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10-130 'Pets Are Better Than Prozac'

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    SAR Healing Autism: Schafer Autism Report No Finer a Cause on the Planet
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      SAR "Healing Autism:
      Schafer Autism Report No Finer a Cause on the Planet"
      ________________________________________________________________
      Tuesday, July 25, 2006 Vol. 10 No. 130



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      TREATMENT
      * 'Pets Are Better Than Prozac'

      EDUCATION
      * How the Schools Shortchange Boys
      * Learning Center Opens in Scottsdale

      RESEARCH
      * A Clinical and Laboratory Evaluation of Methionine Cycle-
      Transsulfuration and Androgen Pathway Markers in Children with
      Autistic Disorders

      COMMENTARY
      * Polio, Autism, or Neither? The Autism/Vaccine Scandal Dissipates

      VICE
      * World Crashes In On Sleazy Sex Kingpin

      PUBLIC HEALTH
      * Alabama Sues Drug Company

      FORENSIC
      * "Autistic" Gets Life Term In Double Slaying

      CARE
      * One-of-a-Kind Bike Stolen in MN, Reward Offered For Return

      MEDIA
      * Autistic Kids Can Improve With Help, Author Says




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      TREATMENT

      'Pets Are Better Than Prozac'
      Dogs, horses, even rabbits - all can provide therapy for the mentally
      fragile, as Lucy Atkins discovers

      http://tinyurl.com/o9z8q

      "Pet therapy" used to mean sending your sad pooch to see a doggy
      shrink. These days, however, your pet is less likely to see a therapist than
      to be one.
      The change is down to the growing scientific evidence demonstrating
      the therapeutic potential of animals.
      Guide dogs, or hearing dogs, which are trained to help people with
      physical disabilities, are already part of our national consciousness. But
      now dogs, cats, horses - and even rabbits or fish - are being used to
      provide psychiatric assistance to humans suffering from agoraphobia,
      addiction, depression and schizophrenia.
      In the US, where this trend began, the notion of "emotional support
      animals" has become so mainstream that a pet which helps you to stay sane
      now has the same legal rights in housing and transportation (including air
      travel) as a guide dog.
      There is even a debate currently raging in Manhattan over the
      increasing numbers of people who claim their mutts are emotional support
      animals, then bring them along to restaurants and cafés.
      This is not, apparently, as crazy as it sounds. According to Ingrid
      Collins, a consultant psychologist at the London Medical Centre, the idea of
      an emotional support dog getting these rights is completely valid.
      "A pet is better than Prozac," she says. "Animals have a completely
      different agenda to humans, and bring things back to basics. They want
      comfort, feeding and love. In return, they give huge affection."
      This calming, restorative doggy function means that canines in America
      are now commonly used as companions for people suffering depression or
      Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. "Depressed people tend to be inward
      looking," says Collins. "To care for another soul, an uncomplicated one, is
      therefore extremely therapeutic."
      One US pet support website summarises its philosophy thus: "A dog is
      better than a wife, because the later you come home, the more happy the dog
      is to see you."
      It is not only dogs that can help people with psychiatric problems,
      says Collins. Even a rabbit can be beneficial.
      "The simple benefit of touch, for someone who is lonely - perhaps
      after a divorce or bereavement - or suffering from low self-esteem, is
      enormous," she says.
      What is more, she adds, animals, unlike spouses or bosses, can be
      highly tuned to a human's emotional state.

