Tag Archives: Mail

Question?: Treatment For Autism In Toddlers

Michael asks…

Any suggestions on Gluten Free Casein Free diet for a toddler?

I’m getting my son evaluted for Autism in a few weeks, but as I’m researching autism and treatments I’ve noticed alot of links between Autism and Gluten allergies. I have a couple of friends that have Celiac disease and they have given me pointers on items they eat, but my perdicatment is alittle different because I’m dealing with a picky 2 year old. Does anyone have any suggestions?
Only serious answers please, If your friends friend has a toddler with this condition please don’t answer, I’d like answers from someone who knows about this first hand. Thanks =0)

admin answers:

Here are my toddler friendly GF suggestions: I do NOT know if they are CF bc I only eat GF!

Glutino Breakfast Bars www.glutino.com (similar to nutrigrain bars)
Envirokidz Vanilla Animal Cookies (health food stores and www.amazon.com) ONLY Vanilla is GF.

Glutino Honey Nut Cereal (like cheerios, also has Apple Cinammon)

Glutino has lots of other good cookies, bagels and breads.

Kinninnicks makes an AWESOME pizza crust. In stores and not sure about online. THey also make great donuts and breads.

Liek I said I am not sure if these are CF, but might i suggest you check out the Yahoo Group “foodallergynetwork” bc many of those members avoid Gluten and Casein and can probly help you more than me!!

Best of luck,
Chairperson La North Shore Celiac Sprue Association

PS Feel free toe mail me privately I have taught Early Head Start and Head start and worked with autistic children before.

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Question?: Autism Signs In Adults

Mandy asks…

What are the most profitable fundraisers?

This can be for adults or children. We are raising money to get my daughter with Autism a service dog ( which run around $15,000). She gets too excited around dogs and we fear she might scare just any dog. Anyway we have been doing little fundraisers here and there but wanted to see if any knew of some really profitable fundraisers?

admin answers:


I have a lot of experience marketing small companies online (I have 3 companies). One of the best ways is to sign up at business directories and protals. These are basically listings of businesses (simliar to the phone book). The advantage is that these portals usually get a lot of traffic and they’re ranked high on Google because of all the quality links they contain.

My favorite portal is called Directory Exclusive. I signed up a few weeks ago because they’re giving a away a free business card holder when a person enter’s their company info. I received it in the mail 3 days ago =)

I don’t know if they still have that promotion, but you can try to get the free card holder here:


Good Luck

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Autism in the neighborhood

It was a beautiful April afternoon in Lafayette. Matthew, who is now 26, was approaching his fourteenth birthday and painting with watercolors peacefully while his younger brothers Andy and John kicked the soccer ball around in our backyard. We had had our share of bumpy days lately, but this was not one of them.

The mail came, and in the midst of the catalogs and bills was an official-looking envelope addressed to Mr. and Mrs. Peter Shumaker that got my attention.

On letterhead from the offices of attorney Casper White, it read:

“I am writing you regarding the bicycle accident involving your son, Matthew, on March 8, 2002 (about a month before) blah, blah, blah, I am representing so-and-so who was injured in the accident, please contact me, etc.”

I walked into the kitchen where Matthew was painting and asked, “Did you have an accident on your bike?”

“Who told you?” Mathew replied calmly.

“Someone wrote me a letter about it. Were you hurt?”

“Not really.”

“Who else was in the accident?”

“A boy.”

Oh, my God.

“Was he hurt?”


“Was he bleeding?”

“Pretty much.”

God help me.

“Matthew,” my voice quaking, “did an ambulance come?”

“I give up. I’m done talking about this.”

He resumed painting, at which point I lost it.

“Matthew! I need to know what happened! Where did this happen? Was there anyone there that you know? Did anyone ask you questions?”

Matthew’s lower lip quivered as he tapped his paintbrush nervously on the table. “Am I in trouble?”he whimpered.

I took a breath and said, “No, of course not. You just paint and we’ll talk about this later.”

I hugged him and he choked back a few sobs and continued painting.I went back to my bedroom and called the attorney, my eye on the blue bike in the backyard.

According to the attorney, his client and nine-year-old son were riding bikes at the middle school around the corner. Matthew crashed into the younger boy, stopped for a moment, then fled. The boy broke his leg. Badly. He would be in a wheelchair for six weeks. The family had no medical insurance.

