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ADHD: Life Under Siege?

Like autism, ADHD has become a common diagnosis among youth.  There are currently 5 million children in America living with the disorder, and the “symptoms” can be exacerbated due to lack of treatment (i.e. medication, dietary restrictions, behavioral therapy, etc.).

And like autism, ADHD also affects boys more often then girls.

What is ADHD?

Almost all children have behavior issues from time to time. But, for children with ADHD, behavior problems are persistent and occur over a long period of time. For a child with ADHD, their symptoms can create challenges all day, every day. (more…)

“The Freaks Come Out at Night!”

The title of this blog, which was also a groovy tune back in my heyday, rings loudly in my head whenever I read something about autism so incredulous that it makes the blood in my veins practically freeze.

{Note to self… really need to get crack-a-lackin’ on that meditation practice before said self kills over from those things that are not supposed to get to me.  Self?  Are you listening?  Breathe in… breathe out!}

The other day, one of my internet autism buddies told me about another blogger’s post that, for the first time since its debut, had brought up the subject of “autism”. (more…)

“Aspergers in Grey’s Anatomy: Rainman Returns”

Fellow blogger, Kari, wrote a post at Silicon Valley Moms Blog about the hit ABC show, Grey’s Anatomy and their extremely insulting portrayal of Aspergers Syndrome.

Kari very eloquently expressed her feelings about this new, and, thankfully, temporary character. Something I am unable to do at this moment in time.  The reason I am unable to eloquently express my feelings is because I am so incredibly ticked off right now, I can’t even think straight.

Here’s an excerpt from her post.

I had high hopes for Mary McDonnell’s three-episode-arc character Dr. Virginia Dixon on Grey’s Anatomy. I thought, “It will be great to see someone a little quirky take on the already strange social scene at Seattle Grace.” Unfortunately, when the episode aired, I was disappointed. Instead of a brilliant cardiac surgeon who happens to have Aspergers, Dr. Dixon is a very impaired Rainman-like stereotype of autism.

While the words I write about autism are read by a couple hundred people, and the words other parents may write about similar topics might be read by a few thousand people, Grey’s Anatomy has viewers in the millions.

Should you decide to venture online to witness ABC’s disparaging view of autism, bear in mind one thing…

Dr. Dixon is not autism, and autism is not Dr. Dixon!

Dr. Virginia Dixon reinforces the stereotype of autism that so many of us are trying to get away from.  We want the public perception of autistic spectrum disorders to become more realistic.

I couldn’t agree with you more, Kari!

Down Under’s Autism Misdiagnosis Dilemma.

Something’s amiss down under.

One news report spoke of over-diagnosis, now another speaks of misdiagnosis.

What is going on?

According to ABC Local Radio,

Experts say diagnosis of the condition in Australia is patchy, because doctors here don’t apply the internationally accepted diagnostic criteria. Some patients are diagnosed as autistic when they don’t have the disorder, others with all the symptoms are turned away.

Patchy is an understatement (no pun intended).

What is to become of those children who are living with autism and were turned away?

What is to become of those children who are not living with autism and are receiving the benefits?

What an awful mess!

Politicians are blaming the doctors, and I’m sure the doctors are feigning ignorance.

It is shameful to think that there could actually be doctors out there who are merely diagnosing children simply because there may be more money in it for them.

Why aren’t Australia’s pediatricians following the internationally accepted classification system?

Brisbane paediatrician Dr Neil Wigg describes the process of diagnosing a child.

If I am suspicious that a child might have autism spectrum disorder, I work with clinical psychologists, speech pathologists, occupational therapists, a range of other people and when we then sit down and we do some quite specific assessments of children in order to be quite confident in the diagnosis.

Now that’s a lengthy and expensive process and that process is not available to all paediatricians and it’s certainly not available to all children in Queensland.

The new Autism Spectrum Disorder Initiative, a $190M package, will prevent access to early intervention treatments and services unless children have been properly diagnosed.

Hopefully, this initiative will make the diagnosis process more accessible and affordable to all pediatricians since money seems to be the obvious issue here.

Oklahoma… Is it Failing its Children with Autism?

My son is one of the fortunate ones.

The Oklahoma Health Authority (aka SoonerCare) covers his twice weekly speech and occupational therapy sessions.  Who knows, they may even cover a third speech session.  We’ll see because it doesn’t hurt to ask.

Like I said, he’s one of the fortunate ones. But things aren’t going so well for other Oklahoman children who are also on the spectrum.

The Developmental Disabilities Division of our state’s Department of Human Services is about to let a pilot program expire “sooner than expected” due to the lack of behavioral specialists.

What does this mean exactly?

The program had offered a budget of $12,360 to spend on services.  As for the 30 families who were selected to participate?  They will be left, once again, to fend for themselves.

Michael McNutt of The Oklahoman reports,

Oklahoma lacks enough therapists and behavioral specialists to take care of the state’s autistic children, according to the preliminary findings of a pilot program.

“What we discovered was there are so few providers of those services to these families that the spending on the behavior therapies was pretty small,” said Jim Nicholson, director of the developmental disabilities division of the state Department of Human Services. “There’s a lack of service providers that had that kind of specialty training.

It’s sad to think that there doesn’t seem to be enough incentive (please read as “Ka-ching!” or “mucho dinero” or “dolla’, dolla’ bills, y’all”, or “cheddar”) to get the “skilled” practitioners to care for our children.

I guess for some folks, time is money, and they apparently don’t want to “spend” any more of it on our kids.

Someone needs to explain this to parents like Deborah Decker who stated,

“It just opened up a lot of avenues that we wouldn’t have had otherwise because it’s just so expensive,” said Decker, who developed a plan for her 6-year-old autistic son. “It was nice just to have that money to really do some intensive treatment with him.”

Someone needs to explain this to her son and others like him who were relying on this program to do more than it did.

Someone needs to explain this to the children who will continue to “fall behind” due to the lack of state-provided services.

Someone needs to explains this…

Explaining abuse to an autistic child.

The circus is in town this weekend, and my husband really wanted to take our son.

While fetchin’ dinner, he told me he saw a group of circus protestors, hanging out across the street of the BOK Center.

He told me they were holding signs that spoke of animal abuse…

If I hadn’t have transitioned to a holistic lifestyle, I wouldn’t be sitting in front of my PC right now, blogging about animal abuse and circuses.

But I did.

And here I am.

Fired up.

How do I explain this to my son?

He doesn’t always grasp the other things I try to explain to him.  But abuse, in all its forms, is something I am ill-prepared for.

How do I look into those amazingly big, brown eyes, and tell him that I’ll never take him to the circus?

That it will be a cold day in hotsville before I pay to see abused animals perform for my or his delight?

That the elephant isn’t trumpeting because she’s happy… she’s trumpeting because she’s been wounded by a bullhook meant to make her “heel” and she’s in pain?

That the lion isn’t wet from water… he’s drenched in sweat from being left in an unventilated boxcar?

That these aren’t ‘zoo’ animals who are loved… they’re animals, illegally captured in the wild, who have been abused from the moment they were stripped of their freedom?

It’s hard enough explaining abuse to a neuro-typical child… it’s even harder when your child is autistic, and cognition isn’t currently one of my son’s strengths.

So, tell me.

PLEASE.

How do I explain this to him?

(this video contains graphic content.  It is not meant for the weak.)

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