SAR "Healing Autism:
Schafer Autism Report No Finer a Cause on the Planet"
Wednesday, July 12, 2006 Vol. 10 No. 122
CHECK OUT THE SAR CALENDAR of EVENTS
DOZENS of EVENT NEW LISTINGS!
* NH Autistic Boy With Service Dog Turned Away From School
* Study Expands Knowledge About Autism
* Study of the Relationship Between Tuberous Sclerosis Complex & ASD
* Widely Circulated No Vaccine - Autism Link Study Riddled With
Inaccuracies, Radical Conclusions, Says National Autism Association
* Adderall XR Demonstrated Improved Productivity in the Classroom
Throughout the Day
* WSJ: Writers of Major Antidepressant Study Paid By Drugmakers
* Statement From A-CHAMP Regarding The Combating Autism Act
* California Assembly Member Saves The Best For Last
* Parents Sue After Child Assaulted by "Peer Tutor"
* Autism: Seeing Through The Heart
* Toronto Star Editorial: Time to Deliver On Autism Promise
NH Autistic Boy With Service Dog Turned Away From School
By Andrea Bushee for the Telegraph http://tinyurl.com/mo83w
Nashua- Cole Austin sat quietly on the sidewalk in front of his school
Tuesday morning as the adults around him talked about whether he and his new
service dog Zeke would be able to enter the building.
The 5-year-old's face, shaded by his Red Sox baseball cap, showed no
sign of emotion during the half hour it took school officials to decide that
he and the dog had to leave.
The autisitc boy's mother, Michelle Austin, was told Cole and Zeke
could not attend the extended-year program at Dr. Crisp Elementary School
because she refused to sign a contract saying the decision to allow the dog
in school was only temporary.
"They just told my son he can't have his education because he has a
service dog," she said.
But the boy and his dog will be able to attend school together as soon
as today, since acting Superintendent Christopher Hottel said Tuesday
afternoon that he's decided any student with a service animal will be let
into school as long as all the parties involved meet and feel comfortable
with the situation.
Hottel said he could not discuss any specific case involving a
student, but said the district is trying to accommodate students with
service animals, as well as the other students.
The board of education is considering a policy dealing with service
animals in schools. Until the board approves the policy, Hottel said,
signing a contract will not be required if all parties involved feel
comfortable with a service animal in the classroom.
Austin said Hottel had called her to say both Cole and Zeke would be
allowed in school today.
"I'm very relieved that he will be able to go to school tomorrow," she
said late Tuesday afternoon. "It's been a very emotional day. I think we've
turned a corner."
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Study Expands Knowledge About Autism
UPI - U.S. researchers say they believe they`ve identified why people
suffering from autism think in pictures.
The researchers in the National Institutes of Health-funded study
found autism might involve a lack of connections and coordination in
separate areas of the brain.
In people with autism, brain areas performing complex analysis appear
less likely to work together during problem-solving tasks than in
non-afflicted people. The researchers found communications between those
brain centers in autistics appear to be directly related to the thickness of
the anatomical connections between them.
In a separate study, the same research team found that, in people with
autism, brain areas normally associated with visual tasks also appear to be
active during language-related tasks, which might explain a bias toward
visual thinking common in autism.
\'The findings may one day provide the basis for improved treatments
for autism that stimulate communication between brain areas,\' said Dr.
Duane Alexander, director of NIH`s National Institute of Child Health and
The research was led by psychology Professor Marcel Just at Carnegie
Mellon University and Dr. Nancy Minshew, professor of psychiatry and
neurology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.
Study of the Relationship Between Tuberous Sclerosis Complex & ASD
From Journal of Child Neurology.
Virginia Wong MBBS, FRCP (London, Edinburgh), FHKAM (Paed), FHKCPaed, FRCPCH
There has been increasing awareness that there are behavioral
phenotypes in tuberous sclerosis complex with neuropsychiatric symptom
complex such as autistic disorder and attention-deficit hyperactivity
However, the neurobiologic basis of autistic disorder in tuberous
sclerosis complex is still unknown.
We studied two cohorts of children followed up since 1986 until 2003,
one cohort with tuberous sclerosis complex and another cohort with autistic
disorder, to determine the incidence of autistic disorder in tuberous
sclerosis complex and the incidence of tuberous sclerosis complex in
autistic disorder respectively.
We established a Tuberous Sclerosis Complex Registry in 1985 at the
University of Hong Kong.
