Colgate University women’s hockey plays for autism awareness

The Colgate women’s hockey team has created an autism project in support of Kati Williams, a local teenager from Norwich, N.Y., who has been an avid fan of the women’s hockey program for several years and now serves at the team’s manager. Kati has Asperger’s Syndrome, which is an autism spectrum disorder that is characterized by significant difficulties in social interaction, along with restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior and interests.

“When I first started looking into what we could do to raise awareness for autism I was floored at some of the facts,” stated head coach Scott Wiley. “It was hard for me to think about autism affecting so many people. A new case is diagnosed almost every 15 minutes. More children will be diagnosed with autism this year than with AIDS, diabetes & cancer combined.

Autism is the fastest-growing serious developmental disability in the U.S. in which there is no cure or medical detection. It is our goal to make as many people aware as possible and have a positive impact on those families affected by autism.”

The project will kick off with Light Up Starr Rink Blue for the Rensselaer game on Friday, Jan. 28 at 7 p.m. that will be televised on Time Warner Cable Sports. For that game the team will be wearing special edition puzzle piece jerseys, which will be auctioned online after the game and is looking to have at least 1000 fans attend the game. Free t-shirts, provided by Price Chopper will be given to the first 250 fans.

The team has also created online puzzle pieces through Autism Speaks, which are digital puzzles to send to family, friends and supporters of Colgate Women’s Hockey so we can help put the pieces together and raise money for Autism research.

via Colgate University Athletics – Women’s Hockey Creates Autism Awareness Project.

Shonda Schilling hopes book raises Asperger’s awareness, compassion

While the Red Sox were in the middle of a season that would end with their second World Series title in three years, things were falling apart for Shonda Schilling.

Grant, then 7, the third of the Schillings’ four children, was out of control. She had suspected since he was a baby that something wasn’t right, but thought maybe he was acting out because the family had moved a lot or that he was no longer the youngest child or that his father, Curt Schilling, was on the road so much with the Red Sox.

When Shonda noticed that her 4-year-old, Garrison, was more mature than Grant, she knew he wasn’t just going through a phase.In late August of 2007, with the Sox playing in Chicago, Grant was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of autism.

via – An edition of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette and Sunday Telegram.

New book, ‘Autism Tomorrow,’ helps parents guide autistic children into adulthood

Dr. Temple Grandin, Dr. Tony Attwood and 14 other autism experts contributed advice in a new book on facing adulthood with autism. The book, “Autism Tomorrow: The Complete Guide to Help Your Child Thrive in the Real World,” addresses independent living, employment, puberty, sexuality, bullying, social skills, communication, financial planning and more.

Autism Today, a leading autism spectrum disorder education and awareness organization, announced that the unique comprehensive book, “Autism Tomorrow, The Complete Guide to Help Your Child Thrive in the Real World,” is now available. The book is a compilation of advice from leading experts in autism spectrum disorders with each author adding valuable insight to help parents, care providers and educators guide children into adulthood.

via Essential New Book, ‘Autism Tomorrow’, Helps Children Transition into Adulthood.

Autism in Summer: For some, it’s time for camp

For a lot of kids, summertime means summer camp. In recent years, more children with autism have been getting in on the summer camp fun.

There are a variety of autism camps being held this summer. In Florida, Joey Travolta, (brother of John Travolta) runs a film camp for children with autism.

In North Carolina, Funshine Camp lets children and adults with autism and other disabilities enjoy the outdoors for four days at no cost (they bring caregivers).

In Wisconsin, the organizers at Camp Awesum say they try to provide a traditional summer camp experience but accommodate the needs of autistic children with things like special sensory areas.

My Summer Camps, a directory of summer camps around the country, has a list of camps for children and teenagers with autism and Asperger’s syndrome.

Here is Spirit of Autism’s list of questions to ask when looking at summer camps for your autistic child.

Is your child at camp this summer? How’s it going? Any tips to share on making the transition to camp?

