Category Archives: Aspergers Syndrome

The Testers Need Our Help

From: []
Sent: Thursday, July 24, 2014 4:09 PM
Subject: Help us recruit more research families!


Dear Patricia,

You have been extremely supportive of our research studies (thank you so much!). Unfortunately many of our participants that signed up for our research registry have never completed any of our research studies which means that we are continually in need of recruiting new families.

We hope you might consider sharing information about our research with other ASD families and encourage them to participate (invite them to sign up at Remember that families can participate in our studies from anywhere by mail/phone/email/online.

If you are a Facebook user, please consider liking our Facebook page and sharing it with others ( Perhaps even share your thoughts on why you think participating in research is important.

Your help in spreading the word would be appreciated!

Many Thanks,

Melissa Hudson, BSc
ASD-CARC Research Registry Coordinator

Phone: 1-866-ASD-CARC (1-866-273-2272)
Fax: 1-888-556-6057

You need a purpose and something to work towards

Just wanted to let you know that my book on Setting Goals “Goal Setting Success Secrets. How To Revitalize Your Life. Setting And Achieving Your Goals The Smart Way.” is available free as a Kindle Edition @ Amazon until september 28/2012.

If you download and enjoy the book I would appreciate an honest review on Amazon in the near future. :-)
I can sure use your help!

Tagged as: Goal Setting

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Importance of Autism Awareness

English: Subject: Quinn, an ~18 month old boy ...Autism Awareness

Autism is defined as a persistent developmental disorder that impacts normal working of brain characterized by difficulty in communication and social interaction (Atwood, 2012). Other key characteristics associated with autistic behavior include restrictive, repetitive and stereotypical patterns of behaviors, interests and activities (Atwood, 2012). This developmental disorder is usually detected within the first three years of an individual’s life (Atwood, 2012).

Autism United is a dedicated body that is working tirelessly to promote the cause of autism in the United States (Autism United, 2012). Every year on 2nd of April autism awareness day is celebrated in the United Sates (Autism United, 2012). Garreth Dickson, founder of Autism United is of the view that one positive aspect of creating autism awareness is that it greatly furthers the cause of finding a treatment and possible prevention methods for the disease (Autism United, 2012). Another helpful feature of creating autism awareness is that a number of misconceptions existing in the minds of people regarding the disease are dispelled. Creating autism awareness also ensures that people are better aware of the exact reasons behind this developmental disorder (Autism United, 2012).

Creating autism awareness ensures that people are aware that:

Autism is not an emotional or mental health disorder as is commonly believed. It is actually a biological illness that influences the normal growth and development of human brain (Salahi, 2008).Advances made in medical sciences have ensured that treatments are created to improve autistic children abilities through early intervention and Applied Behavioral Analysis techniques yet no method has been developed till date that can be singled out for curing children and adults suffering from autism (Salahi, 2008).The belief that autism results in children with cold, uncaring parents propagated in 1940 by Austrian doctor Bruno Bettelheim has been rendered as wrong. Director of UCLA’s center for autism research, Dr. Daniel Geshwind, opines that most of scientific research studies done for diagnosing the causes of autism reveal a strong genetic predisposition in most of the patients with autism and no evidence has been found that links autism to how the children were raised by the parents (Salahi, 2008).Another common misconception is that individuals with autism always have some hidden talent, Robert W. Marion, M.D., director Children’s Evaluation and Rehabilitation Center (CERC) at Albert Einstein College of Medicine clarifies that though a minor group of individuals with autism have extraordinary skills a condition referred to as Savantism, most of them do not possess any special skills or talent (Salahi, 2008).The opinion that all autistic people have trouble forming social relations is wrong according to Dr. Marion, he states that although some autistic people on the severe end of spectrum have difficulty entering into social relationship most other autistic children have friends and easily form close relationships (Salahi, 2008).

Autism is a complicated disorder, but the people suffering from autism can be as functional as any other normal person, they have all the right to love and be loved, obtain education, get a good job and live their life peacefully.


