Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Florida Artist With Down Syndrome Runs Own Business

ISLAMORADA, Fla. -- In 1971, a doctor told Barbara Edgar she might as well put her 9-day-old daughter, Cinnamon, in an institution right away because that's where children with Down syndrome end up.
``That was horrible to say,'' said Jean Eyster, Cinnamon's grandmother. ``And if it happened, oh, what we would have missed.''
Today, Cinnamon Edgar -- now 38 -- has her own business, Florida Keys Art by Cinnamon. She sells her colorful watercolor paintings, note cards and scenic photography of sunsets, palm trees and wildlife to about 55 clients from Key Largo to Marathon. Four years into the business, she's sold about 20,000 note cards and art pieces at luxury resort gift shops, souvenir stores, visitor centers and art festivals.

Father Takes On Challenge For Son With Autism

MANHATTAN, KS. -- When Sam Felsenfeld broke his neck at the age of 16 in a swimming pool accident, it was fate that allowed him to regain the use of his legs.
“I’d always been grateful that my legs were spared. Because there’s a reason for that. I should’ve been paralyzed,” said Felsenfeld, a 1998 K-State graduate. Fifteen years later, on Nov. 7, 2006, on what Felsenfeld calls “a birthday for his legs,” his 4-year-old son Jack was diagnosed with autism.
Felsenfeld decided to take his new hobby for running marathons and turn it into a fundraiser for autism awareness. His efforts, a program named Operation Jack, is his mission to run at least one marathon per week, totaling 60 in a single year.

'Songs of the Spectrum' Benefits Autism Groups

The medical community may define autism as a neurodevelopmental disorder, a spectrum of developmental disabilities that affect learning, communication and interactions with others.
But for John O'Neil, it meant watching his 2-year-old son, James (now 14), change from a cheerful toddler into a child who had trouble speaking and playing. It was, he said, as if James were "falling down the well."
O'Neil, an editor at The New York Times and father of three, put that phrase on paper five years ago. It is now part of the chorus of Diagnosis, one of 14 songs on a new benefit album, Songs of the Spectrum, out April 6 in tandem with Autism Awareness Month.
The album features O'Neil's lyrics set to music by family friends Deena Shoshkes and Jon Fried (husband-and-wife indie-pop duo The Cucumbers) and recorded by artists such as Jackson Browne, Teddy Geiger and Dar Williams, some of whom will perform at the release concert in New York on April 7.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

School-to-Work Program Gives Students a Chance to Gain Job and Life Skills

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Morganne Box and Ian Featherston like their jobs and the people they work with. They go to work each day confident they are doing something that benefits not only them but others as well.
The scrub-clad 19-year-olds are part of Springfield Public Schools' BASE program -- Business Associated Student Education -- at Ozarks Community Hospital.
Students with developmental disabilities get a positive educational experience from employees who say it is they, instead, who are blessed each day.

Autism Speaks To Launch 'Light It Up Blue' Awareness Campaign

NEW YORK, N.Y. — Autism Speaks, the world's largest autism science and advocacy organization, announced the launch of its inaugural Light It Up Blue campaign, a global initiative to raise awareness about autism and in support of World Autism Awareness Day April 2 and Autism Awareness Month. Iconic landmarks around the globe — including the Empire State Building, Willis Tower in Chicago, the CN Tower in Toronto and Kingdom Tower in Saudi Arabia — as well as airports, bridges, museums, concert halls, restaurants, and retail stores, are among more than 100 structures in more than 17 U.S. cities and nine countries around the world that will light up in bright blue on the evening of April 1 – the first night of Autism Awareness Month and the eve of World Autism Awareness Day.
Autism Speaks has launched a special Web site, to highlight the campaign.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Nominee to Disability Council Is Lightning Rod For Dispute on Views of Autism

When President Obama nominated Ari Ne’eman to the National Council on Disability, many families touched by autism took it as a positive sign. Mr. Ne’eman would be the first person with the disorder to serve on the council.
Ari Ne'eman would be the first person with autism on the National Council on Disability.
But he has since become the focus of criticism from other advocates who disagree with his view that society ought to concentrate on accepting autistic people, not curing them.

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Word at Words Is 'Autism Awareness'

Ellen Zimiles, a member of YAI's Business Advisory Council, is just an amazing woman. Not only is she a successful executive, who has been featured in The New York Times, but she also owns a bookstore that focuses on special needs materials and hires people with autism from the YAI Network.

