5 Minutes for Special Needs: Snake Oil? I Hope Not. | Circa Oct 29, 2008

5 Minutes for Special Needs

Snake Oil? I Hope Not.

Posted: 29 Oct 2008 03:00 PM CDT

Last week, an article titled “Reaching An Autistic Teen” appeared in the New York Times.

As the mother of a 16 year old diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, my interest was piqued. I made it through the long, multi-page article, and then re-read it two more times. And now, I would like your opinion.

The article told of a school in Decatur, Georgia. Community School is a small private school for teenaged boys with autism spectrum disorders. According to the article what makes Community School unusual is not its student body, but like only two dozen schools in the country, it employs a relatively new, creative and highly interactive teaching method know as D.I.R./Floortime. This new method is said to be producing striking results.I googled D.I.R./Floortime, and found the website for the company.

According to their website, ” The DIR (Developmental, Individual-Difference, Relationship-Based)/Floortime approach provides a comprehensive framework for understanding and treating children challenged by autism spectrum and related disorders. It focuses on helping children master the building blocks of relating, communicating and thinking, rather than on symptoms alone.

OK, still not a lot of information, really. I did a little more googling.I found an article on the parenthood.com website which called the D.I.R. approach a breakthrough in autism treatment.

To be honest, the Jenny McCarthy, “My Son Is Cured” thing has left me very skeptical. I hope this “breakthrough approach” will actually help and will stand the test of time.I want to know more but am having a tough time finding more. And, I would like to know if any of the 5MFSN readers have heard of or participated in this teaching approach.

If you read the articles I have linked, I would also like to know your impressions and opinions. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this is not just more snake oil….Deborah can be found writing here at 5MFSN every Sunday and Wednesday, and can also be found at Pipecleaner Dreams.Spread the Word!del.icio.usDiggStumbleUponHelp

Where Do We Draw The Line?

Posted: 29 Oct 2008 11:04 AM CDT

Could this ‘one stop’ screening test be the first step in the creation of Designer Babies?What are the pros and cons or screening embryos for inherited genetic disorders?Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.As scientists announce a new ‘genetic MOT’ for IVF embryos that will test for almost any inherited medical condition, one fertility doctor asks: where do we draw the line?

The new technique, called karyomapping, checks the DNA of the embryo against samples taken from other family members to see if it has inherited any kind of defect.

It applies to IVF embryos that are created in a laboratory and then screened before being implanted into the mother’s womb, with the implication that ‘flawed’ embryos will be destroyed.The researchers behind the discovery say that theirs is a “universal method” that will allow parents to test for far more genetic conditions than the few that are detectable at the moment.

But many fear that any method which screens out ‘defective’ embryos could lead to tests for a broader range of characteristics, like intelligence or looks.

Earlier this year a deaf couple sparked controversy by calling for the Bill to allow them to deliberately select a deaf child from embryos created by IVF.Dr Mark Hamilton, chairman of the British Fertility Society, pointed out that this new test will raise ethical questions.

He said: “We can currently test for several hundred conditions, but the claim is that the spectrum of conditions which could be screened for is enormous.

“But obviously, the ethical question is, if you can screen for anything, where do you draw the line?”

Prof Alan Handyside, who developed the test, will have to apply to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) for a licence to use it.

A spokeswoman from the HFEA said its licensing committee would be able to set conditions on what it could be used for.The research has been announced just days after the passing of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill in the House of Commons.

One of the most controversial things the Bill allows is the use of embryo screening techniques to deliberately select an embryo that will be able to provide donor tissue for a sick older brother or sister.

Even advocates of embryo screening like Prof Robert Winston are concerned. In May he said: “My first worry is the psychological risk to the saviour sibling.

“It’s an awful situation when you have to tell a child they were born to save another. We don’t yet know how that will turn out but the psychological damage could be profound.

“I’m also unhappy that saviour siblings could be put under undue pressure to give bone marrow or organs — in short used as a source of spare parts — to help a sick sibling survive.”

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The Telegraph
Tammy and Parker also hang out at their other blog- Praying For Parker- where they are counting down the days to an ostomy bag free life.Spread the Word!del.icio.us Digg StumbleUpon Help     

A Great Day for Up ~ Special Exposure Wednesday

Posted: 28 Oct 2008 11:01 PM CDT

My son, Lee…no crib could hold him.Since he could pull to standing, he has climbed up, down; over, under; in, out; between, around…everything. Everything.

And still does.

Share a photo with us this Special Exposure Wednesday. And please remember to share the comment love at each link you visit.

Melody can be found at 5M4SN every Tuesday; hosting Special Exposure Wednesday; and sharing her love of photography the second and fourth Saturdays each month in her column, Photographing Your Children.

You will also find her at Slurping Life sharing photos and a few words from her special life.Spread the Word!

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