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The Network for Individuals with Hearing and Visual Impairments
In This Issue
The Network
History of the Network
Meet Brandon
Future E-newsletter issues


Autism Research Institute
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San Diego, California 92116

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Welcome to our new e-newsletter dedicated to those on the autism spectrum who have hearing and/or visual impairments. There are many challenges for people on the autism spectrum; the needs of those who have sensory impairments are amplified.


This e-newsletter provides the Autism Research Institute (ARI) the opportunity to update the autism community about important and relevant information related to hearing and/or visual impairments, as well as to provide a forum for discussion.


We invite feedback and comment:  [email protected]


Margaret Creedon, Ph.D., ABPP

     and Steve Edelson, Ph.D.

Autism Research Institute
The Network for Individuals with Hearing and Visual Impairments


The mission statement: To maintain a framework supporting communication, education, research & advocacy for persons with autism and hearing and/or visual impairments.


Currently, approximately one-third of the children in school programs who are deaf or blind also have a diagnosis of autism. Unfortunately, the major primary disabilities categories do not include the terms deaf-autistic or deaf-blind to address their exceptional needs.


To learn more about the Network visit www.autism.com and click on the 'Hearing/Visually Impaired' link on the homepage. 
History of the Network


Dolores and Dr. Alan Bartel are the parents of two sons with profound hearing loss; their younger son Craig also has autism. In the late 1970s when Craig was only 18 months, the Bartels began working with the educational system. He was placed in various residential facilities, but most of them had poorly trained staff-- although they had good intentions. (Craig's remarkable journey with his supportive living and

The Bartels

employment programs will be featured in another issue of this e-newsletter.) Over the years, the Bartels spent much time in communication with professionals, and talking with numerous families who were dealing with similar issues.   In addition, Dr. Bartel developed a database of families and professionals to facilitate networking and to assist researchers. To date, the database consists of over 1,100 network members from 22 countries that include Canada, Australia, Israel, Kuwait, Europe and the Philippines, as well as the USA.


In 1992, Dr. Margaret Creedon presented a talk titled "Autism and Sensory Loss" at the Autism Society (AS) national conference. The following year, the Network was established and became an annual special-interest talk at AS national conferences.   Through the combined early efforts of many people, including the Bartels, Janice Sharre, OD., Diane Twachtman-Cullen, Ph.D., Carol Schall, Ph.D., Barbara Doyle, M.S., Terese Pawletko, Ph.D., and Enid Wolf-Schein, Ed.D., these annual meetings on sensory loss at the AS conferences have provided an efficient way to share resources that have been developed across the United States.


In 2007, ARI became actively involved in the Network by modifying and updating the database and providing online registration to the Network at: www.autism.com, click on link titled 'Hearing/Visually Impaired' located on the homepage.


The Bartels' encouraging message that families are not alone continues to ring true today. The Network and this e-newsletter will allow the sharing of relevant information in many areas including medical, educational, and therapeutic options.
Meet Brandon


Brandon is 19 years old, has autism, and is deaf. He was raised primarily by his father, a single parent. Brandon made significant strides throughout his childhood, starting
Brandon and Father
Brandon and his father
with early intervention. His world opened up soon after he learned sign language.   You can watch a video of Brandon telling his own story on the Network's webpage on www.autism.com
Future E-newsletter Issues


We plan to address issues related to individuals on the autism spectrum who also have hearing and/or visual impairments. Some examples of the questions that we will write about in future issues:


What impact does sensory loss have on behavior if you also have autism?


What happens if you have a sensory processing disorder and struggle with adaptive devices like hearing aids and glasses, or with mobility training?


What is the Deaf Children's Bill of Rights?


How do we identify appropriate school placement for children with such complex diagnoses, given current reductions in educational services?


Please let us know if you would like us to answer other questions relevant to this mission. You can send your questions to:  [email protected]

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