      This notion lies behind an emerging form of psychotherapy that uses
      horses to treat people with psychiatric problems. "Equine Assisted
      Psychotherapy" (EAP) originated in the States, but is now being practised in
      Britain.
      "Horses are a mirror to humans: a horse will pick up on someone's
      mental state and react to it clearly," says Wendy Powell, addictions
      therapist at the Stepps Rehabilitation Centre in Gloucestershire.
      "Horses, unlike people, do not worry about hurting your feelings."
      EAP therapists set their clients horsey tasks such as feeding or
      grooming. This helps people to face their fears and to build
      self-confidence. In the two years that Stepps has been using EAP, horses
      have helped dysfunctional families, warring couples, addicts, and people
      with eating disorders, anger issues and depression.
      "It is a very powerful therapeutic method," says Powell. "When you are
      faced with a ton and a half of horse, there is no hiding your true
      feelings."
      "There has certainly been a recent surge of interest in the
      relationship between companion animals and human health," says Dr Deborah
      Wells, a psychologist specialising in animals at Queen's University,
      Belfast.
      Some pet benefits are physical: dogs have been known to sniff out
      malignant tumours or anticipate epileptic seizures in their owners and to
      lower cholesterol levels and blood pressure.
      A recent British study found that the presence of a dog during
      potentially painful medical procedures reduced chronically ill children's
      physiological and psychological levels of distress. Research from Israel,
      meanwhile, suggests that animals can help people with schizophrenia to feel
      calmer and more motivated.
      The psychological support potential of animals is now being studied in
      depth too. "Studies have found that merely having a dog in the room acts as
      a stress buffer," says Wells. "In trials of people doing stressful tasks,
      such as mental arithmetic, individuals functioned better when there was a
      dog in the room - even better than they did with a friend for company."
      The reason for this is hardly mysterious: "A dog will not have an
      opinion about how well you are performing. Dogs are a non-judgmental safety
      net."
      Wells says that dogs "can genuinely alter your mood". She believes
      they can also act as social lubricants for people who would otherwise be
      entirely isolated: "They can improve self-esteem and confidence, and your
      ability to deal with humans."
      If you suffer from agoraphobia, anxiety disorders, or are simply
      debilitated by low self-esteem, taking your "emotional support pet" with you
      on trips to a café or supermarket could, therefore, be a genuine
      psychological bonus. Indeed, if you are really debilitated, the presence of
      your pet could mean the difference between going out or staying home.
      Britain seems likely to follow the US, where organisations such as
      Paws with a Cause or Pets Are Wonderful Support (Paws) are now taking pups
      into prisons to help rehabilitate inmates. "Studies show that if you are
      kind to animals, you tend to be kind to humans too," says Wells.
      America has also pioneered the use of companion dogs to help autistic
      children, and horses to help children with cancer.
      We are slowly moving beyond "pat dogs", where volunteers take their
      dogs into hospitals or old people's residential homes for petting therapy.
      It could, of course, be some time before the British public is prepared to
      let emotional support pets vie with guide dogs in legal terms. But perhaps
      pooch power is not something to be sniffed at.
      • The Stepps Rehabilitation Centre, Minsterworth, Gloucestershire
      (01452 750599).

      Animal magic
      • Pets are non-judgmental stress buffers: if you are doing stressful
      tasks, the presence of a dog is calming.
      • Pets love you unconditionally: if you are lonely, bereaved or
      depressed, this is great for self-esteem.
      • Dogs are social lubricants: great if you are isolated or anxious.
      • Touch is beneficial: stroking your pet can improve your mood and
      lower your blood pressure and stress levels.
      • Dogs get you out of the house: no matter how depressed you are, they
      still need walking.
      • Pets can improve your ability to deal with humans: studies show that
      if you are kind to animals, you tend to be kind to humans too.

      Comment: Also unlike Prozac, pets don't have to be eaten to be
      effective. However, be warned; they are higher in cholesterol. (And despite
      the myth, only rabbits taste like rabbit.) -LS.

