Thursday, December 8, 2011

NAA-NY Metro Holiday Party - Honoring Our Friends and Supporters and Having Fun!

Last night the NAA - New York Metro Chapter hosted our annual holiday party. I think it is safe to say that a good time was had by all! The party is an opportunity for us to bring together the many people who, in so many ways, have helped NAA NY Metro throughout the year. I wish that the party could have lasted all night so that I could have had more time to chat with everyone!

A very special thanks to our friends and supporters whose dedication to our Chapter made 2011 a great year. We look forward to more great things in 2012!

As the Dalai Lama says, “When you practice gratefulness there is a sense of respect toward others.” In that spirit, I am so grateful for all those who work so hard to make NAA - NY Metro the success that it is and I respect and appreciate the time, energy, creativity, and giving of self that so many undertake to help this cause. This chapter would not be what it is without each of you – NAA-NYM is a true team effort.

Last night we did not get the chance to personally honor all our speakers and others who collaborated with us this past year and want to acknowledge each of you here. It humbles me that each of you gives so much of yourself to help our organization. I cannot thank you enough. Our 2011 luminaries attending last night included:

Mark Berger

Laura Brienza

Peta Cohen

Stuart Flaum

John Gilmore

Mary Holland

Jane Hsu

Darin Ingels

Arthur Krigsman

Nancy O’Hara

Shirael Pollack

Susan Roberts

Jayme Lewin Rich

Michael Sanders

Ken Siri

Lauren Tobing-Puente

Katie Wright

A special thanks to Jill Hopler of Your Personal Foodie for the amazing spread (and to Board Member Kirstin Boncher too!) – the food was incredible. Thanks too to Katz Gluten Free for their donation of yummy fruit pies and rugalech.

Thank you also to our many friends – both long-time friends and new ones - who came last night to share and celebrate with us. We so appreciate each one of you and we look forward to many exciting new collaborations in 2012.

I particularly want to thank the Officers and Board Members for a fabulous 2011. Last night was a chance to loosen up and have fun – and for each of you it is well-deserved. What a team - your dedication to NAA-NYM is inspiring. Thank you Peggy, Lisa, Sabeeha, Khalid, Stuart, Kirstin, Kathleen, Mary, Katie, Dara, Amy! Our committee members, volunteers and NAAvigators (parent mentors) are amazing – the work they do is critical to the success of NAA-NYM and, most importantly, to helping families and others whose lives have been touched by autism.

Thanks to our set up crew who made the room beautiful, set up the delicious buffet, and provided good company during the process – Janice, Dara, Lisa, Mark, Jill, Kirstin, Selma - and our clean up crew - including balloon poppers Albert and Mark!

Last night we recognized our former President (and current Officer-at-Large) Sabeeha Rehman and our Advocacy Chair, Khalid Rehman, for their dedication to NAA NY Metro. We have named a $1000 grant in their honor and Sabeeha and Khalid will direct us on how to apply the grant to further NAA NY Metro’s mission. Here is a video clip of the presentation:


Kim Mack Rosenberg
President, NAA - New York Metro Chapter

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

October 5, 2011: Vaccine Epidemic Book Talk and Discussion

On October 5, 2011, Mary Holland and Kim Mack Rosenberg, co-editor and contributing editor, respectively, of the book Vaccine Epidemic presented a number of key points from the book on law, science and issues in the debate surrounding vaccine choice and led a lively discussion. N. Chin, a parent who attended the Vaccine Epidemic talk, contributed her impressions:

I have continued to seek knowledge about root causes after my son regressed due to vaccines. The book Vaccine Epidemic contains many revelations about how vaccine safety remains a low priority by those who manufacture vaccines and control immunization policy. I welcomed the opportunity to meet with like-minded parents and professionals for a book discussion on Oct 5.

I will focus on the open discussions following the presentations and the goal of knocking down this 'house of cards' as Mary described. She said it has to be through the legal system and as a human rights issue. Others that evening mentioned how results of objective studies will change opinion.

