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.

No Stopping Boston Bombing Amputee

Mery Daniel lost her leg in the Boston Marathon bombing five months ago, but that won’t stop her from racing for a good cause.“Sunday’s not going to be about me,” Daniel, 31, told WCVB, ABC’s Boston affiliate. “It’s going to be about autism.”Doctors had to amputate  Daniel’s leg above the knee last spring, so she’ll be hand-cycling alongside runners and walkers during a 5K on Oct. 5 to benefit the Charles River Center in Needham, Mass., a nonprofit organization that aids adults and children with developmental disabilities. Her husband, Richardson, works with autistic adults.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Autism: A Whole Body Disorder?

In 1943, a child psychiatrist, Leo Kanner M.D., first described autism. Since then, the "blame" for autistic children that had originally been erroneously placed on parents, particularly mothers, has largely disappeared. But before it did, and with the approval of some experts, mothers of children with autism were accused of being too detached, emotionally cold, leading to the "refrigerator mother theory." You can imagine the awful distress and turmoil this created for mothers, and families, already facing enormous challenges in raising a child with autism.
Research was instrumental in dismissing maternal blame theories. What emerged was a focus on the study of the brain of youth and adults with autism. Genetic tests, brain scans, and clinical medication trials continue to reveal how the autistic brain is different. Autism has entered the mainstream of brain research, like the conditions that often accompany it, such as epilepsy, sleep disorders, movement problems, and many psychiatric disorders.

Shopper with Down Syndrome Sold $1,700 Worth of Face Cream

From our neighbors to the north, a disturbing story. Yet once again the power of social media prevails.
ST. CATHARINES, Ontario -- A St. Catharines woman with Down syndrome who was sold $1,700 worth of face cream by a Pen Centre merchant is glad her experience is raising awareness.
Jovita deJong said at first she “felt bad” when she realized that products she thought were $5.65 and $11.35 were actually $565 and $1,135.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Independence and Dignity in the Digital Age

In a nation that values liberty and the pursuit of happiness, there are few greater tragedies than the routine incarceration of millions of individuals who suffer from mental disabilities, developmental impairments, or the debilitating dementia that affects up to 25% of our elderly population. However, recent technological advances offer the possibility of restoring independence and dignity to mentally challenged adults while easing the burden on families, for a fraction of current costs.

Center to Bridge Divide Between Disability Community, Police

A first-of-its-kind national center is in the works with an eye toward improving interactions between individuals with developmental disabilities and law enforcement.
The Arc said it has received a $400,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance to establish the new initiative which will address both victim and offender issues involving those with disabilities.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Illinois Center's Fate in Judge's Hands

The year-plus battle over the state's plan to close its Warren G. Murray Developmental Center will play out soon in a federal courtroom in Chicago.U.S. District Judge Marvin Aspen set aside three days beginning Oct. 1 to hear testimony and arguments from the state and supporters who want to keep open the Centralia center, which has been home to about 270 adults with developmental disabilities.

Read more here:

Friday, September 20, 2013

Coke Campaign Insults Customer

As the mathematical theorem goes, a hypothetical monkey hitting random keys on a typewriter over an infinite amount of time will eventually produce the complete works of Shakespeare.Or, if you start a program to write a random English and French word on bottle caps, you eventually deliver an insult to the drinker. This is what Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO) learned this week in Canada.

He's a Businessman in Every Way

Jamie Hoy, of Coshocton, likes to be seen as a business owner, not someone with a disability.Help from the Coshocton County Board of Developmental Disabilities and various work programs led him to open Jamie’s Custom Cutting about a year ago. He makes custom cutting boards and packaging strips for Boltaron in Newcomerstown.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Autistic Young Adults Less Likely to Have Jobs or Live Independently, Studies Find

Young adults with autism are less likely to find work or live on their own than their peers with other kinds of disabilities, two new studies show.
The studies detailed the fates of a national sample of 20-somethings who had received special-education services in high school.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Genetic Condition Often Misdiagnosed as Autism

Up to 50% of children with a genetic disorder unrelated to autism are mistakenly diagnosed with the developmental disorder, and that can lead to inappropriate treatments that can worsen their condition.About one in 2000 people are diagnosed with 22q11.2 deletion syndrome, which can lead to developmental delays, social awkwardness and anxiety, among other symptoms. Because those symptoms overlap with some of the hallmark signs of autism, researchers say that anywhere from 20% to 50% of children with 22q, as the condition is called, are misdiagnosed with autism.

Latino Families Struggle to Get Their Children with Autism Properly Diagnosed

A recent study performed in California finds a delay in autism diagnosis for Latino children, a problem one New York family says is widespread. 
When Jesse and Ana Mojica first noticed troubling behavior from their then two-year-old son Adam, they had trouble getting a proper medical diagnosis for his symptoms. "We went to his doctor at the time, and we expressed our concern that Adam was having trouble with eating, he wasn't smiling, and the doctor responded to us, 'You're a nervous father,'" says Jesse Mojica.

