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US Autism & Asperger Association, Inc. March 11, 2009

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

Special Needs Parents V. School Districts
Special education legal fee abuse by area school districts

HOUSTON - Even in these hard economic times some area school districts are shelling out thousands in tax dollars to wage legal battles against parents of special needs students.

"We knew what he was able to do here at the house and they were telling us something different that was happening at school," said Bill Steinhoff, whose 5-year-old son is autistic.

"So how much are school districts willing to spend on these legal battles?

According to figures obtained through public information requests, hundreds of thousands of dollars."

Steinhoff and his wife who are both teachers said they asked Clear Creek ISD for documentation to prove the progress teachers claimed their son was making.

When special education administrators refused that request the Steinhoff's hired an attorney to fight the district in a legal hearing.

"We are going to do anything we can to fight for our son," Steinhoff said and so are lots of other Houston area parents.

But when it comes to funding these legal battles over what's best for special needs students, parents have to dip into their own pockets to fight school districts

"The schools have almost a virtually limitless pool of money they can use to battle these parents," Doreen Phillpot said.

Click here to learn more.


Watch Me Learn Offers Schools a Teaching Solution for Children with Autism

NEW YORK, March 10 /PRNewswire/ -- With the rapidly growing numbers of students diagnosed with autism, parents and educators are presented a formidable challenge for classroom teachers to create individualized programs for each child. "Every child diagnosed with autism has a unique variety of learning needs that require careful examination of his or her strengths and challenges to be considered when creating individualized curriculum. Centers (TM) by Watch Me Learn is an effective and customizable program that provides educators the pathway and the needed tools for success of every child while complementing the ABLLS-R (Assessment of Basic Language and Learning Skills-Revised)." -- Melissa Brown, M.S., Educational Consultant Behavior Analysts Inc.

"It is the first classroom curriculum to be endorsed by Dr. James Partington, PhD author of the ABLLS™-R"

Watch Me Learn offers schools a full-scale teaching program for young students with autism and aspergers. It is the first classroom curriculum to be endorsed by Dr. James Partington, PhD* author of the ABLLS™-R, an assessment instrument which provides educators and therapists with a foundation for the development of Individualized Education Programs (IEP) for children with autism.

Click here to learn more.

*Dr. Partington will be presenting at the USAAA 2009 annual international conference in Los Angeles, July 9-12, 2009.

Talk About Curing Autism Launches Seven New Chapters
National organization expands reach to serve more families living with autism

louisehabakusTalk About Curing Autism (TACA) is thrilled to announce the launch of seven new chapters, bringing the total of TACA chapters in the United States to 24. The new TACA chapters are located in Birmingham, Alabama; Phoenix, Arizona; Bakersfield, California; Indianapolis, Indiana; Baltimore, Maryland; Las Vegas, Nevada and Tullahoma, Tennessee. Each chapter is chaired by local volunteers, who are also parents of children with autism. Chapters provide a range of services to support children with autism and their families including monthly educational meetings, parent mentors, an Autism Journey Guide for families who have just received their child's diagnosis and treatment scholarships. For families affected by autism in areas where a TACA chapter does not exist, the TACA website offers virtual chat with an experienced parent mentor.

"It is our goal to help as many families as we can access the tools they need to help their children and we are able to do this through local chapters."
—Lisa Ackerman, TACA Executive Director

Autism is a devastating neurological and biological disorder typically affecting one in every 150 children in the United States. Autism affects each individual differently and at different levels of severity. Some individuals with autism are severely affected, cannot speak, require constant one-on-one care, and are never able to live on their own. Others are less severe, can communicate and eventually acquire the necessary skills to live on their own.

"Autism is a national emergency," said TACA executive director, Lisa Ackerman, "With one in every 150 children being diagnosed with autism, our community chapters are more important than ever. For decades autism has been viewed as a hopeless, untreatable disorder - today we know that interventions can help people with autism at any age. It is our goal to help as many families as we can access the tools they need to help their children and we are able to do this through local chapters."

