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December 2010



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Archive for December 18th, 2010

First Published Friday, 22nd August, 2008.

The Soul Remains

Autism/AS and Depression – Self Help Interventions(Abstract+)

With the approval and publication just this week of “Self-help interventions for depressive disorders and depressive symptoms”, it would seem that now’s as good a time as any to shine the spotlight on a subject that plagues many on the spectrum.

The high incidence of depression or affective disorder in the Asperger population is widely recognized and acknowledged. Lorna Wing paid reference in her original paper(1981) to the fact, and many with clinical experience will confirm there is high risk with up to 15% of adults having experienced depression(Tantum 1991) as well as the genuine risk of suicide(Wolff 1995).

In early childhood there tends to be less concern about differences to other children and differences may well go completely unnoticed by others for a time depending on various factors. Social contact tends to have limited value or interest to the young on the spectrum. However, it’s during adolescence when difficulties tend to emerge for many on the socialisation front. Exclusion, teasing and ridicule are common. Though depression may be an understandable reaction to an inability to ‘fit in’, in some cases there may well be a biological predisposition. Research suggests that there is a marginally greater incidence of depression or manic depression(bi-polar effective disorder) in families where autism/AS is present(DeLong and Dwyer 1988).

In most cases of depression the classic signs are evident with clear changes in mood, appetite, sleep, and suicidal thoughts and actions. However, all may not be straightforward, where there is a history of flat effect and limited range of emotional expression. Depression may well be expressed via aggression or alcoholism. Introspection and self-critical behaviour in relation to daily events and the seeking of relaxation and emotional blunting via alcohol as a form of self-medication may occur.

Seeking a referral to a professional knowledgeable in autism/AS and obtaining treatment as necessary may well, for some, be life saving.

Programs that deal with the source of the depression, usually poor social skills, lack of friends and limited success at school or work may assist. Guidance in learning social skills, access to meeting people with similar interests and values as well as valuable connections made via the internet, may help prevent the recurrence of depression.

Some on the spectrum are self-professed veterans of self-management in times of depression with exercise, art, music, film, written expression, chocolate therapy etc as part of the regimen for emerging from those darker days. The following extract provides us with some such ‘interventions’ and more food for thought…

Depression...the tears...

Self-help interventions for depressive disorders and depressive symptoms: A systematic review

Morgan AJ, Jorm AF.

Background: Research suggests that depressive disorders exist on a continuum, with subthreshold symptoms causing considerable population burden and increasing individual risk of developing major depressive disorder. An alternative strategy to professional treatment of subthreshold depression is population promotion of effective self-help interventions that can be easily applied by an individual without professional guidance. The evidence for self-help interventions for depressive symptoms is reviewed in the present work, with the aim of identifying promising interventions that could inform future health promotion campaigns or stimulate further research.

Methods: A literature search for randomised controlled trials investigating self-help interventions for depressive disorders or depressive symptoms was performed using PubMed, PsycINFO and the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. Reference lists and citations of included studies were also checked. Studies were grouped into those involving participants with depressive disorders or a high level of depressive symptoms, or non-clinically depressed participants not selected for depression. A number of exclusion criteria were applied, including trials with small sample sizes and where the intervention was adjunctive to antidepressants or psychotherapy.

Results: The majority of interventions searched had no relevant evidence to review. Of the 38 interventions reviewed, the ones with the best evidence of efficacy in depressive disorders were S-adenosylmethionine, St John’s wort, bibliotherapy, computerised interventions, distraction, relaxation training, exercise, pleasant activities, sleep deprivation, and light therapy. A number of other interventions showed promise but had received less research attention. Research in non-clinical samples indicated immediate beneficial effects on depressed mood for distraction, exercise, humour, music, negative air ionisation, and singing; while potential for helpful longer-term effects was found for autogenic training, light therapy, omega 3 fatty acids, pets, and prayer. Many of the trials were poor quality and may not generalise to self-help without professional guidance.

Conclusions: A number of self-help interventions have promising evidence for reducing subthreshold depressive symptoms. Other forms of evidence such as expert consensus may be more appropriate for interventions that are not feasible to evaluate in randomised controlled trials. There needs to be evaluation of whether promotion to the public of effective self-help strategies for subthreshold depressive symptoms could delay or prevent onset of depressive illness, reduce functional impairment, and prevent progression to other undesirable outcomes such as harmful use of substances.


Full text… (PDF)

© 1999-2008 BioMed Central Ltd

Some Over-The-Counter (OTC) supplements may interact with prescription medications or be affected by them. Check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking any herbal or OTC supplement while on medication.

Most governments do not require dietary supplement makers to demonstrate the safety or effectiveness of their products. Ask your healthcare provider for advice on selecting a brand.


Link to Metanoia suicide support

Johns Hopkins Health Alert

Antidepressants and Personality Changes

If you take antidepressant medication, you may wonder: Will medication change my personality or who I am? In this Health Alert, Dr. Karen L. Swartz, Director of the Mood Disorders Clinic at Johns Hopkins, answers this important question that’s on the minds of many patients.

Dr. Swartz answers: Antidepressant and antianxiety medications don’t alter your personality, but they may change your interactions with others. For example, depending on your initial symptoms, they may make you feel less anxious, sad, moody, irritable, or lethargic. That can help you get along with others better and be more productive and engaged in life.

The medications don’t artificially make you go from sad to happy; rather, they correct the chemical imbalance that, in turn, has thrown your emotional reactions out of balance. You should still be able to experience mood changes.

Sometimes, individuals taking antidepressant medication experience a sense of numbness, apathy, or dulling of moods. This side effect is not a goal of the medication. It may mean that your depression has been partially treated and the dull mood will lift with time, or that you need to adjust your dosage.

It could also mean that this particular medication is not the right one for you, and switching to another medication might produce better results. You also may not have received the correct diagnosis: For instance, you may have been diagnosed with depression when you are actually suffering from bipolar disorder, which requires a different approach to treatment. That’s why it’s imperative to be aware of your moods. If you feel like you’re just not yourself when you’re taking a medication, be sure to discuss it with your doctor.

Suicide Warning Signs

Medical Author: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

Suicide is a major public health problem, with more than 32,000 persons dying by suicide each year in the United States, or about 80 suicides per day. In addition to completed suicides, another 1,500 unsuccessful suicide attempts occur each day. In the 18- to 65-year age group, suicide is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States.

Suicide occurs in persons of all ages and backgrounds, but certain groups of people are at increased risk for suicide attempts. These include persons with a psychiatric illness and a past history of attempted suicide. Males are more likely than females to commit suicide, although attempts are more common among females. A family history of, or exposure to, suicide; altered levels of neurotransmitters in the brain; and impulsivity are other factors that may increase an individual’s risk of suicide.

While suicide is not universally preventable, it is possible to recognize some warning signs and symptoms that may enable you or your loved ones to access treatment before a suicide attempt. It has been estimated that up to 75% of suicide victims display some warning signs or symptoms.

Warning signs of suicide are varied. They may include:

  • Talk of, or preoccupation with, suicide or death; threatening suicide; writing about death or suicide
  • Signs of serious depression, including desperation; feelings of hopelessness; feeling no sense of purpose; loss of interest in things one used to care about; trouble sleeping
  • Withdrawal from family and friends
  • Reckless behavior, increased risk-taking, irritability
  • Making statements about life not being worth living, hating life, that the “world would be better off without me,” and similar feelings
  • Increased alcohol or drug use
  • Feelings of rage or uncontrolled anger
  • Seeking access to firearms, pills, or other methods to commit suicide
  • Changing wills, preoccupation with putting one’s affairs in order
  • Dramatic changes in personality

If you suspect suicidal thoughts in yourself or anyone, seek professional help immediately. Go to a clinic, emergency room, or psychiatric facility. Do not leave an individual alone who has expressed thoughts of suicide. In the United States, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK.

