What Led to the Birth of Chicken Soup

“Chicken Soup for the Soul, Children with Special Needs” is all about the relationships parents and caregivers have with special needs children. I first approached Mark Victor Hansen in 2001 to create this book, because by now, I had heard so many heartwarming, loving, emotional and “chicken-soup able” stories from many mothers and felt it would help raise awareness for everyone. Back then I created my own type of Chicken Soup book “The Autism Experience, Stories of Hope and Love”, which was a great success.

Before I had special needs children I didn’t have a clue what the special needs world was all about, now I see it everywhere. It’s kind of like having a brown car.  If you have a brown car you start seeing other brown cars, but probably not until you have your own.  At the time I suggested the book to Mark, I was met with reluctance by Marks publishing group but finally I convinced Mark Victor Hansen and their head office to publish this much needed book.  During the submission process we collected well over 5,000 stories, a first for Chicken Soup, and stories continue to roll in.  That speaks volumes about this book!  I know it will raise awareness, while helping others understand from the inside out what it might be like to live in the special needs world.

Being Your Own Best Advocate for those with Autism!

Recognizing the early signs of autism is not always a mystery, but learning about the right types of foods, therapies and interventions can sometimes be obscure and elusive. Helping facilitate the success of an autistic child can be challenging without the right tools. Planning for a child’s future, having resources at your fingertips and knowing what steps to take is my best advice to you. By being your own best advocate for those with autism, you can stay up to date on the latest biomedical and educational interventions. And, by keeping with current intervention methodologies and having the resources needed for recovery, you can help those you love achieve a better quality of life.

If you know someone you suspect has autism or you have a child you suspect has autism, I would  encourage you to seek early intervention. Intervention at the earliest diagnosis of autism has already helped thousands of children world-wide and continues to do so. Many have found presentations of renowned autism authorities to be very helpful.

For Children with Autism and Language Delays

There are proven, effective ways to help children learn the art of dialogue. Conversation takes place between two people. Children can and do learn to stay on topic while they converse with adults and peers when equipped with the right tools. Learning to respond appropriately and spontaneously to questions first and then learning to initiate questions has been very effective. Simple, easy-to-understand methods have been proven to be most successful. Keeping subjects fresh and interesting helps children stay on task with learning the art of conversation. You never know when a child will want to start the initiative of learning the art of conversation, which it’s why it’s important to always be prepared.

Read more about EASY WAYS to teach language, concepts and comprehension.

Teaching Children with Autism, Aspergers, PDD-NOS

Teaching children who have autism, aspergers, PDD-NOS, and speech & language delays can be a challenge, to say the least. What seems like common knowledge to most, is baffling to others. Pictures with questions and answers have proven to be powerful tools for teaching children this so called common knowledge.

Where, why, when, what, which can be so frustrating for parents and caregivers, one would almost want to ask “why me” to themselves! Frustration is not going to help children learn this valuable knowledge. I have been amazed hearing what parents are saying as their child begins to answer questions by themselves about all the things we do at home all the time.

Click for Details:

Autism Teaching Tools

The Birth of the Official Autism 101 Manual

Navigating through the hospital, education and community relationships was difficult to say the least.  I learned to always ask questions.  Access to school systems and understanding the process, as a mother of a child with autism and five other children was challenging.  I found it very difficult to understand autism, let alone discover all the options available to parents to help them along the path.  I would try new and innovative tools, though the doctors warned me that the studies weren’t complete yet and I was taking a my chances.  I figured that Jonny would be grown by the time the studies were finished, so I tried them anyway.

One such intervention was the DAVID machine, which is piece of equipment that has light and tones and changes your brainwaves.  During the 6 week period we monitored his use, his eye contact improved, he became more social, less echolaliac and his communication improved.  I then began to think of a way other parents and professionals could access similar information, offering a wide variety of choices so they could make more informed decisions about the treatment for their children.  I didn’t leave any rock unturned.  This led to the development of “The Official Autism 101 Manual” with 44 top experts, caregivers and parents which won the Independent Publishers Book Gold Medal in New York this month!

