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The Holiday Treadmill Begins... 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 9:05:00 AM

November is finally here, which means the Holidays are going to come barreling down upon us. To make sure your holidays go well we have some Parent to Parent videos to help you get through them. We have a section of videos that are specifically on how to handle your family. Videos to help guide through having a conversation with your relatives about expectations and how to insure everyone has a wonderful experience.

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Halloween Autism Advice 

Thursday, October 31, 2013 8:38:00 AM

Here's a great image to remind parents that those "bad behaviors" that they see might be something else and not to jump to conclusions.

Have a great and safe Halloween!

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New A-Word talks Shadowing and Preschool 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013 11:11:00 AM

This week on the A-word, Jack Riley’s clinical team meet up to discuss his progress and to update his log book. His senior therapist, Jessica has been shadowing him at preschool for the last three days. Before this she had been doing at home therapy with Jack Riley and is now solely on site with him during the week. The goal is that Jessica will eventually fade herself out once the teacher is comfortable enough to handle Jacks behavioral issues alone, and when Jack is better able to control his own behaviors. While Jessica is at school assisting Jack Riley she’s not blatantly obvious, she is presenting herself as a teachers aide and helps out with the entire class, and only steps in when necessary.


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Why We Love Savants 

Monday, October 21, 2013 1:38:00 PM

By Shannon Penrod

All individuals with Autism are not savants.  They don’t all have some amazing skill that awes the world and makes people rise to their feet cheering and clapping.  Despite how the media portrays Autism, it is actually quite rare to find individuals with Autism who are savants.  Why does the media rush to cover savants?  Why do we love to watch videos about savants?  I can only speak for myself, but whenever I see a video about a savant I am reminded of all of the things we don’t know about Autism that may be wonderful and powerful.  It makes me smile, it refreshes my hope meter.  If you feel the same way, check out this rather amazing young man featured in a recent TED talk.


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Halloween Fun and Safety 

Thursday, October 17, 2013 8:58:00 AM
Worried about Halloween? We’ve got you covered. This months Smarty, which is a hands on activity tutorial, shows you how to make a spooky portraiture with your kids. The spooky eye portrait focuses on emotions and socio dramatic play. Which provides a great opportunity to have your child try on their Halloween costume. In addition Shannon has made more Parent to Parent Quick Tips to help guide you to a successful Halloween with your child. She even has a tip for what to do with all the candy. And if that wasn’t enough, we have Emily in front of the camera for a change teaching us how to make a delicious GF apple crisp to feed your ghouls and goblins. read more
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Team Nancy 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013 2:03:00 PM
By Shannon Penrod The first time I saw Nancy Alspaugh Jackson she was on a national news show talking about Autism. I was riveted. She was the definition of well-spoken. She was calm, intelligent and unrelenting when someone on the panel minimized the struggle Autism parents face every day. She let him have it and she didn’t even have to uncross her tiny little ankles. I was impressed. I was glad we were on the same team. But I will be honest, I didn’t think that Nancy and I could or would ever be friends. She intimidated me. To me, she was one of “those women”; you know…the kind who always shows up in exactly the right outfit, looking like they just stepped out of a magazine article about how to live your life right? The kind of woman who probably knows how to pack light and looks good in sleeveless dresses, the kind of woman I’ve always wanted to be, but I’m not. That’s who I thought Nancy Alspaugh Jackson was. Then I met Nancy, and I got to know her. Yep, she still looks good all the time and it still confounds me how she does it, but I’ve gotten past that. Now when I see her, I see the warrior she really is. They say that before you can have a testimony... read more
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Autism Controversy: Who Killed Alex Spourdalakis? 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013 9:04:00 AM
By Shannon Penrod One of the most powerful statements a person can make is, “I don’t know, but I’ll find out.” Today, on Autism Live we welcome Dr. Andrew Wakefield to talk about a new documentary he is involved with titled, “Who Killed Alex Spourdalakis?” For those of you unfamiliar with the story, Alex Spourdalakis was a fourteen-year-old boy profoundly affected by Autism who was brutally murdered by his Mother Dorothy Spordalakis and his caregiver Jolanta Skordzka earlier this year. Alex’s story is tragic one, filled with many twists and turns that culminate in a murderous act so gruesome it takes one’s breath away. The question does not seem to be “Who Killed Alex Spourdalalkis?” as much as it is, “Could this tragedy have been avoided?” Perhaps none of us knows the answer to that question, but we owe it to Alex and to all of our young people on the Autism spectrum to find out. Tune in to Autism Live to hear Dr. Wakefield talk about this film and to ask questions in our fully interactive format at www.autism-live.com read more
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Disney Not The Happiest Place on Earth for Autism 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013 9:03:00 AM
By Shannon Penrod The first time I took my son to Disneyland it was magical. He was not yet 2 years old and I remember watching him skip through the park and thinking, “This truly is the happiest place on earth.” The second time we took my son to Disneyland was one of the worst days of my life. It was about a year later. A hellish year, during which my son had regressed into Autism. We tried to recapture the magic of that first trip but it was like being in a car accident, in slow motion, with no promise of an air bag. We lasted about 2 hours and ended up leaving the park in tears. It was before I knew there was something called a “Guest Assistance Pass” It was to Storybook Land Canal Boats in Fantasyland that made it clear to us that we weren’t going to be able access the magic. We had stood in line for a harrowing 45 minutes, attempting to keep our child contained; he kept wriggling out of my arms and ducking under the ropes, diving between people and one time almost made it to the water. I held him closer and was bitten. My husband and I took turns trying to get his attention so we could entertain him. He wanted to run to the boats. Try explaining to a 3... read more
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Thank You for Your Sarcasm! 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013 8:45:00 AM
Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m crabbier than usual. Maybe people are ruder. Or maybe my son has just improved to the point where it doesn’t occur to people that my son has Autism, but lately random people have been saying things to and about my son that just irk me. First. it was the woman in a museum gift shop who sarcastically asked my son how old he was because we was playing with a toy that is meant for a much younger child. She then turned to me, rolled her eyes and said, “Really, Mom, how about some age appropriate toys?” I didn’t snidely inform her that ages on toys are tied to development and all children do not develop at the same rate, nor should they be made to feel bad about that. To be honest, I kind of froze. I was so busy watching my son to see if he was going to get the sarcasm or understand what she was saying and be offended. He didn’t, but it was because he and the nuerotypical friend he was with were having such a good time playing with the toys, they didn’t care. By the way, the nuerotypical boy, same age, didn’t pick up on the sarcasm either. Still, I couldn’t just let it go, so when the boys were out of earshot I quietly took the woman’s supervisor... read more
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When A Child Dies From Autism… 

Monday, May 20, 2013 8:00:00 AM
By Shannon Penrod Last week, on Mother’s Day, Mikaela Lynch’s parents experienced a nightmare that didn’t end. Mikaela, a nine-year old with Autism, went missing. For four days volunteers, family members and friends of the family searched for her. During that unbelievably difficult time, Mikaela’s parents would have been told that their child did not qualify for an “Amber Alert”, which would have mobilized more help and created more media coverage. Amber Alerts can only be used when there is evidence that the child has been abducted. Children with Autism who are known to “elope” do not fit that criterion, despite the fact that they may be facing life threatening challenges. The Lynch family was also subject to some negative media barbs wondering why they hadn’t watched their child more closely. As if you can ever watch a child with Autism who elopes closely enough…as if these poor parents could transcend the human necessity of blinking, getting a drink of water or simply looking away for a split second. I wish there were a happy ending to this story, that Mikaela had been found alive and that her parents could have sighed with relief and held their child in their... read more
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