Seattle’s Museum of Pop Culture is offering a new program that allows families affected by autism spectrum disorder to access the museum for free before it opens to the public! The first ASD Morning will be on Sunday, January 27th, from 8:00 to 10:00 AM with art activities beginning at 8:30 AM. During this time, sound and lighting will be lowered in some exhibits and music/videos will be eliminated from others to create a more accommodating sensory experience. To learn about the open galleries and RSVP for tickets, click here!
A graduate student from New York University is conducting a survey-based research project about the U.S. airport experiences of individuals with ASD. The survey can be completed by individuals with ASD, a family member, or another caregiver. The purpose of this research project is to identify needed programs and adaptations that will increase opportunities for individuals with ASD and their families to travel the world. The survey takes 15-30 minutes to complete, and will be open until February 28, 2019. If you have information to share, click here!
We are delighted to welcome Madison Onsager to the READi Lab for the month of January. Madison is a sophomore at Williams College who is completing her “Winter Study” project in our lab. She is excited about learning how to improve the accessibility of screening and intervention services for ASD, and will be working primarily on the ImPACT and Pathways studies. Madison plans to graduate in May 2021 with a double major in Psychology and Political Science.
Earlier this week, READi Lab alums Roya Baharloo and Nat Bumrungtrakul met up in Bangkok, Thailand! Roya, who is currently working on her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology at UC Berkeley, is vacationing in Thailand, where Nat currently lives while applying to Masters programs. We love hearing from lab alumni around the world!
While the holiday season can bring joy for many, it can also bring challenges for individuals with autism who experience sensory sensitivities and/or difficulty with changes in routines.The Autism Society has shared some great tips for helping individuals with autism have a happy holiday season. Some tips include decorating gradually rather than all at once, preparing social stories for events, and practicing gift-giving and gift-opening scenarios. To read all twelve tips, click here!
Ina never-ending effort to sharpen our knowledge and skills, last week Lisa and Wendy attended the 11th Annual Conference on the Science of Dissemination and Implementation in Health. Session content included Going to Scale in Low Resource Settings, Behavioral Economics, and Understanding and Assessing Adaptations. Yes, the restaurants and sights were excellent – but so was the conference (even though we have no photos to post)!
Kalin Bennett, an 18 year old from Little Rock, Arkansas, is making history as the first person with autism to be signed to a Division 1 university basketball team. While having autism is a part of who Kalin is, he appreciates the fact that Kent State University signed him not to just make history, but because of his natural gift and outstanding ability to play basketball. Kalin looks forward to not only pursuing his dream as a basketball player, but also to use his story to motivate others. “I want to use this platform to inspire other kids with autism and non-autism. I want to let them know, ‘Hey, if I can do this, you can do it, too.’ A lot of times they feel alone and by themselves, and I felt that same way growing up.” Kalin’s success did not come without challenges, and his tenacity and passion for pursuing his dream shines through both on and off the court. To read more about this inspiring success story, click here!
The recently-released report from the National Survey of Children’s Health estimates an autism prevalence rate of 1 in 40 children in the U.S. This survey, which was conducted in 2016, asked parents of 3-17 year olds if their doctor or any other health care provider has ever diagnosed their child with autism, and if so, if their child currently has the condition.
This prevalence rate is higher than that released in the April CDC report, which estimated a prevalence rate of 1 in 59 children. Differences in the way the data were collected may account for this discrepancy in prevalence estimates; the CDC report was based on review of medical and educational records of 8-year-olds in specific regions of the U.S.
Results from the National Survey of Children’s Health also highlight the challenges that parents, families, and people in the autism community face in obtaining treatment and intervention services, noting that access to care is more challenging for families affected by autism compared to other developmental disabilities.
Sesame Street’s first Muppet with autism, Julia, was spotted during this year’s Thanksgiving Day Parade wearing noise-cancelling headphones to help control sensory overload! People in the autism community were elated and touched to see this representation, as reflected in viral tweets on social media. One parent wrote, “My autistic daughter saw Julia on the Sesame Street float and said, ‘There’s Julia wearing her headphones because she’s autistic.’ Seeing others like her represented in society is so important for my girl, it makes her feel included and loved.” To read the full The Mighty article, click here: https://themighty.com/2018/11/macys-thanksgiving-day-parade-autism-julia-sesame-street-noise-canceling-headphones/
Since 2015, Sesame Street has made it a priority to promote understanding of autism as they launched their online initiative “Sesame Street and Autism: Seeing Amazing in All Children” featuring Julia in a storybook called “We’re Amazing, 1, 2, 3.” Check out Sesame Street’s online Julia-related materials here: http://autism.sesamestreet.org/
Just a reminder that representation matters and even small gestures, such as putting on headphones, can make a huge impact.
Last week Wendy traveled to British Columbia, Canada, to learn about barriers to autism services for First Nations and to provide STAT training for early childhood providers in the Squamish and Nlaka’pamux Nations. This project was spearheaded by Grace Iarocci, professor at Simon Fraser University, Romona Baxter, executive director of Nzen’man Child and Family Development Centre and Rona Sterling-Collins, Consultant, who obtained provincial and federal government grants to conduct this work. Wendy was joined by Courtney Burnette, PhD, a STAT Trainer and Associate Professor at the University of New Mexico. They met remarkable family members and service providers, and saw amazing landscapes as they traveled the province from West Vancouver, to Merritt, to Lytton. We extend our special thanks to the staff in the Ayas Men Men Child and Family Services Centre in West Vancouver and the Nzen’man Child and Family Development Centre in Lytton for hosting the STAT training workshops. It was a true honor and humbling experience to be welcomed so warmly by those with whom we share this earth.
