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Tag: autism

The New (Autistic) Girl on the Block

I walk into the dressing room at Nordstrom Rack, my teen niece in tow. She stops, puts out her hand, and addresses two middle-aged women standing in the aisle. “Tickle?” Gina says with a smile. I’m about to protest, but already one of the women is smiling back and lightly touching Gina’s wrist. She seems to immediately know she has encountered a child on the autism spectrum and is comfortable with it. “It’s OK,” she says to me, sensing I’m not sure what to do. “I’m a teacher. And so is my friend.” They engage Gina for a few minutes. I thank them and tell her to say good-bye before we head into a dressing room so I can try on some clothes. Gina sits on the little bench in the stall, clearly excited to be hanging with Aunt Nancy and doing “girl” stuff while her mother, who is my sister, and a friend are still out among the racks in the store. Her arms are flapping in joy. On occasion, when I’ve picked her up and she’s in the passenger seat while I drive, the flapping lasts a while – so much glee, like I’ve sprung her from jail. Oh, to know what’s happening in that brain of hers. My sister says that often and I concur. Sometimes you can’t help but marvel at something she’s figured out...

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Vaccines and Autism (Yes) in the Same Sentence

I’ve seen Vaxxed: From Cover-up to Catastrophe. A film yanked off the schedule at the Tribeca Film Festival. Much maligned and the people maligning it hadn’t even seen it. Snatched up by the Angelika Film Center in New York City. Enter me, ticket in hand for the 1:15 showing on its first day. Producer Del Bigtree is standing outside the theatre answering questions as I head in to settle into a seat. I recognize him from a recent interview he did. At two points in an hour and a half I have to focus on not letting the tears...

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The Ideal Beach Vacation

Here’s what my ideal beach vacation would consist of – books read, magazines conquered, lolling time sitting in a beach chair late afternoon/early evening, walks, spontaneous light meals made with fresh food, open windows to let in the ocean sounds and salty air, and a hush over the house most evenings. Ahhh … Here’s what my recent beach vacation with my parents, sister, brother-in-law and 11-year-old niece consisted of over the course of a week – a raucous annual tradition of Trivial Pursuit with a house full of guests, pulled pork on delicious squishy white flour-laden rolls, pizza, stromboli,...

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Vaccines and (Yes) Gray Matter

If there is one thing that has been brought out by the recent revelation that Kristin Cavallari and Jay Cutler will not be vaccinating their children, it’s the fact that a lot of American parents desperately need to believe vaccines are not harming their children. Emphasis on desperately. My God, the level of mean-spiritedness and whatever the opposite of empathy is that is brought out when people get going on the Internet on this topic is so beyond anything I’ve ever seen on any other subject. And I have been reading about this topic for over a decade, ever...

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