April 23rd, 2013


For Release: March 12, 2013

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Emergency regulations for children’s autism treatment approved

SACRAMENTO – Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones today announced that the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) approved the emergency regulations aimed at eliminating delays and denials of coverage for autism treatment. Commissioner Jones issued these emergency regulations to protect children diagnosed with autism and their families from the emotional, physical and financial harms caused by insurer denials or significant delays in autism treatment, which has reached crisis proportions in California.

“I am extremely pleased that the Office of Administrative Law has approved our emergency regulations,” said Commissioner Jones. “These emergency regulations will ensure that insurance companies cover medically necessary treatment required by the Mental Health Parity Act and Senator Darrell Steinberg’s autism treatment legislation. Autistic children and their families should now, without delay, receive the transformative treatment that will enable them to succeed in school, their families, and communities.”

The California Mental Health Parity Act was intended to provide adequate private health insurance coverage and benefits for mental illnesses. The legislature found that autism is one of several severe mental conditions that are seriously disabling. Failure to provide adequate coverage in private health insurance policies significantly increases expenditures by state and local government for medical treatment, special education and other services.

Later laws, such as SB 946 (Steinberg), signed by Governor Jerry Brown in October, 2011, reconfirmed the mandate for health insurers and HMOs to provide behavioral health treatment for autism. This emergency regulation is expected to benefit thousands of California’s children and families and save California taxpayers approximately $138.8 million to $197.8 million over the next year in costs that should properly be borne by insurers. These emergency regulations are the latest in a series of actions taken by Commissioner Jones to make sure autistic children can receive behavioral therapy treatment.

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April 23rd, 2013


On March 7, 2013 the Associated Press added an entry on mental illness to the AP Stylebook.

“It is the right time to address how journalists handle questions of mental illness in coverage,” said AP Senior Vice President and Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll. “This isn’t only a question of which words one uses to describe a person’s illness. There are important journalistic questions, too.

“When is such information relevant to a story? Who is an authoritative source for a person’s illness, diagnosis and treatment? These are very delicate issues and this Stylebook entry is intended to help journalists work through them thoughtfully, accurately and fairly.”

The entry, which was immediately added to the AP Stylebook Online and will appear in the new print edition and Stylebook Mobile, published in the spring, reads as follows:

Mental Illness Do not describe an individual as mentally ill unless it is clearly pertinent to a story and the diagnosis is properly sourced. When used, identify the source for the diagnosis. Seek firsthand knowledge; ask how the source knows. Don’t rely on hearsay or speculate on a diagnosis. Specify the time frame for the diagnosis and ask about treatment. A person’s condition can change over time, so a diagnosis of mental illness might not apply anymore. Avoid anonymous sources. On-the-record sources can be family members, mental health professionals, medical authorities, law enforcement officials and court records. Be sure they have accurate information to make the diagnosis. Provide examples of symptoms.

Mental illness is a general condition. Specific disorders are types of mental illness and should be used whenever possible: He was diagnosed with schizophrenia, according to court documents. She was diagnosed with anorexia, according to her parents. He was treated for depression.

Some common mental disorders, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (mental illnesses or disorders are lowercase, except when known by the name of a person, such as Asperger’s syndrome):

– Autism spectrum disorders. These include Asperger’s syndrome, a mild form of autism. Many experts consider autism a developmental disorder, not a mental illness.

– Bipolar disorder (manic-depressive illness)

– Depression

– Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)

– Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

– Schizophrenia

Here is a link from the National Institute of Mental Health that can be used as a reference:

Do not use derogatory terms, such as insane, crazy/crazed, nuts or deranged, unless they are part of a quotation that is essential to the story.   Do not assume that mental illness is a factor in a violent crime, and verify statements to that effect. A past history of mental illness is not necessarily a reliable indicator. Studies have shown that the vast majority of people with mental illness are not violent, and experts say most people who are violent do not suffer from mental illness.

Avoid unsubstantiated statements by witnesses or first responders attributing violence to mental illness. A first responder often is quoted as saying, without direct knowledge, that a crime was committed by a person with a “history of mental illness.” Such comments should always be attributed to someone who has knowledge of the person’s history and can authoritatively speak to its relevance to the incident.   Avoid descriptions that connote pity, such as afflicted with, suffers from or victim of. Rather, he has obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Double-check specific symptoms and diagnoses. Avoid interpreting behavior common to many people as symptoms of mental illness. Sadness, anger, exuberance and the occasional desire to be alone are normal emotions experienced by people who have mental illness as well as those who don’t.

