Ingredients:

2/3 cup brown rice flour
1/3 cup sweet rice flour
1/3 cup tapioca starch flour
¼ cup sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons xantham gum
1 teaspoon ginger (to taste)
1 teaspoon GF baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup oil
¼ cup molasses
2 tablespoons water
Royal icing

Makes 36 cookies

What could be sweeter than little gingerbread folk? I usually make mine in a variety of sizes, and often stick a small cookie hand on the hand of the large mommy cookie. I even have a tiny boy and girl cookie cutter – these get pressed across the front of the mommy cookie, and her arms are folded around the baby. Little girl cookies hold the tiny ones as dolls, and little boy cookies are baked, perched upon dad cookie’s shoulders. It may be hard to picture, but when decorated with royal icing, they are quite lovely. This recipe comes by way of Karyn Seroussi. I have also used recipes adapted from old favorites.

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 (degrees) F.
  2. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Then add oil, molasses, and water.
  3. Mix well, adding more tapioca starch flour as needed to make a soft dough that can be kneaded.
  4. Roll out dough on a tapioca – floured board to a thickness of1/4”.
  5. Cut out dough with gingerbread – people cutters, dipping cutters into tapioca starch flour after each use.
  6. Bake cookies on ungreased cookie sheets for approximately 14 minutes.
  7. Remove cookies from pan while hot; cool on a wire rack. Cookies will be slightly chewy.

Autism is complex neuro-developmental disorder which has a symptomatic diagnosis in patients characterized by disorders in language/communication, behavior, and social interactions. The exact causes for autism are largely unknown, but is has been speculated that immune and inflammatory responses, particularly those of Th2 type, may be involved. Thiazolidinediones (TZDs) are agonists of the peroxisome proliferator activated receptor gamma (PPARγ), a nuclear hormone receptor which modulates insulin sensitivity, and have been shown to induce apoptosis in activated T-lymphocytes and exert anti-inflammatory effects in glial cells. The TZD pioglitazone (Actos) is an FDA-approved PPARγ agonist used to treat type 2 diabetes, with a good safety profile, currently being tested in clinical trials of other neurological diseases including AD and MS. We therefore tested the safety and therapeutic potential of oral pioglitazone in a small cohort of children with diagnosed autism.

Case description

The rationale and risks of taking pioglitazone were explained to the parents, consent was obtained, and treatment was initiated at either 30 or 60 mg per day p.o. A total of 25 children (average age 7.9 ± 0.7 year old) were enrolled. Safety was assessed by measurements of metabolic profiles and blood pressure; effects on behavioral symptoms were assessed by the Aberrant Behavior Checklist (ABC), which measures hyperactivity, inappropriate speech, irritability, lethargy, and stereotypy, done at baseline and after 3–4 months of treatment.

Discussion and evaluation

In a small cohort of autistic children, daily treatment with 30 or 60 mg p.o. pioglitazone for 3–4 months induced apparent clinical improvement without adverse events. There were no adverse effects noted and behavioral measurements revealed a significant decrease in 4 out of 5 subcategories (irritability, lethargy, stereotypy, and hyperactivity). Improved behaviors were inversely correlated with patient age, indicating stronger effects on the younger patients.

Conclusion

Pioglitazone should be considered for further testing of therapeutic potential in autistic patients.

The Centre for Disease Control in the United States released the latest autism prevalence statistics this year. 2018 saw an increase in the prevalence statistics of autism from 1 in 68 just two years ago to 1 in 59. This is a 15% increase, which is astronomical.

One might be inclined to think this number must be an over-estimation. Quite the contrary – at sites where researchers had full access to school records, higher numbers were recorded. This suggests that the new numbers reflect a persistent underestimation of autism’s true prevalence.

