Autism in a New Light

“Autism in a New Light”, by Susan Simmons

I had the fortunate experience of “realizing” an autism episode yesterday just like the ones I’ve been reading about in my educational studies, books, and blogs. It was really quite interesting, as the child’s actions were literally replicated to the ones the experts write about. I knew from the onset of this memorable episode that it was indeed autism.

I was with my cousin and her family in their favorite candy store in Boulder CO, when suddenly a little boy started to profusely scream, thrash, and carry on like there was no tomorrow!

His temper tantrum found him in a position not standing, but pseudo-emotionally stirred like a dancing frantic starfish, barely balancing himself upright with the help of his mother and her friend. It seemed he may have wanted something, but was not allowed to have it or maybe didn’t want something – that part is unclear to me. Or, the candy store just may have been too much stimulation for him.

It may have been the stimulation of too many colors, smells and choices of candy, florescent lights, or the ambient rumble of the crowds. Nevertheless, he was clearly and deliberately unhappy and disturbed. The boy’s mother and friend attempted to escort him out of the store, but his body had taken charge of his relentless insistence.

With belabored effort, they managed to manipulate his thrashing body near the front of the store, but he somehow managed to adhere himself to a fixture just inside the front door like a monkey might have adhered to a tree if his very existence had been threatened. He had literally wrapped his arms and legs around the giant gumball machine that guarded the entrance from any hasty candy resisters.

The shrill shriek of his voice may have shattered the giant ball containing the multi-chromatic balls of gum, had it been made of glass. “I wish I had a picture of this” his mother commented, with a carefree chuckle as they delaminated him from the colorful globe of desire. Mom and friend slowly, but deliberately peeled him off the gumball machine with all their strength and finally managed to maneuver him over to the bench just outside the store. The boy thrashed and screamed for quite some time in his own private frenzy, resisting any attempt to diffuse his tantrum.

The experience was not only educational, but also very moving and emotional for me. I had read about such episodes in Little Rainman, and other books, but I took the experience just a step further. I calmly and lovingly went over to the bench where the family was sitting just outside the candy store with their screaming, thrashing child, and greeted them with a friendly smile as I sat on the bench with them. “I know all about it” and “It’s all okay”.

All the while, between the lines, but written in my eyes, I was saying, “I know what autism is, I understand what you are going through. I understand it, I am not one of those people ‘judging’ you as ‘bad parents’. I know, by our brief  but deep glimpse of each other, your boy is a loving and beautiful child. Your child is accepted in my life and some day I hope to touch your child’s life, directly or indirectly, in a positive way through intervention. I know your parenting is not only adequate, but beyond measure. I advocate for your child and revere your patience, love and understanding.” Never once using the word ‘autism’ or implying that their boy had the affliction, I assured them that it would all be okay, and he world will eventually catch up.

Autism is more prevalent in our society than many of us even realize. It is a growing concern that requires immediate attention, with an open mind and compassionate disposition. One in 110 are currently diagnosed with autism today, previously compared to approximately 1 in 11,000 in 1975.

The reason I share this memorable experience, is to share with others what autism is like and to hopefully foster a sense of acceptance of autism among those who do not live with autism. My hope is to encourage a sense of urgency as well as compassion among our society to learn all we can about autism, inspire advocacy and acceptance, and help make the world a better place, among those with and those who live with autism.

© Susan Simmons, Autism Today, Conference Liaison

Girls with Asperger’s

Are there behaviors that are seen in girls with Aspergers, but not in boys, that we haven’t yet identified as part of the profile… or certain gender-related behavior that might fool us into ruling out the diagnosis? What about the “pretend play” that has been observed in many young girls at our center, which on the surface appears to be quite creative and imaginative?

There seem to be many girls (on the spectrum) who are enamored with princesses, fantasy kingdoms, unicorns, and animals­­. How many diagnosticians observe these interests and skills as imagination, and rule out a diagnosis based on these behaviors? Might this interest in imaginary kingdoms and talking animals be more common among girls than boys, yet still exist alongside other autistic/AS traits?

