Thursday, January 30, 2014

'Today' show: Dr Josie Barbaro and Nicole Rogerson - VIDEO

Did you catch the report this morning on Channel Nine's 'Today' show?

Dr Josie Barbaro, from La Trobe University, explained the new research in the cues they have established for early autism detection.

Here it is. Click on this link.

Why is early detection important? The longer you leave a diagnosis, the less you are engaging with early intervention, such as speech therapy, play groups, and occupational therapy.

These may not make much sense now if your child has not been diagnosed (but you suspect he or she has autism), but it will once you set off on that journey, and can later look back at the benefits of intervention when you see vast improvements over time in your child.

My fave part of this 'Today' clip? When Nicole Rogerson, founding director and CEO of Autism Awareness Australia and managing director of the Lizard Children's Centre (provider of early intervention programs for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder), says, "Don't listen to the lovely cousin Joyce who says, 'Look, Bill was 25 before he spoke, and now he's heading NASA!'"

Brilliant, Nicole.

I know EXACTLY what you mean by that.

When I got the diagnosis for my son Rafael at age 2 (although I know at 1 year and 8 months. Yes, I can pinpoint it), I vividly recall saying to my husband: "I don't want to hear any bullshit from anyone who says, 'Don't worry! He will grow out of it!'

"Here is the diagnosis. We have work to do. There is no point denying it, or listening to any stories about anyone's anybody. This is our son, and we know what we are doing."

Trust me, you become 'tiger mother' who has to roll up sleeves and get to work. Listening to well-meaning stories is okay, but don't let it derail what you know is the truth. As Nine's Lisa Wilkinson says in this interview, "trusting your gut."

Amen to that.

Bravo Dr Barbaro. Here's to more and more research into early detection into autism, and helping families to figure out what to do, sooner.

Monday, January 27, 2014

How Do Vaccines Cause Autism?

This. Just in.


Click right here:

Now. Can we carry on? Can I be left to help my son, please?

I am sick to death of reading that vaccines cause autism.

They don't.

I won't list all the reasons this theory has been discredited. Google that yourself.

The theory is as old hat - and damaging to the job parents have on their hands to help their child - as the disgusting theory that 'infantile schizophrenia' (as autism was once called) is a result of the 'refrigerator mother'. That is, a cold, unloving mother.

Yeah. Really.

Our time is best spent helping our children who need us, not listening to things that tap into a particular brand of mother guilt that only a parent of a child with autism can understand.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Dear 'Daddy' in Seat 16C Flight 1850 From Philly: VIDEO and letter

Mum boards flight with three year old daughter who has autism.  Expects judgement.
Instead, get this (this is her thank you letter the man who happened to sit beside her and her gorgeous daughter, below:
Dear "Daddy,"
I don't know your name, but Kate called you "daddy" for the entire flight last week and you kindly never corrected her. In fact, you didn't even flinch as you could probably tell that she was not confusing you with her own "daddy," but instead making a judgment regarding your level of "safety" for her. If she calls you "daddy" then you better believe she thinks you are alright.
I sat Kate, my 3-year-old who has autism, in the middle seat knowing full well that there would be a stranger sitting next to her for the duration of this flight. I had to make a quick decision and based on her obsession with opening and closing the window shade, I figured she might be less of a distraction if she sat in the middle. I watched the entire Temple basketball team board the plane, and wondered if one of these giants might sit by Kate. They all moved toward the back. She would have liked that, she would have made some observations that I would have had to deal with, but she would have liked those players. I watched many Grandmotherly women board and hoped for one to take the seat but they walked on by. For a fleeting moment I thought we might have a free seat beside us, and then you walked up and sat down with your briefcase and your important documents and I had a vision of Kate pouring her water all over your multi-million dollar contracts, or house deeds, or whatever it was you held. The moment you sat down, Kate started to rub your arm. Your jacket was soft and she liked the feel of it. You smiled at her and she said: "Hi, Daddy, that's my mom." Then she had you.
You could have shifted uncomfortably in your seat. You could have ignored her. You could have given me that "smile" that I despise because it means; "manage your child please." You did none of that. You engaged Kate in conversation and you asked her questions about her turtles. She could never really answer your questions but she was so enamored with you that she kept eye contact and joint attention on the items you were asking her about. I watched and smiled. I made a few polite offers to distract her, but you would have none of it.
Kate: (Upon noticing you had an iPad) Is dis Daddy's puduter?
You: This is my iPad. Would you like to see it?
Kate: To me?????? (I know she thought you were offering it to her to keep)
Me: Look with your eyes, Kate. That is not yours.
Kate: Dat's nice!
You: (Upon noticing that Kate had an iPad) I like your computer, too. It has a nice purple case.
Kate: Daddy wanna be a bad guy? (She offered shredder to you and that, my friend, is high praise)
You: Cool.
The interaction went on and on and you never once seemed annoyed. She gave you some moments of peace while she played with her Anna and Elsa dolls. Kind of her to save you from playing Barbies, but I bet you wouldn't have minded a bit. I bet you have little girls, too.
Not long before we landed Kate had reached her limit. She screamed to have her seatbelt off, she screamed for me to open the plane door and she cried repeating, "Plane is cwosed (closed)" over and over. You tried to redirect her attention to her toys. She was already too far gone at this point, but the fact that you tried to help your new little friend made me emotional.
In case you are wondering, she was fine the moment we stepped off the plane. Thank you for letting us go ahead of you. She was feeling overwhelmed and escaping the plane and a big, long hug was all she needed.
So, thank you. Thank you for not making me repeat those awful apologetic sentences that I so often say in public. Thank you for entertaining Kate so much that she had her most successful plane ride, yet. And, thank you for putting your papers away and playing turtles with our girl.
Here's a video on her experience: