Autism Spectrum Disorders

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges. There is often nothing about how people with ASD look that sets them apart from other people, but people with ASD may communicate, interact, behave, and learn in ways that are different from most other people. The learning, thinking, and problem-solving abilities of people with ASD can range from gifted to severely challenged. Some people with ASD need a lot of help in their daily lives; others need less.

The World of Autism PSA

11/10/15
A PSA from Autism Speaks- Autism Speaks joined the Ad Council and BBDO New York, the long-time volunteer agency for Autism Speaks, to launch a new series of public service advertisements (PSAs) designed to help parents recognize the early signs of autism and take immediate action. For the first time in the campaign’s history, the new PSAs feature an imaginative world, created using 3D and stop-motion animation, inspired by stories of real children with autism and told from the perspective of a child with autism. The PSAs are an extension of the award-winning “Learn the Signs” campaign, created by BBDO, which has helped significantly increase the percentage of parents who recognize the early warning signs of autism.
Click this link to see the Spanish version.


Autism: Wandering Fact Sheet

10/11/15
A one sheet information on Wandering
Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

NICHCY Autism Fact Sheet

5/11/13
National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities (NICHCY) Autism Fact Sheet.
Click this link to read go to the NICHCY page.
Click this link to download a pdf of the Fact Sheet.

Sesame Street has new character with Autism

10/26/15
The makers of “Sesame Street” say Elmo, Abby Cadabby and Grover are getting a new friend with autism as part of an effort to reduce stigma and help those on the spectrum learn life skills. Sesame Workshop said Wednesday that it is introducing a new character named Julia, a preschool girl with autism who “does things a little differently when playing with her friends.” Julia is part of the nonprofit’s “See Amazing in All Children” initiative, which is designed to teach kids about autism and offer tools for those with the developmental disorder."
Click this link to read the story.
Click this link to go to the Sesame Street Page.

Asperger Syndrome explained on Arthur

12/21/14
"In a little over 2 minutes, this episode of the childrens animated program, Arthur, explains Aspergers Syndrome in a way that even judgmental adults can understand!"

Sesame Street: What my family wants you to know about Autism

11/15/14
The Ruscil family was invited to a play date with Grover! The Ruscils have a 6 year old daughter, Angelina and twin sons, AJ and Garrett, who are 4 years old and both have autism. While both have Autism, their mother states, “You would think because they’re identical twins that their autism would be the same, but they’re very different.” It is clear from the video that Angelina adores her little brothers, and they her. When Grover asked her about them, she responded, “I’m so happy I’m with them.”.

Peter Bearman: Increased Prevalence of Autism: What is Causing It?

5/15/10
Autism is a significant public health problem. Dr. Peter Bearman, Columbia University, recently spoke with Dr. Insel about the prevalence of autism.


Click on this link to read the transcript from the NIMH

What is an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Click this link to go the CDC Autism Spectrum Disorder.
The following video explains ASD but is based on DSM-IV terminology which is why it includes Asperger Syndrome, and PDD NOS.



President Obama signs Autism Act Renewal

8/12/14
President Barack Obama signed a reauthorization of the nation’s primary autism legislation that includes more than a billion dollars in federal funding for the developmental disorder.
Click this link to read the story.

Temple Grandin 2010 TED Talk

4/27/14
Temple Grandin 2010 TED Talk on "The World Needs All Kinds of Minds.



New DSM-V proposed rules on Autism have many worried

3/3/12
The new DSM-V has proposed changes to the diagnoses of Autism. These as proposed would broaden the definition of Autism Spectrum Disorders but at the same time eliminate the diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome. As the public has become more aware of this, there has been an increasing number of individuals worried about how this would impact them and their loved ones, with some worried that they might now longer fit under the diagnosis. To respond the American Psychiatric Association has extended the public comment period about these proposed changes.
To read more click on this link.
To see the online petition asking for the definition to not be changed, click on this link.
To read the published commentary from the DSM-V work group refuting the charges, click this link.

Report says proposed changes to DSM-V rules on Autism could result in many no longer having the diagnosis.

1/20/12
A new report indicates that the proposed changes to the Autism diagnosis in the soon to be finalized DSM-V could leave many individuals already diagnosed with the Disorder no longer with a Disorder.
To read more click on this link.
To read the NY Times article reporting on the story, click on this link.

Autism Evaluations

    Revised Autism screening tool (M-CHAT-R)offers more precise assessment for children aged 16 to 30 months

    4/2/14
    An updated screening tool that physicians administer to parents to help determine if a very young child has autism has been shown to be much more accurate than earlier versions at identifying children who could benefit from further evaluation, according to researchers supported by the National Institutes of Health. The Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers—Revised, with Follow-Up (M-CHAT–R/F) – is a free, two-step screening tool used to detect children likely to have autism. It is intended for use at regular well-child checkups for children 16 to 30 months old. With the M-CHAT-R/F, health care providers can classify a child’s risk of having autism as low, medium or high, on the basis of parents’ answers to 20 questions.
    Click this link to read the study.
    Click this link to go to the Official M-CHAT webpage.
    Click this link to download the screening tool.

Autism Research

    When is Tourtette Syndrome actually Autism

    7/15/17
    NASAT reports that "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. "Our results suggest that although autism diagnoses were higher in individuals with Tourette's, some of the increase may be due to autism-like symptoms, especially repetitive behaviors that are more strongly related to obsessive-compulsive disorder," said study first author Sabrina Darrow, an assistant professor in the department of psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco. Tourette's affects between one and 10 in 1,000 children, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health. It is more common in males, and typical tics include repetitive throat-clearing, blinking or grimacing."
    Click this link to read about the report..

