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9-2 Tsunami Families with Autism

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    SCHAFER AUTISM REPORT Healing Autism: No Finer a Cause on the Planet ________________________________________________________________
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 10, 2005
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      SCHAFER AUTISM REPORT "Healing Autism:
      No Finer a Cause on the Planet"
      ________________________________________________________________
      Wednesday, January 5, 2005 Vol. 9 No. 2


      SPECIAL
      * Tsunami Families with Autism

      TRIVIALIZING AUTISM
      * Revenge of the Nerds
      * Increased Cases of Autism Probably Due To Improved Awareness
      * Autism's So-Called Epidemic
      COMMENTARY:
      * The Autism Epidemic
      * Somewhere over the Spectrum: Is Asperger Syndrome Autism?
      LETTER:
      * To the NY Times on "How About Not "Curing" Us

      TREATMENT
      * To Treat Autism, Parents Take a Leap of Faith: NY Times
      * DAN! Conferences Now Online

      MEDIA
      * The Today Show & CNBC Will Be Reporting the Autism Epidemic
      * First Kids-Only Radio Show Hosted By 11 Year Old With Aspergers
      * January issue of Autism Asperger’s Digest Magazine – Free!

      EDUCATION
      * Announcement of Public Meetings on the New IDEA


      SPECIAL

      Tsunami Families with Autism

      [From an announcement by Unlocking Autism.]

      We are sure that you are as saddened as we are viewing the devastation
      that has taken place around the Indian Ocean area of our world. The loss in
      lives as well as material necessities is unbelievable.
      At Unlocking Autism our hearts go out to the parents of children with
      autism in those affected areas whose world is even more confused because of
      the lack on continuity and stability. The autism community is worldwide and
      does not know the boundaries of the borders of the United States.
      To this end we are encouraging our community to reach out with the
      generosity that we have seen in the past and in a concerted effort,
      together, make donations that will be directed specifically to the children
      with autism and their families in Indonesia. Unlocking Autism has two UA
      Representatives in Jakarta, Indonesia who have volunteered to find parents
      of children with autism whose families were specifically affected by the
      earthquake and tsunamis and direct the funds raised to them to help them
      more quickly rebuild their lives.
      The National Autism Association is joining us in this effort. If you
      know of a specific family in this region that was affected, please write
      Nancy Cale at NANCALE@.... Otherwise, please stay tuned for forthcoming
      information on how you can help these families. Once we have been able to
      find them we will send out a call to you for help.

      [Editor’s note: we have some readers from that part of the world and
      subsequently they will get this message. –LS]
      * * *

      TRIVIALIZING AUTISM


      Editor’s Note: The articles under this heading are about the
      Trivializing of autism from diverse sources.


      Revenge of the Nerds
      Once outcasts, some autistics now see their condition as a cognitive gift
      and even the next stage in human evolution—at the dawn of the transhuman
      age, who's to say they're wrong?

      [By George Dvorsky for Betterhumans.]
      http://www.betterhumans.com/Features/Columns/Transitory_Human/column.aspx?ar
      ticleID=2005-01-03-2

      It was hard to believe that that the words were coming from a
      seven-year-old boy.
      “Another characteristic of mammals is that they give placental
      births,” he said, “Oh, except marsupials like kangaroos and koala bears.”
      Changing gears slightly he continued, “And then there are animals with
      endoskeletons and exoskeletons. Humans, because they have bones on the
      inside of their bodies have endoskeletons, but insects have exoskeletons on
      the outside.” With a vocabulary more closely resembling that of someone in
      grade nine, he chimed off the bits of scientific triviata as if he were
      directly linked to Wikipedia.
      Clearly, this was no ordinary second grader, whom I chatted with
      recently at a Toronto specialist's office. Compared to other kids with
      Asperger's syndrome, however, his abilities are considered quite typical.
      His younger brother, who also has Asperger's, is already doing
      multiplication tables in his head while most of his kindergarten classmates
      are still trying to count to 10. The boy also has social interaction and
      behavioral problems typical of those with Asperger's. He tends to construe
      all advances from his classmates as bothersome, for example, compulsively
      chews on his sleeves and frequently stands up to spin in class. This is
      pretty textbook stuff for “Aspies”—an affectionate moniker that's
      increasingly coming to be used to refer to those with Asperger's syndrome, a
      high-functioning form of autism.
      Yet despite the problems, and considering his cognitive gifts, there's
      a good chance that this boy will integrate successfully into society and
      lead a fulfilling and meaningful life. That's what a growing segment of the
      autistic community wants the rest of society to acknowledge. Organizing
      around the idea that their condition is not so much a disability as a valid
      mode of psychological being, a growing number of autistics say that the
      problem is not with their condition but with the general unwillingness to
      accept and integrate them into society.
      + Story continues:
      http://www.betterhumans.com/Features/Columns/Transitory_Human/column.aspx?ar
      ticleID=2005-01-03-2
      * * *

