In Lieu of Studying: Online Surfing and Body Surfing with Autism ((By Jade))

photo cred: Patagonia's "The Cleanest Line" blog, courtesy of Greg and Donna Edwards

      With two 10-page papers and two final exams on deck, it was only natural that I spent way too much time on Facebook this weekend with a couple of bouts of online shopping.  But, I also dug up some good genetics gems on the internet…and then decided to make a blog post about it in order to continue not studying.

1. After watching the documentary — Come Hell or High Water — Greg and Donna Edwards’ son, Kyan, who has autism, seemed enthused by the idea of surfing.  His parents decided to bring Kyan to the beach, an environment that previously created an uncomfortable ‘sensory overload.’  Inspired by the beauty of the waves in the documentary, this time Kyan “ran out into the water!”  His parents gushed:

Our son has discovered the ocean. He now feels at home in the water.

2. My boyfriend recently forwarded me the trailer for a WWII documentary entitled Menschen.  It’s currently raising funds for production.  A young man with Down syndrome stars as one of the main characters.

“MENSCHEN” is the German word for “human beings”. The film challenges prejudice behind stereotypes like “enemy”, “disabled”, or even “hero”.

3. And, finally, this deserves some good-hot, ethical debate (or maybe just a finger-wag):  Companies are now marketing genetic testing to measure sports aptitude.  I first heard about this at the ACMG conference a couple weeks ago, which was followed by ethical conversation and some uproar from the crowd.  The implications are numerous, but I wanted to poke around online for myself to see what exactly was being offered.  Atlas First seems to be the most searchable and most cited in the media.  I won’t give my full opinion on all this jazz (I’ve got finals to take care of!), but I will re-write one of the comments from an audience member at the ACMG conference:

I’m a terrible basketball player.  I’m awful.  But I love it.  And my life would not be nearly as fulfilling if I had taken a genetic test that predicted how awful I would be and was then told I better steer clear of basketball.

Final note: Congrats to all the new genetic counseling students who receive offers to programs on Monday 🙂


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