|One of the saddest downsides to technology, not only do kids have to suffer bullies in person, now they can follow anyone anywhere. |
Saturday, October 18, 2014
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
People with autism spectrum disorder often experience a period of accelerated brain growth after birth. No one knows why, or whether the change is linked to any specific behavioral changes.
A new study by UCLA researchers demonstrates how, in pregnant mice, inflammation, a first line defense of the immune system, can trigger an excessive division of neural stem cells that can cause “overgrowth” in the offspring’s brain.
The paper appears Oct. 9 in the online edition of the journal Stem Cell Reports.
“We have now shown that one way maternal inflammation could result in larger brains and, ultimately, autistic behavior, is through the activation of the neural stem cells that reside in the brain of all developing and adult mammals,” said Dr. Harley Kornblum, the paper’s senior author and a director of the Neural Stem Cell Research Center at UCLA’s Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior.
In the study, the researchers mimicked environmental factors that could activate the immune system — such as an infection or an autoimmune disorder — by injecting a pregnant mouse with a very low dose of lipopolysaccharide, a toxin found in E. coli bacteria. The researchers discovered the toxin caused an excessive production of neural stem cells and enlarged the offspring’s’ brains.
Neural stem cells become the major types of cells in the brain, including the neurons that process and transmit information and the glial cells that support and protect them.
Notably, the researchers found that mice with enlarged brains also displayed behaviors like those associated with autism in humans. For example, they were less likely to vocalize when they were separated from their mother as pups, were less likely to show interest in interacting with other mice, showed increased levels of anxiety and were more likely to engage in repetitive behaviors like excessive grooming.
Kornblum, who also is a professor of psychiatry, pharmacology and pediatrics at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, said there are many environmental factors that can activate a pregnant woman’s immune system.
“Although it’s known that maternal inflammation is a risk factor for some neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism, it’s not thought to directly cause them,” he said. He noted that autism is clearly a highly heritable disorder, but other, non-genetic factors clearly play a role.
The researchers also found evidence that the brain growth triggered by the immune reaction was even greater in mice with a specific genetic mutation — a lack of one copy of a tumor suppressor gene called phosphatase and tensin homolog, or PTEN. The PTEN protein normally helps prevent cells from growing and dividing too rapidly. In humans, having an abnormal version of the PTEN gene leads to very large head size or macrocephaly, a condition that also is associated with a high risk for autism.
“Autism is a complex group of disorders, with a variety of causes,” Kornblum said. “Our study shows a potential way that maternal inflammation could be one of those contributing factors, even if it is not solely responsible, through interactions with known risk factors.”
In addition, the team found that the proliferation of neural stem cell and brain overgrowth was stimulated by the activation of a specific molecular pathway. (A pathway is a series of actions amongmolecules within a cell that leads to a certain cell function.) This pathway involved the enzyme NADPH oxidase, which the UCLA researchers have previously found to be associated with neural stem cell growth.
“The discovery of these mechanisms has identified new therapeutic targets for common autism-associated risk factors,” said Janel Le Belle, an associate researcher in Kornblum’s lab and the paper’s lead author. “The molecular pathways that are involved in these processes are ones that can be manipulated and possibly even reversed pharmacologically.
“In agreement with past clinical findings, these data add to the significant evidence that autism-associated brain alterations begin prenatally and continue to evolve after birth,” she said.
Kornblum added that the findings that neural stem cell hyper-proliferation can contribute to autism-associated features may be somewhat surprising. “Autism neuropathology is primarily thought of as a dysregulation of neuronal connectivity, although the molecular and cellular means by which this occurs is not known,” he said. “Therefore, our hypothesis — that one potential means by which autism may develop is through an overproduction of cells in the brain, which then results in altered connectivity — is a new way of thinking about autism etiology.”
The next step, the researchers say, is to determine if and how the changes they observed lead to changes in the connections between brain cells, and if those effects can be altered after they have happened.
The study’s other authors were Jantzen Sperry, Amy Ngo, Yasmin Ghochani, Dan Laks, Manuel López Aranda and Alcino Silva, all of UCLA. Support was provided by the Dr. Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson Medical Research Foundation, Autism Speaks and the National Institutes of Health (grants P50-HD-055784 and MH65756), and other entities.
Tuesday, September 30, 2014
I don't know about anywhere else but here in hot LA teenage boys typically don't smell so great all the time, especially after PE. This isn't me giving the boys a bad time, it's just how it is and it's easily proven by a quick stroll down a high school hall when it's crowded with kids, or by just popping your head into the locker room for a few seconds. Yikes!!!
So riddle me this Batman. On what planet would a teacher send a special ed kid - who has a one on one aid - to the nurse's office for body odor? What is the nurse going to do? Examine him for extraordinary odors?! Then what? Again, maybe it's just me but, it seems if a kid really smelled that bad there were simple solutions vs humiliating him and sending him to the nurse who could do little or nothing. For one, the aid could simply take the kiddo into the bathroom to wash up. Or, in this case call his at home mom and ask if she could bring him a new shirt and some deodorant.
Have you ever heard of a typical teen boy being sent to the nurse for body odor? If this was the case, we would have to double up on school nurses to meet the demand, LOL!
This is crazy making to me and, pardon the pun smells of injustice! The kind of unconscious bias our kids in special ed face every day. Just sadder when the ones with the bias are the ones who are supposed to be looking out for our kids.
