Archive for March, 2011

2 Days Left Until Light It Up Blue

March 30, 2011 8 comments

The countdown is on to April 1st! World Autism Awareness Month is in reach and we are so excited to Light It Up Blue! Every day, leading up to the big day we’ll post highlights, a special interview and much more!

Who’s Lighting It Up Blue?

More than 500 buildings and communities are lighting it up blue! Are you looking to have a family vacation? Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida is going blue and it could be the perfect place!

Visit to get pledge your support and get involved!



Community Spotlight 

Today’s virtual interview is with Sue H. from Lohrville, La. 

Autism Speaks: What are you Lighting Up Blue?
Sue H.:
My home!

AS: Why is this important to you?
SH: Why isn’t it important should be the question… My grandson is autistic and I have worked in the field now for 28 years.

AS: Wow that’s great! How are you lighting your home?
SH: We are going to do it ourselves. I have the bulbs!

AS: What other buildings would you like to see lit up?
SH: Every home and every business.

Are you lighting up blue too? Take this quick and easy survey to tell us how!

Blue Builder of the Day

Reign Voltaire is our Blue Website Builder of the Day! Reign has created this website in honor of his Godson Jeffrey. He has almost reached his goal – let’s help him out! 

You can build a Blue website too! Just visit this link and get started!


NBA to Celebrate World Autism Awareness Day

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NBA Celebrates World Autism Awareness Day

March 30, 2011 17 comments

We are thrilled to have the National Basketball Association partnering with us to celebrate World Autism Awareness Day. The league, teams, and players will be showing their support for World Autism Awareness Day and raising awareness of autism. NBA coaches and local broadcasters will be sporting the Autism Speaks lapel puzzle pin. And NBA TV will be lighting their studio blue on April 2nd.

The NBA has been so generous and creative in raising awareness for autism, and here are some of the ways! Several team arenas and surrounding locations will be lit up blue. Puzzle piece cookies will be on sale, Autism Speaks public service announcements will be broadcasts on jumbo vision screens and Autism Speaks concourse tables will be set up to readily hand out information to fans. Some teams are donating a portion of ticket sales to Autism Speaks, while others are turning their interior lights blue during halftime!

The teams participating are the Cleveland Cavaliers, Atlanta Hawks, Philadelphia 76ers, Portland Trail Blazers, Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks, LA Clippers, and the Toronto Raptors.

Thank you so much to the National Basketball Association, NBA Cares, and all of the teams and players involved in World Autism Awareness Day!  And don’t miss the NBA Cares video below with Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs and Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic.

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Honoring our Military Families

March 30, 2011 3 comments

Master Sergeant Buck Doyle (USMC, ret.) fought in five combat tours as a Reconnaissance Marine and was severely wounded during his third deployment to Iraq.  He is a recipient of the Purple Heart and was awarded the Bronze Star with “V” for his actions on the battlefield.  Below is an article written by his wife, Kyla Doyle highlighting their efforts to improve services and supports for military families impacted by autism (originally published in the Coast News on March 25, 2011).

Last summer, after my husband retired from the Marine Corps, we moved our family from my childhood home in Solana Beach to a beautiful little valley in northern Utah, where we are enjoying the seasons and the slower pace.

But now we’re coming back.

On Saturday, April 2nd, Buck and I will get on a plane, and come back to San Diego for a day to run in ACT Today for Military Families’ 5K/10K race to benefit military families with children affected by autism.

I’ve never run a 10K before, but this one’s had me literally training in the snow since January—because the cause is so important to us.

You see, our seven year old daughter, Kate, is among the 1 in 88 military children with autism.  But thanks to early, intensive intervention, Kate has gone from a diagnosis of severe autism at the age of two, to being virtually indistinguishable from the other children in her new first grade classroom.

To get there, we have had to wage a five-year battle of our own—with our insurance company, the school district, the state; the people we had thought would be our allies—in order to get Kate the services she needed.

If you ask my husband which was harder: getting shot by a sniper in Iraq or trying to recover our daughter from autism, he’ll tell you it was the latter, not the former.

Through thousands of hours of individual therapy, and an enormous financial and emotional toll on our family, Kate has made progress that we didn’t dare dream for her five years ago.  All the while, Buck was fighting the nation’s battles—wanting only that his family—his little girl—be taken care of in his absence.

