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 […]

ENOUGH

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 […]

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), […]

The Whole Story

PUZZLES & CAMO BY SHELLY HUHTANEN This is the story of autism that we need to hear, not just the young adult with autism that is a surgeon… We need to hear the whole story, no matter how uncomfortable it may be. A few weeks ago, a friend of mine asked me if I had seen the new show on television entitled The Good Doctor. I told them I hadn’t since I don’t watch too […]

Training First Responders To Respond Bettter

“The SNAP Program makes a vital contribution to the armamentarium of best practices addressing the unique needs of special populations and their ability to thrive and participate in the community. It will become a time-honored component in the first responders’ toolkit.” – Rick Rader, MD, Medical Liaison, SNAP Program BY BRUCE GARNER Even under the best of circumstances, it is challenging to be a good parent, but when your child has special needs, it gets […]

Mindful Awareness & The Healing Arts – A Therapy Paradigm Shift

BY JANICE K. RYAN, OTD, OTR/L How quickly can a television show change a culture? Has The Big Bang Theory altered societal perceptions, self-perceptions, and future possibilities for people with learning, cognitive or behavioral differences? It’s hard to believe that Sheldon Cooper and his diverse group of friends entered family living rooms over ten years ago. Kerry Magro, an Autism Speaks staff member and adult with autism, wrote about his feelings in a blog. He […]

Robots, Engagement and Autism Spectrum Disorder Intervention

BY GREG FIRN, ED.D Learners with intellectual disabilities often struggle with traditional educational tools, but robots are a game changer. Kids like robots because they’re “cool” and feel like big toys – nonjudgmental ones. With over 30 years of experience in education and a passion for helping every child meet their full potential academically and socially, I have seen how effective intervention is for children with ASD, particularly if it happens early in the child’s […]

Defining Resilience

PUZZLES & CAMO BY SHELLY HUHTANEN I would say that raising a child with autism while serving in the military would fit the definition quite well. Resilience. I remember a good friend of mine sitting with me during a briefing, encouraging Army spouses to be more resilient and mentioning that our children were some of the most resilient individuals around. She reached over and whispered in my ear, “I hate the word resilient.” She had […]