Dreams

Age of Autism November Matching Gift Campaign

Gratefull Donateful

This month, all tax-deductible donations go toward a generous anonymous patron's $5,000 matching gift. Read more after the jump below. You can use our DONATE button online through Bank of America Merchant Services - safe and secure. Or send a check to Autism Age, PO Box 110546, Trumbull, CT 06611.  Thank you. Kim

Continue reading "Age of Autism November Matching Gift Campaign" »


Annual Age of Autism Thanksgiving Matching Donor Campaign is Underway

Giving thanks
November is here,

Giving thanks is due.

I’m donating to AoA,

How about you?

Hello, friends. We have a generous patron who is matching gifts up to $5,000 this month.  Every penny goes to keeping Age of Autism live and online with fresh content and comments 365 days a year.  Donations are tax deductible. You can use our DONATE button online through Bank of America Merchant Services - safe and secure.  And because we are a non-profit, they only charge a tiny fee, unlike other services. Or send a check to:

Autism Age
PO Box 110546
Trumbull, CT 06611

Our EIN is 47-1831987

If you've been reading us for years - thanks your for loyalty! Newcomers? Welcome.  Donate what you can - every $5 will soon turn into $5,000!  Age of Autism is more important than ever as social media cracks down on topics they find too controversial. You know what I'm saying....   We need your help!

And stay tuned for a new and necessary addition to the Autism Age non-profit family in 2019. It's time to expand our mission. That's all I'll hint for now. 

From all of us at AofA and Mia, Gianna, Bella and most of all me, their Mom, thank you.

And now, a note from our fabulous matching gift patron!

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Please take a few minutes to consider the following:

  • How often you read AoA
  • How often you share articles from AoA
  • How AoA has helped you, your child, and your family
  • How supported you feel when you read AoA
  • How encouraged you feel when you read AoA
  • How you appreciate the content of AoA
  • How you appreciate that AoA is a daily blog
  • How you appreciate that AoA includes news that mainstream media refuses to cover
  • How AoA has amazing contributors, both in the form of writers and commenters
  • How there are those behind the scenes who keep AoA up and running on a daily basis, who need and appreciate our financial support

Now that you have contemplated those points, I hope you are feeling inspired to make a donation to keep Age of Autism running strong for another year.

I will match all donations made from Nov. 1st through Nov. 30th, up to $5,000. Last year, we exceeded the matching amount…let’s do it again!

Simply click AgeofAutism.com/donate.html to pay online. Or, if you prefer, you can mail a check made out to “Autism Age” to:

Autism Age

P.O. Box 110546

Trumbull, CT  06611

Please don’t put this off. Click on the donation link, or grab your checkbook, an envelope, and a stamp, and make your donation now. Let’s show Kim and her helpers our support today!

Sincerely,

Anonymous Donor


Puzzles Bakery in Schenectady Featured on The Today Show

PuzzlesA few years ago, I had the great pleasure of speaking to a group of parents at the wonderful, spectacular, scrumpdillyicious Puzzles Bakery in Schenectady, New York.  We've often said here at Age of Autism that the SIBLINGS will change the world long after we parents are too old, too tired and just too too to toot any longer.  We need Puzzles around the nation - they have a fantastic model, the menu is brilliant, the service high tech and the mission, to hire those with developmental disabilities including autism and Asperger's is sweeter than shoefly pie. Visit the Puzzles Bakery and Café here.  Kim

SCHENECTADY — A three-person crew from NBC's "Today" show filmed in the back room Thursday as the lunch crowd started to make its way into Puzzles Bakery & Café in downtown Schenectady.

Owner and founder Sara Mae Pratt, 28, said the bakery's mission is to provide meaningful job opportunities to people with developmental disabilities.

"They've been shadowing all our employees throughout the day, they've been here since we opened and they're just capturing what it looks like to do what we do," she said.

A sign on the door warned patrons, "Be aware that you may appear in the background of their footage."

The crew was expected to continue filming all day.

Pratt said Puzzles was featured on National Public Radio and a nightly television newscast when it opened in 2015 at the corner of State and Barrett streets.

She is happy to have the spotlight again and recounted the call a few months back from producers of the network morning show.

"We're still here and I guess we're still newsworthy and happy that we can provide some happy stories for people in the news," Pratt said.

More than half of Puzzles' roughly 16 full- and part-time workers have developmental and intellectual disabilities, Pratt said, making it an integrated workforce.

"I just think that it's really important for all the employers out there across the country and all over the world to really consider taking a chance on people with special needs," she said. "I think they will be pleasantly surprised."

The bakery's name is taken from the puzzle piece, which is the international symbol for autism awareness.  Read the whole article here.


Communication is Life Changing: A Response to The Facilitator's Touch

Family StoryBy Terri Schuldt

Dear Age of Autism Readers:

I am a parent of an 18 year old non-verbal girl with Autism.  My daughter endured over 8 years of “scientifically validated” Verbal Behavior ABA therapy prior to starting with the Rapid Prompting Method (RPM).  We pursued this line of intervention for 5 years with some success prior to delving into Facilitated Communication (FC) which has given us full open communication and academic success and a wide wide world of understanding and exchanges with my daughter.  My daughter was also the lucky recipient of 8 years of Occupational Therapy by outside and school therapists and a lifetime of home programs provided by yours truly mom who is a graduate of the Medical University of South Carolina Occupational Therapy Program.  All of these interventions have moved us forward, but FC has given us life changing strides.

I am writing in response to the article published by Age of Autism on 10/15/18 titled The Facilitator’s Touch.  Mr. Dalziel writes a number of things that are troubling and slanted.  The first red flag of the article is that Mr. Dalziel describes his first experience with FC as the “trained graduate student” stating “Tell me about this book”.  It only takes 1 basic training in FC to know that you do not start with open communication such as this, right out of the gate.  Mr. Dalziel then goes on to state “he did not want to do it”.  Hmmm, ok, problem number 2 identified…She then showed him a picture book and asked him to describe it.  Again, a bit of an open topic for a newbie typer.  There is a process of teaching FC and the following of Best Practice methods that should be held when learning this method.  There are other factors such as the intangibles that some would call trust or rapport.  Ask ANY parent out there if they have ever had the experience of their child (any child with or without a disability) not wanting to participate in something with a stranger.  Now imagine that stranger touching that person and holding their arm and then demanding a response.  I know this scenario very well because working as a Pediatric Occupational Therapist I would never grab a child and demand an outcome.  You have to build rapport and trust first.  I often would demonstrate my techniques on the parent first and then have them practice the home program with me allowing the child to observe these interactions. If I was lucky at the next visit the child would willingly accompany me to the clinic for treatment and participate more fully.

Is FC a perfect method?  I would say “no”.  There is a chance that if you have an over zealous facilitator with bad intentions that influence could happen.  However, I must ask how anyone can deny the success that some FC users have had as they progressed over time from requiring assistance to reaching 100% independent typing.  I have personally witnessed this in my own community over a period of one year.

Continue reading "Communication is Life Changing: A Response to The Facilitator's Touch" »


The Facilitator’s Touch

Listen_to_me_by_rachellove147-d34d13dNote: Thank you to Bruce for this raw post, written from experience as only a parent can write. We are all facilitators for our children with autism.  In some fashion. This post delves deep into the use of Facilitated Communication.   KIM

By Bruce Dalziel

My dear wife Mary still has dreams in which suddenly Matthew speaks.  She dreams she is somewhere ahead of him-- perhaps driving a car with him in the back seat, or with her back turned towards his at a family party-- when he speaks a complete sentence, with perfect diction, such as “I always prefer that we drive this way as opposed to the highway.”  In the dream, Mary asks, “Who said that?” and Matt says “I did,” or someone says “Matt did;” Mary is the only one in this dream who did not know Matt could talk.

This dream has precedents in our lives-- when Matt was 2 ½ he said “no” quite clearly to his grandmother, and that same month he said the word “bubble” perfectly at a birthday party.   Today at 30, Matt has a good heart, a strong mind, and a wide vocabulary, and he is able to type to communicate basic needs, but he has not actually spoken again since. 

When Matthew was diagnosed at age three, in 1990, autism was only beginning to be understood as a developmental disability. Its incidence has increased fifty-fold since.  Doctors could tell us Matt was autistic, but not why.  We found ourselves unlikely pioneers on an unexpected frontier.  No one could tell us what caused it.  Autism is defined in terms of symptomatic behaviors, including impaired communication and social skills, with no single identified cause, despite lots of theories.  Yet the mystery gave us some hope that the secret of the tomb could be discovered, and that Matt’s disability somehow could be cured.  Like cancer patients chasing clinical trials, for Mary and me at that time, it was that or die trying.

Before Matt was diagnosed, like most Americans, we knew little more about autism than what we learned from Dustin Hoffman’s portrayal of the precocious character Raymond in Rain Man, which premiered just after Matt was born.  That is to say, we viewed autism as a curiosity, like Outsider Art.   The Who’s rock opera Tommy presented a darker view: Tommy falls into a catatonic autistic-like state because of extreme childhood trauma linked to his mother, reflecting outdated 1950’s psychological theory suggesting autism is caused by “refrigerator mothers”, who are somehow unable to love their children. 

