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.

Monday, December 17, 2012

How Safe & Secure Is Your Child's School?

Ensuring Your School Is Safe From Unwanted And Perhaps Dangerous Intruders

On the heels of the tragedy at the Connecticut elementary school last week, parents have a responsibility to ask school officials how they ensure their school is safe from unwanted and perhaps dangerous intruders. This is not a debate about gun control. That issue will be debated in the public forum. This is specifically about security (or lack of security) at the school your child or children attend.  As a parent, you should do the following immediately (and don't do it alone. Approach your school's administration with a group of parents or call for a meeting with the school in a larger forum) asking your school administrator some of the following:

  • Have they ever completed a security assessment.? If they haven't, ask why not? And ask them when they plan on completing one. If they have one, when was it last updated? When was staff trained in the plan?
  • Do they have a school safety plan or a crisis response plan? If not, why not? And when do they propose to draw one up. I believe they are mandated by the Department of Education. Regardless, every school should have one. Make sure you ask for a copy of the security plan. If they do not have a plan, tell them you want to give input into that plan (e.g., a parent committee on school safety and security).
  • Who is responsible for this plan?
  • Is there a crisis response team at the school? If not, why not?And when do they propose having one?  If they do, what type of training do staff have in ensuring school security?
  • Does the school have a plan in dealing with troubled youth, especially those with specific mental health issues? This should include identifying youth at risk of psychological trauma.
  • Do local law enforcement authorities and First-Responders have information regarding your specific school such as a map of the school including surrounding streets, campus layout, a blueprint of the facility or facilities, keys to the entrances, phone numbers of administrators and staff security personnel, up-to-date student roster, list of students with special needs, designated evacuation sites at the facilities, etc.?
  • In this day and age, schools should also give serious attention to having professional security personnel in the school (at a minimum, if I were a parent of a child at school, I would demand police presence on the perimeter of the school to ensure any dangerous intruder does not ENTER the school in the first place. Yes, there will be an additional cost associated with this, but it's a cost I am certain most school districts and taxpayers would be willing to assume).
  • The school should also have a crisis-aftermath plan.
This is by no means a comprehensive approach, but it's a start. Remember: School safety is up to all of us.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Start Planning For Your Child's Future Now; Suicide Attempts in Adults with Autism; Facebook Autism Resources

During my entire career serving and supporting individuals with autism, I never obsessed about their disabilities. I obsessed about their abilities...Jerry Komar, Editor, Autism News & Views 

Plan For Your Child's Future Now

Parents often ask teachers and therapists a series of questions regarding transition.  Whether the transition is to secondary school or post-secondary school, the following questions need answers: "How do we start?" "When do we start?" "Who can help us?" These are but a few of countless questions I encountered over the years myself.

The key principles behind all of these questions include 1-being realistic and 2-proper planning. Interdisciplinary teams, with the input from parents, should look at the following:

  • Get a head start on developing and teaching independent living skills and social skills.
  • Ensure your child gets periodic assessments.
  • Review evaluations of your child regularly.
  • Work on teaching self-advocacy skills.
  • Look at vocational educational programs. These programs are excellent pathways to independence and employment opportunities.
Autism Support Network

Suicide Attempts In Adults With Autism: Clinical Features

A recent  preliminary study out of Japan found that 7.3% of patients seen for attempted suicide had autism.

"Our results indicate that ASD's should always be a consideration when dealing with suicide attempts in adults, in particular, with males."

In addition, the study found that adults with autism not only  attempted suicide more often, they are also using more serious methods such as cutting/stabbing one's self.

Five-hundred and eighty seven (587) patients with autism were studied. All were 18 years of age and older.

Autism Science News and Opinion

Facebook Autism Resources

Are you currently looking for additional autism resources (in addition to those found on this blog)? These are the resources I regularly follow on FB, and I find most of them very informative. They are particularly useful for families.

  • Families With Autism Kids
  • Autism Group
  • Autism Family
  • Autismus
  • Autism and Special Needs Action Group
  • Awetism is the New Autism
  • The Ultimate Asperger Supergroup
  • Autism Advocacy (my group)

Recommended Reading:

You can find Aukids on Facebook. Worth a visit.


