Author: Lynn Vigo, MSW, LICSW

Autism and Family Life- Part 1

A series on parental stress, marriage, divorce, single parenting, step parenting, siblings, and more.

Today we begin our series on autism and family life.

Warning: this will be a hard look at the hard things about autism.

With 1 in 88 kids diagnosed today, there is tremendous impact on a growing number of families. While more awareness of autism exists, we believe more attention is due to the increasing needs of families trying to do their best with a scarcity of supports and resources. A huge bubble of kids, an “autism baby boom” is making its way to young adulthood with parents showing the toll of years of caregiving. Read full post »

Autism and The Kindness and Unkindness of Strangers- Part 1 of 5

Parenting a child with autism means lots of ups and downs, sameness and unpredictability, laughter and tears.

And with each of those  -stories. Lots of stories.

For this series of blogs, we interviewed parents of children on the spectrum about the kindness and unkindness of strangers when in public. If you parent such a child, I bet you too have a library of stories. Join us as our parents share their adventures, big and small, from trips to the grocery store to trips on an airplane. Read full post »

Why Do Kids with Autism Do That?

When my kids were young, my son Justin was quite curious about the many odd mannerisms his sister with autism demonstrated.

We welcomed his questions as well as those from his curious neighborhood friends who we were determined to include in our friendly and oh-so-unconventional home. I did my parental best to offer up ideas as to why she does what she does, and thankfully they didn’t question me or ask to see the evidence behind my hypotheses.

We asked a panel of providers to give us their best answers as to why our kids do what they do. Shelley O’Donnell is an Occupational Therapist specializing in children with autism at Seattle Therapy Services. Jim Mancini is a Speech Language Pathologist and Emily Rastall is a Clinical Psychologist, both at Seattle Children’s Autism Center. Read full post »

Sensitivity in Terms We Use To Describe People with Autism

Do any of these scenarios sound familiar to you?

• Parents in a support group are introducing themselves and sharing a bit about their child with autism. One parent begins with this, “I have a high-functioning child; he isn’t retarded”, and goes on to describe the very challenging behaviors that are impeding his son’s activities of daily living at home and school.

• At a social gathering for parents of kids on the spectrum, one parent of a boy is observing a girl with autism. She says to the girl’s mom, “I heard that girls with autism are much lower-functioning than boys. Is that true?” Read full post »

Autism and Medical Hospitalization

The third part of our series on “things we’d all rather not think about” is medical hospitalization of a child with autism. To get an insider’s perspective, we turned to Julie Eigsti who wears two hats: health care professional and mom.

theautismblog: Please tell us a little about yourself and your family.

Julie Eigsti: My name is Julie, and I have been a Registered Nurse (RN) for 19 years. I had the privilege of spending 18 of those years working on the medical unit at Seattle Children’s Hospital. Since my son was diagnosed on the mild end of the autism spectrum, I have worked with three children on the spectrum. Before that, I am sad to say, I am not really sure. I have been married for 21 years and have two beautiful children, Elle who is eleven years old and Joel who is six years old. Read full post »