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US Autism & Asperger Association
June 6, 2010

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


Headlines:

Autism Finding Could Lead To Simple Urine Test For The Condition

$5 million settlement in alleged abuse of autistic students

The Leap

Diagnosis of boy's autism pits doctors vs. schools

Yoga helps autistic kids deal with stress

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Autism Finding Could Lead To Simple Urine Test For The Condition

Children with autism have a different chemical fingerprint in their urine than non-autistic children, according to new research published tomorrow in the print edition of the Journal of Proteome Research.

"However, your metabolism and the makeup of your gut bacteria reflect all sorts of things, including your lifestyle and your genes."

The researchers behind the study, from Imperial College London and the University of South Australia, suggest that their findings could ultimately lead to a simple urine test to determine whether or not a young child has autism.

Autism affects an estimated one in every 100 people in the UK. People with autism have a range of different symptoms, but they commonly experience problems with communication and social skills, such as understanding other people's emotions and making conversation and eye contact.

"We ask the question, what is altering the "gut" microbes in these infants? And didn't a certain British doctor ask similar questions, relating autism with GI disease and lose his medical license? We hope this leads to more promising research into the brain/gut/autism connection." — Age of Autism

People with autism are also known to suffer from gastrointestinal disorders and they have a different makeup of bacteria in their guts from non-autistic people.

Today's research shows that it is possible to distinguish between autistic and non-autistic children by looking at the by-products of gut bacteria and the body's metabolic processes in the children's urine. The exact biological significance of gastrointestinal disorders in the development of autism is unknown.

Click here for more information on Autism Finding Could Lead To Simple Urine Test For The Condition.

Contact: Laura Gallagher
l.gallagher@imperial.ac.uk


 

$5 million settlement in alleged abuse of autistic students

By Tom Infield
Inquirer Staff Writer

Parents who alleged that their autistic children had been tied to chairs with bungee cords and duct tape in a Scranton-area schoolroom have agreed to settle a federal civil-rights suit for $5 million.
Plaintiffs' attorneys said the settlement reached Thursday appeared to be the largest ever in Pennsylvania involving the abuse of children in a special-education classroom.

In one instance, an attorney said Friday, the teacher pulled a child across the room by a cast on his broken arm. "They were sending their children to a virtual torture chamber for two years.

A report issued last year by the U.S. Government Accountability Office said such cases were on the rise nationally. A bill in Congress would set standards for when and how children could be restrained in schools for their own safety or the safety of others.

The allegations in the Scranton-area case went beyond restraint.

The parents of seven children at the Clarks Summit Elementary School in the Abington Heights School District contended that teacher Susan Comerford Wzorek slapped children, pulled them by the hair, and deliberately stepped on the insoles of their feet.

Click here for more information on $5 million settlement in alleged abuse of autistic students.


 

The Leap
Next week, Teddy Graubard would have graduated from Dalton—a brilliant teenager, with a mild form of Asperger’s, whose path seemed almost limitless. So what led him to the window?

By Jesse Green

Teddy stood before the eleventh-story window. Other than figuring out how to fold his large body through its small opening, what was he thinking? A family friend would later say he was “probably trying to measure the speed of the wind or the angle of the shadows,” as if the whole thing were just an experiment gone awry. People naturally defaulted to explanations from physics because Teddy was a physics prodigy, having taught himself the subject from a college textbook in eighth grade. In math, too, he was the one who could always find the quickest solution to a problem. But what was the problem he was trying to solve by jumping?

"But Teddy gets lost in this debate. He’s neither a romantic hero nor a public-health trend. Nor did he jump because of a mental illness, even if a “mental-health issue” contributed. He jumped because his foolish solution to a passing academic problem reacted with the peculiar ideational rigidity of his condition—and, who knows, perhaps with the “suicidality” that is a potential side effect of most psychotropic medications—in a way even he, with his complicated brain, could not have predicted."

When 17-year-old Teddy Graubard landed on the sidewalk in front of the Dalton School at around eleven o’clock on a cloudy, cold February morning last year, just as fourth-graders were emerging for “playstreet” on the closed-off block of East 89th Street between Lexington and Park, no one could understand what had propelled him to commit such a terrible act. In the following days, after the ambulances and crime-scene tape and TV cameras and emergency psychologists were gone, the question hovered. Fifteen months later, most people in the Dalton community still don’t know what happened. How did a generally happy and inarguably brilliant eleventh-grader, who would likely have achieved honors at next week’s graduation had he lived, come to believe his world was over? Was it something within him a parent could have predicted? Was it something beyond him a school should have prevented? Or was it just a terrible glitch, like an aneurysm that goes unnoticed until it bursts? Certainly his mother, Carla Graubard, was frantic, amid her grief that day, to find out. And eventually she got some answers. But at the time she had none, and the people who did were not yet telling.

Click here for more information on The Leap.


 

Diagnosis of boy's autism pits doctors vs. schools

by Emily Gersema - Jun. 6, 2010
The Arizona Republic

A frustrated teacher and a child struggling with autism have combined for a tumultuous year for the Brunos.

"By the end of the school year with the new plan and supports, he was doing phenomenally and had virtually no issues or accidents the last few weeks - a month before school ended."

The Gilbert family spent months caught in an escalating dispute with Gilbert Public Schools officials about their son's disorder - autism - and his need for special services to help him succeed in school.

Their battle represents a long-standing divide between the educational and medical worlds, in which experts dispute the diagnoses of child disorders and the therapies kids need to do well in school.

Valley doctors say the Brunos are among dozens of families who get caught in the middle.
The Brunos' story began when Luke, now 6, was in preschool two years ago.

Click here for more information on Diagnosis of boy's autism pits doctors vs. schools.


 

Yoga helps autistic kids deal with stress

BRIDGEWATER — Aiya Peters rolls back and forth on her back, pulling her feet up to her nose and giggling a glorious giggle.

“They’re stinky!" the six year- old laughed.

“Can I get another ice cream?" she asked, squirming over to her mother, lying quiet ly on the mat beside her.

"Yoga helps the kids get in touch with their bodies, be come aware of their emotions and their feelings, and provides them with the ability to cope when they start to feel anxious, upset or stressed, she said."

“Mommy, I love you," she said, snuggling in for a cuddle.

Seconds later, she’s scampering about again.

“Mommy, I have a new friend!"

For her mom, Elsa Veinot, those are beautiful words.

Mother and daughter are at a yoga class for children with autism that’s run by the South Shore regional school board.

Click here for more information on Yoga helps autistic kids deal with stress.


 

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