Archive for June, 2015

ASAN: Autistic Self Advocacy Network; Therapeutic Intervention?

Matt Tremblay (story below)

Their website proclaims “Nothing About Us Without Us.” The first page is about advocacy, empowerment, and connection. To access: 


There are also success stories, which show initiatives in on the state and national level which benefit persons with autism. Such as this one: Ohio State Center Gets Health Access to Autistic Adults

There are many who are autistic who see it as just another way of perceiving the world, rather than a disability. But the neuro-typical (not autistic) parents of infants and children with autism almost unanimously seek for therapies for their children which will enable them to function in the predominantly neuro-typical world. And in some cases, the children have been able to re-pattern their ways of perceiving and relating and become neuro-typical.

A New York Times Magazine story explores this phenomenon. It would appear that some children outgrow autism on their own, some re-pattern themselves with the aid of intensive therapy, and other remain autistic despite intensive therapy: The Kids Who Beat Autism 

Picture and Matt Tremblay’s story: Families and Autism, Jan. 19, 2015 


the 2 keys to children’s social development:

Faithful Fathers and Parents who love each other

(according to Dr. John Boojamra of blessed memory in his book Foundations for Orthodox Christian Education {see review at the bottom of the post})

This foundational reality is also applicable to families with members with disability. It is crucial for their socialization into the Church , the Body of Christ, and for witness to the community at large. To access:

socialization: becoming Living Stones « Arms Open Wide

Some Resources in regard to these two Keys

1. Fathers are Crucial, with some additional online resources listed:

2. Some Marriage resources listed on posts of this site:

Understanding Brokenness in Marriage, by the Rev. Fr. George Morelli:

And Fr. George’s entire 13 part Smart Marriage series as well:

The Orthodox Church in America’s Resource Handbook’s Family Life Webpage:


Autism and the Church

bright lights & rock bands – not for persons with autism

Autism and the Church This is a sad report by a pastor’s wife who has a son with autism; she speaks of ostracism, bright lights, and rock bands. Lord willing, not all churches are this way but apparently enough churches are like this for her to bemoan the situation. On a positive note, she has a lot of good suggestions for welcoming and helping families with children who have severe disabilities.

When Church Hurts This written by another mother of a child with autism about the Church and the sensory issues that are barriers for people with autism. She seems to be writing about churches with loud bands and strobe lights, which, thank God, Orthodox Churches don’t have. But she also writes about her son’s difficulties in Sunday School:

. . . even louder kids, confusing social situations, worse smells, a teacher that keeps asking him to read aloud, answer questions, engage in crafts. He can hear the other kid’s pencils and crayons as they move across the worksheet – the sound of a writing instrument on paper is more searing than the loudest noise all morning. It’s like a drilling noise, in his ear, constant and overwhelming.

I have read writings by an Orthodox Christian with autism that extol the multi-sensory nature of Orthodox Christian worship. But from observations in my own Parish and from these posts by mothers of children with autism, I’m wondering if this holds true across the spectrum. We would not want to alter our Apostolic Tradition in order to accommodate each and every person’s preferences or sensory orientation, but we can look at our local traditions and adjust them toward the salvation of each, including children and adults with more severe autism. We have been called by our Lord Jesus to go the extra mile.

Having an abortion has an effect on a woman’s mental health


Lilliana’s first birthday

The ability of parents to learn of defects in their unborn children through modern technology has greatly accelerated the rate at which these children with disabilities have had their lives end before they began by abortion. In addition, the mothers who have their children aborted, according to a number of studies, are also at increased risk of the mental health disabilities. published online an article detailing a study which connects having an abortion with later mental health problems for the woman involved: New Study Shows Direct Link Between Abortion and Mental Health Problems To access:

see also

The Canadian Medical Association Journal has published a number of responses to earlier studies by this research group. Here are two; one against the credibility of the research, and one which not only supports it, but also lists other studies which also give evidence of this connection.

Here is the response by Dr. Brenda Major challenging the research behind these claims:

And here is the response to Dr. Major, supporting the claims, by Annie D. Banno:


From an Orthodox Christian perspective, the spiritual (mental, emotional, physical) damage incurred by having an abortion is strongly attested from very early in the Holy Apostolic Tradition.

see )

See also this imperative issued on the Self-ruled Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America‘s website in regard to the Freedom of Choice Act:

Bored Panda: 5-Year-Old With Autism Paints Stunning Masterpieces

To access: 5-Year-Old With Autism Paints Stunning Masterpieces

Iris Grace describes them as “yummy.” She names them “A-Wear-Wa.” Iris is certainly aware, more than most of us. Perhaps, though, descriptions and names are really beside the point. Aside from the painting illustrated here, the following sites bring forth more of her paintings. Drink them in.

Painting from

Her story, via You Tube Video (6:46):

IOCC in Montenegro

Rebecca Raney was a 2007 summer intern for the International Orthodox Christian Charities. Among other things, she

was a contributing member of the focus groups which drafted the first ever National Strategy for persons living with disabilities. The Strategy will likely be adopted into law next year. This is a crucial step for those living with disabilities to be able to protect and defend their rights and to develop including opening up access to public offices, education and employment opportunities. This initiative will also help Montenegro in its bid to join the European Union.

For the rest of the story on this summer internship, which she wrote, see

For more on IOCC’s efforts  in Montenegro for people with disabilities, click on International Orthodox Christian Charities

 And for more from Rebecca Raney (a heavy-duty reflection on “poverty, international development, justice, social activism, and the church’s role in making the whole gospel known in the world”) , click on: Paradise, Texas – The Acton Institute


Voices from Russia: Summer Camp for Families with Handicapped Kids in Sevastopol

To access: Voices from Russia: Summer Camp for Families with Handicapped Kids in Sevastopol 

Every summer, the podvorie of the Marfo-Mariinskaya Convent in Sevastopol holds a camp for children with disabilities… families with disabled kids come here on holiday. The usual stay is two weeks, and all visitors have assistance from volunteers from “Miloserdie”. Such visits provide an opportunity for handicapped children to have new experiences, find friends, and to go to sea for the first time. For their parents, it’s often the only opportunity they have to relax and get away from everyday hassles.


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