A blog about resources for autism and care and treatment.

Friday, July 27, 2012

3 Autism Moms - A Lot Like You!

Nancy, Shannon and Holly 
Every Wednesday, I have the great pleasure of hosting a live webcast called "Let's Talk Autism" with Shannon Penrod, a remarkable woman who considers her role as the loving mother of a son with autism her greatest accomplishment, something we both share. Yesterday, when the brilliant and talented entertainer and activist Holly Robinson Peete came by to spend an hour in the studio with us, we found that she feels the same way about her role as a mom (not only to her son Rodney but all of her 4 kids). 

No matter what else we achieve in this world, being the loving parent of a special needs child is at the top of the list. We know that you feel the same way. For all of you parenting children with autism, know that you are an ACTivist. You may not win an Academy Award or a Pulitzer Prize, but you are indeed making the world a better place. We honor and salute all of you!

Nancy Alspaugh-Jackson

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Holly Robinson Peete on Let's Talk Autism with Shannon & Nancy, Wednesday July 25

Watch with Us!
Let's Talk Autism with Shannon & Nancy

Special Guest
Award-winning Actress and Autism Activist
Holly Robinson Peete
Inline image 1
Wednesday, July 25 @ 11am (PST)

Watch online @ www.autism-live.com

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

John F. Alspaugh

John F. Alspaugh, a great Marine, was laid to rest yesterday. He served as a captain in the South Pacific during World War II.

His daughter, Nancy Alspaugh-Jackson, who is ACT Today!'s Executive Director, started ACT Today! for Military Families (ATMF) in 2011 as a tribute to him and her son Wyatt, who has autism. 

A donation can be made to ATMF in his honor and memory. 

Thank you.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Greatest Man in the World...

The greatest man in the world died at 5:30pm today. 
If I can only help as many people...
If I could only be a fraction of who he was...
I will have made a difference. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

My co-host of Let's Talk Autism w. Shannon & Nancy has a special message for rapper 50 Cent...check it out and pass it on!

Autism Live host Shannon Penrod announced Tuesday, on her live webshow, that she would like rapper 50 Cent to put his money where his mouth is by giving 50 cents for each of his eight million Facebook followers, totaling $4 million dollars, to an autism nonprofit organization. Penrod suggests five organizations for 50 Cent to consider, including ACT Today! (Autism Care and Treatment Today!), Autism Speaks, Special Needs Network, the HollyRod Foundation, and the Art of Autism.

Penrod's announcement is a response to 50 Cent's tweet he sent to his Twitter followers last week, when he responded to one fan with, "yeah just saw your picture fool you look autistic." 50 Cent has since apologized for the offensive remark, but Penrod says it's not enough.

"I would like to see 50 Cent give to an autism organization to help children in need," says Penrod. "There are hundreds of charitable organizations that could really benefit from the money and support. But what do I know? I am just a mom of a child with autism. There's a lot of wonderful children on the autism spectrum who are counting on 50 Cent to do the right thing."

Penrod's personal request to 50 Cent can be seen online at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6zzyCcFgKL4&feature=youtu.be.

About Shannon Penrod:
Shannon Penrod, Host of Autism Live™, is the mother of a nine-year old who is recovering from autism.  Her son Jem was diagnosed with autism at the age of two and a half after having lost virtually all of his language and social skills.  Helping her son on his journey through autism became Shannon’s top priority whether it was researching a new diet, learning the legal ins and outs of special education law or finding funding for applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy.
Shannon became the host of Autism-Live daily webshow in 2011. An award-winning stand-up comedienne, director and author, Shannon’s goal is to provide families with information and hope while on their journey through autism.

About Autism-Live:
Autism Live is an online, dailym, live show about autism hosted by autism mom, Shannon Penrod. Autism Live provides support, resources, information, facts, entertainment, and inspiration to parents, teachers and practitioners working with children on the autism spectrum. Autism Live broadcasts weekdays from 9am to 12pm PST at www.autism-live.com.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Free California Autism Insurance Seminars To Help Parents Gain Access to Funding

The Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD), the world’s largest provider of state-of-the-art early intensive behavioral intervention for children with autism spectrum disorders, will host a series of seminars, “California Insurance Funding for Autism Treatment,” to educate families and other caregivers about the California Autism Insurance Mandate (SB 946). As of July 1st, the law requires most insurance providers to cover behavioral health treatment, including applied behavior analysis (ABA), for individuals on the spectrum. The free, two-hour seminars will be held from July 28 - August 25, 2012 at CARD centers in Fresno, the East Bay, Garden Grove, Sacramento, San Diego, and Tarzana. 

“With 1 in every 88 children in America diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, it is important for parents to know their insurance options and learn how to navigate through the insurance process,” says ACT Today! Founder/President and CARD Founder and Chief Executive Officer Doreen Granpeesheh, PhD, BCBA-D. “This new law means that parents and other caregivers will no longer have to worry about whether they can afford treatment that’s been proven to recover individuals on the spectrum,” says Dr. Granpeesheh.  In August, 2009, CARD researchers published "Retrospective Analysis of Clinical Records in 38 Cases of Recovery from Autism” in the Annals of Clinical Psychiatry, showing that results of treating autism spectrum disorders can include recovery.   

