About Autism News and Views

Autism News and Views will provide regular updates on news about Autism. In addition, we have provided important links to a wide variety of web sites that will provide you with information on Education, Health, Safety, Advocacy, Service Providers and much more. Use Autism News and Views as your source for the best information on the Autism Spectrum.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

African-American Children With Autism; News For Siblings; Year-Round Recreation Now Available; The Value of Music

"It is important to emphasize the enormous range of autism spectrum disorders and the many differences that exist between children on the spectrum. It is important that we not lose sight of the individual in our search to treat autism...The goal is to help children enter adulthood with capacities for social and personal self-sufficiency." Fred R. Volkmar, M.Ed., Yale University School of Medicine.

Did you know that African-American children are frequently diagnosed too late? In addition, African-American children are also misdiagnosed too often. That's why it's with great pleasure we put a spotlight on three organizations devoted to African-American individuals with autism.

  • African American Autism Support Services of Arizona was founded "to connect, support, educate and equip the African American community in becoming involved in the advocacy, education and research efforts pertaining to Autism and the Autism Spectrum locally and nationally." (from their Mission Statement). Anyone interested can contact them at:  http://www.africanamericanautismofaz.org/.
  • The Color of Autism Foundation, located in Mableton, GA, is committed in raising autism awareness in minorities. They point out correctly that not only are African American children with autism misdiagnosed more frequently, but there are very few clinical studies involving African American children with autism. We urge you also support this foundation. They can be reached at: http://www.thecolorofautism.org/
  • Autism in Black focuses on the cultural, medical, and educational issues facing African American children with autism. Visit them at: http://www.autisminblack.com/
In 2010, Washington University School of Medicine published, "Brief Report: Under-repesentation of African Americans in autism genetic research: A rationale for inclusion of subjects representing diverse family structures." They reported, "African American children with autism are seriously under-respresented in existing genetic registries and biomedical research studies of autism...Comprehensive efforts-including expansion of eligibility to families of diverse structure--are warranted to facilitate the inclusion of African American children in biomedical research." (NIH)

On several occasions I've been contacted by parents asking if I knew of any resources for siblings who have brothers or sisters with autism. There is a resource available that specifically targets this population. Please consider visiting: http://www.autismsiblings.org/. And if you know anyone who would benefit from this information, please provide it to them.

Summertime is almost upon us. Did you know there is an organization that provides year-round recreation programs for individuals with physical and developmental disabilities? It's called the Recreation Unlimited Foundation (http://www.recreationunlimited.org/). They've been in the business of providing this outstanding service for over 50 years. They serve approximately 3,700 individuals in Ohio and five surrounding states. Some of their program offerings include:

  • Year-Round Respite Weekend Camps
  • Summer and Winter Residential Camps
  • Summer Day Camps
So just remember folks: "Oh those Wildwood Days, Wild Wild Wildwood Days, every day is a holiday and every night is a Saturday night"...Courtesy of Bobby Rydell (Yes, I know what the younger folks are thinking now: who is Bobby Rydell?)

Music and Autism:

In our last edition, we provided information on the importance of art and autism. Studies show that music also touches children with autism. A study by Dr. Ivan Molnar-Szakacs at UCLA will use music to explore the ability of children with autism to identify emotions in musical excerpts and facial expressions. Dr. Molnar-Szakacs reports that, "studies from the early days of autism research have already shown that music provokes engagement and interest in kids with ASD."  Approximately 15 children with ASD, ages 10-13 , will be involved in this study. Dr. Molnar-Szakacs hopes his work will not only be of a scientific value but will also improve the quality of lives of children with ASD." {Autism Today}.

4 Your Bookshelf:

  • Not Stupid: The Story of One Mother's Fight to Rescue the Lives of Her Children with Autism by Anna Kennedy.
  • The Autism Acceptance Book by Ellen Sabin.  This activity book engages children to embrace differences by understanding and supporting the challenges and uniqueness of individuals with autism.
  • Engaging Autism by Dr. Stanley I. Greenspan, M.D. and Dr. Serena Wieder, Ph.D. Some of what these authors cover include myths and misdiagnoses, Floortime and overcoming difficult symptoms such as self-stimulation, sensation craving and overativity. This is not only a valuable resource for professionals but also for parents.
  • Treating Autism 7th Biomedical Conference & Exhibition at Queen Mary, University of London. June 18 and 19th, 2011. Contact: http://treatingautism.co.uk/ for more information.
Jerry J. Komar, M.Ed.