Farida Peters has decided she has had enough of all the frustration taken out on her autistic son on their hour-long daily train commute. She created a sign to spell out their situation to strangers, which has made a huge difference. Continue reading
Every year, approximately 50,000 people with autism graduate from the school system. That’s as large as many US cities. In Solano County, California, Jeanine Stanley wants to bring to fruition a ranch that would give some of these young adults … Continue reading
Although autism is hard to diagnose before 24 months, symptoms often surface between 12 and 18 months and if it is caught in infancy, treatment can begin early and we can gain much progress from taking advantage of the adolescent brain’s amazing flexibility. If signs are detected by 18 months of age, rigorous treatment may help to rewire the brain and undo the symptoms.
The initial signs of autism entail the lack of normal behaviors and not the existence of abnormal ones. This then is hard to spot. Often enough, the most basic symptoms of autism are misinterpreted as signs of a “good baby,” because the toddler may seem quiet, self-sufficient, and easy going. However, you can detect warning signs early if you know what to look for.
Some autistic infants don’t respond to cuddling, reach out to be picked up, or look at their mothers when being fed.
At a special Tu BiShvat seder organized by Ezra and Gabriella Friedlander in their home in the heart of Borough Park, New York City Council Speaker and Mayoral hopeful Christine Quinn was warmly welcomed this past Sunday by a small but highly influential group of Boro Park Leaders.
Also participating in the Seder were NYC Councilman Brad Lander, President of the City Council in Yonkers Charles Lesnick, Assemblyman David Weprin, Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, of the NY Board of Rabbis, Abe Eisner, Yeruchim Silber of the BPJCC, Alexsander Rapaport of Masbia, Dr. David Moskovits, Leon Goldenberg, Moshe Friedman of Community First, Meir Laufer, founder of New York Wheel, Isaac Sofer – Central UTA Satmar, Ari Weiss, Shomrim, Naftali Reiner of Bobov ,Jonathan and Cynthia of the QJCC, Esther Henny Jaroslawicz, Boro Park Bikur Cholim, Zev Brenner of Talkline Communications, were among many other local community leaders and activists attending.
Guests were treated to all the traditional fruits of the holiday. In addition about a dozen readings from the Torah Sages were distributed and read by different participants. The topics discussed ranged from the importance of conservation to the unity and responsibilities of the local community people. The attendees were able to exchange candid and thought provoking ideas.
“Sharing our traditions with elected officials allows us to get to create an atmosphere of mutual respect and having Council Speaker Quinn join us demonstrated her sensitivity to our community” said Ezra Friedlander, CEO of The Friedlander Group.
A recent study has found that one in 3 young adults with autism have no paid job experience, college or technical schooling nearly seven years after high school graduation. Continue reading
For parents of children with autism, the iPad has been a godsend. And now, thanks to the help of an electric cooperative, anIndianaschool has been able to get several of the devices to help students with autism learn. Continue reading
A Kansas State University graduate student is creating a schoolyard that can become a therapeutic landscape for children with autism.
Chelsey King, master’s student in landscape architecture, St. Peters, Mo., is working with Katie Kingery-Page, assistant professor of landscape architecture, to envision a place where elementary school children with autism could feel comfortable and included.
“My main goal was to provide different opportunities for children with autism to be able to interact in their environment without being segregated from the rest of the school,” King said. “I didn’t want that separation to occur.”
The schoolyard can be an appealing place for children with autism, King said, if it provides several aspects: clear boundaries, a variety of activities and activity level spaces, places where the child can go when over stimulated, opportunities for a variety of sensory input without being overwhelming and a variety of ways to foster communication between peers.
King researched ways that she could create an environment where children with autism would be able to interact with their surroundings and their peers, but where they could also get away from over stimulation until they felt more comfortable and could re-enter the activities.
“Through this research, I was able to determine that therapies and activities geared toward sensory stimulation, cognitive development, communication skills, and fine and gross motor skills — which traditionally occur in a classroom setting — could be integrated into the schoolyard,” King said.
King designed her schoolyard with both traditional aspects — such as a central play area — and additional elements that would appeal to children with autism, including:
- A music garden where children can play with outdoor musical instruments to help with sensory aspects.
- An edible garden/greenhouse that allows hands-on interaction with nature and opportunities for horticulture therapy.
- A sensory playground, which uses different panels to help children build tolerances to difference sensory stimulation.
- A butterfly garden to encourage nature-oriented learning in a quiet place.
- A variety of alcoves, which provide children with a place to get away when they feel overwhelmed and want to regain control.
King created different signs and pictures boards around these schoolyard elements, so that it was easier for children and teachers to communicate about activities.
“It is important to make the children feel included in the schoolyard without being overwhelmed,” King said. “It helps if they have a place — such as a hill or an alcove — where they can step away from it and then rejoin the activity when they are ready.
“Most children spend seven to nine hours per weekday in school settings,” Kingery-Page said. “Designing schoolyards that are educational, richly experiential, with potentially restorative nature contact for children should be a community concern.”
The Language Express, a developer of social learning software for children on the autism spectrum, received its first round of seed funding from a private investment firm. The company’s initial product, The Social Express™, is a 16-lesson autism app that’s receiving enthusiastic reviews from parents, therapists, educators, and bloggers. Continue reading
A study presented in 2010 by Dr. Brian Freedman of the Kennedy Krieger Institute found there was no increase in divorce rates for parents who have a child with autism. According to their research, “64% of children with autism lived with married or adoptive parents compared to a rate of 65% for children with no autism diagnosis”. Continue reading