My Son’s Autism Diagnosis

My wish for you and your child is that you get the information you need, the resources that can help, and the acceptance to be able to move forward with your lives following an autism diagnosis. BY KIMBERLEE RUTAN McCAFFERTY Over the years people have asked me about how and when Justin was diagnosed with autism. My boy got an official diagnosis at 17 months from a developmental pediatrician, received a spectrum diagnosis at a […]

Building Supportive, Person-Centered Communities For Adults With Autism

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 500,000 teens with autism will age into adulthood over the next decade and housing will become one of the greatest concerns for them, their parents and other caregivers. Right now, an estimated 80,000 adults with autism in the United States are on waiting lists for publicly-funded residential placements and services. The waiting periods can run up to 15 years and the number of those waiting […]

Starting ’em Young

Young Athletes engages families by highlighting the power of play. Young Athletes includes a series of structured physical activities, songs and games to teach basic motor development skills for children with and without intellectual disabilities, ages 2 to 7 years old. BY REBECCA RALSTON In a small community near Phitsanulok, Thailand, a young boy named Kongpob Yangkam lives with his grandparents and 17-year-old sister. Kong, as his family lovingly calls him, has intellectual disabilities and […]

Parents Perspective: Caring For A Child With A Feeding Tube

BY JULIE & TONY BOMBACINO “IT TOOK US A LONG TIME TO GET HERE, BUT WE NOW SEE AJ’S FEEDING TUBE AS AN INTEGRAL TOOL IN KEEPING HIM AT HOME AND HEALTHY. ” Our son has, and gets all of his nutrition from, a feeding tube. Serving nutritious food that everyone will eat is hard enough for any family at mealtime, but caring for a child with a feeding tube presents a new set of […]

While everything in the world seems to be moving too fast, one term comes to mind: RESPITE

BY ADEOLA SONAIKE, PHD, MPH, CHES There are steps to assist you with selecting a local Respite provider that meets your family’s needs. Respite is your time as a caregiver for self-care, your time to respect yourself and your role as a caregiver. Respite, which originates from the Latin word ‘respectus’, literally means consideration, the act of looking back (or often) at oneself. It is also no coincidence that ‘respectus’ is the Latin origin for […]

When Siblings have Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

by Doreen Arcus She would have been 100 this year. Perhaps the most influential person with intellectual and developmental disabilities in modern America, Rosemary Kennedy changed the lives of millions. And she did it through her siblings. Born at a time when families were advised to institutionalize children with disabilities, Rosemary was instead an integral part of Kennedy family life until a prefrontal lobotomy left her incapacitated at age 23. She was particularly close to […]

Supplements during pregnancy may reduce autism risk

Whether certain supplements, taken before or during pregnancy, can reduce the risk of autism is a hotly debated question. A new large-scale study takes a fresh look. Autistic spectrum disorders (ASDs) are believed to affect 1 in 68 children in the United States, and their prevalence may be on the rise. Despite this, the exact causes and risk factors involved are still shrouded in mystery. No one knows why ASDs occur and how they can […]


BY KIMBERLEE MCCAFFERTY I STILL REMEMBER THE DAY I KNEW MY AUTISTIC SON WOULD REMAIN ON THE SEVERE END OF THE SPECTRUM. Justin was five and in the last few weeks of his pre-school program before he would transition back into district to his hometown public school. I recall going to his classroom for some type of program, the theme of which escapes me, and seeing a little blond girl he’d started with almost two […]

A Web App for IEP Self-Direction, Enhanced Self-Determination, and Employability

BY TOM KEATING, PH.D AND TOBIAS RICKARD, MS Self-determination is the combination of personal knowledge, skills, beliefs, and attitudes that empower an individual to have increased personal autonomy, decision-making, and involvement in goal setting when planning for their future. Research in the area of self-determination supports the value of student involvement in the IEP process and transition planning. In return, studies have shown that students who are more actively involved in their transition planning are […]

The Weight Of It

I won’t even attempt to speak for other parents of autistic children here. There’s not just a spectrum for our kids, there’s one for the parents as well. BY KIMBERLEE MCCAFFERTY Today we ran into each other at the grocery store. We don’t know each other well, but our kids have been in the same class together several years now, and once we were very compatible room mothers. We chat about our kids (of course), […]