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AUTISM CALENDAR DEADLINE
June 24 !
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Mother Admits To Drowning Autistic Child
By Terrine Friday xrl.in/5mke
Xuan Peng, 38, talks to the media after she was sentenced yesterday. She pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the 2004 drowning death of her four-year-old daughter Scarlett.
Shannon Kari/National Post
A woman who drowned her four-year-old daughter in a bathtub six years ago told a Toronto court yesterday she hoped to have children in the future — then walked out a free woman.
“I still want to have a baby. I won’t kill another baby,” said Xuan Peng, 38, in between sobs after she pleaded guilty to manslaughter.
Peng was sentenced to five years in prison. Since she had already been in pre-trial custody for 30 months, Peng was given two-for-one credit for time served and was released yesterday afternoon.
She was originally convicted of second-degree murder in March 2008 and was sentenced to life in prison with no eligibility for parole for at least 10 years. The conviction was quashed and a new trial ordered last December, when it was revealed Superior Court Justice Mary Lou Benotto erred in her instructions to the jury.
In a statement of facts submitted to the court, the prosecution and the defence agreed to a manslaughter charge and the lenient term noting the significance of Peng’s bipolar disorder when coupled with raising an autistic child.
“Given her unique circumstances, especially given the stresses in her life and her mental state, a five-year prison sentence seemed the appropriate range,” assistant Crown attorney Joshua Levy said.
Peng gave birth to her daughter, Scarlett, in 2000 and went into depression. Unable to care for her daughter, Peng and her then-husband sent Scarlett to live with her maternal grandmother in China. When Scarlett and Peng’s mother returned in 2004, Scarlett was diagnosed with autism.
The same afternoon Scarlett was diagnosed, Peng was left alone with the child for three hours — the first time Scarlett had been solely in her mother’s care since September 2001. Frustrated by her daughter’s disruptive behaviour, Peng pushed her daughter’s head underwater in the family bathtub. A pediatric pathologist later declared Scarlett could have lost consciousness in as little as 30 seconds.
“To use the vernacular, Ms. Peng simply ‘snapped,’ ” said Justice Ian Nordheimer. “The facts of this case are, to say the least, tragic.” Although Judge Nordheimer acknowledged Peng’s five-year prison sentence is “at the low end” of the manslaughter prosecution spectrum, he noted the circumstances of the case are unique and Peng does not pose a danger to society.
Defence lawyer Edward Hung expressed Peng’s regret for her actions and intention to seek counselling.
“She has come to grips with the mistake she has made,” he said. “A huge mistake."
Peng addressed a group of reporters outside the downtown Toronto courthouse after being released, describing the death of her daughter as “the most stupid thing I have ever done."
“I will feel great regret the rest of my life,” Peng said. “I miss my daughter every day. I still love my daughter. I hate autism."
Peng, who has no family in Canada, intends to return to China.
Briton Sentenced 18 Months in Over Autistic Stepson's Death In Phuket, Thailand
Narid “Curly” Budtharai [inset] and his natural father Pissanu Badtharai at Curly's funeral service. File photo.
Phuket - A British man sentenced to 18 months in prison for the accidental death of his Thai stepson in 2007 plans to appeal the ruling.
The judge ruled that UK national David Murray, 40, used excessive force in trying to discipline his stepson Narid “Curly” Budtharai, who was eight years old when he died of head injuries.
The trauma occurred at Mr Murray’s home at the Moo Baan Irawadee, in the Ketho area of Kathu District on the night of July 12, 2007.
He was released on bail six weeks later.
For previous reports click here and here.
The judge sentenced Mr Murray to three years in prison, but immediately reduced the jail time by half.
Among the 15 people present to hear the ruling read out at 2pm today was the the deceased boy’s mother, Ramida Murray.
The child was described by his ethnic Nepalese natural father as autistic and incapable of intelligible speech.
The judge said that on the night of Curly’s death, Mr Murray hit the boy with a length of PVC pipe when he refused to answer why he had disappeared from the home that day.
