Monday, December 31, 2012

Notable papers of 2012

Picking the top ten papers in a field is always challenging, but the outpouring of high-quality autism research in 2012 made that task especially difficult. Below is a selection of just some of these papers, selected by SFARI staff and presented in chronological order. SFARI director Gerald Fischbach expounds on the list in this column. 1. Brain response to gaze predicts autism in baby sibs A longitudinal study of infant siblings of children with autism is the first to identify a particular brain pattern that is linked to later diagnosis of autism. Elsabbagh M. et al. Curr. Biol. 22, 338-342 (2012) PubMed 2. Bone marrow transplant curbs symptoms of autism and Rett syndrome Two papers found that a bone marrow transplant can alleviate autism-like symptoms in mice, one in a rodent model of Rett syndrome and the other in an immune model of autism. Derecki N.C. et al. Nature 484, 105-109 (2012) PubMed Hsiao E.Y. et al. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 109, 12776-12781 (2012) PubMed 3. Hundreds of genes involved in autism, sequencing studies say A quartet of exome-sequencing studies published this year have identified new risk genes and point to FMRP, the protein implicated in fragile X syndrome, as a central hub. O’Roak B.J. et al. Nature 485, 246-250 (2012)PubMed Sanders S.J. et al. Nature 485, 237-241 (2012) PubMed Neale B.M. et al. Nature 485, 242-245 (2012) PubMed Iossifov I. et al. Neuron 74, 285-299 (2012) PubMed 4. Chromosome exchanges reveal new autism-related genes Large-scale swapping of genetic material between chromosomes may play an important role in autism, according to a study published 27 April in Cell. Talkowski M.E. et al. Cell 149, 525-537 (2012) PubMed 5. Tuberous sclerosis gene loss triggers autism-like features Losing one or both copies of TSC1, one of the two genes responsible for tuberous sclerosis complex, in specific cells of the cerebellum can trigger several autism-like behaviors in mice, according to research published 1 July in Nature. Tsai P.T. et al. Nature. 488, 647-651 (2012) PubMed 6. Autism risk gene found to alter brain wiring MET, a leading candidate gene for autism risk, influences the strength of connections between brain regions involved in social behaviors, and this effect is especially prominent in people with the disorder. The findings are from a large study using several imaging techniques, published 6 September in Neuron. Rudie J.D. et al. Neuron 75, 904-915 (2012) PubMed 7. Drug improves social deficits in fragile X syndrome A drug called arbaclofen improves behavioral problems in people with fragile X syndrome, an inherited condition that can lead to mental retardation and autism, according to the results of a clinical trial published 19 September in Science Translational Medicine. A second study published in the same issue showed that the drug restores normal brain function in a mouse model of the syndrome. Berry-Kravis E.M. et al. Sci. Transl. Med. 4, 152ra127 (2012) PubMed Henderson C. et al. Sci. Transl. Med. 4, 152ra128 (2012) PubMed 8. 'Noisy' brain signals could underlie autism, study says Sensory responses in the brain of an individual with autism vary much more than in someone without the disorder, according to a study published 20 September in Neuron. This may explain why some people with autism are extremely sensitive to lights and sounds. Dinstein I. et al. Neuron 75, 981-991 (2012) Abstract 9. Common variants, en masse, may add up to strong autism risk Individually, common genetic variants confer little risk for autism. But taken together, they may contribute significantly, predicts a statistical analysis published 15 October in Molecular Autism. Klei L. et al. Mol. Autism 3, 9 (2012) PubMed 10. Behavioral treatment for autism may normalize brain activity Early intensive therapy may normalize the brain’s response to faces in young children with autism, according to a study published in the November issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. The results are part of a randomized, controlled trial of a treatment called the Early Start Denver Model. Dawson G. et al. J. Am. Acad. Child Adolesc. Psychiatry 51, 1150-1159 (2012) PubMed

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Friday, December 28, 2012

Top Ten Autism Research Advances of 2012

In 2012, autism dominated headlines as never before. Public awareness skyrocketed with new updates on autism’s estimated prevalence (1 in 88) and costs to society ($137 billion per year nationally). Controversy roiled around proposed changes to how autism spectrum disorder (ASD) will be diagnosed in the years ahead. Behind the headlines – or at least off the front page – the field of autism research experienced a significant growth in the number of publications and scientists entering the field. In recent years, the field has drawn hundreds of talented scientists from other areas of science. In 2012, we saw many of these teams publishing important findings that confirmed and built on the pioneering discoveries of previous years.

 Click here to read more. 

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Friday, December 21, 2012

My Name is David

A short video of a young man explaining autism.

