Kyle at age 3, and Kyle today

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.

Autism Develops in Womb (New Study)

Nejm_logo2011According to new research findings reported in the New England Journal of Medicine, autism begins when certain brain cells fail to properly mature within the womb. The researchers looked at post-mortem brain tissue taken from those with and without autism, and found that those diagnosed with autism missed key genetic markets for brain cells that are supposed to develop before birth.

The benefit of these findings is that doctors may be able to one day provide a way to diagnose autism earlier, and therefore allowing for earlier treatment and therapy. Still unknown, though, is what triggers these brain-cell disruptions—although it could be factors such as genetics and/or environment.

Read more about this study here on Bloomberg.

Lynsey, Community Manager

Autism Rate Rises to 1 in 68

1in68The CDC now reports that the number of U.S. children with autism has soared to 1 in 68 – this is a 30% increase since it had estimated that 1 in 88 children have the disorder only two years ago.

To get this estimate, they looked at records in 2010 for 8-year-olds in 11 states. Through their research they also saw an increase in the number of children with higher IQs who fall on the autism spectrum – and a wide range of results depending on where they live (for example, only 1 in 175 was diagnosed with autism in Alabama, while 1 in 45 was diagnosed in New Jersey).

Why the big jump? No one can say for sure, but it could be due the growing awareness of autism and better identification of it in children.

And, also eye-opening, as noted in this NPR article, a 2011 study found that in South Korea, 1 in 38 children met the criteria for autism – and the U.S. is now on pace to reach the same conclusion within a few years.

Lynsey, Community Manager

The LEGO Challenge

This video features Brynjar Karl, a young boy in Iceland, who is making his dream known – and it involves LEGO.

Brynjar’s mom is a producer and filmmaker is who working on a documentary about autism and her son, who is autistic, is helping her do it. LEGOs have been a creative outlet for Brynjar, and as his mom explains, Brynjar has a great passion for cruise ships, with his favorite one being the Titanic. So Brynjar is making his request with a dream in mind – he wants to go to the LEGO factory in Billund and for them to give him the chance to build his own Titanic ship.

As his mom says, “He is sure he can do this and, knowing what he has accomplished over the years, I believe him!”

We do too – go Brynjar!

Lynsey, Community Manager

 

Reaching His Son Through Disney

The Little MermaidWe invite—actually, encourage– you to read Ron Suskind’s recent piece for the New York Times, in which he beautifully captures the journey he and his family have been on since his younger son, Owen, was diagnosed with autism. Owen was just 3-years-old when he was diagnosed—a once chatty, engaged child full of speech went silent, stopped sleeping, wouldn’t make eye contact. It was, as doctors determined, regressive autism.

Something that remained even after autism had silenced Owen was his love of Disney movies. And it was this love of Disney movies that led their family down an interesting road because, as they learned over time, they were able to use these Disney movies to connect and communicate with their son – and it turned into something that they devoted a lot of their lives to cultivate.

It is a remarkable story and one that is worth reading in full here.

Lynsey, Community Manager

 

Son-Rise Success Story

We wanted to share yet another amazing story coming from the Son-Rise Program (which, you may know, is the treatment program that Kyle took part in).

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 at 18 months old

Riley 3 years old - after Son Rise

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.

Or, visit the Autism Treatment Center of America website. 

Lynsey, Community Manager

Royal Caribbean Deemed Autism-Friendly

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.

Royal CaribbeanSpecifically, 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.

Lynsey, Community Manager 

Homecoming King and Queen

Twitter

Twitter

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!

Lynsey, Community Manager

Happy Birthday, Colin!

coliniseleven

coliniseleven

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):

Colin –  PO box 756, Richland, MI 49083-0756

But make sure to do it before March 9!!

We wish Colin a very happy birthday!!!

 

Lynsey, Community Manager