Tuesday, March 31, 2015

LIke me on facebook

I'm working on getting someone to creat a like button on my page, but until then you can just find my facebbok page here and like it.

My facebook page

Top 10 Tips for Getting Into The Video Game Industry

Top 10 Ways To Earn Money Playing Video Games

I was just thinking "a lot of people with aspergers love video games, why not teach them how to turn their love into something they can support themselves with.

I am going to look to have more on these subjects if you know someone who does one of these things I will look at more advice on doing these methods.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Understanding gender differences in autism and alzheimer's can lead to better treatment


While modern society strives to reach equality between men and women, the scientific community has often raised the question of whether gender differences could affect our health and well-being. A new Israeli study shows that gender differences affect autism and Alzheimer’s disease; its results could potentially help in improving treatment for other illnesses as well.
Autism and Alzheimer’s are cognitive-physical conditions that pose great difficulties for the patient, family and friends. While men are more likely to have autism with a ratio of three to one, women are more likely to suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. At this point, medicine can only offer limited treatments for these conditions, but this new Tel Aviv University study could shed light on how these diseases are formed, and more specifically, on what drives their development – so that doctors can better treat them.

The new research focuses on how a certain gene called ADNP – which regulates 400 proteins involved in the development of the human body – is causing gender-specific tendencies towards autism and Alzheimer’s disease. This means that to find a cure, men and women should be tested separately because they may respond differently to treatment.
Male and female mice have different cognitive abilities
In the study, researchers removed the ADNP gene from mice, and compared them to mice that had the gene. The mice showed gender-specific learning and memory differences: Male mice that had the gene removed expressed degraded object recognition, which means they could not identify objects well. They also exhibited degraded social memory.

Female mice of the same test group, however, showed social deficiency without degraded object recognition. “The gene’s gender-dependent expression changes male and female chemical tendencies toward different neurological disorders,” TAU’s Prof. Ilana Gozes said in a statement. “Male and female mice may look the same and their brains may look the same, but they are not. When the expression of ADNP is different, it may cause different behaviors and different cognitive abilities.”
Lab mouse
Providing new hope for patients and their families
Gozes has studied ADNP in the past 15 years, and her new findings may be just enough to propel a revolution in drug research for autism and Alzheimer’s disease. “This study emphasizes the need to analyze men and women separately in clinical trials to find cures for diseases because they may respond differently,” she says.
While further investigation into gender differences in conditions such as autism and Alzheimer’s disease is needed, the researchers believe that this study could provide a stepping stone in finding a cure for autism and Alzheimer’s. Says Gozes: “If we understand how ADNP acts differently in males and females, we can try to optimize drugs for potential future therapeutics to treat both autism and Alzheimer’s disease.”Alzheimer's
Research for the study was led by Prof. Ilana Gozes, and conducted by graduate students Anna Malishkevich, Noy Amram, and Gal Hacohen-Kleiman, in collaboration with post-doctoral fellow Dr. Iddo Magen, and staff scientist Dr. Eliezer Giladi.

Available for speaking arrangements

I'm available to speak about aspergers.  I have spoken in front of public audiances, and mental health professionals to help them gain more knowledge on aspergers.


I can speak about several things:
1.My Life with Aspergers
2.Stories of Success
3.Employment stratagies for people with disabilities (especially aspergers).

I can skype in to speak to people anywhere in the world.  Right now there is no speakers fee unless I have to spend $30 or 100 NIS for travel and lodgings (if necassary) (paying those cost).

E-mail me at craig.kohn@yahoo.com if you would like more information

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Soldiers with autism give army rare view into intel, and disorder | The Times of Israel

Soldiers with autism give army rare view into intel, and disorder | The Times of Israel

