Archive for November 2013

Monthly Archive

Autism and GI Issues

Recently we received a question from one of our readers about a large study regarding children with autism and Gastrointestinal (GI) Issues. Please see what our Dr. Charles Cowan had to say:

Thanks for your post pointing out this most interesting and important recent study. This UC Davis/MIND Institute study is the largest study to date on gastrointestinal (GI) issues in children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). For those of you who haven’t heard of this study or read it, in brief summary the authors used data from CHARGE (CHildhood Autism Risks from Genetic and the Environment) database. This is a very large study which enrolled 1,513 participants from 2003-2011. Most participants completed a questionnaire about GI symptoms, such as diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain, and food intolerance to compare the prevalence of these symptoms between children diagnosed with ASD, non-autism Developmental Delay (non-ASD DD) and Typical Development (TD). Read full post »

Autism and Time for a Change of Holiday Thinking

snowman in october

It ought to be a crime

A neighbor down the street from us puts her Christmas decorations up days after Halloween. It’s strange to see her lit-up Santa with a pumpkin at his feet. Seeing holiday trees for sale last week made me feel a bit annoyed that we are rushing so far ahead of ourselves. We’ve barely closed the door on the last trick-or-treaters and have yet to give thanks in November. What’s the big hurry? Can’t we enjoy one holiday without immediately diving into the next?

Guilty as charged

While no one could ever accuse me of getting ahead of myself in the game of holiday decorating or shopping, I confess to sometimes wanting to fast-forward through them. After all these years of accepting and reframing what they mean in the context of living with autism, it’s still difficult not to feel a small pang of disappointment for all the Read full post »

Autism and Parent Identity

mirrorMy colleague and fellow mom Katrina recently sent me an article in the NY Times written by a woman facing an empty nest as her last child was about to graduate from college. She wrestled with figuring out whom she would be moving forward when so much of her perception of who she is had been based on her role as mother. We certainly could relate to feeling a singular identity however we did wonder aloud if we would ever feel like empty-nesters given that we have children with autism who will require oversight for life.

It also reminded me of an exercise I had hoped to do one day with parents of children with autism regarding their self-identity. I called it the I Am exercise and here is how it started . . . Read full post »

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 »