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Archive for April, 2011

5th Annual Tools for Transformation

5th Annual Tools for Transformation Parent and Professional Conference

5th Annual Tools for Transformation Parent and Professional Conference and State of the State Legislative Breakfast:
Educating, Empowering, and Changing Lives
The largest and most comprehensive Autism/ADHD/LD conference held in South Los Angeles, our annual Tools for Transformation Conference and State of the State Legislative Breakfast features 16 presentations and workshops led by nationally renowned experts in developmental disabilities, law, medicine, education, and advocacy. This is a must-attend for parents, professionals, and advocates who wish to make an impact in the delivery of educational and health related services to children in LA County.

Registration is FREE and includes meals, childcare, educational resources, access to health and resource fair, give-aways, and much more:

*UPDATE* Pssst… we will now be giving away iPads at this year’s Tools for Transformation Conference. Don’t miss it!

Conference Dates
State of the State Legislative Breakfast
Friday, April 15, 2011

Check-in: 8:00 am
Breakfast: 9:00 am to 11:00 am

FAME Renaissance Center
1968 West Adams Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90018

Join community leaders, professionals, executives, parents, and invited legislators in a discussion on Health Disparities in Communities of Color, Services for Children and Families with Disabilities, Autism Insurance Legislation, and the State’s Massive Cuts to Regional Centers and Health and Human Services Programs. As a guest, you will participate in the largest autism/disability rights call to action in South Los Angeles.

Tools for Transformation Parent and Professional Conference
Saturday, April 16, 2011

Check-in and Continental Breakfast: 7:30 am
Get Moving and Motivated with Joanne Lara: 8:00 am
Workshops: 8:30 am to 4:00 pm including the Joe Patton Achiever’s Awards Luncheon

Junior Blind of America
5300 Angeles Vista Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90043

Participants have the opportunity to select from 16 workshops categorized by four themes: Family and Relationships, The Diagnosis and Treatment, Advocacy, Education, and Legal Update, and Non-Medical Interventions. Free childcare and Spanish interpreters will be available on this date, as well as access to an expansive Health and Resource Fair featuring local and national organizations and service providers.

Registration is free and starts now!
Go to http://www.tft2011.eventbrite.com to register and learn more about the event, including the complete list of workshops and conference speakers.

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Summer Camp in Newbury Park

I found a Summer Camp in Newbury Park without field trips!

As a working parent of 2 young children I really wanted to find a camp that was local and didn’t have field trips.
I was also looking for something with enough activities to keep my almost 8 yr old son active and happy and nurturing enough for my sweet soon to be 6 yr old daughter.

The Summer is Fun Day Camp is located at Borchard Community Center (190 Reino Road, Newbury Park CA 91320) and is operated by a Division of TeMaat, Inc.  During the school year they also run an after school program.  They are located in a room at the back of the community center which has air conditioning for those hot days.

Summer Dates are June 13 – August 19, 2011* – final dates will be determined once Conejo Unified School District sets the calendar for the 2011-2012 school year.  This camp is for 5 to 12 year olds.  (805) 499-3331

Even though there are no field trips the kids will still have lots to keep them busy.  Every Tuesday there will be fun activities that will be brought to the kids.

  • Police
  • Reptile Family
  • Chumash
  • Fire Department (kids get to use a fire hose)
  • K-9
  • Jolly Jump (bounce house)

There will also be:

  • Swimming at the Newbury Park High School pool 2 – 3 afternoons per week
  • Daily crafts
  • Legos and Perler beads
  • Thursday afternoon movies and/or water play

If you haven’t been to the Newbury Park High School pool it has great options for kids.  There is a 3 foot deep pool in addition to the full size pool.  There are a lot of lifeguards on duty and you have the option for your child not to get in the water if you prefer.

My son is on a gluten free and dairy free diet and I am very happy to have found a camp that doesn’t have food crafts and will work with me so that I can bring in food substitutes so he doesn’t feel left out.

The camp has both full day and half day options and cannot be booked online.  You must call (805) 499-3331 to get an application packet emailed to you.

A Full Day (7:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.) (please send lunch) $130.00
B Half Day – Morning (7:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.) (please send lunch) $ 65.00
C Half Day – Afternoon (1:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.) $ 65.00

I’m so glad that our search for a summer camp is over. I highly recommend you give them a call to learn more.

