RESEARCH UPDATE:

    RISK FACTORS ASSOCIATED WITH
    ASD

    Dr. Annie Inge, a clinical psychologist at
    Children's National Medical Center-CASD,
    summarized research on  one special
    population at risk for autism spectrum
    disorders for CASD Chat.

    One important area of Autism Spectrum
    Disorder (ASD) research is the
    identification of risk factors associated with
    ASD.

    Very preterm babies (< 28 weeks gestation)
    and extremely low birth weight babies
    (<1000g or <2lbs 3ozs at birth), who in
    addition to their difficult medical course,
    have been shown to demonstrate social and
    behavioral impairments similar to those seen
    in children with autism spectrum disorders:
    baby

    -impaired social-emotional reciprocity

    -lack of pretend play

    -sensory sensitivities

    -repetitive interests and behaviors

    Brain structure malformations implicated in
    the development of ASD symptoms in this
    population include the cerebellum (linked to
    motor movement coordination) and its
    connections to other areas of the brain.  The
    cerebellum and its network of connections to
    other brain structures mediate high-order
    language, cognitive, social, and emotional
    functions (Limperopoulos, 2010).

    These new studies illustrate the importance
    of ongoing screening for ASDs in very
    preterm babies (< 28 weeks gestation) and
    extremely low birth weight babies to:

    -increase likelihood of early identification

    -capitalize on the benefits of early
    intervention

    Evaluation should include:

    -monitoring social development (e.g.,
    producing responsive social smile,
    demonstrating shared enjoyment)

    -monitoring speech-language development (e.
    g., use of gestures, communication of affect)

    -monitoring motor milestones of development
    (e.g., early imitation skills).

    Additionally, diagnostic evaluation through
    community-based programs (e.g., Infants and
    Toddlers Program) or clinical services (e.g.,
    CASD) is recommended if there are concerns.

    The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has
    published helpful information regarding
    appropriate expectations for social, motor,
    speech-language, and cognitive skills across
    early development. Please see the following
    links and websites for more information:
    http://www.cdc.
    gov/ncbddd/actearly/pdf/parents_pdfs/mil
    estonemomentseng508.pdf and http://www.
    cdc.gov/ncbddd/actearly/milestones/.  

    FREE GUIDEBOOK FOR PARENTS

    The Organization for Autism Research
    (OAR) recently released their free Autism
    guidebook: "Life Journey Through Autism:
    Navigating the Special Education System."   

    Here's a glimpse of what you will learn about:

      The Individuals with Disabilities Education
    Act (IDEA), which governs how special
    education is administered in schools OAR
    Guidebook
       Each critical component of the
    Individualized Education Plan (IEP), the
    document that outlines a student's target
    objectives and required services
       The timeline of services from early
    intervention through transition:
       Becoming an effective advocate for your
    child
       Preparing for a move to a new school,
    district, or state.

      Common special education terminology,
    including related services (e.g. speech
    language pathology) and accommodations (e.g.
    extended time)
       Crafting effective IEP goals
       Recommended reading and state-specific
    resources

    Click here to access a web-friendly version
    of the new guide, which is available for free
    download
    (pdf format) at the OAR Web site,
    www.researchautism.org.

    You can view the full press release here. For
    more information or to order a hard copy,
    please contact Ben Kaufman, Director,
    Programs and Community Outreach, at (703)
    243-9762 or bkaufman@researchautism.org.

    The World According to Jake

    A very real sneak-peek into the life of a
    child with "Super Powers". Hopefully our
    unique perspective on Autism will educate
    others and build positive community.
    Education leads to compassion and
    acceptance. Subscribe and Share.

