Thursday, May 28, 2015

When Children with Autism Grow Up

In the public consciousness, autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a disorder that affects only children. In truth, ASD is a lifelong condition. But how it affects older adults is a gaping unknown in autism research. Now, a new and significant grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will help researchers at San Diego State University understand how the disorder plays out across the lifespan.
Ralph-Axel Müller and Ruth Carper
“Developmental disorders do not end after childhood,” said Ruth Carper, a neuroscientist at SDSU and a co-investigator on the project. “Development is a lifelong process, and there is a real need to know what happens later in life for people with autism.”

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Opinion: Need to Focus on Excessive Police Force of People with Disabilities

This op-ed in The Hill co-authored by Jay Ruderman, the president of the Ruderman Family Foundation, and Jo Ann Simons, president and CEO of the Cardinal Cushing Centers in Massachusetts, is truly important. In part, it’s because the authors point out something that doesn’t get much attention in mainstream (or, sadly, nonprofit) press coverage of police brutality: Persons with disabilities are its all-too-frequent victims.
Ruderman and Simons write about the deaths of Ethan Saylor, a 26-year old with Down syndrome who died of asphyxiation after being dragged by police from his seat in a theater in Frederick, Maryland, in 2013, and James Boyd, a homeless man (reportedly diagnosed with schizophrenia) who was shot and killed by police officers in Albuquerque in March of 2014.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Remembering Martin Sheets, Who Shined at Special Olympics

Martin Sheets, who became a face of the Special Olympics, winning more than 250 medals competing for more than 40 years in its events for people with intellectual disabilities, died on Thursday in Greensboro, N.C. He was 62.

He had dementia, his family said.

Monday, May 25, 2015

PayPal Exec Sees Asperger's Advantage

Fairfax, VA – Bestselling author, and founder of PayPal thinks people with Asperger’s have the right mindset to succeed in Silicon Valley.

In an interview with economist Tyler Cowen at George Mason University, Peter Thiel gave his reasons why won’t hire MBA’s, and why, in his mind, people who have Aspergers are the pals that get paid because of their determined focus and ability to ignore conventional rules for innovative ideas.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Raising Employment Expectations

After completing schoolwork, individuals with disabilities may be directed to a life of sheltered employment or a group home setting. University of Kansas researchers have been battling that type of guidance by proving that it is possible for individuals with disabilities to hold meaningful employment and live independently. Those researchers are sharing resources and training community members to spread the message, and now, they're taking it to other states.

Doctors Unprepared to Treat Patients with Autism, Study Finds

A new survey finds many health care providers admittedly know little about how to care for adults with autism.

Of 922 providers surveyed, 77 percent rated their ability to treat patients on the spectrum as poor or fair.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Barber Takes Crisis Out of Haircut

Haircuts once sparked meltdowns for 8-year-old Michael Flores, while also creating loads of stress for his mom, Joan. But thanks to one special barber, getting a trim has gone from crisis-inducing to comforting.
Michael has autism, and from his first haircut until very recently, even the mention of one caused tears and screaming. Joan Flores began cutting her son's hair herself to try to make the process easier, but even this elicited stress.

Feds Probe Possible Voting Rights Violations in California

LOS ANGELES — The U.S. Justice Department is investigating whether California illegally denied voting rights to people with autism spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy and other intellectual or developmental disabilities, officials said Wednesday.The agency disclosed the probe in a May 15 letter to Secretary of State Alex Padilla and the California Supreme Court, in which investigators sought detailed records on how certain voters with disabilities are disqualified, an explanation of the rationale behind it and an account of how frequently it is happening.

Advocates Urge Budget Increase

SACRAMENTO — Disability rights advocates and organizations marched to the State Capitol on Monday to urge
California lawmakers to increase the budget for developmental disabilities programs. A 10 percent increase, they said, is a critical need, but only a step in much needed reform after years of cutbacks.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Utah School Excludes Special Ed Students from Yearbook; Plans Insert

A Utah mother says the high school that angered her by leaving special education students out of its yearbook has decided to print special inserts with their photos.

