PO Box 23731
December 7, 1999 -
Holiday Party on Dec. 10
January 11, 2000
Guest Speaker: Open Meeting
February 8, 2000 -
Speaker: To Be Announced
Meeting Time and Place
of Each Month
6:30 pm Room 140
T. C. Thompson
(see our Group
This Space Available
We need your information for the newsletter. Please fax,
email or mail your submission to Phillip Deal prior to the 25th of each
Mail: PO Box
Chatt, TN 37422
Welcome Packets are available at all meetings. If you have
not received yours yet and are unable to attend the next meeting, please
call our FEAT-Chattanooga phone number and leave your name and mailing
address and we will send one to you.
Do You Have Ideas?
-Do you have any
ideas for the newsletter?
-Would you like to see a column about a
particular topic related to your
child that interests you and you think may interest others?
like to share ideas and opinions with others?
-Do you just want to see
your name in print?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions,
then submit your articles/idea/cartoons/opinions to the FEAT-Chattanooga
Newsletter in care of the address above. Or email your contribution to
email@example.com. Deadline for
submission is the 25th of each month give or take a day or two.
ERIC Clearinghouse on Disabilities and Gifted Education (ERIC EC) The
Council for Exceptional Children
Clinical Practice Guideline Report of the Recommendations, Autism /
Pervasive Developmental Disorders, Assessment and Intervention for Young
Children (Age 0-3 Years) is now online. http://www.health.state.ny.us/nysdoh/eip/menu.htm
Good Autism Website: http://trainland.tripod.com/
NO COST To FEAT's Daily Online Newsletter: Daily we collect features and
news of the world of autism as it breaks. Subscribe: http://www.feat.org/FEATNews
from Seattle about Autism and ABA Therapy:
Conn. Now, a team of researchers from the University of Connecticut's
psychology department has introduced a screening device they hope will
accurately identify children under the age of three who have autism. In a
recent pilot study, the device detected autism in 22 young children. For
the entire article, go to: http://www.news.uconn.edu/Rel99042.htm
Meeting Location and
A The Massoud Pediatric
Building now locks electronically at 6:00 p.m. The gravel lot (number 3)
where several people parked is now closed. You should now park in the
Erlanger Parking Garage and enter
T.C. Thompson Children's Hospital
from the parking garage. There is a $1 charge. Below are detailed
- Enter the Erlanger Parking Garage from
the Central Ave entrance (across from the Ronald McDonald
- Park in the Garage (preferably on Level
- While you are in the parking garage,
walk toward the elevator on the right.
- Take the elevator to the 1st floor if
you did not park on that level.
- On Level One, you will see the entrance
to T.C. Thompson across a walkway next to the elevator.
- Walk down the long hallway after you
enter the Hospital.
- At the end of the hallway, turn
- Go through the double doors. (Someone
will be posted at these doors starting at 6:15 p.m. to let you in the
building. These doors lock electronically at 6:00 p.m. We will ensure
these doors are open until 6:45 p.m.)
- At Dr. Massoud's picture, turn
- At the elevators, go to your left
through the double doors. Our meeting room is the second room on the
Mark your calendars! The Outback Steakhouse Luncheon is
scheduled for April 29, 2000, during National Autism Awareness
The committee asks that each FEAT member think of potential
sponsors for the event. The best target sponsors are probably individuals
or business people that we know and/or work with. The sponsorship levels
will remain at $100, $250, and $500. Please contact Susan Bollinger, Tammy
Torres or Phillip Deal with your suggested sponsors.
Letter to FEAT
from Kristen Korb,
Consultant , Tennessee
Department of Education, Division of Special Education (615)
FEAT received this letter via email on
The Tennessee Department of Education, Division of Special
Education takes very seriously it's opportunity and responsibility to
support the provision of quality educational services and supports to
children of all disabling conditions who are eligible for services under
the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). We believe that
these children, like their more typically developing peers, are
individuals with individual learning abilities and styles and therefore a range of educational methods and
supports are necessary. Our latest initiatives to ensure these supports
for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders include the following
The Tennessee Department of Education, Division of
Special Education is pleased to announce a contract with the Treatment and
Research Institute for Autism Spectrum Disorders (TRIAD) at Vanderbilt
University to provide training throughout the state, beginning June 1999.