    “Discussing Frightening Current Events
    with
    Your Children,”
    www.jssa.org/jssa-expert-tips-strategies

    Study Links ADHD in Kids to Pesticide
    Exposure - TIME
    www.time.com/time/health/article/0,
    8599,989564,00.html

    THE WEEKEND INTERVIEW with
    Temple Grandin
    Life Among the 'Yakkity Yaks'
    By Bari Weiss
    online. wsj.com/article/
    SB10001424052748 7035257045750611
    23564007514. html

    A Powerful Identity, a Vanishing Diagnosis

    Switch Adapted Toys


    Dealing With the Financial Burden of
    Autism

    By WALECIA KONRAD
    Published: January 22, 2010

    Overcoming Cerebral Palsy Through
    Dance
    www.aolhealth.com/condition-
    center/cerebral- palsy/overcoming-cerebral-
    palsy

    Check out the video of Gregg Rogoff dancing
    at www.nytimes.
    com/2009/11/25/arts/dance/25palsy.html?
    _r=2&ref=health


    Alternative test may inflate score gains
    'Portfolio' exams spread in Va. 'How do you
    know we are closing the . . . gap?'

    By Michael Alison Chandler
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Thursday, November 19, 2009

    Lynbrook Elementary School, which serves
    one of the poorest communities in Fairfax
    County, seems to be a model for reform.
    Three years ago, the Springfield school
    failed to meet state testing goals in English.
    Since then, it has charted double-digit gains
    in passing rates for every one of its closely
    monitored racial and ethnic groups of
    students.

    But the success at Lynbrook and other
    schools throughout the state is not only due
    to better teaching. More and more, students
    who have struggled to pass Virginia's
    Standards of Learning exams are taking
    different tests.

    The trend dates to 2007, when federal
    officials approved an alternative assessment
    after the Fairfax School Board threatened
    to defy a mandate to give multiple-choice
    reading tests to students who were destined
    to fail -- students who, like many at
    Lynbrook, were just beginning to learn
    English.

    The Virginia Grade Level Alternative, like
    the multiple-choice test, assesses students'
    understanding of the state academic
    standards. Teachers document learning
    throughout the year in a binder of class
    work, including worksheets, quizzes and
    writing samples. Some special education
    students and non-native speakers in early
    stages of learning English are eligible for the
    portfolio, but final decisions are made by
    committees of educators and often parents.

    Educators say the "portfolio" tests are
    valuable teaching tools and fairer and more
    meaningful than multiple-choice tests. With
    more time and flexibility, students have seen
    their passing rates soar.

    Since 2007, Lynbrook's reading passing rate
    for students learning English shot from 52 to
    94 percent. Among special education
    students, the rate went from 34 to 100
    percent. At the same time, the number of
    portfolios increased from a handful to more
    than 100, including nearly half of the English
    learners and 78 percent of students with
    disabilities. All passed. The school had more
    than 460 students last year.

    With more students taking the new test,
    many schools are showing sudden surges in
    performance. And some parents are
    concerned the portfolios are muddling scores
    the public relies on to see how racial and
    ethnic groups of students are performing and
    how they compare.

    "How do you know we are closing the
    achievement gap, because thousands of our
    kids are not being tested the same way?"
    said Maria Allen, a Fairfax parent and
    longtime advocate for minority students.

    Success at a cost

    The remarkable gains at Lynbrook fit into a
    picture of ever-greater success in the
    region's largest school system. Fairfax
    Superintendent Jack D. Dale announced
    record highs in test scores and impressive
    progress in narrowing achievement gaps this
    fall. He attributed the progress to "a
    powerful shift" toward more personalized
    instruction systemwide.

    Dale, who helped lead the fight to provide an
    alternative test for those beginning to learn
    English, said portfolios produce more
    accurate results that are consistent with how
    non-native speakers perform on multiple-
    choice tests once they master English. "We
    are seeing the same great improvement in our
    kids and our teachers no matter what
    instrument you look at," Dale said.

    In an era of high-stakes testing, school
    leaders walk a tightrope. They must balance
    a lofty mandate to measure all students
    according to the same high expectations with
    a reality of classrooms filled with children
    who have trouble processing basic
    information or who recently arrived from
    another country. Every state makes some
    allowances for students who cannot meet
    testing requirements.

