Monday, December 29, 2014

Archived Webinar on Autism and GI/Nutrition Issues

Please join speaker Dr. Timothy Buie, Director of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, Lurie Center for Autism; Massachusetts General Hospital for Children and Harvard Medical School for a free one hour presentation on the recognition and management of GI and nutritional issues in children with ASD. 

Recognize the prevalence of GI issues in children with ASD and how these issues may be identified.

Describe the most commonly occurring GI symptoms and potential nutritional deficits in children with ASD. 

Discuss assessment needs and management strategies for children with ASD and GI and/or nutrition issues. 

Identify 2 ways in which amino acid-based formula/semi-solid food may be indicated for children with ASD with GI and/or nutrition issues.

View the archived webinar here.

30

Masculine features support extreme male brain theory of autism spectrum disorder

Recent research from Bangor University has revealed a new spin to a long-standing theory of autistic spectrum disorder (ASD). They created two sets of composite images made up of the facial appearance of individuals scoring high and low for symptoms of ASD. When these images were rated they found males with more symptoms of ASD to be rated as more masculine in appearance.

The 'extreme male brain' theory proposed by Simon Baron-Cohen, speculates that ASD is a consequence of elevated pre-natal testosterone levels. In a study recently published in the journal, Clinical Psychological Science, Naomi Scott and colleagues at Bangor University's School of Psychology investigated the possible implications this has for a physical appearance associated with ASD. 

This finding not only lends support to Baron-Cohen's theory but also connects physical traits and behaviour through hormonal effects. The implications of this are two-fold; firstly from a clinical perspective they demonstrate the existence of facial traitsassociated with ASD that are identifiable by untrained observers - that males with ASD are hyper-masculine in facial appearance. Second are social consequences of these perceptions. Highly masculine males are perceived to be dominant and aggressive, characteristics not in tune with the classic perception of individuals with ASD.

Read more here.

30

Friday, December 26, 2014

What is it about autism and trains?

Trains certainly seem to be a popular topic for the children we see in our autism clinic. I see several probable reasons for the wide appeal among individuals on the autism spectrum – regardless of their ages. First, trains have wheels, and this will appeal to those whose sensory interests include watching objects spin. This is certainly common among children with autism. In fact, spending an extraordinary amount of time spinning and rotating toys is among the signs that a toddler may be at increased risk of going on to be develop autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Second, trains can be categorized into different models, types, sizes, etc.

 Read more here. 

31

Teen Transition

In the last full IACC meeting, Prof. Burton-Hoyle gave a presentation on the “Teen Transition”. She presents on the program to support autistics at Eastern Michigan University. The program seems like an excellent support system for autistics in college.

 Watch the video here. 

31

Top Ten Autism Research Stories of 2014

Take a look back at the year’s “Top Ten” stories in autism research, based on readership and social media shares. #10 Autism and GI Disorders: Largest-Ever Analysis Confirms Strong LinkThe first meta-analysis of all peer-reviewed research on autism and gastrointestinal conditions showed that children with autism have four times the rate of GI problems as do other children. At the forefront of this research, Autism Speaks launched an unprecedented initiative funding major investigations into autism’s gut-brain connection. #9 Autism ‘Baby Sibs’ Study Identifies Another Early Red FlagResearchers with the Autism Speaks Baby Sibling Research Consortium used eye-tracking technology to discover that babies who begin showing decreased interest in facial expressions at 8 months go on to develop more-severe autism symptoms by age 3. The authors expressed hope that this early red flag signaled an important window of opportunity for early intervention that improves outcomes.

 Read more here. 

31

New Findings on Autism and Preeclampsia

A new study finds that the mothers of children with autism are more than twice as likely as other moms to have had preeclampsia, which involves high blood pressure during late pregnancy. Preeclampsia also increased the likelihood that a child’s autism would be complicated by intellectual disability.

 Read more here. 

31

10 Things to Know About the ABLE Act

1. Briefly explain the ABLE Act and why it is so important? The ABLE Act allows people with disabilities and their families to set up a special savings account for disability-related expenses. Earnings on an ABLE account would not be taxed, and account funds would generally not be considered for the supplemental security income (SSI) program, Medicaid, and other federal means-tested benefits. 2. How does this differ from current law? Current law makes savings for disability-related expenses difficult. Individuals and families can face the loss of federal benefits if savings exceed certain limits. 3. Once signed into law by President Obama, how soon would people be able to set-up ABLE accounts? Possibly in 2015. Before accounts can be set up, regulations will have to be written and ABLE programs established in states.

 Read more here. 

31

Autism associated with air pollution exposure during pregnancy

1. Exposure to small particle air pollution during pregnancy was associated with a dose-dependent increased risk of childhood autism. 2. The association was greatest for exposure during the third trimester. Evidence Rating Level: 3 (Average) Study Rundown: The diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has increased in prevalence in recent years from a rate of one in 2000 children (0.05%) in the 1970s to an estimated one in 150 children (0.67%) today. The cause of this increase has been a topic of debate, with some attributing the increase to a rise in awareness, others arguing there has been an objective increase in cases and most experts fall somewhere in between. Regardless, rates of autism in the United States country are high. While the cause of autism remains unclear, it is generally believed that both genetics and environmental exposures play a role. Air pollution contains a number of toxins that have been associated with fetal neurotoxicity and several studies have identified associations with living closer to a freeway, being exposed to diesel particulate matter and certain metals and an increased odds of having a child with autism. In this study, the largest to date, researchers assessed rates of autism and air pollution at specific time periods before, during and after pregnancy. Women exposed to the highest levels of fine particulate air pollution during pregnancy were two times more likely to have a child with autism than those exposed to the lowest amount. This association was greatest during the third trimester. Strengths of this study included a large, well-defined cohort and exposure ascertainment at multiple time periods both during and outside of pregnancy. Results were limited by recall bias, as all data were self-reported. Additionally, all participants were nurses, a group with above-average medical literacy such that findings may not be generalizable to the greater public. Prospective investigation including objective measures of environmental exposure (e.g. urine samples) is merited.

 Source 

31

Archived Webinar - Girls under the Umbrella of ASD Part 1: Diagnosisand Gender Differences

Girls and women with ASD are often underdiagnosed and lack effective comprehensive services to establish and maintain a quality of life. During this webcast, Dr. Lori Ernsperger will highlight the core gender differences between males and females with ASD. The focus of this webcast will be to review the current research and findings on girls and women with ASD and provide recommendations for future research. It is free for those who choose Virginia as their state of residence.

View webinar here: 

31

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Look At Me app to help children with autism in communicating

The app has fun interactive missions that make use of the smartphone's camera function so the children learn how to remember faces, analyze what kind of mood is being experienced by the person they're looking at, and even take pictures of themselves expressing these emotions. It also has a points and rewards system to encourage them to use the app and participate more.

 Read more here.

31

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

A Guide to Safety - Organization for Autism Research

A Guide to Safety was written by parents, first responders, educators, and community members who share their strategies and resources to address safety threats that commonly arise during childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. This tool will educate parents about how to prevent and mitigate emergency events, safety threats that may affect their child in the future, and how to teach safety habits that will build a foundation for safety in adulthood. A Guide to Safety covers a range of topics, including: Safety network development Prevention and management of wandering and elopement behaviors Relationship, physical, and sexual safety discussions Strategies to address bullying and online threats Tips on money and workplace safety It also includes sample identification documents, advice from an adult self-advocate, evidence-based safety skills lesson plans, and more.

 Download or order the guide here. 

31

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Brain inflammation a hallmark of autism: study

While many combinations of genetic traits can cause autism, the disorder is related to inflammation in the brain, according to a new study that may pave the way for new treatments. An analysis of data from autopsied human brains shows that brains affected by autism share a pattern of ramped-up immune responses. "There are many different ways of getting autism, but we found that they all have the same downstream effect," said Dan Arking, from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

 Read more here. 

