Saturday, December 30, 2006

Parents Eat More Than Childless Couples


Every parent knows the temptation of eating up their children's leftovers. But all those bits of ice cream, crisps and other salty snacks are taking their toll.

New research shows it adds up to the equivalent in saturated fat of an entire pepperoni pizza a week.

For the first time researchers have counted up the fat consumed by adults living with children and compared it to the amount eaten by those living in child-free homes.

They found parents eat an extra 5 grams of fat daily - including 1.7 grams of the most unhealthy saturated fat linked to heart disease. That's around one-quarter of the total 'permitted' amount of fat an adult should be eating a day - and equivalent to a pepperoni pizza a week in saturated fat alone.

Living with children also means you are more likely to eat foods such as cheese, ice cream, beef, pizza and salty snacks, says a report in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine.

Dr Helena Laroche of the University of Iowa led the study, which looked at questionnaires completed by 6,600 adults living with and without children who were asked about their consumption of high-fat foods.

She said 'Adults' fat intake, particularly saturated fat, is higher for those who live with children compared with those who don't live with children.

'It appears to be a combination of being tempted by the food left over by children and having this kind of food easily available in the home.

'They ate more snacks and convenience foods - and it's probably time pressures that are responsible.

'There's also a perception that children will only eat hot dogs or macaroni and cheese - but once these foods are in their house even if bought for the children, adults appear more likely to eat them' she said.

Dr Laroche said the study showed all adults ate more fat than recommended for a healthy heart.

Healthy eating guidelines recommend no more than 10 per cent of calories a day should come from fat, which means around 20 grams a day at most for someone eating 2,000 calories, she said.

'But adults living with children ate the most fat, including extra saturated fat' she added.

Dr Laroche, who specialises in children's medicine, said the study showed how the family's eating habits were shaped by children's food choices.

She said: 'An important implication of the study is that healthy changes in eating need to focus on the entire household, not just individuals, especially when there is so much obesity among the young.

'Often children demand these less healthy foods but everyone's eating them and it's a pattern we've got to change by helping everyone think more about their dietary choices' she added.

Source: The Daily Mail (UK)

Can we all say Duh! I'm certainly one that indulges in excuses like "not wasting" food. I've had my share of chips, crackers, and other salty high carb snacks!

Friday, December 29, 2006

Fun With Organic Facts

U.S. Farmland- Organic 0.2% and Traditional: 99.8%

U.S. Food Consumption- Organic 2.5% and Traditional: 97.5%

Share consumed by U.S.: 42%
Share consumed by rest of world: 58%

U.S. Organic Food Sales: 1997 $3.6B, 2005:$13.8B

Source courtesy of Wired magazine (sources from Nutrition Business Journal, Organic Monitor, OTA, Research Institute of Organic Agriculture, US Dept of Ag.) Love it!

Can one tell that I've caught up on my reading pile this week? :)

Powdered Nondairy Creamers and Fertilizers, What Do They Have In Common?

According to Wired magazine's article about Nestle Coffee-Mate (yes, I certainly have some in my cabinet for those milkless emergencies, this product contains Dipotassium Phosphate, a common fertilizer and pesticide (for fungal diseases. Natch, Coffee-Mate also contains other lovely ingredients like corn syrup (sugar), vegetable oil solids, sodium caseinate, monglycerides and diglycerides, sodium alumionosilicate, artificial flavors, and annato (for coloring so it looks more, you know, dairy-ish). Since I rarely believe anything at face value, I spent some time this morning learning about this fertilizer. It's all good.

According to the EPA's Fact Sheet, this fertilizer "ingredient" as summarized below:
This active ingredient is commonly sprayed on leaves as a fertilizer, and seems also to help control certain fungal diseases on ornamentals. When used in association with another fertilizer, dipotassium phosphate is approved for use in the manufacturing of pesticide products intended to control certain fungal diseases on ornamentals. When label directions are followed, this active ingredient is not expected to harm people or the environment.

And even more interestingly, item 3 assesses risks to human health:

Based on the known properties of this commonly used fertilizer and the results of toxicity tests conducted on the end-use product, no risks to human health are expected from exposure to this fungicide.

And I repeat. Where are the studies backing this statement of risk? Oh, right. According to the FDA, they only refer to science when we try to advocate for special needs children.

Food from cloned animals safe to eat: FDA

Food from cloned animals safe to eat: FDA
By Missy Ryan

Milk and meat from some cloned animals is safe to eat and can be sold in the United States, the Food and Drug Administration said on Thursday in a landmark draft ruling that brings the controversial technology one step closer to Americans' grocery carts.
If given final approval, the ruling would allow the sale of food from cloned cattle, pigs and goats, but not sheep, for the first time in the United States.
The agency said it would be unlikely to recommend special labels for the cloned food, but would not decide on the labeling issue until after it gets public comment.
"No unique risks for human food consumption were identified in cattle, swine or goat clones," the FDA said in a draft risk assessment, which now enters a public comment period before the agency makes its final decision.
The agency said it did not have enough information to rule on sheep clones. But it said food from cloned cattle, pigs, goats or sheep did not need additional safeguards.
Cloning to make genetic copies of animals works by taking cells from an adult and fusing them with other cells before implanting them in a surrogate mother. Hundreds of copied livestock already exist, but most producers have agreed not to sell them ahead of the FDA decision.
Advocates of livestock cloning hope the technology will help produce more milk and lean, tender meat by creating more disease-resistant animals.
But some consumer and religious groups strongly oppose the idea, arguing that scientists don't know enough yet about the effect of cloning on nutrition or biology. They also want more time for public debate on cloning ethics.
A handful of U.S. companies now clone animals, and there are only about 150 cloned cattle in the country.
Even if the FDA does issue a final approval for cloned food, consumers may be wary. More than half of consumers polled in a survey released last month by the International Food Information Council said they were unlikely to buy food made from cloned animals, no matter what the government says.
Some affected industries have also expressed fear that doubts about cloning could turn away consumers.
"Animal cloning is a relatively new technology, and it's important that we have a thorough, deliberative dialogue where people can openly discuss any concerns," the International Dairy Food Association said in a statement.

(Additional reporting by Susan Heavey)
Copyright © 2006 Reuters Limited.

Wow. Another mindblowing move by the FDA. No unique risks? Do they really think the American public is that stupid? I mean really!

Let's point out what's obviously missing. Studies anyone? Anyone? Bueller?
For a government that stands only behind "science", WHERE IN THE HELL IS IT?

Oh, right. What am I thinking? That the FDA's MO will change? They just throw known neurotoxins and newly formed animals into the system and wait and see what happens ONLY when there are ramifications that can't be ignored.

Pretending I'm not a human being for this really an economically wise choice for the FDA to make based on past history? Introducing something and recalling it later after irreversable/unforseen damage has been done? Can we all see the exponential costs for this behavior?

Maybe the FDA could use a good behavior modification program!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

ABA and Science

Today I read a beautifully written response to a post about ABA and if it's scientifically proven. I got very inspired to share this! One of those hot topics that often result in high emotions and my least favorite Autism activity, Therapy Bashing. As we all know, there are gobs to say about ABA - pro, con, bad, good, science to back it up, no science to back it up.

See below:

A therapist wrote, "I think that an important question to ask is "Scientifically Proven" to do what? If someone says that ABA is scientifically proven to: Cure autism? No. Improve IQ? No. Alleviate some of the symptoms of autism? Yes. Alleviate all of the symptoms of autism? No.

When discussing treatment options with parents, I phrase it in this way:
ABA is not a cure. Some children are able to become indistinguishable from
their peers but many do not. However, the scientific nature of a good
program should ensure progress at your child's level because data is
collected and used on a regular basis to make decisions. If you watch a
video of "Floortime" and an ABA session in the "NET", you would not be able
to tell the two apart. It is the data and careful analysis of the data that
sets ABA apart from other "therapies".

I think that the next set of studies from the ABA community should focus
more on specific outcomes of the individual students instead of trying to
reach "normalcy". How many of the kids we treat are unable to request their
wants and needs prior to intervention? How many kids are able to get
dressed independently, are potty trained, and eat with utensils? Would they
be able to do those things without ABA intervention? We have many (did you
say 800?) single subject designed studies that look at specific strategies.
Can't we expand upon them to show how beneficial ABA can be even if students
aren't "cured"?

Thankfully, because of ABA (NET style) and other interventions, my son is no longer disabled by autism. (he still has autism) And yes, it's painful to know that for others, this isn't the case. Many "try everything" to help support their children to no avail. This fact keeps me awake some nights.

My son has Autism, and mostly likely always will. He is uniquely wired and uniquely himself, thanks to genes, environment, and yes his autism. ABA has taken the disability part away, amazingly. And I wouldn't change a thing about him today.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Misinformation and the Flu Shot

Does the flu shot really decrease the number of deaths and hospital stays each year? You decide. And natch, we aren't even talking about mercury and other issues.

Each year, we see the big campaign from our government to get the shot. We see misinformation printed by the press that scares many parents into vaccinating their children. My favorite misinformation? When they print world statistics, not U.S.A. stats to scare people into submission. Most disgustingly, pregnant women are sought after.

At the end of each flu season, we see an article or two published, discreatly positioned, with a few telling lines hidden toward the bottom of these articles. They often say the number of fatalities didn't increase from the prior year significantly. There are countless articles on the subject of vaccinations as we all know. I am certainly not an expert. But I'm also not stupid. Anyway, here's a quick read for those considering a flu shot this year:

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Ali G/ Borat Comedian is Simon Baron Cohen's Cousin (or brother?)

