February 2012



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Archive for February 11th, 2012

ScienceDaily (Feb. 8, 2012) — People who are more physically active report greater levels of excitement and enthusiasm than people who are less physically active, according to Penn State researchers. People also are more likely to report feelings of excitement and enthusiasm on days when they are more physically active than usual.

“You don’t have to be the fittest person who is exercising every day to receive the feel-good benefits of exercise,” said David Conroy, professor of kinesiology. “It’s a matter of taking it one day at a time, of trying to get your activity in, and then there’s this feel-good reward afterwards.”

Conroy added that it often is hard for people to commit to an exercise program because they tend to set longterm rather than short-term goals.

“When people set New Year’s resolutions, they set them up to include the entire upcoming year, but that can be really overwhelming,” he said. “Taking it one day at a time and savoring that feel-good effect at the end of the day might be one step to break it down and get those daily rewards for activity. Doing this could help people be a little more encouraged to stay active and keep up the program they started.”

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By Nadia Persun, PhD

Small talk. That smile. You are special. How sweet. Be mine. Love you. I am yours. Only you. Soul mate. True love. Marry me. Live happily ever after.

You got together with your life partner for many reasons: shared perspectives and outlooks, physical attraction, shared spirituality, shared professional lives, etc. But you also enjoyed one another’s company because it’s fun! In the beginning, you did not have much but each other, but it was enough. There were sweet words, long phone talks, walks and candlelit dinners. You had meaningful conversations, shared your dreams and goals, planned your future together.

What is your relationship like today? Does it still include fun times and romance? Or have you resorted to talking about and handling chores and responsibilities related to children, career and other duties of adult life?


When fun leaves a relationship, it can be a sign that the relationship is heading toward the rocks. Fun is a part of life and it’s definitely a part of any healthy relationship. It’s something that brought you together, made you want to stay with each other. It is something that helps you stay together, survive life’s hardships and forgive each other in bitter moments.

When life gets difficult, it puts a heavy weight on your scale of marital balance, dragging it down. Good times together is the weight that you put on the other side of the scale, to give you a much-needed internal lift. It helps you put things in perspective, balance it out and feel good about yourself, your partner, and your life together.

The way you and your significant other define fun is up to you, but it’s important to keep doing it even as your relationship matures. Love to dance but haven’t been in years? It’s time to make a new dance date. Liked watching movies together, but haven’t made time to do it in months (or years)? Pick a night and head to a theater or rent a movie. Have dinner in a restaurant or cook a meal together at home.

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What is Life Like for Singles Who Wanted to Marry?

By Bella DePaulo, Ph.D

I am single at heart. I love my single life. There is not a day in my life when I wished I were married – though there are many days when I wish I had all of the perks and protections of married people, or that I wouldn’t be excluded from events simply because I am single.

Other singles, though, do want to marry, including some who are in their 40s and beyond and have been single the whole time. How do they feel about their lives? That’s the topic of a cover story in this Sunday’s Washington Post Magazine.


You might think that people willing to tell a reporter for a national newspaper that they wanted to be married and they are still single, would tell life stories full of sorrow and loneliness and woe. That’s not at all how they described their lives. I quoted some of them elsewhere, so here I’ll just mention one more person from the article – James, who is 48.

James has dated often throughout his adult life. For a long time, he was “certain his time would come.” Here’s how the story continues:

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Living Alone: 12 Things You Didn’t Know

By Bella DePaulo, Ph.D

Think you know what it means to live alone? Even if you are have your own personal experiences living solo, and know lots of other people who do, too, chances are that you have been misled by the media and other myth-makers about what solo life is really like.

The most significant, intensive, and far-reaching study of solo living is described in Eric Klinenberg’s book, Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone. Due out tomorrow (February 2, 2012), it is a thoughtful and engaging book, and I highly recommend that you read every word. Here, I’ve plucked out just a dozen of the many revelations about solo living that you can find in the book. Enjoy!


  1. 1.  In the United States, there are fewer households comprised of mom, dad, and the kids than of single people living on their own. About 31 million Americans live alone.

  2. 2.  Have you heard the one about how single people need to “settle down”? Well, singles living solo are already settled. Follow them, and people in other households types, over a five year period and you will find that the solo-dwellers are one of the most stable types.

  3. 3.  Do you think that living solo is mostly for the very young adults and the very old (typically women who have outlived their husbands)? Wrong on both counts. The majority of people living on their own are between the ages of 35 and 65.

