Short story about autism and siblings is a winner

Congratulations to Dean Norris-Jones, whose short story about an autistic boy and his sister won the Victoria and Vancouver Times Colonist’s So You Think You Can Write contest. Norris-Jones, a teacher, won in two categories — short story and dialogue. He told the newspaper that he looked to his own family when writing his short story, Everybody Hurts.

When he entered the Times Colonist’s So You Think You Can Write contest, English teacher Dean Norris-Jones hoped he wouldn’t embarrass himself in front of his students.

No worries.

Our panel of judges voted Norris-Jones the winner of the newspaper’s first-ever in-print and online writing showdown. He wins a trip to next year’s Sunshine Coast Festival of the Written Arts. Norris-Jones was also the readers’ favorite, with 53.7 per cent of the votes, so he wins a Sony e-Reader supplied by Atlas Audio Video Unlimited.

Norris-Jones, who teaches English, literature and creative writing at Reynolds Secondary School, competed against four other finalists in the four-week competition. He says he found the assignment-a-week format “exciting and scary,” something he shared with his students. In fact, he gave them a couple of the contest assignments to work on in class.

via He thought he could write — and he was right.

EARLI Study – Research into early causes of autism

EARLI is a network of research sites that will enroll and follow 1,200 mothers of children with autism at the start of another pregnancy and document the newborn child’s development through three years of age. The EARLI Study will examine possible environmental risk factors for autism and study whether there is any interplay between environmental factors and genetic susceptibility.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 1 in every 110 children has an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Autism is the fastest growing developmental disability in the country; however, little is known about what causes it.

The EARLI Study is an important research study trying to change that. If you have a child with an Autism Spectrum Disorder and are currently pregnant or may become pregnant again in the future, you have a unique opportunity to help researchers better understand the causes of autism so that we can one day more effectively treat or prevent this challenging disorder.

via EARLI Study – Research Into Early Causes of Autism | EARLI Study.

An autism sibling writes

Here’s a nice piece written by an autism sibling for her Massachusetts high school newspaper. As she concludes: “People with autism face enough obstacles and shouldn’t have to deal with the ignorance of people as well.”

It’s always hard to live with small children in the house, but I don’t think people really know the difficulties until they have a child or a sibling with a disability. My brother, Jakob O’Hare, is twelve years old, and he has autism. I think he was diagnosed with autism when he was three.

When you look at him, you see a normal happy kid; it’s just his mind that doesn’t move as fast as everyone else’s. It’s sometimes hard to understand what he is trying to say, but once you’re around him for a little bit, you start to catch on to how he pronounces things.

Triton Voice – Triton Regional High School – Living With Autism.

Five Benefits of Growing Up With an Autistic Sibling

Dana Fialco discovered the benefits of having a sibling with autism first-hand; her sister, Tara, is autistic. The two sisters and their parents collaborated on the “Starabella” audiobook series. Starabella features a girl with learning differences who expresses herself through music.

Every sibling relationship is unique, but having an autistic child in a family can impact the entire family dynamic. While much attention is paid to the challenges and difficulties faced by parents and siblings of autistic children, growing up with an autistic sibling also offers many advantages and hidden treasures that can help shape an individual’s life and character. Here are five benefits of growing up with an autistic sibling:

via Five Benefits of Growing Up With an Autistic Sibling – Century City News.

Seven easy ways to help a family diagnosed with autism

From The Huffington Post’s Elaine Hall, a thoughtful post on how to help out a family with an autistic child or adult. Autism caregivers will probably appreciate your help!

We’ve all heard the news: one in 91 children are now being diagnosed with autism in the United States alone. This is staggering. Today, almost everyone knows someone with autism. And yet, with all the talk about cures, causes and concerns, there is rarely any information on how we can support a family with this diagnosis. All too often, because folks don’t know what to do, they do nothing! Even to the extent of avoiding the family out of fear, or just out of not knowing what to do or say. In this post, I hope to show how simple acts of kindness can make a world of difference for families who have children with autism.