Riotous, rude, controversial, even racist (or "racialist," as he might say)—these have been just a few adjectives used to describe the cultural phenomenon Ali G, the creation of British-born actor-comedian Sacha Baron Cohen.

I saw an article on him where they linked him with his cousin. Then I watched his bio unfold on Barbara Walter's 10 Most Fascinating people episode. Barbara mentions Sacha has never been interviewed out of character.

Interesting. Many comedians are on the spectrum. Some say that comedy (and acting) are nice options (if one is talented). Our peeps have quite a sense of humor in my opinion! Many people are passionate about advocating for people with ASD, but none are more passionate than people with family member or a close friend that's on the spectrum. Hmm....gotta wonder where Simon gets his motivation! I love it!

FYI I orginially posted that they were brothers. I changed it based on the comments, but I didn't research the exact relation. One of these days I will, on my list.

Tonight's News on NYS Ed.'s aversive behavioral regulations

Look what just got sent to me....For more information, see the link at bottom of article.

As of now, NBC Channel 4 (NYC) news is scheduled to present a piece this
evening, Thursday, on the NYS Ed. Dept.'s aversive behavioral intervention
regulations. Of course, if Mt. Saint Helens erupts, or the war in Iraq ends
abruptly, the piece may be rescheduled for a later airing. However, at this
time, it is supposed to appear during tonight's NBC Channel 4's 6 o'clock
news. I expect the piece will document some of the kinds of serious
physical and emotional harm children with disabilities have been, are
currently, or may in the future be exposed to in NY's schools, with or
without parental knowledge or consent, due to these regulations.

Since these regulations cover every single NYS child with a disability, and
since they approve "emergency" use of "reasonable force" - even to stop a
kindergarten child from destroying a school crayon, or from annoying a
teacher with hand-flapping or verbal tics- it is important that all parents
and guardians see this show and decide whether they wish to take steps to
protect their children from "trauma, injury and sometimes death."
Unfortunately, according to the US Dept. of Health & Human Services, trauma,
injury and sometimes deaths can, and do, sometimes result from use of these
behavior control methods.

Dee Alpert, Publisher
The Special Education Muckraker

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Plastic Bags from the Gap and Children's Place

Is it me and my bionic sense of smell? These holiday bags are making me gag. I had to pull over and move my newly purchased stuff to the trunk area. I was curious to see what these bags are made of. They seem full of ink that seems to stain my hands for starters.

My question. What the heck are these bags made of???

I thought I'd trot over to the horse's mouth - the Gap online. I found very informative stuff, but no specifics about these stinkin' (pun intended) bags:

I did, however, find something interesting posted under the corporate pages of Gap Inc, under Social Responsibility: (hint: look for autism words like mercury and wheat)

Low-Toxic Materials
Lighting is one of the largest sources of mercury in the solid waste stream. We're switching from traditional fluorescent lamps to low-mercury fluorescent lamps when the old ones burn out in all locations — stores, offices and distribution centers — to reduce the amount of toxic waste that ends up in landfills or incinerators.

Our stores and distribution centers also use non-formaldehyde wheat board for stockroom and warehouse shelving and have replaced chlorinated adhesives with low-volatile organic compound adhesives.

I must have missed that one about mercury in fluorescent lights. I thought fluorescent light was horrible for a million other reasons for us and our kids. Yikes! Oh, and the wheat comment. I thought corn dominated that market. Hmm...maybe not for the Gap. So their clothing may have trace elements of wheat? Interesting.

I'm going to send them an email in hopes I'll have an answer. If not, then I'm off to Children's Place.

Growing Up

Check Out Those ASD Kitchen

I had a VERY interesting day yesterday. Leo had his 1st grade "archnemisis" over for a play date! Could it be? Charlie (the bus taunter/teaser?) from my 1/27/06 entry on

Natch, I barely slept the night before because I was consumed by the fact that the boy that gave my son so much grief will be over! And I was nervous about handling him. The one time he was over, I failed miserably at managing him (in my defense the parents didn't give me a heads up, can we say PID??) He broke some toys, crashed Leo's bike into a tree after riding over my pumpkin vines, dumped every toy bin over, and scared Sydney on purpose among other things. How much can happen in one play date? A LOT.

Let me just say it. IT WENT WELL. SUCCESS AND NO STRESS. Woohoo! I don't know if it's going to happen often, but they do like each other and had some fun.

And now for some background on this duo...This boy Charlie and Leo were on "different teams" and "not friends" practically all last year, after their friendship quickly fizzled. Leo was quickly turned off by his very active behavior and that he got into "trouble" so much at school. Later on in the year Charlie and a mid-year transfer student Harrison became fast friends. Of course, because life is complicated, Charlie and Harrison ride the same bus and live on the same road.

So recently, Harrison didn't ride the bus for a couple of days. Charlie and Leo sat together, and I gather they "discovered" each other. They are not in the same 2nd grade class this year, although Harrison and Leo are. They both began asking for playdates, which terrified me. I knew from last year that Charlie was on different medication and doing well with listening and controlling unacceptable behavior. I'm guessing he's ADHD. So because I'd seen able to observe him, AND I really wanted success, especially with a neighbor, I wanted to make this work (like I have anything to do with it).

They didn't quite know what to do with each other for the first 20 minutes. I thought "Oh God!!!". Charlie kept walking around and around and around while Leo was patiently following him asking him if he'd like to do X, Y, or Z. Finally, with some suggestions from me, they began playing outside. Natch, Charlie found the only dangerous thing out there, a fallen tree that hadn't quite fallen completely (yes, danger danger)and decided to hang from it, and in 5 minutes, convince Sydney to climb it. Images of dead or trapped kids danced in my head. Yes, the part about keeping my eye on him the entire time...I should've kept my plan intact. But other than that, they jumped on the tramp and ran around finding stuff.

I was pretty proud of Charlie - he has learned to listen and had some self-control. He also considered Leo's feelings and preferences. Not much eye contact, actually less than last year. Towards the end, I let them play X-Box (whatever that is). It involves the T.V. is all I know.

I couldn't believe it - I had prepared myself for anything - I had all my chores done including dinner. I had prepped Sydney that I'd have no time with her as I'd be occupied with the boys' safety. And it all turned out well. His mom came to pick up, and I told her what a wonderful kid he is, and that they had to refamiliarize themselves, but after that warmup period, they got along. Clearly they don't have too much in common, but both had fun. I was so proud of Leo - he didn't mention football, soccer, or any other sports games to do since he knew Charlie wouldn't be interested.

His mom has never mentioned Charlie's differences, nor have I mentioned anything about Charlie's history with Leo. I threw out several openings, but she didn't bite. Clearly she doesn't want to share with me, which is understandable. She has no idea what people say about her son, and I know he doesn't get invited to many birthday parties, etc, because he's a behavior problem. The mom doesn't stay at parties to facilitate, which makes it even harder for other parents to learn about Charlie and keep him from becoming even more unpopular.

So that's that story.

Harrison, the other little boy that is Charlie's best pal, is a good friend of Leo's too. We even went trick-or-treating with him and his family. Anyway, Leo and Harrison got into an argument, so for about a week "they weren't friends". Again, it began as a bus issue. Every day, Harrison and Leo would race to the bus, hoping to be first in line. Many times Harrison would get there first, but if Leo did, Harrison would elbow his way ahead of Leo, pushing him out of the way so Leo would be second. Leo told Harrison every day to stop it, that he didn't like it. But Harrison ignored him and remained 1st in line.

So at the end of the week, Leo told me about it, and that he was really frustrated because Harrison wouldn't listen. I said that friends don't treat each other like that. That friendship is about respecting each other, etc. With Leo always in control, I asked him what he thought he could do to solve the problem. Talking to Harrison wasn't working. What could he do now?

He didn't have any ideas, and so I suggested that he "ignore" Harrison, or tell him that he's not being a friend, and until he knocks it off with the bus line, he's not going to treat him as a friend either. That he doesn't deserve Leo's friendship. Let me clarify, I was totally winging it! I knew I should keep Leo in control always, but that's all I knew to do.

The next day, Leo came home and said he "tried to ignore him, but it was just too hard mom." I can't blame the kid, he's in his class, 2 desks down. The next day after that, he managed to ignore him enough for Harrison to get the idea. And as how things work, Harrison decided to ignore Leo too. This went on for a few days, and then they finally "forgave" eachother, and are now "friends again."

That night, I asked Leo if they watched T.V. AGAIN at school. This drives me crazy. Whenever the weather is bad or something is going on in the gym, out comes the VCR. Of course, the kids love it. I asked Leo what they watched, and he said lately it's been "Reading Rainbow". I had no recollection. Leo said we had watched it at home a few times. Still didn't ring a bell - I normally only record PBS type shows, and when he was into it, Power Rangers. Leo said, "Let me sing the song for you." And he begins to sing in a lovely little boy voice, so sweet and innocent. No embarrassment. I enjoyed every second of it, also relishing how creative he was in trying to jog my memory. "NOW do you remember Mom?" And I did.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

A Shot Out to The Devine Miss M at Whitterer

I have been totally inspired by Madeline at I've always wanted to share pictures. I am a big shutterbug and I am indeed a very visual person. Madeline has such a way with pictures, how she can show everyday life that doesn't necessarily focus on a person to demonstrate so much about an idea. So I thought to Self. Can I try to do this?

So, in your honor Madeline, I give you some shots of my everyday life. So I hope that can hold a candle! In any event, I had great fun.

