CNN Top News Stories of 2008

Autism - Number Two Health Story of 2008

Debate over the causes of autism continued to rage after a court decided to compensate a family whose daughter developed the disorder after receiving childhood vaccinations.

For years, some parents have contended that childhood vaccinations cause autism.

But studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine and elsewhere have found no link between autism and vaccines. Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Institute of Medicine and other medical organizations have repeatedly asserted that vaccines are safe.
But the Department of Health and Human Services' Division of Vaccine Injury Compensation concluded that Hannah Poling, a child who had been predisposed to autism, had a condition that was "significantly aggravated" by vaccinations and that her family should be compensated.

Hannah began having problems after receiving nine childhood vaccines in 2000, said her father, Dr. Jon Poling, a neurologist in Athens, Georgia.

While the Polings said they don't oppose childhood vaccinations, they want thimerosal, a mercury vaccine preservative, removed.
Thimerosal was removed from infant vaccines beginning in 1999. Even after its removal, the autism rate has continued to climb. The CDC estimates that one in 150 children is affected.

The United Nations declared the first official World Autism Awareness Day on April 2 this year.

For more information about autism visit

Defining Autism

Defining Autism

Autism is a pervasive developmental disorder that is marked by the presence of impaired social interaction and communication and a restricted repertoire of activities and interests. The prevalence of autism has been estimated to affect as many as 1 in 150 children and is four times more common in boys than in girls.

Children with Autism show a great variance of symptoms ranging from severe impairment in the use of nonverbal behaviors that regulate social interaction to a failure to develop peer relationships appropriate to age.

Their impairment in communication is also marked and sustained and can affect both verbal and nonverbal skills. Autistic children may have a delay in or a total lack of spoken language. In children who do speak, there may be a delay in the ability to sustain a conversation with others, or a stereotypic and repetitive use of language.

Children with Autism may also show a lack of varied, spontaneous make believe play or social imitative play and often have restricted, repetitive and stereotyped patterns of activity.

Children with Autism may have a range of behavioral symptoms including hyperactivity, short attention span, impulsivity, aggressiveness, self-injurious behavior and temper tantrums. They may show unusual responses to sensory stimuli as observed by a lack of response to pain or a hypersensitivity to particular sounds. In addition, children with Autism often have unusual eating and sleeping habits and are described as being either agitated and irritable or aloof and detached.

Because autism is a severe, chronic developmental disorder that results in significant lifelong disability, the goal of treatment is to promote the child's social and language development and minimize behaviors that interfere with the child's functioning and learning. Intensive, sustained special education programs and behavior therapy early in life can increase the ability of the child with autism to acquire language and ability to learn.

Special education programs in highly structured environments appear to help the child acquire self-care, social, and job skills. Only in the past decade have studies shown positive outcomes for very young children with autism. Given the severity of the impairment, high intensity of service needs, and costs (both human and financial), there has been an ongoing search for effective treatment.


The diagnosis of autism is a complex and often controversial issue. The most accepted standards for diagnosis come from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – Fourth Edition (DSM – IV), published by the American Psychiatric Association. The MADSEC report provides a useful, succinct description of the diagnosis and relevant factors comprising it.

Autism is included under DSM-IV’s pervasive developmental disorders. This is a category of disorders in which many basic areas of infant and child psychological development are affected at the same time, and to a severe degree.

Autistic disorder has three major hallmarks: qualitative impairment in social interaction, qualitative impairment in communication, and restricted, repetitive and stereotypical patterns of behavior, interests, and activities. Onset in delays is very early, prior to three years of age.

To meet DSM-IV diagnostic criteria for autism, children will display impairment in social interaction in at least two ways, impairment in communication in at least one way, and restricted, repetitive and stereotypical patterns of behavior, interests and activities in at least one way.

According to DSM-IV, impairment in social interaction is manifested in at least two of the following ways:

a) marked impairment in the use of multiple nonverbal behaviors such as eye-to-eye gaze, facial expression, body postures, and gestures to regulate social interaction;

b) failure to develop peer relationships appropriate to developmental level;

c) a lack of spontaneous seeking to share enjoyment, interests or achievement with other people;

d) lack of social or emotional reciprocity.