31

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Explaining the Increase in the Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorders

Results For Danish children born during the study period, 33% (95% CI, 0%-70%) of the increase in reported ASD prevalence could be explained by the change in diagnostic criteria alone; 42% (95% CI, 14%-69%), by the inclusion of outpatient contacts alone; and 60% (95% CI, 33%-87%), by the change in diagnostic criteria and the inclusion of outpatient contacts. Conclusions and Relevance Changes in reporting practices can account for most (60%) of the increase in the observed prevalence of ASDs in children born from 1980 through 1991 in Denmark. Hence, the study supports the argument that the apparent increase in ASDs in recent years is in large part attributable to changes in reporting practices.

 Read more here. 

31

Signs of Autism Infographic

Source. 

31

Monday, December 1, 2014

75 Quick "On the Spot" Techniques for Children with Emotional and Behavioral Problems




The Montana Autism Education Project is delighted to bring Dr. Steve Olivas back to Montana. He has presented before at the Montana CEC Conference and MBI conference to rave reviews.
This workshop is not just for educators of students with autism spectrum disorder but is for anyone who works with children.

The Workshop will be held February 11, 2016 from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm at the Hampton Inn, Kalispell.

And previously on . . . 

Great Falls – December 2nd, 2014

Missoula – December 3rd, 2014'

* There are a limited number of travel scholarships available for public school paraeducators, special education teachers and SLPs in CSPD regions I and III who are traveling over 75 miles to attend this workshop. Please contact Doug Doty, ddoty@mt.gov for further information.
WORKSHOP OBJECTIVES
Utilize 75 effective, proven techniques for individually treating children with behavior problems.
  • Identify simple, teachable tools and strategies specific for parents and teachers.
  • List different medication categories and explain potential effects and side-effects.
  • Explain differential diagnostics regarding acting-out disorders such as anxiety, ADHD, bipolarity, oppositional defiance, conduct disorder and depression.
  • Develop skills for building a therapeutic relationship with difficult children and teens.
  • Describe a spectrum of interventions representing many major theoretical orientations.
This is a just a link for future use.

Saturday, November 29, 2014


31

Webinar - Title: Part 1 of 2 ECT (Environmental Communication Teaching)Strategies for Implementation

December 10, 2014 11:00am CST - 60 minutes Description: ECT is a researched-based classroom intervention strategy for teams who serve students who struggle with expressive communication. It is appropriate for special and regular education settings as well as in preschool settings. It is appropriate for identified students who have high-tech and low-tech communication systems but who have not begun to implement them in school settings. It is not an AAC assessment training. This is not a pull-out therapy model. It is an implementation planning strategy for symbolic communicators. Part 1 will be a training on the basics of ECT and the common solutions to classroom communication that it can provide. Participants will go through the process of identifying “ECT” students and looking at classroom activities and the type of communication opportunity it provides to the nonspeaking student. Examples through information and video will be used to develop an understanding of communicative requirements of educational, vocational, and community activities. Cost: FREE Learn More or Register Now 

31

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Parent Seeks Advice: Child with Autism Eats Only Candy & Chips

Ten strategies to try at homeAs for ideas to try at home, I have ten strategies to share. But first, take a deep breath and remember that change will take place in small increments. I want you to give yourself at least a full month to consistently try the following strategies for helping your daughter become more comfortable around a broader range of healthy food: 1. At every meal and snack time, offer a protein, vegetable or fruit, and a starch along with a small amount of her favorite chips. This may sound like a lot. But when a child is struggling with eating, we want to use every opportunity to provide a variety of nutritious options. Offer smaller quantities during snack time, but still offer options. If your child doesn’t eat her lunch, you will feel better knowing that she will have a full range of snack options coming up. And those familiar chips? They can give your daughter the signal that it’s okay to start eating. They will also encourage her to come to the table and sit with you.

 Read more about eating here.

31

Monday, November 10, 2014

Archived Webinar - Autism & Sexuality: Let's talk about it Pt.1

Practical approaches to teaching sexuality to individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder. This video emphasizes the approach to take with individuals who are non-verbal and/or are more severely affected by ASD.

 Watch the video here. 

31

Saturday, November 8, 2014

The Kids Who Beat Autism

At first, everything about L.'s baby boy seemed normal. He met every developmental milestone and delighted in every discovery. But at around 12 months, B. seemed to regress, and by age 2, he had fully retreated into his own world. He no longer made eye contact, no longer seemed to hear, no longer seemed to understand the random words he sometimes spoke. His easygoing manner gave way to tantrums and head-banging. “He had been this happy, happy little guy,” L. said. “All of a sudden, he was just fading away, falling apart. I can’t even describe my sadness. It was unbearable.” More than anything in the world, L. wanted her warm and exuberant boy back.

 Read more here. 

31

Friday, November 7, 2014

Study provides answers regarding scientific controversies about brainanatomy in autism research

Brain anatomy in MRI scans of people with autism above age six is mostly indistinguishable from that of typically developing individuals and, therefore, of little clinical or scientific value In the largest MRI study to date, researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and Carnegie Mellon University have shown that the brain anatomy in MRI scans of people with autism above age six is mostly indistinguishable from that of typically developing individuals and, therefore, of little clinical or scientific value. The researchers used data from the Autism Brain Imaging Data Exchange (ABIDE), which provides an unprecedented opportunity to conduct large-scale comparisons of anatomical MRI scans across autism and control groups and resolve many outstanding questions. This recently- released database is a worldwide collection of MRI scans from over 1,000 individuals (half with autism and half controls) ages six to 35 years old. "In the study we performed very detailed anatomical examinations of the scans, which included dividing each brain into over 180 regions of interest and assessing multiple anatomical measures such as the volume, surface area and thickness of each region," Dinstein explains. The researchers then examined how the autism and control groups differed with respect to each region and also with respect to groups of regions using more complex analyses. "The most striking finding here was that anatomical differences within both the control group and the autistic group was immense and greatly overshadowed minute differences between the two groups," Dinstein explains. "For example, individuals in the control group differ by 80 to 90 percent in their brain volumes, while differences in brain volume across autism and control groups differed by two to three percent at most. This led us to the conclusion that anatomical measures of brain volume or surface areas do not offer much information regarding the underlying mechanism or pathology of Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD)," he states. "These sobering results suggest that autism is not a disorder that is associated with specific anatomical pathology and as a result, anatomical measures alone are likely to be of low scientific and clinical significance for identifying children, adolescents and adults with ASD, or for elucidating their neuropathology.

 Read more here. 

31

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Resources: Autism Technology

From the Virginia Commonwealth University Autism Center for Excellence Briefs Using a Handheld Computer as a Cognitive-Behavioral Tool Android Technology Fast Facts Video Modeling using iPod Touch, iPad or other Tablets Getting Organized Apple Apps Resource Guide Apple and Android Apps for the Support of People with Autism Videos - Video Demonstrations of Technology Strategies for Video Modeling with iPods and iPadsTony Gentry, PhD OTR/L Now that iPod Touches and Tablet computers have onboard video cameras, it can be easy to build videos to assist with wayfinding, social cueing, task sequencing and behavioral prompting. This video introduces strategies for using video modeling for each of these purposes. Promising Apps for Handheld DevicesTony Gentry, PhD OTR/L This video introduces a variety of apps that can help turn your ipod touch or ipad into a versatile cognitive-behavioral support tool. We look at apps for reminders, task-sequencing, homework, healthy living, behavior management and more. Inexpensive Apps for Augmentative CommunicationTony Gentry, PhD OTR/L Speech production apps offer affordable new opportunities for augmentative communication efforts. This video compares six apps - Tap-to-Talk, Talk Assist, Voice4u, Speak It!, Baldi and Talking Tom Cat - and discusses strategies for using them successfully. Reminder Apps for the iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and iPad2Tony Gentry, PhD OTR/L Reminder alarms on handheld devices can be powerful tools for people with cognitive challenges helping them plan their day, take control of their activities, manage their task, and stay aware of time, switching tasks as needed. Archived Webcasts Smartphones, iPads and Tablet PCs as Cognitive-Behavioral Aids in Autism Smartphones, PDAs, iPads, and tablet computers can be powerful tools for managing cognitive-behavioral challenges experienced by people with autism. They can be easily customized to support just-in-time activity cueing, task-sequencing, wayfinding, communication assistance and behavioral coaching, among other uses. This presentation examines consumer platforms, applications and strategies for implementing individualized cognitive-behavioral suites, providing real life case studies, practical examples and outcome measures to assure success. Assistive Technology for Cognition on FacebookAssistive Technology (AT) can be used to manage cognitive-behavioral challenges experienced by people with autism. It can be easily customized to support activity cueing, task-sequencing, wayfinding, communication assistance and behavioral coaching, among other uses. Join Dr. Gentry on Facebook to learn about, discuss and share AT tools that are effective with individuals with ASD.

