The Autism Blog

Sibshops

With an entire blog dedicated to autism, we realize many of our families have children that aren’t on the spectrum. For this reason, we recently sat down with Cathy Harrison, Seattle Children’s Child Life Specialist and asked her about Sibshops. Sibshops, developed right here at Seattle Children’s over 25 years ago by Don Meyer, are for siblings of children with ongoing special health care or developmental concerns.

Sibshops are workshops where the typically developing sibling can go for support, some basic education around their sibling’s health concerns and recreational time with peers facing similar situations. The workshops are held one Saturday a month, every other month. They are led by a variety of people; child life specialists, play room coordinators, social workers, teachers, nurses, and even adult siblings. The siblings are separated by age in a group for 6-9 year olds and 10-13 year olds. Read full post »

What Can Basic Science Teach Us About Autism?

I recently read a fascinating book, The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee.  This year’s Pulitzer Prize winner for non-fiction is an extraordinary account starting with a discussion of the history of cancer from ancient times and rapidly moving to a discussion of the history of leukemia dating from the mid-19th century. The tale then moves rapidly to review the work of the “father of chemotherapy”, Sydney Farber, in the early and late 1940s.

This book is amazing because it is a serious science and medical history, yet it is engaging, even thrilling to read. Needless to say as a physician, I’m fascinated with medicine and science and as a former college history major, I love what history can teach us that we can apply today. If you take the time to read this, you’ll learn how a complex human disorder that potentially can affect us all has been understood piece by piece and to an extraordinary extent has been successfully treated, and in some cases, even “cured”. Read full post »

Back to School and Autism

The Sun Returns.

Wednesday.

It’s late August and there’s a buzz in the air that’s almost palpable. Parents all over town are humming with anticipation of what, for many of us is the most wonderful time of the year. That first day back to school!

In my own family, we just made it through another long summer of not-enough-to-keep-settled, a kid who craves structure and routine. We do our best but school is the sun in her universe and without it, she’s a planet wobbling off course.  Read full post »

Autism Treatments Wrap Up

We hope our series on autism treatments has been helpful in sorting through the realm of possibilities for your child.

In wrapping up, whether you are considering discrete trial training, diet modifications, or social skills training, here are some questions to ask yourself and/or a professional you trust:

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Choosing a Biomedical Therapy and Autism

Many times when families see me, they ask what therapies they should try for their child. Unfortunately, there is no absolutely prescribed therapy or set of therapies for any child on the autism spectrum. Wouldn’t it be great if an easy roadmap to therapy existed in the dizzying world of therapy for children with autism? Wouldn’t it be great if the answers for how to treat a child (or adult) with autism were as easy as using an antibiotic for strep throat? Unfortunately children with autism spectrum disorders are so varied and their symptoms and problems are so diverse that choosing a single or many therapies is daunting.  Read full post »