Autism Reality

Family With ONLY 3 Children With Autism

Unlike the Kirton’s of Utah who have six children, all with an Autism Disorder diagnosis, Randy and Lynn Gaston have ONLY 3 children, triplets, with autism. The Washington Post, in an article by Susan Deford examines the realities of family life for this family with triple the challenges, and impacts on family life, of having a child with autism.

No Group Discount For Autism Care

Now even mundane details of the daily routine are carefully orchestrated, driven by the boys’ need for sameness: identical sheets on their beds, baths in the same order every night, the same kind of pizza from the same kind of box.

The Gastons rarely go out as a couple; it’s difficult to find babysitters. The family has never eaten in a restaurant together, because crowded, unfamiliar environments sometimes make the boys anxious and upset. And the couple never get a full night’s rest. Like many autistic children, the boys don’t sleep well, going to bed at 8 p.m. and often waking for the day between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m.

A recent attempt to go to a park came to an abrupt halt when Zachary started yelling in the car. Lynn pulled over and found the reason: Hunter had taken off his shoes and socks, disrupting his brother’s uneasy equilibrium.

The Gastons’ experience, though extreme, is shared by growing numbers of families.

June 4, 2007 Posted by | auism disorder, autism, autism awareness, family, family stress | Leave a comment

Rob Corrdry Doesn’t Buy the Autism Is Wonderful Spin

Rob Corddry of “The Daily Show isn’t buying the joy of autism spin that permeates the neurodiversity internet sites.

Actor-comedian Rob Corddry of “The Daily Show” fame, will host The Hollywood Reporter’s 36th annual Key Art Awards on June 15 at the Beverly Hilton. He recently revealed in his blog that his young nephew is diagnosed with Autism.

“My brother Nate and I went to Boston this weekend to host a benefit for local autistic children. We HATE autism. We hate everything about it. Everything. There is nothing good about autism,” says Corddry in his penned thoughts regarding the frightening affliction.

“Except for all of that math stuff. That’s pretty cool,” he quipped.

“My sister asked us to host the event because her son, our nephew, is autistic, and the kids at his school need a new playground. Their current one is full of cockroaches and fire ants,” Corddry wrote.

“Nate and I told our team of publicists to accept the invitation…we hate autism that much.”

Corddry uses his humor to make his point: The heaviness of having a loved one diagnosed with the neurological disorder can be processed just a bit easier with a dose of positive attitude and proactive stance to learn as much as you can to fight back.

“Nate and I were in for a huge surprise. Who knew that autistic kids were such big Daily Show fans?”

Corddry talks openly about his four-year-old, autistic nephew Owen: “We have some history. Ours has been a slightly rocky relationship. You see, a few years ago, my millionaire father died, leaving Owen his entire fortune and me an old convertible. So I kidnapped Owen and took him to Vegas where I put him to work counting cards,” Corddry jokes.

Corddry and his brother Nate were successful in raising needed funds. “Nate truly found a second calling that night, conducting an auction for autistic kids. He was auction-tastic. He was auctistic,” mused Corddry in his blog source/

Chances are, if you are reading this article, you know too well about Autism, a complex neurobiological disorder that typically lasts throughout a person’s lifetime.

Today, 1 in 150 individuals is diagnosed with autism, making it more common than pediatric cancer, diabetes, and AIDS combined.

It occurs in all racial, ethnic, and social groups and is four times more likely to strike boys than girls.

Autism hampers a person’s ability communicate and navigate social structure. It is also associated with rigid routines and repetitive, obsessive behaviors. is an excellent resource started by Suzanne and Bob Wright, whose grandson Christian was diagnosed with Autism.

Autism was first identified in 1943 by Dr. Leo Kanner of Johns Hopkins Hospital. At the same time, a German scientist, Dr. Hans Asperger, described a milder form of the disorder that is now known as Asperger Syndrome.

Pediatricians may initially dismiss signs of autism, thinking a child will “catch up,” and may advise parents to “wait and see.” New research shows that when parents suspect something is wrong with their child, they are usually correct.

