Every Sunday, we select the week’s big special needs news stories and blog posts. This week, we’re featuring 12 special needs news stories from the past two weeks.
New York Times: In Treating Disabled, Potent Drugs and Few Rules
An investigation by the New York Times shows that psychotropic medications, which are used to treat serious mental illnesses and change the brain’s chemistry, are often “dispensed sloppily” by general practitioners with little expertise in the area. In addition, low-level workers at state-run group homes are told to increase medication doses “as needed,” despite a lack of training.
Nature: A wake-up call for dormant genes
A new study revealed possible treatment for Angelman syndrome, a disorder characterized by “jerky movements, seizures, learning disabilities and frequent laugher.” Drugs that reactivate sections of chromosome which normally remain dormant could help treat Angelman syndrome and other neurogenetic disorders.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) launched a new helpline number called TSA Cares that travelers with disabilities and medical conditions can call toll-free with questions about screening policies, airport procedures, and what to expect at security checkpoints.
Los Angeles Times: Autism hidden in plain sight
Researchers are trying to find “unrecognized cases” of autism in adults, and believe that if they can show autism has always been present in children at the same rate it is today, it may calm fears that the disorder is an epidemic.
Huffington Post: Autism And Blinking Patterns Examined In New Study
A new study suggests that “blinking patterns” might have new insights on how children with autism think, and give parents clues to what attracts their child’s attention and how their child interacts with the world.
A new documentary is coming out about how Mets center fielder Andres Torres managed his ADHD and became a World Series winner with the San Francisco Giants in 2010. The feature-length film is titled “Gigante” and plans to be released within the next year.
Boston Globe: New MIT center to fund autism research
The Simons Center for the Social Brain at MIT opens in January and will focus on the neuroscience behind social behaviors and hopes to help further autism research, diagnosis, and treatment. The center is funded by a gift from the Simmons Foundation and will provide seed grants to MIT researchers.
Disability Scoop: Amid Complaints, TSA To Launch Disability Hotline
The Transportation Security Administration is about to launch a toll-free hotline for passengers with disabilities that allows them to call in advance if they need extra assistance, but lawmakers want TSA to designated passenger advocates at every airport that can address concerns and help travelers who have special needs.
Scientific American: Motivation, Inattention, and ADHD
Volkow et al. studied how dopamine function connected to motivation scores in adults with ADHD. The results suggest that differences in motivation may be related to dopamine function, which is not new information but might add to knowledge about ADHD.
Washington Post: His autistic son’s terrific memory helps him connect with others
Tom Fields-Meyer’s son Ezra has a memory that, rather than keeping him isolated, helps him connect with others by sharing what he knows.
New York Times: She Finds Refuge in Art
Diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome at the age of 28, Leironica Hawkins found escape in drawing comics. Recently Leironica’s work is starting to get some attention.
Haaretz: Self-fulfilling prophesies
Managers in high-tech firms both here and abroad are realizing that people with Asperger’s syndrome are well suited to work in software quality assurance, among other areas. The benefits – to both sides – can be considerable.