View this email in your web browser
US Autism & Asperger Association, Inc. October 30 , 2007

Welcome to USAAA Weekly News, an email newsletter that addresses a range of topics on Autism Spectrum Disorders and Asperger's Syndrome.


NEW - Environmental Issues

Despite worries of climate change, the world's addiction to coal is increasing
By Elaine Kurtenbach The Associated Press

JUNGAR QI, China - Almost nonstop, gargantuan 145-ton trucks rumble through China's biggest open-pit coal mine, sending up clouds of soot as they dump their loads into mechanized sorters.

China is the world's biggest consumer and producer of coal, but it's far from the only one. U.S. coal production hit a record 1.2 billion tons last year, according to the National Mining Association, and is forecast by the government to rise 50 percent by 2030.

The black treasure has transformed this once-isolated crossroads nestled in the sand-sculpted ravines of Inner Mongolia into a bleak boomtown of nearly 300,000 people. Day and night, long and dusty trains haul out coal to electric power plants and factories in the east, fueling China's explosive growth.

"Toxic clouds of mercury and other chemicals from mining are poisoning the air and water far beyond China's borders and polluting the food chain."

Coal is big, and getting bigger. As oil and natural gas prices soar, the world is relying ever more on the cheap, black-burning mainstay of the Industrial Revolution. Mining companies are racing into Africa. Workers are laying miles of new railroad track to haul coal from the Powder River Basin in Wyoming and Montana.

In America, about 150 new coal-fired electrical plants are proposed over the next decade. In China, there are plans for a coal-fired power plant to go on line nearly every week.

And nowhere is coal bigger than in China. But the explosion of coal comes amid rising alarm over its dire consequences for workers and the environment. An average of 13 Chinese miners die every day in explosions, floods, fires and cave-ins. Toxic clouds of mercury and other chemicals from mining are poisoning the air and water far beyond China's borders and polluting the food chain. So far, attempts to clean up coal have largely not worked. Technology to reduce or cut out carbon dioxide emissions is expensive and years away from widespread commercial Advertisement use.

Click here for entire story.


USAAA Expert's Corner

USAAA Expert's Corner is a new section of USAAA WeeklyNews, where we feature information from a leading autism expert.

This week's expert is: Kenneth P. Stoller, MD

Autism as a Minamata disease variant: analysis of a pernicious legacy
K.P. Stoller/Medical Veritas 3 (2006) 772–780

"...research findings showing mercury was the cause of Minamata disease,"

Minamata Disease is a myriad of neurological and neurodevelopmental symptoms stemming from the pollution of Minamata Bay, Japan with 27 tons of organic mercury by the Chisso Corporation. The corporation denied responsibility and continued to pollute waterways for three decades. While research findings showing mercury was the cause of Minamata disease were concealed by the corporation, a number of committees, of which Chisso Corporation employees were members, were formed to research the problem. The committees denied this information and refuted the direct link of mercury. Today, the causes of autism and several neurodevelopmental disorders may be linked to mercury.

Click here for entire story.

To purchase a PDF file of Dr. Stoller's paper, "Mercury, Mercurial Lies and the Liars that tell them," that was published in the Conference Proceedings Manual from the USAAA 2007 annual conference, click here. To purchase DVDs, click here. Proceeds go toward USAAA's scholarship fund which allow individuals to attend USAAA conferences.


Workshop Proceedings. Autism and the Environment: Challenges and Opportunities for Research
Released On: October 26, 2007

On April 18 and 19, 2007, the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM’s) Forum on Neuroscience and Nervous System Disorders, in response to a request from the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, hosted a workshop called “Autism and the Environment: Challenges and Opportunities for Research.” The goal of the workshop was to provide a venue to bring together scientists, members of the autism community, and the major sponsors of autism-related research to discuss the most promising scientific opportunities. The focus was on improving the understanding of the ways in which environmental factors such as chemicals, infectious agents, or physiological or psychological stress can affect the development of the brain. In addition, discussions addressed the infrastructure needs for pursuing the identified research opportunities—tools, technologies, and partnerships.

Mark Blaxill, SafeMinds Vice President, member of the IOM Planning Committee and an invited workshop participant said, “Our scientific leadership is increasingly realizing that ongoing epidemic denial, the bizarre idea that current autism rates have been with us forever, and myopic insistence that autism is an inherited untreatable disorder, are inconsistent with the evidence and disciplined scientific thought. They are certainly no longer acceptable as guiding principles for policy.”

SafeMinds Executive Director Sallie Bernard delivered a presentation focusing on research opportunities. Ms. Bernard called for an “overcorrection” of environmental research funding to make up for the last 15 years of funding going mostly to genetics. She outlined many of the small-scale studies funded by SafeMinds since 2000 and said, “Now we are at the stage where we would like to see these types of ideas go to the next level and, for that, we need the public side of the public-private partnership.”