“I understand your son has autism.”

My mind raced to the conclusions made by the boy’s family, the attorney, and our community. This thirteen-year-old autistic boy is riding his bike without supervision, collides with and injures a child, and leaves the scene. His parents are negligent. He is a danger to those around him.

“He wants to ride his bike at the playground like any thirteen-year-old. I can’t watch him every second,” I would counter.

But I knew that Matthew couldn’t manage these kinds of situations like most thirteen-year-old boys, so I’d hired after-school helpers to take him for bike rides and other activities. Still,  Matthew was not supervised every second. I tried to keep track of him, but he snuck out regularly.

But this accident had happened weeks ago–How did the attorney get Matthew’s name and address?

“From a neighbor who didn’t want to be identified.”

To this day, I wonder which neighbor it was, and wish I’d been more approachable back then. But I was so overwhelmed, which is why Matthew was riding his bike unsupervised in the first place!

What I didn’t know was that my neighbors were curious about Matthew and about our family. They wanted to know “what the deal was”. They wanted to help (or at least to understand.)

Give your neighbors credit. They, too, might have messy lives. But if they know what you are facing, they’ll do there best to help you. If you don’t feel up to running around the neighborhood and explaining things face to face, start by printing up a little information sheet with some particulars about your child. You can start with this list of the basics:

1) Autism is a neurological disorder; not a disease. It is a broad spectrum disorder, meaning that people with autism can be a little autistic or very autistic. Thus, it is possible to be bright, verbal, and autistic as well as mentally retarded, non-verbal and autistic.

2) All share deficits to some degree in three areas: social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication, and repetitive behaviors or interests. In addition, many have unusual responses to sensory experiences, such as certain sounds or the way objects look.

3) “They” are not all alike. Individuals with autism have unique challenges, quirks, and interests. People with autism can be hard to figure out. Don’t be afraid to ask their parents or caretakers questions.

4) There is no proven cure for autism-yet. Autism is a lifelong diagnosis. That’s not to say that people with autism don’t improve, because many improve radically with treatment. But even when people with autism increase their skills, they are still autistic, which means they think and perceive differently from most people.

5) No one is sure what causes autism. Theories range from  mercury in infant vaccines(a theory that has been hyped up by celebrities, not scientists who maintain there is NO link)to genetics to the age of the parents to almost everything else. At present, most researchers think autism is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors – and it’s quite possible that different people’s symptoms have different causes.

Another great way to educate you neighbor is with THIS video and the following link:

What’s it like to have autism?

You might keep a few bottles of wine and boxes of chocolate on hand –just in case!


Got  questions? Need resources? Contact me HERE or in the comment section below and I will do my very best to help. I’m also a really good speaker if you need one.

Speaking of questions, I have one for you. Are you using GPS technology  to keep track of your child with autism?


FOLLOW ME on FACEBOOK and TWITTER and read the just first three chapters of A REGULAR GUY:GROWING UP WITH AUTISM HERE.

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Tips on How to Host an Awesome LEGO Robotics Birthday Party

We finally managed to get around to having Jack’s birthday party last weekend. I deviated a little from my traditional “run around —> pin the something on the something —> eat pizza —> eat cake —> bash a piñata —> go home” party. This time, instead of “pin the something on the something,” we did LEGO Robotics.

Sadly, that meant we couldn’t invite as many kids as we wanted to, especially considering that when you have three kids of your own, you fill up your guest list really fast.

Regardless, we had an awesome time (for the most part), and I have some common sense tips for hosting an awesome LEGO Robotics birthday party.

Tip 1: Buy a hammock. I cannot stress this one enough.

This photo taken before the party guests tested
the weight capacity of said hammock. I think our capacity
record was six kids. Maybe more.
The Hammock District should be sending me thanks for all the hammock sales we inspired that day.

Tip 2: Have awesome friends. This one is also important, because only awesome friends can cause anticipation such as this:

Also, only awesome friends will hand-make cards like this one:
Tip 3: Purchase the proper snacks. I certainly hope you all know the Team Stimey party menu by now: Oreos, Doritos, potato chips, square pizza from the local pizzeria. Lately Jack has been obsessed with Chips Ahoy, so I bought a bag of them as well and put them in a bowl on the table.

