A blog about resources for autism and care and treatment.

Friday, October 26, 2012


By Guest Blogger: Jesse A. Saperstein

Nostalgia is a powerful weapon and everybody holds onto those pleasant memories of those days of yesteryear and times of yore!  And despite all the painful realities that did exist...my generation has much to be nostalgic about when we reminisce!

We were the last generation to enjoy primitive video games where we could function without the constant bombardment of relentless, and addictive, game play found with Angry Birds as well as its brethren.  We experienced the lushness of economic prosperity in the eight years of Bill Clinton.  Recession and Depression were merely buzz words from years before we were born.  There were definitely realities we should forget, but it is my choice to hold on for dear life.  I have never been able to let go and this perseveration may be attributed to some of my life's biggest successes.  It is why I completed the 2,174-mile Appalachian Trail and published a book back in 2010.  I choose to hold onto the bad stuff.  This is partially why I returned to the yin-yang symbol of beauty and ugliness.

On the date of Thursday, October 18. 2012 I had the privilege of delivering a speech to the Special Education Parent Teacher Association (SEPTA) of the Arlington Central School District.  Back in 1996 - 2000 there was no such organization in existence.  There was also no IMPACT program, which thrives in the middle and high school.  The IMPACT program caters to mostly students on the mildest end of the autism spectrum.  It exists to provide a haven while letting them experience the rest of the school community.  Most important, it always reinforces the notion there is something to fight for and everybody has something profound to offer those who give them a chance.  There was plenty of bullying during the days without an Anti-Bullying Movement.  There were 
also teachers who failed to understand that my uniqueness was something to be nurtured and not a flaw that needed correction.  But somehow, with the absence of our modern understanding, I was still able to thrive within the halls of Arlington High School.  The mercy not delegated from my peers in class was obtained in many of the extra-curricular 
activities that I tried over those four years.  Life was marred by traumatic bumps like an intense, six-month case of cyber bullying back in 1999, but it is not hard to find nostalgia.

On that Thursday evening I had the gift of giving a semblance of hope and realistic advice to parents with kids in the Arlington School District.  They are worried about the present and future.  Like my mother and father, they may want to instill in their kids a sense of normalcy and help tone down their eccentric behavior.  They are hurt by their child’s isolation and want them to be embraced with the rituals of dates to the school prom...tasting victory in a sports game…and all the rituals that are supposed to speckle the high school experience.  My mother and father frequently told me, “You can be as weird as you wish.  But keep in mind there are going to be consequences.

The social isolation would be far less intense if we could accept one inalienable truth.  We are all a little weird in our own wonderful ways.  Wonderfully weird, if you will.  I brought out a cup-and-ball toy and started playing with it.  Then I invited an audience member on stage and she got into it.  This silly, “inappropriate” toy became addictive and fun.  It was important to remind the audience that when they learn their child is affected by a lifelong disability…they experience a whirlwind montage of milestones that may not come to fruition, such as those corsages at the prom, standing ovations, nights out with friends at the movies and other venues of teenage euphoria.  These moments in my childhood have been few and far in between, but they have definitely thrived just a little.  And the greatest way to help their children is by focusing on continuous and relentless compromise.  No matter how ridiculous or age-inappropriate a problem may seem…it is important to first focus on the compromise before trying to force a determined child to “just let it go.”  I have come to accept and embrace this characteristic a long time ago.  I cannot and will not let go or move on.  I have instead learned how to compromise, put something on a backburner, and the most effective quality of all…move forward.

There was an unusual amount of passion in my words that night despite the fact that I was still fighting off the aftermath of a horrific cold that brought me to my knees for a solid week.  The passion was also very personal because of the lessons and contrition that the Arlington Central School District infused in my life long after I had left the classroom.  When I graduated college and completed the Appalachian Trail…I decided to take a small step backwards before moving forward with my life.

