Friday, December 17, 2010

NAA NY Metro Chapter's 2010 Holiday Party-Tis' the Season


This year’s NAA NY Metro Chapter’s Holiday party was celebrated on December 7, 2010 in NYC. The food was absolutely delightful and was prepared by Kirstin Boncher of http://www.whattofeedyourkids.com/. We held a moment of silence for the family in Arizona where all 5 children with autism have been separated from their parents unjustly. We honored previous speakers, sponsors and volunteers for all their contributions to our chapter. We did a year in review of all the programs and accomplishments of the chapter and shared plans for 2011. It was a wonderful evening where old friends reunited and new friendships were made. Thanks to an amazingly hard working board and the chapter members for making 2010 a successful year and we are looking forward to a great 2011. To all our readers we wish you a happy and healthy holiday season. Best wishes, NAA NY Metro Chapter.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Safety Tips To Prevent Mercury Contamination From Compact Flourescent Lights (CFL)

The following information is provided on the NY State website http://www.getenergysmart.org/ :

Mercury Content and Recycling
What is Mercury?
Mercury is an element found naturally in the environment. Human activities, such as burning coal for electricity and using mercury in manufacturing, increase the amount of mercury cycling through the air, water, and soil. According to the EPA, the main sources of mercury pollution are coal-burning power plants, about 40% of total emissions worldwide. American power plants pump 96,000 pounds of mercury into the air annually.

Where can mercury be found at home?
Mercury is used in products because of its excellent conductivity and high surface tension so it can be found almost anywhere!

Why is Mercury in Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs (CFLs)?
Mercury is an essential part of a CFL, allowing it to be an efficient light source. Inside the fluorescent tube there are electrodes at both ends, a gas containing argon and mercury vapor. A stream of electrons flows between the electrodes at both ends of the tube. The electrons interact with mercury vapor atoms floating inside the tube. The mercury atoms become excited, and when they return to an unexcited state, they release photons of light in the ultraviolet region of the spectrum. These ultraviolet photons collide with the phosphor coating the inside of the tube, and the phosphor glows, creating white light.

CFLs contain a very small amount of mercury (an average of 4 to 5 milligrams of mercury) sealed in the glass tubing, which is about enough to cover the tip of a ballpoint pen.

How can I tell how much Mercury is in a CFL before I purchase one?
As of September 2008, all ENERGY STAR qualified CFLs are required to list their mercury content on the packaging. Avoid purchasing non-ENERGY STAR CFLs because this information is not required on their packaging.

Does Mercury escape into the atmosphere when using a CFL?
No mercury is released when CFLs remain intact (not broken) or while they are in use. The only time mercury from a CFL is emitted into the environment is when a CFL breaks. In fact, CFLs are typically manufactured using recycled materials. If CFLs are recycled properly the mercury can continue to remain in safe hands and be repurposed for safe and useful purposes.

Can I throw my burned out CFL in the garbage?
New York State households can currently dispose of CFLs as normal household waste. Businesses must follow a different set of regulations regarding the disposal of CFLs. However, NYSERDA and the EPA are encouraging New Yorkers to use and recycle them safely. Careful recycling of CFLs prevents the release of mercury into the environment and allows for the reuse of glass, metals and other materials that make up CFLs. NYSERDA recommends that consumers take advantage of available local recycling options for CFLs, and is working with CFL manufacturers and major U.S. retailers to expand recycling and disposal options.


Why should I recycle my old burned out or broken CFLs?
CFLs have a small amount of mercury in them and they need to be managed properly at the end of their useful lives. Last year alone, American’s purchased 400 million CFLs! It is important to properly recycle CFLs today so there is not a problem in the future.

What happens when my CFL is recycled?
A CFL is like a small computer with all the electronics inside the ballast. When a CFL reaches a recycler, all the components are separated. The glass and mercury are separated and actually resold to manufacturers.

How do I recycle my CFL?
There are several ways to recycle your CFL:
Check out for a participating CFL Collection Center near you. The retail stores and civic organizations listed are trained to take in, store, and ship CFLs to professional recyclers who will manage them correctly.

Take advantage of local recycling options through your municipal landfill or transfer station.

Many towns or counties have household hazardous waste collection days where CFLs can be dropped off for recycling. Visit the Department of Environmental Conservation and www.earth911.org for more information.

Look for organizations that are creating products to recycle CFLs. The U.S. Post Office, Waste Management, IKEA, and other organizations are exploring or implementing CFL recycling programs.

What do I do if a CFL breaks in my house?
A broken CFL containing a small amount of mercury is not likely to present any excess risk to you or your family. However, proper clean-up methods should be followed. These simple clean-up instructions will ensure safe removal of broken CFLs:

Before clean-up, make sure you ventilate the room. Make sure that people and pets leave the room, and don't let anyone walk through the breakage area for 15 minutes. Be sure to open a window and shut off the central forced-air heating/air conditioning system, if you have one.

Clean-up on hard surfaces. Using stiff paper or cardboard, carefully scoop up glass fragments and powder and place them in a glass jar with a metal lid (such as a canning jar), or in a sealed plastic bag. Use sticky tape (such as duct tape) to pick up any remaining small glass fragments and powder. Wipe the area clean with damp paper towels or disposable wet wipes and place them in the glass jar or plastic bag. DO NOT use a vacuum or broom to clean up the broken bulb on hard surfaces. This will flick the particles all over the room.

Clean-up on carpets or rugs. Carefully pick up glass fragments and place them in a glass jar with a metal lid or in a sealed plastic bag. Use sticky tape (such as duct tape) to pick up any remaining small glass fragments and powder. If vacuuming is needed after all visible materials are removed, vacuum only the area where the bulb was broken. Remove the vacuum bag (or empty and wipe the canister), and put the bag or vacuum debris in a sealed plastic bag.

Disposal of clean-up materials. Immediately place all clean-up materials outside the building in a trash container or outdoor protected area for the next normal trash disposal day. Wash your hands after disposing of the jars or plastic bags containing clean-up materials.

More information is available on the NY State website.

Khalid Rehman

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

New Study on Mitochondrial Dysfunction in Autism

A new study by Cecilia Giulivi and colleagues confirms that the mitochondria are dysfunctional in autism. This study once again shows that the defective mitochondria make it difficult for children with autism to handle the oxidative stress of day to day environmental challenges. The research paper was published in the recent issue of the Journal of American Medical Association Vol: 304, Number 21, Page: 2389. December 1, 2010.

The researchers from the University of California at Davis studied the mitochondrial function in children aged 2-5 years with established diagnosis of autism and compared them to age matched but genetically unrelated typically developing children. They used the data from the CHARGE (Childhood Autism Risk From Genes and Environment) study in California, which was a population based, case controlled investigation.

Mitochondria are small organelles that are responsible for the energy production needed for the cell’s function. It has been suggested that the mitochondrial dysfunction may influence the social and cognitive deficits and the altered energy metabolism may affect the processes highly dependent on energy such as neurodevelopment.