CARD’s series of seminars will provide the most effective ways to access coverage, including:
  • Services that insurance companies will and will not cover
  • Types of plans and rules regarding coverage
  • Effective strategies to maximize your benefits
  • How to understand the complexities of different insurance carriers
  • Which plans will have to comply with SB 946
  • What to know during open enrollment
  •  How the mandate affects other types of funding (e.g., regional center)

Seminars will be held in the following locations:

Saturday, July 28
10 am to 2 pm
4928 E. Clinton Way, Ste. 105
Fresno, CA 93727

Friday, August 3
6 pm to 8 pm
2945 Ramco Street, Ste. 160
Sacramento, CA 95691

Saturday, August 4
10 am to 12 pm
3738 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Ste. 200
Lafayette, CA 94549

Saturday, August 11
10 am to 12pm
12399 Lewis Street, Ste. 202
Garden Grove, CA 92840

Saturday, August 18
10 am to 12 pm
19019 Ventura Blvd., Ste. 300
Tarzana, CA 91356

Saturday, August 25
10 am to 12 pm
7297 Ronson Rd., Ste. H
San Diego, CA 92111

Mandatory registration is required to attend each seminar.

About the Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD):
CARD treats individuals of all ages with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) around the globe, with 23 treatment centers and a staff of nearly 1,000. CARD was founded in 1990 by leading autism expert and clinical psychologist Doreen Granpeesheh, PhD, BCBA-D. CARD treats autism using the principles and procedures of applied behavior analysis (ABA), which has been empirically proven to be the most effective method for treating individuals with autism and is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the US Surgeon General. For more information about the Center for Autism and Related Disorders, visit: www.centerforautism.com or call (855) 345-2273.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Films, Fun and the Fourth of July!

ACT Today! has a lot to celebrate this Fourth of July! 

It's a Wrap for our first Autism Film Program, part of our ACT Today! For Military Families Campaign, and we're happy to say it was a huge success for all involved! We hope that our brave military families know how much we appreciate them, and that by supporting their children with autism, we help make our country stronger for everyone! 

Take a look at the fun we had by going to the link below:

If you would like to GIVE BACK this July 4th to a military family with a child with autism, please donate now!

Monday, July 2, 2012

My Inspiration: ACTivist Parents

I have been traveling across the country this last year speaking at conferences to parents on ways they can take the experience of parenting a child with autism and view it as an opportunity to learn about themselves, find opportunity through disability, and become ACTivists in the process (I label all parents who make the world a better place for someone with autism as an ACTivist). 

My speech is called "Waiting For Wyatt: A Journey Through Autism To Empowerment". I meet many parents who exemplify this philosophy, and recently met a mom at the AutismOne/Generation Rescue Conference in Chicago named Gabrielle Kaplan-Meyer, who is using the experience of cooking healthy foods to connect with children on the autism spectrum. 

I want to thank Gabrielle for calling me her inspiration, and let her know that SHE inspires me in return! I am happy to share her blog post below: 

by Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer

Last month, I had the inspiring experience of participating and presenting at theAutismOne/Generation Rescue Conference in Chicago. I was only able to be there for two of the five days of the full conference, but in the time that I was present, I was able to connect with many other parents, attend informative, inspiring sessions and visit the many vendors whose products I hadn’t been familiar with before the conference, I gained so many new resources for my son George’s healing journey.

There were so many sessions to choose from, that I used my intuition to guide me to what I needed to hear. Two sessions that stood out for me were with Nancy Alspaugh-Jackson and with Virginia Breen and Elizabeth Bonker. Nancy is a mom of a son on the spectrum and is the Executive Director of ACT Today. The essence of her talk was about becoming an activist parent and she shared the steps that lead her to shift from a place of despair and victimization to a place of empowerment and hope. Virginia and Elizabeth are a truly amazing mother daughter team and have recently completed a book. Elizabeth is fourteen; she has autism and has been on a healing journey for many years. She is currently nonverbal but reads, writes and communicates with the world around her and is now in a gifted program at school. Her poetry is unbelievably beautiful and expressive.

For me, these two sessions reaffirmed where I am in my son’s healing journey and gave me great hope for what lies ahead. One’s of Nancy’s key points is to “run your own race” and not compare your child’s progress to any others’ recovery. Our children’s healing is complex and highly individual for each child and I’ve made the mistake in past years of looking at other children and wishing we were farther along in helping my son become more organized and able to communicate. But the energy at this conference was sophisticated and empathetic; what I heard from both physicians, therapists and parents is that each child given an autism diagnosis has a unique healing journey and this message brought me back to a place of acceptance for where we are and gratitude for the amazing healing that has taken place for my son already. 

There is no one size fits all solution and so hearing Nancy’s reminder to “run my own race” really affirmed that though my son’s progress may be going slower than other children, it does not help to compare him. I needed to be reminded of that message. And Virginia and Elizabeth’s message that every child who is nonverbal is “in there” gave me so much hope; we are planning to connect with Elizabeth’s teacher and see how her program could help our boy learn to communicate through writing.In the mean time, as I learn to surrender expectations and stay present for the healing journey in my home, amazing miracles happen all of the time. 

This week, George took a 5-day Lose The Training Wheels Campand learned to ride a bike on his own. (Click here for a short video to see him go!). Watching him achieve this milestone has also been a breathtaking metaphor for all that he will be able to do in time, as we support him in his own race.