A Personal Message from Karen Simmons

When I co-authored “Chicken Soup for the Soul, Children with Special Needs” with Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen and Heather McNamara, the biggest dilemma we faced was what to call the book ,as folks both did and did not want to be labeled in certain ways. It was reported to be the most challenging title the Chicken Soup people wrestled with to date. What we learned was that people on the autism spectrum and other spectrums for that matter, are people first before their condition!

Some of my favorite people are on the autism spectrum! My dad, my son, Stephen Shore, my sister (maybe) and even a bit of me! When my son was diagnosed in 1992 I embraced his autism and mostly tried to focus on his gifts, strengths and talents rather than the deficits he displayed at the time, after I got over the initial denial of it all. Of course I had the same challenges families face in those beginning years and could have chosen to have a negative attitude and chose instead to focus on the positives as much as I could. As part of his early intervention, before the days of behavioral interventions, I wasn’t about to wait around for science to prove to me whether certain methodologies were legit or not. I just wanted to find tools that would enable him to have the best life he could have.

Of course I used my own “mom” common sense compass, built into most moms, though I tried things to help my son that were not necessarily science based. They were “mom” based. My real question is who are we to “fix” people? All people are broken in some way, and to different degrees. ALL people have different ways of being though certainly no one is “better” than the next person. If we feel with our hearts and souls while helping people through tough times, in whatever way makes sense at the time, the world will be a better place!

Our time on the planet is all-together too short to waste on efforts that take an extraordinary amount of time to prove one way or the other. Often, by the time double blind studies are concluded, methodologies have changed. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a Polyanna, with an altruistic view, and I do believe in research with a true return on investment. I propose that we focus to create a better overall society that promotes everybody flourishing.

Autism is not a disease, an illness or a disorder, it’s a different order and people on the spectrum as well as other spectrums, are wonderful souls and deserve the best, most successful lives, whatever that might look like. Thanks for being you, John!

Karen Simmons
CEO, AUTISM TODAY

Autism and The Sandy Hook Elementary School Tragedy

There are no words to express the sorrow we at Autism Today feel for the families of Newton Connecticut. A loss on an unimaginable scale has taken place and we grieve along with everyone touched by this tragedy. It is essential that we understand how to help our children through this time and that we educate the community with solid information about autism as well.

It has been reported that the shooter at Sandy Hook Elementary School had autism. In the weeks and months to come there will be much more information about his condition, but today it has never been more important to understand that autism / Asperger’s is not a mental health condition. Autism is a neurological condition that now affects 1 in 88 of us. As a community, we can help other understand that and decrease the stigma of violence a lack of empathy that may be attached to autism through coverage of this terrible event. Please talk with your friends, family, and neighbors about autism and what it is and isn’t.

If you have a child with autism who has heard about the shooting, what should you do? I believe the best thing we can do for our children is assure them they are safe, allow them to ask questions, and remember that your child looks to you for answers and stability. Keep your answers simple and direct and allow them to lead the conversation without over stimulating them with too many facts at once. Limit their exposure to news events for a while to decrease anxiety. Many children, both with and without autism see news events as “happening now” even though the event is simply being replayed. Finally, take care of yourself. As a caregiver for an autistic child your ability to cope and provide positive guidance will ultimately depend on how well you take care of yourself and your own anxiety.

We wish you and your family the best during this very difficult time and we welcome you to call us if you need support or help in finding resources you can use.

Karen Simmons and the Autism Today Family

NEW Inclusive Programming – Uncover the Pitfalls, Challenges and Path to Success

Discover Everything You Need to Know About Inclusive Programming for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders! Uncover the Pitfalls, Challenges and Path to Success.

Inclusive Programming for Students with Autism & Asperger’s Workshop – 4 DVD Set!

 

Here’s a Brief Overview:

• Quality indicators
• Assessing the student, class, teacher
• Data collection, collaboration
• Positive behavior programs
• Motivational assessment
• Individual behavior plans
• Strategies for embedding social skills
• Social skills assessment & curricula
• Elementary, middle, high school!
• Strategies for modifying academics
• Strategies for transition issues
• Encountering and eliminating bullying
…and much more!