  4. 4.  The percentage of single-person households in the U.S. is high. But the 28% figure is far outpaced by the 40 to 45% of single-person households in Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Denmark. In Stockholm, almost two-thirds of all households consist of just one person.

  5. 5.  Living alone is not the same as feeling alone or isolated. In fact, “cities with high numbers of singletons enjoy a thriving public culture” (p. 18). If you live solo in a city and want to be with other people, often you can just walk out the door.

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Online Dating Can Be Improved

By Rick Nauert PhD Senior News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on February 7, 2012

The growth of the online dating industry has been nothing short of spectacular. But a new Northwestern University study suggests the current science behind the industry is weak as cyber matchmakers use ineffective algorithms and profiles for finding potential love interests.

Researchers say improvements are on the horizon as mobile dating, the latest iteration in digital dating, holds promise as it brings together potential partners face-to-face fast to see if “sparks” exist.

Although the research on mobile dating is scarce, Eli Finkel, associate professor of psychology at Northwestern and lead author of the study, is optimistic about this approach.

“GPS features on smartphone apps can tell you who is nearby and willing to be browsed,” Finkel said. “With a little bit of basic information, potential daters can get together right away for a quick face-to-face meet-up.”

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Young Love Really Can Hurt: Parents Can Use Valentine’s Month to Teach Safe Dating for Teens

ScienceDaily (Feb. 7, 2012) — Teen dating: it’s a subject that causes many parents to shudder and shy away. But romance is a fact of life for young people, and parents can use Valentine’s Day to start important conversations with their teens or pre-teens that can make dating and relationships safer for them — not just now but throughout their lives.

The experts at Youth Villages say there’s a dark side to puppy love.


*Approximately one in three adolescent girls in the United States is a victim of physical, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner.


* One in four teen girls in a relationship says she has been threatened with violence or experienced verbal abuse, and 13 percent of teens say they were physically hurt on purpose by a boyfriend or girlfriend.


* Forty-five percent of girls know a friend or peer who has been pressured into having intercourse or oral sex.

These statistics were compiled by the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta.

The Internet, social media and cell phones have opened up new avenues for improper, even illegal behavior, among teenagers. Teens can be harassed or ridiculed through texts or Facebook posts. And one in five teen girls has electronically sent or posted nude or nearly nude photos or videos.

What’s a parent to do? Kristin Landers, a clinical program manager for Youth Villages, a private nonprofit with the mission to help children with emotional, behavioral and mental health issues and their families, said to help teens date safely, lines of communication have to be open, and parents must pay attention. Here are some tips:

Read More …


9 Tips For Building a Loving Relationship

By YourTango Experts

This guest article from YourTango was written by Dr. Lynda Klau. 

How many of us have learned how to build loving relationships? Where did we learn? At home? At school? There is an art and science to building strong relationships. These indispensable tips were written with romantic relationships in mind, but with a little modification you can apply them to your friendships, family and even work relationships.

1. Create a safe environment where you can trust and share openly without being afraid.

Don’t interrupt, even if you need to put your hand over your mouth to stop yourself. Learn to fight fairly. No name calling. Don’t make threats. Apologize when you know you should. If you’re too angry to really listen, stop! Go into another room, take space for yourself, breathe and “calm down.”

Remember: your partner is not the enemy.


2. Separate the facts from the feelings.

What beliefs and feelings get triggered in you during conflicts? Ask yourself: Is there something from my past that is influencing how I’m seeing the situation now? The critical question you want to ask: Is this about him or her, or is it really about me? What’s the real truth? Once you’re able to differentiate facts from feelings, you’ll see your partner more clearly and be able to resolve conflicts from clarity.

3. Connect with the different parts of yourself.

Each of us is not a solo instrument. We’re more like a choir or an orchestra with several voices. What is your mind saying? What is your heart saying? What is your body saying? What is your ‘gut’ saying? For example: My mind is saying ‘definitely leave her,’ but my heart says ‘I really love her.’ Let these different voices or parts of you co-exist and speak to one another. In this way, you will find an answer that comes from your whole self.

4. Develop and cultivate compassion.

Practice observing yourself and your partner without judging. Part of you might judge, but you don’t have to identify with it. Judging closes a door. The opposite of judging is compassion. When you are compassionate, you are open, connected, and more available to dialoging respectfully with your partner. As you increasingly learn to see your partner compassionately, you will have more power to choose your response rather than just reacting.

