Monday, July 26, 2010

We Are Now On Wordpress!

We have some exciting news to share, we are now on wordpress! This is where all of the new Danny's Wish blog posts will go from this moment on so please make a note of the change.

Here is the NEW link to our blog:

See you there!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

This week's featured app: iWriteWords

Here is another of our favorite iPad apps! iWriteWords is nicely pictured here below on the iTouch, but now imagine it on the much larger screen of the iPad! It is wonderful for all children and especially wonderful for our autistic children! Interactive, fun and all about learning!

Product description from developer: “iWriteWords teaches your child handwriting while playing a fun and entertaining game. Help Mr. Crab collect the numbers in sequence by dragging him with your finger – and drawing the letter at the same time. Once all the letters in the word are drawn properly, a cute drawing appears. Tilt your iPhone or iPod Touch and watch the letters slide into the rotating hole and advance to the next level.”

Check out more about his app HERE!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Free App! "Autism Xpress"!

Danny's Wish would like to highlight another amazing App from the iPad called "Autism Xpress" Please check out the description below and go here to download it for FREE! Woot!

The ‘Autism Xpress’ iPhone Application has been created to help promote greater awareness about autism spectrum disorders. It is designed to encourage people with autism to recognizes and express their emotions through its fun and easy to use interface.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

We Love ACC apps for the iPad!

We at Danny's Wish really love all the ACC apps for the iPad! The one we are featuring this week is called Prologuo2Go.

Proloquo2Go, the augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) system that has taken the world by storm, is now available on iPad. Proloquo2Go is latin for speak out loud and that’s exactly what it helps people do! It is pronounced “Pro” as in professional, “lo” as in low, and “quo” as in quotation. The “2Go” means mobile.

Proloquo2Go version 1.3 has been optimized for the iPad and will be a free update for existing users.

Because the iPad has a significantly larger screen than the iPod touch and iPhone you will be able to use grids of up to 64 items. Proloquo2Go 1.3 also supports all device orientations allowing you to hold the iPad any way you like. Proloquo2Go 1.3 is a universal App allowing you to use the exact same application on an iPad, iPhone and iPod touch. Now you can use it on an iPad at home, at work or at school and use it on an iPod touch or iPhone when going to the movies, a restaurant or hiking.

Information for this article found here:

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Legislators vote to mandate autism coverage

New York lawmakers have approved legislation to require health insurance companies to provide coverage for screening, diagnosis and lifetime treatment of autism spectrum disorders.

The bill passed in the Senate last week and in the Assembly on Monday night.

Citing a federal Centers for Disease Control estimate that one out of 110 children is diagnosed with the disorder, sponsors say the measure could increase overall health insurance premiums by as much as 2 percent in New York. The state would join 20 others that already require coverage.

Affected children struggle with social interaction and communication, ranging from mild to severe symptoms.

Sen. Roy McDonald, a Saratoga Republican, said he has two grandchildren with autism. “My guys don’t talk, and it’s a very serious thing,” he said.

Under the bill, which still needs Gov. David Paterson’s signature, state health officials will identify minimum coverage options for clinically proven treatment and therapy. Paterson will review it, spokesman Morgan Hook said Tuesday.

“The new law will prevent denial of coverage on the basis that treatments are educational rather than medical in their necessity, the most common grounds for refusal,” said Assemblyman Joseph Morelle, a Rochester Democrat and bill sponsor. “To that end, it allows families to appeal denials to an independent review panel if an initial grievance to the insurer is unsuccessful.”

Therapies covered by the new scope of insurance must be clinically proven and peer reviewed, Morelle said. Some parents had urged coverage of experimental treatments as well.

The Health Plan Association, which represents insurers, generally opposes mandates because they increase the cost of health care, spokeswoman Leslie Moran said.

“This bill is particularly troubling because it is so far-reaching,” she said Tuesday. “There is no age limit on coverage. There’s no annual or lifetime cap on the amount that would have to be paid for services.”

Moran said many of the services are currently available in more appropriate settings like schools, and insurers don’t believe they should pay for services such as teaching daily living and academic skills. They also think the 2 percent estimate is low - New Yorkers already pay almost $28 billion in annual health care premiums, and that would mean at least another half-billion dollars.

Judith Ursitti, the regional director for Autism Speaks whose son Jack was diagnosed in 2005, said her family’s out-of-pocket costs have ranged from about $60,000 a year initially to about $25,000 to $30,000 now that he is in school and almost 7 years old. “It’s rare that parents are able to access coverage for children or adults,” she said.

Jack, who was diagnosed at the severe end of the spectrum, is speaking after many thousands of dollars and years of therapy, Ursitti said. She and other advocates stressed the importance of early diagnosis and said it should happen between 18 and 24 months, though only about half of insurers reimburse for a simple screening test.

Info from this article found here:

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Another iPad Success Story!

We posted about Danny's success with the iPad earlier this week and now we wanted to post another success story we found.

