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Katy Perry sings 'Firework' with autistic girl from Rochelle Park, NJ

Katy Perry and Jodi DiPiazza sang "Firework" at the Beacon Theater in New York on Oct 13. "Night of Too Many Stars: America Comes Together for Autism Programs" is hosted by Jon Stewart and raises money with NYCA (New York Collaborates for Autism) to support and create autism programs, schools, and services all over the country. Programs covering everything from the intensive education kids with autism need at a young age to social training for adults who want to contribute in the workplace. We've even created a "Teach the Teachers" program that helps train more teachers to work in the public school systems, for the many kids with autism who can't get into the few quality schools that can help them. 1 in 88 kids are now diagnosed on the Autistic spectrum. Many great organizations support research to unravel the mystery behind this condition. Night of Too Many Stars is working to help people who live with autism now.



Autistic man self-publishes second book for teens


Grady Brown, 23, has always enjoyed telling stories.

Since childhood, the Tustin resident has chronicled tales for family, friends and his own personal enjoyment.

Brown, who is autistic, is now addressing a larger audience with the recent release of his second book, "The Young Guardians and the Great Darkness."

The book – intended for those 13 and older – follows the lives of four Orange County high school students.

The teens have difficulty fitting in, as they are social outcasts and regular targets of the school bully, Brick Baxter.

The four characters transform one night, however, when they are exposed to a form of mystic radiation called the Genesis Spell, and their inner-spiritual powers are awakened.

The young guardians, as Brown has labeled the superheroes, encounter the same malicious being from the author's first book, and according to Brown, the villain is "back with a vengeance."

The superheroes must overcome the depraved if they wish to keep Southern California and the rest of the world safe.

Brown said that though his book centers on supernatural powers, he thinks young readers will find it relatable.

"Since the young guardians originated as unassuming teenagers that served as social outcasts, I think people can really connect with that," Brown said. "[It] reminds them of when they were alone, but in the end having the means to make the greatest difference in the world."

Brown, who has been diagnosed with autism and has a photographic memory, has been writing stories since the sixth grade.

He became interested in publishing his stories in an effort to reach a bigger audience.

Brown's first book, "The Young Guardians and the Genesis Spell," was published in 2009.

With help from author and retired English professor, Dr. Sherry L. Meinberg, Brown wrote and edited his second book within three years.

Brown, who works at the Tustin Public Library, saved his paychecks for one year to finance the self-publishing of his work.

He is now working on the third book in his series, which he said should be available for release in three years.

Brown's mother, Martha, said that through his storytelling, her son hopes to leave his mark in the world that he struggled to fit in, in his earlier years.

"He's been very focused on this and he's wanted to leave his mark in the world, and he felt that with publishing his books he will have left his mark," Martha Brown said.

"And I think his autism helps him in visualizing the story and with getting it written and with his perseverance to stick to it and making sure it got published. He contacted many traditional publishers and just started investigating this other way of self-publishing."

Brown lives on his own, and attends school at Santiago Canyon College.

He is nearing his college graduation date and is hoping to transfer soon to a four-year university in hopes of obtaining his certificate in library science.

"I want to continue my career as an author and maybe balance it out as a librarian," Brown said about his future ambitions.

Martha Brown said that storytelling and books was destined to be part of her son's life.

"It's just in him," Martha said. "He just has these stories that he needs to tell."

Libby Kayl, director of Tustin Community Preschool, has known Brown since he was a 3-year-old student at her site.

Kayl said though Brown has had his struggles, the 6-foot-3-inch young adult has conquered much and will continue to do so.

"He's had quite the journey," Kayl said. "He's spunky and unusual. He's brilliant and can speak on any subject. And he's done something with his life and will do lots more."

Copies of "The Young Guardians and the Great Darkness" are available through the Barnes & Noble and Amazon websites.

Source: http://www.ocregister.com/news/brown-370362-book-young.html


What does autism mean to you?

As a supporter of the autism community we thought you would want to hear about our new video "What does autism mean to you?".

We would love to get your perspective on this issue so that we can continue to educate people about what it is like to live with an autism spectrum disorder.

At a recent event, we asked five people what autism means to them and then used the footage to pull their thoughts together to make a video. While making the clip, we realised that this was just the beginning of the many ways autism can be described. We wondered - what does autism mean to everyone else? 

With so many people around the world diagnosed with this lifelong condition we know it affects everyone differently. It is not just the many people with autism that are impacted in different ways, it is also the people in their families and throughout their communities.

So, please watch the video, share it and help us reach 15,000 likes on Facebook and start 15,000 conversations about autism here http://www.facebook.com/AutismSpectrumAustralia

Feel free to share your story too. Tell us what autism means to you - looking forward to hearing from you.

Charmaine Tanti 
Account Executive 

Beyond The Square Communication


Hero Bus Driver Catches Autistic Girl in 3-Story Brooklyn Plunge

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

By Katy Tur.

An MTA city bus driver says he was thinking of his own young daughter when he rushed to catch a 7-year-old girl plunging three stories from a Brooklyn building Monday.

"Please let me catch her, please let me catch her," Stephen St. Bernard, 52, recalled thinking. "That's all I could say. Let me catch the little baby."

"I think about my daughter, and you know, she's a little kid," he said.  