If you have concerns about your child’s development, don’t wait: speak to your pediatrician about getting your child screened for autism.

June 1, 2007 Posted by | autism awareness, autism disorder, Key Art Awards, neurodiversity, Rob Corddry, The Daily Show | 1 Comment

Jamie McMurray Will Put Pedal to the Metal for Autism Awareness & Research in Autism Speaks 400

Autism Speaks latest autism awareness and fundraising effort, the Autism Speaks 400, is a beauty. Jerry Seinfeld, Oprah Winfrey, Larry King and many other celebrities have pitched in to help raise autism awarness. Now the Autism Speaks 400 is set to roll and this should help push autism awareness further into public consciousness. Jamie McMurray has also stepped forward individually. His helment and firesuit this weekend will carry the autism puzzle piece design and the Crown Royal folks will be repainting the No. 26 Ford Fusion Jamie will be driving to carry the puzzle piece design. Autism is a serious neurological disorder but it will help everyone to have some fun this weekend as Jamie and the other drivers race to bring autism awareness home and to raise funds for autism research. I know I will be cheering for the No. 26 Ford Fusion this weekend. A big thank you to Autism Speaks, Jamie McMurray, Crown Royal and VISA, which will be donating $5 from ticket purchases to autism research.

Jamie McMurray to Race Special Paint Scheme in Dover to Raise Awareness and Funds for Autism

May 31, 2007
CONCORD, N.C. – One year ago at Dover International Speedway, Jamie McMurray led 95 of the race’s closing 98 laps, only to be passed by teammate Matt Kenseth with three laps remaining. McMurray went on to finish with a season-best second place. This year, McMurray and the No. 26 Crown Royal Ford Fusion hope to be leading when the checker flag drops on the Autism Speaks 400. McMurray, who has been one of the most vocal spokesmen for autism awareness in the sport of NASCAR, hopes to bring a lot more attention to the cause this weekend with a new autism-themed paint scheme, firesuit, helmet and gloves.

“I went to Crown Royal a few weeks ago and asked them how I can do more in support of the Autism Speaks 400,” said McMurray. “I had the idea of wearing a different firesuit and helmet in the race and then auctioning them off after and have all of the funds go towards the Jamie McMurray Foundation, which supports autism research, education and families afflicted with autism. Needless to say, Crown Royal was very supportive and backed us completely.”

Crown Royal even went further and changed the look of the No. 26 Ford Fusion for this weekend’s race at Dover International Speedway. The sides, front and rear of the No. 26 Crown Royal Ford Fusion will be outfitted with the well-known autism puzzle piece design.

“We know how important this race is to Jamie, so we wanted to go the extra mile to help out,” said Jim Lorenz, senior brand manager, Crown Royal. “When we first started working with Jamie, it was clear how much passion he has for this cause and we want to do our part to join in the effort to raise money and awareness. After we found out the race would be entitled the Autism Speaks 400, we wanted to help Jamie in any way we could.”

Along with the special paint scheme on the No. 26 Ford Fusion, McMurray will also don a new firesuit, helmet and gloves – all of which will be outfitted with the Autism puzzle piece design. Following the race, all of these special items will be auctioned off on Speed Channel’s website ( with the proceeds going to benefit the Jamie McMurray Foundation.

Heading into this weekend, McMurray, along with a handful of NASCAR drivers, will participate in the Drive for Autism Research Golf Tournament in Wilmington, Del. The golf tournament is organized by Artie Kempner of FOX Sports, with the proceeds of the tournament being split between the foundations of McMurray and Elliott Sadler.

“It’s great to be paired up with Artie and Elliott for this week’s golf event. This golf tournament continues to grow in popularity and it raises a lot of money for autism, which is the most important part,” McMurray said.

This Sunday morning at the Dover International Speedway media center, McMurray will be presenting Autism Speaks with a charitable donation. The presentation is set to begin at 9:30am.

