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US Autism & Asperger Association
January 28, 2011

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


The Real Life Drama of Autism

Finding Artistic Inspiration in People With Asperger's Syndrome

— The upside of living with Asperger's

—Key Components of an Effective School-Based Autism Program

The Real Life Drama of Autism

by Robert Naseef, PhD

lucy the play“Lucy” is a powerful play about life with autism. Written by Canadian playwright Damien Atkins and directed by David Stradley at the Delaware Theatre Company, this is not a “feel good” story, rather it challenges us. Lucy is a teenager with autism who does not seem destined to “recover” or grow up to be the next Temple Grandin.

"Lucy” touches places inside the human experience of autism where web pages, books, and mass media cannot reach.

As Stradley wrote in the program, “It is filled with much thought and love, and will hopefully have you leaving the theater asking questions about many things—including normalcy, parenthood, science, gender roles, and how we move beyond limitations imposed by one’s self or by society”. “Lucy” touches places inside the human experience of autism where web pages, books, and mass media cannot reach.

Click here for entire story, The Real Life Drama of Autism .

Dr. Naseef presented at the 2009 USAAA conference in New Jersey.

Finding Artistic Inspiration in People With Asperger's Syndrome

by George Heymont
San Francisco-based arts critic

oc87 the movieMany people take their ability to think for granted. For some people, thinking seems to happen automatically. Others struggle to understand a concept. Sarah Palin and Christine O'Donnell often seem defiantly proud of their ability to demonstrate that ignorance is bliss.

Billed as "The Obsessive Compulsive Major Depression Bipolar Asperger's Movie," OC87 is very much about a life interrupted.

A tiny percentage of the earth's population focuses its attention on topics like neural networks, the chemical or electrical functions of a synapse, or how to recreate a particular thought process. While overt displays of intelligence can scare some people away, real and/or artificial intelligence are constant sources of fascination.

For a child learning to talk (or a stroke patient who is relearning how to walk), the way the brain functions remains a total mystery. But for people who have enjoyed years of intelligent life, losing their cognitive abilities, discovering that their brains do not function properly, or descending into dementia of the Alzheimer's type can be terrifying.

Not too many people get the chance to document their mental illness. However, Bud Clayman (who suffers from Asperger's syndrome) has made a discomforting film which, although it might not seem great by film school standards, represents a remarkable achievement for the filmmaker.

Click here for entire story, Finding Artistic Inspiration in People With Asperger's Syndrome.

The upside of living with Asperger's
Those, like me, who have Asperger's syndrome may struggle with daily interactions – but we find solace in our passions

Yousif Nur

aspergersAt a very early age I knew I was somehow different from the others. An unexplainable difference in behaviour, idiosyncrasies and just having bags more energy than other toddlers. Couple that with numerous trips to different psychiatrists asking why I had frequent tantrums and crying fits, and was very antisocial with other schoolkids. Something was mostly definitely wrong with me. My parents were unnerved by it. It was not so much that I had a problem with myself but, rather, a question mark tattooed on my forehead. I was lost in a limbo of myself. And so it went on for a number of years.

This isn't to say that we're completely incapable of being intimately involved or being in relationships. Though admittedly, it's more difficult for us than most.

Then an epiphany. It was around 14 or 15 that I read about the symptoms of an autism-related condition called Asperger's syndrome – and suddenly I understood. It affects about one in 300 people (mostly but not exclusively male) in the UK, according to the NHS. Some of the traits include difficulty in maintaining eye contact, unusual patterns of speech in conversation, an inability to interact with other people and often failing to read body language. There's no "cure", but training to cope with the outside world is required. Finally, I had some clarity on just why I felt as though I lived in a bubble throughout my adolescence. Now it made sense why I needed the extra learning support, being often taken out of lessons and into one-on-one tutoring.

Click here for entire story, The upside of living with Asperger's.

Key Components of an Effective School-Based Autism Program
Free Online Webinar

rethinkautismNEW YORK, Jan. 26, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- An estimated 637,000 children ages 3-17 in the U.S. (or 1 in 91) had a current Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) diagnosis in 2007 according to a widely accepted study(1) published in Pediatrics. That represents a 67% increase from a previous estimate by the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network, which reported autism rates of 66 per 10,000 children (or 1 in 150) in 2002.

Rethink Autism ( is offering a free online webinar, "Key Components Of An Effective School-Based Autism Program," for school district leaders, teachers and parents.

With such an alarming growth in the prevalence of autism, it is no surprise that public school districts nationwide are struggling to keep pace with the complex needs of a growing autism population. Students' needs are usually addressed through the Individualized Education Plan (IEP) process, where educators propose specific programs and services while parents advocate for what they believe is best for their children on an individual basis. Often this puts schools and parents in an adversarial relationship, missing the "big picture" and the opportunity to create a program structure of best practices that have been proven effective in supporting students with autism.

Click here for entire story, Key Components of an Effective School-Based Autism Program.



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