E-News January 2006

Here is your update on the TACA (TALK ABOUT CURING AUTISM) Group for January 2006 - #1. As always, email your thoughts and/or questions. I want to make this e-newsletter informative for you. Let me know your thoughts on how I can improve it.

If this email is NEW to you and you don't recognize the name... WELCOME! These emails happen two to four times a month for the Southern California autism support group called TACA. As always, contact us with your thoughts and/or questions. I want to make this e-newsletter informative for you. Let me know your thoughts on how I can improve it.

Talk About Curing Autism (TACA) provides general information of interest to the autism community. The information comes from a variety of sources and TACA does not independently verify any of it. The views expressed herein are not necessarily TACA’s. We focus on parent information and support, parent mentoring, dietary intervention, the latest in medical research, special education law, reviews of the latest treatments, and many other topics relating to Autism. Our main goal is to build our community so we can connect, share and support each other.

In This Month's Edition of TACA e-news:

Upcoming TACA Costa Mesa schedule & other TACA meeting schedule info
TACA 2005 Accomplishments
General News:
  A) Good-bye to Liz Birt
  B) The State of California numbers drop again
  C) Year 2005 Tax Benefits for Parents of Children with Learning Disabilities
  D) Clinic Reports Dramatic Results in Treating Children With Autism
  E) Eat To Live: What you eat is how you think
  F) Doctors question benefit of hyperbaric oxygen therapy for autistic children
  G) Autism Speaks Makes First Major Funding Commitment, Supporting the
Development of an Unprecedented National Autism Database
Vaccine News
  A) Drug error, not chelation therapy, killed boy, expert says
  B) UK biochemist to share views in autism forum
  C) New vaccines for the new year
  E) FDA's Drug Label Rule Fails to Guarantee Access to Vital Information and
Includes "Sneak Attack" on Patients' Legal Rights
TACA Committees – want to be involved?
TACA Surveys due
Vendor Announcements
Books & Web Sites
Fun Activities
Personal Note

1 Upcoming TACA Costa Mesa Meeting Schedule:
Saturday, February 11, 2006: IEP: Common Pitfalls Parent Make and How to Avoid Them

Presented by: RICHARD M. PETERSON - Pepperdine University School of Law

The IEP preparation, assessments, the meeting and follow up process can be one of the most confusing, controversial and incredibly tough experiences for any parents with a special needs child.

This meeting will attempt to provide:

  • An overview of the components needed for an IEP
  • Steps parents can take to prepare
  • Commonly made mistakes that parents can identify and avoid

• Time 1 pm - 4 pm
• Fee:  FREE – no need to RSVP
• Location:  Vineyard Newport Church, 102 E. Baker, Costa Mesa

Saturday, March 11, 2006: Speaker to be announced

All Meetings at The Vineyard: 102 E. Baker, Costa Mesa, CA [click here to find a meeting]

(Please do not contact the church for meeting details. They have graciously offered use of their facility, but are not affiliated with TACA.) And remember, we are still a non-faith based group!

405 FWY South, Exit Bristol
Right on Bristol
Left on Baker
Go under FREEWAY.
The Vineyard Church is on the corner just after the freeway - turn left onto the freeway access road,
make FIRST right into the Vineyard's parking lot.


  TACA Has 7 California Meeting Locations:
Costa Mesa:
West Hills:
  • Meets: 1st Sunday of every month,
  • Time: 7-9 p.m.
  • Location: Jumping Genius – 22750 Roscoe Blvd., West Hills
    (the corner of Roscoe Blvd. & Fallbrook Ave.)
  • Info: Contact us
San Diego:
  • Meets: 4th Tuesday evening
  • Time: 6:30- 8:00 p.m.
  • Info: Becky Estepp
  • Location: NEW LOCATION AS OF April 2005:
    Rancho Bernardo Community Presbyterian Church
    17010 Pomerado Road, San Diego, CA 92128 - Rooms 22 A&B
    • February 28 -- Diet Meeting.  Learn about GFCF, SCD, and Low Oxalate diets.  Join in a roundtable discussion about the best places locally to shop.  Bring your favorite recipe to share.
    • March 28 -- Lisa Ackerman.  Topic: Who Pays for WHAT???
      Often deciphering the resources available to families with special needs children can be overwhelming, confusing and extremely frustrating.
  • Meets: 3rd Saturday
  • Time: 1:30–4:30 p.m.
  • For more information, please contact NEW CONTACT TAMI DUNCAN

    Please note: TACA Corona will get a NEW LOCATION in January. Meeting Location:  Peppermint Ridge - 825 Magnolia Avenue, Corona CA  92879

  • Date

    Speaker Name




    Shannon Kenitz

    Executive Director of the International Hyperbaric Association

    Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy and autism.

    Shannon Kenitz is the Executive Director of the International Hyperbarics Association, a non – profit organization that promotes Hyperbaric Therapy through education and research. Mrs. Kenitz earned a BS degree in Psychology at the University of Wisconsin –LaCrosse. She has been involved in the Hyperbaric medical field for the past three and half years and was in charge of the last two International Hyperbaric Symposiums for Cerebral Palsy and the Brain Injured Child. Mrs. Kenitz has extensive experience in clinical settings serving as the Executive of Public Relations and then Administrator of Ocean Hyperbaric Neurological Center under Dr. Richard Neubauer, one of the largest free standing hyperbaric clinics in the world. For the past year, she has been working on legislation and with insurance companies on reimbursement for Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for off label indications. Mrs. Kenitz is currently working with the Autism Research Institute (ARI), putting together a multi- center research study for Hyperbaric Therapy and Autism. Mrs. Kenitz is a sought after speaker, lecturing at conferences such as American College for the Advancement in Medicine, Anti Aging, and Autism conferences, Stroke Association Support Groups and much more.

    Mrs. Kenitz knows first hand the struggles of having a child with a disability as her youngest daughter Grace was diagnosed with a rare Mitochondrial Disease that kept her in the hospital for the first three years of her life and now has been diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum. Hyperbaric Oxygen saved Gracie’s life which then led her mother to become an advocate for Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, working nationally to change the laws regarding Hyperbaric Oxygen and Neurological conditions. Mrs. Kenitz resides in Madison, Wisconsin with her two daughters Lily and Grace.



    Dr. Kurt Woeller, D.O. of Stillpoint Center

    “Autistic-Spectrum Disorders - Why You Need a Comprehensive Biomedical Approach and How to Get Started”

    A DAN! (Defeat Autism Now) doctor’s viewpoint and experience in implementing biomedical treatment for children and adults with an autistic-spectrum disorder.


    Dr. Woeller is the medical director for Stillpoint Center for Integrative Medicine (www.mystillpoint.com) in Temecula, CA. He has been a DAN! (Defeat Autism Now) referral physician since 1997 specializing in biomedical assessment and treatment options for children and adults with autistic-spectrum disorders. His practice is dedicated to natural and integrative medicine treatment options for chronic health issues. Dr. Woeller also works as a physician consultant specializing in functional diagnostic medicine for Great Plains and BioHealth Diagnostics laboratories.



    Lisa Ackerman – TACA Founder

    Who Pays for WHAT???

    Often deciphering the resources available to families with special needs children can be overwhelming, confusing and extremely frustrating.


    Provided from a parents perspective - this seminar focuses on California based resources and will cover:

    o Who pays for services before age 3

    o Who pays for services after age 3

    o What does a diagnosis qualify your child for?

    o Funding discussions include: state & federal resources, regional center, school district, health insurance and alternative funding available to families.



    Katherine Bowman Speech and Language Pathologist



  • Meets: 3rd Monday of each month
  • Location: Whole Foods Market on PCH in Torrance
  • Time: 6:30 - 9:00 p.m.
  • For more info: Contact us -
  • SPECIAL NOTE: This group tends to be an advanced group with biomedical discussions. If you are a newly diagnosed family, you may wish to attend other locations for your first meeting.
  • Information learned at the DAN! Conference!
  • Meets: 3rd Wednesday of every month
  • Time: 6 p.m. "Happy Hour" with GFCF snacks and coffee 6:30-8:30 p.m. Speaker
  • Location: Kaweah Delta Multi-Service Center Auditorium, 402 W. Acequia, Visalia
  • Information: Please contact Lynne Arnold
Santa Rosa:
  • Meets: (typically) 2nd Tuesday of each month (except for February meeting)
  • Location: Swain Center - 795 Farmers Lane, Suite 27
    Santa Rosa, CA
  • Time: 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
  • For more info: Cathy Ference
  • Special thanks to Dave Stillman for getting TACA Santa Rosa off the ground and running!
    • February 21, 2006 Starting the biomedical journey ( different date due to holiday) Presented by: Lisa Ackerman
      Biomedical treatments for autism spectrum disorders can be a confusing addition to traditional therapies. This seminar will cover:
        • Why you should consider biomedical treatments?
        • How to start?
        • What to look for?
        • What is available as an option?
        • How are these treatments paid for?
      This seminar will be presented by a parent – not a doctor – in hopes of providing some suggestions and insight for other parents with children on the spectrum

  TACA Calendar Quick View
West Hills Meeting







Santa Rosa Meeting



Costa Mesa Meeting: Starting the Biomedical Journey
FEAT Biomedical Conference 2006

Torrance Meeting
Visalia Meeting
Crimson Center Family Seminar


Corona Meeting - (New Location)
ROK is pleased to announce Dr. Klinghardt in Phoenix, AZ


San Diego Meeting




WALK NOW Last day for donations



TACA New Parent Orientation
West Hills Meeting


Coffee Talk in Visalia

Foothill Autism Alliance
Family Resource Meeting


Costa Mesa Meeting:
IEP: Common Pitfalls Parent Make & How to Avoid Them
Outreach Clinic For Children with Autism, PDD, ADD/HD, & Behavior Disorders Coming to the Sacramento Area



Coffee Talk in Visalia
Visalia Meeting



Corona Meeting

Torrance Meeting

Starting the biomedical journey Presented by Lisa Ackerman --------------
Coffee Talk in Visalia
Links to Language" training


AUTISM SOCIETY OF AMERICA – LA CHAPTER Presents the 2nd Annual “Working Together for Autism”




San Diego Meeting
Coffee Talk in Visalia


2a TACA 2005 Accomplishments


2005 Accomplishments

Talk About Curing Autism began with ten families and now reaches out to almost 2,000 families in seven California locations. Our goals are to continue to educate, support and provide services to help families affected by autism, build communities, and help their children be the best they can be.

