Friday, August 28, 2009

Book Review: "Reasonable People" by Ralph Savarese

I checked this book out from the local college library and boy am I glad I did!

The book is long (400+ pages) but fascinating. It's recommended by both Temple Grandin and Donna Williams.

It follows the life of Ralph Savarese and his adopted son, D.J. D.J. is a non-verbal autistic who learns to use facilitated communication. I have to admit, before I read this book I was very skeptical of facilitated communication. I figured it was a case of parents acting for the kids. Well, now I can see it isn't that in most cases. Facilitated communication isn't just somebody moving a kid's hand; it could be a simple finger on the shoulder. I really was rooting for D.J. as I read the book and was pleased that by the end he wrote a whole chapter of the book! D.J. was thought to be profoundly mentally retarded and by the end of the book he is making great grades in a regular school. I always wonder how many autistics who are labeled retarded are really just unable to communicate well enough to assess their I.Q. properly.

The other important part of the book is dealing with the abuse D.J. had from both his biological mom and while in foster care. It made me quite sad to read about this and also the attitude of the biological father. The biological father rejected D.J. because of his autism but took his "normal" sister. How sad!

I do need to warn potential readers there are parts that talk about D.J.'s abuse so if you are unable to handle stories of that it may disturb you.

Overall, I'd highly recommend this book. Perhaps it is in your local library!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Must you act that way?
Okay, I'm fairly sure most of the readers of this blog know I don't believe in any connection between vaccines and Autism. I really didn't see anything shocking in the article. But that's not what I'm annoyed about.

Anyways, the thing that annoyed me is the attitude towards a diagnosis of Autism; especially from Lee Grossman of the Autism Society of America. Who is he helping by using such a negative attitude? I don't think the idea of more Autistic people is "terrible" or "unfortunate". What's wrong with Autistics existing? I can expect this attitude from Kirby, but a leader of an organization like the ASA should not act this way. (especially considering there are actual Autistic members of ASA)

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Master Baker

Think of God as the Master Baker and us as cookies.

He has millions of cookie cutters, tons of different doughs, and infinite adornments. When He is making cookies though, he treasures even the odd pieces outside of the cookie cutter lines. He adorns these odd pieces lovingly and finds them as beautiful as the cookie cutter cookies. He never tosses out any cookies, they are all precious to Him.

Food for thought!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Specialisterne values Autistics as employees

Thorkil Sonne has a son with Autism and he's the founder of a computer company. What do these have to do with each other? Well, his company Specialisterne has over 40 Autistic employees! This company acknowledges the fact that although Autistics aren't the best at interviews, they can be great employees. Also, they adapt to some of the problems facing Autistics in a workplace, like an upset in routine or sensory stimuli. Autism Europe says 62% of Autistic adults do not have jobs. Right now this company is only in Denmark, but I think it's a wonderful idea! Hey, maybe a computer company here will catch on...

Computer Company Opens Doors to Autistics

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday

Monday, August 10, 2009

Thief locks hamster in glove compartment...

Hamster found locked in car of suspect in theft

Poor hamster, this idiot locked a wet, scared hamster in a 90 degree car glove compartment. The hamster was taken from treatment and the thief is being charged with cruelty. What in the world is wrong with this dude?

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Prayers please!

Please pray for my friend's little girl and her family. The little girl is under going experimental chemo for retinoblastoma (eye cancer). On the 12th they will know if the chemo is working. I am praying that the chemo is working, that there will be no long term side effects, and that the little girl remains the wonderful, sweet little girl she is. I'm not giving out too many personal details but I know every prayer is helpful and needed.

Also, I'd like to give a little information on retinoblastoma, so that others will know.
Retinoblastoma Info

What is it ~
Retinoblastoma is the most common eye cancer in children. It is a life-threatening cancer of the retina within the back of the eye. Retinoblastoma is generally discovered in babies between the ages of 6 and 24 months, although it can be found at earlier or later ages. Retinoblastoma occurs in approximately 1 in 15,000 live births, and it is estimated to affect approximately 250 to 300 children each year in the United States. Worldwide, about 5,000 children develop retinoblastoma
each year.

Who gets it ~
Retinoblastoma occurs equally in boys and girls and it is seen in all races. Retinoblastoma affects only one eye in about 70% of patients and it affects both eyes in 30% of patients. In some instances, there is a family history of retinoblastoma in a parent or relative, but in the majority of cases, there is no other member of the family affected with the tumor.

What causes it ~
The cause of retinoblastoma is unknown. It has not been related to nutrition, smoking, drinking, or any maternal problem during pregnancy. It is not related to environmental toxins. It can develop in an otherwise
healthy child despite a normal birth and
early development.

What does it look like ~
Retinoblastoma develops from a single affected cell in the retina and it is invisible at its inception. Later, a small white nodule is noted in the retina, but this is not visible to the parents and it does not affect the child at this point. With time, the tumor grows into a larger white vascular tumor that causes the child to painlessly lose vision and this can manifest with a drifting eye or an eye with a white or glassy-appearing pupil. At this point, the tumor is visible to the parents or grandparents and the child is typically taken to the doctor.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Autism quotes...

“Autism is not a puzzle, nor a disease. Autism is a challange [sic], but certainly not a devistating [sic] one.

Autism is about having a pure heart and being very sensitive… It is about finding a way to survive in an overwhelming, confusing world… It is about developing differently, in a different pace and with different leaps.