      • • •

      EDUCATION

      How the Schools Shortchange Boys

      By Gerry Garibaldi
      http://www.city-journal.org/html/16_3_schools_boys.html

      In the newly feminized classroom, boys tune out.
      Since I started teaching several years ago, after 25 years in the
      movie business, I've come to learn firsthand that everything I'd heard about
      the feminization of our schools is real—and far more pernicious to boys than
      I had imagined. Christina Hoff Sommers was absolutely accurate in
      describing, in her 2000 bestseller, The War Against Boys, how feminist
      complaints that girls were "losing their voice" in a male-oriented classroom
      have prompted the educational establishment to turn the schools upside down
      to make them more girl-friendly, to the detriment of males.
      As a result, boys have become increasingly disengaged. Only 65 percent
      earned high school diplomas in the class of 2003, compared with 72 percent
      of girls, education researcher Jay Greene recently documented. Girls now so
      outnumber boys on most university campuses across the country that some
      schools, like Kenyon College, have even begun to practice affirmative action
      for boys in admissions. And as in high school, girls are getting better
      grades and graduating at a higher rate.
      As Sommers understood, it is boys' aggressive and rationalist nature—
      redefined by educators as a behavioral disorder—that's getting so many of
      them in trouble in the feminized schools. Their problem: they don't want to
      be girls.
      + Read more: http://www.city-journal.org/html/16_3_schools_boys.html

      • • •

      Learning Center Opens in Scottsdale

      From a company press release.
      http://biz.yahoo.com/prnews/060724/lam108.html?.v=51

      PRNewswire - Lindamood-Bell Learning Processes continues to spread the
      "Magic of Learning" across the nation with the opening of their 40th
      Learning Center in Scottsdale.
      "We are excited that this new center has become a reality," said
      Clinic Director Jessica Ramsden. "Lindamood-Bell's programs have changed the
      lives of so many students and to bring this organization to the communities
      of Scottsdale is a real privilege."
      Lindamood-Bell Learning Processes is one of the world's most respected
      educational institutions, now with 39 Learning Centers nationwide, and one
      in London, England. Their sensory-cognitive programs develop
      language-processing skills for necessary for successful reading, spelling,
      comprehension, expression, critical thinking, and math. Students of all ages
      and levels, including those previously diagnosed with dyslexia, ADD/HD, and
      autism are seen in one-to-one sessions designed around the individual's
      needs. Gains are significant and life changing, and are often made after
      only a few weeks of intensive instruction.
      The Lindamood-Bell student success stories have received national
      attention on CNN, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, Time, and their
      related research has been written in publications such as the neuroscience
      journal Neuron and The American Educational Research Journal.
      The Scottsdale Learning Center has just opened at 10617 N. Hayden Rd,
      Suite B-101. "In celebration of Lindamood-Bell's 20th Anniversary and the
      opening of this new Learning Center, we are giving half-price diagnostic
      evaluations and a twenty percent discount on instruction now through the end
      of August," said Ramsden.
      For additional information about Lindamood-Bell's new Scottsdale
      Learning Center or programs, call (480) 922-5675 or visit them on-line at
      www.lindamoodbell.com.





      IMPORTANT AUTISM CONFERENCE INFORMATION!

      US Autism & Asperger Association (USAAA) Hosts most
      comprehensive & informative International Autism Conference
      - Park City, UT., Aug 9-12. 35 speakers, (CME and CEU acc.),
      comp. buffet lunches, book & manual, & much more. Register:
      http://www.usautism.org or 1-866-381-7733.



      • • •

      RESEARCH

      A Clinical and Laboratory Evaluation of Methionine Cycle-Transsulfuration
      and Androgen Pathway Markers in Children with Autistic Disorders

      http://tinyurl.com/ehew8
      Horm Res 2006;66:182–188 DOI: 10.1159/000094467

      David A. Geier a Mark R. Geier b
      a- MedCon, Inc., 14 Redgate Ct., Silver Spring, MD 20905, USA, Tel. +1 301
      384 6988,
      E-Mail DavidAllenGeier@..., and b President, The Genetic Centers of
      America, 14 Redgate Ct., Silver Spring, MD 20905, USA, Tel. +1 301 989 0548,
      Fax +1 301 989 1543, E-Mail mgeier@...

