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Autism in the News – 01.03.12

January 3, 2012 Leave a comment

Missing Autistic Texas Woman Found (Missouri City, Texas)
Houston-area woman with a form of autism who evidently wandered away from her group home has been found unharmed. Read more.

Quebec is failing families with autistic children (Canada)
A year ago, when my 2-year-old son started showing symptoms of autism, I innocently believed he would be taken care of by our health system. A year later, he is still without a diagnosis in the public system. We are on long waiting lists like hundreds of other families. Read more.

Autistic boy to Ron Paul: How will you protect me? (Sioux City, Iowa)
During a Friday Ron Paul town hall meeting, a red-headed boy identifying himself as autistic and “almost” 10 asked the Texas congressman what he would do to protect kids with autism as president. Read more.

Helping those with autism: One family’s mission (Amarillo, Texas)
An Amarillo family raising two autistic twin boys is hoping to shine the spotlight on the often hidden condition affecting children across the nation and right here in the Panhandle. Read more.

Work woes for Dorset Asperger’s patient (UK)
For graduate Martin Hedley who has Asperger’s syndrome being unemployed for the past 10 years is a situation he cannot understand. Read more.

Autism Speaks’ daily blog “Autism in the News” is a mix of top news stories of the day. Autism Speaks does not vet the stories and the views contained therein do not necessarily reflect Autism Speaks beliefs or point of view.

Categories: Autism in the News Tags: ,

Autism in the News – 12.26.11

December 26, 2011 1 comment

Navigating Love and Autism (The New York Times)
The first night they slept entwined on his futon, Jack Robison, 19, who had since childhood thought of himself as “not like the other humans,” regarded Kirsten Lindsmith with undisguised tenderness. Read more.

Philadelphia Practice Flight Helps Autistic Kids Fly (NPR)
Air travel horror stories typically involve lost luggage, missed connections and overzealous security staff. But families affected by autism face other challenges in navigating airports and planes. Read more.

Fundraising with autism support (Australia)
With his star rising in the music world, Doug Edwards was forced to make a decision: trade in his guitar to better support his autistic daughter, or hang onto it. Read more.

Autistic third-grader put into a duffel bag by school officials, mom says (The New York Daily News)
The Kentucky mother of an autistic third-grader said she found him outside his classroom stuffed in a duffel bag with the drawstring pulled tight — because he misbehaved. Read more.

Autism hope (Canada)
My son, who was diagnosed with autism nine months ago, is being medically treated for an immune-mediated encephalopathy, instead of autism. His recovery, from what is supposed to be a permanent disorder, is nothing short of remarkable. Read more.

Autism Speaks’ daily blog “Autism in the News” is a mix of top news stories of the day. Autism Speaks does not vet the stories and the views contained therein do not necessarily reflect Autism Speaks beliefs or point of view.

Categories: Autism in the News

Autism in the News – 12.06.11

December 6, 2011 Leave a comment

MyAutismTeam Launches First Social Network Dedicated to Parents of Children with Autism (San Francisco, Calif.)
MyHealthTeams today announced the launch of MyAutismTeam, its flagship social network for parents of children on the autism spectrum. MyAutismTeam is the first social network specifically for parents of children with autism, making it easy to connect with others who have had similar experiences. Read more.

Autistic Teens With Epilepsy May Have Abnormal Photosensitivity (Baltimore, Md.)
Nearly one-third of older teens with autism spectrum disorders and comorbid epilepsy also had a brain wave pattern associated with seizure-related light sensitivity. Read more.

New autism school brings pupils ‘home’ (UK)
Youngsters with autism were given fresh hope with the launch of a groundbreaking £1million school on their doorsteps. Read more.

Artist’s mind bubbling over Games (The Morning Bulletin)
Presenting any VIP with your artworks is an exciting moment in any artist’s life, but for Rockhampton’s Robbie Stephenson, the opportunity was even better. Read more.

Scene Last Night: Adam Sandler Menorah, Jim Simons, Seth Meyers (Bloomberg)
“A Funny Affair for Autism” last night featured a live auction of two menorahs and three Christmas trees. Read more.

Categories: Autism in the News Tags: ,

Family Services Office Hours – 11.10.11

November 10, 2011 1 comment

Office Hours easily connects families to a wide variety of autism-related resources, including Family Services Tool Kits, and the Autism Speaks Resource Guide, an online national database of autism providers and resources searchable by state and zip code.