The contract includes hands-on training for local school system's
personnel in six regions of the state, one one-day school or
student-specific training in each of those six regions and a one-day
seminar in the three large regions.
Also, Starting in June 1999 we will conduct the TRIAD
Teacher Training (TTT) at various sites across our state. These TTT's will
create regional training teams, who will then be responsible for training
additional people over the next few years. In order to provide the most
global hands-on training possible, each regional training team is composed
of six educators, two each from three local school systems. By using this
"train the trainers" model we will provide a variety of personnel with
intensive, hands-on training that they can then bring to their own system
and to other systems they will train.
are as follows and these TTT's will
be complete by the end of October. Upper East TN: Johnson City; Lower East
TN: Bradley County; Upper Middle TN: Trousdale County; Lower Middle TN:
Williamson County; Upper West TN: Carroll County; Lower West TN:
Our spring conference with TRIAD this year
will focus on social skills and the child with autism. A variety of topics
will be covered, including the needs of non-verbal child, older children
with autism and the use of peers. This conference will be held in
Knoxville, Nashville and Jackson during April or May. Admission will be on
a first-come, first-served basis and will be open to parents, educators
and other personnel with an interest in children with autism.
are several other items that the Division is working on. First, we have
re-constituted the Autism Task Force and had our first meeting November
1st and 2nd, 1999 in Nashville. The task force will consist of 18 members,
with equal representation from each of the three large regions. The
membership consists of parents, local providers, university personnel and
relevant Division personnel. Additionally, we are creating a technical
assistance manual for school systems and parents. The completion manual
will be an initial goal for the task force. As always, we continue to be
available for both parents and school systems to provide technical
assistance and training as necessary.
As Lead Agency for the
State's Early Intervention System of services for eligible children ages
birth through two, the Department will also be working with Dr. Wendy
Stone at TRIAD to provide training and consultation to
early intervention providers. In
addition, the Office of Early Childhood is beginning the pilot of an Early
Intervention Resource Center project in the Memphis area in July which
will place particular emphasis on services to infants and toddlers who
have been determined to have disabilities within the autism spectrum. Dr.
Stone will provide training for the staff and partners of that project in
the screening of two year olds for characteristics which indicate that the
child my be suspect for autism and in a range of early intervention
methods that are appropriate for very young children. We will utilize our
experience with that project to develop plans for supporting similar
initiatives in other areas of the state.
Target Christmas Tree
The Target Store in
Hixson has donated a Christmas Tree to benefit F.E.A.T.-Chattanooga again
this year. The 7 1/2 foot decorated Christmas tree with a retail value of
over $1,000 is on display at the Northgate location of Target. As a
fundraising event, FEAT is giving away the tree for a $5.00 donation to
F.E.A.T.- Chattanooga. The winner of the Christmas Tree, including all the
decorations, will be selected on Monday, December 20th.
FEAT Family Holiday Party
On December 10th
F.E.A.T. of Chattanooga will celebrate the holidays with a FEAT Family
Holiday Get-Together. This gathering for the entire family will occur at
Bayside Baptist Church on Highway 58 in Chattanooga from 6:30 pm until
8:30 pm. This location worked out very well last year because each "step"
of the party took place in several different rooms in order to help
alleviate over-stimulation for our children. There will be pictures with
Santa, holiday videos and music, craft gifts for the kids to make
including ornaments for the tree and a personalized welcome mat. Bring
your favorite holiday dessert or finger food and join in the fun.
Calling All Members
FEAT Board Members will be
calling each FEAT Family to ask a few questions. Below is a list of those
questions that will be asked so you can be prepared for their
Celebration: Do you plan to attend? How many people will attend and how
many of those are children?
