General

When speaking openly about mental illness, it’s key to be aware of terms used and how you say them. The National Autistic Society (NAS), the Royal College of GPs, and the UCL Institute of Education decided to take a look at the preferences of people on the autism spectrum, their families, friends, and professionals. On July 1st, 2015, an unprecedented piece of research into the language used by autism communities to describe autism was released. The study consisted of a survey in which 3,470 were analyzed. The results showed that there is no single term that everyone prefers. Not surprisingly, though, the study suggested a shift towards more positive and assertive language.

More specifically, the research found that all groups like the terms 'on the autism spectrum' and 'Asperger’s syndrome'. Autistic adults and families seem to have different preferences; as adults like the terms ‘autistic’ and ‘Aspie’, whereas families didn’t like ‘Aspie’. Professionals on the other hand seemed to most highly prefer the term 'autism spectrum disorder’. Some terms were strongly disliked by all, including 'low functioning', 'Kanner's autism' and 'classic autism'. The language we use is important because it embodies and helps to change attitudes towards autism. The research shows that language preferences are evolving, and we will continue to research and test how different groups prefer to speak about autism.

Take a look at the full research paper: “'Which terms should be used to describe autism? Perspectives from the UK autism community' in Autism: The International Journal of Research and Practice” or listen to a podcast of NAS Director of the Centre for Autism Carol Povey and Researcher Lorcan Kenny explaining the research.

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The month of May happens to be an important one here at Mozzaz, as it is Mental Health Awareness Month! The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) has tons of information to get people in the know and to increase awareness on a topic that affects so many of our loved ones. According to a 2012 study, nearly 1 in 5 Americans have a diagnosable mental disorder, and nearly 1 in 25 have a serious functional impairment due to a mental illness. Mental disorders can have an impact at any age— 1 in 5 of children ages 13-18 have one that is seriously debilitating!

The spectrum of mental disorders is a wide one that can be measured in many different ways. The Global Burden of Disease study assigned a single disability number to each of 291 conditions and injuries. This measuring tactic uses disability-adjusted life years (DALY score) to combine years of life lost to premature mortality and years lost to disability attributable to each condition. From this study, it was shown that brain disorders represent nearly 20% of disability from all causes; making them the largest source of DALYs in the U.S.

What about when mental disability leads to something with a dangerous, tragic impact? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an astounding 41,149 individuals committed suicide in the U.S. in 2013. This rate has unfortunately not decreased over the past two decades in contrast to other rates of mortality. It’s proven to be a clear epidemic among young people, as suicide was the second highest cause of death for young adults ages 15-34. Even if the individual doesn’t turn to suicide, the median reduction in life expectancy among those with mental illness is 10.1 years. A full 8 million deaths that occur each year globally could be averted if those people were to die at the same rate as the general population!

So much of our health care expenditures are directly linked to spending on mental illness treatment… much more than one would imagine! The World Economic Forum gathered data in 2010 to how that mental disorders account for $2.5 trillion global costs in 2010 and will rise to $6 trillion by 2030. These costs were greater than the costs of diabetes, respiratory disorders, and cancer combined!

Of course, the astounding amounts spent on health care go towards a good cause. For majority of those who suffer from various mental disorders, there is hope in terms of treatment. For example, 85% of patients who are severely depressed respond to electroconvulsive therapy or ECT. For those with schizophrenia, approximately 25% experience good recovery and 50% show improvement over a 10-year-period. Numbers like these prove that even among those at highest risk for suicide, prevention and treatment save lives.

In conclusion, too few people receive optimal care for mental illnesses and don’t consider their severity. For some it’s a matter of denying their illness, but others have certain conditions that prelude them from seeking care. Mental illness doesn’t just affect the person, but the daily lives and stresses of their family members. Although we currently have a variety of resources to help those in need, what we have isn’t nearly enough. Both the facts and personal stories of families and individuals affected by mental illness complete the picture of why finding ways to prevent and treat mental illness is such an urgent need.

The Accelerator Centre® (AC), an award-winning centre for the cultivation of technology entrepreneurship located in Waterloo, Ontario, announced today the graduation of two more tech start-ups from its rigorous incubation program. Mozzaz and Plum become the AC’s 44th and 45th graduates, joining a celebrated list of highly successful AC graduate companies including, Axonify, Clearpath Robotics, Intellijoint Surgical, Kik, Miovision, Top Hat Monocle and more.

