Carpe diem. Let those be your watchwords today and as you charge into the new year. Don’t wait for New Year’s day to get good things started. Begin now. If you want to nail down an internship for the summer, you’re already behind the proverbial eight ball. Deadlines for some summer jobs were in early and mid fall. If you’re graduating this spring, it’s hump time for deciding your career path, landing a full-time job, or settling on a grad school. Winter break is a great time to huddle with friends and family. But it’s also a good time to get a headstart on the coming semester and to set out plans for a prosperous and productive new year.
New federal report confirms a study earlier this year that found autism is more prevalent than had been thought. About 1 percent of children had the diagnosis in a 2006 study of 307,790 eight-year-olds in 10 communities across the country by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Catherine Rice, a behavioral health scientist at the CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, says autism is far more common in non-Hispanic whites and that the cause is still unknown.
Even sellers of autism-related products are jumping on the holiday bandwagon. Cafepress.com, Zazzle.com and Autismshop.com are just a few of the online retailers hawking goods carrying the universal symbol for autism — the puzzle piece. But no matter what gifts are on your list, don’t let the good mood and generosity of the season tempt you to blow your budget. In this time of recession, frugal, practical gifts are the safer course. Especially for college students who are piling on student loans and other educational expenses. Know how much you want to spend and stick to it. Check websites like shopping.com, shopzilla.com and other price-comparison sites to make sure you get the best price. And steer of using credit cards, wherever possible. You’re much more likely to exceed your budget if you’re not paying cash. And don’t forget to use coupons and seek out discounts. Most retailers are struggling this holiday season as consumers tighten their belts. Good deals and sales abound.
Just in time for Hanukkah, Christmas and Kwanzaa, there’s potentially good news for gamers. Lovers of computer and video games can breathe a bit easier as the medical establishment announces new research aimed at learning whether those games can have positive health benefits. Even for those with Asperger Syndrome and autism. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is behind the national Health Games Research program, which has award nearly $2 million in grants to study games and potential health benefits for people of all ages. Researchers at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia will test whether games can help people on the spectrum in picking up on subtle differences in body language and facial expression. George Washington University will study games’ role in physical activity.