Autism Acceptance: A Step In the Right Direction

CM – January 2 
This week’s news has been an emotional roller coaster for the autism community. I believe our community is so strong because of our commitment to help each other when no one else will. I’ve been in Dubai for 3 weeks and as I watched the news unravel about Avonte I was reminded of this, 10,000 miles away from home. 
The heart-wrenching closure to the disappearance of Avonte Oquendo serves as a reminder of how important it is to educate society about autism acceptance and the safety measures necessary for our children and adults.  Our heartfelt condolences go to the Oquendo family. 
In talking about acceptance, I was delighted to see main stream media cover the recent study published in the January issue of Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, on how more than 40% of preschoolers in the study are using complimentary therapies in conjunction with social or behavioral therapies.  There was concern the reason was to avoid conventional medicines but it wasn’t the case at all. Nearly one in four parents said their children used nutritional supplements and one in five were on a specialized diet, all while still accessing “conventional therapies.” For me, this is a win, a small step showcasing how many newly diagnosed families have learned from the parent warriors who have come before them. Our message is being heard and even around the globe. 
Insert photo 
This is the cover (front page) of Dubai’s national newspaper, Gulf News on December 22, 2013. I’ve been waiting for the right opportunity to share this with you and now seems perfect. The mainstream media in the United States may be taking very small baby steps but the topic of nutrition and autism is front and center in the Middle East. 
~ Candace McDonald 

This week’s news has been an emotional roller coaster for the autism community. I believe our community is so strong because of our commitment to help each other when no one else will. I’ve been in Dubai for 3 weeks and as I watched the news unravel about Avonte I was reminded of this, 10,000 miles away from home. 

The heart-wrenching closure to the disappearance of Avonte Oquendo serves as a reminder of how important it is to educate society about autism acceptance and the safety measures necessary for our children and adults.  Our heartfelt condolences go to the Oquendo family. 

In talking about acceptance, I was delighted to see main stream media cover the recent study published in the January issue of Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, on how more than 40% of preschoolers in the study are using complimentary therapies in conjunction with social or behavioral therapies.  There was concern the reason was to avoid conventional medicines but it wasn’t the case at all. Nearly one in four parents said their children used nutritional supplements and one in five were on a specialized diet, all while still accessing “conventional therapies.” For me, this is a win, a small step showcasing how many newly diagnosed families have learned from the parent warriors who have come before them. Our message is being heard and even around the globe. 

This is the cover (front page) of Dubai’s national newspaper, Gulf News on December 22, 2013. I’ve been waiting for the right opportunity to share this with you and now seems perfect. The mainstream media in the United States may be taking very small baby steps but the topic of nutrition and autism is front and center in the Middle East. 

Do you have examples from outside the U.S. of media covering autism treatment? 

Candace McDonald 

Executive Director 

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