Suicidal Thoughts and Behaviors - 1st Aid Guidelines
Suicide Prevention Help / The friendship Letter / Global Web Directory

Johns Hopkins Health Alert

Managing Your Weight on Antidepressants

While recovery from mood disorders such as anxiety and depression can be lifesaving, weight gain often can be an unwanted side effect of treatment for many people. In this Health Alert, Johns Hopkins provides nine practical strategies to head off unwanted weight gain.

Psychiatric medications including antidepressants, mood stabilizers, and antipsychotics may increase weight by stimulating the appetite or slowing the body’s metabolism, and that gain can range from minimal (a few pounds) to significant (up to 50 pounds).

Such rapid weight gain may increase the risk of many health conditions associated with being overweight, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, and some types of cancer. Despite the fact that many psychiatric medications have weight gain as a side effect, that does not mean it’s a fait accompli. Be aware of the potential for weight gain and follow these strategies to head off extra pounds:

  • Weight Loss Strategy 1: Weigh yourself weekly and keep a diary of your weight so you can notice small increases quickly and take steps to counter further gains. Also keep a food diary for an accurate gauge of how much you’re really eating on a daily basis.
  • Weight Loss Strategy 2: Avoid or limit high-calorie, high-fat foods.
  • Weight Loss Strategy 3: Eat smaller portions — and smaller meals and snacks overall.
  • Weight Loss Strategy 4: Don’t keep large quantities of junk foods in your home. If you need to snack, choose healthy foods such as fresh fruit or vegetables or unbuttered popcorn.
  • Weight Loss Strategy 5: Eat slowly. Many people eat too quickly — the brain needs about 20 minutes to recognize that the stomach is full , so if you eat too fast, you’ll be apt to consume more calories than you need to satisfy your hunger.
  • Weight Loss Strategy 6: Don’t skip meals. Going for long periods of time without food only serves to make you hungrier in the long term and more likely to overeat once you do eat.
  • Weight Loss Strategy 7: Exercise every day to counteract any extra calories you’re consuming and give a boost to your metabolism. Try resistance training and aerobic exercise. To build muscle, lift weights or use resistance machines three times a week.
  • Weight Loss Strategy 8: Drink frequently. Hunger is one of the symptoms of dehydration, so quench your thirst with calorie-free beverages such as water, seltzer, diet soda, and decaffeinated coffee and tea.
  • Weight Loss Strategy 9: If all else fails, talk to your healthcare provider about switching to a medication that is less likely to cause weight gain or adding another one that might help avoid weight gain. Don’t stop taking your medication without discussing it with your doctor, as your depression or anxiety may return or you may experience withdrawal side effects.
  • Source:

Depression Increases Sensitivity to Pain

The brains of individuals with major depressive disorder appear to react more strongly when anticipating pain and also display altered functioning of the neural network that modifies pain sensitivity, according to a report in the November issue of Archives of General Psychiatry.

Chronic pain and depression are common and often overlapping syndromes,” the authors write as background information in the article. Recurring or chronic pain occurs in more than 75 percent of patients with depression, and between 30 percent and 60 percent of patients with chronic pain report symptoms of depression “Understanding the neurobiological basis of this relationship is important because the presence of comorbid pain contributes significantly to poorer outcomes and increased cost of treatment in major depressive disorder.

Irina A. Strigo, PhD, of the University of California San Diego, La Jolla, and colleagues studied 15 young adults with major depressive disorder (average age 24.5) who were not taking medication and 15 individuals who were the same age (average 24.3 years) and had the same education level but did not have depression. Patients with depression completed a questionnaire that evaluated their tendencies to magnify, ruminate over or feel helpless in the face of pain.

All participants underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) while their arms were exposed to a thermal device heated to painful levels (an average of 46.4 degrees to 46.9 degrees Celsius, or about 115 degrees to 116 degrees Fahrenheit) and also to non-painful temperatures. Visual cues (a green shape for non-painful warmth and a red shape for painful warmth) were presented before the heat was applied.

Compared with the controls, patients with depression showed increased activation in certain areas of their brain – including the right amygdala – during the anticipation of painful stimuli. They also displayed increased activation in the right amygdala and decreased activation in other areas, including those responsible for pain modulation (adjusting sensitivity to pain), during the painful experience.

To examine whether the activation of the amygdala was associated with passive coping styles, the researchers compared the percentage change in the activations of the amygdala with the helplessness, rumination and ramification reported by the participants with depression. “Significant positive correlations were observed in the major depressive disorder group between greater helplessness scores and greater activity in the right amygdala during the anticipation of pain,” the authors write.

The anticipatory brain response may indicate hypervigilance to impending threat, which may lead to increased helplessness and maladaptative modulation during the experience of heat pain,” the authors write. “This mechanism could in part explain the high comorbidity of pain and depression when these conditions become chronic.

Future studies that directly examine whether maladaptive response to pain in major depressive disorder is due to emotional allodynia [a pain response to a non-painful stimulus], maladaptive control responses, lack of resilience and/or ineffectual recruitment of positive energy resources will further our understanding of pain-depression comorbidity,” they conclude.

The study was supported by Barrow Neurological Foundation, grants from the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Association for Research in Schizophrenia and Depression and the University of California San Diego Center of Excellence for Stress and Mental Health.

Strigo IA, Simmons AN, Matthews SC, et al. Association of Major Depressive Disorder With Altered Functional Brain Response During Anticipation and Processing of Heat Pain. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2008;65(11):1275-1284.   [Abstract]

Just Like A Pill
Ann Intern Med. 2008 Nov 18; 149 (10)734-750

Comparative Benefits and Harms of Second-Generation Antidepressants: Background Paper for the American College of Physicians

Gartlehner G, Gaynes BN, Hansen RA, Thieda P, DeVeaugh-Geiss A, Krebs EE, Moore CG, Morgan L, Lohr KN.

Background: Second-generation antidepressants dominate the management of major depressive disorder, dysthymia, and subsyndromal depression. Evidence on the comparative benefits and harms is still accruing.

Purpose: To compare the benefits and harms of second-generation antidepressants (bupropion, citalopram, duloxetine, escitalopram, fluoxetine, fluvoxamine, mirtazapine, nefazodone, paroxetine, sertraline, trazodone, and venlafaxine) for the treatment of depressive disorders in adults.

Data Sources: MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsychLit, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, and International Pharmaceutical Abstracts from 1980 to April 2007, limited to English-language articles. Reference lists of pertinent review articles were manually searched and the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research database was explored to identify unpublished research.

Study Selection: Abstracts and full-text articles were independently reviewed by 2 persons. Six previous good- or fair-quality systematic reviews or meta-analyses were included, as were 155 good- or fair-quality double-blind, placebo-controlled, or head-to-head randomized, controlled trials of at least 6 weeks’ duration. For harms, 35 observational studies with at least 100 participants and follow-up of at least 12 weeks were also included.

Data Extraction: Using a standard protocol, investigators abstracted data on study design and quality-related details, funding, settings, patients, and outcomes.

Data Synthesis: If data were sufficient, meta-analyses of head-to-head trials were conducted to determine the relative benefit of response to treatment and the weighted mean differences on specific depression rating scales. If sufficient evidence was not available, adjusted indirect comparisons were conducted by using meta-regressions and network meta-analyses. Second-generation antidepressants did not substantially differ in efficacy or effectiveness for the treatment of major depressive disorder on the basis of 203 studies; however, the incidence of specific adverse events and the onset of action differed. The evidence is insufficient to draw conclusions about the comparative efficacy, effectiveness, or harms of these agents for the treatment of dysthymia and subsyndromal depression.

Limitation: Adjusted indirect comparisons have methodological limitations and cannot conclusively rule out differences in efficacy.

