Monday, February 27, 2012

Parent Training Key To Tackling Behavior, Study Finds

Children with developmental disabilities who have severe behavior issues respond better to medication if it is paired with training for their parents, researchers say. In study of 124 children ages 4 to 13 with pervasive developmental disorders, including autism, and significant behavioral problems, kids were prescribed the antipsychotic drug Risperidone, sold under the brand name Risperdal. In addition, some of the children’s parents were given regular training during the six-month study period to help them better respond to behavior issues. While children in both groups saw gains, those who benefited from the combination of medication and parent training experienced a wider range of improvements, researchers report this month in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. “Both groups — medication alone and combined treatment group — demonstrated improvement in functional communication and social interaction. But the combined group showed greater improvement on several measures of everyday adaptive functioning,” said Lawrence Scahill of Yale University who was the senior author of the study. Adaptive functioning skills can encompass everything from hygiene to managing daily routines, making it a significant real-world measure for families. “Decreasing these serious behavioral problems results in children who are more able to manage everyday living,” Scahill said.

 Click here to read more. 

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Growing Old with Autism

Noah, my younger brother, does not talk. Nor can he dress himself, prepare a meal for himself or wipe himself. He is a 42-year-old man, balding, gaunt, angry and, literally, crazy. And having spent 15 years at the Fairview Developmental Center in Costa Mesa, Calif., a state facility, Noah has picked up the con's trick of lashing out before anyone could take a shot at him. Noah's autism has been marked by "three identified high priority maladaptive behaviors that interfere with his adaptive programming. These include banging his head against solid surfaces, pinching himself and grabbing others," according to his 2004 California Department of Developmental Services individual program plan (IPP). Remarkably, that clinical language actually portrays Noah more favorably than the impression one would get from a face-to-face meeting. Despite the successful marketing of the affliction by activists and interest groups, autism is not a childhood condition. It is nondegenerative and nonterminal: the boys and girls grow up. For all the interventions and therapies and the restrictive diets and innovative treatments, the majority of very low-functioning autistics like Noah will require intensive support throughout their lives. If recent estimates of prevalence by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are accurate, then 1 in 150 of today's children is autistic. That means we are in for a vast number of adult autistics — most better adjusted than Noah, some as bad off — who will be a burden to parents, siblings and, eventually, society. We are largely unprepared to deal with this crisis.

 Read more: 

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Got Sleep Questions? We Have a Webchat for You!

Dr. Malow will be fielding questions on sleep issues affecting individuals on the autism spectrum and their families. This webchat is being held in tandem with the same day release of Sleep Strategies for Children with Autism: A Parent's Guide, the latest free tool kit published by the Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network (ATN) and made possible by its participation in the Autism Intervention Research Network on Physical Health (AIR-P). The tool kit will be available for free download on the ATN's    "Tools You Can Use" page.

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Monday, February 20, 2012

Webinar - Group Instruction for Kids Who Hate Group Instruction






Join us, as we continue our FREE webinar series. This month we will focus on Group Instruction for Kids Who Hate Group Instruction presented by Anne Lau M.Ed., NCC, B.C.B.A. on February 28, 2012 from 4pm-5pm PST and again on February 29, 2012 from 12pm-1pm PST.

This webinar will provide information on the deficits that many children with autism have and why these deficits prevent learning in group situations. It will describe some beginning goals and the procedures used to meet those goals in providing effective group instruction to early learners.

This beginner level webinar will teach you to:




  • Describe why some learners may not be benefiting from group instruction


  • Identify when a transition to group instruction would be appropriate


  • Define the first goals/IEP objectives in providing effective group instruction


  • List multiple group activities and teaching procedures that can be used to target those group instruction goals



Who would benefit from this webinar:



  • Autism service provider organizations


  • Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs)


  • Teachers


  • Paraprofessionals



More Doctors 'Fire' Vaccine Refusers






Families Who Reject Inoculations Told to Find a New Physician; Contagion in Waiting Room Is a Fear









Pediatricians fed up with parents who refuse to vaccinate their children out of concern it can cause autism or other problems increasingly are "firing" such families from their practices, raising questions about a doctor's responsibility to these patients.

Medical associations don't recommend such patient bans, but the practice appears to be growing, according to vaccine researchers.






















DOCFIRE

Dr. Allan LaReau in Michigan stops treating families who refuse to vaccinate their children. 'You feel badly about losing a nice family,' he says.

In a study of Connecticut pediatricians published last year, some 30% of 133 doctors said they had asked a family to leave their practice for vaccine refusal, and a recent survey of 909 Midwestern pediatricians found that 21% reported discharging families for the same reason.