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Piece by Piece - Scentsy Warmer

Scentsy Warmer – Piece by Piece for Autism Speaks

Take a look at this beautiful warmer from Scentsy.  The colorful jigsaw pieces playfully pop out from the puzzle adorning Piece by Piece, Scentsy’s newest Charitable Cause Warmer, designed to represent the mission of Autism Speaks™.

If you’d like to purchase one of these warmers you can do so at my friend Sheri’s website.  BUY HERE

April is Autism Awareness Month.  Please use the buttons below to share this post on Twitter or Facebook.  Your support is greatly appreciated.

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3rd Annual Great Open Jump

Great Open Jump tomorrow!

Join Pump It Up for a spectacular one-day event on Thursday, April 7 as they host the 3rd annual Great Open Jump!

You can jump for free with a donation to Autism Speaks!

1st Event: Open to Families with Autistic Children only from 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. Donations will be accepted in the form of a puzzle piece donation card and admission is free for families of autistic children.

2nd Event: Open to anyone from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. Make a $20 donation to Autism Speaks and jump for free!

These events are happening at 150 Pump It Up locations across the USA.   Our local Pump It Up is located in Ventura, CA.

5120 Ralston Street
Ventura, CA 93003
(805) 339-9669

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PBS NewsHour to Report on Autism Today

With April being Autism Awareness month there are lots of television specials along with movies about Autism screening on cable TV.  After getting an email tonight about this PBS series I decided to search for all shows on Autism this month and record them.

Robert MacNeil returns to PBS NEWSHOUR to report on Autism Today

6-part series airs during Autism Awareness Month April 18 – 26, 2011

ARLINGTON, VA (March 29, 2011) – Autism – it’s a developmental disorder that has become increasingly prevalent, affecting 1 out of 110 American children. Despite years of study, little is known about its cause and access to treatment varies. Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of American families hungry for answers struggle to care for the unique needs of children with the disorder. Among them, Robert MacNeil, co-founder of the PBS NEWSHOUR and grandfather of Nick, a 6-year old boy with autism.

“I’ve been a reporter on and off for 50 years, but I’ve never brought my family into a story … until Nick,” MacNeil said, “because he moves me deeply.”

MacNeil and producer Caren Zucker tell the story of Autism Today in a 6-part broadcast series beginning Monday, April 18, 2011 and a robust online component where viewers can join the conversation. Ms. Zucker has produced many stories on autism and is the mother of a 16-year old son with autism.

Monday, April 18 An introduction to Nick and autism as a whole body experience: MacNeil brings viewers along on a visit with his daughter and grandson Nick in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to see how autism affects the whole family, including his 10-year-old sister, Neely. Nick experiences autism not just as a disorder in brain development but also as physical ailments affecting the whole body.

Tuesday, April 19 Autism Prevalence: Why are the numbers of children with autism increasing? At the UC Davis MIND Institute in Sacramento, California, MacNeil sees the wide range of different behaviors that comprise the autism spectrum. Anthropologist Richard Grinker argues that the rising numbers of children with autism is explained because conditions previously given other names, like mental retardation, are now included in the autism spectrum. Scientist Irva Hertz-Picciotto says the wider definition only partly explains the increased prevalence, pointing instead to a variety of environmental factors.

Wednesday, April 20 Autism Causes: The rise in autism numbers has caused a surge in research to find the causes. For the latest thinking, Robert MacNeil speaks with four leading researchers: Dr. Gerald Fischbach of the Simons Foundation, Dr. David Amaral of the MIND Institute, Dr. Martha Herbert of Harvard University and Dr. Craig Newschaffer of Drexel University.

Thursday, April 21 Autism Treatment: Although children with autism see doctors periodically, they go to school everyday. It is the school system that bears most of the burden of treating children with autism because treatment means education. MacNeil visits two schools in New York – a public school in the Bronx teaching 700 children with autism and a charter school created in Manhattan as a model of possibilities in educating children with autism. With only 30 students, it can use one-on-one teacher/student ratios employing intensive Applied Behavioral Analysis – the gold standard treatment for autism.

Monday, April 25 Adults with Autism: Although federal law mandates educational services for children with autism, there are virtually no services when they become adults. MacNeil profiles Zachary Hamrick in Mahwah, New Jersey, about to turn 21. As his family contemplates the uncertain future now facing hundreds of thousands of young people like him, his parents ask themselves, “What will happen when we die?”

