December Digest 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

Retired Officer Gives Autism Safety Talk Across US
Associated Press – A retired police officer from Michigan has made it his mission to educate first-responders and others about how to more effectively interact with people with autism spectrum disorder.

Naperville Doctor Disciplined in Controversial Autism Case
Chicago Tribune – A Naperville doctor nationally known for offering alternative autism treatments has agreed to have her Illinois medical license placed on probation for at least a year after state regulators accused her of subjecting two children to unwarranted, dangerous therapies.

Snyder Signs Bill With $5.5 Million For Autism
CBS Michigan – Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has signed legislation to take $5.5 million from a state autism fund and redirect it to autism programs at universities and for autism-related family assistance services.

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Research

Editors’ Picks: Our Favorite Stories from 2014
Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative – There was no shortage of big autism news in 2014, and we covered it all. But the biggest stories aren’t necessarily the best. Here are some gems you may have missed over the year.

Living with Pets Linked to Stronger Social Skills in Children with Autism
Medical News Today – A new study suggests that not only having pet dogs in the home, but also living with cats, rabbits and other animals as pets may help children with autism improve their social skills.

Different Gene Mutations May Determine Severity, Type of Autism
U.S. News & World Report –  Different types of gene mutations may play a role in the severity and type of autism, new research suggests. The findings could lead to improved diagnosis and treatments for the disorder, the researchers added.

Maternal Exposure to Air Pollution Linked to Offspring Autism Risk
Medical News Today – A new study adds to the evidence, suggesting that women who live in areas with high levels of fine particulate matter during pregnancy may be at significantly higher risk of having a child with autism.

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Technology

New Samsung App Aims to Aid Social Development for Children with Autism
Gizmag – A new app released by Samsung aims to improve the lives of children suffering from autism by presenting a fun, smartphone or tablet-based developmental aid.

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Education

New Center Aims to Better Aid States on Special Education
Education Week – For decades, states seeking help on special education issues—including management of federal funds, ways to reduce the overidentification of minority students with disabilities, and understanding the latest mandates from Washington—could rely on one of six regional resource centers.

Teacher Wins $150,000 Prize — And Donates It All To Her School
NPR– One thing’s for sure: Nikki Bollerman believes in her school and the kids who go there. How else to explain Bollerman, 26, giving a $150,000 windfall to the Boston area public charter school where she teaches third grade?

Costs for LAUSD Special Ed Services Climb as Parents Feel the Pinch
KPCC – Changing demographics, advances in care and stronger advocacy by families are all combining to drive up the expense of providing for students’ special education needs.

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Teens & Adults

Tech Firm Sees Benefit From Employees On The Spectrum
DisabilityScoop — Pick a date, any date in history, and Joe Cintas can tell you, with only a moment’s pause, what day of the week it was. Diagnosed with autism at age 3, Cintas wields astonishing brain power when it comes to numbers and finding patterns, but, like many with his disability, his talents often have been overlooked in the workplace.

Strutting Toward Happy- Autistic Man’s Dream Comes True
Philly.com – Doug Hoffman had wondered what it would be like to be part of the Mummers Parade. On New Year’s Day, he watched the live coverage of Mummers strutting up Broad Street, and marveled at the pageantry – the joyous music and choreography, comic performances, the elaborate suits with their glitter and sequins.

 

December Digest 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

The legacy of Stella Young, Australian disability advocate and comedian
The Washington Post – Stella Young did not want to inspire you. The Australian comedian and disability activist died at age 32 on Saturday night, according to a family statement to ABC News. Her death was unexpected and painless, the family said.

How Brain Scans Can Diagnose Autism With 97% Accuracy
Time – Right now, diagnosing disorders like autism relies heavily on interviews and behavioral observations. But new research published in PLoS One shows that a much more objective measure—reading a person’s thoughts through an fMRI brain scan—might be able to diagnose autism with close to perfect accuracy.

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Research

Sequencing study clarifies impact of autism mutations
Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative – The study looked at 3,486 people with autism and 2,493 of their unaffected siblings. The researchers used a relatively inexpensive and easy sequencing method to look at genes known to be mutated in at least one person with autism.

Brain-normalizing’ therapy points to new kind of biomarker
Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative – Pivotal response treatment, one of the most effective forms of behavioral therapy for autism, normalizes brain activity in children with the disorder. The findings, published 5 November inBrain Imaging and Behavior, suggest that imaging studies can signal early responses to autism treatments1.

Brains of people with autism show altered growth with age
Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative –  Several brain regions in people with autism become enlarged earlier than usual during childhood and shrink too soon during adulthood, finds a study published 7 November in Autism Research1.

Preeclampsia during pregnancy and child’s autism risk linked
Preclampsia is a condition that appears during pregnancy and is characterized by high blood pressure and protein in the urine. Now, in a new study, researchers have found that children with autism spectrum disorder were more than twice as likely to be born to mothers with preeclampsia during pregnancy, suggesting a link between the two.

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Technology

‘MSSNG’ Project, Partnership Between Autism Speaks and Google for Autism Research, Has Official Launch
ABC News – A research project by Google and Autism Speaks to sequence and study human genomes and seek a breakthrough for autism was officially launched today(Dec 9). News of the partnership between the tech giant and the science and advocacy organization was first announced in June.

The Heartbreak And Joys Of Having A Child With Autism, In Moving 6-Second Videos
Huffington Post – Just before his second birthday, Kimberly Maschi’s son, Jase, was diagnosed with autism. In that moment, as the doctor delivered the news, Maschi says she’d “never felt more alone.”

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Education

Landmark Special Ed. Case Confirming ‘Zero Reject’ Rule Marks 25 Years
Education Week – Around this time 25 years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court made special education history for a case that it chose not to take. In 1989, the high court declined to hear the Rochester, N.H., school district’s appeal of a judicial decision ordering it to provide educational services for a severely disabled child.

Helping Kids with Autism Read, Write and Communicate
Penn State News – The boy is delighted. You can see it in his eyes — his enthusiasm for the task, his pride in his ability. Indeed, Max has good reason to be proud: At age three, he is reading. And at this precise moment, he is reading a story about the Disney character Elsa with his speech-language pathologist, Jessica Caron, a Penn State graduate student in communication sciences and disorders.

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Teens & Adults

Book Review – Online Safety for Children and Teens on the Autism Spectrum by Nicola Lonie.
Autism Daily Newscast – Online Safety for Children and Teens on the Autism Spectrum A Parent’s and Carer’s Guide – I have had the wonderful privilege to read this book by Nicola Lonie and I have to start by saying that I have learned an awful lot about computers, the internet and social media in general, as well as the many ways in which to make the whole world wide web safer for my little boy who has ASD.