Unlike previous studies, where the mitochondria from muscle tissue were analyzed, the authors of this study studied the mitochondria from the blood samples of these children. They studied the oxidative activity of the mitochondrial enzyme NADH, hydrogen peroxide production, plasma pyruvate and lactate levels, deletions and over-replications of the mitochondrial DNA.

The results show that the oxidative activity in the mitochondria of children with autism was one third (4.4 vs 12) that of the typical children, and the mitochondrial dependent oxygen consumption was impaired. “The increased oxygen reactive species production observed in this study is consistent with the higher ratio of oxidized NADH to reduced glutathione in the cells and the mitochondria of the children with ASD, supporting the concept that these cells from children with autism present higher oxidative stress”, the authors note.

80% of the affected children had three times higher level of pyruvate in the plasma. This was considered to be due to the deficiency of PDHC (pyruvate dehydrogenase complex). PDHC deficiency could contribute to brain dysfunction. Since the gene encoding the PDHC is located on the X chromosome, mutation in the X-linked gene may explain the 4:1 ratio of autism between boys and girls.

The study also showed that the children with autism had twice the mitochondrial rates of hydrogen peroxide production. “ Thus the mitochondria in autism had a lower oxidative phosphorylation capacity but also contributed to the overall cellular oxidative stress”, the authors commented.

Of the children with autism, 20 % had deletions and 50 % had over-replication of the genes in the mitochondria. It is hypothesized that the over replication of the mitochondrial DNA may be an attempt by the cell to overcome the defective mitochondria in the cells.

The authors state that “whether the mitochondrial dysfunction in children with autism is primary (genetic and possibly causative factor) or secondary to as-yet unknown (environmental injury) event, remains the subject of future work”.

The funding for this study was provided by University of California, MIND Institute Gift Funds, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, and Autism Speaks. The study is published in JAMA, December 1, 2010, The abstract of the article can be accessed here: Abstract

Khalid Rehman, M.D.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Raun Kaufman Presents on the Son-Rise Program


Sabeeha Rehman, Raun Kaufman and Mark Raisbeck at Rebecca School.

Raun Kaufman presented at Rebecca school about his own recovery from Autism Spectrum Disorder and the development of the Son-Rise program created by his parents. Raun Kaufman was diagnosed at 18 months as severely autistic and went from a mute, disconnected child with an IQ below 30 to an outgoing, social boy with a high IQ through the work his parents did with him. He described his transformation from a boy who was constantly spinning plates, rocking back and forth and flapping his hands to the outgoing social person he is now and how his parents relentless efforts healed his brain. After healing their son, Barrie and Samahria Kaufman, went on create the Autism Treatment Center of America, a teaching center for the Son-Rise Program, where parents can go to learn how to implement the Son-Rise Program at home.

A key part of the Son-Rise program is that instead of discouraging stimming, you join your child when they stim in order to create a connection and form a relationship. Through this joining, and the connection, you enter the world of the child in order to eventually draw them out. Unlike ABA, which rewards behavior with discreet trials and discourages stimming, the Son-Rise program seeks to use the motivation and interests of the child in order to get them to learn and connect. Raun Kaffman spoke about how when parents join their child stimming using the Son-Rise Program techniques, not only did they understand their children better and the reason for the children's repetitive behavior, but the stimming often dramatically decreases. He spoke of his own fascination with spinning plates as a child and said "Every time I would spin a plate, my parents would spin with me. The more they joined me, the more I would look at them." The program has a very specific way to implement learning into the joining.

To see how the Son-Rise program works, you can view the Son-Rise Program-Responding to Verbal Communication video on youtube on the Autism Treatment Center of America channel.


There are many Son-Rise program videos that you can watch on YouTube or you can look into attending the five day Son-Rise Program Startup to learn how you can implement this program.

Besides the practical advice about the things you can do to help heal your child, Raun also spoke about parents needing to "enjoy, delight and savor the kids we have now" and not be so fixated and so busy fixing them that we lose the connection. If you have a chance to hear Raun Kaufman speak, he really has an amazing, inspiring story to tell. You can also see him speak on Strategies for Autism Treatment on the Autism Treatment Center website.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Book Reading by Kim Stagliano: "All I Can Handle. I'm No Mother Teresa"

Kim Stagliano with Sabeeha Rehman


On Nov. 10, Kim Stagliano gave her first book reading, of her first book - at NAA NY Metro. What a unique way of introducing one's book! She was packed with humor - and her story is not funny. Actually it is heart-wrenching, but Kim got through it with her sparkling sense of humor and sheer determination. For those of you who don't know, Kim has three girls with autism. Three girls! Three beatiful girls. Just think about it. And that is what this book is about. But it is more than that. It is a book about survival; its a book about beating the odds; and its a book about emerging through the trials and tribulations of unemployement, huge health issues, moving in and out of one home after another, financial collapse, and just about anything and everything that you don't want to deal with if you had a choice. And Kim emerges with a shine and a smile, mesmerizing her audience with her wit, loveliness, and charm. Kim's memoir is a superb book! She makes you laugh, makes you cry, makes you wince, makes you cringe, makes you angry, and gives you hope. Can a book on autism be funny? This one is. Read it. That is a direct directive.
Read all about Kim's Kimoir at: http://kimstagliano.blogspot.com/

Sabeeha Rehman

Autism/Asperger's Conference - "All Ages & Abilities"

Temple Grandin with Sabeeha Rehman

On Oct. 23-24, we held our third annual conference in NYC in collaboration with Autism Conferences of America, the organizer of the conference. Attendees came from all over the city, the State, out-of-state, and from all over the country. Parents, educators, caregivers, doctors - all filled the conference space to capacity.

With Temple Grandin as the keynote speaker, followed by Eustacia Cutler, her amazing mother, there was standing room only. Temple brought the house down with her incredible journey and the audience hung on to every word she said. To say that Eustacia Cutler was inspirational, is an understatment. There was not a dry eye in the room when she closed. Stephen Shore, also diagnosed with Aspergers, gave us key tools on how to integrate the social needs of children with ASD into a regular teaching experience. Ginny Hodge presented practical tips on how to enable children to adapt into a community setting, like using public transportation, grocery shopping, etc. Our Day 2 keynote speaker, Diane Twachtman-Cullen provided a comprehensive instruction on addressing an impaired executive function through the educational system, and how to develop social skills for all levels of functioning. Ken Bock gave a very concise, complete, and detailed overview on biomedical approaches to treatment. Dr. Marvin Boris outlined some of the current and groundbreaking approaches to treating immune dysfunction, generating a lot of spirited discussion.

There was fun time, with coffee breaks, raffles, and door prizes. The exhibits generated tremendous interest and a tremendous opportunity to network.

Many thanks to Jim Adams and Jerry Lundy at Autism Conferences for bringing this conference to us every year, to our exhibitors for bringing their wares to us, and to our attendees for being part of this learning experience. Thank you to our wonderful team at NAA NY Metro for volunteering their time - Kim, Peggy, Stuart, Amy, Kirstin, and Kathleen.

