Police officers undergo new, specialized training to deal with autistic citizens in Clinton County

By Jason Dunn
Clinton County Chatter Staff Reporter

Police officers in Clinton County are undergoing new, advanced training to handle autism-related situations and other circumstances. City of DeWitt Chief of Police Bruce Ferguson has been charged with the responsibility of spearheading the training. “I am going to be training the entire county in autism safety. So I’ll do all of the police agencies in the county here. We want to make sure that officers know that if someone doesn’t react like they should, the first thing to make sure is that they don’t have some type of impairment that would cause them to behave that way,” he said.

A program in Holt is LINKing students with some special needs peers

By Aundreana Jones-Poole
Holt Journal Staff Reporter

A program at Holt High School is changing the lives of general education students and their disabled peers. The LINKS program is a peer-to-peer support program that was implemented by The START program at Grand Valley State University to provide help to students with Autism Spectrum Disorder or other disabilities. The help comes from other high school students. The students who provide support are called “LINKS.” They have the option of enrolling in the program as an elective.

Little screens may teach skills to teens with autism

By MATTHEW HALL
Capital News Service
LANSING – Video-based teaching methods could change the way Michigan schools educate teens with autism. Videos shown on computers and iPads successfully demonstrated to teenagers with autism how to behave in new social situations, according to the latest research from Michigan State University. Autism is a developmental disorder that hampers a person’s ability to communicate and understand others. Basic milestones in development, such as pointing out an object to someone else, or later milestones such as reading body language or facial cues, can be challenging to teens with autism depending on where they are on the autism spectrum, experts say. Video technologies have proven successful in one-on-one teaching with younger children, experts said.

Insurance for Autism in Michigan

By Jacqlyn Burnett
Ingham Couny Chronicle staff writer

Autism awareness month seems to be fulfilling its purpose. Michigan and Alaska as of 2012 are now a part of the other 29 states to require insurance to offer treatment for autistic people. An event called Buddy Day enables an experience for Mason high school students to interact and become more aware of autism with the Heartwood students. Learn more about the Michigan autism spectrum disorder state plan and the autism insurance legislation.

Autism insurance helps children, but more therapists needed

By YANJIE WANG
Capital News Service
LANSING — The state now requires health insurers to provide diagnosis and treatment coverage for people with autism spectrum disorder. And advocacy groups say children with autism have more opportunities to receive treatment. But experts in Grand Rapids, Southfield, and Sault Ste. Marie say families still face major challenges in finding suitable services. The average cost of caring for an individual with autism over his or her lifespan is $3.7 million without insurance coverage.