Tampa’s Warriors for Autism seeks to help parents of autistic children in the bay area, as Warriors for Autism does so nationally – Tampa Bay Times

Anthony Rivera, 13, gives his mom, Deena Rivera, a high-five at the camp. Deena founded Warriors for Autism after he was diagnosed more than 10 years ago.
Anthony Rivera, 13, gives his mom, Deena Rivera, a high-five at the camp. Deena founded Warriors for Autism after he was diagnosed more than 10 years ago.
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During an August Warriors for Autism camp at Horsepower for Kids, Zane Zigler, 8, rides Snowy, led by volunteer Christina Cruz.Alyssa Flannagan, 7, pets a chicken at Horsepower for Kids on Racetrack Road in Tampa where Deena Rivera’s nonprofit Warriors for Autism held the Aug. 6 camp. Jake Chase, 10, gets ready to hop on Snowy at Horsepower for Kids on Racetrack Road in Tampa, where Warriors for Autism held its camp Aug. 6.
[Photos by KATHLEEN FLYNN l Times]
During an August Warriors for Autism camp at Horsepower for Kids, Zane Zigler, 8, rides Snowy, led by volunteer Christina Cruz.

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TOWN ‘N COUNTRY

When Deena and Olando Rivera found out their son, Anthony, was autistic, they experienced the stress and grief that many parents in their position face.

But more than 10 years after their son’s diagnosis, the couple has learned enough about dealing with the disorder to form a nonprofit organization to help support the local autism community.

“We had this lightbulb moment when we realized that after all the fundraising we did for other organizations, we still don’t have the services that we needed for our family or the other families that were in the community,” said Deena Rivera, founder and chief executive of Warriors for Autism. “We decided, ‘well let’s try to do this ourselves.’ We know what we need better than anybody. We know from our friends what they need so let’s give it a shot.”

Warriors for Autism provides life-enhancing services for families. It provides a wide range of activities for autistic children and helps those in the autistic community integrate into society through group meetings, education, job placement, fundraising and community events.

The need for local autism support is great, said Kelley Prince, founder and president of Behavioral Consulting of Tampa Bay, pointing out that the area has the sixth-highest number of cases of autism in the nation.

“I feel that, several years ago, the general public was not very educated on autism as a disorder,” Prince said. “Although there is more awareness today, it is still a foreign idea to many.”

All that the Riveras knew about autism at the time Anthony was diagnosed in 2001 was from the Academy Award-winning movie, Rain Man.

“When you think about it, Rain Man was pretty high functioning,” Rivera said of the movie’s autistic main character, played by Dustin Hoffman. “He could speak, he could dress himself. He was somewhat self-sufficient . . . People would wish that their child was as highly functional as a Rain Man.”

Anthony, now 13, also is high functioning. But autism symptoms and severity can vary from person to person, affecting their ability to interact and communicate with others.

The Riveras said they formed Warriors for Autism as a way to provide families the services and knowledge to help them cope, which is something that didn’t come to them right away.

“The big organizations like Autism Speaks were among the first ones assembling meetings, so that’s what we were drawn to,” Deena Rivera said. “But it’s always that reminder of how lonely and devastating it was back then that draws us to help other people.”

During the summer, the group has hosted weekly camps for autistic children at a local farm called Horse Power for Kids. The camps educate children about exotic animals and allows them to interact. They enjoy a variety of activities, including swimming, arts and crafts, field trips and horseback riding.

Tammy Matson, of Clearwater, said the camp has given her son, Ryan, an opportunity to play with animals, which isn’t something he would normally be able to do.

“Plus, the group of kids are kids who are like him,” she said.

Matson said her son has attended camps that aren’t specifically for children with autism, and he would sometimes get left out “because he may act a little different and might do things a little different than the rest of the kids.”

Susan Gettys, the director of education at Warriors for Autism, attests to the attention to detail autistic children need.

“It’s a matter of knowing children, each individual child,” Gettys said. “Deena says if you met one autistic child, you only met one autistic child.”

