Friday, November 28, 2008
Surfers Healing was founded by Israel and Danielle Paskowitz. Their son, Isaiah, was diagnosed with autism at age three. Like many autistic children, he often suffered from sensory overload-- simple sensations could overwhelm him. The ocean was the one place where he seemed to find respite.
A former competitive surfer, Israel hit upon an idea--with Isaiah on the front of his surfboard, and Izzy steering from the back, the two spent the day surfing together. Surfing had a profound impact on Isaiah. Israel and Danielle decided they wanted to share this unique therapy with other autistic children. They began to host day camps at the beach where autistic children and their families could be exposed to a completely new experience of surfing.
Monday, November 24, 2008
Monday, November 17, 2008
Date: December 15, 2008
Ages: Young elementary; Tween
Price: $325/6 sessions
251 Fifth Avenue, 3rd Floor - 201-906-6555
New York , NY 10016
Description: Private Picassos offers group art therapy sessions on Mondays, in collaboration with Colors of Play, LLC. This Art of Friendship program is designed to help children coping with conditions such as ADD/ADHD, Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Asperger’s Syndrome, Sensory Integration Disorder and variations on the Autism Spectrum.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
By Amy Erickson
Megan Hanno's ultimate goal is to walk again.
The nonprofit organization provides therapeutic techniques on horseback for people of all ages, from 18 months on, with physical, cognitive or emotional disabilities."In most cases just about any diagnosis qualifies," said Jessie Christopherson, S.T.A.R.S. executive director. "There's a whole lot of folks out there who could be utilizing the service and don't know they qualify."
Megan, 22, suffered a traumatic brain injury in a car accident five years ago. Since then she has had to relearn everything from swallowing to talking to walking.
Horseback riding through S.T.A.R.S. helps strengthen Megan's core muscles, the ones that help people walk, sit upright and balance, Christopherson said.
The horse's movement replicates the motion that people's pelvis and hips make when the walk on two feet, she said.
Monday afternoon Megan's mom Paula Hanno, pushed her wheelchair up a ramp to a mounting block in the S.T.A.R.S. indoor arena for Megan's weekly therapy session.
Megan said riding helps her balance.
"My abs (were) really sore," after her session the week before, she said.
"There's no way to cheat on a horse," Christopherson said. "She has to retrain her body to use muscles her brain has forgotten how to use."
As volunteer and part-time instructor, Holly Tucker, lead Brownie and Megan around the arena, Megan's constant battle was to remain upright with her chin down.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Autistic kids connect with innovative therapyTherapy techniques involving the use of animals in the classroom are yielding results at the Sabahat Akşıray Autistic Children’s Education Center in İzmir’s Menemen district.
Monday, November 10, 2008
The new program, a master’s degree in Applied Behavior Analysis and Autism, is offered fully online.
Sunday, November 9, 2008
In support of researchers, clinicians, and families who are working to find a treatment or cure ASD, Senator Obama and the autism community have united behind the “Autism Treatment Acceleration Act of 2008” This legislation authorizes federal funding in order to:
1. Create and evaluate Autism Care Centers, through a demonstration project to develop a national network of comprehensive treatment facilities that provide a full array of medical, behavioral, mental health, educational and family care services to individuals and families in a single location.
2. Establish an ASD Coordinating Committee, consisting of representatives from relevant governmental agencies, researchers, and the public, to coordinate government activities relating to ASD.
3. Establish a national autism translational “Research to Services” network for the purposes of leveraging and enhancing the autism treatment and service capacity of federal, regional, state and local agencies and integrating regional, state and local agencies as fully as possible into national efforts.
4. Create a “National Center for Project Access” to provide training and technical assistance to frontline autism service providers and enhance program evaluation support.
5. Establish a population-based ASD case registry that will facilitate the understanding of the root causes, rates, and trends of ASD.
