Category: Uncategorized

UNICEF the Child Migrant and Refugee Crisis in Europe


NEW YORK, Sept. 4, 2015 — “Heart-breaking images of children’s bodies washing up on the shores of Europe … lying suffocated in the backs of trucks crossing borders … being passed over barbed wire fences by desperate parents.
“As the migrant and refugee crisis in Europe deepens, these will not be the last shocking images to ricochet around the world on social media, on our televisions screens and on the front pages of our newspapers.
“But it is not enough for the world to be shocked by these images. Shock must be matched by action.
“For the plight of these children is neither by their choice nor within their control. They need protection. They have a right to protection.
“We urge that the following measures be taken:

  1. Protect these children through the provision of essential services at all times — including health care, food, emotional support, and education — and adequate shelter for migrants and refugees that keeps families together.
  2. Deploy adequate numbers of trained child welfare experts to support children and their families.
  3. Continue search and rescue operations — not only at sea, but also on land, as families move across countries — and make every effort to prevent the abuse and exploitation of migrant and refugee children.
  4. Put the best interests of children first in all decisions made regarding these children — including in asylum cases.

“Our hearts go out today to the families who have lost children — off the coasts, on the shores, and along the roadsides of Europe. As the debates on policies proceed, we must never lose sight of the deeply human nature of this crisis. 
“Nor of the children. 
“Nor of its scale. At least a quarter of those seeking refuge in Europe are children — in the first six months of this year, more than 106,000 children claimed asylum in Europe.
“And we should never forget what lies behind so many of the stories of families seeking sanctuary in Europe: terrible conflicts such as that in Syria, which already has forced some 2 million children to flee their country. Only an end to these conflicts can bring an end to the misery of so many.”

UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit:
Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
CONTACT: Sarah Crowe, UNICEF New York, +1-646-209-1590,; Christophe Boulierac, UNICEF in Geneva, +41-79-963-9244,

The World of the Borderline Mother–And Her Children



 Randy Craiger




The World of the Borderline Mother–And Her Children

Therapist Christine Lawson posits four types of mothers based on fairy tales
The children of borderline and narcissistic parents spend a lifetime gaining their freedom after living such a warped childhood. No one explains better how to do this than Christine Lawson, author of the classic book Understanding the Borderline Mother: (link is external)Helping Her Children Transcend the Intense, Unpredictable, and Volatile Relationship (2002) (no books on borderline fathers yet).
An editorial reviewer writes:

Four character profiles describe different symptom clusters that include the waif mother, the hermit mother, the queen mother, and the witch…Dr. Lawson shows how to care for the waif without rescuing her, to attend to the hermit without feeding her fear, to love the queen without becoming her subject, and to live with the witch without becoming her victim.
Dr. Lawson’s recommendations for prevention include empathic understanding of the borderline mother and early intervention with her children to ground them in reality and counteract the often dangerous effects of living with a “make-believe” mother. Readers will also find specific suggestions for creating healthier relationships.

In my book The Stop Walking on Eggshells Workbook: Practical Strategies for Living with Someone With BPD (link is external), I summarized the principles of the 350-page books into the:
1. Warped thoughts, feelings, actions, and central dilemma of the borderline mother (person, actually, because the type can be extended to other types of relatives)
2. The thoughts, feelings, and actions they trigger in others (“non-BPs” in general)
3. The more specific effects on children of having a mother of this type.
The following is an excerpt from the Workbook.


Clinician Christine Ann Lawson, Ph.D. developed four distinct types of people with borderline personality disorder (BPD) in her book Understanding the Borderline Mother: Helping Her Children Transcend the Intense, Unpredictable, and Volatile Relationship (2000).
Dr. Lawson’s book categorizes borderline mothers into four groups: Witches, Queens, Hermits, and Waifs. “Queens and Witches” are higher-functioning, acting-out “invisible” BPs, while “Hermits” and “Waifs” are lower-functioning, acting-in “conventional” types. Most people with BPD probably display secondary elements of other categories. The “Queen” has both BPD and narcissistic personality disorder (NPD).
Although the book is about mothers, in a telephone conversation with me she said her descriptions are applicable to both genders and all relationships, not just parent-child. Behavior toward children, of course, is more serious because kids are unable to protect themselves and don’t have an adult reference point.

