Disability News Weekly Roundup – Monday, March 10 – Friday, March 14

Human Interest:
The “boys” in the bunkhouse (The New York Times)
Article reports on the abuse and eventual rescue of 21 men with cognitive and developmental disabilities. The men had been underpaid workers in a turkey processing plant and housed in a substandard building that was a converted schoolhouse. Thanks to the diligence of a social worker, the men were removed from their decades-long virtual captivity and provided with adequate living quarters, job training leading to livable-wage employment, state monetary compensation, and, in the case of the older workers, pension benefits.

Reaching my autistic son through Disney (The New York Times)
A father relates how his son, who has autism, learns to speak, read, write, and draw by repeatedly watching Disney films, identifying with their characters and borrowing their dialogue. The father contends that the films, when viewed many times over, provide simple, vivid paradigms, which the autistic mind can appropriate and use as points of reference in an otherwise confusing world.

Research:
Younger siblings of kids with autism may show early signs of problems (HealthDay)
According to a new study, younger siblings children with autism may show signs of abnormal development or behavior as early as on year of age. In the study, which included about 300 infant siblings of children with autism and 116 infant siblings of children without the disorder, researchers found problems in nearly half of the former group. The research results give hope that clinical symptoms of atypical behavior can be identified earlier for prompt intervention.

New rehabilitation methods for amputees, stroke patients developed (Science Daily)
Researchers at the University of Missouri have shed light on ways in which a patient compensates when losing a dominant hand and suggest new and improved rehabilitation techniques for patients following amputation or stroke. In a study with upper-limb amputees, the researchers found that individuals who were forced to compensate with their non-dominant left hands actually performed precision tasks as well as a control group did with their dominant right hands. When the tests were repeated using fMRI, it was found that the areas formerly devoted to motor and sensory functions of the amputated hand actually contributed to compensation for the loss on the non-dominant side.

Substance naturally found in humans effective in fighting brain damage from stroke (ScienceDaily)
A molecular substance that occurs naturally in humans and rats was found to substantially reduce brain damage after an acute stroke and contribute to a better recovery. According to a study at the Henry Ford Health System, the peptide AcSDKP provides neurological protection when administered one to four hours after the onset of an ischemic stroke, a type that occurs when an artery to the brain is blocked by a blood clot, cutting off oxygen and killing brain tissues.

Sports:
A concussion monitor to measure hard knocks (The New York Times)
A head concussion monitor has been developed by Rebok for athletes including football and hockey players. The Checklight is a black skullcap with an electronic strip and three lights on the back. The device blinks green when a player has sustained no head impact, yellow after a moderate impact, and red after a severe one. The Checklight relies on an accelerometer and a gyroscope to measure the force of an impact. Coaches and parents can check from the sidelines whether a player has taken a serious blow.

Technology:
3D printing low-cost prosthetics parts in Uganda (MedGadget)
Researchers at the University of Toronto, in collaboration with Autodesk Research and CBM Canada, are employing 3D printing techniques to produce inexpensive, fast, and easily customizable prosthetic lower limb sockets for use in the developing world. The article describes a tour of the laboratory where the devices are printed.

EnableAmerica.jobs provides new online resource for people with disabilities seeking employment (Beverly Hills Courier)
EnableAmerica has launched a dynamic and searchable online jobs board, EnableAmerica.jobs. The board provides information about job opportunities from employers nationwide that are committed to including people with disabilities in their workplace. The debut of EnableAmerica.jobs comes at an important time, as new U.S. Department of Labor rules on the recruitment and hiring of people with disabilities take effect on March 24th.

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