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  1. Autism Advocates Hope New Budget will Restore S...

    July 5, 2016- "Autism Advocates Hope New Budget will Restore Services"- Families and advocates in Illinois are hopeful the $4.2 million earmarked for autism services in the state budget deal approved last week will restore programs and services shut down because of funding shortages during the recent impasse.  This article details how dismal the state of autism services has become since autism funding was cut. The passing of this recent stopgap budget may serve as a temporary solution, but future funding for organizations working with autism may be scarce.  

    • Jul 06 2016 09:35 AM
    • by brian
  2. Bill Would Create Lottery Game to Benefit Autis...

    March 8, 2016- "Bill Would Create Lottery Game to Benefit Autism Research"- A unique bill in Illinois would raise money for autism research through the Illinois Lottery. Beginning in January, the bill would require the Department of the Lottery to create a scratch-off game to benefit autism research by depositing revenue from the game in the Autism Research Fund. The bill is seen as a solution to the budget impasse the state is currently experiencing and would ensure a steady flow of funding that can be only used for autism research. The bill stipulates that the fund would be used by the Department of Public Health to conduct research, conduct investigations, experimentation, and help to create more viable treatment options for those living with autism.  

    • Mar 09 2016 09:32 AM
    • by brian
  3. Children, Families, Providers Sort through...

    February 3, 2016- "Children, Families, Providers Sort through 'Devastating' Cuts in Autism-Related Services"- There has been an increase in reports from parents claiming their children on the spectrum are experiencing declines in communication and heightened anxiety as a result of drastic reductions in statewide services. The Autism Clinic at The Hope Institute for Children and Families says families are witnessing their children regress socially as a result of a state budget impasse that is leading to the prevention of services to low-income families. This article provides the details behind the lack of state funds and includes several tragic stories from families who have been personally affected by the devastating cuts.

    • Feb 04 2016 12:02 PM
    • by brian
  4. Google Glass Could Provide Job Training for Stu...

    October 29, 2015- "Google Glass Could Provide Job Training for Students with Autism, NIU Professor Find"- A study of three high school students with autism shows promise for utilizing Google Glass as a form of job training for individuals on the spectrum. The students used Google Glass prompts to assist them in completing certain tasks. Google Glass has been seen as more advantageous compared to smart phones and handheld technologies because the technology is wearable without prohibiting vision or movement. However, the technology still requires further development for everyday use as the battery life is reportedly low and the device also tends to overheat. Based on these promising results, researchers hope their research will expand parallel to the advancements in Google Glass technology.  

    • Nov 02 2015 01:40 PM
    • by brian
  5. Immune Molecule does Double Duty as Social Manager

    October 18, 2015- "Immune Molecule does Double Duty as Social Manager"- Preliminary findings show that brain exposure to interferon-gamma, a molecule released in response to infection, is necessary for social behavior in mine. The immune molecule helps defend people from infection with viruses or bacteria. The findings add a new layer to the link between the immune system and the brain. Some researchers theorize that social disorders like autism could stem in part from a faulty immune system. The study and its findings are discussed in detail within this article.

    • Oct 20 2015 08:39 AM
    • by brian
  6. Schaumburg Teen's Dental Visit Changes Stat...

    July 27, 2015- "Schaumburg Teen's Dental Visit Changes State Law"-  Mike Barker set out to change state law after his son Bryan’s visit to the dentist. Gov. Bruce Rauner signed legislation this past Sunday that requires insurance policies to cover sedation for otherwise routine dental work for children diagnosed with autism and other developmental disabilities. His signature ensures that new plans will cover dental sedation for children with autism up to age 19. The new law goes into effect January 1.

    • Jul 29 2015 03:45 PM
    • by brian
  7. Boy Scouts Accused of Kicking Out Teen with Asp...

    June 2, 2015- "Boy Scouts Accused of Kicking Out Teen with Asperger's"- Brian and Deborah Smith have filed a lawsuit against the Boy Scouts of America Northwest Suburban Council after their son’s, who has Asperger’s,  membership was revoked. According to the article, the notice did not articulate any reason why termination was made other than that “information was received which ‘compelled us to revoke your son.’” According the lawsuit, their son suffered from “severe emotional distress” and needed counseling services.

    • Jun 04 2015 01:37 PM
    • by brian
  8. Rauner Reverses Immediate Cuts to Autism Progra...

    April 30, 2015- "Rauner Reverses Immediate Cuts to Autism Program, Tobacco Quitline, Other Social Services"- Thanks to recent estimates that show the current year budget in Illinois to be $300 million to $500 million higher than expected, Gov. Bruce Rauner has decided to reinstate $26 million in budget cuts that affected services to children with autism, as well as other social enterprises. Among the restorations is $1 million for the Springfield-based Autism Program of Illinois. The non-profit was forced to layoff five employees and was preparing for potentially dozen more layoffs before the grant suspension was lifted.