 

This special 4 DVD presentation presented by Sheila Wagner, M.Ed. will examine the process of behavior analysis for teachers that have students with autism spectrum in general education classes. This setting poses challenges that must be considered in light of this disability, zero tolerance and student needs. Too often, inconsistent behavior plans leave students and teachers confused as to why behaviors return. This lecture will identify the key components for analyzing the inappropriate behaviors and identify ways to improve student performance, increasing the likelihood for inclusion.


[PACKAGE INCLUDES]

DVD1: Quality Indicators for Inclusion Programs [39.95]
DVD2: Positive Behavior Programs for Inclusion Programs [39.95]
DVD3: Inclusion Strategies for Embedding Social Skills [39.95]
DVD4: Teaching Strategies for Inclusion Strategies [39.95]
PLUS Digital Handouts

Order Today and Get a Bonus
Temple Grandin 90 Minute [49.95] DVD Presentation!

Receive ALL 4 BRAND NEW Inclusive Programming DVDs plus the Bonus Temple Grandin DVD + Digital Handouts!

Regular $209.75

Limited Time Only $127

 

The Art of AUTISM

BE A PART OF THE ART!
The ART of AUTISM Tour takes on Hollywood on May 19th! Keri Bowers – Advocate, Speaker, Seminar Leader, and Filmmaker – will host The ART of AUTISM, at the Barnsdall Gallery Theatre to celebrate the talents of individuals on the autism spectrum. Music, dance, drama, monologues, art, film, and great fun. Performers include: Arrest My Sister, The Miracle Fly Kids, Autism Movement Therapy Dancers, Taylor Cross, Diane Isaacs, Susan Sheller, Nick Guzman, Dani Bowman, Kennedy Moore, Ballet for All Kids, and more.

HEARTS AND ARTS AWARDS will be presented to Janet Grillo for her work in advocacy and film (Fly Away and Autism the Musical); Naomi Heller (posthumously) for 30 years of dedication to children with Special Needs (Founder Intercare Therapy, Inc.) and Susan Baukus, behaviorist, for her dedication to children with special needs.
Debbie Hosseni will share her book, ARTISM: The ART of AUTISM, published by Autism Today, and a couple of guests will win free books and films at the event. Come see Trevor Aykin’s spray art LIVE, and artist Joel Anderson will be there to sign books as well!

Tickets are 20 bucks, visit www.itsmyseat.com to purchase.

This event will make you laugh and cry. BRING TISSUE!

www.normalfilms.com for more information

The ART of AUTISM; Hollywood is principally sponsored by Intercare Therapy, Inc. with co-sponsorship by Autism Today, Debbie Hosseini, and

PAUSE4kids.

It’s a Personal Question: Are You Behavioural or Biomedical? Or Both?

Dear friends,
Welcome to this special Autism Vancouver edition of the Autism Today newsletter.  In just two weeks, I will stand up at a podium at the magnificent Vancouver Convention Centre, on the harborfront of one of Canada’s most beautiful cities, and open our 3rd Biennial Behavioral and Biomedical Congress.  I am thrilled by how far we’ve come since our first Biennial Congress.  And imagine our speaker line-up: Temple Grandin’s mom, Eustacia Cutler; Sheila Wagner of Emory University, one of America’s top autism educators; Dr. Bill Shaw, CEO of Great Plains Laboratories, and one of the top advisors to health professionals on the biomedical aspects of ASDs; popular behavioral experts like Stephen Shore and Doreen Granpeesheh; and many others.

I won’t kid you – it’s not easy to combine the true believers from either the purely behavioral or purely biomedical schools of thought at a single event.  Some people feel deeply antagonized by the mere suggestion that both sides could have something to teach us.  Some speakers don’t like the format, some families and teachers don’t understand it.  And imagine trying to explain the significance of such a happening to the mainstream media!  But at Autism Today, we are deeply focused on empowering individuals – people with autism spectrum disorders and their families – on the most complex, personal journey they will face – the path of emergence (some even say, “recovery” and even, “cure”).

