Archive for March, 2012

Dr. Joseph Buxbaum is the Director of the Seaver Autism Center. Dr. Buxbaum discusses the SHANK3 gene, which helps synapses to properly function. Around 1% of children with ASD have SHANK3 mutations, making it one of the most common single-gene causes of autism. Dr. Buxbaum also discusses Insulin-like Growth Factor (IGF1), which is the second drug aimed at treating core symptoms of autism, and is currently being tested on humans.

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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…)

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