Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Researchers Find Mix of Tools Needed to Help Diagnose Autism

Autism is a complex developmental disorder, and diagnosing it properly usually involves a combination of different tests. In the latest issue of JAMA, scientists provide the most up-to-date assessment yet of which tests work best for detecting genetic mutations associated with certain kinds of autism. Categorizing the various forms of autism will be important to guide parents to the proper care, the researchers say.Traditionally, autism is diagnosed with behavioral tests that assess whether kids are meeting developmental milestones, such as talking, interacting with their parents and siblings, and learning to give and take in social situations. In recent years, researchers have been working on other ways to detect and potentially diagnose autism. Scientists have identified more than 100 genes connected with a higher risk of developing autism.

Californians Protest for More Funding

LOS ANGELES -- In what they called a last desperate plea, more than 100 protesters gathered in front of state Sen. Kevin de Leon’s district office Tuesday to press him and other lawmakers to boost funding for programs for those with developmental disabilities.
Demonstrators, including those with special needs, were joined by supporters from the San Fernando Valley, Pasadena and all over East Los Angeles. The protesters lined West Sunset Boulevard holding signs that said: “Fair Funding!” and “Save our Services!”

Monday, August 31, 2015

California Service System Without Funding Increase in More than Decade

“Guess where I am right now?” my son Matthew asked giddily in a recent phone call, “I’m on a bike ride with Larry Davis!” If you are the parent of a child with a developmental disability like me, you know how this kind of phone call affects you. (I’m tearing up right now just thinking of it.)
Matthew met Larry 5 years ago when he was in a day program in Santa Cruz–The Laurel Street Center–and Larry was his “Service Provider.” Going to the day program was a tough adjustment for Matthew, but it was his connection with Larry that made things work. Fortunately, their friendship continued after Larry left the program, and I am so grateful. Larry is one of the many people who have supported Matthew over the years, but it wasn’t until recently that I understood a major reason why agencies have a difficult time retaining such talent.And we must do something about it.

A First: Student with Down Syndrome Joins Sorority

MURRAY, Ky. -- Alexis Cain thought about what it would be like to have a sister. A few weeks ago, she gained more than 130.
The student at Murray State University in Murray, Ky., made school history as the first Greek member with Down syndrome after she accepted a bid at sorority recruitment in early August. Cain waved her bid high in the air, as women screamed in excitement and she was announced a new sister of Alpha Sigma Alpha.

Airlines Encouraged to Better Serve Passengers with Disabilities

A new guide from the U.S. Department of Transportation is spelling out the rules air carriers must follow when dealing with travelers who have autism and other developmental disabilities.
The federal agency sent guidance to airlines this summer detailing their responsibilities under the Air Carrier Access Act. Developed in coordination with The Arc and the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, the documentation does not lay out any new requirements, but clarifies existing rules for airlines and travelers, the agency said.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Future after Closing of NYS Developmental Center

Faced with the closing of Broome Developmental Center, the state has failed to develop a strategy to shift the future burden of care to the private sector.

The New York State Office for People With Developmental Disabilities has a general timetable for the transfer of clients. But the nonprofit organizations facing heavier caseloads say they lack a clear picture of how the state will attend to future clients coming into the system.
“Programs and supports have been discontinued before alternative options have been developed,” said Steven Kroll, the Albany-based executive director of NYSARC Inc., the nation’s largest nonprofit provider of services to people with developmental disabilities.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Airline Removes Family After Son with Autism Could Not Be Calmed

Not exactly close to home, but illustrates the importance of providing training to the airline industry about individuals with autism and other intellectual and developmental disabilities.

All the Zalmanovich family from Hod Hasharon wanted to do was fly to Switzerland to visit relatives. They never imagined that their 8-year-old son's autism would get them kicked off their connecting flight to Geneva and bring about the cancellation of their return ticket, without warning and with no refund.
Last week, the family flew to Zurich on a Swiss International Airlines flight. Eight-year-old Yaheli had been prepared for two months for the trip, the flight went off without a hitch. But on the plane moments before the 40-minute connecting flight to Geneva was about to take off, Yaheli began crying uncontrollably and could not be calmed. Autistic children often have trouble transitioning between situations unfamiliar to them.