About AP

The Associated Press is the essential global news network, delivering fast, unbiased news from every corner of the world to all media platforms and formats. Founded in 1846, AP today is the most trusted source of independent news and information. On any given day, more than half the world’s population sees news from AP. On the Web:



April 23rd, 2013

A unique New York City school is successfully serving kids with developmental disabilities alongside those who are typically developing by assuming that each child needs their own curriculum in order to thrive.

At The IDEAL School, children of varying abilities all learn the same topics, but each student does so at their own level with an individual lesson plan tailored to their needs. Specialized services like speech and physical therapy are provided during elective periods so that no student misses out on academics or feels different.

The school, which was started by a group of parents, is built around the idea that inclusion is merely a form of diversity. School leaders and parents say that the extremely inclusive model of education breads an environment of total acceptance where each child values the strengths of their peers.

“The kids are partners with each other. They support each other, they advocate for each other,” one parent told NBC News.”

To watch video :


April 23rd, 2013

Assembly Bill (AB) 1705 (amended by Stats. 2012, Ch. 192, effective January 1, 2013) amends California Education Code (EC) sections 60852.1 and 60852.2. On January 1, 2013, the implementation date of the alternative means will be postponed until July 1, 2015, which, in effect, extends the exemption to the CAHSEE for eligible students with disabilities. The State Board may, by regulation, extend this date by up to one year if it determines that an extension is necessary for the appropriate implementation of the regulations adopted pursuant to Section 60852.1. Visit the Official California Legislative Information Web site  for up-to-date information about AB 1705.

From the CA Dept of Ed

What is California Education Code (EC) Section 60852.3?

Beginning in the 2009–10 school year, EC Section 60852.3 provides an exemption from meeting the California High School Exit Examination (CAHSEE) requirement as a condition of receiving a diploma of graduation for eligible students with disabilities who have an individualized education program (IEP) or a Section 504 plan. The IEP or 504 plans must state that the student is scheduled to receive a high school diploma, and has satisfied or will satisfy all state and local requirements for high school graduation, on or after July 1, 2009.

Does this exemption apply to students with disabilities with IEPs or 504 plans who completed all graduation requirements, except passing the CAHSEE, and received a certificate of completion in 2008 or 2009?

Yes, students with IEPs or 504 plans who completed all graduation requirements, except passing the CAHSEE, and received a certificate of completion in 2008 or 2009, are eligible for this exemption.

Redefining Autism: Will New DSM-5 Criteria for ASD Exclude Some People?

May 19th, 2012

People have been arguing about autism for a long time—about what causes it, how to treat it and whether it qualifies as a mental disorder. The controversial idea that childhood vaccines trigger autism also persists, despite the fact that study after study has failed to find any evidence of such a link. Now, psychiatrists and members of the autistic community are embroiled in a more legitimate kerfuffle that centers on the definition of autism and how clinicians diagnose the disorder. The debate is not pointless semantics. In many cases, the type and number of symptoms clinicians look for when diagnosing autism determines how easy or difficult it is for autistic people to access medical, social and educational services.

The controversy remains front and center because the American Psychiatric Association (APA) has almost finished redefining autism, along with all other mental disorders, in an overhaul of a hefty tome dubbed the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)—the essential reference guide that clinicians use when evaluating their patients. The newest edition of the manual, the DSM-5, is slated for publication in May 2013. Psychiatrists and parents have voiced concerns that the new definition of autism in the DSM-5 will exclude many people from both a diagnosis and state services that depend on a diagnosis.

The devilish confusion is in the details. When the APA publishes the DSM-5, people who have already met the criteria for autism in the current DSM-IV will not suddenly lose their current diagnosis as some parents have feared, nor will they lose state services. But several studies recently published in child psychiatry journals suggest that it will be more difficult for new generations of high-functioning autistic people to receive a diagnosis because the DSM-5 criteria are too strict. Together, the studies conclude that the major changes to the definition of autism in the DSM-5 are well grounded in research and that the new criteria are more accurate than the current DSM-IV criteria. But in its efforts to make diagnosis more accurate, the APA may have raised the bar for autism a little too high, neglecting autistic people whose symptoms are not as severe as others. The studies also point out, however, that minor tweaks to the DSM-5 criteria would make a big difference, bringing autistic people with milder symptoms or sets of symptoms that differ from classic autism back into the spectrum

 Let us know what you think. . . . . .

