Friday, October 31, 2008
Thursday, October 30, 2008
She found all of them had significantly improved communication skills. They also had better problem-solving skills and reduced behavioural problems.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Conor visited the pediatrician today for a review. No pressing health issues; Conor just hadn't been to see him for awhile. While we waited for the doctor an assistant measured Conor's weight, 134 lbs, and height 5 feet 8 1/2 inches.
Conor's autism issues have been a challenge. But he has been blessed with excellent physical health and likes to keep moving. Over the last year he has had a major growth spurt. Mr. Long, Lean and Lanky is about 2 inches taller than Mom.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Social Cognition and Aspergers Syndrome :
Teaching Social Skills From The Inside Out
(Based on the work of Michelle Garcia Winner and colleagues- /www.socialthinking.com )
Presenter- Sharon Kincade , B.A., M.A. Psyc
Sharon also has a Post Graduate Certificate in Counseling and is
currently working towards her Master's in Counseling. In addition, she
has a Diploma in University Teaching and is an Associate Member of The
College Of Psychologists. She has been involved with the Community
Autism Centre for 7 years .
A four Part Training Presentation
PART ONE: SOCIAL COGNITION- AN INSIDE OUT APPROACH
Friday, October 31,2008
10:00am - 3:00pm
Part Two: Social Thinking Across The Home And School (DVD Training
Michelle Garcia Winner)
Friday , November 28th,2008
9:00am - 3:00pm
Part Three : Growing Up Social- Exploring How Social Communication
Develops And Strategies To Help
(DVD Training- Michelle Garcia Winner)
Friday, January 30, 2009
10:00am - 3:00pm
Part Four : Social Behavior Mapping
(DVD Training- Michelle Garcia
Friday, February 27th, 2009
10:00am - 3:00pm
REGISTRATION - $25.00
PLEASE CALL 642-1128 - Seating IS Limited (15 participants)
Monday, October 27, 2008
- Dr. Eric Larsson, of the Lovaas Institute, External Review of the University of New Brunswick Autism Intervention Training Program
Dr. O. Ivar Lovaas is a world-renowned autism expert who has devoted his career to improving the lives of children with autism and their families. His Lovaas Model of Applied Behavior Analysis is based on 40 years of research and is backed by published studies showing half of children with autism who receive this intensive treatment become indistinguishable from other children on tests of cognitive and social skills by the time they completed first grade.
The one-on-one intensive behavioral treatment program is customized to meet the needs of each child and family served. The program is available nationwide at 12 Lovaas centers as well as through certified consultants across the country who are employed by the Lovaas Institute.
The Lovaas Model of Applied Behavior Analysis has undergone rigorous research at UCLA under the direction of Dr. Lovaas, proving its effectiveness in treating children with autism.
Eric V. Larsson, Ph.D., L.P., BCBA, Executive Director, Clinical Services, The Lovaas Institute for Early Intervention <http://www.lovaas.com/> , Midwest Headquarters where he implements a program of intensive early intervention services for families of children who suffer from severe behavior disorders. This intensive early intervention program is one of the most thorough and highly supervised behavior therapy programs in the field. Dr. Larsson is recognized as an expert in early intervention, inclusive communities, severe behavior disorders, multiple handicaps, autism, the rights of individuals with disabilities, nonaversive treatment, Applied Behavior Analysis, and self-injurious behavior. He has published papers on such topics as early intervention, functional communication, autism, social skills, parenting, and human rights. He has given over 70 presentations and 60 workshops on such topics as intensive early intervention, parenting, curriculum management, community leadership, behavior management, staff training, quality assurance, family violence, social skills, inclusive communities, autism, and consultation. He holds adjunct appointments at several major universities. H e is currently on the Autism Advisory Board of the Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies.
Director Professional Development Division
College of Extended Learning
University of New Brunswick
The decreases in planned and actual spending are set out in two operating budget documents for 2007 and 2008:
1. State of Alaska FY2007 Governor's Operating Budget for the Department of Education and Early Development Special Schools Component Budget Summary
budget actuals are (FY = Fiscal Year):
FY 2005 6945.30
FY 2007 Management Plan 7949.30
FY 2007 Governors 8265.30
2. State of Alaska FY2008 Governor's Operating Budget for the Department of Education and Early Development Special Schools Component Budget Summary
FY 2006 7949.30
FY 2007 Management Plan 3173.70
FY 2008 Governor 3156.00
Some straight talk, "my friends"? Governor Palin's past record is not that of a friend of special needs children.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
The study also confirmed earlier studies showing greater risk of ASD development amongst first born children of older parents:
"The risk of ASD within each of 3 parental age categories (both parents "younger," 1 parent "older," and both parents "older") was highest among firstborn children and declined with increasing birth order" ....... The results of this study provide the most compelling evidence to date that ASD risk increases with both maternal and paternal age and decreases with birth order."
