RSS NEWS FEED [CTRL-F to "search"]

includes feeds from:, MilitaryHomefront, DisabilityScoop,
PRNewswire, AUCD, UCP, The ARC, Autism Speaks
articles to display: 20 | 40 | 60 | all
April 22, 2014

UN: People With Disabilities Free To Make Own Decisions - DisabiltyScoop
People with even the most severe disabilities have the right to make their own decisions, no matter if their choices are risky or ultimately turn out to be mistakes, a U.N. panel says.

Telemedicine Shows Promise For ABA Therapy - DisabiltyScoop
Using web-based technology to teach parents the strategies of applied behavior analysis could offer big gains for kids with autism, new research suggests.

Debate Surrounds Condition That Mimics Psychiatric Disorders - DisabiltyScoop
Experts say that treatable infections may be behind a growing number of children developing symptoms of psychological disorders seemingly overnight, but the idea remains controversial. Offers US Doctors Reputation Management Resources, As Well As a Platform for Getting Private Practices Noticed - PRNewswire
LAS VEGAS, April 22, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Doctor For Cash, LLC, a company focused on the cash-based medical practices of America, has recently released the web site. This new net destination serves as a kind of all-in-one toolbox for ambitious medical professionals, as...

Union MedTech and Rex Bionics to Exhibit at Master Investor 2014 Conference - PRNewswire

LONDON, April 22, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- REX hands-free exoskeleton technology to be showcased at London conference  Union MedTech Plc, a company focused on medical technology, will be exhibiting at the Master Investor 2014 conference on Saturday, 26 April 2014 at the Business Design...

TRICARE Plans Major Revamp of ABA Services For Military Kids - Autism Speaks - Advocasy

Three different programs serving kids with autism will be rolled into one

April 22, 2014

WASHINGTON, DC (April22, 2014) -- In a report to Congress,TRICARE announced it will be creating a new Autism Care Demonstration startingJuly 25 that willconsolidate all ABA programs into one uniform benefit for TRICARE beneficiaries with autism.

The new program will launch with the expiration of the current Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Pilot for non-active duty family members that has been problematic since its launch last year and has served very few children.

TRICARE intends to transition all beneficiaries receiving ABA services to the new demonstration by the end of 2014.TRICARE reports the new demonstration will extend through December 31, 2016 while the Department of Defense considers coverage of ABA as medical care.

Policy specifics of the new Autism Care Demonstration were not provided in TRICARE's report.Autism Speaks will monitor the release of the program details and encourage TRICARE to publish its proposed policies and seek public input into the process.

"Transparency is important here," said Karen Driscoll, Autism Speaks associate director of federal government affairs and military relations. "Military families need to be able to plan for their healthcare decisions.Engaging with families, service providers, and medical experts is also important to ensure final policies meet the needs of military children in a manner consistent with best practices."

Autism Speaks continues to work with Congressional champions to require ABA coverage for all military children with developmental disabilities, such as Down syndrome,and at medically prescribed levels.Earlier this month, Autism Speaks hosted Congressional briefings for the House and the Senate to highlight the need for the legislation.

Links to the complete TRICARE Reports to Congress can be found HERE and HERE.

April 21, 2014

Group Homes' Decision To Bar Newlyweds From Cohabiting Upheld - DisabiltyScoop
A federal judge has thrown out a discrimination claim from a married couple with intellectual disabilities who were denied the opportunity to live together in the same group home.

Nebraska Becomes 36th State To Require Autism Coverage - Autism Speaks - Advocasy

Gov. Heineman signs bill requiring certain insurers to cover diagnosis, treatment

April 21, 2014

LINCOLN (April 21, 2014) -- Nebraska became the 36th state to enact autism insurance reform today when Gov. Dave Heineman signed legislation requiring certain insurers to coverthe diagnosis and treatment of autism up to age 20. The new law, which takes effect with new health policies issued for 2015, requires up to 25 hours a week of behavioral health treatment, including applied behavior analysis (ABA).

Heineman said he was signingthe bill, LB.254, "on behalf of families who meet the challenges of autism every day.” The bill was sponsored bySen. Colby Coash of Lincoln, who has worked for years withfamilies and autism advocacy groups, such as Autism Speaks, in winning autism insurance reform.

“I care about this issue because I have seen the impact that this treatment can have on the future of a child with autism,” saidCoash. “Positive things can happen when they receive life-changing treatment. These families are strong willed and they never gave up on the bill, so I wouldn't either. Today is a special day.”

“This is a great day for Autism families in Nebraska,” said Vicki Depenbusch, Autism Speaks' advocacy chair for Nebraska. “It gives us hope that our children will be the best citizens that they can be.”

Depenbusch's son,Jacob, who has autism, and Heineman (pictured right with Vicki Depenbusch and Coash)metat a parent teacher conferencein 2010. The two have communicated regularly and attended events together over the last four years. Jacob calls himself the “Governor's Buddy.”

The new law requires coverage for speech, occupational and physical therapy, as well as pharmaceutical care for the treatment of autism. No visit or dollars are imposed on those services.

Behavioral health treatment, however, was cappedat25 hours per week andinsurers will be ableto reviewtreatment plans every six months.Certain state-regulated group and individual health policies, as well as state employees, will be covered.

In addition to Nebraska, Utah has enacted autism insurance reform in 2014 and Kansas expanded its 2010 law, which was limited to state employees, tocover its kids with autism. Similar bills remain active in Hawai'i and North Carolina, and legislation that would raise Maine's age cap from 5 to 10 was just sent to the Governor.

Marijuana Rated Significantly More Effective in Treating Fibromyalgia Symptoms than FDA-Approved Drugs, Global Survey Finds - PRNewswire

GOLDEN, Colo., April 21, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- A survey of 1,339 people with fibromyalgia conducted by The National Pain Foundation and, revealed that those who have used marijuana to treat their symptoms find it significantly more effective than any of the three...

NIH Seeking Public Comment On DSM Autism Update - DisabiltyScoop
Nearly a year after new diagnostic criteria for autism took effect, the National Institutes of Health is asking everyone from families to health experts to weigh in on the changes.

2013 IACC Summary of Advances in Autism Spectrum Disorder Research Now Available - AUCD
The Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) and the Office of Autism Research Coordination are pleased to announce the release of the 2013 IACC Summary of Advances in Autism Spectrum Disorder Research in conjunction with the celebration of National Autism Awareness Month. The 2013 IACC Summary of Advances is a collection of brief summaries of studies selected by the IACC as the twenty most significant biomedical and services research advances in the field of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) research in 2013.
April 18, 2014

Public Comments Disclose Flaws In Medicare Program That Compromise Quality Of Care For Patients - PRNewswire
WASHINGTON, April 18, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- An array of clinicians and advocates for Medicare patients, as well as home medical equipment providers, manufacturers, and trade groups, sharply oppose a proposal by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to expand the...

Medicare Patients Face Danger Going To Doctors' Offices Says AAHomecare - PRNewswire
WASHINGTON, April 18, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Dorena Hyatt of Meyersdale, Pa., has been disabled since the age of 12.  "My disability affected my legs and I am no longer able to walk," said Hyatt. Now 65 years old, she lives alone and maintains her independence by using a...

Home Videos May Allow For Quicker Autism Diagnosis - DisabiltyScoop
Using YouTube videos, researchers say they've identified a new approach to autism screening that could significantly speed up the path to diagnosis.

Court: Mom Acted Wrongly In Arranging Son's Vasectomy - DisabiltyScoop
In a case centering on the rights of people with intellectual disabilities, a court has ruled that an Iowa mother overstepped when she arranged a vasectomy for her son with special needs.

Request for Information (RFI): Impact of DSM-5 Changes to Diagnostic Criteria for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) on Research and Services - AUCD
NIH released a Request for Information (RFI) to seek input from the scientific community, health professionals, self-advocates, family members, and other community stakeholders on the biomedical and services research implications of recent changes to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) diagnostic criteria for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).

Boeing Hit With Class Action Suit Over ABA Denials - Autism Speaks - Advocasy

Washington employees accuse aerospace giant of Mental Health Parity violations

April 18, 2014

(APRIL 20, 2014) --Aerospace giant Boeinghas been hit with a complaint in federal court by its Washington state employees who claim the company's denial of insurance coverage of applied behavior analysis (ABA) for their children withautism violates thefederal Mental Health Parity Act. Filed by two families whose sons have autism, "C.S." and "D.Z.",the suit seeks certification as a class action on behalf of Boeing's 81,000 Washington-based employees.

Listed #30 on the Fortune 500 list as the nation's largest aerospace and defense firm, Boeing reported earning $3.9 billion in profits last year on $81.7 billion in revenues. Headquartered in Chicago, half of Boeing's employees are based in Washington. The suit was filed in U.S. Dstrict Court in Seattle.

The case has added significance because Boeing self-insures its employee health plan and therefore isregulated under federal ERISA lawwhich is immune from state autism insurance reform laws, such asthe law in its headquarters state of Illinois. The suit was filed bySeattle attorneys Ele Hamburger and Richard Spoonemore who have been winning a series of similar federal class action suits in Washington over ABA denials. The complaint alleges Boeing's denial of ABA benefits violates the 2008 Wellstone Domenici Mental HealthParity and Addiction Equity Act as well as its fiduciary responsibilities under ERISA.

Boeingdoes not expressly exclude ABA coverage in its health plan, but ratherhas its claims administrators exclude all coverage of ABA therapy through internal policies and restricted provider networks, the complaint alleges.

Boeing's non-mental health claims administrator, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois (BCBSIL), excludedABA therapy coverage.When a Boeingemployeeoverturned thedenial,according to the complaint,Boeingdirected BCBSIL to classify ABA therapy as a mental health service to be administered by Value Options, which administers Boeing's mentalhealthclaims.

Boeing directed Value Options to limit its provider network in Washington state to exclude licensed ABA agencies, the plaintiffs assert.

"The effect of Boeing/Value Option's failure to include in its network any licensed ABA agencies in Washington state is the same as a blanket exclusion," according to the complaint."It is impossible for plaintiffs and the proposed class to obtain coverage for the ABA therapy services they need because Boeing will not contract with any providers who can deliver it."

The Mental Health ParityActdoesnotrequire Boeing to cover mental health services; rather it requires employers if they do choose to provide mental health coverage -- as the Boeing plan does-- to cover the benefits“at parity” with medical benefits.ERISA requires Boeing to abide by the Mental Health Parity Act and other regulation in administering its plan.

"By applying a blanket, hidden exclusion of ABA therapy to treat (autism), in violation of the Parity Act and its regulations, Boeing is systemically and uniformly failing to properly administer its Plan," according to the complaint. "It is alsobreaching its fiduciary duties to plaintiffs and class members, who have not received the benefits to which they are entitled."

The suit seeks a court order stopping Boeing from denying ABA coverage in its health plan and requiring reimbursement for past claims

This lawsuit seeks remedies for Boeing's breach of fiduciary duty under ERISA and its failure to properly administer the terms of Plan, as modified by the Parity Act and its implementing regulations. It further seeks to recover the benefits that have been wrongfully denied to plaintiffs and the class they seek to represent. It also seeks a court order declaring Boeing's exclusion of coverage for ABA therapy to treat ASD through a restricted network of providers void and unenforceable. The lawsuit further seeks an injunction to prevent any future or ongoing efforts by Boeing to use and enforce any blanket exclusions of ABA therapy to treat ASD.

The class consists of all individuals who have been, are, or will be Washington state participants or beneficiaries under The Boeing Master Welfare Plan that have been, are or will be in effect or renewed

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Kaelan Richards: 202-973-7175, UCP RELEASES ANNUAL REPORT ON STATES SERVING AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES  8th annual Case for Inclusion report ranks, compares states on Medicaid outcomes Washington, D.C. (April 17, 2014) – United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) …
Read More
April 17, 2014

SpecialNeedsWare launches AutisMate, an award-winning special needs learning platform, for Android - PRNewswire
NEW YORK, April 17, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- SpecialNeedsWare will release AutisMate, a comprehensive life and learning platform for individuals with special needs, on Android-powered tablets and smart phones.  AutisMate focuses on simultaneously improving learning, self-management...

United Cerebral Palsy Honors Meijer with Employer of the Year Award - PRNewswire
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., April 17, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Recognizing its dedication to the employment of persons with disabilities, United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) has named Meijer "Employer of the Year." The 2014 Award for Excellence, announced at UCP's Annual Conference in Nashville, Tenn.,...

California Cracks Down On Autism Insurance Denials - Autism Speaks - Advocasy

Denials followed by delays prompts new regulatory enforcement

April 17, 2014

(April 17, 2014) -- The California Department of Insurance has won the go-ahead to enforce toughnewrequirements to stop private insurers from denying and delayingcoverage forbehavioral health treatments, such as applied behavior analysis (ABA), for autism.

The department based the new regulations on its interpretation of the state's 1999 Mental Health Parity Actand won approval Wednesday from the Office of Administrative Lawto begin enforcement. California is one of 35 states to require certain commercial insurers to cover behavioral health and other treatments for autism by law, yet still encounters widespread non-compliance by the industry.

"Approval of the mental health parity regulation will help end improper insurer delays and denials of medically necessary treatments for autistic individuals," said Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. "This regulation provides clear guidance to the industry, stakeholders and consumers on the requirements of the Mental Health Parity Act from 1999."

The department proposed the newregulations when it found insurers were able to delay or deny medically necessary treatment for individuals with autism as required under California's 2011 auitism insurance reform law. The regulations further define the circumstances in which insurers must cover behavioral health treatment by specifically applying the requirements under the Mental Health Parity Act.

Since 2009, the Insurance Departmenthas referred23 cases related to denials of behavioral health and other autism treatment to external clinicians for Independent medical review. Of those, 19were overturned.

In another 40 cases that have been closed, the individual delays in obtaining treatment averaged nearly half a year; delays currently average over 10 months, or almost a year, for those cases which are still open. The cumulativedelays on open and closed casestotal 12,864 days, or 35.2 years.

"These lengthy delays all involve treatment that experts agree is most effective when provided in early childhood," the department argued in its regulatory proposal. "The benefits anticipated from the proposed regulation include significantly lessening or eliminating these delays and denials of treatment and substantially improving treatment efficacy and outcomes."

US Drug Watchdog Stresses the Urgency for DePuy Pinnacle All-Metal Hip Implant Recipients to Ask About a Specific Blood Test that Can Detect Premature Failure - PRNewswire

WASHINGTON, April 17, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The US Drug Watchdog says, "We want every US recipient of an all-metal hip implant to call us for the code for a specific blood test that has been designed to measure the levels of cobalt, or chromium levels in a recipients blood stream. If...

Beneficios del Gobierno para personas con discapacidades - PRNewswire
WASHINGTON, 17 de abril de 2014 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ -- Las discapacidades afectan las actividades diarias de una de cada cinco personas en Estados Unidos, según informan los Centros para el Control y la Prevención de Enfermedades (CDC, por su sigla en...

Government Benefits for People with Disabilities - PRNewswire
WASHINGTON, April 17, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in five people are affected by disabilities. Some of those disabilities happen at birth, while others are the result of injury, illness, or aging. Despite the...

Ranking Names Best States For Disability Services - DisabiltyScoop
An annual ranking of states offering the best services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities reveals a familiar but evolving landscape.
April 16, 2014

Special Olympics Teaches Victory Living Programs Clients Healthy Diet and Exercise Habits - PRNewswire

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., April 16, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Teaching healthy diet and exercise habits to adults with special needs can be more challenging than with most groups of people, but for Karlyn Emile it's also more...

Walk to Cure Arthritis Comes to San Francisco - PRNewswire

SAN FRANCISCO, April 16, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Help find a cure by participating in and fundraising for the 2014 Walk to Cure Arthritis on May 17 at the Golden Gate Park Music Concourse in San Francisco. Formerly Arthritis Walk, Walk to Cure Arthritis is the Arthritis Foundation's...

Feds Impose Stiffer ADA Penalties - DisabiltyScoop
For the first time in more than a decade, the fines that the federal government can impose for violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act are set to rise.

UCEDD Directors Retreat and TA Institute Meeting Materials Available - AUCD
This meeting provided an opportunity for UCEDD leaders to network, meet with their federal project officers, and learn of new initiatives, national trends, and other information vital to the administration of the UCEDD programs.

LEND Directors Meeting Materials Available - AUCD
This meeting was held in Washington, DC, in conjunction with the Disability Policy Seminar. Significant time was spent on discussing the following topics: training opportunities in transition, trainee long-term follow up surveys, increased participation of self-advocacy trainees, trainee diversity efforts, examining LEND programs, the new MCH Workforce Development Center, LEND leadership training, AUCD Network Strategic Planning, the need to reauthorize the Combating Autism Act, and regional group work.

Royal Walker, JD, Appointed to the National Council on Disability - AUCD
President Obama has appointed Royal Walker, JD - Executive Director of the Mississippi University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD), the Institute for Disability Studies at the University of Southern Mississippi - to the National Council on Disability. Royal is a past AUCD President and has served on the board of directors of the American Task Force for the Homeless, the Governor's Interagency Coordinating Council for Children with Special Needs, the Mississippi Council on Developmental Disabilities, and the Mississippi March of Dimes. AUCD congratulates Royal Walker on the appointment.

Six-Year Quest For Kansas Autism Insurance Reform Ends in Victory - Autism Speaks - Advocasy

Gov. Brownback enacts law making Kansas 10th state to expand coverage

April 16, 2014

OVERLAND PARK, KS(April 16, 2014) -- Governor Sam Brownback today signed legislation expanding autism insurance coverage beyond the state employee health benefit program, culminating a six-year campaign to enact more meaningful reform in Kansas. Enactment of the law also made Kansas the 10th state to amend its original autism insurance law to make it stronger.

“Autism Speaks applauds Governor Brownback's support of the autism community," said Mike Wasmer, a Kansas resident who serves as Autism Speaks' director of state government affairs. "This bill is an important step toward providingaccess to medically necessary treatment for allindividuals with autism in Kansas.”

Sponsored by Rep. John Rubin (R-Shawnee), the new law,HB.2744, will require state-regulated large group and "grandfathered" small group individual health plans to cover medically necessary treatments, including applied behavior analysis (ABA), for autism for children up to age 12.

The bill as initially proposed by the House Insurance Committee would have limited ABA coverage to 10 hours per week, but was raised after vigorous opposition from the state's autism community. As enacted, the new law allows for 25 hours per week of ABA for four years from the time of diagnosis and then reduces to 10 hours per week.

The new law is spearate from the state's 2010 autism insurance reform law which applies only to state employees. The 2010 legislation when introduced would have covered the private market, but was amended into a pilot program limited to state employees to gauge the impact on health care costs. When the 2010 law was enacted, Wasmer, then president of the Kansas Coalition for Autism Legislation (KCAL), said, "This is not the end, but rather the start of getting autism treatment to all in need in the state of Kansas."

After being judged a success, the program was made permanent for state employees, but Kansas lawmakers continued to resist efforts to expand the coverage to the private market. In 2012, efforts to force a bill out of a committee fell one vote shy of success.

After Rubin introduced a bill this year that would have provided broader coverage, the insurance lobby filed a second version with much more restrictive terms and would have cut back existing benefits for state workers. After heated opposition from the state's autism community, HB.2744 was introduced as a compromise measure.

