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 day....help 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: http://autism.lovetoknow.com/Activities_for_Autistic_Children 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.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Children's Mental Health Facts Children and Adolescents with Autism

Below is an excellent article answering some FAQ on Autism. For more info listed in this article go here.

Children's Mental Health Facts
Children and Adolescents with Autism

What is autism?
Autism, also called autistic disorder, appears in early childhood, usually before age 3 (National Institutes of Health, 2001). Autism prevents children and adolescents from interacting normally with other people and affects almost every aspect of their social and psychological development.

What are the signs of autism?

Autism has a wide variety of characteristics ranging in intensity from mild to severe. One child with autism does not behave like another child with the same diagnosis. Children and adolescents with autism typically:

  • Have difficulty communicating with others.
  • Exhibit repetitious behaviors, such as rocking back and forth, head banging, or touching or twirling objects.
  • Have a limited range of interests and activities.
  • May become upset by a small change in their environment or daily routine.
In addition to these characteristics, some children with autism experience hypersensitivity to hearing, touch, smell, or taste. Symptoms of autism can be seen in early infancy, but the condition also may appear after months of normal development. In most cases, however, it is not possible to identify a specific event that triggers the disorder.

How common is autism?

Studies estimate that as many as 12 in every 10,000 children have autism or a related condition (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1999). Autism is three times more common in boys than in girls (National Institutes of Health, 2001).

What causes autism?

Researchers are unsure about what causes autism. Several studies suggest that autism might be caused by a combination of biological or environmental factors, or both, including viral exposure before birth, a problem with the immune system, or genetics. Many recently published scientific investigations have examined the possible connection between autism and the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine. At this time, though, the available data do not appear to support a causal link.

Studies of families and twins suggest a genetic basis for the disorder. It is important for scientists to find the genes responsible for autism, if any, because this knowledge would give physicians new tools to diagnose the disorder and help scientists develop gene-based therapies.

Some studies have found that the brains of people with autism may function differently from those that are considered "normal." Research suggests that an abnormal slowing down of brain development before birth may cause autism. Studies also are looking at how autism-related problems in brain development may affect behavior later in childhood. For example, some researchers are investigating the ways in which infants with autism process information and how the disorder may lead to poor development of social skills, knowledge, and awareness.

Chemicals in the brain also may play a role in autism. As a normal brain develops, the level of serotonin, a chemical found in the brain, declines. In some children with autism, however, serotonin levels do not decline. Researchers are investigating whether this happens only to children with autism or whether other factors are involved.

What help is available for families?

Since brain development can be influenced during early childhood, the treatment of autism has a greater chance of success when initiated as early as possible. In addition, when children with autism are treated early, the cost of long-term care may be reduced. Services and treatments that may benefit children and adolescents with autism and their families include:

  • Training in communication, social, learning, and self-help skills.
  • Programs in which other children help to teach children with autism.
  • Parent training.
  • Medications to reduce symptoms related to self-injury, seizures, digestive difficulties, and attention problems.
When services are started soon after a child is diagnosed with autism, the child's language, social, and academic skills and abilities may be greatly improved. On the other hand, some children and adolescents do not respond well to treatment or may experience negative side effects from autism medications. Recent data suggest that some of the newer antipsychotic drugs may have fewer side effects than conventional drugs, but more studies are needed before experts can determine any possible safety advantages over traditional treatments.

What can parents do?

Parents or other caregivers concerned about a child who shows symptoms of autism should:

  • Talk with a health care provider about their concerns. He or she can help to determine whether the symptoms are caused by autism, a related disorder, or another condition. If necessary, the health care provider can refer the family to a mental health expert who specializes in treating persons with autism.
  • Get accurate information from libraries, hotlines, or other sources.
  • Ask questions about treatments and services.
  • Talk to other families in their communities who are coping with autism.
  • Find family network organizations.
People who are not satisfied with the mental health care they receive should discuss their concerns with the provider, ask for information, and/or seek help from other sources.

This is one of many fact sheets in a series on children's mental health disorders. All the fact sheets listed below are written in an easy-to-read style. Families, caretakers, and media professionals may find them helpful when researching particular mental health disorders. To obtain free copies, call 1-800-789-2647 or visit http://mentalhealth.samhsa.gov/child.

