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September 2012


Features Autism Advocate Filmmaker

New Documentary Offers Hope For Families With Autism


Alex Plank

Alex Plank

Visit Alex Plank Website

Wrong Planet a community designed for individuals with Autism

Watch the "Shameful" Documentary


"The inaccurate diagnosis of mental retardation often occurs when experts use intelligence tests that require good verbal skills. Since most children with autism have verbal deficits, they score poorly on such tests. however, when experts use tests that rely on abstract reasoning and nonverbal skills, the same autistic children may demonstrate average or above-average intelligence. In her sudy of autistic children, Meredyth Goldberg Edelson found that only 19% had below average intelligence, leaving 81% with average inteligence or higher.""

The Everyday Advocate

The Everyday Advocate by Areva Martin, Esq.


The Special Needs Network
Autism Society of Los Angeles
ACT-Today Autism Care & Treatment
CARD Center for Autism & Related Disorders
Austim Speaks

YouTube I'm in College

Learn more about Special Needs College Programs
View this AMAZING clip:
"Look I'm in College"

Also check out:

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Psalms 30:2

"O Lord my God, I cried out to You, and You healed me."

Vana Thiero and Boys


The Samaritans House
Safe Passage Live




Hello Reader,

The kids are back in school! Yey! I'm always happier with the order and structure of our life when Carter and Bakary attend school daily. Summer is nice but, it's more work for me!!!

On, Friday August 31st my Autism Advocacy film, "My Thiero Boys" was featured on the KCAL9 News! I was live on television for the first time as an Autism Advocate. I practiced and prepared my message for a month. I considered taking the boys out of school to go on TV with me. Because people see children like Carter (verbal & bright) in the media all the time. But they don't see people like Bakary (non-verball & UBER ENERGETIC). The week leading up, I was so nervous it hit me that I'd better start out simply ...alone ...it was LIVE! Perhaps, the next time the invitation presents itself the boys will join me ;-) It may be wild!

The Sky is the Limit !!!

Networking on Linked In, I found myself having a lot in common with Filmmaker Alex Plank. We communicated back and forth about our documentary projects and autism. His film, "Shameful," unveils the lack of services and consciousness to provide serious intervention for individuals diagnosed with autism in France. 

On the ShamefulDocumentary.com site you may view an extremely moving clip of the film and learn a bit about one Mother's tragic reality.

"One study estimated that 80% of French autistic children are not even allowed to go to school."

What poignancy in the title of this incredible expose. Alex produced and directed the documentary with Noah Trevino. Be sure to see it when it screens in your neighborhood.

In June, I took a short get-a-way to the Bay and was introduced to Sophie Suberville who is the Executive Director of the French American Cultural Society. I linked Alex with Sophie. My hopes are to get people to rally around this kind of injustice that exists in other countries as well.

When I returned to LA I gave Alex a call. 30 seconds into the conversation, we realized we knew one another through the Autism Society of LA. It was quite humorous. 

We later had lunch and my memory was completely refreshed. I was thrilled we had reconnected.

By the way, Alex is a bright young man, diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome. He is a keynote speaker at many conferences. He also lectures at schools and universities. He educates people regarding overcoming challenges, living independently and becoming successful in social and professional environments. 

Alex has shared his brilliant insight and unsuspectingly humorous perspective in New York, Nashville, Cherry Hill, New Jersey, Chicago, Sulpher Springs Texas, Los Angeles and many other places since 2008. You can meet him at the "Speak Up and Speak Out Summit" October 30th in Springfield, Il. (Check out the AlexPlank.com link to the left.)

During lunch Alex said, "I made myself talk to people I didn't know." I asked him how did he know to do that. He told me how he knew he was intelligent because he did well in school. He also understood his innate discomfort during friendly gatherings and common situations where he was near someone he didn't know for a period of time ... such as in line or in a lobby, waiting. Also, he knew he enjoyed conversing with people he'd grown to know over a period of time. But, striking up a conversation with a stranger wasn't easy. So, he said, "I just did it. I did it all the time and I got better and better."

Alex practiced initiating. Eventually he found that he could start a conversation by asking questions or making a relatable comment into a conversation and conquered that thing that stood in the way of expressing himself verbally, socially and confidently.

He graduated from George Mason University with a degree in Film and Video Studies. He moved to Los Angeles where he runs his own production company. He's also developed "WrongPlanet.net" a popular site where he provides helpful anecdotes and a discussion forum to navigate the waters of Autism and Asperger's, ADHD and other neurological differences. 

This guy is a Superstar!!! Entrepreneur, Public Speaker, Producer, Director, Blogger, Innovator ... AND MAY I TELL YOU HE'S CUTE TOO!

Yes! All that AND a bag of chips ;-)

I'm so grateful God brought Alex into my life. Through him I witness, first hand, how a strong will, determination and a good education not only helps one beat the odds but, kick doors wide open. Alex has kicked the door open many times for himself and for others who go in behind him or because of him. People meet Alex Plank and find themselves open to all kinds of possibilities. And his humility is a telling indicator of magnificent things to come.


The way Alex Plank lives his life helps me believe that there is no glass ceiling for my children and individuals on the autism spectrum.

This lets me know that our job is to see the talent(s) and nurture the will power. Everyone can create a future uniquely triumphant for themselves. Especially, when there is awesome modeling and loving encouragement.

"Oh sing to the Lord a new song! For He has done marvelous things; His right hand and His holy arm have gained Him the victory." Psalm 98:1

Please forward this wonderful news to inspire those you know and love.
Thank you for your time.
For comments email me at VThiero@aol.com
Facebook.com/Vana Thiero

Vana Thiero, Autism Advocate and Documentarian, also serves on the Board of Directors of two non-profit organizations: The Samaritan's House Foundation and Safe Passage. To learn more about these charities visit  samaritanshouse.org and safepassagelives.org.