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Federal News

2018

Julie Hocker
Administration for Community Living
October 1, 2018
Ms. Julie Hocker is the new Commissioner of the Administration on Disabilities. She previously served as a senior manager at the Charles Koch Foundation.
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Department of Labor
October 1, 2018
In honor of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta recognizes the contributions of Americans with disabilities and the importance of access to employment.
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The White House
September 28, 2018
President Donald Trump proclaims October as National Disability Employment Awareness Month and recognizes the achievements of Americans with disabilities in the workforce and renews his Administration’s commitment to creating employment opportunities. In this proclamation he outlines his policies to address employment issues and the efforts of the Department of Labor to promote opportunities for disabled Americans through retainment initiatives and accommodation efforts.
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NICHD Science Update
August 2, 2018
NICHD researchers studied the startle reflex of zebrafish in response to a sudden loud noise, and how this reflex is muted when another sound is delivered a second before a target sound. This muted startle response, prepulse inhibition, is also seen in people. The researchers identified two clusters of neurons that are responsible for prepulse inhibition, which are close to the group of cells responsible for the startle reflex in fish. These clusters of neurons prevent sound information from reaching those cells, thereby preventing sensory overload.
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White House
July 25, 2018
A presidential proclamation was issued in celebration of the 28th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The proclamation reaffirms the commitment to create opportunities for all Americans to live full and independent lives and to recognize the contributions of Americans with disabilities. This proclamation declared July 26, 2018 as a day of celebration.
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NIMH Science Update
July 24, 2018
NIMH-funded researchers have linked high levels of maternal inflammation during pregnancy to reduced brain circuit communications and altered long-distance brain wiring at birth, poorer cognitive functioning at one year, and reduced impulse control and working memory at two years. Deficient working memory is thought to be key to “executive functions.” Researchers measured pregnant mothers’ blood levels of an inflammatory messenger and conducted neuroimaging and behavioral assessments of their children. Children whose mothers had higher levels of inflammatory messengers showed sped-up growth in the long-distance wiring pathway, which predicted poorer cognitive outcomes at age one which are often seen in autism.
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Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
June 28, 2018
CMS released a four-page informational bulletin in response to the January joint report from the HHS Office of Inspector General, Administration for Community Living, and Office for Civil Rights that found state officials were not informed or failed to respond to abuse, neglect, exploitation, and untimely death in group homes for people with developmental disabilities. The bulletin addresses one of the three suggestions made to CMS, which was to implement oversight programs. CMS encourages states to adopt a standardized definition of "critical incident" or situations that warrant reporting. States are also urged to utilize the January report's suggestions for best practices when conducting audits of incident management systems, mortality reviews, and quality oversight.
National Institute of Mental Health
June 26, 2018
In his latest Director's Message, Dr. Joshua Gordon discusses the variety of research that is being conducted at NIMH to meet the vision of understanding mental illness and transforming treatment. He first outlines initiatives aimed at identifying those in need, which includes NIMH's ServeASD program. ServeASD supports efforts to develop and study the effectiveness of early screening programs as well as testing intervention and services among transitioning youth. Dr. Gordon also discusses delivering the highest level of care to populations diagnosed with schizophrenia, anxiety, and other mental health disorders.
Administration for Community Living Blog
June 22, 2018
Dr. Lance Robertson, the ACL Administrator and Assistant Secretary for Aging, celebrates the nineteenth anniversary of the Supreme Court decision in Olmstead v. L.C. that decided that people with disabilities cannot be unnecessarily segregated into institutions and must receive care in the most integrated setting possible. This setting allowed more community, school, and workplace supports to become more available. This year also marks the 40th anniversary of the creation of ACL's National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research and the Title VII Independent Living Programs.
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National Institutes of Health
June 13, 2018