Autistic beings develop and bloom if their spirits, talents and self-esteem are not destroyed by bullies, prejudice, ‘doggie-training’, and being forced to be ‘normal’.” ~Trisha Van Berkel

"If I could snap my fingers and be nonautistic, I would not - because then I wouldn't be me. Autism is part of who I am." ~Temple Grandin

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Rebecca's Soap Delicatessen giveaway!

I am pleased to announce a giveaway from Rebecca's Soap Delicatessen! What lovely prize can you win, you ask? This:

What is it? It is Rebecca's handmade, cold process Big Lick Sea Salt Soap!
Here's some nifty facts about it:
*Great for both women and men
*Contains sea salt (known for healing)
*weighs 4oz. - 4.5oz.
*Contains an abundance of skin loving oils such as Olive and Rice Bran
*Contains both shea and cocoa butters

So how do you win this lovely prize?
*You MUST tell me what item you like best from Rebecca's Spa Deli at

Extra entries:
*Grab my button (link please)
*Write a blog post about the giveaway (link please)
*Tweet about the giveaway (link please) (1 per a day)

Leave a comment for each entry!

This giveaway will end at midnight on August 31st, 2009.
If you e-mail address is not in your profile, please leave it in your comment like this: email[at]

Wordless Wednesday: Alex, my sister's hamster

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

On the lighter side...

Figured with all the somewhat depressing posts, I should lighten things up with sharing some of my favorite humor blogs...

The newest one I found is Kitchen Retro; which I found through Kitchen Retro has vintage/retro ads and hilarious commentary. Seriously, it's way more funny than I can explain. It's got everything from an ad for a thumb sucking prevention device that looks like a torture device to leg paint for ulcers.

Another blog I like is You Suck At Craigslist; which has an odd assortment of real Craigslist ads you wonder exactly what the people were thinking when they posted. I'd highly recommend checking out the blogs that are linked too, they are pretty funny.

Giveaway on Multiple Blessings

Just a heads-up to people on gluten-free diets, my stepmom is holding a gluten-free baking giveaway on her blog; Multiple Blessings. Although we're not on a strict gluten free diet; we're experimenting with different gluten-free foods to see which ones are good tasting.

Monday, August 3, 2009

A little sad...

I'm a little sad. September 1st the pet store I love and visit every week is closing at the end of the month. I really enjoy as part of my "going out" routine going there to see all the hamsters. Hamsters are my special interest and it was disappointing to hear the store is closing; the lady takes excellent care of the hamsters there. She's also friendly even though I'm sure I come across as odd and a little obsessed with hamsters. (I did tell her I'm autistic)

I hope the economy improves so more small businesses don't have to close, it is quite distressing when a store I like closes. I don't like changes in my routine.

I did pick up several books on autism at the college library; look for reviews in the weeks to come.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Measles mess, mumps misery, and rubella

Here's information on what the MMR vaccine prevents. Now keep in mind by not vaccinating, these could all occur in your kid.


Symptoms usually begin 8 - 12 days after you are exposed to the virus. This is called the incubation period.

Symptoms may include:

* Bloodshot eyes
* Cough
* Fever
* Light sensitivity (photophobia)
* Muscle pain
* Rash
o Usually appears 3 - 5 days after the first signs of being sick
o May last 4 - 7 days
o Usually starts on the head and spreads to other areas, moving down the body
o Rash may appear as flat, discolored areas (macules) and solid, red, raised areas (papules) that later join together
o Itchy
* Redness and irritation of the eyes (conjunctivitis)
* Runny nose
* Sore throat
* Tiny white spots inside the mouth (Koplik's spots)

Diarrhea, ear infections, pneumonia, encephalitis, seizures, and death

Approximately 20% of reported measles cases experience one or more complications. These complications are more common among children under 5 years of age and adults over 20 years old.

Measles causes ear infections in nearly one out of every 10 children who get it. As many as one out of 20 children with measles gets pneumonia, and about one child in every 1,000 who get measles will develop encephalitis. (This is an inflammation of the brain that can lead to convulsions, and can leave your child deaf or mentally retarded.) For every 1,000 children who get measles, one or two will die from it. Measles can also make a pregnant woman have a miscarriage, give birth prematurely, or have a low-birth-weight baby.

*No treatment, but can be prevented by the MMR vaccine


Mumps is an illness caused by the mumps virus. Mumps causes

* Fever
* Headache
* Muscle aches
* Tiredness
* Loss of appetite
* Swelling of the salivary glands

Serious problems are rare, but can include deafness; swelling of the brain, spinal cord, testicles, breasts or ovaries; and pregnancy loss.
*No treatment but can be prevented by MMR vaccine

* Fever
* Headache
* Malaise
* Bruising (rare)
* Inflammation of the eyes (bloodshot eyes)
* Muscle or joint pain
*Patients can take acetaminophen to reduce fever.
No other treatment, but can be prevented by MMR vaccine

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Oh goodie...

Get out the pitchforks and torches if you're part of the anti-vaccine mob...

Mercury doesn't cause autism. But there's still a bunch of people who refuse to accept this. So...we're going to be hearing for years I'm sure about "The Swine Flu vaccine gave my kid autism!"

Yes, the new swine flu vaccine will have Thimerosal.
Swine Flu Vaccine Contains Thimerosal

The response should be "So?" but I'm sure it'll be mass hysteria for years.

Please people, be rational. Who is more likely to be telling the truth about mercury....doctors and scientists OR a supermodel, lawyers, and a discredited doctor? I'm going to go with the doctors and scientists.