archived webcasts:

31

Monday, October 27, 2014

A Trip to the Dentist Can Be a Positive Experience

With support from Autism Speaks’ Autism Treatment Network (ATN), we created Treating Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders: An ATN/AIR-P Tool Kit for Dental Professionals. It is designed to help dental professionals like myself understand autism and work with parents to help make office visits successful. I often use the recommendations in the tool kit in my own practice. Also see Dr. Shick’s Autism Speaks “Got Questions?” blog post – “Is It Safe to Sedate our Son during his Dental Appointment?” – and “For Children with Autism: Opening the Door to Dental Care,”

More here:

31

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Helping Pediatricians Improve Treatment of Autism-Related Constipation







1. Families should take the lead in establishing treatment goals. ?or one family, goals might include their child being able to make a bowel movement without pain,?Cole explained. ?or another, it might include having more than one bowel movement a week or having a child take his constipation medicine without a fight.?lt;/p>

2. Move from physician-led to team-based care. Treatment of chronic constipation should involve as many of the patient? caregivers as possible. In addition to parents and doctors, this can include nurses, behavioral therapists, daycare staff, behavioral therapists, etc.

3. Emphasize problem-solving over prescriptions. ?ften the solutions to a chronic problem like constipation involve more education and problem-solving than medicine,?Cole said. The investigators made use of Autism Speaks?ATN/AIR-P Guide for Managing Constipation. ?e gave copies to families and sent them to their primary care providers to help them understand what we were doing,?Cole explained.

Read more here.

31





More Research Links Autism to Prenatal Exposure to Air Pollution

A new study adds to the growing body of evidence linking autism to air-pollution exposure during late pregnancy. In particular, the researchers looked at exposure to particulate matter – the kind of pollution associated with traffic. The findings, by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, appear this week in the journal Epidemiology. In all, the investigators analyzed recordings of particulate levels near the homes of 77,500 children in North Carolina and 87,000 children in California. The measurements began before conception and continued, every three weeks, through pregnancy and the child’s first year of life. The researchers then compared the timing and level of pollution exposure for around 1,000 children who went on to develop autism with that of the other children in the study. Effect strongest in third trimester

 Read more here

31.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Study: Autism Therapy Produces Greatest Gains When Started Before Age 2

A new study provides further evidence that earlier intervention for autism increases the likelihood that a child will make significant gains in social and communication skills. The report appears in the journal Research in Developmental Disabilities. In the study, researchers at The New England Center for Children enrolled 83 toddlers diagnosed with autism in the school’s Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention program. The program, based on the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), provided 20 to 30 hours of one-on-one therapy each week. The children were between 1 and 3 years old at the time they began therapy. After one year of intervention, testing showed gains in social and communication skills across all age groups. These skills included sharing attention with another person, interactive play, imitation and language. To gauge the extent of these gains, the researchers compared each child’s skill levels at the end of the year to both the child’s skill level on entering the program and the skills of an age-matched comparison group of 58 typically developing children. While all age groups showed improvements, a much larger percentage of the youngest participants made significant gains in skills during the year of therapy. * Among the toddlers who entered the therapy program before their second birthday, 90 percent (11 out of 12 children) made significant gains. * This was true of 70 percent (26 of 36) of those who began therapy between 24 and 29 months of age. * By contrast, only 30 percent of the children who entered therapy after 30 months of age (11 out of 35) made significant gains across the year.

Read more here. 

31

Friday, October 17, 2014

Siblings of children with autism can show signs at 18 months

About 20% of younger siblings of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) will develop the condition by age 3. A new study by Yale School of Medicine researchers has found that 57% of these younger siblings who later develop the condition already showed symptoms at age 18 months. Chawarska said what was most interesting to the research team was that different patterns of behaviors at 18 months may be predictive of ASD later on. In about 50% of siblings, a combination of poor eye contact and lack of communicative gestures or imaginative play is most strongly associated with later ASD diagnosis. In a small percentage of those later diagnosed with ASD, eye contact may be relatively normal, but they begin to display early signs of repetitive behaviors and have limited non-verbal communication skills. “So not only do the behavioral symptoms appear at different ages, but different combinations of early symptoms may predict the diagnostic outcome,” Chawarska added. “Linking these developmental dynamics with underlying neurobiology may advance our understanding of causes of ASD and further efforts to personalize treatment for ASD by tailoring it to specific clinical profiles and their developmental dynamics.”

 Read more here. 

31

Parent Training Shows Promise For Kids With Autism

Monthly home visits to teach parents how to best work with their children with autism can go a long way toward improving kids’ interactions, researchers say. Over the course of a year, children whose families received monthly three-hour visits from a specialist showed greater gains in attention and initiation skills as compared to other kids on the spectrum, according to findings published this month in the Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics. Parents who received the extra help were also more effectively able to engage with their child, the study found.

 Read more here. 

31

Emerging Evidence Shows How Computer Messaging Helps Autistic AdultsCommunicate

Today, Aske Plaat at Leiden University in the Netherlands and a few pals say they have carried out just such a study. These guys have compared the computer-based communication patterns of over 100 high-functioning adults with autism against a control group of around 70 individuals without autism. And their findings provide a fascinating insight, not only into the way in which technology can help autistic individuals, but into their levels of life satisfaction as a result. Plaat and co begin by recruiting volunteers for both groups and asking them to fill out a number of questionnaires about the way they use the Internet and various computer-based forms of communication. They also asked individuals to fill in a standard questionnaire about their well-being and a standard test that measures their degree of autism. They also collected basic details about their sex, age, occupation, whether single or in a relationship, and so on. Finally, they mined the resulting data looking for interesting correlations. The results show clear differences between the groups. Plaat and co say that people in the autistic group tended to use computer-based communication just as much or more than the control group and tend to appreciate it more and in different ways. They also have more online friends on average than the control group. To find out why, the team simply asked people in both groups about their preferences. One advantage for the autistic group is that te slower pace of text, e-mails and the like reduces the need for an immediate response and gives people more time to think. The control group also say that time flexibility is an advantage of computer-based communication but for a different reason. In this case, the advantage is mainly convenience: being able to reply in one’s own time. “All in all, people with autistic spectrum conditions name and value advantages that help to mitigate their autistic impairments, while for controls aspects of convenience seem more relevant,” say Plaat and co. The team also says that the relationship between computer-based communication and well-being is significant as well. “People with autistic spectrum conditions are relatively satisfied with their online social life; more so than with their social life and their life in general,” say Plaat and co. “They still do not reach the level of satisfaction of controls, but the difference is smaller than in the other aspects of life, and on average, they are on the positive end on the scale.”

 Read more here. 

31

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Autism may be predicted by overgrowth

Researchers have identified another factor in the development of autism spectrum disorder: body overgrowth in early childhood. The study, published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, found that boys with autism developed significantly larger heads and longer, heavier bodies than their normally developing peers in the first two years after birth. These effects were not significant in girls. When the autistic children were tested at four years old for verbal and nonverbal skills, large body size and overgrowth in the postnatal period correlated with lower performance. Lead author and associate professor in the Yale Child Study Center Katarzyna Chawarska said these growth patterns might help in autism diagnosis. “I believe that somatic overgrowth might be an early marker of less optimal outcomes in ASD [Autism Spectrum Disorder], as atypical growth features in the first two years of life were associated with more severe symptoms one to two years later as well as lower levels of verbal and cognitive functioning,” she said.

 Read more here.

