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  1. 'Autism Cop' Honored for Educating Law...

    March 31, 2016- "'Autism Cop' Honored for Educating Law Enforcement on Disorders"- Late last year we brought you the story of Rob Zink, who has been dubbed the “Autism Cop” for his training of fellow police officers to help recognize and assist individuals with autism through the Cops Autism Response Education (CARE) initiative. Recently, he took on a new title: St. Paul Police Officer of the Year. St. Paul Chief Tom Smith praised Zink as an invaluable resource to the force for the relationships he has built with families within the community as well as for his training of fellow officers.

    • Apr 01 2016 08:33 AM
    • by brian
  2. States Developing Alternatives to Sheltered Wor...

    February 9, 2016- "States Developing Alternatives to Sheltered Workshops"- In recent weeks, Minnesota state and county workforce officials have quietly introduced a new project to give people with disabilities an alternative to working in “sheltered workshops,” which often pay below minimum wage and consist of mundane jobs such as packing boxes, shredding paper, and collecting trash. The project tests the assumption that people with developmental disabilities prefer the safety and routines of segregated workshops to better-paying jobs in the competitive workplace. A similar program in Ohio implemented three years ago has led to 650 Ohioans with disabilities gaining employment in the regular workforce with another 2,200 individuals having crafted individual plans for moving into mainstream work. Ohio now boasts one of the highest rates of integrated employment, with 24 percent of adults who receive state services working in the community.

    • Feb 10 2016 11:21 AM
    • by brian
  3. For Some, Wait for Disability Services is Over

    January 13, 2016- "For Some, Wait for Disability Services is Over"- New reforms in the state of Minnesota are giving some families relief from one of the nation’s longest waiting lists for Medicaid assistance. In the final months of 2015, about 1,100 people were moved off waiting lists, reducing the overall backlog by 23 percent statewide. After a news story broke about the state’s huge waiting lists, the legislature and state officials pushed for reforms, which have unlocked tens of millions of dollars set aside to fund a variety of services. Despite the reforms, the state still has nearly 4,000 applicants stuck on county waiting lists for waivers, and for someone with a developmental disability, the median wait had been 5 ½ years, state records show.

    • Jan 13 2016 02:45 PM
    • by brian
  4. Trauma, Tragedy, Bravery: New London Boy Scout...

    May 1, 2015- "Trauma, Tragedy, Bravery: New London Boy Scout Honored for Attempts to Save Bus Driver"- Jeron Baalson, A New London-Spicer 10th grader with high-functioning autism, is being heralded for his bravery in a crisis situation after attempting to save the life of a man who suffered a heart attack. After Greg Engelke, the driver of the school transportation van, suffered a heart attack, Jeron sprang into action after the van came to a crash and began performing CPR, which he learned in Boy Scouts. Jeron paused only to shout “Mayday, MayDay” into the cars two-way radio for help. Jeron had learned the van’s number and the proper routine for contacting the bus garage by observing Engelke day after day as "his co-pilot" on the rides home from school. Tragically, Engelke passed away about an hour after the ambulance took him to the hospital. However, Jeron is being lauded as a hero for his brave, decisive action, receiving a plaque from the American Heart Association and he has been nominated by Troop 228 for a national Meritorious Action Award.

    • May 06 2015 09:55 AM
    • by brian
  5. Minnesota Receives Federal Approval for New Ear...

    April 5, 2015- "Minnesota Receives Federal Approval for New Early-Intervention Autism Benefit"-  New legislation in Minnesota means more opportunities for families to receive autism treatment. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recently approved a new early intervention benefit that will begin in the summer of 2015. Under the new benefit, covered services will be designed to improve social interaction, communication and behavioral regulation skills at a critical time in development and reduce the need for institutional placement and intensive interventions over time. In the first year, the benefit will serve an estimated 325 individuals with autism and related conditions from birth to age 21. The number served is expected to grow to be about 1,000 per year as provider capacity is developed.

    • Apr 08 2015 10:24 AM
    • by brian
  6. Minnesota Wrestler Beats Autism, Qualifies for...

    April 4, 2015- "Minnesota Wrestler Beats Autism, Qualifies for National Tournament"- Ben Cousins was diagnosed with autism at two and a half. He had social difficulties and weight issues until he started wrestling, which has led to a rather impressive sports career. Last month, Cousins qualified for the Division III National Tournament. On the academic side of things, Ben says he wants to be a dietician when he graduates, and, naturally, a wrestling coach.  

    • Apr 07 2015 01:49 PM
    • by brian
  7. Number of Minnesota Students with Autism Increa...

    March 28, 2015- "Number of Minnesota Students with Autism Increased in 2014"- The numbers students enrolled in programs designed to aid children with autism has grown by 400 in the past year in Minnesota.  The annual Child Count report shows that about 17,000 children up to age 21 were identified as having an autism diagnosis in 2014. The report includes only students who are enrolled in an IEP as a result of their diagnosis, which may be leading to the increase as treatment providers have learned to detect the subtle signs of autism, allowing for more kids to be eligible for the education plans.

