Friday, May 27, 2011

Come to Kelly Dorfman's book signing of

Wednesday, June 8

84 East Main St
Mendham NJ 07945
7:00 PM talk/signing

Backed by cutting-edge science and the know-how gained from a 29-year career in clinical nutrition, WHAT’S EATING YOUR CHILD? by Kelly Dorfman, MS, LND, reveals the surprising role nutrition plays in healing children’s ailments. No ordinary nutrition book, WHAT’S EATING YOUR CHILD? is refreshingly unique because it pairs practical, scientifically-supported advice with fascinating case studies that read like medical mysteries. As a mother of three, Dorfman understands the challenges parents face and she empowers caregivers to become Nutrition Detectives by revealing simple, practical ways to uncover the clues behind a child’s health problems and find an accurate, nutritional treatment immediately.

Win a copy of Kelly Dorfman's new book "What's Eating Your Child"!

WHAT’S EATING YOUR CHILD?, by Kelly Dorfman, is a must-read for parents, doctors, teachers, and anyone interested in the relationship between nutrition, health, and wellbeing.

MAKE A COMMENT TO WIN a signed copy of WHAT'S EATING YOUR CHILD? 1) To enter, please comment on this post (Click on "comments" below.) 2) Post your comment by 11:59 pm on JUNE 8, 2011. One entry per person, please. 3) One winner will be chosen by random and announced on Thursday morning, JUNE 9, 2011. 4) NOTE: If you wish to be contacted by e-mail if you win, please include your email address in your comment or make a comment and then email us your comment at Otherwise you must check back on Thursday, June 9, 2011 to see if you have won. Unclaimed prizes will be forfeited to another winner after 72 hours.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

How Sound Therapy Influences the Social Nervous System

On Monday, May 16th the Westchester sub-chapter of the NAA NY Metro chapter was delighted to have Sarah Gayle Schoenbaum present. Sarah an very experienced Occupational Therapist (OT) presented information on the therapeautic program, Solisten®, which is the portable application of the Tomatis® Method. She described how Solisten's revolutionary sound training program strengthens the ear and energizes the brain, improves many areas including auditory and sensory processing, stress, speech and balance. Furthermore, Sarah discussed how hearing is composed of both air and bone conduction . Solisten stimulates both of these as well as the vestibular receptors in the ear. The result is a nervous system that is more efficient including speed and accuracy. With this efficiency the body trusts its own resourses to keep it safe. This may include safety in a complex social environment and safety in a physically challenging environment.

Solisten particularly addresses the social nervous system which is the part of the nervous system that helps us to efficiently respond to complex social situations by stimulating the cranial nerves that help our mouth move and our eyes move and our eardrum hear. This is why solisten is so helpful in reducing the anxiety in children on the spectrum because their social nervous system is brought on line.

The social nervous system is part of the polyvagal system. It is the part of the nervous system that is on line when one feels safe. When one does not feel safe one looses the efficient use of this system and has to rely on the sympathetic or dorsal vegal system which causes fight, flight or freeze. We have all seen this response in our kids. Besides supporting the social nervous system Solisten can positively effect balance, motor planning, auditory processing, and visual spatial awareness. Sarah recommended Stephen Porges' new book The Polyvagal Nervous System to further delve into the intricate nervous system.

The take home message was that children & adults with autism spectrum disorders are in stress and they freeze or overreact to their environment due to dysregulation. By balancing the nervous system through listening therapy one can become balanced and more equipped to handle the surrounding environment.

Sarah Gayle Shoenbaum, MA OTR/L has been in the field since 1979. Sarah is an instructor and clinician of occupational therapy, craniosacral therapy, neurodevelopemental treatment (NDT) and sensory intergration. For more information you can contact Sarah at

Monday, May 23, 2011

NAA NY Metro Chapter Presents: Mealtime Success for Kids on the Spectrum

Mealtime Success For Kids on the Spectrum
with Susan Roberts, MDiv, OTR/L
Date: Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Time: 6:00 pm - Networking /6:30-8:30 pm - Presentation
Location: Rebecca School
40 East 30th, 5th Floor New York, NY 10003

Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders have difficulties during mealtimes for a variety of reasons. Poor muscle control affects lips, tongue, jaw, facial muscles, hands and core body movements—all of which impact our ability to move food into the digestive system. Sensory processing problems produce aversions or obsessions with specific smells, textures and tastes that compromise good nutrition—which in turn increases hunger and food cravings. Mealtimes nourish our souls as much as our bodies, through the sharing of conversation and social relationships. Instead of a time for enjoyment, mealtimes often become battlegrounds—nourishing no one.

