Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘books’ Category

Editors Matthew Siegel, MD and Bryan King, MD recently released a new publication,  Acute Management of Autism Spectrum Disorders, An Issue of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 1st Edition. The “spectrum” in this disorder is Autistic Disorder, Asperger Syndrome, and Pervasive Developmental Disorder. This issue specifically addresses acute management of the extreme behaviors that accompany this disorder spectrum: extreme behaviors, complete lack of communication, inability to learn or express language, etc, and covers in-hospital or residential therapies as well as in-home family involvement. Medical treatment for this disorder is the main focus of discussion in topics such as: Emotional Regulation: Concepts and Practice in ASD; Specialized Inpatient Treatment of ASD; Residential Treatment of Severe Behavioral Disturbance in ASD; Treatment of ASD in General Child Psychiatry Units; Behavioral Approaches to Acute Problems; Communication Strategies for Behavioral Challenges in ASD, along with topics covering Psychiatric Assessment of Acute Presentations in ASD; Sensory Regulation and its Relationship to Acute Problems in ASD; Family Dysfunction, Assessment and Treatment in the context of Severe Behavioral Disturbance in ASD; and Self Injurious Behavior in ASD.

More information, including how to purchase the book, can be found here.

Read Full Post »

Having fun with your child with autism is absolutely essential.  It’s a key to your emotional health, and to the relationship you’re building both with your autistic child and with your typically developing children.  Perhaps just as importantly, when you see your child with autism outside of the classroom or therapist’s office, you may just discover that (1) he or she has some talents you never noticed before and (2) your child with autism is actually a lot of fun to be with

Each Sunday in April we’ll featuring a guest post from Lisa Jo Rudy, the author of Get Out, Explore and Have Fun: How Families of Children with Autism and Asperger Syndrome Can Get the Most out of Community Activities.   She was the the About.com Guide to Autism for five years, and is now an inclusion consultant for community organizations and  museums, a writer for autismafter16.com, and (of course) the mom of Tom Cook, age 15, diagnosed with PDD-NOS.  Find her at www.authenticinclusion.org or at www.lisajorudy.com

Take TV to the Next Level!

Our kids are often sponges, who can learn almost anything by heart if it’s introduced through videos, TV or even music.  At first we were horrified by our son’s echolalia: he’d simply memorize entire scripts from his favorite TV shows, and recite them.  Later, though, we came to embrace certain TV shows and videos: they provided him with the tools he needed to engage with other kids, with the real world, and even with academics.

Like many parents, when our kids were small we allowed only “educational television.”  But kids watch an awful lot of shows on ad-heavy cable TV.  We didn’t want either of our kids getting seduced by ads, but even more particularly we didn’t want our son wandering around reciting ads for pop-tarts.  So we started borrowing videos and DVDs of kids’ shows from our library.  We could choose our time to watch together – and avoid the ads completely.

If you have a child who is mesmerized by TV, you may have started to use TV as an opportunity to get away for a little while.  Instead, try this:

  • Choose a TV show that your child really likes, and purchase a few toys (action figures, die-cast figures, etc.) that relate to the show.  Don’t worry too much if your child is “too old” for the show: grown ups still love the Muppets, and even grandparents love Disney
  • Choose a time to watch together, and talk about the show as you watch.  Ask your child questions; if he doesn’t reply instantly, try saying outrageous things that he knows are wrong (eg, Big Bird is purple with green stripes, isn’t he?).  Your child’s connection with and love of the show and characters may well prompt him to interact with you in new ways
  • Once the show is over, try using your new toys as puppets, acting out bits from the show.  Or use them in interactive play (Thomas the Tank Engine is ideal for this, since model train layouts are fabulous tools for sharing, creative thinking, role play, etc.)

You may find that your child is more verbally responsive to Thomas the Tank Engine or Elmo than he is to other human beings – or more fascinated by the tracks than by the people playing with them.  If that’s the case, you can build on that in the real world!  Your child might love attending puppet shows or going to TV-show oriented events (a Wiggles concert could be an ideal introduction to concerts and plays, even if your child is “too old” for the Wiggles).

Read Full Post »

Having fun with your child with autism is absolutely essential.  It’s a key to your emotional health, and to the relationship you’re building both with your autistic child and with your typically developing children.  Perhaps just as importantly, when you see your child with autism outside of the classroom or therapist’s office, you may just discover that (1) he or she has some talents you never noticed before and (2) your child with autism is actually a lot of fun to be with

Each Sunday in April we’ll featuring a guest post from Lisa Jo Rudy, the author of Get Out, Explore and Have Fun: How Families of Children with Autism and Asperger Syndrome Can Get the Most out of Community Activities.   She was the the About.com Guide to Autism for five years, and is now an inclusion consultant for community organizations and  museums, a writer for autismafter16.com, and (of course) the mom of Tom Cook, age 15, diagnosed with PDD-NOS.  Find her at www.authenticinclusion.org or at www.lisajorudy.com.

