Tag Archives: Centers for Disease Contro

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Tuesday: Overcast with a chance of rain. High of 63. Winds from the NE at 5 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 30%. Tuesday night: Overcast. Low of 55. Winds from the NE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 20%.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Meet the Candidates

St. John’s is holding a Meet the Candidates night from 7 p.m.to 9 p.m. at the Belson Moot Courtroom in the School of Law, where candidates for the New York State Legislature will take part in a public forum to discuss issues of importance to college students and the local community. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

 Grand jury probe likely in shooting

New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly on Monday said a grand jury would have to decide whether criminal charges are warranted in the fatal shooting of an unarmed motorist in Queens last week by a detective. Read more: Wall Street Journal

Four teens killed in horrific car crash on Long Island; teen at wheel only had learner’s permit

They died on Dead Man’s Curve. Four Queens teenagers were killed Monday when their car — driven by a 17-year-old with only a learner’s permit — sped off a treacherous stretch of a Long Island highway and wrapped itself around a tree. Read more: New York Daily News

Churches battle liquor store next door

Two churches in Queens are now in the middle of a nasty battle because of what’s in the middle between them. Read more: ABC New York

Residents upset over calls that accuse State Senate candidate of supporting Muslim radicals

Joseph Concannon is a relatively unknown Republican State Senate candidate but he’s created an uproar in the 11th district. Bayside residents like Andy Rothman are crying foul over a Concannon robocall that accuses incumbent State Sen. Tony Avella of supporting Muslim radicals. Read more: NY1

U.S. meningitis cases mount from thousands of patients at risk

More cases of fungal meningitis tied to contaminated steroid shots are expected to be confirmed on Tuesday, U.S. health officials said, and some patients who received the injections may have to wait weeks to know if they are infected. Read more: Reuters

Sandusky to learn sentence in child sex abuse case

Jerry Sandusky will learn what penalty a judge considers appropriate for the 45 counts of child sexual abuse for which the former Penn State assistant football coach was convicted in June. Read more: AP

A mother’s story: The challenges of living with Autism


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Alexa Altman

Edna Luna’s curly-headed, big-eyed little boy was always a little different.

The way he related to the world, his cognitions, were unlike those of other children.

Concerned, Luna took her toddler-aged son, Winter, to see a doctor, who diagnosed him with Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) – a nebulous term for any delay in progression.

Displeased with the doctor’s unspecific diagnosis, Luna’s desperation took her to the Internet, searching through countless testimonials of parents in similar situations.

“My child doesn’t respond when spoken to.”

“My child is hypersensitive to noise.”

“My child doesn’t interact with other children.”

The screen said “Autism.”

Luna is a single mother living in Flushing with her two sons, nine-year-old Winter and 19-year-old Nathaniel (Nate), both of whom are Autistic.

She too is Autistic.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), one percent of all children are classified as living with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Parents of one child with ASD have a two to eight percent chance of having a second child who is also affected.

For Luna and her two sons, routine is essential.

Winter awakes at 6:30 every morning. He attends third grade at Robin Sue Ward School, after which Luna picks him up and the pair run errands or walk the links at a nearby golf course. Wherever they go, Winter needs fair warning. There can be no surprises.

Some nights, Winter wakes up at 3 a.m. Through the wall, Luna hears her son reciting lines from movies or conversations he heard throughout the day. She says it’s his way of making sense of the world.

“At the end of the day you’re exhausted,” said Luna. “A lot of the things you feel during the day you had to keep to yourself. Just connecting to the world is a challenge.”

And other people aren’t kind.

“They see you reprimand your child and people get rude,” said Luna. “Sometimes people talk to him and he won’t talk back. If it’s too loud, he won’t sit still. Sometimes he just gets frustrated and has a meltdown.”

Luna wishes others could relate and that people understood ways to connect with affected children.

There are days when Nate refuses to leave his room, spending the entire day playing computer games.

An interest in computers evolved into expertise. Nate can take apart and reassemble hard drives, motherboards and monitors. He also taught himself how to build guitars.

“Anything he gets into, he’s an expert,” said Luna.

Constant teasing in school caused Nate to develop anxiety – occurrences unnoticed until students showed up at Luna’s door to tell her what had been happening.

Edna says Nate can appear angry and disrespectful, even lazy. Luna feels he needs constant supervision.

When Nate was 11, he expressed his struggles to his mother – the frustrations of social interaction, resorting to mimicking the actions of his classmates.

Luna justified his behavior. After all, it had been how she acted in school.

As her own Autism diagnosis, unseen for almost 30 years, became clear, she questioned life-long mannerisms previously perceived as normal.

As a child, Luna arranged her mother’s bobby pins in a long, straight line across the dresser, a compulsion she continued for years. When overwhelmed, she repeatedly flapped her hands at chest level — a practice she would later discover was called stimming. At night, Luna opened the window to her fifth-floor Astoria apartment, sat on the ledge and dangled her feet outside. She felt no danger, no fear – a symptom, she now knows, of Autism.

Luna also admitted that her childhood had been rather friendless.

“I never spoke to anyone,” she said. “I was a loner.”

Now Luna works as a part-time makeup artist and occasionally sings at restaurants around the borough. Several health issues make it difficult for her to hold a full-time job and her sons could need her at any minute.

Her passion, however, lies in her charity work. Budget cuts to local programs have driven her to work even harder.

My Charity 4 Kids, an organization in conjunction with Savannah’s Family Workshop and Volunteer One, assists children afflicted with Autism, Asperger Symdrome and blindness. Luna hopes to create workshops for parents, helping them adjust to raising a developmentally-disabled child.

While she admits to not being an expert, Luna says there’s a certain knowledge you gain from raising an affected child and from living with Autism yourself.