The argument over how to define a fulfilled, fully expressed life is as varied and endless as the human race.  Our job, as we see it at Autism Today, is to equip each person and his or her family with information about every legitimate tool they might use to find their own way.  There are not top-down answers in autism.  It’s not only grass roots; it’s deep in the soil.  Success depends in part on a willingness to get dirty!  And on some level, love that process.  Watch the HBO movie about Temple Grandin, or listen to painter Keri Bowers describe her work with her son Taylor Cross, literally spending hours, dipping him bodily into paints, and creating art, or listen to almost any narrative of successful intervention, and you learn – it’s a hands-on process.

Autism Vancouver is still two weeks away.  But it is not too early to give thanks to our champions who will make this such a special event.  None of this could happen without a dedicated staff and the support of our Autism Today friends and family.  We especially wish to thank Keri Bowers, founder of Normal Films, and director of Normal People Scare Me, Debbie Hosseini, author of our newest title, Artism: The Art of Autism – both tireless champions of the arts as a vehicle of emergence — Kelly Lebrock, who has donated her star power and agreed to act as honorary hostess of our Gala, and Diana Graling, of Helms-Briscoe, whose invaluable logistical counsel is helping us to run a tight ship in Vancouver.

For those unable to join us in Vancouver, I hope you won’t mind this special Congress edition of the Autism Today newsletter.  Please remember we will be broadcasting segments of the Congress via webcast every day of the Congress, April 7-9, and for those who wish to experience the complete program, we will make this available in DVD for purchase.

Soon, we will have the capacity in place to make all of our programming available by live webcast, so you can enjoy and benefit from it without the expense of travel, and in the company of family, students or colleagues.  Keep an eye on our newsletters for announcements about these enhancements to our program offerings.

Thank you again for your friendship and support.

Warm regards,
Karen?

“Different Son” by Susan Werner – A Song about a Boy with Autism

Dear friends,

I launched Autism Today as an online community in 1998. For families touched by autism, and facing so many challenges already, the Internet is more than a tool, it is a lifeline, connecting us with other families, expertise and resources, inspiration, and yes, good old entertainment.

Every week, something truly magical pops up on YouTube.  This week we received a video by Susan Werner, a deeply personal song about autism, entitled Different Son. It is from her album,  Kicking the Beehive, which will be released March 1st.

Her agent says he fears Different Son will not get radio play, because it deals with too serious a subject.  But with one in 110 children born with the disorder in the US, we feel this is, for all the right reasons, music for all ears.

At Autism Today, we have a special love for artists.  Something magical happens when a child on the spectrum is moved to create art.  Properly cultivated, art can be the key to unlock exceptional gifts.

This is why we created the Artism series; and will soon publish Artism: The Art of Autism; and celebrate Autism Vancouver with a wonderful arts carnival.

So, today, instead of my usual blog, I decided it would be enough to share a beautiful song, about something we all are passionate about. Sometimes a picture — or a song — is worth a thousand words.

Have a lovely week!
Love,
Karen

77 Ways to say “Good Job”

Everyone likes positive pats on the back, recognition and acknowledgement for a job well done.  It’s especially vital when raising a child with an autism spectrum disorder.  We should be mindful that sometimes, with our children with ASDs, the label we use can be the opposite of a back-pat.

When I founded Autism Today, I asked my sister Susan to create a logo that would be overwhelmingly positive.  I asked her to use a star, like the gold star we all loved to get from our teachers in school, instead of the puzzle piece.  Autism Today is about celebrating the gifts of our children on the spectrum, not focusing on what we all know and understand to be real challenges.  There’s no argument autism is real and, for those without the necessary resources, overwhelming.  But all of us, parents and children with ASDs, must focus on the unique and often amazing attributes – the positive side – of ASDs, first to cope, next to survive, and, finally, to thrive.  I raised my son Jonny to think of his autism-related skills as wonderful gifts.  When he was born, I could never have imagined how much fulfillment and fun Jonny would bring into our lives as a family.  Focusing on his ASD as a gift, rich with possibilities, was an important aspect of that journey.

