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US Autism & Asperger Association
August 26, 2011

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

Listen to Dr. Michael McManmon’s Interview

dr. mcmanmonHost Lisa Davis interviews Dr. Michael McManmon on It’s Your Health Radio, airing in the Boston area. Dr. McManmon is the founder of the College Internship Program, a national postsecondary program for young adults with Asperger’s syndrome and ADHD and other Learning Differences.

"Ask for help!"

It’s Your Health guests have included Mariel Hemingway, Suzanne Somers, Michael Tucker and Jill Eikenberry, Bethenny Frankel, Mayim Bialik, Temple Grandin, John Elder Robison (author of Look Me In The Eye: My Life With Aspergers), Harold Kushner (author of Why Do Bad Things Happen To Good People), Marco Borges (celebrity trainer to Beyonce and Gwen Stefani), and Bravo’s Hair Goddess, Tabatha Coffey, to name a few, as well as stars of such reality shows as The Biggest Loser and Top Chef. Interview

"Cognitive flexibility is the hallmark of the whole solution!...We have to teach them to be lifetime learners, be fisherman rather than eating fish."

Dr. McManmon is on the US Autism & Asperger Association Advisory Board. Dr. McManmon will be participating on two panels at the USAAA 2011 World Conference in Seattle, WA, October 27-30, "Panel 2 Discussion: Self Advocacy - Experiences, Perspectives, and Challenges." and "Panel 6 Discussion: Support Services". More on Conference registration.

To leave comments, go to our Blog.

Oporto University developing computer game for autistic children

The Portugal News

oporto universityResearchers at Oporto University have teamed up with the University of Texas at Austin, USA, to develop a computer game aimed at helping autistic children learn facial expressions and emotions to help them relate better to the people around them.

The game – which was the brainchild of various Oporto University alumni – will allow autistic children to become familiar with facial expressions and to recognise emotions such as joy and sadness thereby allowing the child to have greater ease with their inter-personal relationships.

"The LIFEisGAME project attempts to show how it is possible to apply a pioneering, serious game approach to teach people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) to recognise facial emotions, using real time synthesis and automatic facial expression analysis.

Autism is a dysfunction that affects the sufferer’s capability of relating to others, leaving them emotionally isolated from those around them.

By pressing their fingers on the screen children can draw expressions, raise eyebrows and eyes and at the same time watch the face react. There are many different characters to choose from, including humans, dolls and animals. Full Story

To leave comments, go to our Blog.

Josh Won! Compensatory Education and an IEP

iep logoNote: Josh "won" in 2007. Be sure to read to the end of the article where you will find an update on Josh's success four years later.

My seventeen-year-old son Josh has Tourette Syndrome, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and learning disabilities. Our school district refused to provide an IEP or a 504 plan.

"My husband and I both work for the district. We were trying desperately to avoid due process. But we felt we had exhausted all possibilities and decided we had to file a due process complaint against the district.

Josh used your books and the Surviving Due Process DVD when we filed a due process complaint against our school district. Josh acted as his own attorney. We prevailed. I want to share our experiences.

District Refuses a Section 504 Plan

After our school district refused to provide a 504 service plan, Josh was evaluated independently by a psychologist. She advised an IEP for Josh as well as an assistive technology evaluation, among other accommodations. Dr. Kay found Josh to have learning disabilities in written expression and reading fluency, as well as a very slow processing speed. Full Story

To leave comments, go to our Blog.

Life's Lessons - I “graduated”

By Sheryl Meeuwsen, CIP Berkeley Alumni

sherly MeeuwsenUsually when you graduate, you are supposed to move on with your life and leave the place that you have called home for the last few years. I swear that was my plan, but as I have learned in my life, things don’t always go according to plan.

I came into CIP in July 2008 completely broken. Everything in my life had been a downward spiral for the previous two years. I had failed out of two colleges, had lost two people that I loved deeply to cancer and had been suffering from mild depression and other issues.

"The biggest piece of advice I can give you, is to advocate for yourself."

My journey at CIP started in April of 2008, when a doctor in Colorado Springs, CO told us that I had Asperger’s. When I got home from the appointment I googled Asperger’s and found this checklist of criteria, and as I read through the checklist, I started to realize that this could be the answer to my problems. Not even a month later, my apartment was cleared out and I was packing away my life into two suitcases and a small travel bag to start a new in a program in Northern California. Full Story

"When I got home from the appointment I googled Asperger’s and found this checklist of criteria, and as I read through the checklist, I started to realize that this could be the answer to my problems."

To leave comments, go to our Blog.

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