hgh usage


December 2010




Archive for December 20th, 2010

First Published Monday, 15th September, 2008.


FYI Carers,

Another caring Story

This Australian Story is heart rending and is about the beautiful young lady,
daughter of Mark, who took her own life. Mark and Ellen are parents of a son Ben
an ongoing battle with severe challenging behaviour.

Please pass this message on
Jean L Tops
Gippsland Carers Association Inc
PO Box 937, MOE VIC 3825
Phone: 03 5127 1904
Mobile: 0402 650 375


Just a quick note to let you know that the ABC will be broadcasting “An Australian Story” about Hannah –

  • on ABC-TV  –
    • Monday 15-Sep-2008 at 8.00 pm
    • Saturday 20-Sep-2008 at 12.30 pm
  • on ABC2
    • Tuesday 16-Sep-2008 at 8.00pm
  • On the internet (www.abc.net.au/austory) –
    • Anytime after 15-Sep-2008 with
    • Previews appearing the week before.
I do hope you get a chance to see this half hour documentary, and I look forward to hearing from you afterwards.

with kind regards
Mark Modra

For more information about Hannah go to www.hannahmodra.info

Beautiful India


Sheriff seeks charge in overdose death”:


Joel Woods … “Woods, who lived in Pacific Grove, was killed Wednesday when a vehicle hit him as he was attempting to get into his truck. Woods was picking up his son from Pacific Grove Middle School. The driver of the vehicle that hit Woods was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of prescription drugs.

Woods is survived by his wife, Adrianna Woods, and sons 12-year-old Jacob, who has autism, and Nathan, 10.”:


2 new laws ease life for disabled…Wheelchair safety and autism awareness”:


Corzine approves autism legislation”:


Families sue over use of timeout room”:


Gary McKinnon Case “Our gentle son has been threatened with rape if he goes to a US jail”:


Campaigners protest to stop hacker’s extradition”:


NASA hacker’s lawyers prepare High Court appeal”:


Hacker should be jailed in UK”:


Hacker appeals to Home Secretary”:


Syria “Disabled need more support”:


U.S. Child vaccination rates hit record levels”:


Idaho’s immunization rate among lowest in nation”:


The scientist who started the MMR hoax faces the GMC…”:


A question of ethics”:


Henrico toddler missing after school”:


Autistic child removed from daycare”:


Arnold House “New home for autistic children”:


NAS media response to the Work and Pensions Committee Report: Valuing and Supporting Carers”:


NAS “Complete our local campaigning questionnaire”:


Obama camp asked Paterson to speak on disability, not economy”:


Parents of special-needs children divided over Palin’s promise to help”:


Foster’s sacks autistic worker over YouTube jokes”:


Take part in London Underground’s travel assistance project”:


Media response on the Daniel Harkin Case”:




No link between MMR and autism say doctors after recreating controversial study”:


Study dispels link between autism and measles vaccine”:


Monogamy gene found in people…Another study found that people with autism, which is characterised by unusual social behaviour, often have multiple copies of RS3 334.”:


Older fathers linked with bipolar … People with bipolar disorder fluctuate between intense depression and mania, interspersed by periods of relative calm.

The exact causes of bipolar disorder aren’t known, but it appears to run in families.

About 1 in every 100 people develop bipolar disorder in their lifetime.”


Infant behaviour under the spotlight at Conference, UK”:


Behaviour study of pre-term babies”:


Autism’s History – first discovery, new genes and a surprising link to circadian rhythms”:


Commitment issues? May be your husband’s genes …Studies have shown AVPR1A to be linked to aggression, altruism, and age at first sexual intercourse in humans. Another study has linked the gene to autism, and the over-activation of the amygdala, the emotional center of the brain.”:


Social behaviour gene in animals has similar effects in human males”:


Specific brain regions show increased activity during hallucinations”:


Bipolar risk rises with father’s age”:


Epilepsy – social and cognitive considerations”:


Study: Zen meditation really does clear the mind”:


CDC: 1 in 20 Americans depressed”:




Children of the revolution”:


Stepping into the unknown”:


Md. School creates classes for asperger’s students”:


New York City-based special needs activity center for kids(SNACK) receives $100,000 grant from NRG Energy, Inc.”:


UK classrooms still packed”:


One pupil in five needs mental help”:


Bullying “Don’t give up hope, Jason”:




Job Available – Ridge View School, Kent, UK

Key Stage 3 & 4 and Post-16 Manager”:


Symmetry Electronics starts outreach program employing autistic adults”:


UK: NAS Prospects Employment Service “Employment training courses for autistic adults”:


Individuality, Diversity, Equality, Achievement

Auties.org is an Aspie & Autie friendly site for all people on the Autistic Spectrum who are ready to dare reach out to occupation and employment, open the doors to the community and market their abilities directly to the public and for those interested in supporting these pioneers. http://www.auties.org/


Linking job seekers with vacancies in work related to autism, Aspergers and ASDs

Current job vacancies within the NAS”:

For further employment information, please view”:



Temple Grandin “Noted author, speaker to participate in Kelly autism celebration”:


Autism program has its 5th birthday … Grandin said autistic individuals pay attention to detail, and when she was young her ability in art was encouraged. She said she was good at drawing and turned that into her career with livestock.
“It’s about taking what you’re good at, and build it up to turn it into a career,” she said.”:


Carol Gray “National expert to speak at Kimberly autism event”:


Help Southport rescue dog, Sally, win RSPCA award … Last time she went into a school, a four-year-old who had autism lay down on the floor and put his arm around her neck and used her as a pillow. She just lay there patiently.”:


How to be an inclusive church”:


Helping kids is dog’s pet project”:


Archived(2006) “My cousin Sharon: Priceless”:


Golden Temple, Amritsar


There are an estimated 1.7 million autistic people in India.

