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Progress Made On Drug For Autism Symptoms
September 20, 2012 3:33 AM
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Andy Tranfaglia, 23, who has Fragile X syndrome, rides a horse with his mother, Katie Clapp.

Katie Clapp
An experimental drug that helps people who have Fragile X syndrome is raising hopes of a treatment for autism.

The drug, called arbaclofen, made people with Fragile X less likely to avoid social interactions, according to a study in Science Translational Medicine. Researchers suspect it might do the same for people with autism.


Autism and First Words

A glance at any baby book shows how much baby’s first word is revered — and hints at it’s unending pleasure for parents. And as a clinical Speech-Language Pathologist for almost four decades, I am endlessly struck by the phenomenon of firsts: words, phrases, and sentences. But it was not until I met my first group of kids with classic autism two decades ago that I became completely enamored with the questions, “How do kids on the autism spectrum (ASD) develop their first words? Can they accomplish this naturally?” The conventional wisdom was that these kids could not develop real language systems at all, and that they needed to be taught survival phrases, and drilled to say them, like so many skills.


Some kids may grow out of autism

This study suggests that some kids with high functioning autism may grow out of their diagnosis. I suspect that early and proper treatment has something to do with this. The paper is a bit on the technical side but still very readable. Take a look.




Obama Signs Bill Expanding ABA Care for Military Kids

WASHINGTON, DC (January 3, 2013) — President Obama has signed bipartisan legislation creating a one-year pilot program expanding ABA care to all military families through TRICARE, the Pentagon’s healthcare program, a critical first step in improving services for military families raising children with autism.

“Autism Speaks thanks President Obama for taking this sensible step for military families, along with our Congressional champions Rep. John Larson of Connecticut and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York,” said Peter Bell, Autism Speaks executive vice president for programs and services. “At the same time, we restate our intention to make these medical services permanent. Military families who sacrifice so much deserve access to the benefits they have earned.”

More Information at


A potential path to finding the a drug to treat autism.

Autistic-like behaviors can be partially remedied by normalizing excessive levels of protein synthesis in the brain, a team of researchers has found in a study of laboratory mice. The findings, which appear in the latest issue of Nature, provide a pathway to the creation of pharmaceuticals aimed at treating autism spectrum disorders (ASD) that are associated with diminished social interaction skills, impaired communication ability, and repetitive behaviors.

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We just had our first birthday!

We’ve reached an important milestone….we survived our first year as an organization! Mind you, we did it in a really tough year, competing for funding with the Presidential and local election campaigns.

Where did the time go? Wasn’t it just yesterday that we were straddling between many IEP, MET, and other meetings, just trying to make the best of what was being handed to us?

In the last year, we have learned and achieved more than we could ever have dreamed, but most important, our children made progress that nobody expected. We knew that we could do better. What we didn’t know was how much better. We’ve learned more about educating children with Autism, about the non-profit world, about how other people are willing to help or just make a few bucks on our backs. And now, one year after we started, the very people that doubted our commitment still they ask us, “How did you do it?”

Our answer is always the same… “We had a lot to loose, but we knew we would gain a lot more if we made it work”. You see, we were determined to make this work. In our first meeting we pledged: “This is going to work, with me, without me, and in spite of me”

And that’s the truth. After one year of starting our endeavor  we’ve come across people that worked with us, people that promised to work but refused to do so when asked, and even people that worked against us, expecting us to fail. And that’s okay, as tehy say, if it doesn’t kill you, it will just make you stronger.

Leaving the public school system is terrifying, risky, and unpredictable. Even so, we were determined to make our Educational Therapies work no matter what was ahead of us.

We’ve documented many of our experiences throughout our first year as a Educators of Children with Autism, which we actually published in a local newspaper.

Anyhow, here is to a tough 2012, and hoping for a better and prosperous 2013.

Happy new year!