Making The Autism Numbers Work For Us

By Dan Coulter he numbers keep rising. I'm looking at an Associated Press news story reporting that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now estimate that 1 in 68 children in the United States is on the autism spectrum. The CDC started using its current method of calculating these estimates in 2007, when the number 1 in 150 emerged. In 2008, it rose to 1 in 110, then to 1 in 88 in 2012. Experts say the latest increase is likely due to more accurate diagnoses of autism that already existed. Every time I read about these numbers, I think, “What's the tipping point? What will it take to convince our society we need to put more resources towards understanding autism and supporting

Being Who You Are

By Dan Coulter Lots of kids aren’t happy being who they are. Particularly if they have neurobiological conditions that make them tend to act different from other kids. Conditions like Asperger Syndrome, Autism Spectrum Disorder - Level 1, Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Semantic-Pragmatic Disorder and others. This can be hard on parents, too. When your child doesn’t easily fit in, it’s sometimes difficult to know when to keep him away from a situation that might make him feel worse about himself – or when it’s best to keep him in a situation so he learns to deal with the world. Being rejected is hard. That’s when it’s tempting for a kid to wish he was someone else – or at least wish he cou

The Benefit of the Doubt

By Dan Coulter People can be such jerks. Other people. Not you and me. When we get upset and are impatient or short with people, it’s for good and valid reasons. If people could only see the pressures we’re under or the unfairness of the situations we have to deal with… Hmmm. I subscribe to a couple of special needs email bulletin boards. People share their experiences and I pick up some good ideas on how to understand and support my son who has Asperger Syndrome. Every once in a while, a few folks throw some pretty heated barbs back and forth. Someone takes exception to a comment, the tone of the responses escalates and then the accusations fly: “You’re condescending!” “You’re insul

Liberate The Neurotypicals!

By Dan Coulter Poor neurotypicals. Sometimes they just don’t have a clue. What’s a neurotypical? It’s a label for someone who doesn’t have Asperger Syndrome (AS), autism spectrum disorder, or another condition that makes you think differently. (I don’t know who coined the term, but I first heard it used by Dr. Peter Gerhardt.) We can call neurotypicals “NTs” for short. When an NT first encounters someone with Asperger Syndrome, he or she often sees quirky AS behaviors as a warning. “Oops, something wrong with this one. Better stay clear.” Many NT’s routinely erect mental barriers between themselves and people with AS, without realizing they’re walling themselves off from some really bright,

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