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February 15, 2011

Facts About Aspergers and Interview with Julie Clark, author of Asperger’s in PINK

Asperger's in PINK is on
Asperger’s in PINK" is going to be both lighthouse and life raft for parents, giving them something to aim for and the way to get there. Parents of an AS child (whether girl or boy) who are trying to procure a diagnosis or who have a diagnosis but don’t know what to do next, Ms. Clark has provided you with a map. … Thanks to books like this and the parents and professionals who take the time to read them, many more little Aspergirls will have the future they deserve." From the Foreword by Rudy Simone, Asperger's self-advocate and author of Aspergirls and Asperger's on the Job.

A quote from the star of Asperger’s in PINK, Kristina, sets the tone of the book: “I feel like any other ordinary kid and I want to be respected like one.” In her section, Before You Begin, Clark writes about Aspergers (AS):” …both males and females share certain traits…lack of eye contact, inadequate social ability, strict adherence to routine, sensory integration difficulties, lack of empathy, intense interest in a limited number of subjects, rigidity, and a literal way of thinking.” However many people feel that this neurological condition does not have to be cured but has to be accommodated and respected.

Asperger's Syndrome is an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). It is only in 1994 that Asperger’s Syndrome was recognized in the United States and added to the DSM-IV.

In The Pattern of Abilities and Development of Girls with Asperger’s Syndrome by Dr. Tony Attwood - September 1999  we learn: “The boy to girl ratio for referrals for a diagnostic assessment is about ten boys to one girl. However, the evidence indicates that the actual ratio of diagnosed children is 4 boys to one girl (this is the same ratio as occurs with classic autism). Why are so few girls referred for a diagnosis? In general, boys tend to have a greater expression of social deficits, whereas girls tend to be relatively more able in social play and have a more even profile of social skills. Girls seem to be more able to follow social actions by delayed imitation because they observe other children and copy them, perhaps masking the symptoms of Asperger's Syndrome.”

Today in preparation for our tweetchat on The Coffee Klatch (TCK) :  Feb. 21st, 9am EST, Julie Clark, artist, mom of a daughter with Asperger’s and author of Asperger’s in PINK kindly answered a few questions.

1. What made you decide to write Asperger’s in PINK?
Julie Clark author is on Twitter
When Kristina was diagnosed, there wasn't very much out there regarding Asperger's - especially anything relating to having (or being) a daughter with it. I wanted to provide a voice for girls on the spectrum, and allowed our story to be that voice, as well as let others learn from our experiences. If our story prompts others to share theirs - to get the conversation going - I'd be thrilled.

2. Who was your target audience?
The hope is that the book would speak to families, to let them know there are other families out there who are walking the same path as they are. They may feel alone, but they are not alone. School professionals and extended family are another audience I'm trying to reach. By personalizing the journey, the hope is that they will gain a view into the world of families like ours, and know that many of us really are trying to do the best by our kids. But we also could use loving, (patient) guidance, and acceptance along the way.

3. How has your book been received?
There are many who have been so kind, and related their own stories to me. Some have expressed that it has been a huge help to know there are other moms (and dads) out there who are walking the same path, even if the steps don't exactly line up. But not everyone relates to the book, and they've made that pretty well known, and that is ok. We each have our own stories, right? What is important is that we choose to learn from each other.

4. Any comments/reviews that made your writing effort worthwhile?
At my first book signing, I had a mom come up, with tears in her eyes. I can't begin to tell you how humbled and touched I was at that moment. As I mentioned, there are those who have quite a differing opinion of what I present in the book. But meeting that mom reminded me of why I wrote the book in the first place, and reenergized me as to the mission behind the book - to increase understanding and awareness of girls on the autism spectrum, and to turn up the volume of the "pink end" of it.

5. Do you find that girls with Asperger’s now have more support in schools than when Kristina started?
That's hard to say. From a purely analytical perspective, knowledge of Asperger's has increased dramatically since then, but the truth is, it is still often misunderstood. So, overall, I'd like to say yes, but I do not think that applies everywhere.

Dr. Tony Atwood in “The Pattern of Abilities and Development of Girls with Asperger’s Syndrome” found that: “Girls are more able to verbalize their emotions and less likely to use physically aggressive acts in response to negative emotions such as confusion, frustration and anger. We do not know whether this is a cultural or constitutional characteristic but we recognize that children who are aggressive are more likely to be referred for a diagnostic assessment to determine whether the behavior is due to a specific developmental disorder and for advice on behavior management. Hence boys with Asperger’s Syndrome are more often referred to a psychologists or psychiatrist because their aggression has become a concern for their parents or schoolteacher.”

