The Resource Page
Every day there is more and more written about living with disabilities. Our concentration is on Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) with emphasis on Asperger’s Syndrome (AS). Since the inception of our Website, we have felt the importance of sifting through all the information out there and providing you, our visitors, with synopsis and links to articles that, in our judgment, you may find helpful.
Recently, we have also added a page – Books in our Library – that you might find helpful. All of the books have been donated to our organization. We present them to you with summaries culled from book-seller sites that do not necessarily reflect our opinions.
You may also want to check out our Watercooler blog written for and by people with Asperger’s Syndrome or by people who love them.
When Those With Autism Age Out, What’s Next? (disabilityscoop) – All parents’ worry (especially when their children are on the Autism Spectrum) about what will happen to their children after they graduate or age out of high school. This article deals with the story of one such mother, Jamie Wheeler-Matlock, who saw her daughter slip away from being a popular, active high-school student to a withdrawn young woman who hated the menial jobs that did not challenge her intellectually resulting in her spending most of her time sitting in front of the TV or the computer. Jamie founded a nonprofit in Austin, TX called Austen’s Autistic Adventures, named after her daughter. “The nonprofit schedules daily activities for high-functioning adults with autism, which typically means they can communicate, use a restroom and follow requests…. According to Autism Speaks, 50,000 teens age out of school-based autism services every year.”
6 Ways to Create an Autism-Friendly Ramadan and Eid (patheos.com) – Let’s be honest, in most Muslim countries, Autism is not recognized. A young Muslim woman from Saudi Arabia told us that one of her sisters and her entire family emigrated to the U.S. in order to get help for their autistic child. Fortunately, for those living in the West, there is help for those on the Autism Spectrum.
Case in point, Muslimah Next Door. Dilshad Ali, the author of the blog, is the mother of an autistic boy. “Last night I sat in a darkened room with my eldest son, D, as he alternately cried a dil-se-dhook rona (heart-worn crying) and screamed in anger and frustration. The best I could do was be present to his pain, until he worked himself through it and fell exhaustedly asleep,” she writes in another blog entry It’s Not Just Autism. It’s Living. This happens often in her household. Here she shares six ideas that would make Ramadan and Eid a more pleasant experience for her son and for all autistics.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Sleep (Tuck Sleep Foundation) – Sleep is a major issue for both adults and children with ASD. Many on the Spectrum have difficulties with either falling or staying asleep. Lack of adequate number of hours of sleep result in various problems for people on the Spectrum including lack of concentration, hyperactivity, and even aggression.
A 2009 study published in Sleep Medicine Reviews noted parents report sleep problems for children with ASD at a rate of 50% to 80%; by comparison, this rate fell between 9% and 50% for children that had not been diagnosed with ASD. The rate for children with ASD was also higher than the rate for children with non-ASD developmental disabilities.
In a recent study titled ‘Sleep Problems and Autism’, UK-based advocacy group Research Autism noted that the following sleep issues are common among children and adults with ASD.
- Difficulty with sleep onset, or falling asleep
- Difficulty with sleep maintenance, or staying asleep throughout the night
- Early morning waking
- Short-duration sleeping
- Sleep fragmentation, characterized by erratic sleep patterns throughout the night
- Hyperarousal, or heightened anxiety around bedtime
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
This article not only discusses sleep disorders, what my cause them, and how to help a person with this problem but it also addresses extensively the various aspects of ASD and what the differences are between the various types of disorders under the Spectrum.
Breaking down the barriers to employment for autistic people (theGuardian) – As everyone who has a relative or friend on the Autism Spectrum knows, the biggest issue for ASD adults is employment. Most cannot get jobs. And many who do have problems keeping them or only have part-time positions. And of course, there is alway the difficulty of finding meaningful employment. This is as true in the U.K. as it is in the U.S.
Simply, [Kathryn Moore, the subject of the article] says, all employers need to do is “find solutions because we work better when we don’t have physical stressors. Sensory processing difficulties can be very painful and it’s not fair to ignore them and expect quality work.”
Moore believes that certain allowances for autistic employees can make all the difference: “If an employer needs to meet with an autistic employee, don’t simply say ‘we need to talk after work’, because I will spend the entire day worrying about the meeting. If possible, tell me what the meeting will be about and if it is negative then tell me at the last possible moment. Give feedback constructively; if there is an issue, don’t just tell me there was an issue, tell me how I contributed to it, how I should do things differently and what the best outcome will be, as there is every chance that I had no idea there was a problem until the very last moment.”