Click here to learn more.


Can you ever cure autism? This mum believes her sons have recovered

By Sally Beck.

It is devastating for parents to be told that their child has autism. But for Nina Ltief it signalled the start of a battle to help her twin sons recover. Controversially, it’s a battle she believes she’s won... but is this a condition that can really be overcome?

"The lights went out. They stopped making eye contact or reacting when we came into the room. They also stopped babbling.”

Just two years ago, Nina Ltief was considering putting her autistic twin sons into residential care. Their behaviour was so exhausting she could no longer cope.

The boys slept around three hours a night, could hardly talk and spent their time breaking their toys or banging them.

"...when the boys were six, she went to a conference that changed their lives."

But now aged seven, Eli and Christian are no longer hyperactive and not only shower their mum with hugs and kisses but constantly remind her how much they love her.

These are precious moments Nina thought would never come.

Diagnosed with autism at the age of two, the twins rarely spoke, regularly self-harmed and were aggressive – unrecognisable as the loving children they are today.

"...within a few days of giving them enzymes which help digest wheat and dairy, they were sleeping better and, miraculously, began speaking."

And trained nurse Nina puts it down to a ground-breaking programme. “Life had been horrendous,” says Nina, 38, from Camberley, Surrey. “I’d been told nothing could be done. So I was stunned when after 18 months on the programme, two specialists confirmed they were no longer on the autistic spectrum.”

Click here to learn more.

Westhampton Beach doctor believes that autism can be cured

By Vera Chinese
, The Southampton Press

Dr. Andrea Libutti can still recall how she felt the day she found out that her now 4-year-old son, Jack—who, up until he was 17 months old, was babbling and interacting with his peers like a typical toddler—was diagnosed with autism.

“I cried for three weeks,” said Dr. Libutti, who lives in Remsenburg and now works with children with autism at her practice in Westhampton Beach. “It’s like you’ve been handed a death sentence.”

"Dr. Libutti maintains that environmental factors and pesticides found in food, and most importantly vaccines, can cause autism in a child who is genetically susceptible.

Jack had just received his diphtheria and tetanus shots about two years ago when Dr. Libutti said her son’s personality began to change and he lost interest in speaking and interacting with others. Dr. Libutti was devastated to later learn that her son was diagnosed as being severely autistic.

Though she and some other professionals believe that autism can be traced back to the inoculations that children receive—a claim that officials at the Centers for Disease Control continue to dispute—Dr. Libutti believes she has found a way to cure children like Jack.

Click here to learn more.


GoodSearch: You Search...We Give!Shop Online and Support USAAA

What if USAAA earned a penny every time you searched the Internet? Or how about if a percentage of every purchase you made online went to support our USAAA? Well, now it can! is a new Yahoo-powered search engine that donates half its advertising revenue, about a penny per search, to the charities its users designate. Use it just as you would any search engine, get quality search results from Yahoo, and watch the donations add up! is a new online shopping mall which donates up to 37 percent of each purchase to USAAA! Hundreds of great stores including Amazon, Target, Gap, Best Buy, ebay, Macy's and Barnes & Noble have teamed up with GoodShop and every time you place an order, you’ll be supporting USAAA.

Just go to and be sure to enter US Autism and Asperger Association as the charity you want to support. And, be sure to spread the word!

Special Needs Parents V. School Districts
Watch Me Learn Offers Schools a Teaching Solution for Children with Autism


Talk About Curing Autism Launches Seven New Chapters

Can you ever cure autism? This mum believes her sons have recovered

Westhampton Beach doctor believes that autism can be cured
Shop Online and Support USAAA

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Send us your story about your experience with autism and Asperger's Syndrome on a specific topic each week. Whether you're a parent, grandparent, caregiver, individual with autism or have any experience with autism spectrum disorders, your stories help provide insight into the world of autism.

This week's topic is: "Has the recession prevented you from continuing with your therapies and interventions?"

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