According to Ancient and Heraldic traditions much symbolism is associated with colours. The colours on the Indian flag represent the following:

Indian flag

Saffron – A symbol of courage

White – peace and honesty

Blue – vigilance, truth and loyalty, perseverance and justice

Green – hope, joy, fertility and love

The Secret Chambers of beautiful India

“AFA India”

Our Vision:
A society that views the interdependence of people of every ability
as valuable and enriching and seeks to provide equal opportunities for all.

Our Mission:

To facilitate a barrier free environment; to empower families of persons with autism,
and to act as a catalyst for change that will enable autistic people
to live as fully participating members of the community.


Gadi Sagar, Jaisalmer, Rasjasthan(North India)

Autism Society of India”


Diwali Dipavali Festival

DIIR – Disability India Information Resources”:


India - incense

AIKYA – Center to integrate the different”

AIKYAs Vision is to enhance the quality of life of individuals with special needs through education and training to enable them to achieve their fullest potential and integrate them into the mainstream.


New Delhi Rickshaw

The Association of people with disability”

From a passive existence to a meaningful life.

From days and nights of empty hours to an enriching lifestyle.

This is the aspiration of every child and adult living with disability.


A Kerala Festival

Indian Disability Links”:


Bangalore Infosys - IT Valley

India: Information and History,Videos,Maps & Music”:


Balloons at India Gate, New Delhi

Photo Gallery: India”:




Virtual ADHD Conference ~ September 22-24, 2008”:


What challenges do children with ADD/ADHD experience in groups?”:


Study: Boys’ parents more likely to report problems”:


ADHD: Famous celebrities with ADHD”:


Our objective is to promote awareness to AD/HD (Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) and to provide information and as much free practical help as we can to affected by the condition, both adults and children, their families in the UK and around the World via this website.

ADDISS” The National Attention Deficit Disorder Information and Support Service…


hi2u ADHD Pages”:




Paralympics 2008 “How dreams come true”:


Clay Marzo “Gifted Autistic surfer…”:


Surfing News “Europe’s First Artificial Surf Reef”:


Briton in Everest skydive attempt”:


The 5k Santa run – 7th December”:


Flora London Marathon 2009”:


It’s back! The London to Paris Bike Ride 2009”:


Cycle India 2009”:


Donegal ‘Mooathon’ 2008 – 28th September – ‘the wildest, most fun half-marathon you will ever do! It’s also an excellent warm-up race for the adidas Dublin Marathon in October.’:


Dublin Marathon – 27th October, 2008”:


Newcastle & Portsmouth “BUPA Great North Run 2008 – World’s Biggest Half Marathon – 5th October”:

Sahara Desert Trek – 8th-15th November, 2008”:

Cycle China 2009 – 19th-29th March”:

Trek the Inca Trail 2009 – 14th-23rd May”:

Trek Jordan 2009 – 10th-14th September”:



Music-play project fosters ‘Response-ability’ in autistic children”:




Artist “Chris Stiles …The art on this web site was drawn by Chris Stiles, who was diagnosed with severe autism in 1972.

Although institutionalism was urged as the best choice of the day for children and their families, Chris’s family was able to keep him at home. He spent a lot of time studying nature; Leaves, rocks, waves on the Puget Sound. His pictures of trees, rocks, water, and man-made things like houses and gates and castles reflect his understanding, his conceptualization of the world.”:


Free art camp for middle and high school students”:


We’re on the ball to raise 65 000 … One of the highlights will be a grand auction, with the star lot the last in a series of exclusive paintings by Glasgow artist Peter Howson.

The painter, who has claimed worldwide attention with his pictures of Madonna and Pete Doherty, has donated the last of his John Lennon Collection to the cause. Called The Woman, it is expected to fetch thousands of pounds.

Howson’s daughter Lucie, 21, has Asperger’s Syndrome, an autistic spectrum disorder, while the painter has a milder form of the condition.”


NAS “Enter our Creativity Competition – closing date for entries Tuesday 30th September”:




West End Rain Man delays opening”:


Pinkaew’s ‘Chocolate’ coming to the UK”:


Discovery Health profiles the inspiring Kirton family in Autism x6”:


Just Add Water – Autistic surfer is a gifted tube rider”:


Scots film snubbed at home, but proves a hit at Venice”:


Includes video “Days’ writer talks autism story”:


Actors for Autism”:



The Forever Story/Guardian.co.uk“Chance to Win a MacBook”:


Xpress Reviews: First Look at New Books …

Gardner, Nuala. A Friend Like Henry: The Remarkable True Story of an Autistic Boy and the Dog That Unlocked His World. Sourcebooks. Sept. 2008. c.288p. ISBN 978-1-4022-1406-6. $18.95. PSYCH
Verdict: This nicely complements Temple Grandin’s work about autism and animals and provides a distinctive perspective in an increasingly crowded field of autism personal narratives…”


Augusten Burroughs’ brother to speak on Asperger’s”:


Bronze Medal Winner in the 2008 IPPY awards
Autism Heroes

Of Mice and Aliens: An Asperger Adventure”

Author: Kathy Hoopmann


New “The Myriad Gifts of Asperger Syndrome”

Author: John M. Ortiz


Dangerous Encounters – Avoiding Perilous Situations with Autism: A Streetwise Guide for all Emergency Responders, Retailers and Parents”

Authors: Bill Davis and Wendy Goldband Schunick


Autism, Advocates, and Law Enforcement Professionals: Recognizing and Reducing Risk Situations for People with Autism Spectrum Disorders”

Author: Dennis Debbaudt


Asperger Download: A Guide to Help Teenage Males with Asperger Syndrome Trouble-Shoot Life’s Challenges”