Conclusion: Current evidence does not warrant the choice of one second-generation antidepressant over another on the basis of differences in efficacy and effectiveness. Other differences with respect to onset of action and adverse events may be relevant for the choice of a medication.

Source + Full text… © 2008 American College of Physicians


No antidepressant is intrinsically more effective than another, however, one may be for an individual. The hard part is finding it. While we’ve covered a number of promising technologies that may make this easier in the future, at the moment ‘trial and error’ is the only option.
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First Published Thursday, 21st August, 2008.

NAS Logo

Applications are sought from all suitably qualified sections of the community but particularly welcome from those with a diagnosis of autism or Asperger syndrome.

Job: Major Gifts Officer, The National Autistic Society

  • Employer: The National Autistic Society
  • Posted: 18 Aug 2008
  • Contact: Jessica Dallyn
  • Location: London
  • Sector: Public Services,
    • Social care & welfare
  • Contract: Permanent
  • Hours: Full Time
  • Position: Major Gifts Officer
  • Salary: £20,471 – £22,391 pa
The National Autistic Society is the UK’s leading charity for people affected by autism. We provide a wide range of advice, information, support and specialist services to 100,000 people each year, and campaign and lobby for lasting positive change for the half a million people in the UK with autism.Major Gifts Officer
£20,471 – £22,391 pa • London

We are offering the chance to join the dynamic Fundraising Department of the

National Autistic Society. You will manage the prospect research process and support the Major Gift Relationship Manager in the cultivation and stewardship of High Net Worth Individuals in order to maximise their giving potential.

You will have working knowledge and understanding of fundraising principles and would like to develop your fundraising skills and experience within the Major Gifts arena.

As a member of this relatively new team, and for the right individual, there will be considerable scope for growth and development.

For more information about this job please contact Jessica Dallyn on 020 7923 5795.

To apply for this role, applicants must send a CV and a supporting statement, no longer than one page, outlining skills and knowledge which are relevant to the role of a Major Gift Officer and why you would like to work for the National Autistic Society.

Please send CVs and supporting statements to recruitment@nas.org.uk

Closing date: 5 September 2008.

Interviews: 15 and 16 September 2008.

Applications are sought from all suitably qualified sections of the community but particularly welcome from those with a diagnosis of autism or Asperger syndrome.

Committed to Equal Opportunities & Investors in People.

Registered Charity No. 269425.

Apply button

First Published Thursday, 21st August, 2008.

fruit cocktail

The following news may be timely for some and ‘old news’ for others(it’s taught in med schools, year in, year out).  and is causing heated discussion here and there…

“It`s been known for almost 20 years that grapefruit juice permits the absorption of other drugs but interferes with their metabolism and excretion, which can cause the buildup of toxic levels in the blood of the patient.”

Fruit juices to avoid when taking certain drugs

Scientists and consumers have known for years that grapefruit juice can increase the absorption of certain drugs – with the potential for turning normal doses into toxic overdoses. Now, the researcher who first identified this interaction is reporting new evidence that grapefruit and other common fruit juices, including orange and apple, can do the opposite effect by substantially decreasing the absorption of other drugs, potentially wiping out their beneficial effects.

The study provides a new reason to avoid drinking grapefruit juice and these other juices when taking certain drugs, including some that are prescribed for fighting life-threatening conditions such as heart disease, cancer, organ-transplant rejection, and infection, the researcher says. These findings – representing the first controlled human studies of this type of drug-lowering interaction – were described today at the 236th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society.

Recently, we discovered that grapefruit and these other fruit juices substantially decrease the oral absorption of certain drugs undergoing intestinal uptake transport,” says study leader David G. Bailey, PhD, a professor of clinical pharmacology with the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario. “The concern is loss of benefit of medications essential for the treatment of serious medical conditions.

Bailey and colleagues announced almost 20 years ago the unexpected finding that grapefruit juice can dramatically boost the body’s levels of the high-blood-pressure drug felodipine, causing potentially dangerous effects from excessive drug concentrations in the blood. Since then, other researchers have identified nearly 50 medications that carry the risk of grapefruit-induced drug-overdose interactions. As a result of the so-called “Grapefruit Juice Effect,” some prescription drugs now carry warning labels against taking grapefruit juice or fresh grapefruit during drug consumption.

In the most recent research, Bailey’s group had healthy volunteers take fexofenadine, an antihistamine used to fight allergies. The volunteers consumed the drug with either a single glass of grapefruit juice, water containing only naringin (substance in grapefruit juice that gives the juice its bitter taste), or water. When fexofenadine was taken with grapefruit juice, only half of the drug was absorbed compared to taking the drug with water alone, Bailey says. Loosing half of the amount of drugs taken into the body can be critical for the performance certain drugs, he points out.

They also showed that the active ingredient of grapefruit juice, naringin, appears to block a key drug uptake transporter, called OATP1A2, involved in shuttling drugs from the small intestine to the bloodstream. Blocking this transporter reduces drug absorption and neutralizes their potential benefits, the researchers say. By contrast, drugs whose levels are boosted in the presence of grapefruit juice appear to block an important drug metabolizing enzyme, called CYP3A4, that normally breaks down drugs.

This is just the tip of the iceberg,” Bailey says. “I’m sure we’ll find more and more drugs that are affected this way.

To date, grapefruit, orange and apple juices have been shown to lower the absorption of etoposide, an anticancer agent; certain beta blockers – atenolol (Tenormin®), celiprolol (Celectol®), talinolol (Cordanum®) – used to treat high blood pressure and prevent heart attacks; cyclosporine, a drug taken to prevent rejection of transplanted organs; and certain antibiotics (ciprofloxacin, levofloxacin, itraconazole). But additional drugs are likely to be added to the list as physicians become more aware of this drug-lowering interaction, Bailey says.

Orange and apple juices also appear to contain naringin-like substances that inhibit OATP1A2, Bailey says. The chemical in oranges appears to be hesperidin, but the chemical in apples has not yet been identified, the researchers notes.

Bailey advises patients to consult with their doctor or pharmacist before taking any medications with grapefruit juice or other fruits and juices. Unless it is known to be a problem, he recommends taking most medications only with water. This research was funded by grants from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the United States Public Health Service.


Bailey DG. Grapefruit: A food that potently impairs intestinal drug metabolism and uptake transport clinically. Session TOX-30, ACS National Meeting 2008 Aug 19.   [Abstract]

Psychiatric drugs known to interact with grapefruit juice include alprazolam (Xanax®), buspirone (Buspar®), carbamazepine (Tegretol®), clomipramine (Anafranil®), diazepam (Valium®), midazolam (Versed®), sertraline (Zoloft®) and triazolam (Halcion®)

A list of these and other medications affected by grapefruit juice is available here (PDF, 30KB) or the Grapefruit – Drug Interactions website.


“Taking pills?  Avoid the juice”:http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/story.html?id=148e0805-1e5e-47e8-bb5c-dc55cb0221e3

“Fruit juices block common drugs”:http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/08/19/health/webmd/main4363756.shtml

“Fruit juice: friend or foe?”:http://www.smh.com.au/news/health/fruit-juice-friend-or-foe/2008/08/20/1218911807821.html

First Published Tuesday, 19th August, 2008.

Dear Readers,

The following article, though a few months old, is nevertheless an interesting read.  It has been added to the “Employment on the Spectrum” article, along with various other links while I’m in the throes of updating.

Contributions and advertisements that may assist others employment/career-wise are always very welcome.

Warmest Regards,



A positive attitude to disability

BBC Scotland reporter Ian Hamilton has been travelling around Europe to investigate job opportunities for disabled people.


Denmark and France were quite different when it came to helping disabled people into work.

As Preeti and I landed in Madrid after a two hour flight from Paris, we were soon to discover that Spain also had some common themes.

For example, like France, Spain also has a quota system.

Ian and Preeti at Servi media

Half of Servi Media’s workers has disabilities

Also like France, the Spanish employers generally ignore the quota.

