I saw this movie last night. It was so great and inspiring, and based on true facts. THE DARK HORSE is based on the true story of Genesis ‘Gen’ Potini (Cliff Curtis), a Maori speed-chess champion seeking redemption and a new purpose in life despite his struggles with bipolar disorder.
It’s raw and real and worth the price of a ticket. Here in Los Angeles it’s playing at the Laemle’s Royal Theater in West Los Angeles. Unfortunately, you won’t have to fight the lines. It’s not as crowded as it should be. There are no special effects just real human interest.
The shifting focus of ADD reminds me of the shifting sands on the beach—in constant motion. At last year’s ADDA conference, John Ratey, M.D. said the inability of people with ADD to maintain focus is a key factor in their not improving, even after getting medicine. At least that is what I thought he said!
For me the concept of not being able to stick with something long enough really struck home. I think we sometimes shift focus because we have lost interest in what we are doing, and our focus gets attracted to something more interesting. However, other times, I think we are interested and committed to what we are doing—get called away to do something else—and then just forget to return to what we were earlier so focused on and committed to.
This problem of forgetting and losing focus comes graphically to mind when I recall setting up a behavioral medication program for two of my children. This was years ago. We were in family therapy, trying to improve the behavior of our two, undiagnosed, children with ADHD who had a mother (me) with undiagnosed ADD. Under the therapist’s guidance, I had established a wonderful behavior modification program that worked wonderfully for the first three weeks. When we returned to the therapist on the fourth week, he asked how the program was going. At first, I didn’t know what he was taking about!—and then I recalled the program. I had no idea why we weren’t doing it any more. One day I woke up and forgot the program—and then I forgot it forever after.
I have heard it said that it takes 30 days of practice to acquire a new behavior—and that for those with ADD—it can take 60! What can you do to maintain your focus on acquiring the new habits and behaviors you wish to have? I suggest that before trying to acquire a new habit, you first figure out how you are going to stay focused on the habit for the next 60 days.
Best wishes—and here’s to your success.
~~~~Cynthia Hammer, MSW, Director, ADD Resources
ADD & ADHD in Children
ADD & ADHD in Children and how to Recognize the Signs and Symptoms
Signs and Symptoms of ADD / ADHD
It’s normal for your child to occasionally forget their school work, daydream during math class, act silly without thinking, or get fidgety at the a restaurant. But inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity are also the warning signs or symptoms of ADD or ADHD.
ADD / ADHD can lead to difficulties at home and school, and may affect your child’s ability to learn and socialize properly with others. So it’s important to know what the signs and symptoms are and get help if you recognize them in your family.
We all know children who have difficulties sitting still, who rarely seem to listen, who don’t easily follow instructions no matter how clearly you present them, and whom blurt out inappropriate words at inappropriate times. Sometimes these kids are labeled as troublemakers, or criticized for being lazy and undisciplined. However, it is possible they may have ADHD.
Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a disorder that sometimes appears in early childhood. Also known as attention deficit disorder, or ADD. ADD / ADHD makes it difficult for people to inhibit or control their spontaneous responses – everything from movement to speech and attentiveness. The signs and symptoms of ADD / ADHD often appear before the age of 7. However, it can be difficult to distinguish between ADHD and normal children’s behavior. If you spot just a few signs, or the symptoms appear infrequently, it’s probably not ADD / ADHD. On the other hand, if your child shows a number of disruptive ADD / ADHD signs and symptoms that are present across all the time take a closer look.
Our goal is not only to provide parents with representation, but also to empower parents, and ultimately the child, to become better advocates themselves.
A2Z Southern California Special Education Attorney – we now have cases searchable by disability including ADHD
Recent ADD Cases
N. Jane DuBovy
A2Z Educational Advocates
16712 Marquez Avenue,
Pacific Palisades CA 90272
Thank you so much for bringing your Parent Advocate Liaison Training to our 2nd Annual Back-to-School Conference on Saturday, October 15th. Your presentation was a cornerstone of vital information that will help both families and professionals collaboratively develop thoughtful, appropriate and effective IEP’s. We truly appreciate the support you’ve shown ASASB.
The Autism Society of America works tirelessly to serve individuals with autism and the family members who support them, as well as professional caregivers, researchers, policy makers, government regulators and educators, who are all participants in the world of autism. Your contribution will be used to advance this work.
Again, thank you for your strong commitment to bettering the lives of those living with autism. It is only through your generosity that we can continue being the voice and resource of the autism community in Santa Barbara County.
Marcia J. Eichelberger
The Autism Society of America, Santa Barbara Chapter is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization (33-0599454). Unless otherwise noted, no goods or services were provided to you in return for your contribution. This letter is your receipt and should be kept with your tax records.
Innovative High School Education for the Autism Spectrum
In September 2004, New Roads School opened its doors to the Spectrum Program, an innovative high school program for students with social-cognitive learning disabilities such as high-functioning autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, NLD, and the like.
Our program takes a fresh approach by reordering traditional academic expectations to give priority to the true needs of our students in the areas of social, communication, and life skills. To this end, and with the cooperation and collaboration of renowned professionals from the community, from UCLA and from Yale, we are developing and implementing a unique curriculum, aimed not just at teaching our students a set of isolated “skills” but rather focused on improving the coherence of their thinking, their understanding of others and the world around them.