Trevor Pacelli, a young man with ASD, wrote a book titled Six-Word Lessons on Growing up Autistic: 100 Lessons to Understand How Autistic People See Life to help educate parents, teachers, and friends about how some individuals with ASD think and feel. Some of the topics covered in the book include having a different view of the world, the challenges that come with sudden changes and certain life events, and handling school transitions. Trevor’s personal experiences give readers an inside look at the world of an individual with ASD and encourage inclusion in the home, school, and workplace. To read more and watch Trevor’s interview with King 5 News, click here.
The transition from high school into the adult world can be a daunting experience for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder. The specialized services and supports provided through the school system are no longer available when they enter the workforce after graduation. Jason Henley, an individual with autism, dreamed of becoming a chef after he graduated from high school. Knowing that her son was unlikely to have a successful interview at a restaurant and would likely be put to work doing dishes, Jason’s mother found a way to empower her son to fulfill his passion for cooking. At age 18, Henley’s mother helped him open his own restaurant, No Label at the Table Food Company. This gluten free and dairy free food company is staffed only by individuals with autism, helping them pursue their passions despite the unique challenges they face. Jason and his mom are a testament to the fact that disabilities don’t have to stand in the way of dreaming big and fulfilling your aspirations! To learn more about Jason’s story, click here.
Dr. Caitlin Hudac was the guest lecturer in Wendy’s PSYCH 560 class yesterday. Caitlin described her research exploring the “social brain,” using measures of EEG, ERP, MRI, and eye tracking in children with and without autism. As a bonus, she provided an EEG demonstration with Trent as our model. Thank you so much, Caitlin (and Trent)!
Seattle Children’s Autism Center is hosting an annual Trick or Treat Practice Party at the welcoming hall of the Autism Center. This event will take place on the October 27th, from 10:00 am to noon. Toothpaste and non-sugar goodie bags will be handed out. There will be plenty of volunteers to play with your child and parking spaces available for your visit. Invite your family and friends to this autism-friendly event to enjoy trick or treating, costumes, games, prizes, and more! For more details about this event and tips and social stories to help prepare your child for Halloween, click here!
Hailee, Elyanah, Lisa, and Wendy traveled to Spokane on Tuesday for a partnership meeting with Guilds’ School Early Intervention providers. Many thanks to Colleen Fuchs and Christina Fox for their time and warm welcome, to Dana Stevens for being a wonderful community liaison, and to all of the providers for their contributions to, and feedback on, the SRT project. We love our Spokane partners!
Trent Deschamps, Wendy’s graduate student, led a lively discussion during this week’s PSYCH 560 seminar on Current Topics in Autism Research. The theme for Fall quarter is “What is Autism? Biology, Brain, and Behavior,” and upcoming themes for Winter and Spring are “Treatment Approaches for Autism” and “Autism and Society.” Be on the lookout for a future action shot of Catherine Dick, another student of Wendy’s who is assisting with the seminar.
A new play written by Catya McMullen, “AGNES,” recently premiered in New York City. The central character is on the autism spectrum, and the cast and creative team include individuals who identify as being neurologically atypical. From the outset of production, the hiring team sought to feature artists who understood the characters in a fundamental way through their shared experience of autism. AGNES is a drama that paints a picture of the inherent desire for human connection, emphasizing that people both with and without autism struggle with communication in one way or another. Toward this end, the play empowers individuals with autism to embrace their struggles and channel their energy toward what they’re passionate about. In the article, actor and producer Laura Ramadei states, “Radical representation goes well beyond optics. Like any process when you’re being inclusive, it means asking some hard questions and asking for a certain generosity towards the people in the room who need to be educated. We wanted to give artists their own agency in how they wanted to be included.” To read the full Playbill article and learn more about the cast’s experiences, click here.
Today Charlie and his dad helped us develop learning tools and videos that we will use for our Pathways grant. This grant will enable us to provide Reciprocal Imitation Training (RIT) workshops for early intervention and early learning providers, and to evaluate the effectiveness of RIT in improving outcomes for children and families.
We are often looking for volunteers to help us develop materials for use in training community providers. If you or your child would like to contribute to educational resource development, please contact us at email@example.com or (206) 543-9353.
Next month, Dr. Gary Stobbe and colleagues will be launching a pilot program called “ECHO Autism: Transition to Adulthood.” The goal of this program is to help pediatric and adult practitioners care for their patients with autism spectrum disorder and ease the transition from pediatric to adult healthcare. This low-cost, high-impact intervention is accomplished by linking interdisciplinary specialist teams with primary care clinicians to discuss complex cases, receive mentorship, and share their expertise across a virtual network. Participation includes taking part in weekly, 1 hour learning sessions and completing online pre- and post- surveys. Free CME credits are available.
The program begins October 9, 2018, so don’t hesitate! Please click here to view the flyer with more information. For questions, contact Robin Wilcox at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 573-884-2131.
If you are participating the Autism Speaks Walk this weekend, please look for us in our READiLab T-shirts! Hailee and Danielle will be joining the walk this year to represent our lab and to hand out limited-supply goodies. They will be sharing resources with families, as well as information about our ImPACT early intervention study, for which recruitment is ending in November. The Walk will take place Saturday, September 22 from 9am to 12pm at the Seattle Center. For more information about the walk, and to register for the event, click here. We hope to see you there!