This is reflected in the statistics, as fewer than 30% of disabled people in Spain are in work.

The Spanish have two different sets of quota targets for disabled workers.

The first is aimed at the private sector, which states that 2% of the workforce, in any company which employs more than 50 people, must have a disability.

For public administrations, it is 5% of the workforce.

If they can’t meet their quota targets, they do have other options.

Employers can buy services or goods from a disabled workshop or a disabled self-employed person.

If that doesn’t suit, the company can make a financial contribution to a workshop for disabled people.

Finally, the company can give cash to a training group which helps disabled people to find work.

Powerful group

If an employer refuses to do any of these, they can be fined.

Although, it could be as little as 300 Euro – £240.

The fines are low and not readily enforced, which results in 80% of companies in Spain ignoring the quotas.

The disability employment market in Spain is dominated by the Blind organisation called “ONCE”, which is pronounced Yonthy.

It is a blind organisation which runs the Spanish equivalent of the national lottery.

ONCE is a very wealthy and powerful group which gives employment opportunities to blind people.

In 1988 ONCE created a new organisation called the Foundation ONCE to help other disabled people into work.

It, in turn, has developed 20 trading companies providing further work for disabled people.

No amount of quotas and laws will force an employer to take on a disabled worker if they don’t wish too

One of these is Servi Media.

It is a press agency which sells stories to the Spanish media, mainly focusing on social affairs.

Half of the 100 workforce has disability

I wonder how bad the Spanish unemployment statistics would be if it was not for ONCE and its various subsidiaries?

Under the 1997 treaty of Amsterdam, all countries in the EU had to have employment laws in place by 2003 to protect disabled workers.

But one thing was clear to me after my trip.

No amount of quotas and laws will force an employer to take on a disabled worker if it does not wish too.

It is more about a society and a culture which can make things happen, than it is about European legislation


In my last entry, I suggested that France could be a very different place in how it regarded people with disabilities – and I wasn’t wrong.

The French have some of the earliest legislation to protect the rights of disabled people dating back to the 1970’s. However, this has appeared to have made little impact on the psyche of the French.

Ian Hamilton

Ian on the latest stop of his European tour

That’s not my opinion; it’s that of a small, but influential group of disabled people I talked to during my short visit to Paris.

They did concede that there had been some progress, but it was still a long way behind other member states in the EU, particularly when it came to their employment prospects.

Despite numerous laws and quota systems only 30% of people with disabilities are in employment. So clearly these various methods aren’t working.

Compare them to the Danish who have few laws and no quotas but have 58% of people in work. So why should this be? There is no doubt it has to do with culture and attitude.

As it was described to me in a frank and very open way by social researcher in Paris, Dominique Velche.

“The French don’t like disabled people.” Shocking I know, but according to him that’s what they think.

He believed it was because, as a culture, disabled people were hidden away and the general public were highly suspicious of people with disabilities.

As my guide Preeti and I, along with production support, moved around Paris on the Metro, Preeti commented that I was always being stared at.

Poor benefits system

I thought delusional as I am; it was because I was so fantastically good looking. Sadly, I expect it was because I’m blind and was carrying my white stick.

However, I couldn’t say they were directly unfriendly; someone always gave me a seat in the Paris rush hour.

Disabled people don’t have a high profile in Paris. Mainly because most, if not all, their transport isn’t accessible to a range of people with disabilities.

One of the biggest criticisms that disabled people have in France is the poor benefits system. Individuals who are on disability benefits are on 628 Euro per month and according to the disability movement in France, it’s 25% below the recommended breadline.

This is why just over a week ago 32,000 of them took to the streets of Paris to protest against the poor levels of living standards.

One of the organisers of the rally said he wasn’t hopeful about getting more cash from the French Government, but they intend to fight on.

I’m now preparing to go to our last city – Madrid, the capital of Spain. Someone said here in Paris, “the further you go south into Europe the worse it gets for people with disabilities.”

I’m not convinced that’s true, but I’ll find out soon enough and let you know.


Ian Hamilton

A 65m long wall divides the main square in Copenhagen

The Danes have a very casual attitude towards disability. I’m not suggesting they don’t care or they are rude, if anything the opposite is true.

It has more to do with their history and culture, according to a Danish social researcher I was interviewing as part of my report for Good Morning Scotland on Radio Scotland.

As far back as 1872, the Danes have had organisations led by disabled people and since the 1930s they have had a major influence on Danish politics.

They also do not have the large disability charities that we have here in Scotland.

Consequently this has helped to mould the attitude throughout Danish culture that disabled people are as good as anyone else and should reach their personal and professional potential.

This doesn’t mean that Denmark is some kind of disability utopia

The Danes have cultivated the principle of acceptance among the general public and government.

I expect this is probably why they have 58% of disabled people in employment, compared with Scotland and the UK’s 49%.

The Danes have been able to achieve this without any stringent disability laws and quota systems adopted by their European neighbours.

However, this doesn’t mean that Denmark is some kind of disability utopia.

The national disabled group in Denmark has constructed a 65m long wall dividing the main square in two, in front of the city hall.

The wall has only one opening for people to pass through. This is to symbolise the barriers that disabled people face and the lack of options they have.

In such a short visit it is hard to grasp how true the view is that the Danes are totally relaxed around all matters disability.

However, purely from a personal perspective, I get the impression: “You are blind, so what.”

I must emphasise, they somehow do it from a positive perspective and not a negative one.

I am now off to Paris to find out what the French are doing to tackle the problem of high unemployment among their disabled community.

I anticipate it will be very different from Denmark, let’s see if I am correct.


Ian Hamilton

Ian is investigating job opportunities for people with disabilities

I am travelling to three countries in the European Union as part of an investigation into the employment prospects of people with disabilities in Denmark, France and Spain.

I will be comparing them with the opportunities for disabled people in Scotland.

As someone who is a blind reporter, one of my big challenges is getting from one country to the next, especially as I’m not taking my guide dog on this trip – nor do I speak Danish, French or Spanish.

On reflection I decided to take some sighted assistance, so I brought my production help along in the form of Preeti.

I never imagined for one minute that my biggest challenge would have been to get into Glasgow Airport.

Understandably, after the attack on the terminal building last summer they have significantly tightened the security on the approach roads to the airport.

Help essential

I will be generous and say perhaps I got them on a bad week as numerous flights to and from the new Heathrow Terminal 5 were drastically affected, which had a knock-on impact on flights to and from Glasgow.

However, I did try to call 48 hours in advance, as they advise, to book assistance to get me from the new drop-off point into the terminal building.

If I was to do it unassisted, I would require the tracking and path-finding skills of Ray Mears, so some help would be essential to navigate this trail.

I called and called the airport. I found that my calls were either cut off, or in a never-ending loop of messages and requests to press various options.

Drop-off point

Eventually, I got through to the airport helpline which gave a further number to call and advice about a special disability drop-off point, where I could call for help.

Fantastic! Now I am getting somewhere. Sadly, no. This number also rang out.

Fortunately for me, on the day of my departure I was collected by a taxi driver I knew. We tried to find the drop-off point they referred to with no success.

After a fruitless search the driver parked and deposited me safely inside the terminal building.

After I met up with Preeti, I’m pleased to say my journey so far to the Danish capital has been uneventful. Now it’s time to do some reporting.


I thought you may be interested in a reply I received from the organisation which provides the airport support for disabled passengers.

Before I left for Denmark, I emailed them after my attempts to call them to ask for assistance failed miserably.

Well, I got a nice reply saying that they only provided disabled passengers with support Monday to Friday, 9 to 5 – so if you are planning to travel, I advise you only to have a disability during office hours.

To be fair, they also said that Glasgow Airport was responsible outside these hours. Well, not if my experience is anything to go by, as it wasn’t for the want of trying.

