Dad’s search for a little blue cup for his Autism son-term life

Ben Carter and blue cup

Marc Carter, 42, from Devon, appealed on Twitter for people to search for a specific Tommee Tippee cup for Ben.

The 13-year-old has severe autism and will only drink out of the two-handle cup which is no longer manufactured.

The appeal prompted offers of help from as far away as Australia from people promising to send Ben their old cups.

Tommee Tippee also said it had a dedicated team looking for the cup in its archive of product samples.

Marc launched a Twitter appeal on Monday under the name @GrumpyCarer in which he said his son had used the specific Tommee Tippee cup since the age of two and would not drink from anything else.

Marc Carter

He wrote: “Ben hasn’t drunk at school since the age of 5, he doesn’t drink outside the house so we can’t go anywhere.

“People say he will drink when he’s thirsty but two emergency trips to A&E with severe dehydration say otherwise.”

Marc told the BBC his son has had his current blue cup for three years, but it is now falling apart and may only last a few more weeks.

He said: “The cup keeps him alive. If we lost the cup and couldn’t find another Ben would die. He would be put on fluids in hospital but he would yank out the tubes.

“This tiny blue cup dictates our life.”

Image of tweet from @timsenior

Katie Roden tweeted a photo of the cup she owns, adding: “I have one – here it is! DM me your address and I will send it tomorrow.”

Roslyn Barnett wrote: “I have that exact one my daughter had from being a baby!! Still have it and i can send it to you x”.

Others responded with the suggestion that the cup could be made using a 3D printer if he was able to provide one to be copied.

Marc, who lives near Great Torrington, north Devon, said he had been overwhelmed with the response which saw one of his appeals retweeted 12,000 times.

He said one 16-year-old had used the particular cup as a child and had never wanted to throw it away – but offered to donate it to Ben after seeing the appeal.

Ben Carter

The dad-of-three, whose two other children also have special needs, told the BBC: “I cried. It’s been incredible. I didn’t expect it.

“I’ve had people tweeting to say good luck and people looking in their cupboards for the cups. They don’t know me – it’s been amazing and moving.

“I feel humble. It’s a lovely thing. I’m asking for a little blue cup and that is what is touching people.

“I’ve said I’d pay for the postage but people don’t want it.

“Ben might need this cup for the rest of his life so it will be great to have stock. It would be life-changing.”

Full-time carer Marc said he now had around seven replacements being sent to him and hoped to stock up on even more.

Tommee Tippee said it was touched by Ben’s story and staff were doing everything they could to find a cup for Ben.

Sarah Scott, global head of consumer experience, added: “The cup he previously had was a Tommee Tippee cup that we made for Boots in the late 1990s and our team is currently looking through all our archive product samples to see if we have one that’s just right for Ben.”




There are tons of carby, yet delicious snickerdoodle cookie recipes out there. So your left with slim to non when it comes to healthy, low carb, or even gluten free snickerdoodle cookie options.

What if I told you I bake and tested a scrumptious low carb, snickerdoodle cookie recipe? You’d be pretty excited. I know I was!

Low Carb Snickerdoodle Cookies - Simple but super yummy cinnamon cookies.

Snickerdoodles have been one of my favorite cookie recipes, in the entire world, and beyond. These little gooey snickerdoodles are perfect for any dessert inspired foodie and health craving low carber.

They are easy, delicious, and full of cinnamon. These little cookies are perfectly coated in sweetened cinnamon layer of granular goodness.

This delicious snickerdoodle recipe took me less than 30 minutes to finish and yes thats including baking time! Talk about done in a jiffy.

Low Carb Snickerdoodle Cookie Recipe - Healthy and dense snicker doodle cookies.


  • If you loved these snickerdoodle cookies, I bet you’ll love my Snickerdoodle Cake.


  • Sweetener – Swerve Sweetener
  • Cream Tartar – McCormick Cream of Tartar
  • Baking Pan – Simply Calphalon Nonstick Bakeware Pan

Author: Andres Regalado
Recipe type: Dessert
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 2½ cups almond flour
  • 1½ cups sweetener
  • 1 teaspoon cream tartar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 pinch salt
    • 3 tablespoons sweetener
    • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Mix butter, sweetener for cookies and eggs in a large bowl. Combine remaining ingredients. Blend until dough like texture.
  2. Chill dough for 15 minutes in the fridge.
  3. Mix coating ingredients in small bowl. Shape chilled dough into rounded spoonfuls and roll into coating mixture.
  4. Bake 10 minutes or until set. Let cool on cooling rack.
Serving size: 1 cookie (Total recipe makes 24 servings)
Protein 3.00g, Cals 141, Carbs 2.66g, Fiber 1.25g — NET CARBS: 1.41g

seventeen Words My Autism Son Can Say…..

his is a post by Kimberlee Rutan McCafferty, mother to two sons on the autism spectrum and an Autism Family Partner at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). Kim is also the author of a blog about her two children with autism, 

Image result for autism son

“Come here Justin,” I say quietly. And as always, my towel-clad boy obeys, happily sliding into my lap for his post-bath cuddle.  We have a routine for our bed-time ritual that we adhere to religiously, and I can tell my son enjoys the familiarity, smiling at each step in our path to bed.  Tonight however I’ve decided to deviate just slightly from our norm, as I want to try something different within our usual arsenal of me saying the coveted nineteen words he’s so recently acquired, then waiting eagerly for his response.

Tonight I simply hold up the word list, and wait.

