Tag Archives: autism spectrum disorder

TN Mom Fighting Tooth and Nail

daniel vance 120According to the National Institutes of Health, autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a “range of complex neurodevelopment disorders, characterized by social impairments, communication difficulties, and restricted, repetitive, and stereotyped patterns of behavior.”

Sandra Domenech became aware of this column through a friend who read it in a Florida weekly. She said she and her 13-year-old son with ASD recently moved out of Florida due to unkind treatment of him by school officials, police, and students. Domenech has a disability herself arising from severe arthritis caused in large measure by working at her former lawn care business. She has been separated from her husband since 2011. He’s deaf.

She said of her son, “He was born prematurely and at birth his heart stopped. He spent the first month of his life in a hospital. He didn’t walk until about two and a half and didn’t talk until 6. He’s not like most other kids.” Like many children with ASD, her son has a sensory disorder in which loud noises and physical touch can lead to emotional meltdowns.

Domenech said children in Florida had bullied her son. And in February 2014, she said school aides there allowed him to walk alone around the school campus and, when teachers and students blocked his entrance into a school cafeteria, her son had an ASD-related meltdown. A school resource officer transported him to a behavioral facility that didn’t have experience serving children with autism that had special needs like her son. (Her son requires occupational, physical, and speech therapy.) She tried getting him out. Eventually, a judge ruled in favor of Domenech, who, along with her son, recently moved to Tennessee to shield him from more trouble.

She said, “I’m a strong person and have tried hanging on. I can’t believe they did what they did (in Florida). It’s put a strain on my son. Where we are in Tennessee, he has already been beaten up. When I asked why he didn’t stand up for himself, he said he didn’t want to get in trouble (and end up being taken away like in Florida).”

As for advising parents of children with autism, she said, “Make sure there’s a(n) (appropriate) class for your child at school and make sure the people in that class are qualified and certified to deal with your child’s disability. As for me, I will fight for my kid until down to my last tooth and nail.”

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Autism Spectrum Disorder

danvance_120Nathan and Daniel are 20-year-old twins. Nathan has an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and Daniel does not.

“Many people told us not to start comparing the development of our twins over the first few years, but it was difficult not to compare,” said father Larry Kaplan of Draper, Utah. “Daniel was reaching many (developmental) milestones while Nathan was not. Nathan wasn’t walking or talking. He was only making sounds. Yet our pediatrician disregarded all our concerns.”

When Nathan was 20 months old, the Kaplans’ physician referred the family to specialists who, said Kaplan, “Bet us a dollar Nathan would walk and talk by 24 months.” But Nathan wouldn’t. He was able at that age to only crawl and stare off into space. He banged his head against walls. At 3, finally, Nathan was diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder.

The National Institutes of Health defines ASD as affecting children before age 3 and being a complex developmental disability that causes challenges throughout life, such as deficits in social interaction and verbal and nonverbal communication. People with ASD often show repetitive behaviors and have intense interests. No cure exists.

Said Kaplan, “When he was 4, Nathan got through a window screen in our home and took off running. It was the most frightening experience we have ever had. A neighbor found him a half-mile away. We were shaking when the police car pulled up with him inside. That happened another time, too. About 40 percent of kids on the ASD spectrum are ‘wanderers.'”

Today, Nathan can’t be left by himself and has 24-hour care. He needs help getting up, showering, dressing, and preparing breakfast. The Kaplans’ biggest current concern is what will they do when Nathan “graduates” from the school system in 18 months.

Kaplan said, “I like everything about Nathan. He is the most loveable, sweet individual. He makes us laugh and we spend a tremendous amount of time reading to him.” Nathan has a close relationship with his twin brother, who often read to him when both were in high school.

In 2005, Kaplan started the U.S. Autism & Asperger Association, which, he said, “brings the most wonderful minds together (in conferences) to try to help practitioners and teachers give these kids (with autism) an opportunity (to improve).” He urged parents to speak up for their child because if they don’t, no one will.

Contact: danieljvance.com. [Palmer Bus Service and LittleGiantFudge.com made this column possible.]

Autism Spectrum Disorder

danvance_120Nathan and Daniel are 20-year-old twins. Nathan has an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and Daniel does not.

“Many people told us not to start comparing the development of our twins over the first few years, but it was difficult not to compare,” said father Larry Kaplan of Draper, Utah. “Daniel was reaching many (developmental) milestones while Nathan was not. Nathan wasn’t walking or talking. He was only making sounds. Yet our pediatrician disregarded all our concerns.”

When Nathan was 20 months old, the Kaplans’ physician referred the family to specialists who, said Kaplan, “Bet us a dollar Nathan would walk and talk by 24 months.” But Nathan wouldn’t. He was able at that age to only crawl and stare off into space. He banged his head against walls. At 3, finally, Nathan was diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder.

The National Institutes of Health defines ASD as affecting children before age 3 and being a complex developmental disability that causes challenges throughout life, such as deficits in social interaction and verbal and nonverbal communication. People with ASD often show repetitive behaviors and have intense interests. No cure exists.

