The Arc Tennessee and the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center are partnering to collect stories from individuals with disabilities and their families on the topic of health care access. We need your stories! We collected stories on this topic in the fall and will continue to do so into the spring. Please consider participation if you have experienced any of the following:
· Do you have challenges accessing health care because of where you live? Do you have to travel to access quality care?
· Have you had challenges finding a professional who will provide health care services to you/your son or daughter?
· Do you/your son or daughter have challenges with receiving quality care from a provider because of their lack of knowledge or training in providing services to people with disabilities?
· Other issues?
The project is an important educational tool for legislators and policymakers, health care providers, and also for the Vanderbilt student interviewers who are given the opportunity to learn from you. Interviews last about an hour, can take place in your home or other location (even over the phone!), and will be conducted between February and March, depending on what works best for you.
Please let me know ASAP if you are willing to advocate in this way. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
We appreciate you taking the time to consider this opportunity!
FacebookTwitterGoogle+LinkedInPinterestEmailFor the first time in more than three decades, the U.S. Supreme Court says it will consider how much educational benefit schools must provide students receiving services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
The nation’s high court said Thursday that it will hear arguments in a matter known as Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District.
At issue is the IDEA’s mandate that public schools provide children with disabilities a free appropriate public education, or FAPE.
The case was brought by parents known in court papers as Joseph F. and Jennifer F. who pulled their son with autism out of his Colorado school district and sent him to a private school. They then sought reimbursement from the Douglas County School District arguing that the boy, Drew, was not provided FAPE.
Both a hearing officer and the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado found in favor of the school district, saying that FAPE was provided because the boy received “some” educational benefit.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit agreed prompting the parents to appeal to the Supreme Court, citing differing standards from courts across the country.
“Some courts, including the Tenth Circuit … hold that an IEP satisfies the (IDEA) if it provides a child with a just-above-trivial educational benefit, while others hold that the act requires a heightened educational benefit,” the parents said in their petition to the Supreme Court. “Resolving the conflict among the circuits will ensure that millions of children with disabilities receive a consistent level of education, while providing parents and educators much-needed guidance regarding their rights and obligations.”
The Douglas County School District argued that it would be up to lawmakers to impose a higher standard in asking the high court to decline the case.
The Supreme Court’s decision to take up the matter comes at the urging of the Obama administration. In a brief issued last month, the U.S. solicitor general agreed with the parents that the IDEA requires schools to provide more than minimal benefit to students with disabilities.
“This court should hold that states must provide children with disabilities educational benefits that are meaningful in light of the child’s potential and the IDEA’s stated purposes. Merely aiming for non-trivial progress is not sufficient,” the solicitor general indicated.
The case will mark the first time since 1982 that the Supreme Court has addressed the FAPE mandate.
However, it’s not the only special education matter the high court plans to weigh.
The Supreme Court said this summer that it will hear the case of a Michigan girl with cerebral palsy who sought to bring her service dog to school, which centers on whether families must exhaust their options under the IDEA when they have a dispute with schools before seeking remedies under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Posted December 1, 2016 Autism Society
This guest post is from Kerry Magro, an adult with autism who has become a national speaker, best-selling author and one of the first television talk show hostson the autism spectrum. Magro is also on the Panel of People on the Spectrum of Autism for the Autism Society. You can learn more about Kerry on Facebookand Twitter.
One issue, in my opinion, that isn’t addressed enough on college campuses, is accommodations within the residence halls for those with disabilities. Yes, from time to time you will see a residence hall with an elevator, maybe bed shakers for those who are hearing impaired, but does that make a residence hall “disability friendly?” I don’t think so. A disability friendly residence hall should be accommodating to all disabilities, especially autism.
