If you are reading this then you know my family, at least in passing. You know how much of a difference Princeton House Charter School has made in Ben's life in the past few years. With the current economic troubles, the school is being pinched just like everyone else. I would take it as a personal kindness if you would consider going to this page and spending $1.99 for this benefit song:

The Life That's Chosen Me - MP3

A portion of the profits from the sales of this song go directly to Princeton House, and every little bit helps. Please pass this along to anyone else you think might be interested. You can hear the song by going to the homepage of that website, where the song will play automatically. Even if you think it is kind of cheesy and schmaltzy and it's not something you would ever listen to it, I would appreciate it if you offered up the two bucks as a donation and never listen to the song again.
lokheed: (Default)
( Apr. 6th, 2007 12:00 pm)
What Kind of World do you Want?

Directly quoted from the site:
is the first video community that gives back!

We are all connected to one another through our actions. Each person has the ability to make a difference. This is one of the messages of the Five For Fighting video "World".

Tell the world what kind of world you want and raise money for charity by making and uploading a video of yourself, your friends or your family answering the question, "What Kind Of World Do You Want".

Or, you can raise money for charities that John Ondrasik of Five For Fighting has personally selected. Watch the clips posted by others, support the sponsor and up to 49 cents will go to charity**.

**Revver is a viral video network that pays. The Revver system makes it possible to donate up to 68% of this site's advertising proceeds to the selected charities. So, just watch, click and earn money for a good cause.

When you go to the website there is a big link for "Watch The Videos". Each video notes which charity the proceeds go to. Autism Speaks is one of the charities. This is legitimate. If you have some time, please go watch some of the videos. That 49 cents per view adds up quickly, and Autism Speaks is an excellent charity doing very good work.

Scientists have found new autism genes by scanning the largest collection of families with multiple cases of autism ever assembled.
Read more... )
Jury: Teacher guilty of physical abuse

The trial started out with five counts. The most serious one was actually going to be tried in a separate trial, but it was thrown out on day one. That was the one where she was accused of pushing a boy's face into his desk hard enough to chip two teeth.

Of the remaining four counts, two were thrown out this morning by the judge.

The jury deliberated for a little more than two hours this evening, and came back an aquittal for one count and a conviction on the other. Kathleen Garrett will be doing jail time, but no more than five years. I would guess she will do substantially less than that. It all comes down to physical evidence (or a complete lack thereof), and that pretty much sucks. On the one hand, I am happy to see the justice system work properly and force prosecutors to do their jobs. On the other hand, as the parent of an autistic child I really wanted to see this woman do hard time and become some prison dyke's bitch. So obviously, I would have been a poor choice as a juror.

Honestly, I care less about this one woman and more about the school system that allowed this to happen. As I understand it, she had been receiving complaints for years and the problems were either ignored or minimized. At one point she was named Teacher of the Year for the state of Florida, but that was thirteen years ago. I think she just got burned out. Twenty six years doing a very hard job, and it just piled up on her. She probably honestly thinks she was still doing a good job. But she wasn't. And the school should have held her accountable long before it became a criminal matter.

Here's hoping the school district has learned from this, and made the necessary changes.
Today's Central Florida news: Severly Disabled Autistic Students Must Testify Against Teacher

Here's the background: Kathleen Garrett was a special education teacher in the Seminole County school district for twenty six years. Theoretically she was highly trained in how to work with autistic children, and had nearly three decades of classroom experience. She is accused of doing such things as chipping an autistic boy's teeth by slamming his face into a desk, as well as several other instances of abuse. Now five of her severely autistic former students have been ordered by the judge in the case to testify. These are not high functioning autistics, they are kids who will have no idea what is happening in the courtroom. I am sure most or all of them are essentially non-verbal. From the above article:
Defense attorney Thomas Egan argued that it is vital for jurors to see the kind of students Garrett supervised. "One of these kids actually eats his feces," Egan said. "I think the world will see volumes when they see these children."

So in other words, her apparent defense is that if a student is so profoundly handicapped that he would eat his own feces then it is okay to slam his face into a desk. This woman is pure evil, and her defense attorney is a slimeball plain and simple.

Ped Med: Autism tied to neural 'cracks'
UPI Senior Science Writer

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 15 (UPI) -- In prying beneath the brain surface of autistic patients, researchers have discovered "cracks" in a system of nerve cells called mirror neurons, which under normal circumstances permit people to see a clear reflection of the actions of others and respond appropriately to them.

Read more... )
Boy Scout Troop 400

In Fort Wayne, Indiana, Troop 400 is unique - it is a boy scout troop specifically for autistic boys.

“Every autistic child is different. Some are low-functioning, and someare high-functioning. But they tend to be individualistic, not likingto work together. My son has no friends, and this allows him to play with other kids.”