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Autism Cures Promised by DNA Testers Belied by Regulators

April Hauge, a nurse practitioner in Weimar, California, spent $500 on a genetic test for her autistic son in 2009 that led to purchasing thousands of dollars in vitamins and supplements. Impressed with the results, she’s now selling advice on the approach to others. There’s just one problem: the DNA tests and related treatments have scant backing from science and U.S. government officials. They’re untested, unproven, and may constitute “health fraud,” doctors, regulators and concerned parents said. “A lot of this skims on the edge of health fraud,” said Janet Woodcock, director of the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, referring to the use of DNA testing to recommend alternative therapies. Source: FDA via Bloomberg Alberto Gutierrez, director of the office of in vitro diagnostics and radiological health at the FDA, said the agency is “very concerned” about complex genetic tests being sold by laboratories, often over the Internet, whose claims are difficult to evaluate. Source: FDA via Bloomberg After reviewing the nutrigenomic test reports for the two autistic children, Daniel Coury, medical director for the Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network, said there was no scientific evidence that the recommendations would combat autism. Source: Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network via Bloomberg For alternative-medicine providers in general, the genetic tests are nothing but a “marketing tool” to sell unproven treatments, said James Laidler, a retired physician and adjunct professor at Portland State University whose 19-year-old autistic son has tried alternative therapies.

 Read more here.

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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Autism diagnoses in Israel jump almost fivefold since 2004

The number of Israelis diagnosed with autism has jumped fivefold ov the last eight years, according to the Social Affairs Ministry’s 2011 survey of social services. The figures show that between 2004 and 2011, there was a sharp and continual increase in the diagnosis of autism, which shot up from 1,507 in 2004 to 7,344 in 2011. The incidence of autism per 10,000 people rose by a factor of 4.3 – from 2.2 to 9.5.... The full text is available for subscribers & registered users. Click here to subscribe ($1 for the first 4 weeks)register (free access for 10 stories a month) or login

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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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Autism Internet Modules

This series of online learning modules includes information on assessment and identification of ASDs, recognizing and understanding behaviors and characteristics, transition to adulthood, employment, and numerous evidence-based practices and interventions. More information can be found HERE, creating an account is required. Current Modules (40) Antecedent-Based Interventions (ABI) ASD-4-EI: What Early Interventionists Should Know Assessment for Identification Autism and the Biopsychosocial Model: Body, Mind, and Community Computer-Aided Instruction Customized Employment Differential Reinforcement Discrete Trial Training Extinction Functional Communication Training Home Base Language and Communication Naturalistic Intervention Overview of Social Skills Functioning and Programming Parent-Implemented Intervention Peer-Mediated Instruction and Intervention (PMII) Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) Pivotal Response Training (PRT) Preparing Individuals for Employment Prompting Reinforcement Response Interruption/Redirection Restricted Patterns of Behavior, Interests, and Activities Rules and Routines Screening Across the Lifespan for Autism Spectrum Disorders Self-Management Sensory Differences Social Narratives Social Skills Groups Social Supports for Transition-Aged Individuals Speech Generating Devices (SGD) Structured Teaching Structured Work Systems and Activity Organization Supporting Successful Completion of Homework Task Analysis The Employee with Autism The Incredible 5-Point Scale Time Delay Transitioning Between Activities Visual Supports

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Rise in New Jersey Autism Prevalence Documented in New Study

Newly published research led by Walter Zahorodny, PhD, of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ), shows that over a four year period in the past decade, the documented prevalence of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) rose substantially in a sampling of four New Jersey counties. The new study uses 2006 data compiled in 58 communities across Essex, Hudson, Ocean and Union Counties, and shows a prevalence during that year of 17.4 children per one thousand. That compares to a prevalence in 2002 of 10.6 per thousand in those same communities, which had been found in an earlier study. Share This: Health & Medicine Children's Health Today's Healthcare Health Policy Mind & Brain Autism Educational Psychology Child Psychology Reference Gluten-free, casein-free diet Autistic spectrum Epidemiology List of medical topics The new research, which mirrored the methods of the previous study in order to make as accurate a comparison as possible of the two years, has been published online in the journal Autism. The study finds that ASD prevalence rose over the four year period both for boys (from 17.0 to 28.7 per thousand) and for girls (from 4.1 to 5.9 per thousand). ASD prevalence also varied by ethnicity, with white non-Hispanic children showing the highest levels of ASD, 20.4 per thousand in 2006 compared with 15.0 per thousand for black, non-Hispanic; 14.7 per thousand for Hispanic; and 14.0 per thousand among Asian children.

 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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Autism Insurance Services through the Montana Child Development Center

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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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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

FAQs on the 2009 Montana Autism Insurance Reform Law

1. What does the Montana law (Senate Bill 234) do? Broadly speaking, the requires many private insurers to begin covering the costs of diagnostic assessments for autism and of treatments for individuals with autism1. $50,000 per year for a child 8 years or younger2. $20,000 per year for a child 9 years through 18 The specific terms and provisions of this law are described in more detail in this FAQ document. 2. When did the law go into effect? Most sections of the Autism Insurance Act went into effect on January 1, 2010, including the provisions that require many insurers to cover services for autism spectrum disorder. 3. Is my employer-provided health insurance required to cover my child’s autism services? It applies to state, city, town, school district or other political subdivision of this state, university group insurance programs, and any self-funded multiple employer welfare arrangement that offers group health insurance coverage are required to offer autism services for children under the age of 18. It is not applicable to those employers that are regulated by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), otherwise known as self-insured employers. 4. Are there limits on what our private insurance is required to cover?

