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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 




1. NEVER under-estimate an individual because they are on the spectrum. Some of the most intelligent, interesting, and most capable people I know have Autism. 
2. Don’t assume that people with autism are emotionless or uncaring if they don’t respond in a way you would expect others to respond. Often times people on the spectrum have a harder time displaying and sorting their feelings and emotions. Sometimes they see things so black and white that they may not see your side.
View the full list at Rockin Moms World 



Brilliant photography of the faces of autism – Evidence and Artifacts: Facing Autism

We are honored to feature a new show on the network hosted by the incredible Dr Gil Gippy, co author of Respecting Autism with the late Stanley Greenspan. For his premiere he is bringing us a very special guest, Christopher Gauthier, a brilliant photographer and autism advocate who has photographed some of the most renowned experts in the autism community as well as the beautiful children they give a voice. The premiere of Respecting Autism will air Sunday December 8th at 9pmE/6pmP
Evidence and Artifacts: Facing Autism, the brilliant photography of Christopher M. Gauthiér’s in collaboration with his wife Jacqueline, Autism parents and advocates. Click on any picture to enter the gallery.
Evidence and Artifacts: Facing Autism is a long-term photographic project documenting the growing number of individuals, families and invested teachers, advocates, clinicians, medical professionals and researchers on the front lines fighting back against disability. Facing Autism is both a call to action, and a way to honor those who are rising to the challenge autism presents everyday.
Read more at the Coffee Klatch 



The value of art therapy for those on the autism spectrum

by Kate Lacour, ATR-BC

Autism rates are on the rise, and new treatments, such as art therapy, are emerging to meet the pervasive challenges it presents. Many parents look to art to help their child.

In recent years, autism has been featured frequently in the news, and it seems that everyone knows someone whose life has been touched by the condition. What is autism and how is it treated? Autism is a neurological condition present at birth, whose precise cause is as yet unknown. The symptoms of autism include repetitive or compulsive behaviors, social impairment, problems with communication and trouble processing sensory information (such as hypersensitivity to sounds). The most popular treatment is behavior modification therapy, which aims at shaping behaviors through a system of rewards and consequences. In recent years, caregivers seeking alternative or complimentary treatments have a broader range of options available. One such treatment is art therapy.

Broadly speaking, art therapy promotes mental and emotional growth through art making. Unlike art instruction, art therapy is conducted with the aim of building life skills, addressing deficits and problem behaviors, and promoting healthy self-expression. Clients are encouraged to explore and express themselves using art materials; crafting attractive artwork is not the goal (though it may be a happy by-product).

Read the full article at the Art Of Autism 




Online Dating, on the Autism Spectrum

My brother, Hussein Al-Nasrawi, sits in his bedroom with his MacBook in his lap, clicking away on the keyboard. Hussein has olive skin and lanky arms. As he stares at his computer screen, he never cracks a smile; in fact, he doesn't smile very much in general. He logs onto the dating site OkCupid and begins answering some questions.

“What are you looking for?” the site asks.

“Someone to go out with,” he says to himself as he types each letter with undivided concentration.
“How do you feel about falling in love?”
“I like to just let it happen.”

Hussein knows everything there is to know about Disney. He can hear a song on the radio and play it note for note on the piano. He’s funny, but he can’t tell a joke. He’s loving, but he never shows affection. He is single, 22 years old, and autistic.

Read the full article at the Atlantic 




A Communication App For Those We Love With Autism

by Tiffany Khoshaba
Everyone ought to speak. The goal of Aut2Speak is to make that more of a reality for those suffering from non-verbal autism.
Here's to the crazy ones!
While watching a documentary about autism I knew that there must be a better way for them to communicate. If you search youtube for 'autism typing' you can find video-after-video of children and adults who are now able to express themselves through keyboard typing. The problem is that the traditional keyboard was designed for and by those who do not suffer from Autism. I wondered how we could alter this so that it can expedite the process of tying, and thus communicating, for those we love with autism. I have created a wonderful keyboard that has many features. We need your support and we appreciate every dollar we can raise for this worthy cause.
 "It would be a shame not to nurture someone's intelligence just because they cannot express it". -Gail Gilbert
Read the full article & the whole project at Kickstarter 



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



Techies with Asperger's? Yes, we are a little different...

By Stuart Burns
Shortly after being told I have Asperger's syndrome, I stood in front of 30-odd people, my work colleagues, telling them I have Asperger’s and what it means to them and to me. Some were like: "Meh, whatever!", some were busy looking their watches: "Is it lunchtime yet?" I could feel my job slowly ebbing away.

It was like crashing your car, in slow motion. You can see it coming but it takes its own sweet time. It wasn't my idea to make the disclosure, I hated doing it, and I really don't know what HR were thinking. (Does anyone, ever?)

My diagnosis had come about via a very non-standard route. During a course I attended I scored off the chart on a personality test in certain traits. At the end of the class and the teacher and I got talking. There were lots of questions along the lines of "Do I do this? Do I do that?"