And what about one typical response to confusion or frustration­­–hitting or other such outward expressions of frustration? Does this type of acting out occur more often in boys with autism than in girls? Is confusion or frustration simply easier to identify in boys than girls because we already look for it?

Among the general population, it is commonly thought that boys do “act out” more than girls. (You sometimes hear teachers complain there are too many boys in his or her class, and its impact on the class’ personality!) Is it easier to identify boys as having autism because these behaviors are more obvious, than girls who may experience inward or passive signs of aggression?

Professionals whose task it is to diagnose individuals with autism or Asperger’s need to learn more about the full range of qualities and personality differences unique to girls and women on the spectrum.

And what about the girls’ and women’s route to self-understanding? Indeed, several women I have worked with who have Aspergers have talked about the unique challenges they experience because they constitute a “minority” within this special group of society.

I believe that in order to gain self understanding, each person with – or without – autism needs to see his or her own reflection in the world. I call this ‘seeing one’s place.’ For people with autism or AS, who already are challenged in this area, it becomes imperative that they meet, listen to, talk with, read about, and learn from others with autism. What happens as a result of this coming together is that they are able to see their ‘reflection’ and better understand their own unique styles of thinking and being. Women with autism, although benefiting greatly from getting to know other people with autism, often find that they might be the only woman (or one of a very few women) in the group.

Read more…

Learn more about Asperger’s Syndrome at “Making Friends & Managing Feelings” with Dr. Tony Attwood July 12th in Edmonton or July 14th in Toronto

EARLY BIRD RATE NOW EXTENDED for
“Making Friends & Managing Feelings” with Dr. Tony Attwood

REGISTER TODAY!

EDMONTON JULY 12TH

TORONTO JULY 14TH

Dr. Tony Attwood, Leading Expert on Asperger’s and Autism Spectrum Disorders

On behalf of the organizing committee of the 2010 Workshop “Making Friends & Managing Feelings”, I would like to extend an invitation to you to join us at this exciting full day event. The workshop will be taking place in Edmonton, Alberta on July 12th 2010 at the Oasis Edmonton Conference Centre.
We are proud to welcome world renowned Dr. Tony Attwood, a leading expert on Asperger’s Syndrome and Autism Spectrum Disorders. He will focus on providing practical strategies for working with children and adults on the autism spectrum in the areas of social difficulties, emotional regulation, love, bullying, relationships, and much more.
The main focus of the conference is “How to Make Friends & Manage Feelings for those with Autism Spectrum Disorders”, which includes a social curriculum as well as information on how to implement cognitive behavioural therapy. With a spotlight on adolescence, Dr. Tony Attwood will provide numerous ideas and activities to assist individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) as they traverse the complicated path from childhood to adulthood. He will provide tools to handle challenging behaviours, prevent temper outbursts, and increase social skills for all children and students.
This workshop will provide great advice and strategies to assist parents, family members, caregivers, physicians, educators, therapists, social workers, nurses, and other professionals in assisting children and adolescents in overcoming challenges, improving social understanding and relationships. This event will be very beneficial for parents and loved ones because not only will they get an incredible amount of information, they will be inspired. One of our main goals of this workshop is to give people hope and teach methods and strategies to enrich and enhance the lives of those with ASD as well as families, educators and professionals.

Rare opportunity! Appearing in Edmonton July 12th AND Toronto July 14th 2010!

On behalf of the organizing committee of the 2010 Workshop “Making Friends & Managing Feelings”, I would like to extend an invitation to you to join us at this exciting full day event!

The workshops will be taking place in Edmonton, Alberta on July 12th 2010 at the Oasis Edmonton Conference Centre

AND the Isabel Bader Theatre Toronto, Ontario July 14th 2010

We are proud to welcome world renowned Dr. Tony Attwood, a leading expert on Asperger’s Syndrome and Autism Spectrum Disorders. He will focus on providing practical strategies for working with children and adults on the autism spectrum in the areas of social difficulties, emotional regulation, love, bullying, relationships, and much more.