**For more info on this Article go here: http://mentalhealth.samhsa.gov/publications/allpubs/ca-0009/default.asp

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Autism Screening Quiz For Children

Autism Screening Quiz

Does your child have any symptoms of autism?

Try this Autism Screening Quiz from the people at About.com


Visit Danny's Wish Here:

Join Danny's Wish On Facebook

Follow Danny's Wish On Twitter

Danny's Wish Congratulates Caryl Bank and Barbara Feingold

For 40 years of unwavering commitment
to the students and families of the Hagedorn Little Village School.

Your vision, foresight and faith in education
and therapeutic services have made a
positive difference in so many lives.

You have been the source of inspiration for me to
initiate The Hope Process...to provide a means
of giving back to charities across the country.

Thank you for your guiding light.

-Dino Sgueglia

The Process of Charitable Giving



Building a recurring residual of donations for the benefit of charitable organizations.

800 Shames Drive • Westbury, NY 11590 USA • Phone: 1-800-366-1388 • Fax: 1-877-837-2040

Danny's Wish Now Part of Givenik!

Danny's Wish is proud to announce that we are now a member of Givenik, a program that donates 5% of Broadway ticket purchases to the charity of your choice! Follow the link below to see where we are featured. Going to the theater is even more rewarding now!

We are Also excited to let you know that from now until September,any purchases made on this website will contribute a donation to Danny's wish.

Dawnmarie Castellano and Arbonne are your perfect one stop beauty shop! Visit them today for all your skin care needs!

We, at Danny's Wish would like to thank these programs and the many others that have signed on to support our organization. We could not do what we do without all of you. To learn more on how you can support Danny's Wish, please visit http://www.dannyswish.org/

Danny's Wish Now Part of the GuideStar Family!

Have you heard the news? Danny's Wish is now a part of the GuideStar family! Now there are even more ways for you to make your mark and help children with Autism by making a donation to Danny's Wish through GuideStar. Just visit the link below to get started. With a click you can make a difference in a child life! There's never been a better time to get involved than now.http://www2.guidestar.org/organizations/24-4595056/dannys-wish.aspx

Danny's Wish is also on Facebook now. Take a look at and join their cause page today!

http://apps.facebook.com/causes/328844/39296333?m=71bb3202 The Facebook cause page allows you to personalize your help in the fight against Autism by creating a cause badge that can be placed right on your Facebook page. Let everyone of your friends see what causes you support today!

Danny's Wish....It's all about the giving!


Finding Support With Autism

When dealing with Autism, sometimes it can feel like you are all alone. You may have questions that you can't find the answers to or need a recommendation on a good doctor. That's why it's important to find support where you can. Finding an Autism Society Chapter could be that place for you. As reported by the Autism Society of America, Autism Society chapters are your best source of information and support. To find a local chapter in your area, visit The Autism Society of America and the link below.


Learn more about how you can help support Autism research at Danny's Wish http://www.dannyswish.org At Danny's Wish, It's all about the giving!

Follow Us and Make a Connection!

Danny's Wish is expanding and our Social Accounts are growing with us! Take a minute to save our links. We are looking forward to fostering relationships with you and making connections. Got a story to share? Email us or Facebook us. Has your life been touched by Autism and you want the chance to help give back? Join our cause page on Facebook. Want to Tweet with us? Follow us on Twitter. Want to help out with Haiti relief? Join The Hope Process' Karma 411 page!

Several ways to connect with us, several ways to get active! We look forward to hearing from you today!

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Dannys-Wish/286736276705?ref=ts#!/pages/Dannys-Wish/286736276705?ref=ts

Twitter: http://twitter.com/dannyswish

Cause Page: http://apps.facebook.com/causes/328844/39296333?m=71bb3202

Hope's Karma 411: https://www.karma411.com/Markslist/campaign/display/profile.do?campaignId=3181

Good Shop and Good Search

IRN Payments is happy to announce that Danny's Wish is now officially a member of Good Shop and Good Search ( http://www.goodsearch.com/ ). Both are different ways to channel donations towards Danny's wish organization and help provide life enhancing resources and experiences for kids and families that deal with Autism and Autism related spectrum disorders.

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! There has never been a better time to get involved. Please visit us at http://www.dannyswish.org/ Or visit Good Shop and Good Search to learn more.