 Click here to read the rest of the questions and answers. 

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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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Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Magic of The Microphone

Senior Seth Bode is pacing back and forth in the main office of Grace King High School in Metairie. In front of him is a microphone. Shortly, he will be reading the school's morning announcements and he is nervous as he rehearses his lines. Bode reads cards that his teacher Bridget Seals holds out for him. "Good morning, my name is Seth," he says. To an outsider, it is such a simple phrase. But for Seals and Bode, it is momentous. Seth Bode is autistic, and has trouble socializing and speaking to others. Even in the moments leading up to his recitation of the announcements, Bode seems removed and in his own world, not responding to others who address him. But Seals has learned of, as she calls it, the "magic of the microphone" and has found that her students often open up in surprising ways.

 Read more here. 

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Stress-Free Holiday Tips and Toy Recommendations for Families ofChildren with Autism

Many families will soon experience an increased level of holiday-related anxiety stemming from more than just the usual demands of shopping, cooking, and decorating. The holidays can be stressful for any family, but particularly so for families living with autism. There are unfamiliar social situations, changes in routine and unstructured time off from school, all of which can be stressful and over-stimulating for a child on the autism spectrum. However, there are practical strategies parents can use to lessen children’s anxiety and increase everyone’s enjoyment of the holidays.

 read more here: 

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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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Thursday, November 22, 2012



Monday, November 19, 2012

Mothers with ASD ask why scientists are missing girls

Autism is diverse, and mothers with ASD don’t all share the same traits. Of the six interviewed for this story, some said they, too, could be perceived as “cold.” Others said affection came easily. DubĂ© keeps a compulsive schedule, while another mom often forgets her appointments. But for a group of women who have never met, they share remarkable similarities. All were diagnosed late in life. Most overcame destructive childhood misdiagnoses, and only stumbled onto the correct diagnosis after raising a child who also had autism. Marriage had been a battle. All were diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, a high-functioning type of autism, and are highly educated. And every one of them said, forcefully, that the scant resources for adult women with autism peter out completely when it comes to the topic of motherhood. None has ever found a book devoted to ASD mothers, nor a scrap of published research. Counselling services are non-existent, they said.

 Read more here. 

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Popular autism treatment might not be effective, study finds

A popular treatment for children with autism spectrum disorders might not be effective, according to new findings from a group of 12 researchers, including professors from the University of Texas and Texas State University. The review examined 25 studies of sensory integration therapy, which involve activities that stimulate the senses and are believed to improve defects of the nervous system. Just three studies suggested the popular therapy was effective, eight found mixed results, and 14 reported no related benefits. Many of the studies, including the three that reported positive results, had serious methodological flaws, according to the review, which was published in the July-September issue of Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders. “We’re not saying (sensory integration therapy) doesn’t work,” said Mark O’Reilly, a co-author and professor at UT. “It lacks scientific evidence.”

 Read more here. 

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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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Encouraging Picky Eaters with Autism to Try New Foods

If your child or grandchild is a picky eater, know that you’re not alone. Up to 70 percent of parents with children on the autism spectrum report problems with excessively narrow eating habits. Often, these tendencies continue into adolescence and adulthood. Researchers are still trying to fully understand what causes picky eating in many of those with autism and how to intervene to expand food choices. Our new Autism Speaks research projectfocuses on expanding food choices by addressing underlying anxiety, inflexibility and sensory issues. This new project focuses on older children and adolescents, whose eating habits and aversions have received less attention. Here are some strategies parents can use to diversify a narrow diet – no matter the child’s age.

 Read more here. 

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Autism Speaks Co-Sponsors Nature Supplement on Autism

Autism Speaks is pleased to co-sponsor a special supplement on autism spectrum disorders by the respected scientific journal Nature. Readers can access all articles free online here, and request a free print copy here
. Autism Speaks contributed to this special supplement with funding, content and expert interviews.

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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Metal-binding agents don't help autism

Metal-binding agent 2,3-Dimercaptopropane-1-sulfonate, prescribed by some alternative practitioners to treat autism, does not work, U.S. researchers say.

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Positively Autism

Autism Training | Teaching Materials | Tutorials

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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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Thursday, November 1, 2012

2011 Autism Distribution by County

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Archived iPad Webinars - Registration required.

Title: The iPad in Special Education: Why do you want one and what to do with it - 60 Minutes Presenter: Diane Gerads-Schmidt, M.A. & Jason Backes - OTClick here to watch webinarTitle: All About Computer Access: Adaptations and Alternatives to the Standard Keyboard and Mouse - 60 MinutesPresenter:Kelly Fonner, MSClick here to watch webinar Title: Course 1 - Switch Assessment: Determining the Optimal Switch Type and Location - 60 MinutesPresenter:Michelle L. Lange, OTR, ABDA, ATP/SMSClick here to watch webinar Title: Course 2 - Switch Mounting: I've Found a Location, Now How Do I Keep It There?- 60 MinutesPresenter:Michelle L. Lange, OTR, ABDA, ATP/SMSClick here to watch webinarTitle: Course 3 - Positioning for Optimal Access to Assistive Technology - 60 MinutesPresenter:Michelle L. Lange, OTR, ABDA, ATP/SMSClick here to watch webinarTitle: Assistive Technology to Support Game-based Learning - 30 Minutes Presenter: Brenda BrittonClick here to watch webinar Title: Best iDevice Apps That Are Switch Accessible - 60 Minutes Presenter: Jill Gonzalez, B.A., M.A.

