Tag Archives: Asperger syndrome

Israeli Students with Asperger’s Strive to Earn College Degree

Ono Academic College, a university located in a Tel-Aviv suburb, recently began an initiative helping adults with Asperger’s earn a college degree in business administration.

While people with Asberger’s do not suffer from intellectual disabilities, they still often struggle with reading social cues and facial expressions, making communication- and holding a job- difficult. This special track is intended to cater to these students and work to cope with these career-based struggles.

“We find out what they need, and we try to make them understand that they don’t have to change their life to gain a bachelor’s degree,” says Professor Ilan Daniels, who oversees specialized programs at the school. “But they do have to change the way they think about themselves and an academic degree, and that is hard.

The program called Kfir- Lion’s Club- began in 2012. Beit Ekstein, an Israeli organization that provides housing, employment and educational services to people with developmental disabilities, approached the school asking to provide a course for students with Asperger’s.

After brainstorming, this single-course idea became a three-course program. This program proved successful and was extended into an entire five-year academic program.

“It allows them to fully use their cognitive skills while taking into account their social challenges and giving the opportunity to be part of a regular college campus,” Kfir’s coordinator, Ronit Ronen Man says.

Right now the program consists of nine students; two are currently working in the Ono IT departments and one hails from California. Yoav Friedman, a 31-year-old, American transplant who recently immigranted to Israel, has already owned a business and attended college in the States.

He decided to apply and enroll anyway.

“It’s very challenging, and I like the teachers and how they teach,” Friedman says. “They take time out of their day if you need extra help.”

To read what similar initiatives are being pursued in New York, read here: http://www.icare4autism.org/news/2013/12/senator-pushes-for-autism-support-services/

Source: Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs Press Release http://mfa.gov.il/MFA/Pages/default.aspx



“My Autism and Me” wins an Emmy Kids Award

Newsround’s special program about living with autism has won Best Factual Program at the 2013 International Emmy Kids Awards. ‘My Autism and Me’ looks at what it’s like to live with autism, a condition that affects the way you live your life and see the world around you.

Thirteen- year- old Rosie takes viewers into her world to explain what its like to grow up with autism. With the help of beautifully crafted animation, Rosie introduces other children who have the condition: Tony who gets totally obsessed with things but struggles to make friends, Ben, who has suffered from terrible bullying, and Rosie’s own brother Lenny, who turns the house upside- down daily to try and make sense of things. These children tell their own stories, in their own words to give a vivid and moving insight into what its like to have autism.  

Rosie, the film’s presenter, told Newsround it was really good to win the award and wanted to thank the other boys who feature in the film. Rosie was born with autism, and says even though living with it is hard, it makes her unique and who she is. 



Early Autism Detection

Although autism is hard to diagnose before 24 months, symptoms often surface between 12 and 18 months and  if it is caught in infancy, treatment can begin early and we can gain much progress from taking advantage of the adolescent brain’s amazing flexibility. If signs are detected by 18 months of age, rigorous treatment may help to rewire the brain and undo the symptoms.

The initial signs of autism entail the lack of normal behaviors and not the existence of abnormal ones. This then is hard to spot. Often enough, the most basic symptoms of autism are misinterpreted as signs of a “good baby,” because the toddler may seem quiet, self-sufficient, and easy going. However, you can detect warning signs early if you know what to look for.

Some autistic infants don’t respond to cuddling, reach out to be picked up, or look at their mothers when being fed.



Tu Bishvat Celebration – NYC Council Speaker Quinn

At a special Tu BiShvat seder organized by Ezra and Gabriella Friedlander in their home in the heart of Borough Park, New York City Council Speaker and Mayoral hopeful Christine Quinn was warmly welcomed this past Sunday by a small but highly influential group of Boro Park Leaders.

Also participating in the Seder were NYC Councilman Brad Lander, President of the City Council in Yonkers Charles Lesnick, Assemblyman David Weprin, Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, of the NY Board of Rabbis, Abe Eisner, Yeruchim Silber of the BPJCC, Alexsander Rapaport of Masbia, Dr. David Moskovits, Leon Goldenberg, Moshe Friedman of Community First, Meir Laufer, founder of New York Wheel, Isaac Sofer – Central UTA Satmar, Ari Weiss, Shomrim, Naftali Reiner of Bobov ,Jonathan and Cynthia of the QJCC, Esther Henny Jaroslawicz, Boro Park Bikur Cholim, Zev Brenner of Talkline Communications, were among many other local community leaders and activists attending.