Impairment in communication is manifested by at least one of the following:

a) delay in, or total lack of, the development of spoken language, not accompanied by an attempt to compensate through alternative modes of communication;

b) in individuals with adequate speech, marked impairment in the ability to initiate or sustain conversation with others;

c) stereotyped and repetitive use of language or idiosyncratic language, and

d) lack of varied, spontaneous make-believe play or social imitative play appropriate to developmental level.

Restricted, repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behavior, interests and activities are manifested by at least one of the following:

  • encompassing preoccupation with one or more stereotyped and restricted patterns of interest that is abnormal either in intensity of focus;
  • apparently inflexible adherence to specific, non-functional routines or rituals;
  • stereotyped and repetitive motor mannerisms, such as hand or finger flapping, or complex whole body movements;
  • persistent preoccupation with parts of objects. (DSM-IV, 1994). (MADSEC, 2000, p. 7)

While the diagnostic criteria described above are widely applicable, it is important to note that very child with autism is unique, and there is no such thing as a “average” child with autism. Each child anifests unique strengths and skill deficits and it is important to keep in mind that treatment must therefore be oriented to an assessment of the unique needs of each individual person, not simply prescribed based on a diagnosis.


Maine Administrators of Services for Children with Disabilities (MADSEC) (2000). Report of the MADSEC Autism Task Force.

Dr. Doreen Granpeesheh on How Biomedical Intervention Improves ABA Success

Autism Action Plan founder Dr. Kurt Woeller interviews Doreen Granpeesheh, PhD, BCBA at the Defeat Autism Now (DAN!) conference.

Interview - Part One


Want to view other indepth interviews on autism by Dr. Granpeesheh? Click here.

You can also visit:

Positive Behavior Management: Tips for Parents and Professionals

Presented by Jonathan Tarbox, PhD ,BCBA
CARD Research and Development Director

Click here to see his complete presentation.

What is ABA?

What is Applied Behavior Analysis?

Behavior Analysis is the scientific study of behavior. Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is the application of the principles of learning and motivation from Behavior Analysis, and the procedures and technology derived from those principles, to the solution of problems of social significance. Many decades of research have validated treatments based on ABA.

The Report of the MADSEC Autism Task Force (2000) provides a succinct description, put together by an independent body of experts:

Over the past 30 years, several thousand published research studies have documented the effectiveness of ABA across a wide range of:

  • populations (children and adults with mental illness, developmental disabilities and learning disorders)
  • interventionists (parents, teachers and staff)
  • settings (schools, homes, institutions, group homes, hospitals and business offices), and
  • behaviors (language; social, academic, leisure and functional life skills; aggression, selfinjury, oppositional and stereotyped behaviors)

Applied behavior analysis is the process of systematically applying interventions based upon the principles of learning theory to improve socially significant behaviors to a meaningful degree, and to demonstrate that the interventions employed are responsible for the improvement in behavior (Baer, Wolf & Risley, 1968; Sulzer-Azaroff & Mayer, 1991).

“Socially significant behaviors” include reading, academics, social skills, communication, and adaptive living skills. Adaptive living skills include gross and fine motor skills, eating and food preparation, toileting, dressing, personal self-care, domestic skills, time and punctuality, money and value, home and community orientation, and work skills.

ABA methods are used to support persons with autism in at least six ways:

1. to increase behaviors (eg reinforcement procedures increase on-task behavior, or social interactions);

2. to teach new skills (eg, systematic instruction and reinforcement procedures teach functional life skills, communication skills, or social skills);

3. to maintain behaviors (eg, teaching self control and self-monitoring procedures to maintain and generalize job-related social skills);

4. to generalize or to transfer behavior from one situation or response to another (eg, from completing assignments in the resource room to performing as well in the mainstream classroom);

5. to restrict or narrow conditions under which interfering behaviors occur (eg, modifying the learning environment); and

6. to reduce interfering behaviors (eg, self injury or stereotypy).

ABA is an objective discipline. ABA focuses on the reliable measurement and objective
evaluation of observable behavior.

Reliable measurement requires that behaviors are defined objectively. Vague terms such as anger, depression, aggression or tantrums are redefined in observable and quantifiable terms, so their frequency, duration or other measurable properties can be directly recorded (Sulzer-Azaroff & Mayer, 1991). For example, a goal to reduce a child’s aggressive behavior might define “aggression” as: “attempts, episodes or occurrences (each separated by 10 seconds) of biting, scratching, pinching or pulling hair.” “Initiating social interaction with peers” might be defined as: “looking at classmate and verbalizing an appropriate greeting.”

