Monday, December 18, 2006

Autism fuels call for Texas school vouchers

State lawmaker and families push for legislation to open the doors of private programs
AUSTIN — School voucher plans repeatedly have died in the Texas Legislature, but the Senate Education Committee chairwoman is eying a whittled-down school-choice option that might be harder for lawmakers to resist.

Sen. Florence Shapiro, R-Plano, plans to push legislation that would allow parents of autistic children to choose the best schools for their children.

"They have a very difficult time in a regular setting in a classroom," said Shapiro, who long has supported vouchers. "I would like to see a choice program. ... It's what I think we should do for children with autism."

The number of Texas children diagnosed with various degrees of autism has nearly doubled over the past five years, increasing from 8,972 students to 17,282 in the 2005-06 school year, according to the Texas Education Agency.

Autism is a complex developmental disability that affects the functioning of the brain and development in the areas of social interaction and communication skills.

A voucher program would allow eligible parents to spend a certain amount of tax dollars allocated for a child's public school education at any school — public or private. The public school could be in a different district from the child's home district.

Even some lawmakers who have opposed vouchers say they are willing to consider Shapiro's proposal. And while some parents hail the voucher idea, education groups will oppose it.

Demand and opposition

Kendra Imbus embraces Shapiro's proposal.

Her 4-year-old, Catherine, has severe autism and attends an early childhood autism program in the Katy Independent School District. Many others are on a waiting list.

Catherine also attends Shape of Behavior Inc., a private school that specializes in teaching autistic children.

If given a choice, Imbus said, parents could get help to cover the cost for intensive and specialized education.

"Maybe you could get them to a point where they could be mainstreamed, and then, maybe, you wouldn't have to spend that money later," Imbus said. "That's what I think the general public doesn't realize. If we could help them now, maybe they wouldn't have to be institutionalized when they are older."

But she is not optimistic that lawmakers will support Shapiro's plan.

"It will be a hard sell. I don't think the public cares," Imbus said. "I don't think they understand the issue. I don't think they realize how many of these children are out there. This is going to become an economic disaster in our country."

There is no known cure for autism. Early intervention is imperative.

Holli De Clemente also has enrolled her 3-year-old son, Justice, in Shape of Behavior. The school, with six locations, enrolls 40 children and has 45 staff members.

De Clemente said her Magnolia Independent School District has beautiful public schools but, from her perspective, was unable to provide adequate support for Justice.

She said her son made "a mind-boggling transformation" nearly immediately after being placed in the private school: He began speaking.

Shape of Behavior charges $2,000 a month for part-time students and $4,000 a month for full-time students.

"What typical family in America can do that? My parents are helping us with part of it, because it's impossible," De Clemente said.

Education groups vigorously oppose voucher programs in Texas. Such proposals typically involve vouchers for low-income parents to move children from low performing, inner-city schools to private schools or better public schools.

Voucher supporters and opponents agree any move to allow vouchers for one disability or disease could open the door to other subsets of students.

"Public tax dollars should go to fund public schools, not private schools," said Richard Kouri, a spokesman for the Texas State Teachers Association. "Our belief is that once you start moving public tax dollars to private schools, whatever the initial reason, future arguments become arguments around expanding that existing program."

State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, said she opposes school vouchers but agonizes with parents of autistic children.

Van de Putte, a member of the Senate Education Committee, said parents don't want to open the floodgates for a full-blown voucher system but that they are lobbying for a limited-purpose voucher program in special cases in which the school district agrees that it can't provide needed services.

Van de Putte, emphasizing that she opposes "diverting money and passion away from our public school system," said she is open-minded.

Ongoing vouchers battle

Lawmakers have fought over school vouchers during most of the past decade.

San Antonio physician-turned-businessman James Leininger spent nearly $5 million this year tying to elect voucher-friendly candidates. But his effort largely failed, and now Leininger is pushing a compromise idea that would allow school districts to keep a portion of the tax money when students take a voucher to enroll in another school.

