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.

Dr. Andrew Levinson: Reversing Autism: Walking the Path with Patience, Peace and Perseverance

Looking for New Ways to Help Your Child with Autism and Your Whole Family?

Join NAA-NY Metro

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

For a Special Evening with

Dr. Andrew Levinson

Reversing Autism: Walking the Path with Patience, Peace and Perseverance

Rebecca School

40 East 30th St.

New York, New York

6:00pm – 6:30pm: Networking

6:30pm – 8:30pm: Presentation and Q&A

Dr. Levinson’s unique presentation will cover the most current functional medical interventions for conditions affecting so many people with autism. Among other things, he will take us through interventions addressing immune and endocrine dysregulation, detoxification, oxidative stress and inflammation difficulties. In addition, he will address an area that is very important but frequently neglected – the health and well-being of the rest of the family. Dr. Levinson will teach us coping strategies that the whole family can use!

Andrew Levinson, M.D. is an orthomolecular psychiatrist, functional physician, and yogi. His approach has been featured on the Discovery Health Channel and his work in autism has been the subject of several documentaries. Dr. Levinson received his Bachelor of Science in Psychobiology and his Medical Doctorate from the University of Miami, where he also completed his psychiatric residency. He has great acclaim for his ability to present complicated science in an extremely understandable format and is a frequent presenter at national conferences and elsewhere. Dr. Levinson is the founder of Vitality Health & Wellness in Miami Beach and sees patients in Manhattan in person and by telemedicine. More information about his work can be found at

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Review of Scared of Sarah - A New Play About Autism

Last night NAA NY Metro Chapter President Kim Mack Rosenberg and Vice-President/Treasurer Peggy Becker had the pleasure of attending opening night of Scared of Sarah, a new play about autism (and much more). We were so happy to also catch up with one of our Facebook contest winners, Michele Iallonardi and her husband, Ralph.

(L-R: Peggy, Michele and Ralph)

The cast, Carolyn Daucher, Nate Grams, and Brenna Palughi (as Sarah), did a terrific job in navigating the complex emotions of the play, written by Laura Brienza. The play makes you laugh and cry, as the characters confront issues not just about autism but also about marriage, children, siblings, parent
s, careers - life!

(Laura Brienza and Kim)

Sarah is a complex character. She is an attractive woman who has just turned 30 as the play opens. She has autism and has a job as a conductor on New Jersey Transit. She appears "typical" in many respects, compounds the emotional, sensory and other challenges of autism she faces in the workplace and in her social and family life. Is Sarah like our children? Yes and no. We both noted some similarities and many differences between our children and the character of Sarah, but that is part of what makes autism so complex - no two people with autism are the same. We did not expect Sarah to be exactly like our children (who are different from each other too!). The play does a good job of balancing the complexities of autism - featuring a young woman who largely functions in society but might meltdown if the wrong brand of peanut butter is purchased. Is everyone with autism like that? No. But some are. Scared of Sarah makes no attempt to speak for all people with autism. It is a snapshot of one character and the complexities of her life and the lives of those around her.

There are still four more showings of Scared of Sarah as part of FringeNYC If you can make the time to head to the Lower East Side over the next few days, do try to see the play.
FYI, this is a play for grown ups and is not appropriate for young children. There is some strong and suggestive language.

SATURDAY 8/13 @ 7:45
SUNDAY 8/14 @ 12:00
MON 8/15 @ 6:45
WED 8/17 @ 7:45

La Mama First Floor Theatre
74A East 4th Street, New York, NY 10003
F to 2nd Ave, 6 to Astor Pl/Bleeker St., N/R to 8th St.

Tickets are $15 in advance, $18 at the door

The mutated SHANK3 gene, its effect on Neuronal Synapses and Autism

The following is an extract from an article published in the New England Journal of Medicine (July 14, 2011). The author is Martha Herbert MD, PhD of the Mass General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. She is a research scientist with great interest in Autism. She has presented at the annual conference of the NY Metro Chapter in New York as well as the NAA annual conferences.

The neuron talk to each other and send signals from brain to other organs by releasing chemicals at their very ends. The exchange of these chemicals occurs at the synapses (the ends of the neurons). SHANK3 gene is known to facilitate such transactions. Research scientists have developed a clone of mice who are deficient in beta type of SHANK3 genes (SHANK3B-/-). These mice exhibit clinical and social behavior that is similar to autism in humans. The biopsies of the brains of these mice also show increased filaments (dendrites) of these neurons which looks like a jumble. The part of the brain called Striatum was larger in the SHANK3B-/- mice. This was thought to be compensatory on the part of the brain in an attempt to increase the synapses and communication that is defective due to the genetic mutation. It is known that the brains of humans with autism are larger and have excessive dendrites.

SHANK3 gene is also present in the gut and other tissues. SHANK3 gene has two other isoforms (alpha and gamma) and the level of activity of those isoforms may be related to the variability in cases of autism and may explain the improvement in clinical symptoms and social behavior that is sometimes seen after certian treatments and high fever. Dr. Herbert's article was published in:
The New England Journal of Medicine. Vol: 365, Page 173. 14 July 2011

If you wish to read the full scientific article, please contcat me at
Posted by Khalid Rehman MD, Chair Advocacy and Awareness Committee,
National Auatim Association, New York Metro Chapter.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Scared of Sarah - A New Play About Autism




A new play by Laura Brienza
Directed by Reginald L. Douglas
Starring: Carolyn Daucher, Nate Grams, and Brenna Palughi*
*Appearing Courtesy of Actors' Equity Association

developed at the Lark Play Development Center and the
Kennedy Center Page-to-Stage New Play Festival

World Premiere in the New York International Fringe Festival

Sarah's autistic. Lily's pregnant. Sam's scared. Could they handle a child like Sarah? When these two people make a third, the fear that sets in threatens to destroy their relationship.

SCARED OF SARAH investigates the challenges of parenting a child on the autism spectrum, the intricacies of personal relationships with those on the spectrum, and Generation Y's complicated love affair with selfishness.

FRIDAY 8/12 @ 5:00
SATURDAY 8/13 @ 7:45
SUNDAY 8/14 @ 12:00
MON 8/15 @ 6:45
WED 8/17 @ 7:45

La Mama First Floor Theatre
74A East 4th Street, New York, NY 10003
F to 2nd Ave, 6 to Astor Pl/Bleeker St., N/R to 8th St.

Tickets $15 in advance