Source:  http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/7326009.stm

First Published Monday, 18th August, 2008.

Crowbaby and Dawfie Book cover

Telling Dawfie’s story

Local author writes book addressing autism

Growing up, Brenda O’Bannion’s aunt Doris inspired her in many ways. She was one of the reasons O’Bannion wanted to work in special education.

She was also the reason O’Bannion felt the need to write a children’s book that addresses autism, a subject very close to her heart.

“My aunt was autistic and also a savant. She could play any musical instrument but had the cognitive ability of about a 5-year-old,” O’Bannion, of Victoria, said. “She influenced me in so many ways, but she especially taught me to separate the disability from the person.”

Although she still works in education, O’Bannion managed to find the time to write a book called “Crowbaby and Dawfie,” which was published in May by Tadpole Press of Houston.

With the characters based on O’Bannion’s father and aunt, the story follows the lives of an East Texas family in a 13-month period during the Korean War. After her brother is sent off to war, Dawfie, an autistic child, waits for the return of her beloved sibling, whom she calls Crowbaby.

“The story itself is fictional, but it’s based on real characters,” O’Bannion said. “Now that it’s finally published, I feel like I birthed a baby. I’m very grateful that someone recognized the value of this story.”

Although “Crowbaby and Dawfie” is a children’s book, O’Bannion’s publisher was so touched by the story that he encouraged her to write an adult companion book to the story.

“He said he thought my aunt had such a unique story that we had to get her story out there,” she said.

That book, “Dawfie’s Story,” is due out in October. In addition, O’Bannion has several other children’s books that are set to be released in 2009 and 2010.

Although she maintains a full-time job as an administrator for Region III Education Service Center, O’Bannion said it has always been a dream of hers to write a children’s book.

“I taught for 20 years and my first love is special education. But I’ve also been writing since I was very young,” she said. “For me, writing is necessary. Nothing is more difficult than searching for just the right way to say something; but then, nothing feels better than getting it just right.”

O’Bannion added that she hopes her books help to raise awareness of autism, which is often misunderstood.

“The more people are informed about something, the more accepting they are of it,” she said.

Brenda O’Bannion will have a book signing from 2 to 4 p.m. Aug. 23 at Hastings, 5206 N. Navarro St. in Victoria.

“Crowbaby and Dawfie” will be available at Hastings in Victoria starting on Aug. 23, and online at www.barnesandnoble.com.

Source:  http://www.victoriaadvocate.com/793/story/298761.html

Crowbaby and Dawfie
by Brenda O’Bannion
Original Illustrations by Casey Scarborough
ISBN 978-1-933660-52-3
Audience: Grades 3-5 (8 to 12 year olds)

“Crowbaby and Dawfie” is a heart-tugging story about an autistic child’s faithful watch for her brother’s return from war. The story covers thirteen months in the life of Ma and Dawfie as they watch the river road near their home, eager for Crowbaby’s return. A touching ending gives the readers hope and insight into not only the lives of disabled children, but also the conflicts that war imposes.

In the words of Dr. Joyce Armstrong Carroll of the Abydos Learning International, who wrote the forward for this book, “Crowbaby and Dawfie honors the sacrifices of heart, home and country. And its message will remain in the mind of every child who reads it”.
Source:  http://www.brendaobannion.com/books.htm

Teacher to Teacher Resource

Crowbaby and Dawfie — Teacher to Teacher Resource Kit
by Brenda O’Bannion
ISBN 978-1-933660-53-0

This resource guide supplements “Crowbaby and Dawfie” in the classroom, including story summaries, talking points, vocabulary words, and activity pages to assist teachers in lesson planning and development.

Source: http://www.brendaobannion.com/teacher.htm#CND

posted Thursday, 14 August 2008

Xian...by night...the bridge


“National MMR Catch Up Campaign launched”:


“London bracing itself for a potential measles epidemic”:


“Measles epidemic fears prompt new MMR jab drive by Department of Health”:


Matthew Brook Update “Sister forced to abandon brother after care cut”:


“I rubbed dirty nappy in autistic boy’s face”:


“National Autism Association receives generous donation to fund more counties with Project Lifesaver equipment”:


“Disability groups protest ‘Tropic Thunder”:


“Autistic kids’ outbursts stir furor and guilt”:


Keith Kennedy meets St. Paul firefighters who rescued him”:


“Kennedys can’t thank people enough”:


“Mediaset sues Google over YouTube clips…

Last week, Italian prosecutors said that they would charge four Google executives for failing to monitor content, including a video of youths taunting an autistic classmate.”:


“AM’s new role with autism campaigners”:


“Critics call for Savage to step down”:


“By their Savagery ye shall know them”:


“Small protest, big impact”:


“$33K bill after dogs banned from flight”:


“I Exist: help us make a difference in your local area”:


“Autism in the media: new workshop at our international conference”:




“Why real and imagined disgust have the same effect…

…The next step will be to study IFO activation in autism. It is generally assumed that autistic people can’t identify the emotions of others, but clinical studies alternatively suggest that perhaps they feel others’ emotions too well, to the point that they are overwhelmed. “These experiments can help tease these options apart,” says Keyser.”


“Autistic children make limited eye contact”:


CDC: New data on epilepsy from multiple states”:


“Researchers find differences in swallowing mechanism of Rett syndrome patients”:


“Robot playmates help autistic kids with social skills”:


“Scientists to study link between gluten, dairy products and autism in kids”:


“Misconceptions about Bipolar Disorder”:


“New treatments for Bipolar Disorder found”:


“Medications for Bipolar Disorder’s manic phase may be feasible”:


“Bipolar youths misreading of faces may be risk marker for illness”:




“It’s a question of restraint for teachers of autistic kids”:


“Autistic boy in tears after he was denied help in exam”:


“School apologises to autistic boy”:


“State-of-the-art Armaugh autism centre unveiled”:


“Autism in schools”:


“New video modeling software helps autistic children”:


“Assistance dog bonds with Decatur girl just in time for school”:


“Preparing for school and the bus”:




Individuality, Diversity, Equality, Achievement

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


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

“Current job vacancies within the NAS”:

For further employment information, please view”:



“The media’s addiction to controversy can seriously damage your health”:


“Autism diagnosis shakes family…”He is who he is because he is autistic,” she said. “It’s so much part of his personality that I don’t want to take that away from him because then I won’t know him.”:


“Dog a perfect companion for autistic St. Paul boy”:


From the Archives “Clay Aiken idolizes kids with developmental disabilities”:


“American Idol crooner Clay Aiken now a father”:


“Aresenal raises £500,000 for autism charity, Treehouse”:


“UK model Jordan to adopt a disabled Bulgarian orphan”:


“A robot with emotions”:


“Expert advice on choosing a dog for your autistic child”:


VCFS “Girl struggling with health challenges finds others like her”:


From the Archives “A Mind Apart: Travels in a Neurodiverse World”


“Sylvia Plath”:


“The Life and Works of Sylvia Plath”:


“Sylvia – the movie”:


“Enter the LEGO Club charity challenge”:


Choir on the Great Wall of China

“Autism in China: A mother’s Journey”:


“NAS information in Chinese”:


Kite Flying around the Drum Tower

“Photo Gallery: China”:


Chinese Dragon Boat

China’s Journey “China: Inside the Dragon”:


The Imperial Garden, Beijing

“Photo Gallery: Beijing Sights”:


Hutong in Beijing

“Best of Beijing”:


Beijing Association for Rehabilitation of Autistic Children (BARAC)
No. 6 Hospital attached to Beijing University
No 51 Huayuan Bei Road
Haidian District
100083 PR
Tel: +86 (0) 10 6207 8248
Fax: +86 (0) 10 8280 1905
Email: xiehui@autism.com.cn
Website: www.autism.com.cn
(confirmed 10/08)