Other interesting findings were that:

  • The gender gap in autism has decreased. In 2012, boys were 4.5 times more likely to be diagnosed than girls. By 2014, this had decreased to a ratio of 4:1. This appears to reflect improvement in identification of autism in girls, many of whom do not fit the stereotypical picture of autism seen in boys.
  • White children are still more likely to be diagnosed with autism than children from other racial groups, but this gap has also decreased and reflects improved awareness and screening in ‘minority communities’ in the US.
  • Disappointingly, there has been no overall decrease in the age of diagnosis, with most children still being diagnosed after age 4, even though autism can reliably be diagnosed by age 2. This is important because research and experience shows that early intervention leads to the best outcomes.
  • The change in diagnostic criteria (from the DSM IV TR to the DSM 5, which did away with diagnoses such as Asperger’s Syndrome and moved to a catch-all diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder) caused only a slight decrease in prevalence estimates.
  • The US still lacks any reliable estimate of autism’s prevalence among adults. South Africa

Awareness in South Africa is increasing, which is good in terms of the safety of our children and in terms of families accessing treatment earlier, but we cannot stop there. What is really needed is financial support for Applied Behaviour Analysis, declared by the US surgeon general to be a medical necessity for children on the autism spectrum, and greater acceptance of children with autism in general education schools, with trained facilitators where necessary.

Ingredients:

1 cup fresh pineapple chunks, plus ½ cup water (or 2 (6 ounce) cans unsweetened pineapple juice)
2 bananas
8 ounces coconut milk (not coconut “cream”)
Several ice cubes

This is a tasty, refreshing treat that most children will love. If possible, use fresh fruit. If you do not have a high-powered blender, you may need to strain before serving, but with a good blender this will not be necessary. Pineapple contains bromelain, a natural digestive enzyme, and has many vitamins. Bananas are high in potassium.

  • Combine all ingredients in a blender and process until you have a thick beverage.

What is Methyl-B12 (B12)?

B12 (cobalamin) is a vitamin “family” with five unique family members that each do different things.  Out of the B12 family, only methyl-B12 has the ability to activate the methionine/homocysteine biochemical pathway directly which results in more “fuel” to the brain.

B12 works with folic acid to make all the cells in the body.  It plays a key role in methylation.  Methylation makes ALL of the cells in our body.  It is the process of adding genetic material to cells.  After conception, the cells in the womb that will later become the fetus are DEMETHYLATED.  The process of development depends on methylation.

Increasing evidence is revealing the role of methylation in the interaction of environmental factors with genetic expression in playing a role in developmental issues like autism and ADHD.  Differences in maternal care during the first 6 days of life in a mammal can cause different methylation patterns in some genes.  Methylation has also been shown to impact inflammation after a child leaves the womb.  We know that autism and ADHD are linked to inflammation.  Now we are discovering that inflammation, autism and ADHD are linked to impaired methylation.


Methylation is responsible for:

  • RNA and DNA (genetic material responsible for every function in the body)
  • Immune system regulation
  • Detoxification of heavy metals and other harmful substances
  • Making GLUTATHIONE (the body’s main detoxification enzyme responsible for removing mercury, lead, cadmium, arsenic, nickel, tin, aluminum and antimony)
  • Production and function of proteins
  • Regulating inflammation

What connects B12, methylation, glutathione and Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Short answer:   Dr. S. Jill James (who has recently received a NIH – National Institute of Health – grant for her research) has shown that children with ASD have impaired methylation and decreased levels of glutathione.  Supporting and/or repairing the underlying impairment and deficiency translates into increased social, cognitive and language development.

Long answer: Dr. S. Jill James has also shown that children with ASD have 80% less glutathione in their cells and that 90% of children have defects in their methylation.  This means that children with autism cannot effectively fuel the brain and detoxify heavy metals and other harmful substances from their system.

The brain is the only part of the body that has depends entirely on B12 to detoxify.  As the the brain is over-burdened with toxic substances, the “wheels” of methylation slow, severely impacting development.

B12 works closely with folic acid. A precursor folic acid molecule must interact with the enzyme MTHFR (methylenetetrahydrofolic acid) to become 5-methyltetrahydrofolic acid (5-MTHF).

5-MTHF gives the methyl group (the “M” part) to B12 so it can become methyl-B12.  Unfortunately, many children have a defect in this enzyme.  In a recent study by Dr. S. Jill James, 90% of children with ASD were found to have methylation defects.