In 2004, 44 index cases (the male to female ratio was 0.75:1) were
Three had a positive family history of tuberous sclerosis complex.
Thus, the total number of tuberous sclerosis complex cases was 47.
We adopted the diagnostic criteria of tuberous sclerosis complex for
The period prevalence rate of tuberous sclerosis complex for children
and adolescents aged = 20 years is 3.5 per 10,000 (on Hong Kong island,
excluding the eastern region with 125,100 aged = 20 years in 2003).
Of 44 cases with tuberous sclerosis complex, 7 had autistic disorder.
Thus, the incidence of autistic disorder in tuberous sclerosis complex
During the 17-year period (1986-2003), we collected a database of 753
children (668 boys and 84 girls; male to female ratio 8:1) with autistic
disorder and pervasive developmental disorders.
For all children with autistic disorder or pervasive developmental
disorders, we routinely examined for any features of tuberous sclerosis
complex by looking for neurocutaneous markers such as depigmented spots,
which appear in 50% of children with tuberous sclerosis complex by the age
of 2 years.
For those with infantile spasm or epilepsy, the clinical features of
tuberous sclerosis complex were monitored regularly during follow-up.
Of these, seven had tuberous sclerosis complex.
Thus, the incidence of tuberous sclerosis complex in autistic disorder
All of these children are mentally retarded, with moderate to severe
grades in an intellectual assessment conducted by a clinical psychologist.
Future studies should be directed toward looking at the various
behavioral phenotypes in tuberous sclerosis complex and defining these with
standardized criteria to look for any real association with the underlying
genetic mutation of TSC1 or TSC2 gene or even the site of tubers in the
Widely Circulated No Vaccine - Autism Link Study Riddled With Inaccuracies,
Radical Conclusions, Says National Autism Association
Drug-company proponent Dr. Eric Fombonne ignores scientific evidence, uses
frivolous research to obtain desired findings
Nixa, MO - Dr. Eric Fombonne's new Quebec study will soon be
published in the July 2006 issue of Pediatrics. Fombonne, a thimerosal
litigation expert witness on behalf of various pharmaceutical companies,
will reportedly state that it is "very clear" there is no relationship
between mercury-based thimerosal and the onset of autism.
According to the research group SafeMinds, Fombonne's research is
The study looked at 27,749 students in grades kindergarten through
12th grade in a Montreal school district and found 187 cases of autism.
The vast majority of these cases (more than 90%) were born in
years in which thimerosal vaccines were widely used for infants in Quebec,
as they were in the US.
Only a tiny fraction of the autism students were born when
thimerosal-free DTP and Hib vaccines were given, and these students may have
been exposed to thimerosal from the Hepatitis B vaccine newly recommended
for infants of foreign-born parents, which made up over one fourth of the
greater Montreal population.
Dr. Fombonne wrongfully claims that large-population studies in
the United States, England and Denmark also disprove a link between mercury
Although multiple respected researchers state otherwise, Dr.
Fombonne maintains the radical conclusion "there is no autism epidemic."
He conveniently ignores the vast body of scientific evidence,
which has shown that environmental factors such as mercury may have caused
the increased number of autism diagnoses in the US and other countries.
Dr. Fombonne's actions have historically been in the best interest
of various pharmaceutical companies, not families with autism. Fombonne has
also declared himself an expert witness in thimerosal-related litigation.
SafeMinds states, "Thimerosal is a serious poison that is harmful via
inhalation, ingestion or contact with skin. Furthermore,
thimerosal-containing vaccines elevate mercury levels in the body to a level
where adverse neurological outcomes are known to occur. It is irresponsible
for any pediatric doctor to justify injecting our children with mercury.
"The prevalence of all autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) has risen to 1
in 166 children in the past 20 years. Several independent federal agencies
and respected scientists and researchers have received federal funds to
investigate the autism epidemic and the biological plausibility of a link
between mercury and ASDs. Multiple studies have indicated that there is a
connection between childhood vaccines containing thimerosal and the
incidence of autism. No conclusions have been made rejecting a link between
mercury and autism."
The National Autism Association (NAA), along with multiple advocacy
groups and researchers, hope that Fombonne's conflicts of interest will be
disclosed in Pediatrics. "These significantly weak conclusions certainly
work to Dr. Fombonne's benefit. It is only appropriate that his partnership
with pharmaceutical companies be revealed," says Claire Bothwell, Board
Chair of NAA.