MAPLEWOOD, N.J. -- Our local bookstore, Words, was launched with the interests of special needs children, and their families, in mind. With National Autism Awareness Month coming up in a few days, they have planned a series of events throughout April.
When Ellen and Jonah Zimiles needed a name for their new bookstore, it was autism awareness that inspired them.
“It’s common for people who are teaching those with autism to tell them, ‘Use your words,’” says co-owner Jonah Zimiles. “When we were trying to think of a name, we This April, for the second year, Words will observe Autism Awareness Month with several events and speakers, including internationally respected experts Bridget Taylor, co-founder and executive director of Alpine Learning Group in Paramus, N.J., a premier school for those with autism, and Michael Rosanoff, assistant director of Research and Public Health at Autism Speaks, the nation’s largest autism science and advocacy organization.
“So far, ten youngsters with autism have worked at Words,” said Mr. Zimiles. “And we hope our efforts will encourage other businesses to hire those with special needs.

American Heart: Autistic Basketball Phenom Inspires Cornell Team

While Cornell's run sadly ended last night, this is a story that many of you following the tournament may not be aware of.

If Cornell was one this year's Cinderella story at the NCAA tournament, than Jason "J-Mac" McElwain certainly was its prince.
Revisiting the game that changed a young autistic basketball player's life. J-Mac, who has autism, first captured the heart of the nation four years ago when, in the last game of his high school basketball team's season, he was given his first chance to play. In just four minutes, he scored six three-point shots and finished with 20 points. He even tied the school record.
One of J-Mac's admirers is Cornell basketball coach Steve Donahue, whose own son, Matt, has autism. Donahue reached out to J-Mac after that electrifying high school basketball game and the two have stayed in touch ever since.
"It was one of the greatest inspirational stories I had ever heard," Donahue said. "Jason was having so much fun and enjoying the experience. It made me really happy that one day my son could have kind of experience as well in his high school."

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Autistic Teen Has Perfect NCAA Bracket

How is your bracket for the NCAA Men's basketball tournament looking right now? Lots of red ink (or "Xs," or whatever you do to signify a missed game), I presume? Well, you obviously didn't fill it out the way Alex Herrmann did.
As a person afflicted with autism, he apparently studied numbers so much that he found the winning combination, at least to this point.

Northern Iowa over Kansas? Check. Ohio over Georgetown? You bet. Mr. Herrmann hit every single game and has a perfect Sweet 16. You'd think he's destined to see things fall apart soon -- he has Purdue (his brother's alma mater) winning it all, but I don't know anyone who has picked every game correctly thus far.
Perhaps he should have pursued something more lucrative than entering CBS' free bracket competition. Unfortunately, that was his only entry. He could have won up to $10,000,000 with a perfect bracket on FanHouse, a cool mil on Yahoo!, and a whopping $13 million on Of course, Alex's mother told NBC Chicago that wouldn't have made much a difference.
"If he would have won any money he would have just saved it," his mother Diane said. "He's a big saver."

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Texas Legislators Rise to the Challenge

Congrats to Texas State Sen. Rodney Ellis & State Rep. Carol Alvarado, for making a difference in the lives of children with special needs and ridign their way throughout Texas to raise funds for a school for children with developmental disabilities and typically developing youngsters.

AUSTIN, Texas -- Special ContributorsChallenges often come in many forms; they test our resiliency, abilities and character and drive us to higher standards. Last week, as we sat on the side of the road fixing a second flat bicycle tire, we were reminded of the challenges and limitations of biking long distances.
Sticking it out for two weeks, 13 counties and more than 850 miles from Orange to Presidio was the challenge we decided to endure to ensure children with developmental disabilities could have access to high-quality education.

Chicago Tribune Wins Award For Series on Controversial Autism Treatments

If you feel like reading some health stories that aren't about what's happening in Washington, look no further than the winners of this year's Awards for Excellence in Health Care Journalism. Sponsored by the Association of Health Care Journalists.

First place in the metro newspaper/wire/web category was a Chicago Tribune series on controversial autism treatments.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Arkansas Relying More on Institutions Than Most States

LITTLE ROCK — Gov. Mike Beebe has championed Arkansas’ use of large state-run institutions to house people with developmental disabilities, but advocates for the disabled say such institutions are being phased out almost everywhere except Arkansas.
“Arkansas is behind the curve, there’s no question about it,” said Curt Decker, executive director of the National Disability Rights Network in Washington, D.C.
The U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit last year alleging mistreatment of residents at the Conway Human Development Center, and on March 9 the Justice Department filed a motion for an injunction to halt all admissions of children to the center. The state denies that any residents have been mistreated.
Less than a week after the Justice Department filed its motion, a report was released showing that numerous deficiencies were found in an inspection of a similar Arkansas facility, the Alexander Human Development Center. The deficiencies included improper supervision of patients and unsanitary conditions.
Defending the Conway facility, Beebe told reporters that community-based care should always be the first option, but “there is sometimes no other option” besides institutionalization.
A state-by-state analysis conducted by The Coleman Institute at the University of Colorado shows that Arkansas uses that option more than most states.

