General

All Articles in the Category ‘General’

Oscar Always Wants to Play With Our Neighbors

Oscar and Rosie“Oscar always wants to play with our neighbors, but they aren’t very nice to him. It’s sad because when I was a kid I played with our neighbors all the time and he doesn’t have that,” says Rosie Delcid, a senior at Highline High School.

Eight year old Oscar is Rosie’s younger brother who she describes as hyper and funny. “I love him so, so much.”

Rosie is one of four children and lives with her mom, dad, one of her older sisters and her brother Oscar. Oscar has autism. Oscar is the reason Rosie has organized an event at the Burien Library called Autism Connections. Read full post »

Diagnosis and Identity

teenagerGuest Writer: Ben Wahl, MSW, is the program director of Aspiring Youth Program

Nowadays it is quite common to hear the CDC statistic that 1 in 88 children (and 1 in 54 boys) in the US have an Autism Spectrum Disorder. There is much debate about whether there is actually an increase in occurrence or whether we have just gotten better at detection. There is similarly loud debate about the new criteria for ASD in the DSM 5. For the young people I work with, though, the debate is beside the point. What they experience is what matters; and that experience is often isolation, confusion, frustration, anxiety, and depression. Read full post »

Autism and Dealing with Change

The adjustment to the start of a new year is a reminder that change is constantly occurring. Change, especially unexpected change, can be extremely stressful for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Children with ASD often prefer to have a sense of structure and to know what to expect during the day and what activity they will be doing and when. Consistency and predictability help children feel reassured that they know what will happen next. When change occurs, children with ASD may respond in a variety of ways, including exhibiting withdrawal, repetitive behaviors, tantrums, or even aggression. It is important to remember that these behaviors are typically the result of extreme anxiety and/or inability to communicate their emotions/desires. Below are some tips for managing change and transitions in your child’s life. Read full post »

A Farewell Tribute to Dr. Chuck Cowan

Delivering bad news can be done well and it can be done poorly. Each parent of a child with autism has his or her own story of receiving the diagnosis. In our case, 13+ years later, I vividly recall the date of our appointment, that I was wearing a favorite blouse, superstitiously hoping it would influence the outcome, and that it was one of the hardest days of my life.

I had asked that we be referred to “the autism doctor at Children’s”. Back then, there were few who were interested in working with our kids. I want to share with you today our story of the doctor who diagnosed our child and what he means to our family.

Dr. Chuck Cowan broke my heart that day – and then spent the last thirteen years helping it to heal. Read full post »

Autism and Screen Time

42-15672052Guest Writer: Ben Wahl, MSW, is the program director of Aspiring Youth Program, www.aspiringyouth.net

Do children and adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) spend more time on video games and computers than their peers? According to researcher Dr. Paul Shattuck, the answer is ‘yes’.

Dr. Shattuck, of Washington University in St. Louis, sampled 1,000 study participants who had ASD and found that 41% indicated a level of screen time that would qualify as ‘high user’. The results of the study are telling: “Given that only 18 percent of youths in the general population are considered to be high users of video games, it seems reasonable to infer based on the current results, that kids with ASDs are at significantly greater risk of high use of this media than are youths without ASDs” (Shattuck, 2012). Read full post »