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Autism Health and Wellness Vol. 1 Issue 3 Autumn 2009

Autism Health and Wellness Magazine In This Issue: • Educational Advancements & Advocacy • NAET Treatment for Autism & Allergies • A Discussion on Gluten/Casein Free Treatnent • Recipes & Advice

And much more….

THERAPY SPOT INC. State of the art services for children – Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy and MUCH MORE!

Visit us in Boca Raton Camino Real Centre 7100 Camino Real, suite 201 Boca Raton, FL 33433 Monica M. Weller, MS, OTR/L

Ellen Stern, MS, CCC-SLP

Pediatric Occupational Therapist (561) 859-2100

Pediatric Speech Language Pathologist (561) 859-2010 Specializing in treating the WHOLE CHILD Free Occupational & Speech Therapy Screens Social Pragmatic Groups for Children Ages 5 – 12 Play Groups for the Early Years (ages 3 ½ - 5) – Designed to improve social skills, play skills and learning Social Skills Summer Camp for 10 weeks – Ages 5 – 8 Occupational and Speech Therapy provided in office, at preschools and at private schools Individual & Group Services Provided

Offering The Interactive Metronome To Improve Attention And Processing Skills For Children 7 And Older

in this issue One Parent’s Fight Page 4 A child’s diagnosis prompts a mother to help her son and many other children in the process.

The Mid-Tech Revolution Page 5 Finally, a communication device that’s easy enough to use effectively and powerful enough to do the job.

Making the Most of OT/PT Page 7 Not all therapies are alike - the difference that quality can make.

Raising Fashionable Awareness Page 8 A jewelry company, PIECE, that’s making autism advocacy fashionable!

Advocacy for Speech Services Page 9 Parents’ rights to obtain school services

A Behavior Intervention Plan Page 10 Behavior development strategies

Introducing Food to Sensory Challenged Children Page 15 Tips for Getting a Child to Eat

New Hope for Exceptional Students Page 16 Advocacy for students who are Gifted and have ADHD

Best Playtime With Toys That Teach Page 21 Toys that help make a difference!

Proposed Special Needs Tax Credit Page 23 Information and petition

Functional Uni4m Page 25 Invention that Encourages Learning

The JennSwing Page 27 The effects of swing therapy

Ask Dr. Dolly Page 29 Advice column for parents

Making Meal Prep Fun Page 31 Cooking with special needs children

Trusts - Planning for Loved Ones Page 33

Therapy Spoon Page 32

Special Features: GF/CF Diet Info Page 28 NAET Treatment Pages 30, 35 & 38

Directory of Businesses that Support Autism Information Page 43 Autism Health and Wellness Vol. 1 Issue 3 • Autumn 2009 •

Neurological Perspectives Page 36 Hyperbarics Page 38 Allergen Free Skincare Page 40 Special Needs Art Therapy Page 41

GF/CF Recipes Pages 13, 14 & 40 Page 1

for our children there’s only one thing we wouldn’t give. up.

THE 2009 NATIONAL AUTISM CONFERENCE november 12 - 15, 2009 | hyatt regency bonaventure | weston, fl The 2009 NAC will bring together the world's leading experts on autism in a relaxed, environmentallyfriendly tropical resort setting. Features include: :: :: public. :: :: ::

Companion passes for just $125 when you register to attend the full conference. One-day IEP Workshop at $40 per person, $25 with full registration (includes materials & lunch). Open to the Full and Partial registrations, and free daily parking. Spanish Interpretation for general sessions provided at no charge. Onsite Elizabeth Arden Spa with 20% off all spa treatments for conference attendees. HOPEISM. NOW AFFECTING 1 IN 100.

for more information or to register, visit

national autism association’s


sponsored by:

A MESSAGE TO READERS Autism Health and Wellness is a unique magazine, designed to explore healthy living, innovative dietary research and to provide families of special needs children with the latest in up to date information on everything from wellness breakthroughs, advocacy and even home budgeting tips. In short, we provide needed information to parents and to caregivers in a uniquely comprehensive and necessary way. We thank our advertisers for their critical role in this process.

SUPPORT OUR SUPPORTERS Dear Readers, Please support our supporters, those who play the truly vital role in providing you with all of the necessary information contained in this magazine. Please take a moment to review our excellent advertisers throughout this magazine and please buy from them. It is they who bring you the cutting edge and information packed Autism Health and Wellness Magazine. Thank you very much, Yomin Postelnik Publisher Autism Health and Wellness To subscribe to Autism Health and Wellness please call (954) 353-1898 or email for rates and information. Our Advertisers Are Crucial in Our Effort to Provide You With Needed Information. For more information or to become an advertiser please call (954) 353-1898 or email Vist us at

To Join Our Team of Staff Please Call (954) 353-1898 or Email

Autism Health and Wellness Vol. 1 Issue 3 • Autumn 2009 •

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Heartbreak Turned Yeager Into a Cookie Momster

A Business Born out of Desperation One morning Lynn voiced her frustration about trying to

When life bumps Lynn Preacher Yeager, she plants her

find reinforcers (motivational things to encourage Jacob

feet and stands her ground. To say she is determined is an

during therapy) to fellow teacher Janice Copley. Janice

understatement, especially when it comes to her child.

suggested they come up with some of their own glutenfree and casein-free cookie recipes. The two teachers

Life lined up for Lynn. She earned both her bachelor’s

donned their aprons and began experimenting with

degree in elementary education in 1991 and her master’s in

different recipes.

education administration in 1995 from CSU. In 2002 she married Tim, the man of her dreams, and in November

Soon after, the cookies were discovered by Whole Foods

2003, she gave birth to a beautiful baby boy, Jacob.

Market, that was opening a store in Jacksonville, and the

Soon after Jacob was born the family relocated to

business has been divine intervention, because it just

Jacksonville, Fla., where Tim could be closer to his

landed in our laps,” said Lynn. We interviewed with

company’s home base. Lynn began teaching English to

Whole Foods, took samples, and within 10 days we went

middle school children in a small Catholic school, and the

through all the paperwork and were in the store for the

family settled into their new home.

opening. We were told later that that was really unheard

Red Flags Jacob was a happy, loving baby. However, as he grew

Cookie Momsters seized the opportunity. “This whole

of, that there are vendors who have waited 10 years to get into Whole Foods.”

older, the Yeagers became concerned about his language


skills. “It wasn’t so much what Jacob did that set off the

Lynn comes to the table as a mother of an autistic child

red flags; it was what he didn’t do. He didn’t start talking

and as a teacher. She sees her education evolving as the

like other children develop language; he babbled but never

business expands and finds herself doing interviews,

really got past that,” remembers Lynn. She recalls

writing magazine articles and speaking to groups. Lynn is

standing behind Jacob clapping as loudly as she could,

quick to name her father as their biggest supporter. He not

screaming his name, but getting no response from him.

only supports the family emotionally he also supports

They sought out an audiologist for hearing testing and

Lynn’s decision to go full time in the business. He

found that Jacob’s hearing was normal. It was the

understands the family’s commitment to do anything they

audiologist who first suggested his language delay could

can to ensure Jacob receives any treatment that is

be a symptom of autism.

beneficial and has helped out financially. According to

An Unfamiliar World “The diagnosis threw us into an unfamiliar world – therapies we were not familiar with, biomedical issues,

Lynn, most parents have to “foot” the bill as most insurances will not cover therapies. For the Yeagers, the bill can reach more than $50,000 per year.

allergy issues.” But the Yeagers wasted no time. Within a

The Yeagers are beating the statistic by offering each other

month, Jacob was enrolled in a preschool for children with

mutual respect and support. Time together is important,

disabilities and began speech, occupational and behavioral

and they have found that enjoying time alone makes them

therapies. Meanwhile, Lynn continued to search out new

better parents. But it is the promise they have made that is

therapies that might work for him.

paramount. “We have made a vow to each other and to

Through research, Lynn discovered a DAN! (Defeat Autism Now) doctor located in Jacksonville, and Jacob soon began receiving medical care with Dr. Julie Buckley.

Autism Health and Wellness Vol. 1 Issue 3 • Autumn 2009 •

God to do whatever it takes to save our child and to keep our marriage intact,” said Lynn. Article by Sherry Atkinson, Photography by Lori L. Kerch, Specially Me Photography, CSU Magazine, Vol. 19, No. 2. Used by permission of Charleston Southern University

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A Communications Breakthrough – The “Mid Tech” Movement By Glen Dobbs Founder and President, LLC Communication instruments for non-communicative children used to come in two forms, High Tech and Low Tech. The problem with low tech devices is that the range of words available to the child is limited. Full sentences cannot be formed and even some key words may be missing from the device. High tech devices come with another serious problem – they’re often too cumbersome for the child to use. Having a user friendly device that provides an unlimited range of words while easily allowing the child to form full and properly formed verses is key to facilitating communication. We could not find this in the high tech or the low tech range, hence the invention of the Logan ProxTalker, named for its first user, my son Logan. This device has the range and flexibility of high tech and while not being so complex to use as to be counterproductive. The ProxTalker is water resistant, disaster resistant and more. Yet its greatest attribute, the reason why we invented it in the first place, is the ease and range of the communications it facilitates. Here is more about the ProxTalker and the “Mid Tech Movement” in communication devices. About the Mid Tech Movement in Communicative Devices AAC is an acronym for Alternative Augmentative Communication. This refers to technological (or nontechnological) devices used to enable functional communication for people with communication difficulties. These ‘devices’ can range in complexity between simple choices of pictures (a choice board that one points to an object of interest) to state of the art technological marvels such as computers which track the movement of your eyes to point a mouse – in the event that you are unable to operate a mouse with your hands. There is so much innovation going on in this technological arena and it is very inspiring to know that the quality of life for people with communication difficulties is on the rise. Many people with autism have little or no expressive verbal ability. While they may have pretty good receptive ability, that is, they can hear and understand – their ability to say anything intelligible can be very frustrating to say the least. My son Logan is one such person.

Autism Health and Wellness Vol. 1 Issue 3 • Autumn 2009 •

Logan, With the Logan ProxTalker In a world of Alternative Augmentative Communication it is interesting to contemplate that the industry is largely segregated into two categories, High Tech and Low Tech. The low tech devices range from a one button one word device such as a ‘Cheap Talk’ to the more complicated ones with thirty two pictures and 16 levels, with everything in between. These devices all have appropriate applications for people with certain physical and/or intellectual challenges but the continuous march of technological development goes on. The High Tech devices are generally based largely on existing computer technology. They are usually a touch screen with a menu-driven system for selecting categories, then words. Companies such as Dynavox, Tobii ATI, Words+, and Cyrano produce such devices. Some systems use a very nifty linguistic system referred to in the industry as MinSpeak or Unity. This system allows a user to get to a large vocabulary with a very small number of choices (keystrokes) – it can be difficult to learn for some but for others it is worth taking a look at. It is good for

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people with limited motor ability or other access issues to increase time efficiency of communication. Companies that use this approach include Prentke Romich Company and Saltillo. These high tech devices range in size from palm pilots to full size laptops – in some cases the software can even be run on Smart Boards (large projection screen computer touch screens – in case you have not seen one) for people with low vision. Some autistic people can use these devices readily – but for others, it can be a big struggle or simply not a suitable choice. Severe behaviors such as throwing objects off tables or into water can be detrimental to the device and the complexity of the steps required to form a sentence or sentence fragment can be too cumbersome for some. Devices in the ‘low tech’ category come in many sizes and shapes. Most of them employ an onboard microphone to record a sound to be associated with a button or location to press. When the button or location is pressed they play back the recorded sound. Many of these devices have a number of buttons or locations, for example, the “Go Talk 20” has 32 square buttons and so up to 20 recorded messages can be accessed. Many of these devices have multiple ‘levels’, that is, the user can remove the picture overlay and replace it with a different one and turn a switch to change ‘level’ so the new overlay’s pictures are now active. In this way, more words can be accessed – but the overlay that was just removed is not accessible at the same time. These types of devices usually require help from a teacher or parent for the user to access the different levels due to the need to properly load the overlay into the device and select the correct level associated with that overlay – a task not usually performable by a user of such a machine. Some of these types of devices have the ability to employ switch access and scanning. This is used when the user can not actually press the button due to physical inability to do so. In this case, each button or location has a small light (LED) which can light up and scroll across each location at an adjustable rate. The user activates a switch when the light is on the desired location so as to activate it and play the associated sound. This is a very handy feature and you can see that having more locations is better in this application. It is still necessary for a care giver to change the levels in this case. When considering devices for my son Logan, who is autistic and nonverbal, I had to take into consideration all these different elements of the different devices that were available. Logan was using the PECS system to communicate. PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System) is a non-technology system that uses picture

Autism Health and Wellness Vol. 1 Issue 3 • Autumn 2009 •

squares to communicate. It was developed by Andy Bondy and Lori Frost of Pyramid Educational Systems and is widely used as a communication starting point for many nonverbal autistic people. When we had an AAC evaluation for Logan it was determined that he should stay on the PECS system because there was not an appropriate machine for Logan on the market at that time. Many people on the more severe autism spectrum find transition from PECS to AAC to be difficult for a variety of reasons. Some kids are quite destructive to objects. For example, Logan would often throw things into the toilet, tub or any body of water – this is a problem for electronic technology. He would also take the TV remote and smash it against the tile floor and laugh out loud as the parts and pieces scattered in all directions. Our TV was mounted inside a wooden structure and bolted to the wall. There was Plexiglas over the windows and locks on all the doors as well as alarm systems to catch him if he tried to escape from the house. He presented quite a safety challenge. Any device for Logan would have to take all these issues into account at the design phase. When we designed the Logan ProxTalker we decided that the device should not ever break – even if it got wet. It should be able to be run over by a car. It should have a very long battery life, and it should be very easy to use and very easy to customize. We met our own expectations on all these points. The ProxTalker is very durable; it is water resistant’ it runs on four C batteries for about six months. It is very easy to use and very easy to program and customize. Now there is finally a device appropriate for Logan. Glen Dobbs can be reached at 860-283-0966, email or visit 1-888-498-1115 E-Mail:

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Making The Most of Your Child’s Occupational and Speech Therapy Services By Ellen Stern, M.S. CCC-SLP & Monica M.Weller, M.S.OTR/L As funding within the school systems is being cut, it is becoming more and more difficult for new students to qualify for occupational and speech therapy services. Those students who have been fortunate enough to be made eligible for services are also finding that services are being reduced. In an effort to meet the needs of so many students, OT and SLPs often provide services in groups. Because of this, families often find that outpatient therapy supplements the services being provided within the school system. The fundamental difference between school based and private or outpatient therapy lies in the long term or ultimate goal of the services. School based therapy goals must be educationally relevant and are specific to the classroom setting they are participating in. Private, outpatient therapies, look at the child as a whole person. This means the therapist assesses the child’s strengths and difficulties within the classroom, home and the community. Outpatient therapists have the opportunity to work with family members and provide training, support and home programming for carry over and long term progress and success.

