Aptos psychologist: “joint attention” between baby and parent at 5 months can be a marker for assessing autism

How early can we catch autism? Looks like 5 months using “joint attention” as an important marker for assessing autism. That is something that pediatricians can do in their office with the assistance of a parent. The faster we can diagnose autism the quicker we can provide appropriate treatment and begin the healing process.

What is “joint attention” Simply eye contact with the infant and then looking at an object jointly — such as holding up a rattle and looking first at the baby (and smiling of course) and then looking at the rattle. That is “joint attention”.

written by Dr.Cameron Jackson www.freedomOK.net/wordpress See the article below:

“Children as young as five months old will follow the gaze of an adult towards an object and engage in joint attention, according to research funded by the Wellcome Trust and the Medical Research Council. The findings, published in the Royal Society’s journal Biology Letters, suggests that the human brain develops this important social skill surprisingly early in infancy.

Joint attention – where two people share attention to the same object – is a vital human social skill necessary for many types of human behaviour such as teaching, collaboration, and language learning. Impairments in this skill are one of the earliest signs of autism.

Dr Tobias Grossmann and Professor Mark Johnson from Birkbeck, University of London, used a technique known as ‘near infrared spectroscopy’ (NIRS) to examine which areas of an infant’s brain are activated when paying joint attention to an object.

NIRS, an optical brain imaging technique which involves measuring the blood flow associated with brain activation, is well-suited to study freely-behaving infants. With this non-invasive technique, near-infrared light travels from sources on a sensor pad located on the head, through the skin, skull and underlying brain tissue, and is then detected by sensitive detectors on the same sensor pad.

In the experiment, conducted in Birkbeck’s Babylab, the babies were shown the computer-animated image of an adult’s face. The adult would make eye contact with the baby, raise her eyebrows and smile, glance towards an object at her side, back to the baby and then finally turn her head to face the object. In the control conditions, the adult would look away from the object or would look at the object without making eye contact with the baby.

The researchers found that only when the babies engaged in joint attention with the adult, they used a specific region of their brain known as the left prefrontal cortex – an area to the front of the brain involved in complex cognitive and social behaviours.

“Infants engaged in joint attention use a similar region of their brain as adults do,” says Dr Grossmann, a Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellow. “Our study suggests that the infants are tuned to sharing attention with other humans much earlier than previously thought. This may be a vital basis for the infant’s social development and learning.”

“In the future this approach could be used to assess individual differences in infants’ responses to joint attention and might, in combination with other measures, serve as a marker that can help with an early identification of infants at risk for autism.”

Aptos psychologist: How to STOP gang violence? www.freedomOK.net/wordpress

How to stop–at least put a major crimp — in gang violence? What are YOUR ideas?

These are mine. By the way, this is NOT a Saul Alinsky COPA approach ….

1. UNIFORMS: Public schools will agree that they will require that all students (K- grade 12) wear uniforms at school and to and from school. To and from school, note. Schools will enforce the uniform rule Consequences for breaking the uniform rule will be clearly set out and enforced. The parents will choose what kind of uniforms and what consequences for breaking the rule. The uniforms must fit the students in a reasonable, normal manner — not extremely tight or loose. Top of the pants can be no lower than an agreed upon number of inches from the waist.

2) NO TATOOS, MAKE UP AND CLEAN APPEARANCE. Girls and boys are to be clean and wear clean clothing. No cosmetic make-up or visible tatoos allowed for school age boys or girls. Consequences stated for breaking the rule. Dirty hair and clothing? Go to thegym and take a shower and put on clean clothing.

3) FAMILIES WILL CONTROL WHERE & WHEN CHILDREN GO. Families commit to control where & when children go out from after school to time to be home for the night. Both schools and faith organizations can assist in making these Agreements. This has to be by choice and made indvidually by families and children with schools and thier faith organizations.

4) COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS WILL SUPPORT FAMIY COMMITMENT TO CONTROL CHILDREN’S BEHAVIOR. Strengthen School/ Parent and Faith Organization/ Family Agreements with school/ community events (pot lucks, park activities, athletic events for families) which provide structured time for families to do fun, safe activities together. Provide weekly safe activities for families.

