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September 30, 2009

You Aut to Know! Update and Resources, 9/30 Episode

Sept 30 Episode
Focus on Foundations - financial assistance grants for things not covered by insurance, school districts, etc
Autism A - Z
DSM - IV - Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders, Fourth Edition, Revised Text. The American Psychiatric Association developed the DSM to serve as the primary guide for diagnosing mental health disorders such as autism. Both mental health professionals and insurance providers refer to the manual as a diagnostic reference.

Discussed the over use of the autism label.

Upcoming Shows and Guest
10/04/2009 6:00 PM - Creating a fulfilling and happy life w/ proper community supports for your loved one w/ autism.

10/25/2009 6:00PM - Terri Jay, Intuitive Messenger

September 28, 2009

9/27 Episode will be re-scheduled

Oh my, what a night!  Technical difficulty, is an understatement.  Last night's show was a mess, but it will be rescheduled.
First I got disconnected from the switchboard and then my guest and I never touched base largely due to different time zones, something which I neglected to plan for.  So I am sorry to any listeners who came by hoping to hear Terri Jay.  I plan to upload an abbreviated segment this week and then reschedule Terri Jay for sometime soon.


September 21, 2009

Resources from Episode 4 - 9/20 You Aut to Know Show

Great show. Still trying to work out the music kinks.
Julandrew - Get back in line
Blog of Interest
Asperger Square 8
Autism A-Z
CHAT or M CHAT - for free download - The M-CHAT checklist is a tool used to facilitate the screening of young children that are at risk for autism. The M-CHAT is a screening tool for early detection of autism. Pediatricians and family doctors often use this questionnaire during a child's 18-month developmental check-up. If a child fails the M-CHAT once, you are advised to re-screen the child approximately one month later. If a child fails a second time, that child should be referred to a specialist for diagnosis. This screening tool should be used to alert health professionals for the need of a diagnostic assessment performed by professionals trained in autism assessments.

CARSThis 15-item behavior rating scale helps to identify children with autism and to distinguish them from developmentally handicapped children who are not autistic. In addition, it distinguishes mild-to-moderate from severe autism. Brief, convenient, and suitable for use with any child over 2 years of age, the Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS) makes it much easier for clinicians and educators to recognize and classify autistic children.

September 16, 2009

Lo Jacking the Kids

I saw a news article today about how the company Lo Jack, known for its car security just hired someone new to head up its "Safety Net Unit" This unit develops solutions for populations prone to wander, like kids with autism, my kids. Also known as "elopement".

I laughed because my image of Lo Jack comes from the movies, where a thief steals a car and then someone activates their lo jack system and the car comes to a hault, foiling the car thief's plan to reap unearned rewards from its many valuable parts. But Lo Jacking the kids, that is not so funny.

Lo Jack felt the need to hire someone experienced with the elderly and disabled in order to really meet the needs and develop new solutions for this population.

From Lo Jack's recent press release, Safety Net is:
is a comprehensive system that in conjunction with the Project Lifesaver Program enables public safety agencies the ability to track and rescue people with cognitive conditions who tend to wander, including those with Alzheimer's, autism, Down syndrome and dementia. LoJack SafetyNet is comprised of a Personal Locator Unit (PLU) worn by the client, a Search and Rescue (SAR) Receiver for law enforcement, a database of key information about the clients to assist in search and rescue, and 24x7 emergency caregiver support.
Pretty impressive? All of my children have wandered away on two separate occasions for more than fifteen minutes and in one instance I did have to call the police. Thankfully they didn't wander far, curiousity led them down the street. None the less, it is a terrifying situation that conjures up far too many sad news reports and personal fears than I care to mention.

So what is involved in this service?
A Personal Locator Unit is typically worn by the person at risk around their wrist or ankle. The PLU constantly emits a Radio Frequency signal, which can be tracked regardless of where the person has wandered -- even into a densely wooded area, a body of water, a concrete structure, or a building constructed with steel.
The Radio Frequency signal enables police to pinpoint the precise location of the missing person using the handheld, portable SAR Receiver. The receiver can actually detect the Radio Frequency signal from the PLU within a range of approximately one mile in on-the-ground searches and 5-7 miles in searches by helicopter. The database, a critical component of the solution, includes key information that provides insight as to where the person might have wandered if he/she goes missing, and provides searchers with a recent photo and other pertinent information. LoJack's caregiver support organization is available by phone and e-mail and is accessible 24x7 for emergencies.

I like the idea of being able to find my kids if the need arrives, but the idea of them walking around daily with a device attached to their wrist or ankle, disturbs me. Also the cost is a bit prohibitive - $99.00 registration fee and $30.00 monthly. Not saying they aren't worth it, just wondering if their is a better way to teach safety awareness.

I think if it became a serious problem, I would definitely consider it, but right now I don't think I will be lo jacking the kids anytime soon.

September 12, 2009

What does autism look like?

Autism is not visible.  Yes people see behaviors and stims, but if a child is on the spectrum and your ABA therapy has been successful, you might not see those stims or behaviors.  How does society reward such progress?  Its a two edged sword - on the one hand inclusion is the goal, but accomodations should not be withheld. How do you train someone working a minimum wage job to be able to identify disability in a customer? Read how one family challenged a major retailer's "policy".

Abercrombie and Fitch fined for discrimination against girl with autism
by Madeleine Baran, Minnesota Public Radio
September 9, 2009

St. Paul, Minn. — Abercrombie and Fitch has been fined $115,264 for discrimination, four years after employees at the Mall of America store refused to allow a family member to accompany an autistic girl into a fitting room.

Judge Kathleen Sheehy, an administrative law judge, found that the retailer had discriminated against the 14-year-old girl, in violation of state statutes. Sheehy ordered the fine this month, after the retailer repeatedly refused to respond to the daughter's mother's request for an apology and denied engaging in discriminatory practices.

The retailer has appealed, charging that the fine is excessive.

The judge found that the girl, whose name has not been identified, suffered mental anguish as a result of the incident.

A psychologist who interviewed the autistic girl said she reported feeling "bad," "scared," and "nervous." The girl told the psychologist, "It's all my fault. I hate autism." She added, "I am a misfit at Abercrombie."

A spokesperson for Abercrombie and Fitch declined to comment, citing pending litigation.

The girl had been shopping for school clothes with her 17-year-old sister at the Bloomington store in August 2005. Her sister requested to accompany her into the fitting room, and told an associate that her sister has a disability and can not be left alone.

The associate then told the sister that corporate policy mandated that only one person be allowed in the fitting room at a time. He refused to let the sister accompany the autistic girl, even when the sister provided information about the girl's disability.

The sister then called her mother, who had been shopping at a nearby store in the mall. The mother, Elizabeth Maxson, arrived and questioned the associate about the policy. She explained that her 17-year-old daughter was a caregiver and asked that she be allowed to accompany the autistic girl into the fitting room.

Maxson asked to see a copy of the store's policy, but employees said they could not locate it. She then asked for the customer service phone number, and left the store to call the company.

The mother said a customer service employee told her, "So, you think our fitting room policy is ridiculous," according to court documents. Maxson asked to file a complaint about the incident, but the employee offered no further assistance.

She then returned to the store and asked to speak with a manager. An assistant manager said he could not deviate from the policy. He offered to let the Maxsons buy as many clothes as they wanted, try them on at home, and then return the items that did not fit.

Maxson sent two letters to the retailer, but received no response. She called customer service again to ask for the record of her telephone complaint. A customer service representative declined to provide records, and stated they were for company use only.

She then reported the incident to the Minnesota Department of Human Rights, which began an investigation.
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