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US Autism & Asperger Association, Inc. April 21, 2009

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

Meet Dr. Gary Kampothecras, Warrior Dad
Still Overlooking Autistic Adults
Popular Science Fiction is Little Comfort to Parents of Children with Autism
Enriching the Lives of Children by Changing Our Ineffective Scripts and Avoiding “Prescriptions for Failure”: An Update
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Meet Dr. Gary Kampothecras, Warrior Dad

By J.B. Handley, Age of Autism

dr. garyI often talk about the "autism net", the concept that the ranks of parents impacted by the autism epidemic grows every day. With each person added to the net, the chances of someone being added with the power and connections to do something about it grows.

Meet Dr. Gary Kompothecras: he's one of those parents. Based in Sarasota, Florida, he appears to be a one-man wrecking crew doing many of the things all of us wish we could.

"Dirt bags!" he says, throwing up his arms in a conference room in his office. "It's a cover-up. They're killing kids."

Consider this excerpt from an article that ran yesterday in his local paper, the Herald Tribune of Sarasota, FL. (HERE)

"Dirt bags!" he says, throwing up his arms in a conference room in his office. "It's a cover-up. They're killing kids."

Gary Kompothecras, who likes to be called Dr. Gary, is a chiropractor who acknowledges that, if you cross him, he can be a bulldog. He made himself a multi-millionaire building clinics to treat people hurt in car accidents and by creating the 1-800-ASK-GARY referral network. He is also one of the state's biggest political donors and a close friend of Gov. Charlie Crist.

Two of his children are autistic. Sarah Alice, 11, repeats back what other people say to her and still plays with a jack-in-the-box. Bronson, 12, is so severely delayed he spent years in therapy to learn the name of his favorite plaything, bottles.

Kompothecras (pronounced kom-PAHTH-uh-kras) believes their disorder was caused by an ingredient in vaccines, mercury-based thimerosal, that they received as infants.

"Dirt bags" is one of the nicer names he has for public health officials who disagree.
This legislative session Kompothecras wants lawmakers to pass a law preventing any vaccines with more than a tiny amount of thimerosal from being given in Florida, creating what would be the nation's strictest vaccine law.

Click here to learn more.

david geier   mark geier
David A. Geier, BA   Mark Geier, MD, PhD, FABMG, FACE

Dr. Kompothecras asked Dr. Mark Geier and David Geier to present to Florida Governor Christ’s Autism Task Force recently. Meet Dr. Geier and David Geier next week at the USAAA/CoMeD 2009 Regional Conference, April 30 - May 3 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. They will present, "New Insights into the Underlying Biochemistry of Autism: The Mercury-Vaccine Connection," and " New Insights into the Treatment of Autism: The Hormonal Connection."

New ASD clinic to open - Genetic Consultants of New Jersey, a medical clinic for the treatment of individuals with autism spectrum disorders, will open in May. For more information on the opening of the New Jersey clinic or the other seven clinics operated by ASD Centers and located in MD, IL, WA, TX or IN, contact ASD Centers at 301.989.0548 or visit their website (


Still Overlooking Autistic Adults
By Linda H. Davis, The Washington Post

Question: What coming social expenditure will cost more than a third of this year's budget for the Department of Health and Human Services and be larger than the entire current budget of the Energy Department?

"In 15 years, the cost of care just for the autistic children entering adulthood over that time will be about equal to the current state budget of Tennessee. Meanwhile, services are dangerously strained, and the influx of autistic adults is underway."

Answer: The bill for the tide of autistic children entering adulthood over the next 15 years, an estimated $27 billion annually in current, non-inflation-adjusted dollars by the end of that period. The number of autistic children expected to need extensive adult services by 2023 -- more than 380,000 people -- is roughly equal to the population of Minneapolis. If a town were created to house this group of people and their caregivers -- for you can't separate the two -- it would exceed the population of all but six U.S. cities. If they formed a state, it would have four electoral votes.

But most of these cognitively impaired citizens don't vote. Most of them can't live alone or work in public places. Many can't even take public transportation by themselves.

Click here to learn more.

Click here to listen to a radio interview with Linda discussing the challenge facing parents of autistic kids who are getting older, and to taxpayers who fund services for this population.