SUSAN L. ROBERTS, MDiv, OTR/L, teaches a seminar on this topic and recently returned from appearances throughout the nation. Come join us on June 22nd for the opportunity to share Susan’s expertise in this area and to share your own thoughts and concerns.

Ms. Roberts is an award winning Occupational Therapist with more than 30 years of experience in school-based pediatrics, as well as home health care, rehabilitation, ergonomics, long-term care, adaptive driving and psychiatry. Susan earned a Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy from Boston University. Research interests in the sensory aspects and neurobiology of healing rituals led her to complete a Masters in Divinity from Harvard University.

Ms. Roberts’ current practice places a special emphasis on transforming behavioral issues in families with non-verbal and pre-verbal children. Her clinical and research interests lie in the primary occupation of childhood, play, as well as the use of mind/body approaches for achieving optimal health and wellness. Ms. Roberts gives lectures & seminars around the USA on how to help children enjoy mealtimes, playtimes & school. Through individual coaching, play experiences, and support groups, she provides a safe space where children (and the adults who care for them) can discover their own path to happiness and healing.

NAA NY Metro Chapter's First Mom's Night Out

Calling all Moms!
NAA NY Metro Chapter would like to celebrate you and give you a much needed night out. Come spend time with other special mom’s. We know that in the course of your busy busy day caring for your children, shuttling them back and forth to appointments and doing research late at night on the computer-it just doesn’t leave a lot of room for you! So come out and enjoy en evening among your peers. This is a great opportunity for you to exchange ideas, talk about treatment options and just meet some new and interesting people. There will be plenty of allergy friendly food to give you some new ideas to serve your family as well as cocktails. Please enjoy this “night off”, since we all know that you definitely deserve it!

On Thursday, June 9th 7-9pm
At 408 East 79th Street, 2nd Floor
Join us for NAA NY Metro Chapter’s first Mom’s Night Out!

For more information go to:

NAA NY Metro Chapter (Westchester) Parent Roundtable-AutismOne Conference Highlights

Tuesday, June 7, 2011, 7 to 9pm
Washington Engine Fire Company
130 White Plains Road, Tarrytown, NY
(across from blding #150)

Tricia Zarro and Lisa Rudley, Co-Leaders of the Westchester NAA NY Metro sub-chapter will moderate a parent roundtable to discuss AutismOne Conference Highlights. AutismOne Conference information: This conference is being streamed "live" see AutismOne's website for details.

Tricia the mom to three children and a Special Needs Teacher in Westchester. Her youngest son has a diagnosis of ASD. She has been a facilitator of a local Westchester support group for the past five years. Tricia has a wealth of experience using special diets, biomedical treatment options and rehabilitative therapies.

Lisa is the mom of three children and a Special Needs Financial Planner. For the last five years, she has utilized a variety of healing modalities to help her son with ASD and many others in her community to improve the lives of children with autism and their families. Lisa has worked extensively with Homeopathy, Reiki, and various supportive therapies including Neurofeedback, HANDLE, NAET, Vision Therapy, Brain Gym and Tomatis. Lisa also moderated a local Westchester support group for the past four years.

Both Tricia and Lisa have combined efforts this January to form the Westchester sub-chapter of the NAA NY Metro Chapter. This Westchester sub-chapter holds 1 to 2 meetings monthly and alternates between the Tarrytown and Briarcliff Manor locations.

For more information, please visit our website

NAA NY Metro Chapter (Westchester) Bike Clinic for Children with Special Needs

NAA NY Metro Chapter Invites you to our special event Bike Clinic For Special Needs Children
With Maria Bizzaro At the Law Memorial Park Fields ,Briarcliff Manor, NY On Saturday, June 4th 2-4pm Raindate: Sunday, June 5th 2-4pm

Come teach your child to ride a bike or further their existing riding skills!
Learning to ride a bike can be a frustrating experience for both parent and child. So come learn some easy techniques to apply to teaching your child how to ride a bike. Maria Bizzaro has years of experience teaching children to ride a multitude of things such as skateboards, roller blades and scooters. She will break it down for each individual child’s level. There will also be “NY Bike” trained volunteer therapists on hand from The McCarton Center, Holistic Learning Center, and Watch Me Grow sensory gym to help parents apply these new teaching techniques. So it doesn’t matter if your child is brand new to bike riding, on training wheels or has been riding for a while and still needs those extra skills to master it.

