Friday, October 31, 2014

Scientist Link 60 Genes to Autism Risk

Researchers have found dozens of new genes that may play a role in causing autism, according to two studies published Wednesday in the medical journal Nature.
Scientists identified 60 genes with a greater than 90% chance of increasing a child's autism risk. Previous research has yielded only 11 genes that had been confirmed with this level of certainty.Though other studies have shown the importance of genetics in the development of autism, experts say these new studies zero in on the exact nature of the genetic mutations that cause the disorder

The Man Who Left Wall Street Behind

Feel Good Friday and this is a great way to start your day.
Ben Wright began seeing the world differently when his two youngest children were born with Down syndrome.
He realized educational and career opportunities would be much tougher to come by for kids that are deemed less able to succeed in the eyes of society, so he decided to leave his job at a Wall Street firm and ensure a future for children like his own.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

California Couple Petition Disney for Princess with Down Syndrome

Disney princesses come from different races, even different species, if you count mermaids.
But one California couple believes that heroes or heroines with special needs are underrepresented, and so they’re petitioning Walt Disney Studios to create a Disney princess with Down Syndrome.

When the Doctor Is Not Always a Healer

One of the most thoughtfully written and powerful stories I've seen in quite a while. Hopefully doctors everywhere are listening and apply the lesson to people with any disability. Yes, it's long, but read the full story. You won't be sorry.
t was midnight in the emergency department of my hospital, and the chief resident was on a roll. Clad in green scrubs — two sizes too small for his body, they emphasized his muscular physique — he dashed between the ambulance bay and the critical care rooms.“Wen!” he barked at me, the medical intern. “Come over here to do the ‘rule-out-heart-attack’ in 3.” Two medical students grabbed their notepads and followed the chief resident and me into the room.The patient did not look as if he were having a heart attack. Dressed in a tailored suit, a young man with a neat ponytail sat in bed, texting on his BlackBerry. The nurse’s note said the 31-year- old was having chest pain. His vital signs and electrocardiogram were normal.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Schools Struggle to Keep Up with Autism

COLUMBIA, Mo. — Most kids have tantrums, but not like this one.
It was December 2012, and 18-month-old Keller Garcille had been told "no," that he couldn't have something – a snack, a toy, a certain place to sit — at his daycare. What followed was an epic meltdown. Limbs flailing, face red from screaming and streaming with tears, Keller was inconsolable.That evening, his mother, Erika Garcille, noticed Keller wasn't using his left arm. When she took him to the emergency room, she learned he'd broken his own elbow during the tantrum.

Much More Than a Gym Class

By far the best story of the day. A journalist who understands the concept of seeing beyond disability.
Daniel Hernandez is a 10th grader with striking eyes and a ready smile who is prone to answer questions with a polite “Yes, ma’am.” This young man, who is 16, used to be described as “shy,” but he knows a lot about kayaking: how to set up the seats, put the oars together and how to get in without flipping it over. He knows how to steer the small vessel right, left, and how to stop.
I, however, have never been kayaking. I’m a novice when it comes to most water sports and probably wouldn’t inspire great confidence in any teacher. But Daniel had confidence. He was proud to share what he knew. Excited really. And he wasn’t alone. Daniel was among several of his classmates from American Senior High School in Miami who volunteered to teach me how to kayak.
All of them are students with autism.

Study: Parent-Led Therapy May Help Children with Autism

Parents can learn how to give effective therapy to their children with autism, a new study in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry finds.Researchers at Stanford University looked at a type of therapy called Pivotal Response Training (PRT), which is one the of the handful of treatments shown to be effective for kids on the autism spectrum, says Kari Berquist, PhD, study co-author and a clinical instructor in psychiatry and behavioral sciences and an autism clinician at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Children Born by C-Section More Likely to Have Autism, Internat'l Study Finds

In a report published today in an international scientific journal, UCC researchers warn increasingly popular C-section deliveries heighten the risk of the disorder by 23 percent.However, they urge caution on the findings and have stressed more research is needed.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Medicaid Dental Coverage in S. Carolina

 — The need for dental care for low-income or disabled adults in South Carolina is so severe that people line up 24 hours ahead of time for the one major free care event each year put on by the S.C. Dental Association.
Starting Dec. 1, the state Medicaid agency will begin meeting some of that demand, as for the first time it will provide preventive dental benefits to nearly 300,000 adult Medicaid clients in the state. People 21 and older with full Medicaid benefits will be eligible for cleaning, fillings and extractions, with a $750 per year maximum benefit.

