Friday, February 28, 2014

Parents Get a Chance to Laugh

Kansas City, Mo. — There's nothing funny about autism.Wait a minute. Yes there is - especially when Chris Long tells the "boob" story.But let's back up.

Read more here:

A Different Kind of Theater Comes to Life

NORRISTOWN, Pa. — The lobby of Theatre Horizon in Norristown is cacophanous during a weekly playwriting workshop.
The sounds do not always seem to be productive
Somebody may be singing to herself, a man may be squawking in a high falsetto, another person may be busily repeating a series of words. Conversation can be fast, loud, and insistent.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

N.J. Moves Up Closings

TRENTON — The Christie administration has accelerated the closing of two institutions that are home to 415 people with developmental disabilities, choosing to close one in Totowa in July and another in Woodbridge in January 2015, according to a memo obtained by The Star-Ledger.
Two years ago, a task force decided to close the Woodbridge Developmental Center and the North Jersey Developmental Center in Totowa by 2017 in an effort to reduce New Jersey’s reliance on institutional care for people with developmental disabilities.

'I Couldn't Talk or Walk. But I Had a Brain.'

Young Catherine Badgley's refuge at Cedar Springs was a window in the ward she shared with 65 other children -- a ledge where she could pull herself up by her noodle legs, stare outside and imagine a life beyond the institution's locked doors.
Today Catherine Badgley lives
in an apartment with her two cats.
"If it rained, I could see it trickling down the window. I always cried, the tears just coming right down."

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

My Lessons in Autism

The author and her son.
“James is so lucky to have you for a mother!” I’ve heard it so many times, I should have T-shirts printed. When you develop a professional specialty over 15 years, study with experts, become one yourself, and then give birth to a person who might have been referred to you, people think you have an insider’s advantage. So James is lucky, my clients are lucky. It’s been hard to resist seeing myself as unlucky.
If I were a villain, it would be sweet justice. But I’m not. I’m a child psychologist specializing in autism spectrum disorders, and it turns out that the first of my two children fits those diagnostic criteria.

Bill Proposes Follow-Up After Transfer From New Jersey Developmental Centers

TRENTON — The state would be required to assess how well disabled people are faring after their transfer from two institutions the Christie administration has begun closing, under a bill the Assembly Human Services Committee approved today.
The Woodbridge Developmental Center and the North Jersey Developmental Center in Totowa are slated to close by 2017, in an effort to reduce New Jersey's over-reliance on large institutions for people with intellectual disabilities. They are among seven centers operated by the state.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Parents Nurturing, Affection Can Shape a Child's Brain Development

Parents do a lot more than make sure a child has food and shelter, researchers say. They play a critical role in brain development.
More than a decade of research on children raised in institutions shows that "neglect is awful for the brain," says Charles Nelson, a professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and Boston Children's Hospital. Without someone who is a reliable source of attention, affection and stimulation, he says, "the wiring of the brain goes awry." The result can be long-term mental and emotional problems.

Friday, February 21, 2014

An Autism Diagnosis. Now What?

Interesting post from Age of Autism by Tim Welsh, an active and influential parent advocates for autism. He's an avid speaker, blogger, and Tweeter (@TannersDad). Tim works to build unity within the autism community, gain Insurance coverage reform, end restraint and seclusion, advocate for services, prevent wandering and much more. Tim and his wife Cheri have one son Tanner (16).

One of the most frequent questions I get being on the front lines of social media is "My child just got a diagnosis of autism, now what?" This is where I offer a disclaimer. If you are still fragile and faint of heart you may want to pass on reading this post. I am happy to consult with you in a more gentle and private way if you give me a call, direct message me via twitter or Facebook . This blog is intended to give those that have already strapped on their warrior armor and seriously ready to go to battle this is the boot camp overview.
I would much rather somebody tell me the truth day one, than string me along. We often say you meet one individual with autism, you have seen one version of autism. The same goes for treatments, services and support plans. There is one major wrench though, your geographic location plays a huge role in what is available and how to proceed. I am going to give you the mile high version as I see it. I would love for others to jump in and correct me if they feel something is  incorrect or missing.