Family Services Office Hours is designed to quickly provide access to resources that are available and free to the entire autism community.

The Office Hours sessions are staffed by ART coordinators who are specially trained to connect families affected by autism to resources.

2:54
Hey Everyone! We will be on in a few minutes!
2:58
Ok! We are here and happy to start taking questions!
3:00
Comment From Melissa

How much information is available on the possibility of autism being genetic? From parent child?

3:02
Hi Melissa! Alycia Halladay, Ph.D., hosted a LIVE chat dealing with genetics! Here is the transcript!http://blog.autismspeaks.org/2011/08/16/increased-risk-live-chat/
3:02
She was also interviewed on CNN about autism and siblings, which you can see here:http://blog.autismspeaks.org/2011/08/18/siblings-news-coverage/
3:03
In addition, our Chief Science Officer Geri Dawson did a LIVE Chat about the Genetics of Autism. She is great! Here is that transcript: http://blog.autismspeaks.org/2011/10/27/transcript-dawson-schere/
3:04
Our science team regularly posts blogs explaining new research findings about autism. Stay connected by checking up with us atblog.autismspeaks.org!
3:04
Comment From Shannon

Is PDD-NOS actually a form of autism?

3:04
Hi Shannon! The answer is yes! Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS) is one of the autism spectrum disorders and is used to describe individuals who do not fully meet the criteria for autistic disorder or Asperger syndrome.
3:04
You can learn more about it here!http://www.autismspeaks.org/what-autism/pdd-nos
3:05
Comment From Kathy

Hi! I am the mom of a 10 yr old High functioning son and I am having trouble finding any help since he seems so “normal”. He gets no help in school and limited help through his dr’s. Is there help out there for High functioning Aspy’s?

3:05
Hi Kathy! We have a great Asperger Syndrome/High-Functioning Autism Tool Kit. It is mostly for newly diagnosed families but contains lots of tips and information for all families of children with AS/HFA. http://www.autismspeaks.org/family-services/tool-kits/asperger-syndrome-and-high-functioning-autism-tool-kit
3:05
We also have plenty of resources on our website related to helping people with Asperger Syndrome. Here are a few great links:
3:06
Our Resource Library contains tons of great books, magazines, online software, toys, game, apps and much more!www.autismspeaks.org/family-services/resource-library
3:06
Comment From Haley

Hi! I was just wondering where I could get information or if there was someone I could talk to about careers in autism? I am in college right now and I would like to talk to someone who could help me make sure I’m on the right path….

3:07
Hi Haley! That is so great you are interested in a career in autism. If you are looking to provide direct services, I suggest you search our very extensive online Resource Guide. You can click on your state and find service providers in your area in lots of different fields (schools, therapists, after school programs, recreation activities, etc.) Those providers will most likely have lots of information to help point you in the right direction!www.autismspeaks.org/resource-guide
3:08
Comment From Brenda

I have been reading a PDD and ADHD and how some ADHD medicines, actually help with the PDD. Is there any information you can share on this?

3:08
Many families of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are faced with the option of using medicines to help treat their child’s challenging behaviors. This is a tough medical decision and there is no one right answer.
3:09
Comment From Shannon

I have read the forum in autism speaks and it is great. I just wanted to make sure that when I say my son has autism that I am not exaggerating. It sure feels like it!!

3:09
Shannon, we also have a great Learn the Signs campaign and an Autism Video Glossary that contains lots of videos that show symptoms of autism, compared to neurotypical children. They have been really helpful to so many people.
3:11
Comment From Jane

My son’s father and I are divorced and his father would like me to have him and his nt brother for extended time (for respite) however I don’t have the home which can accommodate his needs. He’s registered with DDD but they are unable to help. Are there any other resources for me to look into?

