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The Daily Brief

February 29, 2016

NY Times: What Prodigies Could Teach Us About Autism

What if understanding prodigies would help us understand a seemingly unrelated condition, like autism? No link has yet been proved between autism and prodigy. Prodigies aren’t typically autistic (unlike savants, in whom extraordinary abilities and autism often coincide), and they don’t have the social or communication challenges that characterize autism. But some aspects of prodigy and autism do overlap. Read more at the New York Times.

Send in your idea for the Autism Speaks House to Home Prize

Deadline is March 1st! Currently, 81% of adults with autism live with their aging parents. While there are many organizations and alliances dedicated to making the search for housing and community living easier, a major breakthrough that meets the escalating demand for homes and supports for those with autism is needed. Autism Speaks is sponsoring the Autism Speaks House to Home Prize to bring about this breakthrough. Learn more and participate in the challenge here.


Brain’s social ‘river’ carries clues about autism



Social skills — the ability to hold a conversation, interpret an expression or decode body language — spring from activity within various, scattered hubs in the brain. But autism researchers are taking aim at certain hot spots to learn how people acquire, or fail to acquire, this important set of abilities. Read more at Spectrum News.

Helping patients with autism navigate the stressful ER

When you head to the emergency room, you almost expect stress -- the long waits, the hubbub of other patients and the endless, seemingly discombobulated stream of doctors and nurses. But for patients with autism, a neurological disorder that affects communication and can make people sensitive to stimulation, that stress can be so overwhelming that it undermines their ability to get the treatment they need. Read more at CNN.

Providers: Low wages make it hard to find and keep caregivers

At 25, Julian Battise is living a life he enjoys. Battise, who has some intellectual and developmental challenges, lives with three roommates in an apartment complex in Northwest Knoxville. With help, he manages his finances and decides how to spend his time. He works around 30 hours a week at a Publix supermarket — not through a program specifically for people with disabilities, but as a regular employee, at full pay. Read more at the Knoxville News Sentinal.

Canadian autism advocates hopeful budget boost will speed intervention

Suzanne Jacobson hopes the Ontario government's promise to invest $333 million into autism services for young children will put her organization out of business. Read more at CBC News.

Parents seek advice: Our 3-year-old packs food in his mouth till he gags

Our autism expert has strategies to help overcome this child’s dangerous tendency to overstuff his mouth and hold food in his cheeks. Read more here.

Scholarship funds awarded to ten postsecondary programs

Autism Speaks is proud to award $155,000 to 10 postsecondary institutions through the third annual Brian and Patricia Kelly Postsecondary Scholarship Fund, which is designed to provide funding and educational opportunities after high school for young adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Funds were awarded to four-year colleges, two-year colleges, vocational programs and transition programs. Read more here.

Autism Live spotlights Light It Up Blue!