Parenting teenagers on the autism spectrum

One of the hardest things about parenting older kids who are on the autism spectrum is recognizing that the issues they’re dealing with as teens are very different from the ones they dealt with in elementary school. It’s so much easier — and more comfortable — for us to think about birthday parties and playground friendships than it is to tackle the prom and dating, isn’t it?

“Suddenly, the question is not simply, ‘How do I teach my child this or that?’ but a much more complicated ‘How do I teach my child not to need me to teach him anymore?’” writes Claire Scovell LaZebnik in Growing Up on the Spectrum: A Guide to Life, Love, and Learning for Teens and Young Adults with Autism and Asperger’s.

via Parenting teenagers on the autism spectrum – In The Parenthood –

Autism and girls

The U.K. seems to be talking about autism and girls recently. Below is a story from The (London) Independent on “Why autism is different for girls.” The London Times, meanwhile had a story recently on autism and Asperger’s being underdiagnosed among girls and women.

We may think it only affects boys. But the female variant is often much harder to spot – and that means thousands of girls may be going undiagnosed.

With hindsight, Nicky Clark says early signs of autism were present in both her children. The elder one, though very bright, had a love of routine and was not interested in fantasy games like other children. The younger one liked to line things up in rows and would watch the same video clip over and over again for hours. When she got the diagnosis it came as a huge shock, as it would be for any parent. But there was an additional reason why it was unexpected – both her children are girls.

via Why autism is different for girls – Features, Health & Families – The Independent.

NBC’s ‘Parenthood’ brings real-life autism to TV

Stimeyland blogger Jean Winegardner writes about a character with Asperger’s syndrome in this Washington Times post:

As a parent of a child with autism, I have watched with interest several television programs that have featured autistic characters. NBC’s new hour-long drama “Parenthood” is the newest of these programs, and one that holds a great deal of promise.

I am interested in autistic characters on television for the same reasons many other minority groups are interested in seeing people representative of them on television. It educates, it normalizes and it includes. I’ve been disappointed in the past by autistic portrayals on TV, notably Mary McDonnell’s doctor with Asperger’s on “Grey’s Anatomy,” because the characters just didn’t ring true and seemed to perpetuate stereotypes.

I’ve been seeing commercials for “Parenthood” for a long time, but just learned last week that one of the characters, Max, is a child with Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of autism. This is intriguing because I can’t think of any instances in which a child has played a person with autism. I was further compelled to watch after learning that “Parenthood” producer Jason Katims has a 13-year-old son with Asperger’s, which means the situations surrounding Max come from a place of experience.

via NBC’s ‘Parenthood’ Brings Real-Life Autism to TV | Washington Times Communities.

For Some Jobs, Asperger’s Syndrome Can Be An Asset

Statistics on the unemployed have been dominating the news for months.

And while the current portrait of the jobless might seem dire, consider this: According to new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, less than 20 percent of the disabled population in the country has work.

But Aspiritech, a nonprofit in the suburbs of Chicago, is trying to help improve the job outlook for people with Asperger’s and high-functioning autism.

The company trains people in data entry and computer program testing — skills that come naturally to many with the disorder.

via For Some Jobs, Asperger’s Syndrome Can Be An Asset : NPR.

Autism: transitioning to college and the real world

I used to envy my friends who had children with learning disabilities and Asperger Syndrome. I watched their sons and daughters move from special education classes to regular classes–some even landed in our school district’s gifted and talented program. My understanding at the time was that since these kids were on the “graduation track”, they would likely go to college, enter the work force and go on to live independently.

I would later learn that academics alone are not enough.”My daughters have the grades and intelligence to get into college,” said my friend, Marnie Raymond. Her twin teenage girls have Asperger Sydrome.”But their underdeveloped social skills, lack of central coherence and poor executive functioning impact their ability to function without a great deal of support.

Now there is an option in the Bay Area for college-age youths with Asperger Syndrome, high-functioning autism, dyslexia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and other learning differences to help them transition into the real world–The College Internship Program CIPin downtown Berkeley.

via City Brights: Laura Shumaker : Autism: transitioning to college and the real world.