The Witch

Typical Thoughts
Unconsciously, Witches hate themselves because they grew up in an environment that “required complete submission to a hostile or sadistic caregiver” (2000). They continue the cycle by acting cruelly to others, especially those who are too weak, young, or powerless to help themselves.
Typical Emotions
They feel no remorse for nightmarish acts, showing more interest in their own well-being than concern over the way they’ve hurt others. The Witch’s triggers include jealousy, criticism, betrayal, abandonment, feeling left out, and being ignored.
Typical Actions and Central Dilemma
Most BP parents do not physically abuse their children. Those who do probably fall into this category. However, the abuse usually occurs when other competent adults are not present. Thus, family members can live in fear while all seems well to the outside world.
Witches want power and control over others so that others do not abandon them. When someone or something triggers the Witches’ abandonment fear, these BPs can become brutal and full of rage, even punishing or hurting family members who stand in their way (2000). These types of BPs are most resistant to treatment: they will not allow others to help and the source of self-loathing is very deep.
 Typical Thoughts, Emotions, and Actions of Family Members

  • “I will comply with what she wants. Resistance is futile. I will be assimilated.”
  • Fear in victims.
  • Denial on the part of those who could protect the victims.
  • Tries not to trigger the witch. But her behavior is not really about the non-BP, so this strategy doesn’t work.

 The Effect of the Witch’s Behavior in Children

  • Children live in terror of Witches’ capricious moods; they are the “collateral damage” of a secret war they did not start, do not understand, and cannot control.
  • Attacks are random, intense, and cruel. Children automatically think they’re at fault and can become shamed, depressed, insecure, dissociative, and hypervigilant.
  • As adults they may have multiple difficulties with self, relationships, physical illness, and even post traumatic stress disorder.

The Queen

Typical Thoughts
“I want more attention. I deservemore attention. And, by the way, what have you done for me lately?” Also, “My children should fulfill my needs, not the other way around. They don’t love or respect me if they disagree with me, go against my wishes, or have needs of their own.”
Typical Feelings
These include entitlement, deprivation, emptiness, anger, frustration, or loneliness from the deprivation they felt as children. Queens are impatient and have a low tolerance for frustration. They also push others’ boundaries without regret or recognition.
Typical Actions and Central Dilemma
Driven by feelings of emptiness and unable to soothe themselves, Queens do what it takes to get what they feel they so richly deserve–including vindictive acts like blackmail. Initially they may impress others with their social graces. But when “friends” can no longer deliver, the Queen cuts them off without a thought. Queens are capable of real manipulation (vs. more primitive BP defenses) to get what they desire.
Typical Thoughts, Emotions, and Actions of Family Members

  • “I can’t meet this person’s needs; my best isn’t enough.”
  • “Don’t I ever get to have any needs? (Better not say that or the Queen will leave me.)”
  • “Why is everything always about her?
  • “If people only knew what an act the Queen puts on, they’d sure be shocked.”
  • Family members who the Queen shames, ignores, or gives superficial attention learn that their worth depends on external things (cars, important titles).
  • Non-BPs’ self-esteem also suffers–especially among those who become isolated or who had a Queen parent.
  • Over time, non-BPs feel used, manipulated and angry–anger at the BP and at themselves for capitulating so much they no longer recognize themselves.
  • Non-BPs give in to her wishes because it’s easier than maintaining personal limits.
  • Less assertive non-BPs are vulnerable to distortion campaigns, unwilling or unable to protect themselves or their children.

 Consequences to Children with a Queen Parent 

  • To the Queen, children are a built-in audience expected to give love, attention and support when the Queen needs it. Children feel confused and betrayed when their normal behavior is sometimes punished (according to the Queen’s needs of the moment). Since Queens don’t allow or help children become individuals (autonomy is discouraged–even punished) kids mimic the behavior they do see: the Queens’. Thus, a new generation of BPs is born.
  • As kids grow, conflict with the Queen increases. Underneath, these kids long for approval, recognition, consistency, and to be loved unconditionally for who they are, not what they achieve.

The Waif

Typical Thoughts
“I am a worthless victim.  I do so want to be loved and protected, but I am not worthy of it.”  Philosophy: The glass is not only half-empty, but is about to spill all over the floor I just washed.
Typical Feelings
Helpless, hopeless, and despair. Rage can be masked by sadness and depression, but released by rejection or abandonment. Waifs distort their own errors or disappointments, leading to more shame. They feel vulnerable, defective, anxious, moody, and irrationally fearful.
Typical Actions and Central Dilemma
They look to others to “save them,” but ultimately refuse assistance because helplessness makes them feel safe. Ironically, if they mistrust everyone and let no one get close, they stay in control and no one can abandon or disappoint them. Waifs may hurt themselves to express shame, but they are capable of raging if they feel rejected or abandoned. They don’t ask for what they need, then appear Martyr-like because others can’t read their minds and give it to them. Waifs may have crying spells and be unable to give nurturing to others.
Typical Thoughts, Emotions, and Actions of Family Members

  • “The greater the sacrifice, the more I show I love her.”
  • “She desperately needs help, so I must save her, no matter what.”
  • “My needs are not as important as hers.”
  • “If I learn enough about BPD, I can heal her.”
  • “I like being needed, but sometimes I feel overwhelmed by the BP’s neediness.”
  • “I get confused and frustrated when she rejects my help.”
  • “Her behavior isn’t all that abnormal. I can manage it and so can the kids.”
  • “I feel abused, and my self-esteem wasn’t all that high to begin with.”
  • “I try to help, but she turns it down again and again.”
  • “If a method for coping with this doesn’t work, I plan to keep trying. It will eventually succeed.”
  • “I am unable to protect my children or myself from this behavior.”

