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Canadians’ Mental-Health Info Routinely Shared With FBI, U.S. Customs

CBC News Posted: Apr 14, 2014 8:49 AM ET

Privacy commissioner Ann Cavoukian found attempted suicide calls uploaded to international database

Ontario’s privacy commissioner has discovered that the mental-health information of some Canadians is accessible to the FBI and U.S. Customs and Border Patrol.

Ann Cavoukian said Monday that some Ontario police services routinely uploaded attempted suicide calls to the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC), to which U.S. border guards and the FBI have access.

Cavoukian began investigating how U.S. law enforcement had access to such personal information after last fall’s news that some Canadian travellers with a history of mental-health issues had been denied entry into the U.S.

Unemployment of People with Intellectual Disabilities More than Twice as High as General Population

Special Olympics Commissions National Study Giving Glimpses into People with ID in the Workplace

WASHINGTON, Feb. 17, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — A new survey shows that unemployment among people with intellectual disabilities is more than twice as high as for the general population.
That’s according to one of the most comprehensive national surveys ever done on adults with disabilities in the workforce. The “National Snapshot of Adults with Intellectual Disabilities in the Labor Force” was commissioned by Special Olympics, conducted by the Center for Social Development and Education at the University of Massachusetts Boston and administered by Gallup.[1]

Parents of Kids With Autism Fight to Get Service Dogs in Schools

While federal law protects a blind person’s right to be accompanied in any public place by a service animal, the rights of children with autism who rely on trained dogs to keep them safe, regulate unruly behaviour and help them develop socially are not so clear.

National service dog agencies estimate nearly 1,500 children with autism have been paired with an animal. The Toronto Star spoke with families across Canada with the animals, several of whom described drawn-out, draining meetings where “standoff-ish” board officials debated the dog’s value and raised concerns about potential allergies, cultural sensitivities (can a child who is prohibited by religion from drawing an animal be in the same room as one?), strained resources (who would fill the dog’s water bowl?) and liability insurance.

Ghotit Releases the First Android Writing & Reading Solution for People with Dyslexia

January 21, 2014
You’re on the road and suddenly you receive an urgent email that you must answer immediately. What do you do?

You take out your smartphone/tablet and write an answer. But what if you are dyslexic and must have a writing assistant to help produce clear and error-free text?

Vanderbilt Study Reveals Senses of Sight and Sound Separated in Children With Autism

by Craig Boerner | Posted on Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014 ­ 4:00 PM

Like watching a foreign movie that was badly dubbed, children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) have trouble integrating simultaneous information from their eyes and their ears, according to a Vanderbilt study published today in The Journal of Neuroscience.

Employment May Lead to Improvement in Autism Symptoms

Jan 10, 2014

More independent work environments may lead to reductions in autism symptoms and improve daily living in adults with autism, according to a Vanderbilt study released in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.

Ensuring Equal Justice for All

John McCamus, National Post | 11/12/13 | Last Updated: 10/12/13 1:30 PM ET

Too many Canadians with mental health challenges are falling through the cracks in our court system..

Those of us who have ever gone through a divorce, struggled with employment issues, or had problems with a landlord, know full well the stress that any of these matters can bring.

Now imagine having to deal with a mental illness on top of everything else.

For a lot of Ontarians with mental health issues, legal problems don’t exist in isolation. Too often there are multiple legal needs that cut across the entire justice system.

iPads Help Late-Speaking Children With Autism Develop Language

by Joan Brasher
Posted on Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2013 — 11:44 AM

The iPad you use to check email, watch episodes of Mad Men and play Words with Friends may hold the key to enabling children with autism spectrum disorders to express themselves through speech.

New research indicates that children with autism who are minimally verbal can learn to speak later than previously thought, and iPads are playing an increasing role in making that happen, according to Ann Kaiser, a researcher at Vanderbilt Peabody College of education and human development.

Video Could Transform How Schools Serve Teens With Autism

Published: Oct. 17, 2013

Video-based teaching helps teens with autism learn important social skills, and the method eventually could be used widely by schools with limited resources, a Michigan State University researcher says.