TARGET Christmas Tree Giveaway: Did you
receive your packet with the details of this fund raising promotion? Do
you have any questions? Remember the monies and tickets are due to FEAT by
December 18, 1999.
OUTBACK Luncheon: Do you know any potential sponsors
at the $100, $250, or $500 level? Would you like the board to mail these
potential sponsors or would you like a proposal to give them yourselves?
Proposals will be sent this month.
HOSPITALITY Committee: The board is
asking FEAT families to pick one month they can bring refreshments for the
meeting. (Two families each month) What month can you
appeared in the holiday 1999 issue of ASAP News! (Volume 3.5), The Autism
Support and Advocacy Project and Potential Unlimited Publishing, P.O. Box
218, Stratham, NH 03885-0218, 603-778-6008 or 6006, email: firstname.lastname@example.org,
["Dear Family and Friends:"
was written for the purpose of it being sent to relatives and hosts of
holiday gatherings who might need a crash course in what to expect from
their guest with autism. Article reprinted by FEAT DAILY ONLINE NEWSLETTER
by permission of editor/author, Viki Gayhardt.]
Dear Family and
I understand that we will be visiting each other for the
holidays this year! Sometimes these visits can be very hard for me, but
here is some information that might help our visit to be more
As you probably know, I am challenged by a hidden
disability called autism or what some people refer to as a pervasive
developmental disorder (PDD). Autism/PDD is a neurodevelopmental disorder
which makes it hard for me to understand the environment around me. I have
barriers in my brain that you can't
see but which make it difficult for me to adapt to my
Sometimes I may seem rude and abrupt, but it is only
because I have to try so hard to understand people and at the same time,
make myself understood. People with autism have different abilities: some
may not speak, some write beautiful poetry, others are whizzes in math
(Albert Einstein was thought to be autistic), or have difficulty making
friends. We are all different and need various degrees of
Sometimes when I am
touched unexpectedly, it might feel painful and make me want to run away.
I get easily frustrated, too. Being with lots of other people is like
standing next to a moving freight train and trying to decide how and when
to jump aboard. I feel frightened and confused a lot of the time, like you
would if you landed on an alien planet and didn't understand how the
inhabitants communicated. This is why I need to have things the same as
much as possible. Once I learn how things happen, I can get by ok. But if
something, anything changes, then I have to relearn the situation all over
again! It is very hard.
you try to talk to me, I often can't understand what you say because there
is a lot of distraction around. I have to concentrate very hard to hear
and understand one thing at a time. You might think I am ignoring you--I
am not. Rather, I am hearing everything and not knowing what is most
important to respond to. Holidays are exceptionally hard because there are
so many different people, places and things going on that are out of my
ordinary realm. This may be fun and adventurous for most people, but for
me, it's very hard work and can be extremely stressful.
I often have to
get away from all the commotion to calm down. It would be great if you had
a private place set up to where I could
If I can not
sit at the meal table, do not think I am misbehaved or that my parents
have no control over me. Sitting in one place for even 5 minutes is often
impossible for me. I feel so antsy and overwhelmed by all the smells,
sounds, and people--I just have to get up and move about. Please don't
hold up your meal for me--go on without me and my parent's will handle the
situation the best way they know.
Eating in general is hard for me. If you understand that
autism is a sensory processing disorder, it's no wonder eating is a
problem! Think of all the senses involved with eating: sight, smell,
taste, touch AND all the complicated mechanics that are involved with
chewing and swallowing that a lot of people with autism have trouble with.
