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Elspeth Ravenwind

My friend lost his 4 year old autistic son last month to an undiagnosed cerebral aneurysm...I never even got to meet the adorable child (they live in Chicago). And little one passed right before the big Walk Now for Autism event up there. He wasn't very verbal, and from what he could indicate and what the doc surmised - they thought he was just coming down w/the flu. It's terrible...and you are right, Hana, there are so many more children and now young adults out there w/autism - and not much publicly is being done to mitigate or work with the 'disorder' (?). Our environmental dis-ease and misuse is indeed coming home to roost - even for those of us that have been trying to do the right thing. There were/are just so many more doing the wrong thing...KNOWINGLY. Why can't these corporations and corporate heads try to do the right thing for the big picture, not for big profit which comes at a cost none of us will be able to pay.
Peace out, and thanks for posting this.


They can do something about it they just won't. As far as the teachers who refuse to deal with these children, and treat them as human beings. It is because in america if you are different there is no place for you in this society that shits red,white, and blue. They represent the group of people that I refer to as the ugly americans.


Would you be surprised to learn that you also have a frequent commenter who has autism? I believe I mentioned this some months ago when the topic came up, but I don't know how often you were reading the blog then. I also have a Yale degree, and unlike Bush's, mine is cum laude.

I understand that some children have shown improvement on the GFCF (and now soy-free) diet. As someone who used to work in the field (I did data analysis for the field trial that put Asperger's into DSM-IV), I suspect that these children have one of several subtypes of autism. That is, cutting out those items probably wouldn't turn me into a "neurotypical", being of a different subtype. (I'll be 44 in August, so the environmental stuff may not apply as much to me.)

I'll tell you what else: I've been all over the map in my adult life, including SF, NYC, and now Hawai'i. I can categorically state that New Orleans is the only place where being a person with autism does not automatically make you the most unusual person on your block!

Oh yes, if there is any interest down there in creating an educational environment in which children with autism are not compared to mass murderers (Seung Cho was never diagnosed with autism, by the way; it was briefly suspected but ruled out), perhaps as part of the burgeoning charter school movement, you now know where to find an expert (who once ran a multimedia lab at a school serving children with autism in NYC). Same place Nagin found his recovery expert: the Pacific Rim. Except that I actually have a clue.


Mental health issues in this country continue to be shrouded in shame and "neurotypical" is considered "right" with all else somehow being "wrong". My oldest, while not diagnosed autistic had great difficulty when he was very young and many thought he'd be in jail by now. After reading his 29 page diagnosis at the end of his first grade year, his school's headmaster said to me, "These kids don't go to college." To give him credit, he was very happy when hearing about The Oldest's dual degree and excellent job. He's 26 now. He still has a "different" personality but now they call it "driven" or "charismatic". Growing up he was considered "behavior disordered". It's about the schools. They're built to serve great numbers so aim at the middle of the broad spectrum of what people are. That, and no one can make me think vaccines don't have something to do with it.


Much more about autism, and the nascent autism rights movement, here:

Warning: Fire up the daiquiri machine before proceeding to the comments, in which autism rights activists are compared to "drunks in the gutter" and accused of having "impaired mental function"!

Carrie Guevara

You know that this is a subject close to my heart. I've never really questioned how or why Sophia is wired differently. I just deal with and advocate for her needs. It's a big struggle sometimes and at other times it is like being given a peek into the most fascinating of dimensions. I also always acknowlege that I am lucky she's verbal and emotionally pretty stable. Still, I do find myself once in awhile (like after finding that she has decorated the bathroom with a whole tube of toothpaste) question why she is the way she is. Mostly though - I'm just grateful to have such an amazingly unique child. Great subject Hana. You gave us a lot to think about. :)


My nephew has Asperger's Syndrome which is on the high end of the autism spectrum. So far he has been kicked out of kindergarten and was suspended for part of 2nd grade.

He is in a new school now and doing beautifully. His mom has made his diet gluten free and he takes more pills than the average elderly person.

I really fear for his adolescent years when kids can be so damn mean.

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Well it was a pleasure to read such a wonderful story.I must say Great story and epic journey.

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