      Abstract

      Background/Aims: The prevalence of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) is
      1 in 300 children in the US. ASDs are characterized by impairments in social
      relatedness and communication, repetitive behaviors, abnormal movement
      patterns, and sensory dysfunction.
      Pre-pubertal age children with ASDs were assessed for metabolites in
      the methionine cycle-transsulfuration and androgen pathways, and for present
      physical development/behaviors indicative of hyperandrogenicity.
      Methods: The Institutional Review Board of the Institute for Chronic
      Illnesses (Office for Human Research Protections, US Department of Health
      and Human Services IRB number: IRB00005375) approved the present study.
      Sixteen consecutive pre-pubertal age children ( 11 years old; mean ±
      SD: 5.9 ± 2.1 years old) with previously diagnosed ASDs that presented to
      the Genetic Centers of America for outpatient care were evaluated.
      Results: Significantly (p < 0.01) increased levels of serum/plasma
      dehydroepiandrosterone and serum total testosterone relative to the age- and
      sex-specific normal laboratory reference ranges were observed.
      Conversely, serum follicle-stimulating hormone levels were
      significantly (p < 0.01) decreased.
      Plasma-reduced glutathione (p < 0.01), plasma cysteine (p < 0.01),
      plasma methionine (p < 0.01), serum cystathionine (p < 0.05), and serum
      homocysteine (p < 0.01) were all significantly decreased.
      Conclusion: The results suggest a possible cyclical interaction
      between the methionine cycle-transsulfuration and androgen pathways in some
      children with ASDs.

      • • •

      COMMENTARY

      Polio, Autism, or Neither? The Autism/Vaccine Scandal Dissipates

      By Ronald Bailey.
      http://www.reason.com/phprint.php

      The percentage of American children who receive childhood vaccinations
      is dropping. Experts say that vaccine-resisters are more likely to be highly
      educated and well off financially. What has spooked them? Their chief fear
      is that vaccinations may trigger autism, a neurological disorder that
      typically appears before a child reaches the age of three. Such children
      suffer language and communication deficits, withdraw from social contacts,
      and react intensely to changes in the immediate environment.
      Many parents of autistic children fervently believe that the
      measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) triple vaccine causes autism. Autistic symptoms
      make their appearance just about at the time that most children are
      vaccinated. The typical story is that little Johnny was fine until a couple
      of weeks after he was injected. However, most research suggests that parents
      are confusing correlation with causation—the symptoms of autism just happen
      to emerge at the about the same time as recommended vaccinations are given.
      It's a coincidence, not a cause. Public health experts worry that many
      parents are wrongly discounting the dangers that infectious diseases pose
      for their children because many have never seen a child afflicted with polio
      or whooping cough.
      The MMR/autism hypothesis took off in 1998 with the publication of a
      study of 12 autistic children by Canadian gastroenterologist Andrew
      Wakefield at the Royal Free Hospital in London. Wakefield's study, appearing
      in the prestigious British medical journal The Lancet, found traces of the
      measles virus in the guts of the children he tested; Wakefield concluded
      that these traces derived from the MMR vaccination. The study noted that the
      onset of eight of the children's developmental disorders occurred shortly
      after they had received the MMR vaccine.
      As a precaution, Wakefield suggested that children be vaccinated for
      each disease separately rather than with the combination vaccine. The
      MMR/autism connection was boosted by a report published in 2001 in the
      journal Medical Hypotheses by autism activist Sallie Bernard. Bernard argued
      that the mercury in the vaccine preservative thimerosal was "a novel form of
      mercury poisoning" that was responsible for autism. In June 2005, Robert F.
      Kennedy Jr. fueled the controversy with a sensational article in Rolling
      Stone and Salon that claimed there is a massive government cover-up of the
      dangers of MMR vaccines. Kennedy quoted school nurse Patti White who told
      the House Government Reform Committee in 1999. "Vaccines are supposed to be
      making us healthier; however, in twenty-five years of nursing I have never
      seen so many damaged, sick kids. Something very, very wrong is happening to
      our children."
      Fortunately, years of subsequent research have not found an
      association between MMR vaccination and autism. In 2004, the National
      Academy of Sciences issued a report that concluded that "neither the
      mercury-based vaccine preservative thimerosal nor the measles-mumps-rubella
      (MMR) vaccine are associated with autism." In 2005, a comprehensive review
      of MMR of 31 studies by the non-profit authoritative medical collaboration,
      the Cochrane Library, found "no credible evidence behind claims of harm from
      the MMR vaccination."
      These conclusions have been bolstered by other research. In 1993,
      Japan stopped using the MMR vaccine and began vaccinating for each disease
      separately. A study published last year found that autism rates continued to
      climb from 48 to 86 cases per 10,000 before MMR vaccination was halted to 97
      to 161 cases per 10,000 after the MMR vaccine was withdrawn. A new study
      published by McGill University researchers in the July 2006 issue of the
      journal Pediatrics found that autism rates rose from 52 per 10,000 to 70 per
      10,000 in Quebec after the preservative thimerosal was removed from vaccines
      in 1996.
      Many researchers believe that the increase in autism is largely the
      result of physicians applying broader diagnostic criteria for the condition
      in recent years. On the other hand, some researchers believe that the
      incidence of autism spectrum disorders has dramatically increased. In any
      case, the best medical advice is that whatever the cause of autism turns out
      to be, parents should not let their fears prevent them from immunizing their
      children against the very real threats posed by infectious diseases.