COMMUNITY NON-PROFITS. Faith organizations and community organizations should collaborate to strengthen values of honesty, non-violence, and cooperative behavior. Possible ways could include Affirmation of Family Values (akin to renewal of baptismal vows) done by faith organizations with their members.

POLICE: Spread Neighborhood Watch (know your neighbor, make your neighborhood safe for children, report suspicious behavior, increase more police walking the beat).

This is to start a conversation… What say you? written by Cameron Jackson, Ph.D., J.D. DrCameronJackson@gmail.com

Americans with Disabilities Act CAN protect persons with Autistic Spectrum Disorders

New Jersey has laws that require physicians to register those they diagnose with autism. Why such a high rate in the state of New Jersey? When there are dramatically different rates then the enviornment has to be implicated in addition to genetics. See the following article:

” A FLURRY of legislation was signed during former Gov. Jon Corzine’s last days in office, including two important autism bills: anti-discrimination legislation for people with autism and the opening of the autism registry to adults.

New Jersey has the highest autism rate in the country — 1 in 94
— and in the past three years, six other laws relating to autism were enacted. One, requiring that state-regulated health insurers cover medically necessary treatments, starts on Feb. 10.

Eight laws in three years is commendable. We urge the new governor and reorganized Legislature to continue that important work.

Autism is not one but a range of developmental disorders that are usually diagnosed around age 3. The cause is not fully understood, although scientists think complex genetic factors play a key role, as well as environmental factors. The disorder can range from mild to severe and from one symptom to many.

The autism registry started in 2007 and requires doctors who diagnose a child with autism to report it. Expanding the autism registry to include adults, who will voluntarily report themselves, will help the state develop better adult programs and provide a clearer picture of the range and scope of the disorder.

Advocates say the federal Americans with Disabilities Act has weakened over the last decade, and people with autism have not always been thoroughly protected. The new legislation expands the state’s anti-discrimination law to specifically include people with autism spectrum disorders. That means, for example, people with autism cannot be turned away from movie theaters or swimming pools.

Families of children with autism go through difficult years of grappling with the diagnosis, understanding their children’s needs and putting together the best education plan for them. It is an expensive, lonely and uncertain period for parents, especially since they’re dealing with a disorder we don’t fully understand. Then there’s the future. Parents worry about their kids growing up and government-mandated help running out.

Assemblywoman Joan Voss, D-Fort Lee, and Assemblyman Gary Schaer, D-Passaic, reintroduced a bill this month to create a state autism Web site. It would include information about the disorder and how to contact the Early Intervention Program. It’s a good start.

Aptos Psychologist: Web Rings re mental health issues


Powered by WebRing.

This site is a member of WebRing.

To browse visit

In general, for major mental health issues — e.g., depression, bipolar, ADHD –a combination of appropriate therapy AND medication is the most successful treatment.

Monterey Bay Forum just joined a Web Ring that focuses on mental health issues.

omission unfairly skews the ballot & voids the election


I noticed in the ballot draft that it was not stated that bump money was voluntary only and not a requirement. Anthea told me that she would pass along my observation to you.

You may recall that at the initial street meeting some would like bumps so long as they did not have to pay for them. Only you of the three on the ballot committee were present at that meeting so they would not know of the non pay concern.

I see that the ballot does not include a choice for bumps if no money is required. This omission unfairly skews the ballot against bumps, and as far as I can see invalidates the “election”. The pro and con section includes an add on which deals ambiguously and incompletely with the issue.

I cannot imagine why the appropriate bump option was absent; but as I said, its absence voids the election.

Jim Jackson jaj48@aol.com

“Table” bumps on Florence Drive


We have agreed with United Paving to install 2 “table bumps” on morning of Thursday, Oct. 15. If raining, work will be next day.

Please park Wed. night so not go over bump areas AM of Thursday.

Painting lines on bumps and and signs saying BUMPS will be done a couple days after the road is sealed Oct. 19.

Anybody care about arrows versus straight lines on the bumps? Number of BUMPS signs? Bump signs will be painted on asphalt both before and after each bump. Maximum height of bump is 4 inches and tapers to zero on side. The bumps will meet the Guidelines of Fire Dept.

Cameron Jackson

BUMP update 9-29-09 re Florence Drive

To: Homes on 200 block of Florence Dr.