My college education had been devoted to taking English and Educational courses because it was my career path to be a teacher.  Every test pointed to this career and I was also aware of my power to make a contribution.  My immaturity coupled with the Asperger’s syndrome ruined these prospects.  Six years ago in 2006, I attempted to substitute teach within the Arlington Central School District and was met with disastrous results.  As I explained to the audience, my outbursts in the classroom were not involuntary like Tourette’s syndrome, but they were as close as possible!  It was not an uncommon occurrence for me to pull a stunt like answering my cell phone in the middle of class or make a reference to the overpowering sexiness of Eva Longoria from Desperate Housewives.  This was the first time in my life when I realized there would be brutal and long-term consequences for behavior exacerbated by the demons of Asperger’s syndrome.  And there have been consequences that have haunted my life for six years.

The Arlington Central School District was the only school that was fair in terminating my employment during those days of pain and harsh lessons.  Other schools made up reasons such as, “You accidentally told a student your name is Jesse instead of Mr. Saperstein” and “We did not feel you related well to children.”  Returning to advocate for the abilities of the current students and myself was both powerful and cathartic.

The past six years have been spent building my life back and proving that I am not going to be a liability in future, employment venues.  I have taken on jobs that were initially not for me and I certainly did not belong.  But they worked out when they should have failed.  And with that said, one of the most important qualities that will lead to success for those on the autism spectrum is this same tenacity.

I am never going to stop fighting for myself as well as those students struggling to build back their life after a rough start.  It was clear the audience was ready to join me!  Every day there is a little more to fight for as well as the hope that I may someday return to the familiar halls as a Human Sequel and become more of a consistent voice for my peers…


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Join sponsor Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD) at the 7th Annual Denim & Diamonds for Autism. Get tickets today! – www.act-today.org/denimanddiamonds2012  - CARD leads the way in the successful treatment of autism, www.centerforautism.com.

Clinical Trial Attempts To Cure Autism With Cord Blood

I just read this article on the Schafer Report of a new clinical trail that is trying to “cure” autism. Read the article with  me, and let me know your thoughts. Do you think autism should be cured? Do you think its possible? The article is by Jessica Ryen Doyle foxnews.com
  Researchers recently announced the beginning of a FDA-approved clinical trial that uses umbilical cord blood stem cells to ‘cure’ autism.

      Dr. Michael Chez, director of pediatric neurology at Sutter Neuroscience Institute in Sacramento, Calif., said he and his colleagues have been processing the trial for more than a year now, and they have high hopes it will succeed.

      “What we are looking at, is cases that don’t have an obvious genetic link,” Chez told FoxNews.com. “Patients that we presume something went wrong with their brains, which caused a change to autistic features.”

      In other words, the trial’s patients will essentially have no reason to have autism – or at least no genetic markers for the disease. This means they must have presumably developed it through another factor, such as the environment or exposure to an infection.

      Chez got the idea to ‘treat’ autism with cord blood stem cells when he observed the cells make a big difference for a little boy who had cerebral palsy.
      Related: Cord blood reverses cerebral palsy in Colorado girl  Now, Chez wants to put this boy’s experience to work for children with autism.

      Autism is a developmental disorder that appears in a child’s first three years of life, according to the National Institutes of Health.  One in 88 U.S. children have it, and it affects one in 54 boys. The condition impacts the brain’s normal development of social and communication skills – sometimes mildly, sometimes extremely.

      More children will be diagnosed with autism this year than with AIDS, diabetes and cancer combined, according to AutismSpeaks.org .

      “We want to see if there is any benefit to giving them an infusion to redirect the nervous system cells, which may have programmed themselves due to a secondary factor,” Chez said. “This may work on autism on different mechanisms in theory by modifying either the immune system or modifying the nervous system by indirect or direct methods.”

      Putting the cord blood to work   Chez will give 30 kids infusions of their own cord blood cells.  Most of the children for the trial have already been lined up, and they have been screened to make sure they don’t have any other issues that may have caused their autism (for example, Fragile X syndrome, stroke, head injury or prematurity).

      Using the child’s own cord blood will make the study safe and ethical – plus, the cells are younger and have not been exposed to environmental factors, like viruses or chemicals, which can alter the cell’s function and structure. By using the children’s own stem cells, their bodies cannot reject them.