Todays Reflections

Normally, I think about the choices I've made in my life daily. Sometimes it makes me nutty (obsessed), which isn't healthy. Reflect, reflect, reflect. It's like New Years every day (364 days). Actually, on the real New Years, I make sure I take a "day off" from reflecting.

It's nothing out of the ordinary, stuff most people think about on occassion. I'll go over the kids' school situations, their health, their mental wellness. I think about what high school would be ideal. Am I crazy? I'll think about moving, a different job, different friends to focus on. I'll think about my personal life - my spouse, my family, and my relationships with them and I think about their challenges.

But I do it each day. Do other people do this? Daily? I always seem to be in evaluation mode. Note to Self: Try to "extinguish" this behavior (a shot out to the ABA people), and live more in the moment. Each day, try to stop and smell the whatever.

As far as the kids and obsessing over them, I am attempting to not think about their futures until next year. I began after the stressful event of Conferences. I needed a break! So far so good until tonight...

So my friend and I were supposed to be going to the movies tonight. Part of my personal Wellness Program (i.e. have some fun and eat better) She cancelled, but I rallied and called another friend to see if she was free. Friend #2 was dying to get out, and we both had talked about the latest Christopher Guest movie. We really wanted to see it even though the critics didn't like it (which will mean I really will...)

Anyway, friend number 2's daughter got hurt and cancelled, so I was destined to spend the evening doing something "practical", since I "goofed off" all day (did errands and laundry all day while entertaining my 5yr old, but spent 1 1/2 hours napping and reading People.

So I found myself listening to Beck at full volume while driving to my 3rd location, looking for distilled water. Eckerd, nope. Get mad because they sell bottled water for babies with flouride, next to the empty spot for distilled water. (Our food supplies have too much flouride in them which can be toxic). Anyway....Stop & Shop, nope. Get even madder that the same bottled water brand is located in the distilled water space on the shelf. CVS, bingo!

So tonight, I spend a wild Saturday mixing my newly purchased distilled water with my not-so-newly purchased homeopathic remedies. One can dilute the solutions to make it last longer or add people to the protocol. Again...I began my habit of reflecting away at life. I didn't make it till the new year, but hey, it was good. I was able to access my "former self" before kids, before my husband, way back when I was just concentrating on me - figuring out who I was. It was nice. Alone, dark out, chewing on my beloved Hot Tomales candy (think Red dye number 5), and just thinking with no distractions. And it was nice!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

An Epidemic No One Understands

November 28, 2006
Second Opinion
An Epidemic No One Understands
When our first son developed asthma as a 3-year-old, my husband and I felt pretty much blindsided. We were only a little less shocked when the same thing happened to our second son, at the same age.

The disease turned out to be tenacious, and for years both boys needed inhalers or a nebulizer machine several times a day to prevent asthma attacks that could keep them up half the night, coughing and wheezing.

Both had eczema, too, and the kind of food allergies — to nuts, peanuts and shellfish — that can lead to fatal reactions.

What caused all this? My husband and I were mystified, because neither of us had asthma or life-threatening allergies, nor did our parents or siblings. I do have hay fever and allergies to cats and dogs, but I had always considered my symptoms just a nuisance — not a bad omen for the next generation. My husband isn’t allergic to anything.

But we seem to have been caught on a rising tide that no one fully understands. Our sons were born in 1984 and 1987, and we encountered an awful lot of children their ages who had the same illnesses, far more than we remembered from our own generation.

Statistics suggest that something strange was occurring in those years. From 1980 to 2003, the prevalence of asthma in children rose to 5.8 percent from 3.6 percent, an increase of about 60 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Read entire article

Hmm...Did I miss the memo stating this is Stupid Article Week? I'm referring to the Parents of ASD (and others) Have More Stress? Geraldine Dawson struck with this article (she's very critical of ABA and Recovery)

Anyway...Back to the current Dumb Du Jour...Duh people! I think we all know the cause of her son's asthma. Pollution. Toxins gallore everywhere. Day after day, week after week, year after year, increasing. Laid down by all of my neighbors for tick control. Added by food companies into food, water supplies, and into the air.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Everyday Life in 2nd Grade

So Leo, Sydney, and I are in the car driving home from Sydney's Bioset appointment. She decides to call Dad on the cell phone. She crosses her legs, and dials very professionally and gets him live on the phone. She's gabbing away about her day (she's 5 1/2), talking very "grown up". Leo says, "Sydney loves to act like a big girl doesn't she Mom? She cracks me up. She has her 'big girl' voice on." And I nod and smile in agreement (I am driving after all). Leo shakes his head and chuckles "I certainly know my sister".
Love that Theory Of Mind working!

In the car on the way to school (late again), I overhear Leo and Sydney talking about Gary in class, how he gets mad all the time. Apparently Gary (yes, he has an IEP)screams out loud at classmates on occasion, for different things. I say that I like Gary a lot, and that he's your friend, and so what if he has things to work on? (talk about reverse discrimination). That we ALL have stuff - Leo's talking out of turn, I have my temper, Sydney her her whining, etc. Leo says "I know Mom, I like him too, he's my friend. Jeremy tells me not to like Gary, but I do. He's my Secret Friend." I respond by saying all the right things - how no one else is the boss of who you like, and how you need to stand up for your friends. Leo says" I know Mom, I didn't do what Jeremy said. Jeremy knows that Gary is my friend. I just don't talk about it."
Love that social judgement working!
Leo has never told me or his Dad about any girls he may have crushes on at school. Not in Kindergarten or in 1st Grade either. He always gets very defensive and says he doesn't want to talk about it, that it's private. Recently I asked (I can't help myself!), saying, "well, if you HAD to choose a girl to like, who would it be? I promise I won't talk about it or tease you, nor tell anyone else." He held firm. I said, "Well, have you told anyone?" Leo told his best friend, and said his friend will never tell.
Love that he keeps secrets and has a best friend! More social judgement, enriching relationships

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Mourning Our Loss

I could never say thank you to this man enough

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

My Bionic Hearing is Validated

So I just found this decible chart. Here are some of the items listed:
Airplane: 101db at 500ft
Leaf Blower: 82 db at 25 feet
Wake (from boat): 73db
Autum Day winds and birds: 55db
Truck's air brakes: 90db

You have to admit, those leaf blowers are the worst!

NY Times: Studying Autism Isn't Enough

Op-Ed Contributor
Studying Autism Isn’t Enough

Published: November 21, 2006
Bethesda, Md.

"As parents of a child facing these challenges, we applaud those lawmakers and fellow parents who have done so much to promote this and other initiatives. But research is not enough. We as a nation must also begin to focus seriously on treating those children who are already afflicted. At present, we are failing miserably to do so.

In America, you have to be lucky or rich to get proper care for your young autistic child. Treatment regimens typically cost more than $50,000 annually for preschool children — one reason proven methods are available to perhaps only 10 percent of afflicted children during those crucial years. In a few states, like New Jersey, educational systems provide therapy to preschool kids, but resources vary from county to county. Here in Maryland, our 4-year-old daughter has received an hour or two of publicly provided help a week; studies show that ideally up to 40 hours of intensive intervention are required. A handful of states, including Maryland, have established a Medicaid autism waiver to allow parents of severely afflicted children to obtain relevant services independent of income. " Read Article

Phew. I've been screaming this very thing for years. We need to adequately support our current population of ASD children. It makes economic sense as well as human sense. I'm beyond happy to see this in print, let alone in the NY Times. I also like the fact that behavioral intervention is discussed. One of the key viable options for our children.

But I'm sure the internet tonight will be buzzing about. The biomedical factions bashing this fellow ASD family (and beautiful daugher)for their lack of mentioning other interventions. I take this personally. Will people ever realize that you can't fit everything in every article?? If only Autism were that simple.

Will people ever realize that ASD is a spectrum disorder, not soley caused by one thing or another? That the blend of ASD is different for each child. And in turn requires a unique blend of services?

I take joy in knowing phone calls will be made today about services because of this article. I can guarantee many children will have a better life because of it.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

On Bad Days Good Things Happen

So Leo has been cranky boy ALL day. And days are long when there's no activities and no school, right? I've been waiting for 7:30pm since 9am this morning.

Anyway, he told us a story about Sydney. She had fallen down and hurt herself at a friend's house. He said that she hadn't "really" hurt herself since she (demonstrating) took two tiny steps than put herself on the ground. I also liked that he thought it was funny how she devised this, and how he gets so much entertainment out of her.

Later at dinner, Sydney said she liked the song that was on (Sirius Satellite Radio, Coffee House station). He rolled his eyes and said "all the songs on the radio are about girlfriends and love and stuff. Gross". My husband said that's such an 8 year old response, and went on to explain how people often write songs about emotions, and that love his such a popular one.

Yay, bedtime! Desperate Housewives...ahh.....

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Things That Make Me Scream

O.J.s new books "If I Did It". Shame on anyone who buys it. To read more about this and other gems, go to The Huffington Post. Mark Foley has had the number one spot for quite some time. Never thought he'd loose the crown this quick.

Friday, November 17, 2006


So I finally made it into the classroom with my old friend anxiety, my empty stomach, and my husband for a guest appearance. Our 2nd grade Conference day finally arrived! 1:45pm seemed like forever to come. Mrs. P got right to it by showing us Leo's journal - answering the question about Self Control. I noticed right away she gave us no eye contact. No eye contact. Of course this made me nervous as hell. Later, I realized it's her personality - maybe she's bit shy. Maybe she's been beaten down by parents over the years. Who knows.

