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KindTree - Autism Rocks Archived Newsletters 2007 - 2010

March 2007 / June 2007 / October 2007 / March 2008 / June 2008 / October 2008
March 2009 / June 2009 / October 2009
March 2010 / July 2010

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In This Issue, July 2010:

Do You Like Camping? / Mary-Minn's Stim Page / From the Parent of an Artist
9% Budget Reductions / Early Help Can Bring Success
Camp - Retreat Registration / ASO-LCC Respite Program
"the Best of Autism Artism"
Retreat Cabin Facts / Where is Michelle?
Eugene Adaptive Recreation: Accessible Pursuits
Exceptional Minds /Running on Dreams
Diet Free of Gluten and Casein Has No Effect on Autism Symptoms
ASO Social Skills Classes & Outings

Community Calendar

 

Do You Like Camping?

Registration is going strong for our 14th KindTree - Autism Rocks Camp / Retreat at Baker Boy Scout Camp on Siltcoos Lake near Florence, Oregon. From 4pm Friday, August 27, through 1pm Sunday the 29th, we will all gather for our Family Reunion, as some returning guests have described our camp. Others call it a Tribal Gathering. I just call it a lot of fun - and I am on duty most of the time! Maybe I have fun because my volunteer jobs include playing guitar at the campfire, greeting guests as they arrive and being there to answer your questions. Too much fun.

If you are looking for a place where you don’t have to use your inside voice, where everyone there knows what you are going through, where you can chose just what you want to do, where the food is great, where the sun shines and the breezes blow - well, then you gotta come on down to KindTree! Thanks to the ASO and other donors, we have some scholarship funds available. Visit www.kindtree.org for the scholarship form and other information, or find the registration form. We look forward to seeing you. Don’t wait too long...

We are dusting off some long neglected art pieces to join our most recent ones for display at the Jazz Station downtown during July. It’s gonna be great. Come join us for a celebration of artists with autism on the First Friday Art Walk, July 2nd, 5pm. These artists truly deserve your support, and the Jazz Station is providing music and refreshments. Cool, man.

State budget cuts could have a devastating effect on supports for people living with autism. Unstable funding has been an Oregon problem for years. This news has helped spur our Board of Directors to take the initiative and move forward ourselves on some of our long term goals:
1. Develop additional services in the arts, expanding our Art Program and creating more opportunities for artists we serve.
2. Provide better access to our Camp for more severely disabled folks through higher staff ratios and new equipment.
3. Move to a facility with office space, art space, and hang out space to better sustain the sense of community we share at the Camp.

To achieve this end we have contracted with Roger Durant (www.conciergeoregon.com), formerly of Direction Service, to bring his development and fundraising expertise to our efforts. Roger has some great ideas to help us recruit effective new board members and reach our goals. You can expect new things from KindTree - Autism Rocks in the coming months, yes you can!

Thanks for listening
Tim Mueller


From the Parent of an Artist

The CDC rates for autism are 110. The pediatric report lists autism rate at 1 in 91. Some states such as California have an eightfold increase in autism. 13 states have reported an infinite increase in autism. Autism is increasing worldwide. What does this mean?

Right now there are not enough programs available to help all autistics. ABA training is expensive and not all states cover it. We need to get our elected officials aware of these facts and push for more funding to be made available for our kids and adults on the spectrum.

Right now most programs are for children under the age of 18. Once a child turns 18 they are considered to be an adult and no longer can they get services. This is what makes me so angry. As the mother of an autistic daughter who is 27 it makes me so frustrated that there aren't any programs available to help her.

This is what I have also written to my elected officials about. Don't they realize that autism is a lifelong disorder and they don't grow out of autism once they become adults. So what happens to those that have become adults? They are left to fend for themselves.

Because of the sudden drop of all services many of these adults with autism also develop anxiety and depression. One report stated that 85% of adults with autism have developed anxiety and depression issues. I hope and pray that in the next few years that our elected officials wake up and start providing services for the life of our children. - Robin Deutsch


9 % Budget Reductions Announced!


“Many of the programs we have fought to create over the past 25 years are either identified for complete elimination or are being seriously damaged by these reductions. Our history of institutionalizing people in horrific conditions is creeping back into our current environment.  Most of these service cuts are programs provided through the private sector. They are cost effective and support some of Oregon’s most vulnerable citizens, children and adults with developmental disabilities. This will be a tragedy for them and for Oregon.  We need to ask ourselves who we are as citizens and develop the political will to create better long term and comprehensive solutions for vital services” - Margaret Theisen, Chairperson - DD Coalition

The Governor recently released the list of state agency reduction proposals designed to address the $577 million dollar General Fund hole in the 2009-2011 budget. The specific reductions in Seniors and People with Disabilities and education are posted on the DD Coalition website. The Governor and legislative leadership will be reviewing the reductions to determine whether a special session will be required.

The Governor issued the 9% across the board reduction order two weeks ago based on the low May revenue forecast and the pending loss of the enhanced Medicaid match provided Oregon through the stimulus dollars in the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act.The 9% reduction in Seniors and People with Disabilities means an approximate loss of $44 million General Fund / $45 million Federal Funds and $10 million Other Funds.

It is projected that the budget hole for the 2011-2013 biennium will be over $2.5 billion and the projected reductions will be significantly deeper.

What can you do?
- Contact your Federal Congressional Delegation immediately and urge support for continuation of the higher federal Medicaid match rate that will temporarily offset the budget reductions to people with disabilities and families in Oregon. ?
- Stay informed! Read the Network Action Alerts and GO! Bulletins and take action when requested. ?
- Get others to join the Oregon Network. Our strength is in our numbers!!  www.ocdd.org
- Attend the local meetings held by your legislators and talk about the importance of the services you receive.
- Check the DD Coalition website regularly for Fact Sheets and updated talking points.    

“We have seen tough budgets in the past, but those pale in view of what we are facing in the coming years. As a community, we need to work together with all our friends and partners to assure that we are not dragged back to the time where people with disabilities are warehoused and families are forced to make horrific decisions about out of home placements for lack of supports.”- Kathryn Weit, Policy Analyst - Oregon Council on Developmental Disabilities 


Children with autism can succeed if they get help early


June 01, 2010 By Haidee Copeland Southern Oregon Mail Tribune

With graduation looming, parents of eighth-graders have undoubtedly been informed of new, tougher requirements for earning an Oregon high school diploma. For students with disabilities, the academic track to earning the standard diploma will require passing grades in a foreign language, social studies and algebra. This goal is within reach for students with disabilities such as autism, but here are a few sobering facts.

Approximately 7,934 school-aged children in Oregon receive special education services under the qualifying condition of autism. Eighty percent of students with autism spectrum disorders receive the general education curriculum with "some" to no modification. However, approximately 60 percent of individuals with ASD are unemployed.

What are we doing wrong? What makes the difference between surviving high school and positive post-secondary outcomes such as employment and future educational opportunities?

I believe the answer lies with transition planning. Transition planning is part of the individualized education program each child 16 or older in special education receives. In my opinion, this is too little, too late.

But what if you started early? We know it is easier to learn a second language as a young child. Wouldn't it make sense to begin transition planning in elementary school? Not that the child's long-term goals wouldn't change, but it is easier to modify a plan in motion than to start from scratch later on.

The experiences of Kathy and Henry Bevan and their son, Ben, are a shining example of what is possible if you start the transition process early. Ben is a senior at Cottage Grove High School who will be graduating this spring with a standard diploma and will attend community college in the fall. Ben has Asperger syndrome, a form of autism. The educational process that has brought him this far has not been an easy one for Ben, his parents or his teachers.

In the third grade, Ben could not learn his multiplication facts. This soon left him far behind his peers.

Kathy knew that if things didn't change for Ben soon it might significantly affect their shared dream of his attending college. By late elementary school, a compromise was reached: Ben would receive the general education curriculum and be allowed to use a calculator for math facts. Ben went on to receive an A in algebra.

But what if Ben's parents hadn't been concerned with his transitional goals in elementary school? Would he be preparing to walk across the stage and receive his diploma as he is now? While no one can answer for sure, it seems highly unlikely with a "wait and see" attitude by his parents or his teachers. Each academic and social success builds upon the one before, widening the gap between those who achieve grade-level norms and those who do not.

What is the takeaway message? If you know a child with autism, help the child work toward long-term goals. Start transition planning early. Start now. Revise goals instead of starting from scratch in high school. Be the parent who is always at school. Help teachers help your child by practicing academics, social and behavior skills at home. Success starts early.

Haidee Copeland of Cottage Grove holds a master's degree in education and a teaching certificate in math and special education. She is a doctoral student at the University of Oregon College of Special Education and Clinical Sciences.


Lane County Developmental Disabilities
Sub-committee has vacancies

The notice and application for Mental Health Advisory/Local Alcohol & Drug Planning Committee (MHAC/LADPC) vacancies is now open. This committee has a Developmental Disabilities Subcommittee, charged with advising the Commissioners about these issues. You can access the notice and application at:

http://www.lanecounty.org/Departments/BCC/Pages/vacancies.aspx


Running on Dreams
This award-winning novel set in Talent is about a friendship between a teen boy with autism and a popular high school track star

June 14, 2010
By Paris Achen, Sothern Oregon Mail Tribune

In Talent resident Herb Heiman's career as a pantomime and later as an educator, he had a special rapport with children with mental and physical challenges. Heiman drew from those experiences in writing his first novel, "Running on Dreams," about the parallel lives and friendship between Justin, a teenage boy with autism, and Brad, a popular high school track star, set in Talent.

"I just felt it was a niche I could fill," Heiman said. "It has societal as well as personal rewards. I could make a difference, which is what I hope to do with this book."

The novel recently won the first-place 2010 Eric Hoffer Award in the Young Adult category for independent books. The book's publisher, Autism Asperger Publishing Co., nominated the novel for the award, which is named for 20th century American philosopher Eric Hoffer.

In the novel, Justin is shunned by peers because he's viewed as weird, and Brad initially buys into that stereotype. But through his friendship with Justin, Brad's perception of people with autism gradually changes. Brad slowly discovers that he and Justin have more in common than he previously thought.

The novel is written in first-person from the perspective of Justin, giving readers a glimpse into the mind of someone with autism. Brad's perspective is written in third-person.

Heiman, 76, toured the nation as a professional pantomime performer for more than two decades and later became a special education aide at Talent Middle School, where he drew much of the inspiration for the book. The school is the main setting for the story, though it's referred to as "Pearblossom Middle School."
 

The character, Justin, is based on a student with autism with whom Heiman worked, though his name was changed in the novel.

"He had not been in mainstream schools until middle school," Heiman said. "We hit it off right away. Some of the scenes were taken from real life and some were not, but the substance of the character is there."

"He was in such need, and at that time the schools were not as equipped for students with autism," Heiman said. "Mainstream kids were not ready to accept kids who had seizures, stuttered or couldn't form two sentences."Lia Park in Ashland and Crater Lake National Park are among the settings in the novel.

Laurel Prchal, Talent branch library manager, said she plans to highlight the novel for young adult summer reading programs.

"The kids will be really excited about being able to read a book about Talent Middle School," Prchal said.

The novel is educational for students because it sheds light on a condition that has become more and more prevalent in society but that many people still know little about, she said.

Heiman's interest in students with special needs stemmed from his pantomime career.

"We traveled all over the country and performed for a lot of mentally challenged, deaf and sight-impaired students," he said. One experience in particular left a mark on him.

"We worked for a school in Price, Utah, kindergartners through seniors, and all the students were in occupational therapy," he recounted. "There was a girl who glided up in a wheelchair, totally uncommunicative. I performed a skit where I blew myself up as a balloon, and when she saw me, she puffed herself up, too. The teachers started crying. They told me it was the first reaction she had shown in two years. It was a moving experience and one that I have never forgotten. It affected me intensely."

Heiman has lived in Talent for the past 18 years. He teaches tai chi at the YMCA, as well as reading and writing through Southern Oregon University's summer talented and gifted program.

"Running on Dreams" is available for purchase at www.asperger.net.
For more information on the novel, see www.runningondreams.com

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"The Best of
Autism Artism"
Art by people with Autism

First Friday Art Walk
Friday July 2, 5-8pm
at the Jazz Station
68 W Broadway, Eugene
Downtown

 


ASO Respite Program:
Take a Break on ASO

ASO-LCC will help pay respite care expenses while you
Take a Break.
Read more here...


What’s the Most Fun Ever?

KindTree’s Autism Camp

Retreat / Camp Cabin Facts

Thinking of Joining us at our Autism Camp / Retreat? Wanna stay in a cabin? Before you sign up, read this.
•At Baker Boy Scout Camp, we share the cabins. That means you may be sharing the cabin with someone who you don’t know, who may stay up with the light on, or snore, or be your best friend. Please be prepared for this.
•The cabins have been used by boys all summer before we get there. Sometimes they seem very tired and old and ... Rustic. They are not modern condos


Where is Michelle?

As some of you may have heard, I have recently moved from my native home of Eugene to live with my fiance in Maui. It is a big change and I am very excited to have found the love of my life and live where I used to have to save my money, vacation time and timeshare credits to visit every year.

Life is really good here. I do miss seeing you Eugene folks around town and being there for the art shows and social outings. I am still helping to organize volunteers for the retreat this summer and will give it my best to be there with all you camp-goers.

I hope that you are all having a fabulous summer and following your dreams. 

Much aloha, Michelle Jones


In Memoriam:
 

Nan Grey Hawke
(formerly Nan Lester)
passed away unexpectedly on May 6th, 2010. Our thoughts are with her family.


Life is what happens to you
When you’re busy making other plans


Eugene Adaptive Recreation:
Accessible Pursuits

Are you looking for an exciting and rewarding event for your group or organization? Organizations, agencies and individuals can participate in Adaptive Recreation Services' Accessible Pursuits.

This program brings the expertise and resources of the City of Eugene Adaptive Recreation Services to design an adaptive recreation program that meet your specific needs.

Accessible Pursuits focuses on helping participants discover their own innate talents, acquire greater independence, and develop enduring peer group relationships that are instrumental to improving the quality of their lives. Let Accessible Pursuits bring fun directly to you. For more information contact Patty Prather at 541-682-6365.

Custom Events can include:
- adaptive cycling
- snowshoeing
- kayaking
- river rafting
- adaptive art
- rock climbing
- adaptive water ski sports


ASO Lane County
Social Skills Class

The ASO Lane County Chapter is sponsoring a Social Skills Class and scheduled social outings on alternating months for adults with HFA and Aspergers who can get around independently in the community. The Social Skills class is free. The Autism Society of Oregon will help to subsidize entry fees for the activities. 

During the Social Skills Class, conversation skills will be taught, role-modeled and practiced. Doris Germain, an Autism Specialist in the Linn-Benton School District, is volunteering her time to teach the Social Skills Class. Her expertise in teaching social skills has been learned from 20 years of working with people on the spectrum. 

The Social Skills Class is taking place on  the 3rd Monday of odd-numbered months from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. at St. Mary's Episcopal Church on 13th and Pearl in Eugene. The Social Skills Class will choose the activity for the following month's Social Outing. 

The Social Outing is taking place sometime during the weekend of even-numbered months-- on Friday evening or Saturday, depending on the activity chosen by the previous month's Social Skills Class. There will be no Social Outing in August because of KindTree-Autism Rocks' Autism Retreat. 

Activities have included karaoke, a picnic at Alton Baker Park, a trip to OMSI, a trip to the coast, the Asian Celebration. 

If you have questions, call ASO chapter representative Mary-Minn Sirag at 541-689-2228 or email sirag@mindspring.com


Do you know a young adult with autism who loves animation and graphic design? What if that person could learn their craft in a working studio and make a living?

Exceptional Minds

Exceptional Minds is a non-profit vocational center and working animation studio featuring artists on the Autism Spectrum.  Exceptional Minds provides visually-gifted young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder with individually customized instruction to support, nurture, and develop their amazing creative skills with the ultimate goal of enabling them to earn a fulfilling living in the fields of animation and graphic design.  Exceptional Minds provides the crucial bridge between high school and the working world.  Classes start September 2010.

Media Enrichment Academy

Media Enrichment Academy is a after school program where individuals with ASD get to learn, create and express themselves through computer graphics, animation, and technical drawing. 

Both Programs are held at: Media Enrichment Academy14245 Ventura Blvd, Suite 101, Sherman Oaks, CA  91423Phone:  (818) 426-1181

Exceptional Minds here:  http://exceptionalminds.org/

More on Media Enrichment Academy here: http://www.mediaenrichment.com/Welcome.html


Community Calendar

July 1 - 31 the Best of Autism Artism, at the Jazz Station, on Broadway in Eugene. First Friday Art Walk event, July 2, 5 - 8pm.

August 6 - 7, Brews & Blues Festival with KindTree - Autism Rocks art booth. Come see us and get a dose of the Blues!

August 27-29 KindTree Autism Camp/RetreatTOOOO FUN!! registration available NOW.

October 1st ASO's Fall Conference will be for adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder, their parents/caregivers and professionals working with the adult population.
Friday, October 1st at the Oregon Convention Center, Portland, OR. With Lee Grossman, President and CEO of Autism Society (formerly known as Autism Society of America). There will be several break out sessions on various topics and an exhibition hall of agencies and non-profits who supports adults with ASD. More to come as things develop.

From Spectrum Training Systems
(920) 749-0332 www.SpectrumTrainingSystemsInc.com
October 5 - 6, 2010 Inclusion and Adolescent Transition in Autism Spectrum Disorders Seattle, WA 
Tuesday, October 5, 2010 - The Inclusive Classroom, with Paula Kluth, Ph.D. 
Wednesday, October 6, 2010 - Bridges to Adulthood for Learners with ASDs, with Peter Gerhardt, Ed.D. 
November 1 - 2, 2010 Career Planning for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders With James Emmett, M.S. Spokane, WA

 

   

Mary-Minn's Stim Page

(Here are personal stories about autism. If you would like to see your musings on this page, please email Mary-Minn at sirag@mindspring.com.)

The substance of my memories and dreams

I have only two memories from the time before I learned to talk. My first one is looking down from a small airplane onto a flat green landscape punctuated by trees and houses. There’s an indication of having been air sick but no residual dizziness or feeling in my gut. There is a pleasant memory of the engine’s sound, rich in overtones and melody. I think the part about seeing out of the windshield must be a “memory extension” rather than a factual reality.

That memory would have been from when I was flying with my father from Orlando to Cedar Rapids, Iowa. I was 3-1/2. My father and the pilot, even myself, were an invisible backdrop, a “natural flavor”, as it were, homeopathically diluted. There were no other people inhabiting this dream. My father tells me that I was running up and down the aisle, placing my ear on the floor to hear the engine better. It is hard to distinguish his recollection from my memory.

 

 

“Though my dreams are not exactly pleasant or comforting, neither are my favorite movies or books. I like my consciousness to be shifted to new angles, my moods to new atmospheric flavors and abstract forms. ”


My second memory is of my younger brother pooping little pellets on the floor. His trousers are off. I am looking down from the landing of the staircase going up to the bedroom. I must have been 4, when my parents and siblings were visiting me at my grandparents’ farm in Iowa. The memory is emotionally flat except for my incredulity.

My early childhood memories are bald and factual. On the other hand, my dreams from back then were terrifying. They lingered after I awoke, ambushing me with fiends from the night.
By the time I was attending kindergarten, I had mastered speech and my memories become more frequent. Though I didn’t learn to talk until I was almost 5, my consciousness after then must have been verbal, for my memories became more frequent and clearer, probably because they had more context to latch onto.

The people inhabiting my memories, however, remained implied rather than explicit, a backdrop to the imagistic and atmospheric, the real substance. The emotions of my more distant memories are detached, observing.

I remember a scene with white lace curtains against white sky and snow, dark wallpaper with a busy pattern, dark wood; heavy, ornate furniture; sitting still, almost so still that depth flattens; a smell of well-dusted old wood furniture. Perhaps I was bored of sitting there, but I can only surmise that, after the fact. Another memory is of bleeding hearts against snow and, again, white sky. Again, I may have been ready to go inside because it was so cold, but knowing my awareness of feeling and sensation, I probably wasn’t fully conscious of how my body felt or what my mood happened to be at the time.

By far, the most memorable and substantial quality of my dreams and more distant memories are atmospheric--of weather, colors and spatial orientation. (When I was in third grade, I wanted to be a meteorologist.) My dreams contained an implicit map of routes--roads, canals, elevated trains. I remember the floor plan of every house I have lived in, but not so much the furniture, paintings or decorative features. Both my memories and dreams are filmed, as it were, in a specific coloristic style and architectonic structure. The “color specs” include palette and color scheme, reflective quality of the color, brilliance or diffuseness, whether the light is scintillating or flattened.

My strong geographical and architectural dream sense stand in sharp contrast to my poor sense of direction in waking life. The space of my dreams can be visualized aerially as well as from the “camera angle” and can be easily mapped onto paper, even after I have awakened. My dreams are perceived from specific visual perspectives—looking down from a staircase landing, walking through a flat camo-brown colored, dank maze. People in the dream, including myself, are implied, taken for granted, devoid of individual personality.

Over 30 years ago, the only visually distinct dream character that has inhabited a dream of mine showed up. She was wearing cherry-red reflective lipstick, a tight reflective dress and red stiletto heels. She was leaning up against a shiny enamel-red convertible. A creature more architectural than human, she was no one from my waking life.
My dreams come in series. Each episode is plopped, as it were, into existing architectural and situational templates, the color schemes and atmospherics evolving over time, gradually mutating into new series.

The people inhabiting my dreams are either “We”, “They”, or “I”. Other than a few rare stand-ins for people I know in “real life”, the characters in my dreams are nobody in particular. Even the “I” in my dreams is an impersonal stand-in. Indeed, “I” would be a third-person except for the technical fact that the dream is seen through the camera of “my” eyes. Though “I” am a mere fingerprint of my wakeful self, I am never anybody else.

The emotions in my dreams are minimal, residual, generally no deeper than anxiety or frustration--missing boats, getting on the wrong train. When I awaken, the residual feeling from the dream is affect more than emotion. Though my dreams are not exactly pleasant or comforting, I savor them as long as I can manage to stave off the cruel insult of waking consciousness.

When I was little, especially, I had days of déja vu, when inchoate dream flashes leaked out from sleep into my wakeful state. At such times, the barrier between sleep and wakefulness was diaphanous. These shimmerings flitted through inter-dimensional worm holes, instantaneously popping open and sealing off the whisper-thin prisms separating dream from thought. This moment of permeability was but a gasp into somewhere that is normally unreachable, even through distant corridors of imagination.

Though my dreams are not exactly pleasant or comforting, neither are my favorite movies or books. I like my consciousness to be shifted to new angles, my moods to new atmospheric flavors and abstract forms. I feel deprived when wakefulness shoves away all residue of the night, leaving in its wake a mundane barrenness. I would rather risk a fitful and shallow sleep that skims over the watery surface like a flat pebble than cloak the ambiguity of nocturnal awareness in the torpor of sleeping pills.

Mary-Minn Sirag

Read more of Mary-Minn's Stim Pages HERE


 

Diet Free of Gluten and Casein Has No Effect on Autism Symptoms


Daniel M. Keller, PhD

May 24, 2010 (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
A gluten-free, casein-free (GFCF) diet or challenges with these food substances did not alter sleep or activity patterns in preschool children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) who were also receiving intense behavioral therapy, suggests the first study to control for nutritional sufficiency and other interventions.

Slight differences in social language, approach, and play that were seen at 2 hours after gluten or casein exposure were not apparent at 24 hours, lead author Susan Hyman, MD, chief of the Division of Neurodevelopmental and Behavioral Pediatrics and associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Rochester in New York, reported here at the 9th Annual International Meeting for Autism Research.
Although dietary interventions are often used with children with ASD, have a popular image among the public, and result in anecdotal reports of improvement, prior trials have not borne out such positive outcomes. Dr. Hyman explained that she and her colleagues therefore designed a study to test whether a commonly used dietary intervention was safe and effective.

Study Population Stable at Baseline
Researchers recruited 22 children (age, 30 - 54 months) who were very consistent in their clinical presentations (positive on the Autism Diagnostic Interview and the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule), their medical conditions, and the therapies they were receiving, which was an early intensive behavioral intervention program. Children were excluded from the study if they had celiac disease, food allergies, or deficient iron stores.

Fourteen of the children were able to maintain the specialy formulated and monitored, nutritionally sound, strict GFCF diet and allow data collection. They remained on the diet and were observed and then challenged with the food substances (20 g wheat flour, 20 g evaporated milk, both, or placebo) only if they were at their behavioral baselines. Challenges were administered in a randomized, double-blind fashion. Each child received a food challenge on 3 separate occasions over 12 weeks.

No Difference in Activity Levels After Dietary Challenge
Dr. Hyman reported that there was no difference in the length of sleep recorded by parents over the course of the study before and after challenges and compared with baseline. There were also no changes in the number of night wakings or in the number or consistency of stools.

Children's activity levels recorded by parents, researchers, or applied behavior analysis program teachers did not differ after placebo, gluten, casein, or gluten/casein challenges. These observations were consistent with recordings from actigraphs — watch-like devices that measure activity.


 

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192 Q Street, Springfield

Dr. Hyman noted that these measures are not specific to autism. Thus, the play-based Ritvo-Freeman Real Life Rating Scale for autism was used to gauge sensory motor behaviors, social approach, and language. "With correction for multiple comparisons, there was no difference with the challenges compared to placebo, and there was no difference with introduction of the diet," she said.

In summary, Dr. Hyman said, "The data that we have do not demonstrate effect of the GFCF diet on the behaviors we measured." However, she said that study limitations include the study's small size and that all the included children were in an effective early intervention program (=10 hours/week), were of similar age, and were all stabilized on a monitored diet. Furthermore, none of the children was iron- or vitamin D-deficient.

Dr. Hyman said a question remains whether any autistic children could respond to the diet used in the study. For example, children with celiac disease or bad gastrointestinal symptoms were not included. "So could it be that children who have more significant [gastrointestinal] symptoms are the ones that drive the anecdotal reports?" she asked. Another possibility is that foods designed to exclude gluten could also then lack food preservatives or dyes, which is another open question.

Dr. Hyman concluded, "The data that we have do not offer support for the [GFCF] diet in young children who carry a diagnosis of autism and who are receiving other effective behavioral and educational interventions." She cautioned that these data should not be extrapolated to any child with food allergies or intolerances or other gastrointestinal problems, and that "any child who is on the diet needs to be monitored from a nutritional standpoint to make certain that all of the things that we know about typical child development are monitored for."

The [University of Rochester] study is of significance even though sample size is really small, but they really took a lot of trouble to blind the dietary intervention, and that's the really difficult thing to do.

Dr. Green said that although there are hundreds of foods and ingredients that could be tested, he thought that Dr. Hyman addressed well 2 of parents' concerns by testing gluten and casein. "She's done the right test. She's used the right kind of methodology, which is really difficult on a small group of kids, and her results are pretty clear," he said.

Addressing the possibility that an autistic child with a preexisting gut problem would feel better on a gluten-free diet, he warned, "That, however, does not mean it's having an effect on the autism itself, and that's the point of what Dr. Hyman did.... What she's suggesting is that the diet in itself doesn't have a specific effect on autism as such." He said this kind of information should reach parents, who should see that autism researchers take their concerns seriously, and who thus need to believe the science.

In Dr. Hyman's opinion, "The real future of autism treatment is going to be informed by science. It's going to be informed by what we really do know about the brain and the designer interventions," she said. "What we have now in terms of intervention is empiric observation."

Dr. Hyman and Dr. Green have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.
9th Annual International Meeting for Autism Research: Abstract 140.007. Presented May 22, 2010.

 


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In This Issue: March 2010

Depending on You / Mary-Minn's Stim Page / "Thanks to You" Award Winners
Relationship Development Intervention (RDI) / Vitamin D and Autism
Camp - Retreat Registration / ASO-LCC Respite Program
"Autism Artism 2010"
Feelings of Girls and Women with Asperger's Syndrome
Oxytocin and High Functioning Autism
Older Maternal Age Linked to Increased Risk for Autism in Children
DSM 5 Alert
Healthy Lifestyles Workshop / ASO Social Skills Classes & Outings
Community Calendar

 

Depending on You

Greetings KindTree - Autism Rocks Supporters,

This issue marks your first opportunity to register for KindTree - Autism Rocks Autism Camp / Retreat 2010. (Online credit card registration will begin in April.) We all get together and have a long weekend of fun with each other. Arts and crafts, karaoke, swimming, great food, fun in the woods. This year TR Kelly will be returning to our Saturday night stage. She and partner Randy are also developing a great concept for the Stage - it will be a true “event!” Come join us again, or for the first time.

Our board is planning for a new event in 2011, and don’t anticipate a major fundraiser this year. “Lunch with Harvey” generated $1500 in scholarships for folks to attend the Camp / Retreat in 2009. This year those folks will be depending on you. Please give generously so families can attend who would otherwise not be able to afford it. Just fill out YOUR NAME on the registration form and circle the amount in the “scholarship donation” box. An average family of 3 with their own tent would pay only $175 for the whole weekend. How much can you help with?

Volunteers on the KindTree - Autism Rocks board make plans and put them into action. These volunteers really make KindTree work because they find tasks to engage in that they enjoy, and have the energy for. Four such folks have just retired from KindTree’s board - David Walcutt, Franklin Michael, Elizabeth King and Rhonda Way. All of these giving people have earned our heartfelt “thanks.” All of them continue to be active in the Autism Community, and making the world safer for their kids. The world is better with them in it.

This does leave us with some vacancies on our board. If you would like to join us as volunteers in planning and action, please don’t hesitate to call 541-689-2228. You may have just the talent we are looking for. Come try us out and help us make that safe place where we can just be ourselves.

We will be celebrating Autism Awareness Month this year with our annual “Autism Artism 2010” art show, with a Gala Opening April 3rd at Territorial Vineyards in the Whiteaker. There will also be a reception on the “Last Friday” community art walk. See the calendar for dates. Some great pieces were submitted to the show as it seems the quality and charm of the art improves every year. Our poster features a new artist to us, one who has won many awards. Please stop by and support our local and beyond artists with autism. They do so like to see you. The April 3rd event also features the presentation of KindTree - Autism Rocks “Thanks to You” award, Dave Rogers on guitar, and Her Majesty Queen Anislugsia. Come share the love.

Thanks for listening
Tim Mueller


"Thanks to You" Award Winners

Raven Frame Works -
Eugene Freezing and Storage

Every year KindTree - Autism Rocks honors people or organizations who have made a significant and long lasting contribution to our success. Past recipients include VP Michelle Jones, former board member and continued participant Gary Cornelius, Support Group facilitaor Nel Applegate, karaoke man Robert Pasley and family, and more.

This year we honor Raven Frame Works. These two people have donated countless hours framing and matting nearly all the pieces that appear in our Autism Artism shows, charging far less that full price. Their work is professional, their attitude beautiful. "Thanks to You", our art program is a success.

Eugene Freezing and Storage is also honored. Putting on our Camp/Retreat is a big job. Buying food for 200 guests and volunteers is a big deal, and where to store all that stuff (cause you can't do that much shopping in one day) could be a big problem. But the folks at EF&S have been there for us for many years, proving cold storage solutions without charge. "Thanks to You", our guests have the best fresh food around.

Both these groups will be presented their award at the Gala Opening April 3. Be there...


Relationship Development Intervention (RDI)

I'm very excited to be in this issue of the KindTree - Autism Rocks Newsletter. I hope to be a part of the community in the months and years to come! I've just moved to Eugene with my wife who is now attending UO pursuing her PhD in Special Education.

I am a special education teacher – MSEd. in Elementary Education – with experience at the high school and middle school levels. I was the lead teacher of a class with students with varying developmental disabilities such as autism, downs' syndrome and cerebral palsy. I immensely enjoyed working in the classroom, but I wanted to work more directly with the family because I believe the family is the child's primary educational and social foundation.

Now, let me tell you a little about Relationship Development Intervention (RDI). RDI is essentially a parent-education program that teaches parents how to carefully provide opportunities for their children to improve their mental processing abilities. To help us accomplish our goals, RDI has outlined hundreds of practical and developmental objectives that will help guide us through the program's different stages. Advancing through the stages, parents will provide opportunities that will rehabilitate the child's neurological functioning, much like how a physical therapist helps a stroke patient re-learn to tie her shoe or even re-learn how to read.

Improving cognitive abilities is a long-term solution for our loved ones on the spectrum. Rather than planning for long-term care, RDI has shown that parents can plan for long-term friendships and quality of life.

If you'd like to learn more, you can attend an upcoming free presentation at Bridgeway House, date tbd. I will go into more detail about how RDI is customized to fit your family's needs, lifestyle, and schedule. You can also get more information by visiting www.JoshKahnConsulting.com.

Reducing anxiety and improving processing ability is certainly possible. This intervention is not complicated, but you will need a consultant to provide analysis, guidance, and a logical series of goals . It is parent-focused because you are the number one teacher. Finally, my ultimate goal is to work toward improving Quality of Life for you, your family, and your child, so that I, the consultant, am no longer needed.

Josh Kahn, MSEd.
541-852-2371


Vitamin D and Autism

This story, from Dr. John Cannel, is about a boy born prematurely (with a twin sister) who developed normally for awhile and then began showing symptoms of autism that worsened during the winter months. Here Dr. Cannel responds to the mothers case story. You can read more at www.vitamindcouncil.org.

“Several things need comment. First, the symptoms are typical of autism. Second, the seasonality of symptoms suggest a vitamin D deficient disease. Third, the treatment in the spring of 2008 seemed effective but, in hindsight, it was simply due to spring sun exposure. Fourth, as you may now know, light boxes for seasonal affective disorder make no vitamin D. Fifth, your pediatrician knows little about Vitamin D other than what committees tell him; your decision to ignore his advice probably saved your son's brain from further injury, as autism is a progressive inflammatory destruction of brain tissue. Sixth, the fact that you needed bed rest and gave birth prematurely suggests you were Vitamin D deficient during your pregnancy.

Seventh, his twin sister has never had autism, despite the same intrauterine environment. This is consistent with my theory, that autism is caused from a quantitative, not qualitative, variation is one of the enzymes that metabolize Vitamin D. That is, there are no structural differences in these enzymes in autism, only a genetically determined difference in the amount present. These enzymes are responsive to estrogen; estrogen protects the brain from being damaged by low Vitamin D, probably by increasing the amount of activated Vitamin D present, explaining why boys are four times more likely to have the disease.

The report that your son deteriorated when his dose was reduced from 3,000 to 1,500 IU suggests autistic children need adult doses of Vitamin D. When you reduced the dose from 3,000 to 1,500 IU/day he worsened although his level on 1,500 IU/day was probably still greater than 50 ng/ml. This makes me think that dosage needs to be stable and suggests that Professor Reinhold Vieth's theory of a detrimental seasonal resetting of the intercellular metabolism of Vitamin D may even be true at levels above 50 ng/ml, where the body is storing the parent compound, cholecalciferol, in muscle and fat.

His current dose of 4,000 IU per day is perfectly safe and will give him a level of 80-100 ng/ml, inside the reference ranges of American laboratories. Toxicity (asymptomatic high blood calcium) begins somewhere above 200 ng/ml. Generally speaking, autistic children should take 2,000 IU per every 25 pounds of body weight for six weeks, then have a 25(OH)D blood test and adjust the dosage to get into the high end of the reference range, 80-100 ng/ml.

Although I first published the Vitamin D theory of autism theory 3 years ago, few autistic children are currently treated for their Vitamin D deficiency. This is due to several reasons. One, those who think, correctly, that autism is a genetic disease, stop thinking after that, reasoning that genetic diseases are untreatable. Such thinkers do not understand epigenetics (upon the genome). Vitamin D is probably the heart of epigenetics, as nothing works upon the genome like vitamin D. Finally, as you now know, organized medicine would say you should stop the vitamin D and watch your son deteriorate, which is why slavery to evidence based medicine is fine for scientists and unethical for practitioners.”


Oxytocin and High Functioning Autism

February 18, 2010 — Inhaling the hormone oxytocin appears to improve social interactions in adults with high-functioning autism spectrum disorder (HF-ASD), new research suggests.

The study showed that compared with HF-ASD patients who were given placebo nasal spray, those who inhaled oxytocin could better differentiate between players who interacted with them and those who did not in a virtual ball toss game. In addition, the study also showed that oxytocin enhanced total gaze time when looking at pictures of human faces, particularly in the eye region.

Oxytocin, a hormone synthesized in the hypothalamus, plays a role in delivery and lactation and is also believed to be involved in the regulation of emotions and affiliated behavior.

The study results could eventually lead to a therapeutic approach for patients with HF-ASD, said lead author Angela Sirigu, PhD, director of research and director of the Neuropsychology Group, Institute of Cognitive Science, Centre de Neuroscience Cognitive, Lyon, France.

This gives us a hope, a potential, for a treatment, but we need to do more studies to establish how much oxytocin patients need and the effect of oxytocin over time. This small study, incuding 13 people on the spectrum, 11 of them men, is just a start.

Read more here


Older Maternal Age Linked to Increased Risk for Autism in Children

February 11, 2010 — Advanced maternal age significantly increases the risk of having a child with autism irrespective of paternal age, a large population-based study suggests.

The research, conducted by investigators at UC Davis Health System, Sacramento, California, shows that the incremental risk of having a child with autism increased by 18% for every 5-year increase in maternal age.

"These data show that the risk of having a child with full-syndrome autism increases with maternal age, but increased risk from advancing paternal age primarily occurs among younger mothers (<30)," the researchers, led by senior investigator Irva-Hertz-Picciotto, PhD, MPH, write.

According to lead study author Janie Shelton, a doctoral student, the study challenges the hypothesis that the father's age is a key factor in increasing autism risk.

"It shows that while maternal age consistently increases the risk of autism, the father's age only contributes an increased risk when the father is older and the mother is under 30 years old. Among mothers over 30, increases in the father's age do not appear to further increase the risk of autism," Ms. Shelton said in a statement.
The study was published online February 8 in Autism Research.

Read more here


ASO Lane County Social Skills Class

The ASO Lane County Chapter is sponsoring a Social Skills Class and scheduled social outings on alternating months for adults with HFA and Aspergers who can get around independently in the community. The Social Skills class is free. The Autism Society of Oregon will help to subsidize entry fees for the activities. 

During the Social Skills Class, conversation skills will be taught, role-modeled and practiced. Doris Germain, an Autism Specialist in the Linn-Benton School District, is volunteering her time to teach the Social Skills Class. Her expertise in teaching social skills has been learned from 20 years of working with people on the spectrum. 

The Social Skills Class is taking place on  the 3rd Monday of odd-numbered months from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. at St. Mary's Episcopal Church on 13th and Pearl in Eugene. The Social Skills Class will choose the activity for the following month's Social Outing. 

The Social Outing is taking place sometime during the weekend of even-numbered months-- on Friday evening or Saturday, depending on the activity chosen by the previous month's Social Skills Class. There will be no Social Outing in August because of KindTree-Autism Rocks' Autism Retreat. 

Activities have included karaoke, a picnic at Alton Baker Park, a trip to OMSI, a trip to the coast, the Asian Celebration. 

If you have questions, call ASO chapter representative Mary-Minn Sirag at 541-689-2228 or email sirag@mindspring.com

 

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"Autism Artism 2010"
Art by people with Autism

GALA OPENING Celebration
Saturday, April 3, 4-7pm
at Territorial Vineyards
907 W 3rd Ave, Eugene
in the Whiteaker

SLUG Queen Anislugsia
David Rogers on classical guitar
refreshments - no host wine bar
Meet the Artists
"Thanks to You" award

See us also at
Last Friday Art Walk
April 30


ASO Respite Program:
Take a Break on ASO

ASO-LCC will help pay respite care expenses while you
Take a Break.
Read more here...


What’s the Most Fun Ever?

KindTree’s Autism Camp

Camp/Retreat 2009


Feelings of Girls and Women with Asperger's Syndrome - Laura Paxton
 
I have developed a video about the common feelings experienced by females who have AS.

News Video: Girls with Autism Spectrum Disorders Not Assessed Properly -

News: Autism and Asperger's Underdiagnosed in Girls

News: Autism and Asperger's Underdiagnosed in Girls II


YOU ARE INVITED TO Healthy Lifestyles Workshop

A $25.00 Workshop for People with Disabilities
(MUST BE 18 YEARS OF AGE OR OLDER)
Join us for a fun and educational 8-week workshop that provides you with the knowledge, skills, and resources to live a healthy lifestyle.
The Healthy Lifestyle workshop takes a holistic approach to health through:
*Exploration into what wellness means to you
*Setting your own wellness goals
*Learning from peers and making new friends
*Experiencing yoga as well as low-impact exercise
*Benefiting from on-going support group 6 months following the last session of the workshop!

*Healthy snacks will be provided during each session as well as an awards banquet dinner that will be held shortly after completion of the workshop.
Every Friday from 3:30-5:30 Starting April 9th – May 28th

Hilyard Community Center 2580 Hilyard Street Eugene, OR 97405


Community Calendar

April 1 - 30 Autism Artism 2010 KindTree - Autism Rocks Art by People with Autism.
At Territorial Vineyards, 905 W 3rd Ave, Eugene, (541) 684-9463

April 3 Autism Artism 2010 Gala Opening Celebration. 4-7 PM Snacks, no host wine bar, Queen Anislugsia and David Rodgers. Meet the artists, cheer on the winners of this years KindTree - Autism Rocks “Thanks to You” award: Raven Frame Works and Eugene Freezing and Storage.

April 18, Autism Walk-a-thon, Oaks Park Portland ASO.

April 22nd, 6 - 8 PM Bounce for Autism at Pump It Up in Wilsonville.
ASO events call Chapter Rep Reyna Welliver, (503) 654-4404,

April 30 Autism Artism 2010 Last Friday Art Walk.
Territorial Vineyard, in the Whiteaker

May 1 - 31, Autism Rocks Art Show at New Zone Gallery, 164 W Broadway

May 6, 8 - 12:30 Oregon Training Series on Direct Supports Teleconference, multiple locations, keynote speaker: Dr. Thomas Mates go to www.directsupports.com for more info.

May 7, 5:30-8 PM First Friday Art Walk at New Zone Gallery, food and fun and great art work!

Oregon Department of Human Services and Oregon Health Authority series of statewide public forums: You are encouraged to share ideas about local needs and priorities for the 2011–2013 budget and beyond. What are the priorities for your community? Take part in conversations about how to protect and empower children, families, seniors and people with disabilities. Get involved with OHA's work to build a healthier Oregon by lowering health care costs, increasing access, and improving quality of care.
Pendleton: Thursday, April 15 at 1:00PM DHS Office - 1555 Southgate Place
Teleconference from Baker City, Burns, Hermiston, John Day, La Grande or Ontario. Visit the DHS Website for details.
Salem: Monday, April 19 from 1:00 – 4:00 PM Cascade Hall, Oregon State Fairgrounds - 2330 17th St. NE
Portland: Wednesday, April 21 from 1:00 – 4:00 PM Oregon Convention Center - 777 NE Martin Luther King Blvd.
Redmond: Thursday, May 6 from 1:00 – 4:00 PM Deschutes County Fair & Expo Center / Three Sisters Conference Center - 3800 SE Airport Way
Eugene: Wednesday, May 12 from 1:00 – 4:00 PM Lane Community College - Center for Meeting & Learning 4000 SE 30th Ave.
Medford: Thursday, May 13 from 8:00 AM – 11:00 AM Rogue Regency Hotel - 2300 Biddle Road
Newport: Tuesday, May 18 from 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM Best Western Agate Beach Inn - 3019 N. Coast Hwy
.