He looks at my mouth curiously, waiting for those hard-won words to spill forth, but for once I just point at the list. Justin regards my outstretched finger for a good thirty seconds, then I swear I see a slight grin slide across his face as I listen in amazement.








Ten years ago we were told if he didn’t speak by the age of seven he probably never would.

We heard his first coherent utterances at ten.

He takes a deep breath and shifts slightly on my lap, then forges on.







Ten years ago we were told there was a good chance he’d never read.

We watched him master his first sight words at three.

Justin seems to gear himself up for his finale, not the slightest bit daunted by the fact he’s facing new words he’s just learned this week.

“Bed” (a favorite)






I can feel his focus shift as his eyes slide away from the paper I’m clutching. As I balance my boy I sense the display of his newfound skill is over, and I see him eyeing his toothbrush as he scoots off my lap.  It’s a momentous moment this, one I want to savor as I think of all the “can’ts” and “nevers” I was told or read about a decade ago, many that sent me hurtling toward despair.  Justin may never have conversational language, may never even use a technological device to solicit more than his basic wants and needs.

But no matter what, he has this.  He can read to his mama out loud.

And I have a reminder to always push him to be his best self.


Woman enjoying a Ayurveda oil massage treatment in a spa

5 Ways Ayurveda Helped Me Regain My Life From Ankylosing Spondylitis

Ankylosing Spondylitis

Ankylosing Spondylitis and other autoimmune diseases can be healed through alternative practices

Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS),  an autoinflammatory condition of the spine that greatly restricts movement resulting in spinal fusion, crept up on me in high school. When I was 19, a rheumatologist confirmed the diagnosis. AS is a lifelong, incurable illness. My father had a bad case (his spine stopped moving completely by age 36) and he passed it down to me.

The progression of AS was fast and very scary. Pain radiated through my whole back, ribcage, collarbone, shoulders, and hips. My neck mobility rapidly decreased. I was often hit with a stabbing sensation in my rib cage that seemed to last ages. It was frequently so intense I couldn’t take a deep breath. I was never present in conversation, always half in the world and half in the pain. It consumed me. I became angry, depressed, anxious, and hopeless. This, however, is not an story about being sick. It’s about getting better. Much better.

Incurable = A Life Sentence

When I was first diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis, I didn’t think much of it. I couldn’t touch my toes and my neck hurt frequently, but other than that, it didn’t affect the way I lived my life. As the years went by, however, each day became more of a battle. I steadily had less energy, could move less, and hurt more. I often couldn’t reach my feet to put shoes on or sleep for more than a half hour at a time. I learned to pick things up off the floor with my toes. The pain in my body increased at an exponential rate, and I got scared. So, I went to a doctor in search of help. An x-ray showed fusion in my sacro-illiac joints and narrowing vertebral spaces, confirming the disease process I suspected. It was in this moment, seeing an X-ray in the doctor’s office at age 23, that the doctor’s words hit me with reality — “there is no cure for AS.”

My rheumatologist offered the typical regime — painkillers and immunosuppressant drugs. I’d already been on Vioxx, the NSAID pulled from the market for causing heart attacks and strokes, and was too shaken by the controversy to try anything else. The doctor told me I would be very foolish not to follow his recommendations. AS complications include blindness, heart problems, and compression fractures. However, I was in such a weakened state that I knew I couldn’t sacrifice my immune system to Humira or Enbrel. I walked out the door overwhelmed, terrified, and angry.

Rejecting The “Incurable” Mindset

“No cure = no way out” is a common message to autoimmune and autoinflammatory patients. We’re told, “If you’re lucky, it goes into remission.” Even with the best of outcomes, you live with the daily fear of relapse. That fear puts stress on the system, which makes it harder to get better. So, I removed the word “incurable” from my vocabulary and began speaking in present tense about my illness, referring to temporary symptoms, not a lifelong disease. Instead of “I am sick,” I would say “I feel sick today.” The language change slowly became more and more true to me. It gave me back hope, and that gave me motivation. As someone who lives a comfortable life, no longer limited by Ankylosing Spondylitis, I wish to share that, this shift in consciousness was the most powerful choice I made in my recovery.

Ayurveda And Disease

In this new and not-yet-infallible frame of mind, I began to research different systems of medicine. In Ayurveda, the traditional medicine of India, the way each disease is defined tells you immediately what you need to do to calm it down. Not that it’s simple, or easy, but that it’s possible. There is no claim that you can change your genes and remove all chances of experiencing AS pain again (this is the conventional definition of “cure”). But, you can remove the cause, reducing symptoms little by little until you feel better. A lot better.

Ayurveda defines AS as tejas burning ojas at the cellular level of the bone tissue and nervous system. Calming tejas requires the reduction of inflammation at a cellular level, and nourishing ojas means restoring cellular intelligence and soothing the nervous system. This Ayurvedic understanding of pathogenesis (progression of disease) became a huge, bold signpost that beckoned to me, “This way out!”

This concept replaced my former definition of the word “cure.” I stopped searching for a miracle drug or treatment to change my genes and un-fuse my joints. Instead I did everything I could to calm inflammation and nourish my system. This process has involved many different methods over the years, and my progress has been slow but steady. When considering the previous lifetime sentence, the slow road didn’t seem so bad. I ruled out nothing and began to seek help from all different sources.

