Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Webinar - Feature Matching of Apps for Students with Disabilities

Wednesday, October 25th, 2017 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm EDT

Thousands of apps are being recommended for students with disabilities. But how do you determine which app is best? This webinar will discuss and demonstrate various tools, resources, and strategies to select the most appropriate app based upon desired outcomes, the environment, and the student's abilities. Participants will learn how to perform an app analysis that analyzes apps based measurable student goals and the physical, sensory, cognitive, environmental, and social abilities required to affectively use the app for the intended goal. It is important to always select the most efficient app to achieve a desired outcome. Terms such "user-friendly, ease-of-use, robust, multimodal inputs and outputs , flexibility " means very little when trying to select the most appropriate app/device to meet the students needs. Understanding the key needs, goals and objectives for the student and the key features of an app/device, enables us to match the student with the most appropriate device or app to achieve a desired goal.

To connect to the webinar....
Go to

To connect to the audio via your telephone line:
Phone Number: 866.668.0721
Conference Code: 789 584 8249

Unmasking anxiety in autism

Anxiety can assume unusual forms in people with autism — turning uncertainty, or even a striped couch, into a constant worry. New tools may help identify these hidden fears.

There are many reasons it took nearly six years for Kapothanasis to get the help he needed. Doctors may have assumed that his aggression and tendency to hurt himself were part of his autism, Siegel says. Traits that characterize autism — including social deficits, stereotyped movements and restricted interests — can mask or mimic symptoms of anxiety. During a visit to an outpatient clinic, for example, Siegel points out a nonverbal young woman with autism who repeatedly traces a pattern in the air with her hands. At first glance, her gestures resemble ‘stimming,’ the repetitive behaviors often seen in autism. But she does it at specific times, Siegel says, suggesting a ritual related to obsessive-compulsive disorder — a form of anxiety.

Compounding the problem, many people on the spectrum, like Kapothanasis, cannot tell their caregivers or doctors what they are feeling or thinking. Those who can may still struggle to identify and understand their own emotions — a phenomenon called alexithymia — or to articulate them to others. Because of these factors, the clinical questionnaires designed to ferret out anxiety traits in neurotypical individuals are woefully inadequate for many people with autism. The tests may also miss children with autism, who can have unusual phobias, such as a fear of striped couches or exposed pipes.

Read more here at Spectrum.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Missoula Friends and Family of Autism

Missoula Friends and Family of Autism is a collective of individuals from Northwestern Montana (and beyond!) who have come together to support individuals and families in our community who have Autism Spectrum Disorder.  

We are working in collaboration with BASE Missoula and Sunburst Mental Health Missoula to offer both Family Support Groups and Children Support Groups in the Missoula Community. 

A Safe Place for Dylan

As a Columbia Falls family struggles to care for their teenager with autism, they face a future with limited options

It happened over the weekend of Sept. 16.
Dylan went into his 5-year-old brother’s room with a 10-inch butcher knife, intent on leaving through the window. When escape was secured, he dropped the knife in the child’s room.
Successfully out of the house once again, Dylan broke into a nearby trailer.
Though he no longer had the knife, Dylan was obstinate and wouldn’t leave the residence, not even when the police arrived. He finally calmed down enough to leave when handcuffed, and the police released him to his family once outside.
But if it happens again, Dylan might be headed to the emergency room and then Pathways Treatment Center, in an attempt to keep him secure. The family is running out of options, their CDC case manager said.
Dylan survived this incident, just as he’s survived this long with his family watching over him. But they can’t be there every second, and every second is one in which Dylan gets older, stronger, and further from their influence.

Girls With Autism More Likely To Have Younger Siblings With ASD

Parents who have a child on the autism spectrum are more likely than other parents to see a future child diagnosed with autism, too. A new study by Harvard researchers shows the likelihood is much higher when that older child is a girl.
The likelihood is not a certainty, though. Even when an older son or daughter was diagnosed, more than 80 percent of future children were not found to be on the spectrum.
The study found that if an older girl had autism, among her younger siblings a brother had a 17 in 100 chance of being diagnosed with autism. A younger sister had an 8 in 100 chance of being diagnosed.

Suicidal tendencies hard to spot in some people with autism

The statistics around suicide in people with autism are startling: Up to 50 percent of adults with the condition have considered ending their own lives, a rate two to three times that seen in the general population1.
Adults newly diagnosed with autism are particularly at risk, having spent decades feeling atypical without knowing why2. Rates of suicide attempts and death are also elevated among individuals on the spectrum3,4.
In the general population, we often think of suicidality as going hand in hand with depression. Although depression does emerge as the leading predictor of suicidality in people with autism, there is mounting evidence that a substantial proportion of people on the spectrum who contemplate suicide would not meet the criteria for depression3,5,6.