August 27 - 29 Autism Camp / Retreat, Come home with KindTree. (A week later than last year)




 

   

Mary-Minn's Stim Page

(Here are personal stories about autism. If you would like to see your musings on this page, please email Mary-Minn at sirag@mindspring.com.)

School Daze

When I entered kindergarten in Iowa, I changed my name Mary-Minn to Mary. Mary reflected my new non-autistic identity. The common name allowed me not to stick out, not to be found out. In the ‘50s, autistic was an odious adjective, a euphemism for “schizoid personality” or emotional disturbance beyond mere neurosis--a little bit of this and a little bit of that, all of it shameful. Autism had not coalesced into a formal diagnosis. Even after it became a formal diagnosis, it took over 40 years for the diagnosis to be helpful. What treatments existed were draconian and inhumane. People with physical disabilities were sequestered into “special” programs, hidden from the public.

Nobody told me that children with mental illness and intellectual disabilities were locked up in institutions but I knew it. The lucky kids who somehow escaped being institutionalized were placed in isolated “schools” for the “feeble-minded”, as “they” were called back then. I probably remembered hearing the psychologists advise my parents to cut their losses and get on with parenting my four siblings, even though I was nonverbal and seemingly oblivious at the time. That was back when people with intellectual challenges were perceived to have no conscious awareness besides hunger, fear and other basic discomforts. They had no real personality.

 

 

“P.E. became torture in eighth grade. I didn’t reach puberty until 9th grade, a year or two after my classmates. I was skinny and flat chested. In the shower room, my classmates ridiculed my skinny and underdeveloped figure, unenhanced by a padded training bra. I tore them to shreds verbally until they ignored me entirely. I don’t know what was worse: being ridiculed or ostracized.”

In kindergarten, one of my classmates, who was “not quite right”, peed in his chair. The puddle and the odor made me nauseous. Next thing I knew I was watching myself attacking this kid with a pencil, having heard that lead is poisonous and fully intending to kill him. The last scene of “Looking For Mr. Goodbar” recapitulates my memory of the incident. It was a wake-up call for me. I was horrified by what I had just done. More than that, though, I was terrified that were I ever to attempt to murder someone else, my mental defects would be discovered and I’d be locked up forever. Nobody had to threaten me with that consequence to scare the beejabbers out of me. After that, I learned to sublimate my freakouts into self-injury and disruptive but not violent behavior.

I was infatuated with a classmate, Roxanne. I so badly wanted to be blonde and blue-eyed like her. During recess one day, Roxanne pulled down my underpants and pushed me into a thorny bush. My scratched butt hurt less than the humiliation. I don’t remember if that ended our friendship or not. I was matter of fact about such things, chalking them up to my inferiority.

The summer before second grade, I moved to Lebanon with my parents and siblings. I was so excited about having someone to play with at home, at last. My siblings were never told why I was “different”, probably because my condition was blamed on cold and withholding “Refrigerator Mothers”, and my mother felt to blame. The fact that I not only talked but also performed academically at grade level was proof that I had been cured. Still I was an annoying embarrassment to my family, what with my rocking, humming, grabbing utensils with a fist and stabbing them into food, my difficulty putting together a coherent outfit and dressing myself.

During lunch hour in second-grade, I had my first brush with organized sports. The people on the opposing team became my enemies. I did not understand the concept of friendly competition. Balls made no sense to me. I hated these spherical projectiles that I was supposed to catch and throw but couldn’t. Another game we played was “Boys Against the Girls”. I had no use for boys and the whole cutesy girl and boy thing and wanted to kill the lot of them. I liked fighting but physical contact with anybody besides the person whom I was trying to annihilate made me feel like a deflating balloon skrinkling up when touched. I was in love-hate with one boy. When he kicked the ball, it made a beautiful arc that mesmerized me.

The only athletic pursuits I enjoyed were running, jumping from high places, fighting the neighborhood boys with my brothers. I enjoyed fighting. The rules were simple: don’t hit below the belt, don’t hit the head. The idea was to hurt, not injure. At home, I invented a game called “Brown Eyes Versus the Blue Eyes”, modeled after “The Boys Against the Girls”. I pretended that Patty, my blonde and blue-eyed best--and only--friend, had brown eyes and brown hair so that she could be on my side. I don’t know who played on the blue-eyed side, as none of my sibs were blonde or blue-eyed. I played to kill. Fortunately, I wasn’t any good. I was a wretched sport, furious and devastated when I lost, gloating when I won.

During the summer before third grade, I learned how to swim. I was terrified of putting my head under water. I had no faith that a flimsy rubber inner tube could somehow protect me from drowning. My father held me up on the surface of the water and gently let go of me. To my surprise, I was floating; I didn’t sink to the bottom of the sea and drown. That summer, I learned to dog paddle; many years later I learned the breast stroke with correct breathing. (I never learned free-style, or what we called “the crawl”. Paddling the legs without being frog-legged and breathing properly contradicted each other like patting your head and simultaneously making a circular motion over your stomach.)

I put on plays for myself ritualizing adult social behavior that made no sense and seemed artificial. I put together simple sets. Sometimes I was able to scrounge up an audience. In 4th grade, I was given puppets and a puppet stage for Christmas, so I moved on to puppet shows.

On dreaded sunny days during the winter, my sister Noonie, my best friend Patty and I roller-skated. There were no large flat surfaces so we skated on the narrow sidewalk flanking our neighbor’s summer villa. The sidewalk was a foot up from the garden. My balance was precarious and I was scared of falling. I skated timidly, looking down at the sidewalk, my knees locked, both skates on the terra firma at all times. My only way of stopping--and the only thing I enjoyed about skating--was to twirl around, my arms hyper-extended horizontally to the ground, my fingers twinkling fiercely in an effort to further slow myself down.

I was able never able to spirit Patty away from roller-skating but indoctrinated her that team sports were a stupid waste of time. We whiled away our lunch hour in the shade, plotting the course of our next weekend together, while our benighted classmates played ball and, if they were girls, jumped rope, both of which were impossible for me.

Seventh grade P.E. was a blessed respite from the unseemly combination of balls and teams. We spent the year learning gymnastics. I was skinny and supple, so I could sit on the top of a human pyramid without crushing the people standing below me on the pyramid. I learned how to do headsprings, necksprings and a gracefully slow back walkover, but never mastered cartwheels, handsprings or backsprings. I refused to get on the treacherous balance beam or parallel bars.

The teacher, Mrs. Turmelle, spent more time with me than with anybody else. At the time, I thought that I was her favorite student. In retrospect, though, Mrs. Turmelle, like my kindergarten and first grade teacher, probably found working with me an interesting challenge. The following year she became a guidance counselor and abandoned coaching.

After that, teams and balls took over P.E. There was a short track season, which was a relief because there were no teammates to disappoint with my bad performance. Though I wasn’t athletic, I took long walks and biked a lot at home, so I possessed stamina, agility and strength. I came in second in the 50-yard dash and was strong on my relay team. The one week we did archery, I did surprisingly well. These lacunae of athletic competence served only to infuriate my teammates.

P.E. became torture in eighth grade. I didn’t reach puberty until 9th grade, a year or two after my classmates. I was skinny and flat chested. In the shower room, my classmates ridiculed my skinny and underdeveloped figure, unenhanced by a padded training bra. I tore them to shreds verbally until they ignored me entirely. I don’t know what was worse: being ridiculed or ostracized.

In 1969, when I was in the 10th grade, P.E. was becoming another uncool thing to disdain. One day during track, the P.E. teacher required a girl who was sick to run the mile and she passed out. A bunch of us rebelled by running backwards, skipping, walking—everything but running forward. Now, that was my kind of team sports!

In the middle of 10th grade, our family moved from Lebanon to a small town in western Maryland. The school was in Brunswick, a scrappy railroad town near the foothills of the Appalachians. When we moved there, my brothers and I were the first students at Brunswick High who had lived outside Maryland, let alone abroad. We were teased for being camel-riding Ay-rabs. My brothers were beaten up. The boys followed me in the halls like the rats of Hamlin, ridiculing my gait, rocking and ticcy speech mannerisms.

P.E., beehive hairdos, cat’s eye glasses and “natural” colored wigs were still cool in Brunswick. The team captains chose me after the fat girl with the glandular condition. At least she planted herself in one place and could be played around. I, on the other hand, dashed around the volleyball court, trying to hit the ball but blocking my teammates instead. They placed me in the nether reaches of the field, far removed from where the ball was supposed to go. I spent that time autopsying in my mind what I should have said to Dixie when she tripped me in the shower.

The girls on my team threatened to beat me up after class. All the while, our teacher was yelling at us between hollow cheeked inhalations of Camel Filters to run faster, catch the ball this time. I envied the girl who was sidelined with a heart condition. Chronic illness was the mark of a 19th century Russian heroine, brave in her pallor, tragic in her evanescence. How badly I wanted to be mourned! How guilty my tormentors would feel after my untimely death! My intellect and acts of courage, unappreciated during my brief life, would shine on--a shooting star, rich with promise.

Are things better now?

Mary-Minn Sirag

Read more of Mary-Minn's Stim Pages HERE


T-shirt Page - many available NOW
Cafe Press Merchandize Page / Holiday Card Pages


DSM V Alert

The DSM (the Diagnostic Standard Manual) is what psychiatrists use for making diagnoses. In 2013, the American Psychiatric Association will be coming out with the DSM V. The DSM workgroup of the American Psychiatric Association is proposing some drastic changes to the current DSM IV TR that would render it impossible for many people on the spectrum to get a diagnosis and get the help many of us need, such as IEPs, vocational rehabilitation, DD services, brokerage services, SSI and SSDI. If the APA gets its way, many of us will no longer be considered autistic. This includes autistic luminaries such as Temple Grandin and Donna Williams, as well as many of us. (If the links provided don't work, copy them onto your search engine/browser.) 

We have through April to comment on the proposed changes, so it's not too late. HERE

These are the changes that the DSM workgroup proposes: 
 
1) To eliminate Asperger Disorder (299.80) altogether and subsume it into Autistic Disorder (Autism Spectrum Disorder) 299.00. HERE

2) To drastically narrow the criteria for Autistic Disorder by eliminating many of them. 

The following is the DSM V's definition of Autistic Disorder (Autism Spectrum Disorder) 299.00 HERE 

Must meet criteria 1, 2, and 3:
1.  Clinically significant, persistent deficits in social communication and interactions, as manifest by all of the following:
a.  Marked deficits in nonverbal and verbal communication used for social interaction:
b.  Lack of social reciprocity;
c.  Failure to develop and maintain peer relationships appropriate to developmental level
2.  Restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, and activities, as manifested by at least TWO of the following:
a.  Stereotyped motor or verbal behaviors, or unusual sensory behaviors
b.  Excessive adherence to routines and ritualized patterns of behavior
c.  Restricted, fixated interests
3.  Symptoms must be present in early childhood (but may not become fully manifest until social demands exceed limited capacities)

The DSM V stipulates that all three items from #1 be present rather than two items, as stipulated in the DSM IV TR. 


 

Autism Rocks Notecards now at
ELITE CAR BATH

8th and Chambers, Eugene
192 Q Street, Springfield

The DSM V eliminates altogether the following heading from the DSM IV TR:  
2. qualitative impairments in communication as manifested by at least one of the following:
a. delay in, or total lack of, the development of spoken language (not accompanied by an attempt to compensate through alternative modes of communication such as gesture or mime) in individuals with adequate speech, marked impairment in the ability to initiate or sustain a conversation with others
c. stereotyped and repetitive use of language or idiosyncratic language
d. lack of varied, spontaneous make-believe play or social imitative play appropriate to developmental level. 
The DSM V also eliminates the following heading: B. Delays or abnormal functioning in at least one of the following areas, with onset prior to age 3 years: (1) social interaction, (2) language as used in social communication, or (3) symbolic or imaginative play.

The following are the diagnostic criteria for Aspergers Disorder 299.80, which the workgroup proposes to eliminate altogether: 
A. Qualitative impairment in social interaction, as manifested by at least two of the following:
1. marked impairment in the use of multiple nonverbal behaviors such as eye-to eye gaze, facial expression, body postures, and gestures to regulate social interaction
2. failure to develop peer relationships appropriate to developmental level
3. a lack of spontaneous seeking to share enjoyment, interests, or achievements with other people (e.g., by a lack of showing, bringing, or pointing out objects of interest to other people)
4. lack of social or emotional reciprocity
B. Restricted repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behavior, interests and activities, as manifested by at least one of the following:
1. encompassing preoccupation with one or more stereotyped and restricted patterns of interest that is abnormal either in intensity of focus
2. apparently inflexible adherence to specific, nonfunctional routines or rituals
3. stereotyped and repetitive motor mannerisms (e.g., hand or finger flapping or twisting, or complex whole-body movements)
4. persistent preoccupation with parts of objects
C. The disturbance causes clinically significant impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
D. There is no clinically significant general delay in language (e.g., single words used by age 2 years, communicative phrases used by age 3 years).
E. There is no clinically significant delay in cognitive development or in the development of age-appropriate self-help skills, adaptive behavior (other than in social interaction), and curiosity about the environment in childhood.
F. Criteria are not met for another specific Pervasive Developmental Disorder or Schizophrenia.

Thank you for listening and--I hope--providing feedback!!
Mary-Minn Sirag

 

VISIT eSCRIP and Help Us OUT!!

Thanks for Listening.

 


In This Issue October, 2009:

C'mon Down / Mary-Minn's Stim Page / Help us Celebrate YOU!
Oregon Partners in Policymaking Seeks Leaders / Autism Research Study Wants You
Call to Artists - various opportunities / ASO-LCC Respite Program
KindTree Holiday Shopping
Zen and the Art of Etch-A-Sketche
Donor and Volunteer Thank You List 2009
The Wooden Bowl / New State Senator
Community Calendar


C'mon Down!

Summer is over, school has started, Summer Santa’s Frozen Fun is done for the season. Ah, at last I can relax.

No. Wait. Not so fast!

First I must upload art images to kindtree.org for “This is Our Universe”, an art exhibition at Passion Flower Design featuring Stephen Peeler and Mary-Minn Sirag (see an interview with Mary-Minn). Plus, of course, make the note cards and gallery signs while Gary arranges the wine, Michelle arranges the snacks and Raven Frameworks prepares the art. The show begins with a Gala Opening at 5pm October 2. It’s gonna be great!

Then I must process the images for this year’s Holiday Card offerings. (Of course, artists, first you have to send them to me) We are lowering our prices and expanding the choices this year. We will have dozens of designs available as sets of 12 for only $12 - half the price of previous years! Please consider choosing Art by People with Autism for your holiday greetings. Visit kindtree.org soon to make your choices.

Consider visiting Coburg Road area's Baja Fresh between 5 and 9pm Saturday, October 17. Their food is great, and they will donate 15% of your purchase (including Gift Certificates for future dinners) to KindTree - but ONLY IF you have the flyer. Click hear and print. Thanks!

Next is our 6th annual Mask Making Party, a really fun way to get ready for Halloween. We will be creating masks that match your face contours and can be decorated and painted so cool. Lots of volunteers will be there to help. Jed “Mr. Sinatra” Shapiro will be hosting the karaoke stage, and the Star Wars Troopers from Cloud City Garrison will be on hand to keep you in line - in line for a picture with them. People and families with autism are encouraged to attend. We will have earplugs.

Lastly this year comes our revamped autism forum - “A Celebration of Autism”. We’re done with educational panels for now, and instead board member Rhonda Way is leading our celebration of all things autistic. Local people with autism will sing, play, recite, read, break boards with their hands and do all kinds of wonderful things - featuring the awesome TR Kelly and many more. Also included is a giant Art Sale of all our framed pieces in stock.

Please join us for this sharing of talent, this exhibition of all the surprising gifts we possess, this opportunity to see the possibilities instead of the limitations. C’mon down, bring your friends, your family, your students. Sunday, November 8, 2:30pm, the Hilyard Community Center.

So after all that, I will relax. Maybe.

But before we dive in, I want to take a moment to acknowledge the passing of Eunice Kennedy Shriver and Ted Kennedy. When Mrs. Shriver began her work for people with cognitive limitations half a century ago, it was common for mentally disabled people to be placed in institutions that did little more than warehouse them. Through Shriver's programs and hands-on efforts, she demonstrated that with appropriate help, most developmentally disabled people can lead productive and useful lives. She and Ted Kennedy both spent their lives dedicated to supporting those who needed just a little bit more help. Their groundbreaking efforts helped create a world where KindTree can exist, and people with differences can thrive. Thank you.

So. Let’s thrive. I’m thrivin’ now... Oh, yeah!


Tim Mueller


Opportunities:

Autism Rocks - A Celebration of Autism

KindTree Productions is looking for people of all ages on the autism spectrum to participate in an upcoming talent show,  November 8th, 2009 from 2pm to 4:30pm at the Hilyard Center.  Perhaps you're a singer, dancer, musician, poet, magician, short film maker, etc: we want you.  Or maybe you'd like to have us simply display a picture of you with a hobby.  The general public will be invited to this celebration of the Autism Community.  Refreshments will be served.  If you are interested in participating or wish to receive more information please contact Rhonda Way at Rhonda-way@kindtree.org by October 4th.

Oregon Partners in Policymaking Seeks Leaders

Oregon Partners in Policymaking is an exciting and innovative leadership training program for adults with developmental disabilities and parents of children with developmental disabilities. Oregon Partners in Policymaking makes participants better advocates for themselves, their family members, and the greater disability community.  Participants learn about communicating and advocating effectively, services and supports, best practices and approaches, and current policy issues. 
What are the Topics?
During each one-weekend session over the course of 5 months, Partners covers a different topic area, and participants build their communication and advocacy skills.
The concepts and issues presented include:
· Self-determination and self-advocacy
· Whole-life planning: person-centered plans
· Community organizing: how to work together to make systems change, and more...
Oregon Partners in Policymaking is a program of the Arc of Oregon, funded by the Oregon Council on Developmental Disabilities. Application to the program is competitive.
What does it cost?
The training program is free to participants selected to attend.
To submit an application, and to learn more, go here
 Applications are due: September 25, 2009
Selected participants will be notified by October 30, 2009
For information contact: pip@arcoregon.org , Oregon Council on Developmental Disabilities 503-945-9941; Toll free 800-292-4154 in Oregon

Autism Research Study

Child Development & Rehabilitation Center
Oregon Health & Science University - Deadline Extended
WHO: Children (between 2 yrs and 7 yrs) who have an Autism Spectrum Disorder and their parents
WHAT: A full developmental psychology evaluation and a blood draw
TIME: 5 to 7 hours/per visit with multiple visits possible
WHERE: OHSU / Doernbecher Children’s Hospital
COMPENSATION: A full report written by a pediatric psychologist
Contact: CDRC, Autism Study, 503 494-0333


Call to Artists:

Autism Rocks Holiday Cards

We will not be repeating our Holiday Card promotion this year, due to limited sales of a limited group of card sets. Instead we will focus on marketing a wider variety of cards and a wider variety of choices through our website and eFLASH ! newsletters. Please be encouraged to submit your holiday themed design as soon as you can, and we will feature them on the website in early October. art@kindtree.org

From the Studio to the Gallery Scholarships

KindTree received a grant from Lane Arts Council for our Studio to the Gallery program for 2009, renewed again for 2010 (thank you!) as well as a significant 2009 grant from the REX Foundation (thank you, too!). These funds will allow us to again offer ART GRANTS to a few artists. Go here for the application – the deadline is December 1st, 2009.

Recipients will receive a scholarship for an art class or tutor, or assistance in purchasing materials, and will be required to submit a form listing all money spent after purchase of materials or services, with receipts attached.

Grant recipients will be expected to produce at least one submission to the “Autism Artism 2010” Gallery Exhibition, due by Feb 1, 2010, for potential display TBA.

Autism Artism 2010

KindTree will be accepting submissions for Autism Artism 2010 during January 2010. Details will be published later at www.kindtree.org. Please visit or call for details then.

Insight Gallery

This is a Call to Artists with physical and/or developmental disabilities:
The InSight Gallery is accepting submissions in all media; submissions are due September 25, 2009. Call Elizabeth Black (541) 753-1711 for an appointment to submit work for selection, or submit digital images for selection to insightgallery@arcbenton.org.

"The Art of Possibility" at the InSight Gallery,
414 NW Fourth St., Corvallis..
Opening Reception October 10, 2009.
   fax: 541.758.1354
   http://www.arcbenton.org
  kf@arcbenton.org

 

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Visit KindTree, Autism Rocks, on Facebook!
here...

"This is Our Universe"
Stephen Peeler &
Mary-Minn Sirag

GALA OPENING Celebration
Friday, October 2, 5pm
at Passion Flower Design
128 E Broadway

David Rogers on classical guitar
refreshments
Meet the Artists

See us also at
Holiday Market
Thanksgiving Weekend


Holiday cards at www.kindtree.org


ASO Respite Program:
Take a Break on ASO

ASO-LCC will help pay respite care expenses while you
Take a Break.
Read more here...


What’s the Most Fun Ever?

KindTree’s Autism Camp Retreat feedback

     

The other day I was doing my yearly volunteer thing for KindTree Autism Rocks. I got up early and I would have been at camp Siltkoos at least an hour early for my delivery of fishing poles and giving boat rides. Here is, in order, what went wrong and what was in God's hands.

1. I forgot to put the new tag's on the boat and had to backtrack ten miles to get said tags off my kitchen table, and begin again.

2. At which time I picked up a nail and had to stop and get it fixed. Manager at good year on Mohawk fixed it for free cause he knew where I was trying get to.

3. Clear lake road closed for construction, back tracked to Beltline.

4. Fell off boat onto dock very unceremoniously  much like the drunken sailor I used to be.

5. The water was very choppy and the wind was up, so everyone got wet and cold on the boat rides.

6. None of the life guards had ever been fishing. So as I couldn't be both on the boat giving ride's [One life guard, one Autistic person, and I] and teaching kids to fish,  the fishing must have sucked. But I was happy to have the help.

7. At the last ride of the day my boat engine died, and after trying all I knew to fix it, it still remains deceased.

8. As I got out of the boat onto the dock,  my toe once again snagged on the side of my boat and I fell into the water. The dock was pitching in the wind and tide and I couldn't get up on the dock without the help of two of our lifeguards.

Now that's all the weird stuff.

The good stuff is I had a wonderful day on the water helping people who needed me.After I got out of the water I brushed myself off and started the long walk to the Boy Scout Lodge, maybe 3/4 mi.

The cool part was, one of the Autistic adults ran up to me and said he would walk with me to the lodge. He talked about his life and his dream to meet a girl with the same capabilities as he. He told me the schools he went to and the things he was good at, and the things that were hard for him.

I almost immediately got ok with who I am, and I saw this young man [25 to 30 yrs old] as a messenger of acceptance, humility, and calm serenity.This guy was a gift from my creator.

I began seeing the world through his eye's, albeit only a smidgen, and I felt an overwhelming gratitude for having had many times in my life, what this fellow wanted only once for a moment. This humbled me. Today was busy, but I'm still humbled.         

Thomas Finney, volunteer

Camp/Retreat 2009

Save the date:
August 27-29, 2010


   

Mary-Minn's Stim Page

(Here are personal stories about autism. If you would like to see your musings on this page, please email Mary-Minn at sirag@mindspring.com.)

Why I Am Not Autistic

I wonder whether I’m really autistic. I feel normal. It’s 8-ish in the morning, not 10:00, and I’m fully awake. I was able to get up as soon as I first awoke. I made it to bed at what my husband would call a “decent” hour because I was able to get through my bedtime rituals in less than a half hour last night; I even had 45 minutes to read. This morning, I didn’t have to go back to bed for another 15 or 20 minutes before giving it yet another college try.

My brain feels crystal clear. I woke up cheerful and optimistic this morning. My husband and I meditated for a half hour, and I was able to focus for about 3 breaths. I feel invigorated and calm. I take a leisurely shower. I look at my various scents and am able to resist slathering myself with one of them. I work with someone who’s chemically sensitive. This morning, I am perfectly fine with no scent to protect me from the little stenches that usually chip away at my well-being.

I have time to read the paper this morning. I read the front page rather than cutting to the chase and reading the horoscope and the weather first. I turn on The Marriage of Figaro while I make myself breakfast. We forgot to pick up eggs, so I make myself a bowl of oatmeal instead. I actually have time to listen to the first CD. It’s wonderful waking up to my favorite opera.

 

 

I see fatigue as a balloon filled with bad breath. Dreams are infinitesimal holes punctured by sleep that ever so slowly fizzes out the foul-breathed fog.”


My neighbor revs up his Harley. My central nervous system does not bristle up from the inside from the shattering low overtones, which pleasantly surprises me. I can’t believe it!

I am well rested and centered inside my body. I look at the clock and it’s earlier than I thought, even taking into account that my husband set it 5 minutes later than it is. Usually it takes me twice as long to keep on moving forward to the climactic moment of leaving the house.

The phone rings and the ringing does not irritate or disappoint me. My friend wants to just check in with me. Even though we spent over three hours just yesterday on our weekly walk down to and back from the Rose Garden then a longer than estimated foray to Costco and the World Market, I am in the mood to connect with her this morning. Nothing much has happened since yesterday but I have plenty of time to chat this morning. It’s still early.

In the meantime, my tea has gotten lukewarm but so what. I don’t have to pop it into the microwave to return it to its original scalding temperature and then be disappointed by the slightly altered taste. The caffeine content is the important thing, after all.

I bask in a glow of self-righteousness. Usually, I’m not even out of bed by now. I can’t believe how easy it was this morning and how hard I usually make it. The secret to getting up at a reasonable hour is to get to bed at a respectable time. All I need to do is to turn off the computer by 10:00 and move forward through my nighttime ablutions, making it to bed by 10:15. Last night, I didn’t need to stay up perseverating to husband about the future of my jewelry class; I stopped at the end of the chapter of my book rather than sneaking in another chapter. I’m so glad I’ve finally figured this sleep thing out and am looking forward with great eagerness to having more time every morning. I’ve figured this out many times before, but this time I’ve really got it.

What’s so hard about just getting out of bed when I first awake? I can’t believe that it usually takes 3 or 4 dry runs out of my muzzy morass. All I really had to do all along was to sit up, step off the bed, go to the bathroom and take my shower. What’s so hard about that? I don’t have to savor the fading ghost of my fascinating dream, regaling my husband with its every nuance and then plopping back onto my pillow, just trying to figure out what it was really about.

My dreams come in series of set and settings. Why do we have dreams? Why do we sleep? I see fatigue as a balloon filled with bad breath. Dreams are infinitesimal holes punctured by sleep that ever so slowly fizzes out the foul-breathed fog.

I have just started a new dream cycle, set in a Manhattan that’s recognizable only from inside the actual dream. Inside this cycle is a mental map of the train‘s pathway. It’s an elevated subway on a roller coaster track, except that it’s going around horizontal curves rather than up and down. I can take my sense of direction for granted during this dream cycle. I write the dream down and am done with it without falling back into it. This morning, my dream is then, now is now. I get up with no regrets. My husband doesn’t have to prod me to keep moving forward.

Before I know it, I’m ready to leave the house. My launching pad is ready. My purse is on the couch and my lunch is in the insulated zippered box with a cold pack. I go through my checklist again to make sure I have everything. I walk out of the house. I kiss my husband and don’t have to ask him to rush back and bring out my day planner or something else I forgot and can’t live without. I got that all together last night. I am already looking forward to my teriyaki chicken and brown rice, with cucumbers and gomasio, and plum tomatoes picked this morning. My mouth waters in anticipation. I even have some Santa Rosa plums to munch on. For the past week or so, I have been successfully avoiding refined sugar so I am not craving sweets. In fact, they don’t even sound good to me.

I decide to take a different route today just for the heck of it. I think I’ll branch out from my usual lockstep and take a new side street today. I turn on the radio and they just happen to be playing a song that I’d completely forgotten about but that fills a nostalgic hole. The nostalgia washes over me like a puddle of warmth. Usually I’m not very nostalgic about my past. I know all the words so I can sing along with it in full voice without la-la-la-ing it. Although I burned out this song back in 9th grade by rocking to it over and over again until I was good and sick of it, hearing it brings back all kinds of good memories I never even realized I had from that wretched period of my life. The usual negativity is overpowered by the soothing image of palm trees swaying against a stormy Mediterranean sky. In my memory, I’m drawing the palm trees as the dramatic sky as our French teacher Monsieur Schoucair scolds each of us in turn for our various vices. He shakes his index finger at me. “Laziness is my worst enemy. Je deteste la paresse.” He accents the silent “e” in “deteste”. Somebody behind me snickers and my heart feels caught up. But that’s just the way 9th graders are. I let it go, using my image of the palm trees as my personal safe place of repose. That was over 40 years ago, after all.

I am driving well today. It’s already warm out but I have the AC at a perfect temperature. I don’t have to keep on fiddling with the dial to get it just right. I merge effortlessly, anticipating the SUV trying to crowd me out. This time, I was tracking my right, rear-view and left mirrors, as well as in front of me. I feel slightly superior to it all rather than reeling from a near death experience and wishing I never had to get behind the wheel again.

I notice that my mouth is parched, a sign of impending stress. As Bob Dylan sang, “Something is happening, and you don’t know what it is. Do you, Mr. Jones?” As soon as I get to the stoplight, I reach for my blue Aqua Vista bottle. I take a swig of water and then another.

I pause a second to mentally recite an affirmation, in an attempt to switch my brain back. As one of my students puts it, “I’m calm and in a peaceful mood. I’m. Figuring. It. All. Out.” I feel a crawly tightness on the surface of my cranium. I try futilely to crack my neck. I realize that I’ve mistaken a 2-way stop for a 4-way one, and the other car had the right-of-way. Fortunately, he was paying attention.

I should have taken my old lockstep, where there are protected lefts and no 2-way stops. I forgot that there is a bicycle-only sign that I have to go around it in order to get to Jefferson Street. My brain is not ready for figuring this out efficiently. I curse myself for having such a slow brain. I roll down the windows and shriek in frustration. I feel electric and taste the electric reverberating through my body. My face, especially behind the eyes, is hot. I feel as if my outer skin has been peeled off, but the pain is not physical.

I am autistic, after all. What was I thinking? Oh, well.

Mary-Minn Sirag

Read more of Mary-Minn's Stim Pages HERE


Zen and the Art of Etch-A-Sketche
An Interview with Artist Mary-Minn Sirag
By: Elizabeth King Gerlach

KindTree Productions will present an art show featuring local Eugene artists Mary-Minn Sirag and Stephen Peeler, Oct. 2-31 at Passionflower Design. The opening will be October 2, at 5pm, at Passionflower, 128 E Broadway in Eugene.

Mary-Minn Sirag, a board member of KindTree, will be showing several pieces, including pen and ink drawings, works in watercolor, as well as her amazing Etch-A-Sketch portraits. I interviewed Mary-Minn to find out a little more about how she got involved in the arts and what she loves most about what she does.


Tell us a about your background in art. . . .

My creativity first expressed itself when I was very young­­ in singing and acting. By the time I was in 2nd grade, I was composing music for myself and making up songs. On my eighth birthday I got a harmonica and discovered I could play tunes on it. I also liked to make up and produce silly plays.

I had no talent whatsoever for art, but that was what my mother encouraged us in, so by junior high, I started to be mistaken for an artist. From the time I was little, my mother (an artist) let us get out of chores if we drew or posed for her, so I put in many hours drawing still-lifes and portraits of my siblings.

You graduated with honors in art from Cornell College in Iowa. Tell us about that time in your life?

By the time I was in college I was fairly proficient, though not very creative. My focus was life drawing. I loved the self-contained perfection and complexity of the human body. Nude is THE perfect form. The thing in drawing . . . it’s all about looking. You spend more time looking at the subject than the paper. You are in dialogue with the subject. I was kept honest by the way that it had to look like something, not just an abstract. To be in “art mind” you have totally empty your head.

When I left college, I moved to New York where I studied life sculpture at the Art Students’ League for a short time. After that, I got horrible artist’s block because I had no model to draw. I moved to the Bay Area, where I lived next to an artist and we did collages together. Eventually, I got bored of the images and frustrated with the poor image resolution.

Tell us a little about how you discovered drawing with the Etch-A-Sketch.

I discovered the Etch-A-Sketch by accident at another friend’s house while living in the Bay Area. I had never been able to draw with it when I was a kid because I couldn’t draw well enough. But that one visit at a sister’s friend, when I was almost 30, represented a quantum leap for me. I picked up the Etch-A-Sketch and drew a portrait then and there.

Etch-A-Sketching gave me renewed confidence. I am fairly ambidextrous. Each hand exercises and relaxes a different part of my brain. When my brain gets tired of writing with one hand, I switch hands to relieve the other hand and clear my head. In junior high, I amused myself in study hall by doing mirror writing and upside down writing. I am now trying to learn how to do vertical Etch-A-Sketch, which requires thinking in a rotationally convoluted way: it’s more complicated than turning the left knob counter-clockwise to make a horizontal left line and right to make an upward vertical line and a combination of the two to make a diagonal one.

You work with many media, now including watercolor. Do you have a favorite?

It really changes for me. I’ve worked with collage, drawing, pen and ink, dabbled in acrylic, and of course the Etch-A-Sketch. I like to let the medium take me over. With any medium, I really like to USE the medium. For instance Etch-A-Sketch masters use really precise lines. I prefer to go with what the Etch-A-Sketch does, to go with the rectilinear quality of the curves. For me, everything is about interaction with the medium. You want acrylic to look acrylic, pencil, like pencil, etc.—not like a photograph, for instance. I like to be spontaneous and interactive with materials instead of conquering materials. If you’re frustrated with a medium, either go deeper with it or switch media.

Mary-Minn, you teach a popular jewelry-making class at the Hilyard Center in Eugene. Can you talk a little bit about your work with jewelry, too?

I became a more serious artist after starting to teach my jewelry class for Adaptive Recreation, which I’ve been teaching since 2001. I went in knowing nothing about making jewelry, but not knowing what I’m doing has never deterred me from teaching other people what I don’t know. We learned together and taught each other, and nobody acted the wiser for it. Jewelry got me into exploring color and functional design. I had never really explored color before. Through a series of circumstances, I started teaching painting, which forced me to think about color and composition in a more freewheeling way. Having never studied painting, I started to invent techniques in watercolor and acrylics in order to teach my students. My art is a series of such experiments.

How do you feel when you’re producing?

My creative process in doing art is mostly experimental. I usually just noodle around, experimenting with different techniques that come up. In the rare instances where I start out with an idea or image, it comes out unrecognizably different from what I started out with. I love the surprises. It’s all different. I do meticulous pen and ink drawings. Though I detest most painstaking tasks, I find the painstaking of pen-and-ink to be very relaxing and grounding.
There’s a lot of inertia. I should go out and sketch everyday. The hardest thing about sketching is just showing up. With anything really “creative” I’m slow at first to get into it. I need about four-five hours and that’s hard to create that block of time, so I need to do art in shorter periods of time, As well as in a more leisurely time frame. Discipline comes in with time management. I like to work with friends. Talking relaxes my brain and it gets more diffuse. When it gets wonderful is when the medium speaks to me in collaboration and dialogue. It takes on a life of its own. The pre-conceived ideas in the beginning metamorphoses into an art space and it doesn’t matter. It becomes a “zen” space and then it’s hard to stop!


Donor and Volunteer Thank You List 2009
Without you....

Sundance Natural Foods
Market of Choice Stores
Bi-Mart
Albersons
Fred Meyer
Costco
Eugene Freezer and Storage
Toby's Family Foods
Surata Soy
Organically Grown Co-op
Bagel Sphere
the Bread Stop
Trader Joe’s
Springfield Creamery
Emerald Valley Kitchen
Café Mam
Lochmead Dairy
Jerry’s Home Improvement
Safeway
Laura Geschke
Costco
Joe’s Sports and Outdoor Foundation
Autism Society of Oregon
Eugene Downtown Lions Club

Allen Outland
Michael Omogrosso
T.R. and Zane Kelley
Randy Hamme
The Boy Scouts of America
Mary King
Gary Cornelius
Dyan Campbell
Tim Mueller
Nel Applegate
Michelle Jones
Tyson Gunningham
Sarah Fields
Mary-Minn Sirag
Jeanne-Marie Moore
Joel Litersky
Andrea Watrud
Liz Fox
Johanna Magner
Franklin Michael Tristan Hediger
Grant Hulbin
Cory Earhart
P. McDonald
Wentworth Foundation
The REX Foundation
Dustin Reddusk
Monaco Coach Company
All the "Lunch with Harvey" donors
Sue Barnhart
Maggie Pecora
Carly Schmidt
Mike Waasworth
Thomas Finney
Sukhi and Robert
Auchmoody
Valerie Goodness
Jerry Linville
Tracy Rogan
Tifani Lauzon
Logan Leff
Eugene Veno
Alex Motsch
Nick Abel
Hayden Rooke-Ley
Tim Hamer
Laura Weil
Chris Vatland
Vincent Ruiz
Kevin Westcott
Sheryl Stassi-Lampman
Jessamy Fabricant
Kieth Walker
Julie Hutchins
Steven Peeler
Elizabeth King
Emily and Ken Ross
Mayor Kitty Piercy
John and Sandi Orbell
Raven Frameworks
Ruth Madsen Ross
Sen. Chris Edwards
The Cloud City Garrison
Robert Pasley
Justin Reed
Mary-Minn’s Mom
Doris Germain
David Walcutt
GreyWolf Projects
CenterStage Karaoke
Jed “Mr. Sinatra” Shapiro
Ben Luskin
Carol Brittingham Clay
Kk Unruh
Peggie Abevtz
Samuel Kirtner
Eileen Brixey
Katy Stein
Mary Beth Bonte
Spencer Christiansen
Jennefer Salzman
LCC Art Program
Christopher Selz
Pat Dopler
Harvey
Friends of KindTree

THANK YOU!!


The Wooden Bowl

 
A frail old man went to live with his son, daughter-in-law, and four-year-old grandson. The old man's hands trembled, his eyesight was blurred, and his step faltered. The family ate together at the table. But the elderly grandfather's shaky hands and failing sight made eating difficult. Peas rolled off his spoon onto the floor. When he grasped the glass, milk spilled on the tablecloth. 

The son and daughter-in-law became irritated with the mess. 

‘We must do something about father,' said the son. 'I've had enough of his spilled milk, noisy eating, and food on the floor.' So the husband and wife set a small table in the corner. There, Grandfather ate alone while the rest of the family enjoyed dinner. Since Grandfather had broken a dish or two, his food was served in a wooden bowl. 

When the family glanced in Grandfather's direction, sometimes he had a tear in his eye as he sat alone. Still, the only words the couple had for him were sharp admonitions when he dropped a fork or spilled food. 

The four-year-old watched it all in silence. 

One evening before supper, the father noticed his son playing with wood scraps on the floor. He asked the child sweetly, 'What are you making?' Just as sweetly, the boy responded, 'Oh, I am making a little bowl for you and Mama to eat your food in when I grow up.'

The four-year-old smiled and went back to work.... 

I've learned that if you pursue happiness, it will elude you. But, if you focus on your family, your friends, the needs of others, your work and doing the very best you can, happiness will find you.

Submitted by Robert Pasley 


CONGRATULATIONS!

Senator
Chris Edwards

Chris has been appointed Oregon's newest State Senator.
new office number:
(503) 986-1707
sen.chrisedwards@state.or.us


 

Autism Rocks Notecards now at ELITE CAR BATH
8th and Chambers, Eugene
192 Q Street, Springfield


Events

October 2, 5pm “This is Our Universe” Autism Rocks Traveling Art Show Opening Passion Flower Design 128 E Broadway, Eugene. Artists Stephen Peeler and Mary-Minn Sirag with David Rogers on guitar. Free.

October 14 The Complete Guide to Asperger's Syndrome - Making Friends and Managing Feelings" with Dr. Tony Attwood. Presented by Nan Lester of Asperger Counseling Northwest (541-345-8588) at Lane Community College Center for Meeting and Learning, Room 102-104, 4000 E. 30th Avenue, Eugene. Call 800.489.0727 to register.

October 17 Mexican Food Funraiser. Come to Baja Fresh on Coburg Rd for dinner. A percentage of every order goes to KindTree for those folks who bring in a flyer, available here.
See you there

October 25 4-7pm KindTree Mask Making Party with "Mr Sinatra" Karaoke and Star Wars troopers (troopers appear at 5:15). Family Fun $5 each, $20 family. Cozmic Pizza, 8th and Charnelton, Eugene. 541 521 7208 Poster here.

October 29 Special Education Law & Advocacy Training Conference Presenting Pete Wright of Wrightslaw, Portland, OR. Contact the ASO office at (503)636-1676 or 1-888-AUTISM1 more info here

November 8, 2:30pm A Celebration of Autism. Members of the Autism Community share their skills and talents through music, poetry, art and strength. Open to all. See here on how to participate.

November 27-29 All Day. Visit KindTree’s table at Eugene’s Holiday Market. Help us support artists with autism by purchasing Holiday Cards for you family and friends. Original works and t-shirts, too.

 


VISIT eSCRIP and Help Us OUT!!

 

In This Issue: June 2009

Better Get Ready / Mary-Minn's Stim Page / Autism Artism 2009
ASO-LCC Respite Program / KindTree's Autism Camp -Retreat
To the Editor
New Support Group in Portland /Cole Kingsbury in the Spotlight
Capturing the birth of a synapse / LESS TEARS & MORE ACTION!!!
Healed Stories Needed / Autism Treatment Acceleration Act
Autism, health insurance, and unintended consequences
Why brain nutrition could empower our schools
Community Calendar


Better Get Ready

Come One, Come All, see the daring display of skill and finesse, see the handiwork of artists from another planet, a new culture, a different ability, see “Autism Artism 2009 - Better Get Ready!”

LCC Art Gallery will again be the site of our display of beautifully framed, purchasable visual art by local and international artists with autism. From our very own President

Mary-Minn Sirag, to little Leah DeMonia and far off Torger Berstad, there are images to delight, inspire and inform. You can see them online or in person. But the only way to join the party is to attend the Gala Opening June 20, 4 - 8pm (with the program at 6pm) and meet the artists, listen to Zambuko Marimba, enjoy the free refreshments, watch the Eugene Disability Cheerleaders perform and share your thoughts with Mayor Kitty Piercy as she joins us for another celebratory event. Its this weekend, on Saturday. We all had a blast last year. Don’t miss it.

