Autism Conference “Keys to the Treasure Chest”

November 22 at 8:00am – November 23 at 5:30pm

MacEwan Hall – 402 Collegiate Blvd NW Calgary, Alberta

Dr. Temple Grandin, Dr. Stephen Shore, Dr. Doreen Granpeesheh, and Karen Simmons. Two-Day Workshop focusing on “Strategies for Behavioral Management for Autism Spectrum Disorders”.

Strategies for professionals, family and caregivers for overcoming challenges, behavior, and relationships. Inspiring and informational, this event brings a new level of hope and understanding.

http://www.autismcalgary.org/index.html

Gut Health and Autism Spectrum Disorders

We are learning about the importance of healthy digestion, elimination and nutrient absorption for those on the autism spectrum. While many people, not just those with autism, have problems within their bowels, these disorders can be especially problematic for those with autism.

Many of us may have bowel problems and not even suspect it. Advertisers are appearing every which way now (even from the pharmaceutical companies!) on TV and the radio the importance of probiotics. Donna Gates and Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride talk about how we, as a society, eat so many processed foods, we may not have enough beneficial bacteria in our systems.

Experts in the biomedical field discuss these issues quite extensively on an ongoing basis. There are tests available today to find out if you or someone you know may have bowel disorders. Check with your doctor if you suspect you may have problems. Then, get on the right track to bowel health!

When I was down in Alabama visiting my mother, I asked my mother’s pharmacist if he recommended probiotics. He answered yes, and said he takes them religiously!

When I think of the old phrase “you are what you eat” and consider that I am a living being, I choose to put living food in my body. This is the path I am on daily. If I don’t put at least some living foods or supplements in my body daily, I can certainly tell the difference.

This is not always that easy to do, when every time we drive down any street, there is a plethora of fast-food chains. The good restaurants are getting so expensive with today’s economy, and many people do not understand the concept of putting a healthy meal together – especially a to-go healthy meal.

First, food does not have to be complicated. A salad, for example, does not have to be cut up and all mixed together and floating in sloppy dressing. Put some foods together that are healthy that will support your gut. Then, pack your food to go, to resist those weak moments in the fast-food game. It’s not that hard to plan ahead if you have the right food containers. You will be ready when you or your kids are! Carrot sticks, ants on a log, kefir, with blueberries (high in antioxidants) and a cut up banana (potassium) with a scoop of pure whey protein to add some sweetness.  Sliced favorite veggies with their favorite dip (my grandkids like honey/mustard dressing)–or make your own dip. Wraps using lettuce leaves are easy and delicious. You can get as creative as you wish or just go simple. I have a recipe for almond butter balls. From my understanding, the very popular peanut butter can cause digestive problems because of the mold on peanuts.

Second, getting your daily allotment of probiotics (good bacteria) to help bowel flora is so easy these days with the products on the market today. People say “oh yes, I eat yogurt” – okay, I’ll go that! Also, kefir is another great product, like yogurt. Yogurt is great, but yogurt typically only has one probiotic – acidophillus and many brands are processed and sugar laden. Also, most yogurts are  made from dairy, which many people are restricted from on their diet. Our bodies need a variety of probiotics to function properly, which can be obtained relatively inexpensively in supplemental form.  My favorite is kefir (explain a little about what kefir is) You can buy kefir or make it yourself easily enough with kefir starter. If you are not eating dairy, you can make your own coconut kefir or coconut yogurt It is so simple and healthy!

I could go on and on, but you get the picture? Take a look at what you are eating and pay attention to how you feel!

Get in touch with some great nutritional products and supplements here!

To sign up for the Autism Today Newsletter, click here.

A Story of Trevor in His World With Autism

“TREVOR’S WORLD” (Submittals for Chicken Soup For the Soul; Children with Special Needs)

I have a son named Trevor
he’s not like you and me
when he was born he changed our life
in ways we couldn’t see

In his crib we hung up mobiles
he loved to watch them spin
but his cows never quite “jumped the moon”
as we sat and wondered when:

He would communicate, or talk to us
we looked for any sign
but he didn’t progress in a “normal” way
he was “locked” inside his mind

And so began the visits
to the hospitals, and such
but when they came back they always said
“we can’t do very much”

He is autistic, also PDD
and epileptic too
he’s apraxic with low muscle tone
“there’s not much you can do”

So, medications special diets
and therapy we tried
to help our son in every way
as we sometimes sat and cried

He had no sense of danger,
could not tell right from wrong
he could not be left alone at all
we would watch him all day long

He would climb on tables and TV’s
would stand and reach from chairs
he was more adept at mountain skills
than he was on normal stairs

And if left alone in a yard or lot
he would just begin to go
there was nothing that would stop him
and he didn’t even know

