Welcome to the October edition of Ask Dr. Emily! We often receive questions that we want to share with all our readers. To help with this, Dr. Emily Rastall, a clinical psychologist at Seattle Children’s Autism Center, will share insights here, on the last Friday of each month, in a question and answer format. We welcome you to send us your questions and Dr. Rastall will do her best to answer them each month. Send your questions to email@example.com.
Q: Do adults with autism experience the same traits as children with autism? For example, will an adult with autism take two hours to eat a pop tart while sitting at a table? Are they slow eaters?
A: Symptoms of autism that are identified in childhood often persist into adulthood. They may shift and change in presentation and/or intensity. It is not uncommon for individuals with autism (from childhood Read full post »
A few nights ago I had the chance to attend the Seattle premier of the documentary film How to Dance in Ohio. What a treat! The film, set in Columbus, Ohio, follows three young women with autism as they prepare for an upcoming spring formal. The formal is a planned opportunity for the girls and other group members to practice everything they have learned throughout a 12-week social skills therapy group. The film takes us through some celebrated rites of passage many young people encounter as well as a look at what transitioning to adulthood looks like for these young women. I was invited to meet the director, Alexandra Shiva and producer, Bari Pearlman, to find out more about the making of this lovely film that is sure to leave you feeling close to the characters as they navigate their fears and worries of the unknown bag that is ‘growing up’.
When asked why make a documentary about autism, what impressed me most, was the filmmakers’ ability to see that this was a film about one slice of autism. The documentary very clearly marks that the social skills group the film follows is made up of individuals with high functioning autism. The clients in Read full post »
We hear a lot about “resilience” among those who live with chronic adversity. What exactly does this mean and why does it matter? Two veteran parents/providers take a look at this topic as it pertains to parents of children with special needs.
Therese and Lynn are moms of adult daughters with special needs. Therese’s daughter, Sabah, is now 32 so she has had many years to reflect on how parents build resilience in the face of adversity. She recalled the early years when she felt the guilt that many moms feel and her focus was on “fixing her” with many therapies and interventions. At the time, she wasn’t aware that she was grieving but she was. She wondered “why me” but also thought “why not me?” It was in Sabah’s teenage years that Therese shifted the focus to her quality of life. One thing that helped was that her family never did treat Sabah as disabled and always included her wherever they went. Therese also always had expectations of her daughter, not by any other yardstick but her own, meaning that she knew she could learn and grow toward whatever her capacity might be. Read full post »
Today we share a blog written by veteran parent Janice Lawrence. She writes about her experience with feeling isolated due to the many challenges autism can present.
Guest writer: Janice Lawrence
Right now there are three extra people in my home and still, I’ve never felt more alone. Having a special needs child brings with it a host of complications that are difficult to traverse or even explain. Isolation is one of those difficulties.
When my son was younger, cuter and generally more adorable, I would try to function as I had with my older child. The older and less cute that we both became, the more difficult that became until I am a ghost of the woman I used to be. Today my son is nearly my height and much easier to identify as special. That is a curse and a blessing. On the one hand, people are much more likely to give us a wide berth when we are maneuvering in public. Conversely, that distance is a barrier to any kind of human connection. People are much less likely to approach us today than they were when he was smaller and more adorable. Read full post »
Today we share a new resource that has just been made available online!
Understanding Autism: Reflections and Insights from Parents and Professionals is a DVD created for families following an autism spectrum disorder diagnosis in their child. It is intended to provide support via parent stories from other families with children on the autism spectrum as well as useful information from experts in the field. The content is approximately one-hour long and is available freely online in the “Videos” section of the Seattle Children’s Autism Center resource page.
The Understanding Autism DVD was created by the University of Washington READi Lab and ASAP! Program.
We hope this resource is helpful and that you share it with others. Thanks!