Atwood, M. (2012). Living With Autism. ABDO.

Autism United. (2012). Welcome to Autism United. Retrieved September 3, 2012, from Autism United:

Salahi, L. (2008, October 23). 10 Myths About Autism. Retrieved September 3, 2012, from abc news:

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Asperger’s Syndrome – Biological basis

Autistic individuals tend to use different are...

Because of its relative inaccessibility, researchers have only recently been able to study the brain systematically. But with the innovative emergence of new brain imaging tools – computerized tomography (CT), positron emission tomography (PET), single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT), and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), study of the structure and the functioning of the brain can be done.

With the aid of modern technology and the new availability of both normal and autism tissue samples to do post-mortem studies, researchers will be able to learn much through comparative studies. Post-mortem and MRI studies have shown that many major brain structures are implicated in autism. This includes the cerebellum, cerebral cortex, limbic system, corpus callosum, basal ganglia, and brain stem.

It appears that in autism a disorder is found in the structure of the brain, e.g. the little brain(cerebellum). There is a disorder localized in the frontal lobes. Low blood flow to certain parts of the brain and reduced numbers of certain brain cells also seem to appear along with autism traits.

An exciting development is the Autism Tissue Program Studies of the postmortem brain with imaging methods will help us learn why some brains are large, how the limbic system(interconnected system of brain nuclei associated with basic needs and emotions such as hunger, pain, pleasure, satisfaction, sex, and instinctive motivation) develops, and how the brain changes as it ages. Tissue samples can be stained and will show which neurotransmitters are being made in the cells and how they are transported and released to other cells. By focusing on specific brain regions and neurotransmitters, it will become easier to identify susceptibility genes.

Other research is focusing on the role of neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine, and epinephrine. Problems are found in the general functioning of the brain as a result of a shortage or excess of neurotransmitters (dopamine and serotonin). As a result information entering the brain is not correctly processed.

There is a report by Edwin Cook and his colleagues that the first gene of autism relates to processing serotonin in the brain. In 1990, Dr. Cook said, “the most consistent finding has been over 25% of autistic children and adolescents are hyperserotonemic. After decades of investigation the mechanism of hyperserotonemia has not been determined.” Hyperserotonemia is where you have high-elevated serotonin levels.

Only recently researchers at the School of Medicine have discovered in the placenta what may be the earliest marker for autism, possibly helping physicians diagnose the condition at birth, rather than the standard age of 2 or older. Current studies are searching for characteristics in children at risk for ASD so that the diagnosis can be made prior to age 1. The ideal time for diagnosis would be at birth, according to senior author on the study Dr. Harvey J. Kliman, research scientist in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences at the School of Medicine. They found that the placentas from ASD children were three times more likely to have trophoblast (the embryo’s outer layer) inclusions. Kliman and the team identified trophoblast inclusions by performing microscopic examinations of placental tissues.

“We knew that trophoblast inclusions were increased in cases of chromosome abnormalities and genetic diseases, but we had no idea whether they would be significantly increased in cases of ASD,” says Kliman. “These results are consistent with studies by others who have shown that ASD has a clear genetic basis.” Trophoblast inclusions reflect abnormal folding of microscopic layers in the placenta and appear to result from altered cell growth.

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Autism Information and Alternative Care

@chiropractic I Voted

Chiropractic care as a complementary and alternative strategy for care for individuals with autism. Unfortunately there is limited high quality research into alternative methods for autistic individuals in general. That being said, there is significant anecdotal support for non-conventional care with parents reporting improvements in behavioral issues such as tantrums, outbursts, repetitive actions and sleep, for example.

The message of chiropractic is that the body has a remarkable ability to self-heal and repair. The power that made the body is the power that heals the body. The body innately knows what to do to heal a scratched finger, to mend a broken bone, to fight off infection… It’s truly amazing when you think of it! Chiropractic itself doesn’t directly heal you, but it mediates the process by allowing the nervous system to communicate more freely. Chiropractic adjustments to misaligned or hypomobile vertebrae puts the body into better balance physically and neurologically such that the body can do what it’s supposed to do at its best. Also, chiropractors recognize that what you put in your body really does matter. Whatever you eat, do and think makes a difference in your overall health.

