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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Including Students with Autism and Related Disabilities in the GeneralEducation Curriculum

Cheryl Jorgensen of the National Inclusive Education Initiative at the University of New Hampshire presented on core principles and practices of inclusion for students with autism. Original webinar date: March 24, 2011. View the webinar here.

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A Behavior Training Application

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Telescoping of caregiver report on the Autism Diagnostic Interview -Revised.

Background: Delays in development are a fundamental feature in diagnosing autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Age of language acquisition, usually obtained through retrospective caregiver report, is currently used to distinguish between categories within ASD. Research has shown that caregivers often report children as having acquired developmental milestones earlier or later than they were actually achieved. The current study examines the extent to which this phenomenon, referred to as 'telescoping,' impacts retrospective reports provided by caregivers of children with ASD. Methods: Participants were 127 caregivers of children referred for possible ASD or non-spectrum developmental delay. Caregivers were interviewed when children were 2, 3, 5, and 9 years of age. Caregiver-reported ages of first concern, language and non-diagnostic developmental milestones and interviewer-estimated age of onset were compared over time using linear models. Results: Significant telescoping of language milestones resulted in more children meeting language delay criteria as they grew older, in spite of original reports that their language was not delayed. There was little evidence of consistent telescoping of caregiver-reported ages of first concern, daytime bladder control, and independent walking. With time, the interviewers' judged ages of symptom onset increased, but remained prior to age three. Conclusions: Telescoping of caregiver-reported ages of language acquisition has implications for both clinical diagnosis and genetic studies using these milestones to increase homogeneity of samples. Results support proposals to remove specific age-based criteria in the diagnosis of ASD. Telescoping should be considered when working with any clinical population in which retrospectively recalled events are used in diagnosis.

 Click here for more information.

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Monday, March 28, 2011

Hi-Fi Pseudo-Sci, Occupational Therapy, and Making Some Lemonade

Hi-Fi Pseudo-Sci, Occupational Therapy, and Making Some Lemonade

Science-Based Parenting

Being involved parents of an autistic child, my wife and I go to many different groups and meet lots of other parents of children with PDD (Persistent Developmental Delay) or ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder). I am used to the barrage of pseudoscience and misinformation from well-meaning parents (e.g, anti-vaccination, chelation, gluten-free diets, etc), but I have always expected that professional Occupational Therapists (OTs) would steer us towards evidence-based treatments. They have certainly been critical of many of the common autism myths, like the vaccines and autism non-connection. Unfortunately, my expectations were overly ambitious, and I let my skeptical guard down.

Our older son is very sensitive to loud noises and gets upset quite easily. He seems to have a lot of sensory issues both tactile and auditory, and addressing sensory issues is a large part of what his OT therapies work to alleviate. Our OTs recommended that we try some Therapeutic ListeningΠtherapy, which plays somewhat dissonant synthesized music that sounds like back-masked music rapidly oscillating in volume. I was a bit skeptical, but we tried it anyway because:


  1. they lent us the special headphones and CDs,
  2.     
  3. I didn't think it would hurt,
  4.  
  5. I didn't have the time or expertise to look into the research, and
  6.     
  7. multiple OTs told us to try it.
    read more here:


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

ASPIRES



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CANBS SCI : Cannabis Science and The Unconventional Foundation forAutism (UF4A) Partner to Advance Successful Cannabis-based AutismTreatments

Cannabis Science, Inc. (OTC Bulletin Board: CBIS), a pioneering US biotech company developing pharmaceutical cannabis products, is pleased to announce the partnership with The Unconventional Foundation for Autism (UF4A) to build on the Foundation's success with its proprietary cannabinoid formulations for Autism treatment. The partnership will focus on advancing the medical cannabis treatments for Autism in conjunction with the successful cannabis treatments of Joey and 10 other families that are now being documented by The University of California Irvine Medical Center (UCI) for the Foundation.

 Click here to read the full article. 

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Perusing the IRS form 990 for some autism organizations

"How big are more outspoken autism organizations? How much do they support research? How much do they pay their executives? This became a big question about a year ago when it became public how much Autism Speaks pays their top people. Since the 2009 form 990 (IRS forms from non-profit organizations) are now public, I thought I’d take a quick look at some of the organizations out there. More importantly, we are in a tough financial time and charities get hit hard in recessions."

