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[POAC-NoVA] Education and Autism Information, 7 JUL 06

Jul 07, 2006 Download iCalendar 1. From Arc of Northern Virginia at www.TheArcofNoVa.org:

July 12 ~ Parent to Parent of Fairfax County -Gather with other parents to share stories of courage, strength and hope on raising children with special needs. George Mason Regional Library, 7001 Little River Turnpike, Annandale, VA 22003-5975. 703-256-3800, Check sign at entrance for room assignment. Wednesday, July 12, 7:00 - 9:00 PM For more information, contact: Barbara Foster (703) 642-8997 or five.fosters@verizon.net

July 13 ~ People First Meeting- Join the People First of Northern Virginia for its monthly meeting. People First is an adult self-advocates organization that meet monthly in Falls Church to talk about issues and where they can help in efforts to create a better community for all with disabilities. New members are always welcome. Meetings are held on the second Thursday of every month. 7-8:30 pm, Columbia Baptist Church, 103 W. Columbia Street, Falls Church, VA. Contact Cindy Daniel @ 703-532-3214 x215 for questions or RSVP

July 13 ~ SMART BEGINNINGS: SMART SYSTEMS A Session of Governor Tim Kaine's Smart Beginnings Summit Presented in partnership with United Way/Success by 6 and the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation Thursday, July 13, 2006 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Virginia Historical Society in Richmond. Registration begins at 9:30 a.m. The objective of the Smart Systems session is to learn from national early childhood experts and to highlight innovative models and pilot programs from across the state, allowing localities to share experiences, ideas and best practices. Who should attend? Partners in coalitions working on state and local early childhood systems initiatives across the Commonwealth, early childhood and public school professionals, advocates and service providers. The agenda will include:- greetings and remarks from First Lady Anne Holton; - keynote address from Anne Mitchell regarding national trends in quality ratings systems; - discussion regarding meeting social-emotional needs of children by Tammy Mann, Deputy Director of Zero to Three; - remarks by Nina Sazer O'Donnell, formerly of Families and Work Institute, now with the United Way's Success by 6 - a panel of information about model collaborative programs which address comprehensive needs of children from birth to kindergarten; - 1-year report from the Governor's Early Childhood Partnership Grantees; - a chance to network and share information with colleagues across the Commonwealth. Lunch and materials will be provided free of charge to participants. Space is limited; please register as soon as possible. Free parking is available, but carpooling is recommended since parking space is limited. After registering, you will receive an email to confirm registration and provide additional information. To register, visit http://www.smartbeginnings.org/register.htm.

July 14th ~ The Arc Annual Picnic at Lake Fairfax Park. Games ~ Food ~ Fun Join us all day as we picnic at the park!. Come early and take the kids to The Water Mine water park. Discounts tickets for the Water Mine, Carousel, and Boat Rides. Shelter E overlooking Lake Fairfax Noon to 8pm: Cook out at 5-8pm. Call 703-532-3214 x213 for more info.

July 16 ~ Take Me Out to the Ballgame! - Disability Awareness Night. Sunday July 16 at 1:05pm The Potomac Nationals vs Lynchburg HillCats, Richard Pfitzner Stadium, Woodbridge VA. Sponsored by the Washington Group Special Care Panning Team. Call for tickets for your family or a group. 301-581-7208, or 703-277-6762

July 29 - 30 ~ World of Possibilities Disabilities Expo. A major part of the second annual ABC7 Family Health and Caregivers Expo July 29-30, 2007 at the DC Convention Center. Caring Communities has been invited to join the efforts of WJLA-TV (the ABC television affiliate in Washington, D.C.), its sister station News Channel 8 and the National Association of Chain Drug Stores to help enhance their event. In over two days, at last year's premier ABC7 Family Health and Caregivers Expo, the Expo attracted nearly 10,000 people and included seven major pavilion sponsors. These sponsors were prominently featured at the expo and offered: free medical screenings, product sampling opportunities, and educational seminars. Over 100 additional exhibitors and educational speakers provided information about: new home products and services, assisted living and healthcare facilities, innovative drugs and medications, financial planning, community pharmacists' role in family caregiving and much more! e have booth spaces left in our pavilion at the DC Convention Center and have a very nice mix of products and equipment and resources that will be with us in "our area" to serve individuals with disabilities, service providers and their families better. If you are interested in the World of Possibilities Disabilities Pavilion- we can offer a special reduced price for a complete booth package and a very nominal nonprofit organization booth fee. Please do not hesitate to call us soon at 1-866-227-4644 if you have any questions or choose to take advantage of this outstanding opportunity. You can download the application form on http://caringcommunities.org/caregiverexpo/. SPACE IS LIMITED SO DON'T WAIT! I HOPE YOU CAN BE WITH US. Mona Freedman, RN, Office: 410.549.5707. mona@caringcommunities.org

July 28 - 29 ~ Virginia Integrated Network of Family Organizations (VA INFO) Annual Conference. Big news for parents and all who are dedicated to improving outcomes for children with special healthcare needs is the upcoming Virginia Integrated Network of Family Organizations (VA INFO) Annual Conference. This information-packed conference will provide an excellent opportunity for families, governmental agencies, healthcare and service providers, educators, and others to share information and insights that can make a real difference for Virginia's children and youth. This conference will be held at the Charlottesville Omni Hotel on July 28th and 29th, 2006. We will cover the cost of attendance for a limited number of families.
If you plan to attend, please call Medical Home Plus/VA INFO Center at (877) 264-8366 and ask to speak with the VA INFO conference registration coordinator. http://www.medicalhomeplus.org/

July 31 - September 1 ~ Registration Open - Summer Camp in August, This Summer - 10:00am - 3:00pm, Christ the King Lutheran Church, 10550 Georgetown Pike, Great Falls, VA. $300/week per child. We hope your kids can join us for a summer full of fun with their friends! Each week will have a different theme and activities. We have limited space, so please fill out and return the attached registration form as soon as possible! If you have any questions, please call Diane at 703-438-8370 or email diane@kidzclubhouse.org

August 15-16 ~ "TEACHING VERBAL BEHAVIOR IN THE INTENSIVE TEACHING ENVIRONMENT" workshop by Holly Kibbe, MS, BCABA & Cherish Twigg, MS, BCBA at the Marymount University, Ballston Conference Center, 1000 North Glebe Road, Arlington, VA on August 15-16, 2006 from 9am-5pm (each day) sponsored by Parents Of Autistic Children of Northern Virginia (POAC-NoVA). The suggested audience is school system personnel, parents, and other professionals. The cost is $395. Go to http://www.poac-nova.org/newsmanager/news_article.cgi?news_id=676 for more info.

Aug 21 - 25 ~ American Sign Language camps are offered by the Reston Community Center, VA from 9am to noon Aug 21 - 25. The camps teach the history and culture of the deaf and hearing impaired community in addition to sign language gestures, eyebrow motion and lip-mouth movements. For more information or to register, call 703-476-4500.

September 7-10 ~The National Institute on Recreation Inclusion, A key event for those seeking knowledge about the inclusion process in recreation. The conference provides hands-on learning though workshops and training as well as a forum for discussion on inclusion issues, cutting edge ideas and new learning opportunities. Mystic Marriott and Spa, Groton Connecticut. Visit www.nrpa.org/niri for more information. or Call National Recreation & Park Association - 703-858-0784

September 17-19 ~ 10th Annual Collaborations Joint Conference at The Ramada Plaza Resort Oceanfront Virginia Beach, VA. September 17-19, 2006 & September 30 - October 2, 2007. Join your colleagues for quality training and networking opportunities in a great location. Many of the workshops will help strengthen staff competencies as well as help with CARF accreditation. www.vaaccses.org for more information.

September 30 ~ Northern Virginia C.A.S.T. for Kids Event - An Invitation to Children and Parents: The C.A.S.T. for Kids Foundation is extending an invitation to thirty (30) boys and girls with disabilities aged 5 to 17, from Northern Virginia, who would like to participate, with their parents, in a day of fishing. The C.A.S.T. for Kids events are designed to partner each registered child and their parent(s) with a "Boat Captain" who takes the child and his or her parent(s) out on his large bass boat for a morning of fishing and excitement. All registrations will be taken on a first-come, first-served basis. The event is scheduled to be held--rain or shine--on Saturday, September 30, 2006, from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., at Pohick Bay Park in Fairfax County, near the city of Lorton, VA. For more information about CAST for Kids visit www.castforkids.org. For more reservations and information about the September 30th event, contact Ronald Sikler - (703) 286-4557, (571) 264-5002 castforkidsva@aol.com or ronald.sickler@dhs.gov. C.A.S.T. for Kids, P.O. Box 686, Newington, VA 22122-0686

October 27 & 28 ~ ORGANIZATION FOR AUTISM RESEARCH, Research and Resources that Help Families Today, OAR's Fourth Annual Applied Autism Research and Intervention Conference, October 27 & 28, 2006. "The purpose of this conference is to bring together some of the premier researchers and practitioners in the field to talk about one critical thing: the current state of applied research in autism. Location: Hilton Towers, 950 North Stafford Street, Arlington, VA 22203. Date: Friday, October 27 - Saturday, October 28, 2006. Contact: Sara Pelikan, (703) 243-9717, conference@researchautism.org Web link: http://www.researchautism.org.

2. Instead of their regularly scheduled meeting, the FCPS Advisory Committee for Students with Disabilities (ACSD) will co-host an informal public forum with the State Special Education Advisory Committee on July 12, 2006 at Marriott Fairfax at Fair Oaks, 11787 Lee Jackson Memorial Highway, Fairfax, VA. Phone 703-352-2525. The forum will be from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., and a brief business meeting of the ACSD will follow the public forum. More information is available at http://www.pen.k12.va.us/VDOE/Instruction/Sped/AgendaSSEAC7-06.pdf.

3. This is a reminder message that the $25 deadline ($30 at the door) for the lecture and workshop, "Using the Rapid Prompting Method to Teach Persons with Autism" is Friday, July 7, 2006. The lecture and observation of instructional sessions are for parents and professionals who want to learn about Soma's unique method to teach people with Autism. This is the only East Coast Workshop scheduled this year. Don't let your child fall behind in curriculum. Learn this method and help your child learn. There is so much untapped potential in our kids. Read the testimonials at
http://www.halo-soma.org/about_testimonials.php?sess_id=b999dd75ba8a8d1255ce5159b379c504. The location for the lecture & workshop is The Covenant School - Upper School Campus, 175 Hickory St., Charlottesville, VA. RPM Lecture will be held on Friday, July 14 - 6:00-8:00pm and RPM 1:1 Instructional Sessions will be held on Friday, July 14 - 2:00-3:30pm, Saturday, July 15 - 8:00am-4:45pm, Sunday, July 16 - 8:00am-3:00pm. For more information on the Charlottesville Workshop, please go to the website at http://users.adelphia.net/~ablopez.

4. The Organization for Autism Research (OAR)'s June OARacle E-Newsletter is at http://researchautism.org/resources/newsletters/2006_june.asp#Feature. I would encourage you to look over what that organization is doing in the field of applied research for autism.

5. Please consider enrolling your child in the Autism Registry of Virginia. The Autism Registry is a research registry based at Virginia Commonwealth University, in the Autism Center of VA, that seeks to gather basic information on children diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder into a common confidential listing. The goal of the Registry is to promote scientific research on autism and autism related disorders that will improve our understanding of the nature, cause, and treatment of these conditions. Over the past 4 years hundreds of parents and family members have expressed interest in the Registry; from these interested individuals 190 have enrolled their child or family member in the Registry. This is a fabulous start, however, given that Virginia's Department of Education has identified over 2000 children as "students with autism," our work at the Registry has just begun! Enrollment in the Registry is easy and we have recently enhanced our enrollment materials by including two standardized autism screening instruments: the Social Communication Questionnaire and the Pervasive Developmental Disorders Behavior Inventory. Parents that complete these questionnaires are given a written summary of the results. The information collected for the Registry is kept confidential and only given to qualified researchers with your permission. Individuals and families who enroll in the Registry are only agreeing to be notified about future research projects; involvement in any research project is always optional. If you would like more information please contact us:
Autism Center of Virginia Registry

P.O. Box 980489

Richmond, VA 23298-0489

Toll-free: 1-866-628-2268

E-mail: autismreg@vcu.edu

Web site: http://www.vcuhealth.org/vtcc/Autism%20Registry.html

6. Here is a link to the book "Autism: Reaching for a Brighter Future" from the Ohio State University at http://psychmed.osu.edu/AutismBook_1.pdf.

7. The US Department of Justice has an eight part series titled "Police Response to People with Disabilities" and is designed to be used in roll-call training. It addresses law enforcement situations involving people who have mobility disabilities, mental illnesses, mental retardation, epilepsy or seizure disorders, speech disabilities, deafness or hard of hearing , and blindness or low vision. The segments can be viewed at http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/ada/videogallery.htm#Anchor-Dial-47492. There is nothing on autism, but I will contact them about doing one.

8. "GOVERNOR BUSH PRESENTS POINTS OF LIGHT AWARD TO DONNA LORMAN" dated 31 May 2006 in a press release from Office of the Governor from Florida at http://www.flgov.com/release/7868.

"Governor Jeb Bush today recognized Donna Lorman of Orlando as this week's Points of Light Award recipient. Lorman is president of the Autism Society of Greater Orlando, which provides a network of opportunities to individuals with autism, helping them become active members of the community through support, education and advocacy. "Donna is an exceptional philanthropist whose selfless dedication to families with autism and related disabilities is a shining example of what it means to serve the community," said Governor Bush. "I thank her for all the great work she has done." Lorman is the mother of a teenage boy with autism. She dedicates much of her time to increasing public awareness about the condition by spearheading activities for the Autism Society of Greater Orlando. Lorman's role with the Autism Society of Greater Orlando includes serving as the Fundraiser, E-mail and Quarterly Social Activities Coordinator, Website Manager, and Parent Support Group Meeting Facilitator. In addition to her work with the Autism Society of Greater Orlando, Lorman dedicates her time to several volunteer programs, including, the "Sea of Dreams" at Sea World Orlando, "Adventures in Autism" at Universal Studios Orlando, and the Christmas Wishes Program. She also organizes "Fire and Iron," an annual fundraiser in which firefighters and police officers in Florida ride motorcycles to raise money for autism research. "Through the efforts of Donna and others, the greater Orlando community is breaking down barriers and coming together to better assist persons with disabilities. I applaud Donna for helping her community to better understand autism and related disabilities," said Agency for Persons with Disabilities Director Shelly Brantley. ..."

9. "'Faith, Love & Hope'- Daughter's Autism Drives Park Ridge Family To Pen Song Aiming To Increase Awareness of Disease" dated 7 June 2006 by Andrea Zelinski from The Journal at http://www.journal-topics.com/pr/06/pr060607.2.html.