Click here for the report

 

Enabling empathy
by Kate Millerick
October 30, 2007
The Justice, The Independent Newspaper of Brandeis University

The energetic presentation of Stephen Shore to a packed room Wednesday, Oct. 10 was truly inspiring. While the University typically hosts events consisting of professors or students with disabilities, inviting an outside expert to speak on disability issues was a new approach to an important issue. Shore has Asperger's Syndrome-a high functioning form of autism-and came to campus to educate the community about his disability.

Instead of encountering the patience that is necessary for them to learn, many people with AS are ignored or cruelly mocked by their peers and labeled as "creeps" or "freaks." We've all witnessed such behavior, even at Brandeis, and many of us have been active participants.

According to Beth Rodgers-Kay, director of disabilities and support, students and faculty who have a connection with AS requested the event. She described the event as an attempt to rally both students and faculty around an issue that directly affects the few Brandeis students who have the disability as well as many others who know or are related to an individual with AS.

While Shore focused on many of the common struggles of an individual with AS, he also spent time on the social implications of the disability-a particularly important area for college students.

Shore demonstrated the reach of Asperger's when he asked the audience to indicate if they were a parent, relative or friend of someone with the disability. Almost everyone in the room raised their hands. While I've always assumed that I could not be the only person on campus with some connection to AS, I was still surprised to see how many people raised their hands.

Click here for entire story.

Editor's Note - Congratulations to Dr. Stephen Shore as he received his doctorate this past week. More information in next week's newsletter.

To purchase a PDF file of Dr. Shore's paper, "Navigating the sea of approaches for working with children on the autism spectrum," that was published in the Conference Proceedings Manual from the USAAA 2007 annual conference, click here. To purchase DVDs, click here. Proceeds go toward USAAA's scholarship fund which allow individuals to attend USAAA conferences. To visit to Dr. Shore's website, www.autismasperger.net, click here.


news from around the world

Autism groups support earlier screening
UNNATI GANDHI From Tuesday's Globe and Mail October 30, 2007 at 4:59 AM EDT

Canadian autism groups are putting their weight behind an American call for universal screening for the disorder, but pediatricians here are wary of the realistic benefits of doing so.

The split comes as the American Academy of Pediatrics at its annual meeting in San Francisco yesterday made its strongest push to date to screen every child twice for autism by the age of 2, warning of symptoms such as failure to babble at nine months and one-year-olds who don't point to toys.

The advice is meant to help both parents and doctors spot the disorder sooner. And while there is no cure, experts say that early therapy can lessen its severity. "

Absolutely, we need a screening procedure in place," said Margaret Spoelstra, executive director of Autism Ontario, adding there is currently no standard screening practice in place in Canada. "To screen means that we're simply casting the net more widely in order to determine who might have autism out there. For us, it's better to have some false positives than to miss kids."

Click here for entire story.

 

Campaign tackles autism ignorance

A campaign aimed at increasing public awareness of autism has been launched after research showed widespread misconceptions about the condition.

news.bbc.co.uk

An estimated 50,000 people in Scotland have autism, which can affect how they communicate with and relate to others. A survey by the National Autistic Society found many people were unaware of the severity of the condition, or believed it affected only children.

The society hopes its Think Differently campaign will increase understanding.

Click here for entire story.


Comments from readers:

My name is Natalie Smith. My son Joey was diagnosed with autism at age 3. Through prayer and early intervention, he is verbal and very high functioning. Before my divorce I knew nothing about autism except having seen the movie Rain Man. Like many two income households, my husband and I were financially better off than I am now as a single mom. There is minimal child support and my son does receive SSI so that is a blessing; however, through researching and listening to other parents who have been before me down the road of parenting an autistic child, I realize that there is no "right" way to treat autism, there is only each individual child and what works for them. That being said, there are treatment options which I would like to be able to explore but simply cannot financially afford to investigate any further than delegating them to my "wish list" for my son. One such therapy is chelation therapy, for example, which eliminates traces of mercury from the body. Another therapy to be explored is dietary intervention, which is expensive to maintain because many gluten free/casein free products are more expensive than their not-so-nutritional counterparts. I especially think my child benefits from social skills training, which is expensive but I have found that support groups can work just as well for learning and implementing purposes. There are books to help a parent navigate treatment options, explore dietary changes, share social stories with their children in the hope that some of these things "spark" a sustained interest from their child. But time is the commodity that costs the most. As a single parent, I realize that the best gift is for me to love my child during the "in-between" moments the most and the best I can. To "wring out" the microseconds saturated by misunderstanding or tension-filled apprehension with love and not fear. Understanding, not money, buys that kind of peace.