Below are our key accomplishments from 2005:

1. Membership increased from 1,600 to over 2,000 families.
2. Continued to provide 95% of program services at no cost to families.
  a. We continue to provide our mission to families affected by autism.
More on our mission at http://www.tacanow.com/taca.htm.
3. Held over 75 education and support group meetings including three New Parent Seminars, helping almost 100 families as they began their autism journey.
  a. Approximately 50 meetings were held in 2004.
4. Distributed 750 free Autism Journey Parent Guides to families at TACA meetings.
  Just over 500 guides were provided in 2004.
5. Increased fundraising efforts by over 280% in 2005 from diverse funding sources that can be replicated annually.
6. In collaboration with Thoughtful House Foundation, TACA provided 30 medical treatment scholarships to children affected by autism, who otherwise would have been unable to afford treatment.
  a. TACA does not designate the families but refers them to Thoughtful House for review of their needs.
7. Web site hits increased from 20,000 hits per month in 2004 to over 50,000 hits per month in 2005.
8. The free TACA Resources list has grown from 1,000 to over 1,300 resources provided at no charge to families in an easy to use web accessible format.
9. Rolled out the TACA library to all locations and increased the materials for families to utilize at no costs.
10. Provided over 60 mentor introductions for new families to obtain support and guidance from an experienced TACA family.
11. Thanks to a grant from Northrop Grumman, TACA was able to adopt 23 families in need during the holiday season.

For additional information please contact TACA at:
Talk About Curing Autism - (949) 640-4401
P.O. Box 12409 - Newport Beach, CA 92658-2409


3 General News

3. Article A: Good-bye to Liz Birt


 Editorials - February 2006

Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet.

Liz DeCarlo/Chicago Parent
Liz Birt holds the book, Evidence of Harm, in which her story was one of those featured.

It is with great sadness we tell you that Evanston mom Elizabeth Birt died in a car accident late last year while vacationing in Colorado.

Birt, 49, the mother of Andrew, Matthew and Sarah was also a tireless advocate for autistic children, who elevated the level of medical debate about the disease across the country.

We featured Birt in the article "Mercury in Kids’ Vaccines," which ran in our August 2005 edition.

In 1996, Birt’s son, Matthew, was diagnosed with autism and whatever her personal and family struggles were, Birt also kicked into action.

In the past 10 years, Birt founded the Coalition for SafeMinds (Sensible Action for Ending Mercury-Induced Neurological Disorders), Medical Interventions for Autism and the National Autism Association. She also started the Xtreme Sports Camp, to give autistic children a chance to participate in sports rarely open to them by other means.

Birt was an attorney with a private practice in Wilmette. But it was her fight for Matthew and autistic children which frequently put her center stage in Washington, D.C. She fought to get mercury out of vaccines, something she believed was a primary cause of her son’s autism. Her efforts were chronicled in David Kirby’s book Evidence of Harm, released in April 2005.

It is a daunting time. The safety, health and education of our children are no longer local issues, they are global concerns. The dangers that face us, and our kids, can seem overwhelming. So, it is easier than ever to give up on change without even starting.

But Birt shows us that one person can make a difference just by asking questions.

The safety of vaccines is a long-standing controversy—one of the debates centers around whether or not the mercury-based preservative, thimerosal, used in many vaccines, causes autism. Many in the medical community say no scientific link has yet been proven. Advocates say that does not negate the link. Rather, it points to the need for more research.

When Birt first heard about the connection between autism and thimerosal, she knew nothing about it. She read everything she could find, requested government documents, studies and became convinced thimerosal was the cause of Matthew’s autism.

Armed with the information, Birt was not afraid to march into the middle of a political maelstrom and challenge the federal government, the public health systems, the medical communities and the pharmaceutical companies. She co-wrote a congressional staff report, "Mercury in Medicines—Taking Unnecessary Risks," published in the Congressional Record in 2003.

Birt fought hard. Not only did her hard work mirror that of an epic David vs. Goliath battle in D.C., but she also managed through her organizations to bring joy, hope and inspiration to many families. She was generous with her time and compassion, often providing a shoulder to cry on for parents of newly diagnosed autistic children.

When Birt was interviewed by Chicago Parent, she proved a patient teacher, spending weeks on the phone and in person to explain the issues and history regarding mercury and its possible connection to autism and other childhood neurological disorders. She always found time to answer just one more question and the patience to muddle through a difficult topic with our reporter, our editors and fact checkers—many of whom were new to the topic.

Feisty and determined in her fight for autistic children, Birt was a divorced mother doing her best to raise three children—one of whom required much more effort than the average child. Yet, she still found the time and energy to become a leader in a fight she would rather not have been fighting.

She was a mom who, no matter how tired and discouraged she might be, still put one foot in front of the other each day to advocate for her son, Matthew. And as a result, so many others benefited. She is a role model for all of us and will be missed.


3. Article B: The State of California Autism Numbers Drop Again…

California Reports: New Autism Cases at 4 Year Low

From California autism advocate Rick Rollens.

According to information released today by the California Department of Developmental Services (DDS), the number of new cases of professionally diagnosed full syndrome autism (NOT including any other autism spectrum disorder) entering California's developmental services system in 2005 was the smallest number of new cases since the year 2001.

The DDS year end report for 2005 documents that during 2005, California added 2,848 new cases of autism to it's system. Not since 2001 (2725 new cases) has California added less new cases of full syndrome autism to it's system. Every year since the all time record year of 2002 there has been a slow, steady decline in the number of new cases of autism entering California's 37-year old developmental services system.

Between 1979-80 and the end of 2002, California's developmental services system experienced unprecedented record increases in the number of new cases of autism every year over the previous year. The 1990s saw an explosion of new cases of professionally diagnosed full syndrome every single year culminating in the record year 2002 with 3,132 new cases.

Prior to the start of the modern day autism epidemic, autism accounted for less then 3% of all the new intakes coming into California's system which also includes mental retardation, epilepsy, and cerebral palsy. Today, autism accounts for 60% of all new intakes, and is the number one disability entering California's developmental services system. 18 years ago there were 2,773 persons with autism in the system, today there are 29,424.

Children under the age of 3 years old with full syndrome autism are NOT included in the DDS reports, but instead are enrolled in the Early Start Program.

Nearly two-thirds (2 out of 3 ) persons in the system with autism are between the ages of 3 and 13 years old, with nearly 8 out of 10 under the age of 17 years old.

(Rollens comments: For those who continue to believe in the fantasy that we have NOT experienced an epidemic of autism, might I ask one simple question: If the incidence of autism hasn't increased dramatically over the past 20 plus years, then where are all the adults with full syndrome autism? Surely if there is no real increase then we should see roughly the same number of adults with autism as we do children. I am sure it is about as easy today, as it has been in the past, to somehow misplace or not recognize thousands of adults with full syndrome autism...about as easy as missing a train wreck. Sorry but no Ph.D. or MD required to recognize either one.)

For plotted graphs of the quarterly numbers try this link from Ginger Taylor's Adventures in Autism blog: http://tinyurl.com/88b6z


3. Article C: Year 2005 Tax Benefits for Parents of Children with Learning Disabilities

If you have a child with a severe learning disability (LD), you may qualify for valuable tax benefits. If your child has AD/HD, or other physical, mental, or emotional impairment, you may also qualify for tax benefits. Because tax laws are complex, and many tax preparers often do not have occasion to use these unique tax benefits, families are at risk of losing refunds worth many thousands of dollars. It's likely that 15-30 percent of families with a disabled child have one or more unclaimed tax benefits.

This guide provides a brief summary of the most significant federal income tax benefits and should not be considered legal advice. Tax decisions should not be made simply on the basis of the information provided here. You are advised to print out this guide and give a copy to your tax advisor. You should also explore potential state income tax benefits, which are too numerous for review in this guide.

Internal Revenue Service (IRS) 'Publications' represent the most accessible form of guidance to the tax rules for the general public, and relevant IRS publications are cited for each of the tax benefits listed below. The IRS also issues interpretations of the code and regulations called 'Revenue Rulings.' These interpretations are formal, binding policy statements. Tax professionals rely on revenue rulings in advising clients about tax liabilities and tax benefits. For example, Revenue Ruling 78-340, discussed later, authorizes a medical expense deduction for tuition or tutoring fees paid for a child with a severe LD who is attending a special school at the recommendation of the child's doctor.

Tip: Relative caretakers, such as grandparents or aunts, and non-relative caretakers, such as foster parents, also may qualify for tax benefits.

Tax Benefits: Deductions vs. Credits

It's important to distinguish between two different categories of tax benefits. One category is a deduction from taxable income or simply a deduction. The value of a deduction is based on the marginal tax rate of the taxpayer. If a person has a tax deduction worth $1,000, the actual value of the deduction will be determined by the taxpayer's tax rate. So a taxpayer in the lowest tax rate bracket, 10 percent, will have taxable income reduced by $1,000, and save $100 (10 percent of $1,000). However, a taxpayer in a higher bracket, for example, 28 percent, will have taxable income reduced by $1,000, and save $280 (28 percent of 1,000).

The second tax benefit is a tax credit, which is a dollar-for-dollar reduction in tax liability. An individual with a tax credit worth $1,000 will have his tax bill reduced by $1,000. This means that the actual amount of taxes is reduced by the amount of the tax credit. However, because tax laws and procedures are very complicated, other factors can influence the ultimate value to the taxpayer.

The following summarizes the principal tax benefits that may be available to families caring for children with severe learning disabilities.

Retroactive Claims for Refunds

The IRS allows taxpayers to file amended returns, and collect refunds for unclaimed tax benefits, retroactively up to three years. This means a taxpayer can file an amended return for the 2002 tax year (and also for the 2003 and 2004 tax years) and claim a refund if the return is filed not later than April 15, 2006. (See IRS Publication 17, Your Federal Income Tax, 2005, at pp. 18-19.)

Medical Expense Deductions

The IRS has ruled that tuition costs for a special school that has a program designed to educate children with learning disabilities and amounts paid for a child's tutoring by a teacher specially trained and qualified to deal with severe learning disabilities may also be deducted. (Revenue Ruling 78-340, 1978-2 C.B. 124.) Special instruction or training or therapy, such as sign language instruction, speech therapy, and remedial reading instruction also would be deductible. Related books and materials can qualify for the medical expense deduction.

