Category Archives: Opinion

Linking Autism to ‘Geeks’

Geeks

An opinion piece in the Dominion Post, a New Zealand newspaper, recently put forth Simon Baron-Cohen’s theory that children with autism are the result of “geeks” having children together (http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/comment/6044577/Scientists-baffled-at-rise-in-autism). Citing a San Francisco psychologist, it was suggested that “a lot of geeks do not make eye contact… and they don’t have a lot of social understanding.” Difficulties with social skills is an integral part of autism. The author went on to say that most children with autism are a “problem” who are often dependent into their adulthood, but that some people with autism have particular talents, such as being able to multiply large numbers, draw in extreme detail, and having great visual acuity. He then suggested that somewhere in the middle are a group of people with autism who are “adept at spotting recurring patterns in large sets of data and don’t forget things,” making such individuals perfect for work in information technology and engineering. The author concludes by saying that the incidence of autism has increased greatly over the last few decades and that “older parenting accounts for some of the rise (in rates of autism).” He goes on to state that “changing diagnostic criteria and greater awareness of the condition account for more of the increase but nearly 50 percent of the rise remains unexplained.”

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Finding Your Strength

Glass

BMW Shorties 2011 Top 10 Finalist. Also nominated for Best Actor, Best Cinematography, Best Screenplay, Best Production Design, Best Editing and Best Sound Design.

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Bullying Special-Needs Students

Bullying

For a while now, bullying has been making headlines despite numerouspublic campaigns against it. This year alone, many people have spoken out about bullying and advocate d on behalf of victims. Bullying a child with special needs takes this matter to a whole different level when it is done by teachers, whom our children look up to as role models!

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Spotlight on Savant Syndrome

Amoako Buachie is a 20-year-old artist from Flatbush Brooklyn, New York, who at the age of 15, was diagnosed as an autistic savant with a special ability to draw. His mother, Akosua, who came to the United States from Ghana 18 years ago, says that he has been “carrying around a pencil since he was three.” Remarkably, Amoako can draw and paint from memory without using reference materials.

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Haircuts and Children with Autism

Haircuts can pose a challenge for children with autism and their parents. For many children with autism, sensory sensitivity coupled with high anxiety can make a visit to the hair salon a traumatic experience that ultimately results in a tantrum. The experience is stressful for parents as well, especially if they are visiting a salon that is not familiar with autism. As a result, many parents dread taking their child for a haircut and often put it off as long as they can.

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Spotlight on Law Enforcement and Autism

I’d like to believe that police officers have good intentions and are able to make morally sound decisions when dealing with the public. Police departments across the country are taking steps to both protect the community as well as the impaired individual. The International Association of Chiefs of Police made interactions with individuals with autism their main topic of discussion during their 2010 summit.

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Some Thoughts on Emotional Communication in Asperger’s Syndrome

People with AS also understand emotions differently. While a typical person can quickly perceive sadness, anger, and happiness, some with AS find these emotions more difficult to comprehend. The identification of emotions may take longer, making communication more difficult. But in no way does this difference exclude them from feeling emotion.

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Dr. Oz and the “Autism Show”

However, the show did a fairly decent job of representing the problem. The vast majority of the scientists and pediatricians repeated the party line that “science has already proven that vaccinations do not cause autism” while a group of frustrated parents eloquently but emotionally expressed the fact that the studies have not been exhaustive and have not taken individual children into consideration.

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Pennsylvania Bus Driver Accused of Threatening a 9-Old Autistic Boy with a Crowbar

In December 2010, a 46-year-old male bus driver in West Mifflin, Pennsylvania threatened a 9-year-old autistic child. The incident was recorded on surveillance video. He said to the child, “If you don’t shut your beehive mouth up, I’m going to kill you with this crowbar.” The West Mifflin school district superintendent, Dr. Sardon, called the situation “appalling.” Are you kidding me? How did this guy fool people into hiring him? I myself, find it “appalling” that children were exposed to this bus driver on a daily basis. Charges are pending against the driver, who no longer drives for the West Mifflin school district.

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Bill Gates Calls the Autism-Vaccine Link “An Absolute Lie.”

Bill Gates wants to make polio the first disease to be eliminated worldwide. This is quite admirable, and is not the first (or the last) time the Gates Foundation has committed to a worthy cause—especially since they allocate over $1.5 billion per year towards national and global causes aimed at helping the weak and disadvantaged.

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