As I was reviewing my son's IEP goals today, my heart stopped when I saw the C-word.
No, not THAT C-word.
The special needs C-word.
MAN OH MAN OH MAN do I hate it when parents, educators and therapists use choice to describe behavior.
Yes, I hear the argument that by using the word choice, adults are putting control into the child's hand.
I just don't believe it.
Instead, I think the C-word is used to shame children into compliance. It also takes adults off the hook for failing to effectively understand a child's attempts to communicate and teach them to use assistive methods.
It also completely dismisses the reality that these are kids with impaired nervous systems, and the health of the nervous system determines behavioral response. This isn't just an autism thing, anyone can be overstimulated to the point of losing control of their behavior.
Think of the last time you lost it on your kids. Since...
Today we achieved a major milestone: Tosh watched a new movie all the way through, and only used his iPad once.
This has been a long time coming. We first took Tosh to the movies three years ago. At that time, he was five and if you have a moderate to severely autistic 5-year-old, you already know how that turned out. It didn't go well.
He kept running up and down our row and wanted to sit in the row in front of us. At one point, he crawled under the seats so he could get there.
This all happened during the previews. Mid-way through the animated short, we left. He just couldn't handle it.
But we didn't give up. I'm very passionate about the belief that everyone deserves to go out and experience the world. Whether it's going to the movies, out to eat at a restaurant or on vacation, kids and adults with autism are capable of far more than we realize.
They just need lots and lots and lots of practice.
It's a real conundrum: the only way to learn social skills is...
A controversial new mandatory vaccine law was passed by the California state senate recently, which means people are once again debating whether or not vaccines cause autism.
This blog post is not about that issue.
It's about an argument people make when they debate it.
It usually goes a little something like this:
Even if vaccines do cause autism, I'd rather take that risk than worry about my child catching the measles. After all, autism isn't fatal.
The way this argument trivializes autism is bad enough, as if it's merely a behavioral inconvenience, rather than the serious neurological disorder that it is.
But even worse, it's wrong.
Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.
Autism is absolutely fatal, and there is data to prove it.
According to an April 2017 study published in the American Journal of Public Health, and reported in Psychology Today, the average life expectancy in the United States for those with ASD is only 36 years old.
For the general population, it's 72.
Flying with an autistic family member can be stressful enough. But these days, it seems like every week there’s a news story about an airline that kicked a passenger off an airplane for no good reason. Too often, it seems like a case of discrimination.
As the parent of a child who screeches, kicks seats and has meltdowns, you can’t help but wonder if you might be the next national headline, like the Beegle family after they were escorted off a United flight by police in 2015.
You shouldn’t let this fear stop you from traveling. But it’s important to know your rights.
The Department of Transportation has specific regulations governing air travelers with developmental disabilities. The DOT defines an individual with a disability as anyone who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life acitvities, has a record of such an impairment, or is regarded as having such an impairment.
The regulation also specifically...