Many of the images and the notecards and prints that feature them, will also be available at Art & the Vineyard in Alton Baker Park July 4th weekend.

Coming this Fall, we will be featuring Mary-Minn and Stephen Peeler in a special show at Passion Flower Gifts on Broadway in Eugene. We hope this event, as well as our Autism Artism 2009 show, will provide an income boost for Stephen, who is in very poor health and may not even survive until November as he has end stage cystic fibrosis and is waiting for a double lung transplant. Whew. His family is asking for help. Stephen is a great guy and a wonderful artist. He frequently sets up residence at KindTree's booth at Art & the Vineyard, creating art on the spot - folks are fascinated. You can help Stephen and his family out by donating to his special account as well as by buying his art. Find out more at www.kindtree.org and plan to join us in early October for the show's opening when we can really show our support.

Our “Lunch with Harvey” fundraiser was a great success, with patrons donating over $1500 for scholarships alone! If you are wishing you could afford to attend our Autism Camp Retreat, now you can. Scholarship applications are available online. Don’t hesitate - join the family.

And for our eager newcomers and returning guests, get your reservations in, space will fill up. We have a great lineup of fun stuff, including a gluten free cooking class with Michelle Cheney, and Nancy Bright to teach us all watercolor techniques. We only do this once a year. We’d love to share it with you and your family.

We are hoping to feature some great local autism videos at our Forum, scheduled for November 1st this year. We may also be able to feature some great commercially produced documentaries. More on that later. Keep the date open. It’s just a few weeks after the Mask Making Party. Can you handle all that fun? I think I can...

Thanks for listening Tim Mueller


Letter to the Editor
Dear Tim, So nice to receive the good news!  As we have been going in and out of the Psychiatry office and the hospital, with Lexi's challenging behavioral issues.  She is in the middle of puberty and has been going through some med changes this year.  We all know how difficult that can be.  We only wish she knew how special she is, we think she rocks too! 
Thank you and KindTree for all you have done with Lexi's creative art.  Lexi's “Mystic” pic, had been chosen as a featured image for this years poster! 
Thank You for the amazing news, it lifted our spirits, during these difficult times!    The Sias Family!      

       


New Support Group in Portland Helping Spouses of Asperger Syndrome

Dr. Kathy Marshack, is launching a new support group, “Asperger Syndrome: Partners and Family of Adults with ASD,” in Portland, OR. Portland, Oregon, May 11, 2009 –

Licensed psychologist, Dr. Kathy Marshack, is launching a new support group, “Asperger Syndrome: Partners and Family of Adults with ASD,” in Portland, OR. This is not a therapy group, rather a place for people to learn from others and to share their story about the often frustrating and isolating life of loving an adult with Asperger Syndrome Disorder (ASD).

The group is being organized through Meetup.com. Those interested in joining the group in Portland, Oregon can go to http://www.meetup.com/Asperger-Syndrome-Partners-Family-of-Adults-with-ASD/.

“After I posted the first chapter of my new book on my website, I was completely overwhelmed by the huge response from people around the world looking for guidance and support on how to navigate a relationship with a partner with Asperger Syndrome.”

Make a Donation Today

Autism Artism 2009
Better Get Ready

GALA OPENING Celebration
Saturday, June 20, 4pm
program at 6pm
at the LCC Art Gallery, bldg 11

Guests Mayor Kitty Piercy
Zambuko Marimba
Eugene Disability Cheerleaders!
Meet the Artists

snacks and beverages - FREE

Most items for sale as framed original or reprints, and as notecards and prints.
Call 541 521 7208 to purchase framed pieces. Prices are negotiable.

See us also at Art & the Vineyard July 4th


ASO Respite Program:
Take a Break on ASO

ASO-LCC will help pay respite care expenses while you
Take a Break.
Read more here...


What’s the Most Fun Ever?

KindTree’s Autism Camp Retreat
Swimming / Canoeing
Karaoke by CenterStage KaraokeTalent Show
Fabric painting and fashion show
Gluten Free Cooking Class
Arts & Crafts
Participatory Music and Dancing
Movement with Benjamin Luskin
JenaGuru Marimba
Glen Jones in Concert
Non-competative games
Piñata
Reverse Hide-an'-Seek
Campfires and s’mores
Nature Walks / Hikes
Home Cooked Food
Family Networking
Structured Events All Day
Nancy Bright Art Class
Water games and much more...

 

Retreat Scholarships Available

Thanks to the generosity of party goers at our “Lunch with Harvey” fundraiser, we have scholarships available for our Autism Camp / Retreat.


   

Mary-Minn's Stim Page

(Here are personal stories about autism. If you would like to see your musings on this page, please email Mary-Minn at sirag@mindspring.com.)

Show Off

In second grade, I was given my first starring role, as Lisa, the Queen of Litterbugs. Lisa was the ringleader of a gang of litterbugs wreaking havoc at a picnic. I got to sing the title song, which went like this: “We’re litterbugs, we’re litterbugs. My name is Lisa and I’ll always be the Queen of Litterbugs.” The title song was a taunt with a similar singsong cadence to the timeless favorite, “Look at the Little Baby”.

This role fit my less than regal personality. I was not one of those girlie-girls who fancied herself a princess. Neither was I one to squander entire afternoons dressing up their Barbies or rocking my Baby Dear. (My best and only friend, Patty, owned a Barbie and a Ken doll. I owned a Baby Dear doll only because Patty did.) I equated girls who dressed up as little princesses with prissy tattle-tales.

The only baby doll I enjoyed playing with was Ehre Der Voyjsh Der Vinn, a peeing savant. My role as mother was to feed her water from a tiny baby bottle and watch her pee. Even back then, I had no trace of maternal instinct. Ehre Der Voyjsh Der Vinn made me laugh until I was a helpless blob of protoplasm squirming helplessly on the floor, my sides hurting, almost wetting my pants, as if in deference of her special talent.

 

 

Mellie’s mother, who was dedicated to her daughter’s academic success, did not approve of me because I distracted Mellie from her true destiny as scholar. ”


I had just moved to Lebanon and, for the first time, was exposed to a large assortment of foreign languages. The elaborate fake-German name I had given Ehre Der Voyjsh Der Vinn was testimony to my devotion to her.

I loved the sound of foreign languages, especially those I made up. I reveled in impossible Slavic heapings of consonants, the scolding cadence of German, and the angry sound of guttural Arabic vowels. R was my favorite consonant because it could be mispronounced in so many exotic ways.
When I could find no one with whom to discuss “philosophy” in my fake-German (my father was a philosophy professor and I loved the grandiose vocabulary), I contented myself with my own nonsense polemics. The longer these two- or one-way conversations lasted, the more intoxicated I became. My siblings and I spoke English in a Lebanese accent with our Lebanese friends, which, doubtless, did their English no favors. Unlike the French, we reveled in English scented by foreign-accents, grammatical flips and roundabout locutions.

Back to the stuff from which great theater is made: Our third-grade class put on a puppet show of Cinderella. We built puppets with paper maché faces and hand-sewn bodies. My evil step-sister’s face was all nose and colored in sinister dark-colored streaks that added up to a globby gray-brown. The precarious connection between her oversized head and messily sewn body resembled my own tenuous brain-and-body connection and poor coordination, when I look back on it.

I must have done a competent job in acting and singing because, for the rest of my elementary school career, I was cast in the starring roles of our school productions, which covered the gamut from cookie-cutter Christmas Pageants to medleys of Gilbert and Sullivan operettas. (“The H.M.S. Pinafore” was the first album to which I rocked out blissfully. I acquired it even before the Beatles’ “Hard Day’s Night”.)

I was fearless on stage. I had an excellent memory for lines and a strong voice. I was confident that I could improvise myself out of any slip-up.

Acting and singing to an audience were a consolation for me. I was the third child in a rapid succession of five births, and was, by no means, the funniest of my siblings. My older sister and youngest brother were the mimics with rubber faces and quick wit. My oldest brother and I, on the other hand, inherited our father’s virtuosic whistling and instant knowledge of the harmonica. I was able to sing tongue-in-cheek renditions of songs from the ‘20s that my grandfather had sung, such as “Tiptoe Through the Tulips” as well as in a style loosely approximating comic operetta.

I took the responsibility of my starring roles seriously. My enthusiasm and diligence far surpassed my genius in acting. Between school productions, I practiced my dubious craft. I put on plays and puppet shows of my own, replete with precarious sets and backdrops, thrown together costumes, and a loose improvisational story line that functioned as a script. I practiced my shrieks and facial contortions in front of the mirror to the accompaniment of thunderstorms, with which I’ve always been obsessed. The acoustics of the mountains, where we lived, were particularly bombastic.

Sixth grade was a bittersweet time for me. It heralded the beginning of junior high, a temporary hiatus of theater, as I knew it. On the other hand, I became friends with an Armenian girl called Mellie. She was wilder and more imaginative than Patty; almost as important, she did not roller-skate and had as little use for organized fun as I did.

Her family lived on the 6th floor of an apartment in Ras Beirut, the Europeanized section of Beirut. Her apartment had all the modern conveniences lacking in our big stone house in the mountain village of Beit Meri: hot running water, central heat, a drain beneath the kitchen sink, a bathroom devoid of tarantulas.

The only amenity I truly envied, though, was the built-in audience. Across from her balcony with Danish Modern glass and metal railings were other balconies with Danish Modern railings. At nine o’clock in the evening, we figured that people were getting ready for bed and needed some bedtime entertainment.

Mellie and I regaled them with Ricky Nelson and Dave Clark Five songs (anything more recent, except for the Beatles, was too rough for my overly refined taste); maudlin soap operas, which were contraband; belly dancing, a mainstay of Lebanese television; and TV commercials, which were a hybrid of such Lebanese classics as the Chiclet commercial (in which little kids are showered with Chiclets, an ironic twist on the relentlessly pursuing Chiclet boys in Beirut) and American commercials depicting frustrated middle-aged women in house coats bemoaning their hubby’s ring around the collar; a reassuring doctor with a creamy voice and coiffed Grecian Formula hair representing the precisely-98% of physicians who recommend Anacin for headaches; a cross-section of the face of a man afflicted by post-nasal drip, replete with upwellings of mucous; a nauseous-pink animation of a stomach pulsating “blpb blpb” from heartburn. TV was forbidden fruit. What little we did get to see on the sly went a long way in our productions.

Mellie’s mother, who was dedicated to her daughter’s academic success, did not approve of me because I distracted Mellie from her true destiny as scholar. Mellie, on the other hand, was smart enough to get A’s barely cracking a book, and did not squander this talent of hers. I emulated her study habits, with less brilliant results.


During the summer leading up to 7th grade, Mellie’s family moved to Athens, abandoning me to the onset of other kids’ puberty and the confusing psychedelic 60’s. My acting ability lay fallow.
I resumed my short acting career in 11th grade, but it was never quite the same. I found myself typecast as the crazy old hag or the neurotic middle-aged woman, roles that matched my personality too closely to be challenging for me. At least, my hours in front of the mirror weren’t for naught.

Mary-Minn Sirag

Read more of Mary-Minn's Stim Pages HERE


Asperger syndrome doesn’t keep geology enthusiast from earning degree
By Christopher Eshleman Monday, June 1, 2009 at 12:00 a.m.Newsminer.com

FAIRBANKS — Cole Kingsbury developed an early interest in all things related to rocks.
He remembers speaking to his principal before he, his mother and father were to move from Minnesota to Oregon before his second-grade year. He said he told the principal in Minnesota what he’d learned, prior to the move, about the Pacific Northwest: Mount St. Helens was a volcano, while Mount Hood used to be a volcano.

That early interest was still present after the family arrived.

 

“I was really awestruck with the topographic diversity of Oregon, as opposed to Minnesota, which is basically a pancake,” he said. “So my interest in geology was kindled (early).”

Last month, Kingsbury joined more than 500 classmates in Fairbanks earning their undergraduate degrees. A geology enthusiast — a self-described “geo-freak,” to be precise — he was one of a handful of graduates who had shaken some fairly unique challenges to earn it. Kingsbury lives with Asperger syndrome, a developmental disorder in the autism spectrum. It’s a disorder that, for the few who experience it — there were roughly a dozen students at the University of Alaska Fairbanks last year who identified themselves as living with degrees of autism or Asperger — makes the college-level leap to independence that much broader of a jump.

Kingsbury’s interest in geology continued through his college search, leading him to Fairbanks. When he chose Alaska, he and his parents visited early to help make things more familiar for his first year. After his sophomore year, he “homesteaded” his dorm room, keeping the same one for the final four years of his five-year track. He visited the school’s disability-services office and learned to take steps to ensure professors knew of his disability and the possibility he’d need a bit of help — extra time on tests or some assignments — if the occasion arose.

Individuals on the autism spectrum who function highly enough to hold jobs or attend school often still receive great benefit from the use of daily structures and routines. They might be heavily reliant on the use of checklists and personal planners, said Betsy Kruth, a specialist at the Alaska Autism Resource Center. Even small inconsistencies in those structures can prove challenging; a canceled class, for example, might prove an anxiety-producing stimulus — through a shift in routine — for someone with autism while others simply enjoy the break, she said.

For Kingsbury, UAF, which is more than 1,000 miles from home in Oregon, provided a key challenge many of his classmates could relate to: the transition to independence. He said Fairbanks proved far enough from home to help “force” him to break some of his reliance on help with many tasks.

“If I would have gone to any college closer to home, I would be calling my parents more often and asking them to pick me up and take me home for the weekend,” he said. “With this location, that wasn’t possible. I had to adapt.”

Kingsley said he worked with the school’s disabilities office to help minimize the impacts of depression that accompanied the transition into school, and he continued studies through the high and low points, retaking a few classes when needed.

“This gentleman went from hanging his head and counting the minutes until his first break to actually, really, totally enjoying himself on campus and the relationships he made,” said Mary Matthews, who directs disability services at the university. Kingsbury avoided using a disability as a crutch and instead looked to meet challenges, she said. “He simply got the job done, and that’s why he will make an excellent employee.”

Some classes proved tougher than others — particularly second-semester calculus — because of difficult material or a professor whose teaching style didn’t suit his learning style. But he said teachers generally worked with him, extending extra time if needed.

The list of fun courses was topped by a summer field geology camp, which landed a handful of students in the eastern Talkeetna Mountains. The group spent weeks mapping folds in the rock patterns across 36 square kilometers and recording the observations on topographic maps, he said.

The work proved fascinating for a fan of rocks. Kingsbury said Alaska’s fault lines — which were knocking Interior Alaska on Monday evening with a series of small earthquakes — have sliced, diced and carved rock beds into complex patterns that prove difficult even for scientists to explain and understand.

“The geology of that region, as well as most other regions of Alaska, is basically like someone stuck a layered cake into a blender and hit the button,” he said.

Kingsbury said he hopes his interest in geology carries him into graduate school. He’d like to be an academic, to conduct research and maybe do some teaching. He said he’s seen figures that up to 7 in 10 individuals on the autism spectrum are either unemployed or only work part time.

“My goal is to get into that other 30 percent,” he said.

Ed Note: Cole attends KindTree’s Autism Retreat


Capturing the birth of a synapse

Published on 27 May 2009, 05:26 Insciences.org

University of Oregon-University of California, Davis, collaboration finds mechanism locking two neurons.

EUGENE, Ore. – (May 27, 2009) – Researchers have identified the locking mechanism that allows some neurons to form synapses to pass along essential information. Mutations of genes that produce a critical cell-adhesion molecule involved in the work were previously linked to autism.

The discovery – captured with fluorescent imaging of excitatory neurons harvested from rat pups shortly after birth and studied in culture as they continued to develop – is described in a paper placed online May 18 ahead of formal publication in the open-access journal Neural Development.

"We've caught two neuronal cells in the act of forming a synapse," said principle investigator Philip Washbourne, professor of biology at the University of Oregon. He describes the cell-adhesion neuroligin proteins on the membranes of receptor neurons as "molecular Velcro."

The research team of six UO and University of California, Davis, scientists found one of many finger-like filopodia, or spines, that reach out from one neuron is nabbed by neuroligin molecules on the membrane of another neuron. In turn, neuroligins recruit at least two other key proteins (PSD-95 and NMDA receptors) to begin building a scaffold to hold the synapse components in place. The moment of locking is captured in a video that will appear with the paper's final version at the journal's Web site.

Two neuroligin family members (3 and 4) have been linked to autism in the last decade.
"Chemical synapses are the primary means for transmitting information from one neuron to the next," said Washbourne, who is a member of the UO's Institute of Neuroscience. "Synapses are initially formed during development of the nervous system, and formation of appropriate synapses is crucial for establishing neuronal circuits that underlie behavior and cognition. Minor irregularities can lead to developmental disorders such as autism and mental retardation, and they may contribute to psychological disorders."


Receptors are needed for synapses to become functional. Neuroligin (red) on the surface of the cell is tethered to neurotransmitter receptors (mauve) that reside in intracellular vesicles. This enables both synaptic components to move together to a site of synapse formation. (Courtesy of Philip Washbourne)

The findings, he added, reflect a clearer understanding of how synapses form, providing a roadmap for research that someday may lead to new therapies or a cure for autism, a brain development disorder that affects a person's social and communication abilities. The disorder affects 1 in every 150 American children, according to the Autism Society of America.

The new window opened by Washbourne's team captures the essence of synapse development, which occurs over and over among the estimated 100 billion neurons that make some 100 trillion synapses in a single human being. That leaves a lot of room for errors in the DNA-driven instructions for synthesizing molecules responsible for synapse formation, Washbourne said.
"Basically," Washbourne said, "we have found mechanisms by which two very important molecules, NMDA and PSD-95, are brought to a newly forming synapse."

Co-authors on the paper with Washbourne were postdoctoral researches Stephanie L. Barrow and Eliana Clark at UC-Davis, A. Kimberley McAllister, a professor in the UC-Davis Center for Neuroscience, and John R.L. Constable, a postdoctoral researcher in Washbourne's UO lab. Constable is funded by a medical research fellowship provided by Oregon Health and Science University in Portland.

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (National Institutes of Health), the Florida-based non-profit Whitehall Foundation and New York-based Autism Speaks, the nation's largest autism science and advocacy organization, funded Washbourne's research. McAllister was funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts and National Eye Institute.


LESS TEARS & MORE ACTION!!!

Here is a new Bridgeway House sponsored Autism "Share Group" that is forming.  The emphasis is going to be not on emotional support like a traditional support group but rather on information sharing, continuing education, political action, and teaching self-advocacy. Call Sunshine Bodey 485-8545


Healed Stories Needed

Hello all,
I am also a parent of a child with Autism. http://acaseforaction.wordpress.com is a documentary film project I am working with. We are seeking families around the world who are following a biomedical approach to heal their children from Autism, or who have healed their child thus no longer have a Autism Diagnosis, who in turn would like to share their story.http://acaseforaction.wordpress.com/2009/05/01/do-you-have-a-child-recovering-or-recover-from-autism/ is the direct link to information for parents to get involved.
Andrea Clarke / andrea@florentinasong.org / 541-549-8294


Autism Treatment Acceleration Act Introduced in U.S. House

(from the ASA)
On May 14, the  Co-Chairs of the Coalition on Autism Research and Education, Rep. Mike Doyle (D-PA) and Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), along with Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) and Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) introduced the Autism Treatment Acceleration Act of 2009 (ATAA). This is a companion to the bill of the same name introduced in the Senate in April. The Autism Society applauds this comprehensive autism legislation focused around enhancing the quality of life for individuals on the autism spectrum and their families.

The Autism Society especially applauds the inclusion of support services for adults on the autism spectrum in this bill. Currently, the federal government provides for educational services until age 21; however, autism is a lifelong disorder, and when the school bus stops coming, individuals and families are often left to fend for themselves. ATAA creates a demonstration project to provide an array of services to adults with autism spectrum disorders, including: postsecondary education; vocational and self-advocacy skills; employment; residential services, supports and housing; nutrition, health and wellness; recreational and social activities; and transportation and personal safety.

The legislation also would provide for the establishment of a national network in order to strengthen linkages between research and service initiatives at the federal, regional, state and local levels, and facilitate the translation of research on autism into services and treatments that will improve the quality of life for individuals with autism and their families. A national data repository would be created to share emerging data, findings and treatment models.

Other key aspects of the bill include:
· the establishment of a national training initiative on autism and a technical assistance center to develop and expand interdisciplinary training and continuing education on autism spectrum disorders; and
· a requirement that health insurers cover the diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorders, including Applied Behavior Analysis therapy, assistive communication devices and other effective treatments.

The Autism Society needs your help in order to help pass this critical legislation. Please contact your U.S. Representative and ask him or her to co-sponsor the bill. We’ve composed an e-mail describing all the vital aspects of this bill but it will be especially effective if you add your own story describing how ATAA would help you and your family.

The time to act is now. Please support this important issue today, and urge your friends to take action as well. Together, we can improve the quality of live for individuals with autism across the lifespan.

 

Autism Rocks Notecards now at ELITE CAR BATH
8th and Chambers, Eugene
192 Q Street, Springfield


Events

June 18- SAFE, 228 Main, Springfield, An event in conjunction with PDS (peer delivered services) training sessions: Live music with the Upriver Boys­Country Rock. Doors open 6:00 PM, starts 7:00 PM.

June 19- SAFE, 228 Main, Springfield, Live Music show featuring Dale Bradley, Doc Justice and friends. It should be great.

June 20, Saturday, 4pm, program at 6pm Autism Artism 2009 GALA OPENING Celebration at the LCC Art Gallery, bldg 11
Guests Mayor Kitty Piercy,
Zambuko Marimba,
Eugene Disability Cheerleaders,
Meet the Artsts -
snacks and beverages - FREE
Most items for sale as framed original or prints, and as notecards and prints. The show is up until July 16.
Call 541 521 7208 for more info.

June 25,26-- SAFE, 228 Main, Springfield, The complete 'Star Wars' movie series shown on widescreen.

June 25-27 Oregon Disability MegaConference, Sheraton Portland Airport Hotel. To register visit, www.oregonmegaconference.org. For more information contact Angie Solis at angie.solis@arcoregon.org
or call (toll free) 1-877-581-2726 or in Salem 503-581-2726

July 3 - 5 Art & the Vineyard
Visit KindTree Productions', "Autism Rocks" booth to find new T-shirt colors as well as a bunch of great cards, prints and framed hangable art by people with autism. Lots of new stuff this year!

JULY 23rd and 24THTemple Grandin and Tony Atwood in Portland
For more information on registering for this conference please visit fhautism.com

August 6 - 7, Southeastern Washington Autism Conference, Michelle Garcia Winner, Ph.D., Dawn Prince-Hughes, Ph.D., Three Rivers Convention Center, 7016 W. Grandridge Blvd., Kennewick, WA. Spectrum Training Systems, Inc. (920) 749-0332 spectrumtrainingsystems@yahoo.com www.spectrumtrainingsystemsinc.com 

August 21-23 KindTree Autism Camp/Retreat
TOOOO FUN!!

October 4 Dr Tony Attwood presented by Nan Lester

Coming in October:Passion Flower Art Show featuring Stephen Peeler and Mary-Minn SiragMask Making Funraiser

Coming November 1st:KindTree Autism Forum - Moving Images from People with Autism and more...




Autism, health insurance, and unintended consequences
by expatyank Sat May 23, 2009 DailyKos.com

Today, many states have passed or are considering mandating coverage for autism by private insurers. In this diary I point out some possible unintended consequences of these bills, and suggest some helpful directions.

First, I should tell you a little about myself. I have an autistic son who is now a young adult. That means I remember the bad old days where a mid-size city like Portland, Oregon served fewer than 20 children in specialist classrooms, and only those with additional mental retardation were eligible. What was done in those classrooms was containment not education. For other children on te spectrum, there was nothing. It was parents from my generation who became activists to force school districts to recognise the numbers of children on the autism spectrum they needed to serve, and to push for effective and humane education.

We aren't there yet, as any parent who has fought the system knows.

Like everyone else, we also experienced our son being excluded from receiving speech therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and ongoing care by specialists because of autism. In fact, he could receive little routine medical care either, unless we could pay out of pocket, as autism has been an excluded condition on most insurance plans since forever. You'd be surprised at how many health problems, when the person who has them has an autism diagnosis, are suddenly attributed to the person's autism by insurers, despite the fact that none of them are part of the diagnostic criteria. Like most doctors, ours did their best to find ways to serve our son. He has dyspraxia as well, which WAS covered, and allowed him a grandiose six weeks of service from BCBS at one point. That's not enough. So I definitely support the removal of autism as an excluded condition. It's like mental health parity, an issue of basic fairness.

Fast forward to today. I now work in autism research. My main area is education, the only thing we know of that actually works to help all children with autism. And here's where those unintended consequences come in...

In the US, most of the medical therapies children with autism receive are delivered through the school system--speech, OT, PT. If insurance starts covering these, expect districts to start expecting parents to have insurance so they can bill it.

Second, most of the therapies our children receive through the education system do not meet the standard for evidence-based medicine. That's because they're not medicine--despite the use of sciencey talk about "trials" and words like "treatment," therapy," and "intervention." This includes ABA (Applied Behaviour Analysis), no matter what those who try to sell it have told you. We know this in education research (outside of those departments set up by behaviourists), although we also know it includes some useful techniques that any teacher or parent should know about and use. But the results reported by the few half-decent studies don't hold up under statistical scrutiny. I know this, because my team was just involved in doing a heavy-duty scrutiny of those results for a foreign government. That doesn't mean that Child A might not benefit, it just means we can't determine from the research whether Child A's experience is definitely because of ABA or something else, or whether it will apply to Children B through Z.

And here's the thing: Insurance companies live and die by evidence-based medicine. They just won't add unproven treatments to their coverage and leave them there for long, regardless of public clamour.

For years, I have been waiting for school systems to stand up and say the emperor has no clothes, but that's harder to do. Parents and school district employees know each other as people, and besides, ABA is a valid educational method, amongst many. For certain children, it may be the best one. I believe it will now be the insurance companies, or the big HMOs in response to rejected claims, that will do this. I know that Kaiser, for example, has been conducting internal investigations of autism "treatments" since the late 90s.

I won't mourn the demise of ABA as an industry, having seen too many families bankrupt themselves for little gain, and knowing too many adults with autism who speak movingly about the humiliation and harm they suffered by being forced to comply with an adult's seemingly nonsensical wishes for 40 hours per week in poorly designed programs run by half-trained half-wits. I'll be sorry to see the loss of the better aspects of the approach, and the benefits of well-designed and respectful programmes run by good staff, if the baby is thrown out with the bathwater.

And by the way, it's not just ABA. The research evidence for sensory integration therapy is even worse. The research on SLT, PT and OT techniques that are autism-specific is also not as robust as most people think. TEACCH, the set of educational methods and principles that is usually put forward as an alternative to ABA, has been very poorly researched as well, since the university department that created it has a sweet deal with the state where it's located that means it doesn't have to do such evaluations. In fact, the research into the only actual medical treatment--the drug rispederone, which got fast-track approval in the US as a "treatment" for challenging behaviour in people with autism a few years back--is even more distressingly bad. A tiny study group, no long-term studies, etc.

The solution is to start funding research into approaches that help people with autism who are alive today: education, speech and language therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and I think sensory work as well--the evidence works for me, because it comes from people with autism as well as parents and therapists. We need well-designed, long-term studies, based on current knowledge about people with autism (and the sub-groups that are slowly emerging), and as uncontaminated by financial interests as is possible.

We need to let go of our addiction to spending billions instead on genetic research that, while fascinating, adds nothing to my son's quality of life, and never will.

And we need to stop telling parents that their child is only worthwhile if he can be "cured" or made "indistinguishable from his peers." Because until we get there, the pressure will always be one to spend money chasing miracles instead of doing the hard graft required to individualise educational approaches that work for each individual child on the spectrum, and to provide the support and services required for children, adults and their families for life.


Why brain nutrition could empower our schools
By Jenson Hagen, blueoregon.com

Education reforms need to take into account the early moments of development to set kids on the right course from the start. Reform efforts should not ignore the need to help expecting mothers consume the foods and nutrients that will promote healthy brain development. It’s a matter of preventing this increase in autism, ADHD and depression. It’s also a matter of optimizing the human potential.

Of most importance, provide the guidance as part of the normal school curriculum—not as a whole class, but give it the attention it deserves. The brain makes use of large amounts of fatty acids, especially the omega-3’s. Those would be docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic (EPA) acid. Yes, I actually know these by heart . . . literally! Whereas palmitic acid found in high concentrations among animal products is neurodegenerative (nicht gut!), Omega-3’s form many of the compounds the brain needs to function and grow. It becomes essential to know these fatty acid chains just as well as the ABC’s. In fact, the best sources of fats are represented by the mnemonic FFOCN. That’s right! The FFOCN healthiest fats are in Fish, Flax, Olive Oil, Canola Oil and Nuts.

What about the herbs Gingko and Gotu Kola just to name a few? Perhaps you call this stuff alternative medicine. I like to call it evolutionary medicine since it fits within the product of 800 million years of mammalian evolution. Ensuring that every growing brain has what it needs should lessen the impact of the mental and behavioral problems plaguing our schools as well as create an overall better tabula rasa upon which to write new memories. It’s about optimizing human potential, and we must embody the notion that mental acuity and displayed behaviors are firmly rooted in neural processes.

Food for thought! We have one of the most powerful resources on nutrition right here in Oregon. NCNM is the oldest naturopath school in the country. Why not access the nutritional expertise at this school to make a DVD or a presentation using Microsoft Powerpoint® that could be available to all the students of Oregon? Let’s try something new this century using all the new knowledge we have about the human body and brain. Let’s teach the next generation of parents what items would support healthy brain activity so the next generation coming to Oregon’s schools will have a dynamic sponge



 

In This Issue: March 2009

Ready for Harvey? / Mary-Minn's Stim Page / Luncheon Reservations
ASO-LCC Respite Program / Art Show Submission Deadline
Alex C Way is a Winner
Bullying Still a Problem /New Film
Murder in Coos Bay / Franklin Michael at Work
Auction Donors So Far / Wanna go to Nepal?
Letters / Autism on the Rise
Community Calendar


Are You Ready for Harvey?

Greetings,

KindTree works because of the enthusiasm and dedication of our volunteers. Two such folks have just retired from KindTree’s board - Sarah Fields and Jeanne-Marie Moore. Both of these giving people have earned our heartfelt “thanks,” and have pledged to continue with us as volunteers, Sarah coordinating our computer exchange program, and Jeanne-Marie reaching out to folks in need of support. The world is better with them in it.

We are also very pleased to announce that Elizabeth King has been elected to join us on the board this year. Elizabeth is an active member of the autism community and a reliable supporter of our Art Program. She is an accomplished author and mom. Welcome aboard, Elizabeth.

KindTree’s Autism Forum, usually held in April or May, will be scheduled for November this year. We are looking for films made by people with autism to display. I know you are out there - give us a call. 541 521 7208.

Autism Artism 2009” is now on track, with our GALA Opening scheduled for June 20 at the LCC Art Gallery in Bldg 11. We had such a great time last year, and we sold over 20 pieces. 2009 should be even better. And this year our “From the Studio to the Gallery” program was fully funded by the Lane Arts Council and the REX Foundation. We were able to give a $50 grant to Leah DeMonia, $150 to Lexi Sias, $200 to D J Svoboda and $300 to Stephen Peeler. Congratulations, all! We’ll see items from all these artists in June. Stephen is also headlining a show with Mary-Minn at Passion Flower Gifts in October. More on that in our next issue.

For the rest of you artists, you still have a few days to submit your art - the deadline is April 15. Look at the info to the right and send your work in. We have already accepted a few new artists’ work and are looking forward to seeing some favorites return, as well. Our jury of art insiders will choose the best for the show. Put this event on your calendar and come celebrate artists with autism.

Registration is now open for the Camp / Retreat 2009, scheduled for August 21-23. The prices are the same as last year. We always fill up. Get registered early. Go here...

While you’re busy try to fit all these events in your schedule, don’t forget the most important one - that KindTree needs your financial support and your presence at “Lunch with Harvey”, our silent auction luncheon, Sunday April 26 at noon in the Vista Room at the Eugene Hilton.. We’ll have great food, great view, great fun, and Tim Chuey will be our guest MC. Come have fun with us, wear your clothes from the 40’s, and meet Harvey and Elwood P Dowd. They’ll be there. Autism Rocks.

Thanks for listening Tim Mueller


If You Could Say it in Words
is a great new film about an autistic protagonist Nelson and his experience with love. The film explores Nelson's Asperger's Syndrome without mentioning the diagnosis. The choice is intentional because many individuals with Asperger's remain undiagnosed. This is the first narrative feature film to explore Autism in such depth without hitting the audience over the head over and over again with the fact that it's about autism. Additionally, the film appeals to an audience greater than the autistic community because the questions it raises about love apply to autistics and neurotpyicals alike. See if you can find it.


KindTree's Alex C Way is a Winner

Alex C. Way is an extremely intelligent young man with both autistic gifts and challenges.

Alex has won several awards for his giftedness. First of all, he is a KindTree Autist - Artist, being featured in 3 juried art shows produced by KindTree Productions. He has won a placement into "Who's Who in Middle School" three consecutive years based on standardized test scores and extra curricular activities. He is an intermediate Suzuki violinist, as was the great scientist Albert Einstein, who came before him.

He has experienced both gifts and challenges in Traditional Tae Kwondo. He has taken placements in several tournaments in both sparring and Hyungs (patterns), including tying for first place in Hyungs this last Saturday, in a tournament in Oregon City.

One of his biggest gifts is programming. He has started a business, Way Cool Products, along with his family, in which he programs educational games to help support non-profits, while supporting his extracurricular activities and hobbies.

In taking the time to get to know Alex even more, one will discover that Alex is an extremely forgiving and non-judgmental person with wisdom beyond his years in human psychology. He is a great role model for both Autists and Neuro-normals alike.

Make a Donation Today

Autism Artism 2009
Submit Your Art

We are accepting creations in painting, drawing, poetry, sculpture, video, audio, fabric, woodwork, whatever, until April 15, 2009. Send a photo or scan of your art piece (300dpi preferred), or a copy of a video, audio or digital image, to Art@kindtree.org or KindTree, 2096 1/2 Arthur St, Eugene, OR 97405.
2. Include a short artist statement or biography and
3. Your contact information and
4. The medium and dimensions of the piece.
5. Submitting a piece gives permission for KindTree to market the piece and its reprints for this gallery show, online and in other venues.
6. If chosen, KindTree will mat and frame the piece for professional presentation, and return it to you or continue to market it after the show, at your discretion.
7. Call 541 521 7208 with questions.


Lunch with Harvey
Sunday April 26 noon - 3:30PM
Hilton Vista Room 12
Eugene Downtown

Guest MC Tim Chuey

Mudzidzi Mbira - Surprise Guest
Italian Buffet - Wine - Magic
Auction Items from
Craftsmen, Restauranteers,
Retailers and friends

Too FUN!!
$20 each, $10 under 16
$12 people with autism


ASO Respite Program:
Take a Break on ASO

ASO-LCC will help pay respite care expenses while you
Take a Break.
Read more here...



   

Mary-Minn's Stim Page

(Here are personal stories about autism. If you would like to see your musings on this page, please email Mary-Minn at sirag@mindspring.com.)

Blissed out with no place to go

When I was three, I was sent to live with my grandparents on their farm in Iowa, as my parents didn’t have the resources to care for a nonverbal and behavioral autistic child, in addition to three other children. My grandmother couldn’t leave me with a babysitter so she took me with her wherever she went—to visit her friends and in-laws, play Royal Rummy, catch up on gossip and Iowa weather talk.

I kept myself fully occupied exploring the intimate bowels of her friends’ purses, where lipstick and perfume scents mingled with face powder, handkerchiefs and battered half-tubes of Life Saver Pep-O-Mints. I asked them to lend me their diamond rings, and become entranced by the coruscations of prismic light. If I got caught doing any of these things, my grandmother grounded me, a good incentive to be more restrained in my curiosity and fondness of scent. I loved going visiting, although my role as a small child was to sit quietly–and space out into my world of heightened senses that blended into what were to become my favorite memories.

 

 

“We charged around inside the pitching ship, holding onto the railing of the stairs, leaping into the air as the waves buffeting the ship crested and landing nimbly as the ship plunged into the depths, the movement soft, gentle and yielding”

My earliest memories are not so much of people but rather of white lace curtains against white overcast and snow, ice crystals twinkling from the turquoise-ultramarine infinity of sky, spring pansies brought home from Sunday school juxtaposed against a backdrop of the deepest purple of approaching storm, the happy duet of firefly Morse code and my first bowl of blackberry ice cream on my grandparents’ picnic table at night, and Vanishing Cream–a boudoir baby-pink foray into the invisible!

I loved storms, above all, and the Iowa ones were among the best and the brightest. The muggy heat buzzed and the sky vibrated at inaudible frequencies I could only feel. As I got older, my terror of climbing stairs evolved into an equally intense fascination with heights that has never since left me. My two neighbor friends and I would climb the hay escalator into the hay mow in the barn, where we feasted on Tootsie Rolls, marshmallow circus peanuts, Cheetos and cherry Kool Aid, and shared dark secrets as we monitored the approaching storm. The grownups describe the west sky as black, but I knew that it was a brilliant-deep Prussian purple.

The leaves before a storm turned inside out, exposing the subtler inner side where the veins protrude. Gusts combed the corn like invisible hands brushing corduroy ever so gently. The lightning pranced and, as the storm approached, cracked open the sky. The thunder purred periwinkle chords of gentle softitude from the distance and sharpened as it approached. We climbed down to terra firma when the ozone quickened the air, followed by giant splashy drops. I jumped up and down as sound, color, light and smell blended into cresting ecstasies outside of time, space and personal safety.

When I was 7, I moved to Lebanon to live with my parents and siblings. We crossed the Atlantic and the Mediterranean on a small Dutch freighter while being chased by a hurricane. Furniture was bolted to the floor and the tablecloths were wetted so as to prevent the food and table settings from flying off into the air. The waves and wind ripped apart the ladder up to the bridge of the ship. For about a week, we were forbidden to go outside. We charged around inside the pitching ship, holding onto the railing of the stairs, leaping into the air as the waves buffeting the ship crested and landing nimbly as the ship plunged into the depths, the movement soft, gentle and yielding. The rocking at night calmed and soothed me; after we disembarked at the port of Beirut, I savored my dwindling sea legs, ever more nostalgic for the comforting movement.
I don’t remember whether I discovered the comfort of rocking during this trip across the Atlantic, which was to be a high point in my life, or whether I had discovered it before our transatlantic voyage.

My grandparents listened to very little music but, knowing that I loved to sing, had bought me a small red and white plastic record player and a 45 rpm record, “The Lollipop Tree” by Hoagy Carmichael, to which I rocked myself into an oceanic oblivion of Kelly green and cobalt-yellow scintillations. My rocking shook the cares of the world out of my body tight from the day’s tensions and cares. They discharged toxic build-up that led to freakouts.

Our house was built of heavy hand-hewn limestone, inside walls of whitewash, high ceilings, floors of loosened smooth ceramic tiles that chimed different notes as I sneaked across them in the night to go to the bathroom. My father listened to classical music from the time he came home from teaching to the time he went to bed. The acoustics in that house were grand. My father had rigged up from metal cookie boxes a sound system that broadcast music brilliantly through the large house: Vivaldi’s Four Seasons (the tawny yellow-orange of late afternoon sun on limestone), Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos (royal-sky blue of encroaching night), Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik (cherry-pie red), Albinoni’s Adagio (the dark blue of mid-Atlantic waves), Corelli’s Christmas Concerto (august lacquer red). His choice of pieces, which he had recorded onto reel-to-reel tapes, evolved over time through different musical periods. I played the music in my head as my father drove us to school, teasing apart key changes and chord progressions, though I knew absolutely nothing about music and could play nothing beyond the harmonica. Over time, I was graced with melodic visitations that fit themselves conveniently into whatever span of quiet solitude opened up for me. I rocked myself against the back seat as I hummed these personal symphonies to myself.

At home, I rocked in bed for hours on end, becoming more and more blissed out and liberated from my daily grind of embarrassment, frustration and bewilderment. Whenever I had a bad day or, even worse, a freakout, I salved it by rocking on my bed, my right arm over my mouth and nose, partaking of the golden-brown scent of the crook right under my elbow, which provided a portable comfort zone.

In fourth grade, I played the role of Josephine in a medley we sang from The H.M.S. Pinafore. Throughout elementary school, I was given leading roles because I was fearless on stage and an inveterate show off. I had a favorite few stanzas of a long aria that I played over and over again from an album that I got for Christmas. In this particular song (which was not in our medley), Josephine, the supposed captain’s daughter, is bemoaning her sad fate (See Page 4) of being in love with a lowly sailor and facing a less privileged lifestyle than the one she had grown up in. My heart would sink in anticipation of the passage when the soprano Elsie Morrison’s voice changes from bright and luxuriant to dark and claustrophobic: “…On the one hand, papa’s luxurious home/Hung with ancestral armor and old brasses/Carved oak and tapestry from distant Rome/Rare “blue and white” Venetian finger glasses/Rich oriental rugs, luxurious sofa pillows/And everything that isn’t old, from Gillow’s/And on the other, a dark and dingy room/In some back street with stuffy children crying/Where organs yell and clacking housewives fume/And clothes are hanging out all day a-drying/With one cracked looking-glass to see your face in/And dinner served up in a pudding basin!…” On the last word, her voice choked up in a suppressed sob of unspeakable desolation. I also regaled myself with this passage during the climax of storms, which were especially dramatic on the mountain where we lived.

The following year, I discovered the Beatles and, when they broke up, other groups, and serious classical music. My favorite pieces and songs have always been earnest and serious because these had more emotional depth and provide better escape for me than light tongue-in-cheek fare. I reserve my sense of humor for everything but music.

My addiction to rocking made college dorm life difficult. My roommates would barge into the room with their boyfriends, and I’d be caught rocking to a song that had a particularly poignant key progression, spaced out and embarrassed. (Finally, in my junior year, I was assigned to what I called a “psychiatric double-single”.)

At the edge of the college campus was a small bridge under which a freight train would pass at a little past noon. The hairs on my entire body would stand up straight and my body would thrill to the richness of sound coming at me. Sometimes, but not often, I could survive the blast of overtones without plugging my ears. Regardless, the climax was almost unbearably-deliciously intense.

About ten years ago, neck pain and motion sickness forced me to give up the emotional and energetic release of rocking. At the same time, as I had burned through more music, it became more difficult for me to find music to fall head over heels in love with. My taste has become more jaded despite my best efforts to practice moderation and conserve my musical balm. I am on the constant prowl for new genres.

This withdrawal has been a mixed blessing and curse for me. On the one hand, rocking used to provide a release that helped to keep freakouts at bay. On the other hand, it was an insatiable addiction. The more I rocked, the hungrier I got for the oblivion it afforded me and the more time I spent doing it instead of attending to more practical endeavors.

I think that my freakouts and meltdowns have become more frequent and intense as my escape of rocking to music has become more elusive. I am finding myself compelled to seek out and create more neuronormal ways to tame my freakouts. Maybe this urgent need for a replacement stim will get me to paint and draw more. This is a prospect that pleases.

