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US Autism & Asperger Association
July 29, 2011

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


Army Spc. Jameson Lindskog, 23, Pleasanton; among 6 killed in Afghan firefight
The medic took a single-minded, methodical approach to his job that earned him respect and admiration from officers and enlisted alike, his parents were told.

By Scott Glover, Los Angeles Times

army soldierLike many people exhibiting traits of the mild form of autism known as Asperger's syndrome, Jameson Lindskog often saw the world in black and white.

Lindskog tended to be rigid — to the point of socially awkward — when it came to expectations of himself and others.

So it was no surprise, his father said, that his son responded unflinchingly when he was put to the test as an Army medic in Afghanistan.

On March 29, the 23-year-old specialist's unit came under fire in eastern Kunar province and several soldiers were hit by small-arms fire.

"Jameson Lindskog often saw the world in black and white..."That's it. That's all you can do for me." Then he added, "Just hold my hand."

Lindskog rushed to the aid of one of the wounded, his parents said. He was tending to his fallen comrade when he was fatally shot himself, the family was told by Army officials.

FULL STORY.

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Mother-child bond takes stressful toll when kid has ADHD
Link between mother's mood and child's behavior stronger when kid has disorder

By Stephanie Pappas

mom and son adhdEver since the second day her son went to kindergarten, Penny Williams has worried about him. That's the day Williams, a real estate broker in Asheville, N.C., got her first call from her child's teacher. Luke wasn't ready for school, the teacher told Williams. He couldn't sit still and didn't want to participate. The insinuation, Williams said, was that she had failed as a parent.

"For her, the best coping mechanism has been finding support among other parents who understand the challenges

Luke, now 8, would later be diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a neurological disorder marked by distraction, disorganization, impulsivity and, as the name suggests, hyperactivity. About 3 percent to 5 percent of school-age children in the U.S. have ADHD.

Since the diagnosis, Williams has immersed herself in those children's worlds. She edits a group blog of parents with ADHD kids at adhdmomma.blogspot.comand devours books about ADHD, trying to understand her child's mind.

"He has a really high IQ and he's really gifted, and he comes home from school and says how stupid he is," Williams told LiveScience, referring to Luke. "It's hard to watch your kid struggle … It adds stress and anxiety."

FULL STORY.

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Tablet Games Trump Traditional Therapy in Treating Autism and Cerebral Palsy

tablet therapyFor decades the traditional therapy for adults and children afflicted with autism and cerebral palsy have remained the same: repetitive activities aimed at hammering home the social and physical skills these disorders make difficult for those afflicted. That's all changing, thanks to multi-touch tablet technology.

"While there's still room for the repetitive social exercises normally utilized in the treatment of autism, the tablet app represents a new angle from which to attack the disorder.

Today's multi-touch technology has given researchers the ability to develop low-cost applications with the potential to engage suffers of autism, cerebral palsy, and other developmental disabilities much faster and in some cases more effectively than the traditional methods of treatment.

Take the case of 10-year-old autistic boy Griffin Wajda. Like many autism sufferers, Griffin has problems with communication and other basic social interactions. Utilizing an interactive storytelling tool created by researchers at the University of Iowa, Griffin builds interactive stories with his brother, taking turns drawing on a tablet computer to add to the narrative. He tells his mother what he's doing is "summer school."

FULL STORY.

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McDonalds Manager Punches Mother Over Autism Service Dog

by Kristina C.

service dogThe mother of two autistic boys was punched in the face by a McDonalds manager in Marietta, Georgia. According to WSBTV, on July 12, Jennifer Schwenker had brought her twin boys and their service dog, Barkley, to the McDonalds. A surveillance tape shows one of the boys and Barkley playing in the McDonalds playplace area. It was only as the family was on the verge of leaving that Tiffany Denise Allen, the manager who was off-duty at the time, told Schwenker that the dog was not allowed in the McDonalds.

"Marietta police Detective Gwen Lewis told Davis that she has never seen anything like it.

Schwenker explained that Barkley was a service dog for her two children and offered to show a permit. Under federal law, service dogs are allowed in public places such as restaurants. But after that, as shown by a surveillance tape, Allen followed the family, even to the restroom. When Schenker and her children tried to leave, she lost track of one child and — I can more than relate to this, recalling how I’ve panicked when I’ve lost sight of my 14-year-old son Charlie — she dropped her drink and splashed Allen.  After this, Allen ran “in a rage” after Schwenker to her car and punched her in the face.

FULL STORY.

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