Click here to watch webinars

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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Successful Employment for People with Asperger's Syndrome



Presented at the 2012 Montana Association for Rehabilitation conference by Marla Swanby, OPI Secondary Transition Specialist and Doug Doty, Statewide Coordinator, Montana Autism Education Project
Secondary transition:



Age-appropriate Assessments:

Classic Autism

Aspergers



There is little quality research on Aspergers and employment.



Social Stories about accepting feedback and other job skills.


Scheduling App.

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Technology Central

Technology Central is designed to provide the autism community with the latest information, tools, and resources so that everyone can benefit from the great strides being made in the world of technology! Technology and Autism Webinar SeriesApps DatabaseSpotlight: Technology Resources of the MonthAutism Speaks Tech InitiativesAutismCares iPad GiveawaysFrequently Asked QuestionsNews and Information

 Click here for more. 

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Unusual iPad Apps for Communication

Tuesday, November 6, 2012 3 PM Pacific, 6 PM Eastern Some apps don't fit the usual text-based or image-based mold. Jen will be prepared to demonstrate: Talkforme Locabulary VocaBeans FCS Lite Expressionist iclickitalk AutoVerbal PIcs Aloud iPicto Lite EZspeech TalkRocket Registration required.

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

Flathead Valley Support Group Meeting

Kalispell Support Group MeetingThe next Kalispell Support Group meeting will be on Monday, October 22nd at Serious Ju Ju Skateworks at 1896 Airport Road in Kalispell. The meeting will be from 6:30pm to 8:30pm and is open to all parents, caregivers, professionals and kids. The indoor skate park will be available for use and movies will be played on a big screen to help entertain the kids. For more information, call Tim at (406) 257-8758.

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Kids With Autism Find It Hard to Describe Poor Behavior, Study Finds

It's difficult for children with autism to recognize improper social behavior and, even if they do, they are often unable to use spoken language to explain why the behavior was inappropriate, a small new study reveals. The findings from brain scans of children with autism support the results of previous behavior studies that reached similar conclusions about language impairment in children with autism, the researchers said.

 Click here to read more. 

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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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Saturday, October 6, 2012

Challenging Behaviors Tool Kit

Sometimes the difficulties of autism can lead to behaviors that are quite challenging for us to understand and address. Most individuals with autism will display challenging behaviors of some sort at some point in their lives. Autism Speaks has created this Challenging Behaviors Tool Kit to provide you with strategies and resources to address these behaviors, and to help support you and your loved one with autism during these difficult situations. The guiding principle used in developing this kit is that each individual with autism and his family should feel safe and supported, and live a healthy life filled with purpose, dignity, choices, and happiness. With this in mind, positive approaches and suggestions are highlighted throughout the kit. The general framework and intervention principles included are relevant at any stage of life, and we have included basic background information, with links to further information and resources on a variety of topics. Click here to download the Challenging Behaviors Tool Kit. The kit is broken into different sections. You may want to read the kit in its entirety or work through a section at a time: Why is Autism Associated with Aggressive and Challenging Behaviors? Why is it Important to Do Something about Challenging Behaviors? Who Can Help? What is this Idea of a Team? What are the Things to Consider? What are the Positive Strategies for Supporting Behavior Implementation? What Might I Need to Know about Managing a Crisis Situation? What are Long Term Solutions and Where Can Want to Learn More?

 Challenging Behaviors Glossary 

Source

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The Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) announces thepublication of practice guidelines for applied behavior analysistreatment of autism spectrum disorder.

The BACB is pleased to announce the publication of its new practice guidelines document: Health Plan Coverage of Applied Behavior Analysis Treatment for Autism Spectrum Disorder. The guidelines were developed to provide guidance to health plans, consumers, and providers so that individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder receive applied behavior analysis (ABA) treatment consistent with the best available scientific evidence and expert clinical opinion.

 Download here. 

source:

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Friday, October 5, 2012

How can technology help me?

If your are looking to... Then Try... ... enhance communication skills (verbal or non-verbal)... Talk Rocket myvoiceaac.com ... get help with reading, writing or math skills try... Panther Apps Search “Panther” in itunes ... help you follow a schedule or build a daily routine... iPrompts handholdadaptive.com ... connect and share with other parents/caregivers, or the autism community... My Autism Team myautismteam.comWrongplanet wrongplanet.netSquag squag.com ... help with social situations... The Social Express thesocialexpress.com ... provide structure and fun around family activities, chores, homework and more... Chorewars chorewars.com ... improve yourself, manage anxiety or achieve a specific goal...