Generally, to qualify for the deduction, the child's doctor must recommend the special school, therapy, or tutoring, and there must be a medical diagnosis of a neurological disorder, such as severe LD, made by a medical professional. Transportation expenses to the special school or to the tutor also qualify for a medical expense deduction. If transportation is by car, the allowable expense in 2005 is fifteen cents per mile plus parking and tolls, or the actual cost of operating the vehicle.

Diagnostic evaluations also qualify for a medical expense deduction. This can include testing by a speech-language pathologist, psychologist, neurologist, or other person with professional qualifications.

Note: Expenses claimed as a medical expense deduction and later reimbursed by a school district or insurance company must be reported as taxable income for the year in which the reimbursements are received.

Not everyone who has medical expenses can use them on their tax return. Medical expenses must be claimed on Schedule A, Itemized Deductions, and are subject to certain limitations. First, the family must have itemized deductions that exceed their standard deduction in order to use Schedule A (about 65 percent of taxpayers do not itemize for this reason). Second, medical expenses are allowed as a deduction only to the extent that they exceed 7.5 percent of adjusted gross income, a significant threshold for many families. (See IRS Publication 502, Medical and Dental Expenses.)

Health Saving Accounts & Flexible Savings Arrangements

Alternative approaches to obtaining tax benefits in connection with medical expenses may involve use of a Health Saving Account (HSA) or a Flexible Savings Arrangement (FSA). An HSA allows a worker to use up to $5,250 in pretax income for medical expenses. An HSA may only be opened where the employee has a high deductible health insurance plan. Amounts placed in an HSA may be carried over to following years if not used.

A Flexible Savings Arrangement (FSA) can be part of a cafeteria plan of alternative fringe benefits offered by an employer. An employee can allocate pre-tax income to the account, and then withdraw it during the year to pay for medical expenses. Employers may also make contributions to the FSA, and the maximum amount is set by the terms of the employer plan. Two important conditions are that the amount to be placed in the account must be determined by the employee at the beginning of the year, and funds not used by the end of the year are lost. The employer's human resource office can provide more information. Also, see IRS Publication 969, Health Savings Accounts and Other Tax-Favored Health Plans.

Deduction for Disability Related Conferences

In May 2000 the IRS issued Revenue Ruling 2000-24, which offers guidance "and good news" for parents of children with disabilities. Parents who attend conferences to obtain medical information concerning treatment for and care of their child may deduct some of the costs of attending a medical conference relating to a dependent's chronic health condition. The important points to remember are:

Medical expenses are deductible only to the extent that they exceed 7.5 percent of an individual's adjusted gross income, and that limitation applies to this deduction as well;
Costs for admission and transportation to a medical conference relating to your dependent's chronic health condition are now deductible, if the costs are primarily for and essential to the care of the dependent.
Costs of meals and lodging related to a conference, however, are not deductible. (Note, however, lodging, up to $50 per night, is deductible if you must travel and stay at a hotel while your dependent is receiving medical treatment from a licensed physician in a hospital or a related or equivalent setting.)
Costs are "primarily for and essential to the care of the dependent" (and therefore deductible) if:
The parent attends the conference upon the recommendation of a medical provider treating the child;
The conference disseminates medical information concerning the child's condition that may be useful in making decisions about the treatment of or caring for the child;
The primary purpose of the visit is to attend the conference. While at the conference, the parent's social and recreational activities in the city he or she is visiting are secondary to attendance at the conference;
The conference deals with specific issues related to a medical condition and does not just relate to general health and well-being.
Child and Dependent Care Credit

The Child and Dependent Care Credit is allowed for work-related expenses incurred for dependents of the taxpayer. Generally the dependent must be under the age of 13. However, if the child has a disability and requires supervision, the age limit is waived. For example, a 16-year-old with severe AD/HD and a behavior disorder who cannot be left without adult supervision would be a qualifying child for this credit.

Expenses up to $3,000 per year for one qualifying dependent and up to $6,000 for two or more qualifying dependents are allowed. Expenses for regular childcare services, after-school programs, and summer camp qualify although overnight summer camp expenses do not. Payments to a relative to care for a child also qualify, as long as the relative is not a dependent of the taxpayer. The credit is calculated at 20-35 percent of allowable expenses, based on the family's adjusted gross income. The average credit is about $600 but can be as high as $2,100. (See IRS Publication 503, Child and Dependent Care Expenses.)

Exemption for Dependents

A taxpayer is entitled to claim an exemption for each qualified dependent. This may appear relatively straightforward, but caretakers, such as grandparents, aunts, or even foster parents, may overlook exemptions. Also, in some cases following a divorce, a non-custodial parent who provides the majority of support for a child with a severe LD, and also pays for medical/educational expenses related to the child's LD, may likewise qualify for both the exemption and medical expense deductions. A new definition of "qualifying child" took effect in the 2005 tax year; the most significant change is that the taxpayer need not show support for a "qualifying child" but the child must have lived with the taxpayer for more than six months during the tax year. For each dependent, there is an exemption from taxable income, worth $3,200 for the 2005 tax year. For a taxpayer with a marginal tax rate of 25 percent, each exemption will reduce the tax liability by $800. Equally important, the dependency status is required for some tax benefits such as the child and dependent care credit listed above. Also dependents under age 17 qualify for the Child Tax Credit, worth up to $1,000 per child. (See IRS Publication 501, Exemptions, Standard Deduction and Filing Information, and Instructions to Form 1040.)

Earned Income Tax Credit

Families filing a married joint return with adjusted gross income under $37,263 ($1,000 less for taxpayers filing as single or head of household) may qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) based on the presence of one or two "qualifying children" in the taxpayer's home. For EITC purposes, a "qualifying child" is a biological child, adopted child, step child, or foster child who resided with the taxpayer for more than six months during the calendar year, and is under age 19 at the end of the year. A "qualifying child" is also a child age 19-23 who is a full-time student for at least one semester. Finally, a severely disabled child is a "qualifying child" without regard to age, even into adulthood, as long as the child continues to live with his parent(s). Note that a "qualifying child" for EITC does not have to meet the requirements for a dependency exemption. EITC benefits are as high as $4,400 for families with two or more qualifying children, although the average EITC nationally is about $1,800. (See IRS Publication 596 for more information.)

Where to Get More Information

The IRS provides free booklets that cover each of the topics listed above. The titles listed below may be ordered by calling the IRS toll-free number: (800) 829-3676. Generally, taxpayers may order up to three copies of any publication or form. The following booklets may be helpful:

IRS Publication 17: "Your Federal Income Tax" (a comprehensive 300+ page guide)
IRS Publication 502: Medical and Dental Expenses
IRS Publication 503: Child and Dependent Care Expenses
IRS Publication 501: Exemptions, Standard Deduction and Filing Information
IRS Publication 596: Earned Income Tax Credit
IRS Publication 969, Health Savings Accounts and Other Tax-Favored Health Plans
Extensive information can also be obtained from the IRS. The American Bar Association Section on Taxation contains links to scores of tax related sites.

Tax Counseling and Tax Preparation Assistance

Certified Public Accountants (CPAs)represent one source of tax advisors, although not all CPAs have expertise in this area. Enrolled Agents are individuals licensed by the IRS to represent taxpayers, and this group generally has a high degree of expertise.

Typically, charges for a tax return with multiple deductions and credits will cost $150-300. Several national companies provide tax preparation and tax counseling services. Many operate only during the tax filing season but a small number in larger urban areas are open year round. Fees charged by these companies are slightly lower than the fees typically charged by CPAs and Enrolled Agents.

Some parents may not be able to afford fees charged by professional tax preparers, who generally seek payment in advance. An option for lower income clients is the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. However, because of broad range in skills and expertise of volunteers, caution is recommended. Some large cities have one or more VITA programs that offer professional level services. A university accounting department or the local legal services program may be able to help you identify a high quality VITA program.

Disputes with the IRS

Disputes with the IRS are relatively rare; less than 1.5 percent of all individual income tax returns are subject to an IRS audit. However, if the IRS questions your return, and you feel an IRS agent is not responding properly, contact the Taxpayer Advocate for assistance -- toll-free: (877) 777-4778. Low Income Taxpayer Clinics are another source of help. The IRS funds more than 100 clinics to represent lower income taxpayers in disputes with the IRS or state revenue departments. Clinics assist taxpayers with income under 250 percent of the poverty level -- about $49,000 for a family of four. Some clinics, especially those attached to law schools, will represent higher income families. Information on the nearest clinic can be obtained from the general IRS toll-free inquiry number: (800) 829-1040. Families above this income level should call their county or state bar association.

Final Thoughts

This guide offers a brief summary of some, but not all, of the potential tax benefits that may be available to you. You should obtain copies of the IRS publications cited above and discuss with your tax advisor whether these benefits apply to you. Again, you should not rely on this guide alone to determine whether you should claim any of the tax benefits reviewed here.

© 2006 Charles and Helen Schwab Foundation Created: 01/12/2006

About the Contributors

Michael A. O'Connor is an attorney who promotes awareness of tax policies that benefit families. In addition, he represents parents in disputes with local school districts concerning special education services for learning disabled children. He is a Board Member of the Council of Parent Attorneys & Advocates (COPAA).