By comparison, in 2001 and 2006 about 6% of physicians said they "routinely" stopped working with families due to parents' continued vaccine refusal and 16% "sometimes" dismissed them, according to surveys conducted then by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Click here to read more.

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African-American children tend to be diagnosed later for autism

The rate of diagnosis for autism spectrum disorders (ASD) is the same among all racial groups — one in 110, according to current estimates. However, a study by a Florida State University researcher has found that African-American children tend to be diagnosed later than white children, which results in a longer and more intensive intervention.The reasons for later diagnoses include a lack of access to quality, affordable, culturally competent health care, according to Martell Teasley, an associate professor in Florida State's College of Social Work who has conducted a comprehensive review of researchliterature on autism and African-American children. In addition, the stigmaattached to mental health conditions within the black community contribute to misdiagnoses of autism, and underuse of available treatment services.

 Click here to read more. 

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The Latest TV Trend: Autism

It’s great that the growing diversity of characters is extending to the neurological, and I’m sure it contributes to greater understanding of some of the issues these individuals face; consider whether Charlie Babbitt’s cruel, ignorant treatment of his brother Raymond in the first half of 1988′s Rain Man would be considered redeemable by today’s audiences. The danger is that it may also lead to a more widespread perception of those on the spectrum as inherently miraculous. Spike Lee rightly derides the storytelling trope of “magical negro,” in which a beatific black person helps a privileged but struggling white person discover the true meaning of whatever, as in The Legend of Bagger Vance or as TourĂ© recently pointed out, The Help. Applied to those on the autism spectrum, it’s easy to see how a continuation of this trend may result in their further marginalization. “What’s wrong with him?” is a hurtful question, but “What can he do?” isn’t much better. Perhaps a more realistic portrayal of a character with Aspergers is that of Max Braverman on NBC’s Parenthood, an often challenging boy who doesn’t exist to solve problems for his neurotypical counterparts and doesn’t have superpowers to do so in any case

.Read more: 

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Friday, February 17, 2012

Motor Impairments Appear to Be a Characteristic of Autism

Autism itself seems to be responsible for the problems children with the disorder have in developing motor skills such as running, throwing a ball and learning to write, according to a new study. Previously, it wasn't clear whether these motor skill difficulties ran in families or were linked to autism, said the researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

 Click here to read more.

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Webinar - Converting Sheltered Workshops To Employment Programs ThatGet People Real Jobs!

Converting Sheltered Workshops To Employment Programs That Get People Real Jobs! February 21, 2012 2:00 to 3:00 pm (EST) Sheltered Workshops have been a hot topic lately. Many states are working hard to change their workshops to community-based employment. We can help! This webinar will share two important resources: Find out about Maine's Peer-Support Training and Mentor Program called It’s Your Life: Building Connections Through Work. They hired self-advocates who have real jobs to mentor and support people in sheltered workshops prepare for the transition into community work. Get tips on how to calm the concerns of people and their families who are worried about taking this big step. Learn about the Vermont Conversion Institute. This two-day training supports state teams to examine the issues of policy change, training, and culture-shift needed to foster the conversion of sheltered workshops to community-based employment services. Space is limited. Reserve your seat now at: https://cc.readytalk.com/r/vdfczahas7nk For questions contact Jennifer Sladen at jsladen@autismnow.orgor Toll free: 800.433.5255 Invited Speakers: Bryan Dague, Ed.D. has 25 years of experience in the disability field with the last 19 as faculty at the University of Vermont-Center on Disability and Community Inclusion. His work is focused primarily on inclusive employment for people with disabilities. Bryan provides training and technical assistance to supported employment programs and high school transition programs throughout the state of Vermont. Max Barrows is a young man with Autism and is supported by a family that believes in self-determination! He works for Green Mountain Self-Advocates as the Outreach Coordinator providing training and technical assistance to local self-advocacy groups. Max has been a peer support mentor for Hire Up, a group for self-advocates looking to improve their work status. Max is Vice-President of Self-Advocates Becoming Empowered (SABE), the national self-advocacy organization. In this position, he pays close attention to national disability issues, participating in many conference calls with other leaders. Alli Vercoe was one of the project directors for It’s Your Life: Building Connections Through Work. She worked for Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy, Muskie School of Public Service University of Southern Maine. She recruited and supported five individuals with ID/DD as peer trainers to create this curriculum. They assisted the peer trainers in presenting their employment stories in a variety of mediums, including pictures and video.