Wasmer said the new law marks a step forward, but that efforts will continue to provide the best coverage for the most children. The existing state employee autism benefit will continue unaffected by the new law.

April 15, 2014

Study Finds Inpatient Autism Treatment On The Rise - DisabiltyScoop
The number of children with autism who are being hospitalized -- often due to mental health concerns -- is on the rise, particularly among teens with the developmental disorder.

Congress To Weigh Police Interactions With Disability Community - DisabiltyScoop
The mother of a man with Down syndrome whose death at the hands of law enforcement last year made national news will testify before a U.S. Senate panel.

AUCD Unleashed: The Power of Engagement - AUCD
The 2014 AUCD Conference theme reflects our goal of achieving an elevated level of engagement with our respective and collective communities, networks, and well beyond in order to better inform, enhance, and enrich the work we all do to improve the lives of people with disabilities and their families. Ink your calendars, get your submissions in, and make travel plans accordingly to participate in this engaging event that will serve in keeping our work relevant and our vision strong.

NxStage Patient Enjoys Travel and Active Lifestyle - PRNewswire

LAWRENCE, Mass., April 15, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- NxStage Medical Inc., (NASDAQ: NXTM), a leading manufacturer of innovative home dialysis products, is proud to share current NxStage patient Henning's story of resilience and strength. For Henning, who has spent his life pursuing active...

April 14, 2014

Walk to Cure Arthritis Comes to Philadelphia, Pa. - PRNewswire

PHILADELPHIA, April 14, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Help find a cure by participating in and fundraising for the 2014 Walk to Cure Arthritis on May 17 at FDR Park located at 20 Pattison Avenue in Philadelphia. Formerly Arthritis Walk, Walk to Cure Arthritis is the Arthritis Foundation's...

International Caregivers Making A Difference In The Lives of Families Raising Children With Autism - PRNewswire

SAN CLEMENTE, Calif., April 14, 2014 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- April is Autism Awareness Month. Finding and securing affordable childcare for autistic children is one of the biggest challenges parents of these children face. According to the CDC, 1 in 68 children is on the autism spectrum...

Judge Orders Man To Hold ‘I Am A Bully' Sign - DisabiltyScoop
An Ohio man accused of harassing his neighbor and her children with developmental disabilities stood at a busy street corner this weekend with a sign proclaiming "I am a bully."

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Kaelan Richards: 202-973-7175, UCP ANNOUNCES 2014 AWARDS FOR EXCELLENCE Annual awards honor exceptional people, programs and partnerships across the UCP affiliate network Washington, D.C. (April 14, 2014) – United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) is honored to announce the …
Read More

Accessible Frank Lloyd Wright House To Make Public Debut - DisabiltyScoop
The only fully-accessible home ever designed by famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright is set to open to the public as a museum.
April 11, 2014

Groups Want Federal Autism Dollars Reallocated - DisabiltyScoop
With the nation's primary autism legislation set to expire soon, some disability advocates are pressing for major changes in the federal government's approach to the developmental disorder.

ADA Claim Sparks Dispute Over Potty Breaks - DisabiltyScoop
In response to a complaint that some polling places lacked accessible restrooms, one county simply barred everyone from taking a tinkle while waiting to cast their ballot.

Amy S. Goldman, Co-executive Director of the Institute on Disabilities at Temple University Travels to New Delhi for UNESCO Session - AUCD
In February, Amy S. Goldman, co-executive director of the Institute on Disabilities at Temple University, College of Education, participated in the G3ict Accessibility Week in New Delhi, India. "G3ict" is the acronym for "The Global Initiative for Inclusive Information and Communications Technology - Promoting the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the Digital Age."

Now Available! A Comprehensive Approach to Transition - AUCD
Geared for individuals with disabilities, this paper was produced by members of the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) because they want to help people work together to support the self-determined transition of youth to adulthood and community life.
April 10, 2014

CORRECTION - ReadSpeaker: ReadSpeaker docReader Becomes the New Document Viewer of Choice on the Web - PRNewswire
A new version of ReadSpeaker's popular document-reading and viewing solution, ReadSpeaker docReader, has launched today with new features and performance improvements. ReadSpeaker now offers the most accessible online reading and viewing experience of PDFs and other documents on the web....

Musician with ALS Creates "The Bionic Mouth" Album with ModelTalker Voice Synthesizer - PRNewswire

EAST LANSING, Mich., April 10, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- East Lansing-based musician Lee Abramson, (43) has forever changed the way music may be created using a touchpad and one finger. Photo - With his new album "The Bionic Mouth"...

DynaVox Affiliates File For Bankruptcy - DisabiltyScoop
Three affiliates of DynaVox filed for bankruptcy this week, but the entity responsible for the assistive technology products long used by people with disabilities says it is unaffected.

'Week of the Young Child' in Guam: Discussing Needs and Services Available in Guam from the CEDDERS - AUCD
Senator Aline A. Yamashita and Vera Blaz from the Guam CEDDERS and others recorded an interview (121 minutes) for GMH's 'Heroes of Healthcare,' discussing the needs of and services available for young children in Guam, during the 'Week of the Young Child.'

CORRECTION - ReadSpeaker: ReadSpeaker docReader devient la nouvelle visionneuse de documents sur le web - PRNewswire
UPPSALA, Suède, April 10, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --  Un représentant de ReadSpeaker nous a avisés que dans le communiqué de presse « ReadSpeaker docReader devient la nouvelle visionneuse de documents sur le Web » diffusé par la société le...
April 9, 2014

Easter Seals and CVS Caremark Celebrate Week of the Young Child(™) - PRNewswire

CHICAGO, April 9, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Week of the Young Child, sponsored by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), aims to focus public attention on the needs of young children and their families and to recognize organizations like Easter...

ProfNet Experts Available on Civil Rights Act Anniversary, Political Contributions, More - PRNewswire
NEW YORK, April 9, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Below are experts from the ProfNet network that are available to discuss timely issues in your coverage area. If you are interested in interviewing any of the experts, please contact them via the contact information at the end of the listing....

Scott Drumheller Appointed Executive Administrator of Lions Clubs International - PRNewswire

OAK BROOK, Ill., April 9, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Lions Clubs International is pleased to announce that Scott Drumheller has been appointed as the association's new executive administrator. "I sincerely appreciate the opportunity to serve the association in my new capacity,"...

Odin Mobile Sells Nexus 5 - PRNewswire
WASHINGTON, April 9, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Following up on its sale of Nexus 4 from Google™, Odin Mobile will continue to improve access to Android™ for people who are blind or visually impaired by selling the 16 GB Nexus 5.  Nexus 5 is an ideal Android device for...

United Spinal Appoints Darren Brehm, Experienced Business Leader and Strategist, as New Board Member - PRNewswire

NEW YORK, April 9, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- United Spinal Association today announced the appointment of Darren Brehm, a Kraft Foods director and wheelchair user from Northbrook, Illinois as a member of its Board of Directors. Brehm will utilize his business experience to assist...

Last Week Marked the 20th Anniversary of the Death of Jerome Lejeune, The Father Of Modern Genetics - PRNewswire

PHILADELPHIA, April 9, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- On April 5, 2014, the 20th anniversary of the death of Dr. Jerome Lejeune was marked with great celebration in Paris. Dr. Jerome Lejeune died there on April 3, 1994. To his family and "little ones" – as he always called his patients...

Every Recipient of the All-Metal DePuy Pinnacle Hip Implant Should be Aware of the Ongoing Litigation Against the Manufacturer Regarding Premature Failure - PRNewswire

WASHINGTON, April 9, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The US Drug Watchdog says, "According to court records there are at least 140,000 DePuy Pinnacle all-metal hip implant recipients in the United States. There is national litigation that has begun over the issue of premature failures with this...

Autism-Vaccine Concerns Remain Widespread - DisabiltyScoop
A new survey finds that 1 in 3 parents continue to believe that vaccines can cause autism despite the link being widely discredited by the scientific community.

Action Sports Star TJ Lavin Stars in New PSA on Disability - AUCD
"Recognize the disability. Respect the ability� but imagine the possibility."

Former Trainee Tia Nelis (IL LEND) Published on MCH Training Blog - AUCD
"By being a part of LEND, self-advocates have a chance to experience leadership in a new way. We learn about the medical part of disability, which you would not get a chance to learn from any other leadership training, and to see how other health professionals interact with people with disabilities."

Military Families Ask Congress to Fix TRICARE - Autism Speaks - Advocasy

House, Senate members briefed on needed changes in ABA coverage for military kids

April 09, 2014

WASHINGTON, DC (April 9, 2014) -- Military families raising children with autism and Down syndrome today called on Congress to overhaul insurance coverage provided under TRICARE for applied behavior analysis (ABA) during Capitol Hill briefingsorganized by Autism Speaks.Reps. John Larson (D-CT) and Tom Rooney (R-FL), who have championed TRICARE reform bills in the past, said they remain committed to improving ABA coverage for military kids and will soon introduce new legislation.

Kimberly Kapacziewski [left], whose son Cody, has been diagnosed with autism, came to Washington from Fort Benning, Georgia, where her husband, Joe, serves as a sergeant first class with the Army Rangers. Kapacziewski lost the bottom part of a leg to a hand grenadewhile serving his fifith tour in Iraq in2005, but later returned six times to active duty with the Rangers as an amputee.

Patricia Heath [right], whose daughter Marissa has been diagnosed with Down syndrome, is stationed at Eglin Air Force Base in Pensacola, Florida with her husband, Brandon, an Army master sergeant.

They were joined by Dr. Paul Wang, Autism Speaks' head of medical research, and Karen Driscoll, Autism Speaks' associate directorforfederalgovernment affairs and military relations. The wife of a retired Marine, her son has autism.

Kapacziewski said she and her husband had to travel to an Army base in Texas simply to find a pediatric specialist who could diagnose their som with autism. Medical professionals said Cody needed a minimum of 25 hours a week of ABA therapy, but TRICARE caps benefits at 12 hours.

"Her husbandhas already sacrificed a leg for his country, does he have to sacrifice a child too?" Larson said.

Heath said her daughter received three years of ABA therapy and was making tremendous progress when TRICARE cut off all benefits in 2012 by limiting coverage to children with autism, excluding those with Down syndrome, Fragile X, Angelman syndrome and other developmental disabilities. Her daughter soon regressed and once briefly wandered from home.

Driscoll said advocates or TRICARE reform are calling for ABA coverage to be made permanent for all children with disabilities, expanded access to treatment by allowing more trained providers to deliver reimbursable services, and continued vigilance over the Department of Defense to insure military dependents receive care that is consistent with best practices.

Wang cited the continued growth in the prevalence of autism which now affects an estimated 1 in 68 children. The benefits ofABAin treating autism and other developmental disabilities has been amply documented, he said, noting a recent endorsement before Congress by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

ReadSpeaker docReader Becomes the New Document Viewer of Choice on the Web - PRNewswire
UPPSALA, Sweden, April 9, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- A new version of ReadSpeaker's popular document-reading and viewing solution, ReadSpeaker docReader, has launched today with new features and performance improvements. ReadSpeaker now offers the most accessible online reading and viewing...

ReadSpeaker docReader erste Wahl zum Betrachten von Dokumenten im World-Wide-Web - PRNewswire
UPPSALA, Schweden, April 9, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --  ReadSpeaker veröffentlicht eine neue Version von docReader, dem Online-Vorlesetool für Dokumente  Eine neue Version des beliebten Vorlesetools für Dokumente docReader von ReadSpeaker  wurde heute...

ReadSpeaker docReader devient la nouvelle visionneuse de documents sur le web - PRNewswire
UPPSALA, Suède, April 9, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --  - ReadSpeaker lance une nouvelle version de docReader, sa solution de lecture et de visionnage de documents pour les éditeurs de contenus en ligne Une nouvelle version de ReadSpeaker docReader, la solution de lecture et...
April 8, 2014

Black, Disabled, Gay Christian Man in the South Moves Beyond His Labels - PRNewswire

ATLANTA, April 8, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Black, Disabled, Gay Christian man refuses to live a life defined by a label, confined by society and denied by the church. Obstacles and challenges are commonplace in life and one can either face it with courage and faith or curl up into a...

National Autism Network Releases List of Top Ten Things Autism Parents Want the Public to Know - PRNewswire

CARY, N.C., April 8, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- April marks National Autism Awareness Month – a time to educate the public about autism and issues within the autism community. The timing comes on the heels of a new report from the Centers for Disease control indicating that 1 in 68...

Justice Department Urges Shift Away From Sheltered Workshops - DisabiltyScoop
In a first-of-its-kind settlement, the U.S. Department of Justice says a state has committed to overhaul its system of sheltered workshops and day programs for people with disabilities.

Disney Sued Over Disability Access Policy - DisabiltyScoop
Disney is facing allegations of discrimination, with a lawsuit charging that modifications to a policy for accommodating people with disabilities at its theme parks violate the ADA.

Four Paraplegic Men Voluntarily Move Their Legs, an "Unprecedented Breakthrough" for Paralysis Community - PRNewswire

LOUISVILLE, Ky., April 8, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Four young men who have been paralyzed for years achieved groundbreaking progress – moving their legs – as a result of epidural electrical stimulation of the spinal cord, an international team of life scientists at the...

April 7, 2014

America's Long-Term Care Crisis: BPC Launches Initiative to Find a Politically and Fiscally Viable Path Forward to Improve the Financing and Delivery of Long-Term Care - PRNewswire
WASHINGTON, April 7, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In the next two decades, an aging population, fewer family caregivers, increasingly limited personal financial resources, and growing strains on federal, state, and family budgets will create an unsustainable demand for long-term...

Sober Living Homes In Gilbert - PRNewswire
GILBERT, Ariz., April 7, 2014 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- After a year-long effort, the Town of Gilbert passed Recovery Residence Ordinance #Z13-02 on March 27, 2014. The ordinance represents a major improvement in the fight against alcohol and drug abuse and is the state's first to...

Chili's Cancels Autism Fundraiser Amid Backlash - DisabiltyScoop
Chili's Grill & Bar has canceled a fundraiser for a national autism organization after facing criticism related to the group's views on vaccines.

Federal Autism Panel Raises Concerns Over DSM Changes - DisabiltyScoop
A federal advisory panel is urging clinicians to be careful when applying new diagnostic criteria for autism in order to ensure that no one is denied needed services.
April 4, 2014

United Spinal Hosts Free Webinars - Motion Therapy Technology & Transitioning to Mobility devices - PRNewswire

NEW YORK, April 4, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- United Spinal Association's membership division, National Spinal Cord Injury Association (NSCIA), will host two free webinars in April on the latest technology on motion therapy and transitioning from cane to walkers to wheelchairs for...

The Hear the World Foundation expands its Advisory Board - PRNewswire
WARRENVILLE, Ill., April 4, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The Hear the World Foundation welcomes three new members, all notable figures from the world of audiology, to its Advisory Board. Distinguished experts Dr. Beatriz Novaes and Dr. Orozimbo A. Costa from Brazil and Andrea Bohnert from...

Sesame Street To Focus On Autism - DisabiltyScoop
The nonprofit behind Big Bird, Elmo and Abby Cadabby is launching a new effort to reduce stigma surrounding kids with autism and help those with the developmental disorder learn life skills.

Unemployment Rises As More With Disabilities Job Hunting - DisabiltyScoop
The unemployment rate for Americans with disabilities is up slightly as more people seek work, the U.S. Department of Labor said Friday.

COCA's ADA Paratransit Blog and Report - AUCD
If you are ADA eligible for paratransit services (curb-to-curb/door-to-door) and travel outside of your service area as a visitor in another county, region, or state, the Association of University Centers on Disabilities Council on Community Advocacy would like to hear from you.

IACC Issues Statement Regarding Implications of Changes in the Diagnostic Criteria for ASD - AUCD
On World Autism Awareness Day, IACC issued a statement regarding the implications of changes in the diagnostic criteria for ASD that were made in the most recent update of the DSM. Of particular interest are the scientific, practice, and policy implications as DSM-5 is implemented in real-world settings, especially with respect to allocation of services.

AUCD Celebrates April as Autism Awareness Month - AUCD
On December 18, 2007, the UN General Assembly designated April 2 as World Autism Awareness Day, which was first observed in 2008. This UN resolution is one of only three official disease-specific United Nations Days that brings world attention to autism spectrum disorder, a developmental disorder that affects as many as 1 in 68 children, according to new estimates from the CDC.

#35: Utah Enacts Autism Insurance Reform - Autism Speaks - Advocasy

Gov. Gary Herbert signs bill requiring ABA, other coverages

April 03, 2014

SALT LAKE CITY (April 3, 2014) -- -- Gov. Gary Herbert today signed legislation making Utah the 35th state to enact autism insurance reform. Utah has one of the nation's highest rates of prevalence for autism at 1 in 54, or about 2 percent of the state population.

Sponsored by Sen. Brian Shiozowa, the bill (SB.57) was fiercely opposed by the insurance industry. The enactment of the law culminated six years of effort by the Utah Autism Coalition, providers and families to end insurance company discrimination against people with autism.

"Autism Speaks commends Senator Brian Shiozawa for his leadership in delivering for the Utah autism community," said Mike Wasmer, Autism Speaks' associate director of state government affairs. "The Utah Autism Coalition has fought hard to make this day happen and we were proud to be their partner."

The law requires many state-regulated health plans to cover speech, occupational and physical therapy, psychological and psychiatric care, and behavioral health treatments, including applied behavior analysis (ABA).

April 3, 2014

Professional Diversity Network Powers Urban League Jobs Network - PRNewswire
CHICAGO, April 3, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Today Professional Diversity Network, Inc. (Nasdaq:IPDN) announces it is the exclusive recruitment partner for the National Urban League and will power the organization's new online career center.  The partnership builds on the National...

National Federation of the Blind and Four Blind People File Suit Against RideCharge, Inc. and Three Taxicab Companies in California - PRNewswire

LOS ANGELES, April 2, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/-- The National Federation of the Blind (NFB), the oldest and largest organization of blind people in the United States, and four blind people residing in California—Rick Boggs, Geraldine Croom, Rochelle Houston, and Tina Thomas...

White House Disability Liaison Moving On - DisabiltyScoop
After less than a year on the job, a White House adviser specifically focused on disability issues is leaving the Pennsylvania Avenue post.

Topeka Lights It Up, Autism Bill Heads To Governor - Autism Speaks - Advocasy

6-year effort to require insurers to cover treatments clears Legislature

April 02, 2014

TOPEKA (April 2, 2014) -- The Kansas Senate marked 2014 World Autism Awareness Day by ending years of legislative debate and approvinga bill that would expand insurance coverage ofmedically necessary treatments of autism. The measure heads to Gov. Sam Brownback.

Sponsored by Rep. John Rubin (R-Shawnee), the measure, HB.2744, was approved 38-2. The 'no' votes were cast by Senators Mary Pilcher-Cook (R-Shawnee) and Caryn Tyson (R-Parker). Brownback [left], meanwhile, announced he was participating in today's Light It Up Blue celebrations byilluminatingCedar Crest, the Kansas Governor's Residence.

The legislation is the latest in a series of attempts to expand Kansas' 2010 autism insurance reform law which is now restricted to state employees.The bill would require state-regulated large group and individual health plans to cover autism treatment for children up to the age of 12.

