Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Universities Studying the Benefits of a Uniquely Exceptional Communications Device, The ProxTalker

Editorial Board - Autism Health and Wellness
Logan, With the Logan ProxTalker

Autism Health and Wellness Magazine is always looking for breakthroughs in technology that truly improve the lives of special needs children. As such, we were thrilled when the ProxTalker came onto the market. The ProxTalker has all of the features of the overly complicated talking devices and an even greater range of words. Unlike those complex devices, the ProxTalker is user friendly. This is most important because there’s no reason to buy a device that’s too complex for a child to use properly. This unique balance of quality and ability to use makes the ProxTalker a true benefit to the autism and special needs community.

Universities have been quick to notice this as well. Purdue University, along with Northern Arizona University’s Assistive Technology Center, are launching an indepth study into the ProxTalker, something they only undertake on products that are deemed to be breakthroughs. As communication is especially important, the quality of life for children who are in need of communication devices stands to be truly elevated due to this breakthrough. Allowing a child to communicate is not only one of the greatest benefits imaginable, its benefits also go far beyond just enhancing communicative abilities. Facilitating communication leads to more social interaction, development of social skills, increased positive outlook and less frustration/tantrums.

Dr. Oliver Wendt, who heads the study at Purdue, along with Miriam Chacon Boesch, M.S., & Anu Subramanian, Ph.D., explained the vast benefit that devices such as the ProxTalker can have upon society as a whole. Titling their study: “Combining Exchange Based Communication Intervention and Speech Output Technology to Enhance Communicative Development in Children with Autism,” they explain:

“Given that the prevalence of autism continues to increase, families are seeking more support for behavioral interventions such as PECS (the basis of the ProxTalker) approaches from the professional community…. Second, from a perspective of evidence-based practice, there is an urgent need for rigorous treatment efficacy research in this area to establish the effectiveness of this intervention empirically. After the completion of this study, external funding can be sought from several sources including government agencies and nonprofit organizations.”

It is clear that academics who devote their efforts exclusively to the study of speech development methods see the great value in the ProxTalker. Founder Glen Dobbs, a technology expert who, along with business partner Kevin Miller and their team, invented the device to meet the needs of his son (and named the device after him) has clearly invented a superior product that stands to revolutionize communication among non-communicative children. It is also noteworthy that the Logan ProxTalker is now available with Spanish sound tags as well.

Whether using English or the Spanish sound tags (both can be used on the same unit for bilingual classrooms), the ProxTalker allows non-communicative children to form full sentences with relative ease. Combine that with the fact that the device is made to be water proof, crash proof and child resistant (as far as unwanted opening of the device is concerned) and the ProxTalker seems to have all needed and hard to find benefits of a communication device. It is not only unique. Its numerous quality attributes make the device uniquely beneficial for children and parents alike.

To find out more about this revolutionary device please call (877) 776-9177 or visit www.proxtalker.com.

The Vaccine Debate

Do vaccines cause autism ?

By Hope Fine

According to the Center for Disease control, in 2009, 1 - 1.5 million adults and children in the United States have received the Autism diagnoses. In the Early 90’s the statistics were 1 in 10,000 children exhibited symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorders. Several years ago the CDC reported 1 out of every 150 children born in the U.S. will be diagnosed with Autism. Today that number has been revised to 1 out of every 90 children. The ratio is 4 to 1 times greater in males or 1 in every 58 boys.

The connection between the cause of Autism and the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella-vaccine) and the mercury additive Thimerosal (used to preserve the vaccine), has been vigorously debated, especially over the past decade.

In February 2009 the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, attempted to settle the dispute ruling that the Thimerosal additive does not cause Autism Spectrum Disorders.

How trustworthy can a vaccine study conducted by the U.S. government be? How long did it take for the U.S. Government to acknowledge the connection between cancer and cigarette smoking or more recently the side effects of Gardasil, a so called cervical cancer preventative? The Center for Disease Control issued a report connecting Gardasil to Guilliane-Barre syndrome, lupus, seizures, paralysis, blood clots and brain inflammation. The CDC acknowledged 44 reported deaths.

Yet the drug is still being advertised on television and physicians are still encouraging patients to get the vaccine.


The Department of Health and Human Resources issued a public health statement listing the dangers from exposure to mercury. These warnings include:

• Mercury released from dental amalgam fillings.
• The amount of fish consumed, especially indigenous fish which contains higher doses of mercury due to concentrated levels of toxins in local waters.
• The use of metallic mercury in a home or an apartment threatens the health of the people who live there that unknowingly, may be exposed. Metallic mercury is used in a variety of household products and industrial items, including thermostats, fluorescent light bulbs, barometers, glass thermometers, and some blood pressure devices. The mercury in these devices is contained in glass or metal, and generally does not pose a risk unless the item is damaged or broken, and mercury vapors are released. Spills of metallic mercury from broken thermometers or damaged electrical switches in the home may result in exposure to mercury vapors in indoor air.
You must be careful when you handle and dispose of all items in the home that contain metallic mercury.

In the 1990’s the FDA banned over the counter sale and use of Thimerosal based products such as tincture of methiolate, tincture of iodine and tincture of mercurochrome.
Several studies led the Environmental Protection Agency to conclude that up to 630,000.00 newborns in the United States have mercury blood levels at or above the agency's safety limits, almost double the EPA's previous estimate.

It takes only a teaspoon of mercury to contaminate a 20-acre lake. Infants and children are particularly vulnerable to methyl mercury because their nervous systems are still developing.

Similarly, toxic runoff into local ocean water produces levels of mercury that contaminate fish.
Methyl mercury is a potent form of the toxin that becomes more concentrated as it moves up the food chain.

If certain types of fish are a large part of a mother's diet, mercury passed to her baby in the womb can irreversibly damage parts of the brain, according to a study published by the Journal of Pediatrics. High mercury exposures in the womb and in a child's early years also can damage the nervous system's control of the heart, thereby reducing the amount of oxygen provided to the rest of the body.

Thimerosal is used in vaccines to prevent bacterial or fungal growth in the event that the vaccine is accidentally contaminated, as might occur with repeated punctures of multi-dose vials. Vaccines, both in the United States and throughout other parts of the world, are commonly packaged in multi-dose vials.

Under pressure from groups opposing the use of Thimerosal, the FDA required manufacturers to reduce the amount of Thimerosal in vaccines. However it has not been completely removed, leaving traces of the preservative in the vaccines.

Furthermore, most children receive approximately 30 vaccines by the time they reach the age of 5 years old, Some States require newborns to receive a hepatitis vaccine by the second day of birth no matter if the mother has been exposed to or has the hepatitis virus.
Even though some vaccines have trace amounts, considering the amount of vaccinations children receive from birth to 5 years old, those trace amounts can become cumulative in the child’s body.

Over the years, I have treated thousands of autistic children and one common factor in these children is high levels of heavy metals including mercury.
How can anyone expect an infant’s undeveloped immune system to absorb the onslaught or ambush of so many vaccines?


When is it appropriate to vaccinate your child? In my opinion, I would suggest parents wait as long as possible, at least until the child is 18 months old. In any event, vaccines should be administered one at a time, not on the same day and be sure to inspect the label on the ampoule making sure it does not contain thimerisol. Considering all the warnings about mercury, how can anyone deny the danger of its harmful effects? I do not think there is any question about the adverse neurological effects of mercury.

Hope Fine is the Founder and Clinical Director of the South Florida Center for H.O.P.E., Inc., a premier Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Center in Deerfield Beach, Florida. If you have any questions email hbotx@bellsouth.net

Autism Health and Wellness encourages submission of all views on this issue for publication.

Flying Made Safe With a Most Crucial Device

Special Report on CARES Safety Device

Autism Health and Wellness prides itself on being able to provide quality information on products that change lives or that are of unique benefit to children. As such, we are pleased to inform you of CARES, a breakthrough travel safety product available at www.KidsFlySafe.com, the only FAA approved device of its kind to ensure child safety in the air.

Flying with a special needs child is generally challenging. But worrying about their safety is far worse. Reliable safety devices are key to alleviating this most pressing of concerns.
The CARES system was designed for all young children and is extremely beneficial for all. The overwhelming number of purchases are made by families with young children as it is an optimal device for ensuring safety in the air, being light weight, portable and taking less than a minute to install. However, it is most crucial for kids with special needs, as more and more parents are discovering.

CARES has received rave reviews from experts across the board. The American Academy of Pediatrics has stated that, “Testing has shown that aircraft seat belts alone do not adequately protect children younger than three years. All children should travel properly restrained on aircraft…a child is best protected when properly restrained in a child seat system appropriate for the age, weight and height of the child, and meeting the standards for aircraft, until the child weighs more than 40 lbs.” The National Safe Kids Campaign also states that safety seats are needed for all young children in the air.

CARES, the Child Aviation Restraint System, is the only harness type child aviation safety restraint ever certified for airplane travel by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). It is an elegantly designed belt and buckle device for kids that is easy to use and creates a safe airplane seat for your child without the hassle of carrying a 20 pound car seat. Special needs children over 44 lbs may apply to the FAA for an exemption to use CARES. This exemption is free, and is good for all time.

CARES weighs just one pound and fits into a 6" stuff sack. It is simple to install, adjustable to virtually any size airplane seat, and keeps your child as safe as a car seat would. It is made of the same industrial-strength webbing as your own seatbelt. It is engineered and manufactured by AmSafe Aviation, the world's foremost manufacturer of airline seatbelts.

Kids Fly Safe has also made the process easy. Even if someone has a child with special needs who’s older than most children who need such seats, one still does not need to bother with an individual airline as long as they follow the easy steps to getting an FAA letter notifying the airlines that such seats are needed. More information on this process is available at http://www.kidsflysafe.com/how-to-use-cares/cares-for-special-needs-kids.
The CARES system has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Mom’s Choice Awards, iParenting Media, the NAPPA Gold Award and others. The National Parenting Center has given CARES its seal of approval.

CARES is manufactured exclusively by AmSafe Aviation, the foremost manufacturer of aviation seatbelts and pilot restraints in the world. (Turn over your airplane seat belt buckle. Chances are it says AmSafe.) CARES is made of the same industrial-strength webbing as your own seat belt and is engineered to the highest aviation-safety standards. For more information please visit www.KidsFlySafe.com or call 1-800-299-6249.

Compounding As It Relates To Autism

Compounding is one of the fastest growing methods of obtaining treatment as more and more consumers realize the importance of individualized prescription. Amounts of medicine needed differ from patient to patient, as do treatments. A compounding pharmacy gives special attention to each patient and devises a healthy plan that works for the individual.

This is especially important for families that have kids with autism. It’s well known that many pediatricians have little knowledge of how to treat autism. Parents of children with autism have to search for proven therapies. A compounding pharmacy that specializes in this is often your best resource for sound and proven treatments that defy conventional limitations.
Heavy metal toxicity has been found in many children with autism. Post Haste specializes in unique chelation therapy for autism, a widely used method of metal elimination. This is one of the treatments commonly used in an attempt to get to the source of the issue.


Another huge issue for parents of children with autism is the ability to find gluten-free, casein-free and soy-free prescriptions. Compounding pharmacies such as Post Haste carry these alternatives when regular prescriptions are unavailable in these forms.

Many children with autism thrive on a gluten-free/casein-free diet. Parents plan around them and reorganize their kitchens accordingly. When a child gets sick, certain prescriptions are otherwise unavailable in gluten-free forms or are suggested to be taken with dairy products.

Even minimal amounts of gluten set some children off and undo months of progress. This is where a specialty pharmacy that monitors each ingredient is especially useful.
Post Haste Pharmacy was founded in 1970 and has developed uniquely effective and safe methods of treating autism. For the general public, it’s revolutionized the way that treatment is offered.

The pharmacy offers a full diagnostic center and patients receive one on one care and personalized advice. The pharmacy also allows for online purchases and their website offers a variety of expert “health calculators,” such as the “nutritional needs” and “calorie burner” calculators. These handy tools make their site, www.posthastepharmacy.net, a resource that should be visited by the general public. Post Haste Compounding Pharmacy can be reached at (954) 989-6524.

Friday, September 17, 2010

A Proven Protocol for Children and Adults

By Dr. Annalee Kitay
Children who have learning difficulties or children who are exceptional or neuro-developmentally challenged (or both), in one intellectual form or another, are characterized by the fact that they do not learn in ordinary ways.  These children are usually given conventional help and an effort is made to support them in coping with the educational and emotional problems arising from the disabilities. Up until now, there has been no generally accepted means of dealing with the causes of the neurological processing disorder. 
Neural Organization Technique is a protocol that addresses the neurological processing disorder by correcting structural and physiological faults, allowing the appropriate signals to be sent to the brain, and reorganize the way correct information is then transmitted in the body.   Neural Organization Technique is a very powerful tool when used to help children with a wide range of neuro-developmental disorders.

In the area of learning disabilities, a pilot study was done examining the application of Neural Organization Technique.  The study was done by a Chiropractic physician, a special needs consultant, an educational psychologist, and a research sociologist.  The results were so positive that "CONCERN", a national children's journal in England reported some of the
following excerpts from the study: "Before the Neural Organization Technique, the children were given the Vernon Spelling Test, the Edinburgh Reading Test, and the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISCO Revised Form). After the Neural Organization Technique application, they were retested, using the same procedures. The children all showed significant improvement in Full Scale IQ with significant gains in IQ points.

Some of the gains made were particularly remarkable. For example, a fifteen-year-old child achieved a ten-month gain in spelling.  It is very difficult for older children to achieve a gain, especially to this large degree. There were also substantial gains made in reading skills, ranging from12 months to 49 months.

On the whole, the results are extremely positive. Some of the most frequently mentioned changes were increase in confidence, being more curious and questioning, more eager to learn and do new things, improved ability to communicate- more talkative, improvements in writing, spelling and reading, improvements with relationships within family and other people and becoming more mature.

Other changes mentioned include becoming more organized, able to coordinate thinking and actions, finding it easier to remember, more skilled in particular sports, increased physical strength and fitness, better ability to see and focus, and neater presentation of school work.

All the children in the study made gains to some degree on one or more of the tests. The majority made progress that was assessed as statistically significant in all areas. The children's progress was achieved during a period of only six months. In a short time, it is known that children with these learning disabilities generally show little to no improvement in
intellectual functioning or in spelling and reading skills. These results indicate that Neural Organization Technique was the major factor in enabling these children to make such exceptional gains.