In our house, this was always a laughable premise. Mary is all love all the time, especially for her dear boy and his younger sister Suzanne.  Indeed, Mary literally taught Matt to love. It was like a D-Day assault, or maybe the Macarthur plan is a better metaphor. I am not sure I can describe it more precisely than as a singularly intimate focus or as a supernatural force.   We had both read a memoir called “The Siege” by Clara Claiborne Park, a mother of a child with autism, who took an aggressive behavioral approach to breaking through to her child.  Like Joan of Arc, Mary took up the sword. 

Matt’s view of the world was distorted and enormously frustrating.  Mary stood right in front of him, offering her full presence at every moment, and absorbing his pain.  She nursed him for sixteen months, which was his only consolation at the time, since he did not suck his thumb and he had no use for toys or stuffed animals that might comfort other children.  They developed a deep connection. 

Continue reading "The Facilitator’s Touch" »


Disability Scoop on Making Group Homes Safer

Home heartNote: Many of us are starting to think about where and how our children will live as adults, as we grow older, and after we die. Group homes are one option. But are they in any way appropriate for adults who may have moderate to severe behaviors, and/or who are not "compliant?" The world of special needs is not as it was 25+ years ago when most consumers had down syndrome or an intellectual disability or cerebral palsy, spina bifida and other diagnoses. Autism is the new kid on the block - and no one knows quite what to do with or for our kids. When consumers are not compliant, staff can become angry and belligerent and retaliate. It's a frightening prospect. Adults with autism may be excluded from any funding by virtue of IQ and yet, be unable to live independently. What of them? If the goverment tasked with taking on the autism epidemic via IACC is any indication of actual progress for us? We're in for a world of hurt, and so are our kids.

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Feds Urge Steps To Make Group Homes Safer

Five months after a scathing report found that injuries, serious medical conditions and even deaths of those with developmental disabilities living in group homes often go overlooked, federal officials are responding.

In a four-page informational bulletin issued this week, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ Center for Medicaid & CHIP Services said that it “takes the health and welfare of individuals receiving Medicaid-funded Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) very seriously.”

The agency described its new bulletin as the first in a series of guidance documents it plans to issue in response to a January joint report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, Administration on Community Living and Office for Civil Rights.

The findings were based on an audit of emergency room visits from group home residents in a handful of states, but investigators said that media reports from across the country suggested the problems were widespread.

Ultimately, the report recommended that states adopt model practices for better oversight and that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services establish a “SWAT” team to address problems. practices, the bulletin noted....


Why Father’s Day is Mother's Day for This Autism Dad

Chuck and his momBy Chuck Hancock

Five years ago on Father's Day, my mother died. Mary Hancock had broken her arm several weeks before her death, and her health just started to go downhill.  The medical professionals had trouble managing her pain.  I think she just decided enough was enough.  I suspect she thought to herself, “I had  a great life, I believe in God, and I know I will be in a much better place.”  Her last week alive was spent under hospice care.  The care was great, and it took place in the little one bedroom apartment in the facility where she had lived for the previous several years.  I stayed there with her 24/7 for that last week.  Sleeping on the couch in the living room, wondering when I woke up and went into her bedroom if she would be alive.  

During her final week, my son Charlie was able to visit her a few times.  My how she loved him.  I recall exactly where and when I was when I told my Mom by telephone that Charlie was going to be a boy.  Before Charlie was born, in 2005, my Mom had four wonderful grandDAUGHTERS, but no grandSONS.  She no doubt loved them like crazy, and, they all were, and are, amazing kids.  All now, actually, amazing women each with multiple children of their own. I asked my Mom that day, "So, what do you want, a boy or a girl?"  Never too afraid to speak her mind, she exclaimed "I WANT A BOY"!  I told her, "You got it"!  And I cried like the baby that was to arrive within the year.  

During the last several days of my Mom's life she was not able to speak.  She was failing.  Time was running short.  The hospice workers kept telling me "I think this will be her last day."  This went on several days in a row.  Two days before Father's Day, in her room, holding her hand and talking to her, I asked her "Please wait (to die) until Father's Day."  I know this might sound very odd to many.  But I had my reason.  Maybe a bit selfish, perhaps not.  

I knew when I was 10 years old that I wanted to be a father one day.  Sounds a bit crazy, I know.  I just recall experiences like being at the community pool in the summer, and really enjoying entertaining the younger kids.  I also played plenty with kids my own age as well.  My son Charlie has an autism spectrum disorder.  Two days ago he completed the 6th grade.  I guess you could say that he is "high functioning."  Though, I am not a fan of labels.  No two kids with autism are alike.  Most of his autism-related struggles concern comprehension of information, social skills, and the ability to "understand" what is happening around him.  He at times struggles.  And as a parent, when a child struggles, WE struggle.  

Continue reading "Why Father’s Day is Mother's Day for This Autism Dad" »


Special Forces Father

Dara and familyBy Dara Berger

My husband is no where near perfect, but one thing I can say is he is an amazing father and sometimes it actually takes my breath away.

On most days I find myself barking at my husband for all the things that he hasn't done yet, should do or still needs to do.  But in truth, deep down inside, I think he's the most wonderful husband in the world.  Words could never accurately express how I feel.  He belongs to aspecial elite class of fathers the way that we have a select group of soldiers assigned to special forces.  

Yes we nip at each other every day the way a puppy tries to play.  And of course he does so many things wrong in a day or says the wrong thing at the wrong time.  But at the end of the day, I know I am so lucky to have him not only as my husband but especially as a father to my children.  I know he will never abandon us, nor mistreat us. Many days in my household can be a challenge to say the least, but we both join together and deal with what comes our way with as much grace as we can muster.  

It was funny the other night my husband and I were out to dinner with his lovely cousin who was telling us all about how wonderful life is for him since he retired.  He went on and on about how much he and his wife are traveling throughout Europe and enjoying spending extended periods of time with their grandkids.  He explained that his son and daughter in-law will go away for a week somewhere exotic when they come to visit and take care of their kids.  Next he started telling us how we should travel a lot more, get away and relax. 

Continue reading "Special Forces Father" »


Autism 21 and Done

Gianna giant egg 2017
Time flies. Gianna, in her fashion, is leaving the nest (not literally, she lives with her sisters and me!) and starting the adult phase of her life. School ends today. She turns 22 next month. Can you imagine that?  She will be attending a program for adults with special needs. She'll be safe and well cared for and have a chance to grow and learn and gain skills toward more independence. And while it sure isn't what I had ever planned for her - I'm grateful that we have good people helping us. Mia's age out was much tougher on me.  But I'm in a better frame of mind than I was two years ago, so perhaps that's a big part of my peace. I hope you are find peace too.  In some fashion. We can do this, friends. Readers. Stay strong.

Love, Kim

  Gianna


Rockin' the Boat: NYC Special Education Student Actors Ace "Guys and Dolls Jr."

Guys and dollsBy Barbara Fischkin

After the curtain call, we approached the actors and begged them to autograph our Playbills. Some were gracious. One was overly enthusiastic. Another wanted to go home. Or maybe it just seemed that way because he did not look us in the eye. Mostly, their signatures were shaky. They had to concentrate when they signed, as if this was a harder thing to do than sing, act and move to the score of “Guys and Dolls.”

As they all just had.

Yes, the actors were all disabled and, as is probably obvious to readers of Age of Autism, some were on the spectrum. In real life they are teenaged students at a Special Education New York City Public School in Harlem. A “District 75,” program, as such entities are called – all too often with a cautionary tone.

As for the show – it was great. It was alternately touching, joyous and funny at all the right moments. A spectacular “Adelaide,” sang that just from wondering whether the wedding is on or off, “a poiyson,” could develop a cold. I am told that offstage this student says “person” not “poiyson,” and she picked up this Adelaide-ism from studying the movie. When she said to her actor boyfriend of 14 years, the inveterate gambler "Nathan Detroit": “Nathan, you are a liar,” and he shrugged with emphasis, the audience broke up.  As it did when the shortest actor in the cast jumped up and announced, with great confidence, “I’m Big Jule. Let’s shoot crap.”  “Sarah Brown,” hugged “Sky Masterson,” quickly, as tentative as any Salvation Army “doll.”  As for Sky, I would have gone with him to Cuba for lunch in a flash, as well as on a boat to heaven with the student who played “Nicely, Nicely Johnson.”

After a prolonged standing ovation, one mother of a cast member said, joyously: “I didn’t know who it was up there.”

 Our children surprise us. My own younger son, Jack, who spent his earlier years more interested in ice hockey than anything else – is now 27 and a teacher at this school. He was one of the assistant directors. (This is the same son who teased me mercilessly when I told him that “acting in theatrical productions” had been my own favorite high school “sport.”) As a New York City Teaching Fellow, Jack earned a master’s degree in special education. I worried about his choice of this field. His older brother, Dan, now 30, has severe nonverbal autism and I felt that Jack had perhaps already done enough special education for a lifetime.

“Mom, I like this kind of teaching,” Jack told me. Clearly, he does.

 It was notable for me that most of the actors had memorized their lines. Without labeling, let’s just say that in the cast there were those who might not be expected to accomplish much.  One actor had to be wheeled on and off stage, another had trouble finding the curtain to exit.  Nevertheless, the show went on.

