The Latest AS News: The Vines, The Spelling Bee, and Autistic BBall

The Vines frontman Craig Nicholls kicked his cannabis habit, because he fears the drug exacerbates his Asperger’s Syndrome.

A seventh-grader with Asperger’s Syndrome at Cooperstown Central School confidently spelled his way to first place at the fourth annual Daily Star regional spelling bee Saturday.

We also have more information about the Autistic hoops star going Hollywood!

The Vines frontman Craig Nicholls

The Vines frontman Craig Nicholls kicked his cannabis habit, because he fears the drug exacerbates his Asperger’s Syndrome.

Nichols initially used the recreational narcotic to help relax, but he insists the effects soon turned negative.

And he has been off the drug for nine months.

He says, “It just fit with my personality. I never drank alcohol. (Smoking) was just the thing I did. It made me calm. But it started not making me calm at all. It made me edgy, so it wasn’t good.”

Autistic Basketball player gets Hollywood interest

McElwain, who is autistic, was back in his role as an all-around motivator on the eve of a sectional semifinal game Tuesday night — handing out water bottles, dispensing tips, helping run drills. Two weeks earlier, he suited up for a game and delivered a jaw-dropping performance.

His play drew national attention, and a flood of calls from Hollywood. His parents have received inquiries from about 25 production companies ranging from The Walt Disney Co. and Warner Bros. to independent documentary filmmakers.

Aspie wins Spelling Bee

A seventh-grader at Cooperstown Central School confidently spelled his way to first place at the fourth annual Daily Star regional spelling bee Saturday.

Michael Leonardo correctly spelled “condiment” to win the bee at the State University College at Oneonta’s Goodrich Theatre. As the winner of the spelling bee, Michael will compete at the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington in May.

“This is one of the proudest moments of my life,” 12-year-old Michael said after the bee finished. “I can’t believe I won. I did not expect to win.”

“I didn’t even expect myself to place,” Michael said.

Kate Leonardo, Michael’s mother, said much credit for Michael’s success needed to go to his teachers at Cooperstown.

Michael has Asperger’s syndrome, Leonardo said, which is on the autism spectrum. According to the National Institutes of Health, children with Asperger’s may have problems with social skills, nonverbal communication and relationships with other children.

Many people with Asperger’s have above-average intelligence, according to the NIH’s website.

Leonardo said she had home-schooled Michael before she and her husband, Jim, moved their family to the area.

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