Archive for 2013

Wisdom Tooth Surgery and My Child with Autism


We’re sitting in the waiting area amongst other parents whose children are having day surgery. Instead of my blue staff badge, today I have on the orange visitor badge. Today, I am all parent.

I have tried not to think about this day for years– ever since an X-ray confirmed that she did indeed have all four of those pesky wisdom teeth and that they’d eventually need to come out. Why do we even have them anymore? Haven’t we evolved further than this?

We have been through many things with her that have caused us high anxiety- so this is not new- but it is never easy. It is however easier because we have learned to trust. To trust the people in whose hands we place our precious child, to trust the process that has been successful with many before us, to trust ourselves that we have prepared as best we can, and to trust her that she will do her part as best she can.  Read full post »

Autism- Disability or Cultural Identity?

There seems to be growing discussion about how autism is perceived – as a disability or as an identity – or perhaps both. Seattle Children’s Autism Center family therapist, Lynn Vigo,was recently interviewed for an article on the topic in Seattle Magazine. Here’s more of Lynn’s thoughts on the subject:

My experience with autism

As a parent of a teen with autism and also a family therapist at Seattle Children’s Autism Center, I am keenly aware of how very broad the presentation of what we call “autism” is. There is no such thing as “one size fits all”. We often say that, “if you’ve met one person with autism . . .  you’ve met one person with autism.” Read full post »

Holiday Travel and Autism

airplaneWhether you are travelling near or far this holiday season, here are some helpful tips to make travelling with your child with autism successful from Seattle Children’s Autism Center behavioral specialist, Ron Thomson.

Gather information and organize documentation:

• Emergency fact sheet: This is a document that is carried in a secure spot, often with other travel documents. A typical format is an 8.5″ x 11″ piece of paper (perfect for slipping into a clear sheet protector) that contains essential information. Common information to be included is name, contact information, diagnosis, pertinent health Read full post »

Emergency Preparedness & Your Child with Autism

Street ClosedThere are a number of scenarios that my brain automatically refuses to consider and if I was the superstitious type, I’d believe that I’m about to jinx things by now naming some of them. Of course, they all have to do with my child with severe autism and the scariest ones have to do with situations that arise out of nowhere, with little time to respond, such as an earthquake or other natural disaster.

Life has a way of giving us reminders, both big and small about the wisdom of planning ahead for such things. Hurricane Katrina’s effect on my family in New Orleans was a big one. With their house under eight feet of water, they found themselves displaced for months and while it was hard on everyone, it was particularly so for my nephew with special needs. Read full post »

Autism and Tips on Hiring In-Home Behavior Staff

In-home therapistSo you’ve gotten through the diagnostic evaluation and survived. You’ve been given your resource guide, your First 100 Days kit, and an abundance of online support and education resources. You may have been told that Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is one of the few evidence-based treatments for autism and that Medicaid and other insurance companies are now covering ABA for children with autism, so consider starting a home program to augment the services received in school.

So where does a parent begin?

My experience as a parent of a child who receives ABA services is that it isn’t as easy as making a phone call or two. There’s a learning curve in understanding what this therapy is, how it might benefit your child, how to access it, and how to live with it. Times have changed a great deal in the thirteen years since my son was diagnosed at age 3. At that time there was no insurance coverage for ABA or any other kind of therapy in the home, providers were scarce, and it was hard to know how qualified they were. Read full post »