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November 2011



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Archive for November 15th, 2011

Logo Harvard Law School
ASAN Symposium on Ethical, Legal and Social Implications of Autism Research

Harvard Law School, Hauser Hall
Room 105
1563 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138

Driving Directions Map of Law School Campus

Saturday December 10, 2011 from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM EST
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The Autistic Self Advocacy Network, in conjunction with the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology and Bioethics, the Harvard Law Project on Disability and the UNESCO Bioethics Chair American Unit, is proud to invite you, to join us on December 10th for a Symposium on Ethical, Legal and Social Implications of Autism Research at Harvard Law School. The free event will run from 9 AM to 3 PM at the Harvard Law School campus, Hauser Hall, Room 105. Topics covered will include prenatal testing, community participation in research methodologies, appropriate and inappropriate intervention goals and much more.

This symposium will serve a unique role in shedding light on ethics and values issues within the autism research community. By bringing together self-advocate and researcher participants, we hope this will serve as a starting point for meaningful dialogue between those conducting research on autism and the community of Autistic adults and youth. Confirmed participants include Administration on Developmental Disabilities Commissioner Sharon Lewis, ASAN President and IACC Public Member Ari Ne’eman, National Institute on Child Health and Human Developmental Director Alan Guttmacher, Harvard Law Professor Michael Stein, Paula Durbin-Westby, Emily Titon, Liz Pellicano, David Rose and many more.

This event is open to the general public without charge and is made possible by a grant from the Administration on Developmental Disabilities.

Register Now!
I can’t make it
Please join us as we begin this exciting conversation. Space is limited, so please RSVP soon.
The Autistic Self Advocacy Network

12 Ways to Be Thankful

By Therese J. Borchard

To get us in the mood for the Thanksgiving Holiday!

Cicero said that “gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.” The English preacher John Henry Jowett wrote that “every virtue divorced from thankfulness is maimed and limps along the spiritual road.” And according to Aseop Fables, “gratitude is the sign of noble souls.” A dear professor of mine just acknowledged a thank-you note I sent him and told me that “gratitude is the sign of maturity and wisdom.”

I don’t feel like I’m very good at gratitude. This virtue comes hard to a depressive whose first thoughts are seldom positive. It has only been with much work and lots of practice that I have been able to cultivate gratitude and be genuinely thankful. Here are 12 techniques I use to help me get to the parent of all virtues.

Read in Full: 

 Chapel of Thanksgiving
Creating a Peaceful Holiday for your Family

Buck Black, LCSW Updated: Nov 18th 2009

Aren’t holidays great?  There are presents, food, time off work (for those fortunate enough), and time with family.  However, the time with family can quickly turn into disagreements, which then lead to out right fighting.  Its all too often the times we all think should be enjoyed turn into episodes of family drama.

Before getting together with family this holiday season, think about the triggers that cause these family problems.  Maybe Uncle Bobby is the one who starts problems by drinking too much.  Possibly it is Aunt Mildred who starts on a rant because Uncle Bobby is drinking too much, which then sends him into a defensive rant.  Maybe there are past resentments that have not been dealt with since the previous year(s) and they are now resurfacing while everyone sits down to the table.  I think you get the point…there can be a multitude of problems that can cause a family to dinner to become a scene of dysfunction.

What can you do different this year?  Identify those triggers that have caused anger and/or arguments in the family and approach things differently this year.  Is there a need to hold family gatherings at a different location?  Would having an alcohol-free family get together likely make the day more pleasant?

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Related Articles:

Thanksgiving Day Kids
Inclusive Thanksgiving Tips

Monica J. Foster

Thanksgiving is a day brimming over with delectable food choices and dear family moments to cherish forever. A disability isn’t a barrier to that, nor should it be thought of as an extra stressor to anyone else’s fun. Planning and patience in advance is the secret to it all.

No matter what the challenges are, set in your mind that it won’t overshadow the festivities. Whether you want to help out in the kitchen preparing the day’s meal or simply share time with family you haven’t seen in a forever, there are several places where careful thought can alleviate bad feelings.

Read in Full: 


Children’s Thanksgiving Art & Craft Sites 

“Enchanted Learning”
“Thanksgiving Activities for Kids – Includes Crafts, Coloring, Art, Recipes & Dinner”
“Thanksgiving for Kids – Activities, Printables & Crafts!”
“Thanksgiving Activities for Kids & Teachers”
“DLTK’s Thanksgiving Activities”
“Thanksgiving Games & Activities ~ Free Kid’s Games, Coloring, Online Jigsaw Puzzles & Other Children’s Activities”

Thanksgiving Social Story

social story

Click here to read a Thanksgiving social story from Slater Software.

First Thanksgiving
History of Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Recipes 







Additional Articles

“Don’t Let Your Thanksgiving Turn Into A Real Turkey, Tips For Avoiding Stress-Outs”:


Cameron visits Trinity College Cambridge to assess his maths ability

Cameron Thompson is a 14-year-old maths prodigy from north Wales. He passed with high grades at maths GCSE and A-level and is now taking an Open University degree in pure maths. So what does it feel like to be a teenager growing up with raging hormones and a towering intellect?

At the age of 11, Cameron sat a school entrance maths test.

“One hundred and forty one out of 140, I broke the system, I think I did well,” he says.

At the same age, he sailed through two GCSEs in maths and additional maths, and in the same year passed his maths A-level with flying colours. But being brilliant at maths has become Cameron’s entire identity, and trying to fit in at school and develop his social skills has somehow become left behind in a desire to escape mediocrity.

“I have the social ability of a talking potato,” he says.

“Most people my age do despise me. I’ve been like this for years. I’m used to being ignored.”

