Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Ransom Notes Update

The following e-mail was sent out today to many people who commented on the Ransom Notes advertisements by the NYU Child Study Center, which were withdrawn in December after massive protest against their portrayal of autistics and others with neurological differences as tragic kidnap victims. It is a response to the demand by ASAN and other organizations for meaningful dialogue that includes people with disabilities.

Even if you did not contact the NYU Child Study Center to comment on the ads, the follow-up discussion on February 26 will provide an opportunity for you to express your views regarding stigma, stereotypes, and other issues of concern, and to suggest a more positive direction for awareness-raising publicity campaigns.


When we launched our “Ransom Notes” public awareness campaign this December, our intent was to spark a dialogue about America’s last silent public health crisis – the millions of children who suffer from untreated psychiatric and learning disorders. The campaign truly caught the public’s attention. We received thousands of calls and letters from parents, mental health professionals, educators, advocates, and concerned third parties, all of whom are passionate about helping children. Many people enthusiastically praised the campaign, others were deeply troubled, and some saw both perspectives.

We were so encouraged by the thoughtful response of our active community of caring parents and advocates for children that we plan to take advantage of this momentum with an online forum - not just about the campaign, but about what we can do together to improve awareness and care for children’s mental health. We need your help to do this. We invite all to participate and share their thoughts, insights and opinions at on Tuesday, February 26 from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm, EST.

At the Child Study Center, in addition to our research, clinical care, and professional education efforts, we work to bring issues surrounding child and adolescent mental health to the top of America's agenda. We invite you to partner with us to give children and their families equal access to health insurance, remove the stigma that the term "psychiatric disorder" so clearly still elicits, and, most importantly, support the drive to make research and science-based treatment a national priority.

We hope you join us on February 26th and add your voice.


Harold S. Koplewicz, M.D.Director, NYU Child Study Center;Arnold and Debbie Simon Professor and Chair, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry;Sr. Vice President and Vice Dean for External Affairs, NYU Medical Center;Professor of Pediatrics, NYU School of Medicine;Director, Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Bellevue Hospital Center;Director, Nathan Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Obama Disability Policy Conference Call

The following e-mail was posted recently to the ASAN discussion list. Please note that ASAN is a registered nonprofit organization and, as such, cannot endorse political candidates. This article is provided for informational purposes only. ASAN does not express any opinion as to its content.

Those who are interested in participating in the conference call should e-mail their questions to the Disability Policy Committee beforehand.

From: Stan Klein []
Sent: Thursday, January 24, 2008 11:43 AM
To: Ethan Ellis
Subject: Re: Obama

Dear Ethan,
Thanks for your feedback. Here is an email announcing a national teleconference.

As you know, I am a volunteer member of Barack Obama's Disability Policy Committee. I wanted to make sure that you received a copy of Senator Obama's Plan to Empower Americans with Disabilities and the video of Senator Obama expressing his support for people with disabilities. You can find the Plan and video at, or by going to the campaign's web site at and clicking on the "Issues" tab and then on "Disabilities." I have also attached a fact sheet entitled "Barack Obama: Supporting Americans with Autism Spectrum Disorders." It supplements the information within the Empower content.

I also invite you to participate in our Obama for America Disability Policy Conference Call on Tuesday, January 29 at 5PM EST. Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), a national co-chair of the Obama campaign; Mike Strautmanis, Senator Obama's former Chief Counsel; and members of the Disability Policy Committee will discuss the issues confronting people with disabilities and Senator Obama's plans to address them when he becomes President.

You can join the conference call by dialing (712) 432-5555, press "2" when prompted, press "1" when prompted, and enter the code 2336083.

If you have a question you would like to have answered during the conference call, please go to Senator Obama's Disabilities issues page at and click on the "Present Your Ideas" link that is immediately below the video window. We will try to answer as many questions during the conference call as time permits.

I would appreciate it if you would share Senator Obama's Plan and video, and this invitation to participate in Disability Policy Conference Call, with other members of your organization and anyone else who might be interested. If there is someone else in your organization I should contact, please let me know and I will follow up.

If you agree with me that issues affecting Americans with disabilities should be a central part of the next President's agenda, then I hope you will vote for Senator Obama on February 5. If you remain undecided, I urge you to participate in our conference call to learn more.

Thank you,
Stanley D. Klein, Ph.D., Co-Chair
Disability Policy Committee
617) 879-0397

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Dayton Support Groups

Cincinnati Support Groups

Monday, January 14, 2008

Gathering Interest

We are gathering interest for an ASAN chapter in Southwest Ohio. If you are interested in self-advocacy, de-stigmatizing autism spectrum differences, and forming a social and support network for people on the spectrum, please contact us (asansouthwestohio AT hotmail DOT com) with your name, e-mail address, and any comments or suggestions you may have.

We look forward to hearing from you and, in the near future, making plans for regular meetings of this chapter, social events for our membership, and other activities. Come join us!

Friday, January 11, 2008

ASAN Victorious Against Offensive Ads

In December 2007, ASAN's national leadership took the initiative in coordinating an effort by 22 disability rights organizations calling for the removal of a stereotyped and highly offensive advertising campaign by the NYU Child Study Center, "Ransom Notes," which portrayed autistics and others with neurological differences as tragic kidnap victims.

Within two weeks, the NYU Child Study Center announced that they were ending the "Ransom Notes" ad campaign in response to widespread public pressure. In addition, ASAN obtained a commitment from Dr. Harold Koplewicz, Director of the NYU Child Study Center, to pursue real dialogue in the creation of any further ad campaign depicting individuals with disabilities.

Dayton Area Resources

We are working on putting together a list of helpful resources for autism spectrum folks in the Dayton area. If you have had a good experience with a particular group or agency that you would like to recommend, please contact us (asansouthwestohio AT hotmail DOT com) with your suggestion!

Cincinnati Area Resources

We are working on putting together a list of helpful resources for autism spectrum folks in the Cincinnati area. If you have had a good experience with a particular group or agency that you would like to recommend, please contact us (asansouthwestohio AT hotmail DOT com) with your suggestion!

Thanks to Jim Myres for letting us know about Cincinnati TOP Soccer, an inclusive soccer program that welcomes autistic youths and others with disabilities.