    • Mar 30 2015 10:28 AM
    • by brian
  8. State Autism Panel Disbands in Dysfunction

    August 3, 2014- "State Autism Panel Disbands in Dysfunction"-   Political infighting between members of the Minnesota Autism Spectrum Task as led to a House vote to disband the task force. However, the Senate has refused, leaving the panel in state of limbo with no chair and no meetings scheduled. A breakdown of the growing friction between the members of the panel is included within this article.

    • Aug 04 2014 02:43 PM
    • by brian
  9. Measles Journey Highlights Risk to Vaccinated Kids

    June 9, 2014- "Measles Journey Highlights Risk to Vaccinated Kids"-  A recent report of a 2011 measles outbreak in Minnesota concluded that an unvaccinated person travels abroad, bringing measles back and infecting vulnerable people, including children  who are unprotected because their parents chose not to vaccinate them. It began when a 2-year-old child traveled to Kenya, where he contracted the measles virus. After returning to the United States, the child developed a fever, cough, and vomiting. Unfortunately, before measles was diagnosed, he passed the virus on to three children in a drop-in child care center and another household members. Contacts then multiplied and more than 3,000 people were eventually exposed. According to the researchers, 9 children who were old enough to receive the MMR vaccine failed to be inoculated because, in most cases, parents feared their child would develop autism.

    • Jun 10 2014 01:04 PM
    • by brian
  10. Class Act: St. David Center Celebrates $3....

    May 23, 2014- "Class Act: St. David Center Celebrates $3.75 Million from State"-  A $3.75 million bond awarded to the St. David’s Center early childhood program has brought the organization closer to its goal of raising $12.2 million to expand its facility and offer more services to children with special needs such as autism. The renovation includes redesigned and expanded autism treatment classrooms, on-site therapy rooms, a children’s mental health clinic and improved early childhood education space.  

    • May 27 2014 12:00 PM
    • by brian
  11. League Introduces Team Sports to Kids with Autism

    March 18, 2014- "League Introduces Team Sports to Kids with Autism"- This article highlights a three year old basketball league that caters strictly to children on the autism spectrum in Minnesota. Parents and therapists applaud the league as they feel it promotes social interaction, following instructions, and gets their children exercise.  

    • Mar 20 2014 09:43 AM
    • by brian
  12. Study: Autism Higher in Minn. Somali Children

    December 16, 2013- "Study: Autism Higher in Minn. Somali Children"- According to research conducted at the University of Minnesota, the incidence of ASD is higher among Somali children in Minneapolis than the city’s children as a whole and it appears to affect them more severely. The study found Somali children were more likely to have the disorder than non-Somali black children or Hispanic children in the city. The study found that 1 in 32 Somali children ages 7 to 9 were identified with the disorder in Minneapolis in 2010, compared with 1 in 48 Minneapolis children overall.

    **Original article no longer available by publisher

    • Feb 12 2014 12:33 PM
    • by brian
  13. High Medication Rates for Children with Autism

    October 20, 2013- "High Medication Rates for Children with Autism"- A recent study has found that mental health medication use was high among children with ASD. According to the study, more than half of children with autism in the study had taken at least one psychotropic medication, and a third had taken more than one at once.

    • Oct 22 2013 12:15 PM
    • by brian
  14. Blindness, Autism Can't Stop Andover Teen f...

    August 23, 2013- "Blindness, Autism Can't Stop Andover Teen from Pursuing Love of Music"- Gage Cook, a 16-year-old with autism who is blind, has the amazing ability to sit down a play a new song on the piano by ear after only having heard it a couple of times before. Gage was 8-years-old when he was introduced to Maria Buan, his music therapist. Gage was first taught to play the piano on a small keyboard that was missing notes, but as Gage mastered the keyboard he would reach for the missing notes that his mind told him should be there and would become frustrated before they upgraded to a full-size piano. Gage’s memory is not limited to music as his mind houses a repertoire of knock-knock jokes and the capitals to nearly all the countries of the world.

    • Aug 26 2013 10:06 AM
    • by brian
  15. New School Under Construction for Kids with Aut...

    June 25, 2013- "New School Under Construction for Kids with Autism and Behavioral Disorders"- In 2014 Karner Blue, a state-of-the-art elementary school for children with autism and other emotional and behavioral disorders, will open in Blaine, Minnesota. The facility will be equipped with an indoor playground, calming room, and more intimate classrooms to better accommodate smaller special education class sizes. Details like lighting choices, window placements, and even the sound of the fire alarm will be tailored to accommodate children with special needs.

