News and Notes from The Johnson Center

Family and Food: Coconut Oil - Nutrient Dense and Necessary

JCCHD | Thu, May 24, 2012 | [Family and Food][Healthcare]

Coconut oil has a multitude of benefits.

Over 40% of the healthy saturated fats found in coconut oil are from lauric acid. Why is this important?  Monolaurin is a fatty-acid derivative that is found in breastmilk—it serves as a natural antiviral and it offers antimicrobial protection as well, which supports infants in avoiding disease and infection. 

What’s more, consistent intake of the healthy saturated fats in coconut oil …

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Research Update: IMFAR 2012

JCCHD | Tue, May 22, 2012 | [Events][News][Research]

The 11th Annual International Meeting for Autism Research (IMFAR) was held this past week in Toronto, Canada. The overall theme of the conference was “looking ahead to the next decade of autism research.”  Keynote speakers addressed topics such as the role of oxytocin in human affiliation (Dr. Ruth Feldman), the genetic basis of neurodevelopmental disorders (Dr. Bernie Devlin), and structural network modeling of the brain (Dr. Alan Evans).

Perhaps the most interesting and significant inclusion in the program this year was over 50 oral and poster presentations on …

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Q & A: When we come to The Johnson Center, how can we make the trip to Austin something the whole family will enjoy?

JCCHD | Tue, May 22, 2012 | [Community][Q and A ]

During their first visit to The Johnson Center, families can look forward to being in a supportive environment where they will meet with a team of knowledgeable professionals dedicated to helping their child reach their maximum potential. We understand that traveling can be stressful, so we would like to share some helpful tips on how to make the most of your trip to Austin. Because our city offers a variety of family friendly activities, it is easy to turn your visit into a mini-vacation. Many families like to book their appointments at the beginning or end of the week so they can stay over on the weekend. There’ s always something happening in Austin –  kite festivals, pet parades, live music, and more; one of our Family Care team staff members can research fun events happening during the time of your stay.

For our out-of-town guests, The Johnson Center has a partnership …

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Science Doesn’t Have to Be Scary

A. Ryland | Mon, May 21, 2012 | [Community][Research][Webinars]

The day the doctor told me my son would never talk, never have friends, never have a “normal” life, was the day that I started learning how to ask questions. Mary Astor once said that once you start asking questions, innocence is gone. Answers lead to more questions and the path forward is never easy or clear.

Once autism enters your life, the only guarantee is that there are more questions than answers. Anyone who tells you they have all the answers is …

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Medical experiences don’t have to be scary: The Role of a Child Life Specialist

JCCHD | Thu, May 17, 2012 | [Community][Healthcare]

When children walk into a medical setting they are introduced to foreign objects, medical jargon, and numerous staff, potentially causing considerable fear and anxiety. For a child with a vivid imagination, even the most unthreatening items (like a scale) can be terrifying. Children are asked to sit a certain way, stand still, and breathe funny, and then they are placed in an unfamiliar room that might be loud or smell odd to them. They may be introduced to needles for a blood draw or have to hold still for tests like X-rays. Many times, children have gone through past medical experiences that were traumatic; as a result, they consider the medical environment threatening, and might act out during appointments. 

Child Life Specialists (CLS) can help diminish the …

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Family and Food: Ch-ch-ch-ch-Chia! (As in Seeds)

JCCHD | Wed, May 16, 2012 | [Family and Food][Healthcare]

Most all of us are familiar with the amazing Chia Pets that you soak, spread, and sprout to make fun, green, bushy animals and cartoon characters (see Youtube), but this seed can provide more than just a novelty plant to decorate your window sill.

Chia seed, or salvia hispanica, is a member of the mint family. It is a great source of ALA omega-3 fatty acids - which are fairly challenging to come by in a typical Western diet. Chia seed is actually richer in omega-3’s than …

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Q & A: What is a ‘webinar’, and why should I sign up for one?

JCCHD | Tue, May 15, 2012 | [Community][Events][Q and A ][Webinars]

Do you ever see announcements for presentations that interest you, and think, “If only I could get there”? Webinars are an internet-based way to connect to people and information from your home or office computer, or even your phone. We have parents and professionals tuning in from Austin, Texas, (where the presentations originate) and far-away places like Japan and Dubai, all with the same easy steps, and without charge.

The Johnson Center uses an interface called GoToMeeting. If you receive emails from The Johnson Center, or are connected to us through Facebook or Twitter, you will get an invitation to register for …

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Q & A: Why should we sign up to participate in research?

JCCHD | Mon, May 14, 2012 | [Q and A ][Research]

The most rewarding benefit of participating in research is the fact that every participant makes a significant difference in the effort to better understand, diagnose, and treat children with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD).  At The Johnson Center we greatly value every sample and every piece of information collected, and families who participate in research play a crucial role in the endeavor to help those affected by an ASD.

Our researchers aren’t just looking for people with autism; healthy, typically developing participants are needed as well. The opportunity to participate ...

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Care Kits for Kids Toy Drive a Great Success

JCCHD | Wed, May 09, 2012 | [Community][Events]

In the spring of 2012 the “Care Kits for Kids” Toy Drive was launched to support the children served by The Johnson Center for Child Health and Development. New toys, books, and games were collected to be used by families visiting the office, children in therapy, and families staying at the Wyndham Garden Hotel. (The Johnson Center has collaborated with the Wyndham since 2010, when together we established Austin’s first special-needs-friendly hotel. The recognition by the hotel’s management of the special consideration needed by this community has made it a home away from home for many of the families visiting our Center.)

When families arrive at the hotel, a complimentary bin of toys is delivered to their suite. When children arrive at The Johnson Center for ...

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Family and Food: Your Kids Will Eat Kale

JCCHD | Wed, May 09, 2012 | [Family and Food][Healthcare]

Kale is a vegetable we are hearing more about as a “Super Food.”  In the past, kale was often found on a dinner plate exclusively as a garnish. Today, kale is moving up in the world as a side dish and even as one of the main ingredients in a meal.

On the 10th season of Food Network’s Iron Chef, kale was placed in the role of the secret ingredient. The versatility of kale displayed by the chefs on the show was inspiring, featuring it as not just a boring ...

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