"When three-year-old Candace Waters of Park Ridge stopped waving to people and putting words together, her parents didn't know what was wrong. Robert and Sandy Waters didn't know their first born child had autism, a disease that impairs her ability to communicate. "We didn't think it could happen to us," said Mr. Waters, 45. "We never knew anything about it. No one in our family ever had it." Upset and confused, the Waters family had no idea what autism was. Their little girl with beautiful red hair looked fine. She didn't look disabled when she played on a swing set or swam in a pool. But she didn't really talk. They then enrolled her at an early intervention program at Jefferson School for Special Education in Park Ridge. There, both Candace and her parents learned more about what was wrong with her and how they can help. After Candace was diagnosed, Mr. Waters, a musician and song writer, couldn't write. He'd play his guitar for his little girl all the time, he said, but he couldn't bring himself to write a song. That was until two years later when him and his wife received a letter asking for donations in the name of autism research last Christmas. The message reminded them they "We must have faith, love and hope." The message deeply touched Mrs. Waters, 43. She said it inspired both of them to raise greater awareness for autism. They sat in the basement while their now five-year-old daughter slept. The couple spent the night kicking around words that would end up as song lyrics. Little did they know, the song would reach ears across the country. "We started talking, we started throwing out words," said Mrs. Waters, a stay at home mom. "Because they can't talk, they can't fight for themselves. You've got to be their voice." They paired their words with Mr. Water's lyrics to produce the song "Faith, Love and Hope." With lyrics like "We're in this together, will fight it forever," and "you're not alone," the couple hoped it would be an inspirational song. "Its really just to bring awareness to people ... in whatever way will help them," said Mr. Waters. They sent it to all the autism organizations they knew of. Now, many of them use that song and distribute it to their members and donors. Autism One Radio's manager played the song on one of her shows last month. ..."

10. "Expert calls for health workers to get flu shots- The Mayo Clinic Vaccine Research Group's director says those in the health industry should be required to get vaccinations" dated 13 June 2006 by Lisa Greene from The St. Petersburg Times at http://www.sptimes.com/2006/06/13/Tampabay/Expert_calls_for_heal.shtml.

"Influenza kills about 36,000 Americans each year. Some people catch it in hospitals and from doctors, nurses and other staffers. But nearly two-thirds of health care workers don't get flu shots. Requiring shots will save lives, and it's the best way to lower hospital influenza infection rates, one of the nation's top flu experts said Monday. "It is a chance for us to demonstrate that we can and will do the right thing for our patients,'' said Dr. Greg Poland, speaking to the national conference of infection control workers. Poland directs the Mayo Clinic Vaccine Research Group and belongs to the advisory committee on vaccines for the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Several studies have shown that health care workers spread the flu to patients and that hospitals can dramatically lower their death rates by vaccinating workers. Despite their medical knowledge, health workers don't get flu shots for the same reasons that others don't. They don't know that they're risking patients' health. They don't know that they're at risk. They're afraid of needles. They think, mistakenly, that they can get the flu from a flu shot, which contains only dead virus. "One of the things I hear is, 'I never get the flu,' " Poland said. "Yes, you do.'' Blood test studies suggest that half of health care workers who get the flu don't know that they have it and don't show symptoms. Even without symptoms, they can spread it to patients. Health workers also have the same bad health habits as other Americans, with about 70 percent going to work when they're sick. The difference: When health care workers work sick, people can die. Because they're already sick, hospital patients are especially vulnerable to the worst complications of the flu, which is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. In 1998, a flu outbreak in a hospital neonatal unit sickened 54 babies and killed one. Only 15 percent of the workers had gotten flu vaccines. Imagine, Poland said, that "your baby dies of an infection preventable with a $15 vaccine.'' In another hospital, 25 patients in a bone marrow transplant unit got the flu, and two died. Only 12 percent of unit workers had gotten flu shots. That case, Poland said, shows why only talking about the risks isn't enough. The next year, 42 percent of the workers still didn't get shots. "I want to believe and you want to believe that education works,'' he said. "It does not, when it comes to this topic.'' Poland has been a strong advocate for mandatory flu shots. The idea appeared to be gathering steam. Seven states require shots for health workers. The Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, the group that Poland spoke to Monday, has endorsed it, as have other infectious disease groups. Increasing fears about a worldwide flu epidemic also add momentum. U.S. pandemic plans call for health care workers to be vaccinated first so they can care for the sick. "We won't know how to do it'' if workers aren't getting shots now, Poland said. Although Poland and other advocates call the shots mandatory, workers would be able to decline getting a shot after signing a document stating why they declined."

11. "Calculating U.S. Influenza Deaths" dated 16 June 2006 by F. Edward Yazbak, MD, FAAP from Red Flags Daily.com at http://www.redflagsdaily.com/yazbak/2006_jun16.

"For years, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been telling anyone who would listen: "Every year in the United States, on
average: 5 percent to 20 percent of the population gets the flu, more than 200,000 people are hospitalized from flu complications, and about 36,000 people die from flu." (1) It is not clear how the specific statistic - 36,000 American deaths a year "on average" - was formulated or from what sources it was derived. It seems to have just suddenly appeared, like a rabbit from a top hat. It certainly could have been any other number of thousands of cases. After all, what are a few thousand deaths up or down? No one knows when the next number change will come but, when it does, it is guaranteed to be an increase. Scaring people, especially old people, out of their wits always sells vaccine and that seems to have become the CDC's main purpose. Another well-kept secret is over how many years the influenza deaths were "averaged." Did the CDC calculate "average deaths" from 2000 to 2004 or from 1980 to 2004? To have 36,000 deaths "on average," there must be years with 26,000 deaths and about the same number of years with 46,000 deaths and, not to belabor the point, as many years with 16,000 deaths as with 56,000. At least, this is what most people would think averaging and "on average" mean. The past influenza season came and went very quietly because the CDC was busy with dying birds in the Far East and Turkey. We will never find out where exactly the most recent "deaths from flu" will fit on the curve, but it is a good bet that 2005-2006 will not be, propaganda-wise, a "real good year." Testifying before the committee on government reform of the U.S. House of Representatives on Feb. 12, 2004, CDC Director Julie L. Gerberding, MD, carefully stated that "CDC scientists estimate that an average of 36,000 people die from influenza-related complications each year in the United States." (2) It is not clear why the director made the distinction, while under oath, between deaths from the flu and deaths from complications of the flu. A few people, including this writer, think there is a distinct difference between the two; many others do not think so. To place the CDC influenza deaths in perspective, the U.S. lost 33,741 officers and enlisted men and women in Korean War battles from 1950 to 1953. (3) And a special communication published by the Journal of the American Medical Association listed 43,000 deaths due to motor vehicle crashes and 29,000 involving firearms in the U.S. in 2000. (4) The National Vital Statistics Report for 2001, published on Sept. 18, 2003 [Vol. 52, No. 3], was the last official U.S. government report on influenza mortality before the CDC director's appearance at the February 2004 Congressional hearing. Certified figures about Influenza mortality [J10-J11] were listed on page 31 of the report. (5) There were, in all, 257 influenza deaths recorded in 2001. Of those, 13 deaths were under the age of 5; 50 were between 5 and 54; 21 from 55 to 64; 21 between 65 and 74; 56 from 75 to 84; and 96 were 85 years old or older. Also in 2001, there were 61,777 official deaths due to pneumonia (J12-J18) of which 48,686 (79 percent) were 75 years old or older. ..."

12. "Santorum: 'Past Time' for Help on Autism" dated 16 June 2006 by Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) in a press release from Autism Speaks at http://www.autismspeaks.org/inthenews/santorum_column.php.

"Each year, about 24,000 children are diagnosed as having autism spectrum disorder in the United States. It is the fastest-growing developmental disability we face, increasing at a disheartening rate of 10-17% annually. My heart goes out to the parents and families of those struggling with autism - as the father of six, I know that there is nothing more important than the health of our children, and can only imagine the difficulties and heartache facing these parents. It is past time for the federal government to develop a thoughtful approach that will get these children, and their families, the help they need.
Frankly, there is so much we don't know about this disorder. What we do know is that there is a tremendous need for things like early screening, diagnosis, and treatment. Right now, there is a considerable lack of coordination and dissemination of education and services, both for those diagnosed with autism and for those who wish to treat it. We need to change that. Ideally, every child would be screened for autism between the ages of 18-24 months. In the United States, 17% of children have a developmental or behavioral disability such as autism. However, less than 50% of these children are identified prior to entering kindergarten. This delayed diagnosis means years lost in a child's development. We need to do a better job screening America's kids and ensuring that once a diagnosis is made, the necessary interventions are available. Early intervention will help every child to live up to his or her full potential. Our healthcare professionals do a tremendous job- but there simply aren't enough trained healthcare and education professionals to help the nearly half-million American children with ASD. Congress rarely works on, or passes, disease-specific legislation. In fact, the last disease-specific bill was signed into law in 2001. That we already have the bipartisan support of 39 cosponsors is very encouraging, and is a testament to both the importance of the bill and the impact that the autism community has had in making my colleagues here in the Senate aware of its importance. I am hopeful for committee action next month, and Senate passage soon after. ..."

13. "Autism groups want mercury ban- Preservative used in vaccines for children" dated 18 June 2006 by Richard Nangle from the Worchester Telegram at http://www.telegram.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060618/NEWS/606180513/1116.

"A battle pitting many parents of autistic children against the bulk of the state's medical establishment, with state lawmakers squarely in the middle, could spill onto the House floor this week as debate begins on a bill to ban mercury from children's vaccines. photoString+='

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' The bill itself is a decidedly watered-down version of what supporters originally wanted. That, though, has done little to stave off behind-the-scenes maneuvering by a number of official medical organizations. What spurred the proposed legislation is a rise in autism rates that coincides with an increase in the required number of children's vaccines. Since 1989 the number of required injections is up from about 8 to 22. In that same time period, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, incidences of autism have risen from 2 in 10,000 to 1 in 166. Many of the opposing organizations first surfaced a year ago when backers of the legislation tried to add it to the fiscal 2006 budget. In three hours of testimony before the Legislature's Public Health Committee in December, only one speaker testified in person in opposition, while several medical experts, advocates and family members pleaded their case in support of the measure. The lone opponent, however, was the immediate past president of the Massachusetts Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, which is spearheading the opposition. Dr. Sean Palfrey invoked the specter of avian bird flu and warned committee members that a ban on multiple-dose vials of influenza vaccine could result in illness or death for hundreds of children or more. "What you as legislators need to hear from me is that despite fears, and rumors, articles and books in the lay press, and numerous personal anecdotes alleging a causal relationship between thimerosal and autism or other mental or developmental illnesses, there is no confirmed scientific evidence that the particular form of mercury in this preservative causes any of these conditions," he testified. ..."

14. "Mercury in vaccines not cause of autism, study finds" dated 20 June 2006 from the Canadian Press at http://www.canada.com/topics/bodyandhealth/story.html?id=bc8253e7-ec6f-4bbd-a01c-5295b731d3f9&k=7417.

"A new Quebec study casts doubt on the popular theory that mercury poisoning from childhood vaccinations can cause autism. The theory has prevailed despite several previous studies around the world that have failed to find any connection between autism and common childhood vaccines containing mercury. But the unique Quebec study, which is to be published next month in Pediatrics, the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, could have a big impact on the debate. Quebec changed its vaccine formula 10 years ago, Eric Fombonne, chief of pediatric psychiatry at the McGill University Health Centre, told the 10th International Child Neurology Congress being held in Montreal. Since 1996, Quebec children have received vaccines without the mercury-based preservative thimerosol, Fombonne said. He compared autism rates among kids before the vaccine changed and after. "My study is very clear in showing that there's no relationship between the level of exposure to thimerosol in vaccine and autism," Fombonne said in an interview. "In fact, in my study the incidence of (autism) is higher in the years when there was no mercury." Some desperate parents, convinced that mercury poisoning is responsible for their child's condition, have turned to chelation therapy, an unproven treatment that purports to remove heavy metals from the body, in the hopes that it will cure the neurological and developmental disorder. At least one child has died because of the process, Fombonne said. "Now these methods are making inroads into Canada," he said. An anti-vaccine hysteria gripped British parents after an infamous study purportedly linked the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine with autism. The 1998 study has since been discredited, but in the meantime many parents refused to inoculate their children, leading to a resurgence of infectious diseases such as measles. Autism is a disorder that impairs a child's ability to communicate and interact with others. Fombonne's department sees about 350 new cases every year, but there's no "autism epidemic," he said. The definition of autism has broadened to include more children with a wide range of difficulties. An estimated 200,000 Canadians are living with the disorder, a prevalence of about 65 for every 10,000 people. "What we need is treatment and services and support for people, and right across their lifespan," said Louise Fleming, executive director of Autism Society Canada"

15. "Autism Spectrum Disorders in Relation to Distribution of Hazardous Air Pollutants in the San Francisco Bay Area" dated 21 June 2006 by Gayle C. Windham, Lixia Zhang, Robert Gunier, Lisa A. Croen, and Judith K. Grether from The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences at http://www.ehponline.org/docs/2006/9120/abstract.html

"Abstract- Objective: To explore possible associations between autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and environmental exposures, we linked the California autism surveillance system to estimated hazardous air pollutant (HAP) concentrations compiled by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Methods: Subjects included 284 children with ASD and 657 controls, born in 1994 in the San Francisco Bay Area. We assigned exposure level by census tract of birth residence for 19 chemicals we identified as potential neurotoxicants, developmental toxicants, and/or endocrine disruptors from the 1996 HAPs database. Because concentrations of many of these were highly correlated, we combined the chemicals into mechanistic and structural groups, calculating summary index scores. We calculated ASD risk in the upper quartiles of these group scores or individual chemical concentrations compared to below the median, adjusting for demographic factors.
Results: The adjusted odds ratios (AOR) were elevated by 50% in the top quartile of chlorinated solvents and heavy metals (95% Confidence Intervals (CIs) = 1.1-2.1), but not for aromatic solvents. Adjusting for these three groups simultaneously led to decreased risks for the solvents and increased risk for metals (AORs for metals: fourth quartile 1.7, 95% CI 1.0-3.0; third quartile 1.95, 95% CI 1.2-3.1). The individual compounds that contributed most to these associations included mercury, cadmium, nickel, trichloroethylene, and vinyl chloride.
Conclusions: Our results suggest a potential association between autism and estimated metal concentrations, and possibly solvents, in ambient air around the birth residence, requiring confirmation and more refined exposure assessment in future studies."

16. "Getting a Clearer Picture of Differences Between Men, Women" dated 21 June 2006 from Bowdoin College on the AScribe Newswire at http://newswire.ascribe.org/cgi-bin/behold.pl?ascribeid=20060621.133850&time=14%2025%20PDT&year=2006&public=0.

"Are men neurologically patterned to view other men as threats? Do women naturally "tend and befriend" other women? These social stereotypes may actually have physiological origins, according to a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Bowdoin College Associate Professor of Neuroscience Richmond Thompson, who was the principle author of the May 2006, study has been researching the hormone vasopressin -- a peptide long known for its role in the regulation of physiological processes, such as water retention and blood pressure. In the past decade, researchers have discovered that vasopressin also acts within the brain to regulate various social behaviors, such as aggression, courtship and pair bonding among research animals. Thompson and his group are seeking to understand more about vasopressin's social effects on humans - with some intriguing preliminary results. In studies undertaken at Bowdoin College, groups of men and women were given nasally administered doses of vasopressin, or a control substance, saline. As expected, vasopressin generally increased anxiety. Unexpectedly, however, men and women showed different social responses when asked to perform a research task. When exposed to pictures of happy male models, "men given vasopressin showed a suite of aggressive tendencies typical of 'fight or flight' responses," notes Thompson. "That included facial responses as well as decreased ratings of how friendly they thought other men were." "Women given vasopressin, on the other hand, showed responses consistent with more collegial behavior. They rated the women in their pictures as being more friendly and approachable than did women given the control, and they exhibited facial muscle activities such as smiling." Thompson is cautious about drawing broad conclusions, but says these early, sex-specific findings suggest that "men and women have evolved alternative social strategies in conditions of stress. A wealth of data already suggested that vasopressin played an important role in the regulation of social strategies during vertebrate evolution, but there has been little causal evidence that this was true in humans." Future research may include studies examining the breakdown of vasopressin, which some researchers suspect is linked to symptoms of autism. ..."