31

Studies confirm Autism diagnosis low in Israeli populations

A study recently conducted by child psychologist, developmental specialist and chairmen of the Israeli Association of Child Development and Rehabilitation Dr. Mitchell Shertz showed that autism is less common in ultra-Orthodox and Arab communities. The study looked at Meuhedet health maintenance organizations data of 450,000 children up to age 18 and found that there was only 2.5 cases per 1,000 children for ultra-Orthodox populations, and only 3 cases per 1,000 children in Arab populations. Secular and nations with one primary faith had autism in 5.5 to 9 children per 1,000.

Read more here. 

31

Community-based Skills Assessment (CSA): Developing a PersonalizedTransition Plan!

The CSA is the first tool to assess needs in the area of community-based living, from transportation to financial management to peer relationships and more. The tool is divided into three levels based upon the age of the individual being assessed. Eight critical areas of functional life skills will be assessed: Career path and employment Self-determination/advocacy Health and safety Peer relationships, socialization and social communication Community participation and personal finance Transportation Leisure/recreation Home living skills The assessment uses both a criterion-based observation and interview-based process to measure the individual's knowledge, skills and behaviors. Click here to read the introduction and learn more about the CSA. You can also read all about how it works here! 

 Download the Community-based Skills Assessment here

 See more at:

31

Thursday, October 9, 2014

What You Need To Know About Working With Colleagues On The AutismSpectrum

The new guy in the office is loud and aggressive. He can’t read social cues, won’t wait his turn in meetings, and talks obsessively about the same things every day – but sometimes shares extraordinary insights. You may wonder: how can you form a good working relationship with someone who’s such a puzzling combination of brilliant, wooden, stand-offish, and just plain different? Here are some strategies that individuals can use to build better relationships with colleagues on the spectrum.

 Read more here. 

31

Impaired Prediction Ability May Be Behind Autism

The brain is a biological machine that makes predictions. But what happens when a wrench is thrown in the works, and jams up the ability to foresee the trajectory of a moving object, or what happens after a frown? Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology believe such a wrench lies at the core of autism, a disorder with widely disparate symptoms that strike with varied intensity. Social and language deficits, repetitive behavior, hypersensitivity to stimuli and other symptoms may be manifestations of an impaired ability to predict the behavior of the outside world, according to an analysis published online Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. An impairment in the ability to place stimuli in context with what came before and after them leaves people with autism struggling with a seemingly capricious world that makes excruciating demands on their attention, according to the report. “We sometimes affectionately call this the magical world theory of autism,” said MIT neuroscientist Pawan Sinha, lead author of the study. “The hallmark of a magical performance is the surprise, the unpredictability of the outcome. … Although for a brief period of time, a magic show might be pleasurable, if one is constantly immersed in that kind of a magical world, one can begin to get overwhelmed.”

 Read more here. 

31

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Birth weight links autism, schizophrenia

The theory that schizophrenia and autism are opposing ends of a neurological continuum recently found support in a group of 1.7 million Danish babies. With this sample, Yale professor of ecology and evolutionary biology Stephen Stearns and two colleagues from the University of Copenhagen sought to understand how the struggle between maternal and paternal genes during development might manifest in neuropsychiatric disorders. Their results show that babies with lower than average birth weights have a higher risk of developing schizophrenia and a lower risk of developing autism, while babies with greater than average birth weights have a higher risk of developing autism and a lower risk of developing schizophrenia. While the finding cannot yet be used clinically for diagnosis, the discovery provides supporting evidence for the importance of the balance between parental genetic interests in utero, Stearns said.

 Read more here.

31

Brain differences in autistic males with early language delay

To conduct their study, the research team studied 80 adult men with autism - 38 of whom had delayed language onset - who were part of the Medical Research Council Autism Imaging Multicentre Study (AIMS). Delayed language onset occurs when a child's first meaningful words come out after 24 months of age, or when their first phrase occurs after 33 months. In the men who had delayed language onset, the researchers found that certain key regions of the brain had smaller volumes, including the temporal lobe, insula and ventral basal ganglia. Additionally, these men also had larger brainstem structures, compared with those who did not have delayed language onset. The team also observed a link between current language function and a specific pattern of grey and white matter volume changes in key brain regions, including the temporal, frontal and cerebellar structures. Dr. Lai says their study shows how the brains of autistic men differs, based on early language development and current language function, adding that this "suggests there are potentially long-lasting effects of delayed language onset on the brain in autism." However, when asked about whether their observations could suggest cause or effect, Dr. Lai told Medical News Today: "This is a correlation study of childhood development history to current neuroanatomy in adulthood so cannot directly test for causal relationship, which requires longitudinal dataset followed up from early childhood. We have not conducted studies in relation to this aspect now but are aware of longitudinal projects that may be potentially able to address this and related questions."

 Read more here. 

31

Monday, September 22, 2014

Webinar - AT for Common Core College and Career Readiness for Studentswith Significant Cognitive Disabilities Part 3: Independent Work Skillsand Social Skills

November 6, 2014 6:30pm CST - 60 minutes Description: In its inception, Special Education was never meant to be separate. It was intended to provide students the supports they need to be as successful as possible. This thought process includes independent work skills and social skills. This workshop will explore what kinds of strategies and supports that AT can afford a student in natural environments related to learning.

 Register here.

31

Friday, September 19, 2014

OAR'S "AUTISM SIBLING SUPPORT" INITIATIVE



Brothers, Sisters and Autism: A Parent? Guide addresses a number of topics, such as explaining autism to your other children, and helping siblings as they deal with a wide range of tough feelings. This easy-to-use document includes a clickable directory, so parents don? have to scroll through all of the information to find a section that? especially relevant to what their family is currently experiencing.














For more sibling-related thoughts and advice, check out Say Hello, Yellow! This regularly updated blog is written by a mother-daughter duo who draw upon personal and professional experience to cover range of topics of related to families of people with disabilities (including autism) ?from the fun to the frustrating.


Life as an Autism Sibling: A Guide for Teens is a handbook for teenage (and even pre-teen) siblings, offering guidance on how to productively address the challenges that can arise from having a brother or sister with autism. The resource covers a variety of topics; from explaining autism to friends and peers, to coping with a family dynamic that? different from what friends may experience. It also features testimonials from other teenage and young adult siblings who have ?een there, done that.?lt;/p>







Autism, My Sibling, and Me is a fun and engaging workbook for young children between the ages of 5 and 10. A host of colorful cartoon characters accompany these siblings as they learn about what autism means for their brother or sister ?and deal with potentially stressful issues. Through fun activities and supportive content, this resource also helps children work through any autism-related questions and concerns they may have.











31




Wednesday, September 17, 2014

New clues connect altered patterns of DNA tags to autism

Two new studies reveal changes in DNA methylation, a subtype of epigenetic modification, in autism and explore theories about where such alterations originate, whether in the womb or in sperm prior to fertilization. The first, published 2 September in Translational Psychiatry, shows that methyl groups are distributed differently in postmortem brains from people with autism than in control brains. Other studies have found altered methylation patterns in postmortem brains from people with autism, as well in their blood and cheek cells. The new study finds evidence of changes in new brain regions and genes. The researchers looked at methylation in the postmortem brains of 13 people who had autism and 12 controls. They focused on two regions in the cortex associated with atypical activity in people with autism: the prefrontal cortex and the anterior cingulate gyrus. Methylation patterns in these two regions look dramatically more similar to each other in autism brains than in control brains. This may be because the regions do not fully differentiate in autism brains, the researchers say. This finding fits with a 2011 survey of gene expression, which similarly showed fewer differences in expression patterns between brain regions in the postmortem brains of people with autism.

 Read more here. 

31

Friday, April 18, 2014


31

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Transition Resources

Casey Life Skills is a free practice tool and framework that assesses independent living skills and provides results instantly. Independent Living Skills Assessment Communication Assessment for Parents & Professionals An easy to use assessment instrument designed for individuals of all ages who function at the earliest stages of communication and who use any form of communication.