Researchers have ditched the autism-vaccine theory. Here’s what they think actually causes it. (MSN.com) – For years parents have been agonizing over whether or not the vaccines their children received as infants and toddlers caused them to have autism. The fear of autism brought on by celebrity claims like those of Jenny McCarthy (Mother Warriors) has caused many parents to refuse to have their children vaccinated. As a result, there has been a rise in the number of children contracting preventable diseases such as measles and mumps. But scientist have been debunking the vaccine theory for years. They are convinced that there is absolutely no connection between vaccines and autism.
Autism spectrum disorder is a collection of close to 1,000 different conditions, with symptoms ranging from delayed speech development to asocial behavior and repetitive movements.
“But of all the causes of autism, the thing we know with the greatest certainty is that it’s a very genetic disorder,” said UCSF geneticist and autism researcher Stephan Sanders. “If you look at a child with autism, then look at their siblings, you’ll find the rate of autism is 10 times higher in those siblings than in the general population. This has been looked at in populations of millions.”
Your Disabled Relative & Finances (Washington Post reprint) – Many people with disabilities struggle to maintain their independence, including money-management. Aspergians are no different. One of the many problems they face is the inability to manage their finances. In this article, Michelle Singletary discusses the process she used to help her brother, who suffers from epilepsy, establish an independent life.
Tribeca Win Goes To Film Starring Those On The Spectrum (disabilityscoop.com) – Michelle Diament reports on a surprise win at the influential Tribeca Film Festival in the U.S. narrative competition. The movie, “Keep the Change,” is a romantic comedy starring non-professional actors from New York’s Adaptations Group at the Jewish Community Center of Manhattan.
Here is the synopsis from the Festival’s webpage:
David, an upper-class charmer, leads a very comfortable life, until he is mandated to attend a support group for adults with disabilities. There, he is forced to come to terms with his own high-functioning autism, despite his resentment towards being singled out as different, or anything other than what he interprets as ‘normal.’
In group, David is paired with Sarah – a quirky and outgoing woman whose optimism initially irks David – and the two take a trip together to the Brooklyn Bridge. Despite their contrasting personalities, they forge a bond. As their relationship deepens, Sarah, confident in herself and her individuality, challenges David to embrace his own uniqueness.
An endearing and naturalistic romantic comedy about people navigating the difficulties of a relationship, Keep the Change details an underrepresented community with authenticity, optimism and humor.
Marijuana may be a miracle treatment for children with autism (USAToday.com) – New hope is on the horizon for families of severely autistic children. A study is being conducted in Israel involving 120 children and young adults, ages 5 to 29, about the effect of marijuana on autism. Some participants receive drops of cannabis oil and others placebos. The study began in January of 2017 and will conclude at the end of 2018. It has already been established that cannabis is highly effective in reducing seizures in children with epilepsy. But there are no funds for cannabis research in the United States since most of the $1.4 billion in marijuana research since 2008 has gone towards the studying of addiction, withdrawal and drug abuse.
The subtle brilliance of Sesame Street’s first episode starring an autistic Muppet (VOX.com) – There is a new kid in town on Sesame Street (seen both on PBS and HBO) and her name is Julia. Julia is autistic. The “subtle brilliance” of all of the episodes that have Julia in it is that the crew at Sesame Street targets neurotypical (aka “normal”) kids in the way Julia is presented. They teach children that if you interact with an autistic child on his/her terms, everyone benefits. Julia is not sick, a person to be pitied or shunned. Julia is not weird or scary. Julia is just different, as Abby, the fairy Muppet, points out in the first episode.
Why Holly Robinson Peete Believes Autistic Lives Matter, Too (NBC News) – There is a reality show on Oprah Winfrey’s OWN Network that is in its second season. “For Peete’s Sake” deals with autism.
[Holly Robinson] Peete hosts a town hall discussion, bringing together law enforcement and the special-needs community for a heartfelt and provocative discussion inspired mostly by Charles Kinsey — a black mental health therapist shot by North Miami police officers last year while trying to help his autistic patient. As the mother of a black son with autism, Peete says the case hit way too close to home.
