March Digest

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National News

Feds Name New National Autism Coordinator
DisabilityScoop – The federal government has a new point person for autism-related research, services and supports. U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar tapped Ann Wagner this week to be the national autism coordinator.

TSA Cares: Screening Travelers on the Autism Spectrum
TSA – Are you or someone you know on the Autism Spectrum and preparing for a flight? Watch and learn what to expect during airport security screening if you or someone you know have communication, social interaction and/or sensory sensitivities.

Parents Beat Clinicians at Detecting Autism Signs in Infants
Spectrum – Parents who have one child with an autism diagnosis can more accurately spot signs of the condition in their younger child at 12 months of age than clinicians can, according to a new study1. The advantage fades by 18 months of age, however.

Review: In ‘Keep the Change,’ Two People With Autism Find Love
The New York Times – This is a landmark motion picture — a movie about people living with autism in which all of the characters who have autism are portrayed by nonprofessional performers who also have it. The problem with thirtysomething David (Brandon Polansky) is that he doesn’t think he has a condition of any kind.


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Research

Autism Symptoms Rarely Isolated, CDC Researchers Say
DisabilityScoop – Nearly all children with autism are dealing with at least one other condition — and often several — ranging from anxiety to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, sleep, behavioral and gastrointestinal issues, a new study suggests.

Kids With Autism Are Less Likely to Be Vaccinated
Time – Doctors say that there is no scientific evidence suggesting a link between vaccines that infants and young children receive in the first few years of life and the risk of autism, but that has not stopped parents from questioning the connection and in some cases, forgoing vaccinations for their kids.

Studies Pinpoint Key Gene in Region Linked to Autism
Spectrum – A single gene accounts for most of the features seen in people missing a segment of chromosome 15 known as 15q13.3, two new studies suggest.

 

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Education

I’m Worried My Special Needs Child Isn’t Prepared for a School Crisis
Chicago Tribune – The shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, started after the fire alarm went off for the second time that day. It’s this detail that I keep thinking about because my son with autism, at his school in Chicago, hates unexpected noises and changes in his routine.

College Students with Autism Have High Rate of Suicidal Thoughts
Yale News – Over the next decade, about 247,000 young adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are expected to enroll in universities, colleges, or technical/vocational schools. Because post-secondary education is expected to present new challenges to individuals with ASD, new scholarship is being conducted to assess how ready post-secondary education is to serve a larger population with ASD.

 

Technology

Tech Center’s 3D Autism Project a National Finalist in Samsung ‘Solve for Tomorrow’ Contest
School News Network – For months now, in a digital technology program at Kent Career Tech Center, nearly 40 high schoolers propel themselves into a real-world project in digital design, animation, graphics and game-making — all to help students with autism.

I Created an Education App for My Brother With Autism
The Mighty – My brother was diagnosed with severe autism when he was 2 years old. I was 10 back then. I didn’t know what autism was, but I realized he needed more help of his family compared to others.

 

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Teens & Adults

What Teenagers Can Teach Scientists About Autism
Spectrum – Although experts have focused mainly on early childhood as the primary window for intervention, adolescence represents a second window. But we know far too little about the changes in brain connectivity, structure and function that support optimal social development.

My Teenage Son has Autism. This is How I’m Preparing Him for Adulthood.
Healthline – As any child ages, different challenges begin to present themselves. And while many parents may focus on trying to save for their kids’ college education, Chadd says parents like him have other concerns: “A child with autism typically may not got to college.”

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February Digest

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National News

Autism Journal Abandons Puzzle Piece
DisabilityScoop – A major autism research journal is moving away from using a puzzle piece as a symbol of the developmental disorder months after a study found the imagery evokes negative connotations.

New Service Helps Find Restaurants Trained to Accommodate Those With Alzheimer’s and Autism
The Autism Site – Dining out can be a challenge for those with Alzheimer’s, Autism, PTSD, and other physical or cognitive conditions. Jen Apazidis, who is a co-owner of Red Raven gastropub in Acton, Massachusetts, came up with a solution.

Autism Studies You May Have Seen Recently and What to Know About Them
The Mighty – Autism is not something that needs to be “cured” or feared, but it is still a major research topic due to little being known about it. Society holds misconceptions about autism, and some of these misconceptions come from research.

The Vaccine-Autism Myth Started 20 Years Ago. Here’s Why It Still Endures Today
MSN – Anti-vaccination headlines—like “HPV vaccine leaves another 17-year-old-girl paralyzed”—populate the Internet. That, and “Mom researches vaccines, discovers vaccination horrors, goes vaccine free,” are just a few examples of the fake science news stories shared this month on Facebook.


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Research

Autism, Bipolar and Schizophrenia Share Genetic Similarities
U.S. News – By examining brain tissue, researchers say they’ve found similarities in certain mental illnesses, including autism and schizophrenia.

Blood, Urine Tests Could Change How Autism Is Diagnosed
DisabilityScoop – New research suggests that blood and urine tests could one day be used to diagnose autism, potentially offering a biomarker to identify children at younger ages.

 

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Education

How Can Students with Autism be Supported Through College?
MedicalXpress – Thirty years ago it was rare for a student with ASD to enter college. But over the past decades, there has been much improvement in the detection and awareness of ASD in children. Now, with the provision of effective treatments, those with average or above average intellectual abilities are enrolling at universities.

What Teenagers Can Teach Scientists About Autism
Spectrum – Although experts have focused mainly on early childhood as the primary window for intervention, adolescence represents a second window. But we know far too little about the changes in brain connectivity, structure and function that support optimal social development.

 

Technology

How I Use Minecraft to Help Kids with Autism
TED – The internet can be an ugly place, but you won’t find bullies or trolls on Stuart Duncan’s Minecraft server, AutCraft.

Improving Autism Therapies by Exploring the Roots of Social Avoidance
Autism Speaks – In my work with children and families affected by autism, I see the behavioral challenges that bring them to our clinic for help – and how these challenges affect their daily lives. Some of the most common involve social interaction.

 

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Teens & Adults

Games Plus Group Therapy May Help Adults with Autism Find Jobs
Spectrum – Adults with autism who undergo a therapy designed to bolster social learning show cognitive benefits that may increase their chances of employment, according to a new study.

The Growing Acceptance of Autism in the Workplace
CBS News – We like to think that good work is always rewarded. But what if some people who could do good work can’t their foot in the door in the first place?

 

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