She had asked the kids the question "What do you think your parents will hear about you during your conference? My first thought was how this could be a bit stressful for the kids, making report cards more important than they should be when they are only in 2nd grade. Bluch!

Leo's response was something like 'I think I am a good student, that I like math and reading a lot, but that I need more self controll'. Mispelling included, just like his mom, ha ha. I'm so proud! It turns out that Self Control with Leo is "blurting out" comments due to excitement about a topic. More than the average kid in class. So that's my answer. Mrs. P has to "remind him" to keep his thoughts in his mind. He doesn't finish her sentences or answer questions when not called upon like last year in 1st grade. In my eyes, it's a significant improvement.

To my relief Mrs. P gets Leo, but doesn't "get" him, just yet anyway. I know it's been only 3 months. As you may know or not know about me, I'm quite a linnear thinker, and to me, people (parents and educators in particular) are either natural behaviorists or not. Does one see cause and effect effortlessly and naturally? Does one see where the root of a behavior comes from?

Mrs. P is not a natural (more on this when I write about another topic - the other ASD kids in 2nd grade...) She sees the surface and addresses just that. Kind of like a pediatrician now that I think of it. Treating symptoms rather than the cause. As a teacher friend pointed out, you can't teach someone how to be a good teacher, you either "have it" or you don't.

I am happy that Self Control isn't debilitating for Leo in 2nd grade. It's not keeping him from learning. It may be a slightly irritating to others, but hey, a far cry from what it could be. I'm happy that Leo is aware of his issue, is not embarrassed by it, and doesn't keep him from having a fairly "normal" day as a 2nd grader.

Question 2; Leo's writing is mediocre. Specifically "Writes with elaboration and includes details" got himself a "Some progress noted". How did he go from being one of the best writers last year to just mediocre? Not that I'm surprised. I was surprised last year that he did so well in this famed "imagination" category for ASD. I realized that Mrs. P gives more open writing assignments, and last year's teacher gave more structure and prompts. Actually, Mrs. P let us read one story about Leo's experience on a beach. It was so good! I then realized it was good because she referenced using their senses. Duh, lady!

Mrs. P.said she dislikes the more structured style of teaching writing. She thinks 2nd grade is about getting them more comfortable about writing, and that it's a review year - gearing up for 3rd grade, the CT Mastery Test, and so on. This isn't my area of expertise at all - 2nd grade curriculum, but my instinct tells me that, at 7 and 8 years old, wouldn't providing some structure help build comfort in writing? Maybe one of my writer readers can answer that question for me.

All in all, she said he's a nice boy, compliant and respectful. My husband asked how he was with social interactions (I was too freaked to ask). She said she thought he was fine, that she doesn't get much opportunity for observation since they shortened recess. She doesn't see them at the specials or lunch - she picks them up and drops them off so she can have her 20 minutes of peace. Boy am I happy that I did all that volunteering last year - I was there 2 times a week for recess, lunch, and library time. I got such a good feel about the social groups and dynamics, and how everyone was doing. And it was very educational to see what 2nd graders are like, and that Leo is just one of them - just eating a GFCF lunch!

I didn't get a chance to process what had happened - that yet another year was turning out well, that our issues are manageable and not problematic. That Leo and his teacher are happy. I didn't get an opportunity to say how her lack of enthusiasm isn't good for Leo. We ran out of time, and I decided to not make an issue of it - I saw it's her personality. She's just not a dynamic person. She "phones in", as a fellow parent said.

My husband said he'll have more teachers like this than not, and he has to get used to someone like that, that's not going to be a cheerleader like last years teacher or us, or his former team. We realized again, after combing thru the curriculum with Mrs. P, that the 2nd grade program is fantastic - all 4 teachers basically do the same thing. The school is fantastic, and he's happy knowing just about everyone there. Not to sound like an optimist or anything! So we'll see how it goes - I may say something later.

We rushed out of there down the hall to the Kindergarten room to meet Sydney's teacher. We had only about 10 minutes left. Again, boy king is the priority. She showed us an empty index card, and said "See, I have nothing to say. No problems at all!". She then went on to say how she's a wonderful student and person. She's enthusiastic, enjoys all aspects of school. A good girl. I got teary when I heard that, but I think I was beginning to feel relief from Leo's meeting. Sydney's teacher also brought up the fact that she and Leo are so connected. It's rare, she said. They love seeing each other during the day, passing each other. Waving hi, giving hi-fives. Sydney always tells her teacher "I saw my brother! I saw my brother!". Her teacher knows Leo. She didn't have him, but knows him since the kindergarten classes have recess together. And of course, she is in the dark about his past. I feel so lucky they have each other.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

A Shot Out to Milton Friedman

A half century ago, Milton Friedman's advocacy of free markets over government intervention and his prescription for inflation-fighting by central banks were treated as fringe notions by many economists. By the time the Nobel Prize-winning economist died yesterday at the age of 94, his views had helped to reshape modern capitalism.

A true libertarian! The first man to inspire me with his writings in my econ books. He changed my major, he changed how I look at the world. Milton and Leo have something in common.

Good Things to Remember While Waiting

Leo spontaneously summarized his standing in class the other day during dinner. Dinner, the 3 of us, happens each nite around 5pm. Dad comes home later, round 2 for them - some fruit, perhaps a little dessert, and daily supplements mixed in yogurt. Anyway, he began sharing how he admired his new friend Jack that sits next to him in class. We've never had Jack before, and so I had no preconceived ideas about him. Leo began saying he's "the smartest" kid in class, giving some examples. Surprised, I asked him to define "smart", and how he felt about that. Leo said Jack knows pretty much all the answers, reads and writes really well, and is excellent in math facts. I could tell he was really impressed, but not envious. I asked what he thought about himself. Did he feel he was doing well? He said he thought he too was "one of the best kids" but not "THE best" in class.

His awareness astounds me. He's figured this all out on his own - that in a class how people measure up and how teachers and other kids respond to it. I've never asked about this. I've never wanted to fuel any competition. I've only focused on how HE feels about himself and his accomplishments, focusing on trying your best, and reminding him that each person is different and good at different things. And when he's sound arrogant at his natural academic ability, I remind him about humility, showing-off and the consequences, and other stuff like that. And, that we all have our challenges like his talking out-of-turn. And mine is yelling!

Leo also notices how some kids don't try their best. Some goof-off more than others, and some get in trouble more than others. He's got everyone's number in his class, or at least those that sit at his table. He even gets irritated by his best friend because he pretends to read his books from his browsing box during reading time. Leo said he always "really reads" because he wants to get better and do a good book report afterwards.

Leo is no saint - he shared this morning how he and his friend sneak past the hall monitors and go through a different door to get to their bus early. They make a game of it and see who gets there first. I like that he knows the system at school and finds ways around it, even when it's breaking a rule. Love it!

Okay, back to obsessing....And why do I obsess? I must monitor Leo's progress to see if he needs some type of servies again. I have to be realistic - something may crop up that is disability related that needs support. It never ends!

29 hours left until my Parent/Teacher Conference. I still have no clue what I'm going to say regarding her lack of encouragement. I may point out that I've noticed his writing is subpar to what I saw day after day in 1st grade. He does just enough to get by. Leo was so inspired last year! He'd write on and on, and he was one of the top writers in his class. His work was often the example for class - embarrassing him by reading his work to the whole class. As you can guess, I relished the part about being embarrassed the best! Those emotions, indicating he gets what's going on around him, interpreting them accurately. What more could I ask for?

I'd have to guess at this point she still doesn't know him - has no idea what he's capable of. I don't really know how detailed they go when a teacher passes info on to the next. That's a lot of stuff to read for 22 kids, but hey I think it's important. Speeds up the learning curve, and sure, it may give impressions that may not benefit the child.

Sydney's conference for kindergarten is right after Leo's. I hope I can be present enough for that to be productive. I want to be there for her, and really get a feel for how she's doing and if there's an issue.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Look Out, Mom's Loosin' It

November 14, 2006 (8yrs 1 month)

Leo had a great birthday (10/15). His father and I didn’t even have to speak about what was going on inside our minds. We are so proud of him! Now that he’s 8, we’ve graduated to the small party of good friends. Phew! I sat back and admired his friends. And they are good friends! Not just one, my only hope for him at one point, but several. They are complex, well-rounded kids that are each different in their own right. His hard work is never forgotten. Every day I remember where we came from. It’s hard to believe that just 6 years ago he was officially diagnosed with PDD-NOS and just 2 years ago he was therapy-free going to typical kindergarten.

Leo continues to enjoy school. He still much prefers his 1st Grade teacher, even after 3 months. I’d have to agree. She’s friendly and funny, but not warm. Does that even make sense? On his birthday we brought in Yankee cups full of fresh fruit. Yes, I’m “one of those moms”, those fruit bearing moms that Kristina Chew references on Autismland. Ha ha! Here are a few examples of her lack of warmth and enthusiasm. Is she burned out? Has she lost that lovin’ feeling? You decide...

As snack time was approaching, Mrs. P said to Leo, “well, I guess we can do your birthday now to get it over with”. She also sent the snack trays home with Leo on the bus after I sent a note saying I’d pick them up. She said to Leo “I’m tired of them being in the classroom”.

During a field trip to a beach, not once in the 6 hour span did I see her take joy in seeing the children discover new things. “Hey look what I found Mrs. P!” was rarely said. They got her number. Of course they all circled like flies around me and the other chaperone moms on the trip. With wonder, they all screamed, giggled, and ran around with excitement. Some had never seen a jelly fish or a crab, let alone hold one.

