Wednesday, April 25, 2018

MedicAlert a voice for autistics in crisis situations

The MedicAlert Autism Program allows emergency responders to make better decisions to help people in times of need

By Laurie Mawlam
Executive director
Autism Canada
Laurie Mawlam
Click image to download
The silver identification bracelet that indicates an existing condition to first responders has been a valuable tool for decades. In 1953, a teenage girl named Linda Collins cut her finger badly. At the hospital, she received a tetanus shot, had a severe allergic reaction and almost died.
After that incident, her parents began attaching a note about her allergy to her coat whenever she left the house.
Eventually they had a custom bracelet made for her with her medical needs engraved into the plate. It became clear that rapid access to medical information could save lives - and MedicAlert developed into a worldwide network.
In April, following World Autism Awareness Day, MedicAlert and Autism Canada put their respective efforts and years of experience together to develop the MedicAlert Autism Program.
It's a system that serves people on the spectrum when emergencies occur by contextualizing care and providing a voice for autistics in crisis situations.
Autism isn't always recognizable to those who don't know the signs and this can make those on the spectrum particularly vulnerable in an emergency situation, especially when communication is hindered or not possible.
The MedicAlert ID supports Canadians with 24/7 notification to loved ones, and a special hotline for paramedics, police and emergency responders to access detailed health records in an average of five seconds.
The subscriber profile for individuals on the spectrum includes information about the person's routines, anxiety triggers and de-escalation techniques so emergency responders can make better decisions to help the person at the time of need.
"This is a simple mechanism that can be made widely available and alerts others in an emergency situation to the needs of the individual under stress who has difficulties communicating their needs," says Dr. Yona Lunsky, senior scientist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). Her research has focused on crises and emergencies in the autism community.
Lunsky and co-authors found in a recent study that nearly one in four adolescents and adults with autism visited the hospital for an emergency situation, both medical and psychiatric, in a 12-to-18-month period. The study found that one in six had a police interaction over that same period.
"The study is a good reminder that supports are often inadequate for people on the spectrum across the country and are not meeting the needs of families," says Lucie Stephens, program director at Autism Canada.
To try to bridge those gaps, Autism Canada works to inform public policy and research by sharing best practices from across the country. It's an advocacy organization with a national perspective and a guiding principle to see the potential in people living with autism.
Autism is a complex neurodevelopmental disorder causing most individuals to experience communication problems, difficulty with social interactions, and a tendency to repeat specific patterns of behaviour. An estimated one in 66 children are diagnosed with the disorder, making it the most commonly diagnosed neurodevelopmental condition.
The MedicAlert and Autism Canada program provides a recognizable identifier for those in crisis situations. Emergency responders and police will be trained to recognize a situation involving an autistic individual because of the unique blue and red emblem created for the MedicAlert Autism Program.
"The uniquely coloured emblem helps to give a voice to those with autism when they need it most," said Dermot Cleary, board chair of Autism Canada. "Regardless of the subscriber's age or where they fall on the spectrum, this program is vital in supporting autistics in an emergency situation."
Laurie Mawlam has been the executive director of Autism Canada since 2006. She has led the charge for a national autism strategy since 2007.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

New study shows cognitive behavioural therapy can improve emotion regulation in children with autism


TORONTO, pril , 2018– New research from York University’s Faculty of Health shows cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can help children with autism manage not only anxiety but other emotional challenges, such as sadness and anger.

Led by Jonathan Weiss, associate professor in the Department of Psychology, Faculty of Health and CIHR Chair in Autism Spectrum Disorders Treatment and Care Research, the study shows CBT can lead to significant improvements in children’s emotional regulation.  It also shows – for the first time – that CBT can improve more than just anxiety.

This is the first transdiagnostic CBT trial for children with autism, employing a randomized controlled trial.

Approximately 70 per cent of children with autism will struggle with some form of emotional challenge. About half of these children will struggle with anxiety and another 25 to 40 per cent will struggle with other emotional challenges such as anger or depression. In fact, there is a high co-occurrence among these conditions.

