Other People's Words

Autism *Examiner* reporters Heather Sedlock and Marc Rosen

Posted in Uncategorized by Tera on February 27, 2010

This is an interview for the Autism Women’s Network radio show with Examiner reporters Heather Sedlock and Marc Rosen.

Sharon daVanport: Greetings, everyone, and welcome to AWN radio. My name is Sharon daVanport, and I’m joined by my co-host, Tricia Kenney. We’re happy to be coming to you this evening, because we are actually going to be speaking with Heather and Marc. Are they reporters for the Examiner?

Tricia Kenney: Yeah, they are Examiner reporters. I think it’d be really helpful if Heather could jump in here and let us know a little bit about herself and her family structure, which is has kind of led her into doing what she’s doing. Welcome to the show, Heather.

Heather Sedlock: Thank you. I’m an autistic adult. I wasn’t diagnosed until I was in my 20s after I had my kids, because my parents weren’t into the whole labeling thing and didn’t feel it was necessary for my raising. But it is necessary for insurance, so I went ahead and got an official diagnosis.

Both my boys do have autism; my oldest also has bipolar disorder, ADHD, oppositional defiant disorder, and I think that’s all of them. It basically means he’s a little more challenging behaviorally than my other son, Brandon, but Brandon’s autism impacts him more than Thomas’s does, if that makes sense to any of you.

Tricia Kenney: And then your husband is also dealing with health issues, too, correct?

Heather Sedlock: Correct. My husband is physically disabled due to COPD, which is emphysema and chronic bronchitis, basically. It’s from smoking for 30 plus years. Also, he had a heart attack a few years ago; he’s 27 years older than me, so I have that interesting dynamic.

Tricia Kenney: Right. So she has a whole list of things that she can write about. [Laughter]

Heather Sedlock: And then there’s also my physical issues.

Tricia Kenney: Right. You had your fight with cancer, as well.

Heather Sedlock: Yes, I’m battling cancer right now. I can’t say it’s a battle because we’re not doing anything. We’re waiting. It doesn’t sit well with me.

Tricia Kenney: I know.

Sharon daVanport: Heather, the reason why I had inquired about what your official title was is because I had read before that the Examiner was making some changes there, so I really didn’t know. I’d read about the changes they were making, and I don’t know if you’re considered reporters or—

Heather Sedlock: That’s a very good question. Even us Examiners don’t know. The PR push is that they’re “local people doing local…” That really offended me, because I’m national. I’m not local, and it’s like: “Oh, what? I’m not important anymore?” But basically, you are whatever you call yourself. I call myself a writer; they call us Examiners.

Sharon daVanport: But you know, it matters what you do.

Heather Sedlock: Some Examiners are offended to be called a blogger, because technically, it’s a column, not a blog. We’re paid. Blogs you have your ad revenue and it’s not the same as being paid, but whatever.

Sharon daVanport: Right. I notice that a lot of the articles that you specifically write about are autism spectrum, social anxiety disorder, some about post-traumatic stress disorder. I read in your biography, even reactive attachment disorder, bipolar disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, and agoraphobia. You have quite a list there. You can keep yourself pretty busy.

Heather Sedlock: Yes, and I do. I have a new place I’m writing for now, which is Special Mom Talk, for moms of special needs kids. Although right now we’re just republishing some prior Examiner content, I will be giving them some new stuff soon.

I’ve worked as a therapist; I’ve worked as a counsellor; I’ve worked with my own kids and my kids’ friends and my friends. It’s amazing to me how people don’t understand other people. I don’t understand social situations when I’m in them experiencing them. But when someone describes to me an event, I can tell you what that person’s motives were, what communication broke down, why it broke down. I’m good at analyzing it. I can tell them what the problem was and it can help. But when I’m experiencing it—when I’m doing it—I have not a clue, and I think that’s normal for most people.

Tricia Kenney: Yeah. It’s much easier to look outside.

Sharon daVanport: Right, and see what’s happening around you than when it happens to you. I was gonna ask you: What is the most controversial issue that you would say you had to write about? How is this able to incorporate your skills of being able to be intuitive and understand what the bigger picture was?

Heather Sedlock: The program is called TeenScreen. People are gonna argue with me about what it is, even. But it’s implemented by local schools. This program has a questionnaire; it is given to high school students to fill out and to identify “hot spots,” basically: things that might pose a problem emotionally. There’s social anxiety disorders they’re looking for, bipolar disorder, suicidal ideation, problems like that.

