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Timothy Archibald talks Photography and Autism Awareness


Timothy Archibald has received acclaim in the news for taking photos of his son Eli who has autism. The “ECHOLILIA Series” as Timothy calls it was started when his son was 5 and lasted untill he was 8. You can see more photos from his series here.

Can you tell us more on how the Echolilia Series started and what you hoped to gain from it?
Well, like most things, it just began as a reaction. My son was five, had just started Kindergarten, and suddenly every moment and every topic in the house revolved around Eli. The school wants to know why is he acting a certain way? The parents have questions about Eli…Eli this, Eli that….everyone was suddenly trying to address this unusual behavior or simply this bit of unusual something that inhabited Eli. My wife and I didn’t really know anything was up…we just knew he always was a challenge. But after our second son grew older and we started to see what a non autistic child was like…we started to get an idea that things were different with Eli. In an attempt to gain some control over this situation, I begain photographing him during times we were together and alone. 
Like most kids, you can’t really make Eli do something if he doesn’t want to. So he wasn’t very interested in being in the photo alone. But if he could collaborate, if he could suggest the pose, the idea the structure, then he was very much into it. That began our process.
Read the full article at Autism Speaks 
(http://www.autismspeaks.org/news/news-item/timothy-archibald-talks-photography-and-autism-awareness)

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Hear this: Listening device helps children with autism


29 November 2013

In a classroom buzzing with noise, children with autism — especially those who also have hearing problems — can find it challenging to tune in.
A study published earlier this year found that 6 percent of children with hearing problems have autism, compared with 1 percent of the general population. Still, there is little research exploring devices that improve hearing in these children.
A new study, published 30 October in The Journal of Pediatrics, reports that a wireless radio-frequency listening device helps children with autism hear teachers talk, which in turn improves their social interactions and learning.
With this kind of system, a teacher wears a wireless microphone, usually on her lapel. A transmitter relays her voice to a receiver and earpiece worn by the child...
Read the full article at Sfari
(http://sfari.org/news-and-opinion/blog/2013/hear-this-listening-device-helps-children-with-autism)

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Digital education shouldn’t bypass disabled


By Kyle Shachmut

 |   
  SEPTEMBER 09, 2013


The Braille terminal is one type of aid for visually impaired computer users.
ASSOCIATED PRESS/FILE
The Braille terminal is one type of aid for visually impaired computer users.

AS STUDENTS return to school this fall, most will find a plethora of new technologies and virtual environments, on which their institutions have been spending millions of dollars to bring into the classroom. Yet many of these resources will be needlessly discriminatory. What would happen if an institution constructed a new state-of-the-art building but neglected to make it accessible to the disabled? People would rightly be outraged. Yet even as new technology-rich environments revolutionize the classroom, few make provision for people who are blind, dyslexic, or otherwise print-disabled.
Just like buildings, digital resources can be made accessible to all through good design and planning. Electronic resources should be inherently accessible; for most people, the zeroes and ones that make up digital content are translated for display on screens, but the same information can be transmitted audibly or connected to an accessory that puts it into Braille. Mainstream touchscreen devices like the iPad and iPhone are fully accessible to blind users right out of the box.
Read the full article at Boston Globe 
(http://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2013/09/08/classroom-technology-must-accessible-those-with-disabilities/svRyLPnmnBSNCDUuQaUEVJ/story.html)

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To prevent school violence, teachers learn how to spot mental illness


By Erika Angulo, Producer, NBC News
In classrooms across the country, teachers are going back to school to learn how to spot symptoms of mental illness among their students.
It's all part of an effort to prevent incidents such as this week's shooting at an elementary school in Georgia, which could have ended in disaster were it not for the quick thinking of school bookkeeper Antoinette Tuff. Suspect 20-year-old Michael Brandon Hill told Tuff he was mentally unstable and had nothing to live for, but she calmed him down, and convinced him to surrender.  
Mental illness also played a role in the December shooting deaths at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newton, Conn., and the massacre at Columbine High School in Colorado 14 years ago.
Read the full story at NBC News

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Best Playtime Activities For Kids with Autism


By Deborah Mitchell  August 19, 2013 - 11:59am for eMaxHealth
Young children love to play, but the types of playtime activities they are drawn to differ, and this is true for kids with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) as well. Researchers in New York state have identified playtime options that seem to appeal to children with ASD, which may help parents make choices for their kids.