Holiday Hints

The holiday season is a busy time of year where the speed of life tends to pick up and routine days are replaced with change. For families with an autistic child, routine is an important factor on a day-to-day basis. Children get used to certain events happening on a consistent schedule. Traveling to family parties, hosting large gatherings or changing the layout of your home can create discomfort during the holiday season.

Families need to be aware of how the holidays will affect a young child living with autism. Here are a list of ideas and strategies that should help create a smooth transition from routine to festive.

A family with a child on the autism spectrum needs to be very aware of the sensory overload that is associated with the holidays. Bright lights, loud conversations, relatives that you see only once a year and even unique foods/scents can create static.

It is all about proper planning. Decorate your home shortly after Thanksgiving so your child can adapt as quickly as possible and consider leaving decorations up into January. Create an album or collage with photos from the year before so your child can become familiar with the holiday setting. If you are going to a relative's home, take a trip over before the day arrives, so it isn't a total shock. When the holiday arrives, bring a bag with familiar items to assist in comforting the child. A movie, stuffed animal or blanket can be all he/she needs to remain calm.

Avoid flying. Trains and cars offer a more pleasant experience, which will provide stability before arriving. Get off to a good start, have plans to maintain control and remain aware. Instead of trying to make an autistic child adapt to your party, try to adapt to his/her perspective of it. Most likely your child won't stay calm through a lengthy meal with odd food. Most likely visiting Santa isn't going to be a pleasant experience. Anticipate this and make the right decisions.

The holidays are a wonderful time of year. For families with an autistic child this is no exception. You just have to be an organized, aware parent and plan ahead for all possibilities. Try to make the experience as smooth as possible and that starts by thinking about everything through your child's eyes.

Know The Facts. Act Early.

Autism is one of the fastest growing developmental disorders in the United States today. Early detection is key to treating and maintaining a healthy lifestyle for a child with autism. Each child should reach milestones in the way they speak, act, learn and play. A lack of growth in any of these areas could mean a developmental problem. Unfortunately, most health care professionals do not test for most developmental disorders until a parent expresses concern for their child's inability to reach certain milestones. Below are some signs that your child may be developmentally disabled:

-constant avoidance of eye contact
-having trouble relating to others or relating to other people's feelings
responding to sounds but are unaware when others speak to them or initiate physical contact
having trouble adapting to change
repeating a word or phrase said to them to replace normal language
inability to express thoughts and/or feelings to others
repetition of acts over and over again
having unusual fixations on objects

These are only a few signs of autism. However, this developmental disorder can range from acute to severe inability of functionality. Children with autism interact, learn, behave and communicate differently than most. Detecting and diagnosing this disorder early is key to helping a child with autism reach his/her full potential.

Man's best friend to play a role

Six year old Chicago, Illinois resident Kaleb Drew and his labrador retriever Chewey made headlines about the presence of the trained dog in Drew's classroom. Kaleb is autistic. Drew's family feels the dog provides a calming influence that can not be created through traditional means. However, the school district feels strongly that the dog is not only a potential distraction the other students, but also a health risk due to possible allergies. The Drew family is currently waiting for a ruling to be handed down from the Illinois court that would hopefully overrule the current ban of service animals in schools. Autism may create obstacles for families like the Drews. Ways to fix these issues, such as a companion dog, should be respected if it works for the individual. Kaleb, like all first graders, is a curious kid that will enjoy learning in a classroom setting. If it takes a dog, cat, whistle, blanket or food to create a sense of comfort it should be accepted.

More Cases Than You Think

A recent study has determined that the estimated number of children in the United States with any type of Autistic symptom may be much higher than previously understood. According to 2007 figures, it was understood that approximately 1:150 children in the U.S. were being diagnosed at some point in their lives. However, it appears true figures are more in the viscinity of 1:91 kids. This is a huge difference.

This ratio translates to nearly 700,000 cases in the U.S. alone.

The information has emerged through a government study that was published in the October issue of Pediatrics.

"Autism is a major public health challenge, and this study is another call to action that we need to be able to provide care across the lifespan," said Geraldine Dawson, Chief scientist officer of Autism Speaks.

It is estimated that over the course of a lifetime, health-care costs for someone with autism exceed $1.6 million, according to the study.

This is why we need organizations like Danny's Wish and to support its efforts. These children require a little more, but what they need can be supplied.

Help, learn more and speak out.

