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Facing Autism in New Brunswick: UPDATE: Globe and Mail Health Columnist André Picard Abandons Evidence Based Autism Treatment Principle, Embraces SON-RISE PROGRAM®

André Picard is a Globe and Mail public health reporter with the Glboe and Mail which is promoting the Son-Rise Program®, a purported autism program with almost no evidence based support of its effectiveness, a program which is not even mentioned in the recent CMAJ (2014) article or the (2007) AAP (reaffirmed 2010) autism reports reviewing the evidence, or lack thereof in support of various autism treatments.  The 2000 MADSEC (Maine) review did expressly assess Son-Rise Program® as described in my initial commentary on this somewhat startling embrace by the Globe and Mail of a weak to non (Read more…)

Facing Autism in New Brunswick: Autism Canada, With Some Help From the Globe and Mail, Promotes "Weak Evidence" Based Son-Rise Program®

Autism Canada suggests parents of autistic children should change course and head down a different trail, away from strong evidence based interventions like Applied Behaviour Analysis, toward programs with weak evidence base in support of their effectiveness like the Son-Rise Program®. The Globe and Mail has kindlly provided some support for this adventure with a less than thorough analysis or assessment of  the respective approaches and treatments or the possible outcomes for autistic children involved who might lose valuable therapy time during the critical early intervention period between ages 2 and 5.

As I  previously noted on this site Autism (Read more…)

Facing Autism in New Brunswick: Autism Disorders and Transition To and Through School: A Small Suggestion

Conor visiting and preparing for his transition from middle school to high school by  visiting the grounds of the school and seeing the Leo Hayes High School building.  I have commented on transition planning in the school system before and I don’t know if what we did with our severely autistic, profoundly developmentally delayed son can be done under the new Department of Education and Early Childhood Development   policies   or the collective agreement negotiated by Finance Minister Higgs with CUPE Local 2745, the union representing aides.  The essence of what we did though was to show Conor what (Read more…)

Facing Autism in New Brunswick: Canadian Autism Dad Says Thank You Florida Rep. Bill Posey

In Canada we could use more federal politicians speaking honestly and accurately,  as  Florida Rep Bill Posey has done in the US,  about Canada’s autism crisis  including  the realities  facing those with severe autism disorders and their families.  Here in Canada we have seen very little national leadership in addressing Canada’s autism crisis.  Particularly during the Stephen Harper – Mike Lake era the federal government has expressly refused to engage  in any meaningful way in addressing Canada’s autism issues.  In Canada we have relied heavily on American leadership with respect to autism research.  Against that background this father of (Read more…) . . . → Read More: Facing Autism in New Brunswick: Canadian Autism Dad Says Thank You Florida Rep. Bill Posey

Facing Autism in New Brunswick: Conor One Year Later!

Above: Conor this morning before Mom drove him to school  at the Leo Hayes High School Resource Centre.  Mom and Dad are very happy to have our Conor with us healthy and happy.   Below: One year ago Conor was in the Intensive Care Unit of the Chalmer’s Hospital for 6 days where he was unconscious for most of the first 3 days during an adverse reaction to his seizure medication at that time. We can’t say thank you often enough to our family doctor and the emergency room and intensive care units at the Chalmers for giving us our (Read more…)

Facing Autism in New Brunswick: DSM or ICD, Either Way Autism is a DISORDER, or Group of Disorders, Not "Just a Difference"

There are a number of very high functioning persons claiming to be autistic or claiming to have a “syndrome” or “different way of thinking”.  Autism is a difference not a disorder they cry out in anger against all efforts to find treatments and cures, such efforts usually led by parents and family members of severely autistic children and adults.  The great mystery to me is why they embrace the term “autism” to describe their “difference” but reject the label as representative of a medical diagnosis or disorder. In my humble opinion it is very unfortunate that both the DSM-5 and (Read more…)

Facing Autism in New Brunswick: Canada’s Autism Disgrace 2007: 2014 Update

Photo from Ameriquebec.net 

In December 2007 I wrote Canada’s Autism Disgrace, describing the lack of a real National Autism Strategy in Canada.  It is now 2014 and nothing has changed. Canada still lacks a real National Autism Strategy. The words I wrote in 2007, reprinted below, are as true and accurate today as they were then:

