Individuals with autism are three times more likely to experience synaesthesia -- characterized by a mixing of the senses -- than individuals without autism, according to recent research. "People with autism report high levels of sensory hypersensitivity. This new study goes one step further in identifying synaesthesia as a sensory issue that has been overlooked in this population," said Donielle Johnson, who worked on the study. "This has major implications for educators and clinicians designing autism-friendly learning environments," she said.
Ontario, Canada, has issued a rule aimed at improving the treatment of individuals with disabilities. Under the regulation, teachers must complete disability-awareness training online by year's end. The Ontario Public School Boards' Association is helping by establishing The TeachAble Project, which offers 21 sample lessons.
Several federal agencies are collaborating on a pilot program to improve education and career training for individuals with disabilities ages 14 to 16 who receive Supplemental Security Income. Through PROMISE -- Promoting Readiness of Minors in Supplemental Security Income -- the government will offer up to $10 million a year to states that take part in the program.
A special-education teacher for the Los Angeles Unified School District credits having high expectations and an iPad with helping his middle-school students with disabilities learn to write essays, build catapults and shoot documentaries, reporter Anya Kamenetz writes in this blog post. Among Neil Virani's favorite iPad applications are Day One for writing journal entries and Toontastic for creating storyboards and animation.
Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology say they have used a single gene mutation to recreate traits of autism in mice, supporting the theory that the disorder may have genetic roots. "We now have a very robust model with a known cause for autistic-like behaviors. We can figure out the neural circuits responsible for these behaviors, which could lead to novel targets for treatment," said Guoping Feng, the study's senior author. The finding could lead to the development of drug treatments.