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Sleep Problems and Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) (mattress1000) – It is very common for people on the Autism Spectrum (ASD) to have a sleep disorder, according to Linda Jones, the editor of Mattress1000.

Many studies have shown that a lack of sleep results in poor daytime behavior in ASD, such as day time sleepiness, depression, anxiety, lack of concentration, hyperactivity, increased distractability, irritability, and poor learning abilities.

Research has also shown that on average people with autism have a shorter duration of the REM stage of sleep, which is the stage where learning happens and memories are formed. This overall results in poor cognitive abilities.

Other than that, lack of sleep also worsens the symptom of autism and results in stress and anxiety—both of which in turn makes sleep even more difficult.

In this article, Ms. Jones provides a handy chart that gives ideas to caregivers (and adults on the Spectrum) about how to get a better night’s rest. It also addresses the causes of insomnia for those on the Spectrum.

  • Co-existing medical conditions
  • Imbalance in melatonin levels and other neurotransmitter action
  • Increased sensitivity to stimuli
  • Failure to understand social cues

If you or your child have problems with sleep, this article might help you in how to pinpoint the cause(s) and what can be done to offset those issues.

What Greta Thunberg’s Autism Diagnosis Does for the Rest of Us ( – We all know who Greta Thunberg is, a 16-year-old climate change activist who happens to be an Aspergian. She has received accolades from those who believe in the threat posed by climate change and vilification and ridicule from climate change deniers including the President and First Lady of the United States.

Knowing that a person of Greta’s stature is autistic helps forward the cause of acceptance in three key ways: it helps to destigmatize autism, it provides hope and inspiration in the lives of all Aspies, and makes all autistics “feel empowered by the will of celebrities to step forward and take control of the narrative about their condition under intense media scrutiny.”

Whether famous or not, the public acknowledgment of one’s condition is a brave act in the face of the stigma of those on the spectrum. As autism awareness spreads, acceptance soon follows.

5 Things I Want You to Know About Being An Autistic Person (theMighty) – The author of this article, Karli Slomka, is autistic. Here she lists five main things she wants everyone to know about autism.

There exist few mysteries greater than what exists within the minds of autistic people. No matter how thoroughly the topic is studied, contemplated and researched, autism will forever remain something difficult to understand. It is an extraordinarily rare and horrifying disease often caused by vaccines, gluten, circumcision and, of course, microwaves… I hope you know I’m being sarcastic.However, despite the sarcastic nature of my previous statement, you wouldn’t believe how many times I’ve been told such ridiculous “facts” directly to my face by so-called “autism experts….”

Dogs and Autism: a Match Made in Heaven (theMighty) – Those of us who have been blessed with dogs in our lives know that dogs respond to our needs both physical and mental. They are also extremely intuitive. For instance, when my daughter was small, our wonderful dog, Bojszi, allowed her to pull his hair, sit on him, and shower him with other indignities. But there came a point when he decided that enough was enough! The first time he growled at her, she was shocked and cried buckets. But slowly both she and Bojszi learned the limits of what was acceptable and what was not.

Maxine Share’s son, Daniel, is autistic. In this article she shares the story of Brain, a tiny Chihuahua, who instinctively knew what to do when Daniel became anxious.

Brain just seemed to know when something was wrong. As Daniel’s anxiety would rise, Brain would climb up onto his chest and lick my boy’s chin and cheeks. He would then splay himself across Daniel’s chest like a starfish, completely limp and still, and in doing so, make himself as heavy as his little body could be…. The warmth and love on Daniel’s chest seemed to stop the anxiety in its tracks: Brain was the sweetest, most loving weighted vest in the world.

Congressman Hopes Disability Internship Program Outlives His Tenure (disabilityscoop) – As U.S. Rep. Gregg Harper, Mississippi Republican, prepares to leave office, he has hope that his support in helping those with disabilities will continue. He was inspired by his own son, Livingston, who was diagnosed with Fragile X Syndrome (a genetic condition that causes a range of developmental problems including learning disabilities and cognitive impairment.) at four years old. Through therapy and support Livingston received as a child and continues to receive, he went on to graduate college and obtain a job at a local restaurant.

Ever since elected to the House in 2008, Gregg Harper has been actively involved in providing those with disabilities the services they need and deserve. “He has sponsored multiple pieces of legislation to help people with disabilities transition into adulthood, including his Transition toward Excellence, Achievement and Mobility (or TEAMAct in 2013.” Harper looks at the person’s whole life, from insurance coverage to employment. In his time in office, he has co-sponsored the Disability Integration Act and coordinated the Congressional Internship Program with the Mason Learning Into Future Environments at George Mason University. In teaming up with the LIFE program he has also brought attention to the opportunity of those with intellectual disabilities to obtain a four-year non-degree program George Mason University provides. He points out one of the benefits of welcoming those with disabilities into the work field, “it allows people to stand on their own two feet and not be dependent on the government, which certainly is a strong goal.” Harper hopes that the work he has done will continue and grow so those with disabilities can continue to receive support and achieve employment.

