Archive for the ‘Advocacy’ Category

Follow-up to “Welcome to Holland”

Celebrating Holland- I’m Home (

By Casey Anthony

I have been in Holland for over a decade now. It has become home. I have had time to catch my breath, to settle and adjust, to accept something different than I’d planned. I reflect back on those years of past when I had first landed in Holland. I remember clearly my shock, my fear, my anger, the pain and uncertainty. In those first few years, I tried to get back to Italy as planned, but Holland was where I was to stay. Today, I can say how far I have come on this unexpected journey. I have learned so much more. But, this too has been a journey of time.
I worked hard. I bought new guidebooks. I learned a new language and I slowly found my way around this new land. I have met others whose plans had changed like mine, and who could share my experience. We supported one another and some have become very special friends.
Some of these fellow travelers had been in Holland longer than I and were seasoned guides, assisting me along the way. Many have encouraged me. Many have taught me to open my eyes to the wonder and gifts to behold in this new land. I have discovered a community of caring. Holland wasn’t so bad.
I think that Holland is used to wayward travelers like me and grew to become a land of hospitality, reaching out to welcome, to assist and to support newcomers like me in this new land. Over the years, I’ve wondered what life would have been like if I’d landed in Italy as planned. Would life have been easier? Would it have been as rewarding? Would I have learned some of the important lessons I hold today?

Sure, this journey has been more challenging and at times I would (and still do) stomp my feet and cry out in frustration and protest. And, yes, Holland is slower paced than Italy and less flashy than Italy, but this too has been an unexpected gift. I have learned to slow down in ways too and look closer at things, with a new appreciation for the remarkable beauty of Holland with its tulips, windmills and Rembrandts.

I have come to love Holland and call it Home.

I have become a world traveler and discovered that it doesn’t matter where you land. What’s more important is what you make of your journey and how you see and enjoy the very special, the very lovely, things that Holland, or any land, has to offer.

Yes, over a decade ago I landed in a place I hadn’t planned. Yet I am thankful, for this destination has been richer than I could have imagined!

Posted by on August 4th, 2014 Comments Off on Follow-up to “Welcome to Holland”


Awesome ASD Fact Sheet

The Child Development Institute has developed fact sheets for many disorders an disabilities for parents to help explain their child’s condition to others. These fact sheets also serve as a parents guide to children with autism. This website has fact sheets on many topics including eating disorders, anxiety disorders, and behavior disorders. Go check out the website for a free printable fact sheet. Below are the Frequently Asked Questions on autism that parents may get from people about their child.

  • What is autism?
  • What are some of the common signs of autism?
  • How is autism diagnosed?
  • What causes autism?
  • What role does genetics play?
  • Do symptoms of autism change over time?
  • How can autism be treated?

You can also subscribe to their newsletter!

Posted by on June 19th, 2014 Comments Off on Awesome ASD Fact Sheet


The Sparkle Effect

The Sparkle Effect is a program with a mission to get kids with disabilities involved. It was founded by a girl by the name of Sarah Cronk. She started the program in hopes to create inclusive cheer squads all around the world.

“The Sparkle Effect is an innovative program that helps students across the country create inclusive cheerleading and dance teams in middle schools, high schools, and colleges that bring together students with and without disabilities. We provide everything that’s needed, including our Quick Start Kit and peer mentoring. We also have grants available for uniforms and we provide free on-site training. More than 120 Sparkle Effect teams have formed in 26 states, so learn more and get started today!”

What an incredible story! Check out how you can learn more AND start a team today HERE.


Posted by on June 12th, 2014 Comments Off on The Sparkle Effect


Autism Affects the Adult Population Too

Medical News Today discusses autism as an adult disorder and how we need to focus on the older population that is affected by autism as well as the children.

While it is more common for children to get a diagnosis of autism, it is important to remember that many adults are also living with ASD.

“It is a real issue and autism is still seen very much as a child’s condition. But of course, every child with autism does grow up to be an adult with autism,” says Carol Povey.

Povey also adds:

“Our understanding [of autism] is growing, but most of the services and facilities and the understanding around diagnoses are with children. When people move into adulthood, most services are poorer and the understanding is poorer because our portrayal of autism is still with children. We just know more about autism in children.”

The research on children with autism has grown significantly along with the growing diagnosis rate, however there is research lacking in the area of those affected with autism as adults. Employment has become the main topic for adults with autism. However, it is encouraging to see more organizations helping adults with ASD gain interview experience and even employment opportunities.

According to Povey, teaching children about autism from a young age is important for improving future awareness and acceptance of the condition. “Very young children are very accepting,” she explains, “that is why very often, autistic children have very successful primary school careers. [Non-autistic children] can be very nurturing, accept them and look out for them. It is often when you move into secondary school (high school) and into adulthood that they become more difficult.”

We love how Povey ended the article:

“When we do get a society that really can accept difference and celebrate difference, rather than being frightened of it, that would make such a massive difference in people’s lives.”

Posted by on June 2nd, 2014 Comments Off on Autism Affects the Adult Population Too


World Autism Awareness Day!