ABA interventions require a demonstration of the events that are responsible for the occurrence,
or non-occurrence, of behavior. ABA uses methods of analysis that yield convincing, reproducible, and conceptually sensible demonstrations of how to accomplish specific behavior changes (Baer & Risley, 1987). Moreover, these behaviors are evaluated within relevant settings such as schools, homes and the community. The use of single case experimental design to evaluate the effectiveness of individualized interventions is an essential component of programs based upon ABA methodologies. This is a process that includes the following components:

a) selection of interfering behavior or behavioral skill deficit

b) identification of goals and objectives

c) establishment of a method of measuring target behaviors

d) evaluation of the current levels of performance (baseline)

e) design and implementation of the interventions that teach new skills and/or reduce interfering behaviors

f) continuous measurement of target behaviors to determine the effectiveness of the intervention, and

g) ongoing evaluation of the effectiveness of the intervention, with modifications made as necessary to maintain and/or increase both the effectiveness and the efficiency of the intervention. (MADSEC, 2000, p. 21-23)

As the MADSEC Report describes above, treatment approaches grounded in ABA are now considered to be at the forefront of therapeutic and educational interventions for children with autism. The large amount of scientific evidence supporting ABA treatments for children with autism have led a number of other independent bodies to endorse the effectiveness of ABA, including the U.S. Surgeon General, the New York State Department of Health, the National Academy of Sciences, and the American Academy of Pediatrics (see reference list below for sources).

Discrete Trial Training

Discrete trial training (DTT) is a particular ABA teaching strategy which enables the learner to acquire complex skills and behaviors by first mastering the subcomponents of the targeted skill. For example, if one wishes to teach a child to request a a desired interaction, as in "I want to play," one might first teach subcomponents of this skill, such as the individual sounds comprising each word of the request, or labeling enjoyable leisure activities as "play." By utilizing teaching techniques based on the principles of behavior analysis, the learner is gradually able to complete all subcomponent skills independently. Once the individual components are acquired, they are linked together to enable mastery of the targeted complex and functional skill. This methodology is highly effective in teaching basic communication, play, motor, and daily living skills.

Initially, ABA programs for children with Autism utilized only (DTT), and the curriculum focused on teaching basic skills as noted above. However, ABA programs, such as the program implemented at CARD, continue to evolve, placing greater emphasis on the generalization and spontaneity of skills learned. As patients progress and develop more complex social skills, the strict DTT approach gives way to treatments including other components.

Specifically, there are a number of weaknesses with DTT including the fact the DTT is primarily teacher initiated, that typically the reinforcers used to increase appropriate behavior are unrelated to the target response, and that rote responding can often occur. Moreover, deficits in areas such “emotional understanding,” “perspective taking” and other Executive Functions such as problem solving skills must also be addressed and the DTT approach is not the most efficient means to do so.

Although the DTT methodology is an integral part of ABA-based programs, other teaching strategies based on the principles of behavior analysis such as Natural Environment Training (NET) may be used to address these more complex skills. NET specifically addresses the above mentioned weaknesses of DTT in that all skills are taught in a more natural environment in a more “playful manner.” Moreover, the reinforcers used to increase appropriate responding are always directly related to the task (e.g., a child is taught to say the word for a preferred item such as a “car” and as a reinforcer is given access to the car contingent on making the correct response). NET is just one example of the different teaching strategies used in a comprehensive ABA-based program. Other approaches that are not typically included in strict DTT include errorless teaching procedures and Fluency-Based Instruction.

At CARD all appropriate teaching approaches based on the well grounded principles of applied behavior analysis are utilized.


Baer, D., Wolf, M., & Risley, R. (1968). Some current dimensions of applied behavior analysis. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 1, 91 - 97.

Baer, D., Wolf, M., & Risley, R. (1987). Some still-current dimensions of applied behavior analysis. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 20, 313 - 327.

Maine Administrators of Services for Children with Disabilities (MADSEC) (2000). Report of the MADSEC Autism Task Force.

Myers, S. M., & Plauché Johnson, C. (2007). Management of children with autism spectrum disorders. Pediatrics, 120, 1162-1182.

National Academy of Sciences (2001). Educating Children with Autism. Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education.

