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Thorkil Sonne: Recruit Autistics:


Most occupations require people skills. But for some, a preternatural capacity for concentration and near-total recall matter more. Those jobs, entrepreneur Thorkil Sonne says, could use a little autism.

Sonne reached this conclusion six years ago, after his youngest son was diagnosed with the mysterious developmental disorder. "At first I was in agony and despair," he recalls. "Then came the thought of what happens when he grows up." ...full article


Protecting and Advocating for Persons with Developmental Disabilities in Los Angeles County


Eligibility for Early Start services will be restricted...full DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES text

Jul. 07, 2008
Families of Autistic Children, Insurers Battle Over Coverage
By Evan George
Daily Journal Staff Writer

      LOS ANGELES - A labyrinth with no end is how one father described the dizzying process parents must maneuver to secure medical treatments for a child with autism.
      Many say the struggle for medical care is as complex and maddening as the disorder itself, because even families with robust health coverage must fight, petition or sue their insurers to get the costly therapy that doctors say is crucial to help children with autism.
      A new class action and a handful of autism-related legislation winding through Sacramento highlight that struggle...read more

September 30th, 2008

ADAAA Becomes Law, Strengthens 504 & ADA

Today, the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA), S.3406, was signed into law. The ADAAA overturns a decade of jurisprudence that has barred the door to ADA eligibility for many people with disabilities, including epilepsy, diabetes, intellectual and developmental disabilities, muscular dystrophy, and cancer, among many others...read more

Mutated gene raises autism risk, study finds

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- U.S. researchers said Monday that they had identified a genetic mutation that raises the risk of autism and could also explain some of the other symptoms seen in children with autism.
Although autism and similar disorders can clearly run in families, theirs is the first study to find a definitive genetic link to the disorder, which affects as many as 1 in 175 U.S. children...full story

Board Settles With Couple Over Gifts For Autistic Son's Care

POSTED: 6:43 am PST January 17, 2007
IRVINE, Calif. -- The Irvine school board has agreed to settle a complaint by a couple who say they were forced to shower school employees with $100,000 in gifts to get proper care for their autistic son.

Pediatrician Thomas Lin and his wife, Liya, had filed a claim against the Irvine Unified School District and the county Department of Education in November.

They said they bought diamond jewelry and other gifts for elementary school employees and paid for and furnished a condominium for a teacher's newlywed daughter.

The couple had removed the boy, who is unable to speak and not toilet-trained, from the school to educate him at home when they filed suit.

The Los Angeles Times is reporting that the settlement approved Tuesday night includes spending an unspecified amount to reimburse the parents for their child's educational care and attorney fees.

A2Z prevailed after a 6-Day Due Process Hearing for a 7-year-old Autistic student against Fullerton School District, which was represented by counsel. Issues included the placement in the Least Restrictive Environment, related services, and assessments. The ALJ determined that the District failed to provide appropriate and sufficient supports and services to ensure that the student could participate in general education for part of his day. Parents were entitled to reimbursement for privately funded services as compensatory education for the District’s failure to provide educational benefit. The recommendations of the parents’ private evaluator regarding placement and services are to be implemented.

A2Z was successful in securing the reinstatement of ABA / DTT services for an 8-year-old with Autism, in a decision following a 2-day Fair Hearing against the Lanterman Regional Center. The ALJ found that the Regional Center did not have sufficient information about the child to determine that a reduction was warranted. In addition to a reinstatement of the 6 hours per week of services, the ALJ ordered a specific behavioral analysis assessment to determine if additional hours were appropriate, and how the services should be utilized. Parents’ concerns and goals for their child were to be taken into consideration in this evaluation.

Sensory Awareness From Experience©

Regarding my experience in the Super Sensory Workshop at the Autism Conference - By Carolina D. Watts, J.D. Advocate

Last Saturday I attended the annual Autism conference in Pasadena. On that day I had the unique experience in participating in a Super Sensory Session. I thought I had a pretty good understanding of autism but I was humbled by my experience...super sensory session - understanding Autism

