Saturday, March 31, 2012

1 in 64 / 1 in 40 boys - AZ rates

With the new CDC findings, rates of children living with Autism is broken down by state. In AZ, 1 in 64 children have a diagnosis; 1 in 40 boys are on the Spectrum. The average age of receiving a diagnosis here is 4 years old.

Here's the link:

CDC: One in 64 Arizona children are diagnosed with autism .by Marie Saavedra Bio | Email| Follow: @MSaavedra3TV
Posted on March 30, 2012 at 7:21 AM Updated yesterday at 7:40 AM
Related: •Autism rates up; screening, better diagnosis cited add to reading list

PHOENIX -- Eye-opening figures on autism in children were released Thursday. The Center for Disease Control estimates one in 88 American children has some form of autism. That's a 78 percent increase from a decade ago, and boys continue to outnumber girls with the disorder five to one.

One of those boys is Diego Catalan of Glendale. He spends time learning and progressing at the Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center. "He's been progressing slow, but he's progressed," says his mother, Sandra Catalan. She says doctors diagnosed Diego with autism when he was almost 4 years old. "They gave me tools to start with him," Catalan said. "Now he's 10 years old...he's been doing great."

Diego is one of a growing number of children diagnosed on the autism spectrum. The CDC's numbers show that one in 88 children are diagnosed with autism. In Arizona, one in 64 children are diagnosed. For Arizona's boys it's 1 in 40, girls one in 185. "

Arizona is fairly progressive in our approach toautism treatment. We also have lots of advocacy here," said Christopher Smith with SARRC. He feels that's part of the reason for our numbers. He also credits the autism community for spreading awareness.

But what would staff at SARRC like parents and doctors take away from this new report? An urgent reminder to not waste time if there's a question about development. "We know that early identification leads to early intervention and early intensive intervention gives individuals with autism the best opportunity at living fuller, richer, high quality lives," Smith explained.

1 in 88

I'm not sure why it didn't let me post the other day. Here is the link to the article and video on CNN:

CDC: U.S. kids with autism up 78% in past decadeBy Miriam Falco, CNN updated 1:16 PM EDT, Thu March 29, 2012

STORY HIGHLIGHTS One in 88 U.S. kids thought to be autistic, CDC says; for boys it's 1 in 54 Why? Better, broader diagnosis, better awareness, and "50% of 'We don't know," expert says. Advocate: There is an epidemic of autism in the United States.

(CNN) -- The number of children with autism in the United States continues to rise, according to a new report released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The latest data estimate that 1 in 88 American children has some form of autism spectrum disorder. That's a 78% increase compared to a decade ago, according to the report.

Since 2000, the CDC has based its autism estimates on surveillance reports from its Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network. Every two years, researchers count how many 8-year-olds have autism in about a dozen communities across the nation. (The number of sites ranges from six to 14 over the years, depending on the available funding in a given year.) In 2000 and 2002, the autism estimate was about 1 in 150 children. Two years later 1 in 125 8-year-olds had autism. In 2006, the number was 1 in 110, and the newest data -- from 2008 -- suggests 1 in 88 children have autism.

Read the CDC report (PDF)
Here is the link for the PDF;

U.S. kids and autism Overall: 1 in 88 U.S. kids have autism; up 78% from 2002 Total: Estimated 1,000,000 children with autism Boys: 1 in 54; up 82% from 2002 Girls: 1 in 252; up 63% from 2002 Non-Hispanic white children: 1 in 83; up 70% from 2002 Non-Hispanic black children: 1 in 98; up 91% from 2002 Hispanic children: 1 in 127; up 110% from 2002 Symptoms typically apparent before age 3 Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Boys with autism continue to outnumber girls 5-to-1, according to the CDC report. It estimates that 1 in 54 boys in the United States have autism.

Mark Roithmayr, president of the advocacy group Autism Speaks, says more children are being diagnosed with autism because of "better diagnosis, broader diagnosis, better awareness, and roughly 50% of 'We don't know.'" He said the numbers show there is an epidemic of autism in the United States.

Early recognition of signs of autism -- a neurodevelopment disorder that leads to impaired language, communication and social skills -- is vital because it can lead to early intervention, says Dr. Gary Goldstein, an autism specialist and president of the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore. "There have been studies -- double-blinded studies -- to show that behavioral early intervention changes the outcome for children," Goldstein says.