I have to agree with Mary about affecting change through the legal system. Unless these studies receive air time equivalent to what teens see on MTV with HPV/Gardisil ads, or parents see in Parenting magazine, it is indeed extremely difficult to combat long-held beliefs that vaccines are as natural as “mother's milk.” It is clear that Big Pharma can outspend us and squash the most logical and compelling of studies.

We need to help find legal avenues and budget to knock down this house of cards.
One way is to support the Center for Personal Rights. They mentioned organizing with civil rights organizations as well. I plan to see if a couple of my contacts in DC can offer ideas. If we take the time to check our contacts and make some phone calls, we may just get there.

I wish to end on a hopeful note.

In the book, there is a letter by Dr. Francis Moore, who was a very prominent surgeon at Harvard Medical School. If someone as mainstream as Dr. Moore can be convinced of ill-conceived policy, then I remain hopeful that human reason will prevail.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Evaluation, Education and Treatment for Your ASD Child

On Thursday, October 6, 2011, Staten Island parents and professionals were fortunate to hear from a trio of experts on navigating the complex world of helping your child with ASD get the treatments, education and services they need. Dr. Mark Freilich, a developmental pediatrician, Sarah Birnbaum of NY Special Needs Support, a parent advocate and special education advisor, and Geri Brewster, RD, MPH, CDN, a nutritionist specializing in treating children with autism and related disorders, joined forces to present a comprehensive overview of options to consider for your child.

Many parents in attendance had never encountered a developmental pediatrician and Dr. Freilich explained the important role a developmental pediatrician can play in determining the appropriate types and amounts of therapies, the appropriate type of school program and the appropriate medical and biomedical interventions for your child. A developmental pediatrician can help form and/or work with the multi-disciplinary "team" of professionals your child likely will need. In his practice, Dr. Freilich observes the child in relevant settings (school, home, therapists, play group etc.) to get a holistic picture of a child, since children may be very different in different situations or with different people. This helps him to formulate a comprehensive assessment and series of recommendations that are child-specific.

Sarah addressed finding an appropriate placement for your child and the right to FAPE, a "free and appropriate public education." She addressed parents' rights both with respect to public and private school education options and discussed educational choices parents have to make - including where to live and where to send their children to school and, if private school is the appropriate placement for a child, funding issues. She also discussed parents' due process rights. Like Dr. Freilich, she reiterated that what is appropriate is different for each child and that you, as a parent, perhaps with the help of an advocate or lawyer, are the best person to fight for what your child needs. Sarah's explanation of parents' rights - especially the right to seek what your child needs, not merely what is offered, regardless of whether or not it is appropriate for your child, was an important and empowering take home message for parents.

Geri discussed the importance of a solid nutritional foundation to development and to education. A solid nutritional program can make a child feel better, can improve behavior and attention, and for some children even improve the core symptoms of autism -- therefore making the child more available for learning. She discussed that many children benefit from a gluten-free, casein-free (and often soy-free) diet. Parents likely will see changes most rapidly in removing casein, which leaves the system in a matter of weeks. Gluten takes many months to clear and parents must be patient while trying the gluten free diet before determining if the diet is helping their child. She also discussed that there are many other diets that may be appropriate for specific children and that, based on a child's needs, supplements may also prove beneficial. She noted that an excellent first step - even for those who may not need or be able to follow a special diet - is to clean up the diet, remove junk food and artificial colors/flavors/sweeteners, eat whole foods (not processed) and choose organic when possible, eat grass-fed and grass-finished meats, which have a better nutritional profile, avoid products from animals given a regular diet of hormones/antibiotics.

The trio of panelists provided important information and showed how medical/developmental, educational and nutritional/biomedical pieces of the puzzle work together synergistically to help improve children's outcomes.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Dr. Theoharides on the Science & Treatment of Neuroinflammation

Dr. Theoharis Theoharides presented two lectures to NAA NY Metro audiences - on September 8, 2011 at Beth Israel Hospital in Manhattan and on September 9, 2011 at the Westchester ARC - targeted to both parents and professionals. He discussed his research concerning neuroinflammation, mast cells and autism, and discussed a practical treatment option. The NYC and Westchester events were well attended and appreciated by all. The Westchester site also included a Webinar which was well received. There was a long Q&A period during which parents and professionals gained a deeper understanding of Dr. Theoharides’s work and contribution to autism.