5. Create a “we” that can house two “I’s”.

The foundation for a thriving, growing, mutually-supportive relationship is to be separate and connected. In co-dependent relationships, each person sacrifices part of him or her self, compromising the relationship as a whole. When you are separate and connected, each individual “I” contributes to the creation of a “we” that is stronger than the sum of its parts.

The differences between you and your partner are not negatives. You don’t need to be with someone who shares all of your interests and views. We may sometimes fear that these differences are incompatibilities, but in fact, they’re often what keeps a relationship exciting and full of good fire.

6. Partner, heal thyself.

Don’t expect your partner to fill your emotional holes, and don’t try to fill theirs. Ultimately, each of us can only heal ourselves. Your partner, however, can be supportive as you work with yourself, and vice versa. In fact, living in a loving relationship is healing in and of itself.

Read in Full:


The Seven Year Itch: Theories of Marriage, Divorce, and Love

Why many couples fall in love, get married, and then get divorced


Friday, February 03 2012 by Catherine Brand

UNC Chapel Hill this afternoon will officially mark the opening of its new Comprehensive Angelman Syndrome Clinic at the Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities. Anne Wheeler is a psychologist at CIDD; she’s also co-coordinator for the new clinic. She says Angelman Syndrome is a rare congenital disorder that occurs in about 1 in 15-thousand births.

Anne Wheeler: And it’s associated with a whole host of lifelong challenges and disorders, autistic-like behaviors, significant intellectual and behavioral disabilities… language disorders, lack of speech for a lot of them, frequent seizures, motor imbalance probs, so it’s pretty significant.

Wheeler says treatment of the disorder is integrative and complex. The clinic will bring together specialists from fields including neurology, speech therapy, genetics, and physical therapy. Wheeler says the clinic is the first of its kind in the country to provide all of these resources under one roof.

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Broadmoor Hospital is one of the highest security psychiatric hospitals in the UK and it has made a series of videos that describe what goes on behind their very high walls.

Broadmoor is possibly one of the most famous or infamous hospitals in Britain – largely due to being featured in outraged media stories about ‘sick killers’.

Case in point – a typical article from the pun-obsessed UK tabloid The Sun: “Resident Wii-vil: Serial killers including the Yorkshire Ripper are enjoying £5,000 of Nintendo Wii gaming at taxpayers’ expense”).

What most of the papers miss (or ignore) is that Broadmoor is not a prison but a hospital that treats patients with severe mental disorders who became dangerous when ill.

This means it often receives patients from court cases where people with mental illness are tried for murder or violence. The verdict may be the equivalent of ‘not guilty by reason of insanity’ with the patient remitted to hospital, or ‘guilty’ (meaning that the person was mentally competent when they committed the crime) with high security hospital treatment still required because mental illness increases the chance of violence.


Link to a video tour of Broadmoor Hospital (via @DrPetra).

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Join thousands of others in February and organise your own red themed event or join in on National Wear Red Day – February 24.

Our fundraising kit is full of ideas and information on how to be a part of Red for Heart.


These Four Things Happen Right Before a Heart Attack

By Katrina Turner

Every year, approximately 785,000 Americans suffer a first heart attack. And 470,000 who’ve already had one or more heart attacks have another one. The scary thing is that 25 percent of ALL heart attacks happen “silently,” without clear or obvious symptoms.

Even when symptoms occur, they can be so mild or vague, most people don’t even realize it’s heart-related (unless they are made aware). Four things in particular are the most sinister signs of a silent heart attack.

These four things are the focus of a recent video presentation by renowned cardiovascular expert Dr. Chauncey

Crandall: Silent Heart Attacks: A Special Newsmax Heart Health Report. According to Dr. Crandall, the reason silent heart attacks go untreated is because people don’t even notice the symptoms, so he created a special video presentation to show the four things to look for that may be a silent warning — before it’s too late to intervene and survive the damage.


Dr. Chauncey Crandall Discovers the Silent Heart Attack Symptoms

Timing is the most critical factor for survival. Statistics show a clear link between delay in treatment and disability or death — the amount of time that elapses between the first sign of symptoms and receiving care.