Click here to read the full article.

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Friday, March 18, 2011

Disability Advocates At Odds Over Wandering' Proposal

Disability advocates are divided over a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention proposal to add wandering to the menu of descriptors doctors can use to diagnose individuals with autism, intellectual disability and other conditions. Under the proposal, which is up for public comment through April 1, wandering would be added to the CDC’s diagnostic coding system as a secondary classification that could be applied to individuals with developmental disabilities. But whether or not a person’s tendency to wander away from home or school should be considered a medical issue is proving contentious. Advocates for the proposal say that creating a diagnostic code for wandering would increase awareness and force schools, clinicians and the community at large to address the issue. “If we have a diagnosis people are going to take this a lot more seriously,” says Wendy Fournier, president of the National Autism Association, which is behind the push to establish a code for wandering. “It is not a child misbehaving. This is a child with a cognitive difference who does not understand danger.” Fournier’s group is collaborating with Autism Speaks, the Autism Science Foundation, Talk About Curing Autism and a handful of other groups in support of the CDC proposal, which they argue will save lives. Specifically, Fournier says a medical label for wandering could lead to insurance coverage of tracking devices which can help law enforcement locate missing persons. Other advocates worry, however, that labeling wandering as a medical issue is misguided. Ari Ne’eman, president of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, argues that there is no research to suggest that wandering is medical in nature rather than a behavior that should be addressed through a social support system.

 Click here to read the full article.

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Thursday, March 17, 2011

In Va. assault case, anxious parents recognize Ҥark side of autism'

When a Stafford County jury this month found an autistic teenager guilty of assaulting a law enforcement officer and recommended that he spend 101 / 2 years in prison, a woman in the second row sobbed. It wasn’t the defendant’s mother. She wouldn’t cry until she reached her car. It was Teresa Champion. Champion had sat through the trial for days and couldn’t help drawing parallels between the defendant, Reginald “Neli” Latson, 19, and her son James, a 17-year-old with autism. James might have said this, she thought. James might have done that. She had fresh bruises on her body that showed that James, too, had lost his temper to the point of violence. “This is what we live with,” said Champion, of Springfield. “When they go over the edge, there is no pulling back. ”

 Click here for the full story.

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Friday, March 11, 2011

Vaccination Status and Health in Children and Adolescents: Findings ofthe German Health Interview and Examination Survey for Children andAdolescents (KiGGS)

Background: Whether unvaccinated children and adolescents differ from those vaccinated in terms of health is subject to some discussion. Method: We evaluated data on diseases that are preventable by vaccination, infectious and atopic diseases, and vaccinations received that had been collected between 2003 and 2006 in a representative sample of 17 641 subjects aged 0 to 17 years in the framework of the German Health Interview and Examination Survey for Children and Adolescents (Kinder- und Jugendgesundheitssurvey, KiGGS). Results: Evaluable data on vaccinations were available for 13 453 subjects aged 1–17 years from non-immigrant families. 0.7% of them (95% confidence interval: 0.5%–0.9%) were not vaccinated. The lifetime prevalence of diseases preventable by vaccination was markedly higher in unvaccinated than in vaccinated subjects. Unvaccinated children aged 1–5 years had a median number of 3.3 (2.1–4.6) infectious diseases in the past year, compared to 4.2 (4.1–4.4) in vaccinated children. Among 11- to 17-year-olds, the corresponding figures were 1.9 (1.0–2.8) (unvaccinated) versus 2.2 (2.1–2.3) (vaccinated). The lifetime prevalence of at least one atopic disease among 1- to 5-year-olds was 12.6% (5.0%–28.3%) in unvaccinated children and 15.0% (13.6%–16.4%) in vaccinated children. In older children, atopy was more common, but its prevalence was not found to depend on vaccination status: among 6- to 10-year-olds, the prevalence figures were 30.1% (12.9%–55.8%) for unvaccinated children versus 24.4% (22.8%–26.0%) for vaccinated children, and the corresponding figures for 11- to 17-year-olds were 20.3% (10.1%–36.6%) versus 29.9% (28.4%–31.5%). Conclusion: The prevalence of allergic diseases and non-specific infections in children and adolescents was not found to depend on vaccination status.

 Click here for full article.

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Mitochondrial Disease and Autism: Linked?

