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Friday, December 21, 2012

My Name is David

A short video of a young man explaining autism.

See here:

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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Top 10 Reasons Children With Autism Deserve ABA

This essay attempts to make the case for intervention based in ABA largely by moving beyond simply stating that the science supports this intervention. Adopting the format made famous by David Letterman of the “Top Ten List,” and illustrating most points with stories of an engaging child with autism (my son, Ben) this essay tries to provide an easily accessible case for the multiple benefits of ABA intervention for children with autism.1 Go to: Reason 10 Children with autism deserve ABA because there is more scientific evidence demonstrating ABA “works” than there is for any other intervention or treatment Reason 7 Children with autism deserve ABA because it will help teach them how to sleep through the night and use the bathroom Reason 2 Children with autism deserve ABA because some day their parents are going to die

 Read more here. 

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Saturday, December 15, 2012

Evidence and Artifacts: Facing Autism

Evidence and Artifacts: Facing Autism is a long-term photographic project documenting the growing number of individuals, families and invested teachers, therapists, advocates, doctors and researchers on the front lines fighting the debilitating characteristics of autism spectrum disorders. Facing Autism is both a call to action, and a way to honor those who are rising to the challenge autism presents everyday.
 Click here:

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Comparison of Healthcare Experiences in Autistic and Non-AutisticAdults: A Cross-Sectional Online Survey Facilitated by anAcademic-Community Partnership

Read the article here. 

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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Diuretic drug improves symptoms of autism ?

A drug normally used to increase the rate at which people urinate improves some of the symptoms of autism in children, according to a small clinical trial published today in Translational Psychiatry1. ---- In children taking bumetanide who were less severely affected by autism, the researchers saw small but significant improvements in behaviour. The drug also seemed to be safe and well tolerated with few side effects, they say. ---- She adds, however, that the effects of the drug were small, and that one-third of the placebo group also showed some amelioration of symptoms. “The effects were only noticeable on some gross behavioural measures, [but the findings are] consistent with my view that there is a lot of spontaneous fluctuation in symptoms and a general tendency to improve over time,” she adds. -----

 Click here to read the full article. 

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Access4Kids is a "wireless input device that translates physicalmovements into fine-motor gestures to control a tablet.

How do you enable someone to masterfully control a touch-centric device, when the mere act of touching is a challenge? Ayanna Howard, professor of electrical and computer engineering at Georgia Tech, and graduate student Hae Won Park have created Access4Kids, which is described as a "wireless input device that uses a sensor system to translate physical movements into fine-motor gestures to control a tablet."

 Click here for more.

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Monday, December 10, 2012

Dream Map to a Mind Seized

I used to fantasize about becoming a wildly successful author or influential teacher; now I fantasize about having a map of my son's body and brain, showing me the areas of hurt and how I can help. Gone are the phantom shelves of books I would have liked to write, the modestly tucked-away folder of imaginary teaching awards. When I first knew that my son, now 3, was on the autism spectrum, I had hoped for the possibility of a high-functioning form, but that was before I learned he also has a rare form of epilepsy and a host of immunological problems. Now I just want him to be functioning—that is, alive and able to eat and walk and perhaps even improve over time. Parents of children on the autism spectrum often talk about a number of comorbid conditions that can accompany the disorder—immunological dysfunctions, frequent ear infections, intractable strep, gastrointestinal disorders, rampant yeast, inexplicable regressions, allergies. I did not guess that my son would have all of those as well as epilepsy (there is an 11- to 39-percent overlap between the two conditions), or that our concerns over his seizure disorder would begin to trump our fears about everything else. I also did not realize that he was to have more than one regression, which would rob him of all of his hard-won language and communication skills, forcing him to retreat into a wordless and inaccessible world where I could not follow.

 Click here to read more. 

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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Autism risk increases with air pollution exposure, study finds

Exposure to air pollution during pregnancy may increase the likelihood a child will develop autism, according to a new study. "Although additional research to replicate these findings is needed, the public health implications of these findings are large because air pollution exposure is common and may have lasting neurological effects,"

 Click here to read more. 

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Monday, November 19, 2012

Complementary and alternative medicine use in a large pediatric autismsample

The journal Pediatrics has a large number of autism related articles in a recent supplement. One of these covers a topic discussed a great deal by parent groups online: alternative medical approaches to the treatment of autism. In Complementary and alternative medicine use in a large pediatric autism sample, James Perrin (this one of his five articles in the Supplement; Dr. Perrin is the president elect of the American Academy of Pediatrics) and his coauthors use the Autism Treatment Network (ATN) to review parent report of use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in regards to autism. The authors find that while CAM is used by a significant minority of parents, it is a minority: 28% (896 out of 3173). Special diets are the most common (548 respondents, 17%). Various methodologies are listed below: Characteristic NAny CAM 896Special diets 548Gluten-free diet 249Casein-free diet 289No processed sugars 69No sugars or salicylates 28Feingold diet 14Other specified special diet 293Other CAM 643Other vitamin supplements 413Probiotics 274Essential fatty acids 171Digestive enzymes 116Higher dosing vitamin B6 and magnesium 99Chiropractic 77Amino acids 59Antifungals 58Glutathione 33Chelation 19Hyperbaric oxygen 12Acupuncture 10Sulfation 7Other specified CAM 173

 Read more here.

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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Positively Autism

Autism Training | Teaching Materials | Tutorials

See more here:

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Monday, November 12, 2012

Flu During Pregnancy Linked to Autism, Says Survey

Mothers who reported having the flu during pregnancy were at least twice as likely to have a child with autism as those who did not report having the flu, according to new survey results from a Danish study. While the study does not suggest that high fever -- or flu -- causes autism, many experts said the correlation reinforces recommendations that all pregnant women should get the flu shot.

 Click here to read more. 

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Melatonin improves sleep in children with neurodevelopmental disorders

Melatonin increases the length of time spent asleep and reduces the time it takes to get to sleep for children with neurodevelopmental disorders, compared with placebo, show study results published in the British Medical Journal. The phase III trial took place over 12 weeks among children aged 3 to 15 years with conditions including autism, epilepsy, and developmental delay, note the researchers. Treatment doses were escalated to a total of 12.0 mg from the initial 0.5 mg if participants continued to fit the criteria for sleep disorder, defined as failing to fall asleep within an hour of bedtime in three nights out of five, or achieving less than 6 hours per night of continuous sleep over the previous 5 months.

 Click here to read more. 

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Friday, November 2, 2012

Autism Tough to Spot Before 6 Months of Age, Study Suggests

The development of 6-month-old babies who are diagnosed with autism in toddlerhood is very similar to that of children without autism, a new study suggests. "We always thought that if a child had autism, we would be able to tell during infancy . . . but we were wrong," said study author Rebecca Landa, director of the Center for Autism and Related Disorders at Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore. "At 6 months of age, babies who end up with autism by age 3 are scoring similarly on tests to children who didn't have autism." The study also sheds doubt on the notion that cases of autism that are spotted early are necessarily more severe.

 Read more here. 

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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Hyperbaric oxygen in the treatment of childhood autism: a randomisedcontrolled trial

Hyperbaric Oxygen therapy (HBOT) has risen in recent years as an “alternative” therapy for many conditions, autism included. The logic behind HBOT is rather fuzzy. For example, there was some discussion of using HBOT to reduce oxidative stress a few years back. How increasing oxygen in the body would decrease oxidative stress was not clear. Some other discussions focused on oxygen perfusion. Basically, some studies have shown that some areas of the brain may be getting less oxygen in autistics than in non-autistics. The idea was that increasing the oxygen to those areas might result in some improvement in some measure or another.

 Click here to read more. 

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Sunday, October 21, 2012

OAR Releases Free Book: Navigating the Special Education System

Every parent knows that getting any child through school is a challenge. But for parents of children on the autism spectrum, the vast majority of whom require special services in order to successfully access the curriculum, this task can be burdensome or downright overwhelming even before a child reaches school age. Now, with the school year well underway, OAR is excited to announce the release of Navigating the Special Education System, the seventh guidebook in its Life Journey through Autism series. Packed with information from cover to cover, this comprehensive resource is designed to help parents meet the unique needs of their child with autism. Here’s a glimpse of what you will learn about: The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which governs how special education is administered in schools Each critical component of the Individualized Education Plan (IEP), the document that outlines a student’s target objectives and required services The timeline of services from early intervention through transition Becoming an effective advocate for your child Preparing for a move to a new school, district, or state Common special education terminology, including related services (e.g. speech language pathology) and accommodations (e.g. extended time) Crafting effective IEP goals Recommended reading and state-specific resources Navigating the Special Education System is the second of three resources developed as part of OAR’s “Autism in the Schoolhouse” initiative. The first, Kit for Kids, is a colorful, interactive program that teaches typically developing elementary and middle school children about their peers with autism. The final piece, Understanding Autism: A Guide for Secondary Teachers, is a one-hour DVD designed to help teachers support students with autism in general education settings. The project is currently in production and set for completion in December.