New York State Department of Health, Early Intervention Program (1999). Clinical Practice Guideline: Report of the Recommendations: Autism / Pervasive Developmental Disorders: Assessment and Intervention for Young Children (Age 0-3 years).

Sulzer-Azaroff, B. & Mayer, R. (1991). Behavior analysis for lasting change. Fort Worth, TX : Holt, Reinhart & Winston, Inc.

US Department of Health and Human Services (1999). Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General. Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Mental Health Services, National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Mental Health.

Autism Glossary - What it All Means

ABA: Applied Behavior Analysis

ABC: Autism Behavior Checklist - a diagnostic tool

ADA: Americans with Disabilities Act

ADD: Attention Deficit Disorder

ADHD: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

ADI: Autism Diagnostic Interview - a diagnostic tool developed in London by the Medical Research Council

ADOS: Autism Diagnostic Observation Scale

AIT: Auditory Integration Training

AS: Asperger's Syndrome

ASA: Autism Society of America

ASD: Autism Spectrum Disorders

ASL: American Sign Language

CARS: Childhood Autism Rating Scale

CBCL: Achenbach Childhood Behavior Checklist - a diagnostic tool
CHAT: Checklist for Autism in Toddlers - a diagnostic tool

DAN Doctor: a physician who uses the DAN protocol to diagnose autism

DAN Protocol: an assessment protocol that examines the underlying disorders causing autism

DD: Developmental DisabilitiesDVD: Developmental Verbal Dyspraxia

EEG: ElectroencephalogramELAP: Early Learning Accomplishment Profile - an evaluation tool

FC: Facilitated CommunicationFCT: Facilitated Communication Training

GARS: Gilliam Autism Rating Scale

HFA: High-functioning Autistic

ICF: Intermediate Care Facility

IDEA: Individuals with Disabilities Act

IEP: Individualized Education Plan

IFSP: Individualized Family Service Plan

IHP: Individualized Habilitation Program

IPP: Individual Program Plan

LCSW: Licensed Clinical Social WorkerLRE: Least Restrictive Environment

MSDD: Multi-System Developmental Disorder

NT: Neurologically Typical or Neurotypical

NOS: Not Otherwise Specified

OCD: Obsessive Compulsive DisorderODD: Oppositional Defiant DisorderOT: Occupational Therapist

PDD: Pervasive Developmental Disorder

PDD NOS: Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified

PECS: Picture Exchange Communication System

PEP: Psycho-educational Profile

PEP-R: Psycho-educational Profile Revised

PRT: Pivotal Response Training

PT: Physical Therapy

SAS: Specialized Autism Services

SI: Sensory Integration

SIB: Self-Injurious Behavior

SIT: Sensory Integration Therapy

TEACCH: Treatment and Education of Autistic and Related Communication Handicapped Children

Dr. Doreen Granpeesheh Appears on California PBS Talk Show this Week

Orange, CA – Doreen Granpeesheh, PhD, BCBA, Founder and Executive Director of the Center for Autism and Related Disorders, Inc. (CARD) will once again be featured on the KOCE – PBS (California) award-winning talk show, Dialogue with Doti and Dodge. The show, hosted by Jim Doti and Kristina Dodge airs tonight, December 09, at 11:30pm, and again this Sunday, December 14, 2008 at 11:00am.

You can also watch the show anytime, by clicking here.

The show includes a discussion about causes, treatments and most importantly the issue of recovery which has been a controversial topic. Some believe it is not possible to achieve “recovery” and others say it should not be a goal of individuals with autism. Dr. Granpeesheh will define recovery and discuss the science behind recovery. She will also present proof in the form of her newly released film, Recovered: Journeys Through the Autism Spectrum and Back, directed by Michele Jaquis. The film tells the story of four children diagnosed with autism, who achieved success using treatments rooted in Applied Behavior Analysis. The documentary includes clips of therapy sessions along with interviews of the children who are now teenagers, their parents, therapists, and Dr. Granpeesheh.

Dr. Granpeesheh will also touch on issues of treatment funding, and will be joined by Nancy Alspaugh, the executive director of ACT Today! (Autism Care & Treatment), a non profit organization with a mission to expand access to effective autism treatment.

Dr. Doreen Granpeesheh is world renowned for her therapy method and recovery rates. She has treated tens of thousands of children with autism in her career and has seen significant recovery rates.