    Maryland officials permit students who fail
    an exit exam required for graduation to do a
    project instead. District schools offer a
    "read aloud" accommodation for students
    with disabilities during reading tests, but
    began to dial back the program this spring
    after education officials found it was being
    overused. Most states offer alternative tests
    for students with serious cognitive
    disabilities.

    Alternative test may inflate score gains

    Virginia's move to expand its use of
    portfolios to include students who are
    learning grade-level skills is unusual. It's
    costly. Fairfax spent more than $500,000 to
    train teachers and score portfolios last year,
    not to mention thousands of hours of teacher
    time compiling them. It's also risky. Experts
    say blending the results of different tests is
    very difficult. Closely watched trend lines
    and the accountability system's credibility
    are at stake.

    "Schools or districts that are administering
    more of these alternative assessments may
    look better than those who are using fewer,
    and it may not have anything to do with the
    quality of the program," said Joan Herman,
    director of the National Center for
    Research on Evaluation, Standards and
    Student Testing at UCLA.

    Virginia education officials say they have
    worked hard to make the tests comparable in
    rigor and scoring. A Virginia Commonwealth
    University study found that both tests are
    "well aligned" to the same academic
    standards, and the federal government has
    scrutinized and approved the alternative test.

    But rollout has been uneven as the number of
    portfolios in Virginia has more than doubled
    to 47,000 in the past three years. Richmond,
    a district with about 23,000 students,
    administered nearly 3,800 portfolios last
    year; Loudoun, a district of 57,000,
    collected fewer than 1,000.

    Fairfax, with 169,000 students last year,
    compiled 9,440 portfolios, up from 700
    three years ago. The number represents
    about 2 percent of the total assessments
    given in Fairfax last year and about 6
    percent of reading and math tests given in
    elementary and middle school. High school
    students are not eligible for the portfolio.  

    Students excel

    The remarkable gains at Lynbrook fit into a
    picture of ever-greater success in the
    region's largest school system. Fairfax
    Superintendent Jack D. Dale announced
    record highs in test scores and impressive
    progress in narrowing achievement gaps this
    fall. He attributed the progress to "a
    powerful shift" toward more personalized
    instruction systemwide.

    Dale, who helped lead the fight to provide an
    alternative test for those beginning to learn
    English, said portfolios produce more
    accurate results that are consistent with how
    non-native speakers perform on multiple-
    choice tests once they master English. "We
    are seeing the same great improvement in our
    kids and our teachers no matter what
    instrument you look at," Dale said.

    In an era of high-stakes testing, school
    leaders walk a tightrope. They must balance
    a lofty mandate to measure all students
    according to the same high expectations with
    a reality of classrooms filled with children
    who have trouble processing basic
    information or who recently arrived from
    another country. Every state makes some
    allowances for students who cannot meet
    testing requirements.

    Maryland officials permit students who fail
    an exit exam required for graduation to do a
    project instead. District schools offer a
    "read aloud" accommodation for students
    with disabilities during reading tests, but
    began to dial back the program this spring
    after education officials found it was being
    overused. Most states offer alternative tests
    for students with serious cognitive
    disabilities.

    Last year, students tested with portfolios
    outperformed classmates who took multiple-
    choice tests in Fairfax. Students with
    disabilities surpassed schoolwide pass rates
    in reading or math tests in more than a dozen
    schools. Students learning English were far
    more likely to score in the highest
    performance tier on the reading test, which
    measures knowledge of language arts
    concepts such as metaphor and plot, than
    their native-speaking peers. Overall, English-
    learners and students with disabilities
    charted 20- and 18-point gains respectively
    in reading pass rates, compared to a six-
    point gain for the division.

    At Weyanoke Elementary School near
    Annandale, a third of students were tested
    with reading portfolios last year, up from
    none three years ago. Passing rates jumped
    from 41 to 100 percent for students with
    disabilities, from 69 to 97 percent for
    English learners, and from 66 to 91 percent
    for black students (more than a quarter of
    whom were tested with portfolios).

