Tag Archives: Peculiarities

Autism FAQ: Where can I find trained helpers?

I will never forget trying to get babysitter/ helper types for my three sons when they were young. “My oldest has autism,” I would say, “that means… he has a hard time communicating and his, uh, behavior can be challenging, so I’ll pay you extra. The other two boys are easy.”

When we eventually found helpers we thought could manage Matthew’s peculiarities, we didn’t know for sure how things were going until we got home.

What I really could have used back then was The Collaborative Autism Training and Support Program (CATS). The program, a partnership between Sonoma State University and California Parenting Institute, offers loving support to children, much- needed respite and resources to families, and prepares university students to be effective autism service providers.

With the CATS program:

• A Sonoma State University student, one who is actually training work with kids like yours for a career, works one-on-one with your child 3-4 hours/week in your home for 10-12 weeks per semester.
• Parents have the opportunity to  participate in online  AND in person Parent Support Groups, parent networking groups and plus up-to-date autism information and resources.
• Families have access to English and native Spanish-speaking CATS personnel for information, advocacy and support.
• Contact information is available for a pool of students available for additional paid respite work.

To learn more about this program CLICK HERE.

Autism Training Programs are also available at the following colleges. You can ask them if they have a pool of students anxious to work with your child as well:

Dominican University of California

UC Davis

San Francisco State

More programs are listed on the Marin Autism Collaborative Website HERE.



!!!EASTER SEALS IS HIRING–IN A BIG WAY!!! I’ll tell you why, and who should apply.


Got  questions? Need resources? Email me here citybights@sfgate.com and I will do my very best to help. I’m also a really good speaker if you need one.



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Asperger Syndrome : Contrary Mary

Meet Rosie, my lovely 11 year old.  Anyone who has done so in recent years would have been presented with a charming, well-mannered and engaging child. 

However, it has been a long, hard struggle for Rosie to reach this stage, a struggle confounded by the fact that until she was eight years of age, even we, her parents, had neither recognised or accounted for the fact that she was autistic.

Rose has the variety of autism first identified by Hans Asperger in the 1940’s.  “Active but odd” is a frequently used description for this particular type (although the condition presents differently in each person).  Parenthood is a learning curve, no doubt about that, and as Rosie was our first child I can forgive myself for not being aware of her peculiar social development until other (far more alarming) circumstances forced me to study autism in depth.

Unlike my two other children, Rosie’s intellect is unaffected by her condition.  Her social skills, however, have not developed in the typical, organic way.  These have all been learned.  We have spent hours together pawing over hypothetical situations:-

‘How might you answer if someone were to say to her”would you like to come over to my house for tea, Rose”?’

‘I would say “Where is your house”‘.

‘That’s a good start.  But how about “That would be great! Thanks for asking.  Where do you live, by the Way?”‘

As Rose matured she became very verbally able.  It’s unusual for someone with autism to be able to express themselves so well, and Rose provides a fascinating insight into the sensory peculiarities of the autist.

Certain worlds or phrases would disgust her to the point of gagging.  I would find books or pictures stuffed into bins.  On questioning her as to why they had been discarded so mercilessly, she would point gravely to a certain word of phrase. “Yes, indeed, I did, Sir” springs to mind from one of the Dr Seuss books.  She told me that these words made her feel sick!?

An expression on the simplest of animated faces (two eye dots and a line mouth) could plunge her into deep sadness or fear.  Rather than the stiff, emotionally repressed stereotype that we have come to associate with Asperger’s, Rosie’s emotions were almost too accessible.  She was a child without skin in a world of nettles and thorns.

This instant emotion still features today.  She will often burst into laughter or tears as a result of some imagining or memory.  She is a peculiar mix.  Conversational techniques begged, borrowed or stolen from different generations.  Pedantry, up to the minute slang and Victorian values all vying for first place within her social interactions.  I am often reprimanded for blasphemy by an eleven year old who’s dearest wish is to be allowed to use mild swearwords around the house (but who wouldn’t dream of doing so without my permission).

‘Contrary Mary’ was our nickname for her at four as she would refuse to wear her pyjama top the right way around. ‘It turns me into a man’ she would explain, solemnly.

I could tell you so much more, but I’m nearing the end of my word allowance.  I’m forever reminding Rosie to check people’s faces when she is telling them things to ensure that she has an interested audience.  I can’t see your faces!  Maybe time to sign off.

Thanks for reading!

I have three children with disabilities. My husband and I are determined to remain positive through the obstacles that this situation presents. I write a weekly on-line blog which can be read at our local newspaper’s website. You can find me under ‘Regular bloggers’ – www.wakefieldexpress.co.uk
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Autism Signs Baby – Signs That Your Baby Is Autistic

Autism Signs Baby

Several years ago, autism can only be recognized in children as early as 18 to 24 months of age. But today, after several studies and observations, we can now recognize the earlier signs of autism in babies. Signs include having an unusual eye contact, peculiarities of hearing, and social development and play.

The word “autism” is derived from the Greek word “autos” which means “self”, and it affects the way children view others in relation to themselves. This is why autistic children can be best described as “having their own world”. They want to play and be alone, do not want to be touched or hugged, and have problems interacting with others.

Autism is a pervasive disorder which affects multiple areas of functioning. ASD affects children differently – in their cognitive ability, in their IQ, in developing communications skills, in their relationship with others even with their own parents, and so many more.

Although there are still debates about the causes of autism, experts believe that the earlier autistic children receive treatment, the better the outcome is likely to be. Early intervention makes a huge difference in the battle against autism in babies. Signs of autism must be carefully observed and seek immediate help if you spot them in your child. Instead of playing the wait-and-see game, parents must be vigilant in observing the development of their child. This will greatly contribute in enhancing the quality of life of children. Autism Signs Baby

Researchers and experts are now claiming that they can recognize autism as young as 6 months old or even earlier in some cases. The good thing about this is that new and earlier treatment for autism can then be developed and it can make a huge difference in the child’s future.

Here are the red flags of autism in babies – signs that your baby is autistic:

Eye Contact – Having an unusual gaze or in making an eye contact is a very common sing of autism in babies. Signs of disinterest with other people and the environment can also be observed.

Hearing – Autistic babies respond less when called upon compared to normal developing babies. They are also not affected by any audible changes in the surroundings. Hence, most autistic babies are initially suspected of being deaf.

Social Development and Play – Autistic babies may show lack of interest in the types of play that other infants enjoy, even those which involve social interaction with the parents.

Because these early signs can vary in severity and symptoms, they may go unrecognized. Therefore, parents must be careful in observing the behavior of autism in babies. Signs of autism can also be a sign of other disorders.

Also, according to one research, a child who has an older brother or sister diagnosed with autism is more likely to be autistic as well. Parents may notice that their child’s physical development is different from others. Having a larger than the normal head circumference is said to be an indication of autism in babies. Signs of having unusual facial expressions and gestures can also be noted. Autism Signs Baby

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