What I’ve been reading — June 2015

Walking in the rain

Opinions and Insights

Why Do Friendships Fade for So Many Autism Spectrum Parents? This one really hit home. Read more

Father’s Days. A cartoonist’s journey into first-time (and special needs) fatherhood. Beautiful. Watch it

Parents New to Autism: Don’t Fall for Pseudoscience like DAN! or MAPS. The title says it all. Read more

Questions for Ari Ne’eman: Partnering with participants “We have an opportunity to re-envision the quality of our autism conversation. It’s a chance for us to build a more inclusive vision, one that acknowledges that autistic children will grow into autistic adults. If we do our jobs right, that doesn’t have to be a bad thing.” Read more

We Are All Part of One Spectrum. (HT to Emily Brooks.) “…if the Autism Rights Movement’s history will be told as a successful one, it will be because all voices were heard, including mine, including the voices of the ones you don’t believe have a lot to say.” Read more

Science

Large Swedish study casts doubt on autism ‘epidemic’ “‘The authors present probably the best data available on whether [autism] symptoms have increased over time,’ says David Mandell, associate professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania, who was not involved in the study. ‘Their findings suggest that they have not.’” Read more

Body clock genes may set pace for sleep issues in autism. “People with autism are twice as likely to carry alterations in genes that regulate the circadian clock, or the body’s sleep-wake cycle, as those without the disorder. The findings, published 6 May in Brain and Development, may help to explain why most children with autism have troubled sleep.” Read more

News

When 2 Teens Found a Friendship No One Believed They Could Have “I don’t care that’s its taken 17 years for Kreed to find a friend because this friendship was worth the wait.” Inspiring. Read more

Daniel Smith, proprietor of an MMS company, convicted ” If this weren’t being used on disabled children, I would consider hiding behind a church ( a fake church in my opinion) as being reprehensible. But that act pales in comparison to the harm caused to individuals.” Read more

Young man with autism is now a world renowned artist Read more

Who Decides Where Autistic Adults Live? Sometimes the best of intentions can lead to disastrous results. Read more

The forgotten history of autism

From the TED website: “Decades ago, few pediatricians had heard of autism. In 1975, 1 in 5,000 kids was estimated to have it. Today, 1 in 68 is on the autism spectrum. What caused this steep rise? Steve Silberman points to ‘a perfect storm of autism awareness’ — a pair of psychologists with an accepting view, an unexpected pop culture moment and a new clinical test. But to really understand, we have to go back further to an Austrian doctor by the name of Hans Asperger, who published a pioneering paper in 1944. Because it was buried in time, autism has been shrouded in misunderstanding ever since.”

A proper and accurate understanding of the history of autism will lead to greater acceptance and, one can hope, better services and support.

The behavior that wasn’t

When your ASD kid starts prodding around his rear constantly while on the toilet, you — like us — might think it’s a new tic or stim. You’ll think, “Obsessive noodling back there might be a sign! We must fix this, and quick!”

That’s how we felt the past several weeks when C started his backyard explorations with great vigor and persistence. I mean, it was getting gross. And worrisome.

Then, the other night, my wife looked at the toilet paper and saw them. THEM! Tiny pinworms, a parasite so common that the first four pharmacies she called were sold out of the over-the-counter remedy.

No wonder he was constantly fiddling around with himself: he was scratching an insatiable itch. And what did we do? We did what you do when faced with a challenging new behavior: we offered quiet reminders and gentle redirection. No shame, no guilt, no punishment. But no real help, either.

And now we’re kicking ourselves. We were pathologizing a behavior instead of looking for a much simpler, more logical explanation.

This is the trap you can fall into: thinking everything is an Issue, something to be fixed or corrected. (Of course, it would have helped if he could have told us what he was feeling, but that’s another post).

Anyway, we have a new motto: not everything’s a behavior — sometimes it’s worms!

As for the the remedy: it works. One dose and the digging stopped.