    Link between Vitamin D treatment and Autism Prevention suggested

    4/2/17
    NASAT reports that "Giving vitamin D supplements to mice during pregnancy prevents autism traits in their offspring, University of Queensland researchers have discovered. The discovery provides further evidence of the crucial role vitamin D plays in brain development, said lead researcher Professor Darryl Eyles, from UQ's Queensland Brain Institute. "Our study used the most widely accepted developmental model of autism in which affected mice behave abnormally and show deficits in social interaction, basic learning and stereotyped behaviors," Professor Eyles said. "
    Click this link to read about the report..

    Autism: New analysis method of metabolites accurately predicts whether a child has autism

    3/26/17
    NASAT reports that "Scientists have developed a new, highly accurate method that analyzes metabolic biomarkers to assess whether a child is on the autism spectrum, according to a study published in PLOS Computational Biology. Autism spectrum disorder affects about 1.5 percent of all children, but its exact cause remains unknown, and diagnosis requires a multidisciplinary team of doctors. Previous research has revealed certain differences in metabolic processes between children on the autism spectrum and neurotypical children. However, researchers have struggled to translate these differences into new diagnostic tools. In the new study, Juergen Hahn and Daniel Howsmon of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, New York, and colleagues present a method to identify a child as being on the autism spectrum based on concentrations of specific substances found in a blood sample. These substances are produced by metabolic processes known as the folate-dependent one-carbon (FOCM) metabolism and transulfuration (TS) pathways, both of which are altered in children with autism"
    Click this link to read about the report..

    Autism linked to Herpes infection in pregnancy

    3/2/17
    Medscape reports that "High levels of maternal antibodies against herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2) in mid-pregnancy has been linked to an increased risk for autism spectrum disorder (ASD), a new study suggests. "This is the first study to report an association between maternal anti-HSV-2 antibody levels and risk of ASD in offspring," write the investigators, with first author Milada Mahic, PhD, a postdoctoral research scientist with the Center for Infection and Immunity, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health in New York City."
    Click this link to read about the report..
    Click this link to read the report..

    Children Exposed to Complications at Birth at Risk of Autism

    2/17/17
    NASAT reports that "Children who were exposed to complications shortly before or during birth, including birth asphyxia and preeclampsia, were more likely to develop autism spectrum disorder, according to a Kaiser Permanente study published in the American Journal of Perinatology. For this retrospective study, researchers examined the electronic health records of 594,638 children born in Kaiser Permanente hospitals in Southern California between 1991 and 2009. During this time, 6,255 of these children were diagnosed with ASD, 37 percent of whom experienced perinatal complications. Researchers found that children exposed to complications during birth were at a 10 percent increased risk of developing ASD, compared to children who did not experience perinatal complications."
    Click this link to read about the report..

    Early brain changes may help predict autism among high-risk infants

    2/15/17
    NIH reports that "Brain changes at age 6 or 12 months may help predict the development of autism spectrum disorder by age 2 years among infants with a high family risk, according to a study funded by the National Institutes of Health. Currently, autism can be diagnosed as early as age 2 years, based on certain behaviors and communication difficulties. The study, funded by the NIH Autism Centers of Excellence Program, is published in the February 16, 2017, issue of Nature."
    Click this link to read about the report..

    Asthma and ADHD linked to poverty, while Autism is linked to wealth

    2/14/17
    Medscape reports that "The national prevalence of parent-reported asthma, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is on the rise in the United States, as are accompanying comorbid disorders, but poverty influences the prevalence of each of these conditions differently, according to a longitudinal analysis of the National Survey of Children's Health (NSCH). The study was published online February 13 in Pediatrics. "[W]e conducted a data analysis using the 3 waves of the [NSCH] from 2003 through 2012," Christian Pulcini, MD, from the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in Pennsylvania, and colleagues write. "Within this study's time period, there was a rise in parent-reported lifetime prevalence of all 3 target disorders." Specifically, between 2003 and 2011-2012, the relative increase in lifetime prevalence of asthma was 18%, it was 44% for ADHD, and it was almost 400% for ASD."
    Click this link to read about the report..
    Click this link to read about the report..

    Antidepressant use may double Autism risk

    12/15/15
    Taking antidepressants during pregnancy substantially increases the likelihood that a child will have autism, a new study suggests. Researchers found that the odds a child would develop autism were 87 percent higher when expectant mothers took antidepressants during the last six months of pregnancy. The findings published Monday in the journal JAMA Pediatrics come from a study looking at records on more than 145,000 Canadian children from the time of conception until age 10.
    Click this link to read about the study.
    Click this link to read the abstract.

    Autism Severity tied to Stress Levels

    6/5/15
    The severity of a child’s autism may be directly linked with the level of stress or anxiety they experience on a day-to-day basis, a new study suggests. Levels of the stress-hormone cortisol remain significantly higher throughout the day in children with low-functioning autism as compared to typically-developing kids and those on the high-functioning end of the spectrum, according to findings published in the Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities.
    Click this link to read the abstract.

    Father's sperm linked to Autism

    4/23/15
    Medscape reports that "DNA methylation in paternal sperm may contribute to the risk of children's developing autism, a finding that sheds new light on the etiology of this complex disorder. Investigators at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland, found almost 200 regions of methylated DNA in the fathers of children at increased risk of developing autism that were significantly associated with performance on a scale assessing autism spectrum disorder (ASD) symptoms at 12 months. The research was published online April 14 in the International Journal of Epidemiology. "
    Click this link to read the abstract.

    Parent Training effective may be effective in ending Autism related Behavioral Problems

    4/21/15
    Disability Scoop reports that "Parents of children with autism could see vast improvements in behavioral troubles, including severe tantrums, if they learn and use techniques to help their children cope with the challenges of the disorder, according to new research. The study, which was published online Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, is the largest randomized, multi-center study to analyze the impact of behavioral training."
    Click this link to read the article.
    Click this link to read the abstract.

