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US Autism & Asperger Association, Inc. March 30, 2009

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

Headlines: Special Edition on the New Jersey Conference
Dr. Robert Naseef to open New Jersey Regional Conference
You Deserve a Break Today, but Can You Take It?
Personal Experiences and Challenges
The Continuums of Autism: Cognition, Sensory Processing, and Arousal
Shop Online and Support USAAA

Dr. Robert Naseef to open New Jersey Regional Conference

Robert Naseef, PhD, will open the USAAA/CoMed 2009 Regional Conference, Thursday, April 30 at 6:15 pm at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. Dr. Naseef will present "Stress Busters". "Whenever you care a lot, stress can mount, and you can feel 'burned out'," says Dr. Naseef. "This presentation will focus understanding this common reaction as well as concrete ways of reducing stress."

Dr. Naseef is a psychologist in independent practice in Philadelphia. Special Children, Challenged Parents: The Struggles and Rewards of Parenting a Child with a Disability, his first book, has received international recognition. He has lectured internationally and appeared on radio and television. He is the co-editor of Voices from the Spectrum: Parents, Grandparents, Siblings, People with Autism, and Professionals Share Their Wisdom (2006). Dr. Naseef's specialty is working with families of children with special needs. He has published many articles in scholarly journals and other publications.

"First and most critical is your own state of mind about the emotional issues."

You will notice that he has “a foot in each world” as the father of an adult child with autism. He has a special interest and expertise in the psychology of men and fatherhood. Through his experiences as a parent and as a professional, Dr. Naseef is able to relate effectively to both audiences and is a sought after speaker at conferences around the country. Rabbi Harold Kushner, the author of When Bad Things Happen to Good People, endorsed Special Children, Challenged Parents. In Rabbi Kushner's words, "Writing with the wisdom of a mental health professional and the compassion of a loving father, Dr. Naseef has given us a book that will instruct and inspire us all." In 2008, Robert Naseef was honored by Variety, the Children’s Charity for his contributions over the past 20 years to the autism community.

Eighteen world-renowned experts focus on ways to improve the quality of life for the affected individuals and their families and caregivers by conducting presentations in the areas of biomedical interventions, research, behavioral and developmental therapies, diet and nutrition, and family issues.

The USAAA / CoMeD 2009 Regional Conference theme is, "Whole Health and Wellness: Challenges and Opportunities for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders, ADD, ADHD, Asperger's Syndrome, and Learning Disabilities; Bringing families together through support, hope, possibilities, and solutions." USAAA/CoMeD assembles eighteen world-renowned experts that focus on ways to improve the quality of life for the affected individuals and their families and caregivers by conducting presentations in the areas of biomedical interventions, research, behavioral and developmental therapies, diet and nutrition, and family issues. It is attended by Parents, Health Care Professionals, Caretakers, Educators and anyone who wants to learn more about services and treatment for children living with Autism, Asperger's Syndrome, ADD, ADHD, and other learning disorders.

Click here to learn more.


You Deserve a Break Today, but Can You Take It?
By Cindy N. Ariel, Ph.D. & Robert A. Naseef, Ph.D.

Life with a child with special needs presents constant challenges and stress. Inevitably, you get wrapped up in the stresses and strains of everyday life. Marriage and family relationships are impacted. Communication problems, lack of time and energy for personal, marital, and family activities, and social isolation affect many families. It seems obvious that parents need to refresh and recharge. How does a parent get a break?

"We all need and deserve temporary relief from the stressors of our everyday life. The stress is even more pronounced in families where there is a child with special needs."

First and most critical is your own state of mind about the emotional issues. Is there guilt and are you ready to deal with it? Can you trust anyone with your precious and fragile child? Is there fear that something could go wrong and how can you manage it? Second and also challenging is where and how to find help. Do you turn to relatives and friends or do you seek services through a public agency? Lets look at the obstacles and the solutions.

"The goal is a critical one; to rejuvenate and replenish your own sense of energy and giving to yourself so that you have even more to give to your children."