For more information, visit www.nationalautism.org or
EVIDENCE OF HARM DISCUSSION LIST HEATS UP
AS MERCURY LINK TO AUTISM QUESTION SPREADS
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Adderall XR Demonstrated Improved Productivity in the Classroom Throughout
[From the drug manufacturer to physicians (MedScape)].
To be successful in the classroom, children must have good focus and
attention, as well as good behavior. In a recent study, children taking
Adderall XR experienced significant improvement in academic productivity, as
measured by the PERMP scale, that was sustained throughout the day.
Significant improvement in academic productivity demonstrated in the
Adderall XR group-on average, patients in the Adderall XR treatment group
completed 26 more math problems correctly throughout the day compared with
the placebo group.
Adderall XR also demonstrated improvement in the core impairment of
inattention. In a recent clinical study, efficacy in treating inattention
was seen at the first postdose assessment (1.5 hours) and maintained
throughout the day.[8,10]
SKAMP (Swanson, Kotkin, Agler, M-Flynn, and Pelham) rating scale
deportment score assesses classroom manifestations of ADHD, including not
staying seated, not staying quiet, not following rules, etc.
Adderall XR was generally well tolerated in clinical studies.
* 97% of adverse events were mild or moderate, and most were reported
during the first 3 months
* Adderall XR showed no clinically significant changes in mean heart
rate or blood pressure over 2 years * Over half of the patients
receiving Adderall XR were treated for ?12 months
Adderall XR is contraindicated in patients with symptomatic
cardiovascular disease and moderate to severe hypertension
Adderall XR generally should not be used in patients with structural
cardiac abnormalities Low Incidence of Adverse Events in an Open-Label,
Noncomparative, Community Assessment Trial (LADD.CAT*)[4,17]
-Incidence of adverse events was low, regardless of previous
* - Most adverse events were mild in nature
* More than half of patients receiving Adderall XR were treated for 12
* The most common adverse events in pediatric trials included loss of
appetite, insomnia, abdominal pain, and emotional lability * In a 24-month,
open-label extension study, 97% of adverse events were mild or moderate, and
most were reported during the first 3 months
+ Graphics and references here:
WSJ: Writers of Major Antidepressant Study Paid By Drugmakers
A study in a prestigious medical journal warning against taking
pregnant women off antidepressants failed to disclose most of the study's 13
authors received money from makers of the drugs. In addition, The Wall
Street Journal reports, some of the co-authors earned additional income on
the lecture circuit telling physicians about their findings and pointing out
flaws in contrary studies.
Statement From A-CHAMP Regarding The Combating Autism Act
In November 2005 A-CHAMP made a commitment to many autism
organizations, the community and our children to support the consensus
revision version of the Combating Autism Act. see:
revision bill contains a modest provision for vaccine, vaccine component and
vaccine preservative research. This is the bill A-CHAMP supports and we have
worked hard to advocate for the revised bill. We have kept and will continue
to keep our promise to the community.
If other organizations choose to break the consensus and support
legislation that drops the vaccine research provision their action will be
evident to the community.
Everyone compromised on the consensus language. A-CHAMP does not view
every provision in the consensus revision bill favorably but there is enough
in the revised bill to make the entire package worthwhile.
There is never sufficient justification for actions that place
political positioning and expediency over efforts that make our community
unified and strong. If our community were sufficiently unified and strong we
could tell the Senate: NO!, that is not what we wanted, and we would be able
to come back to the Senate and win a stronger bill. Unfortunately, the day
is yet to arrive when our community's unity and strength will be realized.
If other autism groups break their promise to the consensus for the
sake of political expediency that is their choice. A-CHAMP will maintain its
consistent position, one that is based on principle, a commitment to our
community and, most importantly, a commitment to our children.
Robert J. Krakow President, A-CHAMP
www.a-champ.org BE A-CHAMP FOR CHILDREN!
California Assembly Member Saves The Best For Last
It took Matthews 20 years, but she kept her promise to secure funding for
By Aaron Swarts for Inside Bay Area.
Tracy - Calling it the "single most significant accomplishment" of her
career, Assembly member Barbara Matthews, D-Tracy, along with four other
members of the Assembly, has managed to secure $110.5 million in funding for
the developmentally disabled in this year's state budget.
The accomplishment represents the first time in 20 years that the
state has committed substantial funding increases for the developmentally
disabled community, Matthews said.
"The state already doesn't have enough money to go around," Matthews
said. "And there are a lot of competitive interests in the state budget. But
we were determined to keep a promise we made to that community."