The observation in this and at least 2 previous studies (2, 4) that the risk of developing ASD was highest for firstborn children and declined with increasing birth order is a pattern also observed for other childhood disorders, including type I diabetes and atopy, and is cited as support for the "hygiene hypothesis." According to this hypothesis, firstborn children are exposed to fewer infections from other children early in childhood and, because of delayed immunologic challenge, may be more likely to develop autoimmune responses including those that may adversely affect neurodevelopment (29). Another possible factor that could lead to the observed birth-order effect is exposure to potentially neurotoxic, fat-soluble chemicals accumulated in maternal tissue that have been passed to offspring transplacentally or through breast milk (30). Because of accumulation over a lifetime, the load of such neurotoxins transmitted might be expected to be highest for firstborn children, particularly when combined with advanced maternal age. Another possible explanation for the observed birth order effect is "stoppage" or a tendency for parents of 1 child with ASD not to have subsequent children because of the demands of parenting a child with a disability or concerns about genetic susceptibility (31), thus increasing the likelihood in the cohort as a whole that a child with ASD will have a low birth order. Information available for the present study did not allow examination of these hypotheses.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
"Parents can go on the Internet and see that everyone is recommending intensive intervention, but Saskatchewan is the only province that doesn't have that"
Ontario is notorious for its lengthy waiting lists for provision of autism services. As reported on April 29, 2008 in the Toronto Star:
The wait list of autistic children who are eligible to receive intensive behavioural intervention therapy, or IBI, reached 1,148 on March 31, up from 985 last year.
More than 1,400 children were receiving IBI services as of March 31, according to newly released government figures.
But the long waits have forced many parents to drain their savings and go into debt to pay for the therapy the province has promised to provide, said NDP critic Andrea Horwath.
3. Nova Scotia
In Helping kids with autism shouldn't be a lottery Bobby-Lynn Hall reported that:
We all talk about how great it would be to win the lottery and what we'd spend the money on. But what if your child's future was dependent on winning a lottery and what if you didn't win? Would you be thinking maybe if you had picked a different number, or maybe if you had bought your ticket last week instead of this week, that maybe things would have been different and maybe your child would be the one receiving the treatments that could help him experience things that otherwise may not have been possible?
Canada's Autism Wastelands are evidence of the need for a National Autism Strategy in Canada, a real National Autism Strategy, not the phony PR efforts of the Harper government and its alleged Health Minister Tony Clement.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
"There are a lot of wasteful expenditures in the federal (government)," Palin said. "Let's get rid of those and put them into strengthening NIH (National Institutes of Health) and these other areas where we can help our kids with autism."....
"Here's the difference between John McCain and our ticket and Barack Obama and Joe Biden," she said. "We don't just talk the talk, we walk the walk. And that's why in not just that first speech, but in every speech I give, I talk about being an advocate and a friend in the White House for our families who have members who have these special needs."
The WKNV online reports that Governor Palin did not indicate what expenditures would be cut and what autism programs would be funded in a McCain-Palin administration. Stating over and over that you are an advocate for autistic persons appears to be a clear example of talking the talk but does not demonstrate that Governor Palin is prepared to walk the walk as she claims. As the report indicates Governor Palin has no actual plan for how to help autistic persons and their families.
WKNV reports that Senator Obama has specified what action he would take when, sorry IF, he becomes President (my bias again) :) The Obama plan can be found in full at Obama 08 BARACK OBAMA: SUPPORTING AMERICANS WITH AUTISM SPECTRUM
DISORDERS. The elements of the Obama plan include:
1. Appoint Federal ASD Coordinator to Oversee All Federal ASD Efforts.
2. Fully Fund the Combating Autism Act and Federal Autism Research Initiatives.
3. Support Special Needs Education for Children with ASD.
4. Support Universal Screening.
5. Work Together.
On autism issues Canada is still looking for The Change We Need.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
"In the past we had children undiagnosed in general education, coping or diagnosed incorrectly without the support needed," says Palm Springs Unified Schools District's Autism Specialist Sally Talala.
Entering into a traditional classroom isn't for every child with autism. Specialists say it takes a team approach to find out what is best for each individual.
The assistance team is growing. Parents, schools and specialists work together to place each child in the right class for their specific needs. They take a look at social skills, communication and behavior, integrating those with more mild cases.
Some of our schools have also begun to accommodate the needs of those autistic children, like my son Conor, for whom education in the general classroom for most of the day is an overwhelming, counterproductive and even harmful experience. They are taught in smaller, quieter, less busy areas where they can receive one on one instruction, by autism appropriate learning methods and with a curriculum suitable to their development level. They are also brought into the mainstream classroom for brief periods for activities within their individual ability ranges.