It is not overly dramatic to say that had they been children mid-twentieth century, some of the actors in this show might have been sent to Willowbrook, a nightmare of an institution.

 Two decades earlier our own disabled son, Dan, was denied participation in a school show in a school for disabled children because “it might hurt his feelings since he can’t talk.” Balderdash. The students at this District 75 school who were nonverbal or minimally so were living it up as guys and  dolls in the chorus and on the boat to heaven. Sometimes, as an audience member, my eyes wandered to them as I watched them steal the show on their own terms.

What I saw on this recent evening was a school with dedicated staff who “presume competence” and appreciate the “dignity of risk,” watchwords of the disability and advocacy communities.

I would like to end with a bouquet of thanks to all those who made this performance - officially titled “Guys and Dolls, Jr.” -possible with funding and other supports: The Schubert Foundation, Music Theater International, the New York City Department of Education Office of Arts and Special Projects, ArtsConnection, I Theatrics, - and the staff, teachers and community of the wonderful school where my son teaches. For more on how a show like this happens, please see FundforPublicSchools/Shubert

Author Barbara Fischkin is writing an autism-related historical novel and is a Communication Manager and Writer for CUNY's Queensborough Community College.

 


Rooting Out Bedhead by Maurine Meleck: Autism and Other Brushes with Chaos

Rooting out bedheadJoin us in congratulating our dear friend, autism Grandmother extraordinaire Maurine Meleck on the publication of her poetry book.

We have a copy for two lucky readers. But we'd love you to buy a copy!  $16 includes shipping. Please use Maurine's Paypal me address: paypal.me/MaurineMeleck. 

Author’s Note

This is not a book about politics.

I promised myself I would not salt

these pages with tasteless verbiage

about an autism epidemic,

stirred for two decades

without politicians or the media

lifting the pot’s cover.

Continue reading "Rooting Out Bedhead by Maurine Meleck: Autism and Other Brushes with Chaos" »


Actionplay Presents Surreality TV Created by Individuals on Autism Spectrum May

LincolnCenter6Note: We're happy to share this invitation to attend Actionplay's SurrealityTV. Law professor Mary Holland is on the board and her son has participated for many years. If you're in the NYC area, check this out!

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Dear Friends!

There are two exciting Actionplay events coming up that we couldn't be more excited about!

Actionplay presents the original musical "Surreality TV" created and devised by individuals on the autism spectrum and related conditions in our inclusive AIMS workshop. Brad Bradford and his totally normal family have lost themselves in the dystopian world of Reality TV. Come join the resistance and question your reality in this rollicking original musical comedy about fame, family, and freedom

Leonard Nimoy Thalia Theatre
Sat, May 5, 2018 7:00pm
Sun, May 6, 2018 7:00pm
Expected Run Time is 90 minutes

Join us for an after party at Bar Thalia!

Actionplay, an organization who’s mission is equal access to the arts for individuals on the autism spectrum and related conditions, is reviving their hit 2017 production of their original musical comedy “Surreality TV” – devised and performed by individuals on the spectrum. Performances will take place on Saturday May 5th & Sunday May 6th at 7pm, at the Leonard Nimoy Thalia Theater at Symphony Space in NYC. Tickets are available via the Symphony Space Box Office.

After the show on Saturday May 5th from 8:30-10:30 the Actionplay Board of Directors will be hosting an ENCORE! AFTER-PARTY at Symphony Space's Bar Thalia in celebration of the performers in the show. Beer, wine, cocktails and appetizers are included in the after-party ticket price. Help support Actionplay’s dynamic programs, and hang with the Actionplay crew!  You can make a contribution in support of Actionplay’s efforts and purchase tickets here.

Actionplay is Creating a More Inclusive World from ACTIONPLAY on Vimeo.


Michelle Guppy Asks: Is My Suffering Showing?

Said no mother michelle
Note: Thanks to Michelle Guppy for allowing us to excerpt from her blog From Hell to Hopeism. Her son Brandon is a gorgeous young man with autism who is wracked with seizures. Michelle and her family fight a fight few of us can imagine. I have 3 kids with autism and would struggle to carry Michele's burden. Yes, burden. One of our roles at AofA is to show all sides of autism and to expose the agonizing underbelly of this diagnosis. Few write with the heart and guts that Michelle brings to her blog.  Bookmark From Hell to Hopeism.

By Michelle Guppy

It is bittersweet seeing all the #saidnomother images.

Let alone the 7,000 names written in blood, sweat, and tears on the VAXXED bus that symbolize lives lost or forever altered by adverse vaccine reactions.

The sadness of all such awareness campaigns is too profound to put in words.

And then to add insult to injury upon injury, we have April.  National Autism Awareness Month.  Which for those of us who have seen the truth happen before our very eyes, should rather be named, "National Vaccine Injury Denial Month" where the book "Denial" by Dan Olmsted and Mark Blaxill is required reading.

I guess with the epidemic numbers of those affected by 'autism' growing exponentially every reporting year - those who even came up with such a month for society to be made aware of such a disorder - had to quickly back-peddle where instead of seeking to understand why - we now have an entire month to "light up" and "celebrate" the "new normal" that is here to stay.

Which is why most like me go into hiding this month.

It's hard to decide which is more unbearable -- living this "Life with Autism, Seizures, and a side of PANDAS" caused by vaccine injury -- or enduring a month that "lights up" and "celebrates" the chronic, painful, life-altering-for-all-involved disorder as if it were no big thing.

Read the full post here.


HuffPo: Let’s Start Honoring People with Autism by Stopping the Celebration of Autism

Broken blue light bulbNote: Uh oh, someone hit publish at HuffPo... what happened? This is a terrific article.

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https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/lets-start-honoring-people-with-autism-by-stopping_us_58dbf66ee4b0487a198a5686?ncid=engmodushpmg00000003

By A. Elizabeth Washington

World Autism Awareness Day hits me like a ton of bricks every year. As the mother of a child with autism, there isn’t another day I loathe like April 2nd. Autism Speaks proudly proclaims on their website: “Every year, autism organizations around the world celebrate the day with unique fundraising and awareness-raising events. How will you celebrate?”

Awareness is one thing, but I recoil at the assumption that my son and I will be celebrating the immense suffering he has endured since autism came into our lives. Each year, I mark the day by cringing as I drive past blue porch lights and pulling my blinds closed as neighborhood kids hop off the school bus in blue shirts. I know one thing for sure: the celebratory tone of April 2nd directly contrasts the reality of day-to-day life for many with autism. It doesn’t feel like a day that supports my son and those like him. It feels like a kick in the face.

A small sliver of the autism spectrum works happily in Silicon Valley, comfortable in their own skin, able to overcome their challenges and function successfully in the world. Some have genius IQs and special talents. They celebrate their abilities. I celebrate them too. Those at this end of the autism spectrum however, are not reflective of the entire autism community by any stretch of the imagination.

At the opposite end of the autism spectrum, parents are diapering their teenagers. Distressed children are literally banging their heads against walls. Parents are cleaning feces from furniture, carpet, and fingernails daily. Families are trying to function despite extreme sleep deprivation. Hyper-vigilant parents are turning their backs for a second and losing their beloved children to drowning...  Click HERE. to read more.


College Paper by James Potthast, Adult with Low Verbal Autism: “Attaining the Information of the World”

Hope dandelionOur son James who is 18, has significant impairment from his vaccine induced autism. He fights a dysfunctional body everyday and I wish everyday that it didn't have to be so hard. But RPM the teaching method that gave James communication has changed his life. Hopefully any AoA reader has already heard about it but its good to be reminded and this essay will inform some of you about what the journey from silence to communication has been. He wrote it for his community college english class. The class was supposed to explore how they get and process information. A different question for someone with autism! Brooke Potthast

By James Potthast

English 112-003N

James Potthast

January 19, 2018

Information Literacy Narrative

“Attaining the Information of the World”

            My current environment stimulates and allows me to continue growing in my information literacy. I have a multitude of resources for receiving and sharing information. I am a college student, I listen to audiobooks and podcasts, I write a quarterly newsletter, I have a personal blog, and I often listen intently to those around me. I consider myself to be information literate. I am able to listen and process information presented to me in a variety of formats. I pride myself in the speed at which I can auditorily process information. However, all of this did not happen overnight. My journey from prisoner to college student is one of struggle in finding ways to access, use, and understand information.  

            Almost five years ago, I had very limited access to information, no ability to use the information I possessed, and was not being taught to understand what I heard daily. I have Autism and I am nonverbal. For this reason, I was denied access to information that I was presumed not to know or be able to understand. My learning consisted mostly of matching and repeating patterns. Then, one day my parents took me to meet and work with Soma Mukhopadhyay, and Autism and education specialist. I remember being taught a lesson about planes. I felt empowered by the fact someone felt I could understand a middle school lesson. I was asked questions to show my comprehension. Using a stencil board with the alphabet on it, I answered each question correctly. Everyone was surprised I could spell, and even more shocked I processed all of the information that was given to me. This day changed my life. I was given the opportunity to access information for the first time, and was able to express my understanding of that material. My shackles had finally been removed and using a letter board was the key that would allow me to freely explore the world.

