University of Rochester

Rochester Review
September–October 2012
Vol. 75, No. 1

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lettersIMPACT: Services like the EquiCenter in Mendon, N.Y., are important community resources, say members of Rochester-area families affected by autism. (Photo: Adam Fenster)
Understanding Autism

Excellent and fascinating piece about autism (“The ‘Spaces Between,’” July-August). Readers should realize that earlier work at the U of R is relevant, too. Stanley Sapon in psycholinguistics was doing behavioral work in the 1960s, teaching autistic children speech. The late E. Roy John [founder of the Center for Brain Research] carried his research from the U of R to NYU, where his brain research lab has pioneered standards in quantitative electroencepholographic studies that are allowing us to use computer-enhanced brain biofeedback to stabilize and normalize the brain waves of autistic patients.

Before Sapon and John at the U of R, Drs. [John] Romano and [George] Engel in the Department of Psychiatry had done seminal work on brain waves in delirium. The brain wave lab was located in the psychiatry department, where many of us who worked with them became familiar with the EEG and continue to utilize it in our ongoing work.

The modern neurofeedback work with patients with autism is very hopeful.

David Tinling ’63M (Res)

Rochester, Vt.

The writer was a member of the psychiatry faculty from 1965 to 1979.

The recent article “The ‘Spaces Between’” did an excellent job showcasing the tremendous autism research being conducted by the U of R medical team. This research is extremely important in identifying the causes of autism and how treatment can be improved.

Yet it is the collaboration between the U of R and local agencies that will help to translate these research findings into programs and services that will support those impacted by autism in our community today.

Upstate New York Families for Effective Autism Treatment Inc. (UNYFEAT), a grassroots organization started by parents with children who have autism, is a good example of how successful these types of collaborative partnerships can be in expanding the services and support that thousands of people in our community rely upon to better meet the needs of individuals with autism.

The EquiCenter in Mendon, N.Y., is another organization that is making a real difference to those individuals with autism. This premier Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH) equine center provides therapeutic horseback riding to my son, Peyton, shown in the photo on page 43 of the story. The EquiCenter collaborates with parents and U of R medical professionals to create a program that meets the individual physical and emotional needs of the child. The benefits of therapeutic horseback riding can be dramatic in children with self-regulation, sensory, and motor planning needs. The rider and the horse develop a partnership that is truly remarkable, especially for a child with autism who may have difficulty forming relationships.

The EquiCenter’s staff encourages riders to groom the horse, lead it through specific tasks, and then to care for it after the riding is done as a way to improve the rider’s self-esteem and adaptive living skills while having fun.

Overall, this experience has improved my child’s ability with social interactions and coordination of physical movements.

Thank you for highlighting the importance of research and collaboration and how specifically the U of R medical team is working with organizations in our community to improve the lives of individuals impacted by autism.

Christina Walker Hilton ’93S (MBA)

Fairport, N.Y.

The writer is the finance director of Upstate New York Families for Effective Autism Treatment Inc. (UNYFEAT).

Bell Ringer of an Issue

I want to compliment you on the best issue ever. I am a Class of 1979 MBA living in St. Louis. I receive Review, but many times it is really geared to those graduates who live close enough to take advantage of all that U of R can offer.

One of the articles I found fabulous this time was “Sound Advice” (Alumni Gazette, July-August), which had actually useful information–clearly written and nicely designed with an interesting look. I had wondered about these topics, so was happy to have them explained in the context of an alumnus [Grammy Award–winning mastering engineer Bob Ludwig ’66E, ’01E (MM)].

The other article I loved was “Ring Tones.” What a well-written article, along with outstanding graphics of the Hopeman Memorial Carillon. I have always enjoyed picnics at the carillon concerts here at Concordia Seminary. This article will be enjoyed by all my friends who come to the picnics.

Great job! Thanks so much for your work. Much appreciated!

Joanne Miller Griffin ’79S (MBA)

St. Louis

I am glad to hear there is a current revival of playing the carillon. As one of the students (and a past president of the Bellman Society) who was there when the chimes were replaced by the carillon, I can tell you that we had an active group of students playing the carillon back then.

I was sorry to learn of [Eastman School professor and performer] David Craighead’s passing (In Memoriam, July- August). I was very fortunate to have him as my organ teacher for the four years I attended the U of R and the Eastman School.

He gave me numerous insights on registration and this became more obvious to me after I initially served as a substitute church organist for several years. At almost every church I played I would receive compliments, not so much for my playing but rather comments like “We’ve never heard the organ sound like that.” My response was to attribute this to Mr. Craighead’s wonderful teaching.

I asked him why he did not just perform as he was obviously as qualified and talented as the big name pipe organ performers of the time. But he said he felt his main calling was to teach, and what a blessing this was to the multitude of students he taught.

The Hopeman Memorial Carillon article was quite informative and brought back a fond memory. We had not seen the sun for several days (a week or more of drizzle?) and early one such morning someone played “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning.” You could hear the entire campus laughing.

Robert (Rollo) Anderson ’59

Palmyra, Va.

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