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My goal for my son has always been that he be as functional, happy, productive and independent as possible. That goal is ongoing, ever-expanding and never fully realized, which is why it must be immune to any label of finality anyone might attempt to attach to an undefinable outcome. It’s the same goal every parent [...]

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Autism: one word, many truths. What’s yours?

Published on October 7, 2013 by in News

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An unhappy emailer wants me to rewrite Ten Things after “getting the story from real autistic people” rather than “assuming half of it.” Of course, the inference that my son’s autism and the 7,700 days we’ve spent together isn’t real raises my mother-bear hackles. The writer further scolded me with “here’s a little unknown timbit [...]

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Not a week goes by anymore wherein at least one hyperbolic headline screams a disturbing tale of school abuse of a child with autism. Every one of them provokes an avalanche of (understandable) outrage from parents. I needn’t paint details of such stories here because they’re free for the Googling. They’re appalling, no question. But [...]

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“He gives up so easily”

Published on September 30, 2013 by in News

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A concerned friend writes: My friend’s second-grader Jack has autism. He’s very smart, but he gives up so easily. When he tries to do something new, his response is always, “It’s too hard.” He doesn’t say what’s on his mind. For example, instead of saying he doesn’t like a particular food, he’ll say he’s full, [...]

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Later autism diagnosis doesn’t preclude success

Published on August 27, 2013 by in News

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I cannot help but have mixed feelings about the media stories rolling across my desk recently, headlines blaring that early intervention for children with autism “appears beneficial” or “can make a difference.” For us autism parents, it’s not news. It’s the rest of the world catching up to what we’ve known for years. Hey world, [...]

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A parent asks:  My preschooler’s teacher recently told us she thinks our child may be “on the spectrum.” I’m crushed, grieving and not able to accept this. It’s so heartbreaking to see my perfectly happy child diagnosed with this condition.  Is grief after an autism diagnosis normal? Why am I struggling so with this? Ellen [...]

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            It’s a beautiful vision on the horizon–your child with autism child all grown up, a capable and independent adult. When our children are young, that horizon can seem very far away indeed. How will we get there? What should I be doing now?              We have no crystal ball, of course. But one thing [...]

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DIY week in kitchen of the Notbohm homestead. Everything you see here took less than an hour — total. As I grow increasingly suspect of the safety of our food supply, I love being able to make simple things and know exactly what’s in them. And because they haven’t been additive-d and processed until the [...]

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 In my pre-cable TV college days, there was a black-and-white TV in our dorm’s common room. It was on 24 hours a day, and my memory is that it received only one channel, and that channel aired only two programs, Star Trek (original series) and The Big Valley. You could stroll through the room at [...]

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“Is public school not right for some children with autism? Is homeschooling a better option? Do parents need to follow their gut on such decisions?” I sensed that behind this parent’s highly generalized questions lurked the desire for a pre-supposed answer: he wanted me respond in a manner that validated a position he held. Maybe [...]

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