Warriors for Autism operates on private donations and fundraisers. Donations from the New York Yankees Foundation have helped with the annual summer camps, and the couple also uses Olando Rivera’s connections as a five-time world kickboxing champion to get contributions from area martial arts businesses.

“We’ve gone in for 10 years with autism and it’s been a ride through trial and error in a lot of what we’ve done,” Olando Rivera said. “But all we do is out of the kindness of our heart, because we want nothing but the best for our children.”

On the Web

For more information, go to warriorsforautism.org

On the Web

For more information on the program,

go to warriorsforautism.org.

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AFB Charter Member Deena Rivera of Warriors for Autism Hosts Costume Ball Benefit October 26, 2012


Adventures In Puzzleland Adult
Costume Ball Benefit!!
Friday, October 26th, 2012

 

SUPER SALE!!!

For The Month Of September Only
Save $20 on one admission
or Save $25 on admission for two!!

September Super Sale Prices $30 single or $55 couple!!

(All tickets include Hot Appetizers & Open Bar with admission)

 

 

 

 

 

Afblogo150

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON HOW TO BECOME AN AFFILIATE, MEMBER OR PARTNER WITH AFB, CALL TIM WELSH AT (217) 812-3098 OR VISIT OUR WEBSITE TO SEE OUR DIRECTORY OF AUTISM FRIENDLY BUSINESSES AT: WWW.AUTISMFRIENDLYBUSINESS.COM

 

 

^ed

Obama faces delicate decisions as cyberattack fears rise

President Barack Ob, ... ]

White House photo

At the height of the economic crisis in 2008, Saturday Night Live’s “Weekend Update” comedy news show rolled out the character Oscar Rogers as a faux financial commentator. His advice on how to restore the economy? “Fix it! It needs to be fixed! Now!”

Four years later, lawmakers are grappling with a cybercrisis, and despite rising concerns, legislative debates over how to secure U.S. networks and infrastructure have often resembled nothing so much as Oscar Rogers yelling “Fix it!”

Now, with Congress looking unlikely to act anytime soon to fix vulnerabilities in the nation’s computer systems that leave them open to cyberattacks, President Obama is weighing the pros and cons of using anexecutive order to do what Congress hasn’t.

Experts in government and industry alike report a tide of attacks aimed at stealing information from individuals, companies, and government agencies, potentially making a strong case for presidential action.

Further bolstering the case are warnings from top national-security officials that a catastrophic attack on a critical system like those that run energy grids or chemical plants could cause damage to the economy or even loss of life.

But Obama needs to consider his options carefully, because any unilateral steps could invite accusations from his critics of overstepping his authority. As the acrimonious debate over antipiracy legislation illustrated earlier this year, simmering Internet issues can easily explode.

In the final days before the August recess, the Senate hit an impasse on broad cybersecurity legislation that the White House and national-security and defense leaders support. The bill stalled after businesses and Republicans said the legislation would create burdensome regulations for industry without doing enough to shore up defenses against cyberattacks.

Top White House counterterrorism aide John Brennan said earlier this month that Obama was looking at the possibility of an executive order but that there is no decision yet.

Lee Hamilton, a Democratic former House member who sits on a board that advises the Homeland Security Department and who examined government security failures as cochair of the 9/11 Commission, said that Obama is right to consider moving forward on his own. He said the stalemate in Congress is a “serious breakdown” reminiscent of failures before the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

“The preference would be to work together with Congress, but the threat is serious enough that an executive order is in line,” he said. “There is certainly a lack of urgency in dealing with this, and it’s not a business-as-usual problem. Given the fact that Congress hasn’t acted, the president has the obligation to put together options to secure the country.”

While the debate in Congress largely broke down along party lines, some prominent Republicans support the cybersecurity standards backed by the White House.

Top national-security advisers for GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, such as former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and former National Security Agency and Central Intelligence Agency chief Michal Hayden, differed with Republicans in Congress and publicly called for the Senate to pass provisions that have Obama’s support.

Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul declined to elaborate on the Republican candidate’s assertion that more needs to be done to secure American networks, or comment on whether he would favor using an executive order in the absence of legislation. But she reiterated Romney’s promise to make cybersecurity an early priority and didn’t rule out executive action. Romney’s plan would require agencies to begin developing a new national cybersecurity strategy within the first 100 days of his administration. “Once the strategy is formulated he will determine how best it can be implemented,” Saul said in an e-mail.

Polls show that while Americans express concerns over cyberattacks, they, too, are divided over what should be done.

Separate surveys published by United Technologies/National Journal and The Washington Post over the summer found that a majority of Americans prefer that the government either not create standards for private companies, or keep any standards voluntary.

Backers of the White House’s proposals, however, say an executive order could add clarity to the debate and prove to skeptics that the government can play a greater role in protecting American networks without violating privacy or burdening private businesses.

“I think it’s hard to make things any messier than it was politically,” said James Lewis, an expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “If done right, an executive order could help critics reconsider their arguments.”

That’s an analysis echoed by University of California (Berkeley) professor Steven Weber who said many people seem to be “sleepwalking” when it comes to the threat of cyberattacks. An executive order, he said, could reform cybersecurity policies before a catastrophic attack galvanizes public opinion.

An executive order could give Obama the chance to take a strong stand on a rising national-security concern while portraying Republicans in Congress as ditherers.

But an order is unlikely to accomplish all of the White House’s aims. It couldn’t hand DHS wider authority to ensure that certain private networks are secure. Nor could it entirely ease legal restrictions that prevent businesses from sharing threat information. Even policy changes for some federal network-security policies would likely need congressional action. Additionally, any action would need to avoid inciting privacy watchdogs who fear cybersecurity could be used as an excuse to undermine civil liberties.

And some analysts said the politics of an executive order could cut both ways for Obama. Presidents often win political debates that pit them against an unpopular Congress, especially one perceived as unable to do anything substantive, said Peter Feaver, a former National Security Council staffer during the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations. But if Obama were to take unilateral action, it would give his critics on the right an opening to paint him as an “imperial” president and to accuse him of saddling business with new regulations, Feaver said.

“In general, White Houses win in these fights with Congress, but this White House has played this card many times,” Feaver said. “This is an issue where there are bound to be unintended consequences and any cybersecurity measures will need a system to fix and update the provisions down the road. This administration has a hard sell assuring people to trust them to fix things later.”

Paul Rosenzweig, a consultant and visiting fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation, said a cybersecurity executive order could play into both the “imperial presidency and do-nothing-Congress” narratives, but said he thinks there is a genuine possibility for a future compromise and unilateral action by Obama would do little to actually help secure private networks

http://m.nextgov.com/cio-briefing/2012/08/obama-faces-delicate-decisions-cybe…

Obama faces delicate decisions as cyberattack fears rise

President Barack Ob, ... ]

White House photo

At the height of the economic crisis in 2008, Saturday Night Live’s “Weekend Update” comedy news show rolled out the character Oscar Rogers as a faux financial commentator. His advice on how to restore the economy? “Fix it! It needs to be fixed! Now!”

Four years later, lawmakers are grappling with a cybercrisis, and despite rising concerns, legislative debates over how to secure U.S. networks and infrastructure have often resembled nothing so much as Oscar Rogers yelling “Fix it!”

Now, with Congress looking unlikely to act anytime soon to fix vulnerabilities in the nation’s computer systems that leave them open to cyberattacks, President Obama is weighing the pros and cons of using anexecutive order to do what Congress hasn’t.

Experts in government and industry alike report a tide of attacks aimed at stealing information from individuals, companies, and government agencies, potentially making a strong case for presidential action.

Further bolstering the case are warnings from top national-security officials that a catastrophic attack on a critical system like those that run energy grids or chemical plants could cause damage to the economy or even loss of life.

But Obama needs to consider his options carefully, because any unilateral steps could invite accusations from his critics of overstepping his authority. As the acrimonious debate over antipiracy legislation illustrated earlier this year, simmering Internet issues can easily explode.

In the final days before the August recess, the Senate hit an impasse on broad cybersecurity legislation that the White House and national-security and defense leaders support. The bill stalled after businesses and Republicans said the legislation would create burdensome regulations for industry without doing enough to shore up defenses against cyberattacks.