The 25-hour per week requirement for ABA would apply to the first four years following diagnosis then diminish to 520 hours per year afterwards.

Rubin earlier had introduced a bill proposing stronger coverages, but under intense insurance lobby pressure a compromise bill emerged from the House Insurance Committee.During committee debate on the bill, Rep. Scott Schwab of Olathe said he opposed mandates and that he was averse to "dealing with other people's health insurance."

Schwabchairs thecommittee.

If signed by Brownback, the bill would enable Kansas tojoin nine other states that have amended their original autism insurance laws to make them stronger.

Obama Issues World Autism Awareness Day Proclamation - Autism Speaks - Advocasy

Cites contributions of Americans with autism

April 02, 2014

WASHINGTON, DC (April 2, 2014) -- President Barack Obama today issued a White House proclamation recognizing World Autism Awareness Day,noting thatAmericans with autism are "an essential thread in the diverse tapestry of our Nation."

Obama cited the Affordable Care Act which prevents insurers from denying coverage to people because they have autism and requires preventive childhood screenings to detect autism at no out-of-pocket cost to parents.

The President also noted efforts to improve understanding of the autism spectrum and made reference to continued efforts, such as the Combating Autism Act [2011 reauthorization signing left] which will have dedicated over $690 million for autism research, monitoring and professional training by the time it expires September 30.

"Last year, I launched the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative, a program that aims to revolutionize our understanding of the human mind," the proclamation reads. "By unlocking new knowledge of the brain, we can pave the way for myriad medical breakthroughs, including a greater appreciation for the science of autism."

Read the proclamation HERE.
April 2, 2014

Special Needs Students Inspire by Earning Top Honors in National Handwriting Contest - PRNewswire
COLUMBUS, Ohio, April 2, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, Zaner-Bloser announces the Nicholas Maxim Award Winners in the 23rd annual National Handwriting Contest. The Nicholas Maxim Award honors two special needs students—one manuscript (print) winner and one cursive...

Report Finds Access To Mental Health Care Uneven - DisabiltyScoop
The ability to access a psychiatrist, psychologist or other mental health provider can vary dramatically depending on where you live.
April 1, 2014

'Light Up the Blues' Film To Benefit Autism Speaks Is Available Now On iTunes - PRNewswire
LOS ANGELES, April 1, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Light Up the Blues, a documentary-style film recorded at last year's concert to benefit Autism Speaks is available now through iTunes. The film captures an inspired evening of music emceed by Jack Black and featuring musical guests Crosby,...

Crisis Training Pays Big Dividends, Study Finds - DisabiltyScoop
Training police to respond to situations involving people with developmental disabilities and other behavioral disorders leads to fewer arrests and more treatment referrals.

Family Pets Taking On Service Animal Duties - DisabiltyScoop
With wait times for service dogs as long as three to five years, some people with disabilities are taking matters into their own hands.

APHA Disability Section Call for 2014 Awards Nominations - Deadline Extended - AUCD
The deadline for APHA Disability Section Awards nominations have been extended to 12pm ET Monday, April 7. There is still time to nominate someone who has made a significant contribution through scholarship, teaching, practice and/or advocacy to advance the health and quality of life of people with disabilities or an especially dedicated student. Now is the time to nominate a colleague for one of the 2014 APHA Disability Section Awards!

Tech Company Ramps Up Hiring Of Workers With Autism - DisabiltyScoop
An international software giant that's looking to tap the unique talents of those with autism is taking on its first group of American employees on the spectrum.

Oklahoma Budget Cuts Threaten 4 Autism Centers - Autism Speaks - Advocasy

Families urging Legislature to restore funding

March 31, 2014

(March 31, 2014) -- Four autism centers providing early intervention services for Oklahoma children are in danger of closing due to a threatened $600,000 state budget cut.

Families across the state are now appealing to Oklahoma House Speaker Jeff Hickman who has expressed support for restoring the funding, according toKathy McCracken, executive director of the state's Children's Hospital; Foundation. The foundation has been financially supporting the program through the Oklahoma University Child Study Center which set up the centers in 2007 in Norman, Oklahoma City, Tulsa and Mustang.

The state Department of Education has said it plans to cut the $600,000 annual base funding for the centers, an act that would force them to close, McCracken said. The stateattibuted the cut tothe federal budget "sequester" whichcreated across-the-board reducations in funding support, she said.

The cut is particularly harsh for Oklahoma, one of only 16 states yet to require private insurers to covermedically necessary treatments, leaving parents fewoptions to affordintensive early intervention services for their children with autism.

"Oklahoma's children with autism and their families, who are currently enrolled, will lose an incredible opportunity to learn and grow to be productive citizens," McCracken said. "Current parents in the program will become desperate for help, some will move to other states.Parents on the waiting list will know there is no help in the future for them in Oklahoma."

In addition, she said, "Oklahoma will lose a nationally recognized research program which has created jobs for new researchers, and Oklahoma may lose these talented scientists to other states."

The four centersintegrate toddlers and preschoolers with autism and their peers in community daycareand "mother's day out" programs, offeringhome-based and center-based specialized services needed by children with autism.More than32 children withautismunder the age of 4 have completed the intervention and at least that many are currently receiving services in these “model” pre-school centers," McCracken said.

The centersemploy 28 teachers who work directly with the children, she said.In addition,a team of specialistshelps traineducators and other professionalsacross Oklahoma.

"Andyes, there is a waiting list of children and teachers wanting to participate," McCracken said.

March 31, 2014

It's a "Family Affair" at Independent Living Centers for People with Disabilities and Their Families - PRNewswire
SACRAMENTO, Calif., March 31, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Managing the daily challenges of life can be stressful and overwhelming. And for approximately 4.8 million people living with disabilities in California, many of those challenges impact the entire family as well. For example, if a family...

Deaf Bible 2.0 Adds 10 Sign Languages and Innovative New Design for Enhanced Visual Experience - PRNewswire

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., March 31, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Deaf Bible was originally released in November 2012 with American Sign Language (ASL) as the only translation available on the app. Even with just one translation, it quickly became one of the most popular Deaf apps in...

April is Autism Awareness Month - PRNewswire
COLUMBUS, Ohio, March 31, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- As the incidence of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has increased to 1 in 68 children, the need for raising autism awareness and increasing knowledge about available resources presents a great need across Ohio communities. Early identification...

Metal-on-Metal Hip Implants, Including the DePuy Pinnacle and the Biomet M2A-M2 Magnum, are Implicated in Litigation Involving Premature Failure - PRNewswire

WASHINGTON, March 31, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The US Drug Watchdog is now expressing deep concern that most recipients of an all metal hip implant will never be compensated for a premature failure, because they do not want to go through a hip implant replacement surgery also known as a...

CVS Caremark Marks Ninth Year as National Premier Sponsor of Easter Seals' Walk With Me Event - PRNewswire

CHICAGO, March 31, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- CVS Caremark will be the National Premier Sponsor of Easter Seals Walk With Me in 2014 – its ninth straight year. Demonstrating its continued commitment to children with disabilities and their families through the All Kids...

Une nouvelle technologie permet de dépasser les obstacles en matière d'accessibilité aux terminaux numériques publics, comme les distributeurs de billets - PRNewswire

MADRID, March 31, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Dans le cadre du projet APSIS4all, subventionné par la Commission européenne  Technosite et « la Caixa » conçoivent une solution visant à personnaliser les distributeurs de billets   Cette...

Una nuova tecnologia per superare le barriere d'accesso ai terminali digitali pubblici, ad esempio i bancomat - PRNewswire

MADRID, March 31, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --  Nell'ambito del progetto APSIS4all, finanziato dalla Commissione Europea    Technosite e "la Caixa" progettano una soluzione per personalizzare i bancomat   La soluzione è stata sviluppata da Technosite,...

Nova tecnologia para vencer as barreiras da acessibilidade nos terminais digitais públicos como os ATM's - PRNewswire

MADRID, March 31, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --  No contexto do APSIS4all Project, fundado pela Comissão Europeia - A Technosite e «la Caixa» criam solução para personalizar os ATMs - A solução foi desenvolvida pela Technosite - uma empresa...

Feds Double Down On Developmental Screening - DisabiltyScoop
With a new initiative, the Obama administration is looking to expand developmental and behavioral screening for children across the country.
March 28, 2014

ABLE Tied To National Response to Rising Autism Rates - Autism Speaks - Advocasy

More Senate, House cosponsors sign on to bill

March 28, 2014

WASHINGTON, DC (March 28, 2014) --Responding to yesterday's release ofthe new 1 in 68 autism prevalence estimate, Congressional leaders said the ABLE Act must bepart of a national plan to address the public health crisis of autism. Four more House members signed on as cosponsors to the bill, raising the total to 351, while Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) became the 70th Senator to become a cosponsor.

Sponsored by Sen. Robert Casey (D-PA) [left]and Rep. Ander Crenshaw (R-FL), the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act, would allow the creation of tax-exempt savings accounts for individuals with disabilities. The funds could be used for housing, transportation, job support, education and other services without jeopardizing eligibility for Social Security or Medicaid benefits.

"These alarming statistics underscore the need to address the long term needs of families caring for those with autism," said Casey. "Parents of children with disabilities face daily struggles that we can't even begin to imagine. The ABLE Act will provide families with the financial peace of mind they need, and Congress should pass it immediately.”

At an Autism Speaks press conference, Casey noted the overwhelmingnumber of cosponsors and said President Obama was supportive when he raised the issue.He credited Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) with raising the issue with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). McConnell signed on as a cosponsor and within hours Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) signed on as well.

Casey credited the advocacyof Autism Speaks, which is part of a national coalition with the National Down Syndrome Society,for building support.

"I'm not sure anything else in the Senate has that many cosponsors," he said. "That's because of a really unified effort led by Autism Speaks."

Crenshaw said theCDC announcement"further underscores the need for Congress to take up and pass the ABLE Act to provide individuals with disabilities with the financial planning tools they need and deserve. Those living with autism, Down syndrome, and other disabilities face enormous financial difficulties, yet they cannot benefit from the same IRS-sanctioned tools that other Americans enjoy to use in planning for their future."

Burr said, "Children and adults with autism face enormous daily challenges, and it is important that we do what we can to support these individuals and their families as they deal with the day-to-day struggles presented by autism spectrum disorders. That's why SenatorCasey and I introduced the ABLE Act."

It's Bipartisan: US Needs A Plan To Respond To 1 in 68 - Autism Speaks - Advocasy

Federal, state leaders from both parties respond to new CDC prevalence numbers

March 28, 2014

WASHINGTON, DC (March 28, 2014) -- Members of Congress and state governors are demanding a concerted national response to autism in America following yesterday's release of new autism prevalence numbers by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

"Today's announcement by the CDC highlights not only the very real, lived experience of families affected by autism, it also speaks to the need for a national strategy to address this issue," said House Majority Leader Eric Cantor(R-VA). "I stand with the autism community today and look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to respond to this urgent public health crisis."

During a press conference hosted by Autism Speaks following the CDC announcement, Senate and House leaders called for the reauthorization of the Combating Autism Act (CAA) and enactment of the ABLE Act to help address the "aging-out"issue as an estimated 500,000 children mature into adulthood over the next 10 years.

Enacted in 2006 and reauthorized in 2011, the CAA has dedicated $1.7 billion in federal funding for research through the National Institutes of Health, the prevalence monitoring conducted by the CDC, and detection training through the US Department of Health and Human Services. The law will expire September 30 unless Congress acts.

The ABLE Act, (Achieving a Better Life Experience Act), would allow the creation of tax-free savings accounts for individuals with disabilities to provide for their housing, transportation, job support, education and other needs. The legislation has extraordinary support with 70 cosponsors in the Senate and 350 of the 435 House members.

"To my mind, it's a clarion call to continue -- in fact increase -- our efforts on the federal level into research and services and support for individuals with autism and their families," said Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), the Senate sponsor of the 2011 CAA reauthorization, during the Autism Speaks press conference.

"I hope we can think aboutat least creating some new opportunities" in the new CAA reauthorization legislation, Menendez said. "This aging out question is a critical question for families across (New Jersey) and across the country. The challenge on the autism disorder spectrum doesn't stop at age 18 or 21. It continues."

The House sponsor of the 2011 reauthorization bill, Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), also demanded action

"The information is not just disturbing, it is numbing," Smith said."Statisticsare sometimes bandied aroundWashingtonand people pay scant notice to it. Butthis ought to mobilize not just the federal government,but state governments and local governments to work in partnership."

Smith also addressed the aging out issue.

"As aging parents can no longer take care of their children and are worried they don't have that many years left on earth, they are frightened about what happens to their beloved child," he said. "We need the aging out issue to be addressed and we need it now."

Sen. Robert Casey (D-PA), the Senate sponsor of ABLE, said the response to the legislation is universally supportive in Washington, including President Obama. He credited Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) with raising the issue with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). McConnell signed on as a cosponsor and within hours Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) signed on as well.

"So now you have the leaders in the Senate both cosponsoring a bill, that almost never happens," Casey said.

In addition to Menendez, Smith and Casey, Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) and Rep. Pat Meehan (R-PA) attended the Autism Speaks press conference.

The chairs of the Democrat and Republican Governors Conferences, Democrat Pete Shumlin of Vermont and Republican Chris Christie of New Jersey, also issued statements.

"The numbers on the prevalence of autism released today by the (CDC)are another reminder of the great responsibility and urgent opportunity America's governors have to advocate for the autism community," Shumlin said.

“As government leaders, we have a moral obligation to recognize the individual and unique needs of our residents who have a developmental disability and provide them with the tools necessary to lead fuller, more productive lives," Christie said.

For statements from Senators Menendez, Burr, Casey, Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Charles Schumer(D-NY) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), go HERE.

For statements from Reps. Cantor, Smith, Mike Doyle (D-PA), Cathy McMorris Rodger (R-WA), Ander Crenshaw (R-FL) and Steve Stivers (R-OH), go HERE.

For statements from Governors Pete Shumlin of Vermont and Chris Christie of New Jersey, go HERE.

Doctors Square Off in Important Battle Over Unapproved Blood Cancer Drug - PRNewswire

ASHEVILLE, N.C., March 28, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- It's hard to imagine heavyweight hematologists publicly squaring off in support of an off-label blood cancer drug.  And yet, today, that's exactly what happened in an "Open Letter to the MPN Community of the United States,"...

Demand Soars For Special Education Boarding Schools - DisabiltyScoop
As the number of students with disabilities attending residential schools in one state continues to rise, there are mounting concerns about the costs associated with such programs.

State Leaders Respond To CDC Announcement - Autism Speaks - Advocasy

Governors respond to new autism prevalence numbers

March 27, 2014

(March 28, 2014) -- State leaders issued the following statements in response to the new autism prevalence estimates made by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. (Statements from U.S. Senate members are here; U.S. House of Representatives here.)

Vermont Governor Pete Shumlin
(Signed one of nation's strongest autism insurance reform bills into law; chair Democratic Governors Association)
"The numbers on the prevalence of autism released today by the Center for Disease Control are another reminder of the greatresponsibility and urgent opportunity America'sgovernors have to advocate for the autismcommunity.Istand with them today and look forward toworking with governors in statesacrossthecountrytorespondto this urgent public health crisis."

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie
(Presides over state with nation's highest autism prevalence; chair Republican Governors Association)

“As government leaders, we have a moral obligation to recognize the individual and unique needs of our residents who have a developmental disability and provide them with the tools necessary to lead fuller, more productive lives. That said, New Jersey has one of the best systems in the nation for identifying, diagnosing and caring for children and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). My Administration remains firmly committed to continuing our efforts to find new and innovative ways that help New Jersey families impacted by ASD and improving the lives of their loved ones.”

March 27, 2014

New Prevalence Data Finds 1 in 68 Children Have Autism Spectrum Disorders - AUCD
This new estimate is based on the CDC's evaluation of health and educational records of all 8-year-old children in communities from 11 states: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Utah, and Wisconsin.

House Members Respond to CDC Announcement - Autism Speaks - Advocasy

Members of the U.S. House of Representatives respond to new autism prevalence numbers

March 27, 2014

WASHINGTON, DC (March 27, 2014) -- Members of the U.S. House of Representatives issued the following statements today in responseto the new autism prevalence estimatesmade by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. (Statements from Senate members are here.)

Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ):
(House sponsor of the 2011 Combating Autism Reauthorization Act; co-chair of the Congressional Autism Caucus)
“The continued increase in children affected by autism—a 30 percent rise from previous figures—shows the magnitude of the problem. It's alarming. We have to continue the work to determine the cause of ASD, identify autistic children as early as possible to begin treatment, and press ahead with research, new therapies and effective services. The quality of life of many children is at stake, as it is with young adults who age out of the support services in educational systems.”

Rep. Mike Doyle (D-PA):
(Co-chair of the Congressional Autism Caucus)
“The CDC results are more evidence, if any is necessary, that the prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorders is greater than we thought just a few years ago. These results emphasize just how essential it is that the federal government increase our investments in research on autism spectrum disorders – along with services to diagnose and treat individuals with autism and help them and their families.”

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA)
(Chair of the House Republican Conference; special needs parent)
“As the mom of a 6-year old son with Down syndrome, I know firsthand the challenges those with disabilities – and their families – face. When our son Cole was diagnosed with Down syndrome – just three days after he was born – the doctors informed us his life would be full of medical complications. They focused on his limits, not on his abilities. Years later, as an advocate for the disability community and a proud supporter of the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act, I am confident we can expand long-term opportunities for those with disabilities. The prevalence of Autism very much concerns me, which is why I will continue to make sure those with special needs can help save for their futures and have endless opportunities to reach their full potential.”

Rep. Ander Crenshaw (R-FL)
(House sponsor of the ABLE Act which would allow tax-exemopt savings accounts for people with disabilities)

“The increase in the prevalence of autism in children announced by the CDC further underscores the need for Congress to take up and pass the ABLE Act to provide individuals with disabilities with the financial planning tools they need and deserve. Those living with autism, Down syndrome, and other disabilities face enormous financial difficulties, yet they cannot benefit from the same IRS-sanctioned tools that other Americans enjoy to use in planning for their future.ABLE opens the door for them to live their lives to their highest potential by making tax-free savings accounts available to cover qualified expenses in areas such as education, housing, medical, and transportation.ABLE is about leveling the playing field for all those who live with disabilities, and the time is now to turn this legislation into law.”

Rep. Steve Stivers (R-OH)
(Champion of improved TRICARE coverage for military kids with autism)
“Today's announcement by the CDC highlights not only the everyday experience of families affected by autism, it also addresses the need for a national plan to tackle this issue. With the release of data today, I look forward tocontinuing my efforts to work with mycolleagues on an actionable response tothis health crisis."

U.S. Senators Respond To CDC Announcement - Autism Speaks - Advocasy

Official statements issued in reponse to new prevalence numbers

March 27, 2014

WASHINGTON, DC (March 27, 2014) -- Members of the U.S. Senate today issued the following statements in response to the new autism prevalence numbers issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (Statements from House members are here.)

Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ)
(Senate sponsor of the 2011 Combating Autism Reauthorization Act)
“This newly released data should serve as a clarion call to not just continue – but to increase – our efforts on the federal level into research and services and supports for individuals with autism and their families.We must pass our Combating Autism Reauthorization which is the only way to ensure critical autism programs aren't shuttered, leaving individuals with autism and their families wondering what could have been -- what new diagnostic tools, early intervention techniques, therapies and lifelong supports and services could have been discovered to improve lives and ensure individuals with autism can fulfill their God-given potential.“

Senator Richard Burr (R-NC)
(A critical early cosponsor of the 2011 Combating Autism Reauthorization Act and the ABLE Act)
“Today's news on the prevalence of autism is substantially worse than we ever thought. Children and adults with autism face enormous daily challenges, and it is important that we dowhatwe can tosupport these individuals and their families as they deal with the day-to-day struggles presented by autism spectrum disorders. That's why Senator (Robert) Casey and I introduced the ABLE Act. It would allow families to use a 529 college savings account to save for ‘disability expenses' – such as housing, education and medical expenses -- for a disabled child, including children living with autism.”

Senator Robert Casey (D-PA)
(Lead Senate sponsor of the ABLE Act which would create tax-free savings accounts for people with disabilities)

"These alarming statistics underscore the need to address the long term needs of families caring for those with autism. Parents of children with disabilities face daily struggles that we can't even begin to imagine. The ABLE Act will provide families with the financial peace of mind they need, and Congress should pass it immediately.”

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
(Senate champion of improved care for military kids with autism under TRICARE)
“The rate in which autism is increasing is alarming,” said U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. “It is vital that we make investments in new research that will benefit the lives of millions. We know that early intervention is one of the best ways to ensure a child's long term success, but thousands of families simply cannot afford the cost of treatment and programs needed to help those with autism. I will continue to push for legislation that will help provide essential services, treatment and support for families.

Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)
(Member of the Congressional Autism Caucus)
“I am a strong supporter of investing in medical research to help improve treatments, as well as increasing education surrounding serious diseases like autism. In 2013, Sequestration cut $18.9 million in federal funding for autism programs, which has disproportionately harmed American families across the country. To help individuals with autism and their families, I will continue my fight to protect funding for the NIH, CDC, and other health programs. Smart and strong investments in research, treatments, and services is critical to address the public health emergency posed by autism spectrum disorders.”

Autism Rates Spike Again, CDC Says - DisabiltyScoop
The federal government is revising its official autism prevalence estimate upward to reflect a 30 percent increase over numbers reported just two years ago.
March 26, 2014

Study Finds Autism Originates During Pregnancy - DisabiltyScoop
New research is offering evidence that autism is linked to differences in the brain that emerge during pregnancy.

Millions of Disabled and Poor Americans Encounter Discrimination When They Face Mental or Addictive Disorders, Says NAPHS - PRNewswire
WASHINGTON, March 26, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Mental illnesses are the leading cause of disability and contribute to premature death, but millions of Americans face discrimination when they most need help, according to the National Association of Psychiatric Health Systems...

World Class Athletes Lindsey Vonn, Ryan Sheckler And Jimmy Spithill Headline Global Ambassador List For Wings for Life World Run - PRNewswire

SANTA MONICA, Calif., March 26, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- There are 3 million people currently living with a spinal cord injury, and each year 250,000 are traumatically injured – the main cause being traffic accidents. The Wings for Life World Run is a first of its kind running race...

March 25, 2014

Behavior Problems May Be Best Addressed At Pediatrician - DisabiltyScoop
Kids are much more likely to participate in behavioral and mental health treatment when they can access it directly at their pediatrician's office, a new study finds.

Mom Aims To Make Advertising More Inclusive - DisabiltyScoop
One photo at a time, a mother of a girl with Down syndrome is on a mission to convince advertisers to include people with disabilities in their branding and companies are starting to listen.

Teach For America To Bolster Special Education Training - DisabiltyScoop
A program that places recent college graduates in teaching positions across the country after just weeks of training says it will beef up its focus on special education.

Aaron Bishop Named AIDD Commissioner - AUCD
Aaron has almost 20 years of experience working with and for individuals with disabilities in both the direct practice and public policy sectors. AIDD provides financial and leadership support to organizations in every state and territory in the United States to ensure that individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families can fully participate in and contribute to all aspects of community life.

Autism Speaks Urges Federal Leadership In Communities Of Color - Autism Speaks - Advocasy

VP Jamitha Fields testifies on Capitol Hill

March 25, 2014

WASHINGTON, DC (March 25, 2014) -- Testifying before a Congressional panel today, Autism Speaks' Vice President for Community Affairs Jamitha Fields, urged our nation's leaders to do more for people affected by autism in the African American and Latino communities.

Effective tools have been developed for screening children for autism risk as early as one year, yet the average age of diagnosis is four-to-five years, Fields said, referencing data from the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

"The situation in some ethnic and low income communities is even more troubling," Fields said. "Multiple studies have shown that black and Latino children are under identified, diagnosed significantly later, and once diagnosed, they receive poorer quality of care."

Fields testified before a House Appropriations Committee panel weighing budget issues relating to health, human services and labor issues.

She highlighted the Early Access to Care partnership between Autism Speaks, the CDC, the American Academy of Pediatrics and others toraise awareness and reverse the disparities in the diagnosis and treatment of autism among Latinos and African Americans.

"Improving this unacceptable situation will take the combined efforts of public and private partners including families, healthcare professionals, educators, autism advocates in every community and leaders like all of you who can help focus public attention on issues like this," Fields said.

"The earlier children are identified, the earlier they are able to receive early intervention services," she added. "Evidence-based early intervention services have been shown to reduce the core symptoms of autism; improve IQ and daily functioning; and reduce the cost of lifelong care by two-thirds. Considering the cost of autism over the lifespan is estimated at $2.3 million, those are significant savings."

Read her full testimony here.

Double Up: Reid, McConnell Sign On To ABLE Bill - Autism Speaks - Advocasy

In rare step, Senate's top 2 leaders cosponsor major disabilities legislation

March 25, 2014

WASHINGTON, DC (March 25, 2014) -- The Senate's top twoleaders--Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Minority LeaderMitch McConnell (R-KY)--have signedon as cosponsors ofthe ABLE Act, a virtual green light forefforts in Congress to create tax-free savings accounts for Americans with disabilities.

Theaction was doubly unusual in that members of Congress serving in leadership positions rarely sign on to sponsor or cosponsor individual pieces of legislation. Within hours, both Reid [below left], the Senate's top Democrat, and McConnell, the chamber's top Republican, cosponsored S.313, the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act, which is a top priority of disability organizations nationally, including Autism Speaks.

"This is a dramatic and joyous development in the years-long campaign to get this bill out of Congress," saidAutism Speaks President Liz Feld. "We commend Senators Reid and McConnell for their leadership and look forward to expeditious passage of this critical legislation."

Sponsored by Senators Robert Casey (D-PA) and Richard Burr (R-NC), ABLEwouldallow the creation of tax-exempt savings accounts to help provide forhousing, educational, job support, transportation and other needs of people with disabilities. The Senate bill now has 68 cosponsors; a companion House bill sponsored by Rep. Ander Crenshaw (R-FL) has 345 cosponsors in the 435-member House of Representatives.

Casey and Burr announced the addition of Reid and McConnell as cosponsors in a joint release.

In 1996, McConnellhelped lead the bipartisan campaign that created section 529 tax-free college savings accounts, which serves as the model for the ABLE bill. In addition, he credited advocacy by Autism Speaks' Kentucky coordinator, Anne Gregory of Louisville, for encouraging him to sign on to ABLE.

“I have heard from many parents across Kentucky who have children with disabilities who find it difficult to encourage their independence and save money for the future,”McConnell said. “I proudly support the ABLE Act on behalf of the Kentucky families, children, and individuals living with disabilities, and I look forward to working with Kentucky families and organizations to help get this legislation through the Senate.”

Autism Speaks is one of 50 disability groups that is championing the bill. The New York Times in a recent editorial urged Congress to move the bill which is currently being "scored" by the Congressional Budget Office to assess its cost impact on the federal budget.

“I am so pleased to learn that Senator McConnell is co-sponsoring this criticallegislation benefiting families affected by autism and other disabilities," said Gregory of Autism Speaks. "A family can save tax-free college funds for their children under a 529 plan; it isonly equitable they should be able to do the same for the life-long expenses of their loved ones with disabilities, which typically far exceed the average college tuition."

National Federation of the Blind and H&R Block Announce Agreement Assuring Accessibility - PRNewswire

BOSTON, March 25, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Federation of the Blind (NFB), the oldest and largest nationwide organization of blind Americans, and H&R Block, which prepares approximately one in seven tax returns in America, announced today that they have reached...

Professional Diversity Network Celebrates 3 Million Members Online - PRNewswire
CHICAGO, March 25, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Membership for the leading developer and operator of online recruiting for diverse professionals, Professional Diversity Network, Inc. (Nasdaq:IPDN), has hit the three million mark. The Chicago-based company attributes its strong growth to a...
March 24, 2014

Feds Move Forward With Disability Hiring Mandate - DisabiltyScoop
With a new rule taking effect this week, federal officials are looking to compel businesses to significantly increase the number of people with disabilities that they employ.

Special Needs Group Announces SNG Accessibility to Europe Extravaganza™ Promotion for Transatlantic Crossing Sailings Booked through May 31, 2014 - PRNewswire

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., March 24, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Special Needs Group, Inc. (SNG), the leading global provider of mobility and special needs equipment, announces its promotion SNG Accessibility to Europe Extravaganza™. Through the promotion, all...

Poll Finds Many Still Believe Vaccines Cause Autism - DisabiltyScoop
A new national survey finds many Americans believe there's truth to a number of widely-discussed medical conspiracy theories including one linking vaccines to autism and other disorders.

Think College Insight Brief Describes Statewide Strategic Planning Grants - AUCD
In an effort to support the continued growth in postsecondary options across the country, Think College funded Statewide Strategic Planning grants to 18 UCEDDs in 18 states from 2010 to 2012. These $15,000 grants were funded by the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Wish the Affordable Care Act a Happy Fourth Birthday! - AUCD
The ACA turned four years old this week! Join AUCD in celebrating this anniversary by helping to make sure all Americans know about their health insurance options. Spread the word that open enrollment ends March 3.
March 21, 2014

Wisconsin auto group invites anti-bullying speaker to local schools - PRNewswire

KENOSHA, Wis., March 21, 2014 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- With young people in need positive role models today, perhaps more than ever before, it takes a unique voice to rise above the many mixed messages kids receive on a daily basis. The social lives of young people can be especially...

Harsh Discipline More Common For Students With Disabilities - DisabiltyScoop
Federal officials say schools are restraining and secluding kids with disabilities far more often than other children and are disproportionately referring them to law enforcement.

Mercedes Owner Busted For SSI, Medicaid Fraud - DisabiltyScoop
An unemployed man who owned a Mercedes and reportedly wore lots of jewelry is headed to jail for defrauding Medicaid and SSI out of more than $200,000.

MO Regulator: Autism Insurance Reform Works - Autism Speaks - Advocasy

Thousands receiving treatments, cost impact is 0.2%

March 21, 2014

(March 21, 2014) --Missouri Department of Insurance Director John M. Huff said over 3,000 individuals accessed autism-related treatment in 2013 because of the state's autism insurance reform law, a 22 percent increase over 2012.

"Missouri's landmark autism insurance law continues to deliver benefits for families impacted by autism,"Huff said in an address to the St. Louis Autism Partners. "Especially encouraging is the low impact these benefits have had on overall health claim costs. I again applaud Gov. Jay Nixon and members of the General Assembly for passing this common-sense legislation to improve health care for thousands of Missouri familes."

Huff noted that thedepartment's annualAutism Reportfound thatinsurance claims for autism-related treatments totaled $8.2 million in 2013, representing 2/10 of 1 percentof the more than $4 billion in health claims paid by Missouri health insurers. Although Missouri law does not require health insurers to submit their rates to the state,Huff said theclaims data suggest minimal, if any, impact on the premiums consumers pay.

Nixon signed the 2010 law which requires state-regulated health plansto cover specific autism therapies, including applied behavior analysis (ABA). Thereportfound autism treatments have increased more than 92 percent since 2011.

Otherfindings from the report include:

  • Across all market segments, the average per member, per month cost in 2013 for all autism-related claims was 48 cents, and22 cents for ABA treatments
  • More than 1.3 million individuals received coverage from a licensed insurer. Adding public employees and other self-insured entities, the department estimates that as many as 1.6 million individuals have benefited from the autism mandate
  • All policyholders in the large- and small-group markets now have insurance coverage for autism
  • The law allows insurers in the individual market to offer extra coverage for autism for an additional cost. Some companies offer it as a standard provision in every policy. As a result, about one-third of consumers enrolled in the individual market have this coverage.

The Department of Insurance offers online resourcesfor families and health care providers. Consumers and providers with complaints or questions are encouraged to call the department's Insurance Consumer Hotline at 800-726-7390 orfile a complaintat

St. Louis Autism Partners is composed of executive directors of autism organizations in theSt. Louis metro area.

New Hope for the Medically Disabled - PRNewswire

WASHINGTON, March 21, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- (NU) - Among the marvels of modern medicine are neural prosthetics, tiny bioengineered devices that surgeons implant in brain tissue to compensate for a variety of disabilities to the human nervous system. Physicians already have had much...

Los Angeles Children's Therapy Center Relocates And Expands Services To Accommodate Increased Demand For Treatment and Therapy Options - PRNewswire

LOS ANGELES, March 21, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Cerebral palsy (CP) is the most common childhood disability.  The NAPA Center in Los Angeles offers treatment and hope to children and their families dealing with CP and other neurological disorders. The demand for their services has...

Le Pr José del R. Millán reçoit le Prix Bertha et Carl Benz - PRNewswire
MANNHEIM, Allemagne, March 21, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Cette  distinction  récompense  des  recherches  axées  sur  les  personnes  à...

125-0: Kansas House Votes For Insurance Reform - Autism Speaks - Advocasy

Compromise bill requiring up to 25 hours per week of ABA goes to Senate

March 21, 2014

TOPEKA (March 20, 2014) -- The Kansas House of Representatives approved a compromise autism insurance reform bill 125-0 and sent the measure to the Senate.Sponsored by Rep. John Rubin (R-Shawnee) below, the bill, HB.2744, was amended to increase required weekly coverage for applied behavior analysis (ABA) from10 hours to 25 hours.

The legislation is the latest attempt to expand Kansas' 2010 autism insurance reform law which now applies only to state employees. As amended, the bill would require state-regulated large group and individual health plans tocover autism treatment for children up to the age of 12. The 25-hour per weekrequirement for ABA would apply to the first four years following diagnosis then diminish to 520 hours per year afterwards.

During debate on the bill, Rep. Scott Schwab of Olathe said he opposes mandates and thathe was averse to"dealing with other people's health insurance." Schwab is chairman of the House Insurance Committee.

Rubin, as reported by The Wichita Eagle, suggested thatany lawmaker who opposes mandates should find other work.

“In case you haven't noticed, virtually everything we do up here is a mandate. ... We're in the mandate business,” Rubin said. “Hopefully, we can improve the lives of these kids.”

March 20, 2014

El profesor y doctor José del R. Millán recibe el Bertha-und-Carl-Benz-Preis - PRNewswire
MANNHEIM, Alemania, March 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- El premio reconoce la investigación para la gente con movilidad reducida  Referencia cruzada: Imagen disponible a través de la epa european pressphoto agency y puede ser...

National Council on Disability, an Independent Federal Agency, Applauds Increased Availability of Accessible Prescription Drug Label Information - PRNewswire
WASHINGTON, March 20, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Council on Disability (NCD), an independent federal agency that advises the President, Congress and other federal agencies on disability policy, welcomes the settlement agreement announced March 18 between CVS/pharmacy and...

Save Home Health: Duluth Home Health Community Decries Medicare Cuts to Home Healthcare - PRNewswire
DULUTH, Minn., March 20, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Representatives of the Duluth home health community took part in a press conference with special guest Congressional candidate Stewart Mills to raise awareness about the unprecedented 14 percent cut to Medicare home health...

Disney Show Goes Sensory-Friendly - DisabiltyScoop
A group behind efforts to make Broadway shows accessible to those with autism and other developmental disabilities is now setting its sights on accommodating young kids with special needs.
March 19, 2014

Utah's Sachin Pavithran Elected Vice-Chair of the US Access Board - AUCD
The U.S. Access Board elected Sachin Dev Pavithran to a one-year term as its new vice-chair on March 12. Pavithran, director of the Utah Assistive Technology Program at Utah State University's Center for Persons with Disabilities, was appointed to the Board in late 2012 by President Barack Obama.

Maine Senate Votes To Expand Insurance Coverage - Autism Speaks - Advocasy

Bill requiring benefits up to age 10 goes to House

March 19, 2014

(March 19, 2014) -- The Maine Senate has approved a bill requiring state-regulated health plans to cover autism benefits up to age 10 and sent the bill to the House. Maine's 2010 autism insurance reform law currently caps benefits atage 5.

Sponsored by Sen. Colleen Lachowicz (D-Kennebec), the bill, LD.347, originally would have raised the age of eligibilty for benefits from 5 under current law to 21, but was amended to age 10 in committee.

The current Maine law took effect in 2011 and requires state-regulated health plans to cover the diagnosis and treatment of autism through age 5. The coverage includes speech, occupational and physical therapy, as well as behavioral health treatment, such as ABA, up to $36,000 per year.

Maine was the 16th of the current 34 states to enact autism insurance reform. Three other states--Vermont, Louisiana and Texas (twice)--have amended their original laws to raise the age cap.

National Federation of the Blind Applauds Groundbreaking Agreement on Equal Access in Higher Education - PRNewswire

BALTIMORE, March 19, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Federation of the Blind (NFB), the nation's leading advocate for equal access in higher education by blind students, today applauded a groundbreaking agreement that has been reached between the University of Montana...

Ducere Technologies lance LECHAL, la première chaussure haptique interactive au monde - PRNewswire

HYDERABAD, India, March 19, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Une  entreprise  indienne  à...

Kids' Sleep, Ear Troubles May Point To Autism - DisabiltyScoop
Frequent ear infections and waking up multiple times per night are among a growing list of potential early signs of autism, new research suggests.
March 18, 2014

Victory Living Programs Among Developmental Disability Advocates Urging Lawmakers to Invest in Florida's Communities - PRNewswire

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., March 18, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, The Arc of Florida, Victory Living Programs and Florida Developmental Disabilities Council unveiled a plan designed to ensure that Floridians with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) are fully included in...

Ducere Technologies führt LECHAL ein, die weltweit ersten interaktiven haptischen Schuhe - PRNewswire

Ducere Technologies, March 18, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --  Indisches  Unternehmen  entwickelt  Revolution  im  Bereich  tragbarer  Technologie Ducere Technologies führte unter der Marke für tragbare...

Pennsylvania Governor Corbett Honored for Commitment to Intellectual Disability Community - PRNewswire
SCRANTON, Pa., March 18, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Governor Tom Corbett was recognized today with an award from advocates across the state for his continued commitment to reduce the waiting list for Pennsylvanians living with intellectual disabilities. Corbett's 2014-15...

Future Planning Center To Assist Disability Caregivers - DisabiltyScoop
As people with developmental disabilities live longer, a new national center is gearing up to help individuals and their families plan for the future.