More here: 

31

Supporting Functional Communication in High School

This Autism at-a-Glance was designed to support high school staff and family members in understanding and improving the communication skills of adolescents on the autism spectrum. The content was developed to specifically target the needs of students who have more significant communication needs. If you serve students who are able to communicate conversationally, please see our Autism at-a-Glance titled Supporting Communication in High School. Autism at-a-Glance is designed for high school staff members supporting students on the autism spectrum, as well as family members of adolescents on the autism spectrum. Autism at-a-Glance provides a current summary of topics relevant to high school students on the autism spectrum as well as practical tips and resources for school and community personnel and family members.

 Read more here. 

31

Friday, March 28, 2014

10 Things to Know About New Autism Data

10 Things You Need To Know About CDC's Latest Report from the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network The following estimates are based on information collected from the health and special education (if available*) records of children who were 8 years old and lived in areas of Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Utah, and Wisconsin in 2010: About 1 in 68 children (or 14.7 per 1,000 8 year olds) were identified with ASD. It is important to remember that this estimate is based on 8-year-old children living in 11 communities. It does not represent the entire population of children in the United States. This new estimate is roughly 30% higher than the estimate for 2008 (1 in 88), roughly 60% higher than the estimate for 2006 (1 in 110), and roughly 120% higher than the estimates for 2002 and 2000 (1 in 150). We don't know what is causing this increase. Some of it may be due to the way children are identified, diagnosed, and served in their local communities, but exactly how much is unknown. The number of children identified with ASD varied widely by community, from 1 in 175 children in areas of Alabama to 1 in 45 children in areas of New Jersey. Almost half (46%) of children identified with ASD had average or above average intellectual ability (IQ greater than 85).

 Read more here. 

31

Brain Changes Suggest Autism Starts In The Womb

he symptoms of autism may not be obvious until a child is a toddler, but the disorder itself appears to begin well before birth. Brain tissue taken from children who died and also happened to have autism revealed patches of disorganization in the cortex, a thin sheet of cells that's critical for learning and memory, researchers report in the New England Journal of Medicine. Tissue samples from children without autism didn't have those characteristic patches. Organization of the cortex begins in the second trimester of pregnancy. "So something must have gone wrong at or before that time," says Eric Courchesne, an author of the paper and director of the Autism Center of Excellence at the University of California, San Diego. The finding should bolster efforts to understand how genes control brain development and lead to autism. It also suggests that treatment should start early in childhood, when the brain is capable of rewiring to work around damaged areas.

 Read more and listen to the story here. 

31

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Autism, Pollution, And Genital Malformations: The Missing Link

When it comes to autism, the rule for flogging research findings in the news media appears to be “Go big or go home.” And that gets us teasers like this one: A new study offers strong evidence that environmental toxins play a role in the disorder. The report looked at birth defects associated with parental exposure to pollution and found a 1% increase in the defects corresponded to a 283% increase in autism. Under headlines like this: Growing Evidence That Autism Is Linked to Pollution And this: Growing evidence that autism is linked to pollution with babies 283% more likely to suffer from the condition compared to other birth defects And, saints preserve us, like this: New Causes of Autism Discovered Only problem is, the study in question provided no evidence of causes, much less a link to pollution–and even if we took other studies alleging a link at face value, it wouldn’t even be the same kind of “pollution.” As it is, the authors of this paper didn’t look at “pollution” of any kind. They looked at genital malformations present at birth and claimed that these conditions serve as a proxy or substitute for the presence of “pollution.” They don’t, and no reports have established that they could.

 Read more here. 

31

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Missoula - Alternative Augmentative Communication (AAC) Adult CommunitySocial Group










Mondays 2:00-3:00 p.m

University
of Montana

RiteCare Speech, Language,

& Hearing Clinic
634 Eddy Street


University of Montana graduate
students will run these groups under the guidance of CSD faculty. We hope to
expand your efficiency in using devices, learn to how to join social media, and
support you in communicating in social settings using your devices, voice, and
vocalizations & gestures. We are here to help problem solve technology
issues and provide a fun place to share resources and build friendships.


Contact Chris Merriman for more information 406
243.2377 christine.merriman@umontana.edu


31





Causal link found between vitamin D, serotonin synthesis and autism innew study

Serotonin and vitamin D have been proposed to play a role in autism, however, no causal mechanism has been established. Now, researchers show that serotonin, oxytocin, and vasopressin, three brain hormones that affect social behavior related to autism, are all activated by vitamin D hormone. Supplementation with vitamin D and tryptophan would be a practical and affordable solution to help prevent autism and possibly ameliorate some symptoms of the disorder.

 Read more here. 

31

Food for Thought: Grandson Has Autism, Gets Teased for Messy Eating

“Our grandson, who has Asperger syndrome, has difficulty getting food neatly into his mouth. No matter what we say, he seems oblivious when it ends up on his face. And it gets him teased and avoided at school. How can we help him?” his is a tricky situation! We definitely don’t want him getting teased when he could learn to eat more neatly. This is an important skill, especially as he gets a bit older and starts to think about dates and job interviews. It may take some time, but here are some tips that may help. 1. Use a mirror. When he’s at home, have him eat in front of a mirror. This can help him become aware when food’s on his face – as well as when he’s eating neatly. 2. Try a nonverbal cue. This strategy can help your grandson when he’s in public and a mirror isn’t appropriate. Sit where he can see you while he’s eating. Each time food ends up on his face, gently tap your face to indicate where it is. Let him know that this is his cue to wipe his face. When you’re not around, a parent, sibling or trusted friend can provide the cue.

 Read more here. 

31

Review of Studies Finds DSM-5 Could Reduce Autism Diagnoses by a Third

A review of multiple studies concludes that new guidelines for diagnosing autism spectrum disorder (ASD) could reduce the number of individuals receiving the diagnosis by nearly a third. The review appears in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.


 Read more here. 

31


31

Monday, March 10, 2014

What It's Like on the Autism Spectrum



In our print magazine this month, Hanna Rosin tells the story of her son Jacob's diagnosis with Asperger syndrome, in the context of the psychiatric community's recent change in the definition of the disorder to part of what's now known as autism spectrum disorder.

We received a lot of thoughtful responses from readers who have experience with the disorder in their own lives, themselves or their families, about how the diagnosis has affected them, and what the changes in definition mean to everyone.

Here are excerpts from some of those stories.

31






Reaching My Autistic Son Through Disney

In our first year in Washington, our son disappeared. Just shy of his 3rd birthday, an engaged, chatty child, full of typical speech — “I love you,” “Where are my Ninja Turtles?” “Let’s get ice cream!” — fell silent. He cried, inconsolably. Didn’t sleep. Wouldn’t make eye contact. His only word was “juice.” I had just started a job as The Wall Street Journal’s national affairs reporter. My wife, Cornelia, a former journalist, was home with him — a new story every day, a new horror. He could barely use a sippy cup, though he’d long ago graduated to a big-boy cup. He wove about like someone walking with his eyes shut. “It doesn’t make sense,” I’d say at night. “You don’t grow backward.” Had he been injured somehow when he was out of our sight, banged his head, swallowed something poisonous? It was like searching for clues to a kidnapping. After visits to several doctors, we first heard the word “autism.” Later, it would be fine-tuned to “regressive autism,” now affecting roughly a third of children with the disorder. Unlike the kids born with it, this group seems typical until somewhere between 18 and 36 months — then they vanish. Some never get their speech back. Families stop watching those early videos, their child waving to the camera. Too painful. That child’s gone.
 Continue reading the main story: 


31

Friday, March 7, 2014

Problems in Siblings of Autistic Kids Can Be Detected Early

A new study discovers atypical development can be detected as early as 12 months of age among siblings of children with autism spectrum disorder. Researchers with the University of California — Davis MIND Institute and University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) found that close to half of the younger siblings of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) develop in an atypical fashion. They found that 17 percent developed ASD and another 28 percent showing delays in other areas of development or behavior.

 Read more here. 

31

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Approved autism drug fails to deliver long term for most

Aripiprazole, one of two autism drugs approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat irritability in people with autism, may be no more effective than a placebo in the long run for some children, reports a study published in the January issue of the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. When taken for eight weeks or less, aripiprazole quiets tantrums, stabilizes rapid mood swings and abates self-injuring behaviors in children with autism. But the benefits of this antipsychotic drug can fall off after several months, according to the new study. Aripiprazole is the second-most-prescribed drug in the U.S. for both children and adults with the disorder.

