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Kathy Marshack News

Thrilling Possibilities for My New Book

Friday, August 28, 2009

In honor of my daughter's graduation from high school and my birthday, I have planned a holiday to Greece in September. It is somewhere I have always wanted to visit and the time has finally arrived for it to become reality. While there, I have decided to visit the Greek Society for the Protection of Autistic People. While communicating with them to plan a visit, an interesting development arose. Prof. Sophia Bonanou of the Greek Society told me that they are working on acquiring books on autism in English and then translating them into Greek. I was then asked to send them a copy of my new book, Life with a Partner or Spouse with Asperger Syndrome: Going Over the Edge? Practical Steps for Saving You and Your Marriage, to be considered for translation. I'm still awaiting for their response on the book, but to know that there is a possibility for this information to reach more people is such an exciting thought. I'll continue to update you on new developments.

Foreclosures Linked to Depression

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A startling new study links depression to the housing foreclosure situation. Apparently large numbers of people whose homes are being foreclosed are diagnosed with depression, some with major depression symptoms. Adding to the stress is the fact that these same people also may be struggling to afford medication and food, causing meals to be skipped. While it may seem obvious that a foreclosure will lead to depression, clinical depression is not the same thing as being upset about losing your house. Clinical depression is serious and can be deadly. This is a major health concern for our community.

The Portland Business Journal recently commented on the growth of foreclosures in the Portland area. They quoted "11,647 foreclosure actions affecting one in every 65 homes in the area." What a staggering statistic! As a psychologist, I have seen many times that social and economic changes are factors that can affect depression. If you are dealing with a economic difficulties like losing your home, please review a list of symptoms to see if you may be struggling with depression.

While some people sail through these difficult times, others are not as resilient. It is important to keep evaluating your mental health every so often especially as times grow increasingly challenging. When depression that is untreated, it can impair your daily life and make more difficult for you to confront and cope with your difficult economic situation.

Remember that you are not alone and there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Depression is treatable. I highly recommend setting up an appointment with a mental health care professional. They will be able to give you the guidance and direction needed during these difficult times. If you live in the Portland/Vancouver area, feel free to contact me personally for more information.

Back-to-School Transitions: Tips for Parents

Friday, August 21, 2009

With school beginning soon, parents can assist their children to get off to a good start.  This can help the child build confidence and performance academically, as well as socially. To assist parents with back-to-school children, check out the following tips from the National Association of School Psychologists:
  • Be sure your child is in good physical and mental health.
  • Review all of the school information.
  • Make a note of important school dates.
  • Make copies of all your child's health and emergency information.
  • Buy school supplies early using the school's checklist, if possible.
  • Re-establish the bedtime and mealtime routines.
  • Turn off the TV.
  • Visit school with your child.
  • Minimize clothes shopping problems by checking out the school's dress code guidelines.
  • Designate a location to keep backpacks, lunch boxes, as well as important papers.
  • Prepare a simple menu for the first week to eliminate additional tension.
These tips should not only make for a smooth transition from a summer schedule to the classroom, but may also make a difference in stress levels at home. For more information, go to

Interview About Asperger’s Relationships on Portland's KXL News Radio

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

I was recently interviewed about my new book, Life with a Partner or Spouse with Asperger Syndrome: Going Over the Edge?, on Portland's KXL 750 News Radio Weekend Morning News. I enjoyed the interview and the opportunity to share what life is like for those who love someone with Asperger Syndrome. If you would like to hear my interview, visit and click on the first audio clip. Enjoy! Don’t forget if you would like a sample chapter of my new book, a FREE download of Chapter One is available. Thank you for your continued support.

New Study Shows Huge Increase in Antidepressants

Thursday, August 13, 2009

A new study published in the August edition of General Archives of General Psychiatry highlighted a startling fact. Apparently the use of antidepressants have increased by 75% when looking at the years 1996 to 2005 in the US. That is a considerable increase! Another worrisome statistic is that less 32% of those taking an antidepressant have visited a mental health care professional for treatment. Most received their medication from a general practitioner. With increasing difficult times, it is realistic to expect an increase in depression. What concerns me is the how people are going about treating their depression. If you are dealing with depression or know someone who is, I strongly encourage treatment from a mental health care professional. Therapy is a highly effective way to treat depression and can be used in combination with antidepressants. I also recommend lifestyle changes when coping with depression. A healthy diet and regular exercise promotes mental and emotional health. A strong network of positive and healthy support from family and friends is important for prevention and recovery from depression. For more tips and important information, visit Overcoming Depression on my website. If you would like to set up an appointment with me, please contact my office for more information.