What connects MB12 and ADHD?

Dr. Richard Deth is a Ph.D and neuropharmacologist at the Northeastern University.  His area of  research is focused on impaired methylation and oxidative stress in neurological and neuropsychiatric disorders, including autism, ADHD, schizophrenia, and Alzheimer’s disease

Dr. Deth discovered the link between dopamine, methylation and attention which has helped Defeat Autism Now doctors understand why B12 is crucial to treatment of ADHD.  Children with ADHD have difficulty bring methyl inside cells to support methylation and therefore development – especially in the areas of attention and focus.

What are the benefits of MB12 treatment?

Enhancement in executive function:

  • Awareness
  • Cognition
  • Appropriateness
  • Eye contact
  • Responsiveness
  • Normalized behaviours and interaction

Promotion of speech and language:

  • Spontaneous language
  • More complex sentences
  • Increased vocabulary


Improvements in socialization, understanding and expressing emotion:

  • Initiation and interactive play
  • Understanding and feeling emotions
  • Affection and tolerance to touch


Undesired effects to B12 therapy are a good sign of treatment success.  They are not uncommon and include: 

  • Hyperactivity
  • Self Stimulating Behaviour
  • Increased mouthing of objects
  • Sleep disturbances – which can be managed with other treatments
  • Aggression, hitting and biting – caused by frustration due to increased awareness

*Side effects can be mild to severe and are considered transient which means they will pass as  treatment progresses*

  • MB12 is a treatment, not a cure.  However, many children using MB12 combined with other biomedical and non-biomedical therapies make incredible developmental gains and in a small percentage of children, have had their ASD label removed.
  • Parents should understand that the maximum results from MB12 therapy occur over years, not months, not weeks. Initial results will be obvious within the first 3-5 week period of time; but MB12’s power is in continued use.

Why is MB12 most effective when injected into the bum?

According to Dr. Neubrander (www.drneubrander.com), “Only the subcutaneous injectable route of administration into the adipose tissue of the buttocks will produce the remarkable results parents want to see!”

All forms of administration work to some degree, and some better than others. Injection has been shown to be, by far, the most effective route of administration.  It is through injection that the most dramatic strides in development are seen.

MB12 injection into the buttocks area allows MB12 to surround the cells and stay in the system continually.  Oral, transdermal or intranasal forms cause the MB12 levels to fluctuate up and down.  All cobalamins are absorbed in the last portion of the small intestine, the terminal ileum. Dr. Wakefield and Dr. Krigsman and Dr. Buie have shown through their research that an extremely high percentage of children on the autistic spectrum have an inflammatory bowel condition that affects this region of the intestinal tract. This makes injection a better choice than depending on the digestive tract for absorption.

Dr. Sonya Doherty, N.D., FMAPS (Cand.)

One of the best ways for a young child to learn is through play. Children can learn about science, math, engineering, language, social skills and much more through play. Play provides children with an opportunity to practice problem-solving, self-advocacy, decision-making, groupwork, sharing, and conflict-resolution skills.

As children grow, so does their way of playing. There are several ways to conceptualise the development of play. Here is one way, developed by Mildred Partern:

  1. Unoccupied Play

This type of play starts at birth and looks like ‘random movements’ with no clear purpose. Believe it or not, this is your child starting to play!

  1. Solitary Play

This stage begins in infancy and lasts into the toddler years. During this type of play, children don’t seem to notice other children sitting or playing nearby. Independent play is a good skill for a child to have throughout their childhood and adolescence, and is conceptualised more as a hobby or solitary pursuit later on in life.

  1. Onlooker Play

This type of play is common during the toddler years and involves children watching others play. The child may ask questions but doesn’t try to join the play. This type of play often occurs when a child is shy, the environment is new, or the child is unsure of the rules.

  1. Parallel Play

Parallel play is common in toddlers but can be found in all age groups. This type of play occurs when children play side-by-side, attending to one another but not interacting much. This shows the desire to be around other children and lays the groundwork for more complex social stages of play.