 Read more here. 

31

Genes maintain stability of autism traits over time

Traits that typically accompany autism, such as social impairments and communication difficulties, remain largely consistent as children age, and this stability is primarily due to genetic factors, a new study concludes. The research, published in the March issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, is based on more than 6,000 twin pairs in the general population1. Studies have shown that autism is a largely stable condition. It’s rare for children to outgrow a diagnosis of autism, and a 2012 study found that in more than 80 percent of children with autism, symptom severity does not changesignificantly over time2. Researchers have also studied autism-like traits, such as social aversion and repetitive behavior, in the general population, and found that these characteristics tend to remain constant as children age3. But little research has explored why autism behaviors vary so little over the course of development. Is it because the genes that govern the behaviors are expressed stably across the lifespan? Or because environmental factors that influence the traits are constant?

 Read more here. 

31

Asthma as a risk factor for autism?

. Based on the examination of a large health insurance database based in Taiwan, researchers identified over 2000 preschool children diagnosed with asthma – a chronic inflammatory disease affecting the airways – and compared them with a non-asthmatic control group, looking for any subsequent evidence of a psychiatrist diagnosed autism spectrum disorder label (based on ICD-9 criteria) up to 8 years later. They reported that contrasted with an autism diagnosis rate of 0.7% among the non-asthmatic control group, the prevalence of autism in the asthma group was 1.3%, a statistically significant difference. Further, when controlling for various other potentially influential variables such as gender, where a person lived (urban or rural) or the presence of other comorbid allergic diseases, Tsai and colleagues reported that the risk of autism among children with asthma was over twice as much as in non-asthmatics.

 Read more here. 

31

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Bringing the Early Signs of Autism Spectrum Disorders Into Focus

To improve recognition of the early signs of ASD among pediatricians, parents, and early intervention providers, autism researcher Dr. Rebecca Landa of Kennedy Krieger Institute has developed a free 9-minute video tutorial on ASD behavioral signs in one-year-olds. The tutorial consists of six video clips comparing toddlers who show no signs of ASD to toddlers who show early signs of ASD. Each video is presented with voice-over explaining how the specific behaviors exhibited by the child, as they occur on screen, are either indicative of ASD or typical child development.

 Watch the video here.

31

Friday, February 28, 2014

Genes May Give Girls Developmental Edge

New research adds to the theory that girls are more naturally protected than boys from developing autism and other developmental disorders. While a small number of genetic mutations seem to be enough to manifest symptoms in boys, a new study published Thursday in the American Journal of Human Genetics suggests that far more extreme genetic anomalies must be present in girls to warrant a diagnosis. The finding could help explain why autism is nearly five times more common in boys. “This is the first study that convincingly demonstrates a difference at the molecular level between boys and girls referred to the clinic for a developmental disability,” said Sébastien Jacquemont of the University Hospital of Lausanne in Switzerland, the study’s lead author. “The study suggests that there is a different level of robustness in brain development, and females seem to have a clear advantage.”

 Read more here. 

31

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

My lessons in autism

“James is so lucky to have you for a mother!” I’ve heard it so many times, I should have T-shirts printed. When you develop a professional specialty over 15 years, study with experts, become one yourself, and then give birth to a person who might have been referred to you, people think you have an insider’s advantage. So James is lucky, my clients are lucky. It’s been hard to resist seeing myself as unlucky. If I were a villain, it would be sweet justice. But I’m not. I’m a child psychologist specializing in autism spectrum disorders, and it turns out that the first of my two children fits those diagnostic criteria. My professional training has saved me some time and spared me some uncertainty. But what makes for a good psychologist doesn’t make for such a good mother, and vice versa. So, my dirty little secret is that James and my clients aren’t so lucky after all.

 Read more here.

31

Sunday, February 23, 2014

My Story: Being Diagnosed with Autism as an Adult

My whole life I thought there was something wrong with me. My diagnosis changed those thoughts. When I learned about my diagnosis I knew nothing was wrong with me…I knew that I had something very special about me and my life was about to change. It was April 3, 2013, two weeks after my 34th birthday, when I heard the words: “you’re on the spectrum.”

 Read more here. 

31

Autism on the Seas

Autism on the Seas has been in collaboration with Royal Caribbean International since 2007 in developing cruise vacation services to accommodate adults and families living with children with Special Needs, including, but not limited to, Autism, Asperger Syndrome, Down Syndrome, Tourette Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy and all Cognitive, Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. These services quickly expanded to other cruise lines. We provide Cruises with our Staff (selected from regular cruises throughout the year) that assist adults and families in accommodating the typical cruise services, as well as providing specialized Respite and Private Activities/Sessions that allow our guests the use of the ships entertainment venues in an accommodated and assisted manner. Our professional Staff (educated, experienced, background checked and sanctioned by the cruise lines) accompanies you on your cruise to provide these amazing vacation and travel experiences onboard Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Disney and Carnival Cruise Lines. We also provide a "Cruise Assistance Package" (Cruises without our Staff) on all of the major Cruise Lines to help accommodate guests who wish to cruise on their own.

 Read more here. 

31

Does Autism Make Moms Parent Differently?

A new study suggests that moms of kids with autism address their children’s behavior differently than parents of kids without the developmental disorder. Researchers found that mothers with children on the spectrum were less likely to set rules or use discipline, but more frequently imposed so-called positive parenting, encouraging good behavior rather than focusing on the bad. The findings come from a study published in the March issue of the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders which is believed to be among the first to look at parenting behavior among moms of individuals with autism.

 Read more here. 

31

Friday, February 21, 2014

On Autism, Environmental Toxicants, And Bias

. . . "As the authors of this review duly note but never quantify in a clear way (the reader must dig through thousands of words to pin down numbers), most of these investigations of chemical environmental factors and autism suffer limitations that include their retrospective nature, their reliance on parent memory (as opposed to data collected in real-time), and the lack of confirmation of ASD diagnoses. For example, for pesticides (which in some cases already have been banned or are being phased out; some of these studies are almost 40 years old), three prospective reports relied on parent-completed behavior checklists that aren’t autism specific. One of these studies identified a “trend” to a relationship between checklist scores and pesticide exposure, but using another developmental index, found improved scores with pesticide exposure. The air pollution findings are similarly contradictory between studies (e.g., one finds an ozone correlation; another does not; ditto for particulates smaller than 2.5 microns)." We all bring bias to what we do. Avoiding this bias in science requires vigilance. Scientists have guidelines to follow for systematic reviews that aid in that vigilance, guidelines that get a mention in the Rossignol review but largely go unused, except for inclusion of a PRISMA flowchart. There’s a reason the Institute of Medicine, in its standards for systematic reviews for therapeutic medical and surgical interventions, states that these standards for authorship on a systematic review require each team member to disclose potential COI and professional or intellectual bias; exclude individuals with a clear financial conflict; and exclude individuals whose professional or intellectual bias would diminish the credibility of the review in the eyes of the intended users. Not heeding such advice combined with an unscientific focus on a simplistic measure like “92%” does no favors for autism research. I’m sure that won’t stop the “92%” soundbite from making the rounds in certain circles and feeding the alt-med cottage industry around autism.

 Read more here.

31

Monday, February 17, 2014

'Baby-sitters Club' author Ann M. Martin talks tackling autism in newnovel, 'Rain Reign'

There’s much more to Ann M. Martin than the bestselling Baby-sitters Club books. An extraordinarily prolific author, she’s penned over a dozen novels for young readers over the past 10 years — though perhaps none as topical as her latest, Rain Reign. The story follows 11-year-old Rose Howard, a bright fifth grader who’s obsessed with homonyms, rule-following, and her dog Rain — her only true friend, since Rose’s high-functioning autism makes it difficult for her to relate to other people. When a devastating superstorm hits Rose’s hometown and Rain goes missing, she goes on a quest to find her companion — and ends up uncovering secrets that will change her world forever. Get a first glimpse at the novel’s cover above, and read on to see what Martin has to say about her inspiration for the book, its connection to her own dearly departed dog — and where she thinks one unforgettable Baby-sitters Club character may have ended up.