Therapy SPOT Inc is a private, outpatient facility in Boca Raton and easily accessible to clients in Delray Beach, Boynton Beach, Coconut Creek and Coral Springs. We provide individual occupational and speech/language therapy services. We also offer play groups and social groups for children preschool age through elementary age. During winter and summer break, we offer a full day social camp to address social development, play skills and independence. Our therapists are highly trained and have extensive experience with a variety of disabilities and diagnoses, including autism spectrum disorder, Asperger’s syndrome, ADHD, anxiety disorders, learning disabilities, sensory integration dysfunction, as well as speech and language delays and disorders . Our clinic is equipped with the most up to date materials and a sensory gym to adequately meet the individual needs of all of our clients. Ellen Stern, M.S. CCC-SLP (561-859-2010) and Monica M.Weller, M.S.OTR/L (561-859-2100) at Therapy SPOT Inc. or visit

Therefore, school based services were never intended to replace the need for outpatient therapies. The two can ideally work together to best meet all the needs of the child and the family. At Therapy SPOT Inc, we collaborate with school based therapist, as well as the classroom teachers, to promote the best quality care and consistency between settings. Our therapists regularly consult with school based therapists and teachers to discuss and share strategies and techniques to be utilized in both environments. We also support the families and therapists in attending IEP meetings when needed. School visits are also performed to provide assistance to classroom teachers and support the school based therapist in providing extra time and consultation on such things as, behavior management to support language and social development and encourage classroom participation, sensory integration strategies, organizational and time management strategies, and methods to promote focusing and classroom independence.

Autism Health and Wellness Vol. 1 Issue 3 • Autumn 2009 •

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PIECE for Autism: Raising Fashionable Awareness By Leah Postelnik Spreading the word and bringing awareness to the fight against Autism Spectrum Disorder has taken new form. One company, PIECE for Autism, has introduced a stylish way to show your support for the cause. The need to make advocacy fashionable, in order to increase the number of activists is true across the board, no matter how worthy the cause. Fashion and palatability bring numbers. That is what makes the work of PIECE so beneficial. PIECE is a South Florida based company offering high-end fashion jewelry with a charitable twist. Featuring hand made custom Nishi necklaces, PIECE offers a fashionable awareness of autism spectrum disorder, while supporting the fight for a cure. PIECE for Autism’s signature jewelry represents hope for the cure and desire to bring peace to the lives of those who are affected by autism, mixed with a trendy look that is sure to garner the positive attention needed to win the fight against ASD. It offers fashionable consumers a chance to join the cause and show their support for the cure on a daily basis. Buyers can express their support through a variety of necklace choices. From the custom designed Awareness Puzzle Piece necklace to the “hope,” “peace,” and “cure” inscribed Halo necklaces, there is something for everyone. There is even an option to personalize the “Halo” with your loved one’s name. All of which can be found and ordered on the website. Founded by Kelly Pritchard, a Fort Lauderdale based speech-language pathologist, PIECE aims at contributing to the fight against autism by donating 25% of their proceeds to the cause. Always having a knack for fashion and a passion for her career, Pritchard jumped at the opportunity to work with a talented and up-and-coming designer, Joanna Bengoa of Nishi, to create one of-a-kind pieces. Nishi is a New York based jewelry design firm whose hand-made, nature inspired, jewelry has been featured in popular fashion magazines across the world.

Autism Health and Wellness Vol. 1 Issue 3 • Autumn 2009 •

The collaboration between Nishi and “PIECE for Autism” brings the worlds of fashion and charity together. The idea for the company grew from a personal experience between the therapist and a child. Pritchard works fulltime treating children, both within the school system and private setting. She became inspired to help the autism community when a child on her caseload, Jack, was diagnosed with the disorder. Pritchard learned how important and challenging the road to recovery is for both children and their families. “Given the amount of children diagnosed daily, I was amazed at how difficult it was to get answers for this family. I then realized that it was my ethical and moral responsibility to educate myself and others about autism”, explained Pritchard. Jack’s journey touched her life and inspired her to help other families dealing with autism. Jack is now well on the road to recovery through a combination of therapies and biomedical interventions. Witnessing his success, it was then that Kelly decided to take a proactive step in raising awareness to this disorder that affects so many families. Kelly’s long term goal is to help families afford expensive, yet effective treatment for their children, through her efforts with PIECE. "I love my career and I love helping children. Jack’s journey has touched my heart and ignited a passion to help others dealing with autism. Creating this company was so much fun because it allowed me to combine my career with my other favorite interest – fashion!" Donating 25% of their proceeds to various autism organizations, including Generation Rescue and Autism Speaks, PIECE aims to not only bring awareness to the cause, but to also contributing to organizations that are involved in research and family support. With beautiful jewelry, Kelly hopes to add another piece to the puzzle that is Autism.

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ADVOCATING FOR SPEECH SERVICES FOR THE STUDENT WITH AN AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER By Louis Geigerman The necessity of speech services for individuals with autism spectrum disorders is well documented. The DSM IV criteria for an Autistic Disorder diagnosis includes at least one of the following symptoms  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) b. 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 Clearly, speech development plays an important role in this population. In my advocacy practice, I have found it often to be a source of disagreement regarding eligibility between school based personnel and parents. Generally, in the more severe cases where there is limited or the absence of speech altogether in the student, controversies exist more on the how to serve the client through proper methodologies rather than denying eligibility to the student. On the higher functioning end of the spectrum however, I routinely encounter speech pathologist arguing whether students qualify for services. The problem in the higher functioning student centers on speech pragmatics. Speech Pragmatics is defined as language that is used to communicate and socialize. Most people think of speech therapy as a tool for improving pronunciation, reducing stutters, or simply building the ability to use words at all. Many people with autism do have the ability to talk, and some talk a great deal, but almost all can benefit from therapy focused on speech pragmatics. Since difficulty with social communication is a hallmark of autism spectrum disorders, literally everyone with an autism diagnosis will need some level of pragmatic speech therapy. According to the American Speech-Language-

Autism Health and Wellness Vol. 1 Issue 3 • Autumn 2009 •

Hearing Association, people with pragmatic speech issues may:   

say inappropriate or unrelated things during conversations tell stories in a disorganized way have little variety in language use (1)

Pragmatics also involves difficulties in problem solving and perspective taking. Unfortunately, these deficits quite often lead to social isolation and bullying if they are not properly identified and treated. A good source to refer to regarding this issue is Michele Garcia Winner’s, CCC SLP, book “Thinking About You, Thinking About Me.” According to Ms. Winner, pragmatic difficulties are at the very root of social difficulties in this population. The problem that I frequently see in my practice is that many school based speech pathologists do not use the proper diagnostic tools to assess this problem. A frequently used assessment in the ASD population is the Test of Pragmatic Language (TOPL) which unfortunately is a rather poor indicator of the true difficulties. This assessment provides a series of questions that have a tendency to mask the bigger issue of problem solving and social naiveté. The higher functioning ASD student can effectively ace the TOPL leading the evaluator to believe that a pragmatic language deficit does not exist. A better tool is the Test of Problem Solving that provides real world experiences for the student to solve. In the overwhelming majority of cases the student will show significant difficulties in giving solutions to the various scenarios. Here are a few resources that I recommend every parent with a child with an autism spectrum disorder check out: Michele Garcia Winner’s website: The American Speech & Hearing Association website: matics.htm Caroline Brown’s website:

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As I have stated in my previous articles, it is vital to have an accurate assessment to determine eligibility. If you disagree with the school based assessment, let the school know that you disagree in writing, but you do not have to tell them why you disagree. Parent attorneys will tell you that it is better to not explain the nature of your disagreement as it can complicate your case should it go to due process. Exercise your right to obtain a second opinion by requesting an independent educational evaluation (IEE) at public expense from someone that is not employed with your school system. After receiving your request the district has only two options: 1. Yes, we will approve your request using our criteria for the evaluators. 2. No, and we will initiate a due process case to prove our evaluation was proper. If that happens, they are the ones that have the burden of proof to show that their evaluation is proper and that may be difficult.

Finally, the district will likely provide you with a list of providers for the IEE. Not only are you not required to use clinicians from their list, but I recommend that you do not as it highly likely that those clinicians are less than objective. You can use anybody you like as long as they are qualified to perform the evaluation. The importance of properly identifying students with speech impairments and designing appropriate individual education plans is paramount in assuring a successful outcome for the student with an autism spectrum disorder. Louis H. Geigerman National ARD/IEP Advocates P.O. Box 16111 Sugarland, Texas 77496-6111 email: 281-265-1506



Many students with autism exhibit challenging behaviors at school. Unfortunately, IEP committees often neglect to develop appropriate behavior intervention plans (BIPs) to properly address these challenging behaviors. As a result, instead of using behavioral positive interventions and strategies for the student, educators and administrators heavily rely upon disciplinary measures such as in-school suspension and out-of-school suspension to control the student’s behaviors. Punishment alone, however, will not change a student’s disciplinary problems. It is important, therefore, to consider the legal requirements for developing a BIP for a student with autism. The components of the BIP should also apply scientific, research-based intervention such as positive behavioral supports and services that ameliorate the challenging behaviors. The following is a summary of the legal components for a BIP and scientific, research-based strategies and interventions that should be employed to address the challenging behaviors of a student with autism.

Autism Health and Wellness Vol. 1 Issue 3 • Autumn 2009 •

A. IDEA Framework For Behavior Intervention Plan And Positive Behavioral Interventions, Strategies And Supports The IEP Team shall in the case of a child whose behavior impedes his or her learning or that of others, consider, when appropriate, strategies, including positive behavioral interventions, strategies, and supports to address that behavior. 20 U.S.C. § 1414(d)(3)(B). The regular education teacher of a child with a disability, as a member of the IEP team, must, to the extent appropriate, participate in the development, review, and revision of the child’s IEP, including assisting in the determination of appropriate positive behavioral interventions and strategies for the child ...” 20 U.S.C. § 1414(d)(3)(C). Related services can be made part of a behavioral intervention plan. 20 U.S.C. § 1402(26). These services may include psychological services for assisting in developing positive behavioral intervention strategies; social work services in schools for assisting in developing positive behavioral intervention strategies; and improvement strategies enhance ability of teachers and others to use behavioral intervention.

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B. IDEA Disciplinary Procedures Either before or not later than 10 days after taking disciplinary action . . . if the local educational agency did not conduct a functional behavioral assessment and implement a behavioral intervention plan for such child before the behavior that resulted in the removal. . . the agency shall convene an IEP meeting to develop an assessment plan to address that behavior; or if the child already has a behavior intervention plan, the IEP Team shall review the plan and modify it, as necessary, to address that behavior. 20 U.S.C. 20 U.S.C. § 1415(k)(1)(D). The IEP Team and other qualified personnel may determine that . . . in relationship to the behavior subject to disciplinary action, the child’s IEP and placement were appropriate and the special education services, supplementary aids and services, and behavior intervention strategies were provided consistent with the child’s IEP and placement. 20 U.S.C. § 1415(C)(ii). C. Scientific, Research-Based Intervention and Strategies for BIP 1 •

• •

• • • • •

Teach more acceptable replacement behaviors that serve the same function as the inappropriate behavior, e.g. using conflict resolution skills, coping strategies, alternative skills.2 Teach students to deal with setting events such as the physical arrangement of the classroom, seating arrangements, sequence of academic instruction. Manipulate the antecedents to the desired behavior, e.g. teacher instruction and directions. Manipulate consequences of the desired behavior, e.g. precise praise or feedback, and keeping in mind the principles of shaping and reinforcing incompatible behaviors. Implement changes to the classroom curriculum or instructional strategies, e.g. encouraging oral rather than written responses. Interventions that offer reinforcement of appropriate behavior, e.g., group motivational strategies. Modifying the learning environment. strategies, including positive behavioral interventions, strategies, and supports; program modifications; supplementary aids and services that may be required to address the program behavior. Positive interventions that teach the student new ways to behave.3

Autism Health and Wellness Vol. 1 Issue 3 • Autumn 2009 •

E. Student Supports That Should Be Considered For A Behavioral Intervention Plan. Supports such as counselors and school psychologists, can be used as supports to help the student address academic or personal issues that may contribute to the problem behaviors. Other supports include: (1) peers for providing academic and behavioral support through tutoring and conflict-resolution activities; (2) families, who provide support through setting up homework centers at home and developing a homework schedule; (3) teachers and paraprofessionals, who may provide academic and curricular modifications to address and decrease a student’s desire to avoid a task or assignment; (4) language specialists, who are able to increase a student’s expressive and receptive language skills that can provide alternative ways to respond to an aggressive or stressful situation; (5) other school staff, including cafeteria workers and volunteers, with whom the student may feel more comfortable with; (6) community agency service providers, including mental health, Big Brother and Sister organizations, or other social service agency personnel who can provide long-term student and family intervention and support; and (7) other community organizations such as religious groups, cultural and ethnic organizations, YMCA or YWCA, and recreation centers which can provide therapy and support. An IEP team can make referrals and obtain medical evaluations so that other options can be considered. F. Common Obstacles To Develop An Appropriate BIP One or more of the following obstacles may require the attention of school personnel to enable the implementation of a positive behavioral intervention plan and supports: • • • •

• •

Vague definition of problem behavior(s). Incomplete data collection regarding problem behaviors. Misinterpretation of functional behavioral assessment data. Intervention too weak to deal with complexity or magnitude of problem behavior(s). Inconsistent or incorrect application of one or more parts of the plan. Failure to monitor the implementation of the plan or to modify it over time, as needed, and to adequately evaluate the impact of the plan.