Sabeeha Rehman

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

New Research and Treatments to Restore Language in Children with ASD


Debra Schneider and Mary Coyle with Dr. Harry Schneider

On Oct. 26, 2010, we held the second in a series of lectures by the chapter authors in the new book, “Cutting Edge Therapies for Autism”. Harry Schneider, PhD, MD gave a fascinating presentation on new research and treatments to restore language in children with ASD. Dr. Schneider outlined the reasons why children with classical autism cannot speak the way neurotypical children do. In his soon to be published study on functional neuro-images of the brain, he showed what parts of the brain do not work for language, and the incomplete neural connections in these children. He presented the results of more than four years of treating these children with transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS). Many of his patients are now talking – there are those who can finally state their needs and respond to commands, and those who are ready to return to mainstream education.

When a grandmother of a child with ASD stood up and spoke about how her grandson has recovered his speech, thanks to Dr. Schneider’s treatment, everyone in the audience was touched.

Dr. Schneider is an associate research scientist in the Functional MRI Research Center of Columbia University, having received a fellowship in neuroscience and functional neuroimaging at their Program for Imaging and Cognitive Sciences (PICS). He is in private practice at the Center for Medical and Brain Sciences in Plainview, NY, and uses both conventional and alternative medicine in his approach to the medical care of children on the spectrum. Check the website at: www.harryschneidermd.com

Sabeeha Rehman

How to be Your Child's Best Advocate

Mary Somoza holds up her daughter's photo with Bill Clinton

At the Parent Network Exchange Meeting held on Oct. 14, 2010, Mary Somoza gave one of the most inspirational talks that I have heard. This is one speaker that I would want to listen to over and over again. We walked out feeling empowered, motivated, inspired, and ready to hit the gound running – a wet one, because it was still raining hard when we left.

Mary Somoza is the mother of two children with special needs, one being paraplegic. She succeeded in getting the most and the best of what her children needed, against all odds, and now her children are in college. Her amazing story was not missed by the President of the United States, who is seen in this photo with her daughter. Mary now teaches parents how to be the best advocate for your child. Whether you are asking for your child's school to adhere to a special diet or need a particular service that they have already denied you, Mary gave us her years of experience raising two children with special needs and navigating through some very difficult school systems.

Mary believes that every child has more abilities then disabilities. Some of those abilities yet to be discovered. Children cannot afford to lose time, not with initial services, or with their education. Getting your child on the right track can be the difference between academic success, and falling behind.

We would like to invite Mary to come back again. Look out for the notice. Meanwhile, Mary can be reached at: mary@marysomoza.com

Sabeeha Rehman

How Food Influences Behavior in Children and How to Keep Your Child's Immune System Strong


Stacey Purow, Geri Brewster, and Kirstin Boncher

A collaborative event with Beth Israel Medical Center was held on Sept. 30, 2010 at the Medical Center. Geri Brewster, RD MPH CDN, and Kirstin Boncher presented and held an interactive dialogue on this topic. Many thanks to Dr. Asma Sadiq and Stacey Purow for hosting the event.

Kirstin talked about her story as a mom of two children with Celiac disease, and how she helped them recover through dietary intervention. She enthralled the audience with her success story, her trials and tribulations, and her ‘days-in-the-life’ of a mom facing challenges. She walked the audience through the scientific research to support her conclusions, and wove her anecdotes into the narrative. A lively discussion ensued as every mom in the audience, completely able to relate to her, wanted to know what to do in their ‘what-if’ scenarios. Kirstin, who is a graduate of the French Culinary Institute, has written extensively on the importance of healthy fats for brain development, and publishes the widely read blog What To Feed Your Kids at http://whattofeedyourkids.blogspot.com/ .

Geri talked about how a specific diet may be able improve your child's health and reduce behavioral symptoms such as stimming, night waking, and tantrums while improving eye contact and language development as well as influence immunity. Geri focused on gut issues and their genesis. Her illustrative handout on what foods to avoid, is the perfect refrigerator pin-up. Geri, who has specialized in pediatric and young-adult developmental disabilities for nearly 30 years, is a Defeat Autism Now! Practitioner, hosts a monthly radio show on AutismOne.com, and has developed comprehensive lifestyle, nutritional and supplement programs. Vist her website at: http://www.geribrewster.com/

Sabeeha Rehman

Thursday, October 28, 2010

What is it like to raise THREE(!) girls with autism?! Come hear Kim Stagliano speak 11/10. Win a copy of her book!


Come hear from Kim Stagliano, a mother who has been through it all ... raising three girls with autism! Somehow Kim is able to get through it and still maintain an incredible sense of humor about life. Her "Kimoir" as she calls it, will be coming out November 1st. Kim will be speaking in NYC on Wednesday, November 10th at 6:00p at the Rebecca School, 40 East 30th Street.

Kim is a nationally recognized autism advocate and speaker as well as the managing editor of www.ageofautism.com, the nation's first daily web newspaper about the autism epidemic. She writes for the Huffington Post, is on the editorial staff of The Autism File Magazine, and is a feature writer for Spectrum Magazine. Check out Kim's website for more information.

Win a copy of "All I Can Handle: I'm No Mother Teresa" by Kim Stagliano. Visit us here or on our Facebook page the weeks of November 1st and 8th! On Facebook, "Like" us and post a comment. Here, just post a comment between November 1st and November 5th and/or November 8th and November 12th.

Comments the week of November 1st should be about your favorite autism resource, special diet recipe or other tip for parents of ASD kids. Comments the week of November 8th should be about Kim Stagliano's book or talk or about why she is awesome. Remember that on Facebook, to be entered you must "Like" us and post. To be included in both drawings, you must enter twice. Winners will be notified on Monday, November 8th and Monday, November 15th.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Homemade Peanut Butter Cup Recipe


These homemade peanut butter cups are gluten and dairy free making them a good substitute for Reese's peanut butter cups for anyone who can't have dairy. With a little protein in them, they are a super sweet, but satisfying treat. Some kids are sensitive to peanuts because they can promote yeast overgrowth, so if your child does not do well with peanuts, you can use an alternate nut butter.
In a small bowl, combine peanut butter, confectioners sugar, light brown sugar and 2 tablespoons shortening (or Earth Balance) and mix well until combined.

In a double boiler over water or in the microwave, melt chocolate with the 1/4 cup shortening. Stir with a whisk or a spoon until combined.

Line a muffin tray or sheet tray with 2 inch foil muffin cups.

Drop a rounded teaspoon of peanut butter filling in each muffin cup. Then top each with 2 teaspoons melted chocolate.

Refrigerate overnight or freeze until hard.

Sprinkle almonds or crunchy nuts on top for a little crunch.

Chocolate Peanut Brittle Bark Recipe

Combine 1 bag of marshmallows, recipe for peanut butter filling and 1/4 cup earth balance in a pan over low heat. Stir until melted. Remove from heat. Add 3 cups of gluten free rice cereal. Pour into sheet tray which is lined with greased aluminum foil or parchment. Press down into flat 3/4 inch bar which almost fills tray. Cover with melted chocolate and shortening from above. Sprinkle with almonds. Use a serated knife to cut brittle into candy size pieces. Serve in muffin cups.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

NEWS: New York Governor David Paterson vetoed Senate Bill S7000b yesterday.

