The Law Office of PATRICIA S. PHELAN


Autism Awareness Month: Solve a Piece of the Autism Puzzle!

Did you know that April is Autism Awareness Month and April 2nd is World Autism Awareness Day?

Given the prevalenceof Autism in society today (1 in 150) it is difficult to find a person who has not in some way been touched by this disability. It almost seems that you are in the minority if you or someone you know does not have a family member, friend, colleague or acquaintance diagnosed on the spectrum.

Therefore, during the next month, I hope you will take a moment to learn at least one fact about Autism. The more we as members of society improve our knowledge of this disorder as well as increase our sensitivity towards and acceptance of those inflicted, the closer we are as a society to solving the Autism puzzle.

Please take a moment to review one or more facts and resources listed below relating to Autism:


1. A developmental disability
2. Significantly affecting verbal and nonverbal communication and social interaction
3. Generally evident before age 3
4. Adversely affects a student’s educational performance
5. Often repetitive activities, stereotyped movements, resistance to environmental change or daily routines, unusual responses to sensory experiences.


1. Impaired social interaction (i.e. eye contact, developing peer relationships, sharing enjoyment with others, emotional reciprocity)
2. Impaired communication (i.e. speech, pretend play)
3. Repetitive and stereotyped behaviors or interests (i.e. spinning tops, preoccupation with trains, need to hold objects in hands)


Requiring immediate evaluation:
-no babbling or pointing or other gestures by 12 months
-no single words by 16 months
-no two-word phrases by 24 months
-loss of language or social skills (any age)
Raise attention:
-not turning head when parent says name
-not pointing to show parents an interesting object or event
-lack of babbling
-smiling late
-failure to make eye contact


Advocates for Children’s Health Affected by Mercury Poisoning:

The Association for Behavior Analysis International:

Autism One:

Autism Program Quality Indicators:

Autism Research Institute:

Autism Society of America:

Autism Speaks:

Center for Effective Collaboration and Practice:

NYSDOH Clinical Practice Guideline Report of the Recommendations, Autism/Pervasive Developmental Disorders:

The Elija Foundation:

The Explosive Child/Collaborative Problem Solving.

Families for Early Autism Treatment:

Generation Rescue:

Jessica Kingsley Publishers of books on Autism, Asperger Syndrome and other spectrum conditions:

A Ray of Hope Autism Awareness Jewelry:

Moms Against Mercury:

National Autism Association:

No Mercury:

New Yorkers for Vaccine Information and Choice:

Parents of Autistic Children:

RDI = Relationship Development Intervention:

SAFEMINDS = Coalition for Sensible Action for Ending Mercury-Induced Neurological Disorders:

Spectrum Magazine:

Unlocking Autism:


Autism in your Classroom – – A General Educator’s Guide to Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders, By Deborah Fein, Ph.D. & Michelle A. Dunn, Ph.D.

Autism/Aspergers: Solving the Relationship Puzzle, By Dr. Steven Gutstein
This book summarizes and justifies the basis for the RDI (Relationship Development Intervention) methodology for children on the Spectrum.

The Autism Sourcebook: Everything You Need to Know About Diagnosis, Treatment, Coping and Healing – – From A Mother Whose Child Recovered , By Karen Siff Exkorn

Let Me Hear Your Voice, By Catherine Maurice
This book details a real mother’s account of her family’s triumph over autism.

The New Social Story Book, By Carol Gray
This book contains and extensive compilation of social stories and illustrations to help children with autism spectrum disorders tackle everyday life situations.

Relationship Development Intervention with Young Children, By Dr. Steven Gutstein and Rachelle Sheely
This book provides social and emotional development activities for young children with Asperger Syndrome, Autism, PDD and NLD.

Replays: Using Play to Enhance Emotional and Behavioral Development for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders, By Karen Levine and Naomi Chedd
This book gives the reader strategies to use to help children on the autism spectrum to access their emotions through interactive, symbolic play.

Say Good-Bye to Allergy-Related Autism,  By Dr. Nambudripad
These books explain a non-invasive, revolutionary treatment called NAET to battle allergies and allergy-related conditions including allergy-related autism. NAET incorporates various medical disciplines such as allopathy, acupuncture, chiropractic, kinesiology and nutrition.

Special Diets for Special Kids, By Lisa Lewis, Ph.D.
Excellent overview of issues surrounding food allergies and dietary intervention into autism and related developmental disorders. Also contains recipes to assist in implementing the special diet.

THE SOCIAL SKILLS PICTURE BOOK Teaching play, emotion, and communication to children with autism, By Jed Baker, Ph.D.
This book has terrific real-life photographs which accompany its social skills rules to help teach children with autism how to develop their social skills.

S.O.S. Social Skills in Our Schools – – A Social Skills Program for Children with Pervasive Developmental Disorders, Including High-Functioning Autism and Asperger Syndrome, and Their Typical Peers, By. Michelle A. Dunn, Ph.D.

REMEMBER: This list is by no means exhaustive of the many agencies and resources in existence within the field of Autism. 

Moreover, please check out the link below for a brief trip around the world to view how different countries and Autism Speaks are recognizing April 2nd and working to solve this International puzzle:

From a parent of a child on the spectrum, and an attorney whose practice is dedicated solely to helping parents of children with disabilities, I thank you for taking a moment to learn about Autism, celebrate Autism Awareness Month and bring us one piece closer to solving the puzzle.

Please keep in mind that the resources listed are not intended as a recommendation, referral, or endorsement thereof.   In addition, the information in this blog is not intended as legal advice.  


April 2, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 3 Comments