The idea was born on the lawn. Some two dozen middle-aged men seated in a semicircle had come in February 2011 to comfort Dror and Yehudit Rotenberg, who had lost their son, Staff Sgt. Nadav Rotenberg, a month prior just outside Gaza. The men all knew each other well – they had served together with Dror in the Paratrooper Brigade recon unit in the seventies – but hadn’t seen each other in decades.
T, his blue eyes shaded by sandy eyebrows, shared a close bond with the father, who had, back in 1974, been his radio operator. The two had not seen each since. But T, who was teaching yoga classes and guiding solo trips out into the desert — newly retired after more than 20 years in the field as a Mossad officer — was immediately struck by the man’s predicament. He said he realized then and there that working with autistic young adults was his calling.
“Everything I had done up to this point prepared me for this,” T said, describing, among other things, the ability to tackle a complex issue, to swiftly separate the wheat from the chaff, and to focus intently on the critical elements. “I learnt that when something is really, really important then there is nothing that can stop you from doing it. And the trick is just to figure out what is really, really important.”
In this case, it was the integration of high-functioning autistic teens and young adults into one of the IDF Military Intelligence Directorate’s more crucial functions: aerial photography interpretation.
Israel's Ofek-10 satellite takes off from Palmachim air base in central Israel on April 9, 2014. (photo credit: Israel Ministry of Defense and Israel Aerospace Industries)
Israel’s Ofek-10 satellite takes off from Palmachim air base in central Israel on April 9, 2014. (photo credit: Israel Ministry of Defense and Israel Aerospace Industries)
The army has at its disposal, among other aerial reconnaissance vehicles, five military satellites orbiting the globe. The surveillance satellites deliver 3D images, at night and through any sort of cloud cover, to Tel Aviv in real time. Military intelligence’s Unit 9900 is in charge of interpreting the images. The work can be Sisyphean. It requires long hours of concentration and constant attention to detail.
The unit, like others in military intelligence, has the pick of the draft, selecting, from among the top tier of students, those with the necessary spatial intelligence and visual perception for the task. The commander of the unit, though, told T that he suffered from a dearth of decipherers. The soldiers he got, generally from the best schools and with the best grades, wanted to move on quickly and take command positions. “I live in a constant lack of manpower,” T recalled him saying.
Software that might replace the human decipherer, he added, was nowhere on the horizon.
For T and another Mossad alumna, L, a mother to an autistic young adult who came from the technology side of the secret service, the predicament in Unit 9900 presented “a win-win situation.”