Shannon Rosa @shannonrosa (on twitter) posted an amazing article on her blog: It is about her son Leo who has autism and all the success he has found with the iPad. Here is a small part of the article:

"My son Leo's life was transformed when a five-dollar raffle ticket turned into a brand-new iPad. I'm not exaggerating. Before the iPad, Leo's autism made him dependent on others for entertainment, play, learning, and communication. With the iPad, Leo electrifies the air around him with independence and daily new skills. People who know Leo are amazed when they see this new boy rocking that iPad. I'm impressed, too, especially when our aggressively food-obsessed boy chooses to play with his iPad rather than eat. I don't usually dabble in miracle-speak, but I may erect a tiny altar to Steve Jobs in the corner of our living room."

Read more of Shannon's article here: Below is a clip of Leo using his iPad :) Go Leo!!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Wonders of the iPad with Danny!

We sometimes don’t realize the little things we take for granted. Like having a say, a voice, vast vocabulary, and the opportunity to make choices. All qualities that Danny unfortunately does not possess. With a limited vocabulary and conversation capabilities that extend only as far as answering yes and no questions, communication as you can imagine is extremely difficult. Sure, Danny has had experience with the chunky oversized temperamental Dynavox Mt4 augmentative communication device, but nothing compares to the world of opportunity the iPad offers at the mere touch of a screen, literally.

With augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) apps such as TaptoTalk, Danny’s communication flourishes. Similar to the Dynavox, TaptoTalk allows family members to set up folders with both commands and “wants” essentially, by using pictures accompanied by voice dictations of the word. For example, if Danny is hungry and wants to go to his favorite diner “Taby’s” for a plate of fries, we no longer have to read tell tale signs of hunger on his face and assume its french fry depravation! He can simply press tabs that say “I am Hungry” with a picture of him eating, and then move along to “I want to go to Taby’s,” with a picture of the restaurant. Simple, efficient, and miraculous. Now Danny not only has a voice, but a choice. And we don’t have to drag out that bulky Dynavox and pray there is an outlet close by.

Aside from the AAC TaptoTalk, which undoubtedly is the most useful and important application the iPad can offer Danny, there are other benefits to this wonder pad. As you may or may not know, many Autistic children have a need to “stim” or focus on some act, usually physical, and repeat it multiple times to establish balance, clarity, and comfort. Using games on the iPad, such as memory, Danny’s “stims” have become a lot more productive and mind engaging. We are anxious to try out other educational applications like First Words and iWrite Words to see if they have a similar effect.

All these benefits prevail, on top of the classic functions equip with most iProducts, including the ability to watch movies and listen to music. These two past times are Danny’s favorites. The large screen allows Danny to enjoy his favorite movies, like “The Little Giants” and “Richie Rich” comfortably while in transit. And when he craves sensory stimulation to calm his nerves and subdue his tics, he has his entire music library at his fingertips. We are extremely proud of Danny’s accomplishments with the iPad and simultaneously impressed by his ability to pick up the functionality so quickly.

Most importantly it has given us, his family, a chance to communicate easily, often, and efficiently with our favorite little guy. There is nothing more valuable in this world to us than this. The iPad and accompanying applications have brought us miles closer to Danny, and for that we are entirely grateful and even more so, excited for the future.

-This article was written directly by Danny's sister Kristina.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Some Fun News In The World Of Autism!

We found a few fun things to share with you in the world of Autism! Enjoy!

The Albany Chapter of the Autism Society of America is sponsoring an Autism Friendly Film Showing at Colonie Center’s Regal Cinema. They will be showing Pixars "Toy Story 3". The special showing will take place Saturday June 26, 2010 starting at 9:30 a.m. Admission will be $7.50 for ages 12 -59, $7 for children 11 and under and senior citizens ages 60 and over. Tickets can be purchased at the door.

Autism friendly films allow for kids to move around during the film, have the sound lowered and the lights are left on so that children on the autism spectrum are more comfortable. The Albany Chapter ASA is extremely grateful to Mark LeChevet, general manager, for the opportunity to partner with Colonie Center’s Regal Cinema to make this event happen. They have been extremely helpful and accommodating in ensuring the needs of kids with autism are met.

Go here to find a location playing near you:

If you are on facebook you can find details here:!/event.php?eid=130038800347407&ref=mf

Jet Li says he hopes that his new movie about autism offers a refreshing alternative to the historical and kung fu epics that dominate the Chinese industry.

The veteran action star plays an aquarium worker who cares for his autistic son in the low-budget "Ocean Heaven" — his first Chinese-language production since the 2007 release of "The Warlords."

"Nowadays everyone is making blockbusters. Making a 7 million Chinese yuan ($1 million) movie requires a lot of sincerity," Li told reporters in Hong Kong. "This movie is about sincerity. It shows that in this day and age that filmmakers are willing to do something for society."

The actor promoted the movie by visiting the dolphins at Hong Kong's Ocean Park with a small group of mentally handicapped and autistic adults.

"I hope everyone can examine what is the most important relationship in life — the relationship between parent and child," he said.

A noticeably thinner Li said he lost 18 pounds (8 kilograms) from a thyroid condition.

Like Jackie Chan, a fellow kung fu star who crossed over to Hollywood from the Hong Kong movie industry, Li also now juggles careers in Chinese and American films.

His recent Hollywood releases include "The Forbidden Kingdom," which costarred Chan, "The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor" and "The Expendables."

