Tag Archives | Autism

Science that could improve the lives of people with autism is being ignored

Mickey Keenan, University of Ulster

The economic costs associated with autism spectrum disorder run at £32 billion per year in the UK, more than heart disease, stroke and cancer combined. For children with autism this includes special education services and the costs of their parents not working as much in order to care for them. In the UK, costs for adults are even higher and include residential care or supportive living accommodation and limits on the work they can do according to their abilities.

The science of applied behaviour analysis (ABA) has been shown to have significant success in helping people with autism who ask for help. This evidence-based practice can also help reduce the associated economic costs.

This science involves the systematic use of behavioural principles to help those diagnosed with autism make socially significant changes in their behaviour. In doing so, individuals and families are provided with new opportunities for making personal choices.… Read the rest

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Kids with Autism Are More Likely to Have Gastrointestinal Problems

gabi menashe (CC BY 2.0)

gabi menashe (CC BY 2.0)

This is one of the main issues tackled in Who Killed Alex Spourdalakiswhich we released earlier this year.

Rachael Rettner via Live Science:

Children with autism may be more likely to have gastrointestinal problems early in life, compared with children who don’t have the condition, a new study suggests.

Researchers analyzed information from children in Norway whose mothers had answered questions about their child’s health during infancy and early childhood. The study included 195 children withautism spectrum disorder (ASD); 4,636 children who had other types of developmental delays; and more than 40,000 children with typical development (who did not have autism). Many of the children with autism had been diagnosed after their mothers completed the study survey.

The mothers’ reports showed that children with autism had higher odds of experiencing symptoms such as constipation, food intolerance and food allergies at ages 6 to 18 months than the typically developing children did.

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A waste of talent? Making space for autism in engineering

Notoriously difficult to get along with and ruthlessly focused, Isaac Newton is now believed to have been on the autistic spectrum.

Notoriously difficult to get along with and ruthlessly focused, Isaac Newton is now believed to have been on the autistic spectrum.

Via the ENGINEER

What would you think if I told you that there was a group of people within our society that probably contained amongst their members some of the greatest engineers, scientists and inventor’s humanity has ever produced? Amongst its members are likely to be Einstein, Tesla and Newton as well as many of the luminaries that were responsible for the dotcom boom and the explosion of Silicon Valley in the world’s most concentrated area of business wealth. I presume you would, as engineering companies would want a way to identify this group of people and to get them to work for their business if possible. What if I went on to tell you that only 15% of this group actually find full time work as adults? Would you think this was nonsense?

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Ritual Circumcision Linked to Increased Risk of Autism in Young Boys

hepingting (CC BY-SA 2.0)

hepingting (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Via ScienceDaily:

Research published today by the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine suggests that circumcised boys are more likely than intact boys to develop autism spectrum disorder (ASD) before the age of 10. Risk is particularly high for infantile autism before the age of five. The research was carried out in Denmark among a cohort of all children born between 1994 and 2003. During the study over 340,000 boys were followed up to the age of nine between 1994 and 2013 and almost 5,000 cases of ASD were diagnosed. The study showed that regardless of cultural background circumcised boys may run a greater risk of developing ASD. The researchers also made an unexpected observation of an increased risk of hyperactivity disorder among circumcised boys in non-Muslim families.

Professor Morten Frisch of the Statens Serum Institut, Copenhagen, who led the research, said: “Our investigation was prompted by the combination of recent animal findings linking a single painful injury to lifelong deficits in stress response and a study showing a strong, positive correlation between a country’s neonatal male circumcision rate and its prevalence of ASD in boys.”

Today it is considered unacceptable practice to circumcise boys without proper pain relief but none of the most common interventions used to reduce circumcision pain completely eliminates it and some boys will endure strongly painful circumcisions.

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New Theory May Explain the Symptoms of Autism

By hepingting via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0).

By hepingting via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0).

via Psyblog:

People with autism often display a complex and confusing range of symptoms, including hypersensitivity to sound, problems interacting with others and repetitive behaviours.

Scientist have long wondered what all these — and other, seemingly unrelated symptoms — have in common.

Now MIT researchers are testing a brand new theory: that autistic children have difficulties predicting what is going to happen next, and it’s this problem that is at the root of autism (Sinha et al., 2014).

Without the ability to predict simple events, to an autistic child, life seems to happen randomly and almost magically, with no rhyme or reason.

Professor Pawan Sinha, the lead author of the new paper, explains:

“If we were unable to habituate to stimuli, then the world would become overwhelming very quickly.

