Tuesday, January 31, 2012

By the Numbers: Autism Is Not a Math Problem

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

 Click here to read more. 


Saturday, January 28, 2012

New Study of Autism Caregivers and Adults with Autism

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

 Link to article Link to study 


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Talking things through in their head may aid children with autism

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more: 


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Study links autism, intestinal bacteria levels

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

 Article here:


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Urinal Etiquette

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

 Take the test.


70 Ways To Use An iPad In The Classroom

Click here to read.


Monday, January 9, 2012

Added - Treatment section of the ASD Video Glossary

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

 Click here to read more.


Cartoon improves empathetic skills of children with autism

Researchers have discovered that empathy can be taught to children by using a specially designed cartoon. The Transporters, a DVD created to help youngsters with autism and Asperger Syndrome to recognise emotions, was played to children with autism aged from four to seven years, every day for four weeks. The children's emotional vocabulary and recognition was gauged before and after the study, and they were found to have improved in all areas.The study, published by the British Psychological Society in the British Journal of Educational Psychology's Education Neuroscience monograph, was conducted by a team of psychologists including Professor Simon Baron-Cohen and Dr Emma Ashwin from the University of Cambridge, and Dr Ofer Golan, now at Bar-Ilan University.The Transporters series stars eight toy vehicles with actors' faces displaying emotions. The cast consists of two trams, two cable cars, a chain ferry, a coach, a funicular railway, and a tractor, all of which move on either tracks or cables. Children with autism prefer such vehicles to planes or cars that can move freely.

The Transporters


Portrait of an artist with Asperger's Syndrome

Medical advances mean increasing numbers of children are being diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, a form of autism. But what about the middle-aged men and women who grew up never knowing of the condition, but yetstill felt different to everyone else? Visual artist Michael Madore was diagnosed with Asperger's only a decade ago, and says his unconventional work and creativity helped him to cope both before and after he received the news

 Click here to watch the video.