Mary Conrick's Autism Sibling Perspective: Pain and Laughter
Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD) to Host Free Thousand Oaks Workshop for Parents to Learn About Autism Insurance Coverage

Dachel Media Review: Autism Gym, Missing in LA, Desperate for Help

Online newsBy Anne Dachel

Read Anne's commentary and view the links after the jump.

Feb 1. 2014, Tuscaloosa (AL) News: LEND A HAND 2/2: Valentine's Day fundraiser will benefit Arts 'n Autism

Feb 1, 2014, Sheboygan (WI) Press: Family commitment: Desperate for help for their autistic son, the Shapiros found themselves lost in a legal morass (with video, photos)
Feb 1, 2014, Phoenix, AZ CBS 5: Researchers look to K-9 DNA to identify human autism genes

Feb 1, 2014, Richmond (VA) Times Dispatch: Smart, Mooney help promote autism awareness

Feb 1, 2014, Connecticut Post: A gym for those with autism

Jan 31, 2014, CBS Los Angeles: LAPD Seeks Public's Help In Locating Missing Man With Autism

Jan 31, 2014, Are alternative therapies for autism safe?

Jan 31, 2014, Jackson (MS) Clarion Ledger: Autism insurance bill passes first test, awaits next

Jan 31, 2014, Chicagoland Chapter of Autism Speaks to Host AN EVENING WITH THE STARS Fundraiser, 3/2

Jan 31, 2014, Sonoma County Gazette: NEW Guidelines for Childhood Immunizations

Tuscaloosa (AL) News

For the third year, Tuscaloosa Flower Shoppe has teamed up with the Arts 'n Autism after-school program for the Valentine's Day fundraiser, "Hearts on Fire for Arts 'n Autism." . . .

"Arts 'n Autism is filling a need for so many of the working families in West Alabama that have children with autism. It gives their children a safe place to be until they get off work," Sikes said.

"There is a fee for the program, but it is the program's policy not to turn anyone away because they cannot pay," she said.

"Fundraisers such as this one help us fill the gap," she said.

Arts 'n Autism started in 2004 as a once-a-week, after-school program with eight elementary-age kids who had autism.

Ten years later, the Arts 'n Autism program has grown to serve about 50 kids, ages 3 to 21, and the program is offered after school every weekday.

Statistics show that one in every 88 people has autism, which would mean that between 500 to 600 kids in the local Tuscaloosa schools may be autistic.

How could autism be a crisis when nice stories like this make us feel so good about it? "Arts 'n Autism" is more conditioning the public to accept the disorder.

The last paragraph is more of the same. We're told autism affects one in 88 people, not children. We're casually told hundreds of kids in the area are possibly autistic. No reason given.

How much worse can it get?

I'd post a comment here saying that everyone should be alarmed over 500-600 kids with autism Tuscaloosa schools, but no one would believe me.

Sheboygan (WI) Press

When 11-year-old Nadav Shapiro comes home from school, he sings.

He randomly repeats words or sounds, distractedly eating snacks of veggie wraps and lettuce leaves and occasionally raising his face to his mother's for a kiss and a cuddle.

Nadav, the son of Michael and Luida and the little brother of 18-year-old David, is severely autistic. He's almost completely nonverbal, difficult to corral but affectionate and curious.

He spends six mornings a week working with autism therapists at home and he attends school for a couple hours four days a week. He plays outside when it's warm enough, hangs out with his big brother and is about as healthy and well-adjusted as a child with his disability can be, say his parents.

A year ago, however, it was a very different story. Thanks to the incomplete patchwork of programs and services available to kids like Nadav, he ended up institutionalized.

It took the Shapiros two lawyers, two court hearings and six months to bring him home and they say that by the time they did, he was underweight, bruised and fearful.

Very few of Sheboygan County's disabled children end up committed, but Nadav's story highlights how the system of providing services for developmentally and mentally ill children and their families can go wrong.

What a mess. The one thing this story does is show us the severe side of autism. This is not the cute five year old having fun with a speech therapist.

What is going to happen to boys like Nadav when they're older?

Phoenix, AZ CBS 5

Phoenix-based scientists at TGen are beginning to examine whether dogs might hold the key to unlocking the mystery behind childhood autism.