3:13
Hi Jane – that sounds like a very tough situation you are in. Your ex-husband needs to stick with the rules of the court. You can search our Resource Guide by your state to find a lawyer in your area as well as respite care options.http://www.autismspeaks.org/resource-guide
3:13
Hi Shelly. You are not alone! We hear from lots and lots of families who have grandparents who do not understand the diagnosis or are unwilling to accept it. Everyone responds to the diagnosis differently and many people need time.We would suggest gradually introducing your parents to the idea, and emphasizing how important it is to you that they understand and are able to help you. I’m sure they love their grandchildren so much so will understand that the way they are treating him isn’t working to his benefit.
3:13
Comment From Shelly

I have a three year old with PDD-NOS. I am having a hard time trying to educate my parents (his grandparents) on the subject. They are still in denial and I have even given them the tool kit for grandparents. They refuse to even look at it. They do not even want to make changes in the way they act arond my son (which makes him digress after every one of their visits.) What more can I do?

3:13
Hi Shelly. You are not alone! We hear from lots and lots of families who have grandparents who do not understand the diagnosis or are unwilling to accept it. Everyone responds to the diagnosis differently and many people need time. We would suggest gradually introducing your parents to the idea, and emphasizing how important it is to you that they understand and are able to help you. I’m sure they love their grandchildren so much so will understand that the way they are treating him isn’t working to his benefit.
3:14
Perhaps you want to speak to one of your parents who may be more willing to listen. It is important to stress that a family’s understanding and willingness to help their loved one with autism is crucial to the child’s progression and happiness.
3:15
Comment From elizabeth

I have a non verbal 2 1/2 year old that was just diagnosed with severe autism. where can i get PECS cards that are not going to banrupt me?

3:15
Hi Elizabeth! Have you tried our 100 Day Kit? It is a guide specifically created for families of children recently diagnosed with autism. You can read it here: www.autismspeaks.org/family-services/tool-kits/100-day-kit
3:16
I suggest you call our Autism Response Team at 888-AUTISM2. They can take your information and place your order. It is FREE!
3:17
I also suggest you search our Resource Library for tools like PECS cards. One of our categories is for visual tools that have been helpful to families in our community:http://www.autismspeaks.org/family-services/resource-library/visual-tools
3:18
Comment From Sarah

My “step son” (he is legally my son but not biologically) is Autistic. How likely is it my husband and I will have a child who is Autistic? I know that it affects about 1 in 110 children, 1 in 70 boys, but is it more likely since my husband already had one.

3:19
Hi Sarah! We have a few chat transcripts that you may find helpful. Here is the ‘Genetics of Autism: What It Means for You’ hosted by Geri Dawson, PhD, and Steve Scherer, PhDhttp://blog.autismspeaks.org/2011/10/27/transcript-dawson-schere/
3:20
Recently the High Risk Baby Siblings Research Consortium made the news with the findings that autism recurs in families much more frequently than had been realized. Here is more information! http://blog.autismspeaks.org/2011/08/30/the-babysibs-consortium-important-findings-ahead/
3:20
Comment From Maria

Do you know what therapies can help with behavior problems?

3:20
Hi Maria. We have a list of treatment options on our website in the What is Autism page. These are all treatments with documented science research behind them. In the left column of the page you will see a long list. You can click each of them to learn more about what that treatment involves.http://www.autismspeaks.org/what-autism/treatment. Our Resource Guide lists lots of therapists who specialize in these treatments www.autismspeaks.org/resource-guide. It is important to remember that because every individual with autism is different, not everyone responds well to the same treatments. Be sure to research before you decide what you feel is best for your child. There are lots of helpful tools out there!
3:20
Comment From Sarah

Elizabeth, with our son we found a lot of websites that had picture and stuff. We put them around the house and our son picked up on some of the things and now even says some of those words.

3:21
Thanks so much for adding your insights! We love seeing the community help each other out!
3:21
Comment From Rebecca

My son is 3 and is somewhat verbal. He will ask for things at home but at school he doesn’t ask for things unless he sees the object/thing he wants. It is because of this and his lack of spontaneous language(at school) that they are suggesting we use PECS. We had stated at his IEP that we didn’t want him using this. Our concern is that he would become dependent on this. What is your opinion of PECS? Is it beneficial?

