The Autism Blog

New Guidelines for Birth to Three Services in Washington State

The Washington State Department of Early Learning recently released new guidelines that are designed to provide direction for birth to three centers to better support children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in Washington State. Importantly, the guidelines also include children who are suspected of having ASD not just those with a formal diagnosis. This is critical because many children have not been eligible for autism-specific services until they have a formal diagnosis and the wait list at specialty diagnostic clinics is often months long. These guidelines are a result of a collaborative effort by the Early Support for Infants and Toddlers at the Department of Early Learning and the Haring Center for Applied Research and Training in Education at the University of Washington. Read full post »

Autism and Transitioning to Adult Primary Care- What, When, How?

Guest Writer: Crystal Wong, MD (UW Family Medicine)

A good primary care doctor is worth their weight in gold. When you’ve invested years of visits and developed a trusting relationship with your Pediatrician it can be difficult to give that up. However, eventually everyone becomes an adult. With adulthood comes an entirely different mix of medical concerns, healthcare maintenance regimens and therapies. Additionally the adult healthcare system is entirely different to navigate. Just as a dermatologist could not be expected to know how to perform brain surgery; a Pediatrician cannot be expected to perform all aspects of adult primary care. Everyone deserves an excellent primary care doctor to perform regular health care exams, keep track of ever changing health screening recommendations, be available to evaluate acute medical concerns, and help navigate our complex medical system. Read full post »

Autism Around the Globe

Guest Writer: Renee Poole

KfP team member and Kreet

My name is Renee Poole and I’ve been working in Seattle for the last four years in autism family services and in research. I started at ASTAR (Autism Spectrum Treatment and Research) Center in 2008, then moved over to Children’s Autism Center in 2009, and continued working there until this last December 2011.  I have loved getting to know the most amazing families as well as providers that offer some of the best service I’ve seen in health care.

Four short years seems to have taught me so much.  Before my work with autism, my biggest passion was culture and anthropology. Naturally, as autism became my new focus, my mind began to wander and try to link them both together.  I wondered how other cultures are diagnosing autism and if they even had a word for autism.  How are their communities supporting families and individuals with autism? Are people with autism accepted in the community or stigmatized?  Do kids with autism have a chance to go to school?  Do they know about weighted blankets and how amazing they are? (Yes, I too love a good nap with one!). So many things I began to wonder.

There was only one thing to doGo!

I had the unbelievable opportunity to travel with a local Seattle non-profit group called Knowledge for People (KfP) to Kathmandu, Nepal in July of 2011.  A group of ten Americans specializing in occupational therapy, special education, speech language therapy, and other autism-specific treatments and therapies came with us to conduct a twelve-day training course at a local Nepalese autism center.

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Discipline and Autism

Discipline is a hot-button issue that meets with many strongly held and divergent opinions. I’ll take a direct approach and speak as a clinician as that will be the best way for me to start a discussion.

In behavioral terminology discipline is more typically called “punishment.” Clinically, punishment is defined as, “a consequence that decreases the probability of subsequence occurrence of the behavior it follows,” (Cooper et al, 1987). This is desirable in the case of disruptive behavior. However, note that punishment is defined by its effect on behavior and not by its intention. That is, I might remove a privilege due to disruptive behavior but that alone does not make it punishment; only if the likelihood of that disruptive behavior occurring again decreases is it actually punishment. An example will be helpful: Read full post »

A Day in the Life- with Seattle Children’s Autism Center Nurses

With patients and families whose needs are 24/7, it seems a nurse’s work in never done. We had the chance to sit down with our nurses here at Seattle Children’s Autism Center to find out what a “day in the life” is like for them.  First, let’s introduce you to them. Read full post »