Tag Archives: daddy blog

The benefits of Secondary Therapies & Autism

Yesterday I was fortunate to speak to a college class about communication and networking and business.  I love speaking in front of groups, so it was a lot of fun.  Thanks Professor A’isha Malone and Tarrant County College for letting me go on and on and on…

Of course the topic of autism, “Look At My Eyes” and my son who has autism came up.  I got about as many questions regarding that topic as I did communication and networking and business.

One lady came up to me and started asking about various therapies and treatments for autism.  My wife and I like to call them “secondary therapies.”

Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA Therapy) is the only scientifically proven therapy (not a cure) to help with children on the spectrum, but there are a number of secondary outlets or therapies that really help children on the spectrum.

There is horse therapy, music therapy, art therapy, various exercises, sports, and probably many that I am not even thinking about.  These are great IN ADDITION to your traditional speech therapy, ABA therapy, occupational therapy and the likes.

I would highly encourage all parents of children with autism to look into a secondary therapy for their child.  They are not going to “cure” your child.  They are an outlet for your child to gain self-confidence, self-control, respect for authority, independence…just a wonderful opportunity to express themselves.

Not all secondary therapies are right for all children.  Just like the children themselves, every one is different.

We started our son (now almost 7 years old) in horse therapy.  We bought him boots and found a place that would teach him and let him ride.  It lasted about 3-6 months and then we stopped.  William liked it but he didn’t LOVE it.  He was pretty indifferent much of the time so we decided to find something else.

We found Kung-Fu.  He LOVES Kung-Fu.  He has a wonderful teacher who has worked with special needs children in the past, is very patient and kind but yet a stern authority figure.

William knows that if he does not pay attention or focus the lesson will be over.  At times the lessons have lasted 5 minutes.  Other times they can go on for 30 minutes.

The progress he has made is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!  He has improved on his focus, concentration, ability to pay attention as well as his memorization of techniques and drills, jumping, rolling, kicking.

So I encourage you to find a secondary therapy opportunity that will help your child.  We are thrilled with our secondary therapy and who knows…maybe our son will become the first autistic Bruce Lee…that would be cool.

What secondary therapies do you find helpful?  Feel free to share

To read more blogs from Seth and TheFowler4Group, check out their Website (www.lookatmyeyes.com) and while you’re there, buy a copy of their book, “Look At My Eyes”.  Or find them on YouTube.  To contact TheFowler4 Group email: info@thefowler4group.com…oh and they just released their book in SPANISH as well…buy it now!

The Autism Dog

His name is Charley Bear…

Yep…he’s a dog and he’s great!  In February we got a miniature Golden-Doodle dog and he’s great.  Yeah he barks (sorry neighbors…well not all of you–he’s a puppy, deal with it!) and he still bites and jumps a bit too much…but he’ll continue to learn and he’s great!

My wife and I were hesitant to bring a dog into our special needs family.  Our son, William (6) has autism and our daughter, Margaret (4) didn’t much care for dogs prior to getting Charley Bear.

I had dogs around me growing up–but never the “Boy and his dog” type scenario…they were just there.  My wife had cats (ick) as a child.  So neither of us were really gung-ho at first.  But now we are.

Charley Bear loves to please.  He loves William and Margaret and loves to play with them.  He allows the ear pulling, the squeezing, the grabbing and tugging…he’ll snap at the kids still–but for the most part, he’s just what our family needs.

They’re not cheap dogs and Charley Bear has already cost me a bit in medical issues–ear infection, allergies, toys and stuff…but to me it’s worth it.

I can’t wait to see how the kids and Charley Bear grow up together.  He is their dog (although I like to play with him just as much) and I’m excited to see how they all mature and grow together.

If you have a special needs child…consider getting a dog.  Make sure you get a dog that is willing to be harassed because that’s just what is going to happen.

You’ll be glad you did.  Anyone else have stories about their pets with special needs children?

To read more blogs from Seth and TheFowler4Group, check out their Website (www.lookatmyeyes.com) and while you’re there, buy a copy of their book, “Look At My Eyes”.  Or find them on YouTube.  To contact TheFowler4 Group email: info@thefowler4group.com…oh and they just released their book in SPANISH as well…buy it now!