3:22
Hi Rebecca! It is important that your IEP team listens to your needs and what you feel is best for your son. We have recently released an IEP Guide that will help you ensure your son’s needs are being met. You know what is best for him, so it is important that you make sure the school and the IEP team are hearing you loud and clear!
3:23
Here is a book about PECS that was submitted to our Resource Library by a family who found it helpful:http://woodbinehouse.com/main.asp_Q_product_id_E_978-1-60613-015-5_A_.asp
3:24
Comment From elizabeth

thanks! I did order the booklet yesterday. thanks for the links and also your input, Sarah

3:24
Comment From Sarah

Rebecca, I am not an expert by any means but I do have an autistic son as well. Stick with your gut feelings. Make sure the IEP is following what you want! The schools sometimes try to do what THEY want and what’s easiest for them and they can’t! If you end up wanting to use the PECS later, you can then add it to his IEP. You know your child best!

3:29
Comment From Rebecca

Our wishes and concerns have not been heard . At the first IEP the school district told us that all they wee willing to ouffer our son was a place in their Autism preschool program. Eventhough the “school” where he had been presented a report saying that their team thought that it would be in his best interest to continue with his home therapy program. Where can we find Educational Advocates in our area that would help us free of charge. We are in Modesto, California.

3:29
Hi Rebecca. It is important to make sure your concerns are being heard. You are entitled to have your voice heard in all matters related to the IEP. Our Resource Guide contains a list of advocates from across the country. You can search the resource guide at www.autismspeaks.org/resource-guide
3:30
We don’t list them by fee but hopefully they will be able to help you. In addition, you might also want tos earch our Local Autism Organizations category. Those organizations may be better able to point you in the right direction in terms of an educational advocate.
3:31
Comment From Sarah

google advocates in your area. I know here in GA there are not any in our city, but nearby towns.

3:31
Comment From Rebecca

Thank you Sarah

3:38
Comment From Guest

My son’s teacher communicates via email with us (parents). That’s fine, however, the emails are sent to the stepmother at her work’s email address rather than to my son’s father. I’m concerned for my son’s privacy. The school’s position is that they send emails to whatever address is provided. Are there any laws which can protect information regarding my son in this particular situation? SPAN was unable to find any

3:39
Hi Guest, have you tried changing the contact email that your school has listed?
3:40
That seems strange that the only one they send to is your son’s stepmother’s work email. You should make sure to have your email listed on there too, as all parents need to be involved in these decisions.
3:47
Comment From Guest

I don’t know how to explain to kids at the park that my son has autism and i live in NYC do you have any suggestions.

3:48
Hi Guest. Disclosing your child’s autism diagnosis to other people can be tough sometimes. We have a great list of stories on our website for peers that help them to understand more about their friends or playmates who have autism.http://www.autismspeaks.org/family-services/resource-library/books#peers
3:49
Perhaps you could show them these fun picture books, or get ideas from the books on how to best share the diagnosis. All of these books have been submitted by families who have found them to be extremely helpful with peers.
3:52
Comment From Sarah

I have also had troubles explaing to other children why my son isnt “normal”. They don’t understand why he doesn’t want to play with them or why he doesn’t talk back. I always say “God made Cody different (like he does everyone) and Cody just doesn’t always like to play or talk to others. It doesn’t mean he doesnt like or love you, it just means he likes to have his own space. He sometimes prefers to play alone instead….

3:53
Thank you Sarah for your helpful responses. We love seeing families in our community helping each other out. Sometimes listening to people who have had similar experiences as your own is extremely helpful and comforting.
3:54
Our Facebook page is a great way to get conversations started with other families in our community.www.facebook.com/autismspeaks
3:56
Comment From Sarah

You’re welcome. Hopeful I can help other parents. I have had wonderful friends with simiar experiences that have helped me!

3:57
Well we’d like to thank everyone for stopping by today! Remember we are here every Wednesday at 3pm EDT and you can reach us at 888-AUTISM 2 (288-4762) or email us atfamilyservices@autismspeaks.org.

Autism in the News – 09.29.11

September 29, 2011 Leave a comment

Congress extends autism research programs (Bloomberg Business Week)
Congress is sending President Barack Obama a bill to keep the government’s autism research program going. Though the legislation had broad support, it almost didn’t make it out of the Senate. Read more.

Paul Scholes reveals son’s autism battle (UK)
Former England and Manchester United player Paul Scholes has revealed that his youngest son is autistic. In an serialisation of his autobiography Scholes: My Story, the retired midfielder speaks about his experience of having a son who suffers from the developmental disorder. Read more.