Looking far

In early 2012, as T was looking into the relative strengths of those diagnosed with autism, he received a call from Tamir Pardo, the newly appointed head of the Mossad. “He said: ‘I hear there’s a guy called T dealing with this issue, is that you?” T recalled. “‘Listen, I’m devoted to this. If you need any help at all, turn to me.'”
A few weeks later, T asked Pardo if he could lend him “a few of the folks from the technology side of the game.”
Days later, L called. She had joined the Mossad after her service in the army’s elite Talpiot program and, as a physicist, had risen up the technology chain of command. But like many no-longer-young parents she worried about her autistic son: would he ever be able to live independently and would he have a profession to support himself.
Approaching retirement age, she said that while she was familiar with some of the skills common among autistic people “from the perspective of a mother,” Pardo was the one to suggest to her that perhaps autistic people would have a knack for interpreting visual images, especially satellite photos.
It turns out that it isn’t that simple. There are those who can glimpse the skyline of Rome from a passing helicopter and then recreate it perfectly on paper, and others who are able to see the irrational number of pi as something more like an image rather than an endless sequence and commit tens of thousands of consecutive numerals to memory with relative ease. These are savants, and they are exceedingly rare.
Dr. Yoram Bonneh, a senior lecturer at the University of Haifa’s Department of Human Biology, has led several research studies, including one later funded by the Defense Ministry, into the visual perception of people on the autistic spectrum.
He has found that they often have “a different” rather than categorically better visual perception, he said in a phone interview. They seemed to approach complex visual images “objectively,” he said, unburdened by “concepts of how things are supposed to be.”
Often people interpret what they see, he added, following a narrative that their brains have devised, but the majority of those with autism tended to focus “on the raw data.” He suggested looking at it like a chessboard. Those invested in the game, focused on the strategy and plotting moves and the repercussions of those moves, “are blinded” to the details of the board, he said. Those looking at the board more objectively were more likely to notice a slight aberration in the alignment of the pieces or a stain on one of the pawns.
For Unit 9900 this was more than enough. The commander of the classified unit, aware of some of the research in the field, said he would be glad to cooperate, and not for reasons of social awareness or the garnering of good karma.
Soldiers from Unit 9900 at work (photo credit: IDF Spokesperson's Unit)
Soldiers from Unit 9900 at work (photo credit: IDF Spokesperson’s Unit)
The plan was as follows: secure funding, find an academic home, find the appropriate applicants; build a program with the army that teaches the applicants the necessary deciphering skills, at first in a comfortable civilian setting, and then within the unit; equip the volunteers/soldiers with the tools to enable them to integrate not only into the tumult of a military unit but, later, into the wider workforce as well; and ensure that both the initial training and, later, the service, is accompanied by a cadre of trained therapists and socially minded officers.
T met with Professor Dudi Schwartz, the rector of the Ono Academic College. He chose it because it was in the center of the country and it had a well-regarded department of health professions, which included occupational therapy, speech therapy, and physiotherapy. Over a cup of coffee and without signing a single paper, they reached an agreement whereby T would put up half the funds and the college would provide the other half. When, several months later, T’s US-based partner, his old radio operator, stepped back from his financial commitment, the college agreed to foot the entire bill until other contributors could be found.
A steering committee staffed with Education Ministry professionals helped locate suitable applicants. The army secured all of the authorization necessary to teach the initial course — using army computers on a civilian campus — and appointed Lt. M, a reserves officer, to command the 12 civilian recruits.
Rotem Rosen, the program’s occupational therapist, described the therapeutic side of the course, which was designed by Efrat Selanikyo, the professional director of Roim Rachok (Looking Far). Rosen, speaking from unit’s main office, said that one point of focus was on daily activities, such as catching a string of buses and commuting to military intelligence headquarters in Tel Aviv.
The father of one of the soldiers serving today, a former F-16 fighter pilot, said he followed his son, without his knowledge, in his car during his first days commuting to the course, and that he helped him out on the first day when the bus transfer did not work according to plan, but that since then his son’s independence has improved immeasurably.
Additionally, the staff worked on communication and social skills. The military, they knew, even in the famously lax IDF, stresses hierarchy, and the volunteers, all of whom had been exempted from the draft before the genesis of the project, would need help understanding how to approach an officer. “Generally the focus is more on the result and less on the manner,” she said, noting that even when an individual has thought carefully about what he would like to convey, there cam be difficulty organizing the thought and then expressing it in an optimal, or rank-appropriate, manner.
Some of the Roim Rachok program soldiers at the base (photo credit: IDF Spokesperson's Unit)
Some of the Roim Rachok program soldiers at the base (photo credit: IDF Spokesperson’s Unit)
She worked with the first group of 12 volunteers while at the Ono Academic College and then moved with them, in October 2013, to the unit.
The transition was not immediately smooth. Once the volunteers completed the first classified course, within the army unit, they were given the choice of leaving the army or becoming soldiers. If they chose to join up – a process that the commander of the program in the unit, Lt. Batchen, described as the most emotional sight she had seen in “the 23 years of my life” – they were given some additional training and then dispersed among the operational desks, which are split according to region and country. Their work there is individual, each soldier assigned to his or her own screen, but the service itself is fully integrated, regular draftees and soldiers with autism serving side by side. The otherness of these new recruits can be, for soldiers who are almost all still in their teens, “very, very scary,” she said, noting that with the first group of soldiers, “the social situation was very complex in the beginning.”
