Monday, December 31, 2012

Brotherly Love

Pervasive Parenting

By Kodey Toney

Brotherly Love

Kruz came in the other day bouncing off the walls like he normally does. He jumped off the couch a few times, pestered his brother until Konner hit him, and then came crying and running to me. He’s a typical four-year old. By that I mean neurotypical. He does things that most four-year olds do. He’s really into Ninja Turtles, collecting things, and generally getting on my nerves.

Why do I bring him up? Often parents of children on the spectrum spend so much time trying to help their child with needs that they neglect their other child/children. This is not to say that they leave them on their own, or make them fend for themselves (at least I hope not), or that they mean to, but they spend so much time trying to help one child that they don’t make time for the other.

Jen and I work really hard to keep Kruz from feeling this way, and I think most of the parents I know do the same. However, I want to share a few things that I’ve found to help parents remember the siblings of children with autism.

The strange thing is that Konner and Kruz are complementary to each other. I don’t mean that they go around telling each other how the other is a great brother; though I wish they would. They are opposites in many ways. Kruz went to the Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Panama a couple weeks ago, and as we showed up three or four kids came up to him and gave him hugs. They were excited to see him. Now, the same thing happens with Konner, and we are really fortunate for that, but Kruz was so excited and outspoken to the kids as well. Konner would usually take the hugs, say hello and then move on to the next thing that catches his attention.

We were told when Konner was younger that he would probably never tell us he loved us. This has proven to be wrong though. Konner often tells us that he loves us, and many times without us asking him. The ironic thing is that Kruz won’t tell me most of the time when I ask him. This is kind of crazy to me.

They are the yen and yang of children if you ask me.

They do fight like brothers, and while that’s annoying at times, I think it’s great that it’s “normal” activity. This may sound funny to some, but really I’m glad that they fight most of the time. I’m just afraid that Konner is going to get upset sometime and really hurt him.

There are some great advantages to having a sibling not on the spectrum. Siblings can help with social interaction. Most of the time when a child with autism won’t talk to others they will communicate with their siblings; even if it’s a strange way of communicating. They will interact with each other while playing. Kruz likes to say, “Come on Konner do this”, or “Konner say this.” This is good and bad. Good that there is social interaction, but bad that Konner gets frustrated with Kruz telling him what to do and say all the time.

Here are some tips from the Autism Society to make sure that your child feels like they are important in your family’s lives.

Things to look for:

·         Over identification – They will try to make sure that they have their own identity. They won’t want to be Konner’s brother, or “the other son”.

·         Embarrassment – Some might start feeling embarrassed about having a sibling that’s different. Especially if other children start to see their brother/sister as “autistic”.

·         Guilt – They may feel guilty if you feel low or upset. They may see it as their fault, but you need to reassure them that it has nothing to do with them.

·         Isolation and Loneliness – If you spend too much time with the other child you will make them feel all like they are all alone.

·         Resentment – All of this causes resentment. They resent the fact that you don’t spend as much time with them as you do their brother/sister.

·         Pressure to Achieve – They will feel that they have to do more than they do to make you happy.

We try really hard to keep Kruz feeling like he’s just as important as Konner, because he is. He just doesn’t need the extra therapies and assistance that Konner does. One thing we’ve done is to try and keep him involved in everything we do.

I think that many people try to do this, but it’s a tough balance to keep both children happy. I just want to make people aware that they need to help both children (or more if there are several).

