Friday, April 29, 2011

Welcome to The Talk Viewers!

I hope I didn't leave any dirty undies on the floor of my blog!!! Came running over to check. Seems like everything is in its proper place.

I'm so tired today - Mark and I drove to Maplewood NJ (about 90 miles from our home in CT) to Words for a signing. What fun! The store CATERS to families of people on the spectrum. They have a work-shop for adult employment and offer programs. They also have a sensory seating area and you don't get the "Ooh is that poop on your shoe!?" face from the sales staff if your child makes noise. I love WORDS.

We arrived home around midnight. I got up at my usual 6am to prepare the girls' GFCF breakfasts and lunches. I watched the wedding too - I admit it! And I cried. Color me romantic. Who knew? Spent time thinking about my own wedding - Mark and I celebrate our 20th this October. Good golly Miss Molly how did that happen. No - really, HOW DID THAT HAPPEN? Have you read my book? :)

Then I continued my quest to kickbox myself into oblivion. Today was DAY FIVE this week. I'm shooting for 5-6 classes a week. Did I mention my 30th HS reunion is in two weeks? I know - so cliche! I kick box at Hanko Ryu in our town and Shihan is a tough taskmaster, it's really boot camp. On Wednesday he dropped the medicine ball on our stomach as we lay on the floor. Today he timed us on his obstacle course he may have borrowed from Abu Graib and then made us do a sort of push up where it only counted if your chest hit the floor. I call that blatant discrimination of the flat girl, don't you? I feel like screaming, "I DON'T HAVE ANYWHERE TO GO!!!!" every few moments during class.

After class today I got home, showered and crawled into bed. Mark (who works from home) was pleased as punch. Until I looked at him from under the covers, pulled up to my chin thank you, and said, "No really, IT'S A NAP." Poor boy!

The kids are about home from school. Have a great weekend everyone!

Tomorrow is day 6 of kick boxing (I'm addicted to the class and the terrific people who attend, and Shihan is actually a great guy, husband and father - originally from ROMA and his accent makes the commands a bit less painful) and Saturday is the toughest day of all. wish me luck!
Neutrogena Deep Wrinkle Cream Really WORKS!

It does, it does!!! How do I know I look younger after just ONE APPLICATION! I got a giant zit about an hour after opening the damn tube. Jeez oh man - now I have a frown line that looks like the Mariana Trench and a zit. Isn't that lovely?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Monday, April 18, 2011

California Dreaming! Kim Stagliano at TACA in Costa Mesa

Had a great trip to California! Thank you to Connie at VROMAN'S
in Pasadena and Generation Rescue
and toTACA
in Costa Mesa.

I'd thank the manager at the Border's in Costa Mesa but he/she never bothered to greet me or welcome me into their store - which I assume is closing soon enough. The TACA crew more than made up for Border's lack of courtesy with a healthy dose of SOCAL hospitality.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Lives in our Backyard.

Industrious little critter. Survived a horrible winter. Now back running between our yard and the neighbors.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Mark blaxill Mark Blaxill To IACC: "It's Time To Lead"

The IACC is a gov't panel in DC charged with figuring out/solving/funding/researching/leading autism assistance in the USA. To date, they have been relatively useless and some of their members actively FIGHT against what's needed for autism. Like many gov't committees, there's dead weight and people with a personal agenda that is contrary to the greater good, to borrow a phrase. Mark wrote this for an open comment session yesterday. Read it, understand how your tax dollars have failed us all. And that President Obama has been a catastrophe for autism. An utter failure so far.

Time to Lead

My name is Mark Blaxill. I am the father of a 15 year old daughter diagnosed with autism, a Director of SafeMinds and editor-at-large of Age of Autism. I am also a co-author of The Age of Autism: Mercury, Medicine and a Manmade Epidemic. Since our book was published last September I have had the privilege of traveling across the country to meet with dozens of groups and thousands of families affected by autism. I was deeply impressed by the affected individuals, mothers, fathers and family members I met on our tour. Above all else, I was impressed by how so many families have the same story to tell and by how many of us are asking for the same things. We are asking for bold leadership that unfortunately we have not yet seen.

