Continuing its series on adults with autism, The New York Times today profiles Kirsten Lindsmith and Jack Robison, a young couple with Asperger's syndrome. Robison's father is author John Elder Robison, who also has Asperger's syndrome.
The Simons Foundation has gifted $26.5 million to MIT to establish The Simons Center for the Social Brain. This represents one of the largest single private grants from an individual donor to be aimed at autism research. The creation of the Center appears to be an effort to accelerate research into the neural mechanisms underlying social cognition, and then to translate this knowledge base into improved autism diagnosis and treatment regimens. The Center will likely attempt to create a multidisciplinary approach to autism research within MIT, as well as to utilize the technological innovation for which the University is known. Since its creation in 1994 by Jim and Marilyn Simons, The Simons Foundation has been perhaps the highest-profile source of private foundation funding for autism research in the United States.
San Francisco-based writer, Laura Shumaker, addresses some of the health issues facing adults with developmental disabilities in an interview with the Arc of San Francisco's Alan Fox, Shumaker is the mother of a 25-year-old man with autism.
The Los Angeles Times today examines the incidence of ASD in the current adult population. Many hypothesize that the percentage of the adult population with ASD is much higher than we think, due to the previous rate of misdiagnosis.
The New York Times today exposed questionable billing practices on the part of providers serving people with developmental disabilities. The article is part of a NYT series, "Abused and Used," which focuses on the treatment of those with developmental disabilities in the state of New York.
Autism Speaks has updated its Autism Safety Project with new sections focusing on safety in the home and community. Resources are included for teens and adults with ASD, their families, and first reponders.
A study to be published in The American Journal of Psychiatry, indicates that the use of the antidepressant fluoxetine (Prozac) may decrease the rate of repetitive behaviors in adults with autism. According to AJP in Advance, the publication's website previewing upcoming articles, "fluoxetine treatment, compared to placebo, resulted in significantly greater improvement in repetitive behaviors."
Bridging research and practice, a Canadian organization has announced plans to build a center that will house both researchers and young adults on the autism center learning independent living skills. The Spectrum of Hope Autism Foundation is currently raising funds for the project, to be called the Kae Martin Campus.
Adolescents with autism experience less social inclusion than other special education students, according to results of a new study led by researcher Paul Shattuck of Washington University in St. Louis. Examining data from a group of 11,000 students enrolled in special education, the study found that teens with ASD were significantly less likely to see friends out of school, to get called by friends, or to be invited to social activities when compared with adolescents from all the other groups. The full study can be found here.
"On the Spectrum," a play by screenwriter Ken LaZebnik, will premiere on November 17 at Mixed Blood Theatre in Minneapolis and will subsequently be streamed live via the Internet on November 22. The play tells the story of a relationship between two young adults with ASD, and is playing is part of the theater's "Center of the Margins" festival showcasing plays about disability.
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