    Adult Autism Outcomes

    4/15/15
    Disability Scoop reports that "Young adults with autism are facing significant challenges after high school, a new report suggests, with many on the spectrum finding themselves unemployed, isolated and lacking services. More than a third of those with autism don’t work or continue their education in their early twenties, a circumstance shared by fewer than 8 percent of young people with other types of disabilities. Meanwhile, 26 percent of young adults with autism receive no support services at all. The findings come from a report this week from Drexel University’s A.J. Drexel Autism Institute based on data collected in two nationally-representative government studies — the National Longitudinal Transition Study-2 and the Survey of Pathways to Diagnosis. The 68-page National Autism Indicators Report paints a stark picture of a group of young people with little support."
    Click this link to read the article.
    Click this link to read the report.

    Autism diagnosis often delayed

    4/15/15
    Medscape reports that "Many children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) were not diagnosed until they were approximately 5 years of age, despite the fact that parents had expressed concern to physicians as much as 3 years earlier, according to a new study. Katharine Elizabeth Zuckerman, MD, MPH, from the Division of General Pediatrics, Doernbecher Children's Hospital Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, and colleagues report their findings in an article published online April 14 in the Journal of Pediatrics.
    Click this link to go to the abstract of the article.

    Genetic Deletion may explain language delays in Autism

    3/9/15
    Medscape reports that "Children with a genetic deletion previously linked to autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders have measurable delays in processing sound and language, a new study suggests. An imaging study conducted by investigators at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), in Pennsylvania, showed that a deletion of a region on chromosome 16 (16p11.2) was linked to a "stunningly high" auditory processing delay known as the M100 response latency."
    Click this link to go to the abstract of the article.

    Preeclampsia during pregnancy raises autism risk

    12/11/14
    "A new study finds children born to mothers who had preeclampsia during pregnancy are as much as twice as likely to develop autism spectrum disorder."
    Click this link to read the pdf of the article.

    More Evidence Links Autism to Air Pollution

    10/24/14
    Medscape reports that "New research adds to the growing body of evidence linking traffic-related air pollution to the development of autism. The study, conducted by investigators at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, is the first to examine associations between autism and air pollution in North Carolina. Its results support those from past studies in California, even though the two states have different climates and weather patterns. The study also linked exposure to air pollution during the third trimester of pregnancy, in particular, to autism in the offspring."
    Click this link to read the abstract of the article.

    Low Iron intake in Pregnancy may boost Autism risk

    9/25/14
    A link has been shown between maternal iron intake and the risk for having a child with Autism. Medscape reports that "The study shows a 5-fold greater risk for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in children whose mothers had low supplemental iron intake and other risk factors, including age older than 35 years and metabolic conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, and obesity."
    Click this link to read the abstract of the article.

    Prenatal use of Folate leads to fewer Autistic traits

    8/30/14
    Medscape reports that "A new study confirms that children of women who take prenatal folic acid supplements have fewer autistic traits. But the link isn't explained by maternal folate concentrations, at least not at 13 weeks of gestational age." The researchers "measured folate concentrations in nearly 5,600 mothers for their study, online July 31 in the European Journal of Public Health. The team also surveyed the women about their folic acid supplement use. Later, when their children were an average of six years old, the researchers were able to follow up with 3900 mothers to ask them to assess their children's autistic traits. The mothers scored their children according to the Social Responsiveness Scale and a subscale of the Child Behavior Checklist. They found that women who started using folic acid supplements before conception, within the first 10 weeks of pregnancy or after the first 10 weeks all had children with lower scores on the autistic traits scales than those who did not report taking the supplements."
    Click this link to read the abstract of the article.

    Impaired synapse pruning is linked to Autism

    8/24/14
    New Research finds a link between that a impairment in the growing brains neural pruning is related to cases of Autism. Neural pruning is the normal process where unused or excess neural pathways or synapses are "pruned away" in normal development.
    Click this link to read the abstract of the article.

    Adults with Asperger Syndrome at higher risk for Suicidal Thoughts

    7/9/14
    Research conducted in the United Kingdoms finds that adults with Asperger Syndrome are 9 times more likely to experience suicidal thoughts. The study surveyed 374 individuals (256 men and 118 women) diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome as adults between 2004 and 2013 at the Cambridge Lifetime Asperger Syndrome Service clinic. The study showed that 66% of adults with Asperger's syndrome have suicidal ideation. Previous studies have shown that 17% of the general population and 59% of those with psychosis have such thoughts, the researchers said. In addition, the new study showed that 35% of adults with Asperger's syndrome had planned or had attempted suicide during their lifetime.
    Click this link to read the study.

    Genetics of Autism and Schizophrenia

    7/22/14
    In this blog, NIMH Director, Dr. Insel, describes the results of two new genetics studies and why they are milestones in our understanding of the genetics of autism and schizophrenia.
    Click this link to read the abstract of the article.

    Parents of children with Autism often stop trying to have children

    7/9/14
    Research conducted in California finds that parents whose first child has Autism are a third less likely to have a second child, when compared with a normally developing first child. The research found that this effect developed more three years after the first child was born. Meaning that there was no marked change, compared to the control group, in the first three years, but a pronounced changed occured after the first three years.
    Click this link to read the abstract of the article.

    PBS Newshour: New research suggests possibility of common underlying biology in children who develop Autism

    4/6/14
    As the government revised its estimate of the prevalence of autism to one out of every 68 children in the U.S., PBS NewsHour delves into some new findings on autism that shows brain changes happening in the womb.



    Autism and Intellectual Disability linked to Environmental Factors

    3/31/14
    In a very nicely designed study that included an analysis of 100 million medical records, covering one-third of the United States, researchers at the University of Chicago, found a very strong correlation between a proxy variable (male genetic malformations in newborns) with the incidence of Autism and Intellectual Disability. The researchers note that male fetuses are particularly sensitive to toxins such as environmental lead, sex hormone analogues, medications, and synthetic molecules. Exposure to these toxins is association with such congenital malformation as micropenis, hypospadias, undescended testicles, and other malformations. The researchers mapped these malformations and then compared their rates county by county in the United States. They found that after adjusting for a number of possible factors that for every one percent increase in congenital malformations in a county that there was an associated 283 percent increase in autism and a 94 percent increase in intellectual disability in that same county.
    Click this link to read the study.