For people just starting college, living away in a dorm can be a difficult transition. For an individual with autism who is affected drastically by change it can make that transition almost impossible. The argument to this is that those affected by autism that actually attends college are just a small enough quota where it doesn’t really matter. The thing is, most accommodations for those with autism in the dorms just rely on having a good and understanding friend. It’s easy in college to fall into a pattern of anti-social tendencies when work builds up on you.
I have seen this from every angle imaginable. My freshman year in the dorms, I was a resident. During my sophomore and half of my junior year, I was a Resident Assistant (RA) who helped residents while living in the dorms. Living in the residence halls wasn’t much of a difficulty for me, but that was because I had great friends early on who supported me in everything that I did. Being able to socially get my way through that first year, where I was seen as enough of a leader to be one of the only autistic RA’s not only in New Jersey, but also in the country.
So what can autistic individuals living in the dorms do to make themselves ready for the transition? Firstly, strongly consider requesting a single room. Most colleges are very willing to give someone with a registered disability a single. I have lived alone and have loved the benefits. Mainly, the best benefit is that you have your own place to unwind. You don’t have to worry about whether you get along with other individuals. The pros outweigh the cons in most cases.
Secondly, make sure you get yourself out there. Most residence halls have programs within the first couple of weeks of school to get people meeting your fellow peers. Most residence halls will also have a peer support group for those with disabilities where you can interact with others who have similar difficulties within the dorms. We also live in a technology related world, so if you don’t feel comfortable with face-to-face conversations, virtual communication (Facebook, instant messaging, texting) is a great way to practice your social capabilities. Just make sure it doesn’t become a habit, if you are never leaving your room!
Take some time to meet with the director of your dorm. If you are open with them about having a disability, they can’t turn you away, and have to give you proper accommodations. You need to force yourself out of your comfort zone because that’s where the most progress can be made.
Now, this is a process. There is no game plan to every disability. You have to create your own plan of attack. Independence is not learned overnight either, so take the steps needed to make your own personal plan and then follow through.
This blog originally appeared on Kerrymagro.com here
Learn the Signs. Act Early." Milestones in Action Photo and Video Library
"Learn the Signs. Act Early." has developed a free library of photos and videos demonstrating developmental milestones from 2 months to 5 years of age. The Milestones in Action library was created to help parents, early care and education providers, and healthcare providers identify developmental milestones in very young children and recognize any areas of concern.
If you are the parent of a child with autism between 3-8 years old who attends preschool or school and/or receives behavior intervention services, you are invited to take a 5-10 minute survey regarding parental involvement in children's educational services. This research will hopefully inform education and intervention professionals as to how to best involve parents in their child's services. The project is being conducted through the San Jose State University Department of Special Education and has been approved by the SJSU Institutional Review Board. All responses are entirely confidential.
Participants will have the option of entering a drawing to win one of two $25 gift cards upon completion of the survey.
To take the survey, copy & paste this link:
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the graduate student researcher, Rachel Schuck, at email@example.com.
Global technology group Hewlett Packard’s newest cybersecurity employee spent the past two years grilling burgers at McDonald’s. Like many on the autism spectrum, the young man in his 20s possessed an impressive range of IT skills to match or even outshine most university graduates.
But unlike the average graduate, he didn’t have the social skills to make it past an interview. This is a common stumbling block for those on the spectrum, according to the psychologist Jay Hobbs from Specialisterne – a non-profit agency finding employment for people with autism.
“Being able to communicate and sell yourself was the barrier for him,” he says.
“But he was absolutely excellent. He’s one of those young men who is self-taught, so he was a very capable guy.”
An estimated 230,000 Australians live with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), which is defined as a developmental condition that affects the way a person relates to their environment and their interaction with other people.
The lifelong condition is well recognised and treated among children, but there is less support for adults with autism. Those on the spectrum describe meeting “the cliff” after secondary school – likening the sudden lack of assistance to falling off a cliff.
Recent research attests to the lack of support: the labour force participation rate is about 42%, compared with 53% labour force participation rate for people with disabilities and 83% for people without disabilities.