3. Article D: Clinic Reports Dramatic Results in Treating Children With Autism. 

PR Newswire; 1/16/2006

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- She was a mother without hope. Diagnosed with autism, her six-year-old son, EJ, bit other children, threw tantrums and chairs. "He had no future," says Beatrice Tan, whose family stopped going to church -- too risky to put EJ in the nursery.
Now, after several months of specialized neurofeedback therapy at Drake Institute of Behavioral Medicine and medical associates (http://www.drakeinstitute.com/) in Los Angeles, EJ no longer bites: he hugs. He has friends, and "we have hope," says Beatrice, now back in church with EJ and husband, Ronnie. "We see autistic children coming out of their social comas, it's huge," says Dr. David F. Velkoff, Drake's medical director. "We're excited whenever we can help jump start a child's life."
A physician with a master's degree in psychology, Dr. Velkoff reports dramatic results for most of the 100 autistic children like EJ who Drake Institute has been treating over the last year at its four California clinics, with medical technology Drake first used to treat attention deficit disorder (ADD), then modified for autism.
Over the last 25 years, Drake has treated more than 5,000 children for attention deficit disorder (ADD/ADHD), he says, then last year began focusing on children also diagnosed with high-functioning autism or Asperger Syndrome. In treating their ADD, Drake staff found their autism symptoms dramatically improved as well.
"Like a lot of accidental advances in medicine, we stumbled onto it, but it's working," he says of Drake's medical mystery. "We think it helps these children rewire brain synapses, so life starts to make sense."
To make sense of their surprising progress, Drake cranked up an initial clinical study of 18 patients, all children with autism disorders and poor social skills. After 20-40 neurofeedback sessions, parents reported children were not only responding to peers, but interacting with new awareness to the feelings of others, says Dr. Velkoff.
"EJ used to ask, 'Mommy, why don't I have friends?'" says Beatrice Tan in a videotaped interview on Drake's website, http://www.drakeinstitute.com/. "I'd say, 'You have to be nicer, talk to them, don't take their toys, share!' It's no longer a problem." "Unfortunately, we can't help every child with autism, but we've seen big improvements in three out of four children we treat," says Dr. Velkoff. "Parents tell us they keep getting better even after treatment ends. We hear, 'it's a different child' all the time. Their lives begin to blossom."
It all makes sense, says Dr. Velkoff. According to Drake's study, autistic children were suddenly more "teachable" after neurofeedback treatments, requiring less time to learn how to handle situations that once confused them. "They are happier children now; they have fewer meltdowns," says Dr. Velkoff, praising anyone engaged in the fight against autism, especially patients and their "courageous parents." "It's been a frightening road for a lot of these families, but they're not alone in this fight," he says. "We've been so encouraged by the progress we've seen at Drake. Fate has dealt these children a difficult hand. We just want to help improve the odds."


3. Article E: Eat To Live: What you eat is how you think

By JULIA WATSON UPI Food Writer – January 18, 2006

A study published this week takes the mantra "you are what you eat" one stage further: It concludes what you eat could affect how you think.

The study, Feeding Minds, was done by Sustain, a Britain-based alliance for better food and farming, in conjunction with the Mental Health Foundation. It points out that over the past 50 years the delicate balance of vitamins, minerals and essential fats we consume has altered dramatically.

The nutrients we get from consumption of meat and fowl have been changed by the processed feed, hormones, antibiotics and pesticides they are provided in industrialized farming complexes.

We eat one-third less vegetables than 50 years ago and two-thirds less fish -- our main source of omega-3 fatty acids.

The measure of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in battery farmed chickens, vital to the function of the human brain, has altered. Their fat content has increased in 30 years from 2 percent to 22 percent.

We consume saturated fat from processed foods and ready-meals that acts to slow down the brain's working process.

While doctors and scientists are skeptical of the connection it makes, the study says that these changes in our eating habits may be linked to depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, schizophrenia and even Alzheimer's.

The families who are members of Talk About Curing Autism would not be surprised by the findings. This support group, launched by a family with personal experience with autism, investigates any avenue that could improve life for anyone or family affected by autism.

Their firsthand experience has led many families in the autism community to agree with TACA that a diet free of gluten and casein can lessen the digestive and bowel issues sometimes found in children with autism spectrum disorder.

TACANOW.com concurs that because such a diet is considered an "alternative" therapy, "school administrators, medical personnel, and others often view it with skepticism." Those who have implemented it have also found that "for some children, eliminating gluten and casein helps lessen self-stimulating behaviors (and) increases focus."

According to a January 2005 article in Today's Dietitian by Kate Jackson, "Support for such a diet has come from recent research pointing to the presence of pathology in the gastrointestinal tracts of children with autism, the degree of which correlates to the severity of autistic symptoms. The problem is believed to be a leaky gut, and absorption difficulties are thought to influence brain function."

Gluten occurs in wheat, oats, barley, rye and most processed foods. It even appears in Play-Doh, many hygiene products and the adhesive used on stamps and stickers. Casein, or milk protein, is in all dairy products and is even used as a binder in canned tuna fish.

Even skeptics may wish to consider the influence in all individuals of diet upon brain function.

Dr. Andrew McCulloch, chief executive of the Mental Health Foundation, said that in some cases addressing mental health problems with changes in diet showed better results than using drugs or counseling.

Rebecca Foster, a nutrition scientist at the British Nutrition Foundation, is not ready yet to draw the conclusions reached by the Sustain and Mental Health Foundation study about the association between mental illness and dietary intake.

"However," she told the BBC, "the nutrient recommendations outlined in this report are in line with recommendations for good health, which should continue to be advocated by all health professionals."

For one-dish cooking of free-range chickens and fresh vegetables, French countrywomen own wonderful deep circular terracotta pots that are wider at the top than the base. Into this they slice whatever vegetables are to hand -- onions and a little garlic are essential, carrots, turnips, potatoes, parsnips, leeks are all good. They season them, throw in 3-4 sprigs of fresh thyme. Then they lay a roasting chicken on top, salt and pepper it, slosh in a good glug or two of white wine, cover the whole well with foil and cook it in a 350 F oven for an hour and a half. Then they remove the cover, raise the heat to 400 F to allow the chicken to brown for 30 minutes before serving.

You can do the same in a lidded casserole, but because it isn't the same shape, gently soften your vegetables first in a little oil, drain them and spread over the base of the pan, then add the chicken. And add water or stock just to cover them; for a soupier meal, cover the dish and follow the previous instructions.

E-mail: consumerhealth@upi.com


3. Article F: Doctors question benefit of hyperbaric oxygen therapy for autistic children


Tuesday, January 17, 2006

To Andrew Piccirillo, the hyperbaric oxygen chamber seems like a spaceship. To his parents, the see-through, bed-sized capsule at Paterson's Barnert Hospital seems like a new bit of hope.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT), which exposes a patient to increased atmospheric pressure and 100 percent oxygen-filled air (as opposed to the 20 percent we breathe in the environment), is typically used for people with chronic wounds, infections or gas poisonings. Most recently, HBOT made headlines when it was used to treat a West Virginia coal miner who suffered carbon monoxide poisoning.

Andrew, who is 10 years old, is autistic. His parents are giving HBOT a try – even though no studies have been done on the effectiveness of HBOT in treating autism; even though insurance doesn't cover the 90-minute, $200 HBOT "dives" for the treatment of autism; even though virtually every doctor who doesn't make money administering the treatment to autistic children is skeptical about using it for such patients.

"This happens often in the autism world -- something comes out and parents flock to it," said Paul A. Potito, executive director for the Center for Outreach and Services for the Autism Community (COSAC). "Parents are willing to try lots of things because the disease is so devastating."

The Piccirillos aren't blind to that phenomenon. Like other families battling autism, a cognitive disorder that impairs social and learning abilities to varying degrees, the Piccirillos face the daily reality of an emotionally and, at times, physically exhausting illness. They will, they say, try almost anything to make it better. That includes treatments -- chelation therapy, which allows for the release of heavy metal in a patient's urine and hormone treatment with Secretin -- viewed with great skepticism by the mainstream medical community.

"When you're faced with a disability like autism, where there is no F.D.A.-approved treatment for it; you're faced with trying all different things you think might work," says Andy Piccirillo, Andrew's dad. "I don't think (HBOT) is the cure, but I think everything we've done collectively has brought Andrew from a non-verbal state to being a kid that goes to school and participates in the classroom and is learning and has friends."

The Piccirillos heard about HBOT from a friend, another parent of an autistic child. It had done wonders for her 7-year-old son, she told them. After almost 40 HBOT sessions, the mother said, he was making more eye contact. His concentration had improved. His temper was better.

On Web sites for parents of autistic children, Piccirillo found similar accounts. At www.healing-arts.org, a Web site advocating holistic medicine, he found a study purporting to show that HBOT had effectively treated childhood encephalitis, or swelling of the brain: "Viral encephalitis," it said, "presents a model for the inflammation that may be part of autism."

But, many doctors warn, it's not a good idea to rely on "may be's."

"If there is a treatment for autism, the approach would probably depend on the underlying problem, and we don't know what the cause of autism is," said Dr. Jonathan Mink, associate professor of neurology and pediatrics and chief of child neurology at the University of Rochester. "There is little or no evidence that hyperbaric oxygen is helpful for established brain injury."

His skepticism is widely echoed.

"As far as what exactly it does in brain, based on everything we know about autism, I do not believe (HBOT) could possibly help," said Dr. Leonid Topper, a pediatric neurologist with Pediatric Neurology Associates in Morristown.

"It's like the old tonics out west that were good for rheumatoid arthritis, the liver and the kidney," said Ronald Jacobson, an associate clinical professor of neurology and pediatrics at New York Medical College and a pediatric neurologist with Pediatric Neurological Associates in Englewood. "When a treatment is proposed to be good for many, many conditions, people should be wary."

While doctors are skeptical of HBOT and point out that it can cause seizures and oxygen toxicity in a limited number of patients, most are mindful of the plight parents of autistic children face. Although he doesn't recommend HBOT, Jacobsen says, "I'm very sympathetic to patients trying anything, because there are not a lot of treatments that work."

While researching HBOT, Andy Piccirillo read accounts from those offering the therapy that boasted of its potential.

"Think of it like a charge not firing," said Geoffrey Saft, a chiropractor who administers HBOT to about three autistic children per day in his Corte Madera, Calif., office. "What we believe happens in hyperbaric therapy -- in the brain and nervous system -- is that it causes idle synapses that are not working right, to get going again."

Saft charges $80 per session, relatively little compared to the $100 to $900 charged at the approximately 300 centers offering hyperbaric therapy around the country. The more treatments a patient has, the more lasting its effects, Saft maintains, adding that those effects can include increased attention span and improved socialization. Eighty percent of his autistic patients, he says, experience some improvement.

"His language skills jumped -- really jumped -- and he's picking up more phrases and vocabulary," said Nancy, the parent who originally referred the Piccirillos to HBOT, of her son's improvement following more than 40 intermittent sessions. Nancy, who lives in didn't want her last name printed, since her son is so high-functioning that some don't know of his diagnosis, she said.

But skeptical doctors such as Mink call experiences like Nancy's "the placebo effect."

"We all know that a good expectation leads to a temporary perception of improvement," Mink said.

