Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Autism Awareness Month and Kim Stagliano

Hi everyone. Most folks know that I work with the Mentally Retarded/Related Disability/Autistic/Asperger's populations. I have learned a great deal about all of the aforementioned conditions and I love to teach others about them as well. April is Autism Awareness Month.

Before I started my blog, I met a fantastic woman online. Her name is Kim Stagliano and she has three daughters who have been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Kim has been a forerunner in Autism awareness and treatment. She has been featured in a book called: Embracing Autism, and her chapter is called: "Three Special Kids. No Apologies Necessary."



Here is my interview with my friend, Kim Stagliano:
1.) Demon Hunter: When did you first hear the word Autism? What kind of impact did that word have on your life and your family's life?

Kim Stagliano: Wow, you just jolted a memory from the back corner of my mind. My sister hurled the word "autistic" at me like a grenade when Mia (our oldest, she's now 13) was two and a half. Over the telephone! My husband and I went on a three day vacation to Charlotte NC. My sister and Mom were watching Mia and her younger sister Gianna. I called home to check on the girls and my sister sort of yelled at me, "Mia is autistic!" I wasn't angry with her because I knew it in my gut and heart. I would have preferred a gentler approach, but she was afraid for Mia and I knew that's where the anger was seated. Not at me. At the autism. My husband went golfing and I walked to the nearby mall to Barnes and Noble where I pulled every book I could find on autism off the shelves and sat, cried and read. Then we started Early Intervention and never looked back. I knew I had to do everything in my power to help Mia. I'm still working 24/7 for her, and her sisters, who also have the ASD diagnosis.






2.) DH: When were your daughters diagnosed with Autism?

KS: Mia and Gianna were formally diagnosed in November of 1999 after a rather pathetic evaluation at University Hospital of Cleveland. I remember telling the neurologist that other hospitals had a much more extensive evaluation process. She agreed. Their efforts were far behind the times. They probaby still are. Bella was diagnosed before preschool. Mia is currently 13, Gianna is 11 and Bella, my little love, is 7.






3.) DH: How have your daughters' lives improved?

KS: Well, I credit the non-stop biomedical interventions, starting with changing their diet for greatly improving their behavior and how they feel. We removed gluten and casein (wheat and dairy protein) and their lives got better. Plus numerous supplements and other medical care. Add finally getting into a good school district and the girls are in a very good place in 2008. I think that if we'd had better schools for the first several years of their lives my girls would be even further along. Many districts have very poor autism programming. It's a shame.












4.) DH: What do you want people to know about Autism?
KS: It's treatable. It's treatable. It's treatable. Did I mention it's treatable? And for goodness sake, don't rely on the schools to do all the work. Therapy and teaching alone are often not enough. You need to get to the internal issues your child has too. Like GI problems. Rampant in our population, but most docs ignore the fact. Mom and Dad are the first and very best therapists and caretakers.
5.) DH: Do you have a theory as to why the cases of Autism continue to rise at such an alarming rate?
KS: I do. I think our toxic environment is part of the problem. I think the over zealous vaccination program is a part of the problem. Dozens of vaccines by age three! I think having had hundreds of micrograms of mercury in childhood vaccines for over a decade was disgustingly naive and stupid. I think injecting mercury into pregnant women via the flu shot even today is insane, as is giving a flu vaccine to an infant or child. I also think better awareness and diagnosis are part of the increase in numbers. But let's face it, docs did not see dozens of patients in their practice who could not speak, flapped and spun in circles in 1980. It would be hard NOT to diagnose them today.
DH: Thank you for taking the time to participate in this interview, Kim! There are so many people that know nothing of folks with special needs. Knowledge is power. :*)
KS: Thank you! To learn more please do come by www.ageofautism.com and check out our sponsors. There are parents like me who are ready to help families navigate the autism world. Use us. And come on over to my own blog, www.kimstagliano.blogspot.com You can read more about our life with the girls in my chapter in Embracing Autism.

16 comments:

Lana Gramlich said...

An interesting interview. Thanks for sharing. I have a couple of autistic people in my own family.

Charles Gramlich said...