Dr. Theoharides described how children with autism often present with auto-antibodies against brain proteins, gastrointestinal problems, “allergies” and fatigue, implying a neuro-immuno-endocrine problem. His recent research has shown that mast cells (immune cells typically known for causing allergic reactions and which serve as “sensors” of environmental cell damage) can be activated by environmental, infectious and stress triggers that lead to disruption of the gut-blood-brain barriers.

He also discussed how one mast cell trigger, neurotensin, was shown to be elevated in the serum of young children with autism. Mast cell activation during pregnancy or prenatally, in response to allergic or non-immune triggers, could disrupt the gut-blood-brain barriers and permit neuro toxic molecules to enter the brain, and result in brain inflammation. Through his research, Dr. Theoharides has shown that the natural flavonoids, Quercetin and Luteolin (found in the supplement NeuroProtek) can block these processes.

With so many children on the spectrum struggling with neuroinflammation, it is helpful to understand both the science behind the causes of neuroinflammation and the treatment options.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Dr. Andrew Levinson Brings Hope and Healing to Families

On September 21, 2011 Dr. Andrew Levinson (pictured at left with NAA NYM Program Committee Co-Chair Dara Berger and President/Program Committee Co-Chair Kim Mack Rosenberg), presented to parents and professionals about his holistic approach to treating not only children with autism but the entire family. He blended biomedical treatment information with insightful, spiritual guidance in a unique approach. He first discussed that children with ASD have many physical ailments including: immune dysfunction, brain inflammation toxicity, metabolic and mitochondrial dysfunction, and gastrointestinal pathology. As a result they are sensitive to many things including change, environmental stimuli, environmental toxins. He mentioned the need to be aware of contmination of municipal water supplies, fish, other foods (including stevia); electro-smog. He spoke knowledgeably about many different biomedical treatment protocols and how different protocols can help children but the most unique aspect of his presentation was the focus on family wellness.

First, on a very practical level, he said that parents should have an honest talk with their doctors about what they can afford to spend on treatment, reminding parents that they need money to live on and to spend on other family members. By being honest, you enable your doctor to devise the best protocol for your budget. You need a team approach and a doctor you can trust.

He spoke about the harm that stress can cause physically and emotionally in a family and how it impacts all family members. Therefore, you need to find ways to alleviate stress. If you are less physically well, you have less energy available to direct toward healing ("You cannot pour from an empty pitcher"). He also reminded parents that ignoring other members of the household is not healthy. Positive family dynamics are important for a better outcome. He encouraged people to find something that enjoy doing - especially something physical, creative or meditative - reminding us that "you have to be a human being" and that children model our behavior so we have to show them healthy behaviors.

He also encouraged parent to seek help from a trusted source if they are struggling. He quoted: "It is only in darkness, that light can be mistaken for nothing else." He encouraged those who have a spiritual belief system to have faith and to pray and reminded us that, for everyone (whether they have a spiritual belief system or not), joy and positive intention can be very powerful. The mind is a powerful tool in healing. He stated that we have to be willing to remove ourselves as an obstacle to healing and see ourselves as instrumental in the change we desire to see. He quoted Yogi Bajan, "Worrying is praying for what you don't want." He closed with these words: "The world is what you make of it but the future is what you imagine it to be" (Yogi M.D.).

Playdates for Children with Special Needs

On September 27th, the New York Metro chapter of the National Autism Association organized a talk for parents on Special Playdate, an online service founded by Jane Hsu, and how to successfully develop playdates for your special needs child. Ms. Hsu, who holds a Master’s degree in Special Education from New York University, recognized a gap in services that made it easier for parents of children with special needs to organize playdates and decided to utilize the Internet as a networking tool. Special Playdate was founded on the belief that every child needs friends and that, with the right preparation and facilitation, successful playdates can help children with special needs make friends.