For the record, chiropractors do not diagnose or claim to cure autism. Instead, they seek to maximize one’s inherent healing abilities by addressing physical, chemical and emotional stressors that influence overall well-being. Chiropractors play an important part of the team approach to care along with conventional therapies.

As in any individual, physical factors play a role in well-being. Chiropractors will evaluate posture, ranges or motion, tightness/tenderness in muscles and/or joints, spinal alignment and overall function. Traumas can result in pain, irritability and outbursts in those with autism, which affects quality of life. Chiropractic care is hands on, gentle and effective at addressing physical concerns. There is also some preliminary research demonstrating benefits in behavioral problems as well as attenuation of sensorimotor issues among autistic individuals following chiropractic care.

Chemical factors are anything that is eaten or breathed in. Diet plays a huge role in health and is particularly important in individuals with autism due to the gut’s role. Dietary suggestions for those with autism include probiotic support and a generally clean, healthy diet. This means reduce or eliminate refined sugars, fast foods, preservatives and artificial colors/sweeteners/flavors. Home-cooked meals are best and should include whole foods, vegetables and healthy fats. Food allergy/sensitivity testing may also be beneficial. Avoiding foods that one is sensitive to may improve overall digestion and reduce inflammation. If allergy testing isn’t feasible, one can try avoiding foods that are commonly problematic – for example: wheat, dairy, corn and soy. Whatever you do, don’t make immediate, drastic changes as this can be both upsetting and challenging. Phase things in and out so that the change is more gradual and then try to maintain the diet for at least a month to determine if there is improvement.

Emotional factors play a role both in the autistic individual as well as the household. Children with autism are more prone to anxiety disorders, feelings of anger and difficulty in adapting to change. These may manifest as behavioral issues as well as musculoskeletal signs and symptoms. For the family, challenges in raising a child with autism commonly results in emotional stress as well as strain on family finances. Stress can present as aches, pains and headaches as a result of tense muscles and joints. Families of autistic children may also benefit from chiropractic care as a means of relieving pain as well as stress.

Physical, chemical and emotional stressors are all inter-related. By looking at the big picture of one’s health, overall health and well-being can be maximized. Even if a child goes from 20 tantrums per day to five, it’s worth it. Or if a child can finally sleep through the night when under chiropractic care, it’s worth it. A trial of chiropractic care may make all the difference.

Dr. Serbinski is a chiropractor practicing in North York, Ontario. She has a holistic approach to health and witnesses the benefits of chiropractic every day. For pain relief, correction of mechanical problems of the musculoskeletal system and for general wellness, chiropractic works. For more information, please visit Dr. Serbinski’s chiropractic website at: or her Google Places page at:

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Autism and Asperger Syndrome in Fiction

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

The depiction of fictional characters with Autism or Asperger Syndrome in modern literature typically, either purposefully or not, exposes the challenges these characters face and how they overcome them as well as influencing how other people perceive those with the disability.  It is important to remember however that these are works of fiction; the authors are creative writers striving to entertain.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time 

Although publicly disclaimed by author Mark Haddon as not being about a character with Asperger Syndrome, many people are of the opinion that, in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, the behavioral problem the main character exhibits is a portrayal of Asperger.

Christopher, the main character, is gifted in the ability to solve math problems, but he has difficulty relating to other people.  The story follows his experiences as he solves the mystery of a murdered dog.  Many have argued that Christopher’s mannerisms and actions throughout the book, as well as his reactions to things around him are a vivid depiction of Asperger.

A Wizard Alone

A Wizard Alone by Diane Duane is the sixth in a series entitled Young Wizards.  The theme of the Young Wizards series can be described as a combination of religion and fantasy.  The source of conflict and plot reads like a 21st century biblical tale with a supreme being and their servant spiritual beings in a strategic battle with spiritual forces attempting to subvert existence.