The foundations of his academic success have also been shaken by the fact that his grades for his degree course have been dropping, and he is panicking. In the first year, his marks were up in the 80s, putting him in the top 0.5%. But on a recent assignment, he scored 72%, a healthy grade by most people’s standards, but not enough to secure the distinction that he wants.

“I am a bit worried about failing the Open University,” he says. “I just am, despite the fact that, technically, I shouldn’t be doing it for about another five years.”

Fresh start

Although Cameron can easily identify the answers, he has trouble explaining how he came to his conclusion, bringing down his overall marks, and he will only be able to continue with the degree if his marks show signs of improvement.

His parents, Rod and Alison, who live near Wrexham, are unsure whether his struggle to explain is due to his age, or the fact he has been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, a type of autism that can occasionally combine great mental prowess with communication problems.

“Apparently plenty of people with Asperger’s are really intelligent, high achievers,” Cameron says. “People like Einstein and Newton, they had supposed Asperger’s.”

The pressure of making sure his marks improve on his next assignment is a worry for Cameron.

It is not his parents that drive this ambition to achieve, but Cameron himself, and to add to this stress he is also growing up.

“Mum first noticed a moustache, she saw it and told me about it,” he explains. Not long after that, one of his younger sisters, 10-year-old Beth, accidentally ripped it off with a piece of sticky tape.

With his family moving house, however, Cameron is facing a fresh start at a new school and the opportunity to try to establish a new social life.

“It gives me a chance to start again, so they reckon [I’ll] actually work my way up the social ladder, instead of just staying at the bottom,” he says.

“If I can make it to the middle I’m less likely to be bullied there, certainly not physically.”

One characteristic of Asperger’s is a difficulty to make friends, and Alison worries that her son does not always listen to social cues.

“Sometimes tact goes right over his head. Naive would be the best word for it,” she says.

“He is a brilliant kid. He couldn’t do enough for everybody. At the same time, while sometimes he is oblivious, he is also very sensitive,” she says.

Read in Full:


World’s extraordinary prodigies

  • *Michael Kearney started studying for an Associate of Science degree at Santa Rosa Junior College in California at the age of six
  • *Korean child prodigy Kim Ung-Yong was able to read in Japanese, Korean, German and English by the age of four
  • *American Gregory Smith was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize at the age of 12
  • *Akrit Jaswal from India, a child surgeon, operated on the hand of a young girl when he was seven
  • *Singer Cleopatra Stratan from Moldova had recorded an album by the age of three

Rose Francois Poisson バラ フランソワ ポワッソン


Thanks to the work of Dr. Sudesh Kataria, children who struggled with academics, taking direction or both have gone on to be doctors, lawyers and engineers.

Kataria was on the forefront of establishing a subspecialty in medicine called development behavior pediatrics – an area of study that focuses on how conditions such as autism and attention deficit disorder are diagnosed and treated.

Kataria died last month; she was 70. It was unexpected – a rare and aggressive form of interstitial lung disease was diagnosed in September, and she succumbed weeks later, surrounded by loved ones. Her daughter later found holiday gifts already purchased and clothes for her grandchildren meant for next year.

Being a patient did not make her any less a doctor.

“Even from the hospital, she was talking about Medicaid,” said her daughter Anjali Kataria, a health care reform expert living in Maryland.

Early in her career, Sudesh Kataria’s interest was met with skepticism by her colleagues. Her husband, Dr. Yash Kataria, a pulmonologist, said she was told it was a “voodoo” science and not worth establishing a career around.

“I remember her having to convince people there was this developmental pediatrics area,” her daughter said.

She had the chance to study with world-renowned cardiologists, “but that didn’t inspire her,” Yash Kataria said.

She persisted, studying children with then-undiagnosed learning disabilities and a host of other amorphous medical conditions that would not necessarily respond to prescriptions, but often required a lot more than just patience from parents.

Her daughter remembers there was always a box of tissues for the parents that would break down in her office, thinking they had failed. Her mother spoke of parents who would just sob and sob.

Kataria would offer encouragement and hope by pointing to world leaders who also struggle with developmental disabilities.

She told her parents, “You can be what you want to be – the only thing you need to get is some help,” her husband recalled. “No human being is totally perfect.”

Formidable job

The Katarias moved to Greenville in 1978 and were part of the founding faculty at the Brody School of Medicine at Eastern Carolina University.

She would work there for 30 years, affecting children locally, as well as throughout the Southeast.

Families drove from surrounding states for her expertise – she was often their only hope.

“It was a pretty formidable job,” said Dr. Ave Lachiewicz, a former colleague and professor of pediatrics and behavioral sciences at Duke University. “That’s not a group of kids that are particularly well-served in general.”

Kataria fought for increased resources in schools at the state level via her appointment by Gov. Jim Martin in 1992 to the State Interagency Coordinating Council for Handicapped Children. She also held office in the North Carolina Pediatric Society.

Dinner on Sunday

And even with her strong focus on work, she still found time to raise two children, Anjali and a son, Neil Kumar Kataria, of Virginia.

The family frequented the shore, ate home-cooked meals on Sundays and watched “60 Minutes” together.

“That was a big thing for her – to have a home dinner on Sunday night,” her daughter said.

It was a far more idyllic childhood than she experienced in India, surviving the Indian War and living as a refugee with few resources, one of seven children. As a woman, she had to secretly apply to medical school. She did not talk about these things until recent years, her husband said, and her experiences in childhood perhaps made her all the more empathetic to the struggles of others.

Prior to her death, her son’s wife gave birth to her fourth grandchild, a boy. She was able to hold him during her final days.

“The last words she said were: ‘We should all celebrate. We have a new life in the family,’ ” Anjali Kataria said.