Monday, June 29, 2015

Ruling Preserves Health Benefits

With the recent Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act (ACT) adults with autism can continue to receive the quality care and prescription coverage they were receiving. Like it or not, Medicare is what pays for the benefits for those adults with autism. Even conservatives who have children on the spectrum will possibly someday be coordinating their child's healthcare through the very same system that will also cover them as seniors.

Giving a Voice to Children with Autism

GREENWICH, Conn. — Izabela O'Brien had competed in pageants in college and carried her beauty queen dreams into adulthood. But for years that's all they remained. That was until years of friends' affectionate teasing and encouragement led her to a Foxwoods stage in March, where the Greenwich resident was crowned Mrs. Connecticut America. "I saw the faces of all three of my girls and I just knew it was the right time," O'Brien said. "It didn't matter that I was one of the oldest contestants or it was 20 years since I had done my last pageant. I saw their faces and they were more nervous than I was."

Friday, June 26, 2015

NJ Senate 1 Vote Shy of Overriding Christie Veto

TRENTON — The state Senate came within one vote Thursday of overriding Governor Christie’s veto for the first time in his five years, acting on a bill that would suspend a program transferring developmentally disabled adults back to the Garden State.
But rather than let the bill die before summer break, legislators pledged to return Monday with, they hope, the one deciding vote – which may hinge on one Bergen County lawmaker.

Ohio Families Seek Caregiver Reform

If the state puts consumers in charge of hiring and supervising their own in-home caregivers, then those consumers should be able to set the pay rate, too.That’s the view among many of the families and disabilities advocates who met on Thursday to discuss Ohio’s plan to stop doing business directly with Medicaid-funded independent providers — caregivers who don’t work for agencies.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Business Grows Job Opportunities for Individuals with Autism

Like other parents of autistic teenagers, Esther Brody began to wonder about her son's future.
Noah Quick on the job.

Evan, 22, was preparing to graduate from Oakstone Academy, a Westerville charter school that allows children with autism spectrum disorders to participate in the classroom with students who do not have disabilities.
"I didn't know what was to become of him," Brody said. "Most kids his age are ready to go to college, but I knew that wasn't going to be for him."

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Awaiting Last Word on NJ Budget

TRENTON — The state budget introduced by Democrats on Tuesday doles out more than $52 million to more than a dozen programs for people with disabilities, children, senior citizens, veterans and women. 

But the people who lobbied for that oney know it's too soon to celebrate. Gov. Chris Christie has the last word, and he has redlined the legislature's wish list before, including some items that are making a return appearance in the latest budget.

Opinion: Special Education and Race

Oped from today's New York Times by Paul L. Morgan, an associate professor of education at Pennsylvania State University.George Farkas, a professor of education at the University of California, Irvine.

More than six million children in the United States receive special-education services for their disabilities. Of those age 6 and older, nearly 20 percent are black.
Critics claim that this high number — blacks are 1.4 times more likely to be placed in special education than other races and ethnicities combined — shows that black children are put into special education because schools are racially biased.
But our new research suggests just the opposite. 

Monday, June 22, 2015

Looking to Provide States Incentive for Providing More Opportunities

A bipartisan group of senators is looking to provide financial incentives to states for helping people with disabilities live and work in the community.The lawmakers want to establish a new Medicaid demonstration program that would offer financial bonuses to states for encouraging community-based outcomes. Under a bill introduced this week, a five-year program would be established in 10 states.

NFL Star Opens Up About Having a Child with Disabilities

Often times NFL players are larger than life. Whether it is their huge human structures, their bigger-than-life personas or their border-line ridiculous bank accounts. All factors can lead fans to think
these men who wear a uniform and play a game for a living don't truly know what struggles are. However, when former Pittsburgh Steelers DT Ziggy Hood wrote for the The Players' Tribune, even the fortunate suffer and have challenges, regardless of their financial situation.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Editorial: Opportunity to Improve Lives

Bravo to LA Daily News Editorial Board for it's approach to California's service system and the impact of budget cuts.
Sometimes an apparent setback can turn out to be a big victory. Let’s hope that will be the case with Gov. Jerry Brown’s refusal to direct more state funding into the cash-starved statewide system that serves those with developmental disabilities.There’s a great opportunity now for Sacramento to solve the system’s problems, at this moment and for years to come.