 The Effects of the Waif’s Behavior on Children 

  • They feel angry, afraid and alone.
  • Children may feel like failures for not making the BP happy, or they may keep trying and trying until the mother’s death. This enmeshment (inability to separate) may hinder grown child’s relationships, which may be fraught with dependency.
  • The child may become cynical, angry, and feel manipulated or turn into overresponsible nursemaids seeking elusive approval.
  • The message to children is that life is something to be endured until you die.
  • The BP shelters children to such an extent they find autonomy disconcerting.

 The Hermit

Typical Thoughts
“It’s a dog eat dog world out there and I’m a cat. Everyone out there is for themselves and no place is safe. Since people will always end up betraying me, I must be alert for hints or hidden meanings in things others would consider innocuous.”
Typical Feelings
Terrified of not having control, fear of engulfment keeps them from obtaining comfort. No wonder they see potential disaster everywhere. Hermits take criticism as a global condemnation of themselves and depend upon work and hobbies for self-esteem. Their inner shame is expressed through continual criticism of others.
Typical Actions and Central Dilemma
The hard shell makes these BPs appear confident, determined, independent, and even socially graceful. But it’s a veneer. Like many BPs, hermits show one face to the world and another to everyone else. Close family members experience, “distrust, perfectionism, insecurity, anxiety, rage and paranoia” (2000). They hold everyone to same ideal of perfection, punishing others by raging or shutting them out. Hermits fear losing themselves, which translates into possessiveness about their belongings.
Typical Thoughts, Emotions, and Actions of Family Members

  • “Like the BP says, the world is unsafe and I should not risk trusting people.”
  • “I need to protect the BP from the terror of the outside world.”
  • “I am a faithful, loyal person and would never leave the BP to fend for herself.”
  • “I feel trapped and isolated by the Hermit’s fear.”
  • “I have trouble trusting and making mistakes because I know the BP will say, ‘I told you so.'”
  • “I’m giving up my social life because it’s too hard to maintain one and be a helpful person to the BP, who doesn’t want to go out or make friends.”
  • “I will make excuses for the BP so no one will suspect the real problems.”

 The Effects of the Hermit’s Behavior on Children 

  • During adulthood, they suffer from many maladies stemming from trapped feelings such as panic attacks or phobias.
  • Children not encouraged to explore and learn can become anxious when faced with new situations. They may not learn appropriate coping skills, give up control too easily, have a hard time trusting, and be less capable of naturally moving away from the parent.

While “Understanding the Borderline Mother” is expensive (even for the Kindle edition) it is almost two books in one (350 pages) and well worth the price if you had a BPD mother or you’re a non-BP parent coparenting a child with a borderline spouse.
Since this post was written, there have been several studies that look at parenting by borderline mothers. For up to date research, listen to the NEABPD’s recording and Powerpoint from Jenny Macfie called Mothers with BPD and Their Development: What Do We Know. She looked at borderline mothers in treatment who were interacting with their children. I am going to write about her presentation in an upcoming post. She has done many studies herself but also quotes many other studies. There is also a powerpoint you can look at.… (link is external)
Scroll down until you see Jennie Macfie. There are many other calls you might be interested in.

Randi Kreger is the owner of and the Welcome to Oz online family community. You can find her books “The Essential Family Guide to Borderline Personality Disorder,” “The Stop Walking on Eggshells Workbook,” “Stop Walking on Eggshells,” and “Splitting: Protecting Yourself While Divorcing a Borderline or Narcissist,” at her store at

NSU’s College of Dental Medicine Receives $3.4 Million Grant to Enhance Dental Care and Access for People with Autism

HHS Grant Will Fund Curriculum Development and Resident Training 


FT. LAUDERDALEDAVIE, Fla., July 30, 2015 Dentists and other health care providers who treat patients with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) require special training to understand the skills and techniques needed to care for this growing population.

