3.28.2012

Star Wars Yoga Class

Glad someone in our house is getting exercise. Mali has been putting Leo's Star Wars action figures through their yoga paces, letting them join the usual class of pinnipeds, Littlest Pet Shop bobblers, and trucks.

I like the photo above because some of the oak tree branches look like wayward Mali curls. (Have been experimenting with various methods of taming those locks, advice always welcome.)


Always with the too-busy over here, which  makes focusing on play and fun ever-more important. There's only one little kid left in our house now, moments like these need to be celebrated and savored.

3.12.2012

Interviewed: Special Needs Book Review

Lorna D'Entremont of Special Needs Book Review just published an interview with me, in which we talked about Thinking Person's Guide to Autism, the fabulous team of editors who made TPGA happen, autism, pseudoscience, parenting, and more. One excerpt below, but you should read the whole thing. Lorna asks great questions!
Lorna: One of the essays you wrote for Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism is Identifying and Avoiding Autism Cults. You said, “The best investment you can make in your autistic child’s future is a commitment to intense scrutiny of treatment options.” Would you elaborate?

Shannon Des Roches Rosa >> Unfortunately, there are people who view autism as a cash cow, and want to milk every dollar they can out of worried parents who want definite answers or guarantees or cures. Other people — generally but not always parents — embrace that same autism misinformation, and fight for it with all the righteousness and zeal of true believers or cult members. If you don’t learn to think critically, and evaluate autism information using rational criteria, then you might fall for the charlatans’ guarantees or surrender to the believers’ enticing groupthink and exhilarating rage. And those two paths hurt autistic people — they misdirect resources and energy, they promote horribly disrespectful attitudes that autistics are damaged or broken unless “cured” or “recovered,” and they can cause physical harm through gray-area and unsubstantiated medical treatments like chelation or Valtrex.
More of Lorna's reviews and interviews can be found at www.specialneedsbookreview.com.

3.08.2012

We MUST Do Better: Autism, Tragedy, and Transition to Adulthood

I don't know if you saw yesterday's horrible, tragic news about the Sunnnyvale mother who killed her 22 year old autistic son and then herself. It's awful. It should never have happened. It is never OK to kill a child, there are no excuses for doing so, not even the caregiver fatigue and desperation that every news story I've read is citing.

However, as the media insists on covering this solely as an issue of autism and caregiver fatigue, I will address that issue as well -- and say that there was a lot more than autism and caregiver isolation going on. They were a family that needed more support than they were getting.

I'm sure the details will come out in the media eventually. What you need to know now -- whether you're part of the autism communities or not -- is that the family did not have enough options when their son transitioned out of school -- Leo's school, as it happens, where every last member of the community is devastated and reeling. Where the son was a cherished student for many years.

The son was welcome to transition to Leo's school's adult program, but, as reported in the news, his mother didn't feel it was the right option for him. However she was also not able to find other options. And that, the media is insisting, was likely a catalyst in an already unstable situation.

We need to find better options for young adults with autism and developmental disabilities as they transition out of school and into .... where? We need structure, options, policy ... and to ensure that all our kids have options when their yellow school buses stop showing up.

Ironically, yesterday was a banner day on the internet for discussing school to adulthood transition options. I recommend reading the following articles (three from yesterday, one from a couple of weeks ago) and then let's talk about what the hell we can DO to support all our kids in the transition to their own version of successful adulthood:

Charlotte Moore talking about school to adulthood transition, on the YouTube channel for Ambitious about Autism:



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