What’s going on is that schools are screening kids, which is a good thing, in my opinion, for these problems, because they’re not being picked up by a local pediatrician, by the parents, by whomever, for whatever reason. This is a way for the school personnel to help by pre-screening. In my opinion, it’s pre-screening children. So if there’s an answer on a questionnaire that says: “Hey, this person’s floundering,” then that parent is called. It’s explained to them—the student is there as well—and the parent can choose to go to a professional in their community and have the child examined, to see if it’s a real issue of if it’s one of those common teenage problems.

Sharon daVanport: What was the name of the article that you wrote?

Heather Sedlock: TeenScreen debate: to screen or not to screen adolescents.

Tricia Kenney: Heather writes a lot of articles. You write one almost every day.

Heather Sedlock: Just for Examiner alone is every day. And then I have my blogs. I have two WordPress blogs. One is heathr.wordpress.com That is my personal blog, where I share feelings, my anxieties, my persoal business. If you wanna know me, read that blog. I also share my poetry on there. It’s like my journal, basically. It’s a way of getting me out of my comfort zone and letting people in.

Then I have homeschoolheather.wordpress.com And I’ve begun this year in January. I started homeschooling my two boys. There’s some summaries on how it’s been, which has been very rocky to start, but it’s getting better as I get better. I talk about my experiences with that.

I have an Autisable blog at heatherbabes.autisable.com, where I talk about all things autism; about me, about my kids, mostly. The Temple Grandin HBO movie waa my most recent post there. I love that movie; that was so good.

Sharon daVanport: As an autistic female, how do you feel about the movie? Did you identify?

Heather Sedlock: With certain aspects, I did. I identified at the end of the movie, at the graduation scene: her singing and everyone having the reception that they had at first. I guess it’s not a strong suit, singing. I love to sing, so I do sing out loud and that’s the reaction I get.

[Laughter]

The thing is, not everyone who has autism thinks like Temple. There are different subtypes. I am not a visual thinker. I do see patterns, though. Not mathematical patterns. I see symbol patterns, which is what helps me write so prolifically and so well without any effort.

Sharon daVanport: She explained that well on the last-minute show that we had to do. She did speak about pattern thinking. So when you say “pattern thinking,” how does that help you in your work as someone who writes? How does it benefit you?

Heather Sedlock: I have something called hyperlexia. That is a precocious ability to read. But further, when you become an adult, what it does is it helps you read very quickly. The average person reads about 60 words a minute; I read over 200 words a minute.

Tricia Kenney: Wow.

Sharon daVanport: Wow.

Heather Sedlock: My son Brandon does the same thing. He was tested at reading 134 words per minute when his classmates were reading 20 words per minute.

Sharon daVanport: Is that comprehension as well? You’re comprehending what you’re reading?

Heather Sedlock: Yes. We read it first, then comprehend it. Read, memorize, comprehend. That’s another thing you saw in the movie with Temple—that’s another thing I related to. I didn’t start college until I was in my mid-to-late-20s. When I got there, I was so relieved; it was so cool.

I took a course called Interpersonal Communications, and I read the textbook within two weeks. The course was 11 weeks long. Then I spent the rest of the time applying the textbook knowledge to different situations that the professor improvised in the classroom. But on the final exam, it was multiple choice questions, true or false questions, and then a couple of short essay answer questions. All I did was regurgitate the material I had memorized nine weeks before. He was so impressed, he actually wrote the words: “Holy s*!” on the top of my paper.

Today isn’t like when I grew up. When I was 13 I lived in Boston. I traveled the T [the subway system and bus system] by myself; I didn’t have a curfew. I was still at home in bed at 10:00, because everybody else was. But I traveled the city. Some nights, on th weekends, I was out till 3:00, 4:00 in the morning. But today, I wouldn’t do that with my sons. I have to confirm with their friends’ parents.

Sharon daVanport: How old are your children?

Heather Sedlock: I have two sons; one is 11, and the other is 8. Thomas is 11, Brandon is 8. I also helped finish raising my niece. I had custody of her from age 14 to 18. She is the one who is a handful. [Laughter]

Sharon daVanport: They always say: “If you wanna get something done, ask a busy person.” Because they’ll get it done. You know what? I think I’m gonna be calling on you. [Laughter]

Heather Sedlock: That’s quite all right.