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• •

Inadequate system-wide support (competing building-level priorities) to avoid future undesired behavior. The behavior is minor and is not something that distracts the students or others. Teachers lack the training, experience, and knowledge to teach appropriate behavior skills.

The Law Offices of Torin Togut may be reached at 678372-1829, or email

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Most Autistic children are either allergic to Gluten or Casein or both. Gluten is a protein most commonly found in wheat, oats, barley, rye and triticale. They often cause food reactions, which can result in neurological symptoms. However gluten is not present in other grains such as rice, corn and millet. Unfortunately, a very large percentage of Autistic children have a deficiency in a particular enzyme that breaks down gluten. The enzymes are called DPP4 and important not only as it relates to gluten but as a biochemical catalyst for the digestion of milk products. Casein is the most common of several proteins found in milk, it accounts for 80% of all milk protein. When the DPP4 fails to do its job, gluten and casein is only partially broken down. One problem with this is Methylation, the removing of toxins from the body. Methylation also helps in the maintaining of proper levels of neurotransmitters. Gluten and casein are getting a lot of attention in the autism community and from doctors in the "Defeat Autism Now!" biomedical movement. Some parents, doctors and researchers say that children have shown mild to dramatic improvements in speech and/or behavior after these substances were removed from their diet. Some also report that their children have experienced fewer bouts of diarrhea and loose stools since starting a gluten-free, casein-free (GFCF) diet. GF/CF Diet it’s all about going fresh and organic. Fruits and Veggies!! “Nothing in a box or fast food”. You may be surprised to know that gluten can be found in bath products. For example, bubble bath and detergent, so you should change those things as well.

FOR STARTERS, TRY EASY GFICF RECIPES: 3 Bean Salad Fresh Green Beans about a pound adding Garbanzo Beans and Kidney Beans. They can be organic in a can or you can use the dried ones. Just follow the recipe on the back of the bag. Clean the beans and snip the ends. Boil the beans in water for about 5 minutes, drain and cool. Add the green beans, kidney beans and garbanzo beans together toss with olive oil, garlic, fresh herbs, such as basil thyme, or oregano, salt and pepper. Chill and serve. You can always substitute with other beans pinto, lima, black and navy, whatever you choose. This takes approximately about 30 minutes, unless you are using dried beans it will obviously take longer.

Homemade Applesauce 4 to 6 Apples (more if you prefer).You can use almost any type of apples, Rome, Red Delicious or even Granny Smith. Try throwing in some pears as well. I sometimes throw in raisins, craisins, cranberries or even currants too! Peel, core and cut up the apples and put them into a sauce pan. You may add a touch of water just so they won't stick to the bottom, but keep in mind apples create their own juices. You could even use any juice you have in the fridge, such as cranberry juice orange juice or even apple juice. Cook on a low heat until the apples are soft (about 15 – 20 min) Turn off the heat and let stand until you are ready to enjoy. You can serve it hot or cold.

Before starting any diet always check with your doctor and always document any changes that may occur.

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Grilled Chicken Breast Chicken filets marinated with olive oil, garlic, fresh or dried herbs or whatever your favorite non toxic herbs are. Seasoned with salt and pepper. I prefer using chicken filets by Perdue because they come in individual bags but more important they are free of hormones and antibiotics. Of course you can use organic chickens as well but be sure to stay clear of breaded chicken as they contain gluten, wheat and casein, not to mention all kinds of other yucky stuff.

Check out gf/cf diet books at your local bookstore or how about checking with your local public library or the internet. There are so many tools available. Michele Weppner is the mother and care giver of an autistic child. She is also the President of Fund for H.O.P.E., Inc., a not for profit, 501c foundation dedicated to raising fund in order to assist low income families with autistic children to receive alternative therapies.

Be sure to read labels, staying away from Gluten and casein free products. Soon, you will find it a very easy diet to follow. It does take extra time and patience. Shopping at health food stores, such as Whole Foods or Greenwise, is a great source to begin the gf/cf diets. Health food stores will assist you to point out which items are gf/cf. Whole Foods has a printed list of their gf/cf items at each location and Greenwise has a website offering help and suggestion on the subject. PURCHASE YOUR SUBSCRIPTION CALL (954) 353-1898 TODAY To Get the Latest in Health and Advocacy, Gluten Free Recipes and More! Only $20 for 4 issues! Or email

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Understanding Your Sensory Defensive Child and Mealtime Challenges By: Ilene R. Rotman, M.S. CCC-SLP Director of Language Link Therapy, Inc. The sense of taste, touch, and smell are all strongly connected when talking about mealtime. How often do you find yourself touching a new food or smelling a new dish before putting it into your mouth? Why do we feel the need to explore the food further before tasting it? The answer to this question is simple. If we dislike how a food items feels to the touch, or how it smells our natural instinct is to avoid the food. A child with sensory deficits experiences food much in the same way, except the reaction to the new food may be more severe. Some children just from the sight of an undesirable food may begin to gag. Other children may begin to cry or tantrum at the sight. Some children may go as far as putting the food inside his or her mouth and letting it sit there until he or she spits it out. Children who fall under this category tend to favor only a few food items during mealtime. If your child fits into this category, this article will inform you of ways to work with your child at home to reduce their negative reactions to food and increase the variety of foods they will tolerate. Before you begin working with your child, you should make a list of foods your child naturally avoids. Next to each item, label or describe the smell, taste, and texture of each item. Once you have identified the items your child dislikes, you are going to turn that texture or smell into a playtime activity. The key is to allow the child to interact with the unfavorable texture without the pressures of putting the food item in their mouth.

your face instead of his or her face that is a good start. If they still seem unsure of the food item you can assist them to dip their finger and put it on your face. Think of when we place icing on a child’s nose at a birthday party, during this stage we are just trying to have the child accept the unfavorable item near their mouth. Introducing undesirable food into your child’s mouth is the final stage when feeding your sensory defensive child. At this point you can begin by having the child lick his or her fingers after playing with the food item. Modeling this behavior for your child might ease your child’s anxiety about tasting the item. Once your child has licked his or her fingers and allowed the food in his or her mouth, praise your child and resume back to playing with the food item. For further information about feeding therapy, the sensory defensive child, and other speech, language and occupational therapy needs, feel free to contact Ilene R. Rotman, M.S. CCC-SLP, Director of Language Link Therapy, Inc in Cooper City, FL at Office (954) 689-0730 Fax (954) 6890732 or by email Language Link Therapy, Inc. offers a variety of pragmatic groups, seasonal pragmatic boot camps, feeding therapy, sensory integration therapy, speech therapy, language therapy, occupational therapy, and more. Language Link Therapy, Inc. is a family run pediatric private practice.

Once your child becomes used to the unfavorable textures or smells through playtime activities, you can slowly begin introducing the item “near” your child’s mouth. Begin dipping your finger or placing a small amount on your finger and tap it close to your mouth. Laughing and smiling will show your child that this is silly and fun instead of serious and scary. Wait to see if your child imitates your behavior, if he or she places food on

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New Hope for Twice Exceptional Students By Ruth Heitin, Ph. D. It has been more than thirty years since the enactment of the original Individuals with Disabilities Act (first titled The Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975 or PL 94-142) and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, a civil rights law, which included Section 504. Both have served to protect the rights of students with disabilities. As a longtime educator who had the benefit of teaching before and after special education law was enacted, and now as a special education consultant for the past 16 years, I can attest to the fact that federal legislation has globally improved the educational opportunities and outcomes for students with disabilities. These improvements assure that students with disabilities will become productive, independent members of society to the extent that they are capable. That has always been the goal of special education law in serving the needs of students and our society as a whole. There is one group of students whom the federal laws have failed to protect over time in most states’ interpretations, and that is the Gifted/Disabled group of students. Most commonly, these students are Gifted and Learning Disabled or Gifted and Attention Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disordered. Research has shown that about one-sixth of gifted students have some disability. These students are gifted intellectually but experience a deficit in learning or in the executive functions necessary for work production. Students of this profile are often some of the most inventive and original thinkers who, given the proper tools and inspiration, can be great forces for creativity and innovation. However, until their dual exceptionalities are identified, too often they are seen as lazy and lacking motivation. For the Gifted/Disabled students, we have in some cases strayed from the initial intent of the laws, likely as a silent backlash to the demands these laws made on the public schools. Over the years, services for the Gifted/LD or Gifted/ADHD students became harder and harder to obtain based on more stringent interpretations of the regulations. The case of Board of Education of the Hendrick Hudson Central School District v. Rowley 458 U. S. 176 (1982) lowered the bar in educational standards for students with

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special needs by declaring that services did not have to be the best or even appropriate for a student, they merely had to be reasonably calculated to provide some educational benefit for the child. This allowed little likelihood for addressing the needs of disabled students who were also gifted. Additionally, students who were identified as both gifted and disabled by the schools often found themselves in the position of having to forgo access to either their gifted programs or their special education supports since the schools did not combine these services. However, it appears that in the most recent IDEA 2004 regulations and in their interpretation, that trend could be taking a more positive direction.. Throughout its various reauthorizations, IDEA has defined a specific learning disability as a “disorder of one or more basic psychological processes involved in understanding or using language, written or spoken, which disorder may manifest itself in imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or do mathematical calculations.” Federal regulations have, in turn, articulated how the existence of a specific learning disability is determined. It is these regulations that have changed over time, and these changes have served to dictate the access of gifted students to special education services. In the 1990 and earlier Federal regulations, a student was determined to evidence a learning disability if the student did not achieve commensurate with age and ability in one or more academic area (oral expression, listening comprehension, written expression, basic reading skill, reading comprehension, mathematics calculation or mathematics reasoning) given that the child was provided with appropriate learning experiences for the student’s age and ability level. A child who evidenced a severe discrepancy between his ability and achievement, regardless of his age-level performance, met the criteria for eligibility. Over time, however, the interpretation of that regulation changed, based on more stringent use of the words “not” and “and.” In order to be identified as a student with a learning disability, a student had to demonstrate that he did not achieve commensurate with both age and ability levels, essentially eliminating eligibility where achievement was far below the student’s ability but still within age expectations.

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Schools justified this by arguing that as long as a student was achieving commensurate with age level, a disability did not exist. This was, in my opinion, clear discrimination against the gifted. As I often explained to school administrators, a gifted student could be achieving three standard deviations below the student’s ability and not receive special education support because the student’s achievement was average for his age. Yet, a student of average ability could receive special education support with a one standard deviation discrepancy between ability and achievement. In these cases, the student who experienced the greater impact and thus the most academic frustration received the least support. More recent federal regulations for IDEA 2004, however, have taken a notable step in rethinking how learning disabilities are defined and determined, reflecting the most recent research in the field. The reauthorized law expands its purpose to include preparing students with disabilities for further education as well as employment and independent living, in essence raising the bar for educational support in readying students for college. The federal regulations add reading fluency as an area of underachievement in identifying a specific learning disability (SLD) thereby expanding the definition of SLD. The regulations also specifically note that states must not require use of a severe discrepancy model in identifying students with learning disabilities, and they may permit use of a process based on the child’s response to intervention (RTI) or use of other research-based procedures for determining learning disabilities. In the supplemental commentary of the law, there is specific discussion as to whether students who are gifted would be affected by this change in criteria. While several commentators believe eliminating the discrepancy model would result in the inability to identify gifted students as learning disabled, one commentator states that a scatter of scores would be an appropriate model to use with gifted students. The commentary response notes that the regulations “clearly allow discrepancies in achievement domains, typical of children with SLD who are gifted, to be used to identify children with SLD.” In determining the existence of a SLD, the federal regulations have changed the wording of the criteria from earlier versions. Now, a student may be determined to have a specific learning disability if the child does not

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achieve adequately for age or State-approved grade-level standards in an academic area. Use of the word adequately leaves some room for interpretation, suggesting a broader scope of consideration. Additionally, the regulations state that if the child does not make sufficient progress (likely through RTI) to meet age or grade-level standards or the child exhibits a pattern of strengths and weaknesses in performance, achievement, or both, relative to age, grade-level standards or intellectual development, the child may be identified as learning disabled. These new standards in identifying learning disabilities may allow greater opportunity for gifted/disabled students to be found eligible for special education services. Now students who evidence uneven information processing skills, relative to their own development, or uneven achievement can be labeled SLD. Students whose classroom performance and not just grades show a pattern of strengths and weaknesses, such as is often the case for Gifted/Disabled students whose work production suffers, can also be considered for eligibility. Additionally, now including reading fluency as a measure of achievement allows measurement of a skill that often is an invisible disability for gifted and other students. Dr. Sally Shawitz, noted researcher, author and Yale University professor, has defined reading fluency as the hallmark of dyslexia in bright students who can otherwise compensate for their deficits. As has always been the case historically, it will likely be through case law that the applicability of the new regulations in identifying gifted/disabled students will be delineated. Historically, when gifted/disabled students have been found eligible for special education services, it was not uncommon for the need for LD services to preclude access to gifted or accelerated programming or vice versa. As recently as a month ago, one of my clients was informed in his high-school IEP that even though his current program in school included special education support in general education in all academic areas, that was not possible for next year. The school said it simply did not provide special education support in advanced science classes. If the student needed support in science, he would need to be placed in a lower-level science class. On December 26, 2007, the Assistant Secretary for the Office of Civil Rights issued a “Dear Colleague” policy

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letter specifically addressing the issue of access to accelerated programs for students with disabilities. That letter stated, “...if a qualified student with a disability requires related aids and services to participate in a regular education class or program, then a school cannot deny the student the needed related aids and services in an accelerated class or program.” According to this letter, denial of these services is a denial of FAPE (Free and Appropriate Public Education) under both IDEA and Section 504. For gifted students with learning or attentional disabilities, this letter serves as a ray of hope that there is now a clear mandate to meet the needs of their dual exceptionality. The issues surrounding the education of gifted/disabled students have not been merely academic in any sense of the word for me. Fifteen years ago, my oldest child was identified and provided services as a student with giftedness, a learning disability and AD/HD. I do not know how my son would have made it out of high school without his organizational support and accommodations. Seven years later, his younger brother, who also had AD/HD, was denied special education services because his grades and test scores were average or above. When he entered Yale, their learning support center recognized his profile and offered him accommodations to address his needs.