Darryl McAllister is a young wizard, a mortal group of beings tasked with fighting the spiritual evil.  Darryl is autistic and currently undertaking his wizardry rite of passage.  With the help of two other wizards Darryl fights and subdues the supreme spiritual evil.  Throughout this book, a lot of the mannerisms and reactions to situations are regarded as accurate representations of autism.

Al Capone Does My Shirts

Author Gennifer Choldenko’s Al Capone Does My Shirts is a young adult novel that intertwines the experience of caring for an autistic family member with the story of a child’s mischief and creativity.

The character of Moose Flanagan has a sister named Natalie who is autistic.  The family has just moved to Alcatraz Island because the father got a job as a prison guard.  Moose takes care of Natalie and is a friend with the prison warden’s daughter Piper who talks Moose into a scheme to make money off of their friends by falsely offering to have Al Capone wash their laundry.  This book is generally considered to be an accurate portrayal of the challenges of caring for a family member with autism.

These are just a few of the many examples of available fiction books portraying characters with Autism or Asperger Syndrome, and the different perspectives that can be presented.  Many more can be located through search engines, book reviews, and retailers.

By Brock M. Hunter

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Autism In The News, 2012, Week 35

Evidence weak that vocational programs help young adults with autism – CNN (blog)

Google “vocational interventions for young adults with autism” and you’ll get more than 200,000 results. But a new study finds there’s little science to backup the efficacy of current methods used to help young adults with these neurodevelopmental disorders segue into the workforce.

“There’s startlingly little information on the best ways to help adolescents and adults with autism achieve their maximum potential in the workplace and across the board,” says lead study author Julie Lounds Taylor.

Developmental Delays, Autism Often Missed in Hispanic Children –

Developmental Delays, Autism Often Missed in Hispanic Children

Hispanic children often have undiagnosed developmental delays, according to new research that also found that large numbers of all children who were first thought to have developmental delays actually had autism.

“Our study raises concerns about access to accurate, culturally relevant information regarding developmental milestones and the importance of early detection and treatment,” said Virginia Chaidez, Ph.D., the lead author and a postdoctoral researcher in the University of California Davis when the study was conducted.

Father of autistic boy creates an innovative approach to therapy that’s … – Sacramento Bee

Father of autistic boy creates an innovative approach to therapy that’s bringing children to the table – literally.
Delightful online puppet videos make learning a ‘preferred activity’

“We wanted to create an educational program that children with autism and similar challenges would enjoy watching, and a title character that was smart and silly – and autistic!” says series creator Dan Kalinowski. “Making it fun removes barriers to therapy, encourages imitation, and increases memorization. We also hope the fact that Buddy has autism makes him familiar and shows that using visual schedules and reward systems is a perfectly acceptable part of life that deserve screen time, too.”

Autism’s ‘punch in the gut’ –

As controversy flares over a recently published column suggesting a link between autism and a reduction in parasitic organism in the bodies of people from developed worlds, a new theory seeks to establish credibility with scientific research on autism.

On Monday, TIME Magazine released research examining a potential microbiological link between gut bacteria and autism.

Scientifically known as microbiomes, these non-human cells primarily occupy the intestines and other organs in the digestive system. The cells are much smaller than human cells, but an average person has 10 times the amount of gut bacterial cells compared to the human variety.

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Autism: Children in Their Own World, Parents in the Dark

About two years ago, our oldest child was diagnosed with Autism. Without knowing it for sure but suspecting it, my husband tried for about a year to prepare me to the possibility of our son being Autistic. He read and did a lot of research on Autism Spectrum Disorder. As a teacher, I refused the diagnosis as I was afraid of labeling him. As I was a late bloomer myself, I thought that he just needed a bit more time to learn how to walk and talk but as the time went by, I started to have concerns of my own.