Information from:

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Mansion Ride For Autism

The Mansion Ride For Autism
9th Annual Ride, Sunday June 13th 2010
A Cycling Event on Nassau County's Gold Coast
Choose 16, 40 or 62 miles

The Mansion Ride for Autism celebrates it's 9th annual event on Sunday June 13, 2010. Just $50 to ride.
Since the all-volunteer Mansion Ride began in 2002, it has served as a platform to unite hundreds of riders.
Collectively, we have raised AUTISM awareness and over $375,000 (net).
100% of those funds are donated to support the education of Children with Autism.

Learn more are visit their website here:
Contact The Mansion Ride For Autism here:

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

New Study! New Statistic! and the Benefits of Early Intervention!

The new statistic on those being diagnosed with Autism is now 1 in 110 children and 1 in 70 boys. Although more children are being diagnosed with autism, early intervention can help them live productive lives. Speaking of early intervention, in recent news researchers in London have found a possible way to detect autism in very young children by way of urine test. Article below and can also be viewed here:

Autism Finding Could Lead to Simple Urine Test for the Condition

ScienceDaily (June 5, 2010) — Children with autism have a different chemical fingerprint in their urine than non-autistic children, according to new research published tomorrow in the print edition of the Journal of Proteome Research.

The researchers behind the study, from Imperial College London and the University of South Australia, suggest that their findings could ultimately lead to a simple urine test to determine whether or not a young child has autism.
Autism affects an estimated one in every 100 people in the UK. People with autism have a range of different symptoms, but they commonly experience problems with communication and social skills, such as understanding other people's emotions and making conversation and eye contact.
People with autism are also known to suffer from gastrointestinal disorders and they have a different makeup of bacteria in their guts from non-autistic people.
Today's research shows that it is possible to distinguish between autistic and non-autistic children by looking at the by-products of gut bacteria and the body's metabolic processes in the children's urine. The exact biological significance of gastrointestinal disorders in the development of autism is unknown.
The distinctive urinary metabolic fingerprint for autism identified in today's study could form the basis of a non-invasive test that might help diagnose autism earlier. This would enable autistic children to receive assistance, such as advanced behavioural therapy, earlier in their development than is currently possible.
At present, children are assessed for autism through a lengthy process involving a range of tests that explore the child's social interaction, communication and imaginative skills.
Early intervention can greatly improve the progress of children with autism but it is currently difficult to establish a firm diagnosis when children are under 18 months of age, although it is likely that changes may occur much earlier than this.
The researchers suggest that their new understanding of the makeup of bacteria in autistic children's guts could also help scientists to develop treatments to tackle autistic people's gastrointestinal problems.
Professor Jeremy Nicholson, the corresponding author of the study, who is the Head of the Department of Surgery and Cancer at Imperial College London, said: "Autism is a condition that affects a person's social skills, so at first it might seem strange that there's a relationship between autism and what's happening in someone's gut. However, your metabolism and the makeup of your gut bacteria reflect all sorts of things, including your lifestyle and your genes. Autism affects many different parts of a person's system and our study shows that you can see how it disrupts their system by looking at their metabolism and their gut bacteria.
"We hope our findings might be the first step towards creating a simple urine test to diagnose autism at a really young age, although this is a long way off -- such a test could take many years to develop and we're just beginning to explore the possibilities. We know that giving therapy to children with autism when they are very young can make a huge difference to their progress. A urine test might enable professionals to quickly identify children with autism and help them early on," he added.
The researchers are now keen to investigate whether metabolic differences in people with autism are related to the causes of the condition or are a consequence of its progression.
The researchers reached their conclusions by using H NMR Spectroscopy to analyse the urine of three groups of children aged between 3 and 9: 39 children who had previously been diagnosed with autism, 28 non-autistic siblings of children with autism, and 34 children who did not have autism who did not have an autistic sibling.
They found that each of the three groups had a distinct chemical fingerprint. Non-autistic children with autistic siblings had a different chemical fingerprint than those without any autistic siblings, and autistic children had a different chemical fingerprint than the other two groups.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Autism and Theatre, A Great Match!

We are excited to tell our followers that the inspiration for "Danny's Wish", Danny himself is going to be in an upcoming play this weekend! Go Danny!!

We thought this would be the perfect time to highlight an amazing theatre called "International Association of Theatre for Autism".

International Association of Theatre for Autism (IATA)
"An online network uniting professionals and parents interested
in applying theatre techniques to help individuals with autism."

IATA was created to unite professionals and parents interested in using theatre to help individuals with autism. IATA is the first network to bring people from around the world together to strengthen theatre-autism work. The collaborative work of network members will be used to develop best practices, create new techniques, spread the word about theatre interventions for individuals with autism, generate data to support claims of effectiveness, and ultimately increase the quality of life for individuals with autism.