Many talks later, I have to believe that Leo is telling me the truth – her words aren’t hurtful. “I’m fine, Mom. I don’t care, Mom.” And then it’s the old catch 22, should I worry it DOESN’T bother him? Or maybe it does but he’s concealing it? He’s gotten quite good at acting these days....
R>He likes Mrs. P but doesn’t LOVE her like his old teacher. He’s happy. I have to believe him. I told him we have options, but he declined all of them. I’m going to “say something” during the conference on Friday, but I’m not exactly sure what. I want to scream “look lady, hundreds of thousands of dollars, countless hours later, Leo has excellent self-esteem and confidence . If you fuck it up because you can’t muster a fake “happy birthday”, your dead”. I know I’m evil! Today I felt those panicky old feelings creep up again as I saw Leo’s report card lying in his home folder. My head was swimming, the vacation is over. I started making plans to get his old ABA team back in my head. I began practicing my spiel for the kids and the moms why Leo is no longer free for play dates and now needs a shadow again. I began practicing my 2nd grade definition of Autism. I felt cold. I finally opened it and I could barely see the print. I was so freaked out! Finally, there it was parked under the heading “Personal Development”. It jumped out like an old friend does. Self Control. And next to it a -. A minus which means “needs improvement, not where it should be”. Nothing else noteworthy, just that. I should be throwing Leo a party. Handwriting, reading, math, everything else with a positive mark. No need for what I was thinking. I’m the worst mommy in the world for thinking like that. I suspect it’s the same challenge as 1st grade – it’s the calling out, talking out of turn like last year. And thus it begins, the agonizing countdown till Friday when I have my parent/teacher conference.

Same thing, different year and teacher. Will she realize that Leo is different? Will it make a difference? What will her version of the executive functioning deficit be? What will Self Control mean to Mrs. P? Will she guess he has a disability? Will the jig be up and he’ll be treated like a toddler?

We’ve had quite a few days off due to professional days and holidays. Leo prefers going to school instead of being home those days. Weird? I don’t know. For a child that likes routine and likes seeing his best friend in class rather than staying home, unstructured, with his little sister....sounds predictable. He was a little bored, whiny, and irritable. He relishes his weekends which is pretty much the same thing, other than the fact that Dad is home too. It does bother me and makes me question his schedule.

Leo’s little sister swallowed her first pill, a B vitamin. Still a challenging task for him. What I loved was his response. He came into the kitchen and watched Sydney and me jumping up and down. He looked at her and smiled while watching her “moment”. A few minutes later, I offered that he could try swallowing pills now if he wanted to, and he declined. He said “No....I’m just a little jealous, that’s all”.

What a big kid – he signed for a UPS box.

I know I’ve jumped around a bit, but that’s how it is for today. Lot’s of stuff floating around in my head aching to get out. Stay tuned – only 42 hours until the conference!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Autism Community - Can We Really Change Anything?

CEO Gary Hirshberg of Stonyfield Farms (the organic yogurt company) said something that grabbed me in a recent Business Week article. "The only way to influence the powerful forces in this industry is to become a powerful force."

To change a powerful group, we must become a powerful group. Many powerful groups came to mind as I read this. The American Academy of Pediatrics, the NIH, the CDC, the FDA, political parties to name a few. The fact that the Autism community fights among one another makes me sick to my stomach. What we COULD do if we only became a powerful force.....

The Organic Myth

OCTOBER 16, 2006


Business Week

The Organic Myth By Diane Brady

Pastoral ideals are getting trampled as organic food goes mass market

Next time you're in the supermarket, stop and take a look at Stonyfield Farm yogurt. With its contented cow and green fields, the yellow container evokes a bucolic existence, telegraphing what we've come to expect from organic food: pure, pesticide-free, locally produced ingredients grown on a small family farm.

So it may come as a surprise that Stonyfield's organic farm is long gone. Its main facility is a state-of-the-art industrial plant just off the airport strip in Londonderry, N.H., where it handles milk from other farms. And consider this: Sometime soon a portion of the milk used to make that organic yogurt may be taken from a chemical-free cow in New Zealand, powdered, and then shipped to the U.S. True, Stonyfield still cleaves to its organic heritage. For Chairman and CEO Gary Hirshberg, though, shipping milk powder 9,000 miles across the planet is the price you pay to conquer the supermarket dairy aisle. "It would be great to get all of our food within a 10-mile radius of our house," he says. "But once you're in organic, you have to source globally."

Hirshberg's dilemma is that of the entire organic food business. Just as mainstream consumers are growing hungry for untainted food that also nourishes their social conscience, it is getting harder and harder to find organic ingredients. There simply aren't enough organic cows in the U.S., never mind the organic grain to feed them, to go around. Nor are there sufficient organic strawberries, sugar, or apple pulp -- some of the other ingredients that go into the world's best-selling organic yogurt.

Now companies from Wal-Mart (WMT ) to General Mills (GIS ) to Kellogg (K ) are wading into the organic game, attracted by fat margins that old-fashioned food purveyors can only dream of. What was once a cottage industry of family farms has become Big Business, with all that that implies, including pressure from Wall Street to scale up and boost profits. Hirshberg himself is under the gun because he has sold an 85% stake in Stonyfield to the French food giant Groupe Danone. To retain management control, he has to keep Stonyfield growing at double-digit rates. Yet faced with a supply crunch, he has drastically cut the percentage of organic products in his line. He also has scaled back annual sales growth, from almost 40% to 20%. "They're all mad at me," he says.

As food companies scramble to find enough organically grown ingredients, they are inevitably forsaking the pastoral ethos that has defined the organic lifestyle. For some companies, it means keeping thousands of organic cows on industrial-scale feedlots. For others, the scarcity of organic ingredients means looking as far afield as China, Sierra Leone, and Brazil -- places where standards may be hard to enforce, workers' wages and living conditions are a worry, and, say critics, increased farmland sometimes comes at a cost to the environment.

Everyone agrees on the basic definition of organic: food grown without the assistance of man-made chemicals. Four years ago, under pressure from critics fretting that the term "organic" was being misused, the U.S. Agriculture Dept. issued rules. To be certified as organic, companies must eschew most pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, synthetic fertilizers, bioengineering, and radiation. But for purists, the philosophy also requires farmers to treat their people and livestock with respect and, ideally, to sell small batches of what they produce locally so as to avoid burning fossil fuels to transport them. The USDA rules don't fully address these concerns.

Hence the organic paradox: The movement's adherents have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams, but success has imperiled their ideals. It simply isn't clear that organic food production can be replicated on a mass scale. For Hirshberg, who set out to "change the way Kraft (KFT ), Monsanto (MON ), and everybody else does business," the movement is shedding its innocence. "Organic is growing up."

For rest of article, click here.

So what does this mean? Is Big Organic bad? In my opinion, yes and no.

Yes, in the sense that, as the article and many related books point out, the definition of organic has changed. Organic has been misused and watered down to fit mainstream America. Mom and Pop health food stores and businesses are jeopardized. Can they weather the trend or will they be replaced by the dominating supermarket brands? Will the little organic brands that were bought over the last 5 years (like Cascadian Farms, Muir Glen, and Tom's Of Maine) keep their integrity. Will their ingredients still be truly organic? What these brands do (and their parent companies like General Mills) directly affects MY FAMILY's quality of life. Although this has long been a lifestyle I've chosen, I no longer have a choice considering what I feed my children. My son would be severely compromised if I fed him like any typical kid.

And I also say No, that Big Organic isn't bad, since these companies HAVE converted thousands of acres of once traditionally farmed land to organic methods. That's a good thing. Far from perfect, but it's a start.

And what would I think is a solution? The answer always seems to be the same for any nationwide problem - EDUCATION. What are we actually eating? The other answer is a revamping of our farm and oil subsidies. Converting corn fields back to traditional small farms. Centralized production, centralized processing, and long-distance transportation of food needs to be done away with. We have the technology. We have the money. We are America for God's sake! We can do it.

Education. Educating people that, indeed, the food chain behind anything they eat is gravely important. Corn raised on synthetic nitrogen and other chemicals eaten by chickens that humans eat. Humans eat the eggs that came from corn-fed chickens. We are only eating corn for the majority of our food items in any typical grocery cart! Corn down the line. Cows eating that same corn. Milk, cheese, and butter coming from the same corn field. Where's the quality, the variety that's critical for growth and development? It matters a great deal to the nutritional value as well as to the cost industrial farming does to our environment, to our health care crisis, to our subsidies, pollution, you name it.

A network of local farms supplying food to their region is a big answer to our health problems in this country. To read more about how our food supply works and the history behind it, read The Omnivore's Dilemma and Fast Food Nation (see previous posts for more information and discussion). Grass fed cattle, grass fed chickens. Eggs from those chickens? Yum! I challenge anyone to go out and buy grass fed organic beef and make hamburgers and feed them to their family at dinner. Trust me, EVERYONE will notice the difference. We've gotten so used to eating such poor quality. It's actually REAL food you are feeding them! It's red. It's bloody. It's visceral. It's fragrant. A far cry from the variation of traditional supermarket meat.