No mind should be wasted, much less one-sixth of all the best minds. Education must take seriously its mandate to prepare this generation to take its place in society and to create a society where each person is able to contribute to the maximum of his ability. In the most recent interpretations of the laws protecting students with special needs, it appears that we may be inching every so slightly back in that direction as we did pre-Rowley. Ruth C. Heitin, Ph.D. is an independent special education consultant in private practice in Virginia for the past 17 years. Dr. Heitin was assisted in this article by her daughter, Liana Heitin, M.Ed. who is a special education teacher for Teach for America in Phoenix, Arizona. Liana’s email address is Ruth Heitin, Ph.D. 100 West Howell Ave Alexandria, VA 22301 Work: 703 519 7181 Fax: 703 519 4737 Website: E-Mail:

These accommodations allowed him to take on greater challenges academically than ever before. My son appreciated the fact that with extra time, he could manage his attention effectively in order to, for example, chart multiple variables in calculus. Both my sons have come to realize their potential, if not maximize it, as a result of appropriate accommodations and the recognition of their potential. They are all the better prepared to contribute to society as a whole. When school systems tell children that achieving at grade level is all that is expected, no matter what their ability or disability, they are sending a message that enforces the attitude that doing just enough to get by is a life goal for them. Rowley may have helped school systems’ bottom lines, but its toll on society as a whole is immeasurable. Schools that strive for appropriate (and no better) as their standard for their educational offerings in turn encourage mediocrity in their students. Mediocrity seldom fosters advancement, and our society has always depended upon its finest and most creative thinkers to make progress.

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10th Annual WCD Expo


World Congress on Disabilities


Thursday & Friday, November 19-20, 2009

Prime Osborn Convention Center, Jacksonville, FL WCD Expo is dedicated to improving the lives of those with developmental and physical disabilities, their families and professionals who work with them.

Join thousands of people for two days of learning, sharing, fun and excitement. Huge Expo Floor with Thousands of Disability Products & Services 5 Comprehensive Educational Tracks with Over 50 Educational Sessions Special Guest Keynotes & Special Events CME/CEU Accreditation

Check the website for a complete list of Autism Sessions.

FREE EXHIBIT HALL & SPECIAL EVENTS PASS for Autism Health and Wellness readers register at 1.877.923.3976

Enhancing Playtime With Toys That Teach! By Michelle Lee Children gain a tremendous amount of their knowledge and experience through playing. They learn how to problem-solve, how to share, and even how to cope with their frustrations. Playtime can also be a significant tool in helping a child to develop their motor skills, hand-eye coordination, communication, and social skills. To a child, playtime is more than just a time for funit is an opportunity to grow, discover, and explore the world around them. “Every day parents, educators, therapists, daycares, and school districts come to visit our website and consult with our Special Needs Advisory Board to purchase useful and fun educational toys and games for both children and adults of different ages, attention spans, and abilities” says Carol, co-owner of “Educational toys and family games can be used to help to bridge the age and ability gaps and to create a fun and memorable social/learning experience for everyone involved.” As a parent, introducing educational toys into your child’s playtime can help you to maintain a safe and productive play environment at home. “Every single item that we carry on has been thoroughly tested to ensure its quality and safety” says Carol. “We won’t even consider a toy line if they haven’t undergone rigorous safety testing or if they lack the proper safety documentation. We’re parents too… Our commitment to our customer’s safety and 100% satisfaction is far more important to us than any bottom line.” When considering which toys to buy, it is important to take your child’s specific needs and abilities into consideration. Selecting a toy based on your child’s age is not always enough when it comes to toys for children with special needs- You will instead want to consider and evaluate toys that are suitable to your child’s particular abilities. When choosing a toy, consider the level of skill that is required to utilize the toy. Can your child handle it without too much frustration? If you don’t think

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so, pass it up. This will help to ensure that playtime is a safe and positive experience for both you and your child. Positive stimulation is always encouraging and more importantly, rewarding. In the long run, positive experiences will help to enhance and maintain your child’s physical, emotional, and social well-being. The ultimate goal is for your child to feel challenged, but not frustrated while playing. After all, above all else, playtime is supposed to be fun! Positive playtime experiences will go a long way to helping your child develop both emotionally and socially while still embracing the learning process. Make time for play time. By taking the time to sit down and play with your child you can follow, supervise, and monitor their progress. Keep in mind that developing imaginations will often disregard the “intended use” a toy and will simply make up their own game instead. One of our favorite toys for imaginative play is the Bilibo – These colorful shells leave room for your child's imagination while to helping to develop their proprioception, which is the body's sense of itself in space. Instead of imposing any specific play pattern, the Bilibo is open for a wide range of interpretations and even encourages children to invent their own games, play, and just have fun in an active and creative way. Indoors and outdoors, in the sand-pit, in the water, or even in the snow... Like your child, the Bilibo is always full of surprises. Another one of our toy toys for special needs are Citiblocs. According to GlammaTOYS Special Needs Advisor Benjamin Takemori, “These beautiful wooden building blocks are a great tool for learners and children of all ages and abilities. The simple uniform shape allows children to discover cause and effect and problem solving as a natural learning process. Additionally, the natural wood has a tactical quality that is intrinsically appealing and comforting.“ Remember that the best educational toys are safe toys which will both attract your child’s attention and provide them with a positive learning experience. For more information on toy safety or toys for special needs,

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please visit us on the web at or call us toll free at 1-866-967-TOYS to speak with one of our toy consultants. About GlammaToys: Specializing in Toys that Teach, GlammaTOYS is an e-retailer of educational toys, unique specialty toys, games and gifts. Owned and Operated by moms and dads with years of experience in the toy industry, our product lines are carefully chosen to include items that are not only are the best at enriching lives & entertaining kids, but are also the safest and highest quality toys available. For our full catalog please visit us on the web at or call us toll free at 1-866-967-TOYS to speak with one of our toy consultants.

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An Affordable Proposal for Guardianship: The Special Needs Tax Credit Bill By Jaret L. Vogel, Director, Special Needs Tax Credit Alliance The mom’s anguished question was, “Why do I have to pay $5,000 to speak for my 18-year old with Autism?” I then stood up and asked “Why can’t we get a tax refund for that amount?” The whole room went silent. In that moment, the idea for the Special Needs Tax Credit was born. It was November of 2006, and my lovely wife, Karen, and I were attending a Guardianship conference in Ft. Lauderdale. The room was filled with a veritable “Who’s Who” of South Florida Elder Law attorneys and professional guardians. We attended as Prosperity Life Planning ( our small, educational nonprofit organization, through which we educate and advocate for parents through the special needs planning process with area attorneys, benefit consultants, tax and investment professionals. I had been working with these families for just over two years at that time, and found the challenge of implementing the legal, social and financial planning resources for special needs families to be my calling. Unlike New York, where my stepson with Autism, Ricky, lives in a wonderful group home, paid entirely by Medicaid, Florida families of are hard-pressed to find benefits for supports and therapies. The “Med-Waiver” program has 17,000 families on its waiting list. MedWaiver provides for non-medical but supportive services, such as housing, transportation, therapies, “day-hab” training, summer programs and respite. Through our numerous free consultations, we met families with one, two, even three young adults with special needs; parents who were surprised to learn they were no longer the legal guardians of their 18-year olds or older kids. Surprise turned to shock when they learned that full guardianship might cost $5,000 in attorney, specialist and court fees. There they were, with kids who couldn’t speak for themselves, kids who lacked the judgment to make legal, health care or financial decisions for themselves, and parents unable to afford the $5,000 expense to speak for their child. A real “Catch-22.”

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We immediately began a petition drive through our planning workshops and our website. Everyone agreed it was a common-sense idea; that MY taxes could come back to me as a tax refund for the legal expenses of setting up a protective guardianship for MY own child. With Karen being a tax expert and accountant, and having her Certified Financial Planner™ designation, we talked about how this could work. A “refundable tax credit” from the IRS would be available for someone who paid the expense for guardianship and/ or a Special Needs Trust, up to a maximum amount of $5,000. This would reduce their taxes owed dollar-for-dollar, and a check issued for any remaining balance over their taxes due. This method would especially benefit lower income families, who might not pay as much in taxes, and receive a refund for the difference, much like the Earned Income Credit or the Additional Child Tax Credit currently provide. On September 11, 2008, we went to Washington, DC, and met with the legislative assistant to my local representative, Congressman Robert Wexler (D-19th Cong. District- Boca Raton). We discussed the problem and introduced him to our proposal. In May, 2009, I received notice that Congressman Wexler would sponsor legislation to create the Special Needs Tax Credit proposal as we envisioned. Language for the Bill has been completed, and a Republican co-sponsor has been identified. While Congressman Wexler recently announced his interest to work in the nonprofit sector, other Democratic Representatives are being discussed to co-sponsor the Bill, which would be introduced when finalized. Simultaneously, in January of 2009, we met with attorney Elaine Bucher in the Boca Raton office of international law firm Proskauer Rose, LLC. She was impressed with our proposal, and shortly thereafter, we were told they would create a Florida nonprofit organization and provide the IRS filing as a 501(c)(4), Social Welfare Organization, for us pro bono, a task we could not have afforded. The nonprofit designation for the “Special Needs Tax Credit Alliance, Inc.” ( was finalized in July of 2009. We actually see this potential revision to the tax code as a civil rights bill, because “typical “ families are not burdened with the expense of $5,000 to speak for their adult children, or need to spend $1000 to $1500. for a Special Needs Trust, as typical kids may well have the abilities and opportunities to have full-time careers, with

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pension plans or retirement accounts to build over their working lives. The First and Fourteenth Amendments were established to provide for Free Speech and Equal Treatment Under the Law. Yet how can our young adults who may have cognitive impairments and cannot speak for themselves, enjoy this equal treatment, if their parents can’t afford thousands of dollars in legal fees? No one is empowered to speak for these millions of Americans. The Special Needs Tax Credit (SNTC) proposal offers a sensible and affordable “soft-dollar” approach to solving this problem, while possibly reducing expenses to the court system. If more people who need a guardian have one, there may be less expense for Guardians Ad Litem, or court-appointed emergency guardianship, when no one has previously appointed. We are in the process of raising $500,000, for a four-year program to build awareness throughout state and national disability support organizations, as well as the Elder Law groups and Probate sections of state and national Bar Associations. Groups such as AARP for seniors will be contacted, as seniors with dementia and Alzheimer’s may need their adult child to become their Guardian. Other groups in support of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the ACLU will be called upon to build awareness to their membership, and finally, members of Congress will be lobbied to expand Democracy to those who cannot speak for themselves. “Everyone Deserves to Have a Voice, or Someone to Speak for Them.” Please complete the petition included and mail to the address below. Your petition will be sent to your local Congressman and your two state Senators prior to voting. Donations to the Special Needs Tax Credit Alliance are not tax deductible to the donor, but funds are utilized tax exempt by the organization. A petition can be downloaded from the SNTCA website at and voluntary, contributions can be sent to “Special Needs Tax Credit Alliance,” 4673 Brady Boulevard, Delray Beach, FL 33445, attn: Jaret Vogel, Director (561-865-2921,

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The Special Needs Tax Credit Alliance, Inc.

A 501 (c)(4) not for profit Social Welfare Organization

The Corporation (SNTCA) is organized exclusively in support of an amendment to the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 by supporting congressional legislation that will provide a refundable federal tax credit for legal and other professional fees associated with establishing legal guardianship or a trust for a person with disabilities, to lessen the burden on families with a disabled family member of providing for the future needs and well-being of such members.