To Understand Autism, Researchers Turn To Dogs - DisabiltyScoop
Studying how dogs think could shed light on autism, human development and other disabilities, researchers at Yale say.

Celebrities Reignite Autism-Vaccine Debate - DisabiltyScoop
Jenny McCarthy is facing new criticism for her controversial claims linking autism and vaccines just as another reality-television star fuels debate on the issue.

US Drug Watchdog Now Provides Litigation Updates For Recipients Of All Metal Hip Implant And Urges A MRI To Determine A Premature Failure - PRNewswire

WASHINGTON, March 18, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The US Drug Watchdog is now trying to spread the word to all recipients of a metal on metal hip implant to not wait too long to get a MRI to see if their cobalt, and chromium hip implant has prematurely failed, because there could...

Ducere Technologies Launches LECHAL, the World's First Interactive Haptic Based Footwear - PRNewswire

HYDERABAD, India, March 18, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- A  revolution  in  wearable  technology  pioneered  by  an  Indian  enterprise Ducere Technologies launched the world's first interactive haptic...

March 17, 2014

Utica College Professor Takes Closer Look at Approach to Justice for Persons with Disabilities - PRNewswire

UTICA, N.Y., March 17, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --Is there justice in the capabilities approach? Dr. Christopher A. Riddle, director of the Applied Ethics Institute and assistant professor of philosophy at Utica College, discusses just this in his book "Disability and Justice: The...

Weber State University Presents a Workshop Production of Mockingbird, Which Will Explore Critical Issues Involving Autism and Gun Violence in America's Schools - PRNewswire
OGDEN, Utah, March 17, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Telitha E. Lindquist College of Arts & Humanities at Weber State University ( today announced the Department of Performing Arts workshop production, Mockingbird, a play by award-winning playwright, Julie...

Suspensions Place Kids With Disabilities At Risk, Report Finds - DisabiltyScoop
A panel of national experts is calling out schools for suspending students with disabilities at disproportionately high rates.
March 14, 2014

Northrop Grumman Named One of America's Top 50 Organizations for Multicultural Business Opportunities for 2014 - PRNewswire

FALLS CHURCH, Va., March 14, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) was rated the third best company in the nation for providing business opportunities to diverse business owners by More than 1.3 million diversity business...

Recipients of All-Metal Hip Implants, Such as the DePuy Pinnacle, are Strongly Encouraged by the US Drug Watchdog to Immediately Receive an MRI For Indications Of A Failure - PRNewswire

WASHINGTON, March 14, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The US Drug Watchdog is urging anyone who has received a DePuy Pinnacle all metal hip implant to contact their toll-free number 866-714-6466  as soon as possible. As the group would like to explain recipients of this type...

CDC Finds Obesity Risk Double For Those With Autism - DisabiltyScoop
New research suggests adolescents with developmental disabilities are significantly more likely than others their age to struggle with weight and those with autism are at greatest risk.

Feds To School: Retaliation In IEP Process Not OK - DisabiltyScoop
Federal education officials say that a school district went too far when a sheriff's deputy was sent to visit the parents of a special education student following their IEP meeting.

NY Times to Congress: Get Moving on ABLE - Autism Speaks - Advocasy

Bill would allow tax-exempt savings for adult needs of persons with disabilities

March 14, 2014

NEW YORK (March 14, 2014) -- The New York Times today urged Congress in an editorial to get moving on the ABLE Act, a proposal to create tax-exempt savings accounts for people with disabilities, noting that three-quarters of the House of Representatives and two-thirds of the Senate have signed on as cosponsors.

"Back in the old days, when Congress did crazy things like pass legislation, a sensible bill like the ABLE Act might have sailed to the president's desk," The Times editorialized. "But today, even with a long list of positives — it's a good idea, solves a pressing problem and has lots of bipartisan support — it's not a slam dunk, because there's always a way in Washington to squelch good ideas, especially those that involve tweaking the tax code and spending a little money."

Sponsored in the House by Rep. Ander Crenshaw (R-FL) and the Senate by Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA),ABLE(the Achieving a Better Life Experience Act)would authorize the creation of tax-exempt Section 529 accountsfor persons with disabilities to provide for their adult housing, transportation,job support and other needs. More than 50 disabilities groups, includingAutism Speaks, have spent years rallying support for the bill.

The Congressional Budget Office is now "scoring" the bill to assess its cost impact on the federal budget. The House version, HR.647, has 345 cosponsors; the Senate bill, S.313, has 67 cosponsors.See the full list of cosponsors here.

Learn how the world will Light It Up Blue for Autism Awareness on April 2.

March 13, 2014

Faith Comes By Hearing's Digital Bible Platform Adds 10 Sign Language Recordings in Advance of Deaf Bible 2.0 Release - PRNewswire

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., March 13, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Faith Comes By Hearing has added 10 sign languages to their expanding catalog of recorded Scripture that now stands at 797 languages. These translations join American Sign Language (ASL) on the ministry's Digital Bible Platform...

United Spinal Hosts Free Webinar - Getting the Right Mobility Equipment & Services - PRNewswire

NEW YORK, March 13, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- United Spinal Association's membership division, National Spinal Cord Injury Association (NSCIA), will host a free webinar in March on how people living with disabilities can improve their access to medical equipment, prescription drugs,...

MassMutual Brings Three Experts in Diversity Onboard to Better Serve Multicultural Marketplace - PRNewswire
SPRINGFIELD, Mass., March 13, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) announced that three new professionals are playing major roles in the Diversity & Inclusion and Multicultural Market Development, furthering the company's growing...

American Foundation For The Blind Says Discover 508 Has "Superior Usability" - PRNewswire
RESTON, Va., March 13, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Discover Technologies announced that AFB Tech, the American Foundation for the Blind's product evaluation, development, and consulting lab, issued preliminary findings of its review of Discover 508 for SharePoint software, a product to be...

Online Course Centers Around Reaching and Teaching Students with Autism and Asperger's Syndrome - PRNewswire
PETERBOROUGH, N.H., March 13, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Unlike 20 years ago, students with high-functioning autism and Asperger's Syndrome are now taught right alongside their neurotypical peers. Reaching and teaching these students requires better understanding of how their brains are wired,...

Special Education Ranking Puts Vanderbilt On Top - DisabiltyScoop
A handful of familiar names are topping this year's U.S. News & World Report ranking of training programs for special educators.

Senate Sends Obama 'Kids First' Research Act - Autism Speaks - Advocasy

Measure would allocate $126 million over 10 years for pediatric research

March 13, 2014

WASHINGTON, DC (March 13, 2014) -- The Senate by unanimous consent has approved theGabriella Miller Kids First Research Act providing $126 million over 10 years to the National Institutes of Health (NIH)for research on pediatric conditions, including autism. The bill goes to President Obama for his signature.

Announcedby House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) lastyear on World Autism Awareness Day, the measure picked up bipartisan sponsorship in the Senate led by Virginia's Democratic Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, and Utah Republican, Sen. Orrin Hatch. The bill (HR.2019) was named in honor of Gabriella Miller [left], a 10-year-old Virginia girl who died last October following an 11-month battle with an inoperable brain tumor. Over 100 advocacy groups, including Autism Speaks,endorsed the bill.

The bill would eliminate public funding for the presidential nominating conventions and redirect the fundingto the NIH for pediatric research. About $12.6 million a year would be made available.

"Autism Speaks commends Leader Cantor for forging this bipartisan commitment to funding research for autism and pediatric conditions," said Autism Speaks President Liz Feld. "This shows sound leadership and sets an important example about how to establish priorities in Congress."

“This bipartisan effort is about making sure pediatric disease research is a high priority,” said Kaine. "I applaud the leadership of my fellow Richmonder Eric Cantor in moving this bill through the House.”

Warner said he saw consensus thatpediatric research "should be a higher national priority.”

“Our children are our future, and furthering our efforts to fight against pediatric cancer and other diseases impacting our youth should be among our nation's top priorities," said Hatch. "I'm proud the House and Senate were able to come together in a bipartisan manner and pass this important bill, and I hope the President signs into law as soon as possible.”

March 12, 2014

Home Health Community Thanks Congressman Greg Walden for Calling Attention to "Devastating Effect" of Obamacare's Medicare Home Health Funding Cuts - PRNewswire
WASHINGTON, March 12, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Partnership for Quality Home Healthcare – a leading coalition of home health providers dedicated to improving the integrity, quality, and efficiency of home healthcare for our nation's seniors – today thanked...

Corporate Whistleblower Center Encourages Healthcare Workers With Well-Documented Proof of Medicare Fraud or Over-billing to Contact Them Regarding Reward Programs - PRNewswire

WASHINGTON, March 12, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The Corporate Whistleblower Center believes Medicare fraud, or overbilling in the healthcare industry is completely out of control, mainly because of little to no oversight. The group is especially interested in talking to physicians,...

Ohio National Financial Services Joins Effort to Raise Awareness of Disability, Income Protection - PRNewswire
PORTLAND, Maine, March 12, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Ohio National Financial Services today announced it has joined the national movement to educate working Americans about disability awareness and the importance of income protection by becoming the newest member of the nonprofit...

For Tech Companies, Hiring Workers With Disabilities ‘Cool' - DisabiltyScoop
From Zendesk to Twitter, companies in San Francisco's booming tech sector are lining up to hire people with developmental disabilities.
March 11, 2014

Blind Man to Drive Motorcycle at Thunder in the Valley Air Show - PRNewswire

COLUMBUS, Ga., March 11, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Federation of the Blind today announced that one of its members, Dan Parker, an experienced racecar builder and driver who lost his sight as the result of a racing accident in 2012, will again independently...

Mobility Ventures Announces 2014 Production Launch Of Universally Accessible MV-1 Vehicle - PRNewswire
MISHAWAKA, Ind., March 11, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Mobility Ventures LLC, designer and manufacturer of the first American vehicle purpose-built and designed from the ground up in support of wheelchair users to meet or exceed the guidelines of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA),...

Parents Magazine Study Reveals One In Four Moms Wonder Whether A Special Needs Evaluation Is Needed For Their Child - PRNewswire
NEW YORK, March 11, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Parents magazine today revealed exclusive results from a study of moms of children with special needs and those whose children are typically developing, comparing their opinions on the health and happiness of children in their communities. ...

Delays Common Among Siblings Of Kids With Autism - DisabiltyScoop
In nearly half of cases, the younger brothers and sisters of kids with autism also show signs of atypical development, researchers say.

Focus Shifts To Transparency In Disability Research - DisabiltyScoop
As an increasing number of clinical trials focus on developmental disabilities, researchers are taking new steps to ensure that those with the conditions know what they're getting into.

Senators Take Aim At SSI Asset Limits - DisabiltyScoop
Under a new bill proposed in the U.S. Senate, the amount of money that SSI recipients could save without losing access to their benefits would rise for the first time in over two decades.

Maryland Directs Insurers To Cover Autism Treatments - Autism Speaks - Advocasy

New state regulations require minimum coverages

March 11, 2014

BALTIMORE (March 10, 2014) --A Marylandagency has directed many of the state's private health plans to start covering treatments for individualswith autism through age 18.The Maryland Insurance Administration(MIA) finalized regulations that willrequire insurers to cover at least 25 hours a week of habilitative care for children with autism aged 18 months through 5 years, and a minimum of 10 hours a week of therapy for ages 6 though 18.

The new regulations culminate years of work by the MIAto clarify how Maryland's habilitative care law applied to autism treatment. Rather than enact autism insurance reform legislation, the Maryland Legislature in 2012 directed the state agency to undertake the review and implement new regulations.

Autism Speaks worked closely with Pathfinders for Autism and other Maryland advocates to help shape the new regulations to require the best coverage.

Still remaining to be completed is the enactment of a newlicensing statute to regulate ABA providers. Bills have been introduced in the House by Delegate Kirill Reznik(HB.150) and in the Senate by Senator Katherine Klausmeier (SB.694).

To learn more, go here.

March 10, 2014

National Tourette Syndrome Association Celebrates Tenth Year of Partnership with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - PRNewswire
BAYSIDE, N.Y., March 10, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The national Tourette Syndrome Association (TSA), a membership driven, non-profit organization dedicated to serving all people with Tourette Syndrome (TS), celebrates the start of the tenth year of its distinctive program...

Hawai'i Senate Votes 24-1 For Insurance Bill - Autism Speaks - Advocasy

Measure moves to House

March 07, 2014

HONOLULU (March 7, 2014) -- The Hawai'i Senate voted 24-1 for SB.2054, an autism insurance reform bill, and sent the measure to the House. The first hearing is scheduled Wednesday before the House Health Committee.

Introduced by Senators Josh Green,Suzanne Chun Oakland and Russell Ruderman, the bill would require state-regulated health plans to coverthe screening, diagnosis and evidence-based treatment of autism up to age 21, including up to $50,000 for behavioral therapy. Lifetime benefits for behavioral health therapy, such as applied behavior analysis (ABA), would be capped at $300,000.

The bill is similar to a measure that passed both houses of the Legislature last year, but then failed to clear conference committee. In addition to Autism Speaks, the measure is supported by the Hawaii Medical Association, the Hawaii Disability Rights Center, and other groups.Opposition has been raised from theHawaii Medical Service Association and Hawaii Association of Health Plans.

In addition to behavioral health ABA treatment, the bill would require coverage for autism-related psychiatric, psychological, pharmaceutical and therapeutic care, such as speech, occupational and physical therapy.

Hawaii is one of 16remaining states yet to require state-regulated health plans to cover essential autism treatments and services.

People With Disabilities Impetus For New Teaching Hotel - DisabiltyScoop
Construction is set to begin on a first-of-its-kind hotel where teaching and employing people with disabilities will be just as important as accommodating overnight guests.
March 7, 2014

Despite Hiring Uptick, More With Disabilities Jobless - DisabiltyScoop
Hiring picked up in February, but not enough to tamp down a rise in unemployment among Americans with disabilities, the U.S. Department of Labor said Friday.

Boy With No Friends Gets ‘GMA' Birthday Surprise - DisabiltyScoop
After a boy with special needs said he didn't want a birthday party because he had no friends, his mom turned to Facebook and he got the surprise of his life live on national television.

Lawmakers Press For Full Funding Of Special Education - DisabiltyScoop
Even as President Barack Obama called for virtually no change to special education spending in his budget proposal, members of Congress are looking to fully fund the program.

Pennsylvania Long-Term Care Commission Holds First Meeting - PRNewswire
HARRISBURG, Pa., March 7, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Secretary of Public Welfare Beverly Mackereth and Secretary of Aging Brian Duke today met for the first time with members of the Pennsylvania Long-Term Care Commission in an organizational meeting. Governor Tom Corbett...

The Professional Diversity Network Releases March 2014 Diversity Jobs Report - PRNewswire
CHICAGO, March 7, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- To complement data from the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics' monthly Employment Situation report, Professional Diversity Network, Inc. (Nasdaq:IPDN) released its latest Diversity Jobs Report today.  The report includes a...

The Latest Tech, Wheelchair Dancing, Adaptive Art--Abilities Expo HAS IT ALL for People with Disabilities on March 14-16 - PRNewswire
ATLANTA, March 7, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Thousands of people with disabilities, their families, caregivers, seniors, wounded veterans and healthcare professionals are expected to attend Abilities Expo on March 14-16, 2014 at the Georgia World Congress Center, Hall C4. Admission is free and...

Training Center Prepares Skiers and Snowboarders with Disabilities for Paralympics from Donor Support - PRNewswire

PARK CITY, Utah, March 7, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The National Ability Center (NAC) in Park City, Utah has prepared many Paralympic athletes for the Paralympics in Sochi, Russia at their training center. The NAC provides training and competition programs for people of all...

March 6, 2014

SignTalk Foundation Addresses AIPAC's Lack of Inclusivity of People with Disabilities - PRNewswire
NEW YORK, March 6, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Following on the heels of the global sign language interpreter fiasco at the Nelson Mandela Memorial service, SignTalk Foundation recently learned that another higher profile event was marred by the exclusion of the Deaf...

"Access to Independence" Online Magazine Debuts for Disability Community - PRNewswire
LANCASTER, Pa., March 6, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- "Access to Independence," a free, online magazine for the disability community was recently launched by United Disabilities Services (UDS) which is headquartered in Lancaster, PA. "UDS has so much experience and expertise to share with those...

New ‘Handicapped' Symbol Featured At Museum Of Modern Art - DisabiltyScoop
An updated version of the familiar blue and white icon that's long symbolized accessibility in parking lots and restrooms alike is now taking its place in the art world.

Medicaid Coverage For ABA Raised in California - Autism Speaks - Advocasy

Senate President Steinberg suggests possibility of funding Medi-Cal coverage

March 05, 2014

SACRAMENTO (March 5, 2014) --The leader of the California Senate has raised the possibility of funding coverage for applied behavior analysis (ABA) for autism through Medi-Cal, the state's Medicaid program.

Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg raised theMedicaid funding issue at the conclusion of a hearingby the Senate Select Committee on Autism & Related Disorders on the effectiveness of SB.946, the state's 2011 autism insurance reform law.Steinberg, who authored the law, said the law on balance has been a "tremendous success."

"The next step, of course, is extending (applied behavior analysis) therapy to families who are on Medi-Cal," Steinberg said, according to California Healthline. "It's equal protection. If it's good for some kids, then why isn't it good for all kids?

"It's an issue of money, and we intend to take that up during the budget session," Steinberg said. "We ain't done yet. There's one more budget cycle."

Last year, the Legislature and Governor Jerry Brown failedto reach a funding agreement to continue autism therapies for 900,000 children who transitioned out of the Healthy Families Programinto Medi-Cal. The transition was supposed to have resulted in no loss of services, but instead many families said their children lost access to ABA once in Medi-Cal.

KXTV-10,Sacramento's ABA affiliate station, reported on the hearing:

March 5, 2014

The Science of Health and Wellness for Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (MT UCEDD) - AUCD
University of Montana Rural Institute researchers are helping to set a national agenda on health and disability. Dr. Kathleen Humphries, a nutrition researcher at the Rural Institute and the UM School of Public and Community Health Sciences, is among national leaders identifying what we know and what we need to know to reduce health disparities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Early Childhood Personnel Center at the UCONN UCEDD Releases Personnel Standards for Every State - AUCD
The Early Childhood Personnel Center serves as a national resource on personnel standards, competencies, and recommended practices, and assists States in aligning personnel standards to national professional organization standards for personnel who serve children with disabilities and their families. In January 2014 ECPC released a searchable data base of all personnel standards for professional disciplines serving infants and young children (age birth to five) and their families.

Vanderbilt Kennedy Center and UT Boling Center Announce Availability of IDD Healthcare E-Toolkit - AUCD
Now available online at, the 'Health Care For Adults With Intellectual And Developmental Disabilities: A Toolkit for Primary Care Providers' (IDD Toolkit) offers health care providers best-practice tools and a wealth of information regarding specific medical and behavioral concerns of adults with IDD, including resources for patients and families.

UM Rural Institute (MT UCEDD) Awarded Grant from OSERS - AUCD
Innovative studies on issues in rural America are underway at the University of Montana Rural Institute, thanks to a five-year grant of $4.38 million through the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.

Glenn Beck to Headline 2nd Annual Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Award Gala in Philadelphia on March 27th - PRNewswire

PHILADELPHIA, March 5, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Since 2007, Terri Schiavo's family has marked the anniversary of her death on March 31, 2005 by celebrating Terri's Day. Through the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network (Narberth, PA), they have channeled the national controversy that erupted...

