Autism Reality

The Joy of Conor




Because finding joy in Conor does not require struggle; Because the point is he is Conor, he is not his Autism; Because he does not comprehend what Autism is and can not offer his opinion about autism; Because Conor is a joy but his Autism is not; Because he rises in the morning and greets his family with a smile; Because he waits, faced pressed against the window, for his Dad every day and lifts his Dad’s spirits every day; Because despite his intellectual, communication and behavior problems he is worth it; Because, like any other child, he deserves to be educated to the fullest extent possible and to learn in the way that he learns best; Because it takes hard work and sacrifice, not accepting or singing the praises of Autism, a serious and debilitating disorder, to ensure Conor learns and develops to the best of his ability; Because the tremendous joy that he brings me every single day does not arise from his autism it arises from who he is and his Autism, a serious developmental disorder, will not be given credit for that great joy he shares with us every day.

January 28, 2007 Posted by | autism disorder, Conor, education, family, joy | 7 Comments

Mayo Clinic – No Evidence to Support Chelation Autism Treatment – Can Be Dangerous

In this comment Dr. Hoecker of the Mayo Clinic states that there is no evidence to support Chelation as an autism treatment. Chelation can be dangerous – even deadly.

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/autism-treatment/AN01488


There’s no scientific evidence that chelation therapy is an effective autism treatment.

In recent years, some doctors and parents have recommended chelation therapy as a potential treatment for autism. Proponents believe that autism is caused by mercury exposure, such as from childhood vaccines. Chelation therapy supposedly removes mercury from the body, which cures autism.

But extensive studies have revealed no evidence of a link between mercury exposure and autism. In addition, chelation therapy is not approved as an autism treatment and can be associated with serious side effects, including liver and kidney damage that can result in death.

There is no cure for autism. As a result, unproven alternative therapies are often suggested to parents who — frustrated by the lack of effective medical treatment for autism — are desperate to find something that will help their children. However, in clinical studies, these alternative therapies are usually found to be ineffective and sometimes harmful. Talk to your son’s doctor before starting any alternative autism treatment.

Although no cure for autism exists, early behavioral and educational interventions can help children with autism improve their communication and social skills.

January 27, 2007 Posted by | autism disorder, chelation, health, mercury, treatment, vaccines | Leave a comment

Mayo Clinic – No Evidence to Support Gluten Casein Free Autism Diet

An unidentified poster asked an expert from the Mayo Clinic whether there special diets, specifically Gluten Casein free diets can help children with autism. The Mayo Clinic per pediatrician Jay Hoecker, M.D., state clearly that there is NO EVIDENCE to support the effeciveness of gluten casein free diets. This one was popular when my son was diagnosed 9 years ago and we tried it for awhile and saw no benefit. Dr. Hoecker also emphasizes the potential harm from nutritional deficiencies that might arise from such a diet.

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/autism-treatment/AN01519

There’s no evidence that special diets, such as restricting certain foods, are an effective treatment for autism.

Autism is a complex brain disorder that has no known cure. For this reason, many frustrated parents turn to unproven alternative treatments in an attempt to help their children. The most popular of these alternative treatments are diets that eliminate gluten or casein, or both.

Proponents of restrictive diets believe that casein, a protein found in dairy products, and gluten, a protein found in many grains, affect brain development and behavior, causing autism in some children. However, there’s no scientific evidence that this is true or that restricting these foods improves autism. Furthermore, restrictive diets can result in nutritional deficiencies in growing children.

Parents should talk to their child’s doctor before starting any alternative autism treatment. Although no cure for autism exists, early behavioral and educational interventions can help children with autism improve their communication and social skills.

January 27, 2007 Posted by | autism disorder, casein, diet, evidence based, gluten | 1 Comment

Progress and Challenges in the Behavioral Treatment of Autism

The Association for Behavior Analysis is sponsoring an Autism Conference in Boston next week with an excellent roster of speakers and topics on Behavioral Treatment in Autism. With so many myths and misconceptions about ABA and autism it looks like this conference could be very helpful for parents looking for professional guidance on how to improve conditions for their autistic children. The introduction for the conference program follows but the detailed list of speakers and topics can be found by accessing the ABA International web site at:

http://www.abainternational.org/autconf/downloads/Program_posters.pdf

Progress and Challenges in the Behavioral Treatment of Autism
Association for Behavior Analysis February 2 – 4, 2007 Boston Sheraton; Boston, MA

The diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder in a child presents tremendous challenges for parents and educators. For several decades applied behavior analysis has provided the conceptual and empirical bases for designing and evaluating effective education and treatment programs for children with autism. It has been estimated that more than 550 articles have been published in the peer-reviewed literature reporting socially significant improvements in communication skills, social skills, academic skills, and adaptive functioning by children with autism as a result of behaviorally-based interventions. As the beneficial outcomes of behaviorally-based education and treatment have been reported by the media, the number of agencies and individuals offering “ABA services” for children with autism has grown exponentially. Inaccuracies and misconceptions in the popular media and in the professional literature about what applied behavior analysis is or is not and what it can or cannot achieve make it difficult for consumers and practitioners alike to separate fact from fiction.