Theatre Aspects
Body Awareness
Emotional Expression
Emotional Recognition
Group Dynamics

ASD/AS deficits

*marked impairments in the use of multiple nonverbal behaviors such as eye-to-eye gaze, facial expression, body posture, and gestures to regulate social interaction

*a lack of spontaneous seeking to share enjoyment, interest or achievements with other people

*lack of social or emotional reciprocity

*failure to develop peer relationships appropriate to developmental level

Visit their website for more info about the "International Association of Theatre for Autism"

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A Regular Guy: Growing Up With Autism

“I hear autistic people are brilliant”. “Is your son like Rain Man?” These are comments I hear when people learn that my eldest son is autistic. A Regular Guy: Growing Up With Autism is a memoir about life with an autistic son, Matthew, written from a mother’s perspective. It answers the many questions that people have about autism through the story of Matthew’s life, from the tender years of diagnosis to young adulthood. A Regular Guy illustrates the many ways in which family, friends and strangers are touched by Matthew’s profound desire to be a regular guy, and how his brutal honesty and social awkwardness bring out the best and worst in people in touching and humorous ways. In turn, A Regular Guy leads readers to love and accept Matthew, quirks and all, and inspires them to understand and tolerate the differences in others.

About Laura

Laura Shumaker is the author of A Regular Guy: Growing Up With Autism and is a City Bright for the San Francisco Chronicle. She has contributed to several anthologies, including Voices of Autism, A Cup of Comfort for Parents of Children with Special Needs, Writin’ on Empty, and the forthcoming Gravity Pulls You In. She is a regular contributor to NPR Perspectives and a columnist for 5 Minutes for Special Needs. Laura’s essays have appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, the Contra Costa Times, Literary Mama, the East Bay Monthly, The Autism Advocate and on CNN.COM.

Laura speaks regularly to schools, book and disability groups.

She lives in Lafayette, California with her husband Peter and her three sons.

Laura Shumaker describes the book:

"A Regular Guy: Growing Up With Autism is a memoir about life with my autistic son, Matthew. It answers the many questions that people have about autism through the story of Matthew’s life-and our family’s life- spanning from babyhood to young adulthood. The story tells the many ways in which family, friends and strangers are touched by Matthew’s desperate desire to be a regular guy, and how his brutal honesty and social awkwardness bring out the best and worst in people in touching and humorous ways. Those who’ve read the book have told me that the book inspired them to understand and tolerate the differences in others."

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Autistic Basketball Phenom Inspires Cornell Team

Our last blog post was about teaching you Autistic child basketball. Soon after we saw a very inspiring story of Jason “J-Mac” McElwain. Below is an article from The Autism News.

‘J-Mac’ Secret Weapon of Cornell Basketball Team During NCAA Tournament

By David Muir and Christine Brozyna

If Cornell is this year’s Cinderella story at the NCAA tournament, than Jason “J-Mac” McElwain certainly would be its prince.

J-Mac, who has autism, first captured the heart of the nation four years ago when, in the last game of his high school basketball team’s season, he was given his first chance to play. In just four minutes, he scored six three-point shots and finished with 20 points. He even tied the school record.

One of J-Mac’s admirers is Cornell basketball coach Steve Donahue, whose own son, Matt, has autism. Donahue reached out to J-Mac after that electrifying high school basketball game and the two have stayed in touch ever since.

“It was one of the greatest inspirational stories I had ever heard,” Donahue said. “Jason was having so much fun and enjoying the experience. It made me really happy that one day my son could have kind of experience as well in his high school.”

This year, J-Mac, now 21-years-old, joined Donahue at the NCAA tournament selection. In addition, he’s been calling and texting Donahue with advice for the team — including how to beat top NCAA teams Temple University and University of Wisconsin.

“Jason’s advice is unbelievable. The kid is on the money,” Donahue said. “What better way to motivate our guys then to have Jason come in and talk to them. He’s got a lot of great ideas and always ends them with an inspirational thought. I love hearing from him.”

Still, J-Mac, who is not a student at Cornell, is humble about his involvement with the team.

“I’m not taking anything away from the team,” J-Mac told ABC News.

But it was J-Mac’s text in the final minutes of the Wisconsin game that has had the most impact. It read, “If you don’t dream to become a champion, you won’t become a champion.”

Moments later, Cornell won again.

As J-Mac’s story continues to unfold, a new chapter is developing for the inspiring young man. He’s decided to turn his attention to the sidelines, and in addition to giving advice to the Cornell basketball team, he volunteers as a junior varsity assistant coach for his alma mater — Greece Athena High School in New York state. Next year, he’ll help with the varsity team.

He also works a job in the Greece, N.Y., area.

In the meantime, J-Mac continues to dole out advice to the Cornell team.

“I’ve been a part of many comebacks,” he said. “I’ve been a part of teams that have come back against us. I told them you have to finish the game.”

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Teaching Your Autistic Child Basketball

Basketball is a great sport for kids to play. It is safer, requires less physical prowess and is less complex than many other sports. It is true that it requires some depth perception and height is a key benefit, but it is a great choice at early ages, and giving your child the experience of playing a sport will be a memory they keep forever.

It is very common for autistic children to have little interest in sports related activities, for example, basketball. When they are very young, they often start out with some interest, and will join a basketball team. After some time, the child may loose interest in venturing out on to the basketball court, or eventually may not want to attend practices or games at all.

This can be very frustrating to parents, especially fathers or grandfathers that have fond memories of playing basketball and the life-long friendships they made being part of a team.

It is still possible for many autistic children, especially aspergers type, to have an interest and play basketball. What is important is that you do not have expectations that your child is going to follow of the traditional rules and expectations that most children do when joining a basketball team and learning the game.

