December Digest 2 of 2

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


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.



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.



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.



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.


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 – 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.