Top 10 Autism News for the Week That Was: 25th August, 2015
Here we are with the weekly news about autism from around the world. The articles include insights on helping children with autism, a new program started by MSU and Taylor Swift being even more of a sweetheart than she already is. Have a lovely week.
The Journal of Autism and Development Disorders published a study which found a correlation between traits associated with autism like communication and social deficits, and creative thinking. The study, which involved 312 participants (25 percent of whom were autistic), found that people with high autistic traits are more likely to ‘think outside the box’.
Steve Silberman’s new book – Neurotribes – sheds light on some interesting twists that were buried in the autism diagnosis archive, and are bound to stimulate discussion, according to the website. It questions whether Dr. Leo Kanner or Dr. Hans Aspergers were the true ‘fathers of autism’ or whether there was someone else who did more for the condition than we know. If you read this book before us, we would love to hear your reviews.
In her latest post in the series on the Autism Daily Newscast, Stella Waterhouse offers insights on detecting and addressing physical problems in an autistic child. When the child is an infant, he is unable to convey the pain he is feeling and you, as a parent or guardian, must ‘read the runes’ so that you can comprehend if he is in pain and help him accordingly. She elaborates on various physical problems a child may endure and what you must do to address them.
Christopher Duffley, born prematurely and weighing just 1 pound 12 ounces at that time, is now 14. He sang an amazing rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner before the Boston Red Sox-Cleveland Indians game began at Fenway Park, Boston. Christopher, who is blind and autistic, received a standing ovation, and waited for sometime to thank the response of people. Heart touching video.
On 20th August, Taylor Swift sent a message to 7-year old Jacob Velazquez to attend her show. Jacob was diagnosed with autism when he was 4, is a gifted pianist, and listens to Swift’s albums daily. His mother had written a guest post on Autism Speaks and posted a video of him playing a medley of her songs on the piano, which they shared on their social channels. Taylor Swift retweeted their post and graciously extended the invite to Jacob to come and meet her on her tour. This incident has made us respect Taylor Swift even more than we already do.
A combination of one-on-one training sessions and classroom experiences with peers will be part of one of the first programs being launched in USA to to help children with autism. This program is being launched by Michigan State University (MSU) this fall and is open for 3 to 4-year-old children diagnosed with autism.
Chris Martin has been teaching creative writing to children with autism for more than a decade now. He says that the restricted interests in children with autism are often portrayed negatively. He has found that poetry has allowed them to open up to other subjects and people and hopes that other teachers will take notice and construct their lesson plans accordingly to make them more interesting to children on the autism spectrum.
Rapid Prompting Method (RPM), is a method which encourages students to give prompt responses after teachers provide them with certain information. It has been developed by Soma Mukhopadhyay, part of a non-profit organization called HALO. The students’ responses evolve gradually, according to Autism Daily Newscast, from picking answers on the AAC device to typing and writing them. The responses from parents and teachers using it have been encouraging.
The article above has a behind-the-scenes video of Amber Black, the owner of Avinash Wellness LLC, and an individual with autism. Her story stands testament to the fact that someone on the autism spectrum can function smoothly in society today. They are not only capable of holding jobs, but also setting up ventures and being successful, if they are given the right opportunities and encouragement.
The members at SAI Connections, an autism school in Mumbai, have started a patisserie, where children with autism prepare regular or GCFC bakery products. These diet products help fight health conditions and are recommended as part of a diet for individuals on the autism spectrum.
That’s it for this week dear friends. As always, if you know of something that we have left out and deserves a mention, drop us a comment or message.
Kamini Lakhani is the founder and director of SAI Connections. She has been providing services in the field of autism for more than 25 years and is the authorized director of Professional Training for RDI in India and the Middle East. She is also the mother of a young adult with autism.