Musical Savant, Derek Paravacini, Stuns Audiences (ABC News)
When Derek Paravacini, 32, played his concerto in London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall Wednesday night, he knew the piece by heart — and all the parts for each instrument in the orchestra, about 45 in all. Read more.

Autistic local artist aims to show work at NYC exhibit (New York, N.Y.)
A local artist is trying to get to New York City to show his work, but he needs some help. Anthony Rivera, 40, has autism and is a talented artist who would like to participate in “ARS SPECTRA: The Autistic/Artistic Mind” later this year at the Soho Digital Art Gallery in New York City. The event, featuring numerous artists with autism, will begin Oct. 27 and last for three weeks. Read more.

Gap to Host Fundraiser This Weekend (Bridge Water Patch)
Gap stores in the area are coming together this weekend for “Help Close the Gap on Autism” in an effort to collect donations to help the worthy cause, according to a release from the store. Read more.


Categories: Autism in the News Tags: ,

LIVE Facebook Chat with Kerry Magro Transcript

August 11, 2011 6 comments
2:52
Hi, I’m Kerry! I am really excited to be here with you today. I am excited to talk to you guys about my experience on the autism spectrum. Please feel free to ask me any questions you would like!
2:53
Comment From Michele

My Granddaughter is six years old, reads at 6th grade reading level, loves music and Pokemon and my question is she is in public school he has part time with special education and part time with her class. She has extreme fits of temper and I worry that she will not outgrow this? What do you remember from being so young and how did your family help and support you?

2:53
Hi Michele!
2:53
Comment From Michele

hi

2:54
From my experience, I had a difficult time transitioning from Public School to Private School. I remember the hardest thing for me was just adapting to change. So what my family did for me was try to focus on a similar routine no matter where I went, in regards to hobbies and activities to keep me focused.
2:54
Comment From Jennifer

My soon – to -be 3 year old was just diagnosed. At this age, she still is not talking. She will babbly out words here and there…but no sentences. Were you this way when you were small?

2:54
Hi there Jennifer
2:55
I was non-verbal til I was about two and a half and once at about that age I was very similar in regards to babbling and trying to pronounce words. It wasn’t until I was first diagnosed, at about 4, when I really started to notice a difference in my pronunciation towards words
2:56
Comment From Guest

Kerry- what was your functional level at 5 and what therapies did you receive (how frequently?) sorry if this is redundant! You’ll probably get this a lot. Congratulations on being a graduate, by the way. :)

2:56
Hi Guest! Thanks for the Congrats!
2:57
I remember when I was 6 I had physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy. It was the first time I started with those types of therapies. What I think I had the most trouble with was sensory integration with regards to different sounds and I think having the ability to be so involved with different types of therapies really helped me out a lot
2:57
Comment From Michelle C

Hi Kerry did you always have language. I ask because my son had language and was developing above average then suddenly lost skills at 2 and a half. He is now 4 and a half.

2:58
Hi Michelle – I started gaining language after I was about 4
2:58
Comment From Melissa

I am the parent of an 8 yr old with autism. As someone with autism what do you wish your parents and teachers knew. Jacob is high functioning but isnt able to answer questions for me. I feel like we cant completely communicate.

2:59
Hey Melissa – I think what I wish my parents knew was the nuts and bolts of an IEP. I think an IEP was something my parents really didn’t understand at the time and I remember it was difficult because my parents really never knew when I was earlier on the spectrum what kind of services I would need to include in the IEP.
2:59
I would wish that my earlier teachers in public school knew more about how to handle students with a learning disability. Not all of them were trained in special education.
3:00
Comment From April

Although you were young, do you recall anything specific that made talking easier?

3:00
Hi April! I started taking theater when I was about 5 and what I remember the best thing about it was even though it was difficult for me with words, it helped to build my self confidence a lot. It really made a huge difference in my early development
3:01
Comment From Guest

What was challenging in school for you? Are there any strategies that your teachers taught you that were helpful?

3:02
What was challenging in school was for multitasking in being in school. There were a lot of accommodations that I didn’t understand why I needed them. When I started noticing other students didn’t have the same accommodations I did, I thought something was wrong with me. It was hard because I didn’t think I was on the same playing field as them. I didn’t fully understand what autism was in my early years
3:03
In regards to strategies that my teachers always taught me was to always understand that everyone has something that makes them unique. Ideally everyone is going to go at their own pace
3:03
Comment From Guest

I have a grandaughter and she is three. They have not specifically said she has autism but she has alot of the same problems babling and having very uncontrolled mood swings. My question is are any of you guys medicated?

