March Digest 2 of 2

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National News

Agreement Smooths Way for Georgia autism Bill
Online Athens – The impasse over Georgia’s autism coverage bill ended this week. A compromise clears the way for a vote on the measure before the General Assembly session ends next week.

The Twizzler Challenge Might Be the Next Ice Bucket Challenge
Time – After the ALS Ice Bucket challenge raised more than $115 million in mere months, many speculated the viral campaign had forever changed the face of charitable fundraising. The Today Show thinks it may have found a successor.

Temple Grandin: Look at What People Can Do, Not What They Can’t
MIT News – In talks at MIT, noted behavioral expert suggests encouraging skills of people with autism.

Tips for Diagnosing Young Children with autism
Chicago Tribune – Research shows that early intervention is beneficial for children with autism spectrum disorder, but on average children aren’t diagnosed until age 4 or 5.

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Research

Powerful memory system may compensate for autism’s deficits
Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative – Autism has been the focus of intensive research, especially in the past few years. Not surprisingly, most of this research has targeted the impairments found in autism, and their underlying causes.

Autism Doubled In Artificial Reproductive Technology Births: Could Surge In Twins Be To Blame?
Medical Daily – The incidence of autism is twice as high for children conceived via assisted reproductive technology (ART) than it is for children conceived naturally.

Studies Trace Far-Reaching Effects of Single Autism Gene
Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative – Several risk genes for autism regulate the expression of hundreds, even thousands of other genes.

Clues To Autism, Schizophrenia Emerge From Cerebellum Research
NPR – A new understanding of the brain’s cerebellum could lead to new treatments for people with problems caused by some strokes, autism and even schizophrenia.

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Technology

Technology Giving Every Child a Voice
The Columbian – Tablets, communication apps are able to give nonverbal children a voice. Standing in his living room, Bryce Smith told his son, Dylan: “Use your words. Tell me what you want.” The boy’s hands quickly swiped through three screens of an application on his iPad digital tablet to find what he was looking for. The iPad spoke aloud for Dylan. “Toy train!”

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Education

Disability-Related Education Complaints Trending Up
Disability Scoop –Federal education officials are fielding an increasing number of complaints related to disability discrimination in the nation’s schools.

Overhaul Urged to Aid Special Education in California
Education Week – Members of a task force that spent two years studying special education in California used their final report to recommend sweeping changes to the state’s entire pre-K-12 system in hopes of improving achievement for students with disabilities.

Graduation Rates Inch Up For Students With Disabilities
Disability Scoop – An increasing number of students with disabilities are graduating high school, federal officials say, though they still receive diplomas at far lower rates than other students.

 

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Teens & Adults

ABLE Accounts Get Green Light In First State
DisabilityScoop – Three months after federal law established a new way for people with disabilities to save without jeopardizing their government benefits, the legislative hurdles are over in one state.

Is It Autism and If So, What Next? A Guide for Adults
Autism Speaks – As autism awareness has grown dramatically in recent years, many young adults and adults have learned the signs and felt there may be a connection between their feelings and behaviors and the symptoms of autism.

Autism Employment in The Corporate World
All Autism Talk –  ASTEP creates and supports programs that promote long-term employment for individuals with Asperger Syndrome (AS) and similar autism spectrum.

March Digest 1 of 2

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National News

Jean Vanier, Untiring Advocate For People With Disabilities, Wins Templeton Prize
Huffington Post – In 1964, Jean Vanier invited two men with developmental disabilities to share a house with him in Trosly-Breuil, near Paris. It was a life-changing move for the Canadian philosopher that would, over time, radically improve the lives of many others.

Obama Task Force Urges Improved Police Interactions
DisabilityScoop – A presidential task force is encouraging police departments across the nation to be more mindful of their dealings with people who have disabilities.

SD Senate, House Strike Compromise On Autism Bill
NBC – A bill that would mandate that certain insurance plans cover a costly but effective treatment for children with autism is headed to the governor’s desk.

Disney Faulted In Disability Access Complaints
DisabilityScoop – A civil rights commission has found reason to believe that Disney discriminated against theme park visitors with developmental disabilities after altering its disability access policy.

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Research

Autism’s Gender Bias Evident Before Diagnosis
Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative – One of the most consistent findings in autism — and arguably the most perplexing — is that it affects four times as many boys as girls. There’s no shortage of theories to explain this gender imbalance: Autism-related behaviors manifest differently in girls, who also require more mutations than boys do to trigger the disorder.

Gene-Editing Tool Hews Shortcut to Autism Mouse Models
Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative – A widely used gene-editing technique can create large chromosomal defects in mice, slashing the time and effort needed to engineer mouse models of these genetic glitches. The advance was described 4 February in Cell Reports1.

Study Shows Connection Between Key Autism Risk Genes in the Human Brain
Yale News – A new study reveals an important connection between dozens of genes that may contribute to autism, a major step toward understanding how brain development goes awry in some individuals with the disorder.

Landscape of Chemical Tags Paves Way for Autism Studies
Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative – It’s been 12 years since researchers sequenced the human genome, unearthing an estimated 20,000 genes. Now, in a feat that unites findings from 2,800 experiments in more than 100 types of cells, researchers have mapped the human epigenome — the many layers of code that turn these genes on or off.

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Technology

Can an App for Google Glass Offer a Path Out of Autism?
BetaBoston – Can technology help children with autism accomplish what other educational efforts have not? Ned Sahin aims to find out.

Autism, It’s a Hot Focus for Tech
Huffington Post – While frequent attention to autism in the media brings light to the topic, in recent months, there has been a less well-publicized, yet emerging trend: technology companies big and small have been stepping forward to focus their resources on projects to help individuals with autism.

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Education

Disabilities Group to CPS: Make Sure Charter Schools Welcome Special Ed Students
Sun Times – A disabilities-rights group is asking Chicago Public Schools to consider the track records of some charter schools in serving students with special needs before it renews their operating charters this spring.

Overcoming Challenges through Perseverance and the Arts
Stopbullying.gov – At age two, Thomas Ledbetter was diagnosed with Autism and was not expected to be able to speak. Thomas experienced bullying throughout elementary and middle school and decided to channel these negative experiences and feelings into positive graphic design.

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Teens & Adults

Film Premiering At Tribeca Explores Love On The Spectrum
DisabilityScoop – A documentary on romance among adults with autism will premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival alongside films featuring Hollywood veterans Richard Gere, James Franco and Dakota Fanning.

New Housing Concept Emerging For Those With Disabilities
DisabilityScoop – Much of the money has been secured — nearly $14 million to date. The blueprints are being readied. A builder has been hired.