The first step in using the service is to create a profile about your child that will be used to match him or her with other children in the area. Parents can create a free profile on and at no cost can have Special Playdate’s website make potential matches for your child. Within New York City, either the website can make your “matches” or you can retain Ms. Hsu or one of the trained therapists on her team to help match children based on their strengths, limitations and interests, among other parameters. A member of the Special Playdate team can also help prepare your child for meeting his or her new friend and facilitate during the actual playdate to ensure the greatest chance of success. In New York alone, an estimated 1000 profiles have been created for children ranging in age from 3 years to 16 years. The website also has a special area devoted to siblings of children with special needs.

During the presentation, Jane shared tips on how to plan and facilitate a playdate, how to make contact with a new parent and how to prepare your own child. She recognizes that things that come naturally to typically developing children require planning, explanation, and facilitation to many children with special needs and has tips to make a playdate successful. One point she stressed repeatedly was that parents need to be honest with each other so that each parent has realistic expectations of the playdate and of what each considers a successful playdate. She answered parents questions in a lively Q&A session.

For more information, go to or e-mail

(pictured: Jane Hsu of Special Playdate and NAA NY Metro Programming Committee Member Janice Bloch Roth)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Peta Cohen: Systemic and Metabolic Vicious Cycles: A Biomedical Approach to Identifying and Treating

Peta Cohen, M.S., R.D., a Clinical Nutritionist and Metabolic Specialist, is joining NAA – NY Metro for presentations in Westchester and Manhattan (at the Rebecca School) to discuss an important, complex, and often overlooked issue in people on the autism spectrum – problems in systemic and metabolic functions. Her presentation will review the underlying systems and metabolic problems familiar to many individuals on the autism spectrum. Not only will she will explain their dynamic relationships, she also will provide a framework for assessing and treating these problems. Join us for an evening of learning about these complex issues in an understandable way and learn how you can help someone you know who may be presenting with these issues.

Tuesday, October 25th from 6PM – 8:30PM

The Rebecca School

40 East 30th St., 5th Floor Gym

New York, NY 10016

6:00pm – 6:30pm: Networking

6:30pm – 8:30pm: Presentation and Q&A


Monday, November 21st from 7PM – 9:30PM

The Gleeson-Israel Gateway Center (Westchester ARC)

265 Saw Mill River Road (Route 9A)

1st Floor Conference Room

Hawthorne, NY 10532

No RSVP required for either event

Peta Cohen, M.S., R.D., is a Clinical Nutritionist and Metabolic Specialist and the founder of the Total Life Center, an Integrative Wellness Center located in downtown Englewood, New Jersey. Peta received her Masters in Clinical Nutrition from New York University in 1996 and has since aggressively pursued extensive ongoing education in the field of Functional and Molecular Medicine, with an emphasis on developmental and behavioral disorders and the complex adult patient.

Peta has 15 years of clinical experience successfully treating complex and chronic health issues and has been a Defeat Autism Now practitioner since 1998. While Peta’s innovative approach to healing serious health issues can be applied to help patients with any health condition, Peta has made helping Children with Special Needs and the complex adult patient a particular focus of her practice. Peta has amassed a considerable expertise in this area, developing highly effective proprietary protocols for these individuals and their families.

Peta practices a Biomedical approach to healing based on the principals of Functional Medicine, developing individualized treatment plans that address the root causes of illness based on the unique biochemistry of each individual. Physicians often refer their most challenging cases to Peta when a traditional approach is unsuccessful.

Peta is frequently invited to share her expertise at leading global conferences and seminars, such as: Defeat Autism Now/Autism Research Institute Conferences, The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ), The Lyme Autism Association, The American Holistic Medical Association, The Compounding Pharmacy Association, The Maternal Mother and Child Organization of Pascack Valley Hospital (New Jersey).