  1. Associative Play

By around age three or four, children become more interested in each other than in the toys. In this stage of play, they interact with each other, asking questions and talking about what they are doing. This stage of play allows the children to start developing an understanding of how to get along with others. In this type of play, children in a group playing together have similar goals, however they don’t set rules and there is not much in the way of formal organisation.

  1. Social Play

This stage of play builds on from the previous and involves children really starting to socialise through play, sharing ideas and toys, and following rules and guidelines. They take on roles and negotiate characters and story lines, or work together to build something like a pillow fort. This type of play provides an excellent platform for children to learn to cooperate, compromise, assert themselves, be flexible, and take other children’s perspective into consideration.

In an increasingly electronic word, it is crucial to ensure that your children continue to engage in all these different types of play in order to develop a myriad social and perspective-taking skills, so unplug those iPads and get to play!

Jenna White

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – Golf champions were championing a worthy cause in Virginia Beach Monday.

Professional golfers Ernie Els and Marc Leishman took part in the Els for Autism Pro-Am Invitational at the Princess Anne Country Club. The charity golf tournament paired amateur golfers with PGA touring professionals and professionals from the mid-Atlantic region in an 18-hole Pro-Am to benefit the Els for Autism Foundation, SEAL teams, Families of Autistic Children in Tidewater (FACT) and the Virginia Autism Foundation.

t’s the second straight year Els has made the trip to Virginia Beach for an Autism benefit. Last August, Els hosted the inaugural Els for Autism Pro-Am Invitational.

“I was able to get to know a lot of people here from the club and around Virginia Beach last year, and I felt the need to come back,” Els explained to News 3. “This year is even bigger than last year.”

The 2017 Els for Autism Pro-Am raised $148,000. In 2018, prior to the tournament even teeing-off, the event had raised $211,000.

“I am grateful to all of today’s participants,” Mark Llobell, founding member of the Virginia Autism Project said. “We will be able to assist many families in our community and provide more comprehensive services for their loved ones with autism with today’s event proceeds.”

“To be here and support his cause, Els for Autism, it’s just nice to be able to help out – and I’m proud to do so,” Leishman, who considers Els one of his golf idols, said.

An additional beneficiary from the 2018 Els for Autism Pro-Am Invitational is Stephen “Tubro” Toboz, a retired U.S. Navy SEAL who was diagnosed with stage three rectal cancer earlier this year. In March 2002, Toboz lost his leg during a recovery mission in Operation Enduring Freedom.

“Being around good people like this supporting you and helping you get through your bad times helps, Toboz explained. “There are always other ways to battle. Keep your path forward and stay positive. There’s no feeling sorry for yourself. It’s not going to get you anywhere. When I start feeling pain with my leg or my cancer, I go get a good workout in and kick my own butt.”

Els, a four-time major winner, was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011. Leishman, a resident of Virginia Beach, is the 17th ranked golfer in the world.

The Els for Autism Foundation was established in 2009 by Liezl and Ernie Els. The Els’ son Ben is impacted by the disorder which affects one in 68 children in the U.S. Autism is the fastest-growing serious developmental disability in the U.S. with an estimated two million individuals affected. More children will be diagnosed with autism this year than with AIDS, diabetes and cancer combined. The 2017 Els for Autism Pro-Am Invitational will generate funds not only for the work of the Els for Autism Foundation but also local autism organizations in Hampton Roads.

Read More: https://wtkr.com/2018/08/20/hall-of-fame-golfer-ernie-els-returns-to-virginia-beach-for-autism-benefit/

Dr. Richard Frye is a pediatric neurologist and Chief of The Division of Neurodevelopmental Disorders at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. He’s recognized as an expert on the treatment of autism.

Could you summarize the results of your recent study, “Intravenous Immunoglobulin For The Treatment Of Autoimmune Encephalopathy In Children With Autism”?