Tuesday, April 26 Autism Policy: The NewsHour series ends with a discussion of the public policy issues raised in the series, including the enormous discrepancy in the quality and availability of services for children and future adults in what the federal committee that determines research priorities for autism now calls a “national health emergency” with a panel of experts including: Dr. Thomas Insel, Director of the National Institute of Mental Health, Catherine Lord, Professor of Psychology, Pediatrics and Psychiatry at the University of Michigan, Ilene Lainer, Executive Director of the New York Center for Autism – a private advocacy group, and John Shestack, a Hollywood producer and the co-founder of “Cure Autism Now” a former advocacy group.

PBS NEWSHOUR will host an online content hub that will offer easy access to video of all the pieces in the series, as well as web-only features that are part of Autism Today, including:

First Look Online: In a brand new online-on-air cross promotion, check the NewsHour’s website after each night’s broadcast during the week April 18: We’ll post the next chapter in the Autism Today series online by 7pm ET.
Autism 101 – A primer on autism, how it’s diagnosed, the spectrum of disorders, and available resources. We’ll also look at the costs of austim, through the lens of the families profiled in the series and others.
The Story of Donald – A new look at Caren Zucker and John Donvan’s profile of the first child diagnosed with autism as reported in The Atlantic.
Live Chat with Experts – Viewers can ask their questions directly to some of the experts and doctors profiled in the broadcast segments via live text chat moderated by PBS NEWSHOUR digital correspondent Hari Sreenivasan.
Ask Robin MacNeil – Hari Sreenivasan will preview the series with Robin MacNeil in a special interview on the Rundown news blog. MacNeil will also answer viewer questions after the series concludes.
Join us on Twitter, YouTube and Facebook: We want to hear how you or those you know are coping with autism. Use the Twitter hashtag #autismtoday to ask questions or join the conversation on the series.
PBS NEWSHOUR is seen five nights a week on more than 315 PBS stations across the country and is also available online, via public radio in select markets and via podcast. The program is produced by MacNeil/Lehrer Productions, in association with WETA Washington, DC, and THIRTEEN in New York. Major corporate funding for The NewsHour is provided by Chevron, Bank of America and Intel, with additional support from the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and public television viewers.

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Help Children with Autism Attend Summer Camp

Like many parents of a child with an the Autism Spectrum Disorder we are very busy during the school year.  There is homework that can take hours, weekly therapy sessions and school meetings.

In our case we’re not able to include as much therapy as we’d like as it would be too much for our son and to be honest we can’t afford to take anymore time off work to get him to his therapy sessions.

If you read my post from a few days ago you will see that I have been searching for a Summer Camp for our son this summer.

During the month of April I want to help more children with Autism attend a Summer Camp.

The Help Group offers Summer Camps for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders ranging in age from 3 to 21 in Sherman Oaks, and 3 – 13 in Pacific Palisades, California.

Founded in 1975, The Help Group is the largest, most innovative and comprehensive nonprofit of its kind in the United States serving children with special needs related to autism spectrum disorders, learning disabilities, ADHD, mental retardation, abuse and emotional problems.  As a nonprofit you are able to make a tax deductible donation which can help children attend their Summer Camps.

This is the Summer Camp I’d like to send my son to for 3 days per week for a total of 5 weeks.  He will then attend camp at his Occupational Therapist 1.5 days each of these weeks leaving him one afternoon for his ABA therapy.  As you can imagine with another child who’ll be at camp it’s going to be difficult for me to work my typical work week during the summer.  You can help me self fund his summer camp by making a purchase from any of the links on this blog or from the links listed below.  If this request brings in more money than is needed to fund the 5 weeks of part-time camp ($1350) then I will donate any additional profits to The Help Group so that other other children may be able to attend camp this summer.

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Please comment, Retweet and share on Facebook.  Your help is greatly appreciated.

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Summer Camp for children with Autism

Recently I’ve been looking for Summer Camp options for both our children.  As a family with two working parents finding appropriate care for our 7 year old is not easy.  Our son has Aspergers and is very high functioning in a structured environment, which is something that Summer Camp is not.

The last time he was in Summer Camp was 3 years ago (prior to his diagnosis) and we spent much of the time picking him up due to issues at camp.  We’d love for him to attend a traditional summer camp but the realities are that the more we look at “affordable” options the more we realise they are not going to be a good fit for him.

Some local camps offered by our local Park n Rec are held outside all day where there are no fences and on busy roads, others are not all day.  Both the Park n Rec and school district have field trips but cannot let us know which day of the week these field trips are on.  For us paying deposits for camps not knowing if a field trip is going to be on a normal therapy day just doesn’t make sense.