      Increased Cases of Autism Probably Due To Improved Awareness

      http:/www.medicalnewstoday.com

      Over the past 20 years, there has been speculation about a connection
      between immunizations and an increase in autism. However, a study by Mayo
      Clinic researchers published in the January issue of Archives of Pediatrics
      and Adolescent Medicine suggests the increase may be due to improved
      awareness, changes in diagnostic criteria and availability of services, not
      environmental factors or immunizations.
      “This study is the first to measure the incidence -- the occurrence of
      new cases -- of autism by applying consistent, contemporary criteria for
      autism to a specific population over a long period of time,” says William
      Barbaresi, M.D., a Mayo Clinic developmental pediatrician and one of the
      study authors. “In doing so, the study accounts for improvements in the
      diagnostic criteria for autism, the medical community's improved
      understanding of this disease and changes in federal special education
      laws.”
      The study found that the increase in the incidence of autism in
      Olmsted County, Minn. coincided with broadening of the diagnostic criteria
      for autism and new federal special education laws including autism as a
      disability category. Both events occurred many years after immunizations
      were mandated for school entry. Broader, more precise diagnostic criteria
      for autism were introduced in 1987. Prior to these new criteria, children
      with autism may have been given less precise diagnoses such as
      “developmental delay” or “mental retardation,” and children with milder
      symptoms of autism may not have been identified at all. The 1991 federal
      special education laws improved the availability of educational services for
      children with autism.
      The study used data from the Rochester Epidemiology Project, a
      database of all inpatient and outpatient records in Olmsted County, Minn.
      The database diagnoses are indexed for computerized retrieval, allowing
      researchers to identify subjects with any developmental disorder.
      Researchers found 3,000 children with at least one of 80 diagnoses related
      to autism. Of the 3,000 children, 124 actually met the current diagnostic
      criteria for autism. Reviewing the medical and school history of this group
      showed that the incidence of autism was stable until 1988-1991, then
      increased after new laws and new diagnostic criteria were implemented.





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      * * *

      Autism's So-Called Epidemic

      [By Erik Strand, Psychology Today.]
      http://cms.psychologytoday.com/articles/index.php?term=pto-20040209-000008

      No one can ignore the rise in autism rates. A 1999 study revealed that
      numbers in California had increased 273 percent in the past decade, and
      studies in Atlanta and New York City suggest an even more dramatic jump.
      Whereas traditional estimates held that 1 in 2,000 children might show
      signs of autism, today many experts put the rate at 1 in 500-or even higher.
      Researchers have attempted to link the soaring numbers to factors
      including prenatal exposure to certain medications, early-life infections,
      and inoculations for measles, mumps and rubella. But experts question
      whether the sharp rise in diagnoses is due to an authentic increase in
      incidence or to heightened awareness combined with evolving diagnostic
      standards.
      While studies conducted before the 1990s typically used a narrow
      definition of autism, today's research reflects a broad class of autism
      spectrum disorders. In previous surveys, mild diagnoses such as Asperger's
      syndrome were likely excluded. Proactive methods of case-finding used in
      recent studies may also result in higher prevalence estimates.
      Experts are therefore cautious about attributing the rise in autism
      cases to harmful environmental factors-though they haven't been ruled out.
      Most experts share the view of Geraldine Dawson, of the University of
      Washington Autism Center, who states that “there clearly is an increase in
      prevalence, and some, if not all, of this increase is related to expanding
      diagnostic classification. Whether or not this explains all of the increase,
      however, is unknown.”
      * * *