Monday, October 29, 2012

Making Skies Friendly For Individuals With Autism; VCU Gets Grant To Expand Work Training; Yoga Helps Improve Behavior

"Different But Not Less."...Temple Grandin

Making Skies Friendly For Individuals With Autism

Preparing for air travel and the flight itself can cause a lot of anxiety for both the individual with autism and for parents.  For many parents, it can be a challenge in parental endurance.

The good news is airports throughout the nation have recognized these challenges and are providing more assistance. To date, the major airports in the following cities provide services to help individuals with autism: Washington, D.C.; Atlanta; Boston; Manchester NH; Bridgeport, Conn.; Philadelphia and Newark. The airlines participating include Jet Blue, AirTran, Continental, Frontier, Southwest and United.  These airports and airlines have offered "mock boarding" experiences, practice in purchasing tickets, walk throughs at security lines and even strapping themselves into the aircraft that does not leave the gate.

"We recognize how intimidating to some people, particularly those with special needs, a facility like this can be, " said Christopher Browne, manager at Washington Dulles airport.

In addition, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has set up a hot line---TSA Cares---to help passengers with disabilities and their caretakers.

The following suggestions will help in minimizing anxiety prior to flying:

  • For the initial flight, pick a short one. Up to an hour.
  • Visit the airport ahead of time to become familiar with the facility.
  • Call the TSA Cares hot line---1.855.787.2227---72 hours prior to flight time to alert TSA that you might need assistance.
  • Call the airline ahead of time to let them know you might need assistance.
  • Tell your child what to expect such as delays or long waits.
  • Pack a carry-on bag with items the individual likes.
Have a nice and safe flight.
NY Times

Virginia Commonwealth University Received Grant To Facilitate Employment For Youth With Autism

VCU announced recently they received a $2.5 million grant from the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research to determine best practices to facilitate employment for youth with autism.

The grant's duration is 5 years. "Through our partnership with VCU on this grant, we expect to learn more about the services and supports that youth with autism may need to become successfully employed in their communities, " said Commissioner Jim Rothrock, VA Department of Aging and Rehabilitative Services.
VCU News

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Study: Little Evidence Medication Intervention Helps Teens & Young Adults With Autism; Asperger's Diagnosis Will Disappear; Gross Motor Activities For Children With Autism

Don't allow disabilities to limit your life. Open up your abilities...Jerry Komar, Editor

Little Evidence Medications Are Effective For Teens and Young Adults With Autism

Vanderbilt University researchers reported there little proof medications help teens and young adults with autism.

Their report was based on reviewing over 4,500 studies focusing on outcomes, including side effect, of medical, behavioral, educational and vocational interventions. They found limited evidence that supports the use of medications such as antipsychotics to help reduce problem behaviors. In fact, the "harms" associated with the use of these medications included sedation and weight gain.

"We need to do more research to be able to understand how to treat core symptoms of autism," said DR. Jeremy Veenstra-VanderWeele, M.D.

Autism Definition To Enlarge As Asperger's Disappears

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Back To School Tips For Children With Autism; Hispanic Children Often Have Undiagnosed Developmental Delays

Disabilities Are Not Contagious. Ignorance is.

Back To School Tips For Children With Autism

Going back to school, after a long summer, can be a challenge both for parents and children. There are a few tips that can help make the transition more manageable.