What type of play attracts kids with autism?

Based on the research conducted by Kathy Ralabate Doody, assistant professor of exceptional education at SUNY Buffalo State, and Jana Mertz, program coordinator at the Autism Spectrum disorder Center at the Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo, the good news is that kids with autism seem to respond well to a great number of different types of toys and activities.
Basically, the researchers found that kids with autism gravitate toward options that involve repetitive movement, lots of sensory feedback, and play items that allow them to experience cause-and-effect. The study was conducted in a children’s museum that has exhibits designed to attract kids with opportunities to play. Each month, the museum has an event that is open to families who have children with ASD.
Read the full article at E Max Health 

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Kids Who Have A Sibling With Autism Are 7 Times More Likely To Be Diagnosed As Well (STUDY)


Posted: 

By Genevra Pittman
NEW YORK | Wed Aug 21, 2013 9:36am EDT
(Reuters Health) - Children who have an older sibling with autism are seven times more likely than other kids to be diagnosed with the disorder themselves, according to a new study from Denmark.
That extra risk is smaller than had been suggested in earlier studies.
Researchers also found a higher-than-average risk among children whose older half-sibling had an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) - especially if the two kids shared the same mother.
"I think a lot of autism researchers agree that the causes of autism are many and it's very complex," Therese Gronborg, who led the study at Aarhus University, said.
"If it was only genetics we would see a much higher recurrence rate" among siblings, she told Reuters Health.

About one in every 88 U.S. children has an ASD, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Read more at the Huffington Post 

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10 Reasons I’m Blessed to Be Raising My Two Kids with Down Syndrome

By ELIANA TARDIO

It has been more than 6 years since my daughter was born. Her unexpected diagnosis of Down syndrome kept me frozen and living with uncertainty for her first few weeks of life. I already had a child with Down syndrome, my 2 year-old son, and becoming the mother of two kids with Down syndrome really made me think of the future and my ability to take care of two kids with special needs.
In general she was a very healthy newborn. She was born two weeks before her due date (my water broke while I was running to catch my son in a pool party), but she was already a healthy 7 pounds and 19 inches long—pretty good weight and height for a baby with an extra chromosome. I delivered her after 12 hours of labor, with no epidural and no pain medicine. I always knew I wanted to be completely conscious when I first held her in my arms and welcomed her. I didn’t know if she would be born with Down syndrome, so I also wanted to look at her closely for any sign of condition. It turned out I didn’t need to, as her characteristics were very obvious and the nurse told me about her condition immediately after she was born.
The first thought that came to my mind was, “Oh my God. This cannot be happening to me again.” Suddenly I heard myself sobbing, but it was weird feeling. My mind was still processing but my body was already reacting to the biggest fear of my life: having a second child with Down syndrome.
Read the full list at Babble 

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Messi draws disabled children to sport

Posted Friday, Aug. 09, 2013

Valentino is a fan of the River Plate soccer club who dreams of dodging down the field like Argentine star Lionel Messi. Adrian wants to score goals like his hero, former Boca Juniors standout Martin Palermo. Eugenia and Sofia just want to have fun with the ball.
All four must use joysticks to get around in motorized wheelchairs, but they're still getting a taste of their dreams. They're among the 50 or so youngsters who recently began playing Powerchair Football in Buenos Aires.
The sport, which began in France in 1978 and now has active leagues in the United States, has finally reached football-mad Argentina, providing an enjoyable outlet for quadriplegics and others who can't walk because of multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, paralysis or spinal cord injuries.
Read more at Star Telegram 

Read more here: http://www.star-telegram.com/2013/08/09/5068969/ap-photos-golazo-disabled-kids.html#storylink=cpy