Read more of Mary-Minn's Stim Pages HERE


Advocates Say Bullying Still A Problem Despite 2001 Law

BY CHRIS LEHMAN Salem, OR March 9, 2009 6:19 p.m. Opb.org

In 2001, Oregon lawmakers passed a bill aimed at cracking down on schoolyard bullying. The measure was an effort to make schools safer places after a rash of school shootings across the country, including one in Springfield. But those who pushed for the bill say it hasn’t worked.

Bullying remains a problem in Oregon schools. Now, lawmakers are again considering what to do about bullying. A new bill would require school districts to more aggressively deal with it. The measure got its first hearing in front of a legislative committee Monday. Salem correspondent Chris Lehman reports.

Meet Thomas. He’s like a lot of 11-year-old boys. He has a pretty good sense of what he wants to do when he grows up.

Thomas: “I wanna do something high-tech, like maybe game-tester.”

Thomas is not his real name. His mother doesn’t want his real name used because she fears for her son’s safety. Thomas is a fifth-grader in Lebanon, Oregon.

He has Asperger’s Syndrome, which is a form of autism. Thomas has trouble expressing himself. Sometimes he has a speech impediment. And he’s just a little different.

A few of his classmates don’t understand why. One boy in particular has been extra tough on him.

Thomas: “He keeps on calling me ‘retard, stupid.’ And it kinds of makes me feel bad about myself, like I’m not good enough. It makes me feel that I don’t even want to live anymore.”

The bully makes Thomas so angry he wants to lash out.

Thomas: “I feel like I actually want to, wham, you know. He is just so mean.”

Thomas’ mother, Deborah, says she’s talked with school officials about the harassment. But she says the situation still isn’t resolved.


Oregon teen with severe autism accused of murder
AP from www.kgw.com Saturday, March 14, 2009
(Comments from readers follow the article)

COOS BAY, Ore. (AP) -- A Coos County teenager who once attacked an instructor and is described as severely autistic and unable to speak has been charged with murder in the death of a 59-year-old woman who lived with his father.

The suspect was identified as Henry Cozad, 18, who lived in the Bunker Hill neighborhood of Coos Bay with his father, Fred, and Linda Foley.

Authorities wouldn't say how Foley died on Thursday, except to label it "homicidal violence" and say details would await an autopsy.

District Attorney R. Paul Frasier told The World of Coos Bay that he couldn't prosecute the youth for an attack last year on special education instructor Tim Waits, but he would press a murder case against him in Foley's death. He said, though, that the severity of Cozad's disability would play a role.

"There's a problem with prosecuting people with extreme mental issues because under the law you have to be competent to proceed. ... That basically means you need to be aware of the charges against you, and you have to be able to assist in your defense," Frasier said.
Waits told the newspaper on Friday that when he learned Cozad had been arrested, he felt guilty he hadn't done more.

"I was afraid something like this would happen," he said. "I had a feeling he was going to kill someone."

In February 2008, Waits said, the two were in a house on the Marshfield High School campus used for life skills training when Cozad attacked.

The boy put him in a headlock and shoved him against walls, Waits said. The attack damaged his spinal cord.

"In my personal opinion this student, had he grabbed anyone else, he most likely would have killed them," he wrote in an April victim's impact statement.

He asked that Cozad be placed in a group home.

Waits said Cozad had hurt other employees over the years. The director of the South Coast Education Service District life skills program, Tenneal Wetherell, could not verify that. She said Cozad has had a long-term struggle with social behavior.

After a suspension, Cozad returned to school, under the supervision of two adult specialists, Wetherell said.

He most recently was enrolled in the adult transition program, although Cozad hadn't attended weekly classes in about a month. He was kept away from other students, she said.

District Superintendent George Woodruff said it is a challenge to help students such as Cozad.
"When you have someone who is nonverbal, how do you communicate with them? How do we respond to people with such needs?" he asked. "It's a challenge for the whole community."

Following are reactions to this story from www.kgw.com:

I worked in an alternative classroom with many autistic young adults who had severe behaviors for 6 years. The reason they are in school is that we have laws for the disabled. By and large, this is a wonderful advancement over how this population was treated before the Americans With Disabilities Act was implemented. A mental retardation orautism diagnosis, as I understand it, takes precedence over a mental- illness diagnosis, however. And how can mental illness be properly diagnosed in someone with a severe communication disorder? Some people are both mentally handicapped and mentally ill, and many of these students have a history of extreme abuse because their behaviors are so very frustrating and people in their early lives are ill-equipped to deal with them. It's very sad.

i think people in that condition have no right to be in the public or attend public schools.

I feel for the family of the victim. It sounds like this young man will have to be institutionalized for the rest of his life

i have know this boy since birth and if you knew the back ground you would totally understand and surprised it hasn't happen sooner. It sucks because had the poor guys home life been even in the slightest bit better it never would have happened. poor Henry

Autistic persons are not freaks. I can understand the anguish of this person's former instructor. As a retired instructor of severely autistic multiply handicapped adolescents, I have observed the magic of finding the combination of giving the young person a way to communicate with simple signs, an alphabet board, picture menus, etc. and appropriate medications to lessen the aggressive tendencies. How would the young person learn how to behave around others and express his needs if he is isolated?

It never ceases to amaze me how easily our judicial and governmental systems fail to protect us. I am a Mother of a child with Autism, he is NOT violent at all. I can only imagine the pain of everyone involved and the fear in this young mans mind that he is unable to speak of. Autism comes in many shapes and sizes, please remember when passing judgement, this is a real event effecting real people. Not only today but in future court proceeding this may set a precedence. God speed all decision makers in this process and let them make just and fair decisions for all parties involved.

So, after this severely autistic non-verbal kid injured his instructor's spinal cord, he was sent back to school with two "adult specialists" and kept separate from other students? I'm sorry, but why the hell were we bothering? I'm not saying every person with autism needs to be locked away. My nephew is autistic and is enrolled in a similar program. He and his fellow students are doing great and learning about money, how to work in a supermarket stocking shelves, etc. If this kid requires two "specialists" just to attend class where no other students are present, how do we expect him to get along in society?
I have had the opportunity to have known several folks who have had children with Autism. In each case, when the children have reached an age of about 20 they have moved into a group home for similar adults.First example: A boy who became increasingly agitated at home, flourished in the new environment. The behaviors subsided, he makes regular visits, "home." His older brother, also autistic, made this same move a few years later. The stresses on his parents subsided substantially and they are much happier.Second example: A girl, higher functioning than the first boy. She also just had issues becoming increasingly agitated. Her parents, who thought they could handle things for life, were backed into a corner, so to speak. They really hated to let someone else take responsibility for her. She comes to visit, sometimes spends the night at home, and then back to the group home. The stress level on her parents was great before, now they are relaxed and ready to deal with her when she visits.This is not the solution for all kids in this situation, just my observation of these two families. The group home decision wasn't their first choice but it has made everyone happier in these homes.

You can't "Mainstream" everyone. With all due respect to "Cuckoo's Nest" and "Rain Man"...some people NEED to be in an institution.


KindTree Board Member Franklin Michael at Work

Here is a photograph of KT board member Franklin Michael that appeared on the cover of the Spring issue of Eugene's Park and Recreation guide and schedule. Franklin has been working with people with developmental disabilities for many years as a helper and caregiver in addition to being the main Fire Keeper and more at KindTree's Autism Retreat.

Franklin is a fascinating man with some amazing tales to tell - tales of the Sea, of Alaska, and of being the parent of a teenager. Listen up...


Wanna Go To Nepal?

Knowledge for People is a new non-profit whose focus is on providing autism education to families and teachers in developing countries where there are little to no resources for children who have autism (our mission statement here).  

Our first project is going to be in Nepal from July 12-26, 2009.  We are looking for volunteers to join our Nepal team who are trained to work with kids who have autism. We will be working with parents and teachers to provide basic autism education and also to provide behavioral strategies, address sensory integration issues, etc. for specific children. We will be giving presentations, conducting individual case studies, and possibly doing a radio/TV broadcast.

To give you some background on the Nepal project...I've been communicating with a family in Katmandu who have a child with autism and there were zero resources there for them.  They were so frustrated that in April 2008 they started their own center.  They have since found at least a dozen families with kids who appear to have autism, but they don't have the manpower to help these families.

They also need help educating teachers (there are no schools that have programs for kids with autism in Nepal).

We are a very new organization and funding is very limited, so we are asking volunteers to pay their own way.

From Portland, the airfare is approximately $1800 and it's about $10-15 per day to pay for lodging, food, drinks, etc.  
If you aren't able to be part of our Nepal team, we really appreciate donations to support our program.  

Donations can be made at www.knowledgeforpeople.org.  If you have any questions or if you are interested in participating in our Nepal project, please email me at nikki@knowledgeforpeople.org. Thanks!
Nikki Scarbrough


Letters -

Dear Tim,  
This is DJ speaking. I just wanted to thank you again for the awesome grant. I cant wait to receive it so I can use it to continue to help those with autism through my art. Thanks again. I will be sending art for the new art show very soon. Have a great blessed day.
D J Svoboda

Tim.
This family is great.  They have two children with autism that have a lot of needs that are in a life skills classroom at Riverbend Elementary School in Springfield. The kids grandma just passed away from unknown origin, but she was very involved in the kids life and helped out in many ways.
As you know the economy is bad right now and there are many layoffs happening. It would be a blessing if we could somehow reach out to this family in a time of need and let them know that we as a community care for each other. The husband is currently laid off from Monaco so it is hard times as we all know but especially hard in these circumstances.
Here is their info:
Crystal and Todd Bishop
485 N. 55th Street
Springfield, Oregon 97478
Thanks so much tim... hope u are doing well
Meyana Dummer

 

 

Autism Rocks Notecards now at ELITE CAR BATH
8th and Chambers, Eugene
192 Q Street, Springfield


Events

March 19 DD Awareness Month Ceremony 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM Barbara Roberts Human Services Building, main lobby 500 Summer St. NE, Salem
March 19 - 20 The 2009 Autism Summit Current Research and Treatment Strategies phone: (360) 379-6994 www.rehabseminars.org Embassy Suites Hotel- Lynnwood Greater Seattle Area
March 23 - 24 Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) Basic Training Embassy Suites Portland - Downtown 319 SW Pine Street Portland, chorton@pecs.com or phone (302) 355-5979
March 25-26 Career Planning, Career Assessments, Workplace Support, Social Communication in the Workplace, Implementing the Career Plan Holiday Inn Portland Airport http://www.spectrumtrainingsystemsinc.
com/portland.html
March 30 ADHD: Living without Brakes Martin Kutscher, M.D.March 31 Mental Illness in Children Christopher Okiishi, M.D. Holiday Inn Portland Airport (503) 256-5000
April 15 Call to Artists Deadline for “Autism Artism 2009”
April 8 Raun K. Kaufman Autism Treatment Center of America™ , LCC, Bldg 19, rm 202, 7PM All about the Son-Rise Program®
April 10 6:00-8:00 p.m. Bounce for Autism to be held at the Pump It Up in Wilsonville, Oregon, To form a fun and bouncy team visit www.bounceforautism.org or just show up!
April 18 All Born In ConferenceThe fourth annual cross-disability inclusion conference 8:30—5:30 Ambridge Event Center 1333 NE MLK Blvd. Portland
April 19 Autism Walk-a-thon, Sunday, Oaks Park, SE Portland. The largest autism event during Autism Awareness Month, will be here for the 7th annual Autism Walk-a-thon. Join us, along with fun entertainment from the Sellwood Marching Band, BJ the Clown, Radio Disney, more.
April 25 Saturday The 3rd Autism Ball will be held on , at the Melody Ballroom at 6:00 p.m. We will have a silent auction, dinner, dancing. Tickets are $100/person.
April 25 Sponsored by ARRO, Sean’s Run From Autism, to be held at Oaks Park
April 26 “Lunch with Harvey” KindTree silent auction fundraiser. 12-3:30, Eugene Hilton. See back page for more details.
May 2 Cinco de Mayo Autism Fundraiser for Bridgeway House bridgewayhouse.org
June 20 “Autism Artism 2009” Gala Opening LCC Art Gallery
June 25—27 The 2009 Oregon Disability MegaConference Sheraton Portland Airport Hotel
July 4-6 Art & the Vineyard featuring the Autism Rocks Traveling Art Show, Alton Baker Park.
August 21-23 KindTree Autism Camp/Retreat
October 4 Dr Tony Attwood presented by Nan Lester


More students struggle with autism
Rise has led to calls for a state panel to coordinate services, offer information
By Mackenzie Ryan • Statesman Journal • March 12, 2009

One-third more children in Oregon have autism this year than three years ago — far outpacing the increase of students with other disabilities, according to data released Wednesday by the Oregon Department of Education.

There are 7,579 students as old as 21 who meet the educational requirements for autism and are receiving special-education services this school year. Autism among children has grown between 7 percent and 13 percent each year for the past few years.

Most Mid-Valley school districts also are seeing similar increases in autism — in some cases outpacing the state.

Salem-Keizer School District has nearly 40 percent more students with autism this school year than three years ago. Willamette Education Service District, which serves special-education students in Marion, Polk and Yamhill counties, served 60 percent more students with autism in 2008 than in 2004.

"It's probably one of our fastest-growing groups," said Ruth Gelbrich, the director of student services for Salem-Keizer. "Nationally, it's on the rise."

The rise of autism — which educators say is, in part, due to better diagnosing — has prompted calls to create a state commission on autism.

In the Oregon Legislature, House Bill 3001 would create a commission that would be charged with coordinating services for people with autism and providing accurate information about the spectrum disorder. On Tuesday, the bill was referred to the House human-services committee with subsequent referrals to Ways and Means.

"We don't know the cause of autism," said Nancy Latini, the state assistant superintendent of student learning and partnerships. "You can ask five different people, and they'll each have five different reasons."

Nearly 2,000 more children are receiving educational services for autism this school year than in 2005-06, according to state data. Autism makes up about 9 percent of all students as old as 21 with disabilities in Oregon.

The rise in autism far outpaces the overall increase of other disabilities among students as old as 21. This school year, nearly 82,000 children have a disability in Oregon, up nearly 3 percent from three years before.

"It's challenging because it's such a wide range … we can have children who have very low abilities to those who are extremely bright and intelligent, but still have the characteristics of autism that need to be addressed," Latini said.

"They're our children, our students, so we accommodate where we need to," said Linda Warberg, the director of special services for Gervais School District.

maryan@StatesmanJournal.com or (503) 399-6750

More story here


THANK YOU Silent Auction Donors so far...

Tatoo Parlor
Bright Oak Meats
Puttin on the Ritz
Suds em Yourself
Nancy Bright Creations
Vintage Restaurant
Willamette Bar & Grill
Dinner w/Mayor Piercy
Museum of Unfine Art
Jim the Shoe Doctor
Green Store
Actors Cabaret
the UPS Store
Bambini
Costco
Full City Coffee
CD Games Exchange
Options Through Movement
The Mill Casino
Jeff Strong - REI Institute
Portland Oregon Zoo
ElegantDuck.com
The Eugene Suzuki Music Academy
Silvan Ridge - Hinman Vineyards
Harlequin Beads
McMenamins
Rachael Blanchard
Eliel Fionn
Maya Froebig
Synchronicity Arts
Michell M Crisanti
Angelita Rae
Congressman Peter DeFazio

Swahili Imports
PF Chang's China Bistro
Kim's Hair Salon
Junction City Dairy Queen
Gary Cornelius
Nel Applegate
Jeanne-Marie Moore, LCSW, InSight Works
The Mac Store
The Yachats Inn
Mary Ann & Niles Hanson
Domino's Pizza
John G Shedd Institute for the Arts
Wildlife Safari
Michelle Saxton
Fisherman's Market
House of Records
William Sullivan author
Elizabeth King author
Rainbow Valley Design & Construction
In Shape Fitness Club
Willamalane / Splash
Real Mex Restaurants
Sybil Mooney "Tea for Two"
Jubalicious Creations
Fair Trade on Main
The Eugene Hilton
The Kiva
Justco Cards and Gifts
Bree Crane
LeeAnn Myers
Evergreen Nutrition
Best Martial Arts
Brushfire Pottery

THANK YOU!!!!!

Un Solo Pueblo
Art of Glass
Roger Evers artist
Way Cool Products
Foxy Dog
Fed Ex Office
Michelle Reid - Creative Memories Consultant
St Vincent DePaul - Aurora Glass
Laughing Planet
Bailey's Traditional Tae Kwondo
Tango Center
Davis Restaurant
Poppiis Anatolia Restaurant
Mary-Minn Sirag
Sixth Street Grill
Morning Glory Cafe
Sweet Life
A Beautiful Day Massage
Rick Strom Chiropractor
the Green Store
Burch's Shoes
Sissy's Hidden Closet
Hunky Dory
Nature AND Nurture Photography
GreyWolf Projects
Passion Flower Gifts
Sheila Tasker
Oregon Cedar Werx
The Wild Iris
Angus Macaulay Designs
Donna Louise Stevens, an Open Focus Practitioner
Samantha Kaswell
Christina Dascher

 



 

In This Issue:

Ready for Harvey? / Mary-Minn's Stim Page / Luncheon Reservations
ASO-LCC Respite Program / Art Show Submission Deadline
Alex C Way is a Winner
Bullying Still a Problem /New Film
Murder in Coos Bay / Franklin Michael at Work
Auction Donors So Far / Wanna go to Nepal?
Letters / Autism on the Rise
Community Calendar


Are You Ready for Harvey?

Greetings,

KindTree works because of the enthusiasm and dedication of our volunteers. Two such folks have just retired from KindTree’s board - Sarah Fields and Jeanne-Marie Moore. Both of these giving people have earned our heartfelt “thanks,” and have pledged to continue with us as volunteers, Sarah coordinating our computer exchange program, and Jeanne-Marie reaching out to folks in need of support. The world is better with them in it.

We are also very pleased to announce that Elizabeth King has been elected to join us on the board this year. Elizabeth is an active member of the autism community and a reliable supporter of our Art Program. She is an accomplished author and mom. Welcome aboard, Elizabeth.

KindTree’s Autism Forum, usually held in April or May, will be scheduled for November this year. We are looking for films made by people with autism to display. I know you are out there - give us a call. 541 521 7208.

Autism Artism 2009” is now on track, with our GALA Opening scheduled for June 20 at the LCC Art Gallery in Bldg 11. We had such a great time last year, and we sold over 20 pieces. 2009 should be even better. And this year our “From the Studio to the Gallery” program was fully funded by the Lane Arts Council and the REX Foundation. We were able to give a $50 grant to Leah DeMonia, $150 to Lexi Sias, $200 to D J Svoboda and $300 to Stephen Peeler. Congratulations, all! We’ll see items from all these artists in June. Stephen is also headlining a show with Mary-Minn at Passion Flower Gifts in October. More on that in our next issue.

For the rest of you artists, you still have a few days to submit your art - the deadline is April 15. Look at the info to the right and send your work in. We have already accepted a few new artists’ work and are looking forward to seeing some favorites return, as well. Our jury of art insiders will choose the best for the show. Put this event on your calendar and come celebrate artists with autism.

Registration is now open for the Camp / Retreat 2009, scheduled for August 21-23. The prices are the same as last year. We always fill up. Get registered early. Go here...

While you’re busy try to fit all these events in your schedule, don’t forget the most important one - that KindTree needs your financial support and your presence at “Lunch with Harvey”, our silent auction luncheon, Sunday April 26 at noon in the Vista Room at the Eugene Hilton.. We’ll have great food, great view, great fun, and Tim Chuey will be our guest MC. Come have fun with us, wear your clothes from the 40’s, and meet Harvey and Elwood P Dowd. They’ll be there. Autism Rocks.

Thanks for listening Tim Mueller


If You Could Say it in Words
is a great new film about an autistic protagonist Nelson and his experience with love. The film explores Nelson's Asperger's Syndrome without mentioning the diagnosis. The choice is intentional because many individuals with Asperger's remain undiagnosed. This is the first narrative feature film to explore Autism in such depth without hitting the audience over the head over and over again with the fact that it's about autism. Additionally, the film appeals to an audience greater than the autistic community because the questions it raises about love apply to autistics and neurotpyicals alike. See if you can find it.


KindTree's Alex C Way is a Winner

Alex C. Way is an extremely intelligent young man with both autistic gifts and challenges.

Alex has won several awards for his giftedness. First of all, he is a KindTree Autist - Artist, being featured in 3 juried art shows produced by KindTree Productions. He has won a placement into "Who's Who in Middle School" three consecutive years based on standardized test scores and extra curricular activities. He is an intermediate Suzuki violinist, as was the great scientist Albert Einstein, who came before him.

He has experienced both gifts and challenges in Traditional Tae Kwondo. He has taken placements in several tournaments in both sparring and Hyungs (patterns), including tying for first place in Hyungs this last Saturday, in a tournament in Oregon City.

One of his biggest gifts is programming. He has started a business, Way Cool Products, along with his family, in which he programs educational games to help support non-profits, while supporting his extracurricular activities and hobbies.

In taking the time to get to know Alex even more, one will discover that Alex is an extremely forgiving and non-judgmental person with wisdom beyond his years in human psychology. He is a great role model for both Autists and Neuro-normals alike.

Make a Donation Today

Autism Artism 2009
Submit Your Art

We are accepting creations in painting, drawing, poetry, sculpture, video, audio, fabric, woodwork, whatever, until April 15, 2009. Send a photo or scan of your art piece (300dpi preferred), or a copy of a video, audio or digital image, to Art@kindtree.org or KindTree, 2096 1/2 Arthur St, Eugene, OR 97405.
2. Include a short artist statement or biography and
3. Your contact information and
4. The medium and dimensions of the piece.
5. Submitting a piece gives permission for KindTree to market the piece and its reprints for this gallery show, online and in other venues.
6. If chosen, KindTree will mat and frame the piece for professional presentation, and return it to you or continue to market it after the show, at your discretion.
7. Call 541 521 7208 with questions.



Lunch with Harvey
Sunday April 26 noon - 3:30PM
Hilton Vista Room 12
Eugene Downtown

Guest MC Tim Chuey

Mudzidzi Mbira - Surprise Guest
Italian Buffet - Wine - Magic
Auction Items from
Craftsmen, Restauranteers,
Retailers and friends

Too FUN!!
$20 each, $10 under 16
$12 people with autism


ASO Respite Program:
Take a Break on ASO

ASO-LCC will help pay respite care expenses while you
Take a Break.
Read more here...



   

Mary-Minn's Stim Page

(Here are personal stories about autism. If you would like to see your musings on this page, please email Mary-Minn at sirag@mindspring.com.)

Blissed out with no place to go

When I was three, I was sent to live with my grandparents on their farm in Iowa, as my parents didn’t have the resources to care for a nonverbal and behavioral autistic child, in addition to three other children. My grandmother couldn’t leave me with a babysitter so she took me with her wherever she went—to visit her friends and in-laws, play Royal Rummy, catch up on gossip and Iowa weather talk.

I kept myself fully occupied exploring the intimate bowels of her friends’ purses, where lipstick and perfume scents mingled with face powder, handkerchiefs and battered half-tubes of Life Saver Pep-O-Mints. I asked them to lend me their diamond rings, and become entranced by the coruscations of prismic light. If I got caught doing any of these things, my grandmother grounded me, a good incentive to be more restrained in my curiosity and fondness of scent. I loved going visiting, although my role as a small child was to sit quietly–and space out into my world of heightened senses that blended into what were to become my favorite memories.

 

 

“We charged around inside the pitching ship, holding onto the railing of the stairs, leaping into the air as the waves buffeting the ship crested and landing nimbly as the ship plunged into the depths, the movement soft, gentle and yielding”

My earliest memories are not so much of people but rather of white lace curtains against white overcast and snow, ice crystals twinkling from the turquoise-ultramarine infinity of sky, spring pansies brought home from Sunday school juxtaposed against a backdrop of the deepest purple of approaching storm, the happy duet of firefly Morse code and my first bowl of blackberry ice cream on my grandparents’ picnic table at night, and Vanishing Cream–a boudoir baby-pink foray into the invisible!

I loved storms, above all, and the Iowa ones were among the best and the brightest. The muggy heat buzzed and the sky vibrated at inaudible frequencies I could only feel. As I got older, my terror of climbing stairs evolved into an equally intense fascination with heights that has never since left me. My two neighbor friends and I would climb the hay escalator into the hay mow in the barn, where we feasted on Tootsie Rolls, marshmallow circus peanuts, Cheetos and cherry Kool Aid, and shared dark secrets as we monitored the approaching storm. The grownups describe the west sky as black, but I knew that it was a brilliant-deep Prussian purple.

The leaves before a storm turned inside out, exposing the subtler inner side where the veins protrude. Gusts combed the corn like invisible hands brushing corduroy ever so gently. The lightning pranced and, as the storm approached, cracked open the sky. The thunder purred periwinkle chords of gentle softitude from the distance and sharpened as it approached. We climbed down to terra firma when the ozone quickened the air, followed by giant splashy drops. I jumped up and down as sound, color, light and smell blended into cresting ecstasies outside of time, space and personal safety.

When I was 7, I moved to Lebanon to live with my parents and siblings. We crossed the Atlantic and the Mediterranean on a small Dutch freighter while being chased by a hurricane. Furniture was bolted to the floor and the tablecloths were wetted so as to prevent the food and table settings from flying off into the air. The waves and wind ripped apart the ladder up to the bridge of the ship. For about a week, we were forbidden to go outside. We charged around inside the pitching ship, holding onto the railing of the stairs, leaping into the air as the waves buffeting the ship crested and landing nimbly as the ship plunged into the depths, the movement soft, gentle and yielding. The rocking at night calmed and soothed me; after we disembarked at the port of Beirut, I savored my dwindling sea legs, ever more nostalgic for the comforting movement.
I don’t remember whether I discovered the comfort of rocking during this trip across the Atlantic, which was to be a high point in my life, or whether I had discovered it before our transatlantic voyage.

My grandparents listened to very little music but, knowing that I loved to sing, had bought me a small red and white plastic record player and a 45 rpm record, “The Lollipop Tree” by Hoagy Carmichael, to which I rocked myself into an oceanic oblivion of Kelly green and cobalt-yellow scintillations. My rocking shook the cares of the world out of my body tight from the day’s tensions and cares. They discharged toxic build-up that led to freakouts.

Our house was built of heavy hand-hewn limestone, inside walls of whitewash, high ceilings, floors of loosened smooth ceramic tiles that chimed different notes as I sneaked across them in the night to go to the bathroom. My father listened to classical music from the time he came home from teaching to the time he went to bed. The acoustics in that house were grand. My father had rigged up from metal cookie boxes a sound system that broadcast music brilliantly through the large house: Vivaldi’s Four Seasons (the tawny yellow-orange of late afternoon sun on limestone), Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos (royal-sky blue of encroaching night), Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik (cherry-pie red), Albinoni’s Adagio (the dark blue of mid-Atlantic waves), Corelli’s Christmas Concerto (august lacquer red). His choice of pieces, which he had recorded onto reel-to-reel tapes, evolved over time through different musical periods. I played the music in my head as my father drove us to school, teasing apart key changes and chord progressions, though I knew absolutely nothing about music and could play nothing beyond the harmonica. Over time, I was graced with melodic visitations that fit themselves conveniently into whatever span of quiet solitude opened up for me. I rocked myself against the back seat as I hummed these personal symphonies to myself.

At home, I rocked in bed for hours on end, becoming more and more blissed out and liberated from my daily grind of embarrassment, frustration and bewilderment. Whenever I had a bad day or, even worse, a freakout, I salved it by rocking on my bed, my right arm over my mouth and nose, partaking of the golden-brown scent of the crook right under my elbow, which provided a portable comfort zone.

In fourth grade, I played the role of Josephine in a medley we sang from The H.M.S. Pinafore. Throughout elementary school, I was given leading roles because I was fearless on stage and an inveterate show off. I had a favorite few stanzas of a long aria that I played over and over again from an album that I got for Christmas. In this particular song (which was not in our medley), Josephine, the supposed captain’s daughter, is bemoaning her sad fate (See Page 4) of being in love with a lowly sailor and facing a less privileged lifestyle than the one she had grown up in. My heart would sink in anticipation of the passage when the soprano Elsie Morrison’s voice changes from bright and luxuriant to dark and claustrophobic: “…On the one hand, papa’s luxurious home/Hung with ancestral armor and old brasses/Carved oak and tapestry from distant Rome/Rare “blue and white” Venetian finger glasses/Rich oriental rugs, luxurious sofa pillows/And everything that isn’t old, from Gillow’s/And on the other, a dark and dingy room/In some back street with stuffy children crying/Where organs yell and clacking housewives fume/And clothes are hanging out all day a-drying/With one cracked looking-glass to see your face in/And dinner served up in a pudding basin!…” On the last word, her voice choked up in a suppressed sob of unspeakable desolation. I also regaled myself with this passage during the climax of storms, which were especially dramatic on the mountain where we lived.

The following year, I discovered the Beatles and, when they broke up, other groups, and serious classical music. My favorite pieces and songs have always been earnest and serious because these had more emotional depth and provide better escape for me than light tongue-in-cheek fare. I reserve my sense of humor for everything but music.

My addiction to rocking made college dorm life difficult. My roommates would barge into the room with their boyfriends, and I’d be caught rocking to a song that had a particularly poignant key progression, spaced out and embarrassed. (Finally, in my junior year, I was assigned to what I called a “psychiatric double-single”.)

At the edge of the college campus was a small bridge under which a freight train would pass at a little past noon. The hairs on my entire body would stand up straight and my body would thrill to the richness of sound coming at me. Sometimes, but not often, I could survive the blast of overtones without plugging my ears. Regardless, the climax was almost unbearably-deliciously intense.

About ten years ago, neck pain and motion sickness forced me to give up the emotional and energetic release of rocking. At the same time, as I had burned through more music, it became more difficult for me to find music to fall head over heels in love with. My taste has become more jaded despite my best efforts to practice moderation and conserve my musical balm. I am on the constant prowl for new genres.

This withdrawal has been a mixed blessing and curse for me. On the one hand, rocking used to provide a release that helped to keep freakouts at bay. On the other hand, it was an insatiable addiction. The more I rocked, the hungrier I got for the oblivion it afforded me and the more time I spent doing it instead of attending to more practical endeavors.

I think that my freakouts and meltdowns have become more frequent and intense as my escape of rocking to music has become more elusive. I am finding myself compelled to seek out and create more neuronormal ways to tame my freakouts. Maybe this urgent need for a replacement stim will get me to paint and draw more. This is a prospect that pleases.

Read more of Mary-Minn's Stim Pages HERE


Advocates Say Bullying Still A Problem Despite 2001 Law

BY CHRIS LEHMAN Salem, OR March 9, 2009 6:19 p.m. Opb.org

In 2001, Oregon lawmakers passed a bill aimed at cracking down on schoolyard bullying. The measure was an effort to make schools safer places after a rash of school shootings across the country, including one in Springfield. But those who pushed for the bill say it hasn’t worked.

Bullying remains a problem in Oregon schools. Now, lawmakers are again considering what to do about bullying. A new bill would require school districts to more aggressively deal with it. The measure got its first hearing in front of a legislative committee Monday. Salem correspondent Chris Lehman reports.

Meet Thomas. He’s like a lot of 11-year-old boys. He has a pretty good sense of what he wants to do when he grows up.

Thomas: “I wanna do something high-tech, like maybe game-tester.”

Thomas is not his real name. His mother doesn’t want his real name used because she fears for her son’s safety. Thomas is a fifth-grader in Lebanon, Oregon.

He has Asperger’s Syndrome, which is a form of autism. Thomas has trouble expressing himself. Sometimes he has a speech impediment. And he’s just a little different.

A few of his classmates don’t understand why. One boy in particular has been extra tough on him.

Thomas: “He keeps on calling me ‘retard, stupid.’ And it kinds of makes me feel bad about myself, like I’m not good enough. It makes me feel that I don’t even want to live anymore.”

The bully makes Thomas so angry he wants to lash out.

Thomas: “I feel like I actually want to, wham, you know. He is just so mean.”

Thomas’ mother, Deborah, says she’s talked with school officials about the harassment. But she says the situation still isn’t resolved.


Oregon teen with severe autism accused of murder
AP from www.kgw.com Saturday, March 14, 2009
(Comments from readers follow the article)

COOS BAY, Ore. (AP) -- A Coos County teenager who once attacked an instructor and is described as severely autistic and unable to speak has been charged with murder in the death of a 59-year-old woman who lived with his father.

The suspect was identified as Henry Cozad, 18, who lived in the Bunker Hill neighborhood of Coos Bay with his father, Fred, and Linda Foley.

Authorities wouldn't say how Foley died on Thursday, except to label it "homicidal violence" and say details would await an autopsy.

District Attorney R. Paul Frasier told The World of Coos Bay that he couldn't prosecute the youth for an attack last year on special education instructor Tim Waits, but he would press a murder case against him in Foley's death. He said, though, that the severity of Cozad's disability would play a role.

"There's a problem with prosecuting people with extreme mental issues because under the law you have to be competent to proceed. ... That basically means you need to be aware of the charges against you, and you have to be able to assist in your defense," Frasier said.
Waits told the newspaper on Friday that when he learned Cozad had been arrested, he felt guilty he hadn't done more.

"I was afraid something like this would happen," he said. "I had a feeling he was going to kill someone."

In February 2008, Waits said, the two were in a house on the Marshfield High School campus used for life skills training when Cozad attacked.

The boy put him in a headlock and shoved him against walls, Waits said. The attack damaged his spinal cord.

"In my personal opinion this student, had he grabbed anyone else, he most likely would have killed them," he wrote in an April victim's impact statement.

He asked that Cozad be placed in a group home.

Waits said Cozad had hurt other employees over the years. The director of the South Coast Education Service District life skills program, Tenneal Wetherell, could not verify that. She said Cozad has had a long-term struggle with social behavior.

After a suspension, Cozad returned to school, under the supervision of two adult specialists, Wetherell said.

He most recently was enrolled in the adult transition program, although Cozad hadn't attended weekly classes in about a month. He was kept away from other students, she said.

District Superintendent George Woodruff said it is a challenge to help students such as Cozad.
"When you have someone who is nonverbal, how do you communicate with them? How do we respond to people with such needs?" he asked. "It's a challenge for the whole community."

Following are reactions to this story from www.kgw.com:

I worked in an alternative classroom with many autistic young adults who had severe behaviors for 6 years. The reason they are in school is that we have laws for the disabled. By and large, this is a wonderful advancement over how this population was treated before the Americans With Disabilities Act was implemented. A mental retardation orautism diagnosis, as I understand it, takes precedence over a mental- illness diagnosis, however. And how can mental illness be properly diagnosed in someone with a severe communication disorder? Some people are both mentally handicapped and mentally ill, and many of these students have a history of extreme abuse because their behaviors are so very frustrating and people in their early lives are ill-equipped to deal with them. It's very sad.

i think people in that condition have no right to be in the public or attend public schools.

I feel for the family of the victim. It sounds like this young man will have to be institutionalized for the rest of his life

i have know this boy since birth and if you knew the back ground you would totally understand and surprised it hasn't happen sooner. It sucks because had the poor guys home life been even in the slightest bit better it never would have happened. poor Henry

Autistic persons are not freaks. I can understand the anguish of this person's former instructor. As a retired instructor of severely autistic multiply handicapped adolescents, I have observed the magic of finding the combination of giving the young person a way to communicate with simple signs, an alphabet board, picture menus, etc. and appropriate medications to lessen the aggressive tendencies. How would the young person learn how to behave around others and express his needs if he is isolated?

It never ceases to amaze me how easily our judicial and governmental systems fail to protect us. I am a Mother of a child with Autism, he is NOT violent at all. I can only imagine the pain of everyone involved and the fear in this young mans mind that he is unable to speak of. Autism comes in many shapes and sizes, please remember when passing judgement, this is a real event effecting real people. Not only today but in future court proceeding this may set a precedence. God speed all decision makers in this process and let them make just and fair decisions for all parties involved.

So, after this severely autistic non-verbal kid injured his instructor's spinal cord, he was sent back to school with two "adult specialists" and kept separate from other students? I'm sorry, but why the hell were we bothering? I'm not saying every person with autism needs to be locked away. My nephew is autistic and is enrolled in a similar program. He and his fellow students are doing great and learning about money, how to work in a supermarket stocking shelves, etc. If this kid requires two "specialists" just to attend class where no other students are present, how do we expect him to get along in society?
I have had the opportunity to have known several folks who have had children with Autism. In each case, when the children have reached an age of about 20 they have moved into a group home for similar adults.First example: A boy who became increasingly agitated at home, flourished in the new environment. The behaviors subsided, he makes regular visits, "home." His older brother, also autistic, made this same move a few years later. The stresses on his parents subsided substantially and they are much happier.Second example: A girl, higher functioning than the first boy. She also just had issues becoming increasingly agitated. Her parents, who thought they could handle things for life, were backed into a corner, so to speak. They really hated to let someone else take responsibility for her. She comes to visit, sometimes spends the night at home, and then back to the group home. The stress level on her parents was great before, now they are relaxed and ready to deal with her when she visits.This is not the solution for all kids in this situation, just my observation of these two families. The group home decision wasn't their first choice but it has made everyone happier in these homes.

You can't "Mainstream" everyone. With all due respect to "Cuckoo's Nest" and "Rain Man"...some people NEED to be in an institution.


KindTree Board Member Franklin Michael at Work

Here is a photograph of KT board member Franklin Michael that appeared on the cover of the Spring issue of Eugene's Park and Recreation guide and schedule. Franklin has been working with people with developmental disabilities for many years as a helper and caregiver in addition to being the main Fire Keeper and more at KindTree's Autism Retreat.

Franklin is a fascinating man with some amazing tales to tell - tales of the Sea, of Alaska, and of being the parent of a teenager. Listen up...


Wanna Go To Nepal?

Knowledge for People is a new non-profit whose focus is on providing autism education to families and teachers in developing countries where there are little to no resources for children who have autism (our mission statement here).  

Our first project is going to be in Nepal from July 12-26, 2009.  We are looking for volunteers to join our Nepal team who are trained to work with kids who have autism. We will be working with parents and teachers to provide basic autism education and also to provide behavioral strategies, address sensory integration issues, etc. for specific children. We will be giving presentations, conducting individual case studies, and possibly doing a radio/TV broadcast.

To give you some background on the Nepal project...I've been communicating with a family in Katmandu who have a child with autism and there were zero resources there for them.  They were so frustrated that in April 2008 they started their own center.  They have since found at least a dozen families with kids who appear to have autism, but they don't have the manpower to help these families.

They also need help educating teachers (there are no schools that have programs for kids with autism in Nepal).

We are a very new organization and funding is very limited, so we are asking volunteers to pay their own way.

From Portland, the airfare is approximately $1800 and it's about $10-15 per day to pay for lodging, food, drinks, etc.  
If you aren't able to be part of our Nepal team, we really appreciate donations to support our program.  

Donations can be made at www.knowledgeforpeople.org.  If you have any questions or if you are interested in participating in our Nepal project, please email me at nikki@knowledgeforpeople.org. Thanks!
Nikki Scarbrough


Letters -

Dear Tim,  
This is DJ speaking. I just wanted to thank you again for the awesome grant. I cant wait to receive it so I can use it to continue to help those with autism through my art. Thanks again. I will be sending art for the new art show very soon. Have a great blessed day.
D J Svoboda

Tim.
This family is great.  They have two children with autism that have a lot of needs that are in a life skills classroom at Riverbend Elementary School in Springfield. The kids grandma just passed away from unknown origin, but she was very involved in the kids life and helped out in many ways.
As you know the economy is bad right now and there are many layoffs happening. It would be a blessing if we could somehow reach out to this family in a time of need and let them know that we as a community care for each other. The husband is currently laid off from Monaco so it is hard times as we all know but especially hard in these circumstances.
Here is their info:
Crystal and Todd Bishop
485 N. 55th Street
Springfield, Oregon 97478
Thanks so much tim... hope u are doing well
Meyana Dummer

 

 

Autism Rocks Notecards now at ELITE CAR BATH
8th and Chambers, Eugene
192 Q Street, Springfield


Events

March 19 DD Awareness Month Ceremony 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM Barbara Roberts Human Services Building, main lobby 500 Summer St. NE, Salem
March 19 - 20 The 2009 Autism Summit Current Research and Treatment Strategies phone: (360) 379-6994 www.rehabseminars.org Embassy Suites Hotel- Lynnwood Greater Seattle Area
March 23 - 24 Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) Basic Training Embassy Suites Portland - Downtown 319 SW Pine Street Portland, chorton@pecs.com or phone (302) 355-5979
March 25-26 Career Planning, Career Assessments, Workplace Support, Social Communication in the Workplace, Implementing the Career Plan Holiday Inn Portland Airport http://www.spectrumtrainingsystemsinc.
com/portland.html
March 30 ADHD: Living without Brakes Martin Kutscher, M.D.March 31 Mental Illness in Children Christopher Okiishi, M.D. Holiday Inn Portland Airport (503) 256-5000
April 15 Call to Artists Deadline for “Autism Artism 2009”
April 8 Raun K. Kaufman Autism Treatment Center of America™ , LCC, Bldg 19, rm 202, 7PM All about the Son-Rise Program®
April 10 6:00-8:00 p.m. Bounce for Autism to be held at the Pump It Up in Wilsonville, Oregon, To form a fun and bouncy team visit www.bounceforautism.org or just show up!
April 18 All Born In ConferenceThe fourth annual cross-disability inclusion conference 8:30—5:30 Ambridge Event Center 1333 NE MLK Blvd. Portland
April 19 Autism Walk-a-thon, Sunday, Oaks Park, SE Portland. The largest autism event during Autism Awareness Month, will be here for the 7th annual Autism Walk-a-thon. Join us, along with fun entertainment from the Sellwood Marching Band, BJ the Clown, Radio Disney, more.
April 25 Saturday The 3rd Autism Ball will be held on , at the Melody Ballroom at 6:00 p.m. We will have a silent auction, dinner, dancing. Tickets are $100/person.
April 25 Sponsored by ARRO, Sean’s Run From Autism, to be held at Oaks Park
April 26 “Lunch with Harvey” KindTree silent auction fundraiser. 12-3:30, Eugene Hilton. See back page for more details.
May 2 Cinco de Mayo Autism Fundraiser for Bridgeway House bridgewayhouse.org
June 20 “Autism Artism 2009” Gala Opening LCC Art Gallery
June 25—27 The 2009 Oregon Disability MegaConference Sheraton Portland Airport Hotel
July 4-6 Art & the Vineyard featuring the Autism Rocks Traveling Art Show, Alton Baker Park.
August 21-23 KindTree Autism Camp/Retreat
October 4 Dr Tony Attwood presented by Nan Lester


More students struggle with autism
Rise has led to calls for a state panel to coordinate services, offer information
By Mackenzie Ryan • Statesman Journal • March 12, 2009

One-third more children in Oregon have autism this year than three years ago — far outpacing the increase of students with other disabilities, according to data released Wednesday by the Oregon Department of Education.

