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January 2011



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Archive for January 5th, 2011

First Published Friday, 31 October 2008


Harvard Square, Cambridge

Autistic Acceptance, the College Campus, and Technology: Growth of
Neurodiversity in Society and Academia
Disability Studies Quarterly
Fall 2008, Volume 28, No.4

Scott M. Robertson, College of Information Sciences & Technology at Penn
State University.
Ari D. Ne’eman, Autistic Self Advocacy Network.

The paper presents an in-depth examination of autistic acceptance on college
campuses from the perspective of two academic scholars who are both
autistic. The inquiry first describes the history of the emergence and
growth of the neurological diversity and autistic rights movements. These
movements led to the development of a unified autistic disability culture
and community. Then the paper shares how autistic acceptance on college
campuses has received increasing attention in parallel with expanded focus
on autistic acceptance in society. It highlights major challenges impacting
autistic people attending colleges and universities, as well as potential
solutions for resolving those challenges and cultivating understanding and
support of autistic people among the broader culture of colleges and

The paper examines the emergence of autistic acceptance in society and the
growth of support for autistic people on the college campus. It is written
from the authors’ perspectives as autistic persons who pursued college
studies, and both authors are active scholars and advocates in the
cross-disability community.

The complete paper is here:
http://www.dsq- sds.org/DPubS? service=Reposito ry&version= 1.0&verb= Disseminate& view=body& content-type= html_1&handle= osul.dsq/ 1225139988#

Ari Ne’eman
The Autistic Self Advocacy Network
1660 L Street, NW, Suite 700
Washington, DC 20036
http://www.autistic advocacy. org

First Published Friday, 31 October 2008

Virginia Bovell and son, Danny

I wouldn’t change our autistic boy for the world: An admission about their son from the ex-wife of author Nick Hornby

Last updated at 8:09 AM on 30th October 2008

Last week, the first major conference on the future of treating the 100,000 children with autism in the UK was held in London, where the question was raised: Should we try to find a cure for autism?

In the UK, only 20 per cent of autistic children are receiving specialist help.

The writer Nick Hornby’s son, Danny, who is 15, has autism. Here, his mother VIRGINIA BOVELL, OBE, explains why she feels a ‘cure’ might not be the answer.

There are many things I find uncomfortable about the notion of ‘curing’ autism.

To cure my amazing son Danny would be to suggest that there is something dreadfully wrong with him, perhaps even something we, as parents, couldn’t live with  -  but nothing could be further from the truth.

If someone took away Danny’s autism, it would also take away so much of who he is. And I am certain that many parents of autistic children would agree, because how can I ever tire of watching my son’s face light up with joy as he kicks leaves in the park on his way to school?

It’s a simple pleasure, but Danny  -  thanks to his autism  -  has access to a kind of rapture we, as ‘normal’ people, cannot imagine.

He has a level of pleasure way beyond the rest of humanity, and just the simplest of things  -  sitting behind me on our new tandem bicycle, bouncing on a trampoline or seeing his grandmother  -  set him off giggling with pure joy.

His enjoyment of life stems from simple things, but that is one of the things that makes him so special  -  and to me, curing him would be to take away all that characterises my beloved son.

Danny's father, author Nick Hornby

Danny’s father, author Nick Hornby

As much as I praise my son’s rapture, I am aware that many families  -  ours included  -  have suffered greatly from the affliction of his illness, as it were.

There are bad days, when Danny feels sensitive to everything around him. He can’t bear loud noises or being touched, and persuading him to leave the house can be impossible. Instead, he’ll sit, with his hands pressed to his face, rocking backwards and forwards, and I can only imagine the pain he is feeling.

He does scream occasionally, if he is very upset, and sometimes he will become aggressive and I have the odd scratch and missing hairs. But these incidents are becoming less frequent. Often, he will take my hands and press them to his head, as if to tell me where he is hurting.

Even aged 15, he has only a few words, such as ‘momma’, ‘diddle’ for daddy, ‘home’ and ‘d’, which is what he calls needing the toilet, and as a mother it is terribly traumatic.

Not to be able to communicate with your child when he is in pain can break your heart  -  but luckily, thanks to the support of staff at TreeHouse, his special school, and our family and friends, he is able to communicate so much more.

When he wants to talk to me, he has his communication booklet, and he can flick through that to form sentences and ask for things like food, but also tell me how is feeling, if he is happy or sad.

When he was born, we were thrilled, but I had concerns from early on that he was not functioning and developing as he should. He avoided eye contact he didn’t like being touched and he was very slow to walk and utter sounds.

But the crunch came at around 18 months, when he seemed to regress and lost the few words he had learned  -  Nick describes it as being ‘like a computer crashing’.

Everything he ‘knew’ about the world and social interaction seemed to slip away from him, as he retreated into his own little world, developing irrational tantrums and repetitive behaviour.

I can’t put my finger on one exact day when I realised he had changed  -  it is more a gradual realisation that the child you adore is not developing as the other children around him were doing.