Feds Invest in Special Educators

With an eye on improving services for students with disabilities, the U.S. Department of Education is funneling millions into programs to train new special educators.
The Education Department said this week that it is granting $12.8 million to university programs coast to coast to address anticipated shortages in the field.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

There's No Place Like Home

When most of us stop and think about it, our home, and the people who share it with us, defines a lot about our lives. It's the physical space where we greet each day. It's the people who we clock the most hours alongside. It's where we welcome guests, cozy up when we're sick, and retreat at the end of a long week.
But, for many adults with disabilities, a suitable home is hard -- sometimes almost impossible -- to come by. In the time that I moved five times, hundreds of thousands of individuals with disabilities across the U.S. have sat on housing waitlists. They're waiting, often many years, to make just one crucial move, the move out of their parent's home into community or independent living.

Congress Urged to Address Wandering

Several disability advocacy groups are banding together to call for federal action to help prevent wandering among those with autism and other developmental disabilities.
Dubbed the Autism Safety Coalition, the collective launched this week includes Autism Speaks, the Autism Society, The Arc and the National Autism Association, among others.

Ohioans Fear Medicaid Changes

Family members of developmentally disabled Ohioans are warning against state efforts to shrink Medicaid-funded residential facilities.Medicaid pays for more than 5,000 Ohioans who live in intermediate care facilities where they have around-the-clock nursing care but are, according to nonprofit Disability Rights Ohio, “needlessly segregated.”

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Opinion: Common Core Leaving Special Education Students Behind

Post from The Wall Street Journal by Brian Zorn is a special-education teacher in the Mineola Union Free School District in Mineola, N.Y.
The mission of American education is “No Child Left Behind.” For me as a special-education teacher in New York state, that means making my students feel worthwhile and giving them the confidence they need to succeed—academically and socially. Yet New York’s statewide English language arts (ELA) and mathematics exams unduly humiliate children in special education and frustrate the teachers who want them to succeed.

Monday, June 15, 2015

On the Move for Autism Services

CARMEL, Maine — Michael Levasseur is 19 years old and has a high school diploma. He has held a part-time job stocking shelves at a local supermarket and volunteered at the Maine Discovery Museum in Bangor, his parents, Cynthia and Paul Levasseur, said.
Cynthia and Paul Levasseur with
 their son Michael.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Health Care Gap: Lack of Preparation for Pediatric to Adult Transition

It is estimated that 18 million U.S. adolescents, aged 18 to 21 years, will transition from pediatric to adult care, according to the most recent statistics from the 2013 Current Population Survey of the U.S. Census Bureau.

Yet, results of a 2009-2010 National Survey of Children with Special Health Care Needs indicate that while the majority of health care providers encourage their youth with special health care needs to assume responsibility for their own health care, most are not receiving the needed preparation for the transition of care.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Seeking Answers to W. Va. Waiver Cuts

Parents and some lawmakers are still in shock over large budget cuts in West Virginia's IDD Waiver program.with special needs. 
The Department of Health and Human Resources says the program has been over budget by the millions for years. While parents know to expect large cuts, there are still a lot of unanswered questions.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Best Tech Jobs for People with Autism

Some guidance in this article featuring a member of our YAI Autism Center Advisory Board Temple Grandin's thoughts on tech jobs for individuals with autism. 
The transition between adolescent to adult is a difficult process for anyone. It can be even more challenging for individuals on the autism spectrum, especially when it comes to finding a meaningful vocation. As the father of a wonderful 10-year-old boy with autism, much of my time is spent worrying about what opportunities will be available to him once he reaches adulthood. According to some estimates, the unemployment rate for adults on the autism spectrum exceeds 90%.

Recently this problem has been combated with rising interest on individuals with special needs in the workforce. With proper training, support and opportunity these individuals with developmental disabilities are able to maintain and even excel at professions in the mainstream workforce. Some of these innovative companies are highlighted in a recent Forbes post, A New Business Model for Autism.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Teaching Karate and Respect

Matt Hosokawa has been in love with karate since he saw his first Jackie Chan movie as a kid.
Hosokawa, 30, always dreamed of getting a black belt and teaching his own class but he struggled in school and needed special education. He eventually learned why he was different.