Friday, January 8, 2010

Staying In the Game

Here in Atlanta, we get really nasty winter weather about twice a year and all go into a panic. This morning, I woke up to an iced over parking lot and nearly bit it when I went to check out the road. On the 4-lane road outside my complex, cars were attempting to drive up the hill, then backing down once they hit the shady spots and the ice. Friends and coworkers were fishtailing into work and getting in accidents and everyone on the news was saying stay home.

But the sun is shining. But there's black ice. But maybe I can make it into the hospital. But there's a lot of hilly roads and bridges I have to cross. But I have an outing scheduled with the kids. But all outing requests are being denied. But what does Facebook say? Twitter? Weather Channel? The news? Coworkers on the road? (That's how I heard about the fishtailing and the accidents). This is what I was dealing with for a good half hour this morning, trying to decide whether or not to risk my neck for my darlings.

And this is how I ultimately decided to stay at home for at least part of the day and catch up on some work reading. Today, it's Staying in the Game: Providing Social Opportunities for Children and Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorders and Other Developmental Disabilities by James Loomis. I've had trouble finding books aimed at working with children with low-functioning autism, so I'm hoping this one might give me some guidance and insight.

I'm taking my program in a whole new direction with the new year, much more focused on community reintegration and social skills and I'm very excited about it. Any suggestions of good reads or resources are welcome and would be much appreciated!

Update: Well, it seems to be another book that would be a great resource for higher functioning kids with autism and Aspergers who go to school, join clubs, go to church and scouts, and even go to slumber parties and camps. But not my kiddos. I'll keep reading though, because there are a few things I can probably pull out of it, but I do wish I could find something that is specifically for lower functioning kids.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Listen to Part 3 if nothing else...Temple Grandin

Just listened to a great Independent Minds program on NPR about Temple Grandin, the animal scientist with autism who is also known for inventing the "hug machine." I turned in on about 10 minutes in, thinking, "well, I've heard lots of interviews with her, I pretty much know her story, this won't be that new," but I was pleasantly surprised. Maybe it helps that I now know autism more intimately than ever before or that the program delved a little deeper than just how she created humane cattle chutes and instead got into her mind and how she works.

The best part of the program though was Part 3, and if you click on the link above and only listen to one part, listen to Part 3. About the face of autism, what it is, why it's diagnosis is skyrocketing, explains the spectrum, varying symptoms and prognoses, possible origins, and how we really just.don't.know. There is supposed to be a script on the site soon and I'll post it here once it's available.