Pancha Karma: Rebooting Cellular Intelligence

Pancha karma is an Ayurvedic detoxification process that revives your cellular intelligence. Autoinflammatory disorders all have one thing in common: our immune system recognizes our own cells as pathogens and treats them as such. In other words, the immune system functions as though it has lost its intelligence. Pancha karma includes a combination of a controlled diet, massage, sweating, and purgation to remove toxicity that blocks cellular intelligence. It is an extremely different way of viewing treatment and disease than Western medicine. However esoteric, this ancient protocol is what changed the trajectory of my disease.In 2007, I went to Albuquerque, New Mexico to stay at the Ayurvedic Institute’s clinic. Under the guidance of Dr. Lad, the staff at the Institute offers clients gentle, loving care. In stark to a cold doctor’s office, the Institute creates a quiet environment of comfort and compassion. Each day, I received an hour long four-hands Abyhanga massage, and then I was helped into the steam box. Sweating helps the body purge toxins that have begun to move from my joints into circulation. After sweating is shirodhara. For about 20 minutes, warm oil was poured over my forehead. I had heard rave reviews about the meditative state you can experience in Shirodhara. For me, it actually caused intense panic and agitation for the first three days of treatment. My nervous system was fried from living with such a high level of pain. Once I laid down for shirodhara on the fourth day, agitation gave way into that wonderful “bottom of the ocean” feeling of a deep, effortless meditation.

Gentle yoga classes were offered every day. I tried to go, but mostly just slept between treatments. Pancha karma clients are invited to attend Dr. Lad’s evening classes. It was there that I realized Ayurveda was not only a healing science, but a way of life. It inspired me not only to change my habits, but study. The entire week-long treatment changed the course of my life. One year later, I moved to Albuquerque to become a full time student at the Institute.

Nothing I tried had helped before I did pancha karma. The treatment jumpstarted my system, and many therapeutics I’d tried before with no luck began to help. Below is a detailed list of helpful holistic treatments.

Supportive Therapeutics

Below is a compilation of therapeutics that began to help after practicing pancha karma, which continue to give me relief. What I have noticed is that all successful treatment options have followed the principle of calming the reactivity of tejas (inflammation) and nourishment. The time I spent in each modality varies. For some, like watsu, I only received one treatment. Watsu is expensive and hard to find, but it was extremely valuable. With others, like craniosacral therapy, I was very consistent.

  1. Detoxification
  • Pancha Karma. I have received this treatment twice in a clinic setting at theAyurvedic Institute. I do an abbreviated version at home once a year.
  1. Food Guidelines

I follow an Ayurvedic diet that is nourishing, easy to digest, and soothing. I also incorporate many of the principles from the Autoimmune Protocol.

  • Avoid nightshades (tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, peppers).
  • Avoid inflammatory sugar, gluten, and low quality dairy. Whole organic cow’s and goat’s milk products are fine for many.
  • Favor easy to digest soups, broths, and simple rice and vegetable dishes.
  • Favor cooked foods over raw.
  • Eat at regular meal times.
  1. Soothing Oils and Balms: Ayurveda is a big proponent of topical healing oils.
  • Maharanayan Oil (an analgesic Ayurvedic herbal oil) is a traditional Ayurvedic oil infused with over fifty herbs that soothes arthritic pain. Massage Maharanayan Oil into any painful area like your back, neck, or hips. It works best with consistent use. A word of caution: this oil is a deep red color that WILL stain your clothes and sheets. Make sure to wear pajamas you don’t mind sacrificing, and lay a towel over your pillow if neck pain is involved.
  • Olive oil infused with St. John’s Wort, Lavender, and Chamomile. This blend of Western herbs is excellent to rub into your skin to improve mobility and reduce inflammation. St. John’s Wort’s effect on mood helps lift the morning gloom of waking up to pain.
  • Abyhanga with plain sesame oil is also great for the skin. Abyhanga is the cornerstone of Ayurveda’s morning routine. It soothes pain, stiffness, and the emotional edge created by chronic pain. It’s also gently detoxifying. Incorporate Maharanayan oil for extra painful areas.
  1.  Gentle Bodywork
  • Craniosacral therapy
  • Polarity therapy
  • Japanese style Acupuncture
  • Feldenkrais or Alexander Technique
  • Watsu. Gentle, flowing bodywork style that takes place in a body temperature pool.
  • Restorative yoga.
  • Deep, slow breathing.
  1. Herbs & Supplements
  • Ayurvedic Herbs: Turmeric, Ginger, Ashwagandha, Kamadudah, Gotu Kola, Tulsi, Dashamula
  • B Stress Complex
  • Devil’s Claw, White Willow Bark
  • Omega 3 Fatty Acids
  • Aloe Vera Juice
  • Lemon Balm, St. John’s Wort
  • Magnesium Glycinate
  • CBD Oil or Honey helps with sleep, pain, and anxiety. The honey is especially nice stirred into a cup of calming passionflower tea before bed. Healing happens during sleep. So, if you are constantly waking due to pain, health remains very far out of reach. A small amount in the daytime can also help with pain and anxiety.

The best assessment method for the effectiveness of a treatment is this: whatever helps you feel better is valid, important, and beneficial. Each and every move in the direction of healing is an important piece of your unique, fresh, evolving definition of “cure.”

Now, my toes are easily within reach, and I can sleep through the night. I work on my feet, four days a week, without struggle. There are few visible signs of AS left. For instance, when someone is sitting next to me at a restaurant, I can’t turn my head completely to see them. It’s an easy fix though — I just sit across from my companion. Occasional mild flare-ups still happen under times of intense stress, but I know how to handle them.