 Read the interview here. 

31

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Social Communication Disorder: Parents Seek Guidance

What is SCD?SCD is a new diagnosis in the 5th edition of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). As the name implies, SCD involves difficulties in social communication. Social communication includes adapting how you speak and otherwise communicate to fit a social situation. For example, we expect children to talk politely to a teacher. We expect conversation between friends to have a more casual style. Related expectations include speaking more quietly in a classroom than on the playground. Individuals with SCD have difficulty understanding and following such social-communication “rules.” Typically they also struggle with rules of conversation such as taking turns. They may have problems understanding the underlying meaning conveyed by tone. For example, being able to tell whether someone is being genuine or sarcastic. As you can imagine, this type of disability can make it difficult for a person to make “small talk” or otherwise communicate comfortably in new situations. Clearly, many individuals with autism share these difficulties. But to receive a diagnosis of ASD under DSM-5, one must also have the repetitive behaviors and/or restricted interests typical of autism. (You can read the full DSM-5 diagnostic criteria for SCD and ASD here.) Who would receive this diagnosis?Good question. As mentioned above, individuals should receive this diagnosis if they have disabilities in the area of social communication without repetitive behaviors and/or restricted interests. Because SCD is a new diagnosis, we don’t know with certainty who is actually receiving this diagnosis at this time. However, we have a strong indication from a new study, funded in part by Autism Speaks. The researchers used DSM-5 criteria for ASD and SCD to re-evaluate a large group of school children previously assigned to an autism subtype under DSM-IV. They found that 22 percent of the children previously diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS) would now receive a diagnosis of SCD. Six percent of those previously diagnosed with Asperger disorder would now receive a diagnosis of SCD. What therapies would help?Because SCD is a new diagnosis, we lack established guidelines for treatment. Therapies that focus on improving social communication should help. And many therapies for autism focus on improving social communication. So it’s likely that individuals with SCD would benefit from these programs. They include speech and language therapy, Applied Behavioral Analysis, Pivotal Response Training, Early Start Denver Model, social skills groups, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Most important of all: Treatment should address the unique needs of the individual, as established by a thorough evaluation. If you or your loved one has a diagnosis of SCD, we’d like to hear about your experiences getting the care you need. We invite you to take our DSM-5 Survey for Families and Professionals. It’s anonymous with the option of providing contact information if you’re willing to provide further information. Thanks so much for reaching out with your questions.

 Source 

31

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Yale Autism Seminar - Video

The Yale Seminar on Autism and Related Disorders is the United States' first undergraduate course of its kind. The goal of this series is to make all of the lecture content and supporting materials available online for free for anyone who desires to learn about Autism Spectrum Disorders. The class consists of a weekly seminar on diagnosis and assessment, etiology and treatment of children, adolescents and adults with autism and related disorders of socialization. This collection contains the full video of the course.

 Go here to access the videos in iTunes. 

31

Monday, February 10, 2014

Autism Costs Average $17,000 Yearly for Each Child, Study Finds

The cost of services for children with autism averages more than $17,000 per child each year -- with school systems footing much of the bill, a new U.S. study estimates. Researchers found that compared to kids without autism, those with the disorder had higher costs for doctor visits and prescriptions -- an extra $3,000 a year, on average. But the biggest expenses were outside the medical realm. "Non-health care" services averaged $14,000 per child, and special education at school accounted for more than 60 percent of those costs. Past studies into the costs of autism have mainly focused on health care, said Tara Lavelle, a researcher at RAND Corp. in Arlington, Va., who led the new study published online Feb. 10 and in the March print issue of Pediatrics. These findings, she said, give a more comprehensive view. Her team estimates that services for children with autism cost the United States $11.5 billion in 2011 alone. And the dollar estimates from this study cover only children with autism -- not adults, noted Rosanoff, who was not involved in the research.

 Read more here. 

31

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Restaurant manager pens letter to autistic girl's mum

"TO the woman and child who sat at table 9, I did not introduce myself to you. My name is Tony Posnanski. I have been a restaurant manager for fifteen years now. My day consists of making sure my restaurant runs well. That could mean washing dishes, cooking and sometimes even serving tables. I have also dealt with every guest complaint you can imagine. A few weeks back you came into my restaurant. I was very busy that night. I was running around helping the kitchen cook food. I was asked to talk to a table close to yours. I did and they said your child was being very loud. I heard some yelling while I was talking to that table. I heard a very loud beep from a young girl. I started to walk to your table. You knew what I was going to ask. You saw the table I just spoke to pointing at you. I got to your table and you looked at me. You wanted the first word. You said … "Do you know what it is like to have a child with autism?" You were not rude when you asked the question. In fact, you were quite sincere. Your daughter could not have been more than five years old. She was beautiful and looked scared that I was at the table. She looked like she thought she was in trouble.

Read more here. 

31

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Autistic Brains Create 42 Percent More Information During Rest

A new study published in the journal Frontiers in Neuroinformatics shows that autistic brains can create 42 percent more information on average while at rest. The research, performed by Case Western Reserve University and University of Toronto neuroscientists, could explain an autistic child’s detachment from his/her environment. “Our results suggest that autistic children are not interested in social interactions because their brains generate more information at rest, which we interpret as more introspection in line with early descriptions of the disorder,” Roberto Fernández Galán, PhD, senior author and associate professor of neurosciences at Case Western Reserve School of Medicine, said in a statement. Researchers used magnetoencephalography (MEG) to record brain activity of autistic children, revealing that their brains at rest generate more information than non-autistic children. They also quantified interactions between brain regions and determined the inputs to the brain in the resting state allowed them to interpret the children’s introspection level. The team believes this finding could explain an autistic child’s lack of interest in external stimuli, such as interactions with other people.

Read more at  

31

Monday, January 27, 2014

Newer gene test better at spotting autism

U.S. researchers looking for genetic changes linked to autism reported on Monday an advanced gene test that searches for deleted or extra DNA in chromosomes worked three times better than standard tests.They said the test, known as a chromosomal microarray analysis or CMA, should be used in the first round of testing done to look for a genetic cause for a child's autism.Autism is a mysterious condition that affects as many as one in 110 U.S. children. The so-called spectrum ranges from mild Asperger's syndrome to severe mental retardation and social disability, and there is no cure or widely accepted good treatment.Standard genetic tests to look for chromosomal abnormalities and testing for Fragile X, the single largest known genetic cause of autism, often fail to detect anything, even though genes are responsible for up to 15 percent of autism cases.The newer chromosomal microarray analysis test is far more sensitive. It searches the whole genome for places where chromosomes have been added, are missing or are in the wrong place. But because it is not recommended for the first round of testing, some insurance companies do not cover it."What we're hoping is to provide evidence to make it harder for insurance companies to say we don't want to pay for this," Dr. David Miller of Children's Hospital Boston, who worked on the study published in the journal Pediatrics, said in a telephone interview.

 Read more here. 


31

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Skill lag and loss common in children with autism

There are numerous reports of children with autism learning how to do something, such as wave goodbye, and then losing that skill abruptly weeks or months later. But there is little information about the exact age at which a new skill develops or disappears. That may be because children with the disorderlose skills in no particular order, according to a study published 25 November in Development and Psychopathology. The study asked parents of 244 children to recall whether and at what age their children gained or lost 15 interactive skills, including saying their first words and playing peek-a-boo. Children with autism or autism-like traits are more likely than controls to have delays in skill development and tend to lose at least one skill as they go from infancy through early childhood, reports the study. Consequently, skill acquisition and loss in these children may best be viewed as a continuous process that begins with developmental delays and ends with disappearing skills, the researchers say.

 Read more here.