Authors: Josie and Damian Santomauro


Starting Points: The Basics of Understanding and Supporting Children and Youth with Asperger Syndrome”

Authors: Jill Hudson and Brenda Smith Myles


DVD & CD Roms “”Socialeyes”:


DVD “The Transporters: Popular DVD Resource now available again”:


The Transporters’ – Unique government-backed DVD to help autistic children recognise emotions to go on sale world-wide”:


Children’s Book Awards 2008”:


Star Wars The Clone Wars Poster

The Latest Movies for Kids


Video Game

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed

Released in the UK September 19, 2008

Star Wars Printables


World's First Computer

Technology News…

Sensor-laden toy diverts kids from pain”:


A New Era of Physics…

Watching the World’s Biggest Machine Come to Life”:


Working LHC produces first images”:


US firms step in to help save the huts where the first programmable computers were built…

Bletchley Park gets US cash injection”:


Hope you enjoyed the read.

Take Care,


Agra Fort, India

First Published Thursday, 11th September, 2008.

Capitol Hill

*Senate Passes ADA Amendments Act!*

At approximately 3:00 PM, ET today, Senate bill
the ADA Amendments Act of 2008, was brought to the Senate floor for a voice
vote. Shortly before 5:00 PM, it *passed by unanimous consent!*
At approximately 5:30 PM, ET, Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Orrin Hatch
(R-UT) will hold a press event at the Senate Swamp (the grassy area across
the drive from the east Senate steps) to mark the momentous event. Anyone
interested from the D.C. area is encouraged to attend.

In June, the House approved the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (H.R.
by an impressive vote of 402:17.
But before the bill can head to the White House, the Senate bill must first
be sent back to the House. If the House accepts the Senate version of the
bill, it could arrive on the President’s desk with a veto-proof
majority!  Stay tuned.

Congratulations, advocates! Your persistent push got us here today!

MODERATOR, Anne Sommers, JUSTICE FOR ALL — A Service of the American
Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD).

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The Autistic Self Advocacy Network
1660 L Street, NW, Suite 700
Washington, DC 20036

First Published Monday, 8th September, 2008.

Social Work Today

FWD:  *Social Work Today September/October 2008 Issue*

*Autism Into Adulthood — Making the Transition
By Jennifer Van Pelt, MA
Social Work Today
Vol. 8 No. 5 P. 12*

*Children with autism mature into adults who want to attend college, work,
and have a social life. What services are needed to help them achieve these

Every day we see or hear another story in the news, on television, on the
Internet, or in a popular magazine about issues related to children with
autism. Awareness is growing, and more research is helping parents better
understand their children’s unique behaviors and needs. Healthcare,
education, and social services offer options for parents of young children
with autism that did not exist years ago.

But what happens when children diagnosed on the autistic spectrum grow up?
Increasingly, parents of older teenagers and young adults are seeking
assistance for transitioning to adulthood, and adults who have grown up with
an autism diagnosis or who may be newly diagnosed are facing challenges with
employment, social relationships, and daily living.

According to Pamela Dixon Thomas, PhD, LP, a psychologist with the
University of Michigan Autism and Communication Disorders Center (UMACC),
adults with autism face challenges that children with autism often do not.
“Adults face discrimination that comes from a lack of understanding about
autism. The tolerance that is extended to children with autism is often
lacking,” she notes. Although autism is receiving substantial attention in
the scientific community and from the press, adult autism and related issues
have been neglected.

“Most media attention focuses exclusively on young autistic children while
commonly ignoring autistic adolescents and adults,” says Scott Michael
Robertson, an autistic self-advocate in Pennsylvania and vice president of
the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network (ASAN), an international autistic-run
organization dedicated to expanding societal acceptance, community
understanding, and support resources for individuals across the autistic
spectrum. Robertson is also a doctoral candidate at Penn State University
researching how online communities can empower autistic self-advocates to
collaborate with educational professionals on developing autistic-specific
accommodations and transition resources for autistic college students.
Robertson questions the societal wisdom of providing early childhood
educational services to autistic individuals while neglecting the needs of
those individuals during adolescence and adulthood. “Few specialized state
and local resources exist to help autistic people navigate the challenges
they will encounter in adult life—postsecondary education, employment,
interdependent living, housing, etc.,” he says.

Depending on the severity of symptoms, required resources and services may
range from long-term residential care or supervised day care to vocational
counseling or social skills development. Young adults on the autistic
spectrum may qualify academically for college but not be able to handle
other aspects of college life.

Older adults may experience continued challenges in maintaining successful
personal relationships, physical stamina, and regular employment
expectations. Given the current inadequacies in services, many opportunities
exist for social workers to improve and expand the services available for
adults on the autistic spectrum.

*Society’s Misperceptions — Rising to the Challenge*
Our society views autism as a disease and severe disability, but adults with
autism and professionals working with them seek to change that
misperception. “Society is not autistic friendly,” says Robertson, who
considers gaining societal acceptance of autistic adults’ differences a key
challenge. As a result of his personal experiences, Robertson is helping
other autistic individuals recognize their individual strengths and
challenges to build a healthy self-esteem and sense of self-worth.

As an active autistic community advocate, Robertson mentors autistic
adolescents and cofounded a social support group for autistic teens in State
College, PA. Through his leadership positions in organizations such as ASAN,
the Autism Higher Education Foundation, and the Asperger Syndrome Alliance
for Greater Philadelphia (ASCEND), he is helping debunk myths about autism.

