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Stay tuned for the New Year!

submitted by kidspeak

KidSpeak is taking a break from blogging to spend the holidays with our families, to wrap up the rest of the year and prepare for the spring semester! We will be back in mid-January with lots of new ideas and specific ways to work on social communication with your child.

Guest Blog – Professional Acting with Asperger’s Syndrome: Part 3

submitted by lawilcox

If you missed Part 1 and Part 2 of this guest blog series by Jennifer Dodson about her son, "M," (a handsome and smart little boy with Asperger’s Syndrome) who pursuing a professional acting career, I encourage you to click over and take a look.
Professional Acting with Asperger’s Syndrome: Part 3
By Jennifer Dodson
I often share M’s diagnosis and personality quirks with members of the Production Crew and fellow cast members. I do this AFTER he has booked a job and only when it seems appropriate or necessary to do so. He is different and there are better ways to speak to M than others. For example, when a Director understands that M is very literal and there is mostly black and white and not a lot of grey in his interpretations, they can direct him better. It seems that most adults like to give weighted options to children. For example, if you say, “M if you would like to try it this way…” M will most likely tell you “no.” After all, you did just give him the option to decide if he wanted to do it that way!

Interview – Dr. Julie Buckley – Part 2

submitted by lawilcox

As I mentioned in Part 1 of my interview with Dr. Julie Buckley last week, I met Dr. Julie Buckley at the National Autism Association annual conference in the fall of 2010, but I was already familiar with her work. Her book, Healing Our Autistic Children, is one of my favorite books for parents raising children with ASD. In the book, Dr. Buckley shares very personal experiences (as a mother and Pediatrician) about how and why autism is a treatable medical disease. Also, the two times I’ve heard Dr. Buckley speak at NAA, I was greatly impacted. See my post about Caring for the Caregiver HERE inspired by Dr. Buckley’s presentations at NAA the past two years.
LAW: Please share a little about “The Big 3”: Inflammation, Oxidative Stress and Toxicity.
JB: When I teach families about the big three – toxicity, oxidative stress, and the chronic inflammatory response, I use the Venn Diagram approach that Sid Baker, MD and Liz Mumper, MD taught me. We know that autism, classically defined, is at the center of the intersecting circles, where behavior abnormalities, communication problems and social skills challenges intersect. But we also know that physically, autism lies at the intersection of three big problems – gut disease, immune dysregulation and methylation chemistry disturbances. It is these physical problems that give rise to the behavior/communication/social skills problems Leo Kanner observed. And even more fundamentally, it is the “Big 3” – toxicity, oxidative stress, and the chronic inflammatory response – that allow the physical things (the gut disease, the immune dysregulation, the methylation chemistry disruption) to get started, and then those physical things give rise to the behavior/social skills communication problems…it starts to feel a little bit like that old childhood song “I know an old lady who swallowed a fly…”

Interview – Dr. Julie Buckley – Part 1

submitted by lawilcox

Last fall I met Dr. Julie Buckley at the National Autism Association annual conference, but I was already familiar with her work. Her book, Healing Our Autistic Children: A Medical Plan for Restoring Your Child's Health, is one of my favorite books for parents who work tirelessly to navigate the challenging waters of raising children with ASD. In her book, Dr. Buckley shares very personal experiences (as a mother and Pediatrician) about how and why autism is a treatable medical disease. It is well-written, easy to read and filled with tremendous information which helped equip me to be a better mother and caregiver to Ethan. Also, the two times I’ve heard Dr. Buckley speak at NAA, I was greatly impacted. See my most recent post about Caring for the Caregiver HERE. I hope you’ll enjoy Part 1 of our interview series. Let us know what you think!
LAW: Dr. Buckley, Please tell us a little about yourself and your personal and professional “interests” in Autism Spectrum Disorders.
JB: My professional interest in Autism developed as a direct result of my personal interest in Autism. My personal interest in Autism developed involuntarily and very abruptly when my daughter regressed profoundly at the age of four.