Great information. There's obviously a lot to know about this disorder.

daydream said...

I don't really know what autism actually does as an illness, shows how much I am erudite about life, but I am happy that it's treatable and not to mean disrespecta, I am saddened to see how the human gene pool is being influenced by current environment. The fact that three daughters all share the illness is evident enough. I admire Kim for achieveing so much with her children. Thanks for the interview.

dejanae said...

great post
didnt know all of that

Don said...

How have your daughters' lives improved? GREAT question asked.

i'm not too familiar with autism, yet i do remember sylvester stallone's son being autistic when i was much younger. i read that in a magazine but of course it never gave a clear enough definition for me.

nice interview and best wishes to kim and her family.

Bernita said...

Thank you and thank Kim.
Nothing informs as well as personal experience.

And thank you, Dear Demon, for your cyber hugs and good wishes.
I needed them.

Demon Hunter said...

Lana,
Your welcome. It's great to spread awareness. :*)

Charles,
Thanks. There's so much to know about it. I have training all the time. :*)

Harry,
You can go by the two websites that Kim listed at the bottom of the interview and they will explain everything. :*)

Dejanae,
Lots of people don't but it's always good to learn it. :*)

Don,
Thanks. I'd be typing for days if I tried to explain it here. Check out the two websites that Kim listed at the end of the interview. :*)

Bernita,
You're right. :*)

You're more than welcome. I always believe in sending my friends hugs and well wishes. Keep us informed about your husband. Thank God he's safe at home. :*)

Verbal Vixen (T Caldwell) said...

Good interview, interesting read, and I learned a couple of things I didn't know before. Thank you for sharing this.

Oh, and by the way - TAG, you're IT! (Visit my blog for details.)

Kim Stagliano said...

Hi, everyone. Thanks for your kind words. Thanks for the opportunity to set up my soapbox over here Miss T!

I'm still not taking the scare test. No I'm not! I can barely LOOK at this post because I keep scrolling down to Freddy!

:)

K

ChrisEldin said...

I have two nephews on the spectrum, and I do believe that so many mothers can't be wrong about the vaccine issue. It's terrible. She's right about the mercury levels.
And I agree about the diet.
Thanks for sharing a terrific interview.

Josephine Damian said...

Have you heard? Spread the word!

http://lafreya.blogspot.com/2008/04/what-it-looks-like-when-dream-comes.html

December/Stacia said...

My older daughter has autistic tendencies--they went back and forth on a diagnosis for several years and we finally stopped hunting for one--and we do a sort of modified GF/CF diet which has really helped; we give her digestive enzymes to help her with the gluten and casein so we don't have to restrict her diet so much.

Great interview!

raine said...

Great interview, Tyhitia, and wonderful information, Kim.
I can remember when very little was being done for these children. Good to know things have changed.

karrie b. said...

nice...i learned a lot over here today :)

-KB

Demon Hunter said...

Verbal,
You're welcome. I just thought it was important and I really wanted an interview with Kim. :*)

Kim,
You're more than welcome! Any time. :*)

You should really take that test though. ;*)

Chris,
You're welcome. I agree with Kim as well. I hear parents discussing the same things. That many folks cannot be wrong. :*)

Josie,
I'll check it out. :*)

December,
Thanks for sharing. I hear that the diet makes a tremendous difference. :*)

Raine,
Thanks. I am so glad that improvements have been made. I hope they find the source of Autism. :*)

Karrie B.,
I'm glad to hear that. :*)

Kim Stagliano said...

December/Stacia (beautiful name by the way, my friend's Mom was named Stacia!) do you use Houston's enzymes? I have a cabinet full of them for my girls for gluten casein infractions. Mia and Gianna CAN have a slice of pizza every so often, WITH digestive enzymes but NOT Bella - she bites her fingers bloody and screams in pain after eating gluten or casein. Still, most docs tell me, "Oh that's anecdotal evidence." Um, OK, Doc, you wipe the blood off the pillow after a night of screaming and tell me it's anecdotal!

I'm glad the enzymes work for you!

Kim

And I'm STILL not taking that test!