Piccirillo is used to such skepticism. Even though he knows HBOT isn't scientifically proven to be effective, Nancy's account provides hope.

"We have to be realistic judges of each therapy on our own," he said. "There is nothing proven, but if one out of 10 kids benefit from it, that's a good thing."

When the Piccarillos found out that HBOT was available 10 minutes from their Wayne home, at Barnert Hospital, they signed Andrew up for 10 sessions over two weeks. Last week, the little boy burst into the hospital room full of energy, carrying a DVD of "Buzz Lightyear," one of his favorites, and repeatedly quoting memorized excerpts of the book "The Three Little Pigs."

The redundant speech patterns and hyperactivity are two behaviors the Piccirillos hope will be helped by the HBOT.

When it was finally time to get into the oxygen chamber, "the magic school bus," as Andrew calls it, the boy laid calmly as he watched his movie.

At this point, Andrew is about halfway through his morning sessions, which will cost a total of $2,000 -- $150 per "dive," plus a $50 doctor's fee. The Piccirillos remain hopeful that they'll see some of the improvement described by their friend Nancy. If they notice any positive changes in Andrew's behavior, they'll continue the treatments in spurts.

Andy Piccirillo, an accountant, and his wife, a teacher, believe their insurance company will reverse its decision not to cover the HBOT for their son. Even if they have to pay out of pocket, though, they say they'll find a way to fund any treatment they think works, including HBOT.

"As parents, you do anything you can to make your child's life better," Piccirillo said. "We won't give up on him."

Reach Jessica Adler at (973) 569-7169 or adler@northjersey.com

Michael Karas/Herald News

Andrew Piccirillo, 10, talks with his dad, Andy, during a "dive" in the hyperbaric oxygen chamber. Though many doctors question its effectiveness, for parents of autistic children, the chance it might help makes the treatment worth its high cost.

3. Article G: Autism Speaks Makes First Major Funding Commitment, Supporting the Development of an Unprecedented National Autism Database

Initial $2.26 Million Award Funds Project That Will Serve as a Unique Resource For Families and Researchers

For Immediate Release:  January 17, 2006

(New York, New York) -- Autism Speaks, a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing awareness about the growing autism health crisis and raising funds for critical autism research, today announced that its board of directors has voted to fund a program for the development of a national autism database. Kennedy Krieger Institute, one of the nation’s leading treatment centers for autism and other developmental disorders, will develop the open, interactive database. Autism Speaks is making an initial three-year commitment to the project, beginning with an award of $2,266,000 for the first year. This is the first award of over a million dollars given out by Autism Speaks, which was founded in February 2005.

“The funding of this program is an important first step in Autism Speaks’ efforts to advance innovative autism research,” said Mark Roithmayr, president of Autism Speaks. “The database project has the potential to create a powerful tool for thousands of families, educators and researchers across the country and around the world.”

The national online autism database will serve as a shared resource to centralize registration of families and individuals with autism spectrum disorders and connect them with researchers, parents and other individuals with autism throughout the country and the world. In addition to supporting scientific investigation, it will provide individuals and families affected by autism with unprecedented information about the experiences of others and serve as an open resource for educators and policy makers. A longitudinal database will enable families and individuals to participate in an online study aimed at understanding the patterns of treatment use and responses to those treatments. Online community features including internal message boards, researcher chat sessions, member profiles, a calendar, and links to outside autism resources are also planned. The fostering of communication between families and the research community will not only lead to research of the highest quality, but also invite parents to have direct input regarding the scientific and policy questions to be investigated.

Dr. Paul Law of the Kennedy Krieger Institute will oversee the development of the resource. According to Law, parental and scientific advisory boards will have continual influence on the project so that both parent and research interests are constantly considered. The data collection and management processes will be designed with careful attention to confidentiality and medical ethics, added Law.

“Our expectation is that, by creating a unique network of research scientists and families, the database will become an unprecedented source of information that will dramatically increase our knowledge and understanding of autism spectrum disorders,” said Dr. Law.

Today, one in 166 individuals is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. It occurs in all racial, ethnic, and social groups and is four times more likely to strike boys than girls. Autism impairs a person’s ability to communicate and relate to others.

About Autism Speaks:

Autism Speaks is committed to aggressively funding global biomedical research into the causes, prevention, treatments and cure for autism. It is devoted to raising public awareness about autism and its effects on individuals, families and society, and to bringing hope to all who deal with the hardships of the disorder. Autism Speaks was co-founded by Suzanne and Bob Wright in February, 2005 in response to the diagnosis of their grandson. Bob Wright is Chairman and CEO of NBC Universal and is Vice Chair of General Electric. To learn more about Autism Speaks, please visit its web site at www.autismspeaks.org.

About Kennedy Krieger Institute:

Internationally recognized for improving the lives of children with developmental disorders, Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, MD serves more than 12,000 children each year through inpatient and day treatment programs, outpatient clinics, home and community services and school-based programs. Kennedy Krieger provides a wide range of services for children with developmental concerns mild to severe, and is home to a team of investigators who are contributing to the understanding of how autism develops, while pioneering earlier autism diagnosis and interventions. Every year, more than 400 people come to Kennedy Krieger to train with experts in a wide variety of pediatric disciplines, including developmental medicine, psychology, physical therapy and special education. For more information, visit www.kennedykrieger.org.


4 Vaccine News

4. Article A: Drug error, not chelation therapy, killed boy, expert says


January 18, 2006 - By Karen Kane, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

One of the nation's foremost experts in chelation therapy said she has determined "without a doubt" that it was medical error, and not the therapy itself, that led to the death of a 5-year-old boy who was receiving it as a treatment for autism.

Dr. Mary Jean Brown, chief of the Lead Poisoning Prevention Branch of the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said yesterday that Abubakar Tariq Nadama died Aug. 23 in his Butler County doctor's office because he was given the wrong chelation agent.

"It's a case of look-alike/sound-alike medications," she said yesterday. "The child was given Disodium EDTA instead of Calcium Disodium EDTA. The generic names are Versinate and Endrate. They sound alike. They're clear and colorless and odorless. They were mixed up."

Both types of EDTA are synthetic amino acids that latch onto heavy metals in the bloodstream.

Dr. Brown said she obtained the child's autopsy report on behalf of the CDC after reading an article about the death in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. She said it didn't take long to figure out what had happened.

Essentially, Tariq died from low blood calcium. Without enough calcium -- a metal -- in the blood, the heart stops beating. Dr. Brown said the Disodium EDTA the child was given as a chelation agent "acted as a claw that pulled too much calcium" from his blood.

"The blood calcium level was below 5 [milligrams]. That's an emergency event," she said.

Officials from the state police, the district attorney's office and the coroner's office will meet soon to decide whether to hold an inquest into the child's death and whether it should remain listed as accidental.

Dr. Brown said the same mix-up happened in two other recent cases: a 2-year-old girl in Texas who died in May during chelation for lead poisoning and a woman from Oregon who died three years ago while receiving chelation for clogged arteries.

Dr. Brown said that in each case, the blood calcium level was below 5 milligrams. Normal is between 7 and 9.

The correct chelation agent -- Calcium Disodium EDTA -- would not have pulled the calcium from the bloodstream, she said.

The Butler County coroner's office confirmed last week that Tariq had died as a result of his chelation treatment, but the findings that were released didn't indicate whether the treatment had been improperly administered.

Dr. Brown said chelation was once a common and necessary therapy that was used on children and adults alike for lead poisoning. Chelation means administering an agent into the bloodstream that causes heavy metals in the body to cling to it and then be excreted in urine.

Though its only approved use, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, is for lead poisoning, Dr. Brown said she is aware that it is used by some people for other medical problems, ranging from clogged arteries to autism.

She said there have been no reputable medical trials demonstrating the effectiveness of chelation as a therapy for anything but lead poisoning. But if it were administered accurately, the procedure would be harmless.

She said it is well known within the medical community that Disodium EDTA should never be used as a chelation agent. She quoted from a 1985 CDC statement: "Only Calcium Disodium EDTA should be used. Disodium EDTA should never be used ... because it may induce fatal hypocalcemia, low calcium and tetany."

"There is no doubt that this was an unintended use of Disodium EDTA. No medical professional would ever have intended to give the child Disodium EDTA," Dr. Brown said.

Tariq was brought to the United States from England last spring by his mother, Marwa, for the chelation therapy. He was in the Portersville, Butler County, office of Dr. Roy Eugene Kerry when he went into cardiac arrest.

In recent months, chelation treatments of a wide variety ranging from IV to oral to topical have been gaining popularity for autistic children due to anecdotal information from parents indicating a reduction in symptoms. The underlying belief is that autism is caused by a sensitivity to heavy metals in the bloodstream.

Howard Carpenter, executive director of the Advisory Board on Autism and Related Disorders -- the largest autism advocacy group in the region -- said the determination by Dr. Brown clears up the mystery surrounding Tariq's death but not the uncertainty over chelation itself.

"Since this child died, there have been parents who are pro-chelation who have been very angry that there's talk against it. On the other side, they say the death was a natural consequence of a dangerous activity. Maybe what happened to [Tariq] is explained, but we still don't have a conclusion about whether chelation is an effective treatment for autism," he said.

Tariq's father is a medical doctor who practices in England.

Dr. Kerry could not be reached for comment. A board-certified physician and surgeon, he advertises himself as an ear, nose and throat doctor who also specializes in allergies and environmental medicine.

(Karen Kane can be reached at kkane@post-gazette.com or 724-772-9180.)


4. Article B: UK biochemist to share views in autism forum


Haley: Mercury is tied to disorder
By Laura Ungar
The Courier-Journal

As a baby, Elizabeth Gibbs seemed to be developing normally -- babbling, laughing and smiling at her parents.

"Then one day, we turned around and she was like a shell," said her mother, Betsy Gibbs of Louisville.

Elizabeth eventually was diagnosed with autism, and Gibbs believes a vaccine preservative containing mercury might have played a part.

"People need to be aware of where mercury is and what you can do to protect yourself," said Gibbs, who with her husband founded Turning Point for Autism in Louisville.

The belief that mercury is tied to autism is a controversial view shared by University of Kentucky biochemist Boyd Haley, who is speaking today at a Turning Point event scheduled from 9 a.m. to noon at the Crescent Hill United Methodist Church on Peterson Avenue in Louisville.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention disagrees, saying "the weight of currently available scientific evidence does not support the hypothesis."

