Autism News: Prevention Debunked, Friendly Shows, Braxton and Son, Jobs for Breakast, and the Power of FunSubmitted by Landon Bryce on Thu, 02/07/2013 - 13:54
More theaters are planning autism-friendly performances. The Theater Development Fund is planning one for the Broadway musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. The Fox Theater in Detroit will present Sesame Street Live.
Toni Braxton's autistic son Deizel will appear with her in a new Lifetime movie called Twist of Fate.
After his 19-year-old son Joe killed himself, Macolm Shaw is calling for more support for adults who have Asperger's syndrome.
Kids with autism are five times more likely than other children to experience food-related problems ranging from mealtime tantrums to extreme pickiness, issues with potentially long-term health consequences, researchers say.
Tracey Hyde is struggling to find an appropriate placement for her eight-year-old autistic son Mickey.
The National Autistic Society Undiscovered Workforce campaign includes a breakfast event to bring employers and autistic adults together.
Remembering Dave Rabb, who helped autistic kids and their parents with "the power of fun."
Lydia Brown's list of rules for How to Talk to an Autistic Adult is thorough and intelligent:
8. If you are speaking to an alternative and augmentative communication user (i.e. an adult who communicates using picture cards, signs or symbols, a letter board, or by typing), give him, her, or xir even more extra time both to formulate responses and to produce them. AAC takes longer than speaking, so make sure that the adult is actually getting equal time to "speak."
9. If the adult has a personal assistant, caregiver, parent, or staff person accompanying him, her, or xir, do not speak to the Autistic adult through the other person or ask that person questions about the Autistic adult. Address the Autistic adult directly.
10. If the adult has a service animal, such as a dog or a cat, do not touch, call to, or make sounds at the animal without explicitly asking the owner for permission.
Lydia is a little more dogmatic and politically correct than I would be, but she knows a lot more about communicating respectfully with a broad range of autistic people than I do.
So I will add only one thing:
Please do speak with autistic adults. Don't demand that we speak back, and please be sensitive to signals that we may not be able to handle conversation at a particular moment. But please also be sensitive to signals that we do want to talk.
And please try to be especially open to conversation with people who have communicative differences or intellectual challenges. There is a tendency, even among some parts of the autistic community, to make the assumption that because communication is laborious for some people, they would really rather just be left alone. My experience is that this is rarely true.
I have also found that people who communicate in different ways or who have the kind of intelligence that does not show up on IQ tests often say things that stun me with their wisdom.
Want to know about autism? Ask someone autistic!
I've had mixed feelings about Alan Zarembo's series on autism for The Los Angeles Times, but I enjoyed the final segment, the one on autistic adults, very much. He makes the case that there probably has not been a dramatic increase in the number of autistic people:
The only study to look for autistic adults in a national population was conducted in Britain and published in 2009. Investigators interviewed 7,461 adults selected as a representative sample of the country and conducted 618 intensive evaluations.
The conclusion: 1% of people living in British households had some form of autism, roughly the same rate that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates for children in America today.
The British study found it didn't matter whether the adults were in their 20s or their 80s. The rate of autism was the same for both groups.
“That would seem to imply the incidence has not changed very much,” said Dr. Terry Brugha, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Leicester who led the study. He added that the findings were not conclusive and more research is needed.
And he asks where these autistic adults are. Some, an estimated 5000, are wrongly diagnosed and in mental hospitals:
Many more are thought to be in prisons, homeless shelters and wherever else social misfits are clustered.
But evidence suggests the vast majority are not segregated from society — they are hiding in plain sight. Most will probably never be identified, but a picture of their lives is starting to emerge from those who have been.
They live in households, sometimes alone, sometimes with the support of their parents, sometimes even with spouses. Many were bullied as children and still struggle to connect with others. Some managed to find jobs that fit their strengths and partners who understand them.
If modern estimates of autism rates apply to past generations, about 2 million U.S. adults have various forms of it — and society has long absorbed the emotional and financial toll, mostly without realizing it.
The assumption that autistic people must always be a burden is troubling, but Zarembo then does what he has failed to do elsewhere in the series: talk to autistic people about autism. And their stories are fascinating and revealing. Mark does okay because of his relationship with Lorraine and his job in the family business. Howard was doing okay until he lost his job at a security company. Jeanne depends on her 83-year-old mother. These people are like autistic people I know. They are like me. I'm grateful to Zarembo for introducing his readers to them.
Alice G. Walton has written an article for Forbes called "Living Life With Autism: Has Anything Really Changed?"
It's about autistic adults.
And her main source is Peter Bell from Autism Speaks, an organization which is famous among adults with autism for its contempt for us. Bell is not a credible person to talk to about us or our problems, and, if Walton could not be bothered to do enough research to figure that out, she really had no business writing about the subject.
Again, her topic is adults with autism.
And she did not talk to a single autistic adult.
I'm not going to bother quoting from what she wrote-- if you thought that what Peter Bell thinks about autistic adults was significant information, you probably wouldn't be here in the first place.
But please contact Forbes and let them know that the next time they write about autistic adults, they really ought to bother talking to one. And that they should not rely on Autism Speaks for information about us.
Zev Glassenberg and Justin Kanew of The Amazing Race: Unfinished Business on The Talk.
Yesterday, adults with autism were featured on The Talk. Zev Glassenberg, who has Asperger's syndrome, appeared with his Amazing Race partner Justin Kanew. Autistic basketball sensation Jason McElwain and his mom discussed his current life and his plans for the future.