POSTS WITH TAG: autism

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    From the minute they find out they're pregnant, women are inundated with a laundry list of warnings about potential hazards and dangers that could befall them or their baby. Among them now more than ever: A trillion red flags related to what we're doing or might accidentally do to cause kids' autism, from taking antidepressants to having kids at "advanced maternal and paternal age." Needless to say, having to juggle and weigh out all the potential culprits can be terribly stressful! Thankfully, a new statement from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) should put our minds at ease about at least one thing!

    In the new issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology, the ACOG notes that there is no connection between inducing labor in childbirth and autism.

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    It was the Disability Day of Mourning to honor and remember disabled people killed by their parents or caregivers. Vigils were held around the country for people to gather for this purpose. I had been to last year’s vigil and decided to go again this year, but this year I was going to bring my kids. At first, the idea of taking my kids, at least one of whom is autistic, to an event where people would be talking about parents killing their autistic children seemed wildly inappropriate.

    But then I thought about Jack and how he is working to figure himself out and learning about self advocacy and the fact that he is excited to hear about autistic adults. I decided that it was, in fact, a really good idea to take him.

    I prepared all three of my kids for what would happen at the vigil and what they could expect.

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    It seems like every month, a new study points to a possible cause of autism. This week, research published in the online issue of Pediatrics out of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health notes that boys with autism were three times more likely to have been exposed to SSRI antidepressants (like Celexa, Lexapro, Paxil, Prozac, Zoloft, etc.) in the womb than typically developing children. The study also found that boys whose mothers took SSRIs during pregnancy were also more likely to have developmental delays.

    To hear these conclusions is initally unnerving to say the least, considering how moms who face depression during pregnancy were already feeling stuck between a rock and a hard place.

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    When it comes to finding the right schools for kids with challenges like autism, often it's not bullying by other kids that we have to worry about; it's bullying by adults who just don't understand how these special conditions affect kids. One mom made that heart-sinking discovery when she enrolled her son with autism in a small, private Catholic school.

    "We couldn't think of a better place for our son," Diane Lang writes in a heartbreaking blog post, "How Do We Determine the Worth of a Child?" Lang believed the school's Christian values and supportive community would provide exactly the environment her son needed, "where kindness and compassion were paramount." Over time, though, it all fell apart.

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    It has been widely believed that Jenny McCarthy is anti-vaccine. Ever since her son, Evan (who is now 11) was diagnosed with autism, McCarthy has spoken out on the disorder. Her words are one of the reasons many parents do not vaccinate their children for fear that giving your children shots causes autism.

    Now McCarthy wants to clear that up and tell the world that she is really pro-vaccine. Her latest thoughts on the topic may actually have a new set of parents believing what she has to say.

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    Disney World and Disneyland are destinations for millions of families every year, but these days, it's become so difficult for some to enjoy the parks that they're skipping them altogether. The reason: Disney has done away with the "guest assistance cards" that parents of children with special needs have relied on for years to be able to make much-anticipated trips to the theme parks. The GAC (or GAP) program had been known for providing accommodations for children and teens with physical, cognitive, developmental, or behavioral challenges.

    But after certain wealthy parents reportedly abused the system by hiring disabled "family members" to come on vacation, so they could get special perks, Disney axed its GAC program. Now, its successor, the Disability Access Service, or DAS, is under fire, as the subject of a lawsuit filed in California last week.

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    Today, we're all completely blue. And for one great reason. April 2 marks the official anniversary of World Autism Awareness Day!

    Numerous stadiums, buildings, hotels, landmarks, and homes are going to Light It Up Blue in celebration of the day, and to kick off Autism Awareness Month.

    So far, over 35 thousand people and buildings from all over the globe have gone blue in honor of the day! But even if you don't have blue lights, or cannot sponsor a building, here are some things you can do all month-long with your family:

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    When it comes to being a mom of a child with autism, one big frustration is dealing with other people. You know who I mean -- people who just. Don't. Get it. Some mean well but are simply ignorant, while others are clearly suffering from Compassion Deficit Disorder. Either way, it's still appalling what comes out of their mouths sometimes. We wish everyone would just think before sharing their two cents. Here's a few of the worst things moms of kids with autism have ever heard.

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    Most moms worry about the effect advertising has on their kids. But Katie Driscoll's chief worry wasn't that commercials were trying to convince her 4-year-old daughter to buy stuff she doesn't need. It's that Grace, who has Down syndrome, would never see people like her in advertising.

    But thanks to Katie and her friend Steve English, the father of another child with a disability, that's changing. The two are the founders of Changing the Face of Beauty, a campaign to get more children with disabilities into advertising campaigns. By taking photos of kids with disabilities and sending them to companies, they are slowly but surely changing the face of advertising. The Stir spoke with Katie about her daughter, her beautiful photography, and of course how she is changing the face of beauty.

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    The latest statistics show that one in 68 children in America has autism. But as the world shifts into gear for Autism Awareness Month -- or as some call it, Autism Acceptance Month -- we can't help but be reminded that despite the growing number of children being diagnosed with the spectrum disorder, the way these kids are treated is changing too.

    Parents may not know what "causes" autism, but more parents than ever have become vocal advocates for their children. And so it seems fitting that as we don blue clothing and plaster everything in sight with puzzle pieces, we also look at some quotes that celebrate the children and adults with what Autism Speaks terms the "fastest-growing serious developmental disability in the U.S." as well as the parents who are at their side every step of the way.

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