There are some things I’d come to think would never be possible in my life, such as rock climbing. I’ll never forget the first time I finished a 85-foot climb. Muscles shaking, I reached for the anchor at the top. The New Mexican desert expanded out  to the horizon for what seemed like a million miles. Tears filled my eyes, realizing how very far I’d come. When there’s nothing to lose, so the slow road is worth a try. For me, it has been worth everything.



it just feels like common sense now;Auditory processing disorders

What does Mrs. Jones mean we will be bent tomorrow?” I thought to myself.

“I don’t get it?” I asked my friend.

“We are presenting tomorrow?” she responded, laughing as she walked away after the bell.

“Oh, wow” I thought, shaking my head.

Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) can be confusing to understand. The best way to explain it is this: our five senses are touching, smelling, hearing, seeing, and tasting. All of my five senses work just fine. APD does have the “auditory” in it, which has to do with hearing. The processing part is my brain. My brain and ears don’t work well together, and my brain doesn’t process all the gazillion things I hear correctly. It’s like if someone is half sleeping. They can hear fine, but their brain isn’t fully on. That’s what I deal with on a daily basis, but use strategies to be successful and get around this day to day battle.



It was several years before I was accurately diagnosed with APD. I was adopted so my biological history isn’t available. In fourth grade I took ADD medication and attended speech therapy classes. In sixth grade I had an Individual Education Program, but I didn’t understand why. It wasn’t until seventh grade that I was accurately diagnosed with APD.


It took me practice asking for assistance, and now I can proudly announce that self-advocating is a huge achievement and tool. I now understand why advocating leads to success in life. All it took was a little push from a middle school teacher. At conferences my sophomore math teacher said to my mom, “Your daughter’s questions are helpful because I know she is asking questions the class isn’t.” We never thought this would come from a teacher’s mouth. I confidently can raise my hand and ask for help. I utilize the opportunity to go in for extra help or clarification. Teachers love talking about their subjects so much that they tend to speak too fast, so I try to repeat what they say to let them know what I processed. Other times, I flat out tell them that “I am still confused”.

I must consistently remind my teachers of the accommodations they have to provide for me under my 504 plan. “Please use your microphone,” “May I have a copy of the notes, please?” “I really need to sit in the front row,” “Remember, I take my tests in an isolated setting?” At first, I was timid about reminding teachers. I felt like I was nagging my teachers, but eventually, I realized how relieved and excited they were when I approached them. Teachers have numerous things to do for their 100 plus students, and frankly, I will never be their number one priority. Once I do give them a friendly nudge, however, I am able to achieve greater academic success.

Another way that I have helped myself and others is by writing and sharing. One of my best friends who blogs, encouraged me to blog about my learning disability. I always knew I was an above average writer, and loved the idea of blogging about APD so I gave in and started blogging. I did not expect to get so many hits. Not only do I get people throughout America who stumble upon my blog, but I have people from all over the world who follow it. and many parents believe I am an APD warrior because I inspire and help them. I get responses saying, “You are such an inspiration!”. These comments give me a warm feeling because I am doing what I love — helping people. I should thank my readers because they are truly my inspiration. My readers made me realize by helping people understand the way I am wired helps me understand how wonderful I am despite my learning difficulty.

Kids worldwide are intrigued by my blog when their parents tell them about it. They often say that they want to be like me. One parent told me that his daughter printed out a blog of mine and would hold onto it and read it before bed. I am a role model for the kids, and parents as well. Parents who don’t know about disabilities usually have many worries of how awful and difficult it will be for their child. I am able show them the ropes and it is not so bad. There are tools to use to navigate around the difficult things.

My knowledge of the feelings a learning disability can give will go to Susquehanna University with me where I plan to major in Child Life. When I am older, I dream of helping children and their families cope with challenges of being hospitalized because of illness or a disability. My love and compassion for children who have challenges makes my heart beat loud as I want to do all I can to help.

These are all ways I help myself and others worldwide get to what we want to do with our countless skills. I hope my writings and actions help people understand APD and what other learning difficulties are like. There is good behind everyone despite a little day to day battle they may face. With methods for getting around my battle of APD I am able to accomplish things in life I strive to get to at the end of each day. My life experiences in managing my LD taught me many lessons that I will continue to share with others on their individual journeys.


My name is Anna, and I am a senior in high school. My early school years, including high school were an interesting journey in trying to puzzle together why I had such a hard time learning, but despite my challenge in learning I spend most of my time and energy doing things I dearly love. I enjoy playing sports like field hockey, soccer, and also water and snow sports. I also enjoy working with children as I work all summer for a daycare camp, babysit year round, and coach soccer in the spring time when I am not playing a sport as much. I have always had a gift for helping people out, so I created a group at my school called, “Reach Out” where leaders like myself are matched up with other kids in my school who need someone to talk to. Combining my love for helping people, and another love I have, writing, I have been able to blog about my learning disability, Auditory Processing Disorder, and am blown away at the number of lives I have helped through blogging  I tell myself that I have this utterly frustrating learning disability so I can educate, share, and lend a hand to people who may not understand Auditory Processing Disorder first-hand. Thank-you for taking the time to read my bio, and I hope you enjoy my story!


The controversy over autism most common therapy

when Lisa Quinones-Fontanez’s son Norrin was diagnosed with autism at age 2, she and her husband did what most parents in their position do — they scrambled to form a plan to help their child.

Ultimately, they followed the experts’ advice. They put Norrin in a school that used applied behavioral analysis, or ABA, the longest-standing and best-established form of therapy for children with autism. They also hired an ABA therapist to direct a home program.