Sharon daVanport: Something that needs to get done, I bet you could find time to do it. I bet you can spread 24 into about 30 hours, right?

Heather Sedlock: [Laughter] Sure; why not?

Sharon daVanport: Wow. That’s amazing.

Heather Sedlock: I was interviewed recently on Mad Biz Women Blogtalk radio show, and we talked about time management. That’s very important as a writer. I started writing to share my knowledge with people, and I don’t ever really get the chance to share my writing techniques and things like that on a grand scale—not like I do with autism and special needs and stuff. But I do private, one-on-one mentorship relationships with other writers. So if you contact me, and you say: “Hey, how do I manage this aspect of my life?” I can help you.

Sharon daVanport: SOS! I’m really being serious; I would love to talk to you about that. That’s awesome.

Heather Sedlock: My e-mail address is heatherbabes AT gmail DOT com. “Heatherbabes” was my father’s pet name for me.

Sharon daVanport: What would you do? Say I call you. You may think I’m joking, but I’m not. Really—I would so appreciate this.

Heather Sedlock: I don’t get jokes, so I’m serious. [Laughter]

Sharon daVanport: What do you do when someone calls upon you for assistance like that?

Heather Sedlock: Usually, I try to narrow down what it is they’re looking for, because when you’re general and broad, it’s hard to help you. I would need to know what you want from me, specifically. What are you looking for? For instance, I recently had a conversation with Todd Vick. Great writer. He’s started writing a book, and I got the galleys for it. I’ve reviewed it; I’m gonna do some editing for him.

But in the meantime, I’m also telling him how to use social media to spread his brand. He needed an idea: “What is my brand? What do you mean by that?” Identifying key terms in the industry, and how do you use social media sites to your best advantage to get your name out there—get to be interviewed on the radio?

Tricia Kenney: Are you gonna be writing anything about the DSM changes that are coming?

Heather Sedlock: Yes, I am.

Tricia Kenney: They have one for bipolar and then also the one for autism that has changed. I don’t know if you’ve seen the one for the bipolar part.

Heather Sedlock: Yes, I have. but not enough to speak on comfortably. It takes me some time to process what it means, just because it’s gobbledygook stuff first.

Tricia Kenney: Well, they’re re-labeling children labeled with bipolar, because they don’t feel that children are actually falling into what would be bipolar, yet they’re still getting diagnosed with it. They’re saying especially that they don’t have the depression part.

Heather Sedlock: Right. I can speak about that. Children typically diagnosed with bipolar are considered the type with mania. There are subtypes, type I, type II, one is manic, one is a depressive, and then you have the mixed bag, where you have both. They’re commonly referred to as “frequent cyclers,” meaning all day long they go up, they go down, they go up, they go down, or a week up, a week down. My sister and my niece are both frequent cyclers.

My niece was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at age seven, and my son was diagnosed at age six. My son does get depression. He does wanna kill himself. When he was three years old, [crying] I walked into the room and I saw him with his sweatshirt with the sleeves wrapped around his neck, trying to choke himself to death.

Tricia Kenney: Oh, my God. Three?

Heather Sedlock: Three years old. So it really offends me when I hear doctors say: “Children don’t get depressed.” Since he’s become more verbal, that has been less of an issue, but he still has issues with depression. When he gets into a depression cycle, he hears things that aren’t there, he sees things that aren’t there—hallucinations. That is bipolar disorder. That is part and parcel. So, maybe it’s not true for all the kids being diagnosed bipolar, but I know it is true for my son. I know it is true for my niece. And I wish to gosh from the land of Golly-Gee that my sister had been diagnosed earlier.

Tricia Kenney: What they were referring to, from what I understood in the article, is the children who aren’t experiencing the depression part. The children’ who aren’t cycling at all, and just will get the bursts of anger and things like that.

Heather Sedlock: Very manic. That’s where I might have to disagree, because, to me, anger outbursts are a sign of depression. If you’re a happy person, are you gonna be angry?

Tricia Kenney: Well, what about the frustration of just being a kid who’s having trouble expressing themselves or understanding something, and you don’t know how to deal with that? And it just pops out as an expression of anger?