The Ultimate Resource – The Official Autism 101 Manual

Beginning ‘Little Rainman’

During these days I sought information to help his teachers relate to him better by understanding him. Just like with Mrs. Spaulding example, I had to explain over and over again what Jonny’s unique gifts and challenges were all about. I looked for some sort of book I could just pass on to everyone, but there wasn’t any, so I decided to write my own. This eventually became Little Rainman, autism through the eyes of a child, which bridged relationships between Jonny, his teachers, and his siblings and eventually, helped him understand himself. Some of his idiosyncrasies in the book include spinning in circles, repeating the same thing over and over, watching and memorizing movies repeatedly, and his lack of fear.
Told in the first person from Jonny’s perspective, it starts out, “My name is Jonathan. I have autism (aw-tis-um). My nose looks the same as other people’s and my ears and eyes do too. Except that I can see and hear a lot better than most people. My brain thinks different. Some things I do better, like reading and copying; other things I do worse, like making friends.”
This was the rhyme and rhythm of Jonny’s thinking in those days. I sent it off to one publisher and 6 months later it was published as one of the first real looks into the truth about autism. The truth I came to share with you today.

“Little Rainman” – The full review

Announcing the “Hope, Healing & Possibilities” Conference in Edmonton, AB

The conference features some of the world’s foremost autism experts speaking on a wide range of topics featuring the latest research on the treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorders. This conference is an excellent opportunity for those seeking evidence to support the use of various biomedical treatment options. It will provide a comprehensive overview of latest biomedical breakthroughs and research in the treatment for Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Discussions will include the role of nutritional deficiencies and supplements, special dietary interventions, food allergies, heavy metal toxins, enzyme deficiencies, inborn errors of metabolism, immune deficiencies, the role of microorganisms in the gastrointestinal tract, and much more. The goal at this conference is to provide an opportunity for those with autism spectrum disorders to reach their fullest potential. This will be one of the most comprehensive autism conferences in 2010. Details are at http://bit.ly/4N7Pb9

Relationships are Everything! (Continued)

….“Oh”, he replied and apologized to her. I then explained to Mrs. Spaulding that Jonny had autism and sometimes he understood things quite differently than you or I and this is true whether Jonny is listening to someone read to him or when he’s actually reading something because he tends to look through or around the words or the words look distorted when he reads. He didn’t mean to hurt her; he was just not used to sitting. It was like a light bulb went off in her head and she said, “oh, you’re right, I had taught a child with autism once before. I forgot that it could look differently and I wasn’t even thinking that could be the issue here. Thank you for reminding me”
I tell you this story because I think it demonstrates how through clear and concise communication, relationships are built. Yet it’s virtually impossible to run around and explain Jonny to everyone in the hopes they will understand. But by sharing with all of you about the importance of understanding and communicating about autism, you can help me to get the message out. This is also the reason I wrote my first book, Little Rainman, to help people see autism through the eyes of a child.


Did You Ever Wonder?

Have you ever wondered what the non-verbal person with autism is thinking or have you ever been too afraid to talk to the person in the wheelchair because you don’t know what to say? Well I have! But Mr. “blunt” Jonny doesn’t hold any punches. When I signed Jonny up for football when he was in Jr. High School, his coach was in a wheelchair from a truck roll-over. When Jonny finally met the coach face to face the first thing out of his mouth was “Hey what happened to you? Did you fall and slip in the bathtub or something? The Coach Dave nearly fell out of his wheelchair because no one had ever dared to even mention his condition. We laughed. We should all learn to adopt some of Jonny’s clarity, honesty and wisdom in our approach to special needs people.

And I keep learning more every day. There is no instruction manual for being a special-needs mom. Truly, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

Jonny’s Beginning

My relationship with my sister in law wasn’t great at first. She was the first to suggest that Jonny may have autism at the age of 2½. I didn’t think there was anything wrong with him, even though looking back; he didn’t interact with the 3 older kids. He was content to stare at the fan, being a quiet “good baby”, or so I thought. I thought she was just comparing him to her same aged daughter, Julia. You know – the ‘my kids better than yours’ game. How naïve I was! But, being a good and responsible mother, I reluctantly took him to the doctor, while he kicked and screamed all the way, to have him checked out. Surprisingly, he said Jonny had autism and to bring him back in a year. Thank God, Anna convinced me to get a second opinion. I would have had to wait that year and miss out on the most important early intervention year of his life. Talk about swallowing a little pride. I made up for my attitude though and began the diligent quest for information, attending as many conferences as I possibly could and became a sponge, soaking up everything I could, which ultimately was the foundation for Autism Today. If he turned out to have autism, which I still doubted, it would put him ahead of the game.

Contact Info

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