In response to this situation, The Association for Behavior Analysis International is sponsoring the 2007 Autism Conference, Progress and Challenges in the Behavioral Treatment of Autism, to be held at the Sheraton Hotel in Boston on February 2-4, 2007. Planned with the support of ABA International’s Autism and Parent Professional Partnership Special Interest Groups, this conference will expose providers of home and school-based behavior analysis services, parents and family members, caregivers, researchers, teacher trainers, and students to the most current, scientifically validated information about behavior analysis in autism treatment.

The single-track conference will feature 14 invited presentations by prominent researchers and authorities on the treatment of autism and representatives from the May Institute and the New England Center for Children (past SABA Awardees for Enduring Programmatic Contributions to Behavior Analysis). The conference will also provide a forum for over 170 autism researchers to share their recent work in two poster sessions. The conference will close with a Round Table discussion by representatives of ABA International’s organizational members. The conference will provide many opportunities for personal exchange with researchers, presenters, and organizational members of ABA International.

January 26, 2007 Posted by | aba, autism, autism disorder, education, evidence based, scientific, treatment | Leave a comment

ABA4Autism or other Neuropsychological Disorders


ABA4Autism or other Neuropsychological Disorders

The scientific literature and my 35 years experience as a psychologist have convinced me that Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) is the most effective treatment for children with Autism or other Neuropsychological Disorders. My “Clinic Notes” will document current clinical and scientific developments

– Dr. Gary Brown, Psychologist/HSP Professor and Chair Department of Psychology University of Tennessee

http://aba4autism.blogspot.com/

Autism sites in the blogosphere often provide much heat and shed little light on how to help autistic persons, particularly severely autistic children. Important issues sometimes become bogged down in personality attacks and personal prejudices. As a parent and an advocate I am happy to have a blog site on which to express my views and relate my experiences. But the arguments over causes of autism and the politically correct way to describe persons with autism , even mention of our own childrens’ challenges, seems to ignite furious rhetoric and do little to add to our knowledge of how to deal with autism. The above site by Dr. Gary Brown looks like it could be a signicant and positive addition to the blogosphere. Dr. Brown also has a web site with information and links to resources for parents and other persons focussed on improving the lives of autistic children – ABA4Autism.com. Check out Dr. Brown’s blog and web sites.

http://aba4autism.com/

January 26, 2007 Posted by | aba, autism disorder, blogs, interventions, psychology, treatment | Leave a comment

Autism Interventions Over the Internet

The Canadian Senate committee examining autism funding heard testimony from an autism expert, Dr. Jeannette Holden, in which Dr. Holden advocated the use of computer technology to alleviate the problem of providing autism intervention services to families of children with autism. Dr. Holden referred specifically to Virtual Experts Clinic a company which produces an online program called Autism Pro. Dr. Holden stated that Autism Pro “is not meant to replace therapists, but gives parents on waiting lists a chance to start doing something with their children.”

The waiting list problem for autism interventions is a serious problem in most areas of Canada and if a child is not actually involved with a therapist then in one sense it could not be said that parents would be replacing therapists by relying on an internet program to provide their own intervention for their children while they wait for the assistance of actual therapists. In a different sense, however, parents providing interventions are in fact performing the functions of, and thereby replacing, therapists. The parents who provide such interventions may or may not have any training or supervision while they are doing so. As a parent I understand fully that a parent will probably not want to sit back and wait for a therapist to become available to work with their child. Non-professional intervention though raises the question of potential harm from improperly provided interventions.

Virtual Experts Clinic originated in New Brunswick. As an active member of the autism advocacy community in New Brunswick I have met its creator, Ms. Cynthia Howroyd and had the opportunity to review Ms. Howroyd’s proposal in 2003 when it was in a more conceptual stage. The concept was presented to an autism steering committee established at the University of New Brunswick of which I am, and was at the time, a member. I had several concerns about the concept which I still hold.

