Autistic children need to focus on eyes of caregiver

What the article below says at length is that autistic children do NOT focus on the eyes of caregivers. Thus, in treating autistic children, its crucial to get them to focus on eyes and learn social cues.

“Two-year-olds with autism lack an important building block of social interaction that prompts newborn babies to pay attention to other people. Instead, these children pay attention to physical relationships between movement and sound and miss critical social information. Researchers at the Yale School of Medicine report their results in the March 29 online issue of Nature.

“Human infants are born in a fragile state. They are entirely dependent on their caregivers for survival, and so it makes sense that infants would possess very early-emerging predispositions to seek their caregivers, to pay special attention to movements in the environment that are associated with human actions and gestures,” said Ami Klin, director of the Autism Program at Yale and the Harris Associate Professor of Child Psychology at the Yale Child Study Center.

Klin, who conducted the study with research scientist Warren Jones and colleagues at Yale, said that two-year-olds with autism showed no signs of this selective attention to these types of human movements. Instead, the children with autism focused on a different environmental cue: they paid attention only to movements that were physically synchronous with sounds.

“Rather than attending to human biological motion, and the social cues in that motion,” said Klin, “children with autism were very sensitive to non-social information: to synchronies between sounds and motion in what they were watching.”

Klin, Jones and colleagues tracked the eye movements of two-year-olds with and without autism while they watched cartoon animations. The animations were created with a technique borrowed from the video game industry in which movements of real people are recorded and then used to animate characters. In this case, the body movements were recreated as points of light on a black background, with one point of light at each joint in the body.

“The eye-tracking data revealed that typically-developing two-year-olds perceived human motion in these moving points of light. They saw people,” said Jones. “But children with autism were insensitive to the socially relevant cues in that motion, and they focused instead on physical cues that typically-developing children disregarded.”

Previous studies by the Yale team have shown that when looking at other people, toddlers with autism looked less at eyes and more at mouths. “The current results suggest something very important about that earlier research,” said Klin. “Rather than looking at the social cues expressed in people’s eyes, two-year-olds with autism may be paying attention, as in the current study, to synchronies between sound and motion. So rather than the eyes, they are focusing on the synchrony between lip motion and speech sounds.”

“This suggests that from very early in life, children with autism are seeking experiences in the physical rather than the social world, and this in turn has far-reaching implications for the development of social mind and brain,” said Jones.

The Yale group is now using this finding in their work with infant siblings of children with autism who are at greater genetic risk of also developing autism. “Because this mechanism emerges in the first days of life for typical children, we hope to use similar techniques to identify early signs of vulnerability in autism. This could be an aid for early diagnosis, which in turn allows for early intervention to maximize positive outcomes for these children,” said Klin.

The next step is to study this phenomenon at earlier stages of development, and to combine the behavioral work with simultaneous neuroimaging through collaboration with another Yale colleague, Kevin Pelphrey.

Other authors on the study included David J. Lin, Phillip Gorrindo and Gordon Ramsay, who is also affiliated with the Haskins Laboratories at Yale.

The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Mental Health.

Ami Klin

Yale University

The Word Shop in Aptos

The Word Shop, Aptos
The Word Shop, Aptos

Good conversation, wide variety of Christian and other kinds of books including plenty of crap books. Staffed by volunteers. Been around more than 10 years. Located in Aptos near entrance to Sea Cliff State Beach. Need a book? They will find it for you. For more information go to: http://www.companyof

Was a cricket in cuisine at Miss Saigon in San Francisco?

Miss Saigon
6th & Mission

Pros: Clean place, friendly people
Cons: Everything else

Price: $7.94 (main and a glass of water with a slice of cucumber in it)
Style: Traditional Vietnamese in a modern setting

Overall grade: F

Should you happen to have just recently finished your session with a prostitute in one of the local hourly motels this might just be the lunch spot for you. Upon entering, the smell of bleach instantly burns your eyes, which might or might not be the reason why it’s about the only place in the neighborhood that has clean windows. But hey, you needed the disinfecting anyway. A friendly hostess seated me at one of the many empty tables came over. (All the tables were all empty, but I assumed that was because it was early).

The menu had all the staples of traditional Vietnamese restaurants and I opted for a pork and rice dish, Thit heo ram man (“Sliced pork stir fried in hot chilli, garlic sauce” according to the translation). I will admit that whatever arrived about 90 seconds later was sliced, but beyond that I have my doubts. It was somewhat of a sticky sweet taste maybe close to what melted fly paper tastes like. The pork (assuming it was pork, or even meat) had clearly been cooked the day (or week) before a had just then been reheated, somewhat, and probably in a microwave

The final straw came when on the third bite I found something that looked strikingly like the tail end of a cricket. I was later assured that it was part of an “onion”, but I somehow felt the need to head to the nearest (or maybe not exactly the nearest) pharmacy to self medicate. All in all, should you happen to end up in or around this restaurant, save your $8, walk half a block and buy a crack rock; you’ll thank me later.

mom pop Japanese restaurant in San Francisco near Golden Gate

Muracci’s Japanese Curry & Grill

Style: Japanese Curry and Grill says it all (more curry than grill)

Total cost: $8.21 (main + free water)

Plus: different from the norm, made fresh when you order, decent portions
Minus: a bit on the slow side, could be a total pain to deal with when busy, no beer, limited seating

Overall grade: B+

All in all a decent place.

