A prayer for World Autism Awareness Day

I offer this simple prayer for many who are seeking solace or comfort as they struggle with autism — as a parent or as someone with autism.

Dearest Creator,

You have given life to many things. You have waved your hand in the pool of the universe, and from the swirling motions of this creative act of love, the heavens filled themselves with many beautiful things.

From that gift of life came the possibility of my two beautiful little girls. There is nothing for which I am more thankful.

You gave them an ability to see things that most can’t; to hear things that most won’t; to understand their surroundings in ways that we will never experience or understand. Sometimes these things are a curse  — even painful. Many times, we see the wonder and excitement of these experiences on their little, beautiful faces.

Their excitement can fill a room.

Their joy can overwhelm a crowd.

I don’t know why they are the way they are. And frankly, I no longer care to ask the question. I love them — I thank you for giving them life.

My only prayer, now, is that you give us guidance on how to raise them. Help us find ways to teach the community to accept them and love them just as we do. Give us the strength to teach them about their condition and how they can overcome the public stigma placed upon them, just because they are different.

Help them to understand that they have friends and family that love them and support them.

Thank you — thank you for my babies; thank you for the strength and wisdom to raise them.

Thank you……

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The chromosomal verdict is in…


Missing: Partial gene. Responds to the name "19p12." Friendly, won't bite. If you see her, please call us. Melanie misses her dearly.

Kelli, Melanie and I visited the Riley Children’s Hospital today in order to get more information on the findings from her chromosomal testing. What they found was Melanie’s DNA has a partial deletion in the 19th chromosome — specifically the 19p12 gene. What does this mean?

They don’t know.

Son of a… well, I’ll stop right there in the interest of keeping this a family blog.

There is not a ton known about what this gene does or how it’s partial deletion will affect her. In fact, this is the first time this lab has ever encountered it. (As usual, a Higgins can’t do anything normal!) But the good news is that it’s most likely not going to affect her in any way.  At this point, there is no syndrome associated with the gene but if one is discovered, they’ll let us know. In addition, the amount of the gene that was deleted was so small that the analysis couldn’t pinpoint the exact location within the p12 gene that was affected — they could only get it down to the smallest range that technology can currently detect. (more…)

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New Autism Diagnosing Criteria “Good” or “Bad”?

Currently right now DSM-4 is being followed to diagnose autism. A new criteria DSM-5 will be used to diagnose autism with some changes in 2013. The changes will be that Aspergers and Pervasive Developmental Disorder-not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS) will be in the same category with Autism Spectrum Disorder. So they all will be lumped together have the same name. Then there will be new levels to describe the functioning and severity of a person with autism. (more…)

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Video: A Walk Down the Street with Autism

Kelli stumbled upon this fascinating video on one of her Facebook autism support groups. It was created by Craig Thompson, who is the producer of The Autism Survival Manual, a YouTube video series, who himself has Aspergers Syndrome. The first part of the video demonstrates a neurotypical person’s perception of simply walking down the street. The second part approximates how someone with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) interprets their surroundings when walking down the very same street. It’s a fascinating video that gives people without ASD a small glimpse of how someone with ASD perceives the world around them.

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Audio podcast: Delving the depths of an un-dairy diet


Milk: it does a body good... for most people.

Aside from my love for alliterative blog post titles, it’s no secret that I enjoy radio journalism. I listen every morning and afternoon during my 30-minute commute. With as much music as I practice, perform and listen to, I usually keep my car radio on NPR to listen to talk radio. The other night after band rehearsal, I was listening to Sound Medicine from Indiana University and caught their autism special. It was very fascinating.

Many of the stories were very informative but one stuck out for me. The story of Laura and Mike Williamson and their son, Pip. Pip was diagnosed with autism around the age of three. The parents spoke of the emotional road of diagnosis and treatment when they stumbled upon the possibility that dairy was contributing to Pip’s condition. (more…)

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