With time the differences melted into familiarity and, in most cases, affection, said Lt. Batchen, who deferred her acceptance to the Technion Israel Institute of Technology by two years in order to command the program.
She said that she has worked consistently with the officers, too, in acclimatizing them to the soldiers from the Roim Rachok program. There are, for example, those who are extremely sensitive to the flicker of certain lights or to, say, the drone of an air conditioning unit; others require periodic calisthenics in order to remain at ease by working off steam in the unit’s halls.
Chen Eden, the program’s emotional therapist, recalled a case in which a Roim Rachok soldier was unable to keep up with the assignments handed down by an officer on an operational desk. She suggested dividing the undertaking into smaller chores, with more proximate deadlines, and said the officer today considers that particular decipherer his best.
Professionally, Lt. Batchen said, there are program graduates who are “among the very best decipherers I have ever seen,” and there are others who “are standard. It’s hard for me to say that the autistic decipherer is the ideal decipherer.”
She said that some are particularly aware of details and that, “taken as a whole, which is difficult, because all of them are different, their motivation and desire means that they sit and work at a pace that not all decipherers could maintain.”
A satellite image of Iran's Fordo uranium enrichment facility (photo credit: AP/DigitalGlobe)
A satellite image of Iran’s Fordo uranium enrichment facility (photo credit: AP/DigitalGlobe)
The soldiers themselves seemed very much at ease at the college – where there is a course currently ongoing aimed at integrating a group of 12 boys into Military Intelligence’s software quality assurance and big data information processing departments – and, understandably less so, at the Military Intelligence base, with their commanders in the room.
At the college, the group of boys – autism is far more prevalent in males – opted, by way of a vote, to speak in English to this reporter. Some spoke flawlessly. And it seemed that all spoke with an unusual candor. One, asked about motivation to join the army, said that there were “nine patriots and three opportunists, including me, in the room.”
Interestingly, in a sort of roundtable discussion that touched on the lack of alternatives for young adults diagnosed with high-functioning autism, every single person mentioned the relief of living out of the proverbial closet. “I used to have to try to pass all the time,” said one volunteer. “Here’s it’s different. We’re all autistic.”
Another, like the rest on the far end of the high-functioning side of the spectrum, said he was “so used to passing that I didn’t how this would be.” He found that the group was “more accepting of quirks” than any he had previously been a part of.
At the Military Intelligence base, two soldiers, summoned from their operational desks for a short conversation, were ill at ease. They spoke haltingly but also, it seemed, with candor. One, a resident of Maccabim-Reut near Modiin, said he joined the army “to make my parents happy.”
But the soldier, Cpl. Guy, signed on an extra year, he said, because “I knew they needed me.”
The other soldier, Cpl. Nadav, from Haifa, said he felt appreciated on the operational desk and proud of the fact that he was “able to acquire friends.”
At an evening for parents and teens who are considering the expanding Roim Rachok program, Cpl. Nadav spoke before a packed room. He mentioned that the program had won a prize for its work within Military Intelligence and strongly encouraged the prospective volunteers in the room to apply for the program. The speaking seemed difficult for him and the address was brief, but L said later that the idea of him addressing a roomful of adults when he first joined the program would have been preposterous. “The difference is day and night,” she said.
Cpl. Guy’s father, the former F-16 air force pilot, later offered a personal perspective. He said he and his wife had tried to have kids for more than a decade. They suffered through a series of miscarriages. As a senior IAF officer, the brass agreed to move him to Fort Worth, Texas, for a job with the American General Dynamics company that built the F-16, so that he and his wife could pursue surrogacy, which was illegal in Israel at the time.
On New Year’s Day 1992, the surrogate gave birth to twins. Back home, his air force friends threw them a party. “Very joyous,” he said softly, speaking outside a cafĂ© near the Latrun monastery in Israel.
Slowly he and his wife understood that something was wrong. The boys would engage in repetitive tasks and avoid looking other people in the eye. The diagnosis – that one twin was largely nonverbal and low functioning and the other, the one who was eventually drafted, toward the other end of the autistic spectrum – “hit us like a hammer blow,” he said.
At age 5, the child that later volunteered for the army taught himself to read and to do arithmetic before he ever spoke. He went to a regular class but didn’t really have any friends. He spent most of his time alone with his computer and hardly had a bond with his brother.
At age 18, when his peers went off to the army, he was still very childish, his father said, unable to decide things for himself or to adequately express what he wants. After an additional year of school, his parents sent him to a center where an array of slightly disabled young adults were taught life skills and readied for simple work. His son didn’t like the program but finished the year out and then returned home. He was still dangling between school and life, the father said, and not yet ready to be sent out into the world.
That’s when L called and told him that the Roim Rachok program was up and running and accepting applications. For him, the opportunity for his son to serve in the army was significant. “All of the years, a parent with a special needs child, even though he knows it can’t be, he wants them to be like his peers. To get married. To have kids. And yes, to serve in the army. That was very important to me,” he said.
The service has advanced his son to the point that the parental dread, rising with each passing year, has appreciably subsided. “You constantly wonder what will be in five,10, 20, 30 years,” he said, “constantly looking for solutions and looking for ways to advance them and secure their future. Because in the end, their lifespan is normal and when we are not here, they still will be, and someone needs to care for them.”