The non-profit genomics organization is raising funds to initiate a study looking at doggie DNA they hope will translate into possible life improving advancements for children suffering from autism.

"Science has been studying the genetics of autism for a very long time," says Matt Huentleman, PhD with TGen. . . .

In the autism study, researchers are looking to establish a link between obsessive compulsive behavior in certain dog breeds with the autism markers in a human.

Maybe we need an award for the stupidest waste of research money.

These scientists are currently looking for funding for this study.

I'm sure they'll get plenty. 

Richmond (VA) Times Dispatch

Virginia Commonwealth coach Shaka Smart and Richmond coach Chris Mooney will wear Autism Speaks puzzle-piece pins today to help promote autism awareness.

More than 80 coaches are wearing the pins during televised games in support of Towson coach Pat Skerry and Marshall coach Tom Herrion. Both have children with autism.

Autism affects 1 in 88 children and is the fastest-growing serious developmental disability in the U.S., according to the Autism Speaks website.

Everybody recognizes the puzzle piece now. We're all used to hearing that autism affects one in 88 kids. The numbers are growing--we're told that everyday.

Autism can happen to any child. No one knows why.

Sad but true. I can't wait for April.

Connecticut Post

Gyms are a dime a dozen in this appearance-obsessed world, where people regularly make and break commitments to exercise and getting into better shape. Less common are fitness centers geared toward a specific population -- one for whom working out yields both physical and emotional benefits.

This spring, Orange residents Adam and Dedra Leapley plan to open the Autism Spectrum Disorder Fitness Center on Racebrook Road in their town. . . .

ASD symptoms range from the relatively mild to severe, including language limits, social disengagement and sensitivity to stimuli, such as light and sound. About 1 in 88 children has been identified with an autism spectrum disorder, according to estimates from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network.

But research has shown that physical activity can be beneficial for people on the spectrum. A 2010 study by the University of California looked at 64 people with ASD from 18 earlier studies and found that, after exercising, the participants tended to be less aggressive, more focused and less inclined to inappropriate behavior. . . .

"It's not going to be a typical gym," he said. "We had to worry about lighting and flooring and echoing in the room because of any sensitivity issues."

Gym members would largely work with personal trainers who will have a background in special education.

There's nothing we can do about autism, period. We better adjust to having a significant segment of our society disabled to some degree by autism. We're seeing it everywhere--at least for children right now. The market is huge in every 88. As these kids grow up, the possibilities are endless. Welcome to the US of Autism.

Imagine all kinds of public places with little "autism friendly" puzzle piece signs on the door.

It'll happen. So if your child suddenly regresses, spins in circles, rocks, flaps their hands endlessly, can't speak, has meltdowns in's all just part of autism. We understand. We've turned down the lights and adjusted the sound. It'll be fine.

CBS Los Angeles

Authorities are seeking the public's help in locating a missing man with autism.

Brandon Jordan, 20, was last seen around 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday in the 3000 block of Dublin Avenue, Los Angeles police said in a department statement.

Avonte Oquendo's tragic death put a face on wandering. But it's only going to continue. We'll get used to hearing about it. No one's really going to ask why it's happening--it's just part of the mystery of autism. The solution: ankle bracelets.

Sad to say that the "Missing Man With Autism" is 20 years old.

Autistic adults must stop wandering by that time they reach 40, 50, and 60. We never hear about them.

There are no approved medications for the treatment of autism, meaning there is much room for physicians to interpret what works best for the individual when it comes to therapy. Because of this loose treatment model, many parents and individuals on the autism spectrum have turned to alternative therapies for autism like the administration of vitamins, herbs, mind-body practices, and probiotics, among others. While many of these practices are safe, some can be potentially dangerous or may make autism symptoms worse.

In a study published January of 2014, experts found 40 percent of parents with children on the autism spectrum used alternative therapies for autism, and of those, 4 percent had their children on treatments classified as potentially unsafe or unfounded in science. Autism Speaks indicates as many as 95 percent of individuals on the autism spectrum have been given or have themselves tried an alternative therapy.

"Regardless of how families make these (alternative therapy


It's amazing that the same medical community that can't tell us the cause, prevention, or cure for autism and likewise has no medication specifically designed for the disorder, is skeptical of CATs. Every time the rate makes another dramatic leap forward, (currently at one in every 50 or one in every 88 children--depending on which statistic from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention you care to believe), doctors still don't know if it's a true increase or just more better diagnosing of a condition that's always been around.

