The Autism Blog

Cultural Considerations and Autism

By Lynn Vigo with Blanca Fields

In our last blog, we mentioned families who might “suffer in silence” for various reasons without getting help. Some reasons for this may be cultural in nature. In my role as a family therapist, I sometimes hear families say that in their culture, there is no word for autism, and that any kind of special need is considered a blemish on the family. Some tell me that it is customary to keep challenges within the family or cultural community, never discussing them outside of these boundaries. Some families don’t take the diagnosis seriously and seem to think that their child will outgrow the challenges that autism presents.

In our desire to better understand how providers can be more helpful to families, we asked Seattle Children’s Patient Navigators for their input and were able to interview Blanca Fields about her work with Latino families who have Read full post »

When God Gives You More Than You Can Handle

Most parents of kids with special needs have heard the saying that “God doesn’t give you any more than you can handle.” This typically is said as an affirmation of one’s strength and ability to handle the challenge at hand. In the early days of autism, when I was first told this, my immediate thought was that God didn’t know me very well.

Parents of kids with autism also get used to hearing “You’re so strong. I don’t know how you do it.” And while this is always said with the best intention, when heard over and over, it can reinforce to parents that they always have to be strong. They can never be weak or let down their guard. That is just not sustainable though.

I don’t know a single parent who would say that autism is a walk in the park. On the contrary, most would agree that it is the hardest thing they’ve ever done. Here at Seattle Children’s Autism Center, we see that families handle difficulties very individually for many different reasons. Read full post »

Facilitating Peer Interactions for Children with Social Communication Deficits- This Month’s Autism 200 Class

autism 200This month’s Autism 200 Series lecture is tomorrow, August 21, 2014, at Seattle Children’s Hospital in Wright Auditorium from 7 to 8:30 p.m.. These classes are designed for parents, teachers and caregivers. The topics associated with the majority of classes are applicable to all age ranges and for a wide variety of children diagnosed with autism.

“Autism 208: Facilitating Peer Interactions for Children with Social Communication Deficits” will be led by Jamie Yauch, speech pathologist at Seattle Children’s Hospital and Seattle Children’s Autism Center. Yauch will discuss social communication benchmarks from birth through adolescence, as well as components needed for social communication (e.g., receptive, expressive and pragmatic language, social cognition and social interaction). The focus of this presentation will be on providing strategies to Read full post »

Walk for Seattle Children’s Benefits Autism Research and Uncompensated Care Fund

Cam and ZanCameron Coupe from Whidbey Island and Zan Roman from Bellingham, both 19 years old, are walking across America to raise money for Seattle Children’s. Depending on their route, the walk will be approximately 3,000 miles. Their goal is to raise $10K, which they are donating 100% of to Seattle Children’s. They will split proceeds 50/50 between Seattle Children’s uncompensated care fund and autism research. In 2013, Seattle Children’s provided $117 million dollars in uncompensated care to families in our region.

We spoke to Zan and Cam as they were just wrapping up their time in Minneapolis, MN, to find out why two college students would set out, on foot, across the country to raise money for a children’s hospital. Read full post »

Home Burglary and Autism

“Where is my white computer? Did it go to the Goodwill?”

On Easter Sunday this year I came home at 8:30 p.m. to find my home had been burglarized.

My son who is 14 entered the house first, followed by my 16-year-old daughter. She immediately turned around and ran out of the house while Arthur stood frozen in the middle of the living room.

If you’ve ever been a victim of this disturbing crime, you know the initial feelings of shock, anger, fear, helplessness, and disgust.

Arthur has autism and coming home to this kind of chaos was nothing short of devastating for him. Read full post »