Ali Edwards Capture life. Create art.

November 6, 2007

Autism Treatment Network + the tram.


We spent the day up in Portland at OHSU (Oregon Health Sciences University)/CDRC (Child Development & Rehabilitation Center) getting Simon set-up to participate in the Autism Treatment Network (ATN).

Here’s the basics of the ATN (from the link to Autism Speaks above):

The goal of the ATN
is to improve medical treatment of children and adolescents with autism
by establishing standards of clinical care based on research and shared
clinical practice. The ATN is dedicated to establishing these standards
of care for autism in the medical community through open research
collaboration, trainee mentorship, medical education and participation
in conferences. The ATN is further committed to improving insurance
reimbursement for autism treatment to improve accessibility to these
treatments community-wide.

Here is a list of places that are currently participating if you are interested in more information or enrolling your child – it is totally worth checking out – it is also my understanding that the program will be expanding to other places as well in the near future:

  • Columbia University (New York, NY)
  • University of Washington (Seattle, WA)
  • Baylor College of Medicine (Houston, TX)
  • Oregon Health Sciences University (Portland, OR)
  • Massachusetts General Hospital-LADDERS (Boston, MA

Our time today was essentially spent meeting with a child psychologist who ran through a couple diagnostic tests with Simon and a series of questions for us, meeting with a nutritionist, and then meeting with our developmental pediatrician (we also see him here at CDRC in Eugene). We came home with a very large pile of paper work to fill out that will be added to the research data.

We were really excited about the chance to meet with a nutritionist who did a big intake on what Simon eats now. She will be running the data and coming back with some strategies (in conjunction with an occupational therapist) on how to work on/change/improve his overall diet.

Simon did really well today during the "meetings." He was motivated to "work for" a ride on the tram that was closed the last time we were in Portland. The weather was awesome today – just perfect for a ride. We heard "I’m so excited" quite a few times as we waited for and boarded the tram.

The view while waiting up at the top of OHSU:

Looking down:

Inside the tram riding down:

And thanks for all the birthday well-wishes.


  • 1.
    Melissa said…

    Such a precious family you are, and so smart smart smart of you to be pursuing every avenue possible to meet every last one of Simon’s needs. You’re doing good, Ali. It’s gonna be a great ride. :)

  • 2.
    Deb Wisker said…

    Great info Ali! I’ll be forwarding it to my sister for Columbia’s program!

  • 3.
    Cara said…

    i love the look on Simons face!! He is such a sweetie! Good Luck with the Autism work. Simon is on elucky little boy to have you and you husband on his side. I will be praying for you! By the way, Happy Belated Birthday.

  • 4.
    Laura Reaux said…

    That is so cool that you’re participating in that, Ali. Totally awesome that Simon did so well with it. Love the fun tram ride pictures!

  • 5.
    Yanina said…

    Best of Luck with the ATN. You and your family are in my prayers.

  • 6.
    Liz Ness said…

    He looks so happy and grown up. Also, I think it is great that this kind of program is available via OHSU. Best wishes to you and your family!

  • 7.
    Aleida Franklin said…

    Amazing photographs.

  • 8.
    Erin B said…

    Good luck with the ATN. I did a music therapy practicum at the CDRC at OHSU. My first hands on experience doing music therapy with kids who have autism. It’s a great place!
    The tram looks like fun too!

  • 9.
    ady abreu said…

    Great information…It’s amazing how you are able to find all the avenues to help Simon and all of us that read your blog. Thanks for all the information…Ooohhh and Simon looks so excited in that photo. Good for him.

  • 10.
    Brianna said…

    Simon seems like the happiest little boy in every picture. I love that. I saw so many kids this past summer with autism who were just miserable.

  • 11.
    margie said…

    Great photos today…
    Happy happy late birthday dear friend!
    love you…
    kiss kiss

  • 12.

    It takes a lot of time but it’s so good when research ends up in best therapy-programms! So good to read Simon is doing so well by ‘working on it” in difficult situations. His scary Halloween performance is also a big step ahead; love that big little vampire enjoying all those scary moments…
    Wish you lots of precious happy moments togehter like on your bday!

  • 13.
    sue said…

    I’m glad you have facilities in your state for Simon and Autism Research. That is great and a wonderful advantage for all of you. Good luck.
    I’d be excited, like Simon, if I could ride that tram and look at those beautiful views. Wowzers! Lucky Simon!

  • 14.
    ms ellie said…

    Great photos!
    Question–do you photoshop most of the photos you take? would love to hear some tips.
    Happy belated B-day!