The boy said he was sorry and clung to Mr Murray’s leg to ask for forgiveness, but the Briton kicked him away. Curly later died of head trauma sustained when his head hit hard on the edge of a table.
Mr Murray’s passport is still with police and he is not allowed to leave the country.
He declined to comment on the ruling as he walked out of the courthouse today, saying he would speak to the press only when the case is over.
• • •
UK - Young Boy's Death Wish Terrifies Mother And Has Experts Baffled
By Simon Bristow, yorkshirepost.co.uk xrl.in/5mmq
The parents of an autistic boy are appealing for urgent help after he made several attempts to kill himself and tells them he wants to die every day.
Elliott McGahey, 10, has Asperger's syndrome, a form of autism which generally affects social abilities, but in his case has resulted in a death wish that has baffled experts.
As well as self-harming and attacking relatives, Elliott tried to throw himself in front of a car outside his school, and was only saved in another suicide attempt when his mother grabbed his feet as he jumped out of his bedroom window.
The youngster has been prescribed an assortment of medication including anti-depressants, anti-psychotic drugs and tablets to help him sleep.
But his parents say they are at their wits' end and have criticised the NHS and education officials for not offering enough support.
His mother Kasha Bennett, 28, of Hull, said: "Not a day goes by when I don't cry because it's heartbreaking. To hear my son say he wants to die rips me apart every single day.
"He sees a consultant from the mental health trust every three months, but he hasn't had one-to-one support. No one is giving him any therapy or showing understanding of his condition.
"From the beginning it was hard work to get anyone to assess him properly. Then when we got him diagnosed we thought things were looking up.
"But there was support for about two weeks until he got back to school. Now it's as if we have just been left."
Elliott spent eight months at an NHS-run child and adolescent mental health unit, where he was diagnosed with Asperger's.
He was removed from St Nicholas Primary School after the incident with the car and has now missed 15 weeks of lessons.
Ms Bennett said: "He failed to understand a social situation at school, ran outside into the road and tried to get run down by a car. When I spoke to him he just said 'I don't want Asperger's, I just want to die, I want to kill myself, I want a car to knock me down'.
"We have a routine every morning where I explain to him what we have planned for the day. He'll just say 'I don't want to live, I just want to die'. It is devastating."
She has been unable to work since February as her son's condition worsened, leaving her with little option but to provide round-the-clock care.
+ Read more: xrl.in/5mmq
• • •
Compound from Clostridia Bacteria Elevated in Autism & Schizophrenia
Elevated HPHPA Levels May Indicate a Microbial Overgrowth in the Intestinal Tract
The highest value measured in urine samples was 7500 mmol/mol creatinine, a value 300 times the median normal adult value, in a patient with acute schizophrenia during an acute psychotic episode. The psychosis ceased after treatment with oral vancomycin, an antibiotic that kills bacteria, with a simultaneous and significant decrease in HPHPA. The source of this compound appears to be multiple species of anaerobic bacteria of the Clostridium genus. The significance of this compound is that it is a probable metabolite of the amino acid m-tyrosine (3-hydroxyphenylalanine), a tyrosine analog (a substance slightly chemically altered from the predominant biochemical substance) which depletes brain catecholamines and causes symptoms of autism (stereotypical behavior, hyperactivity, and hyper-reactivity) in experimental animals. In addition, the enkephalins, substances that regulate emotion and feelings, may also be dysregulated by this compound or other compounds in the same biochemical pathway. As a result, it is possible that abnormally elevated HPHPA, produced by abnormal microorganisms from phenylalanine in the gastrointestinal tract, may play a causal role in autism just as abnormally elevated phenylalanine and its metabolites cause the disorder phenylketonuria (PKU). The major difference being that elevated phenylalanine (the marker for PKU) results from a hereditary metabolic defect, while HPHPA results from one or more species of Clostridia bacteria.