A highly recognized psychologist in the field of autism, Dr. Granpeesheh recently earned one of the Autism Society of America’s highest honors – the Wendy F. Miller National Recognition Award for Professional of the Year (2007). The award recognizes significant contributions made by a psychologist, psychiatrist, physician, and other professionals in the autism field. That same year, Dr. Granpeesheh was elected to the Autism Society of America (ASA) Board of Directors. She also serves on the Defeat Autism Now (DAN!) Executive Council and the US Autism and Aspergers Association (USAAA) Scientific Advisory Board.


Shaping Knowledge Through Individualized Life Learning Systems, also known as CARD SKILLS ©, is a one-of-a-kind comprehensive three part system designed to give anyone who will be a behavioral educator of children with autism (including parents, teachers, behavior analysts, and other professionals) access to: (a) training in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and how it is used to teach skills to children with autism, (b) an assessment (SKILLS Index) to identify the child’s mastered and unmastered skills, and (c) a set of curricula that can be utilized to design an individualized ABA-based program based on the needs of the child identified by the SKILLS Index.

Available 2009!

Provides training in ABA and how it is used to teach skills to children with autism. It is composed of on-line training modules which focus on topics such as:

  • Autism and how it is diagnosed
  • Introduction to ABA and its principles
  • Assessment and identification of skill targets
  • Teaching Paradigms
  • Natural Environment Training (NET)
  • Discrete Trial Training (DTT)
  • Fluency-Based Instruction (FBI)
  • Procedures
  • Discrimination training
  • Prompting and Fading
  • Shaping
  • Chaining
  • Generalization and Maintenance
  • Functional behavioral assessment (FBA)
  • Interventions for challenging behavior
  • Data collection
"The CARD E-Learning series won't make a user a pro overnight, but it will teach basic skills and information to establish a foundation in which a user can build with proper supervision,” said Dr. Adel Najdowski, CARD Research and Development Manager and co-creator of CARD SKILLS.

"We recommend that users work along side a CARD Supervisor in order to gain the most value from CARD SKILLS. Once a trainee finishes an e-learning module, he or she must take and pass a quiz before moving on to the next training module. Then, once a trainee completes all modules of the e-learning, he or she is ready to begin using (with supervision) behavioral analytic techniques to teach skills to children with autism."

CARD’s SKILLS Index is the alternative to the complex myriad of psychological, cognitive, and intelligence tests.

The SKILLS Index is an assessment tool comprised of a series of yes or no questions that the behavioral educator answers about the child.

The questions are organized by skill area and listed in chronological order of child development across eight domains:

Language, Play, Adaptive, Motor, Executive Functions, Cognition, Social, and Academic Skills

Answers to the assessment questions are logged in a computerized database which automatically produces simple bar graph reports identifying skills that are in the child’s repertoire versus those that need to be taught. The report is relevant to the child’s age and is summarized according to skills that the child’s same-age peers would exhibit.

Based on this information, specific skills can be targeted. The CARD SKILLS Index directs the child’s behavioral educators to areas of the CARD Curricula© that can be used to teach identified skills. The outcome of this process is that the behavioral educator is able to use the SKILLS Index to develop an age-appropriate comprehensive ABA-based program for the child.

“CARD SKILLS is like no other product because of its comprehensiveness,” said Dr. Doreen Granpeesheh, CARD Founder, Executive Director, and Co-Creator of CARD SKILLS.

“This single package derived from what we know about child development is a one-stop-shop for treatment providers who are developing ABA-based intervention programs for children with autism ages 0 – 8, because once the assessment results are obtained they tie directly to a comprehensive set of curricula. There is no longer the need to decipher what to teach because it is all there for you.”

CARD's Curricula includes lessons to teach skills in each of the eight skill domains assessed in the SKILLS Index.

CARD's Curricula

CARD's Curricula includes eight different areas: Language, Play, Adaptive, Motor, Executive Functions, Cognition, Social, and Academic Skills. Each curriculum is composed of lessons developed to give behavioral educators examples of specific concepts that should be taught. Each lesson provides information such as:
  • Average age ranges for when skills develop
  • Prerequisites necessary before teaching the skills in the lesson
  • Type of nonverbal or verbal operant that is being taught
  • Sample Individual Education Plan (IEP) goals related to the skill
  • Ideas for setting up teaching materials and scenarios
  • Teaching points for ensuring the child’s success in learning targeted skills
  • Ideas for programming for generalization
  • Direction for what to teach next
Taken together, CARD SKILLS, which consists of the CARD E-Learning, SKILLS Index, and CARD's Curricula provide behavioral educators with the knowledge and confidence necessary (with supervision) to implement ABA-based programs for children with autism.