"Leaving a percentage of the funds devoted to the student with the public school creates a win-win situation," Leininger's spokesman, Ken Hoagland, said.

But Van de Putte said there simply is no appetite in the Legislature for a full-blown voucher program allowing tax dollars for low-income parents to send children to private schools.

Leininger also supports a voucher program for autistic children, his spokesman said.

Special needs

According to Domonique Randall, founder of the Shape of Behavior schools, it takes about two years of intensive interaction at a young age before an autistic child can transition to a general education classroom.

"Our goal is to teach them to learn within a group and to teach them to participate in a group setting," Randall said.

The most effective approach involves "applied behavior analysis," which emphasizes positive reinforcement, Randall said. Many public school teachers are not trained in applied behavior analysis, she said.

"These children going into public schools are either secluded and put into classrooms with children all having disabilities, and so they don't get the opportunity to learn from their typically developing peers, or their behavior (keeps) them from that opportunity," Randall said. "But the behavior is the result of teachers not being trained."

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Cure Autism Now - Walk Now - This Saturday (tomorrow)

This Saturday (tomorrow), October 28, my family and I will be participating in a very special event, WALK NOW benefiting the Cure Autism Now Foundation. It is a 5K walk and community resource fair with the proceeds going to further the search for causes and cures for autism. Autism is a devastating disease affected over 1.5 American children and their families. 1 in every 166 children is newly diagnosed with autism. Autism is the 3rd most common developmental disorder, following mental retardation and cerebral palsy.

You may be wondering why Cure Autism Now and WALK NOW are so important to me and my family.

My involvement stems from a very personal and deep emotional contact with this complicated disease.My 7-year-old son, Sean, was diagnosed with a form of Autism, Asperger's Syndrome, four years ago. I am very proud of Sean and impressed with his progress so far thanks to hard work on his part, our part and an excellent program within the Cy-Fair School District.

I strongly feel that I can have a direct impact on finding causes and cures for autism. I also feel strongly that Cure Autism Now is a wonderful organization which has been instrumental in furthering autism research. In 1995, when Cure Autism Now was founded there were only 12 researches focused solely on autism. Today there are over 300. That is progress. WALK NOW gives us a tangible way to help the nearly 1.5 million other Americans affected by autism and related disorders.

I am asking for your support in helping us raise money for this worthy cause. Any contribution you are able to make would be greatly appreciated, but I ask you to give big as there is a big need for further research. My personal goal is to raise $500.00 for Cure Autism Now and I hope to far exceed that goal. Last year I raised just shy of $500!

It is easiest to donate online by going to our personal webpage at Sean's CAN page.

Please feel free to forward this on.

I look forward to hearing from you.

I thank you very much!


Friday, September 08, 2006

In Search of the Cause of Autism

How about television?

Autism in the United States has been increasing for two and a half decades, from one child in 10,000 to one in 500 or perhaps even one in 166 today. Maybe advancing parental age is a factor; this Israeli study, published Monday, shows that men over 40 are more likely to father autistic children than men under 30. And it's clear that part of the rise can be attributed to better identification by doctors, improved parental candor, and, especially, an expanded definition of the psychiatric diagnosis for the ailment. But because the autism surge began around the year 1980, researchers and parents of afflicted children continue to ask what kind of exposure could have begun at that time that might account for the surge.

The answer almost certainly isn't mercury compounds in childhood vaccines. What about pollutants, medicines, or vaccine chemicals other than mercury? Or radiation? Or how about this suspect—missing from the usual list of autism malefactors but to which childhood exposure increased significantly in Western countries in about 1980—namely, television.

