Celebrities Sound Off On Leary's Autism Comments

I'm afraid that Denis Leary is getting just what he wanted which is public exposure for his new book. Slamming the autism community with comments about lazy children and competitive parents, Leary resorted to the shock jock approach to getting . All the talk about the chapter Autism Schmautism in Leary's book "Why We Suck: A Feel-Good Guide to Staying Fat, Loud, Lazy and Stupid" is better than doing a book tour for sure. To make matters worse he tried to dissuade the backlash mentioning his involvement with a friend of an autistic child. It's kind of like a racist saying " I'm no bigot, I have black friends." In any case, we're not buying it Denis! This comedian's attempt to make a funny at the expense of the autism community has resulted in adding to the public's misconceptions about the true nature of autism. Shame on you Denis! Hope you get burned trying to put the flames out on this one!

See comments from Jenny McCarthy and Holly Robinson Peete in the links below.

Be Leery of Denis Leary!

Another public figure has gone and done it again and by this I mean opening his mouth and spouting off gibberish as if he has any authority or clue to voice his opinion on the topic of autism! Actor Denis Leary has written a book and decided to mouth off about autistic children and basically he is full of sh*t! I don't know if he did this just to get people all rilled up so they would talk about him and his book or if he's trying out some new material for his stand up routine. Whatever the reason it's destructive to the autism community! I hope Jenny McCarthy gets a hold of his cell phone number and gives him a right good blasting! I used to be a fan but now I despise the man!
See the dumb ass' quote in the story links below.

Jenny McCarthy Changes Her Tune From Cure To Recovery

I was doing some crunches this afternoon when I heard that Jenny McCarthy was going to be a guest on Ellen. I've been a supporter of her autism crusade efforts and I'm eager to read and review her new book. The only thing I've taken issue with in the past was Jenny's use of the word cure when referring to her son's autism. It was interesting to note that right at the top of the interview Ellen states something like " you're not claiming your son has been cured are you?" It seems as if Jenny's prior use of the word cure has given her some flack and a reason to backtrack on her previous claims of a cure. I'm glad to hear that she is now using the word recovery instead. Some may say I'm just arguing about semantics but I think it's important to use the correct terms so we don't give false hope. I'm all for recovery and wish all people with autism could be given the opportunity to do so!

See my earlier blog story here:

See the links below for the Ellen show and Jenny's website.

A New Weapon for the Brave Autism Crusade: Jenny McCarthy's MOTHER WARRIORS

Great news for Jenny McCarthy fans! The best selling author, autism advocate and actress has written a new book about courageous mothers in Mother Warriors. Jenny and her partner Jim Carrey appeared on the Oprah show to share inspirational stories of incredible women who have triumphed over the turmoil in their lives. I've been anticipating this book after reading and reviewing Jenny's last book about her son Louder Than Words: A Mother's Journey In Healing Autism.
See the review here:

For details on the Oprah show see the link below:

Autistic Man Swims Across Lake Ontario

It's been a tough couple of weeks dealing with the rotten smell from Mike Savage's garbage. Pheeew!!!

On a more positive note, Jay Serdula has challenged himself and the world to take notice of his learning disability and his athletic ability by swimming across Lake Ontario. A brave undertaking to say the least and certainly a more welcome positive light to shine on autism for a change!
See the links below.

Let's Take The Mike Away From Mike!

I'm not familiar with radio talk show host Mike Savage but I do know that he is sadly misguided and misinformed when it comes to the topic of autism. Apparently he referred to the autism epidemic as a fraud and the people diagnosed with autism as brats! Wow, isn't it a shame that people with a public platform are free to make general statements on asinine whims just because they sit in front of a mike and broadcast out over the airwaves? This kind of nonsense is harmful. It can put autism crusaders back a few steps because undoubtedly some listeners will agree with this jack a**'s point of view! I agree with the National Autism Association that there needs to be a retraction, an apology and equal time given in support of autism awareness. Looks as if I'm not missing much being deprived of the Savage talk show. Who's the real brat in this story?