The National Institutes of Health has formed the Trans-NIH Pediatric Research Consortium to coordinate global pediatric research across its 27 institutes and centers. This consortium will advance existing efforts to address issues that affect child health and well-being, including autism and intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Blue colored DNA
National Institute of Mental Health, Science Update
May 30, 2018
A new study identified an association between rare structural variants in noncoding segments of genes inherited from fathers and autism in their children. Researchers studied 829 families, including 880 individuals with autism, without genetic mutations that have been previously linked to autism. They studied the contribution of these noncoding variants, called cis-regulatory elements (CRE-SVs), and found that when fathers passed on these variants there was an association with autism in their children. This association was not found when the variants were passed on by mothers.
Boy with Autism
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network
April 26, 2018
The CDC published its latest autism prevalence estimates based on the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network, an active surveillance system that provides estimates of the prevalence and characteristics of ASD among children aged 8 years residing in 11 ADDM Network sites in the United States.
Joshua Gordon
Dr. Joshua Gordon, Director, NIMH and Chair, Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee
April 19, 2018
April is Autism Awareness month. Here at NIMH, autism is a year-round priority. We’ve been busy on multiple fronts, from keeping track of existing programs, to planning the next set of initiatives, to working with our federal and public partners to ensure coordination of efforts. We are working hard because we know individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and their families are counting on us.
Summary of Advances 2017 Cover
Office of Autism Research Coordination
April 18, 2018
The 2017 Summary of Advances provides short, plain language summaries of the top 20 research articles selected by the IACC. The studies selected for 2017 have provided new insight into potential biomarkers to predict risk of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), developmental trajectories of children with ASD, and the impact of the various prenatal exposures on ASD risk.
White House
President Donald J. Trump
Sunday, April 2, 2018
World Autism Awareness Day is an opportunity to recognize and support all children and adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Today, millions of adults and an estimated 1 out of every 68 children in the United States have been diagnosed with some form of ASD.
Administration for Community Living
March 27, 2018
Able South Carolina is a Center for Independent Living that has been awarded a Partnerships in Employment (PIE) Systems Change Grant from the ACL. Able South Carolina launched a pilot program to provide students with intellectual and developmental disabilities the opportunity to get work experience during high school and works to educate employers.
Administration for Community Living
March 27, 2018
The Social Security Administration is seeking input on their Representative Payment Program to improve SSA’s ability to identify beneficiaries who can direct the management of their own benefits. The deadline for input is April 6, 2018.
U.S. Senate Logo
Senate Committee on the Judiciary
March 23, 2018
Congress passed bipartisan legislation to help families locate missing loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease, autism and related conditions. Kevin and Avonte’s Law (S. 2070), named in honor of two boys with autism who perished after wandering from safety, also supports training for caregivers to prevent and respond to instances of wandering.
Ann Wagner, NIMH
National Institute of Mental Health
February 28, 2018
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar has designated Ann E. Wagner, Ph.D., as the National Autism Coordinator. In this role, Dr. Wagner will play a vital role in ensuring the implementation of national autism spectrum disorder (ASD) research, services, and support activities across federal agencies.
Administration for Community Living logo
Administration for Community Living
February 14, 2018
The President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities (PCPID) has released its 2017 report, America’s Direct Support Workforce Crisis: Effects on People with Intellectual Disabilities, Families, Communities and the U.S. Economy. This report reports on how direct support professionals (DSP) promote participation on the U.S. economy and explores the high turnover rate of DSPs.
Administration for Community Living logo
Administration for Community Living
February 12, 2018
Two new grant opportunities have been announced by NIDILRR. One of which promotes disability and rehabilitation research on college and career success for students with serious mental illness or traumatic brain injury.
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The White House
January 22, 2018
On Monday, January 22, 2018, the President signed into law: H.R. 3759.
Ask Suicide Screening Questions
National Institute of Mental Health
January 12, 2018
This press release is related to a presentation from the October 2017 IACC Meeting.
This toolkit includes a set of screening questions that can help nurses or physicians in medical settings successfully identify youth at risk for suicide.

