It’s a rainy Sunday morning here in Massachusetts. Not much on the agenda today with the exception of visiting the potty every fifteen minutes with Jack. I also have a great deal of miscellaneous paperwork to catch up on. Andy routinely raises an eyebrow at me and mumbles something about the road to hell… Guess I should do something about that…
I’m still in my PJ’s and am contemplating staying that way all day. Coffee in hand, laptop balanced on my knees, I ran across a couple of interesting autism-related articles in the news this morning that are worth reading:
The first, “Austin Center Charts Different Course on Autism”, is a fairly comprehensive article in today’s Austin American Statesman about Dr. Andrew Wakefield and the clinic he founded, Thoughtful House. I must disclose that I have many friends whose children are patients at Thoughtful House, and I’ve heard nothing but positive reviews. I personally have never been. Jack (so far) hasn’t shown any sort of gastrointestinal distress. To date, his only known co-morbid condition is cardiac in nature, which sends us to the pediatric cardiologist. But autism is a complex disorder and the GI issues that many individuals with autism experience are painful and real.
Wishful thinking I suppose, but it would be wonderful if more of the mainstream medical establishment would acknowledge these issues and attempt to treat them. On the other hand, it would also be helpful if someone not related to Dr. Wakefield or Thoughtful House would replicate his studies.
Next, Time released their list of the "100 Most Influential People of 2008", and although I was disappointed to not have made the list, I was happy to see that Bob and Suzanne Wright, co-founders of Autism Speaks, were included. Eleanor Roosevelt once said “Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.” The Wright's efforts to increase autism awareness and research funding, as well as to help families via federal legislation, state insurance reform and family services, definitely falls in the great category in my humble opinion. I suppose that places me in the "small minds" category, since I'm discussing other people ...
Oh well. Finally I read an article from the opinion page of Foster’s Daily Record. Simply titled “What You Can Do to Support Individuals in your Community with Autism”, it is a list of wonderfully practical ways to do just that. It was written by Christine Guarino, Ph.D., who serves as Executive Director at The Birchtree Center, a not-for-profit organization based in Portsmouth, NH that offers specialized programs for children and youth with autism. According to the article, the organization chose its name because, like New Hampshire's state symbol the white birch, a child with autism needs to be supported by family and community to grow and flourish.
Speaking of growing and flourishing, it’s been fifteen minutes. Back to potty training for me, Andy and The Jackers.