    Principals at Weyanoke and Lynbrook say
    that the boost in scores has gone hand in
    hand with improvements in instruction and
    that portfolios help teachers focus on
    students' unique learning styles.

    Weyanoke teacher Candy Kwiecinski is
    assembling about 10 portfolios for students
    in her fourth-grade class this year. One
    October afternoon, she taught a lesson on
    dictionary skills and how to use guide words
    at the top of the page. Some students might
    see a question on guide words next spring on
    a multiple-choice test. Others were tested
    that day.

    A work sheet asking for examples of guide
    words could go in the portfolio. Or if it that
    proves too challenging, Kwiecinski can ask a
    student to explain what they are or whether
    they can select examples of guide words
    from an assortment of flashcards. Her job is
    to find the right way to teach and to test
    each student.

    Last year, 100 percent of the portfolios at
    Weyanoke received passing scores. That does
    not mean the students who took them are the
    school's top performers, Kwiecinski said; it
    means they all learned the curriculum.

    The portfolios show that her students "are
    learning the exact same things in different
    ways," she said.

    Special Ed e-News - August 6, 2009  
    Continuing drop in LD ranks sparks
    speculation on causes  

    The number of children identified with LDs
    has been falling for several years. In 2007,
    for example, 2.56 million students aged 6-21
    were in this category, according to the Data
    Accountability Center, compared with about
    2.79 million students in 1998. In some
    respects, the decline is illusory, because the
    ranks of children in other disability
    categories have surged. The number of
    children with autism, for example, leapt from
    53,644 in 1998 to 256,863 in 2007,
    according to the center. Meanwhile, the
    number of children with OHIs grew from
    220,643 to 625,187, an increase that
    largely came after the addition of ADD and
    ADHD to that category in 1999. In fact, the
    number of children aged 6-21 in the IDEA
    Part B program grew by 8 percent from
    1998 to 2007, compared with a rise of only
    3 percent in the number of children in that
    age group.

    Nonetheless, it is interesting to speculate
    whether the decrease in children with LDs
    can be attributed to better teaching. For
    example, a state's Part B grant is no longer
    based strictly on its share of children with
    disabilities. Rather, it is based on the state's
    1999 allocation, with 85 percent of the
    remaining funds distributed according to the
    state's share of children with and without
    disabilities and 15 percent according to its
    share of children in poverty. The same is
    true at the LEA level, so there is no longer a
    financial incentive to identify more children
    as students with disabilities, said Candace
    Cortiella, director of the Advocacy
    Institute. Children at risk of being
    identified with LD have also benefited from
    the renewed emphasis on phonics, said John
    Lloyd, a professor of special ed at the
    University of Virginia and executive director
    of the Division for Learning Disabilities.  

    At one time, it was thought children would
    gain reading skills if teachers put words on
    the wall and placed tubs of books around the
    classroom, he said. But children in such
    environments "don't necessarily learn how to
    read effectively or how to solve words," he
    said. Congress responded by passing the
    Reading Excellence Act and then the Reading
    First program, both of which supported
    professional development in helping children
    master the "pretty critical, smaller
    elements" of reading, Lloyd said. However,
    Lloyd cannot draw any conclusions about the
    effectiveness of Reading First or any other
    instructional approach from the drop in the
    number of students with LD, given the way
    the disability numbers have moved around
    among categories.    

    Special Ed e-news brings you significant
    case decisions and important developments in
    special education. The stories mentioned in
    this e-news edition are brought to you by
    Special Ed Connection®, LRP Publications’
    one-stop online reference center for all your
    special education needs.   

    SPECIAL INTEREST GROUP
    NEWSLETTER,
    Summer 2009
    AUTISM AND RELATED
    DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES
    "Health and Safety" Child Safety: Our
    Children Are At Greater Risk! What Can We
    Do?

    July 30, 2009 What Is ‘Real’ Autism? By
    Lisa Belkin
    http://parenting. blogs.nytimes.
    com/2009/ 07/30/more- of-the-many-
    views-of- autism/


    This is the original article from which
    this blog springs from....