  • Start at home preparing your child for returning to school. This should involve new bedtimes, waking up earlier and adjusting to new morning routines. Get organized.
  • You should meet with your child's new teacher. Your teacher should be familiar with your child's current IEP. You should review the IEP before school starts.
  • If your child is attending a new school, familiarize him/her with the new school surroundings. Ask the school for a tour of the school and classroom BEFORE school starts.
  • Let your teacher/teachers know that you are always available to meet with them.
  • When your child returns from school at the end of the day, ask him/her how it was at school. Ask about the teacher. Ask about the new schedule. Ask about any new friends your child met or old friends your child reunited with that first day. In other words, make every effort to allay any anxiety your child might have during the first few days at school.
  • Make time to help your child with his/her homework. Take it slow. Give your child time to adjust to the new schedule at home.
  • After the first week, call your child's teacher and ask the teacher how things are going at school.
  • Every child adjusts differently. It's your job to help alleviate any stress your child might experience those first few days at school.
(The Stir, Yahoo, Oakland County Moms)

Broader Outreach Needed For Hispanic Children With Developmental Delays

Monday, August 6, 2012

Are Girls With Autism Being Underdiagnosed?; New, High Impact-Impact Studies Of Very Young Children; MEG To Study Brains

"What day is it,?" asked Pooh. "It's today," squeaked Piglet. "My favorite day," said Pooh.

Are Girls With Autism Being Underdiagnosed?

A recent study reported in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry suggests there may be gender bias in the diagnosis of girls with autism.

Typically, boys have higher rates of autism compared to girls by a factor of 4 to 1. After comparing data from 363 boys and girls with autism between the ages of ten and twelve, the researchers found that "the girls, rather than the boys, who met the criteria for ASD had a significantly higher prevalence of low intellectual levels and behavior difficulties."

Their study suggests girls are less likely to be diagnosed with ASD than boys. The study also suggests the gender bias may be due to girls possessing better adaptive or compensatory skills.

It is still unclear whether girls acquire such adaptive skills developmentally. It is also unclear whether there are shortcomings in the diagnostic measures used for ASD.
(ABC News and Examiner)

UC Davis Mind Institute And University of Washington Received Grant From Autism Speaks To Continue Research Into Novel, High-Impact Treatments For Very Young Children

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

What I Discovered On Twitter & Facebook

"Autism: Forget What We Can't Do...Remember What We Can Do."...Autism Poster

What I Discovered On Twitter And Facebook

Some months ago, I wrote a piece on the plethora of good and useful information I found on Facebook regarding autism. I thought I'd revisit the theme including adding the treasures found on Twitter. Below are examples:
  • Joe Travolta, older brother of John, operates a film camp for children with autism. He's been operating the camp for seven years. Travolta has also partnered with ACT (Autism Care And Treatment) targeting improving awareness and services to military families who have children with autism.

  • Abe's Hearts and Hooves is the creation of 13 year old Abraham Moses. Abe's dream was to create a place where people with disabilities could ride horses and develop self-confidence.
  • In Bartow County, GA, county Sheriff's officers were trained in how to approach individuals with autism. The officers took part in a training class entitled, "Law Enforcement: Your Piece To The Autism Puzzle." In particular, the course focused on the issues of wandering, a majority of calls law enforcement sees.
  • Autism Brainstorm is an interactive online community celebrating the abilities of everyone on and around the autism spectrum. For more information, visit http://www.AutismBrainstorm.org/
  • Science Daily publishes some of the most current pieces surrounding research in autism. Visit http://www.sciencedaily.com/
  • Newark airport program helps children with autism cope with air travel. Called the "Autism Explores" Program, it takes participants through all aspects of the flying experience without leaving the ground. In addition, the program teaches airport personnel about autism.
  • Emirates Airline, the largest Middle East carrier,  trains its cabin crews to understand the needs of passengers with autism and disabilities. The training takes place in cooperation with the Dubai Autism Center.
  • The University of Texas recently announced the development of a new Master's degree program in autism. It's intent is to train more students to assist children with autism.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Don't Worry; Be Happy; Brain Imaging May Catch Autism Sooner; Horseback Riding As Therapy

"I wish I can show you, when you are lonely or in darkness, the astonishing light of your own being."...Hafiz