Teaching the Medical Community

Another wonderful piece by Laura Schumaker from SF Gate, an autism blog through The San Francisco Chronicle. This highlights such a major gap in services of people with autism. So many doctors and specialists just don't have the training, nor the interest in taking the time involved to provide quality medical care to individuals on the autism spectrum or with other developmental disabilities. If you are a parent or professional, I encourage you to visit and check out the Premier HealthCare Training Institute's full-day workshop on Wednesday, April 28, 2010 in New York City. The topic is "The Patient-Centered Medical Home: Translating an Emerging National Strategy in Health Care Delivery" and features experts in the field of developmental disabilities.

My 23 year old son Matthew, who has autism, needs a new doctor.
He's been under the care of a terrific pediatrician since he was two and needs to transition to adult medical care. I thought it would be best to choose a physician that had experience working with individuals with developmental disabilities, and decided to ask a few about how much training they received about autism and other developmental disabilities in medical school.
"Zero!" answered three out of five.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Making Room for Another Winner in Righetti Family

During baseball season, when San Francisco Giants pitching coach Dave Righetti is through calling the bullpen, he usually calls his daughter, Natalee, in the evening.
They talk baseball. By the time Natalee hands the phone to her mother, often Dave is "all talked out," Kandice says with a smile.
A little more than 18 years ago, the Righettis' triplets were born. At the time, Dave was excited and torn up with the complications of their births.
Like her brother Wesley and her sister Nicolette, Natalee Righetti weighed less than 2 pounds when she was born.
Natalee was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and had limited movement on the left side of her body. Through countless hours of therapy growing up, and a personal drive and fiery optimism that she picked up along the way, Natalee has now become what her teachers call an inspiration.

Missouri Bill Mandating Autism Insurance Coverage Gains Momentum

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Health insurance coverage of autism spectrum disorders would be required under legislation passed Thursday in the Missouri Senate.
The approval on a 26-6 vote shifts the bill to the House, which has passed similar legislation. To go into effect, one of the bills still must pass through both chambers and be signed into law by Gov. Jay Nixon.
But Thursday’s progress indicates broad support for an autism insurance mandate and greatly increases its chances of passage, lawmakers said.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Autism: How is your marriage holding up?

Once upon a time, a long time ago, I joined a support group for mothers of young children with developmental disabilities. I'd never been the support group type, but figured I needed all the help I could get.
The meeting, led by a kind and Kleenex toting family therapist, was held in the gymnasium of a grammar school in a nearby community. The therapist invited each of us (there were about 10) to go around the circle and tell our names, our child's age and "the nature of their disability."
The first two women sobbed through their introductions, and the third, who like me had a son with autism, blurted out that her husband had just left her the week before.
"Let's have a show of hands," she said angrily, "how many of us are still married?"
I was only one of two in the group who raised her hand.

"Citing autism as the reason for a marriage failing can be seen as yet another reason for saying why autism is so awful," says writer Kristina Chew. She is a professor at Saint Peter's College and the mother of a child with autism. "Life with autism has made Jim and Charlie and I, and Jim and I, a tighter unit."
"When we laugh at ourselves even at difficult moments" says Susan Senator, author of the forthcoming Autism Mom's Survival Guide "we feel like ourselves and not like slaves to the demands of disability. Having private jokes, even about the kids, is a way that we ease the consuming struggle of family life with disability."