Linda H. Davis is the author, most recently, of "Charles Addams: A Cartoonist's Life" and is president of the nonprofit SAGE Crossing Foundation, formed to create a farmstead for autistic adults. Her husband, Chuck Yanikoski, who is treasurer of SAGE, contributed to this piece.


Popular Science Fiction is Little Comfort to Parents of Children with Autism

By Theresa Wrangham, President of Safeminds, and USAAA Director of Educational Development and Conference Liaison

It was very exciting to see autism take the spotlight on Larry King Live earlier this month. The offering of science fiction by Dr. Fisher and Dr. Wiznitzer in stating that the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is listening to the concerns of families of children with autism; implying that autism screening, as recommended by AAP, is happening as early as 18 months; that there is value in having a child diagnosed with autism due to services and money that follow the diagnosis; there is no autism-vaccine link; and everyone’s favorite - autism is a highly genetic disorder is wearing a little thin.

"The autism community agrees with Dr. Lou Cooper, who stated during February’s Institute of Medicine (IOM) National Stakeholder Meeting on the National Vaccine Plan that vaccine communications should be coordinated and based on sound vaccine safety science and to date, it had been 'done on the cheap' and was seriously deficient."

These doctor’s opinions do not jibe with the Center for Disease Control (CDC) 2007 surveillance study, Harvard’s study on autism’s cost to society and families, vaccine court rulings, or the recent U.C. Davis MIND Institute study. The CDC’s study found that children with autism had a documented history of concerns regarding their development before three years of age, with the median age of earliest documented autism spectrucm disorder (ASD) diagnosis ranging from 49 to 66 months. In simple terms, the study found that parents voiced developmental concerns early to their pediatricians and yet screening that should have been performed by pediatricians were delayed resulting in late diagnosis.

"Dr. Cooper again criticized the CDC’s spending of $300 billion on vaccine promotion, while spending only $20 million on vaccine safety research."

Late diagnosed children impact special education at higher than necessary levels and tax an already underfunded education system to its limits. Late diagnosis also contributes to increased financial burdens on families in picking up therapy fees, many of which are not covered by insurance, due to having aged out of Federal and State funded early intervention programs. To quote a famous line, “Show me the money!”

The truth is far more painful.

Click here to learn more.

Theresa K. Wrangham presents "It is never too late – Where we’ve been and where we are going" next week at the USAAA/CoMeD 2009 Regional Conference, April 30 - May 3 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.

Enriching the Lives of Children by Changing Our Ineffective Scripts and Avoiding “Prescriptions for Failure”: An Update

by Robert Brook, PhD

dr. brooksMy May, 2008 article was devoted to one of my favorite themes, namely, the concept of personal control as a key dimension of resilience. In the book I co-authored with my friend Dr. Sam Goldstein, The Power of Resilience: Achieving Balance, Confidence, and Personal Strength in Your Life, we note that resilient adults are those who have the insight and courage to change what they are doing if what they are doing is ineffective. Such individuals avoid blaming themselves or others if particular actions prove unproductive or counterproductive. Instead, they reflect upon the changes they can initiate to create a more positive outcome rather than wait for others to change first.

"Once this recognition occurs, we can begin to take small steps to replace counterproductive behaviors with more adaptive approaches to different challenges that we face."

Although taking responsibility and control for one’s life is an essential foundation of emotional and physical well-being, it is not easily practiced. Frequently, when faced with challenging situations, many of us become frustrated and angry. Instead of considering alternatives to our existing outlook and behaviors, we persist in doing the same thing repeatedly, trapped in a negative script, often blaming others for the state of affairs. We wait stubbornly for others to change rather than consider a different approach that we might adopt.

"She said that his current academic program represented “a prescription for failure.” I think that most would agree that “a prescription for failure” demands the introduction of a new prescription."

If our happiness is based on whether or not others modify their actions toward us, we may never be happy. As I have frequently expressed in my writings and workshops, “We are the authors of our own lives.” In the role of an author, if we don’t like the particular script we are following, we must ask, “What would be a more constructive script and how do I go about learning the lines of this new script?” We refrain from uttering, “Others must first alter their script before I consider changing mine.”

Click here to learn more.

Dr. Brooks is on the faculty of Harvard Medical School and has served as Director of the Department of Psychology at McLean Hospital, a private psychiatric hospital. He is the author of a book titled The Self-Esteem Teacher and has co-authored over twelve books.

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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