3:05
I was never medicated. My parents never believed in the concept of medicated me and focused strictly on different types of therapies because they were worried about the concept of me, ‘not being myself’
3:05
Comment From guest

what you thimk is best private school or public?

3:06
I think it varies. You really have to put a lot of work in trial and error. Really in talking to the schools and getting a sense where your child fits in. In my opinion, there were good parts in both when I attended public in my earlier years and private for middle and high school
3:07
Comment From Guest

what form of Autism do you have?

3:08
I was diagnosed with PDD-NOS ) Pervasive developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified. It is a more mild form of autism and if they don’t clearly have the traits of those with autism or Asperger’s
3:08
Comment From Michele

What did you major in and what are your future plans?

3:09
Hi Michele – thanks for asking. I majored in Sports Management and my future plans as of right now are to continue to work on my first novel, continue working on my website, and to hopefully do something in the field of marketing
3:10
Comment From Zach

Hello, Kerry! I’m Zach Posar, a 19-year-old High School Graduate with Autism. Coming near the end of this month, I will be moving to South Western Michigan College for Graphic Design. I would like some advice on how best to adjust to that kind of life.

3:11
Hi Zach – what I would say is that you really need to figure out your strengths and weaknesses and be prepared to really go through a big change in regards to your overall day. What I did when I moved to college at Seton Hall, I focused on trying to find similar routines that I would do at home that I could implement in college; such as a specific time to do laundry, to eat, etc. and so forth
3:11
Comment From Richard Hackett

Is this thing on? My comments are not being posted.

3:12
Yes it is working! We are trying to get everyone’s questions answered!
3:12
Comment From Mark DiSciullo

Hi Kerry…first off thanks for sharing your time and insights with us. I have a 4 year old son with Autism. (high functioning, non verbal, PDD) … What are your memories of being that young and do you recall any of your frustrations in trying to communicate or having family trying to understand what you were trying to say?

3:13
Hi Mark! Most of my early memories being on the spectrum include difficulty pronouncing words. I had trouble with letters and sounds and I remember being very vulnerable would always seem to have an easier time than I did. It made me less ‘out’ and in some ways avoid them completely.
3:14
Comment From Jenny

My son has PDD NOS and wants to work but doesnt want to go to college probably because his LD is so severe did you struggle with ld at all?

3:15
I had the same problem going into high school. I didn’t think that I wanted to go to college because my LD was going to hold me back. At many times growing up I was told I would never get to college- that it wasn’t a possibility for me. It was definitely hard going through a lot of experts telling me I couldn’t do something. I proved a lot of people wrong and there is a lot to be said for giving your all and accomplishing your goals.
3:15
Comment From Kelly

What kinds of symptoms do you still have? Do you think those will ever go away?

3:17
One symptom that is very apparent in my life today is being touched by other people. It has always been a difficulty for me. I would always refuse hugs and something would tell me that it wasn’t okay. It has gotten a lot better, but when it is a surprise and get a touch or feeling from someone it bothers me. That is one symptom that has stayed with me.
3:17
Comment From Julie

Do you have any anxiety or anger management problems? My 28 year old son seems to escape using video gamd

3:18
Growing up when I was 6 years-old I was referenced by a doctor as emotionally unstable and without proper therapy I would have to spend the rest of my life in a mental institution. My parents spent a lot of time talking to the different therapists I had in regards to making the sessions as nurturing as humanly possible. I think overtime I really conquered my anger management issues. I still get anxiety from time to time but it isn’t as severe
3:19
Comment From Amanda

Hi! My son just turned 7, he has the same (PDD-NOS). At what age is a right time to explain to my son that he has Autism?

3:20
Hi Amanda! I was first told that I had autism when I was 6. The difference for me was I never understood what it meant until I was 11 or 12. My parents would tell me I was autism, but it would never connect that I had something wrong until I matured a bit.
3:20
Comment From Guest

What were your social interactions like? Family, friends, etc.