How To Create A Happy Future For Your Child With Autism

Dr. Krysti DeZonia of the Training, Education and Research Institute (TERI) presented clear recommendations to ensure your child with autism has a happy future after you are gone.
  • Be sure there are people in your child's life who are not paid to be there. Start now in developing strong circles of support.
  • Develop your child's social skills. If not, life without you can be lonely and unhappy.
  • Help your child develop a plethora of interests. In addition, ensure everyone knows about their favorite activities.
  • Futures planning is not enough. It's as important to develop a life quality plan. You can learn more about life quality planning at http://www.terriinc.org/ and click on "Life Quality Services."
  • Finally, help your child do things that society values. These include developing relationships with friends, the community and business owners to name just a few.
And Dr. DeZonia offers one last tip: Remember, you are more important to your child's present and future life quality than any therapy, plan or treatment.
(Autism Support Network)

Brain Imaging May Catch Autism Sooner

At this point in autism research, it's almost impossible to diagnose autism at six months. But that might change soon.

Researchers at the University of South Carolina at Chapel Hill, using a special kind of MRI on 15 babies who had a sibling with autism, found those babies had weaker connections.

"This is really before we can pick up any differences behaviorally," said Dr. Jason Wolf. "If we can go earlier and earlier in our interventions, we can prevent autism from fully manifesting" added Dr. Wolf.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Devereux Celebrates Centennial; Autism Transition Handbook; Update on DSM-5 & ASD; Questions To Ask Your Teacher's Child Before School Ends; Young Adults With Autism Lack Jobs

"If you keep focusing on disabilities, you're going to miss most of what makes us who we really are: our abilities." Jerry Komar, Founder and Editor Autism News and Views

Happy Birthday Devereux!!!

Devereux, a leading behavioral health care organization serving individuals with developmental disabilities, is celebrating their centennial this year.

Devereux was founded in 1912 by Helena T. Devereux. At the time, she was a young Philadelphia school teacher. From a small classroom, the organization she founded has grown into one of the largest providers in the nation.

Autism News and Views congratulates Devereux for their enduring vision. Thank you Devereux for what you do each and every day---serving and supporting individuals with developmental disabilities. For more information on Devereux, visit http://www.devereux.org/

Devereux Provides Autism Transition Handbook
Devereux published a handbook and wiki to assist individuals with autism and their families to gain access to the most current and comprehensive information on the transition to adulthood. For more information, please visit http://www.autismhandbook.org/. You can also visit them on Facebook.

Monday, April 30, 2012

1 in 88 Now: Why Are Autism Rates Changing So Quickly?; Will A New Blood Test Help in Diagnosing Autism?; National Autism Leadership Conference; Good News in New Jersey

"Why do I hate terms like disability and disorder? Because those are 'glass-half empty' definitions. I prefer looking at the glass as half-full." Jerry Komar, Founder and Editor of Autism News and Views.

Why Are Rates of Autism Changing So Quickly?

I first asked myself that question last year after reading the study out of South Korea that found 1 in 38 children in South Korea were diagnosed with autism. This was largely attributed to the lack of early detection leaving many children undiagnosed. After having spent my entire career serving this population, I found myself scratching my head. 1 in 38? How can we go from 1 in 110 at the time to 1 in 38? That was a huge leap. After all, it was not too long ago, we were reporting rates of 1 in about 500 children. In fact, in some states, the rates of autism leaped almost 700% from the late 1980's to early 2003.

Then, this March, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported the rate of autism is actually 1 in 88. So I'm left back-tracking to my initial question. Why are rates of autism changing so quickly? It's undeniable that we've become more aware of autism. In addition, screening is much more sophisticated than it was just a decade ago. This enabled us to provide treatment much earlier. All of this also meant we expanded the definition of autism. But does this mean there's an actual increase or the result of how we diagnose autism. A researcher I heard interviewed not too long ago said just because a fisherman casts wider net and catches more fish does not necessarily mean there are more fish. In other words, when the net is cast wider, we will certainly capture more children, but do they all have autism or something else such as behavioral, learning/or social problems?

I'm not a researcher. Most of my experience has been in managing organizations and departments with a smattering of clinical work. So I'm not sophisticated enough to fully understand the methods used by scientists and researchers who come up with these numbers other than the reasons I listed above. There is no doubt that it's much easier for research facilities to receive federal and private dollars when these rates increase.  An increase in eligibility also increases the amount of money flowing into school services especially special education. And an increase in numbers also increases the amount of money flowing into agencies who advocate for individuals with autism.  Directly due to the increase in this funding, we've also made great strides in human dignity. We've been able to expand services, provide for better care and greatly reduce the social unacceptability faced by many individuals with autism. All of these and more are commendable outcomes.