17. "Charities alarmed as autistic man is hit by Asbo" dated 22 June 2006 by Andrew Robinson from Yorkshire Post Today (UK) at http://www.yorkshiretoday.co.uk/ViewArticle2.aspx?sectionid=55&articleid=1580331.

"Disability charities have expressed concerns after an autistic man from Yorkshire was handed a temporary antisocial behaviour order to curb his odd tendencies. The order against Mark Smith, who has Asperger syndrome, bans him from touching people and saying inappropriate things in public. The condition has been described as a type of autism which affects social and communication skills but IQ is often normal or high. Mr Smith, 32, has also been told he cannot stroke or sniff any part of a person or hang around a certain area when children are going to or from school. The interim order was granted by Bingley magistrates after an application by Bradford Council which said a previous Asbo against Mr Smith had been successful in limiting his obsessive behaviour. When the two-year order ended in April, Mr Smith started to cause problems again. The new Asbo compels Mr Smith, of Kirkgate, Shipley, to attend twice weekly at the Sacar Centre, a Bradford charity which has offered him support and therapy. The order also bans him from hitting people, saying inappropriate things and damaging property. A police officer told the court that Sacar staff had asked for the Asbo to be reapplied as they felt he had benefited. The new order will run until September 25 when Mr Smith is back in court. The use of Asbos on such people is causing concern for several groups, including the National Autistic Society. A spokeswoman said Asbos on their own would not be effective against someone who did not understand social norms. The British Institute for Brain Injured Children said Asbos were also being unfairly given to under-18s with autism and similar conditions. "We are finding that in some areas the only way people can get help is if they are given Asbos. It is very unfair. Earlier intervention is needed," a spokesman said. Pressure group Asbo Concern warned that Asbos criminalised people who needed help, not punishment. ..."

18. "Howard, Charley indicted by grand jury" dated 22 June 2006 by Daniel Thompson from the St. Clair County Daily Home at http://www.dailyhome.com/news/2006/dh-st_clair_county-0622-dthompson-6f21v2401.htm.

"A mother accused of murder in the death of her son and the director of a group home for special needs children accused of raping a resident at the home were both indicted for their alleged crimes by a St. Clair County grand jury last week. The grand jury adjourned Friday after spending five days considering 155 cases for indictment. Among the cases receiving a true bill was a case against Vicki Marie Howard, 41, of Pell City. She is charged with the murder of her 5-year-old son, Adren "Chance" Howard, who was killed in a car wreck on Camp Creek Road, March 27. During the investigation of the wreck, authorities said they determined Howard, who was driving the vehicle Chance was riding in, had a blood alcohol level more than three times the legal limit when the truck she was driving left the road, hit a tree and flipped. During Howard's preliminary hearing May 23, a state trooper investigating the wreckage said he found a half-full beer bottle that appeared to have been thrown from Howard's vehicle during the wreck. If convicted of reckless murder, Howard could face anywhere from 10 years to life in prison, St. Clair County District Attorney Richard Minor said. Another of the indictments handed down by the grand jury was against Dan Charley, 51, of Pell City, who is charged with first-degree rape. Charley was the founder and director of Charlie Angels Ministry Group Home, which operated in the Brookside Apartment complex in Pell City for about six years, serving special needs children. The charges against Charley stem from a report filed by an employee of the group home, alleging Charley raped a 17-year-old autistic female living at the home. If convicted of first-degree rape, Charley could be sentenced to anywhere from 10 years to life in prison, Minor said. After Charley was arrested June 7, Charlie Angels Ministry Group Home's was closed by John Houston, state commissioner of Mental Health and Mental Retardation. Other residents of the home were removed and placed in other group homes, Minor said. Following the grand jury indictments against Charley and Howard, both defendants could be arraigned during a hearing Aug. 1. If neither of the defendants reaches plea agreements with the St. Clair County District Attorneys Office, they could stand trial in October, Minor said. ..."

19. "NHL to honor Kolzig" dated 22 June 2006 by Dave Fay from The Washington Times at http://washingtontimes.com/sports/20060622-120146-7492r.htm.

"Olie Kolzig, the backbone of the Washington Capitals for nearly a decade, will be recognized tonight for his dedication to his community and team when he is awarded the King Clancy Memorial Trophy by the NHL. Kolzig, who was chosen from 28 nominees, will be honored during the NHL awards show in Vancouver (8 p.m., OLN). Meanwhile, Washington's Alex Ovechkin is expected to become the first Caps player to win the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year. The 20-year-old left wing also is one of three finalists for the Lester B. Pearson Award as the league's outstanding player as voted by members of the NHL Players Association. He probably will be named to one of the NHL's two all-star teams. The Clancy trophy goes "to the player who best exemplifies leadership qualities off and on the ice and has made a noteworthy humanitarian contribution in his community." It is named after Hall of Fame defenseman-wing Frank Clancy, who played for Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal during the 1920s and 1930s. The trophy was first awarded in 1988. Kolzig, drafted 19th overall by Washington in 1989, has been involved in charitable work associated with the Caps since he arrived, almost all involving children. He has been instrumental in raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for Children's Hospital through a golf and tennis tournament held just before training camp every September and other endeavors. After his son was diagnosed with autism, Kolzig founded Athletes Against Autism more than three years ago. The disease affects the developmental skills of children. ..."

20. "Indians sound alarm on mercury poisoning" dated 22 June 2006 by NIRMALA GEORGE from the Associated Press at http://www.contracostatimes.com/mld/cctimes/news/14877297.htm?template=contentModules/printstory.jsp.

"Environmental activists warned Thursday that unregulated use of mercury in India is putting millions of people at risk, and the country has now become the world's second-largest user of the poisonous chemical. Researchers said that without government regulations to manage its use, mercury is being handled and disposed of in a hazardous manner. Mercury is highly toxic, and exposure can damage the brain, nervous system and developing fetuses. "In countries such as the United States and other Western countries, the use of mercury is being phased out, while India has emerged as the world's second largest consumer of mercury," said Ravi Agarwal of Toxics Links, an environmental group that has studied mercury's use and disposal in India. Mercury, commonly used in thermometers, paints, fluorescent lamps and industrial chemicals, is not mined in India. Imports of mercury, mostly from Spain, Britain, the United States, Russia and the Netherlands, have almost doubled from around 250 metric tons in 1996 to 530 metric tons in 2003, the latest figure available. The lack of regulations governing mercury's disposal has resulted in millions of children and adults being exposed, said a team of researchers who presented their findings to journalists on Thursday. Sasanka Ghosh, a researcher with an environmental group in the eastern Indian state of West Bengal, said people were so unaware of the risks of mercury that during their study they found schools storing large quantities of it. "We found that no information on handling mercury had been given to the children or the teachers and they were completely unaware that mercury vapor was just as hazardous to health," Ghosh said. Mercury from hospital waste and broken fluorescent lamps are discarded in regular garbage dumps, and scavengers using their bare hands pick through it to find recyclable materials, said Agarwal. "Several studies conducted by independent environmental groups have found the presence of mercury in fish in almost all the rivers in India," he said. The activists demanded that the government draw up strict rules to regulate the trade, use and disposal of mercury. There was no immediate response to the proposal from the government. However, the country's top environment official, Pradipto Ghosh, said there is "too much mercury coming in and there is no inventory of its use." "We have asked for more studies, we will decide after due scientific diligence," Ghosh was quoted as saying by The Indian Express newspaper on Thursday."

21. "Experts: Lack of Sleep May Produce Autism-Like Symptoms" dated 22 June 2006 by Ed Yeates frm KSL5 News at http://www.ksl.com/?nid=148&sid=323418.

"Some kids with symptoms of autism may not have the disorder at all. In fact, a lack of sleep may be what's really causing the problem. That's what some scientists are suggesting as Salt Lake's national sleep conference winds to a close. Lack of concentration, motor restlessness, irritability, excessive impulsiveness, and learning problems. They're symptoms of autism - even attention deficit, and hyperactivity. But do all kids exhibiting these symptoms really have the disorders? National researchers, meeting in Salt Lake this week, believe many may be sleep deprived. If so, they're misdiagnosed and placed on stimulants like Ritalin for the wrong reason. Dr. Stephen Sheldon/ Sleep Medicine Center, Children's Memorial Hospital: "So the children who are sleepy and who are manifesting these symptoms may in fact improve because the stimulant is treating the symptoms." Dr. Stephen Sheldon with Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine says researchers see problems like this mirrored in kids who are not getting enough sleep. In some ways, Sheldon and his colleagues claim children are under a lot more stress these days, and that artificial light may actually be disrupting their sleep-wake cycles." TV's - but most especially, computer screens, and interactive video games many - close up to the screen - play late into the evening. Sheldon: "Is that in fact affecting their sleep-wake cycle, which results in a delayed phase, so they have difficulty falling asleep, difficulty waking up, so they're sleep deprived." Light stimulation at the wrong time, more after school activities and demands, schools that start too early in the morning - perfect ingredients for symptoms in kids we may be misconstruing for something else. Sheldon says more research is needed. Depending on each child's needs, researchers still recommend at least eight hours of sleep."

22. "Autism Has Higher Occurrence in Polluted Areas" dated 23 June 2006 by Marla Cone from the Los Angeles Times at http://www.cantonrep.com/index.php?ID=293185&Category=8.

"Children with autism disorders in the San Francisco Bay Area were 50 percent more likely to be born in neighborhoods with high amounts of several toxic air contaminants, particularly mercury, according to a first-of-its-kind study by the California Department of Health Services. The new findings, which surprised the researchers, suggest that a mother's exposure to industrial air pollutants while pregnant might increase her child's risk of autism, a neurological condition increasingly diagnosed in the past 10 years. But the scientists cautioned that the link they found in the Bay Area is uncertain, and more definitive evidence would be needed before concluding that mercury or any other pollutant could trigger autism. Gayle Windham, the study's lead researcher and senior epidemiologist in the state health department's environmental health investigations branch, called it "a single small study" and "a first look" at whether toxic pollutants play a role in the neurological disorder, which is often marked by poor verbal and communication skills and withdrawal from social interaction. Scientists have long wondered if the surge in diagnoses is due, in part, to environmental causes. Some of the increase comes from growing doctor and parent awareness, but experts say that cannot explain all of it. "Clearly this suggests that there may be correlations between autism onset and environmental exposures, especially as it relates to metal exposures," said Isaac Pessah, a toxicologist who heads the Center for Children's Environmental Health and Disease Prevention at the University of California, Davis, and performs research at the university's M.I.N.D. Institute, which studies autism. Pessah was not involved in the study. "It would be prudent to reserve judgment until we see if this study can be replicated and whether it's of general significance" by looking for the same link outside of the Bay Area, he said. An estimated 300,000 U.S. children have been diagnosed with autism and often need special education. The study compared 284 children from six Bay Area counties who were diagnosed with so-called "autism spectrum disorders," which include a less-severe syndrome called Asperger's, with 657 children from the same counties without the disorders. All were born in 1994. The scientists reviewed data for 19 hazardous air pollutants that are known or suspected neurotoxins, or chemicals that have a toxic effect on the brain. They found that the children with the autism disorders were 50 percent more likely than the non-autistic children to be born in areas with higher estimated levels of three metals and two chlorinated solvents -- mercury, cadmium, nickel, trichloroethylene and vinyl chloride. No significant link was found with 14 other solvents and metals, including potentially dangerous compounds such as lead, benzene and chromium. ..."

23. "Parents Object To Handling Of Special Ed Probe" dated 23 June 2006 by Charlie Jackson from Leesburg2day.com at http://www.leesburg2day.com/current.cfm?catid=6&newsid=12187.

"Parents of pre-kindergarten special education students at Potowmack Elementary School are trying to learn why two instructors were removed from class amid allegations of physical abuse in early May. In letters dated May 3 from the school's principal, parents were informed that "due to unforeseen circumstances," the instructors for the class of autistic and other special education children were removed. Since then, according to Kraig Troxell, spokesman for Loudoun County Sheriff's Office, an investigation ensued that led to no criminal charges. Schools spokesman Wayde Byard said that the matter was turned over to Child Protective Services, as well as the sheriff's office. Beyond that, Byard would not comment. Child Protective Services would not release any information about an investigation. "What really sent everybody over the edge is randomly, by chance, finding out one or both [teachers] had been removed for abuse," said Kevin Aylward, one Potowmack parent who said he spoke on behalf of six other families. Attempts to contact both teachers in question were unsuccessful. After the parents were informed that the teachers had been removed from the classroom, letters were sent from parents to school administrators that lauded the teachers' performance. The letters inquired when the teachers would return. Only when a Potowmack parent-who spoke to Leesburg Today on condition of anonymity because of a fear of repercussions to the parent's child-ran into a Child Protective Services investigator at the school did the news of the investigation become known. The parent has two children who could have been impacted. When the investigator was told their names, the parent said, he indicated one of her children was named in the investigation. ..."

24. "Group claims media soliciting sympathy- Stories on alleged crimes said to focus too much on daughters' disabilities" dated 24 June 2006 by KAREN McDONALD from The Peoria Journal Star at http://www.pjstar.com/stories/062406/TRI_BA6ITNTP.028.shtml.

"Recent media coverage of mothers being charged with killing or attempting to kill their disabled daughters solicits sympathy and understanding for the heinous acts, a national disability rights organization says. The news stories, complains Chicago-based group "Not Dead Yet," focus more on the children's disabilities than the alleged crimes. "Coverage of the alleged murder of Katie McCarron has been dominated by discussion of autism, poor support services and an alarming parade of parents seemingly eager to tell the public they've felt like killing their own kids with disabilities," said Stephen Drake, a researcher for the group, in a prepared statement. Karen McCarron, 37, of Morton is charged in the May 13 suffocation death of her 3-year-old daughter, Katherine "Katie." On Thursday, Kellie Waremburg, 32, of Pekin was charged with attempted murder for allegedly giving her daughter, Lexus Fuller, 4, a potentially lethal overdose of medication on Wednesday. The cases of McCarron, who had autism, and Fuller, who has cerebral palsy, were handled differently than cases not involving children or disabled persons, Drake complained. He said the girls' disabilities should not be stressed in media coverage because they may have had nothing to do with why the parents did what they did. Journal Star Managing Editor Jack Brimeyer said Friday he stands by the newspaper's coverage. "The Journal Star, as it's done for 150 years, simply did its job of providing background and context on news events of great import to many readers," he said. "People wanted to know about autism and cerebral palsy and the challenges of each. We presented facts plus the opinions of experts and others. And now the opinions of this group." Lisa Brabec of Dunlap, the parent of a severely physically and mentally handicapped 8-year-old, said media coverage should not focus on "trials and tribulations of having a child with special needs." "I think what it does is perpetuate the feeling of pitying these children. There are so many families out there who embrace the child, love the challenge and are humbled by what is in front of them - not burdened or discouraged," Brabec said. Drake also criticized the Autism Society of Illinois and the Peoria-based ANSWERS autism support group for indicating that feelings of desperation are normal among families that have disabled children. "Will this increase the acceptance of children with disabilities in our schools and neighborhoods?" Drake asked. ..."

25. "Clinic cited in girl's death- 7-year-old dies after being restrained by staff at Rice Lake, Wis., center" dated 24 June 2006 by EMILY GURNON from the Twin Cities Pioneer Press at http://www.twincities.com/mld/pioneerpress/news/local/14890408.htm.