In fact, you may have to consider strictly recreational non-team style play. If your child is not able to follow and focus on the instructions, and is not responding well to the coach or other players, it may be time to consider going a different route. It is much more important that your child is happy and feels accepted, especially by the parents than you being happy that your child is part of a basketball team.

If you find that the team style basketball play is not working, consider having a regular play at home, or at a local park. Be sure to give your child some time away from the sport before doing this as it may not be received well.

When your child starts to show some interest, be sure to keep things free-form. Do not worry about all the rules, skills, techniques and such. It is important to simply have the child enjoy the time spent with you, which happens to also be time spent holding and hopefully throwing a basketball.

You might simply try passing the ball back and fourth. Possibly bouncing the ball off a wall. Make some fun games such as try to dribble the ball three times in a row - if you succeed, the parent has to jump around like a silly frog!

Later you can slowly add little modifications such as a tip on how to pass the ball, or where to aim when throwing the ball for a layup. Again, take it slowly, and always make it positive. If you add criticism, or lots of rules, it is very likely your autistic child will loose interest quickly, and in fact may resent the sport completely.

HERE is the source for this article

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Understanding and Encouraging a Child With Autism

Social success, for your child with autism, is comprised of the following elements:

• Reacting to others

• Knowing and choosing when to apply specific social skills

• Choosing what words to say

All this social success depends on our own ability to "read a situation." Neurotypical persons naturally interpret what is going on in other's faces, gestures, and adjust their own behavior accordingly. It's like ants who communicate with each other by touching antennae. The challenging part for children on the autism spectrum is that it's as if they are missing their social antennae.

Social antennae are akin to the term "social inferencing," which is comprised of the following components:

1. The meaning of spoken words.

2. How a person's body language contributes to the overall meaning.

3. How a person's facial expression contributes to the overall meaning.

4. How a person's eye contact contributes to the overall meaning.

5. The person's overall intent or motive.

6. How the social context and social environment helps us better interpret all of the above.

Children, teens, and adults on the autism spectrum often have very strong academic smarts, but they need help in bridging the often confusing social divide. The following is an exercise taken from Michelle Garcia Winner's book, Thinking About You Thinking About Me:

This exercise can be used in a group, working with siblings, or working 1:1 with the child as a parent, teacher, or therapist.

Pretend that you are forming a detective agency. Teach the child (or children) about what detectives do: first they must find the clues, and then they must make a smart guess to try to solve the problem.

Here are some activities that can be part of forming the detective agency:

1) Pretend to be a detective. Dress in make-believe detective hats and parents' suit jackets.

2) Find different types of clues: concrete and absract

a) Concrete clues:

1. Make a series of written clues, each leading to the next clue, so that they can ultimately find a hidden object. This is essentially like a treasure hunt. For example, in a summer camp, the kids' snacks were hidden, and they were given clues to find their own snack. This lays the groundwork for small guesses, and for making inferences.

2. Children can make their own clues. This gives the child or children experiencing in being able to think about what information the other person who is searching will need in order to find the hidden 'treasure.' If a parent is present in the therapy session, the parent or therapist can work with the child to write the clue in a way that is not going to be too hard or too easy.

3. There are books in the library that you may be able to check out in order to help children research the more abstract clues in detective work. Spy's Guide Book, (Sims and King, 2002) and The Detective's Handbook (Civardi, Hindley, and Wilkes, 1979) can be utilized to help kids understand how to be detectives, and how to look for more subtle clues. Topics such as wearing disguises, changing your walk, and hidden messages, all of which provide chances to teach children about body language, facial expression, toney of voice, and paying attention to what is going on around you.

3) Use DVD's. You can use DVD's, commercials, and TV shows to make 'smart guesses' about what will happen next. The child you are working with can use environmental or non-verbal cues to make guesses about what will happen based on the information already provided. Discuss how the information helped them make a guess.

4) Write clues and messages in different ways; use secret codes to reframe information. This will help the child develop the cognitive flexibility to see that all information is not presented exactly as it is to be understood. There is a book, Secret Codes (O'Brien and Riddell, 1997), that can be helpful in helping you come up with these codes.

The idea of the detective games is that it helps develop a vocabulary and environment that makes inferencing and smart guessing fun activities. Imagine, taking something that a child is not naturally good at, and making it fun to learn. Thank you, Ms. Michelle Garcia Winner, for these wonderful ideas!

Article Source:

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Story Behind "Danny's Wish"

Ever wonder what the story was behind "Danny's Wish"? If so, then read below and your question will be answered :)

Danny is a fun loving energetic 12-year-old boy, who likes to play basketball, enjoys watching hockey games, loves the movie Shrek, and will eat ketchup with just about anything! This little Boyscout also enjoys swimming, painting, going to concerts and will never pass up an opportunity to play catch with you.

Danny is also Autistic.

Like many other children, Danny struggles with Autism, a developmental disability that too often results in a lifetime of impaired thinking, feeling and social functioning. It typically affects a person's ability to communicate, form relationships with others and respond appropriately to the external world. People with the condition often exhibit repetitive behavior or narrow, obsessive interests. Other characteristics of Autism include problems with verbal and nonverbal communication and social interaction. It is considered a “spectrum disorder” because the characteristics and symptoms of the disorder are so very unique to each case.