More on Gary McKinnon

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Herald British Press, recently published more on Gary McKinnon, the computer hacker. For more information on the story behind Gary McKinnon please read my earlier blogs about him: Should a computer hacker with Asperger Syndrome go to prison? and Should Asperger Syndrome be used as a defense? The Herald seems to be very supportive of Mr. McKinnon and believes that he should not be extradited to the US to stand trial. However, the British Courts have upheld the extradition order as legal. In 2003 Mr. McKinnon was offered a plea bargain of about three years in prison and after six months of jail time in the US  he could return home. He refused the deal. I suspect that he hoped he would not have to leave England and never serve any time. Do you really think Mr. McKinnon was just innocently searching for information on little green space men? This is just one of the personal messages he left when he hacked into the Pentagon computers: "US foreign policy is akin to government-sponsored terrorism these days . . . It was not a mistake that there was a huge security stand-down on September 11 last year . . . I am SOLO. I will continue to disrupt at the highest levels . . ." After reading this message, I doubt you will think McKinnon is just an innocent prankster. Does it sound to you like this man was only seeking information on extraterrestrials? Mr. McKinnon needs to stand trial for his admitted crimes, but I also maintain that he needs to receive evaluation and treatment for his developmental disorder.

Hollywood Experiencing an Explosion of Interest in Asperger Syndrome

Saturday, August 08, 2009

In one of my earlier blogs, I wrote about how excited I was to hear that Hollywood had taken an interest in Asperger Syndrome with the new movie, ADAM. Amazingly, that was just the tip of the iceberg. In addition to ADAM, there are two other movies - one this summer and one next summer - that are also based on Asperger Syndrome. The other movie out this summer is an animated film entitled, Mary and Max. Like ADAM, it premiered at the Sundance film festival. Mary and Max is based on a true story of a relationship between a middle aged man from New York with Asperger's and his unlikely pen pal, a little girl from Australia. The original idea for the movie came from Adam Elliot who was the young pen pal to the man with Asperger's. He wanted to share his 20 year friendship with the film world. The second film is still untitled and will debut on HBO in 2010. The story is based on the life of Temple Grandin, a woman with Asperger's who became a professor at Colorado State University. Temple Grandin has written books on autism. In the past I have recommended her book , The Unwritten Rules of Social Relationships: Decoding Social Mysteries Through the Unique Perspective of Autism. I look forward to seeing her story played out onscreen especially since it is from the perspective of a woman which is different from the other two films. For more information on these films, I recommend the New York Times article Asperger's Syndrome, on Screen and in Life. Continue to check my blog for my "reviews" once I have seen these movies. Unfortunately, they are not currently available in my area.

Is Stress on the Rise for Parents with Autistic Children?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Raising children today is extremely challenging, but how does it compare to raising a child with autism? The New York Times recently interviewed, Annette Estes, about this very subject. Annette Estes is the assistant director of the University of Washington Autism Center. Their recent study focused in on the stress levels of mothers with autistic children verses mothers with children who have developmental disabilities. Of course, both groups of mothers are dealing with very stressful situations and that can't be underestimated. The study did show that mothers with autistic children showed higher stress levels and psychological distress than the other group. As a psychologist and as a parent, I recognize the incredible amounts of stress that are on these parents. Finding solutions for managing this kind of stress is a continual process, but there are useful tools available. If you are a parent with an autistic child, visit my website for more information about managing stress. I also recommend my new book, Life with a Partner or Spouse with Asperger Sydrome: Going Over the Edge? Even though I didn't specifically write it with these parents in mind, there are many basic principles that still apply. If you have found any useful tools to help deal with stress as a parent with an ASD child, I would love to hear what you have learned.

Update from the Autism Society of America Conference in Chicago

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

My recent trip to Chicago to attend the Autism Society of America Conference was incredibly rewarding. It appears that the medical community has finally started listening to parents and other family members as we describe what is really going on in our homes, living with loved ones with Autism. As a result the research is demonstrating that there is a genetic, biological, immunological and environmental interaction that produces Autism Spectrum Disorders. I was happy to hear that there is interest in doing research about living the stress of this life, but it is still in its infancy stages. My publisher, AAPC, has expressed an interest in having me write another book. I truly feel that this is the time for us to be heard and do what we can to get as much information out there as possible. There was some good news and some bad news that was shared with us at the conference. The bad news is that CDC will soon be announcing that the incidence of ASDs has increased to one child in 100 in 2009. That is a 1200% increase over 20 years. The good news is that there are very good treatments and even evidence of recovery in some individuals. In fact a new website was unveiled at the conference; It is not yet operational but will soon be. The website will house data and resources from all directions, including a database of parents who would like to submit information on their own families. It's free to access and all confidential. Amazing! I still have much to share, so please continue to read my blog for more updates. If you live in the Portland/Vancouver area and are living with a family member that has Asperger Syndrome, I invite you to join our next Meetup on August 1st at the Old Wives Tale. We will be discussing the conference in full detail.

Speaking about Asperger Syndrome for AAPC

Friday, July 24, 2009

My book publisher AAPC, Autism Asperger Publishing Company, has set in motion a new program entitled Professional Development. This program was created with the intent to connect school districts with qualified professionals who present information on all things related to autism. I was recently asked to be a speaker and presenter for AAPC. In my presentations, I will be focusing on the topics Transition to Adulthood and Family/Home. I am looking forward to being part of this new program. Through these speaking engagements, I hope to share the knowledge I have learned about the challenges of loving and caring for someone with Asperger's. For more information, visit my profile for AAPC Professional Development. Other organizations interested in a presentation related to Asperger Syndrome can contact me directly.

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