Top White House counterterrorism aide John Brennan said earlier this month that Obama was looking at the possibility of an executive order but that there is no decision yet.

Lee Hamilton, a Democratic former House member who sits on a board that advises the Homeland Security Department and who examined government security failures as cochair of the 9/11 Commission, said that Obama is right to consider moving forward on his own. He said the stalemate in Congress is a “serious breakdown” reminiscent of failures before the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

“The preference would be to work together with Congress, but the threat is serious enough that an executive order is in line,” he said. “There is certainly a lack of urgency in dealing with this, and it’s not a business-as-usual problem. Given the fact that Congress hasn’t acted, the president has the obligation to put together options to secure the country.”

While the debate in Congress largely broke down along party lines, some prominent Republicans support the cybersecurity standards backed by the White House.

Top national-security advisers for GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, such as former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and former National Security Agency and Central Intelligence Agency chief Michal Hayden, differed with Republicans in Congress and publicly called for the Senate to pass provisions that have Obama’s support.

Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul declined to elaborate on the Republican candidate’s assertion that more needs to be done to secure American networks, or comment on whether he would favor using an executive order in the absence of legislation. But she reiterated Romney’s promise to make cybersecurity an early priority and didn’t rule out executive action. Romney’s plan would require agencies to begin developing a new national cybersecurity strategy within the first 100 days of his administration. “Once the strategy is formulated he will determine how best it can be implemented,” Saul said in an e-mail.

Polls show that while Americans express concerns over cyberattacks, they, too, are divided over what should be done.

Separate surveys published by United Technologies/National Journal and The Washington Post over the summer found that a majority of Americans prefer that the government either not create standards for private companies, or keep any standards voluntary.

Backers of the White House’s proposals, however, say an executive order could add clarity to the debate and prove to skeptics that the government can play a greater role in protecting American networks without violating privacy or burdening private businesses.

“I think it’s hard to make things any messier than it was politically,” said James Lewis, an expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “If done right, an executive order could help critics reconsider their arguments.”

That’s an analysis echoed by University of California (Berkeley) professor Steven Weber who said many people seem to be “sleepwalking” when it comes to the threat of cyberattacks. An executive order, he said, could reform cybersecurity policies before a catastrophic attack galvanizes public opinion.

An executive order could give Obama the chance to take a strong stand on a rising national-security concern while portraying Republicans in Congress as ditherers.

But an order is unlikely to accomplish all of the White House’s aims. It couldn’t hand DHS wider authority to ensure that certain private networks are secure. Nor could it entirely ease legal restrictions that prevent businesses from sharing threat information. Even policy changes for some federal network-security policies would likely need congressional action. Additionally, any action would need to avoid inciting privacy watchdogs who fear cybersecurity could be used as an excuse to undermine civil liberties.

And some analysts said the politics of an executive order could cut both ways for Obama. Presidents often win political debates that pit them against an unpopular Congress, especially one perceived as unable to do anything substantive, said Peter Feaver, a former National Security Council staffer during the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations. But if Obama were to take unilateral action, it would give his critics on the right an opening to paint him as an “imperial” president and to accuse him of saddling business with new regulations, Feaver said.

“In general, White Houses win in these fights with Congress, but this White House has played this card many times,” Feaver said. “This is an issue where there are bound to be unintended consequences and any cybersecurity measures will need a system to fix and update the provisions down the road. This administration has a hard sell assuring people to trust them to fix things later.”

Paul Rosenzweig, a consultant and visiting fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation, said a cybersecurity executive order could play into both the “imperial presidency and do-nothing-Congress” narratives, but said he thinks there is a genuine possibility for a future compromise and unilateral action by Obama would do little to actually help secure private networks

http://m.nextgov.com/cio-briefing/2012/08/obama-faces-delicate-decisions-cybe…

Tracking Big Foot: Why GPS Location Requires a Warrant | Center for Democracy & Technology

In a case that raises as many questions as the average sighting of Big Foot, a panel of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled earlier this week that law enforcement officers didn’t need a warrant to obtain GPS location information generated by his cell phone.