 Click here to access:

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Monday, October 15, 2012

Stem Cell Therapy To Treat Autism?

In a newly planned trial, recently approved by the FDA, researchers will examine whether stem cells obtained through umbilical cord blood at birth may be an effective treatment for children with autism.

 Read more here. 

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5-Step Exercise Proven to Significantly Benefit Children with Autism

According to recently published research in The American Journal of Occupational Therapy by NYU Steinhardt scientists, a 5-step yoga exercise program significantly benefits autistic children in the classroom. This 5-step exercise program is part of a “Get Ready To Learn” (GRTL) intervention program designed by occupational therapist and yoga instructor Anne Buckley-Reen. The yoga-based GRTL program was created in 2008 and is available nationwide with a focus on students ages 5 through 21 who have significant disabilities in a learning environment. The 5-step exercise can be performed in the classroom or at home and consists of: Step one: Mats out Step two: Breathe deep Step three: Assume poses Step four: Tense and relax muscles Step five: Sing.

 Read more here. 

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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

New Study Confirms Autistic Wandering is Widespread

“Occurrence and Family Impact of Elopement in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders,” was published today in the November 2012 issue of Pediatrics (published online Oct. 8). The study was conducted by the Interactive Autism Network at Kennedy Krieger Institute and indicates that half of children with autism wander away from safe environments. The study was funded by a coalition of autism advocacy organizations led by the Autism Science Foundation. Researchers surveyed 1,367 families with children between the ages of 4 and 17 who had been diagnosed with ASD. Nearly half – 598, or 49 percent – of the families reported that their child had attempted to elope at least once after age 4. Of those, 316 children went missing long enough to cause concern. Greater autism severity was associated with increased elopement risk. Children eloped most commonly from their home, a store, classroom or school. Nearly half of parents said their child’s elopement was focused on an intent to go somewhere or do something, versus being confused or lost. Close calls with calamities like traffic injury or drowning are frequent, with police called in more than a third of cases. Of parents whose children had eloped, 43 percent said the issue had prevented family members from getting a good night’s sleep, and 62 percent said their concerns had prevented family from attending or enjoying activities outside the home. For 56 percent of parents, elopement was one of the most stressful behaviors they had to cope with as caregivers of a child with ASD, and half said they received no guidance from anyone on preventing or addressing this behavior.

 Source.

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Monday, October 8, 2012

Capturing the Positive - Havre, October 13 2012

In this session, we will learn the connection between behavior and communication. The participants will understand the methods of communication and the function of behaviors. Participants will also be given an overview of strategies for positive behavioral supports. In break-out sessions participants will integrate strategies for home, school, and community that will allow students with ASD to thrive.

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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Application of DSM-5 Criteria for Autism Spectrum Disorder to ThreeSamples of Children With DSM-IV Diagnoses of Pervasive DevelopmentalDisorders

With much attention focused on the change from DSM-IV to DSM-5 criteria for diagnosing autism, it is good to see more data coming out. As noted only a yesterday (Brief Report: Comparability of DSM-IV and DSM-5 ASD Research Samples) a large number of papers on the effect of the change have been published in 2012. Add another to the list today: Application of DSM-5 Criteria for Autism Spectrum Disorder to Three Samples of Children With DSM-IV Diagnoses of Pervasive Developmental Disorders. This paper includes Catherine Lord as one of the authors and includes a large number of individuals (both autistic and non-autistic), with ” 4,453 children with DSM-IV clinical PDD diagnoses and 690 with non-PDD diagnoses (e.g., language disorder)”. In addition, the full paper is available online. This may be the largest study so far, especially in that it uses recent DSM-5 criteria (earlier studies have used earlier versions). Here is the conclusion paragraph: To our knowledge, this study is the most comprehensive assessment to date of the newly proposed DSM-5 ASD criteria. Based on symptom extraction from previously collected data, our findings indicate that the majority of children with DSM-IV PDD diagnoses would continue to be eligible for an ASD diagnosis under DSM-5. Additionally, these results further suggest that the revisions to the criteria, when applied to records of children with non-PDD diagnoses, yield fewer misclassifications. Our findings also contribute to literature that supports the use of both parent report and clinical observation for optimal classification accuracy.

 Read more here. 

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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Miss Montana speaks at autism convention in Helena.

For much of her first 11 years, Alexis Wineman was bullied and teased, staying quiet to hide her speech problems, descending into self-loathing, looking at herself as a punching bag, scratching her arms and even banging her head against walls. After one bout of frustration in school, a teacher told her she wasn’t getting paid enough to deal with her kind of behavior. “I felt so alone growing up, and I still do at times,” Wineman, now Miss Montana 2012, told a group of more than 300 people Friday at a conference on autism and Asperger’s syndrome, put on by the Helena-based ChildWise Institute. “Something was wrong with me and no one could tell be what it was.”

 Read more. 

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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Little evidence supports autism treatment options in adolescents

Vanderbilt University researchers studying interventions for adolescents and young adults with autism are reporting today that there is insufficient evidence to support findings, good or bad, for the therapies currently used. “Overall, there is very little evidence in all areas of care for adolescents and young adults with autism, and it is urgent that more rigorous studies be developed and conducted,” saidMelissa McPheeters, Ph.D., M.P.H., director of Vanderbilt’s Evidence-Based Practice Center. Key findings: The researchers systematically screened more than 4,500 studies and reviewed the 32 studies published from January 1980 to December 2011 on therapies for people ages 13 to 30 with autism spectrum disorders. They focused on the outcomes, including harms and adverse effects, of interventions, including medical, behavioral, educational and vocational. Some evidence revealed that treatments could improve social skills and educational outcomes such as vocabulary or reading, but the studies were generally small and had limited follow-up. Limited evidence supports the use of medical interventions in adolescents and young adults with autism. The most consistent findings were identified for the effects of antipsychotic medications on reducing problem behaviors that tend to occur with autism, such as irritability and aggression. Harms associated with medications included sedation and weight gain. Only five articles tested vocational interventions, all of which suggested that certain vocational interventions may be effective for certain individuals, but each study had significant flaws that limited the researchers’ confidence in their conclusions.

 Click here to read the full article. 

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Friday, September 7, 2012

How to open a combination lock/locker

It is the beginning of the school year and each new academic year presents new challenges. Opening a combination lock or a locker can be a very challenging experience. To help your son, daughter or student with this task, here are some resources on how to use a combination lock: • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kmx4WCAj77A • http://www.ehow.com/how_2052624_work-combination-lock.html • http://www.ehow.com/how_2150391_open-combination-lock.html • http://www.wikihow.com/Remember-Your-New-Locker-Combination • Locker cards - A sheet of printable cards to assist with practice of three steps to open a combination lock/locker. • Locker narrative - A one page narrative explaining lockers and how they work.

How to open your lock: 

Locker narrative: 

Locker cards

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Monday, September 3, 2012

Adult Services

At Autism Speaks, our goal is to provide individuals with autism and their families with all the tools they need throughout the lifespan. Adults living with autism often have difficulty finding information about programs and supports that would allow them to live as independently as possible. Therefore, our Housing and Adult Services initiative will focus on resources that impact all facets of adult life including employment, housing, and post-secondary education. The Adult Services section of our website is divided into 5 sections: Housing and Residential SupportsAutism in the WorkplaceAutism Speaks Adult Services GrantsAdvancing Futures for Adults with AutismAdults with Autism in the News

Residental services :

Autism and employment

Adult services Grant Spotlight:

Adults with Autism in the news:

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Autism Speaks - Transition Tool Kit

The Autism Speaks Transition Tool Kit was created to serve as a guide to assist families on the journey from adolescence to adulthood. Anyone can download the Transition Tool Kit for free! You can also view a PDF of each section by clicking on the links below. Click here to download the entire kit. Transition Tool Kit Sections Introduction Acknowledgments Self-Advocacy Why A Transition Plan? Community Living Employment and Other Options Post-Secondary Educational Opportunities Housing Legal Matters Health Internet, Technology and Safety Getting Organized Conclusion Resources Appendix

see transition tool kit here:

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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Finding a Friend in School

When a student is in school, academics are the main focus. However, one aspect of learning that is not given enough emphasis is community building and developing relationships/friendships; the social aspect of education. Social goals and building friendships are mentioned in school conferences but are seldom fully explored and many times a student’s support team thinks academic success is the key to future accomplishments in secondary education and employment as well as helping to provide for a rich social life. This idea needs rethinking.

 Click here to read more.