Autism Statistics Increase To 1 in 88 Children, and 1 in 54 Boys

May 18th, 2012

The CDC announced on March 29, 2012 that the autism prevalence in the United States increased to 1 in 88 children and (1 in 54 boys and 1 in 252 girls).  More children are affected by autism than diabetes, AIDs, cancer, cerebral palsy, cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy or Down syndrome combined.  This stark increase warrants immediate assistance and solutions.

Many experts contribute the increase in the prevalence of autism to improved diagnostic tools, however, it is important to not overlook other factors and studies which indicate environmental, and non-genetic influences which suggests improved detection is not the overwhelming result of the pervasiveness of autism.

Let us know what you think!

Senate OKs bill limiting teachers in restraint, seclusion of students

April 5th, 2012

Did you know. . . . .The Senate approved a bill in January 2012 that would limit the ability of public school teachers and staff to seclude or physically restrain students.

The bill was passed by the Senate on a voice vote and now goes to the Assembly. The proposal was one of several education bills approved in January by senators, including legislation to allow schools to issue vocational high school diplomas.

For more information see the link below:

Let us hear from you on this issue!

“Mom Shoots Disabled Son and Self at Sunnyvale Home”

April 5th, 2012

The autism community is deeply sadden and is still reeling over the recent death of Elizabeth Hodgins, and her son, George who was diagnosed with autism.

This tragedy has lead me to open this dialogue with the autism community, and the general public at large on the state of how our families are living with this disability today, and the current state of the system which funds and provides services to this population of children and adults.  This includes:  The Department of Education, Local Education Agencies, The Government and both State and Federal Funding Institutions.

The death of this mother and son is symbolic of the struggle which parents face when trying to obtain services, and supports from our society,  especially when attempting to obtain services for pre-teens and adults.  This difficulty extends to parents attempts to enforce their childs right to a FAPE and their rights for them.

Yet has this death changed anything ? Will the power of that tragedy make a difference ? Did they die in vain ? They didn’t. We’re all deeply saddened… At a time such as this, words cannot express our feelings. But, Nothing more clearly reveals the existence of that invisible chain which links all the events of their death, therefore :

We must hold the President, to his word and insist on fully funding IDEA.

The US Secretary of Education, can no longer be complicit, in light of having held in his hands absolute proof of California Department of Education refusal to enforce the law.

The California Governor, and making himself an accomplice of this tragedy, by persisting on cutting vital disability services.

The California Legislature, in the same, by voting the cuts to vital disability services.

Finally, the California public school districts; County SELPAs, County Offices of Education; Regional Centers; The Department of Health Care Services; The California Department of Public Health; Department of Rehabilitation of knowingly covering up violations of State and Federal laws, of knowingly exposing the disabled and their parents to emotional and mental abuse, resulting in psychological trauma, anxiety, chronic depression and post traumatic stress disorder.

Let us hear what you have to say about this tragedy!!!







Vote the Prevention of RESTRAINT & SECLUSION Bill

April 5th, 2012


” Declaration of Principals Opposing the Use of Restraint, Seclusion, and Abuse, COPAA, 2008 retrieved 15 December 2008.”

” Seclusions and Restraints Selected Cases of Death and Abuse at Public and Private Schools and Treatment Centers




Legislature Dismantling Services For Elderly, and Disabled

April 5th, 2012

A program once hailed by then-Gov. Ronald Reagan as “A dynamic framework on which we shall build a comprehensive system to assure that people with disabilities develop to their potential” is now under attack, some 42 years later by his successors, both Republican and Democrat.

The legislation Gov. Reagan was lauding is now known as the Lanterman Act, the Bible by which services to persons with developmental disabilities are made available. Those disabilities include autism, cerebral palsy, mental retardation and a host of other developmental delays.

A year ago, California’s nonpartisan Legislative Analyst Office [LAO], warned that the state was starting down the path toward decimation of our 42-year commitment to the developmentally disabled, some 250,000 Californians.

The cliff at the end of the path that the LAO office predicted is now in sight, not only for the disabled but for thousands of other Californians who receive In-Home Supportive Services [IHSS] including the elderly, the medically fragile and those with chronic illnesses.

See more on this article  below and let us know how you feel!


Posted:   03/11/2012 01:30:54 AM PST