    July 22, 2009
    The Unvarnished Reality of Autism
    By Lisa Belkin

    http://parenting. blogs.nytimes.
    com/2009/ 07/22/the- unvarnished-
    reality-of- autism/

    New National Professional Competencies
    for Teachers of Autism
    Thursday, July 30, 2009 By: Robin Gurley

    July 29, 2009

    Reading for the Blind and Dyslexic has a
    grant from the US Dept. of Education to
    provide FREE membership access, through
    1/25/10, to the entire library of books at
    RFB&D.  This is for the downloadable books
    only, not the CDs.  To join, you must have a
    qualified disability and a qualified
    professional to sign the application form.  
    This is an excellent opportunity to try this
    out for students.  RFB&D has both textbooks
    and regular books. www.rfbd.org/
    promotions.htm

    May 27, 2009

    Autism and Vision

    Autism, Asperger’s Syndrome and other
    developmental disabilities can bring with
    them a variety of vision problems; yet many
    of these children have either never had an
    eye exam, or have been told that their vision
    is fine.  However, some of the behaviors
    associated with these spectrum disorders
    actually have a visual component, which, when
    addressed, can make a huge change in the
    child’s behavior and ability to learn and
    interact with their world.

    Most people don’t realize that our eyes are
    actually part of the brain.  Therefore, if
    someone has a neurological disorder that
    impacts the brain, their vision would be
    compromised in some way.  Being able to see
    things clearly from a distance of 20 feet (i.
    e., “20/20”) is just one of over 15 visual
    skills required to read, learn and function in
    life.

    While 1 out of 4 normal children struggle
    with reading and learning because of
    undiagnosed vision problems, research is
    showing that a significantly higher
    percentage of children with autism spectrum
    disorders have vision problems which, when
    corrected, can make a huge difference in
    their lives.

    For more information, please give us a call at
    703-508-2454.
    Dr. John Dresely


    April 7, 2009

    ASA applauds the recent introduction of two
    bills to mark World Autism Awareness Day
    by U.S. Representatives Mike Doyle (D-PA)
    and Chris Smith (R-NJ).

    The first bill is a House concurrent
    resolution observing World Autism
    Awareness Day and calling for greater
    federal action to address the needs of
    individuals with autism spectrum disorders.
    Specifically, this resolution recognizes the
    importance of autism awareness and
    expresses the House of Representatives’
    commitment to increase funding for research
    into the causes and treatment of autism and
    to improve training and support for
    individuals who care for those with autism.

    The second bill would fund programs
    addressing autism in the developing world.
    This legislation, the Global Autism
    Assistance Act, would authorize $10 million
    over three years for service providers and
    advocacy groups for children with autism
    specifically in countries with weak
    healthcare infrastructure and help America
    regain its leadership position around the
    world. The Global Autism Assistance Act
    would fund small grants to raise autism
    awareness and create new ways to share
    American expertise and advancements in the
    diagnoses and treatment of autism with
    families and medical professionals in
    countries that have yet to focus on the
    worldwide increase in the prevalence of
    autism.

    The Global Autism Assistance Act would also
    establish a "teach the teachers" program in
    which qualified U.S. specialists would train
    education and health professionals working
    with children with autism in the developing
    world. The program would host multiple
    workshops to enable American education,
    medical, and psychological specialists to
    share their expertise with parents and health
    and education professionals in the program's
    pilot regions. This is designed to help create
    a new corps of professionals in the pilot
    regions who can then fan out and help others
    further their autism assistance programs on
    their own.

    Help support these important bills by
    writing to your U.S. representative. Use this
    link to write in support of the World Autism
    Awareness Day Resolution, and use this link
    to write in support of the Global Autism
    Assistance Act. Together, we can improve
    the quality of live for individuals with autism
    around the world.