2017

Administration for Community Living logo
Administration for Community Living
December 18, 2017
Two new grant opportunities from NIDLRR have been announced under the Field Initiated Projects program to enhance the ability of minority serving entities to conduct disability and rehabilitation research.
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Department of Education
December 7, 2017
The Department of Education has released a document answering questions about the unanimous U.S. Supreme Court decision on Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District, which clarified the definition of a free appropriate public education (FAPE) under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). This document provides an overview of the case, clarifies the definition of FAPE, and provides considerations for the implementation of IEPs.
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Administration for Community Living
November 21, 2017
The Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services (CMCS) has released the results of their survey on adults aged 18 and older enrolled in Medicaid between October 2013 and December 2013. The survey provides information on state-by-state access, barriers to care, and experiences prior to the expansion of coverage on January 1, 2014.
Office of Disability Employment Policy Logo
Administration for Community Living
November 3, 2017
The Office of Disability Employment Policy has selected 18 states to receive technical assistance and training under the Employment First State Leadership Mentoring Program for FY 2018. The program provides onsite and virtual technical assistance to help increase competitive, integrated employment for individuals with disabilities.
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The White House
October 31, 2017
During National Family Caregivers Month, we honor those whose extraordinary selflessness provides others with independence and comfort.
Strategic Plan 2017 Cover
Office of Autism Research Coordination
October 23, 2017
The Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) has released its 2016 – 2017 Strategic Plan for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The new IACC Strategic Plan meets the requirements of the Autism Collaboration, Accountability, Research, Education, and Support (Autism CARES) Act of 2014 and includes objectives that encompass ASD research and services activities.
Portfolio Analysis 2015 Cover
Office of Autism Research Coordination
October 23, 2017
The Office of Autism Research Coordination (OARC) has released The 2014-2015 IACC ASD Research Portfolio Analysis Report which represents the eighth year of data collected and the sixth comprehensive report of U.S. ASD research funding across both the Federal and private sectors.
two researchers looking at brain scan
National Institutes of Health
September 7, 2017
The National Institutes of Health has awarded nine research grants totaling nearly $100 million over the next five years for the Autism Centers of Excellence (ACE), a program that supports large research projects aimed at understanding and developing interventions for autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
Report to Congress 2017 Cover
Office of Autism Research Coordination
August 3, 2017
A new Report to Congress compiled by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) finds there is a critical need for research and better coordinated services targeted to youth with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) who are transitioning to adulthood.
Administration for Community Living
July 10, 2017
ACL's Administration for Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities recently awarded five-year grants to 42 University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDDs). The UCEDDs will receive a total of $22,974,000 a year to address issues, find solutions, and advance research in order to improve the lives of people with developmental disabilities and their families.
U.S. Department of Education
Thursday, June 1, 2017
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act website has been updated to incorporate new navigation and design, expanded search options, resources for different audiences, and new content. The revamped website can be found at https://sites.ed.gov/idea/
Thomas E. Price, M.D., HHS Secretary
Friday, April 28, 2017
HHS recommits to supporting Americans living with autism and their families.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration
Wednesday, April 12, 2017
The FDA issued a consumer update to remind the public to be wary of companies and products for ASD that are not evidence-based.
Robin Harwood, Health Scientist and Tom Novotny, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health
Thursday, April 6, 2017
Based on U.S. Census data and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) prevalence estimates, over a half million youth with ASD will turn 18 over the next decade.
Dr. Joshua Gordon, Director, NIMH and Chair, Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee
Tuesday, April 4, 2017
Understanding how the brain develops and functions remains among the most difficult of scientific challenges, as is the effort to understand the causes of conditions that alter its function. Among these is autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
President Donald J. Trump
Sunday, April 2, 2017
On World Autism Awareness Day, we highlight the importance of addressing the causes and improving the treatments for autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). We also recognize the importance of identifying ASDs early in a child's life and of understanding the obstacles faced by people living on the autism spectrum.
Science Update
Friday, March 24, 2017
Researchers Audrey Thurm, Ph.D and Somer Bishop, Ph.D report that for every month a child with autism is delayed in walking the odds of having a spontaneous genetic mutation increases by 17%.
Science Update
Thursday, March 23, 2017
Mark Daly, Ph.D reported that a third of genetic mutations found in individuals with ASD are also found in unaffected people.
Air Force Senior Airman Mercedes Taylor, 19th Airlift Wing
Thursday, March 30, 2017
Personal interest story about a mother who joined the airforce to get her son access to autism services.

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