Romer Ocanto, D.D.S., M.S., CAGS, chair of the Department of Pediatric Dentistry at Nova Southeastern University’s (NSU) College of Dental Medicine, has secured a $3,398,452 grant from the Health Resource and Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to provide this training to pediatric dentistry and advanced education in general dentistry residents over a five-year period. This is the third grant Dr. Ocanto has received from HRSA. Previous funding totaled approximately $3.5 million.
The program will include the development of a curriculum addressing the transition of children and adolescents with ASD to adult dental care and aims to increase access to dental care for children and adolescents with special health care needs such as ASD.
Nova Southeastern University is committed to researching and implementing new techniques to help patients with special needs,” said Dr. Ocanto. “We are excited about this opportunity to make a difference in the lives of so many people. This funding will allow us to partner with community organizations and general dentists in Florida and throughout the Southeastern U.S. to enhance dental services available to patients with autism.”
“In its short history, NSU’s College of Dental Medicine has developed a strong tradition of caring for children and adults with special needs,” added Linda Niessen, D.M.D., M.P.H., M.P.P., dean of the college.
Currently NSU’s College of Dental Medicine has pediatric special needs dental clinics at NSU’s Mailman Segal Center for Human Development in Davie, Florida; NSU Dental Care at KID in Fort Lauderdale; and Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital in Hollywood, Florida; along with an adult special needs dental clinic in North Miami Beach, Florida. NSU has existing relationships with Broward Health Medical Center, the South Florida Autism Charter School and the Autism Consortium/Broward County Public Schools to provide additional dental services to the special needs community.
Approximately one in 68 children has been diagnosed with ASD, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Average medical expenses for children and adolescents with ASD are $4,100-$6,200 higher per year than children without ASD.
This project is 100% financed by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number D88HP20126 and Postdoctoral Training in General, Pediatric and Public Health Dentistry and Dental Hygiene for $3,398,452. This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.
About Nova Southeastern University’s College of Dental Medicine: Predoctoral and postdoctoral dental students of the college benefit from state-of-the-art educational programs and clinical facilities, dedicated staff, and an outstanding faculty recognized annually with numerous awards and honors. Research programs focus on clinical trials, biomaterials, tissue engineering, and innovative methods for delivering preventive dental services. The College of Dental Medicine’s academic programs demonstrate a special commitment to caring for medically complex patients, underserved populations, and special needs children and adults. Students and professionals come from diverse backgrounds to pursue their courses of study at the college. For more information, please visit
About Nova Southeastern University (NSU): Located in beautiful Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Nova Southeastern University (NSU) is a dynamic research institution dedicated to providing high-quality educational programs at the undergraduate, graduate, and first-professional degree levels. A private, not-for-profit institution with more than 24,000 students, NSU has campuses in Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Jacksonville, Miami, Miramar, Orlando, Palm Beach, and Tampa, Florida, as well as San Juan, Puerto Rico, while maintaining a presence online globally. For more than 50 years, NSU has been awarding degrees in a wide range of fields, while fostering groundbreaking research and an impactful commitment to community. Classified as a research university with “high research activity” by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, NSU is 1 of only 37 universities nationwide to also be awarded Carnegie’s Community Engagement Classification, and is also the largest private, not-for-profit institution in the United States that meets the U.S. Department of Education’s criteria as a Hispanic-serving Institution. Please visit for more information.

SOURCE Nova Southeastern University
CONTACT: Jeremy Katzman, M.B.A., APR | Office of Public Affairs, 954-262-5408 (office), 954-661-7000 (cell),


Autism Today

 Autism Today

Chemical restraint of intellectually disabled common in residential centres … – Irish Times Tue, 02 Jun 2015 00:00:45 GMT

Irish TimesChemical restraint of intellectually disabled common in residential centres …Irish TimesAn independent report Ms Kennedy commissioned from Dr Séamus O’Reilly, a consultant in emergency medicine, suggests the falls may have been linked to …

Read more …

Researchers Unravel a Link Between a Genetic Mutation and Autistic Behaviors … – Newswise (press release) Thu, 28 May 2015 16:38:12 GMT

Newswise (press release)Researchers Unravel a Link Between a Genetic Mutation and Autistic Behaviors …Newswise (press release)The new location puts superior medical education, clinical care and pioneering research in close proximity, anchoring Buff …

Read more …

Unique Maternal Blood DNA Markers During Pregnancy Linked To Early Autism … – Forbes Wed, 13 May 2015 17:31:30 GMT

Unique Maternal Blood DNA Markers During Pregnancy Linked To Early Autism …ForbesResearch by M.D. Fallin of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and additional colleagues, sought out to determine whether DNA methylation in mothers during …

Read more …

Why Are Girls Diagnosed With Autism Spectrum Disorder Less Often Than Boys? – Forbes Wed, 13 May 2015 15:57:09 GMT

ForbesWhy Are Girls Diagnosed With Autism Spectrum Disorder Less Often Than Boys?ForbesAccording to research, girls are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) less commonly than boys–a fact attributed to unique underlying genetic and neurobiol …

Read more …

Lab Notes: Qigong and autism, nursing homes, Hispanic health – Statesman Journal Sat, 16 May 2015 03:07:30 GMT

Statesman JournalLab Notes: Qigong and autism, nursing homes, Hispanic healthStatesman JournalBased on Chinese medicine the QST massage protocol is ‘designed to increase circulation to the skin, normalize the child’s perception of touch, and allow to …

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National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day

