Down Syndrome children can greatly benefit from EARLY training

A child therapist who I very greatly respect, Ann Osterling (from Champaign, Illinois) wrote me an email message in response to my (undoubtedly superficial) comments about Down Sydrome that I thought everyone interested in helping these kids would enjoy reading. In her words: You threw out the idea of intensive early intervention as one option…

Overlooking Down Syndrome

Dazee is frustrated because we have not included any discussion of Down Syndrome at this site, even while autism and other forms of severe disability are frequent topics of consideration. There are several reasons for our neglect. First, the principal contributor to this blog has no experience with these kids. He hasn’t studied them (or…

Jacksonville is moving UP!

Jacksonville, Florida is making an unprecedented attempt to move up in the world. How can a large American city accomplish that? There is one slow-but-certain way: Improve the brain potential of, and the possibilities for achievement for EVERY child. How on earth could an entire city begin to achieve THAT? Led by a great Superintendent…

EVERYONE doesn’t feel the pain

Neil Pearson wrote an inspirational and informative comment from a soldier on the front lines of pain therapy about my last entry [which described another neurological confirmation of an empathetic response actually engaging the pain centers of the brain, when a subject witnessed realistic (fake) videos of inflicted pain]. If pain is an issue for…

One million children

Sometime over the next days, the millionth child willl enroll in a Fast ForWord language or reading program. For Paula, Bill, Steve, Bob, Glenn …………. and the thousands of other good people who have helped make, sell, manage, train, support, HELP those million children — THANK YOU! One of the nicest things that can happen…

Understanding other brains

Alan Towers wrote an instructive, poignant comment about the difficulty that he had understanding that his schizophrenic son could not be EXPECTED to “make sense”, if sense was defined by the standards that applied for Alan, or for the wider society. Because so many people who live with psychotic illness or substantial neurological impairment require…

Jack’s hippocampus is bigger than yours

My dog Jack, thinking, has a proportionally larger hippocampus than you do. If I had a pet bunny, its hippocampus would be (proportionally) larger, still!! You’ve probably heard a lot about the crucial role that the hippocampus plays in recording our “episodic” (historic, serial, ‘long-term’) memories. Does this mean that we should revise that age…

Ultrasound and autism

A former UCSF medical student, Carolyn Rees, now a doc in rural Idaho, wrote me a very informative letter — and raised several interesting questions — that are definitely worth a little discussion here. Dr. Rees asked: Is there any evidence that ultrasound examination can affect brain development? In fact, that evidence is mixed. Over…

What underlies the documented increase in autism incidence? Results of a new study

Studies from the Center for Disease Control and elsewhere have compellingly documented a rapid increase in the incidence of autism in the United States. WHAT THE HELL IS CAUSING IT? Given the enormous human and societal costs of this malady, few practical scientific questions are more important to we Americans, in our current era. Whether…