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Posts Tagged ‘Autism Recovery’

By Shannon Penrod

Everyday Autism Miracles

Mondays at 4pm PST of http://www.toginet.com

If you know me or follow my story at all, you know that my son is in the process of recovering from Autism.  Jem was diagnosed with Autism 5 years, 25 days, and approximately 4 hour and 15 minutes ago.  But who’s counting?  On that very first day when he was diagnosed I felt so many emotions.  I was relieved because I figured that now we had a name for it we could help him.  I was overwhelmed because I didn’t know what that help was and I was terrified to the core of my being that I was going to let my little guy down somehow.  I promised myself that I would do everything that I could for him and that somehow, someday I would try to help other parents who faced this devastating diagnosis.  A lot of water has meandered under the bridge in the last five years but all in all everything has turned out great.  My child is a walking, talking miracle thanks to the intensive ABA therapy he has received from The Center for Autism and Related Disorders

As for me, for the last year I have been busy hosting a radio show about Autism called Everyday Autism Miracles.  The show is focused on the positive things that are happening in the world of Autism.  This week Everyday Autism Miracles is moving to its new time slot:  Mondays at 7pm EST, 6pm Central, 5pm Mountain time, and 4pm Pacific time.  The move was necessary to make room for my new gig as the host of Skills Live.  

Back in September I was invited to see the unveiling of a new tool in the fight against Autism.  It was an amazing program called SKILLS developed by The Center for Autism and Related Disorders, the same people who gave me back my child.  I saw SKILLS and fell in love.  When I tell you that it was a life changing moment, I’m not kidding.  I saw clearly, for the first time, the answer to a problem that had been dogging me for years: “How on earth are we ever going to get the help my child has received to all of the children with Autism?”  SKILLS answered that question for me.  It gave me hope.  It made me shake for hours, I was so excited.  I had to pull the car over and call my husband, I was that inspired.

To now get to work on this project, well it’s beyond my wildest dreams.  Early this Spring I will begin hosting a live webcast every weekday morning; helping parents, teachers and caregivers to get the very most out of this revolutionary new tool.  I’m pretty sure that makes me the luckiest person on the planet.  For now, while we are in the pre-production phase, I continue to be in awe of the amazing minds that are working tirelessly to recover our kids from Autism.  It is beyond humbling to work with these brilliant people.

Everyday Autism Miracles will continue on in its new time slot.  Right now we are finishing up a series on what to do when your child is first diagnosed.  Free podcasts of all of the shows are available on the show page and on iTunes.  If you or someone you know loves a child with an Autism Spectrum Disorder I hope you’ll encourage them to tune in.  There’s more hope than ever.  I also hope you’ll check out SKILLS to see exactly why I’m so excited.  You can even take advantage of a free trial opportunity to do a wonderful ELearning program that effectively teaches you everything you need to know about ABA therapy in order to be a knowledgeable member of your child’s team on the road to recovery.  The free trial is almost up so check it out today.

This is the beginning of a new chapter for me.  I am excited and grateful.  It has not escaped me that as this journey begins as another is winding to a close.  The truth is I couldn’t even consider doing this job if Jem weren’t doing so well.  It has been an amazing five year journey.  There is a moment at the end of  To Kill a Mockingbird where Harper Lee narrates about getting ready to go to the Halloween Program at her school.  She is speaking of her brother Jem, whom my son is named after and she says, “Thus began our longest journey together.”  I have thought of that line so often over these five years.   I can honestly say that it has been a privilege and an honor to have shared this path with my son and husband.  Now with light at the end of the tunnel so clearly in sight there is nothing to do but look forward.   And I do.

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by Shannon Penrod

In case you didn’t know April is Autism Awareness Month.  For me every month is Autism Awareness Month, because I am one of the millions of parents worldwide who is raising a child with an autism diagnosis.  It’s an interesting  journey that is frequently made tougher by a lack of information among the public.  So here are the five things I wish everyone knew about Autism:

1.  One size does not fit all with Autism.  In fact, it is better to think of it as “Autisms” instead of “Autism”.  Children on the Autism Spectrum have a wide variety of symptoms, sensitivities and capabilities.  Try not to assume that the label Autism means they are capable or incapable of doing anything.  Some children with Autism can’t bear to be touched, others require frequent touching to stay engaged.  Don’t assume, ask questions and be willing to look at those diagnosed with Autism as individuals with individual needs.

2. Autism is not the result of bad parenting.  I’m sorry I even have to say that, but I do.  There are still people who think that Autism is caused by bad parenting, it’s not.  However, it is true that superlative parenting, via ABA Therapy is helpful in diminishing or eradicating  Autism behaviors. Currently most insurance companies don’t pay for ABA Therapy, even with the new Health Care Bill, which is why it is so important that individual states pass legislation to make insurance companies accountable.

3. Autism is treatable and in some cases it is possible to recover from Autism.  There have been countless cases of children diagnosed with Autism at an early age who, after extensive early intervention, later tested as being neurotypical.  There are video tapes of many of these children that clearly show autistic behaviors at an early age and their progress has been scientifically documented.  It’s not a rumor, a false hope, snake oil or urban legend.  There is hope and studies clearly show that the earlier the intervention the greater the possibilities in outcome.  So if you have or know a child that you have concerns about you should not take a “wait and see” approach.

4. It is no longer politically correct to refer to children as being “Autistic”, the correct term is that they “have Autism” or “have an Autism Spectrum Diagnosis”.  You can even say that they are “on the Spectrum”. Stop and consider that we would never refer to a child with Cerebral Palsy as “Palsic”, or a child with Leukemia as “Leukimic”, we simply say they have the disorder, it should be the same with Autism.

5.  Children on the Autism Spectrum and their parents need your help.  There are charities raising money for research and to fund treatments, if you can give generously.  I highly recommend Autism Speaks and ACT Today.  If you know a child with Autism, ask the family what kind of assistance they could use.  It could be something as simple as a regular play date that could make a difference in a child’s life.  These children are worth the effort, please offer them what you can.

Shannon Penrod is the host of Everyday Autism Miracles on Toginet Radio.  The live talk radio show airs every Friday at 2pm EST on www.toginet.com  Free Podcasts of the shows can be downloaded at www.toginet.com/shows/everydayautismmiracles and on iTunes.

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