Our study recently published in Translational Psychiatry showed that a subset of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) who did not respond to standard interventions had autoantibodies in their blood targeting brain tissue which might qualify them for the diagnosis of autoimmune encephalopathy (AIE). The majority of children with ASD had elevated levels of autoantibodies measured by the Cunningham Panel™ (Moleculera Labs, Oklahoma City, OK) along with an elevation in the activation of calcium calmodulin dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII). A few patients had other brain targeted autoantibodies associated with AIE, such as voltage-gated calcium channels autoantibodies.

Some of the patient qualifying for the diagnosis of AIE were treated with intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) and their symptoms were monitored with two widely-used validated behavioral questionnaires, the Aberrant Behavior Checklist (ABC) and the Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS). Overall, IVIG was found to improve scores on both the ABC and SRS questionnaires and the great majority of parents reported improvements in additional symptoms related to ASD. The majority of patient experienced side effects from the IVIG treatment but most of the time these were mild and limited to the time around the infusion period. We were also able to divide the patients who received IVIG into those that demonstrate a positive response on the behavioral questionnaires and those that did not. This allowed us to determine if autoantibody titers of the Cunningham Panel™ collected prior to IVIG treatment could predict which individuals would response to IVIG. We found that, overall, the Cunningham Panel™ could predict which individuals would response to IVIG treatment with over an 80% accuracy rate and that the anti-dopamine receptor D2L and anti-tubulin antibodies were particularly sensitive to predicting response to IVIG treatment.

What initially led to your interest in considering immune-mediated factors in autism? 

I have built my clinical practice with a vision of discovering new treatments for children with ASD. Some children with ASD do not respond to standard treatments or even new novel treatments and many times a standard medical workup does not reveal any additional obvious treatment targets. Such patients need to be investigated further to determine if there are other factors preventing them from developing skills or causing disruptive behaviors. For me, integrating an investigation of immune factors into my practice was the next step for further determining treatable factors for children with autism.

Do you have a sense for the percentage of children with autism who also have AIE?

The study describes 82 patients that were screened for AIE. This was about 8% of the patients seen in my autism clinic during the study period. 60% of these children were believed to probably have AIE, or about 5% of the children seen in my autism clinic. The percentage of the other 92% of patients seen in my autism clinic that might also have AIE is not known but it is very likely that a significant percentage of these children may have AIE. Many of these children were not investigated further because of various reasons including insurance coverage of testing, parental preference and/or difficultly in drawing blood. Further studies that systematically evaluate the general ASD population for AIE so we have a better understanding of the number of children with ASD that may benefit from treatment for AIE.

While acceptance of post-infectious autoimmune encephalopathy and pediatric acute-onset neuropsychiatric syndrome (PANS) continues to grow, there seems to be a bias within the medical community against considering PANS in children with autism. Would you agree or disagree with this statement and do you have a sense for why this might be? 

I believe that the idea that there are physiological abnormalities underling ASD which can be treated is novel concept that is faced by significant skepticism. Also many are skeptical that children with ASD can recover from their disorder at all. This skepticism, I believe, it based on an old concept of children with neurodevelopmental disorders having a “static encephalopathy” in which it is believed the brain is damaged and cannot improve. As new research connects neurodevelopmental and neurobehavioral disorders such as ASD with abnormal physiology and treatments that target these physiological abnormalities, evidence will become more compelling. As treatments are shown to improve function in disorders which previously had few effective treatments, I believe more people in the medical community will embrace treatments that help children with neurodevelopmental disorders.

Some physicians have questioned the validity of the Cunningham Panel due to the fact that many children with autism have positive results. The conclusion by some is that this means the test is producing false positive results. How would you respond to this? 

In our study 57% of the children we tested were positive for the Cunningham panel as we defined a positive test. We set a more stringent criteria as compared to others. For our clinical practice, the Cunningham panel is considered positive when one or more autoantibodies are elevated AND CaMKII is elevated. One of the reasons we examined the predictability of the Cunningham panel is too validate and refine the accuracy of the Cunningham panel. Our study points to two particular autoantibodies which appear to predict response. Since the components of the Cunningham panel have been developed based on converging animal and human basic research, it is very clear that these components are very likely to be very meaningful. It is likely that different components (or combination of components) will identify different subgroups of neurobehavioral, neuropsychiatric and/or neurodevelopmental disorders. Further studies are needed to further refine the most accurate use of interpreting the components of the Cunningham panel.

