The Autism Blog

Separating Autism from the Person with Autism?

Kat and Arthur 2015I crave information about autism. I am parent of a child with autism and I work closely with individuals and families living with this complex disorder. 

I read a lot. I listen to parents. I seek to understand those who are diagnosed. My cup is not full. I am still learning. 

There are so many different opinions, viewpoints, experiences, and perspectives that I must often remind myself that perception is reality. No two people with autism look alike. Nor do their experiences. So if I want to continue to learn and evolve, I need to keep an open mind so I can absorb the many facets of how autism affects us all. 

When I read this blog by Carrie Cariello, titled I Know What Causes Autism, I smiled. This is a Read full post »

Keeping Your Cool- Tips for Parents of Kids with Special Needs

Today we welcome guest author, Beth Crispin, fellow colleague and parent, who shares with us some valuable tips on keeping our parental cool when things heat up with our kids. For those who don’t know her, Beth is a health educator at Seattle Children’s and mom to two great kids:

“I am the parent of Mateo age 10, who was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome in 2009, and Grace who is a typically developing teenager. We live in Shoreline Washington where we make it though our challenging days with a lot of flexibility and some laughter.” 

They say that it doesn’t matter if there is a real or paper tiger, the physiological response is the same. Your adrenaline starts to pump, your breath becomes rapid and blood rapidly flows away from the thinking center of the brain to the extremities (preparing you to run!). As a parent of a child who has explosive meltdowns, I often find myself dealing with the impact and aftermath of stress. While I can’t Read full post »

Twins and Autism

Today we discuss the topic of twins and autism with Dr. Sara Jane Webb, Associate Professor at the University of Washington and Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Seattle Children’s Research Institute

Lynn: If one identical (monozygotic) twin has autism, what is the likelihood the other will? If one fraternal (dizygotic) twin has autism, what is the likelihood the other will?

Dr. Webb: Concordance in ASD diagnosis (the probability that both will have it) is observed in monozygotic (MZ) twin pairs at rates of 60-90%, whereas rates among dizygotic (DZ) twins are estimated at 3-31%. (Bailey et al., 1995; Folstein & Rutter, 1977; Hallmayer et al., 2011; Ronald & Hoekstra, 2011; Rutter, 2005). The wide range for each reported rate may be attributable to differences in how ASD was defined and diagnostic measurement differences. That is, some studies used clinical diagnosis of autism as conceptualized in the 1970s and others used specific diagnostic criteria and Read full post »

An Interview with Charlie Cotugno, Founder, Stories of Autism (SOA)

Charlie CotugnoI’ve known Charlie for years and it occurred to me that he knows many of our stories but we don’t all know his. I caught up with him recently and turned the tables on him. Here’s what he had to say.

Lynn: When did you first realize that you were a photographer?

Charlie: It’s hard to say when I first realized I was a photographer. I’ve had a camera in my hand since I was about seven years old and things have just organically progressed to where they are now. During and after college, I would do headshots and band photos for actors and musicians for a few extra dollars but I didn’t consider photography as something I wanted as a career. It wasn’t until 1994 that I decided this was something I wanted to pursue and really began learning all the technical aspects of the art. In 1999 I opened my business and began my career transition. Read full post »

Behind the Lens

Meet Stories of Autism founder, Charlie Cotugno

A family photo session was one of our red flags for autism. Our daughter had just turned two and the portrait was supposed to be for our holiday card. The little girl who previously had been all smiles for the camera wouldn’t keep her shoes on and cried as if it was painful for her to look at the photographer. He managed to get one shot we decided would have to be good enough but he insisted we take a few of the bad ones too. He cheerily told us that one day, we’d all look at it and laugh. Something in my mommy being didn’t think so.

Fast forward to Spring 2006 – seven years post diagnosis – when I saw a message on a parent list-serv inviting parents to have their child photographed for an autism awareness project. Memories of that Read full post »