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  1. Armani Williams Inspires as a Race Driver with...

    July 13, 2016- "Armani Williams Inspires as a Race Driver with Autism"-  Armani Williams, a 16-year-old high school junior with autism, is currently leading the rankings for Rookie of the Year in the ARCA Truck Series. The rookie’s meteoric rise has put him on the fast track to becoming a NASCAR driver. In fact, Williams has already become the highest finishing African American in the history of the ARCA Truck Series. Diagnosed at age 2, Williams understands the social difficulties that can accompany autism. In every city that holds a race, Williams reaches out to connect with a local autism association to provide them with free tickets and the opportunity to spend the day at the track. Readers can watch a brief local news clip profiling Williams within this article.

    • Jul 15 2016 10:00 AM
    • by brian
  2. Can Telehealth Fill Gap in Autism Services?

    May 24, 2016- "Can Telehealth Fill Gap in Autism Services?"- Findings from a federally funded pilot study on telehealth training show the online program successfully helped parents of children with autism improve their child’s social communication using research-based intervention techniques. The study involved 28 parents of children with autism who all completed one 75-minute self-directed online lesson per week, for a total of 12 weeks, and practiced the intervention techniques with their child. Half of the parents also received two 30-minute coaching sessions per week (24 total) from a therapist via video-conferencing. Results indicate that telehealth training benefited parents and children in both groups.  

    • May 26 2016 10:18 AM
    • by brian
  3. Michigan's Autism Fund Will Run Out of Mone...

    October 28, 2015- Michigan's Autism Fund Will Run Out of Money in November, Officials Say-  In 2012, Michigan mandated that insurance companies provide coverage for autism diagnosis and treatment, but the legislation didn't apply to large employers that self-fund their health insurance. To incentivize these large companies, a $15 million fund was established to reimburse insurers for paid claims related to autism coverage. However, companies were slow to make claims, causing the legislature to redistribute the funds over the next few budget cycles to provide grants for universities training health care professionals in autism. Now, as reimbursement claims become more frequent, the fund is likely to run dry before the end of November. Lawmakers are now looking into the issue to see if and how to build back the fund as the state’s leaders urge them to provide more money in order for families to maintain coverage of services.

    • Oct 28 2015 10:41 AM
    • by brian
  4. W. MI Man with Autism on 'American Ninja Wa...

    June 4, 2015- "W. MI Man with Autism on 'American Ninja Warrior'"- Recently, 21-year-old Steven Moul got to witness his dream of participating in American Ninja Warrior play out on national television. It’s a dream Steven, who has autism, has been yearning to achieve for 8 years, since he first started watching the obstacle course-based show. Although he came up short of pressing the big red button, he says that people should chase their dreams and never give up on what they want to do even if they run into their own share of obstacles along the way.  

    • Jun 08 2015 01:15 PM
    • by brian
  5. Autism Doesn't Stop Mason Junior Baseball D...

    May 18, 2015- "Autism Doesn't Stop Mason Junior Baseball Dream"- Jay Granger, a proud member of the Mason High School Bulldogs’ varsity baseball team, credits his position on the team for helping him to “realize having autism doesn’t change who I am.” Jay, who was also a member of the varsity football team in the fall, was with the Autism Alliance of Michigan’s Courage Award last month for scoring a touchdown against DeWitt in September. Jay’s good attitude and commitment earned him a spot on the team and he admits that recently getting the first hit of his career was his favorite athletic achievement of the school year.  Video is available of Jay discussing achieving his baseball dream.

    • May 19 2015 09:33 AM
    • by brian
  6. Watch Grand Rapids Union Autistic Student be Cr...

    May 4, 2015- "Watch Grand Rapids Union Autistic Student be Crowned Prom King"- Grand Rapids Union High School senior Connor Folkertsma, who was diagnosed with autism at 3 and a half years old, was recently crowned homecoming king at prom. Both Connor and his mom, Sandi Folkertsma, realize how special of a moment this is after such a long journey on the spectrum. The article is accompanied with videos and photographs for those who want to share in Connor’s achievement.

    • May 05 2015 09:19 AM
    • by brian
  7. WMU Shares Applied Behavior Analysis Training V...

    April 20, 2015- "WMU Shares Applied Behavior Analysis Training Videos for Autism"- A series of free videos on autism assessment and intervention techniques is now available online thanks to Western Michigan University’s Autism Center of Excellence. The video series includes interviews with experts in ABA and behavioral pediatrics. The videos are designed to enhance the capabilities of ABA practitioners and students in academic training to understand and implement important behavioral analysis techniques.

    • Apr 23 2015 08:12 AM
    • by brian
  8. Snyder Signs Bill with $5.5 Million for Au...

    December 29, 2014- "Snyder Signs Bill with $5.5 Million for Autism"-  Michican Governor Rick Snyder has recently signed legislation to take $5.5 million from a state autism fund and redirect it to autism programs universities and for autism-related family assistance. The fund was created in 2012 to reimburse health insurance companies for the cost of benefits covering the diagnosis and treatment of ASDs, but insurers have not filed nearly as many claims as expected. The money will help universities train health workers to assess, diagnose, and provide treatment to people with ASDs.