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

'Best Practices': Learning To Live With Asperger's

A Memoir of Marriage, Asperger Syndrome, and One Man's Quest to Be a Better Husband When he was 30 years old, David Finch's wife, Kristen, sat him down and asked him a series of odd questions: "Do you notice patterns in things all the time?" "Do people comment on your unusual mannerisms and habits? "Do you feel tortured by clothes tags, clothes that are too tight or made in the 'wrong material'?" "Do you sometimes have an urge to jump over things?" David's answers to all of these questions — and more than 100 others — was an emphatic yes. Kristen Finch had just given her unsuspecting husband a self-quiz to evaluate for Asperger's syndrome, a condition on the autism spectrum. Her own score was 8 out of a possible 200. David's was 155. "It was very cathartic. It was this unbelievable moment of self-recognition," David Finch tells NPR's Melissa Block. "It gave me such insight into who I am, how my mind works and why certain things have been such a challenge." In his new book, The Journal of Best Practices, David Finch describes how he and Kristen worked to overcome his compulsions and sometimes anti-social behavior.

 Click here to listen to the interview on NPR. 

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Unified Teams Take Special Olympics Approach to School Sports

Not long ago, high school was a lonesome place for Shane Powell. A quiet, gangly 17-year-old, he could not help noticing the whispers in the hallways when he walked past, classmates poking fun at him. Matt Nager for The New York Times Unified sports teams combine special-needs students, like Powell, a 17-year-old junior who is cognitively delayed, and general-education students. “I was picked on,” said Powell, who is cognitively delayed and speaks in short, soft bursts. “I felt very sad.” These days, Powell is a junior basketball star at Grandview, a sprawling public high school of 2,600 students near Denver, and he prefers to be called Big Shane, a nickname reinforced by his 6-foot-4 beanpole frame. Through a collaboration with the Special Olympics, Powell and nearly two dozen other special education students participate on basketball and cheerleading squads at Grandview. They not only take part in school competitions, but also team up with general education students, called partner athletes. At Grandview, these unified teams are upending high school’s archetypal and often cruel social order. Largely invisible in the past, special education students now slap hands with lettermen in the hallways, chat with new friends and live a high school existence that “feels normal,” said one parent, Kelly Shearer. Kurt Wollenweber, Grandview’s principal, said: “Unified has transformed the culture of this school. It was almost as if these kids weren’t noticed before we began doing this. I don’t think anyone realized how powerful they are.”
 Click here to read more. 

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A new movie about Aspergers and Baseball

A Mile In His Shoes is the story of Mickey Tussler, a young man with Asperger’s Syndrome and a golden arm. The manager for a local baseball team convinces Mickey to join the team. For the first time in his life Mickey is forced to interact with others as well as try and make friends with his teammates. The movie is based on a novel by author Frank Nappi entitled The Legend of Mickey Tussler, We caught up with Frank and interviewed him about The Legend of Mickey Tussler and his opinion of the movie. Check out the trailer above and the interview with Frank below.

Click here to watch the trailer and read more. 

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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Newsletter - Association for Science in Autism Treatment

Click here to download the newsletter.

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Squag

What Is Squag? [skwag] is an innovative social platform designed specifically for tweens and teens on the autism spectrum. Our goal is to facilitate the opportunity for organic relationships; driven by kids, supported by parents. (What could be better?) An interview about Squag.

 Click here to get started.

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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

'Best Practices': Learning To Live With Asperger's

When he was 30 years old, David Finch's wife, Kristen, sat him down and asked him a series of odd questions: "Do you notice patterns in things all the time?" "Do people comment on your unusual mannerisms and habits? "Do you feel tortured by clothes tags, clothes that are too tight or made in the 'wrong material'?" "Do you sometimes have an urge to jump over things?" David's answers to all of these questions — and more than 100 others — was an emphatic yes. Kristen Finch had just given her unsuspecting husband a self-quiz to evaluate for Asperger's syndrome, a condition on the autism spectrum. Her own score was 8 out of a possible 200. David's was 155. "It was very cathartic. It was this unbelievable moment of self-recognition," David Finch tells NPR's Melissa Block. "It gave me such insight into who I am, how my mind works and why certain things have been such a challenge." In his new book, The Journal of Best Practices, David Finch describes how he and Kristen worked to overcome his compulsions and sometimes anti-social behavior.

 Click here to listen to the story on NPR. 

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Got Autism? Learn About the Link Between Dairy Products and the Disease

Click here to read more. 

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Three Reasons Not to Believe in an Autism Epidemic

Click here to watch the video.

Or read the journal article here. 

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Webinar - "Strategies for Success: Using Technology to Communicate withyour Developmentally Disabled Child (Part 1)"

Click HERE to watch Part 1 of the webinar. 

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Webinar - Using Technology to Communicate with your Child

More here:

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