Stars and Rain Education Institute for Autism
Dongxu Xincun 4Qu No. 57
Chaoyang District
10024 Beijing
Tel: 0086-10-85373236
Fax: 0086-10-85373486
Email: sunzk@autismchina.org
Website: www.autismchina.org
(updated 3/09)

Shenzhen Autism Association
Tel: (86 755) 26936888 Ext 8722
Fax: (86 755) 26936988
Email: melody.xu@cpsz.com
Website: www.sas.org.cn/

(added 2/09)



Michael PhelpsMichael Phelps ~ ADHD and the road to Beijing “Q & A with Deborah Phelps, mom of swimmer Michael Phelps”:


“ADHD – The Essential Guide, New Book”:


“Kaplan University graduates 2.278 online students”:


“More adults than children taking ADHD medication”:


“Shire relaunches ADHDSupport.com, a virtual road map providing information, tools and practical tips”:


“Pediatricians nix heart tests before ADHD drugs”:


“Why is ADHD treated with stimulants?”:


“ADD/ADHD medications: News and more tips for Vyvanse”:


Sleep Disorders “Are tonsils causing ADHD?”:


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

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


“hi2u ADHD Pages”:




“Wishaw man runs Half marathon for autism charity”

To sponsor Andrew you can go to www.justgiving.com/coisty09 or, alternatively, Andrew has put sponsor forms behind the bar in The Yard, Main Street, Wishaw.


“Universe of Gymnastics’ gym brings ‘family’ philosophy to area”:


“Grab a ‘Pisa’ the action: trek Tuscany this September!”:

“Sky diving: take the plunge for the NAS”:

“Support NAS Scotland … by eating Sunday lunch”:

“The London Triathlon 2008 – 9th-10th August”:

“Adidas Women’s 5k Challenge – 7th September, 2008”:

“Derry, Northern Ireland – Waterside Half Marathon – 13th September, 2008”:


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


“Dublin Marathon – 27th October, 2008”:


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

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

“Cycle China 2009 – 19th-29th March”:

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

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



Australian band set for first World Tour – “Rudely Interrupted”

“Help the Rudies rock out at UN!”:


“Pianist Tony DeBlois to appear at Hilton-Winn Farm Aug. 9”:


“Play time that can change a child’s world”:




“Autism Rocks notecards”:


“Children’s Artwork”:


“Autism Art” Featured Artist – Charles Burns

Charles Burns was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome relatively late in life, in his early forties, soon after his son was diagnosed with the same condition. In his youth he attended a boarding school in Yorkshire before going on to study art at Exteter and Wolverhampton Art Colleges. On leaving college in the mid 1980s he recognised that it would be quite impossible for him to survive in the conventional workplace, and that if he was to work at all it would have to be for himself. He spent the next 12 years working as a street artist in London’s Covent Garden, drawing portraits and later cutting silhouettes for visitors to London at the weekend craft market, where he soon developed a reputation for the speed and accuracy of his work. It was during these years that he developed his passion for silhouettes, which is today his main means of earning a living; his skill with a pair of scissors being much in demand for corporate events, weddings, and the like. Charles’ success with his silhouettes meant that he was able to leave Covent Garden (not without some regrets) in 1997, and devote himself full-time to his present work as “artist/entertainer”. Life drawing has also been a continuing interest for Charles, which began during his years at art college. The present series of torn paper collages was begun around the year 2000 and is a continuing source of experimentation today. Charles presently lives with his wife and 2 children in Reading, and works from an old barn which he uses as a studio. These works are exhibited very rarely.


NAS “Take part in our creativity competition”:



“NeoClassics Films lands “The Black Balloon”:


“Actors for Autism”:



“Born on A Blue Day, Daniel Tammet a Childhood Autistic Savant Shares Inspirational Story”:


VIDEO(PAL Format) 30mins “Asperger’s Syndrome – Crossing the Bridge”

One of the world’s leading authorities on Asperger’s Syndrome, Dr. Tony Attwood, interviews Dr. Liane Willey as they discuss her life-time experiences, struggles, and triumphs over this syndrome.


“Asperger Syndrome, Adolescence, and Identity:

Looking Beyong the Label”

Authors: Harvey Molloy and Latika Vasil


“Congratulations! It’s Asperger Syndrome”

Author: Jen Birch


“Succeeding with Autism: Hear my Voice”

Author: Judith H. Cohen

Foreword by Temple Grandin


“The Feeling’s Unmutual”

Growing Up With Asperger Syndrome (Undiagnosed)

Author: Will Hadcroft


“Anne Droyd and Century Lodge”

Author: Will Hadcroft


Coming Soon

“Anne Droyd And The House Of Shadows”

Author: Will Hadcroft

The eagerly awaited and unmissable sequel to Anne Droyd and Century Lodge is set for release this September. For further information and to view the stunning cover art courtesy of Laura Diehl…



To view Laura Diehl’s award-winning artwork:


Beijing Games Opening Ceremony

In closing, a look at the latest from the Beijing Olympics…

“Beijing Olympics, 2008 – Events, Highlights, Medal Tally and more”:


“2008 Summer Olympic Games, Beijing, Facts, News, Photos”:


Something for the children…Some wonderful Chinese crafts – from a handprint dragon to terracotta warriors, there’s something for every child over at Activity Village!


Till next time,

Take Care,


Beautiful China

First Published Monday, 11th August, 2008.


The Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN), in conjunction with
Christschool, has produced a video about the use of the “r” word.
Please distribute the video immediately to organizations and
individuals you think
will be interested.

http://www.youtube. com/watch? v=JzgQ3LVNhps

With the opening of Tropic Thunder this week, the R Word video
counteracts the idea that it’s OK for a majority group to use harmful
language that can have serious effects on the population
being “joked” about.

Best regards,


Paula C. Durbin-Westby
Virginia Coordinator
The Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN)

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

First Published Monday, 11th August, 2008.


Kennedys can’t thank people enough
Grantsburg area celebrate the success of the Keith Kennedy story.
By Todd Beckmann

“It’s just a small piece of the thanks we owe everybody,” a joyous Linda Kennedy said Saturday night as the Kennedy family welcomed hundreds of volunteers who helped in the search for their son Keith to a party at Crex Convention Center in Grantsburg.

“We can never thank people enough — it’s just a treat and an honor to be here with these people and the guy they were searching for,” she continued.

Keith is the 25 year-old autistic man who walked away from Trade Lake Camp June 15 and was missing for a week. With the official search set to be called off the night of June 22, officers determined they had enough light left for one final search and that’s when Keith was discovered, about a mile and a half from camp.

He is almost fully recovered from his week in the woods.

“At the beginning he was trying to beat pneumonia, he had E. coli, a bacteria in his blood and a chronic fever, but he has overcome just about everything,” Linda Kennedy explained.

“His kidney is doing well and he is just trying to gain some strength, gain some weight and regain some stamina,” she added.

While Keith was at the family home in Roseville, MN immediately after being discharged from the hospital, he has now returned to his group home in Shoreview.

“He’s very comfortable there, has his own room and has people who love him there,” Linda Kennedy pointed out. “We have him visit us a lot because we need a lot of Keith fixes.”

The man of the hour Keith Kennedy, who was sporting a “One last search” tee-shirt, was smiling, saying “Hi’ to people and enjoying the cake.

Well-known now for his proclivity to walk away when he thinks no one is watching, Keith tried to walk out of the convention center at one point early on in the celebration.

“Keith! Stay. Not again, please,” father Bruce Kennedy was overheard saying.

Even though the party was set to last until 11 p.m., the Kennedy’s were only staying in Grantsburg until about 8 p.m.

“We’ve got to get him home so he can take his meds but also so he can get ready for his big day tomorrow,” she said.

“He’s going to throw out the opening pitch of the Twins game,” Linda Kennedy declared.