Robertson cites the case of Nate Tseglin, an autistic teenager, as an
example of how misperceptions about Asperger’s syndrome and autistic
challenges can lead to mistreatment and abuse. At age 14, Nate was
multilingual, graduated with honors from middle school, and received an
award for excellent behavior and citizenship. When Nate was 17, a high
school teacher called child protective services after seeing self-inflicted
scratches on Nate, who had asked the teacher to help him with soft
restraints prescribed by a doctor to help manage his anxiety. Nate was
forcibly removed from his home, placed in an institutional setting, and
heavily medicated against his and his parents’ wishes, and his parents were
denied visitation and access. ASAN provided legal support and advocacy for
Nate’s family and was instrumental in having Nate released and returned to
his family (visit www.getnatehome.com for more information). “Unfortunately,
Nate’s experience is becoming the norm rather than the exception in a world
that does not adequately accept, understand, or support autistic adults,”
Robertson says.

In addition to fighting misperceptions, adults on the autistic spectrum must
also face challenges of employment, postsecondary education, housing, social
relationships, and healthcare. Robertson and Dena L. Gassner, MSW, director
of the Center for Understanding and an advisory board member to the Autism
Society of America, have personally experienced some of these challenges and
continue to help other adults with autism through their work.

Gassner explains that an adult with Asperger’s may be a superior employee in
task completion and job knowledge but cannot understand the social behaviors
expected by others in the workplace. In other cases, the physical
environment of the workplace may present daily challenges. “Sensory overload
causes problems for many adults with autism. The fluorescent lighting and
noise from other workers may make it impossible for them to work a full day
in such an environment. Long-term employment, therefore, is often difficult
for adults with Asperger’s and other diagnoses on the autistic spectrum,”
says Gassner.

Robertson adds that while exact statistics on employment for autistic adults
are not known, underemployment (the underutilization of skill set,
knowledge, and job experience), as well as unemployment, are huge barriers
limiting autistic adults. “Many autistic adults have college degrees and, in
some cases, graduate degrees, but they are not working in the field of their
degree,” he says.

Difficulties with social cognition (the ability to understand social cues)
often can prevent adults with autism from participating in community
activities and functioning in a job suited to their skills and knowledge.
Better interventions are required to help them develop skills to understand
social interactions, but resources are currently inadequate, especially in

*Organizational Support*
Lack of understanding on the part of employers and a lack of effective and
accessible vocational rehabilitation/counseling services are barriers to
regular employment for many adults with autism. Some academic centers that
have autism programs are starting services that help adults develop social
skills important for employment success. Thomas says, “UMACC has social
groups for adults that focus on learning and practicing social interaction
skills, independent living skills, and provide a forum for discussing what
it’s like to live with autism.”

An innovative community program is helping young adults with autism improve
social cognition with the hope of improving opportunities for employment and
community involvement. Jonathan J. Kaufman, PhD, is codirector of the
Adaptations program at the Manhattan Jewish Community Center (JCC) and
founder of Disability Works, Inc., a consulting company that helps
corporations, government organizations, and educational institutions develop
strategies and initiatives to improve the quality of life for people with
disabilities. Kaufman helped launch Adaptations, the first initiative of its
kind in the United States serving young adults in their 20s and 30s who have
learning disabilities and/or are on the autistic spectrum. The program
develops social skills and job strategies and provides social events,
including social skills groups, cultural events around New York City,
lounges, dinners, and use of the JCC facilities for activities from
photography, cooking, and fitness to integrated programming with other young

“One of our cornerstone programs is our social skills curriculum where we
teach tools for dealing with certain social situations, ranging from
friendships to workplace etiquette to basic communication skills,” says
Kaufman. Another component of Adaptations is career exploration and
development. For program participants who are ready for a competitive
employment environment, one-on-one career and skills assessments are
provided, along with group discussions.

Kaufman has seen Adaptations work wonders for some participants. “One of
our greatest successes is to see that meaningful friendships have been
fostered beyond the parameters of the program. A perfect example is one of
our members who had very few friends, and most of her social life revolved
around her parents. Since joining the Adaptations program, she has truly
blossomed, made friends, and has nurtured those relationships so that her
social calendar is constantly busy. She has become such a proponent of the
program that she now acts as the ‘official ambassador’ of the program by
reaching out to new members,” he explains.

*Meeting the Challenges of College*
“Autistic adults may be finding the college experience daunting because of
widespread lack of specialized services and accommodations for them on
campuses,” says Robertson. Few programs in the United States provide
support—living arrangements, social skills, and study skills development—for
college students with autism, says Marci Wheeler, MSW, of the Indiana
Resource Center for Autism at the Indiana Institute on Disability and
Community. Wheeler has 25 years of experience working with teenagers and
adults with autism and has established long-term relationships, working with
one family since their now 28-year-old child was 7. Wheeler sees
deficiencies in services available for young adults with autism; however,
she believes resources are growing as this population continues to increase.

“Lack of employment opportunities is the biggest tragedy. Regardless of IQ,
autistic adults can be very good workers. Our society is not tapping into
their special abilities, like math, music, and computer skills,” Wheeler
says. Better vocational services, she says, will give adults on the autism
spectrum strategies to help adjust to the workplace. She believes better
understanding about autism and Asperger’s syndrome will help employers take
advantage of the special skills and talents that these individuals can bring
to a job.

One of those resources is the Achieving in Higher Education With
Autism/Developmental Disabilities (AHEADD) program at Carnegie Mellon
University in Pittsburgh. AHEADD is a private, community organization that
supports students in higher education with learning disabilities, diagnoses
on the autistic spectrum, nonverbal learning disorders, and
attention-deficit disorder. Originally developed in cooperation with Equal
Opportunity Services of Carnegie Mellon University, AHEADD is specifically
designed to address students’ inherent social, communication, and
organizational issues and helps students develop individualized strategies
to manage their college careers independently.

