Monday, December 30, 2013

Can a Fruit Fly Help Explain Autism?

For President Obama, 2013 wasn't just the year of Obamacare. It was also the year of the brain.In April, Obama announced his Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies — an effort to unlock "the mystery of the three pounds of matter that sits between our ears."

Saturday, December 28, 2013

State Delays KareCare for People with Developmental Disabilities

When the state announced Friday that it would delay bringing long-term support services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities into KanCare – the state’s privatized Medicaid program – Aldona Carney was thrilled.
That move had been scheduled to take place Jan. 1, despite the efforts of advocates of the developmentally disabled to delay or prevent it.

ead more here:

Friday, December 27, 2013

A Holiday Treat: 'Nutcracker' Comes to Life in Autism-Friendly Way

Bravo to Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre for offering this.

PITTSBURGH — Pittsburgh is a leader in making its performing arts accessible for people with disabilities — whether it’s a physical impairment, visual impairment, hearing impairment or a developmental disability.
“The Lion King’s” autism-friendly performance filled the Benedum Center’s 2,800 seats in September. Pittsburgh was only the third city in the country to offer it.
Now, Pittsburgh is the first to offer an autism-friendly “Nutcracker” performance at the Benedum Center Dec. 27.

New School Filling an Educational Void

One of those times we are proud to share a story about our elementary school -- Manhattan Star Academy -- for children with special needs.

Manhattan Star Academy, a privately-funded, non-profit school, hopes to bring to the Upper West side and Manhattan something that many parents of special needs children feel is lacking in the city school system: a place for their child.
The Academy is part of the YAI network, a network of schools, training and health and human service agencies in New York and New Jersey that focuses on special needs children, teens and adults. Manhattan Star Academy is in its fledgling stages, with 10 children enrolled at the YAI Central Building in Chelsea. But by next year, the school for children ages 5-12 (the first school in the network above the preschool level), hopes to be open at their new Upper West side location, for 55 students eventually, right around the corner from Lincoln Center.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Officials: Hundreds Deprived Services at Washington State Residential Center

SEATTLE — Last month, federal regulators determined that Washington state has for two years illegally denied needed services to 27 developmentally disabled residents at a Spokane-area facility.
It turns out the problem is much bigger.
Hundreds of residents may have been deprived of so-called specialized services — such as behavioral therapy, personal-care training and skill-building exercises — for as long as 21 years, state officials told The Seattle Times last week.

A Visit with Santa Minus Fanfare

There was no music playing, no lights twinkling and, perhaps most importantly, no crowds gathering. But the sober staging belied the excitement felt by the parents who brought their children, hoping this visit with St. Nick would be a successful one.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Nonprofit Law Seeks to Cut Red Tape

The Nonprofit Revitalization Act of 2013 was designed by a coalition of nonprofit leaders, attorneys and a bipartisan group of legislators from across the state. It is the first major overhaul of nonprofit law in more than 40 years.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

'R-Word' Campaign Hopes To Change Hearts and Minds

Sticks and stones, right? Not so much with the “R-word,” which has speared an education initiative to help promote inclusivity for the developmentally disabled.

Fla. Senate Official Plans to End Wait List

Florida's next state Senate president hopes to eliminate the backlog of people with developmental disabilities who are waiting to receive services in their homesSenator Andy Gardiner praised state leaders for directing $36 million in the last legislative session to a waiting list for home and community-based services under a Medicaid waiver. The state Agency for Persons with Disabilities sent out letters last month offering services to 695 Floridians who have been waiting for them.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Study: Autism Higher Among Somali Children in Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS — The incidence of autism spectrum disorder is higher among Somali children in Minneapolis than the city's children as a whole and it appears to affect them more severely, University of Minnesota researchers said Monday, validating the suspicions of many parents in the city's large East African community.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Disability Council Urges Delay of KanCare

WASHINGTON — The National Council on Disability today sent a letter to federal health officials urging them to postpone for a year consideration of a request by the administration of Gov. Sam Brownback to include long-term services for the developmentally disabled in KanCare.
The council, which held two days of hearings last week in Topeka as part of its ongoing study of the ramifications of Medicaid managed care, said Kansas officials need to collaborate more with developmentally disabled (DD) service providers and families before moving forward with their plans.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

A Profound Loss

We will be taking a break for the next few days to honor Thomas A. Dern, our C.O.O., who passed away suddenly this week. Our hopes and prayers are with his family.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Seeking 'Real Jobs' in Alabama

MONTGOMERY – An advocacy group for the disabled called for the state to phase-out what it called isolating and exploitative workshops and instead spend state dollars helping people with intellectual disabilities to get "real jobs."

