Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Autism on the Seas



Thursday, May 26, 2011

Autism and Function: An Autistic Boy's Perspective

"I think that people who can talk really well and don't flap and don't have a lot of things like that but still have autism are being very 'low autism.'""'Low autism?'" I echoed (the irony). "What do you mean by that?"He explained that he meant just what he said, that they are showing a low level of autism. Continuing, he elaborated his own linear version of the spectrum, in which there is a medium autism and a high autism, and the features of each. High, to him, meant difficulty with talking and a lot of flapping and grimacing and noises. These are his terms, by the way, not mine.I was struck at the way he didn't place autism in the context of "typical" function. He wasn't talking about "high-functioning autism" and "low-functioning autism." He was talking about how much autism was there, front and center, present and accounted for, disregarding function completely. And then he surprised me even more.

 CLick here to read more. 


PECS Training in Havre and Great Falls 2011

August 18-19 in Havre.

September 19-20 in Great Falls.


Scientists Find Commonalities Among Autistic Brains

The brains of individuals across the autism spectrum are strikingly similar to each other, yet they look dramatically different from those of typically developing people, researchers said for the first time Wednesday. The findings published online in the journal Nature could help scientists better understand what causes autism and how the disorder may be treated in the future. For the study, researchers looked at brain tissue postmortem from 19 individuals with autism and 17 without. In the typically developing brains, the frontal lobe — which influences judgment, creativity, emotion and speech — differed significantly from the temporal lobe, an area responsible for processing sound, hearing and language. But in the brains of those with autism, the two regions were nearly identical.

 CLick here to read the full article.


Monday, May 23, 2011

Woof! John Elder Robison, Living Boldly as a Free-Range Aspergian

Steve Silberman: What inspired you to write Be Different? John Elder Robison: When I wrote Look Me In The Eye, I never intended it to be an all-inclusive guide to autism — it was just the story of my life. But so many people have come up to me asking me to explain how I became successful. They tell me, “You said that you were going to teach yourself to fit in and you did. I want to know how to do it myself.” Then other people say things like, “I don’t understand how you could claim to be a person with autism and yet be at these loud rock and roll shows with flashing lights. My son can’t stand anything like that.” They want to understand how people with autism can be so different from one another and yet the same, and if I have some secret that will help their kid. I don’t have all the answers. But the vast majority of people who read my stuff have a personal stake in autism — whether it’s them, their husband, their boyfriend, their child, or people they work with at school. That made me realize that I have a duty. When somebody asks me “Why?” I shouldn’t just shake my head and say “I don’t know.” That’s what evolved into Be Different. It’s the result of a journey of unraveling why I do the things I do and why I feel certain ways.

Click here to read the full interview.


Friday, May 20, 2011

Dick Swanson's secret powers

Dick Swanson has super powers. He's got perfect pitch, always has. He'll start singing Led Zeppelin's "Kashmir" and even nail that "da-da-da" guitar part at the beginning. He'll burst out with a deep baritone rendition of a '70s classic like Neil Diamond's "September Morn," astonishing bystanders. He knows shadows. He checks the Missoulian every day, in print, to get the times for sunrise and sunset, and from there he knows where and when a certain triangle will fall across a wall or a tree trunk will become a diagonal across a sidewalk. His memory is phenomenal. Tell him your birthday—let's say January 7, 1976—and in fewer than five seconds he can correctly tell you that you were born on a Wednesday. You say "May 6, 1957"—and he puts his fingers to his temples, and announces, "Monday." He can do this backward and forward, into the past and future. Imagine having that kind of memory, that calculating power in your head—and being kept under 24-hour supervision. Illustration by Kou Moua Dick, who is 57, can be intimidating with his 6'6" frame, especially for strangers when he raises his voice or stands too close. He was sitting on his porch recently, drinking a diet Mountain Dew, when I asked him what it meant to him to be autistic.

 Click here to read the full article.


Short video about people's attitudes towards workers with visibledisabilities.

Not specific to autism, but a good message
.Click here to watch the video.


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Why Some Transgendered People Have Higher Levels Of Autistic Traits

Female-to-male transgendered people — known as transmen — have more autistic traits than typical heterosexual men and women, and more than those who wish to switch gender in the opposite direction, according to new research

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Including Students with Autism in General Education: A Virtual TownHall Meeting

Click here to listen to the video.


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Why I Give My Autistic Son Pot, Part 4

This is the fourth DoubleX essay from Marie Myung-Ok Lee about treating her autistic son with marijuana. Click here to read her first, second, and thirdessays. For two years now, my husband and I have been using medical cannabis—legally—to help soothe our autistic son's gastrointestinal pain and decrease his concomitant violent behaviors. As I've been chronicling in a series of columns for DoubleX, pot has allowed us to bypass the powerful psychotropic drugs that are often used to dull such aggressive outbursts but have a host of serious potential side effects—including permanent tics, diabetes, and death—and did nothing to address J's pain.

 Click here to read the article.


Genetic Mutations Linked to Autistic Spectrum Disorders

" The researchers found 21 newly occurring mutations, 11 of which altered proteins. Proteins altered by genetic mutations may hold clues to the biological pathways involved in the development of the disease. The abnormal proteins or the pathways they affect could draw interest as targets in the design of preventive or treatment drugs. In four of the 20 families studied, O’Roak and colleagues identified disruptive new mutations that are potentially causative for autism. In examining the clinical data on the child in each of the four families, they learned that these children were among the most severely affected of the study group, both in intellectual disability and in their autistic features. The findings suggest that these new sporadic disruptive genetic mutations could play a significant factor in the underlying mechanisms and severity of autism in perhaps 20 percent of the cases in which no larger family history of autism exists"

 Click here to read more.


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Tots with Autism have bigger brains than peers.

The brains of children who have autism spectrum disorder are larger than those of other children, a difference that seems to arise before they are 2 years old, according to a new study.In 2005, researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found that 2-year-old children with autism had brains up to 10 percent larger than other children of the same age. This new study reveals that the children with enlarged brains at age 2 continued to have enlarged brains at ages 4 and 5, but by no more than the amount at age 2.

Read more:


Autism Tests for Preemies May Be Faulty, Study Suggests

Doctors are erroneously diagnosing autism spectrum disorder in many 18-month-old toddlers who were born extremely premature, a small new study suggests. Later testing showed that a high proportion of the toddlers diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder at that age were not autistic, the researchers found. Instead, the youngsters simply had a cognitive or language delay, both of which are common in children who were preterm babies, the researchers said. Part of the problem, the researchers suggested, is that children who were premature may be undergoing testing for autism too early in life.

 Click here to read the full article.