Learning disabilities as well as other neurological disorders may be the result of improper signaling from the body or from outside sources.  This improper signaling causes a break in the normal flow of information to the brain, creating disorganization in the system.  The brain may then redirect inappropriate Physiological reactions.  The Neural Organization Technique is a noninvasive protocol that has be used with great success that is dependant on the individual and the neurological disorder.

Dr. Annalee Kitay is a chiropractic physician who uses Neural Organization Technique, along with nutritional support to aid children and adults with Neuro-developmental Disorders.  She sees patients by appointment at Alternatives in Healthcare, 1580 NW Boca Raton Blvd, Suite 4, Boca Raton, Florida and has a satellite office in Whippany, NJ.  She can be reached at 561-620-6007 or 1-888-456-0065.

For Kids With Autism, Certain Toys Teach Life Skills

There are toys and then there are toys.  Some toys help develop the character of a child and help build needed life skills.  For kids with autism, toys can be life changers.
We’ve researched a number of toys that have tangible benefits for special needs children.  Some help with motor and sensory issues, others build social interaction.  All are more than just toys and each has a unique therapeutic value.

The following is a list of the most recommended toys from Playworks, a company that specializes in toys for special needs.  

Snap Bags
Throwing and catching are made easy with two Snap Bags linked together. Snap Bags create a calming presence when all six are attached and used as a shoulder or lap weight. Snap Bags open an entirely new world of gross-motor, fine-motor and social skill game opportunities. Game booklet included!

Explorer Ring
Open the doors and make the beads-go-round! Learn fine motor skills with the motivation of flowing beads. The Explorer Ring works on a range of skills while encouraging tactile, auditory and visual exploration. You can Squeeze the buttons, Pull the knob, Rotate the cuff, Turn the key and Spin the handle to make the beads flow. Game booklet included with play options for all levels.

Bumpity Blocks
Bumpity Blocks are a weighted foam alternative to classic blocks. The extra weight and unique texture provide increased motor control. The non-standard shapes encourage creativity in building. 8 blocks in 4 distinct shapes and 4 bright colors. Game booklet included!

Play Packs
game-501 - 506
Development by Design, the creator of Play Packs aims to give all children of all abilities access to play. Designed with a licensed occupational therapist, DbD products encourage exploration and skill development. Versatile designs, multi-level game cards and a unique icon system allow parents and professionals to tailor games to any child.
Each Play Pack includes 15 skill-based game cards and six information cards printed on thick coated card stock. All games use readily available supplies. Designed for developmental ages 3-12+, each game card features an illustration to entice child's participation, easy to follow directions, and reference icons showing specific skills involved: gross motor, fine motor, bilateral coordination, motor planning, visual perception, eye-hand coordination, oral motor, social, sensory processing, and pre-academic.

Textured Pop Beads
Remember the fifties and the pop bead fad?  Enhanced with texture, what's old is new again.  Sized for easy gripping, Textured Pop Beads offer a fun way to increase tactile awareness and develop fine motor skills. 
Differences in color and texture invite sorting and counting and enhance language development as adult and child use words to describe how the beads are alike and different.  Math comes into play as the child creates chains and rings of different lengths and diameters, then measures, and compares.  An ideal fidget toy, Textured Pop Beads come 100 in a reusable plastic tube.

Autism Health and Wellness has arranged a special discount with Playworks for readers.  Simply log on to www.Playworks.net and enter code AHW for special discounts.  Or call (877) 579-9300 and use code AHW for the same savings.

The Little Gluten-free Bakery from Quebec That's Won Accolades Across North America

What would you do if you could no longer eat bread, bagels, cookies or any of the other wheat-based foods you take for granted? This was the challenge faced by Pat Libling when she was diagnosed with celiac disease (gluten-intolerance) in 1987. "My first reaction," Pat says, "was there's nothing to eat — especially after trying many of the gluten-free products available." When two of her daughters were also diagnosed with the condition, the former school teacher decided it was time to take matters into her own hands.

From home-based business to full-scale artisan bakery

Begun as a home-based business in 2001, the PatsyPie bakery has long since moved into a larger, dedicated gluten-free facility, occupying 3,000 square feet in Montreal, Quebec. Current offerings include cookies, biscotti, mini brownies, and mini muffins.

Not only has PatsyPie become one of the fastest growing gluten-free brands in Canada, available in both major supermarket chains and independent stores, this innovative line is now sold across the United States, as well—in both stores and via the Internet (www.patsypie.com).

Even the employees' lunches are gluten-free

"Often, over the years," Pat says, "I'd hear about a gluten-free bakery in one place or another. New York. Boston. Ottawa. Maine. Vancouver. Toronto. And I'd drag my husband and daughters along to find these wonderful goodies. But I can't recall a single time I wasn't disappointed.

"Yes, the baked goods were gluten-free. But they were also excessively sweet or pasty or dry. When I started PatsyPie, I vowed I would never be that sort of bakery. I will not disappoint people the same way those bakeries disappointed me."

Pat was also disturbed by the fact that many of these bakeries were not 100% gluten-free. "PatsyPie is strictly gluten-free—right down to the lunches our employees bring to work. In fact, no wheat is permitted on the bakery's premises. If someone wants to bring a sandwich," Pat explains, "we supply the gluten-free bread!"

Taste-tested on people who don't need to eat gluten-free

According to Pat, the downfall of many gluten-free baked goods is obvious—the taste and texture. "My goal was to create baked treats that were every bit as good or better than regular bakery items—snacks the whole family could enjoy. It's why we taste-test our products on all sorts of people—not just those restricted to gluten-free diets. After all, if they can't tell the gluten is missing, we know we've done it right."

Often adapted from favorite family recipes, PatsyPie cookies, biscotti, brownies and muffins are considered as close to homemade as store-bought can be. All items are made by hand in small batches, using only wholesome, natural ingredients, with no trans fats, preservatives or "icky aftertaste". "Even the fork marks on our peanut butter cookies are real," Pat states with pride. "My baking sells itself."

Pat attributes a large part of her success to a simple philosophy. "I don't believe it's enough to be just a gluten-free bakery. My goal from the start was to build a really good bakery that just happens to make only gluten-free products. I think that's the big difference between us and others. The way I see it, there's no reason why any gluten-free product shouldn't taste as good as or better than regular baked treats."

Taking the time to get every recipe right

It takes an average of two years of development and testing before a PatsyPie product is deemed ready for market. "We don't rush anything just for the sake of getting it out there." The new Lemon Shortbread cookies, for instance, took two years before Pat felt they were ready to go.

"In gluten-free baking, it's not just a matter of throwing ingredients together. It's about trial and error and finding the perfect balance. It's why we're always tweaking. Recently, we added a simple step to the baking of our Raisin Cookies. The ingredients are the same, but the finished cookie is even better. And the Raisin was already very popular."

In addition to Lemon Shortbread and Raisin, PatsyPie offers Chocolate Chip, Snappy Ginger and Peanut Butter cookies. Biscotti flavors include Almond, Almond & Raisin, Chocolate Chip, Pecan and the highly popular Cranberry Orange. Two frozen products are also offered: Double Chocolate Mini Brownies and Morning Glory with Flax Mini Muffins.

Widely available in Canada, PatsyPie artisan-baked treats are now found in a growing number of health food and grocery stores across the United States too—a not unimpressive feat for a company that began as a home-based, one-woman operation just over eight years ago.

