Autism and Vaccines: A Matter of Trust

There is a lot of heated debate going on right now between, what some are calling the Vaxxers and the Anti-Vaxxers. These two opposing groups both have very valid reasons behind their argument. The basic picture is simple: Despite over-whelming scientific consensus that the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccines do not cause autism (Shwed and Bearman 2010), many people believe otherwise. Many “Vaxxers” have expressed the opinion that “Anti-Vaxxers” are deluded and irresponsible in their decision to not vaccinate their children. I, on the other hand, am in a very precarious position. My husband is a true Anti-Vaxxer whereas I believe that there is Oh, So Much More To The Story than vaccines that simply leads to the symptoms of Autism, but I can understand both sides.

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The whole thing with this debate has a enormous amount to do with how much the public can trust Big Brother. (Oh yes, she did say that!) Now, Big Brother is really just the modern day ‘Boogie Man’ but there are valid reasons why it is so difficult for many to just take the word of any organization under government endorsement. The CDC has been under question for years, the FDA has consistently been under scrutiny over poor decisions that have put our health in jeopardy, and so has science in general. Now remember, I’m not one to try to persuade anybody to one belief or the other, I’m just here to explain why some parents have made a conscious decision to not vaccinate. If we address the “why” instead of persecuting the parent, than we can perhaps make a change with the way things are being done. Because when it comes down to it, we all just want what is right for the wellbeing of our children.

Reading Emotions: Dissatisfaction

When asked to think about a particular fashion brand, Karen doesn’t try to hide how dissatisfied she would be if she owned it. It is immediately expressed, as she pulls down the corners of her mouth and presses her lips together.

This is a good example of someone displaying their feelings for all to see. But while her mouth is telling us she is dissatisfied, she is also telling herself. She would make this expression in private, as well. Try thinking of something you don’t like and see what happens to your mouth.

Employment: Embracing Disability Hiring

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CHICAGO — Seyfarth Shaw, one of the city’s largest law firms, occupies nine floors of a skyscraper at 131 S. Dearborn St. Shalonda Sanders is responsible for picking up and delivering packages on each of them, plus keeping certain areas clean. It is a job she cherishes.

“I love my co-workers, all of them,” Sanders, 35, said of the 15-member office services team of which she is a part. “Downstairs,” she said, referring to the mail center, “I consider us as one.”

Sanders, who suffered brain damage when she was struck by a car as a child, was hired at Seyfarth about a year ago with the help of Best Buddies Illinois, after many years of trying unsuccessfully to gain paid employment.

The local chapter of the national nonprofit, best known for fostering one-on-one friendships between people with disabilities and a network of volunteers, had recently launched a jobs program to place people with intellectual and developmental disabilities into competitive jobs.

Shalonda Sanders, 35, works in the mailroom delivering letters, documents and FedEx packages to law office employees at Seyfarth Shaw in Chicago. Sanders, who was hit by a car at age 9 and left with brain trauma that slurs her speech and causes some tremors, was placed in the job through Best Buddies. (Antonio Perez/Chicago Tribune/TNS)

Shalonda Sanders, 35, works in the mailroom delivering letters, documents and FedEx packages to law office employees at Seyfarth Shaw in Chicago. Sanders, who was hit by a car at age 9 and left with brain trauma that slurs her speech and causes some tremors, was placed in the job through Best Buddies. (Antonio Perez/Chicago Tribune/TNS)

The program, one of many attempting to tackle the massive unemployment rate among those with intellectual disabilities, is part of a movement away from what are known as sheltered programs that keep workers with disabilities apart from the mainstream workforce and often pay less than minimum wage. Its challenge is to show companies that tapping into this underused talent pool isn’t just a good thing to do, but good for the bottom line.

Recovery After a Meltdown

Recovery may involve time to do nothing at all. For some students the recovery phase involves a process that takes him or her from a semi-agitated state to a fully calm state. Consider the following steps:

  1. Allow the student to engage in the highly preferred/calming activity without setting the timer until he/she appears to have recovered as fully as possible.
  2. Once he/she is calm, then set the timer for 5-6 minutes. If he/she remains calm and is able to transition to the next activity, then do so and watch for early signs of repeated escalation.
  3. If he/she requests more time [by giving the timer to the adult], then honor the request and set the timer for 3 or 4 more minutes. Continue until he/she no longer requests more time or staff feel she is ready for a positive transition to the next activity.

Once the person is fully recovered, then it might be possible to debrief and make a plan to prevent future escalation. Pictures and words can help to paint a clear picture and develop a workable plan.

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By Lisa Rogers

Top 3 Things I Won’t Tell My Kids

I will never forget the day that I picked up my very perceptive 3-year old daughter from preschool and she said a combination of words that stopped me dead in my tracks.

“Mommy, why am I different than the other kids?”

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I looked back in the rear view mirror and saw tears streaming down her little face. I had to pull over in that moment. I momentarily felt verbally paralyzed and wanted to cry myself. I asked her to clarify to make sure we were talking about the same thing before I responded.

Reading Emotions: Displeasure

Heather is not pleased with the TV ad she’s watching and we can tell this by the combination of two subtle signs. First, there is a slight lowering of her brow. We tend to associate this with being puzzled, but it’s also a general negative sign. When the brow is lowered the eyes become more narrow. When we narrow our eyes we are going into a defensive mode. The opposite of this would be when we are relaxed and the eyes open wide to the world around us.

Ask Maggie: How Do I Find a Job?

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Q: How do I find a job?

To be honest, starting a job is not always as easy as it sounds. When my clients with HFA/Asperger’s are trying to start a job it is very important that we go about it the right way, which may take longer, but ensures stability in the workplace. In older posts I have discussed work assessments, and I still believe they are a wonderful tool for learning what environments you will do best in. I highly recommend using work assessments. The same outcome could be achieved through volunteering as well.

If work assessments can’t be completed, then here is what I suggest:

Autism Intervention: Parent Mediated Approaches

There is a new trend in Autism intervention called: Parent Mediated Approaches. Carrie Alvarado (Occupational Therapist with the Autism Community Network) shares with the Aspergers101 audience, how this practice may benefit siblings, parent-child connections and possibly  decrease levels of parental stress or depression.

We divided this up into 3 Vlogs:

1) What are Parent Mediated Approaches?

2) Reasoning Behind the Surge of Parent Mediated Approaches 

3) The Research Supporting Parent Mediated Approaches and it’s benefits to the Children.

The Autism Community Network is located in San Antonio, Texas USA with an emphasis on collaboration with autism service providers, early diagnosis, and providing services to underserved young children and their families.

This Medical Vlog series is graciously underwritten by: 

 

During a Meltdown

For the last couple of weeks we have addressed the complex topic of meltdowns. While the main message is to have a plan to PREVENT a meltdown, we must also be prepared if a meltdown does occur.

Portrait of unhappy screaming teen girl

I will start by outlining what NOT to do. I think this is best said coming from someone that has lived through a meltdown with neurological implications.  The following is an excerpt from a message from Mr. John Scott.