Ms. Cohen has also broadcast a multi-episode on-line seminar for “AutismOne-Radio” on the topic of Nutrition and Metabolic Issues relating to Autism and other Developmental/Behavioral Disorders.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Join NAA NY Metro in Westchester and in Manhattan For a Presentation By Integrative Neurologist Maya Shetreat-Klein, MD

Join Us For Two Presentations by
Maya Shetreat-Klein, MD

Treating Complex Neurological Disorders With Herbal Medicine

Thursday, October 27, 2011
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Seizures affect many children on the autism spectrum, with many more showing abnormal activity on EEG. A number of these children do not respond to medication or cannot tolerate side effects. For thousands of years, practitioners have used herbal medicine to effectively treat seizure disorder. Now scientific evidence is finally catching up with long-known traditional knowledge. This session will cover the unique benefits of herbs for seizures and their healing mechanisms.

The Gleeson-Israel Gateway Center (Westchester ARC)
265 Saw Mill River Road (Route 9A)
1st Floor Conference Room
Hawthorne, NY 10532
[no fee and no RSVP required]


In collaboration with Beth Israel's Division of Developmental Pediatrics

The Use of Botanical Medicine for Neurological Disorders:

A Review of Tradition and Evidence

Thursday, November 10, 2011

What can be done for the population of children with complex neurological disorders who (1) have issues that cannot be treated with medications, (2) are refractory to medications, or (3) cannot tolerate problematic side effects? For thousands of years, practitioners have used botanical medicine to effectively treat neurological disorders gently. Scientific evidence has been catching up with long-known traditional knowledge, This session will outline the paradigm of treating with herbs, and will address benefits and mechanisms of some key botanicals used for seizures and other neurological disorders.


Beth Israel Medical Center

10 Union Square East, 2nd Floor Conference Center

New York, NY

[no fee; RSVP to Stacey Purro, LCSW]

Maya Shetreat-Klein, MD, is an integrative pediatric neurologist who is board certified in adult and child neurology as well as pediatrics. She has gained international recognition by successfully treating thousands of children with intractable neurological and psychiatric issues using diet, herbs, and other therapies in her New York practice. Dr. Shetreat-Klein also lectures extensively and teaches integrative neurology as faculty at several New York academic institutions as well as the University of Arizona's integrative medicine program. For more information, please see

Monday, August 22, 2011

Tues., August 23, 2011 - Watch An Exciting New Program on Vaccines & Autism

HDNet World Report Investigates Vaccines and Autism

Tomorrow Night, August 23, 2011, on HDNet World Report, an exciting segment will air on "Vaccines and Autism: Mixed Signals." This segment features authors of "Unanswered Questions From the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program: A Review of Compensated Cases of Vaccine-Induced Brain Injury" (published in the Winter 2011 issue of The Pace Environmental Law Review), board members of the Elizabeth Birt Center For Autism Law & Advocacy, and autism parents. Watch the preview below!

The program will air at 9pm Eastern time, 8pm Central, 7pm Mountain, and 6pm Pacific and again 3 hours later in each time zone. It also will air Saturday morning (Aug. 27) at 11AM Eastern, 10 Central, 9 Mountain, 8 Pacific.

If you're in New York City and would like to watch among friends, come to Amity Hall, 80 West 3rd St. (between Thompson & Sullivan) in Greenwich Village, right next to NYU Law School for the 9PM Tuesday viewing.

HDNet World Report - Vaccines and Autism: Mixed Signals

If the video above doesn't run, here's a sneak preview of the report.

How can you watch "Vaccines & Autism: Mixed Signals"?

If you have a hi def TV:
HDNet TV is on DirecTV, Dish Network, Comcast Cable, AT&T Cable, and many smaller cable systems around the country. To find the channel number, go to and scroll down to "HDNet channel finder." To search in a TV’s online guide, look for "HDNet" or "HDN."

If you don't have hi def TV and/or your cable company does not carry HDNet:
By Wednesday morning (Aug. 24), you can download the program from the iTunes Store for only $1.99.
  1. Go to, scroll down and click on “World Report available on iTunes.”
  2. If you never have used the iTunes Store, you will be prompted to fill out a one-time-only credit card page; otherwise, you will be taken directly to a listing of recent episodes.
  3. The most recent episode will be either at the top or bottom of the list.
Please consider writing to World Report after the show airs to share your thoughts: at and visit their Facebook Page to comment as well.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Special Playdates for Your Special Needs Child

Have you faced challenges trying to arrange playdates for your child with special needs?