Virginia Bovell (right) next to Danny outside the TreeHouse school with Katharine Dore, who helped found it, and her son Toby in 2006

Support: Virginia Bovell (right) next to Danny outside the TreeHouse school with Katharine Dore, who helped found it, and her son Toby in 2006

There is a tremendous sense of loss at first, not just for the child he was, but for the person he could have been in the future. But now, loving Danny as we do, there’s no way we would change him.

It’s impossible to imagine him without autism, and while it is often hard, I don’t think I would ever want to cure him.

Instead, I would argue that it is vitally important to offer support and development to every child, and indeed family, affected by autism. And that is why I helped to set up TreeHouse, a special learning centre for autistic children.

There is, in this country, a lack of a rational, strategic response to autism from the health and social services.

For so long, autistic children have been hidden or not talked about. In the past, people with autism were ‘written off’. Now, we know that autism affects one per cent of the population.

We can’t write them off  -  with specialist help, they can have a career and look after themselves.

In the past, once children had been diagnosed, the parents were left to fend for themselves. Hours of screaming, lack of communication, and no emotional connection with your child can be soul destroying, but why not show families there is hope.

If nothing is done, an autistic child can grow into a frightened, and potentially even dangerous, adult.

Motherly love: Virginia Bovell with Danny back in 2001 when he was eight

Motherly love: Virginia Bovell with Danny back in 2001 when he was eight

We have no idea how many autistic people have fallen below the radar, but we do know that 27 per cent of autistic children are repeatedly excluded from school, and adults with autism are seven times more likely to come into contact with the criminal justice system.

Of course, you ask yourself why it has happened to your family. We don’t know what causes autism, but we do know that it is increasing.

Scientists are confident that there is a genetic susceptibility, and this seems to be triggered by a variety of causes  -  environmental, diet, possibly too much foetal testosterone, and, controversially, the MMR vaccine.

What we do know is that if a child receives help, then their symptoms can be managed. With the help of TreeHouse, Danny has gone from a child who would not leave the house, to a confident teenager. He enjoys the world around him.

An autistic child is no less deserving of a mainstream education than any other child. They don’t need a special school, but they do need a trained teacher. My son has thrived from such an environment.

On a Saturday, we get up, tidy the house and then go to a cafe for lunch. In the afternoon, he’ll go and watch Arsenal play.

Then, at night, he’ll sit next to me watching his portable DVD player, and I’ll do my sudoku.

Occasionally, he reaches over to touch my hand and smiles at me. My son doesn’t have a ‘disease’. He is unique, special and happy. So why do I need to cure him?

• TREEHOUSE is launching a social networking and information website for parents and professionals, supported by TalkTalk, in January 2009. To register, go to www. talkaboutautism.org.uk

Interview by Diana Appleyard

Source:  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1081698/I-wouldnt-change-autistic-boy-world-An-admission-son-ex-wife-author-Nick-Hornby.html

First Published Tuesday, 28 October 2008


Family doctors and psychiatrists should carefully monitor the heart health of patients with anxiety disorders, Dr Simon Bacon told the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress 2008, co-hosted by the Heart and Stroke Foundation and the Canadian Cardiovascular Society.

People with anxiety disorders are four times more likely to develop high blood pressure (hypertension) over one year than those of us who are anxiety free,” says Dr Bacon, a Heart and Stroke Foundation researcher at the Montreal Heart Institute. “Hypertension is a leading risk factor for stroke and heart disease.

Anxiety disorders are among the most common of all forms of mental illness, according to Dr Bacon. People affected frequently (often daily) experience intense feelings of fear and distress that are typically out of proportion to the actual threat or danger. They also tend to disrupt daily functioning, including personal relationships and the ability to work. They include general anxiety disorder, panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, and social phobia.

Anxiety can cause increases in your blood pressure and heart rate. If it is persistent, those effects could be damaging,” says Heart and Stroke Foundation researcher and spokesperson Dr Brian Baker. “While we still need more understanding about how anxiety is associated with sustained high blood pressure, it is important that blood pressure is regularly monitored in people with anxiety disorders and that therapy – including anxiety management – is considered.

Dr Bacon says that anxiety can lead to unhealthy lifestyle choices, including poor diet, smoking, and physical inactivity, which can also increase a person’s overall risk for heart disease and stroke.

In the general population, at any point in time, anxiety disorders affect approximately 12 per cent of people,” says Dr Bacon. “And, anxiety disorders are generally twice more common among women than among men.

Dr Bacon’s research followed 185 patients with normal blood pressures for one year. The mean age of the patients was 58 years; 39 per cent were women, and 61 per cent were men. Sixteen per cent of patients had an anxiety disorder and 14 per cent had a mood disorder. Mood disorders include major depression, minor depression, and dysthymia.

Each patient underwent a structured psychiatric interview and provided information about their health. At the end of one year Dr Bacon again collected information about participants’ health.

