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March 31st, 2008

CNN Announces Global Coverage for First World Autism Awareness Day

CNN Pressroom - Multiplatform Effort Will Report on Science, Intervention and Resources for Parents on Wednesday, April 2

CNN will use its unparalleled newsgathering resources to report on the global impact and latest science of the developmental syndrome of autism for the first “World Autism Awareness Day.” Online as well as on CNN/U.S., CNN International, CNN en Español and Headline News, CNN will report on medical insights, information on treatments and
intervention, and details about services available for those living with autism for the inaugural international awareness day on Wednesday, April 2.

On CNN/U.S., chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta will report on a range of issues related to autism spectrum disorder beginning on CNN’s American Morning at 6 a.m. through Anderson Cooper 360°. Worldwide, it is estimated that as many as 35 million people have autism and face considerable challenges and often discrimination. In November 2007, the United Nations declared that April 2 would be an annual day to “encourage Member States to take measures to raise
awareness about children with autism throughout society.” 

“Bringing awareness and information to viewers and online users globally on topics of urgency and importance, like autism, is exactly what CNN does best,” said Jon Klein, president of CNN/U.S. “And Sanjay Gupta as our daylong guide for our reporting on this issue is a real differentiator for CNN. It will give depth to our reporting that no other network can offer.”

In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated in 2007 that as many as 1 in 150 8-year-old children in multiple areas of the United States had an autism spectrum disorder. Parents must often navigate their own paths to find helpful therapies and finance expensive education and other services independently.

In anticipation of World Autism Awareness Day, CNN.com will offer expanded coverage of this mysterious neurological disorder. Viewers will be able to access news and information including the latest medical theories and research about autism as well as the stories of people who live every day with the condition. Through multimedia and interactive elements, as well as traditional stories and videos, viewers will be invited to expand their knowledge and understanding
of autism.

Viewers and users are encouraged to share their firsthand accounts of life with autism through video, photo, audio or text submissions to www.iReport.com, CNN’s recently launched user-generated community Web site. Autism-related iReports are available at www.iReport.com/tags/autism; and iReport.com contributors also may gain recognition by having the material they submit to the site – once vetted and approved for use – appear on a CNN network or CNN.com.

On the weekend preceding World Autism Awareness Day, Saturday, March 29, and Sunday, March 30, chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta will devote the full broadcast of House Call with Dr. Sanjay Gupta to explain the latest medical thinking regarding early signs of autism. While most children are diagnosed with autism at about age
two, studies suggest that earlier diagnoses may offer opportunities for critical behavioral interventions. Gupta will explain warnings signs that may be observable as early as 6 to 12 months of age, when early interventions may improve developmental outcomes. House Call with Dr. Sanjay Gupta airs Saturdays and Sundays at 8:30 a.m. Gupta’s investigation into issues related to insurance coverage and educational therapies for families living with autism will be
featured on CNN Radio for affiliates. On CNN.com, the “Paging Dr. Gupta Blog” and “Paging Dr. Gupta” podcast will also feature helpful information for families on autism.

Also on Saturday, March 29, personal finance editor Gerri Willis will offer advice for parents on coping with the tremendous costs of autism for Open House. Open House airs Saturdays at 9:30 a.m. Preliminary coverage plans for World Autism Awareness Day on Wednesday, April 2, include:

· American Morning will introduce CNN viewers to triplets – each with autism at varying severity – born to Lynn and Randy Gaston in Ellicott City, Md. Additional reports will feature adults living with autism and distinguish medical myths from realities associated with a range of therapies and treatments. CNN’s American Morning airs weekdays on CNN/U.S. from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m.

· On CNN en Español, En Familia, a 30 minute program that serves as a guide to parents, and Consulta Médica, a 30-minute prime-time program dedicated to personal health and fitness, will be focusing on the educational needs of children with autism, and addressing the latest controversies examining the link between vaccines and autism spectrum disorder. En Familia airs each Monday at 11:30 a.m. and Consulta Médica airs each Tuesday on CNN en Español at 11:30 a.m.

· A one-hour global simulcast special We Have Autism, anchored by CNN International’s Colleen McEdwards, will air at noon and focus on the experiences of families living with autism around the world and feature an interview with Suzanne Wright, the co-founder of Autism Speaks, an advocacy organization for people and families living with autism. McEdwards will also report on people living with extreme symptoms of autism, with a focus on Tito, a young man who despite his severe autism, has become a high-functioning poet and author. CNN international correspondent Wilf Dinnick will report on Qatar’s state-of-the-art Shafallah Centre that assists autistic children. The nation of Qatar is credited with leading U.N. efforts to establish World Autism Awareness Day as a day of global awareness. Also for We Have Autism, international correspondent John Vause will report from China about life with autism under communism. U.S. affairs editor for
CNN International, Jill Dougherty will report on a family with a child recently diagnosed as autistic as they seek the best help for their child. We Have Autism will air on CNN/U.S. and CNN International.

· Actor, author, parent and autism activist Jenny McCarthy, as well as Bobby Kennedy, Jr., senior attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council who believes that thimerosal in vaccines is responsible for autism, will be guests on Larry King Live. Larry King Live airs weeknights on CNN/U.S. at 9 p.m. and replays at midnight.

