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: 

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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. 

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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. 

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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. 

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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. 

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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


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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. 

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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. 

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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. 

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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.

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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: 


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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. 

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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. 

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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. 

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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. 

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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.

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