Woman with CP Advocates for Others, Takes On Own Major Challenge

Rebecca Beaton is anxious about having brain surgery on Sept. 24 but she’s also excited. She recently had her head shaved in preparation for deep brain stimulation, a procedure that has the potential to change her life.
I am nervous but I am determined to use my right hand,” said Beaton, 41, a quadriplegic who has severe cerebral palsy, a group of disorders that involves brain and nervous system functions.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Va. Begins Opening More Group Homes

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — 10 On Your Side took a look at why group homes are becoming more prevalent in the state of Virginia and learned the state is currently trying to place thousands of people  with disabilities into community group homes.
The homes, meant for people with intellectual and physical disabilities, are moving into residential areas, and not everyone is happy about it. 10 On Your Side saw that first hand when residents in York County protested three group homes proposed for the Lackey area.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Opionion: Insurance Exchanges May Change Special-Needs Landscape

Twenty percent of the U.S. population has disabilities, half of which are reportedly “serious.” The Affordable Care Act (ACA, or Obamacare), by establishing new health insurance exchanges and offering states the opportunity to expand Medicaid, has the potential to transform the special-needs landscape. But the best choice among newly available options won’t be obvious.On Oct. 1, when New York’s exchange begins accepting applications, will mark the first time for many families that private insurance is a practical alternative to Medicaid. The Affordable Care Act stipulates that pre-existing conditions cannot disqualify an individual for insurance or lead to higher premiums. Annual and lifetime caps will become history. And policies offered on the exchanges must cover a menu of “essential benefits.”

Service with a Smile

So proud of Harden Jackson and all our employees of The Corporate Source, who completed their 15th consecutive season maintaining the food village at the US Open tennis championships.

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- Harden Jackson rarely shares the house with the likes of Sir Sean Connery, Sally Field, Alec Baldwin and Gene Wilder.
Harden Jackson at US Open.
But for just over two weeks, starting in late August, he did -- at the U.S. Open tournament in the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, Queens.
And though he says he's long been a fan of sports like professional wrestling, baseball and football, he might be ready to appreciate the astounding court coverage of Rafael Nadal or the power and passing shots of Serena Williams.
"Coming here makes me into the tennis," Jackson said with a grin.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Family: School Offers $86,000 to Take Autistic Son Out of California School

Post by Kristina Chew of Care2 make a difference.
Could a public school district be so set on ridding itself of a student with numerous challenges that it offers to pay a family to take him out of school?21-year-old David Swanson is autistic and does not talk; he also has diabetes. His mother, Heather Houston, says that school officials have offered her $86,000 to take him out of the public schools in Yuba City in Northern California, to place him in a private school and to agree to drop her complaints against the school district and not file any in the future. The letter (according to ABC News) is unsigned and also calls for Houston to waive her son’s right to attend public schools.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Autistic Michigan Teen Recovering in Failed Murder Attempt

KALAMAZOO, MI — A Benzie County teen is recovering from carbon monoxide poisoning at a Grand Rapids hospital, her mother jailed without bond and facing charges of attempted murder for her injuries.
Kelli and Issy Stapleton.
The arrest last week of Kelli Stapleton and her autistic daughter, Issy,  has prompted comments, essays and social network discussions in the autism community across the country.

Monday, September 9, 2013

A Cure for Down Syndrome?

A team of scientists from John Hopkins University and the National Institutes of Health have cured newborn mice of Down syndrome by injecting them with a drug that stimulates what's called the Sonic Hedgehog
pathway (so-named because in flies, a lack of the Hedgehog signaling protein causes embryos to become prickly, hedgehog-like balls).

Friday, September 6, 2013

Governor Speaks with Ethan Saylor's Family; Seeks Better Police Training

Gov. Martin O'Malley wants to improve training for law enforcement and other first responders who encounter people with disabilities, an issue raised by the death of a Frederick County man, aides said.
O'Malley met for about 45 minutes Thursday with the family of Robert "Ethan" Saylor, a man with Down syndrome whose death in police custody sparked a nationwide Internet campaign dubbed "Justice for Ethan."
The governor did not immediately agree to launch the independent investigation the family requested, though a spokeswoman said he is "exploring all options to ensure that this never happens to another Marylander again."

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Going Beyond Words to Help Autistic People with Little or No Language

Roughly 25 percent of people with autism speak few or no words. A generation ago, that figure was closer to 50 percent. Most researchers agree that the decline is due to the recognition of more people with milder forms of autism, as well as to the advent of early intervention programs  that have helped more children develop language than in the past.