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US Autism & Asperger Association

March 31, 2013

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


My Story: A Time as Fleeting as Waxwings

By SUZANNE SIMMONS, The New York Times

waxwingsMornings at our house begin with the sound of my son and his staccato pushing against the world. Autistic children, I have read, do not know where their bodies are in space and so they touch everything to feel where they are. Rory wakes up like a light switching on - full power - and begins thumping and drumming his way through the house, which wakes me. I lie in bed for a few minutes, listening. He goes to the computer room, talking out loud to himself as he starts his program, and then talking to the game that he is playing.

I can hear what is behind his cries, the deep wounds at the core of his young being: Why am I so different? Why don't I see what other people see? Why do I miss all of the cues, why don't I have friends, why am I never invited to birthday parties?

I come downstairs and head to the kitchen for coffee. Rory calls out, "Mom?" as I pass the computer room and I answer, "It's me." In the kitchen I lean against the counter while the coffee pot makes sounds like Darth Vader. I stare out of the window. There is a tree just beyond the holly bush that is covered with bright red berries all year long. I don’t know what kind of tree it is. I keep meaning to find out. Birds are attracted to the berries but disappointed when they taste them so we keep five or six feeders in the tree so that the birds will come back. The usual crowd is out there: chickadees, titmice, finches, nuthatches and a downy woodpecker or two. I breathe in the smell of coffee while I watch them. Read the Story

There is no malice in his outbursts, just as there is no malice in hurricanes or wildfires or the trembling of the earth. There is only explosive energy that must be discharged, and damage afterward: visible damage, like bruises and scratches and holes in the walls, things torn and broken, and the wariness in my daughter's eyes. And invisible damage: the soup of confusion and guilt and blame that I swim in, my floundering marriage, and the pervasive atmosphere of shame.

Postscript: Rory is 22 now. He lives with me and is a much loved volunteer at the local children’s center. Addie is a college freshman, studying psychology. I am very grateful to both of them for their permission to share this story.

Read the Story
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Access to USAAA Newsletter Archive 2005 - 2013


Spring Has Sprung and so Have IEPs

By Dennise Goldberg, Special Education Advisor

flowersSpring is here, although you wouldn't know it judging by the weather in some parts of the country. Spring break is upon us; so many people will be taking family vacations to reconnect with their loved ones. However, when the break is over, it will be time to get down to serious IEP business. When classes resume, there are probably 8-9 weeks of academics left until summer break and during that time your child will be preparing and taking state tests. When you think about it, the semester is almost over.

If your child has not had and IEP all school year or does not have an IEP scheduled for after spring break, it's time to act! You need to look at your child's IEP to see what needs to be addressed, changed, added, etc. I haven't met a child with an IEP that didn’t need adjusting every few months let alone every year. Children's needs change constantly; they will master one task and find difficulty with another. Read the Story

Think about your child's placement this year....was it the correct one? Remember, the right placement is a key component to help your child receive a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE). Make sure you discuss this with the IEP team in the next couple of months before your child's placement has been decided for the Fall 2013/2014 school year.

Read the Story
To leave comments, go to our Blog.
Access to USAAA Newsletter Archive 2005 - 2013


Art therapy beneficial for kids with ADHD, Asperger's

By Lucy Latourette, Chicago Parent

art therapyConsider the power of a paintbrush: the soothing touch of textures, the creative outlet of color. More and more, that paintbrush is helping children cope with the emotional and behavior problems that come with their special needs, particularly those with autism, Asperger's and ADHD.

"With autism, it's about making a connection," Alyssa Kulak-Harris, executive director of Brickton Art Center, says about art therapy. With artwork based on each child's abilities, the goal is to help children feel a sense of accomplishment with their art.

"Nothing is open-ended and art projects have a definite beginning, middle and end," she says. Projects may include stringing beads on pipe cleaners and adding Styrofoam shapes to make free-form sculptures or putting glue on paper, sprinkling it with salt and allowing the child to manipulate the materials so watercolors dissolve into an explosion of color. Read the Story

With artwork based on each child's abilities, the goal is to help children feel a sense of accomplishment with their art.

Read the Story
To leave comments, go to our Blog.
Access to USAAA Newsletter Archive 2005 - 2013


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Low-Carb Diet May Slow Alzheimer's Disease
Some have even re-named Alzheimer's as "type 3 diabetes."

By Joseph Mercola, MD

foodAlzheimer's disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S. This fatal and progressive condition destroys brain cells, resulting in memory loss and severe thinking and behavioral problems (aggression, delusions, and hallucinations) that interfere with daily life and activities.

The cause is conventionally believed to be a mystery. While we know that certain diseases, like type 2 diabetes, are definitively connected to the foods you eat, Alzheimer's is generally thought to strike without warning or reason.

That is, until recently.

A growing body of research suggests there may be a powerful connection between the foods you eat and your risk of Alzheimer's disease and dementia, via similar pathways that cause type 2 diabetes. Some have even re-named Alzheimer's as "type 3 diabetes." Read the Story

"Suddenly dropping your food intake dramatically - cutting it by at least half for a day or so - triggers protective processes in the brain."

Read the Story
To leave comments, go to our Blog.
Access to USAAA Newsletter Archive 2005 - 2013


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In this issue:

My Story: A Time as Fleeting as Waxwings

Spring Has Sprung and so Have IEPs

Art therapy beneficial for kids with ADHD, Asperger's

logoHealth News
Low-Carb Diet May Slow Alzheimer's Disease


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