Tuesday, June 7, 2011

One-Year Blogoversary and Giveaway *Closed*

When I started this blog almost a year ago, I didn't plan on posting every day. It was just meant to be a place to share information that I found in my search for information for my Defeating Cancer Through Education Facebook page, but that wasn't really cancer-related. I didn't however plan to only have twelve posts in a year. Posting 2-4 times a month would be closer to my goal. I got wrapped up in other things and neglected this blog a bit. I have two posts right now that I've been working on and need to sit down and write. I'm grateful for those who have taken the time to read this blog and will have more great information to share (more frequently) in the future.

I started this blog one year ago on June 9. As a thank you to my followers and readers, I am giving away a Denise Austin fitness DVD. Denise Austin is one of my favorite "celebrity" fitness instructors. She's encouraging enough to keep you going, but not so perky that it's annoying. To win the Ultimate Fat Burner: A Complete Weight Loss Workout, you can enter several ways.

Ultimate Fat Burner

1. You MUST leave your email address in your comment so I can contact you if you win.
2.  Enter by 11:59 PM EDT, June 9
3. Leave a comment below telling me your favorite fitness DVD. (If you're just starting out and don't have a favorite, tell me that, too! Celebrate your efforts!)
4. U.S. only. Sorry.

Extra Entries (post a separate comment for each):
1. Blog about the giveaway, post link.
2. Post on Twitter, post link.
3. Add me on Twitter, @honoryourhealth, leave username in comment.
4. Follow me, let me know which way you are following. (Google, NetworkedBlog, E-mail, other)
5. Like Honor Your Health on Facebook
6. Like Defeating Cancer Through Education on Facebook

Remember post a separate comment for each of the above ways to enter! They will only count if they are separate. (And don't forget to include your email address!) I actually have two brand new copies of this DVD. If there are more than 50 entries, I will give away both copies, so sharing with your friends actually increases your chances of winning!

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated in any way with Denise Austin or Artisan Home Entertainment. The DVDs in this giveaway were not provided by any company as either an incentive or a gift. I just happen to have two unopened copies of the DVD and decided to give them away. I am an Amazon affiliate, so if you choose to purchase the DVD using the link provided, I will earn a small commission.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

World Autism Awareness Day

Today is World Autism Awareness Day. With so many sites out there that explain Autism Spectrum Disorders, I don't think there is any point in re-writing what is already done so well elsewhere. I will provide links later so you can explore on your own.

It wasn't long ago that the only person most of us knew with autism was Dustin Hoffman's character in Rainman. Now, almost everyone has a friend or family member with a child with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The current statistics say that approximately 1 in 110 children in the U.S. are affected by some type of ASD. This can range from Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) to severe autism. This number is up 13% from the mid-90's. We're not sure what has caused the increase. From my reading, it seems to be a combination of things.

  • Professionals such as teachers and pediatricians have become more familiar with the signs of the milder forms of ASD, such as PDD and Asperger's Syndrome, so are more likely to refer parents to neurological specialist for evaluation.
  • Asperger's Syndrome was not added to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders published by the American Psychiatric Association until 1994, and was not included in autism statistics. See the first point.
  • ASD is genetic, though some argue that it can't be completely genetic because genetics can't change so rapidly in just 20 years. I agree that genetics haven't changed. What has changed is our toxic environment. Our food is loaded with chemicals, our homes are full of toxic chemicals used for cleaning or killing pests, our air and water is becoming more and more contaminated. Our bodies can only tolerate so much. When there is already something making the it hard for the body to work the way it should, bombarding it with toxins is more than many can handle.
  • What about vaccines? I may lose some readers here, but I just don't believe that vaccines are directly responsible for autism. HOWEVER, I do think they make things worse for those who were born with ASD. See point 3.
I never dreamed I would have a child with ASD. My cousin's son has Asperger's, but they live in another state, so I'm not around him much. So it was just on the edge of my radar. I knew it was out there, but it didn't directly affect me. I knew nothing about it. One day, after my son said something during a visit, my cousin asked me if he has Asperger's. Um, not that I know of. I went home and started researching and imagine my surprise when I realized he is almost a textbook case of Asperger's. Inability to understand social cues, repetitive behaviors, intense interest in one or two subjects, poor motor skills, "little professor syndrome", literal use of language. How did I miss this all this time?

All these years of family members thinking I should be stricter, strangers in the grocery store giving us dirty looks as he spins through the aisle, people implying (and some saying outright) that the reason he acts the way he does is because he's homeschooled.  If I had only known. But I didn't, and I'm not the only one. Since I've started my blog about Asperger's and started talking to other parents, I've gotten several emails and facebook messages and talked to a couple of parents in person who have realized after hearing me talk about Asperger's or reading the information I've posted, that their child has Asperger's. And these are all older children,  not preschoolers. One is a 15-year-old girl who has gone through the school system without anyone ever saying anything. Either she's a really good actress or none of her teachers have been trained in what to look for. None of these kids have been getting the help they needed because we didn't realize they needed it.

Until we clean up our environment and food supply, the numbers are only going to get higher. So what can you do?
  • Eliminate as many toxins and chemicals as you can from your home. This includes cleaning supplies, bug killers, and especially your food. You don't have to do it all at once, or throw away everything you own. Start small, by changing a few things at a time and changing brands when it's time to replace what you have. I recommend this for everyone, whether ASD is an issue or not. These toxins also cause cancer and other health problems.
  • ASD is nothing to be ashamed of. Don't be afraid to talk about it. I'm not suggesting you rent a hall and give a community speech; just don't feel that you have to hide it. For one thing, knowing your child has ASD helps others to understand your child and you. It may also help them understand someone else in their life.
  • If you're not familiar with ASD, take a few minutes and read some of the pages (or sites) below.
Talk About Curing Autism
Wikipedia Asperger's page
Wikipedia Autism page
National Instititute of Health Autism page
Autism Speaks