Roy Sanders and Charlie Bailey sensed something was wrong with their son Frankie Sanders when he was 9 months old. "Our pediatrician at the time who was a friend of ours tried to tell us that we were being too cautious, we were being too anxious," Sanders says. Frankie's pediatrician thought his parents were seeing developmental delays that weren't really there. But Frankie wasn't talking, Sanders says. "He didn't have speech; he didn't have any communication skills at all. He didn't point. He would flap quite a bit. He would stare at fans; he would stare at lights; he would become frantic if he didn't have a Thomas the [Tank] Engine because he was obsessed with Thomas the [Tank] Engine." Frankie Sanders at age 15 months relaxes with his father Charlie Bailey.His parents kept pushing, and Frankie, now a ninth-grade nose guard and defensive guard for the Decatur Bulldogs football team in Decatur, Georgia, was diagnosed with autism when he was 15 months old.

iReport: Have a child with autism? Sign up to participate in a project with CNN.

Possible signs A child or adult with an autistic spectrum disorder might: --Repeat actions over and over --Not look at objects when another person points to them --Avoid eye contact and want to be alone --Prefer not to be held or cuddled or might cuddle only when they want to --Appear to be unaware when other people talk to them but respond to other sounds Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention "Early detection is associated with better outcomes," says CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden. "The earlier kids are detected, the earlier they could get services, and the less impairment they'll have on their learning and in their lives on a long-term basis is our best understanding." The CDC is working with the Academy of American Pediatrics to recommend that children get screened for autism at ages 18 months and 24 months, Frieden says.

CDC: What you should know about autism

However, according to the CDC report, most children were diagnosed between ages 4 and 5, when a child's brain is already more developed and harder to change. "Doctors are getting better at diagnosing autism; communities are getting much better at [providing] services to children with autism, and CDC scientists are getting much better at tracking which kids in the communities we're studying have autism," Frieden says. "How much of that increase is a result of better tracking and how much of it is a result of an actual increase, we still don't know. We know more about autism today than we have ever known," he says, "but there is still so much we don't know and wish that we knew."

Share this on:Facebook Twitter Digg delicious reddit MySpace StumbleUpon LinkedIn

Friday, March 30, 2012

A reason to celebrate?

Why are we celebrating Autism Awareness Day? Yes, we want to spread awareness,especially with the new CDC findings. However,it costs $3.2 million to raise a child with Autism vs. $290k to raise a typical child. Using the word "celebrate" is disgusting. I'm sure the woman with a 12 yr old nonverbal kid in diapers will be partying up on Monday. Yay, my child's soul is gone....lets have a cake. Can't wait to celebrate Parkinson's Awareness Day. I hear that party will be insane. I celebrate my child and his achievements every day. I don't choose to "celebrate" Autism. Should I expect car giveaways and door buster sales too?

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The space bubble

I'm searching tonight for more ideas on how to teach personal space. I have always been intersted in how to teach kids the unwritten social rules and this is a major one. My "make a bubble and make sure not to bounce it against someone else's bubble" backfired. Here are some resources I am finding on my search:

From the link:

Space Tag - In a large spacious area, like a park or back yard, have your child keep away from you as you try to invade his personal space. "I am an alien space invader, and I'm going to invade your space!" You don't have to touch him for him to be it, just get very close, and when you do, say "I got you!" If your child complains that you didn't tag her, explain that "personal space" is the area close around us, and that we don't have to touch someone to enter it.

Bumper Bubbles - With a group of children, play tag using hoola hoops. The children must hold the hoop around them as they run. The person who is it tries to "bump" his hoop into their hoops. If he bumps anyone, she is it. Also explain that if any player bumps any other player's hoop accidentally during the game, their bubble "pops" and they are out. They must drop their hoop on the ground and sit inside it.
Personal Space Circle - Using a long rope or cord, make a circle on the floor. Overlap the ends so that you are not making the largest circle possible. Have your child sit in the circle, and explain that personal space is smaller for people we are very close to. For example, we know our mom and dad, and brothers and sisters, so we feel more comfortable with each other. Our personal space circle is smaller with them.

Make the circle a bit larger, and explain that the circle gets a little bigger for friends and teachers. That's because we know them, but we aren't as close to them.

Make the circle as large as can be, and explain that for people we don't know at all, like strangers, the personal space circle is a lot bigger. The less we know the person, the bigger the space should be.

Give your child a verbal cue, like gently saying the words "personal space," as a reminder if you see her getting inappropriately close to someone. And teach your child what to do if someone invades his personal space.

From the link:

Use a social story to explain the reasons for personal space and personal safety (e.g., "Sometimes I stand too close to other people. When I do this, the other person may get mad at me because I am too close. The other person may think I am trying to hurt them. I will try to stand one arm length away from people when I talk to them unless it is my Mom, Dad, or grandparent.").

Set aside a time for teaching about “Social Circles”. Social Circles is a graphic way of showing children the different levels of familiarity we are to have with people we know and don't know.