            After this discovery, my parents decided that learning with a homeschool program would be best for me. A few months later, I became a homeschool student. I vividly remember meeting my teacher, Shannon. I thought she was so smart. I asked myself on many occasions if I would be able to work for a whole school day. At times, I needed breaks. The transition from not being able to communicate the thoughts in my mind to having an organized school day full of educational input was overwhelming at times. I would get tired easily, and get frustrated with myself for not being able to point at the letters as easily I wanted to. This process helped me build resilience as a learner. Now I was able to learn at my grade level. I had the opportunity of accessing the meaningful information that I always wanted.

Continue reading "College Paper by James Potthast, Adult with Low Verbal Autism: “Attaining the Information of the World”" »


Amazon Smile Triples Donations to Age of Autism March 12 - 31

Amazon SmileThe AmazonSmile triple donation promotion started yesterday! Amazon is tripling the donation amount to 1.5% when customers make their first eligible smile.amazon.com purchase from March 12 - 31. This is a great opportunity to support Age of Autism's through AmazonSmile donations by when you shop at smile.amazon.com.   Just search and select AGE OF AUTISM. Then shop to you drop!  I generated $.78 so far this month. Don't laugh. The thousand mile journey and all that!

Thanks.

Kim

 

 


Age of Reactive Attachment Disorder?

ED105241-DBAC-49C8-AA6D-9AA8063A4236Our community is none too pleased to see reports that the Florida shooter "may have had autism." Our children, from tots to teens to twenties and beyond, are not innately cruel. They may be terribly violent at times  most often to themselves in what we call "self-injurious behavior," or SIB.  Aggression can be fierce and furious and dangerous. I know of "kids" with autism who put their hands through windows, walls, smash furniture, toss rooms, punch family members, bite, pull hair - all of which is a horror for all concerned. But I can't think of many instances of vengeful, targeted violence. Most often, it's a cry for help, the despair of lack of ability to communicate or connect. Behavior in autism is communication. Even the "bad" behavior.

I looked up "reactive attachment disorder," and came across this info from Mayo Clinic. The more benign symptoms look a lot like autism.

Reactive attachment disorder can start in infancy. There's little research on signs and symptoms of reactive attachment disorder beyond early childhood, and it remains uncertain whether it occurs in children older than 5 years.

Signs and symptoms may include:

  • Unexplained withdrawal, fear, sadness or irritability
  • Sad and listless appearance
  • Not seeking comfort or showing no response when comfort is given
  • Failure to smile
  • Watching others closely but not engaging in social interaction
  • Failing to ask for support or assistance
  • Failure to reach out when picked up
  • No interest in playing peekaboo or other interactive games

The more severe, including cruelty to animals, mentioned in the case of Nikolas Cruz, is nothing like the autism I, and perhaps you, know.

Some research suggests that some children and teenagers with reactive attachment disorder may display callous, unemotional traits that can include behavior problems and cruelty toward people or animals. However, more research is needed to determine if problems in older children and adults are related to experiences of reactive attachment disorder in early childhood.

Reactive attachment disorder

 


Age of Autism Matching Gift Event Success!

Thank you typeDear Friends: Thanks to everyone who donated in our November Matching Gift program. You generously gave $4510 which our donor is matching.  Frankly I'd like to sing his/her name to the world. But the gift is anonymous.

In our little corner of the world, that's a lot of thanks!

When Dan died, I had just taken over the day to day business management of the non-profit called Autism Age. I am Executive Director of this Connecticut based non-profit. I worried about whether or not we could continue as the nations first daily web newspaper of the autism epidemic. Dan's presence was a comfort to me. A rudder that kept us going full steam ahead. He was a friend. A mentor. Our leader. I miss him every single time I hit, "publish."  John Stone has been a steady source of support and guidance in our new iteration. Mark Blaxill and Jen Larson and our sponsors at Generation Rescue and Safeminds are our backbone. I so value their commitment and work. Brooke Potthast, board member and dear friend to Dan in DC has been an angel of support as we've navigated the changes - including that dreadful day our domain went "poof!" for a short time! There were so many loose threads to pull together so fast after Dan's death. I'm sharing this "inside baseball" with you not to generate sympathy, we each have our own share of day to day problems!  I want you to know that we are as committed as ever (and many think we should all be committed) to bringing you a community of information, news and support as our kids grow up. I think our work is more important than ever. We need to tell the old stories of vaccine injury and severe autism. We need to support families whose young children are just starting their journey.

If you can make a small donation, we'll welcome your effort. "Many a little makes a mickle."  Don't forget to send me your company's matching gift forms too.

Simply click AgeofAutism.com/donate.html to pay online. Or, if you prefer, you can mail a check made out to “Autism Age” to:

Autism Age

P.O. Box 110546

Trumbull, CT  06611

Thank you. Happy Holidays.

Kim

 


Khali Raymond: Author and Blogger Talks About His Asperger's.

Khali raymondNote: We're sometimes called to the carpet for not featuring the voices of people with autism on AofA.  "Nothing about us without us" is a phrase used within the self-advocacy community. We do not exclude on purpose.  I think many, maybe even most, of our readers' children have autism to a degree where writing about themselves is not possible. I was pleasantly surprised a couple of weeks ago to receive an email from Khali Raymond. He asked if we would publish his story. Please visit his site. If you're a teen or adult with autism reading this post, please, we encourage you to share your story. You do not have to agree with all of our opinions and positions at Age of Autism to write for us. We value and need your stories so that we can understand our own kids better. Please leave a kind comment for Khali - and thank him for his submission. Kim

By Khali Raymond

Living with Asperger's is not an easy feat. It never is. imagine yourself in a room full of people. All of those people are laughing and mingling. Meanwhile, you aren’t. You’re sitting there in the corner all alone, watching everyone make nice with each other. Nobody doesn’t even acknowledge that you’re there. You just sit there, crushed from the inside. You have trouble expressing yourself because you don’t know how to. Your fear of being rejected eats you up. Your fear or feeling inadequate to others eats you up. As you’re living with this disorder, those whom you’re around can’t understand your pain. You’re constantly feeling glum and angry. You feel as if this condition drags you into an abyss, an abyss that leads you to a point of no return.

I have this feeling. Growing up, I could never fit in with others. As a kid, I couldn’t look an adult in the eye. I never had the capacity to. There was just something about looking at another person that made me feel very uncomfortable. In social situations, my heart would pound very fast. I would tend to get nervous. I would always be the one that got left out because I couldn’t relate to the other children. Being bullied didn’t help curb my condition, it only worsened it. Every day, I would walk around and get laughed at. I would be humiliated every day. I would be made fun of because of the way I talked, walked, and looked. Imagine trying to answer a question in class and the kids would mock you. Every word you would say, they’d make this expression, trying to take the words from out of your mouth.

As I was around my family, they couldn’t relate to my condition either. I constantly sent them cries for help and they just rejected me. Nobody listened. This only made me feel even more depressed. The bullying in school got so bad that I nearly tried to kill myself at the age of eleven. I was going to leap from out of my bedroom window, but my mom stopped me in the process. I would use writing as my means to communicate. I loved to write. Whenever I was in class, I would be the first person to get up and share what I’ve written with the class. I impressed my teachers with my impeccable writing abilities. My creativity was amplified. There was nothing limiting it.

Continue reading "Khali Raymond: Author and Blogger Talks About His Asperger's." »


We're Thankful for You! Age of Autism Donor Matching Gift Program.

Giving thanks
November is here,

Giving thanks is due.

I’m donating to AoA,

How about you?

Thanksgiving is today, and a perfect time to express our gratitude for this wonderful forum we know as the Age of Autism blog.

Please take a few minutes to consider the following:

  • How often you read AoA
  • How often you share articles from AoA
  • How AoA has helped you, your child, and your family
  • How supported you feel when you read AoA
  • How encouraged you feel when you read AoA
  • How you appreciate the content of AoA
  • How you appreciate that AoA is a daily blog
  • How you appreciate that AoA includes news that mainstream media refuses to cover
  • How AoA has amazing contributors, both in the form of writers and commenters
  • How there are those behind the scenes who keep AoA up and running on a daily basis, who need and appreciate our financial support

Now that you have contemplated those points, I hope you are feeling inspired to make a donation to keep Age of Autism running strong for another year.

I will match all donations made from Nov. 1st through Nov. 30th, up to $5,000. Last year, we exceeded the matching amount…let’s do it again!

Simply click AgeofAutism.com/donate.html to pay online. Or, if you prefer, you can mail a check made out to “Autism Age” to:

Autism Age

P.O. Box 110546

Trumbull, CT  06611

Please don’t put this off. Click on the donation link, or grab your checkbook, an envelope, and a stamp, and make your donation now. Let’s show Kim and her helpers our support today!

Sincerely,

Anonymous Donor


Happy Thanksgiving from Age of Autism

AofA ThankfulDear friends, readers, families, colleagues and supporters, we at AofA would like to wish you each a very happy Thanksgiving. We are grateful for your readership, your likes, links, reTweets and comments throughout the year.

The winds change, and we constantly readjust our sails, don't we?

Thank you.