 “We can use this same intervention to improve children’s skills more broadly regardless of what emotional challenge they have,” says Weiss. “We can make them more resilient to many emotional and mental health issues.”

Sixty-eight children from 8 to 12 years of age and their parents, mostly mothers, participated in the study and were randomly assigned to two groups: one group receiving 10 sessions beginning right away and another group waiting to receive treatment later. Researchers tracked how their emotions and behaviour changed prior to and after treatment.

“We showed that children who received this treatment right away improved in their ability to manage their emotions, and in overall mental health problems, versus kids who were waiting for treatment,” says Weiss.  

A clinician who was not involved in the direct provision of the treatment and did not know if children were in the treatment or waitlist group rated 74% of children receiving treatment as improved, compared to only 31% of those in the waitlist group.

The treatment consisted of time-limited spy-themed cognitive behavioural therapy involving a computer program, games and tools to help build the child’s emotional toolkit. The tools help children face situations that may have previously been challenging, head-on and in a more supportive way. During the intervention, parents also practice what they are learning with their children and serve as co-therapists in the therapy sessions.

“We believe that children grow and develop and improve within the context of healthy families and this intervention aids to help the family unit more broadly to be the agent of change.”

Researchers are now looking at how this intervention can be used for other neurodevelopmental conditions that often overlap with autism, such as ADHD.

This study was funded by the CIHR Chair in ASD Treatment and Care Research, in partnership with Health Canada, Kids Brain Health Network, Autism Speaks Canada, the Sinneave Family Foundation, and the Canadian ASD Alliance with additional funding from York University.


Media contact: Anjum Nayyar, York University Media Relations, 416 736 2100 ext. 44543

York University champions new ways of thinking that drive teaching and research excellence. Our students receive the education they need to create big ideas that make an impact on the world. Meaningful and sometimes unexpected careers result from cross-disciplinary programming, innovative course design and diverse experiential learning opportunities. York students and graduates push limits, achieve goals and find solutions to the world’s most pressing social challenges, empowered by a strong community that opens minds. York U is an internationally recognized research university – our 11 faculties and 25 research centres have partnerships with 200+ leading universities worldwide. Located in Toronto, York is the third largest university in Canada, with a strong community of 53,000 students, 7,000 faculty and administrative staff, and more than 300,000 alumni.

York U's fully bilingual Glendon Campus is home to Southern Ontario's Centre of Excellence for French Language and Bilingual Postsecondary Education.

Monday, April 23, 2018

World's Best Cookie Dough is Where Gourmet Taste Meets Pure Edible Dough in an Unbeatable Range of Flavors

NEW YORK, April  2018 /PRNewswire/ -- There is no exaggerating the goodness that the newly launched World's Best Cookie Dough is spreading around. Located at Bleecker Street, Greenwich Village, New York City, the store offers over 50 varieties of sweet treats, making it a class apart from other cookie dough services. It is also the largest cookie dough store to come up in NYC. Besides providing Raw edible cookie dough, they also offer giant 6 oz cookies, Banana pudding, Cheesecake, Crazy Freakshakes, Cupcakes, Brownies, fried cookie dough, and even an extensive breakfast menu featuring cookie dough pancakes, cookie dough waffles etc.

