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To the parents of a child, or children, on the autism spectrum, or to those on the spectrum themselves, every day is in Autism Awareness Month.  To those who know someone on the spectrum, either as a friend, co-worker, or relative, every day is in Autism Awareness Month.  To those who advocate on behalf of, and for, those on the spectrum - to the professionals who work day in and day out with those on the spectrum, especially the teachers who teach those on the spectrum - every day is in Autism Awareness Month.  However, today, April 30th, 2008, is the last day of Autism Awareness Month for this year for the majority of Americans.  This I want to ask you - are you more aware than you were on April 1, 2008?

I am more aware, as I become more aware every day, as a father of a daughter on the autism spectrum.  Specifically her diagnosis is Asperger's Syndrome, a form of/cousin to autism, depending on which expert you ask (It now has it's own listing in the DSM-IV, but is seperated from HFA - High Functioning Autism, by merely "when did the child begin to speak?" - that's the sole difference between the two, medically speaking).  As a professional filmmaker - I have that Steve Martin in "The Jerk" ("The new phone book's here, the new phone book's here - I'm somebody now!") distinction of being listed on iMDB, for those who might want to look me up for fun.  I am now in production on my second feature documentary film, a personal story about my daughter, entitled "One In A Million", a play on words of the autism statistic of "1 in 150".  I will be touring the feature across the country in the spring of 2009 (almost fifty cities across the continental US), in conjunction with, and including, Autism Awareness Month 2009.

I'll let my daughter speak for herself.

You and me.  I need your help in seeing this vision through, whether it's financial, logistical, or otherwise.

Today, a new version of my website, for Rembrandt Machine goes up, which now includes a section (which is almost completed) on "One In A Million", and will eventually include Paypal gifting buttons towards the film, towards the budget of $102K, of which only $50K remains to be raised (I can email a copy to anyone who would like to see it), by "Aspie Angels", those who would like to support the film in any way financially that they can, from a one time gift of $5 to $10000, or a monthly gift, from anywhere between $5 to $500 a month for one year.  "Aspie Angels" will be listed in the credits of the film, and hose gifting $50 or more, either through a one time gift, or through a subscription will receive a copy of the film of the media type of their choosing (DVD, downloadable, even HD).

The website currently DOES however have a link to the merchandise for the film, of which 80% of profits will be going towards getting the film finished, with 20% going to an autism educational group, who are hosting this conference next month, which my wife and I, along with two other crew will be filming up in Chicago, for inclusion in the film.  

For those who would be interested in gifting directly, as an "Aspie Angel", to "One In A Million" before the Paypal buttons go up, I can be contacted directly via todd at rembrandtmachine dot com, even if you just want to remain notified about the film, or can help out in any way logistically.  I will post another diary once the buttons are up, but today, on this last day of autism awareness month, for this year, I simply wanted to posit the question - are you more aware?

Thanks for taking a little time to read this diary,

Todd Kennedy Mattson
Rembrandt Machine

Originally posted to tkmattson on Wed Apr 30, 2008 at 06:56 AM PDT.


Are you more aware?

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Comment Preferences

  •  Have a great last day of Autism Awareness Month!! (4+ / 0-)

    And thanks for reading the diary.

    Download Doolittle Raiders

    by tkmattson on Wed Apr 30, 2008 at 06:59:26 AM PDT

    •  Asperger's in my life... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      EJP in Maine, tkmattson

      I have two Aspie's in my husband and my daughter. My husband has been described as "textbook" Asperger's by his physician...I describe him as a "Clueless Genius". He once equated him being in a social situation with me trying to read the mail without my glasses on (I'm VERY nearsighted). He is dimly aware that there is information he needs to read, but squint as he may he can't make it out.

      My daughter doesn't have a formal diagnosis, but she displays the same characteristics as her father, albeit to a lesser degree. I need to voice-cue her so she is aware of her non-verbal communication. She's getting better at regulating it, but on-coming puberty is making it more challenging!

      I am fortunate to have them in my life; I cherish the weird and wonderful viewpoints they share with me!

  •  Well, I have ADD (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    So I obviously picked the second poll option.

    And I can't do my weekly lunch with my son and his special ed class because they have a new student.  They like kids to get used to a routine before they mess with it.  So no lunch until next week and then I'll get to meet the kid who only eats fast food.

    Granted, special needs kids often are painfully fussy eaters.  Mine is a carb-a-holic, so I make banana pancakes with extra milk and eggs.  Some protein, some fruit, some dairy - carefully disguised as a starchy food.  I have to keep the sugar, honey, crackers, cookies and other carb-heavy foods locked away or he'll happily make a meal out of them.  I always regret it when I don't lock them up.

    The trick is to take their preference and figure out how to make it nutritious, whether is sweet, starchy, crunchy, salty or some combination of those.   I wish he'd expand his diet already.  I actually enjoy cooking, but when I do, my meal usually consists of cleaning his plate when he picks out the pasta or rice and ignores everything else.