"A 7-year-old girl who died a day after being physically restrained by employees at a Rice Lake, Wis., counseling clinic was placed in a so-called "control hold" because she was "gargling milk," according to a report by state health officials. In an investigation into the girl's death, the Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services also cited "multiple violations" of state law at the Northwest Counseling and Guidance Clinics, including the law governing physical restraint of clients. Angellika Arndt, who had attended the day treatment clinic five days a week for a month for behavioral problems, had been restrained on nine separate occasions, according to the report released late Thursday. Each time, staff members placed her in a control hold for one to two hours. The last time, on May 25, she lost consciousness. She died a day later at Children's Hospital & Clinics in Minneapolis. The Hennepin County medical examiner ruled her death a homicide caused by "complications of chest compression asphyxiation" leading to "cardiopulmonary arrest while restrained by another person." Meanwhile, the Rice Lake Police Department and Barron County District Attorney's office continue their investigation of her death. The district attorney's office said it did not expect to decide before July 15 whether to press criminal charges. In a statement issued Friday, clinic board president Denison Tucker said the clinic has "expressed concern (to the state) with what we find to be errors of fact, incomplete context and misapplications of statute references." Tucker declined to elaborate, except to say that the clinic also was investigating the incident. Clinic representatives planned to meet with state officials next week, he said. Tucker said in the May 25 incident the girl was held on her stomach on the floor, with one staff member gripping her ankles as another held down her shoulders. She calmed down, was released and then passed out, he said. Tucker said the control hold is used only if a child is in danger of harming him or herself or another person. The statement of deficiency laid out some serious allegations," said Sandy Rowe, deputy chief legal counsel for the health department. "We do expect all the facilities to protect the health and safety of all the people who are entrusted to their care." According to the report, the clinic "failed to demonstrate each use of physical hold (restraint) was due to an emergency or behavior by (Angellika) that posed imminent danger to self or others," as required by state law. ..."

26. "Law boosts insurance coverage for autism" dated 25 June 2006 from the Chicago Tribune at http://www.chicagotribune.com/features/health/chi-0606240260jun25,1,4496590.story.

"A bill requiring insurance to pay for additional therapy for autistic children each year became law Friday. Gov. Rod Blagojevich signed the bill, which takes effect immediately, to expand coverage for children with disabilities, officials said. It mandates 20 more speech therapy sessions a year covered by group plans and requires insurance to pay for treatment of pervasive developmental disorders, officials said. It applies to private and governmental insurance carriers. State Rep. Mary Flowers (D-Chicago) and state Sen. Susan Garrett (D-Lake Forest) sponsored the bill."

27. "Autism no hurdle for this champion" dated 25 June 2006 by Dennis McCarthy from The Log Angeles Daily News at http://www.dailynews.com/news/ci_3977574.

"Arlene Delaney was beginning to worry. The spelling bee championship at Oxnard Street Elementary School in North Hollywood had been going on for more than an hour, and the fifth-grade teacher was getting nervous about how one of her students, Kevin Livas-Hastings, was holding up. Lights and noise often distracted the 11-year-old autistic boy, and she wanted to get him off that auditorium stage to a quiet, relaxed place as soon as possible. But how could she? He was spelling every word right. The only special-education student in her fifth-grade class was winning the competition. More than 25 fifth-graders had started the spelling bee more than an hour earlier, and it was now down to two. Kevin's classmates in the audience were going wild, cheering and clapping every time he aced another word. "I kept looking at Kevin to make sure he was doing all right sitting up there for so long," Delaney said. "He'd look back at me smiling, giving me the thumbs-up sign every time he spelled a word right." And now, after an hour and a half, it was just Kevin and a little girl from another classroom who finally misspelled her word - "congratulations." Kevin spelled it right, then aced his word - "mathematics." "Everybody went wild," Kevin said, smiling. "My classmates rushed up on stage and started hugging me. I felt great. Winning is so much fun." In the back of the auditorium, Delaney; Gricelda Duenas, a teacher's aide; and Sandra Guardado, Kevin's one-on-one, special-education aide since first grade, hugged each other. Then the women broke out the tissues. "It's incredible how far this little boy has come," Guardado said Thursday, watching Kevin's classmates sign his T-shirt on the last day of school. ..."

28. "Autism Movement Seeks Acceptance, Not Cures" dated 26 June 2006 by Joseph Shapiro from NPR.org at http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5488463.

"Michael John Carley is trying to change your image of autism. He has autism and he's happy just the way he is. He thinks that might surprise you. Carley didn't know he was autistic until he was 36 years old. The diagnosis changed everything he'd ever understood about himself. "It was biblical," Carley says, with a laugh, of getting the diagnosis. "Of course, you say to yourself, 'Nah that can't be. It's garbage.' " Carley only heard about his kind of autism -- Asperger's syndrome -- shortly before he was diagnosed. It's sometimes called "geek syndrome" because people with Asperger's, like Carley, often seem quirky and eccentric, but highly intelligent. Those with Asperger's also have trouble reading other people's emotions, so they often bumble in social situations. When Carley was first given the diagnosis, he became depressed. Yet the diagnosis fit like a glove, he says. It explained things about his life. "All those experiences, I was walking away scratching my head going, 'What the heck just happened here?' Finally explanation, finally a sense of why and how," he says. "Suddenly a friendship would just end and you had no idea what you'd said," Carley explains. "Suddenly somebody would look at you with a face that said, 'You really offended me here,' and I wouldn't have the first clue about what I had done.' " Carley's son was diagnosed first.] At age three, [he] barely talked, but he built stunning towers with cans of dog food. Asperger's is often genetic, so the diagnosis for Carley's son led to the diagnosis for Carley. Carley, an actor and a playwright, considered keeping his diagnosis a secret. But a few days after he got his diagnosis, he ran into a friend. "I was on an elevator with somebody that I was working with," Carley recalls. "I told her about my son's diagnosis, I did not tell her about mine. And she said, 'Well, isn't that genetic?' And I said, 'Oh no. No no no. Nothing like that going on.' " As soon as Carley said those words, the image of his young son flashed through his head. He felt guilty. "And to me, I kind of stabbed my son in the back," says Carley. "And I told him -- if only for a moment because I quickly knew what I had done -- that he should be ashamed of what he has. Because I'm ashamed of it." At that moment, Carley decided to go public. Three years ago, he started the Global and Regional Asperger Syndrome Partnership, or GRASP. It's a national autism advocacy group. Today, it has 11 support groups around the country. ..."

29. "Air pollution boosts autism risk by 50 percent in newborns" dated 26 June 2006 from Nws Target.com at http://www.newstarget.com/019470.html.

"A recent study by the California Department of Health Services indicates that industrial air pollutants may increase the risk of autism by 50 percent in young children and unborn babies. The report was published online in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives. Researchers compared 959 children from six San Francisco Bay area counties who were born in 1994. Out of these, 284 were diagnosed with autism-spectrum disorders. The study showed that children with autism were more likely to be born in areas with high levels of mercury, cadmium, nickel, trichloroethylene and vinyl chloride. Elemental mercury -- which is released into the air from coal-burning power plants, chlorine factories and gold mines -- appears to be particularly hazardous. In their report, the study authors said their research suggests "living in areas with higher ambient levels of hazardous air pollutants -- particularly metals and chlorinated solvents -- during pregnancy or early childhood, may be associated with a moderately increased risk of autism. These findings illuminate the need for further scientific investigation, as they are biologically plausible but preliminary and require confirmation." Mercury levels are increasing in many parts of the world, and over the past 10 years the number of children diagnosed with autism has increased as well. This leads many scientists to suspect there may be a connection between pollutants and the neurological disorder. However, the study's lead author Gayle Windham cautions that more definitive evidence is needed before scientists will have a clear understanding of the effect of environmental pollutants on autism."

30. "Autism Speaks and Kellogg Company Team Up to Bring Autism Awareness to the Breakfast Table this Summer on more than 5 Million Rice Krispies Cereal Boxes" dated 27 June 2006 from Autism Speaks at http://www.autismspeaks.org/press/rice_krispies.php.

"Autism Speaks, a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing awareness of autism and raising money to fund autism research, announced today that it is partnering with Kellogg to bring its message of autism awareness to the side panels of more than five million Rice Krispies cereal boxes. The special Autism Speaks cereal boxes will hit store shelves beginning this month and will appear throughout the summer. In addition to explaining what autism is and that it is increasing in prevalence, the side panel describes some of the most common early signs of autism and encourages parents to talk to their pediatrician if they suspect something might be wrong. The Kellogg's Rice Krispies awareness initiative coincides with a multi-year Autism Speaks/Ad Council PSA campaign launched in April. Aimed at the general public, the ads stress that autism is more common than people think (1 in 166 children is now diagnosed with autism) and encourages families to learn the signs of autism and talk to their doctor if they suspect their child is not meeting developmental milestones. The campaign was created pro bono by advertising agency BBDO and is running across all media platforms, including print, broadcast and cable TV, radio and the internet. "We are incredibly grateful to Kellogg for helping us to reach millions of parents with this critically important information about the early signs of autism," said Suzanne Wright, co-founder of Autism Speaks. "Parents need to be aware of these 'red flags' and talk to their doctor as soon as possible if they suspect a developmental delay. ..."

31. "J-Mac nominated for best sports moment of the year" dated 27 June 2006 from WHEC10 News at http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/13571032/.

"He's the student manager who scored 20 points in under four minutes in his only varsity basketball game. That performance brought Jason McElwain of Greece a nomination today for an ESPY award for "Best Moment." The awards are given by E-S-P-N. After his six three-pointers on February 15th made highlight reels across the country, the Greece Athena High School student with autism met President Bush. His basketball story is being turned into a movie. Now McElwain, known as "J-Mac," is up against Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant, who scored 81 points in a single game. Other contenders for the ESPY are the George Mason men's basketball team that reached the Final Four, and Dakota Dowd, a 13-year-old golfer who played in an L-P-G-A Tournament as a tribute to her terminally ill mother. The "Best Moment" category is one the public can vote for online. The ESPYs, an Academy Awards-style show for sports, will be televised July 16th."

32. "Mind-Reading Computers Could Help Those With Autism" dated 27 June 2006 Jennifer LeClaire from TechNewsWorld at http://www.technewsworld.com/story/51371.html.

"British and U.S. scientists are developing an "emotionally aware" computer that can gauge an individual's thoughts by analyzing facial expressions. The technology could have practical applications for people with autism, researchers said. "People express their mental states all the time through facial expressions, vocal nuances and gestures," said Professor Peter Robinson of the Computer Laboratory at the University of Cambridge in London. "We have built this ability into computers to make them emotionally aware." The ability to determine an individual's mental state based on behavior and then use that information to guide one's actions or predict those of others, is known as the "theory of the mind." This is not a new field. It has been around since the 1970s, but it has recently gained attention in light of the needs of people with autism, who are thought to be "mind-blind." That is, they find it difficult to interpret others' emotions and feelings from facial expressions and other non-verbal cues. Robinson and his colleague, Rana el Kaliouby from the Media Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Latest News about Massachusetts Institute of Technology, based their computer program on the latest research in the theory of mind by Simon Baron-Cohen, director of the Autism Research Center at Cambridge. Baron-Cohen's research provided them with a taxonomy of facial expressions and the emotions they represent. "Machine versus people testing of this system has shown the computer to be as accurate as the top 6 percent of people. But would we want computers that can react to our emotions? Such systems do raise ethical issues," Robinson said. "Imagine a computer that could pick the right emotional moment to try to sell you something." ..."

33. "DA drops wiretap charge filed against autistic man" dated 28 June 2006 by Blair Sabo from The Patriot-News at http://www.pennlive.com/news/patriotnews/index.ssf?/base/news/115145971650310.xml&coll=1.

"The major charges against an 18-year-old man with autism who recorded a police officer's conversation at the scene of a fatal accident were dropped yesterday by Dauphin County District Attorney Edward M. Marsico Jr. Joseph Grabko of Lower Paxton Twp. had been charged with violating the Wiretap Act, resisting arrest and tampering with evidence after he recorded a Swatara Twp. police officer's conversation without permission at the site of a fatal accident on Paxton Street on June 8. Grabko pleaded no contest to a disorderly conduct charge before District Judge Michael Smith, who ordered him to pay a $25 fine, and all other charges were withdrawn, Marsico said. Marsico said he consulted with Swatara Twp. police before dropping the charges. He considered the nature of Grabko's violations, the harm caused by his actions and his disability, he said. Joseph Grabko was riding in a car with his brother, Peter, 25, when they came across the accident, they said. Peter Grabko, who wants to be a photographer, took pictures of the accident scene. Joseph Grabko picked up an MP3 player and began interviewing bystanders. Police said they approached Peter Grabko and told him to stop taking pictures because the body of the victim was in the vehicle. Joseph Grabko recorded the conversation with the police officer. When police tried to take away the audio recorder as evidence, Joseph Grabko refused to hand it over and tried to erase the recording, according to police. His actions violated the state's Wiretap Act because he recorded someone's conversation without getting permission, police said. Joseph Grabko was taken before a district judge, charged and sent home. When they arrested him, police did not know that Joseph Grabko has Asperger's syndrome, a form of autism. They learned of his disability from his mother."

34. "Kim for Vice President!- Student with autism wins coveted position on Franklin Sherman SCA" dated 28 June 2006 by Aranya Tomseth from The Connection Newspapers at http://www.connectionnewspapers.com/article.asp?article=67839&paper=68&cat=104.

"Six years ago, Allan and Wonmee Kim decided to leave Korea and move to Virginia. They already owned a house in McLean, and knew that they liked the area, but they had two far more important reasons for relocating - their sons, Dylan and Tyler, both of whom are autistic. "Basically, the services for autism are not that good in Korea," said Allan Kim. The Kims wanted to make sure that they lived in an area where their children would receive the best education and care possible. They happened to fall in the Franklin Sherman Elementary School district, a stroke of fate that both Allan and Wonmee Kim still refer to as "one of the luckiest things that has ever happened to us." "They are just very supportive of kids with disabilities," said Allan Kim of the school. Dylan, 11, and Tyler, 10, started at Franklin Sherman when they were 6 and 5. "We've been going there since kindergarten," said Tyler, who just finished the fourth grade. "I like the teachers, the parents, the students, and all of that stuff." Tyler Kim is a living testament to the power of a positive and supportive learning environment. Two weeks ago, he decided to cap off his fourth grade experience by running for vice president in the Student Council Association (SCA) election. With his brother as his "campaign manager," Tyler turned in an oath of commitment, hung up promotional posters and gave a speech. On June 16, which is coincidentally his mother's birthday, students submitted their votes via the school's in-house computer system, and Tyler emerged as the winning candidate for vice president. ..."

35. "The Virginia Department of Ed Allegedly Accepts Coerced Statements From Parents In Sp Ed Violation Investigation" dated 29 June 2006 by Kandise Thomas-Humphrey from Education News.org at http://www.educationnews.org/Commentaries/Virginia_Department_of_Ed_Allegedly_Accepts_Coerced_Statements.htm.