CBS - Apps for Autism: Communicating on the iPad

submitted by lawilcox

For over a week I've been meaning to share the link to the 60 Minutes segment that recently ran on CBS about communication utilizing iPads with children who live with Autism...but I've been distracted and sidetracked numerous times. However, since I'm a firm believer in late being better than never, here it is - I hope you enjoy it! You can watch the segment HERE or read the transcript HERE.
Additionally, I encourage you to check out this interview from February with Michelle Beck of Pumpkin Littles about the iPad Communication Therapy she and other therapists are using with children in their educational and therapy center in North Dallas. When I interviewed Michelle earlier this year and asked about including preverbal kids in social skills classes/groups, she had this to say, "While they may not speak or may have difficulty communicating, they have a lot to share and they want to be social. The Apple iPad, special software, pioneering therapists and this amazing class now gives those children a voice.

Guest Blog: Exploring Autism Programming Options in the School Setting

submitted by lawilcox

This guest post comes from a colleague who is a blast from my past! Adina Rich and I worked together in an Elementary School well over a decade ago, just as I was starting out in education, actually. While we lost touch for quite some time, we crossed paths again recently thanks to our shared interest in helping children with special needs. Adina is now the mother of three and is the Chief Education Officer at Rich Educational Consulting. I think you’re going to enjoy this post about school program options from Adina. And, I encourage you to watch for upcoming guest blog pieces from her as well; she is our newest Guest Blogger! After reading, I encourage you to leave a comment below or reach out to us on Facebook or Twitter with your thoughts. Thank you for helping me welcome Adina!
By Adina Rich
My child is not like yours. There are probably similarities. My child has brown hair, hazel eyes, a wide toothed grin. However, there are probably differences as well. My child wears glasses, SMO leg braces, and was non-verbal until he was 4 ½. He does not always know how to ask to play with other children and does not always get social cues. But he has a wicked sense of humor and a heart so pure he will melt away anyone’s misgivings.

Open Communication

submitted by kidspeak

The new school year has begun and our kids are getting back into the swing of things in their new classrooms. This might mean smooth sailing to some and to others, there may be more challenges to face. As soon as our kids step foot out of the car during carpool, or as soon as they step foot onto that bus or let go of our hand each school day, the worries and concerns tend to build.

Dad's Panel - An Invitation To Hang

submitted by lawilcox

AutismSpot's own Kent Potter invites men in the Dallas-Fort Worth area to attend a special meeting tomorrow night (Sept. 6, 2011) at 7pm, which will be hosted by the National Autism Association of North Texas. For more details about the location, time and how to RSVP, click HERE or see below.
An Invitation From Kent:
As fathers we play a critical role in the development of our special children. As fathers, husbands, employees, friends, mentors, coaches and sons, we wear many different hats. When we face the autism journey alone it can often be confusing, frustrating, and disheartening to not have others around us who know exactly what we are going through. In addition, we sometimes are not interested in holding hands and trying to provide therapy for one another. The way we approach life as men is often very different than how our wives, sisters, and daughters tackle the challenges that rise up.

Simple Blessings

submitted by lawilcox

Amidst the recent earthquake, hurricane/tropical storm, and tornadoes in the USA, and after losing a family friend (see post HERE), I find myself very thankful for “simple” blessings, especially those concerning my son. While I was away to attend services for my friend’s mother, to show my support for her and her family and visit with my family in the same town, Ethan did beautifully with the unexpected changes to his routines, during the first week of school, no less! Thank God! Also, when I returned after being away for four days, Ethan was super sweet and happy to have me home. We spent time reading together in the afternoon and after lights out last night, I stayed to cuddle with him. As we were visiting in the dark, Ethan shared some worries and concerns he has about losing me (and other loved ones)…on the heels of my trip, I’m not surprised that this fear is weighing on his heart and mind. However, I’m wholeheartedly thankful that Ethan is able and willing to communicate these concerns to me.

understanding autism and its many forms.

submitted by redxfantasy

One thing I have noticed about people with forms of autism, like me, is that we have our own langauge. Sure, we understand english perfectly well but for us, we do things in a different way. Our brains are wired in a way that makes us communicate differently than those without autism. At times, when those with mild forms of autism, say Asperger Syndrome, speak, its like not many people can understand what we are trying to say. Other times we have a way to communicate verbally but it comes as a challenge to us because we aren't like those without autism.

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