Nov 20, 2013, KCTV Kansas City, MO: The dangerous attraction of water to children with autism
Nov 20, 2013, Newsday: Letter: Autism is too little understood
KCTV5 Kansas City MO
"Alerting the community to the dangerous attraction to water held by many children with autism has become the mission of the Autism Society of the Heartland and Colwich, KS, mother Sheila Medlam. . . .
"When Smith learned of the drowning deaths of several children with autism across the country early this summer, she decided to take action and partner with the YMCA to offer water lessons specifically designed for children with autism.
"Aquatics Director Courtney Meyer designed the one-on-one format being taught.
"'Our goal is not to teach them to swim; the stroke development,' Meyer said. 'Our goal is to get them oriented to the water to learn safety skills.'
"For instance, Meyer says the class focuses on teaching children to blow bubbles to avoid breathing in water. . . .
"The Autism Society of the Heartland hopes to create a comprehensive campaign on water safety, beyond the swim lessons. They want to train local emergency personnel to react differently when looking for a child with autism; to begin their searches at the closest body of water. The group believes it's a change that will save the lives of children like Mason. . . .
"Medlam has a website dedicated to the deaths of children like Mason (www.masonalert.org) and her mission to alert the world to the dangers of wandering and water."
Heartbreaking evidence that autism is changing childhood in America forever. It's an example of people trying to make a difference and save more children from drowning.
"I took great offense to the defense attorney's comment in 'Teen admits to hacking' [News, Nov. 13] that Jared James Abrahams apologizes for his actions and that autism played a contributing role in the scheme.
"Autism affects so many people in so many ways and it seems to be an ever-growing diagnosis today. My son has a mild form, Asperger's syndrome, and he is a freshman in college. Others with autism require constant care.
"Autism affects individuals in many ways, but to say it would cause an individual to hack into people's emails, take photos and then extort money -- well, that's simply a defense attorney grasping at straws, looking for sympathy and insulting everyone who is associated with someone affected by autism.
"People with autism can live easier and more satisfying lives now than in the past. Years ago, the response might have been to simply commit the person to an institution and walk away.
"Michael Connor, Centereach"
This letter in Newsday in Newsday got my attention. The father of a son with Asperger's pointed out that autism is a very diverse diagnosis. He also gives the public some false information that conditions the public to believe that autism is nothing new---certainly not an epidemic nor anything to really worry about.
"People with autism can live easier and more satisfying lives now than in the past. Years ago, the response might have been to simply commit the person to an institution and walk away."
I've seen this kind of statement many times. AUTISM HAS ALWAYS BEEN HERE; WE JUST CALLED IT SOMETHING ELSE. Today we're so enlightened, we no longer shut them away in institutions. That gives us the false impression that we can ignore autism. It's no big deal if lots and lots of kids have this disorder. We can feel good about ourselves. Thank goodness for modern medicine. I looked up Newsday and saw that they have 793,357 daily readers, The really big lie about autism always being here is again subtlety planted in the minds of the readers.
And as a bonus, on the bottom of the page is a link to an online assessment test to see if you have Asperger's Syndrome. Autism is now an accepted part of our lives. Do we seriously need more proof?