Tiny little hole in the wall with a Japanese cartoon face outside bigger than the actual interior. Staff is friendly and easy to deal with but the actual process of how things are supposed to work in terms of ordering vs. receiving is a be lacking in detail.

Obviously a mom and pop shop, which is always nice to support. Also good to go to a Japanese restaurant actually run by Japanese.

Has a limited number of counter stools to sit at though doing so could be annoying since the place is so small it hardly has room enough for people to both arrive and leave.

Definitely a popular spot for the local office crowd, but certainly being brought back to the desk to torment their co-workers with the ever zesty smell of curry in the afternoon. Curry is certainly the norm, but went with the Katsu Don (image attached) which consists of a breaded pork cutlet deep fried and then placed on top of rice with a fried egg on top of that.

Definitely different from the normal sandwich fare, but not something to be done on a daily basis. At $7.50 plus the new 9.5% tax it hits at the higher end of the price range. Not a bad price, but not a stampede a Walmart employee deal either.

Decent amount of pork and about two pounds of rice, so you could certainly use a walk to the Golden Gate Bridge afterwards; too bad everyone is no doubt stuck staring at a spreadsheet in a rice induced coma instead.

review by JJ

Abandoned Boats

Are people abandoming boats in the Monterey Bay area? Let us know. If so, let’s find happy homes for those boats!! Cameorn Jackson See below story.

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. — Boat owners are abandoning ship

Brett Flashnick for The New York Times
Gary Santos, a Mount Pleasant, S.C., councilman, checks a state notice on a forsaken sailboat.
They often sandpaper over the names and file off the registry numbers, doing their best to render the boats, and themselves, untraceable. Then they casually ditch the vessels in the middle of busy harbors, beach them at low tide on the banks of creeks or occasionally scuttle them outright.

The bad economy is creating a flotilla of forsaken boats. While there is no national census of abandoned boats, officials in coastal states are worried the problem will only grow worse as unemployment and financial stress continue to rise. Several states are even drafting laws against derelicts and say they are aggressively starting to pursue delinquent owners.

“Our waters have become dumping grounds,” said Maj. Paul R. Ouellette of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. “It’s got to the point where something has to be done.”

Derelict boats are environmental and navigational hazards, leaking toxins and posing obstacles for other craft, especially at night. Thieves plunder them for scrap metal. In a storm, these runabouts and sailboats, cruisers and houseboats can break free or break up, causing havoc.

Some of those disposing of their boats are in the same bind as overstretched homeowners: they face steep payments on an asset that is diminishing in value and decide not to continue. They either default on the debt or take bolder measures.

Marina and maritime officials around the country say they believe, however, that most of the abandoned vessels cluttering their waters are fully paid for. They are expensive-to-maintain toys that have lost their appeal.

The owners cannot sell them, because the secondhand market is overwhelmed. They cannot afford to spend hundreds of dollars a month mooring and maintaining them. And they do not have the thousands of dollars required to properly dispose of them.

When Brian A. Lewis of Seattle tried to sell his boat, Jubilee, no one would pay his asking price of $28,500. Mr. Lewis told the police that maintaining the boat caused “extreme anxiety,” which led him to him drill a two-inch hole in Jubilee’s hull last March.

The boat sank in Puget Sound, and Mr. Lewis told his insurance company it was an accident. His scheme came undone when the state, seeking to prevent environmental damage, raised Jubilee. Mr. Lewis pleaded guilty last week to insurance fraud.

While there are no reliable national statistics on boating fraud, Todd Schwede, an insurance investigator in San Diego, said the number of suspicious cases he was handling had roughly tripled in the last year, to around 70.

In many cases, he said, the boater is following this logic: “I am overinsured on this boat. If I make it go away so no one will find it, the insurance company will give me enough to cover the debt and I’ll make something on the deal as well.”

Lt. David Dipre, who coordinates Florida’s derelict vessel program, said the handful of owners he had managed to track down were guilty more of negligence than fraud. “They say, ‘I had a dream of sailing around the world, I just never got around to it.’ Then they have some bad times and they leave it to someone else to clean up the mess,” Lieutenant Dipre said.

Florida officials say they are moving more aggressively to track down owners and are also starting to unclog the local inlets, harbors, swamps and rivers. The state appropriated funds to remove 118 derelicts this summer, up from only a handful last year.

In South Carolina, four government investigators started canvassing the state’s waterways in January. They quickly identified 150 likely derelicts.

“There are a lot more than we thought there would be,” said Lt. Robert McCullough of the state Department of Natural Resources. “There were a few boats that have always been there, and now all of a sudden they’ve added up and added up.”

In January, it became illegal in South Carolina to abandon a boat on a public waterway. Violators can be fined $5,000 and jailed for 30 days.