Dr. Doreen Granpeesheh on Dialogue with Doti and Dodge

Dialogue with Doti and Dodge is a PBS talk show, based in Orange, California. This show you are about to watch features Dr. Doreen Granpeesheh, one of the nation's leading autism researchers and psychologists and Nancy Alspaugh, executive director of Autism Care and Treatment. Watch the show now!

Autism Society of America Publishes New Online Course

"Autism and the Environment 101" Offers Accessible
Information to All Affected by Autism

Bethesda, MD - The Autism Society of America is pleased to announce the release of its newest online course, "Autism and the Environment 101." Sponsored by the John Merck Fund, this introductory level course was designed to give individuals with autism spectrum disorders, parents, other family members, physicians, educators, or anyone affected by autism a general overview of the links between environmental toxins and autism.

"It is our hope that by developing balanced information and resources we can help people think through their options more effectively and with greater support," said ASA President & CEO Lee Grossman.

Autism is a complex neurodevelopmental disability that typically appears in the first two years of life and affects a person's ability to communicate and interact with others. The rates of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) have risen sharply in the last decade, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found in 2007 that one in 150 children will be diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. Scientists suspect that an increasing amount of environmental triggers coupled with genetic vulnerability could explain the dramatic increases in the rates of ASD around the world."Autism and the Environment 101" examines some of the toxins present in our changing environment their affect on our bodies, the rapidly rising rates of ASD and the role of the government in regulating chemicals.

It also discusses what we can do every day to protect ourselves and our children. Written in conversational language free of jargon, the online course is accessible to anyone, and takes approximately 45 minutes to complete. Most importantly, the course represents a new model of autism that sees it as a whole-body condition, with many opportunities for interventions and treatments that can lead to optimal outcomes for people with ASD, as opposed to the old model of a hard-wired genetic brain disorder."

While the idea that environmental influences could be harming our children is disturbing, this goes along with the possibility that changing the environment could help," said Dr. Martha Herbert, ASA's Director of Treatment-Guided Research and lead author of the course. "The best way to deal with this problem is through learning about what is going on and how to be empowered in our responses."A more detailed and extensive course, "

Autism and the Environment 201" will be released in the coming months.

To learn more about autism and the environment or take the course, please visit ASA's Environmental Health Initiative at

About ASA: ASA, the nation's leading grassroots autism organization, exists to improve the lives of all affected by autism. We do this by increasing public awareness about the day-to-day issues faced by people on the spectrum, advocating for appropriate services for individuals across the lifespan, and providing the latest information regarding treatment, education, research and advocacy. For more information, visit


The Center for Autism and Related Disorders, Inc. hopes to see you at the following events...

ABAI Conference
February 6-8, 2009
Jacksonville, FL
CARD Presenter: Amy Kenzer, PhD, BCBA

RECOVERED: Journeys Through the Autism Spectrum and Back
February 14, 2009
Anaheim Convention Center
Anaheim, California

Autism/Asperger’s Conference
February 14-15, 2009
Anaheim, California

Autism Biennial Congress 2009
February 26 – March 1, 2009
Vancouver, British Colombia
CARD Speaker: Dr. Doreen Granpeesheh

Annual Western Regional Conference (ABA)
March 12 -14, 2009
Burlingame, California
CARD Presenters: over twenty CARD presenters

DAN Spring Conference
April 17-19, 2009
Atlanta, Georgia
CARD Speaker: Dr. Doreen Granpeesheh

Walk for Autism
April 25, 2009
Pasadena, California
CARD will have an informational booth

Mindd International Forum On Children
May 15 -18, 2009
Sydney, Australia
CARD Speakers: Dr. Doreen Granpeesheh

RECOVERED: Journeys Through the Autism Spectrum and Back
May 16, 2009
Australian Jockey Club
Sydney, Australia

Walk for Autism
May 16, 2009
Chicago, Illinois
CARD will have an informational booth

