Monday, April 27, 2020

Evidence-Based Practices for Children, Youth, and Young Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder

The purpose of this report is to describe a set of practices that have clear evidence of positive effects with autistic children and youth. The report is the third iteration of a systematic review that has examined the intervention literature (extending the coverage to articles published between 1990 and 2017.) 

Think of it as a guide, not a Bible. The criteria for inclusion are not particularly high: 

Hence, "Sensory Integration" made it in with a total of three studies. 

Read the document here. 

Where communication breaks down for people with autism

In 2014, Grossman showed 87 people videotapes of 9 children with a mild form of autism and 10 without, each speaking a few sentences. The observers didn’t know anything about the children, but it only took one second of tape — video or audio alone, or together — for them to realize there was something different about the children on the spectrum. The results, which have since been validated several times over, inspired Grossman’s subsequent work and her passion for this line of inquiry. “Clearly there is something going on, something very salient and very subtle at the same time,” she says, with an intense energy appropriate for someone who is studying expressiveness. “It happens all the time, and it leads to a reduced willingness of people to engage with people with autism.”

Read more here at Spectrum. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

How can I teach telephone skills at home?

Good ideas here at thet Association for Science in Autism Treatment. 

Live Webinars from the University of Washington Autism Center

These webinars have a fee, but there have currently offering discounts.

Live Webinars

The autism diaries: Storee's story

Learning I’m Autistic has helped me understand myself—why I repeat phrases under my breath (known as echolalia—now I have answer for you, Sammy, on why I do this…), why I love rocking chairs (self-soothing), why I retreat after social events to ‘recover,’ why the drama of the neurotypical world leaves me baffled (Like what is with The Bachelor? Who derives joy from watching that soup of drama,real or perceived?), why I hyper-focus on things (art, dogs, history, news), why I avoid crowds and hellish places like Walmart (the noise and movement is too much sensory input), why I have never understood sarcasm, and many other things.
But while much of the world has told me over my life that these things about me are negative, I’m going to tell you that I always thought these things made me unique, strong and smart—and my feeling that way about myself brings even more hatred from others. Autistic people, especially girls, should not love themselves or think positively about themselves.
I do not see my autism as a disability—though I am not ashamed of my physical disabilities. Rather, autism is who I am. I don’t need to change to make the neurotypical (NT) world comfortable.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

OSEP Fast Facts: Children Identified with Autism

Read more here.

Archived Webinar: Expanding Career Pathways for Youth and Young Adults on the Autism Spectrum: Employment as a Social Determinant of Health

The Webinar's discussion will:
  • Highlight how greater access to work-based learning can increase opportunities for gainful employment.
  • Share federally funded resources to support access to needed workplace accommodations for people on the autism spectrum.
  • Emphasize employment as a key social determinant of health and the need to support the physical and mental health of job seekers and employees on the autism spectrum.

Supports for Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities


From the Arkansas Department of Education

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Autism’s relationship to head size, explained

What proportion of people with autism have large head?
When Leo Kanner first described 11 children with autism in a 1943 paper, he noted many unusual features. “Five had relatively large heads,” he reported, and he said no more on the matter. But the sample size was small.
Many other scientists noted the same link over the following decades. A 1999 review estimated that 20 percent of people with autism have statistically large head size, or ‘macrocephaly’1.
Do autistic children who have a large head also have a large brain?
Yes. Researchers have scanned the brains of autistic people by using technologies such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and have found that those with a large head also tend to have an unusually large brain. However, the link between the two is not entirely straightforward — some autistic children with an enlarged brain don’t have a large head — so it is best for researchers to scan the brain rather than rely on head measurements.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

14 ways schools can better support girls with autism

  1. Giving them opportunities to socialize as part of a small group with common interests.
  2. Teach them coping strategies and support them with any bullying they may face as a result of their different way of thinking and acting.
  3. Read more here. 

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Owen’s odyssey: The difficult path to an autism diagnosis

This is part 1 of the story of one boy’s long journey to an autism diagnosis and therapy.

Read more here at Spectrum. 

