Teen Helps Parents of Children with Autism

This amazing video was created by Michael Whary, an Ohio teen who is truly making a difference. Michael, who has autism, is working to become an Eagle Scout – and to do that, he needed to complete a service project that benefits the community. So he took the opportunity to create a video that aims to help parents of children with autism, sharing how autism doesn’t make him different, it makes him Michael.

And we can say we’re quite impressed! Also, speaking of achievements, not only is Michael working to become an Eagle Scout, he’s (as noted here), a member of his school’s track and field team, ROTC and marching band. (Keep in mind that Michael’s family was told that he would never ride a bike or drive a car – and you’ll see he can do both quite well!)

We invite you to check out Michael’s video!

Lynsey, Community Manager

 

Look At Me

Look At Me
Technology has become a great tool that has helped many touched by autism to communicate, work on social skills and it also can be an overall learning aide. And now Samsung has released a new app called Look At Me that claims it can help children learn how to better maintain eye contact.

The app, which is available on Google Play, was developed by doctors and professors at Seoul National University Bundag Hospital and Yonsei University Department of Psychology. As discussed in this article, Look At Me uses photos, facial recognition technology and games to help children identify emotions and communicate with other people. The team that created the app had conducted a clinical trial and said that 60% of the 20 children that participated showed improvement in making eye contact.

Check out the app here.

Lynsey, Community Manager

 

Top 5 From 2014

2014Hello 2015! Yes, the new year is now here and underway, but before we officially say goodbye to 2014, let’s take a look at some of the more prominent news and stories from the past year:

  1. 1 in 68 – Autism rates continue to increase. The Center for Disease Control reported that the number of U.S. children with autism soared to 1 in 68 – a 30% increase from its last report two years prior. Still without a confirmed known cause, or causes, the reason for this increase can’t be determined, although growing awareness and better identification of autism in children may be playing a part in that increase.
  2. Jerry Seinfeld thinks he’s autistic…but then doesn’t. Probably one of the most buzzed-about stories this year was when comedian Jerry Seinfeld — during an interview with NBC News’s Brian William — said that he thought he might be on the autism spectrum. Although he later took that claim back, his self-diagnosis was met with both support and criticism.
  3. Amazing Acts of Kindness.  Helping someone – an easy thing to do, and something that could profoundly impact someone. These types of stories are always our favorite, and we hope there are plenty of them in 2015. Check out a couple from last year such as William’s Mail and Lunch Buddies.
  4. Athletic Super Stars. We saw some truly incredible athleticism this year – and met some amazing kids celebrating remarkable achievements. We heard about Jason “J-Mac” McElwain who ran the Boston marathon in under three hours, as well as Mike Brannigan, who is one of the top 10 high school runners in the U.S., and Josh Bailey, who is a star member of his high school football team.
  5. Learning More.  It was another year full of new information and studies. It seems like a new study comes out almost every day. There was, for example, the one that showed environment is just as important as genes in looking at how autism runs in families; or, the study that show children with autism may have an overload of brain connections. All of this research and discovery is so important maybe we’re getting closer to understanding this complex condition. We hope continued research, awareness and, above all else, compassion remains prominent in the year ahead.

We wish you all a very happy New Year!