      COMMENTARY

      The Autism Epidemic

      [By Bill Welsh, Charity chairman Action Against Autism published in
      the British Medical Journal’s Rapid Response section.]
      http://bmj.bmjjournals.com/cgi/eletters/329/7477/1293

      May I contribute to recent correspondence on the 'autism issue' by
      providing some hard facts from a Scottish perspective? THE Scottish
      Executive’s Social Work Statistics Branch recently produced an Audit of
      Services for People with Autistic Spectrum Disorder, as part of a wider
      Public Health Institute for Scotland (PHIS) exercise. The full report is to
      be found in the deepest bowels of an impenetrable government website. It
      contains the long awaited official confirmation that ‘autism’ is epidemic in
      Scotland. There are now more than 3,400 children (“an underestimate”) in
      school and pre-school with the diagnosis of autism, a once very rare
      condition. I ask you to consider this appalling statistic for a moment;
      3,400 Scottish children have lost the gift of a full, meaningful and
      intelligent life, and to a condition implausibly considered solely genetic
      in origin.
      To those of us within the community of autism and the many carers,
      teachers and special needs operatives, verification of what we have been
      witnessing with our own eyes will come as no surprise. In fact this tragic
      phenomenon has been occurring throughout the UK, the USA and the rest of the
      developed world for a number of years. It is evident that an environmental
      factor, or factors, as yet unidentified, is implicated in this catastrophe.
      Exacerbating what is already a heart-breaking experience for parents
      has been the denial by health officials worldwide that an epidemic even
      exists, citing unsustainable spurious arguments, such as ‘better
      recognition’ and ‘changing diagnostic criteria’ for the increase. This
      knee-jerk denial culture has without doubt left tens of thousands of
      seriously ill children in need of proper medical investigation and
      treatment. Many of the children may be in constant pain and distress. Public
      health officials rather than addressing this human tragedy have become an
      impediment to progress. Astonishingly, had the affected children contracted
      an infectious disease a pre-planned action programme would have been
      implemented. For a chronic condition like autism no programme exists.
      The role of medical politics in this episode must urgently be given
      thorough investigation.
      Autism is an epidemic. That is now proven. It is now time to
      acknowledge the role of environmental factors. Investigative research into
      the potential culprits must be instigated and the results published, no
      matter the consequences to the medical and political establishments.
      Examination of the seriously ill children should be an urgent priority; only
      then can treatment protocols be properly established, founded on robust
      evidence.
      We are talking about an ‘epidemic’ sweeping the developed world, an
      epidemic affecting our most precious asset, our children.
      One Scottish example speaks volumes; in November 2003 it was
      established that one child in 49 at primary school in Inverness either had,
      or was awaiting the diagnosis of autism, a ‘rare’ condition. Why was no
      emergency debate called in any UK Parliament? Why did the Health & Community
      Care Committee of the Scottish Parliament not alter its agenda to discuss
      the loss of so many children to a lifelong and incurable illness - an agenda
      that included in December 2003 the Food (Brazil Nuts) (Emergency Control)
      (Scotland) Amendment Regulations? One assumes the advice being given to
      ministers and then driven down to the parliamentary foot soldiers was that
      no problem existed. Media scaremongering, a frequent loophole for
      beleaguered officials, was probably advanced as a reason for inaction.
      Action was and is essential, then and today. If they could all talk, 3,400
      sick Scottish school children would testify to that.
      The lifetime cost to society for each autistic child has been
      estimated at £2.94m, which indicates a £10bn problem nestling within the
      Scottish school system, and growing daily. Extrapolate that figure for the
      UK and one asks when this £100bn plus cost is going to cross the UK
      chancellor’s radar screen? The UK Medical Research Council meanwhile has
      trumpeted the investment of £2.5m into autism research - less than the
      lifetime cost to society of one child. This tawdry response epitomises the
      lack of commitment the medical establishment has to identifying the causes
      of autism and to the important and urgent introduction of interventions that
      will aid the recovery of medically ill autistic children. Where is their
      compassion? The truth is inescapable; autism is a public health emergency.
      Competing interests: Chairman of an Autism Charity and grandfather to
      a child who withdrew into autism following MMR vaccination.
      * * *