Four per cent of the subjects without an anxiety disorder developed high blood pressure. However, 14 per cent of those who had an anxiety disorder developed hypertension.

The increase in high blood pressure did not apply to patients with mood disorders. “Our study also showed that patients who developed mood disorders were not at a higher risk of developing hypertension,” says Dr Bacon.

It is possible to have both,” says Dr Bacon. “It is very common to be depressed and anxious. But our study separated them out and found – at least over one year – that anxiety is a major culprit in hypertension.

Depression has a pronounced but indirect effect on the development of hypertension. People who are depressed tend to exercise less and make unhealthy lifestyle choices, according to Dr Bacon.

But anxiety may create a direct, physiological response – a shock to the nervous system:

  • Unlike the relatively mild, brief anxiety caused by a stressful event (such as speaking in public or a first date), anxiety disorders last at least six months and can get worse if they are not treated.
  • Anxiety disorders commonly occur along with other mental or physical illnesses, including depression, alcohol, or substance abuse, which may mask anxiety symptoms or make them worse. In some cases, these other illnesses need to be treated before a person will respond to treatment for the anxiety disorder.
  • Effective therapies for anxiety disorders are available. Most people with anxiety disorders lead productive, fulfilling lives. People who think they have an anxiety disorder should seek information and treatment right away.

One of the main messages here is that it is important to look after one’s mental health as much as one’s physical health,” says Dr Bacon. “If you have chronic anxious feelings, this could lead to worse heart health. There is no need to suffer – there are very good treatments out there.

blue tranquility

Laurin C, Lavoie KL, Arseneault A, Ditto B, Bacon SL. The Impact of Mood and Anxiety Disorders on the Development of Hypertension. Presentation 0494-087, CCC Toronto, Canada 2008 Oct 27

Johns Hopkins Health Alert

How High Blood Pressure Can Affect Your Memory

The most serious effects of untreated hypertension are well known: strokes, heart attacks, heart failure, kidney disease, and vision loss. But hypertension can contribute to lesser-known health conditions, including cognitive (thinking) impairments. In this Health Alert, Johns Hopkins explains how hypertension leads to thinking problems and provides advice.

Hypertension, particularly in mid-life, may be a major risk factor for cognitive decline, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease. On the plus side, research is showing that treating hypertension may lower the risk.

How does hypertension lead to thinking problems? One obvious reason is that high blood pressure increases the risk of stroke by damaging blood vessels that carry blood to the brain. This damage leads to the buildup of plaques, and when one of these plaques ruptures, a blood clot forms. If this blood clot cuts off blood supply to brain cells responsible for memory or other cognitive functions, the death of these cells can lead to impairments in thinking ability.

But researchers are starting to find that hypertension has a more insidious effect on the brain — that is, you don’t need to have a full-blown stroke for hypertension to do its damage. Brain scans show that individuals with hypertension are more likely to have brain lesions, called white matter hyperintensities (WMHs), than people with normal blood pressure. And the greater the number of these WMHs, the higher the risk of cognitive problems like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

So what are WMHs, and how do they affect your thinking? Your brain has two layers: an outer layer of gray matter that is packed with brain cells that process information, and an inner layer of white matter that contains nerve fibers that transmit information between brain cells. Hypertension-related buildup of plaque reduces blood flow to nerve fibers in the white matter, and the insufficient blood flow causes decay of the nerve fibers’ myelin sheaths, which are necessary for transmittal of information.

What can you do? Research indicates that gaining control of your blood pressure can reduce your risk of dementia. There is also some evidence that lowering blood pressure reduces the occurrence of new WMHs. The study looked only at people who were taking an ACE inhibitor in combination with a thiazide diuretic. But those taking this drug combination had fewer and smaller new WMHs after three years than those who received a placebo. More research is needed, however, to find out whether other blood pressure medications have the same effect.

Posted in Hypertension and Stroke on October 21, 2008

First Published Tuesday, 28 October 2008

(Apologies: Links may no longer work.  (Post is retained as archive material)

October 27, 2008 (Runs 19:00)
Is autism a disorder, or just a neurological difference? Meet the people who are working to change the negative view of living with autism …

Positively Autistic

Amanda Baggs

Amanda Baggs

More about Amanda

Estee Klar-Wolfond

More about Estee

Ari Ne’eman

More about Ari

Useful Web Links

Find out more

Quick Facts About Autism

Facts and information

Michael Moon

More about Michael

Dr. Laurent Mottron

More about Laurent

Scott Robertson.

More about Scott

First Published Monday, 27 October 2008

Charles Hall and his mum Zoulfia

8:24am Monday 27th October 2008

comment Comments (1) Have your say »

By Kirsty Whalley

A Purley boy with Asperger’s syndrome is still languishing at home, two months after being turned away from an exclusive school in Reigate.

Charles Hall had been told he was accepted at the Royal Alexandra and Albert School (RAA) by Croydon Council, but was told to go home on his first day because there was no place for him.