NEW YORK, May 7, 2015 The JED Foundation, a leading non-profit working to promote emotional and mental health among young adults and college students, is proud to work with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to raise awareness about the importance of emotional wellbeing and mental health among children for the 10th annual National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day. This year’s theme is “Strengthening Communities by Integrating Care,” and brings together leadership across a variety sectors to collaborate, raise awareness and discussion, and inspire change.×90 The national event takes place today, May 7, 2015, at 1:30PM ET at the Lansburgh Theatre in Washington, DC, and will highlight strategies for integrating behavioral health with primary health care, child welfare, and education.
Tune-in to the Awareness Day live webcast to watch the national event, which will include: 
  • Presentation of the SAMHSA Special Recognition Award from the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Sylvia Mathews Burwell
  • Remarks from Grammy-nominated, singer/songwriter, Mary Lambert (the 2015 National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day Honorary Chairperson)
  • Remarks from the Administration for Children and Families acting Assistant Secretary, Mark Greenberg; Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) acting Administrator, Jim Macrae; U.S. Elementary and Secondary Education Assistant Secretary, Deborah S. Delisle
  • Presentations from representatives at The Jed Foundation, Clinton Foundation, and American Psychiatric Association
  • Event emcee: Doreen Gentzler, NBC4 Washington, News Anchor
“It’s an honor to work with SAMHSA, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychiatric Foundation and the Clinton Foundation, and to join thousands of communities nationwide in an effort to promote positive mental health among children and celebrate the positive impact we can have in their lives,” said John MacPhee, Executive Director, The JED Foundation. “When we focus on building resilience and social-emotional skills in young children, we can help them and their families thrive. To improve lives, we need to integrate positive mental health into every setting and community from birth to adulthood.”
“We are proud to collaborate with The JED Foundation for the Awareness Day national event and highlight the needs of children, youth and young adults with mental or substance abuse disorders and their families,” said Pamela S. Hyde, SAMHSA Administrator. “Uniting over 1,000 communities, 145 federal and national organizations, and people across the country, we are able to demonstrate how we can best meet their needs through integrated care.”
View the entire national event via webcast here: For more information on the national and regional National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day events, log-on to:
Join the conversation on social media, and help raise awareness and support of children’s mental health: #HeroesofHope.
About The JED FoundationThe JED Foundation ( is a leading nonprofit working to protect the emotional health of teenagers and college students. Our programs are inspiring a new national dialogue on mental health, encouraging millions of young people to speak up and take action, and changing the way academic institutions create healthier campus communities and prevent substance abuse and self-harm. These programs include: The Jed and Clinton Foundation Health Matter Campus Program, a groundbreaking self-assessment and feedback program that helps colleges create more comprehensive solutions to support their students; ULifeline, an online resource that helps students understand and address mental health conditions like depression and anxiety disorders; the Half of Us campaign, with MTV, which uses online and on-air programming to share stories and encourage help-seeking; the Love is Louder movement that helps individuals, communities and schools build resiliency, create connectedness and promote acceptance; Transition Year, an online resource for parents aimed at helping to ensure a smooth, healthy transition into college life; and a portfolio of resources that helps campuses promote emotional health and protect at-risk students. Learn more at  
About SAMHSAThe Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is the agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation. SAMHSA’s mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America’s communities.
Media Contact:
Suzanne Yergensen
O: (212) 508-9629
C: (908) 591-5460  

SOURCE The Jed Foundation


Achieving a Better Life Experience

“Just because I have Down syndrome, that shouldn’t hold me back from achieving my full potential in life,” Sara Wolff said. “I can work a full-time job, be a productive member of society, and pay taxes — but because of these …

