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Customer Rips Autistic Driver, Eatery Fires ... the Customer

Sometimes customer isn't right, he's rude

(Newser) - The old adage about the customer always being right ground to a precipitous halt at one Alaska restaurant earlier this month when aforementioned customer called Little Italy Restaurante to loudly complain that its delivery driver had messed up an order, "was an idiot and strung out on drugs."... More »

New, 'Catastrophic' Numbers Out for US Autism

'We do believe autism is more prevalent'

(Newser) - A new report reveals what appears to be a notable jump in the number US kids with an autism spectrum disorder, Live Science reports. According to a previous CDC estimate from medical records in 2010, one in 68 children had autism. But a new study states it's closer to... More »

Autistic Teen Saves Choking Classmate

He says he learned the Heimlich maneuver by watching SpongeBob

(Newser) - An Autistic teenager in New York is being hailed as a hero after saving a classmate who was choking on an apple, the Staten Island Advance reports. Brandon Williams, 13, was eating lunch Oct. 28 when he saw Jessica Pellegrino—a fellow special-needs student—struggling to breath. He tells the... More »

No, We Don't Need to Worry About the 'Autistic Shooter'

Writer debunks a myth born of ignorance

(Newser) - The mother of the man who opened fire at a community college in Oregon thought her son was autistic, leading to a Facebook page whose name is self-explanatory: “Families Against Autistic Shooters." It ranted against "cold, calculating killing machines" and asked, “What do all shooters over... More »

Dead Autistic Teen Left on Hot Bus for 9 Hours: Family

Hun Joon Lee died on one of S. California's hottest days of the summer

(Newser) - The family of a severely autistic teen found dead on a school bus says he may have been left there for up to nine hours on Friday, one of Southern California's hottest days of the summer, Fox News reports. The mother of Hun Joon Lee, a 19-year-old special needs... More »

Simple Sniff Test May Diagnose Autism

Study: Kids with disorder don't react to pleasant or unpleasant smells

(Newser) - A surprisingly simple sniff test shows promise in detecting autism in kids—perhaps even in those who aren't yet toddlers because it doesn't involve responding to questions. Israeli researchers found that autistic kids don't react strongly to strong smells, of either the pleasant or unpleasant variety, reports... More »

Jim Carrey Has Fiery Reply to California's Vaccine Law

Actor calls the CDC 'corrupt' and the governor 'fascist'

(Newser) - In what can fairly be described as a rant, Jim Carrey voiced his unfavorable opinion of California's new immunization law in a series of tweets last night and early this morning. Hours prior, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill that requires all school-age children to be vaccinated, unless they... More »

Prominent Anti-Vax Doctor Dead in Apparent Suicide

Dr. Jeff Bradstreet's office had been raided by feds earlier in week

(Newser) - Authorities say anti-vaccine Dr. Jeff Bradstreet has been found dead in an apparent suicide in North Carolina. The Rutherford County Sheriff's Office said this week that Bradstreet died of "a gunshot wound to the chest, which appears to be self inflicted." Bradstreet, 61, was found by a... More »

Autism Study 'Like No Other' Looks at 5.7M Kids

Older parents, those with age gap at higher risk, say researchers

(Newser) - A massive new autism study adds to the evidence that parents' age plays a role in their children's risk of autism—including the suggestion that a couple with a big age gap has a higher risk. "Though we've seen research on autism and parental age before, this... More »

Millionaire Mom Gets 18 Years for Killing Son

Gigi Jordan says she killed 8-year-old Jude Mirra to save him from dad's abuse

(Newser) - Gigi Jordan, a pharmaceutics entrepreneur worth millions, had a variety of options at her disposal in handling her developmentally disabled son, Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Matthew Solomon said yesterday at her sentencing. Instead, she drugged 8-year-old Jude Mirra to death with Ambien and Xanax in 2010, leading Solomon to sentence... More »

