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.


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.


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. 


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. 


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. 


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. 


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. 


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.



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: 


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.


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. 


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. 


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. 


Signs of Autism Infographic



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, for further information.
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.