ABA involves as much as 40 hours a week of one-on-one therapy. Certified therapists deliver or oversee the regimen, organized around the child’s individual needs — developing social skills, for instance, and learning to write a name or use the bathroom. The approach breaks desirable behaviors down into steps and rewards the child for completing each step along the way.

ABA was tough on everyone at first, says Quinones-Fontanez: “He would cry sitting at the table during those sessions, hysterically cry. I would have to walk out of the room and turn on the faucet to tune it out because I couldn’t hear him cry.”

But once her son got settled into the routine of it, things improved, she says. Before he began therapy, Norrin did not speak. But within a few weeks, the ABA therapist had Norrin pointing his fingers at letters. Eventually, he learned to write letters, his name and other words on a dry-erase board. He could communicate.

Norrin, now 10, has been receiving 15 hours a week of ABA therapy at home ever since. He is still in an ABA-based school. His therapists help him to practice age-appropriate conversation and social skills, and to memorize his address and his parents’ names and phone numbers.

“I credit ABA with helping him in a way that I could not,” Quinones-Fontanez says. “Especially in those first few years, I don’t even know where we would have been without ABA therapy.”

But in recent years, Quinones-Fontanez and parents like her have had cause to question ABA therapy, largely because of a fiercely articulate and vocal community of adults with autism. These advocates, many of them childhood recipients of ABA, say that the therapy is harmful. They contend that ABA is based on a cruel premise — of trying to make people with autism ‘normal,’ a goal articulated in the 1960s by psychologist Ole Ivar Lovaas, who developed ABA for autism. What they advocate for, instead, is acceptance of neurodiversity — the idea that people with autism or, say, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or Tourette syndrome, should be respected as naturally different rather than abnormal and needing to be fixed.

“ABA has a predatory approach to parents,” says Ari Ne’eman, president of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network and a prominent leader in the neurodiversity movement. The message is that “if you don’t work with an ABA provider, your child has no hope.”

What’s more, the therapy has a corner on the market, says Ne’eman. Most states cover autism therapy, including, often, ABA — perhaps because of its long history. But in California, for example, parents who want to pursue something else must fund it themselves.

These criticisms haven’t made Quinones-Fontanez want to ditch Norrin’s ABA therapy, but they confuse her. She says she can see what the advocates are saying on some level; she does not want her son to become a ‘robot,’ merely repeating socially acceptable phrases on command because they make him seem like everyone else. Sometimes Norrin will approach friendly people on the street and say, “Hello, what’s your name?” as he’s been taught, but not wait around for the answer, because he really doesn’t understand why he’s saying it. “He just knows to do his part,” she says.

The message that ABA might be damaging distresses her. “I’m trying to do the best I can. I would never do anything to hurt my child,” she says. “This is what works for him; I’ve seen it work.”

Whether ABA is helpful or harmful has become a highly contentious topic — such a flashpoint that few people who aren’t already advocates are willing to speak about it publicly. Many who were asked to be interviewed for this article declined, saying they anticipate negative feedback no matter which side they are on. One woman who blogs with her daughter who has autism says she had to shut down comments on a post that was critical of their experience with an intensive ABA program because the volume of comments — many from ABA therapists defending the therapy — was so high. Shannon Des Roches Rosa, co-founder of the influential advocacy group Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism, says that when she posts about ABA on the group’s Facebook page, she must set aside days to moderate comments.

Strong opinions on both sides of the issue abound. Meanwhile, parents like Quinones-Fontanez are caught in the middle. There’s no doubt that everyone wants what is right for these children. But what is that?

A new view:

Before the 1960s, when autism was still poorly understood, some children with the condition were treated with traditional talk therapy. Those who had severe symptoms or also had intellectual disability were mostly relegated to institutions and a grim future.

Against this backdrop, ABA at first seemed miraculous. Early on, Lovaas also relied on a psychotherapeutic approach, but quickly saw its futility and abandoned it. It wasn’t until Lovaas became a student of Sidney Bijou, a behaviorist at the University of Washington in Seattle — who had himself been a student of the legendary experimental psychologist B.F. Skinner — that things began to click.

Skinner had used behavioral methodologies to, for instance, train rats to push a bar that prompted the release of food pellets. Until they mastered that goal, any step they made toward it was rewarded with a pellet. The animals repeated the exercise until they got it right.

Bijou contemplated using similar strategies in people, judging that verbal rewards — saying “good job,” for instance — would serve as adequate motivation. But it was Lovaas who would put this idea into practice.

In 1970, Lovaas launched the Young Autism Project at the University of California, Los Angeles, with the aim of applying behaviorist methods to children with autism. The project established the methods and goals that grew into ABA. Part of the agenda was to make the child as ‘normal’ as possible, by teaching behaviors such as hugging and looking someone in the eye for a sustained period of time — both of which children with autism tend to avoid, making them visibly different.


Lovaas’ other focus was on behaviors that are overtly autism-like. His approach discouraged — often harshly — stimming, a set of repetitive behaviors such as hand-flapping that children with autism use to dispel energy and anxiety. The therapists following Lovaas’ program slapped, shouted at or even gave an electrical shock to a child to dissuade one of these behaviors. The children had to repeat the drills day after day, hour after hour. Videos of these early exercises show therapists holding pieces of food to prompt children to look at them, and then rewarding the children with the morsels of food.

