Mom’s Thank You to JetBlue

nottheformerthings.com

nottheformerthings.com (Shawna and her son)

Traveling with your children on a plane can be an extremely stress-inducing thing—for both you and your child. There are many sensory “unfriendly” barriers your child will have to hurdle – loud noises, weird smells, wearing a seatbelt, crowding, etc., etc. – and then for you, you’re trying to anticipate it all. It can be tough. Plus, on top of that, you hope that people and the airline will show compassion and care as you try to navigate through all of the obstacles.

If you’ve looked online lately, you may have seen some unfavorable attention being placed on United Airlines after a mom claims she and her family were removed from one of their flights in response to an exchange with crew about a special food request for her daughter who has autism (read more). And I think sometimes it’s easier to share, thanks to the Internet, when you have a bad or negative experience. However, it’s important to remember that many people who have special needs or require certain accommodations travel every day and often have wonderful experiences. And it’s nice to call those out too.

So this all leads me to a mom named Shawna who wrote a “thank you” note to JetBlue and shared in on her blog. In it, she describes how she and her son, who has high-functioning autism, travel often and she knows how complicated it can be. Her son has a particularly tough time in the boarding area with its loud announcements and large crowds. It was the first time she was flying JetBlue and not only was it easy to note her son’s special needs when booking the ticket online, the great service continued throughout their trip – JetBlue boarded Shawna and her son before the announcements began, gave them seats away from the bathrooms (so they wouldn’t have to deal with the potential smells), and were friendly from start to finish. (You can read the full note on her blog).

Kudos to JetBlue for going the extra mile and having practices in place that can make traveling a bit smoother – it really does make the difference.

Lynsey, Community Manager

New Vaccine Study Re-Confirms No Link to Autism

Another study has come out that again shows there is no link between vaccines and autism. This one, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, focuses on siblings of those touched by autism.

JAMA

The research –as discussed in this article – shows that brothers and sisters of children with autism were not at a higher risk of developing the disorder if they were vaccinated compared to the siblings of those without autism.

This is significant because separate studies have found there is an increased risk of autism among those with older siblings on the spectrum, which could be contributed to genetic and environmental factors. But because some have a fear that vaccines– specifically the MMR vaccine – are linked to autism, parents of autistic children have been more hesitant to vaccinate their younger children.

This study-and others related to vaccine safety—are important so we can feel confident and comforted that we’re making the right decisions for our children. Opting out of vaccines has led to several outbreaks of diseases/viruses that we would be protected from getting, such as the measles. Much is being done to combat the fear of vaccines and this study is an important reassurance that a link doesn’t exist.

Read more about the study

Lynsey, Community Manager 

Santino’s Dragon Drawings

Satino Dragon Drawings / Facebook

Satino Dragon Drawings / Facebook

Art can be a powerful outlet, a great means of expressing yourself. This is certainly the case for Santino Stagliano, a 10-year-old boy from South Philly. Santino, who was diagnosed with autism 5 years ago, is called “The Dragon Master” by his little brother – in honor of Santino’s love of these fire-breathing creatures. And when Santino has a bad day, his parents buy him a plain white t-shirt so he can draw a picture of a dragon with markers – always a way to cheer him up.

On one particularly bad day last month – after getting teased by kids at the park – his parents bought him some shirts to draw on, and then Santino’s mom, Lisa, posted pictures of his creations on Facebook. The next day he had requests from a handful of people for shirts – then it turned into 50 requests, then 100, and continuing. Santino is selling them for $5 – he’s already sold 150 and has about 500 more on order.

Best of all, Santino – who chose to donate half the money he raises to the Center for Autism – has found a new sense of self-esteem with his shirt sales. As described by his dad, “There’s a little boy who wouldn’t look at you, he didn’t want to be touched…Now he’s hugging people, high-fiving and taking pictures.”  Amazing!

Check out Santino’s story in full– and visit his Santino’s Dragons Facebook page.

Lynsey, Community Manager

 

Autism Logistics

autismtreatmentcenter.org

autismtreatmentcenter.org

Being a parent is truly a gift, but I don’t think anyone will argue that the role doesn’t come with challenges. And parenting a child with autism sometimes comes with its own unique set of challenges. They might come in the form of, for example, extended tantrums, toilet training difficulties, hitting, trouble going to bed and/or getting up in the morning, and not willing to eat or try new foods.

To help parents deal with many daily challenges they often face, Kate Wilde, director of The Son-Rise Program, has written a new book called Autism Logistics. Kate has worked at The Autism Treatment Center of America for 20+ years, has worked one-on-one with more than 1500 children, and now, through her book, she is sharing guidance and easy to understand techniques.

If you’re familiar with Kyle’s Treehouse, you may already know that The Son-Rise Program was the treatment Jen and Jeff Westphal pursued for Kyle. It’s a home-based option that is designed to help children dramatically improve in all areas of learning, development, communication and skill development – in a fun and loving manner.

So if you’re looking for help on:

  • How to toilet train without pushing or pressure
  • Introducing new foods without a fight
  • What to do when your child tantrums, hits and bites
  • How to introduce tooth brushing, hair cutting and getting dressed in an enjoyable way

(and the list continues)

then you may want to check out Autism Logistics.

And visit The Autism Treatment Center of America for more information about The Son-Rise Program. They’ve got some amazing stories, perspective and instructional videos you can access.

Lynsey, Community Manager