1) Environment – as a parent of a profoundly autistic 11 year old boy I know that his environment is a critical factor in understanding his behavior and potential negative influences on his behavior. It is difficult to assess and analyze problem behavior from a distance without actually viewing, hearing, touching or smelling the environmental factors that might bother my son at a given point. Even being present in that environment it is not easy since he is much more sensitive to environmental stimuli than I am. The program of course relies upon the input of the parent or professional who is using the program and presumably has taken the environmental factors into account in analyzing the behavior. But with the transfer of that input to a program written by experts on a generic basis the possibility for an improper analysis and recommendation would seem to me to be greater.

2. Accountability – if interventions are not done properly at any stage will Virtual Experts or the experts who provide the input for the program be held accountable at least to their professional bodies and if so in what jurisdiction? It is not clear that users will have any real recourse for problems that might arise from use of the program – other than a return of funds which may be small consolation if a child has regressed as a result of improper intervention. While Autism Pro adverises a no-risk trial that no-risk claim clearly refers to fees paid not to risk of harm or delay in a child that might result from use of Autism Pro:

No Risk TrialVirtual Expert Clinics Inc. will refund the full value paid for AutismPro if you are not satisfied with the program within 30 days of receipt. If you wish to cancel your subscription after 30 days, a refund payment will be prorated at the monthly price paid in advance, based on the number of months remaining on your subscription. We do not require a reason for cancellation or any advance notice.

http://www.autismpro.com/

3. Non-evidence Based Interventions

In the Autism Pro press releases Ms. Howroyd states that Autism Pro uses evidence based interventions. “Because AutismPro is online intelligent software and because it integrates the full range of evidence based interventions in autism it is also a powerful tool for researchers to collect data on intervention choices and related outcomes for different children.”

http://ww1.prweb.com/releases/2006/12/prweb489594.htm#

The problem I have with that statement is that, to my knowledge, only one intervention, Applied Behavior Analysis, is considered to have met the standard of evidence based intervention for autism. See for example the MADSEC Autism Task Force Report and the Association for Science in Autism Treatment. Most of the experts and expertise associated with Autism Pro are not ABA oriented.

http://www.madsec.org/docs/ATFReport.pdf#search=%22madsec%20report%22/
http://www.asatonline.org/resources/informedchoice.htm

4. Potentially Ineffective Use of Scarce Resources

I became aware of the conceptual precursor to Autism Pro shortly after the New Brunswick Provincial government announced on April 1, 2003, that it would provide funding for some autism services. Ms. Howroyd sought out various autism organizations in New Brunswick shortly thereafter to present her idea for an internet based answer to the demand for autism intervention assistance. More recently, a motion has been passed in the House of Commons calling for a National Autism Strategy and Virtual Experts has lost no time in positioning itself as a potential recipient of funding resources in connection with the motion as one of their press releases shows:

A private members motion put forth by New Brunswick Liberal MP Andy Scott calling for the federal government to develop a national autism strategy was passed on December 5. On December 7, the United States senate unanimously passed a bill authorizes nearly a billion dollars in spending for autism research and programs.”

http://ww1.prweb.com/releases/2006/12/prweb489594.htm#

I think it is unfortunate that Dr. Holden has chosen to publicly endorse and enthusiastically support Autism Pro in such a high profile environment as the Canadian Senate Committee studying autism funding given that she is still conducting a research study using Autism Pro.

Dr Holden is currently undertaking a research trial consisting of 46 families across Ontario, including 63 adult care providers and 52 children aged 2 to 9, using AutismPro. The study is being done in partnership with Autism Ontario and Autism Spectrum Disorder – Canadian American Research Consortium (ASD – CARC) out of Queen’s University. Participants have been provided with a one year subscription to the program.”

http://ww1.prweb.com/releases/2006/12/prweb489594.htm#

It is difficult to see how Dr. Holden, despite her expertise, will be able to remain detached and objective in her conduct of the study given that she has already publicly endorsed the program which she is using in the study. Technology is glamorous and we live in an era when information technology increasingly dominates our lives and decision making. This blog site itself would have been unimaginable a few short years ago. Maybe Autism Pro will provide real solutions to autistic children. I am sure that there will be tremendous pressure exerted on government to provide more funding to Autism Pro than it has already received from organizations such as the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation. Since resources are not unlimited choices will be made about which options receive funding, to what extent, and which do not. Hopefully the decisions will be made carefully and not on the basis of trendiness, glamour or high pressured PR campaign. Autism Pro press realeases constantly tout parental support for the program. As a parent my experience makes me much more cautious. My experience tells me that autism intervention is a very personal face to face matter.