WASHINGTON, July 21, 2014  — Sara Wolff, a board member and self-advocate from the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS), will testify before the Subcommittee on Taxation and IRS Oversight of the US Senate Committee on Finance on the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act (S. 313/H.R. 647). The hearing, “Saving for an Uncertain Future: How the ABLE Act can Help People with Disabilities and their Families”, will take place on Wednesday, July 23, 2014, at 10 a.m., in 215 Dirksen Senate Office Building. 
Wolff is a 31-year-old young woman with Down syndrome from Moscow, Pennsylvania, and has been a board member of NDSS since 2007. Earlier this year, Wolff authored a petition calling on members of Congress to pass the ABLE Act in the 113th Congress. Wolff’s petition has earned the support of over 250,000 people around the country.
In addition to Wolff, the Congressional panel will also include Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Member of Congress (R-Washington), U.S. House of Representatives, Spokane, Washington and mother to Cole, who happens to have Down syndrome; Robert D’Amelio, Parent and Advocate, Autism Speaks, Charlotte, North Carolina; and Chase Alston Phillips, Financial Advisor, Alexandria, Virginia.
“Just because I have Down syndrome, that shouldn’t hold me back from achieving my full potential in life,” Sara Wolff said. “I can work a full-time job, be a productive member of society, and pay taxes – but because of these outdated laws placed on individuals with disabilities, we hold people like me back in life. It’s time that Congress act and pass the ABLE Act.”
The ABLE Act would amend Section 529 of the IRS Code of 1986 to create tax-free savings accounts for individuals with disabilities. The bill aims to ease financial strains faced by individuals with disabilities by making tax-free savings accounts available to cover qualified expenses such as education, housing and transportation.
“As the mom of a son with Down syndrome, I see firsthand how federal policies limit — not expand — opportunities for those with disabilities.  And the ABLE Act will change that.  It will make sure that Cole — and the millions like him who have special needs — will be able to save for their futures and reach their full potential.  I am proud to stand beside my colleagues in Congress and those in the disability community as we advance this crucial legislation,” said Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Washington), an ABLE Act Champion.
The ABLE Act is championed by Senators Bob Casey (D-Pennsylvania) and Richard Burr (R-North Carolina) and McMorris Rodgers’ colleagues, Representatives Ander Crenshaw (R-Florida), Pete Sessions (R-Texas), and Chris Van Hollen (D-Maryland).
“There is no other bill in the U.S. Congress that has as much bipartisan, bicameral support as the ABLE Act. We have 74 U.S. Senators, including Leaders Harry Reid (D-Nevada) and Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky), and 365 U.S. Representatives that are cosponsoring this bill,” NDSS Vice President of Advocacy and Affiliate Relations Sara Hart Weir said. “Passing this landmark legislation will go a long way to help people with Down syndrome and other disabilities realize and achieve their own hopes, dreams and aspirations.”
About NDSS
The National Down Syndrome Society is a nonprofit organization representing the more than 400,000 Americans with Down syndrome. The mission of NDSS is to be the national advocate for the value, acceptance and inclusion of people with Down syndrome. NDSS envisions a world in which all people with Down syndrome have the opportunity enhance their quality of life, realize their life aspirations, and become valued members of a welcoming community.

SOURCE National Down Syndrome Society

Developmental Disorder

Mobile app helps parents and pediatricians detect autism in infants as early as eight months


SOMERSET, N.J., July 17, 2014  — After years of collaborative research and development in the field of autism, child development experts at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and information technology innovators at WebTeam Corporation have unveiled a powerful new screening tool capable of detecting signs of Autism Spectrum Disorder and other developmental delays in children as early as eight months old.
Michael Lewis, Ph.D., founding director of the Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School Autism Center, and Nish Parikh, CEO of WebTeam Corporation, a global leader in the field of autism management technology, announced the availability of EARLYThree, an easy-to-use iPhone and iPad application downloadable on iTunes. The useful app allows parents to track and record their child’s behavior at regular intervals so, if necessary, they can raise concerns with their pediatrician.
“Early signs of autism often go undetected,” observes Dr. Lewis, “simply because there are not enough physicians around the world to screen the growing number of children with autism. An ideal time to identify early signs of autism is when a child is six to eight months old, although symptoms may appear anytime during the first three years.”
“Finally,” Dr. Lewis added, “we have a tool backed by years of clinical research and pediatric practice that has a proven degree of accuracy in the early detection of autism at our fingertips. This is a breakthrough for parents and pediatricians everywhere.”
EARLYThree is the culmination of more than 50 years of research on child development, including five longitudinal studies involving 12,000 children, conducted by Dr. Lewis and principal colleague Tara Anne Matthews, MD, FAAP, while completing her three-year fellowship in Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. Research findings, combined with clinical pediatric practice, led Drs. Lewis and Matthews to collaborate with WebTeam – winner of the 2014 Verizon Powerful Answers Award for its autism management technology – in developing a functional tool to help parents and pediatricians screen for signs of autism at its earliest stages.
EARLYThree contains sets of questions that help pediatricians and parents examine a child’s behavioral and communicative development at regular intervals to determine if the child is at risk for autism spectrum disorder. The app allows for periodic evaluation at a child’s most critical stages of development – eight, 12, 15, 18, 24 and 36 months. At the end of each screening session, users can view results in a tricolor band of green, yellow and red. Green indicates that a child does not show signs of autism. Yellow indicates that the child is on a stable course of development, but should be monitored for signs of autistic behavior. A red result warns that the child’s cognitive abilities are not at the appropriate stage of development and parents should seek further medical evaluation. The user-friendly interface includes options to add multiple video, text and voice notes that can be shared among pediatricians, parents and other caregivers.
“EARLYThree is part of an integrated solution to managing autism,” commented Mr. Parikh, whose company has launched ColorsKit – a one-of-a-kind autism management package that could effectively address the global challenge of autism. “We have the resources to enhance existing autism-related teaching tools and build powerful new educational software using assistive mobile technology,” Mr. Parikh added.
Autism is the world’s fastest growing developmental disorder. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in 68 U.S. children (virtually one on every school bus) has an autism spectrum disorder. While the importance of early autism screening is well-documented in medical literature, delays in diagnosis are common.
About Michael Lewis, Ph.D.
Michael Lewis, Ph.D., is a University Distinguished Professor of Pediatrics and Psychiatry, and director of the Institute for the Study of Child Development at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. He is a professor of psychology, education, and biomedical engineering and serves on the Executive Committee of the Cognitive Science Center at Rutgers.  The founding director of the Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School Autism Center, Dr. Lewis received his Ph.D. in 1962 from the University of Pennsylvania in both clinical and experimental psychology.
Dr. Lewis’ research has focused on normal and deviant emotional and intellectual development, and his early work focused on the normal course of children’s development. This enabled him to articulate the sequence of developmental capacities of the child in regard to intellectual growth and relate this to changes in the organization of central nervous system functioning. His discoveries of techniques to measure CNS functioning, through the use of the habituation-dishabituation paradigm, are widely used throughout the country for measuring and predicting dysfunctional growth as well as normal cognitive development. Using these measurement instruments, Dr. Lewis has developed computer-based techniques for enhancing intellectual ability in children suffering from a variety of disorders associated with developmental delays. These include children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Down syndrome, preterm infants, and children with cerebral palsy.
Dr. Lewis has written and edited over 40 books many of which have been translated into other languages, including German, Italian, Polish, Russian, Danish, Japanese, and Portuguese.
Read more about Michael Lewis, Ph.D.
Watch this short video pitch for EARLYThree here.
About Tara Anne Matthews, MD, FAAP
Tara Anne Matthews, MD, FAAP is a Developmental Behavioral Pediatrician at Children’s Specialized Hospital in Mountainside, NJ. She has over 30 years of experience with children, and has worked in a variety of clinical settings (hospital and primary care) as a general pediatrician. She completed her three year fellowship in Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School where she has collaborated with Dr. Michael Lewis on several projects related to child development and autism.
About WebTeam Corporation
WebTeam Corporation was incorporated in 2005 in New Jersey to design, develop, and promote technologies for education and distance learning and training. It began as a technology development subsidiary of Rangam Consultants Inc., a company specializing in professional staffing services.
At the 2014 International CES, WebTeam’s innovative autism management technology received global recognition, when Verizon awarded the company $500,000 in its Powerful Answers Award Contest.
Media Contact: Nish Parikh, WebTeam Corporation, 9086270016,

