Thursday, September 3, 2009

A Couple of Autism Stories

Nonni Cheryl will love this one, as it is from Oprah Magazine

For you Temple Grandin fans, she was on NPR earlier this week

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Lexington Blue Thunder!!!!

Below is the kind of email I really like getting.  Read here about this program that Super D is in (I do  hope he likes it!).


Hello TOPSoccer families!

We hope you are as excited as we are about our first official practice this Sunday! We will be sending you more detailed information this week about our TOPSoccer fall season, but in the meantime wanted to remind you about this Sunday’s practice.

Where: Masterson Station Park Soccer Complex, Field #3 (next to concession stand)
Map to fields:
Date: Sunday, August 30th
Time: 2:00pm to approximately 3:30pm

What to bring: Each athlete should have on shin guards and bring water. Soccer cleats are desirable, but not mandatory.  We will have plenty of extra water.  (and don’t forget your lawn chairs for the parents to relax on the sidelines!)

At this first practice, players will meet their buddies, coaches and teammates.  We will be dividing into teams and the players will participate in the very first practice of the Lexington Blue Thunder!!!

We are all excited to be working with your children and teaching them the “beautiful game.”  Thank you for giving us this opportunity!

See you out on the pitch!
Jessie, Jason, Lindsay, Rod & Robbie
LYSA TOPSoccer Coaches

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Saturday, August 22, 2009

Well, it works for us

Gluten free really works for us, we hear it all the time. Click here for a gluten-free story.

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Support Dogs?

Schools fight families over autism service dogs

CHICAGO – Like seeing-eye dogs for the blind, trained dogs are now being used to help autistic children deal with their disabilities. But some schools want to keep the animals out, and families are fighting back.

Two autistic elementary school students recently won court orders in Illinois allowing their dogs to accompany them to school. Their lawsuits follow others in California and Pennsylvania over schools’ refusal to allow dogs that parents say calm their children, ease transitions and even keep the kids from running into traffic.

At issue is whether the dogs are true “service dogs” — essential to managing a disability — or simply companions that provide comfort.

School districts say they are not discriminating, just drawing the line to protect the safety and health of other students who may be allergic or scared of dogs.

“The school district has 650 students, not just one. So we have to balance,” said Brandon Wright, attorney for the Villa Grove district in central Illinois, which objected to 6-year-old Kaleb Drew’s plan to bring his yellow Labrador retriever, Chewey, to school.

Kaleb’s family won a judge’s order in July allowing the dog to come to class until a trial, set to start Nov. 10. That means when Kaleb starts his first full day of first grade Monday, Chewey will be by his side.

Service dogs have long been used by the blind, but training them to help those with autism is relatively new. While there’s little research on how these animals affect autistic children, families like Kaleb’s say they have seen marked improvement. And the support group Autism Speaks includes a list of dog-training groups among resources on its Web site.

Autism is a developmental disorder that involves behaviors such as poor eye contact, trouble communicating and repetitive movements such as rocking or hand-flapping. Those with the disorder are prone to outbursts and may have trouble with changes in their environment.

The dogs are trained to be a calming influence, providing a constant between home, school and other new places. Sometimes, as in Kaleb’s case, the dogs are tethered to children to prevent them from running off in dangerous situations.

“It’s done so much more than we thought it could,” said Kaleb’s mother, Nichelle Drew. “We want Kaleb to be able to experience more of life,” and the dog has helped him do that, she said.

Chewey does not react when Kaleb “throws a fit” during times of transition from one activity to another, which calms him much more quickly, Drew said.

The tether fitted around Kaleb’s waist helps the dog stop Kaleb from running into traffic at pickup time, as he is prone to do.

Under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, “a person with autism would be considered a person with a disability in nearly all cases, and a service animal is any guide dog, signal dog or other animal individually trained to provide assistance to someone with a disability,” said Alejandro Miyar, a spokesman for the Department of Justice.

Miyar declined comment on specific cases but said schools are required to make accommodations for disabled students to use a service animal. Illinois is among several states with similar laws.

Schools, though, can argue that the animals do not provide a functional service. Wright said Kaleb’s school already provides him with adequate special services. Officials believe Chewey is more of a companion or comfort dog, not a true service dog.

Elizabeth Emken, vice president of government relations for Autism Speaks, said her 17-year-old autistic son has used a service dog for about two years.

Emken said the dog helps control her son’s pacing and circling, but the family opted against allowing the boy to take the dog to school because she did not know if he would be able to manage the dog effectively.

