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US Autism & Asperger Association
May 17, 2012

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

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iPad gives voice to kids with autism

By Supraja Seshadri, Special to CNN

boy autism(CNN) -- Sharia stood immobile in front of the television, transfixed by its images, unaware of the world around her. Her family called her name over and over again, but she did not respond. It was that moment when they knew something was wrong.

"These apps allow you to do a shortcut around the neuromotor problems getting in the way of communication"
- Martha Herbert, MD, PhD*

Initially, they thought it was a hearing problem. When they found nothing wrong, they decided to take 2-year-old Sharia to a specialist at an early detection center in 2009.

"Within five minutes of looking at Sharia, (the specialist) said that she has autism," said Sharia's father, Fawad Siddiqui. "A very clear case of it."

"I think it's opening a whole interesting way to be creative about giving people assistance," she said. "You can measure somebody's stress level and somebody can feed it back into their app and tell you if they're about to fall apart or have a meltdown."
- Martha Herbert, MD, PhD*

Siddiqui, 38, and his wife, Ayza Sheikh, were under the impression that Sharia was simply a late talker. Originally from Pakistan, the Siddiquis had no relatives to advise them on their first child.

Speech, occupational and behavior therapies helped some. But Sharia still struggled with communication.

Then, in 2010, Apple's iPad was released.

Siddiqui, a Columbia, Maryland, resident who shared his daughter's story on iReport, said that before having the iPad, Sharia's only way of communicating was crying. She was non-verbal and had no way of expressing what she wanted or how she was feeling. FULL STORY

*Dr. Martha Herbert will be a Keynote at the USAAA 2012 World Conference in Denver, Colorado September 6-9.

To leave comments, go to our Blog.


Diet for Autism: Focus on Getting Healthy

by Julie Matthews , CNC

juie matthewsMost autism diets are based around "removing" a food or foods from a child's diet. The GFCF diet avoids all gluten and casein, the Specific Carbohydrate Diet removes certain sugars and starches. One of the common misconceptions about autism diets is that they're just about removal, that any food is "fine" as long as its compliant with the diet. Because of this, people do not pay proper attention to nutrient density, sugar levels, or specific food ingredients.

"I suggest keeping a food journal to make note of your child's eating patterns."

As you remove foods, you must also "replenish" foods in the diet. With nutrient deficiencies so common for those with autism, particular attention to nutritious foods is vital.

julie matthewsI suggest keeping a food journal to make note of your child's eating patterns; their likes/dislikes and any behavioral, physical, or food sensitivity/allergic reactions. This will help you as you develop an effective diet for your child. Read more about Julie at Nourishing Hope and get the Free Parent's Guide.

Julie Matthews, CNC, will present, "Nutrition and Cooking: Guidance for Beginners and Beyond", at the USAAA 2012 World Conference in Denver, Colorado September 6-9.

To leave comments, go to our Blog.

10 Ways to Optimize Your iPad for Kids With Special Needs

by Zoe Fox

father and sonWhen we think about ways the iPad has changed the world, our minds usually shoot to publishing, entertainment, or mobile communication.

For the community of people living with disabilities, the iPad may have broken even more ground. The iOS device is not only cool, but provides education, therapy and, of course, entertainment.

Last summer, Mashable explored ways iPads are┬ámaking these changes. Now we’re following up with Sami Rahman, the father of 4-year-old Noah and co-founder of BridgingApps, the Internet's largest database of special needs app and reviews.

Noah began using his iPad when he was two and was assessed to be 12 months behind with language and cognition. Within four months, he was on par for his age. Now, two years since he began using the iPad, he is 15 months ahead developmentally, can read English and Arabic, and is learning Mandarin. FULL STORY

To leave comments, go to our Blog.

Facing the Future - The USAAA 2012 World Conference, Denver, CO, Sept. 6-9

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The US Autism & Asperger Association 7th Annual World Conference & Expo headquarters are at the Crowne Plaza International Airport Hotel and Convention Center in Denver, Colorado, September 6-9, 2012. This is the first time USAAA has returned to the Denver area since the 2nd annual conference in 2007 where over 800 people attended. Hotel Reservations.

World leading Autism and Asperger experts, including Dr. Temple Grandin and Dr. Martha Herbert, discuss new research, treatment modalities, resources and avenues for advocacy. Topics include medical/biomedical, educational, behavioral and developmental evidence-based interventions. There will be a special event with Dr. Grandin that has never been presented at any conference.
Learn more about the topics and schedule.

USAAA is introducing: Emergencies, Surgeries, and Anesthesia: Inside the Hospital From ER to Overnight Stays. There will be a special cooking and nutrition session. USAAA introduces new sessions for educators and professionals: "Multi-Disciplinary Approach to Autism Interventions in the Schools and in the Community". Over 8 of the 17 hours are dedicated to Medical and Biomedical Treatment Modalities and Research.
Learn more about the schedule

The following is partial list of our presenters (Speaker Bios):
Martha Herbert, MD, PhD - Keynote
Temple Grandin, PhD** - Keynote
Kathleen Davey, BPsySc, MPsych(Clin)
Phillip C. DeMio, MD*
Alex Doman
Richard E. Fyre, MD, PhD
Christopher M. Gauthier, MFA*
Jacqueline F. Gauthier*
Debby Hamilton, MD, MSPH
Lynn Hellerstein, O.D., FCOVD, FAAO
Rebecca E. Hutchins, OD, FCOVD
Valerie Hu, PhD*
Sharon Jones, ABD, CCC-SLP
Lawrence P. Kaplan, PhD*
Raun K. Kaufman**
Lauren H. Kerstein, MS, LCSW
Lori Knowles*
Patricia Lemer, MEd, NCC
Aaron Likens**
Julie Matthews, CNC
Michael P. McManmon, EdD**
Ron Minson, MD
Tim Page** *
James W. Partington, PhD, BCBA
Eric Peacock, MBA*
Robert E. Rada, DDS
William Shaw, PhD
Stephen Shore, EdD**
Marlo Payne Thurman, MS
J. Michael Uszler, MD
Theresa Wrangham*
Michael D. Zeitlin, CPA*

*Parent or family member of an individual affected by autism
**As a child or as an adult, diagnosed with Autism or Asperger's Syndrome


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