The diagnosis rate for Autism Spectrum Disorder for 14- to 17-year-olds has more than doubled in the past five years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Yet previous research has found very few strategies for helping adolescents with autism develop skills needed to be successful, especially in group settings.

“Teaching social skills to adolescents with ASD has to be effective and practical,” said Joshua Plavnick, assistant professor of special education at MSU. “Using video-based group instruction regularly could promote far-reaching gains for students with ASD across many social behaviors.”

The Not-So-Hidden Cause Behind the A.D.H.D. Epidemic

By MAGGIE KOERTH-BAKER
Published: October 15, 2013 258 Comments

Between the fall of 2011 and the spring of 2012, people across the United States suddenly found themselves unable to get their hands on A.D.H.D. medication. Low-dose generics were particularly in short supply. There were several factors contributing to the shortage, but the main cause was that supply was suddenly being outpaced by demand.

The number of diagnoses of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder has ballooned over the past few decades. Before the early 1990s, fewer than 5 percent of school-age kids were thought to have A.D.H.D. Earlier this year, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that 11 percent of children ages 4 to 17 had at some point received the diagnosis — and that doesn’t even include first-time diagnoses in adults. (Full disclosure: I’m one of them.)

Federal Prison Staff Mishandling Mentally Ill Women Inmates: Ombudsman

Howard Sapers, federal corrections ombudsman, makes 16 recommendations on how to change the way the system treats troubled women offenders.

Correctional Service watchdog Howard Sapers reports ongoing concerns about the capacity of Correctional Service of Canada to manage mental illness.
By: Tonda MacCharles Ottawa Bureau reporter, Published on Mon Sep 30 2013

OTTAWA—Six years after the death of Ashley Smith, an investigation by the federal prisons watchdog says guards and managers are still taking a dangerously wrong approach to troubled women offenders.

The damning report is the result of an investigation by the office of Howard Sapers, the federal corrections ombudsman.

Canada’s Elderly at High Risk of Suicide, Can’t Afford Mental Health Care: Experts

Published Monday, July 29, 2013 1:01PM CST

TORONTO — Studies show that Canada’s elderly are at a much higher risk of suicide than adolescents, and there is growing concern among mental health experts that psychological care may be out of reach for most seniors.

Dr. Marnin Heisel, a clinical psychologist and professor at the University of Western Ontario, says lack of public awareness of the issue is a key problem that affects not only the elderly, but their families and the public in general.

“One of the challenges that people face is thinking ‘I’m unique in this, I’m alone, there’s something wrong with me, no one can understand it,’ and then they tend to back away from family, other supports, including professional supports,” Heisel said in an interview.

Demo Version of AutisMate, SpecialNeedWare’s iPad App for People With Autism, Hits the Market

AutisMate LITE gives users a taste of AutisMate, a uniquely comprehensive, customizable, easy-to-use communication and life skills learning app for adults and children with autism.
(PRWEB) July 03, 2013

SpecialNeedsWare, LLC, a software development firm devoted to helping people with learning and development limitations, has launched AutisMate LITE, a demo version of AutisMate, the company’s application for adults and children with autism.

AutisMate LITE is meant to give users a taste of AutisMate, an app that extends beyond the capabilities of augmentative and assistive communication (AAC) and learning apps through its comprehensive, customizable, and easy to use Smart Scenes™ technology. AutisMate’s

Texthelp Releases iReadWrite – iPad App for Struggling Readers and Writers

Woburn, MA, March 13, 2013

Texthelp Inc., provider of award-winning literacy software solutions, today announced the release of iReadWrite for the iPad.

iReadWrite is an easy-to-use reading and writing App that benefits struggling readers and writers of all ages especially those with dyslexia, dysgraphia, or other learning difficulties.

Support features include text-to-speech with dual color highlighting, word prediction, phonetic spell checker, dictionary, and picture dictionary.
iReadWrite runs directly on the iPad with no need for Wi-Fi or 3G access.

Jack Dolan, President of Texthelp Inc., states, “As more schools turn to iPads as an AT device for their students, they have been asking for an iPad App to give them access to the same Read&Write features that they currently use on the PC or Mac.