      However, in the future, a sibling’s cord blood could theoretically work – as long as the siblings shared the same blood type.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Hoffman International Properties is donating a Horse Lover’s package for the 7th Annual Denim & Diamonds for Autism LIVE AUCTION. Check out the details online atwww.denimanddiamondsforautism.net THANK YOU, Marilyn

Hollywood’s Hottest Stars and Philanthropists to Attend ACT Today!’s 7th Annual Denim & Diamonds for Autism Fundraiser, November 3 in Malibu

ACT Today! (Autism Care and Treatment Today!), a national non-profit organization whose mission is to provide access to care and treatment to children with autism, is rolling out the red carpet for over 500 guests who plan to attend the 7th Annual Denim & Diamonds for Autism fundraiser, benefiting children with autism. The star-studded fundraiser will be held on Saturday, November 3, 2012 at the Calamigos Ranch in Malibu, California from 5 pm to 9 pm, followed by a post party from 9 pm to 11 pm.

Special tributes will be given to actor Joe Mantegna (“Criminal Minds”), television executive Steve Mauldin (KCBS 2/KCAL 9) and community activist Kathleen Sternbach for their tireless efforts raising autism awareness.

Confirmed celebrities include actor Joe Mantegna, 2012 ACTivist Honoree ("Criminal Minds"), televisions executive Steve Mauldin, 2012 ACTivist Honoree, KCBS 2/ KCAL 9 GM/President, Grammy nominated singer/songwriter Brian McKnight, actor Shemar Moore ("Criminal Minds"), actor David Hasselhoff ("Baywatch"), actor Thomas Gibson ("Criminal Minds"), actress Jean Smart ("Hope Springs"), actress Vivica A. Fox ("Raising Hope" and "Curb Your Enthusiasm"), actor Richard Gilliland ("Torchwood"), actress Bonnie Hunt ("Cheaper By the Dozen", "Jerry Maguire"), actress AJ Cook ("Criminal Minds"), actress Ariel Winter ("Modern Family"), actor Nolan Gould ("Modern Family") actor Mark Christopher Lawrence ("Chuck"), television host Tom Bergeron ("Dancing with the Stars"), television executive Vin Di Bona (Vin Di Bona Productions), actor
Erik Fellows ("Days of Our Lives"), actress Joey King ("Crazy, Stupid Love", "Ramona and Beezus"), actress Hunter King ("Young and Restless"), actor Erik Braeden ("Young and Restless”).

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in every 88 children in America is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), making ASD more prevalent than juvenile diabetes, childhood cancer and pediatric AIDS combined.

Proceeds from the 7th Annual Denim & Diamonds for Autism fundraiser will make it possible for ACT Today! to continuing providing families access to therapy, medical care, assistance dogs, social skills programs, assistive technology, and even safety equipment like helmets for the self-injurious children, as well as fencing for those who wander.

Corporate sponsors to date include: CBS Corporation, Vin Di Bona Productions, TWIW Insurance Services LLC, Reaction Audio Visual, Universal City Nissan, Natrol, William Henry, Maddy’s Market, Wells Fargo, Pressure Tech, Puritas, Sandy and David Stone, Judy and Jay Hearst, Center for Autism and Related Disorders, Pressure Tech, Burbank Printing, Hoffman International Properties, City National Bank, The Hollywood Reporter, Latham & Watkins, The Shape of Behavior, United Healthcare, CodeMetro, Valley Ecnomic Development Center, Double Helix Water, Isabella Emporium, GLO Hair Salon, Passageway School, Planet Beauty, Rage Models, Daily Duty and Westlake Magazine.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Reaction Audio Visual sponsors ACT Today!’s 7th Annual Denim & Diamonds for Autism fundraiser, raising autism awareness and donating all the event’s audio and visual equipment and crew! Learn more about Reaction Audio Visual at www.reactionav.com.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Wells Fargo supports Autism Care and Treatment Today!’s 7th Annual Denim & Diamonds for Autism fundraiser. Learn how Wells Fargo is making a difference nationwide. Click here -https://www.wellsfargo.com/ For tickets to the event, visit www.act-today.org/denimanddiamonds2012

