December Digest

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National News

In San Bernardino, The Disabled Are Left Without Their ‘Extended Family’
NPR – The investigation into Wednesday’s mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif., is impacting the lives of tens of thousands of people with developmental disabilities.

Autism Speaks Welcomes Three New Board Members
Autism Speaks – Autism Speaks announced the election of three new members of its Board. They are: Valerie Paradiz, PhD, Jamie T. Richardson, and Stephen Shore, Ed.D.

Mall Santa Goes Extra Mile for Boy with Autism: ‘They just bonded and played’
Today – Sitting on Santa’s lap can be a horrifying experience for many children, but for someone with autism, it can be excruciating. The crowds, the lines, the lights, the noise.

Tricare to Change Autism Therapy Reimbursement Rates
MilitaryTimes – Tricare is changing its autism therapy reimbursement rates to better align them with commercial insurance rates and Medicaid, Defense Department officials said Tuesday.

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Research

Top 10 Autism Research Stories of 2015
Autism Speaks – Our understanding of autism deepened and broadened in 2015, with scientific publications on an unprecedented number of advances and discoveries.

Maternal Exposure to Anti-Depressant SSRIs Linked to Autism in Children
The Washington Post – A new study provides some of the strongest evidence yet that using an antidepressant like Prozac, Paxil or Zoloft during the final two trimesters of pregnancy may be linked to a higher risk of autism spectrum disorder for the child, but researchers said the results should be interpreted with caution.

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Technology

Experts Pick the 21 Best Apps for Autism
EschoolNews – Recently, we asked the experts at Common Sense Graphite, a national nonprofit, to curate their best apps for working with students on the autism spectrum. Here is what they came up with:

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Education

2015: A Year of ABLE Momentum
Autism Speaks – One year ago this month, advocates across the country celebrated a victory eight years in the making when President Obama signed the Stephen Beck, Jr., Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act of 2014. The ABLE Act is built on the foundation of the current 529 education savings plans that help families save for college.

Pediatricians Told To Bone Up On IDEA
DisabilityScoop – In a clinical report published this month in the journal Pediatrics, the American Academy of Pediatrics says that doctors have a significant role to play in ensuring that children with disabilities get the services they need from schools.

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Teens & Adults

PBS To Air Autism Documentary
DisabilityScoop – A documentary focusing on how people with autism experience love and manage romantic relationships is set to appear on PBS. “Autism in Love” will air on the network’s “Independent Lens” series in January.

November Digest, 2 of 2

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National News

Restaurant ‘Fires’ Customer Who Berated Their Autistic Delivery Driver
Tech Times – An Anchorage restaurant rallies behind its autistic worker and blacklists a customer who used foul language and called him names.

Autism Society Responds to CDC Parent Survey Results
Autism Society – The National Center for Health Statistics, a division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), released the results of a new parent survey announcing an autism prevalence rate of 1 in 45.

Girl Tells Tearful Mom Why She Thought Having Autism Made Her ‘Bad’
 The Mighty – When 7-year-old Cadence, who has autism, was at school one day, she sat under her teacher’s desk and wrote a note to her mother Angela.

Autism Advocates Burn Over State Plan
California Healthline – State officials last week released a draft of criteria for Medi-Cal beneficiaries to get autism therapy and children’s advocates called the proposed requirements onerous and a barrier to accessing care.

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Research

Autism’s Microbiome
The Atlantic – Researchers believe that gut bacteria may be to blame for some of the condition’s physical and emotional symptoms.

Autism BrainNet & NIH NeuroBioBank Partner to Advance Autism Research
Simons Foundation – Simons Foundation and Autism Speaks have entered into an agreement with the National Institutes of Health to align two of the world’s largest repositories of donated postmortem brain tissue for medical research.

Study Highlights Health Risks For Those With Autism
DisabilityScoop – Researchers are warning that more attention needs to be paid to the overall health of adults with autism, with a new study finding them at greater risk for a host of maladies.

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Technology

Not Every Autistic Person Wants To Work In Tech
PsychCentral – There’s a misconception that everybody with Asperger’s is into computers. Which isn’t true. I can see where it comes from though.

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Education

Google Pledges Funds For Special Education
DisabilityScoop – Google is sharing the wealth this holiday season, with a plan to donate millions of dollars to benefit students in special education at schools across the country.

Florida Teacher Starts Each Day Complimenting Students One by One
ABC – In a video posted to Facebook that’s been shared more than 8,000 times since it was posted on Sunday, Ulmer takes the time to pay several compliments to each and every one of the eight students in his special education classroom at Mainspring Academy in Jacksonville, Florida.

Feds: IEPs Should Align With Grade-Level Standards
DisabilityScoop – Beyond offering a free appropriate public education, individualized education programs for students with disabilities should meet grade-level requirements, federal education officials say.

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Teens & Adults

Kiley Lyall First Runner with Autism Voted Women’s Running Cover Girl
People – Kiley Lyall is leading the pack as the first runner with autism to land the cover of Women’s Running magazine.

Good Neighbors: Teen With Autism Knits for Charity
NBC – It’s not everyday you find a teenage boy who likes to knit. It’s a passion for Tristan Smith-Carlos, 17 of Hamburg, who lives with autism. He donates nearly everything he knits to charity.