      EVIDENCE OF HARM DISCUSSION LIST HEATS UP
      AS MERCURY LINK TO AUTISM QUESTION SPREADS

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      An Evidence of Harm email discussion list has
      been created in response to the growing interest
      in the book and the issues it chronicles. Now over
      1,300 subscribers. Here is how to subscribe
      (no cost): EOHarm-subscribe@yahoogroups.com


      • • •

      VICE

      World Crashes In On Sleazy Sex Kingpin
      What's this got to do with autism? You'll see.

      By Derek Alexander http://tinyurl.com/qdcyy

      Sleazy sex sauna boss Shug O'Donnell ran one of Glasgow's best-known
      brothels.
      But when quizzed about the (X)-rated goings-on at Parkgrove House, he
      spun a yarn that would have made the hardest hooker blush.
      O'Donnell insisted he was running a centre to help disabled children -
      not a vice den. And he explained away the lap dancing poles where his girls
      gyrated for their punters by claiming they were mobility aids for
      handicapped youngsters.
      The brass-necked liar insisted that flashing disco lights used in sex
      shows at the sauna were hi-tech devices to help kids with autism.
      And when asked why his establishment had mirrors on the ceilings and
      chains and shackles fixed to the walls, he said the kinky paraphernalia was
      just for decoration.
      O'Donnell told his tales to council officials who suspected all was
      not what it seemed at Parkgrove House.
      Not surprisingly, the authorities weren't fooled.
      And when police raided the brothel in June 2003, there wasn't a
      disabled youngster in sight. Instead, they found rooms full of startled vice
      girls and customers.
      The cops also seized a number of items which handicapped children
      would have little use for.
      They found sex aids, a whip, bags of condoms, and a substance
      described in court as "body sauce".

      Comment: Hey, that body sauce could be transdermal chelation cream!
      I'd like to see the IEP for getting into that place. -LS.

      + Read more thrilling details if you must: http://tinyurl.com/qdcyy




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      • • •

      PUBLIC HEALTH

      Alabama Sues Drug Company

      By Chris Joyner http://tinyurl.com/zubn3

      The state today filed a lawsuit against pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly
      and Co. over an alleged calculated marketing plan to defraud the state out
      of millions of dollars in Medicaid reimbursements for “off-label” uses of
      the anti-psychotic drug Zyprexa.
      The suit, filed in Lafayette County Circuit Court, alleges that
      representatives of Eli Lilly persuaded Mississippi doctors to prescribe the
      drug to patients suffering from conditions like anxiousness, mood swings and
      disturbed sleep when the drug only is approved to treat bipolar disorder and
      schizophrenia.
      Tim Balducci, Mississippi special assistant attorney general, said Eli
      Lilly targeted Mississippi because the state’s Medicaid system is not set up
      to weed out when a doctor prescribes a medication for non-approved uses.
      Attempts to reach representatives with Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly
      were unsuccessful. The company has 30 days to respond to the suit.

