What Happens When Autistic Kids Grow Up?

April 20th, 2011

Federal support helps autistic children get therapy & education. But what happens when they turn 21?

In many ways, Dana Eisman, 20, of Potomac, Md., is like any other young adult. She rocks out to Train, adores “Glee,” and eats pizza every week. And this June, like many of her peers, she’ll leave school and join the real world.

But for Dana—and her parents, Beth, who works in a doctor’s office, and Rob, a business owner—that prospect is terrifying. “I want to celebrate,” Beth says, “but what I feel is a knife in my heart.”

That’s because Dana is autistic. She can’t hold a conversation, make eye contact, verbalize her thoughts, cross the street alone, or control herself when she’s upset. Starting when she was 4—thanks to a federal law that guarantees disabled children an appropriate education—she has spent her weekdays at Ivymount, a private school for special-needs students that she loves and that has been paid for by the state and county. But because Dana turns 21 this week, that support will dry up when the school year ends, leaving her parents to agonize about the quality of life their daughter is facing.

Learn more:
America’s Lost Generation: Who Will Care for Dana?

Save the Date!

March 10th, 2011

The Fifth Annual Lil MAC Golf Tourney will be held this year on Monday, August 8th, at the Oakhurst Country Club in Grove City, Ohio.

We hope you can join us this year to make this year’s Golf Tourney the best to date!

More information to come late. For now, feel free to learn about the Lil MAC Golf Tourney.

Autistic Child Connects with Kinect

November 12th, 2010

John Yan reviews games for a site called Gaming Nexus, so despite his initial lack of enthusiasm in the Xbox 360 Kinect motion controller, he knew he’d have to buy one when they came out. After all, it wouldn’t be fair to dump all the Kinect reviews on his fellow writer, Chuck.

So last weekend, John and his four-year-old son Kyle went to Target to pick one up. Kyle is autistic, and has had trouble with video games, but his dad says that he always wants to try, and to keep practicing despite the potential for frustration. The controller is a barrier for Kyle. It’s hard for him to master the complicated (and seemingly unrelated) button combinations required by traditional game consoles.

So when the Kinect was set up and the included title, Kinect Adventures, was loaded up, Kyle asked to give it a try. “What proceeded to happen was pretty amazing,” John wrote on his site.

Playing a ball game, Kyle “jumped around and flailed his arms and legs in trying to punch the balls back to the blocks.” When the game ended, John got an additional surprise: with just a little initial instruction, Kyle could navigate the game’s menus like it was second nature.

Continue Reading on MSNBC:
Child with Autism Connects with Kinect

Autism Linked to Jaundice in Newborns, Study Finds

October 11th, 2010

Newborn babies who develop jaundice, a common liver problem that turns their skin and eyes yellow, are at greater risk for autism, according to Danish researchers who studied all children born in that country during a 10-year period.

Full-term babies born between 1994 and 2004 who were diagnosed with jaundice were 67 percent more likely to develop Autism than those without jaundice, according to the study published in the latest issue of the journal Pediatrics.

Babies most at risk were those born to mothers who had had children previously, and those born in the darkest months of the year, October to March, said researchers at Aarhus University in Denmark.

Continue Reading:
Autism linked to jaundice in newborns, study finds

No Link Between Vaccines and Autism

September 16th, 2010

Another study is offering evidence that thimerosal doesn’t increase children’s risk of autism. Indeed, even those exposed highest levels of thimerosal were no more likely to develop autism than infants exposed to only a little thimerosal.

“This study revealed no increased risk of ASD associated with receipt of thimerosal-containing vaccines,” the report published in the journal Pediatrics notes. ”No increased risk was found for subtypes of ASD, including ASD with regression, and prenatal exposure was not associated with a risk of ASD.”

Lead author Frank DeStefano of the CDC emphasized the study’s findings in an interview with CNN: ”This study adds to the evidence that thimerosal-containing vaccines do not increase a child’s risk of developing autism.”

The study comes as a Georgia family received an “unprecedented” damage award from a federal vaccine injury fund, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. Federal officials determined in 2008 that vaccines given to Hannah Poling of Athens, GA, aggravated a rare, pre-existing condition that resulted in a disorder with autism-like symptoms.

The family will receive $1.5 million immediately to cover care during the first year after the judgments, lost future earnings and pain and suffering, the AJC reports. The award includes another $140,000 to cover past expenses incurred by the family, as well as an annuity contract that would cover at least $500,000 in annual expenses to care for and educate Poling. Those familiar with the case say the compensation could total $20 million over the child’s lifetime, CBS reports.

“The CDC and other health agencies need to ensure that vaccines are as safe as possible,” Lori McIlwain of the National Autism Association in reaction to the award.  “The study of vaccinated versus unvaccinated populations is an important next step.”

Read the full study:
Prenatal and Infant Exposure to Thimerosal From Vaccines and Immunoglobulins and Risk of Autism

A Gift From The Game

July 24th, 2010

Autism has made its way into the sporting magazine, Sports Illustrated.

Sometimes the world moves too fast for 12-year-old Charles St. Germain. A friendly game of soccer with other boys can seem like chaos, leaving him agitated and shaken. At other times it’s Charles who moves too fast for the world, or at least his brain does, giving in to impulses so easily that he has been known to walk away in mid-conversation if something catches his attention. Such are the symptoms of autism, which can leave a person who has it feeling out of step, unable to adjust to the rhythms of the world around him.

But when he has a golf club in his hands, Charles, whose condition was diagnosed when he was five, seems to find the perfect beat. He discovered the game two years ago. “And since that day,” says his father, Paul, “he has been a different boy.” It began one Saturday afternoon, when Charles became fixated with the image of Tiger Woods playing on television and started imitating his swing with an imaginary club. As a single dad still struggling to cope with his son’s condition, St. Germain, who left his job with a financial services company to drive a bus for special-needs children and spend more time with Charles, was eager to cultivate any activity that held Charles’s interest. So he took him to the driving range at La Providence Golf Club, a few miles from their home in a Montreal suburb.

Read more: A Gift From The Game.

Fourth Annual Lil MAC Golf Tourney

July 23rd, 2010

Join us on Monday, August 2, at Oakhurst Country Club for the Fourth Annual Lil MAC Golf Tourney!

Thank you for believing by donating to our 4th Annual Lil MAC Golf Outing. Last year, we raised over $24,000, allowing us to award six scholarships to children in the Greater Columbus and Cincinnati areas. We hope to make 2010 even better! Please consider playing in the outing or being a sponsor. On behalf of our scholars, we thank you for your support!

Learn more about the Lil MAC Golf Tourney!

Lil MAC Autism Site Revamp

July 23rd, 2010

We are pleased to announce the revamped site for Lil MAC Kids. Please bear with us the next couple of days as we work out all of the remaining pages!