Brought to you in part by: Dartmouth-Hitchcock

Ministère Travail Solidarité Fonction Publique via Flickr/Creative Commons

This week, NHPR correspondent Sheryl Rich Kern has been looking into the challenges schools face when teaching children with autism.

The parents obviously face challenges too. Providing the therapy some children need costs a lot of money and time. But come January 1st, relief is on the way. 

In our week-long series Challenges of Autism, NHPR correspondent Sheryl Rich Kern looks into the new legislation.

The standard treatment for autism when kids are young is something called applied behavior analysis or ABA.

Kirsten Murphy is the administrative director of the New Hampshire Council on Autism Spectrum Disorders. She was a key advocate behind the passage of Connor’s Law, a mandate that goes into effective January 1, 2011. The new law will require health insurance companies to cover therapies for children with autism. Murphy is also the mother of two teenage boys diagnosed with autism. She talks with NHPR's Sheryl Rich Kern to answer the following questions:

Who are the families that were depending on Connor’s Law the most and how will they benefit?

These days it’s not rare to find a child with severe autism actively participating in a public school. A generation ago, parents would have sent those kids to a private school or maybe institutionalized them.

But studies show kids with autism improve in a regular public school. There they are able to socialize and learn how to communicate better because they’re copying the other children.

But not everyone agrees this approach is good for all students.

If it seems like you’re hearing a lot about autism these days, it’s likely because more kids are being diagnosed with it.

Nationally the rate of children diagnosed with what’s called autism spectrum disorder is 1 in 100. For boys, it’s 1 in 70. To put that number into perspective, it means that one student in 3 or 4 average sized school classes lives with some form of autism.

How schools should deal with it is up for debate.

NHPR Correspondent Sheryl Rich-Kern has this second part in her series Challenges of Autism.

Parents across the board would probably agree that becoming a parent is a lesson in managing chaos and tolerance. And research shows that parents raising a child with autism experience higher stress levels than parents of children with other disabilities.

But some parents of children with autism say their child’s diagnosis has enriched their lives in ways
they never would have imagined.

Dr. Jorgensen is a project director with the Institute on Disability at the University of New Hampshire and is an assistant research professor in the UNH Education Department. She works with public school teachers, parents and administrators to help them include more students with disabilities in general education classes. She is the author of several books on inclusion education, including The Inclusion Facilitator’s Guide. She talks with NHPR's Sheryl Rich Kern and answers the following questions:

If your child attends public school, chances are they have a classmate who has difficulty speaking, behaves a little differently,  or just doesn’t seem to  socialize well.

A generation ago, we might have called these kids quirky, and that would have been the end of it. But today, an alarming number of these kids are being diagnosed with what’s called autism spectrum disorder.

A decade ago, the prevalence was one in 250. Today, it’s closer to one in a hundred. We still don’t know the causes of autism, and so there’s little hope of a cure.

A decade ago, the prevalence of autism spectrum disorder was one in 250. Today, it’s closer to one in a hundred. In this weeklong series, NHPR correspondent Sheryl Rich-Kern looks at the impact of autism on families, schools and towns in New Hampshire.

Challenges of Autism is brought to you in part by the Endowment for Health.

Series Stories:

Dr. Stephen Mott is Medical Director of the Child Development Program at the Children's Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. He is a pediatric neurologist who specializes in autism, communication disorders and ADHD. He talks with NHPR's Sheryl Rich Kern to answer the following questions:

What is autism? How is it diagnosed?

Are environmental factors responsible for triggering the disorder? What about vaccines?

How can diets affect children with autism? What about vitamins and other supplements?

Curtis Glover is a young adult with autism. He is finishing his senior year at Merrimack High School while also attending Nashua Community College. Curtis is a public speaker who discusses his experience as a person with autism. He and his mother, Sandi, talk with NHPR's Sheryl Rich Kern and answer the following questions:

What was it like for you as a young child? How did you develop social skills in middle school?

Can you see yourself living on your own?