The main focus of the conference is “How to Make Friends & Manage Feelings for those with Autism Spectrum Disorders”, which includes a social curriculum as well as information on how to implement cognitive behavioural therapy. With a spotlight on adolescence, Dr. Tony Attwood will provide numerous ideas and activities to assist individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) as they traverse the complicated path from childhood to adulthood. He will provide tools to handle challenging behaviours, prevent temper outbursts, and increase social skills for all children and students.

This workshop will provide great advice and strategies to assist parents, family members, caregivers, physicians, educators, therapists, social workers, nurses, and other professionals in assisting children and adolescents in overcoming challenges, improving social understanding and relationships. This event will be very beneficial for parents and loved ones because not only will they get an incredible amount of information, they will be inspired. One of our main goals of this workshop is to give people hope and teach methods and strategies to enrich and enhance the lives of those with ASD as well as families, educators and professionals.

Visit www.AutismEdmonton.com and www.AutismToronto.com

Dr. Tony Attwood on Asperger’s Syndrome

Whether you’re a curious parent or a seasoned professional, Dr Tony Attwood‘s personable approach to the Asperger’s way of thinking is very enlightening when he gives workshops. He describes numerous intriguing case examples and offers practical strategies that work for people with Asperger’s. Tony provides a diagnostic description of a person with Asperger’s. He offers a social curriculum that includes countless ideas and activities with a focus on emotion management.

Tony gives teachers great advice on how to effectively manage a classroom that includes students with Asperger’s. He offers tips for success and social/behavioral warning signs to watch for. He also shares helpful strategies for teaching adolescents with Asperger’s. Since social skills are so imperative at this age, this tends to be a particularly challenging age for students and, consequently, for teachers. You will learn how to curb anger and take preventative steps to avoid conflicts. Create a positive learning environment where ALL students thrive!

Dr. Tony Attwood also teaches how to implement cognitive behaviour therapy. This therapy helps people effectively work through their emotions by developing their ability to interpret the causes and effects of their own actions and reactions. Dr. Attwood offers important advice on: assessing emotional needs; avoiding and correcting misinterpretation of emotion; building self-esteem and improving self-awareness; managing anxiety, depression, and anger; and defining physical and social tools.

Tony Attwood explores in depth the complexity of the mysterious group of clinical pictures known collectively as Asperger’s syndrome, part of the wider autistic spectrum. He describes all the puzzling and fascinating aspects of these conditions and brings them vividly to life with illustrations from personal histories. He emphasises the fact that the individuals concerned have special skills as well as disabilities. Most important of all, he makes imaginative but always practical suggestions for helping people with the syndrome, their families and others who are involved. The author has achieved real empathic understanding of children and adults whose basic problem is a biologically based lack of empathy with others. The book is to be highly recommended for those with Asperger’s syndrome as well as for families, other carers and professionals in the field.

Tony Attwood, World-Renowned Asperger’s & Autism Expert

tony-attwoodWe are proud to welcome world renowned Dr. Tony Attwood, a leading expert on Asperger’s Syndrome and Autism Spectrum Disorders. He will focus on providing practical strategies for working with children and adults on the autism spectrum in the areas of social difficulties, emotional regulation, love, bullying, relationships, and much more.

Tony Attwood explores in depth the complexity of the mysterious group of clinical pictures known collectively as Asperger’s syndrome, part of the wider autistic spectrum. He describes all the puzzling and fascinating aspects of these conditions and brings them vividly to life with illustrations from personal histories.

He emphasises the fact that the individuals concerned have special skills as well as disabilities. Most important of all, he makes imaginative but always practical suggestions for helping people with the syndrome, their families and others who are involved. The author has achieved real empathic understanding of children and adults whose basic problem is a biologically based lack of empathy with others. The book is to be highly recommended for those with Asperger’s syndrome as well as for families, other carers and professionals in the field.