What is Canada’s National Autism Strategy? The answer is simple; we don’t have one. And as long as Stephen Harper’s Reform-Alliance-Conservative government rules Canada with an iron fist we will not have a National Autism Strategy. My friends of Conservative background (Read more…) . . . → Read More: Facing Autism in New Brunswick: Canada’s Autism Disgrace 2007: 2014 Update

Facing Autism in New Brunswick: IDEA Disorder, Intellectual Disability-Epilepsy-Autism Disorder, On World Autism Awareness Day

Conor  a year ago at the local ICU where he stayed for 6 days while the ICU professionals worked to save his life and return him to us in good health after a serious adverse reaction to his seizure medications.  Other parents of children with severe autism disorders and intellectual disabilities should be made aware that their children are at very substantial risk of seizure activity particularly with the onset of adolescence.  We didn’t know these well established relationships with any certainty until our son started experiencing them.  April 2 will be another World Autism Awareness Day in which (Read more…)

Facing Autism in New Brunswick: Early Autism Identification Breakthrough? That’s Funny, Conor Was Diagnosed 16 Years Ago At Age 2!

Above: Conor last month leaving school with his Mom on his 18th birthday  Below: Conor 16 years ago on his 2nd birthday.  The next day he received  his autism diagnosis. 

Our son Conor recently turned 18.  He has an autistic disorder diagnosis.  He was originally diagnosed the day after his 2nd birthday.   As parents we were concerned about developmental and sensory issues almost 1 year earlier and sought medical advice. At the time neither my wife Heather nor I had heard much about autism but we had observed issues with Conor’s development.

Conor’s brother, 19 months older, had (Read more…) . . . → Read More: Facing Autism in New Brunswick: Early Autism Identification Breakthrough? That’s Funny, Conor Was Diagnosed 16 Years Ago At Age 2!

Facing Autism in New Brunswick: Research Into Early Autism Interventions – La Trobe University Olga Tennison Autism Research Centre (OTARC)

Another excellent, thorough discussion from LaTrobe University’s  Olga Tennison Autism Research Centre (OTARC) focusing this time on early intervention research. 

  “Published on 16 Mar 2014 Dr Kristelle Hudry, Dr Giacomo Vivanti, Dr John McEachin discuss the development and trends of research into early intervention. Topics covered include the neurodiversity v intervention debate, barriers to research into interventions: historical tendency to prefer high functioning autism, lack of understanding about how children learn, lack of sector accepting evidence of research, general lack of scientific culture, priorities of research funders, the problems of randomised control trials as best practice scientific design.”

Facing Autism in New Brunswick: Autism Reality Check: Autism Is Not A Person – It Is A Disorder, A Group of Disorders or A Group of Symptoms

Autism is not a person.   Autism is defined by some authorities as a disorder, by others as “autisms” or a varied group of complex heterogeneous disorders and by still other authorities as a group of symptoms which together have come to be referred to as “autism”.  Autism is not, however, a person and because of that indisputable fact it can not sign petitions lobbying government institutions to abolish legislation passed to fight autism.  Autism can not oppose the rights of actual persons to be cured or treated for autism and can not oppose the rights of parents and other (Read more…)

Facing Autism in New Brunswick: Stanford Study Provides False Hope For Many Parents, Misrepresents Autism Disorders By Excluding Subjects With Intellectual Disability

A Stanford study which excluded autistic subjects with intellectual disability is being used to spread the false notion that autism is not a disability … just a difference. This misrepresentation of autism disorders appears in the August 16, 2013 San Jose Mercury News (I added the underlining, HLD): “Autistic kids with math abilities show different brain patterns By Lisa M. Krieger lkrieger@mercurynews.com “Stanford researchers have unearthed clues about the formidable brains of some autistic children, suggesting that the diagnosis may signal a different cognitive style, not disability.  Superior math skills were found in autistic Bay Area children with (Read more…) . . . → Read More: Facing Autism in New Brunswick: Stanford Study Provides False Hope For Many Parents, Misrepresents Autism Disorders By Excluding Subjects With Intellectual Disability

Facing Autism in New Brunswick: Parent Observation Based Study: Children With Autism Disorders as Early as 12 Months Display Highly Elevated Range of Repetitive Behaviors

Some study results that don’t surprise me given the use of parent observation, the most, and perhaps only,  reliable source of information concerning autism symptoms during children’s infancy: Longitudinal patterns of repetitive behavior in toddlers with autism Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 