Ellen Gillespie, executive director of the Alabama Disabilities Advocacy Program, said the workshops, where people with disabilities are grouped together to do work, are supposed to teach job skills.  But in reality, she said, they become a “dead end” where people might spend years doing menial work for less than minimum wage.

Placenta, Calif. Pulls Plug on Center

We got an email from a follower who suggested we post this story from Placenta, California. How is it possible that sprinklers were overlooked when city approved a learning center for people with disabilities? Check out this video.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Mother's Appeal: Friends and Acceptance for Her Daughter

The feel-good story of the day. We can use one.

They’ve never met her, but inspired by a parent’s simple appeal online, strangers around the world are reaching out to a little girl to let her know she’s not alone, she’s special and she’s loved.It’s all for Gabbie, a 7-year-old girl from Greenwood, Ind., who has a hard time fitting in at school. The second-grader has neurofibromatosis, a genetic disorder that causes tumors to grow and can lead to learning disabilities and developmental delays in children.

Agencies Challenge New Hampshire's Transition to Medicaid Reform

NASHUA – Clients, parents and employees of Gateways Community Services packed a showdown meeting at Harbor Homes last week on the state’s plans to impose cost efficiencies on a state Medicaid system considered to be hemorrhaging money.
Medicaid officials told the Governor’s Commission on Managed Care that more than 100,000 Medicaid subscribers on Dec. 1 smoothly switched into care management for their visits to hospitals, clinics, doctors and other medical providers.
New Hampshire is the 48th state in the nation to offer managed care under Medicaid and state budget writers are relying on the reform to save $16 million in state spending over the next 22 months

Friday, December 6, 2013

Autism Behaviors in Mice Decrease with Probiotics, New Study Finds

Probiotics seem to decrease autism-like symptoms in mice, according to a new study.When California Institute of Technology (Caltech) researchers treated mice bred to display autism-like behaviors with a probiotic therapy, they found that the mice were more communicative, less anxious and less likely to engage in repetitive digging behavior. The findings are published online in the Dec. 5 issue of the journal Cell.

Judge: Tenn. Center In Compliance; Dismisses 21-Year-Old Suit

A decades-old lawsuit over conditions at a West Tennessee institution for people with intellectual disabilities has been dismissed after a federal judge found the state met court-ordered improvementsThe 1992 lawsuit over conditions at the Arlington Development Center in Memphis was originally filed by the U.S. Department of Justice after investigators uncovered numerous problems, including failures to protect residents from abuse and neglect, to provide adequate medical care and to train staff properly.


Funds Reduce Fla. Wait List for Services

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — More than half of Floridians with disabilities will soon be moved off a waiting list to access services.Earlier this year, the Legislature approved $36 million to move approximately 750 individuals off the waiting list and start receiving services. But Gov. Rick Scott said Thursday he now expects those funds to reach approximately 1,600 people. The Agency for Persons with Disabilities developed criteria to enroll individuals with the greatest needs.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Editorial: Ready or Not, KanCare On Way

The privatization of long-term care of Kansans with intellectual and developmental disabilities launches in less than a month and is getting national attention. Here’s hoping the experiment goes well – unlike what some other Kansans and providers have experienced this year.
The National Council on Disability will hold hearings and panel discussions Wednesday and Thursday at the Statehouse in Topeka. A big focus will be long-term I/DD care, which shifts to KanCare starting Jan. 1.
This shift was strongly opposed by parents and other advocates for the disabled. They worry that the three private insurance companies that manage KanCare aren’t experienced with these services and may put profit before proper care.