“I am working on putting forth legislation [Peete says] getting autism training for law enforcement and things like having autism added to driver’s licenses. We’re calling it ‘RJ’s Law’ … in honor of my son.”
Here’s how Glasgow plans to be the first autism-friendly city centre in the UK (GlasgowLive) – Glasgow welcomes approximately fifty-five million visitors a year, including people with autism. So, the Glasgow City Council, the city’s business community, and Autism Network Scotland decided to make Glasgow’s city center a welcoming destination for everyone, including people with autism, who make up 1% of the United Kingdoms total population. Their plan has five objectives: customer experience, customer information, staff training, physical environment, and promoting understanding. All of these objectives have one common goal – to raise awareness of autism and the challenges it presents to individuals in busy areas.
Lynsey Stewart, network advisor at Autism Network Scotland says the organization is really happy about working on this project.
“We believe this worthwhile project will make a real difference enabling those on the autism spectrum to confidently access community infrastructure such as shopping centres, tourist attractions and public transport.”
How States Are Trying to End the Disability Unemployment Crisis (In These Times) – The 2016 Disability Statistics Compendium data supports what many in the disability community (especially in the Asperger adult community) already know: the unemployment rate for the disabled is much higher than that of others. This report also shows that it matters where the disabled person lives. For instance, a disabled person has a higher chance of being employed in a meaning job in Wyoming (over 60%) than in West Virginia (25%). Demographics also plays a part. The more populous the state is, the more people are disabled. Consequently, there is a larger percentage of unemployment within the disabled community.
Students With Disabilities Suspended More Often At Charters (disabilityscoop.com) – Finally, there is a definitive study that supports what many of us already knew: charter schools are not supportive of their disabled students. They have various school-wide policies that do not tolerate any “deviant” behavior.
In an analysis of discipline records for nearly 5,000 charter schools, researchers identified deep disparities no matter which grades charters served even though fewer children with disabilities attend such schools, according to the report from the Center for Civil Rights Remedies at the Civil Rights Project at the University of California, Los Angeles.
“It’s disturbing to see so many of these schools still reporting such high suspension rates because that indicates charter leaders continue to pursue ‘broken windows,’ ‘no excuses’ and other forms of ‘zero tolerance’ discipline,” said Daniel Losen, the study’s lead author. “And we know from decades of research that frequently suspending children from school is counterproductive.”
Where will my adult child work? (Madison House Autism Foundation) – This site provides some important employment resources, such as various toolkits that are resource manuals broken down into helpful sections; articles, studies, and guides that cover a variety of topics related to employment; and Websites that “offer comprehensive support and/or information for a variety of issues related to navigating employment issues and the workforce.”
3 Chemicals That Children with Autism Struggle to Make on their Own (embracingthespectrum.com) – According to Casey Ames, there are three main chemicals in the human body that cause problems for children on the Autism Spectrum (and by extension for adults as well): serotonin, melatonin, and glutathione. The blog post describes the problems and how to conteract their effects, including a recommended list of foods to add to an Aspie’s diet.
Asperger’s plus ADD: 50 Tips for Adults on the Autism Spectrum (adultaspergerschat.com) – “If you have Asperger’s (high functioning autism) and ADD, everything from paying the bills on time to keeping up with family and work can be super stressful. Your symptoms may lead to trouble making deadlines, extreme procrastination, and impulsive behavior. Also, you may feel that family and friends don’t understand how difficult you have it.” So starts this interesting article about self-help techniques Aspies can use to make their lives easier. And according to Dave Angel, you don’t have to be an Aspie to find these tips helpful. We agree.
Girls and women on the Autism Spectrum (amaze) – This post traces the history of Autism as it relates to girls and women. Today it is assumed that 1 in 4 of all people with Autism is female. ASD women are continually under-diagnosed, as a result, much of the research and findings relate to men rather than women.
Some of the characteristics that Autistic women and girls exhibit are the following according to Lori Ernsperger, Ph. D, BCBA-D, a US expert on Autism Spectrum Disorder in girls and women:
- Increased social imitation skills,
- A desire to interact directly with others,
- A tendency to be shy or passive,
- Better imagination,
- Better linguistic abilities developmentally, and
- Interests that focus on animals or people.
The article also deals with gender disparity, bias in diagnostic protocol and tools, socialization, and more.