Jeanette Purkis, an author and advocate for the autism community, says many people on the spectrum struggle with job interviews as they often find the sensory experience and social interactions in an interview challenging. “Being in front of three people who are essentially deciding their future and firing questions they aren’t prepared for off at them is unlikely to enable an autistic person to demonstrate their skills,” she says.
“Autistic people often do much better in recruitment processes which enable them to demonstrate their skills over time and not in a high stress situation like an interview,” Purkis adds.
Hobbs says it’s an opportunity missed. “When I was working as a teacher in Queensland, I met some really interesting people who had some excellent skills, who in some cases after secondary schools just sat at home and wrote on blogs.
“They weren’t able to get opportunities to get a job largely because of the interview process. Someone with autism finds it a bit difficult to communicate and sell themselves as opposed to actually doing what the job would be – programming or testing software for example.”
Yet the tide is turning for unemployed or underemployed people with autism. More companies are ditching the stereotypes of Dustin Hoffman’s Rain Man and Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory, and realising the benefits of employing people on the autism spectrum.
Big names include mining company Weir Minerals, cloud computing firm Salesforce, Bankwest and Hewlett Packard. Software multinational SAP has even committed that people with ASD will account for 1% of its global workforce by 2020.
The director of human resources at SAP Australia and New Zealand, Lisa Christy, says the goal is consistent with the percentage of people on the spectrum in the general population.
“SAP believes that a cornerstone element of innovation is the diversity of those who participate in the creative process and the perspectives they bring to the table, including the perspective of those on the autism spectrum,” she says.
The effort to broaden the company’s diversity beyond race or gender started in 2012 when SAP Labs India hired five employees on the spectrum. Successful pilot projects in India and Ireland demonstrated the positive impact of empowering autistic people with a job that played to their strengths.
Research points to the clear corporate advantages of hiring autistic staff, including a surge in innovative and creative thinking.
A study by Curtin University’s school of public health found that the cost of employing an autistic person was comparative with the cost of employing a non-autistic person. The research involved almost 100 employees and 59 employers, who reported benefits from employing staff with ASD, including a high attention to detail and when compared with staff without ASD, a higher work ethic and quality of work.
Add to the momentum, comments by the PayPal founder, Peter Thiel, who has long been a proponent of hiring staff with autism and Asperger’s to avoid what he describes as “herd-like thinking and behaviour”. In his book Zero to One, Thiel says people with Asperger’s have a single-mindedness that gives startups a unique advantage
This theory stems from the idea of neurodiversity, a term first coined by the Australian sociologist Judy Singer, who sees autism as a natural brain variation, not a brain disorder.
Dr Tele Tan is not surprised by the corporate world’s increasing interest in hiring autistic people. Tan, from Curtin’s autism academy for software quality assurance, oversees a weekend coding club for secondary students aged 12 to 16. The club, like others across Australia focusing on IT and robotics, is where autistic teenagers explore their technical talents while also picking up social skills.
Tan’s students typically have high attention to detail and an ability to concentrate on tasks and do repetitive tasks, making them ideal for companies searching for an innovative edge.
“There is anecdotal evidence that people on the spectrum have a huge innovation behind them – out of the box thinking, a non-traditional way of thinking,” he says. “They can potentially solve big problems.”
But autistic people aren’t limited to the IT industry. Specialisterne has recently launched the Autism and Agriculture employment scheme to develop career paths for those with autism in specialist animal care roles. The organization is also taking aim at other industries, including art and engineering. It’s the start of a new frontier for people with autism.
UT’s Korn Learning, Assessment, and Social Skills Center will soon accept applications forPostsecondary Autism Support Services, a new program developed to support the needs of UT students with autism spectrum disorders.
The program will officially launch in fall 2017. Current UT students and high school seniors applying to be UT freshmen next fall are eligible to apply.