To the extent of their individual abilities and desires, our students participate in the mornings, in a fully inclusive manner, in the regular academic program offered at New Roads. They are supported in these endeavors by our two fulltime, highly trained Spectrum Program teachers who provide academic assistance, help with organization, and additional interface with other New Roads faculty. Every afternoon, during the time allotted for electives at New Roads, our students are immersed in our unique narrative-based curriculum designed to help them improve the coherence and fluidity of their thinking and behavior.
Our narrative curriculum relies on some “traditional” reading and writing, but more often employs non-traditional modalities such as drama, film, community outings, etc. to encourage the students to attend to verbal and nonverbal signals, nuances of setting, context, plot, and character; in effect, the “storyline” of day-to-day life. We film the students ourselves, on a daily basis, both as part of their own activities and also as a means of monitoring the effectiveness of our interventions and measuring student progress over time. In this we are assisted by graduate students at UCLA who are “coding” our video footage in an attempt to gather valid, objective data.
Board of Advisors
David Bryan, MS, JD, Ph.D. (New Roads, Head of School), Paul Cummins, Ph.D. (New Visions Foundation), Stanley Greenspan, M.D. (George Washington University), Lorie Humphrey, Ph.D. (Private Practice), Martha Jura, Ph.D. (University of California Los Angeles), Connie Kasari, Ph.D. (University of California Los Angeles), Ami Klin, Ph.D. (Yale University), James McCracken, M.D. (University of California Los Angeles), Daniel Siegel, M.D., (University of California Los Angeles), Jeff Wood, Ph.D. (University of California Los Angeles)
information, please contact:
Program Coordinator310-828-5582 (Tel. 1)
310-828-6561 (Tel. 2)
Subject: Cure Autism Now – Kids Drawings Needed
Natalie Hamilton in our Orange County Chapter has found a gift bag manufacturer that has offered to develop a line of bags featuring art from children with autism and donate a portion of the sales to CAN. So I am writing you to ask that you give us drawings that your kids are making this holiday season.
What we needs are pictures drawn on 8 1/2″ X 11″ pieces of paper. It doesn’t matter if the drawing fills the page or not, but must be colored. They may use crayons, markers or paint. At the bottom of the page, have the children write their name and age (for example Joel, 8). Jean Marie Creations, which makes high end gift bags will transform your children’s drawing into gift bags.
Primarily, we are looking to develop a line of bags for next Christmas, so have your kids draw what ever comes to mind – snowmen, Santa Claus, reindeer, Christmas trees, nature scenes, stockings. But Jean Marie is also interested in developing a line of Everyday bags, so if you have good drawings of flowers or families, or pets, or whatever, send those as well.
I like the potential for these bags to show people the talents that our kids have. It also gives your friends and family a chance to show their support by using bags with art from autistic kids.
Please mail your drawings to:
15927 Overton St.
Fountain Valley, CA 92708
The art transfers better if you do not fold the drawings. So please send your drawings unfolded in a 8 1/2″ X 11″ envelope. We need them as soon as possible.
Burlap, sweet and dusty, like old hay;
Sandalwood, jasmine, and cedar
Burning as harsh incense;
Pink rose petal candles;
Musk perfume of the person next to me;
Lotion on my hands.
If I just sit here quietly…If I hold my
If I don’t move or talk…
Hundreds of papers covering the walls,
Flyers announcing projects and events,
A large paper Easter Bunny;
Pink ruler, blue paint, green paint,
Bright colors dancing across the
Purple, orange, red, blue;
Green dangling from an ear;
Red moving lips, telling me something
I can’t hear
What color is this?
What color is this?
What color is this?
…Blue? Um…Royal Blue?
What color is this?
Coarse, abrasive burlap on my skin,
Itching, moving, tickling,
Irritating my arm, my back, my chest;
My hair falling in my face,
Touching my cheek;
Cold air draft on my exposed feet,
And coming through the thin burlap;
Harsh smoke from the incense
burning my eyes
Sharp, splintering thorns on my fingertips
Stop moving around, you’ll distract the
others…It’s only your clothing…
Voices, from a speaker behind me
An intercom announcement
Tick, Tick, Tick
Loud sounds of a construction site
Conversations of the people beside me
Angry yelling of the woman
from the back row
Tick-Tick, Tick-Tick, Tick-Tick
there’s going to be a test.
Why can’t you hear the video? The volume is up
It must be something wrong with you…
Loud noises won’t stop
I can’t hear what I am supposed to
“Don’t fidget, place both feet on the ground”
Is that bottle really blue?
I don’t know the answers anymore
My head hurts
Itching, can’t help scratching,
Want this abrasive burlap off my skin
“Stop thinking about it”
Bright, florescent, glaring
Just focus, focus
Why can’t those people stop chatting?
Burning, itching eyes
Harsh, everything’s jarring
I need to get out of here
Think about nothing
Retreat… Shut Down
I don’t hear the sounds from the other students.
I don’t hear the story from the video.