Go to the link to read the full story.

Child With Autism Voted Out Of Classroom

What is the world coming to?! I couldn't believe what I was reading when a fellow autism mom alerted me to this sad story. A particularly insensitive Florida teacher, Wendy Portillo, decided to resort to Survivor style voting tactics in her classroom. Apparently a 5 year old boy named Alex with high functioning autism was being a disturbance in her classroom so she instructed the students to humiliate him with insults and vote whether to keep him in the class. The children were each given a chance to say what they didn't like about their classmate. The class voted and all but 2 said he had to go. Alex has been victimized and traumatized by both his teacher and his peers. The PATHETIC EXCUSE for a teacher has been reassigned. Hopefully this is just a step the board is taking before they fire her cruel @$$.

To see video of the boy's mother click below.

Article to be seen below.

Autistic Teen Banned From Church

This story makes me sigh with exasperation. In this case a 13 year old boy with autism attends church services with his family. You would think that in this setting every accommodation should be made or at least attempted to let the youth and his family participate in the mass. Reports state that he was banned from attending the church after restraining was warranted. I just wonder if the congregation was frustrated by the disturbance and decided he just had to go. There is no mention of special accommodations being offered like a space or room available for disabled people or a volunteer to help assist the family during their time of worship. I don't know all the details but the end result points to a failure of a solution. As usual one of the bigger problems is public reaction to demonstrative individuals with autism or any person with a disorder that makes them stand out from the crowd. Instead of sympathy sometimes you get sneers.

See the link to the story below:

Autism Hunger Strike

Autism in the News
May 10, 2008
Stefan Marinoiu is a father of a 15 year old boy with autism. Along with many others parents, Stefan is frustrated with the Ontario Provincial Government's lack of commitment to families living and struggling with autism. To show his level of desperation and garner some much need attention Stefan has resorted to going a hunger strike at Queen's Park in Toronto. On day 6 of his autism protest Stefan has gained some media attention and support from visitors and on-line fans. This tenatious man's actions go to the core of just how desperate the situation really is for autism funding and awareness.

See Stefan's story covered by the Toronto Sun at the link below.

Walk Now For Autism

Just thought to mention that Autism Speaks is running it's Walk Now For Autism on Sunday June 8th @ Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto.

See the link below for a list of all event locations and more information.

Jenny McCarthy On CBC Show The Hour

Jenny McCarthy's autism crusade is going strong and gaining momentum with her frequent tv appearances and the ever-present support of her partner Jim Carrey. She is going to be an interesting person to follow and probably one of the loudest celebrity to make some noise about autism awareness. See my You Tube Video Bar for proof! Recently I saw her on the CBC television show The Hour and thought it was one of her most candid interviews to date. Host George Stroumboulopolos must have put her so at ease that she felt comfortable enough to slap both his cheeks with her own enthusiasm! Jenny later says "it takes a bit of crazy to change the world". You go girl!

Click on my title to visit CBC'S "The Hour" or search on You Tube.

Autism Signs

Autism Facts

Autism spectrum disorders, commonly referred to as autism, are brain based developmental disabilities categorized by language/communication problems, impaired social interaction, and repetitive, rigid behaviors and interests.

The symptoms of autism vary widely from child to child and range from mild to severe.
Once considered rare, autism is now estimated to affect 1 in every 150 children in the United States; every 20 minutes a child is diagnosed.

Autism is four times more common in boys than in girls, and occurs in children of all racial, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds.

Symptoms can often be detected by 18 months of age or earlier. When parents first suspect the first signs of early autism may be present they should discuss these concerns with their pediatrician and ask for an autism screening.

Research indicates that early identification and intensive early intervention can result in significant positive outcomes for many children with autism.

