A place to learn about different treatments of autism. A community of knowledge and support.
Kyle’s Treehouse, originally a resource about autism, has evolved into a community, where hundreds of thousands of visitors learn from each other every year. So, join in the conversation and welcome to Kyle’s Treehouse.
The comparative photos below can speak for themselves, but Riley’s mom, Tania, shared how the Son-Rise program has impacted her son’s life.
Riley at 18 months old
Riley 3 years old – after Son Rise
Tania took part in the Son-Rise Program, New Frontiers, and she shared that after applying the techniques taught to her, Riley went from running in circles covering his ears at a playground to a child that is now enjoying a social life! You can read more from Tania, and other families, on the Son-Rise / Autism Treatment Center of America Facebook page.
This may be an idea if you’re trying to figure out your next vacation spot…Royal Caribbean has become the first cruise line to be certified as “autism-friendly” by Autism of the Seas.
Specifically, its entire fleet now has Bronze Level certification, which means it will offer sensory-related toys, autism-friendly modification to youth activities (where appropriate), autism-friendly movies (sound is lowered, you can talk/walk around, etc.), as well as priority boarding and dietary offerings (such as gluten-free and diary-free).
They plan to take it even further and reach Silver Level certification by the end of the year – which means that all of their youth staff will receive basic awareness training in autism and other developmental disabilities.
It’s great to see more and more companies and organizations making an effort to provide better offerings for families touched by autism. Hopefully others will follow in their footsteps.
We want to send a big ‘Congratulations!’ to Seth Knox and Kelsey Roeser, who were named homecoming king and queen Tri-West High School in Indiana. And as noted here, the teens, both of whom have autism, didn’t win by a little – it was a landslide with Seth getting nearly 100% of the votes while Kelsey had 80%.
Students praised Seth and Kelsey’s cheerful and kind nature. And that had obviously made quite an impression on those students, many of whom have gone to school with Seth and Kelsey since kindergarten.
So one more congratulations to Tri-West High School’s newest Homecoming King and Queen!
When Colin, who is 10 years old and has a sensory processing disorder, was asked by his mom if he wanted a birthday party this year, he said there wasn’t a point because he had no friends. As his mom explained, because of his disabilities, social skills are not easy for him and at school he eats lunch alone in the office everyday because no one will let him sit with them. With this heartbreaking response from Colin, his mom decided to do something about it to lift his spirits.
So, Colin’s mom set up this Facebook page where people could send him positive thoughts and encouraging words. And, it’s got quite the response! The page has since received over 1 million ‘likes’ (along with many sweet messages)! In fact, it’s received such a response that Colin’s mom is concerned he will find out about all of this (which was planned as a surprise until his birthday on March 9)!
So we invite everyone to send some birthday cheer to Colin on his page or even send him a card (his mom set up this PO Box for him):
We love this – 17-year-old Esteban, featured in this YouTube video, would like to ask Ellen Degeneres to his prom. And we think he makes a good case! Check out the video (and you can support him by typing the comment ‘Ellen!! Say YES!! to Esteban’ on Ellen’s facebook page). As his parents said, having a disability does not stop you from dreaming!
According to a new study, the answer could be – yes. As we talked about here, DSM-5 was released last year – which included new diagnostic criteria for autism. Some experts have said that the new criteria set a higher threshold for autism than the previous version (DSM-4). This may be true.
As noted in this article, researchers applied the new symptom checklist to more than 6,000 children who already met the old definitions for autism and related disorders, the study team found that about 19% of kids would not get an autism diagnosis today. The difference between the new and older criteria is that the new criteria use seven diagnostic criteria (versus 12 criteria in the previous edition) and the new version takes historical behavior into consideration along with current behavior.
When the criteria first came out last year, there was already concern from the autism community that the new criteria would potentially impact – even remove — an existing diagnosis – and strip someone of the therapy (at least financially) that was proving beneficial. (there was also reaction over the fact that Asperger’s is now falling under the general umbrella of autism versus being separated out.)
So is this study supporting those concerns? Although there are professionals in the field that have said parents and caregivers shouldn’t worry that they’ll need to get their children ‘re-diagnosed,” there are some parents out there already saying this exact thing has happened – and they are now fighting to get back the services their children need.
We may now have a little more insight as to what may be a cause of speech and language difficulties often seen with those who have autism. As researchers from the Vanderbilt Brain Institute have discovered, as covered here, for children with autism, sight and sound may be separated because their brains have trouble linking what they see with what they hear. The effect is described as if you are watching a foreign movie that was badly dubbed – the auditory doesn’t match up with the visual.
This processing “lag time” could explain why learning language can be difficult. As the article explains, if a parent points at a dog while saying “dog,” yet by the time the child hears the word and connects the parent’s pointing action, the dog may have jumped off the chair and the child instead looks at a chair – then connecting the word “dog” to a chair.
Researchers are still in the early phases of their learning, but it may help open up ways to improve language capabilities in autistic children. For example, parents and therapists may find that pausing often when speaking – allowing the child to have the time to process what they’re hearing – is very beneficial (…and this is something you may have already found out yourself regardless of such research).
Hopefully all of this leading us to a better understanding of this often baffling disorder – providing us with another piece of the puzzle.
If you haven’t had the chance to read Go Team Kate’s latest blog post titled “Dear ‘Daddy’ in Seat 16C Flight 1850 From Philly” – we definitely encourage you to do so. It’s an open letter that blogger Shanelle Mouland wrote to the man that sat next to her and her daughter, Kate – who has autism – on a plane ride, and it beautifully recaps their journey and how this man was so great with Kate. As parents, we all know that traveling with children – particularly on planes – can be…well, let’s say…an unpleasant experience. So we can fully understand Shanelle’s concerns going into this ride and what her expectations may have been. Thanks to this man for exceeding her expectations – and making the ride for both Kate and Shanelle an enjoyable one. We hope everyone would take a page from your book.