Sunday, February 27, 2011

Ingenious Minds

A new documentary series, Ingenious Minds, from the producers of Hoarders, premiered this month on Thursdays on the Science Channel.  As described on the website, “Enter the lives of savants: individuals who possess an extraordinary ability in areas such as art, music and mathematics, while also suffering from intellectual and developmental disabilities.”

The series draws heavily on the expertise of Psychiatrist Darold Treffert, an expert on Savant Syndrome and author of several books on the topic. Savant Syndrome, according to Treffert’s reporting, occurs in as many as 10 percent of autistic individuals, as well as others with differing diagnoses.

One early episode of the show features John Elder Robison, author of Look Me in The Eye, which I reviewed in an earlier post. Another episode is about an autistic young man who is also a world ranked pinball player. Temple Grandin will be featured in an upcoming episode.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Transition Planning Seminar for Students with Autism Spectrum or NLD

Post high school transition planning is an important step for any student with special needs, and it's vital to begin the process early. I encourage parents to attend transition events as a first step in planning, and it pays to start early, well before your child's senior year. Most events are only held annually, and many programs are limited in size.

In March, Orion Academy is conducting their 5th Annual Seminar on Post-High-School Transition Planning. Orion Academy is a college-preparatory program for secondary students on the Autistic Spectrum with neurocognitive disabilities such as Aspergers syndrome, or NLD (Non-verbal Learning Disorder). From their flier:

Seminar-Social Issues Facing Teens on the Spectrum
March 26, 2011
8:30 AM - 4:00 PM
Renaissance Club Sport Hotel, Walnut Creek, CA
$95 -Lunch and resource binder included
Orion Academy's 5th annual ASD ''Transitions Seminar'' will take a bold look at the issues facing today's teens on the spectrum and what parents should know but may be afraid to face. Topics will include social networking, dating and attractions, and sexual safety. Speakers will also summarize the legal issues parents should be aware of and post high school options for their teen.
Exhibitors for various post-high school programs will be available at lunch to meet with parents.
For information call (925) 377-0789 or go to

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Floortime Conference Online

Several years ago, I took the online course in Dr Stanley Greenspan’s Floortime. Floortime is a flexible, useful approach for parents and professionals to use with autistic children, that I’ve discussed in several previous posts. Sadly, Dr Greenspan died recently, but the 10 week online course is still going to be available in March through video tapes of his presentations. This program is suitable for both parents and professionals. There are also programs on related topics such as managing meltdowns, and learning disabilities. For more info, visit the Floortime website.