Where he wanted to end up
it mattered not one bit
because hours and days could pass on end
before he chose to sit

He is thirteen now and at a school
which is a very special place
where there are angelic saints who teach him
with care and gentle grace

Trevor knows what he is saying,
he communicates by sign
he makes you understand him
it just takes a little time

We communicate by touching
there’s some things which give him calm
like running thread along his leg
or by massaging his little palm

It surprises me when I meet the ones
who care for him at school
or the ones who he rides horses with
or the instructor at the pool

He can’t play sports or army
and scouts and bikes won’t do
but there’s another world for kids like Trev
that these people take them to

Its a place that lets them know
that they have ability and right
to participate in all we do
regardless of their plight

And while its hard on families
to care for kids like this
Trevor has released me,
and has shown me what I missed

With my other kids I’d focus
on achievement and on grades
on pushing hard, cause it takes so much
to succeed in things these days

But Trevor’s goals are not the same
as they are for me and you
to watch him simply laugh and smile
he’s as happy as he can be

I go with him into his world
away from all the “stuff”
from the things that drive us crazy
which really is all fluff

He smiles and signs “I love you”
his way of saying thanks
“for doing this little thing with me”
he knows how much it takes

I think he knows more than he says
or can communicate to me
but if he wasn’t born this way
there’s a place I’d never see.

As parents of disabled kids
though hard beyond belief
they have a way of taking back
a small part of that grief

And God or nature works this way
by allowing us to deal
by finding something, however small
in a way to make us feel

That our efforts are not all in vain
that there really is a plan
that teaches us all to learn
“accept me as I am”

Though immune from all the problems
that most of us do face
he doesn’t care, he brings me there
to his special little place.

Turning the Autism Table

My sweet sister Susan loves to write too! Here is a new one of hers I think you will enjoy

Turning the Autism Table, by Susan Simmons

The following story is a hypothetical story of what I would like to see in the future, and what I think will happen in the future:

There was a time, long ago, when the word autism brought sorrow to people’s faces. When someone said the word autism people shuddered and grew their eyes wide with despair. They shivered, clammed up, and said, “Oh, I’m sorry”. They turned away, in shame (for you), because there was a person with autism in your family. In their mind, they rattled off a plethora of words they could pull out of their hat that mean stupid, crazy, less than perfect, disabled, retarded, and unacceptable. Or, if you were at a party, they either turned away from you or tried to change the subject. Their empathy or -non-acceptance was overwhelming.

During this same time, children with autism were coming out of their structured special education classroom “shells” and into the general ed classrooms. Teachers were scrambling every which way, going to conferences, workshops, getting training materials, taking classes, or becoming special education teachers. They were learning everything they possibly could to help these poor kids.

This was a time when the big table in the sky was turning ever so slowly.

It was a time when people didn’t know any better. They were not educated. Or, at least there were not enough educated people to know better. Autism is not necessarily a disease, or a terrible affliction, ready to put a person away or look at them with sorrowful eyes. It was a time of awakening. A time for us ‘normies’ to learn about them and understand how they think.

One day, the table did make it all the way around 180º and the world saw autism on the flip side.

In the ‘Learning Disabilities’ world, some label children as “learning disabled”, when in fact they are not disabled at all. They just have a unique learning style different than the way we have been teaching for hundreds or even thousands of years. We just don’t teach or assess to their learning style, thereby earning the badge of LD (learning disabled). In fact, many people with autism are still trying to figure us out.

Temple Grandin says autism is a spectrum “disorder”.  Asperger’s Syndrome is along that spectrum. Many people with Asperger’s are highly capable, intelligent people with special gifts to bring the world that the “normies” just cannot provide. We would not have the kind of wonderful things in the world we have today, had it not been for those with Asperger’s. Who would have invented the light bulb (Edison)? Who would have written The Marriage Of Figaro (Mozart)? And, where would we be without Microsoft!

Well, people kept on learning about autism and Asperger’s. They learned that many people who had been diagnosed as learning disabled (LD), were in fact not disabled at all. We just did not teach according to their specific learning style. You see, people with autism and Asperger’s, have very different learning styles from the normies. Some think in pictures, like Temple Grandin, able to see a picture in their head before it exists. Temple can completely test-run livestock handling equipment in her head before it is even put down in the design phase! Others think in numbers, on a highly complex scale.

We learned so much about autism and Asperger’s over the years, that we finally learned how to teach people with autism, as well as how to test them. We learned that by teaching them in such a way that fosters their strengths and at the same time addresses their challenges, they became the most productive, creative and famous people in the world!

Soon, everybody started saying, “I have Asperger’s”, because they don’t want to me a “normie”.

And that’s the way it was!

Susan Simmons

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.

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