Tuesday, August 20, 2019

2018 Child Count Data on Montana Students with Autism

Doug Note: It will be interesting to see the data for the 2019 Child Count and beyond, as the 2019 expansion of Developmental Delay until age 9 may increase the number of students in that category while lessening the number of 6-8 year-olds who are identified in other categories.


Note: 2011 was the first year to allow, "multi-racial" as a choice for the Other category.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Best Autism Apparel for Kids on the Spectrum

If you are caring for a child with autism, you are probably aware of sensory issues when it comes to clothing. Kids on the spectrum can be overly sensitive to clothing tags, seams, and textures that are not comfortable for them. Fortunately, some clothing companies are now making autism apparel that is affordable and available to everyone.

Some popular stores with sensory clothing for autism include the following:


Target’s adaptive clothing line is a terrific collection of everyday casual wear for boys and girls. The clothes do not have tags, have flat seams, and are made of a cotton-blend for maximum comfort. Hoodies and pants have side openings with either zippers or snap buttons for easy on/off wear. Some denim pants have back elastics and are wheelchair-friendly.

Analysis finds no evidence for popular autism communication method

A comprehensive review has found no scientific basis for a controversial technique that supposedly helps autistic people communicate1.
In the ‘rapid prompting method,’ a person trained in the technique holds an alphabet board or a tablet and, using words or gestures, prompts an autistic person to point to or tap letters, words or pictures.
The method resembles a discredited technique, called facilitated communication, in which a person applies pressure to the hand or arm of an autistic person to help her share her thoughts via a board or tablet. A string of rigorous studies, dating back to the 1990s, has shown that messages created by facilitated communication are almost always controlled by the facilitator — sometimes with harmful consequences.
“There’s no scientific validity to [rapid prompting],” says Diane Paul, director of clinical issues in speech-language pathology at the American Speech-Hearing-Language Association, who was not involved in the study. “It hasn’t been demonstrated to lead to independent communication, and it’s very prompt-dependent.”

Quiet Hands

Quiet Hands

Thursday, August 8, 2019

The misnomer of ‘high functioning autism’: Intelligence is an imprecise predictor of functional abilities at diagnosis

‘High functioning autism’ is a term often used for individuals with autism spectrum disorder without an intellectual disability. Over time, this term has become synonymous with expectations of greater functional skills and better long-term outcomes, despite contradictory clinical observations.

These data indicate that estimates from intelligence quotient alone are an imprecise proxy for functional abilities when diagnosing autism spectrum disorder, particularly for those without intellectual disability. We argue that ‘high functioning autism’ is an inaccurate clinical descriptor when based solely on intelligence quotient demarcations and this term should be abandoned in research and clinical practice.

Read more here. 

The DSM-5’s take on autism: Five years on

It’s been five years since the autism community agonized over the debut of a new iteration of a diagnostic manual that set out to rewrite the definition of autism. In this special report, we revisit the concerns and controversy over the fifth edition of the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders” (DSM-5).

Read more here at Spectrum. 

The evolution of ‘autism’ as a diagnosis, explained

You can draw a straight line from the initial descriptions of many conditions – claustrophobia, for example, or vertigo – to their diagnostic criteria. Not so with autism. Its history has taken a less direct path with several detours, according to Jeffrey Baker, professor of pediatrics and history at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.
Autism was originally described as a form of childhood schizophrenia and the result of cold parenting, then as a set of related developmental disorders, and finally as a spectrum condition with wide-ranging degrees of impairment. Along with these shifting views, its diagnostic criteria have changed as well.
Here is how the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders” (DSM), the diagnostic manual used in the United States, has reflected our evolving understanding of autism.

Archived Webinar - Self-Injurious Behavior

Have questions you would like to ask a behaviorist regarding self-injurious behavior in ASD? Join this live Q&A and ask your questions in real time.

View the webinar here.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Early exposure to speech may shape autistic children’s language ability

The more words autistic children hear as infants — and the more verbal interactions they have with their caregivers — the better their language skills at age 2, a new study suggests1.
The quantity of speech young children hear in the home is known to have a strong influence on language development and in turn, on reading skills and ‘school readiness’2.

Read more here at Spectrum.

Easy Ways to Teach Perspective Taking to an ASD Child

Embedding instruction into children’s literature

Reading to children is one of the best ways to help children experience different worlds, imagine different experiences, and see the world from different perspectives. This, in turn, helps us become more empathetic by helping us understand others feelings and perspectives. While reading picture books to children, we can use the following prompts to teach children about facial expressions portrayed by the characters:

“I notice (describe nonverbal cues in detail). This makes me think the character is (name feeling).
I’m going to make my face/body look like that (model nonverbal cues).”

“It seems like (character) is (name feeling). I know this because (describe nonverbal cues in detail).”

Read more here at Autism Parenting magazine.