    Sincerely,

    Lee Grossman
    President & CEO
    Autism Society of America  


    A Genetic Clue to Why Autism Affects
    Boys More
    By Alice Park Tuesday, May. 19, 2009

    www.time.com/time/health/article/0,
    8599,1899756,00.html

    Support for homeschoolers with autism
    and PPD's
    March 25, 2009

    A Step Back for Disabled Youths

    Families Fear Cuts in County Services
    May Harm Progress of Mentally
    Challenged

    By Chris L. Jenkins
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    March 12, 2009

    The holidays can be a stressful and uncertain
    time for individuals on the spectrum and
    their families. Routines are disrupted, family
    members are pre-occupied with shopping and
    preparations, and families are often
    travelling and/or hosting visitors in their
    home. The “Dear Friends and Family” letter
    was written for relatives and hosts of
    holiday gatherings who might need a crash
    course in what to expect from their guest
    with autism. The article is reprinted by
    permission of editor/author, Viki Gayhardt.

    www.autism-society.
    org/site/DocServer/Dear_Friends_and_Fa
    mily. pdf?docID=1141docID

    Sensory Strategies for Surviving the
    Holiday Season

    For more holiday tips or strategies for
    helping sensory sensitive children, contact
    Jamie Levine, OTR/L, owner of OT
    Ventures, LLC at (443) 812-6396.  Or visit:
    www.ot-ventures.com/


    Tips for travel with autistic kids Taking
    the Kids
    by Eileen Ogintz - July 21, 2008

    Flying can be a rough ride for autistic
    children, families
    By Rebecca Kaplan, USA TODAY

    Fringe autism treatment could get
    federal study
    By CARLA K. JOHNSON, Associated
    Press Writer

    Hands On Learning For The Visually
    Impaired

    10 Tips for Ending the School Year by
    Pat Howey, Advocate

    Bookshare.org Partners With Don
    Johnston to Provide Free Text Reader
    for Print Disabled Students

    Summer is Here. Good Tips on helping
    kids stay safe.

    Written By: Carin Yavorcik, ASA

    Kid CallCard ensures phone numbers are
    always nearby.

    In a large crowd (e.g., a major sporting
    event, the shopping mall, an amusement park,
    the beach, etc.), an accidental separation
    between parents (or chaperones) and
    children can and often does occur. With The
    Kid CallCard, the lost child is usually
    reunited in 5 minutes - as opposed to 35 or
    45 minutes, or longer.

    The Kid CallCard facilitates a very
    practical, common-sense idea: A child should
    have the cell phone numbers of chaperones in
    case an accidental separation occurs.

    The Kid CallCard is a two-sided waterproof
    card that holds up to 10 cell phone numbers
    on one side, and is personalized with your
    child's first name on the other. It's the size
    of a credit card, and provides space for two
    primary cell numbers (usually Mom and Dad),
    and up to 10 secondary cell numbers for
    grandparents, aunts, uncles, family friends,
    etc., with whom your child attends outings.

    Learn more or purchase a card at http:
    //kidcallcard.com/.

    Safety When Out Tips

    For more ASA Tips of the Day, visit www.
    autism-society.org

    Summer Travel Tips for Families Living
    with Autism

    Are you traveling this summer with an
    individual with autism? Check out our travel
    tips to make the most of your vacation!

    Music & Movies
    MP3 players with headphones, loaded with
    favorite music, can soothe individuals who
    are disturbed by noises. Personal DVD
    players can also help make a long trip more
    enjoyable.

    Book “Low Season” Vacations
    Book “low season” on a cruise or at a resort
    so there will be fewer guests and the staff
    will have more time to devote to your needs.

    Travel by Car
    Whenever possible, travel by car if flying or
    other public transportation seems too
    difficult. This will allow your family to relax
    in a stress-free environment while traveling
    to your destination.

    Sensory treatment yields promising
    results for children with autism
    Written by Anna Nguyen
    For the Temple Times


    Pete and Pam Wright: Founders of
    Wrightslaw, www.wrightslaw.com

    At Wrightslaw, our mission is to provide
    parents, advocates, educators, and attorneys
    with accurate, up-to-date information about
    special education law and advocacy so they
    can be effective catalysts.

