The Autism Blog

Whose CHOICE is it Anyway?

dandelionI’m so confused.

As the parent of someone with autism, being confused is not new to me. Autism is confounding for the best and brightest among us. Just ask the top researchers and providers in the field. And with few solid answers, questions abound.

Old questions persist about what causes autism and what the best-fitting treatment is for each child. It seems we’ve moved past some of the early controversy about what causes autism and have separated the “wheat from the chaff” when it comes to evidence-based treatment. With advances in genetics, we’re getting closer to being able to target treatment to a child’s unique profile.

With broadening of diagnostic criteria to include those “on the milder end of the spectrum” came new questions about whether autism is a disability or a personality difference. Some self-advocates declared themselves “autistics” and turned people-first language upside down while others voiced that their Read full post »

A Panel of Veteran Parents – This Month’s Autism 200 Class

This month’s Autism 200 Series lectureAutism 211: “If I Had Known Then What I Know Now” – A Panel of Parents of Older Children and Young Adults with ASD will be held next Thursday, November 19th at Seattle Children’s Hospital in Wright Auditorium from 7 to 8:30 p.m. and led by Katrina Davis, family advocate, at Seattle Children’s Autism Center.

Join Seattle Children’s Autism Center’s family advocate, Katrina Davis, and a panel of veteran parents who will offer an intimate and personal look into their journey raising a child with autism. Parents will share their perspectives, experiences, challenges and joys. What helped? What did not help? What would you do differently? What advice do you have for new parents? Audience participation will be encouraged.

There is no need to register in advance to attend. These classes are designed for parents, teachers and Read full post »

Mindful Monday – Think Before You…

Think Before You . . . Speak, Text, Email, Tweet

Seems today the old saying “think before you speak” needs updating to include reply all, text, tweet, etc. It’s so easy to fire off words without giving them much forethought. Another old adage, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it” also seems to have gone by the wayside (which I think is an idiom).

We now have the ability to deliver lightning-fast replies and feel a sense of accomplishment when we get those pesky emails and texts out of the way. Do you ever go back and read what you’ve sent? Ever catch a typo (thanks, autocorrect) or realize that your quick words might not have captured what you intended to say or might be confusing. Ever get a reply text that only says, “?” meaning, “I have no idea what you’re talking about”.

With in-person conversations, do you ever feel a need to fill a pause rather than let the silence be? May be that at times, working in a service profession as we do, we feel uncomfortable with the quiet, Read full post »

A Day in the Life of an Autism Center Scheduler

Most parents are familiar with the direct service providers who work at our center but have not met those who work “behind the scenes”. Arguably the busiest people in the building, our schedulers are the ones who keep this place running. Today we take an inside look at what this critical role entails and answer a few questions we get about scheduling.

First, let’s introduce you to Ingrid, Andrea, Kira and David, the Fearless Four:

SchedulersThe day starts with taking messages off voice mail including any from providers calling out sick. The team huddles to determine the day’s priorities such as ASAP-rescheduling for sick providers or calling to see if anyone can take a last-minute-cancelation appointment. Our goal is to not have any holes in the schedule. Of an eight hour day, about five are spent on the phone calling those on our waiting list, returning calls, and fielding questions about what can be expected in an appointment. Calls also are made to schedule families for our monthly First Steps and Next Steps classes and prep is done for our Autism 101 and Autism 200 series. Read full post »

Ask Dr. Emily – Autism Concerns

Welcome to the October edition of Ask Dr. Emily! We often receive questions that we want to share with all our readers. To help with this, Dr. Emily Rastall, a clinical psychologist at Seattle Children’s Autism Center, will share insights here, on the last Friday of each month, in a question and answer format. We welcome you to send us your questions and Dr. Rastall will do her best to answer them each month. Send your questions to

Q: Do adults with autism experience the same traits as children with autism? For example, will an adult with autism take two hours to eat a pop tart while sitting at a table? Are they slow eaters?

A: Symptoms of autism that are identified in childhood often persist into adulthood. They may shift and change in presentation and/or intensity. It is not uncommon for individuals with autism (from childhood Read full post »