    A Speech/Language Therapist on working with children with Autism

    3/31/14
    A nice article discussing theory of mind, Autism Spectrum Disorders, Social skills and how a Speech and Language therapist can teach children with Autism key skills in making social relationships.
    Click this link to read the article.

    Autism and Bullying Podcast: Factors that Protect or Increase Risk

    3/31/14
    “Autism Matters” podcast featuring an interview with special-education researcher Judith Hebron on her study identifying factors that protect against or increase the risk of bullying of students with autism spectrum disorder.
    Click this link to read about the study.
    Click this link to listen to the podcast.

    CDC reports that Autism Rates Jump 30 percent

    3/27/14
    The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that new estimates put the number of 8 years old with Autism at 1 in 68 children (or 14.7 per 1000). This number is roughly 30 percent higher than the previous estimates reported in 2012. At that time the estimate was 1 in 88 children (11.3 per 1000). The CDC report indicates that for 2010, the overall ASD prevalence estimates varied among sites from 5.7 to 21.9 per 1000 children. The Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) prevalence estimates also varied by sex and racial/ethnic group. The CDC reports that the data continue to show that ASD is almost 5 times more common among boys than girls: 1 in 42 boys vs 1 in 189 girls. White children are more likely to be identified as having ASD than are black or Hispanic children. Among the 7 sites in this study with sufficient data on intellectual ability, 31 percent of children with ASD were classified as having IQ scores in the range of intellectual disability (IQ below 70), 23 percent in the borderline range (IQ = 71 to 85), and 46 percent in the average or above average range of intellectual ability (IQ above 85).
    Click this link to read about the study.
    Click this link for read about the Study on the CDC webpage.
    Click this link to read the study.

    Disrupted Cell Layering Process in the Developing Brain of individuals with Autism

    3/27/14
    A new NIMH-funded study finds that brain irregularities in children with Autism can be traced back to prenatal development. This reinforces the importance of early identification and intervention. For this study, the researchers analyzed gene expression in postmortem brain tissue from children with and without autism, all between 2 and 15 years of age. The study found that the markers for several layers of the cortex were absent in 91 percent of the autistic case samples, as compared to 9 percent of control samples. Further, these signs of disorganization were not found all over the brain’s surface, but instead were localized in focal patches that were 5-7 millimeters (0.20-0.28 inches) in length and encompassed multiple cortical layers. These patches were found in the frontal and temporal lobes of the cortex—regions that mediate social, emotional, communication, and language functions.
    Click this link to read about the study.
    Click this link to read the study.
    The video below has no sound.

    Older Paternal Age increases Autism Risk and Risk for other Disabilities

    T3/2/14
    TA large new study reveals a connection between older fathers and an increased risk of having children with autism and other disorders. Children born to 45-year-old fathers are three-and-a-half times more likely to have autism than those born to 24-year-old dads, according to the study. For the study, researchers examined records for everyone born in Sweden between 1973 and 2001, totaling more than 2.6 million people. Researchers say that an increasing number of genetic mutations in men’s sperm as they age could be contributing to a greater risk of autism and other disorders in children born to older fathers. In addition to an increased risk for autism, they found that the likelihood of a child developing ADHD is 13 times greater while the odds of bipolar disorder is 25 times higher for those born to 45-year-old dads compared to fathers at age 24. The older dads were also associated with an increased risk of having children with psychotic disorder, suicidal behavior and substance abuse problems, among other issues.
    Click this link to read about the study.

    Hearing, Sight often Jumbled for Kids on the Spectrum

    1/19/14
    A new study by researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center finds that children with autism live in a world that resembles a badly-dubbed foreign movie. They struggle to integrate what they see and what they hear. Reporting in The Journal of Neuroscience, the researchers described a study comparing 32 high-functioning children with autism and 32 children who are developmentally typical. The children, ages 6 to 18, performed a battery of tasks, most using computers. The researchers found that the children with autism have what’s called “an enlarged temporal binding window.” Their brains had difficulty associating information from their eyes and their ears.
    Click this link to read about the study.

    Gene pathways suggested in the development of Autism

    1/4/14
    New research conducted by researchers funded by the NIH suggests that a number of gene mutations may cause up to 15% of cases of Autism. In a sample of 1000 families that had one child with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) the researchers found 144 rare, non-inherited gene mutations. Of these nine genes were identified. These nine genes all produce proteins that act together during one specific period of time in one certain type of cell in one particular region of the brain. Specifically, this network of genes is active during early and mid-fetal development (10–24 weeks). They work in glutamate-producing projection neurons in the prefrontal and primary motor-somatosensory cortex—an area of the brain critical for personality expression, social behavior, and language.
    Click this link to read about the study.

    Maternal weight gain during pregnancy may influency Autism risk

    11/28/13
    Past research has associated an increased risk for having a child with Autism with maternal body mass index (BMI) and gestational weight gain. New research has shown a greater risk for having a child with Autism associated with gestational weight gain, but not with BMI. The difference between the experimental group and the matched control group in gestational weight gain was small, 3 lbs. The researchers stress that they do not believe that this is a causal relationship but that it is merely an association. They also stress that women should not under eat during pregnancy because of these results.
    Click this link to read about the study.

    Rates of Autism in UK rose and then plateaued while they continue to climb in the US

    11/26/13
    The US rate of Autism Diagnoses in Children has risen dramatically since the 1980s. In England, in contrast, the rate rose dramatically during the 1990s in the United Kingdom, and then plateaued by the beginning of the 2000s and have remained steady since.
    Click this link to read about the study.