But I'm also concerned about our credibility.  I don't want to see autism elevated as some type of fad or the "in" diagnosis to have. That's not what we're about. Labels don't help anyone. All we have to do is look at what labels did to people with developmental disabilities prior to several decades ago. An individual with autism is exactly that---an individual first and foremost. I don't want to see funding determine how we look at individuals. A dollar sign should not stigmatize anyone without autism. It should be used only to provide provide quality services to those in genuine need of those services and supports. Let's not include people in a diagnosis they do not deserve. We're better than that.  It's looking at the glass as being half full, not half empty.

Blood Test May Aid in Diagnosing Autism

Swedish researchers reported they have developed a new blood test that might aid in diagnosing autism. The researchers used mass spectrometry techniques to profile the proteins in children diagnosed with autism and compared them to profiles of children without autism. They found three differences unique to children with autism. It will be a year before the test becomes commercially available. (Digital Journal)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

What Do We Now Know About Contributing Factors To Autism?; What Gifts Do Parents Think Are The Best?; The Cost of Raising A Child With Autism; Autism Brainstorm: An Autism Interactive Community

"Don't dis the ABILITY."  Jerry Komar, Editor Autism News and Views

Contributing Factors To Autism: What We Now Know

Within the last week, we've seen a study that suggests autism could be linked with mothers' obesity during pregnancy. Just a week earlier, news broke that the incidence of autism is actually 1 in 88, not 1 in 110. So these studies and more beg the next question: What do we NOW know about contributing factors to autism? We know the following with a high degree of certainty:
  • We now know that about 15-20% of children have a genetic mutation that causes autism.
  • We now know if parents have one child with autism, the risk of having a second child diagnosed with autism is almost 20% (U.C. Davis study)
  • We also found that environmental pollution may be a factor in autism.
  • We now know that both older fathers and mothers are a higher risk of having a child with autism. Studies from Harvard and Israel also suggest that infertility treatments are linked to a higher risk of autism.
  • Prematurity and low birthweight (babies weighing less than 41/2 pounds ) was found to be linked to autism. 5% had been diagnosed with autism by age 21.
  • Studies suggest that some medications increase the risk of autism. For example, a study published last year suggested children exposed prenatally to antidepressants had a higher risk of autism.
  • Pediatrics released a study this week that suggests obesity during pregnancy would increase the incidence of autism to a 1 in 53 chance. (Note: While this study suggests maternal obesity may be a risk factor for autism, keep in mind it's only one of many and may not even be a strong link).
(USA TODAY & Washington Post)

What Gifts Do Parents Believe Are The Best For Children With Autism?

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Light It Up Blue: April 2nd World Autism Awareness Day; 1 in 88; Children with Autism Bullied Three Times More Than Their Unaffected Siblings

Light It Up Blue!!!

On April 2nd we are lighting up the world blue for World Autism Awareness Day. Thousands of Bright blue lights all over the globe will shine a bright light on autism. Great landmarks, buildings and homes will join in this great event. Some include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • The Empire State Building
  • The New York Stock Exchange
  • Paris Stock Exchange
  • CN Tower in Toronto
  • Bahrain World Trade Center
  • Terminal Tower in Cleveland
  • Aspen Mountain
  • Christ the Redeemer in Brazil

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

You Want Resources---We Got Resources; Depression Common in Young Adults with Asperger's; Benefits of Autism Assistance Dogs; Let's Hit The Pool; Is There An Increased Risk of Autism Among Certain Immigrant Groups; Light The Country Up Blue!