Leslee Bailey says the principal of Blue Peak High School in Tooele, Utah, called her to apologize Tuesday. Bailey has said her daughter, Amber Bailey, had been upset by the omission, but the principal told her he never meant to for that to happen.

Teen Model With Down Syndrome Hopes to Change Public Perception

BRISBANE, Australia —  Madeline Stuart is an aspiring teen model looking for an agent.
She might just get one now that her story has gone wildly viral on Facebook this week.The teen from Brisbane Australia has Down syndrome and she wants to be a model to help change the way others view the condition.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Parents, Educators Speak Up at Forum

The mother of a 5-year-old boy with special needs, Chantel Patterson, 32, quit her job to devote herself to getting her child the best education possible.
Chantel Patterson of the Bronx.
She started a business called “Decoding Special Needs” and carries binders of information with her to meetings with Education Department officials to discuss her son’s Individualized Education Program, or IEP. She complains veteran DOE decision makers for IEP fail to show up to meetings and that, when they do, they are often unaware of what services are available.
“This has to change,” she says.

China Making App for Autism

The Chinese government is paying more attention to autism, a developmental condition characterized by social and communication deficits. On Sunday’s National Day for the Disabled, China’s first lady, Peng Liyuan, visited autistic children at a Beijing rehabilitation center.
The Cheng Huang Pavilion is lit up
blue to promote autism awareness.
Despite the increase in awareness, it’s still hard for families to get the high-quality intervention they need for their children, experts told the WSJ.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Maryland Signs Ethan Saylor Bill; People with Disabilities to Train Police Officers

The state of Maryland took a big step forward for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities on Tuesday.
Governor Larry Hogan signed a bill that turns up the volume for the voices of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities by mandating that self-advocates become involved in the training of police officers.

Families Join Suit Against Disney Parks

Fourteen families of people with autism filed a lawsuit against Walt Disney World Parks and Resorts in California state court on Tuesday.
This brings to at least 58 the number of families who are suing Disney, alleging its new Disability Access Service violates laws protecting disabled people from discrimination, said attorney Andy Dogali, who is representing the plaintiffs.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Conn. Decision to Build Park Stings

WATERFORD, Conn. — When the state last fall scuttled a deal to sell the former Seaside property in Waterford for private housing, the losers in the transaction went beyond the developer, who is now considering a lawsuit, and the tax coffers of Waterford.
The proceeds of the $8 million sale would have gone into a fund to build houses at other locations for people with intellectual disabilities.The fund was set up for just this type of opportunity. Since the neglected, hauntingly beautiful buildings on the 32-acre Seaside Regional Center campus last served children and adults with developmental disabilities before closing in 1997, the money would go to benefit that community in a narrowly defined way: no state jobs, no agency operating costs, just buying sites and building or rehabbing structures.

High School QB Fulfills Promise

They met in the second grade and he always, no matter what, took care of her.
Mary Lapkowicz had Down Syndrome. Ben Moser did not. They were inseparable at their Pennsylvania elementary school, and if Mary wasn't being included in an activity, or was on the outside looking, Ben pulled her in.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Louisian Leads Wait for Waiver Services

LOUISIANA —54,000 Louisiana residents are waiting for waiver services, and Louisianans wait longer than the rest of the country. According to the audit by the LA Legislative Auditor's Office, Louisiana is in the planning stages to utilize more waiver services for Medicaid recipients, this includes the elderly, and people with physical and developmental disabilities. 

Fear of Autism Gets Family Kicked Off Flight; Education Urged

TIGARD, Ore. — Donna Beegle, her husband and their son and daughter were headed back to Portland on Tuesday after spending a few days at DisneyWorld in Orlando.

They flew from Orlando to Houston, with a connecting flight from Houston to Portland on United Airlines Flight 1535. About an hour into the flight to Portland, she noticed a tell-tale sign from her daughter.
“She started getting a little upset and I started thinking, ‘You know what? She didn’t eat her dinner,” Donna Beegle told KOIN. “I know her, when she gets overhungry or overthirsty, she really struggles because she can’t tell us and she gets really frustrated.”
Juliette, a 15-year-old sophomore at Tigard High School, has autism.