For now, anyway, this parent is not convinced – I am still not Pro Autism Pro.

January 25, 2007 Posted by | autism, autism disorder, evidence based, internet, national autism strategy, senate, technology, therapy | Leave a comment

New Brunswick School District 17 Autism Update – Much More Must Be Done

New Brunswick School District 17 has received an update on its existing program for teaching children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. The items focused on in the press release are certainly positive developments but they have been in place for some time now and are really only a small first step. The teachers aides who actually deliver the programs and work directly with autistic students require training at the UNB-CEL, and the Resource Teachers who supervise and assist with plan development on a regular basis also require training. That was the idea behind the commitment from Liberal leader Shawn Graham, now Premier Graham, during the recent election campaign to train 100 TA’s and Resource Teachers per year in New Brunswick for the next four years. District 17 should be applauded for following up on its existing program but much work remains to be done and Premier Graham’s training commitment must be followed through if this generation of New Brunswick autisic students are to receive a real education.

School autism plan enhanced

CANADAEAST NEWS SERVICE

Published Wednesday January 24th, 2007
Appeared on page A2

District 17 Education Council says it’s pleased with the progress of its new programs and teaching methods for children with autism spectrum disorders.

The council received a update on its service-delivery model at a DEC meeting Tuesday.

“Before this year, we had resource teachers who worked with a huge variety of children, and they were stretched very thin,” said Supt. Marilyn Ball.

“The Department of Education partnered with UNB to develop a training program for staff members and from that it became clear we needed to put a program in place specifically for autistic children.”

The district has since added three resource teachers for autism who are trained solely to work with autistic children. They travel between all the school in the district, working with teacher assistants and resource teachers to ensure all autistic children are getting the best education possible.

Their goal is to develop programming specific to each individual child since the symptoms and difficulties of autism can have a wide range.

Sandra Bulmer was one of the first to receive the training that is offered by the University of New Brunswick and paid for by the department.

She now works as one of the psychologists for the district.

She said they’ve surveyed schools and written files on each child that has been diagnosed as autistic.

From that, the resource teachers have identified the specific needs of each of the 48 children.

January 24, 2007 Posted by | autism, autism disorder, autism education, New Brunswick, Premier Graham, schools, training, UN-CEL | Leave a comment

Jason Oldford Testifies Before the Canadian Senate Committee Studying Autism Funding In Canada

Jason Oldford is a person with autism who served on the Board of Directors of the Autism Society of New Brunswick for several years where he played a key role. On December 6, 2006 Jason Oldford testified before the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology which was meeting to consider the inquiry on the issue of funding for the treatment of autism in Canada. Jason’s testimony was recorded in Hansard:

Jason Oldford, as an individual: I am honoured to address this committee. I was diagnosed with autism in 1974 when not much was known about it. I will tell you a bit about myself. I will not take long. I have quite a few things to say about funding for treatment.

I still have a few weaknesses with my autism. Eye contact is one of them. My social skills are not perfect. They are not up there with a typical person either.

On the plus side, my language developed normally. I was able to read by the age of three. I know trivial matters that other people would not dream of knowing. I tend to interpret things literally sometimes.

I have two university degrees and I attended public school with all the other children. I was not put in a special education class.

The reason I accepted the invitation to appear before this committee was to tell you what I would like to see. I would like to see severely autistic people become more like me, or more like others like me, to become more high-functioning. It can happen. I believe it.

There are about 100,000 people affected by some form of autism across Canada. When their parents received the diagnosis, immediately the research started looking for a treatment. They came across this ABA, applied behavioural analysis. It is the only evidence-based treatment that is available. The only drawback is that it is expensive. They cannot afford it. For that reason, they go to the respective provincial governments and try to get them to do it. It has not worked out the way they planned.

Autism is a life-long disorder. There is no cure. There are several treatments. Only one is evidence-based. There is no cure.

The key is early intervention, early diagnosis, and early detection. If treatment is started immediately upon diagnosis, or soon thereafter, within three or four years a child could enter school and perhaps not need ABA. He could go on, get a high school diploma, get university degrees, and be able to contribute to society.

I was pleased yesterday when I heard that the House of Commons had passed motion M-172, for a national autism strategy. I turned 36 yesterday. That news would rank up there with one of the best birthday presents I could receive.