I can't even begin to say how much I would love to see Ben play with other kids, instead of just sharing space with them. If there was a troop like this here, I would try it out in a heartbeat.
Previous total: 1277

12/22/06: 4
Running total of the number of time Ben has ridden Snow White's Scary Adventures, as of 12/22/06:

Previous total: 1259

12/7/06: 3
12/9/06: 15

Running total of the number of time Ben has ridden Snow White's Scary Adventures, as of 12/9/06:


We spent nearly four hours in the park today. Ben would have gladly stayed longer. I would have gladly eaten glass rather than go on Snow White's Scary Adventures one more time. I must be getting old. (He also rode Pooh 3 times, plus once each on Peter Pan and Mickey's Philharmagic)
Last night the US Senate again passed unanimously the Combating Autism Act. The version passed last night is a compromise version, slightly different from the one also unanimously passed several months ago in the Senate. After months of stalling and preventing the bill from coming to a vote in the House, Rep. Joe Barton (R) finally agreed on a compromise version that actually authorizes slightly more spending but is less specific on when and where the money should be spent. The truth is that in one more month Barton would not have chaired the relevant committee and could no longer have prevented it at all, but a delay to the next session would have meant starting from scratch. I am obviously pleased that this legislation has finally passed, as are groups like Autism Speaks, Cure Autism Now, and the Autism Society of America.

Newsweek has the full story here.
The cover story from this week's Newsweek magazine:

What Happens When They Grow Up
(And yes, this question sometimes keeps me up at night)

Meanwhile, over at UPI is the latest Age of Autism story:
source -

The Age of Autism: What Newsweek missed
UPI Senior Editor

WASHINGTON, Nov. 20 (UPI) -- Newsweek's cover story this week is about what happens to autistic kids when they grow up. The magazine does a good job of pointing to funding gaps and the plight of parents who can only imagine what will happen to their kids after they're gone.

But Newsweek fails to confront a key issue, one that bedevils mainstream publications every time they write about autism: Is it really increasing? Or are we just doing a better job of diagnosing the disorder?
Read more... )

House control shift aids autism study; research bill expected to pass under probable new head of committee
By Randy Lee Loftis
The Dallas Morning News

DALLAS - Democratic control of the House if Representatives changes the nation's environmental agenda and affects a related topic that has stirred strong feelings: research on autism.

Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, won his race, but with his party out of power, he will lose the chairmanship of the Energy and Commerce Committee.
Read more... )
Previous total: 1255

10/13/06: 2
10/27/06: 2

Running total of the number of time Ben has ridden Snow White's Scary Adventures, as of 10/27/06:


I kept meaning to post these, and I am only doing it now because it crossed my mind.

The truth is, I'm not sure it is worth continuing to track this.  Ben is not going to the parks as often, and when he does he is no longer obsessed with just riding SWSA.  This is a good thing.  He definitely wants to go on it, and he enjoys it, but then he wants to go do other things.  As I said, this is a good thing.

In other Ben-related news, he has been eating chicken nuggets like crazy and has also eaten a few other new foods.  He ate some cheese pizza at school last week, and has been eating breakfast fruit bars as well.  We weighed him on the bathroom scale a few days ago, and although I don't trust it as being entirely accurate it seems pretty obvious that he has put on at least five pounds in the last month or so.  This is a very, very good thing.  It appears that the possibility of a g-tube is now extremely remote.  I can't even begin to say how happy I am with Ben's school and teachers right now.
The Age of Autism: Many, many more
UPI Senior Editor


WASHINGTON, Oct. 16 (UPI) -- The debate over the cause or causes of autism has been hung up for years on a point that should have been settled by now: whether the rate is in fact increasing.

This column long ago concluded that, yes, the autism rate has risen dramatically over the past couple of decades. What's more, the disorder seemed to arise out of nowhere starting about 1930.

Read more... )
lokheed: (Default)
( Aug. 22nd, 2006 05:52 am)
From an editorial I just read:

"Right now, eighty percent of autistic Americans are under the age of 18. This is another thing nobody seems to think about. What happens when one out of every 166 eighteen-year-olds goes on disability for life with autism?

Years ago, I used to hear projections about the enormous cost to society when the baby boomer generation retired. I don't hear anything about the generation with autism. They won't have pension plans, IRA's, veteran's benefits, or home equity. They will never pay into Social Security, but they will need to live on disability payments for life."

Autistic Individuals Do Not Daydream Like Non-autistic People Do
Article Date: 13 May 2006 - 8:00am (PDT)

According to researchers at the Center for Autism Research at the Children's Hospital Research Center in La Jolla, California, autistic individuals do not daydream about themselves and other people whenever their minds have the opportunity to wander off.

According to Daniel Kennedy, one of the researchers, our network of brain areas that facilitate daydreaming allow us to wander, and wonder about other people, to process our emotions and process familiar faces. Processing emotions, familiar faces and being aware of other people and how they are - are all functions that people with autism have difficulties with.

Read more... )
lokheed: (Default)
( May. 3rd, 2006 06:20 pm)
NEW YORK, NY, United States (UPI) -- The Comedy Central cable network Tuesday announced it is teaming up with its biggest star, Jon Stewart, for its first live special event.