Bolte reported that children with autism had a marked decrease in autistic symptoms when treated with antibiotics effective against Clostridia. Therefore, the treatment of abnormal microbial overgrowth may be a promising new therapy for individuals with autism with abnormal HPHPA elevations. Curiously, 50 years ago, elevated amounts of this compound in urine samples was observed and associated with general mental illness but this discovery was ignored until the work of Shaw rediscovered it. For over ten years, The Great Plains Laboratory, Inc. in Lenexa, Kansas has utilized gas-chromatography mass-spectrometry to evaluate biochemical abnormalities that appear to be of microbial origin in urine samples of children with autism and other developmental disorders and also in adults with a wide variety of disorders.
In an earlier study involving two brothers with autism, it was discovered that certain microbial metabolites (breakdown products of the metabolism of microorganisms) were found to be abnormally high in their urine compared to normal individuals. Shaw says that more than 500 species of microorganisms are found in the gastrointestinal tract and that we still know very little about the microorganisms in our own intestines. Numerous physicians have been using this marker as an important part of their treatment of autism and other illnesses with good clinical responses. Shaw believes that this work may be of comparable importance for autism as the discovery revealing the presence of intestinal Helicobacter pylori in ulcer patients, which was found to be a major contributing cause of stomach ulcers.
+ Read more; xrl.in/5mqe
• • •
Mercury Dental Fillings: What the FDA and the ADA Are Not Telling You
In 2009, several petitioners asked the FDA to reconsider their stance on mercury fillings, reversing their stance back to their original assessment of toxicity.3 Signing petitioners included Moms Against Mercury and several individuals holding various positions in the medical and health care industry as well as private citizens, all through the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT).
They cite the FDA`s use of an "ill-defined and unsubstantiated estimate of absorbed mercury exposure from dental amalgam of 1 to 5 [micrograms]/day that supposedly relates to the presence of between 7 and 10 amalgam fillings." The petition shows that the FDA's conclusions from that report were wrong and that further conclusions taken from another World Health Organization (WHO) report were also mis-represented in the FDA`s findings.
It is well-documented that amalgam fillings give off mercury vapors, even after decades of service as a cavity filling. A video of mercury vapor being given off of an extracted tooth when it is submitted to water at about the same heat level of a cup of coffee or tea shows that mercury fillings are toxic for a very long time.4
In fact, many dentists, while they understand the dangers of an amalgam spill in their office, are unaware that they and their staff are exposed to mercury vapors and potential poisoning every time they handle both the fillings they're putting into teeth and the mouths of patients who already have them. The extraction and disposal of existing mercury fillings has been linked to at least one patient who developed Parkinson's Disease and became wheelchair bound.3
Another study involving 9 velvet monkeys was conducted in Denmark. In that study, three of the monkeys were given amalgam fillings, three were given amalgam bone implants, and three were left untouched as controls. A year later, tissues in the monkeys showed that the fillings deposited mercury in several organs, including the spinal ganglia, adrenal, liver, pituitary, kidneys, and more. The monkeys in the control group had only trace amounts of mercury in their bodies.3
Mercury has been linked to several neurological disorders including Alzheimer`s, autism, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson`s Disease, and others. Other studies have been done into the links between mercury and other heavy metals and their reactive properties with one another.
In future articles here on NaturalNews, this citizen journalist will be exploring those other mercury-metal links and sources such as Thimerosal, fish, dentistry, and more.
+ Read resources here: xrl.in/5mmo
The iPad: a Near-Miracle for My Son
My son Leo's life was transformed when a five-dollar raffle ticket turned into a brand-new iPad. I'm not exaggerating. Before the iPad, Leo's autism made him dependent on others for entertainment, play, learning, and communication. With the iPad, Leo electrifies the air around him with independence and daily new skills. People who know Leo are amazed when they see this new boy rocking that iPad. I'm impressed, too, especially when our aggressively food-obsessed boy chooses to play with his iPad rather than eat. I don't usually dabble in miracle-speak, but I may erect a tiny altar to Steve Jobs in the corner of our living room.
Irony: We hadn't even considered getting Leo an iPad. They seemed awkward and fragile to me, with oversized touch screens that looked as vulnerable as a hermit crab's exposed backside. I felt more comfortable with the sturdy iPod Touch we'd purchased just two weeks before winning the iPad, and which Leo seemed to enjoy well enough. But our boy has difficulty with fine motor tasks -- with making his fingers do small-scale manipulations like pointing and writing -- and also, as it turns out, with the tiny iPod touch screen navigation. He can use the iPod Touch, but it doesn't compel him the way the iPad does.