I support establishment of the “Special Needs Tax Credit, to assist persons with disabilities enjoy a more protected and rewarding quality of life. My signature attests to my support for this legislation and my desire for my elected representative in Congress to sponsor and support the passage of this legislation.” Name ______________________________________ Address ____________________________________ Signature ___________________________________

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Functional Uni4m: An Innovative Invention That Truly Encourages Learning By Christina Wallerstein, Summer gives us breathing room, autumn can take our breath away as we juggle to organize ourselves and our children to meet all the demands of the season. Between back to school and ushering in the new year, we can find ourselves rushed, overwhelmed and discouraged. Learning to simplify and organize becomes ever more important as we seek balance in our lives. For parents of children with any developmental disability, re-enforcing lessons their children learn in therapy sessions is essential. Doing so takes time, energy, and dedication, and the better organized and focused the parents, the more successful their efforts. Recently, I learned about a valuable aid for both parents and professionals: Functional Uni4m. Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapist and Master's student Michelle Schondorf designed Functional Uni4m with features that enable her to have all the "ingredients" needed for an efficient, well organized session within easy reach. A versatile vest constructed from breathable, lightweight, stretchy fabric and featuring multiple pockets, Velcro strips and grommets for attaching the necessities of a successful session, Functional Uni4m also serves as a visual reminder to all involved that therapy is serious business. With this in mind, parents will find this Uni4m a useful product when working at home to re-enforce lessons learned in therapy. Each Uni4m features numerous strips of Velcro across the chest that make the vest a "display board" to which the therapist/parent attaches visuals for programming, picture cards for communication, and tokens for a token board. A floating clear pocket also attaches with Velcro. This pocket can hold small reinforcers that serve as reminders of what the child is working towards and keeps these rewards handy. Back and front pockets provide ample storage for stimuli and materials used during the therapy session. The pockets are deep and stretchy and securely hold reinforcers, small toys, visuals, index cards, small pads of paper, writing instruments, even calculators and a twoway radio or telephone. Back pockets are ideal for hiding stimuli the therapist/parent does not want the child to see. Many small toys available at

Autism Health and Wellness Vol. 1 Issue 3 • Autumn 2009 •, under Special Needs-Distraction Toys fit perfectly inside the Uni4m's pockets for therapy sessions. These toys work well in getting a child's attention and also help the child maintain focus. The Uni4m also features grommets at the bottom edge of the vest, one on each side, that allow for attaching a carabineer clip and retractable reel. The clip enables the therapist/parent to attach a clip board for data collection during the session. This keeps data sheets readily available and enables the therapist/parent to enter information more accurately during sessions. The board detaches easily. A retractable clip allows for attaching visual aids to the Uni4m and moving the aids closer and further away from the child. Michelle Schondorf uses the Functional Uni4m to help children with autism be motivated and have a desire to learn from her. Successful therapy, she says, is all about the relationship and connection that the therapist wearing the Uni4m has created with the child. "The main idea is to get the child to pay attention and realize that reinforcers and rewards are coming from the individual wearing the Uni4m. I get the child to pay attention to the candy inside the clear pocket attached to my Uni4m or to the tokens on my Uni4m. Soon the child makes the connection between the rewards and the person wearing the Uni4m. The child quickly becomes engaged CONT. Pg 28

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The JennSwing – More Than Just Play, It’s Therapy Report by the Staff of American Swing Products American Swing has looked for and found products for special needs children that greatly improve quality of life. The JennSwing and other special needs products offer the means to turn “acting out” into great behavior. Instead of swinging randomly, why not try swinging or twirling on a tire swing? Changing the setting makes all the difference in the world. Instead of climbing things at home that ought not to be climbed, set up a simple rock wall using our rock panels and “acting out” becomes great behavior instead, and builds muscles. Play for special needs children should integrate the senses: sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell. Our swings are great for improving gross motor skills, hand-eye coordination, vestibular activities and visual stimulation. The motion of swinging restores the feeling of balance to those with balance issues. It soothes them and provides relaxation. It even helps increases concentration. It is wonderful to find something that is fun and positive on many different levels. Our

harness, the JennSwing offers children a safe and comfortable fun ride.

All of our commercial and residential playground equipment are made from many durable materials and are tested by National Testing Standards. The material that we use is not the material typically used in this industry but it’s our only choice; because it’s the safest, most durable, and the highest quality. There is no compromising when it comes to the safety of our children; and for American Swing there is no compromising on that commitment we made all those years ago. Please contact us during business hours at 1-800-433-2573 or after hours at or visit us at .

playground equipment offers an activity that your family can enjoy and improves your special needs child’s quality of life. The JennSwing, in particular, is designed to help meet the American Disabilities Act guidelines for playground equipment in public applications and makes the term “Handicapped Accessible” means more than just being able to watch. The JennSwing is also convenient because a child can be more easily lifted onto the swing and quickly strapped in. With its partially reclined, body-embracing design and easily adjustable safety

Autism Health and Wellness Vol. 1 Issue 3 • Autumn 2009 •

Page 27

The Gluten-Free Casein-Free Diet (GFCF) By LynnRae Ries Gluten Free Creations

Reading ingredient labels becomes a part of every day life.

Up until the last seven years or so, the words ‘gluten’ and

Wheat/gluten travels under many names. Words to watch

‘casein’ were not used in every day conversations. But

out for include: durum, couscous, gluten, matzoh, farina,

times are changing and those two words are becoming

kamut, semolina, spelt, seitan, graham, malt, wheat, rye

more useful to parents.

and barley. (This is not a complete list.)

According to Theresa Cornelius, MS, RD, CLC, LND, “The

Casein-containing foods to be avoided include all dairy

GFCF diet is the removal of all gluten and casein products

products from any animal in any form. This includes milk,

from the diet. Individuals with autism as well as those

butter, yogurt, ice cream, cottage cheese, and casein-

who are intolerant to both gluten and casein are typically

containing ingredients found in butter flavored oil,

on this diet. It is an unproven treatment for autism.

nougat, whey, whey protein, and sometimes in lactic acid,

However, some studies have found the diet to be helpful

artificial and natural flavoring, soy products and

in some autistic children who are diagnosed before the age

processed foods. (This is not a complete list.)

of three.”

“This is a major lifestyle modification and if the child is

In like manner, many parents have seen positive changes

eased into it, it will be much easier for them to make it a

in their child’s behavior at many different ages when s/he

permanent lifestyle change,” writes Ms. Cornelius.

is on a GFCF diet. Some children start saying words, some

According to the Autism Research Unit of the University

make eye contact and others simply become more

of Sunderland (Great Britain), initially there may be some

responsive overall.

negative effects, including upset stomach, anxiety,

A gluten-free diet means the total elimination of the offending gluten-protein that is in wheat, rye, barley and all of their derivatives. Initially this may appear as a daunting task. This GFCF lifestyle initially starts with elimination of all gluten. That means elimination of regular breads, muffins, desserts, sauces, coatings, processed foods, many seasonings, fillings, and prepackaged foods.

Autism Health and Wellness Vol. 1 Issue 3 • Autumn 2009 •

clinginess and slight ill-temper. These are good signs and precursors of a positive response. The Research Unit recommends a trial period of about 1 year before determining the child’s response to this dietary regimen. The GFCF diet is not a cure for autism, but many have found that it can enhance the quality of a child’s life. When starting on this diet, look for help from support groups, your reliable health food store, and gluten-free bakeries to make life easier.

Page 28

keeping them motivated, they are going to be more willing

- CONT. From Pg 25 -

to learn from me. If every time I walk into the child’s home and excited and begins looking at my face to see what fun things are going to follow. One crucial key to successfully working with special needs children is that they must like their therapist. They must see me as being fun and

wearing a Uni4m filled with exiting reinforcers, and the child sits quietly, looks directly at me, waiting to see what surprises I have hidden in my pockets, chances are I will be more successful in teaching them important skills."

exciting. If I constantly have new reinforcers hidden in the Sounds as if she's on to something beneficial to everyone

Uni4m’s pockets and am surprising my students and

working with children with developmental delays!

Ask Dr Dolly Question: Dear Dr Dolly,

been proposed, including viral infections, maternal stress, maternal exposure to lead or mercury, and even increased maternal participation in the workforce. Is a physical

Could mild autism in a child result from a physical

accident stressful, especially during pregnancy? Of

accident during pregnancy, or is it something that comes

course! Could it then cause the child to be born autistic?

in the genes?

Possibly, with about 10% probability. But it is just as possible if you are employed, or have had the flu while

Concerned Future Parent



The frightening fact is that the incidence of autism has

Dear Concerned Future Parent,

risen tenfold during the last 20 years, and there is no oneword explanation. The good news is that it doesn’t have

Wikipedia defines the autism spectrum, also called autism

to be this way at all! Our brain is not “hardwired.” On the

spectrum disorders (ASD) or autism spectrum conditions

contrary, it is very plastic, and responds very well to

(ASC), as a spectrum of psychological conditions

external stimuli, i.e. different experiences. In fact, our

characterized by widespread abnormalities of social

ability to learn depends on neuroplasticity, as this is

interactions and communication, as well as severely

called. The right treatment program, created specifically to

restricted interests and highly repetitive behavior. In plain

the needs of your child, will create neuroplastic changes,

language, there are quite a few conditions, from mild to

regardless of the cause of your child’s condition.

severe, that fall under this definition. ASD are complex neurodevelopmental disorders. Many causes of autism have been proposed, but there is no clear answer. Definitely, the popular belief in genetics is somewhat true, and genetics do contribute about 90% of the risk of a child developing autism, but the genetics of autism are so complex that typically it is unclear which genes are responsible. In rare cases, autism is strongly associated with the same

Dr Dolly Aizenman is one of the founders of Neytz haChochma Exceptional Student Education comprehensive psychoeducational program for children with special needs. She has been its Academic Director since its inception in 1998. Dr Aizenman has presented various workshops, seminars, and other types of teacher and parent training conducted annually on the state, national, and international level. She has over 30 years experience in education and 20 years of teaching pre-service teachers and supervising intern teachers in public and private schools. Dr Aizenman can be reached at 305.945.7443 or by e-mailing

factors that cause birth defects. Many other causes have

Autism Health and Wellness Vol. 1 Issue 3 • Autumn 2009 •

Page 29

NAET - Relief from Autism Symptoms and More

been found to eliminate autism, ADHD, anxiety symptoms

Report by Health From Inside Out, Corp.

and much more.

Anne Silva, R.N., P.C.C.N., has been a registered nurse for

The following is a brief overview of NAET from the book

ten years on a cardiac unit. While working, she suffered

"Say Goodbye to Allergy-Related Autism with NAET" by

an injury and was told that unless she had surgery she

Devi S. Nambudripad, M.D., D.C., L AC., PH. D. (Acu.):

would remain in excruciating pain. Her aunt, also a registered nurse, told her to try acupuncture, which she did, and after 3 months she went back to work full duty, never having surgery. Another MRI proved that her injury had gotten better. With these results, she knew that alternative medicine can work extremely well without any side effects. She enrolled in the Atlantic Institute of Oriental Medicine to be

"Autism is a nutritional deficiency disorder causing biological, neurological and developmental problems in children. The nutritional deficiency is not caused by failing to take enough nutrients by mouth but by poor digestion, absorption, assimilation and utilization of essential nutrients due to allergies. Autistic children are not digesting whatever they consume and their bodies do not receive essential nutrients from food or supplements they take."

an acupuncture physician. There, many people told her

"We can help all these children with different intensities of Autism

about NAET (Nambudripad's Allergy Elimination

when we identify the toxin and the area that is affected. Using

Technique) and said that it changed their lives. NAET is

NAET, we can identify the toxin that triggered the chain event in

needle-free and is as effective and sometimes more effective

the child even if it happened years before. Then eliminate the adverse

than acupuncture.

reaction between the nervous system and the toxin. Releasing the bond between the nervous system and the toxin will enable the toxin

After graduating, Silva flew to California and took the

to transport out of the body through appropriate elimination

intensive training to get certified in NAET. To this day,

pathways. This will allow the affected area of the nervous system to

continuous training takes very few months. One of the

resume its function to supply the brain or body with appropriate

many intensive trainings is on how to treat Autism. Since

nutrients. Slowly the damaged area will receive nourishments and

Anne has begun her NAET trainings, she gets excited

repair to normal status. When the nerve interferences in these

about the many miracles that she has seen resulting from NAET treatment.

centers are removed, the expected function of the organs will return. Thus these children will hear things again; comprehend again; and manifest communication skills like normal people."

These treatments are non invasive, drug free and needle

Anne Silva says, "Unfortunately not everyone knows what

free techniques which detect areas of imbalance. They

NAET is. One of my missions is to educate the public that

have helped relieve symptoms of Autism, ADHD, Anxiety

there is a natural treatment which proves to be successful.

and an almost endless list of ailments.

I am confident that anyone who takes advantage of this

Explained Silva: "My first step is to test the patient for allergies and other imbalances by using kinesiology, which is muscular analysis, to help determine what the allergies

benefit will understand that NAET makes sense. We also show the Autism Study DVD, showing children before and after NAET Treatments. The results are amazing."

are, not just the symptoms. We then use an acupressure

For more information, go to to see the Autism

device at specific locations on the body. I offer a free

Study results. Also, read "Say Goodbye to Allergy-Related

consultation and treatment to help new patients

Autism with NAET" by Devi Nambudripad, M.D.

understand how this works. I am completely sold on what I do and its benefits because of my own positive

Call Anne Silva, R.N., P. C. C. N., today for an

experience and by seeing the success I have had with my

appointment at 561-414-1587. A free consultation exam

patients." This technique, first used to treat allergies, has

and first treatment is available until Dec. 30, 2009.

Autism Health and Wellness Vol. 1 Issue 3 • Autumn 2009 •

Page 30

alertness, and mood. I even read that yellow is used in rooms to help those with dyslexia. Since we use our kitchen for both meal prep and scheduling, we did indeed paint our kitchen yellow.

Fun, Functional and Safe Ways to Make Meal Prep Therapeutic For You and Your Child By Denise Meissner Occupational Therapist, mother of a child with Autism, and creator of QCharm Portable Visual Cueing System.


Smells make scents: Because the sense of smell part of the brain (olfactory) is connected to the emotional center of the brain, aromas have a strong impact on our moods. There are several ways in which you can create a pleasant kitchen environment (to encourage you and your child to get in and stay in the kitchen), such as using flameless candles or plug-ins, scented pine cones and potpourri, air fresheners, odor eliminators, and even odor eating trash bags.


Stimulators: Whether your child craves sensory input or avoids textures/colors/ aromas, visual cues can help your child participate in meal prep (and eating). My home trainer and I set up several series of 4-5 visual cue cards in order to show different parts of one task, desired behavior before-during-after a task, rewards for positive behavior efforts, and to show how to be safe and why. To make the cues readily available yet decorative, I placed the cue cards in picture frames. You can easily place cards in the plastic frames that magnetically hang on your fridge. This also keeps the cards clean and in shape.