Meet a Critter

My son’s first word was “cat.”  His best buddy to this day is his cat Dot, and his favorite recreational activity is bird watching.  Tom is not at all unusual among people with autism: many, in fact, are more comfortable with animals than with people.

Perhaps the best known example of an autistic adult with a strong connection to animals is Temple Grandin, who is a leader in the humane management of cattle.  But your child need not be a Ph.D. scientist to enjoy connecting with animals of all kinds.

If your child with autism is an animal fan, what’s the best way to help him pursue his interest in the community? A few possibilities include:

  • Horseback riding.  Hippotherapy or plain old riding lessons can open all kinds of doors for children with autism.  Riding builds physical strength and balance, communication skills, and even social skills when riding is done in a group setting or as part of an equestrian team.  Some people with autism become so engaged with their horse and stable that they volunteer and work for their local stable owner.
  • Bird Watching.  Alone or in a group, birdwatchers exercise their powers of observation, enjoy the natural world, and become part of a worldwide interest group.  In the long run, bird watching can even lead toward a career as a naturalist, nature educator, conservationist or scientist.
  • Animal Rescue Work.  The ASPCA and other animal rescue organizations are always looking for volunteer help. Children with autism can spend time with rescue animals, helping to socialize them or otherwise providing support to the rescue organization.
  • Visiting Zoos, Aquariums and Nature Centers.  While it can sometimes be tough to take a child with autism to a zoo or aquarium due to crowds and smells, nature centers are wide open and much less congested.  Some kids, though (like my son) are so motivated by their interest in the animals that they’re able and willing to overlook crowds, heat and smells to spend time with their favorite critter.
  • Animal Shows.  Whether you’re watching elegant Lippizaner horses from Vienna or local livestock, it can be fascinating to spend time at an animal or pet show. Kids with autism may not be able to spend a great deal of time at a show, due to sensory or behavior issues, so starting with low-cost options is probably the best choice.
  • Pet Stores.  Every mall has a pet store, and every pet store has at least a few adorable critters to observe.  Sometimes, pet store owners will even allow visitors to take a puppy into a small room where it’s possible to interact without risk to dog or child.

Whatever your child’s level of verbal ability or behavior, don’t pass by the possibilities provided by animals.  Non-verbal children are as capable as anyone of establishing a positive relationship with an animal . Your child may well surprise you with her compassion, connection and willingness to build a relationship with a non-human friend.

 

Read Full Post »

Having fun with your child with autism is absolutely essential.  It’s a key to your emotional health, and to the relationship you’re building both with your autistic child and with your typically developing children.  Perhaps just as importantly, when you see your child with autism outside of the classroom or therapist’s office, you may just discover that (1) he or she has some talents you never noticed before and (2) your child with autism is actually a lot of fun to be with

Each Sunday in April we’ll featuring a guest post from Lisa Jo Rudy, the author of Get Out, Explore and Have Fun: How Families of Children with Autism and Asperger Syndrome Can Get the Most out of Community Activities.   She was the the About.com Guide to Autism for five years, and is now an inclusion consultant for community organizations and  museums, a writer for autismafter16.com, and (of course) the mom of Tom Cook, age 15, diagnosed with PDD-NOS.  Find her at www.authenticinclusion.org or at www.lisajorudy.com.

Take a Hike!

With so much on your plate, it can be hard to find the time or inclination to take your child with autism on a simple walk in the woods, a visit to a pond, or a trip to the beach.  Yet people with autism are often very much attracted to a connected with the natural world.  And, because there are few social or physical demands made by chirping birds, rippling brooks or cool green forests, you may find that your child calms down, relaxes, and enjoys himself.  You may just find that you do the same.

Start by choosing a nearby destination that is likely to be uncrowded and undemanding.  Before you go, take a trip on your own with a camera or video camera in hand, and create a preview of your plan.  Ideally, choose a location with a water attraction: a pond, lake, brook, river or beach.

Choose a day that’s not physically challenging (terribly hot, cold, or wet), and tell your child about your plan.  Show her your preview images or video, and discuss how long you’ll be out (no more than a couple of hours), what you’ll see and do, what snacks you’ll bring along, what you might see along the way, and so forth.

Then, get out and start enjoying.

Pay close attention to your child’s demeanor, her likes and dislikes, and her preferences.  Does she enjoy walking briskly for long distances, or get tired easily?  Is he bothered by bugs, or oblivious to them?  Is the woods a good choice, or would your child be happier in a meadow, a city park, or another type of natural setting?