I don’t smell the incense, see the colors.
Time passes, and the “class” continues around me.
Leaving the room…Out of the chaos…
Back in a safe environment…
My body reemerges from the place
my mind had sent it; my senses reawaken.
Tears – as my emotions being to live again, and I am overwhelmed.
Calm – a world without the tick-tick, tick-tick,
the sounds of the intercom, the conversations
of people behind me;
Without 5 separate and distinct smells;
without burlap for clothing.
But I still feel it, hear it and smell it all.
It was only an hour.
An hour in a world of overwhelming
input of smells, sights, sounds and feelings,
where I could not rely on my intellect
to solve the problem.
I only had an hour, not day after day,
of the chaos.
I am less adaptable than I thought.
My behavior, and the behavior of others
in the room, surprised me. When bombarded
with input and chaos, our minds and bodies
did whatever was necessary to cope
with the situation. At that point,
it is not about processing. It is about getting by.
I see and admire
Strength – to face that world of chaos
Spirit – that keeps going, even when the body
and mind must retreat into shut down.
Here is a letter to fax to Senate Majority leader, Bill Frist and Tom Daschle. It should be easy for parents to use most of this letter and cut out my legal cast and paste in your own personal one.
I think faxing is more effective right now because most senators have staff that reads and responds to email which is easier for them to delete and ignore.
SENATOR BILL FRIST (R-TN) November 17, 2003
SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: REPUBLICAN
461 Dirksen Senate Office Building T 202-224-3344
United States Senate F 202-228-1264
Washington, DC 20510 Re: SB1248
My name is Jane Doe. I am the mother of an autistic 3 year old.
There is much to applaud in Senate Bill 1248, especially when compared with H.R. 1350. There remain provisions which I am unhappy about. I respectfully ask that you do not ALLOW any limits on families’ ability to find legal counsel to represent their children.
My agenda is clear. I have a son with a severe disability, which entitles him to a free, appropriate, public education. Even though my son’s rights are set forth in federal and state law, negotiating his special education plan (IEP) has been a frustrating, time-consuming, and overwhelming process.
My son’s school district, Cambrian School District, San Jose, CA, made several procedural violations and did not adhere to the law set forth in IDEA-implementing a free, appropriate, public education by his 3rd birthday. Therefore, I was forced to hire a special education attorney and filed a due process request.
Currently, I am paying for my son’s education because I refuse to accept the unacceptable. I am confident that we will prevail with our due process hearing but it could take a year before I get reimbursed for my son’s education expenses and for our attorney’s fees, which in total will likely cost me and my husband somewhere between $70,000.00 and $90,000.00 just for 2003 – 2004. I would like to remind you that many families must file due process hearings year after year in order to continue getting their school district to comply with an appropriate education plan.
To date my son’s school district has spent 100% of my hard-earned tax dollars toward fighting me in a due process hearing, including charging me $40.00 for copying his school records. Since my son’s third birthday, 5/9/03, my school district has not spent one cent on educating my child, yet they have racked up quite a legal bill at the public’s expense-fighting me and my son because we attempted to hold them accountable to John’s civil rights as a disabled person.
The autism rate in the public education system has jumped 1,354% in the period from 1991-92 – 2000-01. Autistic students being served in the public schools has increased at a rate almost fifty (50) times higher than the rate of all disabilities combined during the eight year period from 1991-92 – 2000-01. (U.S. Department of Education’s 2002 Report to Congress on Individuals with Disabilities Education Act-IDEA).
Inappropriate special education programs lead to increasing legal and administrative costs to deal with the disagreements between parents and school districts through due process hearings. IDEA and state education codes ensure nothing. School districts are notorious for noncompliance and many families must hire attorneys just to scare school districts into compliance.
The parents, grandparents, friends, relatives, and professionals serving special needs children represent a population exponentially greater than the 6.5 million special needs students in the US-a bipartisan “voice” that must not be silenced or ignored. Senators running for re-election must know that we will not forget if we are ignored and limits are placed on our ability to find legal counsel for our children.
On behalf of the 100,000 autistic students being served in the public school system, I thank you in advance for not allowing any limits on families’ ability to find legal counsel to represent their children and for expeditiously getting this bill to the floor for a vote.
UCLA Functional Brain Imaging Study of Autism
UCLA Functional Brain Imaging Study of Autism — Research Study
Help us gain a better understanding of children with autistic spectrum
disorder (high functioning autism or Asperger’s syndrome) by having
your child participate in a study of brain structure and function conducted by
Dr. Susan Bookheimer in collaboration with Dr. Marian Sigman. [Normally
developing children are invited to participate to form a comparison group.]
Your child must be in good health between the ages of 7-18; have a
previous diagnosis of autism or Asperger’s [or be a normally developing child];
must not wear braces.
Children with autism or Asperger’s will receive a diagnostic evaluation
to determine if they qualify for the
study. Children that qualify will have a functional magnetic resonance
imaging scan of their brain during a
second visit. Participants will be paid $25 per visit.
[Normally developing children will receive a brief language assessment
and have a functional magnetic
resonance imaging scan of their brain during one visit and earn $25.]
Call for more details: 310-825-3478.