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Autism in Love aired on PBS on January 11, 2016. It is a must-see for everyone who wants to understand the way adults on the Spectrum view love and being in love.

Autism in Love - PBS

Autism’s Lost Generation (The Atlantic) – It is something that many adults on the Spectrum know only far too well. Labels are slapped on. Uninformed diagnosis pronounced. And many adults on the Spectrum are expected to lead “normal” lives knowing only far too well that something is not right. In our own organization, at least two of our Board members were finally diagnosed correctly only ten years ago. The diagnosis brought with it a sigh of relief from both the Aspies and their families. And yes, all of our Aspie Board members are very bright. But they were lucky. They were born much later than the people mentioned in this article. Some have had really tough lives, like Scott Hartman, who is learning to live independently after years of hospitalization and over-medication. “There’s almost nothing written about autism and geriatric populations,” says Joseph Piven, a professor of psychiatry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Many people with Autism were simply hidden from the public. It was common to institutionalize people with the disorder until the 1980s. This is what happened to Scott Hartman.

Study Highlights Health Risks For Those With Autism (Disability Scoop) – As if Autistics haven’t got enough to contend with comes the report of health risks faced by those on the Spectrum. According to a study reported by the Journal of General Internal Medicine, adults with ASD are more prone to a number of illnesses than neurotypicals, such as: seizure disorder, depression, hypertension, and allergies. On the plus side, adults with ASD have lower rates of sexually transmitted illnesses, tobacco use, and alcohol use. According to the report, only 55% of participants had documented IQ scores. Of those,  91% had an intellectual disability (IQ < 70), only about 50% were independent with eating, 40% independent with dressing, and 40% independent with bathing. “Lower IQ and depression were associated with lower functional status,” according to the authors of the study.

Greater Transparency Urged For College Disability Services (Disability Scoop) – U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) “asked the U.S. Department of Education to offer better guidance for those with disabilities and their families as they investigate postsecondary education options,” writes Michelle Diament in her November 20, 2015 post. Of the 60% disabled students who enter colleges, only 40% graduate. Why? It may be because families of disabled students have a hard time finding out about what services are available and what type of documentation they will need in order to request assistance.

Asperger Syndrome, Employment, & Social Security Benefits (AANE) – “This article is intended to help adults with AS (and the parents, spouses, and mental health professionals who support them),” writes Kate Collins-Wooley, Ph.D., “to analyze employability, plan for any reasonable remediation of weaknesses, and identify the characteristics of jobs where adults with AS are most likely to feel comfortable and succeed.” Ms. Collins-Wooley’s thesis is that just as children on the Spectrum need special training and consideration, so do adults. Here she defines the three problem areas for Aspies: difficulty processing sensory input (sensory integration); difficulties understanding social intercourse (theory of mind); and differences in “executive function” (organizational skills) and cognition/information-processing skills, such as difficulty appreciating the “big picture” (“central coherence”).

Aspergers and Autism in Girls: Don’t Be Afraid of Your Awesomeness (Amy Poehler’s Smart Girl) – “I’m often asked, ‘What is it like to be a girl on the spectrum?’ My answer: too much,” writes actress and comedian, Amy Poehler. “We feel too much, think too much, need too much—at least so says the world. But the world is wrong. Girls, yours is a neurological set-up primed for unique challenges and powerful gifts. The kind of mind that fueled Marie Curie’s discoveries, Emily Dickinson’s eloquence, Temple Grandin’s innovations: It’s inside you, too.” This is an important, uplifting, must-read article for all girls and women on the Spectrum and for the people who love them!

Pregnancy Timing May Influence Autism Risk (disability scoop) – a new study that was published online at Pediatrics, claims that if a child is conceived less than two years or more than six after the birth of an older sibling, he/she has a greater odd for being born with autism. Approximately 2% of children born into each of those groups was born with autism, according to the study.

Common Autism Behaviors Less Likely In Girls (disability scoop) – In a recent study of 700 children on the Autism Spectrum, researchers found that there are definitely gender differences in both behavioral and brain measures between boys and girls. In particular, girls do not exhibit the repetitive behavior often used to determine if a child has Autism or not. This is no surprise to those with daughters on the Spectrum; but it is good to have it supported by a formal study.

Proposal Aims To Curb Disability Bias Among Doctors, Insurers (disability scoop) – The Obama Administration has put out a proposal that would change the way the medical community and insurers treat disabled people. They are asking people to comment on the proposed amendment to Obama Care by no later than November 9, 2015. To find out how you may submit your comments, please see Nondiscrimination in Health Programs and Activities.

Autism Speaks needs to do a lot more listening (LA Times) – In this op-ed, Steve Silberman addresses the issue that those on the Autism Spectrum have long been complaining about: Autism Speaks does not speak for them nor does it listen to them. “Imagine,” Mr. Silberman writes, “a world in which the leadership of the NAACP was all-white; now consider that not a single autistic person serves on the board of Autism Speaks. This absence makes itself felt…. The group’s PR messaging has also reinforced the misconception that autism is a destroyer of marriages, though research shows that divorce rates are no higher for the parents of autistic kids.” While this mammoth organization spends tens of millions to research the causes of autism, “only a tiny fraction of the money raised on walks organized by Autism Speaks goes to ensuring that autistic people who have already been born will be able to live happy, healthy, secure and productive lives.” This is indeed a must-read article not only for all Autistics but for every person who is genuinely interested in Autism and how best to relate to and serve the Autistic community.

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