A Dad's Journey

Father of Autistic Twins Speaks Out

For kids who are high functioning, this article speaks to programs that help to match their creativity with possible job careers.

http://www.mlive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2016/08/how_to_nurture_the_creative_mi.html

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Paul Horton of Detroit is an advocate for adults on the high-functioning end of the autism spectrum. He administers two Facebook pages: It Doesn’t Always Get Better – For HFAs, to raise awareness of the struggles (and positives) of adults with autism, and The Creative Spectrum, focusing on creativity in the autistic spectrum.

OK, I have to admit, I thought the ice bucket challenge was a stupid “bucket list” item.  Bad Pun intended.

Yet, you can’t argue with success.  Apparently, that dumb ass challenge raised a very smart $115 million and that has propelled research on ALS.  In fact, perhaps even leading to a breakthrough.https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-intersect/wp/2016/07/27/the-als-ice-bucket-challenge-is-working/

So, in the spirit of if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em, what would make a great “Autism Challenge”?  Something that could raise closer to $250 million in research funding.  There’s got to be a great idea out there.  On the plus side, there’s apparently no shortage of dumb people ready to do something stupid, along with writing $100 checks for the action.

For Children with Autism, Multiple Languages May Be a Boon

Most children who learn more than one language gain valuable skills, and researchers say this may also be true for children with autism

In the context of today’s times, comes an article about a police officer who helped a young boy get over his fear of the police.  As it turns out, the officer is white and the child is black, but the main takeaway is someone reaching out and being appreciated for the effort.

Mom Thanks Matawan Police Officer for Being Kind to her Autistic Son

http://patch.com/new-jersey/middletown-nj/s/ftg5f/mom-thanks-matawan-police-officer-for-being-kind-to-her-autistic-son

 

In the movie, All About Bob, one of the core lines is the idea of baby steps.  You need to start somewhere.  In the area of understanding autism we are building on baby steps.  Alone those lines is this piece of research which looks to better understand what’s going wrong with the neuron connectors in autistic kids.  And perhaps, someday soon, there may be a way to mitigate the traffic jam:

Activity between the cells improved when researchers added IGF-1, a growth promoting protein known to enhance connections between neurons.

Read more:  http://www.upi.com/Health_News/2016/07/08/Stem-cell-reprogramming-allows-scientists-to-model-autism-development/6741467977370/ Stem-cell-reprogramming-allows-scientists-to-model-autism-development (1)

Is the title of a documentary describing a young autistic man who defined his life through Disney Animated films.   He had retreated into a world and one day asked for help to get out. life, animated

Life, Animated, which takes its name from a 2014 book by Ron Suskind, begins and ends with Owen as he is today: a young man of 23, living on his own, working, having relationships. Between those happy bookends, though, is a story of heartache, frustration, childhood cruelty and one very significant, secular miracle.

This has some potential:

The exact nature of very real and arresting ‘meltdowns,’ or periods of stimulation overload, is unique to each person living on the autism spectrum, but the inexperience and extra challenges of childhood can make them particularly tough for kids to work through. The team behind Reveal, a new wearable for kids with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), wants to start putting emotional and environmental control back in families’ hands with mood-monitoring data that can help anticipate meltdowns before they happen (and even prevent them).

http://www.forbes.com/sites/janetwburns/2016/06/14/wearable-for-kids-with-autism-may-help-predict-avoid-meltdowns/#577b8f2c7a24

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I tend not to write personal stuff about my boys, hits too close to home.  But for this note, I will make an exception:

Subject: Free Write Friday

Hi there!

I had to share Sean’s “Free Write Friday” assignment from today. The highlighted parts were independent!

Happy Friday!

Sean’s Teacher (Name Withheld)

My boys also love Coldplay.  My son Sean’s favorite song is Viva la Vida.  Apparently, this little boy from Mexico City is also a big fan.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/inspired-life/wp/2016/04/27/watch-how-this-little-boy-with-autism-becomes-overwhelmed-with-emotion-at-coldplay-concert/ 

I saw this yesterday in the Washington Post.  They list a slew of possible reasons.  Hard to pinpoint anyone of them.   Seems to me the most important thing we can do as parents is give our kids a sense of purpose, otherwise, what’s the point.

People on the autism spectrum live an average of 18 fewer years than everyone else, study finds

Researchers looking into mortality trends and autism have made a troubling discovery: People on the autism spectrum are dying young — some 12 to 30 years earlier than might otherwise be expected.

The analysis, conducted by Sweden’s Karolinska Institute and published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, found that the leading cause of premature death in autistic adults isn’t due to diseases, such as heart ailments or cancer, that are the main killers in the general population. It’s suicide.