After Leo spent five minutes with his iPad, I realized that any assumptions I had about it being merely a bigger or a more breakable iPod touch were idiotic. It's a tough little device. And for Leo, the larger scale of the iPad makes everything he wants to interact with just the right size, and therefore totally accessible. He may have a hard time writing on paper or typing on a computer keyboard, but he is a world-class iPad swiper and tapper, and his excellent visual memory means he can use that swiping and tapping to navigate between apps and videos with precision.
Leo mastered the iPad interface within a day. He explores it, he rules it, he loves it. Example: He used to beg me to play the same video sequences over and over again on TVs or computers, because that was the only way he could feel in control of his videos. Now that the iPad lets him choose exactly what he wants to watch, he's not only comfortable watching shows in their entirety, but he keeps checking the video home screen to see if I've downloaded new ones.
He's attempting drawings like we've never seen before on his iPad, via MagnaDoodle-y apps like DrawFree. It's so much easier for him to run his finger over the touchscreen than use a pencil, pen, or even crayon. The following drawing may seem simple, but until last week he had never drawn people as anything more than a smiley face with legs. Now we have ears, hats, arms, fingers, and toes! Serious mama bear pride.
• • •
Is the iPad The Next Big Toy For Toddlers?
Children have a natural knack for Apple's touch-screen tablet But, will they break it?
By Nicole Baute Living Reporter. thestar.com xrl.in/5mxx
Zane's mother, Barbara Fine, says that even though her son is computer-savvy and loves to play Nintendo Wii, she was impressed by how easily he figured out the iPad, with few questions. “He hasn't handed it to me and said, ‘Show me what to do,' ” she says.
More than 2 million iPads have been sold since launching in the U.S. in April, and here in Canada just a few weeks ago. Even though it's a toy with a grown-up price tag (retailing from between $549 and $879 in Canada, depending on the model), it has quickly become clear that children — and even toddlers — have a natural knack for the touch-screen tablet.
While companies race to come up with innovative apps that will please kids and their parents, videos of tots using the iPad are popping up on YouTube. Celebrity kid Suri Cruise has been spotted with an iPad of her own.
Tech blogger and writer Mike Elgan predicts the iPad will become the No. 1 most requested item by kids, especially those under age 12.
“From a parents' point of view, an iPad is great because it's not only videos, it's also television without commercials, it's also children's books that are interactive and more engaging, and it's also a device a child could use by themselves, and just open up whatever a child wants to play with,” says Elgan, who lives in the San Francisco Bay area.
He believes the iPad will quickly compete with DVD players as a prime means of “child pacification,” whether the children have their own iPads, are given hand-me-downs when parents upgrade or share with the whole family.
With a range of educational and entertaining apps, and many more to come, the iPad can give parents an element of control over what content their children are exposed to, Elgan says. And with the ability to delete or add new programs with the touch of a button, the iPad as a toy can easily adapt as children grow and their interests and abilities change.
From a developmental perspective, Sandra Calvert says the iPad may actually be best suited for toddlers.
“One of the reasons an interface like the iPad works so well with young children is that it maps onto how they already do things,” says Calvert, a professor of psychology and director of the Children's Digital Media Center at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.
Calvert says there are three different levels of understanding and communication that evolve as a child develops.
Enactive representation, the primary way children communicate in their first few years of life, is action-based — they point, grab or use their bodies to act out, for instance “I'm a little teapot."
As they grow, children start to participate in iconic (picture-based) and symbolic (language-based) modes of representation.
+ Read more: xrl.in/5mxx
• • •
First Lady Michelle Obama Joined Parents at Camp Pendleton to Discuss Healthcare Services for Military Children With Disabilities
Camp Pendleton, CA - In response to First Lady Michelle Obama's challenge to America stating on Sunday "One percent of America may be fighting our wars but 100 percent of America needs to be supporting parents in that fight," ACT Today! (Autism Care and Treatment Today!), a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide grant money for families that cannot afford or access the treatments their autistic children need, is set to launch the first ever national campaign to support military families with children with autism, announced ACT Today!'s executive director, Nancy Alspaugh-Jackson.