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School Community Tool Kit

The purpose of this kit is to provide helpful information about students with autism and tools and strategies to achieve positive interactions and increase learning for all members of the school community. With help from respected experts in the field of autism and special education, and experienced parents, caregivers and teachers, we’ve included an introduction to autism and specific strategies for supporting students.

 The School Community Tool Kit is broken down into sections including, a section on how to use the tool kit, a note to families and caregivers, an "About Me" profile form, and more.

See More:

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How Does an Empty Nest Affect Parents of Autistic Young Adults?

The transition from child to adult is a profound one, for both child and parent. As adolescents mature and develop their own identity, they yearn for independence and often find it through higher education or a career. Inevitably, the child becomes an adult and moves out of the family home. This can be an emotionally challenging time for mothers and fathers. But for parents of autistic children, the change can be quite dramatic. Parents of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) share a unique bond with their children. The behavioral, physical, and communication impairments that individuals with ASD experience can often result in a residential custodial relationship with a parent that lasts well into adulthood. The responsibilities that these parents face, sometimes with no end in sight, can add immense of amounts of stress to the intimate adult relationships of the parents. Until recently, few studies have looked at how this shifts when ASD children grow up and leave home. To address this question, Sigan L. Hartley of the Waisman Center and Department of Human Development and Family Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison recently conducted a study that examined the level of marital harmony in 199 mothers of children with ASD. Hartley followed the mothers for 7 years, during which the children transitioned from living at home to living independently away from their parents. The mothers were assessed for levels of marital happiness based on the symptom severity of the child, the household income, education level of the mother, and other children with disabilities. Hartley found that the more significant the behavioral impairment of their child, the less satisfied the mothers were with their marriages. The most satisfied mothers were those with high household incomes, close mother-child bonds, and the least amount of ASD-related behavior issues. Surprisingly, the transition from caregiver to empty nester had no effect on marital satisfaction for the women in this study. Hartley said, “Interventions aimed at managing the behavior problems of adolescents and adults with ASDs may help strengthen parents’ marital relationship.” Reference:Hartley, S. L., Barker, E. T., Baker, J. K., Seltzer, M. M., Greenberg, J. S. (2012). Marital satisfaction and life circumstances of grown children with autism across 7 years. Journal of Family Psychology. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1037/a0029354
 Source:

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 source:

Friday, August 10, 2012

Kids with autism more isolated

Adolescents with autism are far less likely than their peers with other disabilities to hang out with friends after school or attend group activities. A Washington University researcher recently found that half of teenage students with autism spectrum disorders were significantly more likely than teens with learning disabilities, mental retardation and speech and language impairments to not be invited out to social activities. Analyzing data-including surveys of parents and school officials-on 11,000 special education students, Paul Shattuck, an autism expert and assistant professor at Washington University in St. Louis, found that kids with autism are more isolated than their peers and tend to interact in one-on-one situations. "Not surprisingly, conversational impairment and low social communication skills were associated with a lower likelihood of social participation," Shattuck says in the study.It suggests group activities and programs, such as clubs and sports, as one area of intervention. But perhaps less obvious is the potential of social networking in promoting such relationships.Shattuck recommends that future research study ways to take advantage of electronic media to help those with autism spectrum disorders improve their interactions and connections with others in social situations.

 Source 

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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Comparing Symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorders in a DevelopmentallyDisabled Adult Population Using the Current DSM-IV-TR DiagnosticCriteria and the Proposed DSM-5 Diagnostic Criteria

The proposed change in diagnostic criteria for autism (from DSM IV to DSM 5) has been a topic of much discussion. To put it mildly. Little, if any, data has been available on how this change may affect the adult population. A recent study seeks to address that void: Comparing Symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorders in a Developmentally Disabled Adult Population Using the Current DSM-IV-TR Diagnostic Criteria and the Proposed DSM-5 Diagnostic Criteria Reseaerchers studied autistic adults with intellectual disability. They found that 36% of their study population would lose their diagnosis under DSM 5.

 Click here to read more. 

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Friday, August 3, 2012

Miss Montana Overcame Many Challenges On Her Way To The Crown

When Alexis Wineman, Miss Montana 2012, discusses her desire to help people with autism, she’s not speaking in flowery beauty pageant platitudes about trying to make the world a better place. She’s speaking from experience. Wineman, of Cut Bank, was diagnosed with Pervasive Development Disorder, including borderline Aspergers Syndrome, when she was 11 years old. The diagnosis followed a two-year process that included counseling, an exhaustive battery of tests and at least one misdiagnosis. Wineman was often teased and bullied at school and said she usually avoided interaction with others when she was younger. “I felt so alone growing up, and I still do at times,” she said Thursday during a conference on autism at the Montana State University Billings downtown campus. “Nobody understood what I was going through. I separated myself from my classmates and spent most of my time alone. I stayed quiet to hide my speech problems. Due to these overwhelming and daily struggles, I looked at myself as a punching bag for others, and a burden to my family.” Wineman said the diagnosis helped her understand why she was different from other kids. And with support from her mother, teachers, counselors and her three siblings, she matured into the poised, confident 18-year-old, whose stand-up comedy routine left the audience rolling in the aisles at the Miss Montana pageant.

Read more: 

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Thursday, August 2, 2012

Pets May Help Kids With Autism Develop Social Skills

Introducing a pet into the home of a child with autism may help that child develop improved social behaviors, new research finds. The study, from French researchers, is the first strong scientific evidence that animals may help foster social skills in individuals with autism, but it also reinforces what clinicians have been hearing anecdotally for years.

 Click here to read more. 

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Monday, July 23, 2012

Autism and Other Neurodevelopmental Disorders: Practical Strategies toImprove Processing - Missoula / Butte / Billings - Sept. 26 / 27 / 28,2012

Children with autism and related neurodevelopmental disorders present numerous challenges for therapists and educators. They have significant processing deficits that impact their functioning across domains, and can stretch the knowledge and resources of even experienced practitioners. Often viewed through the lens of "behavior," the symptoms these children display are more accurately described as manifestations of inefficient and ineffective processing. Understanding how information processing deficits impact these children paves the way for applying a new generation of strategies designed to address core processing problems and promote meaningful skill development. Objectives include: Describe the connection between information processing deficits and symptoms in autism/related disorders. Differentiate between methods that promote rote behavior and those that develop meaningful thinking. Explain how to adjust the pacing of activities to improve processing, communication and behavior. Discuss communication modifications that support processing speed and effectiveness. Describe how processing problems impact behavior and hot to respond in ways that diffuse behavior more quickly. Explain the importance of nonverbal communication development for overall communication and thinking abilities.

 Click here for more information. 

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Friday, July 20, 2012

Exploring the Proposed DSM-5 Criteria in a Clinical Sample

The potential effect of the change from DSM IV to DSM 5 has generated quite a lot of interest within the autism community. Yes, I realize that is an understatement. In her presentation to the IACC, Sue Swedo (chair of the neurodevelopmental disorders work group for the DSM 5) stated that comments to the DSM 5 committee are running 10x higher for autism than any other diagnosis. This week another study on the potential changes caused by the change to DSM 5 was published: Exploring the Proposed DSM-5 Criteria in a Clinical Sample. This from York University in Toronto, Canada. This study points, as others have, to the DSM 5 not diagnosing children who would meet the autism criteria under DSM IV. 19% of children studied with autistic disorder under DSM IV would not be picked up by DSM 5, according to this study. A much larger fraction–83%–of those with DSM IV PDD-NOS diagnoses would not receive ASD diagnoses under DSM 5 (again, according to this study).

 Source

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Monday, July 16, 2012

Autism/Aspergers Disorde Fall Conference September 2012

When: September 28 & 29, 2012

The ChildWise Institute is collaborating with the State of Montana's Office of Public Instruction to present this Fall Conference. Day 1 (Sept. 28th) we are very excited and thrilled to have two wonderful presenters:

 Patricia Wright, Ph.D.,MPH: National Director of Autism Services for Easter Seals Ellen Notbohm, BS: Nationally-recognized, bestselling author of "Ten Things Every Child With Autism Wishes You Knew" and several other books that have been written in eleven different languages and sold all over the world.

 Day 2 (Sept. 29th) will consist of six breakout sessions on topics including: The School's Responsibility Communication Strategies Transition into Adulthood (with several local/state agencies offering insight into their respective services) Nutrition & Brain Chemistry, presented by Nutritionist Julia Turner,MMSc, RD,LN. Insurance Providers: Q & A Ellen Notbohm presenting round table discussions on her current books and newly released book due September 2012 -- right at the time of our conference

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An 8 step guide to insurance coverage for autism

Health insurance can be an invaluable resource for families with children with autism to help make the often high-cost and high-frequency treatments for their child more affordable. However, making sure that services and providers are covered can be confusing and time-consuming. Below are some tips for how to make the process more manageable and to maximize coverage.