    • Jan 02 2015 09:48 AM
    • by brian
  9. Michigan Adds New Requirement for Parents who W...

    December 12, 2014- "Michigan Adds New Requirement for Parents who Want Vaccine Waivers"-  Beginning in the new year, Michigan parents will have to get a certificate from their local health department if they want to opt out of vaccinating their children. The certificate will state they were told about the risks of not vaccinating, both for their kids and the greater community. The risks of failing to vaccinate children are illustrated by the tragic events in which two unvaccinated children returned from the Philippines and contracted measles. Upon their return, they infected three other unvaccinated children in Traverse City, Michigan. Read more about the potential consequences in your state for failing to vaccinate your child here.  

    • Dec 15 2014 11:28 AM
    • by brian
  10. Autism Spectrum Disorder Student Makes the Home...

    September 24, 2014- "Autism Spectrum Disorder Student Makes the Homecoming Court at Allen Park High School"- Antonio Liberati has Fragile X syndrome and was recently nominated to be on this year’s Allen Park High School Homecoming Court. The honor includes being a part of the pep school assembly, riding in a car at the annual Homecoming Parade, participating in the halftime ceremony during their football game against Taylor Kennedy, and recognition as a member of the court during the Homecoming dance. Antonio is non-verbal, but is described as having a strong personality that is infectious to those who work with him.

    • Sep 26 2014 01:20 PM
    • by brian
  11. Football Changes Everything for Autistic Teen

    September 21, 2014- "Football Changes Everything for Autistic Teen"- Josh Bailey has autism and is a senior offensive tackle on the Lakeland High School football team in Michigan. Bailey used to be awkward, extremely shy, and sensitive to loud noises, but football has “changed everything” for Josh. Elected as captain for their first game by his teammates, Bailey is in rarified air for an individual with autism. Dr. Tisa Johnson, medical director for Henry Ford’s Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities is dumbfounded by not only Bailey’s abilities, but also from the respect he commands from his peers. She insists that she has never met a kid like Bailey, who took it upon his own initiative to join the team and to excel to the point of being voted captain.

    • Sep 23 2014 09:34 AM
    • by brian
  12. Autism Diagnosis Bottleneck Leaving Michigan Ki...

    July 26, 2014- "Autism Diagnosis Bottleneck Leaving Michigan Kids Stranded Without Services"- This article provides a summation of the current state of affairs regarding children receiving treatment for autism spectrum disorders in the state of Michigan. Legislation that was supposed to help assist families pay for autism treatments had been delayed due to a lack of funding. Meanwhile, Blue Cross-Blue Shield of Michigan, the state’s largest private insurer, requires that children be diagnosed by a Board-certified Behavior Analyst at approved Autism Evaluation Centers, of which, in 2012, there were only three in the entire state.

    • Jul 28 2014 09:27 AM
    • by brian
  13. Weaving Gives Family Hope for Man with Autism

    July 6, 2014- "Weaving Gives Family Hope for Man with Autism"- Billy DeMink is a 21-year-old non-verbal man who was diagnosed with autism in 1995. At the age of 18 he was introduced to weaving in school and that skill has led to a better life for Billy and his family. Today, Billy weaves rugs for a living and his family sells or donates them. In the wake of super storm Sandy, Billy and his family donated 140 rugs for families in New Jersey who had lost their homes.

    • Jul 08 2014 09:08 AM
    • by brian
  14. Speaker Shares his Story of Autism, Bullying

    April 16, 2014- "Speaker Shares his Story of Autism, Bullying"- Madysen Baker was inspired to start an anti-bullying program at Central Middle School after witnessing former MSU basketball player Anthony Ianni speak about autism and bullying. Ianni has visited Central as one of the 659 stops he has made as a part of the “Relentless Tour,” a statewide anti-bullying initiative. Ianni was diagnosed at the age of 4 and doctors at the time told his parents he wouldn’t be athletic and would not likely graduate high school.  In his presentation, Ianni explains how he reached success through hard work, support, and the importance of respect.

    • Apr 21 2014 10:43 AM
    • by brian
  15. Bullied Michigan Boy Colin gets 'GMA' B...

    March 7, 2014- "Bullied Michigan Boy Colin gets 'GMA' Birthday Surprise - and Trip to Disney World"- This article details the heartwarming conclusion of Colin, a Michigan boy with autism who said he didn’t want a birthday party because he didn’t have any friends. A Facebook page was created to wish Colin a happy birthday and is garnered over 2.1 million likes and national attention. So much so that he was invited to the set of “Good Morning America” and offered a trip to Disney World for his birthday.  

    • Mar 10 2014 10:53 AM
    • by brian
  16. Boy with No Friends Scores Over a Million '...

    February 14, 2014- "Boy with No Friends Scores Over a Million 'Likes'"- Colin, a Michigan boy with special needs, told his mom he didn’t want a birthday party because he didn’t have any friends. In an attempt to rectify this perception, his mother, Jennifer, took to Facebook and soon his story went viral. So far, the page entitled “Happy Birthday Colin” as generated over 1.8 million likes and the boy’s birthday is not until March 9th.  