To learn more about this innovative, strictly gluten-free specialist, visit www.patsypie.com or call toll-free 1-87-PATSY-PIE (1-877-287-9743). Chances are that Pat will be the person who picks up the phone!

The Road to Successful Outcomes

By Colleen Whitman, With Danny Boy Whitman

I Have a Dream

My name is Colleen and I’m here to tell you there is HOPE.

My youngest son, Danny Boy, was diagnosed with Autism at 2 ½ years old. He is now 18 and attending College, working toward his degree in Computer Animation.

When I asked Danny what advice he had for Parents of Children with Autism to help them to be as successful as he is he said, “Tell them to be loving and passionate!”

I certainly can’t top that. The best advice I got before asking Danny for his was, “Your instincts are there for a reason. You need to listen to them. Nobody knows your child better than you.” Great advice, truer words were never spoken.

So how did we come this far? First, we had to decide what we wanted for Danny. We wanted him to be a happy, healthy, productive, independent, responsible, thoughtful, safety conscious, law abiding, civic minded, tax paying, home owning, contributing member of society who is not sitting on my couch playing video games at 30.
Whew! No pressure…

We needed a plan

The IEP (Individual Education Plan/Program) offered by his school was a good start but we needed much more. ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) was highly regarded but expensive. Our state lags far behind most others for funding and services. Danny is STILL on the waiting list to receive services. I had to learn to do ABA myself and did it constantly along with Speech, Occupational & Physical Therapies.

Anything I thought might help that wasn’t invasive or dangerous. Diet, Nutritional Supplements, Hyperbaric Oxygen, Sound waves… A word on Programs and Therapies – Again, your instincts are very important here, I was immediately concerned about the way that PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System) was being implemented at Danny’s School. I do believe that these kinds of systems can be useful when used correctly. GREAT care must be taken to ensure that the child doesn’t become dependent on them. They should be used as tools and reinforcement, not as a substitute for instruction in Speech and Language.

Why would a child ever bother to learn Speech when they can simply hand you a card or push a button? Break down the word but insist that they TRY to speak. You want a drink? Say “D” once that’s mastered, they need to say “DR” then “DRI” until they are saying DRINK. It’s not easy but today Danny has beautiful Speech and Language.

Some kids may never be verbal but don’t give up. I’ve heard of many people on the Spectrum who didn’t become verbal until Adulthood. Always have hope. Here’s a tip to encourage reciprocal language, get them a cell phone and computer. Start with texts and IM’s and work up to speaking on the phone, natural reciprocal conversation. Try it.

Think outside the box or inside as the case may be
Here’s another tip: Turn on the closed captioning on your TV. Danny taught himself to read this way. He could read anything by age 3. Comprehension would come MUCH later but did come. Seeing the words they’re hearing really helps kids learn to read. Since he was not yet verbal, nobody believed me when I told them Danny could read.

I proved it by writing dozens of words on Post it notes, sticking them all over the Dining Room table and having him hand them to me as I said the word. Use what works! Give kids the tools they need to be successful. Give choices and include them in decisions whenever possible. I also used Natural Consequence, “You’ll need to hurry so we’ll have enough time to get French fries.” If he didn’t hurry, he didn’t get fries. Of course there was a tantrum but the next time he was ready and waiting for us.

Foster independence any way you can think of. After basic skills like Hygiene, teach them to order at restaurants, cut their own food, fill out their own medical forms.
I know some may be laughing now, thinking, “My child will never do that!” Don’t give up. It’s a process. You may be surprised by what your child can do. I know I was, many times.

Keep them actively engaged but keep an eye out for over stimulation

My job is to educate Parents of Children with Disabilities on their rights and responsibilities under the IDEIA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act). I teach everything from Evaluation and the IEP process through Transition into Adulthood. At one of my conferences, we had a little girl who was attending our Fun Camp Program with her Neuro Typical Brother. Her parents told me that her school reported she was “Uneducable”. Among other issues, she was a runner and wouldn’t keep her shoes on. At the end of the day, her Brother told me that she never ran or took her shoes off all day. Why? She was actively engaged.

If something isn’t working, try something else. We’re currently doing a program called RDI (Relationship Development Intervention) with Danny to improve Social Skills.
He’s doing great with it. I wish I’d known about it earlier. Live and learn.

Be firm but fair but also flexible

Recently, after an agency had spent 5 hours testing Danny for evaluation purposes, he was FRIED. When we went across the street for groceries, he had a MAJOR MELTDOWN right there in the grocery store. People were literally pulling out their cell phones.

Under different circumstances, I might have admonished him for inappropriate behavior. But after 5 HOURS of testing, I would have been frustrated too. All I could do was give him a big hug and tell him everything would be ok. I just held him until he calmed down, eliciting the stares of onlookers, then we got out of there before the authorities showed up! For the record, they told me the Evaluation would take an hour and was necessary to determine eligibility for College Funding. I always had to push hard to get Danny what he needed. It does get easier. Now it’s like breathing for me.

Encourage their gifts

We determined that Danny had aptitude and interest in Art and Computers. We made sure to get him whatever instruction we could and include this info on his Transition IEP and Post School Outcome Statement. We brought in Agencies who could help such as DVR (Division of Vocational Rehabilitation) and never took no for an answer. We took every opportunity to educate others when needed and always tried to be collaborative and proactive rather than adversarial and reactive. Not always successfully, but we tried.

It’s all worth it in the end

There were times that were harder than I could have ever imagined but in the end I feel rewarded and blessed. I know I’ve had a richer more fulfilling parenting experience than many parents who only get to raise Neuro Typical children.

Danny has a brother and sister and when they walked and talked and rode a bike, it was great but when Danny, my son I was told would NEVER do those things did them, the Earth moved. I wept tears of joy. It’s a Religious experience that other parents just don’t get. Sometimes I actually feel sorry for them. We never gave up and it’s paid off big! VIVA HOLLAND!

My name is Colleen and I’m here to tell you there is hope.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Solving Sensory Deficits

Movement disorders, suit therapy and intensive integrated programs

By Therapies 4 Kids

Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often have significant problems related to sensory processing and sensori-motor deficits, even when their primary diagnosis is not sensory integration dysfunction (SID). Children with SID have difficulty registering or organizing and using the sensory information from their body and from the environment. When this process is disordered, problems in learning, development or behavior may become evident. Frequently, they show motor impairments, including poor muscle contraction around joints, low muscle tone, and decreased balance and equilibrium skills. Children with sensori-motor dysfunction typically have problems in accurately producing a movement or controlling the execution of a movement. Sensory processing, motor planning and motor performance delays are seen in young children with SID and ASD.

Rehabilitation center Therapies 4 Kids in Fort Lauderdale, Florida offers an intense and complex therapy program adjusted to the needs of particular patients with neurological disorders (e.g., ASD), CP and other neuromuscular disorders. This includes, when appropriate, suit therapy and intensive integrated physical therapy. 

PediaSuit™ therapy has been proposed as an alternative to conventional physiotherapy and is based on a suit originally designed by the Russians for use by cosmonauts in space to minimize the effects of weightlessness. Suit therapy or Dynamic Proprioceptive Correction (DPC), has been popularized as a treatment modality in Poland and the United States, and is focused on improving sensory stimulation and providing patients with the ability to stand and move through suit therapy resistance. This method allows a person to learn movement, standing posture and balance strategies.

