[This page is being renamed and is now out of date. Please go to the new page.]
This section started out collecting autism information and then, as I did more research, turned into autism spectrum which may or may not be the proper term but refers to all of the autism-LIKE disorders out there. And of course the sensory integration stuff came about because a dear friend's child is struggling with it.
The number of people I know with autistic children has gotten larger and larger. Some of this information is from those people, and some is just from media.
This section is called All about Autism from the Autism Society of America's website. There was an interesting article last year in Wired magazine about this. The title was: The Geek Syndrome and the premise was: "Autism - and its milder cousin Asperger's syndrome - is surging among the children of Silicon Valley. Are math-and-tech genes to blame?" Another interesting website - with more autism links than I've ever seen - is the neurodiversity.com site. Some of the links look pretty "alternative" (e.g. the entire page of books on ... indigo children (?)), but it's a formidable piece of reference work. The Autism Key website has forums, and also lists the top states in the US for autism support. They are:
The First Signs Organization seems interesting. They're devoted to the early identification of children with developmental delays and disorders. The Handle Institute is involved in both diagnosing and treating people with neurodevelopmental disorders. I discovered it while doing a very heavy-duty web search for a friend with autistic twins about two and a half years ago and was blown away by the website. VERY wonderful story. Very interesting stuff. If your child has any type of neurodevelopmental problems, I would suggest that you take a look a them. Handle deals with Add/ADHD, Autism/PDD, dyslexia, learning disabilities, Tourette's Syndrome, and traumatic brain injuries. Their brief look at Handle is very interesting.
Sensory Integration Stuff
The Alert program helps teach kids how to "run" their bodies and themselves differently.
This section contains names and contact information for general support organizations for parents of autistic children
Bethesda, MD - local chapter in Belmont
Nancy is a writer and mother to Quinn. She has started a website called Face Autism.
I recently spoke with a friend whose son was finally successfully diagnosed as having ADHD after several harrowing years. She told me that they got a 25-page diagnosis from the specialist whom they waited about 9 months to see (so if you have ANY DOUBTS at all, GET ON A WAITING LIST. Don't wait to "actualize" and don't worry about being "fair" to your child. Just get on the list -- and cancel it if you don't need it! -- that's my humble opinion)
At any rate, these are some of the tests that they administered:
Weschler Preschool And Primary Scale of Intelligence-III
Developmental teest of Visual-Motor intergration
Tests of APraxia
Right-Left Discrimintion Test
Auditory Discrimination Test
Motor-Free Visual Perception Test-III
Ishihara's Test for Colour Blindeness
Sentence Memory Test
Knox's Cube Test
Cancellation of Rapidly Recurring Targets Figures test
Burks' Behaviour Rating Scale
conners' behavioral Rating Scale
Mental Status Examination
Things that you can do to teach
This article, written by Dr. Mythily Chari in India, talks specifically about interventions and training that they did to teach children to get along in the world. She maintains (and I agree with her), that you really need to teach context and social hierarchy when you teach behavior (e.g. about hugging.) Interesting and very useful.
Local (San Francisco area) programs
Palo Alto (650) 494-0550
Various services for infants, children and adults who are developmentally disabled.
Theories and Therapies
A friend of mine who is smart as a whip inhaled every autism book out there, tried on for size and discarded things left and right, and finally has been using RDI on her child, with great success. RDI stands for Relationship Development Intervention and is an innovative program for autistic children developed by Steven Gutstein, who has written many publications on the subject of autism, Asperger's, the relationship puzzle, activities, etc.
At any rate, my friend says that RDI has done wonders for her child.
Legislation, insurance, and funding
This depends totally on your state, unfortunately.
A friend of mine recommends DSM-4, which stands for THE definitive research book on diagnostic criteria. She said that you've got to read it, get on top of it, especially if you're trying to track down what's happening with your kid.
Here are some extremely good link pages:
Links, especially local to Northern California, from Achievekids. Room5 is a classroom web page dedicated to helping parents and teachers of students with autistic spectrum disorders. The Eide blog is fascinating - it's all about neurolearning. This is the Autism archive page for the Eide blog, which summarizes all mention of autism and related topics.
Resources for caregivers
Just found a site named empowering caregivers. Has some good books and references for people who are taking care of others.