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US Autism & Asperger Association
March 15, 2013

Welcome to USAAA WeeklyNews, an email newsletter that addresses a range of topics on Autism, Asperger's Syndrome, and Pervasive Developmental Disorders.


High school football star with autism denied extra year of eligibility

By Scott Stump, TODAY contributor

football star deniedA New Jersey high school placekicker with autism who made national headlines with a game-winning field goal in October has been denied an extra year of eligibility by his state's athletic association.

The parents of high school senior Anthony Starego had appealed to the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association to allow their son to play football for a fifth season because they believe the game has helped him improve tremendously with his condition, and also has allowed him to serve as an inspiration to other athletes with autism. Starego will be attending special classes at Brick until he is 21 years old, according to his father.

In what may be a first for an autistic high school athlete in America, Starego’s talent was cited as one of the reasons why he was denied the extra season. Essentially, he is such a good kicker that allowing him to play another year would give his team an advantage over opponents, according to the NJSIAA. Read the Story

"He was crying and screaming and yelling," his father said. "He's not very consolable right now."

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Autism Affects Young and Old Brains Differently - Bradley Research

autism brainNewly released findings from Bradley Hospital published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry have found that autism spectrum disorders (ASD) affect the brain activity of children and adults differently.

In the study, titled "Developmental Meta-Analysis of the Functional Neural Correlates of Autism Spectrum Disorders," Daniel Dickstein, M.D., FAAP, director of the Pediatric Mood, Imaging and Neurodevelopment Program at Bradley Hospital, found that autism-related changes in brain activity continue into adulthood. Read the Story

Among autism's most disabling symptoms is a disruption in social skills, so it is noteworthy that this study found significantly less brain activity in autistic children than autistic adults during social tasks, such as looking at faces. This was true in brain regions including the right hippocampus and superior temporal gyrus-two brain regions associated with memory and other functions.

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State Regulators Pass Emergency Measures to Ensure Autism Coverage

By Rachel Dornhelm

boy with autismCalifornia regulators have issued emergency regulations aimed at keeping insurance companies from delaying or denying coverage for autism treatment.

Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones announced the approval of emergency rules this week, which take effect immediately.

“Autistic children and their families should now, without delay, receive the transformative treatment that will enable them to succeed in school, their families, and communities,” Jones wrote in a statement. Read the Story

"A patient who is denied coverage on the basis of medical necessity, whether it is related to a mental health condition or a medical condition, can appeal that decision to an independent medical review board comprised of independent medical experts whose decisions are binding on insurers."

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Using Prior Written Notice as a tool


By Doug Goldberg, Special Education Advisor Blog

penHow many parents attended IEP’s recently where you requested changes to your child’s IEP only to be met with resistance and ultimately the School District refused to make the change. This happens often and many times the parents leave the meeting unsatisfied and not understanding why their request was not approved. If that is the case the School District is not adequately following the requirements under Prior Written Notice (PWN). Not only are decisions about your child’s IEP supposed to be Team decisions BUT they are also supposed to be fully thought out, based in facts and put in writing. This is why the Prior Written Notice requirement was put in place. It's easy for a School to say no, it's not always so easy for them to articulate why they said no. It becomes increasingly more difficult for the School to explain if the real reason they said no was not based on your child’s individual needs but based on budget concerns or other monetary issues. Read the Story

While Prior Written Notice is a legal requirement of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) I rarely see School Districts use it properly when it comes to requests made by the parents. Most School Districts that I have dealt with in my advocacy business are adept at using Prior Written Notice when they want to make a change but try to avoid giving Prior Written Notice when they are turning down a request made by the Parents.

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In this issue:

High school football star with autism denied extra year of eligibility

Autism Affects Young and Old Brains Differently - Bradley Research

State Regulators Pass Emergency Measures to Ensure Autism Coverage

Using Prior Written Notice as a tool


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