The idea is wholly speculative. No scientist has shown a link between autism and television, but so far as I could determine no scientist is working on this question, either—and maybe someone should be. Beginning in about 1980, TV watching in early childhood began to rise, coincident with the proliferation of affordable VCRs and cable channels offering nonstop cartoons and kids' shows. The child's brain is self-organizing in the first few years of life, and visual stimuli have much to do with how it organizes. Humans evolved while responding to three-dimensional visual stimuli. The advent of ubiquitous TV for young kids amounts to an unplanned experiment that exposes developing brains to tremendous doses of colorful, moving, two-dimensional visual stimuli. Coincident with this experiment, there has been a sharp rise in the number of children who, through autism, lose their ability to relate to the three-dimensional, normal world.

Television and videos should be investigated as a possible autism agent because no other explanation seems available. Study after study, most importantly this 2004 National Academy of Sciences review, has found no relationship between autism and the mercury-based vaccine preservative thimerosal or the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine in general. The autism increase continued after mercury was eliminated from European vaccines in the early 1990s and from American vaccines by 2001. (Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has argued vehemently that all studies on this point are flawed, but though RFK Jr. is a wonderful person, one doubts he knows more than the entire National Academy of Sciences.) Arthur Allen made the case against vaccines as the cause of autism for Slate last year.

Some of the rise in autism may be caused by ever-lower infant mortality, especially among newborns at risk for illness. For example, babies born with Fragile X syndrome, a chromosome defect related to intellectual disability, increasingly survive infancy and mature into children whose problems include autism. It is possible that the autism increase is also a result of genetic mutation, though the odds are against such a rapid spread of a recessive variation. (Researchers have not yet found a genetic marker that identifies newborns likely to become autistic, leaving unknown whether the condition fundamentally stems from heritable traits or environment.)

Pollutants have been proposed as the explanation, but all forms of pollution except carbon dioxide have been declining in the United States and European Union since the 1970s, and naturally occurring carbon dioxide is much more common than the artificially emitted kind. Toxic pollution has declined by about half during the period of the autism increase. Electromagnetism from cell phones and other devices increasingly zaps through us but at lower levels than the natural radiation to which humanity has been exposed since time immemorial. Kids are getting bigger and that means they have larger brains, but new studies discount brain size as an autism explanation. A flaw of toxicology is the study of chemicals one by one, while our bodies are exposed to many simultaneously; so, it could be that vaccines and other compounds to which young children are now exposed are dangerous in combination. That theory is being considered but so far has not pointed to autism.

Now to television, with the caveat, again, that what follows is speculation. The autism rise syncs closely to the rise in television viewing by the young, especially the arrival of cable channels and affordable VCRs. (I'll use "television" as a stand-in for passive bright-screen-watching.) As recently as the 1970s, cartoons and children's shows were aired only on Saturdays and perhaps a few hours per morning, and there were no movies on cassette. Since about 1980, cartoons and children's shows have become available all day, every day, on TV or through VCRs and now DVD players. Television watching by the very young, rare a generation ago, has since skyrocketed. Shows for infants, such as Teletubbies, have come into being. A recent Kaiser Family Foundation report found that 1-year-old children now average almost an hour per day viewing television and videos, while children ages 2 and 3 watch television and videos an average of about two hours daily.

As young children begin to experience the world, their brains organize partly in response to the stimuli received. Science magazine, the technical publication of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, recently reported several studies showing that "problems in autism result from poor connections among brain areas rather than from defects in a specific brain region." Recent studies have found that when a healthy child is exposed to stimuli, many areas of the brain become active and communicate with each other; in an autistic child, fewer brain areas light up and there is little communication. Studies at the Brain Development Imaging Laboratory of San Diego State University have found that autistic children have a "lack of synchronicity between visual areas in the back of the brain." Of the new research suggesting that defects in brain organization track with autism, Science concluded, "If a neuronal imbalance is to blame, no one knows how it arises." No one does. But the rise in autism disorders during the very period that early-childhood screen-watching has risen is disturbing. Eyes glued to a colorful tube is an intense form of "exposure" for any young child. Correlation does not prove causation, but there's an awful lot of correlation here.