    • May 04 2015 01:07 PM
    • by brian
  9. Teens with Autism Stretch, Grow and Laugh in Im...

    May 1, 2015- "Teens with Autism Stretch, Grow and Laugh in Improv Classes at Second City"-  Second City, one of the world’s most renowned improv groups, has offered a comedy program for individuals with autism spectrum disorders for the past two years. Aside from entertainment value, the program is designed to improve the communication skills of individuals with ASD. The articles goes on to discuss how certain aspects of improv comedy help impact autism.  

    • May 04 2015 09:55 AM
    • by brian
  10. Renowned Doctor Sanctioned for Controversial Au...

    January 5, 2015- "Renowned Doctor Sanctioned for Controversial Autism Case"- Dr. Anjum Usman, a renowned doctor from Naperville, IL, has been sanctioned by the state for allegedly subjecting two children with autism to dangerous and unwarranted therapies. Dr. Usman provided chelation and hyperbaric oxygen treatments to a child of James Coman, who filed complaints alleging that Usman failed to disclose financial interests she had in the treatments. Usman is currently on probation, but she has been allowed to continue practicing medicine on the condition that she will be taking extra medical education classes, and that she will be submitting 10 of her patients’ medical records quarterly for assessment. Read more about controversial and alternative treatments here.

    • Jan 07 2015 11:32 AM
    • by brian
  11. Surplus of Synapses May Stunt Motor Skills in A...

    January 5, 2015- "Surplus of Synapses May Stunt Motor Skills in Autism"- An overabundance of synapses in the brain may contribute to the motor impairments associated with autism. All individuals are born with more synapses than they need. These spare connections are pared down during development, leaving only the most useful ones. However, in autism, this excess is thought to persist. Researchers studied motor circuits in the cerebellums of mice with an extra copy of the chromosomal region 15q11-13, which is thought to be the second most common genetic aberration seen in autism. The mice were found to have motor coordination problems similar to those seen in about 80 percent of children with autism. The article goes on to discuss the research study in detail, with a particular focus on “synaptic pruning.”

    • Jan 06 2015 10:44 AM
    • by brian
  12. Farm Gives Adults with Autism a Chance to Grow

    September 12, 2014- "Farm Gives Adults with Autism a Chance to Grow"- Growing Solutions Farms is a 1.2-acre plot of land on which almost two dozen students with autism learn all the aspects of farming. Additionally, the organization works to teach vocational skills to these individuals that will translate to any job. The farm, which donates 75 percent of its crop to local food pantries, has caught the attention of the National Garden Bureau, which plans to fund therapeutic gardens across the nation.

    • Sep 16 2014 11:09 AM
    • by brian
  13. Antioch Senior with Autism Named a Top Scholar

    April 29, 2014- "Antioch Senior with Autism Named a Top Scholar"- At the age of 16, Maxwell McKeough is about to graduate Antioch Community High School with plans to study neuroscience and biochemistry at the University of Illinois in Chicago. McKeough, who was diagnosed with Asperger’s at the age of 5, recently won a $500 scholarship for his essay on “What It Means To You To Be Fearless.” In his essay, McKeough discusses the good and bad of being diagnosed on the spectrum.

    • May 01 2014 09:39 AM
    • by brian
  14. Autism Signs can be Identified Earlier than For...

    March 18, 2014- "Autism Signs can be Identified Earlier than Formerly Thought"- Researchers at the University of Illinois recently identified a number of behavioral problems and developmental deficits that if present when children were 2 years old were predictive of their receiving an ASD diagnosis. The problems include many associated with communication and language, social interaction, and self-regulation. About 95 percent of the parents in the study had identified problems and begun seeking speech therapy, occupational therapy, or other treatment long before their child was diagnosed with autism. This study lends credence to past research indicating that a reliable ASD diagnosis can be made at the age of 2.  

    • Mar 19 2014 12:46 PM
    • by brian
  15. DiCianni Asked to Help Align Autism Law with Af...

    November 27, 2013- "DiCianni Asked to Help Align Autism Law with Affordable Care Act"- The Autism Illinois Task Force has appointed former Elmhurst Mayor Pete DiCianni to insurance lead to help clear up red tape and make it easier for families to cope medically and financially with a child’s autism diagnosis as ACA goes into effect in 2014. DiCianni was the champion of Brianna’s Law in Illinois, which was the first state to pass legislation regarding autism insurance reform.

    • Dec 02 2013 09:54 AM
    • by brian
  16. Aquatic Therapy for Autistic Children Focuses o...