June 1, 2007 Posted by | autism awareness, autism disorder, Autism Speaks 400, Crown Royal, Dover International Speedway, Jamie McMurray, VISA | 3 Comments

Autism Speaks 400

Autism Speaks continues its outstanding efforts to raise autism awareness and funds for autism research with its latest effort the Autism Speaks 400. This is another terrific way to tell the world about autism.

NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Race at Dover International Speedway to be named the “Autism Speaks 400 Presented by Visa”
DOVER, DE (May 18, 2007) — Dover International Speedway announced today that the June 3, 2007 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race will be named the “Autism Speaks 400 presented by Visa.” Autism Speaks is an organization dedicated to increasing understanding and knowledge of autism spectrum disorders; to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and cure for autism; and to advocating for the needs of affected families.

“Thanks to Visa’s commitment, this event marks the first time a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup event entitlement has been dedicated to a not-for-profit organization,” said Mark Rossi, vice president of sales & marketing for Dover Motorsports, Inc. “Millions of fans watching the race on Fox around the country, along with our loyal fan base here at the track in Dover, will be exposed to the ‘Autism Speaks 400 presented by Visa’ messaging. The end result will be increased awareness, and additional funds, to assist the many important initiatives of Autism Speaks.”

From now until June 1, Dover International Speedway will donate $5 to Autism Speaks from each ticket purchased with a Visa card for the June 3 “Autism Speaks 400 presented by Visa” race. Fans can visit to learn more and donate to this worthwhile cause.

As part of the entitlement, a special one-of-a-kind experience will be auctioned, with all proceeds going directly to Autism Speaks. The prize includes the opportunity to wave the green flag as the honorary starter for the June 3 race; an autographed flag signed by the starting lineup of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race; the chance to be on stage for driver introductions; a ride in the pre-race parade lap for four guests; four tickets to watch the race from a skybox suite; four pit passes; and a guided tour for four of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup garage. To participate in this unique auction and support Autism Speaks, go to

May 19, 2007 Posted by | autism awareness, autism disorder, autism speaks, Autism Speaks 400, research | Leave a comment

Autism Reality – The Truth, the Whole Truth, Must Be Told

Deborah Pugh is a journalist and mother of an autistic son who has been crticized for speaking publicly about her son’s challenges, specifically his autism and the challenges presented by puberty. She has written an article on this subject in the Vancouver Sun which follows this comment. Puberty, like infancy and old age are merely stages which all humans, if they are fortunate, pass through on life’s journey. Puberty, like these other stages, is nothing to be ashamed of and there should be no problem with discussing the challenges it presents in a respectful manner. Censoring discussion of such a subject is what creates shame and leads to an incomplete and distorted picture of the realities of someone with autism who is undergoing puberty.

Pete at “A Perfectly Cromulent Blog” has touched on the decision a parent must make – remain silent or advocate publicly with public comments about your autistic child. With this blog site I have obviously chosen to speak publicly about my son, Conor, his severe autism, the joys AND the challenges of living with and raising Conor, our hopes AND our fears for his future. A major reason for the user name I employ “AutismRealityNB” is my perception that the internet is full of joy of autism sites and sites about high functioning autistic persons who have the ability to host blog sites, write lenthgy essays, appear before government committees, intervene in court proceedings and otherwise function and communicate at a very high level. They are joined by some parents and professionsals who condemn parents like those in the Autism Every Day video who tell the whole truth of their child’ autism realities. An uninformed reader of the Wikipedia List of People with Autism should be forgiven for thinking that autistic persons are all artists, poets, authors and researchers. On the internet there is rarely to be found any mention of the darker realities of autism, those who lack basic communication skills or live in institutional care. Without such mention the lives of the severely autistic can become invisible to the world, forgotten. Reality is not always a welcome guest on the internet world of autism.

Ms Pugh’s article follows and I thank her for having the courage to speak up and to describe some of the realities of autism and the challenge of puberty for an autistic person.

