Monday, January 22, 2007

Career Advice from Someone with AS

The Boston Globe frequently has articles spotlighting people with autism and Asperger's. Here is an interesting article that appeared in the Career Section.

"Hannah's successful strategies for dealing with her disability could be adapted by adults having trouble in their professional lives -- particularly those who can't seem to connect with others at work."

It sure beats seeing this in the Boston Herald.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

American Idol Auditions Get Ugly

I don't watch the show, so I did not see the most recent auditions, but it sounds like it was a sad display of ugliness.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Benefits in NJ

Article in the Courier-Post:

TRENTON -- New Jersey was wrong in denying access to necessary medical therapy for autistic children whose parents are covered under the State Health Benefits Program, the state appeals court ruled today.
Occupational, speech and physical therapy, viewed as standard treatment for the one in 166 children nationwide affected by autism spectrum disorders, did not fall under the program provided by the State Health Benefits Commission, which said coverage cannot be extended "to promote development beyond any level of function previously demonstrated." In other words, because the boys could not previously perform the skills taught in these therapies, the program would not pay for them.A 1999 state law, however, requires coverage parity in medical insurance, meaning state medical coverage for those affected by biologically based mental illnesses must be the same for any other covered sickness. The two rulings today struck down previous court decisions in finding the medical parity act was intended to cover such therapies.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Research on Mirror Neurons

"A study in the Jan. 6 issue of Nature Neuroscience journal indicates [mirror neurons] are involved not only in the execution and observation of movement, but also in higher cognitive processes. These include speaking, imitating and learning from the action of others, by deciphering their intentions and empathizing with their pain.
Because all these abilities come up short in most individuals with autism, scientists have suspected there may be a glitch.
New findings lend substantial support to that theory, providing evidence of a dysfunctional mirror neuron system that may contribute to many impairments, particularly those involving comprehending and responding to the behavior of others, said lead author Mirella Dapretto, assistant professor in residence of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior and the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California-Los Angeles.
The study sheds new light on the neural basis of autism and may pave the way to early diagnosis and potential therapies, such as biofeedback, the authors said. "

United Press International article here.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Simon Baron-Cohen Launches DVD Series

"The Transporters" is designed to help children recognize different emotions via facial expressions.

"Professor Simon Baron-Cohen, Director of the Autism Research Centre (ARC) at Cambridge University and David Lammy, Culture Minister, yesterday launched a novel animation DVD to help young children with autism.The Transporters DVD, commissioned by Culture Online, part of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, aims to help children with autism to look at the human face and to learn about emotions. The series of 15 five-minute episodes features the adventures of eight lovable toys with human faces, each focusing on a different human emotion. Stephen Fry is the narrator."

"Research by Dr Ofer Golan and Professor Simon Baron-Cohen from ARC found that following a four-week period of watching the DVD for 15 minutes a day, children with high-functioning autism caught up with typically developing children of the same age in their performance on emotion recognition tasks. One parent who took part in the clinical trials said of their son with autism: "We have noticed a change in his behaviour, speech and range of emotional expressions since he started watching The Transporters. It's a bit like someone's flicked a switch in his head."

Article here. [don't know how long it will last]

Autism Research Centre here.
Watch episode one online.
Copies of the DVDs can be requested here - UK residents only.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Sad News

Nikki Bacharach, daughter of songwriter Burt Bacharach and actress Angie Dickinson, committed suicide. She had Asperger's Syndrome.
"Does AS or autism make a person more likely to commit suicide, as in the case of Burt Bacharach's daughter? The NAS [UK-based National Autism Society] spokeswoman said it was difficult to answer because the disorder affected people in different ways. "It's not a mental disorder, it's a developmental disability. It is not a mental health issue per se," she said.
But Dr [Lorna] Wing and others have highlighted issues of psychiatric trauma and varying degrees of depression among young adults with AS, something that seems related to their awareness of their difference from others. One paper on the subject claims that five out of 22 young adults with AS had tried to take their lives."

Thursday, January 04, 2007

What to Read Next

The Cincinnati Public Library has a wonderful "reading map" that lists tons of books to read after you are done with "The Curious Incident of the the Dog in the Night-Time" by Mark Haddon (which I ruefully admit I have not read yet!).
Link came from the h20boro blog, my role model, blog-wise.

Communicating with Color

From yesterday's Taday Show, via FACES Yahoo Group email:
http://video. us/msnbc. htm?g=8ef1cae8- f7a8-4c00- 8e2d-4135c08827\54&f=00&fg=email
Watch it - you'll be inspired.