I remember people challenging me that no one would know we were about autism since we didn’t use the puzzle piece like everyone else.  My thinking has always and will always be to accentuate the positives and eliminate the negatives.  That old Johnny Mercer tune was a great favorite of my beloved father, Jack Simmons, a World War II veteran, pilot and aerospace engineer.  Attitude got him and many hundreds of thousands of military folk through a terrible time in history.  It can be easy to be overwhelmed by the trials in our lives raising a child on the spectrum.  But inside that child is a treasure chest of possibility.  It is our duty, those of us who know and love these children, to find the gems within – and to do that, we must always, every day, focus on unlocking those gifts.  To do it, we must always accentuate the positive!

My dear friend, Stephen Shore and I were talking about how positives are so good for our kids with autism, especially when accompanied with a red skittle, and sometimes teachers can get carried away with saying “good job” to often so we came up with 77 ways to say good job without being redundant.  I thought I would share them with you all.  Its rather cute.  Enjoy and don’t forget to get the red skittles!

77 ways to say “GOOD JOB”

  1. SUPER
  2. That’s RIGHT
  3. That’s good
  4. GOOD WORK
  5. Perfect one
  6. You’ve just about got it
  7. THAT’S IT
  8. Now you’ve figured it out
  9. GREAT
  10. I knew you could do it
  11. Now you have it
  12. Good for you
  13. Couldn’t have done better myself
  14. That’s the right way to do it
  15. You did it that time
  16. You’re on the right track now
  17. Nice going
  18. WOW
  19. That’s the way
  20. Keep up the good work
  21. TERRIFIC
  22. That’s the way to do it
  23. SENSATIONAL
  24. EXCELLENT
  25. PERFECT
  26. Much better
  27. WONDERFUL
  28. You did that very well
  29. FINE
  30. OUTSTANDING
  31. FANTASTIC
  32. TREMENDOUS
  33. That’s great
  34. Right on
  35. Superb
  36. Good remembering
  37. MARVELLOUS
  38. I like that
  39. Way to go
  40. Good thinking
  41. Good going
  42. Very good
  43. You remembered your sound
  44. That’s really nice
  45. Uh huh
  46. That’s a good one
  47. Yes
  48. I liked that sound
  49. Good
  50. Nice
  51. You’re really working hard today
  52. You are very good at this
  53. I’m happy to see you working so hard
  54. I’m proud of the way you’ve worked today
  55. You are doing much better today
  56. That’s the best you have ever done
  57. You’re doing a good job
  58. That’s quite an improvement
  59. You’re getting better every day
  60. That’s the best ever
  61. You must have been practicing
  62. You’re really going to town
  63. ow that’s what I call a fine job
  64. You’re really improving
  65. You’re doing beautifully
  66. You’ve got that down pat
  67. You certainly did well today
  68. Keep it up
  69. You did a lot of work today
  70. I’m very proud of you
  71. Now you have the hang of it
  72. You’re doing fine
  73. You are really learning a lot
  74. You out did yourself today
  75. You figured that out fast
  76. That kind of work makes me happy
  77. That’s it

Canucks Autism Network

It was recently our pleasure to speak with Jodi Simkin, Executive Director of the Canucks Autism Network (CAN).  Canucks Autism Network’s mission is to provide year round, innovative, high quality sports, recreational, social and vocational programs for individuals and families living with autism, and to build awareness and capacity through community networks across British Columbia.  Jodi took on her job in 2008.

But what a track record!  In just 2 years, CAN has grown from a relatively small, locally-focused charity, primarily backed with Canucks resources, to a major force in the autism community in western Canada.  Since 2008, Jodi has overseen the planning and implementation of a variety of grassroots-driven programs and services that now span the entire province.  Exciting examples include Understanding Minds, a high school social network program, and Soup from the Soul, a pre-vocational/vocational training program for young adults.  Congratulations Jodi and everyone involved in the Canucks Autism Network.  We hope to find ways to collaborate with you.  For more information, visit: www.canucksautism.ca

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

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