Early Signs Of Autism Spectrum Disorders

By four months of age:
Does not make eye contact or makes little eye contact
Does not seem interested in other people
Does not react by looking at people when they are making social "sounds", such as humming or clapping
Does not show much interest in people as objects
Does not have a social smile (smiling back to someone who smiles at them without being cooed or touched)
Does not show interest in watching other peoples' faces

By 12 months of age:
Does not combine eye contact with smiling
Does not babble (or the babble does not sound like "talking")
Does not look at objects that another person is looking at
Does not try to engage other people in what he/she is looking at or doing
Does not follow a person's eye contact when the person points out an object and says, "Look at the airplane!"
Does not engage in back-and-forth gestures, such as giving, showing or sharing toys
Does not respond when name is called
Does not point using the index finger
Does not show a caring or concerned reaction to other people crying
Does not use gestures, such as waving "hi" or "bye"

By 24 months of age:
Does not point to share interests with others, such as pointing to an airplane
Does not imitate common activities of others, such as sweeping the floor
Does not develop pretend of make-believe play
Does not use single words by 16 months, no two-word spontaneous phrases ("go car" or "look doggie") by 24 months

Other developmental signs:
May develop language and/or social skills normally and then lose some or all of these skills
Has repetitive body movements (hand flapping, spinning)
Fixates upon a single object, such as a spoon or book
Cannot tolerate change in routine or environment, such as a new toothbrush or a replacement for a lost toy
Has oversensitivity to texture, lights and/or sounds
Has delayed motor skills (late walking, riding a tricycle or learning to jump)
Prefers to play alone or does not interact with peers as expected, such as asking for friends to come over, playing together or taking turns
Lines items up or puts things in order repeatedly
Has excessive tantrums and is difficult to console
Walk on tiptoes
May not enjoy cuddling or being touched unless it is on own terms

The presence of any one or a combination of these warning signs does not necessarily mean that your child has an autism spectrum disorder. If your child demonstrates any of these signs, please discuss your concerns with your pediatrician and ask for a referral for further evaluation.

Autistic Boy Saves Mom In Labour

April 1st is known as April Fools Day but this day was no joke for 11 year old Craig Draper. Craig's mother went into premature labour and he knew something had to be done. Craig's situation was complicated by the fact that he has autism and finds it difficult to communicate. He knew it was an emergency and ran to an nearby neighbor's home for help. To get the attention of the family friend all he could think to yell was "there's a bomb!" over and over again. Craig is now the proud brother to sister Rachel who will certainly look up to her big brother as her hero. Mother Michelle is very proud of how cool Craig stayed under all the pressure.

See the story below.

Ever Visited Holland?

I recently reconnected with a dear school friend on facebook. She reminded me of a story that highlights the adventures found raising a child with autism. As it turns out my friend and I have more in common than some shared childhood memories. Her son has autism too.

WELCOME TO HOLLAND by Emily Perl Kingsley. c1987

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this...When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting. After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland." "Holland?!" you say. "What do you mean Holland? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy." But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay. The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place. So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met. It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts. But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned." And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss. But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland.

Early Autism Intervention Is Crucial

Autism In The News
April 4, 2008

I don't think there's anyone out there who would dispute that getting the news your child has autism would be a hard pill to swallow. As hard as it is to face the facts that come with the diagnosis once it's made it's crucial that the disorder is detected and intervention is started as early as possible. Some very young children are even put on an "autism watch" when they start to show developmental delays but it's deemed too early to test or tell. In my son's case he was given the incorrect diagnosis of ADHD along with the now laughable guess that he was hearing impaired. Yes, we actually had to put him through a battery of hearing tests and he actually wore hearing aids for a period of wasted time. I'm not too bitter really, but it's too bad we didn't used that time more productively with a speech therapist. We also wasted too many hours travelling to Psychiatrist appointments all for the sole purpose of messing around with medications and doses. Oh, if only I had my time back I would have asked more questions and rejected more suggestions!
See the story below.