In the end, I'm extremely pleased that this article made the cover of a national magazine. Hopefully the word will spread.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Debate on CNN this morning, 8:30am 10/5

Combating Autism Act Debate on CNN Thursday, Oct. 5

Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA), Sponsor of the Combating Autism Act
(S.843), and Congressman Joe Barton (R-TX) will appear live on CNN on
Thursday, October 5 at 8:30 am EST/7:30 am CST/5:30 am PST on American
Morning to discuss the Combating Autism Act. The bill passed by unanimous
consent in the Senate August 3. Congressman Barton, Chairman of the House
Energy and Commerce Committee, refuses to release the bill from his
committee despite support for the bill from a majority of members of the
The Combating Autism Act of 2006 builds on the provisions of the
Children's Health Act of 2000 and would authorize approximately $920
in federal funds over five years to combat autism through research,
screening, intervention and education.
Autism advocate observers contend that Santorum and Barton are in
cahoots with the Republican leadership to kill the CAA under pressure from
the Pharma lobby. See if you can spot the two kicking each other under
table. -LS.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Who Cares About Autism?

I don't really know. I spent quite a bit of time looking for comparison charts and the most updated numbers. Nothing was apples to apples, so here is what I've discovered so far. We all know that other childhood diseases and disorders get far more funding than Autism. Again, I'm not saying that ASD is a disease. It's a disorder where children need services to maximize their potential and remedy the disabling aspects. It's a disorder that's getting minimal funding and attention compared to others. Not a good thing. I'm pissed!

Here is how we look compared to Cancer.

For example:
According to GAO and SEER of the National Cancer Institute, 1998:
12,400 children 20 and under have a childhood cancer.
2,500 died that year.
A newborn male has a 1 in 300 chance of developing a childhood cancer by age 20.
1 in 333 chance for a newborn female.
8,600 children were diagnosed with cancer and about 1,500 children died from the disease in 2001.

According to the CDC, 500 thousand children aged 0-21 have an ASD, but only 100 thousand are served under the IDEA. This doesn't included children without a diagnosis, or children that don't have services from their district.

Now here is how the funding looks compared to cancer:

According to the shiny new Combating Autism website, there will be 900 million for autism funding, whatever that means. Then we have AGRE from CAN, and of course NAAR, Generation Rescue, ASA, and a myriad of other organizations raising money out there. Private and government together, I wonder what that figure is. Anyone know?

I was unable to find a handy number for childhood cancer or pediatric aids. I'd appreciate any info/links. If I find something later, I'll post it.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Non-PC play and Celebrating Each Day With Autism

It's ironic how inappropriate play becomes another kind of inappropriate play. I heard from a fellow recovered parent recently how he celebrated inappropriate activities, and how often it often looked like favoritism to his NT daughter.

He writes 'My daughter, now 17, gets it. She also lets me know that I let J. get away with lots of things that she could never have gotten away with. One day, J. wrote all over his bedroom wall with a marker. How can you yell at a kid for drawing after spending 2 years and many thousands of dollars trying to teach him how to hold a pencil? How much can you yell at him for playing hockey in the house when you spent years not knowing if he could ever play any sports?'What a fabulous example.

I could totally relate, and shared my examples:

I cheered Leo on when he made a gun out of Legos, or played swords with his friends, much to the disapproval of certain parents. He was finally interested in appropriate things and knew how to play and be social with his friends! Leo would run around pretending to be a power ranger and blow stuff up. Love it! I celebrate each time I see this. And I still get the chills when I compare Leo's art on the hallways of his elementary school - all from a child that needed the help of a rubber band to hold a marker.

I'm all about inappropriate play! Also, we have skateboards, a pull-up bar, soccer balls, and footballs in the house. Both my kids learned to ride bikes in the house (trust me it's not big, but long).

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Rice. Our Only Loyal Food Friend.

September 7, 2006

Flap Over Modified Rice Weighs on Food Importers

Claims by Groups of an Illegal Strain Spark EU Warning
September 7, 2006

BRUSSELS -- When commercial rice stored in Missouri and Arkansas turned up traces of an illegal biotech strain last month, Britain's largest food importer said it was looking for a new supplier.

Now, Associated British Foods PLC -- a food empire with sales of £5.6 billion ($10.6 billion) last year -- may have to change suppliers again, this time to replace some of the foods it buys from China.

Environmental groups Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth this week said they found an illegal genetically engineered strain in rice-based products sold in Asian supermarkets in the U.K., France and Germany. European Union officials responded with strong language, telling food importers they could be sued if they failed to keep unauthorized foods out of Europe. The EU has yet to confirm the findings of Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth.

The rice scare underlines problems facing food companies and biotech firms world-wide. Many genetically modified strains are banned in Europe. But techniques for stopping biotech crops crossing into the food chain by accident are imperfect. Companies are struggling to find reliable suppliers and to avoid legal suits by testing their product lines.

"We'll comply with European food law as best we can," Associated British Foods spokesman Geoff Lancaster said. Hours after the environmental groups announced their findings, Mr. Lancaster's company started isolating and testing several goods it suspected of containing Chinese rice ingredients that might include the illegal strain.

Farmers, importers and biotech firms are beginning to feel the sting. The U.S. Agriculture Department said on Aug. 18 that Arkansas and Missouri commercial-rice stocks had turned up traces of Liberty Link rice, an experimental and unauthorized modified strain. After the announcement, September rice-futures prices on the Chicago Board of Trade sank 14% to $8.47 a hundredweight. Japan banned U.S. long-grain rice. American farmers say Europe's strict screening rules on all long-grain-rice imports from the U.S. are pinching profits.

Looking for compensation, U.S. farmers have filed at least three legal actions against German chemicals company Bayer AG, which owns the patent to Liberty Link rice. Such court cases can be costly: Swiss agrochemicals company Syngenta AG last year put aside about $50 million to fund tests of U.S. corn-gluten exports to the EU following the discovery that Syngenta accidentally had sold an unauthorized corn strain to farmers exporting to Europe.

At the same time, food importers may face costly legal challenges in Europe. The European Commission has written to governments reminding them to take a hard line against companies that allow biotech crops to be sold on their territory. While no suits yet have been filed, the commission believes companies "are not doing enough" to comply, according to EU spokesman Philip Tod.

But testing is expensive and difficult. Swiss food empire Nestlé AG says it spends a "significant part" of its $1.2 billion research-and-development budget on in-house safety testing.

The amount of the illegal Liberty Link strain found in Arkansas and Missouri was equivalent to six rice grains out of 10,000. Companies without in-house labs are competing for the services of a handful of European labs capable of testing such small quantities.

Large companies say they can follow their ingredients back to their source. But the Confederation of the Food and Drink Industries this week said importers were unsure which rice-based products, such as vermicelli, sauce mixes or rice starch, came from China. Several Chinese regions were found to be using an illegal biotech strain in 2004, and importers say the problem hasn't been rooted out.

"You have to look at the various forms that the rice takes. It takes time for our members to know exactly what rice starch or flour they are using," said Nathalie Lecoq, from the confederation's commercial department.

Environmentalists want to ban all Chinese rice goods or at least require countries farming with genetically engineered grains to label exports according to their biotech content. European experts meet again Monday to assess the biotech situation and may well discuss the question of Chinese rice goods.

Write to Juliane von Reppert-Bismarck at juliane.vonreppert@dowjones.com1

Burger King Joins McDonalds In Hell

I also read today that in NYC, 50% of children suffer from hunger and obesity.
I have no words. Just every emotion.

Burger King Sued Over
Broiled-Burger Health Risk

August 31, 2006 7:19 p.m.

WASHINGTON -- Burger King Holdings Inc. was sued in California Superior Court for allegedly failing to warn consumers its Triple Whopper and other flame-broiled burgers could contain a cancer-causing agent, the company said Thursday.
The July 24 lawsuit centers around polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, chemicals formed by incomplete burning of organic substances such as charbroiled burgers, Burger King Holdings said in its annual report to the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Under California law, these chemicals are listed as possible carcinogens or reproductive toxicants in humans, the filing said.
In the filing, Miami-based Burger King Holdings said if found liable it might have to pay penalties and injunctive relief. "It is not possible to ascertain with any degree of any confidence the amount of our financial exposure, if any," the company said.
The filing didn't provide the amount of damages sought. The suit is titled "Leeman v. Burger King Corp., et al."
Similar lawsuits were filed against Burger King Holdings, McDonald's and other companies in 2002 and 2005 for allegedly failing to warn consumers their french fries contained acrylamide, another toxic chemical.
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs, have been linked to reproductive and other health problems in animals, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.
Some people who breathed or touched mixtures of PAHs and other chemicals for extended periods have developed cancer, the ATSDR Web site said.
Burger King also said in its annual report that it has prepaid an additional $50 million of term debt. This reduces the total outstanding debt balance to $948 million, the company said.
There are more than 11,100 Burger King restaurants in the U.S. and around the world. Company shares closed at $14.54 each on Thursday, up 23 cents.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Abe Lincoln, Discrimination, and a Dose of Perspective Taking

Over the long weekend, we took the kids to D.C. For me, it was my first time right along with Leo (turns 8 in Oct.)and Sydney (5). As a 41 year old, I was quite taken with it. The cleanliness and magnificance of The Air and Space Museum, the Capital, the National Zoo, and the areas around the White House. The shear number of priceless artifacts in the Air and Space. A piece of the moon? THe first space crafts? Incredible. How grand that Washington Monument is. I had a good time people watching and wondering what they were thinking. It certainly makes a good impression that all is good and all is equal. We can pretty much go anywhere and for free. I got caught up in observation. I felt proud. I felt sad. I felt nervous. So many emotions. I relished the experience and that I could share it with Leo, since he was just old enough to "get" the relevence and importance of our capital.

Really no thoughts about ASD had entered my mind until we hit the Lincoln Memorial. I had a wave of emotion come over me as I stepped into the building and began reading the wall that contains the The Gettysburg Address. He "got me at hello", the first paragraph that ends "and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal."