July 12th, 2010 – Edmonton, Alberta Early-bird Pricing Details

Group discount rates are also available for 5 or more – please call 1-780-416-4448 or Toll-free 1-866-928-8476 (866-9AUTISM)

About Dr. Tony Attwood:

I first became interested in what we now call Autism Spectrum Disorders in 1971 when I worked as a volunteer during a summer vacation at a local special school and met two young children with autism. I found their unusual behaviour quite bewildering and became determined to specialize in this area in order to understand and help children and adults with autism.

Over the intervening years I have been able to gain experience of the full range of the spectrum, from babies to the elderly and from those whose abilities and behaviour are profoundly affected to renowned university professors. I have also been able to observe the long term development of children and adults and experience working as a clinician in the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia, and now regularly visit North America.

My interest in Asperger’s Syndrome occurred by following the same path as Lorna Wing, namely noticing children who had the classic profile of the silent and aloof child in their pre-school years, subsequently developing fluent speech and intellectual abilities in the normal range. Yet these children still had an unusual profile of social reasoning and linguistic skills and an unusually intense interest in a specific topic.

Their profile of abilities was not adequately described by the criteria for autism as described by Leo Kanner but was consistent with the profile described by Hans Asperger. The original assumption was that such children were rare but the benefits of modern intensive early intervention programs means that this is the prognosis for a greater number of children who had classic autistic features when they were very young. An unexpected finding was that once we started to explore this section of the autistic spectrum it soon became apparent that the majority of children with Asperger’s Syndrome did not have a prior diagnosis of autism.

The characteristic profile of abilities and behaviour was not apparent until the child attended school and in this new social context and with age peers, the signs were conspicuous. Teachers and professionals also became more aware of the distinct profile that identifies the syndrome.

I started a diagnostic and treatment clinic for children and adults with Asperger’s Syndrome with Dr Brian Ross, Child Psychiatrist, in Brisbane in 1992. This clinic functions two days a week, the other days I support children and adults by visiting them at school and home. I also spend considerable time traveling to present workshops and papers at national and international conferences, and supervise post-graduate clinical students for clinical experience and research in the area of developmental disorders.

Dr. Tony Attwood is coming to Canada this summer!

Click here to find out more about his visit to Edmonton on July 12th 2010!

Click here to find out more about his visit to Toronto on July 24th 2010.

“Autism Tomorrow” Features Dr. Temple Grandin

Temple Grandin Featured In Autism Tomorrow Book Give Away Program

Dr. Temple Grandin, the world’s most famous woman with autism, is one of 16 authors participating in a large book give away program with the new book, Autism Tomorrow: The Complete Guide To Help Your Child Thrive In The Real World at http://www.AutismTomorrow.com

Autism Today and The Center For AAC & Autism have partnered to give away the first printing of this book, written as a roadmap to the future, helping every family, teacher, caretaker, or business person who has or knows of a child with autism, help make the transition between childhood and adulthood. 

The Centers For Disease Control (CDC) says that 1 in 110 children are diagnosed with autism, and since the mid-1980’s the numbers have increased to near epidemic proportions. Thousands of families now have a child with autism and don’t have a comprehensive manual to help their child make the transition to adulthood. Autism Tomorrow is the first complete book resource to fill that gap.

The book answers critical questions like, ‘will my child be able to work, how will my child live, how do I handle puberty and sexuality, and what are the tips I need for employment and employers? Readers discover how to plan for a financially sound future, deal with bullying, solve health, visual perception and fitness issues, help their children improve communication, social skills, communication and many more real-world concerns.