 Click here to read more. 

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Person First: An Evolution in Thinking

As John Robison points out in his book Be Different, when we talk about people having something, it’s something bad. He has cancer. He has a cold. He has the flu. When was the last time you heard someone say, “He has intelligence?” or “Wow, she really has giftedness and talentedness?”So when we say, “has autism” aren’t we conveying a message to our kid that what they “have” ain’t good? Click here to read more.

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Catch Me If You Can

When Robert Wood Jr. disappeared in a densely forested Virginia park, searchers faced the challenge of a lifetime. The eight-year-old boy was autistic and nonverbal, and from his perspective the largest manhunt in state history probably looked like something else: the ultimate game of hide-and-seek. This article describes the difficulties of doing Search and Rescue for someone with autism.

See more here:

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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

How to Talk to an Aspi ֠Asperger's, Autism, Labels, Stereotypes andStrategies

My child is extremely engaging, interesting and (in a way) interested in people. The differences are more subtle and hard to pin-point. You’d know there’s a problem somewhere with the way he interacts with others, but you would find it hard to pinpoint what. But, if you meet a kid that: Is very welcoming and friendly. Almost assuming right off that you are a friend. Is very polite on the phone. Assumes that you are interested in what he is talking about. Assumes you want to participate in the things he wants to do, and maybe gets angry if you don’t. Interrupts your conversations with others. Gets upset over basic requests or instructions. Asks surprising questions and offers amazing insight on a wide range of topics. Will do a speech as if he were defending a thesis, but then fail at answering basic open-ended questions about the same topic. Is surprisingly slow at getting ready for going outside etc. Will repeat certain behaviors and actions over and over again. That might be my kid. If you happen upon a kid you might think is an aspi, here are some things you could consider:

 Click here to read more. 

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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Navigating College - A Project of the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network

Leaving high school and going to college is complicated for everyone. But if you’re a student on the autism spectrum who is about to enter higher education for the first time, it might be a little bit more complicated for you. Maybe you’re worried about getting accommodations, getting places on time, or dealing with sensory issues in a new environment. Maybe you could use some advice on how to stay healthy at school, handle dating and relationships, or talk to your friends and classmates about your disability. Maybe you want to talk to someone who’s already dealt with these issues. That’s where we come in. Navigating College is an introduction to the college experience from those of us who’ve been there. The writers and contributors are Autistic adults, and we’re giving you the advice that we wish someone could have given us when we headed off to college. We wish we could sit down and have a chat with each of you, to share our experiences and answer your questions. But since we can’t teleport, and some of us have trouble meeting new people, this book is the next best thing. ASAN was able to get you this book with the help of some other organizations. The Navigating College Handbook was developed in collaboration with Autism NOW, and with funding from the Administration on Developmental Disabilities. The University of New Hampshire Institute on Disability is helping us with distribution. We’re really grateful for all of their help in getting this book out. Good luck, and happy reading!
We hope it helps.
More here:

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Friday, June 15, 2012

When your special needs daughter gets her period (menses)

From the time my daughter was born with Down syndrome thirteen years ago, my biggest concern was what would happen when she got her period. I have learned over the years that I am not alone when it comes to parental worry on this subject. Let me stress up front that I am not a medical professional in any capacity so what I am going to share with you should not trump your doctor’s recommendations; I am simply sharing my journey and providing some helpful hints.

 Click here to read more. 

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Thursday, June 14, 2012

Safety First For Children with Autism

All parents worry about their children’s health, happiness, and general well-being, but parents of children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and other developmental disabilities must often make extraordinary efforts to ensure that their sons and daughtersare safe both inside and outside the home. Children with ASD and other special needs may be more likely to act impulsively—to run away or wander—than their typically developing peers. This puts them in greater danger of becoming lost or getting hurt. If their families are in active military service, frequent relocations may make it even more difficult for them to be familiar with their surroundings or to distinguish a stranger from a friend. For these children, basic safety skills may some day become critical life-saving skills.

 Click here to read the article from Exceptional Parent magazine. 

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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Autism: Life Transitions from Pre-School to Adulthood - Billings - Aug.2-3, 2012

Autism: Life Transitions from Pre-School to Adulthood - Billings - Aug. 2-3, 2012 What:Families and educators need continued assistance with resources that teach life skills to assist individuals with autism as they negotiate important transitions in their lives. This two day conference will provide information and hands-on experience that will help you assist children and young adults on the spectrum to discover their unique interests and abilities. Fostering self-identity that will prepare individuals with autism for lifelong inclusion in the community that will maximize their independence, productivity, and enjoyment. Successful early transitions will help pave the way for future transitions. Some individuals on the spectrum will pursue higher education and competitive employment opportunities while others are more limited. Beyond their varied abilities and interests, limited social skills for nearly all individuals with autism make it difficult for them to adjust to new school environments, different living arrangements, college and the workplace. With proper support and services from teachers, mentors, co-workers and job coaches who understand these special needs, we believe all individuals can be supported to lead happier, more productive and independent lives. In addition to information about transitions, educators and family members attending this year’s conference will be able to participate in activities often used in therapy and successful educational environments. This will give you a unique opportunity to experience life from the perspective of a person on the spectrum and give you skills to help calm, teach, and care. Where:MSU-B Main Campus1500 University DriveBillings, MT When:August 2 & 3, 2012 Register:Call 406-896-5890 to register for this event.

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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Your child with ASD strengthening social abilities - Missoula

Social difficulties are at the core of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Children with ASD often have difficulty making friends, understanding social context, and communicating with others. This can lead to difficulties at school, in the community, and feelings of isolation. This program will use scientifically tested methods of teaching children social skills and providing parents with behavior management strategies and social support. The program incorporates Children’s Friendship Training, video modeling, and opportunities to practice in natural, community settings. Who can participate? Boys ages 8 to 12 who have been diagnosed with ASD and have trouble with: Recognizing social expectations, Getting along with peers, Social communication, Playing with peers . When & Where? Twice a week (Tuesdays and Wednesdays) for 6 weeks: June 12 – July 23 (Tues. children’s group and Wed. caregivers) Clinical Psychology Center 1444 Mansfield Avenue Missoula, MT 59812 How much? 6 week program will cost $220. Check or cash only. Option for a sliding scale. This program will help your child learn how to: Have conversations with peers Make friends Accept “No” for an answer Increase play skills with others Make positive social statements Listen to adults Manage competition Increase communication skills Identify and express feelings

 See the attached flyer for more information. 

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You Say 'Semantic-Pragmatic Disorder,' I Say 'Autism'

It used to be that ten years ago, for every 156 eight-year-olds, one would have autism. In 2004, that figure had risen to 1 in 125. By 2006, 1 in 110 children had it, and according to data released this March by the Centers for Disease Control, 1 in every 88 kids in America had the disorder in 2008. And that's just the national average. In some select places, such as Utah and New Jersey, the rate approaches an alarming 1 in 47. The CDC report paints a picture of a rapidly expanding autistic population. But it doesn't tell us why so many more children are being diagnosed with the developmental disorder now than before. One obvious possibility is that the rate of autism really is increasing -- whether through factors in our surroundings that we can control or thanks to genetic factors we can't. But it could also be that the rise in autism diagnoses has nothing to do with the actual disease so much as the way we talk about it. As Dorothy Bishop, a professor in developmental psychology at Oxford, notes on her blog, what we're seeing may just be a matter of "diagnostic substitution." "The basic idea," she writes, "is that children who would previously have received another diagnosis or no diagnosis are now being identified with autism spectrum disorder (ASD)."
 Read more here. 

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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Sensory Integration Therapies for Children With Developmental andBehavioral Disorders

From the American Academy of Pediatrics Sensory-based therapies are increasingly used by occupational therapists and sometimes by other types of therapists in treatment of children with developmental and behavioral disorders. Sensory-based therapies involve activities that are believed to organize the sensory system by providing vestibular, proprioceptive, auditory, and tactile inputs. Brushes, swings, balls, and other specially designed therapeutic or recreational equipment are used to provide these inputs. However, it is unclear whether children who present with sensory-based problems have an actual “disorder” of the sensory pathways of the brain or whether these deficits are characteristics associated with other developmental and behavioral disorders. Because there is no universally accepted framework for diagnosis, sensory processing disorder generally should not be diagnosed. Other developmental and behavioral disorders must always be considered, and a thorough evaluation should be completed. Difficulty tolerating or processing sensory information is a characteristic that may be seen in many developmental behavioral disorders, including autism spectrum disorders, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, developmental coordination disorders, and childhood anxiety disorders. Occupational therapy with the use of sensory-based therapies may be acceptable as one of the components of a comprehensive treatment plan. However, parents should be informed that the amount of research regarding the effectiveness of sensory integration therapy is limited and inconclusive. Important roles for pediatricians and other clinicians may include discussing these limitations with parents, talking with families about a trial period of sensory integration therapy, and teaching families how to evaluate the effectiveness of a therapy.