    One third of individuals with Autism have ADHD

    6/11/13
    Almost one-third of children with autism also have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and symptoms appear to be more severe in kids affected by both conditions, new research suggests. The findings come from a long-term study of 162 children who were tracked starting when they were still infants or toddlers. By the time the kids reached ages 4 through 8, researchers found that 63 had autism. Of those with the developmental disorder, parent reports indicated that 18 of the children — or about 29 percent — also had clinically significant symptoms of ADHD.
    Click this link to read about the study.
    Click this link to read the abstract of the article.

    Autism not linked to the number of vaccines a child receives

    5/15/13
    New Research further shows that there is no link between vaccines and the development of Autism. This new study published in Pediatrics looked at both the number of vaccines a child recieves and the number of vaccines they receive in one day. The study found no difference in children who were later diagnosed with Autism from the children in the study who were not later diagnosed with Autism.
    Click this link to read go about the study.
    Click this link to read the abstract of the article.

    Over a third of young adults with Autism are socially isolated

    5/11/13
    New Research shows that nearly 40 percent of young adults with autism never saw friends and half were not receiving any phone calls or being invited to activities, according to research published recently in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. Strikingly, researchers said that 28 percent had no social contact at all.
    Click this link to read more about the study.
    Click this link to read an abstract of the study.

    Precursor Symptoms to Autism detected in 6-month-old infants

    4/30/13
    New Research finds that early signs of autism can be detected in 6 month old infants. The study found that 6 month olds, who were later diagnosed with Autism at age 3 showed a difference in their attention to faces and to toys, as compared to children who were not later diagnosed with Autism.
    Click this link to read more about the study.
    Click this link to read an abstract of the study.
    Click this link to read a pdf of the study.

    Some children with Autism outgrow it as they grow

    4/26/13
    New Research funded by the NIMH find that some children who were appropriately diagnosed with Autism when they were younger, no longer presents with the symptoms of the disorder or meet the criteria for the continued diagnosis of the Disorder when they are older.
    Click this link to read more about the study.

    CDC puts rate of Autism at 1 in 50 school aged children

    4/8/13
    The latest estimate released Wednesday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention comes from a national telephone survey of nearly 100,000 parents conducted in 2011 and 2012. Parents were asked a number of health questions about their kids including whether they had ever been told by a doctor that their child had an autism spectrum disorder. The results suggest that autism is occurring in 2 percent of school-age children.
    That’s substantially higher than prevalence numbers the CDC released just last March which put the rate of autism at 1 in 88 American children. That previous estimate relied on a study of health and education records collected on 8-year-olds. The current research included kids ages 6 to 17, but is considered by some to be less reliable since it is based on parent-reported information.
    Click this link to download the pdf on this study from the CDC.

    Many Individuals with Autism not employed 2 years after high school graduation

    9/28/12
    Data from a nationally representative survey show that teens with autism appear to face additional challenges after graduating high school than peers with similar disabilities. The study shows that 35 percent of individuals with Autism are not employed or in college two years after high school graduation. The study also reports that 7 percent of individuals with Speech/Language Disorders, 3 percent of individuals with Learning Disabilities, and 26 percent of individuals with Intellectual Disabilities (formerly known as mental retardation) are similarly not in college or working. NIMH-funded researchers highlight the need to improve transition planning and for further studies on the effectiveness of services for adults with autism.
    Click this link to read the NIMH over view of the study.

    Social Brain Circuits Disrupted in Autism

    <9/26/12
    A new brain imaging study shows that brain areas involved in social behavior are active but out of sync with each other in young people with autism.
    Click this link to read the NIMH over view of the study.

    Training Peers Improves Social Outcomes for Some Kids with ASD

    9/2/12
    Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) who attend regular education classes may be more likely to improve their social skills if their typically developing peers are taught how to interact with them than if only the children with ASD are taught such skills. According to a study funded by the National Institutes of Health, a shift away from more commonly used interventions that focus on training children with ASD directly may provide greater social benefits for children with ASD.
    Click this link to read the NIMH over view of the study.
    Click this link to go the overview of the report.

    Autism - Changes in brain noted between individuals with and without Autism

    8/29/12
    Children with autism have more brain cells and heavier brains compared to typically developing children, according to researchers partly funded by the National Institutes of Health.
    Click this link to read the NIMH over view of the study.

    Autism - prevalence and changes in DSM-V

    7/26/12
    Is the growth in Autism prevalence real? What will be the result of the changes in the DSM-V in relations to individuals currently diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome, Pervasive Developmental Disability or an Autism Spectrum Disorder. These questions are mulled over and discussed in an interview with Dr. Fred Volkma, Chair of the Child Study Center at the Yale University School of Medicine and Chief of Psychiatry at Yale-New Haven Children's Hospital.
    Click this link to read a pdf file of the Interview.

    Autism risk is linked to father's age.

    4/6/12
    New Research published in the Journal Nature shows that the risk for Autism is linked to the father's age, with older father's having a higher risk for having a child with Autism.
    To read the article in Nature click this link.
    To read a user friendly summary of the article, click this link.

    Autism Rates up 78% since 2002.

    4/1/12
    The prevalence of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) has increased by 78% since 2002, a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows. However, the exact reason for this increase is unclear.
    Overall, the report's data, derived from the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) surveillance network, show that in 2008, 1 in 88 children aged 8 years — 1 in 54 boys and 1 in 252 girls — had an ASD diagnosis by age 8, a significant jump from the current estimate of 1 in 110.
    This marks an estimated 23% increase since the last report in 2009 and a 78% increase since 2002. According to the CDC, some of this increase can be attributed to the way children with ASD are identified, diagnosed, and served in their communities, although exactly how much is due to these factors is unknown.
    To read more, click this link to go the CDC webpage.
    To read a NY Times story on the issue, click this link.