Autism One Conference
May 20 – 24, 2009
Chicago, Illinois

RECOVERED: Journeys Through the Autism Spectrum and Back
May 21, 2009
Westin Hotel O’Hare
Chicago, Illinois

ABA Convention
May 22-26, 2009
Phoenix, Arizona
CARD Presenters: over twenty CARD presenters

Walk Now for Autism
May 30, 2009
San Jose, California
CARD will have an informational booth

Walk for Autism
June 13, 2009
New Jersey
CARD will have an informational booth

DAN Mini Conference
June 13-14, 2009
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Walk Now for Autism
June 14, 2009
New York, New York
CARD will have an informational booth

ASA National Conference & Exposition
July 22-25, 2009
St. Charles, Illinois

International ABA Conference
August 7-9, 2009
Oslo, Norway

For a complete and detailed lisitings of all Autism Events, please visit

A Parent Talks About RECOVERED

Excerpt from Parent's blog:

"The Best Documentary on Autism"

My mom came across a documentary called "Recovered: Journeys Through the Autism Spectrum and Back".
It is amazing!

I have never seen anything explain autism, the need for early diagnosis and intense ABA IBI DT (Applied Behavioral Analysis, Intense Behavioral Intervention, Discrete Trial) therapy 30 plus hrs a week. Of course, Dr. Lovaas proved this a long time ago and there are many, many once autistic children who are now recovered adults among us unbeknownst to us because of this great man! But, for some reason the medical and public school experts are usually unaware of it, and we are often told to not expect our children to talk and to start saving money for their lifetime care. I love it when parents with children who lose their diagnosis of autism go back to those medical experts and watch the look of bewilderment in their eyes. Proof is seeing.

Read her complete story.

Autism Linked to Vaccines?

By Author David Kirby
Hannah Poling was the first child with autism to be paid from the vaccine injury compensation fund. In the months following the Poling story, it was discovered that she was actually at least the tenth child with autism compensated for her vaccine injuries by the government, but only the first to go public.

Her case caused a profound shift in the public recognition of vaccination as one of the causes of autism. On Friday (December 05, 2008), another story of equally profound weight will be breaking. Specifically that the Department of Defense now holds the position that autism is one of the adverse reactions to the DTaP vaccine. In addition, The US Armed Forces Institute of Pathology holds that thimerosal is likely a cause of autism and recommends methyl B12 and chelation as the course of treatment for this mercury exposure.

The article breaking the story will likely be appearing in the Huffington Post and and may be the subject on tomorrow's Anderson Cooper 360. Cooper blogged about the piece that is the lead up to tomorrow's revelation (below).

DOD and CDC: Studies Suggest a Possible Link Between Multiple Vaccines and Injury
By David Kirby

It looks like the CDC may have missed a memo to itself on vaccine safety. One very contentious issue in the vaccine-autism debate has been whether a certain subset of genetically susceptible children is unequipped to handle the early and intensive US immunization schedule – including kids like Hannah Poling, who developed autism after receiving nine vaccines at once. The theory is that some people with abnormal immune or metabolic systems might become overtaxed by the fever, inflammation and/or other stresses sometimes caused by multiple vaccines.

Many doctors and scientists scoff at the notion that someone could be injured by getting too many shots at once. They say that people of all ages, including babies, can handle multiple exposures at any given moment.

For example, the CDC’s website says that simultaneous multiple immunizations are safe for children with “normal” immune systems. And Dr. Paul Offit, a prominent pediatrician and wealthy vaccine co-inventor, says that kids can handle simultaneous exposure to the antigens contained in 100,000 vaccines - without any harm coming to them. So, the CDC says that multiple vaccines are safe for everyone (at least in infants).

But now, we learn that a collaborative program between the CDC and the Department of Defense says that multiple vaccines may not be safe for everyone (at least in adults being inoculated for military service).

“We have preliminary findings from one of our many on-going research studies that suggest a relationship between adverse events and multiple vaccinations exist. These findings will require validation, but heighten our concern for the current clinical practice of multiple vaccinations.”
That rather remarkable statement came from US Army Colonel Renata J. M. Engler, MD, director of the Vaccine Healthcare Centers Network (VHCN) a “collaborative network” of the Defense Department - and the CDC.

She went on to say this:

“The more drugs one is exposed to, the greater the likelihood of having an adverse event so as vaccine numbers increase, and (sic) we will see more people who have efficacy or safety issues.”

