hope, and thus plant a seed in someone’s subconscious that may bear just enough fruit to get them through the night, or to nourish them indefinitely and ultimately make a change. Days before her death, Elizabeth Edwards, the wife of former senator John Edwards wrote “I have found that in the simple act of living with hope, and in the daily effort to have a positive impact in the world, the days I do have are made all the more meaningful and precious.” I’m confident that the State Department’s ‘International Day of Persons with Disabilities’ event planted hope in many individuals, and empowered many more to go out and do the same. Let’s continue to support the nurturing of hope, in whatever form it may come in and do our part to make the world a better place.
With 1 out of every 110 children now being diagnosed with Autism, it’s surprising that more accommodations are not made for the children and their families.
It always brings a smile to my face when I see a restaurant, movie theatre, store, or hotel offer accommodations that most others do not.
In Portland, Oregon a mall Santa is being dubbed the “Sensitive Santa” because the mall is offering two hours of “sensory-friendly” time with Santa catering to the families of Autistic children and those with handicaps. The noises, crowds, cameras and crying can be too much for children with Autism, therefore a picture with Santa is not something you usually find on the mantel at their house, or at least not a picture attained easily.
The Sensitive Santa gives parents something to smile about. Their children can share in the joy of meeting with Santa, request their gifts, ohh yeah, and mom and dad can have a smiling picture rather than a teary one.
This grace period at the Lloyd Center Mall is quiet, the holiday music and lights are off, the stores are closed and the crowds are nowhere to be seen. This sets the perfect ambiance for Autistic children, many of who have issues with sensory integration. A holiday outing to a crowded mall can be disastrous, as the surroundings may over stimulate the child.
The accommodations that the Lloyd Center Mall are unheard of and hopefully malls across the country will follow in tow. Re-post the video and spread the word. Maybe you can approach your local mall to make similar accommodations for your child too!
In the 2009 movie, “Bruno,” comedian Sacha Baron Cohen portrayed a flamboyant Austrian TV fashion journalist and was appropriately labeled by one critic as “an equal-opportunity offender.” On his fictitious television show, Bruno discusses what’s hot and what’s not (or as Bruno says what’s “in” and what’s “aus”). What’s in, according to him, is “autism.” Could this be a reflection of the current focus and widespread awareness of the disorder? Perhaps this scene in “Bruno” is a small tribute to Sacha Baron Cohen’s famous first cousin, Simon Baron-Cohen, a world-renowned expert on autism. (more…)
Many parents with Autistic children follow the guidelines of a gluten free casein free (GFCG) diet. Luckily there are many resources online with recipes and great tips.
I found a great website called Cook It Allergy Free with a surplus of recipes for GFCF goodies as well as other allergy friendly meals.
This is now my go-to website for allergy friendly meals. It is also very entertaining. This lady knows how to cook and shows her followers that cooking around the holidays can be a breeze rather than a headache.
This website has recipes for some of my favorite GFCF recipes that can be used on a daily basis or for that special holiday dish.
Another reason why I love this website: there’s an Allergy Free App with on-the-go recipes and tips for maintaining a GFCF diet.
Also, don’t forget to read these helpful tips for your baking ventures. Good luck!