      This commentary, in part, is a response to a New York Times article
      "How About Not "Curing" Us?” about an “autie” fringe group attempting to
      eliminate the distinction between autism and Asperger Syndrome. –Editor.



      Somewhere over the Spectrum: Is Asperger Syndrome Autism?
      Lenny Schafer
      Editor


      The technical answer is no. Both Aspergers and autism are
      respectively defined in the In DSM-IV (American Psychiatric Association,
      1994) and the DSM-IV clearly distinguishes between the AS diagnosis and that
      of autism* though they are related. And what is one of the primary
      differences between the two disorders? It is the degree of language skills.
      Those with autism have significantly impaired language skills, those with
      Aspergers do not. The distinctions are specific and unambiguous. If one can
      typically speak, write, sign, etc., even if they have a number of other
      shared characteristics with autism, they are not autistic. There are other
      features that distinguish the two disorders as well.
      (What about “high functioning autism” and how does that fit in?
      Simply put, it doesn’t fit in anywhere. High functioning autism is not
      clinically defined and is not in the DSM-IV, and for good reason. High
      functioning autism is an oxymoron. If one meets the criteria for a diagnosis
      of autism, by definition one cannot be high-functioning. It would be as
      silly as the term sharp-eyed blindness.)
      So why would a handful of people, amongst a few others, who apparently
      are for the most part Aspergers, if anything, want to identify themselves
      autistic? Perhaps because autism is a profound disability and Aspergers is
      a disorder that is mostly not. Autism thus carries more moral weight than
      Aspergers and therefore has more moral clout for self-esteem building
      political and social agendas. “We autistics don’t want to be cured” carries
      much more punch than “We Aspergers don’t want to be cured”, especially given
      the reality that there is no movement anywhere that seeks to “cure” those
      with Aspergers into being anything else.
      Aspergers-labeled alone, they would be ignored by the press and would
      be denied the juicy sense of empowerment that would come with a high-profile
      “oppressed minority” movement article like the one in the liberal New York
      Times.
      The New York Times reporter failed to do a journalist’s most basic
      homework. She failed to check the credentials of those doing the
      complaining, despite my urging. Anyone can call themselves autistic and
      write cranky letters to the editor. So how does someone determine if a
      person is truly autistic, or is an autism imposter with Aspergers? Ask to
      see their diagnosis. If someone claims to have autism for purposes of
      making some political statement, ask them to prove it. In any of the
      correspondence I have had with the autism “imposters”, not one has ever
      supplied such documentation. Of course, it is highly unlikely to ever see
      it. The irony here is that if someone has enough language skills to
      effectively complain about the treatment of autistics, then they themselves
      cannot be autistic.
      Asperger Syndrome is a serious disorder and those who suffer it
      deserve sufficient support to help ease their integration into the rest of
      society, to the extent they choose to do so. This newsletter is committed to
      the efforts for making it so. But those who would define Aspergers or
      autism as little more than an odd-ball minority lifestyle made up of “geeks”
      and savants with ticks doing tricks, trivializes and short changes everyone
      on the spectrum, including those with Aspergers.
      Apparently more than one big city newspaper has failed to see through
      this deception, so eager are they to get an unusual victim story into print.
      Can we afford to allow the interests of our autistic children and everyone
      else “on the spectrum” to be pushed out of the public eye and displaced by a
      handful of imposters crying a contrived victimhood? Who speaks for autism?
      Not this bunch.


