How can Siri help people with Autism?

One thing Apple likely didn’t expect when it released its iPhone technology is how it positively impacts people with autism. Plusnet, a British internet service provider, describes how Siri, the ultimate virtual personal assistant, presents information from queries in such a digestible way that can help people with autism process that material more easily. Read more.

The Washington Post

High school valedictorian has a 4.0 GPA, is headed to Towson University and is autistic

Montel Medley was the valedictorian of the Class of 2014 at Surrattsville High School in Prince George’s County, Maryland. His speech covered the standard topics of growth, support from great teachers and future plans but also addressed something less common in such remarks– his autism. Medley said having a disability does not have to be a disadvantage, in fact it can be an advantage. In his case, Medley graduated with a 4.0 GPA and accepted an offer to attend Towson University in the fall. Read more.

The Washington Post

Autistic boy allegedly abused by two girls in St. Mary’s considered them friends, mom says

A Southern Maryland teen diagnosed with autism in elementary school still thinks two girls charged with continuously assaulting him are his friends, according to the boy’s mother. St. Mary’s County police say the 15 and 17-year-old girls allegedly assaulted the boy from December to February of this year, sometimes taping the assaults on their cell phones. The 16-year-old boy, however, does not appear traumatized by the situation. Read more.

Associated Press

Expert to Newtown Panel: Violence, Autism Not Tied

An expert in psychology on Friday told a commission investigating the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre that there is no data linking autism to violent tendencies. Matthew Lerner, a professor at Stony Brook University, was among a group of experts who testified on autism spectrum disorder and programs available to help people with autism.

The commission is considering whether the state of Connecticut’s mental health programs are adequate in treating people with mental disabilities, specifically in regard to Adam Lanza, the gunman who killed 28 people in  a December 2012 school shooting rampage, including himself. Lanza, 20, was diagnosed with profound autism spectrum disorder in 2006. Read more.

Disability Scoop

Noted Self-Advocate Cuts Ties With Autism Speaks

John Elder Robinson, a prominent self-advocate of autism awareness, resigned from his advisory post with Autism Speaks. Robinson, who served on the group’s science and treatment boards, said he decided to step down after what many in the autism community saw as an insensitive commentary from Autism Speaks co-founder Suzanne Wright. According to Robinson, he had often been criticized along with the organization for not including more people with autism in leadership roles. Read more.