Senate Bill S7000b would have repealed existing anti-discrimination language hard won in 2006, and required that any treatment for autism meet a standard far higher than that required for any other health condition under New York law, or in any other state.

“This standard if passed was so onerously high that we could identify no treatments that we were certain would be covered,” said Marcia Roth, a Budget and Policy Analyst with the Autism Action Network, “And it would have created a dangerous precedent that could serve as a model for other states.”

"Costs currently paid by insurers would have been shifted to county and school district taxpayers," said Tom Abinanti, a Westchester County Legislator and Democratic candidate for Assembly in the 69th district (Greenburgh, Pleasantville and parts of Yonkers).

Read more about the bill on Age of Autism, which has a story on False Promises Autism Insurance Bill Fails in NY Following Grassroots Opposition.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Enter Contest To Win FREE Ticket to Autism/Asperger's Conference this Weekend







ENTER TO WIN CONTEST FOR FREE TICKET to 3rd Annual Autism/Asperger's Conference by leaving a comment with your email.

Hear Temple Grandin, Dr. Ken Bock and other terrific speakers! Leave a comment below between 9am today, Oct 20th, and 11:30pm tomorrow, Oct 21st and (include your email) and your name will be entered in a drawing to win a free pass to BOTH DAYS of the All Ages and Abilities 3rd Annual NYC Autism/Asperger's Conference happening this weekend in NYC.

Please share this opportunity with friends and family! The NAA NY Metro will announce the winner on this blog page Friday morning and will notify the winner via email.

To buy a ticket or learn more about the speakers, please visit "All Ages & Abilities" NYC Autism/Asperger's Conference page.

Good luck!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Announcement of NAA NY Metro - Westchester Branch

We are pleased to announce the formation of the NAA NY Metro - Westchester Branch.

Healing with Homeopathy, spearheaded by Lisa Rudley, and Biomedical Learning Cooperative, spearheaded by Tricia Zarro, have merged with National Autism Association New York Metro Inc. They will constitute the Westchester branch of our Chapter, and will be referred to as the NAA New York Metro Chapter - Westchester Branch.

We are delighted to be able to more effectively reach our community in Westchester and look forward to working closely with Lisa and Tricia in this effort.

Please look forward to receiving emails from NAA NY Metro regarding meetings throughout Westchester. We anticipate having one to two meetings a month in Tarrytown and Briarcliff Manor.

If you would like more information about us, please visit our website.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Journal Pediatrics Reports on MMRV and Seizures





A recent study funded by the CDC and published in the journal PEDIATRICS on Measles-Mumps-Rubella-Varicella Combination Vaccine and the Risk of Febrile Seizures reports that young children who had MMRV vaccine had increased risk of febrile seizures.

Here is the text from the Journal of American Medical Association, 8/25/10 issue.
MMRV and Seizures Bridget M. Kuehn JAMA. 2010;304(8):846. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.1198

"Use of combination measles-mumps-rubella-varicella (MMRV) vaccine in young children is associated with an increased risk of febrile seizures 7 to 10 days after vaccination compared with separate vaccination with the varicella vaccine and the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, according to a study funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The scientists analyzed data from the Vaccine Safety Datalink, a surveillance system with data from 8 managed care organizations, on more than 450 000 children from 12 to 23 months of age who received either the MMRV or the MMR plus a separate varicella vaccination (Klein NP et al. Pediatrics. 2010;126[1]:e1-e8). They found 1 additional seizure for every 2300 doses of the MMRV vaccine compared with the two separate vaccines.

The CDC recommends using the separate MMR and varicella vaccines for a first dose in children 12 to 23 months old, unless parents have a preference for the MMRV. If MMRV is used, parents should be advised of the risks. The MMRV vaccine remains recommended as a second dose."

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Autism in The News

We are reprinting below our VP/Treasurer Kim Mack Rosenberg's recent post on her own blog, Embracing Wellness, pulling together the Fox & Friends autism coverage from the past few weekends. We want to be sure everyone is aware of these important news stories.

Fox News Steps Up To The Plate On Autism

Regardless of your political leanings, autism warrior moms and dads should tune in for continuing autism coverage on Fox and Friends - they have made Saturday mornings newsworthy several of the past weekends! To those following autism in the news, CBS's Sheryl Attkisson often seemed like a lone media voice willing to investigate and report on controversial autism issues. Now she is joined by Fox and Friend's Alisyn Camerota. In late September and early October, Ms. Camerota has presented three segments on controversial autism issues.

First, TACA's Rebecca Estepp went head to head to with Dr. Marc Siegel regarding the Hannah Poling case and "Vaccine Court" (the omnibus proceeding), among other things:


The next weekend, Mary Holland, an NYU law professor, and Dana Hall, a parent with a case pending in the autism omnibus proceeding, appeared on Fox and Friends to discuss recent developments in the omnibus proceeding:

Mary and Dana captured in a few short minutes many of the flaws in the omnibus proceeding and why it has failed. Mary summed up with this powerful statement: ". . . we will look back at this proceeding in shame."
Then, on October 2, Dr. Bob Sears, a board-certified pediatrician and author of The Vaccine Book, appeared to discuss the CDC's failure to test vaccines in real world circumstances - i.e., to test the safety of vaccines given in the multi-vaccine combinations in which they are administered to infants and children. Dr. Sears called out the CDC on its testing failures and challenged its blanket claims of vaccine safety, including the CDC's claim that vaccines present lower level exposures than children may encounter in their environment - pointing out that inhaling and injecting are very different! Finally, he touched on the issue of bias and scandal surrounding some vaccine research.



This coverage is welcome and we hope to see more. Let Fox & Friends know that you are tuning in and continue to support Sharyl Attkisson's superb coverage on CBS as well.

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Age of Autism: An Evening With Dan Olmsted and Mark Blaxill


On Saturday, October 2, 2010, dozens of people from the tri-state area gathered to meet Dan Olmsted and Mark Blaxill, editors of the online go-to autism newspaper, AgeOfAutism.com, and authors of the courageous new book The Age of Autism: Mercury, Medicine, and a Man-Made Epidemic. Mark and Dan spent years studying the history of mercury-induced illnesses, and tie together in this book the history of damage wrought by mercury over the centuries, with many surprising findings. They shared the back story of how the book came to be and read from it as well. Attendees got to spend the evening mingling with Mark and Dan, asking lots of questions, and enjoying good company.

If you haven't already, do read the book and help spread the word - our friends at SafeMinds have great ideas on getting the news out in your community about this book and other important autism information, even if you only have a few minutes to spare - check out their suggestions here.

Mark and Dan recently have appeared on Imus and on WNYC's The Leonard Lopate Show to discuss their book and they also were interviewed by Deirdre Imus on Huffington Post. The comment thread on WNYC shows that this book is stirring up controversy on all sides of the autism debate and has people talking. The NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene even contacted WNYC before the show aired.