Jenny's Autism CURE Claims

Autism In The News
April 3 ,2008

Jenny McCarthy is on a crusade to help parents with autistic children. She's even recruited her new beau Jim Carrey. Recently, Jenny has been all over the talk show circuit; timed to coincide with the first World Autism Awareness Day. Her young son Evan has been diagnosed with autism and she's claimed to have cured him. I've watched several of Jenny's interviews and she does indeed use the word "cure" and the word "fix" when referring to her son's autism. I must say that Jenny's repeated use of these words doesn't sit very well with me. I wish she would use the term recovery instead. I know what she means to portray but I feel it comes off the wrong way especially to people dealing with everyday autism struggles. Jenny has managed to control some of her son's behaviors with ABA therapy and a special diet to control food allergies so his symptoms have subsided. The real truth is that Evan will always be autistic. Autism is not cancer. It can't be cured and people with autism don't need to be fixed. The word cure is misleading and the word fix is insulting. Autism exists for a person's lifetime and the best we can do is help the autistic person develop skills to cope and manage in the world. If the medical community developed a pill to cure autism and I gave it to my autistic son then I imagine he would become a totally different person wouldn't he? Don't get me wrong, I'm happy for Evan, Jenny and Jim but I think her miracle claims of a cure are doing the autistic community a major disservice. Should we all be searching for a miraculous combination of therapies and services in order to cure our loved ones of autism? What if we don't succeed? Are we all not doing the best that we can with our limited resources? Evan is one lucky boy. Jenny is a very devoted mother but she needs to act responsibly and edit herself if she's putting herself out there as an autism advocate.

Above is a recent picture taken at the movie premiere of Horton Hears A Who with Evan, Jim, Jenny and Jim's daughter Jane
See recent news on Evan, Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carrey below.


Autism In The News
April 2 , 2008

It's been a long time coming but it's finally here!

World Autism Awareness Day

Check out the sites that are promoting autism awareness around the world.

Autism The Musical Is A Hit!

I can't rave enough about the documentary Autism The Musical! I was very impressed with the insights that came from Wyatt. He delves into his history dealing with bullies and moving schools. He's very eloquent and descriptive with his take on what it's like for him to be autistic. I also appreciated the views from Lexi's mother who wishes her daughter and all autistic people were valued in society. The documentary highlights the unfortunate trend for parents dealing with autism which is separation, divorce or crumbling relationships. Sleep deprivation is another thing these families have in common. Countless sleepless nights can be spent struggling with a restless child or lying awake with your own worries about your child's future. Although the documentary shows the struggles with the autism families it also shows a great deal of compassion and hope. The point of the Miracle Project musical was to give kids on the spectrum a chance to show their talents in an non judgemental, caring environment. All these kids need is to be given a chance to show their abilities and talents. Kudos to Elaine Hall and all the Miracle Project staff.
See the links below.

Virtual World For Autistics

Autism In The News
March 30, 2008

Naughty Auties is a Second Life virtual world for people with autism. A place for autistic people to connect was started by David Savill, 22, who lives in Gloucester, England. He lives with Asperger's Syndrome. "Residents of this digital realm can represent themselves with 3-D images called avatars and connect with each other over the Internet." See the news story below.

Autism Is A World on CNN Monday

Autism In The News
March 29, 2008
Sue Rubin is a special young woman living a full life with autism and a life full of challenges. We get a glimpse into her special world with the Oscar nominated documentary Autism Is A World. CNN is broadcasting the insightful documentary about Sue's life and it airs commercial-free on Monday, March 31, from approximately 4:00-5:00 a.m. ET. (A short feature begins at 4:00 a.m. and precedes the program). You might want to record this one unless you just happen to be up that early. I watched Sue's story in the past and found it to be very enlightening even with my own expertise dealing with my autistic son. See the 2 news stories here.