Kim, Mark, John and the entire AofA team

 


80 Reasons to Amazon Smile and Donate to Autism Age!

Thanks Age of AutismHi, friends. We're in the middle of our November $5,000 matching gift fundraising event for Autism Age - which is the non-profit organization that publishes Age of Autism every day.  $10,000 is a whole lot of money to us!  Your donations are arriving by mail (PO Box 110546 Trumbull CT 06611) and through our Bank of America based online ordering system. DONATE SECURELY HERE.

Thank you! 

Last year, at this time, Dan Olmsted was formulating his next book (on Polio) and how he planned to spend his retirement years.  As part 0f his future plans, he generously turned Autism Age over to me in December.  We are a non-profit registered in Connecticut. As Executive Director, chief, cook and bottle washer, it's my great joy to honor Dan's memory by keeping us up and running each day. I couldn't do it without our team - John Stone and Mark Blaxill, Cathy Jameson and Adriana Gamondes who keep our Facebook page current and fresh, Teresa Conrick with our science updates. Nancy Hokkanen not only writes, but who sends me great email ideas regularly. Anne Dachel with her important media updates. Everyone on our team.  If you want to contribute, by all means send me a submission for review to KimRossi1111@gmail.com.  We love stories from inside the epidemic - your family, your highs and lows, your growing kids, your own life if you are on the spectrum. You don't have to be a Pulitzer Prize winner - just write from your heart and gut. That honesty makes for great posts. The content beast is always hungry!

I just got an email from Amazon - we just earned $80 through the AMAZON SMILE program.  You can donate every time you make a purchase through Amazon. Just click here to get started!  It might not sound like much, but SMILE was a new revenue source for us in 2017.  Passive donations are most excellent!

Below is our Matching Gift program for the month from "anonymous donor."  Ask YOUR EMPLOYER for a matching gift Matching giftform for your donation!

Thanksgiving is around the corner, and is a perfect time to express our gratitude for this wonderful forum we know as the Age of Autism blog.

Please take a few minutes to consider the following:

  • How often you read AoA
  • How often you share articles from AoA
  • How AoA has helped you, your child, and your family
  • How supported you feel when you read AoA

Continue reading "80 Reasons to Amazon Smile and Donate to Autism Age!" »


Giving Thanks Age of Autism Matching Gift Event

Giving thanks
November is here,

Giving thanks is due.

I’m donating to AoA,

How about you?

Thanksgiving is around the corner, and is a perfect time to express our gratitude for this wonderful forum we know as the Age of Autism blog.

Please take a few minutes to consider the following:

  • How often you read AoA
  • How often you share articles from AoA
  • How AoA has helped you, your child, and your family
  • How supported you feel when you read AoA
  • How encouraged you feel when you read AoA
  • How you appreciate the content of AoA
  • How you appreciate that AoA is a daily blog
  • How you appreciate that AoA includes news that mainstream media refuses to cover
  • How AoA has amazing contributors, both in the form of writers and commenters
  • How there are those behind the scenes who keep AoA up and running on a daily basis, who need and appreciate our financial support

Now that you have contemplated those points, I hope you are feeling inspired to make a donation to keep Age of Autism running strong for another year.

I will match all donations made from Nov. 1st through Nov. 30th, up to $5,000. Last year, we exceeded the matching amount…let’s do it again!

Simply click AgeofAutism.com/donate.html to pay online. Or, if you prefer, you can mail a check made out to “Autism Age” to:

Autism Age

P.O. Box 110546

Trumbull, CT  06611

Please don’t put this off. Click on the donation link, or grab your checkbook, an envelope, and a stamp, and make your donation now. Let’s show Kim and her helpers our support today!

Sincerely,

Anonymous Donor


Joyeux! Heureux! Cheveux! Quebequois Barber's Kindness for Autistic Clients.

Barber-Franz-Jacob-Fauve-Lafreniere
The news has been pretty grim lately both in and out of the autism community. We're happy to share this story of how a barber is making haircuts - often a source of incredible struggle and angst - possible for families.    With the non-stop push to normalize autism and gloss over many of the challenges, this story helps people understand that even the most basic tasks can be mountains for us.  Merci beaucoup to Franz Jacob for his humanity. 

Got a good news story about someone who made your autism journey a bit easier? Send it to us at KimRossi1111@gmail.com.

Read the full story and watch a video at GoodNewsNetwork.

This Canadian easily makes the cut as the most accommodating barber in Quebec for the way he makes haircuts bearable for super-sensitive children with autism.

A recent photo of the good-natured barber, Franz Jacob, shows him down on the floor with Wyatt, whose mother posted on Facebook praising the “everyday hero” for the care he gives his special clients.

The six-year-old is both hyposensitive and hypersensitive, so having his hair touched can feel unbearable, his mom, Fauve Lafrenière, told CBC News.

Jacob’s salon Authentischen Barbier is the only shop where Wyatt gets the welcome and sensitive care he needs.

Determined to get the job done, Mr. Jacob follows him around the salon with his tools—and kindness— so he can finish the cut.


Support Age of Autism during Amazon Prime Day!

Amazon prime day
Hi friends! July 10 9:00pm - July 11 is Amazon Prime day!  Every purchase you make can help keep Age of Autism and "the rebel alliance" going via the Amazon Smile donation program of 1/2 a percent of your eligible purchase!  You don't need to do a thing except shop!

When you #StartWithaSmile on #PrimeDay, Amazon donates to Age of Autism. Shop for great deals at smile.amazon.com/ch/47-1831987

Thank you!


From Hell to HOPEISM

Brandon BW
NOTE: We all know autism warrior parents. I know few women who are as strong as Michelle Guppy, from Texas.  Her son Brandon has severe autism and a life threatening seizure disorder that wreaks havoc on his body and the entire family's day to day - no, moment to moment - life.  She invited me to share this post from her personal blog and I am proud to do so.   Please pop over to her blog and leave a comment there, won't you? And thank you Michelle.

###

Of being a bubble-wrapped blueberry... Violet7

By Michelle Guppy

This writing won't be for those who go through life with rose-colored glasses.

It certainly isn't for those who "celebrate" National Autism Awareness Month.

It is for those who dare to take the time to read about the reality that is life with vaccine injury.

Life with autism...  
(Which for the majority, is life with vaccine injury.)

Which for the majority of those I know, is very much the title of my blog in being a lifelong journey from hell to HOPEISM.

I want to share about a brief visit I had with one such warrior mom who I will not identify...

I have to share it because the reality of her life needs to be known because it represents the reality of so very many in this autism community.  The reality of  our lives that is rarely shown because if it were to be rated as a movie, it would have a "graphic violence" warning.  The reality of our lives is so far from what is portrayed, how we actually live, it's pathetic.  That so many like this mom are in every community, is a horrific tragedy of epic proportions.

And yes, I'll say it.

It's a tragedy that overshadows the holocaust.

I do realize that what I'm sharing here, is but the tip of a very large iceberg in how so many of us must live.  As bad as what I've seen, experienced, or know of is, there are those who live with much worse.  How much worse?  That they would murder their children rather than live one more day with no help and no hope that help will ever come.  That they would rather commit suicide because death is kinder than life.  The iceberg of an entire generation of severely affected adults with autism (vaccine injury) will sink this country when the collision comes of when they are left to the state after their parents die or simply cannot care for them any longer.

I was just so moved by the stark reality of what I saw in how this warrior mom must live that I cried on and off the rest of the day.  Not in pity of her, but for the situation she is in.  She is a fighter.  She deserves such enormous respect.  It is the situation that moved me.  The all-too-familiar situation of those who care for adults with autism who are bigger and stronger than they are.

Continue reading "From Hell to HOPEISM" »


Skyhorse How To Prevent Autism Author Dara Berger on Watching The Hawks

How to Prevent Autism-RGB for webNote: Congratulations to Dara Berger, author of How To Prevent Autism (Skyhorse Publishing), on this interview with RT "Question More" media.  Her book has been judged by its cover and title by the intensely misogynistic and selfish neurodiversity/media complex that is determined to make autism "normal" despite the deaths, tragedy, difficulty and hardship that comes with the diagnosis. There was a petition to "ban" the book, if you can imagine that in 2017, when anything and everything is protected. Except vaccine injury and medical rights. Nonsense. Congrats, Dara! KIM

Watching The Hawks Sean Stone, Tabetha Wallace and Tyrel Ventura are joined by author Dara Berger to discuss autism prevention and what may lie behind the rapid rise in childhood autism.


Car Wash Employs People with Autism

JobNOTE: Here's a glimpse of what can happen when stakeholders - family - put their minds to the successful futures of their loved ones with autism. You'll stumble on one of the sentences for sure, I did. "We can employ about 50% of the autism spectrum..." That means the higher/highest functioning. It bursts many bubbles - certainly here in my household. My girls are not in that part of the spectrum. But I learned a saying long ago - "Don't punish progress," and I can't make life better for my girls by complaining about something that might be out of their reach yet a Godsend to YOUR family. Hey, we have bikini car washes, right? Why not an autism car wash?

Read the full story and watch a video at HuffPo.
###

When John and Tom D’Eri realized their autistic family member ― John’s son and Tom’s brother, Andrew ― would soon age out of the school system at 22 and have no job prospects, they decided to do something about it. Inspired by Andrew, the father-son duo founded Rising Tide Car Wash, a business that hires individuals across the autism spectrum and teaches them job skills to help put them on a path toward independent living ― and it’s making a world of difference in its Florida community.

