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 […]

Never Forgotten

PUZZLES & CAMO BY SHELLY HUHTANEN Gram passed away Christmas morning. She was 101 years old. She was born in 1916, when people with disabilities were probably never discussed in public forums and the concept of inclusiveness wasn’t possible. I remember it like it was yesterday. Mark and I visited his Gram, Dorothy, in Montana because we didn’t know how much longer she would be with us. She was almost 100 years old, living alone […]

Detroit auto show hosts first event for those with sensory sensitivity and autism

Omar Abdel-Baqui, Detroit Free Press First ever Sensory Friendly Day takes place at NAIAS; gives chance to many to visit event for the first time If you were at the North American International Auto Show on Sunday morning, you may have noticed there was no loud music, no flashing lights and the monitors usually displaying fast-moving video were static. For many, the booming bass and strobe lights are enjoyable features of the show. But, for those […]

The Sexual Assault Epidemic No One Talks About

Heard on All Things Considered Joseph Shapiro     Editor’s note: This report includes graphic and disturbing descriptions of assault. Pauline wants to tell her story — about that night in the basement, about the boys and about the abuse she wanted to stop. But she’s nervous. “Take a deep breath,” she says out loud to herself. She takes a deep and audible breath. And then she tells the story of what happened on the […]

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 […]

Resources For Military Families: A Path To Advocacy For Your Child

“Organizations are people, so as you move, conditions change, service options change, and the people that you are working with will change. Always remember this so as you are planning your transition, realize that you are building a new network of resources each time you move.” BY SHELLY L. HUHTANEN Military families are in a continuous mode of transition. Either a parent is training for a deployment, on a deployment, or coming back from a […]

Better Late Than Never

PUZZLES & CAMO BY SHELLY HUHTANEN As I take myself back to the store the other day, dragging my dress behind me with my sunken eyes and my weathered face due to years of crying, laughing and smiling, I can honestly say I have tried. I have tried to speak up about what families with special needs children need. The other day, I did something I don’t do very often. I went shopping for myself […]