Maria Bizzarro, MS, OTR/L is a pediatric occupational therapist. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, Bachelor of Arts in Therapeutic Studies, and a Masters of Science in Occupational Therapy at Boston University. She is licensed in New York State and certified as a therapist with pediatric emphasis by the National Board for Certification of Occupational Therapists. She is a member of the American Occupational Therapy Association. Maria currently works as the Director of Occupational Therapy for The McCarton. Her areas of interest include enhancing participation of all children in the natural environment, vestibular habilitation, listening therapies, and combining behavioral science with a sensory integrative approach. Maria is a member of the Avanti network and is currently working towards becoming a mentor for Vital Links.

The event will take place in the fields behind Atria Nursing Home at 1111 Pleasantville Road, Briarcliff Manor, NY 10510. Please make sure to bring a bike if you have one helmet. We may be able to have a few extras to be used on a first come first serve basis. Refreshments will be served.

Please rsvp to by June 1st.
For more information, please visit our website

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Kelly Montross: LENS Neurofeedback and Complementary Therapies

From one of our NAA Board Members who attended this informative presentation:

On April 13, 2011, parents and professionals gathered to learn about Low Energy Neurofeedback System (LENS). Our speaker was Kelly Montross, a Licensed Medical Social Worker at the Hallowell Center on the Upper West Side. Kelly talked about the difference between LENS and the traditional form of neurofeedback. LENS is easier for children who may not be compliant with traditional neurofeedback - the child could be doing pretty much any activity they wanted such as watching a DVD - and LENS can be done less frequently.

I have to admit that I was a little nervous at the thought of hooking my child up to electrodes to stimulate parts of the brain. Because things can sound scarier than they actually are, Kelly asked for someone in the audience to come up and let her hook them up to her LENS equipment. She promised not to actually do LENS therapy on them. This demonstration showed us what the children would experience with the equipment. This demonstration was very helpful. I know that I had a different attitude once I was able to see how benign the current would be.

After the demonstration, the conversation turned to another therapy that Kelly finds complementary to LENS and that she likes to use in conjunction with LENS. It is called iLs (Integrated Listening Systems), a listening program. A dialogue began as many parents chimed in talking about their own experience with Tomatis or Tomatis-like listening programs. Many had tried these programs and, of those who had not, many said they would like to. Attendees then began asking many questions about LENS as well. The conversations became very lively and informative, with parents sharing all kinds of experiences with different therapies for their children. This is exactly the sort of thing the Parent Mentoring Committee had in mind when they created these more intimate meetings with less mainstream topics. I personally really enjoyed this particular event.

Kelly’s presentation was held at NAA NY Metro’s newest event location, Jayme Lewin Rich’s sensory gym, conveniently located in the Union Square area. The cozy setting was perfect for this presentation!

A big thank you to Kelly Montross and Jayme Lewin Rich!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Unanswered Questions: Compensated Vaccine Injury & Autism

From NAA NY Metro Secretary Lisa Rudley:

On Tuesday, May 10, 2011, I attended the press conference in Washington DC on the release of “Unanswered Questions from the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP): A Review of Compensated Cases of Vaccine-Induced Brain Injury,” a peer-reviewed paper published in the Pace Environmental Law Review.

Many media outlets showed up along with several families. It was a heartfelt experience to personally meet the families who publicly spoke out regarding their experience with the VICP and their children's autism. Mary Holland, Louis Conte, Robert Krakow (pictured), and Lisa Colin, the study's authors, did a tremendous job along with the brave families who spoke out publicly at the press conference. The press conference can be viewed here.

My personal experience with this project began two years ago, as several of us contemplated the “what if” we showed the world that compensated cases in the VICP also had autism and that there were not just a few, but that there were many. The project was launched and the rest is history. As one of the ten parent volunteer interviewers who called families, I found the families extremely willing to share their stories.

Mary Holland, Lou Conte & Lisa Colin stayed on Capitol Hill to hold a congressional briefing on Thursday, May 12th, where only 25 staffers attended. There is much more work to be done but the ball is now rolling!

The announcement below, from Autism Action Network Executive Director John Gilmore, contains many links to media reports on this important event.