Start by drawing a small circle on a large piece of blank paper. Write the child's name in the circle and/or paste his picture there. Tell him this is his personal space, his body, and that only certain people can get real close to him.

Draw a larger circle around the child's circle and write “family” in this larger circle. You can write and/or paste pictures of immediate family members (mom, dad, brother, grandmothers, grandfathers, close uncles and aunts) in this circle. Explain that these people are family members. They may kiss or hug him and it’s okay to sit on their lap, etc. Explain the sort of behavior that you feel is appropriate with these people.

Next draw an even larger circle around the child's and the family circle. Label this circle “friends & neighbors – people you know”. Write the names and/or paste pictures of people who fit into this category (e.g., next door neighbors, close church members, teachers, Sunday School teacher, etc.). Explain the sort of closeness and behavior that you feel is appropriate with this category of people (e.g., they wave at you, say “hello”, they may hug you if you want them to hug you, etc.).

Lastly, draw an even larger circle around the outside of all three smaller circles. Label this largest of the circles “strangers – people you don't know”. Explain that it is not okay to hug, kiss, get too close, or touch strangers or to allow them to touch you. Later you can explain the exceptions to this (e.g., a policeman when you’re lost, doctors when Mom or Dad are present, etc.). You want to get across the idea that no one has the right to touch him without permission and that he cannot touch strangers, period (for now).

You may use different colors for each circle to aid in its meaning to the child or young person. Remember that visual cues like this are a great way to back up verbal communication if a child has autism or Asperger's syndrome.

You may also locate a copy of Stranger Danger or Good Touch Bad Touch, and similar books that teach appropriate personal space and sexual abuse prevention. Read it with the child, explaining as necessary. A good method is to use a Ken or Barbie doll (depending upon the child's sex) to teach that his or her private area is the area covered by their swim suit. Teach the child to loudly say "No" if anyone tries to touch their private area (If the child is not verbal, teach him or her to get away). Teach the child a way to tell an adult that someone has tried to touch their private area (use a sign or picture if the child in non-verbal).

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Golden Hat

Taken from

“I simply couldn’t conceive of how devastating it would be not to be able to hear my children’s voices. Not to be able to communicate with them, to hear them learn, grow, and express themselves verbally. How fortunate, how blessed I am. This overwhelmed me. I can talk to my children, I can respond to their needs and comfort them when they tell me they are unwell. I can tell them stories and hear them tell theirs.”

Kate Winslet

Imagine what it would be like not to be able to communicate with those we love. For many individuals living with nonverbal autism and their families, this is their everyday reality. The Golden Hat is an intimate response to this reality created by Kate Winslet, Margret Ericsdottir, and her son Keli, who has nonverbal autism.

Kate and Margret’s stories, their personal email correspondence, and Keli’s poetry give us a profound insight into the world of those living with autism. Kate has shared this story with some of the world’s most famous people, posing the question: “What is important to you to express?” Their responses are a collection of intimate self-portraits and unique quotes. Among them are:

Christina Aguilera

Zac Efron

Julianne Moore

Maria Sharapova

Kobe Bryant

James Franco

Rosie O’Donnell

Ben Stiller

Michael Caine

Ricky Gervais

Michael Phelps

Meryl Streep

Kim Cattrall

Tom Hanks

John C. Reilly

Justin Timberlake

George Clooney

Elton John

Tim Robbins

Naomi Watts

Leonardo DiCaprio

Jude Law

Kristin Scott Thomas

Oprah Winfrey

Put together by Kate, Margret, and the dedicated team who work daily on the Golden Hat Foundation, this project has been a labor of love.

All the author proceeds from this groundbreaking book will benefit the Golden Hat Foundation, founded by Kate Winslet and Margret Ericsdottir to build innovative living campuses for people with autism and raise public awareness of their intellectual capabilities.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Epilepsy Awareness Day

It is Epilepsy Awareness Day. Wear your purple! Here are some links to information about Epilepsy.

Absence seizures:

Different types of seizures:

For educators:

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Countdown to goodbye

Talking to Joey about Daddy leaving in 23 sleeps. I asked if he's going to miss Daddy and he said "No, because he's gonna come back." Maybe he doesn't need me to make a social story book like I do every Spring. Maybe he's got this now.

His literal mind plays a part in this, because he knows Daddy is coming back so why be sad? He's very matter-of-fact. I'm glad he is able to verbalize this. We are planning on visiting Daddy this year. I think this will help him (and Ben) a lot.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


1500. This number has been stalking me for 730 days. I started this journey of supervised independent field work on March 5, 2010 and I finished it on March 4, 2012.

I feel like I have closed another chapter in my life. And as I now prepare for the next chapter, sitting for the BCBA exam, I can't help but feel many emotions. I'm almost there.