Dr. Gail Williams, a physician at the University of Louisville's Weisskopf Center for the Evaluation of Children, said the scientific evidence is "nowhere near conclusive" in finding a link between autism and the vaccine preservative, called thimerosal.

"I definitely think there ought to be more research," Williams said.

No one disputes there's been a rise in autism. The CDC says between one in 500 and one in 166 children nationally now have autism spectrum disorders. And the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services estimates that up to about 25,000 Kentuckians had autism spectrum disorders last year, up from about 1,500 in 1990.

Haley said he believes the numbers will begin to fall as mercury exposure declines. With the exception of some flu shots, the CDC said, no vaccines used in the U.S. today to protect preschool children against 12 infectious diseases now contain thimerosal.

Mercury is "a very potent neurotoxin," said Haley, who has been dubbed by some as "Mr. Mercury" because of his research into mercury toxicity.

Lisa Ruble, a licensed psychologist and director of the Systematic Treatment of Autism and Related Disorders program at U of L, said there could be another issue behind the statistics: "Are the numbers really going up, or are we getting better at diagnosing people?"

While no one knows for sure what causes autism, she said, researchers currently believe people might have a genetic disposition that combines with unknown environmental factors.

"My impression from the medical arena is the questions (about mercury) have been answered…," Ruble said. "I can also understand, from a parent's point of view, they are looking for answers."

Donna Brinkman of Louisville has a 21-year-old autistic son, David, who lives in a residential home. He recently graduated from high school and gets occupational therapy. She agrees that research into the cause of the disorder needs to continue.

"It's scary," said Brinkman, who is married to state Rep. Scott Brinkman, R-Louisville. "Why are all of these individuals being diagnosed? Why is this happening?"

Reporter Laura Ungar can be reached at (502) 582-7190.


4. Article C: New vaccines for the new year

By Gwenn Schurgin O'Keeffe, MD, FAAP/ Your Child's Health
Friday, January 20, 2006

# It used to be a right of passage - get the "preteen" tetanus booster and you're golden until you are "old" in your twenties)! With the landscape of immunizations constantly changing, our teens will now have to wait much longer for those immunization bragging rights...teens are the latest target of new vaccine development, and redevelopment.
     Vaccines target populations at risk and lessen the individual and population burden of otherwise horrible and difficult-to-treat illnesses. Between waning immunity from early childhood vaccinations and increased susceptibility to some young adult illnesses, teens are at the ideal age to re-boost for certain vaccinations and administer the first dose for others.

     The 2006 Childhood Immunization schedule is hot off the press: www.cispimmunize.org/IZSchedule_2006.pdf You'll notice that multiple vaccines are now commonplace at many well-child visits, including the teen visits. Keep in mind the reality is the pain of even multiple shots is far less than the impact of those illnesses on a growing body.
     Here are the key changes to hone in on for 2006, as well as a glimpse of vaccines in development for the future:      Menactra: This is the vaccine for meningitis which tends to spread rapidly among older teens and college-aged students. It is a single-dose vaccine that can be given to 11-12 year olds, teens entering high school or at 15 years of age, and for college freshmen living in a dorm. It is a very effective vaccine which a long history of success in the UK. The CDC is currently investigating a few cases of a progressive neurologic condition called Guillain Barre Syndrome (GBS) that developed in 5 teens after receiving Menactra. However, there is still no reason to panic. According to the FDA, "the rate of GBS based on the number of cases reported following administration of Menactra is similar to what might have been expected to occur by coincidence, that is, even without vaccination." 
Boostrix (TdaP) for teens: While this vaccine is new, the vaccine components are not. The DTaP vaccine has long been in the schedule for infants with a booster given at the kindergarten physical. But, immunity to Pertussis wanes by the teenage and young adult years and outbreaks have become more common in schools. So, the Td that teens used to receive has been replaced with a cousin, the TdaP and will be given at the 11-12 year old visit, or anytime between 13-18 years of age for teens not immunized earlier.
     Hep A for 1-2 year olds: This vaccine has been around for a long while. Prior immunization schedules targeted high risk areas but the new schedule advocates universal immunization. One of the reasons vaccination is so important is that young kids who get Hepatitis A often have no symptoms but can pass the virus to other members of the family who can become very sick. Kids will now receive a first dose between 12-23 months of age with a booster 6 months later.
     Vaccines to watch for in the future:
     Proquad: For measles, mumps, rubella and varicella. The advantage here is a reduced number of immunizations for the toddlers.
     Rotavirus: This is a new version of a vaccine developed a few years ago and pulled off the market due to an increase in an intestinal condition called intussusception. Rotavirus causes a horrible stomach illness with vomiting, profuse diarrhea and dehydration prompting ER visits and hospitalization for many children. The studies done on this new vaccine are very promising and more information will be available as the vaccine becomes licensed and put into more use.
     HPV for teens (Human papiloma virus vaccine). This is the virus that causes genital warts and cervical cancer. HPV can be very hard to detect and many young women are unaware they have been exposed. This vaccine should alleviate a great concern for future generations of women.      It can be overwhelming to decide whether a "new" vaccine is right for your child. That is where your pediatrician comes in. You can also find updated school entry requirements at www.mass.gov/dph/cdc/epii/imm/imm.htm#school. General immunization information can be found at the American Academy of Pediatrics (www.aap.org), the Centers for Disease Control (www.cdc.gov), and Pediatrics Now, my new child health information Web site (www.pediatricsnow.com).
So, with the immunization landscape constantly in flux, none of us will likely ever be vaccine free for very long. But if all goes well, our teens will have a healthier adult life than we have all had – and our grandchildren's lives will be even healthier. A poke today really will keep the doctor away tomorrow. Worth the fleeting pain? I certainly think so.
     What do you think? You can e-mail questions or comments to me at drgwenn@pediatricsnow.com.


4. Article D:


Bestselling Book on Mercury and Autism Updated with New Science, Politics and Media Reports; Title Chosen as a “Reading Group Gold” Selection for Winter 2006

NEW YORK – The New York Times bestseller “Evidence of Harm – Mercury in Vaccines and the Autism Epidemic, A Medical Controversy” ( St. Martin’s Press, $14.95 ISBN: 0-312-326459-0 ), will be issued in PAPERBACK this February, with a new postscript that updates readers on the growing controversy over the past year.

Evidence of Harm is the story of parents with autistic children who learn that their kids received levels of mercury in their vaccines far in excess of Federal safety limits. They take on Big Business, Big Science and Big Government with a radical new theory on the cause, uncovering compelling evidence that a mercury-based vaccine preservative, Thimerosal, could have played a role in the disease. Today, the parents and their medical, scientific, legal, and political allies are getting closer to establishing their claim.

The paperback edition contains a year’s worth of new information, including:

  • Newly LEAKED TRANSCRIPTS suggesting US Government pressure on the
    Institute of Medicine to reject an association between vaccines and autism.
  • Evidence showing that some IOM reviewers had unpublicized CONFLICTS OF
    INTEREST with the government and drug industry.
  • Calls on Capitol Hill for a thimerosal INVESTIGATION, and new attempts to
    access secretive vaccine safety data.
  • Recent thimerosal HEADLINES with news about Don Imus, Robert Kennedy, Jr.,
    Sen. Joe Lieberman, Sen. Chuck Hagel and others.
  • Newly published DATA showing that vaccine mercury accumulates in
    the brain, which can cause the same brain swelling found in autistic people.

By most accounts, autism is now epidemic in the United States. In the 1990's, reported autism cases among American children began spiking, from about 1 in 10,000 children in 1987 to a shocking 1 in 166 today.  In this period, new shots containing Thimerosal were added to the nation's already crowded vaccination schedule.In 1999, the FDA announced that children were being exposed to mercury at very young ages at levels far exceeding federal regulations, but the public health establishment failed to take parental concerns about the impact seriously. Evidence of Harm explores both sides of this issue, which has pitted families and their allies against the federal government, public health agencies, medical academies, and powerful pharmaceutical giants. 


The paperback edition of Evidence of Harm has been selected as one of four Reading Group Gold titles for Winter 2006. This new program, being launched by St. Martin’s/ Griffin, is designed to make reading group information for books accessible to consumers and booksellers. Each season, a select number of Griffin trade paperbacks will have a medallion on the cover to denote them “Reading Group Gold” titles.

These outstanding titles are selected by an in-house committee of St. Martin’s Press/Griffin as the best reading group books of the season. They will include additional material in the back of the books, including author interviews and reading group questions. More information about the program will soon be available at: www.readinggroupgold.com


Evidence of Harm has also been optioned by a rising MOVIE COMPANY: Los Angeles-based Participant Productions. Formed to produce films on important current topics, Participant has released titles that earned strong buzz in 2005. Its movies were nominated for eight Golden Globe Awards, including Best Drama for “Good Night and Good Luck,” Best Dramatic Actress (Charlize Theron) for “ North Country,” and Best Director (George Clooney) for “Syriana.” Two respected producers have signed onto the Evidence of Harm project: Nick Wechsler, who recently produced “ North Co untry ,” and Ross Bell, producer of “Fight Club.”

Meanwhile, author David Kirby has just been named “PERSON OF THE YEAR” by Spectrum, the nation’s largest and most influential autism magazine. Kirby, who will appear on the cover of the February issue, will be honored by the magazine at a reception in Long Island, NY, this spring.