Heather Sedlock: Okay. That is your typical child meltdown. I call it a neurotypical child meltdown. They happen; no big deal. But when you’re talking about bipolar rage, you’re talking about a whole ‘nother kettle of fish—a figure of speech I’ve learned lately.

[Laughter]

Thomas not only punched holes in his wall, he would pick up a wooden dresser [unknown] and throw it.

Tricia Kenney: Oh, my God.

Heather Sedlock: He would punch, kick, bite, do whatever he could, because he was just so full of rage. That is quite different from the “I wanted to go to the mall; my mom wouldn’t let me, and she just wants to ruin my life!” type of stuff. That’s typical kid stuff. So maybe these kids have parents whoa re like: “My child’s not normal. She’s not listening to me. Fix her; label her. We’ll give her a pill, and she’ll be all better.” I think that’s what they’re trying to correct.

Tricia Kenney: I think the school systems have a lot to do with that, as well. If a child doesn’t just sit there with their hands on their desk and do everything they’re supposed to do, they’re like: “Ugh! We can’t control that child! Get them on medication now!” And that causes problems, too.

Heather Sedlock: Very good point. Schools sponsor pharmacology research, and psychologists are influeced by the pharmacology industry. I did do an article on that: Foster kids in Chicago are being medicated without consent. They are foster children, and they need consent from the state—not the foster parents.

I discussed it with a doctor that oversees the protocols for the state, for children who need pharmacology intervention. He was saying that, in today’s psychology industry, psychologists read studies and they hear the benefits of the drugs, they see the benefits of the drugs. And they will continue with the whole “pop a pill and fix you” Band-Aid approach, because it is in their best interests.

Also, psychologists have to label kids in order to get paid. In order for a child to continue seeing a psychologist, the insurance company demands a diagnosis. They do not like “Not Otherwise Specified” issues, either.

Tricia Kenney: We should probably bring Marc on. We wanna make sure he gets some fair time on the air here, too. Marc, are you still with us?

Marc Rosen: Yeah, I’m here.

Sharon daVanport: How are you this evening?

Marc Rosen: Well enough. I’ve just been trying to manage the stuff in Arkansas with that case.

Sharon daVanport: Yeah. Let’s talk a little bit about the writing that you do, though. We really wanna hear about the writing that you do for the Examiner. I noticed when I was reading your biography that you actually were inspired by the very first story that you covered. Can you tell the listeners about that?

Marc Rosen: I started off writing about the autistic rights movement in the Examiner, but before that, I wrote a letter to the editor to Newsday, mostly because I was offended at the way they were covering the issue—from the pro-cure, “these children are menaces and we have to cure them,” and they asked me to write a rebuttal.

Tricia Kenney: Let’s just tell people a little bit about Marc. Marc, if you wanna share a little bit about your history as well: What actually brought you into all of this, the writing that you’re doing?

Marc Rosen: To start with, I was diagnosed at an early age, around two-ish, but things were noticed before that. It’s hard to say exactly, since I don’t have the full history in front of me.

Sharon daVanport: And how old are you now, Marc?

Marc Rosen: I’m 21.

Sharon daVanport: And your diagnosis is?

Marc Rosen: Under the current DSM, it’s just autism.

Sharon daVanport: Right. What would it have been two days ago?

Marc Rosen: Two days ago, it would have been autism as well. [Laughter]

Sharon daVanport: Did you have delayed speech?

Marc Rosen: Yes; that’s actually what got me a diagnosis. But at the time it was PDD-NOS, because it was pre-spectrum.

Sharon daVanport: You’re a college student now, is that correct?

Marc Rosen: Yes. I’m basically just finishing up my degree. I’m an English major.

Sharon daVanport: Did you go into that because it was a particular focus interest, or did you feel it would help further your career?

Marc Rosen: I figured: “I may as well learn to do what I love as best I can, and I’ll take it from there.” It’s really only the past year or two I’ve gotten a real focused goal out of it.

Sharon daVanport: What are some of the stories that you like to cover the most? I know that you like doing different kinds of advocacy, and I notice in your biography that you like to address issues to ensure a better future for autistic people. We’re not gonna mention specific names and cases and things like that; we’d like to keep it pretty general, so that we can get an overall view of all of your work.

Marc Rosen: Well, I try to promote events or studies or groups I think might actually be helpful while simultaneously not disrespecting the kids who’d be helped.