      * Asperger's Syndrome, High Functioning Autism, and Disorders of the
      Autistic Continuum, Sally Bloch-Rosen, Ph.D. 8 April 1999
      http://www.aspergersyndrome.com/html/research_paper.html
      * * *

      Re: New York Times Article "How About Not "Curing" Us

      Letter to the NY Times from Kit Weintraub

      Since I was quoted in the NY Times (ambushed, was more like it) I
      thought I would share my letter to the reporter who wrote the article, Amy
      Harmon. I have complained to the NY Times about her bias, and I have written
      a letter to the editor which I understand will be published this week
      (though it's been edited down to nothing.)

      Dear Amy,
      I'd by lying if I said I was not extremely disappointed in your
      article published today. Choosing only the "Mickey Mouse vs. Frodo" example
      among all that I gave you sort of set me up to look like the neurotic
      control freak that this group already thinks I am. More importantly it does
      a disservice to New York Times readers who will obviously reach similar
      conclusions based on the lack of balance in the article. I am having a hard
      time believing that this was not your intent, since we spoke for over an
      hour, and I think I was pretty clear about my reasons for wanting to help my
      kids, and the full extent of their disabilities being quite different than
      the Asperger's people interviewed for your article.
      The point that was missed here was that Nick wouldn't even care about
      choosing anything to dress up in if we hadn't done ABA therapy with him. He
      would probably only be speaking in "scripts" from movies if at all, he would
      have absolutely no interest in any pretending to be Mickey Mouse or anyone
      else, because we literally had to teach him what pretend meant and how to
      pretend in ABA sessions.
      He is not like these people; he was much more severely afflicted than
      any of them, despite their claims to having a full range of autistic traits.
      Don't you question the fact that these people are highly verbal and
      intelligent, many of them successfully employed and in relationships, yet
      many of them claim not to be fully toilet-trained? Lack of self-help skills
      and self-injurious behaviors are usually associated with people who are
      lower functioning who are unable to express their wants and needs. These are
      the facts. I question strongly as to whether these people are being
      truthful.
      +Complete letter here: http://www.sarnet.org/ltr/weintraub1-05.htm
      * * *

      TREATMENT

      To Treat Autism, Parents Take a Leap of Faith: NY Times


      “If so many kids are being cured, then where
      are they? Who are they? Show me 10 percent,”
      - Dr. Bryna Siegel, director of the autism clinic
      at the University of California, San Francisco


      [By Benedict Carey in the NY Times, published: December 27, 2004.]
      http://www.nytimes.com/2004/12/27/health/27autism.html?ex=1105074000&en=c1ac
      005d24685de3&ei=5070&oref=login

      Desperate parents of autistic children have tried almost everything -
      hormone injections, exotic diets, faith healing - in the hope of finding a
      cure.
      But more than 60 years after it was first identified, autism remains
      mystifying and stubbornly difficult to treat. About the only thing parents,
      doctors and policy makers agree on is that the best chance for autistic
      children to develop social and language skills is to enroll them in some
      type of intensive behavioral therapy.
      A government-appointed panel has endorsed such therapies, which can
      cost $40,000 to more than $60,000 per year. Parents fight to get their
      children placed in behavioral programs, encouraged by the claims of some
      therapists that they can produce astonishing improvement in up to 50 percent
      of cases. An estimated 141,000 children with autism receive special
      education services, in many cases including behavioral therapies, through
      public schools.
      Yet the science behind behavioral treatments is modest at best.
      Researchers have published very few rigorously controlled studies of the
      therapies, and the results of those studies have been mixed. While some
      children thrive, even joining regular classrooms, the studies have found
      that most show moderate or little improvement. And researchers say most
      parents now experiment with so many alternative treatments - including
      vitamins, diets, sensory therapies and computer games - that they muddy the
      results of behavior treatment, making it very hard to say what is causing a
      child to gain skills or to decline.
      The most recent analysis of treatment research, financed by the
      National Institutes of Health and scheduled to be published next year,
      concludes that although behavior treatments benefit many children, there is
      no evidence that any particular treatment leads to recovery. Doctors do not
      yet know how to predict which children will improve in the treatments, or
      even how treatable the condition is, the report concludes.
      “If so many kids are being cured, then where are they? Who are they?
      Show me 10 percent,” said Dr. Bryna Siegel, director of the autism clinic at
      the University of California, San Francisco. “The reason practitioners can't
      show you all these kids is because there simply aren't that many of them out
      there.”