· “Finding Amanda,” a one-hour Anderson Cooper 360° special, features a few of the approximately 600,000 American adults who live with autism. Gupta will introduce viewers to Amanda Baggs of Burlington, Vt., and others, who share with him how they experience the world – from their perspective. “Finding Amanda” will premiere on CNN/U.S. at 11 p.m. and replay at 2 a.m.

· Showbiz Tonight will feature a report on a groundbreaking documentary, Autism: The Musical, set to debut on HBO on Tuesday, March 25. Showbiz Tonight airs on Headline News weeknights at 11 p.m. and replays at 2 a.m.

· CNN Newsource will offer affiliates custom liveshots with medical correspondent Judy Fortin between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. on April 2 about how families with older children living with autism cope with their challenges. Fortin’s package features a Grayson, Ga., family with a 12-year-old autistic child.

Additional programming focused upon autism will be announced closer to April 2.

All times Eastern.

The above article is available via the courtesy of Arzu Forough, Autism Speaks Legislative Advocacy Chair-Washington State

March 17th, 2008

Help Kids with Autism and Laugh with Dana Carvey in San Francisco on April 25th

I found out about this event and just had to share it, this is a great opportunity to have a fun night out (and see Dana Carvey!!) and help raise money for autism and other special needs children.


Join the legendary Dana Carvey and friends for a five-star evening of
food, wine, and wit for a worthy cause

Oak Hill School, the Ryder Foundation and the ASHA Academy.

Enjoy a VIP cocktail reception followed by an intimate gourmet dinner prepared by
Bay Area celebrity chefs. Laugh out loud at a private stand-up comedy show
featuring Dana Carvey and friends. Meet the talent at an exclusive after-party with
divine desserts and drinks, and groove to the beat of the Back Burner Blues Band.

Friday, April 25, 2008


1290 Sutter Street, San Francisco, California
Entrance on Van Ness Ave.


Dana Carvey.jpg

5:30 - 6:30 pm, VIP Cocktail Reception
6:30 - 8:00 pm, Celebrity Chef Dinner hosted by Joey Altman
8:30 pm, Dana Carvey and friends (Doors open at 8:00 pm)
10:00 pm - Midnight, Meet the Stars After-Party

- cocktail attire -

For more information, please contact Nancy Frumkes Events at
415.789.1969 or nancyfrumkes@earthlink.net


Oak Hill kids.jpg

Located in Marin City, California, the Oak Hill School is certified by the California State Department of Education and provides an academic and therapeutic program for children from kindergarten through adolescence. Their staff includes special education teachers, speech and language pathologists, occupational therapists, creative arts therapists and psychotherapists.

While the range of disabilities among children is broad, classroom groupings cluster children with similar academic levels and learning styles. Their education program includes groups of children with good verbal skills and strong academic potential as well as groups of children with emerging language and academic abilities. Children who have struggled in the traditional classroom environment have an opportunity at Oak Hill to develop academic and social skills, high self-esteem and become leaders among their peers.


ryder_lake.jpgThe mission of The Ryder Foundation is to provide funding to organizations that research the environmental causes
of autism and effectively treat afflicted children.

The Ryder Foundation funds research that investigates the link between environmental toxins and Autism Spectrum Disorders.
The Ryder Foundation funds research aimed at establishing empirically-proven treatments for autism.
The Ryder Foundation funds programs that assist low-income families in getting treatments, therapies and supplies.
The Ryder Foundation funds programs that help local autistic and developmentally challenged children reach their full potential.


ASHA is a holistic, multidisciplinary academy in Bangalore, India, providing special education to children with severe disabilities, particularly autism. Founded in 1995, ASHA endeavors to “render exceptional love, care, hope, and educational assistance to children with special needs, to help them develop and utilize their potential.” The school also provides family support, community outreach, and training.

March 12th, 2008

Brain Fitness Software Market Grew to $225 Million in 2007, says SharpBrains

SharpBrains - March 11, 2008

2007 was a seminal year for the US Brain Fitness software market, according to a landmark study released by SharpBrains. The research and advisory company reports that the brain fitness software market reached $225 million in revenues in 2007, up from an estimated $100 million in 2005.

According to SharpBrains, two segments fuelled the market growth from 2005 to 2007: the consumer segment grew from $5 million to $80 million, a 300% CAGR; and the healthcare and insurance providers segment grew from $36 million to $65 million, a 35% CAGR.

The Top 10 Highlights from the report, “The State of the Brain Fitness Software Market 2008″:

1. 2007 was a seminal year for the US Brain Fitness software market, which reached $225 million in revenues – up from an estimated $100 million in 2005.

2. Over 20 companies are offering tools to assess and train cognitive skills to four customer segments: consumers; healthcare and insurance providers; K12 school systems; and Fortune 1000 companies, the military, and sports teams.

3. The Nintendo Brain Age phenomenon has driven much of the growth. The consumer segment grew from a few million in 2005 to an estimated $80 million in 2007.

4. There is major confusion in the market, so education will be key. Users and buyers need help to navigate the maze of products and claims.