Elaine Hall: 7 Easy Ways to Help a Family Diagnosed With Autism.

‘How to Be a Sister’: Autism and hard-won love

When Margaret Garvin was 3 years old, she was diagnosed with severe autism. Her sister Eileen was about to be born.

“Throughout the course of my life, I’ve only been certain of two things: I am the youngest of five children, and I am my sister Margaret’s older sister,” Eileen Garvin writes in “How to Be a Sister: A Love Story With a Twist of Autism.” “Even though she was born three years earlier than I, I was the caretaker, the dependable one, and, as far as I can see, always will be. Instead of growing up in the protective shadow of my big sister, I often found myself dodging things she was throwing at me or chasing that shadow through a crowd of people as my big sister took off on some crazy escapade.”

via ‘How to Be a Sister’: Autism and hard-won love |

Autism’s effect on siblings, a sister’s research

Much of the research on the effect of autism on siblings is done by … adult researchers. This post is about a research project by a New Jersey 16-year-old who is the sister of a boy with autism.

When Gabby Abramowitz was younger, she was cautious about inviting new friends to the house. She wasn’t sure how they would react to her younger brother, Ben, who is autistic.

And she didn’t want a repeat of the Simpsons incident. That was the time she had a friend over for dinner, and Ben sat at the table reciting the entire “Treehouse of Horror” Simpsons Halloween special.Gabby pleaded with him to stop, but he persisted.”

My friend was like, ‘What’s going on?’ and then started laughing,” she said.

At that time, she was in elementary school and lacked the words and understanding to explain her brother’s condition. But with the help of her parents and through her own study, Gabby, now 16 and a sophomore at Tenafly High School, has grown to understand the nuances of autism and often speaks out to teach her peers while growing closer to Ben, 14.

Through her research, she found that her experiences, and those of others like her, often are overlooked. “I think the effect on siblings is underestimated. We get pushed into the background.”

via Autism’s effect on the ‘normal siblings’.

Life with this autistic teen: Constant vigilance, unconditional love

Fifteen-year-old Sean Walsh paces in a robotic loop around the lower level of his family’s Camelot Drive, Howell, home.

He circles the table in the family’s great room, pauses by his sister Shannon, then punches her in the head.

“I can’t fight back,” she says later. “How are you going to punch an autistic kid in the nose?”

Only minutes later, Sean hugs his mother, Michelle, and his 17- year-old sister. He tussles with his father, Howell Mayor Robert F. Walsh, and laughs.

via Constant vigilance, unconditional love | | Tri-Town News.

Family bike program for children with autism

On April 24, Intensive Therapeutics, a non-profit organization for children with special needs, and Autism Family Tours with Briana, held their Bike Club Kickoff event with the help of the Scotch Plains and Fanwood Police Departments.

Members of the community were invited to attend the kickoff event, where the Scotch Plains Police Department provided bike riding safety tips for the children and their families.

The children participated in obstacle courses that tested their bike riding skills. Siblings of the new bike riders also participated in the event, making it a fun family experience.

The Intensive Therapeutics Bike Club was created to celebrate the joy of families riding together after Intensive Therapeutics and Autism Family Tours with Brianna collaborated in a six-week program called “Ready, Set, Ride”. The program helped provide a safe environment for children of all ages and abilities to share in the experience of biking riding.

via Intensive Therapeutics and Autism Family Tours with Briana host Bike Club | |

Activity helps kids learn about autism

Sometimes Madison Roberson has to explain her younger brother’s behavior to her friends.

Justin Grider is in second grade and has Asperger’s syndrome, a form of autism, and though he is an outstanding student academically, his social skills often are lacking, which is typical of autism. Autistic kids don’t always understand when someone is kidding or that they should respect personal space.

“I know my brother doesn’t have a lot of friends because people think he’s not nice,” said the fourth-grader at Hope Academy. “I had this friend, and I just told her that he’s the same as any of us, so just treat him nice. If she has a question, she just asks me, and she understands it better now.”

via Activity helps kids learn about autism.