Ivar Lovaas: pioneer in treatment of autism dies

A respected and revered pioneer in the treatment of autism spectrum disorders has died. Dr. O. Ivar Lovaas passed away in California.

Dr. Lovaas expanded on the use of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) which helps people with autism learn to function in day-to-day society. His work began in the 1960s and helped thousands of children with autism across the globe. ABA is evidence-based treatment that proves successful in about half of the patients treated, and can offer the chance for a more productive life.

In Reno, Deborah Schumacher's son, Cliff, was the first child to receive treatment from Dr. Lovaas. In the early 1990's, Schumacher said she knew "something was clearly not developmentally right" with her little boy, "but i didn't know what was wrong." She learned of Dr. Lovaas's methods and classes at UCLA, and moved to southern California with Cliff when he was three years old.

"He got 42 hours a week of one-on-one work in the beginning," she said. "That only took-- in his case-- about a year and a half and he went from being non-verbal to being able to handle first grade."

"You have Dr. Lovaas a cheerful bouyancy and a dead seriousness about what's at stake here, and that's the life of a child," said Patrick Ghezzi, Ph.D., who uses Dr. Lovaas's treatments to help children with autism in Reno.

What foods give kids a healthy start to life?

An international symposium on the role nutrition plays in the prevention and management of pregnancy complications and early childhood diseases such as autism, asthma, obesity and cancer will be held in Adelaide this Friday, 30 July.

"Nutritional genomics is an emerging area of science that is making a significant difference in our approach to enhancing health outcomes by improving our understanding of how to prevent harmful genetic changes that cause developmental defects and degenerative diseases," says Professor Michael Fenech from CSIRO Food and Nutritional Sciences.

National position: appropriate education for students with ASD

In April 2010, Australia's Autism Month, the Australian Advisory Board on Autism Spectrum Disorders (AAB ASD) launched its position paper on Education and Autism Spectrum Disorders in Australia: The provision of appropriate educational services for school-age students with Autism Spectrum Disorders in Australia.

The Australian Advisory Board on Autism Spectrum Disorders calls for educational services for school-aged Australian children and adolescents with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) that are governed by the following principles:

    Outrage over Seven Hills West Public School putting autistic children in cage

    By Lisa Martin, From: AAP, March 11, 2010 6:01PM

    • Autistic children kept in fenced area
    • Treatment inhumane, says NSW Opposition
    • Matter of safety, says Education Department

    A SYDNEY primary school that pens children with autism in a fenced area at lunchtimes should be investigated for human rights violations, the New South Wales Opposition says.

    Parents with children at Seven Hills West Public School are angry that pupils with special needs are placed inside a fenced enclosure that has one tree, a bench and a dirt floor.

    One in a hundred adults have an autism spectrum disorder, says pioneering new study

    The world's first ever study into the prevalence of autism spectrum disorders among adults shows that one in every hundred adults living in households has the condition – broadly the same rate as that cited for children.

    While studies have been carried out into the prevalence of autism spectrum disorders among children, the report from The NHS Information Centre is the first attempt to find and count adults and older people in the community with an autism spectrum disorder, including asperger syndrome.

    advocacy and charitable status

    The recent Federal Court decision in the matter Commissioner of Taxation v Aid/Watch Incorporated 2009 says
    that an advocacy and lobbying organisation, such as A4, cannot be seen as a charitable for tax purposes.

    Such a decision has major implications about how advocacy groups operate.

    Here are some links to commentary on the issue ...

    Government announces Autism Spectrum Disorder register

    Media Release

    Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Children’s Services
    Parliamentary Secretary for Victorian Bushfire Reconstruction

    Thursday, August 20, 2009

    The Australian Government has given its support to a National Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Register to better track the incidence of the condition in Australia.

    Bill Shorten, Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Children’s Services, today announced the Register at the Asia Pacific Autism Conference 2009.

    A first for autism child-care

    La Trobe University has been chosen by the Federal Government as Victorian service provider under its new national Autism Specific Early Learning and Care Centres program.

    In partnership with the Royal Children’s Hospital, the University will receive $4 million over four years to develop such a centre, co-located with its Community Children’s Centre on the main Melbourne campus at Bundoora.

    Community and Disability Services Ministers’ Conference Communique


    Disability Services

    Ministers agreed to develop a comprehensive implementation plan for the National Disability Agreement (NDA) by July 2009, which identifies the work to be undertaken over the next five years and includes reporting arrangements, details about progress, timelines, milestones and outcomes.

    Bill Shorten launched a new information website

    The media release (see says ...

    Parents and carers of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) will benefit from a new information website created as part of the $190 million Helping Children with Autism package.


    The website was launched today at Parliament House by the Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Children's Services Bill Shorten.


    Proposal for a National Disability Insurance Scheme

    There is growing support for a National Disability Insurance Scheme (see A paper on the full proposal can be downloaded from members are encouraged to consider the proposal as tell us what they think about how such a scheme would affect people with ASD and their families.

    National Disability Strategy: discussion paper and response

    The Australian Federal Government is creating another National Disability Strategy (see

    The consultation was spectacularly short … about 6 weeks. The government launched its discussion paper on 17th October 2008. The closing date for comments was 1st December.

    Forum sheds light on new methods in autism care

    JEDDAH: To help the growing number of autistic children in the Arab world, the first scientific forum of autism centers in the Arab world began on Sunday night at the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

    The event — entitled “Autism, Reality and Future” — was held under the support of Prince Talal, president of the Arab Gulf Program for United Nations Development Organizations (AGFUND), and was organized by the Al-Faisalya Women Welfare Society and the Jeddah Autism Center.

    Unlocking The Inner-Savant In All Of Us

    We are all capable of the extraordinary savant skills displayed by people with autism according to Professor Allan Snyder, speaking at the Royal Society today. Snyder argues that it is our inbuilt expectations of the world that stop us from using them.

    Prof Snyder spoke on the savant syndrome and his efforts to 'turn on' autistic savant skills in people who don't have autism at a discussion meeting jointly organised by the Royal Society and the British Academy. Snyder is director of the Centre for the Mind at the University of Sydney, Australia.

    the Bercow Review: NAS response

    The Bercow review, published today, has confirmed what many parents of children with autism have been telling us: provision for children with speech, language and communication needs is inadequate and must improve.

    We strongly welcome Bercow's crucial emphasis on early identification and intervention and support his call for an assessment process and better speech and language services. It is also imperative that parents get the right support to understand both the needs of their child and what help is available to them.

    UN co-chairs autism awareness campaign

    The United Nations today co-launched a conference on autism designed to promote quicker intervention, more compassion and greater acceptance of those afflicted.

    “Not too long ago, those affected by autism-related disorders were set aside: placed in institutions or dismissed as untreatable ‘lost cases’,” said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s wife, Ban Soon-taek, who co-sponsored the event with First Ladies Laura Bush of the United States and Dorrit Moussaieff of Iceland.

    Helping Children with Autism - frequently asked questions

    • Who will the initiatives help?
    • My child is over six years old, can I still access the services under the Helping Children with Autism package?
    • What other support is available to families and carers of children with an Autism Specific Disorder?
    • When will the services be available?


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