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US Autism & Asperger Association, Inc. March 8, 2010

Welcome to USAAA Weekly News, an email newsletter that addresses a range of topics on Autism Spectrum Disorders and Asperger's Syndrome.


Headlines:

Court awards bullied student $800,000

Keeping All Students Safe Act Passes House

Why Haven't Infertile Couples Been Told These Facts?

Can People with Autism Learn Implicitly?

What is Sensory Processing Disorder and How Is It Related to Autism?

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Court awards bullied student $800,000

BY PEGGY WALSH-SARNECKI
FREE PRESS EDUCATION WRITER

In what experts say could be a landmark decision, a Michigan school district has been ordered to pay $800,000 this week to a student who claimed the school did not do enough to protect him from years of bullying, some sexually tinged.

"It started with name-calling in middle school and escalated as Dane Patterson entered high school. Some of the harassment was bullying, such as being shoved into lockers.

This week's jury verdict against Hudson Area Schools puts districts on notice that it's not enough to stop a student from bullying another. There needs to be a concerted effort to stop systemic bullying, too.

Essentially, the federal court ruling says schools can be held responsible for what students do, if there is a pattern of harassment or if they don't do enough to provide a safe environment.

Click here for more information on Court awards bullied student $800,000.


 

Keeping All Students Safe Act Passes House

Every child should be safe and protected while at school but an investigation by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) last year found “hundreds of cases of alleged abuse and death” as a result of misuses of restraint and seclusion in public and private schools, with many of these interventions used disproportionately on children with disabilities.

By a vote of 262-153, the House passed the Keeping All Students Safe Act (HR 4247) [March 3]. This bipartisan bill establishes, for the first time, federal minimum safety standards in schools, preventing harmful restraint and seclusion. Unlike in hospitals and other facilities that receive federal funding, there are no federal laws that address how and when restraint or seclusion can be used in schools and state regulations and oversight vary greatly and have often failed to protect children.

"This bipartisan bill establishes, for the first time, federal minimum safety standards in schools, preventing harmful restraint and seclusion.

Click here for more information on Keeping All Students Safe Act Passes House.

Click here to see how your state representative voted on HR 4247.

Click here to read Testimony Before the Committee on Education and Labor, House of Representatives from United States Government Accountability Office from May 19, 2009.


 

Why Haven't Infertile Couples Been Told These Facts?

by Dr. Mercola

" Dr. Sheila Crowe, a professor in the division of gastroenterology and hepatology at the University of Virginia, provides information about a slightly lesser known side effect of celiac disease, namely infertility, which can affect both men and women with the disease.

Millions of people have celiac disease, but most don’t know they have it, in part because symptoms can be so varied. It is an often overlooked digestive disorder that causes damage to the small intestine when gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye, is eaten.

Infertility seems to be more common in women with untreated celiac disease. Other gynecological and obstetrical problems may also be more common, including miscarriages and preterm births.

For men, problems can include abnormal sperm -- such as lower sperm numbers, altered shape, and reduced function. Men with untreated celiac disease may also have lower testosterone levels.

The good news is that with proper treatment with a gluten-free diet and correction of nutritional deficiencies, the prognosis for future pregnancies is much improved.

Click here for more information on Why Haven't Infertile Couples Been Told These Facts?


 

Can People with Autism Learn Implicitly?

Throughout our daily lives, we are constantly learning things about our environment that we weren't explicitly instructed to learn. In fact, as a child most of our learning happens implicitly. Think back to your childhood and all the words you soaked up automatically while you were reading, or all the nuances of social interactions and emotional expressions you learned without explicit instruction.

"We also know that sleep is important for the development of insight from implicit learning episodes. Since ASC is highly associated with sleep difficulties, differences in the consolidation of implicitly learned information may account for some of the ASC decrements in real-life skills associated with implicit acquisition.

While there is some controversy amongst cognitive scientists on the definition of implicit learning, there is a general consensus that implicit learning involves "learning that proceeds from practice with any structured environment, in the absence of an intention to learn, and results in knowledge that improved performance even when it is difficult to verbalize" [1].

What's the connection between implicit learning and autism? Individuals with autism spectrum condition (ASC) are typically characterized by social, communicative, and motor impairments. Since implicit learning is an important mechanism for acquiring social, communicative, and motor skills, it is reasonable to ask: Do the social, communicative, and motor impairments evidenced in those with autism spectrum condition arise, in part, from a general deficit in implicit learning?

Click here for more information on Can People with Autism Learn Implicitly?


 

What is Sensory Processing Disorder and How Is It Related to Autism?

Psychology Today
Blog - The Autism Advocate

by Chantal Sicile-Kira

"However, sensory processing - making sense of the world - is what most adults on the autism spectrum conveyed to me as the most frustrating area they struggled with as children, and this impacted every aspect of their lives - relationships, communication, self-awareness, safety and so on.

Earlier this week, there was an article in The Boston Globe about sensory processing disorder. It stated that a group of researchers, families, and occupational therapists is aggressively lobbying to get sensory processing disorder included in the next Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, which is currently being drafted.

Many readers may wonder, what is a sensory processing disorder?

Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) is a neurological disorder that causes difficulties with processing information from the five senses: vision, auditory, touch, olfaction, and taste, as well as from the sense of movement (vestibular system), and/or the positional sense (proprioception). For those with SPD, sensory information is sensed, but perceived abnormally. Unlike blindness or deafness, sensory information is received by people with SPD; the difference is that information is processed by the brain in an unusual way that causes distress, discomfort, and confusion.

Click here for more information on What is Sensory Processing Disorder and How Is It Related to Autism?


 

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