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BY Annie

The top 15 Special Needs News Stories and Blog Posts from this week

Boy with down syndrome in Target adEvery Sunday, we select the week’s big special needs news stories and blog posts. This week, we feature 10 news stories, five blog posts, and this week’s posts from the Friendship Circle blog.

Special Needs News

NJ Today: NJ Congressman Introduces Legislation For Tourette Syndrome

Before Congress’ holiday recess, U.S. Representative Albio Sires introduced the Collaborative Academic Research Efforts (CARE) for Tourette Syndrome Act of 2011, which would expand and coordinate research efforts for Tourette Syndrome.

Disability Scoop: Hollywood Pros Teach Adults With Disabilities Moviemaking

Through Inclusion Films, a Los Angeles-area program, professional actors, cinematographers and other Hollywood employees and insiders are teaching individuals with autism, cerebral palsy and Downs syndrome how to make movies.

The Atlantic: Gluten-Free Diet Reality Check

Many people—even those without celiac disease—are cutting gluten from their diets. But being gluten-free means cutting wheat, rye, barley, and all food made from these grains, and some who remove gluten from their diets may end up in worse physical shape than before. This article discusses gluten-free diets and how it relates to weights loss and treatment for celiac disease.

Reuters: Insight: Shortage of ADHD drug Adderall seen persisting

As demand for Adderall increases, manufacturers are still struggling to get enough active ingredient to make the drug and the shortage of the drug shows little sign of easing. ADHD is one of the most common childhood disorders, with an average of 9 percent of children ages 5 to 17 being diagnosed each year.

Disability Scoop: People With Disabilities Sidelined As Hiring Increases

The unemployment rate may be the lowest it’s been since 2009, but unemployment among those with disabilities rose to 13.5 in December, up from 13 percent in November. This rate, the lowest in two and a half years, occurred as fewer people with disabilities were employed and more decided to stop looking for work.

DailyMail: Six-year-old with Down’s syndrome in ads for Target and Nordstrom

Six-year-old Ryan models for Target, who is receiving praise for casting Ryan, who has Downs syndrome, and not seeking publicity for doing so. One blogger wrote: “By not making a big deal out of it they are doing a better job of showing their support for the special needs community.” Ryan’s mom says modeling has been a confidence booster for him.

ONN TV: Football Team Unites For Manager With Down Syndrome

Zac Ballani, a sophomore from Ohio, is one of the managers for the football team. After he borrowed varsity letter jackets from some of his friends, they decided to raise money to buy him a varsity jacket of his own. Students donated the money needed in less than 24 hours, and they surprised Zac with it as a late Christmas present.

Disability Scoop: Respite Care May Be More Beneficial Than Autism Therapy

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania found that temporary relief for caregivers can keep children and young adults with autism out of psychiatric hospitals, as it relieves some of the stress on the child and the family. The study found an 8 percent drop in the odds of hospitalization for every $1,000 states spent on respite services in the previous 60 days.

WBNS-10TV: Student with Autism Beaten at Bus Stop

A student was waiting for the school bus to take him to a vocational school, when another student came and repeatedly hit him. At some point, the student blacked out and believes he had a seizure. No charges have been filed, but the school’s superintendent says further discipline is coming.

Click on Detroit: Educator says fun is key to help students with ADHD succeed

Kevin Roberts, an ADHD specialist and educator in Bloomfield Township, holds study sessions for high school students with ADHD and other learning challenges after school at his home. He says his home is a place where students can do homework, study, learn and develop test taking skills, and enjoy a little down time. A lesson he’s trying to teach is that students can succeed in school while still having fun.

Special Needs Blog

Different Dream: 3 Ways to Raise Kids with Special Needs and Strengthen a Marriage

Three Ways to Strengthen Your MarriageDifferent Dream’s post links to a vlog posted recently on BLOOM, a blog created by Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, that gives three tips on strengthening a marriage. The vlog was impressive for three reasons: The advice was given by a parent of two kids with special needs, was given by the father instead of the mother, and the ideas are easily implemented.

Special needs disability parenting BLOOM: A tribute to a clown who let us dream

A tribute to the clown who let us dreamRicky (Jamie Burnett) and Dr. Flap (Helen Donnelly) are Holland Bloorview’s therapeutic clowns, who would visit the children and “create a kind of magic that bounced like a ball between the clowns and the child and the child and the clowns.” This post plays tribute to Ricky, who died on Dec. 18.

Laura Shumaker: Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism — the book

Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism — the bookThinking Person’s Guide to Autism is a resource for evidence-based information from autism  parents, people with autism, and autism professionals. Laura Shumaker’s post includes an interview with the book’s editors about the project, the editing team, and other elements of the book.

Look At My Eyes: A Joyful Blog about Autism

A Joyful Blog about AutismWhile families of children with special needs have issues that can lead to negativity, there are little things that create joyful blogs—and this post is one of them.

Hammiesays: B is for Behaviour

B is for BehaviourAccording to this blog, biting is a way for a child to get someone to go away, to get a reaction, and to get sensory input. This post offers advice on how to address and end biting.


From the Friendship Circle Blog

Boy with Autism asks 5 GOP candidates how they will help

Boy with Autism asks five GOP candidates how they will help This post includes the five videos with Republican candidate responses to Sam Wessel’s questions about helping children with autism.

Special Needs Parenting: Does it get easier?

Last week, the Friendship Circle blog published a post about special needs parenting becoming easier over time as self-confidence is developed. Karen’s post, however, shares the new challenges that come as children with special needs grow older.

Do You Have Your Access Pass Yet?

Do You Have Your Access Pass Yet?The Access Pass is a free lifetime pass to more than 2,000 federally owned parks in the country. It is available to all U.S. citizens or permanent residents with a permanent disability. This post has more information about the Access Pass and how to apply for one.

5 Top Special Needs News Stories From 2011

ResearchThis post lists and describes the top special needs story topics from 2011, including wandering children with autism, the battle to force insurance to cover autism, research breakthroughs, using the iPad, and students with disabilities heading to college.

The Top 20 Special Needs Resource Posts of 2011

The Top 20 Special Needs Resource Posts of 2011!The Friendship Circle blog grew in both content and viewers this past year. Before diving into new topics and articles for 2012, Friendship Circle shared their favorite posts and series from 2011.


Written on January 8, 2012 by:

Annie is currently a junior journalism major at Michigan State University. She is an associate editor for ing Magazine, a student-run magazine on campus, and manages ing's Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr accounts. Annie has spent her last three summers at camp working with children who have special needs. When she is not on Twitter or blogging, she likes to dance, swim, and read as many books as humanly possible.

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