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Natrol, Inc. is a proud sponsor of the 7th Annual Denim & Diamonds for Autism fundraiser. Meet team Natrol the night of the event! Get tickets at www.act-today.org/denimanddiamonds2012. Learn all about how Natrol is driven to become the most desired nutritional supplement brand by creating products that support your healthy life. Visitwww.natrol.com.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

GLO Hair Salon is offering COMPLIMENTARY red carpet makeovers for ticket holders of thee 7th Annual Denim & Diamonds for Autism fundraiser, on November 3rd. Buy your ticket – www.act-today.org/denimanddiamonds2012 and book your FREE hair/makeup appointment for event night!

The Sticker

by Laura Marroquin
Mom of 3, one recovered from autism; Director of Program and Development at ACT Today!

Laura, second from left

The sticker on my car proudly displays, “13.1.”  To some, it is just a number. To me, it is a badge of pride. I didn’t start running with Train 4 Autism with the goal of completing a half marathon. I just wanted to be able to finish the 10k that I had signed up for last April. For the past 3 years, ACT Today!, the charity with whom I work, has been hosting a 5k/10k in San Diego with proceeds benefiting our military program. 
 (Register now for our April 6th event: 

I have run 5ks in the past but my 13-year-old daughter Amber and I decided that this year we would challenge ourselves to finish the 10k.We all run for different reasons and we all come to be a part of Train 4 Autism because we support those impacted with autism. I continued to run after completing my 10k in April because Amber loved it and it was something healthy that we could do together. Granted, I was always 10 minutes behind her on our training runs, but working towards a common goal with your teenager was priceless. Unfortunately, two months before the Long Beach Marathon, Amber was experiencing too much knee pain and had to postpone achieving her half marathon goal.

By this time, I was feeling stronger and enjoyed the encouragement from the others in the Train 4 Autism Orange County chapter. After completing the 12-mile training run in September, I was confident that I would finish the half marathon in October. As the event approached, I realized that I needed to be both physically and mentally prepared for race day. I took an inventory of my life and the challenges I have endured and overcame. One great challenge that I deal with daily is that I have type 1 diabetes and am required to wear an insulin pump to manage my blood sugar. Exerting myself in a half marathon is a huge juggling act in relation to managing my fuel intake and medicine. If I told you I wasn’t nervous about it I would be lying.

During the last few miles of the half marathon, I needed to pull from my “mental shoebox” that I had prepared for the race. Type 1 diabetes, rounds of infertility shots followed by premature twins who spent their first 6 weeks in the NICU, relentless tantrums from my son who was diagnosed with autism, a stressed out marriage and financial struggles – these were some of the challenges in my life that I have experienced and withstood. As I ran those last miles, I thought, if I can handle these challenges and survive, I can certainly run 13.1 miles. And so you see why the 13.1 sticker that is displayed on the back of my car window is much more than a number, it is a badge of pride.

Monday, October 15, 2012

United Healthcare sponsors the 7th Annual Denim & Diamonds for Autism fundraiser again for the 4th year! THANK YOU, UHC! Get tickets to the event online at www.act-today.org/denimanddiamonds2012. Learn all about UHC at http://www.uhc.com.

Burbank Printing proudly sponsors the 7th Annual Denim & Diamonds for Autism fundraiser; providing printing for all materials! Get tickets to the fundraiser online at www.act-today.org/denimanddiamonds2012. Check out Burbank Printing at www.burbankprint.com.

Committed to autism care and treatment, The Shape of Behavior proudly sponsors ACT Today!’s 7th Annual Denim & Diamonds for Autism, Nov 3rd fundraiser! Read more about The Shape of Behavior at http://www.shapeofbehavior.com.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Meet extraordinary Designer Janet Heller of Isabella Emporium at the 7th Annual Denim & Diamonds for Autism fundraiser, Nov. 3. Get tickets – www.act-today.org/denimanddiamonds2012 Learn more about Isabella Emporium athttp://isabellaemporium.com.

Join ACT Today! at Feria this Saturday!