The issue couldn't be any closer to Matthews' heart. She is the parent
of an adult son with disabilities who has had several jobs in the community
thanks to state programs.
"Many persons with disabilities just want to work, yet it's often hard
to get employers to see through their disability and see that they've got
skills to offer," she said. "Once my son was able to start working, it made
his life complete - he felt like a contributing adult."
More than 86,000 adult Californians have cerebral palsy, autism,
epilepsy, Down syndrome or other forms of de-velopmental disabilities that
make them eligible for the state programs.
Matthews credits her colleagues for looking beyond party lines when
examining the issue of increased funding for those programs.
We were able to appeal to them on a personal level, because every
member of the Assembly has people in their district who are disabled, she
said. These are the types of issues we were elected to address. We cannot
let these people be overlooked.
It is estimated that the budget boost could help create 1,200 jobs
next year, which Matthews says will help keep people out of state
institutions and reduce state spending on disability checks.
For example, the Supported Employment Program provides everything from
job placement and employmentreadiness training to on-the-job coaching.
The funding will also provide wage increases for the staff that work
with the developmentally disabled population, Matthews said.
Calling themselves the Family Caucus, Matthews was joined in her quest
for additional funding by Assembly members Russ Bogh, R-Beaumont, Betty
Karnette, D-Long Beach, and Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills.
Parents Sue After Child Assaulted by "Peer Tutor"
- Expert Hired by District Claims Assault "Pleasurable"
From Wrightslaw, Special Ed Advocate newsletter.
In September 2004, 18 year old Kalie McArthur was a student at
Rampart High School in Colorado Springs, CO. She had an IQ of about 50 and
several medical problems.
Kalie was affectionate, loving, trusting - and vulnerable to abuse.
The special education teacher assigned a 15 year-old boy to be Kalie's
"field trainer" (peer tutor). On September 14, 2004, the boy led Kalie into
a stairwell and sexually assaulted her.
Kalie's parents tried to resolve their dispute with the school but
were not successful. A psychologist hired by the district said the
experience was "pleasurable" for Kalie.
On June 2, 2006, Kalie's parents filed suit against the school
district, high school principal, special education teacher, and
Glenn Beck of CNN Prime Headline News has a daughter with cerebral
palsy. Outraged by the facts in this case, Mr. Beck has taken up Kalie's
On June 28, Pete and Pam Wright were guests on the Glenn Beck Show.
Mr. Beck asked how parents can protect their children from abuse and whether
the laws are tough enough to protect individuals like Kalie. Transcript
To learn more about Kalie's case, download the Complaint, and find out
what is likely to happen, go to Kalie McArthur v. Academy School District
THE CONSTANT INSPIRATION of SAR
"It's 6:30 a.m. and I just finished reading
the latest Schafer Autism Report. Your reports have
become an important part of starting each day for me.
I am able to gain knowledge and insight that I share
with other parents. Many of your articles have
assisted me in helping my son in a variety of ways.
I am constantly inspired by the relentless
perseverence of parents of children with autism, and
our fight to uncover the mystery of the disorder.
- Jeanne Canon
For timely, relevant information about autism that can directly effect
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Autism: Seeing Through The Heart
By Jeanne Tan Te
One sees clearly only with the heart. Anything essential is invisible
to the eyes." - from The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Having a son with autism comes with as much difficulties and
continuing challenges as there are quite a number of blessings. Three years
ago, after my son was officially diagnosed with the autism spectrum disorder
(ASD), I must have misunderstood my readings about the said disability and
the expert advices I received saying that "autism (was going to be) a
My son, Jay who was 3 years old at that time, did not speak any
comprehensible word -- not even "mama" -- except some barbaric syllables. He
would run around the house aimlessly, stare at a Sesame Street box cover,
roll himself on the sand, cry endlessly with almost impossible remedies,
giggle without any cause, urinate just about anywhere, would not excrete in
the toilet bowl and refuse to sleep until the next early morning. He would
evade looking at me or anyone else when spoken to and this made teaching him
any skill simply difficult. He stopped taking any solid meal except milk
from a feeding bottle. And then I pictured Jay behaving the same way, this
time at the age of 40... I felt my heart getting crumpled.
On the first two years of his therapies, I would cling to every little
improvement that Jay would show. Deep inside my heart, however, I knew that
as a human being, he deserved to be in a better condition at the very least.
I had this aching desire in my heart that one day, Jay would suddenly snap
out of the autism syndrome... Impossible?