The Twins had been honoring first responders all week, from the Hugo (MN) tornado, the I-35 Bridge collapse and the search for Keith among others. Sunday was First Responder Day at the Metrodome and first responders, firefighters, law enforcement personnel, paramedics, all could get into the game for $1.

“Because first responders played such a key part in his story, they asked him to throw out the first pitch,” she continued. “To us the real miracle is that six weeks ago we didn’t know if we’d ever see him again.”

Source: http://www.burnettcountysentinel.com/read/detail/29181.html

“Keith Kennedy Family Video, 2006”:


First Published Friday, 1st August, 2008.


Act to Protect the ADA Regulations -Information Bulletin, # 256 (7/08)

About five weeks ago, I wrote “Good-Bye Full Accessibility, ” Information
Bulletin #250 in which I focused on only two disastrous aspects in the
proposed Department of Justice Regulations that significantly change both
Title II and Title III.

Recently, the NDRN and DREDF, as well as other disability attorneys, wrote
a set of “model” comments in response to the Department of Justice’s
(DOJ’s) Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) on these proposed changes.

The model comments are now available on the DREDF website:
http://www.dredf. org/DOJ_NPRM.

Once you get to this website, you can see all the proposed changes, not
just the two I raised, by clicking on the left column. DREDF and NDRN
intend that the model comments be a starting point for disability rights
groups and other interested parties to use in drafting and submitting
their own comments. Feel free to “cut and pasted.”

Where possible, please provide personal anecdotes and experiences to adapt
and personalize the model comments. Tell DOJ what accessibility problems
you have faced since the ADA was enacted, what you have tried to do, how
it’s been unsuccessful, and why making the proposed changes will only make
it more difficult to achieve “equal opportunities” and “full access.” You
might even mention, if it’s true, whether or not you filed a complaint
with DOJ and what, if anything, happened with it.

Even if you block and copy, please take a few minutes to submit comments
using the Regulations. gov website.

Remember, the deadline for submitting comments to the proposed changes is
very soon! Don’t mourn, organize and get your friends to also write in
their personal stories.

Steve Gold, The Disability Odyssey continues

Back issues of other Information Bulletins are available online at
http://www.stevegol dada.com
with a searchable Archive at this site divided into different subjects.
To contact Steve Gold directly,
write to stevegoldada@ cs.com or call 215-627-7100.

Steve Gold, The Disability Odyssey continues

Back issues of other Information Bulletins are available online at
http://www.stevegol dada.com

To Unsubscribe from this mailing list, send a message to
majordomo@stevegold ada.com
and in the body of the message include ONLY:
unsubscribe stevegoldada

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

St. Basil's Cathedral at night, Russia


“Accused molester faces new charges”:


“Terror police detain disabled boy”


Sam Harris(AS) case update- “Couple win castle damages appeal”:


“School caretaker drowns on end of term river cruise”:


Matthew Brook “Review into decision to cut disabled man’s care”

Results of Review due to be Published August 12


“Mother calls for enquiry into disappearance of autistic son”:


Owen Thor Walker Case “It’s a job if you can hack it”:


“Paterson signs laws to improve public safety, protect students – Reminder of Jonathon Carey case”:


“Row over autism home closure”:


“Adam is left stranded by mean theft”:


“Jackson SC woman says Police Chief should apologise after he embarassed her and her autistic child”:


“Fired disabled worker says McDonald’s biased, sacked after 21 years on the job”:


“Jabs plea as measles cases rise”:


NAS “I Exist: help us make a difference in your local area”:


“International expert opens specialist home for autistic people”:


“WINA drops show over autism cracks”:


AP VIDEO “Radio Host angers parents of autistic children”:


VIDEO “More than 100 autism activists protest in San Fransisco”:


“Savage comments draw strong reaction”:


“Aflac pulls ads from ‘The Savage Nation”:


“Right Wing Rampage: Michael Savage’s Ignorance and Intolerance”:


“Radio host Mike Savage tries to clear his name”:


“Autism groups plan NTC Protest of Michael Savage”:


“Autism is not a fraud and asthma isn’t a money racket”:


“Kim Stagliano: ABC News’ Dan Childs on Michael Savage and Autism”:


“Law Enforcement introduced to “Project Lifesaver” in Aiken County”:


“Confronting discrimination against loved ones who are autistic”:




“Research sheds light on neural mechanisms responsible for social difficulties in autism”:


“Another genetic link in autism: Facial expressions”:


“Parents of autistic children are often aloof too”:


“Autistic children interact more easily with robots than humans”:


From the Archives “My friend the robot”:


“Autism parents ‘infection risk”:


“Danish researchers help crack key to schizophrenia”:


“Gene mutations reveal schizophrenia’s complexity”:


“National survey of pediatric experts indicates increase in infant delays”:




Tim Miller Case Headed for Federal Court – “Special education struggles in school”:


ABLE Magazine “The Parent Trap”:


Website Launch – Dept. for Children, Schools & Families – “Sir Jim Rose asks parents and children for personal experiences of dyslexia”:


“Hope for children who need help in class”:


“Samana regional workshops an immense success with the participation of over 1600 teachers”:




“Upcoming Employment training courses for autistic adults”:


“NAS responds to Welfare Reform Green Paper”:


“Autistic adult is an entrepreneur”:


Individuality, Diversity, Equality, Achievement

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


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

“Current job vacancies within the NAS”:

For further employment information, please view”:



“Blogher08 – Blogging about our children with special needs”:


“Kids with Asperger’s take up journalism”:


“Flying can be a rough ride for autistic children, families”:


“Toilet training at the right age”:


“Driving on the Spectrum”:


“How one careless phone call ended Radovan Karadzic’s liberty”

Extract: “He told me he was working with an autistic child, so I asked to meet the child and work with him. That’s how our co-operation began.”

She says she last saw him on the Friday morning before he was arrested: “We went together to visit the autistic child. He said he needed to travel, that he was going away for two weeks.” http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article4407140.ece

Christmas on the Red Square, Moscow

“A Letter From Moscow”:


“Interview with the founders of the Dobro Autism Association in Moscow”:


Moscow by night


  • Dobro Association for Autistic Children Care, Kaszarmenny Per., 4 Str, Apartment 1-2, 109028 Moscow. RUSSIA. tel: 7-095-238-9737 fax: 7-095-292-6511

    Dobro was founded in 1989. Our organisation is a non-profit-making charity. Most of our money comes in the form of grants or donations from other organisations. We try to supply parents with information. We have published 15 books and many articles in newspapers and journals. Sometimes, we appear on television and radio, but not so often. We also have a small group of students who work here. It’s very small now – 12 students – and we have three or four consultations a week with parents of children with autism in Moscow and from other parts of Russia.

Russian Flag


Director EveryChild, Russia JOHANNA ROGERS set up the Russia programme of the Christian Children’s Fund of Great Britain in 1993 and went on to become Regional Director of the European Children’s Trust in 1997-2001, before becoming Director of EveryChild’s programme in Russia. ROGERS’ expertise lies in programme management, strategic planning, monitoring and evaluation. She has worked on a range of children’s issues including de-institutionalisation of children’s services, inclusive education for children with disabilities and development of innovative community based support services for children and families. ROGERS has also carried out consultancy tasks for UNICEF, DFID, USAID and TACIS as well as managing EveryChild’s projects. She lives and works in St Petersburg.

Colours of Russia

“Russia Facts, Videos and Maps”:


Moscow Lights

“Best of Moscow & Photo Gallery”:



Peterhof, near St Petersburg

“Best of St. Petersburg & Photo Gallery”:





“Expelled ADHD teenager was ‘discriminated against”:


“Gov’t adds two new ADHD drugs to formulary to combat Ritalin abuse”:


“Ortho-McNeil talks ADHD on Facebook”:


“Camp to help ADHD children transition to middle school”:


“Study examines stigma associated with ADHD” ”:


“Celebrity designer and ADHD spokesperson Ty Pennington partners with Shire to announce the launch of VYVANSE(TM) by Shire Limited”:


“ADHD increasingly common in older kids, CDC says”:


“CDC: About 5% of kids have ADHD”:


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

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


“hi2u ADHD Pages”:


Daniel Bedingfield

Daniel was diagnosed with attention deficit disorder (ADD) at the age of 4 and has said the experience has been reflected in his song-writing.