Tricia Kenney: That’s really important. I think people generally have a tendency to talk about autistic people as if we can’t hear them or see them or read what they’re saying.

Heather Sedlock: It’s Heather; I had a question for Marc. When did you start writing? In general?

Marc Rosen: Ten or eleven, I really started getting an interest in it.

Heather Sedlock: Okay, so similar to me.

Sharon daVanport: Were you inspired by one of your teachers, or is it something you naturally gravitate toward.

Marc Rosen: It’s just an interest. [Unknown] and went with it. [Unknown] From there, poetry and then found I was good at non-fiction.

Sharon daVanport: So you do write poetry as well?

Marc Rosen: Yes, and actually I’m soon to be published in an anthology of Long Island poets. The book launch is next month, actually. Yeah.

Tricia Kenney: Oh, very nice.

Sharon daVanport: Is it a book of poetry?

Marc Rosen: Yes. [Unknown] around with 39 other poets.

Tricia Kenney: What is the name of the book?

Marc Rosen: It’s called Determinations. You can find it on Lulu; I’ll find a link for you. But I don’t think it’s released yet.

Heather Sedlock: I also published a piece in an anthology for poetry. It’s called The Colors of Life. I can also provide a link. I think it’s interesting we have a lot of similarities, Marc and I.

Sharon daVanport: Now, how do you [Marc] feel about that changes that have been taking place with the Examiner?

Marc Rosen: I really have not paid much attention to them, I’ll be honest. I’ve been on unofficial hiatus due to school and stuff for the past few weeks. [Unknown] An article here and there, but I’ve mainly been focusing elsewhere.

Tricia Kenney: How do you feel about the word “Asperger’s” being taken out and everything just being lumped together as “autism”?

Marc Rosen: I think that as long as they don’t try to invalidate previous diagnoses and just grandfather everything in, it’ll increase the availability of services.

Heather Sedlock: Amen.

Tricia Kenney: That’s my thought. Not so much the grandfathering part, but just the services that will be available to those who previously have been denied because they were considered too high-functioning to need help.

Marc Rosen: And honestly, designations for functioning levels aren’t appropriate. They don’t work. Call me “high-functioning”—and I say: “And what does that mean?” They give me this blank stare. And it astonishes me that they call themselves professionals when they say that kind of thing.

Heather Sedlock: I’m considered “high-functioning,” but I have support services. I have someone who comes in Monday through Friday to clean and cook; I have someone who comes in three days a week to make sure I bathe, ‘cause I will forget; and a nurse comes to check on me every two weeks to make sure I don’t have any medical issues, because I won’t report them. I have a lot of support services, because there’s just things that neurotypical people do juwt naturally that does not even come into my head. But yet, they call me “high-functioning.” I could not be a parent; I could not be a writer; I could not do what I do if I did not have those services.

Sharon daVanport: This is amazing to me, because we have a friend in the autism community that lives in Denmark, and he talks about the services that are provided to him: someone comes in and helps with the shopping and the cleaning. A couple of months ago when I found this out, I’m thinking: “I wanna move to Denmark.” Now, you live in Oklahoma, right?

Heather Sedlock: Now, this is a problem, because some people don’t like to be labeled as “disabled.” That’s what you need to do in order to get these services. My kids were approved by Social Security to be disabled, and they also get personal aides who will come in the home and help them with their homeschooling, with their work, keep them focused. They will also receive help getting bathed, dressing, learning[,?] all of that stuff. It’s paid for by the state through federal funding. Every state has a program. It’s called something else, though, in every state. In my state, it’s called “Advantage;” in Massachussetts, it’s called “Options.” You can ask your local Department of Health and Human Services what that program is.

Tricia Kenney: Well I did ask here in Missouri, and they said no, they have absolutely nothing like that.

Heather Sedlock: They’re lying.

Tricia Kenney: Well, find it for me, Heather. Find it for me.

[Laughter]

Heather Sedlock: I will find it for you, and I will send you the link.

Sharon daVanport: Marc, do they have that where you are? Do you have someone that can come in and assist you?

Marc Rosen: I don’t qualify for it yet, because I’m not on SSI.

Heather Sedlock: Yeah. You do have to be on SSI or SSDI or Social Security income.

Tricia Kenney: Oh, so I would have to be on that myself? Not just my kids?

