Author: David Eaton, ARNP

New Season of Parenthood Starts Tonight

Last season on NBC’s big-family drama, “Parenthood,” the overwhelming storyline was one family member’s battle with breast cancer.  How does that not overshadow all of the other storylines?  However, in case you missed it, there were plenty of situations in which Autism Spectrum Disorder continued to be woven in – most notably when Max Braverman was elected student council president!

In can you need a refresher or haven’t ever seen the show, Max is character who has Asperger’s syndrome. I’ve chronicled parts of past seasons in previous blog posts, here and here.

I invite you to watch it tonight (Thursdays) at 10 PM and follow along with me this season. I’ll plan on providing a little commentary and important updates about how Max tackles middle school every several episodes, so please let me know what you think about this season – I think they’ve done a great job capturing at least one picture of Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Real Life, “Parenthood” and Autism

I’ve been meaning to write a blog post update on this season of “Parenthood.” Now we’re 9 or 10 episodes in, so it’s long overdue. This is building on my post last winter not only focusing on Parenthood, but the broader question of Autism and the Media.

It’s been a really interesting season for the Autism Spectrum theme to shine through. For those who don’t follow the show, one of the many characters is Max Braverman, a 12 year old boy who has Asperger Syndrome. The season started out with Max’s older sister heading off to college at Cornell University (also apparently known as the “suicide school” because of the cold weather – as Max casually pointed out to his sister). It was a really interesting dynamic following recent a blog topic and Autism 200 series lecture about the sibling’s perspective. In Parenthood, Max’s sister tried to find ways to connect with him and convey how much she would miss him, but Max just doesn’t understand that the way that she feels it. She even buys him a weighted blanket as a going away present, but the meaning of such a gift is lost on Max.  Read full post »

Little Red Riding Hood is a Classic Story of Autism…

That statement made everyone perk up two Fridays ago as well, when Michelle Garcia Winner spoke at a day-long conference presented by Seattle Children’s Autism Guild, “Thinking About YOU, Thinking About ME.”  Michelle went on to point out that obviously Little Red wasn’t a very good observer, unable to make the distinction between her grandma and a vicious wolf.  All the while, noticing the details (e.g. “my, what big teeth you have.”), but not the bigger picture (i.e. she might want to run away to avoid the same fate as her grandma).  But the conference was much more than a social commentary on fairy tales. Read full post »

What Was Trending at IMFAR 2012

The International Meeting for Autism Research (IMFAR) was May 17-19 in Toronto. The annual event is organized by the International Society for Autism Research (INSAR) and is essentially the annual rotating Mecca for those involved or interested in autism research.

To give you an idea of the content at IMFAR, one of the organizers, Dr. Stephen Scherer, introduced the conference by saying that a lot of the information presented was unpublished, but certainly will lead to publication. This makes it very exciting, but also forces us to buffer our excitement and understand that so much of this research is in its early stages.

Read full post »

Autism and the Media

With increasing awareness about autism, it is inevitable that it is being portrayed in the media more and more.

The classic example of autism that pops into many people’s minds is Dustin Hoffman in “Rain Man.” Certainly this is ONE representation, but most people would say, “that’s not my kid.” How can we expect autism to be portrayed to our liking when we think of the mantra “if you’ve seen one kid with autism, you’ve seen one kid with autism”? Read full post »

Medication Tips and Autism

I’ll start by saying that the tips in this post can be applied universally, whether or not your child is affected by an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). However, low sensory thresholds in kids on the spectrum can certainly affect your child’s willingness to take medications. Plus, some of these things really do taste bad, so it’s good to have some tricks in mind.  Read full post »