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US Autism & Asperger Association
November 5, 2010

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IPad Opens World to a Disabled Boy

The Autism Spectrum: Continuums of Functioning and Transitioning Forward

Teaching Children to Talk About Experiences to Establish Social Interaction Skills

USAAA 2010 Conference Proceedings Manual now available

NEW! Nutrition and Supplement Store

NEW! Bookstore

IPad Opens World to a Disabled Boy

ipad boyOWEN CAIN depends on a respirator and struggles to make even the slightest movements — he has had a debilitating motor-neuron disease since infancy.

Owen, 7, does not have the strength to maneuver a computer mouse, but when a nurse propped her boyfriend’s iPad within reach in June, he did something his mother had never seen before.

"Representative Edward J. Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat, recently enacted legislation that will require mobile devices to be more accessible to users with disabilities."

He aimed his left pointer finger at an icon on the screen, touched it — just barely — and opened the application Gravitarium, which plays music as users create landscapes of stars on the screen. Over the years, Owen’s parents had tried several computerized communications contraptions to give him an escape from his disability, but the iPad was the first that worked on the first try.

“We have spent all this time keeping him alive, and now we owe him more than that,” said his mother, Ellen Goldstein, a vice president at the Times Square Alliance business association. “I see his ability to communicate and to learn as a big part of that challenge — not all of it, but a big part of it. And so, that’s my responsibility.”

Since its debut in April, the iPad has become a popular therapeutic tool for people with disabilities of all kinds, though no one keeps track of how many are used this way, and studies are just getting under way to test its effectiveness, which varies widely depending on diagnosis.

Click here for more information on IPad Opens World to a Disabled Boy.


The Autism Spectrum: Continuums of Functioning and Transitioning Forward

by Marlo Payne Thurman, MS

Children of higher intelligence take in more information than their peers of average cognitive ability. However, because the sensory skills of filtering, regulation and modulation mature with age, innately asynchronous sensory development in the gifted, twice-exceptional and high functioning autism and Asperger’s populations places our most intelligent youth at risk for academic, social and emotional problems. When compounded by learning disabilities, most asynchronous children simply cannot access enough cognitive energy to compensate and function successfully in their day-to-day lives. This, in turn, leads to cognitive and emotional fatigue, heightened physiological arousal and ultimately mental health symptoms.

"Sensory modulation cannot therefore be adequately explained without first understanding the continuums of arousal and the “adrenal” response.

This paper will discuss the unique relationship between intelligence and sensory regulation, and will illustrate the impact of modulation abilities on learning, social and emotional function and the mental health diagnoses commonly seen in our most intelligent, yet out-of-sync populations.

This article is published in the USAAA 2010 Conference Proceedings Manual. Click here to purchase the manual.

Marlo Payne Thurman, MS presented "The Autism Spectrum: Continuums of Functioning and Transitioning Forward," at the USAAA 2010 World Conference in St. Louis, Missouri October 1, 2010. The DVD of the presentation is also available at the USAAA DVD store.


Teaching Children to Talk About Experiences to Establish Social Interaction Skills

by James W. Partington, PhD, BCBA-D

Dr. PartingtonBehavior Analysts, Inc.
Parents of children with a diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), often feel frustrated and disappointed by their child’s inability to develop friendships and participate in daily interactions that most families take for granted, such as discussing the day’s events, and listening to their child interact with siblings or peers as they engage in leisure activities. To develop these interaction skills, it is usually necessary to teach a variety of specific advanced language skills that are often not adequately addressed in many intervention programs. Additionally, in order to develop meaningful social interactions and friendships, it is also necessary for the child to attend to the interests and activities of others. Finally, if the child does develop the necessary language skills and learns to attend to others, it is still necessary for the interactions to result in enjoyment for the child so that he will want to have further interactions with those individuals in the future.

"If we want a child to verbally interact with others, we must get the child to actively respond to develop the necessary language skills and be reinforced in a timely manner for using those skills with others.

Variety of Language Skills To Be Taught
There are a variety of language skills that a child will need to acquire in order to have meaningful social interactions. Some of these skills include being able to describe and answer questions that require the child to label specific aspects of events as they are happening (i.e., “What are we doing?” “Who is here?” “Where are we?”). Another important set of skills is to be able to ask peers and family members for information (e.g., “Where is the playground?” “When can we go to the playground?” “Who will take me there?”). Additionally, the child also must be taught to remember and describe what they have learned about their peers (e.g., “What is Joe’s favorite video?”), and describe recent past events, (e.g., “Who sat next to you at lunch today?” “What did Joe bring for lunch?”). (A more complete list of critical language skills that a child needs to acquire can be found in the Assessment of Basic Language and Learning SkillsTM-Revised -aka ABLLSTM-R and the WebABLLS).

This article is published in the USAAA 2010 Conference Proceedings Manual. Click here to purchase the manual.

Dr. Partington was a panelist on the "Behavioral/Developmental Approaches" Panel Workshop at the USAAA 2010 World Conference in St. Louis, Missouri October 1, 2010. The DVD of the panel workshop is also available at the USAAA DVD store.


USAAA 2010 Conference Proceedings Manual now available


The USAAA 2010 Conference Proceedings Manual is now available. The manual is a collection of articles from many of the USAAA 2010 World Conference presenters that include Dr. Temple Grandin, Dr. Martha Herbert, Dr. John Constantino, Dr. Phillip DeMio, Dr. Mark Geier, David Geier, Dr. Michael McManmon, Dr. Stephen Shore, Dr. Jim Partington, Elaine (Coach E) Hall, Theresa K. Wrangham, Marlo Payne Thurman, plus a bonus section of articles from previous USAAA Conference Manuals.

grandin shore herbert

Click here for more information on the USAAA 2010 Conference Proceedings Manual.


NEW! Nutrition and Supplement Store

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Get all of your supplements from our new partner, Doctor's Nutrition & Supplement Warehouse (DNSW). Proceeds benefit USAAA programs. DNSW offers a 100% Price Match Guarantee. If you find your product available from an authorized reseller, at a lower, standard, non-sale price, on another site, we will match it.

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NEW! Bookstore

booksGet all of your books from our new partner, Future Horizons. Proceeds benefit USAAA programs. You will find offerings from the best minds in the field, providing a wide variety of approaches to the challenges of autism and Asperger’s Syndrome. Resources for Caregivers, Resources Educators, Children's Books, plus more. Click here to start shopping.

If you don't find the book you are looking for on this site, contact Future Horizons at 800.489.0727 to see if they are able to get the book for you or go to Shop Our Partners and try to locate the book through Amazon. Proceeds from Amazon benefit USAAA Programs, too.

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