There are 7,579 students as old as 21 who meet the educational requirements for autism and are receiving special-education services this school year. Autism among children has grown between 7 percent and 13 percent each year for the past few years.

Most Mid-Valley school districts also are seeing similar increases in autism — in some cases outpacing the state.

Salem-Keizer School District has nearly 40 percent more students with autism this school year than three years ago. Willamette Education Service District, which serves special-education students in Marion, Polk and Yamhill counties, served 60 percent more students with autism in 2008 than in 2004.

"It's probably one of our fastest-growing groups," said Ruth Gelbrich, the director of student services for Salem-Keizer. "Nationally, it's on the rise."

The rise of autism — which educators say is, in part, due to better diagnosing — has prompted calls to create a state commission on autism.

In the Oregon Legislature, House Bill 3001 would create a commission that would be charged with coordinating services for people with autism and providing accurate information about the spectrum disorder. On Tuesday, the bill was referred to the House human-services committee with subsequent referrals to Ways and Means.

"We don't know the cause of autism," said Nancy Latini, the state assistant superintendent of student learning and partnerships. "You can ask five different people, and they'll each have five different reasons."

Nearly 2,000 more children are receiving educational services for autism this school year than in 2005-06, according to state data. Autism makes up about 9 percent of all students as old as 21 with disabilities in Oregon.

The rise in autism far outpaces the overall increase of other disabilities among students as old as 21. This school year, nearly 82,000 children have a disability in Oregon, up nearly 3 percent from three years before.

"It's challenging because it's such a wide range … we can have children who have very low abilities to those who are extremely bright and intelligent, but still have the characteristics of autism that need to be addressed," Latini said.

"They're our children, our students, so we accommodate where we need to," said Linda Warberg, the director of special services for Gervais School District.

maryan@StatesmanJournal.com or (503) 399-6750

More story here


THANK YOU Silent Auction Donors so far...

Tatoo Parlor
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Puttin on the Ritz
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Vintage Restaurant
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Dinner w/Mayor Piercy
Museum of Unfine Art
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Green Store
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the UPS Store
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Costco
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CD Games Exchange
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Congressman Peter DeFazio

Swahili Imports
PF Chang's China Bistro
Kim's Hair Salon
Junction City Dairy Queen
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Domino's Pizza
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Sybil Mooney "Tea for Two"
Jubalicious Creations
Fair Trade on Main
The Eugene Hilton
The Kiva
Justco Cards and Gifts
Bree Crane
LeeAnn Myers
Evergreen Nutrition
Best Martial Arts
Brushfire Pottery

THANK YOU!!!!!

Un Solo Pueblo
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Roger Evers artist
Way Cool Products
Foxy Dog
Fed Ex Office
Michelle Reid - Creative Memories Consultant
St Vincent DePaul - Aurora Glass
Laughing Planet
Bailey's Traditional Tae Kwondo
Tango Center
Davis Restaurant
Poppiis Anatolia Restaurant
Mary-Minn Sirag
Sixth Street Grill
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Sweet Life
A Beautiful Day Massage
Rick Strom Chiropractor
the Green Store
Burch's Shoes
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Hunky Dory
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Sheila Tasker
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The Wild Iris
Angus Macaulay Designs
Donna Louise Stevens, an Open Focus Practitioner
Samantha Kaswell
Christina Dascher

 



 


 

In This Issue:October 2008

Get Involved / Mary-Minn's Stim Page / Mask Making Party
ASO-LCC Respite Program / T-Shirts Notecards More
Kim Miller in the News
Put Your Foot Into It /Being Autistic
ARRO Holiday Assistance Project / Local Research Firm Honored
THANK YOU Honor Roll / Retreat Pictures
Community Calendar


Get Involved

Yes, I admit it, I’m a political junkie - glued in front of the TV during the debates, writing letters to the newspaper, trying to make a difference in our city and our world. All Americans are invited to join me and help shape our nations’s future.
People on the spectrum and with other disabilities can benefit from our advocacy and support, and share in the responsibilities of citizenship.
Right here in Eugene, the Eugene Police Commission has established the Universal Access subcommittee to craft policy for the Police Department to help them
interact more effectively with people living with disabilities. On Wednesday, October 15 at 5:30 in the McNutt room at City Hall, the Commission invites people with autism or mental health challenges to come and speak about their experiences and improvements they might suggest. Please come and inform this process.
On a larger level, each presidential candidate has positions on the issues that affect us most. There’s a brief chart below, but it is only the beginning. Be a patriot. Be informed. Make a difference today. Dang, I sure am bossy... Thanks.
Tim Mueller

ISSUES:

Community Choice Act of 2007 to provide equal access and resources for community services for persons eligible for institutional care, but who choose to remain in their homes and communities.


Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) Act of 2007 to create a national insurance program to be financed by voluntary payroll deductions to provide cash benefits to adults who become disabled


Expansion of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) to increase access to health care for uninsured children living in households earning up to 3 times the federal poverty level


Expanding the Promise to Individuals with Autism Act of 2007 to expand treatment, intervention and support services for individuals and families, to carry out research and demonstration programs, to expand training of professionals and to support protection, advocacy and legal services

McCain

Opposed

 

 

 

No
Position

 

 

 

Voted No

 

 

No
Position

Obama

Co-Sponsor

 

 

Co-Sponsor

 

 

 

Voted Yes

 

 

Co-Sponsor

“If you don't vote, then you don't have the right to complain." --Michigan resident Branden Bennett, 19, who has cerebral palsy, uses a wheelchair, and voted for the first time last year.

Obama voted for over $44 billion in funding for the IDEA: Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

McCain repeatedly voted against funding increases for the IDEA. [H.R.4577, Senate Vote #170, 6/30/00; SCR 23, Senate Vote #103, 3/26/03] 


KindTree artist and mother share stories in new book

By Dan Bain, KPIC.com

ROSEBURG, Ore. - An autistic Roseburg girl with artistic talent, along with her mother, have written a book they hope will inspire others dealing with autism.
Kim Miller
is autistic, but has been creating art since she was 3 years old, before she could even talk. She and her mother Eileen Miller, got together and wrote the book with some of the art, and a lot of stories about what it's like to be autistic and to have an autistic child.
Saturday and Sunday, they held a book signing and open house to show off the newly released book and showcase some of Kim's art. "Well my mother had written this book to educate people about what it's an autistic person is really like," said Kim. The book covers her life from when she was born to age 19.
Eileen Miller said she didn't know she had an artist when her 3-year-old was drawing on walls, but through her experiences, she wanted to teach others about autism. "One is to show that autistic people do have feelings inside and they process information in a different manner than we do. It may take awhile to process information. It was also to raise awareness with teachers and educators," said Eilieen.
Kim also creates clay faces among the many drawings she's created, and said she makes what she is feeling inside."I decide on pretty much just what catches my fancy, or whatever problem I'm struggling with, I just work it out," said Kim.
After awhile, the drawings, caught her mother's attention. "Her appearance was so flat so unemotional, that I just felt that keeping the drawings, I was keeping an essence of Kim," said Eileen.
Much of Kim's artwork was on display at the Gay 90's restaurant in Roseburg, during the book-signing on Saturday and Sunday. Eileen said the book has gone so well, they are already looking at writing a second book.
© KPIC View the video here.

 

DonateNow

2008 HOLIDAY CARDS

congratulations to the artists



 

Mask Making Party
Sunday Oct 26 - 4-7PM
Cozmic Pizza, 8th & Charnelton
Featuring, back by popular demand

Cloud City Garrison
Star Wars Costumers and
Karaoke with Glenn Jones

Make your own mask, Sing your own song,
Weild your own light saber

Too FUN!!
$5 each, $20 family

SPECIAL VINTAGE POSTER RAFFLE
gotta have it -


ASO Respite Program:
Take a Break on ASO

ASO-LCC will help pay respite care expenses while you
Take a Break.
Read more here...


 


 

Mary-Minn's Stim Page

(Here are personal stories about autism. If you would like to see your musings on this page, please email Mary-Minn at sirag@mindspring.com.)

Adolescence: It May Come Late, But You Can’t Escape

I hit puberty in 1969 at the age of 14; however, I didn’t hit early adolescence until I was 17, a year after I started dating. All the while, I was more interested in getting out of the house than making out.

Before puberty hit, a part of me lived in a lavish world of childhood make-believe. Though I had stopped actually playing with my troll dolls (which I called Olofs), I continued to be solicitous of their welfare. I made settings for them to live their independent lives in a halcyon era that ran parallel to my own lonely and depressed existence. I built dream houses out of found materials—bathroom tiles filched from construction sites, dead plant pods, odd sticks that presented themselves on long solitary walks, and other found objects. These days, I might be regarded as somewhat of a kleptomaniac and trespasser, though the construction sites and vacant apartments I frequented appeared to be abandoned.

Though I had never actually camped, it intrigued me. I created camping gear for my Olofs: pup tents, sleeping bags, duffel bags, flashlights, matches, Swiss Army knives and so forth. I tried to photograph my Olofs in their new outfits and gear close-up so as to get life-size-looking snapshots of them in full camping regalia. Unfortunately, I could not get my Instamatic to photograph from up-close, so the most prominent feature in my photographs was the towering grass where the campsite was situated.

 

 

“She mistook my weirdness for experience with psychedelics. Once she discovered I was just weird, she dropped me. ”


I owned a large and eclectic collection of Olofs: a miniature psychedelic-hued pencil-top model with typewriter-eraser hair, a set of twins conjoined at the ear, a horse, a Dodo bird, an elephant, as well as the standard Olof with bright-colored hair shooting out of its head. I was especially fascinated by my twins, one sporting salt-and-pepper hair and the other, a cool crimson mane. I gave all my Olofs “Scandinavian-sounding” names. Living in Lebanon, I was exposed to the sound of many foreign languages, so I invented fake-foreign languages, in which I conversed fluently with unsuspecting victims for half-hours at a time.

Meantime, back in the schoolyard during recess and lunch, the late ‘60s was a confusing time to be a teenager. The family of my best and only school friend had moved away that summer. The Summer of Love trickled down to my 7th grade existence in strange ways. While my classmates were busy making out, experimenting with drugs and being elitist snobs, I was trying to make friends. One girl from one of the “groovier” druggy cliques took a brief interest in me. She mistook my weirdness for experience with psychedelics. Once she discovered I was just weird, she dropped me.

My only friend was 8 years old and went to the British school. At home we did craft projects, put on silly plays, went on picnics with her family, and, when we were bored, tormented each other: I, by dangling giant rubber spiders in front of her and she by “forcing” me to walk barefoot. My technique was enhanced by my downstairs bedroom, a dank lair for tarantulas and centipedes.

In my school life, I careened from one false and incompatible friend to another. One of these friends collected outcasts like me and played us against each other by switching alliances almost weekly. Right before 9th grade, she and I simultaneously and tacitly ended our friendship after a 3-day overnight at her house. One afternoon, she and her other friends locked me in her bedroom. During that same overnight, she facilitated a “Beach Club”. Each of us took turns in the “hot seat” while the rest of the group spoke their minds frankly against the victim on the hot seat. Being “frank” consisted of bitching out the victim, hence the “beach” double-entendre. Normally loquacious, I was rendered mute. When my turn came, I fled the room and left the lot of them to malign me in my absence.

When I was in the middle of 10th grade, my family moved to Frederick County in Maryland. I was almost 16. The public school was a vocational high school. I was looking forward to a clean new start in a school where nobody remembered my freak-outs during arithmetic class and my disruptive clowning. Because I planned to go to college, I was placed in the small academic track.
My two younger brothers and I got off to a rocky start. That first year, they were beaten up a lot. Though I never got beaten up physically, some of my teammates in P.E. threatened to “whip my ass” in the parking lot because I was such a liability to the team. Meantime, the sinewy P.E. teacher chain-smoked from the sidelines, occasionally admonishing us, “Come on, 10th grade, let’s go.” The harder I tried to volley, the more enticing a victim I became. The jock team captains chose their teams, and I was always the very last chosen, even after Esther, who was about 300 lb and a “little slow”. I took full advantage of my hemorrhagic periods and whatever minor infirmities presented themselves to skunk out of P.E. I secretly envied the girl with heart trouble who had to sit out P.E.!

By way of infuriating contrast to my ineptitude in team sports I was okay at sports that required mere agility and stamina. I was a better swimmer and runner than most; in fact, I was the second fastest sprinter in P.E.

During that first year, boys followed me down the hall, mimicking my clumsy stride and rocking, and singing “Tennessee Birdwalk”, a silly C&W song about the Dodo bird. One day, the football star graced me with an invitation to sit in the middle of the cafeteria with him and his jock friends. Though I was attracted to none of them, I was pleasantly surprised that popular boys would invite an outcast like me to have lunch with them. The flattered feeling turned to humiliation as each took his turn to up and leave the table, abandoning me to a sea of surround-sound jeering and clapping.

Over time, my tormentors’ lack of subtlety honed my sense of identity and survival instinct. My sarcasm blossomed, making me a less enticing target. My tormentors turned out to be from the commercial and stenographic classes, especially the hardscrabble future secretaries. Their torture continued in typing class, from which I was finally expelled due to too many frustrated freakouts. I wanted to take auto mechanics and shorthand but was afraid of being bullied.
When I was 16, I got my first job, at an old-fashioned general store across the street from our house. My questionable work ethic was spurred by a desperate desire to get out of the house. I hung out with my friend Cathi, who entertained me with yarns about her recent sexploits. She and I would head down to the river on a hot day to skinny dip, in hopes of enticing some cute neighborhood boys who went down there to get smashed on Colt 45 and Boone’s Farm Strawberry Hill. We all got drunk competing for the distinction of being able to outdrink each other without passing out or throwing up. Cathi and I reigned triumphant and were rewarded with the opportunity to play Florence Nightingale to these vomitorious drunks. That was before hangovers kept me honest.

That summer, I enjoyed a light Platonic fling with one of my general store customers, who was attracted by my ditziness. Rick was a geology graduate student from Johns Hopkins doing his fieldwork in western Maryland. He took me to stock car races and demolition derbies, which I saw as offbeat and exotic. One night he cooked up a romantic dinner at his remote cabin. The candlelit dinner turned quickly into a hairy adventure when a heavy storm hit and the bucolic creek separating his house from the road swelled to a roiling river we had to ford to reach the road. I caught bloody murder when I got home. After he returned to North Carolina, I never heard from him again. I felt hurt but recovered after about a week of dramatic droopiness.

In 11th grade, my academic facility manifested. It helped that I was accustomed to higher academic standards from my days at the “prep” school in Lebanon. My fellow students warmed up to me when I tutored them in various subjects. On the day before physics exams, I became downright popular with the jocks.

I went out with a motley assortment of unlikely “suitors”, feeling obligated to go out with whatever protoplasm happened to ask me out. I went out with them mostly to get out and have some fun. I lived out in the country and didn’t learn to drive until decades later.

I even spent a couple of evenings attempting to roller skate around and around the rink with one dull and pimply redhead from the commercial class who pursued me relentlessly and, when I refused to put on his school ring, got his sadistic friends to resume their P.E. torture. By then, I was more impervious to their taunts: for one thing, the more athletic girls in my class stood up for me; for the other, P.E. was becoming less cool.

That spring, we declared a Junior Hook Day. My friends and I headed down to the Potomac to get stoned. The jock girls went somewhere else. My most sadistic tormentor ended up in the emergency room with a coke bottle in her crotch. Alas, I never got to hear the upshot of that mishap.

I enjoyed dating but couldn’t seem to fall in love, hard though I tried. I remembered my 9th grade English teacher remarking that anybody who doesn’t cry during the movie “Romeo and Juliet” has a heart of stone. In my senior year, my best friend asked me whether I was a lesbian because I kept staring at her breasts; whereas, in actuality, I was parking my restless eyes on her mouth and chin to avoid making painful eye contact with her. I hoped fervently that I wasn’t a lesbian. It was hard enough being “straight”!

In 12th grade, one of my boyfriends took me to Gapland State Park in the Appalachian foothills, where we made out in his ’67 Mustang to the melodious strains of Blood, Sweat and Tears on his 8-track. He gave me his engagement ring, which had been his mother’s. I enjoyed the idea of being engaged, but had no real intention to marry him. He took me home and his mother regaled me with a litany of horror about his stinky socks and overall slovenliness. I was mystified by her need to tell me all this.

I went off to college and he got another girlfriend shortly thereafter. I mailed him back the ring. Meantime, the psychedelic Free Love culture of the late ’60s had degenerated further into jaded promiscuity and recreational drug use. Many boys were in college to escape Vietnam; others wanted to avoid having to get a job during the Recession, so academics were a low priority. Though I was an undisciplined student, I craved academic challenge.

Meantime, on the romantic front, Women’s Lib provided an opportunity for males not to open doors or offer their seat on the bus to pregnant women. The Summer of Love had percolated down to a sense of entitlement for males, a cutting to the chase when it came to courtship. Boys who had failed to get me into the sack on the first date told me that they “respected” me and then moved onto their next quarry.

Sex back then was a game of chicken. Women’s Lib and the Summer of Love provided males an excuse to expect sex on the first date with as little chivalry as they could get away with. Meantime, my objective was to extract as much fun and adventure out of them without getting pregnant or contracting VD, as STDs were called back then. Boys saw my romantic indifference as prudery; others pursued me all the more, mistaking it for playing hard–rather than merely impossible–to get.

Looking back on all of this, I was more of a romantic before puberty than throughout my adolescence, which lasted through my mid 20s, well after I started making a living for myself.

Read more of Mary-Minn's Stim Pages HERE


Put Your Foot Into It

By Benjamin Luskin
Hello. My name is Benjamin Luskin. I am 26 years old, a severe traumatic brain injury survivor and brother to a man living with severe autism. Since moving to Eugene two years ago, I have been astonished by the amount of support available in this community for people living with disabilities.

In the midst of all these positive vibrations, one tone has distinguished itself; its resonance sounding in the smiles of many. The instrument responsible for this charm is KindTree, a non-profit, non-affiliated organization of people who care. With little to lose and much to gain, members go out of their way to hold inclusive events and carefree productions. My most recent experience with KindTree was…that’s right…the notorious Autism Retreat. Held at Camp Baker, a forested Boy Scout camp nestled on the coast outside of Florence, this event attracted participants from as far away as Berkeley, CA. Devoted to insuring a good time for all campers, the volunteer staff worked hard at a variety of jobs, including, but by no means limited to, cooking, cleaning, fire supervision, and administration. In addition to their assigned tasks, staff members were busy 24-7 entertaining guests. I was surprised by how many activity options provided by volunteers were available at any one time. Consequently, campers were nearly always able to find “something to do.” Amongst a group with whom autism was prevalent, this feat was no walk in the park.

Along with fulfilling various service tasks at the retreat, I enjoyed the opportunity to teach an Unleashing the Beast workshop. Its reception, I’m happy to say, was terrific, with participants young and old, large and small, assuming the forms of tigers and monkeys and hootin’ and hollerin’ across the grassy lawn. Through a reawakening of their primal instincts, they exercised muscles, tightened their focus, enhanced brain-body connections, and had an empowering and entertaining experience all at the same time. Before I go on, I think it only appropriate to explain to readers what Unleashing the Beast, and its encompassing rehabilitation program, Transforming Disabilities into Strengths, is all about.

Transforming Disabilities into Strengths (TDiS) is a holistic, movement-based 3-phase rehabilitation program designed to instill confidence, skills, and independence in clients of all ability levels. By identifying and developing strengths and passions unique to each individual, TDiS assists clients in paving personalized paths to success. A client who has followed the three phases in succession will safely exit the program with a well-balanced, self-controlled life routine that he/she can follow independently and indefinitely.

The first phase of the program, known as “Conditioning Phase,” presents an opportunity for clients to heighten their skills, while in a safe and supportive environment. At the heart of this phase is a non-combative, martial-arts based, fitness/strength program titled Unleashing the Beast. In addition to heightening one’s levels of strength, agility and endurance, Unleashing the Beast enhances one’s control of his/her body, mind, and body-mind connection. All work that benefits one’s physical health, by association, also benefits his/her mental health.

The second phase, “Identification Phase,” leads clients in discovering and engrossing themselves in extra-curricular passions and activities. These pastimes encourage clients to generate and distribute energy outside their personal realms. With stronger bonds to their community in place, they may feel more connected and involved.

The third, and last phase of TDiS is “Routine Building Phase.” Here, clients collaborate all skills and knowledge gained through the first two phases and apply them to developing a well-balanced life routine consisting of five components; self-enhancement, responsibility to others, development of passions, recreation, and relaxation.

For those interested in any of the above programs, I invite you to meet with me for a free consultation. I meet with clients one-on-one in a personal training space and lead a group class at Lane Community College. If you have any questions, or would like to meet, please call me at 503-260-8445 or e-mail at benluskin@gmail.com.

Along similar lines, I have a dream of using the Unleashing the Beast class to give those with autism and other disabilities the opportunity to donate services to others. If you or anyone you know may be interested in taking part in this dream, please contact me at the above extensions, and together we’ll see if we can change the world one crawl at a time. Ben Luskin


2008 Holiday Card Images

"So, what's it like being autistic?"

Autism is so different from person to person that I could only tell you what it's like for me, and even then I can't compare it with being NT because I've never been NT.

Autism, for me, means details. I see little things. Something changes, I notice it. I see the small elements that make up the big picture--pixels first, then the image. I'm hypersensitive to everything--sight, sound, smell, touch... I can tell what kind of fabric something is made of just by touching it. You might see me in the Goodwill store shopping for clothes by passing my fingers across the racks, looking for something that feels right. It's not that my senses are any better, but that my brain doesn't have a very strong 'filter'. Most people stop noticing their clothes about five minutes after they put them on. Not me--I notice them all day. Same with the other senses.

Autism also means intense focus on one thing. When I get interested in something, it's to the exclusion of all else. When I want to know something, I become an expert. I understood relativity before I could do algebra, because I became so interested in it in the sixth grade. Now, with an interest in psychology and pediatric medicine, I can follow the medical journals despite having no official education on the subject. When I play a game, I learn everything about its mechanics. I can still tell you about the uses of every item in ADOM--including artifacts. These obsessions bring me joy... they are almost like falling in love.

Autism also means a lot of little annoyances. I'm not too good at planning and executing things while I'm doing them, so that without a plan in mind beforehand, things can take double or even ten times as long as they should. When I'm not interested in something, I lose focus. My senses intrude on my thinking way too often. I seem to have the ability to either focus intensely, or not at all. I'm not good at communication that doesn't involve words, so I use a huge vocabulary to make up for it and consequently sound smarter than I am. I'm unemployed because I can't do a lot of the simple little things that "everyone" can; and that annoys me because I have a lot of intelligence that I could really use if only I could get around the little obstacles.

Social isolation is my own choice. I admit I wouldn't know how to de-isolate myself easily; but I'm pretty happy with no friends and frankly thankful that my family lives several states away. I think in terms of facts, not people; and my empathy is a logical sort of altruism that would have me doing anything for anyone without really feeling much of what they feel. People in general are interesting; but people in particular rather bore me--I'm much more interested in the ideas that their heads hold, and if I hang out with someone, it's because they have interesting things to say.

All in all, autism is a different way of thinking and living. It does cause problems, but I would have problems if I were typical, too. And if I were typical, I wouldn't be able to see the beautiful little patterns in all the details of life; I wouldn't be able to fall in love with a subject; I wouldn't be the person I am. Me-without-autism is not me at all.
LISA: chaoticidealism.livejournal.com


 

ARRO Holiday Assistance Project.

All donations are gratefully accepted no matter what the amount is. ARRO (Autism Research & Resources of Oregon) established this fund last year to assist our families during the holidays.

Last year we assisted two families. This year we would like to assist four or more families.

Families nominated in November by an Oregon autism nonprofit will be considered to receive assistance from this program by December 15th.

It is tough enough having a child with autism, add having financial difficulties during the holidays and it can be truly overwhelming. In the current economy we expect many of our families to have financial difficulties this year.
Your child with autism does not understand. And there is no way to explain it to him or her. It’s even worse if there are siblings who are overwhelmingly disappointed too.
This tips your family over the edge.

Assistance choices will be family driven. The amount of assistance given will depend on the amount of funding raised.

Families who need help should contact an Oregon autism nonprofit organization such as ARRO or the Autism Society of Oregon, or the ASO-LCC chapter rep. here: tim@gwproj.com

Our families need your help! Please donate today so that we can make their holiday brighter.


Local Research Firm Honored

The Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce honored this year’s Emerald Award winners on Wednesday, Sept. 24, at the fifth annual awards ceremony. Nearly 400 local business and community leaders attended the event at the Hult Center for the Performing Arts. Selected from a record-breaking 90 nominations, winners were announced in four categories, including the
Emerald Award for Innovation.

Recipient MitoSciences Inc. is developing innovative and leading edge diagnostic and drug discoveries to address human diseases. Since it was established in 2003, MitoSciences Inc. has partnered with some of the best research facilities in the country such as Mayo Clinic and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia to develop the very first generation of testing to address autism in children.


Autism Rocks Notecards now at ELITE CAR BATH
8th and Chambers, Eugene
192 Q Street, Springfield

THANK YOU VOLUNTEERS and DONORS 2008

Sundance Natural Foods
Market of Choice Stores
Bi-Mart
Albersons
Fred Meyer
Costco
Eugene Freezer and Storage
Toby's Family Foods
Surata Soy
Organically Grown Co-op
Bagel Sphere
the Bread Stop
Trader Joe’s
Springfield Creamery
Emerald Valley Kitchen
Café Mam
Lochmead Dairy
Mary King
Art Kennedy
Pat Dopler
The Boy Scouts of America
Logan Leff
Jennefer Salzman
LCC Art Program

  Chris Bucci
Beckie Smolek
Gary Cornelius
Dyan Campbell
Tim Mueller
Nel Applegate
Michelle Jones
Tyson Gunningham Melissa Linville
Jeff and Sarah Fields Carlos Berrera
Mary-Minn Sirag
Jeanne-Marie Moore
Joel Litersky
Liz Fox
Johanna Magner Franklin Michael
Jessica Michael
Caleb West
Monaco Coach Company
Wentworth Foundation
The REX Foundation
Michael Omogrosso
T.R. Kelley and Randy Hamme
Heart In Oregon


  Thomas Finney
Jerry Linville
Tracy Rogan
Tifani Lauzon
Cole Kingsbury
Jessamy Favricant
Joy DeMoss
Kieth Walker
Julie Hutchins
Erica Johnson
Robert & Jessica Stacy
Steven Peeler
Elizabeth King
Emily and Ken Ross
Josh Fraim
Mayor Kitty Piercy
Andrew Kvistad @ Village Coffee
Safeway
Costco
Chambers Family Foundation
Autism Society of Oregon
Springfield Rotary
Eugene Downtown Lions Club
  John and Sandi Orbell
Raven Frameworks
Ruth Madsen Ross
Glenn Jones
Rep. Chris Edwards
Slug Queen Glo
The Cloud City Garrison
Robert and Julie Pasley
Dean Brule
Becky Beach
Morgan Leatham
Mary-Minn’s Mom
Doris Germain
David Walcutt
GreyWolf Projects
CenterStage Karaoke
Josh Fraim
Allen Outland
Peggie Abevtz
Samuel Kirtner
Eileen Brixey
Kate Arbogast
Katy Stein
Mary Beth Bonte
Billy Minnick
James Kellis
Christopher Selz

 


Community Calendar

October 1 - October 31 Autism Rocks Art Show visits Village Coffee, 7781 SW Capitol Hwy, Portland


Mask Making Party
Sunday Oct 26 - 4-7PM
Cozmic Pizza, 8th & Charnelton
Featuring, back by popular demand

Cloud City Garrison
Star Wars Costumers and
CenterStage Karaoke

Make your own mask, Sing your own song, Weild your own light saber

Too FUN!!
$5 each, $15 family

SPECIAL VINTAGE POSTER RAFFLE


 Capitol Mid-Willamette Valley Region Trainings and Seminars
- Leah Skipworth 1-888-505-2673 ext 214 or lskipworth@orpti.org Serving Benton, Clackamas, Lane, Lincoln, Linn, Marion, Polk, Tillamook & Yamhill Counties

September 20, 2008 "Aspergers Syndrome and ADHD: What's the Same, What's Different, and What Helps both in the Classroom" from 10:00 AM to Noon at the Taft Fire Hall, 4520 SE Highway 101, Lincoln City, Or 97367. For information, or to register contact Leah Skipworth at lskipworth@orpti.org

September 25, 2008 "IEP Goals, Are Your Child's Adequate and Appropriate?" from Noon to 2:00 PM at the First Presbyterian Church, 227 NE 12th Street, Newport Oregon 97365. For information, or to register contact Leah Skipworth at lskipworth@orpti.org

October 14, 2008 "Supporting Your Child in Special Education: What Every Parent Needs to Know about the IEP" from 6:00 to 8:00 PM at the Marion County Juvenile Department, Community Room, 3030 Center Street, Salem Or 97301. For information, or to register contact Leah Skipworth at lskipworth@orpti.org

October 15, 2008 " Can You Hear Me Now? Communication and Dispute Resolution" from 5:30 to 7:30 at the Greater Albany School District Office, 718 "7th" Street, Albany Oregon 97321. For information, or to register contact Leah Skipworth at lskipworth@orpti.org

October 15, 2008 Eugene Police Commission Universal Access Sub-committee, 5:30-7pm McNutt Room, Eugene City Hall. Seeking public input in policies affecting people with autism, developmental disabilities, and mental health issues.

October 18, 2008 "Puberty Seminar Series", featuring Mary-Minn Sirag, with Lucinda Waddell, and Karen Ripplinger.

More info here..

This event will address challenges facing a person with ASD when puberty occurs. from 8:00 AM to Noon at the Hilyard Community Center, 2580 Hilyard Street Eugene Or 97405. For more information call ASO at 503.636.1676.
Also September 20th Seaside, OR , Seaside Convention Center on Saturday and November 8th Beaverton, OR , Kingstad Center.

October 21, 2008 "Can You Hear Me Now? Communicating Effectively with Your IEP Team." from 6:30 to 8:30 PM at the Grace Lutheran Church, 435 NW 21st Street, Corvallis, Oregon 97330. For information, or to register contact Leah Skipworth at lskipworth@orpti.org

October 22, 2008 "What Every Parent Needs to Know about the IEP" from 6:00 to 8:00 PM at the North Santiam School District Building, Santiam Room, 1155 North Third Avenue, Stayton Oregon 97383. For information, or to register contact Leah Skipworth at lskipworth@orpti.org

October 23, 2008 "Supporting Your Child in Special Education: What Every Parent Needs to Know" from 6:00 to 8:00 PM at the Hilyard Community Center, 2580 Hilyard Street, Eugene Oregon 97405. For information, or to register contact Leah Skipworth at lskipworth@orpti.org

October 22 - 24
Healthy Brain Conference
Key Impacts and Interventions in Eugene, OR

October 28, 2008 "Parent Participation, Procedural Safeguards and Advocacy" from Noon to 2:00 PM at the First Presbyterian Church, 227 NE 12th Street, Newport Oregon 97365. For information, or to register contact Leah Skipworth at lskipworth@orpti.org

November 6, 2008 "What Every Parent Needs to Know about the IEP" from 5:30 to 7:30 at the Greater Albany School District Office, 718 "7th" Street, Albany Oregon 97321. For information, or to register contact Leah Skipworth at lskipworth@orpti.org

November 25, 2008 "IEP Goals, Are Your Child's Adequate and Appropriate?" from 6:00 to 8:00 PM at the Marion County Juvenile Department, Community Room, 3030 Center Street, Salem Or 97301. For information, or to register contact Leah Skipworth at lskipworth@orpti.org

November 28-20, 2008 Autism Rocks Traveling Art Show at the Eugene Holiday Market at the Lane County Fair Grounds. Look for our art and cards in the Hiloday Hall.

January 20, 2009 "Behavior that Interferes with Learning." from 6:30 to 8:30 PM at the Grace Lutheran Church, 435 NW 21st Street, Corvallis, Oregon 97330. For information, or to register contact Leah Skipworth at lskipworth@orpti.org

January 28, 2009 "IEP Goals, Are Your Child's Adequate and Appropriate?" from 5:30 to 7:30 at the Greater Albany School District Office, 718 "7th" Street, Albany Oregon 97321. For information, or to register contact Leah Skipworth at lskipworth@orpti.org

February 11, 2009 "IEP Goals; Are Your Child's Adequate and Appropriate?" from 6:00 to 8:00 PM at the Hilyard Community Center, 2580 Hilyard Street, Eugene 97405. For information, or to register contact Leah Skipworth at lskipworth@orpti.org

February 18, 2009 "Behaviors That Interfere with Learning" from 6:00 to 8:00 PM at the North Santiam School District Building, Santiam Room, 1155 North Third Avenue, Stayton Oregon 97383. For information, or to register contact Leah Skipworth at lskipworth@orpti.org

February 19, 2009 "Aspergers and ADHD: What's the Same, What's Different, and What Helps in the Classroom?" from 5:30 to 7:30 at the Greater Albany School District Office, 718 "7th" Street, Albany Oregon 97321. For information, or to register contact Leah Skipworth at lskipworth@orpti.org

February 26, 2009 "IEP Goals; Are Your Child's Adequate and Appropriate?" from 6:30 to 8:30 PM at the Grace Lutheran Church, 435 NW 21st Street, Corvallis, Oregon 97330. For information, or to register contact Leah Skipworth at lskipworth@orpti.org

 


VISIT eSCRIP and Help Us OUT!!

Thanks for Listening.


In This Issue June 2008:

The Art is Coming / Mary-Minn's Stim Page / Autism Artism 2008
ASO-LCC Respite Program / T-Shirts Notecards More
Pictures from "The Spectrum Speaks"
Gardening Anyone? /KindTree Offers Consultaion Services
Autism-Epilepsy Roller Coaster / Poetry from Nicole Taylor / eBay Donor
Computer Program Costs Up / Very Special Arts Opportunity
Brownie Recipe  / Molly Elliot Earns Award
To the Editor / Schools Get a Raise
What You Should Know About Pyrethrin

Community Calendar

 

The Art is Coming

KindTree’s 7th Autism Forum was a lot of fun, but rather poorly attended. That was too bad, as there were some very special moments shared by people with autism, as well as Amelia Abel’s opening remarks. A few of their stories are reprinted here. (and here) Enjoy. And please let us know what we can do to make this event more accessible. It is for you, after all.
I want to say so much about this upcoming Art Show. With Mayor Piercy, Rep Chris Edwards, the SLUG Queen “Glo”, music by the youth marimba band “Hokoyo”, presentation of our “Thanks to You” award, and the introduction of the artists, this should be so fun. I hope you can make this event - there will even be beer!! It’s from 4-8pm, Saturday, June 14. Just next weekend!
What it’s really about, though, is you, the artist with autism. So I think I will just list all the artists in the show this year. Congratulations!

Kim Miller
Mary-Minn Sirag
Carl Kinney
Julie Krasinski
T R Kelly
Josh Zondowicz
Jesse Fritz
Dawn Saxton
Richard Moravits
Zach Richer-Snyder
Teddy Boswell
Dorothy Bucher
Hunter McBride
Ryo Mastrogiovanni
Russel Fegles
Ben McAdam
Lexi Sias
Jaden Roche
  Nora Blansett
Joeseph Henry
Michael Toftum
Nick Gerlach
Yussuf Hashi
Arthur Simo
Joanne Halvorson
Renee Curtiss
Max Lester
Alex Curtiss Way
Tyler Way
D J Svoboda
Leah DeMonia
Aaron Ward
Barbara Moran
Nicole Taylor
Tripti Singh

THANK YOU!

I find myself getting behind, trying to get all the images online and ready for the show. But when it’s late and I’m reformatting images, tired as a Death Valley marathoner competing in Denver, at least I get to look at some real talent, some great stuff. Please come and honor these artists June 14. You’ll be glad you did.

Thanks for listening
Tim Mueller


VISIT eSCRIP and Help Us OUT!! /

Or Donate to support...

Autism Artism 2008
June 14 - July 8
LCC Art Gallery


Gala Opening
June 14, 4-8pm


Sponsored by:
Four-Leaf Press
George Mueller Memorial Fund,
Eugene Downtown Lions Club,
GreyWolf Projects
and
the REX foundation


Autism Camp / Retreat
The best fun ever!
Swimming - Canoeing
Games - Crafts
Campfires - Concerts
Great Food - Karaoke
Cabins - Tents


credit cards accepted


ASO Respite Program:
Take a Break on ASO

ASO-LCC will help pay respite care expenses while you
Take a Break.
Read more here...


Interested in Gardening?
For more details about an adaptive garden,Call Charlene Bigelow - 688-2542. She is the master gardener who asked if KindTree knew of any autistic kids in need of gardening experience. Grow your own food! Very cool.

 

Mary-Minn's Stim Page

(Here are personal stories about autism. If you would like to see your musings on this page, please email Mary-Minn at sirag@mindspring.com.)

A Voyage to Bend

Michelle, Tim and I just got back from the MegaConference in Bend, where we did a presentation about KindTree. We met a lot of interesting and inspiring people, and made some good contacts—including prospective volunteers for our retreat this summer. The Wild West theme of the conference greatly enhanced our presentation as we accessorized our Autism Rocks T-shirts with the cowboy hats, bandannas and sheriffs’ badges with which the tables were adorned on our first night there. (We were surprised that nobody we saw had availed themselves of these excellent accessories. This made KindTree stand out all the more.)
(Pictures from the MegaConference here.)

 

“I have a horror of getting lost or confused. Getting lost triggers an all-too-familiar feeling of incompetence, which hearkens back to before I understood the enormity of my autism’s impact on my daily life ”

Our presentation was fun, and we had a blast bringing our brand of fun to an otherwise serious conference. Our silliness culminated in an a-cappella sing-along of “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” during the awards banquet, right before the awards ceremony. It started out harmlessly enough, as four-part harmony by Tim, Michelle, me and Andy, the Vice President of the Arc of Multnomah and Clackamas Counties. Thence, the sing-along spread like an epidemic to incredulous folks at our table, and spilled onto other tables.

As boisterously fun as it is to stay in a swanky resort with two of my favorite people, traveling inevitably brings out my autism. A trip away from home is all I need for a not-necessarily-gentle reminder that…yes, I really am autistic, and, at that, not necessarily high-functioning. It can be hard to see myself from the outside, but traveling affords me ample opportunity to make eye contact with myself and take a good, hard look at my contents–and discontents.

To leave the house for anything more than a stroll along the river, I need an action plan to launch me into my subsequent realm as uneventfully as possible. Such a departure is especially perilous when my husband, Saul-Paul, stays behind. He is my rudder, stabilizer and seeing-eye brain.

On Friday morning, I was to teach my painting class at Washington Park, thence to venture directly to pick up Michelle and head off to Bend. As simple and logical as this multi-stepped transition sounds, it required much breaking down of processes and procedures into miniscule steps. Even so, there was much of the final process that required thinking on my feet later— the outcome I strive my utmost to avoid by front-loading.

Most of the physical logistics started out on Thursday, when I started packing, as if for a polar expedition on the Endurance. The three of us had rehearsed our talk and had drafted what each of us was going to say and when, so our presentation played a relatively minor part in my planning that night.

My packing started out casually enough, with me throwing a few items hither and thither into my suitcase early Thursday evening and feeling smug about my newfound resolve to travel light. Saul-Paul went to the store more than once to pick up indispensable things, such as two-sided tape for our display board and various toiletries. He helped me locate other elusive objects, despite my embarrassed beseeching to let me figure it out. I strive so hard to be independent.

Saul-Paul mapped out a seemingly foolproof trajectory from Eugene to Bend, using a succession of increasingly detailed maps, culminating in a final map of the resort itself. He explained it to me patiently, highlighted the most detailed one for me. He then printed out my final version of my part of the talk and made up a MegaConference file for me that included the maps, our talk, the conference schedule and MegaConference details.

Meantime, I kept on steadily throwing things into the suitcase with ever deadening seriousness as evening waned into darkest night.

I typed up an elaborate, fully formatted and bulleted list, which I triple-checked. After all, how was I going to survive away from my mother ship without my various forms of life support? I put medications and toiletries I was going to use on Friday morning in a shallow cardboard box, so as not to leave them behind. I wrote up a list of other items I had to remember Friday morning.

Meantime, I had to stage everything for my class, which is a whole other sub-routine. At the urgings of my husband a while back, I have written an exhaustive checklist of things I need to bring to class. The list is too long and detailed to go into here.

Upon retiring late Thursday night, I placed the unzipped suitcase in front of the door, knowing full well that shutting it that night is an act of wanton naïveté.

It is hard to sleep on the night before any departure, however seemingly small. Without sturdy sleep aids, I find myself leaping up out of bed to search and toss critical items into my ballast-laden life raft.

On Friday morning, I was rewarded for my intricate efforts by being able to unlock the car door only once, though I did arrive at Washington Park 5 minutes late. Indeed, I had spent the entire week before my departure running 10 to 20 minutes late.

Leaving the class was easy, thanks to helpful coworkers who closed up the building for me. Michelle was ready to hit the road. The trip up the McKenzie was beautiful and relaxing, and we had plenty of snacks to tide us over, in the unspeakable event that we missed dinner. Ready access to food at all times looms ever large for me.

The landing in Bend was a little rough. The turn from Hwy 20 onto 97 did not resemble the one on the map. The actual Hwy 20 fed into the real 97 deceptively seamlessly rather than turning off to the right as its counterpart on the map implied.

I have a horror of getting lost or confused. Getting lost triggers an all-too-familiar feeling of incompetence, which hearkens back to before I understood the enormity of my autism’s impact on my daily life—back when I thought I could overcome my freakouts if only I could just somehow get it right, for once. Getting lost triggers a terror of losing my mind. A mind, even more than a mere body, is a horrifying thing to lose.

The layout of the resort complex was as labyrinthine as my most intricate nightmares. I felt led by invisible demons over and down nose-dive overpasses; through cavernous tunnels, heavy, weight-bearing and cement-gray; up rickety staircases into dark, musty and purposelessly empty rooms draped with spent and snarled spider webs that have lost all regularity of pattern.

I wept with frustration and self-hatred as Michelle and I followed one maze-like path after another, like gophers tunneling under dark and damp earth. I asked one of the hotel workers where Room 515 was, only to be informed that there was no Room 515, a fact whose existential steeliness mocked me. It turned out that the room number was 151, and that I had transposed the numbers in my dyslexic number-numbness, which made me feel stupid.

Michelle finally triumphed and located our room, which turned out to be a dark smoking room. Though my sense of smell is ridiculously keen and susceptible to nausea, the darkness was even harder for me to take than the stale smokiness. I sobbed as I stumbled blindly in the futile darkness in a vain attempt to locate the things I had packed so fastidiously and to put them in real places, where I could find them. I didn’t have my Saul-Paul to navigate my world of things that flitter maddeningly in and out of my tortured existence. I felt embarrassed that my friends have to see me in that freaked out condition, and deeply sorry for being so autistic.

