Ideally, we recognize things that seem too good to be true, but when it comes to alternative medicine, many people put their faith in testimonials rather than science. Dr. Paul Offit's book Do You Believe in Magic? explains why alternative products and therapies are often neither better nor safer than traditional approaches....more
Before I had kids I always imagined that my brood would be a globe-trotting one, with summer breaks spent introducing my kids to the rest of the world and vice versa. Now that I actually have kids, I've realized those daydreams were a bit of a stretch -- my two youngest kids would rather stay home unless we're going to their grandparents' homes or Disneyland, and my husband's vacation time allotment, while generous, is not unlimited. But that doesn't mean I can't still wring out the occasional jaunt, which is how I ended up taking my fourteen-year-old daughter to Ghana.
Would you want someone patronizing you in front of the entire world, or writing headlines about how awful your life is and how much you suck? Well, autistic people don't want that either, and neither do autism families -- yet those are the autism stories most frequently in the news. Journalists and the media need to start rethinking how they approach autism stories, because people like my son Leo and families like ours deserve better, plus Leo is not the only awesome autistic person. Writers and journalists need to work harder, find better sources, seek out fairer messages, and help the rest of society learn to better accept and understand autistic people....more
You don't want to be on the wrong side of history, do you? That's a question we're hearing a lot just now. And I think it's a particularly important question to ask yourself today, during Autism Acceptance Day, and throughout April, which is Autism Acceptance Month. It's important for you to accept and then help other people understand that autistic people like my son are your fellow human beings, with your same inalienable rights to live happy and pity-free lives. That whatever their needs and abilities, autistic people are not "less" than other people....more
I recently found out my birth son was likely never told he was adopted, and has been publicly speaking out about an ancestral heritage that, genetically, isn't entirely true. And I'm worried -- nay, freaked out -- about how he might feel, if he discovers his adoptive cultural background and biological background don't match....more
You don't see my name in several of the places you used to, like volunteer boards, autism organizations, and guest posts. But that's not because I'm flaking, it's because I'm focusing. After I found myself on the verge of an overload-triggered nervous breakdown a few months ago, I decided to prioritize -- to put my family, friends, and critical work first, in that order. I now get to the stuff I can get to, and I try not to lose sleep over the rest, mostly because letting myself become sleep-deprived over anything not in that top three is something else I've decided not to do. So, I'm sharing my experience and approach because I suspect I'm not the only parent trying to avoid a meltdown....more
As a parent and as a human, my first reaction to the killings at Sandy Hook Elementary was to keen and to roar with heartbreak. Mass murders of schoolchildren are The Unimaginable, they are What Should Never Happen, they are several leagues beyond horrifying. As more reports emerged, I wept along with President Obama for those children, those parents, those teachers, their families, their loved ones....more
If you and your kids are dreaming of a tech-filled holiday season, you probably have questions about tablets, iDevices, and the like. Should you get the brand-new iPad Mini? What makes it a better choice than the larger iPad or the smaller iPod Touch? Do you need accessories, like cases and styluses? Which ones? And what are the best apps for kids of all abilities?...more
My 12-year-old autistic son Leo was on the black box anti-psychotic medication Risperdal for almost four years. As of this writing, he's been off it for almost four weeks. Will he be okay? I hope so, but I'm not sure. Not yet....more
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