Blind from birth, but able to use sound to ‘see’ faces (NPR, Nov. 21)
A brain area that recognizes faces remains functional even in people who have been blind since birth, research says. The finding, presented at the Society for Neuroscience Meeting last week, suggests that facial recognition is so important that evolution has hardwired it into the human brain.
Vote planned on tax-free disability savings accounts (Disability Scoop, Nov. 20)
U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., said Wednesday that the House of Representatives will hold a floor vote on the Achieving a Better Life Experience, or ABLE, Act the first week of December. Advocates have been pressing hard for a vote in December since efforts to enact the legislation would have to start all over again when a new Congress convenes in 2015 if the bill does not pass this year.
Are NOLA schools failing students with disabilities (NPR, Nov. 20)
In New Orleans, schools have long struggled to provide for students with physical, emotional and mental disabilities. Even before Hurricane Katrina, many parents had to fight for extra help. But many say things have only gotten harder since the city’s public school district shifted almost entirely to charter schools.
New Medicaid rule could challenge state shift away from nursing homes (Stateline, Nov. 19)
While nearly everyone supports the concept, states, providers and even some consumer advocates are complaining that the rule could make it difficult for health care providers to fulfill increasing demand for long-term care outside of nursing homes.
Opinion: How to care for the caregivers (Los Angeles Times, Nov. 19)
There’s a strong likelihood that one day you’ll either have the disease yourself or someone you love will, so it’s worth trying to overcome your discomfort. About half of all people who live to 85 have symptomatic dementia, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. One good way to start feeling comfortable around such people is to offer support to friends or family members who are caring for them.
Sicker seniors: U.S. lags on elder health vs. other nations (CNBC, Nov. 19)
Elderly Americans are in worse health and have a tougher time dealing with medical costs than senior citizens in 10 other advanced industrialized nations, a new report [from the Commonwealth Fund] reveals.
Hasbro helps kids with disabilities learn to play
Hasbro Inc. has partnered with The Autism Project, a group of parents and professionals that help people with autism to create instructional videos and tools to help children with developmental disabilities learn how to play with their toys.
Pope looks to destigmatize autism (Disability Scoop, Nov. 18)
For the first time, Pope Francis is set to meet with individuals with autism and their families during an international conference on the developmental disorder. Organizers said their aim is to “help break the isolation and, in many cases, stigma” experienced by people with autism and their families.
State tweaks timeline for Duals project (California Healthline, Nov. 17)
State health officials last week dropped Alameda County and its 26,000 dual-eligibles from Cal MediConnect, California’s demonstration project for Californians eligible for Medi-Cal (Medicaid) and Medicare. The timeline for Orange County also was pushed back one month – from July to August 2015 – for passive enrollment to start.
Review: Disability, diversity and evolution in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare (Paste, Nov. 17)
Advanced Warfare has a lengthy gameplay sequence that’s all about acknowledging Mitchell’s status as an amputee soldier. The game points out that his disability is a part of his identity, but it doesn’t define him.
Aging population prompts more employers to offer elder-care benefits to workers (The Washington Post, Nov. 16)
As the population ages and more people live longer with chronic medical conditions companies are beginning to grapple with growing numbers of workers who have elder-care responsibilities. Some are offering not only flexibility, but also benefits such as emergency back-up adult care, geriatric assessments, and social workers to assist with referrals for adult day-care programs.
Video: Argentine student invents ‘smart shoe’ to replace cane for the blind (RT, Nov. 16)
The new shoes, dubbed ‘Duspavoni,’ vibrate when the wearer approaches an object. They have three ultrasound sensors placed inside the sole – in the frontal, lateral and back areas – that emit ultrasound waves which are reflected by surrounding objects and come back to the sensor.