Friday, January 31, 2014

Feds OK Long-Term Services in KanCare

Kansas officials said they have received formal approval from federal authorities to include long-term services for the developmentally disabled in KanCare.They said they would release later Thursday copies of the signed documents, including so-called "special terms and conditions," spelling out some of the terms of the inclusion, which has been resisted by most of the state's providers of developmental disability services.Gov. Sam Brownback, who launched his administration's Medicaid makeover on Jan. 1, 2013, called the inclusion "an important step forward for KanCare" and the 8,500 developmentally disabled people who receive Medicaid services.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Findings Raise Concerns About Path to Autism Early Intervention

A new study from researchers at Autism Speaks shows improvement towards universal early screening for autism. The report, published online today in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, also found that few approaches to early detection, such as screening during well-child visits, were evaluated to understand their impact on early diagnosis and access to services.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Opinion: Do We Really Need Cure for Autism?

Does autism need to be cured? I am forever reading articles, mainly on American sites, that claim they have found a 'cure' for autism. These are observed when scrolling down my Twitter feed or conducting online autism research, I mainly look for interesting news stories and new interventions, ways in which I can help my child. I use the word 'help' rather than 'cure' as this word sits uneasy with me.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

DNA Confirms 'It's Avonte'

An arm, legs, underwear, dark jeans and size 5½ Air Jordan sneakers turned up on the Queens side of the East River. The jeans and shoes were the same size of Avonte Oquendo, an autistic 14-year-old last seen last fall walking unsupervised out of his school.Yet his mother was steadfast: "It's not Avonte until it's Avonte."That time has come.On Tuesday -- five days after those body parts and scraps of clothing were found -- Vanessa Fontaine learned that DNA tests proved her son's remains indeed had been found.

ACA Provides State Incentive to Provide Long-Term Supports In the Home

In New Hampshire, Medicaid pays for in-home care for nearly all of its residents with developmental disabilities. For frail elders, the opposite is true. Most wind up in nursing homes.To remedy this imbalance, New Hampshire is taking advantage of Affordable Care Act funding for a program aimed at removing existing barriers to providing long-term care in people’s homes and communities.Known as the Balancing Incentive Payments Program, it is one of several ACA provisions designed to keep as many people as possible out of costly institutions. Arkansas, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Texas are also participating in the $3 billion incentive program.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Police: Remains May Be Missing Teen

Our hearts and prayers go out to the Oquendo family. 

Authorities in Queens are investigating the discovery of remains found next to the East River, and sources tell Eyewitness News that police have notified the family of missing autistic teenager Avonte Oquendo about the investigation.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Justice Dept.: Segregation in R.I. Programs Violates Civil Rights

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Thousands of Rhode Islanders with disabilities are “unnecessarily segregated” in state-licensed day programs and so-called sheltered workshops — some for decades — in violation of federal civil rights laws, a U.S. Department of Justice investigation has found.

Rehabilitative, Habilitative Services and Devices Covered Under Health Law

A little remarked upon requirement in the health law expands treatments for people with cerebral palsy, autism and other developmental disabilities. But some advocates and policy experts are concerned that insurers may find ways to sidestep the new requirement.The health law requires that individual and small group plans sold on or off the health insurance marketplaces cover 10 essential health benefits, including “rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices.”

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Sight and Sound Out of Sync for Some Children with Autism, Study Finds

Imagine you’re trying to learn a foreign language by watching a badly dubbed foreign film. The actor points to a tree, then to a flower, then a cloud, but his words are out of sync with his actions.
That’s what it may be like for children with autism, researchers at the Vanderbilt Brain Institute discovered in a study whose results were published Tueday.
For such children, sight and sound are separated because their brains do a poor job of linking what they see with what they hear. This, in turn, throws off their perception of what’s going on around them.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Study: For People with Autism, Jobs Can Lead to Improvement in Symptoms

More independent work environments may lead to reductions in autism symptoms and improve daily living in adults with the disorder, according to a Vanderbilt study released in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.The study examined 153 adults with autism and found that greater vocational independence and engagement led to improvements in core features of autism, other problem behaviors and ability to take care of oneself.

Report: Maryland Law Enforcement Training 'Inconsistent'

Maryland law enforcement workers need more guidance in dealing with individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, according to a commission formed after a man with Down syndrome died in a struggle with Frederick County sheriff's deputies.
Gov. Martin O'Malley created the Commission for Effective Community Inclusion of Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities in September after Robert "Ethan" Saylor, 26, died Jan. 12 after deputies attempted to remove him from a Frederick movie theater.
"Current training of law enforcement personnel in Maryland on how best to interact with individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities is not offered in every jurisdiction and what is provided is inconsistent and not comprehensive," the commission wrote in a progress report released Thursday.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Pa. Senator Seeks Special Ed Reforms

Nearly 270,000 children — or one out of every 6 1/2 students — receive special education services in Pennsylvania's public schools. Most children are included in regular classrooms and receive all or much of their instruction alongside students who do not have special education needs. Families partner with dedicated professionals across the commonwealth to ensure that students with disabilities receive the services they require to maximize academic achievement.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Helping Us Face Our Son's Autism

If starting an exercise routine was one of your New Year's resolutions, here's a reason to stick with it. This is not an endorsement of CrossFit, but a column from Huffington Post's Healthy Living blog.
I know that sounds like an overstatement of immense proportions. It's not.Annie, my wife, agrees. And if you knew Annie, she doesn't overstate anything.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

An Email Raises Ire of New Jersey School District's Parents

ALLENDALE, N.J. — Special needs students and their education are often placed under an uncomfortable spotlight.
The range of perspectives on the topic are as long as they are wide in how a district, school or the state should finance, provide and instruct special education. As this topic was discussed at the Dec. 16 Allendale Board of Education meeting, tempers flared and emotions were visible.
Many parents came to the meeting upset with a Dec. 5 email sent by school officials to parents concerning a clarification of a survey on special needs education distributed by a local group. The email stated that the school district have not "approved, sanctioned or endorsed the dissemination of this survey or the collection of any date through this stratagem." And that parents are not under any obligation to "answer, complete or respond" to any section or in its entirety.