      • • •

      FORENSIC

      "Autistic" Gets Life Term In Double Slaying

      By Candace Rondeaux for the Washington Post.
      http://tinyurl.com/q6wd8

      Dinh Pham knew all about violence and death. As a boy growing up in
      Vietnam, he had seen neighbors and a relative killed during fierce bombing
      near the Cambodian border after the fall of Saigon. When he was 5, his
      father, a soldier, was held captive in a Communist prison camp while the
      family was left to starve in a remote village where violence was an everyday
      occurrence.
      Thousands of others in Vietnam suffered a similar fate, but yesterday,
      his attorney argued in a Fairfax County courtroom that Pham never fully
      recovered from the trauma of those years and was mentally impaired. That, he
      said, could explain why Pham strangled a Fairfax woman and her 22-month-old
      daughter in their Merrifield home more than 2 1/2 years ago.
      "This man, with his limited ability, made a wrong choice and did
      something bad," said Assistant Capital Defender Paul A. Maslakowski. "He
      didn't set out to do it with evil in his heart."
      Fairfax Circuit Court Judge Leslie M. Alden decided to spare Pham's
      life.
      Four months after Pham, 34, pleaded guilty to murdering Loan P.
      Nguyen, 30, and her daughter, Ashley N. Ton, Alden sentenced Pham to life in
      prison without parole for killing Ashley and gave him an additional life
      sentence for slaying the child's mother. The judge also added 40 years for
      grand larceny and burglary charges.
      "Your crimes in this case were simply unspeakable. They were
      reprehensible, and they were heinous," Alden said. "But there is nothing
      that the court can do to bring back the lives of those innocent, innocent
      victims."
      On Jan. 7, 2004, Pham sneaked into the home of his former employer, a
      building contractor, to steal $1,000 because he was desperate for money to
      feed a gambling habit. Pham hid in a closet when he suddenly realized that
      Nguyen was at home. When she emerged from the shower, he strangled her and
      the child and stuffed their bodies in a crawl space in their Lester Lee
      Court townhouse.
      Maslakowski said the killings were tragic, but he successfully argued
      that his client did not deserve to be put to death for his crimes, saying a
      lifetime of deprivation and exposure to violence during the Vietnam War left
      Pham with post-traumatic stress disorder. Maslakowski said the killings were
      the outgrowth of Pham's limited mental capacity and childhood trauma
      suffered during the war.
      "There is nothing that we have heard that makes Dinh Pham the worst of
      the worst," Maslakowski said. "There is nothing other than those 30 or 45
      minutes [during the killings] to suggest that he was anything more than a
      limited man who was in over his head."
      Psychologist William Stejskal testified that Pham likely had
      borderline autism or possibly Asperger syndrome, a similar developmental
      disability. Years after leaving Vietnam, Pham withdrew from the world, and
      about 1998, soon after his mother died, he began gambling heavily, Stejskal
      said.
      + Read more: http://tinyurl.com/q6wd8