The school blamed the incident on a misunderstanding with the council but refused to change their position and accept the 11-year-old boy.

The RAA finally refunded the money that Charles’ parents had spent on school fees and a school uniform, after the story ran on ITV at the end of September.

In the meantime, bright boy has been sitting at home alone and is missing out on his education.

Charles’ frustrated dad John Hall, 58, said: “Croydon Council are still in the process of getting Charles a home tutor until a school can be found for him and are also looking for a school for him. It seems to be a slow process.”

“I have written a letter to the headteacher of the RAA, copied to the Chairman of the Board of Governors, complaining about the stories that he has been telling the media, and attaching photocopies of various letters and documents to back-up my claim.

“He wrote back to me in a letter dated October 22 saying that he will send me a detailed response to my comments by the end of next week. No hint of any apology at all.”

Mr Hall is considering making a complaint to the school under the Disability Discrimination Act.

• To read the original story click here.



First Published Monday, 27 October 2008


The Autistic Self Advocacy Network will be a part of the upcoming
“Positively Autistic” documentary on the neurodiversity movement, set to air
on CBC’s “The National” tomorrow. Below is a message from the CBC Producer
Lani Selick:

“Postively Autistic” will air on the “The National” this coming Monday
October 27 after the newscast portion of the program. “The
National” broadcasts twice, first on Newsworld (cable channel 26) beginning
at 9:00 pm; and then across the CBC network main channel (the precise
channel number varies across the country according to whether people receive
on cable or satellite and whether or not they watch on HD) beginning at
10:00 pm. (The newscast portion of “The National” usually lasts
approximately 25 minutes; the documentary will run immediately following the

People who live in the United States are sometimes able to receive CBC
television in their area depending on their cable/satellite provider. If you
are unable to catch the broadcast when it airs on television, you can watch
it afterwards on CBC’s website http://www.cbc. ca/national/ . The website
will also offer a significant amount of supplementary information, including
full transcripts of the interviews I conducted (including interviews with
people who did not make it into the documentary itself), links to people’s
websites, etc.

Features like “Postively Autistic” can always be “bumped” at the last minute
by more topical items and rescheduled. Obviously, if this happens, I will
be in touch once again with a new airdate as soon as I know it.

First Published Monday, 27 October 2008

memories ...


Release Date  Friday 24th October, 2008

Neuroscientists at The University of Queensland, Australia have discovered a new way to explain how emotional events can sometimes lead to disturbing long term memories.

In evolutionary terms, the brain’s ability to remember a fear or trauma response has been crucial to our long term survival. However, in the modern world, when a similar type of fear response is triggered by a traumatic event such as being in combat; being exposed to abuse or being involved a major car accident, we do not want to repeatedly re-experience the episode, in vivid detail, for the rest of our lives.

During studies of the almond-shaped part of the brain called the amygdala – a region associated with processing emotions – Queensland Brain Institute (QBI) scientists have uncovered a cellular mechanism underlying the formation of emotional memories, which occurs in the presence of a well known stress hormone.

Institute researchers Dr Louise Faber and colleagues have demonstrated how noradrenaline (norepinephrine), the brain’s equivalent of adrenaline, affects the amygdala by controlling chemical and electrical pathways in the brain responsible for memory formation.

This is a new way of understanding how neurons form long term memories in the amygdala,” Dr Faber said.

Our strongest and most vivid human memories are usually associated with strong emotional events such as those associated with extreme fear, love and rage.

For many of us, our deepest memories are mental snapshots taken during times of high emotional impact or involvement,” she said.

Some aspects of memory formation are incredibly robust – and the mechanism we’ve discovered opens another door in terms of understanding how these memories are formed.

Dr Faber said her team’s discovery could help other scientists to elucidate new targets, leading to better treatments for conditions such as anxiety disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Faber ESL, Delaney AJ, Power JM, et al. Modulation of SK Channel Trafficking by Beta Adrenoceptors Enhances Excitatory Synaptic Transmission and Plasticity in the Amygdala. J. Neurosci. 2008 Oct;28:10803-10813   [Abstract]

Putty Beach, Australia

[Australia] Mental Illness Rife, Anxiety Disorders

Most Prevalent

Friday, 24th October, 2008

One in five Australians aged 16-85 years had a mental disorder in 2007, according to figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).


Anxiety disorders – such as panic disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder – were the most common, affecting 14 per cent of people. Affective disorders – such as depression – affected 6 per cent, while substance use disorders affected 5 per cent.

The most commonly experienced anxiety disorders were post-traumatic stress disorder (6 per cent) and social phobia (5 per cent). Depression was the most common affective disorder (4 per cent), and the harmful use of alcohol the most common substance use disorder (3 per cent).

Women were more likely to experience mental disorders (22 per cent) than men (18 per cent), with a higher rate of anxiety disorders (18 per cent compared to 11 per cent for men) and affective disorders (7 per cent and 5 per cent). However, men had more than twice the rate of substance use disorders (7 per cent) compared to women (3 per cent).