    You will find articles, cases, newsletters, and
    resources on dozens of topics in the
    Advocacy Libraries and Law Libraries. You
    may subscribe to The Special Ed Advocate,
    the free weekly e-newsletter about special
    education legal and advocacy topics. Here is
    a sample of what is on the site.

    Summary of Stimulus Bill & IDEA Funding

    Parent Guide to Response to Intervention
    (RTI)

    Overcoming Autism
    A local high school student succeeds with
    lots of help from parents and teachers.
    By David Schultz/The Connection

    Getting help for a child with autism
    By Elizabeth Cohen
    CNN

    Montgomery Parents Help Give Kids a
    Solid Foundation
    Nonprofit Group Funds Exercise Therapy
    for Children
    By Erin Donaghue
    Gazette Staff Writer


    Old-Fashioned Play Builds Serious Skills
    February 21, 2008
    by Alix Spiegel
    www.npr.org

    Discovery Of New Cause Of Mental
    Retardation Simplifies Search For
    Treatments
    www.sciencedaily.com

    Autistic Children May Have Abnormal
    Functioning Of Mirror Neuron System

    www.sciencedaily.com

    How kids can get over the 'motivation
    brick wall'
    By Tracey Wong Briggs, USA TODAY


    Bad Behavior Does Not Doom Pupils,
    Studies Say
    By BENEDICT CAREY
    The New York Times

    Asperger’s Syndrome Gets a Very Public
    Face
    By TARA PARKER-POPE
    The New York Times
    well@nytimes.com


    Autistic Children May Have Abnormal
    Functioning Of Mirror Neuron System
    www.sciencedaily.com

    CEC Publishes Position on Response to
    Intervention


    Special Ed Advocate Newsletter, Feb.
    24, 2009,
    Waiting to Fail" Instead of Teaching a
    Child to Read


    Easter Seals Supports Autism Insurance
    Coverage Bill Sensory



    Q-and-A: How to better manage
    behavioral disabilities
    By Michelle Diament
    CEC Smart Brief

    Science Daily:

    Measuring Intellectual Disability
    http://www.sciencedaily.
    com/releases/2009/06/090624093309.
    htm

    Researchers have developed a specific and
    quantitative means of measuring levels of the
    fragile X mental retardation 1 protein, which
    is mutated in fragile X syndrome.

    Parent Tips from Pathfinders for Autism
    Halloween- October 2009

    By its very nature, Halloween is scary.
    Everything from the decorations, AMC's
    listing of the top 100 horror films, the
    inflated price of candy, etc. But perhaps the
    scariest part of Halloween is trying to
    understand it through the eyes of our kids
    with autism. So how do we make this spooky
    night less of a nightmare?

    BOO! Take out the surprise factor
    Talk about Halloween ahead of time so your
    child will know what to expect. Show her
    pictures of kids in costumes, videos of kids
    trick-or-treating, and make sure you show
    your child what this will look like when it's
    dark outside. Social stories can be a great
    preparation tool. You can even create your
    own social story using pictures of your kids
    in previous years. And don't forget to take
    pictures this year for next year's story.

    Scope out the neighborhood
    Take a nighttime stroll through the streets
    where you plan to trick-or-treat and look at
    the decorations. Are there any houses you
    might want to avoid because they look too
    scary? Talk to your neighbors. Is anyone
    planning to dress in a costume and scare the
    kids as they approach a house? You may also
    want to do an advance visit to any party or
    Halloween stores where you plan to take
    your child. I know when you walk into our
    local party store, you are greeted by a
    mechanical Jason from Friday the 13th. We
    all want to avoid months of sleeplessness
    thanks to nightmares.