PediaSuit™ consists of a vest, shorts, knee pads and specially adapted shoes with hooks and elastic cords that help tell the body how it is supposed to move in space. Therapists use the PediaSuit™ to hold the body in proper physical alignment. During specialized exercises, the therapists adjust the elastic connectors that topographically mirror flexor and extensor muscles, trunk rotators and the lower limbs. Additional attachments correcting the position of the feet, head and other areas of the body have also been designed. A patient, while wearing the suit goes through various exercises including “how to walk.” The suit works as an elastic frame surrounding the body and does not limit the amplitude of movement but adds an additional weight load on it within designed limits.

PediaSuit™ therapy increases proprioceptive awareness and positions the child in a more ideal alignment during various activities. Re-establishing the correct postural alignment plays a crucial role in normalizing muscle tone, sensory and vestibular function. The suit aligns the body as close to normal as possible and the idea is to move body parts against resistance, thus improving muscle strength. An attached series of elastic cords provides compression to the body’s joints and resistance to muscles when movement occurs. Through placement of the elastic cords, selected muscle groups can be exercised as the patient moves limbs, thus, suit therapy is a form of controlled exercise against a resistance. It is also claimed that the suit improves balance and coordination.

Intensive integrated physical therapy programs are customized to fit the needs of each child, with specific functional goals and usually involve a rehabilitation program that includes about 200 minutes of exercise per day for 6 days a week, including 90 to 120 minutes of the suit application. PediaSuit™ therapy is often used as part of a comprehensive program of intensive physiotherapy of five to seven hours a day for four weeks (UCP, 2003). It combines the best elements of various techniques and methods, and has a sound rationale based on physiology of exercises. It is important to note that use of the suit is only one component of an overall approach. Parental involvement is highly encouraged and parents are often part of the treatment program. It needs to be mentioned, however, that a true intensive therapy program is not merely doing the same exercise over and over again, but rather is a structured approach to physical activity with consideration to person’s individual cycles of progressive overload, fatigue and recovery. You can find this type of therapy at www.therapies4kids.com

The key element in an intensive plan is a strengthening and balance program established for the participant based on his/her individual needs, strengths and weaknesses. Increased strength is reflected in daily functional activities that usually follow or are combined with strengthening exercises. Elimination of pathological reflexes and establishing new, correct, and functional patterns of movements is of significant importance. A typical day of an intensive program may consists of warming up and deep tissue massage, tone reduction and sensory integration techniques, decreasing pathological movement patterns, increasing active proper movement patterns, stretching/strengthening specific muscle groups responsible for functional movement, progressive resistance exercise, balance/coordination and endurance training, and transferring of functional activities and gait training. Thus, intensive therapy is ideal for those looking to accelerate their progress in developmental and functional skills.

The Ability Exercise Unit (AEU) is also sometimes used to assist children in functional activities along with strengthening exercises. The AEU is utilized to isolate and strengthen particular muscles or muscle groups to help gain muscle strength, flexibility, range of motion, as well as functional skills. Children sometimes refer to the AEU as the “spider cage” because of the cords used. The children are hooked up in the unit with a belt around their waist that is attached to the cage using bungee cords. Just enough assistance is given using the bungee cords to allow the child the security and balance needed to practice activities on their own. The cage also allows the child and therapist to work on activities that would normally take two or three therapists to work on, by acting as extra hands. Children are able to accomplish activities in the spider cage that they are not able to do without the assistance of the bungee cords. Depending on the way the bungee cords are placed, one can practice sitting, crawling, standing, strengthening exercises and many other activities.

Children’s physical development and movement is linked closely to other aspects of their daily learning. It is influenced by their growing confidence and enjoyment of physical play, by their increasing ability to control their own bodies through movement and by their physical well-being and strength. As children develop physically, they become faster, stronger, more mobile and more secure of their balance, and they start to use these skills in a wider range of physical activities and also begin to become more aware of themselves as individuals. This developing sense of identity is linked closely to their own self image, self-esteem and confidence. 

For more information please call 954-491-6611 or visit their websites: www.therapies4kids.com and www.pediasuit.com.

Preventing Autism at Birth (Part 1 of 2)

(For Part 2, See www.AutismHealthandWellness.com - articles)

By Dr. Phil Bate

How about a really cheap, yet effective way to prevent autism?  Here it is.  Go to a discount store such as Costco or Walmart.  Get a bottle of 500 pills of 1000mg (1 gram).of Vitamin C.  It will take out accumulated mercury in the mother and protect the developing fetus from brain damage causing autism.

Start taking two of those pills at breakfast and two at dinner.  Take any vitamins, supplements or other drugs at lunch, so that any minerals in those aren’t taken out of the body by the vitamin C.  Total cost under $30 for the whole nine months. 

What this actually does is lower the toxic amounts in the mother (and baby) of mercury, lead, etc.  This allows a baby born with low toxins in the liver at birth, allowing the baby’s tiny liver to handle subsequent mercury loading from vaccines, etc.
Vitamin C does many things very well: 

1.  It “chelates” all minerals in the bloodstream combining with them into a harmless form that is water soluble, and this is filtered out of the bloodstream by the kidneys and out of the body via urine.  That’s important, because in the polluted world, the mother may have a near toxic level of mercury, or lead, or other heavy metal that can destroy brain cells.   She is not likely to even know this unless she has had mineral analysis by blood, urine, or hair.  By taking the amount above, for at least six to nine months, the mother’s toxic level (and the babies) will be lowered sufficiently, so that at birth the baby’s tiny liver will be able to handle additional loads of mercury from vaccines and other toxic sources.

2.  What some may not want you to know is that Vitamin C kills both bacteria and virus cells in the blood.  However to do this the blood has to be saturated long enough to kill all that are present.  With this amount, the blood is saturated twice a day.  This gives fair to good protection against colds and flu’s for the mother and the baby.  This also lessens considerably the possibility of high temperatures that may be dangerous to the fetus.  (In flu season, I up that to 3 grams at both times.)

Many MDs ignorant of the above facts still oppose this usage.  There are many false “horror” stories spread about vitamin C.  These include the following:

                a. Vitamin C causes abortion or miscarriage

F. R. Klenner, MD ((http://www.doctoryourself.com/miscarriage.html) gave high doses (5000 to 10,000 mg/day) to 300 women during pregnancy with no miscarriages.  There has never been a true case of abortion due to any vitamin.

                b. Vitamin C causes Kidney damage and/or kidney stones:

Totally false – in fact, knowledgeable MD’s use vitamin C to help dissolve kidney stones, and to treat kidney and bladder infections. 

                c. Vitamin C is useless against viruses and bacteria:

This is supposedly backed by several “scientific tests”.  In such tests, these “scientists” used only 500 mg of vitamin C (that’s their definition of a megavitamin since the RDA is only 75 mg.  That amount will prevent scurvy, BUT, it isn’t nearly enough for good health!

The major flaw in that research is that 500 mg cannot begin to saturate the bloodstream to kill ALL the virus and bacteria cells.  Both multiply in a binary fashion doubling about every 20 minutes.  If 500 mg of vitamin C only kills half the germ cells present, 20 minutes after the vitamin C is “used up”, the germs are back to where they started and 20 minutes more and they’ve doubled again. 

The results of such a “scientific” test are not true, and their advancers know it, but they keep using such phony research as they will lose a lot of money if the true facts about vitamin C are known.  It’s much cheaper than their drugs, much safer, and at least as effective. 