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Cops train disabled kids for Jerusalem Marathon | ISRAEL21c

Cops train disabled kids for Jerusalem Marathon | ISRAEL21c

Tears welled in his eyes the first time Jerusalem Police Officer Nir met his marathon training partner. That’s a typical reaction upon encountering the children at ALEH , Israel’s largest network of facilities for children with severe physical and cognitive disabilities.
But it wasn’t long before Officer Nir regained his composure and bonded wordlessly with his seven-year-old charge. Each Sunday morning, they practice two hours to prepare for the 800-meter “Community Race” at the fifth annual Jerusalem Winner Marathon on March 13.
Physical therapists at ALEH’s Jerusalem facility taught Officer Nir how to harness himself to the child using an innovative Firefly Upsee, invented by Israeli mother Debby Elnatan to give adult-aided mobility to kids unable to walk on their own.
When ISRAEL21c visited on a Sunday morning in February, about 18 police officers were at ALEH, training as they’ve done each week since early October with their marathon partners, using Upsee harnesses, walkers and other mobility devices.
Their volunteering resulted from a presentation given at police headquarters by ALEH at the suggestion of an officer whose sister is an ALEH resident. She wanted to get her coworkers involved with the children, and ALEH administrators realized the cops could help kids enjoy the thrill of a marathon – even if it takes a couple of hours to complete the non-competitive track.
“We are not doing this because we have to,” Officer Nir tells ISRAEL21c as he walks tethered to his young partner. “It’s on our own time; we make up the hours later. Everyone here just thought it was something important to do, and a joy.”
Officer Nir using an Upsee harness to train with his ALEH partner.
Officer Nir using an Upsee harness to train with his ALEH partner.
Officer Zaloo is partnered with a tiny 12-year-old girl crippled by a rare chromosomal condition. “I was the first to say I would do it, but the first time I came here, it was very hard for me to see children like this,” relates the policewoman, who emigrated from Ethiopia in 1992 and knows something about hardship. “But now I’m happy every time I come here. If I have to miss a Sunday, I feel a kind of emptiness.”
Awareness and inclusion
From the Jerusalem Marathon’s first year, able-bodied runners have participated to raise money for ALEH as well as 24 other charitable causes. ALEH volunteers pushed some of the kids in wheelchairs around the community track, and each child was rewarded with a medal.
“Our main goal was to raise awareness and model inclusion,” says Dov Hirth, head of international public relations for ALEH’s four facilities. “We have a few hundred people running on behalf of ALEH, a ton of volunteers, and a lot of high-profile people who want to be involved.” For example, last year supermodel Esti Ginzburg came by to encourage ALEH’s contingent.
Before the 2014 marathon, one of ALEH Jerusalem’s physical therapists suggested that some of the children, if properly prepared, could do more than be pushed in a wheelchair. Responding to this challenge, members of the staff worked hard to train a small group of carefully selected children for the Community Race.
Having 18 Jerusalem police officers take over the training has allowed the number of participants to be expanded to 15 kids chosen for their ability to be outdoors for an extended period and to walk with assistance. A few of the kids need more than one adult by their side.
The volunteers had to be trained too, in order to understand how to use the mobility devices and how to communicate with non-verbal children. A blink, a smile or hand gesture can have great meaning. “In our facility we only speak the language of the heart,” says Hirth.
Officer Elchanan training with his ALEH partner.
Officer Elchanan training with his ALEH partner.
Occupational therapist Rivka Keesing, director of academia and research for the organization’s four branches, is amazed to see police officers coming even on their days off so as not to miss a practice.
“They use an app to measure speed, time and distance to track their progress from week to week,” Keesing tells ISRAEL21c.“We see the improvement right before our eyes. The kids are walking more and better than before the training.”
One officer is paired with a little girl who doesn’t live at the facility but with her family an hour and a half from Jerusalem.
“Her parents can’t get her to the marathon, so he said he’ll go pick her up at 6 in the morning and bring her,” says Keesing. “There are lots of connections like that between the officers and the kids, and it’s very special.”
Staff and volunteers will bring most of the facility’s 106 children – along with medical equipment and support staff — to the track on marathon day, just to experience the excitement.
For more information, click here.