    October 22, 2013- "Aquatic Therapy for Autistic Children Focuses on Safety"- BDI Playhouse Children’s Therapies offers aquatic therapy as an option for families all year long. The therapy focuses on strengthening and improving coordination, with special attention towards water safety. The attention to water safety is especially important for children with autism as they are often attracted to water and typically have low muscle tone and sensory challenges.

    • Oct 24 2013 08:59 AM
    • by brian
  17. Palos Park Autism Registry Aims to Keep Childre...

    October 17, 2013- "Palos Park Autism Registry Aims to Keep Children Safe"- Palos Park officials are asking parents of children with ASD to register that information, so that police may response with appropriate sensitivity and effectiveness. Parents are urged to download an autism safety form, fill it out, and bring it into police headquarters.

    • Oct 18 2013 09:24 AM
    • by brian
  18. Chicago Playwright Focuses New Play JOINT ATTEN...

    October 15, 2013- "Chicago Playwright Focuses New Play JOINT ATTENTION on Autism"- Pat Curtis has penned a new play called Joint Attention, which explores the dedication and determination related to raising a child with autism. Curtis is a former special education teacher in Chicago and has turned her experiences working with families with members on the autism spectrum into a play.

    • Oct 16 2013 09:02 AM
    • by brian
  19. West Chicago Medical Center, WDSRA Team up to S...

    October 9, 2013- "West Chicago Medical Center, WDSRA Team up to Support Families of Children with Autism"- Together Mabel Chirolla and Romina Gieseman founded PANNA (Padres Ayudando Nuestros Niños cons Autismo, or Parents Helping Their Children with Autism) when they recognized the lack of support for local Spanish-speaking parents of children with autism. The support group is led entirely in Spanish and provides parents with much-needed resources and a place to learn from each other. PANNA invites a variety of speakers to present to the group, but when specials guests are unavailable, parents share their own experiences and resources.

    • Oct 10 2013 10:47 AM
    • by brian
  20. Baranek: Autism Can't Stop Andrew's Nic...

    October 7, 2013- "Baranek: Autism Can't Stop Andrew's Nick Diaz from Speaking with Speed"- Joining the cross country team at high school has brought out the best in Nick Diaz who has autism. Throughout his lifetime Diaz has experienced the symptoms that typically define the disorder such as rocking, avoiding eye contact, limited communication, and a yearning for routine. A combination of speech classes, special needs classes, and performing admirably on the cross country team has brought out the best in Nick who regularly socializes with his peers.

    • Oct 08 2013 08:58 AM
    • by brian
  21. Elmhurst Boy with Autism Develops Special Bond...

    October 4, 2013- "Elmhurst Boy with Autism Develops Special Bond with Teen Coach"- Keawe Winstead is the gymnastics coach of 6-year-old Jack Caliento who has high-functioning autism. Jack is nonverbal, active, and has developed a bong with his coach, which is something hard for Jack, according to his mother. Winstead says he treats Jack like every other child who is participating in class because at their core they are all there to have fun.

    • Oct 07 2013 10:33 AM
    • by brian
  22. Harry's Buttons Offer Employment to Adults...

    September 11, 2013- Harry's Buttons Offer Employment to Adults with Autism- Harry Engell Sr. turned a button machine in their basement into a job for his son and others on the autism spectrum. In 2010 the Engell family donated their business to Easter Seals Metropolitan Chicago, and the company now has two locations.

    • Sep 15 2013 12:41 PM
    • by brian
  23. Grandparents United for Autism, Founded by Skok...

    August 28, 2013- "Grandparents United for Autism, Founded by Skokie Grandma, Sponsoring Picnic"- A comfortable and anxiety-free social setting will be afforded to children and grandparents who attend the Grandparents United for Autism gathering on Sept. 8th in Skokie, Illinois. Dr. Shirley Craven is the founder of the group that brings adults with grandchildren with autism together in a social atmosphere to offer support to one another.  Read more about events like these in our Events Calendar.

    • Aug 29 2013 10:40 AM
    • by brian
  24. New Autism Center Opens in Winnetka

    August 19, 2013- "New Autism Center Opens in Winnetka"- The Autism Family Center has opened in Winnetka to address a lack of multidisciplinary autism resources on Chicago’s North Shore. The center will cover everything from diagnosis to Applied Behavior Analysis, art therapy, and speech therapy. The center will also offer support services for individuals, couples, family, and even group counseling.

    • Aug 21 2013 10:04 AM
    • by brian
  25. Rock the Spectrum: An Autism Speaks Benefit Con...

    July 17, 2013- "Rock the Spectrum: An Autism Speaks Benefit Concert"- Multiple bands will perform at the Wildey Theatre in Edwardsville, IL to benefit autism. The event will feature music and a raffle and all proceeds will go to benefit Autism Speaks. Visit the Events Calendar for more information on this and other autism-related events across the nation.

    • Jul 18 2013 11:09 AM
    • by brian