Autism, Asperger's and more, oh my!
Autism, Asperger's and more, oh my!

Ride in style with the California Chariot

Do you have a child with Special Needs that yearns to be part of the fun with the kids in the neighbourhood out on their scooters, bikes and skateboards? Does your child have balance or mobility issues that interfere with the ability to join in? Well, look no further! Introducing the “California Chariot”. This amazing product made by Marky Sparky Inc. is an incredibly versatile product. Recommended for children over the age of six up to adults it is a combination of a BMX bike, two skateboards and a shopping cart. Just grab hold of the handlebar, step onto the “skateboards”, give a push with your foot and glide away. You control the speed and direction. The California Chariot has a hand brake to aid with speed control and stopping. Available in 4 great colors - Red, Blue, Purple and Classic Black. What a great way to get some exercise and join in the action with friends and family!

Click on the link to order one for your child!  Stumbleupon  Technorati  Digg 

Speech-to-Speech National Relay Service for people with speech disabilities

Most people are aware of the relay service available for individuals with hearing impairment. Many have even had experience using the service. Are you aware there is a similar service for individuals with a speech disability? This free telephone relay service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

This service is Speech-to-Speech or STS. It is available to all citizens of the USA, Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Australia, New Zealand and Sweden and does not require any typing in order to access the service.

Speech to Speech provides communication assistants for people whose speech is difficult to understand on the telephone. You can use the service for any type of phone call you require. There is no registration process; all you need to do is pick up the phone and dial 711 and request a Speech-to-Speech operator. The service can be requested by friends, family and businesspersons to make a call to you as well.

For more information go to  Stumbleupon  Technorati  Digg 

Hippotherapy works for children with Special Needs

All parents have dreams for their children. I know for myself I dream that my children will grow up to be independent, confident, contributing members of society. To that end I continue to research various therapies and "out of the box" solutions to help my boys become as successful as possible in their lives.

One of the therapies that I have done with my younger son is Hippotherapy. The goals that we had for this therapy were related to his Cerebral Palsy but I do know that many parents use this for their children with Autism and Down Syndrome with great success. K loved his sessions. The warmth from the horse's body worked wonders at relaxing his tight inner thigh muscles and the rocking motion of the horse's walk encouraged development of K's core muscle group and the result was improved sitting skills.

You can get more information about Hippotherapy from and for a list of centres offering this therapy check out this site There is also the for even more information.



Here is a story on CNN about a family that have seen great results from hippotherapy.

'Horse Boy,' family find respite from autism in Mongolia

Story Highlights

  • Family travels across Mongolia so autistic son can ride horses, meet shaman
  • Experts say riding horses can be effective in gaining access to autistic children
  • Rowan Isaacson's language and temper improved with horse/shaman therapy
  • His parents never abandoned more orthodox treatments for Rowan's autism  Stumbleupon  Technorati  Digg 

Training Dogs helps Autism

Every once in a while someone comes along that just "gets" it.
Dr. Debbye Turner reports that dog trainer Kathy Santo teaches children with autism how to train their dogs. This helps the children develop social bonding skills such as eye contact.

Watch CBS Videos Online  Stumbleupon  Technorati  Digg 

My Name is Autism

My Name is Autism

Hello. Allow me to introduce myself to you. My name is autism. Perhaps you know me or know of me. I am a condition, "disorder" that affects many people. I strike at will, when and where I want. Unlike Downs Syndrome or other birth "defects," I leave no marks on those I strike. In fact, I pride myself on the ability to infiltrate a child's life, while leaving him or her strikingly handsome. Many people may not even know I am there. They blame the child for what I cause him or her to do. I am autism and I do as I please.

I am autism. I strike boys and girls. infants and toddlers. I find my best victims to be boys around the age of 2, but any child will do. I like children and they are always the true victims, though I take hostage the others in the child's family as well. It is a bit like getting two for the price of one. I affect one child and "infect" the entire family.

I am autism. I strike rich and poor alike. The rich combat me with education and therapy. The poor shut their children away and cannot afford to fight me. I am able to win in the lives of poor children more than I am those of the wealthy, but I will try to take root anywhere.