 CLICK HERE TO READ MORE 

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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

Senses Altered For Those With Autism, Study Finds

People with autism perceive sight, sound and touch in extremely unpredictable ways, new research suggests, a finding that may help explain behaviors associated with the developmental disorder. In observing adults with and without autism as they experienced various sensory stimuli, researchers found that those with the disorder responded inconsistently even when they saw, heard or touched the exact same thing over and over again. “This suggests that there is something very fundamental that is altered in the cortical responses in individuals with autism,” said Marlene Behrmann, professor of psychology at Carnegie Mellon University who worked on the study published this month in the journal Neuron. “It also begins to build a bridge between the kind of genetic changes that might have given rise to autism in the first place – and the kind of changes in the brain that are responsible for autistic behavioral patterns.” For the study, researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging, or fMRI, to observe brain activity in 14 adults with and 14 without autism as they experienced various sensory stimuli. To measure sight, participants watched a pattern of moving dots while their auditory responses were tested by listening to pure tones and short air puffs were used to assess reactions to touch. While the typically developing adults in the study had fairly consistent reactions, those with autism displayed responses varying from strong to weak even when faced with the same stimuli repeatedly, researchers said. This unreliable view of the world may offer clues as to why people with autism exhibit certain behaviors, they said.

 Source.

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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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Monday, September 17, 2012

Webinars - Negotiating Personal Space with a Roommate

Leah Grantham delivered a wonderful presentation about considerations, thoughts and suggestions for living with a roomate or partner for peopel with Asperger's (as well as everyone else.)

 Here is a copy of the PowerPoint presentation you can download. 

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Sunday, September 16, 2012

I Broke: I'll Never Forgive Myself for Hitting My Autistic Son

I'm on the floor of the bathroom with my fingers in my ears. I'm not sure it was even necessary as I wouldn't be able to hear the cries of my child over the cries of my own. I'm crying so hard that my body has started to shake with exhaustion, and I'm sweaty from the exertion. In the other room Casey screams from his car seat that I ripped from the car to buckle him in because I did not know what else to do. He's safe. Safe from himself, and so much worse, safe from me. I hit him. I hit my six-year-old autistic son.

Read more:

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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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Monday, August 27, 2012

Adapting to the Social Campus - University of Montana

ASC is support for people transitioning to the University of Montana who have autism spectrum disorder, Asperger syndrome, or other social challenges. We provide: v An opportunity to walk your individualized schedule prior to classes. v Weekly time with peers (U of M Juniors or Seniors) to better understand and Adapt to the Social Campus. Some areas include: o Campus Safety o Understanding academic expectations o Shared living space o Problem solving opportunities o Self-Advocacy and when to disclose If interested, please contact Jennifer Closson 406-243-5261 or jennifer.closson@mso.umt.edu

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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Adaptive Reconciliation Kit

The Adaptive Reconciliation Kit was designed to help individuals with special needs enter fully into their faith experience, prepare for the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation, and use the materials from this kit throughout their lives so they may experience God’s healing through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. A presentation about the kit.

Click here to read more:

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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Autistic boy's alter ego on YouTube: Meet Doctor Mad Science

If you love kitchen counter science experiments like watching food coloring disperse magically in a bowl of milk, or creating your own lava lamp out of water, Alka-Seltzer and oil, then you need to know about the Doctor Mad Science YouTube channel. Doctor Mad Science is 10 years old. He's also autistic. He has also become a YouTube star after uploading 14 videos to his channel beginning one year ago. The videos, which include gems like "Alka-Seltzer Rocket" and "Foam Explosion," have been viewed more than 2.4 million times, and it's easy to understand why: my 4-year-old could watch these videos five times in a row, and the truth is so could I. Before beginning an experiment, Doctor Mad Science goes through a list of what you'll need to re-create the experiment at home, then he narrates what he is doing in a forceful and clipped style. One charming quirk: He almost always refers to water as H20. The videos are short and I haven't seen one that hasn't made me go "AWESOME!"

 Click here to read more. 

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Autism may be underdiagnosed in girls due to gender bias

A new study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry explores the differences in diagnostic characteristics of autism between boys and girls, suggesting a gender bias in which girls with "high-functioning" autism are under diagnosed. After comparing this data, the researchers found that the girls, rather than the boys, who met the criteria for ASD had a significantly higher prevalence of low intellectual levels and behavioral difficulties. This suggests that in lieu of behavioral and intellectual deficits, girls are less likely to be diagnosed with ASD than boys. This may be due to the fact that girls who meet some of the criteria for a diagnosis of "high-functioning" autism (those who did not demonstrate low intellectual levels or behavioral deficits) may possess better adaptive or compensatory skills, leading to the gender bias in diagnosis. Whether girls acquire such adaptive skills developmentally, or if this is a shortcoming of the diagnostic measures used for ASD, is unclear. However, if a gender bias does exist, and girls are being underdiagnosed in comparison to boys, this may mean that the current rates of autism diagnosis, currently at 1 in 88, is also biased as a result.

 Full article. 

