Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Clinic Notes: ABA for Grandmothers with Autism

When I came in the clinic this morning I checked the messages on the answering machine like I always do. The messages were the usual--parents wanting evaluations on their children--others with a diagnosis wanting treatment. Other messages were from school systems, doctors, speech language pathologists, and other agencies and professionals wanting information on children that I was seeing--nothing different. I thought. I returned as many calls as I could before my appointments started and ran into something different. A grandmother with several grandchildren requested an autism evaluation. I asked her how old her grandchildren were and she informed me that I didn't understand. The autism evaluation was not her grandchildren. The autism evaluation was for her. I apologized and asked her why she thought she had autism. It was because her grandchildren were acting different she said. She thought they might have autism and had got it from her. That's a backward way of looking at autism I thought to myself. Then I wondered if indeed this backward way of looking at autism was autistic behavior. And I wondered if anyone was doing ABA with grandmothers with autism.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Clinic Notes: Language and Autism

Language and speech problems are apparent in children with autism. Many children with autism only understand the literal aspects of language and not what is implied or metaphorical. For example, I was recently trying to get a new child diagnosed with autism to interact with me. I rolled a ball to him and said, "Roll it back". He picked up the ball, put it behind his head and let it roll down his back. I had not said, "Roll the ball back to me." The implied part of the sentence did not register. Idioms are another real problem. If I say to a child with autism, "It's raining cats and doges," they look at me like I'm crazy. One of the children I see with autism got mad at one of her relatives that she ad not seen in a while. The relative said, "You are growing like a weed." The child was insulted because she thought the relative was calling her a weed and did not get the metaphor.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Clinic Notes: Autism Week is Almost Over and There's Not Much to Celebrate

Forty years ago I saw a case or two of autism every couple of years. Now seventy to eighty percent of the children that I see each week have a diagnosis of autism. I have a long waiting list and most of the kids on my waiting list will also end up with an autism diagnosis. We do mainstream fifty percent of the children with autism that we see on a regular schedule and that's certainly something to celebrate. But I worry about the other fifty percent and the children that I see and the other children in the rural area where I practice that I don't see because of funding or other issues. Every Psychologists, Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA), Speech Language Pathologists, Occupational Therapists, and Pediaric Numerologists I know tell the same story. Too many kids with autism and not enough providers. Parents of children with autism from all over the world email me at my website and complain about finding and paying for services. I feel like we are at war and our children are being taken from us in ever increasing numbers. And it is long past the time for mobilization. Hopefully, when autism week comes around next year there will be more to celebrate.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Additional Online Survey Question: Veins and Autism

We are conducting a survey on the potential causes of autism. We are analyzing data now from a larger study and hope to have the report completed by summer 2008. Currently, we have almost 3000 surveys. We have an additional issue we wish to explore concerning the presence of veins on the temples. We need mothers of normally developing children as well as those mothers with autism so we have a comparison group.
There are only 8 questions and will only take a couple of minutes to complete. By clicking on the submit button you are consenting to participating in this study. If you have any questions or concerns you can contact Dr. Angie MacKewn in the psychology department at the University of Tennessee at Martin at or 731-881-7370.
Thank you for taking the time to complete this brief survey.
If your child is normally developing thanks for participating so we can have a control group. Please go to and click on the survey link. Thanks Dr. Brown