Portlight Strategies and the Reeve Foundation Partner to Host the "Getting It Right" Workshop - PRNewswire

CHARLESTON, S.C., March 5, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On the heels of a destructive winter season, Portlight Strategies has teamed up with the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation to co-host the New Jersey "Getting It Right" workshop, which provides a forum to review and establish...

HeartShare Human Services of NY and St. Vincent's Services Newly Approved Affiliation - PRNewswire
NEW YORK, March 5, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The Boards of HeartShare Human Services of New York and St. Vincent's Services, both located in Brooklyn (NY), have approved an affiliation of their respective agencies.  St. Vincent's Services will be known as HeartShare St. Vincent's Services...

Special Olympics and Best Buddies Celebrate 6th Annual Spread the Word to End the Word® Day on March 5th - PRNewswire
WASHINGTON, March 5, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Special Olympics, Best Buddies, and supporters from around the world will unite today on the sixth Spread the Word to End the Word® day to continue building awareness for society to stop and think about its use of the R-word...

Social Security Ups Disability Safeguards - DisabiltyScoop
The Social Security Administration is taking new steps to bar criminals from collecting benefits on behalf of those with disabilities who are unable to manage their own finances.
March 4, 2014

Feds Earmark Millions For Disability Housing Assistance - DisabiltyScoop
Federal housing officials are putting $120 million on the table to help thousands of people with disabilities access rental assistance.

Supreme Court Considers Role Of IQ In Intellectual Disability - DisabiltyScoop
In oral arguments Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court took up the issue of whether states can establish a hard-and-fast IQ score to determine if a person has intellectual disability.

Salt Lake Trib Hosts Live Chat On Utah Autism Bills - Autism Speaks - Advocasy

Jon Owen with Utah Autism Coalition makes case for SB.57

March 03, 2014

SALT LAKE CITY (March3, 2014) -- The Salt Lake Tribune conducted a live webchat on two autism insurance bills before the Legislature featuring reporter Kirsten Stewart, Jon Owen, president of the Utah Autism Coalition, Rep. Ronda Menlove and Kelly Atkinson, executive director of the Utah Health Insurance Association.

Menlove is sponsoring HB.88, which would makea pilot state program that serves 300 children with autism permanent. Menlove has said the program would address about 10 percent of the state's need.

Owen said his group supports SB.57, sponsored by Sen. Brian Shiozawa, which would require state-regulated health insurers to cover medically necessary treatments for autism, including applied behavior analysis (ABA). Owen said the bill, which passed the Senate last week, would complement Menlove's initiative by enabling families with insurance to use those benefits rather than join in the competition for benefitsprovided through the pilot program.

March 3, 2014

HHS Releases Report to Congress on Combating Autism Act - AUCD
This report to Congress, required by the Combating Autism Reauthorization Act of 2011, provides programmatic and budget information from lead agencies and updates on autism prevalence, diagnosis, screening, and average age for intervention.

Achieving Healthy Weight for People with Disabilities - AUCD
There are five new issue briefs that describe what people and organizations can do to help combat obesity among people with disabilities and assist them in achieving healthy weight and an improved quality of life. CDC's Division of Human Development and Disability at the NCBDDD released the briefs, each targeted at specific audiences including: communities, health departments, employers, schools and healthcare professionals.

AUCD Supports President's State of the Union Agenda of Equality and Opportunity for All Americans - AUCD
AUCD strongly supports the agenda of equality and opportunity that the President laid out in the State of the Union address last night. While the President did not mention people with disabilities specifically, his agenda includes policies that the disability community has long championed and we believe that when he says everyone he means everyone.

AUCD Comments on MCH's proposal to transform the Title V Block Grant - AUCD
In response to a recent proposal around transforming the Maternal and Child Health block grant, the following comments were submitted to Dr. Michael Lu of MCHB on behalf of AUCD.

Kaiser Health News Highlights Habilitation Benefits in ACA - AUCD
In their "Insuring Your Health" series, Kaiser Health News discusses the importance habilitative benefits - now available because of the Affordable Care Act - with input from AUCD network members and staff.

AUCD Applauds Stronger Medicaid Rules on Community Living - AUCD
SILVER SPRING, MD (January 13, 2014) The Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) applauds the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for the regulation released Friday that strengthens the Medicaid home and community-based services available to people with disabilities.

CMS Releases Final Rule on Home and Community Based Services - AUCD
On January 10 the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued a regulation that greatly strengthens access to community-based services in the Medicaid program.

Health U.: A Nutrition Curriculum for Teenagers with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities - AUCD
The Health U. curriculum contains age-appropriate nutrition education materials for adolescents and young adults with mild to moderate intellectual disabilities. The goal of the Health U. program is to encourage a healthy lifestyle.

Mental Health First Aid Certification Training Reaches Major Milestone in Iowa (IA UCEDD) - AUCD
As of November 2013, a team of seven instructors from the University of Iowa have certified over 2,000 individuals in Mental Health First Aid, an evidence-based education program that helps the public identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders. The training introduces participants to risk factors and warning signs of mental health problems, builds understanding of their impact, and teaches participants a 5-step action plan of how to engage and support individuals who may experience a mental health crisis. The model of providing comprehensive consumer and family driven services in a 10-county region proved highly successful and cost-effective in meeting the needs of children with serious emotional disturbances. Though Federal funding ended in September of 2012, the model was sustained through funding from the Iowa legislature and the establishment of billable services.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                      CONTACT:   January 20, 2014                                                                Kaelan Richards: 202-973-7175                                                                                                         $50,000 prize pool for anyone who can bring the ideas to life! More than 400 ideas submitted through “Change My World in 1 Minute” contest to help people with disabilities around …
Read More

Under New DSM, Autism Diagnoses May ‘Significantly Decrease' - DisabiltyScoop
The number of people diagnosed with autism could be reduced by nearly a third under new diagnostic criteria for the developmental disorder, researchers say.

Concerns Raised Over Testing Kids With Severe Disabilities - DisabiltyScoop
As stories emerge of students with even the most severe disabilities being forced to take standardized tests, officials in one state are starting to rethink the approach.
February 28, 2014

Jackson Roush, PhD Named the Director/Principal Investigator for CIDD NC LEND - AUCD
The Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities (CIDD) is pleased to announce that Jackson Roush, PhD has been named the Director/Principal Investigator of our Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) program.

Autism Insurance Bill Clears Utah Senate, Moves To House - Autism Speaks - Advocasy

State with highest autism prevalence in the nation moves step closer to requiring treatments

February 28, 2014

SALT LAKE CITY (February 28, 2014) -- The Utah Senate has approved SB.57,thefurthest an autism insurance reform bill has progressed in the state Legislature since efforts began in 2009. Utah has the highest prevalence of autism in the nation at 1 in 47, yet is one of of only 16 states not to require private insurers to cover medically necessary treatments.

The vote was 18-7.

"Autism Speaks commends Senator Brian Shiozawa [left] for his leadership in steering this urgently needed legislation through the Utah Senate," said Mike Wasmer, Autism Speaks' associate director of state government affairs. "We join with the Utah Autism Coalition and the state's autism community in urging the House to now do what's right and pass this bill."

Shiozawa's bill would require state-regulated health plansto coverspeech, occupational and physical therapy, psychological and psychiatric care, and behavioral health treatments, including applied behavior analysis (ABA).Behavioral health treatment benefits would be capped annually at $36,000 throughage 9 and $18,000 from ages 9 through 18.

During debate on the bill Thursday, Shiozawa said autism is "in epidemic proportions, the insurance companies themselves say that autism is in epidemic proportions in the state of Utah. They acknowledge that this is a real condition, they also acknowledge that there is a best therapy for this.

"We're asking that they simply cover this condition," Shiozawa said.By supporting the bill, Shiozawa told his colleagues, "You give the children and their families, the thousands of children in the state of Utah a voice, a voice to be heard by the insurance companies, a voice that says to them we faithfully pay our premiums, please cover our condition."

Shiozawa said he had attempted to craft a workable bill by working with two major Utah insurers.

"I have gone to their offices, I have sat down with them, I have offered that we will do whatever we need to do to negotiate on this, on dates of services, on the ages, on the caps," he said. "Make this your bill, this is your opportunity. And their response is, no, we're going to fight this and we're not going to pay for this."

Senator Scott Jenkins of Plain City spoke against the bill, calling it a form of socializing costs. "This is making it a mandate for the insurance companies to cover their insured," he complained.

However, Senator Todd Weiler from Woods Cross said the autism debate had changed his views on insurance after a constituent explained how his son with autism was initially denied coverage for a broken arm.

"The insurance company denied the bill using as an excuse the child had been diagnosed with autism and that the broken arm most likely was caused because the child was autistic," Weiler said."That is discrimination. And if that's how insurance companies are going to treat children in my district, that's going to change my opinion about insurance mandates."

Senator Deidre Henderson of Spanish Fork said the insurance lobby had indicated that the billing was later resolved after an investigation determined the original denial was the result of a "miscode." She voted against the legislation.

Senator Karen Mayne, a retired para-educator from West Valley City, said when she began her career, no more than one or two children in the school had autism."When I left we had just about one in every class...This is an epidemic, this is divorce city, this is crisis city and there is only so much energy in a family and it does more than harm the child, it harms the family, it harmssociety."

National Federation of the Blind Applauds Senate Introduction of TEACH Act - PRNewswire

BALTIMORE and WASHINGTON , Feb. 28, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --  The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) , the oldest and largest nationwide organization of blind...

Blind Adventurer, Erik Weihenmayer, Launches National Campaign to Raise Awareness of Non-24-Hour Sleep-Wake Disorder - PRNewswire
WASHINGTON, Feb. 28, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Vanda Pharmaceuticals Inc. (VANDA) (NASDAQ: VNDA) today announced that it has partnered with Erik Weihenmayer, a world-renowned adventurer and the only blind person to climb Mount Everest, to support the Non-24 Share More Campaign and launch...

HHS Report to Congress: How Federal Funds For Autism Are Spent - Autism Speaks - Advocasy

Agency shows progress made under Combating Autism Act

February 28, 2014

WASHINGTON, DC (February 28, 2014) -- The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has reported to Congress on how funding dedicated to autism research and services under the Combating Autism Act (CAA) has been allocated and theprogress that has been achieved under the law.

"Since the enactment of the Combating Autism Act in 2006, and its reauthorization under the Combating Autism Reauthorization Act of 2011, federal agencies, in partnership with the community, have made significant strides in addressing many of the pressing needs of individuals and families affected by autism spectrum disorder,"HHS reported.

The 2011 law dedicated $231 million a year in federal funding for autism research and services through September of this year to HHS, allocated primarily to the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Health Resources and Services Administration.

"Autism Speaks is actively working with our champions in Congress to reauthorize the CAA before September 30, and we will again demand this accountability over how federal dollars are spent on autism activities," said Liz Feld, president of Autism Speaks. "Progress has been gained in our understanding and treatment of autism, but much more needs to be done. The law should continue to provide structure and transparency for the most efficient and effective use of federal dollars.

"Autism Speaks has provided nearly $200 million for autism research and is funding breakthrough science that can make a difference for our community," she said, "but autism is an issue that covers the lifespan and we need a national strategy now to meet the employment, housing and community integration needs of all those affected.

"But we can't do this alone. We need a strong federal partner to address what is a national epidemic."

Among the advances cited by HHS between 2010 and 2013 were:

  • the new prevalence estimate of 1 in 88 children, along with a finding that more children are being diagnosed by age 3, creating critical opportunities forearly intervention
  • expanded outreach to underserved populations to access diagnoses
  • new findings on risk factors, including environmental risk factors such as nutrients, air pollutants, pesticides, and paternal age
  • studies of conditions that often co-occur with ASD, such as gastrointestinal disorders, sleep disruptions, and epilepsy, are contributing to intervention strategies
  • efforts to develop and evaluate educational interventions, as well as provide guidance for schools on how to make school environments safe and conducive to learning for students with disabilities

"While the collaborative efforts of federal and state agencies and community partners have resulted in many research advances and improvements in services over the pastseven years, all acknowledge the growing needs of the community and the work that remains to be done,"HHS concluded. "Continued collaborative efforts between the public and private sectors will be essential to drive the innovations that will lead to improved identification, interventions, services, and policies that will enhance the lives of people with ASD and their families."

February 27, 2014

Dip, Sip and Tweet: Argo Tea to Warm Up Polar Plunge Participants with Hot Tea and Host Twitter Contest to Encourage Support of Special Olympics Chicago - PRNewswire

CHICAGO, Feb. 27, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Argo Tea is proud to be the official hot beverage sponsor of the 14th Annual Chicago Polar Plunge. If anticipated temperatures are any indication, thousands of Chicagoans will be in need of warmth while supporting their CommuniTEA this weekend at...

Genes May Give Girls Developmental Edge - DisabiltyScoop
New research adds to the theory that girls are more naturally protected than boys from developing autism and other developmental disorders.

Guidosimplex Hand Controls For Disabled Drivers - PRNewswire

SAN DIEGO, Feb. 27, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Better Life Mobility Centers of San Diego is proud to offer the latest in hand control technology – Guidosimplex Hand Controls. In our showrooms in Riverside, San Diego, Los Angeles and Las Vegas you'll find complete driving...

Back App: Proven to Reduce Back Pain - Another Triumph of Nordic Design - PRNewswire

AULI, Norway, February 27, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --   Back App, proven to improve back pain and prevent office workers from falling victim to Sitting Disease, is a chair that is very different from all others. To view the Multimedia News Release, please...

4 UCEDDs and LENDs Receive Grants from the Special Hope Foundation Catalytic Community Outreach Model: Comprehensive Health Care for Adults IDD Grants - AUCD
The Special Hope Foundation, in collaboration with AADMD, is pleased to announce that four universities within the UCEDD/LEND network were selected to each receive $50,000 of funding through the Special Hope Foundation's grant program. These grants will support the organizations within their projects that promote comprehensive health care for adults with developmental disabilities by raising awareness at the healthcare student level and by supporting their communities. The organizations receiving grants include: Center for Human Development at University of Alaska Anchorage, JFK Partners at University of Colorado, Sonoran UCEDD at University of Arizona, and University of Rochester UCEDD. The Foundation requested proposals throughout the UCEDD/LEND network and carefully reviewed and considered each application.
February 26, 2014

Older Dads More Likely To Have Kids With Autism, Study Finds - DisabiltyScoop
A large new study is adding to mounting evidence tying older fathers to an increased risk of having children with autism and other disorders.

Teen With Down Syndrome To Play For Harlem Globetrotters - DisabiltyScoop
Fresh off a stint with the Philadelphia 76ers, a teen with Down syndrome is being tapped to play with the famed Harlem Globetrotters.

"Olive Oil Man" Reigns in South Carolina Lowcountry - PRNewswire
SAN FRANCISCO and CHARLESTON, S.C., Feb. 26, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- A couple of years ago Mark "Morty" Mathias lost his ability to walk but not his zeal for sales. By the time he was diagnosed in 1992 with limb-girdle muscular dystrophy, or limb-girdle MD, Mathias had already distinguished...

Therap Services Conference To Support Individuals With Developmental Disabilities And Their Support Circles - PRNewswire
WATERBURY, Conn., Feb. 26, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Therap Services, the leader in Developmental Disabilities electronic health record and client data management, has announced Therap's Conference for People with Disabilities and their Circle of Support on May 7-8, 2014 in New Jersey....

Suit: Red Tape, Disability Stereotypes Mar Path To Driving - DisabiltyScoop
Advocates are suing claiming that people with disabilities seeking driver's licenses are being subjected to unfair scrutiny because of stereotypes about their abilities.
February 25, 2014

What's So Funny? Plenty For Parents Of Kids With Autism - DisabiltyScoop
With the help of some experienced comedians, parents are finding the humor in raising their kids with autism and hoping to entertain others along the way.

Crime Odds Nearly Triple For Those With Disabilities - DisabiltyScoop
The number of violent crimes committed against people with disabilities is on the rise, new government data indicates.

Pediatricians Update Guidelines For Off-Label Drugs - DisabiltyScoop
A leading pediatricians' group is urging doctors to use evidence and their best judgement in prescribing "off-label" drugs, a common practice with kids with autism and other disabilities.

Georgia Senate Approves Compromise Insurance Bill - Autism Speaks - Advocasy

Measure would provide coverage through age 6

February 25, 2014

ATLANTA (February 25, 2014) -- The Georgia Senatevoted unanimously fora compromise autism insurance bill after hearing several lawmakers, some in tears and onequoting fromthe Gettysburg Address, argue for passage of the bill. It goes now to the House of Representatives.

Sponsored by Senator Tim Golden of Valdosta, the chair of the Senate Insurance Committee, the bill, SB.397, would require state-regulated health plans to cover the screening, diagnosis and treatment of autism through age six. Coverage of applied behavior analysis (ABA) treatment would be covered up to $35,000 a year.

"This is a finely crafted bill," said Golden. "If it is to have any chance at all (in the House), it needs to come out of the Senate with no changes."

Several speakers credited Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle for breaking an impasse in the Senate by helping to broker the new bill. Cagle spoke for the bill before the Insurance Committee last week, the first time he has ever appeared beforea legislative committee.

The Senate voted 51-0 for the bill, whichisa newcompromise version ofAva's Law. Sen. John Albers, the sponsor of the original Ava's Law bill, spoke in favor of the compromise version.

"This is a great day for Georgia," said Albers. "This helps children,it helps people with specialneeds and it saves the state money, allat the same time. If you every voted for a bill like that, I would like to know what it is."

Ava's Law was named after Ava Bullard of Lyons, whose mother Anna has helped rally advocates around the state for better insurance. Her uncle, Senator Tommie Williams, spoke passionately for the bill on the Senate floor and took on the National Federation of Independent Business, a lobbying arm for small businesses.

"I own five businesses and I've started other businesses that failed," Williams said. "When I buy something I'm not just interested in the lowest price, I'm interested in quality at the best price.

"That's what they (NFIB) should be doing for me as a small businessman, and not just saying every mandate is bad."

1.3 Million Nonfatal Violent Crimes Against Persons with Disabilities in 2012, Unchanged from 2011 - PRNewswire
WASHINGTON, Feb. 25, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- An estimated 1.3 million nonfatal violent crimes occurred against persons with disabilities in 2012, the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) announced today. While the annual number of victimizations increased from 2008 to 2012, the...
February 24, 2014

National Federation of the Blind Applauds Resolution to Phase Out Section 14(c) of Fair Labor Standards Act - PRNewswire

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Feb. 24, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) commented today on California Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez's recently introduced resolution that, if passed, will encourage Congress to phase out and eventually repeal Section...

South Dakota House Votes 57-12 For Autism Insurance Reform - Autism Speaks - Advocasy

Bill moves to Senate with no caps on age, visits, or dollars

February 24, 2014

PIERRE, SD (February 24, 2014) -- The South Dakota House of Representatives yesterday approved an autism insurance reform bill 57-12 and sent the measure to the Senate. As amended by a House committeee, the bill, HB.1257,sets no dollar or visit caps on treatments, or age limits forreceiving treatment, which includes applied behavior analysis (ABA).

