Philadelphia International Auto Show Black Tie Tailgate to benefit Center for Autism Research at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

There’s a big autism research fundraiser in Philadelphia tonight – The Black Tie Tailgate at the Philadelphia International Auto Show.

For its 2011 Black Tie Tailgate, the Auto Dealers CARing for Kids Foundation has named the Center for Autism Research (CAR) at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia as the event’s beneficiary. CAR is one of the largest and most comprehensive autism research centers in the world. Its goals are to identify the causes of autism spectrum disorders and develop effective treatments.

Since its establishment in 2008, CAR has had multiple breakthrough discoveries in genetics and brain imaging, culminating in over 50 published scientific papers on autism. CAR also conducts innovative treatment research, including the largest autism intervention research study ever conducted for children with autism spectrum disorders, and is also involved in community outreach and training programs designed to educate families and professionals about autism screening, diagnosis and treatment.

Chances are you know of someone living with autism as recent studies show that one in 110 children in the United States have an autism spectrum disorder. Please consider attending the 2011 Black Tie Tailgate to show your support of these possible family members, friends or neighbors as well as others who are working hard to develop impactful treatments.

via Our Cause | Philadelphia International Auto Show.

Pennsylvania autism kids’ group enjoys ‘Friendly’ visit each month

Todd Mincemoyer teasingly asked Joshua Seidel if he wanted extra honey mustard with his chicken fingers.

“No. Ketchup,” Joshua replied.

That’s typical of Friendly’s Restaurant server Mincemoyer, known to the autistic student buddies as Mr. Todd, who likes to rib the kids a little. The group is a regular for lunch the third Friday of the month.

“He serves everyone good,” said Joshua, 11, of Danville enjoying a “cotton candy” drink with a cherry on top before his lunch arrived.

Usually, the students from Danville Primary Center and Liberty-Valley Intermediate School go swimming at the Danville Area Community Center before they go to lunch at Friendly’s, but with a two-hour delay of school Friday, they skipped the swimming.

“It’s like a little celebration for us. They have been coming here for quite some time and we make sure the room is available to them. Todd has been building a great relationship with them,” Friendly’s district manager Bob Strachko said.

Parents of children enrolled in the two classes pay for their lunches, said Tami Williams, autism-support teacher at Danville Primary Center. Eleven students were there Friday, accompanied by teachers and paraprofessionals including Amy Willoughby, autism- support teacher at Liberty-Valley Intermediate School. The youngsters, from kindergarten through fifth grades, are enrolled in the Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit program that pays for the swimming. The children come from districts served by the intermediate unit.

via Autism support group enjoys ‘Friendly’ visit each month » News » The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA.

Philadelphia children with autism practice traveling on ‘mock’ flights

At 8 p.m. Saturday, Southwest Airlines Flight 2149 was poised to push back from the gate. Flight attendants gave fasten-seat-belt instructions, and First Officer Peter Hayes announced, “There’s 25 minutes of flight time until we touch down in Philadelphia.”

Capt. Todd Siems said the Boeing airliner was cruising at 37,000 feet. And after he turned off the seat-belt sign, the young passengers were served complimentary Sprite, cranberry-apple juice, and airplane-shaped crackers.

Flight 2149 never left the gate at Philadelphia International Airport, though. It was no ordinary flight, but rather a practice for children with autism and their families to become familiar with travel at the airport – bags, getting boarding passes, going through security, waiting at the gate, and sitting on the plane to experience the lights and sounds.

via Children with autism practice traveling on ‘mock’ flights | Philadelphia Inquirer | 11/16/2010.

Philadelphia: Drexel basketball visits The Timothy School

Drexel men’s and women’s basketball players took time from their summer schedules to pay a visit to in Berwyn, Pa. on Friday, July 30. The Timothy School is dedicated to educating children with Autism. For the third year in a row, students welcomed the Dragons to school as part of Sibling Day for a basketball clinic and played against the school’s team, “The Tornadoes.”

The Sibling Day event at Timothy School is a day on which all the students diagnosed autism spectrum disorders invited their siblings for a day of bonding and fun.

via Drexel University Athletics – Drexel Basketball Visits The Timothy School.

New website helps Pennsylvania families of autistic children

Autism Resources | Resources for Autism, Asperger Syndrome & PDD-NOS in Pennsylvania_1278940628805Parents of autistic children in Pennsylvania have a new resource  — — to find autism-friendly businesses. Adults on the spectrum, families living with autism, teachers and others can contribute. Listings include businesses willing to make reasonable accommodations to provide service or employ people autism. Here’s hoping this site grows and is copied by every state!

Families living with autism often find staying home hard enough. Going out for a meal, movie, dental appointment or eye exam while dealing with autism can feel like being in a nightmare, if businesses are unfriendly and insensitive to needs.

Nightmares, and outings gone bad, share themes of panic, embarrassment or public humiliation. In a nightmare, we try repeatedly to bolt, to cry out for help, and try as we might, we cannot solve the problem. If a child becomes upset in public during a pleasant outing, the wrong reaction from others can escalate the upset, and feel similarly upsetting to family members.

Being overwhelmed by extreme noise or lighting, being intimidated by a waiter’s stare, or having a church usher roll his eyes and loudly state “SOME parents have to learn to control their children” create all kinds of negative feelings. The fight-or-flight response sets in for parent, child, and siblings. Families often avoid everyday public activities and celebrations for years, not so much because of autism, but because of other’s hurtful reactions to a disability.

This letter from a parent was recently sent to the Erie Times News: “I joined a gym in Erie several months ago. They offer swim lessons for kids so I signed my children up. Today was the first day of their class. At the end of the half-hour the instructor looked at me and said: ‘This is not going to work for him,’ talking about my 5-year-old who has autism. She said, ‘I don’t have time for one-on-one with him, he needs to be in a class with children who have disabilities. I will refund your money.’”

Unfortunately, there is no way to refund the peace of mind and trust damaged by rejection and misunderstanding. But there is a way to avoid some of these problems.

Now families can know ahead of time that a movie theater, barber or diner truly understands their special needs at This is a new, free service helping Pennsylvanians find the nearest autism-friendly businesses.

via Local Columns – Luciana Randall: New website helps parents of autistic children.

Pennsylvania Tracks Number Of People With Autism

Pennsylvania has become the first state in the U.S. to track the number of people with autism.

The 2005 census showed 20,000 cases.By 2010, that number is expected to hit 25,000 with nearly 4,000 adult cases.

Gov. Ed Rendell unveiled the new autism census at the state Capitol Wednesday.

The data will help determine what services are needed and where, he said.

“Autism hits literally every part of Pennsylvania. Families are faced with this challenge all throughout the commonwealth. This census is crucial in finding where we need to go, it’s a road map for us,” said Rendell.

The state budget has set aside $19.5 million for autism services.

Via State Tracks Number of People With Autism