"Let's be clear about something. It's all about 'ability' not disability."  Jerry Komar

You Want Resources. We Got Resources

In addition to the plethora of resources available on this blog alone, I'd like to take the opportunity to list additional resources that offer valuable information to parents, teachers, researches and anyone interested in Autism. All of these resources are easily accessed through any search engine. In addition, you will also find many of these resources right here on Autism News and Views. So let's start:

  • Talk Autism. Offers a great data base of professionals.
  • Autism Speaks: Anything and everything you need to know about Autism is available here.
  • Autism Society of America: Great resource for research, news on autism and more.
  • National Autism Association: They do great work in empowering families and fund research.
  • Parent to Parent: Linking families together.
  • Model Me Kids Social Network: Network includes parents, educators and people with autism and Asperger's.
  • First Signs: This group offers information on recognizing autism, screening, referrals and much more.
  • Autism Web: A Parent's Guide to Autism.
  • Moms Fighting Autism.
  • Autism Parents.
  • Grandparent Autism Network.
  • O.A.S.I.S. Great resource on Asperger's.
  • Asperger's Syndrome: Ditto
(Source: Masters in Health Care)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

African-American Children Diagnosed Later For Autism; Reviewing Signs and Symptoms Of Autism in Babies and Toddlers; What Words Should Every Child Know By Age 2?; Advocates For Special Education Disappointed in President's Proposed Budget; Dan Marino Foundation News

"The only disability in life is a bad attitude." Scott Hamilton

African-American Children Diagnosed Later For Autism

Martell Teasley, associate professor in the College of Social Work at Florida State University, reported recently that African-American children are usually diagnosed later for autism than white children.  It appears the lack of access to timely health care is among one of the reasons for the delay in treatment. In addition, because of social stigma issues, Teasley reported some Black families might be resistant or reluctant to accept a diagnosis. As a result, this also could lead to the lack of timely treatment. Teasley reminds parents that intervention needs to start at about the age of 3. Later intervention and treatment will often result in poorer developmental outcomes. (News-Medical and Doctor's Lounge).

Recognizing Signs and Symptoms of Autism in Babies and Toddlers

Since early detection is of paramount importance in the treatment and intervention of children with autism, what should parents look for in babies and toddlers?  Parents should be aware of the following warning signs:
  • The child does not make eye contact (For example, you child should look at you at feeding time).
  • Does not return a smile.
  • Does not respond to his/her own name.
  • Does not respond to a familiar voice.
  • Does not make noises to get your attention.
  • Does not respond to cuddling (May not initiate either).
  • Does not reach out to you to be picked up.
  • Does not play with other children.
  • Does not ask for help.
  • Does not make basic requests.
  • No baby talk (if not evidenced by 10- 12 months, the child needs an immediate evaluation by a pediatrician). The same advice if the child fails to respond to his/her name.
  • If, by 16 months, the child has no spoken words, an immediate evaluation is necessary.
  • If, by 24 months, the child makes no meaningful two-word phrases, the child needs an immediate evaluation.
Note: It's not unusual for some children with autism to start developing communication skills and then regress. This usually occurs between 12 and 24 months.  In other words, any loss of speech requires immediate attention by a professional.

More importantly, if autism is caught early, treatment can be very effective. The human brain is remarkably flexible. That's another reason why early intervention is so critically important.

The lesson in all of this: Early detection of autism is up to the parents. No one knows their own child like a parent does. Parental observation and experience are of incredible value and relevance to intervention and evaluation.

So What Words Should Every Child Know By Age 2?

Thursday, February 2, 2012

What Can We Expect From The DSM-5 Changes; The Importance of Sports Participation; Mercyhurst University Put Students With Autism On Path To Independence; The Autism Response Team

"Expect The Exceptional."...Jerry Komar

DSM-5 Changes: What Can We Expect? And Why It Matters.


While final decisions are still months away, The American Psychiatric Association (APA) is trying to reassure everyone interested in autism that the changes in the DSM-5 will not exclude individuals from diagnosis and treatment. According to the APA, the changes involve merging several diagnoses now listed separately in DSM-5 under one umbrella category as "autism spectrum disorder."

APA contends the changes will lead to more accurate diagnoses and will help physicians and clinicians design better treatment interventions.

