Kelly LeBrock invites you to Autism Vancouver 2011 to Paint the Town Red!

Meet Kelly LeBrock, star of the romantic comedies Woman in Red and Weird Science, and celebrity host of Autism Vancouver. We’ve been bragging about Kelly and our Woman in Red theme for months. At last, here’s a chance to hear Kelly speak for herself. Click on the image for a short introduction to Kelly Lebrock, and learn why we chose the Woman in Red theme Autism Vancouver, and the powerful story behind Kelly’s passionate dedication to autism and wellness advocacy.

Celebrating Partnerships: Debra Ruh & TecAccess

At Autism Today, we are constantly on the hunt for opportunities to work with our colleagues in the autism community.   To promote Autism Vancouver, I was delighted recently to team up with my good friend, Debra Ruh,  founder and CEO of TecAccess.

Established in 2001, TecAccess specializes in making Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) accessible to people with disabilities– the largest and fastest growing demographic in the world.  But it also helps people with disabilities to access job opportunity – in this case, to help Autism Today inform the autism community about Autism Vancouver.

To deliver on its marketing contract with Autism Today, TecAccess partnered with the Virginia Department of Rehabilitative Services and non-profit American Epiphany for a pilot internship program to teach special needs young people to become social media specialists.  In the process, we all hope, these youngsters will learn how to land jobs in the corporate world—jobs with hopes of developing into long-term successful careers.   There are currently 60 million Americans with disabilities and of that 74% are unemployed and most depend on government assistance.

Says Ruh, “Our goal is to expose them to a work environment and teach them how to use skills they already have in an appropriate way that can pay huge dividends for the businesses that hire them.”  For more information about TecAccess, see their website at:

Celebrating Partnerships: Keri Bowers & The Art of Autism Tour

Normal Films and Autism Today are pleased to announce their collaboration in creating a multi-city tour called The ART of AUTISM. The tour features the exciting release of the new book Artism: The Art of Autism by Debbie Hosseini, and will celebrate the live performances by and for individuals with autism spectrum disorders, celebrates the talents, contributions, and identities of talented individuals with ASD through film, dance, music, drama, painting, comedy, and the oratory skills of those on the autism spectrum.

Artism: The Art of Autism by Debbie Hosseini

Keri Bowers

Karen Simmons

After years of collaboration, pioneer autism moms, Keri Bowers, owner of Normal Films, and Karen Simmons, founder of Autism Today, have officially joined forces to bring awareness to the importance of the arts as important intervention “tools” to the emergence of autism. Kicking off Artism: the Art of Autism and The ART of AUTISM tour includes a Friday evening gala event at Autism Today’s 3rd Vancouver Biennial Congress.  In addition to Vancouver, The ART of AUTISM target cities include Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, and Houston, starting in L.A. on Thursday, May 19, 2011, 6:00pm – 9:30pm, at the Barnsdall Gallery Theatre in Hollywood, California.

In LA, the evening’s line-up includes performances by “Arrest My Sister”, whose lead vocalist Scott Seigel has an impressive four octave range, and happens to have Asperger’s syndrome. Dance and music will be performed by The Miracle Fly kids, with Wyatt Isaacs (Autism the Musical).

Autism Monologues will be performed by Elaine Hall, Keri Bowers and Dianne Isaccs, who will rock the house with their riveting stories!

Other performances include monologues by Taylor Cross (Normal People Scare Me), Dani Bowman and friends. Singer/guitarist, Nick Guzman will inspire the audience with his soulful voice and rendition of 70’s classics. Joanne Lara’s Autism Movement Therapy (tiny) dancers, and Ballet for all Kids will delight and thrill, but we suggest you bring tissue, because you will get teary-eyed! Other surprise guests will be included in the L.A. event.

For information visit and

Every Child’s A Star: The 1st Autism Today Viral Video Contest

Send your video submissions to Erin at

I confess: I am an Internet addict.  Since 1998, I have run an online business,  Today, with Facebook and other Internet tools, you can topple an entrenched Arab dictator, or a college student can become the youngest billionaire in history.  And there is this new phenomenon, viral video.  What’s a viral video?  It’s a bite-sized explosion of meaning, inspiration or entertainment, contained in 2 minutes or less of images, music, words or some combination thereof, arranged in so irresistible format, people are compelled to share it.  Madison Avenue PR firms are paid tens of millions of dollars to invent them.  But the best are pure, spontaneous, sincere eruptions of pure emotion.

We have been very busy recently promoting our next conference.  But I got an e-mail yesterday that set something in motion like a personal viral video.  Mok Thye Mee, a beautiful lady from Rainbow Wellness Care Centre, wrote me a charming note.

