autism

Tiny, 3-D clusters of human brain cells grown in a petri dish are providing hints about the origins of disorders like autism and epilepsy.

An experiment using these cell clusters — which are only about the size of the head of a pin — found that a genetic mutation associated with both autism and epilepsy kept developing cells from migrating normally from one cluster of brain cells to another, researchers report in the journal Nature.

Tallahassee Police Chief Michael DeLeo has criticized an autism awareness training proposal for law enforcement officers in the Florida Legislature as “feel-good legislation.” 

North Miami Police Department

Officials say a Florida police officer who shot an autistic man's caretaker is facing criminal charges.

The Florida House has voted to expand autism awareness training for law enforcement. Support for the issue amped up this session after a North Miami officer shot at an autistic man he thought was dangerous.

A bill requiring autism awareness training for law enforcement officers is now heading to the House floor.

For the first time in a decade, the classic children's television show Sesame Street will introduce a new Muppet on the air.

There are many challenges helping adults with autism  join the work force once they haev have aged-out of the school system.

A bill requiring autism awareness training for law enforcement officers is starting to move in both chambers of the Florida Legislature. It comes after a high profile incident that occurred in South Florida last year involving a black man, an autistic man, and law enforcement.

Since the year 2000, there have been a number of policies and regulations enacted on the state and federal level to help children with autism. But eventually, those children grow up. Everything changes when a child with autism becomes an adult.

In the back of a large building at the ARC Gateway campus in Pensacola there is a large industrial paper shredder next to a large room filled with tables and people sorting paper. One of those people is Nikiya Houston, who says her job is pretty simple "To sort paper and to shred paper." 

"When I was taking classes, autism was this little paragraph in a book. not a chapter, not a whole book, it was a little paragraph." Debbie Keremes is sitting in her crowded office at the Autism Center at Sacred Heart Children’s Hospital off Bayou Boulevard in Pensacola. She is the manager of the facility as well as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. 

The Autism Society reports a growing number of autism spectrum disorder diagnoses across the country. That's seen an increase in the need for exceptional student education , or ESE, in Florida and elsewhere. Students with autism and other disabilities require special education plans, trained staff, and sensory rooms to help them calm down and deal with the stress of the classroom.

A Duval County teacher has been suspended for putting an autistic student in a closet.

The teacher claims the act was to calm the student down, highlighting  differences in what is considered appropriate ways to deal with special needs students.

The Incident

Charles Jones' 12-year-old son, Malik, has autism. When he found out, Jones says, the news came as a shock — and fodder for plenty of fears.

"It was like a shot in the gut," he says. "I thought my son would be nonverbal, that he would never say 'I love you.' But when he started talking he wouldn't shut up."

As the population of people diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder keeps growing, so does the number of people with that diagnosis who aren't finding employment.

Though many young adults on the spectrum are considered high functioning, recent research shows 40 percent don't find work — a higher jobless rate than people with other developmental disabilities experience.

The construction of the Florida Holocaust Memorial is one step closer to becoming reality. That's among 20 bills Governor Rick Scott signed into law Wednesday.

Profit, Abuse At Homes For Profoundly Disabled

Dec 15, 2015
Pep Montserrat, special to ProPublica

Three years ago, it looked like the Florida agency that oversees care for children and adults with disabilities had finally had enough.

It filed a legal complaint that outlined horrific abuse at Carlton Palms, a rambling campus of group homes and classrooms near the small town of Mount Dora.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

A U.S. representative whose district includes eastern Orange County is becoming more prominent in the controversy over vaccines and autism, the Orlando Sentinel reports. 

Alba Prieto says life with her son Daniel can be a “roller coaster.”

“One day you’re up, one day you’re down,” she says. “But at the end of the day, at the end of the roller coaster, you feel super excited about what you have been doing.”

Daniel Varela, 10, was diagnosed with autism at 3 years old. It’s a spectrum disorder (one with varying degrees of severity) that can make communication and social interaction challenging. 

Florida Lawmakers are on their way to expanding a new scholarship program for students with disabilities.

Senate Bill 602 expands the definition of autism. That would allow more families to tap into the program. It would also cost the state about $30 million, with an estimated cost of nearly $50 million for the upcoming year.

Wikimedia Commons

 An autism discrimination lawsuit against Walt Disney Parks and Resorts has been transferred from California to Orlando by a federal judge, according to the Orlando Sentinel

The family of an 18-year-old student with severe autism and a seizure disorder who died on a Miami-Dade County school bus is suing the public school district, the Miami Herald reports.

For Autistic Adults, Options Scarce

Sep 23, 2014

It’s getting easier for parents of young children with autism to get insurers to cover a pricey treatment called applied behavioral analysis. Once kids turn 21, however, it’s a different ballgame entirely.

Many states have mandates that require insurers to cover this therapy, but they typically have age caps ranging from 17 to 21, says Katie Keith, research director at the Trimpa Group, a consulting firm that works with autism advocacy groups.

A severely disabled 12-year-old girl under state care has died from starvation or neglect.  When Tamiyah Audain’s mother died in December 2012, she was placed with a maternal cousin in Broward County, putting her under the care of ChildNet, according to the Miami Herald (paywall alert). 

Florida Matters: Living on the Autism Spectrum

Sep 17, 2013
Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF

How do young adults diagnosed with a form of autism describe themselves? 

This week on Florida Matters, we meet Andrew Casey, 23, who interviewed his peers about their diagnosis and how they define themselves. And Andrew explains how he manages with Asperger's Syndrome which is on the autism spectrum. 

A mother convicted of child neglect after her 13-year-old mentally disabled daughter was found malnourished and covered in lice and crabs will spend 18 years in prison, the Florida Times-Union reports. Jessica Rivera’s daughter died a week after she was removed from the home, where authorities say three siblings lived in similar conditions.  She originally faced manslaughter charges. 

Autism Defined by Those with the Diagnosis

Apr 22, 2013

Instead of going to the experts to define autism we asked people who had been diagnosed with neurological disorder to explain it.

“Autism is like being on another planet and you don’t know who you are and where you are,” Rachel Barcellona said. “And you try your hardest to fit in and eventually it happens and people accept you and understand you but you’ll always be a little bit different no matter what.”

Barcellona, a high school student, is a model and holds the title Miss Teen American Spirit.

The job hunt is complicated enough for most high school and college graduates — and even tougher for the growing number of young people on the autism spectrum. Despite the obstacles that people with autism face trying to find work, there's a natural landing place: the tech industry.

Amelia Schabel graduated from high school five years ago. She had good grades and enrolled in community college. But it was too stressful. After less than a month she was back at home, doing nothing.

A large new government study should reassure parents who are afraid that kids are getting autism because they receive too many vaccines too early in life.

The study, by researchers at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, found no connection between the number of vaccines a child received and his or her risk of autism spectrum disorder. It also found that even though kids are getting more vaccines these days, those vaccines contain many fewer of the substances that provoke an immune response.

The two Chinese girls that Debbie and Jeff Allspach adopted weren't biologically related. So it was all the more surprising -- and devastating -- when the  Gulf Coast couple heard the diagnosis of autism for both girls.

One of the first things the nation learned about the odd young man who allegedly shot 20 first-graders, seven adults and himself last Friday is that he had been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, a form of autism.

Since then, some may have assumed that Adam Lanza’s violent killing spree was somehow linked to his having a form of autism.