Read more here:

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Oxytocin Found to Stimulate Social Brain Regions in Children with Autism

The hormone oxytocin has been generating excitement — and caution — among people who care about autism.
Scientists have been eager to see if oxytocin, which plays a role in emotional bonding, trust and many biological processes, can improve social behavior in people with autism. Some parents of children with autism have asked doctors to prescribe it, although it is not an approved treatment for autism, or have purchased lower-dose versions of the drug over the counter.
Scientifically, the jury is out, and experts say parents should wait until more is known. Some studies suggest that oxytocin, sometimes called the “love hormone,” improves the ability to empathize and connect socially, and may decrease repetitive behaviors. Others find little or no impact, and some research suggests that it can promote clannish and competitive feelings, or exacerbate symptoms in people already oversensitive to social cues. Importantly, nobody knows if oxytocin is safe or desirable to use regularly or long term.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

New Treatment Focuses on Turning Autism Symptoms Into Strengths

An innovative method to treat children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder attempts to turn their symptoms into strengths.
Dr. Laurence Sugarman, a pediatrician and researcher at Rochester Institute of Technology has developed a treatment method that teaches affected children how to control their psychophysiology and behavior using computerized biofeedback and clinical hypnosis.

Rehab and Habilitation to Be Covered Under ACA

“To rehabilitate,” according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, means “to restore to a former capacity.”
But what if that capacity — be it walking or talking or brushing one’s teeth — was never there in the first place?  In that case, you aren’t talking about “rehabilitation” but “habilitation.”
People need habilitation when they have a congenital defect or disease that impairs the development of basic life skills. For example, autism may leave a child unable to speak. Cerebral palsy may result in language deficits and severe physical limitations. Birth defects may leave a child deaf.
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), habilitation services will now be widely covered for the first time in private insurance plans. Rehabilitative and habilitative services are among the 10 “essential benefits” that must be provided by all plans sold on all the state and federally run health insurance exchanges. 

Neighbors Left Out of Planning for Home

TOWN OF ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Residents of Cedar Ridge Road are upset that town officials failed to provide an opportunity for the public to comment on a planned 4,600-square-foot Ulster-Greene ARC group home for eight people who have developmental disabilities and medically frailties.
The project was approved by the town Building Department earlier this year, but neighbors were unaware of the plan because town Supervisor Carl Chipman said he was not told of public notice requirements despite the town receiving two registered letters outlining the state law.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Editorial: Time to Do Right By People with Disabilities

About a year ago the Senate fell five votes short of ratifying an international treaty that would improve protections for the disabled. It was an ignoble spectacle as the opponents rebuffed Bob Dole, a former colleague and disabled veteran, who came to the Senate floor to lobby for it. The Senate now has a chance to redeem itself.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

CDC: 2 Million More Kids Diagnosed with ADHD Since 2004

New research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveals an additional two million kids have attention attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder compared to stats collected nearly a decade earlier.One million more kids are also taking medications to treat their ADHD, according to the new data collected from 2011-2012.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Canadian Company Links Adults with Autism to Jobs

CALGARY — Jay Serdula has a bachelor’s degree in applied mathematics, a masters degree in physical oceanography and several years of experience working with the Canadian military. Still, he says finding work has never been easy.“I suspect that a lot of the people who interview me for a possible job, decide after five minutes not to consider me any further,” he says.

Bullying of Teen with Autism Prompts Controversy in Small Iowa Town

Levi Null, 13, has Asperger's syndrome, a developmental disorder characterized by difficulty socializing and obsessive, often repetitive interests or behaviors. His mother, Dawn Simmons, told local news outlet WHO-TV that he gets picked on and "smacked" by his classmates at Melcher-Dallas High School in the town of Melcher-Dallas, which has a population of just 1,288.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

People with Autism Read Facial Expressions with a Focus on the Mouth

The eyes may be the mirror of the soul, but for those with autism, the mouth will have to do.
Researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center isolated neurons in the brain's amygdala that respond to facial expressions, and tested patients with autism against those without. Both groups could correctly identify a "happy" or "fearful" face, a function long associated with the amygdala.
But when the researchers examined which neurons fired in relation to areas of the face, they found that those with autism "read" the information from the mouth area more than from the eyes and seemed to be lacking a population of nerve cells that respond only to images of eyes.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Seeking a Home for His Son, Father Now Faces Lawsuit From Neighbors

ENID, Okla. — Paul Smith's developmentally disabled son has called the Northern Oklahoma Resource Center in Enid his home for half a decade.
"The state is not doing them any favors by kicking them out," said Smith.
NORCE will close by 2015.  DHS says there are currently 50 residents living at the facility.  Smith wants to move his son, Weston to a home he plans to build, about eight miles away in Garfield County.
"We were being nice, and went to neighbors, told them basically what we are doing," said Smith.