Recently, many people also have been discussing the very interesting article in The Atlantic about Dr. Leo Kanner's first identified autism case, "Donald T." The Atlantic piece is certainly a lovely article, however, The Atlantic authors were not the first to find or to write about Donald T. Age of Autism's Dan Olmsted first wrote about him way back in 2005! Read an interesting account of the Olmsted and Atlantic stories by Ginger Taylor, of Adventures in Autism, here.

NAA-NY Metro thanks Katie Wright for her generosity in hosting this wonderful event.

by Kim Mack Rosenberg

(pictured: #1: Dan Olmsted, Katie Wright, Kim Mack Rosenberg, Mark Blaxill; #2: Mark Blaxill & Dan Olmsted)



Friday, October 1, 2010

How Vision Effects the Learning Process in Autistic Children


Dr. Jeffrey Becker (middle) with Mrs. Becker and Mark Raisbeck

On September 22, 2010 the NAA-NY Metro Chapter hosted Jeffrey Becker, O.D., Director of Vision Services, NeuroSensory Center for Eastern Pennsylvania as he gave an interactive lecture on visual deficiency in autistic children. In a room of about thirty people Dr. Becker presented a slide show and spoke about how vision problems affect perception, eye movement and accommodation but he best got his point across by demonstrating how autistic children see things by use of glasses. Dr. Becker showed how seeing things differently altered the way autistic children reacted to certain situations such as walking around and having to touch their surroundings to accommodate for what they couldn’t perceive with their vision. According to Dr. Becker, 80% of learning is through visual experiences and as autism is a sensory disorder, responding to visual deficiencies can make great changes in an autistic child’s progress.

Vision Rehabilitation is an option for autistic children that tests depth perception, poor eye movement, hand-eye coordination, perceptual skill, field loss, and double vision in children. The genetic history is also very important in testing for visual deficiencies. Visual therapy is just as important as a diet, physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy and should be maintained throughout the child’s life. Computer visual therapy is the most effective as it takes out human error. With early intervention and maintaining visual therapy, there could be a 60-70% recovery rate for children with autism.

For more information Dr. Becker can be reached at jbecker@KEYSTONENSC.com
Phone: 570-763-0054

By: Patricia Rollins

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Dr. Darin Ingels Presents on Allergies and Immunotherapy in Autism

On July 28, 2010, Dr. Darin Ingels presented to the NAA-NY Metro Chapter on the role of allergies and immunotherapy in autism. Dr. Ingels is a Naturopathic Physician specializing in autism and chronic immune disorders. His practice, New England Family Health Associates, is located in Southport, Connecticut. Dr. Ingels has been in private practice for more than 10 years, working with adults and children in addressing underlying causes of immune system disruption.

Dr. Ingels began his presentation with a thoughtful, balanced brief history of vaccine schedules in the United States, and the increase in the number of vaccines given to children today. He discussed ingredients added to some vaccines - including MSG, formaldehyde and other ingredients of concern. Dr. Ingels next discussed evidence suggesting that vaccines may predispose some people to allergies and asthma. He then discussed the increasing number of people suffering from allergies and sensitivities and identified some common allergens and some less common that people should consider. He pointed out common allergy/hypersensitivity symptoms but also identified for the audience a host of less common symptoms that may be attributable to allergies/hypersensitivities.

He discussed different methods of allergy testing and, in particular, discussed electrodermal screening (EDS), a method used in his practice and the benefits he sees from use of non-invasive allergy assessment as part of the overall treatment plan for children with autism. He went on to discuss sublingual immunotherapy, which has been in use for approximately 30 years and the effectiveness of which is supported by hundreds of clinical trials, particularly in treating food and inhalant allergies. Dr. Ingels uses this therapy to treat a wide variety of allergies/sensitivities and finds it effective and easy to administer (drops under the tongue or on the wrist, given at home). Treatment length can vary widely depending on the number of antigens requiring treatment as well as the type of allergy/sensitivity being treated. Finally, Dr. Ingels discussed the use of homeopathy as an additional treatment modality in treating autism.

Below is Dr. Ingels's presentation.

Dr Darin Ingels -7-28-10

NAA-NY Metro Submits Comments to OPWDD's 2010-14 Proposed Plan

NAA-NY Metro recently submitted comments to the New York State Office for People With Developmental Disabilities with respect to their Statewide Draft Plan for 2010-2014, which was released in mid-August. You can find a link to a PDF of the draft plan on OPWDD's website. Below is NAA-NY Metro's response, calling attention to the unique needs of individuals with autism. We encourage all families to review the draft plan.
082310NAANYMetroTestimonyFinal

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A SUPER Soccer Sunday in Brooklyn!



The NAA-NY Metro Chapter hosted soccer clinic run by Super Soccer Stars at Prospect Park in Brooklyn on Sunday August 15,2010. The clinic was a huge success! Over twenty families signed up for the Brooklyn event. Stuart Flaum, an NAA-NY Metro board member, welcomed the children, siblings and parents.
Super Soccer Stars Special Needs Director, Meredith Faltin, outlined the agenda to the parents and children. Two groups were formed, one for 4-7 year olds, and one for 8 years of age of up. The special coaches were enthu
siastic, and the children responded with the same enthusiasm.
The clinic was a kick, and well attended. Many parents brought cameras to capture their children in action. The energy was high, with nearly 50 people participating in one way or another at the NAA-NY Metro soccer clinic in Brooklyn.
Specialthanks to Brooklyn parent, Beth Monterosso, for helping to get the word out to the community. And special thanks to Beth for preparing sandwiches, chips and fruit for the children. Beth, you are terrific!

In addition to great memories, everyone left the NAA-NY Metro soccer clinic with a something! The NAA-NY Metro Chapter presented a certficate of participation to the children and Super Soccer Stars for Special Needs brought frisbees for the children. Parents were given brochures about NAA NY Metro, its flagship programs, and NAAvigators.
"Thanks Brooklyn for welcoming the NAA NY Metro Chapter. We can do great things, together." said Stuart Flaum, from the NAA-NY Metro Chapter.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

For Parents By a Parent: An autism resource guide in the making

As parents, we all know how difficult it can be to find good resources to help our children. Bob McEvoy, a parent is Westchester County, is creating a robust resource guide for parents of children with autism and others looking for resources for their families. Please take just a few minutes to complete the parent survey at the link below. Your responses are anonymous, unless you choose to input your contact information. If you have any questions or comments please contact Bob directly at rpmcevoy@aol.com

Parent Survey link:
http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/CCTXJWY

Thank you for taking just a few minutes to help with this important endeavor. Parent input will help to create a guide that meets parents' needs.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Andrew Wakefield: July 8, 2010







NAA-NY Metro had the opportunity to welcome Andrew Wakefield to speak on July 8, 2010. We had a standing room only crowd including parents, doctors, and others. Dr. Wakefield read from his recent book, Callous Disregard: Autism and Vaccines - The Truth Behind the Tragedy, he discussed the General Medical Council proceedings against him and Drs. Walker-Smith and Murch and the events leading up to those proceedings as well as recently published and upcoming research concerning vaccines and autism. He spoke eloquently and addressed head on many myths surrounding him and his work. He took questions from the audience and answered each question thoughtfully and thoroughly. He welcomed questions that challenged his positions and tackled them without hesitation. He ended the evening by signing his book for a long line of attendees.