Said Kaplan, “When he was 4, Nathan got through a window screen in our home and took off running. It was the most frightening experience we have ever had. A neighbor found him a half-mile away. We were shaking when the police car pulled up with him inside. That happened another time, too. About 40 percent of kids on the ASD spectrum are ‘wanderers.'”

Today, Nathan can’t be left by himself and has 24-hour care. He needs help getting up, showering, dressing, and preparing breakfast. The Kaplans’ biggest current concern is what will they do when Nathan “graduates” from the school system in 18 months.

Kaplan said, “I like everything about Nathan. He is the most loveable, sweet individual. He makes us laugh and we spend a tremendous amount of time reading to him.” Nathan has a close relationship with his twin brother, who often read to him when both were in high school.

In 2005, Kaplan started the U.S. Autism & Asperger Association, which, he said, “brings the most wonderful minds together (in conferences) to try to help practitioners and teachers give these kids (with autism) an opportunity (to improve).” He urged parents to speak up for their child because if they don’t, no one will.

Contact: danieljvance.com. [Palmer Bus Service and LittleGiantFudge.com made this column possible.]

Father Wants Son Happy

danvance_120The National Institutes of Health defines autism spectrum disorder (ASD) as a “complex developmental disability” with symptoms starting before age three that causes “delays or problems in many different skills” from infancy to adulthood. No cure or cause has been found. People with ASD have deficits in verbal and nonverbal communication, social interaction, and they show repetitive behaviors and have intense interests.

Autism has caught our nation’s attention only within the last 20 years. The same could be said for John Doiron of Savage, Minnesota. His now 16-year-old son Nick was diagnosed in 2002.

“After getting the diagnosis, my wife and I were relieved to have a label for it,” said Doiron. “Nick had showed many delays in comprehension. At his diagnosis (at age 6), he was already in special education and was doing fine with the other kids, but he never socially interacted. It would take prompting for him to acknowledge someone else.”

Today, Nick doesn’t talk or understand the potential dangers around him, such as moving cars that could hurt him. He can feed and clothe himself, but needs help taking a bath or shower.

Every person with autism is different, said Doiron. As for Nick, he happens to love food. Said Doiron, “Nick has downed bottles of pancake syrup before and if allowed will eat an entire bunch of bananas in one sitting. He likes to chew, but only on food. If allowed, he could eat an entire package of American cheese or bologna (in one sitting).”

The different appetite aside, Doiron likes plenty about his son. “For one, I love his spontaneous laughter,” he said. “And when we ask if he wants a cookie, for instance, sometimes he might have a smile on his face. For me, that’s fun to see even if we don’t always know what the smile is about. We laugh right along with him because we know he’s happy, and for us his being happy is important. Because he has autism and is nonverbal, it can be tough for him when he’s frustrated because he can’t tell us what we can do to help him. But unlike many (people with autism), Nick doesn’t have fits of anger or meltdowns when his routine has been disrupted.”

Though nonverbal, Nick does enjoy looking over Dr. Seuss books and spelling out basic words using magnetic letters on the kitchen refrigerator.

Contact: danieljvance.com. [Palmer Bus Service and LittleGiantFudge.com make this column possible.]

Father Wants Son Happy

danvance_120The National Institutes of Health defines autism spectrum disorder (ASD) as a “complex developmental disability” with symptoms starting before age three that causes “delays or problems in many different skills” from infancy to adulthood. No cure or cause has been found. People with ASD have deficits in verbal and nonverbal communication, social interaction, and they show repetitive behaviors and have intense interests.

Autism has caught our nation’s attention only within the last 20 years. The same could be said for John Doiron of Savage, Minnesota. His now 16-year-old son Nick was diagnosed in 2002.

“After getting the diagnosis, my wife and I were relieved to have a label for it,” said Doiron. “Nick had showed many delays in comprehension. At his diagnosis (at age 6), he was already in special education and was doing fine with the other kids, but he never socially interacted. It would take prompting for him to acknowledge someone else.”

Today, Nick doesn’t talk or understand the potential dangers around him, such as moving cars that could hurt him. He can feed and clothe himself, but needs help taking a bath or shower.

Every person with autism is different, said Doiron. As for Nick, he happens to love food. Said Doiron, “Nick has downed bottles of pancake syrup before and if allowed will eat an entire bunch of bananas in one sitting. He likes to chew, but only on food. If allowed, he could eat an entire package of American cheese or bologna (in one sitting).”

The different appetite aside, Doiron likes plenty about his son. “For one, I love his spontaneous laughter,” he said. “And when we ask if he wants a cookie, for instance, sometimes he might have a smile on his face. For me, that’s fun to see even if we don’t always know what the smile is about. We laugh right along with him because we know he’s happy, and for us his being happy is important. Because he has autism and is nonverbal, it can be tough for him when he’s frustrated because he can’t tell us what we can do to help him. But unlike many (people with autism), Nick doesn’t have fits of anger or meltdowns when his routine has been disrupted.”

Though nonverbal, Nick does enjoy looking over Dr. Seuss books and spelling out basic words using magnetic letters on the kitchen refrigerator.

Contact: danieljvance.com. [Palmer Bus Service and LittleGiantFudge.com make this column possible.]