Swimming for Autism

Swimming for Autism, check out this great group of guys helping in the fight against Autism! And remember, Dannys Wish is constantly striving to make a difference in the world of Autism. Please support them www.dannyswish.org


Teaching Tips for Children and Adults with Autism

Below is a very informative article on "Teaching Tips for Children and Adults with Autism" written by Temple Grandin, Ph.D., who is said to be the most accomplished and well-known adult with autism in the world. For more on her click here: http://www.templegrandin.com/

Link to below article: http://www.autism.com/families/therapy/teaching_tips.htm

Teaching Tips for Children and Adults with Autism

Temple Grandin, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, CO 80523, USA
(Revised: December 2002)

Good teachers helped me to achieve success. I was able to overcome autism because I had good teachers. At age 2 1/2 I was placed in a structured nursery school with experienced teachers. From an early age I was taught to have good manners and to behave at the dinner table. Children with autism need to have a structured day, and teachers who know how to be firm but gentle.

Between the ages of 2 1/4 and 5 my day was structured, and I was not allowed to tune out. I had 45 minutes of one-to-one speech therapy five days a week, and my mother hired a nanny who spent three to four hours a day playing games with me and my sister. She taught 'turn taking' during play activities. When we made a snowman, she had me roll the bottom ball; and then my sister had to make the next part. At mealtimes, every-body ate together; and I was not allowed to do any "stims." The only time I was allowed to revert back to autistic behavior was during a one-hour rest period after lunch. The combination of the nursery school, speech therapy, play activities, and "miss manners" meals added up to 40 hours a week, where my brain was kept connected to the world.