That’s why knowing what to look for in terms of symptoms is critical, especially when they’re the kind that most people don’t think to associate with a heart attack — like the four things in Dr. Crandall’s video,Silent Heart Attacks: A Special Newsmax Heart Health Report.

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By Laurilee McMichael

6:00 AM Wednesday Feb 8, 2012

A tropical family holiday with an autistic child can be successful if you plan ahead, writes Laurilee McMichael.

The minute the cat went into the box, the cat was out of the bag.

“Why is Skittles in the box?” asked 9-year-old Hamish, eyeing the box suspiciously.

“She’s going to the cattery,” I answered, hastily stowing the box and its yowling contents in the car.

“Why’s she going to the cattery?” he asked, even more suspiciously.

“Because …” I answered, taking a deep breath and steeling myself.

“Because … tomorrow we’re going to Fiji.”

“Arrrrrgh! I don’t want to go to Fiji! Arrrrgh!”

And this, with variations, and even a few tears, was what I got for the rest of the day. Reasoning was futile.

“I hate Fiji. Fiji’s stupid. Arrrgh …” And so on, for hours on end.

Hamish, who has Asperger’s syndrome and severe ADHD, hates the idea of change and new things. Even thinking about going somewhere different makes him anxious. So much so that my husband Jarrod and I kept the Fiji trip quiet for two months to avoid him becoming stressed about it.

We also crossed our fingers and hoped that once there, he’d love it.

With Hamish in mind, we’d carefully planned ahead, because one of the really fun things about Asperger’s and autism is that anything unexpected or negative can trigger a screaming meltdown of mammoth proportions, usually guaranteed to attract a crowd of tut-tutting onlookers.

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By Kara Marziali

Edward Joseph Mercure is an amazing kid. Known to most by his nickname “EJ,” this Cranston student is far from ordinary. He is 13 years old, on the autistic spectrum, and is taking a college-level chemistry course.

Several years ago, EJ was diagnosed with ADHD and Asperger’s Syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder that is characterized by impaired social interactions and is commonly called high functioning autism. Since that diagnosis, EJ has had to overcome a lot of obstacles.

“As long as I can remember I have been known as the smart, quirky kid at school,” EJ explains, “and I got teased a lot.”

The teasing was especially brutal once EJ entered middle school. By the spring of 7th grade at Western Hills, EJ began to melt down. Visits to his guidance counselor, Michael Watson, were a common occurrence. During one such visit, EJ mentioned that he wanted to take a chemistry class. When Watson offered to find some information on a summer science camp, EJ was insistent that it be a college-level course and asked for a letter of recommendation.

“He needed a confidence booster,” said Watson. Hoping for the best, Watson wrote the letter stating that EJ “possesses strong mathematical skills and has a passion for science.”

In the meantime, EJ was looking into a basic chemistry class at Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI), and he was making strides toward that goal. Due to his young age and social deficits, EJ had to truly prove himself a worthy candidate for such an opportunity. Prior to enrollment, EJ met separately with the Acting Director of Enrollment Services, Terrie Kless, and an Admissions Officer John Araujo. Both explained to him that ultimately he needed the permission of the Chemistry Department Chair, Dr. Elizabeth A. Arendt. So, EJ wrote a heartfelt letter to Dr. Arendt requesting permission to take Basic Skills Chemistry.

Dr. Arendt informed him that his was “a unique request and one that will require a bit of thought.” After reading the supporting documents that EJ provided, Dr. Arendt also said that before any decision was made, EJ would have to take the Chemistry Placement Exam (CPE). This exam is designed to let CCRI know if a student is academically prepared to take classes and would be just one factor in determining his eligibility.

On Friday, June 24 (two days after completing 7th grade), EJ confidently went to the CCRI testing center and took the CPE. The following week, EJ learned that he had done exceptionally well. Dr. Arendt was impressed with EJ’s scores, and she wanted to set up an interview with him. She and EJ talked for over an hour discussing his potential, the possible (if not inevitable) challenges, and the expectations of college-level courses.

Surprisingly, EJ handled himself with great aplomb. When asked what the biggest challenge might be, EJ admitted to his disorganization. Disorganization in classes is an indicator that a student will not do well, especially college-level classes in which a student is expected to work with little prompting from the professor. Considering EJ’s other disabilities, he certainly had his work cut out for him. But he was tenacious, explaining to Dr. Arendt, “My future career goals are ambitious. I intend to go to Yale University and pursue a science degree—either chemistry or psychology. I’ll work my hardest, study and apply myself.”