During the summer of 2003, I have noticed some negative comments about my son’s behavior by people in the park or at the pool. One mother even approached me about the possibility of Autism. At first, I refused this possibility but since then, the idea of Autism started to eat me alive. After all, I knew so little about Autism but just the thought of it sounded just like a prison sentence.

Was it possible that my son’s lack of speech was not related to timidity but to Autism? What kind of future would my baby have? What did I do to cause him to possibly be affected by this disorder? Did I do something wrong during my pregnancy? As time went by, questions drowned my mind to the point where I could not take it anymore.

For my son’s sake, I needed the help of medical specialists to discover why my son never said the word: “Mommy” to me yet. Either way, I needed to know what was going on and how to help him and make him happy, no matter what the diagnosis would be. I owed that much to my child.

As he had his annual check up with our family physician, I shared my husband’s concerns and mine with her. A few weeks later, we received a long and detailed questionnaire about our son’s behavior, weaknesses, habits, etc. Then a month or so later, the appointment was given to us. From then on, both my husband Kevin and I went on an eternal roller coaster ride until that day, not knowing what to expect, how to deal with it and more importantly, how would it affect our son’s life?

On December 17, 2003 I went to the appointment with my son as Kevin was caring for our young daughter at home. Both my mind and my emotions were a mess. What would this specialist on Autism tell me? How would she test him? When would I find out the results of her tests and observations? Little did I know that on this day, both my son’s and family life would change forever. Following a series of tests and observations, done through play while being observed by other medical staff and advisors, the doctor shared the results: “Mrs. Leochko, your son has Autism.”

My first reaction was to break down in tears. What had I done to cause my son to be affected by this disorder? The only things that I knew about Autism were that children live in their own world, losing touch with reality and also, like most people, I had seen the movie. Was my son a little “Rain Man”?

Realizing that I needed to know more about this disorder, my next question was: “What is Autism?” This question was then followed by: “What can we do to help my son?” and “What are the services that can be put in place for him and how do we proceed?” Like any parents newly hit by this diagnosis, several questions followed as well as a shower of answers which were not all assimilated as well as desired since my mind was racing at high speed.

The next step was to inform my husband. He was not surprised and was a lot calmer than me. He comforted me and asked me to look at our son while he was playing, enjoying himself and laughing out loud. He made me realize that we could help our son and that our main goal was to ensure his happiness. On December 22, 2003 two ladies came to meet us to start things rolling to get the services in place as soon as possible for Dasan. As they explained to us, early intervention is crucial as it gives our son better chances in life.

As time went by, services were slowly but surely put in place. Little did we know that our one year old daughter would be also referred and a year later, also diagnosed with Autism. Kaylee is situated higher on the spectrum because of her milder level of Autism while our son Dasan ranges from moderate to severe. It made us realize the difference on the spectrum. In a way, Dasan’s diagnosis, help us identify our daughter’s Autism at an earlier age: two years old. This way, the services have been put in place even earlier which gives her better chances of progression and a higher quality of life.

Since our son’s diagnosis, I must say that both my husband and I have learned a lot about the Autism Spectrum Disorder also known as ASD. As parents of Autistic children, we did not only learn but also have decided to share this precious information with other parents, relatives, teachers or other people involved with individuals affected by the Autistic disorder. How did we do that? By researching information, ideas and also by using our own experience, ups, downs and tips on blogs and websites.

We are no experts and we certainly have no medical degree but as parents which have been living with Autism twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, we thought that at the beginning of this “adventure” all we knew and felt was: “Children in their own world, parents in the dark…” and now we see the light as there is one for everyone.

Autism is a disorder and affects our dealings with individuals with a different perception of life but let me tell you that it does not change the fact that our children are special in more than one way and that we do not only love them as they are but also, we would not change them for the world. The best gifts that we can give them are: love, patience, understanding, support and all the resources and services that can make a difference in their life.

My name is Sylvie Leochko. I am the mother of two children affected by the Autism Spectrum Disorder. If you wish to learn some facts and other information, I invite you to visit our websites: or

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