Simulators: To help your child practice slicing, cutting, peeling, serving and handling food items, you can use sets such as “Classroom Play Food,” “Cutting Fruit Plate,” “Birthday Party,” “Peel ‘N’ Play Veggies,” Slice n’ Serve Pizza,” “Hook n’ Loop Sandwich,” and “Cutting Food Box.” I discovered these sets in the catalog Beyond Play ( These sets also give your child a chance to work next to you while you prepare a meal, which has two benefits: a) your child can observe and copy your behaviors and b) you can keep your child safe.


“Pairing” knife: To safely engage your child in meal prep, pair this task with something your child enjoys. For example, my son prefers to use “grown-up” utensils and I prefer that he not slice off his fingers. To make us both happy, I use Pampered Chef’s “My Safe Cutter” ($3.00).


Carry Out: If your child receives physical, occupational or speech therapy, you may have a home program to carry out so that learning and progress can occur outside of the clinic or school. Work with your therapist(s) and find ways to incorporate the program into the daily routine, rather than adding to your

What do you think a TV talk show or DIY show might look like if the celebrity had to prepare the meals and then clean up the mess…all while caring for children with autism?! During times when my son with autism wants to “help” me in the kitchen, I imagine Rachel Ray or Martha Stewart incorporating Applied Behavior Analyses and Picture Exchange Communication Symbols throughout their shows. But the reality is that parents must be creative if trying to have a fun kitchen experience while involving their special needs child. When I learned how to cook, I was not taught how to simultaneously manage the behaviors of a child (or more than one child) who was throwing a tantrum, throwing food, or throwing a punch. So here are some tips that I’d like to share and that I think will greatly improve the home care experience for parents and special needs children. As an Occupational Therapy Student (back in 1990), I spent 3 months working with children with autism and I found myself feeling overwhelmed, frustrated and exhausted. During this internship, I learned how to use daily tasks, such as meal prep, to help children explore and tolerate various tastes and textures, to encourage them to use both hands together, and to help them improve their ability to focus on a task or work through episodes of frustration. I was supposed to help them reach out of their comfort zone, but in reality they stretched me out of mine. Ironically, I now have a child with Autism and he too has pushed me out of my comfort zone…thank goodness! Through my son’s behaviors, communication and supervision needs I have been given plenty of opportunities to learn new and exciting ways to work with him, to interact with him and to cherish him. Today I would like to give you a few ideas that might help you interact, protect and cherish your child when you are in the kitchen: 1.

Colors make sense: While researching paint colors for our kitchen and dining room areas, I learned that yellow is excellent for improving concentration, mental

Autism Health and Wellness Vol. 1 Issue 3 • Autumn 2009 •

Page 31

routine. For example, if your therapist wants your child to improve hand coordination, help your child wheel barrel walk to the kitchen (to improve shoulder strength and stability) and then give your child small food items to manipulate.

We can’t always afford a sitter to care for our children so we can prepare meals in peace. But we can use meal prep to foster our child’s development and help us enjoy time spent out of our comfort zones. To enjoy fun, functional and portable visual cues-no matter whose kitchen you’re in- please visit Let us create our patent pending wristband/removable charms kits for you. (200 Boardmaker images available. Website to be updated.)

The Textured Spoon by Johnson Therapeutic Dawn Peters and Lori Johnson MS,CCC/SLP are sisters and the co-owners of Johnson Therapeutic, LLC. The company began with the Textured Spoon which was developed by Lori, speech language pathologist. In February 2007, the Textured Spoon was one of 28 products selected by Therapy Times to receive the Most Valuable Product (MVP) award. The concept of the Textured Spoon is to provide oral-sensory stimulation along with feeding. These spoons are perfect for individuals who exhibit hypersensitivity to certain food textures or decreased oral-sensory awareness while eating. The Textured Spoon features a shallow bowl which offers decreased bolus size and a textured bottom which provides increased sensation to the tongue. The Large Textured Spoon is available in silver to resemble conventional utensils while the Small Textured Spoon has three child friendly colors (orange, purple and teal). Testimonials: I would like to thank you for your miraculous product. My little boy spent 6 months in the NICU and other pediatric units during the first year of his life. He was diagnosed with pyloric stenosis at 4 weeks of age and underwent a pylorotomy. Two weeks after the pylorotomy, he began vomiting severely and 8 weeks later, we were forced to do a nissen fundoplication and G-tube placement. He began to refuse the bottle and stopped eating all together. Our speech therapist came across the Textured Spoon and he ate like a different child. He was opening his mouth and utilizing his lips and tongue. We are still working on different foods and textures, but attribute his eating to you and your wonderful product. Mary is a 3 year old who is primarily G-tube fed. She has poor oralmotor organization and low tone. After using the Textured Spoon I found that she had improved tongue cupping and was able to take consecutive bites more quickly. The Textured Spoon seemed to increase her sensory awareness during eating and improve the overall quality of spoon-feeding.

Johnson Therapeutic has now expanded their business to market innovative products designed by parents and specialists that will assist individuals with special needs. Additions to their product line include the Controlled Flow Baby Feeder, Tongue LifteR and Snacker Catcher. To find out more about the Textured Spoons and additional products offered by Johnson Therapeutic, go to

Autism Health and Wellness Vol. 1 Issue 3 • Autumn 2009 •

Page 32

Have You Planned for the Future of Your Loved One with Special Needs? By Howard S. Krooks, JD, CELA, CAP Caring for a child or loved one with special needs carries

§ § § § §

Set up a Special Needs Trust Set up a Supplemental Needs Trust Assist in the creation of a Letter of Intent Inform you of the estate planning options available to you Assist families with long term care planning for loved ones with special needs

certain challenges that many cannot understand, and yet too many of us are confronted by these challenges on a

What is a Special Needs Trust?

daily basis. A Special Needs Planning Attorney can assist you with Medicaid Planning, planning for your loved one

A special needs trust (usually funded with the assets of

with special needs trusts and comprehensive estate

the disabled individual) or a supplemental needs trust

planning. A Special Needs Planning Attorney recognizes

(usually funded with the assets of a third party, such as

that caregivers typically do not add up the cost of support

the parents of a disabled individual) makes it possible to

and caring for an individual with a disability. Caregivers

appoint a trustee to hold property for the benefit of your

provide many services “naturally” and willingly to loved

disabled child after you're gone. A special needs trust

ones to help enhance their quality of life. These services

provides for the needs of a disabled person without

might include any one or more of the following:

disqualifying him/her from government benefits programs such as Social Security and Medicaid.

§ § § § § § § § §

Advocate Social service coordinator Companion Guardianship Job coach Chauffeur Personal care attendant Money manager Recreation director

Why Can’t I Leave My Assets to Other Family Members? While it might seem like a good idea simply to leave a certain amount of money to your disabled child's sibling or other close relative, with the understanding that the money will be spent on the disabled child, this approach is not the best strategy and often produces negative consequences. For example, any one or more of the following can occur by leaving your assets to another

If you become unable to provide these services or die without planning for the continuation of these services, your loved one’s quality of life may suffer. An experienced Special Needs Planning Attorney will: §

§ § § §

Establish comprehensive care plans organized so that monies for your loved one with special needs will not be at risk from estate taxes or the longterm care costs of caregivers Assist with applying for SSI benefits for a person with disabilities Apply and qualify for Medicaid for a person with disabilities Provide for a person with special needs in your Will Apply for Guardianship

Autism Health and Wellness Vol. 1 Issue 3 • Autumn 2009 •

family member: §

The money can become subject to judgments, divorce settlements or bankruptcy decrees against the relative


The disabled person has no legal right to force the relative to use the money to benefit the disabled person


The relative to whom the money is left may be taxed at a higher income tax rate than the disabled child or a trust


Should the relative die before the disabled child, the money would go to the relative’s heirs and not the disabled child

A special needs trust avoids these potential problems without putting an emotional strain on family relations.

Page 33

Monthly SSI benefits can be spent on food and shelter. The

Howard S. Krooks, JD, CELA, CAP is a partner of Elder Law

special needs trust money can be used to pay for

Associates PA, which has offices in Boca Raton, Aventura, Weston

additional items that will enhance the quality of life of

and West Palm Beach. He is admitted to practice law in Florida and

your disabled child. Such things might include:

New York, where he serves as Of Counsel to Amoruso & Amoruso LLP in Westchester County. His professional practice is devoted to


Summer camp



seniors and persons with special needs and their families in


Educational expenses

connection with asset preservation planning, supplemental needs


Airline tickets for travel


Electronic video games


Vitamins and grooming supplies


Funeral and burial expenses

Preparing a Letter of Intent

elder law and trust and estate matters, including representing

trusts, Medicaid, planning for disability, guardianship, wills and trusts. Mr. Krooks is certified as an Elder Law Attorney by the National Elder Law Foundation and is a member of the Council for Advanced Practitioners of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA).

One way to set forth what your intentions are for your

He is an active member of the Special Needs Planning and Elder

disabled child's future is to sign a "Letter of Intent." This

Law community on the local, state and national level. Mr. Krooks

letter can be given to the trustee of the special needs trust

currently serves on the NAELA Board of Directors and is an officer

at the time of your death. This document gives family

of NAELA (Secretary). As a member of the Joint Public Policy Task

members and others the benefit of your knowledge about

Force of The Florida Bar Elder Law Section and the Academy of

your child's capabilities, needs and interests. Once completed, you can update the letter as necessary should the child’s needs change or should your goals for your child change. A typical letter of intent will include: §

Biographical information


Financial details


Medical history and needs


Social contacts


Any negative influences you would like to guard against


Personality traits

§ §

Florida Elder Law Attorneys, Mr. Krooks works to protect the rights of the state’s most vulnerable citizens. He recently was invited to join a special sub-task force to review policies of The Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) that may not be in compliance with federal law. The special task force will also determine whether DCF policies have followed proper rule-making procedures.

PREPAID LEGAL SERVICES One low monthly fee (Personal plans under $17) for: •

Unlimited legal advice

Legal representation if sued

Skills, hobbies and physical abilities

Legal letters

Goals your child is working toward

Unlimited traffic ticket disputes

And more

While the challenges facing your disabled loved one are daunting, they can be even more so if you are not around

SIMPLY AMAZING – A huge resource!

to attend to his or her needs. However, with a little

Call 786-547-3429 or email

forethought and planning, you can make your disabled child's future potentially much brighter.

Autism Health and Wellness Vol. 1 Issue 3 • Autumn 2009 •

Page 34

The NAET Autism Study

“When you explore the medical literature and you explore what is being offered there are many effective treatments

By Courtney Salamone, DOM Autism can be traumatic, not only for the child, but also for the entire family unit. Maybe you are afraid to go out in public because of the fear of your child having a tantrum or performing an awkward stimming behavior. Perhaps you have other children who struggle with the added family responsibilities they must take on at a young

for autism, but NAET is perfectly made for the treatment of autism because it can address the literally dozens, if not hundreds of different possibilities that can trigger the biochemical state that triggers autism. NAET is doing a remarkable job helping children with autism reclaim their lives.” -Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum

age to help care for their sibling. In families with autism, everything in daily life is just a little more difficult for

Director of the Annapolis Center for Effective

everyone…and most importantly there is the utter

CFS/Fibromyalgia Therapies and a NAET

heartbreak for a parent watching their child struggle.


In 2004, researchers began a study to determine the effects of a revolutionary autism treatment developed by Dr. Devi Nambudripad (M.D., D.C., L.Ac., Ph. D) for many allergy related conditions, autism included. The results proved to be quite revolutionary, and the technique continues to gain momentum in the treatment for autism.

NAET is a process and not a quick fix. There are certain food restrictions for one day following the treatments and many treatments will most likely be involved for an autistic child. You and your family will become very acquainted with NAET, and most likely, it will change not

The Autism Study consisted of two groups of 30 non-

only the life of your child, but your family’s as well.

verbalized, non-communicative subjects with ages ranging

Nothing in medicine is certain or guaranteed, but this

between 3-10 years, male and female. The first group

technique proves itself over and over again to be an

received 50 NAET treatments over a one-year period. The

extremely effective method for treating autism.

second control group did not receive any NAET treatments.

Courtney Salamone is Doctor of Oriental Medicine, a NAET practitioner, and owner of Delray Beach Acupuncture. She has

Of the 26 participants in the first group who completed the

advanced training using NAET for autism and is currently

study, all showed improvements in verbal and non-verbal

treating autistic children running the spectrum from Asperger’s

communication skills, social interactions, restlessness,

to mid-range non-verbals. She is waiting with love and open

sleep, abnormal body movements like flapping hands, hair

arms for the chance to help many more autistic kids, wherever

pulling, etc.

they are on the autistic spectrum. Courtney is available at and more information on

23 out of 26 subjects (88%) showed enough significant

NAET is available at

improvement to be moved from special education classes to regular classes. Of the 30 participants in the second control group (these

Are you enjoying what you’re reading? Become a sales executive with our magazine today.

children did not receive any NAET treatments), none showed significant improvements.