Of course, most children who sit mesmerized by television suffer no harm, other than limited vocabulary and an uncontrollable desire for the latest breakfast cereal. Television viewing may even have benefits. But perhaps while TV is a wash or a good thing for the majority, a small minority of young children are seriously harmed.

Common symptoms of autism include sudden withdrawal from the real world into a world inside the child's mind; transition from love of parents to constant anger against them; engaging in the same actions over and over again, always with an object close nearby. Don't these sound, in a creepy way, like television's unintended effects? Screen-viewing conditions the young mind to withdraw from the real, three-dimensional world of social interaction into a two-dimensional world of internalized fantasy. Parents stop being objects of love and become the child's enemy—after all, they are the ones who turn off the TV! And every parent who has had children with access to a VCR or DVD player and a library of cartoon movies has observed the same phenomena: Young children watch the same movie over and over again.

Remember, these ideas are speculation! But …

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Understanding Autism is On the Rise

April is Autism Awareness Month. Autism, a neurological disorder that causes delays in learning, communication and socializing, is becoming better understood. Ten years ago the only knowledge most people had about autism came from the movie, "Rain Man."

Today it is getting exposure in the news and magazines and many people (even if they are not directly affected) probably know someone with autism. It is entering the mainstream consciousness, but it's still a mystery. Understanding how autistic children think, learn and feel may help demystify the disorder and further increase tolerance and awareness.

The fact is that autism is growing. Today more and more children are being diagnosed on the autistic spectrum - the current figure is one in 166 children according to the Centers for Disease Control. And boys are four times more likely to be affected than girls.

Autism is considered a "spectrum" disorder because each child with autism is different, some have mild symptoms and some severe. Some autistic children avoid any kind of eye contact or affection, which can be especially painful for parents. Some children don't talk until they are 5 or 6 years old, others talk for a short time and then lose their language ability. Because each child is different, they each need different treatment programs.

Most experts agree that early diagnosis is very important. The earlier a child is diagnosed, the earlier he or she can begin interventions, such as speech and behavioral therapies, which can help a child improve. But autism is a lifelong disability with no cure, so children must learn, or be taught to compensate, for their limitations.

"Intervention at any time is beneficial," said Sandy Vought, a clinical social worker with 13 years experience who consults with several agencies on autism. "But research shows, the earlier the better."

There are no medical tests for diagnosing autism. An accurate diagnosis is usually made by a neurologist, child psychologist or psychiatrist using a variety of different screening tools. It is based on observing the child's behavior and questioning parents for the initial diagnosis.

According to the Autism Society of America, those with autism may first appear to have other problems, such as mental retardation or a behavior disorder. Some autistic children today are labeled as mentally retarded, yet a lack of cognitive ability seems to be one of the myths of autism.

"At 2 years old, my son was diagnosed as developmentally delayed and mentally retarded," said Michelle, mother of a 5-year old boy with autism. "He wasn't diagnosed with autism until he was almost 3."

"These kids have normal intelligence and sometimes above average intelligence," said Jane Curtan, special education preschool teacher in Ramona.

"All of them have their own challenges with learning," Vought said. "Many times they have problems processing language and they are more visual learners. They require more visual structure and direction to learn effectively."

Some autistic children have repetitive behaviors, (known as "'self-stimulatory behavior" or "stims") such as hand and arm flapping, walking in a circle, or rocking. Some have severe tantrums, banging their heads against the wall or floor, or crying and screaming all the time. These behaviors can get in the way of learning.

"Early intervention helps to reduce stims," said Zelle Hammond, autism consultant for the Ramona Unified School District. "It lowers anxiety and frustration and helps to address the need in another way.'

Michelle's 5-year-old son has Asperger's Syndrome, a disorder on the autistic spectrum characterized by normal language development but with autistic-like behaviors and delays. When he was 2, he would scream and cry all day. He never pointed and didn't talk. He would hit his head on the floor. Then he received early intervention in the form of behavioral therapy and social skills instruction.

