Friday, June 10, 2011

Melissa Winters, The Puzzling Piece and The iPad Challenge

I had the pleasure of Meeting Melissa at Autism One.  She is very nice and truly just wants to helps others.  I don't think she realized when she started "The Puzzling Piece" how quickly it would grow!  Melissa has a child with autism herself, and she not only donates a portion of the proceeds for each item sold to one of four autism charities, but once a "challenger" sells 60 items, she sends the child an iPad. She recently added 2 new pieces to the challenger collection.  If you are interested in purchasing an item, click the paypal button below and choose!  You can help Jackson win a free iPad!

Puzzle Options

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Finally......a True Depiction of Autism in the Media??

A six part series will be starting on PBS April 18 - 26 as the previous anchor of Newshour, Robert McNeil takes a true look into autism, and how it affects the whole family.  He has a personal experience, as his 6 year old grandson has autism.  In watching the video, I wanted to cry.  But it seems that maybe FINALLY the media will show a TRUE depiction of autism, it's causes and how it affects the whole family.  At least I hope it's a true depiction......this video certainly is...... 

Monday, April 18          An introduction to Nick and autism as a whole body experience: MacNeil brings viewers along on a visit with his daughter and grandson Nick in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to see how autism affects the whole family, including his 10-year-old sister, Neely.  Nick experiences autism not just as a disorder in brain development but also as physical ailments affecting the whole body.
Tuesday, April 19         Autism Prevalence: Why are the numbers of children with autism increasing?  At the UC DAVIS MIND Institute in Sacramento, California, MacNeil sees the wide range of different behaviors that comprise the autism spectrum. Anthropologist Richard Grinker argues that the rising  numbers of children with autism is explained because conditions previously given other names, like mental retardation, are now included in the autism spectrum.  Scientist Irva Hertz-Picciotto says the wider definition only partly explains the increased prevalence, pointing instead to a variety of environmental factors.
Wednesday, April 20    Autism Causes: The rise in autism numbers has caused a surge in research to find the causes.  For the latest thinking, Robert MacNeil speaks with four leading researchers: Dr. Gerald Fischbach of the Simons Foundation, Dr. David Amaral of the MIND Institute, Dr. Martha Herbert of Harvard University and Dr. Craig Newschaffer of Drexel University.
Thursday, April 21        Autism Treatment: Although children with autism see doctors periodically, they go to school everyday.  It is the school system that bears most of the burden of treating children with autism because treatment means education.  MacNeil visits two schools in New York – a public school in the Bronx teaching 700 children with autism and a charter school created in Manhattan as a model of possibilities in educating children with autism.  With only 30 students, it can use one-on-one teacher/student ratios employing intensive Applied Behavioral Analysis – the gold standard treatment for autism.
Monday, April 25          Adults with Autism: Although federal law mandates educational services for children with autism, there are virtually no services when they become adults.  MacNeil profiles Zachary Hamrick in Mahwah, New Jersey, about to turn 21. As his family contemplates the uncertain future now facing hundreds of thousands of young people like him, his parents ask themselves, "What will happen when we die?"
Tuesday, April 26         Autism Policy: The NewsHour series ends with a discussion of the public policy issues raised in the series, including the enormous discrepancy in the quality and availability  of services  for  children and future adults in what the federal committee that determines research priorities for autism now calls a "national health emergency" with a panel of experts including:  Dr. Thomas Insel, Director of the National Institute of Mental Health, Catherine Lord, Professor of Psychology, Pediatrics and Psychiatry at the University of Michigan, Ilene Lainer, Executive Director of the New York Center for Autism – a private advocacy group, and John Shestack, a Hollywood producer and the co-founder of “Cure Autism Now” a former advocacy group.

Monday, April 4, 2011

World Autism Day occurs 1 day a year! For us, Autism is EVERY DAY!

I have read a lot in the last few days about Autism Awareness.  Lots of warrior moms bantering it out as to whether promoting autism awareness is "celebrating" autism.  If you haven't noticed, we autism parents are quite opinionated.  I even posted "Happy Autism Awareness Day" on my Facebook and a fellow mom said "really?  Happy?"  DUH!  No, not that blog post I had even commented on how much I hated autism.....but I love my son very much.  However, I do want to make people more aware....for many reasons.  On the other side of the coin, we need MORE than awareness....we need ACTION!  We are losing a generation of children and no one (ie: our government), seems too alarmed....and it's disturbing.  Children are dying, families are being torn apart...MOTHERS ARE KILLING THEIR CHILDREN!  In an effort to continue to make you more aware......just remember....we live with Autism Everyday.....

Saturday, April 2, 2011

April is Autism Awareness Month - What is "Awareness" anyway?

I suppose the answer to this question will be different for all of us.  For some it will be merely acknowledging autism or saying "I have a friend who has a child with autism."  Others will walk in walks, run in marathons, donate money, etc.  But truly being aware in my eyes is having love and compassion for these children.  When a child is having a behavior, try to understand where that behavior is coming from.  Behavior is communication.  We may not understand why that behavior is occurring, but there is a reason behind.  Try to teach your children to have compassion for these kids, to help educate those who don't know or understand what autism is.  I have seen so many children have pure compassion for Jack, and it is a wonderful thing.  In a world where there is an "awareness" month for just about everything (not that that's a BAD thing.......)  we can sometimes become desensitized to the causes.  Just remember that autism is insidious: it affects every nook and cranny of every person's life in that family.  I will never claim to like autism, as a matter of fact I HATE it!  But I love someone with autism and that has changed my life, and for that I am a better person. 

Monday, March 28, 2011

How Isn't this Entire Incident a Travesty?

The autism community has been a buzz since a Detroit mom had barricaded herself into her home with her 13 year old daughter, after refusing to continue (under the advice of her doctor) her daughter on Risperdal.  You can read the article here. Granted, there was a shot fired inside her home and no one is condoning that behavior.....but if you read the facts....this mother was protecting her daughter.  Now, this child does not have autism....but it does say that her behavior changed after a vaccine.  This child is now in the hands of Child Protective Services even though there are several family members that can care for her.  The reason the autism community has been a buzz is because I think many of us moms could see ourselves in this position, and would go to any length to protect our children.  Once again, our "system" seemingly works against us.  While there are mothers out there smoking crack and truly endangering their children the system chooses to go after a mom who is trying to help her daughter.  In case you haven't seen "the buzz" on Risperdal lately, you can read that here.  I have heard of moms getting CPS called on them because their child is on a special diet and school calls and says that they are depriving the child of food. essence, they want to take the child away for not shoving Kool Aid and Gold Fish down the childs throat.  This stuff really happens, and it is a true violation of our civil rights.  I hope that this mother's civil right to make decisions for her own daughter's health is restored.