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Council: Fill out forms for census

Delaware County Council urged residents during a recent meeting to fill out and return U.S. Census forms as required by law.
County council also welcomed Robert Prince, board president for the Arc of Delaware County, as well as several other members and partners of DELARC in declaring March to be Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month.
In connection with the declaration, council highlighted a relatively new tool for first responders to use in ensuring the safety of those with developmental disabilities, known as Premise Alert.
The Premise Alert System is a statewide program that allows families of those with developmental disabilities or special needs, like autism or dementia, to file a form with local police.
"By alerting local police about a person’s unique needs, the police and emergency responders will be better able to address an emergency where the resident might have a medical condition or a physical or mental limitation that would require special attention,” said council Chairman Jack Whelan.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Study Identifies Better Test For Finding Autism Genes

A genetic test for autism currently classified as a secondary approach may be able to pick out the underlying causes for the condition at a rate more than three times that of a screening considered to be a first-tier test, according to a new study published in the journal Pediatrics Monday by the Autism Consortium and Children's Hospital Boston.
New tests allow you to see potential health problems in your DNA.Researchers launched the study to compare the newer screening, called chromosomal microarray analysis (CMA), against the tests that the American Academy of Pediatrics currently considers to be first-tier approaches -- G-banded karyotype and fragile X testing. They said they hope the new research will help the test achieve first-line status when it comes to determining the genetic reasons behind autism spectrum disorders.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Developmental delays surge in Oregon kids, and educators say that should mean increased services for them

The number of young children identified as having developmental delays has risen in Oregon, led mainly by a huge one-year surge in Multnomah County, the state reported Wednesday.
That's cause for celebration among special education leaders, who say many toddlers and preschoolers in need of help were missed in the past. Reaching those children and their families earlier with specialized help will pay off with big gains in their communication, social and motor skills, educators say.
An effort is underway, launched at the request of state budget co-chair Rep. Peter Buckley, D-Ashland, to update the way Oregon funds early special education services and to spend more money on it. The federal government mandates that Oregon serve students with disabilities from birth to age 5, but pays only about 20 percent of the $70 million annual cost.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Organizations Respond To Ruling

Washington, D.C. -- Autism and mercury advocacy organization SafeMinds regrets Friday's ruling by the U.S. Court of Federal Claims against three families who argued that vaccines which contained the mercury based preservative thimerosal contributed to their child's autism. The denial of reasonable compensation to families was based on inadequate vaccine safety science and poorly designed and highly controversial epidemiology studies supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The court's decision got a warm welcome from groups that support childhood vaccination, as well as some autism groups.
"We all feel for the families," said Alison Singer, president of the Autism Science Foundation. "But we can't lose sight of the science."It's time to stop trying to blame vaccines for autism and invest in research that could lead to the real cause, Singer said.

From Autism Speaks:
While we have great empathy for all parents of children with autism, it is important to keep in mind that, given the present state of the science, the proven benefits of vaccinating a child to protect them against serious diseases far outweigh the hypothesized risk that vaccinations might cause autism. Thus, we strongly encourage parents to vaccinate their children to protect them from serious childhood diseases.

Court Rules Vaccines Not Tied to Autism

WASHINGTON(Reuters) - Vaccines that contain a mercury-based preservative called thimerosal cannot cause autism on their own, a special U.S. court ruled on Friday, dealing one more blow to parents seeking to blame vaccines for their children's illness.
The special U.S. Court of Federal Claims ruled that vaccines could not have caused the autism of an Oregon boy, William Mead, ending his family's quest for reimbursement.
"The Meads believe that thimerosal-containing vaccines caused William's regressive autism. As explained below, the undersigned finds that the Meads have not presented a scientifically sound theory," Special Master George Hastings, a former tax claims expert at the Department of Justice, wrote in his ruling.

Doctor Tied to Autism Studies Faces Grant Probe

A Danish scientist involved in two major studies that debunked any linkage of vaccines to autism is suspected of misappropriating $2 million in U.S. grants at his university in Denmark.
Anti-vaccine groups have seized on the allegations to contend that scientific studies disproving the vaccine link to autism are wrong. Those groups have long argued that thimerosal, a preservative in some vaccines, can cause autism, as can the MMR vaccine for measles, mumps, and rubella.
The CDC and co-authors of the two studies published in major U.S. medical journals maintain the studies remain valid.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Parenting and Autism: NBC's "Parenthood" Nails It

Interesting item from Laura Shumaker, a blogger for the San Francisco Chronicle.

When Matthew was first diagnosed with what a specialist said was "a developmental delay--probably not autism," few in my circle of friends and family knew what to make of him.What set him apart from other three year old's was not just his lack of language, but his inability to connect. He was fascinated with lights, drains and wheels that roll sideways, and when the two of us joined group play dates with other three year old's and their mothers, we drew sideways glances as I chased him around cheerfully and tried to draw him into the In the end, I felt like the manic cheerleader who kept missing her flips.
But I wasn't upbeat--I was on edge, and I knew that if I started to cry I would never stop.
I was reminded of this painful period in our marriage when I watched NBC's new drama Parenthood by Ron Howard and Brian Grazer. One of the core story lines involves a couple slowly realizing that their son has Asperger syndrome.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

A League of Their Own

SAN DIMAS, Calif. - In what may be the first of its kind in the area, a local mother has started a baseball league for children with autism.
The "A-League," short for Autism League, was created six months ago by San Dimas resident Lora Mancini, whose 6-year-old son has autism, with help from San Dimas Little League president Tim Roe.
"It's surreal that it's even happening," Mancini said. "Now, I see so much more we can do with autism."

