May 16, 1999 |
Munching on noodles, hugging Po, his Teletubbie, and laughing at Disney cartoons, 4-year-old Ian Anderson appears every inch a typical preschooler. But the language skills that help him enjoy cartoons and preschool have come hard for Ian, who was diagnosed at age 2 with autism/pervasive development disorder, a neurological condition that affects language, social and motor skills. His mother, Lori Anderson, gives much of the credit for Ian's growing use of language to a demanding and somewhat controversial therapy called Discrete Trial Training.
October 20, 1997 |
Amid the high-pitched squeals and lunchtime chatter of the Parkview School cafeteria, Claire Laveglia settled her six pupils at an end table and helped them open their lunch boxes and fit straws into their juice boxes. With one child picking at her grilled cheese and another nibbling at her peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich, they looked like the other elementary school children scattered across the room. But they are different. The pupils in Laveglia's class have autism, a developmental disability that affects a child's behavior and comprehension.
August 8, 2000 |
An old joke: "If you want to give God a really good laugh, tell Him your plans. " The way I figure it, I must have the Almighty rolling on the floor by now. See, I've never been short of plans. I planned to have my last child off to college in a few short years. After which, I planned to travel, planned to play, planned to walk around the house in boxer shorts whenever the mood struck. I didn't plan to be raising a little boy with autism. He's not even my child. Rather, he's the 4-going-on-5-year-old son of my 23-year-old stepdaughter.
January 13, 2003 |
A major new government study has found a much higher prevalence of autism than studies done in the 1980s and early 1990s. The findings, though, still don't answer an important question: Is autism truly on the rise? Anecdotal reports from schools, doctors, service agencies and parent groups suggest a dramatic increase in children with the neurological disorder. But some experts say that could simply be a result of growing awareness of the condition: More children are being diagnosed because more people know about it. The new study, done in the Atlanta area, found that 34 of every 10,000 children had autism or a related condition - compared with a rate of 4 to 5 per 10,000 reported in previous studies conducted elsewhere in the last two decades.
September 16, 2005 |
Gloucester County now has the land, the financing and the blueprint for a new $14 million school for students with autism. If all goes as planned, freeholders announced yesterday, about 140 students - ages 3 to 21, most with autism - will enter the Deptford facility in fall 2007. For the first time since it was proposed in the spring, freeholders provided details about how and when the 46,200-square-foot school will take shape. "We are going to build the type of facility that will give these type of children the maximum opportunity to learn," Freeholder Director Stephen Sweeney said during a news conference in Washington Township.
March 25, 2007 |
If you're the parent of a child with autism, it's hard to go places where the entire family can have fun without being worried about the child's behavior and other people's reactions. Autism is a developmental disorder that affects verbal and nonverbal communication skills and social skills. But the Garden State Discovery Museum in Cherry Hill is undaunted. Four times a year, the museum's Open Arms program invites families with autistic children for a free night of fun and learning - and networking with other parents and resource groups.
April 20, 2008 |
Imagine for a moment that you're an autistic child. You have trouble processing the sights and sounds obvious to other youngsters. Shades of meaning and facial expressions that others use to navigate social situations are lost on you. With no way to manage unstructured time, your anxiety skyrockets. You might even throw a tantrum. "It's as if someone dropped you off in Tokyo, with only the street signs to go on," autism expert Judy Horrocks said. "After a while, if it's too overwhelming, you don't bother to look at the street signs anymore.
February 22, 2009 |
Betsy Smetona of Haddon Heights quit her job last summer to stay home with her children. Her 23-year-old twins, Megan and Michael, have graduated from the Bancroft School in Haddonfield and can't be left alone. Both have autism, although in different degrees. "It's a big shock to the system when they graduate," Smetona said. "Their schooling was everything to them. It met their social and extracurricular needs. It's hard to find something in the community for Michael and Megan to do. " For the Smetonas and other New Jersey families in a similar situation, help could be on the way. Gov. Corzine signed laws in 2007 and 2008 that are now taking effect to enable early diagnosis of autism, develop screening guidelines for physicians, create a statewide patient registry, and educate emergency responders to recognize developmental disabilities.
January 15, 2009 |
When news came that Temple Grandin was coming to my house for an interview, I was scared. Grandin was coming to discuss her new book, Animals Make Us Human: Creating the Best Life for Animals, which continues her quest to explain animals to people and people to themselves. She had been giving a reading nearby, in New Jersey, and said, why not? She is perhaps the best-known person with autism in the United States. Even without that distinction, hers is a singular story: Ph.D.
February 2, 2005 |
John T. Neisworth, a professor emeritus at Pennsylvania State University and a prominent authority on autism and early-childhood education, has been charged with 25 counts of child sexual abuse and is scheduled to stand trial in a Maryland courtroom April 19. Neisworth, 67, retired from his full-time professorship in 2002, but he continues to teach a distance-education course on behavior analysis through the university's outreach program, Penn...