Despite this progress there are those in New Brunswick who insist that the mainstream classroom is the right place for all students. Their intentions are noble but their understanding of autistic children is lacking. Their beliefs are part of a philosophy of total classroom inclusion for all students that has dominated the New Brunswick education system for the past thirty years. The recent efforts to accommodate the needs of autistic students has been met with determined resistance by the total inclusion advocates who include the current Chair of the New Brunswick Human Rights Commission who was instrumental in promoting New Brunswick's total inclusion philosophy, the Executive Director and other representatives of the New Brunswick Association for Community Living, and some senior Education Department officials.
Despite the efforts of these very influential, well connected advocates of total mainstream inclusion progress has been made. There are people in government, in the Department of Education, school districts and schools who have made decisions in the best interests of autistic children notwithstanding pressure from the total inclusion advocates.
Hopefully the best interests of autistic children will continue to prevail over the rigid philosophical beliefs of the total mainstream classroom inclusion advocates.
Monday, October 20, 2008
What the article does not do is mention the fact that there is no empirical evidence to support the effectiveness of DIR/Floortime as an autism intervention. The MADSEC Autism Task Force Report (2000 rev. ed.) described DIR Flootime as without scientific evaluation of any kind.
MADSEC Autism Task Force Report, page 6:
• Without scientific evaluation of any kind:
Greenspan’s DIR/”Floor Time,” Son-Rise.
MADSEC Autism Task Force Report, page 43:
There have been no peer-reviewed, published studies of Greenspan’s DIR/Floor Time’s
effectiveness for children with autism.
There have been no peer-reviewed, published studies of Greenspan’s DIR/Floor Time’s
effectiveness for children with autism. Researchers should consider investigation using research protocols. Professionals considering Greenspan’s Floor Time should portray the method as without peer-reviewed scientific evaluation, and should disclose this status to key decision makers influencing the child’s intervention.
The American Academy of Pediatrics reviewed autism interventions in Management of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders(2007) and stated, at page 5, with respect to RID that:
The article also fails to indicate the value of ABA as an autism intervention and the large body of evidence supporting its effectiveness:
There is a wealth of validated and peer-reviewed studies supporting the efficacy of ABA
methods to improve and sustain socially significant behaviors in every domain, in individuals
with autism. Importantly, results reported include “meaningful” outcomes such as increased
social skills, communication skills academic performance, and overall cognitive functioning.
These reflect clinically-significant quality of life improvements. While studies varied as to the
magnitude of gains, all have demonstrated long term retention of gains made.
Other major contributions of ABA to the education and treatment of individuals with autism
• a large number of empirically-based systematic instruction methods that lead to the
acquisition of skills, and to the decrease/elimination of aberrant behaviors;
• a technology for systematically evaluating the efficacy of interventions intended to affect
individual learning and behavior; and
• substantial cost/benefit.
Over 30 years of rigorous research and peer review of applied behavior analysis’ effectiveness
for individuals with autism demonstrate ABA has been objectively substantiated as effective
based upon the scope and quality of science. Professionals considering applied behavior
analysis should portray the method as objectively substantiated as effective. Methods of applied behavior analysis should be considered to evaluate the effectiveness of any intervention used to help individuals with autism. Researchers should continue to vigorously investigate behavioral intervention as the most promising area of research and treatment benefitting individuals with autism known today. Early interventionists should leverage early autism diagnosis with the proven efficacy of intensive ABA for optimal outcome and long-term cost benefit.
American Academy of Pediatrics (2007)
The effectiveness of ABA-based intervention in ASDs has been well documented through 5 decades of research by using single-subject methodology21,25,27,28 and in controlled studies of comprehensive early intensive behavioral intervention programs in university and community settings.29–40 Children who receive early intensive behavioral treatment have been shown to make substantial, sustained gains in IQ, language, academic performance, and adaptive behavior as well as some measures of social behavior, and their outcomes have been significantly better than those of children in control groups.31–40
The New York Times is still a news source of great influence. When it is using that influence in promoting interventions for children with autism, a neurological disorder, it should do its homework and present an accurate and credible review of the professional literature. Simply offering a guest column to a promoter of an intervention lacking in empirical verification of its effectiveness does a disservice to autistic children whose decision makers, family or public, could be misled by the NYT and its weighty reputation.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Some scenes from the day:
ASNB VP Lana Thomson (L) and President Tamara Downey (R)
greeting people at the entrance. Tamara is also a nurse who
was ready to report to duty at the Chalmers Hospital
near the end of the meeing.
offering my two cents worth.
ASNB VP Lana Thomson and NB NDP Leader Roger Duguay
who honored us with a visit and showed real interest in
autism issues in New Brunswick.