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Parents—Know Your Rights



Watch the video below, featuring Dr. Mary Ann Block, author of No More ADHD
About ‘ADHD’ & Child Mental Disorders:
“Virtually anyone at any given time can meet the criteria for bipolar disorder or ADHD.  Anyone.  And the problem is everyone diagnosed with even one of these ‘illnesses’ triggers the pill dispenser.” — Dr. Stefan Kruszewski, Psychiatrist
Parents are quite simply not being given accurate information about psychiatric labels (mental disorders) or the drugs being prescribed to ‘treat’ their children.  This is fact: There are no medical tests in existence that can prove ADHD or any other  mental disorder is a physical abnormality, brain dysfunction, chemical imbalance or genetic abnormality. Period.  Even the National Institute of Health Consensus (NIH) issued a statement admitting, “We do not have an independent, valid test for ADHD, and there is no data to indicate that ADHD is due to a brain malfunction.”
Millions of children have been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), BiPolar disorder, OCDSocial Anxiety Disorder (SAD) and many other psychiatric labels (diagnosis) none of which are supported by medical test or confirmed as physical malfunctions (disease) by science.  Parents are simply told their child is mentally ill and more often than not, told to place their child on psychiatric drugs, including ADHD drugs which the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration categorizes in the same class of highly addictive substances as cocaine, morphine and opium. They are not being provided with non-harmful, non-drug solutions for problems of attention, mood or behavior.
Read the full article at CCHR International 

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Autism-Friendly Performance: OKLAHOMA!


What is an Autism-Friendly Performance?

Autism-Friendly Performances are designed and intended for families with children on the autism spectrum or who have other sensory issues. At these performances the theater environment will be altered, providing a safe, sensory-friendly, comfortable and judgment-free space that is welcoming for these families. Autism-Friendly Performances are recommended for those families bringing a loved one have a developmental disability, and their teachers and advocates who are familiar with and accepting of behaviors exhibited by some individuals with autism.

FAQs

Q: Is this performance only for families of children with autism or other sensory issues, or can anyone attend?A: Autism-Friendly Performances are intended primarily for families with children on the autism spectrum or who have other sensory issues. In addition to altering the theater environment to cater to those with sensory issues, a main goal of this program is to provide a safe, judgment-free, comfortable experience for the entire family. We achieve this by recommending this performance for those families bringing loved ones who have a developmental disability, and their advocates who are familiar with and accepting of behaviors exhibited by some children with autism.
Read the full article at Boston Conservatory where showtimes, ticket pricing and full synopsis can be found. 

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When should we question if our child is getting the right treatment?


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The Disorientation of Dyslexia, ADD: Is It A Gift?


By 




According to Ron Davis, the disorientation of dyslexia may very well be a gift. The creator of the Davis Dyslexia Correction Center and the Davis Autism Approach, Davis says that people with dyslexia, unlike most of us, have a genetic ability to disorient themselves with no external stimuli. Their brains go into a disorientation mode on their own.

For example, if we are looking out a train window in a standing train, and another moving train goes by slowly, we may become disoriented and feel like we’re moving.

Read more at Psych Central 

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Coping with the News that Your Child has Special Needs


Receiving the News

I remember very clearly the day our pediatrician told me and my husband about our daughter's disability. She had been born eleven weeks premature, and we knew she had suffered some brain damage during the emergency c-section, but despite those facts, we still hoped for the best. At six months old, we knew she was behind developmentally, but we thought it was because of her prematurity. At the doctor's office, however, we found out differently. He told us it looked like she had symptoms of cerebral palsy and that the best thing for her would be to get involved in occupational and physical therapy right away. My husband sat there, stunned. I held my sleeping daughter in my arms with one question racing through my mind. I had to ask, "Does this mean she could be in a wheelchair the rest of her life?"
When he answered, I began to cry and the doctor came over and hugged me and my daughter.
That was nearly five years ago. I did not cope very well with the news. I felt a myriad of emotions - sadness, guilt, overwhelmed, anxious, scared - all of which led me into a state of depression. If I had known then what I know now, I probably would have had an easier time dealing with this news. That's why I'd like to share.

