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Making welcoming churches for families with special needs children

Kelli just wrapped up a workshop at the 2014 Quadrennial Women’s Assembly of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) on how your congregation can be more welcoming to families with special needs children. It was a great group and great conversation. If you would like to view the presentation she used — including the example video and resource handout — visit our Autism and the Church page.

Autism Awareness Photo

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A rant against the fear-mongering “MMR-causes-autism” crowd

Author’s note: I am sick and tired of “experts” and anti-vaccination wackos’ attempts at forcing a non-existing link between the MMR vaccination and autism. If you are one of the aforementioned evangelists of improper childhood care then please keep reading so I can throw a ton of references into your field of view in an attempt educate your sorely misinformed fear.

I originally wrote this article, read it, then re-wrote it as I realized how “mad” I sounded. The lines above were kept as I wanted to convey my personal and extreme frustration with the irresponsible spread of misinformation regarding links to MMR vaccinations and autism. If you are one doubting the saftey and benefits of vaccinations, please read this. A quick legal note: I’m not a doctor – I’m a parent. Always consult your pediatrician or family doctor on proper medical planning for your children.

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Video: “Sensory Overload”

Once again the wonderful world of the Internet has produced a brilliant and beautiful video demonstrating how someone with autism experiences the world around them. This video was created by Miguel Jiron and produced by Scott Mahoy as part of the “Interacting with Autism” project, which was to be a video-intensive online resource for autism. I’m not entirely certain whatever happened to the project (their web site isn’t accessible) but this video is a wonderful demonstration of how difficult it is for those with autism or other sensory disorders to properly process the sensations that surround them.

It’s a quick watch but it was beautifully animated. If anyone ever asks how someone on the spectrum interprets the world around them, show this video!

Sensory Overload (Interacting with Autism Project) from Miguel Jiron on Vimeo.

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Yes, your child can play on the playground, too!

Playgrounds for Everyone

NPR.org’s new website features the ability to allow visitors to add new locations.

If you have a child with special needs, you know how difficult it can be to find a park where you can allow your child to have fun and release energy without having to endure a stress-induced aneurysm in your parental brain. (Be sure to read Kelli’s post on her playground anxieties – something she still struggles with a bit today!) Wide-open spaces without fences, tall under-maintained park toys, heavy swings that you know were built with the specific purpose to whack your child in the head — all bathing in a large sandbox that you know is used by the neighborhood animals as their personal toilet. (more…)

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“Sensory Overload” — an artful perspective

A friend on Twitter (@gretchenleary) created the artwork below. She is 26 years old and has Asperger’s Syndrome. I love it — it really captures in a visual way how those with autism perceive the world around them. Even as a NT (that’s “neuro-typical” within autism circles) I get a real feeling of overstimulation in a visual sense. You can read more about Gretchen on her blog at gretchenleary.wordpress.com

Sensory Overload by Gretchen Leary

"Sensory Overload" by Gretchen Leary

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