I’m not entirely sure that Jack ate even one, because SOMEONE parked himself in a chair in front of the snack table with a book, put the bowl on his lap, and commenced to eating.

I’m pretty sure he ate the whole bag.
Round about 8:30 p.m., he was all, “I dooooon’t feeeeeeeel gooooood.” Yeah. It’s too bad you don’t have better parents, Quinn—responsible parents who would stop you after 15 cookies.

Tip 4: Hire Adventures with Robots (AWR). So, do you remember The Awesome? Remember when Jack took LEGO Robotics at school and he kept wanting to mail himself to the classroom where they held the class because he wanted to do LEGO Robotics ALL THE TIME? Yeah. That was this company.

One of the cool things about AWR is that when I emailed them about the party, I mentioned that Jack was autistic and that several of his guests were as well. They immediately suggested one particular party leader who is a special educator and they worked with me to find a time that he could be the one at the party.

Once he was there, the dude was really good about working with the kids, including Jack, who was all, “I do want I want. Even though I requested a spinning top robotics party, I will create something entirely different.”

The guy in charge was all, “It’s his birthday; he can do whatever he wants.” Awesomesauce. It was chaotic and fun and wonderful.

If you’re wondering what the actual project was, here is Sam’s totally correct and on target version:

He was more interested than he looks here.
AWR requests that you have an adult helper available to assist with the building and programming. As it turned out, a lot of parents stayed and, quite honestly, seemed to enjoy building the spinning tops as much as the kids did. Regardless, Alex acted as that adult helper, aiding Quinn and his likewise-aged buddy in building their tops. Evidently he found it…frustrating. Alex will not be applying for an AWR job anytime soon. This is not the face he was making before I pointed the camera at him.
We had the AWR guy for an hour and 15 minutes, but most of the kids wandered off after about 45 minutes. The lure of the hammock and the beautiful day outside was too big an enticement. Nonetheless, I consider the event a smashing success, mostly because of this: Later, Alex asked Jack what his favorite part of the party wasand he said, “LEGO Robotics at my house.”
I was talking to the guy later, as he was packing up 16 million LEGOs and I made a comment about how there is always a lot of chaos at my house. He responded with, “Yeah, but I see a lot of smiles too, so that’s good.”

That’s just about right on target there, sir.

Tip 5: Have a quiet room. It seemed wise to designate a room as a quiet space for kids who needed a break from the action. I think it is possible that Alex is the only person who used it as intended.

I mean, Jack did play in there and at one point he went missing and, after a hard target search, I found him quietly reading by himself in Sam’s room. This was during the middle, stressful part of the party.
Maybe he didn’t go to the designated quiet room because Quinn took a break from his Chips Ahoy station to sabotage my efforts at calm. (The forces of entropy are strong in our house.)

Very early in the party, Quinn came to me practically unable to contain his laughter and asked me for tape. He was “improving” the quiet room sign, he said.

Seriously, Quinn could not have been more pleased with himself. He almost couldn’t stand, he was laughing so hard. He was all, “I made the quiet room way more fun.”

Tip 6: Book proper musical accompaniment. In this case, a young male flautist.

Remind me sometime to tell you about Sam’s band concert.
He dragged his chair, stand, flute, and music all the way out to the backyard prior to finally settling on a spot in the living room.

Tip 7: Reserve the cake ceremony for the proper moment. In the case of this party, the cake brought Jack out of a funk brought on by something I am not entirely sure of, but ended in his dragging himself across the living room by his fists and claiming that his legs didn’t work because he was so angry.

I’m not sure what anger has to do with the muscles in his legs, but evidently they are related in Jack’s physiology.

Also, putting candles in a cake restores leg function, apparently.
That would also explain the caddywampus candles.
Tip 8: A piñata makes every party a smashing success. (Get it? Ha, ha.) Of course, there are some very specific steps you have to take to make the piñata the best it can be. 1. Find a super adorable personified robot and beat the crap out of it.
2. Desperately hope that every child gets a turn at whacking the piñata before it breaks apart. 3. Bring in your oldest, strongest kid to “Finish it, Sam! Finish it!”
4. Feel slightly sad for Corpsey McRobot.
5. Watch one of the children dress in the corpse’s skin.
6. Watch that child grin and eat candy while wearing his face.
And that is how you host an awesome LEGO Robotics Birthday Party.

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