Read more here:

Friday, October 24, 2014

Study Finds ASD-Air Pollution Link

Preliminary research out of the University of Pittsburgh found that children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) were 1.4 to two times more likely to have been exposed to higher levels of air pollution during pregnancy and the first two years of life than children without ASD. The results of the study were presented at the American Association for Aerosol Research annual meeting in Orlando, Fla. Wednesday.

Affordable Housing Lottery Includes Units for People with Disabilities

Hoping that the eight apartments for people with developmental disabilities provide more opportunities for self-direction and true community inclusion.
WILLIAMSBURG, N.Y. — The lottery for nearly 40 affordable housing apartments in Williamsburg is now open for applications — with rents starting at just $640-per-month for a studio.
The new, seven-story building at 59 Frost St. has 38 affordable units in the lottery, ranging from studios to two-bedrooms, according to NYC Housing Connect.

Monday, October 20, 2014

An Autism-Friendly Pediatric ER

HOPEWELL TOWNSHIP, N.J. — A trip to the emergency room can be unpleasant for anyone in pain or discomfort. But for children and adolescents with autism, the fast-paced environment and bright lighting only adds to the trauma.

“For patients with autism and for their families or caregivers, this can be a nightmare experience,” said Dr. Olga Goldfarb, director of the Autism Program at Capital Health’s Institute for Neurosciences. “They have problems interacting and approaching other people. It can be very scary for those with autism."

What Drove Woman to Murder Son with Autism?

A tragic story. Where were the supports and services not only for the child, but for the family?

To be a great hotel is to host fabulous lives but also, sometimes, spectacular deaths.

On the evening of February 3, 2010, Gigi B. Jordan checked into the same hotel, which was now called the Peninsula. She asked for a suite: $2,500 a night. She paid in cash. Before arriving at the Peninsula, Jordan, who had started a successful home health care company 20 years earlier, had gone to a Chase Bank, where she made a transfer of $8 million between two accounts. Then she got into a taxi and had it drive around Manhattan for three hours, in the midst of rush hour: an expensive exercise in aimlessness. She thought about going to the Mercer Hotel, in SoHo, and the Sofitel, in Times Square. Finally, she decided on the Peninsula. After settling with the front desk, she took the elevator to the 16th floor and entered Room 1603, a sumptuous suite of cream colors and dark wood finishes. Except for quick dealings with hotel staff conducted in the doorway, she would not leave the room for the next 40 hours.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Artists Pursuing Their Dream

When a reporter and cameraman from WCBS-TV spent more than 2 hours visiting with our art group for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities on Tuesday, they left overwhelmed by the talent and abilities of the artists. Here is the segment which aired this morning.

Monday, October 13, 2014

"Bully" Documentary Airs Tonight

It's National Bullying Prevention Month and Lee Hirsch's documentary "Bully" will air Monday evening at 10 p.m. on PBS in New York City. Check listings for other airtimes. We were proud to have Hirsch as a keynote speaker at one of our one-day autism conferences.

Over 13 million American kids will be bullied this year, making it the most common form of violence experienced by young people in the nation. Bully, directed by Sundance and Emmy-award winning filmmaker Lee Hirsch, brings human scale to this startling statistic, offering an intimate, unflinching look at how bullying has touched five kids and their families.

Friday, October 10, 2014

High School Soccer Player with Autism Victim of Hazing in Pennsylvania

The End of Sheltered Workshops?

Much like institutionalization of people with disabilities, sheltered workshops started with someone’s heart being in the right place. Starting around the middle of the 20thcentury, sheltered workshops began as an intervention for adults with disabilities in which they were given jobs to help keep them busy. These places offer limited-skill work such as sorting, assembling and packaging to people with disabilities.
Often, the jobs are repetitive-motion tasks, do not offer much in the way of self-fulfillment, and give the employees zero opportunity to advance their position in the company. 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Shift in Charitable Giving After Recession, Study Finds

In the wake of the Great Recession, the richest Americans are donating less to charity, while the poorest are giving more, according to a new study.
In a report released today, the Chronicle of Philanthropy found that Americans who earned at least $200,000 gave nearly 5% less to charity in 2012 than in 2006.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Plotting the Grid of Sensory Overload

NEW YORK — Ever had one of those days in the city when you feel like you forgot to put your skin on? Sure you have. It happens when you haven’t slept, or you drank too much the night before, or you’ve been brooding over bad news.
All your senses, it seems, have been heightened to a painful acuity; your nerve endings are standing on guard. And every one of the manifold sights and sounds of urban life registers as a personal assault. You’re a walking target in a war zone, and that subway ride that awaits you looms like a descent into hell.Such a state of being is conjured with dazzling effectiveness in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,” which opened on Sunday night at the Ethel Barrymore Theater. Adapted by Simon Stephens from Mark Haddon’s best-selling 2003 novel about an autistic boy’s coming-of-age, this is one of the most fully immersive works ever to wallop Broadway.