Danny has a very unique characteristic all his own, and that is his ability to light up a room with his amazing smile. Despite his disability, he is eager and excited to experience the world in its entirety.

If Danny could have one wish, his wish would be for other children and people affected by Autism to experience, enjoy and love life just as much as he does. That is why we’ve created Danny’s Wish, to help provide life enhancing resources and experiences for kids and families that deal with Autism and Autism related spectrum disorders.

Though dealing with Autism is a daily struggle that imposes many obstacles, it has never restricted Danny from trying to live life to his fullest. Danny shows us that we can look past the disability, and on to a bright future full of great opportunities and possibilities.

Help us make Danny’s Wish come true!

It’s all about giving.

And now a message from the president of "Danny's Wish", Danny's Father, Dino Sgueulia:

"Today, 1 in 150 children are diagnosed with Autism, making it more common than Pediatric Cancer, Juvenile Diabetes, Leukemia, Muscular Dystrophy and Pediatric AIDS combined. It occurs across all racial, ethnic, and social groups and is four times more likely to strike boys than girls. Scientists aren’t certain what causes Autism, but it’s likely that both genetics and environment play a role.

Danny’s Wish was created in honor of my son Danny, a fun loving boy with Autism. He struggles every day to lead a normal life and even communicate. As a parent, I face the daily frustration and pain which comes from coping with a child with this affliction. There is never a day that I don’t pray for a cure for Autism and the related spectrum disorders. My biggest wish is to hear my son tell me that he loves me – that will be worth more than anything in the world to me.

Autism has become the most serious and fastest growing developmental disability in the United States, but receives less than 5% of the total research funding of less prevalent childhood diseases. The rate of diagnosis is growing everyday – funding and research need to catch up.

Let’s spread the word about Autism."

If you want to learn more about "Danny's Wish" please check out our website

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Famous/Successful People Who Have Autism

As we are getting to the end of "Autism Awareness Month" we thought it may be fun to visit a few some famous and successful people who have been diagnosed on the Austism Spectrum.

Daryl Hannah

American actress best known for her roles in Splash, Blade Runner and Kill Bill was diagnosed as a child as being 'borderline autistic', later to be diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome."

Her Awards Include:
* Best Short - The Berlin Film Festival "The Last Supper", 1994
* Best Fight - MTV Movie Awards Kill Bill Vol.2, 2005
* Best Supporting Actress - Saturn Award Kill Bill Vol. 2, 2004
* Best Actress - Saturn Award Splash, 1984
* Influencer Of The Year Award - National Biodiesel Board, 2004
* Ongoing Commitment Award - Environmental Media Award, 2004
* Environmental Activism - Water Quality Awards, 2006
* Environmental Preservation - Artivist Awards, 2006

Satoshi Tajiri

Japanese video game designer best known as the creator of Pokémon, and the founder of Game Freak
Tajiri has been named a video gaming innovator, and has made numerous lists of the top, best, or most influential video game developers. He has worked on numerous other games, including Pulseman. Tajiri has also been diagnosed with Asperger syndrome.

Jonathan Lerman

American autistic savant outsider artist. Jonathan Lerman began to lapse into long silences at the age of two, and the next year he was diagnosed with autism.

Lerman's artistic bent appeared at the age of 10 in the form of charcoal-drawn faces—both people he knows and those he imagines. In 1999 he had his own solo exhibition at the KS Art gallery in New York City.

Lerman has had personal exhibitions, and has also exhibited his work alongside others.

Lerman was also on the MTV television show True Life in the episode "True Life: I Have Autism"

Jonathan Lerman's remarkable artistic ability emerged quite unexpectedly at age 10. Already now, at age 14, Jonathan has had several art shows of his own, and a New York Times article on January 16, 2002 has given his work national visibility.

Just released is a very insightful book about Jonathan Lerman and his extraordinary art.

Heather Kuzmich

Indiana is an art student and American fashion model. She is best known for being a contestant of America's Next Top Model, Cycle 9, where she was the fourth runner-up of the show. During the show, it was revealed that Kuzmich has Asperger syndrome and ADHD.

Heather has signed to the women's division of Elite Model Management in Chicago. Heather also did a photoshoot for the July 2008 issue of Wedding Essentials which was featured on MTV's Made, where a young boy with Asperger followed her on set. Heather has modeled for the clothing company "Blue Eyed Girl". She has also appeared on the cover and inside of Spectrum Magazine, a magazine for families and individuals who have autism.

Kuzmich received great press attention due to her Asperger syndrome, including talk show appearances (such as being interviewed on Good Morning America and an article in The New York Times). She plans to continue modeling, while continuing her education at the Illinois Institute of Art located in Chicago. Kuzmich has appeared in People magazine twice, once in October 2007 and the second time in December 2007. She was recently one of the nine girls featured in America's Next Top Model: Exposed on the CW, during the filming of which she became close friend with Jael Strauss. She has also appeared twice on The Tyra Banks Show, once in a "Where are they now?" episode and for the Fiercee awards. She plans on moving to New York soon to pursue modeling.