 Source

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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Save the Date - PECS Level II in Bozeman October 18, 19, 2012

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Western MT Early Childhood Conference July 2012 SKC

June 16th, 2012 Salish Kootenai Campus:

Colleen Fay,Montana Autism Education Project With more students being identified as having autism, this workshop will provide information on autism spectrum disorders and present evidence-based practices that provide effective and appropriate educational interventions. Visual strategies have been shown to be effective tools to develop communication, increase participation and independence, decrease challenging behavior, and support social & emotional development. A variety of strategies will be discussed including visual schedules, object/picture communication, structured teaching, classroom management, social stories, the 5 pt. scale, and video modeling.

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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Webinar - Addressing Challenging Behavior in Children

Addressing factors that may cause disruptive behavior from children is one important way that home visiting programs can promote healthier families. Our webinar on June 5 will share effective strategies that both home visiting professionals and parents can use to prevent and respond to such behavior. Leading the discussion will be experts Barbara Kaiser, author of Challenging Behavior in Young Children, and Darcy Lowell, executive director of Child FIRST, a home visiting model with an emphasis on reducing serious emotional disturbances, developmental problems and abuse and neglect. Title: Addressing Challenging Behavior in Children Date: Tuesday, June 5, 2012 Time: 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM EDT

 Click here to register. 

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Libraries and Autism

In 2008 the Scotch Plains Public Libraryand the Fanwood Memorial Library, together with our partners, created Libraries and Autism: We're Connected. This award winning project produced a customer service training video and website primarily for library staff to help them serve individuals with autism and their families more effectively. The video focuses on what you need to know about autism and will empower you with specific techniques to offer more inclusive service to this growing and underserved population. The resources here on the website, along with the on-site training workshops which have been presented to hundreds of librarians around the country, expand on our customer service video to address the real world implementation of best practices and universal service for people with ASD and their families and helps staff to improve their ability to provide excellent, inclusive, universal customer service to everyone who uses the library. Every library we visit tells us the same story of increasing numbers of families dealing with ASD who are turning to their public library for resources, programs and a community center where they are welcome. We stress communication, customer service, using individuals on the spectrum and with other developmental disabilities as staff and volunteers in the library, programming strategies that work, connecting with local experts, and the importance of empowering staff to be willing to ‘do something’.

 Click here to read more. 

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Friday, May 18, 2012

Next Stop, the Moving Memoir of an Autistic Adult

I’ve read a handful of books through the years about families with autistic children and they were very enlightening. The reason this book captured my attention was partially related to excellent writing and almost as much related to the fact that this is not a book about an autistic child. This is the first book I’ve ever read that dealt with what happens when that child grows up, and tries to enter the world of grownups. What happens when he desires the things adults get to do, but doesn’t necessarily have the ability to strike out on his own? Ms. Finland’s son, David, is at the end of his school years when the book begins to tell his story. Riding the metro in his hometown of Washington, D.C. proves to be one way he can start to earn his parent’s trust and slowly see what it’s like to navigate life on his own. Throughout the book, woven in with other stories of his struggle to become an adult, are stories of David’s adventures on the metro. He sometimes gets lost. He sometimes joins charismatic groups who recruit members at Metro stations, and is at one point swayed politically because of a cup of hot chocolate handed to him by a pretty young Democrat. The book beautifully lays out the give and take that comes with being a parent to a young adult who doesn’t follow the standard course of life. After all the years of fighting for equal opportunities in the school system, what happens when graduation is behind you and decades of life are still ahead?

 Click here to read more. 

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Basic PECS in Billings - June 2012

Ours.

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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Infant Head Lag May Signal Autism

Infants who show developmental delays in head and neck muscle control may be at increased risk for autism, a new study suggests. Though preliminary, the findings are among the first to suggest that delays in motor development during infancy may be an early warning sign of autism. However, the findings are preliminary and aren't ready for use in diagnosing autism spectrum disorders.

 Click here to read more. 

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A Special Needs Guide to Dental Hygiene

Establish a daily ritual 1. Be Creative The National Institutes of Health have a guide for caregivers emphasizing the importance of creativity and a daily oral hygiene routine – and those were the keys to my family’s success. Finger toothbrushes for infants only encouraged my son to bite my finger. Instead, I offered him a clean, wet washcloth to chew on for a few minutes in the morning and before bedtime. I helped him move the washcloth around his mouth so that all of his teeth were scrubbed. Then I offered water to drink, since he didn’t know how to rinse and spit yet. 2. Brush Together The next step was to allow my son to chew on a child-size toothbrush while I brushed my own teeth. This desensitized him to the toothbrush’s texture while I modeled appropriate dental hygiene for him. Sometimes it’s necessary to try several different types of brushes, such as a spin brush. After many months, when he was accustomed to the texture, I added non-fluoride toddler toothpaste to his toothbrush so that he would get used to the idea of flavoring on the brush.

 Click here to read more. 

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Webinar - Transition to Employment: Evidence-based Policies andPractices

The webinar will focus on the following objectives: 1. Examine post-school employment outcomes for transition-age youth with intellectual disabilities, autism and other developmental disabilities;2. Gain an overview of recommended and promising practices that increase employment outcomes for students with significant intellectual and developmental disabilities;3. Discuss how research findings can be used to develop public policy to improve transition outcomes.

 Click here : 


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Youth with autism face barriers to employment and education after highschool

Compared with youth with other disabilities, young adults with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) face a disproportionately difficult time navigating work and educational opportunities after high school, finds a new study by Paul Shattuck, PhD, assistant professor at the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis.“Thirty-five percent of the youth with ASDs had no engagement with employment or education in the first six years after high school,” Shattuck says.“Rates of involvement in all employment and education were lower for those with lower income.”

 Click here to read more. 

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Monday, May 7, 2012

Transition to Adulthood Guidelines

Age-Appropriate Transition Assessment In this volume, Age-Appropriate Transition Assessment, the user will take a close look at the intention of Age-Appropriate Transition Assessment (AATA) and the implications to students with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Accurate and meaningful AATA is critical to the development of a plan that both fits the student’s interests and strengths and meets the student’s needs. Employment In this volume, Employment, the user will focus on the post school outcome of employment. The guide begins with a focus on planning and preparing the individual with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) for employment during the transition years. As the user moves through the volume, the focus comes to include information and considerations for those seeking employment or for those currently employed. Implications for the individual with ASD are highlighted as well as resources for improving career development and employment support. The goal of this volume is to help the user understand the issues surrounding successful employment for the individual with ASD and to highlight the supports and resources that lead to and assist in maintaining meaningful employment. IEP Transition Components In this volume, IEP Transition Components, the user will be introduced to the legislation that supports transition planning for the individual with a disability, as well as the legislation that provides for ongoing services for adults with disabilities. Each step of the IEP transition planning process will be explored to allow users to review their own documents and plans. The goal of this volume is to assist in creating a process that results in a meaningful IEP document for the youth with ASD that will serve as a guide for the team in the future. School-Age Programming In this volume, School Age Programming to Prepare for Transition to Adulthood, the user will take a close look at important elements of educational programming for transition-age youth and the implications for students with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). While academic achievement is a required area of focus of an educational program, other areas of skill development that must be considered as well in order for students to achieve a successful adult life. For students with ASD, this includes issues such as social competency and life skills development.

 Click here to download the Guides. 

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Thursday, May 3, 2012

Parental socioeconomic status and risk of offspring autism spectrumdisorders in a Swedish population-based study.

In many autism prevalence studies, higher socio-economic status (SES) for the parents is correlated with higher autism rates in the children of those families. While a conclusive reason for this has not been shown, it has been conjectured that the SES variability could be due to social influences such as access to care. A recent study from Sweden shows the opposite. In this study, lower income families and children of parents with manual occupations show higher autism prevalence:

 Click here to read more. 

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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Introduction to Asperger's

Description Introduction to Asperger's Syndrome will help teachers to identify what Asperger's Syndrome(AS)is and its diagnostic criteria, identify multiple characteristics of AS, discuss the history of Asperger's Syndrome, and discuss the impact on the families of an individual with AS.

 Free on iTunes.

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How Thinking People Read News About Science.

You've probably seen a lot of headlines lately about autism and various behaviors, ways of being, or "toxins" that, the headlines tell you, are "linked" to it. Maybe you're considering having a child and are mentally tallying up the various risk factors you have as a parent. Perhaps you have a child with autism and are now looking back, loaded with guilt that you ate high-fructose corn syrup or were overweight or too old or too near a freeway or not something enough that led to your child's autism.