    Guide to love and dating for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders

    12/26/11
    What is a dating relationship like when you have an Autism Spectrum Disorder. This NY Times article explores the real life relationship of two twenty years who are both high functioning individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders. "For Jack Robison and Kirsten Lindsmith, both of whom fall on the autism spectrum, being in a relationship together has created a unique set of comforts and challenges.
    Navigating Love and Autism

    Interview with Temple Grandin

    12/20/11


    In this interview Temple Grandin discusses the importance of teaching, interacting, setting standards, and teaching specific life skills, and of having high expectations when living and working with individuals with Autism.

    NIH-funded study shows pre-birth brain growth problems linked to autism

    11/16/11
    New research with a small, preliminary study provides direct evidence for possible prenatal causes of autism. The study showed that children with autism have more brain cells and heavier brains compared to typically developing children.
    Click this link to read more.

    Siblings of children with Autism have risk of Autism

    8/26/11
    New research finds that parents of a child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) face about a 19 percent chance that subsequent children will also develop ASD, according to a study partially funded by NIMH. This estimate is much higher than previous reports but may also be more accurate due to the study's size and design, according to the researchers.
    Click this link to read more.

    Differences found in genes in individual's with Autism brains

    6/16/11
    New research finds that Autism blurs the molecular differences that normally distinguish different brain regions. Among more than 500 genes that are normally expressed at significantly different levels in the front versus the lower middle part of the brain's outer mantle, or cortex, only 8 showed such differences in brains of people with autism, say researchers funded in part by the National Institutes of Health.
    To read more click on this link.

    New Strategic Plan for Autism Research released

    3/4/11
    The Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC)of the US Department of Health and Human Services has released its 2011 Strategic Plan for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Research, which is intended to provide a blueprint for future ASD research efforts. The Plan provides a set of research recommendations to guide federal autism research efforts and serves as a basis for partnerships with other agencies and private organizations involved in ASD research and services.
    Several new areas of focus have been identified in the 2011 Plan, including studies on the use and accessibility of Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC) tools for nonverbal individuals on the spectrum and studies of health promotion and the prevention of related health concerns such as obesity and mental health issues. In addition, in response to public concerns about the health and safety of children and adults with autism, the committee added new objectives related to understanding safety issues that may contribute to the increased risk of injury and premature death that has been reported in the literature.
    To read more click on this link.

    Autism Transition Tool Kit - 2/6/11

    2/6/11
    A Transition Guide for Parents of Children with Autism ages 13-21.

    Mitochondrial Dysfunction in Children With Autism

    2/5/11
    A new study shows a link in a subset of children with Autism and Mitochondrial Dysfunction. The study authors in a metaanalysis of other studies found that a number of children with Autism also have Mitochondrial Dysfunction. They also found that children with Mitochondrial Dysfunction and Autism were more likely to have been developing normally as infants and toddlers and to have then regressed in their skills. The authors found that in a group of these children that environmental toxins may have contributed to the Mitochondrial Dysfunction.
    To read about the study, click on this link.
    To read the study, click on this link.

    Autism Study linking Autism to Vaccines was a Fraud

    1/13/11
    New Research has gone back to reviewed the actual patient records in the research that first incorrectly linked Autism with vaccines. The research contends the original paper showing this purported link was a fraud.
    Click this link to read a NY Times story about the report.
    Click this link to listen to a NPR story about the report.

    Intensive social skills training helps young Autistic children

    .
    12/20/10
    The research found that children with Autism who were provided more intensive social skills training showed sustained growth in their social skills.
    To read more about the story click on this link.

    Living near a freeway while pregnant increases chance of having a child with Autism

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    12/17/10
    A new study finds that living within 1000 feet of the center line of a freeway drastically increased the chances of having a child with autism. The authors found that 10% of women who lived closest to a freeway during pregnancy were within about 1,000 feet of center line. Children born to these women were 86% more likely to have autism than kids born to women who lived farther from the freeway. The relationship was stronger for women who lived within 1,000 feet of a freeway during their third trimester. Children born to these women were 2.2 times more likely to have autism. The reason these women were at higher risk for having a child with autism is not clear. The authors question whether this maybe due to air pollution, noise pollution, some other factor, or some combination of these factors.
    Click this link to read more about the study.
    Click this link to read about the study on CBS news.

    Toddlers with Autism Show Improved Social Skills Following Targeted Intervention

    12/8/10
    Targeting the core social deficits of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in early intervention programs yielded sustained improvements in social and communication skills even in very young children who have ASD, according to a study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), part of the National Institutes of Health. The study was published online July 28, 2010, in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.
    click here to read the full article

    A new test for Autism

    12/5/10
    Possible new Autism test: Researchers at Harvard University report that a new MRI scan can accurately diagnosis Autism.
    Click on this link to read the story.

    Moving out of state to get autism treatment

    9/17/10
    One of the most effective treatments for children with Autism is called Applied Behavioral Analysis. While very effective it can also be very expensive as insurance does not always cover the cost of the therapy. This CNN story explores ABA and the plight many families trying to pay for the therapy.Because some States mandate that the therapy is covered by insurance, many families are choosing to move to those States, so their children can receive appropriate services.
    Click on this link to read the CNN Story.

    A Gluten-Free, Casein-Free Diet No Remedy for Autism

    5/26/10
    A new study by University of Rochester researcher, Dr Susan Hyman finds that a Gluten-Free, Casein-Free Diet was not effective in remediating the symptoms of Autism. In the study 14 children with autism were put on the diet for 4 weeks and then given food with gluten and casein. The children did not show a noticeable effect on their behavior.
    For more on the study click on this link.

    NICHD report on Autism and Genes

    5/21/10
    National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Publication on Autism and Genes.
    To view the publication to click this link.
    To order the publication free click this link.

