autism

  One of the biggest fears of parents with children with autism is looming adulthood and all that it entails.

In her new book, Autism Adulthood: Strategies and Insights for a Fulfilling Life, Susan Senator takes the mystery out of adult life on the autism spectrum and conveys the positive message that even though autism adulthood is complicated and challenging, there are many ways to make it manageable and enjoyable.

  It has long been assumed that people living with autism are born with the diminished ability to read the emotions of others, even as they feel emotion deeply. But what if we’ve been wrong all this time? What if that “missing” emotional insight was there all along, locked away and inaccessible in the mind?

In 2007 John Elder Robison wrote the international bestseller Look Me in the Eye, a memoir about growing up with Asperger’s syndrome. Amid the blaze of publicity that followed, he received a unique invitation: Would John like to take part in a study led by one of the world’s foremost neuroscientists, who would use an experimental new brain therapy known as TMS, or transcranial magnetic stimulation, in an effort to understand and then address the issues at the heart of autism? Switched On is the story of what happened next.

  Over the course of her career, psychologist Joanne Ruthsatz has quietly assembled the largest-ever research sample of child prodigies. Their accomplishments are epic. One could reproduce radio tunes by ear on a toy guitar at two years old. Another was a thirteen-year-old cooking sensation. And what Ruthsatz’s investigation revealed is noth­ing short of astonishing.

Though the prodigies aren’t autistic, many have autistic family members. Each prodigy has an extraordinary memory and a keen eye for detail—well-known but often-overlooked strengths associated with autism.

Each prodigy has an extraordinary memory and a keen eye for detail—well-known but often-overlooked strengths associated with autism. Ruthsatz and her daughter and coauthor, Kim­berly Stephens, now propose a startling possibility: What if the abilities of child prodigies stem from a genetic link with autism?

Their book is The Prodigy's Cousin: The Family Link Between Autism and Extraordinary Talent.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in 68 children in the U.S. is born with autism. It’s recognized as one of the fastest-growing developmental disabilities in the country.

  Nearly seventy-five years ago, Donald Triplett of Forest, Mississippi, became the first child diagnosed with autism. Beginning with his family’s odyssey, In a Different Key tells the extraordinary story of this often misunderstood condition, and of the civil rights battles waged by the families of those who have it. Unfolding over decades, it is a beautifully rendered history of ordinary people determined to secure a place in the world for those with autism—by liberating children from dank institutions, campaigning for their right to go to school, challenging expert opinion on what it means to have autism, and persuading society to accept those who are different.  

We speak with John Donvan and Caren Zucker.

  Decades ago, few pediatricians had heard of autism. In 1975, 1 in 5,000 kids were estimated to have it. Today, 1 in 68 are on the autism spectrum. What caused this steep rise?

In his new book, Neurotribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity, journalist Steve Silberman answers this question by peeling back the layers of medical history that radically altered the scope of autism diagnosis in the last century, and revealing the perfect storm of social forces that led to the sudden increase in diagnoses beginning in the late 1980s.

This summer, Steve’s TED Talk on The Forgotten History of Autism went live online and in less than 24 hours, it garnered over 400,000 views.

Lucas Willard / WAMC

 

Note: The audio and text of this story has been updated 5/8/14

When Saratoga County Sheriff Michael Zurlo came into office in January of last year, he said he had never heard of “Project Lifesaver.”

Autism Awareness Begins At Home

Apr 2, 2015

Every summer my family takes a road trip to New York City for just a few hours. This trip is to bring my younger brother, Ben, down to a bus stop where he, and about one hundred other kids, pack in together and then drive to a camp in Utica. There, he’ll spend seven weeks working, camping, learning and living with other adolescents and kids, who have been diagnosed with different levels of autism.

Sites Go Blue For Autism Awareness

Apr 2, 2015
Courtesy of Greystone Programs

April is Autism Awareness Month and Thursday is World Autism Awareness Day. A bridge in the Hudson Valley will be among many sites lit up in blue.

Landmarks across the world – from the Sydney Opera House in Australia to the Empire State Building to the Great Buddha Statue in Japan -- are lighting blue to shine a light on autism. Michelle Hathaway is with Poughkeepsie-based Greystone Programs.

“And right here in the Hudson Valley, at Greystone Programs’ request, the Mid-Hudson Bridge will be lit up blue tonight.”

  Founded in 1954, Berkshire County Arc provides a broad range of community-based services to 650 individuals with developmental disabilities, brain injuries and autism throughout Berkshire and Hampden Counties in Massachusetts. The agency offers three day programs, 35 residential programs, employment services, citizen- and self-advocacy programs, respite services, an adult family care program and Zip 'N Sort Mail Services.

On Saturday, March 28, the Berkshire County Arc Down Syndrome Family Group will host the 2015 Berkshire County Sprout Film Festival at Berkshire Community College in Pittsfield, Mass. The Festival begins at noon and will feature short films about individuals with various disabilities, their lives and personal achievements.

Here to tell us more are Jessica Dennis, Adult Family Care Case Manager at Berkshire County Arc and Amy Robandt, Director of Family Services at Berkshire County Arc.

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