Claimant v. Westside Regional Center
Summary:  A2Z represented 9 year old boy with autism against WRC in a fight for a Relationship Development Assessment (RDA).  The claimant has had significant services since the age of 3, from both the school district and the regional center.  None of these services have addressed the core deficit, and the child continues to have difficulties with social interactions, building relationships, critical thinking, problem solving, and abstract language comprehension.  Recently, he was dismissed from his social skills class due to disinterested and disruptive behaviors.  Relationship Development Intervention was sought because it addresses the motivations and "functions" of building a relationship, not merely skills.  The Administrative Judge ordered the WRC to perform a Relationship Development Assessment. Read a full copy of the decision


Paying Tribute to Dick Hoyt, the Strongest Dad in the World
June 23, 2005
United States House of Representatives

Mr. Speaker, I rise tonight to pay tribute to a man who is not from my districts or even from my State, but who certainly must be one of the most wonderful men of whom I have ever read. The story of Dick Hoyt of Holland, Massachusetts is one of the most amazing, inspiring stories I have ever read.

Rick Reilly, a columnist for Sports Illustrated, wrote about Mr. Hoyt in a column published in that magazine the week before last. Mr. Reilly described it as a love story that began 43 years ago when Mr. Hoyt's son Rick "was strangled by the umbilical cord during birth, leaving him brain damaged and unable to control his limbs." click here for the full story...

Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) will now hear special education
cases. The Special Education Hearing Office (SEHO) will no longer have
jurisdiction. Please read the OAH's official announcement at

Mutated gene raises autism risk, study finds

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- U.S. researchers said Monday that they had identified a genetic mutation that raises the risk of autism and could also explain some of the other symptoms seen in children with autism.
Although autism and similar disorders can clearly run in families, theirs is the first study to find a definitive genetic link to the disorder, which affects as many as 1 in 175 U.S. children...full story

Autism in the News

Currently, media outlets nationwide are giving Autism unprecedented coverage in both print and on air. In particular, NBC is airing a series on Autism on air, as well as a series of articles online. Please click below for more information about programming:

NBC programming guide:

CAN website, list of nationwide coverage: http://www.cureautismnow.org/home/article/news/4283.jsp

UCLA Functional Brain Imaging Study of Autism -- Research Study
Help us gain a better understanding of children with autistic spectrum
Shifting Focus - The shifting focus of ADD reminds me of the shifting sands on the beach—in constant motion. At last year's ADDA conference, John Ratey, M.D. said the inability of people with ADD to maintain focus is a key factor in their not improving, even after getting medicine. At least that is what I thought he said! read more...

Children in the grip of autism
More families faced with a difficult diagnosis
By Molly Masland- Health Editor, MSNBC

Lozano Smith Sanctioned by U.S. District Court Judge

Fresno schools fire Lozano Smith

Looking for information on a particular disability or school district? We have extensive case summaries available online as well as informative special education features in the news.

You can access summaries of A2Z cases by clicking on the link below, or check on recent special education news by scrolling down this page.

The Spectrum Program - At New Roads High School
Innovative High School Education for the Autism Spectrum
In September 2004, New Roads School opened its doors to the Spectrum Program, an innovative high school program for students with social-cognitive learning disabilities such as high-functioning autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, NLD, and the like. read more

Click here to view Recent Cases by district

A2Z prevailed in a Due Process Hearing against Burbank Unified School District after a 6-day due process hearing Prevailed - austism High School student. Social skills and the schools physical facility not appropriate to provide FAPE

Special Education Topic: Understanding “Stay-put” and What it Means for Your Child

Third Grader Wins LAUSD Legal Battle
by Laurel Busby

January 2, 2003

Casey is eight years old. He loves handball and music and excels in school. He's also autistic...Read the Full story...

LAUSD (Golliath) takes on an attorney/advocate (David) in a full attack to block 3 hours of services per week for her 8-year old autistic son.

November 20, 2002

A2Z Educational Advocates and the law offices of N Jane DuBovy stand up again to LAUSD. 3rd grade High Functioning Autism Student prevails against LAUSD in a due process hearing. The issues were whether he was entitled to Speech and Language Services, Social Skills and Recreational Therapy, despite the recommendations of the IEP team. In an important decision, the IHO found that the school was not meeting the Student’s needs in the important areas of accessing his leisure time, social relations and understanding the nuances of typical speech. What makes this case so unique is that Petitioner attends one of the more autistic friendly schools in the district but they still lack the understanding of how to work with this population. Another interesting aspect of this case is that Petitioner had no academic issues per se. His grades are superior and he is accessing the academic curriculum for the third grade. Full story...


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