For the rest of the weekend, I stayed close to Michelle, for fear of getting lost between the classrooms, the banquet room, and our room. Having her as a patient guide made me feel more relaxed as the weekend progressed. I was able to enjoy giving our presentations and meeting all the interesting new people.

When we headed back home, we missed Sahalie Falls, where we had wanted to stop. As we entered Sweet Home, we figured out that we had taken Hwy 20 all the way from Bend. We had wanted very much to stop at the falls, but were both amused to find ourselves in the deceptively homey country rather than the towering forest.

I knew then that I had finally relaxed.

Read more of Mary-Minn's Stim Pages HERE


 

KindTree Reaches Out at the First Annual Oregon Disability MegaConference, Offers Consultation Services

KindTree representatives Mary-Minn Sirag, Tim Mueller, Rhonda Way, (Liz Fox was there, too) and myself hosted a well-attended workshop at this conference entitled, “Creating Recreational Events for People with Autism”. This was a momentous occasion for KindTree because it debuted our intent to begin offering consultation services. After many years of being asked to bring our camps to other states and countries, and not being able to because of the fact that we are an all volunteer organization and have to work, we have now figured out a way to do so. We want to teach other individuals and groups how to spread our philosophy of acceptance and celebration, so that many more people can enjoy the togetherness and relaxation that happens at our events. This presentation at the MegaConference was our first public step in that direction.

People seemed to really enjoy the interactive format of our presentation. We utilized an iMovie on KindTree’s history, a menu-planning skit, poignant anecdotes, a feeling/facial expression game, actual retreat scenarios, a commercial about an upcoming retreat planning computer game from Way Cool Products, goodie bags with contents that symbolized each part of our talk, descriptive brochures and more.

One attendee told Mary-Minn and I later that she had cried when Mary-Minn talked about her first encounters with KindTree.

Other attendees were inspired to sign up for our mailing list, volunteer, and purchase “Autism Rocks” t-shirts to support our cause and celebrate autism. One woman found me at dinner to discuss the possibility of producing her own camp with KindTree’s help, while another let me know that she had businesses coming to her at the end of each year needing to donate, and that we would be perfect candidates. We did our best to inform, and not bore, our guests, and I think we definitely succeeded in that.

You can view our iMovie about the history of KindTree (coming soon), or the brochure that went along with this presentation. If you are interested in our new event consulting services, call us at (541) 521-7208 for more details.

Have a happy summer, and see you at the Retreat!

Michelle C. Jones
Founder/Vice-President, KindTree Productions, Inc


Writings From "The Spectrum Speaks"
see them all here...

BACK TO THE FUTURE: GAINING CONTROL OF AN AUTISM-EPILEPSY ROLLER-COASTER

Isabel Walcutt

The first and last parts of my daughter’s history are about autism. After being the perfect infant, no sooner was she weaned from the breast than her joyous love affair with life abruptly ceased. Will she ever be toilet trained? Will she ever speak? Will she ever look at anybody?

Almost as abruptly, at age four, and also at a time of radical change in diet, out of the blue came “Read da book!” And over the course of the following four years Roberta learned to read “the book” by herself. During that window of opportunity, she acquired the base cognitive and social skills that she wields today, at age thirty-eight. While the decade of her twenties is blanked out, earlier memories and skills have remained accessible.

Intractable seizures, from pre-puberty into her thirties, made behavioral issues of the Spectrum seem like a walk in the park. But, thanks to pro-active management of anti-epileptic drug, dietary, and hormonal treatment, Roberta is now completely free of the dread Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome . Seizures no longer interrupt and threaten her life. She even has a “clean” EEG. This success may well be unprecedented since Roberta’s seizures emanated from many different parts of her brain for more than thirty years. She has endured countless episodes of status epilepticus and two week-long comas. Double Cortex Syndrome, a disorder of neuronal migration caused by a mutated DCX gene, is at the root of the neurological malfunction that plunged Roberta into autism and epilepsy.

So now, it’s “déjà vu all over again”, picking up pieces of arrested development pretty much as they were, at eight years of age, in autistic disarray.

Just as we orchestrated, step by step, a treatment plan to control seizures, we’re now well into implementation of strategies to break through the autistic obstacles that stand between Roberta and the rich life she deserves. Since I’m writing heart-to-heart to Oregonians, you’ll surely be pleased to know that getting her (and us parents) “oregonized” is at the center of Roberta’s on-going success story!

Just one year ago we were spinning our wheels in Virginia (a state that tried hard to execute a man of diminished intellectual capacity even after the Supreme Court ruled against such barbarism). There seemed to be no promise of a secure, let alone a happy, future for Roberta. So Father consulted the Internet and, having read all the “tea leaves”, declared that our family must pull up stakes and head for Eugene.

Eugene! O, felicitous name of a dear little town! The size is just right: big enough, and humanely- and intellectually-oriented enough, to offer abundant resources; yet small enough to make net-working easy and efficacious. Let’s face it, it’s people that make the difference in our lives. Mary-Minn Sirag of KindTree, Patricia Wigney of Bridgeway House, Cheryl Nel Applegate of Lane County Developmental Disabilites, Molly Elliott of Hilyard Recreation, Pam Ring of the Arc, as well as a host of less high-profile folk who understand and support Roberta and her parents as never before in New York, Illinois, Texas, and Virginia.

Our new lives are all about “chilling out”. Spirit and spunk and fun. Embracing each day. Yes, “Autism Rocks!” Yes, a thirty-eight year old “Rip Van Winkle” can wake up to choose friends and activities that really mean something to her. Yes, even a thirty-eight year old brain, appropriately fueled, can learn and grow and mature. Dad notices that “Why I not …..?” has vanished. Indeed, Roberta’s communication skills have improved to the point where she’s preparing a talk called “GREEN EGGS, NO HAM”, complete with Dr. Seuss hat and a cooking demonstration, to explain her unique ketogenic-based diet. She’s developing her art; participating for the first time in her life in a contact sport; mentoring a little kid with the same behavior problems she’s working on herself; preparing to live with others away from home (“Yes, Roberta. You can keep your stuff in what will always be your room”).

Roberta is thrilled and fulfilled to be in Oregon. Her parents salute the wisdom, kindness, and sheer hard work that are building this “Promised Land”.

May we all rock on together for many a long day!


VSA Arts Invites Entries From Young Artists With Disabilities for Green Light Awards
Deadline: July 11, 2008

Sponsored by VSA arts with support fromVolkswagen of America, Inc., the Green Light Awards program is open to young artists between the ages of 16 and 25 living in the United States who have a physical, cognitive, or mental disability. A disability is defined as an impairment that substantially limits a major life activity.

The program invites entries of both representational and abstract work. Artwork may illustrate actual aspects of what signals the artist's creative motivations such as the physical world or personal discoveries. Abstract work that relates to feelings or emotions is also encouraged. Work might also reflect the artist's experience of living with a disability and its role in shaping or transforming their work.

Art must be an original work that has been completed in the last three years. Eligible media include paintings and drawings (oil, watercolor, acrylic, pencil, or charcoal), fine art prints (lithographs, etching, intaglio, or woodcuts), photography,computer-generated prints, and two-dimensional mixed media. This year the program also welcomes entries of sculpture and time-based media (video, film, etc.).

The program will award one Grand Prize of $20,000, one FirstAward of $10,000, one Second Award of $6,000, and twelve Awardsof Excellence of $2,000 each.

Visit the VSA arts Web site for complete program information.

VSA RFP Link
For additional RFPs in Arts and Culture


City of Eugene’s Adaptive Recreation Services win National Awards!

Adaptive Recreation Services receives the prestigious Organization Citation Award from the National Therapeutic Recreation Society for outstanding programs and contributions to the field of therapeutic recreation. Molly Elliott receives the Meritorious Service Award from the National Therapeutic Recreation Society for exemplary behavior displayed through creativity, originality in programs, leadership and professional contribution

.

Many of KindTree’s artists do their best work at the Art Careers painting class, and Mary-Minn Sirag is a teacher there.

Molly Elliot is the inaugural recipient of KindTree’s “Thanks to You” award, 2006.

Congratulations, Molly.


Oregon schools in line for nearly $7 billion in 2009-2011
6/3/2008, 4:30 p.m. PDT
By JULIA SILVERMAN The Associated Press

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Public schools in Oregon are in line to get at least $6.9 billion from lawmakers to see them through the 2009-2011 budget cycle, barring any sudden drops in state revenues.

That would be about a 10 percent increase over the $6.2 billion schools received when legislators finished the 2007-2009 budget. That was an 18 percent increase, part of an effort to make up for several years of cutbacks.

Most of the money would go to support the daily costs of running the state's 197 school districts, from paying teachers their salaries and health benefits to keeping the heat on in the wintertime.

But there is also a substantial increase in funding to help schools cope with the growing numbers of autistic students. About 7,000 Oregon children have been diagnosed with autism, triple the rate of a decade ago. Rep. Chris Edwards, D-Eugene, whose kindergarten-age son is autistic, is leading an interim working group that is expected to make recommendations about better linking state education and health spending on autism.

Read more at Oregonlive.com

A working group is ongoing, developing priorities for Oregon’s next legislative session. Be part of the discussion. Join the Network. Contact Janel Salazar at janel@mighty.net.

On the Edge

Nicole Taylor
Chemeketa Community College’s Courier’s Arts Supplement,
VISIONS,
Winter 2005

On the edge of
“Going too deep, Ma,” our friend
Miguel says,
Sharing too much or too little,
Comparing too much or too little,
Understanding math, numbers, science,
computers, etc.
asking for help or ignoring the need,
sleeping late or waking early,
leaving or sleeping at this poetry
reading or dance practice,
beating the yield signal,
washing dishes today or tomorrow,
mastering a dance, poetry, swim, or an art
movement or style,
hitting that fly or bee,
just missing the rain, snow, hail, …
bussing, biking, or walking to the store,
a great drawing, poem, or story, etc.
missing my bus or stop,
finishing this poem, book, drawing, etc.
without bus stop or other interruptions
annoying friends with interruptions.

A revelation or an epiphany.
An idea or an inspiration.
A dream or a reality.
Falling asleep or awake.
Existing or surviving.
Celebrating life or not.


October 23, 2004
2:10 AM
Nicole Taylor


Check out this donor on eBay

A new listing has been posted on eBay to benefit KindTree Productions, Inc. This listing is scheduled for sale on eBay at 05/31/2008.
Donation Percentage: 50%
See JOE CRISANTI's glass BEAD AUTISM SYMBOL PENDANT jewelry at eBay.com


Autism Rocks Notecards now at ELITE CAR BATH
8th and Chambers, Eugene

Computer Program Costs Up

The computer referral program with NextStep has been going smoothly. Due to the popularity and far-reaching services of their international program, I have only had the opportunity to actually place two computers, but KindTree currently has 5 referrals for computers waiting to be filled and 30+ to be submitted after that. There is a wait-list with both KindTree and NextStep, but everyone I have spoken to is truly grateful for the assistance even if it is a handful of weeks in coming. I have received calls from as far away as Maine. Computers are requested for simple distraction and games as well as for improvement of coordination and as a means for communication. The NextStep referral service is truly a unique and wonderful program. What could be better than to receive a lovingly rehabilitated computer for nearly free? (NextStep fee is now $50) Here's to many more referrals!
Call 541-343-4636
or computers@kindtree.org


Gluten-Free
Doesn’t Have To Be
Glutton-Free Brownies

by Mary-Minn Sirag

Prep time: 15 minutes
Bake: 35 minutes

4 squares Baker’s Unsweetened Baking Chocolate
3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) butter
1-1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup rice flour
1 cup coarsely ground walnuts (the nuts help hold the brownies together but aren’t absolutely essential if you don’t care for nuts)
9” x 9” Pyrex baking dish

Preheat oven to 325 degrees for Pyrex baking dish (350 for metal one). Butter the baking dish.
Microwave chocolate and butter in a glass bowl on high for 2 minutes or until butter has melted. Stir what unmelted chocolate remains. Or melt them in a double-boiler (or very watchfully in a small saucepan).
Stir sugar into chocolate mixture and mix well with a metal whisk. Mix in eggs and vanilla, and mix well with whisk. Stir in flour and nuts, and mix vigorously with whisk. Spread evenly in buttered Pyrex dish.
Bake 30-35 minutes in 325 degree oven, checking frequently with a toothpick. The toothpick should come out with some chocolate on it. ‘Tis better to err on the undercooked than overcooked side.


To the Editor:

Tim, Thank you so much (for clearing up the ‘which image’ confusion). Now I feel better(even though I did not feel so bad any way!) But this "mystery" did give me a chance to re-think what art means to Ryo and to me, and how I should encourage him from now on.

One thing I learned was that the art is not the goal nor something that gives him "salvation". Many people may like his work and that gives him and me wonderful feeling, but becoming a good artist and becoming "productive" there is not really his goal....

I think I have been putting a wrong "hope" in his art and losing a better perspective, or rather I should say that I have been evading a most serious question : what is it that matters most to Ryo and to his life?

See, Tim, I have not thought about this most important question for a long long time, or maybe never, because I was afraid that there may not be a satisfactory answer, and instead of facing it, I have been busy correcting him and making him more "acceptable" person in my own view. Art was one of such hope.

So... I finally have a better question now, although I do not have the answer yet. Art would fall into somewhere in my new seeking for answers to this question. At least I know I would not encourage him to paint something that people would like!

Thank you always for your kindness and wonderful work. If you start to see the light and joy in Ryo's work, you would know that that is because his mother stopped interfering!!

Kyoko

 

 


Antiflea Pet Shampoos with Pyrethrin May Play a Role in Autism

Marlene Busko
Medscape Medical News 2008. © 2008 Medscape

May 20, 2008 (London, United Kingdom) — Compared with mothers of typically developing children, mothers of children with autism spectrum disorders were twice as likely to report that they had shampooed their pets with pyrethrin-containing antiflea/antitick shampoos around the time of their pregnancy, in a Californian case-control study that looked at household pesticide use.

When participants in the study, the Childhood Autism Risks and the Environment (CHARGE) trial, were questioned about their prenatal, gestational, and postnatal use of pesticides, the researchers found that products containing pyrethrin — pet shampoos and certain sprays for controlling flies, ants, and cockroaches — were associated with an increased risk for autism spectrum disorders.

These are initial findings and need to be confirmed in other population studies, Dr. Hertz-Picciotto told Medscape Psychiatry, adding: "The bottom line here is [that pyrethrin] is something that really deserves further study."

It is important to remember that autism is multifactorial, she stressed, explaining that "generally speaking, probably most cases of autism arise from multiple genetic as well as multiple environmental factors."

Outdoors, pyrethrin has a very short half-life, but indoors it lingers for a long time — for example, in pet hairs — so that people continue to be exposed, she noted. Concerned consumers can seek out more natural, nontoxic alternatives (such as boric acid for cockroaches).

Potent Chemicals
Pesticides are designed to attack the central nervous system of lower species such as insects and rodents, Dr. Hertz-Picciotto explained.

A recent study suggests that there is a link between maternal exposure to commercially applied organochlorine pesticides and subsequent risk of autism in the child, she said. Eric M. Roberts, MD, from the California Department of Public Health, in Richmond, and colleagues reported that pregnant mothers who lived in the California Central Valley close to fields where organochlorine pesticides were being applied had an increased risk of giving birth to a child with autistic spectrum disorder (Roberts EM et al. Environ Health Perspect. 2007;115:1482-1489).

The current study aimed to examine the relationship between use of household pesticides during pregnancy and subsequent autism in the child.

The researchers looked at data from the CHARGE study of 2- to 5-year-olds living in California — 333 children with autism spectrum disorder and 198 typically developing children. The children's diagnosis of autism was confirmed using the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) and the Autism Diagnostic Interview (ADI).

In a 90- to 100-minute telephone interview, the children's mothers were asked about their use of household pest-control products (such as insecticide sprays, ant poisons, pet shampoos, and weed-control products) during the exposure period (which was defined as 3 months prior to conception until the child was 1 year old).

After adjustment for socioeconomic variables, compared with mothers of typically developing children, mothers of children with autistic spectrum disorders were twice as likely to report having shampooed their pets with antiflea/antitick shampoos during the exposure period (odds ratio [OR], 2.0; 95% CI, 1.2 – 3.6). The adjusted odds ratio for this association was strongest for the second trimester (OR, 2.6; 95% CI, 1.3 – 6.0).

The researchers determined that the active ingredient in these pet shampoos was pyrethrin, which came into use about 20 years ago to replace organophosphates, said Dr. Hertz-Picciotto.

Was Recall Bias a Factor?
Because these data were collected retrospectively, it is possible that the mothers of typically developing children tended to forget about their use of pesticides around the house, unlike the mothers of the children with autistic spectrum disorders, who may have been more attuned to thinking about this. However, since the researchers did not find an association between autism and products not containing pyrethrin, recall bias was not likely to be a strong factor.

What Does This Mean?
Pyrethrins have largely replaced organophosphates for flea control, the group writes. In insects, pyrethrins affect the nervous system and sodium channels, which results in repeated firing of neurons and death. In rodent studies, pyrethrin exposure when the fetal brain is developing was found to compromise the blood-brain barrier. Although pyrethrin-containing pesticides have been tested for safety, animal findings and the current study findings raise concerns about the long-term neurodevelopmental effects from prenatal, gestational, and early postnatal exposure to pyrethrin-based products.

The group is planning to submit this work for publication in the near future.



Community Calendar

June 20 David Pitnoyak - September 25 Cathy Ficker-Terill
2008 Oregon Trainings Series on Direct Supports This series of trainings will be targeted to "direct support providers and related professionals who support individuals with developmental disabilities, including independent and family providers." The series will deliver six four-hour teleconferences to a network of host sites throughout the state and feature nationally-recognized speakers. All trainings are from 8:30 am to 12:30 pm. More info: www.directsupports.com

June 14 “Autism Artism 2008” Gala Opening Party, LCC Art Gallery, Bldg #11, 4-8pm. Come celebrate artists with autism. Free Beer.

June 14 - July 18 "Autism Artism 2008", LCC Art Gallery, Bldg #11

July 4-6 Art & the Vineyard featuring the Autism Rocks Traveling Art Show, Alton Baker Park.

July 7 - September 26 Autism Rocks Art Show visits Oregon Research Institue, 1715 Franklin St, Eugene.

July 11-13 Oregon Country Fair. Visit KindTree in the “Doors of Expression” booth in the Community Village part of the Fair. See the Autism Community joining the larger community in action.

July 21 - August 29 Autism Rocks Art Show visits Brokerage Mentor Oregon, 859 Willamette St, Eugene, upstairs

July 19 FREE seminar: Comprehensive Assessment & Biomedical Treatments for Autism, ADHD, Mood disorders, Sensory and Motor dysfunctions, Allergies, and more with Dr. Leigh Ann Chapman, N.D. Scottish Rite Center 709 SW 15th Avenue, Portland, Call to register: Chasity Robinson or Bryan Olson at 1-800-288-0383

August 22-24 KindTree Autism Camp/Retreat.

October 1 - November 30 Autism Rocks Art Show visits Village Coffee, 7781 SW Capitol Hwy, Portland

ASO-LCC Puberty Seminar with Lucinda Waddell, Karen Ripplinger and Mary Minn Sirag September 20th Seaside, OR , Seaside Convention Center on Saturday
October 18th Eugene, OR , Hilyard Community Center , on Saturday
November 8th Beaverton, OR , Kingstad Center , on Saturday

 


 

March, 2008 - In This Issue:

All About You / Mary-Minn's Stim Page / Autism Artism 2008
ASO-LCC Respite Program / T-Shirts Notecards More
Autism Forum "The Spectrum Speaks"
Gardening Anyone? /Support our Programs
Canine Cardiology / From Kenny / From Katy
Computer Program and NextStep / Prescription Drugs Discount
FREE National Park Pass   / Legislative ALERT
Government Settles Vaccine Case / Vancouver Autists Write Dating Book
Autism Breakthough - Carly / Parental Age Factor

Community Calendar


It's All About You

Greetings,

KindTree’s first event of 2008 will be our 7th Autism Forum. This year we are planning a celebration of the Autism Community with positive, personal stories about and by people with autism, presented at the Forum by the authors. We invite you to submit your story to share. See the instructions here. See also the articles in this issue written by people with autism: Kenny, Katy, Mary-Minn, and another about two of KindTree’s artists. There is a lot to say. Folks are listening...

The Forum will also feature a fun movement exercise, a cooking demonstration and an arts & craft area for the kids. We’re inviting agencies to share their info with you, too. This promises to be another fun KindTree event. And it’s free.

"Autism Artism 2008" is now on track, with our GALA Opening scheduled for June 14 at the LCC Art Gallery in Bldg 11. Guests will include Mayor Piercy, Rep Chris Edwards, and the SLUG Queen "Glo". Music will be by the youth marimba band "Hokoyo" and they are so much fun.

What it's really about, though, is you, the artist with autism. You still have a few days to submit your art - the deadline is April 1. Please send your work in. We have already accepted a few new artists' work and are looking forward to seeing some favorites return, as well. Our jury of art insiders will choose the best for the show. Put this event on your calendar and come celebrate artists with autism. Sponsored by Elizabeth King.

Registration is now open for the Camp / Retreat 2008, scheduled for August 22-24. The prices are virtually the same as last year. This year’s fun will include the Raventones again, plus some special fun with Benjamin Luskin’s “Transforming Disabilities into Strengths” and other outdoor activities. This is the place where your family gathers every year. Can’t wait.

While you’re busy try to fit all these events in your schedule, don’t forget that KindTree needs your financial support to make them all happen. Please consider funding a sponsorship of the Art Show, a Retreat scholarship, or a much needed general donation. It’s easy online. Thank you to the Lions Club, the Wentworth Foundation, Doris Germain, and the George Mueller Memorial Fund for their generosity.

A couple of great stories surfaced in the last few weeks that didn’t find room in the paper newsletter. They are available here, though. They include an urgent appropriations alert regarding the Lifespan Respite Care Act in Congress; a lovely story about a 13 year old young woman named Carly; and this research subject: Advanced Parental Age Predicts Risk for Autism Spectrum Disorder in Children. I hope you find it useful.

Thanks for listening
Tim Mueller

VISIT eSCRIP and Help Us OUT!! /

Or Donate to support...

Autism Artism 2008
June 14 - July 8
LCC Art Gallery


There's still time to submit your art. April 1 deadline.


ASO Respite Program:
Take a Break on ASO

ASO-LCC will help pay respite care expenses while you
Take a Break.
Read more here...


Autism Forum VII
The Spectrum Speaks
Celebrating the
Autism Culture

Sunday, May 18 , 1-5pm.
Hilyard Community Center
2580 Hilyard, Eugene
FREE
($5 donation)

We Want Your Story

We are seeking entries in 4 different catagories:

1. Autobiographical essays about your personal, social, academic, athletic, employment, etc, successes.
2. Creative writing, expressions of your feelings and observations, from an autistic point of view.
3. Biographical essays about someone you know's personal, social, academic, athletic, employment, etc, successes.
4. Songs, poetry or musical performance about autism.


Interested in Gardening?
For more details about an adaptive garden,Call Charlene Bigelow - 688-2542. She is the master gardener who asked if KindTree knew of any autistic kids in need of gardening experience. Grow your own food! Very cool.

 

Mary-Minn's Stim Page

(Here are personal stories about autism. If you would like to see your musings on this page, please email Mary-Minn at sirag@mindspring.com.)

On poignancy

When I was young, I had a narrow range of feelings I could handle, especially in books and movies. Scary movies and sad books terrified me and left me bereft. I am mystified by how elementary-school children can handle the violence in current movies and TV shows, even Disney movies.

When I was 8, I couldn’t finish Charlotte’s Web because Charlotte’s death was unbearably painful and unfair, especially for a spider. (I loved spiders.) That same year, I tried to read The Orphans of Sumatra, but had to put it down when the parents are taken away from the children. I think I was 12 or 13 before I could take up this book again and make it through to the happy end, when the children are reunited with their parents in Switzerland.

“These vivid scenes flashed in front of me for over a year, ambushing me when my guard was down, terrifying me out of my wits, and punctuating erratic sleep. ”

When I was 11, my family and I sailed on The Bawean, a Dutch freighter from Suez to Montreal–up the Suez Canal, along the coast of North Africa, through the Strait of Gibraltar, across the Atlantic, and up the St. Laurence River to Montreal. On that trusty vessel, we watched The Counterfeit Traitor, about the French Resistance smuggling Jews into Switzerland during WWII.


Though my memory for movies is usually so flittery that I can watch the same movie several times from completely different perspectives in a single year, scenes from The Counterfeit Traitor etched themselves indelibly in my memory: A pallid but beautiful young woman is coughing sepulchrally from tuberculosis. A large hand shoves a napkin into her mouth to muffle the noise. She is packed into a burlap bag, which is shoved onto a small motorboat, headed for Switzerland.…An ancient–in retrospect, middle-aged–woman confesses to a priest behind a confessional. The woman’s head, swaddled in a scarf, is seen from the back. The priest’s face is unrecognizable, for the dim lighting. The very next frame shows the vaulted ceiling crashing down to a bomb blast. Dust is flying; worshippers are collapsing on the floor, moaning and shrieking in mortal terror. By implication, many are killed instantly by the blast, though the viewer is spared the graphic carnage. The bomb’s din bores a hole into my brain, bypassing my overly sensitive ears.

This movie was one in four in my life that I have walked out of on my own accord. (The other two were A Touch of Class, The Pianist, and Hostel, the last two of which I ventured into, stupidly mistaking the title for a silly European caper.) I couldn’t sleep for the next few weeks, at least. These vivid scenes flashed in front of me for over a year, ambushing me when my guard was down, terrifying me out of my wits, and punctuating erratic sleep. To this day, I avoid movies about war.

Our freighter tanked up at Tripoli, Libya. We disembarked for a leisurely afternoon of sightseeing. The scene from the harbor blazed white and blue: the whitewashed luxury hotel, an expanse of cerulean blue sky and white sand, regal palms lining the impressive boulevard, donkeys and taxicabs. We walked through the city to the souk (the city bazaar-market) which comprised blocks of cozy-dark tunnels snaking through a vast continuity of tents, punctuated by tiny booths, demarcated by sumptuous Persian carpets; merchants pressuring us to buy their wares of sheepskins, 24-karat filigreed jewelry, carpets, hookahs, what-have-you. On the way to the souk, I saws a middle-aged man sitting, wan and apathetic, on a stoop in front of a door, which opened into an empty room with a dirt floor and nothing besides a narrow bed. Every school day in Lebanon, I had ridden, jaded and indifferent, past Palestinian refugee camps on the way to school, but this understated vignette of loneliness and desolation somehow insinuated itself into my burgeoning catalog of horrifying images–first of war, now of poverty.

By way of human contradiction, I do enjoy a “good” horror movie now and again. I can tolerate some gore, just as long as the plot is far-fetched but logical, and the movie is well made. Horror movies leave no lasting mark on my sleep. Indeed, when I leave the theater afterwards, I feel relieved–as when I awaken from a particularly colorful nightmare–that “reality” isn’t quite so bad, after all. For this guilty pleasure, I use the pretext that these movies are an opportunity for my cowardly self to vicariously bone up for any real-life horror that comes my way.

At the other extremity beyond my spectrum of acceptable emotions was sentimentality and nostalgia, both of which I still am a little leery. Nostalgia throws me back to youthful foolishness. Sentimental movies exposed my emotional vulnerabilities.

When I was growing up, my family and I were living in a Greek Orthodox Lebanese mountain village called Beit Meri, which translates into Mary’s House, as in the Virgin Mary. It was a Greek Orthodox village.
In Beit Meri was a seedy cinema called Le Capitole, which reeked of stale garlic and urine, but was my sibs’ and my mainstay of structured entertainment during those languid summers. I just daubed my nose with perfume whenever I took in a movie. (My sibs and I avoided “the facilities”.)

Movies were subtitled in two of three of the languages spoken in Lebanon: Arabic, French and English. I couldn’t read Arabic, but I could compare French subtitles to the English I was hearing and vice-versa, or what little spoken Arabic I knew to the French and English subtitles. I still enjoy trying to figure out what’s being said in foreign movies or, at least, comparing what scant dialog I do understand to the subtitles.

Musicals were “all the rage” back then. The movies I remember seeing at Le Capitole were Ben Hur, Around the World in 80 Days, an assortment of John Wayne movies, French romantic capers set in the Riviera accompanied by jaunty French pop tunes (or the movies accompanying the pop tunes. I couldn’t tell which), and Julie Andrews’ musicals, especially The Sound of Music, which we saw at least a dozen times, for lack of anything better to do on a summer day.

Not that we were wild about The Sound of Music, especially after the dozenth time. Proud of our supercilious discernment, we found it goopy and sentimental and utterly predictable. Mary Poppins we found just as silly and unsophisticated. Watching The Sound of Music gave me a binged-out sugar blah.

When I watched The Sound of Music a few months ago, however, I experienced a completely different movie, though the scenes were true to my memory. I found myself rejoicing when the captain allowed his musical children sing again, though this outcome came as no surprise to me. I cried when Lisl’s old boyfriend, who had since joined the SS, sneaked into the garden to give her a heads-up about the Nazis’ plans for her Jewish family. That the Von Trapps were Jewish had escaped me as a cynically naïve child, who knew even less history than I do now. In the third-to-last scene, when the door out of the amphitheater remains empty after the audience’s encore, my heart swelled with emotion and suspenseful anticipation in the knowledge that they were making their escape to Switzerland. The Sound of Music I saw recently was, if anything, curiously understated.

In college, I refused to cry in Love Story, the tearjerker of my college years. It seemed so maudlin back then. I haven’t seen it since. The young woman died of cancer, is all I remember. Cancer is not maudlin stuff, when I look back on it.

I now allow myself to cry in poignant movies. I also cry from deep nostalgia, such as watching George Harrison’s Concert for Bangladesh, which reminded me of youthful foolishness and a yearning for the idealism of the post-Vietnam ‘70s. (You know you’re getting old when you start bemoaning lost eras of halcyon youth.)

Perhaps my youthful cynicism about things poignant had everything to do with my early inability to finish sad books, because the sadness was too much for me to bear. For me, crying provided no catharsis, but rather plunged me into a weepy abyss of ever-deepening melancholy. Now artistic tragedy provides me a finite opportunity to cry without the open-ended weepiness from personal grief. Tragedy in art creates a cathartic closure. Personal tragedy just goes on.

       Read more of Mary-Minn's Stim Pages HERE


 

Canine Cardiology - Surgery in Blue Ash will repair Chewey's rapid heartbeat

BY PEGGY O'FARRELL | POFARRELL@ENQUIRER.COM

Like most Labrador retrievers, Chewey is all heart.

That's why he'll make a good service dog once he finishes training.
"He loves everyone," said his temporary owner, Mary Shimel, who lives near Portland, Ore. "If you're sitting down, he has to use your feet as a pillow."

First, though, the 6-month-old yellow Lab has to undergo surgery to fix an electrical glitch in that big puppy heart of his.

Two local experts - Kathy Wright, a veterinary cardiologist at Cincinnati Animal Referral and Emergency Center in Blue Ash, and Timothy Knilans, a pediatric cardiologist at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center - will oversee Chewey's surgery today at the veterinary clinic.

Chewey will undergo a radiofrequency catheter ablation to correct a glitch that makes his heart race too fast. His heart should beat about 100 to 115 beats per minute. But sometimes, it races as fast as 300 beats a minute or more. Without surgery, Chewey will likely die by the time he's 3.

"I have three dogs at home, and we really love our dogs," Knilans said. "We actually have one dog who just had cancer and went through chemotherapy. That's one of the reasons I've stayed with this. I have a good empathy for people who have dogs who have these kinds of problems. When you realize you can take a dog that's a year old or 2 years old and cure them from a life-threatening disease in a single procedure, you can't turn your back on that."

Cost for Chewey's procedure is $6,000 and up. The Four-Legged Friends Heart Foundation will pay for 75 percent of the cost; Autism Service Dogs of America in Lake Oswego, Ore., will pay the rest.

Shimel and her family have fostered Chewey since Dec. 1 for Autism Service Dogs of America. He's the second therapy dog they've raised and taken through training. "You get very attached to them," she said. "He's part of the family. And he'll be a service dog. He has a job to do, so he needs to be in the best physical condition possible."

Chewey will live with Shimel and her family until he's about 20 months old. Then, he'll start more advanced training so he can be placed with a family.

"You do shed a few tears when you say goodbye," she said. "But you know he's leaving for a good purpose."

Read more here


From Kenny

Hi Mary:

How is it going. What have you been doing since I last seen you?

I want to share something with you. We have a thing called Advocacy Day which is a bunch of self advocates go down to State Capitol. I don't know if you do that. There are different topics. This topic was Autism Day. I don't know but April is Autism awareness month.

Anyways, we had Autism Rally. There were a lot of people who gave
speeches. I didn't though. It was interesting. There were students from a high school giving a presentation. Students that I sort of know. I think one of the teachers is on the Autism Board. There was one
regular student and the other students had autism. His topic was interesting, how people look at him, glare at him.

I could not stay for the whole rally. I had appointments with my legislators. That's when I did a little bit of talking. I was educating my
legislators about autism. I had to do it quick because we only had 5 minutes with our legislators.

How it works, sometimes we don't talk with our legislators, we talk to their aids. Anyways, I had a good discussion and some peoples have a bracelet that tells about their disability. But me, I have a card that educates people about my autism. Some people assume that I am intoxicated. I educate people in the community and educate people in general. A friend of mine made the card for me that explains a little bit about my autism. So, it was a fun day and a long day. I went with people from the ARC. They have children who have autism. The mother who works at the ARC brought her adult son. He is verbal like me and asks a lot of questions.

I might have told you this but maybe I did not, one guy on the street corner I spent 45 minutes trying to educate him. He was saying that I was making an excuse. Which he did not understand and was uneducated. He was telling me that he was an alcoholic and he was choosing to be an alcoholic. I told him alcohol is a choice you make but what I got I was born with. I tried to educate him and I showed him my card. He goes, I am very intelligent. Spent 45 minutes and then I found I was not getting anywhere. So, I just told the guy "have a nice night.”

Also, I was on the Autism board but I am not anymore. Because they were using me as a token. Kind of wanted me to just sit in the corner, I was not recognized, I was ignored.

Anyways, I wonder if you guys have Advocacy Days and Autism Rally in your state. Because I know my State Capitol is in Olympia and yours is in Salem. I don't get stuff anymore from Autism in Washington. The only stuff I get is from you guys.

Anyways, I just wanted to share that with you.
I miss you.

Kenny Miller
(Ed. Note: Kenny is a regular at our Camp / Retreat, and is an autism advocate and speaker.)


Oregon Prescription Drug Program

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Enrollment is FREE!

ALL OREGONIANS can now join.

This program takes only one minute to enroll in by phone or on-line.

It requires no paperwork and has no age or income limits to receive a Prescription Discount Card.

Call 1-800-913-4146 or go to www.opdp.org

Sponsored by the State of Oregon, member of Northwest Prescription Drug Consortium


Online only
Legislative ALERT:

Help get the Federal LifeSpan Respite Care Act funded. Call your representative in Congress.

 

From Katy

I've done certain design cutting with paper before but not the kind shown in the email that the one person did its very talented work quit detailed and 3D like for sure i almost wouldn't mind meeting the person who did them and have the person show me how to do it I hope its not as hard as learning etcha sketch work all though i can draw a paper clip on a etcha sketch witch i was just doodling with a etcha sketch one time and then all of a sudden i realized i had drawn a paper clip the only other thing i can kind of draw on a etcha sketch is a house sorta that's about it i'm not real artistic either is my mother the only artistic thing i'm real good at is scrap booking witch my grandma dose as well i guess it comes from being into photographs and so on that makes me good at scrap booking or maby its because my grandma is good at it witch makes me have the talent like her.Yesterday i started my new volunteer work experience job at Food For Lane County doing kitchen work i had to fill celery with cream cheese but it wasn't easy because the cream cheese was hard to spread because it wasn't very creamy enough to spread it was a little of a mess to do but kind of fun at the same time Collin also volunteers there so i saw and worked with her on the celery i told her that i see Josh sometimes and that i saw him at the support group she said that she wasn't with him anymore and i told her that i knew that and understood a lot of people volunteer at food for Lane county i'm use to being at volunteer sites where there is just a few people or where there is just me and one other person doing a job such as custodian work at food for lane county your surrounded by people doing different types of work.

KindTree Computer Program

The computer referral program with NextStep has been going smoothly. Due to the popularity and far-reaching services of the international program, I have only had the opportunity to actually place one computer, but KindTree currently has 5 referrals for computers waiting to be filled and 30+ to be submitted after that. There is a wait-list with both KindTree and NextStep, but everyone I have spoken to is truly grateful for the assistance even if it is a handful of weeks in coming. I have received calls from as far away as Maine. Computers are requested for simple distraction and games as well as for improvement of coordination and as a means for communication. The NextStep referral service is truly a unique and wonderful program. What could be better than to receive a lovingly rehabilitated computer for nearly free? Here's to many more referrals! Call 541-343-4636 or computers@kindtree.org


FREE Federal Access Pass to National Parks

Dana Campbell from SOARS (Salem Oregon Autism Resources) found this gem:

Free lifetime access passes for people with permanent disabilities AND their family members (up to 4 adults) to ALL national parks. With proof (see below), you can pick up a pass at various locations.

Dana found that the BLM Salem Office (1717 Fabry) can issue the pass. It must be requested in person.

From: http://store.usgs.gov/pass/access.html


Government Concedes Vaccine - Autism Case in Federal Court - Now What?

By David Kirby, February 25, 2008

After years of insisting there is no evidence to link vaccines with the onset of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), the US government has quietly conceded a vaccine-autism case in the Court of Federal Claims.

The unprecedented concession was filed on November 9, and sealed to protect the plaintiff's identify. It was obtained through individuals unrelated to the case.

The claim, one of 4,900 autism cases currently pending in Federal "Vaccine Court," was conceded by US Assistant Attorney General Peter Keisler and other Justice Department officials, on behalf of the Department of Health and Human Services, the "defendant" in all Vaccine Court cases.

The child's claim against the government -- that mercury-containing vaccines were the cause of her autism -- was supposed to be one of three "test cases" for the thimerosal-autism theory currently under consideration by a three-member panel of Special Masters, the presiding justices in Federal Claims Court.

Keisler wrote that medical personnel at the HHS Division of Vaccine Injury Compensation (DVIC) had reviewed the case and "concluded that compensation is appropriate."

The doctors conceded that the child was healthy and developing normally until her 18-month well-baby visit, when she received vaccinations against nine different diseases all at once (two contained thimerosal).

Days later, the girl began spiraling downward into a cascade of illnesses and setbacks that, within months, presented as symptoms of autism, including: No response to verbal direction; loss of language skills; no eye contact; loss of "relatedness;" insomnia; incessant screaming; arching; and "watching the florescent lights repeatedly during examination.

"Seven months after vaccination, the patient was diagnosed by Dr. Andrew Zimmerman, a leading neurologist at the Kennedy Krieger Children's Hospital Neurology Clinic, with "regressive encephalopathy (brain disease) with features consistent with autistic spectrum disorder, following normal development."

Read more here

“Now, the American people are left to interpret what it all means.” Here is a handy guide. You can:
A) Blindly trust what government officials are saying (or not saying)
or
B) Invest 30 minutes in the future of your nation's young people (do it now, over a nice, warm latte!) and go Google for yourself.

Read more here


Vancouver couple show autism, romance can coexist

By ERIN MIDDLEWOOD, The Columbian (This article from the Seattle Times talks about two of KindTree’s artists with autism. )

Emilia Murry Ramey and Jody John Ramey have co-written a book titled "Autistics' Guide to Dating." In the book, the married couple reflect on their personal experiences and give advice on relationships.

VANCOUVER, Wash. — Emilia Murry Ramey and Jody John Ramey met through a mutual friend. They soon discovered they had more in common than their friend. Both were students at Portland State University. And both have autism.

The Vancouver couple are among the estimated 1.5 million Americans living with the effects of some degree of autism.

Specifically, Emilia and Jody both have Asperger syndrome, marked by social awkwardness and a lack of understanding of conventional social rules.

As if dating weren't hard enough.

"I hadn't had any dating experience before meeting her," said Jody, 35.

"I used to say I had more jobs than dates," joked Emilia, 33.

Not only did Jody and Emilia figure out dating, they laid out tips for others in a book, "Autistics' Guide to Dating: A Book by Autistics, for Autistics and Those Who Love Them or Who Are in Love with Them."

The book is available for $19.95 on the London-based Jessica Kingsley Publishers Web site jkp.com.

"A lot of literature on autistics comes from the medical community that shows autistics as broken and in need of fixing," Jody said. "We don't talk about autism as a deficit at all. We talk about how to sell the positive traits of autism in a romance."

The couple, who married in 2006, didn't set out to write a book. Soon after they started dating, Jody, who has made presentations at autism conferences around the world, suggested they make a proposal to the Autscape conference in London for a session on dating

 

 

"Since we'd only been dating for two weeks, she thought I was nuts," Jody said. But Emilia was willing.

The couple's presentation was a success, and they went on to offer similar sessions.

"We decided the book was the next step," Jody said. "A large percentage of our book is just good, solid relationship principles."

The book stresses communication.
"People on the autism spectrum aren't good at reading subtle social cues," Emilia said. So couples have to specifically voice their feelings and concerns. Even then, she said, things can get tricky.
Emilia said she learned that if something Jody said offended her, she should ask what he meant before getting upset.

The book also addresses touch, which makes many autistics uncomfortable.

"I'm a bit touch-defensive," Jody said. "It isn't that I don't like to be touched. It's that there are specific ways I like to be touched. The book helps couples find those ways no matter what their verbal ability."

Autistic people often have very narrow interests, which can be a barrier to connecting with others. The book helps them navigate beyond a laser-point focus.

"If you love 'Star Trek,' go to a 'Star Trek' convention," Jody said. "Don't talk about 'Star Trek' at your grandmother's funeral."

The book also seeks to help autistics overcome stereotypes.

"One of the problems that holds people back is a negative view of autistics," Emilia said. "People think of 'Rain Man' or someone banging their head against the wall.

Autistics can have successful relationships."


Online only
Autism Breakthrough: Girl's Writings Explain Her Behavior and Feelings Doctors Amazed by Carly Fleischmann's Ability to Describe the Disorder From the Inside

Carly Fleischmann has severe autism and is unable to speak a word. But thanks to years of expensive and intensive therapy, this 13-year-old has made a remarkable breakthrough.


Read More, See the Video:
Autistic Teen Finds Voice

Two years ago, working with pictures and symbols on a computer keyboard, she started typing and spelling out words. The computer became her voice.

"All of a sudden these words started to pour out of her, and it was an exciting moment because we didn't realize she had all these words," said speech pathologist Barbara Nash. "It was one of those moments in my career that I'll never forget."

CLICK HERE TO READ CARLY'S ANSWERS TO VIEWERS' QUESTIONS.