Autism: The Musical

Autism In The News
March 19, 2008

I've been anticipating the release of the documentary film Autism: The Musical. The movie takes us on year long journey in the life of five autistic children in Los Angeles, California as they write and rehearse for an original stage production. The movie has made it to the Oscar shortlist. At the recent premiere HBO's Nancy Abraham sees the film "as less a documentary about a disability and more a film about people you can connect with." Film producer Sasha Alpert says "We wanted to do a film about autism but make it entertaining." She adds, "We wanted to leave people with a little more knowledge and a smile on their face." All I can say is "Bravo!"
See the movie link below.

Autism Song "Open Every Door"

Autism In The News
March 18, 2008

A song "Open Every Door" is being re-released to mark the first UN World Autism Awareness Day. Sri Lanka-born singer/songwriter Nimal Mendis' song is being recorded by south asian star Gresha Schuilling. The song is available for download on April 2nd through the website

Autism Over The Loudspeaker

Autism In The News
March 15, 2008

Once again celebrity attention is being given to autism but this time in a much louder package. Jenny McCarthy resently released her book Louder Than Words: A Mother's Journey In Curing Autism. McCarthy goes into detail about raising her young autistic son. Earlier this week McCarthy was a guest speaker at the Toronto Convention Centre's Holistic World Expo where she spoke about her struggles with her son Evan. She preached about the toxins in vaccines and the need to use diet and suppliments to help cure autism. I've read her book and know how passionate she is about curing autism but somehow the word cure doesn't sit too well with me. For all her efforts I believe that Jenny will eventually come to realize that autism is a lifelong disorder. Her son may be able to blend into society as an adult but autism will always be a part of him.

See the news story below.

Addressing Autism Myths

Autism In The News
March 15, 2008

April 2nd is World Autism Awareness Day. Autism is a very puzzling developmental disorder that carries with it a myriad of myths. CNN Medical News is promoting a special "The Myths Of Autism" to help dispel the common myths associated with autism and the people affected by it. For example, not every autistic person is a sauvant and their behaviors and abilities vary all along the spectrum.

See the story below and read or send comments to Dr. Gupta.

Golf Pro Ernie Els Reveals His Son Has Autism

Autism In The News
March 13, 2008

Life's not so easy for "The Big Easy."

Golf master Ernie Els recently showed up to pratice for the US Open with an Autism Speaks logo on his golf bag. This of course started the press asking questions. He revealed that his son Ben has autism and he wants to riase money to find a cure.

It's always interests me how putting a celebrity's face and story to a disorder helps to raise the public interest. With the increasing rise in the autistic population I'm sure more and more people will get to know children and parents dealing with autism in their own community. We tend to pay more attention to celebrities and it's more fashionable to talk about the plight of the famous over the water cooler. Whatever the initial fascination may be at least it helps to draw some attention and put autism out there for public awareness. See Ernie's story below.

Artist Paints A Picture Of Autism

Autism In The News
March 12, 2008
Artist Megan Tollefson is a Arizona State University grad. She also has 2 cousins with autism. She's seen first hand how the disorder can affect the whole family and wanted to bring about more public awareness. She painted a picture commemorating the States recent Autism Candlelight Vigil.
See the story below.

Autism Book For The Classroom

Autism In The News
March 11, 2008

One of the biggest challenges for teachers and parents to an autistic student is dealing with the classmates. Navigating the school playground and recess social scene can be daunting even for the regular population but imagine having communication difficulties or ticks that make you stand out in a crowd. In my experience it's best to introduce and explain the classmate's autism as early as possible and to encourage inclusion. The parents and teacher need to be on the same page about this mind you. Communication is vital and best if it's daily in written form. The teacher shouldn't wait for a problem to go away or get out of hand to start addressing the issue. An example of this would be to ignore instances of teasing and bullying. A recent book "A Is for Autism, F is for Friend: A Kid's Book on Making Friends with a Child Who Has Autism" by Joanna Keating-Velasco was developed as a resource for teachers and students. See the article below.