5. Over 400 residential facilities for older adults have launched computerized “brain fitness centers.” Sales to the healthcare and insurance provider segment grew from $35 million in 2005 to an estimated $65 million in 2007.

6. More than five programs have shown results in randomized controlled trials. Cognitive functions that can be trained include: visual and auditory processing, working memory, attention, and decision-making.

7. A product has obtained 510(k) FDA clearance for rehabilitation of stroke and Traumatic Brain Injury patients. Another product is being used by a growing network of ADHD specialists.

8. Large-scale, fully-automated cognitive assessments are being used in a growing number of clinical trials. This opens the way for the development of inexpensive consumer-facing, baseline cognitive assessments.

9. The potential for K12 Education remains largely untapped due to limited research linking cognitive training to academic performance.

10. Companies, sports teams and the military are finding opportunities to improve productivity. The aging workforce will make this a must.

“This report is geared to executives, investors, entrepreneurs, professionals and policy-makers looking for the latest information about the brain fitness industry,” said Alvaro Fernandez, co-founder and CEO of SharpBrains. “This report is the first in an annual series providing a comprehensive picture of the industry spanning the underlying science, commercial applications, market players, and growth drivers.”

About this study

The SharpBrains 87-page report, “The State of the Brain Fitness Software Market 2008,” defines the brain fitness software market and analyzes the size and trends of its four customer segments: consumers, healthcare & insurance providers, K12 school systems, and fortune 1000 companies, military, and sports teams.

The report tracks developments at over 20 public and private companies offering tools to assess and train brain functions and provides important industry data, insights and analysis to help investors, executives, entrepreneurs, and policy makers navigate the opportunities and risks of this rapidly growing market. The report discusses the implications of cognitive science on healthy aging and a number of disorders such as attention deficits, dyslexia, stroke and traumatic brain injury, schizophrenia, autism, mild cognitive impairment, and Alzheimer’s disease. The report also provides information and frameworks to help institutional buyers make informed purchase decisions about brain fitness programs.

Companies profiled include: Advanced Brain Technologies, Applied Cognitive Engineering, Brain Resource Company, Cogstate, BrainTrain, Cogmed, CNS Vital Signs, CogniFit, Cognitive Drug Research, Dakim, Houghton Mifflin, Gemstone, Lexia Learning, Lumos Labs, MyBrainTrainer, Nintendo, NovaVision, Posit Science, Scientific Brain Training, Scientific Learning, TeachTown.

» Story on Analyst Firm Website

March 10th, 2008

2nd Annual Autism Awareness Night

Join in on the excitement and be sure to bring your family and friends to cheer on the Seattle Mariners, while bringing Autism to the forefront! The 2nd Annual Autism Awareness Night is taking place again at Safeco Field on Wednesday, May 7th.

If you are concerned about paying $40 a seat… don’t be! Athletes Against Autism and Autism Speaks is offering a discount for those who purchase their tickets online. Pricing for reserved seats are $15; while field level seats are only $32. By purchasing these tickets thru http://seattle.mariners.mlb.com/sea/ticketing/autism_speaks.jsp you not only get discounted seats, but $7 from every ticket goes back to Athletes Against Autism and Autism Speaks .

Don’t forget to mention “ Autism Speaks ” when you order you tickets on-line and mark you calendar for Wednesday, May 7th - Safeco Field: Mariners vs. Texas Rangers @ 7:10 pm.

Click here to check out the on-line offer!

March 9th, 2008

Interactive Autism Network (IAN)

ian_logo.gifIf you are a parent and are looking for a great opportunity to get involved in autism research, you should check out IAN, the Interactive Autism Network.  IAN was established in January 2006 at Kennedy Krieger Institute and is funded by a grant from Autism Speaks. IAN’s goal is to facilitate research that will lead to advancements in the prevention, treatment, and cure of autism spectrum disorders.  Joining IAN will help you better understand the research process, help you keep up with some of the latest and most cutting-edge research findings, better understand the value of research, and even influence the direction future research.

What is IAN Research?

B & E 3.JPGIAN Research allows parents of children diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) to participate in research over the Internet. Parents provide information about their child’s diagnosis, behavior, family, environment, and services received. Parents may also report on their child’s progress over time.

Who can participate in IAN Research?

To register and answer research questions in IAN Research, you must live in the United States and be a biological or adoptive parent of a child under the age of 18 who is diagnosed professionally with one of the following disorders:

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
  • Autism
  • Asperger Syndrome
  • Autistic Disorder
  • Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)
  • Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS)
  • Childhood Disintegrative Disorder (CDD)

The child should not have a diagnosis of Rett Syndrome.

What are the benefits of joining?

Teacher and Girl.JPGYou will be able to participate in important research on ASDs. IAN will provide tools that help you monitor your child’s progress over time and explore how your child is similar to (or different than) other children affected by this disorder.

About Dr. Chris

Chris is a licensed psychologist and board certified behavior analyst specializing in autism and related disorders. She received her PhD at U.C. San Diego and did her post-doctoral fellowship at U.C.L.A. Chris is a Founder and Chief Science Officer at TeachTown.

Read more about Chris and our other authors.

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