Friday, November 15, 2013

More Support Needed for Adults with Autism, Survey Finds

PHILADELPHIA — Within the next 10 years, nearly half a million young people diagnosed with autism grow into adulthood. A new survey says there will be a big need for supportive services and housing for these autistic adults.
The housing and residential supports survey was conducted over the course of four weeks and included responses from 10,000 caregivers and 400 people with autism spectrum disorder.“There’s no national plan or effort to really strategically deal with so many adults with autism coming into the system,” says Leslie Long, director of adult services for Autism Speaks, which conducted the survey.

Editorial: Cuts Wrong Path for Tenneseeans with Disabilities

Congress and the president are legendary for their skill at kicking the can down the road. But Tennessee government is showing that it knows how to shirk its responsibilities, too.Even after an audit by the state comptroller exposed the alarming status of services for Tennesseans under care of the Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, it appears that instead of meeting its obligations to more than 15,000 people who desperately need assistance, DIDD may cut back on care in 2014.

Boys More Likely to Be Premature

Boys are slightly more likely to be born premature than girls, and they tend to fare worse, too, says a new report on the health of the world's newborns.
A baby in the NICU.
"This is a double whammy for boys," said Dr. Joy Lawn of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, who led the team of researchers. "It's a pattern that happens all over the world."

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

'Disabled People Are Human Like Everyone Else'

This story is taken from Steve Flairty’s 2008 book, “Kentucky’s Everyday Heroes. Marie Braun continues, five years later, to actively advocate for those with disabilities, both around the city of Covington, Kentucky and on a state level. She will soon be enrolling in Gateway Community College to pursue an associate arts degree while continuing her employment at the Salvation Army. 
Marie Braun (Photo provided)
Marie Braun 
Marie Braun learned long ago that life’s playing field is not always level.Born with quadriplegic cerebral palsy in rural Sebastion Branch, in Breathitt County, some 54 years ago, little Marie Louise Miller soon became a case for the child welfare system and was placed into the Old Frankfort State Hospital in Frankfort.
She had wished for something more fulfilling in her life than having her brothers push her around in a banana box at a very young age, but she got an institution in Frankfort instead, a place, Braun said recently, where “people put their children in this home because they thought that they were ‘retarded’ and could do nothing for themselves.”

Opposition to Planned Closing of N.Y. Developmental Center

FENTON, N.Y.  — Troy Carley isn’t just worried about losing his job at the Broome Developmental Center.
He’s also concerned about what will happen to those he cares for should the center close by March 31, 2016.“There’s just some that will never make it (in the community),” said Carley, a supervisor at the center. “They’ll end up in jail. They’ll end up dead.”

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Testing Robots to Aid Kids with Autism

WICHITA — For a group of elementary students at Heartspring, a center for children with autism, robots may be the key to better human interaction.
The students last week danced “Gangnam Style” with a robot, imitating its moves and getting used to its presence.

Read more here:

5-Year-Old's Autism Service Dog Missing

RYE, N.Y. — An autism service dog that a Rye family said has “transformed their lives” has gone missing, and the family has embarked on an aggressive search.Echo went missing Wednesday night, after the black Labrador retriever apparently left the Fontana family’s home through an open door. The dog was last seen just feet from the family of six’s Dearborn Avenue home, near Milton Road. A subsequent search with the help of friends turned up nothing, but Sunday afternoon, a woman sent the Fontanas an intriguing email.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Support Pours In for Worker with Asperger's

Chris Tuttle has worked at Wegmans in Clay, New York for the past 7 years. On Friday, a woman customer yelled at him for being too slow. Tuttle who has asperger’s was devastated and remained upset and stressed 10 hours later. His sister, Jamie Tuttle-Virkler, decided to try to make things better for her brother by asking for support on Facebook. The response has been unexpected.
Ms Tuttle-Virkler write on this Facebook Page.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Study: Baby's Gaze May Signal Autism

In a study published Wednesday, researchers using eye-tracking technology found that children who were found to have autism at age 3 looked less at people’s eyes when they were babies than children who did not develop autism. But contrary to what the researchers expected, the difference was not apparent at birth. It emerged in the next few months and autism experts said that might suggest a window during which the progression toward autism can be halted or slowed.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Bill To Help Ease Transition at Age 22

BOSTON — With the right services, autism advocates say people with developmental disabilities can work and live independently.  But instead, they say, many of them are cut off from special education when they turn 22 and do not qualify for adult services they need from the state’s Department of Developmental Services.
“We have many children who are sitting at home, watching TV, playing on the computer, don’t have access to a day program,” said Barbara L’Italien, spokesperson for The Arc Massachusetts.