St. Bernard, an MTA bus driver of 10 years, was returning home to Coney Island from his job at about 2 p.m. when he heard screams coming from a building courtyard. 

He rushed toward the commotion and saw a girl standing on top of a third-floor window air conditioning unit. He immediately ran underneath the window.

"She just stood up there teetering, teetering," he said. 

Amateur video shows St. Bernard shouting up to the girl, trying to talk the girl into going back into her apartment. Suddenly, the girl falls, eliciting horrified screams from neighbors.

But St. Bernard catches her in his arms, stumbling slightly forward to the ground with the girl still firmly in his grasp.

"I picked her up and carried her, and I was holding her, rubbing her, and she just more or less kept looking around," he told NBC 4 New York. "She never closed her eyes, she didn't lose consciousness."

The girl was not wearing pants, and St. Bernard wrapped her in his MTA uniform shirt as he waited for paramedics to arrive.

She was taken to Coney Island Hospital with very minor injuries. 

"He's my hero," said the girl's aunt, Monique Harding. "He definitely did our family a favor today."

Police sources said the girl has autism. Her mother was inside the apartment watching her other child and did not see the girl standing outside on the A/C, the sources said.

St. Bernard sustained a torn tendon in his shoulder but he is expected to be OK. 

His daughter, who is also 7, called her father a hero.

"The child was like almost like my age, so like he always carries me, so I guess he'd probably be able to catch her," said Tahaani St. Bernard. 

The girl's mother did not want to speak with reporters Monday.


Source: http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/Hero-MTA-Bus-Driver-Catches-Girl-Falling-Three-Stories-Brooklyn-Building-Coney-Island-162666676.html


Tenafly teen on front lines of autism clinical trial

Rebecca Singer, 16, is taking injections of a promising growth factor hormone that was shown to reverse in mice some of the deficits associated with autism.The Record (Hackensack N.J.) | Posted: Wednesday, July 11, 2012 12:00 am

By Barbara Williams

HACKENSACK, N.J. - She lives in a world no one else can enter, unable to speak or interact with others. But 16-year-old Rebecca Singer may be playing an important role in science.

Rebecca has become the first patient in a clinical trial testing a drug that researchers hope could pull her out of her reality and eventually lead to a groundbreaking autism treatment.

In the study led by the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and assisted by a research team from Rutgers University, the Tenafly, N.J., girl is taking a growth factor hormone that was shown to reverse in mice some of the deficits associated with autism.

Researchers aren't expecting a cure but are hopeful for a "disease modifying" outcome, said Dr. Alex Kolevzon, one of the physicians working on the study and the pediatrics clinical director at the Seaver Autism Center at Mount Sinai.

"We know that humans don't always respond the way mice do, but there's the potential for significant benefit," Kolevzon said.

Such words are remarkable to parents of children with autism.

"I'm trying not to get my hopes up that this could be the miracle we've been waiting for," Rebecca's father, Jon Singer said. "But there is the possibility that it could be and even if this hormone only helps in a small way, it's a start."

Autism rates are rising at a startling pace. One in 88 children nationwide now has the disorder. New Jersey's rates are even higher - one in every 49 children, including one in every 29 boys - according to a report released in March by the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention.

Rebecca and two other children in the 7-month blind study are being injected twice a day for three months with growth factor IGF-1 or a placebo, separated by a four-week resting period. The insulin-like hormone is typically used for children not growing appropriately for their age.

In a trial last year, IGF-1 was shown to reverse nerve cell communication damage in mice. People with autism seem to have the same type of deficits.

All the trial participants have a mutated or missing gene on chromosome 22, which causes Phelan-McDermid Syndrome, a rare genetic disease that causes severe disabilities and, often, autism. Chromosome 22 is involved in processes crucial for learning and memory.

People with Phelan, estimated at fewer than 700 worldwide, typically have profound intellectual disabilities, chewing and swallowing problems, no formal language, and autism.

"Rebecca seems to understand certain things and can use a fork and drink from a cup, something we didn't think would ever happen," Jon Singer said. "She turns the pages of a book when we're reading to her, but we're not sure how much of it she understands."

Though Rebecca doesn't speak, her family understands her rudimentary method of communicating, like when she stops what she is doing to sit on a kitchen chair - meaning she's hungry. When she wants to go to her favorite place - anywhere outdoors - she stands in front of the door. Her father, her mother, Michey, and 12-year-old brother, Sam, can interpret the sounds she makes to know whether she's agitated or happy. And anyone can see her face-wide grin when she's in a pool or riding her bike.

"She's a real trouper - she's been poked and prodded so much, and she doesn't really cry or give us a hard time," her mother said. "I'm cautiously hopeful this trial will be groundbreaking and even if it doesn't help Rebecca, it will help someone else down the road."

Now that Rebecca is in the study, her loved ones are watching carefully for any improvements - better eye contact or more fluid movements - though no one knows whether she's taking IGF-1 or the placebo.

"Sometimes I think she's doing better with her fine motor skills but I have to remind myself how powerful suggestion can be," her father said. "Her teachers will tell us they believe she's making longer eye contact, but we have to keep all this in perspective. Even though everyone is trying to be objective, sometimes you see what you want to see."




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