Evaluations for Kids with Special Needs Exposed in New York State

Imagine getting essential services to take care of your young children and then having those services taken away. That's what parents across New York are going through now. It has to do with the way kids with special needs are being evaluated and how the state's plans are making it harder for some local families.
Tiffany Muckey is a mother with nowhere else to turn. She says her three-year-old son was getting help essential to his development when the state stopped it dead in its tracks.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Finding a Bond and Gaining Independence

A beautiful story, which reinforces our mission of living, loving and working. 

EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. — A Sunday wedding that was months away, then weeks away, then days away, is now hours away, and there is so much still to do. The bride is panicking, and the groom is trying to calm her between anxious puffs of his cigarette.
Peter and Lori are on their own.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Special Education Instructor Named New Jersey Teacher of Year

Proud that Mark Mautone will be among the keynote speakers at our free New Jersey autism conference for families and caregivers on Oct. 16. 

HOBOKEN, N.J. — Special education instructor Mark Mautone has been named the 2014-15 New Jersey Teacher of the Year, the state Department of Education announced at a ceremony in Trenton Wednesday morning.

The award is the latest and most significant honor Mautone has received for his work as head teacher of the Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) program for autistic students at Wallace Elementary School. He is the first Hoboken teacher ever to be named a state Teacher of the Year.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

NYC Agrees to Change Preparations for People with Disabilities During Disasters

As an agency which was affected by Super Storm Sandy, we're glad the city is taking action. 

ew York City has agreed to make sweeping changes in its accommodations for people with disabilities during disasters and other emergencies, according to newly filed court papers.The agreement seeks to resolve a lawsuit filed in 2011 after Tropical Storm Irene, which accused the city of failing to develop adequate plans to help shelter, transport and evacuate disabled residents. The issues became more urgent after Hurricane Sandy, which caused widespread flooding and lengthy blackouts and left many residents trapped in high-rise buildings, waiting for help.

Dr. Phil and Mommy Blogger Who Tried to Kill Her Daughter with Autism

How horrible is this? Dr. Phil recently interviewed Kelli Stapleton, a mother who tried to kill her teenage autistic daughter. Why were no autism advocates included in the conversation? Agree with The Arc that caregivers need more support. It's up to all of us to make sure that caregivers know that there are services available. 
The facts of Kelli Stapleton’s attempted murder-suicide of her 14-year-old daughter, Issy, are not disputed. Kelli invited the girl to go camping and make s’mores. When the two were together inside the family van, Kelli lit two charcoal grills, and waited to die along with her daughter, “nose-to-nose,” as she says. Kelli’s husband, Matt, had called the police, who saved the lives of Kelli and Issy. Issy’s last words to her mother before entering a three-day-long coma were “I love you, Mommy.”

Study: Caregivers Key in DD Dental Care

BOSTON — Despite a policy focus on expanding access to care for adults with developmental disabilities, this vulnerable population continues to have significant dental disease. In this month's issue of The Journal of the American Dental Association, researchers from Tufts University School of Medicine and Tufts University School of Dental Medicine report on the first large-scale survey to investigate factors influencing at-home oral care provided by caregivers to adults with developmental disabilities. The study findings suggest that, in addition to addressing access to care, policy initiatives must improve support for caregivers.
A patient at a Tufts dental clinic.
"While access to dental care is a necessary component of good oral health, it is not enough to guarantee positive oral health outcomes in this vulnerable population. Our findings highlight the need for additional training and support for caregivers in promoting oral health," said principal investigator and corresponding author Paula M. Minihan, Ph.D., M.P.H., an assistant professor in the department of public health and community medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine.

Pregnancy and Folic Acid Confusion

BINGHAMTON, N.Y. — Eat healthy, stop smoking and no alcohol are the biggest tips doctors have for pregnant women, and then making sure to take enough folic acid. Pregnant women are recommended 400 to 800 micrograms of folate a day, but can you have too much?