Katie Wright, NAA board member, wrote a wonderfully detailed account of the evening at Age of Autism, do check it out.

(pictured: Kim Mack Rosenberg, Andrew Wakefield, Peggy Becker, Mark Raisbeck)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

We are opposed to Assembly bill A10372a

It changes the non-discrimination language we fought so hard for in 2006

It creates an impossibly high standard for approval of autism treatments: "Evidenced-based, clinically-proven and peer-reviewed," which applies to no other health condition under New York law, or the law of any other state. And not even the backers of this bill can tell us what therapies would be covered.

It creates a four-agency review committee that would have to approve any treatments. Treatments for no other disorder are encumbered with such a structure, so this is an inherently discriminatory idea, and this structure gives an advantage to insurance companies with their armies of lobbyists.

If S7000B/A10372A became law it would do the following:

Repeal some of the non-discrimination language we fought so hard for in 2006

Impose an unprecedented extremely high standard that autism treatments will have to meet prior to approval that apply to no other health disorder under New York law, or the law of any other state for that matter. This will probably allow insurers to deny payment for speech therapy, occupational therapy and physical therapy among other treatments.

Force all treatments for autism to be approved by a committee of four state agencies. A bureaucratic hurdle required of treatments for no other disorder.

It will shift costs borne by some insurance companies for early intervention re-imbursement back on the tax payers.

We support A6888 and S6123, legislation that would assure coverage of needed therapy, and treat autism the same as other health disorders under New York Law.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Biomedical Therapies - A Practical Approach

Karen Paris, RPA, Fred Pescatore, MD, MPH, CCN, and Geri Brewster, RD, MPH, CDN

On April 22, 2010, Dr. Pescatore, Geri Brewster, and Karen Paris presented on biomedical therapies and intervention. Dr. Fred Pescatore who specializes in a whole health approach has a lot of experience treating chronic illness. He explained in detail the ALCAT test which is to detect allergy and food sensitivity - what it is, what it tests for and its efficacy. Karen Paris is a physician's assistant working with Dr. Pescatore. She discussed NAET therapy. It is becoming more popular as it desensitizes you to the allergy, so it can eventually be reintroduced. Our own NAA Parent Mentoring Committee member Geri Brewster spoke about some of the nutritional approaches to treating autism. Geri is a Defeat Autism Now Practitioner and Certified Nutritionist that uses biofilm to treat some of her patients with chronic leaky gut. She discussed what it is, how it works and how you might know if it's right for you.

Visit their websites at:
www.drpescatore.com
www.geribrewster.com

The Thyroid-Autism Connection by Raphael Kellman, M.D.

On May 26, 2020, Dr. Kellman was the featured speaker at NAA NY Metro. Dr. Kellman presented his findings, based on a more sensitive thyroid test, called the TRH stimulation test, that a large percentage of children with ASD have an underactive thyroid that was missed by routine testing.

In this lecture Dr. Kellman demonstrated how:
1. An underactive thyroid can impact on brain function and development and is thereby is a critical missing piece in the autism puzzle;
2. The effects of hypothyroidism on detoxification, methylation, and heavy metal toxicity; and
3. The relationship between hypothyroidism and gluten sensitivity.

Raphael Kellman, M.D. is a graduate of Albert Einstein College of Medicine, an internist and a pioneer in holistic medicine. He uses the Defeat Autism Now! approach. Through his groundbreaking discovery on the thyroid-autism connection he has changed the lives of hundreds of children.

Visit: www.raphaelkellmanmd.com

NAA NY Metro at 'Walk Now For Autism Speaks'

Sabeeha Rehman, Stuart Flaum, and Peggy Becker

Sunday, June 13 was a beautiful morning. The sun was shining, the cool sea-breeze was washing over on Pier 16 as Peggy and I set up our booth, bright and early, at the South Street Seaport. By 9 am, the pier was buzzing with excitement as volunteers walked around in their bright blue t-shirts, booths being set up, walkers getting organized, balloons flying, and music playing on the stage. Stuart stocked us up with water bottles and we were ready.

It was a fantastic event. We were inundated with visitors to our booth and the upcoming bike clinic on June 19 got a lot of attention. So many interested families signed up, and so many volunteered to help out. Families came from all over New York. It was a terrific opportunity to network with our colleagues, share our experiences, and work out possibilities to collaborate. It was wonderful to meet new people who are helping families with ASD, and to meet new families.

The energy in the air was beautiful and it felt good to be part of the autism community that are doing so much to help so many.

Thank you Peggy, for organizing this.
Check out our photo album on Facebook: www.facebook.com/NAA.NY.metro

Sabeeha Rehman

Friday, May 28, 2010

NAA NY Metro and Beth Israel Medical Center Hold Their First Combined Event

Asma Sadiq, M.D., Stacey Purro, and Sarah Birnbaum

On May 20, NAA NY Metro and Beth Israel Medical Center held their first combined event at the medical center. The Beth Israel team is led by Asma Sadiq, M.D., Chief of Developmental Pediatrics, and Stacey Purro, Social Worker.

Parents and caregivers packed into a standing-room only lecture room to listen to what Sarah Birnbaum had to say on EI, CPSE and CSE.

Sarah Birnbaum gave a riveting lecture on "Transitioning your child from EI to CPSE and from CPSE to CSE. Two hours was not enough; parents surrounded her after the lecture, trying to soak in every last bit of prized advice.

Sarah Birnbaum is a parent advocate and a special education advisor.
Contact Information:
www.nyspecialneeds.com
email: sarah@nyspecialneeds.com

David Kirby on Autism, Animal Factory, and How The Two Intersect

David Kirby with Gayle DeLong, Katie Wright, and Mattias


April 27, 2010. As always, David Kirby mesmerized the audience with his talk. David spoke about autism, animal farming, how the two intersect, and the relationship of animal farming to autism. We all left with an autographed copy of his new book, 'Animal Factory'.

David is an amazing speaker!

Read this book - you will rethink everything you eat - and thereby help our health and the health of the environment, not to mention the health of the animals we eat. Did you know that the agricultural business consumes 75% of all the antiobiotics sold? They feed these antibiotics to the animals prophylactically. Think of what does that does to our immune system?

Read Kim Mack Rosenberg’s blog on ‘Animal Factory’.

NAA New York Metro Rallies for Dr. Andrew Wakefield


“These parents are not going away.
The children are not going away.
And I am certainly not going away”
Dr. Andrew Wakefield in an interview on “Today” show on NBC, with Matt Lauer

On Monday, May 24th, NAA New York Metro members were at Rockefeller Plaza in a show of support for Dr. Wakefield, as he appeared on the Today show on NBC. That morning, the General Medical Council’s ruling banned him for practicing medicine. The council said he had shown “a callous disregard” for the suffering of children involved in his research. Dr.Wakefield was the first researcher to publish a peer-reviewed study suggesting a connection between autism and the vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella, and urging the need for further research.

