Chicago Parent Staff


Use local autism resource

Thank you for your feature story on autism in your April issue. During Autism Awareness Month in April I sometimes cringe at the number of news pieces that focus only on identifying the signs of autism or the hopelessness of the family. It paints a distorted picture for newly diagnosed families. Your collection of family stories tells our story. You’ve shown our fears but also our immense love and determination. You’ve shown that living with autism is not an ideal situation but that our families draw strength from one another. And your welcome profiles of autistic teenagers help the public understand that autism is not just a ‘children’s’ disability. It affects the person throughout his or her lifespan.

Newly diagnosed families need to know that they do not have to be alone in this journey. As parents who have been down this road, we can point them in the right direction. Those who are looking for practical strategies, local resources or the opportunity to connect with Illinois parents of children, teens and adults with autism can find that information at www.autismcommunityconnection.com.

Dawn Villarreal
Autism Community Connection

Mom: An autism cure

I was very surprised to read that there is "no cure" for autism. Doctors who treat autism biomedically have been curing autistic children for years. My daughter is recovered, and my severely autistic son is now high functioning. Your information is very outdated and doesn’t serve parents well. The most recent scientific and medical research supports a strong GI, autoimmune and neurological connection, such that treating the GI and autoimmune components can greatly enhance neurological functioning.

The Chicago area is one of the least informed areas in the first world in terms of biomedical treatments for autism, and focusing on the difficulties and hopelessness of autism only perpetuates the myth that autism is untreatable.

I currently lecture in the Chicago area on autism prevention. I encourage you to help more families access this type of information for their children, rather than writing the typical and outdated "autism awareness month" story.

Amy Wieder

Single parenthood

Being a mother at a very young age is very challenging and sometimes lots of fun. There will be times when things get a little frustrating and crazy. But, you will have to overlook these obstacles and sometimes laugh.

At age 20, I am currently raising two boys. I am a full-time mother and a full-time student and am currently looking for employment. I love my boys more than anything and will do anything for them. That’s why I get up everyday—just for them. When I see their smiles they make all my troubles and worries go away. I try my best and sometimes that is not good enough. I have to make a life full of happiness and protection.

I know that I am not the only single mother out here struggling. There are times when I want to scream and holler at the top of my lungs thinking about how I am going to get through the day; how tiring it is to get up every morning with no help and worry how I am going to take care of my boys.

It doesn’t matter if I am sick or tired, I still give my babies a smile. It is my responsibility to make sure they have the best life anyone could have.

To every single parent out there, I just want to say keep your head up. Things will get better as time goes on. Love yourself and your children. Do the best you can and that child will love you back. Also, have a good laugh.

Dominique Austin

Health plan needed

As a doctor and head of the state’s public health agency, I consider access to quality, affordable healthcare a right, not a privilege. Unfortunately, more than one million people in Illinois do not have access to that right. Every day, they are faced with the possibility of expensive emergency room visits for conditions and illnesses that could have been prevented, as well as skyrocketing costs for hospital treatment, if they are admitted. Gov. Rod Blagojevich has introduced an aggressive plan to change this broken healthcare system.

The governor’s plan, called Illinois Covered, benefits hospitals, insurance companies, employers and—most importantly—those who don’t have or can’t afford quality healthcare.

If the General Assembly passes Illinois Covered, everyone across the state without insurance will finally have access to their right to healthcare.

Dr. Eric E. Whitaker
Director, Illinois Dept. of Public Health

End celebrity profiles

I was disappointed to see yet another celebrity profile in the February 2007 edition of Chicago Parent. Please don’t be another publication that buys into the overwhelming culture of celebrity in this country. I would much rather see a profile of an "average" non-celebrity parent than read about Gale Gand, Kathy Hart or a Chicago Bear. There are more than enough places to read or hear about celebrities in our celebrity obsessed culture. There are many things I like about Chicago Parent, especially the new nutrition column. Keep up the good work and keep the celebrity stuff to a minimum.

Wendy Burgess

Kids Eat Chicago

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