“Joe Ellis, Chairman of NAKMAS(National Association of Karate and Martial Art Schools) has Asperger Syndrome”:


“Grab a ‘Pisa’ the action: trek Tuscany this September!”:

“Sky diving: take the plunge for the NAS”:

“Support NAS Scotland … by eating Sunday lunch”:

“The London Triathlon 2008 – 9th-10th August”:

“Adidas Women’s 5k Challenge – 7th September, 2008”:

“Derry, Northern Ireland – Waterside Half Marathon – 13th September, 2008”:


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


“Dublin Marathon – 27th October, 2008”:


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

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

“Cycle China 2009 – 19th-29th March”:

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

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

“Countdown to Beijing Olympics”:




Stephen Shore “Music for the Child on the Autism Spectrum”:




“Art and autism”:


“Edvard Munch”

WebMuseum, Paris:


Biography and much more:


Artist Profile “M”

The artist known as “M”, was born in eastern Europe. His age today is 55 years.
His family was destructed by the results of nazism like death, flight and persecution.
“I was grown up by my mother and grandmother near Dresden. Although I didn’t know my father personally, I spent a normal childhood, later in my life I understood, it was not as normal as I thought…I never was a child”. After absolving school he worked in different jobs. Not able to stay at one place for a longer time he couldn’t integrate himself into the social systems around him. “It seemed to be a dead-end way. So, when I was 19 Years old , I left home.I had a long trip and saw a lot of cities in Europe: Vienna, Milan, Amsterdam, London, Paris. At this time I liked to visit churches as shelter and there I looked up to the paintings and sculptures, it was like another world, some kind of communication took place, I didn’t really understand, but it was important for me…”. “Later I visited museums. First at winter time only, because it was warm there contrary to the churches. There I found again this undefined world talking to me, giving me emotions I never had before…” He became a tramp between different worlds: doing occasional jobs for his daily life and beside being a painter, but only in his imagination.
“I had no academic art education like the painters I saw in the Museums, as well I felt myself an artist. Into my dreams I was a painter, who was able to fix the floating pictures I saw behind my closed eyes. I tried to do copies at the museums but those didn’t bring the results I wanted, it wasn’t my imagination what I saw there on my sketchpad.I did a lot, but I destroyed it. So it should take its time till I ventured to try to do it on my own…”.
In his late 20th he discovered the south of France “…a place which called me…” He is still living and working there. An independent existence, he doesn’t look for audience nor discourses about his art.The small sized watercolor paintings on cardboard are the result of his “un-housed” life. “I am at home into myself !” He has no stable domicile and supports himself by little jobs and social institutions as well. Staying a tramp between different realities of places, pictures and thoughts, he is travelling between several towns, villages and “outdoor – stations”, in a well developed system of movement, which he needs to survive. He doesn’t accept to be photographed or taken on a movie, and even when I explained to him the necessities for selling his paintings he said: “I don’t paint for sale. If You pay, I thank you, but it’s your problem.” Since about three Years he works more or less regular but not obsessive. He suffers not of a mental illness in a medical sense, although he sees and understands the world in his own way.
Beside this biographical details I noticed before, which I heard from him several times and now again, by my insisting questions, he invents stories, like he does his drawings and believes in it. “…I only paint what I see…!”
When I asked him to sign his drawings, he chose “M” because I gave him the nickname “Monsieur”- in revenge he is not a “Monsieur” at all.




Full Casting Has Been Announced for stage Version of Rainman

“Stockley, Stinton, Daish and Blackwood will join Hartnett and Godley in Rain Man”:


“A documentary to remember”:


Extraordinary People: The Rainman Twins, five, 9pm
by Merle Brown
I have trouble remembering what day of the week it is in real time, never mind knowing what day of the week it was on January 14, 1956. But then I am not an autistic savant. Flo and Kay are, however – and these 52-year-old twins from New Jersey were the subject of a fascinating documentary from five.

There are around 100 autistic savants in the world, perhaps the most famous a man called Joseph, who could do impossibly huge arithmetical calculations in his head, and became the basis for Dustin Hoffman’s character in the award-winning film Rain Man.

For Flo and Kay, their “special skill” resides in memory, and they can reel off artists and release dates when given simply the name of a song. It was both fascinating and freaky at the same time. Over the course of the documentary, experts attempted to account for the twins’ behaviour. Their obsessions and compulsions were attributed to their autism, which also went some way to explaining their compulsive viewing of a US gameshow called The $100,000 Pyramid and subsequent adoration of its host, Dave Clark. Thanks to a local news anchor, Dave Wagner, who had been filming the twins on and off for 13 years, Flo and Kay were able to meet Clark and build a friendship with him.

Savantism in itself cannot be explained, although the twins did a fair job, simply describing themselves as “human computers”.

Sympathetically filmed, this touching portrayal of two amazing women, also delivered some shocking details about their lives. Their mother tried to gas them when they were little girls. After the death of their parents, their sister Jane looked after them, but she died suddenly from a heart attack. It was touching, too, to see how distressed the twins were when Dave Clark suffered a stroke.

The documentary didn’t try to provide much academic or scientific context for any of this, instead letting the subjects themselves give the viewer a feel of what it’s like to live the way they do. The film showed that, for all the faults of modern society, it is sometimes still possible to celebrate those who are different.

“Mark Haddon – “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time “

The film rights to Curious Incident have been bought by Heyday (the makers of Harry Potter) together with Brad Grey (producer of The Sopranos) and Brad Pitt in their first acquisition for Warner Bros. Screenwriter Steven Kloves, the man responsible for writing the Harry Potter blockbusters, will be adapting it so expect a high profile marketing campaign in the near future.



Colleen McCullough, Author of “Tim” – “Vision allows writer back into the light”:


Coming Soon “The Girl Who Spoke with Pictures: Autism Through Art”

Author: Eileen Miller Foreword by Robert Nickel MD

Illustrated by Kim Miller


Coming Soon DVD “Life & Learning with Autistic Spectrum Diffability”

Wendy Lawson


Divider “Asperger Syndrome and Employment: What People with Asperger Syndrome Really Really Want”

Author: Sarah Hedrickx


New “Concepts of Normality: The Autistic and Typical Spectrum”

Author: Wendy Lawson Foreword by Lucy Clark


New “Mind/Body Techniques for Asperger’s Syndrome: The Way of the Pathfinder”

Author: Ron Rubio

Forewords by Irene Brody and Anthony Castrogiovanni


“Coming Out Asperger: Diagnosis, Disclosure and Self-Confidence”

Edited by Dinah Murray


“Getting IT: Using information technology to empower people with communication difficulties”

Authors: Dinah Murray and Ann Aspinall


“Autism – The Eighth Colour of the Rainbow: Learn to Speak Autistic”

Author: Florica Stone


“Asperger Syndrome – What Teachers Need to Know”

Author: Matt Winter


“Blue Bottle Mystery- An Asperger Adventure”

Author: Kathy Hoopmann


Inventions in the News

In closing, on the invention front, the electronics company, Philips, have developed a new system to assist the blind/visually impaired…”Smart Specs” http://technology.newscientist.com/article/dn14407-invention-smart-specs-for-the-blind.html

For the latest robotics-wise…http://technology.newscientist.com/channel/tech/robots

From the Archives:



For all things WALL-E, something for the children…http://disney.go.com/disneypictures/wall-e/

Hope you enjoyed the read.

Take Care,


Russian Sunset/Shatursky, Moskovskaya Oblast