Most directly, in the midst of the greatest childhood epidemic of all of our lives, we are trapped in an historic failure of the scientific process. Thomas Kuhn taught us how communities of “normal scientists” can prevent progress and trap important field of inquiry in scientific orthodoxy. We have seen this pattern play itself out in autism, first in the idea that parents and especially mothers caused autism because they hated, indeed even wanted to murder their children. More recently we have been trapped in the equally failed search for inherited autism genes. In the meantime, we are investing next to nothing in environmental causation. This is a fundamentally irrational approach, yet the orthodox researchers who benefit from this irrationality have defended their territory while they invoke science in the name of their own interests. Not a single dollar spent in the process has prevented a single case of autism. Worse than that, we are spending millions of dollars to promote denial.

In an environment of increasing budget scarcity, this is more than just a scientific failure; it’s an economic one as well. We are wasting taxpayer resources and approaching the governance process with a lack of urgency that seeps into all aspects of autism science. As a near monopsonistic buyer, NIH has a unique power in setting scientific agendas. The IACC should serve the consumers of autism science. Instead you appear to most of us to serve the medical industry, aiding and abetting the fiction that the controversies over autism research pit “parents vs. science.” In reality, that couldn’t be further from the truth. The real controversy is one between critical consumers of autism science and the orthodox producers whose work has failed us. In the debate between the autism community and the medical industry, your responsibility here should be clear.

This is not an abstract problem. Before 1930, the rate of autism was effectively zero. Before 1990, autism in the United States was exceedingly rare, as low as 1 in 10,000. Today, with roughly 1% of children born in the 1990s, it should be breathtakingly clear that autism is manmade. And that makes the autism epidemic not merely a public health crisis but a crisis of public ethics and morality as well. Hundreds of thousands of children, now growing to adulthood, are victims of preventable injury, a form of invisible violence. It is a form of violence that requires witnesses. Yet because of the nature of the injuries involved those witnesses must typically have scientific, medical or technical training. In large part, this witness pool also has career and economic interest in the medical industry, one of the main suspects. Tragically, but perhaps not surprisingly, we are seeing a moral failure of enormous proportions, as potential witnesses are sanctioned, censored and intimidated while the entrenched power of the orthodoxy has successfully sustained its prerogatives. This is not right. More to the point, it is not good. And it is long past time for a change.

More than any other single group of individuals, you members of the IACC are in a position to lead that change. That requires many things of you. It requires you to pay attention. It requires you to think independently and rationally. It requires you to take personal risk. It requires you to challenge close friends and colleagues who are part of the orthodoxy that perpetuates the problem. Above all, it requires moral courage. The only thing it does not require is that you wade through the complex machinations of denial because the problem is simple and staring you in the face. We are staring you in the face. And because autism is what it is, we will be standing in front of you until we are gone, or until you have done the right thing, whichever comes first.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

To Michelle Obama During Autism Action Month

Obama inaug
Dear First Lady:

I wrote this post for HuffPo when your husband became our President. I hope it tells you what it feels like for those of us living with autism every day. Blue lights and awareness are great for K-Mart sales. We need much more to support every American with autism, and with every "version" of autism.

If the First Child Had Autism

As a Mom, one of the highlights of the inauguration was watching the first children, Miss Malia and Miss Sasha Obama, revel in their father's day. They were poised and yet still childlike. Eyes bright. Smiles wide.

Their mother, our elegant new First Lady, was able to fully share the day with her darling daughters. Did you notice the glances and grins they shared? I sure did.

And then I became sad.

As an autism Mom, I thought about how different the day would be if the First Lady had a child with autism. Here's one scenario:

The First Lady is holding her child's hand tightly as they walk toward their seats, her smile tempered by the interference from her autismometer, the scanning system she uses at all times to gauge her child's mood, temperment, ability to manage the input and to anticipate a meltdown. In her other hand she holds a metal ring on which hang dozens of plastic cards with simple pictures and words. It's an odd accessory.

The boy is wearing a pair of bulky, Bose noise canceling headphones to help him tune out the roar of the crowd. His eyes are cast down to the floorboards.