    • Feb 14 2014 03:35 PM
    • by brian
  17. Autism Links Students in New Class at Grand Bla...

    January 26, 2014- "Autism Links Students in New Class at Grand Blanc High School"- A new class at Grand Blanc High School is helping students with autism build relationships with their peers. The class, LINKS Peer to Peer support, is an elective that students can apply to take in which they are paired with students with autism. The “links” students accompany their partners with autism and buddy for an hour by helping the students during class.  

    • Jan 28 2014 10:52 AM
    • by brian
  18. Video Could Transform How Schools Serve Teens w...

    October 17, 2013- "Video Could Transform How Schools Serve Teens with Autism"- Joshua Plavnick, assistant professor of special education at MSU, believes that video-based teaching helps teens with autism learn important social skills, and could one day be used widely in schools with limited resources. A research study which focused on 13- to 17-year-old students with ASD used laptops or iPads to offer group video instruction on social behaviors. Researchers found that students demonstrated rapid increase in the level of complex social behaviors each time video-based group instruction was used. Moreover, students retained those social behaviors at high levels, even when the videos were used less often.

    • Oct 18 2013 10:31 AM
    • by brian
  19. State Award $500K to CMU for Autism Treatment

    October 10, 2013- "State Award $500K to CMU for Autism Treatment"- The Michigan Department of Community Health has awarded $500,000 to psychology professors at Central Michigan University to increase the number of professionals trained to serve individuals in Michigan with autism spectrum disorders. The one-year grant will certify 25 undergraduate students at Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analysts and eight graduate students as Board Certified Behavior Analysts.

    • Oct 14 2013 10:54 AM
    • by brian
  20. Blind, Autistic Man's Music his Gift

    October 12, 2013- "Blind, Autistic Man's Music his Gift"- Lance Vardon is blind, has autism, and plays the piano for the Berkley High School orchestra, which is something he has done since middle school. The 22-year-old came up through the Berkley school system and is currently transitioning to Berkley’s post-high school program for special needs students 18 to 26 years old. Vardon uses music to cope with the challenges of autism, which can cause challenges in socialization, cognition, and communication skills.

    • Oct 14 2013 09:57 AM
    • by brian
  21. 'Joshua is the Winner, he's so Proud,...

    October 4, 2013- "'Joshua is the Winner, he's so Proud,' Autistic Senior Named Homecoming King at East Grand Rapids"- Joshua Pittman, an 18-year-old senior at East Grand Rapids, has autism and was recently crowned homecoming king of his high school. Pittman and his family were extremely proud as his court mates guided him to his position next to the homecoming queen during the school assembly.

    • Oct 07 2013 11:10 AM
    • by brian
  22. Building the Best Brain: U-M Researchers Show B...

    September 20, 2013- "Building the Best Brain: U-M Researchers Show Brain Cell Connections get Cemented Early in Life"- When we are born our brains are not very organized, but as we age and learn our brains become more stable. Researchers have found that SIRP alpha, a protein found on the surface of various cells throughout the body, appears to play a key role in the process of cementing the most active synaptic connections between brain cells. These findings will help increase our understanding of neurological disorders like autism.

    • Sep 24 2013 06:13 PM
    • by brian
  23. College Aid for Disabled Students on the Rise

    September 15, 2013- "College Aid for Disabled Students on the Rise"- A program at EMU offers supplemental support from a graduate assistance for children with autism attending their classes. These types of programs are expanding as the “K&W Guide to College Program for Students with Learning Disabilities or AD/HD” has grown steadily over the years, boasting 362 current programs. This article goes on to discuss the pros and cons of these types of expanding programs.

    • Sep 17 2013 01:11 PM
    • by brian
  24. Sequester Hits Special Education Like 'Ton...

    September 10, 2013- "Sequester Hits Special Education Like 'Ton of Bricks'"- A new round of special education cuts has occurred this school year as a result of a 5 percent reduction in federal funding of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). These effects are felt from the sequestration, which took effect March 1, but did not create an impact until this school year. The budget cuts may results in resource rooms for math writing, reading, and organizational skills, fewer on-site therapists, and the elimination of classrooms with multiple teachers for students with special needs.

    • Sep 11 2013 08:42 AM
    • by brian
  25. Michigan Panel Denies Autism, Asthma as Eligibl...

    August 6, 2013- "Michigan Panel Denies Autism, Asthma as Eligible Conditions for Medical Marijuana Use"- Jenny Allen, who has a son with autism, has tried a number of diets, psychiatric therapies, and medications, but they have done little to mitigate her son’s symptoms. She hoped that she would be able to turn to medical marijuana as a possible solution, but her hopes were recently dashed as the Michigan Medical Marijuana Review Panel rejected a petition to add autism as an eligible condition for which medical marijuana can be used in the state. The panel is the only process by which eligible conditions for medical marijuana can be added and currently includes ailments such as cancer, glaucoma, AIDS, and Crohn’s disease.

    • Aug 08 2013 09:51 AM
    • by brian