Tue 13 Jul, 2004 11:24 am
Received this from a writer friend in Georgia.
"Gift from My Son"--just released by the publisher--is a true story, a most unusual, highly readable and informative account that everyone should read. Please pass this info along to your friends. Don't miss it. You'll be glad you read it. A review is included below, and a picture of the book's cover is attached.
Review from the Autism Society of Michigan:
TITLE: Gift From My Son: Autism Redefined
AUTHOR: Lindelien, Kelli
SUBJECT AREA: Autism-Parent Narratives
PUBLISHER: Hampton Roads Publishing Co.
PUBLICATION DATE: 2004
NUMBER OF PAGES: 169
As in many other parent narratives, Kelli Lindelien describes her son as appearing "normal" at first, but then he shown the typical signs of autism, such as delayed speech and "self-stimulatory" behavior and she wants so much to help him. But the book quickly moves into some really neat, interesting material.
The author's son Ben appears to be able to see energy fields and he has a very sensitive nervous system. Because he doesn't use speech to communicate, he communicates his awarenesses by screaming or loudly vocalizing. Instead of penalizing him for his behavior, the author respects his uniqueness. In an effort to avoid the negative side effects of medications, Lindelien tries natural treatments, such as Cranial Sacral Therapy. The therapist felt that it could help her child's severe allergy to milk and milk products. Amazingly enough, after the first session, Ben ate a cheese puff that was sitting in a bowl at the grocery store checkout counter and nothing happened.
In addition, the author explores the much-discussed issue of MMR vaccines and autism and the deleterious effects of mercury on the child's developing nervous system, stating that if the mercury isn't excreted, it travels to the brain and stays there. The areas it affects are the cerebellum, hippocampus, and amygdala, the very areas thought to be affected in autism. One wonderful part of this book is that the author had no wish to expose her son to any treatment that she feel would be demeaning or disrespectful in any way. This was one reason why she decided against ABA for her son. She had seen video footage of children who had undergone 40 hour a week Lovaas and felt that it would turn her child into a robot.
The author goes into realms that are absolutely unheard of and utterly astonishing to the world of autism and autism research. She discusses his ability to detect energy fields and his response to the environment filled with positive ions. The family moves to the San Francisco Bay Area and the changes are immediate. Ben responds to the negative ions in the atmosphere and he starts to talk and to eat more foods, where he didn't before.
Throughout this gem of a book, Lindelien focuses on her son's strengths; his healing ability, his keen intuition, and his sheer gentleness. Instead of trying to make him "normal" (she has no desire to do that), she values and accepts him for what he is. The author presents some theories and ideas that may seem farfetched to some, such as consciousness being outside of the brain, but that some people, including those with autism, may be able to tap into higher levels or consciousness and to energies that are not available to typically functioning people. This was apparent in his ability to perceive blocks of light and color in works of art, that other people couldn't see and moving his fingers because of the energy lines or meridians in his fingers. She quotes Donna Williams a great deal, which lends credibility to what she is trying to convey.
Reading this book stretches one's mind and credulity to the very limits and then some. It is absolutely essential that the reader keep an open mind to possibilities that no one has even dreamed of yet. When reading this amazing book, I once again questioned the meaning of what is "normal" and even whether being "normal" is even desirable. It could be that "normal" is only a flat, neutral state and that to truly be alive, one must go beyond that.
The author also addresses her son's difficulties in practical ways, by using visuals supports in toilet training (she used pictures to show Ben the sequence for bowel movements in the toilet, which was successful), using Social Stories and making up new ones with Ben, and addressing behaviors as they come up, rather than using a canned method, such as Lovaas. She includes the toilet training protocol, devised by Benjamin's first teacher, Janet Button, as an appendix to the book, so that parents can use it. It is based on positive reinforcement and is not harsh and punitive.
The author presents some unorthodox theories about electromagnetic fields and alternative treatments, but this really forces the reader to stretch his mind and to think differently about how people may actually function and behave. Maybe some people are very sensitive to forces that are not readily apparent, and we may value and treasure that particular ability, however strange it may seem. This book really pushes the envelope, which is just what the doctor ordered, for this brand new century.
Wow! I'll have to check that out.
The Autism Spectrum is often accompanied by such unbelievable behaviors, or gifts, that it really proves to us that there's so much we don't know about the human brain (or something else we don't even know exists yet). I am constantly amazed by people with autism.
suzy, So am I. Having worked with nonprofit agencies that helps the developmentally disabled (a government term) during the almost last twenty years of my working career, the area of autism still remains a mystery for both experts and novice. My thinking goes along somewhat with yours; I'm amazed by people with autism, and yet dumbfounded by our inability to understand the why-fors. It may be that understanding autism will reveal much more about human capacity.
You're right about that. There have got to be so many human capabilities we have absolutely no understanding of. Who knows how we can unlock the mind to find these secrets? Or if we should...
(I'm such a cynic and feel like any info obtained will eventually be used for nefarious purposes!)
Those parents are amazing, themselves!
some really interesting relatively new research on autism
Ground-breaking studies discover brain differences in autism
PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania, USA: In a pair of ground-breaking studies, brain scientists at Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh have discovered that the anatomical differences which characterise the brains of people with autism are related to the way those brains process information.
Previous studies have demonstrated a lower degree of synchronisation among activated brain areas in people with autism, as well as smaller size of the corpus callosum, the white matter that acts as cables to wire the parts of the brain together. This latest research shows for the first time that the abnormality in synchronisation is related to the abnormality in the cabling. The results suggest that the connectivity among brain areas is among the central problems in autism. The researchers have also found that people with autism rely heavily on the parts of the brain that deal with imagery, even when completing tasks that would not normally call for visualisation.