Here’s a fact that’s true.  The only side effect of overdosing of Vitamin C is diarrhea.   Anyone who tells you different is mistaken, and probably misled by years of misinformation.  For more free information on this visit www.drbate.com

Integrated 4 Part Therapy for Autism

There seem to be hundreds of therapies for autism on the market today and “on the market” seems to be the reason – money.  However, there is no real integration of any of these therapies and little information for the “poor” parents with an autistic child (and “poor” is often correct as autism is a “bankrupting disease”).
There are four different basic problems with four different therapies needed to solve them and work towards any cure or improvements.  These are:
  • Mercury and other heavy metal toxins
  • Allergies and food sensitivities
  • Digestive (gut) problems
  • Inadequate nutrition
Dealing with Heavy Metal toxicity.

This is the major problem and few doctors really understand it.   Measuring heavy metal, particularly in an autistic infant or child is no simple matter.  Few MDs are aware that the autistic patients are ALWAYS short in any chelating material in the blood, such as Vitamin C, or glutathione.  (At every autism conference, there are several booths, each extolling a different way to get expensive glutathione into an autistic child.  Vitamin C is cheaper and better.)  

The doctor takes a blood or urine sample, and runs a mineral assay, comparing the heavy metals to the nutritional minerals in the blood stream.  They believe that this is somewhat accurate, BUT IT’S NOT!

Understand that the function of the liver is to filter these toxic minerals out of the blood so that they cannot get to the brain where they can actually kill brain cells.  Once the toxins are filtered into the liver, some are gradually shifted to other safe storage areas of the body.  However, with a large load of mercury, such as multiple vaccines, added to what’s already in the liver, the liver may not be able to handle it all and brain cells are damaged or killed.  (Check the mother’s mercury level as well.)

The liver is under strict instructions NEVER to release these toxins until and unless some chelation material is present in the bloodstream.  A chelating material combines with the heavy metal, and converts it to a harmless chemical that is water soluble, and it can be filtered out via the kidneys and urine pathway. 

So, if blood is measured, what is actually measured is only what the liver can release (if a chelate is present, a short time after the chelate is sensed).  Blood then may contain at that time and for some time after, a reasonable amount of the toxin.  

Urine takes this similar amount out of the body after it has been filtered out by the kidneys.  (Adults may be measured more accurately by hair analysis.)  So, if you followed the above, you can see that with an autistic child it is more than likely any measurement of mercury or lead will show a false negative – that is actually below toxicity.

How can you get a more accurate or at least NOT a false negative reading?  Pre-load your child with Vitamin C.  I recommend vitamin C for several reasons:  It’s cheap; it’s antiviral and antibacterial; and the only bad side effect is diarrhea, even for infants.

Since vitamin C only lasts four hours, I would load up to 1 gram (1000mg) every four hours for every 50 pounds of child.  If, or when, the child gets diarrhea, lower that amount until just below the point where diarrhea starts.  (That’s called “bowel tolerance”). 
If the patient shows toxic for heavy metal, start chelating and continue until tests show a level way below toxic.  This may take up to a year or more.  Remember that this is very slow and safe, and it takes a long time to get all of it out of storage and released into the blood.  I’ve seen continued high heavy metal toxicity 6 months or a year after starting this chelation.

There are many different chelators on the market and some of them are advertised as fast.  I’m not convinced that these really are that fast, or they just get the toxin out of the liver, and leave it in the stored fatty areas.   I still recommend vitamin C as the cheapest and best chelator for the reasons above.  For chelation purposes, I used 10 grams per day in split doses for adults, and modified that for children, often using bowel tolerance as a measure. 

If every pregnant mother were tested for toxic minerals at start of pregnancy and started chelation if toxic, it could easily end this autism “epidemic”.    I believe that if pregnant women took 4 grams of vitamin C and a good multi vitamin all throughout pregnancy, they would have healthy babies!

Here’s some good news – using vitamin C this way, your child or even infant will probably not get colds or flu while on these amounts of vitamin C.  Nor will most pregnant women. (To be continued indepth in next issue of Autism Health and Wellness.)


It Takes A Zoo

By Monica Holloway,
Author of COWBOY & WILLS: A Love Story

The day Wills was diagnosed with Autistic Spectrum Disorder, I took him for a ride to Ben’s Fish Store in Sherman Oaks to buy a large fresh water aquarium. We picked up all the equipment; a ten gallon tank, a filter, multi-colored rocks to spread on the bottom, an imitation pirate ship made out of clay, tacky neon plastic plants, a large rock with a hole in the middle for the fish to swim through, fish food, a small green plastic net, a special siphon with a clear hose on the end to clean the tank and replacement filters. It totaled $462.84—a high price that I could barely afford to squeeze onto my overextended VISA. I didn't care; my 3-year-old had autism.

Wills was elated, I could tell. His eyes were flashing that clear blue twinkle I only saw when he was really happy. Sometimes his eyes were more like mirrors, my image bouncing back at me. Those were the times I was most panicked, watching Wills recede so deep inside himself that I saw no way to grab hold of his tiny hand and pull him back to me.

But when Wills was present, the world tilted toward perfection. It wasn’t that the diagnosis was a shock, we’d dreaded hearing it ever since we first took Wills to see Katherine, a therapist, a year-and-a-half before. He was a clingy, anxious baby who hadn’t hit a single developmental mark. But still, the diagnosis hit with the velocity of a cannonball.

My husband, Michael, and I focused on how smart he was—how advanced. Who’d ever heard of a toddler sitting still for a history lesson in aviation? He had an incredible facility for building things, creating forts, train stations and airports out of stacks of videotape cassettes and blocks.

But when Wills was 3, it was getting harder to ignore his idiosyncrasies. He was extremely sensitive to textures and noises, a flannel shirt gave him “the goose bumps” and bubbles in the bathtub actually “hurt” his skin. If we strolled by someone in the park and they bent down and said, “What a gorgeous little boy,” his thrashing legs and ear-piercing screams sent his admirer bolting in the opposite direction.

As Wills slowly navigated the preschool minefield of noises and messes and crowded hallways, my animal fixation persisted. With every new problem Wills encountered, I bought him a new pet. We now had six hermit crabs and two hamsters. I cruised Petcos the way drunks frequent bars.

In December of Wills’s kindergarten year, we finally went to the pet store to pick up a new golden retriever puppy, whom Wills had already named Cowboy Carol Lawrence.

“Is that your dog?” a woman with perfect blonde highlights and a Birkin bag asked Wills. I instinctively stepped forward to rescue him from the awkwardness of talking to a stranger, but I didn’t need to.

“Yes,” he told her, turning so she could see Cowboy’s face. “She’s a cutie.” “She sure is,” the woman said. Then something happened. It was so small that nobody in the store would have noticed it. But to me, it was extraordinary. This woman, a complete stranger, patted Wills’s shoulder—and he didn’t bristle or bolt out of the front door in an absolute panic. He just stood there, staring at us with a shy, “what do you know?” smile. Somehow, with this tiny heart beating next to his, Wills had stepped a little further into the world.

Cowboy’s arrival signaled the beginning of many firsts for Wills, but none was more significant than allowing other children into his life—opening him up to the possibility of having really close friends.

The transformation began with kids calling to ask Wills if they could come over to play with Cowboy. Knowing they wanted to play with Cowboy made him feel safer, because it was once removed from them wanting to play with him.

