Autism Reality

Vancouver Sun – The Many Faces of Autism

One fundamental point which is repeatedly ignored in discussions, debates and arguments over autism is that “autism” as discussed in the media is a spectrum of disorders which includes autism disorder and other related disorders eg. PDD-NOS, Aspergers. There are many faces of autism, many different characteristics. The Vancouver Sun has published a balanced and understandable overview of autism disorders and promises to present a series of stories portraying different aspects of the spectrum of autism realities.

http://tinyurl.com/2jxw2l

To understand the many faces of autism, first consider what it is not

Pete McMartin, Vancouver Sun

Published: Saturday, April 21, 2007

……..

Simply put, there is no one profile that fits those diagnosed with autism. So, to define what autism is, it might be best by pointing out what it is not.

IT IS NOT A MENTAL ILLNESS OR A DISEASE.

It is a neurological and, ultimately, a biological disorder that affects the normal development of the brain in areas of social interaction, communication and sometimes cognitive skills. Usually, that disorder manifests itself before the child reaches three. (More on those symptoms and their diagnosis in a later instalment.)

THE CAUSES OF AUTISM ARE STILL UNKNOWN.

…..

AUTISM IS NOT A SINGULARITY.

It is a spectrum of disorders. On that spectrum are five related disorders, the three most common of these being classic autistic disorder (AD), pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS) and Asperger’s syndrome. They share some behaviours but not others. Those with AD, for example, are often withdrawn and can be completely non-verbal, while those diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome can have normal verbal and academic skills but have extreme difficulty interacting socially with others.

THERE IS NO MENTAL STANDARD OR MEDIAN FOR THOSE ON THE AUTISM SPECTRUM.

Some have below-average intelligence, some are average and some are above average.

Additionally, mental abilities can be uneven. A person on the autism spectrum might be able to do complex math but be unable to tie his or her own shoes.

Some are capable of holding jobs and of living independently or semi-independently; some have the intellectual capacity to work but not the social skills to make their way in the work environment; some must receive 24-hour care their entire lives.

AUTISM IS NOT CURABLE.

It is a life-long condition. As one parent of a 12-year-old girl diagnosed with severe autism said:

“Parents have to understand:

“This isn’t a sprint. It’s a marathon.”

The initial symptoms, however, can be ameliorated through a combination of intensive early childhood therapy and, it has to be said, the fierce and protective love of parents and family.

See http://www.VancouverSun.com for more from the six-day special feature

TODAY:

The story of a severe case, and life at home with an autistic child.

MONDAY:

Two mothers, their tears, and the sacrifices they must make living with autism.

TUESDAY:

How the health care system discriminates against those on low income.

WEDNESDAY:

Immigrants and the special challenges they face in dealing with autism.

THURSDAY:

The high cost of therapy, and a mother’s determination.

FRIDAY:

Two autistic teens and their families face an uncertain future.”

April 21, 2007 Posted by | Aspergers' Syndrome, autism awareness, autism disorder, autism interventions, behavioral intervention, PDD-NOS, the rain man, vancouver sun | Leave a comment

Grand Opening – Atlantic Behavioural Centre – Moncton, NB

Grand Opening Celebration

“Children become that which they do and
get better only at that which they practice.” – Aristotle.

You are cordially invited to attend the Grand Opening of the Atlantic Behavioural Centre. The event will be held at our centre’s new location – 700 St George Blvd, Moncton – Saturday March 31st from 12:00 to 5:00 pm. We hope that you will join us in celebrating this new endeavor.

The Atlantic Behavioural Centre was established in 2005 as a private group that consists of a clinical team of administrators, clinical supervisors, psychologists, resource teachers, occupational therapist, behavior therapists, and volunteers. The Centre provides individualized educational programs based on researched principals of applied behaviour analysis to children with neurodevelopmental disorders, namely Autism Disorder and Asperger.

The clinic first opened its doors as a private practice in psychology in 1998 serving the needs of children, adolescents and their families in the South Eastern part of New Brunswick. Over the years, this practice has developed a specialization in the assessment and treatment of disorders such as Autistic Spectrum Disorders, Language and Communication Disorders, Learning Disorders, ADHD, Oppositional Defiant Disorders, Conduct Disorders, and other disorders of childhood development.

We are very pleased to be able to increase the services provided and are committed to raising the bar in the treatment of autism. We look forward to seeing you at our Grand Opening.

Sincerely,

Suzanne Durepos, M.A.Ps., L. Psych.
Clinical Director

March 21, 2007 Posted by | Applied Behavioural Analysis, Aspergers' Syndrome, Atlantic Behavioural Centre, autism disorder, autism treatment | Leave a comment

Aubrey’s Journey: Emerging from autism

If you do a google blog search on autism you will find many blog sites hosted by high functioning autistic persons who view autism in a positive light and characterize efforts by parents and advocates for autism cures and treatments as oppression, breaches of their human rights. There are other autistic persons, such as some who appeared before the Canadian Senate, who are supportive of efforts to assist autistic children and adults in overcoming some of the deficits associated with their autism. The Albany Democrat-Herald reports the story of Aubrey, a young lady with Aspergers’ Syndrome who benefited from early intervention and left many of her autism deficits behind. Aubrey’s mother, D.L. Clarke, has written a book about her daughter’s story and hosts a web site where parents and other interested persons can learn more:

http://www.aubreysjourney.com/


Emerging from autism

When Aubrey was born in 1992, she looked and acted like all other babies.

But as she grew older, she began walking on her tiptoes, she pitched tantrums and she screamed when her hands got dirty. She did not want to play with other children, and she was terrified of swings and teeter-totters.

Yet, Aubrey was intelligent and often appeared normal in unfamiliar situations.

Physicians assured Clarke that her daughter was normal. Clarke knew differently in her gut, but she did not want to accept the fact that her daughter might not be “perfect.”

In a book released Jan. 15 targeted to parents of children with behavior problems, Clarke discusses ways to seek a diagnosis for various disorders in children, and she explains how to keep hope alive and not to give up in dealing with situations no one seems to understand.

It was not until Aubrey was 3 years old that an early intervention team from the Linn-Benton-Lincoln ESD used the word autism to describe Aubrey’s behavior.

“That diagnosis opened a door of support that we didn’t have before,” Clarke said. “Gradually we found out she had Asperger’s Syndrome and not full-blown autism.”

Since then, through counseling, therapy and family encouragement, Aubrey has left many of her symptoms behind.

“She’s not cured, but she’s learned to cope and adapt,” she said. “Part of what helped is I encouraged her to get involved in activities. I treated her the same way as my other two children, and told her I expected her to learn and be independent.”

Aubrey is now 14 and a freshman in high school. She has entered talent shows, been part of a singing group and a dance team. She tutors elementary students at a Boys & Girls Club, and she wants to go to college and eventually have a family.

“I can’t imagine the consequences if I hadn’t kept on pushing,” Clarke said.

Signed copies can be ordered through her Web site: aubreysjourney.com.

http://www.dhonline.com/articles/2007/02/02/news/local/3loc08_autism.txt

February 3, 2007 Posted by | Aspergers' Syndrome, Aubrey's Journey, autism disorder, autism education, D. L. Clarke, early intervention, treatment | 1 Comment