autism | KUOW News and Information

autism

The day Ayden came home from school with bruises, his mother started looking for a new school.

Ayden's a bright 9-year-old with a blond crew cut, glasses and an eager smile showing new teeth coming in. He also has autism, ADHD and a seizure disorder. (We're not using his last name to protect his privacy.) He loves karate, chapter books and very soft blankets: "I love the fuzziness, I just cocoon myself into my own burrito."

"He's so smart but lacks so much socially," says his mother, Lynn.

For the first time in a decade, the classic children's television show Sesame Street will introduce a new Muppet on the air.

Getting the flu while pregnant doesn't appear to increase the child's risk of being diagnosed with autism later on, a study finds, and neither does getting a flu shot while pregnant.

Blackstock surveys his work on the walls of the Washington Athletic Club.
KUOW Photo/Amy Radil

Seattle artist Gregory Blackstock hasn’t had things easy.

For starters, he's autistic. For years he worked as a dishwasher at the Washington Athletic Club. 

Kate Riley's son has autism and has trouble with responding quickly to directions, a concern when dealing with police.
Courtesy of Kate Riley

Bill Radke speaks with Kate Riley, Seattle Times editorial page editor, about her recent article that explains why she worries about interactions between her autistic son and law enforcement. 

Charles Jones' 12-year-old son, Malik, has autism. When he found out, Jones says, the news came as a shock — and fodder for plenty of fears.

"It was like a shot in the gut," he says. "I thought my son would be nonverbal, that he would never say 'I love you.' But when he started talking he wouldn't shut up."

Lt. Col. Eric Flake, a physician at Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma, Wa. in what will be a new autism therapy center with Major Ruth Racine, a nurse practitioner who has a child with autism.
KUOW Photo/Patricia Murphy

While stationed in Germany, Army nurse practitioner Major Ruth Racine and her husband carved out a promising educational and therapeutic plan for their seven-year-old son Magnus, who has autism.

“We were in an absolutely fantastic place," Racine said. Magnus got occupational, physical and speech therapy.

"Ca."

When Ranwa Yehia heard her nearly 3-year-old son, Nadeem, making this sound, she got cold shivers all over her body. After three months of saying "cat," Nadeem couldn't say the whole word anymore.

Shortly after, Yehia was told she could no longer bring her son to his nursery school unless the family could get another teacher to shadow him in class.

What was going on with Nadeem?

As the population of people diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder keeps growing, so does the number of people with that diagnosis who aren't finding employment.

Though many young adults on the spectrum are considered high functioning, recent research shows 40 percent don't find work — a higher jobless rate than people with other developmental disabilities experience.

When An Autism Diagnosis Comes In Adulthood

Mar 27, 2016

Earlier this year, Weekend Edition profiled three families and their experiences after a child was diagnosed with autism. At the time, we also asked listeners to share their own stories.

Among the responses were many from people who didn't get diagnosed until they were adults. Some had suspicions about their condition growing up. For others, the diagnosis was a revelation as much as it was a relief.

Here are three that struck a chord. (These first-person stories have been edited for length and clarity.)

John Consentino

Something was wrong with Nat.

I got the call about my 25-year-old severely autistic son just as I was parking, about to meet a friend for coffee. It was from Richard, the day program director. Like many adults with significant disabilities, Nat spends his weekdays at a day program, an organization that helps his employer so that he can work — he does carriage return at a local Shaw's. When Nat is not working at Shaw's, he is out in the community with support staff and other individuals in his program, volunteering at Meals on Wheels and various activities.

The earlier a child with autism can be identified and get treatment the better, child development specialists say. So there's been a push to have pediatricians give all toddlers screening tests for autism during well child visits.

But the influential U.S. Preventive Services Task Force said Tuesday that there's not yet enough evidence to show that screening all children delivers measurable benefits, a decision sure to frustrate or anger many in the autism community.

Raising kids is rewarding and raising kids is hard. That work is compounded when you have a child with autism. And each of these families experiences the disorder differently.

On Saturday, we heard four parents share the moment they learned their children had autism, and the signs that led them to seek a doctor's opinion. Now, we learn their experience following the diagnoses, the resources they found and help they still need.

Kindergarteners take turns on the tricycles at the EEU gym class.
KUOW Photo/Ann Dornfeld

Cinthia Portugal is a mom of 4-year-old twins with autism, and she is scrambling to find a kindergarten for her sons.

Taking antidepressants during the second or third trimester of pregnancy may increase the risk of having a child with autism spectrum disorder, according to a study of Canadian mothers and children published Monday in JAMA Pediatrics.

But scientists not involved in the research say the results are hard to interpret and don't settle the long-running debate about whether expectant mothers with depression should take antidepressants.

Pages