    NIMH Radio: Autism Spectrum Disorder in Children

    5/11/10
    NIMH Radio: Autism Spectrum Disorder in Children

    Interview with Temple Grandin

    2/22/10
    Temple Grandin is an adult with autism who is a leading animal behaviorist. She is also an author and has written several books on autism and animals, including Animals in Translation. There was recently an HBO movie about her life, and as part of that she has been doing a range of interviews. Her interviews are always interesting and informative. I strongly recommend parents of children on the Autism Spectrum or individuals themselves on this spectrum to listen to her interviews.
    Fresh Air Interview.
    Talk of the Nation Interview.
    Information from HBO on the film.

    Proposed changes in DSM-IV to Asperger Syndome

    2/21/10
    The proposed changes in the DSM-V would eliminate the diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome. NPR has run two recent articles on this topic. The first discusses Asperger syndrome, the second article reviews the same issue but discusses the issue more from a parent and school perspective and has insights into the special education aspect of the proposed change.

    Oxytocin Improves Social Interaction in High-Functioning Adults With Autism

    2/20/10
    Oxytocin is a hormone that promotes delivery and lactation. It plays an important role in enhancing social and emotional behavior. This preliminary research with a small group of individuals with high functioning Autism or Asperger Syndrome. Oxytocin was administered nasally. The sample subjects did better at tasks involving understanding a social situation and showed improvements in their ability to look at faces.
    Click this link to read the article.

    Original study linking Autism to Vaccines retracted

    2/7/10
    Autism News Update: The initial study by Dr. Andrew Wakefield linking Autism and Vaccines has been retracted by the prestigious British Medical Journal the Lancet.
    Read the statement from the Lancet.

    Rate of Autism increases

    12/21/09
    A new study by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) finds that about 1 in every 110 8-year-olds in the U.S. had autism spectrum disorder in 2006. This represents a 57% increase in the prevalence of the disorder in 4 years. A number of factors are thought to have contributed to the rise in diagnosis including increased awareness of the condition.

    Randomized, Controlled Trial of an Intervention for Toddlers With Autism: The Early Start Denver Model

    12/8/09
    A new study published in Pediatrics finds that early intervention with children younger to 2 1/2 years improved their IQ, language, and adaptive behavior so much so that 2 years later 30% no longer met the diagnostic criteria for Autism. For a news report on the study following this link.

    Risky alternative therapies for autism have little basis in science

    11/25/09
    Chicago Tribune article on Alternative Therapies used in Autism. The Chicago Tribune in an article titled Autism treatments: Risky alternative therapies have little basis in science Alternative therapies amount to uncontrolled experimentation on children, investigation finds investigated the use of alternative therapies with children with autism. They found that many of these have no research basis and that some many actually harm the children they are marketed to help.

    Parent Training Complements Medication for Treating Behavioral Problems in Children with Pervasive Developmental Disorders

    11/24/09
    Parent Training Complements Medication for Treating Behavioral Problems in Children with Pervasive Developmental Disorders. New Research finds that a combination treatment of medication and a structured training program for parents reduces serious behavioral problems in children with autism and related conditions, according to a study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). The study, which was part of the NIMH Research Units on Pediatric Psychopharmacology (RUPP) Autism Network, was published in the December 2009 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

    Recovery Act Grant Aims to Teach Kids with Autism How to Better Express Themselves

    11/13/09
    New research sponsored by NIHM will explore the development of a new computer based program to train individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders to recognize facial expressions. The program will combine parts of the Let's Face It program and Computer Expression Recognition Toolbox to develop a tool to help teach individuals with ASD's to recognize facial expressions. Many individuals with ASD's struggle with recognizing emotions and facial expressions and this difficulty contributes to many of their social and language difficulties.
    Click this link to read the article

    Blood Mercury Levels in Children With Autism Similar to Those in Typically Developing Kids

    10/22/09
    A new study finds that blood mercury (Hg) levels in children with autism and autism spectrum disorders (AU/ASD) are similar to those of typically developing children.

    Higher Autism rates detected: Now in 1 in 100 kids

    10/5/09
    Two new studies rate the rate of Autism as being 1 in 100 in the United. States. This is a dramatic increase from previously reported rates of the disorder. The first study was published in Pediatrics. The CDC also has an upcoming study looking at the rate of Autism Spectrum Disorders and reports that they have found a similar rate of prevalence. Click this link to read the CSD press release

    CDC Statement on Autism Data 10/5/09

    October 5, 2009
    CDC recognizes the importance of the data released today in Pediatrics by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) on parental report of autism from the National Survey of Children?s Health.

    An updated prevalence report from CDC?s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network is currently in press. Given the importance of the issue and these new findings, we would like to confirm that updated preliminary data from CDC shows that overall prevalence findings are similar to those reported by HRSA indicating that approximately 1% of children are affected with an ASD. There is some variation in ASD prevalence among the ADDM Network communities, which will be described in detail in the upcoming report. We expect to make the CDC report available in its entirety later this year in accordance with publication guidelines.

Autism Resources

    Autism Speaks

    Autism Speaks was founded in February 2005 by Bob and Suzanne Wright, grandparents of a child with autism. Their longtime friend Bernie Marcus donated $25 million to help financially launch the organization. Since then, Autism Speaks has grown into the world's leading autism science and advocacy organization, dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism; increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders; and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families.
    Cick this link to go the website.

    Books and Resources

    The Science and Fiction of Autism, by Laura Schreibman (2005) Harvard University Press.
    Autism Spectrum Disorders: The Complete Guide to Understanding Autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, Pervasive Developmental Disorder, and other ASDs by Chantall Sicile-Kira (2004) - Perigee Books, NY.
    More information about Autism/PDD can be found at National Institute of Mental Health - Autism.
    Interview with JobTIPS Content Director focusing on individuals with ASD - 9/14/11
    Job Training resource for individuals with ASD - 4/2/11

    Handbook from The Autistic Self Advocacy Network

    11/14/11
    The Handbook from The Autistic Self Advocacy Network was written by adults and youth with autism for current and future college students with autism. Discusses disability and special education laws that apply to students from grades K-12 and how students in college must advocate for themselves. Also includes information on independent living, health and safety, and social issues. You can order a copy or download the book in PDF format from the website. Click this link to go to the website.
    Click this link to download the PDF of the book.