Autism criticisms are counterproductive
Deborah Pugh, Special to the Sun
Published: Thursday, May 17, 2007

Lauren Brown’s letter of May 7 criticizing my willingness to talk of the challenges of puberty and autism, and to allow my son to be identified, spoke more to her sense of shame around sexuality and disability then to my son’s reality.

To our family it is not a source of shame that he is an adolescent with all the physical manifestations that brings. Nor is it a source of shame that he has autism.

Perhaps if Brown were to re-read Pete McMartin’s excellent reporting more carefully, she may become more aware of my son’s limited awareness of or concern about the opinions of his peers. If he had a higher level of awareness, then he would not have been identified.
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As someone who has worked as a journalist for 20 years and as an advocate for families of children with ASD for 12, now for ACT — Autism Community Training — I took this opportunity to speak openly about the reality for so many of our families because there are many children on the spectrum who would be embarrassed about this reality and many families who find it too difficult to discuss.

I have had many direct responses to McMartin’s excellent piece, largely from other families, all of which have been grateful that I was prepared to speak honestly and with humour.

Criticizing the decision of families to discuss their challenges in the press, as they see fit, whether it is Brown’s patronizing critique of the piece that I contributed to, or the superior finger-waving that letter writer Debra Antifaev resorts to in criticizing parent Cyndi Gerlach, is counterproductive if their real aim is to support the diversity of family experiences and the desperate need for better services.

Doubtless I have many limitations as a parent, but I am not sure that Brown is in any position to give lectures on advocating for children with autism.

Perhaps next time she feels so strongly about our children she could write a letter to the editor calling on government to adequately fund rapid diagnosis, equal access to excellent treatment regardless of age, and proper supports to all families struggling to raise families of children with disabilities — regardless of diagnosis.

In closing I would like to thank The Sun for having the courage to delve into these delicate issues in depth and to do it without sentimentality. McMartin is to be congratulated for an excellent series which is sensitive to the extremely complex reality of our families.

Deborah Pugh lives in Vancouver.

© The Vancouver Sun 2007

May 17, 2007 Posted by | activism, autism awareness, autism community training, autism disorder, Deborarh Pugh, Peter McMartin, puberty | 4 Comments

Autism Quotes # 1

“If a child cannot learn in the way we teach … we must teach in a way the child can learn.”

Dr. O. Ivar Lovaas

“When Jack was diagnosed we were devastated at that thought of what life might be like for him. Now he can talk. ABA is hard work, but it has opened up a whole range of opportunities for him. Life just keeps getting better.”

Charmaine Fraser, Mother of Autistic Son, Australia

So we’re choosing to tell our daughter’s story now, after being quiet about it for the last 16 months: to emphasize how important it is that this bill pass in its original form. If it seems opportunistic or self-serving, well…there’s not much I can say about that, except that things like ABA and other therapy programs would seem to be the point of insurance: to insure the well-being of these kids who otherwise would be without hope for a future.

Finally, the only thing that really gave me pause about posting this was something that was said to me about the possibility SWSNBN might read this later on in her life and be mortified. My only response to that is this: I’m not a religious person, so prayer is out of the question, but I hope beyond anything I have ever hoped in my miserable life that my daughter, at some point in the future, is able to read this blog and yell at her father about it. I want that so badly it physically hurts.”

Pete, A Perfectly Cromulent Blog, Father of Autistic Daughter, Texas

May 17, 2007 Posted by | aba, Applied Behavior Analysis, autism awareness, autism disorder, autism education, autism therapy, Lovaas | Leave a comment

Wikipedia’s Misleading List of People on the Autism Spectrum

Wikipedia’s credibility has taken a big hit of late. See for example “Facts and friction: Wikipedia’s quest for credibility, By STEPHEN HUTCHEON – SMH | Tuesday, 24 April 2007″

One area that Wikipedia has not cleaned up in its attempts to address it’s credibility issues is a beauty entitled “List of people on the autism spectrum” The list is flat out misleading in that most of the names on the list are high functioning or Aspergers with only 4 entries listed for “people with severe autism”. Of the four names none are non-verbal low intelligence persons. You would never know from this Wikipedia entry that many autistic people have very severe intellectual and communication deficits. Everyone on the Wikipedia list is someone who can communicate extremely well. With one exception. The exception is a dead girl who died by her mother’s hand at the age of 3.