The founders of health tech start-up Mozzaz, Rini Singh and Sammy Wahab each have a deep and personal motivation to bring modern technology to people with chronic illness and/or developmental disabilities. The company’s vision is to provide affordable, mobile and Cloud-enabled solutions to assist individuals with complex healthcare needs, while providing better connectivity and collaboration to the care teams who support that person. The company offers a personalized care app, called TalkingTiles; a coordinated care solution called MozzazCare, and a clinical management solution called Mozzaz CarePRO.

Frustrated by their own hiring experiences, Plum’s founders Caitlin and Neil MacGregor and Christine Bird were inspired to create Plum, a revolutionary new hiring solution. Plum’s cloud-based hiring solution identifies job applicants with the highest potential and matches them to a company’s culture and position using the science of psychology. Plum assesses each applicant’s problem solving ability and attitude before a resume is read, allowing employers to find hidden gem candidates and predict their future performance on the job even before they are hired.

“Health and HR tech are two of the hottest and fastest growing segments within the start-up landscape and we are happy to be graduating innovative high potential companies in these markets,” says Paul Salvini, CEO of the Accelerator Centre.

Congratulations Graduates!

-Ellyn Winters, Source

 

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Every April 2nd, Autism Speaks celebrates Light It Up Blue along with the international autism community, in commemoration of the United Nations-sanctioned World Autism Awareness Day. Click Here to register today and shine a light on autism!

19 percent—56.7 million—of Americans live with one or more disabilities. Of that number, 7.6 million people have a hearing impairment. Living with a chronic condition such as hearing loss is a reality most of us will not experience, but that doesn’t mean it is hard to envision what life would be like.

Take a moment and imagine your daily interactions with other people. Now imagine them again, but as a person who is deaf. How many people would you be able to communicate with easily—if at all? Do any of your coworkers understand sign language?

The Future is Accessible

For most of us, the idea of going through life as a person who is deaf seems overwhelming. The type of thing that might hold you back. For Leah Katz-Hernandez, however, being deaf has not been a deterrent to success but rather a reason to work harder.

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Holding impressive titles such as Executive Director of Deaf USA, Press Assistant/Research Associate for Michelle Obama, and now, as the Secretary for the West Wing of the White House. Yes, a deaf lady greets, meets, and interacts with powerful world leaders as well as ordinary citizens with purpose on a daily basis—all in sign or through an interpreter.

She is a strong advocate for accessibility, and the fact that she is now SOTUS (Capitol Hill slang for Secretary Of The United States) means she can continue to be a beacon for those who live life with a hearing impairment.Citing her parents as her primary sources of inspiration, she has a long list of relevant experiences and believes in giving back as much as she can.

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True equality means everyone has access to the same standards, same opportunities, and same treatment. We think having someone as capable and experienced as Leah Katz-Hernandez as Secretary for the White House is a magnificent idea—disability or not.

See an interview with Katz-Hernandez here

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Congratulations to Mark Mautone, a teacher from New Jersey, who was voted by the State Department of Education as this year’s top teacher. Mautone is seeing success using ABA in the classroom in conjunction with computer tablets for children with Autism. Digitizing data that was once kept on written spreadsheets can now be easily accessed to help monitor a student’s progress. Our latest product, Mozzaz Care, does just that. Teachers and therapists can now capture and record data in real time and then use the data to track a student’s progress and make adjustments to their programs accordingly. We will be showcasing Mozzaz Care next week at the Geneva Centre for Autism International Symposium.  

To read the full article: NJ teacher of the year puts theory into practice with autistic preschoolers 

Autism 2014

October 09

We will be attending the Autism 2014 Geneva Centre for Autism International Symposium on October 23-24! It will be held at the Metro Toronto Convention Center (255 Front St. W, Toronto, ON)

 

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Be sure to visit us at Booth #57 located in the Techie Zone (Room #104)

The Geneva Centre for Autism brings together Professionals, Educators, Parents and Researchers from all over the world to discuss the leading research and clinical practices in the field of Autism.

We will be showcasing the latest version of TalkingTiles where personalized care plans can be created that includes augmentative and alternative (AAC), visual schedules and learning activities that can be utilized in both the school and home environment.

We’ll also be debuting our newest app, Mozzaz Care, which specializes in care team collaboration through remote care planning, activity scheduling, notifications, data usage, observation recordings and remote user monitoring; enabling individuals and care givers to effectively deliver and manage personalized care plans for individuals with Autism.

For more information on this event, visit www.symposium.autism.net