Mirame los Ojos…Look at My Eyes…Autism in Spanish

Hopefully you are already aware of the book my wife and I wrote last year, Look At My Eyes.  IF not…then you need to check it out.  We penned the book to discuss not only our story of dealing with navigating the autism spectrum, but to share helpful in-home exercises, words of encouragement, ways to deal with insurance issues, good Websites and I wrote portions from a father’s perspective–because there is so little out there for dads when dealing with a child with autism.

The book has been out for about 15 months and we’ve had a blast telling and selling.  We have been blessed to have caught the attention of many in the media, conference organizers and parents who are desperate to have a good resource that is a quick read and is meant to bring a message of hope and encouragement.

At our first speaking engagement an elderly lady came up to me and told me about her grandson that she was taking care of and thanked me for writing the book and spending our own time and our own money to publish the book.  She did not speak English very well…she spoke Spanish.

While she could read our book and understand what we were saying at our talk, she was more confident in her native language.  That makes sense…we see that a lot these days.  You only have to turn on the local sports station to see athletes from all over the world playing in the United States doing interviews in their tongue they are most comfortable using.  Heck, there are players who have lived/played in the U.S.A. for years and you know they speak English very well but they just want to be more confident speaking their favored language.

Autism has no language.  Autism doesn’t affect English-speaking children more than Spanish-speaking children.  Autism doesn’t care where you are from, what kind of car you drive or whether you vote red or blue.

And so it hit me…we need to have our book translated into Spanish.

I immediately started thinking how I could make that possible.  The first printing cost us a good bit of money and I doubt we’ll ever “break even” (would be nice but that’s not our goal) and we didn’t have the funds for a second book like we did for the first one.

It was high on my prayer list.  I would pray that it would be possible because there is so little in the Latino community in terms of outreach and resources for families dealing with autism.

It was really cool how it all came about.

As it turns out…my brother-in-law’s brother (follow with me here) is a licensed translator and would be living in the U.S. for a few years…he and his wife spend a lot of time in Central America and we don’t see them that often.  But he would be living only 2 hours from us for a few years and would be willing to help translate the book for a very affordable price…step one.

Step two was finding a publisher that would allow us to keep the rights, not cost quite as much as our first publisher and yet would help us distribute the book and make it available online.

A family friend of ours also has been writing a book.  He used a publisher that met all that criteria.  They were a fraction of the original publisher, they didn’t take so much money up-front (that was huge bc we didn’t have the funds) and they arm of the largest Christian publishing house, Thomas Nelson Publishing, in the world…so they have a great reputation and know how to get things done.

I was so happy to learn about these two options!  When discussing marketing and outreach with our new publisher my answer was, “well, we didn’t spend any money on outside resources with Look At My Eyes and we have been able to generate a good amount of buzz.”

But that wasn’t going to be the case with Mirame los Ojos…not only do I have not have the time to do much for the first book anymore, I certainly don’t have the time or energy to promote the second book…it’s exhausting (oh and I also run the sales and marketing division of a new home building company so yeah, I’m pretty busy)

The icing on the cake with our publisher was that–since we didn’t come out of pocket as much as I had thought/planned for Mirame los Ojos we would be able to spend a few dollars utilizing their marketing and PR arm of their operations.

And thus…Mirame los Ojos came about.

It’s been a few months since the book was officially released.  I have no idea how it’s selling…hopefully well.  We recently spoke at the Autism Society National Convention and met with a number of families, presenters, professionals and they were extremely excited to know about the Spanish version of the book.

Our PR firm started last Monday.  We had enough money to pay for about 3 months of outreach.  I can’t wait to see what’s in store for us and for both books with their knowledge, savvy and muscle behind our efforts.

We have already presented to a group of Latino families (we spoke English and it was translated) and the response was amazing!  We sold more books than we ever have for a small presentation.  You could just see how thirsty the parents and care takers were to get helpful information in their more comfortable tongue.

For Christmas this year I have asked for $$$ so I can purchase Spanish lesson software.  I speak a little French (worthless in Texas) but am dying to learn to speak Spanish.

My goal is to not to need a Spanish translator when I meet a father or speak to a group of parents…how cool would that be!

We live in Fort Worth, Texas…if you know ANY organization or group, church, whatever that would benefit from us sharing our story and message of hope in English or Spanish…please feel free to contact us for an engagement…we would love to help in any way we can.