I think a lot of parents in the autism community have given up all hope of doctors ever knowing anything for sure about autism.

Jackson (MS) Clarion Ledger:

Legislation requiring the state and schools employee health insurance plan to cover autism therapies faces an uncertain future despite staggering growth of the disorder among Mississippi youth.

House Bill 542 passed through the Insurance Committee on Friday and now sits before the Appropriations Committee whose chairman, state Rep. Herb Frierson, R-Poplarville, said he's not sure he'll offer it for a vote before the Feb. 4 deadline.

"I don't know what we'll do at this point," Frierson said. "I haven't done any research."

If it passes, it would be the first time such a bill makes it to the House floor after eight consecutive years of attempts. Most of the previous bills would have required all health insurance plans to cover autism therapies instead of restricting it only to state employees.

An expanded bill also sits in the House Insurance Committee this year, its fate equally uncertain.

Meanwhile, the state's autism rate has jumped 381 percent in the past nine years, according to data from the Mississippi Department of Education.

One in 88 children now have the disorder, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates. That's 10,175 youths under the age of 21 in Mississippi alone. 


What's missing in this story is any explanation for the explosion in autism.  One in every 88 kids haven't always had autism in Mississippi.  Anyone saying that this is just better diagnosing of a disorder that's always been around needs to explain what was done for these children in the past.  And they should tell us why nothing is being done to help the one in 88 adults out there, undiagnosed/misdiagnosed. 

In truth, whenever we talk about AUTISM, we're talking about CHILDREN WITH AUTISM.  No one has ever been able to show us a comparable rate among adults, especially adults with severe autism, whose symptoms are easily recognized. 

If the legislators of Mississippi don't address autism now, the problem isn't going away.  It'll be the taxpayers who'll be paying for the support and care of all these children when they become adults. 

On Sunday, March 2, the Chicagoland Chapter of Autism Speaks is proud to announce its 6th annual Oscar-themed fundraising event, An Evening with the Stars Red Carpet Spectacular, taking place at the InterContinental O'Hare Hotel in Rosemont, IL.

Since its inception, An Evening with the Stars has raised over $500,000 for autism research and awareness and will once again bring the glitz and glamour of Hollywood to the Windy City on Oscar night, featuring glamorous red carpet arrivals, pre-show interviews broadcast live on the big screen, and live and silent auctions with prizes ranging from dinner-theater packages to all-expense paid getaways.

An Evening with the Stars is the only Oscar-themed fundraiser in Chicagoland to benefit children and families struggling with autism. With the glamorous backdrop of the 86th Annual Academy Awards broadcast, all proceeds from this Hollywood themed fundraiser will benefit Autism Speaks, the world's leading autism science and advocacy organization, dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism; increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders; and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families.


With all this "glitz and glamour" how could autism be a crisis? An Evening with the Stars has raised over $500,000 over six years for research and awareness.

See people care about autism. Autism Speaks is dedicated to researching "the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism; increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders; and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families."

They're doing all they can.

 Sonoma County Gazette

Starting January 1, 2014, a new state law (AB 2109) goes into effect that requires counseling from a health care provider before an exemption is granted from school-required immunizations. Starting January 1, this requirement will apply to all students newly admitted to a California school, a child care facility, or entering the 7th grade. Over time this new requirement will impact all students with non-medical exemptions. This new law will be of interest to many parents in Sonoma County because of the high prevalence of students who do not get fully immunized in certain areas.

In California the state will now determine what your religious beliefs are if you want to use a religious exemption from vaccinations for your children.

A doctor tells us all about it.

Parents will have to get counseling before being allowed to have a personal exemption. They will be told about the benefits of vaccines and the risks of not vaccinating.

I guess nothing will be said about the risks associated with vaccination--implying that there are none. And of course the kindly counselor won't mention that no one involved has any liability.

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Ann is there anything out there about the meeting in November of 2013 about IACC wasting money in duplication of studies?

What if anything was decided about this?


I like the idea of a reward for best waste of research money! It would be so hard to choose among so many worthy candidates.

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