Autism Navigator® ASD Video Glossary

The ASD Video Glossary is a web-based tool built to help families and professionals learn more about the early signs of autism. This tool was developed by the Florida State University Autism Institute in collaboration with First Signs and Autism Speaks and has been available to the public free of charge since 2007. The Glossary contains more than 100 video clips illustrating the diagnostic features of ASD. Side-by-side video clips show behaviors that are typical in contrast with those that are red flags for autism. The Glossary also contains over 100 video clips to illustrate common treatments available for children with autism. The ASD Video Glossary has been brought into the Autism Navigator collection and updated to be in line with the new DSM-5 diagnostic framework.

Read more here. 

New Autism Study: Gluten-free Diet Does Not Help Autistic Children

The new study, just published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, is the first randomized, well-controlled study of gluten-free diets in children with autism. The scientists, all from the University of Warsaw, Poland, recruited 66 children, and assigned half of them at random to a gluten-free diet. The other half were given a normal diet, with at least one meal a day containing gluten, for 6 months. The children ranged from 3 to 5 years old. After 6 months, the scientists evaluated all children using multiple standardized measurements of autistic behavior.
The results were very clear: the study found no difference between the diets. None of the core symptoms of ASD were different between children in the two groups, and there were no differences in gastrointestinal symptoms either. 

Deafness and autism

Figures suggest that around 2-4% of deaf children are also autistic.
Both deafness and autism can have a significant impact on communication and language development.
On this webpage, we focus on some of the additional challenges that families may face if their child is both deaf and autistic.

What it’s like to be autistic at an autism research conference

The International Society for Autism Research conference, or INSAR, is the largest autism research conference in the world. Each year, it attracts thousands of researchers from dozens of different disciplines — neuroscience, genetics, immunology, pediatrics — to share their work with one another. It regularly draws some of the biggest names in the field.
But historically, the INSAR conference hasn’t exactly rolled out the red carpet for the people its research is intended to benefit. I’ve attended multiple INSAR meetings, both because I’m a journalist interested in reporting on the latest research and because I’m an autistic person interested in learning ways to improve my daily life. The experience of being surrounded by thousands of researchers — many of whom had never met anyone like me except as a study participant, and some of whom had never met anyone like me at all — was at times surreal. Being autistic at INSAR is like attending an exquisite, days-long feast in which you are the main course.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Welcome to the Communication Matrix

The Communication Matrix has created a free assessment tool to help families and professionals easily understand the communication status, progress, and unique needs of anyone functioning at the early stages of communication or using forms of communication other than speaking or writing.

Read more here. 

Largest-Ever Study Ties Over 100 Genes to Autism

The study, involving over 50 centers around the globe, identified 102 genes associated with ASD -- including a few dozen that had not been recognized before.
Some of the genes are also associated with intellectual disabilities and developmental delays, the researchers said. But others are unique to ASD, and appear related to the social difficulties that mark the disorder.

Rethinking repetitive behaviors in autism

Autistic people have long maintained that repetitive behaviors are beneficial. Emerging evidence in support of this idea is shaping new therapies.

Read more here at Spectrum. 

Study: Girls Diagnosed With Autism About 1.5 Years Later Than Boys

A new study reveals that girls with autism receive a diagnosis, on average, nearly 1.5 years later than boys. This is likely because parents and clinicians tend to notice language delays as the first sign of autism, and the girls in the study had more advanced language skills compared to the boys, say the researchers.

Read more here. 

Autism diagnosis test is less reliable than previously assumed, study finds

The standardized test, known as the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS), assesses communication skills, social interaction and play for children who may have autism or other developmental disorders.
The researchers digitized the test by attaching wearable technology, like an Apple Watch, to two clinicians and 52 children who came in four times and took two different versions of the test.
When researchers looked at the scores of the entire cohort, they found they did not distribute normally - which could mean a chance of false positives inflating the prevalence of autism, among other implications.

PECS Level 1 Training Available Online April 2020

You can find more information and register here.

We will not be offering scholarships for this online training and will bring live PECS trainings to Montana next fall.

Friday, April 3, 2020

Archived Webinar - Anxiety, Autism: Five Prime Suspects – with tips for coping at home.

Learn about factors that contribute to the high levels of anxiety seen in autism and learn concrete and actionable strategies for parents, teachers, and therapists.

View the webinar here.

CDC 1 in 54 Children Have Autism

Read more here.