The statistics are staggering. 1 in 88 military children have autism and less than 10 percent are receiving recommended care and treatments. This is why Mrs. Obama met with military families with special needs to discuss policy reform. Prior to her speech to Marines at Camp Pendleton, Mrs. Obama listened to parents who highlighted the challenges military families face in accessing appropriate care and treatment services through the military healthcare system, TRICARE, and existing community programs.
"My goal is to help the rest of our country better understand and appreciate the incredible service of you and your families, and to make sure your voices are heard back in Washington and that your needs are met," said Mrs. Obama. "I am launching a national challenge to Americans to find ways to rally support of the military family."
The goal of the campaign, called ACT Today! for Military Families (www.acttodayformilitaryfamilies.org), is to raise $1 million to fund treatment and care until policy change can be addressed.
According to Alspaugh-Jackson, mother of an 8-year-old son with autism, "Until Washington can come up with answers, ACT Today! intends to battle for these families who are sacrificing their lives for us by helping their most precious resource, their children with autism, get the care and treatment they need. This is a case where every individual can make a difference."
+ Read more: xrl.in/5mr4
• • •
Prelimary Settlement in Autism Court Case vs. California Regional Center
Court Preliminarily Approves Settlement Agreement in Class Action Lawsuit on Behalf of Children With Autism and Orders Notice to be Provided to All Class Members
PRNewswire - The Los Angeles Superior Court issued an Order granting preliminary approval of a Settlement Agreement in the class action lawsuit, Benito R., et. al. v. Eastern Los Angeles Regional Center, et. al., which was filed on behalf of hundreds of children with autism against the Eastern Los Angeles Regional Center (ELARC) earlier this year, after ELARC terminated funding for Developmental, Individual Difference, Relationship-based ("DIR") treatment services.
Among other things, the Judge's Order requires notice to be mailed to all members of the class, including every parent of a child diagnosed with or provisionally diagnosed with autism served (or, if possible, who will be served) by the East Los Angeles Regional Center so that they know what is required of ELARC under the terms of the Settlement Agreement. The Settlement Agreement requires, among other things, that ELARC continue funding and paying for all DIR or DIR/Floortime treatment programs for all eligible children who have been diagnosed, or provisionally diagnosed with autism. It also enjoins ELARC from: 1) failing to make DIR treatment programs available to Class Members; 2) classifying, characterizing, identifying or labeling DIR treatment programs as "experimental," "non-medical therapy," "specialized recreation," or "social recreational" as those terms are used in the Trailer Bill; 3) asking, pressuring, conditioning or otherwise requiring a Class Member to give up, barter, or otherwise reduce or terminate another service in order to receive DIR treatment services; and (4) engaging in any sort of retaliatory behavior against any Class Member or person associated with a Class Member.
+ Read more: xrl.in/5mqk
• • •
Ask Why Autism Speaks' NY Health Insurance Bill Is So Murky In Terms of Care
Editorial from www.ageofautism.com xrl.in/5mne
Our friends in New York have asked several people at Autism Speaks, but have been unable to secure an answer as of this writing.
The alternative bill was endorsed by numerous autism organizations from the NAA-NYC to GRASP (to give you an idea of the wide reach of help it included for people with autism) but did not have the lobbying power (those walks raise a lot of money) of Autism Speaks or the safety (for the insurance companies that is) of only having to provide the most basic, and some would say insufficient, care.
Autism Action Network and the Foundation for Autism Media and Research have been leading the charge on getting real autism reform passed with different legislation A6888/S6123.
They are asking New Yorkers (and only New Yorkers please) to call Speaker of the Assembly Sheldon Silver today at (518) 455-3791 and politely ask what autism therapies are “Evidenced-based, clinically proven and peer-reviewed."
+ Read more: xrl.in/5mne
Note: The opinions expressed in COMMENTARY are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Schafer Autism Report.
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