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US Autism & Asperger Association
January 18, 2012

Welcome to USAAA WeeklyNews, an email newsletter that addresses a range of topics on Autism Spectrum Disorders including Asperger's Syndrome.

Do Couples Divorce Because Of Autism?

by Kymberly Grosso

parents fightingMost parents of children with autism are acutely aware of the issues that comes with the diagnosis and particularly, how stress affects their marriage. So what does the research say about autism and divorce? One study published by Hartley et al. showed that parents who had a child with autism had a higher divorce rate than parents without a child with autism (1). However, a more recent study presented in 2010 by Dr. Brian Freedman of the Kennedy Krieger Institute found there was no increase in divorce rates. According to their research, "64% of children with autism lived with married or adoptive parents compared to a rate of 65% for children with no autism diagnosis" (2) .

The results of this survey support the idea that couples do not get divorced solely because of an autism diagnosis. But for many divorced parents, the diagnosis of autism did indeed contribute as a reason for divorce....78% of the respondents reported they got divorced after their child was diagnosed.

The subject of divorce and autism is important in that parents of a newly diagnosed child may read an article about higher divorce rates and assume that their marriage is automatically at risk for divorce. Also, if a couple already has a strained marriage prior to the diagnosis, they may think that divorce is unavoidable. While there are strong emotions resulting from a diagnosis and there can be significant stress involved with raising a child with autism, do parents who subsequently get divorced primarily divorce because of the autism?


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Autistic kids need support from family, school

stephen m shoreNEW DELHI: As a child, Stephen M Shore was unable to communicate properly and had difficulty in understanding what his teachers said. Today, he is a professor at a US university. Shore, a self-advocate of autism, travels across the world to create awareness about the disabling condition.

Addressing a two-day workshop on autism at India Habitat Centre, Shore said, "Every child suffering from the condition can improve provided he or she gets a supportive environment at home and in school. I was a reclusive child; I didn't speak to my classmates. I was a slow-learner. But with some help from my parents and teachers, I was able to overcome the difficulties," said Shore, assistant professor at Adelphi University, US.

"I was a reclusive child; I didn't speak to my classmates. I was a slow-learner. But with some help from my parents and teachers, I was able to overcome the difficulties."

Shore said that autism presents itself during the first three years of a person's life. "People with autism have issues with non-verbal communication, social interaction and activities that include elements of play. For example, some children may not be able to concentrate because of the lighting in the classroom. Under an alternative arrangement, where the lights can be switched off, the child can easily learn without any glitches," he said.


Stephen M. Shore, EdD serves on the US Autism & Asperger Association Advisory Board.

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Theater activities used in autism therapy

Sylvia Perez
ABC 7 News, Chicago, Illinois

abc7January 18, 2012 (WLS) - One in every 110 children is diagnosed with some level of autism. For many parents, this usually means problems with communication and little interest in interacting with others. However, a new program is changing how we look at autism by putting kids in the spotlight.

A new program is changing how we look at autism by putting kids in the spotlight.

As a carefree 10-year-old, Kerrick Coble doesn't hold back. But he wasn't always like this. When Kerrick was 2, the Cobles' started noticing something was different about him.

"With a lot of kids you would give them something and they would play but with Kerrick there was never an 'I'm just going to play,'" Kurt Coble, Kerrick's dad, said.

"The cortisol level was quite high when they first arrived the first day but after the rehearsal, it actually went down quite a bit," Dr. Corbett said.

At 3 years old, Kerrick was diagnosed with pervasive developmental disorder, or PDD-NOS, a mild form of autism. Now, researchers at Vanderbilt University are using the theater to help improve the lives of kids diagnosed with the disorder -- from mild to severe.


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Some employers find those with autism especially suited for jobs

By Ashley Johnson
Naperville Sun, A Chicago Sun-Times Publication

jobsFinding steady work in this economy isn't easy. The challenge is magnified for individuals with disabilities such as autism, who often have difficulty with social interaction.

Experts and parents are trying to change that by helping employers understand what this population has to offer.

"Turning Pointe Autism Foundation recently launched a career development program that involves partnering with Fortune 500 companies, such as Walgreens, to develop career opportunities for people with communication disorders.

"There's an untapped pool of potential workers available in the special needs community that can really do a great job for many employers,” said Naperville resident Karen Thomas, whose 19-year-old son, Eric, is autistic.

A graduate of Waubonsie Valley High School, Eric works part time as a janitor at Brookdale Music in Naperville and a greeter at Still Middle School in Aurora. Thomas credits the vocational coordinator at Waubonsie for helping her son find those jobs.


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