And later, this: “The standard of care (ie, when mixing vaccines) is to minimize drug exposures because of the recognition that the more drugs being used, the greater the chance of a reaction and potentially a serious adverse event.”

Col. Engler’s candid statements (I’ve never heard anything like them from any other senior vaccine official), were included in a November 26 letter to Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY). Maloney had written to inquire about a 2007 VHCN presentation suggesting that 1-2 percent of all service members were suffering serious adverse effects from their shots.

I first reported on this presentation in August, when someone alerted me to a Government Accounting Office report saying that VHCN and CDC officials “estimate that between 1 and 2 percent of immunized individuals may experience severe adverse events, which could result in disability or death. Some of these events may occur coincidentally following immunization, while others may truly be caused by immunization."I had never heard of the VHCN, so I went to their website, where I found this Power Point presentation, and this slide in particular: The slides suggested that, among active duty and reserve service members, up to 48,000 individuals may have sustained serious vaccine injuries which might need to be classified as "casualties,” and may require teaching "new skills" to some of those injured.<br>But Col. Engler wrote that the slides had been misinterpreted.“Our program is not in a position to provide incidence data but rather to refine case definitions and research questions to address the serious and the rare adverse events questions,” she wrote. The 1-2% figure was merely an estimate of “who may need an immunization healthcare consultation to address clinical questions raised,” she said.

“The consultation does not prove or disprove causality association but it is from these consultations that we have refined our understanding of the questions, a critical first step to future refinement of research agendas. It is our firm belief that increased research into side effects that are more severe but may be short duration, may help us understand more severe adverse events (more rare at 1 in 10-100,000). However, our work over the past years has been humbling in relation to the knowledge gaps.”

And what about the slide mentioning that up to 48,000 service members might require ”new skills” following vaccine injury?

“This statistic refers to the potential number of service members, experiencing more serious side effects (not serious disease with prolonged duration), that may need a medical consultation about next dose and/or pre-treatment to reduce the severity of the side effects, etc.,” Col. Engler explained, (I think).

So what does any of this have to do with autism? Perhaps nothing. As Col. Engler herself wrote: “The belief that vaccines are safe to mix is based largely on pediatric experience and with a much more limited spectrum of vaccines.” (In other words, apples and oranges, here folks).
Now, it’s hard to imagine how 35-to-40 or more shots in the US childhood schedule could be “much more limited” than the military’s regime. But then again, babies don’t get vaccinated against anthrax and smallpox.

But it’s also hard to imagine that there might be a “relationship between adverse events and multiple vaccinations” in adults healthy enough to fight a war, and yet, among babies and infants with immature immune systems and developing brains, the practice is universally harmless – even for kids like Hannah Poling who had an underlying mitochondrial dysfunction.

In the meantime, let’s hope the DOD and the CDC and get their message straight. If they want to convince parents that multiple vaccines might be risky for some soldiers but safe for all little kids, well, good luck.

Or maybe, the government is finally going to look into the percentage of people (however small) who might be genetically programmed against the ability to withstand more than one or two shots at any given time.

As Col. Engler notes, more work is needed in this regard: “The recommendation for more research on subpopulation risk factors in relation to multiple vaccine combinations has been included in the Institute of Medicine Report on Multiple Vaccines ."”

David Kirby is author of Evidence of Harm, a contributor to Age of Autism and blogs for Huffington Post.

Early Intensive Behavioral Treatment Case Study

Early Intensive Behavioral Treatment
for a Toddler with Autism: Case Study of Outcome

Mary Ann Cassell
L. Fernando Guerrero
Jonathan Tarbox
Rachel S. F. Tarbox
Doreen Granpeesheh
Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD)

This case study describes the course and outcome of EIBI for a toddler diagnosed with autism who achieved optimal outcomes. The participant in this case received approximately three years of EIBI, addressing complex social skills (e.g., perspective taking, reciprocal social interactions, etc.), and incorporating naturalistic teaching procedures in combination with discrete trial training.

At the conclusion of EIBI, he achieved scores in the normal range on assessments of IQ, language, and adaptive behavior. He is currently placed in a typical kindergarten, is earning average or better report cards with no concerns, and his kindergarten teacher is unaware that he ever had a diagnosis of autism.

View complete case study.