3:21
My Social interactions in my early childhood were focused specifically on my family only. It was very hard making friends and building my social interactions skills because I moved around from school to school to find the best accommodations for me possible. It wasn’t until middle school where I really found my place where I got to spend a few years in a program when it became easier for me to make friends.
3:22
Comment From Josephine

How long will you chat with people asking questions

3:22
Hey Josephine – I am on until 4 o’clock but I answer emails atkerry.margro@autismspeaks.org
3:22
If a question wasn’t answered today, please feel free to email me and I would love to get back to you!
3:23
Comment From Becky

How do you keep your attention focused on schoolwork? I’m a Sophomore in University with Aspergers, and my hardest thing to deal with is keeping myself focused and not letting my attention wander to things I consider more fun. Any suggestions?

3:25
Hey Becky! I think one thing that helped me a lot was having a recorder for all of my classes and having that accommodation because it gave me more of a safety net that I didn’t have to too focused on paying attention and I can just focus on the most important now and can come back to the other stuff later. That really helped me a lot
3:25
Comment From Karen

What support did you have while in college?

3:26
I had support through a disability support services on my campus. I would say that as a learning disabled student in college I received reasonable accommodations. I had extra time on tests, a laptop in all of my classes, a recorder as I had mentioned, a note-taker(another student who would take notes for me) and a private room to take all of my exams.
3:27
Comment From Brian

Hi Kerry, I’m Brian. I’ve been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, how important did you feel it was to make friends when you were growing up?

3:28
Hi Brian – I would say that is was somewhat important to make friends when i was growing up. I was an only child and in some instances that hindered my social interactions to a point. It made it more important to focus on making friends. It really didn’t become very important until I was in middle school or high school.
3:29
Comment From Michelle H.

How did you make friends in college?

3:30
I made friends by joining as many organizations as I could within the first weeks of college. My thoughts going into college was always to put myself out there and if I did that then everything else would come easy. So I guess the best advice I could give is to advocate for yourself and try to push yourself to areas you didn’t think you could go to
3:30
Comment From Zach

Incase you didn’t get this: What’s your advice for after College?

3:32
My advice for after college would be to focus on something you know you have a great strength in and pursue those strengths. After college I knew I had a strong interest in sports and marketing. With that in mind I have tried to effectively put that into play. I have an interview with ESPN in 7 days!
3:32
Comment From guest

did kids pick on you

3:34
Bullying has been an ongoing battle for me. Through my entire education experience, from grammar school through college. In public school the kids would pick on me who weren’t in my special education classes. The kids who would pick on me were those who thought I was different. They didn’t know a lot about me and just thought I was different. What was different to them was something they didn’t want to deal with. Early on there was a lot of bullying on. My parents always told me that some people are born with hate and there is really nothing you can do about it. There is nothing wrong with you, you have to ask what is wrong with them?
3:35
Comment From Guest

Did you play any sports?

3:36
Growing up I played tennis, soccer, basketball, bowling, and chess. My parents really tried to advocate for playing sports early on. I had difficulty with motor skills growing up and they saw it as a new brand of therapy, which would ultimately help me in the long run.
3:36
Comment From Melissa

should I home school my child or do you think it best to get him out in the world?

3:37
It really varies depending on the diagnosis of your child in regards to where they fall on the spectrum. If your child is on the high end I would consider letting them go to school just because I think social interaction is very important for individuals on the spectrum to to, but if they are on the low end I would play it by ear and just see what you are more comfortable with and go from there.
3:38
Comment From Crystal

Hey Kerry! Thank you for giving your advice and sharing your personal experiences with all of us! Do you feel like Autism has made you a stronger person?! :)

3:39
I feel like I have been going through a lot of struggles in my life and they have made me who I am today. With autism I know it was hard early on especially with speech and different difficulties, but I think autism has pushed me to become a person always wanting to do more and someone who always just wanting to try for a better tomorrow in many instances
3:39
Comment From Diana

Did you ever have to deal with a major move? Perhaps to another state? What did you do to adjust?

3:40
I was born and raised in New Jersey so I never had to make a major move. In my first four years of grammar school I attended three different schools. It was hard, but it really taught me that there is a lot of variety out there. I understood different types of cultures and surroundings and I think that helped me with my early intervention even though there were difficulties that came along with it.
3:41
Comment From Alexia

When you were younger did you obsess over certain things like certain tv shows or did you have any stims that you could not control? if so have you overcome this now?