The lines laid out before him capture his attention. He stops. He sits down.

A brief look of panic crosses his mother's face. She erases it. Then gently, lovingly signs, "stand up."

He lies down.

She flips the pictures to the word "stand" and shows it to him.

He covers his eyes.

She starts to perspire despite the cold, turns to her Mom and nods. The older woman responds and reaches into the bag she is carrying. She hands the child a Thomas the Tank engine toy. He accepts it, clutching the toy, waving it in front of his face.

He stands.

His mother's shoulders drop a few inches as they make their way to their seats.

She tries to watch her husband, to admire his handsome face and take note of his momentous day. This is his day. But autism is along for the ride. As always. When the speaker (who was it again?) finishes, her son's voice rings out amid the cacophony of applause, "A clue! A clue! We need our handy dandy notebook!"

She breathes out -- shows her son another small card. "Quiet." He squirms. Her mother hands her a small surgical brush with which she strokes her son's palms.

Her husband is about to take the oath. He looks at her with his, "Are we OK?" expression. She will not add to the gravity of the job he is about to accept. She will not cloud his day. She smiles and winks.

She takes her son's hand and together they stand. Her mother wraps her arms around the boy, applying pressure to his torso.

The President takes his oath. "Elmo Loves You!" cries the boy. The crowd emits a nervous laugh. The President bends to his son, kisses his head. The new First Lady takes her child's hand and fights back tears, praying her face reveals nothing but love and pride.

The First Family waves to the throng of supporters. To the world. The boy waggles his fingers in front of his eyes. His head nods to a song only he can hear. The First Lady kisses her husband, her hands cup his face for a moment.

In that second, the boy bolts up the aisle. There is a large, wet stain on his pants as he scrabbles toward an exit. The day is simply too much for him.

His grandmother is right behind him. Leaving her daughter and son-in-law, now the First Lady and President of the United States.

The next day, the President announces an initiative to study every possible cause of autism from genes to vaccines and to spend millions on treatment.

In four years, he plans to have his son speak at the inauguration for his second term.

All I Can Handle Small Kim Stagliano is Managing Editor of Age of Autism. Her book from Skyhorse Publishing, All I Can Handle I'm No Mother Teresa; A Life Raising Three Daughters with Autism is available now. Visit her website at Kim Stagliano.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Kim Stagliano: More of All I Can Handle. Bus Driver Gets Accelerated Rehab

Ct post photo autumn driscoll
Photo credit: Autumn Driscoll, CT Post newspaper

That's me holding the 84 page petition (with a Bella on top), 1099 signatures and comments from around the world after the court decision. Thank you to everyone who signed. Guzman did receive penalties. She has two years probation, she lost her license to drive any vehicle for two years, must pay a $500 fine to an autism org (I've already recommended a local org to the State's attorney) perform 200 hours of community service and more - I'll need to read the transcript for final results. That said, at the end of the two years, if she meets the terms of her probation, she will have her record expunged and be able to apply for any job she wants. The article below is from The CT Post newspaper. Kim

By Daniel Tepfer
BRIDGEPORT -- Despite the angry objections by nearly a dozen Trumbull parents a state Superior Court judge granted a special probation program for a former Trumbull school bus driver accused of texting while driving a busload of special need children.

Evelyn Guzman, of Henry Avenue in Stratford, will not be allowed to drive for two years and was ordered by Judge Earl Richards to apologize to the parents in the courtroom Friday morning.

But Guzman later backtracked outside the courtroom, blaming the parents for her situation.

Guzman was charged in March with risk of injury to a minor and second-degree reckless endangerment by Trumbull police following a 10-month investigation.

Police said she sent and received a total of 1,068 text messages from April 6, 2010 to May 15, 2010.

The investigation began after an assault complaint was made against Guzman's daughter, 24-year-old Jennifer Davila, who was working as a bus monitor on Guzman's bus.

Davila was arrested in August for allegedly assaulting a 9-year-old autistic girl multiple times while the girl was riding on the bus. Davila's case is still pending, and she's scheduled to appear in court April 1. She was arrested in August for allegedly assaulting a 9-year-old autistic girl multiple times while she was on the bus....