Making a difference and benefiting too! Call (954) 353-1898 or email

Autism Health and Wellness Vol. 1 Issue 3 • Autumn 2009 •

Page 35

Neurodevelopmental Perspectives on Autism and

The disease model is leading many parents, researchers,

Asperger’s Syndrome

and practitioners in the wrong direction. Those within the

By, Robert J. Doman Jr.

spectrum are unique individuals, each with their own set

Founder/Director, National Association for Child Development

of issues and underlying problems, who should not be perceived as having a disease. Those who are and were

Understanding and remediating neurodevelopmental

within the spectrum cover a broad range of ability and

issues of those within the autism spectrum is critical if we


are going to provide these individuals with an opportunity to overcome their debilitating developmental

Included within the autism spectrum are those who have

issues and to function within “typical” or “normal” limits.

been “cured,” who are no longer identifiable as having a

The underlying neurodevelopmental issues associated

problem, to savants such as “The Rainman,” Kim Peek, or

with autism are often not addressed. And when they are

Daniel Tammet, to those individuals who are so involved

addressed, it is often only in part or with inadequate or

and dysfunctional that they cannot be safely maintained in

inappropriate interventions. A thorough understanding of

anything other than a very protected, restrictive, and

all of the related pieces is necessary if a comprehensive

controlled environment.

and effective strategy is to be created and implemented. Discovering, understanding, and learning how to address Most neurodevelopmental issues will not simply go away.

the unique underlying neurodevelopmental issues has

Teaching new skills or utilizing aggressive medical or

been an effort of a lifetime and a dynamic process. Each

nutritional intervention without addressing the

insight opens more doors, assists in the understanding of

underlying issues may change some function; but if the

these unique minds, and leads to better results.

neurodevelopmental foundation is not established, results are going to be limited at best. And sadly, some of the

Although each child is unique, we have discovered some

more aggressive treatments may actually be harmful and

neurodevelopmental issues that are expressed in varying

cause regression.

degrees in virtually every individual on the spectrum. Successful intervention necessitates an understanding of

The predominant view that most children within the

and attention to these fairly universal neurodevelopmental

spectrum have only limited potential and cannot

components, including:

overcome their issues reflects the overall misunderstanding of the problem. There is a lack of attention to the uniqueness of each individual and a general misperception that we are dealing with a specific disease that will ultimately be cured or eradicated through pharmaceutical or medical intervention. Autism is not polio or chickenpox; you can’t catch it. It is neurologically based, regardless of the initial cause. I am sure we will ultimately see that there are many causes, and like other developmental problems, that there is neither a single cause nor a single solution.

Autism Health and Wellness Vol. 1 Issue 3 • Autumn 2009 •

• Neurology and physiology are interrelated. That which is impacting the child’s physical function impacts their neurological function. Most children on the spectrum are extremely physiologically sensitive. Diets, medications, supplements, and interventions need to be applied with a gentle scientific hand, measuring and evaluating the effects of each specific component with an understanding that generally many interrelated aspects of physiological function are involved. Aggressive intervention often creates another problem. Also, as the neurological function and efficiency improves, so does the physiology--the child becomes healthier and less physiologically sensitive. Intervention needs to by applied gently, with the goal of producing overall health and wellness.

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• The brain develops if it receives specific, appropriate input through the sensory channels. Specific auditory, visual, and tactile input stimulates the brain and triggers neuro-growth that physically changes the brain and its function. This process is called neuroplasticity. In autism the primary issue is sensory dysfunction. The brain does not correctly process sensory input, thus interfering with the typical neurodevelopment and triggering what is now being referred to as negative plasticity. Function determines structure; how you use your brain determines how it develops. Normalization of all these sensory channels establishes the foundation upon which typical neurodevelopment can occur.

information sequentially. Delaying the development of sequential processing delays critical aspects of the child’s total development. Delays in auditory and language development create an imbalance between the ability to think in pictures (i.e. visualization--typically very strong in those with autism) and the ability to think in words (i.e. conceptualization--generally significantly delayed in this population). This imbalance, if not addressed, can and often does have a devastating effect on the ability to process, understand, and utilize language, as well as the ability to think conceptually, thus impacting global function. A comprehensive treatment regime for children with autism and those on the spectrum involves creating

• Abnormal sensory function coupled with low sequential processing generally leads to what I have coined as DSAs--Debilitating Sensory Addictions. Generally DSAs are referred to as “stims,” or selfstimulatory behaviors. The reality of DSAs is that the child is playing with what is improperly developed or “broken” in a sensory channel. For example, underdeveloped central vision and enhanced peripheral vision trigger DSAs that involve the child fixating on the movement or edges of objects. This behavior becomes addictive, with the brain responding exactly as it does to a drug or any other addiction. It thus results in the creation of a more addictive brain, which further delays the development of the central vision, the component of our vision primarily responsible for learning, and focuses the brain on fulfilling the addiction. These DSAs often involve many, if not all, sensory channels; and they often dramatically disrupt and corrupt typical development. • Complexity of thought, conceptual thought, language, and global neurological and developmental maturity are critically linked. For those within the spectrum, the developmental delay produced from the sensory dysfunction creates both neurodevelopmental delay and an imbalance affecting these critical functions. The delay is in the development of sequential processing. Sequential processing is the ability to take in a series or sequence of auditory or visual information and to then hold those pieces together and manipulate them. This ability is that which permits us to learn and think. The primary global neurodevelopmental difference between a typical child of one, two, three, four, or five years of age is the difference between their abilities to process

Autism Health and Wellness Vol. 1 Issue 3 • Autumn 2009 •

specific neurodevelopmental programs for each child. These programs and treatment protocols must address health and wellness, sensory issues (visual, tactile, auditory, olfactory and taste), processing problems (auditory and visual), lack of development of and imbalance in visualization and conceptualization, fine and gross motor function, cognitive and academic function, and speech and language, as well as behavioral and social issues. We tackle these issues by designing a very childspecific, holistic, coordinated Targeted Developmental Intervention (TDI) program. A TDI program is created after we thoroughly review the child’s history and conduct an in-depth developmental and educational assessment. The work we do at NACD with children with autism has changed the previous notions that they are unable to progress and learn, or that the only effective treatments are behavior modification programs and skill-based training programs. NACD does not see children on the autism spectrum as being unreachable. We respect them for who they are and believe that they, like any child, are capable of attaining their innate potential and that they deserve the opportunity to do so. Bob Doman has been working with autism since the late 1960’s and was part of the team that first discovered the connection between sensory dysfunction and autism. Bob has been instrumental in establishing the foundation for today’s understanding of neurodevelopment and those within the autism spectrum. Visit NACD at

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NAET & Nutrition for ASD Children By David Sontag, L.Ac, A.P. L.N.C Many times, parents have shown up in my office with their child having been told, “Your child is autistic and nothing can be done.” Some children are subjected to endless invasive procedures that either produce no result or, at best, a transitory result that leads nowhere. Then the child is placed in various programs to improve language and social skills etc., which are worthwhile. When coupled with a child’s debilitating “additional” comorbid symptoms, a worthwhile educational intervention can often increase the child’s emotional stress - to the maximum. This can result in a child that increasingly acts out in inappropriate ways. Many parents place their child on various supplement plans that have great potential. Unfortunately, all too often, I feel these supplement plans are excessive, such that a child is taking too many micronutrients daily. Many alternative practitioners have come to realize that rather than treating the primary symptoms of ASD first, it is the treatment of the “addition” and underlying manifestations that bear the most fruit. While one cannot ignore primary symptoms like head banging, as we must act to protect the child from selfinjury, in my experience, effective treatment of the comorbid allergic symptoms and gastrointestinal (GI) issues are vital if any progress is to be made.

have benefited from being treated with NAET protocols. I know that many parents are skeptical as to what NAET has to offer their child, so I provide a free consultation to help patients understand this uniquely effective treatment. The genius of NAET is that it integrates the energetics of an allergic substance into the treatment that helps the body normalize the irritating allergic reaction, such that it no longer upsets the normal flow of the body’s energy. The end result is the child no longer reacts negatively to the allergic substance, becomes less distracted and regains focus. This results in allowing the child to pay more attention and to learn with greater ease. Over time, the normalization of GI tract function and the elimination of irritation caused by allergies or sensitivities allows many children to regain focus, have more eye contact and become more involved in their surroundings. David Sontag, L.Ac, A.P, Licensed Nutritionist & Certified NAET Practitioner, has a private practice located in North Miami Beach, Florida. He offers a free consultation to help parents decide if their ASD child can benefit from GI normalization and NAET. Please call 305-949-2990 or email him at for your free consultation.

To be clear, it does not matter how many supplements one gives a child if they have poor gastrointestinal health. A child with ASD needs supplementation for sure, but the only supplements a GI compromised child “needs” are ones that can help to return them to optimal GI health. Until that time, most if not all, the rest are wasted and may even add to the GI problems. Tied into poor GI function, and just as important, are a child’s allergic or sensitivity issues. Not only can allergic symptoms make your child miserable in uncounted ways, they can also be part of the cause of poor GI function.

Center for HOPE – Hyperbaric Therapy By the South Florida Center for H.O.P.E.

A child that is plagued by GI issues (i.e. diarrhea, pain, etc.) and is constantly assaulted by various symptoms of allergic origin, can clearly be driven to distraction. Both issues need to be treated concurrently and that is where I start with all spectrum children that enter my practice. I have been practicing NAET (Nambudripad Allergy Elimination Technique)) since 1996 and have treated many children with ASD, PDD and AD(H)D. Many, if not most, of these children

Autism Health and Wellness Vol. 1 Issue 3 • Autumn 2009 •

Autism is a neuro-developmental disorder currently affecting as many as one out of 150 children in the United States. Characterized by impairments in social interaction, difficulty with communication, restrictive and repetitive behaviors, it affects children from all socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds. Previous to the 1990s, autism was

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considered a rare condition occurring in approximately one in 2,500 children. However, according to the U.S. Department of Developmental Services, the prevalence of Autism spectrum disorders increased 556 percent from 1991 to 1997 and is now more common than childhood cancer, cerebral palsy, Down’s syndrome, spina-bifida, and cystic fibrosis. In addition, it is found throughout the globe and the occurrence worldwide is increasing 33.8 percent per year. Autism is not completely understood, but now we are beginning to unravel some of its mysteries. Ongoing clinical research reveals that reduced blood flow to certain areas of the brain, most notably in the temporal areas, specifically relates to deficiencies in language comprehension and auditory processing. Reduced blood flow also affects areas of the brain that regulate behavior, communication and social interaction, which correlates to clinical features associated with autism. Other characteristics of autism are cerebral inflammation, nerve inflammation and increased levels of oxidative stress (abundance of heavy metals in the brain). Other suspected causes of the condition are: • Vaccinations (preserved in mercury) • Environmental Toxins • Lack of glutathione • Yeast • Viral infections • Foods containing Genetically Modified Organisms • A hiatal hernia disrupts protein digestion • Type A milk protein There are many types of autism, however the three main types are: •

Autistic Disorder or True Autism, which impairs social interaction and is the most serious and results in stereotyped behaviors, interests, and activities Pervasive Developmental Disorder (P.D.D.), commonly referred to as atypical autism and less serious than true Autism. People with this type of autism tend to think literally, and do not understand humor. Asperger’s Disorder (High Functioning Autism), is characterized by impairments in social interaction and is the least serious.

One of the most effective therapies in treating children with autism and other neuro-developmental disorders is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT). Clinical studies show HBOT has been used successfully, at varying pressures, to treat a range of conditions by increasing the blood flow to the brain and reducing oxidative stress. Each HBOT treatment involves breathing 100 percent oxygen (air we normally breathe consists of 21 % oxygen) in a pressurized cylindrical acrylic chamber for a regulated and prescribed amount of time.

Autism Health and Wellness Vol. 1 Issue 3 • Autumn 2009 •

The therapy plan includes depth of pressure, length of treatment time and frequency of treatment, and is prescribed by the attending hyperbaric physician. HBOT has a cumulative effect and current treatment protocol for autism requires 20 to 40 sessions or “dives”. Sessions are done five days a week for at least four weeks. HBOT is a commitment for both the parents and the autistic child. It requires faithful dedication to keeping appointments for the entire course of treatment. Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy is a medical modality that has been in existence since 1936. Through the efforts of a handful of dedicated health care professionals HBOT has escalated from obscurity to an accepted therapy in mainstream medicine. Among those health care professionals is Hope Fine RRT., CHT founder of the SOUTH FLORIDA CENTER FOR H.O.P.E. (Hyperbaric Oxygen Producing Environment) a premier free standing center, located in Deerfield Beach, Florida. Hope has dedicated herself for the past 25 years to providing the highest quality of health care and has an extensive background in Respiratory Therapy & Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy. South Florida Center for H.O.P.E.’s staff physician is on board to oversee and evaluate patient treatment progress. South Florida Center for H.O.P.E. is a provider for most major managed care insurance companies. In many cases private insurance pays for HBOT. South Florida Center for H.O.P.E. prides itself in being one of the first free-standing Hyperbaric Oxygen facilities to receive reimbursement for treatment of Autistic patients. * Besides HBOT, South Florida Center for H.O.P.E. recommends the following on an ongoing basis: •

ABA (applied behavioral analysis)

Gluten free/Casein free diet.

These three pieces of the Autistic “puzzle” work together in the fight to overcome this disorder. The Centers insurance specialist’s are highly skilled in the strategic process involved in filing claims. In addition, they assist each and every patient with their insurance needs from start to finish. Patient Coordinator is available for a free consultation. *A not-for-profit fund has been established to help low income families pay for Hyperbaric Oxygen therapy and ABA. For more information on the fund, please see their website at South Florida Center for H.O.P.E., Inc. 1898 Suite H West Hillsboro Blvd. Deerfield Beach, Florida 33442 Local (954) 571-9392 – Toll Free (866)-473-4673 (HOPE) Email More information is available on the Website:

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RECIPE BY GLUTEN FREE CREATIONS (see ad pg 28) Agave Sweet Pumpkin Muffins These muffins are moist and naturally flavored. Makes 12 muffins or 36 mini-muffins

Prep work: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line or great muffin cups. Mix together the following dry ingredients in a bowl: 1 ½ cups of your favorite gluten-free flour mix (we used Gluten-Free Creations Bakery Sweet Flour Mix with rice flours, sorghum, xanthan gum, B vitamins, iron and folic acid) 1 teaspoon baking powder ½ teaspoon cinnamon ¼ teaspoon ground ginger 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg 1 teaspoon baking soda ¼ teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon xanthan gum if not included in your gluten free flour mix In mixer blend together the following wet ingredients. 15 oz can ½ cup 2 large ¾ cup

solid-pack pumpkin Canola oil eggs agave syrup

Does it truly matter if there’s gluten, casein, dyes or other allergens in my skincare and bath products? By Christine Gillund In The Potter’s Hand Inc. Well, does it matter? Absolutely, and here’s why:  Skincare products, along with any troublesome allergens they contain will easily transfer to your mouth from your hands, hair, face and lips. They also transfer from the skin or lips of anyone else that you kiss.  Gluten, casein, dyes, chemicals and allergen proteins will absorb directly into your body through cracked skin, cuts, rashes or from shaven areas.  If you use bath products with gluten, casein, dyes or any allergen to which a child is allergic, they remain in the bath water and will most likely ingested during the bath. For children, the unintentional transfer of these materials to their mouth is a daily problem as they put their hands in their mouth, lick their arm or chew on a strand of hair.