Study: 1-in-4 Parents Link Autism to Vaccines

Most parents believe that vaccines protect their children against disease, but one in four think some vaccines cause autism in healthy children, and nearly one in eight have refused at least one recommended vaccine, a new study has found.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Musicians With Autism Play With Perfect Pitch

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Lawrence Wang used to hate the shrill sounds of the flute. He'd clamp his hands over his ears to drown out his sister's piano playing. During music lessons, he'd fidget and fight with his teacher.
On Saturday, though, he tapped his feet while blowing happily on his saxophone, a member of an unusual band of special-needs performers.
Those who love Wang and his peers are thrilled to see how music calms their autistic nerves and becomes a unifying force in a world where they often don't easily fit.

Friday, March 5, 2010

High School Team To Swim For Good Cause

OK, this is totally self-promotional, but we are so thrilled that a local high school swim team is going to be raising funds for the YAI Network.

CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. -- The Horace Greeley boys varsity swim team is all about giving back to the community.
On March 9, the Quakers will host a swim-a-thon from 5 to 6 p.m. at SUNY Purchase in an effort to help raise money for the YAI Network.
YAI was established in 1957 and serves more than 20,000 people with disabilities, as well as their families, through more than 450 programs and services.
At this year's swim-a-thon, the team is hoping to raise about $5,000 for YAI.
The boys varsity team will not be alone in its efforts.
The boys have extended an invitation to the girls varsity swim team to help increase their chances of meeting their goal, and also to gain more sponsors.
Meg Kaplan, coach of the Greeley boys swim team, has worked with YAI for the past 21 years, and the team wanted to show its appreciation for everything she has done.

Father Sues Doctors Over Autism Treatment

CHICAGO -- The father of a 7-year-old Chicago boy who was diagnosed as a toddler with autism has sued the Naperville and Florida doctors who treated his son, alleging they harmed the child with "dangerous and unnecessary experimental treatments."
James Coman and his son were featured last year in "Dubious Medicine," a Tribune series that examined risky, unproven treatments for autism based on questionable science.
The defendants — family-practice physicians Dr. Anjum Usman of Naperville and Dr. Daniel Rossignol of Melbourne, Fla. — are prominent in the Defeat Autism Now! movement, which promotes many of the alternative treatments the Tribune scrutinized. Both have spoken to groups of parents at autism conferences and trained other physicians in their methods.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

South Carolina Proposed Cuts Threaten Services

Columbia, SC -- Proposed budget cuts in the State House would cuase 26,000 people with disabilities and special needs to lose services in South Carolina.
Juanita Banks was one of many advocates for people with disabilities and special needs who showed up at the State House for a rally Wednesday. Her daughter, Tammy Lamb, needs services that total more than $52,000 per year.
"Tammy was born with Cerebral Palsy, mental retardation. She weighed one pound, 13 ounces at birth," Banks said. Banks is a single working parent who does not get child support.
"Who is going to pay for that? I mean, I can't," she said.

Companies Provide Job Opportunities For People With Developmental Disabilities

NEWARK, Ohio -- For some, a job is just a way to earn a paycheck.
But for those with developmental disabilities, the opportunity to work means so much more.
"It gives them the ability to live independently," said Heather Odendahl, public information manager for the Licking County Board of Developmental Disabilities. "They can go to work and socialize with their peers. You can imagine the self confidence boost."
But with the economic slowdown, many people living with developmental disabilities have had difficulty finding work, Odendahl said.
"A lot of people are experiencing job losses right now," she said. "The job loss is even higher for the developmentally disabled community."
Two Hebron companies -- THK Manufacturing of America and Hendrickson Auxiliary Axle -- recently made commitments to increasing opportunities for developmentally disabled workers.

Autistic Teen Seeks College Life

NANTICOKE, Pa. – Quentin Karpowicz is a kind-of-shy, 20-year-old who enjoys playing piano and holds down a job in a mail room at a local hospital.
He wants to take a couple of courses at the local community college for self-enrichment and an opportunity to socialize with people his own age.
But officials at Luzerne County Community College won’t let him
Because he has autism, said his parents, Leonardia and Edward Karpowicz, of Nanticoke.