"The question that is being asked by parents, educators, and community activists is why would the Virginia Department of Education's Office of Dispute Resolution and Administrative Services knowingly accept statements from parents that were allegedly obtained through coercion and deception on the part of school administrators? On March 27, 2006 , a complaint was filed with the VADOE alleging repeated instances of federal and state violations regarding students with special needs committed by Prince George County 's public school officials and administrators. On May 26, 2006, the VADOE's Complaint Specialist, Henry J. Milward, Jr. issued a letter of findings that found no evidence of noncompliance by Prince George County Public School officials. The letter also confirmed that the VADOE accepted the allegedly coerced complaint withdrawal statements from the parents of the students involved. The findings stated that the students were excluded from the investigation based on the signed complaint withdrawal forms submitted by Prince George County Public School officials. Prior to issuing the decision, Mr. Milward and Jonell Lilly, the Coordinator of Complaints Services, were notified via phone and email that several parents had been coerced and deceived into signing a complaint withdrawal form by school administrators. A copy of the pre-typed, fill in the blank form was faxed to Ms. Lilly's attention for review and follow up. The form that was presented to the parents required that they fill in their child's first name and sign the form. An additional email from a parent that characterized Prince George County 's administrator as attempting to "bully" her into signing the form was also forwarded to Ms. Lilly and Mr. Milward. Despite this, the Office of Dispute Resolution and Administrative Services staff accepted the forms without question. The alleged acts of coercion and deception involved an administrator going out to a single parent's home, during school hours, in order to force her into signing the complaint withdrawal form. When she refused to sign the form after two visits, within the same day by the administrator, the Director of Special Education for the county allegedly contacted the parent via phone, in order to intimidate her further into signing the form. She refused all acts of coercion and did not sign the form. In another reported instance, parents have confirmed that the administrator advised them that the complaint that was filed with the VADOE was filed directly against their child, not against the school district. Several parents indicated that they were confused and in fear of retaliation for themselves and their students in the event that they refused to sign the withdrawal form. As a result, they complied with the administrator's request in order to avoid detrimental outcomes for their students. ..."

36. "Key To Early Diagnosis Of Autism May Be In The Placenta" dated 29 June 2006 from Medical News Today.com at http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/medicalnews.php?newsid=46040&nfid=rssfeeds and http://www.postchronicle.com/news/health/article_21225115.shtml.

"Researchers at Yale 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 two or older. The findings are reported in the June 26 online issue of Biological Psychiatry. Autism is a developmental disorder that has a profound effect on socialization, communication, learning and other behaviors. In most cases, onset is early in infancy. Information on the earliest development aspects of autism in children has been limited even though approximately one in every 200 children is diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The earlier the diagnosis is made, the greater the treatment impact. Current studies are searching for characteristics in children at risk for ASD so that the diagnosis can be made prior to age one. The ideal time for diagnosis would be at birth, according to senior author on the study Harvey J. Kliman, M.D., research scientist in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences at the Yale School of Medicine. In previous work, Kliman had observed an unusual pathologic finding in the placentas from children with Asperger Syndrome, an ASD condition which, like autism, impairs the ability to relate to others. "By serendipity, at a dinner party I happened to sit next to George M. Anderson, a research scientist in the Yale Child Study Center who had access to many cases of children with ASD," said Kliman. "We realized that by working together we might be able to determine if this placental abnormality could be a useful clinical marker." With the help of Andrea Jacobs-Stannard, a student in Kliman's laboratory, and Katarzyna Chawarska and Fred R. Volkmar of the Yale Child Study Center, the group designed a study to see if the placental abnormality, specifically the presence of trophoblast inclusions, was a marker for ASD. The multidisciplinary team of Yale researchers compared placentas from 13 children with ASD to those from 61 unaffected children for the presence of trophoblast inclusions. They found that the placentas from ASD children were three times more likely to have the inclusions. Kliman and the team identified trophoblast inclusions by performing microscopic examinations of placental tissues. ..."

37. "Autism Bill To Push Coverage" dated 29 June 2006 by Joseph Wendelken from the Queens Chronicle at http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=16862935&BRD=2731&PAG=461&dept_id=574908&rfi.

"The Assembly and Senate have passed legislation sponsored by Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer (D Ozone Park) that looks to extend the insurance coverage of those living with autism spectrum disorder. The bill, passed on June 19, amends current insurance laws by stipulating that every policy providing hospital, surgical or medical care not be allowed to exclude the coverage of autism spectrum disorder treatments. Pheffer called the legislation a "vital first step in promoting awareness and treatment for these disorders." The legislation also redefines autism spectrum disorder, categorizing it as a broad neurobiological condition that includes autism, Asperger syndrome and Rett's syndrome. Although insurance companies routinely cover treatment for similar behavioral disorders, many New York healthcare providers have denied coverage for treatment of autism related conditions based solely on a patient's autism diagnosis. The bill's passage comes as instances of autism are being diagnosed at increasing rates. During the 1992 1993 school year, there were 1,648 children ages 6 21 diagnosed with autism in New York State. New York saw 7,000 children diagnosed with autism last year. Nationally, one in every 160 children is diagnosed with the condition. The legislation now goes before Gov. George Pataki for consideration."

38. "Diseases caused by pollution cost state- According to a new report, Minnesota spends more than $1 billion a year to treat children affected by environmental toxins" dated 29 June 2006 by John Myers from the Duluth News-Tribune at http://www.duluthsuperior.com/mld/duluthsuperior/news/local/14927919.htm.

"Childhood diseases spurred by environmental pollution cost Minnesota nearly $1.6 billion each year, according to a Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy report to be released today. According to the report, preventable toxic pollution is causing increased asthma, cancer, birth defects and learning disorders in Minnesota children, and residents pay the price through increased social programs and medical care. While the report concedes that the causes of these diseases are complex, "a large body of research points to environmental factors as important contributors." By eliminating the environmental causes of the pollution -- such as lead in soil and in paint in old houses, mercury in fish, and toxic pesticides and other chemicals in water and air -- health experts say the state could save millions of dollars and improve the lives of many children. "Our findings demonstrate that there is not only a moral imperative to reduce the impacts of these preventable childhood diseases, but it also makes good economic sense," the report concluded. "Investing in policies that protect public health will pay off in the long term and help ensure a healthy future for Minnesota's children." In one part, the report's authors use previously tested scientific formulas to determine that the mercury from coal-fired power plants alone costs the state about $30 million annually in neuro-developmental problems in children. This year, Minnesota lawmakers passed tough new mercury reduction limits for power plants that will be phased in over the next decade. Using federal Environmental Protection Agency estimates, the report also found that children's asthma -- not including in children younger than 4 -- attributable to environmental causes costs Minnesotans about $30 million. Christine Ziebold, a Minneapolis pediatrician who helped draft the report, said lead poisoning continues to haunt children in many parts of the state, even years after the substance was ordered removed from paint and gasoline. Asthma cases also continue to increase, especially among children. Ziebold believes the asthma is being caused by prenatal and youth exposure to toxic pollution. "The problem is very acute. We have a higher rate of asthma here," she said. "It's not just tobacco smoke and plant pollen.... It's quite clear that pollution can trigger asthma. Whether it's causing more asthma isn't as scientifically accepted yet. But it sure looks like it." A 2004 Minnesota Department of Health study found that nearly 13 percent of high school students in rural counties reported having asthma while another 13 percent reported regular asthma symptoms but hadn't been diagnosed. ..."

39. "Panel backs cancer vaccine for 11-year-old girls- Shots would protect against sexually transmitted disease" dated 29 June 2006 from the Associated Press on MSNBC.com at http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/13612899/.

"An influential government advisory panel Thursday recommended that 11- and 12-year-old girls be routinely vaccinated against the sexually transmitted virus that causes cervical cancer. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices also said the shots can be started for girls as young as 9, at the discretion of their doctors. The committee's recommendations usually are accepted by federal health officials, and influence insurance coverage for vaccinations. Gardasil, made by Merck & Co., is the first vaccine specifically designed to prevent cancer. Approved earlier this month by the Food and Drug Administration for females ages 9 to 26, it protects against strains of the human papilloma virus, or HPV, which causes cervical, vulvar and vaginal cancers and genital warts. Some health officials had girded themselves for arguments from religious conservatives and others that vaccinating youngsters against the sexually transmitted virus might make them more likely to have sex. But the controversy never materialized in the panel's public meetings. Earlier this year, the Family Research Council, a conservative group, did not speak out against giving the HPV shot to young girls. The organization mainly opposes making it one of the vaccines required before youngsters can enroll in school, said the group's policy analyst, Moira Gaul. Health officials estimate that more than 50 percent of sexually active women and men will be infected with one or more types of HPV in their lifetimes. Vaccine proponents say it could dramatically reduce the nearly 4,000 cervical cancer deaths that occur each year in the United States. ..."

40. "HealthWrap: Risks, rewards and Rx's" dated 30 June 2006 by Dan Olmsted from United Press International at http://www.upi.com/ConsumerHealthDaily/view.php?StoryID=20060630-022633-4708r.

"Two developments this week -- the recommendation of a new anti-cancer vaccine for American girls, and new warnings about an antibiotic's side effects -- show how hard it is to get the risk-benefit ratio exactly right. Thursday, an advisory committee of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged that all preteen girls get a three-shot regimen of Gardasil, the recently approved vaccine against human papillomavirus (HPV), which in turn is the most frequent cause of cervical cancer. The same day French drug maker Sanofi-aventis added a warning about risk of liver damage to its antibiotic Ketek, which treats respiratory infections. Ketek has been the focus of an unusual face-off between the Food and Drug Administration and U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, and other legislators. Grassley has been highly critical of the FDA's oversight of the drug. In fact, Grassley went to the FDA headquarters -- the first time he has done that since 1983 -- to personally demand answers after saying the agency wouldn't make a fraud investigator available to discuss an agency probe. Problems with a clinical trial of the drug's safety were outlined in a May article in The Wall Street Journal. A Sanofi official told the Journal this week that "the medical benefits outweigh the risk" of Ketek, even as the FDA said, "We clearly now understand that there is a risk of serious liver injury with Ketek." The risk from Gardasil, according to some critics, is a moral hazard -- it might tend to encourage premarital, and possibly dangerous, sexual activity. The advisory committee's recommendation means that at least some -- and, plausibly, most -- states will make it mandatory for school attendance and pay for those who can't afford it. Colorado-based Focus on the Family told United Press International's Mara Gordon it is not opposed to the HPV vaccine for individuals, but state mandates prevent families from making the choice themselves. "This is not a disease that you're going to communicate, transmit or contract sitting in a classroom," said Linda Klepacki, a sexual-health analyst for Focus on the Family, a culturally conservative organization. "You really have to go out and get it." While the FDA says the vaccine is very safe, others are raising questions about that as well. The National Vaccine Information Center, a group that favors choice and greater informed consent in U.S. immunization policy, issued a statement earlier in the week calling on the CDC committee to reject mandating the vaccine. NVIC said clinical trials by manufacturer Merck were inadequate. "Merck and the FDA have not been completely honest with the people about the pre-licensure clinical trials," said NVIC president Barbara Loe Fisher. "Merck's pre- and post-licensure marketing strategy has positioned mass use of this vaccine by pre-teens as a morality play in order to avoid talking about the flawed science they used to get it licensed. This is not just about teenagers having sex, it is also about whether Gardasil has been proven safe and effective for little girls." Merck, on the contrary, said the trials -- and the FDA approval followed by the CDC recommendation -- show its safety has been established."

41. "Cancer vaccine for girls supported" dated 30 June 2006 by DELTHIA RICKS from Newsday.com at http://www.newsday.com/news/printedition/stories/ny-hsvacc304800980jun30,0,4086381.story.

"Eleven and 12-year-old girls should be routinely immunized against the human papilloma virus, the sexually transmitted cause of cervical cancer and other genital malignancies, a panel of government experts recommended yesterday. The contentious issue - vaccinating children against a sexually transmitted virus - has riled religious conservatives and anti-vaccine groups. Members of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, an influential 15-member panel that makes vaccine-policy recommendations to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, unanimously voted to approve routine vaccinations against HPV. Panelists said girls as young as 9 could receive the $360 vaccine and that "catch-up" immunizations with the three-shot regimen could be given to teens and women ages 13 to 26. The CDC rarely disregards the panel's decisions. Speaking from the meeting in Atlanta, Dr. Janet Gilsdorf, who chaired the advisory committee's HPV Working Group, said the decision could have a profound impact on public health. "I think this is a very sound decision on the part of the ACIP. The committee recognizes the value of this vaccine and its potential to make a big impact on infections caused by this virus," Gilsdorf said. The panel yesterday also recommended adding the HPV vaccine to the Vaccines for Children program, which pays for immunizations for uninsured children nationwide. The vaccine, Gardasil, was approved this month by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Manufactured by Merck & Co., it is the first of two HPV vaccines to be licensed. Scientists say Gardasil, which protects against four HPV strains, is best administered before girls become sexually active, a benefit that experts say will help drive down the global burden of cervical cancer, which kills nearly 300,000 women worldwide annually. "We do recommend vaccination and I certainly recommend that there be widespread immunization because that's the path toward eradicating cervical cancer in future generations," said JoAnn D. Smith, president and chief executive of Planned Parenthood of Nassau County. ..."

42. "Breakthrough Near in Treating Autism" dated 30 June 2006 in a press release form the University of Southern California at http://www.usc.edu/uscnews/stories/12567.html.

"Neuroscience is poised to make strides in understanding the disease, say scientists at USC, UCSF and Harvard. With hundreds of millions of dollars soon available to fund autism research, the field of neuroscience is currently poised to make breakthrough advances in the understanding and treatment of this disease in the next decade, according to a commentary published in the June 28 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience by USC's Steven O. Moldin and colleagues at UC San Francisco and Harvard University. However, in order to achieve these breakthroughs, the authors said that researchers must focus attention on neural systems, circuits and pathways and conduct studies that probe deeply into brain development, structure and function. The integration of findings from these studies with those that emerge from genetic analyses will also be necessary. "We are at a critical period in autism research," writes Moldin, UCSF's John L. R. Rubenstein and Harvard's Steven Hyman. "Understanding autism requires approaches that integrate basic studies that extend from genetics, molecular and cellular biology, developmental biology, neurophysiology and neuroanatomy to systems and cognitive neuroscience. Particular attention will need to be focused on identifying the neural systems that are affected in this disorder." The authors said avenues of research on autism that show great promise include studies of neural systems that regulate social behavior, cognition, communication, fear and anxiety. "These systems involve circuits that integrate information processed in the brain," Moldin said. "Developing a better understanding of the neurobiology of social behavior represents a particularly promising avenue of inquiry, since social impairments are what distinguish autism from other developmental disorders." In addition, the authors said such research needs to be integrated with new genetic studies, since studies have shown that genetic makeup plays a greater role in the risk of developing autism than any other common neuropsychiatric disorder. "Although genes exert a strong influence in aggregate, it is clear that autism is genetically complex, meaning that multiple genes of relatively small effect must interact to produce risk in combination with nongenetic factors," write the authors. "Despite recent neurobiological findings ... and the clear importance of genes, no defining set of pathophysiological mechanisms have been unambiguously elucidated nor have risk genes been unambiguously identified." ..."

43. "Glitch in tests mislabels mumps- Diseases - Health officials and the CDC are trying to identify the virus that sickened 58 people statewide" dated 1July 2006 by PATRICK O'NEILL from The Oregonian at http://www.oregonlive.com/news/oregonian/index.ssf?/base/news/115172254194680.xml&coll=7.

"Oops. It's not mumps after all. Oregon health officials say a glitch in testing at the Oregon State Public Health Laboratory caused them to misidentify a disease that has sickened at least 57 people statewide since April -- most of them in Lane County. Only one case, from Hood River, was found to be a positive case of mumps. Mike Skeels, director of the lab, said initial cell-culture testing of samples identified the virus as mumps. But later genetic testing by the lab and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed the virus was not mumps. Skeels said the virus remains unidentified and the CDC is continuing to analyze it. "It's a very unusual situation," Skeels said. Dr. Paul Cieslak, head of infectious diseases for the Oregon State Public Health Division, said the mystery illness is clinically indistinguishable from mumps, with 70 percent of the cases showing characteristic swelling of the parotid glands under the jaw. "A lot of things can cause parotitis," he said. "This is probably caused by other viruses." Symptoms included fever and malaise, typical of mumps. Skeels said he doesn't know why the cell-culture test identified the virus as mumps when it was really some other virus. In the test, viral samples are used to inoculate special cell lines. Unlike bacteria, viruses can't be grown outside of cells so it's necessary to infect laboratory cells with the virus. ..."

