A blog about resources for autism and care and treatment.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Sunday, October 23, 2011

DR. DOREEN GRANPEESHEH TO SPEAK AT THE 4TH ANNUAL “ALL AGES & ABILITIES” AUTISM/ASPERGER’S CONFERENCE


ACT Today! Founder and President Dr. Doreen Granpeesheh will be a keynote speaker at the 4th Annual “All Ages & Abilities” Autism /Asperger’s Conference in Brooklyn, New York. The conference, hosted by the Autism Conferences of America, will be held November 9-11.


Dr. Granpeesheh will present “Understanding and Treating Anxiety in Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders” on Thursday, November 10.
Individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) often present with anxiety disorders that cause significant functional impairments. While anxiety disorders, such as Generalized Anxiety, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and phobias, are common amongst individuals with ASD, the identification and treatment of these disorders are made more difficult by the presence of communication delays, behavior problems, and the lack of standardized assessments for patients with ASD.  This presentation will review the literature on prevalence, features, and assessment of anxiety in ASD individuals and will offer guidelines for treatment through the use of cognitive behavioral protocols that have been found to be effective in this field.
Dr.Granpeesheh has devoted over 30 years to the study and treatment of autism spectrum disorders and is recognized as a leading expert in the field. Dr. Doreen Granpeesheh earned her PhD in psychology from University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). She is a licensed psychologist in California, Texas, and Arizona, as well as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. In 1990, she established the Center for Autism and Related Disorders, Inc. (CARD), which is now among the world’s largest and most experienced organizations providing ABA treatment to children and young adults with ASD. Dr. Granpeesheh serves on the Defeat Autism Now (DAN!) Executive Council, the US Autism and Asperger’s Association (USAAA) Scientific Advisory Board, and the Autism Society of America (ASA) National Board. 
In 2007, Dr. Doreen Granpeesheh was awarded the Wendy F. Miller National Recognition Award for Professional of the Year. This award recognizes significant contributions in the autism field and is one of the ASA’s highest honors
For more information about the event and to register visit:http://www.regonline.com/builder/site/default.aspx?EventID=1016202.

Friday, October 21, 2011

RECAP: ACT Today! 5th Annual Golf Classic - Helping Children with Autism

Here's a recap of our 5th Annual Charity Golf Classic presented by the Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD) and hosted by actor Joe Mantenga. CARD broadcasted via Skills Live from the charity golf tournament, interviewing Joe Mantegna, ACT Today! Founder Dr. Doreen Granpeesheh, and many others. Watch the video below. 

Funds raised through the golf tournament will help provide resources and grants to children whose families cannot afford the necessary tools their child needs to reach their full potential. Thank you to all of the supporters, including sponsors, donors, volunteers, staff and you!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Low Weight Babies Five Times More Likely To Have Autism Spectrum Disorder



Babies born with low birth weight have a considerably greater chance of being diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, compared to those born with normal weight, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania's School of Nursing and School of Medicine wrote in the journal Pediatrics. The authors considered a baby born weighing less than 2 kg (4.4 lbs) to be of low birth weight.

As background information, the authors explained that previous studies had found an association between low birth weight, prematurity and a higher risk of motor and cognitive disability. However, prior studies' links with ASD (autism spectrum disorders) were not compelling - they were retrospective studies and subjects were screened without diagnostic confirmation.

Jennifer A. Pinto-Martin, PhD, MPH and team carried out a longitudinal study of a cohort of 1,105 children who were born at low birth weight. They were born at three central New Jersey counties. The children were born between October 1984 and July 1989.

They screened 623 of them and checked their medical records for details of ASD when they were 16 years old.

They then carried out rigorous diagnostic assessments on 117 of the ones who had screened positive for ASD and 119 of the 506 who had screened negative.

11 of the 70 who were screened positive for ASD were diagnosed with ASD as young adults, while among those with negative screens, 3 of 199 were diagnosed with ASD.

After factoring out various variables, the authors calculated that the babies born with low birth rate had a 5% risk of eventually being diagnosed with ASD, compared to the 1% overall estimate of all children by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) - a five times higher risk for the low weight newborns.

In an Abstract in the journal, the authors wrote:
"The diagnostic prevalence of ASD in this LBW preterm cohort was higher than that reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for 8-year-olds in the general US population in 2006."
According to the NIH (National Institutes of Health), approximately 3% of US babies are born weighing between 1.1 and 4.4 pounds (500g and 2 kg).

Pinto Martin said:
"Cognitive problems in these children may mask underlying autism. If there is suspicion of autism or a positive screening test for ASD, parents should seek an evaluation for an ASD. Early intervention improves long-term outcome and can help these children both at school and at home.
"The number of children with a diagnosis of autism is on the rise and we haven't been able to explain why. It's partly a function of awareness and better diagnosis, but we do a better job of keeping tiny babies alive and this may be one consequence of that. "
Written by Christian Nordqvist 
Copyright: Medical News Today 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Thank You for Making a Difference in the Lives of Children with Autism

 ACT Today! Applauds Governor Brown for signing SB 946, the autism insurance reform bill, into law, making California the 28th state to take important steps to end autism insurance discrimination.