I am not being picky--I literally cannot eat certain foods as my sensory
system and/or oral motor coordination are impaired.
disappointed if mommy hasn't dressed me in starch and bows. It's because
she knows how much stiff and frilly clothes can drive me buggy! I have to
feel comfortable in my clothes or I will just be miserable! Temple
Grandin, a very smart adult with autism, has taught people that when she
had to wear stiff petticoats as a child, she felt like her skin was being
rubbed with sandpaper. I often feel the same way in dressy
When I go to someone else's house, I may appear bossy and
controlling. In a sense, I am being controlling because that is how I try
to fit into the world around me (which is so hard to figure out!) Things
have to be done in a way I am familiar with or else I might get confused
and frustrated. It doesn't mean you have to change the way you are doing
things--just please be patient with me and understanding of how I have to
cope...mom and dad have no control over how my autism makes me feel
People with autism often have little things that they do to
help themselves feel more comfortable. The grown ups call it "Self
regulation," or "stimming'. I might rock, hum, flick my fingers in my
face, flap my arms or any number of different things. I am not trying to
be disruptive or weird. Again, I am doing what I have to do for my brain
to adapt to your world.
Sometimes I cannot stop myself from talking, singing, or
partaking in an activity. The grown ups call this "perseverating" which is
kinda like self-regulation or stimming. I do this only because I have
found something to occupy myself that makes me feel comfortable, and I
don't want to come out of that comfortable place and join your
-out-world. Perseverative behaviors are good to a
certain degree because they help me calm down. Please be respectful to my
mom and dad if they let me "stim" for awhile as they know me best and what
helps to calm me.
that my mom and dad have to watch me much more closely than the average
child. This is for my own safety, preservation of your possessions, and to
facilitate my integration with you tippies (what we autistics fondly call
you neurotypical folk!) It hurts my parents' feelings to be criticized for
being over protective or condemned for not watching me close enough. They
are human and have been given an assignment intended for saints. My
parents are good people and need your support.
Holidays are filled
with sights, sounds, and smells. The average household is turned into a
busy, frantic, festive place. Remember that this may be fun for you
tippies but it's very hard work for me to conform. If I fall apart or act
out in a way that you consider socially inappropriate, please remember
that I don't possess the neurological system that is required to follow
I am a unique person--an interesting person. I will find
my place at this celebration that is comfortable for us all as long as
you'll try to view the world through my eyes!
High Rate Undiagnosed G.I.
Problems in Autistic Children
Thursday, November 18,
Reuters Health -
Unrecognized gastrointestinal problems
may contribute to behavioral problems in autistic patients.
November issue of The Journal of Pediatrics, Dr. Karoly Horvath and
colleagues at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore,
Maryland, report that they evaluated upper gastrointestinal structure and
function in 36 "low-functioning" autistic children with chronic diarrhea,
abdominal pain, gaseousness and bloating, nighttime awakening or
unexplained irritability, or a combination of these
According to the authors, 25 children, or 69.4%, had
grade I or II reflux esophagitis. Of these 25, 22 had "...nighttime
awakening with irritability, signs of abdominal discomfort, or pushing on
the abdomen, which are typically reported by nonautistic children with
esophagitis." Fifteen children had chronic inflammation of the gastric
mucosa, and 24 had chronic nonspecific inflammation of the
Two children had
partial villus atrophy without "...histologic or serologic evidence of
celiac disease." In addition, the authors report, duodenal biopsy
specimens showed Paneth cell hyperplasia, and when the biopsies were
compared with those from nonautistic controls, the autistic children had
significantly elevated amounts of Paneth cells in the duodenal
or 58.3%, had decreased activity of the carbohydrate digestive enzymes
disaccharidase or glucoamylase. All of these children had loose stools or
gaseousness. In 27 children, the authors observed elevated
pancreatico-biliary fluid output after stimulation with secretin. They
note, however, that in children with chronic diarrhea and a high fluid
response to secretin, stool consistency "...improved...after the
procedure, and [this improvement] lasted for a few weeks or was
In an accompanying editorial, Drs. Pasquale Accardo and
Howard Bostnick of New York Medical College in Valhalla, New York, write, "In its complexity, autism is
beginning to look like the proverbial horse put together by a committee."
More seriously, they comment, "[This] study...demonstrates consistent
physiologic abnormalities...in autism that are not known to occur in any
other specific gastrointestinal disorder." They add, "The correlation of
these findings with a clinical symptom...and its response to
secretin...provide further support for a true physiologic