Also Dr. Atwood, in his paper about girls with Asperger's, noted that girls "are more motivated to learn and quicker to understand key concepts in comparison to boys with Asperger's Syndrome of equivalent intellectual ability." As such, he predicted that girls would fare better in the long run, if they're properly diagnosed.

There we have it – the magic words- ‘properly diagnosed', what Julie Clark and countless other parents are working so hard to receive. Julie says of the official diagnosis: “The combination lock opened, the fog lifted, darkness no longer enveloped us. .. At last, we knew what we needed to know to help Kristina grow."

We hope Julie’s book, our posts and The Coffee Klatch sessions will motivate parents to continue their struggle to but a name to their child’s unique behaviors and open the eyes and heart of others to accept and respect all individuals. As Julie Clark wrote: " What I am saying is that "the village" contributes to the growth or stagnation of all of us."

Purchase Asperger's in Pink at Future Horizons
Purchase Asperger's On the Job at Futrue Horizons

Where to connect with Julie Clark:
*JulieClarkArt Artisan Studio at ArtFire
*Asperger's in Pink on Facebook
*I'm on twitter
*Julie Clark Art, artisan studio on Facebook

Related Posts:

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February 11, 2011

Celebrate and Decorate Together

Make a special day more memorable, or build a lasting family tradition, by creating a decoration or gift together with your child. Even if you’re craft-challenged, don’t give up - we found an inspiring web site filled with ideas – ! We’ve included a few of our fav offerings below from that site, and added some other great sites, all with projects easy to enjoy with children of different abilities.

FamilyFun is chock full of inspiration! You’ll find craft projects for every season and even back-to-school ideas. Planning a birthday celebration? Check out their “Birthday Parties by Theme”, where unusual ideas abound. Would your child adore a birthday party with a music theme? How about bugs, a cooking party, or a complete guide to creating a birthday carnival? You’ll find it there, and so much more!

Gift Box – Perfect for Mom and Dad
This idea was developed for Mother’s Day, but it’s perfect for any other celebration, from Father’s Day to birthdays or Valentines Day. Decorate a shoe box, fill it with a variety of small, inexpensive, wrapped gifts, write a fun schedule for the day that includes when or where a gift can be opened. Simple yet appealing on so many levels. The entire day becomes special! It’s an easy-to-do gift that most children can manage and creates special memories from the child to mom, dad, family and friends.

What could be more fun than turning your child’s art and creativity into a real book? This kit comes with everything you need to do just that, including “Story Web” that helps children plan their story. (Great for honing executive functioning skills!) Once your work is done, submit it online or in the mail and they’ll turn it into a professionally typeset, hardbound book with a title, dedication and “About the Author” page. Use it just for fun, to motivate creativity, improve your child’s verbal and written expression, to preserve memories, or to make a unique gift for family and friends.

Creations by You
The same company that delivers IlluStory has a variety of kits for making treasured keepsakes using your family photographs and children’s art, including clocks, mugs, calendars and watches.

Paint Chip Photo Frame
So easy and so colorful…just pick up paint chips in your favorite colors and use them to create mats for photos. Use the matting that came with a frame as your base, or cut your own cardboard base to create an entire frame.

This article is taken with permission from, where readers can go online and, by signing in, can access free copies of the magazine’s eGuide, which is packed full of more information on holidays and gift giving for children on the spectrum.

 Articles were amended to fit the present season of Valentine’s Day.

Related Posts:
*Gift Tips and Ideas for Our Children with Autism
*Spread Valentine’s Love: Help Children with Autism Celebrate!
*Special Valentine’s Day Gifts for Parents and Teachers
*Learn to be Flexible: Reduce the Anxiety of Getting Gifts

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February 10, 2011

Meet Carol Kranowitz and Joye Newman Authors of Growing an In-Sync Child

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 On Feb 14th we have more than Valentine’s Day to be happy about. The Coffee Klatch tweetchat at 9am EST features Carol Kranowitz and Joye Newman authors of Growing an In-Sync Child: Simple, Fun Activities to Help Every Child Develop, Learn, and Grow. Join us to learn and share how early childhood motor development is the foundation for a child’s physical, emotional, and academic success. Discuss how even skipping, rolling, balancing and jumping can make a world of difference for our children.

