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US Autism & Asperger Association, Inc. October 6, 2009

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


Headlines:
Autism May Be More Common Than Thought
Survey Shows 1 in 91 Children May Have Autism Spectrum Disorder

As incidence of autism grows, suburbs stretching to meet demand

Man Writes About Life with Asperger's

Exploring the Health Benefits of Pets

USAAA News Around the World
Teenager in 70 week wait for autism test


Shop Online and Support USAAA


Autism May Be More Common Than Thought
Survey Shows 1 in 91 Children May Have Autism Spectrum Disorder

By Kathleen Doheny
WebMD Health News

Oct. 5, 2009 -- About 1% of U.S. children, or about one in 91, may have autism or an autism spectrum disorder, according to two new national surveys.

The new estimate is a dramatic increase from the previously accepted number of one in 150. But experts who discussed the findings of the two new surveys -- one released today and the other due out before year's end -- urged caution in interpreting the new information about the developmental disorders.

"It's important to know potential signs of ASD...Among the potential signs are social interaction problems, language difficulties, or behavior problems such as repetitive behavior."

A new survey by the CDC found that about 1% of U.S. children are affected by an autism spectrum disorder, says Ileana Arias, PhD, deputy director of the CDC.

No further details were available on the CDC survey, due to be released in full later this year.

The same prevalence, however, was found in the survey released today, says Michael D. Kogan, PhD, of the Maternal and Child Health Bureau of the Health Resources and Services Administration. With his colleagues, Kogan drew on data from the 2007 National Survey of Children's Health, a telephone survey of parents jointly conducted by the Health Resources and Services Administration and the CDC.

Click here for entire article on Autism May Be More Common Than Thought.

According to the numbers David Kirby cites from a 2007 telephone interview of almost 82,000 children conducted by National Survey of Children's Health (NSCH), which is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the US Department of Health and Human Services, your odds of being told you have a child with autism is a staggering 1 in 63. If that child is a boy, odds skyrocket to 1 in 38. That's 2.6% of all male children in the United States. Is this possible?" Tina Cruz, LA Special Needs Kids Examiner

 


 

As incidence of autism grows, suburbs stretching to meet demand

By Anna Madrzyk | Daily Herald Staff

schoolNo detail was overlooked in making Giant Steps' new 72,000-square-foot school in Lisle a state-of-the-art facility for children with autism.

Even the toilets are modified to flush more quietly. That's so they won't alarm children who are so sensitive to noise the hum of a fluorescent light bulb can be distracting.

The new building is designed to provide the visual cues children with autism need. Hallways are color coded and picture labels are everywhere. There's a large fitness center and a kitchen where students will learn how to prepare meals and do laundry. Overall, there's three times more space than at Giant Steps' former building in Burr Ridge with plenty of room for more students and new programs.

"We're far short of the number of schools," Gallaher said. "Even with the expansion (of some programs), we do not come close to meeting the needs of all the kids that need help."

"It looks pretty big to me," said Zach, 14, who attends Giant Steps in the morning and Naperville Central High School in the afternoon.

Zach carried a binder with his daily schedule and a page of written cues to help him on his first day: "I will be in new classrooms and hallways." "I can have fun at my new school." "My friends and teachers will be there to help me if I need it."

"There's a very limited amount of resources available for junior high and high school, so we're paddling as fast as we can without changing the integrity of our program."

Click here for entire article on As incidence of autism grows, suburbs stretching to meet demand.


 

Man Writes About Life with Asperger's

newsSOUTHFIELD, Mich. - As a child, he was called quirky or eccentric, and it was not until he was well into adulthood that the true diagnoses came, explaining so much about his past and future.

33-year-old Nick Dubin is a confident, successful author, but looking back at his life, he sees a different little boy.

"When I was in second grade, I was trying to open the door to a classroom. I was turning the door clockwise, and I was so rigid in my thinking that I didn't think that the door could be turned counterclockwise. The teacher proceeded to humiliate me because I couldn't open the door," Dubin said.

"When I was in second grade, I was trying to open the door to a classroom. I was turning the door clockwise, and I was so rigid in my thinking that I didn't think that the door could be turned counterclockwise. The teacher proceeded to humiliate me because I couldn't open the door," Dubin said.

Growing up in Birmingham, Dubin always felt he did not quite fit in, but it was not until he turned 27 that he was diagnosed with a disorder on the autism spectrum called Aspberger's syndrome.

"All the pieces of the puzzle weren't put together until I myself suspected it. I went to a neuropsychologist, got the diagnosis and ever since then, it's pretty much been a weight lifted off my back because I have a self understanding that I didn't have before," said Dubin.

Click here for entire article on Man Writes About Life with Asperger's.


 

Exploring the Health Benefits of Pets

By CARLA BARANAUCKAS
THE NEW YORK TIMES

petsWhen Chad, a yellow Labrador retriever, moved in with Claire Vaccaro’s family in Manhattan last spring, he already had an important role. As an autism service dog, he was joining the family to help protect Ms. Vaccaro’s 11-year-old son, Milo — especially in public, where he often had tantrums or tried to run away.

Like many companion animals, whether service dogs or pets, Chad had an immediate effect — the kind of effect that is noticeable but has yet to be fully understood through scientific study. And it went beyond the tether that connects dog and boy in public.

“Within, I would say, a week, I noticed enormous changes,” Ms. Vaccaro said of Milo, whose autism impairs his ability to communicate and form social bonds. “More and more changes have happened over the months as their bond has grown. He’s much calmer. He can concentrate for much longer periods of time. It’s almost like a cloud has lifted.”

The human-animal bond bypasses the intellect and goes straight to the heart and emotions and nurtures us in ways that nothing else can,” said Karin Winegar

Dr. Melissa A. Nishawala, clinical director of the autism-spectrum service at the Child Study Center at New York University, said she saw “a prominent and noticeable change” in Milo, even though the dog just sat quietly in the room. “He started to give me narratives in a way he never did,” she said, adding that most of them were about the dog.

The changes have been so profound that Ms. Vaccaro and Dr. Nishawala are starting to talk about weaning Milo from some of his medication.

Click here for entire article on Exploring the Health Benefits of Pets

Click here for article on Readers Ask: Pets, People and Autism


Teenager in 70 week wait for autism test

expressandstar.com, Britain

Staffordshire couple have been told they must wait 70 weeks for an assessment to be carried out on their 13-year-old son who they believe may have autism.

The Heath Hayes couple were shocked by a letter from South Staffordshire and Shropshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust telling them how long they must wait.

He doesn’t understand barriers. We need some guidance on how to control him and deal with him.

“It will effectively be 18 months before we know whether or not he is autistic. He could end up being expelled by then,” they said. The couple want a quick assessment for their son.

They wanted to get him the proper help he needs for his behavioural problems.

His mother said the teenager had had problems since he started school and his behaviour had got worse over the years.

“He doesn’t understand barriers. We need some guidance on how to control him and deal with him.

“We managed to get him to another school before he was expelled,” she said.

She said their other three children, including the boy’s twin sister, were all well behaved.

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