31

Employment May Improve Symptoms for Adults with Autism

he study from Vanderbilt University and University of Wisconsin-Madison followed 153 adults with autism, with an average age of 30 years old. Data was collected at two different time periods, with a 5.5 year separation. Results showed that the adults who had greater vocational independence and engagement demonstrated improvements in their symptoms, including restricted interests, repetitive behaviors, communication impairments, and difficulties with social interaction. Lead researcher Julie Lounds Taylor, Phd., assistant professor of Pediatrics and Special Education and Vanderbilt Kennedy investigator, says, “We found that if you put the person with autism in a more independent vocational placement, this led to measureable improvements in their behaviors and daily living skills overall. One core value in the disability community and at the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center is placing people with disabilities in the most inclusive environments possible.“In addition, this study gives us evidence that increasing the level of independence in an employment or vocational setting can lead to improvements in autism symptoms and other associated behaviors.” This study offers preliminary evidence that employment may be therapeutic for adults with autism. Many work environments offer opportunities for individuals to participate in social and cognitive challenges, which can build skills, create connections with others, and enhance self-esteem.
 Read more here. 

31

A Teen's Guide To Autism

This awesome documentary was created by an 8th grader who has worked with many children on the sprectrum. She was inspired by them and wanted to try and educate people who often misunderstand the disorder.

 Watch the video here. 

31

Adults with autism can't discern false emotions

Most people’s outward reaction to disappointment is to hide it: They may put on a brave face after losing a game, perhaps, or give a polite smile when opening a bad gift. Adults with autism usually understand in theory when and why others may feign emotions, but they don’t recognize those expressions in real-life situations, reports a study published 4 December in Autism Research. This inability to guess what triggered someone’s subtle expression can lead to social missteps — congratulating instead of consoling a disappointed friend, for example. Studies using photographs of exaggerated expressions, such as surprise or sadness, suggest that people with autism havedifficulty interpreting emotions. The new study instead tested for subtle cues that may be more indicative of real-life interactions. In the study, 16 high-functioning adults with autism and 19 controls watched short film clips of university students’ faces as they received surprise gifts that were out of view of the camera. The participants then had to judge which gifts had produced the students’ expressions. The clips showed spontaneous reactions to the presents — usually happiness for a box of chocolates, feigned happiness for an unattractive handmade card and confusion about whether a wad of Monopoly money was a stand-in for the real thing. The researchers also used an eye-tracker to determine whether eye contact helps people understand emotional cues. Overall, the autism group made fewer correct guesses than the control group did. They performed as well as controls in identifying confusion in those who had received Monopoly money, but struggled to distinguish between responses to the chocolate and the handmade card. The adults with autism tended to mistake feigned happiness for real happiness, and incorrectly guessed that those who had received the handmade card had been given chocolate. Interestingly, although decreased eye contact in autism is cited as a factor in poor emotional recognition, the autism group did not look less at the students’ eyes than the controls did. Other factors, such as the ability to pick up on body language or the tone of a person's voice, may explain their difficulties in identifying subtle emotions, the researchers say. Read more here. 

31

Sight, Sound Out of Sync in Kids With Autism, Study Finds

Doctors and parents have long struggled to understand the strange sensory tricks autism can play on a child's mind. Ordinary noises -- screeching car alarms, knocking radiator pipes, even the whirr of a fan -- can be intolerable to children with the neurodevelopmental disorder. Now, a new study involving 64 children offers fresh clues about why sounds may unnerve kids with autism. The study, published Jan. 14 in the Journal of Neuroscience, found that children with autism experience delays when their brains attempt to process information received by their eyes and their ears at the same time. As a result, they have trouble matching sounds, especially speech, to their sources. "They're perceiving the world in a really interesting and fragmented way, where the visual signal and auditory signal are sort of mismatched in time relative to one another," said study author Mark Wallace, director of the Vanderbilt Brain Institute in Nashville, Tenn. Wallace said it would be like watching a badly dubbed foreign film. "And if you think about it, that can have all kinds of consequences for the language abilities of these children and even their social interactions," he said.

 Read more here. 

31

Friday, January 24, 2014

New Diagnosis Rules Could Lead to Drop in Autism Numbers

Stricter new criteria for autism may change how frequently the condition is diagnosed, a new study suggests. The study estimates that if the new diagnostic guidelines had been in place in 2008, they would have lowered the prevalence of the disorder in a nationally representative database to one in 100 children.

 Read more here. 

31

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Archived Webinars on ASD and Employment

Using iPads to Promote Access and Learning for Students with ASD Date: 5/14/2013Presenter: Teresa LyonsRegister Online The Social Side of ASD Date: 3/12/2013Presenter: Amanda ArmstrongRegister Online Autism Spectrum Disorder & Employment Date: 7/8/2009Presenter: Peter GerhardtView Webcast

 See more here. 

The social side of ASD: 

ASD and Employment: 

View webcast here

31


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

15 Recommendations on Brushing an Autistic Child's Teeth

Take things slow; there is no need to rush through the process. There are no horsemen chasing you and an autistic child often requires more time than a typical child when learning to deal with something that might be bothering them terribly. Talk the child through it. Left, then right, over and over until it becomes routine. Count the strokes. When you give a definite amount to go for, there is a goal set. The child knows ho much longer he must endure it, making it easier to go through with it. He also knows exactly when to switch sides, go up and down or back and forth. Give the child as much control as you can. When they get to decide times when to brush teeth, how many strokes to do, what toothbrush to use, what toothpaste to use, what stool to stand on, etc., things will be easier on both of you. Let the child do most of the brushing. No matter how terribly it works out, it empowers the child and lets him or her feel capable. You can always go over it afterwards. If the brush is a problem, opt out and go for a toothette with a sponge at the end instead of bristles

 Read more here. 

31

PECS: The Language of Emotions Billings March 2014

30

PECS - Teaching Critical Communication Skills Billings, March 5 2014

30

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Autism Symptoms May Get Better With A Job

More independent work environments may lead to reductions in autism symptoms and improve daily living in adults with the disorder, according to a Vanderbilt study released in theJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. The study examined 153 adults with autism and found that greater vocational independence and engagement led to improvements in core features of autism, other problem behaviors and ability to take care of oneself. “We found that if you put the person with autism in a more independent vocational placement, this led to measurable improvements in their behaviors and daily living skills overall,” said lead author Julie Lounds Taylor, Ph.D., assistant professor of Pediatrics and Special Education and Vanderbilt Kennedy Center investigator

.Read more  

31

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Clinical research: Extra X increases risk of autism

Men who have an extra X chromosome have an elevated risk of developing autism, schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, according to a study published in the January issue of the Journal of Psychiatric Research1. The results provide further support for a connection between autism and the X chromosome. Several X chromosome genes — including the genes that lead to fragile X syndrome and Rett syndrome, along with NLGN3 and NLGN4 — are linked to autism. Mutations in X chromosome genes may explain the higher prevalence of autism in males than in females.

 Read more here.

31

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Special Needs Registration - Great Falls

Sgt. John SchafferGreat Falls Police Department112 1st Street SouthPO Box 5021Great Falls, MT 59403 March 25th, 2011 Dear Parents,As a fellow parent of a child with special needs we all have concerns about how ourloved one will function in a real world setting. The Great Falls Public Schools does agreat job of teaching our children the life skills needed to live as independently and asintegrated as possible. As a police officer, we come in contact with persons with special needs all the time.People with autism, like my daughter, are 7 times more likely to have contact with lawenforcement. Police officers receive ongoing training on how to interact with people withspecial needs in order to increase the likelihood of a positive outcome, but we need yourhelp. You are the best source of information when it comes to your child or loved one. Youknow their likes and dislikes, their triggers or sensory issues, as well as de-escalationtechniques. These are the things that we would like to know, should we come in contactwith your family member. Attached you will find a form that we would like you to fill out. It is completely voluntary.The information on this form, including the photo, will be submitted to the GFPDdatabase. When a police officer has contact with the person listed on the form, our 911Center can provide us with the information needed to successfully interact andcommunicate with your loved one, as well as your contact information. The informationwill be kept confidential. Thank you for your interest in this program. If you have any questions please feel free tocontact me at the Great Falls Police Department. My phone number is (406) 771-1180 Sincerely, Sgt. John Schaffer

 Click here to view the form. 

31