“Conclusions “These findings suggest that as early as 12 months of age, a broad range of repetitive behaviors are highly elevated in children who go on to develop ASD. While some degree of repetitive behavior is elemental to typical early development, the extent of these behaviors among children who develop ASD appears highly atypical.” Jason (Read more…) . . . → Read More: Facing Autism in New Brunswick: Parent Observation Based Study: Children With Autism Disorders as Early as 12 Months Display Highly Elevated Range of Repetitive Behaviors

Facing Autism in New Brunswick: 16 Years After Conor’s Autism Diagnosis: Lots of Conor Joy But No Progress in Autism Research

Yesterday was Conor’s 18th birthday. Today is exactly 16 years after his autism diagnosis, received the day after his second birthday and after several months of testing and observation. Conor, now a young man, is till the happy boy that brings joy to his Mom and Dad, along with many serious challenges, challenges that restrict his life. Here in New Brunswick, Canada, some progress was made by a commitment to evidence based intervention by a determined parent advocacy movement. In the big picture though there has been no meaningful progress and in fact there has been very substantial regression.

The (Read more…)

Facing Autism in New Brunswick: A Humble Father’s Simple Autism, Intellectual Disability and Epilepsy Research Questions

I have been trying to read, and understand, literature about autism disorders since my son was diagnosed with an autism disorder almost 16 years ago. (Many would undoubtedly suggest I have far to go in development of that understanding).  In the last few years I have begun to try and read and learn more about epilepsy and seizures, largely because of my son’s apparent seizure activity confirmed by two classic grand mal seizures in the past 15 months.  An article on recent Companion of the Order of Australia recipients, recognizing accomplishments in their fields of a number of Australians (Read more…)

Facing Autism in New Brunswick: We Must Face Reality: Autism Disorders Can Be Harmful, Even Deadly

After discovering an arm, torso and legs Thursday, police continue the search for human remains along a rocky shoreline in Queens, Friday, Jan. 17, 2014. The remains belong to 14-year-old Avonte Oquendo, officials confirmed Tuesday. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)  Neurodiversity cult members, including some autism professionals, academics and neuroscience students like to scream at parents and other family members who speak honestly about the dangers and deficits endured by children and adults who actually suffer from autism disorders.  Television, movies, and the mass media generally, love to provide a Big Bang picture of autism as persons with unique (Read more…)

Facing Autism in New Brunswick: Waterhouse & Gillberg: Why Autism Must be Taken Apart

The belief that there is a single defining autism spectrum disorder brain dysfunction must be relinquished. – Waterhouse and Gillberg, Why Autism Must Be Taken Apart I am not going to offer too much comment on the article by Lynn Waterhouse and Christopher Gillberg itself  which, as the title indicates, argues that autism must be taken apart, at least for research purposes.  I have not yet purchased or read the article. The abstract speaks very clearly and even I, as an ignorant, hysterical, misguided parent of a son WITH severe autism disorder, intellectual disability and epileptic seizures can understand. Waterhouse (Read more…)

Facing Autism in New Brunswick: They Just Don’t Give A Damn: 2007 Adult Autism Care and Treatment In New Brunswick Was Abysmal – 2014 Nothing Has Changed, Still Abysmal

Following this comment is a re-posting of a comment I posted on this site 7 years ago in 2007 about the abysmal state of autism youth and adult residential care and treatment in New Brunswick, Canada. 7 years later and nothing has changed. Well, one thing has changed, a very important part of my life has changed.

My son with severe autism and intellectual disability is now 7 years older…. and his Mom and Dad are also 7 years older.

Time marches on. Our autistic children are becoming autistic adults. Our political and government leaders have sat on the sidelines (Read more…)

Facing Autism in New Brunswick: Autism Parents Are Not Unbreakable

   The allegedly UNBREAKABLE blade of my window ice scraper snapped off under the strain of several days of heavy ice scraping in this December’s cold and snowy Canadian winter weather. In fairness to the manufacturers and distributors of the “Unbreakable” ice scraper blade I have used it well past the 3 year limited warranty and it has seen lots of use in previous Canuck winters. People, including parents of severely autistic children, can also break particularly if they face other socio-economic and/or family and challenges.