Younger people were more likely to have a mental disorder than older people. Just over a quarter (26 per cent) of people aged 16-24 had a disorder compared to 6 per cent of people aged 75-85.

Substance use disorders were more common for younger people (13 per cent) than other age groups, while anxiety disorders were more common in people aged 35-44 (18 per cent).

Just over a third (34 per cent) of people living in one parent families had a mental disorder compared with 19 per cent of people in couple families with children.

Over half (54 per cent) the people who had ever been homeless had a disorder, nearly three times the rate of people who had not.

Mental disorders were also more common in unemployed people (29 per cent) and in people who had ever been incarcerated (41 per cent).

1.9 million people accessed services for mental health problems in the 12 months prior to the survey.

4326.0 – National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing


We are, perhaps, uniquely among the earth’s creatures, the worrying animal. We worry away our lives, fearing the future, discontent with the present, unable to take in the idea of dying, unable to sit still.

Lewis Thomas, (1913-1993)
American Physician and Writer


First Published Saturday, 25 October 2008

healthtalkonline logo


The award winning website healthtalkonline.org is launching two new
sections on experiences of autism; Life on the Autism Spectrum and
Parents of Children with Autism. The new sections are based on
interviews carried out by the DIPEx Research Group at the University of
Oxford, guided by an advisory panel of people with the condition, carers
and health professionals. Through these interviews, you can see, hear
and read a wide range of experiences and perspectives on what it is like
to live with autism spectrum disorders.

Life on the Autism Spectrum features the experiences of twenty adults
with autism, and, in some cases, their partners. The interviews, carried
out with people from different backgrounds and locations throughout
England, cover diverse experiences across the autism spectrum and
represent the first time their voices have been presented in a
comprehensive and thorough way. People discuss getting a diagnosis,
employment, relationships, growing up and negotiating life in a world
that is alien to them:

I never sort of really felt as though I belonged because I was so very
different to my parents and my sister. It sort of made me feel basically
like a freak. Mark

It was probably the best day of our lives when me and my mother got the
diagnosis because she had struggled for 35 years with me and was never
given any help or support. She described it as a lonely journey for her
sometimes. And we actually went out to the pictures that night to
celebrate. Debbie

Parents of Children with Autism features 45 parents who talk about their
everyday lives and the highs and lows of life with their children who
are aged between three and fifty-seven years. Their accounts are open,
honest and sometimes humorous. The interviews provide insights into
their children’s unique personalities, their likes, dislikes and
relationships with siblings and other family members, as well as
descriptions of how the parents felt about their children growing older,
their diagnoses and education.

These are all individuals that look apparently normal. It’s the
behaviour and the way they present themselves that is regarded as being
odd. Ciaran, father of 21-year old son

She could write you an essay on the Influence of Postmodernism in the
Twentieth Century or whatever, but she can’t cook herself a meal. She is
dyspraxic, she can’t do up her shoelaces, you know she can’t see the
muck and mess she lives in and if she does see it, it doesn’t bother
her. Carol Ann, mother of 23-year old daughter

I will be eternally grateful to one senior, very experienced
neurologist, who wrote in his report something to the effect of yes, my
child had very severe developmental delays but he couldn’t predict the
future; sometimes these children could surprise you. That one small
comment made a big difference to me. Catherine, mother of two daughters
aged seventeen and fourteen

In both sections, you will find a range of resources, including links to
and contact details of over 200 organisations, support groups and help

DIPEx is grateful to the Wellcome Trust who funded these two sections on

Helping one another, there when you need it.

To access the site, or to share your own personal health experience, go
to: http://www.healthtalkonline.org/

First Published Saturday, 25 October 2008

A new yahoo group has just been created to be open exclusively for
adolescents and teens on the autism spectrum, offering an opportunity for
autistic adolescents and teens to interact in a supportive,
autistic-friendly internet environment. It is sponsored by the Autistic
Self-Advocacy Network, an international non-profit organization run by and
for autistic adults and youth, working to advance neurodiversity, disability
rights and autistic culture.

Group Rules:
1. To join you must be on the autism spectrum (self-diagnosed individuals
are welcome) and at least 13 years of age.
2. Be respectful of your fellow list members.
3. Do not repost messages outside of the list.
4. If you have a question, feel free to ask.
5. Do not engage in personal attacks against other list members.

The list will be closely moderated by adults from the Autistic Self Advocacy
Network to ensure that all list content remains legal, age-appropriate, free
of spam and solicitation, and in compliance with the group rules.

To join the group, visit http://groups. yahoo.com/ group/ASANTeens , click the
“Join this group” button, and follow the instructions.

For more information, contact list moderator Dora Raymaker at
dora@aaspireproject .org.

Please pass this information along to any adolescents and teens you know who
would be interested!