“Unlike many other programs for students with autism spectrum disorders in
higher education, the AHEADD model can be applied within any campus
environment and tailored to meet the unique needs of each student,” says
Carolyn Komich Hare, MS, founder and director of AHEADD. Recently, AHEADD
opened new offices in Dallas; Albany, NY; and Washington, DC. Students
involved with AHEADD have professional staff support, peer mentors, access
to a campus and community support network, and assistance in utilizing
campus resources.

“Aside from the inherent social challenges, I believe the most critical
challenge for young adults with autism is finding and keeping jobs that are
commensurate with each individual’s true potential and area of interest.
This is true even for those autistic adults who successfully complete a
college degree,” Hare says.

One of Hare’s early success stories was Valerie Kaplan, profiled in a 2006 *New
York Times* article on services for college students with autism. Kaplan,
who scored a perfect 1600 on her SAT exam, floundered in her sophomore year
at Carnegie Mellon, having difficulty navigating the complexities of college
life and interacting with students and professors. Hare acted as Kaplan’s
coach for the next two years by helping her organize her academic
assignments, buy groceries, and improve her housekeeping skills. Kaplan
graduated in 2005 and went on to manage an electronic games store. Hare went
on to create the AHEADD program.

*Bridging Gaps in Care — An Expanding Role for Social Workers*
According to Paul T. Shattuck, MSSW, PhD, an assistant professor in the
George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St.
Louis, research on the care and support of adults with autism is severely
deficient. “The bulk of research has focused on basic behaviors and
genetics, not policies for care. There is a real gap in what we know about
support across the lives of these individuals and how to best create systems
of care for the long haul,” Shattuck notes.

“Since 1994, fewer than 150 peer-reviewed journal articles in the autism
research community have examined such issues as employment, college and
postsecondary educational transition and support, housing, peer
victimization, romantic relationships, and anxiety/depression,” Robertson

In stark contrast, research studies on children with autism number in the
thousands. More funding for adult studies is necessary since funding for
scientific research from autism-related nonprofit associations and
government organizations focuses on physiology, genetics, and early
educational support for children with autism, while generally ignoring
issues and challenges faced by teens and adults with autism, such as
educational support and employment.

Shattuck, one of the few researchers examining issues related to aging on
the autistic spectrum, recently published a study documenting changes in
symptoms and behaviors in adolescents and adults with autism. One of the
study findings is that the core challenge of social cognition is a common
thread across the autistic spectrum.

Gassner believes the field of services for adults with autism is exploding,
and there is a huge demand for properly trained social workers. Social
workers will need to become more knowledgeable in the diagnostic spectrum
for pervasive developmental disorders and co-occurring conditions. “When you
see an adult who has been treated for ADHD [attention-deficit/hyperactivity
disorder], depression, learning disabilities, and anxiety with no success,
one must consider that they may have a developmental disorder and send them
for an appropriate assessment,” she says.

In addition to a better understanding of diagnostic criteria, social workers
must also realize that every client with autism will exhibit different
skills, behaviors, and challenges. Gassner notes, “A commonly heard phrase
in the autism community is, ‘If you have met one person with autism, you
have met one person with autism.'” For social workers in this field,
comprehending the issue of heterogeneity is an absolute must.

“Just because you know the diagnostic label on the autistic spectrum doesn’t
mean you know much of anything about that individual walking through your
door,” Shattuck emphasizes. Because each individual will be different in
terms of his or her level of communication skills, social cognition, and
other behaviors, individualized assessments and interventions are critical.

Professionals working with adults with autism can help by first discovering
the strengths and weaknesses of the individual and then developing a
treatment plan that focuses on areas in need of attention. “Since autism is
such a heterogeneous disorder, individualized treatment is paramount. For
example, one person may have a successful career but find it difficult to
engage in social conversation. Another person’s difficulty might be poor
organization and planning skills that impact job performance,” explains

In addition to individualized assessment, other skills that will help social
workers in this field are case management experience and adeptness as a
liaison with healthcare professionals. A key role for social workers,
according to Shattuck, is in helping individuals with autism and their
families navigate different care systems. Adults with an autism diagnosis
will be involved in many different systems of care, including vocational
rehab, medical treatment, and mental health.

“Social workers can be effective case managers in helping adults with autism
and their caregivers manage the boundaries and interactions between these
systems of care. There is an important role and a real need for social
workers that can bridge these different systems to help improve the overall
quality of care of individuals on the autistic spectrum.”

Wheeler receives many calls from parents whose children are 18, realizing
that school is ending, and who have no plans for life after school. “They
realize they may be facing a situation when their son or daughter finishes
school that they will now be at home with nothing to do because no further
plans beyond school have been made. Or, unfortunately, there may have been
plans made, but access may be limited to programs for young adults who need
more intense supervision and training components,” she says.

Transition planning resources may be available from state disabilities or
autism service organizations or from the school’s individualized education
plan for the student with autism. Schools may have a transition coordinator
who can assist with finding support services after graduation. For families
with young adults who cannot live independently, residential programs and
guardianship may become an issue when the child reaches 18.

The need for counseling and assistance services for adults newly diagnosed
on the autistic spectrum is also rapidly growing. “The Internet has really
created more awareness of the symptoms of autism, which is in turn resulting
in more adults realizing that they may have Asperger’s syndrome or another
pervasive developmental disorder,” Wheeler says. She has worked with adults
who, after reading information on the Internet, recognized that they or
their spouse has an autistic condition. Wheeler has coauthored a book titled
ASD and Non-Spectrum Marriages: Non-Spectrum Partners Speak Up About the
Challenges and Successes with the hope that it will be a resource for adults
with relationship issues associated with a new autism diagnosis.

For social workers with experience in autism services, and for those
interested in joining this burgeoning field, there are many important
opportunities in addition to the traditional roles in counseling and case
management, says Robertson. “Social workers can organize self-advocacy
training sessions for autistic adults in conjunction with autistic-run
organizations. They can lead community-organizing activities designed to
educate local communities about autistic adults and to expand and strengthen
community support resources and they can work to establish mentorship
pairing for autistic teens and adults,” he says.

*— Jennifer Van Pelt (formerly Sisk), MA, is a Reading, PA-based freelance
writer with 15 years of experience as a writer and research analyst in the
healthcare field. She has written on depression,
attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, schizophrenia, mental wellness,
and aging.*

* *

*The Language of Autism*
When someone says, “My son has autism,” many of us expect to see a child who
rocks back and forth, does not speak, and is mentally handicapped. However,
we may, in fact, see a child, teen, or adult whose outward appearance and
actions are what we consider “normal,” who can play any music by ear but
cannot solve a simple math problem. The term autism has been used to lump
together a group of three pervasive developmental disorders: autistic
disorder, Asperger’s syndrome, and pervasive developmental disorder/not
otherwise specified (PDD/NOS). Although there are hallmark criteria to be
diagnosed with a PDD—deficits in communication/language skills, social
cognition issues, and repetitive behavior or unusual preoccupation—there is
a large range in the variability of how these criteria are expressed in the
individual. And there is disagreement in the academic and professional
communities regarding how to apply criteria for diagnosis.

Traditionally, the most severe variant, autistic disorder, has been
characterized by profound mental retardation and a lack of verbal language
skills. Asperger’s syndrome is characterized by normal language development,
normal to above average IQ, some type of issue with social skills and social
cognition, and a stereotypical pattern of behavior or preoccupation. PDD/NOS
has some symptoms of autistic disorder and/or Asperger’s syndrome, but
strict criteria for those conditions are not met. However, recent research
is disputing the co-occurrence of mental retardation and autism.

The descriptive phrases “high functioning” and “low functioning” are also
commonly heard. However, these descriptors have been adulterated, says Dena
L. Gassner, MSW, director of the Center for Understanding and an advisory
board member to the Autism Society of America. “The phrase ‘high
functioning’ was initially intended to separate those with IQ scores
indicating mental retardation. Now, ‘low functioning’ is generally used to
refer to those with autistic disorder who require substantial assistance in
all domains and ‘high functioning’ to refer to those with Asperger’s and
PDD/NOS who may appear to have limited issues with social interactions and
behaviors, but in reality, they too suffer with the organization and
planning of self-care and basic skills.” She questions whether someone who
cannot communicate but graduates college with honors is truly low
functioning, and similarly, whether someone classified as high functioning
but cannot remain employed or sustain relationships is really high
functioning in our society.

The phrase autistic spectrum is now being used more frequently to reflect
these individual variations, so an individual may be described as being
diagnosed on the autistic spectrum. “The phrase ‘autistic spectrum’ is not
an official clinical term, but rather a colloquial term that has been
adopted to refer to the recognition of symptoms that occur on a continuum of
severity,” explains Paul T. Shattuck, MSSW, PhD, an assistant professor at
the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in
St. Louis. “The heterogeneity on the autistic spectrum is enormous, which
makes it so challenging from the standpoint of developing best practices for
care. There is no good way of thinking or talking about these levels of
severity in a systematic way. The severity of symptoms will determine the
challenges faced in adulthood,” he says.

The Autistic Self-Advocacy Network is working to change the language used to
describe autistic individuals, preferring that the phrase “adults with
autism” be replaced by autistic adults or adults on the autistic spectrum.
“We also look to discourage usage of phrases that do not realistically
express that autism brings a combination of neurologically diverse strengths
and challenges—descriptors like suffering, impaired, afflicted, disordered,
and defective,” says Robertson.

For more information, visit http://web.syr.edu/~jisincla/person_first.htm.

*— JVP*

*Editor’s Note:** Social Work Today currently uses “person-first” language
(e.g., adults with autism) commonly accepted in the social work profession.
However, Mr. Robertson’s quotes and text related to his statements reflect
his preference in autism-related language.*

Ari Ne’eman
The Autistic Self Advocacy Network
1101 15th Street, NW Suite 1212
Washington, DC 20005

First Published Monday, 8th September, 2008.

Rain Man cast and crew visit NAS service

A new production of the hit 1980s film Rain Man is opening in London’s West End in September, and The National Autistic Society (NAS) has been working with the cast and crew to help them understand the nature of autism.

The story focuses on two long-lost brothers, Charlie and Raymond Babbit, one of whom (Raymond) is an autistic savant living in residential care.

The play’s director recently spent a full day at the NAS Godalming resource centre learning about autism and meeting service users, staff and families.

Bettina Stott, who manages the Godalming centre, and Caroline Hattersley from the NAS Information, Advice and Advocacy service, have also been working with leading cast members Josh Hartnett, who plays Charlie, and Adam Godley, who plays Raymond, to help them understand what it would be like to have autism.

Bettina said:

“They were really interested in all the different services we provide and in the views of people at the service. The director spent several hours talking to service users and they had plenty of opinions about the film!”

NAS staff and service users were keen to ensure that the production team understood that not everyone affected by autism has savant skills, as this is still a common misconception.

Caroline Hattersley added:

“Although savantism is extremely rare, Rain Man put the spotlight on autism at a time when very few people knew anything at all about the condition. Now, times have moved on but there is still a great deal to be done to ensure people with autism get the services and support they urgently need. We hope that this new production will help us to raise further awareness.”

Rain Man is showing at the Apollo Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue. More information is available at www.rainmanonstage.com and tickets can be bought by phone at 0844 412 4658. The NAS is not involved with ticket sales.

Source:  http://www.nas.org.uk/nas/jsp/polopoly.jsp?d=253&a=17311

Dear Readers,

I hope to bring you a personal review of Rain Man shortly.


First Published Saturday, 6th September, 2008.



*On August 26, 2008, Paula Durbin-Westby represented the Autistic Self
Advocacy Network, via conference call, at a public hearing held by the
Florida Department of Education on Proposed Rules for the Use of Reasonable
Force by School Personnel. The hearing was an opportunity for the public to
provide specific comments to the proposed language, which can be found at **
https://www. flrules.org/ gateway/ruleNo. asp?id=6A- 6.05271*<https://www. flrules.org/ gateway/ruleNo. asp?id=6A- 6.05271>

The Autistic Self Advocacy Network, a grassroots organization of people on
the autism spectrum, supports a complete ban on prone restraint, with no
exceptions. No child should be restrained because of behaviors that are part
of a disability. In addition, we support positive behavioral supports rather
than the use of restraints.

Many important areas are not addressed in the proposed rule. The rule as
promulgated provides no clarification on use of prone restraint, no
clarification of the use of restraints and seclusion for behaviors that are
often specific to the student’s disability, such as property destruction
which was mentioned by one parent here. The term “reasonable” is too vague.
The word “should” needs to be replaced by the word “will,” otherwise the
regulations become meaningless. We strongly recommend notification of
parents for any disciplinary measure. We support the inclusion of language
that would hold schools accountable for violations of the regulations. First
and foremost the regulations need to be clarified. Too much is left to the
discretion of school personnel.

We urge training of all personnel and monitoring of all interventions used
with students. We oppose corporal punishment and seclusion techniques. The
rule needs to be standardized across the state rather than left up to the
discretion of local school boards.

Ari Ne’eman
The Autistic Self Advocacy Network
1101 15th Street, NW Suite 1212
Washington, DC 20005
http://www.autistic advocacy. org

First Published Saturday, 6th September, 2008.


Directed by Pinkaew, CHOCOLATE stars JeeJa Yanin as Zen, a young autistic girl with a sweet tooth and a penchant for Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan and Tony Jaa movies whose uncanny ability to mimic her heroes’ martial arts skills has made her an unlikely but equally awesome fighting force.

Audiences in the U.K. and elsewhere who have been eagerly awaiting a quality English-subtitled DVD release of action director Prachya Pinkaew’s latest martial arts movie starring beautiful and fierce screen fighting newcomer JeeJa Yanin won’t have to wait too much longer. Cine Asia is releasing CHOCOLATE (2008 – trailer), the latest martial arts movie sensation from Thailand, to DVD and Blu-ray in the U.K. on November 3rd following an Oct. 24th theatrical debut in London.

While good news for Brits and folks willing to pony up extra coin to order overseas, I and my fellow Americans continue to wait for The Weinstein Company to announce a DVD release date for CHOCOLATE here. So far all we have is a February blog post from TWC’s Asian acquisitions master Bey Logan.


CHOCOLATE, the movie that has been causing an unprecedented buzz of anticipation amongst action movie and martial arts fans worldwide ever since it first went into production is finally here! So get ready to be blown away once more as Prachya Pinkaew, the director of Ong-Bak and Warrior King – and the man responsible for introducing the world to the dazzling talents of Tony Jaa – unleashes a new, female Muay Thai fighting sensation, JeeJa Yanin. And, as with his earlier films, Pinkaew once again employs the much-lauded and unique Thai style of filmmaking that eschews stunt doubles, special effects and camera trickery in favour of full-on, full contact combat that brings a whole new level of bone-crushing reality to CHOCOLATE’s action sequences.

Directed by Pinkaew, CHOCOLATE stars JeeJa Yanin as Zen, a young autistic girl with a sweet tooth and a penchant for Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan and Tony Jaa movies whose uncanny ability to mimic her heroes’ martial arts skills has made her an unlikely but equally awesome fighting force. When Zen’s mother is diagnosed with cancer and finds herself unable to afford the medical treatment she requires, Zen and her best friend Mangmoom set about calling in a long list of debts owed to her mother. What Zen doesn’t realize is the money is owed by gangsters and killers, all rivals from her mother’s days as the head of a mafia clan and none of them are willing to pay up without a fight!

Like Tony Jaa, JeeJa Yanin spent several years training under the tutelage of stunt maestro and martial arts choreographer Panna Rittikrai (director of Born To Fight and stunt coordinator on Ong-Bak and Warrior King) in preparation for the role of Zen and the results speak for themselves. CHOCOLATE is an amazing, non-stop action extravaganza equal to any martial arts movie that has come before.

Among the film’s many highlights are a dynamic, crowd-pleasing homage to Bruce Lee’s legendary icehouse fight from The Big Boss and a jaw-dropping finale that sees Vismitananda taking on all comers in a breathtaking extended fight sequence that takes place high above the streets on the window sills, ledges and neon signboards of a multi-storey building. And, of course, the closing credits sequence shows, in wince-inducing detail, just what happens behind the scenes when the stars perform their own stunts in this kind of full-contact martial arts actioner.

CHOCOLATE (cert. 18) is released by Cine Asia. The film will open at selected UK cinemas on 24th October 2008 and will be released on DVD and Blu-Ray on 3rd November 2008.

Source: http://www.kungfucinema.com/?p=3007

First Published Saturday, 6th September, 2008.

Augusten Burroughs’ brother to speak on Asperger’s

RiverRun Bookstore and The Birchtree Center of Portsmouth will host John Elder Robison for the debut reading from the paperback of his New York Times bestseller, “Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger’s,” at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 9 at RiverRun Bookstore on Congress Street in Portsmouth. The Birchtree Center will have information at the event on how its organization helps those with autism. This darkly funny book offers insight into the life of an individual growing up on the autism spectrum. The author recounts his experiences as a toy engineer, sound and effects engineer for KISS and other bands, auto restorer, and more. The book also provides another look at the family described in “Running with Scissors” by the author’s brother, Augusten Burroughs. Visit www.riverrunbookstore.com or call 431-2100.

