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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Sensory Integration Therapies for Children With Developmental andBehavioral Disorders

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

 Source

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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

StateData: The National Report on Employment Services and Outcomes

Source

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

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Western MT Early Childhood Conference July 2012 SKC

June 16th, 2012 Salish Kootenai Campus:

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

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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Fevers during pregnancy linked to autism

Women who reported having had a fever during pregnancy were more likely to give birth to a baby who would later be diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder or a development delay, says a major new study. But the babies of women who treated their fevers with medication fared no worse than babies whose mothers recalled having suffered no fevers at all. The findings, wrote the authors, "suggest that anti-fever medication used to control fever during pregnancy can reduce or eliminate" the apparent link between maternal fever and autism.

 Click here to read more. 

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Autism Linked to Moms Who Smoke

Smoking moms are more likely to have a child with high-functioning autism, like Asperger’s Disorder, according to a new study by researchers involved in the US autism surveillance program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “It has long been known that autism is an umbrella term for a wide range of disorders that impair social and communication skills,” said Amy Kalkbrenner, assistant professor in the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Joseph J. Zilber School of Public Health, lead author. “What we are seeing is that some disorders on the autism spectrum, more than others, may be influenced by a factor such as whether a mother smokes during pregnancy.”

Click here to read more. 

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Webinar - Addressing Challenging Behavior in Children

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

 Click here to register. 

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Libraries and Autism

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

 Click here to read more. 

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Friday, May 18, 2012

The Incredible 5-Point Scale

Patricia Howlin, a researcher from the UK, once said that having autism must be like falling through Alice’s looking glass (from Alice in Wonderland), everything is chaotic and confusing. Nothing seems to make sense, not even our natural social order. A child on the autism spectrum may not understand that the teacher is the boss and he is not, and so be terribly frustrated that he does not get to make up any of the school rules. Such social confusion can easily lead to social stress, anxiety, and even aggressive behavior. We have learned that individuals with autism tend to work best when taught within visual and predictable routines. Simon Baron Cohen (in press) suggests that if individuals with ASD possess good systematizing skills, it may be possible to use those skills to compensate for difficulties in empathizing skills. This would imply that students with ASD may learn best using visual and predictable “systems”. Dr. Tony Attwood (2006) says that the more someone with ASD understands his or her emotions, the more able that person is to express them appropriately. The Incredible 5-point Scale (Buron & Curtis. 2003) introduces the use of a scale to teach social and emotional concepts to individuals who have difficulty learning such concepts, but who have a relative strength in learning systems. An example of learning a concept with a scale can be illustrated by a student who often talks too loud for the situation. Telling that person to “be quiet” or “use an inside voice” hasn’t changed the behavior. Using a scale to further break down the expectations might be helpful (figure one). The first step is to decide how you want to break down the concept. In this case, we broke volume down to illustrate silence all the way to screaming. Once you have created your scale, you can write a story for the student to explain the scale. You can then post the scale near the student’s desk or personal space. I recommend you review the schedule often when the student is calm and ready to learn. Do not wait until the person is upset or in the midst of screaming to teach.

 Click here to read more. 

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Next Stop, the Moving Memoir of an Autistic Adult

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

 Click here to read more. 

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Basic PECS in Billings - June 2012

Ours.

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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Infant Head Lag May Signal Autism

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

 Click here to read more. 

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Addressing Bullying in an IEP

Now that we have determined that Bullying is an IEP issue how do we address it in the IEP? Some strategies include: • Writing a safety plan, with the child’s input, that outlines what they should do if they are being bullied. At a minimum, this should include who they should report the incident to and where they should go. There should be more than one person and location to make sure there is always someone/someplace to go if the child needs help. It’s very important to develop this plan with the child’s input so they feel comfortable using it. • Having the child shadowed during unstructured times such as lunch, recess or classroom changes to ensure safety. • Educating the child that the bullying is not their fault; that they have the right to be educated in a safe environment. • Requesting new assessments to identify 1) the cause of the bullying, and 2) the effect the bullying is having on the child. This might include a social/emotional assessment, mental health assessment, recreation assessment or others. • Writing new goals in the IEP specific to the bullying. These goals could include coping strategies to utilize when the child is being bullied, educating the child on ways to identify bullying or helping to increase the child’s social skills. • Putting in place a structured routine during recess and lunch to limit interaction between the students involved. I have seen positive results in separating the class into play groups and giving each play group the choice of two areas to go during recess and lunch. As long as the children are in different areas it should limit their interaction and incidents of bullying. Since you are limiting the entire class, not just the child being bullied, it reduces their feeling that they are being punished even though they are the victim. • Putting in place additional services to accomplish the new goals. This could include social skills training, school counseling, educational related mental health services, training for school personnel and students, parent training and counseling and many others. When discussing these strategies and issues with the IEP Team, it’s important to note that it’s irrelevant whether the members of the Team agree that the child is being bullied. All that matters is that the child perceives that they are being bullied; therefore, it is affecting their ability to be educated. Try not to focus solely on what occurred but rather how do we help the child.

 Click here to read more. 

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A Special Needs Guide to Dental Hygiene

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

 Click here to read more. 

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Webinar - Transition to Employment: Evidence-based Policies andPractices

This webinar is a collaborative effort between AUCD's Council on Research and Evaluation (CORE) and the National Association of State Directors of Development Disabilities Services (NASDDDS). The webinar will focus on the following objectives: 1. Examine post-school employment outcomes for transition-age youth with intellectual disabilities, autism and other developmental disabilities;2. Gain an overview of recommended and promising practices that increase employment outcomes for students with significant intellectual and developmental disabilities;3. Discuss how research findings can be used to develop public policy to improve transition outcomes.

 Click here : 

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Youth with autism face barriers to employment and education after highschool

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

 Click here to read more. 

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Monday, May 7, 2012

Study Damps Fears on Autism Change

Proposed new diagnostic criteria for autism don't appear to reduce the number of children diagnosed with that condition, according to preliminary data presented at the American Psychiatric Association annual meeting on Sunday. Those findings could damp the controversy that has surrounded suggested changes to the main psychiatric diagnostic manual in the U.S., the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM, about how autism and related disorders that are characterized by social impairments and repetitive behavior are categorized.

 Click here to read more. 

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Transition to Adulthood Guidelines

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

 Click here to download the Guides. 

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Friday, May 4, 2012

Thursday, May 3, 2012

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

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

 Click here to read more. 

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Improving Family Involvement for Children & Youth with Autism SpectrumDisorders through the Combating Autism Act Initiative

Meeting Description: This webinar is the second of the Combating Autism Act Initiative (CAAI) webinar series, Research to Practice, and will highlight strategies to improve family involvement through the CAAI, specifically through training, research and systems development. The CAAI webinar series is designed to showcase successes of CAAI grantees, connect attendees to CAAI grantees, and highlight CAAI activities. The series runs from April through August 2012 and will replace the annual face-to-face CAAI conference. Webinars are targeted to CAAI grantees, but open to all.

 Click here: 

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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Introduction to Asperger's

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

 Free on iTunes.

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How Thinking People Read News About Science.

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

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

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


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

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

 Click here to read more. 

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What would you do?: How fellow diners react to a boy with autism

A family is hoping for a quiet, casual lunch outing at a local restaurant, not such an easy task when one of their children has autism. This is the scene set by ABC’s What would you do?. ABC brings in an actor who simulates a boy who has autism and the cameras wait to see what the surrounding diners will do.

 Click here to watch the video. 

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