Family Kicked Off Flight Over 'Disruptive' Autistic Teen

They warned that hungry girl, 15, might have 'meltdown'

(Newser) - A mom who says she was humiliated when she and her family were kicked off a United Airlines flight because of her autistic daughter's allegedly disruptive behavior wants airlines to learn from the incident. According to a Facebook post from Donna Beegle, the family was on its way home... More »

School Tells Autistic Boy: Take Off That Varsity Letter

Michael Kelley incident sparks debate on varsity jackets

(Newser) - Did Michael Kelley, a boy with Down Syndrome and autism, have his letter jacket taken off him at school? The accusation has triggered squabbling, an online petition, and debate about how to recognize special-needs children in high-school athletics in Wichita, Kansas, KSN reports. Michael's mom, Jolinda, first said a... More »

Driving Vast Majority of Autism: Genes

Environmental factors likely still play some role

(Newser) - In somewhere between 74% and 98% of autism spectrum disorder cases, genes are to blame. So say researchers out of King's College London in the journal JAMA Psychiatry after studying both identical and fraternal twins. In fact, hundreds of genes could contribute to the development of autism, although because... More »

Man Who Grew 46DD Breasts Wins $2.5M Drug Suit

Family of Austin Pledger says he developed gynecomastia after taking Risperdal

(Newser) - A 20-year-old autistic man won a $2.5 million lawsuit against a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson Tuesday after his family and doctor say he developed 46DD breasts after taking an antipsychotic drug, the Philadelphia Daily News reports. Austin Pledger, from Thorsby, Ala., was first prescribed Risperdal, manufactured by Janssen... More »

Teacher Fights Suspension Over Hugging Autistic Child

Cops say they're looking into whether Leo Bennett-Cauchon had other 'victims'

(Newser) - A California special education teacher has spent the last two days protesting outside his employer's administration building after the school district suspended him for hugging a severely autistic 8-year-old boy. Leo Bennett-Cauchon, who was put on paid leave Feb. 3 after admitting to hugging the boy and letting him... More »

Sibling Study Surprises Autism Researchers

'Autisms' a better term than 'autism,' they say

(Newser) - Siblings with autism tend to behave as differently as any other siblings, according to a new study that highlights what the New York Times calls the "exasperating diversity of autism, even in the most closely related individuals." The researchers analyzed genetic material from 85 families that had two... More »

How to Stop the Anti-Vaccine Movement

Peer pressure—and more regulation, writes Michael Hiltzik

(Newser) - In the wake of the Disneyland-linked measles outbreak, which has now hit 87 cases, columnist Michael Hiltzik takes a look back at Jenny McCarthy in a Los Angeles Times piece whose headline dubs her a "public menace" for popularizing the anti-vaccine movement. Hiltzik also reminds us that McCarthy, who... More »

Vacuum Demo: Best Birthday Ever for Autistic Teen

Dylan Johnson, 14, knew more about vacuums than salesman did at his birthday bash

(Newser) - For 25 years, Al Archie has been a salesman for the Kirby vacuum company, but he finally met his match in appliance expertise over the weekend: Dylan Johnson, an autistic teen whose mom had commissioned Archie to come to Chesterfield, Va., to do a vacuum demo for her son's... More »

BPA Alternative Might Be Even Worse

Study suggests it affects brain development

(Newser) - A new study is lending more support to the idea that BPA-free products aren't necessarily safe products. Bisphenol S, or BPS, an alternative to BPA, appears to cause problems in the brain growth of animal embryos, researchers say. After studying zebra fish, whose brain development is seen as similar... More »

Why Autism Rates Have Soared

Study: Most of the uptick is because of better diagnosis, not environmental factors

(Newser) - The rate at which autism is diagnosed around the world has increased dramatically in just a generation, and researchers studying a comprehensive tracking system in Denmark say they can explain the majority of the uptick: new and improved diagnosis. In the medical journal JAMA Pediatrics, they argue that the huge... More »

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