Undoubtedly you dreamed of a healthy child -now you face a different life. Feeling overwhelmed at this point is normal and natural but very difficult. You love your child, but sometimes you feel you need a break. It is so hard to give yourself permission to take one. Many shoulds may surface; I should be able to handle her all of the time, I should love being around my child, I should not tire of giving love to my family. These shoulds can make it difficult if not impossible to take a break or ask for help. The most important thing to remember however is that this way of thinking is irrational. Taking a break from caregiving, or craving adult time instead of watching the same video for the 47th time has nothing at all to do with love. The more you nurture and give to yourself, the more you will have to give to your family and the feelings of love will permeate more of the time.

Click here to learn more.

Personal Experiences on the Autism Spectrum and Challenges Surrounding Communication and Socialization

Stephen Shore, EdD presents "Personal Experiences," his autobiographical journey from the nonverbal days as he relates his life to the many challenges facing people on the autism spectrum at the USAAA/CoMed 2009 Regional Conference, Friday, May 1 at 8:30 am at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.

"Most people are not in the mindset of accommodating people with differences."

Diagnosed with "Atypical Development with strong autistic tendencies" Dr. Shore was viewed as "too sick" to be treated on an outpatient basis and recommended for institutionalization. Nonverbal until four, and with much help from his parents, teachers, and others, Dr. Shore recently (2008) completed his doctoral degree in special education at Boston University with a focus on helping people on the autism spectrum develop their capacities to the fullest extent possible.

"Achieving a best outcome for a productive transition to adulthood requires intervention in the three main areas of behavioral, developmental, educational, biomedical, and sensory integration."

Dr. Shore presents and consults internationally on adult issues pertinent to education, relationships, employment, advocacy, and disclosure as discussed in his book Beyond the Wall: Personal Experiences with Autism and Asperger Syndrome, Ask and Tell: Self-advocacy and Disclosure for People on the Autism Spectrum, and the newly released Understanding Autism for Dummies. A board member of the Autism Society of America and president emeritus of the Asperger’s Association of New England, Stephen serves for the Board of Directors for Unlocking Autism, the Autism Services Association of Massachusetts, MAAP, and the College Internship Program. Dr. Shore serves on the US Autism and Asperger Association Advisory Board.

Click here to learn more.


The Continuums of Autism: Cognition, Sensory Processing, and Arousal

Marlo Payne Thurman, MS, presents "The Continuums of Autism: Cognition, Sensory Processing, and Arousal" at the USAAA/CoMed 2009 Regional Conference, Friday, May 1 at 4:00 pm at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.

"When we recognize that autism itself is an extreme state of sensory integration and modulation difficulty, it is not hard to understand why social interaction, attention and learning become problematic."

Marlo is a School Psychologist and Education Consultant who obtained her Specialist Master’s degree from the University of Utah. Marlo has created an alternative model of therapeutic education that integrates strength-based learning with individualized, playful teaching allowing different-minded learners to find success. Marlo is active in education reform, researching and speaking extensively on alternative means to reach and teach children with divergent minds. She specializes in sensory-based learning and arousal. Marlo has founded both the Center for Education Enrichment and the Brideun School for Exceptional Children located in Lafayette, Colorado. She has been honored for her achievements with feature articles in the New York Times, People Magazine, ADDitude Magazine, The National Special Educator.

"Yet because we define education as a verbally acquired, linear, sequential system of thought that is demonstrated through speaking and writing, little room for strength-based learning is given to our autistic individuals."

Marlo will be discussing the following objectives in her presentation:
1. Understand cognition and learning style as essential, need-to-know characteristics of Autism.
2. Identify sensory states as basis for behavior.
3. Utilize The Learning Model to map cognition, learning style and sensory processing needs.
4. See useful accommodations for sensory processing and learning style implemented in the classroom.
5. Recognize the role of arousal in learning, socialization and behavior.

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!

Cherry Hill, NJ
April 30-May 3
Regional Conference

Los Angeles, CA
July 9-12
Annual Conference

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