German company leads with autistic workforce program

by Jeremy Thomas – Pick a date, any date in history, and Joe Cintas can tell you, with only a moment’s pause, what day of the week it was. Diagnosed with autism at age 3, Cintas wields astonishing brain power when it comes to numbers and finding patterns, but, like many with his disability, his […]

What if special ed was fully state-funded

by John Odum – Property tax reform. Education spending. Whatever you want to call it, it’s the hot topic in Vermont public policy, and many feel that it’s finally become hot enough for policymakers to consider making some changes. Of course that’s easier said than done. Or at least it can be. Voices calling for change […]

Military families remain concerned about autism coverage changes

by Steve Liewer – Nine-year-old Dell Parks can count by fives to 100, blow on a trombone and knock out a stack of math flashcards three minutes faster than a week ago. He jumps up and down with joy. The smiling, outgoing youngster is hardly the same little boy with severe symptoms of autism whose […]

State plans symposium to address highest ADHD medication rate

Louisiana has an alarming number of children being medicated for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, says state Health and Hospitals Secretary Kathy Kliebert. She will hold a free, daylong symposium about the syndrome for parents, teachers, health care professionals and others on Dec. 9 in Baton Rouge. Topics will include frequency of diagnosis, medication rates, and […]

Autism lawsuits against Disney are individually refiled

by Paul Brinkmann – A court battle over disability access to Disney theme parks has been renewed, with 28 new separate lawsuits being filed in Orlando recently against the entertainment company. The lawsuits were previously filed in a joint format. But a judge had ruled in November that the lawsuits should be filed separately because […]

Military families to receive improved autism coverage

More than 26,000 military families with autistic children are getting better Tricare coverage of applied behavior analysis therapy and related services, which can improve a child’s development and quality of life. But a Comprehensive Autism Care Demonstration that began a slow rollout in late October will still leave retirees and reserve component families facing heavy […]

State legislation prompts companies to add autism coverage benefits

by Jay Greene – Despite an ongoing shortage of behavioral therapists to treat children with autism in Michigan, legislation approved two years ago that set up a $26 million fund to reimburse self-insured companies has resulted in more than 60 companies offering coverage for their workers. The three-bill legislative package mandated autism HMO coverage and […]

ADHD may, or may not be a disability in the workplace

by Sara Boyns – Q One of my employees is difficult to get along with. I’ve talked to her repeatedly about being nicer to her co-workers and working cooperatively, and she generally does her job well. I just gave her a poor performance evaluation based on her inability to get along with others, and she […]

Families with disabilities suing Disney must file individually

by Sandra Pedicini – A group of families suing Walt Disney Parks and Resorts over its new policies for people with disabilities, such as autism, has suffered a setback. The plaintiffs must file individual lawsuits, a federal judge has ruled. The lawsuit was moved to Orlando federal court recently from California. Judge Anne Conway said […]

Senator shares parent concerns about cuts to autism coverage

by Bruce Parker – A Senate Democrat is coming to the rescue of military families who could lose medical help for their autistic children. Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) says he is “concerned” by controversial changes to the military’s healthcare plan that could leave hundreds of autistic children without a healthcare provider. In a letter to […]