April Digest, 1 of 2

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National News

Mississippi 40th State to Enact Autism Insurance Reform
Autism Speaks – Governor Phil Bryant signed an autism insurance bill making Mississippi the 40th state to require autism-related coverage statewide after the legislature voted overwhelmingly to support reform.

Feds Call For Expanded Mental Health Coverage
Disability Scoop – Federal officials want Medicaid to beef up access to mental health care for individuals with disabilities and other beneficiaries.

Microsoft is Making an Effort to Hire People with Autism
Business Insider – Microsoft has a new pilot program to hire people with autism for full-time positions at its Redmond campus, the company announced.

Autism Awareness Day Highlights Hope, Challenges
CBS – Landmarks around the globe are being illuminated in blue lights on Thursday to mark World Autism Awareness Day 2015.

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Research

Genes Dwarf Environment in Autism’s Origins, Study Says
Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative – The genetic makeup of an individual plays much a bigger role than environmental factors in whether he or she develops autism, according to one of the largest twin studies to date.

Brain Imaging May Provide Early Developmental Prognosis
Disability Scoop – The new research demonstrates that even in sleep — and at an age when even some normally developing babies also lack words — a baby’s brain response to spoken language can reveal whether that child is likely to develop speech.

Children With Autism Can Learn to Be Social, Trial shows
The University of Kansas – When Debra Kamps, first began researching how to improve the social and communication skills of children with autism in natural settings like schools in the 1970s, it was hard to find children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) who were in classrooms with their typically developing peers.

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Technology

Using Gaming To Flip The Script On Autism
Tech Crunch – Last year, the two big stories in the news related to autism were about how children with autism are more likely to be “addicted” to video games and the dismal employment rates of adults with autism.

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Education

Common Core: What’s Right for Special Education Students?
CBS News – Nothing lights up 10 year-old Billy Flood’s face brighter than when you talk to him about music. The pint-size Beatles fan loves writing his own songs, and playing the keyboard and bass.

Standard Tests Underestimate Nonverbal Children with Autism
Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative – The findings, published 6 March in Molecular Autism, add to mounting evidence that standard intelligence tests underestimate the abilities of some children with autism.

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Teens & Adults

Autistic Twins Bring Inspiration to Boston Marathon
ESPN – Alex and Jamie began running three times a week and eventually began participating in races. Given the boys’ severe autism, finding coaches who could intuitively understand and work with them was difficult.

Mother-Daughter Duo Launch a Dating Site for Individuals with Autism
People – Despite a proliferation of dating websites and apps like OKCupid and Tinder, one mother and daughter felt the world of online dating was missing something – a community for singles on the autism spectrum.