    • Jun 27 2013 10:07 AM
    • by brian
  16. Autism Advocates Offer Show of Support

    April 10, 2013- "Autism Advocates Offer Show of Support"- Austin Gasner, a boy on the autism spectrum who can’t speak, had a group of more than 50 autism advocates and parents speak for him in protest of an incident involving him and a paraprofessional assigned to him at Century High School. Raymond Paske, the school employee, was suspended without pay for five days and reassigned after a surveillance video captured him pushing Gasner while the two were washing windows together.

    • Apr 11 2013 08:50 AM
    • by brian
  17. Twin Cities Airport Caters to Potential Autism...

    April 7, 2013- "Twin Cities Airport Caters to Potential Autism Passengers"- The Autism Society of Minnesota is introducing a new program known as “Navigating Autism,” which will allow families with members on the autism spectrum to practice the procedures associated with going to the airport and boarding the place. One Saturday a month, volunteers lead families through every step of the process from going through security to finding their seats on the plane.

    • Apr 08 2013 09:35 AM
    • by brian
  18. Senate Committee Passes Autism Legislation

    March 22, 2013- "Senate Committee Passes Autism Legislation"- A Senate Committee has approved a bill in Minnesota that would mandate insurance coverage for ABA treatment of autism. Families are desperate for this legislation to pass to help relieve the stress of the financial burden that can be imposed by having their child undergo ABA treatment without insurance coverage.

    • Mar 25 2013 11:12 AM
    • by brian
  19. Minnesota Senate Panel OKs Disputed Autism Trea...

    March 22, 2013- "Minnesota Senate Panel OKs Disputed Autism Treatment Mandate"- A Minnesota state senate committee voted March 22 to approve a bill that would mandate insurance coverage for early intensive behavioral intervention (EIBI).  Critics of the bill argue there is not enough evidence to validate covering the treatment, while supporters of the bill argue this treatment has the potential to influence many individual’s lives for the greater.

    • Mar 25 2013 09:37 AM
    • by brian
  20. Walk to Support the Autism Society of Minnesota

    February 20, 2013- "Walk to Support the Autism Society of Minnesota"- The Autism Society’s Steps of Hope Walk will be held Sunday, March 3 at Ridgedale Center in Minnetonka. The event will feature the walk as well as numerous exhibitors that will be featuring products and services helpful to those living with autism.  

    • Apr 12 2013 11:59 AM
    • by brian
  21. Autism: Minnesota Advisory Panel Backs Early In...

    February 12, 2013- "Autism: Minnesota Advisory Panel Backs Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention Treatment"- The recommendations of the Minnesota Department of Human Services  has heeded the advice of an advisory council to make ABA services available to children while improving data collection and analysis to verify the effectiveness of the treatment. In Minnesota, about 17,000 individuals with some form of autism are covered through publicly funded health care programs such as Medicaid, and about three-fifths of those individuals are under age 18.

    • Apr 11 2013 10:33 AM
    • by brian
  22. E-Democracy: Please Vote NO on HF 181 - Autism...

    February 2, 2013- "E-Democracy: Please Vote NO on HF 181 - Autism Therapy Discrimination Bill"- House File 181 sponsored by Rep. Norton in Minnesota looks to discriminate on autism insurance coverage. The most poignant grievances the author of the article has with the bill include stipulations like autism therapy should only be covered by state-regulated health plans and the fact that the bill leaves out low-income families on Medicaid.

    • Apr 10 2013 09:06 AM
    • by brian
  23. St. Paul Schools Efforts to Streamline Autism P...

    February 3, 2013- "St. Paul Schools Efforts to Streamline Autism Program has Parents Worried"- Parents of students at St Paul’s Benjamin E. Mays International Magnet School fear that the districts application of the learning-closer-to-home philosophy will disrupt their children’s education. The school system is also going to double the amount of self-contained autism programs from 70 to about 140, but with smaller class sizes.

    • Apr 10 2013 09:10 AM
    • by brian
  24. Minneapolis Autism Teachers "Blown Away...

    October 18, 2012- "Minneapolis Autism Teachers "Blown Away" by New Classroom Technology"- SMART boards, iPads, and other assistive technology devices are springing up in special education classrooms across the state of Minnesota. However, the bulk of the article focuses on the new education program called Vizzle. Vizzle is visual learning software that allows teachers to create lessons incorporating sounds and images that keep the attention of students with autism. Teachers are able to modify specific activities based on the strengths and challenges of the individual receiving the instruction.

    • Mar 19 2013 09:31 AM
    • by brian
  25. Autism Symposium Offers Support for Young Peopl...

    December 14, 2012- "Autism Symposium Offers Support for Young People Heading to College, Careers"- The success story of Devin Flagg, a boy diagnosed with autism at the age of three, as is close to reaching his goal of attaining his college degree. Flagg discussed success tips for college students with autism at a recent symposium.

    • Mar 27 2013 11:22 AM
    • by brian