I am autism. I am an equal opportunity disorder. I strike whites, blacks, Mexicans, Ukrainians, Russians, Poles, Slavs, Japanese, Koreans and Fins. In fact, I strike everywhere on Earth. I know no geographical bounds.

I am autism. I do not discriminate based upon religion either. I strike Jews and Christians, Muslims and Buddhists, Atheists and Agnostics. I do not care what religion a person is or what beliefs he may hold. When I strike, there will be little time for any of that anyway. When they find me, they will question everything they believe in, so why would I strike only one group? I have affected followers of every religion on the planet.

I am autism and I am strong and getting stronger every year, every month, every day, every minute and every second. I am concerned that money might be allotted to combat me and my takeover of children, but so far, I have little to fear. Some countries like Kuwait are spending quite a bit of money to assist those who I have targeted and some, like the United States, would rather spend money on such ludicrous things as discovering the number of American Indians who practice Voodoo, as opposed to combating me. In an atmosphere such as that, I can flourish and wreck havoc at will. In places such as that, I rub my hands with glee at the problems I can cause to children, their families and to the society at large.

I am autism. When I come, I come to stay. I take the dreams and hopes of families and trample them with delight. I see the fear and confusion in the eyes of my victims and see the formation of wrinkles, the worries and pain on the face of their parents. I see the embarrassment their child causes because of me and the parents unsuccessful attempt to hide their child, and me. I see tears the parents cry and feel the tears of their child. I am autism. I leave sorrow in my wake.

I am autism. I taketh away and give nothing but bewilderment and loathing in return. I take speech and learning. I take socialization and understanding. I take away "common sense" and, if I am allowed to flourish, I take away all but their physical life. What I leave behind, is almost worse than death.

I am autism. I fear nothing except courage, which I thankfully see little of. I fear those who take a stand against me and attempt to fight me and bring others into the fight as well. I fear those who try to make it safe and easier for my victims in the community, and their families. I fear those who push ahead, despite the fact that I am in tow. I fear the day I will be eradicated from the planet. Yet, I do not fear too much right now. There is no need.

I am autism and I bet you know me or know of me. If you don't, you probably will soon. I am marching forward faster than I ever have before. I am looking for new children all the time. I am looking for new children to consume and new lives to destroy. I dread the day I will be looked upon with pity or worse yet, understanding, for that day, is the day I will begin to die.

But in the mean time I am safe, free to prowl onward. Free to cause the pain and suffering that I do so well. I am on a mission and have much work to do and thankfully no one is stopping me yet.

Hello. Allow me to introduce myself. My name is autism. Perhaps you know me or know of me, if not don't worry, you will meet me soon.

~Author Unknown  Stumbleupon  Technorati  Digg 

Request for photos of children and adults with Autism diagnosis

Dear Families,

My name is Morri-Lynn Buchanan. I have a dance studio called Aer-Elite Dance that consists of 26 families with many dancers who have been with me for over 10 years. Our studio mandate is to offer quality classes to everyone regardless of size, ability or age. I have been teaching for over 35 years and work in the community centers and schools as well. I have a dance troupe comprised of seniors as well as a special needs adult group that I incorporate into my dance studio shows and activities.

Each year we focus on a cause. Sometimes we dance about it, sometimes we fund raise for it. This year we have decided to focus on increasing awareness for Autism.