Ari Ne’eman
The Autistic Self Advocacy Network
1660 L Street, NW, Suite 700
Washington, DC 20036
http://www.autistic advocacy. org

posted Thursday, 23 October 2008

Gent, Belgium


“Boy kills himself with mother’s gun … A boy of four has accidentally killed himself with his police officer mother’s gun.

Brenda Lee Cotto was dropping her children off at school in San Juan, Puerto Rico, when the gun apparently fell between the two front seats of the car as she leaned over to comb her daughter’s hair.

Her autistic son, Jeremy Marcano, got out of his booster seat, picked up the gun and shot himself in the face.”:


Brandon Crisp “Search to continue for missing Ontario teen”:


Gerwyn Morgan “Missing asperger’s boy found safe”:


“Arrested New Britain teacher remains on payroll”:


Matthew Brook “Family claim victory over disabled man’s care”:


CHINA “Autism organisation is giving voice to families in China”:


“First responders will get autism training”:


“Aging mom seeks family to love her son”:


“Aging parents fear autistic adults will be ‘forgotten’ in ‘piecemeal’ system”:


“Mental health ‘disgrace’ a risk to young lives”:


“Speechless man is denied pension”:


“Man fails to beat ban from town”:


“Eight new suspected measles cases”:


“US Presidential Debate – NAS of UK encouraged to see autism high on the US political agenda”:


“Palin’s record on special needs kids is mixed”:


“Charity hits back at bid to scrap autism centre plan”:


Gary McKinnon Latest “Returns to Court – Oct 22”:


“Jacqui Smith slammed by McKinnon lawyers”:


“Alleged NASA hacker loses another appeal”:


“Accused hacker fails to halt extradition to U.S.”:


“Contempt for hacker’s autism defence”:


“Bold’ advert aims to help bullied autistic children”:


“Autistic adults call for action”:


“Charities join forces to combat misdiagnosis and poor management of Autism and deafness”:


“Teacher who abused deaf  jailed”:


“Autism support network launches”:


“Churches ‘underestimate’ people with disabilities”:


“Churches challenged to embrace people with disabilities”:


Epilepsy “Epilepsy death inspires parents”:


“Tesco faces court case after ordering disabled man to use PIN number he can’t remember”:


“Blind masseurs protest at sighted competition”:


“Taxi firm in court for refusing to take blind woman’s guide dog”:


Stephen Hawking “Hawking to be depicted in statue”:


“Blind road speed record ~ Blind Belgian drives at 192 miles per hour”:


“Denis Leary says autism criticism taken “out of context”:




“Never gamble with an autistic opponent … Michelle Dawson, who is autistic and researches cognition in autism at the University of Montreal in Canada calls the findings “fascinating and important”.

“Autistics performed with enhanced accuracy compared to non-autistics, responding to the actual task demands rather than being hampered, as the non-autistics were, by the detrimental effects of unhelpful biases,” she says.


“Autistic people make more rational decisions, study shows”:


“Autistic people know the odds”:


“Study reveals long-term effects of Asperger’s”:


“It’s all in the tone”:


“Looking through the broken mirror”:


“M.I.N.D. Institute researchers find important clue to learning deficit in autistic children”:


“Autism linked to genius? Well, of course!”:


“New test to detect autism in babies”:


“Schizophrenia fight stepped up with $1.5m grant”:


“Scientists engineer supersensititve receptor, gain better understanding of dopamine system”:




“Education for all ‘Freddies”:


“Father’s fury over school’s skating ban”:


“Autistic brains wired for pictures, not words”:


“Experts question benefit of school time-out rooms”:


“Dyslexic pupil wins £25,000 compensation”:


“Reaching an autistic teenager”:


“Non-credit online College course covers teaching autistic students”:


Dublin “Northside teachers awarded bursaries … Colin McElroy was awarded a bursary in respect of his research into the transition from primary to post-primary school for students with Asperger’s syndrome.
“It is a great personal achievement to be awarded this research bursary,” said Mr McElroy.
“It reaffirms the significance and validity of my research which will raise the awareness and profiles of students with Asperger’s syndrome in Irish schools today, and the problems they face when making the transition from primary to post-primary school.”:


“Princess visits specialist school”:




“Tips from the top”:


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


Individuality, Diversity, Equality, Achievement

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


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

“Current job vacancies within the NAS”:

For further employment information, please view”:



Donna Williams “Autism as a fruit salad”:


“Woman’s autism took years to diagnose”:


“Autism group a boon for teens”:


pumpkin wagon

For those who celebrate Halloween…

“Halloween experiences for autism families”:


“How to enjoy Halloween with your autistic child”:


Thankyou to the ‘mom’ who compiled the following:

Social stories:

http://www.frsd.k12.nj.us/autistic/Holidays/Halloween/trick% 20or%20treat.htm – trick or treat (no illustrations)

http://www.frsd.k12.nj.us/autistic/Holidays/Halloween/wearin g_a_costume.htm – wearing a costume (no illustrations)

http://www.frsd.k12.nj.us/autistic/young_autistic/Fall/Hallo ween/Happy%20Halloween3.htm – short social story about Halloween.