Despite its regimented nature, the therapy looked like a better alternative for parents than the institutionalization their children faced. In Lovaas’ first study on his patients, in 1973, 20 children with severe autism received 14 months of therapy at his institution. During the therapy, the children’s inappropriate behaviors decreased, and appropriate behaviors, such as speech, play and social nonverbal behavior, improved, according to Lovaas’ report. Some children began to spontaneously socialize and use language. Their intelligence quotients (IQs) also improved during treatment.

When he followed up with the children one to four years later, Lovaas found that the children who went home, where their parents could apply the therapy to some degree, did better than those who went to another institution. Although the children who went through ABA didn’t become indistinguishable from their peers as Lovaas had intended, they did appear to benefit.

In 1987, Lovaas reported surprisingly successful results from his treatments. His study included 19 children with autism treated with ABA for more than 40 hours per week — “during most of their waking hours for many years,” he wrote — and a control group of 19 children with autism who received 10 hours or less of ABA.

Nine of the children in the treatment group achieved typical intellectual and educational milestones, such as successful first-grade performance in a public school. Eight passed first grade in classes for those who are language or learning disabled and obtained an average IQ of 70. Two children with IQ scores in the profoundly impaired range moved to a more advanced classroom setting, but remained severely impaired. In comparison, only one child in a control group achieved typical educational and intellectual functioning. A follow-up study six years later found little difference in these outcomes.

The methods promised parents something that no one else had: hope of a ‘normal’ life for their children. Parents began to demand the therapy, and soon it became the default option for families with newly diagnosed autism.



Having lupus disease is not the end of the world;New Hope for Life

Lupus may be life threatening but it is definitely not the end of the world. I have to remind myself of this because my mom, who took care of me during my worst of flare ups, would have me bedridden if she had her way.

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Lupus is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks itself, instead of protecting the body against invaders that would make us sick. Before I was diagnosed with lupus in 2004, I was a very active and ambitious person. I’m still ambitious but lupus cut my active lifestyle to the quick.

Before lupus, I enjoyed the summer months and aerobic exercise. Now, extreme heat and sunlight exposure in addition to physical exertion, are surefire ways of getting a flare up. Lupus flares are different with each sufferer which is why it’s important to know what your “red flags” are.

The average lupus flares consists of chronic fatigue and achy joints & muscles. Other flares are more serious which involves the damage or potential damage of internal and/or external organ systems. Staying in communication with your specialist is important in addition to becoming your own advocate, when it comes to your healthcare.

Developing an “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” mentality regarding lupus, you will feel more empowered as you learn more about the disease, and less depressed. You quality of life will change which will bring about depression, and that’s normal.

The remedy for that is to try what you used to do differently, or find an alternative. The worst mistake you can make is to become stagnant, which is so easy to do. We know what being stagnant physically does to the body, but what about the mind?

Lupus is the most misunderstood disease, because your symptoms may mimic another disorder. If you are in my situation where you have critics or fearful people around you, we have enough on our plate already dealing with this fact.

So, let’s spend the rest of our time finding ways to live our lives the way we want, considering the activity will not cause a flare up. People say it’s not over until the fat lady sings. Don’t let her sing just yet–put her on a diet.



Genders Differ in Perception of Ankylosing Spondylitis

Men had a better quality of life, but more objective damage


Men with ankylosing spondylitis typically reported a better quality of life than women but experienced worse radiographic damage over time, a prospective cohort study found.

During a mean follow-up of 8.3 years, male gender was associated in a multivariable analysis with a lower score on the Ankylosing Spondylitis Quality of Life index (ASQoL), signifying a better quality of life (β= -1.18, 95% CI -2.17 to -20, P=0.02), according to Astrid van Tubergen, MD, PhD, of Maastricht University Medical Center in the Netherlands, and colleagues.

Nonetheless, males had greater progression on the modified Stoke Ankylosing Spondylitis Spine Score (mSASSS) (β=8.24, 95% CI 4.38-12.09, P<0.01), the researchers reported online in Rheumatology.

However, there were no gender-attributable differences in disease activity or physical function, “suggesting that other determinants like psychological factors may contribute to quality of life in ankylosing spondylitis,” they stated.

Ankylosing spondylitis has long been considered a disease primarily of men, with an estimated gender ratio of 9:1.

However, recent studies have indicated that this is a misconception, and that the male to female ratio is in the range of 2 to 3:1.

In addition, recent research has suggested the possibility of gender-associated differencesin disease features and outcomes.

“Awareness of these gender-attributable differences is … important and could lead to a better understanding of the disease course and the outcomes for female patients with ankylosing spondylitis in particular, who have been underreported in the past,” the researchers wrote.

To examine these possible differences, van Tubergen and colleagues analyzed data from the Outcome in Ankylosing Spondylitis International Study, a longitudinal study that has enrolled 216 patients from France, Belgium, and the Netherlands since 1996.

The cohort comprised 154 men and 62 women. At baseline, women were older (46.8 versus 42.3 years, P=0.02), had longer symptom duration (13.4 versus 10.8 years, P=0.03), and greater delay in diagnosis (10.8 versus 8 years, P=0.04).

Women also scored higher at baseline on several disease activity scores, such as the Bath Ankylosing Spondylitis Disease Activity Index (BASDAI; 3.9 versus 3.2, P=0.03), tender joint counts (4.4 versus 2.7, P<0.01), and enthesitis index (16.6 versus 8.2, P<0.01).

In contrast, men had higher baseline scores on the mSASSS (13.8 versus 6.5, P=0.02) and higher C-reactive protein levels (CRP; 19.5 versus 14.2 mg/L, P=0.04).