Autism Action Network Alert from John Gilmore, Executive Director:
Support the Journalists Who Support Us -Watch the Fox Videos and leave Comments
Most of you are probably aware of the study released Tuesday that found 83 people who were compensated through the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, who also have autism as one of their injuries. These people are not supposed to exist according to the government, and the researchers were able to review only a small fraction of the more than 2000 cases compensated by the VICP.

The feds new this study was coming and organized efforts to squelch any media coverage of the story. Fortunately. Fox News covered the story extensively. If you haven’t seen the videos of the news coverage you will find them below. Please watch the videos and then make comments on the web pages. Stations pay close attention to the number of hits and comments their stories receive. The more hits and the more positive comments the more likely they are to do stories like this in the future.
Thank you to Lisa for this terrific, first-hand account!

Westchester Recap: Craniosacral Therapy & Reiki - Using These Techniques Together

On Saturday evening, May 7, 2011 the NAA Metro NY Chapter –Westchester Branch hosted Annie Samojedny and Lori Segal presenting "Multiple Hands Healing - Combining Cranio-Sacral Therapy and Reiki."

This unique approach to healing combines two well-established, hands-on therapies to bring about a profound restoration of health and balance.

Individually, these therapies hold benefit for children on the autism spectrum, but in combination the two therapies can provide a deep release of mental, emotional and physical blockages. By working with the Chakra, nervous and energy systems, the body’s ability to achieve homeostasis, relaxation, feelings of peace and improved health can be achieved. The process of this combined therapy can enhance the immune system and facilitate healing on multiple levels.

Annie Samojedny and Lori Siegel work out of their office in Croton, New York.

More information can be found here or by calling 914.271.3040.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Geri Brewster: Nutritional and Biomedical Interventions in ASDs

On May 4, 2011, in collaboration with the Beth Israel Division of Developmental Pediatrics, NAA NY Metro welcomed Geri Brewster, RD, MPH. CDN, to present the first of a two-part series on Nutritional and Biomedical Interventions in Autism Spectrum Disorders. The purpose of part one of the series was to explore theories linking gastrointestinal ("GI") issues and ASD symptoms - particularly neurologic and immunologic symptoms - and discuss various dietary interventions that have been used by families of children with ASD. Geri's presentation provided a compilation of information, including the scientific bases underpinning the relationship between autism and GI issues as well as how effective certain dietary interventions are and why they may work.

Geri walked the audience through a brief history of ASD and even showed us that the majority of cases of autism first identified by Dr. Kanner in 1943 had GI symptoms! In fact, studies have shown GI symptoms to be more common in children with autism than in the general population. Geri pointed us toward many studies discussion GI problems in children with ASD - studies which confirm what so many parents of children with ASD long have reported. She also explained important links between the immune system and the GI system. She explained the scientific information that supports a link. She then went on to discuss, given this knowledge, the need to remove offending or disruptive factors, add supportive ones, reduce inflammation, support detoxification and optimize each child's well-being. She referred to the "4R" program - remove, replace, re-innoculate and repair. For many children, these offending and supportive factors might, at least in part, be nutritionally based and she recommended working with a nutritionist or doctor familiar in nutritional interventions to individualize your child's diet to his or her needs and to make sure that nutrient needs are being met.

Geri emphasized that there are many dietary interventions (GFCF, Feingold, SCD, low-oxalate, yeast-free and others) available to parents and walked through considerations for each. At a minimum, parents should look to which foods it is important to buy organic. She pointed parents to the Environmental Working Group website as a good resource on this issue. She also discussed reducing exposure to BPA as important to good health for all of us. She discussed concerns over genetically-modified foods as well.

Geri explained that there is no one diet solution that works for everyone - we must learn to respect the individuality of our (and our children's) bodies. She encouraged parents who explore dietary intervention to keep records of positives and negatives so that the professionals working with the child can tweak recommendations to fit the child's needs.

We are all looking forward to exploring these issues more in part two - on Thursday, May 19, 2010 at 6:30 at Beth Israel's Phillips Ambulatory Care Center, 2nd Floor, at the southeast corner of Union Square.

Westchester Recap: Special Needs Financial Planning

On Tuesday, May 3, 2011, the Westchester Branch of NAA NY Metro hosted an event centered on a critically important but difficult to face subject - financial planning for your special needs family member. As the numbers of children with autism have increased, so too will the number of adults with autism who need specialized financial arrangements to preserve benefits to which they are entitled but also to allow them to live full and meaningful lives. NAA NY Metro brought together a panel of professionals: NAA NY Metro board member Stuart Flaum, who specializes in special needs family planning with AXA Advisors, spoke about insurance issues. Sheryl Frishman, of Counsel to the law firm of Littman Krooks LLP, spoke about legal issues and trusts. Michael Sanders, President of Clark Dodge Asset Management, LLC, spoke about investments and presented a case study of a special needs family.