Tim Page

A writer, editor, music critic, producer and professor. He was a Pulitzer Prize-winning music critic for the Washington Post and also played an essential role in the revival of American author Dawn Powell.

In August 2007 Page revealed in The New Yorker that he had been diagnosed with Asperger syndrome. His book-length memoir of his experience with the condition, Parallel Play: Growing Up With Undiagnosed Asperger's, was published by Doubleday in September 2009.

Monday, April 12, 2010

10 Great Books On Autism For All Ages

We are about half way through "Autism Awareness Month" and we thought it would be a fun idea to list a few great books about autism for you to share with friends, family and educators.

Here are 10 books we picked out for you to browse. There are books below for all ages, have fun, get reading and become aware!

1001 Great Ideas for Teaching and Raising Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders
For Adults
Check It Out Here
Read the Reviews Here

Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew
For Adults
Check It Out Here
Read the Reviews Here

The Autism Acceptance Book: Being a Friend to Someone With Autism
Ages 9-12
Check It Out Here
Read the Reviews Here

A Is for Autism F Is for Friend: A Kid's Book for Making Friends with a Child Who Has Autism

Ages 9-12
Check It Out Here
Read the Reviews Here

Everybody Is Different: A Book for Young People Who Have Brothers or Sisters With Autism
Ages 9-12
Check It Out Here
Read The Reviews Here

Different Like Me: My Book of Autism Heroes
Ages 9-12
Check It Out Here
Read The Reviews Here

Since We're Friends: An Autism Picture Book
Ages 4-8
Check It Out Here
Read the Reviews Here

All About My Brother
Ages 4-8
Check It Out Here
Read the Reviews Here

I Am Utterly Unique: Celebrating the Strengths of Children with Asperger Syndrome and High-Functioning Autism
Ages 4-8
Check It Out Here
Read The Reviews Here

My Friend with Autism: A Coloring Book for Peers and Siblings
Ages 4-8
Check It Out Here
Read The Reviews Here

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

What You Can Do to Participate in "Autism Awareness Month"

April is “Autism Awareness Month” and many are out there every day, showing their support. I am sure you want to as well, but may not know how or what to do. Here are a few suggestions:

Put on the Puzzle!
The Autism Awareness Puzzle Ribbon is the most recognized symbol of the autism community in the world. Autism prevalence is now one in every 110 children in America – that’s 13 million families and growing who live with autism today. Show your support for people with autism by wearing the Autism Awareness Puzzle Ribbon this month – as a pin on your shirt, a magnet on your car, a badge on your blog, or even your Facebook profile picture – and educate folks on the potential of people with autism! For suggestions and resources, visit

Spread the word
Helping the autism community can be as easy as updating your Facebook or Twitter status! Check out our website:, read our story and make a donation. Our mission is to help provide life enhancing resources and experiences for kids and families that deal with Autism and Autism related spectrum disorders.

Connect with your neighborhood
Check out the local events going on in your community. Reach out to someone you know who’s life is effected by Autism and plan an activity together. See if anything is going on at your local school district, and just be involved in those activities.

Watch a movie
Did you know that something that seems as simple as going to the movies is not an option for many families affected by autism? The Autism Society is working with AMC entertainment to bring special-needs families “Sensory Friendly Films” every month. The special showing of How to Train Your Dragon is coming to a theatre near you on April 10. Or, you could see a movie about autism itself – the Autism Society is partnering with the Independent Television Service (ITVS) to support 70 community screenings of the new movie The Horse Boy, based on the memoir of the same name. In the film, Rupert Isaacson shares the inspiring story of how he and his wife learned to think of their son’s autism as an adventure rather than a curse, a beginning rather than an end. Find participating locations for both events at:
- Sensory Friendly Films:

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

April Is Autism Awareness Month!

Spread the word. Helping the autism community can be as easy as updating your Facebook or Twitter status! On April 1, the Autism Society is asking supporters to change their status on Facebook and/or Twitter to “Autism affects 1 in 110.

If you have facebook there is an "Event" created to wear blue on April 2, 2010 to support Autism Awareness , here is the link:

Wearing Blue for World Autism Awareness Day!!! April 2, 2010

Imagine on Friday April 2 being a part of something so powerful! Going through your day and seeing all the people in blue who care about someone affected by autism. Imagine when our wonderful children see all that blue is for them!!

Asking all Facebook Friends to wear Blue on Friday April 2!! So wherever you are in the world, as you go about your raise Autism Awareness....Mark Your Calendar!!!!

**This in not something you have to physically attend. By "Attending" you are showing your support for Autism Awareness. Just wear your BLUE on that day and that's all you do! This is actually one event that is very easy to attend!! Thank You for your support and thank you for caring about the very special kids,adults and families affected by autism :)

Here is a song called "I'm In Here - The Anthem For Autism

"It's a song from a personal place. I'm in Here will touch people's hearts and help raise funds and awareness for autism. It's attracting attention from listeners around the world.

The song is sung from the point of view of a child with autism communicating to a loved one.

'I'm in here when the joy turns to crying, see the world through my eyes for just a moment in time," say the lyrics to I'm in Here. "I'm in here, oh don't you know I'm trying to find the way to show you who I am.'"