On a univariate analysis assessing disease over time, men had lower BASDAI scores (β= -0.67, 95% CI -1.25 to -0.10, P=0.02) but higher CRP levels (β=4.82, 95% CI 1.45-8.20, P<0.01). However, on another disease activity rating, the Ankylosing Spondylitis Disease Activity Score, which also incorporates the CRP and is considered a more accurate reflection of disease activity than the BASDAI, scores were not different between men and women.

There also were no significant differences between men and women on physical function over time.

On the univariate analysis, men also were found to have higher scores on the mental component of the Short Form-36, which remained significant in the multivariate analysis (β=5.84, 95% CI 2.21-9.48, P<0.01).

This difference in the mental component of the SF-36, which assesses the mental and psychological aspects of quality of life, suggests that women might “perceive more impairment in their activities and participation in life compared with men,” the authors noted.

Men and women also might experience pain differently, according to the researchers.

“It is likely that gender-attributable differences regarding quality of life in ankylosing spondylosis are not only determined by biologic factors, but also by psychological factors,” they wrote.

They also suggested that the worse radiographic outcomes seen among men might reflect mechanical influences, with “physically demanding occupational activities [having] been shown to be associated with more radiographic damage in patients with longstanding ankylosing spondylitis.”

Limitations of the study included some loss to follow-up in the study cohort, the relatively low number of women included, and longstanding disease in the majority of patients.



Breaking through conditioned behavioral responses with trichotillomania hair regrowth

Treatment of trichotillomania and getting into resourceful states at critical times

treatment for trichotillomania therapy cure how to stop hair pulling feeling good

Also, for each of us, also when you are looking for treatment for trichotillomania, we sometimes fall prey to conditioned behavioral responses which can hinder us for creating in internal peace.

A funny example is a young girl here at the camping where we stay who, as the youngest of the family of three children, always starts to scream very loudly when things don’t go the way she wants.

In a very angry state she can sometimes scream for almost 10 minutes without realizing what he wants. Her parents just ignore her when she starts to scream, but that is the pattern she sticks with now for already a whole week.

But she is still young and will undoubtedly come up with a new set of skills and behavioral strategies in the future that will make here more flexible and better equipped to achieve what she wants.


Trichotillomania therapy also focusses on helping you to better cope with the world around you!

Maybe you to have some repeating patterns in your behavior besides pulling out hair by which you sometimes hinder yourself that may seem hard to change consciously because they have become automatic reactions.

treatment for trichotillomania cure therapy I myself have sometimes difficulty with people who in my experience can ‘push me’ (the meaning I give to certain behavior).

As soon as that happens I often get into an inner state of feeling angry, will build up tension inside and may sometimes do things in those moments that I may regret later on.

I even understand where this pattern is coming from, from my childhood, in which I was sometimes ‘pushed’ to do certain things against my own will.

Learning to break through these conditioned patterns for more effective behavior, more peace inside and better relations with lots of people will unfortunately not happen through conscious insights alone.

Because every time it happens I am on a kind of ‘autopilot’ and may attack people verbally when they push me for something I don’t want after I asked them not to do so.

My reaction of sometimes becoming very personal and offensive has become my natural defense mechanism from my past that sometimes that can run on auto pilot and take the upper hand.

Whereas other people may give a complete different meaning to the same situation, may even laugh about it and stay calm in the moment, I myself can sometimes have great difficulty to effectively cope with these situations.

But my emotions can become so intense in these situations that they kind of become the decisive factor how I will respond. I become kind of triggered by the behavior of someone else that will put me into a limiting state the way I feel.

Which can make me do certain things that with hindsight I didn’t always wanted to do. And often leads to heightened, and sometimes unnecessary, feelings of tension or frustration inside.

By which I can actually hinder myself the way I feel and how I am able to cope with the situation. Can you imagine the way this works?

treatment for trichotillomania therapySo merely understanding where this is all coming from and how this works does not help me. What does help is learning through techniques that we will teach in our trichotillomania therapy program how to break through such a pattern of stimulus response behavior.

So instead of experiencing being pushed and then automatically becoming angry I may experience being pushing and then automatically stay calm.

So there is far less reason to release any form of buildup tension through pulling out hair for example that is often at stake with Trichotillomania in one form or another.

And can you image that such a state of calmness over feeling angry would actually allow me to become more resourceful and better able to deal with such situations instead of being overwhelmed by feelings of angriness or frustration.

Techniques that luckily I was able to learn during the years and now have at my disposal as soon as I notice a pattern in my behavior that is actually hindering me.

Because trying to control the world and people outside of us to do everything we want is a mission impossible. But taking ownership and training ourselves to better cope with these situations is the doorway to freedom!

The same techniques that you will also learn it our trichotillomania therapy program, by which you will target some specific unconscious patterns of behavior that are at play with almost everyone we were allowed to help over the years to create the freedom in behavior they all longed for.



surprising 10 Positive Things Has Given Me;Dyspraxia children

I know posting a diagram showing the problems which dyspraxia can cause might seem counter intuitive to the tittle of this post but I think it’s the easiest way to show you what dyspraxia actually is. Personally I have less problems with fine motor skills and more severe problems with attention and memory (which is also linked to ADD) so my Neurologist tells me.

dyspraxia infographic

Before I knew what was going on with me I felt like a big dumb freak but my school friends always said “We love you because of the that you are, not despite it.” My boyfriend says the exact same thing to me. I’ve got much more confidence now and because I’ve been diagnosed later in life it’s meant I’ve had to develop my own coping strategies and I’ve started to realise that dyspraxia has shaped me in positive ways.