For more information, please contact:
Elizabeth Coxe , Publicist, St. Martin’s Press: 646-307-5563/ elizabeth.coxe@stmartins.com
Vicki Lame , Publicity Assistant, St. Martin’s Press: 646-307-5553/ vicki.lame@stmartins.com


4. Article E:

FDA's Drug Label Rule Fails to Guarantee Access to Vital Information and Includes "Sneak Attack" on Patients' Legal Rights

Public Citizen Jan. 18, 2006

Bush Administration Abuses Executive Powers in Attempt to Override State Liability Laws

      WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, though it has improved a drug labeling regulation through revisions announced today, continues to ignore the fact that its rule will not guarantee patients the most accurate, up-to-date information about their medications, Public Citizen said today.
      Further, in an end-run around Congress, the FDA has added to the rule a preamble designed to preempt lawsuits filed by patients under state law, potentially leaving victims of FDA-approved drugs with no remedy for any harm caused by the approved drug.
       Dr. Sidney Wolfe, director of Public Citizen's Health Research Group, said revisions in the final version of the rule released today will simplify and prioritize the labeling information that doctors receive. But the vast majority of patients will not get that information unless they specifically request it. Instead, they commonly receive patient information leaflets (PILs) that are commercially produced but whose content is not scrutinized by the FDA.
    The FDA's own study has shown that the content of unregulated leaflets gets a failing grade (average 50 out of 100) in conveying the most important information to patients, Wolfe said. The agency has the authority to require agency-approved 'medication guides' for each new prescription and refill but has done so for only about 75 drugs.
   "It is time to end the double standard where doctors and other health professionals are informed by FDA-approved labeling, but patients are treated like second-class citizens, receiving whatever the out-of-control purveyors of patient information leaflets choose to dispense," Wolfe said. "This is a dangerous situation, made worse by the FDAs poor record of approving harmful drugs based on limited, and even fraudulent, clinical trials performed by the drug companies."
   In a further blow to consumers, the final rule now contains a preamble aimed at preempting the rights of patients to sue drug manufacturers if a drug is approved by the FDA. The Bush administration has previously failed to persuade Congress and, with a few exceptions, the courts (where it has filed amicus briefs) to shield drug makers from liability. The new tactic of writing preemption language into federal regulation notices is an attempt to bypass Congress and override consumer protection liability laws, said Public Citizen President Joan Claybrook. The administration has also used such language in recently proposed automobile safety rules.
"This is a sneak attack on consumer rights," Claybrook said. "President Bush is once again abusing his executive powers, this time in his attempt to protect the big pharmaceutical companies from the consequences of their actions. Thousands of people in this country have died or been seriously injured by drugs approved by the FDA, and this administration is saying it doesn't think people should have any recourse."
It remains unclear what impact the language will have on liability cases.
"Ultimately, we are confident that the courts will not defer to the FDA's opinion on preemption, which is not based on any authority given to the FDA by Congress," said Brian Wolfman, director of the Public Citizen Litigation Group and an expert on preemption law. "In the meantime, however, the drug companies will be emboldened by this preemption statement, and use it to complicate injury cases and deter victims from seeking justice in the courts."

Drug labeling has been a problem for decades.
            In 1981, the Reagan administration cancelled a proposed regulation requiring FDA-approved leaflets to be dispensed with prescriptions just before the rule was to go into effect. The abrupt reversal came at the behest of drug companies, pharmacy organizations and some physician groups. Private sector-designed leaflets, not approved by the FDA, thereby continued to be the norm.
   Several years ago, shortly after Dr. Mark B. McClellan became FDA commissioner, he listed as one of his top five priorities helping consumers obtain truthful information about products they use so they can make informed decisions. The FDA could go a long way toward achieving this priority by immediately moving forward with a long-overdue initiative to require the mandatory distribution of FDA-approved written drug information with each new and refill prescription, Wolfe said.
   In a study conducted several years ago by the University of Wisconsin for the FDA, although 89 percent of consumers were receiving some sort of information(unregulated PILs) when a prescription was filled, none of the approximately 1,300 leaflets studied for four common drugs achieved minimum goals for useful, scientifically accurate drug information. As measured by eight objective criteria, the overall usefulness of information was about 50 percent. According to the authors, "a majority of leaflets did not include adequate information about contraindications, precautions, and how to avoid harm."
   "The notion that consumer drug information can be 50 percent useful is unfathomable," Wolfe said. "Drug information that communicates only half of what it should is misleading, and misleading drug information is potentially dangerous."

   Public Citizen is a national, nonprofit consumer advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C. For more information, visit www.citizen.org.


5. TACA – Want to get involved? Join a new committee!

TACA is recruiting members for two new committees -- the Parent Advisory Committee and the TACA Fundraising Committee.

TACA Parent Advisory Committee will meet twice a year to review TACA's mission and programs to ensure we are meeting objectives and the needs of the communities. The committee will evaluate current programs and make recommendations to the Board for new programs. This committee will also be responsible for helping review and process applications for a new program, to be launched later this year, called Families in Crisis.

Committee Qualifications: 1) Must have a family member with autism 2) Be willing to commit the time needed for committee meetings and assigned tasks 3) Have regular attendance at TACA meetings (at least 3 per year) and most importantly, 4) really want to help our children and families!

If you are interested in serving on the Parent Advisory Committee, please contact Lisa Ackerman.

TACA Fundraising Committee will meet four times per year and works to raise the funds that supports TACA's missions. The committee will help develop and evaluate the fundraising plan, support fundraising events, help identify prospects, and assist us in creative ways to secure donations that will enable us to do as much as we possibly can for families dealing with autism in California.

Committee Qualifications: 1) Must be enthusiastic!!! 2) Be willing to commit the time needed for committee meetings and assigned tasks 3) Have regular attendance at TACA meetings (at least 3 per year) and most importantly, 4) really want to help our children and families!

If you are interested in serving on the Fundraising Committee, please contact Violette Prentice.

We want to hear from our members as to how we can better serve them. Please let us know if you are interested! Thank you!


6. TACA Surveys due!

In order to provide the seven TACA meeting locations with topics our members want to hear more about, we do annual surveys of interest. We would like to hear from you. If you would like to participate in this survey you can in 2 ways:

  • at TACA meeting locations, you can pick up a survey form
  • Email us for your own survey form to fill out and mail back to TACA.

Thanks for helping us provide relevant and important meeting topics for our members!


7. Vendor Announcements

I'm very excited to let you know I've reopened the store at a new location. We are located in Los Alamitos on the border of Seal Beach. This store carries many of the gluten free, casein free items our kids need.

Store info:
Los Alamitos Nutrition
4292 Katella Ave.
Los Alamitos Ca 90720


8. Books & Web sites

Could It Be Autism? A Parent's Guide to the First Signs and Next Steps, released by Broadway Books/Random House tomorrow (January 10).  Could It Be Autism? can be purchased at your local bookstore or online at Amazon.com or other online bookstores.

Nancy D. Wiseman
Founder and President
First Signs, Inc.
Dedicated to early identification and intervention
of children with autism and other developmental disorders
Phone: (978) 346-4380
Fax: (978) 346-4638
Email: nwiseman@firstsigns.org

Web Link:
Reverend Lisa Sykes discusses her autism activism
and her son's treatment with the Geiers'
revolutionary new "Lupron" protocol.

FAIR Autism Media has just posted a new interview with the Reverend Lisa Sykes, a mother of a recovering autistic boy (Wesley) and an ordained minister, currently serving as Pastor for the Christ United Methodist Church in Richmond, Virginia. In this interview, Rev. Sykes discusses her introduction to autism, becoming an activist and how she came to having her son treated using the Geiers' "Lupron" protocol to more effectively remove heavy metals by first lowering Wesley's abnormally high testosterone levels. Most fascinating is her account of how the protocol was administered, and what discoveries were made, including Wesley's amazing progress!



Autism Awareness Night Sunday, March 12, 2006
5PM @ The Arrowhead Pond- Anaheim Mighty Ducks vs. Phoenix Coyotes

Come help the Mighty Ducks raise awareness about autism and raise funds for research into treatments and a cure. There are special ticket prices in three sections. A portion of the proceeds from all tickets purchased through

the phone number and form below, and the silent auction on the concourse that evening, will benefit the fight against autism.

Contact Sam Levitt with Cure Autism Now at (323) 549-0500, ext. 747 for more information.

Tickets are limited, so buy yours today!!!

Partner Organizations:


To order these special tickets over the phone, contact Kadi Sutherlin in the Ducks Ticket Office at (714) 940-2855.
You can also fill out the form below and return it to the Ducks to get your tickets.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Opponent /

Date of Game

Plaza Main

2 nd-19th rows, behind goal

Terrace Main

Upper level, 4th Row Up

Terrace Value

Upper level, top 6 rows


Phoneix Coyotes

Sun., Mar. 12th
5:00 p.m.
Autism Awareness Night

______ tickets
@ $75 ea.
(regularly $85)

______ tickets
@ $25 ea.
(regularly $32.50)

______ tickets
@ $12 ea.
(regularly $15)


 Plus $2 handling

City: __________________________________Zip Code:_______________
Phone:__________________________Email Address:_________________
Method of Payment: £ Check (payable to: the Mighty Ducks) £ Visa £ MasterCard £ AMX

Card #:___________________________________ Expiration Date:___________

Please return this portion of order form WITH PAYMENT to:
Mighty Ducks, Attn: Kadi Sutherlin, 2695 E. Katella Ave., Anaheim, CA 92806


10. Conferences

Foothill Autism Alliance, Inc.
Wednesday, February 8, 2006:
Family Resource Meeting

  • Topic:
    "Social Skills: Building Skills to Foster Social Relationships and Friendships
    (From Childhood to Young Adult)"
  • Speakers:
    Cherisse Sherin, MA, Child Development Specialist, (Verdugo Hills Autism Project),
    Gwen Palafox, Ph.D. (Working with Autism/Psychologist in Private Practice), Dr. Laurie Stephens (The HELP Group), Bruce Gale, Ph.D. (Psychologist in Private Practice)
  • Address:
    Pasadena Child Development Associates (PCDA)
    620 North Lake Avenue, 2nd Floor Pasadena, CA 91101 (Just north of the 210 Freeway)
  • Schedule:
    Networking from 7:00 - 7:30 PM, Featured speaker
    7:30 to 9:30 PM (Family Resource Meetings are Free – Everyone Welcome!)

For the Grandparent Mentors -- I haven't been to TACA for a few months due to my husband's health, but hope to start attending again in February.

This is an invitation to join Cure Autism Now's (CAN) new support group "Grandparent Connection."  I am going to briefly describe the Press Release as follows:  Grandparent Connection is a support group for grandparents of children with Autism.  Grandparents are passionate about improving life for their children and grandchildren.  Together, through Grandparent Connection, we can learn how to be more helpful to them.  We can increase community awareness and support autism research for the answers we seek.  Orange County is the inaugural chapter of the Grandparent Connection.  (As an aside, one of our WALK NOW committee meetings consisted of only grandparents, except the couple who hosted the meeting.)  This shows that grandparents here in Orange County are really supporting our families.

