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Easter Seals Story: Getting Help for Asperger's Syndrome

Was it ADD? Anxiety? The Kozak family didn't know what was plaguing their daughter Abby. But with the help of Easter Seals Michigan, they found out and got the treatment and services they needed.

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Abby agrees. "Lately, we've been working on an anti-bullying campaign. We're planning a march," she says. "It's been a lot of fun just to hang out with a lot of different people who had similar problems to mine, so I related to them. I just feel comfortable."

The council of teens, which is part social group, part advocacy group, meets every two weeks, rotating between the Easter Seals offices in Auburn Hills and Southfield.

Through her involvement in Easter Seals, Abby, who used to shun crowds and keep mainly to herself, has been able to accept a role as Easter Seals' 2013 Child Ambassador. The assignment has given her a chance to talk to several groups about the importance of the services offered through the organization.

In September, she participated in the annual "Walk With Me Detroit" fundraising effort at the Detroit Zoo. Abby walked along with a crowd of over 600 people. When asked if she was anxious about being involved, Abby thought about it for a moment.

"It was kind of like, more like an excited type of anxiety. I was nervous about what was going to happen. But then I noticed that my friends were there from the Teen Advisory Council. I saw them and I thought, 'OK, I'm good.' It felt pretty good."

The P.L.A.Y. Project

Easter Seals also has a new early intervention program for kids with autism. In its effort to support families of these children, Easter Seals offers the P.L.A.Y. (Play and Language for Autistic Youngsters) Project.

"Through the evidence-based program, parents receive training on how to interact with their (autistic) child in a way that promotes language development, encourages social interaction, and can lessen autism severity," says Solomon.

This early intervention program is primarily home based: Consultants visit with families in their homes and teach parents fun and useful ways to "play" with their children.

For more information, visit Easter Seals Michigan online or call 800-75-SEALS.

Easter Seals Michigan serves and supports people with disabilities or special needs and their families, so they can successfully live, learn, work and play in their communities. Easter Seals has been serving Michigan residents since 1920.

Jul 10, 2013 06:44 pm
 Posted by  marzs13

Hi, I have an adult son who has a lot of social anxiety. It started around age 16, but has progressed since. He self medicated by getting high all through his teens. He has been in more than a few rehab programs and hospitals. I don't think it's a substance abuse problem as much as it is him just wanting to feel normal or what he thinks is normal. He has problems with noise and crowds. He doesn't have any real friends and never finished high school, although he tried but could never sit in the classroom. The noise and other students talking would distract him or he would think they were talking about him and eventually he would leave. He stayed in school until he was 20 then he tried to get his GED. Unfortunately, because of the bad choices he's made he finally got in trouble with the police. Mostly for stupid things where he was only hurting himself. He doesn't seem to be able to work because he can't deal with people. We're at a loss on what to do and someone said that you deal with mental illness. He has been diagnosed with being bipolar and border line schizophrenia. I don't know if that is what's going on or if it could be something else. What I do know? He's a good person and doesn't want to feel this way. He gets in trouble out of frustration. He feels lost and hopeless and has lost faith that there will ever be anything to help him and I don't know what to do at this point. The last time he was at the hospital, they told me I should be trying to get him on disability. Anyway I guess I just want to know if you can point me in the right direction. Thanks for your time.

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