Read the full story at CT Post.

My statement to the court:

Good morning, Your Honor. And thank you for this opportunity. My name is Kim Stagliano. My husband Mark and I have three daughters with autism. Our youngest Isabella rode Evelyn Guzman’s elementary school special education bus. Last week, Ms. Guzman’s daughter Jennifer Davila pleaded guilty under the Alford Doctrine to second-degree reckless endangerment after having been arrested for assaulting Bella numerous times on the school bus. It was the video tape review for that case that lead Detective Kevin Hammel to discover Ms. Guzman’s continuous texting and lack of attention to the road. For our Bella, that bus was a rolling torture chamber.

Distracted driving is a national emergency. As a judge, you have before you today an opportunity to send a clear message to CT and the country, that drivers, especially paid commercial drivers, will face the stiffest penalties for endangering everyone on the road.

I have here a petition that I started last Friday. There are 1099 signatures from concerned people around the world asking you to please deny Evelyn Guzman the privilege of accelerated rehabilitation.

Every day she chose to text while driving, she could have killed the children on the bus. She could have killed her own daughter and her grandchildren, who rode her bus as a makeshift daycare center. She showed no regard for fellow drivers or even the unsuspecting person standing at their mailbox or taking a baby for walk.

According to the Trumbull schools transportation department, Guzman’s Verizon records showed 27 minutes of texting during a single 28 minute bus route. This may be her first arrest, but it’s hardly a first time offense, as the bus videotapes show over and over. This case has been featured in the national TV, Internet and print news. I hope to be able to tell the millions of people watching this case that she will stand and face her charges without benefit of accelerated rehabilitation.

April is Autism Awareness month, I can’t think of a better way to voice our support, than to protect the children, like my Bella, who can not speak for or protect themselves.

Thank you.

All I Can Handle Small Kim Stagliano is Managing Editor of Age of Autism. Her book from Skyhorse Publishing, All I Can Handle I'm No Mother Teresa; A Life Raising Three Daughters with Autism is available now. Visit her website at Kim Stagliano.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Tell CT Judge No Rehab Release for Evelyn Guzman: 1000+ Texts While Driving School Bus! I created a PETITION (CLICK HERE TO SIGN) so that I can hand deliver your message to the judge next week. Guzman should not walk away without a record. Thank you. Here's the petition wording. Evelyn GuzmanI'm Kim Stagliano. Last May my daughter then 9 year old Bella was assaulted on her school bus by the bus monitor. Bella has autism and does not speak. The monitor plead guilty to her charges today, 4/1. Her MOTHER Evelyn Guzman (in photo) was the bus driver - and during review of video tape from the bus, was caught TEXTING while driving the special ed bus - over 1000 texts in 4 weeks. See story here: Guzman is appealing to Bridgeport Court for ac "accelerated rehab" program that will clear her record in just two years. I do not want her to walk away FREE. We need to tell the judge NO - our children deserve safety. YOU deserve safety as you drive or simply get your mail from your mail box. Please sign the PETITION, which Mark and I will share with the judge on 4/8. You can reach me at KimStagliano@gmail. Please share with friends and family. Thank you. Bella's Mom.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Autism Action Month Events For Kim Stagliano

April is Autism ACTION Month (not a big fan of mere "awareness, see my snarky post below) and I have plenty planned. Starting with April 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30 in which I will love and care for Mark's and my girls. Since that's not really busy enough I've added a few events where I can meet YOU and neither of us has to cook, clean or grocery shop What a wish!.

4/15/2011 7:00 pm
Vroman's Bookstore Pasadena, CA

4/16/11 6:30pm
Border's Costa Mesa

4/27/11 7:30pm
SKYPE chat with TACA Indianapolis

5/6/11 7:00pm
TACA Philadelphia Chapter

4/28/11 7:30pm
Words Maplewood, NJ
Welcome Parade Magazine Readers.

