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US Autism & Asperger Association
June 1, 2012

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

Camp for Kids With Autism Offers Extreme Therapy

by By JOHN DONVAN (@johndonvan)

boy at campConsider what it does to the senses when you're in a kayak on the Colorado River and you hit white water. You can't hear anything but the water. There's spray in your face. Violent drops. Wicked turns. And fear -- moments when the river seems to be in control, not you. In short, it's total sensory overload, a total adrenaline rush.

"The greater the adrenaline shock that I can put to the system - the brain, the body and the endorphin rush that comes in post-adrenaline rush - is what gets them the most relaxation and calm."

But if you have autism -- like most kids at the Extreme Sports Camp near Aspen, Colo. -- it's overload times 20, or times 100. And that's the point: to take kids to their limits, and beyond.

"It's got to be visceral," said Doug Gilstrap, 47, who has run the camp since it launched in 2001. "It's stimulating, it's super-intense. And, actually, the more intense it is, the better they are on the other end."

It's about taking kids to the extreme, the kids who have difficulties with extremes in everyday life, he said.

"Touch can be a very calming thing. Like, again for Josh, I can just reach over and touch him and he'll go [exhales slowly]. Just with the touch. I don't say a single word to him."

"Many times our kids, campers have a lot of behavior issues or a lot of sensory issues that they just can't handle," Gilstrap said. "It's too cold, it's too hot, it's too bright. All those sorts of things can cause a lot of problems." FULL STORY

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Vision: The Effects on Balance, Vestibular, Movement and Cognitive Function

dr. hellerstein20/20 vision does NOT mean perfect vision! Individuals with special needs, including those on the Autism Spectrum (ASD), often have numerous undiagnosed and untreated vision problems. Research shows a higher incidence of strabismus (eye turn) and visual processing disorders. These visual problems impact your child s school success, coordination and behavior.

20/20 vision does NOT mean perfect vision!

Dr. Lynn F. Hellerstein has been a pioneer in vision therapy for more than 30 years. Her expertise and leadership in developmental optometry has inspired thousands to improve their vision and enhance their lives. She has successfully treated children and adults with learning, visual perception and visual motor difficulties. An author and international speaker, Dr. Hellerstein has published extensively on vision related topics. Her award-winning book, "See It. Say It. Do It!: The Parent's & Teacher's Action Guide to Creating Successful Students & Confident Kids" (2012 re-print) is a remarkable resource for parents, educators and therapists. "See It. Say It. Do It! Organize It!" (2011) is a complimentary workbook to help children learn how to create action plans to help with their organization skills.

Dr. Hellerstein will present, "Vision: The Effects on Balance, Vestibular, Movement and Cognitive Function", at the USAAA 2012 World Conference in Denver, Colorado September 6-9. Conference Schedule.


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Ladyhawke: Asperger's and the anxious pop sensation
The synth pop songstress tells Elisa Bray that her new album reflects a struggle to reconcile success and syndrome


ladyhawkePip Brown, better known as Ladyhawke, is still buzzing from her gig four nights ago. It was the culmination of a comeback tour which saw the New Zealander's first UK performances in two years, and the London show had sold out in five minutes. "It was mind-blowing," she enthuses over a pint at an east London pub near where she lives, producing a picture of the ecstatic crowd, arms aloft, on her iPhone. "I had to take a picture on stage because I couldn't believe it."

Brown was diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome a few years ago, a condition which hardly made the transition to frontwoman easy.

Perhaps the four-year lull between her debut album and this comeback has made her forget the hype that greeted her arrival. When Brown, now 32, first appeared with her catchy synth-pop songs that recalled Kim Wilde, she was showered with attention, as well as endorsements from Courtney Love and Kylie. But Brown had, deep down, always been a rock chick. The first bands she played in, as a drummer and guitarist, were rock-oriented, before she moved to Sydney and joined the band Teenager.

"I've always thrust myself into situations that go completely against what everyone thinks I'll do, but I like a challenge and I'm really quite ambitious and don't like being defeated."

"People were saying things that weren't me at all, like 'girl electro synth-pop'," she recalls. "They called me 'the Cyndi Lauper of the American Apparel generation' and I've always been the rock girl." With its focus on electric guitar, her new album Anxiety reveals an inkling of those rock roots. FULL STORY

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

conference registration

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


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