The court’s analysis has been roundly criticized as legally incorrect, lazy, shallow, and vague. I’d like to focus on one aspect of the case that the court missed:  the Department of Justice recommends that police obtain warrants in the scenario presented by this case, does so for good reason, and there were sufficient facts for the government to obtain the warrant that the Department of Justice recommends investigators obtain.

In this case, U.S. v. Skinner law enforcement officers obtained an order that allowed them to monitor for 60 days the location of a pre-paid cell phone they had good cause to believe was being used by Big Foot, the nickname given trucker eventually identified as Melvin Skinner, who they alleged was transporting marijuana.  They obtained a court order under which the provider, Sprint/Nextel, acting at the behest of law enforcement, pinged the phone repeatedly so it would reveal its location over a three-day period and eventually activated the phone’s GPS functionality to locate the phone’s GPS coordinates.   (Sprint/Nextel recently developed a web portal through which law enforcement can do this automatically for the duration of the court authorization, without contacting the provider each time officers ping the phone.)

The court found that there was “… no Fourth Amendment violation because Skinner did not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in the data given off by his voluntarily procured … cell phone.”  But, as Jennifer Grannick points out cell phones don’t normally “give off” the kind of GPS location data that law enforcement used to locate Skinner.  Unless the user is employing location services – and Skinner wasn’t – the GPS location data has to be created.  In this case, the provider, under court order, remotely activated the GPS function of Skinner’s phone so the police could track him.

There’s a critical difference between GPS location information and cell tower location information a mobile phone creates during normal use.  The GPS data in this case is created at the request of law enforcement for tracking purposes and not through the normal use of the mobile phone. The GPS data doesn’t even exist until the provider prompts the device to deliver its GPS location to the provider so law enforcement can access it.  In contrast, providers maintain cell tower location information for business reasons.  Because providers do not normally maintain GPS location information and because it was not voluntarily conveyed to the provider, it is not a “business record” and does not fit into the third party records doctrine, which says that a person has no Fourth Amendment interest in information that is voluntarily revealed to, and held by, a third party.  While the third party doctrine should probably be re-examined, for now we have to live with it, but not for GPS data created by providers at the behest of law enforcement.  For that data, we retain our Fourth Amendment rights against warrantless GPS tracking.  

Blind Eye to Justice

Apparently recognizing that GPS is different, the Justice Department recommends that prosecutors obtain a warrant to get GPS location information from mobile communications service providers.  For example, in this power point presentation the Associate Director of the Justice Department Office of Enforcement Operations recommends that prosecutors use search warrants to get prospective GPS location information (referred to as “lat/long data” or latitudinal and longitudinal data) for constitutional, not statutory reasons, and because “anything less presents significant risks of suppression.”  In addition, the Justice Department Associate Deputy Attorney General, testified in April last year that when the government seeks to compel disclosure of prospective GPS coordinates generated by cell phones, it relies on a warrant.

The Sixth Circuit missed this point entirely.  It blithely rejected Skinner’s Fourth Amendment claims and implicitly bought into the government’s argument that orders under the Stored Communications Act provision at 18 USC 2703(d) can be used to obtain prospective location information that has never been stored.  It did not consider whether the information sought was within the third party records doctrine and it cited no statutory authority for the proposition that the government can compel a provider to create the GPS information for the government to seize.  

Perhaps most ironically, it seems pretty clear that the government had facts establishing probable cause and could have obtained a warrant if it had applied for one.  As the concurring opinion in Skinner noted, law enforcement officials were watching the drug operation for months, had recorded conversations about an upcoming drug run, learned that the courier was carrying a particular phone that they could track, and that a half ton of marijuana was in transit.  

A warrant requirement for location information, as advocated by the Digital Due Process coalition, would still mean a drug courier like Skinner would get caught.  If followed, a statutory warrant requirement decreases the chances a criminal would elude jail because the seized evidence would not be at risk of suppression, as it is now for Big Foot if he appeals this decision. 

For updates, follow us on Twitter at @CenDemTech.

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