The meeting will be held Wednesday, February 8th from 6:00-8:00 pm in the North Tustin area with buffet dinner included.  Dr. Clara Lajonchere, the Director of the Autism Genetic Resource Exchange (AGRE) will be the guest speaker.  This is a fantastic way to learn about the AGRE program and how it will help researchers to identify the causes etc. for those affected by Autism.

For more information and to make reservations, please contact Bonnie Gillman at 714-573-1500 or e-mail her at cangrandma@cox.net   Bonnie is the founder of this organization.

I would like to mention how happy we are that as of January 2, the last time I checked our WALK NOW page, we had over $200,000 in donations.  What a way to go!

If you have any questions regarding the above, please do not hesitate to call me at 714-968-4667 or e-mail me at grandma.jo1015@verizon.net

Hope to see you at the Grandparent Connection meeting and also in February at the TACA meeting.

Sincerely, Grandma Jo (Joanne Davies)

Outreach Clinic For Children with Autism, PDD, ADD/HD, and Behavior Disorders - Coming to the Sacramento Area - February 11-12, 2006

Residence Inn – Rancho Cordova - 2779 Prospect Drive
Rancho Cordova , CA 95670

Please contact Sarah Wickens if you have any questions and/or to schedule appointments at 913-341-8949 or swickens@gpl4u.com.

Dr. Nicola McFadzean (DAN! physician) will be seeing patients on Saturday and Sunday from 8:30am-6:00pm.

Our goal is to help children with autism, allergies, AD(H)D and behavioral abnormalities to improve their health and well-being.

Dr. Nicola McFadzean received her Bachelor in Health Sciences (Naturopathy) from the University of New England in Australia and her Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine from Bastyr University in Seattle, Washington. As a licensed Naturopathic Doctor, Dr. McFadzean’s training and practice has been focused on natural healing and integrative medicine. For the past two years she has been in private practice in San Diego, California. She currently works with Dr. Kurt Woeller at StillPoint Integrative Health in Temecula, and has been trained by him in the area of biomedical approaches to autism. Dr. McFadzean is committed to making a difference in the lives of families with autistic-spectrum and ADHD children.

Dr. McFadzean provides follow-up appointments and phone consultation services to review laboratory test results with patients and their families. We will provide information regarding the physician’s phone number and office hours at your Outreach Clinic appointment.

Each doctor participating in a Great Plains Outreach Clinic is performing his/her duties as a health consultant regarding diagnostic testing and biomedical therapeutic options for children suffering with autistic-spectrum disorders. They are not diagnosing illness or disease, nor are they providing medical treatment for children during the consultation visit.

Links to Language" training scheduled for Feb 21 & 22 in Placentia, CA.  It is for parents or teachers of autistic kids.  "Links to Language" is what most of the schools are using in Orange County along with the PECS system.  It is a way for the kids with autism to learn language.    The training is expensive ($255), but you get the training manual when you leave.  It is two straight days of training.

Anyway, the Links to Language people need at least 60 people to sign up for the class to make it happen.  So far there are only 30.  To make a reservation for the class you should call Sherri Carlisle at 714-966-4137.  The limit for the class is 120 people. 
You have to have your payment in to them by Feb. 3, 2006.

Presents the 2nd Annual “Working Together for Autism”
conference – February 23-25, 2006

The latest in Education, Speech, Social, Biomedical & Quality of Life Issues

Foothill Autism Alliance, Inc.
Wednesday, March 8, 2006: Family Resource Meeting (PCDA)

Topic: "From Genetics to Mirror Neurons: Latest Research from UCLA & Cure Autism Now"

  • Speakers:
    Mirella Dapretto, Ph.D., Co-Principal Investigator, CPEA Imaging Project, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA & Clara Lajonchere, Ph.D., Program Director for the Autism Genetic Resource Exchange (AGRE). 
  • Address:
    Pasadena Child Development Associates (PCDA)
    620 North Lake Avenue, 2nd Floor Pasadena, CA 91101 (Just north of the 210 Freeway)
  • Schedule:
    Networking from 7:00 - 7:30 PM, Featured speaker 7:30 to 9:30 PM (Family Resource Meetings are Free – Everyone Welcome!)

Check our Website www.foothillautism.org for information about our Upcoming Events


This is not the “listening program” or “therapeutic listening” – we do not give you CD’s to take home. We offer Berard AIT, an individualized, powerful, professionally supervised program. Berard AIT has over 30 years of scientific research and over 25 clinical studies documenting its effectiveness as an educational and therapeutic intervention.

Berard AIT is a 10-day noninvasive auditory technique which may help an individual hear all frequencies more evenly, improve auditory processing, and decrease hyper or hypo-sensitivity to specific environmental or speech sounds. AIT has been used successfully with individuals with autism spectrum disorders, PDD, dyslexia, learning disabilities, hearing sensitivities, auditory processing challenges, attention deficit disorders and behavior challenges.

T. Silverman, Training and Consultation has provided Berard AIT to families in communities throughout Southern California for 11 years. Our staff is well trained professionally and has combined over 60 years of experience working with individuals with autism spectrum disorders and developmental disabilities. We are happy to announce that we are planning an AIT session in Temecula in 2006.

  • Dates: March 24 through April 2, 2006
  • Location: Stillpoint Center Vail Ranch Towne Square
    32605 Highway 79 South, Suite 201, Temecula
  • Cost: $1400 if registration received before February 15, 2006
    $1500 if registration received after February 15, 2006
  • For more information, or to register, contact:
    T. Silverman, Training and Consultation
    www.we-exist.net/ait terries@execpc.com

SAVE THE DATE!! March 25, 2006
Involved Exceptional Parents’ Day

Keynote Speaker: Mary Shea, Ph.D. Founder, Kids Included Together

Join us at the beautiful Handlery Hotel in Mission Valley for a day of fun and learning.
Enjoy the largest resource fair in San Diego County!
For more information visit our website at: www.iepday.org Or call 858-576-2966



FRIDAY, MAY 12, 2006 , 8:am to 5:00pm
at the Newport Beach Radisson Hotel
4545 MacArthur Blvd., Newport Beach, CA 92660


Research has shown that people who have anti-social behavior many times exhibit brain dysfunction leading to extreme “dyslogic.”  Many exhibit a lack of insight and foresight, a lack of empathy for animals and people, a low anger threshold, poor abstract thinking and social skills, a lack of fear and remorse, impulsivity, and an inability to realize the consequences of their actions or to learn from experience.1

The more we learn about the brain dysfunction that underlies much delinquency and criminality, the more successful we will be in truly rehabilitating offenders and preventing “at risk” children from turning to lives of crime.1   This seminar is concerned with aggression, conduct disorder, anti-social behavior, delinquency, impulsivity, violence and psychopathy as well as learning disabilities and the role that behavioral nutrition plays in the remediation of these types of behavior.
1 www.CrimeTimes.org
Anti-social behavior is of concern to:

  • parents, teachers, school administrators,
  • mental health workers, and
  • judges, lawyers, police, probation officers, justice system personnel


William Walsh, Ph.D. biochemist, Executive Director of the Pfeiffer Treatment
Center, a non-profit medical center dedicated to the research and treatment of
biochemical imbalances, Warrenville, Ill.

Jeremy Kaslow, M.D., allergist , specialist in learning disabilities and autism,
private practice, Santa Ana, CA.

Stephen Shoenthaler, Ph.D., Professor, Sociology and Criminal Justice, California
State University, Stanislaus, CA

Registration fee:  $40 includes continental breakfast and lunch.  Early registration is advised. Limited seating. For information:  949-646-0133, or 714-717-0021, or fax 949-642-7685 or oclda@comcast.net


11. Personal Note:

Happy New Year to TACA families and friends! Another busy year closes while the Ackerman family looks forward to 2006 and all the possibilities.

Jeff continues to see improvement in his traditional therapies and biomedical intervention. Every day, we see the progress and enjoy his desire to make strides and his family smile at the same time. We are so blessed to have this boy slowly come back to us and are thankful this progress continues.

Which brings me to the letter recently printed in the OC Register. This personal note comes from a different source. This letter is a response to the December 25, 2005, OC Register “Alternative Approach” article by Jenifer McKim.

Traditional treatments aren't always the best medicine

Bravo to journalist Jenifer L. McKim and to the Farrell family for the report on alternative treatments for autism ["The alternative approach," Front page, Dec. 25]. We have all been indoctrinated with the notion that the only correct and safe solution for a medical problem lies with traditional allopathic medicine. When allopathic medicine has no solutions, we are told the problem is beyond science.

Few brave souls, usually desperate parents seeking to soothe an ailing child, will look beyond traditional allopathic medicine. 'Tis a pity - and a great American scandal that alternative medicine is so often misrepresented by mainstream medical practitioners.

Current allopathic medicine can trace genetic disorders to errors in only 2,500 of the approximately 30,000 human genes, perhaps coding for as many as 300,000 proteins. Given this perspective, traditional medical knowledge is limited to 8 percent or less of medical space.

Why then should any rational parent limit his or her search for a solution to only traditional medicine? Why not try some rather innocuous remedies for autism reported anecdotally by thousands of parents, such as a gluten-free diet or extra oxygen? Indeed, there is a considerable biochemical basis for such approaches to be effective in different subsets of autistic children.

Fortunately, the Farrells overcame the prejudice against alternative medicine and are now rewarded for their courage with a son who is developing more normally than would otherwise be anticipated with any allopathic treatment for autism. The Register needs to report more stories like this one.

Frances Jurnak, Ph.D.

Irvine professor of physiology and biophysics at the college of medicine, University of California, Irvine

I want to express a special thanks to Dr. Jurnak for the kind words and providing a much needed rebuttal of alternative therapies for parents of children needing our help. Seeing doctors more often take this stance and provide the hope and encouragement just pushes me forward to keep finding answers for our kids. I hope it motivates you. I hope you find the words that help you get to the next level for your kids.

Hugs, thanks, and BE SAFE
Lisa A Jeff's mom

And Editor: Kim Palmer (thanks Kim!)


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Talk About Curing Autism (TACA) provides general information of interest to the autism community. The information comes from a variety of sources and TACA does not independently verify any of it. The views expressed herein are not necessarily TACA’s. TACA does not engage in lobbying or other political activities.IF YOU DO NOT WANT TO RECEIVE THESE EMAILS, just respond and I will be happy to remove you from the list.

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