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US Autism & Asperger Association
August 10, 2011

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


Dr. Bernadine Healy, former NIH Director, Dies

bernadine healyDr. Bernadine Healy, the first woman to direct the National Institutes of Health and the leader of the American Red Cross during the Sept. 11 terror attacks, has died. She was 67. (AP)

In a July 28, 2009 exclusive interview, Dr. Healy tells CBS News' Sharyl Attkisson that the question of a link between vaccines and autism is still open for debate. CBS interview.

"But more importantly, I don't think you should ever turn your back on any scientific hypothesis because you're afraid of what it might show."

Don Imus interviewed Dr. Healy in 2008 and they discussed the autism vaccine debate. Dr Healy: "I think causality is very hard to prove. That is a problem for all potential environmental triggers." "We now know, we learned, that in fact if you look at all the vaccines our children are exposed to in the first year of life....cumulatively....they're getting more than EPA standards of toxic mercury exposures for an adult."

"But there may be this susceptible group. The fact that there is concern, that you don't want to know that susceptible group is a real disappointment to me. If you know that susceptible group, you can save those children. If you turn your back on the notion that there is a susceptible group… what can I say?"

CBS News correspondent Sharyl Attkisson's news story in February, 2009

CBS 2009 Interview with Dr. Healy

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IEP - Your follow-up letters can “testify” for you

Follow-Up Letters That "Testify" at Due Process - When You Cannot by Paula Flower

iep logoYou cannot testify at due process. How can you tell the administrative law judge or hearing officer what happened in your IEP meeting? Your follow-up letters can “testify” for you.

Don’t let your recordings of IEP meetings sit in a file collecting dust. Put them to good use! Write a follow-up letter that re-states what the team discussed and agreed to provide. Your follow-up letter must be accurate. Your recording of the IEP meeting will come in handy.

"Listen to the recording of the meeting. You'll be surprised at what you missed during the meeting. Begin to take notes. Bullet-points are fine. Pretend you are in an important lecture and you want to get the significant points the speaker is making.

Pete Wright says, prepare AS IF you are going to go to due process – that will help keep you OUT of due process. If you do end up in due process, your letters increase your chances of prevailing. (Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy, 2nd Edition, Chapter 21.)

Full Story.

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Top Ten Negotiating Skills to Learn for an IEP

By Doug Goldberg, Featured Special Education Advisor Blog

top ten iepIt’s time for another top ten list and here we go:

10. Prepare Review all past and present assessments, tests, letters, and IEP’s. Put markers next to important information so it’s easy to find while in the IEP meeting. Pay close attention to test scores and how that information may be used by either you or the District to make a point. This may include educating yourself on how to read the test scores. If you don’t have enough information to make your case then you won’t convince the IEP team.

9. Make a formal request

"Find other IEP team members who might help prove your side. This could include general education teachers, special education teachers, therapists or paraprofessionals. Don’t expect them to fight for specific services but their input about skills, behaviors, abilities, etc can help prove your case.

Figure out what is important to your child with regard to services, goals, accommodations, and placement before the meeting and make a formal request in writing at the meeting.

8. Don’t negotiate against yourself

Once you make the formal request wait for a response. Make sure they respond to each request and remind them of their prior written notice requirement to generate a discussion.

Full Story.

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US Autism & Asperger Association 2011 World Conference

conference logoWhether you've just received a diagnosis of autism or you've struggled for years to find answers, you know how difficult it can be to find hope. The vast amount of information, in cyberspace or print, from doctors to friends, on special diets to social skills, can overwhelm even the most dedicated parent. How can you sort through the junk mail and begin down the road to success?

"The primary function of the USAAA conference is where parents, caregivers, health care practitioners, individuals with autism, students, educators, therapists and anyone who wants to learn more about services and treatment for persons living with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can learn about effective interventions – both medical and educational.

Introducing the US Autism & Asperger Association 2011 World Conference & Expo. The theme: "Autism Education and Treatment: A Road to Wellness." The goal: to demystify the confusion around autism and to arm you with tools of practical protocols and new resources. After four days, you will leave the conference with a considerable head start down the road to wellness.

With an unprecedented conference format and presentations from some of the most respected experts in the international autism community, the USAAA conference is a can't-miss opportunity. Here's a sneak peek at just a few of the conference highlights:

  • "Meet Temple Grandin's Mother - Coming to Terms with Expectations"
  • "The 7 Keys to Unlock Autism"
  • "The Doctors Who Treat Autism Spectrum Disorders"
  • Panel workshops on advocacy, adjunct therapies, biomedical interventions, nutrition, support services, and more

"Full 4-day packages start at just $95.

Full Story

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