September Digest – Part 2 of 2

The most relevant news of the last couple weeks. Sign-up to have future issues delivered to your email.

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National News

More Jobs, Health Coverage for Autism
Examiner.com – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy today announced a total of $8,422,574 in continued funding for organizations that develop models, provide technical assistance and share best practices to improve employment opportunities for people with disabilities. Read full story

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Research

Brainwave Test Could Identify Kids with Autism Early and Accurately
HealthlineNews – Measuring how quickly the brain responds to sights and sounds could help doctors identify children at risk of developing autism, both earlier and more accurately. Read full story

Inconsistency Plagues Studies of Parent-Mediated Therapies
Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative – When children show early signs of autism, it’s their parents who are best positioned to treat them, according to a study we reported on yesterday. That’s especially true of that study, which tested treatment for children as young as 6 months of age, well shy of the average age of autism diagnosis.   Read full story

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Technology

Penn State Researchers Develop Game To Help Autistic Teens Read Body Language
Campus Technology – Researchers at Penn State will soon pilot a computer game they designed to help adolescents on the autism spectrum improve their ability to understand body language.  People on the autism spectrum often have difficulty picking up on nonverbal social cues, such as facial expressions, eye gaze and subtle body language.  Read full story

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Education

Inclusion Rates for Special Education Students Vary By State
Disability Scoop – It’s getting easier for parents of young children with autism to get insurers to cover a pricey treatment called applied behavioral analysis. Once kids turn 21, however, it’s a different ballgame entirely. Read full story

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Teens & Adults

What Can Be Done to Help Parents of Autistic Adults?
PBS Newshour – The picture you probably have in your mind of autism is that of a child. But autism is almost always — if not always — a condition that lasts for life. We are the parents of a 22-year-old young man with autism. He barely recognizes our presence, but clearly knows us better than most other people. Read full story

For Adults with Autism, ABA Coverage Scarce
Disability Scoop – Mike Brannigan is obsessed with running. The repetitive motion. The rhythm he finds. The way he can focus on his body and nothing else. At 17, Mike Brannigan is one of the top 10 high school runners in the whole country. He’s so lightning fast he can run a mile in four minutes and seven seconds flat. Read full story

September Digest, Part 1 of 2

The most relevant news of the last couple weeks. Sign-up to have future issues delivered to your email.

AllAutismNews_icon_news

National News

Federal Officials Order Medicaid to Cover Autism Services
Kaiser Health News – In July, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced that comprehensive autism services must be covered for children under all state Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program plans, another federal-state program that provide health coverage to lower-income children.

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Economic Study Confirms Growth in Autism
Science Daily – The number of autism cases has soared over the past three decades, leading some to wonder if mental health professionals might be over diagnosing the disorder. Two economists who used market theory to study the trend in autism growth, however, have confirmed that at least part of the increase is real.

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Research

Roots of Language Troubles, Autism Traits May Diverge
Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative – The core symptoms of autism are impaired social and communication abilities, and repetitive and restricted behaviors and interests. Until 2013, the diagnostic criteria for autism included a third category: language problems. In support of this, a few studies have identified genetic variants that link language impairments to autism.

Early Cerebellum Injury Hinders Neural Development, Possible Root of Autism, Theory Suggests
News at Princeton – A brain region largely known for coordinating motor control has a largely overlooked role in childhood development that could reveal information crucial to understanding the onset of autism, according to Princeton University researchers.

Brains of Children with Autism Teem with Surplus Synapses
Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative – The brains of children with autism do not prune unneeded connections between neurons as they age, leaving them with too many of these neuronal links, according to a study published 21 August in Neuron1.

Small Study Shows Promise for Parent-led Autism Intervention for Babies (video)
NBC – In a small pilot study, parents learned and delivered a treatment that significantly reduced autism symptoms in babies who had shown warning signs for the disorder.

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Technology

Kids With Autism See Big Gains With Tablets
Disability Scoop – Even with intervention, many children with autism continue to struggle with communication, but new research suggests that using iPads and other tablets can help maximize language skills. Read full story

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Education

Inclusion Rates for Special Education Students Vary By State
Disability Scoop – Where a child lives may significantly impact whether they are placed in an inclusive or segregated classroom, a new national analysis suggests. Regional differences appear to play a role in education placements for students with autism, with those living in the West more likely to attend mainstream classes while students in the Eastern United States are more frequently assigned to segregated settings, according to findings published online in the journal Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities.

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Teens & Adults

Growing Solutions Farm Gives Autistic Adults a Chance to Grow
Chicago Tribune – On a 1.2-acre plot of land on the Near West Side, young adults with autism are getting invaluable lessons — lessons that may soon be replicated around the country. Growing Solutions Farm teaches the 20 or so students, ages 18 to 26, all aspects of farming, from planting and harvesting vegetables and herbs to cooking what they grow. But it’s much more than that.

How Running Changed Life for a Boy with Autism
NBC News – Mike Brannigan is obsessed with running. The repetitive motion. The rhythm he finds. The way he can focus on his body and nothing else. At 17, Mike Brannigan is one of the top 10 high school runners in the whole country. He’s so lightning fast he can run a mile in four minutes and seven seconds flat. His coach says he is the hardest working athlete he’s ever trained. He also happens to have autism.