Disclaimer: I am in no way claiming to be an expert. I’m just a father who is trying to learn as much about Autism as I can to help my child. I hope that you all can learn from me, and I from you. I ask anyone who has questions or comments about something I have written, or autism, please contact me at I will try to answer questions as I have time, and if I find it interesting enough I may touch on it in my column. You can also find all columns archived at


Times They Are A Changing

Pervasive Parenting
By Kodey Toney

Times They Are A Changing

By the time this comes out Christmas will be but a memory. However, I think I'm just going to keep it short and explain a few things that have changed over the years with Konner and Christmas.
I remember back to the Christmas following his diagnosis (I've told this before, but feel it's important to include). We went to my parent's house and there were many people present. The noise of everyone talking and playing mixed with the smells of the many food dishes and the bustling of people running around proved to be too much for Konner to handle. He came up to Jen and I and said. "I want to go home. I'm ready to go." I didn't leave as soon as I should have and he went into a meltdown. That was a real learning experience.
In recent years things are different. Konner handles things much better. Now I've seen arguments lately in publications, from speakers, and online saying that therapies can be a waste of time for children on the spectrum. I disagree. The difference in Konner, and his tolerance of things that used to over-stimulate him is proof enough for me to continue. We don't worry about going anywhere with him for the holidays, and the family knows we could leave at any time.
Konner did show signs of "normalcy" this year (not that he doesn't all the time). We woke up a couple days before Christmas and the boys had opened some presents. Konner usually leaves his alone, but for some reason (though I think Kruz had a lot to do with it) they had most of his gifts unwrapped. I was a little upset at first, but after thinking about it I realized it was kind of a good thing. I know this doesn't sound unusual to some, but then...that's the point.
I'm blessed to have my children. They have been the best presents I've ever received.

Monday, December 24, 2012


Pervasive Parenting
By Kodey Toney
I have been praying the last two days for the families, victims, and even the shooter in Connecticut. I have recently seen that he may have had autism or Aspergers-like symptoms. Let's get something straight; whether he did or did not have some type of autism does not mean that this is why he committed these senseless crimes. What it means is that there was something deeper going on inside. I've seen people post on Facebook that he was "mental", and there may have been mental issues, but let’s keep in mind that autism is a neurological issue. People with autism, despite what we have heard, do have empathy. They just don't show it like a neurotypical person does. Let's not be too quick to judge people by their disability.
I’m writing this week, not to the parents of children with autism, but to the masses. Anyone who has been watching the media coverage as they grasp at anything that will give them an answer to the ultimate question in this, and any other heinous crime: Why? We may never know the answer to this question, but what it seems that most outlets have grabbed onto is the fact that Adam Lanza may have had autism.
I was watching 60 Minutes last night and this was one thing they really ran with. They interviewed neighbors and a classmate of Lanza’s and pushed the fact that he was quiet, antisocial, and different. The classmate said that he was “Uncomfortable to speak in class.” She also said he was very smart, but “wanted to be left alone, so we left him alone.” A neighbor, and friend of the family, said that Lanza’s mother had told them he had Asperger’s.
I’m not trying to argue this fact. From what I’ve heard it sounds true. What I’m trying to dispel is the assumption that this is the cause of all the evil.
I’m in a unique situation on this one. Not only have I done hours upon hours of research over autism, I am the head of the campus safety committee at CASC in Sallisaw. With that I have had numerous hours of training through Homeland Security and other law-enforcement organizations to deal with active shooters. I have done extensive research on the subject and feel that I have a good amount of knowledge.
With that, I have never once seen anything to say that you should be on the lookout for people with autism. In fact, the stereotype of a quiet/loner type of person is a big misconception.
In the book “Why Kids Kill: Inside the Minds of School Shooters” author Peter Langman, Ph.D., uses several words to describe these shooters. Psychopath, depressed, schizophrenia, sexual abuse, and paranoid are among the many words used to describe the shooters of several mass killings including Klebold and Harris from the Columbine Massacre, and Golden and Johnson from Jonesboro, Ar. Never once does this book mention Asperger’s or any form of autism.
Langman states in his book: “Many of the shooters were athletic and involved in extracurricular activities.” He explains that many were outgoing in their schools. In fact, Eric Harris (Columbine mastermind) was a member of the soccer team as well as working with others as an assistant in the computer lab and with the school’s media club. He says: “In short, the image of school shooters as alienated students who had no connection to, or involvement with, their schools is not accurate. Many were engaged in the classroom…” Of the 10 shooters that Langman studied in his book, only one was described as a loner.
The staff of 60 Minutes even ran a letter they had received from an “Asperger’s Support Group” stating: “Patients are more prone to be victims as opposed to perpetrators
We don't know whether Asperger’s played any role in the shootings.”
Think about this for a second. If 1 in 88 people are diagnosed with autism, then it stands to reason that 1 in 88 would have autism (though statistic would probably show a larger margin since we have to breakdown the number of people who commit these crimes). I think this is a random coincidence that proves that people with autism have lives just like ours, and have problems just like neurotypical citizens.
What I think Lanza was, was a 20-year old desperate for attention. He had mental issues that needed to be addressed earlier, and was reaching out. My pastor Victor Sweet said Sunday that people who commit suicide think that it will end their pain. I feel that this person probably did feel this way, and we will never know why he decided to kill other innocent people along the way. But I’m certain, at least in my mind, that it is not because of autism.
Lack of empathy has long been associated with autism. However, the more we learn, mostly from those with the disability, the more we know this is not true. In fact they sometimes have a deeper empathy, but lack the ability to show it. There is a huge difference. What has been shown, according to Langman’s book, is that psychopaths lack empathy; which would be a more acceptable answer to why Lanza may have done what he did.
I’m not trying to make excuses for this act of evil. It is a horrible crime. My heart goes out to the families and friends of the 26 victims. I have a seven-year old. He happens to have autism. This makes things very crazy for me. I also have a four-year old, and I have thought several times about this happening to them in the last few days. That is truly unfathomable.
What I am trying to do is debunk the fact that autism is the cause of senseless crimes. We are fighting for civil rights of people with disabilities, and more specifically with autism. In that fight, something like this can set us way back. Please don’t let others think that people with autism are cold-blooded killers. They are human, they are compassionate, and they are our loved ones and our children.
Disclaimer: I am in no way claiming to be an expert. I’m just a father who is trying to learn as much about Autism as I can to help my child. I hope that you all can learn from me, and I from you. I ask anyone who has questions or comments about something I have written, or autism, please contact me at I will try to answer questions as I have time, and if I find it interesting enough I may touch on it in my column. You can also find all columns archived at