    Teach the rules of trick-or-treating
    Provide step-by-step instructions for how
    trick-or-treating works. For instance, how
    we knock on the door and say "trick-or-
    treat" but don't go into the house, put the
    candy in the bag, say thank you, and go to the
    next house. Practice this routine before the
    big night. Some kids may need days of
    practice, some kids may be good with only
    one dry run. Don't forget to go over what to
    do if there is a break in the routine, for
    instance if a neighbor is not home. Here's one
    tricky rule. We teach our kids all year that
    they should never take candy from strangers.
    Since our kids live by rules, they may have a
    difficult time reconciling this rule
    infraction. You may think that of course you
    would never go to a stranger's house, but the
    stranger issue could come into play if you go
    trick-or-treating at a community center,
    mall, etc.

    Have a dress rehearsal
    For a child with sensory issues, costumes can
    pose some problems. The costume can be
    itchy, too tight, too loose, too hot or not
    warm enough. Makeup can be sticky, or smell
    and feel weird. Masks can make it difficult
    to see or hear, or cause irritation to the
    head. Have your child try on her costume far
    enough in advance that you can make
    adjustments and alterations if necessary.
    Easy costumes made from clothing articles
    you already have may be the perfect route.
    If your child isn't very enthusiastic about
    wearing a costume, now may be an
    opportunity to tie in a passion and let him
    dress as the character he watches 800 times
    a month. But also let him know it's ok not to
    wear a costume.

    Make a candy plan
    Think pre- and post trick-or-treating. If
    your child has a restricted diet, you could
    drop off packages of allowable snacks or
    small toys to your neighbors for them to give
    to your child. Or be prepared with
    acceptable treats you can substitute when
    your child gets home. If there are some
    candies on the approved list, ask a sibling if
    they would be willing to swap. Tell your child
    ahead of time what he can/can't do with the
    candy when you get back home. Can he dump
    it all out and eat the entire bag that night?
    Will you limit her to a certain number of
    candies each day? Make sure you don't keep
    this plan to yourself - share it with your
    child so expectations are known up front.

    Go with friends
    Pair you child up with a neurotypical buddy
    that can help your child remember the trick-
    or-treating rules. That buddy can also be
    another set of eyes on your child amidst the
    flurry of masquerading candy goers. If your
    child is an eloper, it might help everyone if
    your child is wearing sneakers that light up,
    or has a glow stick or bracelet. And if you
    have other children, make sure you have a
    plan in case your child with autism wants to
    go home before your other children are done.

    Eliminate the fear factor
    There's a lot going on during Halloween's
    evening hours that startles the senses. It's
    dark and there are lots of people running
    around in scary costumes. Go before it gets
    dark if your child would be afraid during the
    later hours or if you need a less crowded
    time. If going door-to-door is overwhelming
    for your child, give her the option to stay
    home and pass out candy, or invite a small
    group over for a candy swap. Malls and
    community centers might offer an alternative
    location, but inquire about the size of the
    crowds they are expecting. If your child
    stays home, consider the commotion. Will
    constant knocking at your door, or the
    doorbell ringing upset your child? Or the
    dog barking each time it rings? Or kids
    screaming "trick-or-treat"?

    And perhaps the most important tip: make
    sure your plan to steal your favorite candy
    from your child's bag is foolproof.

    © 2009 Pathfinders for Autism

    www.merrittproperties.com
    Merritt Properties is a proud sponsor of the
    Pathfinders for Autism Resource Center.

    Learning Difficulties May Be Centred in
    the Eye, Not the Brain
    ScienceDaily (June 16, 2010)  

    Special Olympians tie their shoes for good
    Glen Burnie inventor donates 3,000 pairs of
    Lock Laces to athletes
    July 09, 2010|By Mary Gail Hare, The
    Baltimore Sun

    Many Special Olympians competing in the
    national games this month in Lincoln, Neb.,
    will have one less worry while they are
    running, jumping or playing ball: Their
    shoelaces will never come untied.

    A Glen Burnie entrepreneur is donating
    3,000 pairs of Lock Laces, a shoe-lacing
    system that features elastic laces
    combined with a spring-activated locking
    device.
                       
                                
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