Zoom Autism Magazine Issue 6 - Page 6

LETTER FROM THE EDITOR I had always heard stories about the incredible connection that some autistic individuals have with certain animals, but I had no personal experience with it. Honestly, I never really gave it a second thought as my autistic son Jacob was not what you would call an “animal lover.” In fact, the day we told him we were thinking of adopting a dog, Jacob became very upset. “I don’t want a dog; I want a FISH,” he declared loudly. “Fish don’t bark, don’t slobber and they eat their own poop. No scooping involved,” he debated. It is hard to argue with logic like that. His scooping–pooping case in point even had me rethinking the whole getting a dog bit. But then we met Stanley—our rescued canine friend who managed to work his way into our hearts and change our lives forever. Especially Jacob’s! Stanley has not been formally trained as an autism service animal or even a therapy dog, yet he calms Jacob down and offers him support and comfort as if he was. My sensory sensitive child, the same boy who would need to wash his hands if a dog even sniffed them, now sleeps with his furry playmate, will feed him treats, take him for a walk, and once or twice has even SCOOPED HIS POOP! I can’t explain what it is that makes this dynamic duo connect the way they do, but Jacob did a pretty good job summing it up when I asked him. He smiled reassuringly and said, “Stanley gets me and I get him.” And that, my friends, is what this Issue #6 of ZOOM is all about … relationships, connections and finding that someone that gets you and you get them. We explore the animal-human connection this issue in our Zoom Editorial: Creature Comfort–The Power of Animal Therapy. Sure playing catch with Fido, cuddling with a kitten or riding a horse is fun, but wait until you see the numerous physical and mental health benefits those things can offer! We go from the animal kingdom to the human one with relationship articles such as Dena Gassner’s piece on redefining what marriage is in a neurodiverse family; Barb Rentenbach’s feature on finding the balance between being and doing; and Jess Wilson’s essay on how to foster a close relationship with your “typical” child. (Hint: it’s the same way you do with your autistic one!) These are must-read articles that will make you rethink the way you connect with others… and yourself! two tell ALL in an effort to change the way the world views autism, marriage and love. (NOTE: Although it is handled very tastefully, this article does talk about sex, so you may want to read it when the kids are not around!) Want to know a great gift to buy a person on the spectrum that won’t break your wallet? We got 10 suggestions for you. Suffer from the Winter Blues? Check out our Q&A section answers. Heard about the Able Act but don’t understand it? Read our new column Legislation Lens! There is so much more too. So drop that to-do list, pour yourself a hot apple cider and dig into this issue. We think you are going to like it! Until Next Time, Sharon Fuentes Editorial Director/ Co-Publisher & Founder zoomautism@gmail.com Speaking of must reads… wait until you meet our cover story couple–Anita and Abraham. These love birds answer some very personal questions about how they went from being just friends to lovers to saying “I DO” at the first-ever All-Autism Wedding in this special, only for ZOOM, interview conducted by Dr. Stephen Shore. With honesty and grace these An oldie but goodie of when we first got our Stanley. Jacob, who was only 10 at the time, was trying to teach him to “stay.” 6 ZOOM Autism through Many Lenses ZOOM Autism through Many Lenses 7