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Asperger’s Syndrome

Demand a Safe Alternative to BPA in Canned Goods

submitted by lawilcox

If you know me personally or follow my blogs, you may already know that I am passionate about issues pertaining to the countless chemicals and toxins we and our children are exposed to on a daily basis. When we found out that my sweet son who lives with Asperger’s Syndrome, like many other kids with Autism Spectrum Disorders, wasn’t processing toxins out of his body as well as his typical peers; I became a serious “mom on a mission!”
Four + years later, one of the toxins constantly on my radar is BPA. (Read here for a previous post about dangerous BPA and how it threatens our children’s health.) Because BPA is linked to altered development of the brain and immune systems, hormone disruption, breast cancer prostate cancer, obesity, cardiac disease (and more) and is in many of the products we buy every week at the grocery store, it should be on everyone’s radar! But, many people still aren’t aware that BPA – found in so many of our products – can be dangerous to our health (and our children’s health). This is why we must all do what we can to spread the word!


April is Autism Awareness & ACTION Month

submitted by lawilcox

I don’t know about you, but April has become one of the busiest months of the year for me…ushering in “Autism Awareness Month” means that everyone, including my friends and family members who are not raising kids with ASD are hearing and reading more about this spectrum; everyone seems more open and people are sharing some great posts, articles, essays and thoughts with one another. I’m also noticing that most of my friends (with children on the spectrum) who – like me – have been “at this” for a number of years are tired of simple “Awareness” and ready for ACTION!
Count me in! Time for some action!


Dr. Robert Naseef– No Exit!

submitted by lawilcox

Yesterday, one of AutismSpot’s own Featured Bloggers, Psychologist Dr. Robert Naseef, flew through DFW after spending the weekend leading a conference for parents in El Paso. AutismSpot’s visionary Kent Potter took this opportunity to turn Dr. Naseef’s layover into some on-camera time with Dr. Naseef. I was fortunate enough to participate.
Dr. Naseef not only works with families raising children with ASD in the Philidelphia area, he also has an adult son with Autism. I heard Dr. Naseef speak last summer when he hosted a Father’s Panel at the annual conference hosted by the Autism Society. Dr. Naseef is very knowledgeable and forthcoming about what life is like for our families and ways to handle stress and make life better.


Out-of-Town Company and ASD

submitted by lawilcox

I grew up with frequent visits from out-of-town family members with lots of cousins right around my age and I loved it! My cousins and I built hearty relationships, many of which have followed us into adulthood.
This week, one of my close cousins is bringing his two beautiful, neurotypical children for a visit during their Spring Break and I’m terribly excited. It will be so much fun to spend time with my cousin, his wife and those precious kids! I must admit, though, that I’m also significantly anxious about how things will go while they’re here.
While Ethan, who is 8-years-old and lives with Asperger’s Syndrome, loves to have company on his turf, it disturbs his routine. Especially since he’ll be headed off to school each morning while his cousins get to hang out, eat breakfast late, watch TV and play with his toys, I’m a little concerned about how he’s going to manage.


‘Snot Funny…or is it?

submitted by lawilcox

Parenting is full of incidents that make you laugh, make you cry, and sometimes make you laugh and cry at the same time. Since parenting a child on the spectrum is filled with countless tearful moments – I live for the laughter-filled moments.
As I’ve mentioned in a recent post, Ethan is has just begun soccer; his first practice was earlier this week. From experience, I’ve learned how important it can be to “prepare” Ethan for new situations. So, for a couple of weeks I’ve been priming him with many details about the game of soccer, about special rules, about his new coach, his teammates names, gear for the game…really anything and everything pertinent that I felt would help him feel more comfortable when we arrived for our first team practice. After all of my thoughtful preparations, when we drove up to the field, I couldn’t help but feel that Ethan (who was decked out in his new cleats, shin guards and soccer socks), and I (I’m going to be the Assistant Coach), were ready!
Our first practice day fell on one of the windiest days imaginable. The soccer balls were actually blowing across the fields at times because the wind was so strong. As such, we all spent a lot of time squinting and chasing balls. That, I expected. For that, I was prepared.
What I didn’t expect, was the effect the wind would have on Ethan and the life lesson we would have to learn right there – right then – with no “priming” on the soccer field!
About a quarter of the way through practice, while we were running a shooting drill with the boys, I look over to find Ethan bending over at the waist with a foot-long trail of snot streaming through the air.