Acceptance

Acceptance of your child's special needs can be very difficult. Every parent wants their child to be healthy and whole. "As long as my baby's healthy" is often what parents say when asked if they want a boy or a girl. When it turns out the baby is not healthy, it can be very traumatic.
The most helpful thing to accept what is going on with your son or daughter is to grieve what your child may never be. One of the things I had to grieve was that I might never be able to see my daughter take her first steps. A parent of an autistic child may have to grieve the loss of their child ever having an in-depth conversation. Depending on the child's disability, the grieving will be different for each case.
During the grieving process, remember that is okay to cry and to feel sad. It's important to feel these feelings instead of trying to stuff them down deep inside, which could ultimately lead to depression, as it did with me. The important thing is to not stay stuck in these emotions.

Read the full article at Carl Jean 

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Brain scans could uncover dyslexia before kids learn to read


The colors of the arcuate fasciculus indicate the level of randomness of water diffusion within the structure, and thus the integrity of white matter tracts and fiber organization. Those values, in turn, correlate with scores on a verbal task.
(Credit: Zeynep Saygin/MIT)







Dyslexia is a common learning disorder that affects around 1 in 10 people in the U.S., where it is typically diagnosed around second grade but sometimes goes undiagnosed and unmanaged well into adulthood. And though it is technically a learning disorder, it actually occurs in people with normal vision and intelligence, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Now researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Boston Children's Hospital say that a type of MRI scan called diffusion-weighted imaging could help diagnose the disorder in kids before they even start to learn to read -- a discovery that could help teachers and experts intervene early to manage it.
The research, published August 14 in the Journal of Neuroscience, involved scanning the brains of 40 children who are part of a larger study assessing pre-reading skills. Researchers confirmed a correlation between the size and organization of the arcuate fasciculus and performance on tests of what is called phonological awareness, or the ability to identify and manipulate the sounds of language.
Read more at CNET 

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Disability Awareness: 10 Things Parents Should Teach Their Kids About Disabilities


Parents are all over the board when it comes to how they teach their kids about disabilities. Some scold their kids when they ask what’s wrong when a person with a disability passes by, and other parents are totally cool with letting their kids run around and approach us at will. No two parenting techniques are alike.
But there are a few things that are repeated. From telling their child to always look away or giving them a generic viewpoint of people with disabilities, mistakes on how to talk about us are abound. Since even the most well-meaning parent can accidentally flub up, here are 10 ways to help give your kid a leg up on how to think differently about disabilities.
1) Answering “Why can’t they walk?”
One of the most common questions kids ask when they see someone who uses a wheelchair is this, “Why can’t they walk?” Kids are naturally curious and have no filter, which are without question one of their best and worst qualities. If your child is younger, saying, “They just have an owie,” can be enough.
If they’re older however, just be honest. “I don’t know, baby, but most likely it’s because their nerves,” is all you need to say. My 6-year-old niece is a great example. She’s still too young to understand the concept of a spinal cord injury, so I just tell her my legs just don’t listen to me anymore, and she understand it completely.
But what’s great is once they fully understand, fear is erased.

Read more at Huffington Post 

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Siblings Of Kids With Disabilities May Have Problems Functioning, According To Survey Of Parents


siblings kids with disabilities

By Kerry Grens
NEW YORK | Tue Jul 30, 2013 8:35pm IST
(Reuters Health) - Children who have a sibling with a disability are more prone than other kids to having troubles with relationships, behavior, schoolwork or recreational activities, according to a new survey of parents.
The study could not explain why the siblings of disabled kids were more likely to have problems functioning socially or emotionally than kids without a special needs brother or sister. But Anthony Goudie, the report's lead author, said he's convinced it has to do with the family situation.
"That's driven by the disproportionate or increased financial strain and stress within these households, the psychological stress...and the emotional stress on caregivers and parents, and the amount of time they have to spend devoting to the child with a disability," said Goudie, who is an assistant professor at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and Arkansas Children's Hospital in Little Rock.