Monday, November 4, 2013

New Business Model Helps Provide Jobs

FLEMINGTON, N.J. — Faced with a daunting system that makes it difficult for those with developmental disabilities to access training and employment, Karen Monroy dared to imagine something radically new. “We would rather not use the term developmentally disabled, we would rather emphasize that these are young people who are ‘differently abled’ and work with what they can do — instead of focus on their limitations,” said Monroy, a resident of Flemington who envisioned a new business model to accomplish her goals.
With the help and support of dozens of concerned parents and community members, she established Ability 2 Work, a not-for profit organization dedicated to helping those whom she chooses to describe as “differently abled.”

Friday, November 1, 2013

Lawsuit Claims Undercover Cop Tricked Teen with Autism Into Buying Pot

An undercover police officer tricked a teenager with autism into buying pot for him, a lawsuit filed by the boy's parents alleges.
The 17-year-old, who isn't named in the lawsuit, was arrested with 21 other high school students on drug-dealing charges as part of a sting operation last December at Chaparral High School in Temecula, Calif. His parents, Catherine and Doug Snodgrass, on Wednesday announced a lawsuit in state Superior Court that seeks unspecified damages from the Temecula Valley School District, alleging negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress."Certain parts of my son have been damaged in ways that I think will be permanent," Doug Snodgrass told The Huffington Post.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Minnesota Accelerates Plan for Deinstutionalization

Lt. Gov. Yvonne Prettner Solon will unveil a detailed plan Thursday designed to end the unnecessary segregation of people with disabilities by dramatically expanding Minnesota’s range of community and home-based treatment options. Crafted by eight state agencies, the plan calls for transitioning thousands of people housed in state-run mental hospitals, nursing homes and other institutions to settings, such as Vail Place, that are less restrictive and more focused on integrating them into the community.
The wide-ranging proposal, developed in part because of a federal lawsuit, would accelerate the controversial deinstitutionalization of mentally ill and disabled persons that began in Minnesota in the 1970s, while altering the way state agencies deliver care for vulnerable populations.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Maybe There Is No 'Autism Recovery'

I have been hearing the words "autism recovery" for over 13 years now. Truth be told, when my son was initially diagnosed 11 years ago, I too latched on to these words and held on for dear life. I mean, who wouldn't? If your child received a diagnosis of autism and you later hear the possibility of recovering from it, wouldn't you grab this thin strand of hope and at least try? I did. If autism recovery was possible, then we would achieve it.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Pregnancy Weight-Autism Link

New research from the University of Utah shows the answer to that question may be yes in some situations.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Charities Struggle with NYC Marathon

It's nice to know we are not alone.

By this time of year, the height of fall marathon season, the e-mails have long piled up: marathon aspirants seeking charitable donations from family and friends to help them secure a spot in a particular race. On race days, charity logos on runners’ gear have become as ubiquitous as mile markers, an integral part of an event’s feel-good message of fitness and philanthropy.
But some race and nonprofit organizers are worried that after years of booming, the charity-running industry may be wheezing like a runner at Mile 25.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Study: Multiple Medications Prescribed for Children with Autism

Many kids with autism are prescribed mood-altering drugs, sometimes several at once for long periods of time, according to a new study. So-called psychotropic drugs include antipsychotics like Haldol and Thorazine as well as antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications and stimulants like Adderall.