Jon Stewart Hosts Autism Benefit

Autism In The News
March 10, 2008

"A Night Of Too Many Stars: An Overbooked Benefit for Autism Education" will be held on April 13 in New York with Jon Stewart as the host to a bevy of Hollywood comedians and stars. Robert Smigel of Saturday Night Live fame started the first benefit in 2006 to help raise awareness and funds for autism education. His son Daniel has autism.
See the story below:

New Autism Film: The Black Balloon

Autism in The News
March 7, 2008

Rain Man and What's Eating Gilbert Grape are well known movies that help to put autism out there but they also end up adding to the stereotypes. In the recent movie Black Balloon, Elissa Down lets us peek into her life growing up with two autistic brothers. The coming of age movie stars Rhys Wakefield, Gemma Ward, Luke Ford, Erik Thomson, Toni Collette. The film promises to show a more true-to-life version of a family dealing with autism.

See the story here:

Autistic Girl Types Her Story

Autism In The News
March 4, 2008

Here's an uplifting story about a 13 year old girl who gives us a peek into her world. Carly has autism and uses her computer to communicate. Communication can be a struggle for the non-verbal autistic person and their family. Carly types, "It is hard to be autistic because no one understands me."


Autism In The News
March 3, 2008

IBI or Intensive Behavioral Intervention treatments are crucial for some children with autism. The treatments help to bring the children out of their enclosed world so they can learn and relate to others in a social way. The problem and ongoing concern for parents is the aging out of the IBI elligibility. Parents fund huge out of pocket costs to keep the therapy going and invariably go into debt due to the lack of funding. See the story link below.

Jenny McCarthy's Book On Autism

Louder Than Words: A Mother's Journey In Healing Autism

Real Women Magazine Jan/Feb 07
Optimism in the Face of Autism

by Wanda Lynne Young

You may be familiar with the name Jenny McCarthy but I must admit that I haven’t been following her career too closely. McCarthy is a comedic actress, television personality, Playboy playmate and a best-selling author. She’s written about pregnancy, motherhood and marriage in her books, Belly Laughs, Baby Laughs and Life Laughs. I never thought she and I would have anything in common other than our mutual appreciation for Jim Carrey movies. As it turns out, we both have sons with autism. In her recent book, Louder Than Words: A Mother’s Journey In Healing Autism, McCarthy takes a departure from her usual humourous tone. In the book, she gives readers a brutally frank and honest account of her struggles in dealing with her son’s condition, a failing marriage and a spotty career. The book starts with the harrowing tale of when McCarthy finds her two-year-old son Evan laying in his crib having a life-threatening seizure. McCarthy later reflects on this incident as being a giant wake-up call. Dealing with the wrong diagnosis of epilepsy, Evan then goes through a terrible ordeal of trying different medications and dealing with the wildly varying side-effects; at one point McCarthy wonders if she’ll have to choose between having a psycho kid or a zombie kid. Readers go on a very bumpy ride along McCarthy’s journey to the world of autism. After her son’s delayed diagnosis, the author gains insight through another celebrity, Holly Robinson Peete, who has an older son with autism. Robinson Peete tells McCarthy to imagine her son is stuck behind a window that she needs to pull him through. This image works well if you consider the common belief that there’s a limited window of opportunity to get through to autistic children.McCarthy jokes that she deserves a degree from the “University of Google” after all the Internet researching she did in her quest for answers and treatments to help her son. One thing the author swears by is her son’s gluten and casein-free diet which limits wheat and dairy products. Evan, who is now five, still maintains this diet. McCarthy also credits her son’s continued improvement to Intensive Behavioral Intervention, or IBI therapy. McCarthy gives her opinion on a variety of treatments, therapies and sounds off about the long wait lists and inordinate costs to treating autism. She strives to keep a level head throughout her ordeal but continues to question why or how her son developed autism in the first place. As far as the controversial vaccine theory, she weighs in on this topic, too, her wish being there was a test available to assess a child’s vulnerability before getting a vaccine.McCarthy credits her tenacious drive to her strong maternal instinct and deep connection to her son and sees herself as a messenger of hope and help for other “autistic moms” to find faith that their child can get better. McCarthy isn’t wearing a pair of rose-colored designer shades here either. She notes that there are children who never seem to improve or advance in therapy and warns that early intervention is crucial. McCarthy insists that all parents and pediatricians need to be aware of the signs or red flags that could be characteristics of autism; she reflects on missing her son’s signs such as his excited hand flapping, tip toe walking, lack of eye contact, spinning objects and fixating on moving parts, just to name a few. McCarthy wanted to share her story not to evoke sympathy but to raise awareness and encourage parents to become strong advocates for their children. As for my personal experience, I’ll save my son’s story for another time, but my advice to parents is to hold on to hope and harness every bit of help you can. Come to think of it, maybe it’s time I write my own book. Something to think about...