3:42
I was obsessed with Teenage Mutant Ninga Turtles and Power Rangers for a good six or seven years and it was one of the biggest obsessions I have had in my entire life. With that I became obsessed with television in general. I started to get double vision when I was about 8. There was a difficult transition from watching a lot of TV to a little bit of TV. I found other interests that helped me pass the time
3:42
Comment From Jenny

Do you tell prospective employers that you are Autistic?

3:44
I don’t tell prospective employers that I am autistic until whether I know I got the job. I do this for several reasons, but one of the main reasons is I am aware that people in the world are not very knowledgeable about what autism is and what it isn’t. I know as an adult I can receive reasonable accommodations in the workplace. If i got the job I would tell them I was autistic, but if they asked me in an interview if I had a disability(which they can’t) I wouldn’t answer
3:44
Comment From Kelli

Did you ever have any pets? I have read that some benefit from therapy dogs at home/school.

3:46
My mom actually had 9 cats and early on I was only comfortable really interacting with holding and touching cats. I definitely think there is a therapy in regards to this with parents who have individuals on the spectrum. It is trial and error, but I have a friend who has an autistic son who is scared of dogs and all animals because of the sounds they make. It really depends
3:46
Comment From Guest

You have been very helpful to us today. Do you plan on becoming an advocat for Autism?

3:47
I hope that I do become an advocate for autism in many instances. Throughout my life I have been very involved in community service and in trying to make a difference in the lives of others. As I mentioned others, if there is any way I can assist in answering emails, please let me know. That is the reason I am here today!
3:48
Comment From Patrick

Do people make fun of you with autism kerry?

3:49
Early on kids would make fun of me because they could obviously see I struggled with a few things here and there. They would act out on that and it was very hard early on, but as I got older and as I started surrounding myself with more mature individuals I noticed a difference. In college, there was a minimum of people making fun of me and people with learning disabilities in general
3:49
Comment From Michelle H.

How did you decide to start the Student Disability Awareness Club?

3:51
I started doing disability awareness because there wasn’t an organization like that on my campus. I wanted to leave my college experience knowing that individuals such as myself with a learning disability would ultimately have someplace they can feel a family/community environment from. That is why I began
3:51
Comment From Greg

Speaking of kids. What are you’re thoughts and/or plans about having children of your own?

3:52
I have thought about this a lot and I really want to have kids someday and I think i will. I don’t think this is going to happen for a while, but I have always kept myself open to the opportunity to do that.
3:52
Comment From Kelli

Do you think that they will a cure someday?

3:53
I am very optimistic. I think that with how much modern science and technology have gone there is the possibility. In the end though, I really think i have embraced having autism and being autistic and I think that as a community we should aspire to, yes it would be great to have a cure one day, BUT we need to also embrace who we are and the concept of equality
3:54
Comment From Guest

What about dating/marriage/kids?

3:55
I didn’t really have my first real relationship until I was about 19 – once I had my first relationship, I didn’t really know what the norm was for relationships at all. All I had at my disposal was what I read about and the internet. Dating has grown leaps and bounds in the past years, but it is still something I am working on.
3:55
Comment From Diana

Did you have difficulty when it came time to learn how to drive?

3:57
I didn’t get my driver’s licence til I was 18 and even then, there were a few difficulties in regards to riding after a certain speed. For about a year I could only drive in and around cities – I was very intimidated of driving on highways where I would have to drive faster. It took a lot of experience to get behind the wheel everyday.
3:57
Comment From Dorrie

what kind of support system do you have? do you come from a large family? do you have supports in a faith?

3:59
I have a great support system at home in regards to my mom and my dad who have done so much for me. In regards to faith, I’ve been a Christian ever since I was 5 years old. Many times I have questioned my faith due to my disability, having autism, and thinking how and why could this happen to me and ultimately why was someone doing this to me. Early on, I didn’t understand why but now I have a better concept of faith because everyone deals with challenges. It is really how you fight through those challenges is what faith and what religion is telling us to do.
3:59
I would just like to thank you all so much. This has been a wonderful experience talking to all of you and hopefully I can answer more questions in the future for you
4:00
My email is kerry.magro@autismspeaks.org if you’d like to reach me and check me out on the Autism Speaks Official Blog!
4:00
Thank you!!!
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