While his interview was being broadcast live on the screens outside, activists and supporters from all over the State, assembled at the Plaza, waving posters:

“Autistics for Wakefield”
“Thank you Dr. Wakefield”.

Dr. Wakefield stayed on message, and referred to the Council’s ruling as a “little bump on the road”. When he emerged from his interview, supporters flanked him and Skyhorse Publishers did a curb-side interview. See Video

Dr. Wakefield’s new book is titled, “Callous Disregard” and was released this week.

See photo album.

Sabeeha Rehman

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Support Andrew Wakefield. Mon., May 24, 8 am at Rockefeller Center, New York


Please join Dr. Andrew Wakefield in a show of support on Monday, May 24 at 8 am at 30 Rockefeller Center (30 Rock) in New York, NY in front of the NBC Studios on 49th St. between 5th and 6th Ave. Shortly after 8 am, Wakefield will be interviewed by Matt Lauer on the Today show. Immediately following the Lauer interview Wakefield will rejoin our gathering outside the studio, hopefully for further media interviews. Your attendance is requested; please bring signs supporting Dr. Wakefield.

Dr. Wakefield believes the General Medical Council in Britain will issue a decision that morning that will deprive Dr. Wakefield of his ability to practice medicine in the UK. The decision will be the culmination of a four-year show trial in the UK of Wakefield and two of his colleagues, Dr. Simon Murch and Dr. John Walker Smith, who have been prosecuted for trumped up charges to punish them for a 1998 paper that suggested a possible connection between autism, bowel disease and the measles, mumps rubella vaccine.

The significance of their finding has been overshadowed by a concerted systematic effort to discredit the work and the researchers. This effort and an intense desire to subvert the inquiry into the issues of vaccine safety, and legal redress for vaccine damage, has culminated in the longest running and most expensive fitness to practice case ever in the UK, and serves as a totalitarian warning to other researchers who might consider questioning vaccine safety.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Winner of "Cutting-Edge Therapies for Autism"!

We are happy to announce that blog commenter "Tina" is the winner of an autographed copy of Ken Siri's and Tony Lyon's book "Cutting-Edge Therapies for Autism"

Tina, please email your full name and address to kim.mackrosenberg@naanyc.org and we will get the book right out to you! Congratulations!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Autism Narrative Project – A Theatre Project Giving Voice to Autism

Michael Pizzi, PhD, an occupational therapist and Founder of Touching Humanity, Inc., a community-based not for profit committed to promoting disability awareness through the arts and education is developing a narrative based theatre project to give voice to those affected by autism.

Dr. Pizzi would like to interview 20 to 25 parents (and also some siblings) about their experiences of living with autism. Interviews will likely take only about an hour. These stories (protecting the participants’ identities) would then be woven into a narrative theatre performance.

In creating this narrative project Dr. Pizzi, who is also a performer, hopes to, in his own words, “give voice to those coping with a challenge . . . and raise the level of humanity in the artistic output.” He wants theatre-goers to hear the real experiences of those who face the challenges of living with autism every day and have family members, in their own words, share both the good times and the challenges.

Please contact Dr. Pizzi at touchhumanity@aol.com if you are interested in participating in this exciting new project.

The NAA New York Metro chapter does not endorse any treatment, therapy, diet, protocol, nor any provider, individual or group. Any information provided at NAA-NYM presentations, meetings, on our website, or on our blog is provided for informational purposes only. Parents must of course make their own decisions concerning any treatment, therapy or provider. NAA-NYM recommends that families consult with an experienced doctor or other professional before commencing treatments or therapies for their children.

Friday, April 23, 2010

NAA-NY Metro Contest: Win an Autographed Copy of "Cutting-Edge Therapies for Autism"!

NAA-NY Metro is thrilled to announce that we have an author-autographed copy of "Cutting-Edge Therapies for Autism: 2010-2011" by Ken Siri and Tony Lyons (publisher: Skyhorse Publishing) to give away to one of our lucky readers! This incredibly comprehensive book is one of the most talked about autism books around, and with good reason. It is a comprehensive look at traditional and alternative treatments and methodologies. NAA-NY Metro VP and Treasurer, Kim Mack Rosenberg, recently reviewed the book on her own blog.

Comment to this post and let us know why you would love to own a copy of this important book. Please include your email address in the body of your post so we can contact you. We will choose one winner at random. Contest closes at midnight on April 30, 2010 and the winner will be notified by email by May 5, 2010.

Good luck to all!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Speaker Christine Quinn Honors NAA New York Metro Chapter and Issues Proclamation


PROCLAMATION

The Council of the City of New York is proud to observe Autism Awareness Month and to honor the members of the New York Metro Chapter of the National Autism Association for providing outstanding support to all individuals affected by autism; and

WHEREAS: Autism Awareness Month is an opportunity for families, friends, and local communities to raise public awareness about autism, the fastest growing development disability in the country. Today, more than 1.5 million individuals in the United States are affected by autism. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that one in 110 children had autism—up from their previous estimate of one in 150. The stress on families affected by autism is immense. It is our hope that promoting greater awareness of autism will lead to more funding for research and eventually a known cause and then a cure; and

WHEREAS: There is no known cure for autism yet, but experts agree that early intervention is important in addressing the symptoms associated with autism. When families and caregivers begin looking into the various treatments available for autism spectrum disorders, they will be surprised at the wide range of options out there. Unfortunately, what works for some families, may not work for others. Since individuals with autism spectrum disorders are not exactly the same, treatment plans need to be made specific for each individual; and

WHEREAS: The New York Metro Chapter of the National Autism Association provides exemplary service to residents through the five boroughs of New York City, Long Island, Westchester, and Rockland County. Since its inception, it has educated and empowered families affected by autism and other neurobiological disorders, while advocating on behalf of those who cannot fight for their own rights. They have demonstrated again and again that autism is not a life-long incurable genetic disorder, but one that is bio-medically definable and treatable; and

WHEREAS: The New York Metro Chapter of the National Autism Association has also raised public and professional awareness of environmental toxins as causative factors in neurological damage that often results in an autism or related diagnosis. We commend them for their unwavering commitment and encouragement to those in the autism community to never give up in their search to help their loved ones reach their full potential; and

WHEREAS: Autism Awareness Month raises public awareness about autism and its effects and offers hope to all who deal with the hardships of this disorder by uniting the autism community to address this urgent global health crisis. Together, we will solve this puzzle; now, therefore

BE IT KNOWN: That the Council of the City of New York most gratefully honors the New York Metro Chapter of the National Autism Association and proclaims the month of April 2010 to be Autism Awareness Month in the City of New York.

Signed this 1st day of April in the year Two Thousand Ten.

_____________________________
CHRISTINE C. QUINN, Speaker
For the Entire Council

Autism Awareness Month Commemorated at City Hall

Kim Stagliano receives Spirit of Hope Award from Commissioner Matthew Sapolin and Sabeeha Rehman

On Monday, April 19, 2010, Commissioner Matthew Sapolin, Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities and the National Autism Association - New York Metro Chapter commemorated the Autism Awareness Month in the Council Chamber at City Hall.