Seattle Education Conference March 2018

The General & Special Education Conference-Seattle in March 2018 will offer 30 full-day coursesoffered by some of the “giants” in education and scientific learning research. Speakers include Dr. Anita Archer, Dr. Judy Willis, MD, MEd, Board-Certified Neurologist, and Tim Odegard, PhD, Developmental Cognitive Psychologist, to name a few.

You can see the conference offerings and find more information here. 

SPARK Autism Study

Find out more here. 

NAA’s Big Red Safety Teacher Toolkit®

NAA’s Big Red Safety Teacher Toolkit® includes:
  • Printed educational materials and tools in our BeREDy booklet for teachers
  • Four (4) Door/Window Alarms including batteries – generously donated by Jasco Products.
  • Five (5) Laminated Adhesive Stop Sign Visual Prompts for doors and windows
Please note:
  • If you need additional stop signs, alarms, or other safety-related items, they can be purchased separately in our Big Red Safety Shop.
  • All printed materials can be downloaded for free here.
  • NAA Big Red Safety Teacher Toolkit® grants are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis to all qualifying applicants while supplies last. You are not required to make a donation to receive one.
NAA’s Big Red Safety Teacher Toolkits® have a retail value of over $25.00. To help NAA continue this program, we ask you to please consider Paying it Forward by making an optional donation when requesting your free NAA Big Red Safety Teacher Toolkit®.

The Rise of ‘Weaponized Autism’

If tracking the general whereabouts of a stranger sounds like a creepy way to kill five minutes, well, that’s part and parcel of 4chan’s “autism” brand: awkwardly unaware of, or indifferent to, accepted manners. Despite the forum’s anonymizing format, prevalent examples of “autism” usually do correspond to invasions of privacy; a legendary instance saw one user obsessively cyberstalk another, seeking out his personal information, even publicly planning the poor guy’s abduction and funeral. When the harassment came to an end at last, “the archiver” posted a 97-page dossier of everything he had collected on his target, leading a stunned observer to remark that his relentlessness “transcends all levels of autism into some new dimension of psychotic.”
In this were hints of a dark meme that was destined to become a tactic: “weaponized autism,” the notion that the irregular rhythms and affect of autistic consciousness could deliver political gain if set loose on a specific problem or enemy.

Prevalence of Schizophrenia Spectrum Disorders in Average-IQ Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Meta-analysis


Since their separation as independent diagnostics, autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and schizophrenia spectrum disorders (SSD) have been conceptualized as mutually exclusive disorders. Similarities between both disorders can lead to misdiagnosis, especially when it comes to average-IQ adults who were not identified during childhood. The aim of this review was to examine the occurrence of SSD in average-IQ adults with ASD. Electronic and manual searches identified a total of 278 references, of which 10 were included in a meta-analysis. The pooled prevalence of SSD in the total ASD sample was close to 6%, pointing to a high co-occurrence of the two conditions. Further research is needed to determine the factors that predispose members of this population to the emergence of psychotic disorders.

Despite dearth of data, firms sell brain training as autism antidote

There’s no solid evidence that neurofeedback works as a treatment for autism. Most studies of neurofeedback have significant flaws. Still, its lofty promises spell big business: Apart from Neurocore, there are hundreds of centers offering neurofeedback as a therapy in the United States and elsewhere. (The brain-training market, which includes neurofeedback, is worth an estimated $2 billion worldwide.)

So far, the only moderately promising results for autism come from small studies. For example, the results of one trial, published in February, involved 10 children with autism and 7 controls, but no placebo group1. Another study, published in September, involved 17 people with autism and 10 controls2.

Read more here at Spectrum. 

Saturday, October 7, 2017

New Tools Detect Autism Disorders Earlier in Lives

Aside from genetics, any parental contribution to the disorders is probably nil.

A comparison of the two groups revealed that, when analyzed as a group, the brains of 6-month-olds with an autistic sibling showed inefficiencies in the right auditory cortex, an area that processes speech sounds. By 12 months of age, certain neural areas critical for language, touch and self-awareness were also less efficient than those of the control group. “If your brain starts off not processing the sensory inputs efficiently, then it can’t do the proper pruning. It’s just passing on noise,” said Dr. Lewis.
The study was launched seven years ago, and by the time it was complete, the researchers knew which of the high-risk infants ended up with an autism spectrum diagnosis. (Almost 17% of the high-risk group received an autism diagnosis, compared with 1.3% of the control group.) Yet they found that the biological markers of their disorder were evident at 6 months of age.

Webinar - ASD and Travel - Tips, Tricks, and Considerations