Guests were treated to all the traditional fruits of the holiday. In addition about a dozen readings from the Torah Sages were distributed and read by different participants. The topics discussed ranged from the importance of conservation to the unity and responsibilities of the local community people. The attendees were able to exchange candid and thought provoking ideas.

“Sharing our traditions with elected officials allows us to get to create an atmosphere of mutual respect and having Council Speaker Quinn join us demonstrated her sensitivity to our community” said Ezra Friedlander, CEO of The Friedlander Group.



One Third of Young Adults with Autism Lack Employment, Education

One Third of Young Adults with Autism Lack Employment, Education

A recent study has found that one in 3 young adults with autism have no paid job experience, college or technical schooling nearly seven years after high school graduation. Continue reading



Finding the Right Doctor for Your Child with Autism

Finding the Right Doctor for Your Child With Autism

Finding the right doctor to help your child with autism can be a difficult assignment. However, there are several resources which can help you including the approved Doctor Listing, which has doctors recommended by parents in the autism community. Continue reading



Co-op Helps Children with Autism Get iPads

Ipads for Autism

For parents of children with autism, the iPad has been a godsend. And now, thanks to the help of an electric cooperative, anIndianaschool has been able to get several of the devices to help students with autism learn. Continue reading



Schoolyard Designed for Children with Autism

Schoolyard Designed for Children with Autism

A Kansas State University graduate student is creating a schoolyard that can become a therapeutic landscape for children with autism.

Chelsey King, master’s student in landscape architecture, St. Peters, Mo., is working with Katie Kingery-Page, assistant professor of landscape architecture, to envision a place where elementary school children with autism could feel comfortable and included.

“My main goal was to provide different opportunities for children with autism to be able to interact in their environment without being segregated from the rest of the school,” King said. “I didn’t want that separation to occur.”

The schoolyard can be an appealing place for children with autism, King said, if it provides several aspects: clear boundaries, a variety of activities and activity level spaces, places where the child can go when over stimulated, opportunities for a variety of sensory input without being overwhelming and a variety of ways to foster communication between peers.

King researched ways that she could create an environment where children with autism would be able to interact with their surroundings and their peers, but where they could also get away from over stimulation until they felt more comfortable and could re-enter the activities.

“Through this research, I was able to determine that therapies and activities geared toward sensory stimulation, cognitive development, communication skills, and fine and gross motor skills — which traditionally occur in a classroom setting — could be integrated into the schoolyard,” King said.

King designed her schoolyard with both traditional aspects — such as a central play area — and additional elements that would appeal to children with autism, including:

  • A music garden where children can play with outdoor musical instruments to help with sensory aspects.
  • An edible garden/greenhouse that allows hands-on interaction with nature and opportunities for horticulture therapy.
  • A sensory playground, which uses different panels to help children build tolerances to difference sensory stimulation.
  • A butterfly garden to encourage nature-oriented learning in a quiet place.
  • A variety of alcoves, which provide children with a place to get away when they feel overwhelmed and want to regain control.

King created different signs and pictures boards around these schoolyard elements, so that it was easier for children and teachers to communicate about activities.

“It is important to make the children feel included in the schoolyard without being overwhelmed,” King said. “It helps if they have a place — such as a hill or an alcove — where they can step away from it and then rejoin the activity when they are ready.

“Most children spend seven to nine hours per weekday in school settings,” Kingery-Page said. “Designing schoolyards that are educational, richly experiential, with potentially restorative nature contact for children should be a community concern.”

Read more.



New Autism Social Learning Software A Success

New Autism Social Learning Software A Success

The Language Express, a developer of social learning software for children on the autism spectrum, received its first round of seed funding from a private investment firm. The company’s initial product, The Social Express™, is a 16-lesson autism app that’s receiving enthusiastic reviews from parents, therapists, educators, and bloggers. Continue reading



Divorce and Autism

Divorce and Autism

A study presented in 2010 by Dr. Brian Freedman of the Kennedy Krieger Institute found there was no increase in divorce rates for parents who have a child with autism. According to their research, “64% of children with autism lived with married or adoptive parents compared to a rate of 65% for children with no autism diagnosis”. Continue reading