Archive for 2015

What to Tell Your Summer Program Staff

As we turn toward the long summer months, many parents of children with autism are busy filling out summer program forms. If you are like me, you pause when you get to this section:

Does your child have any behavioral concerns?


Why do I pause at this question…?

First of all, I usually marvel at how little space is provided to answer such a complex question. My son’s Behavior Intervention Plan is nine pages long!

Second, the answer for my son is YES, he does have behavioral concerns. I’ll admit to being afraid to list his specific challenging behaviors for fear of being excluded from the camp. I’m tempted to simply write “some” with a little smiley face and leave it at that—-but this would be unfair to everyone— Read full post »

Autism Awareness Month Stories- Elly’s Story

In honor of Autism Awareness Month we invited our readers to share their stories with us. We are sharing the stories throughout the month of April. Today’s story is from 13-year-old Elly.

Autism is like a person knocking at your door, but instead of opening the door, you just listen to the knock. As it grows louder, and stronger you… grow more stressed, and upset. Every knock is an event involving autism that just breaks you, makes you cry, makes you hurt. The breaks between each knock are the happy times, laughing, forgetting autism is really there.

My twin brother, Trevor, has Autism.

I sometimes wish life had a remote. I would be able to rewind our birth, and backspace the Autism. It really hurts. Not having that sibling relationship. Sometimes it feels like nobody understands, what it’s like to feel alone. Read full post »

Autism Awareness Month Stories- Patty’s Story

In honor of Autism Awareness Month we invited our readers to share their stories with us. We are sharing the stories throughout the month of April. Today’s story is from Patty Pacelli. 

Teaching My Autistic Son to Ride a Bike

I’m sure some children with autism learn to ride a bicycle just as well as any other child, but my son Trevor had a hard time with it, and more significantly, had practically zero interest in learning. According to, bicycle riding is usually more difficult for children with autism. 

His older sister started learning to ride a bike at about 5 years old, being pushed from behind on a tiny bicycle with training wheels. She had a tricycle before that. Trevor rode the tricycle a little bit, but just wasn’t interested in even trying a two-wheeler. He was too entranced by other things. He would play outside, but spent a lot of time squatting down on the ground, playing with blades of grass or dropping leaves into the storm drains on our cul-de-sac. He seemed happy and content to walk around and Read full post »

MMR Vaccine Not Linked to Autism

A new study titled “Autism Occurrence by MMR Vaccine Status Among U.S. Children With Older Siblings With and Without Autism” was published this week in the Journal of American Medical Association. The study found that receiving the MMR vaccine is not associated with an increased risk of autism, even when older siblings have autism. Dr. Bryan King, director of Seattle Children’s Autism Center and Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine, discusses this further on Seattle Children’s Hospital blog, On the Pulse.

Seattle Children’s Alyssa Burnett Center Celebrates 1-Year Anniversary


Mikey at high school graduation.

This month marks the 1-year anniversary of Seattle Children’s Alyssa Burnett Adult Life Center’s grand opening. The Burnett Center offers year-round classes for adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or other developmental disabilities. In today’s blog, Tammy Mitchel, program manager for the Burnett Center shares some of her favorite memories from the past year. 

Nearly one year ago, as I was driving to the grand opening of the Alyssa Burnett Adult Life Center, my head swirled with thoughts, hopes, dreams and – admittedly – fears for this journey to open a center for adults with autism. Would it be possible to thoughtfully offer classes to adults with autism and serve a wide spectrum of ability levels? Could we teach adults who had never been in a kitchen how to cook for themselves? Would we be equipped to handle even the most challenging behaviors? And most importantly, could we create a community where all of this could happen under one roof?

I’m so happy to say one year later that yes, we could. And we did.

Read full post on On the Pulse