Do you want to help your child establish new friendships, but don't know where to start?

"Special Playdate" is here to help!

Join NAA NY Metro from 7PM to 9PM


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

408 E. 79th St. (between 1st and York Aves.)

2nd Floor

New York, New York

Among the biggest everyday challenges faced by special needs parents is something that parents of typical children may take for granted - the playdate. How do you find the right peer for a playdate? how do you facilitate the playdate - what is too much and what is too little? How do you communicate with the other child's parent?

Thanks to Jane Hsu, there is now help and guidance. Jane, a special education teacher in the NYC public schools, founded in 2010. On September 27, she will offer advice and practical tips to help make playdates more successful and will discuss how Special Playdate can help if you need extra support and guidance.

Special Playdate offers a FREE and EASY way to get started in arranging successful playdates for your special needs child. It’s an online service connecting parents with other parents seeking playdate opportunities for their children with special needs. Members are able to securely search for appropriate peers in their local communities and can also use the private message system to connect with other parents, before scheduling a playdate or revealing personal information. Special Playdate's expert clinicians also strive to offer you ongoing benefits - from weekly playdate tips to ongoing workshops and social skills-building programs. Let Special Playdate be that first step towards creating a lasting friendship for your child.

Jane Hsu received her MA Degree in Education from New York University in 2006 and has worked in Special Education for the past 5 years. During this time, she became acutely aware of how difficult it is for children with special needs to make friends, establish rapport with other children, and develop appropriate social and communication skills. Finding no good solutions to this problem, she decided in 2008 to save up her money to begin, an online matching service to help parents nationwide to find nearby playdates for their special-needs child.

While majoring in Public and Community Service as an undergraduate at the University of Massachusetts, Jane worked at the League School of Boston, a residential program for adolescent males with autistic spectrum disorders. She also worked at the Day Development & Transition Center in Cambridge, a nonprofit organization offering pre-vocational training to people with developmental disabilities. After graduation, Jane worked as a Vocational Resource Specialist at Work Opportunities Unlimited, an employment and training organization helping people with disabilities to find jobs. She also worked as a Bilingual Chinese/English Employment Specialist and Career Counselor the Jewish Vocational Service Center for Careers and Lifelong Learning in Boston. Born in Taipei, Taiwan, Jane immigrated to the United States with her family at the age of four. She presently works as a Special Education Teacher in Chinatown and lives in New York City.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

"Just Diagnosed - What's Next?"

On Thursday, October 6, 2011, from 7PM to 9PM

NAA NY Metro Presents

Just Diagnosed: What's Next? Perspectives from a Developmental Pediatrician, Nutritionist,
and Educational Consultant

PATH Family Center
1779 Richmond Avenue 3rd Floor
Staten Island, New York

For parents of children newly diagnosed on the autism spectrum or those who may feel feel they have "hit a wall" in their child's treatment plan, NAA NY Metro is pleased to bring together a panel offering a multidisciplinary perspective on treatment options.

Our panel includes Dr. Mark Freilich, a developmental pediatrician, Geri Brewster, a nutritionist who treats children with autism and related disorders through nutritional, biomedical and related interventions; and Sarah Birnbaum, an educational advisor with expertise in the special education system in New York City, therapists, agencies, and related services.

Dr. Mark Freilich will discuss the role of the Developmental Pediatrician in navigating the Autism Super Highway. He will address diagnostic evaluation/monitoring/case management following initial diagnosis, looking holistically at all aspects of a child’s (and family’s) journey.

Geri Brewster will discuss the first steps parents may take in nutritional/biomedical/dietary interventions. Often parents read about these interventions and wonder if they might help their child. Parents should consider a child’s past history of infection or sensory sensitivities and food selectivity as part of the whole picture of their child now emerging with a “formal diagnosis” and consider professional guidance in understanding the interconnectedness of food, nutrients and development, as well as the practical way to implement lifestyle changes to achieve their child’s optimal wellness.

