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Joe Young
BY Joe Young

A Recap Of November’s Special Needs News

With November now behind us, we look forward to a month of more holiday celebrations with more time spent around family and friends.

While we’re with family or friends (and enjoying ourselves), many will stop to think about all the think they are thankful for and how there are struggles in the world greater than what many have experienced.

November News Highlights

ADHD in City Hall

One such example is Boston’s mayor Martin J. Walsh’s Chief of Staff, Daniel Koh, whom in addition to being considered a “City Hall wunderkind,” has struggled with ADHD throughout his entire life after being diagnosed at the age of 9. “It’s not something to be ashamed of,” Koh told Linda Matchan of the Boston Globe. “You can do anything other kids can do.”

Peaceful Haircuts

Have you ever tried to get your kid’s hair cut and been met with a battle? A barber named James Williams in the United Kingdom found success in giving a young boy named Mason with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) after years of Mason running away from the act. Williams shared his story on social media after making the peaceful discovery.

New Muppets on the Block

Sesame Street introduced Julia, its first autistic Muppet, as part of a series called “Sesame Street and Autism: See Amazing in All Children,” which is a web-based project intended to help children understand and be more sensitive to peers that may appear different from them. The Yale Child Study Team, Autism Self Advocacy Network, Council for Exceptional Children, and Autism Speaks as well as numerous other institutions and organizations all contributed input to the project, which services the purpose of accurately representing the viewpoints of people with autism.

Global Diagnosis

While ADHD rates may be rising internationally, it appears that sympathy to the condition is leaving something to be desired. Countries like Germany, England, Israel and areas in Europe, the Middle East and South America are seeing rates of diagnosis and medication prescriptions increasing significantly, while most parents are feeling there is a lack of medical, social and educational support.

Moms and Dads Alike

The latest on Down syndrome: A “parental” issue? Extra genetic material can attach itself to chromosome 21 in the male sperm, causing the syndrome to be attributed to the father in 5-10 percent of cases. This lead to questions about the theory of “advanced paternal age,” which explains the likelihood of a father’s age playing a factor in the presence of genetic abnormalities. Here’s the kicker: a recent study suggested that a 20-year old male doubles the chances of Down syndrome as opposed to a 40-year old male.

Other Articles of Interest

  • Cerebral Palsy: Nothing comes easy for a 17-year old Justin Gallegos, a long distance runner with cerebral palsy and an uncommon desire not to quit.
  • Facilitated communication (FC), though controversial, continues with a “cult-like” following despite prejudice and being the focal point for several cases of misconduct.
  • Prosthetics: Head of the Biomechatronics research group at MIT Media Lab, Hugh Herr, lost his legs after being trapped in a blizzard while ice-climbing the Huntington Ravine when he was 17. Twelve months later he’s back in action and climbing at the same level with the help of prosthesis.
  • “Marwencol”: Mark Hogancamp was nearly beaten to death outside of a bar and woke up a coma with brain damage, limited motor function and and no memory of the event. So, what did he do? He built “Marwencol,” a fictional Belgian town in his yard to help rebuild his life.
  • Tummy troubles: The common gastrointestinal problems associated with autism that affect 40-60 percent of children and the exploration of mystery behind the issue.
  • Sleep study: Does your child with ADHD suffer from sleeping problems possibly associated with medication? Explore the possible stimulants and interactions here.
  • Under the hood: What a peek at the human brain’s wiring can reveal about ADHD in an MRI and how understanding disorders can help “normalize” the brain.
  • Video game prescriptions: Treating ADHD at home with EVO, a specially designed computer program to help improve attention and reduce impulsivity.
  • Group mental health: The parallels of mental health and autism: How the parents, the caregivers and the child(ren) are all affected and what needs to be done about it.
  • ‘Tomorrow’: a homemade film about Ryan Wiggins, a teenager with Asperger’s Syndrome and his daily struggles with being bullied at school.
Joe Young

Written on December 1, 2015 by:

Marketing and Communications Manager for Friendship Circle of Michigan.