Monday, December 10, 2012

Here Comes Santa Claus

Pervasive Parenting By Kodey Toney Here Comes Santa Claus
It's that time of year again; time for Yule tide and cheer, but for some families with children on the spectrum the holiday season can be overwhelming. The long lines at stores to get a couple seconds with Santa that may or may not work out can be frustrating for a child with autism. For a small group of families there is an alternative to those lines and hotbeds for meltdowns. The Parents of Autism group is holding the Third Annual Sensitive Santa. This event is a great way for children with disabilities and sensory issues to enjoy the holiday season.
Any parent of a child on the spectrum knows that waiting in those long lines is just an invitation to a meltdown. The sights, smells, and long delay can cause a sensory overload that will leave a bad impression of Christmas. Children with disabilities who attend can enjoy a quiet evening with Santa, and don’t have to wait in lines.
Sensitive Santa is soft spoken, unlike the boisterous, jolly soul that we see at the mall. The stereotypical reproduction of the real man from the north is usually too much for a neurotypical child to handle, much less someone who is upset by loud sounds. He won’t touch the children unless they come up to him. They don’t have to sit in his lap unless they want to.
The children are treated to milk and cookies while they wait, and someone is on hand to read a book as well. This gives them something to do instead of standing around in a long line.
Parents can arrange for Santa to have a present ahead of time so that he could pull it out of his bag when you get there.
Sensitive Santa is open to ALL children with disabilities, not just those on the spectrum. We understand that not all children will feel comfortable around huge crowds, and it’s inconvenient to wait in line with any type of disability.
The Sensitive Santa will be held at the Community State Bank Thursday Dec. 6th at 6:00 p.m.
The only thing we ask is that this is for just the children with disabilities; no siblings. Too many children can mean too many distractions.
If you want more information, or have a child that is planning to attend, please contact me at, or contact us on facebook at either the Parents of Autism page or Pervasive Parenting.