Dear Karen,
Hi good morning.  How are you getting on?  We have choose a name for the school……..Rainbow Wellness Care Centre……which explained that we are using the multiple approaches such as….play therapy; music therapy; sensory integration; water therapy ; art therapy and certainly diet therapy to be incorporate in the child learning as well as treatment.  The word rainbow is given the children a hope with all the good things happen in their life which represent with multiple colours.  Do you like it ?
Thank you and best regards,

Mok’s message utterly charmed me, so much so I dropped everything and forwarded it to my business manager, just so he could enjoy it.  “Do you like it?” I asked.  The poetry of her words I knew would delight him.  These unsolicited love pats from the grassroots are why we love what we do.  And he asked: “Speaking of Rainbows: Have you seen ‘Double Rainbow’?”

The best viral videos are those that cause a gestalt-like out-of-body experience.  There is no viral video I’ve seen, other than videos of my kids, that create immediate happiness quite like “Double Rainbow.”  I had no idea my business manager was a Double Rainbow fan!!  Double Rainbow recreates childlike wonder and gratitude in a few minutes of unspeakable bliss.  The video is no more or less than a double rainbow viewed from a mountainside.  But it’s the audio that knocks you off your feet.  It is at once hilarious and deeply moving.  I challenge you to watch “Double Rainbow” now and not feel uplifted.

He and I immediately talked and realize, Mok from Malaysia, and the Rainbow Wellness Care Centre, not only has a beautiful idea.  She inspired us to go back out to you for a viral video of our own.  Something joyful, marvelous and/or funny, that celebrates autism, and the power of what is unique in us and our children.  So: I hereby challenge all of you, members and friends of Autism Today and Autism Vancouver, to a viral video contest.  Create a short video, 2 minutes or less.  Lift up your hearts.  Give the word a joyful shout out about autism and its gifts.

Your reward?  3rd place is free copies of Autism Tomorrow and Artism: The Art of Autism2nd Place reward is the DVD set from our Autism Calgary conference, www.autismcalgary.org1st Place: Roundtrip airfare to Autism Vancouver from any location in the US or Canada, and full registration at Autism Vancouver. We’ll show all three videos at Autism Vancouver.

Recently, I wrote a blog entry entitled, “Every Child is a Star” There is no more important mission for the autism community today to learn how to use a tool uniquely appropriate for persons with autism: the Internet.  There are a plethora of online tools to equip our young people with autism to explore their interests and gifts, learn a vocation, become self-reliant and, who knows, maybe someday live independent lives.  Every one of our autism children is a star.  Let’s celebrate them in a viral video.

Send your video submissions to Erin at

Artism – Artist with Autism to Appear at the Autism Biennial Congress 2011!

J.A. Tan is one of our featured artists in our newest book Artism: The Art of Autism. He resides in Vancouver, Canada and is a recent graduate of the prestigious Emily Carr University of Art and Design. Last year he had a one-man show at the Ayala Museum in Manila, Philippines. J.A. will be on hand at the Paint the town Red celebration at the Vancouver Convention Center the evening of April 8th  to sign books and to share his paintings and his innovative sculptor called “Inside Out”, which is a representation of how it feels to J.A. to have autism.

Because of widespread incidence, the subject of autism has become a topic of conversation worldwide.  Artism: The Art of Autism offers an incredible glimpse into the imaginative worlds of people living on the autism spectrum. The book, featuring artists of all ages and from all parts of the world, shows that autism has no boundaries. The artwork and voices in this book adds another dimension of understanding to how autism manifests differently in each person diagnosed.

“Different Son” by Susan Werner – A Song about a Boy with Autism

Dear friends,

I launched Autism Today as an online community in 1998. For families touched by autism, and facing so many challenges already, the Internet is more than a tool, it is a lifeline, connecting us with other families, expertise and resources, inspiration, and yes, good old entertainment.

Every week, something truly magical pops up on YouTube.  This week we received a video by Susan Werner, a deeply personal song about autism, entitled Different Son. It is from her album,  Kicking the Beehive, which will be released March 1st.

Her agent says he fears Different Son will not get radio play, because it deals with too serious a subject.  But with one in 110 children born with the disorder in the US, we feel this is, for all the right reasons, music for all ears.

At Autism Today, we have a special love for artists.  Something magical happens when a child on the spectrum is moved to create art.  Properly cultivated, art can be the key to unlock exceptional gifts.

This is why we created the Artism series; and will soon publish Artism: The Art of Autism; and celebrate Autism Vancouver with a wonderful arts carnival.

So, today, instead of my usual blog, I decided it would be enough to share a beautiful song, about something we all are passionate about. Sometimes a picture — or a song — is worth a thousand words.

Have a lovely week!

NEW! Parents and Practitioners Employ web-based Skills™ for Children with Autism

By Daphne Plump

There are quite a few web-based tools on the market that are meant to treat children with autism and related disorders. And as with everything, another one just emerged – Skills™. But unlike all of the others, that shall remain nameless, Skills is not only a web-based tool for parents and practitioners, but gives committed users the power to recover children from autism….really.

The Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD), considered the world’s largest autism treatment center that provides state-of-the art therapy, recently released two web-based programs that go hand in hand, while at the same time, can work alone.  CARD eLearning™ and Skills™ provide training to parents and practitioners and allow the ability to assess and design treatment for children with autism and related disorders. Both of these programs are based on the principles of applied behavior analysis (ABA), which has been empirically proven to be the most effective autism treatment and is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the U.S. Surgeon General.