“We never needed a law before,” said Gary Santos, a Mount Pleasant councilman.

Tasty Pork

01pigs1_190Emod Istvánmajor, Hungary
Mangalitsa pigs.

Tamas Dezso for The New York Times
IN THE UNITED STATES, TOO Juan Vicente Olmos Llorente, above, takes the meat of curly-haired Hungarian Mangalitsa pigs and finishes it in Spain.
LIKE style on the runway, style for pigs is changeable. With their abundant fat, the curly-haired Mangalitsa pigs of Hungary were all the rage a century ago. But as time went on, they became has-beens.

Now that succulent pork is back in fashion, the Mangalitsa — saved from near extinction on a farm here at the edge of Hungary’s bleak and barren Great Plain — are making a comeback.

Most of those raised here become ham and other cured meats in Spain. But Mangalitsas are also being raised at farms in the United States for chefs who pay as much as 40 percent more for them than for Berkshires, another elite breed.

Last Wednesday April Bloomfield at the Spotted Pig in Greenwich Village served the belly and trotters of a Mangalitsa/Berkshire crossbreed with Agen prunes for $32. (She hopes to have more in two to three weeks.)

“When I tasted this pig,” Ms. Bloomfield said of the Mangalitsa, “it took me back to my grandmother’s kitchen on a Sunday afternoon, windows steaming from the roasting pork in the oven. Back then pork tasted as it should: like a pig. This pork has that same authentic taste.”

Devin Knell, executive sous-chef at the French Laundry, confits the belly of the Mangalitsa (pronounced MAHN-ga-leet-za); roasts the liver, kidneys, and chops, and poaches the saddle sous vide with a garlic mousse.

“Unlike workaday pork,” Mr. Knell said, “Mangalitsa is marbled, and the fat dissolves on your tongue — it’s softer and creamier, akin to Wagyu beef.”

George Faison, an owner of the New York City specialty meats company DeBragga and Spitler, will start selling chefs pork from Mangalitsas fattened on the West Coast this summer. He said the fat was luscious, more like that of duck than pork. Recalling a tasting for chefs last fall, he said, “The belly meat was unctuous, but it was the loin meat that really impressed me.”

Mosefund Farm in Branchville, N.J., sells Mangalitsa pork to restaurants, including the Spotted Pig, for $10 to $11 a pound, about $3 a pound more than what Berkshire pork costs. Ms. Bloomfield said Mosefund sells the Berkshire crossbreed for $7.99 pound.

Mangalitsas were bred for their lard on the Hungarian farms of Archduke Joseph in the 1830s. Herds shrank with the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire after World War I and declined further with the introduction of fast-growing white pigs and cheaper, higher quality vegetable oils after World War II.

But Peter Toth, a Hungarian animal geneticist, did not want this Hapsburg legacy to be lost. He has worked to save the pigs here on a farm with buildings of whitewashed stone, with roofs of thick thatch. Dimly lighted wooden pens filled with straw shelter piglets and nursing sows. Breeding boars and sows live in pens open at one end. On a tour of the farm, 100 miles east of Budapest, a bitter wind blew out of the Carpathian foothills just visible to the east.

Their feed is a mix of barley, wheat, wheat bran, alfalfa, and sunflower seeds, but unlike the feed on factory farms, little corn and nothing with soy.

“When Communism collapsed,” Mr. Toth said, “the state farms that served as the last gene banks also collapsed. It was a total anarchy in the country. When I started to save Mangalitsas, to search for them in 1991, I found only 198 purebred pigs in the country. Sometimes, I would rescue the pigs right from the slaughterhouse.”

Today his company, Olmos and Toth, in addition to maintaining breeding stock, fattens some 8,000 pigs and oversees the production of 12,000 more on farms in the surrounding regions.

Because these pigs can cost 40 percent more to raise, Hungarians, who earn less than most Europeans, use them mostly to make lard and sausages.

“The Mangalitsa — many problems!” Mr. Toth said. “We must kill them at 140 kilos” — about 300 pounds — “to make sure that the marbling is maximized and the meat the best quality. If you kill it at 80 kilos” — 176 pounds, when industrially produced pigs are slaughtered — “you won’t have marbled meat. You need time, more than one year, when a normal pig takes five months to raise.”

Ways to teach religion to children with special needs: autism, ADHD

child prays
child  at prayer

Ways to teach religion to children with special needs:     

Use short teaching blocks of 15 minutes.

Remove distractions.

Combine pictures with words.

Check with your local elementary school and observe the methods used with children in SDC (Special Day Classes) for children.

Perhaps your congregation  has some experienced teachers or persons with experience working with children with disabilities who can help create a program that works for you.

Information that is available:   Catholic dioceses in  at least 31 states offer specialized religious education for students with autism, intellectual disability/ mental retardation  and other developmental delays.

Teachers  typically use pictograms to discuss God, the Holy Spirit, the church and to pray the Lord’s Prayer.


contact psychologist  Dr. Cameron Jackson for additional information

Monerey Bay Forum

127 Jewell Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
United States (US)
Phone: 831 688 6002
Fax: 831 688 7717