Rep. Scott Munsterman, the chair of the House Health and Human Services Committee, said the bill would apply to health plans covering 60,000 to 90,000 South Dakotans. In response to criticisms the legislation would not cover more indviduals, he said it could be amended in the Senate to be broader.

Much of the floor debate on the bill involvedcriticisms of the insurance industry. In response to an industry claim that autism coverage would raise premiums as much as $7 per person per year, one Representative said, "$7 a year? That's peanuts, we blow that out our gas tank every day."

Rep. Scott Ecklund [left], a Sioux Falls physician, said the state has only two developmental pediatricians, both of whom practice inSioux Falls. One told him that ABA has over 30 years of evidence to support its use as a medical treatment for autism, but that without insurance coverage too few families can access the therapy for their children.

Ecklund went on to mock the insurance industry's complaints about mandates."As a physician, the insurance companies mandate me all the time with their requirements," he said.

National Federation of the Blind Applauds Settlement with PARCC, Inc. - PRNewswire

NEW MILFORD, N.J., Feb. 24, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) today applauded a settlement agreement reached among itself, its affiliate organizations the NFB of New Jersey and the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children (NOPBC),...

FCC Looks To Improve TV Accessibility - DisabiltyScoop
For the first time, the Federal Communications Commission is taking steps to ensure that closed captioning actually matches what's said on television.

2014 AUCD Disability Leadership Policy Fellow: Call for Applications - AUCD
The Policy Fellowship is an opportunity for an advanced network member to live and work in Washington, DC for one year, learning about AUCD, current legislation affecting people with disabilities and their families, and exercising leadership skills. The Fellow's responsibilities will be developed based on the needs of the Association and the interest and experience of the Fellow. Deadline: March 31; start date: September 2014.
February 22, 2014

Steinberg Calls March 4 Hearing To Assess Insurance Law - Autism Speaks - Advocasy

Select Committee on Autism will focus on implementation

February 21, 2014

SACRAMENTO (February 21, 2014) -- California Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg has scheduled a March 4 hearing to examine the impacts of the state's 2011 autism insurance reform law, including a review of how the Regional Centers have been affected.

The hearing before the Senate Select Committee on Autism & Related Disorders will take place at the State Capitol in Room 4203starting at 1:30 pm. A preliminary agenda is HERE.

Steinberg, who sponsored the 2011 law (SB.946), said the informational hearing will focus on four areas:

  • Access to care: Are consumers and families obtaining appropriate services and interventions in a timely and effective manner?
  • Assessment and treatment: Are consumers and families obtaining services and interventions from appropriate and qualified networks of providers?
  • Fiscal implications: What are the financial issues (savings and expenses) that have ensued from the autism mandate and how are they affecting consumers/families, regional centers, providers, health plans and other stakeholders?
  • Benefits & Challenges: Are there other issues, perspectives, and topics that merit consideration in the implementation of the autism mandate?
  • A significant portion of the hearing is expected to fous on the law's impact on the Regional Centers. Kristin Jacobson, representing the Alliance of California Autism Organizations, will present the findings of a statewide surveyof consumers conducted by the Autism Society.

    February 21, 2014

    Chained CPI Must Be Off the Table in Further Budget Talks, Union President Says - PRNewswire

    WASHINGTON, Feb. 21, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Obama administration made the right decision in withdrawing a budget proposal that would cut cost-of-living adjustments for Social Security recipients, veterans and federal retirees, but it's making a grave mistake by keeping the...

    The Latest Tech, Adaptive Climbing Wall, Wheelchair Dancing, Art for Kids--Abilities Expo HAS IT ALL for People with Disabilities on February 28 - March 2 - PRNewswire
    LOS ANGELES, Feb. 21, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Thousands of people with disabilities, their families, caregivers, seniors, wounded veterans and healthcare professionals are expected to attend Abilities Expo on February 28 – March 2, 2014 at the Los Angeles Convention Center,...

    Our Generation Supports Obama's Budget Proposal on Social Security - PRNewswire

    ALEXANDRIA, Va., Feb. 21, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Our Generation responds to President Obama's stance on sparing cuts to Social Security.  According to news reports, President Obama's budget will abandon a proposed cut to Social Security benefits.  According to The Hill,...

    Congress Eyeing Tax-Free Disability Savings Accounts - DisabiltyScoop
    With significant public backing and support in Congress, advocates say federal lawmakers are poised to consider a major change to the money-saving abilities of those with disabilities.

    ‘Serial Plaintiffs' Do Battle With Small Businesses Over ADA - DisabiltyScoop
    In just one weekend, a California man with disabilities dropped in on nearly 80 small businesses he deemed to be inaccessible and sued them all. He's not alone.
    February 20, 2014

    Independent Living Centers Help Obliterate Obstacles to Aging with Disabilities in Rural Communities - PRNewswire
    SACRAMENTO, Calif., Feb. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- As California baby boomers enter their senior years, many will face the unique challenges of living independently in rural areas. According to the California Department of Aging's State Plan on Aging 2013-2017, the number of people age 60...

    Advocates And State Of New Jersey Settle Federal Lawsuit To Ensure Students With Disabilities Receive An Appropriate Education - PRNewswire
    NEWARK, N.J., Feb. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Nearly seven years after the lawsuit was filed, and more than five years since the District Court denied the State's motion to dismiss, disability advocates entered into an historic settlement with the New Jersey Department of...

    Camp HASC Marathon Runners Defeat Massive New York Snowstorm With Assistance from Community Benefactor and JetBlue Airlines - PRNewswire
    NEW YORK, Feb. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Camp HASC's annual Fort Lauderdale marathon is a crucial fundraising event for the special needs children camp based in upstate New York. However this year's event faced a unique challenge due to the massive blizzard that struck the area over the...

    Does Autism Make Moms Parent Differently? - DisabiltyScoop
    A new study suggests that moms of kids with autism address their children's behavior differently than parents of kids without the developmental disorder.

    Breakthrough In Georgia As New Bill Heads To Senate Floor - Autism Speaks - Advocasy

    Lt. Gov. Cagle attends hearing to support bill

    February 20, 2014

    ATLANTA (February 20, 2014) -- The Georgia Senate Insurance Committee yesterday unanimously approved a new autism insurance reform bill that had been introduced just hours earlier. During the hearing, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle [below], making his first-ever appearanceat a committee meeting, offered support for the state's autism community.

    Sponsored by Senate Insurance Committee Chairman Tim Golden, the new bill (SB.397) now moves to the Senate floor where a vote could come as early as Tuesday. The bill differs in a number of respects from Ava's Law (SB.191), requiring:

    • Assessments, evaluations or tests by a licensed physician or licensed psychologist to diagnose whether an individual has an autism spectrum disorder
    • Applied Behavior Analysis up to $35,000 per year provided or supervised by a BCBA
    • Counseling services provided by a licensed psychiatrist, psychologist, clinical professional counselor or clinical social worker
    • Therapy services provided by a licensed or certified speech therapist, occupational therapist or physical therapist
    • Coverage throughage six

    "Autism Speaks commends Lt. Gov. Cagle, Senator Golden and Senator Renee Unterman for persevering on this issue to find a workable bill," said Judith Ursitti, Autism Speaks' director fo state government affairs. "This is a bittersweet moment as the new bill would provide less coverage than Ava's Law, but this is an important first step as we continue to seek the best coverage for the most families."

    Sen. John Albers, the sponsor of Ava's Law, urged advocates to support the new bill. Neither the Albers bill nor its House companion bill, sponsored byRep. Ben Harbin, have received committee hearings with time starting to run short in the current Georgia legislative session.

    On Monday, the House approved Gov. Nathan Deal's proposed new state budget which would extend autism insurance coverage for state employees and teachers.

    Insurance Bill Heads To House Floor In South Dakota - Autism Speaks - Advocasy

    Committee votes unanimously to require coverage of autism treatment

    February 20, 2014

    PIERRE, SD (February 20, 2014) -- The South Dakota House Health and Human Services Committee today strengthened then unanimously approved HB.1257, the autism insurance reformbill, sending the measure to the House floor. The floor vote is expected early next week.

    "Autism Speaks joins the South Dakota autism community in thanking Rep. Scott Munsterman [left], the committee chair, for moving the bill so quickly," said Mike Wasmer, Autism Speaks associate director of state government affairs. "Because of his leadership, the bill has also been significantly strengthened through his committee amendments which impose no age, dollar or visit limits."

    The bill would require state-regulated health plans to cover the screening, diagnosis and treatment of autism. Covered treatments would include applied behavior analysis (ABA), psychiatric, psychologicaland pharmaceutical care, and speech, occupational and physical therapy.

    South Dakota is one of just 16 remaining states yet to enact autism insurance reform, but is among a host of those states which are actively moving legislation to enact reform. Among its neighboring states, Minnesota, Montana and Iowa have enacted reform laws, and Nebraska advocates will kick off their 2014 campaign next Tuesday in Lincoln with Gov. Dave Heineman and state Senator Colby Coash.

    February 19, 2014

    Victory Living Programs Hosts "Cheeseburger in Paradise" To Help Individuals with Disabilities Help Themselves - PRNewswire

    FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., Feb. 19, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Does attending an event with the best burgers in town sound like fun? Victory Living Programs' Cheeseburger in Paradise event is one of Fort Lauderdale's most anticipated fundraisers of the year offering a casual, fun island theme...

    CENTURY 21 System Raises Approximately $2.4 Million For Easter Seals In 2013 - PRNewswire

    MADISON, N.J., Feb. 19, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Century 21 Real Estate LLC, the franchisor of the world's largest real estate franchise sales organization, announced today that the CENTURY 21® System raised approximately $2.4 million in 2013 for Easter Seals. This donation is...

    Viral Video Leads To NBA Deal For Teen With Down Syndrome - DisabiltyScoop
    After video of a teen with Down syndrome scoring big points for his high school basketball team went viral, he signed what's believed to be a first-of-its-kind NBA contract.

    Maine UCEDD Receives APLU Exemplary Program Award for Community Engagement - AUCD
    The University of Maine Center for Community Inclusion and Disability Studies has received a 2013 Exemplary Program Award from the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU) in recognition of 20 years of commitment to community engagement. APLU is a research, policy, and advocacy organization representing 219 public research universities, land-grant institutions, state university systems, and related organizations.

    Maureen van Stone (MD UCEDD) to Receive Whittier Law School 2014 Distinguished Alumni Service Award - AUCD
    Maureen van Stone, the Associate Director of the Maryland Center for Developmental Disabilites at Kennedy Krieger Institute, will be honored by the Dean of Whittier Law School at the Alumni Awards & Reunion Reception on April 5, 2014, in Long Beach, California. Ms. van Stone will receive the "2014 Distinguished Alumni Service Award" for her advocacy on behalf of children with disabilities throughout Maryland.

    Autism Speaks Statement On Kansas 'Compromise' Bill - Autism Speaks - Advocasy

    Mike Wasmer explains why advocates should oppose HB.2704, support Rubin bill

    February 19, 2014

    TOPEKA (February 19, 2014) -- Autism Speaks is urging Kansas lawmakers to reject HB.2704, a bill introduced late last week in the House Insurance Committee and misrepresented as a "compromise" bill by its proponents. Neither the autism community nor Rep. John Rubin, the sponsor of HB.2531, have endorsed this new bill.

    Take action HERE to stop HB.2704 and move the Rubin bill instead!

    Mike Wasmer, a Kansas resident and Autism Speaks associate director of state government affairs, explains why HB.2704 would be bad for Kansas:

    For six years, parents of children with autism in Kansas have put their trust in their elected officials to do the right thing. Sadly, those in power in the Kansas legislature continue to ignore their constituents to the detriment of our most vulnerable citizens. HB. 2704 is just the latest in a series of bad jokes being played on the autism community of Kansas.Rather than improving access to medically necessary treatment for autism, HB.2704 proposes cutting existing autism services for state employees and offers a meaningless benefit to a mere fraction of the rest of us.

    In response to public outcry over another year of political gamesmanship during the 2013 legislative session that prevented a hearing on the autism insurance bill, the Kansas City Star reported that “House Speaker Ray Merrick, who was accused of bottling up the autism bill this year, has vowed to push a bill through himself next session if the insurance industry won't compromise on the issue.”While Speaker Merrick promised to facilitate negotiations between autism advocates and the health insurance industry, these negotiations were not undertaken in good faith.

    Hearing nothing from the Speaker's office regarding possible negotiations over the legislative interim, Representative John Rubin and 34 House co-sponsors filed HB.2531. The bill would preserve existing coverage for medically necessary treatment of autism provided under the 2010 state employees “pilot project” and extend that coverage to hundreds more children with autism covered by state-regulated health plans. The response? House leadership promptly sent a clear message that HB.2531 would not get a hearing and instead called a meeting between autism advocates and representatives from the health insurance lobby.

    Before those discussions were complete, the insurance lobby filed HB.2704 in the House Insurance Committee. The committee chair, Representative Scott Schwab, has announced that HB 2704 is “the compromise bill.”

    HB 2704 is NOT a compromise between autism advocates and the insurance lobby

    Autism advocates will not support a bill that cuts hard-won autism services for state employees.Autism advocates will not support a bill that imposes caps on services that would be among the lowest in the country, impeding the provision of medically necessary treatment.

    Rather than supporting a bill that would help our children, autism advocates now find themselves in a position opposing a bill that would cut services for the lucky few who are covered by a State Employee Health Plan.Are Speaker Merrick and others in a position of leadership in the legislature punishing parents of children with autism for simply not going away?

    The prevalence of autism has increased 1,000 fold in the past 40 years.According to the Centers for Disease Control at least 1 in every 88 children have autism.We are not going away, Mr. Speaker - there will be more of us every year.

    Autism is treatable.Many of our children can lead independent, productive lives if provided access to medically necessary treatment. Continued opposition to meaningful autism insurance reform kills hope, robs futures and costs the State of Kansas millions of dollars in special education and taxpayer-funded adult disability services.

    February 18, 2014

    Majority Of Americans Misunderstand The Basics Of Learning Disabilities - PRNewswire
    NEW YORK, Feb. 18, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) today released the third edition of its State of Learning Disabilities report. The report captures data about the 2.4 million students (5% of our nation's school-age population)...

    Mobility Ventures, Maker Of Universally Accessible MV-1 Vehicle Announces Its Inaugural Network Of More Than 50 Dealers Across U.S. - PRNewswire
    SOUTH BEND, Ind., Feb. 18, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Mobility Ventures LLC, designer and manufacturer of the acclaimed MV-1, the only American vehicle purpose-built and designed from the ground up in support of wheelchair users to meet or exceed the guidelines of the Americans with...

    White House Urged To Fully Fund IDEA - DisabiltyScoop
    A federal agency and more than 130 members of Congress are calling on President Barack Obama to allocate more funding for special education in his upcoming budget proposal.

    Medicaid Expansion Expected To Strain Mental Health Services - DisabiltyScoop
    As more people become eligible for Medicaid, experts say accessing psychiatrists, psychologists and other professionals often relied on by those with disabilities may be difficult.

    Harvard Study Links Chemicals, Neurodevelopmental Disabilities - DisabiltyScoop
    Toxic chemicals may be responsible for a growing number of children with autism and other neurodevelopmental disabilities, researchers say.

    Survey Finds Just 1 In 3 With Intellectual Disabilities Employed - DisabiltyScoop
    Adults with intellectual disabilities are struggling to find their place in the workforce, according to a new Gallup survey finding that two-thirds have no job.
    February 17, 2014

    Unemployment of People with Intellectual Disabilities More than Twice as High as General Population - PRNewswire
    WASHINGTON, Feb. 17, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A new survey shows that unemployment among people with intellectual disabilities is more than twice as high as for the general population. That's according to one of the most comprehensive national surveys ever done on adults with...
    February 16, 2014

    Kinderwunsch am Valentinstag: Vierjährige Kanadierin bittet belgischen König, das Gesetz zur Sterbehilfe nicht zu unterzeichnen - PRNewswire

    MONTREAL, February 16, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Das belgische Parlament hat als erstes Land der Welt ein Gesetz verabschiedet, nach dem Sterbehilfe ohne Alterseinschränkung auch bei Kindern erlaubt ist. Jessica Saba, 4, aus Lachine in der kanadischen Provinz Quebec, die mit einem...

    U.S. Census Bureau Daily Feature for February 16 - PRNewswire

    WASHINGTON, Feb. 16, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Following is the daily "Profile America" feature from the U.S. Census Bureau: (Logo: COLLEGE FOR THE DEAF Profile America — Sunday, February 16th. The nation's first...

    February 15, 2014

    Autism Speaks Urges DeBlasio To Address Wandering In Schools - Autism Speaks - Advocasy

    As mayor develops first budget, schoools funding urged for training, awareness

    February 14, 2014

    NEW YORK (February 14, 2014) -- Autism Speaks President Liz Feld today urged New York Mayor Bill DeBlasio to address the problem of wandering by children with autism as he prepares his first budget.

    "Keeping our most vulnerable children safe is our first responsibility," said Feld. "One step towards that is providing sufficient support for programs to raise awareness and increase training in our public schools to address the problem of wandering by children with autism.

    "In partnership with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, Autism Speaks is devoting tools and resources to educate the community, including school staff, to better protect our children across America," she added. "We look to Mayor Bill DeBlasio in crafting his first budget to devote sufficient resources to that task in New York City.”

    To learn more about the Autism Speaks partnership with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children go here

    Una niña canadiense pide al rey de Bélgica no firmar la ley de la eutanasia pediátrica - PRNewswire

    MONTREAL, February 14, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- - Petición del día de San Valentín:Una niña canadiense de tan solo cuatro años pide al rey de Bélgica que no firme la ley de la eutanasia pediátrica   Desde que el Parlamento de Bélgica votó...

    February 14, 2014

    Insurance Reform Gets Fast Start in South Dakota - Autism Speaks - Advocasy

    House panel hears from families, plans vote next week

    February 14, 2014

    PIERRE, SD (February 14, 2014) -- South Dakota families and autism advocatestestified beforea House committee yesterday of the financial struggles providing care forchildren with autism when their state does not require insurance companies to provide coverage.

    The House Health and Human Services Committee will reconvene Tuesday to take action onHB.1257, a bill that would make South Dakota the 35th state to enactautism insurance reform.

    "We have to find a solution for these families, because this is devastating to the families,"Rep. Manny Steele of Sioux Falls, a committee member, told KDLT-TV after the hearing. "The longer we wait on these autistic kids, the harder it will be to help them."

    Autism Speaks has endorsed the bill whichwould require state-regulated health plans to cover therapies for individuals diagnosed with autism in locations including a provider's office, a clinic, or "in a setting conducive to the acquisition of the target skill." Treatments provided in schools would also be covered if they do not duplicate what services provided by the school.

    Cochlear Americas Honors Exemplary Hearing Implant Recipients with Graeme Clark and Anders Tjellstrom College Scholarships - PRNewswire

    CENTENNIAL, Colo., Feb. 14, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Cochlear, the global leader in implantable hearing solutions, announced today the winners of the twelfth annual Graeme Clark and third annual Anders Tjellstrom Scholarships. The 2014 scholarships recognize Cochlear™ Nucleus®...

    Fifty Years On, Controversy Surrounds Down Syndrome Discovery - DisabiltyScoop
    It's been over 50 years since scientists determined that an extra copy of the 21st chromosome is responsible for Down syndrome. But today a battle continues over who deserves credit.

