Friday, June 30, 2017

'The Prevalence of Autism (including Aspergers Syndrome) in School Age Children in Northern Ireland 2017'

These figures have been extracted from the Northern Ireland School Census collected by the Department of Education.

  • The estimated prevalence of autism within the school aged population in Northern Ireland has increased by 1.3 percentage points from 1.2% in 2008/09 to 2.5% in 2016/17.
  • There is a significant difference in the estimated prevalence rates of autism between the genders, with males four times more likely to be identified with autism than females, in line with international findings.
  • The Northern Ireland urban population has a statistically significant higher prevalence rate than the rural population.
  • The estimated prevalence of autism has increased across all school years, between 2009/10 and 2016/17, with the greatest increase in the number of children identified with autism occurring in the oldest (Year 12 – Aged 16 years old) group of children.

When is Tourette Syndrome Actually Autism?

More than one in five children with Tourette syndrome also tests positive for autism, a new study shows.
But it's unlikely that so many children actually have both disorders. What's more probable is that Tourette's symptoms often mimic or seem quite similar to those of autism, the researchers noted.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

An Open Letter to Parents of Students With Disabilities About to Enter College

First, colleges and universities provide services and support to Students With Disabilities under very different laws than those that governed services in the K-12 system. As a parent, I have no rights under Section 504/ADA in speaking for my SWD who is in college.

The services and support available to SWD are sometimes very different than what was provided in high school, and the college is under no obligation to continue the services given in high school or to adhere to the recommendations of an outside diagnostician. The college will make its own determination of what services and support to offer, based on the documentation of disability and their interview with your SWD. There are no IEP’s in college, there is no place to sign off with my parental approval. Indeed, the college doesn’t legally have to care whether I am satisfied or not. My daughter is responsible for her own destiny now. 

  1. An old adage maintains:
    There are only two things a parent can give to a child... One is roots. The other is wings.

    It is time for our kids to solo.

    Read more here - including some good tips for parents.  

Monday, June 19, 2017

Doctors twice as likely to miss girls as boys on autism screen

Pediatricians are failing to identify 80 percent of toddlers who need an evaluation for autism, and are missing nearly twice as many girls as boys. The unpublished results were presented Friday at the 2017 International Meeting for Autism Research in San Francisco, California.
The results are based on the screening of 3,171 toddlers, about half of them girls, using the Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers (M-CHAT) screening tool.
Parents filled out the M-CHAT in 2014 and 2015 after bringing their toddlers to Children’s Mercy Kansas City hospital for well-child visits. Using the completed questionnaires, doctors deemed only 92 of the children as needing an evaluation for autism. But after rescoring these forms, the researchers found that 467 children met the criteria.


Sometimes, algorithms pick up on early signs of disease that humans wouldn't even know to look for. Last week, researchers at the University of North Carolina and Washington University reported an AI that can identify autistic infants long before they present behavioral symptoms. It's a thrilling opportunity: Early detection gives autism neuroscience a big leg up, as researchers try to understand what goes wrong during development. But now clinicians and researchers have to figure out what they’ll do with that information—is it just a research tool, or will they one day begin diagnosing and treating autism before symptoms start? Especially when it comes to infants, it won't be easy to entrust medical care to a computer-generated guess.
In this study, researchers scanned the brains of 59 6 month-olds whose older siblings were already diagnosed with autism. By age two, 11 of those infants had received a diagnosis of autism. By training a machine learning algorithm on their behavior and earlier MRI data, the scientists built a model that predicted 9 of those 11 autism cases, with no false positives. The AI predicted autism around a year before the earliest age—around 14 months—that clinicians diagnose it based on behavior.

So this new information is problematic to use: How can clinicians create an intervention for an infant who mightdevelop autism? All of the researchers interviewed for this story agree that early detection and intervention for autism is better. But current autism therapies for babies and toddlers focus on their specific behavioral deficits—teaching children to communicate needs, to play with toys, and to have positive interactions with caregivers. How do you design a treatment when you don't know what those specific deficits will be?

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Archived Webinar - Food in Schools: Navigating the school environment for a child with food allergies or restrictions.

Archived Webinar - Social Media and ASD

Archived Webinar - ASD & Technology

Join us for a discussion on the current state of research regarding ASD and technology and apps that are recommended for use by people with ASD.

Archived Webinar - Diagnosis of Autism in Adults

Archived Webinar - Nutritional Strategies for Addressing Constipation

View the archived webinar here. 

Friday, June 2, 2017

Exposure to specific toxins and nutrients during late pregnancy and early life correlate with autism risk

Using tooth-matrix biomarkers, which measure the uptake of multiple elements at a fine temporal resolution during early development, and a well-characterized sample of twins, we observed significant differences between ASD cases and non-ASD controls during specific pre- and postnatal periods. In ASD cases, higher lead levels were observed over the prenatal period and first 5 months postnatally. 

Levels of essential elements were diminished in cases at specific developmental windows. Zinc levels were lower in cases during the third trimester, while manganese levels were consistently lower in cases both pre- and postnatally, and this deficiency was highest 4 months after birth. Differences between cases and controls were also evident for multiple other elements examined in our exploratory analysis, including tin, strontium and chromium. 

Read more here.