Do you ever treat children who did not have an abrupt or acute onset of neuropsychiatric symptoms, and if so, do they respond similarly to children who did have an abrupt onset? 

Abrupt onset of neurological, behavioral or psychiatric systems as well as abrupt loss of previously acquired skills are red flags for an underlying metabolic or immunological disorder. All three cases described in our recent paper had abrupt onset of symptoms and approximately one-third of children with ASD are estimated to have neurodevelopmental regression. However, there are children without a history of an abrupt onset of systems who also respond to immune and metabolic treatments that target medical abnormalities usually associated with an acute onset of disease. Thus, I do not usually use the history of abrupt symptoms onset to guide my workup. Treatments I prescribed are guided by biomarkers.

What is your approach to managing children with autism who develop neuropsychiatric symptoms? How does this differ from your approach to those without autism? 

I have found that many children with neuropsychiatric symptoms without ASD have similar metabolic and immune abnormalities as those with ASD. I use the same approach for such children and have had successes in improving their symptoms and ability to function.

Is there any research you’re working on currently that you’d be willing to tell us about?

At this time I am working with several collaborators on the interaction between metabolism and the immune system. Emerging research demonstrates connections between the immune system and metabolism, both mitochondrial disorders and oxidative stress. We have recently published a review article on mitochondrial dysfunction in autism which discussed this (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30039193) and previously Dr Rossignol and I published a review article outlining the evidence for connection between these abnormalities in the brain of children with ASD (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24795645). I think this is a promising area of research which may pave the way for new treatment targets.

You’ve published “Autism Spectrum Disorder in The Emergency Department: Looking Beyond Behavior.” What should ER physicians, primary care providers, and specialists be considering when a patient with autism presents with acute behavioral or neuropsychiatric symptoms? 

It is very important to consider that there may be medical issues that can be driving behavioral decompensation. These medical abnormalities do not have to be complicated immune and/or metabolic abnormalities but may be more basic problems such as sleep disruption, gastrointestinal disorders and/or anxiety which may need to be evaluated and addressed. There may also be other underlying more complicated metabolic and/or immune disorders, so it is important to consider referring the child to a practitioner experienced in looking into these treatable abnormalities. Most importantly, it is important to have a vision of try to treat the underlying biological cause of the symptoms rather than just treating the behavior with medications to suppress it. Indeed, disruptive behavior may be signaling that something that is not obvious needs to be addressed and suppressing this signal may simple make a untreated medical problem worse by allowing it continue and progress without appropriate treatment.

-The Foundation For Children With Neuroimmune Disorders thanks Dr. Richard Frye for taking the time to allow FCND Founder and President Anna Conkey to interview him

Read more: http://www.neuroimmune.org/frye/pans-autism-and-the-immune-system-an-interview-with-expert-neurologist-dr-richard-frye

1. What were your greatest challenges having autism?

I feel like my greatest challenges of having autism is the communication and social interaction. All my life I have been dealing with issues growing up but I have managed to steadily improve those tactics, being a little more proactive around other people and that’s going to help me in the long run as I continue to live my life with autism.

2. How old were you when you begin to speak?

Good question, I can’t remember when I did it’s been a long time since I was very little. I would say it was when I was 2 or 3 years old. It sometimes takes time before you can say your very first words.

3. Did you have any sensory issues? If so how did you learn to overcome them?

Yes I had some sensory issues especially when I was young. And I still do today but I have been able to reduce those issues and overcome them just by looking at my surroundings and knowing what’s going on in today’s world. When I hear or see something that I don’t quite understand, I use the internet and research things on google to help me understand certain things I don’t know. The more I learn about different things, the easier it is for me to translate the information to my brain and the next time it comes up it’s like,  “Oh, I have heard about this before”, or “Hey, I know what this is.”