  1. Many people with autism are visual thinkers. I think in pictures. I do not think in language. All my thoughts are like videotapes running in my imagination. Pictures are my first language, and words are my second language. Nouns were the easiest words to learn because I could make a picture in my mind of the word. To learn words like "up" or "down," the teacher should demonstrate them to the child. For example, take a toy airplane and say "up" as you make the airplane takeoff from a desk. Some children will learn better if cards with the words "up" and "down" are attached to the toy airplane. The "up" card is attached when the plane takes off. The "down" card is attached when it lands.
  2. Avoid long strings of verbal instructions. People with autism have problems with remembering the sequence. If the child can read, write the instructions down on a piece of paper. I am unable to remember sequences. If I ask for directions at a gas station, I can only remember three steps. Directions with more than three steps have to be written down. I also have difficulty remembering phone numbers because I cannot make a picture in my mind.
  3. Many children with autism are good at drawing, art and computer programming. These talent areas should be encouraged. I think there needs to be much more emphasis on developing the child's talents. Talents can be turned into skills that can be used for future employment.
  4. Many autistic children get fixated on one subject such as trains or maps. The best way to deal with fixations is to use them to motivate school work. If the child likes trains, then use trains to teach reading and math. Read a book about a train and do math problems with trains. For example, calculate how long it takes for a train to go between New York and Washington.
  5. Use concrete visual methods to teach number concepts. My parents gave me a math toy which helped me to learn numbers. It consisted of a set of blocks which had a different length and a different color for the numbers one through ten. With this I learned how to add and subtract. To learn fractions my teacher had a wooden apple that was cut up into four pieces and a wooden pear that was cut in half. From this I learned the concept of quarters and halves.
  6. I had the worst handwriting in my class. Many autistic children have problems with motor control in their hands. Neat handwriting is sometimes very hard. This can totally frustrate the child. To reduce frustration and help the child to enjoy writing, let him type on the computer. Typing is often much easier.
  7. Some autistic children will learn reading more easily with phonics, and others will learn best by memorizing whole words. I learned with phonics. My mother taught me the phonics rules and then had me sound out my words. Children with lots of echolalia will often learn best if flash cards and picture books are used so that the whole words are associated with pictures. It is important to have the picture and the printed word on the same side of the card. When teaching nouns the child must hear you speak the word and view the picture and printed word simultaneously. An example of teaching a verb would be to hold a card that says "jump," and you would jump up and down while saying "jump."
  8. When I was a child, loud sounds like the school bell hurt my ears like a dentist drill hitting a nerve. Children with autism need to be protected from sounds that hurt their ears. The sounds that will cause the most problems are school bells, PA systems, buzzers on the score board in the gym, and the sound of chairs scraping on the floor. In many cases the child will be able to tolerate the bell or buzzer if it is muffled slightly by stuffing it with tissues or duct tape. Scraping chairs can be silenced by placing slit tennis balls on the ends of the legs or installing carpet. A child may fear a certain room because he is afraid he may be suddenly subjected to squealing microphone feedback from the PA system. The fear of a dreaded sound can cause bad behavior. If a child covers his ears, it is an indicator that a certain sound hurts his ears. Sometimes sound sensitivity to a particular sound, such as the fire alarm, can be desensitized by recording the sound on a tape recorder. This will allow the child to initiate the sound and gradually increase its volume. The child must have control of playback of the sound.
  9. Some autistic people are bothered by visual distractions and fluorescent lights. They can see the flicker of the 60-cycle electricity. To avoid this problem, place the child's desk near the window or try to avoid using fluorescent lights. If the lights cannot be avoided, use the newest bulbs you can get. New bulbs flicker less. The flickering of fluorescent lights can also be reduced by putting a lamp with an old-fashioned incandescent light bulb next to the child's desk.
  10. Some hyperactive autistic children who fidget all the time will often be calmer if they are given a padded weighted vest to wear. Pressure from the garment helps to calm the nervous system. I was greatly calmed by pressure. For best results, the vest should be worn for twenty minutes and then taken off for a few minutes. This prevents the nervous system from adapting to it.
  11. Some individuals with autism will respond better and have improved eye contact and speech if the teacher interacts with them while they are swinging on a swing or rolled up in a mat. Sensory input from swinging or pressure from the mat sometimes helps to improve speech. Swinging should always be done as a fun game. It must NEVER be forced.
  12. Some children and adults can sing better than they can speak. They may respond better if words and sentences are sung to them. Some children with extreme sound sensitivity will respond better if the teacher talks to them in a low whisper.
  13. Some nonverbal children and adults cannot process visual and auditory input at the same time. They are mono-channel. They cannot see and hear at the same time. They should not be asked to look and listen at the same time. They should be given either a visual task or an auditory task. Their immature nervous system is not able to process simultaneous visual and auditory input.
  14. In older nonverbal children and adults touch is often their most reliable sense. It is often easier for them to feel. Letters can be taught by letting them feel plastic letters. They can learn their daily schedule by feeling objects a few minutes before a scheduled activity. For example, fifteen minutes before lunch give the person a spoon to hold. Let them hold a toy car a few minutes before going in the car.
  15. Some children and adults with autism will learn more easily if the computer key-board is placed close to the screen. This enables the individual to simultaneously see the keyboard and screen. Some individuals have difficulty remembering if they have to look up after they have hit a key on the keyboard.
  16. Nonverbal children and adults will find it easier to associate words with pictures if they see the printed word and a picture on a flashcard. Some individuals do not under-stand line drawings, so it is recommended to work with real objects and photos first. The picture and the word must be on the same side of the card.
  17. Some autistic individuals do not know that speech is used for communication. Language learning can be facilitated if language exercises promote communication. If the child asks for a cup, then give him a cup. If the child asks for a plate, when he wants a cup, give him a plate. The individual needs to learn that when he says words, concrete things happen. It is easier for an individual with autism to learn that their words are wrong if the incorrect word resulted in the incorrect object.
  18. Many individuals with autism have difficulty using a computer mouse. Try a roller ball (or tracking ball) pointing device that has a separate button for clicking. Autistics with motor control problems in their hands find it very difficult to hold the mouse still during clicking.
  19. Children who have difficulty understanding speech have a hard time differentiating between hard consonant sounds such as 'D' in dog and 'L' in log. My speech teacher helped me to learn to hear these sounds by stretching out and enunciating hard consonant sounds. Even though the child may have passed a pure tone hearing test he may still have difficulty hearing hard consonants. Children who talk in vowel sounds are not hearing consonants.
  20. Several parents have informed me that using the closed captions on the television helped their child to learn to read. The child was able to read the captions and match the printed works with spoken speech. Recording a favorite program with captions on a tape would be helpful because the tape can be played over and over again and stopped.
  21. Some autistic individuals do not understand that a computer mouse moves the arrow on the screen. They may learn more easily if a paper arrow that looks EXACTLY like the arrow on the screen is taped to the mouse.
  22. Children and adults with visual processing problems can see flicker on TV type computer monitors. They can sometimes see better on laptops and flat panel displays which have less flicker.
  23. Children and adults who fear escalators often have visual processing problems. They fear the escalator because they cannot determine when to get on or off. These individuals may also not be able to tolerate fluorescent lights. The Irlen colored glasses may be helpful for them.
  24. Individuals with visual processing problems often find it easier to read if black print is printed on colored paper to reduce contrast. Try light tan, light blue, gray, or light green paper. Experiment with different colors. Avoid bright yellow--it may hurt the individual's eyes. Irlen colored glasses may also make reading easier. (Click here to visit the Irlen Institute's web site.)
  25. Teaching generalization is often a problem for children with autism. To teach a child to generalize the principle of not running across the street, it must be taught in many different locations. If he is taught in only one location, the child will think that the rule only applies to one specific place.
  26. A common problem is that a child may be able to use the toilet correctly at home but refuses to use it at school. This may be due to a failure to recognize the toilet. Hilde de Clereq from Belgium discovered that an autistic child may use a small non-relevant detail to recognize an object such as a toilet. It takes detective work to find that detail. In one case a boy would only use the toilet at home that had a black seat. His parents and teacher were able to get him to use the toilet at school by covering its white seat with black tape. The tape was then gradually removed and toilets with white seats were now recognized as toilets.
  27. Sequencing is very difficult for individuals with severe autism. Sometimes they do not understand when a task is presented as a series of steps. An occupational therapist successfully taught a nonverbal autistic child to use a playground slide by walking his body through climbing the ladder and going down the slide. It must be taught by touch and motor rather than showing him visually. Putting on shoes can be taught in a similar manner. The teacher should put her hands on top of the child’s hands and move the child’s hands over his foot so he feels and understands the shape of his foot. The next step is feeling the inside and the outside of a slip-on shoe. To put the shoe on, the teacher guides the child’s hands to the shoe and, using the hand-over-hand method, slides the shoe onto the child’s foot. This enables the child to feel the entire task of putting on his shoe.
  28. Fussy eating is a common problem. In some cases the child may be fixated on a detail that identifies a certain food. Hilde de Clerq found that one child only ate Chiquita bananas because he fixated on the labels. Other fruit such as apples and oranges were readily accepted when Chiquita labels were put on them. Try putting different but similar foods in the cereal box or another package of a favorite food. Another mother had success by putting a homemade hamburger with a wheat free bun in a McDonald’s package.

