Autistic Photography

6 04 2009

Here’s a little insight into the perspective of a child with autism. I gave Henry, a 6-year-old with autism, a camera for an afternoon (he loves gadgets) to see what he would take pictures of. And here’s the result:


ABA Therapy of Children with Autism

8 03 2009

I’ve been using the term ABA therapy in relation to Autism throughout this blog – with only a link to explain it. So, to address this, I thought I’d make a small video to demonstrate one aspect of how ABA therapy works.

Also, this stars Henry, the six year-old autistic child mentioned in previous posts.

Care for People with Autism is Substandard

23 02 2009

The Guardian yesterday quoted the care services minister, Phil Hope, as saying:

“I recognise that adults with autism have not been well served by the health and social care system. That is true. I am not going to try to deny that because it is true. The past has not been good enough,”

This admission won’t surprise many parents of children with autism as I have been finding out in recent months. A common theme among parents seems to be the that so little guidance was offered to them and that many social workers best intentions never amounted to any practical results. Here’s an example from an interview with Clare Walker:

“When Henry turned three we first suspected something was wrong.  He was referred to the child development team, and it took a year for that assessment to take place, which is a year I now feel slightly bitter about –  knowing what I now know. It was a year in which literally nothing happened. It was a year in which we worked our way up the waiting list for the multidisciplinary team of ed psychs [educational psychologists], speech and language therapists, consultant paediatricians and so on to spend what was in the end, a day, if that, to conclude what every one knew anyway; that Henry had classic autism. And I feel a bit of an idiot because i had told myself during the course of that year that everything turned on the diagnosis. Once the diagnosis came through this kind of machine would kick into action and everything would be fine. But the diagnosis came and went and apart from a couple of speech therapy sessions that was sort of it really.”

Henry now has a structured developmental program involving a team of ABA therapists. All of which, Clare had arranged herself thanks to a serendipitous meeting with an old colleague at her gym who gave her the details of a child therapist.

Autism Update

18 02 2009

I mentioned a while back I was working on a piece about living with autism. Here’s and excerpt from an interview with a mother who’s child was diagnosed with autism two years ago about the time before his diagnosis:

“Every normal routine changed. Walking Henry to school; we used to go to this little nursery around the corner and the walk to school became embedded with all sorts of rituals, particularly associated with numbers. There was one door where the number was on the bin rather than on the door and Henry would walk down the garden and turn the bin around. Then we’d go pass some parking spaces marked out on the ground, with numbers again for the different car parking spaces and he’d choose which number he could have a wee on. He’d choose a number six wee or a number two wee.

Ronnie once bumped his head on a sign walking Henry to school and Ronnie used to have to pretend to bump his head on that sign on the way to school every morning. There were days when we both, me and Henry, would just arrive in floods of tears. It was a six or seven minute walk from here. It used to take around 20 minutes, sometimes half an hour. And now, with his therapy Henry is past that, to a huge degree, not entirely, because it’s part of Henry really it’s organic to him. To a degree that back then I would have never have thought possible.”

At the end, Clare is referring to the impact that ABA therapy has had on Henry’s life.

The Human Genome.

17 02 2009

I visited the Wellcome Collection in Euston this week. Among it’s many treasures, is a printed copy of the human genome sequence.

For those who are curious what this actually looks like, here you are:

And, heres what the first book of the first chromosome looks like at a random page:

And finally, here’s how a page from the book reads:

The most notable quality of the exhibition is its variety. Each new display presented something entirely different from within the domain of health and medicine. From glass jars inspired by human organs, to strings of teeth used by chinese dentists to ward off evil spirits, the collection had a lot to offer. So, there’ll be at least a couple more posts about it.

John Suchet Talks About His Wife’s Dementia

17 02 2009

This was a really interesting news feature from the BBC. I Thought it was worth more than a Delicious link.

Gone from ‘a lover to a carer’


13 02 2009
Image from TimOve Flickr

Image from TimOve Flickr

People  need live in fear of chicken eggs no more! The most covered health story of the week is that eggs are safe once again!

I’ll pretend for a minute that I actually knew the cunning buggers were thought to be dangerous, and join in with the national celebrations by sharing one of my favourite ways of cooking eggs.

Concerned by my own ignorance, I scoured the web to find out what else I could be eating that was harmful to my health.

Unfortunately I don’t have anything ground-breaking to report. Only that if I believed everything I read on the internet, I’d probably have to live on cauliflower. Apparently everything’s is bad for you, which is in no way news.

Among the scarmongering, I did stumble upon this great site full of genuine advice on healthy eating – well worth a visit if you want to work out if you’re diet is actually healthy.