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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

April is Autism Awareness Month

Autism, a group of neural developmental disorders typified by impaired social interaction and communication problems, is increasingly in the news these days. About 20 per 1,000 American children are diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) each year.

The book Autism Spectrum Disorders: What Every Parent Needs to Know, edited by Alan I. Rosenblatt, Paul S. Carbone, and Winnie Yu, provides in-depth information on the various ASDs and how to determine if your child has one of them. It then discusses how to obtain services and therapies through the schools, medical community, community organizations, and more. This is a complete handbook for parents, teachers and caregivers.

            An Early Start for your Child with Autism: Using Everyday Activities to Help Kids Connect, Communicate, and Learn, is written by doctors Sally J. Rogers, Geraldine Dawson and Laurie Vismara. This instructional manual demonstrates techniques to transform daily routines into learning experiences, encouraging play, language skills and social engagement.

Carly's Voice: Breaking through Autism, is written by Arthur Fleischmann (father) with Carly Fleischmann (daughter). It tells the story of Carly, who was diagnosed with severe autism and an oral motor condition by the age of two. Her condition did not improve, even with extensive speech and behavior therapy, leaving family members feeling increasingly frustrated. Then, at age ten, there was a breakthrough when it was found she could type words to communicate with those around her. Now, at 16, Carly also communicates through social networking sites and a blog, and is a spokesperson for those who have autism.

The Golden Hat: Talking Back to Autism is written by Kate Winslet with Keli Thorsteinsson and Margret Ericsdottir. Winslet met Keli and Margret when she did the English narration of the Icelandic documentary A Mother’s Courage: Talking Back to Autism. The documentary was created by Margret and details her and her son Keli’s struggles with his nonverbal autism disorder. Keli learned to express his thoughts using a letter board; he now can communicate with others. Winslet started an autism non-profit fund, the Golden Hat Foundation; its name derived from a poem written by Kelli, about a magical golden hat that could talk. This book features several photos of celebrities with the symbolic hat.

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