The more I looked at the large variety of camps available in Ventura County I realised that we were either going to need to provide an aide, get a nanny or send our son to a camp just for High Functioning Kids. 

I’d heard of The Help Group in the San Fernando Valley that has schools for children on the Autism Spectrum.  It turns out they have a camp called “Kids Like Me” that would allow our son to work on his Social Skills during the summer.

I’m so greatful to have found this summer camp option.  Now I just have to work out how to make this work financially and logistically as this school is almost an hour from our home and my office.  Were there is a will there’s a way.

If you would like to learn more about The Help Group they are having a Resource Fair on May 7th

If you have a special needs child how do you choose a Summer School?

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World Autism Day and Autism Awareness Month

Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release April 1, 2011
– – – – – – –

With autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) affecting nearly
one percent of children in the United States, autism is an
urgent public health issue with a profound impact on millions
of Americans. World Autism Awareness Day is an opportunity
to recognize the contributions of individuals with ASDs and
rededicate ourselves to the cause of understanding and
responding to autism.

Men and women on the autism spectrum have thrived and
excelled in communities across America and around the world.
Yet, despite great progress in understanding ASDs, challenges
remain for these individuals and their loved ones. For too
long, the needs of people living with autism and their families
have gone without adequate support and understanding. While we
continue to encourage the development of resources for children
on the autism spectrum and provide necessary resources for their
families, we must also remember that young people with ASDs
become adults with ASDs who deserve our support, our respect,
and the opportunity to realize their highest aspirations.
As our understanding of the autism spectrum grows, my
Administration remains dedicated to supporting children and
adults impacted by autism. Led by the Department of Health and
Human Services, we have expanded investments in autism research,
public health tracking, early detection, and services — from
early intervention for children to improved long-term services
and support programs for adults. My Administration maintains
a firm commitment to advance autism research and treatment, as
well as promote education, employment, and equality for all
individuals with autism, from early childhood through employment
and community life. We will continue to work with the Congress,
experts, and families to improve Federal and State programs
that assist individuals with ASDs and their families and to
bolster the impact and reach of community support and services.
I encourage all Americans to visit www.HHS.gov/autism for more
information and resources on ASDs.

With each breakthrough in research and each innovative
treatment, we open endless possibilities for the many American
families who have been touched by autism. As we mark World
Autism Awareness Day, let us recommit to improving the lives of
individuals and families impacted by ASDs and creating a world
free from discrimination where all can achieve their fullest

United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in
me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do
hereby proclaim April 2 of each year as World Autism Awareness
Day. I call upon the people of the United States to learn more
about autism and what they can do to support individuals on the
autism spectrum and their families.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this
first day of April, in the year of our Lord two thousand eleven,
and of the Independence of the United States of America the
two hundred and thirty-fifth.
# # #

News release from Secretary Sebelius:

News Release

Friday, April 1, 2011
Contact: HHS Press Office
(202) 690-6343

Statement by Secretary Sebelius on National Autism Awareness Month

Every April we recognize National Autism Awareness Month and the special challenges faced by those with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). CDC estimates that an average of 1 in 110 children in the U.S. have an ASD.  At the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, we continue to strive to meet the complex needs of all people with ASD and their families.

ASD symptoms range from mild to severe and the condition may pose significant communication and behavioral challenges. There is no cure, but we know that early intervention can greatly improve a child’s development. The first three years are particularly critical. That’s why we are educating more health professionals to recognize the signs and symptoms early, so children can get treatment when it is most likely to be effective.

Last year, we established a new national resource and information center to provide information on community-based services and interventions for people with ASD and their families.  Last month, we announced a new website that provides job skills training for high school graduates who have ASD or other disabilities. New research funds are being used to deepen our understanding of ASD, test innovative treatments, study genes associated with ASD, and explore the needs of the growing number of adults with ASD.

The Affordable Care Act, the health care law signed a year ago by President Obama, will help ease the financial burden that often comes with treating and caring for people with ASD. The law requires new plans to cover autism screening and developmental assessments for children at no cost to parents, and allows parents to keep their children on their family health insurance until they turn 26. Insurers will also no longer be allowed to deny children coverage for a pre-existing condition such as ASD or to set arbitrary lifetime or annual limits on benefits.

This April, and all year, let us reflect on this urgent public health challenge and rededicate ourselves to addressing the needs of people and families with ASD.

For more information on the Department’s efforts regarding ASD, please visit http://www.hhs.gov/autism/ orhttp://www.healthcare.gov/foryou/family/soon/index.html

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