Audit Finds Problems with Tennessee Disabilities Department

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A scathing review of the state Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities uncovered a series of problems that directly impact thousands of state residents who live with Down syndrome, autism, cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injuries and other disabilities.The agency did not perform proper background checks, and some subcontractors caring for patients had multiple drug convictions. The department spent millions of dollars to fix a computer system that is still not working. And the agency is violating state law and its own mission by not providing adequate care for people with developmental disabilities — a finding that department officials strongly disagree with.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Justices Return to Death Penalty Issue

WASHINGTON — More than a decade after the Supreme Court banned the execution of the “mentally retarded” in 2002 in Atkins v. Virginia, the justices agreed on Monday to clarify how states should determine who qualifies.
The new case, Hall v. Florida, No. 12-10882, arose from the 1978 murder of Karol Hurst, who was 21 and seven months pregnant when Freddie L. Hall and an accomplice forced her into her car in a supermarket parking lot. She was found in a wooded area, where she had been beaten, sexually assaulted and shot.

Honoring JFK and Heeding His Call on Mental Health 50 Years Later

Post from The Boston Globe by Patrick J. Kennedy, founder of The Kennedy Forum, is a former member of Congress representing Rhode Island.

Fifty years ago this month, my uncle, President John F. Kennedy, signed the Community Mental Health Act, long-considered the law that laid the foundation for modern-day mental health care. In the decades since the landmark signing of that legislation, the mental health community has made great strides. But we have much more to do to honor President Kennedy’s legacy, achieve equality, and improve care for those suffering from mental illness, intellectual disabilities and addictions.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Blind Musical Genius with Autism

Be sure to watch the video.

Why's he doing that?' Freddie's father sounded more than usually puzzled by the antics of his son.After months of displacement activity, Freddie, 11 years old and on the autism spectrum, was finally sitting next to me at the piano, and looked as though this time he really were about to play. A final fidget and then his right hand moved towards the keys. With infinite care, he placed his thumb on middle C as he had watched me do before -- but without pressing it down. Silently, he moved to the next note (D), which he feathered in a similar way, using his index finger, then with the same precision he touched E, F and G, before coming back down the soundless scale to an inaudible C.I couldn't help smiling.

Three Ohio Brothers Fight to Stay In the Only Home They've Known

The house has been a mess for years, stuffed with seemingly all manner of paper, plastic, wood and metal. Stacks of videocassettes, broken electronics and knick-knacks spill onto the dirty, bowed floor. There’s no hot water, and the place smells bad.
From left, Fred, Chris and
Harry Klein.
Fred, Harry and Chris Klein can’t imagine living anywhere else. The brothers are struggling to understand why, for the first time in their lives, they might have to.“The city says it isn’t a safe house,” Fred said. “I’ve been here 70 years and it hasn’t hurt me yet.”

Saturday, October 19, 2013

One Play Makes Dream Come True

YORKTOWN, N.Y. -- With the final snap under Friday night lights, the dream of an 18-year-old with Down syndrome came true.As his team faced Poughkeepsie High School Josiah O’Brien, team manager of the Yorktown High School football team for four years, scored the final touchdown.With the crowd chanting “Josiah! Josiah!” he took a handoff on the 20-yard line and barreled straight ahead untouched to the end zone, where his teammates came to mob him.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Girls Under Diagnosed with Autism

A recent study published in the Journal of Autism and developmental disorders on October 9 has found that girls are highly likely to go undetected for Autism because they are calmer and less hyper-active than boys.

Saylor Family Files Wrongful Death Suit

A federal court will decide who, if anyone, is responsible for the death of Robert Ethan Saylor.
Patti Saylor outside Maryland
State House.
Saylor, 26, died in January as he was being forcibly removed from the Regal Cinemas Westview Stadium 16 theater by off-duty sheriff’s deputies moonlighting as mall security guards.

Search Continues for Teen with Autism

Fourteen-year-old Avonte Oquendo remains missing two weeks after he skipped away from his Long Island City school, despite an intense search that utilized everything from volunteer posters to infrared cameras and loudspeakers blasting his mother's voice to find him. 
Police said Friday morning that there have been no new developments in the search for the boy, who is autistic and cannot speak for himself. They released a new photo of the striped polo shirt he was wearing when he was last seen leaving school Oct 4. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

As Search Goes on for Teen with Autism, School Officials Face Questions

Eleven days after a teenager with autism walked away from his school in Queens in the middle of the day, a senior police commander, Chief of Department Philip Banks III, said on Tuesday that an intensifying search had failed to turn up even a trace of the student.
As the effort to locate the boy, Avonte Oquendo, continued, a lawyer for the family and advocates for children with disabilities said they were increasingly troubled by a prior mystery: How did the 14-year-old get out of the school to begin with?