4. How did your parents encourage you to interact socially?

Yeah so once it got to the point where I was more than comfortable being around other people that’s when the next step came was to learn how to talk and interact with people. My parents have been helping a lot teaching me the basics of having a conversation with someone, how to stay connected with them, how to meet people I have not met before, and etc. My parents have been very supportive of me and without their help I don’t know how my life would have been today.

5. What sparked your interests in NASCAR driving?

That’s a good question. What sparked my interest in NASCAR driving started really young for me. I loved playing with one of my action figured cars as a kid and just play all day. When I heard about NASCAR, it sparked my interest up another level. I would watch NASCAR nonstop and it amazed me how fast those cars were going, passing cars, and a winner getting a trophy at the end of the race. I found that pretty cool and awesome and one day I told my dad straight up that was something I wanted to do when I grow up was to be a professional racecar driver.

6. How did you learn to drive a car?

I picked it up fairly early knowing about the gas and the brake pedals and the steering wheel. Once I learned how to use the basic parts while driving, it became very easy for me and it has help me excel through racing and getting a driver’s license.

7. What advice would you give to young adults with autism who fear learning how to drive?

I would tell them to not be afraid of learning something you haven’t done before. Once you learn the basics of working the steering wheel, working the gas and brake pedal. If you can put all that time in hard work and commitment and put it to good use I will tell you that it will become easier and you can really be more comfortable on the road, freeways, or even on the racetrack if you want to be a racecar driver.

8. What do you like best about racing?

I love the joy of being on the racetrack and going out there and compete for wins every time—I strap into a race car. Just being around the racing environment is also what I love about it where I get to meet certain drivers, team owners, racing officials, and even talking to potential sponsors as well, it’s truly a racing community.

9. How has autism helped you as a racecar driver?

Good question. You know being autistic I find this as an advantage for me because I’m so focus and concentrated behind the wheel. That goes with being consistent, smooth, and seeing the big picture leading up to the race so I have put that all into good use and it has really help me developed as a pro racecar driver.

10. What are some of your favorite childhood memories?

My favorite childhood memories were when I first went to an actual NASCAR race for the first time.  I was 10 years old with my dad and we decided to go to Indianapolis, Indiana for the Brickyard 400 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. I can remember sitting in the grandstands in turn and seeing the racetrack, the racecars, and the racing fans in my very own eyes and just thinking “So this is what it’s like going to watch a race without seeing it on TV.”  So you know, I had a blast and I enjoyed the race too.

11. What is your major in college?

I am studying mechanical engineering. It’s a hard major but it’s only thing that’s close to racing so that’s what I am going to do.

12. What was your favorite subjects in high school?

My favorite subject is math. I really love math because it helps you learn to problem solve and calculate numbers too that’s really all that I love about it.

13. How did you choose Oakland University?

I went through the process of applying to schools in Michigan and Oakland was one of those school. I was later accepted by Oakland and five other schools. I felt like Oakland University was the school I wanted to go but I wanted to see what the school was like first. I took some campus tours around there and I found it really nice and it’s such a great environment I decided I wanted to go to Oakland University.

14. What advice would you give to young adults with autism?

My advice to them would be if you have a dream to do something that you love to do and be successful at, go for it. Don’t give up on your dream stay encouraged, believe in yourself, and work hard to do what you love to do.

15. Please share a humorous life story.

Ok so one time, I was in a race in Elkhart County, Indiana called New Paris Speedway. It was a 20-lap feature race under the lights and I ended up winning my first ever race. I was so excited that I pulled out of the track and not realizing that I had to go to victory lane, so I come off and people are coming to my car telling me,” Hey, you got to go back on the track to celebrate” and I’m like, “Oh shoot I got to get back over there,” I kind of laugh at myself for that. But I went back on the track, got the checkered flag, and received a winning trophy so it was awesome.

Read More: https://the-art-of-autism.com/an-interview-with-armani-williams-the-first-nascar-driver-on-the-autism-spectrum/