6. Implement a grants program directed toward public and private nonprofit entities for the purpose of carrying out multimedia campaigns to increase public education and awareness about healthy developmental milestones for infants and children that may assist early identification of signs and symptoms of ASD.
7. Require that insurers provide coverage for the diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders and the treatment of autism spectrum disorders in connection with group health plans.
Source: ATAA 2008 (.doc) (Adventures in Autism)
Friday, November 7, 2008
Students gathered Thursday morning to hear from a Yale associate professor describe his research with robots and how they are used to diagnose, treat and understand autism.
Associate professor, Brian Scassellati presented his research at the Department of Computer Science's colloquium. He first discussed how robots are used to study social development.
"Robots are a unique tool, a unique way to use technology to study people," Scassellati said.
In his research, Scassellati uses robots to understand certain behaviors. Watching interactions between children and a robot can help researchers ask questions and find answers about certain behaviors because robots provide a consistent test subject that humans can't offer.
Scassellati showed a video from his research showing a child's interaction with a speaking robot. At first the child copied the robot's non-sense words, but when the robot made a sound similar to the word 'truck', the child spent the next 10 minutes trying to get the robot to say the word 'truck'.
"Sometimes these robots provoke us into knowing something about ourselves," Scassellati said.
Amy Glaves, a junior studying computer science who works in BYU's robotics lab, attended the lecture and said she agrees with the use of robots for social purposes.
"I thought it was interesting, the way everything is social relevant and how we can use it to help autistic kids," Glaves said.
Scassellati has used these social interaction studies for the past seven years working with a clinical group for kids with autism.
Because autism is a social condition, and is diagnosed behaviorally, the robots provide a unique tool to find out more about the condition.
"What we have been doing with technology is to improve the way we can do diagnosis or treatment," Scassellati said.
- Robot Playmates May Help Children With Autism
- Using a Robot to Teach Human Social Skills
- Towards interactive robots in autism therapy (PDF)
- Kaspar the Robot May Help Children with Autism
- European Integrated Project "Cogniron": Cognitive Robot Companion
- Robots, mirror neurons, virtual reality and autism
- Robots aid autistic children
- Toy Robots for Diagnosing and Curing Autism
- Robots battle autism
- Discovery Channel - Robot playmates offer "doorway" into minds of kids with autism
One way to teach so children with autism is to use Speaker Immersion. Speaker Immersion is a way of teaching students that speaking is reinforcing, either because we gain access to things we need or want or because our use of speech sparks a conversation. In the ladder case, we are reinforced by whatever we gain from the conversation itself, whether attention, information, or other social reinforcement.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
By Carolyn Braff
To call the Rebecca School a “special needs” school doesn’t quite tell the story of this innovative facility on East 30th Street. Staff and administrators work daily to reinvent the way special needs children are educated, and the way their families are supported during the process.
Relying on the Developmental Individual Difference Relationship-based (DIR) model, the three-year-old school works with a host of counselors, social workers and an advisory board to involve families in the education process for its students, who range in age from 4 to 18.
The Rebecca School serves children with neuro-developmental delays in relating and communicating, which includes children diagnosed on the autistic spectrum. While most special needs schools use behavioral approaches, the DIR model relies on relationships to figure out where the difficulties in a child’s development lie, meet the child at this developmental level then work to move ahead.
“The thing that sets us apart mainly is the overwhelming philosophical methodology that we use, the DIR model,” said Tina McCourt, program director at the Rebecca School. “It’s very different from the way most people work with children, particularly on the autistic spectrum.”
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
In-Stride With Therapeutic Riding Inc., a 2-year-old, nonprofit program operating at the West Pike Run Equestrian Center in Coal Center, helps children with special needs to gain confidence and develop abilities to focus, relax and accept change while learning to ride, said founder and director Dana Flaherty, 34, of North Strabane.
Riding also can help to develop core muscles and improve stability, which often is an issue for children with physical disabilities, Ms. Flaherty said.