Then Carly began opening up, describing what it was like to have autism and why she makes odd noises or why she hits herself.

"It feels like my legs are on first and a million ants are crawling up my arms," Carly said through the computer.

Carly writes about her frustrations with her siblings, how she understands their jokes and asks when can she go on a date.

"We were stunned," Carly's father Arthur Fleischmann said. "We realized inside was an articulate, intelligent, emotive person that we had never met. This was unbelievable because it opened up a whole new way of looking at her." This is what Carly wants people to know about autism.

"It is hard to be autistic because no one understands me. People look at me and assume I am dumb because I can't talk or I act differently than them. I think people get scared with things that look or seem different than them." "Laypeople would have assumed she was mentally retarded or cognitively impaired. Even professionals labelled her as moderately to severely cognitively impaired. In the old days you would say mentally retarded, which means low IQ and low promise and low potential," Arthur Fleischman said.

Read more here...


Online only
Advanced Parental Age Predicts Risk for Autism Spectrum Disorder in Children

News Author: Laurie Barclay, MD
CME Author: Hien T. Nghiem, MD

April 5, 2007 — Advanced maternal and paternal ages are independently linked with risk for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in children, according to the results of a historical birth cohort study reported in the April issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

Lisa A. Croen, PhD, from the Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program in Oakland, California, and colleagues studied all singleton children born at Kaiser Permanente in Northern California from January 1, 1995, to December 31, 1999, and they identified 593 children who had ASD diagnoses (International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification, code 299.0 or 299.8) recorded twice or more in Kaiser Permanente outpatient databases before May 2005. These 593 children were compared with the remaining 132,251 singleton Kaiser Permanente births.

Primary endpoints were relative risks (RRs) for ASD, estimated from proportional hazards regression models evaluating maternal and paternal ages, adjusted for each other and for the sex, birth date, and birth order of the child; maternal and paternal educational levels; and maternal and paternal races/ethnicities.

The risk for ASDs increased significantly with each 10-year increase in maternal age (adjusted RR, 1.31; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.07 - 1.62) and paternal age (RR, 1.28; 95% CI, 1.09 - 1.51).

Read More here...


Community Calendar

March 13 Kathie Snow / April 25 Norm Kunc / June 20 David Pitnoyak / September 25 Cathy Ficker-Terill
2008 Oregon Trainings Series on Direct Supports This series of trainings will be targeted to "direct support providers and related professionals who support individuals with developmental disabilities, including independent and family providers."
The series will deliver six four-hour teleconferences to a network of host sites throughout the state and feature nationally-recognized speakers.
All trainings are from 8:30 am to 12:30 pm. More info: www.directsupports.com

March 16 - NextStep Recycling Celebration Party. America Hometown Hero Award for the Environment PARTY! Honoring NextStep founder Elaine Kerwood, a person with Aspergers. We will be providing food, drinks and treats as a small token of our enormous gratitude.
3-5 at the Washington Park Recreation Center, 2025 Washington Street, Eugene. KindTree's computer program Partner.

March 16 - ASO DAN! Doctor. This will be a great opportunity if you've ever wondered what diet, supplements and other options parents have found beneficial for helping their child... Hillsboro Presbyterian Church jenny.schoonbee@yahoo.com

March 19 - Self Advocates as Leaders Life Stories Workshop. 9:30-11:30 AM LCC in Coyyage Grove RSVP tsalusso@southlanewheels.org 541 942 0456.

March 21 : Music and Poetry Event: David Rogers, classical guitar ~ Leonard Cirino, poet~ Starts 6 PM at "The Moon Upstairs", the SAFE performing venue 225 Main St Springfield

April 11 - “Bounce for Autism,” a new nationwide, community-based fundraising event that combines family fun with raising awareness and support for autism.
Kids, families and friends of all ages can “bounce” at a Pump It Up location, and all proceeds raise funds to support autism.
Participants form a “Sock Squad” - their team of bouncers committed to raising funds to help improve the lives of all affected by autism. www.Autism-society.org

April 11 : Chico Schwall and Percy Hilo, Contemporary Folk~ Starts 6 PM at "The Moon Upstairs", the SAFE performing venue 225 Main St Springfield

April 12 - The performance of “Wonderland” will be presented at the Richard Wildish Theater 630 Main Street, Springfield, at 1:00 p.m. More Bridgeway House events, groups and classes here: www.bridgewayhouse.org

April 13- ASO 6th annual Autism Walk-a-thon, Oaks Park in SE Portland. More info: www.autismwalkathon.com

April 18 - The Autism Ball Portland. Hilton Grand Ballroom, 921 W Sixth Avenue, 7:00pm - 12:30am Dinner, Drinks, Dancing & Silent Auction.
Black Tie Please - $150/per ticket (Inquire about discounts for table purchases) theautismball@hotmail.com

April 18 : Premiere! Variety Open Mic~Hosted by Larry Dobberstein of Community TV: Musicians, poets, other performers welcome Sign ups at 6 PM, Starts 6:30 PM at "The Moon Upstairs", the SAFE performing venue 225 Main St Springfield

April 24-25 Autism EI Conference, Medford, Or. Presentations include: How to Teach Parents Strategies to Enhance their Child’s Social Communication Skills - Building Listening Skills - Putting Relationships in the Forefront - Understanding the Individual Differences and How We Can Support the Strengths in the Child. And many more.
More info: smendoza@asante.org

May 18 - Sunday afternoon at the KindTree Autism Forum. “The Spectrum Speaks” More info here....

May 29-31 - the first statewide disability MegaConference. “To provide a forum to educate, empower, inspire and connect all people involved in the field of disabilities.” KindTree plans on presenting here. More info: www.arcoregon.org

June 14 “Autism Artism 2008” Gala Opening Party, LCC Art Gallery, Bldg #11, 4-8pm. Come celebrate artists with autism. Free. More info here

July 4-6 Art & the Vineyard featuring the Autism Rocks Traveling Art Show, Alton Baker Park.

August 22-24 KindTree Autism Camp/Retreat. More info here.


October, 2007

Halloween is Coming / Mary-Minn's Stim Page / A NEW Way to Join the Community
ASO-LCC Respite Program / Holiday Shopping
MASK MAKING PARTY ! !
Gardening Anyone? /Oregon Partners in Policymaking
What is There in Salem? / 'Autistics' are People, Too
This is For YOU / Parental Survey Helps / Retreat Feedback
Volunteer and donor THANK YOU

Community Calendar


Summer is Over, HALLOWEEN is Coming

Another Summer has come and gone. 100 guests at our 12th Retreat, 63 volunteers (thank you), 5 lifeguards and 1 cook - all of us had a great time. Thank you all for being there and being family for a weekend. It’s the best.
This last month I’ve spent some time updating the art section of KindTree’s website. Its a work in progress. New artists are sharing their work and veterans continue to create wonderful stuff. All their images are online and easy to order with PayPal. Go take a look.

Ben Iorio draws Civil War scenes. Barbara Moran draws trains. Suzie Noel draws big hats. They offer you a great selection of notecards and prints, even some original framed artwork.

One parent sent me this note, “He loves to see them online. Are you looking for certain art work that maybe he can practice at so they can be accepted? We'd love to send more of what works for you. Thanks! It really builds his self-esteem.” Who knows what talent we can nurture, what dreams we can make come true? Please think of KindTree when you purchase cards this Holiday season.

HALLOWEEN is coming - and we have a fun party coming up making your own mask and/or singing karaoke with your friends. Plus we have a surprise for you. The Cloud City Garrison, a group of STAR WARS Storm Troopers, will be there to hang out, chat with everyone, take pictures - maybe even show us a little Storm Trooper action. So wear your costume, make a new mask, and get up close and personal with the Empire. Good luck!

A few weeks ago the ASO-LCC met. We talked some about the need for the autism Community to develop a unified voice here in Oregon. From the minutes: “Our community would benefit greatly from the establishment of a single voice, of an "expert" source of autism info for the legislators, and for a network of activists that could create e-mail campaigns, visits to Salem, etc, to support legislative efforts. We agreed it was of utmost importance to get together as a community, resolve our differences and agree on a core group of policy elements to support. We are determined to do more to make this happen.”

If you are interested in this concept, please attend the ASO-LCC meeting November 7. Or contact me or Joyce Bernheim Jmbernheim@aol.com. We can make good things happen together.

KT Board member Gary Cornelius resigned this month, citing his work at the Brethern Community Services, and of course, he is a newlywed. Long life, Gary, and thanks a lot. We’ll miss you.

So, folks, we have a vacancy...

Tim Mueller



VISIT eSCRIP and Help Us OUT!! /

Or Donate to support...

 
A New Way to
Join the KindTree Community

Click on the bar below to join our autism community! This link will install a special KindTree Toolbar in your browser, connecting you to our autism chat room and keeping you up to date with new developments at KindTree. Become and eFriend of KindTree and join the fun today.


ASO Respite Program:
Take a Break on ASO

ASO-LCC will help pay respite care expenses while you
Take a Break.
Read more here...


Autism Rocks Mask Making Party
October 21, 2-5pm.
Cozmic Pizza,
8th and Charnelton
$5 each, $20 family

Join us for fun mask making with

Star Wars Storm Troopers &
CenterStage Karaoke
Wear your own costume!
Make your own mask!
Sing your own song!


see you then...


Interested in Gardening?
For more details about an adaptive garden,Call Charlene Bigelow - 688-2542. She is the master gardener who asked if KindTree knew of any autistic kids in need of gardening experience. Grow your own food! Very cool.

 

Mary-Minn's Stim Page

(Here are personal stories about autism. If you would like to see your musings on this page, please email Mary-Minn at sirag@mindspring.com.)

Behind the Wheel

My biggest adult milestone was learning to drive at the tender age of 35. It was an uphill battle–both up steep hills in San Francisco and on mountain roads, and up against self-doubt, which was pounded into me further from the time I took drivers ed in high school until I took it upon myself to hire what I called a “special ed” driving instructor. My life journey in driving has been a multi-faceted case history of living with autism, before autism became a trendy topic of tear-jerking feature articles in People Magazine.

My driving history started in rural western Maryland with Drivers Ed in 11th grade. Brunswick, where I spent the last 2-1/2 years of high school, was a moribund railroad town near the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, across the Potomac from Virginia and Harpers Ferry. Most students had lived nowhere else. Many of them had grown up in poverty.

“I see my driving experiences as a parable about living with autism.. ”


My family had just moved to Maryland from Lebanon, where my brothers and I attended an American prep school that prided itself in being international, though it was in actuality xenophobically American. Though moving back to the States was a culture shock for my brothers and me, I found Brunswick High more laid-back, especially socially.

The Drivers Ed instructor Mr. Horine, was a mean old (read, probably 55-year-old or so) sourpuss who prided himself in his superiority in spelling. One day, he bet us a dollar that none of us could spell Fahrenheit. I was enraged by his presumptions that we were all “idiots”, especially since so many of my fellow students came from impoverished and disadvantaged families, and had heard little else. I figuratively stuck my tongue out at him, marched up to the black board, and spelled Fahrenheit, sticking my palm in his face to get paid now. He was not amused, though my fellow students were. In his eyes, this petty act of defiance transformed me from a skinny know-it-all to a force to be contended with through the rest of his tenure with me.
The driving part of drivers ed provided him with a stellar opportunity to wreak vengeance on me. Most of the driving took place in the school parking lot. Physical obstacles were replaced by Day-Glo red cones. Whereas most of my fellow students had been driving their parents’ car with their parents or driving tractors, I had driven nothing but bicycles.

The cars we drove were spanking new (1971) pastel yellow Catalina Pontiacs, with 8-cylinder engines. Mr. Horine would stand on the sidewalk as he barked commands over a megaphone at the cars. In retrospect, I find it strange that the cars were so luxurious; whereas, we had only one instructor for 20 students. Two students were assigned to each car. He barely explained the controls before asking us to back up and then drive around the range. After shifting jerkily from reverse into drive, I stepped on the accelerator, and found my partner and me sailing through a cornfield. She was shrieking in terror; I was frozen by my confusion with this huge boat I was trying to maneuver. From then on, she would slam on the brakes whenever I depressed the accelerator.

One of my many problems was that I was too short to see over the looming hood, which made it harder for me to see the cones and judge my distance from them. Worse yet was my difficulty making the conceptual leap from cones to physical obstacles, so I was constantly denting and running over cones. I was hopeless on the last two days, as well, when we actually “hit the road,” an all-too-apt description of my nascent driving style.

Mr. Horine held onto his grudge against me. He gave me the lowest passing grade because he didn’t want to be required to teach me all over again at no charge. He made this explicitly clear to me.

I passed the written part of my driving test and got my drivers permit, but my parents were too scared of my curb-hugging driving style to travel with me behind the wheel, so the rigors of drivers ed were all but wasted on me. People disparaged my ability to drive ever.

I spent the remaining 20 years dealing with not being able to drive. When I was 24, I moved to New York City, partly to be able to get around easily without a car. I lived in big cities (Washington D.C., New York, and the San Francisco Bay Area) for the next 11 years, and missed being able to drive when I wanted to “get out of Dodge.”

When I was 31, I decided to actually learn to drive. I looked in the Yellow Pages, and happened upon an ideal instructor. I told him that I needed a special-ed driving instructor. He told me that he taught many older adults such as myself. He was a gentle and patient man, a former accountant from England who shared my love of 19th century English literature. It took me 17 lessons to drive sufficiently well to aim the car in the right direction while keeping inside my lane. I passed the driving test by a razor-thin margin. The man who was testing me just so happened to be traumatized by a serious injury incurred during a previous driving test, so he directed me gingerly to make safe decisions.

Over the following four years, I went out driving twice to Muir Woods and Mt. Tamalpais in a rental car. It wasn’t until 1989, at the tender age of 35, that I bought my first car, a 1978 Toyota Corona station wagon, and started driving in earnest. My future husband and I were moving to the Sonoma coast range for our brief back-to-the-land stint. The property we were trying to buy was in a somewhat remote location on privately maintained gravel roads, off the electrical grid. Driving was essential.

For that first year, I aimed the car carefully, relying heavily on my hair-trigger reflexes. My brakes failed during our second day there, as I was driving down the mountain on a lane-and-a-half hairpin turn overlooking a cavernous precipice, with no any guard rails. Fortunately, time slowed down for me, giving my brain time to aim the car into the upward part of the vertical cliff, while avoiding hitting the fuel tank. I emerged physically unscathed, my car needing no more than a transfusion of brake fluid and a plastering of duct tape around the tail light on the passenger’s side.

Though my driving record so far is clear of accidents, driving smoothly has been an ongoing challenge for me­–and even more problematic for my hapless passengers. I think this has something to do with Theory of Mind: whereas I am at one with the movements of a car with myself at the controls, I am not at one with what it feels like to be a passenger behind my wheel. In short, I lack kinesthetic empathy. On the good flip side, I seem to have inherited trigger-fast reflexes from my daredevil maternal grandfather, who was a race car driver, a barnstorming pilot, a record-breaking parachuter, and Army-Air Force pilot between the wars. (He died in his 20s, testing an Army Air Force plane.)

My genetically endowed reflexes are offset by a bad sense of direction, a poor recognition of many things including places I have been, total reliance on rote memory, and fear of having to think on my feet. If there is an unforeseen fork in the road, it is almost a certainty that I will pick the wrong road, even if I’ve encountered that fork befor e. I have yet to figure out some way to second-guess my decision making with reverse psychology, by calling on my iffy intuition and then going against it.

I have lived in Eugene for 16 years, and have memorized various lock-step routes to and from my various destinations. From these lock-step routes, I radiate to new destinations, usually opting for rote easiness rather than directness or efficiency. I avoid left turns without lights. I try to go with the dominant traffic flow, with rather than against the right-of-way. I scrupulously avoid new routes, where I risk having to figure out too quickly whether it’s a four- or two-way stop or how to merge into a dominant lane fraught with unyielding drivers. When I am at a four-way stop is the only time I overcome my discomfort with eye contact; I rely on it to read the intentions of the other drivers. (I also think that driving requires some ESP, as there often is insufficient information to make informed and safe decisions.) I use my good rote memory to avoid lane changes–or, even better, to stay in the same lane. Despite having memorized these routes, I often find myself lock-stepping to the wrong destination. Keeping all these things straight keeps my mind at attention.

I am quite terrified in parking lots because right-of-way is so ambiguous. When reversing, I encounter many nasty human and motorized surprises. The larger and more amorphous the parking lot, the more avoidant I become. I would sooner have to walk across the parking lot than park in a packed no-zone closer to my destination. Same goes for prepaid parking garages, whose rules mystify me. On the other hand, I have always been good at parallel parking, as it’s only a matter of figuring out a formula for when to start turning the wheel; even if I don’t make it the first time, I can turn in and out until I get it right.

I have heard that many drivers space out whole portions of their journeys because driving is so mindlessly easy. Not so for me. Even after 18 years of driving under different conditions, I haven’t lost the white-knuckled immediacy of driving or the gratitude of surviving almost daily brushes with the grim reaper.

I see my driving experiences as a parable about living with autism. Driving provides a constant reminder of my rigidity toward sudden changes in plan; my difficulty multitasking, changing direction or focus; my reliance on rote memory; my poor navigation skills. As if these limitations aren’t hobbling enough, I find myself up against a deficient Theory of Mind especially toward my passengers. The rich irony is that I simulate a Theory of Mind toward my road mates by making eye contact with them, as it is essential to understand their intentions at a glance. Driving has forced me to develop a level of awareness that I otherwise would not have.

Mary-Minn Sirag

       Read more of Mary-Minn's Stim Pages HERE


Apply For Oregon Partners in Policymaking

When asked, "What was your favorite aspect of Oregon Partners in Policymaking?" Oregon Partners Graduates replied: “I loved the info, the application of the information, the encouragement, the confidence, giving you the direction for your life in the community, the schools, and the possibilities for your children that you didn't know existed. Bringing out emotion, all emotion for so many things, how to channel it, and how to take care of yourself, which is overlooked so many times. The experience testifying at the capitol. It has elevated my life in so many ways. PIP has helped change my life and put me on a road that I only hoped to be on."“Knowledge really IS power. With it all things, including change, are really possible! The bonds and power to change will last a lifetime. Not only will the lives of people with disabilities become better for it, but our children will see that strength and determination really do make a difference. And that dreams really do come true if you try hard enough ...What better legacy could we pass on?"

During each one-weekend session over the course of 8 months, Partners covers a different topic area, and participants build their communication and advocacy skills.
The concepts and issues presented include:
• The history of disability rights movement and perceptions of people with disabilities
• Self-determination and self-advocacy
• Whole-life planning: person-centered plans, legal and estate planning
• State-supported services: service coordination and service models
• Specialized supports: assistive technology, environmental accommodations, behavioral supports, best practices• Special Education: inclusion, transition, federal and state laws
• Accessibility and the Americans with Disabilities Act
• State and federal legislative issues: how to get involved, how to influence policy
• Community organizing: how to work together to make systems change

For more information and an application, go here: http://www.oregonpartners.org/node/28
The deadline is November 9, 2007


What is There in Salem for Aspergers?

I'm not sure what or how you can help. If you can, thanks.

In Salem, there is a monthly group for Autism Spectrum Disorder, nothing for Aspergers. There are a few more activities in Bend and Portland, nothing like Eugene's events.

I want meet more people, adults and children, with Aspergers autism. I want a local counselor, therapist for Aspergers.

I am also interested in lunches and special diets. I want to start a lunch meeting and more. I want Salem to have a fraction of the Aspergers groups, meetings, counseling, lunches, festivals, ...

Nicole E F Taylor

Please contact tim@kindtree.org with information we can send to Nicole. Thanks


THIS IS FOR YOU!

My child has autism. I know that. I’m not in denial. How could I be? I live it every day. I have other children. My friends have children. I know the difference. They answer questions, my child might not. They play together, my child might not. They share their thoughts, my child might not.

My child is different. He is on his own mission. I’m happy to be by his side. I am thrilled when he learns something new, no matter how small. I am proud when he accomplishes something I once never thought possible. I take delight in his idiosyncrasies. Please rejoice with me. Please notice his worth. My child is multifaceted. He has weaknesses and strengths. He has deficits and skills. People are always pointing out the deficits. Please join me in noticing his skills.

Teachers. In our meetings, please allow for some time to recognize my child’s good points. When you do, I go home walking on air. When you don’t, I drive home in tears.

SLP’s, OT’s and PT’s. When your opening statement is a positive remark about my child, I begin to relax. When you only voice concerns, my stomach twists into knots.

ABA therapists & Camp Counselors. When you greet me by telling me my son had a great day, my anxiety fades. When you focus on the deficits, your words hurt me deeply all day.

Consultants, Psychologists and Social Workers.
When you begin with positive observations, my heart soars in delight. When you only stress your concerns, my heart splits in two.

- By Jene Aviram
copyright © 2003-2007 Jene Aviram of Natural Learning Concepts. http://www.nlconcepts.com

'Autistics' are people to

Posted: Thursday, Aug 16th, 2007 Cottage Grove Sentinel, BY: Loren Goodman

Hello Cottage Grove. My name is Loren Goodman! I would like to mention another person with Autism here in Cottage Grove....... myself! I am 38 years old. My Autism is high functioning.

I am annoyed at how certain society "cliques" treat Autistics. We Autistics are like other "types" of people. We have a disability. It may not be as severe as others. We Autistics need to be treated fairly by disabled and normal alike. Are we not people too?

I also wish that there was a support group for the Autistic Individuals (not just the parents) here in Cottage Grove. I may not be the only one who wants a group like this here. A group which accepts you as you are. A type of group who does not make one person more important than the others.

I think that a group would be helpful here.. Because.. I have lived here for approximately six years and I would like to become acquainted with other high functioning Autistics like me.

Mary Minn Sirag is a good person in my view. She does great work where she lives... Eugene ! But... What about us Autistics here in Cottage Grove? I applaud Joe Hansen for doing this two part expose on Autism.

It was a good thing for the Autistics to be highlighted like this. Thank you for doing that. I hope that you have started up the awareness of another type of people which exist here. I am sure that all of the people mentioned in the two-parter appreciated it as well. I am including their families and loved ones and friends too. Add the readers too. I would also like to thank Cottage Grove itself too. The reason is: our town is a compassionate place to live.

Loren Goodman, Cottage Grove


A mouse trap, placed on top of your alarm clock, will prevent you from rolling over and going back to sleep after you hit the snooze button.

 



Parental Surveys Boost Diagnosis Abilities of Doctors

Newswise — A simple questionnaire developed at the University of Oregon and requiring no more than 15 minutes of a parent’s time before or after a doctor’s appointment is credited with a 224-percent increase in referrals of year-old and 2-year-old children with mild developmental delays in a yearlong study.

Researchers found that on doctors’ observations alone 53 of 78 referrals for special services or additional monitoring would not have been made without the Ages & Stages Questionnaires (ASQ) filled out by parents at home or in the office. Thirty-eight children underwent further evaluation and qualified for federally funded early intervention services, and 44 others became eligible for additional monitoring. The study appeared in the August issue of the journal Pediatrics.

“Seeing the results as a percentage was pretty shocking,” said lead author Hollie Hix-Small, who this year earned a doctorate from the Early Intervention Program in the UO College of Education. She now is a UO research associate and an independent early childhood consultant.

The 224-percent jump in referrals occurred despite just a 54 percent return rate of the survey, which was given to 1,428 parents or caregivers, and a 15 percent decrease in patient volume in the newborn to 2-year-old range compared to the control (no ASQ screening) year. Almost certainly, the referral rate would have been higher had more forms been completed, said co-author Dr. Kevin Marks, a pediatrician at the PeaceHealth Medical Group in Eugene.

“The study was about making quality improvements in health-care delivery,” Marks said. “We had intuitions that physicians had difficulty identifying children with mild developmental delays, especially in the fine motor, problem-solving and personal-social domains. Physicians focus mostly on milestones involving communication and gross motor skills. The data shows that when physicians suspect a delay, those children are almost always eligible for early intervention services, but, at the same time, we have our limited powers of observation.”
Those limits, he added, often result from busy offices, including tight scheduling and heavy patient loads.

Read more here:
http://www.newswise.com/articles/view/533281
Links: UO Early Intervention Program (EIP): http://eip.uoregon.edu/index.html;
EIP testing site of ASQ for 12-month to 24-month old children: http://asq.uoregon.edu



 

Autism Retreat Feedback
Comments from this year's feedback forms.

· Enjoyed volunteering. Learned so much. Thanks!
· Enjoyed cooking, meeting new friends and camping.
· Karen, the cook, was great. I suggest Friday “meet and greet” for AS adults. Enjoyed seeing people have fun. Exceeding my expectations.
· I loved lifeguarding and want to come back next year.
· Though I don’t face as many autie hardships as many others, I felt like I belonged to this blessed community, unlike during past retreats. This one exceeded my expectations.
· Loved Raventones’ live music.
· Loved Raventones.
· Loved Raventones.
· Loved talent show and Raventones
· Nice venue for kids with similar needs to network and share interests. Helped to alleviate camping stress.
· Loved fishing and canoeing
· Very nice people and volunteers. Art table and stim toys were good. Tell folks to bring their own tee-shirts for tee-shirt painting. Wonderful weekend!
· Loved swimming.
· Loved Saturday night campfire and Raventones. Gets better every year. Would love WiFi.
· Loved waterfront activities. Can’t wait for next year’s retreat.
· Loved karaoke and waterfront activities.
Hilarious fun.

Mark Your Calendar:
Camp/Retreat 2008 August 22-24, 2008 See you there...

 


Community Calendar

October 15 - December 3, 6:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. 8 Consecutive Mondays Visions for Tomorrow
A free educational class that offers a safe and supportive place to share experiences and learn from other family members who care for children and adolescents (under 21) with mental health challenges. Albertina-Kerr Centers Chapel 722 NE 162nd Avenue (between Halsey and Glisan) Portland (Registration is required: 503-228-5692, or email: jlacy@nami.org )

October 19th 8:00 am – 4:00 pm Understanding And Helping Asperger’s Adults: Beyond Stereotypes at the Lakewood Center for the Arts, 368 S. State Street , Lake Oswego, Oregon. Families and professionals are invited to attend the first professional level training in Portland specifically regarding Asperger’s Adults. For registration or more information contact AMHA-OR by phone (503) 222-0332 or 1-888-706-9933 or online at www.amha-or.org.

October 21, 2 - 5PM, KindTree Mask Making Party, Cozmic Pizza. Storm Troopers / Karaoke / Fun for All.

October 24 - 25 Sparkplug Dance Outreach events: Utah's Repertory Dance Theatre is here for a series of outreach events, trainings and performances. More here...

October 25 Autism Medical Information Support Group 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm Oregon Health & Science University, Doernbecher Children's Hospital, 11th floor Auditorium, Portland

November 7 ASO-LCC membership meeting: 6:30-8pm, 4J Ed Center, N Monroe

November 7-9 Eugene, Oregon - Roots of Change: Preventing Sexual Violence Through Partnerships and Action Conference
Information and Registration at www.oregonsatf.org/roots

November 12th Donna Williams coming to Corvallis, OregonOregon State University, Corvallis - Cost: $30.00 (includes lunch). To register visit the Corvallis School District website at www.csd059j.net/index.html or contact Susan Holmberg - 541-757-4441.
November 13th Donna Williams coming to Eugene, OregonBridgeway House, 708 West 10th Ave, Eugene, OR 97402 - Professionals, Parents and Students are invited to attend. Cost: $25.00. For more information contact Pat Wigney at 541-345-0805. More info at www.bridgewayhouse.org


THANK YOU ALL!
 

A BIG THANK YOU
to all our 2007 volunteers and donors

Sundance Natural Foods
Market of Choice Stores
Bi-Mart
Albersons
Fred Meyer
Costco
Jerry's Home
Improvement
Monaco Coach
Eugene Freezer and Storage
Toby's Tofu Palace
Surata Soy
Organically Grown Co-op
Bagel SphereJerry's Home Improvement Centers
the Bread Stop
Trader Joe’s
Springfield Creamery
Emerald Valley Kitchen
Café Mam
Lochmead Dairy
Safeway
Costco
FreeLife International
ASOSpringfield Rotary
Eugene Downtown Lions ClubMonaco Coach Company
Randy Gerlach
Michael Omogrosso
T.R. Kelley and Randy Hamme
The Boy Scouts of America
Art Kennedy
Amy Smolek
Mary King
Beckie Smolek
Gary Cornelius
Dyan Campbell
Tim Mueller
GreyWolf Projects
Nel Applegate
Michelle Jones
Tyson Gunningham
Melissa Linville
Jeff and Sarah Fields
Nan, Dave, Oliver and Max Lester
Carlos Berrera
Mary-Minn Sirag
Jeanne-Marie Moore
Joel Litersky
Liz Fox
Neil Lyda
Johanna Magner
Franklin Michael
Donald Burton
Caleb West
Thomas Finney
Jerry
Linville
Tracy
Rogan
Tiffany Lauvon
Steph Hyde
Sara Ridgefield
Claire Zane and Nate
Kieth Walker
Julie Hutchins
Erica Johnson
Robert Stacy
Rob Achmoody
Dave and Nancy Haverstock
Haley Mesnick
Shannon Jones-Jansen
Nancy McFerran
Paul Carlile
Elizabeth King
Emily and Ken Ross
The Wentworth Foundation
David Fuchs
Daniel Deming
Josh FraimJohn and Sandi Orbell
John RobertsRaven Frameworks
Ruth Madsen Ross
Lane Arts Council
Rep. Chris Edwards
Slug Queen Slugretha
Gordon Kaswell
Anna Morrison
Tony Diaz
Robert and Julie Pasley
James ForbesBecky BeachDave Gorty
Mary-Minn’s Mom
Doris GermainMichelle Saxton
David Walcutt
GreyWolf
Projects
CenterStage
Karaoke
Cloud City GarrisonMaude Kerns Art Center
DIVA
 


VISIT eSCRIP and Help Us OUT!!

Thanks for Listening.

 


June 2007

10 Years / Mary-Minn's Stim Page / A NEW Way to Join the Community
Kitten Needs a Home / How About a NEW T-shirt?
Ableism
Art Program Expansion /Art & the Vineyard
Health in the Legislature / Bridgeway House East
June Gaming Night / Computers / Conversation with Katie
A Resource to Help Parents with Dental Care / Dorothy Bucher on Mental Health
Retreat 2007 Coming Up! / You Can Donate Here

Community Calendar



10 Years

KindTree’s mission statement charges us to “Serve and Celebrate the Autism Community through Art, Education and Recreation.” This issue has it all.

Featured in these pages are writings by a number of people on the spectrum. They speak here to educate the community about who people with autism are. Good reading.

Our Art Program celebrates artists with autism, with our “Autism Artism 2007” on display at DIVA in downtown Eugene through June, then again in late July at the Full City Coffee outlet on Pearl Street. We will also again be participating in the Art & the Vineyard event July 6 - 8. This program has come a long way since its opening in 1997. Please consider supporting these artists with a pledge - scroll to the bottom of the page and click "donate".

Here you will find the registration form for our annual Camp/Retreat. This unique event continues to thrive, with fun and warmth for all. Scholarships are available this year, thanks to the Springfield Rotary, the Eugene Downtown Lions Club, the ASO, Bridgeway House and others. Applications are here. Please join us at this special event.

While our first Retreat was in 1996, we were officially granted non-profit status in 1997, making 2007 KindTree Productions, Inc’s official 10 year anniversary. KindTree continues to be a grassroots group, all volunteers, with a very hard working Board of Directors, and an ever growing group of caring and generous volunteers. While some old timers like myself and Michelle are still here, we depend on new faces and energy to keep the spirit of shared community alive. An attitude of acceptance, inclusion, and respect continue to drive all we do. Thank you for being part of it. Why don’t you celebrate with us? Buy an anniversary T-shirt. Available very soon on the website. Very Cool.

Recent data indicates that the diagnosis rate of autism is now at 1 in 91 school kids in Lane County. This year, the Oregon legislature is beginning to respond. There is a great bill championed by Eugene’s Chris Edwards highlighted on page 5 regarding insurance parity. There is also Senate Bill 766-A. This bill is about housing and supports for our adult children to live in the housing that is built. It will form a working group that will include the housing authority, and DHS and others. Then there is HB 5019, which is currently before the Joint Ways and Means Subcommittee on Education, would give the Regional Programs $5.6 million less than they had in 1999-2001 despite the fact that their autism caseload has more than doubled since then. Wrong response, folks. Please don’t hesitate to share your point of view with your elected representatives.

If we don’t do it, who will?

Tim Mueller

 
A New Way to
Join the KindTree Community

Click on the bar below to join our autism community! This link will install a special KindTree Toolbar in your browser, connecting you to our autism chat room and keeping you up to date with new developments at KindTree. Become and eFriend of KindTree and join the fun today.


Kitten, Anyone?

Six-week old male rescue kitten looking for a permanent or foster home. Mitten, the kitten, has all his shots, and is healthy, adaptable and friendly. He's not thriving presently with three big cat-hating dogs and 2 jealous older cats. Good cat karma for the right home. Please call or email Mary-Minn if you are interested, and she will put you in touch with Mitten's rescuers and temporary guardians. (541) 689-228


 

CenterStage Karaoke

CenterStage Karaoke has been upgraded. We are now fully digital. I now have the largest selection of Karaoke in the area:
Over 100,000 karaoke songs and over 20,000 DJ dance songs. I have yet to find a song I don't have when asked.

Wanna Sing?
Call 541 - 726 - 9691

VISIT eSCRIP and Help Us OUT!!

 

Mary-Minn's Stim Page

(Here are personal stories about autism. If you would like to see your musings on this page, please email Mary-Minn at sirag@mindspring.com.)

On stuff, and stuff by Mary-Minn Sirag

This summer has become a spring-cleaning season for me. This is the first time I’ve systematically cleaned and organized my stuff since we moved to this house in February, 1991. And, “it ain’t over ‘til it’s over,” to quote catcher Yogi Berra. Or, as Robert Frost said (about life, rather than housecleaning, of course), there are still “miles to go before I sleep” on this particular endeavor. My usual house-cleaning pattern is to blitz through just enough to take the addlepated edge off, after which point I almost inevitably become overwhelmed by the monumental remainder of the task; fall off my wagon of joy through self discipline; and shrivel back beneath my domestic mayhem.

Once my house is neat enough for me to find things more than occasionally–and without the attentive help of my seeing-eye-brain-husband–I am rewarded briefly with a short exuberance of artistic creativity, which is more about joy than a competent by-product. Still, I hanker after this transient state, of which I am every bit as capable of as my quagmires of deep depression and inchoate despair.


“I live in constant dread of a full-bore freakout, an ugly spectacle replete with blood-curdling shrieks, vile cursings and self-injury, which is none other than a culmination of triggers activated.”


In May, I went back to Iowa to help my mother care for my aging father. Toward the end of my visit, my mother got him placed in what we hope is a short-term stint in a nursing home, which terrified all of us, though the care he needed was beyond the ability of the two of us, let alone just her.

I had left for Iowa despondently skeptical that I could be of any help, since my mother and I share an extreme difficulty with keeping track of physical objects or places. For years I had been blaming my autism for what I have dubbed “parts missing” in my brain. “Parts missing” is an expression of tragic sorrow for me, the scarecrow in my favorite fairy tale, the Wizard of Oz.

I was surprised at how easily I was able to find things in my parents’ house, how visual my memory had become. My sister, who had just left, had organized much of the house such that I could logic my way through so many things that my short-term spatial memory was freed up for true anomalies that genuinely defy the parameters of spacetime. Though there was always too much to do even mediocrely, my brain was working astoundingly well. For the first time in years, I actually was able to think straight during much of our ordeal.

I marveled at my new brain on loan, and wondered how I could keep this good thing going with my brain. I had plenty of time to think, as I sat with my father, who was too short of breath from congestive heart disease and too depressed to talk. Being present while being quiet has always been a Zen challenge for very western Judeo-Christian me. I sat there for hours in his hot and closed room, just “being” and trying to radiate love to my father. My mind is too hyperactive for meditation, which I have tried more than once but stopped because the contemplation of nothingness does nothing but make me depressed. I sublimated some of my mental static cling by making drawings of him (with his permission); still, I felt all too alone with my own looming thoughts. Even my normally voluble mother was too exhausted and overwhelmed to talk, and there was no time for me to socialize with my college buddy still living in town.

Toward the end of my visit, the solitude finally illumined me as to why my brain was working, in spite of the stress and sadness. For the first time in a long while, I was not in charge of the situation, but just a helper. I have a genuine phobia of being in charge, especially of a dynamic and life-threatening situation with social-cognitive undertones. (I have to organize events, such as KindTree’s autism retreat, in such a way that I don’t have to think in real-time during the event, because my real-time problem-solving skills are often choked by highest anxiety. The minute guests start appearing at the retreat, I go from being one of the firsts in command to being the harmless drudge of my deepest mental recesses.)

The second aspect of my newly working brain was the organizational job that my sister had left me with. The house was neat enough for me to see the trees for the forest and vice-versa. My brain cannot short out on visual chaos. Conversely, my brain has a hard time thinking its way out of the proverbial paper bag when my physical surroundings are chaotic, so my part of our house tends to be chaotic, leading to an upwardly spiraling Catch 22 of confusion and freakout.
On the seemingly interminable flight home, I got to thinking about how astonishingly well my brain had worked, and how I could duplicate this success in my daily life at home. I remembered my freakout triggers, which I had figured out with my supervisor’s stalwart help. These triggers – namely, getting lost and losing things – arise from a deep sense of personal incompetence, addlepation and overall loss of control. I live in constant dread of a full-bore freakout, an ugly spectacle replete with blood-curdling shrieks, vile cursings and self-injury, which is none other than a culmination of triggers activated.

Behavior plans are my latest infatuation. I’ve always been a sucker of analytic systems with big names invented by me, though somebody else invented this system and its vernacular. The hardest part of drafting a behavior plan is fully admitting one’s helplessness toward certain weaknesses and triggers, and I had done that – with my supervisor, no less. All I had to do was implement the plan.

Behavior: Vile cursings, self-injury, blood curdling shrieks, black-out state. Antecedent: Losing things and getting lost and confused. Remedy: To rid myself of super-superfluous possessions that choke precious access to my relatively few essential tools and treasures.

In bitterness, I keep on reminding myself that a lost possession no longer belongs to me, but rather only serves to fuel some larger destructive force of untamable chaos; that I actually own nothing, but spend my life stewarding miscellaneous animate and inanimate other selves, in hopes of entering into a mutually beneficial partnership, rather than the one-sided slavery I’ve been enduring.

There is little that is more magical than getting rid of things of which one loves as sentimental idylls but can no longer use. Whenever I give away things I have loved, even lovelier – and more practical – things rush in to fill the happy void like my cat quick-silvering back into the house from the inclement outdoors.

This time was quite spectacular. The day after I had given away 10 boxes of clothes, my close friend gave me table linens, Willow Ware china, yard sculpture, vases, rugs, many pieces of solid and tasteful furniture, in contrast to our junkyard furniture.

Our house is not quite yet discernibly neater – let alone neat – but I already am starting to feel the zephyr breeze of empty mind blowing gentle and peaceful into our neater and cleaner house. I’m already drawing and painting more. Wish me luck on actually taming my house.

Mary-Minn Sirag

       Read more of Mary-Minn's Stim Pages HERE


 

How early do we internalize ableism?

by ballastexistenz
When I was in grade school, there was a girl my age who talked in a loud, nasal voice with highly unusual intonation. She chewed on things that were definitely not food. She could get so absorbed in a book that the only way to get her attention was to move the book or put things on top of it. She did not get along with much of anyone socially. She had loud meltdowns and cried a lot when things went wrong, but she wasn’t spoiled or anything, she was clearly overloaded. Her name and mine were often said together by the other children (along with maybe two other names) as if we had something in common.

I don’t know if she was autistic or not, although it’s certainly my first thought. She definitely wasn’t a typical kid of our age. I vaguely remember her mother having told my mother something about “Jessica’s problems” and her theories about why they existed.

You would think, given all that Jessica and I had in common, we would have liked each other. In reality, she might have liked me. I did not like her.

I did not like her because every time I saw the lack of modulation in her voice, I heard my own unmodulated monotone flung back in my face.

I did not like her because I could see that she got overloaded the same way I did, and I saw overload as a horrible flaw on my part, and did not want to see how it looked on anyone else.

I did not like her because I could read her body language, and her emotions seemed the same kind of raw that mine always were.

I did not like her because she lacked the emotional self-control that I also lacked and hated myself for lacking.

I did not like her because every time I saw her, it was like looking in a mirror. I hated to know what I looked like. Bullies and teachers had made it very clear to me which of my traits were desirable and which were not. Every time I saw myself I saw all those undesirable traits to my disgust and shame. And that is what happened when I saw Jessica. It wasn’t as much that I didn’t like her. I never got to know her very well. It’s that her presence made me profoundly uncomfortable with myself and reflected back and amplified every bit of self-hatred I experienced on a daily basis. I experienced her presence as pain.

Dave Hingsburger has told stories of a woman with, if I remember correctly, Williams syndrome, which tends to come with a certain shape of face. If she saw another person with Williams syndrome, or saw her face in a reflective surface, she would try to pummel her own face into unrecognizability.

I understand why she did this. I shouldn’t understand it — nobody should — but I do. I know what it is like to learn young that you are disgusting, defective, freakish, and shameful. I know what it is like to experience the presence of a person who shares your “defective” traits, not as someone who understands you, but as someone who brings all your self-hatred to the forefront.

What I want to know is why we live in a society that teaches so many disabled kids this lesson so young. I’m not the only person I’ve heard of who had similar experiences as a child, by far. As a child, I should have perceived this girl and others I met like her as people I could understand more easily and maybe even, if we got along well in other ways, make friends with. As it was, I don’t think I was particularly unfriendly to her, but I don’t think I was friendly either. And I certainly was terrified of her and every sight of her made me ashamed and disgusted with myself.

Ableism (even on the individual rather than systemic level) doesn’t just affect how non-disabled people treat disabled people. It affects how disabled people think about ourselves, and about other disabled people. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that there are hierarchies in the disability community (more like communities, since there are more than one). People who are seen as better and worse. Terror of being associated with the wrong kinds of disabled people.

I have been in all parts of those hierarchies in different communities. I have been considered the most severely disabled (and hence for some reason undesirable) person in certain institutions. I have been put into the “top” academic class in special education (where they taught things I already knew how to do) and had people bewildered that my best friend was someone from the “bottom” one (where they were taught things I still don’t know how to do). I have been only able to sit in one spot and drool, and I have been told by professionals that I “could do better” than day programs that had people who drooled in them. I have been seen in various places as the weirdest, the most normal, and everything in between, and I’ve had different status assigned to me for each of those things depending on whether weirdness or normalcy is more valued. I’ve played along with these hierarchies, and resisted them, at different points in my life, and in different ways.

And I’m convinced a lot of the hierarchies come from this same internalization of all the ableist values we’re force-fed day in and day out.