What does your child notice?  Our son happens to be very interested in birds, and can spend a good deal of time watching birds on ponds, in marshes, and near harbors.  To make the experience more interesting and fun for all of us (his parents, sister, and family friends), we now go for nature walks and bring along binoculars and a field guide to birds of New England.

If there is water in your area, spend some time there.  Try skipping stones, or experimenting together by tossing in different types of objects (stones, pine cones, acorns, wood chips).  Is your child following your lead?  Can you follow his?


Read Full Post »

Having fun with your child with autism is absolutely essential.  It’s a key to your emotional health, and to the relationship you’re building both with your autistic child and with your typically developing children.  Perhaps just as importantly, when you see your child with autism outside of the classroom or therapist’s office, you may just discover that (1) he or she has some talents you never noticed before and (2) your child with autism is actually a lot of fun to be with

Each Sunday in April we’ll featuring a guest post from Lisa Jo Rudy, the author of Get Out, Explore and Have Fun: How Families of Children with Autism and Asperger Syndrome Can Get the Most out of Community Activities.   She was the the About.com Guide to Autism for five years, and is now an inclusion consultant for community organizations and  museums, a writer for autismafter16.com, and (of course) the mom of Tom Cook, age 15, diagnosed with PDD-NOS.  Find her at www.authenticinclusion.org or at www.lisajorudy.com.

Get Splashy

You may feel it’s tough to enjoy sports with your autistic family member, but perhaps you haven’t considered swimming.  Kids with autism often enjoy water – and swimming may come very naturally.  The great thing about swimming is that it’s very versatile.  It’s easy to swim as a family – but it’s also possible to swim as part of a team, in a pool, lake or ocean, with other kids or on your own.

If you’re thinking about pool swimming, I can highly recommend the YMCA.  Most Y’s have pools, and most Y pools are intended for recreational swimming (meaning they’re warm enough to be comfortable).   Y’s offer daily passes, so you can give it a try without committing a fortune.  Many Y’s also offer special times for family swim, and even for special needs swim.  If your child turns out to be a natural swimmer, Y’s are always willing to include special needs kids in their lessons and teams.  If you enjoy swimming as a family, Y’s also offer financial aid so that you can join and come whenever and for as long as you like.

Start off shallow and easy: in the kiddie pool or in a pool where she can easily stand.  Make as few demands as possible; just enjoy floating around and having fun together.  If your child shows an interest, you can consider lessons or provide lessons yourself.   Of course it’s very important that your child build enough water skills to stay afloat – but excellent stroke skills and the ability to dive aren’t critically important.  If your child is really interested in going further with swimming, individual or group lessons may be in order. And if your child turns out to be a great swimmer, swim teams are a terrific option.

Read Full Post »

This is a guest post by Hannah Brown. Her book If I Could Tell You was released today.   I read a lot of autism books and this was a really fun break from the usual scientific tomes and how-to-cope manuals.  It’s a novel about four New York mothers, all very different, whose children are diagnosed with autism.  Suddenly, these women – an ex-model who owns a downtown bar, a high-powered magazine editor, an English professor, and a physical therapist – find that they need each other, as they face the ultimate challenge for any parent. They join together in a support group, and each chapter follows a month in their lives and ends with a meeting.

It’s a rocky road, as they contend with other problems: Quacks peddling expensive alternative therapies; husbands impatient with their children’s disability; other women only too happy to take advantage of the pressures on their marriages; scheming co-workers who try to turn this problem to their advantage; grandparents who are anything but helpful; and resentful teens who run wild while their mothers cope with the crisis. And through it all, these moms support and help each other.

It’s a really fun read.  Enjoy! –Alison

They say write what you know.

So I wrote a novel, “If I Could Tell You,” about mothers raising children with autism.

It probably won’t surprise anyone who knows me that I chose to write this book, since my older son, Danny, was diagnosed with autism (PDD/NOS is his frustratingly vague diagnosis) over 12 years ago, when he was three. And I’ve worked as a journalist for over 25 years. I have also written quite a bit of fiction.

But in the terrifying first weeks and months after he was diagnosed, I was convinced that I would never write again. It’s not that I did anything as grandiose as make a vow to stop writing until Danny was “cured” or “recovered” or however I phrased it to myself back then. I just couldn’t imagine being able to focus on anything but my son.

Fortuitously, I was on maternity leave from my job as a movie critic for the New York Post then. Danny was diagnosed when my younger son, Rafi, was about six weeks old. When the time came to go back to work, I thought of quitting. I just didn’t think I could handle anything outside of caring for an increasingly frenzied and tantrum-prone three-year-old and my newborn baby. (more…)

Read Full Post »

Proceeds of all sales of Deadly Choices are donated to the Autism Science Foundation. 

