Dachel Wake Up: CHOP Brain Scans for Autism
Dachel Wake Up: Fly The Autistic Skies

Let's Kindle an Idea for Autism

Charlie brown kindleI have a confession to make. I completely underestimate my daughters with autism. It's ridiculous how dumb I am sometimes about their ability. There's an easy laziness that has come to me whereby I do not expect the girls to surprise me with new skills. Can't say I'm proud about how the exhaustion of tending to three young adults (16 - 22) has taken a toll on my commitment to bringing them forward.

Mia decided to give me a shake up. God bless her. She loves her iPad. She loves Bella's iPad. She love's Gianna's iPad and iPhone. She loves the computer. If Mia had her druthers, her bed would look like the control room at ABC World News Tonight with 15 screens running different information in a concert where she herself was the conductor. She can process and use information so fast.

At night I charge the devices and hide them until morning. This way I can sleep in until 5:00am, maybe even 6:00am.

Mia was a pure Sesame Street gal for twenty two years. But in the last 6 months, since she began her day program post school, she has discovered, to my great joy, Charlie Brown! He's a classic! I adored him as a kid and had lots of Snoopy, Charlie Brown and Peanuts items in my room. My Mom even has our old Snoopy phone! So I've been delighted that Mia has moved away from Sesame Street (especially since the show is now a pharma/public health sales tool) and to the classic Peanuts.

I own a Kindle e-reader, not a Kindle Fire. A few days ago, I came downstairs to make coffee and discovered Mia sitting at my desk in my office (corner of the kitchen) swiping my Kindle. I took a look, and lo and behold, she had bought Charlie Brown books!  Mia had never seen my Kindle open. She was never taught how to use it. But she swiped, found the store, searched for Charlie Brown and.... bought two books! Most folks wouldn't assume Mia can even read.  She CAN. She can spell. I was delighted!! This was her very first individual purchase.  And a wake up call for me, for which there will never be enough coffee. Our kids, my kids, have so many skills to show us. I'm angry at myself for having to be surprised. But thrilled to know maybe Mia would like a Kindle - a more passive device on which she would have to read. 

Mia bought herself two books.




First full faced smile I've had in 2 weeks. That's awesome!!!


Hurray for Mia's new skills and hurray for new interests!!! No one else but an autism parent can understand the joy of watching your child find something new to obsess on, especially if we like it, too!


That is so fantastic :o).

Angus Files

Great Kim my son goes between Thomass The Tank Engine,Walking With Dinosaurs interspersed with the Titanic and anything steam driven oh! and High brow words from Wiki where he just likes the form of the words...great to read your articles thanks.

Pharma for Prison



Best news I've read in a long, long time.

Anne McELroy Dachel

Go Mia! Thank you for some really GOOD NEWS................there is so pathetically little of it out there.

I don't ever underestimate these kids. They can really surprise you!

Patience (Eileen Nicole) Simon

Kim, wonderful! Don't ever give up on these beautiful girls.

Dan Burns, master story teller! I hope your TV series is progressing. It describes so well the kind of adventures we all are dealing with.


How sad is it my first thought was Kim will be criticized by the neuro-diverse crowd for not realizing Mia is capable of a lot of things.

Personally, I'm very happy to hear these stories. I know how an unexpected action or achievement by my son feels. Our kids do surprise us sometimes. Now you know her interests can be broadened. That's something to celebrate.
I hope Mia takes to the Kindle and enjoys her books.

Bob Moffit

Kim ... thank you and Mia .. for the encouraging progress that Mia has made through the use of technology ..

Our beloved grandson .. non-verbal at 17 years of age .. remains fixated on Elmo .. spending as much time on the family computer as allowed .. devoted to watching youtube reruns of Elmo .. has become adept at restoring his on-line connection should for some reason he has lost it .. much to the amazement of his grandparents .. who are far less confident we have the skills to do the same.

We, too, are often amazed at his growing ability to "communicate" through the technology available to him .. such as .. the I-pad he immediately seizes when he wants to tell us what he specifically wants ..

Kim ... Mia's advancement has given us great encouragement as he grows older .. indeed .. Mia has given us ever more reason to have faith in JESSE JACKSON'S MESSAGE TO ...... KEEP HOPE ALIVE!


That is wonderful news, Kim. It is so true. We, as parents of children with disabilities, become so accustomed to doing so much for and fighting for so much for our children, that we become trapped in a mindset that we have to do everything for them as they cannot do things for themselves. It is truly enlightening and heartwarming when our children show us that not only are they paying attention to something, they actually have the skills to do something with that new knowledge.

My daughter loved animals so much that she overcame her extreme, fine motor skill deficits (she couldn't draw a square or a cross initially) by drawing animals over and over again. It all began with an adorable, yellow, blue-eyed duck she drew with crayons. Her first animal obsession was with yellow, rubber duck bath toys. Drawing animals brought her joy.

Her animal drawings continued to get better and better as she continued to work those finger muscles. I actually had to repeatedly tell her to put her sketchpad away and use her pencil to do her homework, because she would sketch all day if given the opportunity. She then began making tiny clay Pokémon figures (~1 in.) that are so detailed, she has now eclipsed the ability of most typical people with her fine motor skills. I think that once she develops and learns some computer art skills, she may be able to work toward a future that combines her love of animals and art into something magical and commercially viable.

I think we all have to go with whatever fascinates our children, and foster whatever skills may develop from those very particular interests.

Julianne Boise

Wonderful story !! It's great to wake-up to this ! ... Now, you should probably lock the Kindle and hide your credit card before Charlie Brown merchandise starts arriving by the box-load ;-)

John Gilmore


Dan E. Burns

A few months after his stem cell infusion, Ben figured out how to find YouTube on my Samsung smartphone. I dug an old tiny-screen iPhone off the discarded tech shelf and gave that to him for his birthday. He found YouTube but he lost the iPhone. I had to hide mine from the sneaker at night. So I resurrected the big iPad and the small iPad. Bingo. Guess what keeps him seated at the breakfast table? Barney on one device, Kids Songs on the other.

Aimee Doyle

Hooray for all our kids - who work hard every day.

There was a cool post that circulated on Facebook - about how two individuals with Down syndrome got married - 22 years later they are still married. So easy to underestimate people with disabilities.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)