Tyler's Magic Word Box

Finding out that a son or daughter has been diagnosed with Autism is difficult for any parent to swallow. With so much literature about Autism focusing on intense, scary details finding lighter, positive text can be a struggle. Nevertheless, parents have to search out ways to best raise their child, while providing the special care Autism demands.

Gilda Horgan is a musician, artist and parent of an Autistic child. When Tyler was diagnosed with Autism five years ago, Horgan was overwhelmed with all of the potential problems her son faced. She decided to explore another angle, looking for inspiration for both Tyler and herself.

Horgan created "Tyler's Magic Word Box", a children's book that she used to showcase Tyler's progress, assist in teaching and most importantly offer a positive outlet for her son. The book praises the hard work teachers and therapists do daily, while also laying out a fun story all children will respond to. The story will appeal to children with its foundation surrounding magic and adventure.

Horgan continues to write about Autism and relies on other families to relay stories of personal struggles and successes with Autism. She feels her work is at its best when it includes real stories and experiences. She is currently working on a collection of lighthearted, silly stories she hopes will be used as a tool for those living with Autism to read and pass on to others in the same scenario.

Check out the entire article about Gilda Hogan's efforts.


We are all the same

Autism affects a lot of children in the world and the figures continue to grow everyday. These children demand attention and have unique needs. Smaller classrooms, more hands-on assistance and warm surroundings. Dealing with autistic kids can be awkward or uncomfortable. It takes patience. Autism will touch the lives of millions this year. However, all of the above doesn't change the fact that a child with Autism wants the same things any kid wants. TO be loved, taught and nurtured the same as all of his or her peers. Danny's Way has a mission. To provide resources and positive experiences to as many young boys and girls as possible. You can help! Donate today, any amount you want and know that you will be helping in a big way.

What is Danny's Wish?

About Us
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.