44. "Questions of blame linger in autism, vaccine dispute" dated 4 July 2006 by Meg McSherry Breslin from the Chicago Tribune at http://www.sanluisobispo.com/mld/sanluisobispo/news/nation/14964438.htm.

"It has been nearly 50 years since mothers shouldered the blame for their children's autism. Yet for many parents, echoes of that painful era remain. In the 1950s and '60s, the medical community accepted University of Chicago psychoanalyst Bruno Bettelheim's assessment that "refrigerator mothers" - those with a supposedly cold, unloving demeanor - brought on their children's disorder. Although it is now known that autism is a neurological disorder and not the result of bad parenting, the exact cause remains a mystery. Many parents, however, are convinced they've found the answer. And most experts are on the opposing side. Indeed, few medical battles are more charged than that between parents who believe mercury in their children's vaccines brought on autism and the medical establishment that has found no evidence to support that claim. Not only do these families feel enormous frustration with the many doctors who dismiss their theories, but they sometimes blame themselves for what happened while also struggling with the terrible stress of caring for an autistic child. This sensitive issue was brought into sharp relief in May after a 37-year-old Illinois doctor was charged with first-degree murder in the death of her 3-year-old autistic daughter, who was suffocated. Police say the doctor confessed to the murder, though she has entered a plea of not guilty. Friends of Karen McCarron said the murder charges came as a shock. Still, many said they recognized emotional turmoil in McCarron in the months before Katie's death. Some who knew McCarron through her work with an autism support group say the physician blamed herself for allowing her daughter to be vaccinated, and feared that the available remedies wouldn't make enough of an improvement to her daughter's quality of life. Others suggest that perhaps working among other doctors skeptical of the vaccine connection created an emotional tug of war for McCarron. "I just think she had a lot of guilt," said Dr. David Ayoub, a radiologist and associate professor at Southern Illinois University who occasionally talked with McCarron. Ayoub is a leading supporter of the mercury-causes-autism theory and is trying to dig up evidence to prove it. Much of the passion surrounding this issue stems from the fact that autism can be one of the most difficult disorders to manage. Though cases range from mild to severe, the toughest ones can be harrowing for parents, some of whom have to watch their children constantly for fear they will jump in front of a car, bang their head against a wall, or lash out at others. Some parents describe the most extreme cases as being like having a hyperactive 2-year-old who never grows out of his impulsive, risky behaviors. Understandably, parents want the mysteries that surround autism to be settled, to have some answer for why the number of cases has exploded. Having the medical community discount their beliefs makes them feel as if all hope of their children improving has been stripped from them. ..."

45. "Vaccines for kids now mercury-free- One encephalitis strain is only exception as new law takes effect" dated 4 July 2006 by Dorsey Griffith from the Sacramento Bee at http://www.sacbee.com/content/politics/story/14274560p-15084359c.html.

"Vaccines containing a mercury-based preservative are now largely off-limits to children under 3 and pregnant women in California. The only exception to the new state law, which took effect on Saturday, is the vaccine against Japanese encephalitis virus, a deadly mosquito-borne illness endemic to certain parts of Asia. The new law, by Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills, was aimed at reducing the risk of neurodevelopmental problems such as autism, which many parents believe can be traced to exposure to thimerosal, long used as a preservative in many vaccines. Several large federal studies have shown no link between childhood vaccines and autism, but additional research is continuing. The U.S. Public Health Service and the American Academy of Pediatrics in 1999 began to advocate the elimination of thimerosal from vaccines because some infants who received them were exposed to mercury at levels that exceeded Environmental Protection Agency guidelines. Except for trace amounts, which are allowable under the new law, thimerosal has been removed from childhood vaccines. The flu vaccine had been an exception. But concerns about its safety re-emerged in 2004, after the federal government recommended that babies between 6 months and 2 years be added to the list of those who should get annual flu shots. Aventis Pasteur, the company that manufactures the lion's share of flu vaccine, has increased the supplies of its thimerosal-free version in response to demand. "Based on what we know, we anticipate there will be an adequate supply of thimerosal-free flu vaccine for pregnant women and children under 3," said Department of Health Services spokesman Ken August. ..."

46. "Autism's Link to Vaccines Is Unfounded, Study Says" dated 5 July 2006 from Bloomburg.com at http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601082&sid=aoRWMD5RwykE&refer=canada.

"Use of mercury in vaccines doesn't cause autism among school-aged children, a study says. Advocacy groups had suggested that mercury, once widely used as a preservative in some immunizations, may be linked to autism, an umbrella term that covers a range of developmental and communication disorders. The conditions affect three to six of every 1,000 children born in North America. The Montreal study found that autism rates rose steadily among school-aged children who had been vaccinated as infants, even though the preservative wasn't included in the shots during the last two years examined, said Eric Fombonne, director of Pediatric Psychiatry at Montreal Children's Hospital. ``If you look at the rates of autism in the study, there is a smooth linear increase in the prevalence from the group born in 1987 to when the study finishes with children born in 1998,'' said Fombonne, the lead researcher, in a July 3 phone interview. Had mercury played a role, the rates of diagnoses should have fluctuated, he said. The study, published in the journal Pediatrics, examined rates of the disorders among 27,749 children at 55 schools in Montreal. A government grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research helped fund the research. Thimerosal, which contains mercury, was removed from vaccines in 1996 when manufacturers combined five immunizations, including polio, which is inactivated by the preservative. Fombonne has worked as an expert witness on behalf of vaccine makers defending lawsuits in the U.S. that allege mercury causes autism. While none of Fombonne's research is industry- funded, Illinois radiologist David Ayoub said omissions in the Montreal study and Fombonne's testimony on behalf of drugmakers raise the question of whether he can independently analyze the research data. ``This is just another heavily biased study by an author with a long track record of financial ties to the drug industry, and whose previous views on the epidemiology of autism have been discredited,'' wrote Ayoub, who also is medical director of the Foundation for Autism Information and Research, in an e-mailed response to questions. Ayoub said Fombonne's effort ignored several papers that link mercury and autism. ..."

47. "Study clears childhood immunizations as possible cause of autism" dated 5 July 2006 from the AFP (Canada) at http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20060705/hl_afp/canadahealthautism_060705152019.

"Common childhood vaccines for measles, mumps and rubella do not cause autism, as once believed, according to a new study. A study published Wednesday in the scientific journal Pediatrics said that researchers at the Montreal Children's Hospital dismissed suspicions that thimerosal in some vaccines was behind increased rates of the disorder after looking at 28,000 children in Canada's francophone province of Quebec. "There is no relationship between the level of exposure to thimerosal-containing vaccines and rates of autism," lead researcher Eric Fombonne said in a statement. Mercury-based thimerosal was used as a preservative and to prevent bacterial and fungal contamination in the manufacture of these vaccines. Past studies suggested it may be toxic to the brain, so its use in routine infant vaccines was widely discontinued, with a few exceptions, according to Health Canada. However, rates of autism have since continued to rise, Fombonne said. "According to our data, the incidence of autism was higher in children who were vaccinated after thimerosal was eliminated from vaccines," he said. "We hope this study will finally put to rest the pervasive belief linking vaccines with developmental diseases like autism," he added. Autism is a neuropsychiatric disorder that impairs a child's ability to communicate and interact with others. It affects about one in 155 children. In the 1990s, many parents refused to inoculate their children against dangerous childhood diseases over fears the vaccines did more harm than good. Their actions resulted in a resurgence of the measles, which caused the deaths of several infants in Europe, Fombonne said. He attributes the rise in autism rates to a broader definition of autism and greater awareness of the disorder."

48. "Moms push mercury-autism link- Protesters crowded sidewalks at CDC" dated 5 July 2006 by ALYSSA ABKOWITZ from Atlanta Creative Loafing.com at http://atlanta.creativeloafing.com/gyrobase/Content?oid=93479#rating.

"Amy Carson screamed into a megaphone as drivers rolled up their car windows and turned into the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Our children, your crime," she chanted as other protesters hoisted signs reading "Ban mercury from vaccines" and "It's true / It's thimerosal," referring to the mercury-containing preservative once widely used in vaccines. Carson was one of more than 100 protesters who crowded the sidewalks outside the CDC's headquarters on Thursday as the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, which sets the standards on how and when vaccines are administered, had its summer meeting inside. The protest was organized by a grassroots advocacy group called Moms Against Mercury, who believe thimerosal is responsible for the incredible jump in autism over the last 20 years. The group also accuses the CDC of covering up an internal study that concluded thimerosal appears to be responsible for autism and a host of other neurological disorders among children. According to a story jointly published in Rolling Stone and Salon, the study was revealed at a meeting in Norcross of scientists and health officials in 2000. The report quoted transcripts from the meeting where concern was expressed about how the revelations would impact the vaccine industry's bottom line. The story said the CDC withheld the report, and then hired the Institute of Medicine to conduct a new study specifically to "rule out" a link between thimerosal and autism. There has been substantial debate about whether a link exists between mercury and autism; recent studies have indicated there is no link. Although the government ordered manufacturers to phase out thimerosal given to children in 1999, many flu shots still contain the preservative. Some researchers think there may be a correlation between flu shots received by the elderly and the onset of Alzheimer's disease. The CDC has concluded there is no evidence of a correlation between autism and thimerosal. But many parents have said their children appeared to develop autism shortly after having received childhood vaccinations. "These vaccines aren't preventions," said Shelly Sulkoske, one of the protesters. "They're poison." Jose Cordero, director of the CDC's National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, says autism is probably caused by several factors. "Research is pointing to a combination of genetic and environmental factors," Cordero said. "Finding the cause is our highest priority." Autism is a developmental disability that impairs a person's ability to interact and communicate effectively. Autistic children often appear to be in their own world and often have a secondary disability such as mental retardation or epilepsy. The CDC estimates that as many as one out of 166 children has autism today, an increase from one out of 2,000 children only 20 years ago. The Moms Against Mercury rally was one of the most significant protests to occur at the CDC since the HIV/AIDS protests in the 1980s. "The amount of mercury in multiple vaccines injected into children is causing significant neurological damage," Carson said. "What they're doing is criminal."

49. "Patient death highlights question about restraints" dated 5 July 2006 from the Associated Press in the Duluth News Tribune at http://www.duluthsuperior.com/mld/duluthsuperior/news/politics/14971851.htm

"The suffocation death of a 7-year-old patient at a northwestern Wisconsin counseling center has highlighted the question of when to use physical restraints on children. Angellika Arndt died at a Minneapolis hospital on May 26, a day after police were called to the Northwest Counseling and Guidance Clinic in Rice Lake on a report that she was unresponsive. Staff members at the clinic had restrained the Ladysmith girl because of behavioral issues, police said. Arndt died from complications of chest compression, which caused lack of air from a restraint hold she was placed in by staff members, Barron County District Attorney Angela Holmstrom has said. The state Department of Health and Family Services investigated and found the staff had restrained Arndt nine times for one to two hours. Clinic officials say the staff obeyed current laws and acted appropriately in restraining Arndt face down. Denison Tucker, clinic president, has said staff members use the particular hold only when a child is in danger of harming someone. But Mary Beth Kelley, a former special education teacher, said staff members should never have placed Arndt on her stomach. "There's been enough research out there, enough deaths, that I'm surprised anyone would still use that as a practice," said Kelley, now on the faculty of the special education program at the University of Minnesota. Anne Gearity, a clinical social worker with the Washburn Child Guidance Center in Minneapolis, called the restraint "total unacceptable." "Whatever happened, they lost control," Gearity said. A Cornell University study found 45 child or adolescent fatalities involved physical or mechanical restraints between 1993 and 2003. According to a brochure from Milwaukee-based Crisis Prevention Institute, which trains schools and other facilities in how to deal with challenging children, "especially dangerous positions" include face-down floor restraints. ..."

50. "Controlling out-of-control kids: When is restraint OK?- Defenders say its use is sometimes needed; others point out it sometimes kills" dated 5 July 2006 by EMILY GURNON from the Twin Cities Pioneer Press at http://www.twincities.com/mld/twincities/news/local/14965993.htm.

"The death of the 7-year-old Wisconsin girl who lost consciousness after being held down at a Rice Lake, Wis., day treatment center has fanned the flames of an ongoing local and national debate about the use of physical restraints. Angellika Arndt, who was living with foster parents in Ladysmith, Wis., was held face-down by two clinic workers on nine different occasions in the month she attended the weekday treatment program, according to a report by state officials who investigated her death. After being restrained on May 25, Angellika passed out, and died the next day at a Minneapolis hospital. The coroner determined the cause of death to be chest asphyxia. A Northwest Counseling and Guidance Clinic official has said its staff acted appropriately. But Angellika's case highlights a question that professionals in treatment and corrections facilities, as well as public and private schools, must ask every day: How do you handle out-of-control kids? Clinic officials and their defenders say the staff obeyed current laws, and that such restraints are sometimes necessary to protect the child and others. But critics say Angellika should never have been placed on her stomach in restraint holds that could endanger her breathing. Some of those holds lasted one to two hours, according to the state report. "She should have never been on her stomach, she should have been upright," said Mary Beth Kelley, a former special education teacher now on the faculty of the special education program at the University of Minnesota. "There's been enough research out there, enough deaths, that I'm surprised anyone would still use that as a practice," she said. The fact that Angellika was held in the face-down position, and for periods of between one and two hours each time, is "totally unacceptable," agreed Anne Gearity, a clinical social worker with the Washburn Child Guidance Center in Minneapolis who specializes in high-risk children. "Whatever happened, they lost control," Gearity said. No one agency compiles statistics on children who die after being restrained. But a Cornell University study found 45 child or adolescent fatalities between 1993 and 2003 that involved physical or mechanical restraints. And many professionals believe the number is much higher. Northwest Counseling and Guidance Clinic runs 12 outpatient day treatment programs throughout Wisconsin. Children who go there are the ones whose illnesses have made them incapable of succeeding in a regular or specialized classroom, said Denison Tucker, clinic president. ..."

51. "Study clears vaccines as cause of autism" dated 5 July 2006 from CTV News (Canada) at http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20060705/autism_vaccine_060507/20060705?hub=TopStories.

"A new Canadian study is casting doubt on the theory that mercury-based vaccines and childhood immunizations lead to an increased risk of autism. "There is no relationship between the level of exposure to MMR vaccines and thimerosal-containing vaccines and rates of autism," said Dr. Eric Fombonne, lead investigator of the new study, which will be published Wednesday in the journal Pediatrics. The MMR vaccine is a three-in-one needle that protects against measles, mumps and rubella. The findings suggest that autism rates continued to increase even after reductions in MMR jabs and the elimination of thimerosal, a controversial mercury-based vaccine preservative. "According to our data, the incidence of autism was higher in children who were vaccinated after thimerosal was eliminated from vaccines," said Fombonne, director of pediatric psychiatry at The Montreal Children's Hospital of the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC). Thimerosal was used to prevent bacterial and fungal contamination in the manufacture of various vaccines until it was phased out of such formulas in 1996 in Quebec. Currently in Canada, some influenza and hepatitis B vaccines are the only thimerosal-containing products that might be offered to children as part of the routine immunization schedule. While high doses of mercury can cause neurological damage, there has been no evidence that this type of damage causes the symptoms specific to autism. "In the past, concern about a potential link between MMR vaccinations and autism led some parents to take the drastic step of refusing to inoculate their children against dangerous childhood diseases like measles," said Fombonne. "This action resulted in resurgence of the measles, which caused the deaths of several young children in Europe." Concerns were raised in the late 1990s when a leading medical journal published a study that claimed a link between childhood vaccinations and autism. ..."