Wikipedia’s Misleading List of People on the Autism Spectrum:

People with unspecified forms of autism

Main article: Pervasive developmental disorder

The following people have been diagnosed as being somewhere on the autistic spectrum but the specific classification is unknown.

* Taylor Crowe, autism advocate and artist [1]
* Christopher Knowles, American poet [2]
* Katherine McCarron, autistic child murdered at the age of three by her mother, Karen McCarron. [3]
* Jason McElwain, high school basketball player [4]
* Michael Moon, adopted son of author Elizabeth Moon [5]
* Abubakar Tariq Nadama [6]
* Jasmine O’Neill, author of Through the Eyes of Aliens [7]
* Sue Rubin, subject of documentary Autism Is a World; Sue Rubin has no oral speech but does communicate with facilitated communication [8]
* Birger Sellin, author from Germany [9]
* Daniel Tammet, British autistic savant, believed to have Asperger Syndrome [10]

[edit] People with Asperger syndrome

Main article: Asperger syndrome

* Nikki Bacharach, daughter of composer Burt Bacharach and actress Angie Dickinson; committed suicide on January 4, 2007 [11]
* William Cottrell, student who was sentenced to eight years in jail for fire-bombing SUV dealerships [12]
* Luke Jackson, author of Freaks, Geeks and Asperger Syndrome: A User Guide to Adolescence [13]
* Craig Nicholls, frontman of the Australian garage rock band The Vines [14]
* Gary Numan, British singer and songwriter [15]
* Dawn Prince-Hughes, PhD, primate anthropologist, ethologist, and author of Songs for the Gorilla Nation [16]
* Judy Singer, Australian disability rights activist [17]
* Vernon L. Smith, Nobel Laureate in Economics [18]
* Satoshi Tajiri, creator and designer of Pocket Monsters/Pokémon [19]
* Liane Holliday Willey, author of Pretending to be Normal, Asperger Syndrome in the Family [20]

[edit] People with high-functioning autism

Main article: high-functioning autism

* Michelle Dawson, autism researcher and autism rights activist who has made ethical challenges to Applied Behavior Analysis [21]
* Temple Grandin, a designer of humane food animal handling systems. [22]
* Hikari Oe, Japanese composer [23]
* Bhumi Jensen, Thai prince, grandson of King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand; killed by drowning in the tsunami caused by the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake [24]
* Dylan Scott Pierce, wildlife illustrator [25]
* Jim Sinclair, autism rights activist [26]
* Donna Williams, Australian author of Nobody Nowhere and Somebody Somewhere; after testing for deafness from infancy until late childhood, and labeled psychotic and ‘disturbed’, Donna was formally diagnosed as autistic in her 20s with an IQ score under 80 (not technically in the HFA range) in spite of achieving a higher education. [27] .
* Stephen Wiltshire, British architectural artist [28]
* Caiseal Mor author of A Blessing and a Curse: Autism and Me; bestselling fantasy fiction author, musician and artist [29]

[edit] Autistic savants

Main article: Autistic savant

* Alonzo Clemons, American clay sculptor [30]
* Tony DeBlois, blind American musician [31]
* Leslie Lemke, blind American musician [32]
* Jonathan Lerman, American artist [33]
* Thristan Mendoza, Filipino marimba prodigy [34]
* Derek Paravicini, blind British musician [35]
* James Henry Pullen, gifted British carpenter [36]
* Matt Savage, U.S. autistic jazz prodigy [37]
* Henriett Seth-F., Hungarian autistic savant, poet, writer and artist [38]

[edit] People with severe autism

* Tito Mukhopadhyay, author, poet and philosopher [39]
* Lucy Blackman, university educated autistic author [40]
* Larry Bissonette , accomplished international autistic artist. [41]
* Amanda Baggs, advocate of rights for autistic people. [42]

People like my son Conor who has severe autism with serious developmental delays and communication deficits are not listed at Wikipedia. There is no mention, even generically, to the many autistic people who live out their adult lives in residential and institutional facilities being cared for by professional caregivers. Wikipedia allows the Neurodiversity Ideologues to mislead the world about the nature of autism with nonsense like this list.