In-Stride began with one rider and has had as many as 12, but enrollment recently dropped to six, largely due to its location in rural Washington County, Ms. Flaherty said.
Starting Wednesday, she will begin offering additional lessons Sundays at Morning Star Stables on Ridge Road in South Park. She also hopes to open another satellite location in Eighty Four.
"Ella loves it," Ms. Smith said. "She's not been confident when doing other things and now she's extremely confident with this."
Ella is diagnosed with pervasive development disorder, a form of autism, and with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Ms. Smith and her husband, Scott, found information about In-Stride on the Internet after learning about a similar program while vacationing in Virginia with Ella and her brother, Otis, 8.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Equestrian News Release
The foundation, which supports rigorous scientific research that substantiates the healing impact of horses on humans, reported that applications for funding were received from a variety of countries and represented 16 universities. The stringent selection process resulted in awards to Good Hope Equestrian Training Center in Miami, FL and the University of Quebec at Trois-Rivieres, Canada.
"One in every 150 kids has autism," said Molly Sweeney, HHRF Board of Directors' president. "This pervasive development disorder can have devastating impacts on a family. The economic impact per child is estimated at $30,000 annually, and there are very few effective treatments. We are thrilled at the prospect of providing evidence of hope."
The Good Hope Equestrian Training Center is a 20-acre facility in southern Florida. Their research team will evaluate the effects of equine interaction on 7- to 12-year-old children diagnosed with autism. The research will focus on social function, attention and distractibility.
The University of Quebec at Trois-Rivieres is the first grant awarded internationally by the Horses and Humans Research Foundation. The university, located 85 miles north-east of Montreal, will conduct research measuring the effect of a ten-week hippotherapy Intervention on the control of head and trunk movement of children with cerebral palsy. Eighteen subjects and their horses will be fitted with telemetry-recording accelerometers to document the speed and magnitude of the subjects' upper body and head displacement throughout the program and eight weeks after.
The Horses and Humans Research Foundation was established in 2002 to fund research that will improve equine-assisted activities/therapies (EAA/T) best practices and to increase awareness of EAA/T benefits.
There are nearly 750 EAA/T programs in the United States affiliated with the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association and over 40,000 participants, which represents only a portion of the programs operating nationally and internationally.
Folic acid has been reported to be helpful in autism (ARRI 8/4). The great French researcher Jerome Lejeune reported that supplements of about 250 mcg of folic acid per pound of body weight per day brought on major improvement in several autistic children. Dr. Lejeune gave thousands of retarded children (mostly Down syndrome) 20 mg of folic acid per day in his various studies, with no harm, nor would any harm be expected.
These occur naturally in food and can also be taken as supplements.
Folate in foods and other sources
Leafy vegetables such as spinach, turnip greens, lettuces, dried beans and peas, fortified cereal products, sunflower seeds and certain other fruits and vegetables are rich sources of folate. Liver and liver products also contain high amounts of folate, as does bakers yeast. Some breakfast cereals (ready-to-eat and others) are fortified with 25% to 100% of the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for folic acid. A table of selected food sources of folate and folic acid can be found at the USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference.Folate is also found in Vegemite or Marmite, with an average serving (5g) containing 100μg. Folate is also synthesized in bacteria.
Related: Folic Acid on Wikipedia
Neurofeedback (EEG & HEG biofeedback) clinics that work with autistic children are still rare.
Very few have been willing to take on an autistic child, because of the difficulties involved:
1. How do you attach sensors to an autistic child? Even using a helmet?
2. If you do get a connection, how do you motivate such a child? (A key to success).
3. Autism can bankupt any family except the very wealthy.
These problems are "no problem" with Neuroliminal Training (NT). All three of the above problems above are solved with NT.
Not only are no sensors or headsets involved, but with NT, motivation isn't important at all.
