Monthly Archives: March 2012

New numbers released today by CDC show an increase in prevalence of autism

Okay folks, gimme a drum roll, please. A new study that examined data from 14 communities puts estimates at one child in 88 diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder — and ups the prevalence in males to five times more than in females.

What is this, the magic tote board in the Jerry Lewis telethon?

This is very important information. As parents, we need to participate in surveys and studies that compile such research, so that the true extent of our need is realized throughout all channels. Our government needs to know the real state of affairs if they are to provide sufficient support,  services, education and research.

So the next time an autism study crosses your path, take some time to fill it out. Think of it as an investment in services for your child — rather than something that just eats up your time.

And remember that early detection is crucial. Nearly half [40%] of the kids in the CDC study weren’t diagnosed until they were older than four years of age. We can do so much for our kids when we can start treatments and therapies early. And our kids benefit from this early intervention. So there’s got to be some improvement in this area.

Pay close attention to your child’s development at six months, 12 months, 18 months. Don’t let your concerns go unaddressed.

Visit to learn more.


March 27, 2012

As continued from last week, here’s the natural progression of this 5 Easy Steps to Understanding My Child form:

  1. You provide it to your child’s teachers when he or she is young;
  2. Your child provides his own version to teachers when he enters high school [or earlier!].
  3. Your child further adapts this personal what-makes-me-tick narrative into his or her post secondary education and job/career fields. Ideally, it’ll be kept on hand forever.

My son is familiar with the form we’ve used throughout the years. Now he uses it as a guide for his emails to his teachers before school begins each fall. He introduces himself to every teacher, telling them a little bit about how he wants to be challenged—and things that challenge him. Topics he has a passion for—and those he passionately avoids. What makes him laugh, what makes his blood boil. All that good stuff.

What’s best about this is that it fosters self-advocacy. And this is the goal for all of our kids. Such a happy day when they find their own voice!

DSM-5 Update

If you haven’t yet read Autism Speaks’ view of the proposed changes to the DSM-5, I’ve attached the link here. After you read it, let me know what you think.

I am happy to hear of this newly funded study and can’t wait to see the results. I want to make sure our less impacted people still get the services they need.

I’d like to hear from many of you on this.

BETTER BATTER has special pricing program for autism!

I thought the best thing going for Better Batter gluten-free flour was that it tastes absolutely scrumptious. No aftertaste, fabulous consistency—it’s just like the “real” stuff. But they’ve gone and upped the ante.

If you use any special foods in your family—gluten-free, casein-free, soy-free, yeast-free, etc.—you know that these foods cost more. Well, Better Batter has a Financial Aid autism program. Can you believe it?

Download this form, fill it out and send it in with proof of the autism diagnosis and you’ll qualify for their special pricing program.

My family loves everything I make with Better Batter flour. And I’ve just used the last of my 5-lb. box. Gotta order more. I urge you to give it a try.

  • NOTE:  This is my unsolicited endorsement of Better Batter. I haven’t received free product from them. I just use it and enjoy it.

Thanks for attending the Empowering Families Event last night!

Thanks to all the interested parents and professionals who attended the Empowering Families Resource Fair in Irvine last evening. It was a terrific night! And I appreciate all those of you who sat in on my workshop about Organizing Your Child for Academic Success. I hope you’ll start to incorporate some of the strategies we discussed. If you missed any part of my presentation, please contact me and I’ll make my slides available to you. 

I must say it is very heartening to see so many of you proactively looking for ways to improve the quality of life of your kids — through activities, therapies, education and more. It’s this positive support that is so vital to our young people. I know it’s not always easy, but the more we can praise the effort, instead of correct the wrong, the better the effect on our children.

Studies from Marsha Mailick Seltzer, PhD, Director, Waisman Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, show that as individuals with autism age, their symptoms and behaviors decrease with positive supports of family and friends. Knowing this, we must be sure to keep providing a positive environment for our loved ones on the autism spectrum.


TIP OF THE WEEK: Prepare your child’s teachers

I believe communication is always key.

Prepare your child’s teachers by introducing them to your child in person and on paper before school starts. I gave this [5 Easy Steps to Understanding My Child] to my son’s teachers every year through 8th grade. It’s basically a “How To” manual for your child; teachers really appreciate it. Here’s a hint: your child doesn’t have to be on the spectrum for this to be a valuable tool for the teacher!

Strengths, struggles, special interests, what excites him, what infuriates him; all essential information, but impossible for teachers to know about each student. Updating it each year allows you to see the progress your child has made.

Download the free form on my website []—or make your own. And with my son now in high school, I’ve stopped doing this. But he continues communicating with his teachers on his own, in his style. See next week’s Tip of the Week for details.


In this 2-minute video clip Robert Reynolds of The Reynolds Clinic LLC Connecticut Educational Services), of Middletown, CT, explains why some people have difficulty simultaneously processing visual and auditory input. Unfortunately, we tend to admonish kids for “not paying attention,” possibly misinterpreting their actions for defiance or bad behavior. If you believe this to be the case with your child, have it checked out. And if there is an auditory/visual processing disorder, be sure to explain it to your child’s teachers.Image

Dr. David Amaral of the MIND Institute at RCOC on April 25!

Amaral Flyer

Dr. David G. Amaral, Ph.D., the Research Director from the MIND Institute at the UC Davis Medical Center, will present at the Regional Center of Orange County on April 25. Register now!

Irvine Resource Fair is Next Week! 3/21/12

Irvine Resource Fair is Next Week! 3/21/12.

Irvine Resource Fair is Next Week! 3/21/12

  • Sixty Exhibitors will be present to answer all your questions
  • FOUR Free 30 minute seminars to select from
  • Amazing Special Drawing for attendees
  • Karate For All Demonstration at 6:45pm
  • Everything is Free

Fabulous Prizes!  

…. Just for showing up!

  • (2) One Week of Camp Donated by Camp James
  • Golf Gift Basket donated by Greater Newport Physicians
  • 1 copy of book, Teaching My Teacher About Autism: 20 insights from a student with autism By Drew Smith, with his mom, Debora; ARM Tote Bag donated by Autism Resource Mom
  • (2) Certificates for attendance at Game Night donated by Autism Spectrum Therapies
  • 30 minute special education or bullying legal consultation with the Law Office of Gregory R. Branch donated by Bully Proofed
  • $75 Gift Certificate towards Birthday Party donated by Brick For Kids – Irvine
  • Free Sessions of Martial Arts Training donated by Karate For All
  • Freedom Concepts donated a $1000 gift certificate toward the purchase of one of their bikes
  • A CD Boombox donated by Orange County Child Support Services Department
  • Popcorn and Movie Tickets Basket donated by the Alliance of Abilities

Free 30-Minute Seminar Schedule

 We offer two time blocks of seminars that will be presented in the Wrestling Room adjacent to the Irvine High School Main Gym.

The first set of seminars begins at 6:15pm and you have the option between:

Session 1a:   Living With Autism  – Eric Kasum

Session 1b:   Organizing Your Child for Academic               Success – Debora Smith

The second set of seminars begins at 7:15pm. Your options are:

Session 2a:     Plan for their future now. Workshop on Special Needs Trusts, Wills and Guardianship – DeDe Soto

Session 2b:     Promoting Self Determined and Self Sufficient Youth Who are Prepared to Meet the Challenges of the Future – Linda O’Neal

The Resource Fair is brought to you by Irvine and South Orange County Community Advisory Committees on Special Education.