    NIMH Director's blog post on Autism Research

    4/3/11
    The NIMH has an updated director's blog post that reviews the progress in Autism research. It is worth a read.
    Click on this link to read the director's blog from 4/1/11.

Autism Treatment

    Fecal transplants may yield lasting benefits in Autism

    2/10/17
    Medscape reports that "In a study of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), fecal microbiota transplant (FMT) led to significant and lasting improvements in both gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms and ASD-related symptoms, researchers report. "We were hoping for some improvement in GI symptoms but were surprised to see 80% improvement," Ann Gregory, one of the study's lead authors and a microbiology graduate student at the Ohio State University in Columbus, told Medscape Medical News."
    Click this link to read the abstract of the article.

    Nazareth wins $1.2 million for Autism

    5/31/16
    James Goodman, Democrat and Chronicle staff writer reports that "Nazareth College has been awarded a $1.2 million federal grant to help improve its educational and therapeutic services for children with autism. The five-year grant, awarded by the U.S. Department of Education, will go to Nazareth’s Interdisciplinary Specialty Program in Autism (ISPAN) — one of 15 projects nationwide to help children in schools funded in this competitive grant process. Nazareth’s program is at a graduate level and typically helps train graduate students who are enrolled in various majors at the college but might be called upon to work with children with autism, said Dawn Vogler-Elias, who is co-director of I-SPAN and an associate professor in Nazareth’s Communication Sciences and Disorders Department. With one in 68 children in the United States diagnosed with autism, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, school districts often have teams of professionals, drawing from different disciplines, to help these children, she noted. In the past, some graduate students did not have the money to take the nine graduate credits in ISPAN training that would give them a certificate in this work, in addition to their graduate degrees. The I-SPAN training costs $7,920. The grant will help subsidize the I-SPAN tuition, and as a result, permit an expansion of the program and inclusion of students from a broader field of disciplines. “It will increase the diversity of professionals,” Vogler-Elias said. Families with children who have autism and participate also will get an honorarium, she said."

    Autism Therapy to become mandatory benefit for Federal Workers

    3/26/16
    "In what advocates are hailing as a major step forward, the nation’s largest employer will require that all of its health insurance plans cover applied behavior analysis for kids with autism beginning next year. The U.S. Office of Personnel Management said all health plans within the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program – which covers federal employees, retirees and their dependents – must include the behavior therapy starting in 2017."
    Click this link to read the pdf of the article.

    Simple idea led to Autism Center

    2/10/15
    Bennett J. Loudon, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Two years ago, Jen Hackett and her professional colleagues simply wanted to give a few families of children with autism an opportunity to take a vacation, something that’s nearly impossible with a child who depends on a consistent schedule and feels uncomfortable in new environments. “Kids with autism like to have a lot of routine, and sometimes when their routine is different for them, it’s really hard to handle,” said Hackett, a special-education teacher in the Webster Central School District. But helping just five families enjoy a getaway in the Adirondack Mountains in 2013, at what they named Camp Puzzle Peace, grew to 10 families in 2014, and is expected to double again next summer.."
    Click this link to read the pdf of the article.

    Therapeutic Horse Riding program in Southern Tier combines horses and Ipads to get Nonverbal Autistic Children talking

    6/23/14
    The D&C reports that "Strides is one of three equine-assisted therapy programs offered by STAT, which is volunteer run and serves more than 200 families a year across the Southern Tier. STAT has provided $250,000 in scholarships since it was founded in 2007 for children to attend the programs. It serves youngsters and their families in a 12 county area including Broome, Tioga, Tompkins, Chemung, Cortland, Chenango, Delaware and Otsego counties in New York and Susquehanna County in Pennsylvania.
    Click this link to read the pdf of the article.

    Propranolol, an Old Migraine Drug, found helpful for Autism

    5/4/14
    New research has found that an old, generic drug shows promise in improving social functioning and some aspects of cognition in high functioning individuals (mean age 21.39 plus or minus 4.55 years) with Autism Spectrum Disorders. The research looked at these skills before and after a single administration of either the drug propranolol or placebo. Propranolol has been used to treat pediatric migraine for decades. If Propranolol is found to be effective as it is already approved by the FDA and has a proven safety record, it could be used much faster than a new drug for these uses. The research paper was presented at the Amercan Academy of Neurology 66th Annual Meeting on 4/28/13
    Click this link to read the Medscape Article about the study.

    Probiotics may help treat Autism

    12/13/13
    New research shows that in a mouse autism model that probiotics can help treat autism. A study conducted by investigators at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena shows that treatment with the human gut microbe Bacteroides fragilis alleviates ASD-like behaviors and eases comorbid gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms in a mouse model of autism. "Traditional research has studied autism as a genetic disorder and a disorder of the brain, but our work shows that gut bacteria may contribute to ASD-like symptoms in ways that were previously unappreciated," study investigator Sarkis K. Mazmanian, PhD, said in a statement as reported by Medscape.
    Click this link to read about the study.

    New Autism Toolkit available from the American Academy of Pediatrics

    10/26/12
    Medscape reports that "A new "autism toolkit" designed to help clinicians diagnose and manage autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and provide resources for the families of these children has been launched by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
    Click this link for more information.

Autism Quicklinks

NICHY Autism Fact Sheet.

New Autism Toolkit available from the American Academy of Pediatrics - 10/26/12.


© Copyright, all rights reserved Daniel J. DeMarle, Ph.D. 2014