Since NT works by using a subliminal messaging technique that works during sleep, or as a background to play or study, it's done at home using a repeating CD, and at an affordable cost to even a low income family. NT improves autism symptoms gradually over time in the same way as NFB. It's slow, but steady progress.
UCLA researchers have discovered that an FDA-approved drug reverses the brain dysfunction caused by tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC); because half of TSC patients also suffer from autism the researchers are hopeful the treatment can address associated learning disorders. The journal Nature Medicine published the findings in its June 22 online edition.
The scientists used the drug rapamycin on mice models of TSC; rapamycin is well-known for targeting an enzyme involved in creating proteins needed for memory. The same enzyme is also regulated by TSC proteins.
“This is the first study to demonstrate that the drug rapamycin can repair learning deficits related to a genetic mutation that causes autism in humans. The same mutation in animals produces learning disorders, which we were able to eliminate in adult mice,” said lead investigator Alcino Silva, professor of neurobiology and psychiatry at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. “Our work and other recent studies suggest that some forms of mental retardation can be reversed, even in the adult brain.”
Omega-3 Fatty Acids - Feeding the Brain
Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation is quite popular in the treatment of autism. A study performed on the effects of Omega-3 supplementation on autistic behaviors showed improvement in sleep, cognition, overall health, social interaction, and eye contact.
Three types of Omega-3 fatty acids are a-linolenic acid (ALA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids compete with each other and it is important to keep them in the proper ratio: the ideal ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 is 1:1. Primary sources of Omega-3s are fish, flaxseeds, and walnuts, while Omega-6 fatty acids are found in vegetable oils such as corn, sunflower, soy, and safflower and in margarine. Most Americans consume far too many Omega-6 fatty acids and not enough Omega-3 fatty acids, disrupting the balance of Omega-6 to Omega-3. Many experts believe that the ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 consumed by most Americans is 20:1 and some up to 50:1! We are in desperate need of Omega-3 supplementation!
Flax seeds, walnuts, and some dark, leafy vegetables contain ALA. Cold water oily fish such as wild salmon, cod, and sardines are excellent sources of DHA and EPA. (Note, only wild fish should be consumed - farm raised fish are problematic for many reasons, including their high levels of Omega-6 and lower levels of Omega-3s.) Cod liver oil and fish oil are very concentrated sources of DHA and EPA. These oils should be purified to be free from detectable levels of mercury, lead, PCBs and other contaminants. They should also contain vitamin E to prevent oxidation of the oils.
Monday, November 3, 2008
Cannabis Change "Crazy" Say Lib-Dems - Doctors agreeRelated:
"Antidepressant drugs are among the most prescribed medications but their adverse side effects can often be paradoxically lethal with suicide being prominent."
But hang on a moment. According to our Prime Minister Gordon Brown, cannabis is lethal, isn't it?
Not according to Doctor leveque it isn't.
He continues, "I have a surprise for some people. The U.S. Govt says cannabis as an alleged drug causes euphoria (a medical condition) which surprise surprise causes "euphoria", (a side effect), which in itself, is addicting."
"Imagine," continues Dr Leveque. "A very safe replacement for amphetamine, once the most prescribed and addicting mood stimulants, (think "Ritalin") being replaced with cannabis?" As it already is in many parts of the US, in the treatment of children with ADHD/ADD , Autism and Aspergers syndrome.
The dolphin's 'healing' powers have been attributed to a range of factors. Some theories believe it is merely the dolphin's affection and tolerance that brings such positive results. Other rumors suggest that the dolphin's natural sonar actually triggers a healing response from within the human body.