Why do the changes matter? Put simply, the changes can lead to profound effects on the lives of individuals. Critics argue that many individuals have been helped immeasurably because of their autism diagnoses. If this changes, will that mean many individuals will be shut out of acquiring previously mandated services and supports? As of this writing, no one knows for certain. But what is certain is any change must be done cautiously, carefully and with a great deal of prudence. To many lives depend on it.
(Sources: CNN, APA)

The Importance of Sports Participation

Participating in sports and recreation is important for everyone including individuals with autism. We've known from years of research that recreation and sports can relieve stress, improve overall health,  help develop confidence, can enhance gross motor skills, improve self-esteem, improve communication and social skills, and can result in a host of other positive outcomes.

What sports activities then are good for children with autism? Below is a list of recommendations (note: children with autism, just like their peers, should be given the opportunity to participate in those sporting activities they like. For example, if your child wants to play baseball and you're comfortable with that, by all means allow him/her to participate. The suggestions below meet most of the criteria referenced above):
  • Swimming
  • Track and Field
  • Bowling
  • Biking
  • Hiking
  • Martial Arts Training
  • Skiing
  • Ice Hockey
  • Basketball
  • Baseball
  • Football
  • Tennis
  • Sailing
  • Fishing
  • Golfing
(Sources: Livestrong, Healing Thresholds)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Value of Facebook For Autism Awareness

"Try to imagine a world where we don't talk about disabilities, but only abilities (pause for a moment). Now imagine our world now (again pause for a moment). Didn't that first world make you feel a lot better?"---Jerry Komar, Editor Autism News and Views

The Value of Facebook for Autism Awareness

Let me begin by explaining the purpose of this piece is not to promote Facebook. The purpose of this piece is promote autism awareness. Now that I have that out of the way, I do want to point out the value of Facebook in promoting autism awareness. In short, Facebook is a wonderful resource for current information on autism, for current news on autism as well as the current research. The value of Facebook for autism awareness is immeasurable. The amount of information is limitless. And that's a beautiful thing.

In keeping with the theme of this article, I'm going to share with you just a sampling of the gold mine of unique and varied information, news and resources on autism  I've found on Facebook in the last several weeks. I'm confident you will be as impressed as I was.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Top 10 Autism Research Achievements of 2011; First Responders Receive Training To Help Those With Autism; Autism Frostbite 5K; Choosing The Right Jobs For Individuals With Autism

"In my opinion, focusing on an individual's disability minimizes that person's humanity. I've always had more success in focusing on abilities and the world of possibilities. After all, isn't that what living is all about?"---Jerry Komar, Editor Autism News and Views

Before I begin, I want to take this opportunity to wish all a safe, happy and healthy New Year.

2011 Autism Research Achievements

Autism Speaks reported on the top 10 autism research achievements for 2011. These include major genetic discoveries to the importance of earlier autism screening. Take a few minutes and visit Autism Speaks to read this piece {Top 10 Autism Research Achievements of 2011 in their "Science" section}.

First Responders Helping Those With Autism

People with autism have longed posed a challenge for law enforcement and first responders nationwide. The good news is that police, firefighters and first responders around the country have been receiving more training in responding to individuals with autism.  Many states now require autism-recognition instruction for their police officers. In addition, this training has been extended to firefighters and first responders.

The North Alabama Reserve Corps was awarded a $7000 grant to train more than 200 first responders to work better with those individuals with autism.  Recently, Michigan State Troopers have also been trained. (Niles Daily Star)

If your local municipality does not provide this training to its law enforcement and first responder personnel, make a point to advocate they do so. Grants are available from organizations like AmeriCares. Also, contact your local social service and behavioral health care providers to see if they would be willing to set up a training program.

Autism Frostbite 5K

How about an event that's really cool---literally? A 5K race in Allison Park, PA, will benefit ABOARD (The Advisory Board and Related Disorders). The Autism Frostbite 5K will be held on Saturday, January 12, 2012. The race starts are 10 am at North Park Boathouse in Allison Park. For additional information call: 412-980-0085