Friday, December 19, 2014

Passage of ABLE Act Rights a Wrong

Passing the U.S. House 404-17 earlier this month and the Senate 76-16 on Tuesday, the ABLE Act lived up to its name and showed the country at least one topic able to hurdle congressional gridlock: helping Americans living with disabilities.

To right what he called an injustice, North Carolina’s Republican Sen. Richard Burr has worked eight years to get the Achieving a Better Life Experience or ABLE Act into law.

Read more here:

Florida Seeks Fairer Funding Formula

 — Complying with a court ruling, the state Agency for Persons with Disabilities on Thursday held a hearing about a mathematical formula that helps determine how much money is spent on services for developmentally disabled Floridians.
The 1st District Court of Appeal in July found that the agency did not properly carry out a law that created what are known as “iBudgets.” The law was designed to provide set amounts of money to people with developmental disabilities, depending on their needs, and then give them flexibility in how the money is spent on services.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Focusing on Mental Health of Children with Intellectual Disabilities

From Melbourne, Australia, some interesting research.

Research to improve the wellbeing of children and adolescents with intellectual disabilities or autism, and their families, has been presented at the MIND-IT Research Group conference in Melbourne.
The research team, supported by the
 Monash Warwick Alliance, aims to identify the challenges faced by families along with the positive experiences involved with raising a child with a disability and to successfully translate research findings into on-the-ground treatment, support and services.
The MIND-IT team including
 Associate Professor Kylie Grayand Dr Glenn Melvin of Monash University, and Professor Richard Hastings and Dr Vaso Totsika of the University of Warwick highlighted a clear need for better identification of mental health problems and access to improved treatments and services.

Retired Cop Educating First-Responders

A retired police officer from Lansing has made it his mission to educate first-responders and others about how to more effectively interact with people with autism spectrum disorder.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says one in 68 American children is affected by autism spectrum disorder, and research indicates autistic people are seven times more likely to come into contact with law enforcement.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Neurodiversity Is Next on the Civil Rights Agenda for Workplace

A burgeoning civil rights movement is poised to change the workplace, and it revolves around differences in brain function. Advocates for neurodiversity say that it’s just as critical to business success as gender or racial diversity in the labor force. 

A growing number of companies actively recruit candidates on the autism spectrum for tasks that are suited to their strengths, such as those involving large amounts of data or rigorous attention to detail. They include SAP, Freddie Mac, ULTRA Testing, as well as specialized recruiting and placement firms for people with neurological differences.

Opposition to KanCare Proposals

TOPEKA — Groups that advocate for Kansans with disabilities and for frail seniors say they will file objections to proposed changes in the waivers defining the state’s approach to Medicaid-funded services that help them live in community-based settings rather than in nursing homes.

“There are service reductions built into the waivers, plain and simple,” said Sean Gatewood, interim director of the Kansas Health Consumer Coalition. “That’s a major concern, absolutely.”

The Medicaid services at issue are provided under agreements with the federal government known as waivers that allow states to use alternative methods to pay for or deliver health care services.

N.J. Teachers Accused of Insulting Special Ed Students in Online Chat

Heard about this story this morning and really have to wonder what the teachers were thinking? And can totally understand the reaction of parents. Lesson learned: Don't put anything out there, even when your chatting, that you don't want to see in the news (or on Page 1, as we used to say at newspapers).

EDISON, N.J. — Parents of Edison special education students are furious in the wake of accusations that Edison schoolteachers participated in an online chat that insulted the types of kids they've spent their lives advocating for.

"This is my district, and it hurts even more," said Andrea Siragusa, an advocate for special education students like his son, a 7th grader in Edison's schools. "What is the rest of the class learning from a teacher like that?"