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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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Missoula 2nd Sunday Caregiver Group

More:

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M-CHAT Online Test

.) The Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers (M-CHAT™) is a scientifically validated tool for screening children between 16 and 30 months of age to assess their risk for autism spectrum disorder (ASD). It was developed by neuropsychologists Diana Robins and Deborah Fein and clinical psychologist Marianne Barton. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that all children receive autism screening at 18 and 24 months of age, and the M-CHAT is one of the AAP’s recommended tools. Screen YourChild Now! The M-CHAT’s primary goal is to detect as many cases of ASD as possible. Therefore, there is a high false positive rate, meaning that many children who score at risk for ASD will not be diagnosed with ASD. To address this, the authors developed a structured M-CHAT Follow-up InterviewTM (downloadable here). Even with the follow-up questions, a significant number of children whose results show risk for ASD will not meet the diagnostic criteria on a more comprehensive evaluation by a specialist. Nonetheless, these children are at risk for a range of developmental disorders and delays and, therefore, should receive further evaluation. Conversely, a child should be referred for further evaluation any time a parent or professional has persistent concerns about autism, even if the child does not show ASD risk on the M-CHAT.

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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 30, 2012

Salivary enzyme, pupil size possible biomarkers for autism

Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have larger resting pupil size and generally steadier, higher levels of a salivary enzyme linked to the neurotransmitter norepinephrine, according to University of Kansas researchers. The levels of the enzyme, called salivary alpha-amylase (sAA), were lower than those of typically-developing children in samples taken in the afternoon in the lab. However, samples taken at home throughout the day showed that sAA levels were higher in general across the day and far less variable on children with ASD. “What this says is that the autonomic system of children with ASD is always on the same level,” Christa Anderson, assistant research professor, said. “They are in overdrive.”

 Click here to read more. 

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Questionnaire filled by parents may help assess autism risk.

31 percent of children identified as at risk for autism spectrum disorders (ASD) at 12 months received a confirmed diagnosis of ASD by age 3 years, a new study has revealed. In addition, 85 percent of the children found to be at risk for ASD based on results from the First Year Inventory (FYI), a 63-item questionnaire filled out by their parents, had some other developmental disability or concern by age three, said Grace Baranek, PhD, senior author of the study and an autism researcher with the Program for Early Autism, Research, Leadership and Service (PEARLS) in the Department of Allied Health Sciences at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. “These results indicate that an overwhelming majority of children who screen positive on the FYI indeed experience some delay in development by age three that may warrant early intervention,” she said.

 Click here to read more. 

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AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDERS: GUIDE TO EVIDENCE-BASED INTERVENTIONS

You can download the guide here. 

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Monday, July 23, 2012

Agricultural Commmunities for Adults with Autism

Agricultural Communities for Adults with Autism (ACAA) is a consortium of existing and in-formation organizations focused on sharing best practices and advocating for holistic, agricultural based employment and housing models for adults with autism.

See more here:

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When Words Hurt

When strangers are families say hurtful things about your child with autism, even if they don't mean to be hurtful, how do you respond? The attached article has suggested strategies from parents.

See more here:

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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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Why do (some) autistic kids struggle to recognise faces?

Faces are essentially very similar: two eyes above a nose and a mouth. Yet most people are really good at noticing subtle differences between faces, and interpreting accurately. This helps enormously with social interaction: we can tell who they are, if we know them, we can also tell if they are male or female, roughly what age they are, and what that person might be feeling.In autism, deficits processing facial expressions are widely acknowledged, but there is an increasing amount of evidence for impaired facial identity recognition from scientific studies as well as personal anecdotes.Several years ago I worked as an ABA therapist for a little girl, Clare (not her real name). She was profoundly autistic and her quirky ways and bounding energy made her popular with her classmates. Despite her popularity Clare was always getting the names of the other children mixed up. She was unconcerned by her mistakes and paid little attention to repeated corrections. But we were a little worried, figuring that after a while the other kids might be offended that she still couldn’t identify them. So, in an attempt to protect her social reputation, her mother took a photograph of each child and we Clare and I played various ‘who’s this?’ games. She did get better at naming the photographs. But I’m not sure she ever actually got better at naming the kids in real life.

source:

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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Webinar - Increasing Peer Interaction

July 25th, 6pm EDT / 5pm CDT With Bridget A. Taylor, Psy.D., BCBA-D Executive Director- Alpine Learning Group Senior Clinical Advisor - Rethink Autism In this webinar, we will discuss: Research-based interventions to increase peer interactions Skills to target to improve peer relationships Strategies to make play dates more effective Register now: Wednesday July 25th at 6 PM EDT / 5 PM CDT This webinar is free and open to everyone!

See more:

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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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Friday, July 13, 2012

Why Are Boys More Prone To Autism? It's In The Genes

Autism is much more prevalent in boys than in girls, and researchers now think they know why, according to a new study, published in the journal Human Molecular Genetics. Five rare gene mutations appear to increase the chances that a boy will develop autism, researchers said. Researchers found that mutations on the AFF2 gene, which resides on the X chromosome, increase the risk for autism. While both boys and girls have an X chromosome, girls have a second copy which can compensate for a faulty gene, while men only have one.

 Click here to read more. 