When Wills was anxious or sad about something, he confided in Cowboy. Sometimes I’d hear him in his room or the backyard telling Cowboy all of his troubles. There were too many positives to count: Wills, who could barely say hello to a stranger, proudly leading her around the school so the kids could pet her; Wills’s first swim in the pool because Cowboy was swimming; him sleeping in his own bed with Cowboy spooning him; Cowboy sitting outside the restaurant so that Wills could sit inside, tolerating the noise and the people; the red-and-white doggie pajamas we’d ordered her from a catalog that matched Wills’s pajamas exactly.

When Cowboy was 2 years old, she became very ill and developed a terrible rash. Dr. Graham, the vet, called me while I was making French toast for Wills. He’d finally gotten enough information from all the tests he’d been doing on Cowboy to confirm a diagnosis.

“I can definitely tell you that Cowboy has Lupus,” he said.

“Is there a cure for this?”

“No, I’m sorry, Monica,” he said.

The loss would be unthinkable—that Wills would lose his right arm, his silly sister, his trampoline buddy, the one who’d given him the confidence to be seen and heard.

As Wills got braver, Cowboy got weaker. He responded by thinking of ways to make her life easier. Empathy had arrived. Wills built a wooden ramp to help her walk up to the couch or get to his bed. He also cut up old t-shirts to make her a pillow, which he sewed together with large, loopy stitches and stuffed with paper towels.

September came, and Wills started third grade without a fulltime aide. We decided we couldn’t let Cowboy suffer any longer. “We’re going to have to let Cowboy go very soon,” I told him, tucking his hair behind his ears. He hugged her so tightly, that her face was all bunched up.

“Cowboy’s third birthday is almost here,” he cried. He was right, she wouldn’t make it to 3. “What about her birthday cake from Bones Bakery?”  He was hiccupping and crying at the same time.

“It feels horrible, unthinkable, that Cowboy will die,” I said. And then using Katherine’s words, I told him, “It might even feel like you can’t live through it, but you will.” He wailed even louder. I was inadequate. There was nothing I could do to help my son. Nothing I could say to make this any easier. I had run out of words.

My impulse, of course, was to run out and get a new dog right away, but Katherine said that Wills needed time to grieve. So we compromised—two months, at least, before I’d go anywhere near a breeder website or a dog adoption shelter.

Wills was right; there would never be another Cowboy. She was his first love and his first love lost. Heaven knows, she left an indelible mark on all of us. But with that unimaginable loss, came an incalculable lesson: we all have to learn to say goodbye. It doesn’t mean we don’t miss her or that she could ever be replaced—of course, she never could. It means that his new puppy will be the next generation—not the original, but unique just the same—to teach Wills that nothing, not even cancer, can destroy love.

Cowboy & Wills opens the day after Holloway’s adorable three year-old son Wills is diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Monica Holloway is the critically acclaimed author of Driving With Dead People, a book that Newsweek called “unforgettable,” Glamour christened “a classic,” and the Washington Post deemed “irresistible.”


Sleep Tight - One mother’s solution to keep night-wandering children safe in their beds.

All parents harbor fears that something might happen to their child at night, as the rest of the family lies sleeping. But for parents of special needs children who wander, that fear is chillingly real.

Consider single dad John. He lives in Long Island, New York on the water. Fearing the boy would wander outside at night and in to one of the local canals, John hadn't kept his son overnight for over a year and a half; heartbreaking. Across the country in Texas, Heidi faced her worst fear late one night when a neighbor woke her up, holding on to her 10 year old son, Luke. “Luke had walked into his house, through their back door, went up stairs, and got in their bed,” she said. It was the first time she learned Luke could unlock doors…and walk nearly eight blocks before entering a near-stranger’s home.

Sleeping Safe

Rose Morris shares the same fears as John and Heidi. Her five-year-old son Abram has wandered at night since he was very small. Even if he couldn’t get out of the house, Rose feared Abram would hurt himself when he got out of his room at night. The Morris family never slept well, always on guard.

Doctors recommended medication, while other implied that poor parenting skills were to blame! Rose, a resourceful stay-at-home-mom, came up with a solution.

“Looking for another way, I gathered canvas, polyester netting, sturdy metal tubing and zippers and set to work creating an enclosure for Abram’s bed,” she says. Her creation looks like a camping tent that fully encloses a mattress. It’s a permanent fixture in Abram’s room, but also folds down and can be transported with an air mattress when the family travels. “At night, we lay in bed together, read a story, then I zip Abram in and we rest peacefully knowing that he’ll still be in bed in the morning.”

The effects of Abram’s new bed were dramatic. Rose, her husband Jeff (who travels frequently for work), and her two other children are able to sleep soundly. Abram has benefited immensely as well. A good night’s sleep helps him tackle 30 hours per week of ABA style therapy as well as 12 hours per week in both typical and special needs school settings. "This bed does more than just physically enclose Abram so he can’t get out; it acts as his personal boundary," says Rose. "It calms his sensory needs by reducing all the massive amounts of external stimuli in his room. He is eager to climb in when it's time to sleep--even he understands how much this bed helps him!"

Active in her local community, Rose knew her solution could offer similar improvements to other families with night-wandering kids. So she set out to offer her bed, which she calls “The Safety Sleeper,” to others who benefit from it. Rose set up a non-profit organization to distribute the Safety Sleeper. At www.thesafetysleeper.com., she details how the bed works, and offers links to other resources related to many special needs issues. Rose has also been active in helping families find ways to pay for the bed, which retails for $1549.99. Rose provides a number of resources, such as how to file for Medicaid help, connections to regional charities that have been helpful to families, and information about grant funds that help customers offset the costs.


John finds the Safety Sleeper solves his concerns about his child’s safety at night. For John, the bed travels with his son when he comes to visit. John loved the bed so much and how it enhanced his life with his son, he ordered a bed to stay at his home. John received his own bed in October 2009, the father and son have finally been able to spend weekends and even holidays together. “We wake up, and have breakfast together,” says John. “I feel it’s given my son back to me.”

“You just can’t imagine the fear that goes with having a night wandering child," says Rose. "My son would throw himself into the walls to stimulate himself and help keep himself awake. He easily could have severely hurt himself, especially if he collided with a window. For customers like Heidi, they’ve worried for a full decade! I value the peace of mind The Safety Sleeper offers my family, and I am so grateful to offer that same security to other families. I’m looking forward to helping many kids and their parents enjoy happier mornings after a good night’s sleep in the Safety Sleeper!”

For more information on the Safety sleeper, log on to www.thesafetysleeper.com. Or, contact Rose Morris directly at rose@thesafetysleeper.com or 412/580-6537.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Bringing Art Therapy to Special Teens

A new organization is addressing the need of young adults with autism to develop life skills, social skills and on-premise job training, which will be catered to the individual level of the adult’s skills. 

Studies have shown more than 44% of mothers and 28% of fathers of children with autism have been professionally diagnosed with depression, and need the help, encouragement and willpower to prevail and see the brighter side of the picture. 