Join ACT Today! this SATURDAY from 10AM-3PM at FERIA! - Cal State University Dominguez Hills in Carson, CA

At each Feria, parents learn how to successfully navigate their children through the U.S. education system. More than 100 exhibits are offered by educational non-profits, colleges, universities, and industry representatives. Spanish-language academic experts and volunteers are on-hand to inform and guide parents. Hundreds of Feria participants receive training ahead of the event on how to best engage Spanish-language dominant families around education, college attainment, and careers.

For more information, visit 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

William Henry proudly supports Autism Care and Treatment Today!’s 7th Annual Denim & Diamonds for Autism! Join founder Matt Conable at the event on Nov 3rd. Learn more about William Henry by visit http://www.williamhenrystudio.com.

ACT Today! Put Autism in the Debates!


Dear Autism Advocate,

We had a significant presence at the first Presidential Debate at Denver University last week. We are going to have an even bigger presence at the next two debates to show the candidates how big the autism community is!

We need your help to make the autism community, and all of our issues, a squeaky wheel in this election season. For the next debate, we don't want just a mention of autism

We want the candidates to discuss a plan for leadership on increased funding for dedicated autism research and appropriate health insurance coverage for all Americans with autism. 

Here is How YOU Can Help:

1) SEND AN EMAIL.  Each issue receives a tally by each of the campaigns.  

EMAIL: You can send an email to the Obama Campaignhere and to the Romney Campaign here by filling out their web-forms. Short and sweet messages are fine or you can personalize them with a paragraph or two as to why this is important to you.

Example Email to cut & paste into web-form:

Our 1 in 88 can't wait!  Please put autism issues in the next debate and tell us how YOU will provide leadership and a plan for our community and address autism as the urgent public health crisis it has become.


TWITTER:If you don't have a Twitter account, create one at www.twitter.com

TWEET this:@MittRomney @BarackObama Our #1in88 with #autism can't wait. Put our issues in the next debate. #AutismVotes2012 www.autismvotes.org PLS RT

You can visit the Obama Campaign Facebook page here and the Romney Campaign Facebook page here.

We understand that there are other issues facing our country such as jobs, the economy, national security & the environment, but there is no reason that autism, which affects a minimum of 1 in 88 people across the United States, should not be a topic of national discussion.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

RAGE MODELS will attend ACT Today!’s 7th Annual Denim & Diamonds for Autism fundraiser! Thank you RAGE MODELS – you’re beautiful inside and out!!! For more information about RAGE MODELS, visit www.ragemodels.com.

ACT Today! Founder Dr. Doreen to Speak at ARI Conference this Sunday!

Join ACT Today!’s Founder and President Dr. Doreen this Sunday, October 14, 2012 at the Autism Research Institute Conference in Garden Grove, CA. 

For more information and to register to attend the conference, visit 
About Dr. Doreen:
Dr. Doreen Granpeesheh (www.drdoreentv.com) has dedicated over thirty years to helping individuals with autism lead healthy, productive lives. Dr. Granpeesheh began her studies in autism as an undergraduate at UCLA. While completing her graduate degree there, she worked with Dr. Ivar Lovaas on the world-renowned outcome study published in 1987 which showed a recovery rate of close to 50% among the study’s research participants. She earned a PhD in Psychology from UCLA in 1990. Dr. Granpeesheh is licensed by the Medical Board of California, the Texas, Virginia and Arizona State Boards of Psychologists, and the Dubai Healthcare City. She earned a Certificate of Professional Qualification in Psychology from the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards and is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst.

In 1990 Dr. Granpeesheh founded the Center for Autism & Related Disorders, also known as CARD (www.centerforautism.com). The organization is best known for behavior management and skill acquisition programs that lead to successful outcomes with every child they treat.  This is accomplished through investments in research, staff training and a comprehensive curriculum.  As a result of Dr. Granpeesheh’s leadership and dedication to producing exceptional results, CARD is now a foremost provider of ABA intervention worldwide.  CARD currently provides services, via 18 clinics located in California, Illinois, Virginia, New York, Texas, Arizona, Australia and New Zealand and partnerships in Dubai and Johannesburg. CARD employs over 800 highly skilled employees and is a leading employer of BCBAs.    