      Questioning the Evidence
      No one disputes that behavioral therapies can be transforming: parents
      are deeply committed to them, and most experts emphasize their successes,
      saying that they are the best option now available.
      But others say the evidence is not as solid as it is sometimes made
      out to be - a view echoed by some health insurers, who have refused or
      limited coverage for treatment. And politics, the experts say, sometimes
      gets in the way of a frank evaluation of how well the programs work.
      “We're at a point,” said Dr. Susan Hyman, an associate professor of
      pediatrics at the University of Rochester Medical Center, “where questioning
      the evidence behind them is like criticizing your grandmother's matzo-ball
      soup.”
      Behavioral treatment programs come in several varieties. A therapy
      called applied behavior analysis is the most studied and most commonly used.
      In this approach, the therapist begins by working one on one with a child,
      often 20 to 40 hours a week, to build social and language abilities in very
      small steps - by rewarding the youngster with a treat for learning words,
      for example, or for sitting still or greeting someone.
      A state-financed program in North Carolina, known by the acronym
      TEACCH (its full name is Treatment and Education of Autistic and Related
      Communication Handicapped Children), uses pictures and schedules, among
      other techniques, to keep children focused and interacting with others, and
      to take advantage of their visual skills. It is taught in classrooms, by
      trained teachers, or in special clinics, and is provided free throughout the
      state.
      Floor Time, another popular option, has teachers and parents on the
      floor, following a child's lead in interactive play to develop emotional
      connections. Other approaches, including the Denver Model and Pivotal
      Response Training, blend rewards for specific behaviors with play techniques
      and schedules. These have also helped children improve.
      In a 2001 report, a National Academy of Sciences panel convened by the
      federal government evaluated all the research and concluded that treating
      children as early as possible, and giving them at least 25 hours a week of
      therapy, was more important than the specific name-brand approach used.
      Parents' involvement in the treatment was especially helpful, the report
      said. In some states, parents have fought legal battles with school
      districts to get such programs paid for. Many parents hire therapists to
      come to their homes; others move to other states to get better services.
      "We redesigned our entire third floor to look just like the Teacch
      classroom," said Inga Sawyer, whose 5-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter
      use Teacch methods in Carrboro, N.C., near Chapel Hill. "Both of them thrive
      on the structure, and it has been really helpful in organizing their day"
      and mainstreaming them in school, she said.

