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This section started out collecting autism information and then, as I did more research, turned into autism spectrum which may or may not be the proper term but refers to all of the autism-LIKE disorders out there. And of course the sensory integration stuff came about because a dear friend's child is struggling with it.

The number of people I know with autistic children has gotten larger and larger. Some of this information is from those people, and some is just from media.

This section is called All about Autism from the Autism Society of America's website. 

There was an interesting article last year in Wired magazine about this.  The title was: The Geek Syndrome and the premise was: "Autism - and its milder cousin Asperger's syndrome - is surging among the children of Silicon Valley. Are math-and-tech genes to blame?"

Information on Autism is an excellent set of overview links from the folks at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's TEACCH division (Treatment and Education of Autistic and related Communication handicapped Children).

Another interesting website - with more autism links than I've ever seen - is the neurodiversity.com site.  Some of the links look pretty "alternative" (e.g. the entire page of books on ... indigo children (?)), but it's a formidable piece of reference work.

The Autism Key website has forums, and also lists the top states in the US for autism support. They are:

Diagnosing Autism is also from the Autism Society's website.

The First Signs Organization seems interesting. They're devoted to the early identification of children with developmental delays and disorders.

The Handle Institute is involved in both diagnosing and treating people with neurodevelopmental disorders.  I discovered it while doing a very heavy-duty web search for a friend with autistic twins about two and a half years ago and was blown away by the website.  VERY wonderful story.  Very interesting stuff.  If your child has any type of neurodevelopmental problems, I would suggest that you take a look a them.  Handle deals with Add/ADHD, Autism/PDD, dyslexia, learning disabilities, Tourette's Syndrome, and traumatic brain injuries.  Their brief look at Handle is very interesting.

In the San Francisco Peninsula area, people are often referred to the Children's Health Council in Palo Alto.

Asperger Syndrome
Here is the OASIS (Online Asperger Syndrome Informaiton and Support) description called What is Asperger's

Sensory Integration Stuff
The Alert program helps teach kids how to "run" their bodies and themselves differently.

From the SenGifted organization (supporting emotional needs of the gifted), an Interesting article about sensory integration disorders in the profoundly gifted.

This section contains names and contact information for general support organizations for parents of autistic children

Autism Society of America
Bethesda, MD - local chapter in Belmont

The NICHD (National Institute of Child Health and Human Development) has an autism website.

In the San Francisco Bay area, an organization called Parents Helping Parents has a website.

Nancy is a writer and mother to Quinn. She has started a website called Face Autism

About behavior analysis, from the Cambridge Center.

I recently spoke with a friend whose son was finally successfully diagnosed as having ADHD after several harrowing years.  She told me that they got a 25-page diagnosis from the specialist whom they waited about 9 months to see (so if you have ANY DOUBTS at all, GET ON A WAITING LIST.  Don't wait to "actualize" and don't worry about being "fair" to your child.  Just get on the list -- and cancel it if you don't need it!  -- that's my humble opinion)

At any rate, these are some of the tests that they administered:
Weschler Preschool And Primary Scale of Intelligence-III
Developmental teest of Visual-Motor intergration
Tests of APraxia
Right-Left Discrimintion Test
Auditory Discrimination Test
Motor-Free Visual Perception Test-III
Ishihara's Test for Colour Blindeness
Sentence Memory Test
Knox's Cube Test
Cancellation of Rapidly Recurring Targets Figures test
Burks' Behaviour Rating Scale
conners' behavioral Rating Scale
Mental Status Examination
Pre-Test Interview

Things that you can do to teach
This is a wonderful essay, called Nonverbal Thinking, Communication, Imitation, and Play Skills From a Developmental Perspective from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's TEACCH division.  Here is a list of other educational approaches.

This article, written by Dr. Mythily Chari in India, talks specifically about interventions and training that they did to teach children to get along in the world.  She maintains (and I agree with her), that you really need to teach context and social hierarchy when you teach behavior (e.g. about hugging.)  Interesting and very useful.


Here is a listing of national resources from the Autism Society's website.

Local (San Francisco area) programs
Achievekids and

Community Association for Rehabilitation
Palo Alto (650) 494-0550
Various services for infants, children and adults who are developmentally disabled.

Developmental Pathways for Kids is an occupational therapy and pediatric services place in the peninsula area south of San Francisco.

Autism Institute on Peer Relations and Play is located in the San Francisco Area. It's based upon Pamela Wolfberg's research. She wrote the book called Play and Imagination in Children with Autism.

Dr. Laurie Leventhal in Palo Alto has something for Aspberger's children called the Friend's Program to teach children how to be friends with people. It comes highly recommended.

Theories and Therapies
A friend of mine who is smart as a whip inhaled every autism book out there, tried on for size and discarded things left and right, and finally has been using RDI on her child, with great success.  RDI stands for Relationship Development Intervention and is an innovative program for autistic children developed by Steven Gutstein, who has written many publications on the subject of autism, Asperger's, the relationship puzzle, activities, etc.

At any rate, my friend says that RDI has done wonders for her child.

Legislation, insurance, and funding
This depends totally on your state, unfortunately.

Book recommendations
A friend of mine recommends DSM-4, which stands for THE definitive research book on diagnostic criteria.  She said that you've got to read it, get on top of it, especially if you're trying to track down what's happening with your kid.

The weirdkids.com website has a short list of the most popular/suggested books that they recommend on autism, aspberger's, sensory integration, homeschooling children with special needs, and so forth.

Here are some extremely good link pages:
Links from C.A.R.
Medline links from the National Institute for Health.
Links, especially local to Northern California, from Achievekids.
Room5 is a classroom web page dedicated to helping parents and teachers of students with autistic spectrum disorders.

The Eide blog is fascinating - it's all about neurolearning.  This is the Autism archive page for the Eide blog, which summarizes all mention of autism and related topics.

Resources for caregivers
Just found a site named empowering caregivers.  Has some good books and references for people who are taking care of others.
Check this out

The Eide Blog's Autism archive page

The FAIR Autism Media Center has autism media clips.  Please donate.

Recommended video:
"Family to Family: How to live life when a child is diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder."

The Anachronistic Mom's notes on
Autism, the Spectrum, and More