Then she dropped the bomb. "I only do this as a stand-in for when the lecturer is not available. My day job is working with people who have ASD and I think you may have it."

On further questioning, as to her validity to make that call, it turned out she is one of the UK’s few specialists in the field of diagnosis. Fast-forward two months and I had more offers of help than I knew what to do with.



Sensory Hugs Deep Pressure and Weighted Vest to aid children with autism

CC BY by Sensory Hugs
CC BY by Sensory Hugs
August 30, 2013 by 
Children with autism find it hard to concentrate, and react to sensory information. Several products are now available in the market to help them with their activities involving these skills. Earlier this year, Autism Daily Newscast reported on a new “Hugs” vest that is under development. But what about those that want a weighted vest now? This is the first in a three part series on products that are currently available on the market.
One of the highly recommended products to aid them in tasks that require sensory integration is the Sensory Hugs Deep Pressure and Weighted Vest.
Compared to a regular vest you can find and buy anywhere, Sensory Hugs Deep Pressure and Weighted Vest offers added weight and pressure in the material which transmits unconscious information from the muscles and joints of the child with autism or neurological disorders. This helps them process sensory information and improve their abilities.
For more information visit their site at



The Benefits of Music Therapy for Autism

Posted by  on Mar 4, 2013

A professional who specializes in autism can suggest different treatment for autistic's that can have a significant positive effect on their behavior. One such treatment is Music therapy. 

Music therapy is a controlled music experience that is used to facilitate positive change in human behavior. Each session of music therapy is carefully planned, carried out, and evaluated to suit the specific needs of each patient. Music therapy can include any of the following musical activities: 

o Listening to music and/or musical creation 
o Playing musical instruments (any instrument can be used) 
o Moving to music 
o Singing 

As far as autism is concerned, studies have shown that music therapy has a significant, positive influence when used to treat autistic individuals. Participating in music therapy allows autistics the opportunity to experience non-threatening outside stimulation, as they don't engage in direct human contact. 

Read the full article at the Piano Wizard Academy 




Debunking 6 Myths About Asperger Syndrome


The discovery of Asperger Syndrome (AS) dates back to 1944. Austrian pediatrician Hans Asperger described the syndrome when he was treating four boys with similar symptoms. But his writings remained relatively unknown until 1981. At that time, English doctor Lorna Wing published case studies with children who displayed the same signs.

Still, it wasn’t until 1992 that AS became an official diagnosis in theInternational Classification of Diseases (ICD-10). Two years later, it became an official diagnosis in theDiagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV).

Asperger Syndrome is a developmental disorder. People with AS don’t have cognitive or language deficits. (If they do, they’re diagnosed with autism.) But they do have a difficult time interacting, communicating and connecting with others. They’re unable to pick up on social cues and express their emotions.

Read the full article at Pysch Central 




Life as an autistic triplet: The startlingly intimate images that reveal the daily routine of 18-year-old brothers who ALL suffer from the same condition

A photographer has captured candid and incredibly moving photographs of teenage triplets, all of whom suffer from autism.

Over the course of two years, José Antonio de Lamadrid, 50, from Seville, has followed three 18-year-old brothers who were all born with the same complex neurological disorder.

Mr Lamadrid wanted to follow Alejandro, Álvaro and Jaime Morillo Aguilar because he was fascinated and touched by their interaction. 

Mr Lamadrid also has personal experience of the condition as his nephew is autistic.

Jaime, Alejandro and Alvaro
Here Jaime, Alejandro and Álvaro (left to right) are on their way to school in their parent's car. It took three years for them to be diagnosed with the complex neurological disorder

The condition is characterised by a difficulty to communicate and socialise yet the three men have a visibly strong brotherly bond.
The men's parents, Noelia and Jaime, said that it was shortly after their sons turned one that they started to notice differences between them and children of the same age.

They said that the boys did not respond to their calls and seemed disinterested by things that should have fascinated the them - planes in the sky, barking dogs and offerings of sweets all went unnoticed.

Here the triplets' clothing is laid on the bed they sleep in during summer. They like to wear the same clothes as each other

Isolated: Alejandro is pictured in the school playground. The image captures how difficult it can be for autistic people to interact with their peers and the wider world

Jaime and Alejandro
Every day, Jaime and Alejandro write their diary, documenting exactly what they have done, including minute details such as playing on their Nintendo console. Those with autism tend to be obsessive about their routine

Jaime and Alejandro
This photograph captures the touching moment that father Jaime washes and shaves his son, Alejandro. Despite their age, the triplets will remain childlike and vulnerable for the rest of their life

It took three years and a raft of tests for them to be diagnosed. They were not deaf, there were not obvious genetic ot neurological problems.

'When you do not have any of these symptoms, you have autism,' Noelia said.

Álvaro suffers with the most severe learning difficulties out of the three because he suffered a brain injury in childhood. As a result he attends a specialised autism centre. 