Heather Sedlock: No, no. Your kids or yourself, if you qualify.

Marc Rosen: Yeah. I don’t qualify because my mother basically messed with my finances, so [because of?] her flaws, which I’m still in the process of correcting, I don’t have [unknown] until the paperwork clears.

Heather Sedlock: Yeah. I did an article on special needs trust funds.

Marc Rosen: My mother improperly set it up, [just unknowingly?] [Unknown] about where the funds came from.

Heather Sedlock: Yeah. That’s the problem a lot of parents aren’t paying attention to: you have to set it up a certain way so it does not affect and does not count as a resource.

Marc Rosen: I know. And basically, I’m just having it redesignated, but that takes months. I’m still waiting for the paperwork, though. Once I have that, I’ll apply, but I’m only doing it really to get Medicaid and related services. I’d rather work, if I can.

Heather Sedlock: That’s the part I’m hoping the DSM changes will help us with: if we don’t have to be disabled on SSI in order to receive these services, because we are lumped together, then that might prove more beneficial. We can work and get coverage through ordinary insurance.

Marc Rosen: But there’s another part of it. The thing is, I don’t need the SSI once I get it, because I’ll have Medicaid and I can just buy in.

Heather Sedlock: Exactly. See, the public option, which I also did an article on. Public option in the health care reform would solve so many problems for the special needs kids becoming adults and everything, because you have the buy in option.

Marc Rosen: I’m being realistic. We’re not gonna see anything from that for years. The Medicaid buy in is a small silver lining there.

Heather Sedlock: Yeah. It’s a hopeful lining.

Sharon daVanport: Now the comment I was going to share with our listeners. Amy Caraballo is an Examiner reporter as well, and she lives in Pennsylvania. She just made a comment that Pennsylvania now has an adult waiver for services. I’d sure like to hear about that, because the more that we can put out there, that would be awesome.

Tricia Kenney: That way, we don’t have to move to Denmark. [Laughter]

Sharon daVanport: I don’t know; I’d still like to move to Denmark. [Laughter] It sounds good to me.

Heather Sedlock: Denmark’s awesome. In the meantime, I believe the health waiver for services is an en route around the whole SSI problem—meaning you don’t have to qualify for Social Security to get services, if I’m not mistaken. I hope Amy’s explaining it now in the chat room or calling in.

Sharon daVanport: Amy’s really good at this. One thing I like about having Amy as a contributing writer for the AWN is that she will research, research, research. She will cross her Ts and she will dot her Is.

Heather Sedlock: Which is why I subscribe to her column.

Sharon daVanport: I really appreciate the article that she wrote for us recently. I feel that whatever she’s gonna share with us, I’m just really looking forward to it.

Amy Caraballo: Hello? I’m here; can you hear me?

Sharon daVanport: So what is this waiver service in Pennsylvania?

Amy Caraballo: In Pennsylvania, they have a Medicaid waiver in place that has been in place for some time, which basically qualifies for children with disabilities—autism is qualifying under that umbrella—to have medical assistance coverage, which then covers the autism services. It’s not unique in our state, but we have wraparound systems, behavioral rehabilitation services. Unfortunately, up until this past year, once they hit 18 or 19 years old, the coverage went away, and they had nothing.

Sharon daVanport: [Is that like] Oklahoma, Heather?

Heather Sedlock: Yes. I’m not specifically sure about Oklahoma, but I do know in Massachusetts, they did have similar abilities. I did not want for services in Massachussetts: not in school, not in medical, not in anything. My boys had in-home therapy. I was agoraphobic at the time; I did not leave my house. So the therapists would come to the homes, into the schools. They had all types of services: doctors making house calls and everything. I didn’t want for services at all, because they had a simiar program [to Pennsylvania.]

Sharon daVanport: Amy, you said that this has been in place for a while in Pennsylvania?

Amy Caraballo: Yes. For the children, it has been. I can’t tell you when it started. In fact, my son was diagnosed at age four with Asperger’s. But prior to that, he had already qualified for coverage. At the time, we had to pay 100 percent out of our pocket for his coverage through our employers, and he had some other significant issues: asthma, some gastric problems. We were up to our eyeballs in co-pays and whatnot, and we had been told by Children’s Hospital Network that he would probably qualify.