The provinces worry about resources and having to live within their means. I understand the provinces have to live within their means. That is where the federal government comes in and helps out. If the federal and provincial governments put their heads together and work this thing out, a solution can be reached in the autism treatment situation we have in this country, in every province and territory.

There is a concern about having autism treatment funded under medicare. I am in favour of that. Ultimately, it is up to the provinces and territories. Each one has its respective medicare plan. Should any provinces decide not to fund this treatment under medicare, not only do I think they are making a mistake, I think they should find some place in their respective budgets to fund that treatment.

You also come to the issue of education. We need therapists certified in ABA. We need people in our schools trained to deliver ABA to autistic students. We need enough so that there are no waiting lists.

I have heard stories about people who have tried to get into speech and occupational therapy; some have told me were on a waiting list for months or years. Others are still on waiting lists. That is a problem that needs to be addressed and solved.

ABA is an expensive treatment. You have probably heard the figure $60,000 per year per child. It is derived from 52 weeks a year at 40 hours a week at $30 an hour.

Parents put themselves on the verge of bankruptcy when they have to pay for that treatment out of pocket. I certainly understand the situation they are in. I am amazed they can cover the treatment they need for their child and still pay the bills. How they do it, I do not know. Somehow, they get it done.

Early intervention, detection and diagnosis, can lead the way to a child’s achieving his or her full potential, to become productive in society. If Ottawa and the provinces work together, we could have a solution.

As was mentioned, ABA is not perfect. According to studies, only 47 per cent of those tested were indistinguishable, but 47 per cent is a lot better than zero.

If provinces and the territories and the federal government all work together on this, it will lead to solutions. None of the world’s problems was ever solved by arguing; none of the world’s problems was ever solved by doing nothing; none of the world’s problems was ever solved by worrying.

If Ottawa can get together with the provinces and territories and come away with a solution — and I am confident that they can; I am confident that they can accomplish this — just think of how many children will not be in group homes or institutions. Think of how many children will be able to contribute to society if they get this treatment. With the provinces and Ottawa working together, I know that can happen.

..

Mr. Oldford: Yes, I was recommending federal leadership with the federal government and the provinces agreeing on something to fund evidence-based treatments. The bill that was passed yesterday talked about evidence-based standards. That is good. It talks about developing innovative funding methods, and that is good too. I read an explanation that said that that means that the provinces, territories and federal government discuss how to fund evidence-based treatment.

The only evidence-based treatment that currently exists is ABA, but there may be more to come. Judging by what I have read, I think that sooner rather than later ABA will have company in the evidence-based treatments category. If any other evidence-based treatments were to come up I would support those, too, especially if they cost less than ABA does.

The governments must agree on how to fund a treatment that is proven to be scientifically validated and evidence-based.

Mr. Oldford: I agree with every word that Ms. Harrisson. I do not have any statistics on the number of adults that are autistic, that are in group homes or that are in institutions. I would say that a small number of autistic adults are in group homes or in institutions. I could be wrong, but I do not think there are that many.

When you read about autism, you read about autistic children. Autism is diagnosed during childhood. Some of the higher functioning types of autism can be diagnosed in adolescence or even adulthood.

Adults still need treatment. In the last session one of the things they discussed was age restrictions. I do not think there is any need to have them; they are discriminatory. Once a child turns five or six years old and still needs treatment, they should not be cut off. They should still get the treatment. If someone is diagnosed as an adult and needs treatment, they should get the treatment.

Getting back to housing, as I mentioned earlier, whoever works with autistic people in group homes and institutions has to have the proper training and has to know how to deal with autism. If they do not, it is not a good situation. There is also a need for proper housing for people with autism, not just in my home province of New Brunswick, but in every province across Canada.

The Chairman: Do most people with ASD live at home with parents or do many live on their own?

Mr. Oldford: I would say a good number of them live with their parents. I lived with my parents until this past July when my brother and I bought a house. I would think that most autistic people do live at home.

That brings us to another issue: employment. When they become adults, most people with autism are either unemployed or underemployed, which is the reason they live with their parents or in group homes. They do not make enough money to be self-sufficient. It is a bad situation. That should be discussed, too, when they discuss the treatment issue.

..

Senator Munson: There seem to be more and more diagnoses of autism; one in 166 is the new figure. With these diagnoses, we either pay now or later, and pay big later. We will have the statistics on homes like this if this keeps up this way. Do you agree?