Friday, September 19, 2014
This is an ABA approach to priming safety in the community as taught by Nick's team. We are having a very rough time with safety, so we created this tool. It's a 6 part short video maybe it will help you too.
It's been a slow process but every year the visits to the dentist get a little easier, no doubt because Nick knows they are not going to kill him! Or maybe he's just learned what to expect :) Here's a video that might be good to show to kids in preparation for a trip to the dentist.
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Saturday, September 13, 2014
Thursday, September 11, 2014
Step one was the creation of this PSA. Step two and most important is sharing to save lives. You can share this link or send people directly to http://www.missingkids.com/awaare to watch the PSA. Doesn't matter how we do it, only that we do. Thanks!!!
Wednesday, September 10, 2014
How is it that some people always find a way to turn something wonderful into something horrific. Once again, one of our unsuspecting kids who could never conceive doing something so horrible to another person is abused. So sad. I am speechless.
**Important note: The family asked that we show the video to make other parents aware of bullying.**
BAY VILLAGE, Ohio – Police are investigating an alleged case of bullying involving a teenager with autism who took the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.
“Once we found out about it, we were just horrified,” said Diane, the mother of the Bay High School student. She claimed her youngest son was videotaped as feces, urine, spit and cigarette butts were dumped on his head by a group of juveniles.
“I want these kids held accountable for what they did to him and they targeted somebody who just didn’t really understand what was going on,” she said.
FOX 8 News is not identifying the family by last name to help protect their son.
According to the victim’s mom, Diane, the video was discovered on her 15-year-old son’s cell phone. She, along with her husband and other son, Jacob, wants it to be made public.
“I mean, the first thing that popped into my mind was like, why could someone – how could someone do this?” said Jacob. “How could someone really be this cruel to someone?”
In the video, the boy with autism is seen standing in the driveway of a home off school grounds. He’s wearing only his underwear as a bucket of fluid is poured from the roof of the garage. The bucket allegedly contained a mix of bodily fluids instead of ice water.
“He was embarrassed because he did not know what the contents were until afterwards and then he didn’t want anybody to know,” said his mom. “They used his phone to tape it and they put it up on Instagram.”
“This is just too far. It’s really bad,” said his brother, Jacob.
The Bay Village Police Department was made aware of the alleged incident on Wednesday. According to Det. Kevin Krolkosky, criminal charges could be filed.
“It’s disturbing to watch, you can obviously tell that somebody has been taking advantage of there,” said the detective.
Det. Krolkosky met with the parents and said it’s not a prank; it’s possibly a crime committed on the boy with autism by a group of juveniles who could face delinquency charges.
A spokesperson for Bay High School, where the victim is a student, said they’re now working hand-in-hand with police as they investigate.
“Obviously, if possible, we do want to hold those individuals accountable for their actions,” said Det. Krolkosky.
The police are just beginning their investigation and we’re told it could take a few weeks to file charges but they have a good idea who was involved.
“The bucket challenge is supposed to be raising awareness for this disease and now they’ve turned it into a sick joke,” said the victim’s mom. “I just can’t understand why kids would do something this cruel.”
The boy’s mom and dad wanted the video released to make other parents aware of bullying so they’ll have a conversation with their kids on how to treat people.
Tuesday, September 9, 2014
Thanks to a mom who's been through Hell and wanted to share her story to help others, I've been made aware of the unthinkable challenges that can happen around Conservatorships, especially in families where the parents are divorced. When I first heard their story my automatic response was "This can't be, it's just too terrible. It must be an isolated case". When I began asking more people I learned many families were dealing with this, and it was not something I could afford to ignore. My son will be 18 soon enough, and his rights will kick in and I need to know the realities of raising an "adult" with autism and conservatorships. Below is a summary of the issue, and a link to a guide showing recent research findings, and it suggests ways our attorneys can challenge these guidelines when needed.
The Disability and Abuse Project released a new report today that focuses on deficiencies in the performance of attorneys appointed to represent people with developmental disabilities in limited conservatorship proceedings in California.
The report was released in the form of a guidebook, designed to help court-appointed attorneys challenge judicial guidelines that encourage them to engage in practices that may violate ethical and constitutional requirements.
Here is a description of the guidebook, taken from the Project's website:
This guidebook releases research findings by the Disability and Abuse Project regarding the policies and practices of the Los Angeles Superior Court. It reveals how court guidelines encourage attorneys to violate the rights of people with developmental disabilities in limited conservatorship cases. The guidebook calls for systemic changes, but until they occur, it suggests ways that attorneys can challenge these guidelines by using advocacy methods consistent with the ethical and constitutional duties and that protect the right of clients to due process of law
The report was sent to 50 attorneys who regularly represent clients in limited conservatorship proceedings. It was sent two weeks in advance of a mandatory training seminar they will be attending on . It was also sent to the panelists who will be making presentations on many of the topics covered in the report. We hope that the receipt of the guidebook prior to the seminar will stimulate a lively discussion about the proper role of attorneys in such cases and what attorneys should do to comply with ethical and constitutional requirements.
It was also sent to all members of the Board of Trustees of the State Bar of California, with a request that the State Bar convene a Task Force on Limited Conservatorships to study the problems outlined in the report and to make recommendations to the State Bar about how to improve the performance of attorneys handling such cases.
For more information, including a link to the guidebook and links to the letters mentioned above, go to: http://disabilityandabuse.