We went ahead and applied, and hear they have a waiver for children who have lifelong disabilities, and they can qualify. But, again, it would expire at the time they became adults—legally, 18. In the past two years, Pennsylvania implemented the Bureau of Autism Services, which has been pushing to try to come up with better programming for kids on the spectrum.

Also, what’s been really key that they’ve been working on is Adult Autism Waiver, which basically is still very, very new. We’re not exactly sure what the services look like yet. They’re still accepting bids in a lot of ways from diffferent agencies and whatnot to try to put programs in place. But it’s to extend the coverage, and also potentially, services, which are all in the very early stages of creation. Those who qualify and have a show of need would then qualify to continue on with the medical assistance coverage, to cover any services that they would need.

Sharon daVanport: Nice. Hey, Marc, this is Sharon. Do you feel outnumbered? Look at all these women: you’re the only guy. Okay, there’s three Examiner reporters on here, and then two hosts on here, and we’re all women. Are you feeling a little bit outnumbered here, Marc? Are you okay over there? [Laughter]

Marc Rosen: Fine; I’m fine.

Tricia Kenney: In Oklahoma, I know that they have a DDSD waiver program, which is, again, designed to supplement income for families with disabled children.

Heather Sedlock: They now call it “Advantage.”

Sharon daVanport: I wanna ask: are there specific articles that address all the information that has just been shared? Like with you, Amy, Pennsylvania. With you, Heather, Massachussets, and then then, Marc, you’re saying you’ve seen some different issues and situations happen financially that have hindered you due to some miscommunications. I don’t know how you would say that. Are there specific articles that you can direct our listeners to?

Marc Rosen: I wish I could, but I’m not familiar with the particulars, unfortunately. I mostly [unknown].

Amy Caraballo: I have not actually covered any of that at this time, but I’m actually the western Pennsylvania Examiner, so I’m supposed to stay within topic, although I don’t always. But I’m sure I can find a way to spin that into western PA. I can direct people to the Bureau of Autism Services,

Heather Sedlock: I don’t do location-specific topics because I’m a national topic, so what I do is, if I have information about Oklahoma, I might try to find a Tulsa Special Needs Kids Examiner, which is what I used to be, and they haven’t found another one to fill that spot. But they would not let me do both in my channel, which is Family and Parenting. But they are still working on me being the Tulsa Autism Examiner in the Health channel, so I’ll soon have Oklahoma-relevant information in that spot as soon as they can get their technical glitch [corrected?]

Tricia Kenney: They even have a program down there called the Disabled Child Program. You can get I think it’s like $750 worth of equipment.

Heather Sedlock: The DCP? Yes, they still have that. The only problem now is it’s more difficult to get. The funding has been cut, so if you already have Medicaid or if you already have this program or that program, you cannot get it.

Tricia Kenney: Oh, my gosh.

Heather Sedlock: Yeah.

Sharon daVanport: Hey, Marc, I wanted to ask you real quick: You said you were taking a break because of school right now.

Marc Rosen: I’m about to resume, and I’m still an Examiner, yes.

Sharon daVanport: I don’t know if we asked you to give your contact information—where people can find your articles. Can you go ahead and tell our listeners?

Marc Rosen: Sure. It’s Long Island Autism Examiner.

Tricia Kenney: Todd Vick is in the chatroom [Heather,] and he wanted to know if you are editing his book while you talk.

[Laughter]

Heather Sedlock: I do have Purple Lilacs in front of me on the desk, red pen in hand. When others are speaking, I’m listening and editing, yes. I’m busted. I’m sorry. [Laughter] He and I had talked about this. One of the aspects that makes me good at what I do, is I can multitask when it comes to these kind of tasks. I always have ten documents open on my window. I’m writing; I’m editing; I’m listening to people talk, or whatever. My kids are jumping around me, crazy, whatever. Yeah, I was.

Sharon daVanport: Wow. You must have some major Gemini in you. That sounds really weird, but oh well. [Laughter]

Heather Sedlock: I’m Capricorn, so whatever that means.

Sharon daVanport: All right! Okay! I’m a Cancer with a Scorpio rising. Wait until we get into astrology, but I like Capricorns. You’re out there in the public, and that fits in well.

Hey, Marc, I wanted to ask you: with your college courses that you’re taking, are you able to take on stories that are relevant to maybe issues going on with campus life? Things going on on campus? Like, say a student with a disability or something? Do you take on stories like that?