SOURCE WebTeam Corporation



The Mediterranean Diet Are 15 Percent Less Likely To Be Obese

BOHEMIA, N.Y., July 5, 2014 / — Dr. Michael Gabriel of GPM Pediatrics, a Staten Island pediatrics center, comments on the article, “Kids who eat a Mediterranean diet ‘15% less likely to be obese'” published by Medical News Today on June 20th. The article discusses a recent study conducted in Europe that examined how adherence to the Mediterranean diet impacts the health of children.
The Mediterranean diet is composed mostly of plant-based foods, including fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts. It encourages consuming fish and poultry a few times a week, limits the intake of red meat, and is centered around enjoying meals with family and friends.
The study gave a point value to the different food groups typical of the Mediterranean diet, as well as those that are not typically part of the diet, such as dairy and meat products. According to the article, the “results of the study showed that children with high adherence to the diet were 15% less likely to be overweight or obese and were 10-15% less likely to experience major increases in body mass index, waist circumference and body fat, compared with children with low adherence.”
Dr. Michael Gabriel, of GPM Pediatrics,is intrigued by the findings of this study. “The Mediterranean diet promotes eating a lot of fruits and vegetables, which is key in maintaining a healthy weight. Parents should try to make sure that their family eats the recommended amount of daily fruits and vegetables, clean proteins and good fats, and should limit the amount of sugar intake.” Dr. Gabriel encourages parents to also promote physical activity in addition to a healthy diet. “Exercise is a key component in battling the obesity epidemic and needs to be coupled with a healthy diet.”
GPM Pediatrics provides comprehensive pediatric care to children throughout the New York area with practices both in Brooklyn and Staten Island. Our board certified pediatricians and experienced staff help provide a very warm and nurturing environment for both you and your children. Our approach combines the latest treatment methods with the personal attention you should expect from your doctor. Simply put, we understand the importance of communication and trust and we are earning that trust one family at a time.
Media Contact: Scott Darrohn, GPM Pediatrics, 855-347-4228,

SOURCE GPM Pediatrics

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Governor Scott Signs Historic Law to Provide Attorneys for Dependent Children with Special Needs