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Countless special needs parents, educators, therapists, and of course kids have been touched by Kranowitz’s successful book The Out-of-Sync Child : Recognizing and Coping with Sensory Processing Disorder. This reader-friendly book that makes SPD understandable to parents and teachers was published in 1998, revised in 2005, translated into a dozen languages and has over 600,000 copies sold.

Terri Mauro's Review
The sequel, The Out-of-Sync Child Has Fun: Activities for Kids with SPD, was published in 2003 and revised in 2006. It has sold more than 200,000 copies. In her other books and DVDs and in national and international workshops, Carol explains to parents, educators, and other professionals how sensory issues play out and suggests enjoyable strategies for addressing them at home and school.

In Growing an In-Sync Child, the authors, both Bethesda, Maryland residents, show how simple movement in their “In-Sync Program” of 60 adaptable, easy and fun activities will enhance a child’s development, in just minutes a day. Kranowitz and Newman demonstrate that children at any age and stage, not just special needs kids, can benefit from time to explore, play, engage in lots of physical activity and do things for themselves and they will get the basic skills they will need.

“We have cut out the things that are important for development that everyone used to have: the play, the work, the chores," said Kranowitz, who taught music, movement and drama to preschoolers for 25 years. "We use this darn video to teach a kid how to count, and play dates where the children come together and they sit and play video games. Living in a 2D world doesn’t exercise the muscles and brain centers needed to learn to live in a 3D world.”

Meet Carol Kranowitz, MA

Up-coming Events
Carol was a teacher at St. Columba’s Nursery School in Washington, DC for 25 years. In the 1980s, Carol and an occupational therapist began screening preschoolers for Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), a common developmental problem causing difficulty in interpreting and using sensory. They guided children with probable SPD into occupational therapy, the primary treatment for this disorder.

They steered other children with perceptual motor problems (and possible SPD) into purposeful physical activities, best found at organizations such as Joye Newman’s Kids Moving Company. Joye and Carol met and have been buddies ever since.

In 1995, Carol earned her master’s degree in Education and Human Development at The George Washington University. She created a course of study about her special interest in sensory processing and turned her thesis into her book, “The Out-of-Sync Child: Recognizing and Coping with Sensory Processing Disorder”

Carol is Editor-in-Chief of “S.I. Focusmagazine and a board member of SPD Foundation. Her website is

Meet Joye Newman, MA

Joye is a perceptual motor therapist. Perceptual Motor Therapy (PMT) helps children, and also adults, to develop and enhance basic movement and learning abilities. Integrating studies in behavioral optometry, occupational therapy, and psychology into her graduate work, she developed her unique method of PMT.

 Recently, Joye closed her Kids Moving Company studio to focus on in-school programs, individual evaluations, and consultations with parents to help them understand how they can help their children become more confident and competent in everything they do.

Joye lectures on school readiness, creative movement, and perceptual motor development, and she consults to area preschools, helping them develop and refine their movement programs. Her website is

Books mentioned in this post are available here:

The Coffee Klatch Tweetchat:

Parents, if you want to know what an in-sync child looks like, and if your child is a bit behind, how to help him/her catch up, click to The Coffee Klatch tweetchat Feb.14th at 9 am EST Chat Room:

Related Posts:
*The Goodenoughs Get in Sync ~New Edition~ 5 Family Members Overcome their Special Sensory Issues by Carole Kranowitz

*2010 Book of the Year Award by Creative Child Magazine ~ Winner, Runners-Ups and Procedure

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Five Ideas for Successful Celebrations: Management Strategies Throughout the Year

1. Simplify. Keep change to a minimum – reduce decorations, limit visitors, keep travel to a minimum.

2. Themes Outside the Box. Pick party ideas that truly fit your child – night at the museum, movie night at home, or an environment you might rule out due to noise and chaos sometimes is a great success (think Chuck-E Cheese).

3. Countdown the days. Use visual aides to show the day until the big event. (Go to Decorate Together for some ideas.)

4. Photographic Memories. Take extra photos at holidays and birthdays with an eye toward using them the following year to remind your child of fun times and to prepare for changes. Photos can illustrate how the house looked when decorated for any holiday or how the room was rearranged for the Christmas tree.

5. Detailed Schedules. Create a special schedule, especially for the winter holidays. On a plain calendar use pictures and simple words to show the schedule for the season. Include when you’ll put up (and take down) the tree, outings, school events, concerts, church, cookie baking, making decorations, and plans for visitors or travel.

This article is taken with permission from, where readers can go online and, by signing in, can access free copies of the magazine’s eGuide, which is packed full of more information on holidays and gift giving for children on the spectrum.

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