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Sharing Diagnosis and Friendship

OSHOCTON, Ohio — Lacey Richcreek, 12, would like to be a counselor or physical therapist one day for people with developmental disabilities like her.
Lacey Richcreek, left, receives a
certificate of appreciation from
 Shannon Hammons for working
 with her granddaughter
Danielle Hardesty. 
“I like working with kids and making things possible, especially for kids younger than me,” Lacey said.She has an early start through a special friendship with Danielle Hardesty, 4. Both girls have cerebral palsy. Lacey walks with crutches and can speak with some trouble. Danielle is confined to a wheelchair and doesn’t talk. However, the two girls don’t have to speak for their families to see the bond they share and how Lacey has helped Danielle.

TSA May Have Perfect Job for Autistic Workers, According to Study

Think of the times when you've had to carry out a repetitive, boring task. Now recall how quickly your mind began to wander.
That is a significant problem in many real-world jobs, and is a special challenge for Transportation Security Administration baggage screeners at airports, who have to look at hundreds of X-rayed bags, trying to pick out dangerous objects from jumbles of hair dryers, toiletries, socks and shoes.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Case Troubles Georgia Council

MACON, Ga. — The head of the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD) is speaking out about the pending case of convicted murderer Warren Lee Hill.Hill has been on death row in Georgia since the early 90's, but his execution has been put on hold several times.This morning, the United States Supreme Court ruled not to hear Hill's latest appeal.Hill was sentenced to death more than 20 years ago, after he murdered his cell mate while serving jail time for killing his girlfriend.Executive Director of the Disability Council, Eric Jacobson says the Supreme Court is failing to protect the nation's most vulnerable citizens.

Moving Toward Competitive Employment

If you work at the School of the Holy Childhood, and you haven't gotten your blood pressure checked in a while, you might be getting a note from Jan Bansbach.When she's not wrapping up cords or cleaning remotes in the school's Partners With Industry sheltered workshop, Bansbach, who is developmentally disabled, is helping out in the school's health office as a nursing assistant. Checking blood pressures is one of her specialties.She likes her job. Ask her and she'll tell you all about it, noting that she can't share any patient's information — that's confidential.
But her voice gets a little quieter when she talks about the notion of leaving the School of the Holy Childhood and trying to find work elsewhere.

Monday, October 7, 2013

The 'Twice Exceptional' Student

Inside a small classroom in a portable building, eight students and their teacher are reading together.
Teacher Benjamin Bannon reviews
 a writing assignment with his class.

“Accordingly the forger was put to death. The utterer of a bad note was put to death the unlawful opener of a letter was put to death.”
That’s from A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens.
Many students don’t read this classic until high school. But these are sixth and seventh graders.

Ethical Issues and DNA Mapping Project

WASHINGTON — Little Amelia Sloan is a pioneer: Shortly after her birth, scientists took drops of the healthy baby’s blood to map her genetic code.
Holly Sloan and her baby Amelia.
Amelia is part of a large research project outside the nation’s capital that is decoding the DNA of hundreds of infants. New parents in a few other cities soon can start signing up for smaller studies to explore if what’s called genome sequencing — fully mapping someone’s genes to look for health risks — should become a part of newborn care.
It’s full of ethical challenges.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Autism More Common In Kids With Cerebral Palsy

As the prevalence of cerebral palsy remains largely steady, new findings from researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest that kids with the developmental disorder are at higher risk of having autism too.
Roughly 1 in 323 American 8-year-olds have cerebral palsy, according to findings reported this week. Of them, nearly 7 percent are also diagnosed with autism. That’s significantly higher than the 1 percent of all American kids estimated to be on the spectrum.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Shutdown and Disability Services

As the first U.S. government shutdown in more than 17 years takes hold, some programs benefiting people with disabilities will continue with business as usual while others grind to a halt.The shutdown, which began Tuesday, comes after Congress failed to reach a deal to fund the federal government for the new fiscal year starting in October. Under a shutdown, some services considered “essential” will continue operating while many other government activities will come to a standstill as 800,000 federal workers are sent home until a new budget takes effect.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Autistic Kids Get Less Sleep Than Peers Through Teen Years, Study Finds

A study from across the pond.