CARD is known throughout the world for their work in the field of autism research and treatment. Specific areas of expertise include curriculum development from birth through the early stages of adulthood, diagnosis, developmental and behavioral assessment, higher order skill acquisition, long-term outcomes, and the effects of medical interventions in conjunction with behavioral programs. Dr. Granpeesheh and her CARD colleagues developed an online tool that combines these elements into a program called Skills (www.skillsforautism.com). Available in January 2011, Skills will allow parents, teachers, and providers to accurately assess children and build tailored treatment programs while tracking progress.

Dr. Granpeesheh is a member of numerous Scientific and Advisory Boards including the US Autism and Asperger's Association, the Autism File journal, Autism 360 and the 4-A Healing Foundation.   Dr. Granpeesheh is also an active member of the Autism Human Rights and Discrimination Initiative Steering Committee, on the Practice Board of the Association for Behavior Analysis International, and on the Oversight Committee of the Department of Developmental Disabilities for the State of Arizona. In addition, Dr. Granpeesheh currently co-chairs the Early Intervention sub-committee of the North Los Angeles County Taskforce of the Senate Select Committee on Autism and Related Disorders. She is the founding member and President of Autism Care and Treatment Today (ACT Today!), a nonprofit organization that helps families access effective treatment (www.act-today.org).

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Universal City Nissan Donates a Nissan LEAF to ACT Today!

Universal City Nissan, a proud sponsor of ACT Today!'s (Autism Care and Treatment Today!) 7th Annual Denim & Diamonds for Autism fundraiser, will also donate a two year, pre-paid lease of a 2013 Nissan LEAF®.

The winning bidder won't ever need to stop at a gas station. It runs on 100% electricity. That's right—no gas. It's got room for five, plenty of cargo space, and a cool modern interior. It gives you instant torque and a low center of gravity for a seriously fun ride, and you can drive over 100 city miles with just one charge!

ACT Today!’s 7th Annual Denim & Diamonds for Autism fundraiser, benefiting children with autism. The event will be held on Saturday, November 3, 2012 at the Calamigos Ranch in Malibu, California and will honor actor Joe  Mantegna(“Criminal Minds"), KCBS 2 and KCAL 9’s President and General Manager Steve Mauldin, and community activist Kathleen Sternbach. Over 500 guests are expected to attend the red carpet fundraiser, including corporate leaders, celebrities, dignitaries and other autism supporters.

Proceeds from the 7th Annual Denim & Diamonds for Autism fundraiser will make it possible for ACT Today! to continue providing families access to therapy, medical care, assistance dogs, social skills programs, assistive technology, special needs camp, entrance into special needs school, and basic safety equipment (e.g. helmets and fencing). 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in every 88 children in America is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), making ASD more prevalent than juvenile diabetes, childhood cancer and pediatric AIDS combined.

For more information about Universal City Nissan, visit http://www.universalcitynissan.com.

For more information about ACT Today!' 7th Annual Denim & Diamonds for Autism, visit

Friday, October 5, 2012


Free Parenting Seminars
5:30 pm to 6:30 pm
CARD, Inc.
19019 Ventura Blvd., Ste.100
Tarzana, CA 91356

Our upcoming seminars will enhance parents’ and caregivers’
knowledge of how to address their children’s challenging behaviors.
Hosted by CARD Assessment Center
For more information and to RSVP, contact:
Maria Escamilla at (818) 345-2345, Ext. 249
October 15
Parenting: Learn the skills to raise successful, independent, responsible, and happy children.

December 3
Help children develop their social skills to make friends, play appropriately with others, and use their manners.
February 4

Autistic Spectrum Disorders

April 1

Develop the skills to communicate, bond, and play with your child.

May 6

Developmental stages in children: Learn what to expect and how to respond.

June 3

Stress Management for Kids: Know the signs of difficulty and learn how to prevent problems.

July 1

Stress Management for Parents: Take care of yourself, so you can take care of others.

August 5

Raising Teenagers: Develop strategies to help your child and you overcome the challenges of the teenage years.