Mentally Ill are Unlikely to Re-offend; So Why is Canada Toughening Rules for Them, Researcher Asks

Douglas Quan
Edmonton Journal, Mar. 1, 2013

Justice Minister Rob Nicholson’s Bill C-54 flies in the face of the Conservative government’s promise to fight the stigma associated with mental illness, mental health organizations say.

A McGill University researcher says a bill introduced by the Harper government toughening rules for violent offenders deemed “not criminally responsible” due to mental illness left her a bit baffled: Didn’t federal officials bother to look at the data she had collected for them?

Anne Crocker, a professor of psychiatry, told Postmedia News that the data she turned over to the Justice Department’s research division in November showed that this group of offenders is among the least likely to reoffend.

Autism’s New Frontiers PART 2: ‘The bridge to nowhere’

The transition from youth to adulthood is the weakest link in the country’s already fractured approach to caring for children with autism
By Pauline Tam, Ottawa Citizen February 18, 2013

Two years ago, when Ashley Corbett of Arnprior turned 18, she entered Ontario’s Byzantine world of autism services for adults.

At best, the system treated her with benign neglect. At worst, she was invisible to it. Knowing that the wait was long for a coveted place at a provincially funded group home, Linda Murphy put her daughter’s name on the list when Corbett was just 13.

Six years later, she’s still waiting — one of 6,000 Ontarians with developmental disabilities who are on hold for residential care.

Agony Behind Bars

January 18, 2013

Some inmates with mental health problems “manifest symptoms of their illness through disruptive behaviour, aggression, violence, self-mutilation, suicidal ideation, withdrawal, refusal or inability to follow prison orders or rules,” according to Correctional Investigator of Canada Howard Sapers.

Most Canadians are familiar with the shocking video footage that was presented in a coroner’s court in 2012 as part of an inquest into the Oct. 19, 2007 self-strangulation of teenager Ashley Smith inside a solitary confinement cell at the nation’s only federal women’s prison, the Grand Valley Institution for Women in Kitchener, Ontario.

Nebraska Doctor Develops Smartphone App for Parents of Autistic Children

By ERIN ANDERSEN / Lincoln Journal Star JournalStar.com
January 16, 2013

If you have a child with autism, now there is an app for that.

This new smartphone/tablet application is designed for parents, with the goal of helping them teach their primarily non-speaking children to communicate.

The app, “MySocius,” was developed by Keith Allen, professor of psychology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s Munroe-Meyer Institute in Omaha. It was created by the behavior app division of Sector Now, LLC, a Lincoln-based smartphone development company.

Think beyond the apps that let us play games like “Bubbles” and “Jewel Quest.” Beyond apps that track our phones, map our routes or provide a handy flashlight when the lights go out.

Overcoming Barriers: Dating, Sex Can Be Daunting for Youth With Disabilities

By Sheryl Ubelacker, The Canadian Press November 20, 2012

If navigating the intricacies of dating and sexuality can be a pitfall-strewn path for adults with disabilities, it’s a veritable minefield for young people with physical challenges just setting out on the journey.

Whether in a wheelchair after a spinal cord injury or living since birth with a condition like muscular dystrophy or cerebral palsy, teens with disabilities face a double whammy — dealing with new sexual feelings while grappling with physical limitations that define how others may view them.

“Sexuality is fraught with all kinds of dangers and great things and insecurities for anybody — and for any teenager especially,” says Dr. Miriam Kaufman, head of adolescent medicine at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children.

Shocking Ashley Smith Video Revealed; Inquest Sees Footage of Inmate Shackled, Injected Against Her Will

diana zlomislic 

“How can it get worse?”
Ashley Smith asks the question in a childlike moan.

Aboard a small government plane, 33,000 feet in the air somewhere between Saskatoon and Montreal, the teen inmate can’t fathom a fate worse than what has just befallen her in a period of six minutes.

Her forearms are shackled to the seat’s armrests, a hood of black netting and canvas is pulled over her head of long, wavy brown hair and tied around her neck. The plane’s co-pilot, a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, has just bound her wrists
together with duct tape, restricting her as though in a straitjacket. And she is sitting in her own feces.