April Digest

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National News

Congress Weighs Expanding ABLE Act
DisabilityScoop – As new accounts allowing people with disabilities to save money without jeopardizing their government benefits become increasingly available, Congress is considering changes to the program.

Landmarks Turn Blue For World Autism Awareness Day
HuffPost – Landmarks around the globe were illuminated with blue lights on Sunday evening in recognition of the ninth annual World Autism Awareness Day.

‘Sesame Street’ Masterfully Tackles the Subject of Autism in First Episode With New Character Julia
Parents – Julia is different, and wonderful, and so much more in her first appearance on Sesame Street.

Quiet Rooms for Autistic Children Popping up at Airports
U.S. News & World Reports – Shannon Airport, which serves the southwestern region of Ireland, opened a “sensory room” for children and adults with neurodevelopmental challenges, including autism.

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Research

Autism, ADHD risk not linked to prenatal exposure to antidepressants
ScienceNews – Taking antidepressants during pregnancy does not increase the risk of autism or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, two new large studies suggest.

Early brain enlargement augurs distinct form of autism
Spectrum – In his 1943 paper first describing autism, Leo Kanner noted that 5 of 11 children with the condition “had relatively large heads1.” Since then, dozens of research studies have documented similar observations.

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Education

Supreme Court FAPE Ruling May Be A Watershed Moment
DisabilityScoop – The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision affirming a high standard for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act mandate that children with disabilities be provided a free appropriate public education is likely to have significant implications for years to come.

My Daughter Has Autism But Our Special-Ed System Isn’t What She Needs
Time – Mae has a red backpack that I ordered shortly before she started school. Her two brothers have similar backpacks, also in bright colors, each embroidered with their initials.

Technology

Coding Autism Teaches People on the Autism Spectrum How to Code
The Mighty – Across the U.S., more and more companies are looking for web developers as well as people who can code. This field of job growth can provide significant opportunities for autistic individuals, Coding Autism, a new training program for people on the autism spectrum, believes.

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Teens & Adults

Speechless w/ Carly Fleischmann Ep 2 with JAMES VAN DER BEEK
YouTube – Watch Carly Fleishmann’s bold interview with James Van Der Beek

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March Digest

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National News

Collapse Of Health Care Bill Leaves Medicaid Unscathed
DisabilityScoop – A Republican proposal to overhaul the nation’s health care system and fundamentally alter Medicaid is off the table — at least for now — and that’s good news for people with disabilities, advocates say.

Autism rates in the United States explained
Spectrum – The prevalence of autism in the United States has risen steadily since researchers first began tracking it in 2000. The rise in the rate has sparked fears of an autism ‘epidemic.’ But experts say the bulk of the increase stems from a growing awareness of autism and changes to the condition’s diagnostic criteria.

FDA Seeks Input On Autism Treatments
DisabilityScoop – Federal regulators are looking for insight from people with autism and their families as they consider the need for new drug treatments to address the developmental disorder.

Autism And The Drive To Explain And Explore
NPR – Some people describe these drives to explore and explain as a key characteristic of our species; others highlight their intimate role in learning. It’s of particular interest, then, to understand the basis for exploration and explanation-seeking, and to investigate how they affect the way we interact with the world.

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Research

Parents’ traits predict autism features in children
Spectrum – Children whose parents have a condition such as autism tend to have severe restricted interests and repetitive behaviors, even if they don’t have a diagnosis themselves, according to a new study.

Oxytocin boosts social skills in autism-related syndrome
Spectrum – One week of treatment with the hormone oxytocin improves social skills and feeding in infants with Prader-Willi syndrome1.

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Education

Meet Julia, the first ‘Sesame Street’ Muppet with autism
Today – A new Muppet named Julia is joining the diverse and inclusive “Sesame Street” crew that has been part of so many childhoods. TODAY’s Jenna Bush Hager reports on how the new character was introduced to foster understanding of autism spectrum disorders, after which Julia joins TODAY live, along with her Muppet friend Abby Cadabby and Sherrie Westin from Sesame Workshop.

Book Review: Autism Spectrum Disorder in the Inclusive Classroom, 2nd Edition
PsychCentral – Brian was the first autistic child I had the opportunity to work with at the therapeutic riding center. Later that same day, I met James. He sat high atop his horse talking incessantly about naval boats as we paraded around the arena together.

Technology

IBM Watson Takes On Autism
Forbes – IBM Watson burst onto the world stage in 2011 when it participated in the trivia-based game show Jeopardy!. For its latest endeavor, Watson is looking to improve the quality of life for individuals with autism and other cognitive disorders.

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Teens & Adults

Learning, as an adult woman, you have autism
CNN – Laura James, 47, is a successful journalist and author. She’s a wife to Tim and mother to four adult children. She likes fashion, cats and writing. She’s eloquent and quick-witted.
She also has autism.

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