  • 15.
    Alicia Sharp said…

    What a beautiful view and Simon looked like he had a BALL!!!!!

  • 16.
    Erin said…

    Such a sweet child with incredible parents :)

  • 17.
    O said…

    Hi Ali- I hope the ATN will be able to offer many helpful answers, solutions and action plans to help Simon. His smile is simply infectious! The delight in his face makes my heart happy. What was that you said about him, when he smiles…did you say he sparkles? Yes, he sparkles. What an awesome little dude. You & Chris are doing all the right things for your son. Thanks for sharing the photos. Looks like a brilliant fall day…a happy day. :) take care

  • 18.
    Mary Rogers said…

    amazing and
    overwheling “stuff” for our kids hey?
    we are working on a new plan for M – will send you an email
    love your photos….

  • 19.
    Meg said…

    Thanks for this info, Ali! I’ll be checking it out today. And you KNOW I’ll be using the same reward/bribe!
    Belated Birthday wishes to you, too, glad to hear it was a good one. TWO movies, WOW!!!

  • 20.

    “I’m so excited” made me smile, because our 5yo son says “I’m so exciting”. Or when he’s bored he says “I’m so boring”. Gotta love those 5yo boys :)

  • 21.
    Nicky Anderson said…

    Do you know if there are any progframs that are similar in Canada? I follow your blog all the time, 1st because my daugher loves your work and actually is currently receiving one of your books for a contest she won (Michelle Clement) and 2) because of your little guy Simon. Our little guy is 5 and autistic and we are just looking at speaking to the pediatrician about further tests to improve diet, allergies, etc. The more info the better.
    Always love your insight on life!! Especially with our unique and fascinating children.

  • 22.

    what great pictures! I love simon’s look in the tram… precious! I wish you all luck in finding useful information from your meetings :)

  • 23.
    Carole said…

    I’m happy to read this Ali. I think it’s great that you are participating in this research. There is something similar going on in the Toronto area in Canada. and and
    I know there is another area doing it but that information is at home (I’m at work – shhhh).
    Love the photos of Simon on the tram. So cool! What an experience that must have been for him!

  • 24.
    Penny said…

    I’m so excited to see Simon in this program. I wish you the very best of luck with it. I can’t wait to read future posts of his progress.

  • 25.
    Carole Hepburn said…

    What a marvelous day – You and Chris are such great parents, Simon is a lucky guy…

  • 26.
    GiGi Stewart said…

    Happy Belated BDay!!! I agree with you. Loved Loved Loved Dan In Real Life!!! So, want that soundtrack. Glad you had such a wonderful bday. Here’s to a year of happiness and creativity! :)

  • 27.
    Autismville said…

    Beautiful photos. Here’s hoping ATN will be effective in helping Simon … and your whole family!

  • 28.
    Tna said…

    hi…am not sure if my comment will go through but i still tried to send it…first and foremost, belated birthday greetings to you…indeed such a beautiful family, i have a son too, he’s the same age as Simon and it is so sweet to be seeing a lot of his pictures on your site…ever since i came across your blog (almost 3 years ago), I have been reading it every chance i get…it has been a part of my daily to do list…i am not from the states but i guess geography has nothing to do with the sentiments that i share with you and your other readers…you are such an inspiration and i see how you touch lives with all the comments that i read…and i am glad to see such a joyful smile on Simon’s face on your tram ride…til next time, regards from the Philippines

  • 29.

    that Tram looks cool…I’ll have to try that out next time I’m in Portland…lol.
    Oh yeah, Happy Belated birthday!

  • 30.
    Colleen E said…

    Happy birthday a bit late Ali! Looking forward to hearing about S’s results from all the pros. Glad you live so close by to do this. xo

  • 31.
    suetreiber said…

    awesome pix of the tram. How beautiful it is right there!!

  • 32.
    kellicrowe said…

    hey we did this with David too:)
    happy late birthday.

  • 33.
    rebecca harper said…

    great photos!! He looks to happy to be there!

  • 34.

    I have not had a chance to ride the tram yet. Looks pretty fun. I’ll have to take my 8yr old son.
    I featured you today on Today’s Creative Blog. If you want a blinkie, just email me.

  • 35.
    Fitri said…

    hai.. good article, i’m from indonesia. Like u, i’ve been write for autism child. u’r article make me understand about autism. thx..
    o..y.. duniapsikologi means world of psychology, name of my blog.

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