Hannah Poling's family entered the national spotlight when they revealed that Hannah's autism-like symptoms may have been linked to a reaction to several childhood vaccines at once in combination with her mitochondrial dysfunction. Her case was not the first revelation of a possible mitochondrial disorder (MD)-autism spectrum disorder (ASD) link, but because of her ultimately successful vaccine injury suit, she became the avatar of the vaccines-cause-harm movement -- which almost eclipsed the real scientific and therapeutic feature of her case: the mitochondria.

 Click here to read the full article.

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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Online Training on The Greenspan Floortime Approach




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Guidelines for Increasing Participation of Children and Youth with anASD in Extracurricular and Community Programs

Plan for Success Challenges and Solutions Tools Match the Program to the Kid Session Feedback Form My Plan - Challenges and Accommodations Presentation to Children - Ideas and Suggestions Model Visual Schedule Model Visual Cues for Transition Make a Visual Schedule Write a Social Story References Parent Resources Printable Brochure/Handout

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Some Great Resources Here from Canada.

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Monday, March 7, 2011

First communion for a child with autism

Like many third-grade students, Janet was preparing for her first communion. She had already memorized the "Our Father" and could even do the "Sign of the Cross." The little girl loved to be with all the students in the CCD class as they prepared for the big day, first communion. Initially, Janet’s mother was worried whether her child could participate in the church’s communion class. In time and with understanding from her church community, the family discovered that indeed Janet could fully participate in her church.

 Click here for full article.

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More Autism Coverage .

As diagnoses of autism rise, a growing number of families are grappling with the worry and expense of finding treatment and special education for children with the complex developmental disorder. And many are pressing employers and legislators for help. An estimated one in 110 children is diagnosed with autism in the U.S., and its prevalence is increasing for reasons that aren't well understood, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Average medical expenditures for those with autism-spectrum disorders exceed those without by $4,110 to $6,200 per year, the CDC states. In response, at least 23 states, including Indiana, South Carolina, Arizona and Massachusetts, have passed laws in the last few years requiring state-regulated group health plans to include autism coverage, according to the National Council of State Legislatures, though many states have caps on the mandates. Most other states and Washington, D.C., have similar bills pending, according to Autism Speaks, an advocacy group. Only Oklahoma, Utah and Wyoming don't have bills requiring autism coverage on their agendas. In addition, federal law now prohibits insurance companies from refusing to issue or renew health-insurance coverage for children because of pre-existing conditions, including autism

 Click here to read the full article.

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A Passion Shared By Father And Son

Michael has Asperger's syndrome, which is at the higher-functioning end of the autism spectrum. Now 8, he attends a mainstream class and has a very high math competency. His problems are in social interaction. He has trouble recognizing body cues, so having a reciprocal conversation with him can be difficult. We had to teach him how to have empathy for others. It's because of the amazing efforts of my wife and Michael's physicians and therapists that he has progressed as much as he has. Michael now has a best friend. It's our hope that one day he'll be independent, have a job and drive a car. Michael loves electronics, especially his Nintendo Wii. To my surprise, he fell in love with Wii golf. The way the game is scored, the numbers of the clubs and how loft affects distance--it all feeds his passion for math. Because he liked the video game so much, we bought him plastic clubs. The day I gave them to him, he broke them from swinging too hard. That afternoon I took him to the range so he could try real clubs. He did so well I asked him if he wanted to take golf lessons, and enthusiastically he said, "Yes!"

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Thursday, March 3, 2011

Western Montana Autism Conference

The Western Montana Autism Conference April 16 -17, 2011

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Scientists Link 'Sets' of Genetic Abnormalities to Autism Risk

While the geneticunderpinnings of autism are enormously complex, new DNA research is honing in on sets of abnormal genes that may play a role in the disorder. In all, about 800 CNVs were identified as exclusive to autistic children. In addition, the CNVs in question tended to be found in genes central to the impaired biological functions that show up in autistic behavior, such as those involving synapse function, nerve cell communication, and brain development, the CHOP researchers said. "This suggested to us that there may be many different -- possibly even hundreds -- of genetic paths to autism, with only a few gene alterations relevant to each individual patient," White said. "But if those hundreds of genes have similar roles in the nervous system, the end result may lead to the same diagnosis: an autism spectrum disorder."

 Click here to read the full story.

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