Art Possibilities curriculum includes:

·         Drawing
·         Painting
·         Cartoon making as behavior modification methods
·         Comic strips
·         Photography
·         Illustration for children's books
·         Humorous characters
·         Techniques for murals
·         Mixed media
·         T-shirt painting
·         Greeting cards
·         Computer animation
·         Documentary and Film making
·         Art shows

Founder Mayra Ron Talks About Her Experiences With Art Therapy:

Twenty-two years ago, when my son was diagnosed with autism, not much was known about his prognosis. Such was the state of affairs at that time that I was recommended to institutionalize him. I was also told that he "may never read, never potty train, never speak." Despite the odds, he speaks, writes, reads and was potty trained both day and night well before regular kids - at the age of two. Yet, that was many years ago when one in 10,000 were diagnosed with this ailment.

Today, autism is rampant. One in every 150 children has some sort of this disability, yet all the resources and grants go to the small children -- those who have the chance for early intervention, in the hopes that they may be cured. Millions go into new studies, new diets, new advances to discover the why - treat and eliminate it. And that's wonderful.

Art Possibilities addresses another matter... one that's been locked in the annals of our attics ~ what to do with the millions who, like my son, were diagnosed 22 years ago? Those that did not incur in the privilege of all these medical advances and are now in 'nowhere land.' With a special diploma to their credit, they have truthfully nowhere to go. A job opportunity seems obscure since most do not understand the concept of time nor money, cannot take breaks during work hours for they do not comprehend an activity can be interrupted before it's finished.

They do not fit into a Day Training Facility where many Down Syndrome adults feel comfortable, since they do possess other abilities and are bored there, thus causing behavior problems or isolating themselves. It seems society has forgotten them. And that's where the dream of Art Possibilities was born. I call it a dream for still, after so many years that this malady has existed, no provision has been made for those who aren't healed from autism when they attain adult age and are out of our school system.

There is no "right place" for those who advance wonderfully, as my son, yet cannot blend as "normal" into society. What to do with those thousands? Do we shut our eyes to them, as has been done, and allow them to stay at home watching TV all day, accompanying their parents everywhere, forcing one of the couples to retire from their day job to keep them company, or stick them in a Day Training Center that's honestly not appropriate for them? So these older counterparts are the forgotten ones; the reason why I wrote my first book, "Can You See Me?" They are the ignored ones. Those this world has decided not to see.

So, I've chosen, just like many other parents with me who have adults like my son, to scream and ask, "What are we to do with these? ... Do they not deserve to live a fulfilled life? Why must they be hidden away and why must it be all our responsibility? Why did all those agencies that promised us a smooth transition from high school to adult life not tell us the truth: we do not have a place for them."

If you read my son's biography, you'll notice he didn't paint until he was 17. He has no apparent ability that caused the world to notice him; no strength. He liked super heroes and one day, I found out he liked to draw them - very childish drawings, but he liked it!! He liked something! He could actually spend hours drawing very awkwardly, but through repetition, heartfelt teachers and 10 years later, he can draw and paint.

No, as I say in his biography, he's not a Picasso, but so what? He's Christian - that's his name and he's found a place in this world. And that's what Art Possibilities' mission is: to find a place where our adults can transition. Not an hour and a half art class, but a place where they stay all day. Clean, well arranged, with art teachers and trained professionals, where through vision, behavior and speech therapy, fine motor exercises, repetition of lines, eyes, faces - they learn to express themselves while utilizing the right side of the brain - the non-verbal side... the neglected area the school system, with its left-side and analytical teaching, pounded on them for years.

As a non-profit organization, Art Possibilities helps address the need for adults and teenagers (children 10 years and up) with autism to develop life skills, social skills and on-premise job training, which will be catered to the individual level of the adult’s skills.

Art Possibilities’ website is www.artpossibilities.net.  They can be contacted at 954-682-3264 or info@artpossibilities.net.

Nut Butters As a Health Food

Futters Nut Butters brings the largest variety of pure natural and organic nut butters to the market. Armed with a nutrition background and a buyer of organic foods for 32 years, the president’s mission is to offer vegan, gluten free, peanut free and dairy free nut butters and other products to the public. From the start, the company was not set up as another peanut butter company. All the nut butters are in glass jars so there is no leaching of plastic with it’s harmful and toxic chemicals. The emphasis is on healthy products, taste and freshness foremost.

Buying from the orchards and suppliers working directly with the farms makes that possible. The nuts come in and leave almost as fast- freshly made to order. Nothing sits in warehouses or distributors’ trucks. The large variety of nut and seed butters helps those in needs of rotation of foods.  A good portion of the customers are food challenged in many ways. The purity and freshness targets those wanting an unusually high amount of vitamins and minerals in one food. The basic nut and seed butters have nothing but the nut or seed in them. There are no sugars, salts, preservatives etc. The gourmet offerings such as chocolate walnut has dark chocolate and walnuts. That’s it. Cherry almond has a cherry flavor oil and almonds. That’s it. They have the least amount of ingredients that are needed for their superior taste.

The fats are mostly monounsaturated, so the benefits for the brain and heart are paramount. Even the fats in the macadamia butter help metabolize fats in the body. The proteins are sizable for the amounts per serving. Pumpkin Seed butter has 10 grams per 32g serving. All the carbs are low, and there’s plenty of good fiber. This is a food endorsed by medical professionals for optimal health.

Futters Nut Butters’ basic varieties include such wonderful nut butters like almond and hazelnut which are high in calcium and magnesium. The hazelnuts have a very rich taste and aroma and are grown from beautiful trees in Oregon. The raw pecan butter is naturally sweet with an almost maple essence. Pecans are high in antioxidants, which few know because berries get so much of that attention. Brazil nut butter is high in selenium and zinc with an almost tropical flavor. They are actually a seed, grown wild in the Amazon rainforest from extremely tall trees that can be up to 1000 years old. Futters nut butters are ground at room temperature so the raw versions are still raw, fitting into raw foodists’ diets as well. There is minimal processing to keep the integrity of the nuts. Futters Nut Butters is certified kosher and organic. Both with certifiers of  social conscience and responsibility.

Futters has it’s gourmet line that includes Cinnful Pecan. With a slight sweetness to it with only 1 gram of added sugar, it’s a combination of cinnamon and allspice that enhances fruit like sliced apples to waffles, hot cereal, pancakes, toast and more. All the chocolate versions have a high quality dark chocolate with a high cocoa content that adds antioxidants/flavonoids helping to lower blood pressure, improve circulation and reduce blood clotting. It also contains resveratrol which is a cancer fighting plant phenol and heart healthy commonly found in wine. The taste is divine and literally can be eaten on a spoon straight from the jar by itself. The chocolate pecan tastes like a chocolate “turtle™” with none of the corn syrup or milk products that the candy is made with. There are chocolate, almond and hazelnut versions as well.

Much information is on the website, www.futtersnutbutters.com. Recipes simple and complex using the nut butters as substitutes or enhancements of other foods can be found there. Some are savory such as the stuffed mushrooms with pistachio butter. Some sweet like the brownie recipe that uses the nut butters as a replacement for real fat/butters with their smooth textures instead of chopped nuts.

Easy Wrap that’s gluten free. Futters walnut, pumpkin seed or almond butter spread on a lettuce leaf (or any large green of choice), topped with shredded carrots, sprouts and sliced cucumbers. A bit of salad dressing will enhance the veggies. Roll up and see what a familiar taste this is. If you’ve ever had a salad with a few nuts or seeds on top, this is it. Call 877-772-2155 with questions, checkout our ad for an interesting offer, look us up at www.futtersnutbutters.com.