The Summer Newsletter contains 3 stories about autism:

Religion and Disabilities

Autism Screening

The Autistic Brain


For years people with disabilities have found it difficult to attend religious service  of any kind whether it be to attend a temple, mosque or a church. 

WHY WOULD THIS BE A PROBLEM since all religions are supposed to be accepting of all people.

It seems that parentshave felt uncomfortable when taking a child who has autism to a church service or put that child in Sunday school why they attend the worship service.  Parents who have tried this soon find out there is a low tolerance from others if their child acts out.

Some worshipers are unaccepting of the military men and women who are returning from active war duty because they have a visable disability like a missing limb.  Other vets may suffer from PTSD and their attitudes may not be pleasant and worshippers feel like this isn't good for their congregation and ask them to leave or treat them differently than others without a disability.

Another problem is that many older buildings aren't compliant with modern building codes for the handicaps.  These requirements would include wider doors, closer parking, elevators, ramps and other such accommodations.  Many churches just can't afford to upgrade their buildings.

Even people with hearing loss or who are total deaf feel isolated because there is no interpreter.  Bill Gaventa, Director of the Summer Institute on Theology and Disabilitity, says this is changing.

Some churches like Northland, a Church Distributed in Longwood, Florida have started a special needs ministry.  This ministry reaches out to individuals that have some type of disability to make sure they feel comfortable to come to church.

Some churches have a special needs room for children with autism or other such disability.  This way the children can worship and participate in the religious experience without interrepting others.  Many churches have tyrained other members to be that child's special buddy for the day.

Making inclusion a priority is a must if the church wants to reach ALL people with disabilities.

The above story is a summary of a story written by Jeff Kunerth, Orlando Sentinel, June 23, 2014


ALL children should be screened for autism before the age of 2.  This is the recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

An online tool known as ASQ or Ages and Stages Questionnaire is a 30 question survey which gives parents or caregivers advice about a child's developmental progress.

Easter Seals Capper's Foundation receives any results from the ASQ in this region (Midwest).

ASQ is not a diagnosis.  The questionnaire opens the door to seeking needed advice.  Capper Founation helps parents find needed resources. 
Another regional resource is Kansas Center for Autism Research and Training located at Kansas University, Lawrence, Kansas.

A study published earlier this year in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders found that individuals on the autism spectrum are affected by where they work.

The study was conducted over 5 years with 153 people between the ages of 19-53.  About 70% of the individuals were diagnosed with an intellectual disability.  50% of the adults in this study worked in a sheltered workshop at least part of the time.  20% worked independently in competitive employment or as a degree seeking adult.  Others didn't have a job.

The study showed that work actually helped alleviate autistic symptoms and helped improve their behavior and daily living skills.  Previous studies showed 20 - 75% had no employment or daily activities.

Julie Lounds, Taylor of Vanderbilt University's Vanderbilt Kennedy Center, one of the authors of this latest study, stated, "autism is a lifelong disorder with impairments that limit quality of life throughout adulthood.  We MUST continue to examine the factors that promote well-being and quality of life for adults with autism..."

More of this story can be found at Disability Scoop, January 15, 2014.

The Autistic Brain

32 children with high functioning autism were compared to 32 developmentally typical children from the ages of 6 - 18 years old.

The study found that the brain of autistic children have difficulty associating information from their ears and eyes.  It is typical to see autistic children with their hands over their ears.

Mark Wallace, author of the study, who directs the Vanderbilt Brain Institute says that it might be that these children are trying to compensate for changes in their sensory function by lusing only one sense at a time.

Disability Scoop, January 16, 2014


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