Halloween cupcake

http://www.slatersoftware.com/Halloween%20Social%20Story.pdf – Halloween social story with pictograms.

http://www.djusd.k12.ca.us/pioneer/lburgos/SocialStories.htm Halloween pumpkin

http://www.ccsd.edu/files/filesystem/Going%20Trick%20or%20Tr eating.pdf – illustrated trick or treat story

doorstep decoration

Other useful resources:

http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art58780.asp/zzz – lots of links pertaining to Halloween, including some that are autism-specific.

http://autism.about.com/od/autismhowtos/ht/halloween.htm – “How to enjoy halloween with your autistic child”

Halloween, DisneyLand

http://troopers.state.ny.us/Publications/Crime_Prevention/ha lloweenclrbk.pdf – Halloween safety coloring book.

http://www.pwsaohio.org/articles/Trick%20or%20Treat%20Tips%2 0from%20the%20PROS.PDF Tips from the Prader-Willi Syndrome Association. Sample tip: Put a sign on your door that a neighbor is also distributing candy for your home (if your child is bothered by people coming to the door, or if he gets obsessed by the candy bowl).

http://autismgames.blogspot.com/2008/10/mask-games.html– Mask games from a Speech Language Pathologist who specializes in autism.

From the Archives ~ The O’Donnell Family “Autism Coach software donated to family featured on Extreme Makeover”:



Belgian flag

The colours of the Belgian flag represent the following:

Yellow ~ a symbol of generosity

Red ~ hardiness, bravery, strength and valour

Black ~ determination

Belgium - map

“Opleidingscentrum Autisme”

Philosophy: … “We must try to understand the ‘autistic way of thinking’ and try to experience the world as people with autism do. Only this way we will understand the causes of their difficulties.”


Carpet Flower, Great Market

“Vlaamse Vereniging Autisme”:


Stock Exchange, Brussels

“Autism Europe aisble – To improve the quality of life of autistic people”:


Het Steen("The Stone Castle"), Antwerp

“Belgium Facts, travel videos, flags & photos”:


Hotel de Ville, Brussels

“Explore the Music of Belgium”:


Grote Market, Leuven, Belgium

“Belgium – Wikipedia”:


Belgian chocolates

Art Programs for Children “Art In All Of Us – The Project – Art in All of Us (SM) (AiA) is a non-profit organization based in Belgium (Brussels) and New York (Chelsea and Manhattan):


Fjord horses pulling carriage, Antwerp

“Enchanted Learning – Belgium”:


The Leie River, Grasbrug, Gent

About the Languages of Belgium

Dutch, French and German are all official languages of Belgium. More than half of Belgians speak Dutch, about a third speak French, about a tenth are bilingual and less than 1% speak German.

The Dutch spoken in Belgium is sometimes called Flemish by English speakers. It’s mainly spoken in the north. French is largely spoken in the south, and German is mainly spoken to the east, on the German border.
Christmas in Belgium
“Belgian Children’s Songs”:


Association de Parents Pour L’Epanouiseement Des Personnes Autistas (APEPA)
Rue Château des Balances
3/27 à 5000 Namur
tel: 32 81 744350
fax: 32 81 744 350
Email: apepa@quest.ulg.ac.be
Website: http://www.ulg.ac.be/apepa/

Opleidingscentrum Autisme (Centre for Training on Autism)
Laar 61
B-2140 Antwerpen- Borgerhout
tel: (32) 3 235 37 55
fax: 32 2 236 58 46
Email: OPL.CTR.AUTIME@ping.be

Vlaamese Veriniging Autisme
Groot Benginjhof, 14
B-9040 Gent (Sint-Amandsberg)
Tel: (32) 78 152 252
Fax: (32) 92 188 383
Email: vva@autismevlaanderen.be
Website: http://www.autismevlaanderen.be
(updated 8/08)



“Nature may ease ADHD symptoms”:


Howie Mandel “TV star talks about having adult ADHD”:


“Conference to answer tough questions about children and technology”:


“ADHD people more likely to be addicted to cigarettes”:


“Promotional ADHD drug video draws FDA’s rebuke”:


“ADHD – A very incomplete puzzle”:


“What do you really know about ADHD?”:


“Parents of LA School for the Deaf students frustrated about post-closure plans … Mahogany is not only deaf, but she also suffers from ADD, ADHD, and mental retardation. She gets hysterical. Her whole routine has been broken.”:

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”:




CBC Compass News “Alex in a Tale of 3 Runners at the PEI Marathon”:


Alex Bain “Runman: Alex’s First Marathon in Pictures”:


“Paralympians an inspiration – Brown”:


“Darren’s great walk of China”:


“Rosemary’s baby: autism awareness”:


“Olympics/Paralympics blog …

A father recently wrote to Nova Canturion saying his son, who has the autistic condition Asperger’s Syndrome, was struggling at school, but had been transformed since watching Adlington on TV. He had not only taken up swimming, but swam five days a week to copy her regime. His school results have improved dramatically.”:


“The 5k Santa run – 7th December”:


“Flora London Marathon 2009”:


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


“Cycle India 2009”:


“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”:



DVD “Autism the Musical”:


“The AutisMusic Project”:





Daniel Barnett (Danjo) is 30 and realized only three years ago that he could express his feelings through his art. His style is typically naïve. He comments: ‘ Savant I am not. My art echoes the way I have to live – quite two dimensional and short on detail!’ He is single and lives in North Manchester although he hails from the Home Counties. Danjo enjoys art galleries and listening to a broad range of music, preferably live:


“Art exhibit aids autism awareness”:


“NAS Christmas cards”:


“Take part in our creativity competition”:


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




“Cartoon series aids autistic kids”:


“Bakery film that was an inspiration coins in the dough at film festival … the makers of a low-budget Scottish documentary about a bakery staffed by people with Down’s syndrome and autism have won $75,000 (£46,000) at a festival in Abu Dhabi.

The bakery is run by Garvald Edinburgh, which provides support services for adults with disabilities.”:


“Spoonface Steinberg: be prepared to weep”:


“Licensed to thrill! New Bond film’s on its way … Hampshire Autistic Society has also pulled off a coup by securing a screening of the film at The Apollo Cinema, Fareham, on the same night at 7.30pm.
The society’s head of community fund-raising Gemma Harvey said £16 tickets for the premiere were selling fast.”:


“Juliet Stevenson to appear in Dustbin Baby”:


“Actors for Autism”:



“Autism’s False Prophets: Bad Science, Risky Medicine, and the Search for a Cure”

Author: P A Offit

“[Dr. Offit] has done a huge public service by exposing the tragic and dangerous place the anti-vaccine hysteria has taken us.” — Huntly Collins, Philadelphia Inquirer


“UC Authors Featured at Cincinnati Book Festival”

James C. Wilson, professor of English & Comparative Literature, A&S
Wilson’s memoir, “Weather Reports from the Autism Front: A Father’s Memoir of His Autistic Son” (McFarland & Company, Inc.), is described as follows by Amazon.com: “Based on detailed research and a lifetime of personal experience, James Wilson recounts his personal journey as the primary companion of his now twenty-six-year-old autistic son, Sam. This realistic, irreverent account of an autistic young man and his misadventures while transitioning to adulthood provides enlightening truths as well as sardonic humor. Formally seen as a neurological disorder, autism is increasingly being looked upon as simply a form of neurodiversity. Rejecting mainstream attitudes, Wilson explores this modern view of autism through his own experience as well as quotes from autistic people and bloggers, some of whom are the most vocal proponents of this viewpoint. A detailed bibliography accompanies this engaging memoir of a father and son’s experience negotiating the slippery slopes of normality.”


“When My Worries Get Too Big: A Relaxation Book for Children Who Live with Anxiety”

Authors: Brenda Smith Myles and Kari D. Buron


“Congratulations! It’s Asperger Syndrome”

Author: Jen Birch


“Asperger’s Syndrome and High Achievement: Some Very Remarkable People”

Author: Ioan James


“Different Like Me: My Book of Autism Heroes”

Author: Jennifer Elder


“My Social Stories Book”

Author: Carol Gray


New “The Hidden Curriculum 2009

One-A-Day Calendar: Items for Understanding Unstated Rules in Social Situations

By Brenda Myles with Megan Duncan


New “In His Shoes”

Author: Joanna Keating-Velasco


New “The Chameleon Kid”

Author: Elaine M. Larson


“More Than Little Professors”

Author: Lisa Barrett Mann, M.S. Ed.


IGOR movie poster



IGOR is an animation starring the voices of John Cusack, Steve Buscemi and John Cleese. Igor is a talented inventor who’s determined to prove his worth at the annual Evil Science Fair. With help from his wise-cracking sidekicks Scamper, a grumpy lab rabbit, and the not so brainy Brain, he plans to create the greatest invention the world has ever seen and win first prize.



As always, the Kaboose team have a great range of Fall crafts, colouring and recipes for children to enjoy … http://crafts.kaboose.com/holidays/seasons/fall/

Sailor's Dream


“Stars the only guide for Briton’s historic sail to Australia”


Speaking of sailboats and Australia for that matter, during an expedition in August/September this year, paintings of sail boats, ocean liners and biplanes were discovered in what’s been hailed as the largest Rock Art Site find, spanning art from the past 15 000 years. To view some examples of the newly discovered Art Trove …


Dancing, Helpful Roboto


“S. Korea’s dancing robot can also tackle the chores”:





David Brent Motivational Microsoft Posters


“Conscientiousness Reportedly The Secret To A Long Life”


Study Findings(Item in full)


Hope you enjoyed the read.

Take Care,


Brussels Sunrise