Together, this dynamic trio presented families with invaluable information concerning planning for children with special needs as they become adults with special needs. None of us likes to think about these issues - it forces parents to face tough questions, not only their own mortality but also the issue of whether or to what extent their child with special needs will be able to function independently or at what level. As the panel discussed, parents need to look at many issues and are wise to seek professional counsel for this very complicated area of estate and life planning. Because adults with special needs may be eligible for certain governmental benefits, parents need to know that their financial planning efforts may negatively impact their child's eligibility for services he or she very much needs if not correctly planned. Parents need to understand the roles of insurance, investments, and the various trust options that parents might consider in providing for their child as he or she becomes an adult. Moreover, parents need to plan and take action to establish themselves as their adult child's guardian before the child becomes emancipated at age 18. Many parents may not realize that they cannot simply continue to make decisions for their child after age 18, even if the child is unable to do so. Rather, the parent must be legally appointed the adult child's guardian. Failure to formalize the guardian relationship can lead to many difficulties. Moreover, parents need to be aware that their school districts are required to begin planning for transition from educational services to adult services years before a child turns 18. Westchester ARC has many valuable resources on transition planning on their website - simply search "transition" on their site and read up on your child's rights and the district's obligations - many parents are unaware of transition planning, which can be a valuable tool as your child grows up.

Many thanks to our speakers for sharing their wisdom with us concerning this important but very emotional and difficult subject.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Dr. Sidney Baker’s Treatment Options Under the Autoimmune Umbrella

Living the difficult reality of autoimmune diseases becomes even more daunting in face of the barrage of information about their causes and treatments. But at a groundbreaking presentation for NAA NY Metro Chapter in collaboration with Beth Israel Medical Center’s Division of Developmental Pediatrics on April 7, 2011, Dr. Sidney Baker provided a unique perspective, effective treatment options, and hope for those struggling with these diseases.

“Until proven otherwise – all chronic illness is autoimmune,” Dr. Baker said and explained that autoimmune diseases share common roots of problems in oxidative stress, detoxification, and inflammation. Connecting these commonalities in autism, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s is the challenge Dr. Baker is facing every day. “There’s not much light difference between these shades,” he said.

Citing several stories of patients with chronic illness who responded well to his treatment options, Dr. Baker argued for “an approach that focuses on each person as an individual.”
Dr. Baker spoke of a woman he treated for many years. As she grew older, she suffered from dementia and began to wander from home. Dr. Baker explained that nothing seemed to help her, including prescription drugs, until he happened on a recommendation of using a combination of the herb Valerian and Chamomile tea. To his surprise, these natural treatments helped and with their regular use the woman’s wandering stopped. The moral of the story, Dr. Baker said was simple – subtle therapies work!

Dr. Baker shared another story of a 15.5 months old child who had stopped growing, an emergency situation for a toddler. With the right combination of treatments, including, among other things, specific dosages of Trichuris Suis Ova (TSO), and coenzymes and probiotics, the child’s autism symptoms disappeared and he is now healthy and growing.

Cases like these and over four decades of experience led Dr. Baker to form a paradigm that asks two basic questions: 1. Does this person have a special unmet need to get something beneficial? 2. Does this person have a special unmet need to avoid or get rid of something allergic or toxic? Finding answers to these questions is crucial in finding effective treatments.
“Nothing is as hasty as a diagnosis,” Dr. Baker said because it can distract you off of the path to recovery and cure.

Sharing some of his experience from medical school, Dr. Baker recalled that in a case of a child with developmental problems, one of his teachers said, “don’t look for answers.” Someone from the audience asked why a teacher would instruct students not to look for answers. Dr. Baker responded that the teacher wanted to dissuade the future doctors from giving parents “false hope.” He added that experience has taught him that “there is no such thing as false hope.”

Dr. Baker has authored several books and is the Associate Editor of the Journal of Integrative Medicine, and has a private practice in Sag Harbor, NY, focusing on complex chronic illness. Most recently, his research interests include the development of a patented coding system for medical narrative that forms the basis for, a website funded by The Moody’s Foundation providing interchange between individual and collective medical experience and “letting the data talk.”