Video also posted on You Tube

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Some Fun Activities For Autistic Children

Autistic children need challenging, yet fun, activities that they can participate in on a daily basis.

Should they be expected to participate in all of the activities that other children engage in?

Of course not,

but there are numerous activities for autistic children to enjoy. Before you expect your autistic child or student to jump right in to the latest activity, consider the following:

Activity Considerations

Participants-Who else is participating in this activity? Is it the whole class, one or two students, or is this an individual activity? If you expect several students to perform the activity together, choose the group members wisely. Look for children that will be especially helpful to the autistic child. Be sure and monitor all of the participants, and be on the lookout for children who might try to ridicule the child with autism.

Activity level-What type of activity will the child be participating in? Will the child need to have good coordination skills? Will it put him at a continuous disadvantage next to the other children? Does it require skills that he doesn't have or hasn't had the opportunity or time to learn?

Potential problems-Are there any potential problems that might occur with the activity? For example, will the noise level be increased? Excessive noise can often be troublesome for children with autism. While the activity might be organized, will the intensity of it be a disturbance for the child, causing him a high level of stress? Is physical contact a necessary factor of the game? If so, this might also present a problem as some autistic people tend to shy away from or become extremely disturbed by prolonged physical contact.

***Activities for autistic children should be fun and engaging, but if they become a source of frustration instead, the benefits of the action may be lost.

Selecting Activities for Autistic Children
Consider an autistic child's capabilities, interests, and aptitude as you search for appropriate activities for him or her to enjoy.

Sensory activities-Games that include the senses are often enjoyed by these children. For example, play the game "I Spy" with your children. Describe the object that you are looking at, and see if the children can find and name that object from your description.

Songs and poems-Children often like the sing-song way in which a poem sounds, and they may also enjoy the repetition of certain songs. Choose several songs and/or poems to teach them, and use these every day. You can also incorporate some physical activities with these songs by jumping, skipping, hopping, etc. to the beat of the words.

Sports-Discovering a child's love of a certain sport can open another world up to him. In many cases, close physical sports like football are difficult for autistic children to handle, but more individualized sports like golf, baseball, or even fishing may become a favorite hobby.

Art-Autistic children often find their niche in some form of the arts. This may be demonstrated through acting, drawing, painting, sketching, singing, and playing a musical instrument. Encourage this love as often as possible.

***Finally, realize that an autistic child may not know exactly what his interests and favorite activities might be, so it is up to you to introduce him to several areas of interest. Once he discovers a new hobby, he probably won't be shy about letting you know what he wants to do! Encourage him as much as possible, and let him participate with others when possible. This is an excellent way to not only encourage him to work on a particular skill or activity but to also hone his social skills as well.

All Information for this post came from: This is a great source, bookmark it! :)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Autism On A Spectrum

What is an autism spectrum disorder?
Different people with autism can have very different symptoms. Health care providers think of autism as a “spectrum” disorder, a group of disorders with similar features. One person may have mild symptoms, while another may have serious symptoms. But they both have an autism spectrum disorder.

When individuals refer to the autism spectrum, they are referring to one of these five pervasive developmental disorders.

Autistic Disorder
Autistic disorder, sometimes called childhood autism or classic autism, is what most people think of when hearing the word autism. To receive a diagnosis of autistic disorder, symptoms must be present before the age of three years. Children usually have significant speech and language delays (if they are speaking at all), noticeable social deficits, apparent repetitive actions, and aren’t always well-connected with the world around them.

Childhood Disintegrative Disorder
Childhood disintegrative disorder is rare; it is marked by children who are on a typical developmental path for the first three years of life and then begin to experience regression. The level of regression varies between children but is usually in the significant range. The behaviors associated with childhood disintegrative disorder are similar to those of a person with autism. Childhood disintegrative disorder is more common among boys than girls.

Asperger’s Disorder
Unlike autistic disorder, Asperger’s disorder is usually diagnosed in older children. It is not uncommon to have a child diagnosed as a teenager. People with Asperger’s disorder have a different type of language impairment. They may have an expansive vocabulary but have difficulties with social language and social reciprocity. Individuals with Asperger’s disorder also commonly have rigid thought and behavior and an unusually intense focus on a narrow range of interests. Children with Asperger’s disorder are often called “little professors” due to their pedantic use of speech and language.

Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS)
PDD-NOS can be a confusing diagnostic term. Individuals who meet some of the criteria for autism or Asperger’s disorder, but not all, may be diagnosed with PDD-NOS. An example would be an individual with a language delay and social impairments but lacks stereotypical and repetitive behaviors. In this case, he would not meet the criteria for an autistic disorder diagnosis but definitely falls under the umbrella of pervasive developmental disorders.

Rett’s Disorder
Almost exclusively found in females, Rett’s disorder is similar to childhood disintegrative disorder in that it is preceded by apparently normal development. However, children with Rett’s disorder begin to experience regression much earlier; usually the regression begins around six months of age. Rett’s disorder is quite rare affecting fewer than four in 10,000.

It is important to understand that pervasive developmental disorders fall on a true spectrum. One person with a diagnosis of autistic disorder can present quite differently than another with the same diagnosis.