If you or a family member or friend are facing the challenges of autism, I invite you to join my family - we aren't quite Gomez and Morticia Addams, but sometimes it feels that way! Purchase the book HERE today and I promise you'll laugh tomorrow! From my website:

"Incredibly funny. . . A bird's–eye view into what it's really like
to love and raise kids with autism."
—Jenny McCarthy, from her foreword

ALL I CAN HANDLE: I'm No Mother Teresa
(A Life Raising Three Daughters with Autism)

By Kim Stagliano
ISBN-13: 9781616080693
ISBN: 1616080698
Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing
Release date: November 01, 2010

How one woman raises three autistic daughters, loses one at Disneyworld, stays married, Has sex, bakes gluten-free, goes broke, and keeps her sense of humor.

"Dr. Spock? Check. Penelope Ann Leach (Remember her?)? Check. What to Expect When You're Expecting? Check. I had a seven-hundred–dollar Bellini crib for God's sake!" So begins Kim Stagliano's electrifying, hilarious tale of her family's journey raising three daughters with autism. With her funny, startling, and illuminating first book, Stagliano joins the ranks of bestselling memoirists like David Sedaris and Augusten Burroughs. With her willingness to lay everything on the table—family, friends, and enemies to basement floods to birth days to (possible) heroin addictions—she eviscerates and celebrates the absurd.

Whether she's going commando to rescue a daughter from a potentially embarrassing situation or accidentally stealing electric fans, she and her family are seemingly always on the edge of a Stagtastrophe. From her love of Howard Stern to her increasing activism in the autism community and exhaustive search for treatments that will help her daughters, she explores her life with vigor and humor. Always outspoken, often touching, and sometimes heart breaking, Kim Stagliano is a powerful new voice in comedic writing—her "Kimoir" (as she calls it) will be a must-read for everyone within the autism community. More than that, it's the debut of a new voice that will entertain everyone who reads it.


Kim Stagliano Shares Reviews for All I Can Handle I'm No Mother Teresa

I've been meaning to share some of the incredibly kind things people are saying about my book. And as a show of how honest and upstanding I can be (except when I'm stealing from the Stop & Shop or stripping off my undies in public, for those of you who've read the book) I'll even share some not so good reviews. I will not reprint the review of the person who seemed to think I should have stopped having children some time ago.... Really, hand the Lubriderm for the thick skin required for that one!

"I don't feel so alone." That's my take away from the reviews. And that's exactly what I'd hoped my book would do for fellow families in the autism world. And from people outside our community I'm hearing, "I just didn't know that life with a child on the spectrum was so demanding." Again, that makes me smile big time. Mission accomplished x two!

5.0 out of 5 stars
Loved This Book!, October 28, 2010
This book is a must-read, whether or not autism directly impacts your life on a daily basis. I should rephrase that, because while I do not have a child with autism, by the time I was a quarter of the way through Kim's book, I realized that autism impacts all our lives on a daily basis, it's just not necessarily on our radar if we're not in the trenches with it every day. Kim is never didactic -- her voice is honest, off-the-cuff, and hysterically funny -- but she lays out points that shock you with their simple truth. I finished the book not only feeling like I'd made a new friend, but also awed by how much there is to be done -- and how much CAN be done -- both to better protect kids from autism, and to help those who are already affected. I will read this book over and over again, and would recommend it to absolutely anyone.
I am the mom of a child on the autism spectrum and it is a challenge to say the least - humor goes a long way towards lightening the load. This book had me laughing out loud many times (and tearing up once or twice). The author related many experiences similar to mine - I felt like I had company on this journey - a friend to laugh with when the going gets tough. I finished the book in two sittings - could not put it down. It was a great read!

5.0 out of 5 stars Superbly done!!!, October 22, 2010
A well written account of what it is like to raise children with autism and come through life's trevails with success and happiness. This book covers it all and is wonderfully written in short chapters which were easy to read. From one Warrior Mom to another - Great work Kim! Well done!!!

1.0 out of 5 stars Not just about autism, March 20, 2011
Was an enjoyable identifiable read until the author began to focus on Obama, Gay Marriage and Catholic faith. She speaks frequently of being Catholic followed by evidence she fails to abide by the Faith. A poor representative of Catholicism in a book that's guised to be about autism recovery.