PASS was piloted more than a year ago and comprises four components: a weekly two-hour course for credit to develop and practice important academic and life skills; weekly one-hour sessions of individualized hands-on support; peer mentoring; and on-going collaboration with faculty, staff, and parents throughout the duration of the program.
PASS program services will be provided by advanced doctoral students and interns in the Department of Psychology under close supervision by the KLASS Center’s licensed psychologists.
Brian Wilhoit, director of the KLASS Center.
“Most college students with an ASD diagnosis are very intelligent, but they often struggle with social and communication skills,” said Brian Wilhoit, director of the KLASS Center, which is housed in UT’s College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences. “One of our psychologists, Carolyn Blondin, put together a small pilot project over a year ago for three UT students with ASD to provide a structured curriculum to cultivate and practice social, communication, time management, and organizational skills. The PASS program developed from that pilot project.”
The program will be available for both new 2017 entering students as well as currently enrolled UT students. The application will be available November 1 on the KLASS Center website. The deadline to apply is March 1, 2017.
To be considered for participation, new students for 2017 must:
Wilhoit anticipates only five to six students will be accepted for the next academic year.
“Many students with ASD are missing services that can be helpful,” said Wilhoit. “We feel the PASS program will fill a need here at UT for those students diagnosed with an ASD who are struggling to get through or who may be falling through the cracks.”
Brian Wilhoit (875-974-6395, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Tyra Haag (865-974-5460, email@example.com)
The shortened legislative calendar is affecting a number of important bills that impact people with disabilities, including the RAISE Act. Now more than ever, advocates must act to ensure families receive the requisite resources required to be effective caregivers for aging loved ones and those with disabilities. If passed, the RAISE Act would establish essential supports that will help to reduce the burden of family caregiving. Act now! Contact your congressional representative today and urge them to pass the RAISE Act.
The Autism Society needs your help to get H.R. 4919 to the floor for a full House vote! Kevin and Avonte's Law would equip law enforcement, first responders, nonprofits, and community organizations with vital training and resources to eliminate wandering incidents involving individuals on the autism spectrum and other disabilities. The bipartisan bill currently has 73 cosponsors but continues to languish in committee. Without a vote, wandering incidents will continue to impact families and advocates will have to restart the entire legislative process in the next Congressional session. Let your voice be heard - help make this critical piece of legislation a reality for families and communities. Tell Congress to say yes to Kevin and Avonte’s Law.
At a press conference on Tuesday, Autism Society of Central Texas Executive Director Suzanne Potts said their new Autism training video will be offered to first responders all across the country to use free of charge.
Arlington Police have already signed on.
"They've required all of their department and staff...anyone to take the video, watch it and sign off that they saw the video," Potts said.
Potts explained the need for the video.
"49% of kids with Autism wander. And 91 % of kids that drown in the United States are kids with Autism. So we are seeing shocking statistics nationally about kids within our community that are injured and adults that are getting arrested or detained," Potts said.
As addressed in the video, many times first responders mistake Autism for drug use. The video teaches first responders to communicate in a different way when dealing with Autism.
"A lot of times they say 'look me in the eye' or 'look at me' and some of our Autism community have a hard time with eye contact. And so that may not be an indicator of drug use, it may be that they have Autism and they need some extra time," Potts said.
"Part of that training, a big part of that training is for us to understand when to back off and how to use different techniques and approaches on properly assessing our patient," said Captain John Collins with the Round Rock Fire Dept.
Collins has a special needs daughter so he helped with the video and he's been working with Williamson County on their training as well.
"I don't go to work and I don't go on a call to go help myself. I'm going to help other people. Part of me going to help that other person, I need to know as much as I possibly can about any type of person whether it's heart conditions, stuff with the lungs, anything like that and this is another component that will help every first responder do their job a little bit better," Collins said.
The Autism Society says the next step is to launch the video nationally. It will be available free of charge for first responders. The Autism Society is hoping to produce more training videos as well.
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