I saw African Americans taking pictures of themselves. I saw Arabs. I saw Indians. I saw everyone it seems. I wondered how their take on "freedom" differed from mine. I wondered what they thought of me and all the other Americans walking around that day. I began to cry silently and I couldn't stop for about a half hour. I thought about how far we've come to treating each other equally, and it was a nice reminder. But, then I wonder how far we'll be able to go. How much of discrimination is human nature? How much can we evolve?

I look over to see the elevator in a side room. I wonder if people in wheelchairs had to fight to get that thing installed. A right to see the memorial that discusses equality without someone having to carry them. The irony. My thoughts then went to Autism. I'm sure Abe wasn't thinking about our children, but his life, this speech made after battle, did have a positive impact on our quality of life. Then I thought how sad it was that special needs children still face discrimination, that no one still really gets ASD outside of ASD families and providers. And finally, my thoughts come to the cold fact that we have no real Autism Community - that discrimination, that factions, alive in 1863 are alive and kicking today. I am still dedicated, and I hope anyone reading this is too.

And on other topics - here are my favorite quotes from the kids:

1) "Mom, I know we're going to meet George Bush no matter what you say. And I promise I won't tell him you didn't vote for him. That would make him feel bad."
2) After approaching a long line for the Archives, Sydney says "Mom, do you REALLY want to wait in such a long line?" Of course, she said this because SHE didn't want to wait in the line. She said it really loud and clear, and a large number of people turned around when she said it. Leo looked at me, sighed, and said "Now I'm really embarrassed."
3) After riding 3 subway trains, we were walking toward the giant stairs. Sydney says loudly "Hey! We get to see the world again!"

4) On the long car ride home, I mentioned that I may drive them to school the next morning to give them some extra time. Sydney got very excited, she could do more "big girl" things like walk from the car inside. I explained that if the buses were still there, I'd have to drop her off at the lower parking lot, and they'd have to walk. She loved that idea, even MORE of a "big girl" activity. Leo said, "Trust me, you're not going to like it Syd, you have to walk up those long stairs, it's crowded, people get in your way. It's not fun."

5) Leo vehemently wanted a Ground Hog habitat (the zoo)for our rabbits. He fell head over heals in love with them.

6) Naturally, the "best" "most AWE-some" part of the trip was the Planetarium. He really got those basic concepts of the universe forming, etc. He was quite impressed, and he enjoyed the "relaxing" music.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Taking the Disability out of Autism

And what is left? A person that's just different.

Leo began 2nd grade on Monday. It's Wednesday, and I keep thinking I ought to be documenting as always. It's a strange thing - I have nothing exciting to report about Leo (me, yes, see below). No issues, just stories about his "specials" like music, gym, art, and library. As with Leo's former teacher, Mrs. P. doesn't know he used to have an IEP. Time will only tell how his executive functioning differences/issues will play out. (see first grade, 6/22/06). I haven't figured out how to tag, sorry!

The way he processes will always be different. I'm guessing it'll be the same as 1st grade (talking out of turn, calling out answers, finishing sentences). His former teacher speculates this will still be his challenge, but that he'll be able to improve, slowly, over time. And it also depends on his new teacher and what her tolerance level is. Who knows. He isn't the only one doing this, but Leo has his unique reason why. On my list of stuff to worry about.

Weird. I spoke to an ASD mommy friend on the phone today - as with all of us, we are checking in with our friends to see how the first days of school went. I said, "You know, It's been very anticlimatic." First grade was the *big* transition. As I've been told by many people, 2nd grade is really like a reinforcement, a repeat of the concepts in 1st grade. Okay, that's fine - Leo is "one of those ASD kids" that excels academically.

The desire for sameness. Check. The desire for structure, predictability. Check. Knows the school inside and out, has his best pal in school, same bus, same driver. Check. He knew 80% of his classmates already - from our small town activities, some from kindergarten, some from 1st. Check (and nice!). He still gets to see his former teacher for hi-fives and hugs. Check (and bonus!)So far has no issues with school. He's doing the same thing he did last year, only the classroom is 3 doors down.

Leo's kid sister began kindergarten and now he sits with her on the way to school. They are extremely close, and I love that they now go to school together, and say hi occasionally during their day. Their best friends are also sibs (kind of creepy I admit), so it's quite a close-knit situation - we all know everyone's business, and it's transferred through the siblings. Another solidifying part of his life. A safe place to try new things, put himself out there. To grow.

And what about this new safe haven we've built for Leo? Knowing everything, the structure, vs. everything new, more chaotic and diverse?

The closeknit community - really wonderful families that have the same goals and values (aside from the super-Christian stuff). Everyone seems "the same", very Stepford, but not in a bad way. Just in a "sameness" way.

What if we had moved back to California and I went back to work full-time? A big cost-of-living difference. Private school a sure thing. Questionable neighborhoods, stepping over homeless on our way to the grocery store (well, HFS!). What if everything was new? Would Leo turn out more prepared for a cubicle in the future? For college? Am I fooling myself into thinking this is the real world? Is there a downside to creating this environment?

I moved every 6 months as a child. I don't remember any friends, except a picture I have of a beautiful East Indian girl named Marcie that "was my best friend". I can only recollect the photo and a few memories. And then there's the abuse and no parents to give me a foundation. As they say, "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger." I am living testiment. I'm sure I'm overcompensating, but I really wanted, ASD aside, to raise my children in a consistent solid environment so they could blossom.

Ahh...The comfort zone

Will Leo be ill-equipped to handle the real world? Given his difference, is this lifestyle a blessing or a curse? What about experience in chaos?, grown-up chaos? What are the downfalls, at age 7 (almost 8), to being exposed to to more diversity (it's quite white and Catholic around here, and Leo is half Jewish). Raising kids in a safe place - when is that not a good thing? WHat if Leo fell asleep to the sound of garbage trucks and sirens, versus bugs and birds, and you can see the stars like it was day? All the pets. The garden, being connected with the earth? I'm keeping my options open - charter high schoools, private schools for down the road. I want to be prepared for every forseable scenario. I realize this is impossible, but hey, I have to try.

Although Leo's environment is quite cookie-cutter, I try to live my life by example. I tell Leo I voted Democratic when it's a Republican town. I explained homosexuality, hurricanes, poverty, global warming, and other topics that don't gel with his (and my) fantasy childhood.

As always, I am reminded of how far he's come. How truly disabled Leo was. A bus will never be a bus. A hallway will never be just a hallway. I re-read the note from last year to edit for his new teacher about his "food allergies" and hypoglycemia. (He requires an "extra" snack in the afternoon since he needs to eat around every 3 hours). Boy has he become more independent! Leo's Autism no longer disables him. He still has ASD, and I love those contributions madly. I honestly do. But he no longer has anxiety, chaos, and challenges that are often associated with ASD.

And what about Mom?

I'm plugging away at my IEP goals for Leo. I am a list keeper since it keeps me really organized. Here is my Worry List for Leo:

1) Worry about Leo's calling out, and talking out of turn
2) Worry about soccer. This year they now add a practice to the week, and they actually play positions. Like the last couple years, this is regular soccer organized by the town. I wasn't welcome to participate in special ed soccer because of Leo's status (see discrimination for more on this). He's not the worst player, but he's not great. This should be interesting, to see how he can "juggle" what everyone is doing and what he should be doing. Theory of Mind comes into play, and I hope he holds up the ability to see intention amongst his fellow players. I hope he can hold his own, as many of his friends play, and he loves to be with his friends AND he loves soccer, especially since the world cup.
3) Worry that something else will come up where he'll stand out and it matters to him.
4) Worry if Mrs. P. actually "knows" about Leo's past. After all, we've been going to that school since Leo was just 3 - tiny short legs swinging from the big kid chairs in a cramped office for speech.... She's been there forever, and her classroom was close to where "the fireworks" of my tirades and other heated meetings took place. All of Leo's IEP meetings where held there and he got services from 3 to 5 there - 7 hours per week. And again, my worry is only because I don't want teachers to treat him differently, which is why we keep Leo's label a secret.
5) Will the "finishing sentences" thing manifest into a secondary disorder in the future, such as OCD? I know I can be very OCD.

So what else can I tell you about Leo? He loves soccer and football. He plays immediately when he gets home - very "organizing" for him. A nice transition. He has lots of friends that are very different. He used to only be attracted to the loud "boys' boy" kids, I think at the begining because their social cues are easier to pick up (the whole neighborhood could pick them up). Now he likes all kinds of kids, and his list of friends are as diverse as they can be.

Leo continues to be best pals with Sydney, his younger sister. She's quite precocious, so it's a nice match. sometimes they act like twins. They also share a room - bunks, so they just don't know life without each other.

Leo LOVES Lizzy McGuire. He watches the series, but insists his favorite is the movie where they go to Italy. He's not embarrased that he likes a "girl" show. Big news? The Cheetah Girls 2, the movie, just came out, and by god they love it. They've watched it every day since this weekend.

Topics? For some reasons he's asking a lot about Egypt. I can usually figure out the genesis of something I think is random, but for this I can't. He also likes anything travel related, and loves looking at maps and hunting for countries. He likes to know what countries are in which continent, etc.

He also is figuring out tornados, hurricanes, and other disasters. Funny - that's what happens when they can read the news. Leo will now read the Sports section of the newspaper (this happened on a plane on the way back from California this summer). Sydney was reading the front page, not understanding anything. All 4 of us were reading sections. I thought, WOW. We've transitioned.