      Belief Versus Proof
      But believing in the programs is one thing; proving how well they work
      is another. Researchers say traditional studies are difficult to carry out.
      The therapies are extremely time-consuming, and some parents, unwilling to
      take a chance on less-than-optimal therapy, refuse to let their children be
      part of the control groups that are essential for scientific research. Even
      the most well-known and rigorously studied brand of behavioral therapy, the
      Lovaas method, appears to be less effective than was originally hoped, and
      its record in studies is mixed. Named after its inventor, Dr. O. Ivar
      Lovaas, a psychologist at the University of California, Los Angeles, the
      method is taught from manuals and is a version of applied behavior analysis
      that demands close tracking of children's day-to-day behavior. In the
      original program, therapists would at times slap children on the thigh when
      they did not behave as instructed, a punishment that was phased out in the
      late 1980's.
      In 1987, Dr. Lovaas reported in a small study that 9 of 19 children
      who received up to 40 hours a week of his intensive therapy were classified
      as functioning normally after at least two years. Only 2 percent of children
      in a comparison group that received a less intensive version of the therapy
      did as well. In a follow-up paper in 1993, Dr. Lovaas reported that those
      initial gains had held up through age 12 or 13 in the children, bringing a
      sense of hope and possibility to a field that had known mostly resignation.
      Yet in 2000, a team of researchers who had trained with Dr. Lovaas tried to
      confirm the findings and could not. After receiving 20 to 30 hours a week of
      the Lovaas method for two years, only 2 of 15 children in the study reached
      the highest level, scoring at age level on all measures and entering regular
      classrooms without help, according to the study's lead author, Dr. Tristram
      Smith, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Rochester.
      No children in the control group reached the same level, he said.
      Children in the study who had full-blown autism, as opposed to a less
      severe disorder, did not show significant improvements as a group in most
      areas, compared with children who were given less intensive therapy, the
      study found.
      Dr. Lovaas, now a professor emeritus at U.C.L.A., said in an interview
      that the most likely explanation for the modest findings was the quality of
      the therapy being delivered. "I don't know why the results were so
      different, but my best guess is that they did not deliver the treatment as
      skillfully as we do here," he said. Yet in a review of the most recent
      research, accepted for publication in The Journal of Clinical Child and
      Adolescent Psychology, Dr. Sally Rogers, director of the MIND Institute at
      the University of California, Davis, wrote of that study: "This type of
      treatment is considered by many to be the treatment of choice for lower
      functioning children with autism. Yet the best designed study of this
      treatment, carried out by experts in the method, did not demonstrate
      improvement in the treated group of children with the full syndrome of
      autism relative to controls.”
      + Full article here:
      http://www.nytimes.com/2004/12/27/health/27autism.html?ex=1105074000&en=c1ac
      005d24685de3&ei=5070&oref=login




      -- > THE SCHAFER AUTISM REPORT IS < --

      0 Canada's most read autism publication
      0 United Kingdom's most read autism publication
      0 The United States' most read autism publication.*

      A Calendar of Events makes sense.
      ** NEXT UPDATE FEB 1 **
      http://www.sarnet.org/events


      _______________________________________________________
      * Whew! That's a pretty tall claim. Here are more details:
      ~200 editions, times 12 pages each (not 8 pages as
      previously Stated), times ~20,000 circulation
      comes to 48 million electronic pages per year.

      * * *

      DAN! Conferences Now Online

      [From the Autism Research Institute.]

      Our first Internet Web Conference, featuring over 30 hours of video
      footage from the two DAN! conferences in 2004, has become available for an
      entire month, starting on January 1, 2005. The webcast includes the
      introductions and interviews of recovered autistic children, before an
      enthusiastic crowd of 1,200 attendees, by stage and screen star Lou Diamond
      Phillips -- an historic moment!
      The information presented in these online sessions is a must for any
      parent or professional living with autism. We highly recommend attending a
      DAN! conference in person if you can. However, the costs associated with a
      DAN! conference may be prohibitive for some. That's why the ARI Web
      Conference is ideal. It's timely, it's online, it's vital information in
      your daily fight for the autistic individual(s) in your life, and it's
      affordable!
      Also now available online are the back issues of the ARI’s Autism
      Research Review International newsletter.

      Editor’s note: If you mention the Schafer Autism Report, you’ll
      probably get back a “So?” www.autism.com/ari
      * * *

      MEDIA

      The Today Show and CNBC Will Be Reporting the Autism Epidemic

      The Today Show and CNBC will both air series on autism the week of
      February 21. The Today Show series will be 11 parts, airing at 8:15 and 9:15
      each day, with a "bonus" third piece on Friday. The CNBC series will be 5
      parts (for a total of 16 total pieces).
      Bob Wright, Chairman of NBC, has a 3 year old grandson that has been
      diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. He has sent an e-mail out to all
      NBC/Universal employees to tell them about his grandson and to let them know
      that Autism is a hidden epidemic that takes an enormous toll on tens of
      thousands of families across the country. He also said that his goal is to
      bring the best and latest information to as wide as possible an audience on
      the subject of Autism.
      * * *

      First Kids-Only Radio Show Hosted By 11 Year Old With Aspergers
      Alex Moshenko interviewing Diane Bubel of The Bubel Aiken Foundation is
      online to hear at www.disabilitynewsradio.com (click on Past Shows).