"By the time he was 3, he was a different child," Michelle said. "He understood sign language and could use a PECS (picture exchange communication) schedule. Then he started putting words together. Now he's 5 and speaks four or five word phrases. It's incredible."

Most children with autism experience some form of communication delay. Speech therapy is the most effective intervention, but speech therapy isn't just about teaching kids to talk. It's about helping them to communicate which may mean sign language, picture schedules or other technological devices.

"Every child's struggle with language and communication is different," said Karyn Searcy, speech language pathologist and director of the Crimson Center for Speech and Language. "It depends on what kind of speech disorder. One child may have difficulty producing sounds, but he can use sign language and shows the desire to communicate basic concepts. Another may have an auditory processing problem. Most kids who aren't talking, will be speaking by 6 or 7 years old,"
Will, 3, does not speak but he knows all his colors, shapes and animals. He does not have any excessive behaviors. When he was an infant, his parents thought he was just quiet and easy-going.

"Will has progressed so much since he began receiving services," Will's mother said. "Prior to intervention, he didn't know how to play appropriately. He would throw most toys he was given, he didn't seem interested in the world around him. Now he's much more aware. He signs and takes my hand and leads me places. But he still isn't talking and that concerns us. He's been diagnosed with verbal apraxia, which is a problem in how his brain is sending messages to his mouth."

Sensory processing is another area of difficulty for autistic children. Many children are sensitive to things in the environment, such as bright light, loud sounds, strong smells or the touch of certain objects. Some children may find tags in clothing very irritating or the hum of fluorescent lights distracting. Autistic children have trouble processing and filtering all the different sensations and may become overwhelmed and frustrated.

"Most kids on the spectrum have some kind of sensory processing problem," Vought said. "Temple Grandin (a well-known animal scientist, university professor and author, who has autism) said, 'Imagine feeling the hair on your head and the seat you're sitting in and hearing an overhead fan and try to concentrate.' You wouldn't be able to and you'd have a lot of anxiety because of it."

"What people don't understand about autistic kids, is how difficult things are for them," Michelle said. "They look at a child and see that he can walk and talk and ride a bicycle, but he can't think and process information like other kids. It's an invisible disability. Sometimes kids get in trouble for things they can't control."

Social situations cause anxiety for many normal people but they can be particularly troublesome for children with autism. They have problems with reciprocal conversation, with understanding how others think and feel, and with reading body language and social cues.

"Acquiring social skills is the most difficult thing for them," said Hammond, who runs six social skills classes in Ramona.

"The home and/or school-based programs must target the deficits of each child," Vought said. "There should be some component that addresses social deficits and it should be a strong behavioral and communication-based program. Parents must be trained and involved in any program."

Despite their limitations, children with autism continue to grow and progress. Some can memorize and recall volumes of information on subjects of interest. They go to school, make friends, some even graduate college and get married. Children with autism are capable of amazing things. There may become artists, musicians, scientists or authors. The outcomes today are far more positive than they were 10 or 20 years ago.

"These kids are getting better acknowledged and appreciated," Hammond said. "People are starting to look at their abilities and talents, not just their limitations."

Yet most involved with the disorder agree that more needs to be done. More funding for research, more resources and training for parents, better training for teachers and other professionals - early intervention for every child who needs it.

"Services need to be more readily available to families so they know what to do when they get the diagnosis," Vought said.

"You have to try everything (when teaching children with autism)," Curtan said. "One thing may work for one child. You have to see what's going to work with every child."

For more information, contact the San Diego Regional Center at (858) 576-2996 or the San Diego chapter of the Autism Society of America at (619) 298-1981 or visit
Understanding Autism is On the Rise

Monday, March 20, 2006

OZMO Fun Toys for Autism and Other Special Interests

Created by parents of an adult with autism and OCD to encourage easy, safe, wonderful fun with toys, posters, books, novelties, puzzles, jokes and other interesting stuff.
OZMO Fun Toys for Autism and Other Special Interests

Friday, February 10, 2006

Misconceptions about ADHD

Some of the misconceptions about attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) include the following:1

There is no such medical condition as ADHD.