My Own Worst Enemy

Pervasive Parenting
By Kodey Toney

My Own Worst Enemy

I was fortunate to attend a conference in New Orleans this week for work. During this conference I heard a speaker who, while talking about politics said, "Remember there are no permanent friends, and no permanent enemies." As I heard that I thought, "This could be said for parents of children with autism."
There are many times where this could come into play. First, let's understand this concept as it pertains to your child. YOU are your child's best advocate. Nobody can get the best services and programs for your child but you. We all no that this can be difficult, but you have to be versatile to get what you need.
There are many old sayings that pertain to this, but one that I use most of the time is; You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.
Our children require many different services. Without them they will probably not excel socially, physically, and academically. So, it stands to reason we need to work hard to get these. This means that we may need to suck it up and be nice; even if it hurts.
I worked for several years in Financial Aid at the college. One thing I learned is that it is a very stressful job. You work very hard for little pay, and you are responsible for many people's money and future. With that responsibility comes the stress. Therefor you are seen as the enemy, the problem, and ultimately the blame.
This could be said for people at several of the places we have to deal with. The insurance companies, DHS, therapists, and school officials all can be seen in this capacity, but we need to remember, they can and will help you.
Be nice to them and you will get farther, I promise. They are not the enemy. You are your own worst enemy. The worst thing you could ever do is burn a bridge. You will never get the services you need if you do, or at least it will be harder to get.
On the flip side of this, if you're not getting what you want, but they are being nice, you may need to be a little more firm. Some people can see this as a weakness. Make sure they know that you are kind, but you mean business. Your main focus is your child's future. Don't forget that.

Thanks, Thanks A Lot

Pervasive Parenting
By Kodey Toney

Thanks, Thanks A Lot

Lately Facebook has been blowing up with people who want to share the things they are thankful for. Since this is the season for giving thanks I've decided to make my list of things I'm thankful for as it pertains to being a pervasive parent. Most lists are twenty-plus days long, but I'm going to give my top ten in no particular order.

Jen: I get this feeling sometimes that people get the wrong idea about me. I'm not this all knowing father. In fact there are many things I'm still trying to figure out. Often times it's my wife that I turn to for answers. She is the most patient and loving mother I know. When writing each week I usually turn to her and ask, "Do you remember what happened when..." She seems to always have the answers for me. I couldn't be a dad without her. I think this is important because so many marriages end after a diagnosis. It's tough, but I couldn't imagine doing it without her.

Parents: Both my parents and Jen's parents are a blessing to us both. Jen's mom is our babysitter, advisor, and she was the first to actually "know" that there was something different about Konner.
My parents provide support with watching the kids, but they also give the moral support needed to raise children, especially with a disability. Mom is always giving me kind words while my dad explains philosophies of life. Both are well needed sometimes.

Partners: I owe a debt of gratitude to Joe'l Farrar for getting me into Partners in Policymaking. This has been an awesome class. I entered this program thinking I'd get a little information on autism. I'm a little less than halfway through and I've already gotten so much more. The resources, networking, and knowledge you receive is unbelievable. I come away each weekend we meet thinking, "What just happened." But, the mentors are awesome, and the classmates are a wealth of knowledge and support too. This is not just about autism though. I've opened my heart and mind to all disabilities. Thanks to Erin Taylor, Ann Trudgeon, and Diana McCalment for this opportunity.

Parents of Autism: This group of parents is awesome. What little we get together is a blessing. We meet every third Thursday of the month and share stories, resources, and advice. It's a great way to vent, laugh, cry, and even just get away for a few minutes. Thanks to all the families involved. I just wish we could get together more.