Children with autistic spectrum disorders have poorer sleep quality than their peers right up to their teens, reveals research conducted by an international team including researchers from Bristol.The findings, published online in the Archives of Disease in Childhoodshow total sleep duration is shorter and punctuated by more frequent waking at night and this poor-quality sleep may affect daytime learning and behaviour.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Why JetBlue Started Autism Travel Program

Christina Mendez and her 16-year-old son Damian drove to John F. Kennedy Airport in Queens, New York on Saturday afternoon. But they didn't go anywhere. Mendez was helping Damian, who has autism, get acquainted with flying. He's never been on an airplane.Damian and his mother practiced checking in, walking through security and boarding a plane. Once on board, they fastened their seat belts; a flight attendant offered them snacks. Then the A320 aircraft pulled away from the gate for 20 minutes so Damian could experience the plane in motion.

Autistic Teen Placekicker Can Join Team

BRICK, N.J. — New Jersey’s high school sports governing body has unexpectedly granted an autistic teenager a fifth year of eligibility, just weeks after it won a key court ruling on a lawsuit brought by the teen’s parents.
Anthony Starego
The decision by the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletics Association meant 19-year-old Anthony Starego was able to play — exclusively as a kicker — in Brick High School’s 47-21 win over Toms River South on Friday night.

Parents Create Custom Jobs for Their Children with Autism

Lori Ireland and a handful of other parents in Chapel Hill, N.C., had a simple dream: They wanted their teenage children to be able to have jobs someday. Sitting around with nothing productive to do would be unsatisfying and frustrating for their kids, not to mention expensive.But they also knew the dismal truth: It's tough for someone with autism to get a job.So, like an increasing number of parents with children on the autism spectrum, Ireland and her peers set out to employ them themselves. Their non-profit Extraordinary Ventures businesses, including one cleaning city buses and another making candles and other gifts, now employs 40 people with developmental disabilities in the Chapel Hill area.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Iowa Teen With Cerebral Palsy Crowned Homecoming Queen

ht homecoming queen cerebal palsy jtm 130926 16x9 608 Iowa Teen With Cerebral Palsy Crowned Homecoming QueenOne very special young woman was crowned homecoming queen at Waverly-Shell Rock Senior High School in Waverly, Iowa, on Sept. 23.

“The student body enjoys Courtney being around,” Jeremy Langner, the school’s associate principal, told “She really embodies the community as well, with her love for learning and the passion for being a Go-Hawk. On a daily basis she brings the right attitude.”

Those are typical characteristics for someone you’d expect to earn the coveted homecoming queen title, but for Courtney Tharp, 17, who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy when she was only nine months old, this shining moment meant more to her than the other members of the homecoming court.

Autism Therapy Under Affordable Care Act

Lisa Ferri has two autistic sons, Nicholas and Tyler.
 She credits the most common autism treatment, applied behavioral analysis or ABA, with their success.
"All the things that are instinctual for us and all the things that we kind of take for granted and come naturally, he had to learn absolutely everything." 

New York State is one of 37 states who require ABA to be covered by insurance plans, and it seems President Obama's Affordable Care Act will compliment that.

Daryl Hannah Reveals She Was Diagnosed with Autism as a Child

Here's some surprising news coming out of Hollywood today:Daryl Hannah revealed she was diagnosed with autism as a child. She also had struggles with "debilitating shyness" as a result of the disorder. Kind of unexpected, right?

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Opinion: For People with Disabilities, One Size Just Doesn't Fit All

A well-intentioned plan to provide greater independence to people with disabilities is facing fallout from a surprising bunch:A small, but vocal group of families and caregivers of people with disabilities.At the final of four public listening sessions, this one in Rochester in August, parents of children with severe developmental disabilities shared their heightened concern about the state’s “Olmstead Plan.” The plan seeks to discourage institutional settings in favor of community-based living arrangements.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Three Siblings Living with Autism

A mother of three children, Stephanie Hervey, is frequently overwhelmed: three of her children have autism, a social and communication disorder.“Some days are so hard. They will cry for hours and hours. And there's nothing you can do. You start to wonder, did we do something and could we have prevented this?,”said Hervey.