Maybe you're an autistic adult who's getting a little tired of reading in these stories about how you don't exist or how using these "risk factors" might help the world reduce the number of people who are like you.Here's the bottom line: No one knows precisely what causes the extremely diverse developmental difference we call autism.

Research from around the world suggests a strong genetic component. What headlines in the United States call an "epidemic" is, in all likelihood, largely attributable to expanded diagnostic inclusion, better identification, and, ironically, greater awareness of autism. In countries that have been able to assess overall population prevalence, such as the UK, rates seem to have held steady at about 1% for decades, which is about the current levels now identified among 8-year-olds in the United States.


What anyone needs when it comes to headlines honking about a "link" to a specific condition is a mental checklist of what the article -- and whatever research underlies it -- is really saying. Previously, Double X Science brought you Real vs Fake Science: How to tell them apart. Now we bring you our Double X Double-Takechecklist. Use it when you read any story about scientific research and human health, medicine, biology, or genetics.The Double X Double-Take: What to do when reading science in the news

1. Skip the headline. Headlines are often misleading, at best, and can be wildly inaccurate. Forget about the headline. Pretend you never even saw the headline.

 Click here to read more. 

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Monday, April 30, 2012

Desperately Seeking Autism Genes

Autism is incredibly frustrating from a genetic point of view. Every study clearly shows that genetics plays an important role in this disease. But when these studies try to find a cause, they keep coming up short. And this isn’t because scientists aren’t trying hard. They are. In most of the recent studies they are comparing thousands of people’s DNA at millions of different spots. If there was a simple explanation, they would have found it. One thing they have managed to find from all of these studies is that a minority of cases result frombrand new mutations that most likely happen in either the sperm or the egg before fertilization. While these are not going to be that useful as a diagnostic test, they may prove useful as a way of figuring out which genes to focus on. And maybe even for coming up with new ways to treat autism.

 Click here to read more. 

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Two Day Basic PECS Workshop at the MSUB Summer Institute June 2012

CSPD?

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Why Autistic Children Are Bullied More -- And Bully In Return

Almost two-thirds of autistic children had been bullied at some point in their lives, and they were three times more likely than neurotypical kids to be bullied in the past three months. This was even true for home-schooled autistic children, who were sometimes educated at home precisely because of the bullying issue. “After a horrible year in 3rd grade,” said one mother, “where he was clinically diagnosed as depressed (he has always been anxious), I pulled my son out of public school and am homeschooling him this year. He is doing much, much better without the constant name calling and being singled out for his ‘weird’ behaviors!” The three most common types of bullying were verbal, or, in other words, psychological in nature: “being teased, picked on, or made fun of” (73%); “being ignored or left out of things on purpose” (51%), and “being called bad names” (47%). But almost a third of autistic children also experienced physical bullying – being shoved, pushed, slapped, hit, or kicked.

 Click here to read more.

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Monday, April 23, 2012

Children With Autism Are Often Targeted By Bullies

Lots of kids get bullied. But kids with autism are especially vulnerable. A new survey by the Interactive Autism Network found that nearly two-thirds of children with autism spectrum disorders have been bullied at some point. And it found that these kids are three times as likely as typical kids to have been bullied in the past month. The survey of parents of more than 1,100 children with autism found that bullies often pick on kids like Abby Mahoney, who is 13 and has Asperger's syndrome. Click here to listen to the story. 

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Friday, April 20, 2012

CDC Releases Flawed Study on ASD Incidence

Two weeks ago the Center for Disease Control published what I know to be an extremely flawed survey suggesting that Utah has the highest incidence of childhood Autism or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in the country. No explanation was provided for this incidence report. Incidence was reported for surveyed states only and ranged from 1 in about 50 children in Utah to 1 in about 250 children in Alabama. However, if you carefully read the CDC's report, consider the number of errors in their survey and the methodology used to create these estimates, it is quickly apparent that this expensive survey adds very little to our knowledge of the true incidence and prevalence of ASD in America.

 Click here to read more. 

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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

First PAK Meeting - Butte - May 5, 2012

What is Parents Advocating for Kids (PAK):The purpose of Montana PAK is to develop a monthly forum for parents to collaborate and receive information about special education advocacy and the federal/state laws that protect their children. In addition, PAK aims to provide a public medium to discuss educational concerns and to raise awareness about the scope of services, as well as local resources, which are available for children. The meeting is open and free to the public. The two hours will be divided into portions dedicated to open discussion and a presentation on legal rights in special education. RSVPs are not required to attend the meeting, but mandatory if child care is needed. 

Who are PAK Meetings for: Parents, guardians or family members of a child who is receiving special education services; Parents of a child who is struggling in school due to behavioral or emotional issues or who just seems to have a hard time learning; Parents, guardians or family members who suspect their child might have a learning disability or other condition that is causing him or her to have difficulty in school; Parents, guardians or family members who wish to improve their understanding of special education so they may better advocate at IEP meetings. 

For more information or to RSVP:Contact PLUK at 406-255-0540 or email info@pluk.org.

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Coffee Night/Parent Support Group for Parents of Children with Autism -Billings - April 18, 2012

What:Join us for this informal monthly gathering where parents can meet, learn from and support one another and participate in discussions or presentations of interest to the group. When:Wednesday, April 18, 20126:30 - 7:30 p.m. Where:Off the Leaf (in the conference room)819 Grand AveBillings, MT Contact:If you have any questions about our parent support group, please contact Kelly Melius at 657-9728

More here:

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What you need to know about Echolalia

One day I was hanging out with some friends and we were all swapping funny autism stories. I shared my story with the punchline, “And that’s why delayed echolalia is a mom’s best friend!” But there was one person who didn’t laugh. She looked confused. She asked, “What’s Echolalia?”

 Click here to read more. 

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Monday, April 16, 2012

Study Links Autism to High Fructose Corn Syrup

A new study released this past week has once again linked the consumption of processed foods to health complications, giving food safety advocates even more cause for concern. The April 10th publication of the Clinical Epigenetics Journal reported a link between high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and autism in the United States. According to the study, the rise in autism rates "is not related to mercury exposure from fish, coal-fired power plants, thimerosal, or dental amalgam but instead to the consumption of HFCS.” The study, led by former FDA toxicologist and whistleblower Renee Dufault, found that a deficiency of zinc, triggered by the consumption of HFCS and other processed foods, interferes with the body’s ability to eliminate toxins such as mercury and pesticides.

 Click here to read more. 

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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Can Autism Really Be Diagnosed in Minutes?

A Harvard researcher says he's achieved exceptional accuracy in identifying autism by using just seven online questions and an evaluation of a short home video of the child, instead of conventional, face-to-face exams that can take hours

.Read more:

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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

A summary of the CDC autism prevalence report

Some qoutes from the article: Overall, the prevalence was 1 in 88 (11.3 per 1,000). This continues the upward trend in prevalence estimates from the CDC. This varied a great deal state-to-state. Alabama had the lowest estimated prevalence at 4.1 per 1,000. Utah the highest at 21.2 per 1,000. Or, there is about a five fold variation in autism prevalence estimates, state-to-state. As with previous CDC reports, a large fraction of the children identified were not classified as autistic previously. In 2002, as many as 40% in some states were not classified as autistic before their records were reviewed. In general, over time the fraction previously unidentified has gone down. This would be consistent with schools and medical personnel getting better over time with identification of autism. In Utah, for an extreme example, over 70% of those identified as autistic have IQ scores above 85. The CDC report reads: When data from these seven sites were combined, 38% of children with ASDs were classified in the range of intellectual disability (i.e., IQ >70 or an examiner’s statement of intellectual disability), 24% in the borderline range (IQ 71–85), and 38% had IQ scores >85 or an examiner’s statement of average or above-average intellectual ability.

 Click here to read the full article. 

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Autistic kids born preterm, post-term have more severe symptoms

Additionally, autistic children who were born either preterm or post-term are more likely to self-injure themselves compared with autistic children born on time, revealed the study by Tammy Movsas of MSU's Department of Epidemiology. Though the study did not uncover why there is an increase in autistic symptoms, the reasons may be tied to some of the underlying causes of why a child is born preterm (prior to 37 weeks) or post-term (after 42 weeks) in the first place. The research appears online in the Journal of Autism and Development Disorders. Movsas, a postdoctoral epidemiology fellow in MSU's College of Human Medicine, said the study reveals there are many different manifestations of autism spectrum disorder, a collection of developmental disorders including both autism and Asperger syndrome. It also shows the length of the mother's pregnancy is one factor affecting the severity of the disorder. While previous research has linked premature birth to higher rates of autism, this is one of the first studies to look at the severity of the disease among autistic children who had been born early, on time and late.