So buy the book in English and in Spanish and tell everyone you know about them.

To read more blogs from Seth and TheFowler4Group, check out their Website (www.lookatmyeyes.com) and while you’re there, buy a copy of their book, “Look At My Eyes”.  Or find them on YouTube.  To contact TheFowler4 Group email: info@thefowler4group.com…oh and they just released their book inSPANISH as well…buy it now!

We’re asking the WRONG questions when it comes to Autism!

Okay, here’s a dad’s rant about autism…enjoy

Recently my wife and I were interviewed for CBS 11 in Fort Worth/Dallas regarding the recent study that said 1 in 88 children are now diagnosed with some form of pervasive developmental disorder.

Mainly they wanted to ask about our feelings of the change in numbers (previously it was 1 in 100 children) and all that good stuff.

How I feel?  Dude…you should’ve asked me that 4 years ago when my son was diagnosed with autism…how I feel about a report that doesn’t really pertain to me or the state of my family?  I’m sad that numbers are increasing…I’m sad that not much SEEMS to be going on to help these numbers.

Other than that it’s just a report.  They can make numbers say just about anything.  Is there a problem?  YES.  But the story should not be in the numbers…it needs to be in other things.

WE’RE ASKING THE WRONG QUESTIONS when it comes to reports and autism and our children.

Soapbox #1 from Seth: I care but I really don’t care if the stats are 1 in 1,000 or 1 in 10 children who are diagnosed on the spectrum…the fact is that they have IT or they have something else going on with them that is keeping them from being “typical” so instead of worrying about reports–why don’t we worry about how funding is so bad?

I love Texas.  I have lived in other countries and other states and I love Texas.  I have grown up here and I want to be here for as long as I live…but some times I want to SMACK! the state of Texas, politicians, law makers, people who decide funding.

Yes I know our public schools stink–they are only going to get worse btw.

If 1 in 88 children are on the spectrum…where is the funding for these children?

Why are we all up in arms about these reports…BUT not up in arms (as much) about the pathetic excuse states like the great state of Texas have for not funding research, education, training.

As I so eloquently stated in the TV interview…”The issue is not the report, the issue is What the Heck are We Going to do with these precious children when 1 in 88 of them are 18, 19, 20+ years old?”

Soapbox from Seth #2: According to the Harvard School of Public Health: “The cost of a lifetime of care for one person with autism is $3.2 million, mostly in lost productivity and adult care”

And yet where is our funding?  I recently read an article that stated how autism affects more children in the U.S. than diabetes, childhood AIDS, CP, TB, and a bunch of other ailments…I think even cancer in children…COMBINED.

What’s it going to take to get  the public’s attention beyond wearing a blue puzzle piece or being aware for a month in April?

We need to be asking these questions:

1. What are we doing TODAY to decrease 1 in 88 children?  What are we doing for our minority communities?  How are we reaching all Americans and informing them early signs of detection or intervention?

2. What are we doing about educating parents who are just now learning that their child is on the autism spectrum?

3. What are we doing about putting 1 in 88 into an educational environment to learn in their own unique way–NEWS FLASH…children on the spectrum aren’t dumb…they’re not worthless or useless or unable to integrate into typical society…we just need to learn to educate and reach them so they can maximize their potential

4. What are we doing to educate SOCIETY about how to interact with 1 in 88?

5. What kind of programs, therapies, training are we providing the 1 in 88 at an early age?  We can’t wait and hope that our public (or even private) schools will all of a sudden help our children as they start Kindergarten

6. How are we making it possible for all families to afford the proper therapy?

7. How are we training businesses and owners to employ, train and help make our 1 in 88 successful tax-paying citizens?

8. What about housing for the 1 in 88 when they reach their 20’s, 30’s, 40’s?

I could go on and on but my blood pressure is rising and I’m rambling.

It’s not about a report.  Yeah 1 in 88 sucks…so what then?

What are we prepared to do and when are people going to start listening?

To read more blogs from Seth and TheFowler4Group, check out their Website (www.lookatmyeyes.com) and while you’re there, buy a copy of their book, “Look At My Eyes”.  Or find them on YouTube.  To contact TheFowler4 Group email: info@thefowler4group.com