Send your thanks to Governor Brown:

1.  Send a quick email to Governor Brown expressing your gratitude for enacting autism insurance reform.  We get you started with the email here
2.  Send thanks to him on and encourage your friends to post thanks as well to Governor Brown on his Facebook page here.
 
ABA (APPLIED BEHAVIOR ANALYSIS) Therapy is NECESSARY AND VITAL TREATMENT FOR OUR CHILDREN! 

ACT Today! Founder, Dr. Doreen Granpeesheh, is the leading provider of this form of therapy.

IN THE LAST YEAR ALONE, ACT TODAY! HAS GIVEN $340,000 WORTH OF TREATMENT GRANTS TO CHILDREN WITH AUTISM, A LARGE PERCENTAGE TO ABA THERAPY.

WE WILL CONTINUE TO DO SO UNTIL ALL CHILDREN GET THE CARE AND TREATMENT THEY NEED!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

CALL TO ACTION – FRIENDS, FAMILY, AUTISM SUPPORTERS – WE NEED YOUR HELP TODAY


 LET'S ACT
TODAY - TODAY - TODAY - TODAY - TODAY - TODAY 
 
The California Autism Insurance Mandate Bill (SB 946) authored by Sen. Darrell Steinberg is awaiting the Governor’s action. This landmark bill, if signed by the Governor, will ensure that the health plans and insurance companies provide the most appropriate and effective medical treatments to people with autism.

The Governor could act at any time – PLEASE CONTACT HIM TODAY

SB 946 IN DANGER OF VETO BY GOV. BROWN. 
TELL HIM CHILDREN WITH AUTISM IN CALIFORNIA 
DESERVE INSURANCE REFORM!

To express your opinion, go to:

You can call, fax, or email. If you email the Governor, please select the “have a comment” button.

Once, there – go to the “drop-down” menu ─ 4th line down) select “Health & Human Services Agency”.

After you click “submit”, your comments can be very brief such as, “Dear Governor Brown, SB 946 in an important measure that will improve the lives of countless Californians. Having the health plans do their fair share, is good medicine and good public policy. I hope that you will sign this landmark legislation. Sincerely, Your Name and other appropriate contact info.”

Please forward this information to other interested individuals and organizations.

Thank you!
***

More information about the Autism Insurance Mandate Bill
Courtesy of Autism Votes.org
Under the bill, as of July 1, 2012, health plans and insurers must cover behavioral health treatment, including applied behavior analysis (ABA) and other behavior intervention programs. SB 946 explicitly preserves the obligation of health plans and insurers to provide services under California's existing mental health parity law, through which many families have been able to secure coverage for other treatments such as occupational therapy, speech therapy, physical therapy, and treatment of comorbid physical health issues.

Governor Brown has until October 9 to sign the bill into law, which is scheduled to sunset in 2014 if not renewed. Autism Speaks credited Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, Assembly Speaker John Perez and Assemblymember Jim Beall, Jr. for leading the fight for insurance reform during the waning days of the legislative session.

Thousands of California families, in the absence of insurance coverage, have been forced to pay out-of-pocket or rely on taxpayer-funded programs for behavioral health treatments, which can cost $50,000 a year or more. Autism Speaks has helped lead the fight in statehouses across the nation to end such insurance company discrimination, resulting in the enactment of laws in 27 states. This year alone, laws have been enacted in Arkansas, Virginia, West Virginia and Rhode Island, and a bill passed this summer by the New York Legislature awaits Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s signature.

The use of early intervention treatments, such as ABA, can substantially increase a child’s independence, thereby reducing future taxpayer costs for special education and social services. In states that have enacted autism insurance reform, actual experience has demonstrated the impact on premiums has been far below the inflated estimates floated by the insurance industry.

The bill passed today first by the Assembly then by the Senate was designed to correct a flaw in insurance settlements negotiated over the summer between the state Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) and two major insurers. The settlements initially appeared to provide the needed coverage, but contained a flaw that substantially negated their intended impact.

Summary of Amended Autism Insurance Reform Bill:

Senate Bill 946

Not all insurers and health plans in California are subject to the bill. For those that are:
  • Coverage must be available for treatment to "develop or restore, to the maximum extent practicable, the functioning of an individual with pervasive developmental disorder or autism"
  • Treatment must be recommended by a licensed doctor or psychologist and provided under a treatment plan, which must be reviewed by the provider at least every six months
  • Reimbursement must be made for the services of Board Certified Behavior Analysts, as well as the professionals and paraprofessionals whom they supervise
  • Coverage for behavioral health treatment must be subject to no specific age limit or dollar cap
  • The availability of insurance coverage does not reduce any obligation to provide services under an individualized education program or an individualized service plan
  • Health plans and insurers must maintain an adequate network that includes qualified autism service providers
    Autism Speaks Urges California Legislative Leaders for Fast Action on Autism Insurance Bill