Therapists: Over the years we gave seen a huge difference in the way Konner copes with his issues. This is thanks to the therapists he has. Between Krista Hannaman, OT; Joe'l Farrar (who we miss), Speech; Shawna Hacker, D&D Counseling; and Katie ?, speech; we have seen a drastic improvement in the way he deals with school and home life.

Teachers/Aides: We've been fortunate to have some great teachers and aides through the years. This year is no different. Tabetha Williams and Mindy Hale are a great combination. They both are trying to give Konner the best education possible without trying to single him out. They are working to make him as interdependent as any other child in the class.

Wrightslaw: Besides being a great resource for legal information, IEPs, and anything pertaining to the civil rights of those with disabilities, this site, along with the newsletters, has been a source for column ideas. I draw much of what I write about from the emails they send out.

Meds/Dr. Jon Roth: I was completely opposed to giving my child any type of medicine. However, thanks to Dr. Roth I've changed my mind. With his help we have seen an improvement in Konner's behavior at school and home. He is a completely different child when he has his meds from the child that wakes up every morning. He will wake up screaming and yelling, jumping on the bed, and literally bouncing off the walls until he has had his medicine.

Konner/Kruz: these are the two best things to ever happen to me (my wife is a close third). I'm constantly going with Cub Scouts, Parents of Autism, Partners in Policymaking, and heading to school functions my life is a blur sometimes. But, it's all for these two guys, and I wouldn't change it for the world.

God: One thing I've found through the years, especially recently, is that you have to have God in your life. He is a source of inspiration and guidance, and He's always there. Thanks to the people at Green Country Cowboy Church for helping me realize this more fully.

Hopefully you have found some reasons to give thanks in your stressful lives.

Lean On Me

Pervasive Parenting
By Kodey Toney
Lean On Me
Another weekend with Partners in Policymaking means another great session of information. The problem is that there is so much data crammed into a small amount of time. However, I always come away with something that makes me reflect a little more and makes me think, “Oh, wow. That was awesome!”
One of those things this weekend was when guest speaker Guy Caruso, Western Coordinator for the Institute on Disabilities at Temple University, spoke to us about “Continuity Across the Lifespan”. His presentation was about helping people with disabilities transition from school to work, and to living on their own. The point was that they should have as little support as possible, but as much as they need. As he discussed this though I remembered a couple situations we have had with Konner recently that I felt go along with this idea.
So far, almost all the presenters have asked us what we want for our children. The main answers are: to be happy, to live independently, and to have as “normal” a life as possible. Of course this is what we want for any child, but especially those with a disability.
So in a recent IEP for Konner we discussed his teacher’s aide. The question was whether or not she should be in the classroom full-time or just come in and out throughout the day. My answer was, “No offense, but our ultimate goal is to get rid of the aide.” Isn’t that what we’re all working toward?
How many of you would say, “Hey I wish I had someone to follow my child around all day and make them stand out from the other children.” I would guess very few. Their obvious issues are enough to make them stand out so we don’t need to draw more unwanted attention. You might as well put a big sign on them saying, “Hey, I have a disability.”
There is also the fact that our children need to be independent in the classroom, or at least as interdependent as the other children. Other children look to the teacher and other students for help. They don’t have a person sitting in the corner to help them when they have outbursts or need redirection (at least most don’t). In a year or two I would like to see no aide in Konner’s classroom. That would mean that his current aide has done her job in helping him cope with issues he may have.
Interdependency is good. We all are interdependent. That doesn’t mean we have to rely on others as a crutch. That doesn’t mean that we have to have the person next to us sign our name on everything even though we know how. That means that we can work together to get to a certain goal. We all depend on our families to help us through tough times, or to watch our children when we have things to do. We depend on our friends to help us to give us a ride when our car breaks down, or to be there when we need support. We depend on our co-workers when we need help finishing a job, or when we need advice on how to deal with an issue. So why should our children not be interdependent on classmates and teachers?
The aides are like therapy if you think about it. They are used to help you move toward an ultimate goal which is to do things on your own. If you have physical therapy you are just using it to get to a point where you don’t have to use a wheelchair or crutch anymore. The occupational therapies are used to help your child deal with sensory and fine-motor issues so that someday they won’t have to have therapy anymore.
Aides are necessary, but they are also only meant to be temporary in most cases. I felt it interesting that one of my classmates in Partners who is a self-advocate said she always saw her Special Education teacher as a baby sitter. This was not the goal when we put these people in the classroom. They are a tool (no offense). They should be used sparingly, as little as possible, but as much as needed.
Disclaimer: I am in no way claiming to be an expert. I’m just a father who is trying to learn as much about Autism as I can to help my child. I hope that you all can learn from me, and I from you. I ask anyone who has questions or comments about something I have written, or autism, please contact me at I will try to answer questions as I have time, and if I find it interesting enough I may touch on it in my column.