Nearly 100 associates with autism are employed by Rising Tide. “People with autism are great at detail-oriented process-driven tasks. They excel at them,” Tom says. “In fact, they’re better than most.”

It’s a message that the D’Eri family is eager to spread.

“As a society, we look at autism as a disability that requires sympathy instead of a potentially really valuable diversity,” Tom says. “We decided we wanted to build something that could not only empower people with autism, but also could explain that message that people with autism are really capable [and] can be huge assets to a lot of different businesses.”

Rising Tide Car Wash, Tom continues, can employ about 50 percent of the autism spectrum. “There’s a wide range of people with autism that can be successful here,” he says.


Jennifer Rose: 20 Year Old College Student with Autism Pens "Perfect" Autism Help Book!

Jennifer Rose bookNOTE: Here's a terrifically hopeful story we're happy to share.  Jennifer is the daughter of AofA contributors Jonathan Rose and Gayle DeLong.  Her book will help so many families and young adults with autism.  We encourage you to purchase a copy today.

###

HANOVER - Drew University student Jennifer Rose is like many 20-year-olds, sweating out class assignments, socializing with friends and participating in activities like an anime club and the campus newspaper.

But in other ways, she is one of the more unique students at Drew — still learning to cope with autism, she recently became a published author.

The Morris Township native, now living on the Drew campus in Madison, spoke to the Morris County Special Needs Parents Group on Thursday during their regular meeting at the Morris County Library, telling them about her difficult journey, her inspiring progress and, of course, her book — “It’s Not a Perfect World, But I’ll Take It: 50 Life Lessons for Teens Like Me Who are Kind Of (You Know) Autistic.”

“Throughout college, I’ve had some really busy days,” she wrote in Lesson 35. “What I’ve learned from them is that I can’t always adjust life; sometimes I need to adjust myself to life instead and make sure to include the things that will help me deal with the stress.”

Both in writing the book and speaking to the group, Rose was honest about the challenges she still deals with. She still has difficulty focusing and tends to obsess, and her condition also makes it difficult to navigate around campus.

Continue reading "Jennifer Rose: 20 Year Old College Student with Autism Pens "Perfect" Autism Help Book!" »


Kennedy And De Niro Offer $100K Challenge to Press


A Letter From Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Robert De Niro to American Journalists



On the occasion of our announcement of the World Mercury Project's $100K challenge, we want to address America's reporters, journalists, columnists, editors, network anchors, on-air doctors and news division producers.

We especially want to reach out to those of you who have made a point of assuring the public about the safety of the mercury-based preservative, thimerosal. It's our hope that this challenge will elevate this important debate beyond name calling and prompt a genuine examination of the relevant science. The American public is entitled to an honest, probing and vigorous discussion about this critical public health issue—a debate based on facts, not rooted in fear, or on blind faith in regulators and the pharmaceutical industry.

We are both pro-vaccine. We need to say this at the outset to contravene the reflexive public relations ploy of labeling every vaccine safety advocate "anti-vaccine." As the British Medical Journal pointed out last week, that epithet is a derogatory attack designed to marginalize vaccine safety advocates and derail reasoned debate:

"It stigmatizes the mere act of even asking an open question about what is known and unknown about the safety of vaccines."

Both of us had all of our children vaccinated and we support policies that promote vaccine coverage. We want vaccines that are as safe as possible, robust transparent science and vigorous oversight by independent regulators who are free from corrupting conflicts-of-interest. Read the full $100K challenge letter from Robert Kennedy and Robert De Niro at EcoWatch here.


Kid & Allergy Friendly Recipes! Cooking With Leo By Erica Daniels From Skyhorse Publishing

Cooking with leoPurchase Cooking With Leo at your favorite retailer here!

By Dara Berger

As a mom of two children with food allergies and one with autism you would think I have read it all when it comes to food.   I actually thought I had until I picked up a copy of Erica Daniel’s new cookbook “Cooking with Leo”.  I read through it during one of those rare moments on a weekend when your children actually leave you alone for an extended period of time.  

It was both inspiring and empowering.  You must be thinking "how could a cookbook be described using those words”?  Erica sprinkles facts about autism and food allergies throughout the book without making it feel like you are being taught something.  She also gives great tips on which foods are healing and the ones we should all stay away from.  Then there are the many great healthful recommendations offered such as the type of cookware that is best to use.  Erica Daniels shares more than recipes in “Cooking with Leo”.  She bares her soul for all to read.  It is a beautiful and healing journey of one family and how they found peace, harmony and a good time in the kitchen together despite all of life’s challenges. 

My favorite parts of “Cooking with Leo” are how Erica describes getting your children into the kitchen to learn this invaluable skill that everyone needs and how it connected her whole family.  Food is something her son Leo really enjoys and the act of cooking with Leo broke down the autism barrier and allowed them to finally connect with one another.  The pictures of both the food and Erica’s children are some of the most engaging that I have ever seen in a cookbook.  You cannot help but feel happy flipping through the pages.

Continue reading "Kid & Allergy Friendly Recipes! Cooking With Leo By Erica Daniels From Skyhorse Publishing" »


The Atlantic Magazine on Hiring Adults with Autism

EmploymentopportunitiesNOTE: Employment issues will loom larger than school issues as kids grow into adulthood and the autism epidemic "ages out."  Not all people with autism are as severely affected as many of our children, including my three daughters.  Many will have the IQ, education and skills to have gainful employment. But what will that look like?   How many will be employed and fully using their skills versus grossly underemployed, therefore under-earning.  Not everyone with autism will qualify for disability payments.  What's going to happen to our tax coffers if millions of men (and women) are earning well below what they should?  How will employers handle the behaviors and challenges of autism?  There will be horror stories and heroes alike. 

Is your child with autism employed? Are you an adult on the spectrum who is working? Tell us. This is an interesting article from the Atlantic Magazine.

Why Some Companies are Trying to Hire More on the Autism Spectrum

The majority of those with autism are unemployed, but new pilot programs at big companies, such as EY and Microsoft, are discovering unexpected benefits from having "neurodiverse" colleagues.

Interest in what’s called neurodiversity is growing at American companies. This year, the accounting firm EY (formerly known as Ernst & Young) has been piloting a program to employ people with autism in order to explore the benefits of having workers of different cognitive abilities, such as greater productivity and building a more talented workforce.

According to a recent study by Drexel University, 58 percent of young adults with autism are unemployed. And yet, many of them have skills that businesses are looking for. “This program leverages the skills that people with high functioning autism often have: looking at data, dealing with mathematical concepts, attention to detail, the ability to focus over long periods of time, and looking at large bodies of information and spotting anomalies,” explains Lori Golden, EY Abilities Strategy Leader who led the pilot program. Right now, EY’s program has four employees who work as accounting-support associates.

Continue reading "The Atlantic Magazine on Hiring Adults with Autism" »


Anonymous Donor Has Age of Autism on the NICE List! Do you?

Nice ListDear AofA readers:

What to get Kim and Dan for Christmas?  Here's an idea...

In lieu of:

  • #1 Editor mugs for each
  • An itchy scarf for Kim and an ugly tie for Dan
  • A 2017 wall calendar they won't use
  • GMO-and-pesticide-laden candy
  • Another ornament they simply don't need, or want
  • A holiday-themed sweater neither will wear
  • Or reindeer slippers that won't be the right size

How about making a donation to AoA to say thank you for all of the time and effort they put in daily to run this amazing news blog that we have all come to know, appreciate, count on, and love?!

Remember, no donation is too small...or too big for that matter!

And, your donation will be matched, up to $5K, by me, Anonymous Donor.  Even better, your donation is now tax-deductible, thanks to Dan spending hours filling out paperwork and meeting with a tax accountant to achieve charity status for AoA!

So, click on the Donate button, use www.paypal.me.com/autismage or send a check to Dan...and please do it today!  (Autism Age c/o Olmsted 102 Whittier Circle Falls Church, VA 22046). This annual fundraiser with matching program ends 11/30, so there is no time to waste!

Thank you for your consideration,

Anonymous Donor


Age of Autism Thanksgiving Matching Gift Program is Underway!


Thanks Age of Autism
It's that time of year again...to express our THANKFULNESS for the Age of Autism blog!

Thankful to wake up to the Age of Autism blog every single morning!

How wonderful to read and share real and meaningful news!

And now we have an opportunity to show our thanks to those who keep AoA running!

No donation is too small, especially when it will be matched by AoA's Anonymous Donor!

Kinship among AoA readers is powerful, not to mention treasured.

So let's support that which has become so meaningful to us, not to mention helpful to others.

Give as generously as you can, and know that what you give will be put to good use!

It will support the editors of AoA, cover website costs, and allow for Dan's continued research.

Voicing that which mainstream media refuses to report is what AoA does best!

Invite all you know to help support AoA and help keep it going strong!

Now don't delay in donating...donations will be matched through Nov. 30th, up to $5,000!

Give generously. Age of Autism is an uncensored forum for truth, and financial support is needed.

Donations to Age of Autism are tax deductible and can be made by clicking here. Tax deductible

If you prefer to donate by check, please make your check out to "Age of Autism".  