ACT Today for Military Families, is doing exactly that—filling a gap that currently has many of our military families in crisis.  ATMF is helping to meet the immediate needs of families and children affected by this devastating disorder, who are simultaneously under the stress and strain of sending their loved one into harms way.

I am often asked by friends and neighbors how they can show their support for our military—and my answer has always been to take care of their family here at home.

Participating in ACT Today’s 5K/10K run and ONE HOPE Family Festival is a perfect opportunity to provide immediate help to military families and who are challenged even more than most—Buck and I invite the San Diego community to join us on April 2nd – in hopes that Kate’s success can be had by other children, and the road to that success can be made smoother by our efforts.

Semper Fidelis.

For more information on how you can help or to register to run in the ACT Today for Military Families 5k/10k, go to

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To Mainstream or Not to Mainstream?

March 30, 2011 43 comments

To Mainstream or Not to Mainstream? That is the question in this week’s Parenthood episode, ‘Taking the Leap.’

Fearing the worst, Adam and Kristina meet with Dr. Robertson, the principal of Footpath, Max’s school. But the news is good, great even. Max is doing so well, they’re having to look for new ways to challenge him in the classroom moving forward. In fact, Adam and Kristina might want to consider transferring Max to a school where he can reach his full potential both academically and socially – i.e. mainstreaming.

Have you mainstreamed your child? What has your experience been? Did your child grow academically and socially?

To watch the full episode please visit here!

The Story Behind Autistic-Like

March 30, 2011 2 comments

This is a guest post by Erik Linthorst is a 13-year veteran of the film business. An award winning documen­tary filmmaker and a produced screenwriter.  Erik founded Pergé Produc­tions in 2006 to make films aimed at helping families with children with special needs.  In his advocacy work, Erik travels worldwide, present­ing his film and advancing the issues it raises.

Throughout April, PBS stations around the country will air a documentary film Erik Linthorst made about searching for the right help for his son, Graham, who doctors called “autistic-like”   Check your local listings for airtimes, or

Autistic-Like:Graham’s Story started as a project for me, but I now realize it has become something more like a community. Many people have told us our story sounds so familiar, and that’s really why I made the movie: I felt like it shouldn’t be so hard to find the right help for our children.

Our story began in 2005, a very hard year for our family.  Our seventeen-month old son’s quirks were blooming into full-fledged obsessions.  We had experts on one side saying he was clearly and possibly severely autistic.  We had experts on the other side saying he was most likely not autistic. Still others insisted he was too young to diagnose.  We had family and friends on both sides giving us advice that was by turns helpful, misguided and sometimes downright bad.  My wife and I were in an emotional tailspin, alternately propping each other up and freaking each other out with our anxious thoughts.

Then we began the slow process of digging out:  discarding this expert for that one, this treatment for that, this book for that, this piece of advice for another.  And we grew in strength.  Once I was back on my feet, and feeling armed with new understanding, I felt the desire to reach out to families just beginning their hard year.  I felt like sharing our story might help them dig-out faster.  So, being in the film business, I decided to make a documentary about our journey.  I brought out my camera, began to chronicle our lives, and recruited journalist Jody Becker to help investigate the issues, elevating an intimate family story into what we aimed to make a thoughtful report from the edge of the autism epidemic.

Then I sent the film, Autistic-Like: Graham’s Story, out into the world and planned to be done.  But then the emails started coming in.  And they kept coming.  Then the trickle became a wash, several a day, coming in from all over the U.S., and then Canada, and then from all over the world.  And they all had questions.  What did I think about this therapy? that biomedical approach? This doctor? That organization?  I took the time to respond to all of them, because the truth is it helped me feel no so alone, too.

I heard from professionals, as well.  Many told me they use the film as a new parent orientation tool. They shared that they were teaching workshops, and seminars with it.  Schools were holding movie night fundraisers.  But they had questions too:  How could they see the extended interviews from the film?  Did I have an update on Graham’s progress?  workshops?

After much consideration, both for Graham’s sake as well as my wife and my own, I decided to say ‘yes’ to all of the above.

