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Autism can cause severe language, social and behavioral problems, but many children are achieving success despite diagnosis. As a mother of an autistic child, Kathy Breene shares her story of a life-changing four-year journey with her son Victor. Two experts joining the program are Dr. Gary Stobbe, a neurologist specializing in autism at the Minor and James Clinic at Swedish Medical Center in Seattle and Trina Westerlund, executive director of the Children’s Institute for Learning Differences (CHILD).

Dr. Stobbe talks about the number of treatments on the rise and the shift in resources becoming available for parents and caregivers. Parents who were once frustrated no longer feel polarized. Trina addresses the importance of finding satisfaction in special needs programs and the importance of a multi-disciplinary approach to help your child achieve success at a level that works for them.

With a son with high-functioning autism, Kathy sought the best care for Victor. Unfortunately, programs and services for special needs children were quite limited where they lived, forcing her to relocate. Kathy begins by talking about her initial stress and frustration with the lack of understanding from teachers and other children in dealing with autism, but she is grateful for the resources that allowed her to help her son. Hear more about Victor's involvement with CHILD and how it changed his life.

Learn more about Kathy's journey, from frustrated to informed and her efforts in making sure Victor received the care he deserved. You’ll also hear about stimming behaviors, PDDNOS, and degrees of sensitivity. In Kathy's own words, "The key is to obtain resources and educate yourself to push forward with important decisions in care." Amid much criticism, parents of autistic children have learned they are their child’s best advocate. Find out what centers like CHILD and doctors like Dr. Stobbe are doing to help special needs children achieve success.

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Produced in association with Children's Institute for Learning Differences (CHILD)

Transcript

Andrew Schorr:

Good morning. We are live on KVI. I'm Andrew Schorr. In just a minute we are going to be talking about a very important topic on this beautiful day, and that is this: If you have a child or grandchild who may be slow to develop language or have difficulty with it, if they have difficulty with social interaction, and if they have unusual behaviors or restricted interactions, it could be something that we might describe as in the autism spectrum, something that's often not talked about, but we will talk about it for your benefit, understanding and maybe for someone in your family next on Patient Power on KVI Talk Radio, 570.

Andrew Schorr:

Good morning across sunny Western Washington or wherever you may be with us, on the Internet or out in your boat there somewhere, and I hope you are if it's not too cold. I am Andrew Schorr. We are live on KVI with a show that we have done for more than a year each week now, Patient Power, and this is the program, the only one of its kind in the country where each week we talk about serious health concerns. Now, it may be something that you are dealing with, something that is affecting someone you know, or it will be in your future.

Today we are going to talk about something that maybe as we describe it you do know somebody who has been living with some of these symptoms but it was just never recognized, and the shame of it is of course if that person couldn't live as full a life as possible because it wasn't recognized. What we are going to be talking about is autism, and that was a condition where if a child was severely autistic, had these language and social interaction and behavioral problems years ago, they would just lock them away. And if you look back in literature you can come across stories of that. And what a shame because what we are going to tell you is here in Western Washington now we have at least one school, some professionals who can help you that are really guiding lights for the country. And we are going to meet a woman in a minute who brought her child about 2,000 miles from Illinois to get the benefit of what we have here. So we are going to hear that story.

First I want to tell you we have great weather here, and so I hope you enjoy it. I was out in Hood Canal. I wanted to say hi to the folks in Quilcene and Brinnon, and also if you go out there along Highway 101, make a turn at Brinnon, there is a beautiful waterfall out there, and today's the day to go. Stop at the local store, say how do I get to that waterfall Andrew was talking about, because it is not on the map. And it is not a state park. And be careful. If it was a state park we would put $500,000 into making it safer than it is, but it's certainly beautiful. So I don't want any liability, but it's gorgeous. Take a picture. Okay.

Let's get to what we are talking about today, and if you hear it and you know there is somebody who should be hearing it, either wake them up or tell them to replay it. It will be on patientpower.info by Monday afternoon. Okay? And you are welcome to call.

All right. So here we go. Kathy Breene.

Kathy:

Good morning.

Andrew Schorr:

Good morning, Kathy. I met you at a Starbucks here in Seattle or just outside of Seattle one day, and we got to chatting. Where are you from? You said Sterling, Illinois. I said what are you doing here? You said I've come here to have my child be part of a special school. My child is autistic, Victor, 13, sixth grade. Okay. And you are a nurse.

Kathy:

I am a nurse.

Andrew Schorr:

You are married to an ophthalmologist?

Kathy:

Correct.

Andrew Schorr:

You have a very nice life back in Sterling, Illinois. Why did you come here? What was it about Victor where you said we have to go to wherever we need to get the best help?

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