Disability News Weekly Roundup – Monday, December 15 –Friday, December 19

Human Interest:
‘El Deafo’: How a girl turned her disability into a superpower (NPR)
Writer and illustrator Cece Bell tells her own story about growing up with a hearing impairment following meningitis at the age of 4. In her graphic memoir El Deafo, she describes her experiences with the Phonic Ear, a big, bulky hearing aid she wore strapped to her chest, with cords with earpieces going up to her ears. Soon after being fitted with it, she discovered that not only could she hear her teacher in the classroom, but she heard her wherever she was in the entire school building. This gave the girl a sense of power, turning her into El Deafo the Superhero.

Down Syndrome no barrier to college degree (Disability Scoop)
Ezra Roy, a 21-year-old with Down Syndrome, recently graduated with honors from Texas Southern University with a major in art and a minor in theatre. The school made accommodations for his disability, allowing him more time on his projects and exams, but did not modify requirements for him. Ezra used anatomy charts from a hospital to study biology. He and his dad turned it into a dartboard and threw darts at the different body parts and organs. He used special computer software to break down essay topics and make it easier to write his papers. And he spent hours and hours working on his art.

DC judge dismisses 18-year-old special education lawsuit, giving control to schools (The Washington Post)
A US district judge has dismissed an 18-year-old special-education lawsuit against the District of Columbia’s public school system, ending judicial oversight of how school administrators respond to families awaiting services for students with disabilities. The decision allows schools to administer special-education services without a court-appointed monitor routinely checking in. According to officials with the Office of the State Superintendent of Education, the District has made enough progress to be removed from tighter control in the areas of timeliness of hearing-officer determination and of transitioning young children into early special-education services.

Elder Care:
The Green House Effect: Homes for the elderly to thrive (The New York Times)
The Green House Project is a new model for long-term elder care, its name suggesting a nurturing environment where elders and the frail can thrive. Green House residents, whose care is financed by Medicaid, Medicare, or private funds, live in cottages with private rooms and baths. They participate, when able, in food preparation and eat in a communal setting that is more like a home dining room than a cafeteria. And Green House Residents are free to choose when to eat.

Mild memory, thinking issues: What works, what doesn’t? (Science Daily)
For up to one in five Americans over the age of 65, getting older brings memory and thinking problems. Doctors call them mild cognitive impairment, or MCI, and contend that MCI is a treatable condition. There is good evidence that aerobic exercise, mental activity, social engagement, and stroke prevention help reduce the risk of further cognitive decline.

Medication linked to fewer injuries in kids with ADHD (HealthDay)
New research at the University of Hong Kong medical school and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine suggests that taking medication for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) might reduce the risk of young patients accidentally injuring themselves. When several children and teens with ADHD were taking methylphenidate (marketed as Ritalin or Concerta), they were a little less likely to end up in the emergency room than when they were not taking the drug.

Smart artificial skin to complement prosthetics (MedGadget)
Prostheses often lack the capability to provide feedback to the user such as differences in temperature or pressure. Now researchers in South Korea and the US have created a prosthetic skin that is infused with roughly 400 S-shaped silicon and gold sensors per square millimeter that are able to compress and expand.

Watch a disabled dog get a new lease on life with 3-D printed legs (Fast Company)
Derby the dog was born with two little nubbins for front legs and, until recently, could only get around on soft surfaces. Then Derby got a set of prosthetic legs designed specially for him by a 3D printing company. Watch Derby go from relatively immobile to happy, scampering pup in this video.

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