Ari Ne’eman is a college student diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome. He is the founder of the Autism Self-Advocacy Network (ASAN), which works to improve the public perception of autism. Ne'eman believes that autism is a different way of being and not a disease that should be cured. He talks with NHPR's Sheryl Rich Kern, and answers the following questions:

You were diagnosed at age 12. Had you always felt you were different? How did you learn about your autism and how did learning about the diagnosis affect you?

Ari Ne’eman is a college student diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome. He is the founder of the Autism Self-Advocacy Network (ASAN), which works to improve the public perception of autism. Ne'eman believes that autism is a different way of being and not a disease that should be cured. He talks with NHPR's Sheryl Rich Kern, and answers the following questions:

If there was a pill to make you not autistic, would you take it?

What does the term “neurodiversity” mean?

Hailing Heritage Poultry in New Hampshire

May 21, 2010

All this week, during our Food series, we've been using terms like organic, localvore, and sustainability.
But a couple of poultry farmers in Barrington want to add another word to the mix.
They want people to talk about Heritage....specifically heritage fowl.
It's part of their campaign to ween Americans from poultry factories and get them back to eating the eggs and meat our grandparents would recognize.
NHPR's Keith Shields brings you this last story in our series, Eating-In

Working It Out Live: Food and the Economy

May 21, 2010

The recession took a big bite out of the household food budget. How did the lean times change us? This hour on Working It Out Live, we follow the chain of food through this economy. We’ll be hearing about how families changed how and where they shop.

How Do You Like Them Apples?

May 21, 2010

All this week NHPR has been taking you to dinner.

Today, we move on to dessert… on our plate, apple pie.

The apple is one of the most common fruits.

As part of our series, “Eating In” NHPR’s Amy Quinton looks at the path an apple takes to get to your plate.

The apple has been around a long time…just think of Adam and Eve… and would we have so many adages about it?… “An apple doesn’t fall far from the tree…one bad apple spoils the whole bunch…an apple a day…” you get the picture.

Food Safety

May 21, 2010

Recent food scares from lettuce, spinach and peanut butter show that we are far away from keeping out food safe. We’ll look at the issue of food safety, what’s being done in New Hampshire and the debate over making standards even tougher.


Maybe it’s all the knives, or the blood. But there’s something a little eerie about a slaughterhouse on wheels.

If you raise chickens, or lamb, or hunt deer for food, you might need the service of a good roving butcher. Like Ray Garcia of Cabin View Farms in Littleton. Solo, he can process about 200 chickens a day in a home built rolling abattoir:

It’s a Wells Fargo Trailer. We have stainless steel tables, stainless steel sinks. If it wasn’t for a lot of the custom facilities throughout New Hampshire, a lot of people wouldn’t be raising things.

When the farmer shuts down his combine, there’s nothing left but a stubbled plain. You might think the harvesting is done. But that’s when the gleaners appear - to begin the second harvest.

Like the Robin Hoods of produce, the gleaners take from the rich soil, and give to the poor. But the gleaners aren’t vegetable pirates. They work with and alongside the farmers:

You gotta carry buckets with you through the fields, picking up small things. You’re constantly bent over on your knees for the whole day.

Cooking: A Recession Survival Tool

May 20, 2010

All this week in our series “Eating In”, NHPR has been looking at food – where we get it today and where it might come from tomorrow. For a lot of people, the economy forced them to take a second look at how they spend their food dollar -- whether that meant going to restaurants less or changing what they buy at the store.

Through the Working It Out web site, NHPR’s Jon Greenberg came across a woman who found herself headed towards a total food makeover.

SFX – dogs barking

Local Farmers, Grocers Clash Over Food Safety

May 20, 2010

Major grocery chains in the region have jumped in on the buy local movement.
They’ve been finding local suppliers for many of their fruits and vegetables.
And while that can mean increased sales for small farmers, it’s coming at a cost.
The retailers are requiring small farms to get certified as safe growers by the USDA.
To consumers alarmed by e.coli scares, it sounds like a great idea.
But as, part of our food series, NHPR’s Elaine Grant reports that many New England farmers say the new policy may keep them out of the market.

