Disability News Weekly Roundup – Monday, September 8 – Friday, September 12

Employment:
‘It means the world’: Special Kneads bakery gives special needs adults jobs – and a purpose (NBC TODAY)
The Special Kneads and Treats bakery was created by parents of a young adult with a learning disability to give their son a job. The bakery employs nine young adults with disabilities, who are paired with volunteers or other staff employees. The workers are reportedly “plenty busy,” as a typical wait for customers on a Saturday is 30-people deep.

Univ alumnus creates movie theater to employ adults with disabilities (The Diamondback – University of Maryland)
The Prospector Theater is a new non-profit, first-run movie theater in Ridgefield, CT, that provides meaningful employment and vocational training to adults with disabilities. Developed by a University of Maryland alumnus, the theater will feature four big-screen movie theaters with a café, restaurant, and bar. Employees, called prospectors, will film and edit all of the pre-movie commercials in-house. As development director, the alumnus works to create relationships with foundations, companies, and people in the community, as the theater is completely privately funded. The town of Ridgefield has not had a movie theater since the 1960s.

Research:
Autism symptoms disappeared with behavioral therapy in babies (Time)
For the first time, researchers report that treating early signs of autism in infants as young as 6 months can essentially help them avoid developmental delays typical of the disorder. The intervention involves an intensive behavioral therapy provided by the babies’ parents, who have been trained by a therapist in their home. Techniques used are based on the Early Start Denver Model developed by researchers at the University of California at Davis and Duke University.

Nearly 8 in 10 kids don’t get developmental screenings (Disability Scoop)
The vast majority of American children may not be receiving recommended screenings for developmental delay according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In a government survey, parents of 79 percent of young children reported that they had not been asked to participate in screening efforts in the previous year. This, despite recommendations that children are routinely checked at pediatrician visits for signs of developmental issues.

Technology:
Adapted soccer video game helps “empower” individuals with CP (Rehab Management)
An engineering student at the University of Alicante in Spain has designed a soccer video game adapted to accommodate individuals with cerebral palsy, allowing for operation with a foot switch, a push rod head switch, and a hand switch. In a few months, the technology will reportedly become a free software. In a release, the Cerebral Palsy Association of Alicante (APCA) notes that the game helps empower strategic planning and perceptual ability, enhances spatiotemporal organization, and speeds up physical response.

Device can rapidly test soldiers, athletes for brain injuries that otherwise could go unnoticed (Huffington Post)
A device in development may soon be able to make identifying brain injuries in emergency medical circumstances much easier, according to its developer, BrainScope. A peer-reviewed study by the New York University and Johns Hopkins Schools of Medicine found that the technology, which can diagnose traumatic brain injury by being placed on and connected to a patient’s head to gauge brain function, has clinical potential. The handheld, rapid, non-invasive and non-radiation emitting device could be implemented for military use in war zones, as well as for athletes who may sustain concussions in contact sports.

Stephen Hawking endorses Intel’s connected wheelchair (Wired UK)
Intel has developed a connected wheelchair which has won the support of Stephen Hawking. The proof of concept, developed by Intel engineering interns, enables the collection of biometric information from the user, as well as mechanical information from the machine. This is fed back to a bespoke application that allows wheelchair users to analyze the data and also map and rate the accessibility of locations. The article includes a brief video of Dr. Hawking discussing the technologies embedded in the wheelchair.

Travel:
Accessibility Problems Dog Amtrak (Disability Scoop)
An inspector general’s report finds that Amtrak has made few strides in recent years toward improving compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The failure to make substantial improvements stems largely from ineffective management and the lack of a written strategic plan, the report indicates. During 2012 and 2013, with Amtrak committing roughly $100 million to address accessibility problems, several assessments were completed and three stations were made more accessible. However, nearly half of the funds allocated went toward management activities.

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