Spotlight On…Dallas Museum of Art

Dallas Museum of Art

Dallas Museum of Art

Our ‘Spotlight On’ series features regional programs and activities in the arts and entertainment that have been designed for those touched by autism.

For those of you in the Dallas area, the Dallas Museum of Art hosts regular “Autism Awareness Family Celebrations,” which provide a safe and comfortable way to see all the great exhibits the museum has to offer. On selected days, families can visit the museum free of charge and enjoy its Center for Creative Connections before the museum opens to the public.

While there, families can participate in staff-led gallery experiences, enjoy an interactive musical performance and create a work of art in the studio. Plus, children have the chance to relax with occupational therapy students in its Quiet Sensory Room and explore textures in the Young Learners Gallery. (Families are always invited to stay once the museum opens at 11 a.m. for the public for additional fun.)

The Autism Awareness Family Celebrations are offered throughout the year. Check the museum’s website for details about the next event.

Have you attended one of these events? If so, share your experience with us below!

Lynsey, Community Manager 

National Study Links Autism Risk to Air Pollution

June 2013 issue

Information from a study published in Environmental Health Perspectives has been making it rounds on the web. The study shows that living in an area with high levels of air pollution may increase a woman’s chances of having a child with autism. In the first national study so far that looks at this potential link, researchers compared various data (such as levels of air pollutants and women’s health in the  U.S.) and found that women who lived in the most polluted areas (such as areas that had the highest levels of diesel or mercury in the air) were twice as likely to have a child with autism compared to those that live in the cleanest areas. Check out this Huff Post article for more info.

It’s still early in the investigation phase, researchers warn, to know for sure if – and what – women may be actually absorbing from their environment. But it’s an interesting step and one that may prove to give us a little more understanding of (confirmed) potential risks.

Lynsey, Community Manager


Good Reads for the Dads (and the Moms)

Many of the voices we hear from in the autism community are the moms. But with Father’s Day coming up, we wanted to recognize all the dads out there that are on the autism journey – taking on all of the ups and downs that come their way. It can be a tough road, and sometimes it’s hard to admit that much, so we’re glad that we’re seeing more dads stand up and share their stories—their struggles, successes, big steps/little steps, denial, acceptance and all that goes along with the journey. Some of their stories are shared in books, with a select few highlighted below that are worth checking out:

Not My Boy!

Not My Boy! – Former NFL star Rodney Peete (married to actress Holly Robinson Peete), shares his candid personal journey with his son’s autism. He discusses in his own life with his son, R.J., and weaves in voices, insights, and dreams of other fathers who have been touched by autism.

Autism Dad

Autism Dad: Adventures In Raising An Autistic Son – This is a collection of essays written by award-winning syndicated columnist, Rob Errera. He covers many topics on autism—from diagnosis, to autism in the media, to therapy/treatments. Overall, though, it’s a father’s perspective of raising and loving a child with autism.


The Horse Boy

The Horse Boy: A Father’s Quest to Heal His Son – Rupert Isaacson chronicles his family’s trek across Mongolia all in an effort to help their autistic son, Rowan. Rupert and his wife found there was an uncanny connection between their son and horses, so, after trying some more conventional therapies, they took their son on an extraordinary journey across Mongolia on horseback to meet with shamans known for their healing powers.


Father's Day

Father’s Day: A Journey into the Mind and Heart of My Extraordinary Son – A memoir by Buzz Bissinger, best-selling author of Friday Night Lights and Three Nights in August, about his relationship with his son, Zach. Buzz realized that while he was attentive father, he didn’t really understand what it was like to be Zack. So Buzz takes Zach on a road trip, from PA to CA, to visit all the places they’ve lived together—in hopes of bringing them even closer together.

Happy Father’s Day to all the great dads out there!

Lynsey, Community Manager


(Note – Book covers from


Can A Blood Test Identify Autism?

NBC News

NBC News

That’s the question researchers are trying to determine with a new study underway.

As you know, diagnosing autism can be an especially trying process for parents, which in part can be due to the fact that diagnosis is solely based on behavioral and developmental testing/evaluations. Currently there is no blood test you can take that would clearly identify whether your child is at high risk for autism. But that could change.

A national study is underway at 20 medical sites across the country looking at the accuracy of a blood test for autism.  Researchers are going to see if there’s a specific genetic marker that can be linked to being at risk for having autism.

If they are able to locate such a marker and a blood test becomes an option, it could mean that autism can be diagnosed much earlier on, and treatment can begin sooner, which could be very beneficial to children.

To learn more about the study, check out this video from NBC News, or view study specifics here.

Lynsey, Community Manager


Spotlight On…Artful Adventures at MFA

MFA Boston

MFA Boston

For those of you in the Boston area, or maybe those visiting this summer, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston offers a “Beyond the Spectrum” program, which features its Artful Adventures class. The program is designed for children ages 8-12 with autism and combines gallery exploration with an art-making activity.

Through this class, participating children can connect with art and cultures of Asia, Europe and the Americas. The Beyond the Spectrum program meets one Saturday per month — each visit lasts an hour and a half (10:30 am – 12 pm). You can sign up online, with the next meeting time of July 6. The cost is $9.50 per child, which includes materials, museum admission and one adult ticket.

If you have participated in this program at Boston MFA, please share your feedback here with us!

Lynsey, Community Manager