Mail to Autism Age c/o Dan Olmsted at: 

102 Whittier Circle

Falls Church, VA  22046

With deep appreciation for all who make up the Age of Autism Family,

Anonymous Donor

 


Autism Might Not Speak: But Those With the Diagnosis Can Share Their Thoughts

WeepNote: I am so pleased to share this post from Brooke Potthast and her son James Potthast with you. He uses the Rapid Prompt method of communication. I've seen my girls' flashes of brilliance with this method. The first time you fully realize how smart and engaged your loved one with autism is you feel like the worst parent on earth for never having found a way to unleash their potential in the past.   Please bookmark the Returning James blog here.

###

I mentioned in our last post that we had been on a bit of a roller coaster ride with the start of the new school year. One of the difficult experiences was an incident with James and a well loved tutor. The incident involved James being aggressive towards her which is unusual for him. A friend and health practitioner reminded me at the time that the stress and aggression pathways in the brain are closely tied.  It is true for all of us (ie, road rage) but acutely true for people who have autism. I think the stress and frustration of not being able to communicate for years and  years causes aggressive habits to develop and they are hard to break.

James ended up writing about it on the first day back at Literature class when there was a timed essay. The prompt was: “The lessons we take from failure can be fundamental to later success. Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it effect you, and what did you learn from the experience?” James wrote about his experience with his tutor and entitled it:

Utter Remorse

My vision turns red. My hands strike out. Hair tangles around my fingers. Cries and demands float through my brain, yet I cannot release my grip. Hands grasp my arms and a male voice cuts through my fog. I look – I see – what I have done. I have failed.

            Most people lack similar experiences so this event might seem like a fictional plot device, but I have a long history of such incidents, although none to this degree. I am autistic so I struggle when most people could cope, and unfortunately my reaction can be aggressive. I am not aggressive. I never intend to hurt anyone, and that distinction usually saves my conscience. Generally, my tutors and therapists impose consequences for my behavior, but then we forgive each other and discuss the cause of my reaction. Autism and communication limitations tend to receive most of the blame so we make a plan and we try again tomorrow.

But this outburst was different.

After I finally learned how to reliably communicate, my goals transferred to regulating my reactions and impulses. For over two years, I worked daily to master these goals and I remained aggression-free for almost one year. That does not mean that all of my interactions with tutors were amicable, but I continuously reminded myself that my impulse to grab remains unacceptable in any situation. All that progress, however, just capsized. I failed the basic rule when I hurt another person – I failed to recognize her humanity.

Continue reading "Autism Might Not Speak: But Those With the Diagnosis Can Share Their Thoughts" »


Weston Begins High School

Back to schoolNOTE:  We hope your kids and grand kids have had a smooth start to back to school.

By Norman Roberts

Weston will be fifteen next week. He started high school last week, at a brand new school for kids with autism after several years of home schooling. He went every day, was happy at drop off, stayed all day, and came out smiling for pick up. To say his parents and grand parents are thrilled would be an understatement. The best part is that so is Weston. He is ready to go back this week

His favorite class is music. Weston has always been musically talented, not a child prodigy but with a strong sense of rhythm and a real love for the keyboard. His parents limited his access to it for fear he wouldn't do anything else but that doesn't seem to be a problem in his new school. He is also singing and responding well to comprehension questions from his reading and math teachers.

Weston is what is called low verbal. He speaks but not much and for several years has limited himself to monosyllables having to do with wants and needs. Early on he was prone to echolalia, repeating something he had heard, often endlessly. He came home from school one day reciting Hey Diddle Diddle over and over again. He doesn't do that any more but has made little progress toward typical conversation despite years of effort from his mother and speech therapists. That's one reason the school is so important. We are hoping a new level of interaction with course work, teachers, and kids his age will stretch him to develop inter-personal skills he hasn't had before.

With eight students and five teachers the school is expensive and Weston's parents can't afford it. Nothing new there, they have been broke since he was a toddler and his autism first became evident. Insurance didn't cover autism therapies until recently and at $18-20,000 a year it was a big bill for a young couple, wiping out their 401k and teacher retirement funds. Only one of them could work full time. The school is even more.

Continue reading "Weston Begins High School" »


It's Not a Perfect World but I'll Take It: 50 Life Lessons for Teens Like Me -- Who are Kind of (You know) Autistic

Jennifer Rose book
CONTEST! We have a copy of this book to give away - just leave a comment with your email address! 

We are so happy to see this review of Jennifer Rose's book in the NJ Patriot Ledger!  Jennifer's Dad Jonathan has written for AofA, as has her Mother, Gayle DeLong.  Talented family!  Congrats, Jennifer!  You can buy a copy at Amazon now!

"It's Not a Perfect World But I'll Take It: 50 Life Lessons for Teens Like Me -- Who Are Kind of (You Know) Autistic" By Jennifer Rose

(Skyhorse Publishing, 116 pp, $12.99)

Jennifer Rose is a promising writer with a great eye and a keen sense of humor. She is not, though, simply a promising autistic writer with a great eye and a keen sense of humor.

Rose, of Morristown, has written this slim book of life lessons in the form of short essays. The essays are fine, albeit a tad repetitive. The repetition is the book's main problem, but the most obvious flaw is a 23-word title. It's ungainly and smacks of a certain cynicism on the publisher's part: Are they fearful people with autism and those who love them would not buy the book unless this never-ending title were on the cover?

Continue reading "It's Not a Perfect World but I'll Take It: 50 Life Lessons for Teens Like Me -- Who are Kind of (You know) Autistic" »


A Special Tax Deductible Fundraising Appeal From Age of Autism

Donate to AofA
Age of Autism is now a non-profit organization in its tenth year of serving as the Daily Web Newspaper of the Autism Epidemic, which we believe makes us the longest-running autism-related publication on the Web.

We are reaching out to you with our first direct request for financial support. Organizational changes have meant that we have lost a considerable portion of our revenue over the past year, and we hope you will consider helping us continue at full steam.

To make a TAX DEDUCTIBLE donation, please click here www.paypal.me/autismage or send a check made out to:

Autism Age
c/0 Dan Olmsted
102 Whittier Circle
Falls Church VA 22046

Our revenue goes for publishing expenses, reporting and research costs, and support for Dan and Kim in their daily work for AOA. None of this would happen without the community’s support – your support.

We promote calls to action from all around the autism advocacy world, offer new information about the microbiome from Teresa Conrick, expose the latest outrages from the IACC by Katie Wright, bring news of the UK from John Stone, distill the latest media coverage with Anne Dachel, share Natalie Palumbo’s sibling perspective, and chronicle Kim’s saga of raising three girls with autism who are starting to “age out.”

Plus there's Cat Jameson's Sunday column, Tim Welsh's power tweets, Kent Heckenlively’s legal perspective, Dan Burns' literary touch, my own weekly column and ongoing investigations, and – as they say – so much more. We've published over 6,000 posts and 130,000 reader comments. A whole genre of books speaking up for victims of vaccine injury has spun off from AOA, and more are coming.

 When I type “vaccines and autism” into Google, we are usually in the top 10 hits, and we are most often alone as a voice for vaccine safety and autism advocacy. I can’t count the number of people who see us as a lifeline and oasis, who say we have helped them make an informed decision, or helped them find their way to autism groups that can really help. We just redesigned our site to be even more accessible, inviting, and compatible with mobile platforms.

Continue reading "A Special Tax Deductible Fundraising Appeal From Age of Autism" »


Happy Father's Day from an Autism Dad Who Says: "I Am the Luckiest"

Chuck charlie hug blue
By Charles (Chuck) Hancock

I'm back.  I knew I would be.  Just did not know when; or why.  Well, I think I now know.

My previous, and only, submission to Age of Autism was posted here almost five years ago, in August 2011

At that time I briefly spoke of the progress that my son, Charlie, then nearing the age of six, was making on his autism spectrum disorder "journey."  Yes, journey.  Though not in my mind envisioning a cool adventure-like trip, junket, road trip, or expedition.  No, this one more like a slog. Back in 2011 Charlie was working with ABA-BCBA (Applied Behavioral Analyst-Board Certified Behavioral Analyst) professionals on a regular basis, and was in receipt of biomedical treatment under the medical guidance of a DAN ("Defeat Autism Now") doctor.  He also was just beginning to talk.  In semi-sentences anyway.    Charlie has had a ball the past three years surfing with the amazing group from Surfers Healing the past three years.  He gets a medal each year, tells people he was the "champion surfer."  Such a joy for all the families involved.  The range of emotions is awe inspiring.  Wait listed this year; fingers crossed.  

I wrote in 2011 that Charlie, then about to enter kindergarten, had come a "long way."  Specifically, at Chuck Charlie 1that time, both verbally and socially.  I also wrote "No doubt about it, his autism will be cured." Well, the point of this submission is not to offer a proclamation of such an occurrance; though Charlie, who just days ago concluded the 4th grade, has certainly made some pretty significant progress since 2011.

Here, now, I just want to ramble on a bit about inspiration, and love.  And also fear.  About life I suppose.

A lot has happened since August 2011.  I got divorced. I donated stem cells to my brother.  I witnessed the passing of a dear friend, a fraternity brother.  He had valiantly, and with uncompromising grace, fought amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), aka, Lou Gehrig's disease. Another fraternity brother, amazingly, is now battling this same dreadful disease.  I was subjected to a level of stress, brought about by a circumstance not here to be discussed, which I would not wish on anyone.  

