Seven-year-old Torin Phillips and his 6-year-old sister, Kaia, are on a mission to overcome the limiting effects of autism. The two siblings, who live just outside of Boston in Forestdale, MA, receive intensive applied behavior therapy (ABA) from the Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD). Torin and Kaia’s unique and uplifting stories are featured in CARD’s newest episode of “Mission Possible: Portraits of Hope.”
There were a lot of ridiculous tutorials posted on my favorite crafting blogs on Monday…embellished disposable diapers, hand sewn ruffled toilet paper, meat disguised as cake and cake disguised as meat. Even Google got in on the fun, promoting their newest product, “Google Nose Beta,” which allowed users to search their “Aromabase” and download “scentibytes.”
Join advocates from around the state as they meet with elected officials to advocate for the over 15 proposed bills for the 2012-2013 legislative session impacting the autism, special needs and disability communities. Bill topics include: extension of SB 946 (autism mandate), diversity and equality of services through regional centers, consumer safety, increased accessibility to services, and more.
Have you ever felt like you were alone and no one understood what you were going through? I have to be honest, in the first year after my son was diagnosed with Autism, I felt that way a great deal of the time. For me that feeling of isolation got better over time. I was lucky that some people reached out their hands and showed me that my family’s journey was a group marathon, not a solo sprint. Those helping hands made all the difference and I am forever grateful to them. But if I’m completely honest there are still days, 7 years after we first got that diagnosis, that I marvel at the sometime complete lack of compassion for what my son has gone through, and what so many other families dealing with Autism are going through. “Where is the compassion, where is the perspective taking from people who are supposedly neuro-typical??!!!” I sometimes rage. Those moments leave me feeling powerless and I’ve decided to do something about it.
One of the main things you learn when you talk to Temple Grandin is that she lives to create solutions. Whether it’s finding a humane way to walk cattle through a slaughter house or it’s finding a way to engage a child’s individual imagination, she is excited to brainstorm and find a viable path. As soon as Temple Grandin found out that I was an Autism Mom, she wanted to know all about my son. What were his interests? What was I doing to feed his interests? One of the things Temple seems very sure about is that we shouldn’t allow children on the spectrum to just wither away by themselves playing useless games that don’t teach them anything useful. And let’s face it there are lots of those games out there.
Interviewing Temple Grandin is a rare treat. Sitting and chatting with her after an interview is…life changing. I had that opportunity a few weeks ago. The interview portion of our time together went well. She is a consummate professional. She restates your question so the editing job is cleaner and easier, she knows where to clip the mic so her cowboy tie won’t rustle. She’s in the zone and ready when the cameras are on. So when the interview was over I really expected her to be all business and quickly depart. Not Temple. She graciously stayed for pictures and the autographing of plastic cows, during which I asked her if she was still teaching.
I was a fan of Temple Grandin’s long before I was the parent of a child on the Autism spectrum. Once my son was diagnosed with Autism I became a fan of Temple’s mother, Eustacia Cutler. In an era where Autism awareness wasn’t even in its infancy and treatments were basically relegated to institutionalizing your child and walking away, Eustacia Cutler forged her own path.