Social Skills, Contentment Evade Adults with Autism, According to Studies

The social lives of people with autism remain poor well into adulthood, and they struggle to find the sense of well-being and the fulfillment that comes from meeting one’s own goals and expectations, conclude two new reviews of long-term studies in people with the disorder.As the number of autism diagnoses grows, researchers are increasingly examining long-term trajectories of the disorder. One group of people that has been little studied, however, is adults with autism, especially the elderly. Despite estimates that the prevalence of autism in adults approaches that in children, there is little research on how they fare.The two new reports begin to fill in the gap, using systematic and quantitative analyses to assess adult life with autism.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Parents of Student with Autism Claim Abuse in Suit against School District

The parents of an 11-year-old boy with autism have filed a lawsuit against the Orange Unified School District on allegations of physical and psychological abuse.The lawsuit alleges that 5th grade student Andrew Ashline was "taken down" - restrained by a teacher at Palmyra Elementary School for crying, an act of discipline that the parents believe went too far."Two person, floor prone, for over 12 minutes. On our 50-pound child," his mother Joanna Ashline said.

Opinion: Time to Put Old Attitudes Aside

Post by Wisconsin State Sen. Julie Lassa, D-Stevens Point, represents the 24th Senate District.

As a member of the Wisconsin Council on Workforce Investment, the group charged with drafting the state’s workforce development strategy, I’m pleased to see that helping persons with disabilities successfully enter the job market is a key part of the discussion. It’s an issue I have worked on for some time now, because I know that programs that help people with disabilities find rewarding jobs pay major dividends, not only for disabled workers themselves, but for our entire community.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

A Winning Duo

TULSA — We know about assistance dogs for the blind and therapy dogs for people with mobility issues. We know about therapy dogs for those with diabetes or epilepsy.
You may be interested to learn there's also a program in Tulsa which provides assistance dogs to children and young adults with autism and other disabilities.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Seeking Inspiration, 76ers Sign Teen with Special Needs to 2-Day Contract

PHILADELPHIA -- The 76ers are having a pretty horrible season, but they may have just made the best deal in franchise history.
The team will sign Kevin Grow, the Bensalem High School senior with Down syndrome who served as the basketball team's manager before suiting up the final two games and scoring 13 points, including four 3-pointers.

Monday, February 17, 2014

More Than Just a 3-Point Shot

An incredible story that is sure to make your day.

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Fans at a College of the Ozarks basketball game go crazy after a Springfield man makes a three-point shot during halftime. Now that video has gone viral, and the catch -- he's blind, but that's not all.
The rest of the 54-year-old Michael Quin's story is almost unbelievable, and that shot he made? It's not a once in a lifetime thing.

'You Have to Raise Expectations'

PHILADELPHIA -- One of the hottest start-ups in the city sprang up in an unlikely place - a fourth-floor classroom at South Philadelphia High.
In between lesson plans and parent conferences, teacher Michele McKeone has attracted some major buzz, along with sizable grants from the University of Pennsylvania and the Milken Family Foundation, attention from national media, and a start-up-of-the-year prize at the Philadelphia Geek Awards.Autism Expressed, her fledgling business, teaches digital skills to students with autism. It is the first program of its kind on the market, experts believe, and one McKeone hopes will modernize special-education services.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

More People Seek Autism Services in S.C.

 .— State officials have seen a 14 percent jump in the number of people seeking help for autism because of a change in the official definition of the disorder.The American Psychiatric Association updated its definition of autism in the fifth edition of its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders to include Asperger syndrome and some cases of pervasive developmental disorder. That new definition made a new population eligible to receive services from the state Department of Disabilities and Special Needs.

Read more here:

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Obama Signs Order Increasing Pay for Workers with Disabilities

An executive order requiring federal contractors to be paid at least $10.10 per hour will apply to workers with disabilities too, White House officials say.
President Barack Obama signed an executive order Wednesday raising the minimum wage for federal contract workers, including those with disabilities employed under service or concessions contracts with the government.

Ethan Saylor's Legacy: Training for Frederick County Deputies

Ethan Saylor’s name was not on the curriculum.But it was clear his death was the reason two dozen Frederick County deputies were sitting in a classroom Tuesday, learning how best to interact with people with intellectual disabilities.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Birthday Cards Flow In, Thanks to Mom

Couldn't resist this story. And of course, you may want to put your cards in the mail now!
ANDOVER, Mass. --  He has had 11 birthdays and his family says no one has ever really paid attention.But a boy in Andover is about to have a spectacular 12th birthday – thanks to the Internet, his mom and a stamp.Logan Pearson can’t talk.He is severely autistic.He communicates with kisses.