May 15, 2007 Posted by | autism awareness, autism disorder, credibility, neurodiversity, Wikipedia | 12 Comments

Autism Resources in New Brunswick – Chatham Library Hosts Launch of Autism Collection

Chatham Library Hosts Launch of Autism Collection

Miramichi Weekend, Friday, May 11 2007

Representatives of Chatham Branch of the York Public Library, the New Brunswick Public Library Service and the New Brunswick Public Library Foundations gathered at a reception at the Chatham Branch on May 2 to launch a collection of resource books specific to Autism Disorder.

The president of the New Brunswick Autism Society Lila Barry made the presentation of books in honour of her mother-in-law, Emma “Big Momma” Barry.

She thanked the family members of Emma Barry in attendance for their generous donations that made the collection possible. Emma Barry was known for her love of all children but held children with special needs even closer to her heart.

In a disorder in which early detection and treatment is vital to the success of a child with Autism, parents are often desperate for information. Current statistics indicate that 1 in every 150 children will be on the Autism Spectrum. Resources are vital to successful outcome.

Six years ago, Barry’s son was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, one disorder on the spectrum of Autism.

“I remember being so overwhelmed and distraught. One of the first places I sought was information at this library, but I was devastated to find no books here, and only two or three within the system in high demand and available only after a long wait. “

After joining the Autism Society of New Brunswick, she and others in the organization created a vision to provide better support for families with better resources and approached the New Brunswick Public Library Service with the idea of donating a collection of resource books.

This donation, the second of two to the New Brunswick Libraries Foundation from the Autism society, now brings the collection to 68 books. The monetary value of this gift was matched by the New Brunswick Library Foundation.

At the launch, Dr. Theresa McKenzie, a licensed psychologist and specialist in this disorder, stressed the importance of this donation. With wait times as they are, parents concerned about some of their children’s developmental behaviours need resources to provide strategies for coping at home and developing social skills. Often their concerns are dismissed but parents know their children best and need accessible resources.”

This collection will be housed at the Chatham Branch of the York Library Service but all New Brunswickers with interest or concerns about Autism Spectrum Disorders can access the books by inter-branch loans

May 15, 2007 Posted by | autism awareness, autism disorder, Autism Society New Brunswick, chatham public library, Dr. Theresa McKenzie, lila barry | Leave a comment

Autism and NOISE

The Daily American Online of Somerset County PA is carrying a fascinating story of a high functioning autistic gentleman, Barney Vincelette, who was bothered by his neighbor’s loud rock music and the steps he took to reach an accommodation with his neighbors. Many autistic persons, including my son Conor, are very sensitive to noises. There were times when I had to hold Conor on my lap while getting his hair cut. He would be so upset by the noise of shears in the barber shop that he would literally bite into my shoulder. We now pick quiet times when the shop is empty and get his hair cut, with scissors as much as possible, by a lady who is outstanding at working with Conor. Noise from motorcycles is a huge problem for Conor. Many motorbikes are adjusted to increase the sound level emitted and that is a problem for any one in the vicinity. For Conor it is a particularly difficult experience.

Autism renders sickening rock music

Tuesday, May 15, 2007 2:40 AM EDT

Barney Vincelette, who says his autism renders loud noises sickening to him, has been feuding for several years with neighbors in Houston, Del., over their rock music. At first, he invented his own sound-jammer, according to an April profile in the Wilmington News Journal, but a judge curtailed its use. Subsequently, he recorded super-annoying sounds of his own (including a fog horn’s) and had them written out as music (“Sonata for Calliope of Truck Horns About to Be Transcribed for Locomotive Horns Opus No. 1”), at which point the judge decided that permitting the neighbors’ Bon Jovi but not Vincelette’s Sonata amounted to selective law enforcement, and the feuders settled their differences. (Vincelette, by the way, lives in a house shaped like a flying saucer.) [News Journal, 4-15-07]

May 15, 2007 Posted by | auism disorder, autism awareness, environmental sensitivity, noise | Leave a comment

Autism Rising in Nevada

The results of a decade-long study conducted by UNLV professors John P. Tuman and Sheniz Moonie found autism is on the rise in Nevada’s schools.