Autism Speaks Info Kit

Autism In The News
March 4, 2008

Autism Speaks has developed an information kit for parents dealing with the autism diagnosis for the first time. I wish this kit or any kit was available for us way back about 15 years ago. Basically parents get the diagnosis at some doctor's office and then you're on your own. No kidding! You end up leaving stunned with all kinds of questions. What is autism? Who do we talk to? When can we get help? Where can our child go to school? How do we cope? Apparently they can customize the kit to fit you're family and area. This is the type of thing that can help soften the blow a bit. One of the biggest problems dealing with autism is the maze of services and professionals. The first challenge is knowing where to find the maze before you can start weaving your way through it.
See the story below.

J Mac Story

Autistic Basketball Star

Neurofeedback Study

Autism In The News
Feb. 28, 2008

Neurofeedback is a treatment for autism symptoms. In layman's terms, the autistic person's brain is wired differently and the feedback therapy claims to help with the social confusion associated with the disorder. I wish my son, now 21, was given the opportunity to try the technique but he "aged out" before we had access to the treatment. See the story below.

Drowned Girl Update

Autism in The News
March 3, 2008

Xuan Peng, 36 was found guity of second-degree murder in the drowning of her autistic daughter, Scarlett. The automatic life sentence carries a minimum 10 year sentence. Reports indicate that the Peng had suffered from depression and bipolar disorder. Scarlett's father and grandmother appeared to be holding it together, so to speak. Scarlette, 4 at the time of her death, had spent time in her grandmother's care. Peng had called her husband several times on that fateful day. I have to question the family's level of support or help from their community. Where's the social workers? Where's the respite services? Did the family ignore these options or were they even aware of the services available? Were they on a waiting list? I'm just wondering if the family was going it alone. The stress of raising an autistic child can make a stable person crack. It's a fact. Xuan Peng, with her psychological problems, must have been a ticking time bomb! The key is to know when to ask for help.

See the news story here:

Mother Drowns Autistic Daughter

Autism In The News
Feb. 28, 2008

I was hoping for something good to report on in the world of autism but not today. It's a sad, sad, state of affairs when a parent resorts to drowing her autistic daughter instead of reaching out for help. I'm sick with sadness and can't write anymore. God bless Scarlett. See the story below.

Big Brother in Big Trouble

February 18, 2008

My Response To Comments Made on CBS Show Big Brother

As a parent to an autistic young man I'm very dismayed to hear about the insensitive nature of a special needs worker. The comments he made are utterly asinine and very disappointing considering his training. The use of derogatory slang "retards" is offensive and should not be tolerated. Shame on you Adam! Let's hope this lousy excuse for a human being gets kicked off the show and loses his job to boot.
See the story below.
Autism group demands apology from CBS for offensive remark

Autistic Basketball Star

Autism In The News
June 11, 2007

Jason McElwain
is living the life! Basketball hero, Hollywood knocking on his door and now an author of a book about his life living with autism. Read his inspirational story about defying the odds and making success out of whatever life dishes out.