I have also grown up being told that who I am is so deeply wrong that by a very young age I had already acquired a revulsion towards anyone who was “deeply wrong” in the same ways. This happened through day-in day-out bullying at school but was encouraged by teachers as well. People were always pointing various things out to me as major flaws and that’s how I came to see them, as disconnected from anything good about myself, but uncontrollable. I remember my horror when my ability to hide some of those “flaws” (a little, and for a short time) began to deteriorate and I saw that I was unable to avoid the category of people I clearly belonged in, and had no effective tools to deal with this realization because I couldn’t even communicate about it. And I remember the level of revulsion I felt when I saw Jessica, a perfectly nice girl my own age who had similar interests to me and was very comprehensible to me. Even her comprehensibility repelled me because I could see so much of what was going on underneath the surface — something I could not see in other people — and so much of it mirrored my worst fears about myself.

I want to know how this sets in so early.

I want to know how it can be stopped.

I still find something disgusting: Not my existence, not Jessica’s existence, but the structures of a society that allows and encourages this to happen to the minds of children, that some of us end up finding ourselves and those most like us disgusting and repellent.

By Amanda

Read more here...


Art Program Expansion


KindTree’s “Autism Rocks Traveling Art Show” has grown with our organization, from a rag tag display of watercolors and photographs to our present multimedia exhibition of photographs, watercolors, oils, drawings, digital art, video, weaving and sculpture. Our artists with autism have inspired similar programs in Mt. Angel, Portland’s ASO chapter, and even in far away New Jersey. Artists like Frank Flanders and Arthur Simo are now a solid presence on the Internet, and their unique talent is helping people all over the world understand and celebrate people with autism.

That is just what we hoped would happen.

Now our program is hoping to expand even more. We are seeking financial help to create a third annual “Autism Artism” exhibition, to develop a marketing plan to take advantage of the art world’s growing fascination with “outsider” or “naive” art, to implement that plan, and to continue to provide assistance to struggling artists.

They need your help.

If you can, take some time to visit the “Autism Artism 2007” exhibition presently displayed at DIVA, 110 W Broadway, through June. These artists with autism are just outstanding. Their work routinely draws more lookers than the other artists on display, as well as generating more sales. Their talent is just begging to break through to the wider world. This year saw many new artist participate in our program, like Lexi Sias, 11, who is into drawing, computer and comic art. She has a great style.

Please help KindTree develop their talent and market their works. Make a pledge today to support either the artists, through a scholarship; or the Art Program, through a directed donation. You may donate online with your credit card at the bottom of this page. Help spread the beauty and talent of people on the spectrum. The world will be a better place.

Art & the Vineyard Featuring KindTree Artists: Suzie Noel - Stephen Peeler - Kim Miller - Ryo Mastrogiovanni - Dorothy Bucher - Alex Way - Renee Curtiss
Mary-Minn Sirag - Many more...

Art & the Vineyard

FIND US IN THE SPECIAL ATTRACTIONS AREA

July 6 - 8, 2007 Alton Baker Park, Eugene
The Autism Rocks Traveling Art Show will be displayed in all its variety at this annual gathering of Northwest artists, authors, entertainers, vinters, and ducks and geese. KindTree artists and volunteers will be there to chat, instruct and offer beautiful fully framed art pieces, notecards and our new 10th anniversary T-shirts. The festival, which is the principal fundraiser for the Maude Kerns Art Center, attracts over 25,000 visitors annually. Monies raised from the festival help fund the Art Center’s year-round exhibitions and art classes in all media for children, teens, and adults; and your purchase supports KindTree and artists with autism.



Not much attention on health proposals
By Julia Silverman, Associated Press Writer, Monday, May 21, 2007

SALEM - After the 2005 legislative session, lawmakers hailed a high-profile bill to require insurers to provide full coverage for mental illnesses and drug abuse as perhaps their most significant accomplishment of the session

.This session, a number of other health coverage expansions - or mandates, depending on your perspective - are on the table in Salem, but so far most have been flying under the radar.

The unknown factor, so far, is how much such requirements might drive up the cost of coverage, and that's caused some lawmakers to say they'll vote against any such mandates, no matter how worthy the cause.

“To me, this is the biggest thing running up health insurance costs in Oregon right now,” said State Sen. Larry George, R-Sherwood, who cast one of the few dissenting votes this past week on requiring insurers to cover the costs of birth control. “The Legislature puts mandates on these insurance plans, it forces the cost up so high, some employers are going to start dropping coverage.”

Other lawmakers, though, say most of the mandates under discussion this session make only modest tweaks to existing coverage requirements, and were worked out with the cooperation of the insurance industry. Rep. Mitch Greenlick, who chairs the House Health Care committee, said most of the bills were “limited, modest and straightforward.”

Insurers have mostly remained quiet about the mandate proposals, perhaps because of the can't-fight-city-hall factor: Democrats, who now control both the state House and Senate, tend to favor expanded coverage options.

Still, some issues have raised industry concerns, and could face amendments before the session concludes, said Fawn McNeely, who lobbies for ODS Health Plans. The industry is keeping a particularly close eye on House Bill 2918, which would require coverage for treatment of some pervasive developmental disorders, including autism spectrum disorder, which has been growing rapidly among Oregon children.

The bill passed unanimously in the House, after emotional testimony from several House members whose own children have been diagnosed with autism. The bill could face some challenges in the Senate, McNeely said.

“We would want to see a limit on the scope,” McNeely said. “It's a huge expansion of the definition (of developmental disorders).” The bill's scope has broadened too, she said, to take in both children and adults, and the bill would cover both individual and group health plans, making it potentially very expensive.

But backers said that without such a bill, families could find that a child diagnosed with autism is denied coverage for speech therapy, for example, while the same service for an undiagnosed sibling would be covered.

“We are seeking to get children, or individuals, access to the same level of care that a child without a disability is able to access,” said Kathryn Weit, a policy analyst for the Oregon Developmental Disabilities Council whose own child is autistic.


Computer Exchange Program Now Operated by NextStep Recycling

Well staffed with computer repair experts, NextStep has agreed to offer KindTree’s waiting list as well as new folks access to their computer system gifting program. An online application is now available. But of course, you can still call 541-517-4782, or e-mail computers@kindtree.org
NextStep’s Site for the request form is here.
There will be a charge of $15 for a system. Thank you, NextStep, 686-2366.


 

“Enormous step forward” coming for children with autism
Published: May 17, 2007 By LISA BRITTON Baker City Herald


Parents of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder will soon have another resource for getting the help and education their kids need.
Baker City will be the site of Bridgeway House East, said Jim Schlipf, who along with his wife, Susan, helped found the local Autism Support Group.
"It's an enormous step forward for us," Schlipf said. "Our main goal is to start up some sort of program this summer."
The Autism Support Group has entered into a contract with Bridgeway House in Eugene, which was started by a parent support group and is now supported by grants.
As an extension of Bridgeway House, which achieved nonprofit status five years ago, the Baker City branch will "be under their corporate umbrella" and able to apply for grants with a nonprofit status, Schlipf said.
"It's a way to welcome the community into what Bridgeway House is all about," said Lois Gates, grantwriter and board member.
Memberships to support Bridgeway House East are $50 per year.

About Bridgeway House
Bridgeway House opened in October 2003 in Eugene.
"It grew out of a music therapy class in my home," said Patricia Wigney, executive director.
Wigney's daughter, now 11, was diagnosed with autism when she was 3.
That music therapy class, which provided a social setting for children with autism, eventually outgrew her home.


June Gaming Night

When: Thursday, June 21, 4 PM - 9 PM.
Where: Big City Gamin’, 1288 Willamette Street in Eugene (Corner of 13th and Willamette, west of Kinko's, north of the fire station). Gaming area will be in the back of the store.
How much to play?: $10 fee for the entire gaming night, payable up front before you start gaming. Snacks and drinks will be available for sale (no outside food or drink, please).
Who’s invited?: Adolescents and adults with Aspergers Syndrome or High Functioning Autism.
The Rules:
1. To attend this event, you MUST sign up ahead of time.
2. To sign up, send an email to Russ Fegles, Gaming Night Coordinator at rfegles1@yahoo.com and tell him if you wish to play video games or do another activity. Video game screens are available on a limited basis.
3. Sign-up cutoff date is June 17, 2007. After that date, if you have not signed up and still wish to play, you should stop by Big City Gamin’ on the event date and talk with store managers Justin or Quenby in addition to Russ. You will be allowed to play video games IF space is available. Any playing seats unclaimed by the 17th have the right to be reserved for other customers.
4. Due to limited space, this event will be available to the first thirty
people who sign up. As mentioned above, video gaming seating is limited, but playing shifts can be arranged. Participants are encouraged to bring their own card and board games. Movies are also available to watch on the big screen in the back of the store.
5. Any questions or comments can be directed to Russ Fegles at rfegles1@yahoo.com


Conversation with Katie

ABOUT RILEY
Oh by the way did you get the news about what happen with Riley a while back ago i believe it happen why you were in Iowa Tim sent me an email about it and also sent Robert an email about it to. I can't believe anybody would want to do such a thing to Riley his just not a harmful person at all his so sweet kind and nice. My mom said the guys probably did it because they knew they could because they knew they were getting at someone weaker then they are my mom said they probably went at Riley because they knew they would have a chance then they would if they went at someone who wasn't so weak when i say weak i mean someone who has a hard time standing up for them self's and fighting back witch in Riley's case he just has a disability so he couldn't stand up for him self if he really wanted to so my point exactly they went at someone who is weak because of a disability so they knew they had a chance witch i think is awful and makes those guys sick strange people and frady cats because they won't go at someone who can stand up for them self because they are afraid of being hurt but see what i don't get is how come they can hurt someone else but they don't want to be hurt them self what baby's i say. I think how can baby's hurt others but not want to be hurt them self real actual baby's can't hurt people and it is just so sad to hear or see a baby be hurt i just think it is wrong on so many different levels. Riley is fine now and healed from the ordeal and i hope it never happens to him again i mean never again it wasn't right and shouldn't happen to anyone even though it happens just about every day.

ABOUT the AUTISM FORUM
I'm really glad that we are looking toward getting a resource center for people on the Autism spectrum that will be wonderful i would be quite pleased to have a Autism resource center for me to go to to get the Autism help i might need we need a center based for people with Autism who are adults I'm a young adult and i do get help threw CLP but I'll need something to go to once I'm no longer in CLP. They also talked about processing and sensory stuff my big problem is processing and a little sensory i don't process in information that well or take out information that well but i felt i could process information at the forum pretty well because of how well it was structured plus i sat in the front witch helps often in school i sat in the front or second row of the class to process information the teacher was giving out. I also at the forum just listened rather then speaking out because i have trouble taking out information the information i do process goes in my mind but i can't get it out very well for some reason i just get blank and don't know what to say its like i know the information but i can't peace it out in words. I can peace out certain things in spoken words but other things i can't quite peace out in spoken words quite strange but that's a bit of my Autism for ya that's where a Autism resource center would be good for me.

NIGHTY NIGHT
Well nighty night sleep tight and dream pleasant thoughts. I'm probably going to be dreaming about being at the Portland zoo and seeing all those cute well some might not be that cute but I'll maby be dreaming about the zoo even though its still a while before i and CLP is going. Yes the Zoo trip will be quite fun indeed and plus i love being on the train.


Thank You to Ruth Ross for her Retreat Scholarship Donation. We are lucky to have your support.


 

A Resource to Help Parents with Dental Care

Our program pays for children 0 to 18 years of age with no requirement for you except filling out a simple and telling your dentist of the coverage or additional coverage. If you do have dental insurance we will be supplementary or 2nd payer. The children we cover have cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, downs syndrome, and other syndromes including autism that renders the child mentally challenged and delayed more than 2 years with documentation. You can find out more about this program on the web by going to scgrotto.com and clicking on the home page. On the left side of the screen are subjects concerning our dentistry program. Lloyd Fries, RPH 503-357-6419 lufries@comcast.net Grottoes of North America- phone: 614-933-0711


Dorothy Bucher on Mental Health Care

Dear Tim: All of these radio programs were very interesting. Great job. However, in the realm of money, and insurance, I find that although the U. of Oregon is now putting out psychologists who are experts in autism, I still cannot afford to go to them. They do not accept Medicare, which is what a lot of we older autistic people with Aspergers get, cause we are lucky enough to be on disability.

So, the only treatment that I can afford, is to go to Lane County Mental Health dept. That is the only place I go. I have a "therapist" who sees me about once every two weeks. She does not know anything about Aspergers or much about autism. The group that Nan Lester now has, at Cosmic Pizza, once a month, is a ":social group," not therapy. So, since a lot of we older Aspergers people have been in mental health for years, cause there was nothing else. It is still that way.

In fact, everyone is yelling that mental health dept. is going to be drastically cut back, and I have even volunteered my help, as a patient, just to help if they need it. I feel that since mental health depts. never get funded, and are the first ones cut, and we autistic adults have been going to them for years, at least I could help out in the future, cause that is the last port for people who do not have money or good insurance. --even with autism, or Aspergers.

Mental health depts. tried to help us, way before there were diagnoses of Aspergers at all. (In fact, Peace Health Hospital psychiatrist just dumped me, cause she dumped Medicare patients completely. "Sign of the Times." )

I also wanted to thank you for all the good work that you are doing. I know it is hard to get money for anything that is considered "at all in the mental realm." Unless you have a bad heart, or liver, there is no insurance at all. So, pat yourself on the back, and everyone who is working with you. I really appreciate it, we all do. : ) You have been doing a tremendous job. Thanks so much, again.

Sincerely, Dorothy H. Bucher, at Eugene, Oregon, momsmac2044@yahoo.com


Community Calendar

Through June - Autism Rocks Traveling Art Show "Autism Artism 2007" will be on display at DIVA downtown Eugene.

June 14, Thursday 7-9:30 PM Hilton Eugene & Conference Center. Raun K. Kaufman presents “Autism: Recovery Is An Option Now”. The Son-Rise Program. Free.

June 21 4 - 9pm Gamin’ Night at Big City Gamin’. For Adolescents and adults with Aspergers Syndrome or High Functioning Autism. AAC.

June 25-28 8:00am-12:00pm Bridgeway House Brothers and Sisters Support Camp. 8-13 years old, $90.00. 345-0805

June 30, Health Seminar for Supporting Children with Special Needs. Training for Parents, Educators and Physicians. SOUTHERN OREGON ASO. Southern Oregon University. Reg deadline, June 15. Contact Janel Salazar, janel@mighty

July 6-8 all day Art & the Vineyard Autism Rocks Traveling Art Show.

At Autism Training and Support 689 2327:
July 9 - 26 Autism Spectrum Disorder Summer Program
Days: Monday – Thursday Time: 9:00 am - 12:00 pm 3rd Monday, 7 - 9 pm: The Autism Family Support Group, at the DaySpring Fellowship Church 1580 River Road

July 10 12 P.M. – 2 P.M. Emergency First ResponderRecognition and Safety Techniques - How Parents/Guardians, Educators/Professionals, Law Enforcement and Emergency First Responder Agencies can keep people impacted by autism safe in our communities. Dennis Debbaudt and ASO. Free. To Register: (541) 324-6660 or janel@mighty.net

July 10-13 & 17-20 Community Support and Crisis Project
Autism Awareness and Advanced Hands-On Trainings
at the Oregon School for the Deaf 999 Locust Street NE, Salem. OTAC. Reg deadline June 25. 503-364-9943

July 22 - August 19 Autism Rocks Traveling Art Show in Full City Coffee on Pearl Street. Art by people with Autism.

At Bridgeway House 345-0805:
Summer classes and meetings include - girls and boys social groups, music therapy, teen mixed social group, preschoolers support group, kids night, family swim days, parents support group.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

August 24-26 KindTree Autism Camp/Retreat

Where can you paddle your own canoe?

Where can you swim in a beautiful lake?

Where can you eat s'mores by a campfire?

Where can you get your face painted all fairy-like?

Where can you eat great food prepared by caring volunteers?

Where can you volunteer and be part of the action?

Where can you hear the Raventones?

Where can you take nature walks in a great big forest?

Where can you get lost in the woods and still be safe?

Where can you learn watercolor from Nancy Bright?

Where can you hang out with Michelle or Mary-Minn?

Where can you get a new 10th anniversary T-shirt?

Where can you meet new friends?

Where can you just be yourself?

Where can you play games and have fun?

Where can you be in a fashion show?

Where can you get a break from the hectic world?

YOU KNOW WHERE!!!

Camp/Retreat 2007 August 24-26, 2007

See you there...

 

VISIT eSCRIP and Help Us OUT!!

Thanks for Listening.

 


March 2007:

Now That We All Know / Mary-Minn's Stim Page / Computer Program Change
Silent Auction Fundraiser / Are You a Girl? / How About That T-shirt?
CDC autism prevalence report
State tallies special education students /Insurance coverage of PDD considered
News From Autism Speaks / Sharing their stories to help others
Autism Forum / Gala Art Opening / Retreat 2006 Reflections

Community Calendar


Silent Auction Luncheon

Sunday, April Fool's Day, 2007
Noon - 3:30 pm
Eugene Hilton Vista Room 12
$20 adult - $15 person with autism
$15 under 16

Music from Dave Rogers, Magic by Tony Diaz

or Purchase a ticket through PayPal
just click "Add to Cart"

April Fools Day Fun!


Reserve Your Seat TODAY!

 $20 Adult ticket
 $15 under 16 ticket
 #15 adult w/Autism

 

Auction Items From...

Magical Dreamtime
Un Solo Pueblo
Dinner with the Mayor
The Parlour Tattoo Studio
Jeanne-Marie Moore - Insight Works
Mary Ann Hanson
The Eugene Symphony
The Oregon Electric Station
Gary Cornelius
Rick Hinton
Two Cheeky Monkeys
Mary-Minn Sirag
Shape Shifters
Victoria Dresdner
Rainbow Tie Dye
Earnest Efforts
Luxury Lap Desks
Circle Creations
The 10th Muse
The Game of Real Life
Positive Patchwork
Yachats Inn
Rolling Ring Kings
Lavender Moon
Linda Westbrook
The Vintage Restaurant
Senator Gordon Smith
Yachats Inn
Dorothy Bucher
Emily Evans
Ron and Barb Prentice
Andrew Jecklin -
Stillpoint Massage
the Shedd
Nel Applegate
Hokoyo

Chinook Winds Casino
Savona’s
Brushfire Pottery
Birkenstock Footwise
Lazaar’s
Floyce Phoenix -
Phoenix Touch Massage
The Bean Buzz
J Michael’s Book Store
The Cotton Mill
Buffalo Exchange
Ruby Chasm
Nancy Bright
Art Kennedy
Eccentricities
Eugene Toy and Hobby
CD Game Exchange
Uncommon Scents
The SPA
Museum of Unfine Art
Four Shillings Short
Amy Raven, harpist
Cardaé Flowers & Gifts
Emily Evans
Kathryn Gaines - Bella Concepts
Gordon Kaswell
Harlequin Beads
The Lester Family:
Driftwood Shores
Robb’s Futons
The Metro Zoo
Mark Cohen - Beautiful Day Massage Center


Many more to come...


Now That We All Know

An alarming statistic was released by the CDC this winter: autism is now being diagnosed in 1 in 150 people. We are riding a wave that has yet to crest. So now the question is, “Are we gonna do what is necessary or sink like the Titanic?”

This newsletter gives you some options. Voters north of Eugene sent Chris Edwards to Salem, a parent of a boy with autism, and he is involved in initiatives in the Oregon statehouse relating to insurance coverage and more. People with disabilities have been rallying. Now is not the time to be silent. Seek them out and join them. Contact Victory Alliance Leader/Co-Chair: Marvin Wood (503) 399-0324 or MARVINL4@MSN.COM

Local non profits are developing new initiatives and expanding old ones. The Asperger Counseling Northwest is beginning new adult social groups. Bridgeway House is adding more youth social groups and looking for larger quarters. The ASO Lane County Chapter is looking into a local autism resource center in collaboration with lots of folks. This will be a featured topic at KindTree’s April 29 Autism Forum. The need for such a place is only going to grow over the next decade.

KindTree is actively working on a grant to expand our art program to involve more artists and generate more sales and awareness. We’ve been fortu-nate to add new board members to help.

We’d like to welcome Liz Fox of Alternative Work Concepts to our board this year, as well as longtime volunteers Franklin Michael and Johanna Magner. All the present board members are continuing. Member Jeanne-Marie Moore, a valuable member of the board, con-sidered leaving this year, but changed her mind. Here is what she wrote.“I have tried, with all my might, to practice saying: "KindTree? it's a great organization and I used to be on their board" and then my eyes fill with tears and I feel mega depressed. Coming to meetings is something I can do only about twice a year... but I am really in a position where being on this board feels... like it goes with the grain of ... who I am? So if y'all would have me, I would stay...”

It’s because we have dedicated people like this working with us that we have been able to continue to grow and serve the autism community. These volunteers plus the financial contributions that we’re entrusted with are the life-blood of our efforts. Please consider supporting what we do by making a reservation for our APRIL FOOL’s FUN, SILENT AUCTION LUNCHEON. This is part of how we are going to ride this wave of autism diagnosis and make a better life for people on the spectrum and their families.

See you there...
Tim Mueller

 
Computer Exchange Program Now Operated by NextStep Recycling

Well staffed with computer repair experts, NextStep has agreed to offer KindTree’s waiting list as well as new folks access to their computer system gifting program. An online application will be available soon.
In the meantime, you can still call 541 521 7208 or computers@kindtree.org. There will be a charge of $30 for a system.

Thank you, NextStep, 686-2366.


Are You a Girl with Asperger’s Syndrome or High-Functioning Autism

We want to hear about your special interest or fascination! We’re looking for girls ages 6-21 with Asperger’s Syndrome/ High Functioning Autism who are willing to talk with supervised UO graduate students and who have Parent or Guardian consent if they are under 18.

This is a University of Oregon Research Study on Girls with Asperger’s Syndrome/ High Functioning Autism and Their Special Interest Areas, conducted by UO Project PASS (Preparing Autism Specialists for Schools) at the University of Oregon College of Education.

For after school and weekends by appointment contact: Mary Ann Winter-Messiers, College of Education, at (541) 346-2901 or messiers@uoregon.edu

VISIT eSCRIP and Help Us OUT!!

 

Mary-Minn's Stim Page

(Here are personal stories about autism. If you would like to see your musings on this page, please email Mary-Minn at sirag@mindspring.com.)

Hard-Knocks Social Stories

Every difficult thing I’ve ever learned, I’ve learned from the school of hard knocks. The experiences I am writing about go back a good 30 years. I wince as I write this, but at least I now have a longer perspective on this subject.

Manners are my concern here. Until recently, I found etiquette books unfathomable and incomprehensible, so I stumbled through etiquette reinventing the wheel for myself. Now I find etiquette books a pleasantly irrelevant distraction, comparable with people’s fascination with Sudoku or crossword puzzles.

Thirty years ago, I loved visiting other people. Partly, I was fascinated by the juxtaposition between the inside and outside of houses, and what went on inside these houses. I was fearless and adventuresome about the now-chilling prospect of living with someone or having someone live with me. I inadvertently made both circumstances either extremely easy on myself or onerous on my counterpart’s–usually a trying combination of both.

“I found myself
standing amid the wet new varnish with sticky footprints marking my path. That was the last time she would let me talk to her.”


In my freshman year of college, I obliviously carried no money on my person, unconsciously expecting by default for someone else to pay my way. I was up late one night enjoying the company of my theater buddies when we all decided to drive to Chicago for some deep-dish pizza in Old town. The college was in eastern Iowa. My friend Ron drove his car, paid for the gas and even my large portion of pizza. I jabbered pretentious improvisational poetry all the way to and fro, three or so hours each way. We got back to school at 7 a.m., just in time for breakfast and our 8-o’clock classes.

It took my being on the other side of this interpersonal dynamic to wise up to my insouciant cheapness. Once this started to dawn on me, I was so ashamed that I developed some shyness about inviting or visiting or accompanying other people on their car trips or such, for fear that I’d mess up again.

In the summer of 1975, a newly widowed family friend invited me to live with her and her family in Washington, D.C., over the summer. She gave me a seemingly straightforward set of rules. She told me to help myself to anything in her house, provided I replace it or put it back where it came from. It turned out that the rule sheet wasn’t as straightforward as simply leaving no trace–that hidden rules lurked. I lullabied my confused troubles away by rocking back and forth to monumental orchestral recordings or psychedelic pre-metal rock on my host’s 16-year-old daughter’s bed in the basement, the only cool room in the house. I soon learned that my host’s record collection was off-limits, as she didn’t want me to wear out her albums by playing them “too often.” The youngest daughter was very kind and never complained about retreats to her basement bedroom.

From 8 p.m. to 4 a.m., I worked as a cocktail waitress at a bikers’ bar north of Georgetown in Washington, D.C. The bar was renowned for having the most tiltable pinball machines in D.C. During the day, I hung out at the National Gallery and Smithsonian, as much for the solitude as for the inspirational art. My host told me that I could come and go as I pleased, that she was not responsible for anything I did since I was not her child. (I was 21 years old.) I came home one night at 6:30 a.m., after a leisurely breakfast with some friends of mine from work. My host was waiting up for me, despite a debilitating chronic health condition.

She invited me to her family dinner parties, which I came to dread. During the cocktail hour, their older daughter, who was 21 and utterly despised me, would ask me to shut up in front of their friends. Dinner would be a round-robin talk show, after which my host would critique my social and intellectual contribution. The topics would be liberal politics as covered in Newsweek or the Washington Post. My intellectual density on history spilled over into politics. The only way I can understand politics is to cover, on assignment, news stories about individual issues; thence I can branch out cautiously into a larger connected picture. I need to be on the scene, feeling the issue on my skin and being paid to recount it accurately.

Anyway, that fall I left for college without thanking my hosts for enduring my maladroit presence that entire summer. It took me 15 years to understand my unwitting role in the Lemony Snicket-esque series of unfortunate events that summer. By then, my erstwhile friend had long since died.

In 1977, while taking an intensive Latin course at the Summer Latin Institute in New York, I made a brief visit to a close childhood friend of mine who was living in Boston with her boyfriend. I wanted to treat them to dinner but hadn’t brought enough money with me. They had just moved into a lovely old flat with hardwood floors. They still had boxes and clutter to put away. The only empty room was the front room, which they had freshly varnished. The front room breathed freedom to my unconscious claustrophobia. On the morning of my departure, I found myself standing amid the wet new varnish with sticky footprints marking my path. That was the last time she would let me talk to her. There was no apology possible.

I was appalled by my behavior, and started working hard to address these deficiencies of mine. I learned the importance of paying my own way, though some hosts would insist on accepting nothing from me, which put me in an awkward pickle as to whether they were being coy or were genuinely did not want me to pay, for some reason or other. I still find it exceedingly difficult to read people’s intentions about sharing, so I try to avoid visiting people unless we’ve discussed these logistical agreements, such as when/if I can take a shower, how will we do food and chores, what degree of quietness or interaction my host wants, and other subtle vagaries of sharing a domicile and daily routine that are otherwise so easily taken for granted.

One of my friends from the Summer Latin Institute invited me to stay at her family’s apartment in Brooklyn after I moved out of the NYU dorm and was looking for my own apartment. She insisted on giving me her bed and sleeping on the living room couch. Though she complained vociferously about back pain and poor sleep, and I had no back problems, she forbade me to sleep on the couch. The family wouldn’t let me pay for my own laundry, let alone my share of food, lodging or chores, with which I wanted desperately to help out. One dark and stormy night, my friend alluded to my lack of pride in mooching off her family, though it had been at her insistence. I stalked out into her unsafe neighborhood that blustery night, but her mother insisted that I stay and apologized for her daughter. (to page 3) The following day, I bought my friend an oversized monogram of Leonardo Ad Vinci’s drawings as an apology for a pointless argument we’d had as to whether Michelangelo or Da Vinci was the superior artist. I left her house that day and thanked them as graciously as I knew how.

More times than not, however, people have forgiven me my social transgressions, knowing somehow that though I have major lacunae in the social arena, I am not intentionally exploitative or dishonest. Some friends have been so kind as to point out my errors at the time, providing me with an actual “teachable moment” to which I initially react defensively, though I am learning to appreciate their honesty and courage in helping me navigate these things more graciously.
Mary-Minn Sirag
       Read more of Mary-Minn's Stim Pages HERE


CDC autism prevalence report usautism.org

Enter the words MMRW (Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report), CDC, and autism in Google. What appears is the MMRW home page that even positions the autism prevalence studies as the third story behind "Unintentional Poisoning Deaths," and "Indicators for Occupational Health Surveillance." If the report, from the CDC, on autism states that "ASDs are more common than previously thought and are conditions of urgent public health concern," yet is considered less important that recreational drug use with a prevalence of 7.1 in 100,000 population, then it may be difficult for the news media to understand the significance of the autism epidemic, now affecting roughly 1 in 150 American children. Ironically, the autism prevalence report appears directly across from the recommended immuniza-tion schedule for persons aged 0-18 years. Is the placement ironic or is it a carefully planned position on this page?

Let's look at some of the headlines and comments from different media sources.

- KOMOTV.com, Seattle, Washington, "Study: Autism on the rise; state urged to take action." In Washington state, the numbers are similar to the national findings. The University of Washington's Autism Center is known as a leader in both diagnosis and treatment, but Dr. King says there are not nearly enough services for everyone. "We've known that this is a problem for a long time and we still have the waiting lists, we still have the lines," he said.

- nj.com, The Star Ledger, New Jersey, "Study: N.J. leads nation in rate of child autism." New Jersey leads the nation in child autism rates, according to a study that examined at the prevalence of the disorder across the country, with an estimated one in 60 boys diagnosed ."

- Deseret News, Provo, Utah, "Utah autism rate among highest; increases twentyfold in 20 years." "With numbers like this, I think it qualifies as an urgent public health concern," said Judith Zimmerman, Ph.D., assistant professor in the department of psychiatry at the U. [University of Utah].

- Medicalnewstoday.com, "National Autism Association Renews Call For CDC To Declare Autism A National Emergency." "While it's nice that the CDC has shared these findings with the public, they must move forward with a plan to treat the children suffering with autism now," said NAA board chair Claire Bothwell. "This agency has yet to answer the question, 'Why are so many children sick?' If this were an epidemic of practically any other disease among the children of this country, they would have long since investigated how it could have happened and made earnest attempts to find treatments."

“We are truly in the midst of an epidemic,” stated SafeMinds president Lyn Redwood, RN. “The 6.7 prevalence is ten times higher than that reported in studies before the 1990s. A 10% increase from 1992 to 1994 indicates that rates were rising in the 1990s. The period from 1990 to 1994 coincided with the rapid expansion in the use of mercury-containing vaccines for infants, specifically the Hepatitis B and Haemophilus influenzae type B vaccines, and the addition of Rho-D injections during pregnancy for mothers with RH negative blood type.”

The CDC study reported variations between geographic areas in the rate of ASD, from 3.3 per 1,000 in Alabama to 10.6 per 1,000 in New Jersey. The agency could not account for the differences. Although some autism researchers have claimed that autism is a purely genetic disorder, the differences in prevalence over time and over geography are consistent with an environmental factor such as mercury also playing a role in the cause of autism. A purely genetic disorder would have more consistent prevalence rates.

Redwood pointed out that the CDC delayed reporting prevalence for children born in 1992 until today, even though they collected this data back in 2000. “Their lack of urgency in responding to the autism crisis is concerning. Families and individuals with autism deserve more rapid action and accountability.”


State tallies special education students


Posted: Feb. 14, 2007, KTVZ.com SALEM - State Schools Superintendent Susan Castillo has released preliminary numbers for Oregon's Special Education Child Count. The report shows that the total number of Oregon children, aged 0-21, in special education programs has increased to 80,314 - an increase from last year's 79,780. The number of students in special education (aged K-21) is 71,834 (13% of the school-age population)- an in-crease from last year's 71,517.

Since 1975, the federal government has required that all children receive a free and appropriate public education and special services to meet their education needs. Today, IDEA governs special education and related services, provided at no cost to parents. Under Oregon law, IDEA applies to all eligible children with disabilities aged 0-21.
"The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act is vital to special education programs in Oregon. Special education students rely on these services to attain a quality education. IDEA guarantees students with disabilities access to a free and appropriate public education. Prior to IDEA, schools educated only about one in five students with disabilities. Today, the vast majority of special education students attend regular public schools for at least part of their school day." said Castillo.

Special education instruction can be provided in a number of settings: regular classrooms, special classrooms, regional programs through an Education Service District, special schools, home instruction, and instruction in hospitals and institutions.

The performance of students with disabilities is part of the federal No Child Left Behind Act, and the Oregon Department of Education is in its second year of two statewide initiatives to improve performance for students with disabilities. Response to Intervention (RTI) is in-tended to identify students with learning disabilities through an instructional model of assessment rather than the traditional model of ability/achievement testing.

Fourteen school districts participate in the Oregon RTI project (Or-RTI). These Districts demonstrate commitment to the RTI process, long-term goals for their district, and the resources needed to carry through a major systems change. The fourteen Districts participating in the Or-RTI Initiative are: Bethel, Canby, Corvallis, Crow-Applegate-Lorane, Hood River, LaGrande, Lowell, North Clackamas, Nyssa, Ontario, Pendleton, Roseburg, Sheridan, and the Umatilla-Morrow Consortium.

Under a contract with the Department, Tigard-Tualatin School District is leading this effort and provides training and support to the participating districts. Tigard-Tualatin has implemented the key components of the RTI approach for close to eight years and has valuable experience that supports statewide capacity building for the Department.

The second statewide initiative is Positive Behavior Supports (PBS). The goal of the initiative is to provide skills and knowledge districts need to support all students socially and behaviorally. Six ESDs are participating in the PBS initiative: Malheur ESD, Southern Oregon ESD, Clackamas ESD, Douglas ESD, High Desert ESD and Multnomah ESD. All of these Districts demonstrated a commitment to goals and the resources necessary to carry out the program. Under a contract with the Department, Linn Benton Lincoln ESD is leading this effort.

A third initiative is currently underway. The Oregon Department of Education, in collaboration with Portland State University is developing a statewide network of Regional Autism Training Sites (RPATS). These autism model classrooms, for pre-school, elementary, middle school and high school sectors have proven to be quality service options for students with autism and their families. Along with being a placement option for some students, these models provide consultation to schools and training and support to parents. These classrooms are located across Oregon and continue to grow in number. The intent is to have local access to quality service and support beyond metro areas for these students, their families and the staff who teach them.

Insurance coverage of PDD considered

Oregon House Bill 2918, sponsored by Representative Buckley and Chris Edwards, with Reps. Holvey, Shields, and Tomei, would requires health benefit plans to cover treatment of pervasive developmental disorder subject to same conditions as treatment of physical illness.

This bill is the subject of a hearing March 14, 2007, and will hopefully be brought to the floor in the near future.

You can send your comments to sandy.thielecirka@state.or.us. The bill itself can be read: here

Please contact your Representative and urge support for this bill.


News From Autism Speaks

Pediatrician Gastrointestinal Initiative Launched
Autism Speaks has inaugurated an awareness initiative that will provide pediatricians with updated information about diagnosing and treating gastrointestinal problems in their patients who have autism. More than 43,000 physicians across the country will receive a consensus statement that includes specific recommendations for evaluating patients, along with a letter from Mark Roithmayr, president of Autism Speaks.

Autism Genome Project Phase 2 Announced
Autism Speaks and an international consortium of researchers, philanthropists, government funding agencies, and participating families launched the second phase of the Autism Genome Project (AGP), a global scientific effort to discover the genes responsible for causing the autism. Plus, Autism Speaks' current funding of research into environmental factors of autism exceeds $4 million in grants.

Washington Report: Awareness and Appropriations
April's status as Autism Awareness Month, long promoted nationally by the autism community, has been recognized in a resolution adopted the United States Senate. In appropriations news, Reps. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), Mike Doyle (D-Penn.) and Carolyn McCarthy (D- N.Y.) this week asked their fellow members of the House of Repre-sentatives to sign on to two letters seeking federal funding for autism activities.
Read more at www.autismspeaks.org

     


Sharing their stories to help others


Disabled residents rally for awareness, legislation at Capitol
By THELMA GUERRERO Statesman Journal, March 3, 2007

Most days are a joy for Virginia Hill. Other days, it's a struggle to get past labels and other challenges she encounters in the community.

"I want to learn to read better," Hill, 26, said recently while taking a break from her job at Mount Angel Training Center. "But when I talked to different colleges about taking a reading class, they told me they didn't offer that for people like me."

Nearly 250 people attended the gathering, including legislators, families, caregivers and a coalition of community organizations that help developmentally disabled individuals become self-sufficient.

"It's really important for self-advocates to tell their stories because it gives them a sense of empowerment," said Shelley Joyce, a spokes-woman for Victory Alliance, the organizer of Friday's rally.

The presence of lawmakers at Friday's rally is an indication that attitudes among some policymakers are gradually shifting, advocates say.

State representatives Brian Clem, D-Salem, and Sara Gelser, D-Corval-lis, spoke about measures they're sponsoring aimed at improving access to education, employment and transportation for the developmentally disabled.

Clinically, developmental disability refers to any lifetime handicapping condition that occurs before age 18 that significantly impairs learning, language skills, mobility and the ability for some to live independently. It includes mental retardation, autism, cerebral palsy, epilepsy and neurological disorders.

Rick Newton, the associate director of Mount Angel Developmental Programs, estimates that there are 35,000 people living with developmental disabilities in Oregon. Of those, about 38 percent, or 11,798, receive social services from the state.

Self-advocates, such as Hill, say that far more people deemed developmentally disabled can assume a level of responsibility for decisions than is generally thought.

Hill now lives on her own with her two cats and works putting together hospital hygiene kits at Mount Angel Training Center, a supervised vocational setting that offers jobs to people who are unable to land employment in the open marketplace.

It was her angry response to a lack of available classes in the higher-education system and her inability to find regular employment that prompted Hill to become a self-advocate.

"I am independent," she said in abbreviated statements. "I don't feel different. I deserve to be treated with dignity and respect."


Community Calendar

March - Autism Rocks Traveling Art Show will be on display in the County Courthouse lobby.


March 15, 4 PM - 10 PM March Asperger Gaming Night, Big City Gamin', 1288 Willamette Street in downtown Eugene (Corner of 13th Ave. and Willamette St.) $10 per person. Anyone 13 years of age and older who comes to the monthly Exploring AS group and anyone who has Asperger Syndrome. Bring a chair, money for admission and snacks (no outside food or drink, please), and a positive attitude! RSVP by Wednesday, March 14 by contacting Russ by email at rfegles1@yahoo.com or phone at (541) 556-6107.


March 22-24, 2007. "Substance Abuse & Brain Development: Impacts and Interventions" A regional conference to be held in Eugene at the Valley River Inn, this conference will provide cutting-edge research, prevention methods and best intervention practices regarding the impact of maternal and paternal substance abuse on fetal and child brain development.  More than 30 seminars and skill-building workshops will be offered.  Keynote speakers include Donald Vereen, MD, Special Assistant to the Director, Nat'l. Institute on Drug Abuse; Barry Lester, PhD, Director, Brown Medical School Center for the Study of Children at Risk; Robert Anda, MD, Co-Principal Investigator, Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study; and Robin Rose, Oregon consultant and trainer, who will speak on keeping the brain healthy (invited).  Register by February 15, 2007 and save; discounts for group registratio . . .  Hosted by Lane County Health & Human Services and several local sponsors.
www.healthybraindevelopment.com.


April 1 KindTree Silent Auction Luncheon, noon - 3:30pm Eugene Hilton Vista Room 12. $20 adult - $15 person with


April 7 The first Saturday of each month from 12 noon to 2pm members of the Asperger Syndrome community are invited to meet at Cosmic Pizza, on the corner Charnelton and 8th Avenue in Eugene. This group will be an informal gathering where we can enjoy the companionship of one another, and foster the continued growth of our Asperger community.


April 10 Autism Family Support Group. the third Tuesday of every month, 7-9 pm at: The DaySpring Fellowship Church, 1580 River Road - Autism Training and Support


April 28 Portland School of Autism“Semi-Formal Dinner & Auction fundraiser. Schoolofautism.com


April 29, Sunday afternoon at the KindTree Autism Forum. This annual, free event brings together providers and consumers of autism services for a give and take about what is available and what is needed. Sponsored again this year by Doris Germain. This year we will open the Forum with a presentation on Sexuality and Autism by Geri Newton. Without a doubt the most accomplished expert on this subject in the state, Geri will share her knowledge with us. Following we’ll feature Rick Newton speaking on Building a Community Center. Rick is associate director of Mount Angel Developmental Programs. We'll discuss how to plan and fund a community resource center with recreational, vocational, and educational elements. Our local autism community has begun discussions about a possible autism resource center. Learn what has been discussed and how we can articulate and realize our common dreams. What would we do there? What resources could congregate there? What do we really need? How would it work? It’s a good question to ask. Come join us – it’s free.


May 5th Cinco De Mayo Silent Auction and Dinner. For more information and other BWH events and groups, call Bridgeway House at 345-0805.

Saturday, May 12, Autism Artism Gala Opening Party. 4 – 8 pm at the Maude Kerns Art Center Downtown Gallery at DIVA, 110 W Broadway. Special guests include State Representative Chris Edwards, Mayor Kitty Piercy and Her Royal Slimeness SLUG Queen Slugretha Latifa Uleafa Gastropodia Jackson. There will be other guests, too, with music from Gordon Kaswell, eats and wine and, of course, beautifully framed, wonderful works of art by members of our Autism Community. This is simply the best way to support artists with autism right here in Eugene. Sponsored by Four Leaf Press, the Eugene Downtown Lion's Club, GreyWolf Projects and made possible in part by a grant by Lane Arts Council with support from City of Eugene Cultural Services Division. Sponsorship funds also came from Jerry's Home Improvement Centers. The show will be on display from May 4 – June 30, 2007.
See a slide show of Autism Artism 2006 here.

May 15 & 16, 2007 Building Futures: Secondary Transition Conference
Full Conference Sessions $99.00* professional $25.00* student/parent
May 14, 2007 Pre-service on Benefit Planning/Work Incentives $25.00 Target audience is professionals, but all are welcome.
Embassy Suites Hotel, Tigard, OR 97223
Keynote Speakers: Peter Squires, chair of National Youth Leadership Network
Jonathan Mooney, author of “Learning Outside the Lines” and “The Short Bus Story”
Terry Cohen, author of “Disabled & Challenged: Reach for Your Dreams!”
This conference is for students and young adults with disabilities, parents and professionals. Pre-service will focus on benefit planning and work incentives.
For detailed conference pricing and information go to the OrPTI web site at: www.orpti.org or call 1-888-505-2673, ext. 208.

Sponsored by the Oregon Department of Education, Oregon Parent Training and Information Center, Oregon Council on Developmental Disabilities, Competitive Employment Project,
Office of Developmental Disabilities Services, and Oregon Vocational Rehabilitation Services

July 4 Art & the Vineyard featuring the Autism Rocks Traveling Art Show, Alton Baker Park.

 

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www.kindtee.org       www.gwproj.com