TALLAHASSEE, Fla., June 25, 2014 /  — Today, Florida Governor Rick Scott signed into law a measure that will provide attorneys to protect dependent children with special needs who are in the legal custody of the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF)—Florida’s most vulnerable. The Florida Legislature also appropriated $4.5 million to fund attorneys to represent these at-risk children, most of whom linger in foster care –often for an average of up to five years. The bills were sponsored by Senator Bill Galvano (Bradenton) and Representative Erik Fresen (Miami).
“We applaud Gov. Scott for supporting this historic legislation that provides disabled children a lawyer when they come into Florida’s child protection system. These children need all the additional protections they can get,” said Howard Talenfeld, President of Florida’s Children First, the statewide organization that has fought for this legislation since the report was issued.  “Since 2002, The Florida Bar Commission On The Legal Needs of Children recognized the critical necessity to appoint attorneys for vulnerable, abused and neglected children in the custody of the state. This is truly a historic day.”
Recently, the Miami Herald conducted a special investigation regarding 477 children in Florida who have died from abuse and neglect, including many children with special needs. One such child, Tamiya Audain, a 12-year-old Broward girl who had autism and a rare medical disease, starved to death in September 2013 as a result of neglect in the home of a relative with whom she was placed after her mother died –  
“Like so many other special needs children in state custody, she did not have the critical services and support that would have kept her alive had an attorney been appointed to represent her,” said Christina Spudeas, Executive Director of Florida’s Children First.
“Because children are the only parties in dependency cases that do not have their own counsel, Gov. Scott and The Florida Legislature have delivered on our obligation to Florida’s most vulnerable children to provide them counsel to ensure that they are safe and obtain the critical services that they need,” said Sen. Galvano.
The law provides attorneys for dependent children who have a number of special needs including developmental disabilities, (as defined in s. 393.063), medical disabilities for children who reside in or are being placed in a skilled nursing facility, psychiatric disabilities for children who reside or are being placed or considered for placement in a residential treatment center or who been prescribed psychotropic medications and refuse to take them, and for children who are victims of human trafficking.
Under the new law, funding will be provided for an attorney skilled in both administrative and in juvenile court proceedings to provide necessary legal representation to these disabled children. Such agencies include the Florida Agency for Persons with Disabilities, the Agency for Health Care Administration, the Social Security Administration in applications and denials for benefits from the state and federal agencies and their school districts. Without appropriate representation, disabled children spend many years in the custody of the state of Florida instead of with families who would care for them.
“These children often cannot speak for themselves, and if they can, they find themselves in courtrooms or complex administrative hearings without any representation,” said Rep. Fresen. “We wouldn’t send a criminal defendant into such a situation without counsel. It’s time we provide the same legal support and representation for the state’s most vulnerable and innocent citizens when their lives are at stake.”
“The GAL’s ‘best interest’ attorneys, staff and volunteers, working with attorneys created by this new legislation on these complex cases, will be a formidable advocacy team to get children permanency,” said Alan Abramowitz, Executive Director of Florida’s Statewide Guardian ad Litem Program. “The addition of these skilled attorneys to advocate for their disability benefits, educational services and a permanent family is a giant step forward in improving our state’s child protection system,” said Abramowitz, who advocated for the critical legislation.
Contact Michelle Friedman
Boardroom Communications
(904) 641-3226

SOURCE Florida’s Children First advertising

Brooklyn Pediatrician Shares a Study That Shows How Adolescent Brains Process Sugar Differently Than Adults

BOHEMIA, N.Y., June 20, 2014 /  — Dr. Michael Gabriel of GPM Pediatrics, a Brooklyn pediatrics center, responds to an article that focuses on how food is digested in young children and how increased sugar intakes can affect health later on.
An article, “Studies show adolescent brains process sugar differently than adult brains; changes in adipose tissue begin at very young age for obese children”, published by Medical News Today on June 17th,  shares different studies regarding adolescent sugar digestionand its effect on the brain. The Yale School of Medicine conducted a study that compared how the adolescent brain differed from adults as they consumed a glucose drink. It was concluded that adolescents experienced an increase in blood flow in the regions of the brain that produced reward-motivation and decision making. They found in the adult brains, that glucose decreased the blood flow to these regions.
In another study, researchers at the University Children’s Hospital in Leipzig, Germany compared obese children and adolescents and their fat cell composition to the biology of lean children. They found that obese children over the age of six had a higher number of adipose cells than those of the lean children. The study also concluded that those inflamed cells would lead to diabetes and high blood pressure.
Brooklyn pediatrician Dr. Michael Gabriel comments on this study, “It’s important to see how adipose cells differ in lean and overweight children. Intervening early in overweight children to teach them how to live a healthier lifestyle in order to avoid the consequences of poor diet later on in life is key. A simple thing that can be done is limiting sweets and sugary drinks to help reduce these risks.”
GPM Pediatrics provides comprehensive pediatric care to children throughout the New York area with practices both in Brooklyn and Staten Island. Our board certified pediatricians and experienced staff help provide a very warm and nurturing environment for both you and your children. Our approach combines the latest treatment methods with the personal attention you should expect from your doctor. Simply put, we understand the importance of communication and trust and we are earning that trust one family at a time.
Media Contact: Scott Darrohn, GPM Pediatrics, 855-347-4228,

SOURCE GPM Pediatrics