Autism Believe in the Future
From Infancy to Independence
E-Book (available as PDF, ePub, and Mobi files)
Ann Millan shares the story of how she helped her daughter, Robin, move past the many challenges of severe autism in Autism–Believe in the Future. Her first goal was simple; she wanted to stop the screaming, running, and self-injurious behaviors that her daughter exhibited. For ten years, Ann was told by professionals that she needed to accept Robin’s disabilities. Not one to give up in the face of adversity, Ann finally found quality professionals to help her. Ann knew education and therapies were Robin’s priority, but self-image and socialization became her focus. Ann also knew Robin’s inappropriate behaviors were unacceptable in society. Ann and her husband, Bob, became Robin’s case managers and Robin progressed beyond their wildest dreams. Today, Robin has two jobs, lives in her own condominium, drives her own car, and is a part of her community. This is her story! For more information, see: www.autism-believe-future.com. Autism is not a one-size-fits-all disability, so focusing on just one intervention did not lead Robin to successful adulthood. Many steps had to be taken along the way to get her successfully to her goal! Parents and autism professionals must work together, developing quality support and services that are cost-effective—so we can all believe in the future for our children.
This positive light read is a comprehensive springboard to help everyone recognize the unique needs and learning styles required for a child with autism to become a productive part of society. Chapters can be read separate of each other; however, the full impact of Robin's autism journey is interrelated and can only be truly appreciated as a whole. She needed it all. TABLE OF CONTENTS: Part I: Robin's Experience: Chapter 1: Robin in a Capsule. Part II: Embracing the Many Modes of Treatment: Chapter 2: Diet, Vitamins and Supplements, Chapter 3: Occupational Therapy Sensory Integration (OT/SI) , Chapter 4: Speech and Language Therapy, Chapter 5: Behavior Interventions, Chapter 6: Socialization and Self-Image, Chapter 7: Education. Part III: Transitioning to Independent Adulthood: Chapter 8: Employment, Chapter 9: Community Inclusion-Self-Determination, Chapter 10: Moving Out: Independent Living. Part IV: Supporting Robin: Chapter 11: Our Experience as Parents, Chapter 12: Robin's Siblings, Chapter 13: Building our Plan: A Recipe for Success, Chapter 14: Finding Support Groups, Chapter 15: Managing Financial Costs. Appendix A: How to Start an Autism Treatment Plan. Appendix B: References and Web Sites. For more information, see: www.autism-believe-future.com.
Ann has been a developmental disability advocate for almost forty years. She and her husband, Bob, have three girls–the third, Robin, has classic autism. When Bob retired in 1993, they moved from northern Virginia to Clearwater, FL as a threesome. At the time, they assumed Robin would live with them forever. When Robin was two years old, Ann joined a local support group trying to learn more about the disability world. She attributes this innocent “mother’s coffee” for her education and awareness to realize the importance of advocacy and that when you advocate for all children your child will benefit. Robin was considered a mystery disability in infancy and childhood because her needs were so complex. Ann knows firsthand the importance of commitment, self-confidence, and determination to make the right decisions for your child—and then find quality professionals and funding to meet the needs. Through Robin’s childhood, Ann was an active member and local president or board member of most organizations surrounding developmental disabilities. As president of her local Association for Retarded Children/Citizens (ARC), Ann was their spokesperson at weekly school board and supervisor meetings, expecting implementation of the new law, PL 94-142, Education of All Handicapped Children Act. Ann advocated, developed programs, and trained families about special education laws through her local, federally funded, Parent Educational Advocacy Training Center (PEATC). Along with other parents, Ann helped revived her local Association for Children with Learning Disabilities (ACLD). Ann received a national award for developing classes through her county’s recreation department, Mastering Adaptive Gymnastics in Children (MAGIC). This class was in accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, PL 93-112. Ann was a Feingold diet counselor in her community for twelve years. (The Feingold diet eliminates foods with colorings and preservatives.) As the years went on, Ann was an active member of her county’s Special Education Advisory Council and later the Mental Health and Mental Retardation Services Board. Succeeding to advocate for everyone's child but her own, Ann withdrew Robin from the public school system, at ten years old, and homeschooled, supplementing with private therapies and community social activities. Robin’s WISC-R score went from 59 to 82 in six years, kindergarten to sixth-grade level. After homeschooling, and Robin’s return to the public school system, Ann became the Executive Director of the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC). She advocated for families and helped represent the Center at Government meetings—Institute of Medicine (IOM), Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), and Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). She researched, developed and co-authored a report on children's reactions to vaccines, including manufacturers and lot numbers. This report was submitted to DHHS showing concerns for underreporting through the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) and no mechanism for recalling toxic vaccine lot numbers. This NVIC report led to an NBC television broadcast, hosted by Tom Brokaw and Katie Couric, in 1994. Moving to Florida, Ann continued her commitment to individuals with developmental disabilities, including autism. Ann, and another mother, started a social group for adults wanting to be a part of their community, Mainstreamed Adults Sharing Hope, www.MASHgroup.org. Ann and Robin became members of their local Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD) Family Care Council (FCC)—a gubernatorial appointment. Ann was involved in the council for over eight years, first as chairperson of her local council, advancing to statewide chairperson. She was a member of the statewide Interagency Quality Council (IQC) and a committee member for APD’s revised Supported Living Manual for individuals in independent living. As a member of FCC, Ann helped develop and publish brochures, booklets, newsletters, and a Web site for families, www.fccflorida.org. The booklet, Celebrate Employment, shared employment successes of individuals with developmental disabilities, including autism, in Florida. As a result of this booklet, employer and employee recognition awards were presented by the Governor. Ann is currently a member of most national autism organizations. She is a board member of her local Gulf Coast Autism Association, www.GulfCoastAutism.org . Robin has been very involved with her mother in advocating and, as an independent person with classic autism, she has represented consumers at many federal and statewide meetings. She is available to give presentations on her life and her goals, along with her mother. Ann is convinced the best way to help and show other families the potential for their child is to write a book. Hence, Autism Believe in the Future, from Infancy to Independence, www.autism-believe-future.com
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