Marc Rosen: I try to, but the closest I’ve been able to get so far is linking to my articles in the school online newspaper. But I’ve also been working with, for example, my college’s Council for Exceptional Children’s in order to discourage them from donating to Autism Speaks, or to just generally help them in areas involving this issue.

Heather Sedlock: That is good work there, Marc. I didn’t realize colleges had those type of programs. Maybe I should look over at mine and see what they got.

Marc Rosen: Well, I think it’s just a club called the Council for Exceptional Children. It’s a national organization.

Heather Sedlock: With a local chapter type of thing?

Marc Rosen: Pretty much, yeah. I’ve gone to their state conference before.

Heather Sedlock: Oh, okay. That’s awesome. Sorry. I’m geeking out on that.

Sharon daVanport: You know what, folks? We’ve only got four minutes remaining in the show, so I wanna go ahead and give everyone a chance to say their goodbyes and for Trish and I to say our thank-yous, and just see if there’s anything else that maybe we left out that Heather, Marc and Amy would like to share with our listeners.

Heather Sedlock: First, I just wanna thank everybody for listening and giving a hoot about what I write about. I find that kind of funny. That’s kind of neat. But thank you, and that’s about it.

Sharon daVanport: Well, thank you, Heather. Thank you very much.

Marc Rosen: I would like to thank everyone for listening in. You can see my [unknown] through the articles. I’ve done a great exposé on Autism Speaks, and I plan to expand on that again, since the walks are coming up.

Sharon daVanport: Yes. Keep us infomred about that. That’s good information to know, on the walks.

Tricia Kenney: Is it almost walking season already?

[Laughter]

Heather Sedlock: Yes.

Sharon daVanport: Let’s move to Hawaii, maybe so. Not Denmark, but maybe Hawaii. [Laughter] It’s so cold here in Nebraska; it’s just been the longest winter.

Amy Caraballo: Thank you for bringing me in. I just wanna thank everybody for listening, and also that I write specifically on special education issues, and I’ve been covering “zero tolerance” as well as lack of support in our western—

Heather Sedlock: That’s a good topic.

Tricia Kenney: Yep. I’ve been seeing Amy a lot on Facebook. [Laughter]

Amy Caraballo: [I’m] all over the place.

Heather Sedlock: I subscribe to Amy, actually, and she’s got some great articles on the zero tolerance policies. You guys should really check those out.

Sharon daVanport: You know what, Amy? I just want you to know that I’m just really proud to know that the Autism Women’s Network has you as a contributing writer. We appreciate your work; we appreciate your efficiency; we appreciate the fact that you’re very detail-oriented. You always check out the facts. I haven’t seen one thing that you’ve ever e-mailed me—any ideas, a storyline, anything—that you had not already checked out the facts on: not once, not twice, but several phone calls.

Amy Caraballo: Thank you. I appreciate that. And as a matter of fact, after I get off with you guys, I’m going to go talk to Corina and work on another one.

Sharon daVanport: All right! You and Corina Becker? Go for it! We’re looking forward to that. Listen, we’ve got one minute to go, folks, so Marc, Heather, Amy, thank you guys so much for coming on. And especially Marc and Heather, Trish and I, the AWN, just wants to make our apologies again for the technical difficulties. It was no one’s fault; it was just some streamlining technical glitches. Probably something I messed up when I was playing around in Blogtalk, trying to post the show. But thank you for your patience in having to reschedule the show. You guys have a great evening, okay?

Heather Sedlock: Good night.

Amy Caraballo: Good night.

Marc Rosen: Good night.

Sharon daVanport: All right, Tricia. Great show, as always. I have so much fun doing the shows and learning so much about different people in the autism community.

Tricia Kenney: Yep. And I guess now we all know, anybody who wants services, get in touch with Heather and she can look it up for you. So you can find out what you can get in your state.

Sharon daVanport: That’s right. Unless you wanna move to Denmark.

[Laughter]

Tricia Kenney: [unknown] immigration laws, and you know. [Laughter]

Sharon daVanport: Absolutely. Listen, everyone: I just wanted to let everyone know we’re hoping to go ahead and get our next show lined up within the next 48 hours for the next three shows. Tricia and I will be talking tonight about that, and so stay tuned. This has been AWN radio. Thank you very much. Bye-bye.

Tricia Kenney: Bye.

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