"Human thought is a network property. You think not with one brain area at a time, but with a network of collaborating brain areas, with emphasis on collaborating. In autism, the network connectivity (the bandwidth) through which the areas communicate with each other may be limited, particularly in the connections to the frontal cortex, limiting what types of networks can be used," said Dr Marcel Just, co-author of the studies and director of Carnegie Mellon's Center for Cognitive Brain Imaging.
Both studies focused on people with autism who have normal IQs. In one study, the researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to view which parts of the brain were activated in people with autism compared to a control group of normal participants while completing the Tower of London task. In a Tower of London task, participants must - in a set number of moves - rearrange the positions of three distinctive balls in three suspended pool pockets to match a specified pattern. This requires a person to strategise and plan several moves ahead.
The Tower of London task is used to gauge the functioning of the pre-frontal cortex. This brain area, located in the front, upper part of the brain, deals with strategic planning and problem-solving. The pre-frontal cortex is the executive area of the brain, in which decision making, judgment, and impulse control reside.
A little further back is the parietal cortex, which controls high-level visual thinking and visual imagery, supporting the visual aspects of the problem-solving. Both the pre-frontal and parietal cortex play a critical part in performing the Tower of London test.
In the normal participants, the pre-frontal cortex and the parietal cortex tended to function in synchrony (increasing and decreasing their activity at the same time) while solving the Tower of London task. This suggests that the two brain areas were working together to solve the problem. In the participants with autism, however, the two brain areas, pre-frontal and parietal, were less likely to function in synchrony while working on the task.
The researchers made another discovery, for the first time finding a relationship between this lower level of synchrony and the properties of some of the neurological "cables" or white matter fibre tracts that connect brain areas. White matter consists of fibres that, like cabling, connect brain areas. The largest of the white matter tracts is known as the corpus callosum, which allows communication between the two hemispheres (halves) of the brain.
"The size of the corpus callosum was smaller in the group with autism, suggesting that inter-regional brain cabling is disrupted in autism," Dr Just said.
In essence, the extent to which the two key brain areas (pre-frontal and parietal) of the autistic participants worked in synchrony was correlated with the size of the corpus callosum. The smaller the corpus callosum, the less likely the two areas were to function in synchrony. In the normal participants, however, the size of the corpus callosum did not appear to be correlated with the ability of the two areas to work in synchrony.
"This finding provides strong evidence that autism is a disorder involving the biological connections and the co-ordination of processing between brain areas," Dr Just said.
He added, however, that the thickness, or extent, of connections between brain areas may not be the basis for the disorder. Although the neurological connections between the pre-frontal cortex appear to be reduced in autism, the brains of people with autism have thicker connections between certain brain regions within each hemisphere.
"At this point, we can say that autism appears to be a disorder of abnormal neurological and informational connections of the brain, but we can't yet explain the nature of that abnormality," Dr Just said.
The experiment confirmed the authors' previous findings that people with autism suffer from a lack of synchronisation among brain regions, which helps to explain why some people with autism have normal or even superior skills in some areas, while many other types of thinking are disordered.
The study will be published in the journal, Cerebral Cortex.
The second study, to be published in the journal, Brain, examined a long-standing belief, supported through scientific research as well as anecdotal accounts, that people with autism rely heavily on visualisation to process information. Dr Temple Grandin, a professor at Colorado State University who has autism, says in her autobiography,
"Thinking in Pictures," that "Words are like a second language to me ... When someone speaks to me, his words are instantly translated into pictures."
To test this relationship between the language and visuospatial systems of the brain, the team used fMRI scans to view the patterns of activation in the brains of autistic and normal participants while they read a series of sentences to determine whether each one was true or false. The researchers used fMRI to examine brain functioning in participants with autism and in normal participants during a true-false test involving reading sentences with low imagery content and high imagery content. A typical low imagery sentence consisted of constructions like "Addition, subtraction, and multiplication are all math skills." A high imagery sentence, "The number eight, when rotated 90 degrees,looks like a pair of eyeglasses," would first activate left pre-frontal brain areas involved with language, and then would involve parietal areas dealing with vision and imagery as the study participant mentally manipulated the number eight.
As the researchers expected, the visual brain areas of the normal participants were active only when evaluating sentences with imagery content. In contrast, the visual centres in the brains of participants with autism were active when evaluating both high imagery and low imagery sentences.
"The heavy reliance on visualisation in people with autism may be an adaptation to compensate for a diminished ability to call on pre-frontal regions of the brain," Dr Just said.
The results also replicated the researchers' findings in the Cerebral Cortex study, in that functional connectivity was lower among participants with autism, and that structural connectivity was positively correlated with functional connectivity. The authors believe that the heavy reliance on visualisation by people with autism may be an adaptation to compensate for their lower ability to call on frontal regions of the brain.
"Thinking in autism is an adaption to the brain that Mother Nature provided. We now have evidence of a systematic relation between the properties of the brain and the properties of the thinking in autism," said Dr Just, the D.O. Hebb Professor of Psychology at Carnegie Mellon.
Dr Just and his colleagues are conducting additional studies to ascertain the nature of the abnormality of the connections in the brains of people with autism.
"These findings provide support to a new theory that views autism as a failure of brain regions to communicate with each other," said Dr Duane Alexander, director of the National Institute of Health's National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.
"The findings may one day provide the basis for improved treatments for autism that stimulate communication between brain areas."
The research was led by Professor Just and Dr Nancy Minshew, professor of psychiatry and neurology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.
(Sources: Carnegie Mellon University, eMaxHealth.com, July 12, 2006)
i feel a strong change in my minds eye but cant turn it on. can someone help with this or am i only to fight alone.
You need to be diagnosed by a specialist.