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US Autism & Asperger Association, Inc. April 8, 2009

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

Student raises funds for city's first Autism Festival - 8th-grade student created the festival from her winning entry for the US Autism and Asperger Association Sibling Scholarship Award
A Listing of the Twenty-One Fabricated Studies by Dr. Scott Reuben
Special needs students explore rhythmic world of drumming Learning one beat at a time
Topics in Occupational Therapy
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Student raises funds for city's first Autism Festival
8th-grade student created the festival from her winning entry for the US Autism and Asperger Association Sibling Scholarship Award

By Lisa Kelly Eason, Memphis Commercial Appeal

What began as a mother-mandated, summertime homework assignment for 14-year-old Mashal Mirza evolved into the Mid-South area's first Autism Festival this weekend.

Mashal, whose 12-year-old brother, Omar Mirza, is autistic, proposed the festival last summer in her winning entry for the US Autism and Asperger Association Sibling Scholarship Award. Mashal entered at the insistence of her mother, local pediatrician Dr. Ayesha Shah.

"This carnival would be for autistic kids only, because they do not like regular carnivals, which are loud, pushy and there's much going on," Mashal said in her entry. "... The kids would have fun because they will not get over-stimulated. ..."

The $500 prize, to be used for "a beneficial purpose that supports the autism community," became seed money for the festival, and Mashal began a fundraising campaign, as well as contributing her own birthday and holiday money. Nearly $6,000 has been raised for the event.

Mashal, an 8th-grade student at St. Mary's Episcopal School, was also invited to serve on a Sibling Panel at the USAAA's 2008 annual conference last September in Austin, Texas. Mashal read from her scholarship entry, saying she wanted to provide a fun but soothing environment for children like Omar.

Click here to learn more.

Click here for all carnival photos.


A Listing of the Twenty-One Fabricated Studies by Dr. Scott Reuben
Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, NaturalNews Editor

(NaturalNews) The health community is up in arms over the discovery that a highly-respected and influential clinical researcher, Dr. Scott Reuben, fabricated the data used in over twenty pharmaceutical studies published in peer-reviewed medical journals. Read the full NaturalNews report on this topic here:

These studies promoted the safety and "benefits" of drugs like Bextra (Pfizer), Vioxx (Merck), Lyrica, Celebrex and Effexor. The lead researcher on these studies, Dr. Scott Reuben, was being paid by Pfizer and Merck, so there's a verified financial connection between this clinical researcher and at least two of the drug companies that benefitted from his fabricated findings. (

"What this scandal reveals is that even peer-reviewed medical journals cannot be trusted to publish truthful, accurate information about pharmaceuticals.

Note carefully the names of the medical journals that published Dr. Reuben's fabricated data (see below). These so-called "science journals" claim to be peer-reviewed, which means these studies were approved by multiple scientists who agreed with the findings.

What this scandal reveals is that even peer-reviewed medical journals cannot be trusted to publish truthful, accurate information about pharmaceuticals. In fact, they are just as much a part of the Big Pharma / FDA conspiracy as the pill-pushing researchers who fabricate these studies, in my opinion.

The only honest medical science journal I've found is PLoS Medicine ( Everything else I've seen is just tabloid medicalized fiction sandwiched in between pages of false advertising.

Click here to learn more.
- Hospital Gets Subpoena Tied to Doctor's Studies - Wall Street Journal
- Feds Subpoena Records of Dr. Scott Reuben, Clinical Trial Fabricator -
- A New Low in Drug Research: 21 Fabricated Studies - Dr. Mercola


Special needs students explore rhythmic world of drumming Learning one beat at a time


Some Prince Edward Island students have been drumming and learning to a different beat lately. East Wiltshire Intermediate School in Cornwall is the first in Canada to adopt The Rhythmic Arts Project (T. R. A. P.), a rhythm-based educational system for people with special needs that integrates drums and percussion instruments as creative learning tools that address life skills and enhance the mind, body and spirit.

"I believe people with Autism Spectrum Disorders can and will make progress with consistent education, therapies and treatments. And, in line with this way of thinking, The Rhythmic Arts Project can be a positive means in addressing many goals."
—Seiko Niimi, developmental therapist

On this day, the six T. R. A. P. students are beating out the number of syllables in their names and those of their fellow students. They're also learning left and right, slow and fast, hard and soft, all the while having pure percussion fun. It shows that I'm good at playing drums," an enthusiastic 12-year-old Tristan Carruthers of Cornwall says of his involvement with the T. R. A. P. program, which is being presented under the exuberant guidance of industrial arts teacher Pat King.

A lot of kids that we work with have problems with perception, socializing, all kinds of things, life skills," King says. The objective is to find out what kids can do (and explore from there)." King's quest for an inspirational music program for youth with special needs began when he was at Birchwood Intermediate School in Charlottetown quite a few years ago and was asked to do a music class.

Although not his usual teaching forte, the request made perfect sense since he'd been playing music since he was 10 and is part of the local band Phase II. I'd take a guitar in and play some (familiar childhood) songs . . . and the kids loved it. But I often walked away thinking, 'What am I going to do next? How could we get this to move in some direction?'" he remembers. Some of the students he was working with had difficulties distinguishing left and right, up and down, loud and soft. Others were exceedingly shy, so he wanted a music-based program that would address those issues and more.

Click here to learn more.

Click here to learn more about The Rhythmic Arts Project.

Click here to learn more about TRAP founder Eddie Tuduri, a drummer who toured with the likes of The Beach Boys and Rick Nelson.

Topics in Occupational Therapy

Arches of the Hand
What are the hand arches?
In your hand there are three main arches, two transverse and one longitudinal arch. One arch is rigid, but the other two are flexible and are maintained by the use of those tiny muscles in your hand. You can see the shape of your arches by touching thumb to index finger or thumb to pinkie, for example.

Why are the arches important?
The three arches work to balance stability and mobility in the hand. The arches and bones in the hand work together to provide the stability needed for writing, gripping or lifting objects, and other fine motor tasks. Mobility of the hand is necessary for using your fingers or for adjusting the tightness of your grip depending on the size of the object you’re holding.

Bilateral Coordination and Crossing the Midline
What is bilateral coordination and crossing the midline?
Bilateral coordination is the ability to use both sides of the body at the same time. This can mean using the two sides for the same action (like using a rolling pin) or using alternating movements (like climbing stairs). Bilateral coordination can also refer to using each side of your body for a different action, such as stabilizing a paper with one hand while writing with the other.
Crossing the midline, which relies on good bilateral coordination, means using part of one side of the body in the space of the other part. Some examples of crossing the midline include sitting cross-legged on the floor or drawing a horizontal line from one side of the paper to the other without switching the pencil to the other hand.

Click here to learn more about Heavy Work Activities, Shoulder Stability and Postural Control, Developing the Web Space

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!


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