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HomeBlog >  Meet Carly Fleischmann, the World’s First Autistic Celebrity Reporter

Meet Carly Fleischmann, the World’s First Autistic Celebrity Reporter

April 23, 2012

We're entering the last week of Autism Awareness Month so it's a great time to celebrate a truly amazing young woman.

Carly Fleichmann is a writer, journalist and self-designated advocate for children with autism and their families. Her website CarlysVoice.com is chock-full of valuable advice for parents, encouragement for kids with ASD and even a guide to iPad apps and computer software to help autistics with learning and communication. Carly has interviewed celebrities, had her story featured on multiple TV talk shows and as if that wasn't enough for a high-school girl, she and her father wrote a book Carly's Voice: Breaking through autism, a first-hand account of living with autism.

Carly was two when she was diagnosed with autism and her parents were told she'd likely never mature beyond a small child's capabilities. Because of oral motor problems, Carly would never be able to speak from her mouth, and despite small advances through treatment, Carly seemed destined to be uncommunicative.

But Carly proved everyone wrong when, at ten years old, she grabbed a nearby laptop and typed “HELP TEETH HURT.” Since that breakthrough moment when she found her voice, Carly hasn't stopped writing. She's built an incredible resource where she answers questions about autism and provides support and encouragement to others. Carly has become an inspiration for so many people including celebrities, parents and others with autism. Actress and author Holly Robinson Peete calls Carly “autism's fiercest and most valuable advocate.” Check out her site and her book here.

Will Changes in Autism Definitions Exclude Some from Insurance Coverage?

The upcoming revision to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual or DSM, has some parents and advocates worried that a narrower definition of autism will mean some children can't get medical coverage for necessary services. A recently published Yale University Study claims that 40% of children currently diagnosed with an ASD would be excluded under the new diagnosis and be ineligible for insurance.

That's not really the case, says Dr. Brian King of the Seattle Children's Autism Center and member of the Neurodevelopmental Work Group responsible for studying the changes in the new DSM. In an interview with Minnpost.com, Dr. King said he'd never “sign up to manage the numbers. All I want to do is get the diagnosis right.”

In fact, according to King, the change in definition will likely be of greater benefit to children on the autism-spectrum and could improve treatment options and eligibilities. Autism definitions can vary dramatically from state-to-state and according to King are “experts can't decide who should be diagnosed with what.” King and the Neurodevelopmental Work Group recommend creating a standard diagnosis across all states to eliminate separate diagnosis of disorders like  autistic disorder, Asperger’s disorder, childhood disintegrative disorder and pervasive developmental disorder.

The new definition will also account for varying severity in autism symptoms. The current guidelines for example, require ASD symptoms to be noticeable by the age of 3 even though many children do not show signs of autism disorders until later in life.

How do you feel about the autism diagnosis guidelines in the upcoming DSM-5? Share your thoughts and concerns in the comment section below.

Are you a parent of a child with Autism? Let's talk.

Washington Hyperbaric is looking for parents to share their stories of raising children with Autism and autism-spectrum disorders. Do you have a piece of fabulous advice that would help other parents or maybe just a funny or heartwarming story to share? Let us know by clicking here.

Tags: Autism, Inspiring, Research

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