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Saturday, August 23, 2008

Teaching a nonverbal kid to read

Mr K is an interesting boy. Although he's not particularly verbal, he is very interested in letters and numbers.

He can count to at least twenty. I'm sure he can count higher, but we haven't tested him on this. He knows all his letters, and he knows the sounds they make. He can even sign them all. If you show him the alphabet, he gets excited and points and labels all the letters for you.

So the next step, as suggested by his preschool teacher, is to get him to read. If he can read and articulate the letter sounds, eventually he can articulate sounds in verbal speech. It's backwards from the way most kids go about it, but you have to play to a kid's strengths.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Measles Over Autism

“Most parents I know will take measles over autism,” said J. B. Handley, co-founder of Generation Rescue, a parent-led organization that contends that autism is a treatable condition caused by vaccines.

From a NYT article showing a rise in Measles cases, including at least two deaths.

Um, no. Not me. Even assuming for a moment that the MMR vaccine causes autism. It doesn't. There's no credible evidence at all that it does, and the rate of diagnosis has increased even as the rate of vaccination has decreased. But even assuming it were a possibility - I'd rather have a live child with a disability than a dead child I could have saved.

Just like some of the so called "treatments" out there. I'd rather have a live child with a disability than a dead child with a cure.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Things could be worse

That's my mantra lately. My boy's not doing a lot of talking, but he is pointing at things to direct my attention to it. He's also saying a lot of words that aren't expressing immediate needs.

Point at picture of kid swimming on the computer screen. "Fish!"
Point at box labeled for 4T clothing, "T! 4! T! 4!"

Yeah, I'd like it if he were talking, but I feel like we're doing better connecting, and that's progress.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Went to an interesting talk today from someone with Aspergers. He's old enough to have lived through the bad old days of a "childhood schizophrenia" diagnosis and shock therapy(!). Yeah.

Anyway, he was talking a little about how he was very "anti-cure." I've run into this a lot among adults on the spectrum. I think part of it is his childhood and the particular attempts to cure that were made on him. Um, yeah. I'd be anti that sort of cure, too.

And I think a lot of it is the difference in what people mean when they say, "cure." I say "treatment," because that's what I mean, but I know people who say "cure" and mean the same thing. My goal is to raise an adult capable of taking care of himself, earning wages, and finding happiness.

Even if they found some sort of magic pill tomorrow, chances are that it wouldn't actually eliminate all traces of organic brain difference between my son and typically developing peers. That just isn't realistic.

If there is some sort of "cure," it will likely be in either genetic avoidance or environmental trigger avoidance. Sort of like Down Syndrome or Phenylketonuria. People can choose to avoid having a child with Down Syndrome. (I have my doubts about that 90% statistic and it's applicability in the US) People can avoid the mental retardation associated with PKU through special diet beginning in infancy. Knowing these things hasn't done squat to help adults with either, and it never will.

So basically, a cure would most likely be too late to help any of our kids. And that isn't a death sentence or the end of the world. It just is.