October Digest – Part 2 of 2

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

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National News

To Siri, With Love
New York Times – Just how bad a mother am I? I wondered, as I watched my 13-year-old son deep in conversation with Siri. Gus has autism, and Siri, Apple’s “intelligent personal assistant” on the iPhone, is currently his BFF. Obsessed with weather formations, Gus had spent the hour parsing the difference between isolated and scattered thunderstorms — an hour in which, thank God, I didn’t have to discuss them. Read full story

Lawmakers Urge Feds To Listen To Autism Self-Advocates
DailyScoop Members of Congress are calling on the Obama administration to take into account the concerns of self-advocates as the federal government works to implement new autism legislation. Read full story

Spotting Autism at 18 Months
US News and World Report – We’re learning more about autism every year – how families can flourish when a child has autism; how important screening can be early in the life of a child who may be at risk; or the ways in which early interventions before age 5 are helpful. Read full story

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Research

Massive Sequencing Studies Reveal Key Autism Genes
Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative – Analyzing the sequences of more than 20,000 people, researchers have unearthed the largest and most robust list of autism genes so far, they reported today in Nature. These 50 ‘high-confidence’ autism genes may help researchers understand the biological underpinnings of autism.  Read full story

Web of Genes May Hold Clues for Autism Treatments
Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative – Five years ago, scientists saw an exciting pattern emerge from sequencing studies of people with autism: Many of the mutations they picked up affect the function of synapses, the junctions between neurons. Read full story

Early Exposure to Air Pollutants Linked to Autism Risk
Medical News Today – A new study provides further evidence for the previously suggested link between environmental exposures and autism; researchers found that children with autism were more likely to be exposed to specific air pollutants in the first 2 years of life and during their mother’s pregnancy than those without the disorder. Read full story

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Education

Meet Mark Mautone, 2014-2015 NJ Teacher of the Year
New Jersey Education Association – Mark Mautone, a teacher of preschool students with autism at Wallace Elementary School in Hoboken, has been selected the 2014-2015 New Jersey Teacher of the Year. Read full story

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Teens & Adults

Teen with Autism, Twin Sister Crowned Homecoming King and Queen
Fox Carolina – A teenager with autism and his fraternal twin sister share a bond that’s inspired their school, and classmates recently gave them an unexpected memory to last a lifetime. Robby Cocke was recently crowned homecoming king, while his sister, Paulie, was crowned homecoming queen. Read full story

Berkeley Program Helps Those on Autism Spectrum to Transition After High School
San Jose Mercury NewsMemo Hernandez is like most teens. Excited about the future, he dreams of moving out of his parents’ house, getting a job and having his own life.  Those goals aren’t a given for the 17-year-old Hayward teen, who has Asperger’s syndrome and attention deficit disorder, ADHD. Read full story