Mr. Oldford: I would have to agree with that. I have heard people fighting for treatment telling the governments that, as you said, Senator Munson, the governments can pay now or pay later. We understand this treatment is expensive, but if you pay for it now, look at the return you will get on your investment. The people with autism will get out in the real world and get jobs, and that will stimulate the economy. Or you can pay later, which means they will go into group homes and it will cost the taxpayers a lot of money in the long run to keep them there.

..

Mr. Oldford: We do need more autism awareness. As Mr. Hooker has mentioned, many people look at us as low-functioning people because they view autism that way. They see it on television and read about it in the papers. They think, “Boy, I am glad I do not have a child like that.” Even in the most severe cases, autism is not the end of the world.

One way to promote awareness is through columns in newspapers and television appearances, as Mr. Hooker said. I would add that perhaps more people with autism spectrum disorder could be invited to speak at conferences. One of the measures that the government announced last week in its autism strategy was that there would be a national autism symposium next year. At that national symposium I would like nothing better than to see people with autism being invited to speak.

Mr. Oldford: Education is required for teachers and employers. However, as for team work, people with autism prefer to work alone. Sometimes when you put people with autism into a team setting they can become a bit temperamental and a bit hot under the collar. It could be because the other team members do not agree with the suggestions, or for other reasons. On the school front, there have been stories about even the most high-functioning students becoming aggressive. It is not their nature but it happens when they are frustrated at not being able to communicate their feelings appropriately. In many cases, teachers will send those students to the principal’s office, put them on detention, suspend them from school or send them home for the day, which is an inconvenience these days for parents because in most families, both parents work outside the home.

Employer and teacher education is needed when it comes to autism and how to deal with it. They need to know how to deal with situations that arise that could be caused by the autism.

Mr. Oldford: Sometimes I do find myself in a situation of the type you mentioned. More often than not, it is advising parents of autistic children. Basically, all I give them is words of encouragement. I am in no position to tell them how to raise their children.

There is quite a large autistic population, even in a small province like New Brunswick. The only advice I give them is just do not give up the fight.

January 23, 2007 Posted by | aba, ASNB, autism, autism disorder, autism education, employment, evidence based, health care, New Brunswick, residential care, treatment | Leave a comment

For Severely Autistic Children – "Nothing is going to change if people don’t know what’s going on"

“Nothing is going to change if people don’t know what’s going on,”

– Michele Iallonardi of Hauppauge, a mother of three boys with autism

The above quote from the New York Times review of the Autism Speaks film “Autism Every Day” which will be featured, starting today, at the Sundance Film Festival, explains exactly why it was necessary for the parents of severely autistic children who appear in the film to describe some of the unpleasant realities of their childrens’ severe autism and life for family members who care and love those children. As a father of a severely autistic 11 year old boy who, like his non-autistic brother, brings me joy and lifts my spirits every day for the past decade and more, I applaud their efforts. And will do so again.

As expected the film has drawn criticism from those who wish to pretend that autism, even for those with severe cases of autism, is beautiful. There are those who want everyone to think that autism is NOT a disability or a disorder, that it is just another variation in the human condition with no negative aspects to it. The more extreme amongst the Autism is Beautiful crowd have attacked anyone who advocates for health and educational interventions to improve the lives of their own children. To the extremists attempts to cure or educate autistic children, to give them the skills to function alongside other members of society is akin to a form of abuse; an attempt to steal from autistic children their true nature.

For Sundance, the piece was expanded to 44 minutes, still focusing on more impaired children. They are the ones, as Ms. Singer characterizes them, “who don’t make enough progress to be mainstreamed, who continue to struggle, who still have such challenging behaviors.” “That’s why we made this film, to tell their stories,” she said.

It is a story that must be told and retold. There are indeed Autistic persons of high intelligence, some of whom write fine essays of their appearances before courts and parliamentary tribunals. But they have little in common with severely autistic children. It is the parents of such children who must tell THEIR stories openly and honestly so that people will know. It is the parents of severely autistic children who love and care for them, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and know the true stories of their childrens lives who must speak up. We must tell their stories. Otherwise, as Ms. Iallonardi has said “nothing is going to change”.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/21/nyregion/nyregionspecial2/21lifilm.html?ref=movies

January 22, 2007 Posted by | autism, autism disorder, autism every day, autism speaks, natural variation, New York Times, severe autism, sundance film festival | 2 Comments

Conor’s Snow Fun






The day after the big storm and Conor gets out to enjoy the snow – and gets Dad out there too!

January 20, 2007 Posted by | autism, Conor, Dad, family, snow | Leave a comment