Today is World Autism Awareness Day! Autism Speaks tells us about this special day:

  • On December 18, 2007, the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution 62/139, tabled by the State of Qatar, which declares April 2 as World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD) in perpetuity. Her Highness Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser Al-Missned, Consort of His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, the Emir of the State of Qatar, supported the campaign for a World Autism Awareness Day through the current 62nd UN General Assembly Session, garnering consensus support from all United Nations Member States.
  • This UN resolution declares WAAD as one of only four official health-specific United Nations Days and will bring the world’s attention to autism, a pervasive disorder that affects tens of millions. The World Autism Awareness Day resolution encourages all Member States to take measures to raise awareness about autism throughout society and to encourage early diagnosis and early intervention. It further expresses deep concern at the prevalence and high rate of autism in children in all regions of the world and the consequent developmental challenges.
  • World Autism Awareness Day shines a bright light on autism as a growing global health crisis. WAAD activities help to increase and develop world knowledge of the autism epidemic and impart information regarding the importance of early diagnosis and early intervention. Additionally, WAAD celebrates the unique talents and skills of persons with autism and is a day when individuals with autism are warmly welcomed and embraced in community events around the globe.
  • By bringing together autism organizations all around the world, we will give a voice to the millions of individuals worldwide who are undiagnosed, misunderstood and looking for help. Please join us in our effort to inspire compassion, empowerment and hope.

Quick Fact: Autism affects 1 in 88 children, 1 in 54 are boys. 

Posted by on April 2nd, 2014 Comments Off on World Autism Awareness Day!


Quotes about Autism from Temple Grandin!

“I am much less autistic now, compared to when I was young. I remember some behaviors like picking carpet fuzz and watching spinning plates for hours. I didn’t want to be touched. I couldn’t shut out background noise. I didn’t talk until I was about 4 years old. I screamed. I hummed. But as I grew up, I improved.” 

“Autism is a neurological disorder. It’s not caused by bad parenting. It’s caused by, you know, abnormal development in the brain. The emotional circuits in the brain are abnormal. And there also are differences in the white matter, which is the brain’s computer cables that hook up the different brain departments.”

“A treatment method or an educational method that will work for one child may not work for another child. The one common denominator for all of the young children is that early intervention does work, and it seems to improve the prognosis.”

“Autism is part of who I am.”






Posted by on March 31st, 2014 Comments Off on Quotes about Autism from Temple Grandin!


Spread the Word to End the Word

The Spread the Word to End the Word campaign is an ongoing effort by the Special Olympics, Best Buddies and other supports to raise the consciousness of society about the dehumanizing and hurtful effects of the R-word and encourage people to stop using the R-word.

The campaign is the first Wednesday in March every year, this year landing on March 5th.

One of the main messages the Spread the Word to End of the Word campaign broadcasts is to “build awareness for society to stop and think about its use of the R-word. Most people don’t think of this word as hate speech, but that’s exactly what it feels like to millions of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, their families and friends. The R-word is just as cruel and offensive as any other slur.”

Click here and pledge to end the word. You can also order t-shirts and learn ways that you can help!

Posted by on February 24th, 2014 Comments Off on Spread the Word to End the Word


Deaf Seahawks Fullback Story!

This is a commercial about a Seahawks football player who has been deaf since the age of three. His name is Derrick Coleman and his story is incredibly inspiring!! Check it out: 

Posted by on January 17th, 2014 Comments Off on Deaf Seahawks Fullback Story!


Free Pictures for Communication Boards

Yesterday, I received an email from a woman working in a group home on the east coast who had several adult residents without any means of communication.  Although saddened by this news, I was impressed with her initiative to find a way to provide communication systems for these folks even in the face of a major obstacle:  no money.  I am sharing with you some of the links to internet sites that I sent to her.  These are all sources of free line drawings, pictures and photographs that can be used to create picture boards for communication.  I realize that this is not a comprehensive list, so please share your free resources…thanks!


Here are some no cost or low cost ideas to get you started:

Posted by on January 31st, 2013 Comments Off on Free Pictures for Communication Boards


Successful School Meeting!

My client’s father sits across the table from six school professionals. The principal, psychologist, teacher, para, special education director and OT have all gathered together for this morning progress meeting. I am there as my client’s private SLP. Despite the lack of balance in representation, my client’s father reaches deep into his heart,  graciously praising the school team for their care, interest and ongoing hard work with his son. He knows, he says, that his non-verbal and often self-injurious pre-teen is not easy to work with and that the rewards are in the smallest of gains. I gaze around the table at the individual faces of this large school team and see them lift with gratitude at the father’s words;  even if they don’t always know what to do, they always have his son’t best interests at heart.

My client’s father then outlines what he wants school’s next steps to be in educating his son. As I once again glance  at the faces of those six professionals, I notice a hardening of their features and slight glare in their eyes. I am unsure if my client’s father notices this or not.  Many things are discussed over the next hour. Most of them are trivial.  My client’s father politely, yet relentlessly, returns to his requests.  Words are tossed back and forth between the large team of six to the small team of one. The most solid ideas to foster educational progress are those spoken by  my client’s father. It is crystal clear that he has thought long and hard about the current needs of his son and how to overcome them. The school staff really has no option; they are wonderful, loving, highly-educated folks with the best of intentions. But, they aren’t Dad. There is no way that they can possibly have the depth of understanding about this young man that Dad does, and he doesn’t expect them to.  What  he does expect them to do is use his wisdom to teach his son. They understand this.  They also realize that his ideas really are what is best for his son at this moment in time.  They tweak a few ideas to better fit my client’s school day.  A  plan is developed.  I take one final look around the room and see smiles, glowing eyes and postures indicative of mutual respect.  This was a successful  meeting.

Posted by on November 5th, 2012 Comments Off on Successful School Meeting!