Not all parents break in the face of the challenges and fears that haunt (Read more…)

Facing Autism in New Brunswick: Autism Reality Check: Wandering and Tragedy

Some promote the view that autism disorders are “gifts” if only society could understand, change its ways and accept the gifts. The autism as a gift view, is irrational nonsense. It thrives by simply ignoring the evidence of challenges presented by autism disorders including those like wandering or elopement which sometimes lead to tragic consequences.

Like many with autism disorders my son  once left our home unnoticed – he slipped out of the house while I was occupied on a business call. When the call ended and I couldn’t find him I called 911 and was able to recover him (Read more…)

Facing Autism in New Brunswick: For Conor Control Can Make A Difference: HERSHEY"S KISSES Christmas Bells, Autism and Sensory Challenges

Conor would always react negatively when he heard the Hershey’s Kisses Christmas bells  commercial. The sound of the bells, even the sight of the bells, almost invariably agitated him. Recently I recorded a couple of Frosty the Snowman shows for Conor using our television DVR system. The Hershey’s Kisses Christmas bells commercial was included as one of the commercials during the broadcast of the Frosty episodes.  Today I grabbed a coffee from the kitchen to go back upstairs to do some work on my laptop and realized Conor was playing, and replaying several times, the Hershey’s Kisses Christmas bells commercial (Read more…)

Facing Autism in New Brunswick: Dad Scores A Goal … With A Big Assist From Tim Hortons, Eh!

I felt like a bit of a superstar on the Conor page this morning.  Yesterday we took Conor to see “Frozen” in the mall theater and we got a few things done but tried to avoid going out on the roads with some of the frantic Christmas driving going on. We overlooked a few basics in restocking the fridge.  Conor gets up early at 6 am sharp EVERY day without fail so there was no time to run out for more groceries. Our neighborhood Tim Hortons was open though and it is close enough for a pleasant early morning walk  (Read more…)

Facing Autism in New Brunswick: Oh Oh!! Authors of Report Concluding Aluminum Vaccine Ajuvants Are Contributing To Increasing Incidence of Autism Disorders Better DUCK!

Authors of a report published in the Comprehensive Guide to Autism 2014, pp 1585-1609 better duck fast! The article abstract reviews the highly toxic nature of aluminum and conclude that research data suggest that vaccines containing aluminum adjuvants may be a contributing etiological factor in the increasing incidence of autism.  Such an assertion is forbidden by health policy authorities if not by science:

“Abstract  Impaired brain function, excessive inflammation, and autoimmune manifestations are common in autism. Aluminum (Al), the most commonly used vaccine adjuvant, is a demonstrated neurotoxin and a strong immune stimulator. Hence, adjuvant Al has the necessary properties (Read more…) . . . → Read More: Facing Autism in New Brunswick: Oh Oh!! Authors of Report Concluding Aluminum Vaccine Ajuvants Are Contributing To Increasing Incidence of Autism Disorders Better DUCK!

Facing Autism in New Brunswick: Detached Children With Autism Theory Faces Serious Challenge

Emotional Reactions of children with Autism, Ms Heather Nuske  Olga Tennsion Autism Research Centre, Latrobe University

For years the autism professional community accepted the non evidence based speculation that autism disorders were caused by detached, cold mothers.  The professions’ embrace of this fantasy caused serious harm to many families.  The other side of the coin is that persons with autism disorders are also cold, detached, do not show typical emotional responses.  The cold autistic persons theory has endured but is now under serious challenge from some of the innovative, fresh thinkers at the Latrobe University’s Olga Tennison Autism Research (Read more…)

Facing Autism in New Brunswick: THIS Is Autism, Conor’s Autism Reality, Self Injurious Behavior

Suzanne Wright’s recent honest and courageous statements in support of a National Autism Plan in the United States has attracted the wrath of Neurodiversity cult members and they will not relent. All the usual suspects  have been voicing their irrational outrage Emily Willingham, Shannon des Roches Rosa, John Robison etc.  In their modern version of the Cold Mothers Attack on parents that caused so much pain they condemn parents and family members for telling the world the unspeakable truths about autism: autism is a disorder, or group of disorders, harmful disorders that can inflict pain and suffering on those who (Read more…) . . . → Read More: Facing Autism in New Brunswick: THIS Is Autism, Conor’s Autism Reality, Self Injurious Behavior