Christine C. Qinn, Speaker For the Entire Council, issued a Proclamation honoring NAA New York Metro Chapter for providing outstanding support to all indviduals affected by autism.

The National Autism Association New York Metro Chapter honored Kim Stagliano, an extraordinary “autism mom” and the Managing Editor of Age of Autism. See video of the award ceremony on Age of Autism.

Commissioner Matthew Sapolin, who is vision impaired, shared his personal story of coping with disability and promised to join NAA New York Metro in their mission to support families and individuals affected by autism.

Sabeeha Rehman, the President of NAA New York Metro Chapter announced new programs and initiatives to help New York area families affected by autism spectrum disorders:
• An award of at least $4,000 to help families with children on the autism spectrum pay for therapeutic education and/or medical treatments which they otherwise could not afford.
• A collaborative program with Dr. Asma Sadiq, Director of the Division of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics at Beth Israel Medical Center, whereby NAA NY Metro Chapter will offer bi-monthly educational programs to the Beth Israel community.
• Three to four workshops a year on parental training, recreational therapy, and sports & fitness.
• An online resource directory for parents.
• Posting of links to medical articles on the Chapter website.
• Post and link the Chapter and its resources on the website of the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities

Parents Kim Mack Rosenberg, Mary Hernandez, and Lisa Rudley shared their stories of inspiration and hope, recounting their journeys in helping their ASD children improve dramatically. The audience was enthralled to hear Lexi Rudley, a nine year old, talk about being a sibling to a child with autism. The evening ended with NAA’s Chase the Hope video¸ music, and a display by Rosa Martinez, of the work of artists on the spectrum.

Lisa Rudley, Master of Ceremonies, led the evening infused with the spirit of hope and inspiration. The event was attended by representatives from City agencies, United Nations, providers and caregivers, advocates, the media, other non-profit groups, and families affected by autism.

To see photo album, visit our Facebook

Friday, April 16, 2010

TOUCHING HUMANITY’S ARTS and THEATRE PROGRAMS ("T.H.A.T. Program")

The T.H.A.T. Program will be running Movement and Music classes for children ages 6-12 with autism on Saturdays from 10:30-11:30am at 939 8th Ave at 55th Saturdays. Groups will be small – only 6 to 8 students. For information, contact Michael A. Pizzi, PhD at Touchhumanity@aol.com. Dr. Pizzi is the founder of Touching Humanity, Inc. ("THI"), the non-profit offering these exciting new classes.

The T.H.A.T. Program is a new program focusing on the use of the performing arts with people on the autism spectrum. Their acting and movement classes include programs that introduce your child to warm-ups, improv games, character building exercises and scene study. This interactive, non-competitive program is structured so the students work with each other to build confidence and self-esteem.

The arts, particularly the performing arts, assist in the development of the child in emotional, physical, social, intellectual and psychological areas. The arts programs are non-competitive and focus on developmental and personal growth. Whether on a one to one basis for the more impaired child or within a group setting, arts programming can


(1) assist in social skill building and teach appropriate interactions with others;

(2) engage children in self expression through a non-threatening medium;

(3) improve abilities such as
Skills for Expressing Feelings, Social Relationship Skills, Organizational Skills, Decision Making, Problem Solving Skills and Conflict Management Skills;
(4) provide an outlet for creativity, joy and hope;

(5) engage children in developing collaboration and sharing;

(6) increase and improve self-esteem


THI is a non-profit organization committed to promoting disability awareness and social justice through the arts and education. The basic mission of THI is to develop programs that serve the artistic and expressive needs of children and adults with disabilities; create new and adapt previously performed works that are disability themed; create opportunities for actors with disabilities; and to educate through the arts, symposia, festivals and conferences.


T.H.A.T. Program was developed by Dr. Pizzi, who is both an occupational therapist and a performing artist to provide artistic outlets for children and adults with special needs.


All classes are co-developed with Dr. Pizzi and overseen by him. The instructors have backgrounds in the performing arts, special education, ABA method, occupational therapy and prior work with children with disabilities.

The NAA New York Metro chapter does not endorse any treatment, therapy, diet, protocol, nor any provider, individual or group. Any information provided at NAA-NYM presentations, meetings, on our website, or on our blog is provided for informational purposes only. Parents must of course make their own decisions concerning any treatment, therapy or provider. NAA-NYM recommends that families consult with an experienced doctor or other professional before commencing treatments or therapies for their children.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Bowlathon Success -- Thanks to Everyone!

Bowlathon! March 21st, 2010, Bowlmor Lanes, Manhattan. Here is a recap from Peggy Becker, NAA-NY Metro’s Secretary:

Wow!!!! What an exciting day. Stuart Flaum and I, with the help of Liz Elting and others on our board, had been preparing for this, our first fundraiser, for quite some time and at last the day arrived. Our Bowlathon was this past Sunday.

We asked people to organize teams that then solicited donations from their friends, family, etc. Our goal was to raise $30,000 and, with donations still coming in, we are at almost $53,000! We used Firstgiving (platform to support online giving) to collect donations - here is a link to our page.

It was a great fun, family event - each team had a lane - we took over a whole floor of the bowling alley, 22 lanes - and everyone bowled. The bowling alley gave us a discounted rate. We played mellow jazz, turned off the flashing neon lights and had a quiet room (AKA the VIP room) to escape to if the din overwhelmed anyone.

Our own Kirstin - who is an amazing chef - created delicious breakfast food that was diet sensitive - GFCF and SF (soy free). Another corporate sponsor donated lemonade stand kits as party favors for the kids. Another friend helped me make a DVD slide show with images from our corporate sponsors, our fundraisers and images from our events over the last year or so.

We felt the love! We had over 100 people bowling and over 500 donors - many of them new to our organization. It was such a great event and we are really excited for the programs that we can initiate with the money we raised. Check out our Facebook Fan Page for more photos from the event!

A huge thank you to our sponsors:
And to our bowling teams:
  • Floortime Friends
  • Adaptations
  • Im So Elmys Special Services
  • Luger’s Baracudas
  • Team Rehman
  • Team Alex
  • Team Createabilities
  • Team Daniel
  • Team Henry & Scott
  • Team Jojo
  • Team Learning Spring
  • Team Leslie
  • Team Michael
  • The GF Cereal Bowlers
  • The Jaguars
  • The Rebecca Ballers
  • Transperfect
  • What to Feed Your Kids
And, of course, to our donors (too numerous to list)!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Facebook and Twitter and NAA-NY Metro

Follow   NatlAutismNYM on Twitter

Learn more from NAA-NY Metro and share with your friends.

NAA-NY Metro Chapter is now on Facebook and Twitter - Click on the buttons above.

If you are on Facebook, remember to "fan" the NAA-NY Metro Chapter's facebook fan page. Check regularly for posts -- share those with your friends, tweet them etc. We are posting lots of interesting items there and adding more all the time.

If you are on Twitter we are @NatlAutismNYM - follow us and retweet our posts to your followers!