From June 15, 2011 Journal of the American Medical Association  (Copyright American Medical Association 2011)

BOOK AND MEDIA REVIEWS

DEADLY CHOICES: HOW THE ANTI-VACCINE MOVEMENT THREATENS US ALL

By Paul A. Offit 288 pp, $27.50 New York, NY, Basic Books, 2010 ISBN-13: 978-0-465-02149-9

In an ideal world, I would never be asked to review such a book as Paul Offit’s Deadly Choices. In an ideal world, a book like Deadly Choices would have no market. In an ideal world, the genius who developed a vaccine against rotavirus should not have to divert his valuable time to address such phenomena as the antivaccine movement. But the world today is far from ideal.

Deadly Choices masterfully presents the history of the antivaccine movement, which finds its origin in the time of Edward Jenner, and provides a devastating rendition of the antiscientific mentality that animates the celebrities and physicians alike who grant this movementmoral legitimacy. The book is not just a polemic; it provides ample details that unequivocally establish the enormous achievement vaccination represents. The book presents many interesting facts and anecdotes. Such facts are eye-opening because they reveal the nonobjective basis that underlies some of the operations of the courts, which have disbursed billions of dollars to those it deemed “harmed” by vaccination, despite clearly contradicting scientific information, as in the case of the diphtheria and tetanus toxoids and pertussis vaccine. Other highlights of the book include a thorough analysis of the US Supreme Court case Jacobson v Massachusetts, which addressed compulsory vaccination; a useful summary of the issues surrounding the fraudulent study, recently retracted, associating the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine with autism; and the story of Samuel Berkovic’s discovery that Dravet syndrome—a genetic disorder—was responsible for many cases of vaccine-induced neurologic disease.

Offit profiles the major figures in the modern antivaccine movement, tracing their careers, thinking, and initiatives. His focus is not just on celebrities and parents’ groups; he also appropriately singles out physicians who are complicit in this movement and lend their considerable authority to it. The author likewise provides a scholarly juxtaposition of antivaccinationists from earlier eras with those of today, highlighting the similarities and differences that exist between them. As Offit writes, several similarities are the idea that physicians are evil; the use of public rallies; paranoia; false claims of vaccine harm; the idea that vaccines are unnatural; the rejection of the germ theory; the lure of “alternative” medicine; the fear of medical advances; the idea that vaccines thwart the power of a deity; and the use of mass marketing. Important differences include the fact that in the modern era, antivaccinationists are chiefly drawn from the affluent (vs the poor in earlier eras); the involvement of personal injury lawyers; and antivaccinationists’ tactic of not using the word “antivaccine” when describing themselves. A major strength of this book is that it does not simply ignore real issues that have occurred with vaccine safety. Offit does not gloss over the problems with the Cutter version of the polio vaccine, a topic on which he has written another book, or the intussusception cases associated with an earlier version of a rotavirus vaccine. One incident described in this text—the burning in effigy of Edward Jenner in antivaccine rallies in the 19th century— is powerfully affecting. To denigrate such a benefactor of humankind as Jenner is almost unfathomable. The event is reminiscent of a passage in philosopher-novelist Ayn Rand’s masterpiece novel The Fountainhead, in which she writes, “Throughout the centuries thereweremenwho took first steps down new roads armed with nothing but their own vision. Their goals differed, but they all had this in common: that the step was first, the road new, the vision unborrowed, and the response they received—hatred.”

It is my belief that when new histories of vaccination’s prowess are written, Offit will be mentioned in the same breath as Edward Jenner, Louis Pasteur, Maurice Hileman, Jonas Salk,Albert Sabin, Baruch Blumberg,Max Theiler, Robert Austrian, and the other giants of vaccinology who have incalculably benefitted humankind. One of the proponents of vaccines quoted in Deadly Choices states that those who refuse vaccines have the right do so but “have to live on an island: their own little infectious diseases island.” Those like Offit have created a world in which many infectious diseases have been relegated to virtual islands in a sea of immunized individuals—and it will be damning if their invaluable work is destroyed. It is in this vein that I recommend Deadly Choices, in the highest possible terms, as an anecdote and tool to fight for the glory of vaccines. The survival of humankind depends on it.

Amesh A. Adalja, MD

Author Affiliation: Center for Biosecurity and Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (ameshaa@aol.com).

Conflict of Interest Disclosures: The author has completed and submitted the ICMJE Form for Disclosure of Potential Conflicts of Interest and none were reported. Book andMedia Reviews Section Editor: John L. Zeller,MD, PhD, Contributing Editor. ©2011 American Medical Association. All rights reserved. JAMA, June 15, 2011—Vol 305, No. 23 2469

Read Full Post »

Alex Plank of WrongPlanet interviews self-identified Aspergian John Elder Robison, author of Look Me in the Eye and Be Different, at IMFAR 2011. Robison discusses the use of technology to develop new autism treatments and gives insight into his new book Be Different.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 74 other followers

%d bloggers like this: