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Archive for January 20th, 2011

First Published Tuesday, 2 June 2009


Campaign for Change

Could your group lead the way in campaigning for local change?


With many of the decisions affecting people with autism and their families taken at local level, it’s essential that community groups are equipped with the skills they need to influence decision-makers in their area.


That’s why we’re launching the Autism Action Network an exciting new initiative to support local campaigning.


  • *Do you think that there should be more awareness of autism among professionals and the public?
  • *Is there a lack of educational provision for children with autism where you live?
  • *Do local families struggle to access short-break services?
  • *Are you a group of adults with autism who want to represent the views and interests of people with autism in your area?

If you are a member of a local autism group and would like to receive intensive and tailored support, including some financial assistance, to enable you to achieve positive and lasting change on one of the four areas above, please complete our online form.  Alternatively you can email campaign@nas.org.uk or call 020 7923 5799.


Initially the Autism Action Network will be open to autism groups in England only, but we would still like to hear from groups from across the UK who are interested in local campaigning. We may still be able to support you to take action now, and we plan to expand the network to include other nations in future.


How to get involved:



Autism Action Network: Find out more
Read about the support, training and resources we can give you to make your local campaigning more effective.


Contact the Autism Action Network
Get in touch with us today for more information about our Autism Action Network, and to find out how you can get involved!

Related resources



Relevant documents for downloading


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First Published Tuesday, 2 June 2009


US Supreme Court

The Autistic Self Advocacy Network, along with several other advocacy groups, has submitted an amicus brief to the United States Supreme Court in the case of Winkelman v. Parma City School District. The lawsuit was brought by the parents of an Autistic child who was not given the opportunity to continue receiving occupational therapy services in an Ohio school after the district had agreed that those services were necessary. The school district prepared an IEP stating only that a further assessment of the need for the services would be completed.

The Supreme Court is seeking to resolve a conflict among the Circuit Courts of Appeals, which have taken conflicting approaches to the question of whether a court’s analysis of the content of an IEP should consider only the written IEP or whether the court has discretion to consider other evidence as well.


Parents play a major role in developing an IEP, which is analogous to a contract with the school district specifying the educational services to be provided to the child. Related services such as occupational therapy also must be specified in the IEP pursuant to federal law as set forth in 20 U.S.C. § 1414(d)(1)(A)(4). School districts are prohibited from making unilateral decisions about a child’s IEP.


Consistent with the general rule that in contract law, evidence outside the written terms of the contract ordinarily is not admissible in court, three Courts of Appeals have ruled that only the written IEP should be considered in determining whether it is adequate. However, three other Courts of Appeals, including the court from which the Winkelman case was appealed, reached the opposite conclusion in deciding that an IEP lacking the required specific content could nevertheless be found valid based on consideration of other evidence.


The Autistic Self Advocacy Network is asking the Supreme Court to rule that when courts analyze the content of an IEP to determine its adequacy, only the written IEP should be considered. A school district should not be allowed to omit required content from a child’s IEP and then to assert later that it intended to supplement the IEP. Allowing districts to postpone decisions on the content of an IEP can lead to considerable delay in providing occupational therapy and other necessary services. The educational well-being of Autistic children and other students with disabilities is best served when they receive therapy without interruption or delay.


http://asansouthwestohio.blogspot.com/



First Published Tuesday, 2 June 2009


by Richard E Frye MD PhD


Autism is associated with a high prevalence of both clinical and subclinical seizures and epilepsy. It is important to understand the distinction between clinical seizures, subclinical seizures, and epilepsy.


A clinical seizure occurs when abnormal rhythmic electrical discharges in the brain result in abrupt characteristic motor behaviour usually associated with loss of consciousness. Most people think of generalised tonic-clonic seizures when they think of a seizure occurring. During a generalised seizure, a person loses consciousness and both arms and legs move synchronously either in a repetitive jerking fashion or become stiff. Most generalised seizures only last a few minutes and will not result in long term damage, but seizures that go on for ten minutes or more can be dangerous to a person and require intervention. Most parents who have children with epilepsy have a medication such as DiastatTM that can be used to stop the seizure if it continues on for a prolonged period of time. Some people have partial seizures. These types of seizures are limited to abnormal rhythmic movements on one side or one portion of the body, for example the arm or the face. When these types of seizures are associated with a change in consciousness, they are known as partial complex seizures. Still another type of seizure is a myoclonic seizure which can be localised or generalised. Many other types of seizures exist and many other abnormal movements such as tics and movement disorders can be mistaken for seizures, so it is important for a medical professional to evaluate anyone suspected of having seizures.


Epilepsy is defined by more than one unprovoked seizure. Many children will have febrile seizures. Since the fever provoked the seizure, by definition, children with febrile seizures do not have epilepsy. Many typically developing children also will have more than one unprovoked seizure and be diagnosed with epilepsy. The epilepsy will resolve in most of these children in one or two years.


Autism is associated with an increased risk of epilepsy and almost every type of seizure has been described in autism. There appears to be two age peaks when epilepsy presents itself in autism: before five years of age and in adolescence. The risk of epilepsy in autism increases with severe mental retardation and/or cerebral palsy. Several genetic syndromes associated with autism, such as Rett’s, fragile X, and Angelman syndrome and tuberous sclerosis, are associated with a particularly high rate of epilepsy. Thus, the underlying aetiology, if known, can be very helpful for predicting whether an individual with autism will develop epilepsy.


Autistic children have a high prevalence of subclinical epileptiform discharges. These rhythmic electrical disturbances in the brain do not manifest themselves as a typical clinical seizure (as described above), but may disrupt cognitive development. Some individuals may have subtle signs of subclinical seizures such as periodic episodes of unresponsiveness in which they stare into space, but others will not have any other symptoms aside from atypical cognitive development.


When these subclinical discharges affect development, the seizure syndrome can be called an epileptic encephalopathy. Two of the best studied epileptic encephalopathy syndromes are Landau-Kleffner syndrome and continuous spike waves during slow-wave sleep (CSWS). Both of these syndromes are characterised by continuous rhythmic discharges occurring during sleep. Children with these syndromes undergo sudden or gradual regression in language usually after three years of age and manifest behavioural symptoms that include hyperactivity, aggressiveness and depression. However, we are starting to recognise that other non-classic epileptic encephalopathies also exist. Recently, we have reviewed a series of children with subclinical epileptiform discharges and atypical development who were treated at our facility. We found that over half of these children presented with a language disorder, attention problems and mild autism symptomatology and most children did not have any overt signs of seizures or a history of language regression. Importantly, the majority of these children improved with antiepileptic treatment.


Most of the time, epilepsy is a treatable disorder. The mainstay for treatment is antiepileptic medication; however, sometimes epilepsy does not respond to antiepileptic medication. Sometimes epilepsy appears to respond to immunomodulatory therapies such as steroids and intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG). Other treatments, such as the ketogenic diet, can also be used to treat epilepsy. Surgery is sometimes considered for epilepsy that does not respond to other therapies. A small part of the brain can be removed if the epilepsy arises from a small silent part of the brain. Other procedures, such as multiple subpial transection (MST), can be used if the seizures arise from an eloquent part of the brain that is involved in language processing or another critical cognitive operation.


Autistic children are at increased risk of being diagnosed with epilepsy, but epilepsy is usually a treatable condition. As long as seizures are controlled, epilepsy should not have a major adverse impact upon a child’s life. Some autistic children could have an epileptiform encephalopathy that may respond to standard treatment for epilepsy, particularly if their symptoms of autism are mild. Interestingly, many of the treatments for epilepsy overlap those used for autism.


Source: The Autism File Issue 31 2009



First Published Wednesday, 3 June 2009


Autistic musician Derek Paravicini performs his first professional concert at St Georges Hall, Bristol, UK (Image: South West News Service / Rex Features)
1 more image


03 June 2009 by Celeste Biever


Gallery: Savant art: A window into their formidable brains


CLAD in a dark suit and sunglasses, Derek Paravicini makes a beeline for the sound of my voice and links his arm into mine. “Hello, Celeste. Where have you come from today?” I reply and his response is immediate: “From Holborn?” He repeats the word several times, savouring each syllable. “Hol-born, Hol-born, Hooool-bbooorn. Where’s Hoollll-booorn?” As our conversation continues, the substance of much of what I say doesn’t seem to sink in, but the sounds themselves certainly do, with Paravicini lingering over and repeating particularly delightful syllables. “Meewww-zick. The pi-aan-o.”


Such touching and immediate friendliness is not quite what I expected from my first meeting with the 29-year-old, blind musical savant, but his obsession with reproducing sounds certainly makes sense, given his talent. Paravicini can play just about any piece of music you request, entirely from memory, with formidable technical ability, despite having severe learning difficulties that mean he needs constant support in everyday life. And as I find out an hour later, he constantly improvises the pieces he has learned by ear, rather than simply copying as you might expect.


Paravicini is a prodigious savant – someone with a dazzling talent in one or two fields, normally music, maths, art or memory, but who also has some kind of a disability, such as autism. Psychologists have puzzled long and hard over savant skills, which confound their traditional understanding of intelligence. “What makes savants so interesting is this jarring juxtaposition of ability and disability in the same person,” says Darold Treffert, a psychiatrist based in Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin who was also a consultant for the film Rain Man. “We are used to seeing skills that are consistent with each other.”


But now researchers are beginning to unearth clues as to how savants’ formidable brains work, and that in turn is changing our view of what it means to be a savant. In the past, savants were considered rare, solitary figures capable of mind-boggling skills that appeared as if by magic. “There have almost been suggestions that their skills appear like the birth of Venus in Botticelli – fully formed,” says psychologist Richard Cowan, who studies savants at the Institute of Education, University of London.


Savants were considered solitary figures, capable of mind-boggling skills. There have almost been suggestions that their talents appear like the birth of Venus in Botticelli – fully formed

A flurry of research published earlier this year in the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B paints a very different picture. It turns out that these skills are far more common than previously thought. They may even arise from traits found in the general population, implying that savants are not fundamentally different from the rest of us. What’s more, these skills may only blossom after years of obsessive practice, raising the question of whether many more people might cultivate similar skills, if only they had the motivation.


One of the biggest clues to the origins of savant talent lies in the fact that savants are far more common within the autistic population than among people with other mental difficulties. “When you talk about savants, you have to talk about autism,” says Greg Wallace, who studies savants at the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, Maryland. “In many ways they are inextricably linked.”


Previously, about 1 in 10 people with autism were thought to have a special ability but in April, Patricia Howlin at the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London found a much higher figure in the autistic adults she surveyed for savant skills or an exceptional cognitive ability. Those with an exceptional cognitive ability scored higher than the general population on at least one aspect of an intelligence test, which included arithmetic, spatial and motor skills and memory span. Savant skills included more fully developed talents, such as being able to name the elevation of both the sun and the moon at any time of day, on any specified date; being able to name the day of the week for any date in the distant past or future (a talent known as calendrical calculation) and perfect pitch. Importantly, the abilities and the skills had to be exceptional by the standards of the general population, but also well above the individual’s overall level of ability. In total, roughly 30 per cent had some kind of special ability (Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, vol 364, p 1359).


But while highlighting the link between autism and savantism, Howlin’s results didn’t offer any further clues as to why the two are so entwined. To investigate the nature of this link, Francesca Happé, also at the Institute of Psychiatry, and her colleagues decided to test which aspects of autism predispose people to talent, and whether these traits also occur in the general population, albeit less commonly.


Her team turned to a questionnaire called the Childhood Asperger Syndrome Test, which assesses social interaction, communication and whether someone has “repetitive and restrictive behaviours and interests” (or RRBIs) associated with autism. The team sent the CAST survey to the parents of more than 6000 autistic and non-autistic 8-year-olds along with a questionnaire assessing the child’s special abilities in maths, musical ability, art and memory.


On analysing the results, one RRBI trait in particular emerged as the biggest indicator of talent. Children who “notice details that other people miss”, or “remember details that other people miss” were twice as likely to have a special gift than those without these attributes (Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-7610.2009.02076.x).


Happé has concluded that this one aspect of autism rather than the whole “package”, may turn out to be the “starting engine” for talent in savants. “An eye for detail is a cognitive style that runs through the normal population, and it is that quality that gives you the foothold into talent,” she says.


An eye for detail gives you a foothold into talent. It may be this one aspect of autism, rather than the whole package, that turns out to be the starting engine for savant abilities

But how could such an unremarkable trait give rise to a gift? For musical savants like Paravicini, Happé suggests that a bias towards small details might have led their developing brains to focus more on the exact notes than the overall melody, leading to perfect pitch and an exceptional musical memory. In art, a focus on small regions of a picture could lead to accurate perspective drawing.


Precocious artists


That theory fits with another study of non-autistic children with a talent for drawing that belies their age. Although these “precocious realists” don’t qualify as savants because they don’t have a disability, the ease, speed and accuracy of their drawing are similar to the distinctive qualities found in savant artists.


To see if a detail-focused mindset might also explain these childrens’ skills, psychologists Ellen Winner and Jennifer Drake of Boston College gave them the block design test, which assesses your ability to piece together a pattern from its component parts. Most people find this harder when they are shown an unsegmented version of the pattern versus a segmented one, but people with autism don’t have this preference, demonstrating their skill at seeing a whole in terms of its parts even if there are no obvious dividing lines (see diagram). “It shows they are able to do the segmentation in their minds,” says Winner. The precocious realists did not have this preference either, indicating a talent for realistic drawing may arise from this isolated trait commonly found in autism (Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, vol 364, p 1449).


Although these results help to pinpoint exactly what it is about autism that predisposes people to talent, it’s still not clear why an eye for detail is more common in autistic people in the first place. Clues might lie in the work of Simon Baron-Cohen from the University of Cambridge, which suggests that people with autism are “hypersensitive” to sensory information. He now proposes that such acute sensitivity might predispose people with autism to pick out differences that would escape the rest of us, fostering an unusual focus on detail that leads to the development of savant skills (Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, vol 364, p 1522).


But while a focus on smaller details may well be a necessary ingredient for talent, no one is yet claiming that it alone can explain the appearance of savant abilities. For instance, the ability to “toggle back and forth” between a detail-focused view and a broad view might be important to produce a good work of art. “To draw very well you have to be able to see the gestalt as well,” says Winner.


Daniel Tammet, a prodigious savant who has memorised pi to 22,514 digits, believes his own talents have arisen from a special ability to connect different pieces of information together. “Savant abilities are linked to a highly associative type of thinking, an extreme form of a kind that everyone does – examples would include daydreaming, puns and the use of metaphors,” he says.


There’s also the question of how much practice contributes to the savant’s specific talent. Savants practise tirelessly, but is that a big contributing factor, or are they born with major brain differences that predispose them to excel in their particular field?


The few studies of savant brains certainly suggest they are physically different from the average brain. For example, when Happé and Wallace studied the brain of a savant gifted at art, calendrical calculation and memory, they found his cortex was thicker in the areas associated with visuospatial processing and calculation and thinner in other regions associated with social cognition, compared with people who were neither savants nor autistic. But whether these differences were innate or grew with lifelong practice was still unclear.


The answer to that question may come from an unlikely source – a study of London taxi drivers who have acquired an encyclopedic memory of the streets of London known as “the Knowledge”. Given that taxi drivers must remember the layout of 25,000 streets and the location of thousands of places of interest, and retrieve the information instantaneously, some researchers like Happé believe the Knowledge qualifies as a savant-like skill.


Eleanor Maguire and colleagues at the Institute of Neurology at University College London and colleagues found that drivers with the Knowledge have a bigger rear hippocampus than bus drivers and adults who do not drive taxis. In addition, the hippocampus appears to be larger the longer a taxi driver has been working, and shrinks once they retire (Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2008.0288). That suggests the drivers were born with typical brains which then adapt with training to accommodate the skill. If that’s true of other talents, it is possible that although savants may have an unusual detail-focused cognition, their brains aren’t fundamentally different at birth but become so with training.


Further preliminary evidence that many of us may have the basic brain equipment to develop such skills emerged from a calendrical savant known as GC. By scanning his brain, Cowan found that GC uses the same regions of his brain to process dates as non-savants use for mental arithmetic (Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, vol 364, p 1417). In another experiment Cowan and his colleagues asked GC to learn a new calendrical system. With a limited amount of time to practise, he performed no better than a non-savant.


So if the traits that make a savant are found in the general population and practice is a big contributing factor, could we all develop a prodigious talent if we put in the hours? “I do not know any reason why not, though many would lack the motivation,” says Cowan.


Motivation


But while the results of the brain scans show that savant brains may not start out with large physical differences, Happé’s study – which considered both identical and fraternal twins – indicates that there is still a strong genetic component to the detail-focused mindset necessary for talent.


And it’s doubtful that even those who do inherit the necessary eye for detail could unleash the phenomenal talents of someone like Paravicini through practice alone.


“I agree that many people could acquire the least creative types of savant skill, such as calendrical calculation,” says Tammet. “I do not believe however that most people could learn to draw a city landscape in gorgeous detail like Stephen Wiltshire, or compose several albums of original jazz music like the American teenager Matt Savage, or create an original way of visualising numbers and language, like in my case.”


In fact, it seems the remaining mystery is not so much how savants achieve their talents, but what drives them in the first place. “Motivation is a big unknown,” says Wallace. “It’s an enormous driving force in giftedness and in savants, but we don’t know a lot about it.”


One person who has something of an inside view on what contributes to savant ability is Paravicini’s mentor, Adam Ockelford, a professor of music at Roehampton University in London who has watched Paravicini’s talent blossom since the age of 4. When they first met, Paravicini was entirely self-taught and bashed at his plastic keyboard with his fists and elbows to reproduce the sounds he was hearing. It was only after years of practice that his technical skills developed.


But as researchers like Wallace have suggested, Paravicini seemed motivated way beyond the average music student. In fact, he seemed to be playing as if his life depended on it, and Ockelford thinks it’s this that truly sets savants apart from their peers. “The survival instinct gets turned with extraordinary force into something else – in Derek’s case music,” says Ockelford. “When people see Derek, they think it is amazing, almost religious. But to me, it’s mainly just hard work.”


To win tickets to see Derek Paravicini in concert visit www.newscientist.com/article/dn17179


Source:   http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20227111.500-how-to-unleash-your-brains-inner-genius.html?full=true



Marinha in the morning sun, Portugal

HEADLINES


Disabled teenager with mental age of eight, was punched to death after family moved for ‘better life”:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1190515/David-Cox-disabled-teenager-mental-age-punched-death-family-moved-better-life.html?ITO=1490


Autistic teen’s body found in Yarra”:

http://news.ninemsn.com.au/national/820626/police-resume-search-for-autistic-teen


Father of autistic man faces mistreatment charges”:

http://www.examiner.com/a-2036807~Father_of_autistic_man_faces_mistreatment_charges.html


Hero groom saved drowning girl”:

http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/2455711/Hero-groom-saved-drowning-girl.html?OTC-RSS&ATTR=News


UK “Have your say on the Govt’s autism strategy for adults”:

http://www.nas.org.uk/nas/jsp/polopoly.jsp?d=2251&a=19386


O’Keeffe to face pressure over autism centre funds”:

http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/breaking-news/ireland/politics/okeeffe-to-face-pressure-over-autism-centre-funds-14307571.html


Gary McKinnon Updates: Can a harmless UFO obsessive be saved from 70 years in a brutal American jail?”:

http://aspie-editorial.blog-city.com/gary_mckinnon_updates_can_a_harmless_ufo_obsessive_be_saved.htm


Gary McKinnon: contact your MP today”:

http://www.nas.org.uk/nas/jsp/polopoly.jsp?d=1895&a=18512


UK Autism Foundation backs call for increase in Carer’s Allowance”:

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/151413.php


Top doctor demands school ban on children without MMR”:

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/health/article6424857.ece


AM Lynne Neagle says: Make the MMR jab obligatory”:

http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/2009/06/01/am-lynne-neagle-says-make-the-mmr-jab-obligatory-91466-23758851/


Measles outbreak in Wales could cause deaths”:

http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/2009/05/27/health-experts-warn-measles-outbreak-in-wales-could-cause-deaths-91466-23720531/


MMR school entry check considered”:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/wales/8079770.stm


Unravelling the history of the vaccine-autism scare”:

http://arstechnica.com/science/news/2009/05/unravelling-the-history-of-the-vaccine-autism-scare.ars


Autism alert card scheme launched … For Chris Mitchell, the Autism Alert Card is a step in the right direction. The 31-year-old, from Seaburn, has Asperger’s Syndrome and spends much of his spare time working alongside the National Autistic Society and appearing as a guest speaker to give professionals an insight into how he and others like him see life”:

http://www.sunderlandecho.com/news/Autism-alert-card-scheme-launched.5303458.jp


“Card to raise autism awareness”:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/8068884.stm


Ari Ne’eman on the Huffington Post: Health Care Reform and the Disability Community”:

http://aspie-editorial.blog-city.com/ari_neeman_on_the_huffington_post_health_care_reform_and_t.htm


Amicus Brief submitted to US Supreme Court”:

http://aspie-editorial.blog-city.com/amicus_brief_submitted_to_us_supreme_court.htm


UK Charity EveryChild Lobbies Gov’t “Disability in Azerbaijan”:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/audioslideshow/2009/jun/02/azerbaijan-everychild-childrens-homes


Blind man is back driving again”:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/wiltshire/8062458.stm

RESEARCH & HEALTH


Autism & Seizures: A Brief Overview”:

http://aspie-editorial.blog-city.com/autism__seizures_a_brief_overview.htm


Miracle drug called junk science”:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/health/chi-autism-lupron-may21,0,242705.story


Celexa failed autism study”:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/31052008/


Nursing Times “Helping hard-to-reach families to manage their children’s continence problems”:

http://www.nursingtimes.net/nursing-practice-clinical-research/specialists/continence/helping-hard-to-reach-families-to-manage-their-childrens-continence-problems/5002152.article


Role of mirror neurons may need a rethink”:

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn17192-role-of-mirror-neurons-may-need-a-rethink.html?DCMP=OTC-rss&nsref=online-news


One in every 64 children could have autism, Cambridge researchers find … A study of schoolchildren in Cambridge has found that for every three children who have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder there are around two who have the condition but have not been given a formal diagnosis.”:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/5400079/One-in-every-64-children-could-have-autism-Cambridge-researchers-find.html


Autism: Study finds 12-fold rise in cases … the authors dismissed suggestions that changes in lifestyle or the environment were behind the rise. They put it down to improved awareness and detection, and the inclusion of milder conditions within the diagnosis.”

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/autism-study-finds-12fold-rise-in-cases-1692556.html


Kaspar “Robot playmate for autistic children”:

http://www.euronews.net/2009/05/27/robot-playmate-for-austistic-children/


Risperdal Consta approved for Bipolar”:

http://psychcentral.com/news/2009/05/18/risperdal-consta-approved-for-bipolar/5974.html


Growing better mental health”:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/8027335.stm


Managing depression and pain combination effectively”:

http://aspie-editorial.blog-city.com/managing_depression_and_pain_combination_effectively.htm


Abstract: Nicotine dependence is associated with suicide attempts and self-mutilation among adolescent females”:

http://aspie-editorial.blog-city.com/abstract_nicotine_dependence_is_associated_with_suicide_att.htm


Fear of family reaction is barrier to treatment for depressed teens”:

http://aspie-editorial.blog-city.com/fear_of_family_reaction_is_barrier_to_treatment_for_depresse.htm


W.A “Abstract: Teens find red meat, junk food depressing”:

http://aspie-editorial.blog-city.com/abstract__teens_find_red_meat_junk_food_depressing.htm


Does a good night’s sleep really help?”:

http://aspie-editorial.blog-city.com/does_a_good_nights_sleep_really_help.htm


APA: Major changes loom for bible of mental health”:

http://aspie-editorial.blog-city.com/apa_major_changes_loom_for_bible_of_mental_health.htm


Foreign accent syndrome”:

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn17246-foreign-accent-syndrome-doesnt-mean-brain-damage.html


Virtual Hospital”:

http://www.uihealthcare.com/vh/

EDUCATION


Supreme Court to address meeting the needs of special education students”:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/31/education/31tuition.html?_r=2&partner=TOPIXNEWS&ei=5099


Mind-Mapping “Blazing a new trail to intelligence”:

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/2009/05/31/opinion/opinion_30104002.php


Northern Arizona school district pulls ‘seclusion room”:

http://www.abc15.com/content/news/northernarizona/prescott/story/Northern-Arizona-school-district-pulls-seclusion/5qHMm7RPakiODnxhufx9Ww.cspx


Joseph Upton: Aspiring Animator and Clinton Graduate”:

http://aspie-editorial.blog-city.com/joseph_upton_aspiring_animator_and_clinton_graduate.htm


Help! My son with LD graduates. Who will write his 504 when he loses his IEP?”:

http://www.wrightslaw.com/blog/?p=37


UK teachers visit Chatham … They made the trip to learn about different practices for special-needs students, particularly those with autism. Hensman said the U.K. also needs more special-needs teachers.”:

http://www.chathamdailynews.ca/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=1586460


Sensory room helps disabled students”:

http://www.myfoxphilly.com/dpp/health/dpg_Sensory_Room_SAB_05302009_2525716


Australia “Thomas the Tank Engine turns teacher for autistic kids”:

http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/05/27/2581686.htm?section=entertainment


Speech & Language issues in children”:

http://aspie-editorial.blog-city.com/speech__language_issues_in_children.htm


Communication “USA TODAY: iPhone applications help the autistic”:

http://aspie-editorial.blog-city.com/usa_today_iphone_applications_help_the_autistic.htm


Educational Kids Websites”:

http://www.kidspot.com.au/Play-Best-websites-for-little-kids+384+31+article.htm

http://www.kidspot.com.au/Family-Best-websites-for-kids+385+75+article.htm

EMPLOYMENT


Better, faster … and no office politics: The company with the autistic specialists”:

http://aspie-editorial.blog-city.com/better_faster__and_no_office_politics_the_company_with_.htm


Autelligent Laboratories

We believe all people have a contribution to make and deserve an opportunity to be productive.

With your caring and excellent help, we are creating jobs for the 40 million people worldwide who are diagnosed with Autism and Asperger Syndrome. Today less than one in five of us are currently employed. We are motivated and competent and we deserve equal employment. Help make this a reality.

Autelligent Laboratories is dedicated to creating a space where autistic software engineers can more than contribute, we can excel.”:

http://www.autlabs.com/


Luxury Quality Scented Candles “Humbolt Candles – Autism & Disability Employment Company”:

http://www.humboldtcandles.com/index.html


Auties.org”:
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/


Prospects”:

http://www.nas.org.uk/nas/jsp/polopoly.jsp?d=473&a=2348


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

http://www.autismjobs.org/?section=00010009


Current job vacancies within the NAS”:

http://www.nas.org.uk/nas/jsp/polopoly.jsp?d=170


For further employment information, please view”:

http://aspie-editorial.blog-city.com/employment_on_the_autism_spectrum.htm

GENERAL/HUMAN INTEREST


Paul Dirac: A physicist of few words”:

http://aspie-editorial.blog-city.com/paul_dirac_a_physicist_of_few_words.htm


Derek Paravacini in New Scientist “How to unleash your brain’s inner genius”:

http://aspie-editorial.blog-city.com/derek_paravacini_in_new_scientist__how_to_unleash_your_brai.htm


Dean Beadle: AS from an AS perspective”:

http://aspie-editorial.blog-city.com/dean_beadle_as_from_an_as_perspective.htm


Ros Blackburn “The autistic lecturer”:

http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20090531/local/the-autistic-lecturer


Robotic Wheelchair Controlled By Thought Alone”:

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20227065.900-robotic-wheelchair-controlled-by-thought-alone.html

PORTUGAL

Ponte 25 de Abril, Santo Amaro, Lisbon(Not the Golden Gate)

Associacâo Portuguesa para Proteccâo aos Deficientes Autistas
Prolongamento Da Rua 1
Bairro Do Alto Da A Juda
1300-565
PORTUGAL
tel: +351 21 361 2650
fax: +351 21 361 6259
e-mail: appda.autismo@mail.telepac.pt
Website: http://www.appda.rcts.pt

Pico Island(of the Azores)/Volcano(Ponta de Pico) highest mtn of Portugal

Asociación Portuguesa Sí­ndrome de Asperger
Associacio Portuguesa do Sí­ndrome de Asperger
Apartado 80 – 2766-085 S. Pedro do Estoril, Portugal.
http://www.apsa.org.pt/

Alfama Windows, Lisbon

Portugal Meetup Groups”:

http://aspergers.meetup.com/cities/pt/

Livraria Lello E Irmao(Opporto) World's 3rd most beautiful bookstore

[PDF] Epidemiology of autism spectrum disorder in Portugal: prevalence

Aveiro, Little Venice of Portugal

Portugal Information & History”:

http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/places/countries/country_portugal.html

Downtown Lisbon

Portugal Photo Gallery”:

http://traveler.nationalgeographic.com/2008/05/portugal-photography

http://photography.nationalgeographic.com/photography/enlarge/capital-city_pod_image.html

Castelo de Almourol, Portugal

Lisbon Daily Photo”:

http://lisbondailyphoto.blogspot.com/

Porto, Opporto

Porto(Portugal) Daily Photo”:

http://portodailyphoto.blogspot.com/

Guimaraes, Portugal

ADD/ADHD


Five questions to ask before your child takes ADHD meds”:

http://www.daytondailynews.com/life/content/oh/story/living/2009/05/17/ddn051709liferamey.html?cxtype=rss&cxsvc=7&cxcat=47


Jury still out on foods, additives, and ADHD”:

http://www.healthnewsdigest.com/news/Diet_190/Jury_Still_Out_on_Foods_Additives_and_ADHD.shtml


Attention problems in kindergarten could spell long-term trouble”:

http://www.kristv.com/global/story.asp?s=10422328


Trouble finishing projects could be caused by ADD”:

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/705306461/Trouble-finishing-projects-ADD.html


ADRES “Adverse Drug Reaction Electronic System(Adverse Drug Reactions Website)”- This website provides patients, doctors, and other medical professionals with a comprehensive examination of adverse drug reactions (ADRs), side effects, and other safety information for both prescription and over-the-counter medications.. Our goal is to allow users of our website make informed decisions when taking (patients) or prescribing (doctors) drugs. We are providing unmatched information and analysis tools.

http://www.adverse-drug-reaction.net/


“adders.org”
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 those affected by the condition, both adults and children, their families in the UK and around the World via this website.

http://www.adders.org/


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

http://www.addiss.co.uk/index.html


ADDA”:

http://www.add.org/index.html


hi2u ADHD Pages”:

http://www..adhd..org.uk/


CHADD”:

http://www.chadd.org/am/CustomPages/home/CHADD_Home.htm?CFID=2282059&CFTOKEN=38105335&jsessionid=f2303343221169802693562

SPORT


Champion sailor Ben gets county colours”:

http://aspie-editorial.blog-city.com/champion_sailor_ben_gets_county_colours.htm


Olympic coach finds ski talent”:

http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/cn_news_home/DisplayArticle.asp?ID=418087


Join our Racecourse Bike Ride this summer”:

http://www.nas.org.uk/nas/jsp/polopoly.jsp?d=2116&a=18586


Trek Ben Nevis – 19-21 June, 2009”:

http://www.nas.org.uk/nas/jsp/polopoly.jsp?d=1971


Flora London Marathon 2009”:

http://www.nas.org.uk/nas/jsp/polopoly.jsp?d=1823


It’s back! The London to Paris Bike Ride 2009 – 15-18 May”:

http://www.nas.org.uk/nas/jsp/polopoly.jsp?d=1860


5-8 June, 2009 “Five Countries Bike Ride – England, France, Belgium, Holland and Germany”:

http://www.nas.org.uk/nas/jsp/polopoly.jsp?d=1970


Racecourse Bike Ride – 12 July, 2009”:

http://www.nas.org.uk/nas/jsp/polopoly.jsp?d=2116


Trek Hadrian’s Wall – 7-9 August, 2009”:

http://www.nas.org.uk/nas/jsp/polopoly.jsp?d=2088


Trek Jordan 2009 – 10-14 September”:

http://www.nas.org.uk/nas/jsp/polopoly.jsp?d=1833


Cycle India – 27 November – 6 December, 2009”:

http://www.nas.org.uk/nas/jsp/polopoly.jsp?d=1832


“Sky Diving”:

http://www.nas.org.uk/nas/jsp/polopoly.jsp?d=1726

MUSIC


Making Music

Create, the arts organisation that specialises in music events for children with communication, sensory and learning differences, is holding its next two events in London (Saturday 27 June) and in Sevenoaks, Kent (Sunday 28 June), featuring pianist Derek Paravacini.

For more information, call Anna Schilling on 020 7374 8485 or email anna@createarts.org.uk


Derek Paravacini “A musical savant’s favourite things”:

http://aspie-editorial.blog-city.com/derek_paravacini_a_musical_savants_favourite_things.htm


The AutisMusic Project”:

http://www.autismusic.com/

ART


Savant Art: A window into exceptional minds”:

http://www.newscientist.com/gallery/mg20227111500-savant-art


Stephen Wiltshire “Rare art goes on sale”:

http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/4378945.Rare_art_goes_on_sale/


GLIMPSE – the talents of the autism community

They are painters, sculptors and photographers; poets and storytellers; musicians and creators of amazing video games. They are kids, teens and adults. Last year, a new online publication arose to celebrate the talents of autistic individuals and other developmental disabilities: GLIMPSE, offered by ICDL (The Interdisciplinary Council of Developmental and Learning Disorders). In late 2008, Volume 2 of GLIMPSE was released, and was expanded into a print book and notecards. The works are serious, humourous, deeply personal and illuminating. See it for yourself, share it with others, submit your own/your child’s work for inclusion in Volume 3, to release later this year. Find information and ordering details at www.icdl.com


ARTROOM ………where under 17s can make and display art online”:

http://www.saatchi-gallery.co.uk/artroom/index.php

MOVIES/ENTERTAINMENT


Neil Morrisey coming to Norwich … Men Behaving Badly star Neil Morrissey will be coming to the city as the star of a stage adaptation of an Oscar winning 1980s movie which also earned Dustin Hoffman and the film’s director Barry Levinson golden statuettes. The actor – best known for his work as Tony in the BBC Comedy – will be appearing at the Norwich Theatre Royal later this year in a stage production of Rain Man which won four Oscars, including best picture, at the Academy Awards in 1988.”:

http://www.eveningnews24.co.uk/content/news/story.aspx?brand=ENOnline&category=News&tBrand=ENOnline&tCategory=news&itemid=NOED20%20May%202009%2015%3A21%3A17%3A813


Actors for Autism”:
http://www.actorsforautism.com/


BOOKS


Living Japan “Housewives’ essays tell other story of Japan … Hitomi Ishiwatari, who contributed a piece about her life with her autistic son, hopes the theme strikes a chord with foreign readers.

“Mothers everywhere in the world must have similar worries and joys, so I think readers can empathize with my experiences,” she said.”:

http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20090523f2.html


“Deeno’s Dream Journeys in the Big Blue Bubble: A Relaxation Programme to Help Children Manage their Emotions”

Author: Julia Langensiepen

Illustrated by Gerry Turley

http://www.jkp.com/catalogue/book.php/isbn/9781849050395


104 Activities That Build: Self Esteem, Teamwork, Communication, Anger Management, Self-Discovery, and Coping Skills”

Author: Alanna Jones

http://www.asperger.net/bookstore_O218.htm


Comic Strip Conversations”

Author: Carol Gray

http://www.asperger.net/bookstore_C107.htm


The New Social Story Book – Illustrated Edition”

Author: Carol Gray

http://www.asperger.net/bookstore_T108_V102.htm


Perfect Targets: Asperger Syndrome and Bullying; Practical Solutions for Surviving the Social World”

Author: Rebekah Heinrichs

http://www.asperger.net/bookstore_9918.htm


Steps to Independence: Teaching Everyday Skills to Children with Special Needs”

Authors: Bruce L. Baker, Ph.D., Alan J. Brightman, Ph.D., Jan B. Blacher, Ph.D., Louis J. Heifetz, Ph. D.

http://www.asperger.net/bookstore_S318.htm


Sundays With Matthew: An Autistic Boy and an Artist Share their Sketchbooks”

Authors: Jeanette Lesada and Matthew Lancelle

http://www.asperger.net/bookstore_9954.htm

MOVIE

Ice Age 3 Poster

ICE AGE 3

Dawn of the Dinosaurs

Release Date: Worldwide 2009

http://www.iceagemovie.com/


New Kids Movies”:

http://kidzmoviez.com/default.asp

VIDEO GAME

Puzzle Bobble Galaxy Cover

Puzzle Bobble Galaxy (Nintendo DS)

Release Date June 12, 2009

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Puzzle-Bobble-Galaxy-Nintendo-DS/dp/B0027IS8J8/ref=sr_1_28?ie=UTF8&s=videogames&qid=1243967763&sr=8-28


Microsoft unveils new controller at E3”

Steven Spielberg and Xbox’s Don Mattrick on the ‘revolutionary’ hands-free control system.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/8077369.stm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DWJti09jwc0


E3 2009: Super Mario Galaxy 2 World Premiere Announcement & Trailer”:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X8RP-dGVKFA

Sky puts content on Xbox console”:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/8070291.stm


Stories from Second Life”:

http://www.ireport.com/ir-topic-stories.jspa?topicId=1307

http://edition.cnn.com/2008/HEALTH/conditions/03/28/sl.autism.irpt/index.html

ENVIRONMENT

Challenger Deep - deepest known point in the oceans

Robot Sub Reaches The World’s Deepest Abyss”:

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn17242-robot-sub-reaches-the-worlds-deepest-abyss.html


NEW (June Release)“Solar Powered Netbook”:

http://www.netbookaccessories.co.uk/

TECH

Robotic Butler

Robot Brain Jumps Bodies To Do Human Bidding”:

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn17249-robot-brain-jumps-bodies-to-do-human-bidding.html

The next newsletter will be available at the slightly later date of Thursday 25th June due to travel plans.


Till then,

Take Care,

Julie

Algarve, Portugal


Jan

20

First Published Saturday, 6 June 2009


Dear Readers,


Taking some time out for travel over the next 3 weeks.  The next post will be Tuesday, 16th June.


Julie  xx



First Published Tuesday, 16 June 2009



TERRIFIED: Gary McKinnon


GARY McKinnon is facing extradition for what has been described as “the biggest military computer hack of all time”. His mother JANIS SHARP argues that his treatment by the authorities is cruel, unnecessary and totally unjust.

I used to be a foster carer; one of the few that could accommodate large sibling groups and was happy to be able to help keep families together.


Yet now, in a cruel twist of fate, my own family is being ripped apart. My son, Gary, 43, was arrested in 2002 for hacking into American military computers. I’m not sure I can ever fully explain the shock of that day.


Gary had been passionate about computers for years but it never occurred to me that his fascination with UFOs would lead to him being hounded by the US Department of Justice.


What Gary did was wrong: he recognises that now but he had no real malice.


The idea of Gary as some cyber-terrorist would be laughable but for the fact that the consequences are so serious. The phrase “he couldn’t hurt a fly” describes him perfectly.


Yet although we can see that, the US government just can’t.


When last year he was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, a form of autism, it was almost a relief as it explained so much.


As a child he had extraordinary skills and passions such as being obsessed with astronomy from the age of two and being able to play the Moonlight Sonata without having taken piano lessons.


Not only did it explain his behaviour but I felt sure the authorities would now realise that Gary’s actions were, as we had said all along, those of someone intent on discovering the “truth” behind UFOs and various conspiracy theories, and nothing more sinister.


Identifying his Asperger’s doesn’t stop him being guilty of the crime. He knows that – we all do – and has said as much to the UK prosecutors.


Gary is compulsively truthful, even to his own detriment, again a symptom of Asperger’s.


He was obsessed with finding the truth and, unlike neurotypical people, his obsession wasn’t tempered by what we term common sense.


Gary felt he was on a moral crusade to discover the truth at all costs. He didn’t realise the impact of what he was doing or how it could be construed.


He left comments on US computers about the lack of response by the US government to 9/11, believing all the conspiracy theories.


Gary first entered their computers more than six months before when looking for UFO evidence and he was shocked at their lax security.


He is immature for his age and was annoyed with the Americans for suppressing the truth as he saw it.


Although what he did was wrong, he has always denied the alleged damage and I cannot believe anyone thinks sending him away from his family and girlfriend to face a trial, and possible prison sentence of up to 60 years in a super-max prison, is a fair way to deal with his crime.


Hard as it is to admit, I know he would not survive being extradited. Gary rarely leaves the house – he gets agitated.


Extradition is for people who commit a crime abroad and then flee but his crime was committed in the UK, so surely he should face trial here?


This is what tears me apart and keeps my mind racing at night. No hacker has ever been extradited and yet Homeland Security’s Robert Gates admits they have tens of thousands of computer intrusions every month.


Why then decide to make an example of someone with Asperger’s who committed the crime of computer misuse when it was not even an extraditable offence and the sentence at that time was six months to two years?


I haven’t had a stress-free moment since 2005 when Gary was re-arrested and informed that the Americans intended to extradite him under the new treaty.


Gary takes beta-blockers simply to help him to get through life without being eaten up by the constant pressure and fear.


The medication keeps him calm on the surface but he says it feels as if he’s got the fires of hell burning inside him.


He’s now showing physical signs of the stress with a lump on his shoulder and this week had a growth removed from his eye.


I won’t rest until I know that Gary won’t be torn from the land he was born on. It’s cruel, unnecessary and totally disproportionate but still the British Government seems set on meekly yet pro-actively handing him over to the US government.


My terrified and vulnerable son risks being shipped off to a foreign country where he has no friends or family, to be imprisoned and forgotten about.


Americans would never allow their citizens to be treated this way – so why does Britain?


The case has ruined the past seven years of all of our lives. It’s shocking that during that time Gary could have been prosecuted, tried, sentenced and served his dues in the UK had Britain seen fit to take responsibility for its own citizens.


Yet instead we are still on a knife edge, desperately clinging to the hope that common sense and justice will prevail.


Source:   http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/107358/-My-son-is-not-a-cyber-terrorist-


Petition Tops 4,000


Posted by Tom Espiner


Over 4,000 people have now signed a petition that people with Asperger’s Syndrome should not be extradited, directed at the Prime Minister’s Office.

The petition directly refers to Gary McKinnon, the man accused by US prosecutors of “the biggest military hack of all time.” McKinnon was diagnosed with Asperger’s, a condition on the autism spectrum, last summer, and faces extradition to the US to face hacking charges.


McKinnon’s mother, Janis Sharp, told ZDNet UK last week that McKinnon was “stressed out of his head”.


“It’s a scary thing when you are dragged away from your own country,” said Sharp.


The petition has had a number of deadlines extended — the latest one is the 22 June.


Source:   http://community.zdnet.co.uk/blog/0,1000000567,10012954o-2000331828b,00.htm?new_comment


British NASA hacker gets new hearing on extradition


Thursday, June 18, 2009


Justices for the UK High Court have agreed to hear on July 14th an application for a judicial review of the extradition of British national Gary McKinnon, who has confessed to hacking the networks of the U.S. military and NASA, according to ZDNet UK.

Attorneys for McKinnon have been fighting his extradition to the U.S., saying that sending McKinnon to the U.S. to face trial could result in him committing suicide because of his mental illness.

McKinnon, the 42-year-old man who U.S. authorities say compromised the network security of the Army, Air Force, Navy and NASA and caused close to $1 million in damages, was diagnosed last August with Asperger’s syndrome, a type of autism.

His attorney, family and supporters say he should be tried in the UK and contend his diagnosis was not properly considered by the former UK home secretary who ordered his extradition in October.

The National Autistic Society, a UK advocacy group, has petitioned the British government to keep McKinnon in the UK, based on his condition.

He could face up to 70 years in prison in the U.S. if found guilty. McKinnon reportedly said he was searching high-security networks for evidence of extraterrestrial life.


Date set for NASA hacker hearing in U.K.


A date has been set for the Britain’s high court to consider whether self-confessed NASA hacker Gary McKinnon should be tried in the U.K.


Lord Justice Stanley Burnton and Justice Alan Wilkie will hear on July 14 the London resident’s application for a judicial review, McKinnon’s solicitor, Karen Todner, told ZDNet UK on Tuesday.


Gary McKinnon

Gary McKinnon

(Credit ZDNet UK)

McKinnon, accused by U.S. prosecutors of the “biggest military hack of all time” back in 2001, is pursuing a judicial review of a decision by the Crown Prosecution Service not to prosecute him in the U.K. Prosecution in the U.K. would enable McKinnon to avoid extradition to the U.S., where he runs the risk of a prison sentence of up to 60 years, according to his legal team.


If the judges grant McKinnon’s application for the judicial review, then the review itself will be heard on the same day.


The high court judges are also in the process of reviewing the legality of former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith’s denial of McKinnon’s second appeal to the Home Office, despite knowing that he had been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome.


If the judges find Smith was in error, the decision on McKinnon’s extradition could be passed back to current Home Secretary Alan Johnson. However, if they rule that Smith was right, McKinnon will appeal to the House of Lords, Todner said. McKinnon’s team will then take their case to the European Court of Human Rights if a House of Lords appeal fails, she added.


Tom Espiner of ZDNet UK reported from London.


Source:   http://news.cnet.com/8301-1009_3-10266370-83.html



First Published Tuesday, 16 June 2009


Alex Barton
Alex Barton


ST. LUCIE COUNTY – Morningside Elementary teacher Wendy Portillo said she hopes to return to teaching after a unanimous vote by the School Board let her keep her professional contract with the county school district and the tenure protection it affords.


The School Board’s vote Wednesday came more than one year after Portillo led her kindergarten students to vote classmate Alex Barton, then 5, out of class for disruptive behavior. The child was in the process of being diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, a type of high-functioning autism, at the time.


“I’m overjoyed,” Portillo said after an emotional 90-minute hearing in which more than a dozen teachers and parents urged the School Board to relent in punishing her. “I’m happy that I’ll be able to go back to doing what I love to do.”


Portillo still must complete a one-year unpaid suspension that began last November. It was recommended by Schools Superintendent Michael Lannon and upheld by an administrative law judge who heard Portillo’s case in February.


Both Lannon and the judge also recommended that she lose the employment protection of a professional services contract and instead be placed on an annual contract. Such annual employees may or may not be invited back to work each year and many such teachers already have lost jobs amid current budget cuts.


Wednesday’s hearing was interrupted by applause after each of 13 speakers finished their testimony in favor of Portillo. They included her sons, Zayd and Zak, Morningside colleagues and parents whose children were Portillo’s students during her 12-year local career.


For many, Alex became a symbol of how children with autism are mistreated and misunderstood. The child reportedly has not returned to school since the May 21, 2008, incident, which evoked heated public debate. Portillo’s treatment of the boy was the topic of blogs, national television and radio programs.


“This became an emotional fire storm that crucified everybody,” board member Kathryn Hensley said. “We had people coming up to us and threatening us on the street.”


Apparently absent from Wednesday’s event was Melissa Barton, Alex’s mother. No one rose at the public hearing to state the family’s case.


Barton could not be reached by phone Wednesday evening, nor could her attorneys.


Asked what she would say to Barton, Portillo said she wishes her well.


“I hope they find the help they need,” she said.


Many who spoke Wednesday said the incident was isolated and not characteristic of Portillo’s service as a teacher.


Queen Townsend said she is a former Morningside Elementary principal and that the incident might not have happened if school officials had proper backup for teachers.


“We must ensure that the disruptions that [teachers] can’t handle will be handled by someone else, so they are free to teach,” Townsend said. “[The incident] should not have occurred and it must be made so it never happens again.”


Carol Sheldon, a retired teacher of 34 years, agreed that the school must have lacked adequate behavioral support that day.


“You obviously didn’t have a means of communication so you could get somebody into that classroom to help her,” Sheldon said.


Susan Kline, mother of two former Morningside students, said her oldest son was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome and has gone on to success in high school.


Kline said she was familiar with behaviors such as throwing objects, kicking chairs and other manifestations of the disability. She urged any parent with such a child to communicate and work closely with teachers.


“It’s not convenient having an Asperger child,” Kline said, “But it is what it is.


“I don’t necessarily agree with what Mrs. Portillo did that day,” she added. “But I can understand it.”


Source:   http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/local/breakingnews/sfl-student-voted-out-bn061109,0,6421556.story


All children deserve only the best teachers


Arlene C. Ackerman is superintendent of the School District of Philadelphia


Teachers are the bedrock of our schools and the single most important key to student success. To achieve great results, every student needs a great teacher, and every teacher deserves a fair and accurate evaluation that enhances their capacity to grow and improve without fear that the process will threaten their position or their professional standing.


To put the best interests of our children front and center, the School District of Philadelphia is determined to do everything in its power to recruit the best, brightest, and most dedicated teachers; to encourage, reward, and retain our highest performers; to provide meaningful assistance and support for teachers who are struggling to be successful and effective; and to create a comprehensive system that provides all instructional staff with ongoing opportunities for career and talent development.


We stand with President Obama and U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan in placing an aggressive and unrelenting focus on teacher effectiveness as a critical factor in creating better public schools. If we are committed to student success, then it is up to all of us – teachers, administrators, parents, policymakers, and legislators – to make a commitment that all of our teachers will have the skills they need to be successful educators and that all will be equitably placed where their talents are most needed.


We are morally obligated and collectively responsible to ensure that anyone entrusted with the education of our children is capable of doing a great job, is recognized for the excellence of their performance, and is justly rewarded for results. If we care about the success of our students, we must also care about the success of their teachers and treat them as the professionals they are.


Recently, the New Teacher Project released a report on “the nation’s failure to assess teacher effectiveness, treating teachers as interchangeable parts.” The two-year study describes a “widget effect” that has prevented schools and school districts from “recognizing excellence, providing support, or removing ineffective teachers.”


The study, available at www.widgeteffect.org, describes a “national failure to acknowledge and act on differences in teacher effectiveness” and faults teacher-evaluation systems that codify the “widget effect” by allowing excellence to go unrecognized and the need for improvement to go unaddressed. The authors noted that less than 1 percent of 40,000 teachers in the study were ever rated unsatisfactory.


The Philadelphia story is no different. Out of a teaching force of more than 10,000 in the district, only 13 received unsatisfactory ratings, and only five were removed from the classroom. Because struggling teachers who are performing below an acceptable level of effectiveness were not identified, they could not be appropriately assisted and supported and given an opportunity to improve.


We cannot hope to close the opportunity and achievement gap that exists in our school district, help students from all backgrounds achieve at high standards, and realize the goals of our district’s Imagine 2014 strategic plan without putting great teachers in the places where students need them the most. To meet the needs of children and schools fairly, our district needs greater flexibility to assign staff to schools that best match the talents of teachers with regard to subject, site, and area needs.


Some Philadelphia public school students do have access to great teachers, effective principals, and excellent programs. However, “some but not all” is not an acceptable standard. All of Philadelphia’s children deserve a chance to dream and succeed, and all need skillful classroom teachers able to provide them with love and limits as they strive to learn.


As we end this school year and prepare for the next, let us commit that our school district staff, parents, and community leaders will work together to guarantee that neither students nor teachers will suffer from a “widget effect” in Philadelphia’s public schools.


Source:   http://www.philly.com/philly/opinion/20090614_All_children_deserve_only_the_best_teachers.html



Erg Chebbi, Sahara, Morocco

HEADLINES


Starved girl’s mum and dad found guilty of murder, manslaughter respectively”:

http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25678271-2702,00.html


Family, police search for missing Calgary man”:

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/calgary/story/2009/06/24/missing-calgary-brendan-davis.html


Parents settle case over locking up of autistic boy”:

http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/breaking-news/ireland/parents-settle-case-over-locking-up-of-autistic-boy-14345421.html?r=RSS


Single mum who took van’s full impact of Oxford Road crash”:

http://www.getreading.co.uk/news/s/2053021_single_mum_who_took_vans_full_impact_of_oxford_road_crash


Funeral held for couple killed in car crash”:

http://www.newsday.com/news/local/suffolk/ny-liprof2512915425jun24,0,7292992.story


Family speaks about nanny’s past/Caring for Kids: What Parents Need to Know About Sexual Abuse”:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/31533125/ns/local_news-ft_myers_fl/

http://www.nctsn.org/nccts/nav.do?pid=typ_sa_prom


YouTube bully abuse video trial delayed”:

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/news/youtube-bully-abuse-video-trial-delayed-1716467.html


Autism Bill wins House of Commons backing”:

http://www.communitycare.co.uk/Articles/2009/06/22/111906/autism-bill-wins-house-of-commons-backing.html


DH autism advisor calls on all to help shape National Autism Strategy at Brookdale Care Conference”:

http://in.sys-con.com/node/1010601


My son is not a cyber-terrorist”:

http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/107358/-My-son-is-not-a-cyber-terrorist-


NASA hacker petition tops 4,000”:

http://community.zdnet.co.uk/blog/0,1000000567,10012954o-2000331828b,00.htm?new_comment


Protest over hacker extradition move”:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/protest-over-hacker-extradition-move-1708574.html


Why it’s important that children receive the MMR vaccination”:

http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/2009/06/15/why-it-s-important-that-children-receive-the-mmr-vaccination-91466-23876447/


MSPs approve new hate crime laws”:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/8078988.stm


System ‘failing autistic adults”:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/8083280.stm


NAS response to the National Audit Office(NAO) Report on autistic adults”:

http://www.medilexicon.com/medicalnews.php?newsid=152970


Disabled are still ‘victims’ says charity Scope”:

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/top-stories/2009/06/08/disabled-are-still-victims-says-charity-scope-115875-21423841/


Watchdog Group: VA needs to improve autism services”:

http://www.whsv.com/home/headlines/47310917.html


Autism help lacking, study says”:

http://www.psycport.com/showArticle.cfm?xmlFile=washingtonpost%5F2009%5F06%5F09%5Feng%2Dwashingtonpost%5Fwpni%5Feng%2Dwashingtonpost%5Fwpni%5F030112%5F11518381049054963%2Exml&provider=


Carers of autistic people ‘paid just 75p an hour”:

http://www.24dash.com/news/Communities/2009-06-10-Carers-of-people-with-autism-paid-just-75p-an-hour


Most carers hit breaking point”:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8087797.stm


The future: in whose hands? … One in five UK adults has a disability – meaning the disabled voice is becoming ever more varied. But are policy-makers listening?”:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/beyondboundarieslive/the-future


Blind miss millions in benefits”:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/8087044.stm

RESEARCH & HEALTH


Psychiatric diagnoses are less reliable than star signs … According to Bentall, the evidence supports a treatment model that relies on supportive relationships rather than pills. “What works is being kind and listening to people, encouraging them to be optimistic and treating them with respect. The tragedy of psychiatry is that it makes patients feel that they are objects to be chemically tinkered with by a bunch of arrogant people in suits. The biomedical model has led to a disrespect of the patient,” Bentall continues.:

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/article6538213.ece


Hospital investigates link between anorexia and autism”:

http://www.craegmoor.co.uk/news/industry/19229814/hospital_investigates_link_between_anorexia_and_autism.aspx


Epileptic seizures may dissipate after brain surgery … Brain Surgery to Cure Epilepsy Can Be Dangerous But Effective.

Emma Kon, 25, made news in the United Kingdom after doctors performed multiple surgeries to remove seven parts of her brain in an effort to treat an epileptic condition which crippled her with up to 100 seizures each day. Now, about nine months after her treatments, Kon told the U.K.’s Daily Mail that she has had no seizures and is feeling well.”:

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/MindMoodNews/story?id=7885128&page=1


The 5 most common myths about autism”:

http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/1813714/the_5_most_common_myths_about_autism.html


Autistic people better at problem solving than non-autistics: Research … New research suggests that autistic people are 40 per cent faster at problem solving than non-autistics.”:

http://www.canada.com/health/Autistic+people+better+problem+solving+than+autistics+Research/1708831/story.html

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/154336.php


Standard IQ test may undervalue autistic people … Study shows they could solve problems faster than non-autistics on a different test ”:

http://www.healthday.com/Article.asp?AID=628202


New tool key in evaluating language skills in autistic kids”:

http://www.newkerala.com/nkfullnews-1-54238.html


Is it autism, sensory processing disorder, or both?”:

http://www.examiner.com/x-13970-Wichita-Special-Needs-Kids-Examiner~y2009m6d24-Is-it-Autism-Sensory-Processing-Disorder-or-both


Antidepressants offer no relief for repetitive behaviors in autistic children”:

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/152561.php


Mental disorders in China underestimated”:

http://www.reuters.com/article/healthNews/idUSTRE55B4P520090612


Understanding borderline personality disorder”:

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/06/16/understanding-borderline-personality-disorder/


Language may be key to theory of mind”:

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn17352-language-may-be-key-to-theory-of-mind.html


Life Force’ linked to body’s ability to withstand stress”:

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/154507.php


Partner relationship as a buffer against stress”:

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/155066.php


Sleepwalking treatment”:

http://www.examiner.com/x-2569-NY-Mental-Health-Examiner~y2009m6d19-Sleepwalking-Treatment


Gadgets for a healthier future at home (Includes Video – 02:21)”:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/8107843.stm


Virtual Hospital”:

http://www.uihealthcare.com/vh/

EDUCATION


Expelled from school at five”:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/8116816.stm


AS student voted out: School board reinstates Wendy Portillo/All children deserve only the best teachers”:

http://aspie-editorial.blog-city.com/as_student_voted_out_school_board_reinstates_wendy_portillo.htm


Mother finds autistic child naked in classroom”:

http://www.nbcactionnews.com/mostpopular/story/Mother-Finds-Autistic-Child-Naked-in-Classroom/prcOYivxX0ayfy0-iZwDQA.cspx


Court says parents of special-education students can seek reimbursement”:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/23/education/23special.html?hpw


Staffing shuffle alarms parents”:

http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20090624/ARTICLE/906241039/0/FEATURES05


UMMC autism school closing”:

http://www.hattiesburgamerican.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=200990610012


Barrow primary school to move”:

http://www.nwemail.co.uk/news/barrow_primary_school_to_move_1_571797?referrerPath=news/


Communication “Device offers hope to children with communication problems”:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2009/jun/05/children-communication-device


Teacher training to spot dyslexia”:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/8109554.stm


Bilingual education – helping your child become bilingual”:

http://www.examiner.com/x-11020-Families-Living-Abroad-Examiner~y2009m6d22-Bilingual-education–helping-your-child-become-bilingual


Celebrate a perfect day with Helena Bonham Carter … The Swiss Cottage Specialist SEN School has 151 pupils aged between 2-16 years and employs almost 100 staff, plus teams of therapists, nurses and other visiting professionals. All the children attending the school have learning difficulties and additional disabilities, including communication, physical, emotional/behavioural, mental health, and autistic spectrum disorders (ASD).”:

http://www.easier.com/view/Travel/Attractions_and_Events/article-256100.html

EMPLOYMENT


Government aims high with diversity targets”:

http://www.guardianpublic.co.uk/diversity-harman-government


Skills for Work Award “St Albans teen conquered his fears thanks to education and training”:

http://www.stalbansreview.co.uk/news/4445491.Oakland_College_teen_an__inspiration__to_all/?ref=rss


Autelligent Laboratories

We believe all people have a contribution to make and deserve an opportunity to be productive.

With your caring and excellent help, we are creating jobs for the 40 million people worldwide who are diagnosed with Autism and Asperger Syndrome. Today less than one in five of us are currently employed. We are motivated and competent and we deserve equal employment. Help make this a reality.

Autelligent Laboratories is dedicated to creating a space where autistic software engineers can more than contribute, we can excel.”:

http://www.autlabs.com/


Luxury Quality Scented Candles “Humbolt Candles – Autism & Disability Employment Company”:

http://www.humboldtcandles.com/index.html


Auties.org”:
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/


Prospects”:

http://www.nas.org.uk/nas/jsp/polopoly.jsp?d=473&a=2348


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

http://www.autismjobs.org/?section=00010009


Current job vacancies within the NAS”:

http://www.nas.org.uk/nas/jsp/polopoly.jsp?d=170


For further employment information, please view”:

http://aspie-editorial.blog-city.com/employment_on_the_autism_spectrum.htm

GENERAL/HUMAN INTEREST


WISK Support Group”:

http://www.blackpoolgazette.co.uk/wyre-news/Love-that-conquers-all.5388431.jp


Autistic child gets cold shoulder”:

http://www.ottawasun.com/life/2009/06/11/9759056-sun.html


Time to recognise all those real women of substance”:

http://www.halifaxcourier.co.uk/diane-crabtree/Time-to-recognise-all-those.5365677.jp


Young inventor’s handle on design”:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/north_west/8105045.stm


Autism/Asperger’s Syndrome and International Exchange: What, Why & How

http://www.miusa.org/ncde/tipsheets/autismtips

Moon over Morocco

MOROCCO

Er Rachidia, Merzouga - Caravan of Time

Association des Parents et Amis d’Enfants Inadaptes
68 Rue du Neuf, Avril
Maarif
Casablanca
MOROCCO
tel: +212 25 81 43/25 57 11
fax: +212 2 25 57 11
e-mail: AUTISME@iam.net.ma

Blue boats above Morocco's Sidi Jonas Beach

Autism and Culture

http://www.newsobserver.com/lifestyles/family_community/story/1165189.html

Chefchouen, Morocco

Morocco – Latest in Moroccan News

http://topnews.in/regions/morocco

Snake Dancing, Morocco

Morocco – Facts, Information & History

http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/places/countries/country_morocco.html

Morocco Colours

Morocco – A Photo A Day

http://www.travelphoto.net/a-photo-a-day/wordpress/category/photos/morocco/

Camels ...Just Waiting...

Surviving the Sahara

http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/0212/feature3/

Morocco Fes Dye Pits

48 Hours in Marrakech

http://traveler.nationalgeographic.com/2008/03/48-hour-guide/marrakech-text

Ait Benhaddou

Among the Berbers

http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2005/01/among-the-berbers/among-the-berbers-text

Large Scorpion(Androctonus amoreuxi), Southern Morocco

Sudden Journeys: Moroccan Weekend

http://www.nationalgeographic.com/traveler/features/suddenjourneys0705/journeys.html#rory

Colours of Fes(Silkweaving)

Morocco Travel Basics

http://www.findingdulcinea.com/guides/Travel/Morocco-Travel.html?xa=1

Hairpin Bends, Morocco

Map of Morocco

ADD/ADHD


Study links ADHD drugs to sudden death in children”:

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/154030.php


FDA issues safety communication about an ongoing review of stimulant medications used in children with ADHD”:

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/153989.php


ADHD genes found; Known to play roles in neurodevelopment”:

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/155087.php


An ADHD student finds confidence on the track”:

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/06/15/finding-confidence-on-the-track/


Time moves too slowly for hyperactive boys”:

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20227115.100-time-moves-too-slowly-for-hyperactive-boys.html?DCMP=OTC-rss&nsref=online-news


BOOK “ADHD – Living without Brakes”

http://www.jkp.com/catalogue/book.php/isbn/9781843108733


ADRES “Adverse Drug Reaction Electronic System(Adverse Drug Reactions Website)”- This website provides patients, doctors, and other medical professionals with a comprehensive examination of adverse drug reactions (ADRs), side effects, and other safety information for both prescription and over-the-counter medications.. Our goal is to allow users of our website make informed decisions when taking (patients) or prescribing (doctors) drugs. We are providing unmatched information and analysis tools.

http://www.adverse-drug-reaction.net/


“adders.org”
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 those affected by the condition, both adults and children, their families in the UK and around the World via this website.

http://www.adders.org/


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

http://www.addiss.co.uk/index.html


ADDA”:

http://www.add.org/index.html


hi2u ADHD Pages”:

http://www..adhd..org.uk/


CHADD”:

http://www.chadd.org/am/CustomPages/home/CHADD_Home.htm?CFID=2282059&CFTOKEN=38105335&jsessionid=f2303343221169802693562

SPORT


Do we know the power of yoga? … One woman has thrown away the wheelchair to which she was confined for two years … Television presenter Gaby Roslin said: “I’ve watched Jo working with autistic children. I’m astounded by what she achieves with kids who can’t normally even make eye contact or sit still.”:

http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/health/article-23711492-details/Do+we+know+the+power+of+Yoga/article.do


Stress and culture affect exercise motivation”:

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/151698.php


Non-profit organization helps special needs youth enjoy sports”:

http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/arizonaliving/articles/2009/06/20/20090620heretohelp0620.html


Six-hour aerobathon boost for children”:

http://www.oldham-chronicle.co.uk/news-features/8/news-headlines/25546/sixhour-aerobathon-boost-for-children


Trip of a lifetime could drive duo up the wall”:

http://www.rochdaleobserver.co.uk/news/s/1120543_trip_of_a_lifetime_could_drive_duo_up_the_wall


Cyclists gear up to race their way across the United States”:

http://news.scotsman.com/world/Cyclists-gear-up-to-race.5365508.jp


Hazards – The fewer the better on the trampoline”:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/16/health/research/16haza.html?ref=health


Join our Racecourse Bike Ride this summer”:

http://www.nas.org.uk/nas/jsp/polopoly.jsp?d=2116&a=18586


Racecourse Bike Ride – 12 July, 2009”:

http://www.nas.org.uk/nas/jsp/polopoly.jsp?d=2116


Trek Hadrian’s Wall – 7-9 August, 2009”:

http://www.nas.org.uk/nas/jsp/polopoly.jsp?d=2088


Trek Jordan 2009 – 10-14 September”:

http://www.nas.org.uk/nas/jsp/polopoly.jsp?d=1833


Cycle India – 27 November – 6 December, 2009”:

http://www.nas.org.uk/nas/jsp/polopoly.jsp?d=1832


“Sky Diving”:

http://www.nas.org.uk/nas/jsp/polopoly.jsp?d=1726

MUSIC


Unlocking the talent of a musical savant”:

http://www.findingdulcinea.com/news/Europe/2009/june/Unlocking-the-Talent-of-a-Musical-Savant.html


Susan Boyle is great for the learning disability cause”:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/joepublic/2009/jun/08/susan-boyle-learning-disability


Deaf Youth Orchestra feels the good vibrations”:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2009/jun/24/deaf-youth-orchestra


The AutisMusic Project”:

http://www.autismusic.com/

ART

Joel Lorand

http://www.outsiderart.co.uk/lorand.htm

GLIMPSE – the talents of the autism community

They are painters, sculptors and photographers; poets and storytellers; musicians and creators of amazing video games. They are kids, teens and adults. Last year, a new online publication arose to celebrate the talents of autistic individuals and other developmental disabilities: GLIMPSE, offered by ICDL (The Interdisciplinary Council of Developmental and Learning Disorders). In late 2008, Volume 2 of GLIMPSE was released, and was expanded into a print book and notecards. The works are serious, humourous, deeply personal and illuminating. See it for yourself, share it with others, submit your own/your child’s work for inclusion in Volume 3, to release later this year. Find information and ordering details at www.icdl.com


