Wednesday, July 8, 2009

"Obsessive" Stacking and Autism?

Today, I was reading an article online: "New Study Finds Differences in Way Autistic Children Learn." ( ) It was an interesting article, which I enjoyed reading. My primary problem with the article was the caption to the photo of an adorable little boy making a stack of tin cans that he'd gotten from his kitchen.

Here is what the caption said: "A young autistic boy by the name of Quinn is shown here obsessively stacking cans." I don't know about you, but when I was young, we called that building a tower! I guess we'd better haul all of the kids in preschool that build with blocks to have them evaluated for autism!

I'm being sarcastic here, but it seems to me that we have two problems relating to children with special needs represented here:

1. We tend to label (as something bad) many things that autistic kids do. Special talents are not recognized as such, they're called "splinter skills." A joyful motion of repeated throwing leaves in the air is called "stimming." Let's not forget that autistic kids are still kids, and all kids do weird stuff! And, that's okay.

2. I think that we, as an American society at least, are making every negative or unusual behavior a clinical diagnosis. As I said above, all kids do weird things. All kids act out to test their limits sometimes. What all kids really need is consistency, kind discipline, responsible parenting, and plenty of structure. We don't need a pill or diagnosis to fix our problems!

This is not to say that there are some legitimate medical behavior issues, because there certainly are. I just think that we're going overboard with labeling.

Have a blessed day,


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Hand Flapping - Another Great Use!

A few days ago, I noticed my toddler son flapping his hands. I thought, "Oh my goodness, that's a sign of Autism for sure!" Upon closer inspection, I noticed that there was a fly flying near him. I remembered that we had attended a 4th of July picnic, and I had been "shooing" some flies away by, of course, "flapping" my hands!

Now, when I say, "Shoo fly," my son will flap his hands, and he thinks it is really funny. See, another great use for hand flapping!

Have a beautiful day of making the world a beautiful place,


Saturday, May 16, 2009

Should genetic tests be created to identify autism in the womb?

Sorry that I have neglected this blog for so long! I've been really busy, but hope to update more soon.

In the meantime, I wanted to let you all know that the blog at has a new poll on the question, "Should genetic tests be created to identify autism in the womb?"

You can select more than one answer, so I selected both "No, because such a test implies that it's okay to abort an autistic fetus." and "No, because there's no good way to determine the baby's functional level."

I find this idea very scary, because I think that a lot of people would abort if such a test were to come back positive. Sad. But, go vote however you want!

Have a great day!


Monday, December 29, 2008

Knitting for Mental Health

I've recently started learning to knit. I find this to be very relaxing and it helps me to releive stress. It's also great because I can learn a hobby to make useful things. I would really like to learn to knit and stuff toys for my baby when he's a bit older.

Knitting also helps me because I stim a lot with my hands. This, in and of itself, is not a problem, except for the fact that one of the stims I have does cause occasional injury to my hands. Knitting is a great replacement for this stim that serves a useful purpose, as well as stress-relief.

Crochet is an alternative if the sharp looking needles make you nervous.

Just wanted to share that in case anyone else wants to try it. Hope you all have a Happy New Year!


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Is there something wrong with "perseverating" about animals? Rethinking "social skills" training.

I was just reading an article about increasing social interactions for autistic kids, and was a little bit offended. The child in the study (a teenager) was described as liking to read, watch television, and ride horses. She stated that she enjoys being with animals more than people. Because of her strong interest in horses, her interests were described as "restricted" and the article stated that she "perseverates" about the topic of horses and caring for horses.

Let's "tackle" this one issue at a time. My comments are in bold.

1. The child in the study (a teenager) was described as liking to read, watch television, and ride horses. Sounds like a teenager with some very healthy hobbies and interests to me. Oh, wait I guess we want her to be like the other teens...better start her smoking and going to drunken parties. (That was sarcasm).

2. She stated that she enjoys being with animals more than people. So do I a lot of the time. Animals don't have an agenda, and are often more friendly and forgiving than many people.

3. Because of her strong interest in horses, her interests were described as "restricted" and the article stated that she "perseverates" about the topic of horses and caring for horses. Well, I guess we'd better start some social skills intervention with all of the veterinarians, animal shelter employees, and animal rights activists because they sure devote a lot of their time to animals and their care. (Also sarcasm).

I think that we really need to respect the interests of autistic kids and help them develop them into a future job. I could see a great future for this young lady in some aspect of animal care. What a great field to get into!

But wait, this article was about a social skills intervention to get her away from this interest and be like the other teens. And, sadly, I guess it worked, because here is how the article described one of the successes of the intervention: "Towards the end of the school year, [CHILD's NAME] has made great strides as evidenced in her joining her peer to tease the speech and language pathologist."

Great job, you successfuly taught her to disrespect a teacher to be like her peers. Keep up the good work. (That was the last sarcasm of the post).

I'm not against social skills interventions, in fact, I think they're vital, but let's try to do them in a way that respects all individuals involved.

Thanks for reading, and have a lovely day!

Aspie Mama

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Everybody Stims...Sometimes!

At the encouragement of my husband, we went out on this busy shopping weekend to do, well, some shopping. If you're a regular reader of this blog, you know I'm not a fan of shopping.

As we were checking out at the store, I noticed that the clerk would repeatedly squeeze a small ball while waiting for customers to scan their credit cards, take items out of their carts, etc. This, to me, seemed like a form of stimming.

I belive that stimming is something that we all do. How many people do you know who drum their fingers on tables, twirl their hair, and shake their leg while sitting? These are just a few of the ways that people can "stim." Because people with autism sometimes stim in different ways, such as flapping their hands or jumping and spinning, does that make them that unusual? No.

My stim is that I always need to be doing something with my hands. So, I do needle point. If that's not available, I like to stretch a deflated balloon. :)

We need to be careful when we try to "stop" stimming. It does serve a sensory purpose. If it is a stim that is very disruptive or harmful, try to find something that the autistic person can do that will give them a similar sensory experience.

Please share your thoughts and ideas about how to do this. Thanks!


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I've met my match..."outliteralled" by my husband!

I'm pretty sure that "outliteralled" is not a word, but what I mean is this. I've finally found someone who takes things more literally than I do. Here's our latest story.

We were walking in a mall with our baby in the stroller. My husband likes to walk much faster than I can keep up with, and was pusing the stroller. I wanted to put something in the stroller storeage basket, so I said, "Can I put this in the stroller, please?"

From way up ahead, he said back at me, "Sure, go ahead."

"Well, I can't reach the stroller when you're way up there."

"Oh, well you didn't say to come back or slow down."

I had figured he would assume that he needed to slow down so that I could catch up to him, and thus, be able to put my item in the stroller.

Just a reminder to those of you with Aspie husbands: say and ask for exactly what you mean! :)

Happy Thanksgiving again!