Stewarts` Busboy Productions is putting together 'Comedy Love Call,' a live broadcast featuring a slate of top comics to raise money for Autism education and research, Comedy Central`s Elizabeth Porter announced in a news release.

In addition to producing, Stewart will perform along with Adam Sandler; British comic and HBO`s Ali G, Sacha Baron Cohen; Stephen Colbert, Triumph the Insult dog and many others, Porter said.

Besides raising money, the program will call attention to the severe shortage of schools and programs for autistic children and adults, she said. The Centers for Disease Control says 1 in 66 children are diagnosed as autistic.

The show will be broadcast live Oct. 15 from New York`s Beacon Theater.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International
Teacher of the Week | Laura Hiatt Maglio

Joseph Rassel | Sentinel Staff Writer
Posted March 5, 2006

Age: 25

School: I have been at Thornebrooke Elementary for two years. I'm an exceptional student education teacher for students with autism.

Education and experience: I have a bachelor's degree in Collaboration in Special Education from Auburn University and a master's degree in Autism and Behavior Disorders from Auburn University.

Time teaching: Two years.

Reason for becoming a teacher: Teaching students with autism is a fulfilling and rewarding profession. My students are all unique with individual abilities and needs. Every day is a challenge and I am always learning something new. I am often asked, "Why would you want to teach students with disabilities?"

I tell them it is because of the feeling I get when I see a student use the bathroom independently for the first time, when I see a student use their communication device to ask for help, when my student makes eye contact with a peer.

It is the little but significant accomplishments that make my job worthwhile.

Greatest moment as a teacher: Every day I experience a moment that I could consider "the greatest."

However, one moment that comes to mind occurred at the end of last year during the annual fifth-grade ceremony.

While watching my fifth-grade students walk across the stage with their peers, all I could think of was how proud I was of them and their accomplishments.

Additionally, when I glanced into the audience, I saw their parents clapping and cheering with pride.

It was a moment that I will never forget!

Most embarrassing moment as a teacher: During my first year as a teacher, I was attempting to play a song during circle time. For some reason, my compact disc player wasn't working. Because my students thrive on routine, I had no choice but to improvise by singing a cappella.

Unfortunately, I was not blessed with a nice voice. One of my students let me know by yelling, "Ms. Maglio, your singing stinks." The paraprofessionals in my classroom could not help but laugh.

Trying not to laugh myself, I used this "teachable moment" to explain the importance of saying nice things.

Favorite aspects of being a teacher: First, I would have to express how much I love working with such an amazing group of children. Their love and enthusiasm make coming to work such a blessing. Seeing my students grow and progress throughout the year is another wonderful part of my job. Finally, I enjoy working with such a remarkable staff. It is a great feeling to work with people who share the same passion and love for teaching as I do. Thornebrooke Elementary is a magnificent school filled with professionals who support one another to make a difference in children's lives.

Least favorite part of teaching: Having to say goodbye to my students is one of the hardest things that I have to do as a teacher. Whether their family is relocating or they are graduating to the sixth grade, it isn't easy. Although I will continue to say goodbye to my students throughout my career, I do not believe I will ever get used to it. I just have to cherish the time I have with them and hope that I have given them the best education I can while they were in my class.

Favorite movies: Beaches, Rudy and Walk the Line.

Last book you read: Somebody Else's Kids by Torey Hayden.

Favorite hobbies: My favorite hobbies include working out at the gym, playing competitive sports such as basketball and volleyball, and reading (when I have time).

Family: Fiance, Samuel Haratine (I will be getting married on April 22), parents, Richard and Elizabeth Maglio, sister and brother-in-law, Amy and Brian Moore.

If you weren't a teacher, what would you be and why? This is a difficult question; I honestly couldn't imagine doing anything else. If I weren't a teacher I would still want to be in a profession where I could help children. I believe I would either be a social worker or school psychologist. Either profession would allow me to work with children who need help, guidance or support.

Person you most admire: The two people I admire the most are my parents. I admire them for their selflessness, kindness, intellect and hard work. They have taught me how to be a better person, how to love and respect others, how to work hard, and how to enjoy life.

Well, score another point for the Catholic church.  Defenders of the faith, true believers, diddlers of little boys, and now enemies of the autistic.  It's nice to know that when one of their priests is actually, literally abusing little children their response is to lie, cover up, and shuffle the pedophile off to a new congregation filled with fresh new victims, but when an innocent, neurodevelopmentally disabled boy is trying to save his own immortal soul their response is to effectively tell him he is damned to hell.  Nice.

Full story here
The Age of Autism: Pay no attention

UPI Senior Editor

There's a Steely Dan album called Pretzel Logic that could be the theme song of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as it struggles with concerns over vaccines and autism.

At least in our view, it is a bit twisted -- logically speaking -- to simultaneously spend taxpayer money to keep studying whether a mercury preservative causes autism, yet recommend that pregnant women and children get vaccines containing that preservative. Especially so when alternatives are available that are free of the preservative, called thimerosal.

Read more... )