Journalists seeking access to the CARD e-Learning and Skills programs can obtain free passcodes by calling (877) 975-4559.

CARD eLearning ( is a 40-hour online training course designed to facilitate effective intervention for children with autism by equipping users with foundational knowledge in ABA. The training consists of nine video-based training modules which feature online note taking, quizzes, a final exam and certificate of course completion.

Skills™ ( is an affordable program that provides everything that educators of children with autism need to assess a child, design a curriculum, and implement a comprehensive behavioral treatment program in one easily accessible location. Skills also provides charts and graphs that track treatment progress and the impact of various events (including other treatments and life events) on the child’s progress.

Check out Skills and CARD eLearning’s websites if you’d like to learn more about them. Or, you can call (877) 975-4559 for free passcodes to test drive these programs.

3rd Autism Biennial Congress 2011 – with Guest Star Kelly LeBrock

Assisting children with autism to practice appropriate behavior can be quite challenging, especially when unexpected environmental factors play a significant part. We can not always control what others do in public, like at school, the grocery store, or in a store, etc. But there are techniques that parents, educators, health professionals and literally anyone involved with children with autism can employ.

Educational interventions include sensory, communication, and social skills, and appropriate behavior. Knowing exactly how to employ these techniques is attainable, given the right resources.

The resources are the experts that make attaining this knowledge simple and crystal clear. People like Dr. Doreen Granpeesheh (founder of C.A.R.D), Dr. Stephen Shore, Keri Bowers, and many others are just a few of the experts (over 18 speakers) that will be speaking at the upcoming conference in Vancouver this April 7 – 9th, 2011!  This is THE conference to attend this year!

By doing so, you will gain valuable knowledge not only in learning behavioral strategies, but you will also learn about the best possible nutrition and up-to-date health interventions for optimal quality of life!  All of these elements are KEY for optimal success of your child with autism, as well as setting the stage for a happier, more harmonious family life!

Also, meet Jerry Newport, Stephen Shore, Sheila Wagner, Eustacia Cutler (Temple Grandin’s Mom), and Kelly LeBrock in person!

Visit for details!

I gave a rose to a guy!

Okay, he was a blind guy about 60 that came into my sons Jazz Club, “Rusty Reeds” tonight.  It was Valentines Day but most importantly, the rose which was given to me by the bartender needed a better home since I probably would’ve taken it home and let it wilt.  You see, this man we struck up a conversation with was without a home, actually.  As I put my fear aside and delved into what brought him to this stage in his life I learned a great deal.

We all get stuck in our lives for whatever reason.  His was because even though he used to manage 350 people in the Oilfields of Northwest Territories Canada and he lost all hope when his wife and children were killed in a tragic car accident.  I can’t even imagine how that would affect my life.  He couldn’t talk about it even after 30 years.  Now he lives in a graveyard sleeping on a total of 2 matts, 2 sleeping bags to keep warm surrounded by a cardboard box with two candles on either side.  After buying him a beer I thought it would be nice for him to have a flower to put in his little mini tent.  We talked about how we all become used to what we grow up with which was why he was more comfortable sleeping in colder environments.  Since I grew up in Florida the idea of sleeping outside when its 40 below zero isn’t remotely imaginable!

We can all find circumstances around us that are both better and certainly ones that are worse than we have.  I find it good to keep perspective in all that I do so I can appreciate all that I have and also not to be envious of those who have more.  It helps me with my special needs kids and every aspect of my life.  I hope you do the same.  Happy Valentines Day!  Enjoy the roses in your life!


Thank you Diana Twachtman-Cullen & Autism Spectrum Quarterly, for your review of Autism Tomorrow in ASQ! Bill Davis, my co-author of Autism Tomorrow, our manual for the transition to adulthood, and I our very honored and grateful to Diana for her review of our book, Autism Tomorrow in the Autism Spectrum Quarterly’s Spring 2011 Issue.  We are especially pleased to be featured in the same issue with the winner of ASQ’s 6th Annual “Kids on the Cover” Contest.  For more info or to subscribe, please go to or  For info about Autism Tomorrow, please visit us at

Autism Spectrum Quarterly: You’ll find the best of both worlds in the one and only autism MAGAJOURNAL® – Human-interest and how-to articles, AND the latest, bottom-line information on important findings from research studies.  The February issue features articles on typical siblings’ attitudes toward their brothers and sisters with ASD; iPad use in the preschool classroom; a new generation of positive behavioral support; and lots of information on adolescents and young adults, including: guiding young people with ASD through the maze of social media and preparing them for life after high school. You’ll also find ASQ’s editors’ picks for exceptional resources, such as Dr. Twachtman-Cullen’s review of Autism Tomorrow, the book that will ensure that all of your child’s “todays” prepare him or her for tomorrow. ASQ is also available in select Barnes & Noble and Borders Bookstores.

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