1) How has earning the Certified Autism Specialist been meaningful and satisfying?
Earning my CAS has not only been a milestone in my own journey in autism specialization, but also a way of connecting with others in the international community who also serve ASD individuals and their family members. Although the community of providers serving those with autism is experiencing needed growth, to have easy online access to an abundance of training opportunities, job openings, news, and best practices is essential to my own best practice.
2) How has the CAS credential affected your professional growth?
So many things have come together to help me grow professionally in the area of autism services. I have been an adult neuropsychologist at OSF Healthcare for 18 years and have grown in so many areas of brain behavior relationships. When I had my own son 11 years ago, my world opened up to many topics only pediatric specialists seemed to focus on. I began to recognize autism in the adult and geriatric patients within my own practice. Earning my CAS certification brought all my professional and personal experience together into a more cohesive practice model. I have now published my book Understanding Autism in Adults and Aging Adults as a professional, a mother, and a certified autism specialist.
By Carol S. Weinman, Esq., Autism Legal Specialist
“My son didn’t do this. He wouldn’t even know how to do this.” These are the words I hear uttered over and over again in my work with criminal defendants on the autism spectrum. That’s when my challenge begins. My mission: to persuade others in power to understand why this individual could not possibly have committed the crime he is charged with. Of course, each case is as different as each individual. In certain cases, it is possible that someone with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) may have knowingly committed such an offense. But, in most scenarios, after reviewing all the information on this particular defendant, I arrive at the same conclusion – it just isn’t possible, at least not intentionally.
Of course, that assumes you understand ASD. If not, well then, all bets are off. If the police officer, attorney, judge or prosecutor views this defendant through the lens used for more typical criminal offenders, then the situation looks very different. The behavior that resulted in an arrest is perceived as criminal under the law. For the court and prosecutor, it is that simple. But, is it? I would argue it is anything but. Because ASD is very complicated. It is at times often subtle and unrecognizable to the uneducated eye. That’s what makes it so imperative that those making what can be life-altering decisions for these offenders understand that it isn’t what it looks like. Which is exactly what I set out to do when I represented an individual charged with stalking.
Over the years, I’ve looked for available and affordable ways to help manage my stress and anxiety levels, especially when our darling fourth child, Heidi Ann, was born with Down syndrome, and then a few years later, became dual-diagnosed with autism. Life was crazy. With never-ending worries, constant physical fatigue, concern over finances, extra obligations, and emotional heart-aches for my family, we bravely smiled and faced the storms of life. Today, I’m very grateful we’re all alive, stable, healthy, and happily engaged in life. (Experts tell me, this successful scenario is rare.)
If you love someone with health problems, a syndrome, or special needs, you’ve probably already experienced some heavy storms. Perhaps you’ve been drenched to the skin and don’t know how to protect your loved ones from this challenging, yet very rewarding realm.
By Taveesha Guyton, Social Worker
As a young child, I remember being dropped off at grandmother’s house and sitting and watching black and white movies of The Three Stooges on a floor model television in the living room. I remember watching the Price is Right and clapping my hands because I saw the audience do this on TV. Now we have IPADS which help children with eye- hand coordination, Leap Frog which helps children read and other assistive technology.
As a Social Worker, I am always concerned with the growth and development of my children. I often, compare my kids’ growth to the milestone chart given by the pediatrician to see if my client is developing according to the benchmarks. The questions are, what happens if children are below where they need to be and are there anything parents can do to help? What is Early Intervention? How does it help families? And what happens if a child has a diagnosis as being developmentally delayed at a young age?
IBCCES Board Member Dr. Stephen Mark Shore rang in Autism Awareness on the Nasdaq bell Thursday, April 6 to celebrate April’s Autism Awareness Month. Congratulations Dr. Shore!
By Guest Contributor Claudia Cortez
World Health Day is April 7 and this year the World Health Organization (WHO) is tackling depression. Per statistics from the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 40 million adults suffer from depression in the United States alone. Globally, that number escalates to an astounding 350 million people. The prevalence among children and adolescents is much higher: 1 in every 4 teens will have a major depressive episode in high school. Depression also accounts for the second leading cause of death among 15 to 29 year olds–suicide. In an ongoing effort to raise awareness, reduce stigma, and mobilize the community to learn, recognize, and treat depression, WHO has implemented a year-long campaign with the slogan, “Depression: Let’s Talk.” The campaign began October 2016, but it’s not too late to take part in the conversation.
By Donna Sigurðardóttir, founder of I am UNIK
My daughter’s future is bright. She is thriving at school because they are meeting her every need with an admirable flexibility, thoughtfulness and respect. All of which has been achieved with close cooperation between home and school, something that I believe are key factors in improving a child’s quality of life. Why? Because, on one hand we have the child’s parents, who are experts in the child and on the other hand we have the teacher, which is an expert in teaching methods and goal setting. When these two respect each others roles and take the time to listen and work together, magic happens!
Our teacher’s mentality is priceless. They have so much respect for my daughter and they put every effort in customizing her curriculum and learning environment to her needs. As an example I could mention that she always arrives late for school. Is that okay? Imagine this; she arrives into an empty school building and is exposed to minimum sensory input, which means that her stress levels are low and she gets a good start of the day. Otherwise it would take her teachers about an hour to unwind her after a chaotic school start and a maximum sensory input. That kind of a solution requires flexible thinking and caring.