Sarah Birnbaum will address navigating the system, learning a new language and how to conduct yourself when interacting with all the new people in your life, managing your child's therapy schedule and new demands, understanding what your child is entitled to and how to make sure you get it for them, coming up with workable strategies for your life, and - most crucially - coping with all the emotions involved so that they don't get in your way when you're making decisions about your child's therapy and educational future.

Dr. Mark Freilich is a developmental pediatrician and founder/medical director of TOTAL KIDS DEVELOPMENTAL PEDIATRIC RESOURCES. TOTAL KIDS provides a holistic, dynamic and integrated approach to evaluation and management of children with differences and variations in development and learning. The TOTAL KIDS approach takes into account every child’s and family’s unique and individual areas of strengths and needs. The TOTAL KIDS approach is not limited to an office based evaluation. It involves observation in venues where the child actually functions on a day to day basis. Dr. Freilich lives in New York City with his wife and two teenage children.

Geri Brewster, RD, MPH, CDN is a certified dietitian-nutritionist with a Master’s in Public Health. She is a member of Dietitians in Functional Medicine and is a Defeat Autism Now practitioner.

She received her BS in Human Nutrition and Foods from Virginia Tech and her MPH at New York Medical College. She has advanced areas of study with the Institute of Functional Medicine. Geri has worked with children with developmental disabilities and autism for over 25 years, addressing complex nutritional needs. Her practice is maintained in NYC and Mt. Kisco, New York. She is the former Director of Nutrition at the Atkins Center for Complementary Medicine in NYC and currently assists families in the implementation of the Modified Atkins Diet for seizure control. Geri speaks frequently on a local and national level on the subjects of children’s health and nutritional needs. She is a contributor to a number of publications and has been quoted in numerous newspaper and magazine articles as well as featured on numerous radio and TV appearances discussing health topics. She hosts a monthly radio show on AutismOne radio on the energetics of food and healing, and nutritional and dietary therapies.

The parent of a child with special needs, Sarah Birnbaum has amassed a wealth of knowledge in dealing with New York City's unique subculture of therapists, agencies, schools, and governmental bodies. She turned her experience into a consultancy helping families navigate the maze of services and educational options here. She helps parents understand what services are available, guides them to schools that can best support their children's needs, gives advice on the application process, coaches them on working with their school districts, and helps them to become powerful advocates. But most importantly, she offers them support in coping with the complicated emotions that accompany the journey of parenting and educating an exceptional child.

Dr. Theoharis C. Theoharides: Lectures for Parents & Professionals on Exciting Research Findings and Novel Treatment

NAA NY Metro Chapter Invites You to a Special Event with

Dr. Theoharis C. Theoharides
At TWO Locations NYC & Westchester

(Webinar available for Westchester Meeting)

Thursday, September 8th from 6:30PM- 8:30PM, as part of NAA NY Metro’s Collaboration with the Beth Israel Division of Developmental Pediatrics:

Neurotensin and Extracellular Mitochondrial DNA as Potenial Biomarkers and Novel Treatment
Beth Israel Medical Center

10 Union Square East

2nd Floor Conference Center

New York, NY 10003

Please RSVP to Stacey Purro, LCSW at


Friday, September 9th from 7PM - 9:30PM

Neuro-Inflammation and Disruption of the Gut Blood Brain Barriers:
The Benefits of Natural Flavonoids

In our new Westchester meeting location:

The Gleeson-Israel Gateway Center (Westchester ARC)

265 Saw Mill River Road (Route 9A)

1st Floor Conference Room

Hawthorne, NY 10532

No RSVP Required

Webinar Available too! Can't make the meeting in person, please register for the Webinar here: click here - Webinar seats are limited.

Dr. Theoharides will present a lecture targeted to both parents and professionals. He will present, in a way accessible to scientists and non-scientists, his research concerning neuro-inflammation, mast cells and autism, and discuss a practical treatment option. Dr. Theoharides’ research sheds new light on symptoms common to many children with autism.