Sunday, November 2, 2008
Great website for kids on the autism spectrum,
Jacob's Lessons - Free Online ABA Activities and toddler education.Description from the site:
The activities on this website were originally created to give my
toddler a fun introduction to the computer. It grew into a terrific
interactive experience for us as well. My wife is a behavior analyst
who works with children on the autism spectrum and she began using the
activities with her students. She discovered that Jacob's Lessons is an
effective way to teach young children with autism beginning computer
skills, and is useful as a complement to their Applied Behavior
Analysis (ABA) programming. These activities were created so that the
adult works with the child during the lesson, not as an independent
activity for the child, although some of the children will be able to
do some of the lessons on their own. New lessons and modification of
current lessons will be done with your input-please use the button
below to comment, ask a question, or suggest new content for Jacob's
- Learn to associate a number with that many objects.
- Learn to use the mouse by helping the bee color the flower.
- Contact Jacob's Dad
- Learn to use the mouse with the simplest of coloring books.
- Receptive Labeling
- Matching Pictures
- Matching Colors
- Matching Shapes
- Matching Category
- Perspective Skill Game Watch the frog's eyes
- Reading and Phonics
Real workout, virtual world
Autistic students take to Nintendo sports at Patterson Mill Middle/H.S.
By Cassandra A. Fortin Special to The Sun
Jean Tyrrell wanted to find activities that would allow students in the autism program at Patterson Mill Middle/High School to be more physically active during the school day.
After researching some ideas, Tyrrell said she purchased a Nintendo Wii video game console with a grant that she received.
"The kids really like Wii," said Tyrrell, a physical-education teacher. "And I think it's great. It gives the children with autism an age-appropriate leisure activity to do."
Since the game was purchased, the children have all learned to play it, said Carolyn Trovinger, who teaches the middle school autism program.
On a recent afternoon, Trovinger's students played baseball on the Wii, which features digital sensors and allows people to virtually play sports and games.
Journey Phanouvong, 12, of Belcamp made a base hit, and then clapped and cheered.
Daniel Quinn, 11, of Edgewood hit the ball and didn't want to stop playing when his turn was over.
"Some of the students would love to play Wii all day long," Tyrrell said. "We can't let them do that. So we put Wii on their daily schedule right after lunch time. That way, they know exactly when they can play."
The game is simple, so all the students can play, said Robin Yates, who teaches the high school program for autism. Each student has a different level of autism - a developmental disorder that is characterized by impaired social interaction and communication - and a different level of play. And the game allows the autistic students to play at their own pace, she said.
Despite the limited time the students have to play the game - one period a day - there are benefits for autistic children, said Trovinger.
Saturday, November 1, 2008
By Jill Doss-Raines
Some of life's simplest tasks are impossible for Misty Brown to accomplish with her son, Colby.
She cannot simply run into a grocery store to buy milk or bread if he is with her. A trip to Wal-Mart is out of the question, as are trips to most public places.
Three-year-old Colby has autism, a neurological disorder affecting one in 150 children and 1 in 94 boys. Autism is a complex disability affecting normal functioning of the brain in many areas including social development, language/communication and/or sensory issues.
For some reason, public places are a sure way to begin a meltdown for Colby. He'll throw himself on the floor, screaming until his mom picks him up. Even then, he cannot be comforted most of the time, and Brown has to leave the store.
With low verbal ability, which is a common symptom in children with autism, Colby is not able to communicate to his mom what is so irritating, frightening or overstimulating for him. Is it the lighting, the smell, the feel of the shopping cart? Brown doesn't know. She does know she has to find a way to help Colby deal with public situations, and she thinks she has found it - a service dog.
Unfortunately, the specially trained service dogs for people with autism cost $7,000. And like most treatments for autistic individuals, it is not covered by insurance.
- Compassionate Paws
- ASDA: Autism Services Dogs of America
- Service Dog Brings Bright Future For Corey
- Service dog changes life for Fairbanks girl with autism
- Family seeks funds for autism service dog
- Service Dog Placements for Children with Autism
- ABC News: Service Dogs May Help Autistic Children
- Michael Ewing’s family fundraising for Autism Service Dog
- Are Service Dogs Austic kids best friends?
- Dogs - a Powerful Medicine for Autistic Children