Disability News Weekly Roundup – Monday, February 2 – Friday, February 6

Living:
The Dutch village where everyone has dementia (The Atlantic)
The isolated Dutch village of Hogeway lies on the outskirts of Amsterdam. It is a cutting-edge elderly-care facility, roughly the size of 10 football fields, where residents with dementia are given the chance to live seemingly normal lives. With only 152 inhabitants, it is run like a more benevolent version of The Truman Show. The village has its own town square, theater, garden, and post office. It also has cameras monitoring residents, caretakers posing in street clothes, and only one door in and out of town, all part of a security system designed to keep the community safe.

Policy:
Paralyzed veterans call on House and Senate to pass Wounded Warriors Federal Leave Act (Rehab Management)
The Wounded Warriors Federal Leave Act designates greater amounts of sick leave for veterans who are federal employees to make up for the accelerated rate of treatment their injuries can demand. The bill, already passed by the House Oversight and Government Reform committee, would allow veterans with service-related disabilities to become federal employees to accumulate paid sick leave during treatment. The law would credit veterans with 104 hours as they begin their treatment for disabilities. The bill is scheduled for a full House vote and, if passed, it will make its way to the Senate for further consideration.

Education:
Increasingly, libraries becoming more inclusive (Disability Scoop)
Responding to a growing need, a few new programs are teaching libraries how to accommodate children with disabilities who may not adhere to the expected “behavior code.” This spring, the University of Florida’s Center for Autism and Related Disabilities is launching a training program geared to teach library staff about autism, such as providing more individualized settings and compiling a book list for children with autism. And Florida State University recently developed an online training tool that includes ways library staff can communicate with and offer alternatives to visitors with autism.

Study: High-quality early education could reduce costs (The Washington Post)
High-quality early childhood programs can reduce the number of children diagnosed with certain learning disabilities by third grade, according to a study by researchers at Duke University. The study, which tracked 871,000 children, focused on a preschool program for four-year-olds from at-risk families and a program that provides child, family, and health services for children from birth through age five. Participants in the preschool program were 32 percent less likely to be placed in special education by third grade, compared to non-participants. And those enrolled in the birth-through-age-five program were 10 percent less likely than non-enrollees to be receiving special education services by third grade.

Rehabilitation:
Exercise game system for people with serious disabilities (Medgadget)
People with uncommon physical impairments can have difficulties developing an exercise routine that fits their unique needs. At the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits in Germany, an academic team has partnered with individuals with disabilities resulting from in-utero exposure to thalidomide to create a tablet exercise game they would be happy to play. The game relies on a sensor-packed shoulder pad that constantly monitors the motion of the player, converting physical movement into actions of characters on the screen. The game is interactive, and players can compete with others via webcam.

Research:
Pentagon 2008 study claims Putin has Asperger’s syndrome (USA Today)
According to a study from the Office of Net Assessment, a Pentagon think tank that helps devise long-term military strategy, Russian President Vladimir Putin has Asperger’s syndrome, “an autistic disorder which affects all of his decisions.” The study cites work by autism specialists as backing their findings. One report cited recommends that U.S. officials find quiet settings in which to deal with Putin, whose behavior and facial expressions, according to the report, reveal someone who is defensive in large social settings.

Technology:
A brain-computer interface that works wirelessly (MIT Technology Review)
Researchers at Brown University and Utah company Blackrock Microsystems have commercialized a wireless device that can be attached to a person’s skull and transmit via radio thought commands collected from a brain implant. The transmitter could give paralyzed users a practical way to control TVs, computers, and wheelchairs with their thoughts. Blackrock says it will seek clearance for the system from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, so that the mental remote control can be tested in volunteers, possibly as soon as this year.

Teen with one hand learns to play a mean guitar, thanks to 3D-printed prosthesis (Huffington Post)
A teen who lost his right hand at birth has learned to play the guitar with total aplomb with the help of a special 3D-printed prosthesis. The prosthesis allows him to manipulate a guitar’s strings with dexterity. It’s even emblazoned with the words “Linkin Park,” after one of the teen’s favorite bands. The article includes a video demonstrating the prosthetic.

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