I believe that things happen for a reason and it’s our job as individuals to do what we can with the things that are sent our way. I was an advanced reader for my age and when I was 12 I began reading psychology books about children. Some of those books were about autism. I did not know anyone with autism at the time, but I was fascinated with the topic. In the early years as a dance teacher I never came across anyone that I was aware of with this diagnosis but I do remember different children that I went to school with that I suspect now may have had it. I now live in Richmond, British Columbia and over the last 4 years I have taught at least 7 children with an ASD diagnosis and a few I suspect without one. My son had an autistic boy in his class that went undiagnosed until grade one. My best friend had her son in my dance classes; I commented on how he spun around under the ceiling fan in the opposite direction for minutes at a time and didn’t get dizzy. He wasn’t diagnosed until 11 years old. Her youngest son was given a diagnosis early because they were able to recognize and understand the behaviors. Recently I approached a mother and told her that her 7 year old son has symptoms of autism. She cried and thanked me. They are now waiting on an appointment for a diagnosis. I went out on a limb by telling her this but she had no information about autism to be able to make those observations herself. I have seen the movie Autism, the Musical and recognize the similarities between that project and what I have been doing for the last 6 years with my RSCL Adults. It is truly about ability not ‘dis’-ability.

All that said, this year I decided that I could do more to help the cause. My dancers will perform a dance about autism that we can take to shows and competitions and perhaps perform for events related to autism. We were given permission from Mark Leland to use his song “Missing Pieces”. During this dance we plan to have two sections where we hope to hold up photos of children who have been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. We are also going to make giant puzzle pieces that will have your children’s faces on them. We are hoping that you will be willing to send us a head shot of your child that we can use in our dance. It will give you one more voice to let people know that these children have value and ability in our world and help inform other parents who may not know what is wrong with their child.

We would also like to acknowledge the fact that these children grow into adults and that just because they reach the age of majority it does not mean they are “cured”. They are adults with a diagnosis of ASD. If this is you or someone you know please consider submitting a photo for a special segment of recognition.

Although most of our performances are free, if a situation arises that we receive a gratuity for this dance routine we will gladly donate the proceeds to the autism cause. This is a labor of love for me as I watch my good friend deal with the daily battles of having two children with this diagnosis. I can see the need for more public education and this is my small contribution to that end.

Please send a headshot of your child with their name/age and anything else you would like to tell us about them to: [email protected]

We will in turn send you a DVD copy of our dance when it is performed.

Thank you in advance,

Morri-Lynn Buchanan
Aer-Elite Dance  Stumbleupon  Technorati  Digg 

Sunday, Sunday

Here we are at the first Sunday of the New Year. Christmas was quiet for the most part. Not too much hustle and bustle because of the unbelievable amount of snow that we have had here this year. Everyone stuck pretty close to home and shoveled and shoveled and we’re STILL shoveling.

Tomorrow, providing the streets are clear, my kids will head back to school. There is a part of me that would really like to stay huddled cozy and warm in our house and just continue languishing in our non-routine. The other part of me can’t wait for the freedom that comes with having my youngest picked up at 7:15 and not returning home until close to 4 pm. The past two weeks have been both thrilling and trying with him home 24/7. I am thrilled at the leaps and bounds that his communication has improved over the past couple of months. He is now putting together full sentences and spontaneously imparting information to me. Not that I grasp it all. But, he is communicating with me. The trying part has been that he is in many ways like a 2 year old. Getting into things, removing decorations from the tree, he is fascinated with my container of flour, watching toilet paper or small toys get flushed down the toilet. You name it, he is into it. And he is so aware of any door left inadvertently unlatched. He has no qualms about going into his sisters room and pulling everything off the desk onto the floor in search of whatever is on his mind at the time and if he finds her camera in easy reach well….he struck GOLD! With a 10 year age gap we hear the frustrated wail of the teenager as she discovers what her younger sibling has managed to destroy THIS time.

In any case, I think I will just take a couple of days the find my focus and get back on track. I want to make a concerted effort to post more frequently and be more consistent at interacting with my “peeps”.

I hope the New Year comes in with a sense of rejuvenation for you. I know it has with me!  Stumbleupon  Technorati  Digg 

Welcome 2009!


Wishing you a happy, healthy and peace filled 2009.


Thank you for all comments and support during 2008.
Keep them coming!




Autism, Asperger’s and more, oh my!  Stumbleupon  Technorati  Digg 

Rain may hike increase in Autism

Rain may heighten risk of autism

But U.S. researchers don't know why the wet weather could be a factor

Jack Keating, The Province; with a file from Reuters

Published: Wednesday, November 05, 2008 -

Wet and rainy weather may increase the risk of developing autism in children, but it is unclear why, U.S. researchers reported yesterday.