So this month our little movie hits a milestone: the PBS broadcasts include an 8-minute update “Where is Graham Now”; we have translated the film into Spanish to reach more families, and now more insights from the experts are available in a  2 DVD Box set that includes a full-color 12 page guidebook for facilitating professional and community conversations. I’ve traveled with the film, met hundreds of parents and professionals, and like the slowly dawning realization that supporting Graham is a project with no end for me, I see the film that way, too. More families, more conversation, more resources. The story continues.

Autism in the News – 03.30.11

March 30, 2011 2 comments

Mom’s Talk Q & A: Could It Be Autism? (Half Moon Bay Patch)
The word autism when mentioned in connection with your child can send an emotional torrent through the most steadfast parent. In the past few years the word has taken on new meanings and has been brought forth into the public interest with the recognition of an increasing rate of both identification and prevalence of autism and autism spectrum disorders. As rate of identification rises, services for those diagnosed with autism should rise correspondingly. Read more.

Nevada legislators consider autism programs (Carson City, Nev.)
Three programs to help Nevada’s autistic children would merge under a proposed law. Read more.

Moose Jaw woman photographs children with autism to change people’s perception of the disorder (Canada)
Photographer Jodie Goodison uses her camera to focus attention on the abilities children with autism have — not on the negatives of their disorder. Read more.

FAU students holding surf clinic April 2 for kids with autism (The Palm Beach Post)
The Florida Atlantic University chapters of Phi Delta Theta and Alpha Xi Delta are holding a surf clinic for kids with autism April 2 from 8 a.m. to noon at the Deerfield Beach pier. The clinic is free and open to all kids with autism. Read more.

Autism Awareness, Academy of Finance Fundraiser, Class of ’91 Reunion (Fort Lee, N.J.)
April is Autism Awareness month, and Friday is Autism Awareness Day. About Town has been contacted by quite a few Fort Lee families asking for our help in raising awareness about autism in our community, and because we also live daily humbled by the presence of autism, we are happy to comply. Read more.

Categories: Autism in the News

3 Days Left Until Light It Up Blue

March 29, 2011 6 comments

The countdown is on to April 1st! World Autism Awareness Month is in reach and we are so excited to Light It Up Blue! Every day, leading up to the big day we’ll post highlights, a special interview and much more!

White House, Light It Up Blue!

Today Mrs. Sergeant Major, who is a military wife and autism mom, makes an appeal to President Obama to light The White House blue. Please leave your comments on the blog, time is running out!

Who’s Lighting It Up Blue?

We are thrilled to announce that Autism-Europe will be participating in World Autism Awareness Day again this year. There are several buildings and landmarks lighting up and we are so glad they are partnering with us to light it up blue! 

Europe also came together to talk about brain banking and creating plans for sharing this most precious resource, just in time for World Autism Awareness Day! Read more about it here.

Visit to get pledge your support and get involved!



Clérigos Tower - Porto, Portugal

Community Spotlight 

Today’s virtual interview is with Jennifer B. from Rocky River, Ohio  

Autism Speaks: What are you Lighting Up Blue?
Jennifer B.:
Bonnie Bank ‘Blue-evard!’

AS: Why are you lighting up Bonnie Bank ‘Blue-evard?’ We love that!
JB: My 9 year old daughter Madeline was diagnosed with PDD-NOS when she was 4 years old.  As she gets older, the gap is beginning to widen between Madeline and her peers.  I believe it is so important to educate children and the community about autism.  By lighting our street blue, not only are we showing our love and support of Madeline, we are also getting people to ask questions.  I believe as people become aware and seek answers to their questions, the more they will understand…and understanding leads to friendship.

AS: How did you go about lighting up your block?
JB: B-3, as we residents affectionately refer to it, consists of 48 homes.  This past Saturday, I knocked on doors, and spoke to each of my neighbors about Autism Awareness month, Madeline, and the Autism Speaks Light It Up Blue campaign.  I told them of my desire to turn Bonnie Bank Blvd. into Bonnie Bank ‘Blue-evard.’  I was truly amazed by the response!  What I had thought would be an hour long walk along the street turned into an eight hour journey.  By the end of my ‘walk’, not only did I learn about the compassionate nature  of my neighbors, I also achieved my goal of lighting up the ‘Blue-evard!’

Are you lighting up blue too? Take this quick and easy survey to tell us how!

Take the Pledge to Light It Up Blue!


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