National Disability News Resource

Disability Scoop is the first and only nationally focused online news organization serving the developmental disability community including autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, fragile X and intellectual disability, among others.

Five days each week Disability Scoop sifts through the clutter to provide a central, reliable source of news, information and resources. Plus, Disability Scoop is the only place to find original content and series like “Scoop Essentials” that take an in-depth look at what lies beyond the day’s headlines.

Autism: An Introduction for Parents and Guide to Oregon’s Human Service System

Autism: An Intro­duc­tion for Par­ents and Guide to Oregon’s Human Ser­vice Sys­tem, Fifth Edi­tion (2005)

The book­let was writ­ten and edited by two moth­ers of chil­dren with autism. It gives basic infor­ma­tion about the dis­abil­ity and sum­ma­rizes resources avail­able through the Depart­ment of Human Services.

Catherine Strong and Mary Anne Seaton first produced this booklet in 1996 as a labor of love. Both are parents of children with autism. They met when Catherine’s daughter was diagnosed 12 years ago and Mary Anne visited their home to answer the questions that Catherine and her husband Ted had about autism. That kitchen-table conversation was the inspiration for this booklet.

Download here.

Via OTAC

Share Your Feedback with the Oregon Council on Developmental Disabilities

The Oregon Council on Developmental Disabilities is conducting its annual satisfaction survey. From their website:

Each year the Oregon Council on Developmental Disabilities conducts a brief survey to measure customer satisfaction with activities, projects and programs that the Council sponsors or co-sponsors. The results of this survey will be included in the Council’s annual report to the federal Administration on Developmental Disabilities (ADD). Survey results will also help the Council plan for the coming year.

We hope you will take a few minutes to complete this survey. You only need to answer questions related to one activity, project or program that you are most familiar with. Please respond by Friday, November 27, 2009.

Healthcare the Focus of Latest Issue of Oregon Perspectives

Cover of Oregon PerspectivesThe Oregon Council on Developmental Disabilities has released the fall issue of Oregon Perspectives. This issue is packed with stories on healthcare and its effect on our community. Check it out here.

Oregon Developmental Disabilities Services by County

Ever wondered what services are available beyond your own county? Check out the DD Coalition’s fact sheets on county services for more information.

Baker County
Benton County
Clackamas County
Clatsop County
Columbia County
Coos County
Crook County
Curry County
Deschutes County
Douglas County
Grant County
Harney County
Jackson County
Jefferson County
Josephine County
Klamath County
Lake County
Lane County
Lincoln County
Linn County
Malheur County
Marion County
Mid-Columbia: Hood River, Wasco, Sherman Counties
Morrow, Wheeler, Gilliam Counties
Multnomah County
Polk County
Tillamook County
Umatilla County
Union County
Wallowa County
Washington County
Yamhill County

iPhone Applications as Communication Devices

Via USA Today

Leslie Clark and her husband have been trying to communicate with their autistic 7-year-old son, JW, for years, but until last month, the closest they got was rudimentary sign language.

He’s “a little bit of a mini-genius,” Clark says, but like many autistic children, JW doesn’t speak at all.

Desperate to communicate with him, she considered buying a specialized device like the ones at his elementary school in Lincoln, Neb. But the text-to-speech machines are huge, heavy and expensive; a few go for $8,000 to $10,000.

Then a teacher told her about a new application that a researcher had developed for, of all things, the iPhone and iPod Touch. Clark drove to the local Best Buy and picked up a Touch, then downloaded the “app” from iTunes.

Total cost: about $500.

A month later, JW goes everywhere with the slick touch-screen mp3 player strapped to his arm. It lets him touch icons that voice basic comments or questions, such as, “I want Grandma’s cookies” or “I’m angry — here’s why.” He uses his “talker” to communicate with everyone — including his service dog, Roscoe, who listens to voice commands through the tiny speakers.

It’s a largely untold story of Apple’s popular audio devices.

It is not known how many specialized apps are out there, but Apple touts a handful on iTunes, among them ones that help users do American Sign Language and others like Proloquo2Go, which helps JW speak.

The app also aids children and adults with Down syndrome, cerebral palsy and Lou Gehrig’s Disease, or ALS — even stroke patients who have lost the ability to speak, says its co-developer, Penn State doctoral student Samuel Sennott.

Using the iPhone and Touch allows developers to democratize a system that has relied on devices that were too expensive or difficult to customize, Sennott says. “I love people being able to get it at Best Buy,” he says. “That’s just a dream.”

He also says that for an autistic child, the ability to whip out an iPhone and talk to friends brings “this very hard-to-quantify cool factor.”

Sennott won’t give out sales figures for the $149.99 app but says they’re “extremely brisk.”

Ronald Leaf, director of Autism Partnership, a private California-based agency, says he prefers to help autistic children such as JW learn how to navigate their world without gadgets. “If we could get children to talk without using technology, that would be our preference,” he says.

Clark says the app has changed her son’s life.

“He’s actually communicating,” she says. “It’s nice to see what’s going on in his head.”

Among the revelations of the past month: She now knows JW’s favorite restaurant. “I get to spend at least every other day at the Chinese buffet.”

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