 Click here to read more. 

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Monday, April 2, 2012

Utah shows highest rate of autism in new study

In Utah, 1 in 47 children has autism, the highest rate among 14 communities nationwide, according to a newly released study. The results from 2008 data, released Thursday, found autism rates jumped 157 percent in Utah from 2002 to 2008. Meanwhile, the prevalence of autism increased 78 percent nationwide over the same time period, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study. Nationally, an estimated 1 in 88 U.S. children has autism, an all-time high, the study found. The findings were released Thursday during a briefing at Valley Mental Health's Carmen B. Pingree Center. According to the study, the disorder occurs in Utah boys at a rate of nearly three times that of Utah girls. The study also found significantly higher autism rates among white Utah children when compared to non-white children, among whom the rate is 1 in 154. For white children, the rate is 1 in 25.

 Click here to read more. 

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The financial toll of autism

Raising an autistic child can take a tremendous financial toll, even when insurance helps cover some of the costs. Kim and David Picciano's three-year old son, Colton, was diagnosed with autism eight months ago and they pay roughly $1,000 out of pocket each month for all of his therapies. "It's not all covered... we have co-pays," said Kim. "Right now, I've been fighting with insurance since August to get him occupational therapy." The cost of providing care for a person with autism in the U.S. is an estimated $1.4 million over their lifetime, according to a study funded by advocacy group Autism Speaks. For those with autism who are impacted with intellectual disabilities (with an IQ of 70 or less) -- nearly half of the autistic population -- the cost jumps to $2.3 million.

 Click here to read more. 

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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Autistic children subject to more bullying

Children with autism spectrum disorder are bullied three times more frequently than their siblings who did not have autism, U.S. researchers found. Dr. Paul Law, director of the Interactive Autism Network Project at the Kennedy Krieger Institute, said the study found 63 percent of children with autism spectrum disorder have been bullied at some point in their lives -- and are sometimes intentionally "triggered" into meltdowns or aggressive outbursts by peers.

Read more:

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How will DSM 5 affect autism rates?

n January, at a meeting of the Icelandic Medical Association, Yale researcher, Dr Fred Volkmar gave a presentation of data from a study looking at the implications of changes to autism diagnostic criteria in DSM 5. His conclusion was that many people who are currently diagnosed with autism, Asperger's, or PDD-NOS would not meet the new proposed criteria for autism spectrum disorder in DSM 5.Volkmar's remarks were picked up by the New York Times, who ran with the lede: "Proposed changes in the definition of autism would sharply reduce the skyrocketing rate at which the disorder is diagnosed and might make it harder for many people who would no longer meet the criteria to get health, educational and social services" Not surprisingly, the article caused much consternation in autism circles. But because the study itself hadn't been published, members of the DSM 5 Neurodevelopmental Work Group, charged with implementing these changes, were unable to pass comment.

 Click here to read the full article. 

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Thursday, March 22, 2012

People With Autism Possess Greater Ability to Process Information,Study Suggests

People with autism have a greater than normal capacity for processing information even from rapid presentations and are better able to detect information defined as 'critical', according to a study published March 22 in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology. The research may help to explain the apparently higher than average prevalence of people with autism spectrum disorders in the IT industry.
 Click here to read more.

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Autism and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Although the DSM-5 proposed revisions to the diagnosis of autism have precipitated intense controversy about the suggested elimination of the diagnoses of Asperger's Disorder and Pervasive Developmental Disorder, my concern is about the refusal of the DSM diagnostic classification committee to permit a diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in a child diagnosed with autistic disorder. As stated in DSM IV, "Symptoms of overactivity and inattention are frequent in Autistic Disorder, but a diagnosis of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder is not made if Autistic Disorder is present." (p.74, DSM IV, copyright 2000, text revision.) DSM 5 proposes to retain this rule.

 Click here to read more. 

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Monday, March 19, 2012

Mothers of autistic children earn 56% less income, study says

When a child in the family has autism, parents and siblings often devote extra time and financial resources to ensure the best possible outcomes for the child's future. A new study puts a number on the financial toll the disorder takes on families each year. On average, family earnings when a child has autism are 28 percent lower than those of a child without a health limitation, the study found - nearly $18,000 less money for the family per year.

 Click here to read more. 

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Friday, March 16, 2012

Autism and the Circle of Friends

We began by failing our son, TH. We failed to be vigilant enough about his reputation. We were lax in monitoring the growing perception of him as a bully, while simultaneously, he was on the receiving end of bullying all day, every day. His reputation as a bully spread beyond the school walls and playground boundaries, leaking into our neighborhood, speeding through wires and wireless, the talk of the bus stops. His size, his odd behaviors, his loud and unexpected non-sequiturs, and his violations of personal space drove the rumors on. When we learned all of this, we were devastated. Then, we heard about the Circle of Friends (COF) program.The basic principle of this program is that placing knowledge in the hands of others also means giving them understanding and compassion. For us, that meant that somehow, we had to get across to our son’s classmates, and by extension their parents, as much information about our son as possible. We had to reconstruct people’s attitudes about TH, and in this case, because we’d let it go so long, we had to do it across all classrooms in his grade

 Click here to read more. 

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"Approaching Autism Theatrically"

Until Stephen Volan was diagnosed in 2002 with Asperger's Syndrome at the age of 37, he had no way to address his difficulties navigating the minefields of society and the workplace. Holding jobs, maintaining close relationships, or reading faces and body language were all exercises in paralysis-inducing doubt and frustration. Long before ""the autism spectrum"" was as widely discussed as it is today, he had unwittingly begun overcoming its handicaps thanks to a serendipitous theater class at Second City in Chicago. In it he learned to rely on a skill he knew how to use without hesitation: being playful.

Click here to watch the video. 

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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Interview with Shannon Des Roches Rosa

"I have just reviewed Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism and was truly amazed how the people responsible for gathering this collection of over fifty essays made it all happen. Shannon Des Roches Rosa is one of the five editors and also one of the contributors of Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism. She is a founding editor and frequent contributor to The Thinking Person’s Guide site and has also worked on three other books. We are pleased to welcome her to our Author Interview Series."

 Click here to read the interview.

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Thursday, March 8, 2012

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Soft Skills to Pay the Bills × Mastering Soft Skills for WorkplaceSuccess

"Skills to Pay the Bills: Mastering Soft Skills for Workplace Success," is a curriculum developed by ODEP focused on teaching "soft" or workforce readiness skills to youth, including youth with disabilities. Created for youth development professionals as an introduction to workplace interpersonal and professional skills, the curriculum is targeted for youth ages 14 to 21 in both in-school and out-of-school environments. The basic structure of the program is comprised of modular, hands-on, engaging activities that focus on six key skill areas: communication, enthusiasm and attitude, teamwork, networking, problem solving and critical thinking, and professionalism.

 Click here to read more and download the curriculum. 

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Monday, February 20, 2012

Webinar - Group Instruction for Kids Who Hate Group Instruction






Join us, as we continue our FREE webinar series. This month we will focus on Group Instruction for Kids Who Hate Group Instruction presented by Anne Lau M.Ed., NCC, B.C.B.A. on February 28, 2012 from 4pm-5pm PST and again on February 29, 2012 from 12pm-1pm PST.

This webinar will provide information on the deficits that many children with autism have and why these deficits prevent learning in group situations. It will describe some beginning goals and the procedures used to meet those goals in providing effective group instruction to early learners.

This beginner level webinar will teach you to:




  • Describe why some learners may not be benefiting from group instruction


  • Identify when a transition to group instruction would be appropriate


  • Define the first goals/IEP objectives in providing effective group instruction


  • List multiple group activities and teaching procedures that can be used to target those group instruction goals



Who would benefit from this webinar:



  • Autism service provider organizations


  • Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs)


  • Teachers


  • Paraprofessionals



African-American children tend to be diagnosed later for autism

The rate of diagnosis for autism spectrum disorders (ASD) is the same among all racial groups — one in 110, according to current estimates. However, a study by a Florida State University researcher has found that African-American children tend to be diagnosed later than white children, which results in a longer and more intensive intervention.The reasons for later diagnoses include a lack of access to quality, affordable, culturally competent health care, according to Martell Teasley, an associate professor in Florida State's College of Social Work who has conducted a comprehensive review of researchliterature on autism and African-American children. In addition, the stigmaattached to mental health conditions within the black community contribute to misdiagnoses of autism, and underuse of available treatment services.

 Click here to read more. 