      Alex was diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome (a high functioning form of
      Autism) when he was six years old and was placed in a 6:1:1 class for
      Kindergarten. But thanks to some amazing care people who helped right the
      wrong that had been done, Alex's life changed dramatically for the first
      grade. He was in regular class with a full time aide, and received five days
      of speech/language therapy, OT three times per week, weekly individual and
      group social skills training, and assistive technology to help him in
      various school settings.)
      At home we had applied the Feingold Program to his diet, and utilized
      allergy intervention through Dr. Rapp. We also had OT services at home three
      times per week and utilized therapeutic horseback riding lessons in the
      summer, along with attending speech language camps during the summer and
      lots of swimming! I am proud to say Alex is doing really well in regular
      sixth grade at Clarence Middle School and made it on the Merit Roll this
      past semester! A special thanks to the team of teachers who see Alex's
      gifts and talents.
      * * *

      January issue of Autism Asperger’s Digest Magazine – Free!

      [From a publisher’s announcement.]

      In celebration of five years in publication, the nation’s first
      magazine on ASD, the Autism Asperger’s Digest, is running a special
      promotion during the month of January – a free copy. “While thousands of
      people already benefit from the hands-on, practical information we offer in
      the magazine, there’s still hundreds of thousands of parents and
      professionals we’d like to introduce to the Digest,” stated Veronica Zysk,
      Managing Editor of the publication. “We’re offering this special promotion
      to do just that,” she added.
      Each 52-page issue of the Digest contains originally written articles,
      columns by noted individuals in the autism community and featured books –
      all geared to sharing useful, actionable information on ASD. Features in the
      Jan-Feb 2005 issue include:
      * Friend 2 Friend: Fostering Mutual Friendships for Children with ASD

      * Carol Burnett and Me
      * Beyond Guilt or Innocence
      * The Autism Intervention Strategy Wheel: A Partnership for Success
      * Glimpses of Autism
      * 1001 Great Ideas for Teaching and Raising Children with Autism
      Spectrum Disorders
      * The Role of the Autism Consultant
      * Visual Tools and Strategies
      * Your Child’s Inner Ecology
      The special free-issue promotion runs January 1st – 31st, or while
      supplies last. For more information, or to make an online request for the
      issue, visit the magazine’s website, www.autismdigest.com
      * * *

      EDUCATION

      Announcement of Public Meetings on the New IDEA

      [From the U.S. Department of Education.]

      The following is a preliminary announcement of our plans to hold a
      series of informal meetings during the first few months of calendar year
      2005, to seek comments and recommendations for developing regulations, as
      needed, based on the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act
      of 2004. The meetings will be in the following locations:
      Atlanta, GA; Newark, NJ; Correction: Newark, DE Boston, MA; Columbus,
      OH; San Diego, CA; Laramie, WY; and Washington, DC.
      We will notify you through notices published in the Federal Register
      of the specific dates and locations of each of these meetings, as well as
      other relevant information.
      Electronic Access to This Document: You may view this document, as
      well as all other Department of Education documents published in the Federal
      Register, in text or Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) on the Internet at
      the following site: http://www.ed.gov/news/fedregister.
      To use PDF you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available free
      at this site. If you have questions about using PDF, call the U.S.
      Government Printing Office (GPO), toll free, at 1-888-293-6498; or in the
      Washington, DC, area at (202) 512-1530.
      Note: The official version of this document is the document published
      in the Federal Register. Free Internet access to the official edition of the
      Federal Register and the Code of Federal Regulations is available on GPO
      Access at: http://www.gpoaccess.gov/nara/index.html.
      Program Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1400 et. seq.; Pub. L. 108-446, 118 Stat.
      2647.
      Troy R. Justesen, Acting Deputy Assistant, Secretary for Special
      Education and Rehabilitative Services. [FR Doc. 04-28503 Filed 12-28-04;
      8:45 am]



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