Dr. Theoharides’ recent research has focused on the area of neuro-inflammation and his research results open the way for promising treatment for those with autism. Children with autism often present with auto-antibodies against brain proteins, gastrointestinal problems, “allergies” and fatigue, implying a neuro-immuno-endocrine problem. Dr. Theoharides’ recent research has shown that mast cells (immune cells typically known for causing allergic reactions and which serve as “sensors” of environmental cell damage) can be activated by environmental, infectious and stress triggers that lead to disruption of the gut-blood-brain barriers.

In his research, one mast cell trigger, neurotensin, was shown to be elevated in the serum of young children with autism. Mast cell activation during pregnancy or prenatally, in response to allergic or non-immune triggers, could disrupt the gut-blood-brain barriers and permit neuro toxic molecules to enter the brain, and result in brain inflammation. Dr. Theoharides’ research also has shown that neurotensin induces release of extracellular mitochondrial DNA that could act as “autoimmune” triggers, divert energy from brain growth, and induce an inflammatory state. Through his research, Dr. Theoharides has shown that the natural flavonoids, Quercetin and Luteolin (found in the supplement NeuroProtek) can block these processes.

Theoharis C. Theoharides, MS, PhD, MD, FAAAAI is Director of Molecular Immuno-pharmacology & Drug Discovery Lab, Professor of Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Internal Medicine at Tufts University. He trained at Yale University and has over 290 publications. He has shown that mast cells secrete inflammatory mediators that disrupt the gut-blood-brain barriers, thus playing a critical role in brain inflammation and autism. Dr. Theoharides extends his expertise beyond theory into practical options for patients with diseases that have defied treatment to date.

Vaccine Epidemic - The Book: With Louise Kuo Habakus, Mary Holland, and Kim Mack Rosenberg

Confused by Conflicting Information about Vaccine Safety and Efficacy?

Unsure of Your Rights?

Looking For Straight Answers?

Join Editors Louise Kuo Habakus and Mary Holland, and Contributing Editor Kim Mack Rosenberg, for an eye-opening discussion based on their groundbreaking book, Vaccine Epidemic.

This enlightening evening will build the case for vaccination choice as a fundamental human right. Come to learn critical information to help you make an informed decision concerning vaccination. Bring your questions!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

7pm – 9pm

408 East 79th St. (Screening Room)

New York, New York

(between First and York Avenues)

Vaccine Epidemic - The Book

Rising above the rhetoric, this presentation is neither anti-vaccine nor pro-vaccine. It is pro-vaccine safety and pro-informed consent. The presenters will address the tough questions that parents are asking about vaccination and will discuss vaccine safety and efficacy issues – and share with the audience important and often ignored data on these issues. Next, the presentation will focus on the relevant law and the rights of individuals to refuse vaccination. The presentation will close with a summary of Vaccine Epidemic and a discussion of important topics in this critical and ongoing debate.

Louise Kuo Habakus is the executive director and a co-founder of the Center for Personal Rights. She was a managing director for Putnam Investments, a corporate vice president for Prudential Financial, and a consultant with Bain & Company. Louise graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Stanford University, where she also received a graduate degree in international policy studies. In her advocacy work, Louise lectures and writes frequently and has appeared in numerous media outlets, including ABC World News Tonight, Fox & Friends, and the New York Times.

Mary Holland is a research scholar at NYU School of Law. She has written and edited books and articles on human rights and law. Mary has clerked for a federal judge, worked at the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, and at prominent U.S. law firms. She has testified before Congress, filed amicus briefs, and appeared on Court TV, Fox, CBS, and NBC. Mary is a co-founder and board member of the Center for Personal Rights and a founder and the director of of the Elizabeth Birt Center for Autism Law & Advocacy (EBCALA).

Kim Mack Rosenberg is a litigator at a prominent New York law firm, where her practice has focused on, among other things, products liability. Kim also has been honored by the Legal Aid Society of New York for her pro bono work. She graduated from Carleton College and received her law degree from Case Western Reserve University School of Law. In addition to being a co-founder and board member of the Center for Personal Rights, Kim is the current president of the National Autism Association New York Metro Chapter and a board member of the Elizabeth Birt Center for Autism Law & Advocacy (EBCALA). She has been featured on Get Connected on 106.7 Lite FM.