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The Latest TV Trend: Autism

It’s great that the growing diversity of characters is extending to the neurological, and I’m sure it contributes to greater understanding of some of the issues these individuals face; consider whether Charlie Babbitt’s cruel, ignorant treatment of his brother Raymond in the first half of 1988′s Rain Man would be considered redeemable by today’s audiences. The danger is that it may also lead to a more widespread perception of those on the spectrum as inherently miraculous. Spike Lee rightly derides the storytelling trope of “magical negro,” in which a beatific black person helps a privileged but struggling white person discover the true meaning of whatever, as in The Legend of Bagger Vance or as TourĂ© recently pointed out, The Help. Applied to those on the autism spectrum, it’s easy to see how a continuation of this trend may result in their further marginalization. “What’s wrong with him?” is a hurtful question, but “What can he do?” isn’t much better. Perhaps a more realistic portrayal of a character with Aspergers is that of Max Braverman on NBC’s Parenthood, an often challenging boy who doesn’t exist to solve problems for his neurotypical counterparts and doesn’t have superpowers to do so in any case

.Read more: 

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Friday, February 17, 2012

Motor Impairments Appear to Be a Characteristic of Autism

Autism itself seems to be responsible for the problems children with the disorder have in developing motor skills such as running, throwing a ball and learning to write, according to a new study. Previously, it wasn't clear whether these motor skill difficulties ran in families or were linked to autism, said the researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

 Click here to read more.

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

'Best Practices': Learning To Live With Asperger's

A Memoir of Marriage, Asperger Syndrome, and One Man's Quest to Be a Better Husband When he was 30 years old, David Finch's wife, Kristen, sat him down and asked him a series of odd questions: "Do you notice patterns in things all the time?" "Do people comment on your unusual mannerisms and habits? "Do you feel tortured by clothes tags, clothes that are too tight or made in the 'wrong material'?" "Do you sometimes have an urge to jump over things?" David's answers to all of these questions — and more than 100 others — was an emphatic yes. Kristen Finch had just given her unsuspecting husband a self-quiz to evaluate for Asperger's syndrome, a condition on the autism spectrum. Her own score was 8 out of a possible 200. David's was 155. "It was very cathartic. It was this unbelievable moment of self-recognition," David Finch tells NPR's Melissa Block. "It gave me such insight into who I am, how my mind works and why certain things have been such a challenge." In his new book, The Journal of Best Practices, David Finch describes how he and Kristen worked to overcome his compulsions and sometimes anti-social behavior.

 Click here to listen to the interview on NPR. 

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A new movie about Aspergers and Baseball

A Mile In His Shoes is the story of Mickey Tussler, a young man with Asperger’s Syndrome and a golden arm. The manager for a local baseball team convinces Mickey to join the team. For the first time in his life Mickey is forced to interact with others as well as try and make friends with his teammates. The movie is based on a novel by author Frank Nappi entitled The Legend of Mickey Tussler, We caught up with Frank and interviewed him about The Legend of Mickey Tussler and his opinion of the movie. Check out the trailer above and the interview with Frank below.

Click here to watch the trailer and read more. 

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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

'Best Practices': Learning To Live With Asperger's

When he was 30 years old, David Finch's wife, Kristen, sat him down and asked him a series of odd questions: "Do you notice patterns in things all the time?" "Do people comment on your unusual mannerisms and habits? "Do you feel tortured by clothes tags, clothes that are too tight or made in the 'wrong material'?" "Do you sometimes have an urge to jump over things?" David's answers to all of these questions — and more than 100 others — was an emphatic yes. Kristen Finch had just given her unsuspecting husband a self-quiz to evaluate for Asperger's syndrome, a condition on the autism spectrum. Her own score was 8 out of a possible 200. David's was 155. "It was very cathartic. It was this unbelievable moment of self-recognition," David Finch tells NPR's Melissa Block. "It gave me such insight into who I am, how my mind works and why certain things have been such a challenge." In his new book, The Journal of Best Practices, David Finch describes how he and Kristen worked to overcome his compulsions and sometimes anti-social behavior.

 Click here to listen to the story on NPR. 

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Got Autism? Learn About the Link Between Dairy Products and the Disease

Click here to read more. 

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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

By the Numbers: Autism Is Not a Math Problem

There are 2,027 ways to be diagnosed with autism in DSM-IV and only 11 ways in DSM-5, but the numbers alone are misleading. Scientific American wanted to explore this gaping discrepancy further, so we asked astronomer and Hubble Fellow Joshua Peek of Columbia University to code a computer program that would calculate the total possible ways to get a diagnosis of autistic disorder in DSM-IV and the total possible ways to get a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder in DSM-5. You can do the math by hand, too, if you like: It all comes down to factorials. The DSM-IV criteria are a set of 12 items in three groups from which you must choose 6, with at least two items from group one and at least one item each from groups two and three. The DSM-5 criteria are a set of seven items in two groups from which you must choose five, including all three items in group one and at least two of the four items in group two. Peek's program crunched the numbers: there are 2027 different ways to be diagnosed with autism in DSM-IV and 11 ways to be diagnosed with autism in DSM-5.

 Click here to read more. 

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Saturday, January 28, 2012

New Study of Autism Caregivers and Adults with Autism

PHILADELPHIA –Results were released yesterday from the Pennsylvania Autism Needs Assessment, which includes feedback from 3,500 Pennsylvania caregivers and adults with autism, making it the largest study of its kind in the nation. Among the findings, the study shows that training in social skills has been identified as the most common unmet need for both children and adults with autism. The study also found that more than two-thirds of adults with autism are unemployed or underemployed. “The results of the needs assessment provide the most comprehensive and specific information to date about where Pennsylvania has been successful and where we still need work in helping people with autism and their families,” said David Mandell, ScD, associate director, Center for Mental Health Policy and Services Research. “My hope is that these results will be an important driver of new policy and innovative practices for years to come.”

 Link to article Link to study 

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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Talking things through in their head may aid children with autism




Talking to yourself in your head may not be such a bizarre pastime. It may actually be an important developmental tool.

A new study out of Durham University in England suggests that helping children with autism to ?alk things through in their head?could eventually help them to perform more complicated tasks ?eventually helping them to lead more independent lives.

The researchers observed a group of high-functioning adults with ASD and a comparison control group (neurotypical subjects) as both groups completed a task known as the Tower of London. The test ?which is also a popular mathematical puzzle ?consists of five colored discs that are arranged on three pegs. The object of the puzzle is to transform one arrangement of the disks between the pegs, one disk at a time.

In order to complete the task in as few moves as possible, a fair amount of planning is needed.

After working on the puzzles under normal conditions, both groups were asked to solve it again as they repeated a certain word out loud ?either ?uesday?or ?hursday.?Repeating words or phrases over and over is a way to suppress inner speech that helps people to plan.

?he neurotypical subjects took many more moves to complete this task when we interrupted their verbal thinking, whereas the participants with autism weren? affected at all with this interruption,?Williams said. ?o it ultimately suggests they weren? using verbal thinking in the first place.?lt;/p>

Read more: 

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Study links autism, intestinal bacteria levels

Dr. Brent Williams, an associate research scientist from the Mailman School of Public Health, headed the study, which examined gastrointestinal disturbances in children with autism. Researchers discovered that children diagnosed with autism that suffer from gastrointestinal disturbances have heightened levels of Sutterella, a type of intestinal bacteria. After examining intestinal biopsies from his patients, Williams found that Sutterella bacteria existed in more than half of the children who had been diagnosed with autism. In comparison, Sutterella was not found in any normally developing children that also had gastrointestinal, or GI, disturbances.

 Article here:

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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Urinal Etiquette

(I am at a conference and we are talking about the hidden curriculum. Part of that is teaching important male skills that women may be unfamiliar with. )

 Take the test.

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70 Ways To Use An iPad In The Classroom

Click here to read.

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Monday, January 9, 2012

Added - Treatment section of the ASD Video Glossary

Autism Speaks is pleased to announce the launch of the Treatment section of the ASD Video Glossary. The treatments presented here include some of the more commonly used interventions for children on the autism spectrum: behavioral interventions, developmental interventions, structured teaching and supports, clinical therapies, and toddler treatment models. We have chosen to focus on treatments that can be represented and understood in video format. There are many other treatments available and families are encouraged to speak with their professional team members to choose the treatments that best address the individual needs of their child. The treatments represented in the Glossary may not be appropriate for all children. While there are no conclusive studies showing that one approach is better than another, some approaches have been researched more than others and many approaches incorporate similar strategies. Parents and professionals are encouraged to look at all approaches and choose treatment strategies that best fit the needs of the child and family. This glossary of treatments is not all inclusive– there are plenty more treatments that are offered. Further, we do not endorse or recommend any treatment or program. We simply offer this Glossary of video clips and invite you to explore the different options. Additionally, we encourage you to download the two-page PDF treatment descriptions where you will see a list of the top research references that support each of the treatments.

 Click here to read more.

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