Date: Thursday, Sept. 29, 2009

From: Cameron Jackson, 202 Florence Drive, 831 688-6002,
DrCameronJackson@gmail.com web site: Monterey Bay Forum www.freedomOK.net/wordpress

At the end of this there is a REPLY box and you are encouraged to post what you think.

Recently my email was compromised (identity theft) so I don’t know what you got from me. Or me from you. I have a new gmail account which is listed above.

I was the person who agreed at the meeting we had to get the money to put in two bumps paid for by those who supported bumps. I have received enough money from 5 homes on Florence Drive to pay for one bump. The homes that have paid so far are largely at the Cliff / Florence end of the block. We will go ahead with one bump. I cannot promise two as I have not received the money.

As was discussed at the meeting at Peter’s driveway, the kind of bump put in ( by Earth Works) will be the same as on Martin Drive. Martin Drive is a County maintained road and thus the bump will meet County and Fire Dept standards. The bump will be wide and cover the entire road. Easy on shocks. And it will be marked bump and have stripes. Just like the one on Martin. The bump will be placed where recommended by Earth Works — between the May’s and Barron’s homes and not interfering with any drive ways. That is what will happen.

I have not heard from families at the other end of Florence Dr. Eleven homes said there that they were pro bump. A week ago, I put a flyer in all the 11 mailboxes stating how much ($153), to make a check out to “Jackson” and to put “for 2 bumps” on the check. And for security I asked people to call & let us know they had dropped off a check.

I respect people’s silence. For clarity as to what bumps cost, , $1680 was the bid from Earth Works for 2 bumps. With $680 for each additional bump. Their number is 475-1173. Jim Cumming, the owner, came to our meeting. Earth Works put in the wide bump on Martin Dr.

If homes at the other end of Florence want to go ahead with their own bump, I say go for it!

The good thing about all this is that as neighbors we are communicating. We do not have to agree!

This was said at the meeting & coincides with my view: Since the County put in the wide bumps on Martin Dr. all the traffic that used to speed down Martin to go to the freeway now speeds up and down Cliff Drive. There are 3 other privately maintained streets close to us that in last couple years put in bumps (not the County recommended wide ones). Bumps on these streets also changes how people drive.

Interestingly, almost all of the homes that support bumps (there were 11 that said yes) are on the right hand side of the street. That fits with my view that the worst speeders jam up and down Cliff Dr. and speed down Florence. Also the worst damage on the road (the big section in front of our house on corner) is right where they have to slam on their brakes as they come around the corner.

I will send this out to the emails that I have. And I will put it in all mail boxes. And on the website.

Cameron Jackson

Fire Dept opposed bumps & ignored by Santa Cruz County

To: homes along Florence Dr.

Jim Jackson spoke this afternoon with Aptos/La Selva Fire Marshall Jim Dias today, 9-29-09. Fire Marshall Dias said that the Fire Dept opposed bumps on Martin Drive. The Fire Dept advised the County of Santa Cruz that bumps on Martin Dr. posed a safety hazard. The County ignored the Fire Dept and the County put bumps on Martin. So the County caused the problem.

The Fire Dept now has to take a different route to get to the end of Cliff Dr. The County bumps have caused drivers to use Cliff Dr. and other streets including Florence. We are as he said in a “catch 22” situation. The Fire Marshall advised Florence residents to use our judgment. And we have. We have opted for safety of persons & animals on Florence Dr.

Our bump is the kind that recommended by the Fire Dept. unlike those on Kenneth and Kingsbury.

Is Florence Drive an “association”? No. We are a group willing to fix a road.

Thank you for your quick response.

There is nothing that occurred at our meeting at Peter’s house that made us an association. The Jackson check to pay for paving street was left blank re name. Baker never held meetings and we never years ago established an association. The Minutes have to be ratified to be legal. There has not been any meeting ratifying the Minutes. Thus , nothing has occurred that makes us an “association”.

We do have a good lawyer on the block. Why not ask Jim Jackson, Esq. He can be reached at jaj48@aol.com 688-6002 How about a phone call?

Thank goodness that email (my new email account) is now working!! Take care, Your neighbor, Cameron Jackson

The above was written in response to the following:

“The account at the bank is the Florence Drive Association. We made our checks out the Florence Drive Association. It is also documented in the minutes which were filed at the bank as the Florence Drive Association.”

– Show quoted text –