ARTROOM ………where under 17s can make and display art online”:

http://www.saatchi-gallery.co.uk/artroom/index.php

MOVIES/ENTERTAINMENT


The launch of Learning Disability and Contemporary Theatre”:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2009/jun/10/learning-disability-actors-theatre


Israel’s first Australian culture celebration to start Saturday”:

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1094269.html


Stars out for film festival’s opening night”:

http://www.theherald.co.uk/news/news/display.var.2514984.0.Stars_out_for_film_festivals_opening_night_gala.php


A CineVegas film festival wrap-up”:

http://www.seattlepi.com/movies/407330_film28711976.html


Adam (Trailer 2:30)”:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=92U6OnVZG3U


Actors for Autism”:
http://www.actorsforautism.com/

BOOKS


The Kaleidoscope Kid”

Author: Elaine Marie Larson

http://www.asperger.net/bookstore_9977.htm


The Speed of Dark”

Author: Elizabeth Moon

http://www.asperger.net/bookstore_S325.htm


VIDEO “Asperger Syndrome: Transition to College and Work”

by Coulter Video

http://www.asperger.net/bookstore_V218.htm


“Job Success for Persons with Developmental Disabilities”

Author: David B. Wiegan

Foreword by Ron Rush

http://www.jkp.com/catalogue/book.php/isbn/9781843109228


“Creative Coping Skills for Children: Emotional Support through Arts and Crafts Activities”

Author: Bonnie Thomas

http://www.jkp.com/catalogue/book.php/isbn/9781843109211


Bringing Up Parents – The Teenager’s Handbook”

Author: Alex J. Packer, Ph.D.

http://www.asperger.net/bookstore_B114.htm


Girls Under the Umbrella of Autism Spectrum Disorders: Practical Solutions for Addressing Everyday Challenges”

Authors: Lori Ernsperger, Ph.D., and Danielle Wendel

http://www.asperger.net/bookstore_9989.htm


Tics and Tourette Syndrome: A Handbook for Parents and Professionals”

Author: Uttom Chowdhury

http://www.jkp.com/catalogue/book.php/isbn/9781843102038

MOVIE

HP and the Half Blood Prince poster

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Coming July 15

http://uk.rottentomatoes.com/m/harry_potter_and_the_half_blood_prince/


Official Site

http://harrypotter.warnerbros.com/harrypotterandthehalf-bloodprince/

VIDEO GAME

Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings

Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings (Wii, Nintendo DS, Playstation Portable, PS2) 16+

Release Date June 9, 2009

The game is the third in the series of original 3D Indiana Jones games, preceded by Indiana Jones and the Emperor’s Tomb, and Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine.

http://www.lucasarts.com/games/indianajones/

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Indiana-Jones-Staff-Kings-Wii/dp/B001U0O3JS/ref=wl_it_dp?ie=UTF8&coliid=I3D88ODHMX6UDH&colid=2M2468ZYIVALY

Lego Battles (Nintendo DS) 7+

Release Date June 9[NA], June 26[PAL], 2009

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Warner-Bros-Interactive-Battles-Nintendo/dp/B001W0Y5Q2/ref=pd_nr_vg_h__25?ie=UTF8&s=videogames


Official Website

http://www.legobattles.com/


Holding pattern for Wii”:

http://uk.videogames.games.yahoo.com/blog/article/4738/

SPACE

Tom Hanks

Tom Hanks and Ron Howard: Space Geeks(Interview)

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20227131.900-tom-hanks-and-ron-howard-space-geeks.html

HEALTH

Virtual Medicine

Virtual Body Parts Take the Guesswork Out of Medicine

Doctors could soon be testing medications or surgery on your virtual twin before you get to undergo the real treatment.

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn17274-virtual-body-parts-take-the-guesswork-out-of-medicine.html

TECH


DIY Gadgetry”:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/8107803.stm

It’s good to be back.

Take Care,

Julie

Sunset, Essaouira, Morocco



First Published Tuesday, 30 June 2009


Berkeley Campus

Program tailored for youths with autistic disorders


Updated: 06/29/2009 11:20:17 AM PDT

Sheryl Meeuwsen’s college career started with such promise — a scholarship to the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.


“It went downhill from there,” she says. “I ended up failing out. Moved in with an aunt and uncle in Colorado Springs. Failed out of Pikes Peak Community College. I had no idea there was anything wrong with me.”


By the time Meeuwsen, then 20, was diagnosed last year with Asperger’s syndrome — which is a particularly high-functioning disorder on the autistic spectrum — she was scraping bottom, unable to figure out why things had gone so wrong.


Meeuwsen was hardly alone.


Just over a decade ago a flood of children with autistic spectrum disorders began entering regular classrooms, mainstreamed under new and significantly more forward-thinking federal regulations. They were given individualized education programs — or IEPs — that played to their strengths, helped them compensate for their weaknesses, and gave them advocates to help steer through challenges.


A number of specialized elementary and secondary schools, including Moraga’s Orion Academy and Lafayette’s Springstone, sprang up as well.


Now, those youths are starting to age out of that protective, well-supported academic environment and head off to college. And many of them are struggling.


All the challenges of freshman year are multiplied 500-fold when you’re also dealing with autistic spectrum disorders, says Janet Miller, director of Berkeley’s two-year-old College Internship Program for young adults with Asperger’s and similar disabilities.


It’s not a question of intelligence. It’s regular life they have difficulty with — getting up in the morning, prioritizing tasks, and taking care of themselves. Autism affects executive functioning, the brain’s ability to process the overwhelming surge of information that streams through our lives every moment. They have trouble interpreting events and social cues, and formulating an appropriate response.


“More and more I saw a problem that repeats itself,” says Miller, who came to Berkeley from Menlo College’s disability services department. “There’s a semester, perhaps a year, where they tried it the traditional way. Socially, they couldn’t do it. You don’t have the advocacy of an IEP team.”


And a heart-rending cycle begins. Conventional college is a disaster, so the teen lands back at home, trying to take classes at a community college, and becoming ever more socially isolated. Instead of moving forward, he goes backward.


That was the fear for Jason Kanar and his family. Kanar had spent two years as a mechanical engineering major at UC Merced, trying to tough it out.


“By fourth semester,” he says, “we realized we had to do something else.”


There was absolutely nothing wrong with Kanar’s intellect. It was everything else that was the problem.


“It’s not so much needing help with subjects, it’s just getting started,” he says. “If I don’t explicitly put out time for certain things, it doesn’t happen.”


Back home in the Danville area, Kanar’s family began researching other options, alternatives that would bridge the gap between the protected, special education environment of high school and the challenges of university life. Frankly, there just aren’t many.


In the waning weeks of last summer, as Kanar tried to hold down a job at a Target store and figure out his life, his parents chanced upon this new program in Berkeley, the latest incarnation in psychologist Michael McManmon’s 25-year-old vision of college internship programs, which started in Massachusetts.


Miller says Berkeley’s combination of academics and city life, its public transit system, and the soaring statistics on autistic spectrum disorder cases on the West Coast made it a natural choice.


In California, some 1,977 youths, ages 14 to 21, with autistic spectrum diagnoses were enrolled in public schools in 2000. By 2008, the number had risen to 11,816.


“The need has been endless,” she says, “but there was nowhere to go.”


Now the program has expanded to include a summer session for high school students with Asperger’s on the UC Berkeley campus, as well as the orientation program for incoming first years that starts in mid-July.


Some of the program’s students are like Kanar, Bay Area born and bred. Others have traveled a considerable distance, physically and emotionally, to arrive here.


“I came here in complete denial,” Meeuwsen confesses.


That denial evaporated when she came across an Asperger’s symptom checklist and found herself uttering a surprised little “Oh!” at every question. Suddenly, there was an explanation for her difficulties and, more important, help.


“Definitely, the fact that there’s been a name for it has been the most helpful,” she says. “I was so isolated in high school. I’ve come so fully out of my shell. I’m an honor student, the president of the student senate here.”


Kanar, Meeuwsen and their classmates spend much of their days together. Students share two-bedroom apartments in downtown Berkeley, cook cooperatively and attend morning classes together.


Each day starts with a reframing exercise, and a series of questions — am I hungry, tired, angry, depressed, anxious? — that serves as a sensory check-in. Students grade themselves in each area and discuss how they might cope by getting more sleep, eating a better breakfast or being more gentle and forgiving with themselves. It’s an exercise, Miller notes, that might stand everyone in good stead, not just these young adults.


About 95 percent of the California students’ tuition is covered by Regional Center funding — the same funding that helped cover their special education costs in high school.


For actual classwork they head off to lecture halls at Berkeley City College, Holy Names, Peralta College and other local campuses.


On weekends, they strike out for other areas — Point Reyes, for example, or the tea garden in Golden Gate Park — with friends. Sundays are “Grill and Chill Nights,” when students fire up the barbecue and hang out.


“They haven’t had much of this sort of thing,” says CIP marketing coordinator Dan McManmon, “this big group of friends.”


And the difference it makes in a young adult’s life can be profound, he says. It’s not just about academic success, or modern survival skills. It’s about learning to thrive independently.


Reach Jackie Burrell at jburrell@bayareanewsgroup.com.


Autistic spectrum
disorders, by the numbers
Number of children in public schools nationwide with diagnosed autistic spectrum disorders, or ASDs:

  • 1994: 22,664
  • 2006: 224,594
    Number of youths 14 to 21 with ASD in California secondary schools:
  • 2000-01: 1,977
  • 2008-09: 11,816

  • College Internship
    Program
    This postsecondary program offers academic, internship and independent living experiences — including housing and classes in downtown Berkeley — for college-age youths with Asperger’s syndrome, high-functioning autism, dyslexia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and other learning differences.
    CIP also offers a summer program for high school students on the UC Berkeley campus.
    For details, call
    877-KNOW-CIP
    (566-9247) or visit
    www.cipberkeley.org
    .