52. "Thousands find connection and inspiration at nation's largest Autism conference" dated 5 July 2006 in a press release from Penn State University at http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2006-07/ps-tfc070506.php.

"Autism affects an estimated 1 in 250 births, making the condition more common than childhood cancer, cystic fibrosis and multiple sclerosis combined. Family members of those living with autism are looking for emotional support. Researchers, doctors, and teachers are on a never-ending quest for answers to the latest rumors, to information on the latest finding to emotional support. When Penn State held its first autism conference in 1998, about 100 people were expected to attend. To the great surprise of the event's planners, 300 showed up, forcing staff to scramble and find housing for the overflow in the University's empty dorm rooms. Today, the conference is one of the largest meetings of its kind-not just in the nation, but globally, attracting a diverse audience, including medical professionals as well as those suffering from autism and their family members. This summer, from July 31 through August 4, the 2006 National Autism Conference is expected to draw more than 2,400 people to Penn State's University Park campus. Public awareness of autism has grown dramatically in recent years, as diagnoses have increased at what some medical professionals call epidemic levels. In addition, a recent flurry of stories in the media has helped make autism a focus of national consciousness. As a result, more professionals than ever before are seeking the latest information about the condition. Titled "Progress Through Partnership," this year's conference will focus on current topics in the field, including cross-agency support and the needs of adolescents and adults living with autism. According to Cathy Scutta, an educational consultant with the Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network (PaTTAN), and lead sponsor of the event, the conference showcases comprehensive, evidence-based information, providing a venue for educators and families to develop effective educational programming for those with autism spectrum disorders. Close to 90 speakers, including many internationally respected leaders, will present at the conference, sharing the latest research and about autism and related issues. Speakers include renowned medical professionals, teachers, behavior analysts and parents of autistic children. Scott Robertson, a Penn State Ph.D. student in Information Technology Sciences living with Asperger's Syndrome, a form of autism, will deliver the keynote address, "Adult Living with Autism Spectrum Disorders: Challenges, Aspirations, and Success." After finding last year's conference to be an effective forum for discussion and increased understanding, Robertson is excited to have a role this year's conference. "I greatly enjoy having the opportunity to share my thoughts and beliefs with people in the audience and hear about their own experiences and perspectives on adult living and autism," he said. Many family members of autistic individuals will also be in attendance. To help them get the most out of the experience, the Penn Stater Conference Center and Hotel provides free daycare during the conference, through its Children's Institute, for the first 100 children to be registered."

53. "New Clues to Neurological Diseases Discovered- Findings could lead to new treatments, two studies suggest" dated 5 July 2006 by Steven Reinberg from Healthday at http://www.drkoop.com/newsdetail/93/533621.html.

"Researchers have found that genetic abnormalities in molecules that regulate neuron growth may be at the root of Down syndrome and Alzheimer's disease. These molecules, known as neurotrophins, are taken up by neurons in sac-like carriers called endosomes and transported to the main cell body, where they take charge of neuronal development and connectivity by activating protein switches called Trk receptors. Now, two separate reports in the July 6 issue of Neuron show that a malfunction of a single gene disrupts the transport of neurotrophins and that restoring normal levels of a Trk receptor could reverse the death of neurons. "Neurotrophins are growth factors that maintain the health of neurons," explained Susan G. Dorsey, an assistant professor at the University of Maryland Baltimore School of Nursing and lead researcher on the first study. "The thought has always been that the problem in neurodegenerative diseases has been a lack of supply of neurotrophins." "We argue that it's not a supply problem, but it's actually receptors on the cell surface malfunctioning," she said. "This could become a new therapeutic target." "We found that neurons are very sensitive to the levels of neurotrophin receptors," Dorsey explained. Receptors are what neurotrophins bind to so that they can be transported into the cell to support cell survival. In a mouse model of Down syndrome, Dorsey's team found there was an overproduction of receptors that blocked neurotrophins, which led to the death of neurons. "When we corrected that, cell survival was restored," she said. In terms of potential therapy, the focus may need to switch from trying to supply more neurotrophin to trying "to figure out how to make the neurons more responsive to the supply of neurotrophins that exist," Dorsey said. ..."

54. "Autistic nursery school pupil found wandering in middle of busy road" dated 5 July 2006 from the Islington Gazette (UK) at http://www.awares.org/pkgs/news/news.asp?showItemID=664&board=&bbcode=&profileCode=§ion=.

"A mother is refusing to send her autistic son back to nursery after he was found wandering in the middle of a busy road. Three-year-old Jack Bailey, who suffers from the developmental disability, autism, was picked up by police in Caledonian Road after he wandered away from a fire drill at Bemerton Nursery in Carnoustie Drive, Islington. A mystery man pulled Jack out of the road and then alerted police. A nursery volunteer took him back to the nursery where his mother, Katherine, of nearby Bemerton Street, was called. She said: "I couldn't believe my ears when they told me what had happened and I rushed down to the nursery to make sure he was okay. I am absolutely livid. Anything could have happened to him. "Surely if there is a fire drill, they should make sure they keep a particularly close eye on children with special needs because who knows what could happen? Jack has a key worker at the nursery who should have been keeping an eye on him." She added: "The nursery has said they are sorry and there is going to be a full investigation. But in my eyes, sorry is not good enough. I can't send him back to nursery until I know how this happened and I feel I can trust them again." Councillor Ursula Woolley, Islington Council's executive member for children and young people, said: "I am sorry this incident took place and I am of course relieved, like his family and the staff at Bemerton, that Jack was promptly returned to our care. "There will be a full review of premises security and health and safety procedures at Bemerton Children's Centre to make sure that all these procedures are properly robust in future."

55. "Bullying's effects can linger, study finds- Victims, perpetrators run greater risk of behavioral problems later in life" dated 6 July 2006 from Reuters at http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/13737872/.

"Children who are bullied during their early school years may experience behavior problems as a result, new study findings suggest. "Our results indicate that bullying victimization in the early school years is an influential experience for a child's behavioral development and mental health problems," study author Dr. Louise Arseneault, of King's College, London, and her colleagues write. "Prevention and intervention programs aimed at reducing mental health problems during childhood should target bullying as an important risk factor," they add. According to previous research, victimization may be associated with mental health problems in adults. It is also known that some mental health problems in adults stem from poor mental health in childhood. In the current study, Arseneault and her team investigated bullying in childhood, looking at the extent to which bullying contributed to later adjustment problems. They analyzed information for 2,232 subjects who participated in home-visit assessments at 5 years old and follow-up assessments at age 7. Those assessments revealed that the majority of children had never bullied another child or experienced bullying between ages 5 and 7. However, 14.4 percent were "pure victims" and 6.2 percent were "bully/victims," children who had been bullied and who also victimized others. Another 1,387 children who were not involved in bullying served as a comparison, or "control," group. Both groups of children had significantly more behavior problems and problems adjusting in school at 7 years old, compared with the control children, the investigators report in the journal Pediatrics. Pure victims had more internalizing problems, such as being withdrawn, anxious or depressed, and were also more unhappy at school compared with children in the control group. Bully/victims also had internalizing problems. In addition, they had fewer prosocial behaviors, such as being considerate of other people's feelings; and were less happy at school at age 7 compared with the pure victims and children in the control group. In light of their findings, "bullying could be regarded as a stressful life event that might influence children's normal development," Arseneault and her co-authors conclude."

56. "The Age of Autism: Anna's last days -- 1" dated 6 July 2006 Dan Olmsted from United Press International at http://www.upi.com/ConsumerHealthDaily/view.php?StoryID=20060630-021004-3424r.

"On April 26 a Scottish child named Anna Duncan attended a party where two children had chickenpox. Nine days later she got her routine measles-mumps-rubella vaccination. Four days after that she developed classic chickenpox symptoms -- spots and fever. One week later, on May 14, Anna was dead from an apparent seizure. She was 17 months old. Now her father, John, is struggling with the sudden loss of a bright, lively child -- and increasingly suspicious that the MMR shot during an apparent chickenpox infection triggered her death. Those suspicions deepened after he came across Age of Autism's recent investigative series, Pox, which found that giving MMR and chickenpox vaccines at the same time might raise the risk of autism in a susceptible subset of children. By happenstance, the series began the week before Anna's exposure to chickenpox and ended the week after her death. In Anna's case, Duncan believes the chickenpox she caught at the party suppressed her immune system to the point that the measles virus from the MMR triggered a fatal seizure. "I feel now that I have an answer to our daughter's death," said Duncan, of Cardrona, Scotland. "What I'm going to try to do with this is force a fatal accident inquiry, because there is a potential scenario here where it could happen again, and if (they) realize that this is a developing story, it can only get bigger." The Pox series centered on several autistic children in Olympia, Wash., whose families had problematic histories with chickenpox and related herpesviruses. All of the children got the MMR and chickenpox vaccines, in most cases at their 12-month checkups; two of the children were in Merck & Co. clinical trials of investigational chickenpox vaccines in combination with the MMR. John Duncan said that like the Olympia families, he also had unusual reactions to viral infections and experienced a monthlong outbreak of pox-like spots just after Anna was born. He took photographs at the time to document the spots, which spread diffusely from his abdomen. "I believe her response to the MMR while infected with chickenpox was due to her genetic makeup from myself," Duncan wrote in a posting on the British Web site jabs.org.uk. "Anna's normal response to a benign childhood illness, for which recovery was a formality, was interrupted by the MMR vaccine, which due to her understandable immunosuppression resulted in the replication of the measles virus -- 'virus replication,' an accepted and understood medical event in relation to vaccines." It will be weeks before laboratory tests confirm whether Anna had chickenpox and health authorities rule on cause of death. ..."

57. "Walgreens Recruits Employees With Disabilities Through New, Highly Accessible Web Site" dated 7 July 2006 in a press release in PRNewswire at http://biz.yahoo.com/prnews/060707/cgf012.html?.v=62.

"Walgreens (NYSE, Nasdaq: WAG - News), the nation's largest drugstore chain, has launched an innovative initiative to hire people with disabilities at its new distribution center in Anderson, S.C. and is recruiting through a new, specially-designed Web site. Walgreensoutreach.com describes jobs available at the Walgreens distribution center and is designed to be accessible by people with sensory, physical and cognitive disabilities. The center has begun pre-hire training and will open in 2007. Initially, Walgreens will hire more than 200 employees with plans to ramp up to more than 600 employees. Walgreens goal is to have at least one-third of the workforce consist of employees with a variety of disabilities working in a fully- integrated team. This "real work for real pay" environment will be competitive employment in which performance standards must be maintained. Job openings at the Anderson distribution center include a number of management positions. Walgreensoutreach.com provides information to help potential employees understand what work will be like at the distribution center. The site incorporates audio messages, photos, video and a large-print text option to depict jobs and worklife at Anderson. The site also is designed to be accessible to blind and low vision individuals who use screen reader technology. Under the jobs section, videos show employees performing various jobs, and the text describes what the workers are doing. Prospective employees unsure if they can perform the essential job functions can take a self-quiz to get an idea of the tasks involved. From the same page, a series of photos shows an employee arriving at work and going through the daily routine -- going to a locker, storing lunch, walking to a work station, taking a break and ending the day. For potential employees considering relocating to Anderson, the site also has information about Walgreens partnership with 13 local disability agencies. Knowing the difficult challenges faced by people with disabilities who want to work, Walgreens designed the Web site to address concerns such as transportation, housing and the impact of gainful employment on Medicaid, SSI or SSDI benefits. "We know this requires more than a 'build it and they will come' attitude to be successful," said Randy Lewis, Walgreens senior vice president of distribution and logistics. Lewis, who has a son with autism, knows first-hand the challenges of everyday life for people with disabilities. ..."

58. "A name for this murder" dated 7 July 2006 by Valerie Brew-Parrish from The Suburban Chicago Herald News at http://www.suburbanchicagonews.com/heraldnews/features/4_5_JO22_VALERIE_S1.htm.

"This may be the most important column I have ever written. I wish I was blessed with the writing skills of the world's best journalists because the message is so crucial. Here is the direct scoop: People with disabilities have the right to live. The term "mercy killing" is an oxymoron. The disability press is in an uproar over the recent murder of Katie McCarron, the 3-year-old girl with autism who had a garbage bag put over her head to snuff out her life, allegedly by her own mother. Most of the media covering this horrendous story is focusing on the toll autism has on families. Their spin is that raising a kid with a disability is an overwhelming burden. The infamous Dr. Peter Singer, bioethicist from Princeton University, advocates infanticide when a mother gives birth to an infant with a disability. He believes animals have more rights than people with disabilities. Like Charles Dickens, who coined the word scrooge, I, too, am adding a new word to our vocabulary. The word is disabledocide, the act of killing people with disabilities. This trend is disturbingly real. One Web site - geocities.com/growingioel/murder.html - lists 30 children with autism who have been murdered. The list doesn't include Katie McCarron or Christopher DeGroot, the autistic 19-year-old who allegedly was locked in a blazing apartment on May 14 by his parents, with no chance for escape. One newspaper lamented that Dr. Karen McCarron, Katie's mother, helped other parents with their autistic children. A mother in the same support group is quoted as saying if McCarron had not helped her, she might have killed her child. What on earth is going on here? I am certainly glad that my parents never had notions to end my supposed misery. Most of my summers were spent at Children's Memorial Hospital. I had costly surgeries. Thank God my husband's family didn't believe in disabledocide. When cases like these are brought to court, way too often juries do not convict the murdering parents of kids with disabilities. Yes, they are murderers. What happened to the commandment, Thou Shalt Not Kill? Society as a whole fails to understand that people with disabilities have quality of life. When Larry King interviewed the stars of the acclaimed film "Murder Ball," he surmised that they were all in favor of stem-cell research. The quad rugby players were then asked, if a magic pill could be given to them that would eliminate their wheelchairs and allow them to walk, would they take it? The answer was a resounding no. My daughter recently was asked what she would wish for. Her replies startled her friend, who chastised her by saying, your mom has paralyzed arms, your dad is blind, and your son is autistic. Don't you wish they were normal? My Tara sees all three of us as normal. We are not broken and do not need to be fixed. We need to celebrate people just as they are."

59. "Garner man with autism missing" dated 7 July 2006 from the Wake County (NC) News and Observer at http://www.newsobserver.com/167/story/458086.html.

"Police are looking for an autistic man last seen at his home more than two weeks ago. John William Palmer, 45, was spotted by his landlord June 21, and police think he withdrew money from his account at the SunTrust Bank in Garner before disappearing, according to a news release from the Garner Police Department. Palmer, who is 6 feet tall and weighs 150 pounds, is a highly functioning autistic man. He drives a 1995 Chevrolet Corsica with N.C. License Plate No. TVZ-8442. Anyone with information is asked to call Garner police at 772-8810 or 226-CRIME (2746)."

60. "My opinion Kathleen Parker : The problem is class and race, but it's also boys in crisis" dated 7 July 2006 in an oped by Kathleen Parker from the Orlando Sentinel at http://www.azstarnet.com/allheadlines/136756.