After wet ingredients are mixed together, blend in the dry ingredients. Do not overmix. Simply blend all the ingredients together. Hand mix ½ cups of raisins into the blend (optional). Fill the muffins cups ½ way full. Bake until done, 25 to 30 minutes. Test by inserting a tooth pick into the muffin. It should come out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool 5 – 10 minutes before removing from muffin pan.

Bath and hair products that run down the face and lips, or

“We make life tastier – and easier for people on special diets and the restaurants that serve them,” says Chef LynnRae Ries and Vern Lang, owners of Gluten-Free Creations Bakery. Gluten-Free Creations is a certified and dedicated wheat and gluten-free facility that also offers items free of dairy, egg, soy, nut, corn, yeast or sugar ingredients. “We care about your health and your taste buds,” says LynnRae. All items are natural and enriched with B vitamins, iron and folic acid. Mixes, breads, pizza crusts, donuts, bagels, muffins and cakes are all made inhouse. New items include gift cookies, tender bundt cakes and delicious tortes. Sign up for their newsletter and Shop, or visit 2940-B east Thomas Road, Phoenix, AZ phone 602.522.0659 for daily fresh baked samples.

Adults find it easier to control the unintentional exposures

Autism Health and Wellness Vol. 1 Issue 3 • Autumn 2009 •

are rinsed off into the tub water also pose a great problem; what mother has not caught their child sucking on a wash cloth, drinking bath water or putting tub toys and fingers in their mouth?

from skin care and hair care products containing these unwanted particles, however It’s not always necessary to ingest gluten, casein, dyes or allergens for symptoms to occur. Chemical compounds applied to the skin in the form of lotion, soap or other skin care products can be absorbed through the skin and affect the body, just like medications that are administered through a patch. Larger molecules like proteins from allergens can make their way into your body if the skins protective barrier is damaged. Examples of this would be

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if you have dry cracked skin, scrapes or have recently

Art + Therapy = Art Therapy: How Can It Help


Children with Autism? By Peg Dunn-Snow,

The best advice is to evaluate your specific situation; if things are going well, then this may be a non-issue for

Art is a normal childhood experience that provides hours

you. If you are struggling despite your best efforts, then a

of independent, enjoyable experiences. Art promotes a

change to gluten-free, casein-free and dye-free skincare

means of communication and illustrates what children

products may be the help you need.

understanding about themselves, others, and their

You will want to consider making these changes for

environment. Using common yet personalized symbols,

everyone in your household.

young children draw what they know.

Conventional lotions, soap, shampoo, conditioner, lip

Therapy is an activity that supports and helps individuals

products etc, normally contain gluten, casein or dyes and

and families accept and transcend the unexpected “Ifs in

it’s not an easy task to identify those that do from those

Life” (to borrow from a popular insurance tag line)

that don’t. It is difficult to even find companies that will give you a complete list of ingredients or even know what

Art Therapy is not yet a household word so what is it and

potential allergens their products contain.

how can children, especially those diagnosed with autism, benefit from this hybrid profession of art and therapy?

In The Potter’s Hand offers three lines of gluten-free, casein-free, allergen specific skincare, bath, baby and spa

Art Therapy Training Defined

products, with full disclosure of all ingredients to help the

Art therapy is an established health profession represented

Autism, Celiac, Chemical Sensitivity and Allergy

by the American Art Therapy Association since 1969.

communities. The product lines are Dakota Free Products,

Using art materials often yields self awareness that leads

Millennial Essentials and Gluten-Free Savonnerie.

to changes in behavioral, cognitive, and affective responses to stress or complex situations. The art therapist

More information can be found online at and

can provide support to individuals, couples, families, and

groups depending on the therapist's clinical training. Today training as an art therapist is comparable to other mental health professions, including counseling, clinical social work or marriage and family therapy. Art therapy is a Masters level entry profession with training and national board certification, requiring supervision before and after graduation. For more information about the profession of art therapy as well as online resources on art therapy and autism please consult the following websites

Autism Health and Wellness Vol. 1 Issue 3 • Autumn 2009 •

Page 41

Advantages of Art Therapy

Evaluating Strengths

1. We think in images … therefore art stimulates the creation of new images and ideas that promote the creative process both narrowly in an artistic way and broadly in a creation of solutions in living. 2. Art is another Language… that is used less often to communicate and therefore is not as easily controlled. Unexpected thoughts and feelings can burst forth in a picture or a sculpture and often form the beginning for insight, learning and growth. 3. Artwork is permanent…and is not subjected to distortions of memory. It remains the same. It can be viewed intact weeks and months later.

The biggest benefit of art therapy is its ability to highlight

Reviewing their artwork can help individuals develop new insights over time. 4. In art experiences and relationships occur in space …and are not limited to time. All at once the present time can be portrayed in artwork as it is influenced by past experiences and future wishes.

children’s strengths. Following good teaching principles, art therapy supports what a child can do and how to tailor each child’s treatment for developing additional skills for learning and living. In the case of children diagnosed with autism those developing skills have three areas of focus: language development , a sense of self, and sensory integration to help children strengthen their gross and fine motors skills, build relationships with others, and help them relate to their world and their environment (Betts, 2005). Some Art Activities and Techniques that Parents Can Use Language Development Traditional Language Development Materials (Example: Sequencing Cards) Language Experience Stories Read-A-Loud Stories

5. Art promotes more open and revealing discussions…as individuals are more comfortable talking about their artwork than having a


face- to- face discussion

Developing a Sense of Self

with another person.

Rhymes and Poetry Puppetry Following the Child’s Interest

6. Art can be used in daily living…and individuals are taught how to use art therapeutically to help themselves after therapy

Self Portraits

sessions end ( Wadeson, 1980)


Principles of Art Therapy When Working with Children

Developing Sensory Integration and Building

Photographs of Self in Collage Artwork Three-Dimensional Life Size Portraits

Relationships •

All children are reachable

Making art is a normal activity for children

Art therapy assessments are used to discover

children’s strengths •

Follow the child’s lead. Children know what they

need and want to communicate about. •

Provide children with good enough art materials

Finger-painting in the shower Sandplay Water-play Cut and Paste Art Activities (Example: Magazine Collage) Papier-mâché Art Activities Still Life Drawings Traditional Childhood Activities (Card and Board Games, Tic Tac Toc, Hop Scotch)

and protect their artwork as you would protect them.

Photographs of Self and Others to Teach About Feelings

Honor their artwork and view it as an extension of the

Interactive Scribble Drawing


Corresponding by Email

Parent involvement is a necessity

Annual Arts and Crafts Projects That Establish Family Traditions During Holidays Peg Dunn-Snow may be reached at (305) 542-4033.

Autism Health and Wellness Vol. 1 Issue 3 • Autumn 2009 •

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Directory of Businesses Support our advertisers who bring you the needed information found in Autism Health and Wellness. Below is a directory of businesses. To advertise please call (954) 353-1898 or email ProxTalker (Breakthrough Communicative Device) Therapy Spot Inc (OT/Speech Path) American Swing (Swing Therapy) Cookie Momsters (GF/CF Cookies) Playworks (Therapeutic Toys) NAET Practitioners (Allergy and Autism) Glamma Toys (Therapeutic Toys) Textured Spoon (Oral-Sensory Therapeutic) Holistic Healing (Hyperbarics & Holistics) National Association for Child Development Language Link Therapy (Speech/OT) Advocacy Counts (Education Advocacy) QCharms (Communicative Bracelets) PIECE (Advocacy Jewelry) Elder Law (Special Needs Estate Planning) Center for H.O.P.E. (Hyperbaric & More) Cooper City Health Foods (Health Store) LKG Law (Special Needs Advocacy) Gluten Free Creations (GF/CF Baked Goods) Gluten-Free Savonnerie (Allergen Free Soaps) Prepaid Legal Services National Autism Association (Expo) World Congress on Disabilities (Expo) Prosperity Life Planning (Activism) IRPW (Sales Rep Position) Autism Health and Wellness (Sales Position) Dr. David Sontag (NAET & Nutrition – Info) Advocacy: Louis H. Geigerman - National ARD/IEP Advocates P.O. Box 16111 Sugar Land, Texas 77496-6111 Ruth Heitin, Ph.D. Educational Consulting Services 100 West Howell Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22301 Phone: 703-519-7181Email:

Autism Health and Wellness Vol. 1 Issue 3 • Autumn 2009 •

See Back Cover See Inside Cover & Pg 4 See Inside Back Flap See Pg 19 See Pg 12 See Pg 26 See Pg 22 See Pg 32 See Pg 26 See Pg 22 See Pgs 15 & 41 See Pg 27 See Pg 6 See Pg 7 See Pg 7 See Pg 14 See Pg 14 See Pgs 12 & 38 See Pg 28 See Pg 26 See Pg 34 See Pg 2 See Pg 20 See Pg 24 See Pg 18 See Pg 35 See Pg 38 Torin D. Togut, Attorney at Law 140 Hanarry Drive Lawrenceville, Georgia 30045 (Tel) 678-372-1829 (Fax) 678-407-2449 Music Therapy: MusicMakers' Parent & Child Music and Art Classes Understanding the connections music provides is knowing that brain cells reprogram themselves mostly through an enriched environment Call (954) 480-6789 Email

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Medical: Syndion® is a liquid antioxidant, multivitamin and mineral supplement developed for children and adults with special nutritional needs and food sensitivities. A pilot study showed beneficial effects on the Autism Treatment Evaluation Checklist Parental Impression Scale. or call 1-877-SYNDION for more information.

Tires: Friendly Tire Company Friendly Mike Dealer of New & Used Tires 5415 NW 15th St – Bays 5 & 30 Margate, FL 33063 (954) 977-9445 or (954) 977-9446 Reg. #MV20398 Excellence is Our Goal For $2 off all tires mention Autism Health and Wellness

Medical - NAET:


David Sontag, L.Ac, A.P. Licensed Nutritionist NAET & Nutrition for ASD, PDD & ADHD Children 305-949-2990

Billie Swamp Safari 800-GO-SAFARI Learn about the unconquered Seminole Tribe of Florida at Billie Swamp Safari on the Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation in the Florida Everglades. Swamp Buggy Eco-Tours and Airboat Rides depart daily through 2200 acres of untamed Everglades with abundant native and exotic wildlife. Enjoy a Snake & Alligator Show, Swamp Critter Show, animal and reptile exhibits, boardwalk nature trail, dine in the Swamp Water Café and shop for souvenirs. A rustic camping village includes native-style chickees for overnight stays. Bring the whole family and experience the heart of the Florida Everglades like a native…at Billie Swamp Safari. Day and overnight packages available. Exclusive tours offered

Special Needs Education: Promised Land Therapy Verbal Behavior School for Autism (Please notice our NEW address) 22840 Old Dixie Hwy Goulds, FL 33170 Extended Program for children with Autism! Call (305)255-9561 Email or go to for more info Special Needs Tutoring: London Achievement Processes 5582 NE 4th Ct Suite 5 Miami, FL 33137 305-757-3482 888-922-5008 Director: Ricki London, L.C.S.W. "We are more than a program, we are the solution”® Grass-Fed Meat: Slanker's Grass-Fed Meats 866-SLANKER (752-6537)

Autism Health and Wellness Vol. 1 Issue 3 • Autumn 2009 •

Pottery Our unique combination of Paint-your-own-pottery studio with bistro is a very family friendly place. We will show you how easy it is to paint your own pottery while you can also have a great lunch. Great for all ages! Visit for more information. Call 305-931-4470 19575 Biscayne Blvd, Space 3201, Aventura, Florida

JOIN OUR TEAM OF ADVERTISERS Making a difference and benefiting too! Call (954) 353-1898 or email Or call to become a Sales Executive & also benefit while making a difference!

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American Swing Products Inc.

The right tool for the job… My son Logan has autism. He cannot talk yet. We invented the Logan ProxTalker to help meet my son’s communication needs. There is nothing on the market quite like it. It is the

moveable picture

communication device that actually talks. There are no levels or menus to hinder the simple logic of basic communication. Simply place the picture sound tags on the buttons and press – out come the

Leveraging technology to improve quality of life.

words. There is an onboard microphone so words can be added or changed with ease using special function tags. It is built to last. Whatever you do for your child, be sure to work closely with a team of professionals to develop the best program of treatment. Consult your Speech Therapist and your Assistive Technology Specialist to be sure you select the right tools for the job. Sincerely,

Patents Pending, LLC PO Box 190 Thomaston, Connecticut 06787 United States of America

Glen Dobbs, President LLC

(860) 283-0966 (866) 962-0966 (Toll free)

Autism Health and Wellness Magazine, Vol. 1, Issue 3  

Autism Health and Wellness is unique, and uniquely appreciated by the autism community, social service agencies and caregivers. The magazine...

Autism Health and Wellness Magazine, Vol. 1, Issue 3  

Autism Health and Wellness is unique, and uniquely appreciated by the autism community, social service agencies and caregivers. The magazine...