Creativity and a random jukebox in my mind

As my brain is always whirring around with random thoughts – especially at night – I can get really creative ideas and little revelations about life. If you follow me on Twitter you will be able to attest to this! It has also meant that I’ve never run out blog post ideas once, in the 2 and a half years that I’ve been blogging. Everyday I have a line or the chorus of a song going around my head in a loop for frequent periods. I’m reminded of some great songs from passed decades I’d forgotten about or had no idea I even knew the words to!



‘If you fail try, try and try again’ or in my case ‘and again and again…..’ this can be seriously tedious but having to persevere has made me really tenacious. Even as a child I was a really determined little thing who wasn’t easily defeated… or stubborn at all ;o)

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Humour in the face of adversity

If I’m in a shitty situation I will some how manage to find humour in it. Failing at hundreds of little things everyday since childhood I’ve experienced a lot of flippant negativity. This could have made me an overly defensive, bitter bitch but I chose to have fun with a self-effacing sense of humour instead. I don’t mean I’m putting myself down constantly to get laughs, I just manage to find humour in dodgy situations. Rather than getting embarrassed after opening a packet of M&M’s in such a way they fly all over the place, I’ll make a joke like “I just thought I’d share them with EVERYONE.” Having an unrestrained imagination helps to turn the mundane into the ridiculous and therefor amusing very quickly. Anyone else made themselves laugh out loud at their own thoughts, when on a crowded bus?

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I can be surprisingly focussed

I’m used to coping with difficult situations. Having dyspraxia means that I need to pause before steaming into something and instead I need to figure out a way to do it, that works for me. I’m constantly accessing situations. I’ve realised this has made me a lot more ‘on the ball’ over the years. For instance travelling to London and finding my connecting train to Cornwall in an incredibly busy station didn’t phase me. Wandering around a maze like hospital didn’t phase me. I got utterly lost like, and went around in a circle – twice – but I didn’t get stressed. Being in situations where things aren’t instantly and entirely evident to me is pretty normal. Confusing yes, but somehow reassuringly normal and not as stressful as it might be to someone who isn’t used to feeling this way. Also if someone has an accident I can suddenly become detached enough to think practically rather than panic, which is always good.

Breath and relax…

I’ve learned a level of patience I never thought possible. Loosing my train of thought right near the end of a sentence or a sum, tripping up over nothing, spending ages making a simple but perfect meal only to drop the plate face down on the floor, all of these things have and continue to test my patience but my gosh, have I developed A LOT of it! When spoilt princesses (the grown up kind) are having a full on diva fit because they didn’t get served at warp speed, I just roll my eyes. When someone is running late and everything seems to be going wrong I can calm them down, offer them a cuppa or a cocktail and say something daft to make them laugh because I understand exactly how that feels. I’ll admit sometimes you might here me yell “For f#c% sake!” and launch an object across the room but then I’m usually calm immediately after my therapeutic mini meltdown.

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I’m always organised

I rule at being organised. Ok so I’ve missed many appointments because I’ve got the order of the numbers in the date mixed up or lost all track of time because I’m hyper-focussed on Grand Theft Auto – even though I’ll have a vague notion I’m meant to be meeting my mates soon. These experiences and many more have taught me that Post It notes, reminder alarms (on my laptop, phone, iPod and paper calendar), nagging reminders from my boyfriend and Mum, simple but detailed filing systems and adorable stationary are essential.

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Lateral thinking

I tend to think differently than others and sometimes I can easily solve a problem which others have been struggling with, because it just seems obvious to me. Kind of like when an adult is over complicating something and being governed by the rules of how something is meant to be done, then their child looks rather non-plussed and suggests “Why don’t you just do it like this?” I’m sorry I can’t think of any specific examples here, every time I try to think of any, they opaquely half form and then float out of my head! That’s the nature of dyspraxia and I don’t mind about my mind ;o)

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Weeding out the dickheads

When you are a bit of a weirdo as I am – and I mean that affectionately – it doesn’t take long to realise who your friends are. They are the ones who don’t judge, who try to help without being patronising and don’t try to finish your sentences or simply talk over you. I hate that, even though my mind races to the end of what someone is saying and I try to finish their sentence….But I’m usually right and then I shut up – hmm, something to work on!

I’m tidier than a maid

Everything I own has it’s own place where it lives and it always gets put back there almost as soon as I’ve used it. When you put something down and forget why it’s not in your hand 30 seconds later, things need to be ordered so you can find it again. When you can scan a room four or five times for something that’s in plain site and still not see it, things need to be kept tidy. Floor space needs to be free from clutter so that I don’t trip over the stuff I’ve left there. I do hate homes that are so sparse and neat they don’t feel homely and I don’t have a compulsion to tidy, I’ve just learned how to make my space work for me.

People know where they stand with me

I’m honest to a fault. In my twenties as a temp I was so terrified of offending candidates for the position of ‘new BFF’ I over thought everything before I spoke and I mean EVERYTHING. It was exhausting and when the words did finally come out they sounded awkward and rehearsed. Nowadays I trust I’m not a total idiot or a big ol’ bitch and I just go with my instincts and “blah blah blah” away freely to everyone. Sometimes I sound a bit dumb, sometimes I’m really quick and witty, sometimes I’m a little tactless but it’s better than being anxious and paranoid. Plus 70% of people I meet tend to really respect my honesty and the other….er…..30% just need to lighten up a little, hehe!