    Proud member of the Cult of Issues and Substance!

    by Fabian on Wed Apr 30, 2008 at 07:14:32 AM PDT

    •  My daughter is GF/CF (Gluten Free Casein Free)... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      elmo, Fabian helps with her communication skills greatly, albeit most of it is echolalia, as in repeated words from either TV shows, or conversations prior.

      Download Doolittle Raiders

      by tkmattson on Wed Apr 30, 2008 at 07:17:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  GF baking mixture... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I came up with this GF mixture to substitute cup for cup with wheat flour in any cake, cookie, cracker or brownie recipe. Increase the baking time slightly or put the batter in a larger pan.

        2/3 part Amaranth
        1/3 part Sorghum
        1 part Tapioca flour
        1 part Cornstarch
        ~1/2 tsp. xanthum gum/1 cup of mixture


        •  Yep. Those Are Our Friends In The Kitchen..... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          .....that and Ian's packaged frozen chicken strips (GF), fish sticks (GF), lots of mexican food (minus cheese, sour cream, on corn tortillas only).  My wife and I tried to stay on the diet strictly with her at the start, but actually it was too expensive, so we reserve the GF/CF stuff for Lucy.

          Download Doolittle Raiders

          by tkmattson on Wed Apr 30, 2008 at 07:30:24 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Oh, And Corn-Quinoa Blend Pastas!!! (0+ / 0-)

            Those are the best, the texture is right.  I make "Peanut Butter Pizzas" for her.

            1. Natural GF Peanut Butter.
            1. Two Corn Tortillas.

            Spread the peanut butter between the two tortillas, slice, and she loves it.  I know it's really a quesadilla, but she calls it a pizza.  Guess it's stuffed.

            And RICE anything, especially rice milk (not soy).

            Download Doolittle Raiders

            by tkmattson on Wed Apr 30, 2008 at 07:36:18 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  have you looked into Food Chaining (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      they do seminars.
      I haven't been to one, but it looks
      legit to me from a professional standpoint.

      I'm an SLP with some background in feeding/nutrition sensory etc.  I work with lots of asd kids in home health.

      •  What Is Food Chaining? (0+ / 0-)

        Haven't heard of it before.....

        Download Doolittle Raiders

        by tkmattson on Wed Apr 30, 2008 at 08:23:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  seminar link and more (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Food Chaining Seminar  this is out of date but was the first one I found on google;  you'll have to search further.  I get brochures in the mail on stuff like this all the time.  

          book link
          Food Chaining book

          Anything by Ellen Satter or Suzanne Evans Morris (latter specializes more in motor problems but she delves into asd too and much of the philosophy is the same). Especially read The Happiness Option at Mealtimes which I think I recall is a pdf. on her New Visions website. Happiness has to be an overriding goal for everyone in the family.  

          Every parent should read Ellen Satter's books on feeding children.  She and Suzanne work closely together.  How to Get Your Child to Eat but Not Too Much, Child of Mine: Feeding With Love and Good Sense, Secrets of Feeding a Healthy Family.  Not geared to asd but you still need to know all this stuff, as kids are kids first and have asd second.

          The more you learn the more effective you will be.  I self-taught myself all this because it was not even touched on when I studied sp-lang path in college.  Parents have to self-teach too.  You will probably end up knowing more than your therapists.

          There are so many things you can do with the sensory environment and the whole approach to mealtimes as an event.  

          I also like Stanley Greenspan's The Challenging Child for getting yourself into the right mental orientation to dealing with challenging behaviors.

  •  Autism Awareness Month (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    It does seem to have whipped by more quickly this year.  I have the impression that far more people are aware of autism in the general public so I hope that's not just wishful thinking.

    Lucy certainly is a little charmer, thank you for the video.  I'm sure she's one in a million, I wonder if that makes by boys, two in a billion?  Yup, math never was my strong suit.

    Best wishes

    •  I'm very heartened by the raising of awareness. (0+ / 0-)

      It makes me know that I'm on the right path, of giving a glimpse into our lives, as best and as truthfully as you can, with a camera present - which as a rule always changes everything.  My job as a documentary filmmaker, as I see it, is to try to not disturb the natural flow of life, only capture it as though I were a fly on the wall.

      Download Doolittle Raiders

      by tkmattson on Wed Apr 30, 2008 at 12:52:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Great Idea! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I checked out your website.  I love the idea of a documentary exploring all the issues that families deal with on the journey of autism.  

    I've been treating kids with autism for 20 years.  I've blogged about Autism Awareness Month on my blog at

    I'll keep watching your progress on the documentary.

    Good Luck!

    •  Thank you! (0+ / 0-)

      Spread the word about the documentary and site, and feel free to blog about it on your site if you would so desire.  I would appreciate it tremendously.

      Download Doolittle Raiders

      by tkmattson on Thu May 01, 2008 at 06:47:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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