Imagine this: an issue so big that when the governor signs a much-anticipated bill into law so many parents and families want to view the historic event that the signing has to take place at Fenway Park in Boston, instead of the State House, to accommodate the crowd.
Well, that’s exactly what happened on August 3, 2010 when Gov. Deval Patrick signed House Bill 4935 (an Act Relative to Insurance Coverage for Autism Spectrum Disorder, or ARICA) into law. As the crowd cheered, Massachusetts, finally having recognized the unfair and unreasonable burden imposed on families with children diagnosed with autism, became the 23rd state to pass such legislation.
Effective Jan. 1, 2011, private health-insurance plans, employees and retirees under the state plan, hospital service plans, and HMOs are now required to provide coverage of evidence-based, medically necessary autism therapies for diagnosed persons of all ages.
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Thursday, August 25, 2011
Autism has received a lot of national media attention in recent years, largely because the number of children diagnosed has risen sharply. Whether this is due to better diagnostic testing or some yet undiscovered genetic or environmental factor is still to be determined. Either way, its increased prevalence has made it necessary for educators and parents alike to work hard and learn more about autism, from spotting the early signs to the best ways autistic children can learn and thrive. Keeping up with the latest news and information can be a full time job, but social media may prove one fairly effortless way to do so.
We’ve collected 60 Twitter feeds here that will help you to keep up with all the latest news on autism, from charities working to help diagnosed individuals to new discoveries by scientists and researchers — even some support and inspiration from parents raising afflicted children. No matter what drives your interest in autism, you’re bound to find some tweets among these feeds that will help you better understand and work with those who have the condition.
These feeds will ensure you always know the latest in autism research and news.
MORE HERE. Click to see #9 - #60 @ OnlineColleges.Net
- @theautismnews: This feed is a great follow if you want easy access to a wide range of news articles on autism and autism spectrum disorders.
- @autism_research: Check out this Twitter feed to find a great collection of articles that may be of interest to parents and professionals in the autism field.
- @autismbulletin: Make sure you stay in the loop when it comes to autism news by reading this regularly updated feed.
- @TheCoffeeKlatch: Geared towards parents, this feed is an excellent resource for practical articles on living with autism and the latest research being done.
- @asteens: Find some great posts about autism news and more, specifically dealing with the disorder’s impact on teens, through this organization’s feed.
- @autismtalk: Host of Autism Talk Radio, Steven Prussack, keeps this feed loaded with links to his show’s latest recordings.
- @anne_barbano: Anne Barbano hosts a radio show that focuses on autism and other disabilities. Check out her latest topics of discussion here.
- @thinkingautism: Here you’ll find links to some amazingly informative essays written by parents, professionals and those with autism.
Thursday, August 18, 2011
The special-needs teacher ambles into the classroom to meet another new student. She's walked to the ramp where the boy waits countless times before. Each time, she's there to make a fresh connection with someone for whom connections don't always come easily.
The teacher is a 20-year-old quarter horse named Scarlet. The student is a 5-year-old boy, Paul, who has autism. He's my son.
Paul, who loves hugs and kisses, is learning to read and can count to 100. He adores animals, especially horses. Any time he goes to a petting zoo, he lights up just being near them.
But Paul also compulsively flaps his hands or wiggles his fingers. Standing still is tough for him; he'd rather jump in place. He speaks at a 3-year-old's level and often repeats a question rather than answer it. He has poor fine-motor skills. He watches other children but doesn't join them. When he does, it's with roughhousing that's often too rough — he doesn't know another way to play. Paul doesn't have friends.
For me, the worry nearly every mother experiences about her child being accepted and loved is magnified tenfold. In searching for something Paul could feel a part of, I discovered a group that brings horses and people with disabilities together. I found hope in SIRE, a nonprofit that operates three therapeutic equestrian centers for children and adults in greater Houston.
For the past seven years, a red-dirt corral at Sienna Stables near Missouri City has served as Scarlet's classroom. The 15-hands-tall chestnut is one of dozens of horses that work with SIRE, which offers riding instruction to both the mentally and physically disabled.
"She really does care about her riders. She knows who's on her back," says Joelle Devlin, who has been with SIRE for 18 years. "She turns her ears back to check on her rider. … She stops if her rider gets off balance."
Balance is an important element of therapeutic riding, or hippotherapy. Devlin explains that the side-to-side motion of a horse's gait promotes body awareness and addresses vestibular, or inner ear, issues. She touts the improved muscle tone and concentration that come with therapeutic riding. She describes how perfect alignment and posture on horseback stimulate the entire central nervous system, which in turn promotes "motor planning" in the brain. In my son's autistic brain.
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Monday, August 8, 2011
Many children with autism take the medication Abilify (aripiprazole) to help control irritability and other symptoms associated with autism. Although prior research has shown that Abilify is generally effective for treating irritability, the drug lacked sufficient research focused on its long-term safety and tolerability. A recent 52-week clinical trial attempted to determine the long term side effects of aripiprazole. The findings were published in an article titled Safety and Tolerability of Aripiprazole for Irritability in Pediatric Patients with Autistic Disorder: a 52-Week, Open-Label, Multicenter Study.
Thursday, August 4, 2011
Advocates of Treating Autism with Cannabis Disavow "Partnership" with UC Irvine - Orange County News - Navel Gazing
A Denver biotech company and Los Angeles nonprofit foundation dedicated to the treatment of autism are disavowing their previously announced partnership with UC Irvine.
The clarification comes more into focus when you know the players. The firm, Cannabis Science, develops pharmaceutical products from marijuana plants. The Unconventional Foundation for Autism (UF4A) promotes cannabis-based medical research and clinical trials for those afflicted with the disorder.
A March 20 Cannabis Science announcement about its partnering with UF4A included this line:
Psychiatry.uci.edu Dr. Rebecca Hedrick
"To date, we have already partnered with the University of California Irvine Medical Center to oversee our cannabis-based Autism research. Included in this group of advisors is the Dean of Medicine at UCI, and child psychiatrist Dr. Rebecca Hedrick, M.D."
The use of cannabis to treat autism is portrayed as the subject of a presentation Hedrick made earlier this year, according to the UF4A website.
However, this week, Cannabis Science released the following:Cannabis Science wishes to clarify that the partnership is only a partnership with UF4A. Cannabis Science has no relationship or affiliation with the University of California, Irvine, the Dean of the UCI School of Medicine, or any of its faculty ("UCI"). UF4A has no affiliation with UC Irvine, though UC Irvine psychiatrist treats the autistic son of UF4A founder, Mieko Hester-Perez. Neither UCI nor Dr. Hedrick is conducting research into medical marijuana and autism.More http://blogs.ocweekly.com/navelgazing/2011/08/cannabis_science_uf4a_uc_irvin.php
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
The Importance of Early Intervention
According to recent findings, millions of children in the U.S. have social-emotional, cognitive and developmental disorders. The prevalence of autism spectrum disorders, in particular, has grown to one in every 91 American children, according to Autism Speaks, the nation’s largest autism science and advocacy organization.
Left unidentified and untreated, these disorders can interfere with children’s ability to succeed in school and with their ability to build successful relationships as they age. Although pediatricians and other groups, including the National Institutes of Health, have called for broad-spectrum screening for these disorders in children as young as 6 months, no real progress has been made, leaving most of the work in the hands of educators and parents. A recent study by the National Institute on Mental Health revealed that no one group is consistently screening kids, be it teachers or pediatricians.http://sdjewishjournal.com/site/2421/early-intervention-is-best/