Sunday, March 25, 2007

BronX Marks the Spot

For families in the Bronx (and those willing to travel to the Bronx) you can find a safe place to share your experiences and learn how others cope with an ASD diagnosis at Parents of A.N.G.E.L.S. A non-profit based out of the Bronx. Parents of A.N.G.E.L.S. was a Godsend for me after confirming my fear that my handsome five-year-old son had Autism. In existence since 1999 Parents of A.N.G.E.L.S. helps families with members on the spectrum network with other parents and professionals. Parents of A.N.G.E.L.S. holds monthly meetings that cover topics that a very prevalent to ASD families.

Their next meeting will be April 19 2007 with guest speaker Attorney Dean Bress who will discuss the latest Medicaid rules that started February 08, 2006. He will also speak with the group about Supplemental Needs Trust

To learn more about Parents of A.N.G.E.L.S. and their monthly meeting schedule please check out their websites at:

Parents of A.N.G.E.L.S.

The Bronx Autism Parents of A.N.G.E.L.S Meetup Group

Friday, March 23, 2007

* Autism is a developmental disorder that is characterized most notably by difficulty in acquiring normal language, leisure, and social interaction skills.
* Autism is neurological in origin and occurs as a result of abnormal brain function.
* People with autism may also suffer from physical ailments such as difficulty in feeding, sleeping, and integrating sensory input received from the environment.
* Autism is known as a spectrum disorder because there is a range of possible symptoms and severity levels that a person may exhibit.
* Autism is the most common of five distinct disorders that belong within the category of Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD).
* The four other Pervasive Developmental Disorders include Asperger's Disorder, Childhood Disintegrative Disorder, Rett's Disorder, and PDD-Not Otherwise Specified.
* Although each of these disorders has a specific diagnostic criteria, the Pervasive Developmental Disorders are similar in that multiple areas of development are greatly impacted.

* The symptoms of autism are often evident by the time a child reaches age three.
* Autism occurs significantly more often in boys than in girls.
* Autism equally affects people living in all areas of the world, regardless of race or socio-economic status
How do I know if my child has autism?
* Autism can only be diagnosed by a medical professional such as a developmental pediatrician, a pediatric neurologist, a pediatric psychiatrist, or a pediatric psychologist
* Conventional medical tests such as drawing blood or scanning the brain cannot be used to diagnose autism
* A diagnosis of autism is made through observing the child and interviewing adults who are familiar with the child

* No one knows for sure what causes autism
* There is no conclusive evidence, but some studies have attempted to link autism to childhood vaccinations
* Intrauterine exposure to harmful substances and infections is also being investigated as a possible cause of autism
* Although no specific genes have been isolated, researchers are investigating the possibility that there are genes which could make a child more susceptible to autism.

* There is no cure for autism
* The disorder will remain for life, but the symptoms of autism can sometimes be greatly improved
* There is no single way to treat autism
* Autism is typically treated with a combination of therapies that is best determined by analyzing the individual's strengths and weaknesses
* Treatment approaches often include sensory integration, occupational, speech, physical, vision and behavioral therapies
* These therapies typically target the elimination of inappropriate behaviors and the addition of appropriate or compensatory behaviors
* Individuals with autism may also demonstrate improvement when medical and physical treatments such as chelation therapy, dietary intervention, or hyperbaric oxygen therapy are applied
* Non-medical approaches to autism could include pet therapy, music therapy, or canine therapy


Autism Society of America
Mayo Clinic

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Dan Marino Foundation