At the very moment that I'm writing this article, Jay has just
finished eating his dinner -- rice and crispy fried chicken. He has set-up
his eating utensils and fed himself just like any independent kids of his
age -- he is now six and a half years old. He can also bathe and get dressed
by himself, among other life skills. He is already potty trained. Some of
the words that he can say are "water", "soap", "apple", "banana", "open",
"dog", etcetera. Just last week, he started to read whole words and will be
getting into an SRA (Science Research Associates, Inc.) reading program. He
doesn't jump in place nor run without direction anymore. I haven't noted any
remarkable giggling by him for quite some time now. But these are only some
of the positive indications that our odyssey towards recovery has just
begun. We have a long way to go.
Our battle against autism seemed tedious. The way we started with only
a search for some cure or effective treatments in mind turned out to be a
journey of forming bonds with people that we hardly even knew. There are
quite a number of persons who are more than willing to help Jay overcome his
disabilities and make him whole again, as a person. Ms. UL, our mentor and
the principal of Sta. Isabel Learning Center has repeatedly emphasized that
we only need faith in God and in Jay's capacity. "In God's time, ten years
could mean one day for Him," I would remember her say. Patience in such a
case would mean to keep on going despite the seemingly unremarkable
improvements. Putting it this way, however, would only simplify her impact
on our lives. I think that the best thing that Ms. UL has ever given us is
Continuous searching, researching, and keeping an open mind has also
been a virtue that I had to learn. Once, I chanced upon a website that said,
"Autism can be cured". I almost did not access the site because I have
always been led to believe that this disease or disability was permanent and
one can only develop some skills that a child needed in order to go through
adult life with a certain degree of independence. But then again, a parent's
gut feeling and faith in his child were what propelled Dr. Bernard Rimland
and a group of strong-willed parents and professionals to form what is now
known as the Autism Research Institute whose main undertakings are to find
research-based medical treatments for curing autism. There are now an
increasing number of children, mostly in the United States and some parts of
Asia, who have recovered and do not even exhibit a trace of the autistic
behaviors. Had I closed my mind, and threw off the descriptive line as one
of those phony advertising come-ons, Jay would have never gotten into the
first level of the series of the biomedical approach.
Toronto Star Editorial: Time to Deliver On Autism Promise
Dalton McGuinty promised during the 2003 election campaign to extend
government funding for intensive autism therapy, then limited to children
ages 2 to 5, to older children. Since then, however, the premier has fought
legal efforts by parents to force him to do just that, arguing judges
shouldn't tell governments how to spend their money.
Last week, the Ontario Court of Appeal agreed, overturning a
lower-court ruling that had found the age cut-off discriminatory and ordered
the province to fund the costly therapy for children older than 5. The
appeal judges said the Supreme Court has recognized that governments with
limited resources must "make difficult policy choices and that the
government is in a better position than the court to make such choices."
Despite the ruling in its favour, the Ontario government says it will
continue to pay for the autism therapy, known as Intensive Behavioural
Intervention or Applied Behaviour Analysis, for all children who can benefit
from it, regardless of how old they are. That is encouraging.
But saying you will do something and actually doing it are two
different things. McGuinty must now follow through.
The signs, however, are not promising. Despite new provincial funding,
too many autistic children who qualify for the intensive treatment are still
not receiving it. Around 750 autistic children in Ontario are waiting for
the therapy, almost as many as are currently getting it.
Some frustrated parents are selling their houses to pay for the
treatment themselves, at a cost of $40,000 to $60,000 a year. Others are
pulling up stakes and moving to Alberta, where it is more readily available.
The government says the number of children waiting for assessments has
fallen drastically in the last two years. It also says it will fund
intensive therapy for 120 more autistic children this year.
But that will barely make a dent in the waiting list for treatment,
which continues to rise with the incidence of the disorder.
True, the intensive therapy is extremely expensive. There is also some
debate over whether it is as effective for older children as it is for
preschoolers, a fact that caught the attention of the appeal court.
Down the road, experts in the field may develop less costly
treatments, or cheaper ways of delivering the same treatment. But for now,
this method appears to be the most effective way to reach many autistic
McGuinty had to have known all this when he made his election promise.
But after dragging dozens of families of autistic children through the
courts to prove a point, it would be unseemly now if he does not deliver.
Public Service Announcement to the Reader:
AUTISM IS TREATABLE. Consult these sources:
. Autism Research Institute http://tinyurl.com/ccxco
. Generation Rescue http://www.generationrescue.org
. UK - Autism Treatment Trust http://www.autismtrust.org.uk
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