      • • •

      CARE

      One-Of-A-Kind Bike Stolen in MN, Reward Offered For Return

      http://www.kare11.com/news/news_article.aspx?storyid=130139

      When thieves broke into Jaette Carpenter's North Minneapolis garage
      last Thursday, it wasn't just any bicycle they ripped off. It was a special
      recumbent bicycle for her daughter, designed to latch onto the mother's
      cycle.
      19-year-old Siri Carpenter has Rett's Syndrome, a rare neurological
      condition with symptoms similar to autism. "It meant getting her out, it
      meant getting her out other than in just a car," the young woman's Mom told
      us. And as a result, "she's been sad, you can tell there is a difference in
      her."
      The family suspects that young kids may be behind the burglary. Jaette
      Carpenter pointed to her new garage and says, "We think that some small
      person was lifted up and put through that window. I don't know what's going
      on with young kids in this neighborhood."
      Carpenter, who teaches music in the Camden neighborhood says she
      sympathizes with youth who "don't have much money and are bored." But she
      adds that this bike is of little use to anyone but its owner. "It's too
      fancy, it was built for towing another person and it is not something they
      can ride around in," says Carpenter.
      The specially designed bike took almost a year to build at a cost of
      nearly $3,000. But, money is not the primary concern. "Everything we have
      done was to get our daughter out into the community," says Carpenter.
      Sadly, this isn't the first time the Carpenter's have been
      burglarized. Five years ago, another of their special bikes was also stolen.
      Anti-theft bars have now been added to the garage windows. But the family
      wants just one more thing. "To get that bike back, that's what we're really
      hoping for," says Carpenter.
      Minneapolis police 4th Precinct Care Task Force and the Folwell
      Neighborhood Association are offering a $500 reward for information leading
      to the bicycle's return. Anyone who has seen the bike or knows where it
      might be is being urged to contact the police.

      • • •

      MEDIA

      Autistic Kids Can Improve With Help, Author Says

      By Sandy Spurgeon Mcdaniel for the Register
      http://www.ocregister.com/ocregister/life/family/article_1216328.php

      A chance meeting in a walk-in medical office brought Christina Adams
      into my life. Christina has written "A Real Boy: A True Story of Autism,
      Early Intervention and Recovery." She and I have become friends and now have
      the same literary agent.
      When I read Christina's exquisitely written book, I was excited to see
      that significant changes to a child's diet along with intensive therapy for
      behavior and speech, can often help a child improve quickly.
      At age 15 months, Christina's son Jonah lost his language skills,
      social skills and attention span. He became hyperactive and aggressive. Two
      preschools expelled Jonah.
      At nearly 3 Jonah was diagnosed with autism. He immediately began
      dietary, speech, behavioral training and language-building therapies. Three
      weeks later he pointed to a car (autistic children rarely point) and asked
      his first question.
      At age 4, Jonah passed a pre-kindergarten exam given to him by
      credentialed testers who had no knowledge of his autism. Today, Jonah is in
      third grade; advanced in language skills, top of his class academically with
      some attention difficulties, and is doing well socially.
      In a recent interview with Christina, I asked her to help me
      understand autism and what can be done to help parents.
      Adams: In my Newport Beach neighborhood, there were originally four
      families dealing with various forms of autism; now there are nearly two
      dozen families in that same area.
      McDaniel: What do you think is the reason for this huge increase
      across the country?
      Adams: I've just returned from a Senate meeting in Washington D.C. and
      the government is struggling with how to handle the national increase in
      autism and related problems. Right now, the primary focus on the cause of
      autism is on genetics and environment, and how they interact.
      McDaniel: Since everyone reading this piece knows or is likely to know
      someone with an autistic child, what five things would you want them to
      know?
      Adams: No. 1: The autism spectrum ranges from very mild to severe. 2:
      Many persons with autism are very bright, but have a hard time
      communicating. 3. Many apparently normal people have undiagnosed
      autism-spectrum disorders. 4. People on the spectrum have many of the same
      feelings and emotions as everyone else, they just have difficulty showing
      it. 5. If a kid is acting "naughty" or odd, don't assume the parent is doing
      a bad job; the child may have a behavior disorder such as Asperger's
      syndrome, a mild form of autism found in some bright, verbal children.
      The McDaniel discipline system was developed for a boy with ADHD and
      Asperger's syndrome. Now we see it working with every type of child.
      Adams says all children and adults with autism can improve their
      skills. They need help and the earlier they get it, the better the outcome.
      In Part 2 of this column next week, we will address safeguards against
      autism, things to look for in your child's behavior and what to do if autism
      comes to your home.
      Christina will be the keynote speaker at the upcoming conference for
      parents, teachers and professionals held by the Pomona Valley Learning
      Disabilities Association, titled "ADHD, Autism or Behavioral Disorders: The
      Links Which Bind Us." It will be held Aug.18-19 in Ontario. Go to
      www.christinaadamswriter.com for more information or to contact her.



      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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