And speaking of transitions, I began my job today as a preschool teacher - my 2nd year. This year I have 20 hours. Sydney began kindergarten. My husband had work per usual. We all had places to go this morning. Our own separate lives with our own goals. Scary, exciting, and fun, all at the same time. Life goes by so fast. I told a friend recently that it was quite disconcerting how time went by so fast now that I'm in the 40s (41). My friend said:

Pay attention.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Putting Words in My Mouth

Little Miss Sunshine

Finally, a fresh movie to feed the nonconformist in me. Welcome To The Dollhouse and Muriel's Wedding were the only movies on my short list. Sorry, but I'm from Los Angeles originally! The movie business touches just about everything there. Well now I have three! Honesty, perseverence, indominable spirit. Just being who you are. Love it! This movie shows the ugliness that comes from people desperate for sameness. THe desire to belong covering up who people really are.

I'd highly recommend this for anyone that gets a charge out of unique characters in movies.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Bioset And Autism, ADD, ADHD, and Immune Deficiency

As I've always said, if Leo still had an IEP, there'd be 3 remaining goals:
1)Continue to monitor Leo's development. Keep current on therapy options and research. Something may come down the pike that applies to us, or will apply to us in the future.
2) Protect Leo's anonymity by keeping my advocacy private and separate from Leo's life.
3) Manage Leo's immune and GI systems to keep him at optimal health

So, this post is related to Goal #3
We went through the Bioset protocol. And what is it? My friends and I refer to it as "voo doo" therapy, because it certainly is on the opposite end of the spectrum away from western medicine. In a nutshell:
BioSet is a gentle, drug-free means of eliminating food intolerances and environmental sensitivities. BioSet promotes healthy immune function by reducing immune overload so common in ASD children.

And more:
BioSet is based on the principle of the engergetic body as taught in Chinese medicine and utilizes acupressure, muscle testing, as well as computer technology.

As we are taught in basic biochemistry, all substances, living and non living, emit energy. Atoms attract and repel one another, building molecules and complex structures, all the while creating energy frequencies that interact in positive and negative ways.

When frequencies are misaligned, a block or weakness occurs resulting in symptoms associated with allergic reactivity.

BioSet corrects the energy flow thereby releasing the blockage and resetting the immune system. This process is called “clearing.” Clearing for a specific sensitivity helps to normalize the immune response resulting in a marked decrease in symptoms.

The BioSet practitioner uses muscle testing or electrodermal screening to determine where in the body the allergy or reactivity is taking place.

By activating specific accupressure points along the spine, the BioSet practitioner is then able to “clear” for the blockage, and thereby, clear for the sensitivity.

Once “cleared” of a specific sensitivity using the BioSet method of allergy desensitization, the physical symptoms associated with the sensitivity in question also clear.

For example, if you are reactive to pollen and you “clear” for pollen, you will no longer experience the symptomology associated with your sensitivity (i.e. sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes, etc).

BioSet’s success lies in the fact that BioSet heals the child from the inside out. Children who suffer from these and other issues are highly sensitive individuals with overly reactive immune systems.

Because they are so reactive, their immune systems become easily overloaded simply fighting off everyday foods which are misperceived as foreign antibodies.

The result is that these children have little immune support left to fend off real threats in the form of bacterial and viral infections. Likewise, because they are so reactive to so many foods, they neither digest , nor absorb their nutrients efficiently.

Thus, vital organ systems are effectively undernourished, including the brain which relies on a variety of proteins and fatty acids to produce the appropriate neurotransmitters essential in forging neuropathways.

After clearing for food intolerances as well as chemical and environmental sensitivities, most children experience marked improvement in both their physical symptomology, as well as their emotional well being.

Likewise, because ASD children are so sensitive, they often react to certain supplements in their program (i.e. they experience hyperactivity, aggression,or an increase in stimming). Often, this kind of reactivity can be reduced or eliminated by either clearing for the supplement in question, or by muscle testing products and dosage to determine the exact needs of the child.

Phew! I apologize for the long description. I couldn't find a way to edit this further.

So far so good with Leo. It'll be interesting to see how long he'll "hold" his clearings - we did wheat and dairy, corn, soy, chlorine, mosquitos, and various seasonal stuff. He had the best spring ever, and not one mosquito bite, while his sister and myself had tons per usual. We let him "cheat" a bit more, but our organic whole foods lifestyle remains. I'm just too chicken! Plus, we give him enzymes when he "cheats", and for maintenance. I'm not a big supplement chick - Leo has always been a good eater, so I give him the omegas and some Bs and call it a day.

So there ya go!

Friday, August 18, 2006

Who My First Friends Were

The concept of time broadens. Recently Leo asked me who his first friends were. He's asked me many times in the past, and each time there is a new layer of understanding, like the layers in an onion as they say. We started with the friends he knows in town, which is what I thought he was driving at. His oldest friend, Janie, he met when he was almost 2 (just right around when he was diagnosed). I finally explained that techincally, his first friends were from my Mommy and Me group in NYC when Leo was just an infant. Tiny infant friends. He said, “Wow, I’m sure you had to take a lot of classes on how to be a mommy. You had to learn so much since I was born first”.

I thought, what irony! The assumptions he made on his own about being a mother. If only we had all taken mommy classes before the hospital handed us our tiny newborns, and fend for ourselves. Leo assumed, that of course we all had to be trained in order to do what we do. After all, that's what HE does, right? Goes to school, learns stuff at home. Experiences life. He's fully aware of what he understands versus the breadth of understanding that us adults in theory have.

It also reminds me of what a blogger said once, that our children are at their most intuitive time of their lives as toddlers. They do not have enough life experience just yet to make assumptions and generalizations, and better yet make false assumptions. I had to break the news - all of us new parents pretty much wing it. Nothing prepares you for parenthood.

Alone In a Crowded Room: Refections from an Autism Mom...

The title to this blog is actually the title that my editor from Autism Asperger's Magazine wanted for my article about discrimination a few years ago. I thought it was a little too whiny, and instead went with "My Son Has Autism Too".

I wrote that article 3 years ago. Has my worthiness status changed in 3 years? No. What HAS changed is that I have more company. I meet more and more children that have no longer meet the diagnostic criteria for an ASD. They no longer need intensive intervention. They can be mainstreamed with little or no support. The word that has been used for this description is Recovery. Fighting words for many.

My desire is to understand those that have such a visceral reaction to other parts of the spectrum for the purpose of becoming an ABA therapist at some point (currently I'm a preschool teacher learning as much as I can about development).

I also want to broaden my perspective in order to help the many people that email me for guidance. Unintentionally, my site has become an insirational one, so I don't get my little niche of HF mainstreamed parents as I expected. I get the gamet, and they are welcome.

To learn more about other parts of the spectrum, I've discovered the wonderful world of blogging, and I've honed in on the sites I'm most attracted to. They are brilliant parents. Some are real writers, which makes sense as to why I like their blogs so much. They are wonderfully insightful and I've learned so much about THEIR parking spot on the spectrum. A few can be found on my list to the right.

There is some of what I've learned so far (and of course it' much more than this, but this list pertains to the topic at hand): Their children have a lot in common, like age and similar deficits. These parents are hopelessly positive, and rarely have bad parenting moments and bad days. I am in awe and feel pretty intimidated by this. Sheesh! They can't stand labels and categories.

I also see how they judge other "factions", and have little tolerance for fellow ASD parents on other parts of the spectrum. Not much discussion, if at all, about fighting with their school districts. I can only infer they are affluent enough, or have lucked out with their schools. Bonus, if it's true!

They also make lots of implications and inferences that are incorrect about fellow parents that have a different "parking spot". I can totally understand how this happens - and like many things in life, it's from not understanding where another person is coming from. From not being informed OR CURIOUS about where I reside in the world of Autism. I know I've had many incorrect assumptions, and I've learned so much from reading these blogs. I've very thankful to have found them.

Kristina Chew is the only exception - she is attempting to understand other parts of the spectrum, and differing viewpoints on therapies. I don't feel judged by her. I am grateful for that, and grateful for her writings.

They also show disdain for parents that reside near their parking spot, but have differing views (ex: Autism Everyday video - no empathy for the fact that these parents feel the way they do, only judgement). I could be incorrect about this, but man!

I've made a big effort to connect by sharing my thoughts and I'm immediately blasted. This is hurtful. I'd love to be a part of such a loving supportive group (with each other). They seem to share the same views on books and news stories as well. Very little, if at all, disagreement. Lucky people to have found each other!

Why do I bother? Many of my friends think I'm crazy for putting myself out there. Clearly my views are not shared, nor is anyone really interested in what I have to say.

Am I an Autism parent? Yes. How has my life changed in 3 years? I don't have an impossibly giant schedule to manage and implement. Other than that, my fears and thoughts remain pretty much the same.

Autism is a treatable disorder. Treating our children doesn't mean I don't accept who they are. True, many parents reject their own children. I'm happy that I don't have a full-time schedule to manage and implement. I'm happy my son no longer vomits in anticipation of getting a haircut. I'm happy that Leo can walk down a crowded hallway without panicking and hand flapping. I am envious of these blogging parents that support milestones and good days. These parents reject my most joyous moments of my child becoming happier and healthier. Only parents in similar parking spots can be happy for me. Why is that? I'm still searching for that answer.

We can make huge positive changes with biomedical treatments and therapy that make our children happier and healthier. Less autistic? Yes, the bad parts that many adult's with ASD would list as something they'd get rid of. Something else I've learned from reading the blogs of adults on the spectrum. These children are STILL different, STILL on the spectrum. A beautiful fact, diversity.