McKay School in the News

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The News
More States Moving Forward with Autism Insurance Reform Legislation Utah Autism insurance reform bill introduced. Read more at the source article.
Autism Screening Just Got Better The MCHAT autism screening tool was updated Dec. 2013 for more precise assessment. Read more at the source article.
Scientists Getting Closer to Earliest Signs of Autism Eyetracking may be able to identify early infant signs of autism. Read more at the source article.
Measles Outbreak in the US Measles was eliminated from the US 14 years ago, but is coming back with people suffering in several states. Infection with the measles can come from travelers or someone in the US who has been exposed and not vaccinated. Measles is an airborne disease that can cause loss of hearing, mental impairment or death in infants or toddlers in some cases. Since measles has been so rare, symptoms may go unrecognized. A summary of what to look for and information about how to protect children from measles are included in the article. Read more at the source article.
National Autism Legislation Under Debate The Combating Autism Act, which has funded training and research in autism spectrum disorders for several years, is due to be re-authorized again this year. Rather than a united front for re-authorization, legislators and advocacy groups have differing opinions on whether the law should be re-authorized in its currenet form. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and MIke Enzi (R-Wyo) are leading the dissent against re-authorization of the act as is, calling for new programs and mandates instead. Autism Speaks is the largest advocacy group in favor of re-authorization, which is backed by primarily GOP legislators. Read more at the source article.
Motor Skills Focus of Early Signs of ASD Researchers are looking at all areas of development for the earliest signs of autism spectrum disorders in hopes of intervening as early as possible and understanding how autism affects brain development. Early intervention can build skills that otherwise might not develop and can improve outcomes. Dr. Rebecca Landa of the Kennedy Krieger Institute has been researching what fine and gross motor delays can tell us about early risk of autism spectrum disorder. Read more at the source article.
New Estimates of the Cost of Autism Researchers estimated the lifetime cost of autism, including lost wages for parents, special education costs, residential facility costs, individual productivity loss, and medical costs to be between $1.4 million and $2.4 million in the US. Read more at the source article.
Autism More Genetic Than Environmental A recent study suggests that autism risk is more determined by the combination of multiple common gene variations than environmental factors or random gene mutations. Read more at the source article.
Earlier Intervention: Autism Treatment for Infants Encouraging results from a pilot study of a 12-week, parent-delivered autism treatment for infants were announced this week. Parents were coached by therapists to incorporate evidence-based techniques from the Early Start Denver Model of autism treatment with their infants, all of whom were already showing signs of autism in infancy. The study was small (7 infants), so future randomized control trials are needed to confirm the effects of the treatment. Autism early identification research is increasingly focusing on the 6 month age range as the point at which changes in brain development, eye gaze, motor skills, and social communication behaviors can be detected in individuals with autism spectrum disorders. To read the original study, see source article.
Autism Waiver Open 11/17/14–12/7/14 Utah has an autism waiver for Medicaid that allows families to qualify a child for autism for Medicaid (and behavior services), even if the family income does not meet the typical Medicaid criteria. An open enrollment period will be held November 17th to December 7th, 2014. During the open enrollment period we will accept applications online, by mail, or via fax. The application can be found online at http://health.utah.gov/autismwaiver. The application can be completed online or printed and completed. Should you need to have a paper copy mailed to you, please contact us as soon as possible. Please note that even if you have previously submitted an application, you must submit another application to be eligible for this open enrollment period. If the number of applicants exceeds the number of available openings, the enrollees will be selected through a randomized process. Waiver openings are assigned based on geographical areas within the state. Should you have any questions please contact Sarah Chung, Autism Waiver Liaison, at 801-538-6357, or visit our website at http://health.utah.gov/autismwaiver. Read more at the source article.

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