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Carly's Voice: Technology Bridges Autism

Carly Fleischmann was unable to communicate. Diagnosed with autism and related disorders by the age of two, she screamed, threw herself to the floor, smeared feces, moved constantly, and barely slept at night. An attentive family plus hours of daily therapy helped teach her rudiments like walking and feeding herself. Experts advised her parents to consider residential care. But one day during a therapy session when she was ten years old, Carly reached for the computer. Slowly, using one finger, she typed help teeth hurt. Her therapists were astonished. It took months and much coaxing to get her to use the computer again (at that time, an augmentative communication device). But she began to recognize that communication was essential. Technology made it possible.

 Click here to read more. 

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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

IACC/OARC ASD Research Publications Analysis: Pre-publication Draft

The Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) and the Office of Autism Research Coordination (OARC) in collaboration with Thomson Reuters, Inc. are pleased to announce the pre-publication release of the IACC/OARC Autism Spectrum Disorder Research Publications Analysis Report: The Global Landscape of Autism Research. (ZIP– 5 MB) This inaugural report describes several key aspects of worldwide ASD research publications, which can be used to inform planning and strategic funding decisions for future autism research. ASD-related research articles published between 1980 and 2010 were analyzed to identify historical trends and publication outputs across the seven critical research areas of the 2011 IACC Strategic Plan for Autism Spectrum Disorder Research. Information found in research publications was also used to assess the institutions conducting ASD research, funding organizations supporting the research publications, and the extent of collaboration between authors from different countries and research institutions. Additionally, measures such as citation counts were used as an assessment of the impact of this published research. By analyzing publications as a major output of the autism research field, this report complements the annual IACC Autism Spectrum Disorder Research Portfolio Analysis Report, which tracks major US inputs or investments into autism research, and highlights trends that can provide a useful perspective on the development and current state of ASD research. A finalized publication along with extended Web appendices will be available shortly.

 Click here to download. 

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Saturday, July 7, 2012

Autism Spectrum Disorder Reclassified: A Second Look at the 1980sUtah/UCLA Autism Epidemiologic Study

In the 1980′S a major epidemiological study was performed by UCLA researchers focused on the population of Utah. This resulted in six publications. One study, the prevalence paper, has now been revisited recently with results indicating that the broadening of autism criteria with the shift from DSM III to DSM IV had a major impact on prevalence. In particular, on the prevalence of individuals with lower IQ’s. Yes, the the DSM III missed a large number of individuals with low. IQ.

 Click here to read more.

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Thursday, June 28, 2012

iPad Apps for Behavior Tracking




Only a few iPad apps are designed specifically with board certified behavior analysts in mind, as of the date of publication. BehaviorTrackerPro, Skill Tracker Pro, Preference & Reinforcer, and Behavior Breakthroughs are among the highest-rated and most-downloaded from Apple’s iTunes Store.


BehaviorTrackerPro


BehaviorTrackerPro is an app designed for board certified behavior analysts who work with children with autism. The app supports an unlimited number of observers and children. Its features include optional video recording of behaviors and interventions, functional behavior assessments, full customization of included app behaviors, the ability to create your own behaviors, and the ability to upload intervention results and graphing data to a Team Portal where you can get assistance from other board certified behavior analysts. BehaviorTrackerPro is 5.1MB, costs around $30 and requires iOS 4.0 or later, as of the date of publication.


Skill Tracker Pro


Skill Tracker Pro is an app that fully automates Applied Behavioral Analysis instruction for autistic children. Like BehaviorTrackerPro, a board certified behavior analyst designed Skill Tracker Pro. The app features four skill data collection methods, including Cold Probe for Mands, Rate of Manding, Cold Probe for Skill and Trial by Trial Data Collection. Skill Tracker Pro lets you customize elements like the number of daily probes, individual targets and skills, and the number of correct responses per day. The app has a built-in skill library as well as the ability to let you design your own skills. Skill Tracker Pro is 1.7MB, costs around $30 and requires iOS 3.1.3 or later, as of the date of publication.


Preference & Reinforcer Assessment


Preference & Reinforcer Assessment lets board certified behavior analysts run paired choice preference assessments on an iPad, iPhone or iPod. The app’s features include descriptions of all preference assessments, a built-in timer and fully customizable colors. After assessments are run, Preference & Reinforcer Assessment analyzes the data collected and calculates relevant scores. Scores are presented on a bar graph. Preference & Reinforcer Assessment is 2.1MB, costs around $15 and requires iOS 3.0 or later, as of the date of publication.


Behavior Breakthroughs


Behavior Breakthroughs is an app that helps parents, behavior analysts and caregivers learn strategies that affect positive behavioral change in children. The app displays a 3-D child in a virtual environment and takes you through a training simulation that helps you learn how to effectively implement various behavioral strategies. The screen displays an “agitation meter” that shows how well your reinforcing skills are working with a child, based on proven clinical evidence. Behavior Breakthroughs is a free application that’s 16.2MB in size and requires iOS 4.0 or later, as of the date of publication.