ADHD is a medical disorder, not a condition of the child's will. A child with ADHD does not choose to misbehave.

ADHD is caused by bad parenting. All the child needs is good discipline.

ADHD is not caused by bad parenting, however, parenting techniques can often improve or worsen some symptoms.

ADHD is a life sentence.

Although ADHD symptoms usually continue into adulthood, the person learns ways to cope with the symptoms. People with ADHD have plenty of energy, are creative, and can often accomplish more than people who do not have the condition.

Having ADHD means the person is lazy or dumb.

ADHD has nothing to do with a person's intellectual ability. Some highly intelligent people have ADHD.

The diagnosis of ADHD is confirmed if certain medications (psychostimulants) have a positive effect on what seem to be symptoms of ADHD.

Children without ADHD respond to psychostimulants similarly to children with ADHD. A trial of medication is not used to diagnose the condition.

Medication for ADHD will make a person seem drugged.

Properly adjusted medication for ADHD sharpens a person's focus and increases his or her ability to control behavior.

Medication prescriptions for ADHD have greatly increased in the past few years because the condition is being overdiagnosed.

ADHD is estimated to affect approximately 3% to 7% of all school-age children in the United States.2 There is little evidence to support claims that ADHD is overdiagnosed and ADHD medications overprescribed.3

Psychostimulants are no longer useful after puberty.

Teens and adults with ADHD continue to benefit from medication treatment.

Children with ADHD are learning to use the condition as an excuse for their behavior.

ADHD is a disability. Children with ADHD have to learn ways to deal with their symptoms (inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity) that cause them to have difficulties in life.

Children outgrow ADHD.

About 70% to 80% of children with ADHD continue to have symptoms during their teen years and about 50% have symptoms into adulthood.4

If a child has ADHD, he or she can always be diagnosed in the health professional's office.

A child may not always show symptoms of ADHD, especially in an unfamiliar setting. Evaluating a child from one office observation may result in failure to recognize or diagnose symptoms.

Robin AL (1999). Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in adolescents: Common pediatric concerns. Pediatric Clinics of North America, 46(5): 1027–1038.

American Psychiatric Association (2000). Attention-deficit and disruptive behavior disorders. In Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th ed., text rev., pp. 85–103. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.

Brown RT, et al. (2001). Prevalence and assessment of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in pimary care settings. Pediatrics, 107(3): 1–11.

National Institute of Mental Health (2003). Attention Deficit Disorder. NIH Publication No. 03-3572. Available online:


Thursday, January 19, 2006

Processing in Parts

Musings and writings by a young autistic adult.
Processing in Parts

Friday, January 13, 2006

The Houston Autism February 2006 Meetup

Please join The Houston Autism Meetup Group as we kick off 2006 with the formation of an amazing new forum for friends and family members of individuals with autism, Asperger's syndrome, or PDD-NOS.
The Houston Autism February Meetup - The Houston Autism Meetup Group -

Autism Meetup Groups: Parents of Children with Autism, events, and clubs in your area

Autism Meetup Groups: Parents of Children with Autism, events, and clubs in your area -

Aim High Academy

Aim High Academy is an innovative school for children and adolescents who have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). We are located in the heart of Houston near Bellaire, Texas, and provide highly enriched, intensive instruction to help students achieve success in language, social, and problem solving skills.
Aim High Academy - Home

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Asperger's Connection

The Asperger's Connection is an inter-active web site that allows individuals with Asperger's Syndrome, their families and anyone with an interest in Asperger's to interact and support one another as well as share ideas and problem solving strategies and suggestions. The web site is also intended to create access for professionals and public policy makers so they can learn directly from primary and secondary consumers.

