View this email in your web browser
weekly news logo
US Autism & Asperger Association
February 23, 2012

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

A boy's talk about his Asperger's resonates in his school

February 22, 2012|Marci Shatzman

boySince Jack Lebersfeld told the entire sixth grade he has Asperger's syndrome and explained what that meant, his speech has taken on a life of its own that Jack and his parents could have never imagined.

Asperger's is one of the autism spectrum disorders that affects a person's ability to socialize, and that's what was happening to Jack at school. The 11-year-old was being "isolated and picked on," in the words of his friend Spencer Kusel.

Now Jack gets fan mail. "I hung onto your every word, imagining you as an invincible super hero, doing the world good," wrote Briana Finocchiaro, 12, who didn't know him but felt compelled to write the next day.

When an assembly program and speech was suggested at school, Jack said his first reaction was, "No way!" But he warmed to the idea. "I wanted people to know who I was. I didn't want people to think I was dumb," he said.

"People treat him differently now," she said in an interview later.


To leave comments, go to our Blog.

The IEP Process Explained by an Attorney


kidsChristopher Knauf is the founder of Knauf Associates in Santa Monica, CA. His law firm specializes in disability rights and education-related legal disputes. He has also served as an independent hearing officer for Section 504 special education disputes. Mr. Knauf was kind enough to speak with and answer some questions about the overall IEP process.

SN: Thank you for taking the time to speak with us today. Let's begin with how the IEP process gets started.

SN: What is the difference between an IEP and a 504 plan?

Mr. Knauf: It depends on qualification and eligibility for services.

Mr. Knauf: Sure. The idea is that there is a certain population of kids who have what we generically call special needs. It could be anything from diabetes, to ADD, to autism, to orthopedic disabilities to blindness. Federal law requires that these kids, regardless of abilities or disabilities, are provided with free appropriate public education. That's the term under the law. States that are taking federal money are obligated to provide that to kids who qualify.

SN: How do they qualify for these special education services?


To leave comments, go to our Blog.

Travelers with Disabilities and Medical Conditions

tsaOne of the primary goals of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is to provide the highest level of security and customer service to all who pass through our screening checkpoints. Our current policies and procedures focus on ensuring that all passengers, regardless of their personal situations and needs, are treated equally and with the dignity, respect, and courtesy they deserve. Although every person and item must be screened before entering each secure boarding area. All disability-related equipment, aids, and devices are allowed through security checkpoints once cleared through screening.

TSA recommends that passengers call approximately 72 hours ahead of travel so that TSA Cares has the opportunity to coordinate checkpoint support with a TSA Customer Service Manager located at the airport when necessary.

TSA Cares Help Line

TSA Cares is a helpline to assist travelers with disabilities and medical conditions. TSA recommends that passengers call 72 hours ahead of travel to for information about what to expect during screening.

Travelers may call TSA Cares toll free at 1-855-787-2227 prior to traveling with questions about screening policies, procedures and what to expect at the security checkpoint. TSA Cares will serve as an additional, dedicated resource specifically for passengers with disabilities, medical conditions or other circumstances or their loved ones who want to prepare for the screening process prior to flying.


TSA Notification Cards

To leave comments, go to our Blog.

Good Grades: Does My Child Still Need Special Instruction?

By Patricia Howey for

goog gradesQuestion: I spend hours helping my child with homework each night. She still struggles and is getting frustrated. I keep asking the school to evaluate her but the principal says her grades are too good. What should I do?

Answer: First, IDEA states that a child does not have to fail or be retained to be considered for special education and related services. 34 C.F.R. 300.101(c). Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, p. 204.

People at school do not always know what the law says. You may want to show the principal this section.

You also may want to get an Independent Education Evaluation (IEE).

A child who is making good grades may still need special instruction and related services.

Teachers give out grades based on many different factors.


To leave comments, go to our Blog.

Join us on
facebook blog youtube twitter

In this issue:

The new will be released March 1st.


Upcoming Conference

conference logo

USAAA WeeklyNews is a complimentary newsletter. Please consider making a donation to support this and other USAAA programs. Thank you.

Helpful Links:


©2012 US Autism & Asperger Association, Inc.

1-888-9AUTISM (1-888-928-8476) , 801-816-1234