"America's "boy crisis" has been canceled. It was all hype, we're now told by Education Sector, a nonpartisan education research group. In a new study titled "The Truth About Boys and Girls," researcher Sara Mead concludes that the failing-boys mantra was politically motivated hooey advanced by anti-feminist pundits and others who cherry-picked data to advance their own ideological agendas. Boys aren't so much in crisis, says Mead, who analyzed data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress. They're just not doing very well. That is, middle- and upper-class white boys generally are doing fine, while blacks, Hispanics and the poor (some of whom surely are white) are doing badly to terribly. We have a class and race problem, in other words, not a boy problem. Maybe. Mead seems most concerned that education funds might be misdirected in response to recent noises that school programs are unfriendly to males and that teaching styles should be adjusted to accommodate brain differences - and, hence, learning styles - in males and females. The study, though filled with intriguing information - not much of which undermines the case of males-doing-badly - seems mostly aimed at halting trends away from policies that were put in place to advance girls. "While most of society has finally embraced the idea of equality for women," she writes, "the idea that women might actually surpass men in some areas (even as they remain behind in others) seems hard for many people to swallow." Fine. Let's call a truce for the moment on who is or isn't politically motivated and take a look at the data. It is apparently true that boys do pretty well in elementary and middle school but tend to go wobbly in high school and college. We may need to give social scientists a few more decades to pin down possible reasons for that, but I'm willing to bet my two cents on a combination of testosterone and a lack of disciplined guidance from fathers. Meanwhile, here are some of the statistics that say "not a crisis," just "not that great." Only 65 percent of boys who start high school graduate four years later, compared with 72 percent of girls; 42 percent of boys are suspended from school at least once before age 17, compared with 24 percent of girls. Elementary-school boys are more likely than girls to be held back a year, while high school boys' achievement is declining in most subjects. A "substantial" percentage of boys are diagnosed with disabilities, while boys make up two-thirds of special education students, as well as 80 percent of those diagnosed with emotional disturbances or autism. Boys also are two and a half times as likely as girls to be diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. ..."

61. "Boy awarded $43.1 million- The 7-year-old's settlement comes under a national vaccine compensation program" dated 7 July 2006 by JULIUS A. KARASH from The Kansas City Star at http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/14982718.htm.

"In what is thought to be one of the largest such settlements ever, a quadriplegic boy has been awarded $43.1 million under a government vaccine injury program. Seven-year-old Mario Arturo Rodriguez, who once lived in Kansas City and received a vaccination at Children's Mercy Hospital, will receive the money under a settlement reached this week through the no-fault National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Mario's case alleged that he became a quadriplegic after receiving a measles, mumps and rubella vaccine at Children's Mercy Hospital's pediatric clinic on Jan. 25, 2000. The hospital was not named as a defendant in the lawsuit. Under the guidelines of the program, the litigation was filed against the Department of Health and Human Services. Kansas City attorney Leland Dempsey, who represented Mario, said Thursday that it was his understanding that the settlement was one of the biggest ever reached under the program. "One unusual aspect of the case is that Mario is expected to have a normal lifespan, and therefore will require more years of care that will cost more money," Dempsey said. "He will need round-the-clock care, including extensive medical intervention, throughout his life." Dempsey said the money will be paid over Mario's lifetime, probably beginning with about $2 million this year. The boy lives with his mother in Oak Harbor, Wash., he said. Bill Hall, a spokesman for the Department of Health and Human Services in Washington, said Thursday that he was not familiar with the case and therefore could not comment. According to statistics on the department's Web site, www.hrsa.gov/vaccinecompensation, in fiscal year 2006 the fund paid out a total of $38.2 million in cases involving 47 awards. The program was established in 1988 to ensure an adequate supply of vaccines, stabilize vaccine costs and establish an accessible forum for those injured by vaccines. A small percentage of children have serious reactions to vaccinations. Dempsey emphasized that Mario's injuries are highly unusual and that parents should not hesitate to get their children immunized against diseases. "I can't imagine that anyone would refrain from getting their child immunized," Dempsey said. "It would be irresponsible."

62. "Big Pharma Research Racket Is Killing People" dated 7 July 2006 by Evelyn Pringle from The Sierra Times at http://www.sierratimes.com/06/06/24/75_7_241_211_29304.htm.

"Over the past six years, ten FDA approved drugs have been withdrawn from the market due to deaths and injuries, leading lawmakers to accuse the FDA of not doing its job in protecting the public from unsafe drugs and to call for measures of improvement. On June 20, 2006, the New York Times reported that "two influential senators are expected within weeks to introduce a legislative proposal that could drastically change how drugs are tested and approved in the United States." The Senators behind the proposal are Michael Enzi (R-Wy), chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, and Ted Kennedy (D-MA), the ranking Democrat on the committee. "In broad terms," the Times article by Gardner Harris explains, "the bill would require that drug makers disclose the results of all large human tests of their drugs, known as Phase 3 and Phase 4 trials; create a detailed risk management plan to uncover and control any safety problems that arise after a drug is approved; and pay penalties if they fail to follow through with this plan, according to four experts who were briefed on the proposals." However, while lawmakers search for ways to ensure that Big Pharma does not continue to conceal adverse reactions that surface during drug trials and to sever the ties between the nation's public health officials and Big Pharma, the Bush administration continues to promote their cozy relationships and help drug companies escape accountability for misconduct. The best example of the administration's efforts to protect Big Pharma was revealed recently when the FDA announced a preemption rule that would disallow lawsuits in state court against drug makers if a drug has been approved by the FDA. "We think that if your company complies with the FDA processes, if you bring forward the benefits and risks of your drug, and let your information be judged through a process with highly trained scientists, you should not be second-guessed by state courts that don't have the same scientific knowledge," said FDA deputy commissioner on medical and scientific affairs, Scott Gottlieb. But in all fairness, the FDA is certainly not the only public health agency in bed with Big Pharma. Nobody can deny the fact that Big Pharma is an equal opportunity corrupter. Its obvious that drug companies have infiltrated every Federal regulatory agency in the US. For instance, on June 14, 2006, a National Institute of Health Alzheimer's researcher, Dr Trey Sunderland, asserted his Fifth Amendment rights, and refused to testify before the House Energy and Commerce Committee about accusations that he has profited from giving Pfizer access to spinal fluid and plasma samples collected by the NIH. Documents presented at the hearing revealed that between 1996 an 2004, Dr Sunderland accepted consulting, speaking and advisory fees totaling about $612,000 and committee staff members estimate that about $285,000, was related to 3,245 samples taken from 538 patients who participated as volunteers at the NIH. At a price of about $12,000 per patient, the committee estimates the cost of collecting the samples that Dr Sunderland handed to Pfizer is close to $6.5 million. The committee also noted that he did not seek prior approval to work for Pfizer, and did not report any of the income to the agency as required by NIH rules. ..."

63. "Fore a good cause- Charity golf tournaments are taking off" dated 7 July 2006 by Megan Potter from the Lexington Herald-Leader at http://www.kentucky.com/mld/kentucky/living/14851411.htm.

"Shortly after Rhonda Norby's son, Ben, was diagnosed with autism, the state of Kentucky cut all Medicaid funding for families with autistic children. A single mother of three, Norby struggled to support her family and pay Ben's medical costs, which averaged $40,000 a year. Then several years ago, Norby and her sister organized a small charity golf tournament to benefit Ben in her hometown of Hodgenville, advertising the event by going door to door in their neighborhood. "We raised over $11,000 for his therapy," Norby said. Since then, the event and the cause have grown. This month, she will host a tournament to raise money for the newly formed Ben Norby Kentucky Autism Foundation. In conjunction with a silent auction, Norby estimates the tournament will raise $20,000 this year. As golf gains popularity in Central Kentucky, the number of charities holding tournaments is rising steadily each year, as is the amount of money the events bring in. Playing to the region's love of the game and love of giving, organizations have raised thousands of dollars for non-profit organizations ranging from children's hospitals to schools to animal shelters. Nationwide, according to a recent golf industry poll in Golf Event magazine, more than 15 million golfers raise $3 billion annually in charity tournaments, and local tournament organizers say Kentuckians have certainly contributed to those numbers. Last year, for example, the Children's Charity Classic of the Bluegrass, a tournament which has raised $6 million in 26 years, raised a record-breaking $1.1 million in funds to benefit more than 300,000 children through hospitals and non-profit organizations in Central Kentucky. Chairwoman Ruth Ann Childers said it cost about $320,000 to put on the event, but the tournament draws huge crowds by inviting celebrities like Jerry Lucas and Johnny Bench to play. Every year, celebrity teams donate $3,500 to $125,000 to the organization. Rosemary Johnson, founder of the online magazine Ladies Golf Journey, believes much of the success of the tournaments comes from combining one of the state's favorite pastimes with marketing benefits. Businesses can take advantage of sponsorship opportunities with various gradients of involvement. Tournaments cater to budgets of any size: a company may choose to sponsor the entire event or just one golf cart. ..."

64. "Parents: Expert Says Attack 'Pleasurable'- Colorado Parents: Expert Claims Sex Attack Was 'Pleasurable' for Disabled Daughter" from ABC News at http://abcnews.go.com/US/print?id=2073586.

"The parents of a severely disabled woman suing a Colorado Springs school district over a sexual assault at a high school said the district has refused to mediate a civil lawsuit as one of its experts called the attack "pleasurable" for the woman. Kalie McArthur, now 20 and with an IQ of about 50, was assaulted in September 2004 at Rampart High School by a 15-year-old boy assigned as a peer trainer, said Jeff Weeks, an attorney for the girl and her parents. The boy, who had been suspended 20 times in the previous year and had a 0.0 grade point average, wasn't screened or trained and spent an unknown amount of time with McArthur, her parents, Cindy Starr and James McArthur said. Starr and McArthur, who have joint custody of McArthur, agreed to allow the woman's name be used. Nanette Anderson, spokeswoman for the district, and Francine Guesnier, an attorney for the district, both declined comment, citing a pending court case. A school coach found the boy and McArthur in a closet, partially unclothed on Sept. 14, 2004, Weeks said. The boy pleaded guilty to unlawful sexual contact with a helpless victim in 2005, Weeks said. On June 2, the family filed a federal suit against the school district. Starr said they weren't told she had been paired with another student. "About 10 days before the assault, we noticed bruises on her thighs," said Starr. "After the assault, she said there was groping and grabbing going on before the assault involving other boys as well." Starr and McArthur wanted to resolve the case through mediation, but the district refused, Weeks said. "A professional hired by the district said the assault was pleasurable, not traumatic," said Starr. "He said it ignited her female desires." Starr and McArthur said Kalie's behavior toward men has changed since the assault. "She was loving and trusting. She went everywhere with us," said Starr. "Now, it takes 100 percent of one person to manage her aggression." Starr said Kalie is still sweet and friendly, but will grab men and pinch them. "She used to be passive and affectionate, now she's aggressive, especially toward males," said McArthur. "She could end up hurting someone, maybe a little boy."

65. "Comments on Auditory Integration Therapy" by Maurice H. Miller, Ph.D. from the Deafness Research Foundation at http://www.drf.org/hearing_health/viewpoints/072803.htm.

"All new modalities of therapy and management (like new medications) must be evaluated for effectiveness and safety. ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Anecdotal reports by parents or clinicians, however well meaning, are not sufficient to meet these criteria. When Auditory Integration Training (AIT) is subjected to controlled, double-blinded studies, there is no existing evidence that AIT results in improved performance and behavior for children with autism or other disorders of communication. Such studies are now available and have appeared in a number of highly respected peer-reviewed journals which are summarized elsewhere. A review and analysis of these studies led a distinguished panel of authorities appointed by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) to conclude that AIT has not met scientific standards for efficacy that would justify its inclusion as a form of treatment for autism or other communication disorders.1 The American Academy of Audiology (1993), the American Academy of Pediatrics (1998) and the Educational Audiology Association (1997) all concur that AIT should be considered an experimental procedure. The New York Department of Health (1999) developed clinical practice guidelines for the assessment of and intervention for children with autism and pervasive development disorders. The NYDOH concluded that the efficacy of AIT had not been demonstrated and recommended that AIT not be used as an intervention for young children with autism. ..."

66. "Minors In Custody To Get Better Care- Accord affects kids with special needs" by Emily Sachs from the San Bernardino Sun at http://www.sbsun.com/news/ci_3965091.

"A newly reached settlement will force San Bernardino County to spend millions of dollars to improve its treatment of juvenile offenders with special needs. Changes will include providing mandatory mental or developmental screening of all youngsters taken into custody, treatment while they are in juvenile hall and continued services after their release. The settlement was approved by U.S. District Judge Stephen G. Larson in Riverside. "To their credit, the county listened to us," said Paula Pearlman, deputy director of advocacy programs for the Disability Rights Legal Center in Los Angeles. Her group filed the initial federal class-action lawsuit in 2002 on behalf of six teens with mental illnesses and learning disabilities who were incarcerated in San Bernardino County's juvenile-hall system. One of them, a 16-year-old, sustained such a severe beating and pepper spraying by guards at San Bernardino Juvenile Hall that he had blood in his urine. He had an IQ of 76, six points higher than the enchmark for mental retardation. Pearlman said the boy was later suicidal as a result of the incident. The other teens made a variety of other c laims, including that they were denied special-education services and necessary medication or were not being properly treated as a result of their disabilities. Jerry Harper, director of the San Bernardino County Probation Department, called the agreement a "constructive" settlement. "Frankly, the sides were not that far apart," he said. County supervisors must still approve a spending plan, which Harper said will amount to "several millions of dollars." Kent Paxton, director of the county Children's Network, which monitors child welfare and responsible agencies in the county, said the changes are long overdue. The majority of youngsters in the juvenile-hall system have a history of substantiated child abuse and neglect or prenatal exposure to drugs or alcohol, or both. Troubled beginnings can make way for attachment disorders or learning disabilities, Paxton said, adding that simple cause-and-effect thinking is often lacking. "A lot of these kids don't even know why they're in juvenile hall," he said. The lawsuit sought injunctive relief, which means it isn't designed to win money for personal injury but instead seeks to change policy. "It's using the laws as a tool for social justice," Pearlman said. ..."

67. "Seattle School Changes May Be Big Setback For Autistic" by Emily Heffter from the Seattle Times at http://tinyurl.com/e9ea2.

"Viewlands Elementary School is proposed for closure. The school's autism-inclusion program is one that could be lost or dispersed if Viewlands closes. Graham Hill Elementary, which is also proposed for closure, has a similar program. Every day this summer, 6-year-old Arthur Conroy and his parents will talk about where he'll go to kindergarten in the fall. They'll look at pictures of Graham Hill Elementary. They'll drive by the building in Seattle's Rainier Valley. Hopefully, they'll meet a few teachers before school begins. Starting kindergarten is hard for any child, but it's an especially big transition for children who, like Arthur, have autism. Graham Hill has one of the district's only autism-inclusion programs south of Interstate 90, and it's one of the schools that is proposed to close in 2007-08. That means Arthur could have to make another change next year, along with the other children in the Graham Hill program, which is doubling in size to 12 in the fall. Inclusion programs allow special-education students to spend most of their school day in regular classrooms. Special-education students would be disproportionately affected by the closures proposed by Superintendent Raj Manhas, but only slightly, according to the district's demographer, Rachel Cassidy. Of the more than 2,400 students who would be affected by his recommended nine building closures, 316, or 13 percent, are special-education students. About 12 percent of students districtwide are in special education. That includes children who have autism and those who have physical or minor learning disabilities, or social and emotional problems. "By definition, students with autism really are successful when there's routine, so it's an issue," said Colleen Stump, the district's interim director of advanced learning and special education. There is no plan yet for what to do with the autism program at Graham Hill, though Stump said the district would try to keep it in the South End if there's a need there for an autism program. Autism-inclusion teacher Karie Krews-St. Yves said moving to another school will be a giant step back for some children. "It's kind of like the garden is full of weeds again and we've got to pluck them out and do this repetitive teaching," she said. To learn to walk o the bathroom alone, for example, some kids need to go there with an adult 50 times to learn the route, Krews-St. Yves said. Preparing a "good plan" Stump said that she won't pinpoint exactly where and how the special-education students will move until a July 26 School Board vote determines which schools stay on the closure list, but she said she is "cognizant" of how important the transition will be. ..."

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