UNLV professors John Tuman and Sheniz Moonie have completed a decade long study on increasing autism rates in Nevada schools – from .27 per 1,000 in 1995 to 2.37 per 1,000 in 2004. This rate of increase is hard to explain away by any rationalization.

Professor Tuman notes that some autism cases are diagnosed as early as 24 months with signs noted as early as 15 months. In my sons case he was diagnosed 9 years ago at age 24 months and we noticed signs much earlier than 15 months although we did not think of, or even know about, autism at that time. He simply was not showing ordinary development milestones like giggling in response to peek a boo or responding in any noticeable way to attention. He did not use any typical baby words and barely spoke until long past 2 years of age – although he did use one word at an early age that stuck in my mind. While lying on the tile floor of a shopping mall, with his face pressed against the cool tile floor, Conor looked at the circular metal ring which formed the circumference of a drain pipe cover in the floor and said “circle”. That reference to a geometric shape was the only word I heard him speak for a few years until we started using ABA to teach him words beginning with – apple.

Study: Autism rising
Professor shares findings

By Natalie Lombardo

UNLV political science professor and lead investigator of a study on the prevalence of autism in Nevada, John P. Tuman, spoke Wednesday about a nearly tenfold increase of the disorder in state schools.

Tuman was accompanied by his co-investigator Sheniz Moonie, a UNLV School of Public Health assistant professor, epidemiologist and biostatistician, speaking to a small group at the Carlson Education Building. Tuman said that 15 out of the 17 school districts in Nevada have experienced an increased prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Counties such as Clark, Lander and Churchill had prevalence of one in 322, one in 224 and one in 250 in 2004. Esmeralda County is the only district in Nevada that reported zero prevalence from 1994 to 2004. “I do not think this statistic is unusual because Esmeralda enrolls fewer than 80 students,” Tuman said, pointing out that the larger the district the more prevalence of autism.

He said the average prevalence of autism increased in Nevada from .27 per 1,000 in 1995 to 2.37 per 1,000 in 2004. He added that the average prevalence of learning disabilities have increased from 84 per 1,000 in 1995 to 92.4 per 1,000 in 2004, which is the largest increase in the state.

In 1943, about a dozen children were observed with having an extreme social disability. Their inability to interact with others was characterized as “autism” by a psychiatrist, Dr. Leo Kanner.

Since Kanner discovered this disorder, research and knowledge of autism has come a long way.

Today, autism is not only characterized by children who have difficulties communicating in a social scene, but also by unresponsiveness, slow development, sometimes being mute, attachment to routines, impaired speech and temperamental behavior.

Having a child with autism, Tuman is extremely passionate about his studies, noticeable through during his lecture.

He also looked at resources and funding for more research and dealing with the disorder correctly in schools.

“Funding has a positive and statistically significant help in detecting children with autism,” he said. More funding would allow school districts to have the tools needed to detect students with autism and give them the special needs and attention required of autistic children.

Tuman said that although the average age of diagnosis for autism is 24 months, there have been cases where autism signs were noticed as early as 15 months.

He said differences in social and economic characteristics of school districts influence the identification of ASD, providing statistics to the audience.

Tuman and Moonie collected data about the prevalence of ASD from the Nevada State Department of Education. The data included statistics on disorders such as mental retardation, learning disabilities and speech and language impairment. The data received was from each school district in the state.

May 14, 2007 Posted by | autism awareness, autism disorder, autism prevalence, diagnosis, John Tuman, Nevada, Sheniz Moonie | Leave a comment