Alejandro and Alvaro
Alejandro and Álvaro may be 18-years-old but their condition makes them remarkably childlike. Here they are photographed playing cowboys at home

Alejandro is fixated by an image of himself in a mirror of a supermarket. Autism removes a person's understanding of what is acceptable in social situations

His brothers Alejandro and Jaime however attend the local high school that offers special classes to help them integrate with those unaffected by the condition.

As with many people suffering autism, the men are very keen to stick to a routine.

They tirelessly document their days - even recording the minutiae of atching TV, washing the dishes and, as one diary entry says, 'eating a coconut yoghurt and playing Nintendo'.

Every Friday the men go to the town library to rent out movies. They also visit their local leisure centre to socialise with other children who have autism.

Here Jaime enjoys being pampered by his mother and aunt in preparation for a costume party. The photographer's images give a rare insight into the complex world of men living with a condition that remains relatively misunderstood

Álvaro always carries small objects in his hands - everyday items that he calls 'inventions'. Autism is often characterised by obsessive tendencies, such as becoming fixated by seemingly unimportant objects

Here the brothers play, supervised by a social worker, while they wait to be picked up by their parents from their weekly club. Every Friday they play games and meet other people with autism at a local recreation centre

Alejandro is an accomplished artist and enjoys playing puzzles. 

Since the age of six he has been able to complete 1000-piece jigsaws in a matter of hours. 

Álvaro, always carries what he refers to as 'inventions'. Objects include clay figures and everyday household objects such as combs, pegs, scissors and pencils.

Jaime has a incredible memory - for example, if he is given a date he is able to tell you what day of the week it was, even if it was many years ago.

View the whole article at Daily Mail 



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 



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


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 



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.


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. 



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


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 



Q&A: How health care law will affect people with autism

Autism advocates celebrated what they thought was a major victory when President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act in 2010: They expected the law to require all insurance companies to cover pricey, potentially lifelong treatments for those with the incurable condition.

But instead of creating a national standard for autism coverage, the administration bowed to political pressure from states and insurers and left it to states to define, within certain parameters, the "essential benefits" that insurance companies must provide.

Coverage requirements for autism treatments, such as behavioral counseling and speech and occupational therapy, already vary from state to state. Far from smoothing out those differences, critics say the ACA will add a new layer of complexity.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) says it will consider setting a national standard in 2016. Until then, states will decide what autism treatments insurance companies must cover.

Read more at USA Today 



Common Genetic Ground Found for Depression, Schizophrenia, Autism

New research bolsters the idea that the risk for psychiatric and developmental disorders isn’t specific to particular conditions — and that could mean new opportunities to treat mental illnesses that focus more on their common genetic roots.
Mental illnesses like depression and schizophrenia clearly run in families, but neuroscientists have always assumed that the biological drivers behind these disorders were distinct. However, expanding on results reported earlier this year from psychiatry’s largest ever experiment, researchers now report that known genetic variations account for 17% to 29% of the risk for schizophreniadepression, bipolar disorder, autism and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). And risk for one condition is often strongly linked with risk for others.
Published in Nature Genetics, the study was funded by the National Institute on Mental Health (NIMH) and involved collaboration between nearly 400 scientists in 20 countries working with genetic data from some 59,000 people.
Read the full story at Time 



People with Disabilities as Social Outcasts: Shifting the Perspective from Victim to Advocate

Posted: 08/12/2013 

How do people perceive and treat individuals with disabilities? Do they treat them with respect or disparagement? What is it like to experience ridicule, shame, disgrace, isolation, and rejection? While not all people do so, some nondisabled people do not empathize with disabled people and the challenges they face. Some feel uncomfortable being a friend to someone who is perceived differently. People who are not exposed to individuals with disabilities often do not realize that a disabled person, despite his or her disability, is just like a nondisabled person.

Everyone should ask themselves, what similarities and differences do I have with people who have disabilities? To what extent do people think individuals with disabilities are different? Nobody should be ostracized for something they have no control over. This is an issue I feel passionate about because I have a learning disability and have been a victim of disability discrimination. I have endured so many obstacles, but I am now an advocate for disability rights. Everyone should treat disabled individuals with respect, dignity, and concern.

Read the full story at the Huffington Post 



Autism Moms Have Stress Similar To Combat Soldiers

Mothers of adolescents and adults with autism experience chronic stress comparable to combat soldiers and struggle with frequent fatigue and work interruptions, new research finds. These moms also spend significantly more time caregiving than moms of those without disabilities.
Researchers followed a group of moms of adolescents and adults with autism for eight days in a row. Moms were interviewed at the end of each day about their experiences and on four of the days researchers measured the moms’ hormone levels to assess their stress.
They found that a hormone associated with stress was extremely low, consistent with people experiencing chronic stress such as soldiers in combat, the researchers report in one of two studies published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.
Read the full story at Disability Scoop