Read more at Huffington Post 

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Dad’s of Disability: A Worthwhile Project



30 July 2013 by 
Social work and some of its core principles i.e. social justice and advocacy are close to my heart. SJS appreciates when an individual in the community approaches us regarding an idea or issue that clearly meshes with these values. The interview below is with such an individual, Gary Dietz, who wants to further educate society about father’s experiences with their children who experience disabilities. His project has a unique approach in that it will be a book with a collection of personal essays and poems all about the male caregiver’s perspective.
Why you have chosen to write this book and why the focus specifically on fathers?
I am a father of a 13 year old boy who has an interstitial deletion of the lower arm of chromosome 13. That means that some of his genetic material is missing between some of his other chromosomes. There’s no fancy name for this deletion like there are for more common rare genetic issues. Read that again, it is indeed what I meant — some rare genetic issues are more common than others and the ones that are ultra-uncommon don’t usually have names.

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The Oregon Zoo Invited Visually-Impaired Children To Touch A Sleeping Tiger

by: Ryan Broderick 
July 25, 2013 

Nikki is 235-pound Siberian tiger that was having her physical last week.

Nikki is 235-pound Siberian tiger that was having her physical last week.

When Nikki went under the gas the Oregon Zoobrought in a dozen children who were all visually-impaired, and a few who were completely blind.

When Nikki went under the gas the Oregon Zoo brought in a dozen children who were all visually-impaired, and a few who were completely blind.

According to The Wall Street Journal, a lot of the children were surprised at how rough Nikki’s fur was.

According to The Wall Street Journal , a lot of the children were surprised at how rough Nikki's fur was.

Ten-year-old Zoe Christian-Parker said Nikki’s paws smelled like sweaty feet.

Ten-year-old Zoe Christian-Parker said Nikki's paws smelled like sweaty feet.

Programs like this allow visually-impaired children to learn more about animals.

Programs like this allow visually-impaired children to learn more about animals.

But it also lets the children socialize with other children with similar disabilities.

But it also lets the children socialize with other children with similar disabilities.

And Nikki gets a nice check-up out of it.

And Nikki gets a nice check-up out of it.
Read more at Buzzfeed

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Sensory Processing Disorder Linked With Brain Structure Differences


sensory processing disorder brain
Posted: 

Kids with sensory processing disorder (SPD) -- a condition where common sensations are unbearable and disrupt daily life -- have differences in brain structure compared with other kids, according to a new study. The condition has yet to be recognized by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, the psychiatrists' manual of mental disorders.
"We are just at the beginning, because people didn’t believe this existed," study researcher Dr. Elysa Marco, M.D., who is a cognitive and behavior child neurologist at the University of California, San Francisco's Benioff Children's Hospital, said in a statement. "This is absolutely the first structural imaging comparison of kids with research diagnosed sensory processing disorder and typically developing kids. It shows it is a brain-based disorder and gives us a way to evaluate them in clinic."
The study, published in the journal NeuroImage: Clinical, involved studying the brains of kids with SPD. Researchers conducted diffusion tensor imaging on the brains of 16 boys ages 8 to 11, all who have SPD but don't have autism or prematurity, as well as 24 similar boys without SPD.
Read more at Huffington Post

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An Invisible child, a Special child


Orli D 
June 26, 2013

It took me awhile to even start writing this post, because when it comes to Yon, things are always so much more complicated. Being a parent to a child like Yon brings with it so many difficulties that you can't imagine beforehand. It starts with the most banal question of all, what to call his condition? Is he a disabled child? a special-needs child? a Special child?

The outreach advisor that met us on Thursday called him an Invisible child.
Invisible.

She meant to say that because his disability isn't showing in anyway apart form wearing glasses and a hat, that people forget about it and his special needs aren't met.
And just like that, she made my beautiful child into disabled, with special needs and invisible.

We call him Special.

Being the parent of a Special child you have to be constantly prepared for the little twinges in your heart that comes unexpectedly and randomly when you are walking on the street and see something interesting and he doesn't see it, or when there is a discussion about travelling with kids and you suddenly realise you can't give any tips about playing games that involves looking outside, or when you have to give him the iPad because somebody made the letters too small for him when using that app on the iPhone.

Read the full story at Orli D's Blogspot

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