Autism = The New Normal?

submitted by lawilcox

In the past week, a few things have happened that have left me feeling both blessed, but also concerned to a great degree…
Let me rewind a few weeks. I recently connected (thanks to mutual friends on Facebook) with another mom with whom I have a lot in common; a lot. She’s not just a mom – but a mom living literally less than 5 minutes away, in the same town…Raising not just a child – but a boy the same age as Ethan…Not just a boy in the same grade as Ethan – but in the same school district…and the clincher – her son also lives with Asperger’s Syndrome and experiences many similar issues that Ethan faces on a daily basis.


Adults Who Bully

submitted by lawilcox

While this series was initially going to be three parts, it has become five as we explore how some adults can be bullies, too. If you missed Part 1, Part 2 or Part 3 with Dr. Lisa M. Elliott from Cook Children’s Medical Center, be sure to click over and read them. If you missed Craig Gibson’s powerful response, make sure to read it, too. Directly below, Dr. Elliott shares her take on "Adults Who Bully." Following her response, look for a few additional thoughts and questions from me.
Dr. Elliott: You would certainly like to think that children and teens outgrow bullying however there is ample evidence and research that supports adults often employ bullying tactics as well. It is not uncommon for childhood bullies to become adult bullies, which is frequently discussed and reported in workplace bully literature. Bottom line, bullying is absolutely wrong regardless of the age of the person who is bullying and every single person is responsible for how they choose to treat others.


Bullying is a BIG Deal – Part 3

submitted by lawilcox

Part 1 and Part 2 of this series have received a great deal of feedback and we are grateful to our readers for taking the time to share comments, thoughts and concerns. Bullying most certainly affects most, if not all, of our families and it truly “takes a village” to keep our kids safe. While my initial three-part interview with Dr. Elliott finishes below, one of our readers made an excellent point after reading Part 1 (see comment “Adults Bullying Kids”) that we plan to address this week. AutismSpot Featured Blogger Craig Gibson has graciously agreed to prepare a post addressing this topic (watch for it on Tuesday); I value the unique perspective Craig brings to the topic as an educator, the parent of a child with special needs and as an individual who was bullied as a child. Dr. Elliott is also preparing some comments about adults as bullies (watch for those on Thursday). Until then, let us know what you think about the information below!
LAW: Please share some suggestions of what parents should do when they determine that their child is being bullied. Conversely, what should parents NOT do when they realize their child is being bullied?
Dr. Elliott: Parents should encourage their child to share their feelings. And it is ok to directly ask your child if they feel they are being bullied. It is important to listen and then validate your child’s feelings. Do not rationalize or minimize the bully’s behavior.


Bullying is a BIG Deal – Part 2

submitted by lawilcox

In the three short days since posting Part 1 of this series – I’ve received a lot of private feedback and a few public comments; there is no doubt that bullying is a major issue and concern for all for American families, but especially families raising children with special needs. Please feel encouraged to leave a comment or question below, chances are – someone else has the same question or is feeling the same emotions. Look for Part 3, the final post in this series, on Monday. Again, I’d like to extend my thanks to Dr. Lisa M. Elliott for sharing her knowledge and expertise here with us.
LAW: Are there certain populations of kids, (for instance our children living with Autism Spectrum Disorders), who may be more at risk of being targeted by bullies?
Dr. Elliott: Unfortunately there appears to be several populations of children that are more of a target for bullying than others. A broad overall way to answer that question is that any child who “appears different” than the bully is often a target.


Bullying is a BIG Deal – Part 1

submitted by lawilcox

In January, at the FEAT-NT Conference, I attended a fantastic workshop on the topic of bullying. As children and adolescents with any kind of disability are at greater risk of being bullied, I was very excited to learn more. Lisa M. Elliott, PhD, a Licensed Psychologist and Clinic Manager for Cook Children’s Medical Center in Denton, took the time to present at the conference and answer questions from the audience. Dr. Elliott also serves as an on-site practicum and post doctoral fellowship supervisor, as well as an adjunct professor for the University of North Texas. Dr. Elliott specializes in therapy, psychological and neuropsychological testing for children and adolescents. She graciously agreed to work with me to convert the information she shared with FEAT-NT conference attendees for a series of posts here on AutismSpot.
I hope you’ll enjoy learning more in this three-part series about how bullying has changed in recent years and what parents, teachers, therapists and doctors can and should do to protect our children from bullies.
LAW: Bullying is not only on the rise, but it is happening to kids at younger ages than ever before. Can you please share some information about how very common bullying is today?


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