Getting Ready for Fireworks

http://rsfireworks.net

http://rsfireworks.net

The 4th of July can be a fun holiday full of picnics, family time and, of course, fireworks. However, for many on the autism spectrum, loud noises like fireworks can be an extremely upsetting experience. And maybe you learned that the hard way in a past year. But don’t give up hope that fireworks can be part of your holiday – something that the whole family can enjoy together – it just may take a little prep ahead of time.

Here are some things you may want to consider if your 4th will include fireworks:

  • Practice – You may find that there are (sometimes smaller) local fireworks in the days leading up to the 4th of July weekend, so it may be good to do a test run. Talk about the fireworks in advance. Some of the anxiety comes from the unknown, or unexpected, so easing into a larger fireworks display with smaller shows could help alleviate the anxiety a bit.
  • Give a visual – Sometimes having a visual can help better communicate what to expect. You may want to watch fireworks online, or even read a book about going to see fireworks, to help prepare for the real thing.
  • Headphones – If the noise level is just too much – and your child can tolerate headphones (this is an item that usually needs time to get used to as well) – headphones can help cancel out the noise to that they are left just enjoying the beautiful color display.
  • Find a Quieter Place – It might be best to keep some distance between you and the fireworks, so, depending on the location, you may be to enjoy the fireworks from your car or from an outdoor space that is further away.

Whether fireworks are in your future or not, we hope you have a wonderful 4th of July!

Lynsey, Community Manager

Non-Verbal Teen Gives Inspirational Graduation Speech

Yet another truly amazing and inspirational story…this video from KABC in California features Dillan Barmache, a teen who is non-verbal, but with the aide of his iPad was able to address his fellow middle school classmates during graduation.

Dillan spells out words letter by letter, and the iPad’s speech synthesizer vocalizes the words for him, allowing him, for the first time, to express himself.  And Dillan used his speech synthesizer to present his graduation speech, which touched on the challenges he has had as well as the opportunities they will face in high school. Here’s an excerpt (KABC published Dillan’s speech):

When I examine each day, it’s just incredible how a student, an autistic one, could ever feel a part of a class of future academics. Education is a better institution when all students have opportunity, plus a chance to take an idea and see the lessons within. With your mind, no one can place limits on where an idea can take you. Living without a voice creates almost no way to be heard, but there are people who refuse to think in a box. Open your mind in high school. You will learn to think about different ideas, and examine new findings. Always look inside other peoples experience in order to gain another perspective outside of books. Only then are we able to start opening our eyes to the amazing things around us.

And, rightfully so, his speech was met with a standing ovation! Congratulations to Dillan and his classmates!

Lynsey, Community Manager

 

 

No Link Between Vaccines and Autism

CNN.com

CNN.com

It is no secret that an ongoing, much-debated topic among the autism community – and certainly even beyond – is if vaccinations, particularly the MMR vaccine, could be a cause of autism. Although there is no fully confirmed cause(s) of autism at this time, the idea that vaccines could be linked came from a study published by Dr. Andrew Wakefield in 1998– and that study has since been debunked. But it started a movement – there have been some people that look back and may feel like it could have been a vaccine that caused their child’s autism because the timing of the vaccine with the show of symptoms – and those that are now opting out of getting their child vaccinated as a “preventative” measure.

Although the medical community has been working to spread reassurance that vaccines are safe, it still hasn’t done too much to change the minds of those opposed to them. But a new report led by the University of Sydney may give some comfort about vaccines – it reviewed available data from around the world and found that there is no link between vaccination and the development of autism.

As noted in this article, the paper’s senior author, Associate Professor Guy Eslick, said he was inspired to look into the issue after watching some documentaries on the medical debate. His study examined seven sets of data involving more than 1.25 million children and concluded that there was no evidence to support a relationship between common vaccines for measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough and the development of autism.

This type of research is very important given that, as Eslick points out, there have been 11 measles outbreaks in the U.S. since 2000, and New South Wales/Australia also saw a spike in measles infections throughout the year in 2012.

Everyone needs to make the decisions that they feel is best for them/their families, but this report may at least provide some peace of mind.

 

Lynsey, Community Manager