    Utah Insurance Bill Heads to Senate Floor - Autism Speaks - Advocasy

    Committee clears bill requiring coverage of ABA, basic therapies

    February 14, 2014

    SALT LAKE CITY (February 14, 2014) -- The 2014 Utah autism insurance reform bill is headed to the Senate floor following passage today by the Senate Business and Labor Committee on a 6-1 vote. Utah has the highest prevalence of autism in the nation, yet is one of only 16 remaining states yet to bar insurers from refusing to cover basic therapies on the basis of anautism diagnosis.

    Sponsored by Sen. Brian Shiozawa, the bill, SB.57, would require state-regulated health plans to cover applied behavior analysis (ABA) treatment for autism up to $36,000 a year for children through age 8, then up to $18,000 a year though age 17. Thebill mirrors a coverage plan Salt Lake Mayor Ben McAdams proposed for county employees in his 2014 budget proposal.

    In addition, coverage would be required forspeech, occupational and physical therapy, as well as pharmaceutical benefits.

    Small businesses with fewer than 50 employees would be exempt from providing the coverage if they could demonstrate it raised the cost of their health plans by 2.5 percent or more. A new study in Missouri showed the impact of its autism insurance reform law during 2013 on total health care costs was 0.2 percent.

    According to a 2012 Centers for Disease Control study, 1 in every 47 Utah children has autism, the highest rate in the nation and significantly higher than the 1 in 88 national average. The University of Utah calculated that between 2002-2008, autism prevalence increased twice as fast in Utah than nationally (157 percent versus 78 percent.)

    The 2014 bill marks the third attempt in three years Utah legislators have taken on the issue. Jon Owen, president of the Utah Autism Coalition,relatesin a blog how his son Ben's autism diagnosisled to insurance claims getting rejected "for anything from well-child visits to a broken arm."

    Andrea Griggs of Murray reported how paying the cost of just one year of ABA therapy for her son Jaxon forced her family to sell their homeand downsize to a house half the size. Her family's insurance also refused to cover treatment because of Jaxon's autism diagnosis.

    Landmark Legislation to Provide Improved Education for Students with Visual and Hearing Impairments Introduced into U.S. House - PRNewswire
    WASHINGTON, Feb. 14, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) announced today the introduction of H.R. 4040­—the Alice Cogswell and Anne Sullivan Macy Act­, the most comprehensive special education legislation for students with visual or...

    En ce jour de la St-Valentin : Une fillette canadienne de 4 ans répète sa demande au roi de Belgique de ne pas signer la loi permettant l'euthanasie des enfants - PRNewswire

    MONTRÉAL, February 14, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Suite au vote du Parlement belge permettant l'euthanasie des enfants, Jessica Saba, 4 ans de Lachine, Québec née avec une malformation cardiaque grave, est une parmi des millions d'enfants qui sont nés chaque année avec...

    MTV's TJ Lavin, Gov. Jack Markell, Rep. Pete Sessions, Rep. Brad Sherman and Gold Medalist Matt Cowdrey Join RespectAbilityUSA to Stand Up for Jobs for People with Disabilities (PwDs) - PRNewswire

    WASHINGTON, Feb. 14, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With 70% of working age Americans with disabilities outside the workforce, BMX bike legend and host of MTV's The Challenge, T.J. Lavin, Governor Jack Markell (DE), Rep. Pete Sessions (TX), Rep. Brad Sherman (CA) and Paralympian Matt...

    Nebraska 2014 Kickoff Rally Set For Feb. 25 - Autism Speaks - Advocasy

    Autism Awareness Rally at the Capitol will feature Sen. Coash

    February 13, 2014

    LINCOLN (February 13, 2014) -- An Autism Awareness Rally at the Nebraska capitol has been set for February 25 to kick offthis year'slegislative push for autism insurance reform.

    The rally will feature Sen. Colby Coash [left], who introduced an insurance reform bill,LB-505, last year. The bill received ahearing in the Banking, Insurance and Commerce Committee, but was deferred for further action action until this year.Nebraska is nowone of just 16 remaining states yet to enact reform through legislation.

    The rally is scheduled for Room 1023, located on the first floor of the west side of the capitol building between 9 and 11 am. In addition to Coash, speakers will include Mike Wasmer, Autism Speaks' associate director of state government affairs; Cathy Martinez, of the Autism Family Network, and; Melissa Schop, of the Autism Society of Nebraska. For more details, go here.

    The Coash bill would require up to $70,000 a year in coverage for behavioral health treatment, such as Applied Behavior Analysis, for the first three years of treatment. The limit would be $20,000 annually thereafter until the age of 21.

    Colorado, Kansas and Iowa are among the 34 states that already require some form of autism insurance coverage. Legislation is moving in Kansas to expand itslaw and a reform bill has begun moving through the South Dakota legislature.

    Executive Order on Minimum Wage Comes with a Catch - PRNewswire

    WASHINGTON, Feb. 13, 2014 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- The President, yesterday, issued an executive order establishing a minimum wage for certain federal contractors and subcontractors. ACCSES, the voice of more than 1,200 disability service providers and the people with the most significant...

    Boy With No Friends Scores Over A Million ‘Likes' - DisabiltyScoop
    When a Michigan boy with special needs said he didn't want a birthday party because he had no friends, his mom turned to Facebook and found him more than a million supporters.
    February 13, 2014

    Action Sports Star/Host of The Challenge TJ Lavin Stars in New PSA on disability: "We all should have the same opportunity to achieve the American dream." - PRNewswire

    WASHINGTON, Feb. 13, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- With fully 70% of working age Americans with disabilities outside the workforce, BMX bike legend and host of MTV's The Challenge, TJ Lavin, is starring in a new public service ad where he says, "whether it is me, you, or someone who just...

    The Canadian Paralympic Committee applauds Federal Government for its continued commitment to sport for people with a disability - PRNewswire
    OTTAWA, Feb. 13, 2014 /CNW/ - The Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC) applauds the Harper Government for its 2014 Federal Budget, which continued the Government's record level of support for sport, in particular the CPC with $5 million. In addition, confirmation of the Government's...

    Report Prompts Renewed Push To Limit Restraint, Seclusion - DisabiltyScoop
    Widespread use of restraint and seclusion in the nation's schools is putting kids with disabilities at risk and current laws offer families little recourse, a U.S. Senate investigation finds.

    Obama Signs Minimum Wage Order, Adds Workers With Disabilities - Autism Speaks - Advocasy

    Limited to federal contracts, the minimum hourly wage would rise to $10.10

    February 12, 2014

    WASHINGTON, DC (February 12, 2014) -- President Obama signed an executive order today raising the hourly minimum wage for federal contracts from $7.25 to $10.10,including for workers with disabilities.

    The President was fulfilling a promise he made in his 2014 State of the Union address in signing the order, which affects only workers paid under federal contracts. An across-the-board minimum wage increase would require action by Congress.

    "Under current law, workers whose productivity is affected because of their disabilities may be paid less than the wage paid to others doing the same job under certain specialized certificate programs," the White House said. "Under this Executive Order, all individuals working under service or concessions contracts with the federal government will be covered by the same $10.10 per hour minimum wage protections."

    Among those workers with disabilities who could see a pay raise, the White House cited groundskeepers at military bases.

    According to the White House statement, the Executive Order "will benefit hundreds of thousands of people working under contracts with the federal government who are making less than $10.10 an hour. It will also improve the value that taxpayers are getting from the federal government's investment.

    "Studies show that boosting low wages will reduce turnover and absenteeism, while also boosting morale and improving the incentives for workers, leading to higher productivity overall," it said. "These gains improve the quality and efficiency of services provided to the government."

    February 12, 2014

    Opportunity For All: Rewarding Hard Work - AUCD
    The President is set to sign an Executive Order today raising the minimum wage, which includes a provision that all individuals working under service or concessions contracts with the federal government, including those with disabilities, will be covered by the same $10.10 per hour minimum wage protections.

    Under Obama Order, Workers With Disabilities To Get Pay Hike - DisabiltyScoop
    An executive order requiring federal contractors to be paid at least $10.10 per hour will apply to workers with disabilities too, White House officials say.

    College Living Experience Receives $12,000 Award to Provide Scholarships for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders - PRNewswire
    WASHINGTON, Feb. 12, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- College Living Experience (CLE), a national organization founded to help students with special learning needs achieve post-secondary education and independent-living skills, today announced that the Brian & Patricia Kelly Scholarship Fund...

    National Federation of the Blind Commends President Obama for Executive Order on Wages - PRNewswire

    BALTIMORE, Feb. 12, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) commented today  on President Obama's executive order requiring a wage floor of $10.10 for individuals employed under all new federal contracts, including workers with...

    BHI Unveils New Website to Inspire Action, Improved Quality of Life for People with Hearing Loss - PRNewswire
    WASHINGTON, Feb. 12, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Inspiring action and fostering a nationwide culture of support are the themes behind the Better Hearing Institute's (BHI) newly renovated website——BHI announced today. BHI has renovated its website as...

    National Parkinson Foundation Partners with SBR Health to Provide Increased Access to Expert Parkinson's Disease Care - PRNewswire
    MIAMI, Feb. 12, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- People living with Parkinson's disease today often face challenges when seeking care, including disability, distance from medical centers, and distribution of doctors. In fact, 42 percent of those diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, and more...

    Robert E. Cooke, a Creator of Head Start, Dies at 93 - AUCD
    Dr. Cooke was a professor of pediatrics and the pediatrician in chief at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore in the late 1950s when he began an association with Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the sister of John F. Kennedy, then a senator from Massachusetts, and her husband, R. Sargent Shriver, whose interest in children with intellectual disabilities dovetailed with his own.

    New Name, New Leadership, (Re)Newed Focus! Council on Technology and Innovation in Interdisciplinary Services (CTIIS) - AUCD
    The Council on Interdisciplinary Services (CIS) has recently changed its name to the Council on Technology and Innovation in Interdisciplinary Services (CTIIS). What is exciting about the name change is a more targeted emphasis on technology and innovation in interdisciplinary services.

    /C O R R E C T I O N from Source -- Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC)/ - PRNewswire
    In c9144 transmitted at 16:31e today, an error occurred in the "For complete athlete and coach biographies..." section. The clickable URL link should have read: "" and not "". Corrected copy follows: Cross Country Canada nominates...
    February 11, 2014

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Kaelan Richards: 202-973-7175, UCP CELEBRATES ANNIVERSARY OF AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT Landmark legislation signed into law 23 years ago  Washington, DC (July 26, 2013) – United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) released the following statement today in …
    Read More

    120-0: Mississippi Sends A Message on Insurance Reform - Autism Speaks - Advocasy

    House of Representatives sends Senate a bill requiring autism coverages

    February 11, 2014

    JACKSON, MS (January 11, 2014) -- The Mississippi House of Representativesapproved an autism insurance reform billHB.542, sending it to the Senate by unanimous 120-0 vote.

    "I feel we have done a good job educating the 120 members of the House," said Quess Hood [left] of Ripley, who has helped lead the grassroots campaign for the bill. "Now we wantthe opportunity to do thatwith the Senate. It's going to be hard to ignore such a strong message when we passed it unanimously.

    "The resistancehas beenlegislators not being educated in what people go through with a child with autism," he said.

    Thebill would require coverage of the screening, diagnosis and treatment, including applied behavior analysis (ABA), of autism for state employees and teachers. The legislation would take effect July 1 if enacted. The Mississippi State and School Employees Health Insurance Plan covers 31,000 enrollees.

    "Autism Speaks thanks our bill sponsor, Rep. Steve Massengill, of Hickory Flat, and Rep. Charles Busby of Pascagoula, who led the vote on the House floor,"said Shelley Hendrix, Autism Speaks' director of grassroots advocacy. "We look forward to quick Senateconsiderationof our bill."

    TheSenateversion of the bill, SB.2679, is sponsored Sen. Rita Potts Parkof Corinth.

    In addition to ABA treatment, the bill would require coverage for autism-related psychiatric, psychological, pharmaceutical and therapeutic care, such as speech, occupational and physical therapy. The bill was amended in committee to assure that any pharmaceuticals used in treatment are approved by the Food and Drug Administration.The bills set no dollar caps or limits on visits.

    Mississippi is one of four southern states considering autism insurance reform legislation this year. In Georgia,the state's autism insurance reform bill, Ava's Law, awaits a hearing in Senate committee.In Tennessee, legislative action is expected to kick off shortly, while the North Carolina Senate is expected this spring to take up an autism insurance reform bill that passed the House 105-7 last year.

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Kaelan Richards: 202-973-7175, WORLD CP CHALLENGE ANNOUNCES TEAM LONG BROTHERS AS 2013 AMBASSADORS  Connor and Cayden, who has CP, compete as a team in triathlons  Washington, DC (August 30, 2013) – United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) is thrilled to …
    Read More

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Kaelan Richards: 202-973-7175, 2013 WORLD CEREBRAL PALSY CHALLENGE BEGINS TODAY! More than 1,500 participants commit to 10,000 steps a day to raise awareness and support for people with CP and other disabilities Washington, DC (September 4, 2013) – United …
    Read More

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Kaelan Richards: 202-973-7175, UCP ON NEW DEPARTMENT OF LABOR RULE Washington, DC (September 20, 2013) – United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) released the following statement in response to a final rule from the U.S. Department of Labor aimed …
    Read More

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Kaelan Richards: 202-973-7175, UCP RESPONDS TO LONG TERM SERVICES AND SUPPORTS COMMISSION REPORT Washington, DC (September 19, 2013) – United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) released the following statement in response to the Commission on Long-Term Care's Final Report to …
    Read More

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Kaelan Richards: 202-973-7175, JOIN UCP IN CELEBRATING WORLD CEREBRAL PALSY DAY  Share your ideas and help to change the world for people with cerebral palsy and other disabilities Washington, D.C. (October 2, 2013) – Do you …
    Read More

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Kaelan Richards: 202-973-7175, UCP ANNOUNCES WORLD CEREBRAL PALSY CHALLENGE SUCCESS  International fundraising and fitness event raises more than $180,000 in U.S., $1.6 million worldwide Washington, DC (November 8, 2013) – United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) has …
    Read More

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Kaelan Richards: 202-973-7175, UCP HOLDS FIRST INTERNATIONAL DESIGN-ATHON More than 100 hackers, makers and inventors gather to design and create accessible design prototypes Washington, D.C. (November 9, 2013) – United Cerebral Palsy (UCP)'s Life Labs, a technology and grassroots-focused initiative dedicated to identifying, …
    Read More

    New Project Findings--Autism Spectrum Disorder Among Somali and Non-Somali Children in Minneapolis - AUCD
    CDC's NCBDDD, in partnership with NIH, Autism Speaks, and AUCD, recently conducted the largest project to date looking at the number and characteristics of Somali children with autism spectrum disorder in any U.S. community. Today, key findings from this project were released.

    The Arc and UCP React to Offensive Language to People with Disabilities in The Wolf of Wall Street - UPC
    For Immediate Release                                                  Contact (The Arc): Kristen McKiernan January 13, 2014           …
    Read More

    Malls Offer 'Quiet' Santa Visits For Kids With Autism - AUCD
    Meeting Santa Claus at a shopping mall can be horribly hectic, and for children with autism, it's especially unbearable. Malls across Canada are now offering special 'quiet' Santa visits for kids with autism, and a few malls in the U.S. are also offering similar programs.

    Aspen Institute William Randolph Hearst Endowed Fellowship for Minority Students - AUCD

    Award Ceiling: $4,000

    The Aspen Institute Program on Philanthropy and Social Innovation (PSI) in Washington, DC, offers the William Randolph Hearst Endowed Fellowship three times annually. The fellowship, which is based on academic excellence and need, is open to both undergraduate and graduate students of color. The Hearst Fellow serves as an intern with PSI in the Washington, DC office of the Aspen Institute. Through this fellowship, PSI seeks to introduce a diverse group of students to issues and challenges affecting philanthropy, social enterprise, nonprofit organizations, and other actors in the social sector. Recipients may arrange with their colleges or universities to receive academic credit for this experience.

    Learn more.

    White House Releases New National and State Reports Showing the Costs of Repealing the Health Care Law - AUCD
    The White House released a report today underscoring the costs of repealing the Affordable Care Act for millions of Americans. The benefits of the health care law - lower costs, new protections, and expanded access to quality, affordable care - are real, and the repeal plan pushed by some in Congress would undermine or eliminate the benefits that millions of middle-class Americans now rely on. The President and supporters of reform are committed to helping ordinary Americans and businesses take advantage of the benefits of the health care law.

    National Disability Navigator Resource Center Releases Guide - AUCD
    The National Disability Navigator Resource Collaborative has released their Guide to Disability for Health Insurance Marketplace Navigators. The guide expands upon existing navigator training and aims to strengthen navigators' capacity to assist people with disabilities to make informed health insurance choices.

    'Supporting Diversity in the Developmental Disabilities Network through Minority Partnerships' Released by AUCD - AUCD
    This report describes the efforts of two University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDDs) in addressing health disparities experienced by minority populations and describes the importance of promoting diversity within DD Network programs. To download a free PDF of the report or to purchase a hard copy, visit

    AUCD Signs MoU with Dubai Community Development Authority to Share Best Practices in Disability Services - AUCD
    The agreement will facilitate the cooperation between CDA and the AUCD to bring the best practices and programs for people with disabilities for the first time to the Middle East. The agreement will also enable advanced consultation and trainings to CDA staff by members of AUCD.

    Transformation of the MCH Block Grant - AUCD
    Dr. Michael Lu describes the big ideas received around transforming the MCH Block Grant and requests your input by mid-January.

    Revised Autism Screening Tool Offers More Precise Assessment - AUCD
    The Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers -- Revised, with Follow-Up (M-CHAT-R/F) -- is a free, two-step screening tool used to detect children likely to have autism. It is intended for use at regular well-child checkups for children 16 to 30 months old and has been shown to be much more accurate than earlier versions at identifying children who could benefit from further evaluation, according to researchers supported by the National Institutes of Health. The free tool is available online in more than 45 languages.

    New RFP Announced for National Scale-Up of Innovative Transition Curriculum - AUCD
    The Scaling-Up EnvisionIT project has announced a Request for Proposals (RFP) for state teams nationwide to develop plans to scale-up EnvisionIT. EnvisionIT is an online curriculum designed for students with and without disabilities in grades 8-12. The curriculum is aligned to national standards in English Language Arts, technology, transition, and financial literacy. Teams should ideally consist of a state agency, a University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD) or Institution of Higher Education (IHE), and partnering local schools or districts where EnvisionIT can be implemented and hopefully sustained. The subcontract is part of the Scaling-Up EnvisionIT grant awarded to The Ohio State University Nisonger Center from the U.S. Department of Education (Grant Award H327S120022).

    A New Year - A New Name! Community Education and Dissemination Council - AUCD
    The National Community Education Directors' Council has changed its name to the Community Education and Dissemination Council (CEDC). The name change illustrates the Council is for any network member associated with community education and/or dissemination activities, recognizes dissemination as a core part of Council focus, and shortens the acronym and name.
    Last updated : April 22, 2014 - 22:31:15
    articles to display: 20 | 40 | 60 | all
    << Back to HOME Page