Source

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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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Friday, June 22, 2012

Three New ATN Tool Kits

Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network (ATN) is pleased to announce the publication of three new tool kits for parents, available for free download on our website. They are: * ATN/AIR-P Parent’s Guide to Applied Behavior Analysis * ATN/AIR-P Introduction to Behavioral Health Treatments * ATN/AIR-P Parent’s Guide to Toilet Training in Autism All three tool kits are from the ATN, through its participation as the HRSA-funded Autism Intervention Research Network on Physical Health (AIR-P). The three new kits add to the growing catalogue available on the “Tools You Can Use” page of the Autism Speaks website. Developed by ATN/AIR-P experts, this series features practical advice for parents and practitioners working with children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). It also includes titles on sleep, medicine for challenging behaviors, blood work, visual supports and dental visits.

 Click here to download the tool kits.

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Thursday, June 21, 2012

For Young Children With Autism, Directing Attention Boosts Language

An intervention in which adults actively engaged the attention of preschool children with autism by pointing to toys and using other gestures to focus their attention results in a long term increase in language skills, according to researchers supported by the National Institutes of Health. At age 8, children with autism who received therapy centered on sharing attention and play when they were 3 or 4 years old had stronger vocabularies and more advanced language skills than did children who received standard therapy. All of the children in the study attended preschool for 30 hours each week. 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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Autism Quiz

Description Whether you know a little or a lot about autism, test your knowledge in one of our four challenging quizzes. Our "Beginner" quiz examines basic information about autism, from diagnostic criteria to common behavior patterns. For our readers with advanced autism knowledge, the "Advanced" quiz asks up-to-date questions about the latest advances in autism research.Perhaps you simply want to identify any misconceptions you have about autism spectrum disorders. In our true/false "Misconceptions" quiz, you can learn about autism issues that are commonly misunderstood in the community. Finally, review your familiarity with the latest autism news using our "In the News" quiz. You might just learn something new!

 More information here. 

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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Adults on the Autism Spectrum talk about the bleach "treatment."

When Emily Willingham started seeing tweets about the use of Miracle Mineral Solution to “treat” autism, she almost couldn’t stand to read about it. Miracle Mineral Solution (MMS), when prepared according to instructions, is chlorine dioxide, a chemical used in treating wastewater and in bleaching wood pulp for paper. It is an industrial-strength bleach. “I read the headlines and couldn’t stand to click,” said Dr. Willingham, who holds a Ph.D. in biology and is the science editor for The Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism. “I mean, the headlines say it all, and just reading them was painful. But finally, I read a thorough breakdown of the presentation at AutismOne that started this current brouhaha and the history of applying MMS–a.k.a. industrial-strength bleach solution — at Science-Based Medicine

.Click here to read more. 

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Apps for Autism: The Apps That Can Make A Difference And Why

Date: Tue, Jun 19, 2012 Time: 02:00 PM EDT Duration: 1 hour iPads are quickly becoming the “go-to” communications device for individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities. Popular for its features and apps, it offers dynamic and cost-effective tools to both children and adults with autism. Join our speakers as they discuss how iPods, iPads, & apps can be useful learning, therapeutic, and leisure tools for individuals!
 Register to learn more! 

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Thursday, June 7, 2012

Montana's Educational Criteria for Autism

10.16.3011 CRITERIA FOR IDENTIFICATION OF STUDENT AS HAVING AUTISM (1) The student may be identified as having autism if documentation supports the existence of a developmental disability that was generally evident before the student was three years of age and if the student has communication difficulties in verbal and nonverbal communication and social interaction. (2) Assessments shall document the presence of significant delays in verbal and nonverbal communication and social interaction. (a) Significant delays in verbal communication are manifested by at least one of the following: (i) delay in, or total lack of, the development of spoken language (not accompanied by an attempt to compensate through alternative modes of communication such as gesture or mime); (ii) in students with adequate speech, marked impairment in the ability to initiate or sustain a conversation with others. (b) Significant delays in nonverbal communication are manifested by a marked impairment in the use of multiple nonverbal behaviors such as eye to eye gaze, facial expression, body postures, or gestures to regulate social interaction. (c) Significant delays in social interaction are manifested by at least one of the following: (i) failure to develop peer relationships appropriate to developmental levels; (ii) lack of spontaneous seeking to share enjoyment, interests, or achievements with other people (e.g., lack of showing, bringing or pointing out objects of interest); (iii) lack of social or emotional reciprocity; (iv) lack of varied, spontaneous, make-believe play or social imitative play appropriate to developmental level. (3) Other characteristics often associated with autism may include restricted, repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behavior, interests and activities, as manifested by one or more of the following: (a) Encompassing preoccupation with one or more stereotyped and restricted patterns of interest that is abnormal either in intensity or focus; (b) Apparently inflexible adherence to specific nonfunctional routines or rituals; (c) Stereotyped and repetitive motor mannerisms (e.g., hand or finger flapping or twisting, or complex whole-body movements); (d) Persistent preoccupation with parts of objects. (4) A student who manifests the characteristics of autism after age three could be identified as having autism if the criteria in (2) and (3) are met. (5) The student may not be identified as having autism if the student's educational performance is adversely affected primarily because the student has an emotional disturbance. The criteria checklist is attached.

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Download file "Criteria for Autism OPI.doc"