Source:  http://www.seacoastonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080906/ENTERTAIN/809060302/-1/rss02

From Publishers Weekly
Although this memoir deals with some dark topics—including Asperger’s syndrome, family alcoholism and mental illness—debut author Robison maintains a keen humor and sense of dramatic irony throughout. The gravelly voiced Robison proves to be a capable storyteller, whether describing the pranks he used to play on his much younger brother (Augusten Burroughs, who reads his foreword) or the relief of finally being diagnosed with Asperger’s in middle age after a lifetime of social isolation and relatively odd behaviors. Robison is a vocal and emphatic advocate for Asperger’s, which he insists is not a disease but a different—and sometimes better—neurology. Asperger’s gave Robison a single-minded ability to focus on his love of electronics, giving him a place in the world as the wizard behind Kiss’s smoking and flaming guitars or, later in life, a gift for diagnosing and fixing high-end imported cars. This memoir is highly entertaining and the abridgment is smoothly edited.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From AudioFile
Fans of Augusten Burroughs (RUNNING WITH SCISSORS) will enjoy this memoir by his older brother. Narrated by the author, the story conveys with equal measures of humor and pathos the difficulty in growing up with Asperger’s–particularly as there was no diagnosis for the syndrome during Robison’s childhood. His difficulties and his insights into overcoming them make for a compelling story. Robison makes lemonade from what initially seems like lemons, and, from working on rocket-launching guitars for KISS to owning his own business, his story is unique and compelling. His speech idiosyncrasies would likely hinder the story were they not perfectly suited to the nature of his story. In this case, he’s the perfect narrator for a truly original memoir. M.T. © AudioFile 2008, Portland, Maine– Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine

First Published Friday, 5th September, 2008.

United Response: ‘Getta life gotta life’ – Gloucestershire summit to highlight the extraordinary achievements of people with learning disabilities

Wednesday, 03 Sep 2008 17:41

On 12th September, a unique event will be held at Hatherley Manor in Gloucestershire to prove that when people with learning disabilities are listened to, great things can happen. The day will be hosted by people with learning disabilities, representatives from the local council and NHS trust, as well as several partner organisations working in the area. The event will involve people with learning disabilities talking about their achievements in life, whether planning their wedding or moving into their first home, and will include theatre and film.
The event is designed for commissioners of support services, those working for organisations such as United Response, and parents and families. It is free to attend.
William Kinch, who will be speaking on the day, said; “I am really looking forward to telling my story. It is one that demonstrates hope and the fact that things can work out for people with autistic spectrum disorders.”
Tim Jones is a director of United Response, a national organisation supporting people with learning disabilities. He said, “The messages from the conference will be truly powerful, because they will be delivered by those on the receiving end of support services, as well as their families. It’ll be their experiences of what it was like when they weren’t listened to and the overwhelming sense of having things done for them, not with them. They will then show what a difference it makes when their feelings and views are listened to and acted upon.”
Alice Stanworth will kick the day off at 9.30 am and give closing remarks at 4pm, discussing her own experiences of living in registered care in the past, before finding the right support and moving into her own home. She is currently planning her wedding. Other speakers will include Jenny Pannel, the mother of a young woman with a learning disability, and Kevin Haigh, a team manager at South Gloucestershire Community Learning Disabilities Team. They will discuss how a person-centred approach to supporting people, one which is truly responsive to people’s needs, can help people live full, engaged and active lives.
The event is supported by Gloucestershire Primary Care Trust, Gloucestershire County Council and 2gether NHS Foundation Trust. Organisations involved include United Response, Brandon Trust and HFT. For more information, or if you would like to attend, please contact Sandra on (01249) 765509
United Response is a national charity working with people with learning disabilities or mental health needs – including some of the most vulnerable people in our society.
We provide everything from 24 hour care to a few hours of support a week. United Response is community based, working in many localities across England and Wales.
Our mission is to support people with learning disabilities or mental health needs to take control of their lives. We design our care and support around each person and work with them to achieve real inclusion, independence and citizenship for all. We support people across the whole spectrum of learning disability and mental health and have developed a range of specialisms in working with people with the most complex needs, particularly person-centred active support.
We are working towards a society where people with learning disabilities or mental health needs are equal participants and have access to the same rights and opportunities as everyone else.
We have won several awards for our pioneering work and for being a top employer. In 2007 alone, we were highly commended by the Charity Awards for our “Good To Great” approach to providing support, while the Charity Times named us one of the best six charities to work for in the UK. We are experts in the development of accessible communications.
United Response was founded in 1973 by chief executive Su Sayer. We are a top 100 charity, supporting more than 1,500 people throughout the UK at any one time and employing more than 2,000 staff. To find out more go to www.unitedresponse.org.uk

Latest press releases

First Published Thursday, 4th September, 2008.

Media response: Gary McKinnon extradition

3rd September 2008

We are aware of the ongoing case of Gary McKinnon, a man with Asperger syndrome who is appealing against extradition to the US where he will face charges of hacking into US defence computer systems.

Mr McKinnon has not been in direct contact with the NAS and we are not involved with his case but we hope that his Asperger syndrome will be taken into account. It is vital that legal experts are familiar with autism and recognise and understand the nature of people’s difficulties, so that miscarriages of justice do not occur.

The NAS has produced a range of information materials for criminal justice professionals to help them understand and respond to the needs of people with autism, including Asperger syndrome. You can view these and our position statement on Autism and Criminal Justice by following the links below.

Related resources

Relevant areas/articles elsewhere on this website

Relevant documents for downloading

Source: http://www.nas.org.uk/nas/jsp/polopoly.jsp?d=459&a=17391