5.0 out of 5 stars She's the Real Deal, October 21, 2010
I finished this book in a day. I wish it was longer! Kim Stagliano writes about her own life yet it runs parrallel to mine and so many other warrior moms. She shows that through the tough times (and she's had many), you can survive and thrive. She gives great information about autism that is easy to digest. There is no rereading the page to figure out what she is saying. It's plain and simple and truthful. I would suggest this book to families with autism and those without (are there really any without these days?). It was a pleasure to turn each page and share a laugh and even a few tears. I hope this is just one of many books to come from Kim Stag.

2 out of 5 stars Just another book about autism

...For some reason I have a feeling that writing this book was Kim's last shot to get back to her wealthy life style. And I hope she will be able to get enough profits from book sells to secure her daughters future and leave life she leaved once.

Kim's Note: (Clearly that reviewer is unaware of the economics of writing in 2011!)

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Lighten Up Pink for Autism with Kim Stagliano I'm aware. I get it. I have the 3 girls with autism. I am bludgeoned about the head, shoulders and heart every day. Awareness - it's only a word. It's passive. If I am aware that you are hungry and I don't ask if you have any food, then find you food and help you to eat, what the hell good does it do for anyone to say, "Oh, that Mary Pat is STARVING over there on Main Street and I feel uber-special helpful since I know it." Of course most people aren't so callous about awareness - and there's a ton of great work being done not only this month, but day in and day out. Teachers, therapists, researchers with a death wish (snark alert) parents, friends, family - it's wonderful to see the outpouring of support and thought about autism. However, I'm tired, just came off a week of 3 kids with strep and have a head cold. So I'm feeling very snarky. A month of "light it up blue?" I guess it's like Coke red. Fine. If you have the budget, you can brand anything you want. Hell, why not come up with a jingle too? Let's see.... Try singing this? "Autism was 1 in 10000 not long ago millions spent on genetics and the numbers oh they just groooooowwwww!" (That sounds best when sung out of tune sort of to the old "A sprinkle a day" Shower to Shower powder jingle, by the way.) A month of puzzle shaped bright blue cupcake toppers? I saw those online and got so annoyed it was if I'd eaten a vat of blue die. Instant behavior problems. Whoop-dee-gluten-filled doo. Puzzles are a child's toy for God's sake not the mark of a national and growing worldwide epidemic. Let's see, colon cancer. Intestines. Maybe they get a slinky as their "logo." I told you I was snarky. I'm tired of symbols and awareness and acceptance as "enough" for us all. I want action. I want to protect kids from death by wandering. I want adults n the spectrum to find meaningful work. I want kids with Asperger's not to be bullied into suicide or rage. I want more things than Veruca Salt could ever have demanded on her very best day. And while I know in my head that there's a lot of great progress taking place - it's never fast enough for my heart when I'm in the thick of the chaos. I went to a wedding today. Bella's Godmother married the love of her life - she's my age, which ain't young. We were high school roommates and college best friends and she was in my wedding. My naive, never been whacked with the bad things happen brush wedding. I was part of her family for many years. And seeing them all today - her elderly parents whose eyes still shone with love when they saw me; her older brother who dated my big sister in high school and his wife and adults kids; the nieces and nephews - scads of them in a large Boston Irish family - it made me incredibly happy to be reunited with them all. And incredibly sad that in World Autism Day (fly a flag! spin something!) I had 6 hours of time away, via the courtesy of my wonderful Mom and Dad who watched the kids. Six hours that should have a been an overnight in Boston with my husband while our 16, 14 and 10 year old had a blast with Grandma and Grandpa out to dinner and maybe a movie or bowling. Instead, my mother has bruises up and down her arms from our child who seems to have a large share of crab DNA. We raced off the boat, oh yes, the wedding was on a beautiful boat in Boston Harbor, and sped home. I'm aware. And now it's time to ACT. I'm lighting it up PINK PINK PINK this month. And I'll be active here at my blog and around town - starting in LA on the 15th at Vroman's in Pasadena, I'll post a schedule ASAP.