In This Issue:
SPECIAL REPORT - CBS News reports The push for autism screening – what do parents need to know?
› Pediatricians Urge Autism Screening
› Article on autism screening from CNN
NEW - USAAA Environmental Issues - Despite worries of climate change, the world's addiction to coal is increasing
USAAA Parent's Forum
› USAAA Expert's Corner - Kenneth P. Stoller, MD, Autism as a Minamata disease variant: analysis of a pernicious legacy
› Workshop Proceedings. Autism and the Environment: Challenges and Opportunities for Research
› Enabling empathy

USAAA News Around the World

› Autism groups support earlier screening
› Campaign tackles autism ignorance

SPECIAL REPORT - CBS News reports The push for autism screening – what do parents need to know?
Click here to view the video from CBS


Pediatricians Urge Autism Screening
By LINDSEY TANNER AP Medical Writer
CHICAGO (AP) -- The country's leading pediatricians group is making its strongest push yet to have all children screened for autism twice by age 2, warning of symptoms such as babies who don't babble at 9 months and 1-year-olds who don't point to toys. The advice is meant to help both parents and doctors spot autism sooner. There is no cure for the disorder, but experts say that early therapy can lessen its severity. Symptoms to watch for and the call for early screening come in two new reports. They are being released by the American Academy of Pediatrics on Monday at its annual meeting in San Francisco and will appear in the November issue of the journal Pediatrics and on the group's Web site - http://www.aap.org/ .
Click here for entire story.

Article on autism screening from CNN
By Elizabeth Cohen CNN ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) -- From the time her daughter was very young, Briana Vartanian knew something was wrong. Lola Vartanian, whose autism was diagnosed two months ago, is already doing better with therapy, Mom says. 1 of 2 Lola didn't smile. She didn't laugh. When she and Lola took walks in the park, Vartanian noticed how the other babies loved to be held by their mothers. Lola hated being touched and even more being held. But there was something even more devastating to Vartanian, who lives in Ladera Ranch, California. "Lola never looked at me -- she looked through me. She had no idea who Mommy was," Vartanian said. "And other kids love it when someone comes up to them and smiles. She'd freak out if someone approached her -- even if it was me or my husband." Vartanian told her pediatrician she was worried, the doctor told her Lola was fine. "She kept telling me wait and see, wait and see, and that really annoyed me," Vartanian said.

Click here for entire story.


ao logo

ONLY $50/day* to attend one of the most comprehensive autism and Asperger conferences in North America!

Early Bird Registration is now available for Autism Orlando Biennial Conference. Incredible savings until December 1st. Click here to visit the conference website at www.autismorlando.com. For parents, caregivers, and families - Bring your entire team (spouses, grandparents, aunts, uncles, teachers, and therapists, etc.) . *Full registration $250 for the 1st person and $100 each for two additional guests - Total $450 for three people or just $150 per person for the entire three day conference! Early bird registration: click here for more information. Offer ends December 1st.
Call 1-866-9-Autism for more information.


USAAA Parent's Forum

USAAA Parent's Forum is a new section of USAAA WeeklyNews, where you send us your story about your experience with autism and Asperger's Syndrome on a specific topic each week. Whether you're a parent, grandparent, caregiver, or have any experience with autism spectrum disorders, your stories help provide insight into the world of autism.

This week's topic is: "Our Success Working With Biomedical Interventions ".

Please send us your story in 500 words or less. Include your full name, email address, and in the subject line include this week's topic. Submissions are condensed and edited. Because of the volume of mail received, not all submissions are published. Information other than your name are kept confidential.

Click here to submit your story.


The USAAA WeeklyNews® is made possible in part by a generous donation from CARE Clinics™.
Please click on the CARE Clinics' links below to learn more about the use of their proven methodology, using the safest yet modern treatment approaches available, diagnosing and developing a treatment protocol matching the unique set of genetic and physiological factors that underlie each child’s condition.
care logo
menu1
menu3
menu4
menu5
menu6
menu7
menu8

GET YOUR DVDs or Video/Audio downloads from the 2007 USAAA International Conference
woman
Purchase downloads of presentations for playback on your computer in QuickTime, iTunes, and on your video iPod. Also, available are conference DVDs either as a single presentation or multiple packages. Click here for more information.
Get all 35 presentations on a Video DVD-ROM: All recorded presentations, for playback on your Computer in iTunes, Quicktime, or video iPods for only $165.00. That's only $4.71 for each presentation!!!

inbox

Inbox Readers' Comments are opinions from our subscribers. USAAA is not responsible for the content, accuracy or opinions expressed in this section.

Send in your comments to INBOX.

 


   

Disclaimer

©2007 US Autism & Asperger Association, Inc.
P.O. Box 532, Draper, UT 84020-0532
1-888-9AUTISM (1-888-928-8476) , 801-649-5752