Incomes Down - Snacking Up

May 20, 2010

In the course of the great recession, household incomes went down and food prices went up. The combination did no favors for the American diet. Sales for the least expensive snack foods climbed. As part of our week-long look at food, NHPR's Jon Greenberg digs into some cheap calories.

SFX - Crunch

Along with Wall Street giant Goldman Sachs, count the potato chip as one of the big winners of the recession. John Dumais, president of the NH Grocers Association, says, many of his members would have had a much worse year if it hadn't been for sales of snack foods.

Abby Grills

May 20, 2010

To wrap up “Eating In”, this week’s series on food, we invited our program director Abby Goldstein, quite the foodie, to talk about her grilling lesson this week with cookbook writer Kathy Gunst.

Kathy Gunst is a cooking teacher and author and co-author of thirteen cookbooks. Her latest is “Stonewall Kitchen Grilling”.

All week we’ve been investigating where our food comes from. If we’re eating right, that leads back to a farmer.

Today the average age of the American farmer is 57 years-old. In the last 5 years, 35 percent of farmers turned 75 years or older. Last year, the country lost 10 percent of its dairy farmers. On top of the troubling demographics, kids growing up in rural America are less likely to join the agriculture business.

DavidPitkin via Flickr/CreativeCommons

Food is something we share over a table, but in the virtual world, food bloggers are sharing recipes, reviews and culinary tips across the web.

NHPR’s Webmaster and Word of Mouth Internet Sherpa Brady Carlson has been checking out New Hampshire’s crop of food blogs and is here to share some of his favorites.

An Awesome Choice of Food Blogs:

Tucker Cummings: A Brave New Breakfast

All this week New Hampshire Public Radio is following some of the most commonly eaten foods back to their source.

So far, we’ve heard about potatoes, pasta and the source of ground beef.

In our next installment NHPR’s Dan Gorenstein looks at the cheese that melts so good- mozzarella.

Ok, so you have a few friends over, like NHPR reporter Josh Rogers did a few weeks back.

Have a few drinks.

Do a little cooking.

And Barbara Gannon of Sargento says odds are somebody is bound to sprinkle some mozzarella on something.

Many in the Granite State are interested in localism and many farms, restaurants and organizations are pushing to move even more local, but it comes with its challenges. New Hampshire’s climate, land and development limits the amount of food that can be made in the state and with no organized distributions centers, localism requires much more work and higher prices for farmers and businesses that take their food. We’ll look at what’s being done in New Hampshire.


On the Potato Trail

May 19, 2010

NHPR's week-long look at food, "Eating In", continues now with the next course in our dinner at Josh Roger's house. Josh cooked for the NHPR news team and each day this week, we trace the supply chain of one of the more common ingredients used in that meal. Today, NHPR's Jon Greenberg presents the humble potato.

Rian Bedard/EcoMovement Consulting & Hauling

A new green business start-up called EcoMovement is working with Seacoast cafes and restaurants to separate their compostable waste from normal trash. Their goal is to push the Portsmouth area to become a "zero waste" community, while helping business owners be more eco-friendly and save money on trash removal.

Word of Mouth's Avishay Artsy has this profile of the company.

pupski via Flickr/CreativeCommons

This week we've talked about food policy, supply, safety, and to people who advocate that we all connect the food we eat to where it comes from. We've also talked about the self-righteousness that foodists tend to project. Talking the talk about food is big business; walking the walk is another story.

Michael Perry is a musician and author of several books. He grew up on a small dairy farm in Wisconsin worked by his devout, fundamentalist parents. He left to make his way as a nurse, a writer and musician.

jimforest via Flickr/CreativeCommons

We begin today with school lunches. In between algebra and U.S. history, public school students often have 20 minutes or so to scarf down less-than-satisying meals. The sugary junk food on sale in cafeterias is one reason that one in three children born in 2000 is on track to develop Type ll Diabetes.