Schools Teaching Students In Special Ed How To Code (disabilityscoop) – In 2017 Vancouver Public Schools received a $5,000 grant from Washington State’s Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction and as well as a donation of $5,000 from The Foundation for Vancouver Public Schools to launch a pilot computer science program for students in structured communication programs and structured learning centers. The program is structured for the students to have one hour a week using with through iPads, robots, and trained teachers. Meagan Williams, a special education teacher and instructional technology facilitator leading the pilot program says, “the students are learning how to problem-solve, overcome obstacles and collaborate with their peers. The coding is a means to an end toward helping students work on their interpersonal skills.” Students are not only learning how to code but are improving their problem-solving, frustration-tolerance, and collaborative skills. Those on the spectrum commonly struggle with interpersonal, problem solving, and flexible thinking. Even though many students will not become programmers they are gaining skills that will ensure a successful future.

What Is Executive Functioning? (SETHPERLER) – At the age of 10, Tarik El-Abour found an obsession with Nascar. He could tell you every aspect of it from the drivers and their histories, announcers, each team and their origins and the stats. This obsession helped his mother understand more how Tarik’s brain works. Tarik has Autism so the way he conceptualizes and thinks is different from others. His mother commented, “We think in concepts, he thinks in numbers. The greater the number of times he did anything the better he was at it. Just like us, however, the way the numbers worked in his mind went way further than anything I could have yet imagined.”

Along with his love for Nascar, he also had a passion for baseball. Tarik would go outside and practice and train for hours. The repetitiveness is what helped him master a skill. As his passion for baseball grew, one night he asked his mother how he can erase Nascar information from his brain to make room for baseball. The Autistic brain often gets hooked on one topic and obsesses over it. Tarik wanted to just focus on baseball but his brain was still latched onto Nascar.

As Tarik grew older, he got the opportunity to play for various baseball teams and met coaches who gave him the opportunity to learn in a way that worked best for him. But his mother also feared that his Autism was going to speak for him, that decisions were going to be made for him because of it. But this didn’t hold him back, “The word ‘How’ replaces the word ‘No.'” Those with Autism do not associate themselves with negativity, they walk away and seek out positivity. Tarik states that “There is no such thing as giving up. Someone just
made that up as a way out. I do not want a way out, I want a way in.” Tarik took rejection and failure and turned it into determination to do better. This especially came in handy as coaches told him his career was going to end because of his Autism. In college, he faced more hurdles like getting cut from teams.

One would think Tarik just had a dream but he was very realistic about it. He trained, kept a positive attitude, and thought out a logical plan. “Tarik is an example of if there is a will, there is a way. He is an example of nothing thinking of hard work, but doing what it takes. He broke every excuse in half and just kept going.” And he did not go at it alone. It took a village of people who stood with him in saying “yes”, who rejected “no” and stayed determined. Because of this as of March 2, 2018, he is a member of the Kansas City Royals Organization.

Business Ideas For People With Disabilities (commercialcapitaltraining) – Occasionally, we receive suggestions for links to include on our Resource Page that others have found useful or helpful. Normally, we reference the page, write a synopsis, and update our page. However, this recommendation came from some young people who are affiliated with the Different with Dignity Center.

This page is full of information for people with disabilities who are thinking of starting their own business. Our Executive Director chose this route not only to help Aspies but also to help himself. The anonymous author of the post states that

According to the United States Census Bureau, roughly 15 percent of people with disabilities have started their own businesses, and that number is growing. In fact, the percentage of disabled business owners overshadows the 10 percent of non-disabled business owners in the United States. Many people with disabilities are launching successful businesses from home, franchises, and even niche startups. With such a wide range of business opportunities open to people with disabilities, it can sometimes be difficult to decide which one is best.

If you are interested in starting your own business, we are sure that you would find this page very helpful.

U.S. Disability Benefit Guide ( – This post, written and compiled by Jessica Milly, has important information and links to Websites that may help disabled Americans.

According to the most recent census, almost one in five Americans are now living with a disability of some kind. That’s a staggering statistic, especially when we consider just how many benefits remain open to such individuals that go unclaimed. Are you a disabled American, and if so, are you aware of the full range of financial support that is open to you? This guide may assist in filling in a number of gaps to your income. – Jessica Milly in U.S. Disability Benefit Guide.

This Is What Children with Asperger’s Syndrome Wish You Knew ( – Although Asperger’s Syndrome is classified as an Autism Spectrum Disorder, it is different from everything under this designation. People with Asperger’s know this, but there are a lot of misconceptions about Asperger’s that just won’t go away.

We need to confront these misconceptions which do more harm than good. They put children in boxes, reducing them to a meaningless check-list of symptoms and antisocial behavior. And it’s only by educating people and confronting the myths and misconceptions head-on that people will learn to stop putting special children in these boxes.

The article addresses the following myths:

  • Asperger’s is something you outgrow
  • Being anti-social is a choice
  • People with Asperger’s lack empathy
  • People with Asperger’s are violent
  • Children with Asperger’s are not normal
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 ( – 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. ( – 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 ( – 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 ( – 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 ( – 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.

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