The “Missing Link:” Autism and Vaccinations

For more than a decade, a suggested link between childhood vaccinations and autism has caused an outcry amongst many parents and autism advocates. A study in 1998 by Dr. Andrew Wakefield proposed a possible link between children with the disorder and the measles-mumps-rubella shot. It was suggested that the mercury, or thimerosal in the vaccine caused “widespread” neurological damage resulting in autism. Now experts are saying the link doesn’t exist. As the mother of a son with autism, I have never agreed with the theory that immunizations caused his autism. My son Kyle had unique behaviors and some physical anomalies … Continue reading

Teaching Flexibility to a Child Who Resists Change

Children with autism spectrum disorders, behavioral disorders, and Sensory Integration Disorders often develop rigid thinking. They want certain things done at a certain times, in a certain order, and in a certain way. Otherwise, a tantrum ensues. That’s because these special kids often feel a loss of control over important aspects of their lives. What is normal and routine for the rest of us can be difficult and frustrating for them. Imagine having your body respond clumsily when you’re trying to do work or play. Or imagine being dragged from place to place by a parent and not having the … Continue reading

Autism vs. The Junkyard Man

Now that I have long since reached the acceptance stage with my seventeen-year-old son Kyle and his autism, I’m able to enjoy the precious, wonderful quirks that make him so unique. His matter-of-fact approach to the oddities of life brings humor into even the most mundane or tense moments. I’m grateful for that. I look back at the early years when autism felt like a horrible intruder in our lives–a vicious thief– and now see a different side. Kyle is the greatest teacher, the most tender friend, and the sweetest surprise life has decided to give me. A few weeks … Continue reading

Obtaining Guardianship for My Autistic Son

Now that my son Kyle is sixteen, his IEP meetings are rather routine. While I talk with his teacher and therapists, Kyle roves about the room, smiling, and making occasional comments. At his most recent meeting we discussed his progress—how he’s been improving his eye contact and social behaviors, how he loves to cook, and how he can balance a simple checkbook. We excitedly congratulated him on his first public speech—which he gave in his communications class in front of typical students. Before his speech day, we had written the text of the speech together, and he was able to … Continue reading

“Is Something Wrong with My Child?” Expert Advice from Dr. Ellenmorris Tiegerman

Readers: The following is an interview with Dr. Ellenmorris Tiegerman, Founder and Executive Director of the School for Language and Communication Development. She is an expert in the field of early childhood development, and her insight and wisdom is tremendously valuable. Hello, Dr. Tiegerman. Introduce yourself, and tell us a little about the school you founded. Hi, everyone. I am the Founder and Executive Director of the School for Language and Communication Development (SLCD) which provides educational services for children 18 months to 21 years with language and autism spectrum disorders. I started this program in 1985 when I was … Continue reading

“There’s a Hobo at School with a Knife!” More Adventures in Childhood Bipolar Disorder

My husband and I were faced with the horrific task of telling my stepdaughters that their mother, baby sister, and brother-to-be had all been killed in a terrible car accident. As we sat them down that morning, the look of concern on their faces was obvious. They knew something was terribly wrong, just by their father’s demeanor. He was a tough-guy police officer who rarely cried. Yet now he was racked with visible grief. It was hard for him to find the right words. How does a father gently break his daughters’ hearts? With his arms around them, he shared … Continue reading

Little Girl on the Edge – Childhood Bipolar Disorder

Motherhood, for me, has been a journey with unexpected turns and frightening pitfalls. Little did I know when Cassidy first appeared on my doorstep the great challenges I would face being her stepmother. On that day, she looked up at me with a cherubic face, pink cheeks, and a welcoming smile. “Hello, my name is Cassidy,” she said brightly. “It’s very nice to meet you.” I didn’t know what childhood bipolar disorder looked like, but if I could have imagined it, this gorgeous little girl would not be its personification. Cassidy moved into my home at the age of six, … Continue reading

Our Family’s Experience with Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA) Part 2

My son was finally admitted into an examination room, where he had numerous blood tests performed. He had to have an arterial blood gas test where blood is drawn directly from an artery (rather than a vein) in his arm. This was done to measure the pH levels in his blood, and determine how acidic he was. He found the needle uncomfortable but was too sick to mind much. He was also given intravenous fluids with an insulin and potassium drip. Periodically I’d have to leave the room and stand in the hospital entrance to call home and check on … Continue reading

Our Family’s Experience with Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA) Part 1

My seventeen-year-old was starting to look very thin. Gaunt, even. I asked him, “Are you taking care of your diabetes?” Concerned, I sat down and scrolled through his glucometer. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. 400s. 500s. Even some HI readings. (Normal is between 80 and 120.) What was going on? “You’re not getting enough insulin,” I said. “Are you counting your carbs?” This was a kid in a college-level math class. I knew he was very capable of doing the figures. “Yeah,” he shrugged. “But they prescribed me a ton of insulin at the last clinic visit. It … Continue reading

COOL DADDY RAT by Kristyn Crow

Hello, Readers. As you’ve probably noticed, I’ve been a little preoccupied lately and for this I apologize. We’ve had some medical issues to contend with in our family, along with some legal matters, and I’ve also been swept up in activities and events surrounding the release of my first picture book, COOL DADDY RAT. I’ve been writing blogs for for two years now, and I always love receiving comments about my posts. I appreciate those of you who have taken the time to drop me a note. I hope each of you amazing parents are doing well and that … Continue reading