Sixteen best selling authors are featured in the book, including Temple Grandin, Karen Simmons, Bill Davis, Stephen Shore, Julie Matthews, Pat Wyman and more. Senator Mike Brubaker, member of the Autism Caucus and Children’s Health Caucus says, “Autism Tomorrow is a book that I guarantee will grab you in the first few minutes, then inform, educate and move you to a new level of understanding autism that I did not think possible…”

Autism Tomorrow is Here Today!

At Long Last!

Autism Tomorrow is Finally Here!

At long last, Autism Tomorrow: The Complete Guide To Help Your Child Thrive In The Real World book is
finally here!

We’ve been working on it for two years and every time we thought we were finished, we found exciting new material we just HAD to include.

Though April is Autism Awareness Month, we thought our children’s future deserved an entire month by itself so we’re dedicating May to Autism Tomorrow.

We know that Autism Tomorrow is a book you need today, as you design your child’s future, so we’ve created the AutismTomorrow.com blog with new content every day, and updated author information so you can comment and add your questions for any author.

You will learn about estate planning, independent living, nutrition, fitness, employment, safety, sexuality, puberty, dating, bullying, reading, social skills, communication and more…

You can find out more about Autism Tomorrow at www.AutismTomorrow.com

P.S. Be sure to go vote May as Autism Tomorrow month and sign the petition

Brighter Futures for Children with Autism

In an ideal world, children go to school, learn, grow up and become educated and independent adults. Parents do not worry about whether their children are normal or not. They do not have children with a disability, but other parents might. It is a rude awakening to suspect your child may have a disability. Some disabilities are quite apparent and visible from the very beginning, while others are hidden and sneak up like a thief in the night. Parents must face the possibility of disabilities, and be armed with knowledge of assessment if suspect of it arises. With timely and proper intervention, a child has a greater chance of success in the real world. Many sources provide valued information for helping children and parents get on the right path, for the promise of a brighter future!

Tests and Measurements for the Parent, Teacher, Advocate and Attorney, (Wright & Darr Wright 2007), describes in significant detail case studies regarding the importance of proper testing for learning disabled children. It provides valuable information for parental concerns for children with disabilities. Testing and measuring for teachers, parents, advocates and the legal system are some main topics on this subject. Rights and testing results determine eligibility and intensity of education needed for learning disabled children. Sometimes the parents involved the legal system in if they do not feel like they are getting fair treatment for their child, but many are approaching legal action without supportive evidence or enough knowledge about interpreting test scores to back up their argument. Urgency often sets a parent in motion to blame the shortfalls in the educational program when their child fails to make adequate academic progress.

The Use of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for Children with Autism

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) has shown promising results in the treatment of autism.  HBOT involves the breathing of pure oxygen in a hyperbaric chamber – pressurized above one atmosphere absolute (ATA).

Originally utilized to treat a life-threatening condition known as the ‘bends’, in divers, its therapeutic use has expanded to include carbon monoxide poisoning, gangrene, osteomyelitis, and, more recently, autism.
HBOT enhances blood flow to the brain, reduces inflammation and oxidative stress, and mobilizes stem cells from the bone marrow.  Deficits in all of these have been implicated in the development of autism.
A typical treatment for autism consists of breathing pure oxygen for sixty minutes at 1.3 to 1.5 ATA, which corresponds to a depth of ten to seventeen feet of seawater (FSW).
A substantial majority of patients experience benefits with HBOT.   These include improvements in language, eye contact, socialization, appetite and digestion.  It can also reduce the intestinal inflammation associated with bacteria, fungus and parasites.
Current research and case studies will be presented.

Read More About Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

Contact Info

Toll Free: 1-866-9AUTISM (928-8476)

New York Office: 244 5th Avenue New York, NY 10001 Fax: 1-780-416-4330,

Canadian Office: 11007 Jaspar Ave Edmonton, Alberta T5K 0K6

Copyright 2017 © All Rights Reserved

1 in
45

Diagnosed with Autism

Over
100

Autism Diagnosis a Day

Costs
238

Billion per Year

Boys are
4

Times More at Risk