Smart Talk

Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment.  Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on WITF’s 89.5 and 93.3.

Listen to Smart Talk live online from 9-10 a.m. weekdays and at 7 p.m. (Repeat of 9 a.m. program)

Host: Scott LaMar

Smart Talk: Autism Awareness Month

Written by Scott LaMar, Smart Talk Host/Executive Producer | Apr 14, 2014 2:15 PM

What to look for  on Smart Talk Tuesday, April 15, 2014:


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate 1 in 68 children has Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and that nearly 60,000 U.S. 12 year olds likely has some form of Autism.

Thirty years ago, that number was 1 in 2,500 children.

Autism is a developmental disorder of the brain and is typically diagnosed within the first few years of life.  It can be associated with intellectual disabilities, social interaction difficulties, and repetitive behaviors.

For decades researchers have attributed ASD to the environment, aging parents, or illness during pregnancy.  There are those who also blame vaccinations.

However, in a recent study, Patches of Disorganization in the Neocortex of Children with Autism published in the New England Journal of Medicine, there is now evidence that autism happens prior to birth while the brain is still developing.

Coping with Autism Spectrum Disorders can be challenging and stressful for families.

April is Autism Awareness Month. 

Appearing on Tuesday’s Smart Talk to discuss Autism Spectrum Disorder and ways to help those with Autism and their families find support and resources are Dr. Michael Fueyo, Medical Director at the Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities and Nina Wall, Director of the Bureau of Autism Services with the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare.

If you want to learn more about Philhaven's Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities (CADD) go to

For information on Pennsylvania services available for individuals with Autism go to or call 1-877-231-4244.


Autism Awareness.jpg

Dr. Michael Fueyo & Nina Wall

Listen to the program:

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  • drneuville img 2014-04-15 08:03

    I listened to your promo intro at 9. I was disappointed that you participated in the habit of listing of Autism as deficit. A dangerous promotion that leaders like Ari Neeman would appropriately object to.

    • Scott LaMar img 2014-04-15 10:17

      In checking my copy, the word deficit does not appear, although words like disorder and disability do. If I said deficit, I misspoke.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2014-04-15 08:21

    Diana emails:

    I have a son who was diagnosed with Asperger's at age 4. Recently my daughter was given the same diagnosis at age 8.

    We are active in the autism community so now the boys with autism are easy for me to recognize.

    The girls seem much less homogenous. Many I know just seem quiet and bookish until you really get to know them. Their autism impairments don't jump out at me like the boys' do. That makes me wonder if maybe there are a lot more girls who have autism than we realize because it is so much harder to recognize.

    What do your guests think?


  • Radio Smart Talk img 2014-04-15 08:22

    Donna emails:

    If a family has multiple children with autism, will the autism be increasingly severe in the birth order (i.e. oldest has least symptoms)


  • Radio Smart Talk img 2014-04-15 08:26

    Nick from York emails:

    I have a questios for your guests. I work directly with adults with intellectual disabilities, the vast majority of whom have a diagnosis of a spectrum disorder. The overwhelming majority of these individuals live in group homes. This is a direct result of the closing of state run hospitals and institutions starting in the 70s and 80s after awareness surrounding abuse at various institutions such as Pennhurst we're brought to the public's attention. In order to remedy this situations movement towards providing the "least restrictive environment" (a term used daily in the mental health community) began. This resulted in provider agencies designing and purchasing homes in large numbers to accommodate the populations coming out of closed institutions and "aging out" of school and family environments. After roughly 30 years in this system, it's clear that a percentage of this population desperately needs the cars offered at hospitals and large scale institutions. Because the need far outweighs the availability of beds, a significant portion of those in need end up homeless and/or incarcerated. I'd like to know your guests' opinions on how to best address this problem.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2014-04-15 08:28

    Jennifer emails:

    Good morning,
    Curious to know what will happen to the children on the spectrum that are currently in the school systems and will be leaving school system support. What support is there for those exiting those school supported programs? Also can you discuss the increase in need of services in the very near future?

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2014-04-15 08:30

    Tim Caldwell comments on Facebook:

    The Staff at Philhaven's Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities is listening to the broadcast and feel blessed to be able to work with Dr. Fueyo each day.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2014-04-15 08:33

    Stacy Tarkowski comments on Facebook:

    I feel blessed to live in PA where Autism support and understanding is so much better than it was where I used to live. It has certainly helped our family!

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2014-04-15 08:38

    Tim Caldwell's comment on Facebook:

    If you want to learn more about Philhaven's Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities (CADD) go to

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2014-04-15 08:41

    Diana emails:

    Can your guests explain what social problems people on the autism spectrum face?

    I think for people not intimately aware of these disorders, "social problems" sound minor. But I know from personal experience how devastating it is for kids who try and try and try to make friends, but just can't do it. As well as for families isolated from the community. It is so difficult and stressful bringing my kids out in public. They look normal, but they have big meltdowns, urinate in public and do other things that are completely inappropriate for kids their age.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2014-04-15 08:42

    Sarah emails:

    Can you tell the audience of the decrease in behavior symptoms that happen when an autistic child omits all artificial colors, synthetic flavors, & anti-oxidant preservatives PLUS using a gluten-free and milk-free diet?

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2014-04-15 08:44

    A mom in Lemoyne emails:

    I am a parent of a 10 year old son who was diagnosed with Asperger's when he was 7years and 10 months. He was the kind of kid who sang songs when he was 1 and a half and I didn't see that he had any issue. He did get frustrated and hold his breath when he was very young and that was what raised my concern that something was different, but there weren't any other glaring things that would have led me to seek a diagnosis. As he has grown and matured he is rarely frustrated and even though he has many questions about what is socially acceptable he is sensitive and compassionate and gives me a lift just by having him in my life.

    Thank you for putting this show on the radio.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2014-04-15 08:46

    Okgodana emails:

    So if you're shy you're autistic.
    The symptoms cover me to a far as social interaction.
    Although I've been diagnosed with a "people avoidance"diagnosis.
    Also, autism in the past,to me was some one totally disconnected.
    Have the diagnosis been broadened over the years?

  • Scott LaMar img 2014-04-15 10:16

    Elizabeth writes...
    I just want to highlight some struggles that families deal with every day who are affected by ASD. I have 3 children, 2 have ASD. we knew there was something wrong with our middle child starting when he was 18mo old. He wasn't diagnosed until age 5. I was told by our family dr that he would "grow out of it!" We now have therapies every weekday: Monday my 10yo has vision therapy & my 8yo has Mobile Therapy. Tuesday, my 10yo has speech therapy and my 8yo has Occupational Therapy. Wednesday my 10yo has occupational therapy & my 8yo has speech therapy. Thursday my 10yo has Mobile Therapy and my 8yo has TSS. On Friday both boys have TSS. The vision therapy is not being covered by insurance ($150 per week) We got a weighted blanket for our 10yo because he would go to bed at 8pm and lay awake until 12 or 1. The blanket was not covered by insurance ($180). We are now fighting with the school because of IEP and the school doesn't want to accept the diagnosis from outside doctors. Thanks for taking my comments

  • Doug Stoner img 2014-04-15 13:35

    It was my son's research (local Lancaster County researcher) that was referenced at the end of the show this morning. If you wish to read more, feel free to go to the link below to a LancasterOnLine article. Thanks.