What essentially motivated me to write this at this time is the fact that it is Father's Day.  Charlie is my only child.  My pride and joy.  My hero.  And my Mom's only grandson.

Continue reading "Happy Father's Day from an Autism Dad Who Says: "I Am the Luckiest"" »


Jacqueline and Chris Laurita to Attend Chicago Rescue Our Angels Fundraiser

Jac and ChrisFrom Generation Rescue:

We're excited to announce that Jacqueline and Chris Laurita will once again be joining us on Friday, June 24th for the 8th Annual Rescue Our Angels. 

One of the original ladies of The Real Housewives of New Jersey, Jacqueline Laurita is a revered TV personality, mom, wife, philanthropist, and businesswoman. She is returning to the cast this year and the new season debuts on July 10th. Jacqueline is also the co-author of two books, Get It! A Beauty, Style and Wellness Guide To Getting Your 'It' Together, available now and Defy Expectations, coming this fall and written with her husband, Chris, on their struggles and successes while raising a child on the Autism Spectrum, with secrets to keeping their marriage strong.

A mother to Ashlee, 25, CJ, 14 and Nicholas, 7, Jacqueline is a Warrior Mom and has been a celebrity ambassador to several non-profit Autism organizations, since Nicholas was diagnosed. She regularly travels the country as a sought-after public speaker raising Autism awareness. Her mission is not only to help her youngest son reach his full potential, but to also help as many families as she can along the way. 

Jacqueline and Chris are amazing parents and we're so thankful that they will be supporting Rescue Our Angels again this year! Time is running out to get your tickets as sales end at midnight on June 20th. Please visit www.RescueOurAngels.com to buy your tickets or make a donation.


Behaviors with Friends App!

Behaviors-app-main-screen
We're happy to share this blog post from our friends at Generation Rescue.  Many years ago, I met Sarah Scheflen, who created the Teach2Talk DVDs that kept my girls engaged, learning and quiet in the minivan for hundreds of miles! 

Check out this review of the app called Behaviors With Friends. Check it out at the App Store here!

Behaviors with Friends App Review

Check out this great review of Jenny McCarthy’s and speech-language pathologist Sarah Scheflen’s new iPad application, Behaviors with Friends. This app is helping a lot of children understand how to solve problems with peers and learn how to perspective take. The app is interactive, and uses live action video of children to help teach the lessons! Check it on in the App Store, under Behavior with Friends.

Kind words from Shell, at Things I Can’t Say.

BEHAVIORS WITH FRIENDS

This is a sponsored post for teach2talk but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could freeze time right in the middle of a situation to explain to our kids the behavior we expect from them in that moment?

Time out, here’s a good choice for you to make, here’s why. Okay, time in, now go do what you should.

Ha. If only...   Read more at the Gen Rescue blog!


Dealing with Autism

Truthwinsoutlogo-711573By Norman Roberts

I don't know what caused my grandson's autism, probably one or a combination of his vaccines. We didn't notice a sudden and dramatic change in his health or behavior after a specific well baby visit. We just began to realize something was wrong when he was a toddler. He would trot back and forth incessantly. He mostly avoided eye contact and his speech was pretty much limited to echolalia, he would repeat the last phrase he heard, often over and over again. He was two before he was finally diagnosed with autism. It was still new for most pediatricians. They didn't recognize it.

Weston will be fifteen in September. Autism isn't rare anymore. By now any physician who didn't recognize his symptoms would be really obtuse, though many still won't treat the comorbidity issues most children with autism have. We are lucky. Weston is low verbal but he can speak. He is affectionate with people he knows. He was potty trained at the appropriate age. His digestive issues can be controlled with the proper diet. And his neurologist has successfully treated a disturbing trend toward violent behavior without undesirable side effects, at least so far. He is happy, relaxed, more focused, has better direct communication, and only one week with several sensory meltdowns since he began seeing the neurologist, since then he has been pretty calm. Weston's speech therapist is creating a school for teenagers with autism and his parents are hoping to enroll him. They have an interview a week from today. We continue to hope and pray.

Continue reading "Dealing with Autism" »


Michelle Guppy Shares "Life with Autism" in Heart Stopping Photos

Brandon BW

We'd like to you take a look at Michelle Guppy's blog entry Life With Autism In Pictures.  Take a deep breath now, you'll lose it when you start scrolling.

On my "Life with Autism" blog, it is my hope that the words you read are inspirational in some way. But on this blog --- I wanted it to be different. I wanted the pictures to be more powerful than the words. Here will be some of our most powerful pictures in our "Life with Autism" - with only a few words to explain...


It’s Not a Perfect World, but I’ll Take It 50 Life Lessons for Teens Like Me Who Are Kind of (You Know) Autistic

It's Not a Perfect WorldWe're so pleased to share this book with our readers. Please purchase at Amazon today.  Congratulations, Jennifer!

Jennifer Rose is autistic. She’s also a college student who loves to read, writes fan fiction, and wants to be on TV someday. Sure, she sees the world a little differently than most people around her, but many of the problems she’s faced will sound familiar to the teenager in all of us: trouble coping with school, dealing with bullies and mean girls, and struggling with her own feelings of bitterness and inferiority. Through it all, with the help of her parents, she’s learned a few lessons. Outlined in It’s Not a Perfect World, but I’ll Take It: 50 Life Lessons for Teens Like Me Who Are Kind of (You Know) Autistic (Skyhorse Publishing, May 2016), Jennifer’s wisdom covers a wide breadth of topics, including:

#5: There are many ways to make a difference.
#20: You won’t be perfect at everything, not even the things you do best.
#22: Down times will be bouncing up soon . . .
#23: . . . but meanwhile, try to enjoy what you have.
#44: Talk about your feelings, even when it’s hard.
#45: Learn to take jokes, even your dad’s.

It's Not a Perfect World, but I’ll Take It is an uplifting ode to being different. Told with irresistible honesty and humor, Jennifer’s fifty bite-sized stories will have teens and adults nodding in recognition and discovering new things about themselves.

It’s Not a Perfect World, but I’ll Take It: 50 Life Lessons for Teens Like Me Who Are Kind of (You Know) Autistic By Jennifer Rose

Skyhorse Publishing hardcover, also available as an ebook

On Sale: May 24, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5107-0549-4

Price: $12.99

About the Author

Jennifer Rose is a sophomore at Drew University. She likes watching old movies with her family, listening to classic rock, deconstructing pop culture, Japanese animation, Jewish stuff, Dr. Who, and sushi. She lives in Morristown, New Jersey.


Classic Rock Band Kansas Auctions Custom Leftoverture 40th Annniversary Guitar for Autism Free Brain

Kansas-leftovertureCarry on our wayward son  there'll peace when you are done. Lay your weary head to rest, don't you cry no Afb more.

As I woman of a "certain age," classic rock band Kansas was a big part of my musical upbringing. I was delighted to hear from Eben Plettner that Kansas is auctioning off a guitar to benefit Autism Free Brain.

From CLASSIC ROCK REVISITED:

In conjunction with the album’s 40th Anniversary, Paul Reed Smith commissioned and donated a one of a kind Commemorative Leftoverture SE Custom 24 guitar. The Commemorative Leftoverture SE Custom 24 is a quality guitar that is decorated by the classic ‘Leftoverture’ album artwork. 

The guitar, which will be auctioned off to raise money for autism research, will be played on stage by KANSAS guitarist Richard Williams during select KANSAS concert dates in 2016.

The auction will begin on April 1 and end on April 30.  Bidding will start at $1,000, and bids can be placed here: Kansas Leftoverture Guitar Auction

For More Information on the Auction Contact Paul Schmutzler at  p_schmutzler555@comcast.net.



Growing up in Topeka, Kansas in the 1970s makes me an automatic fan of the band Kansas.  Having my grandparents, Max and Margaret Baker, live next door to Orville and Ida Williams, and their son Richard, makes me a bigger Kansas fan.  Loving their music, getting to know the guys, and ranking this band among my Top 5 favorites of all-time flat-out makes me a Kansas Rock Nerd.  While not an official Wheathead, I would like to think I have the heart and soul of one.  This band, and this music, has influenced my life in many ways… mostly positive!

When I received an email from fellow Kansas fan Paul Schmutzler telling me he was going to auction off a Paul Reed Smith Guitar with the cover of the iconic Kansas album Leftoverture on the face of it, then give all of the money raised to charity (in this case Autism Free Brain www.autismfreebrain.org), I wanted to learn more.

We are also approaching the 40th anniversary of the release of Leftoverture in October.  These two events made me think I should shoot a text to Kansas guitarist Rich Williams and see if I could get a few more details… and it is was great excuse to do an interview with him discussing that classic album.  The timing of our conversation happened to be only a day or two after Richard had fallen off stage while performing and broken his ankle.  Despite pervasive social media, and a Kansas music addiction, I had not heard about this occurrence.  So… we begin the interview with all of the gory details of this stage-dive-gone-wrong.  

Before jumping into the interview, however, here is some information on the guitar that is being auctions off for Autism Free Brain (www.autismfreebrain.org):