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by Samantha J. Herrick

February 8, 2012

Autism. In recent years, the word has attracted considerable attention, often relating to children with autism. What about adolescents and adults who have been diagnosed with a condition on the autism spectrum, which includes Autistic Disorder, Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified, and Asperger’s Disorder? Can they be productive, successful employees?

Yes, and in fact they are often valuable and loyal employees if their strengths are recognized and they are given the opportunity to demonstrate their skills. Very often, people with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) are honest, dedicated, and detail oriented. They may have a unique sense of humor, thrive on routine, are able to persevere on challenges, possess a creative perspective, and are often experts in their area of interest. On the right job, with the right support, people on the spectrum have the potential to be successful at work.

When they experience difficulty in the workplace, it is most often because a person on the autism spectrum is vulnerable to difficulties with social interactions, transitions, abstract thinking, planning, organization, time management, and working in teams. Some may struggle with being flexible, and have a need for structure, repetition, clear and concrete guidelines, and an understanding supervisor.

In some cases, these challenges can be addressed by workplace accommodations. In other cases, though, the person with ASD needs help to develop a set of skills that will facilitate a more successful venture into employment. Out of recognition of their needs, as well as an increase in the number of people diagnosed with autism over the past 10 years, programs and services specifically designed to meet the employment needs of people on the spectrum are beginning to emerge.

People with ASDs have a wide range of skills and deficits. Programs, therefore, tailor their services to the needs of the individuals whom they assist to target skill deficits and maximize their ability to obtain and retain gainful employment and do so with the greatest level of independence possible. These services often include skill instruction in social interactions, self-advocacy, job search, applications, and interviewing. They may also offer job observation and on-the-job trials.

Although no definitive scientific evidence has been established to guide the development of these programs, some promising practices have been identified. If done well, these programs should foster self-awareness and self-esteem, teach new skills while reinforcing those previously learned, make social rules clear and concrete, teach simple scripts for common social interactions, reinforce social response attempts, and model skills learned.

For some participants, a greater emphasis may be placed on a higher level of direct supports and deliberate advocacy with employers. These might include the use of supported employment, where the person with ASD receives one-to-one support, on-the-job training from a representative of the program to learn their responsibilities as well as work place rules and expectations. These job coaches, as they are known, may also orchestrate relationships with supervisors and fellow workers to ensure that support is maintained if and when job coaching supports can be gradually faded to the point where the employee with ASD is independent at work just like anyone else.

JVS of MetroWest’s Career Center for individuals diagnosed with ASD offers a broad range of services specifically designed to meet the unique needs of people with autism who want to enter the workforce. Since March 2011, the Center has been serving adults on the autism spectrum, individually and in small group settings. The Center offers multiple sessions of weekly social skills, work readiness, and job search groups. Participants, as appropriate, rotate through simulated work stations which include business office, retail store, document imaging station, medical office, shipping and receiving department, and working in the cafe. Participants also visit employment sites to learn about the types of work available as well as to try out some of the job tasks.

Employer outreach, education, and involvement are integral to the Center’s activities; human resources specialists from local employers volunteer to conduct practice interviews with participants. Despite the communication and social skills challenges faced by many participants, JVS’ Career Center is demonstrating that when provided with the appropriate services, many individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders are able to perform work activities that lead to personal satisfaction, independence, and community integration.

For more information about JVS’ Career Center, contact Lauren A. Klein at 973-674-6330, ext 237, or Lklein@jvsnj.org.

Samantha J. Herrick, PhD, CRC, NCC, is assistant professor for the Department of Psychiatric Rehabilitation and Counseling Professions at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.




The Architect

MetroWest ABLE

MetroWest ABLE (Access, Belonging, and Life Enrichment for People and Families with Special Needs) is the community’s network of agencies and community leaders that serve and advocate for individuals with special needs and their families. MetroWest ABLE makes connections within our Jewish community to raise awareness and support meaningful inclusion of people with special needs and their families in every aspect of Jewish life in MetroWest. MetroWest ABLE is funded by the UJA Campaign, the Linda Bunis Haller Foundation, and The Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey. For more information, contact Rebecca Wanatick, community coordinator at 973-929-3129 or rwanatick@ujcnj.org or visit www.metrowestABLE.org.