I'll See You In Part II

Pervasive Parenting
By Kodey Toney
I’ll See You In Part II
So historically the sequel never lives up to its predecessor. Hopefully this is more an Empire Strikes Back than a Phantom Menace. Last week I told you that I would follow up on the acronyms that are associated with autism, more specifically with education. This may be a difficult task, but let’s dig in on part two.
When we left off I had given the history of IDEA and what that means for a child with a disability. Part of what came about from this was FAPE. This one stands for Free Appropriate Public Education. This is promised to all children with disabilities residing in the US, according to the Dictionary of Developmental Disabilities Terminology (DDDT). The book goes on to state: “This means that special education and related services are provided at public expense, under public supervision and direction, and without charge; meet the standards of the state education agency and the requirements of IDEA; and take place in the least restrictive environment (LRE) needed by the child.”
So what does this all mean for your child? Well, if you remember my column a couple weeks ago about helping a child and modifying in the classroom, it’s very similar to that. basically states that not all children learn the same way, so you must do what you can to help them learn.
This does not mean that you have to have the best education money can buy. The school has to provide your child with an education. They have to provide one that helps your child learn (appropriate). However, they don’t have to spend tons of money to get the top-of-the-line education for your child. This is not a private institution.
Wrightslaw posted in a recent newsletter: “Because public resources are not infinite, federal law does not secure the best education money can buy; it calls upon government, more modestly, to provide an appropriate education for each disabled child."
However, if your child is not making progress in the school’s programs then they are not providing FAPE. This means they need to modify the instruction for certain children with disabilities so that the child can improve scores and results. If they can’t do this they must provide a program that can.
This all has to be done in the Least Restrictive Environment. DDDT states: “LRE…allows a child to participate in general education program as much as possible and to benefit from learning with peers who are typically developing while also meeting his or her own special needs.”
So, this applies to children with autism in many ways, but the main way I can think of is that those children generally suffer from social issues. If you put them in a room with other children that suffer from social problems then you are just showing them more of the same behavior. What you need to do is put them in a room with other that can help them become more social by interacting. This pours into inclusion in the classroom.
Let me tell a crazy story that happened in my life when I was child. I’m not sure if this will help or hurt, but it makes sense to me. I had a pet duck when I was a kid and his name was Donald (original I know). Donald was the only duck we really ever had, but we had a herd of cats. So this duck basically was raised by the cats we owned. The duck would cuddle up with the cats and follow them around everywhere they went. They ate together, slept together, and basically did everything together. They became so close that the duck actually began to sound like one of the cats. When he would quack it came out as a kind of meow. I know this sounds crazy and ridiculous, but it is true. The point is that this duck, though it didn’t seem like it fit in, actually began to follow in the others’ footsteps. If it had been raised by ducks it would have probably just quacked.
This in a nutshell says that a person with special needs will get their education in a classroom with their peers, and will be provided with tools to learn better unless otherwise specified in an IEP.
Wrightslaw states: “LRE means that, to the maximum extent appropriate, school districts must educate students with disabilities in the regular classroom with appropriate aids and supports, referred to as "supplementary aids and services," along with their nondisabled peers in the school they would attend if not disabled, unless a student's individualized education program (IEP) requires some other arrangement. Some supplementary aids and services that educators have used successfully include modifications to the regular class curriculum, assistance of an itinerant teacher with special education training, special education training for the regular teacher, use of computer-assisted devices, provision of notetakers, and use of a resource room, to mention a few.”
This is just a small look into these acronyms, and there are many more out there. However, these are the most common and will get you started on your path to advocate for your child in the classroom.
As always I hope this helps.
Disclaimer: I am in no way claiming to be an expert. I’m just a father who is trying to learn as much about Autism as I can to help my child. I hope that you all can learn from me, and I from you. I ask anyone who has questions or comments about something I have written, or autism, please contact me at I will try to answer questions as I have time, and if I find it interesting enough I may touch on it in my column. You can also find all columns archived at