The raw and sensuous appeal of cookie dough comes out when it's prepared with passion and authenticity. This wasn't the case until now, with most cookie dough sold around falling short of expectations. World's Best Cookie Dough thought this was unfair to our gourmet culture, and went ahead to create the finest cookie dough offerings possible based on a secret formula that replicates the exact flavors found in pure cookie dough.
Cookie dough is not mere cookie dough here! It's gourmet edible, bakeable and customizable. This dough is also vegetarian, and made in the same hygienic facility with pasteurized eggs and heat treated flour, the quality far exceeds that of other brands. And then there is the dazzling range of flavors.
Those yearning to try new flavors will be spoilt for choice. There is one for everyone, in all popular and conceivable flavors: Chocolate Chip, Brownie Cookie, Pumpkin Spice, Oatmeal Raisin, Salted Caramel… Not to forget, there are Crazy Freakshakes too, and baked cookies, ice cream, and cheesecakes stuffed with finger licking dough.
The best way to enjoy these delicatessens is to visit them at their flagship store at 164 Bleecker street in NYC. or for those away from NY can have them enjoyed in combo packs. World's Best Cookie Dough makes it easy to pick up one's favorite flavors in packs of four, six or twelve combo packs, with each flavor available in 8 oz size. Party orders are welcome and delicious treats are carefully packaged and shipped nationwide. The store can be followed on social media, and visitors can sign up for a newsletter to know what's cooking at World's Best Cookie Dough.

For more information, please visit:

SOURCE World's Best Cookie Dough

Friday, April 20, 2018

Banana Oatmeal Walnut Cookies

Snacking is a big deal, especially in a household with active youngsters who are hungry and on-the-go. Instead of handing your kids a prepackaged snack made with artificial sweeteners and chemical additives, bake healthy, nutritious snacks they love. This recipe for Banana Oatmeal Walnut Cookies is surprisingly simple. Rich in potassium and pectin (a soluble fiber), simple mix mashed bananas, quick oats and chopped walnuts to form tablespoon-sized cookies and bake. That’s it! Three ingredients and you’ve got three-ingredient cookies—a nutritious snack your kids are sure to love.

More on Healthy Snacks from Mother Earth Living

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Monday, April 16, 2018

CollapseAndGo Launches the First Ever Collapsible Baby Bottle and Sippy Cup on Kickstarter

CollapseAndGo's easy-to-stow, on-the-go design makes parenting less chaotic

Today, the CollapseAndGo team launched their Kickstarter campaign for the first ever fully collapsible baby bottle and sippy cup, the Collapsabottle and Collapsacup, with a funding goal of $15,000. CollapseAndGo makes it simple for busy, on the go parents to take and pack their baby bottles and sippy cups and offers the added benefit of having more storage space in the kitchen and diaper bags.

The Collapsabottle and Collapsacup collapse down to the size of a hockey puck, which is 1 and ¾ inches, allowing for easy storage. Its organic shape resembles the natural shape and feel of a mother, and parents can collapse the bottle as a baby drinks, reducing their air intake to minimize gas and discomfort. From a bottle nipple to a sippy cup top, CollapseAndGo bottles have interchangeable lids, so parents do not have to buy new cups as their children grow, and the handle attachment makes it easy for older babies to hold.

CollapseAndGo products are also 100% safe for children. Silicone is odorless, tasteless and mold- and bacteria-resistant. CollapseAndGo bottles will not stain, cloud, or seep harmful chemicals.
"The Collapsabottle and Collapsacup are both made from the best quality silicone available and pass the most rigid food safety testing standards. They are BPA-, PVC-, lead- and Phthalate-free, so in other words, they are EXTREMELY safe," said CollapseAndGo Co-founder Lauren Shapiro. "You can even put the bottles in boiling water to heat them up for your baby. Additionally, the Collapsabottle and Collapsacup are dishwasher safe, so no longer will you have to hand wash and dry all of those bottles on top of your counter to free up extra counter space and keep them clean."
To make on-the-go parenting easier, pre-order a Collapsabottle and Collapsacup for $12 on Kickstarter. For more information about the products, visit

About CollapseAndGo
When newborn parents Matthew Mittleman and Lauren Shapiro were shopping for collapsible baby bottles and sippy cups (because their diaper bag was overflowing and their cabinets were cluttered), they realized these bottles and cups did not exist. From there, the new collapsible, top-of-the-line baby bottles and sippy cups were created, bringing CollapseAndGo to life. For more information about CollapseAndGo, visit

SOURCE CollapseAndGo