Posted in Autism, Behavior/ ABA, Education and Special Needs

Blog #49~April is what?

Blog # 49~April is what? 

April 2nd was “Autism Awareness Day.”  Nick and I didn’t wear blue to show support or acceptance.  Quite frankly, I forgot.  I am down in the trenches trying to keep him from running the faucets full blast, pushing the popcorn button on the microwave and dumping out my cup of coffee all over the floor every single day.  Seems to me they should have kicked it off on April fool’s Day. 🙂

April and autism awareness…..

light it up blue

I applaud these gestures.  In the October archives (Blog #26~Down syndrome Awareness Month), I posted some pictures of iconic places lit up pink in support of breast cancer and shared some ways to support Down syndrome which is also during that month.

Here are a few light it up blue pictures…..

blue eiffel tower

Chicago lights it up blue…..

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The CDC estimates that about 1 in 88 children has been identified with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and a study released just last week suggests that number may be even higher. In the Medical Daily article it stated: “A recent government survey as report of more than 95,000 parents in U.S. exceeds previously recorded accounts.  Now 1 in 50 schoolchildren between the ages of 6 and 17 are diagnosed with autism.  The CDC found that boys are four times likely to have autism than girls which has remained true since it was first discovered.”

An epidemic………

autism through the years

Personally I would like to see the focus on more educational, behavioral supports and other treatment options.  What is going to happen to our kids when they age out of the school system?  There aren’t near enough employment opportunities, day programs or group homes for this rapidly growing population.  In addition, I’d like there to be an easier path to obtain funding through the government.

I have spent the last year writing about Nick in this blog so that you can better understand the way he functions having Down syndrome and autism. I have crawled through the gutter like so many other parents.  What I think we all want most is support.  We also need understanding and compassion without judgment.  That along with a night of uninterrupted sleep. 🙂

autism and sleep cartoon

Yes my child is loud, try living with it 24/7…..

autism mute button saying



No, I didn’t change the light bulbs to blue on the porch or add lawn decorations like this person…..

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I didn’t go out and get a *puzzle piece manicure.  It wouldn’t last anyway with all the cleaning up of stuff Nick has dumped out… April archives, Blog #3~ Getting your Goat for the full list.

autism manicure

But I do have a salon appointment to cover the grays Nick has put in my hair this Friday. 🙂  That’s what is in my noggin this week.  I will leave the lighting up campaign for everyone else and Nick with his flashing blue stim toy and blue water bottle… while I try to keep up in his world.

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Seeing the world in blue, cool ……



autism ribbon

*The puzzle pieces are used to reflect the mystery and complexity of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD.)  It’s a puzzle that has yet to be solved.

Posted in Down syndrome

Blog #26~ Down Syndrome Awareness Month!

Down syndrome awareness month

Blog #26~ October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month!

Each October everything turns pink for breast cancer awareness.  Even the NFL players and referees wear pink.  Everything is illuminated including the Tower of London, The White House, Eiffel Tower, Empire State Building and even Rio’s iconic Christ the Redeemer statue is glowing pink.

But did you know that October is also Down syndrome Awareness Month? How much do you know about Down syndrome? Here are a few facts about Down syndrome courtesy of The National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS):

  • Down syndrome occurs when an individual has a full or partial extra copy of chromosome 21. This additional genetic material alters the course of development and causes the characteristics associated with Down syndrome.
  • There are three types of Down syndrome: trisomy 21 (nondisjunction) accounts for 95% of cases, translocation accounts for about 4% and mosaicism accounts for about 1%.
  • Down syndrome is the most commonly occurring chromosomal condition. One in every 691 babies in the United States is born with Down syndrome.
  • There are more than 400,000 people living with Down syndrome in the United States.
  • Down syndrome occurs in people of all races and economic levels.
  • The incidence of births of children with Down syndrome increases with the age of the mother. But due to higher fertility rates in younger women, 80% of children with Down syndrome are born to women under 35 years of age.
  • People with Down syndrome have an increased risk for certain medical conditions such as congenital heart defects, respiratory and hearing problems, Alzheimer’s disease, childhood leukemia, and thyroid conditions. Many of these conditions are now treatable, so most people with Down syndrome lead healthy lives.
  • A few of the common physical traits of Down syndrome are low muscle tone, small stature, an upward slant to the eyes, and a single deep crease across the center of the palm. Every person with Down syndrome is a unique individual and may possess these characteristics to different degrees or not at all.
  • Life expectancy for people with Down syndrome has increased dramatically in recent decades – from 25 in 1983 to 60 today.
  • People with Down syndrome attend school, work and participate in decisions that affect them, and contribute to society in many wonderful ways.
  • All people with Down syndrome experience cognitive delays, but the effect is usually mild to moderate and is not indicative of the many strengths and talents that each individual possesses.
  • Quality educational programs, a stimulating home environment, good health care, and positive support from family, friends and the community enable people with Down syndrome to develop their full potential and lead fulfilling lives.

My boys, Hank and Nick 🙂

Hank Nick 001 (2)

Since this is about awareness, it is important to educate people on the appropriate language that should be used.  People with Down syndrome should always be referred to as people first. Do not say- “a Down syndrome child.” Instead say, “a child with Down syndrome.”  Here are three more improper phrases to avoid are “Down’s child” and describing the condition as “Down’s,” as in, “He has Down’s.”  Finally it should be said “Down” and not “Down’s.”  Down syndrome is named for the English physician John Langdon Down, who characterized the condition, but did not have it.

Down syndrome keep calm

Here are some great links promoting Down syndrome:

* NDSS Buddy Walks take place all over the country raising over 11 million to support local and national programs.

*Times Square jumbotron kicks off with a special Down syndrome awareness video.  Their website is at

*The National Down Syndrome Congress (NDSC) sponsors their campaign called, “More Alike than Different.”  Check out their website at

*Here in the Chicagoland area, the National Association for Down Syndrome (NADS) provides bookmarks and posters that can be distributed in the community to schools, libraries, book stores and businesses.  This group is based in Chicago.  For more information go to

*GiGi’s Playhouse is another wonderful group that started in the suburbs of Chicago and has grown to expand around the country. GiGi’s Playhouses are Down syndrome awareness and educational centers that provide resources, specialized teaching, and support to individuals with Down syndrome, their families and the community.  They have a wonderful calendar and notecards available for purchase. More information is at

*One of my favorite websites is  Noah is the cutest thing and his dad does a superior job of presenting his son in a positive light.

I hope this week provided some further insight and information about Down syndrome.  That’s what is in my noggin this week.  Most of us have been affected with or by breast cancer in some way.  I hope this month raises awareness and more funding for breast cancer and Down syndrome.  I would love to hear how a person with Down syndrome has touched your life.

My son, Nick rocks that extra chromosome! 🙂

best buddies dance

~Teresa 🙂