Screen Saver

Pervasive Parenting
By Kodey Toney
Screen Saver
When writing this column I usually gear my discussion toward parents with children who have been diagnosed with autism. Every once in a while I will actually write to people with other disabilities or children with disabilities. However, this week I want to reach out to those parents who may be on the fence as to whether your child has a problem or not. If you have an inkling that your child or someone you know may have autism there is a free screening coming up.
When dealing with a child with a disability the hardest part is admitting that there may be something “wrong” with your child. I’ve expressed this many times in the past, but it’s worth revisiting. This is hard for many because we all want our child to be “normal”. But, if you’ve been following me long you’ll know that normal is just a word, and not actually a state of being.
Also worth restating is the fact that you can’t begin to help your child until you actually have a diagnosis to get help. As Kathie Snow of Disabilities is Natural states, a diagnosis is something used to get services. These services may include IEPs, TEFRA, therapies, and other assistance; all of which you need an analysis to receive. You are your child’s best advocate, so if you want the best for your child you need to understand what you can to do to help. If you had a child who was getting headaches constantly wouldn’t you take them to the eye doctor to see if they needed glasses? Why wouldn’t you do the same for a child you think has autism?
Early Access Oklahoma is sponsoring a free autism screening in Poteau on Friday, November 9. This will be held at the LeFlore County Health Department. The screening is a service of the OU Health Sciences Center Child Study Center, and is funded by the Oklahoma Developmental Disabilities Council.
The website states: “Screening is a very important step in ensuring that children with autism and other developmental delays are getting the early intervention services they need. According to the Center for Disease Control less than 50% of children with developmental or behavioral disabilities are identified as having a problem before starting school. By this time significant delays may have already occurred and opportunities for crucial early intervention have been missed.”
So many may ask, “How do I know if my child needs to be screened?” The site has some warning signs to look for. They include:
  • Does not respond to his or her name
  • Doesn’t babble by 12 months or use some words by 16 months
  • Doesn’t point or wave bye-bye
  • Seems to prefer to play or be alone
  • Os not interested in other children
  • Lacks interest in sharing or enjoyment with others
  • Has difficulty relating to others or understanding their feelings
Some others I would mention would be covering their ears, hand flapping, and meltdowns.
While you will not receive an actual diagnosis at this screening you will receive expert advice as to whether your child might have autism, and your next move in gaining a diagnosing.
This is a free screening. Why wouldn’t you take advantage of this? If you don’t suspect your child has autism you may know someone else who may benefit from this service. You may be a teacher or person who works with children who you suspect need this screening. You also may just be a friend who knows someone who could use this information. Please, take advantage of this service.
For more information, or to set up an appointment, you can call (405) 295-5273, or visit
Disclaimer: I am in no way claiming to be an expert. I’m just a father who is trying to learn as much about Autism as I can to help my child. I hope that you all can learn from me, and I from you. I ask anyone who has questions or comments about something I have written, or autism, please contact me at I will try to answer questions as I have time, and if I find it interesting enough I may touch on it in my column. You can also find all columns archived at