It’s like you can’t escape this cacophony that’s falling on your ears or that you’re observing.”

From this point of view, the repetitive behaviours, the preference for highly structured and predictable environments may be coping strategies.

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Beautiful Paintings from a 5-Year-Old Autistic Girl

Iris Grace, an autistic 5-year-old, paints beautiful abstracts.

via irisgracepainting.com:

Paintings by Iris Grace, a 5 year old with an extraordinary talent to express herself through painting. She is Autistic and is only just starting to talk but is able to paint in a style far beyond her years. We wanted to share her art to raise awareness of her condition and inspire other families in similar situations to ours. Autism is currently affecting around 100,000 children in the UK and these numbers are rising. In the summer of 2013 Iris’s story was published Globally in 207 different countries and over 1.4 million people visited her site with now over 40 thousand following her adventures on Facebook. She has sold paintings to private art collectors here in the UK and all over the world, in Europe, America, South America and Asia.

To purchase Iris’ paintings or to look at more of her work, go here.… Read the rest

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Thoughts From a Conservative Mom Who Buys Weed For Her 12-year-old Son

Brett Levin via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

Brett Levin via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

GB from xoJane via AlterNet:

To say I’m your standard Conservative Suburban Mom is probably an understatement.

I’ve voted with the GOP hardline in the last three elections (which is probably enough to get me burned at the stake with most of you reading this.) I wear sweater sets with pearls. We go to church every Sunday.

And I score drugs for my 12-year-old son.

Why yes, that is my SUV (with the “Romney 2012” bumper sticker) outside Milo’s cheesy college apartment, picking up this month’s supply. I always guiltily hit up 2 different ATMs to get the money, not wanting the nice girl at my bank branch to wonder why I’m always getting cash. I dose my son with a nice home-baked chocolate chunk cookie. (Important: keep those cookies in a separate jar.)

As a baby, my Matthew developed in a perfectly normal fashion.

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Mulling the Link Between MMR and Autism

This post originally appeared on HoneyColony.

If you’ve vaccinated your child with MMR (an immunization vaccine used against measles, mumps, and rubella), you might not like the latest whistleblower revelations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the very agency whose primary job is to keep Americans safe from health threats. According to the whistleblower, CDC has been manipulating and suppressing scientific data that links MMR and autism.

Today, one in 68 kids develops autism, a 30 percent increase from two years ago. In 2010, the figure was one in 150. The historical rate is four out of a thousand. Some studies propose that the increase in autism cases is due to new diagnostic methods and a wider interpretation of autism itself, but that may not appease all parents.

More than 5,500 cases alleging a causal relationship between vaccinations like MMR and autism have been filed under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program in the U.S.… Read the rest

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Whistleblower: CDC Knew in 2003 of Higher Autism Rate in African-American Boys Receiving MMR Shot

via Focus Autism:

WATCHUNG, NJ–(Marketwired – August 18, 2014) – A top research scientist working for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) played a key role in helping Dr. Brian Hooker of the Focus Autism Foundation uncover data manipulation by the CDC that obscured a higher incidence of autism in African-American boys. The whistleblower came to the attention of Hooker, a PhD in biochemical engineering, after he had made a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for original data on theDeStefano et al MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) and autism study.

Dr. Hooker’s study, published August 8 in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Translational Neurodegeneration, shows that African-American boys receiving their first MMR vaccine before 36 months of age are 3.4 times more likely to develop autism vs. after 36 months.

According to Dr. Hooker, the CDC whistleblower informant — who wishes to remain anonymous — guided him to evidence that a statistically significant relationship between the age the MMR vaccine was first given and autism incidence in African-American boys was hidden by CDC researchers.

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Out with ‘Atypical’ Elitism, In with Neurobehavioral Equality

Nick Meador shares on Reality Sandwich:

In spring of 2012 I wrote a mission statement for a new project to be called Funding My Existence (FME), which would combine awareness and activism for both the “Creative Class” and “atypical” personality (or “neuro-atypical”) types. The Facebook page contains a nice nutshell description: “Funding My Existence is an online community intended to help people ‘make a living’ if they’re willing to share the fruits of a creative life. We hope this will help bridge our entire civilization into the future we’ve always envisioned.”

Despite a lot of enthusiasm expressed online, it didn’t develop into an operational website. What went wrong? Or what’s holding it back? I think exploring these questions will offer lessons for those of us wanting to build or contribute to innovative social movements.

First of all, I think that this idea was actually at least three separate ideas mashed into one, making it difficult to communicate exactly what I was imagining.

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