Aging Parents Fear NYS Policy Changes

UTICA, N.Y. -- Who's going to take care of our children when we die?
That's what a group of aging parents whose children have developmental disabilities is asking the state in the face of policy changes they believe will jeopardize those with severe disabilities.
Particularly at issue is the state's new policy on admissions to certified group homes, which provide around-the-clock supervision.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Study Puts Annual Cost of Care for Child with Autism at Over $17,000

Substantial costs come along with an autism diagnosis, researchers say in a new study that attempts to put a price tag on the care needed by children with the developmental disorder.When factoring expenses for health care, schooling, caregiving, therapy and similar family-coordinated services, a study published online Monday in the journal Pediatrics suggests that an autism diagnosis brings an annual cost of $17,081 per child.

Customers Protest Whole Foods Firing

There are times when a snow day should just be a let-it-go day. People tend to overreact in ways that could be avoided if everyone just chilled out and waited for the plows to do their work.The folks at a Chicago Whole Foods store may be reconsidering a snow-related action that brought once-loyal customers into the snowy streets to protest an action taken against a working mom with a special-needs child. Such a scene was starkly at odds with the upscale grocer’s carefully crafted image of good deeds and high-quality products and service.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Feds Clarify How to Families of Kids with Autism Can Access Tracking Devices

A week after announcing that the federal government will pay for tracking devices for kids with autism, officials are offering more details about how families can access the technology.
Police departments nationwide will be able to make the tracking devices available to children in their communities who are at risk of wandering using money available through the Justice Department’s Byrne grant program, officials at the federal agency said.

N.J. Family Intends to Sue Over Neglect In Developmental Center Death

TRENTON — The family of a disabled woman at the state-run Woodbridge Developmental Center has
announced its intention to sue the state for neglecting her medical needs and contributing to her death in September.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

James J. Gallagher, Child Development Expert, Is Dead at 87

James J. Gallagher, an authority on child development whose work expanded educational opportunities for disabled and gifted children nationwide, died on Jan. 17 at his home in Chapel Hill, N.C. He was 87.
The death was announced by the University of North Carolina. At his death, Dr. Gallagher was a senior scientist emeritus at the university’s Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute.

Groups Urge Obama to Include Workers with Disabilities in Minimum Wage Hike

WASHINGTON -- More than a dozen advocacy groups are urging President Barack Obama to include mentally disabled workers in his call to raise the federal minimum wage for employees of government contractors.
The groups, including the National Organization on Disability and the National Down Syndrome Congress, said Tuesday they are concerned that Obama's plan for an executive order raising wages to $10.10 an hour won't cover many disabled people who now earn less than the current federal minimum of $7.25 an hour.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

States Move Ahead with Preschool Push

Preschool is having its moment, as a favored cause for politicians and interest groups who ordinarily have trouble agreeing on the time of day. President Obama devoted part of his State of the Union address to it, while the deeply red states of Oklahoma and Georgia are being hailed as national models of preschool access and quality, with other states and cities also forging ahead on their own.
With a growing body of research pointing to the importance of early child development and its effect on later academic and social progress, enrollment in state-funded preschool has more than doubled since 2002, to about 30 percent of all 4-year-olds nationwide. In just the past year, Alabama, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana and the city of San Antonio have enacted new or expanded programs, while in dozens of other places, mayors, governors and legislators are making a serious push for preschool.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Fight to Get Service Dogs in Schools

From our friends in Canada.
Parents of children with autism are battling school boards on an equal-rights issue that promises to heat up ahead of this month’s provincial byelections.
Braydon Drexler, 6, a child with autism
and Keats, his service dog, in Winnipeg.
Do dogs belong in classrooms? Families that have seen their easily agitated, sometimes non-verbal children blossom into calmer, more communicative kids around highly trained service animals think so. Supported by lawyers and equal-rights activists, they are fighting for the dogs to be viewed as assistive devices, no less essential than hearing aids in helping kids absorb curriculum.

N.J. Mom: School Threw Out Son's Lunch

GALLOWAY, N.J.  — A Galloway Township woman said her son, a fifth grader at the Smithville Elementary School in the Atlantic County community, had his school lunch taken and thrown away by school staff like a case in Utah that has made national headlines.
Amy Ross told a reporter for NBC10 in Philadelphia that her son, Jake, who has Asperger’s syndrome, a form of autism, had his hot lunch taken and thrown away by school staff because of an unpaid balance in his lunch account. She said the same action took place several times since her son was in the third grade and called it, “humiliating.”