"Autism prevalence rates for school-aged children in California, Oregon and Washington in 2005 were positively related to the amount of precipitation these counties received from 1987 through 2001," Prof. Michael Waldman of Cornell University wrote in the November issue of Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine.

A Vancouver doctor who specializes in autism said the findings are no cause for alarm even given B.C.'s wet weather, and should be used, if at all, primarily in stimulating further research into autism's causes.

Max Harding, 5, who has moderate autism, and his mom, Kim, walk Forest, a two-year-old yellow Lab, recently. Forest is the first autism service dog trained by B.C. Guide Dog Services. Wet and rainy weather may increase the risk of developing autism in children, but it is unclear why, U.S. researchers reported yesterday.

Max Harding, 5, who has moderate autism, and his mom, Kim, walk Forest, a two-year-old yellow Lab, recently. Forest is the first autism service dog trained by B.C. Guide Dog Services. Wet and rainy weather may increase the risk of developing autism in children, but it is unclear why, U.S. researchers reported yesterday.

Les Bazso file photo - The Province

He urged caution in interpreting the preliminary results.

"I don't think this is cause for widespread alarm or people deciding they need to move to a drier climate," said Dr. Steve Wellington, clinical director of the B.C. Autism Assessment Network.

"I would not want anyone to take that away from what is really a very preliminary and initial result."

The findings were based on autism rates from state and county agencies for children born in California, Oregon and Washington. The researchers paired them with daily precipitation reports.

Counties with more than 685 millimetres of precipitation annually tended to be the same areas with higher-than-average autism rates, while those with less than than 558 mm a year of rain tended to have lower-than-median rates, the researchers found.

Metro Vancouver's average annual rainfall is 1,117 mm.

"The relationship of rain in of itself has so many possible interpretations," said Wellington. "I think it's going to need some time for the research community to sort of sift through that."

It is not clear what causes autism. The symptoms range from severe social avoidance to repetitive behaviours and sometimes mental retardation.

The majority of good research over the past five to seven years has increasingly shown links that support a genetic component to the development of autism, said Wellington, a developmental pediatrician with Sunnyhill Health Centre For Children.

The U.S. researchers speculated that in rainy climates, infants and toddlers are kept indoors, perhaps in front of the TV. That, they said, might cause brain changes or the children may breathe more harmful chemicals while indoors.

Vitamin D deficiency caused by insufficient time in the sun might also be a trigger for autism, the researchers said.

"Finally, there is also the possibility that precipitation itself is more directly involved," the researchers wrote.

"Perhaps a chemical or chemicals in the upper atmosphere are transported to the surface through rain or snow."

The researchers cautioned that their findings were not definitive and that further research is needed.

Dr. Michael Fitzpatrick, a London physician who wrote Defeating Autism: A Damaging Delusion, doubted the report's findings, noting that autism diagnoses are on the rise in all climates.

"In recent years autism has been blamed on everything from discarded iPod batteries to mercury from Chinese power stations, from antenatal ultrasound scans to post-natal cord clamping, from diet to vaccines," he said.

[email protected]  Stumbleupon  Technorati  Digg 

Autism Speaks - Walk Now for Autism

Autism Speaks - Walk Now for Autism coming soon to a community near you! Find the date for your local event on the website.

During the next couple of months and throughout the year many cities throughout Canada, the US and the UK will have team representation at the Autism Speaks - Walk Now for Autism Marches. These walks are a fantastic way to raise awareness throughout communities about Autism Spectrum Disorders, make connections with other families, network, and raise funds for research into the causes, prevention and treatment of Autism.

Come out and show your support!

Join an existing team or start a corporate, school or family team today!

Walk Now for Autismoffers everyone a fun-filled experience with entertainment, refreshments, an autism community resource fair, and much, much more. Be sure to raise $100 to earn your commemorative Walk Now for Autism t-shirt.  Stumbleupon  Technorati  Digg