Several components are available on the web site: threaded discussions for consumers and family members, threaded discussions for professionals and policy makers to use to solicit comment from members of the Asperger's community, Ask the Expert panels in which people with Asperger's, family members and professionals will be available throughout the year to respond directly to questions posed by visitors to the site, and short courses on the web for people with Asperger's, family members and professionals.
Asperger's Connection


ASPIE is a parent and professional support group serving the Greater Houston area that was created to provide information sharing and support to the many families and professionals who live and work with individuals with Asperger's Syndrome.

Our goal is to foster awareness and understanding of this unique condition and to support, assist and help educate the many people who are connected in some way to AS. We hope to serve as a first-line resource for anyone needing up-to-date and accurate information on Asperger's Syndrome and the many issues that surround it.

At each monthly ASPIE meeting, speakers share information on a variety of Asperger's-related topics. In addition, time is devoted to questions and answers and networking with other parents and professionals. (See Schedule page for future speakers/topics)

ASPIE "Parent Partners" - veteran AS parents - are available at each meeting and by phone to speak with anyone who might have AS-related questions specific to their child or situation. ASPIE also provides a "Parent Packet" to members containing valuable Asperger's-related resources for the Houston area.

ASPIE is currently in the process of putting together an Advisory Board of local and national AS experts to advise and consult with the group on an ongoing basis. In the future, ASPIE hopes to organize and host a conference on Asperger's Syndrome which will include some of the leading experts in the field and become an annual Houston event.

We invite parents, family-members, friends, teachers, school-based therapists, private practitioners, physicians and anyone else who might impact the life of an individual with Asperger's Syndrome to attend our monthly meetings and become a member of ASPIE.
About Us

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Stats for this blog

(I might be the only one interested in these :-) )

Since November 17, 2005 there have been 804 new visitors.

348 folks from Google, 152 directly, 108 from Yahoo!, 97 from MSN and 36 from

Below is a sampling of cities from around the world that have visited the blog recently (I *think* in the last 7 days only) (sorry it is kinda long) -

City Visits
Houston 63, Scottdale 33, Aliso Viejo 9, Suffolk 8, Seymour 8, Las Vegas 7, Shawford 7, Washington 7, Spring 7, Toronto 6, Mountain View 6, Enid 6, Austin 6, London 5, Seattle 5, Boca Raton 5, Lancaster 5, Tucson 4, New York 4, Plano 4, Meriden 4, Minneapolis 4, Milwaukee 4, Slough 4, Calgary 4, Oklahoma City 3, Ottawa 3, Katy 3, Brooklyn 3, Reston 3, Atlanta 3, Tulsa 3, Long Island City 3, Oxford 3, Rofessart 3, Houston 3, Los Angeles 3, Mount Laurel 3, Palatine 3, Providence 3, Memphis 3, Schaumburg 3, Milledgeville 3, Livingston 3, Victoria 3, Cleveland 3, Frankfort 3, Pittsburgh 3, Princeton 2, Malvern 2, Delavan 2, Columbia 2, Hartley 2, York 2, Deschênes 2, Astoria 2, Cranberry Township 2, London 2, Shaw Afb 2, Almería 2, Waltham 2, Southfield 2, Timmins 2, Tampa 2, Charlotte 2, Stockton 2, San Antonio 2, Lake Oswego 2, Brasília 2, Eaton 2, Madison 2, Buffalo 2, Owingsville 2, Atlanta 2, Irvine 2, Miami 2, Saint Louis 2, Grant 2, Irving 2, Woburn 2, Sheffield 2, Asheville 2, Scottsdale 2, Fort Lauderdale 2, Washington 2, Vancouver 2, Baltimore 2, Monterey Park 2, Madison 2, Halifax 2, Denver 2, Kansas City 2, Edmonton 2, Bruner 2, Sacramento 2, Leeds 2, Springfield 2, Smyrna 2, Columbus 2