Vaccine Consent Measure Revives Autism Debate

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Earlier this month, the British medical journal The Lancet retracted a famous study that linked vaccines with autism.
Public health experts, worried over an uptick in diseases like mumps and measles in children who weren't vaccinated, breathed a sigh of relief. Numerous studies over several years have found no link between vaccines and autism.
But now, an echo of that controversy is back in the Florida Legislature, and pediatricians are moving quickly to silence it.
Sen. Jeremy Ring, a member of a governor's task force on autism spectrum disorders, and Rep. Kevin Ambler, R-Tampa, are sponsoring legislation that would require parents to give signed consent before their children get vaccines that are needed to enter school.
But opponents say signed consent -- generally reserved for surgery and other major treatments -- will only create needless anxiety. Under federal law, parents must be given written information about vaccines.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

State Seeks An End To 'R-Word'

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Governor Carcieri is joining forces with the Special Olympics and Best Buddies to ban the word “retard” from everyday speech.
Declaring March 3 to be “Spread the Word to End the Word Day,” Carcieri said the “R-word” is “routinely used to insult people, particularly those with intellectual and developmental disabilities” and should be eliminated from everyday vocabulary.“This is about more than changing a word,” Carcieri, whose late sister had Down syndrome, said in a news release. “It is about changing attitudes toward almost 200 million people in the world who have intellectual and developmental disabilities.”

Temple Grandin: Why Autism Is a Gift

(CNN) -- Temple Grandin sees her autism as a gift, not a disability.
The professor at Colorado State University, who has become a prominent animal rights activist, spoke at the recent TED Conference in California about how people's brains work in different ways -- and how that's something that should be appreciated, not stigmatized.
Grandin, for instance, thinks in pictures, "like Google for images," she said.
She also grabs hold of details, a brain function she feels could help politicians.
"I get satisfaction out of seeing stuff that makes real change in the real world," she said. "We need a lot more of that and a lot less abstract stuff."

England Unveils Autism Strategy To Put More Adults To Work

Once again going outside the U.S. for an interesting story about how England is addressing adult services for individuals with autism.

Adults with autism who wish to live independently are set to benefit from the launch of the first national strategy in England to help them live fulfilling and rewarding lives.
Backed up by the Autism Act 2009, the autism strategy, launched on Wednesday by care services minister Phil Hope, aims change public services and help more autistic adults into work. Just 15 percent of people with autism are currently in paid employment, and 49 percent live with their parents.
The scheme is backed by a range of initiatives, including training sessions for all Jobcentre Plus disability employment advisers, clearer guidance on making public services accessible to adults with autism and a £500,000 investment in awareness-raising programmes.
Mr Hope said: “I want the autism strategy to be the foundation for change in the way our whole society treats adults with autism. They have a huge contribution to make - shutting them out deprives everyone."

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Getting The 'Word' Out During Disability Awareness Month

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - Disability advocates say we need to clean up our language and use more respectful words to describe people with developmental disabilities. That's why the Missouri Planning Council for Developmental Disabilities prepared materials for libraries, schools and service clubs to help people re-think their language.
"A lot of times people, especially young people will say that word when they're talking about a movie or a book or just an event and really I think that they're not aware they're being hurtful."
Wednesday, March 3, is 'Spread the Word To End The Word' awareness day across the country.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Prosecutor’s employee delivers with speed

As we begin Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, this is a perfect article which illustrates how people with disabilities can shine at their job, just like you and me. This is about a woman who brings a smile to the job every day and gives 110%. Wouldn't you want to hire someone like this? Celebrate Developmental Disability Awareness Month.

HAMILTON — Elizabeth Crehan loves sports. Known as Liz or Lizzy to most, she excels in softball and is looking forward to playing shortstop this spring. But perhaps she should have considered track, because the 39-year-old laps everyone daily in her deliveries for the prosecutor’s office.
Crehan, a Hamilton High School graduate with development disabilities, has held the position for 18 years. She has no plans of making any changes.
“I like what I do,” Crehan said. “I would miss my friends too much."
Her father laughed and said, “they have to make her take a vacation.”

Despite her challenges, Crehan has a memory for numbers, which makes an often-painstaking job a breeze for her. She pulls scores of case files for the seven common pleas court dockets.
“She can pull 70 lickity split,” Holstein said. “It’s amazing how she remembers the cases by their case numbers.”