Archived News Entries

Exceptional Minds Studio (EMS), an offshoot of Exceptional Minds digital arts academy, is creating the opportunity for adults with autism to be employed doing film post-production work. EMS will provide services on a per-project basis by skilled video effects professionals who have completed the three-year vocational program at Exceptional Minds digital arts academy for young adults with autism. One of the studios recent projects was the film "American Hustle."

A study published recently in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders has found that autistic adults who are engaged in independent work may experience a reduction in autism symptoms. Researchers at Vanderbilt University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison examined 153 adults with autism and found that greater vocational independence and engagement led to improvements in core features of autism, other problem behaviors and ability to take care of oneself.

Researchers at the University of Calgary's School of Public Policy report that care for a child with autism can cost nearly $160,000 per year over lifespan, with families bearing much of the fiscal burden. “A scan of provincial programs finds a patchwork of unequal and incomplete supports for individuals living with autism spectrum disorders,” reads the report, which was released at a press conference in Calgary on Wednesday. The report notes that relying on families to provide the bulk of care over lifespan in the absence of adequate support services is not a "sustainable approach."

Scottish singer Susan Boyle, who famously stunned judges on "Britain's Got Talent" with her rendition of "I Dreamed a Dream" from "Les Miserables," has announced that she has received an ASD diagnosis. Boyle stated in an interview that she feels relieved to have a better understanding of herself. She said she was misdiagnosed as a child as being "brain-damaged."

Autism Speaks is today releasing the findings of an online survey conducted regarding housing needs for autistic adults. In July and August 2013, over 10,000 people (including 400 autistic adults) responded to the National Housing and Residential Supports Survey. According to the report, "The survey was intended to identify the most important and commonly recurring housing needs within this community and highlight the concerns of their caregivers when it comes to providing for these needs." Results indicate that "76% of caregivers reported that the individual with autism is not currently on a waiting list to receive these services. Just one in four caregivers is currently saving for the future housing needs of the individual with autism."

The 2013 New York City Marathon is just one of the many races identical twin brothers Alex and and Jamie Schneider—who are severely autistic—have run together. ABC News looks at how running became central to the twins' lives.

David Royko, son of the late Chicago newspaper columnist Mike Royko, tells of his family's struggles with severe autism in a new book, "The Chronicles of Ben—Adventures in Autism." David Royko details how paying for care and treatment for his son, now 20, pushed the family into bankruptcy and caused them to lose their home. 

BBC News reports that the Mexican Supreme Court has ruled in favor of Ricardo Aldair, a 25-year-old with ASD who sought the right to act as a legal adult. Mexican law required that Aldair have parents or guardians sign legal documents for him.

CBS News reports on an upcoming documentary produced by the Autism Media Channel on the death of autistic teen Alex Spourdalakis at the hands of his mother and his caregiver. Alex, who was 14 years old at the time of his death, was nonverbal and had become increasingly violent. His mother, Dorothy Spourdalakis is being held without bond.

In a study published in the online edition of the journal Cerebral Cortex, scientists have shown that children with high-functioning ASD appear to outgrow difficulties with sensory issues critical to communication. Children with ASD and typically developing children between the ages of 5 and 17 were involved in the study, and their ability to understand speech with increasing levels of background noise was tested. Children with ASD between ages 6 and 12 performed much worse than typically developing children of the same age. However, there was no difference in performance among the older children in the study. Further research is needed to determine if this “catching up” is a result of intervention children with ASD  receive or physiological changes in the brain, or both.