“Personally, I can see the pros and cons” of allowing the animals in schools, Emken said, though she believes schools should not ban the assistance.

Families of autistic kids elsewhere have fought similar battles, including recent cases in Manteca, Calif., about 70 miles northeast of San Francisco, and North Franklin Township, Pa., near Pittsburgh.

And cases involving other disabilities, including deafness and diabetes, have cropped up in other states.

On Thursday, a judge sided with a family in Columbia, near St. Louis, that sued over their school district’s unwillingness to allow an autism service dog in a special education pre-kindergarten classroom.

Still, 5-year-old Carter Kalbfleisch will not have the dog with him when he starts classes Monday. A hearing is scheduled that day so the school can work out the logistics of accommodating the dog, which his family credits with helping stop the boy from running off and keeping him from eating things like rocks.

The case still could head to trial, though the family’s attorney, Clay St. Clair, said Friday the initial ruling is based on the Illinois law allowing service animals in school. The district did not return calls.

“I don’t know if it would have been a simpler issue if we were dealing with a guide dog or something the school board was a little more familiar with,” St. Clair said.


Associated Press Writer Jim Suhr in St. Louis contributed to this report.

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Thursday, May 28, 2009

iPhones And The Final Trip

Read this story on iPhones and autistic kids in USA Today.

Well, I’m at the Lexington airport, taking off in about an hour for Atlanta for the FINAL MOVE!

The movers have about packed up the house, the kids and Kim are moved in at a friend’s house for the next month, and on Sunday we move up, for good, to Lexington.

Now, we don’t take ownership of our house until mid-month at the soonest, so we’ll be in our way little corporate apt., but we’ll have the trip to Disney World to break that up, along with the pool to go swim at.

Not having the fam around has allowed me to dive into the new job, but it’s time, we need to dive into our new life together.  It’s more than time to make this happen.

So the journey is moving from Daddy and the new job to the family and the new expereinces. Phase two officially gets underway very soon….

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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

News But Not News

New Thomas Online Game Will Help Autistic Kids Develop Their Social Skills

Flapping…hopping…squealing…pushing the buttons on the video tape player and DVD player over and over….pushing Thomas back and forth, back and forth, back and forth…

When it was worst for us, and hardest for our 2-3 yr. old boy, often the only happy place we all could find was playing with Thomas trains.  Sometimes we’d TV talk together about Thomas, his friends and troublesome trucks.  If he doesn’t have them all, he’s close.  We communicated through Thomas and Friends.  We drove from Irvine to Brea to shop at the Thomas the Tank Engine store…watching him get animated, chatty and excited was what we were chasing.

Somewhere in this span of time we realized something was seriously wrong with D, but we always had Thomas, Percy, Gordon, Henry and James…and wise Toby.

Even today, years later, I can get a sense of a rough day by seeing – among the super hero action figures strewn across the couch, a well worn, paint slightly chipped Thomas train.  It is a comforting feeling, holding Thomas in your hand.

We have 3-4 Thomas’.  You need one in different rooms in the basement, living room, bedroom.  And you’ll search it out when you talk about uncomfortable things, like going to new places or doing new things that make you nervous.

When I think of Demetrius from 2 to 9 years old, I think of Thomas, Woody from Toy Story, Spiderman and Batman.  But I truly see Demetrius and Thomas the Tank Engine.

Where am I going with this?  Is this story any surprise?  All little boys love Thomas – but I darn well know that autistic boys love him just a little bit more…. and don’t seem to outgrow him.

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Now this is a horse I can get behind….

Read here about it’s 30-1 odds to win!
Posted by Jerry in 11:12:55 | Permalink | Comments Off

Saturday, May 23, 2009

A Few Stories To Read

Washington Post piece about a memoir of two brothers…

Did you like Borat? Are you going to see Bruno?  Well, seriously, this is the dude’s cuz….

Why do I feel like I’m losing this battle against her being the primary spokesperson for the cause?

Posted by Jerry in 19:40:29 | Permalink | Comments (1) »

Thursday, May 21, 2009

A Genetic Clue to Why Autism Affects Boys More

A couple of stories in Time worth reading. The first one here is the same as the title above.

This is a great one to read during vacation season. Pinning Identification and up to date photos make sense, and we won’t have to wait in too long of lines at DisneyWorld it looks like….

Posted by Jerry in 01:46:24 | Permalink | Comments (1) »

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Adult Story About Aspergers And Love in the NY Times

Click here to read a piece about Aspergers and adult love…
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