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  1. Support helps some children with autism sociali...

    November 2, 2016- "Support helps some children with autism socialize at school"- A study appearing in the Journal of Child Psychiatry and Psychology reveals that children with autism who are in a large class size and with opportunities to connect with classmates may help them increase social skills. The researchers noted that the children who were the most socially successful based on their criteria and showed the strongest communication skills came from the largest class sizes.

    • Nov 10 2016 11:02 AM
    • by National Autism Network
  2. ABA Therapy Difficult To Access For Many Milita...

    October 5, 2016 - "ABA Therapy Difficult To Access For Many Military Families"- Due to the way  federal officials changed health insurance plan reimbursements for the military earlier this year, it has become difficult for some military parents to access in-network ABA providers for their children with autism. ABA is the gold standard for the treatment of autism spectrum disorders and is used by nearly half of the 26,000 children covered by TRICARE with an ASD diagnosis.

    • Oct 07 2016 09:17 AM
    • by National Autism Network
  3. Ranking Names States With Best Disability Services

    October 3, 2016 -"Ranking Names States With Best Disability Services"- Which states offer the best services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities? A new national ranking of developmental disability services looks at which states have the best offerings including Medicaid, how individuals with disabilities live within their communities, and how satisfied they are with their lives.

    • Oct 03 2016 09:46 AM
    • by National Autism Network
  4. Diabetes drug slows weight gain in some childre...

    September 28, 2016 - "Diabetes drug slows weight gain in some children with autism"- The only two medications approved for children with autism are the antipsychotics risperidone and aripiprazaole, and unfortunately one of the side effects is weight gain and metabolic changes linked to diabetes. According to a study published in JAMA Psychiatry, a common drug for diabetes, metformin, can reverse weight gain in children with autism who take antipsychotic medications.

    • Oct 03 2016 09:36 AM
    • by National Autism Network
  5. The seekers: Why parents try fringe therapies f...

    September 21, 2016- "The seekers: Why parents try fringe therapies for autism"- The second of a four-part series on the relationship between researchers and families in the autism community looks at why parents are willing to try unproven and sometimes dangerous alternative treatments for this children who have autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

    • Sep 22 2016 09:56 AM
    • by National Autism Network
  6. Google Glass Could Be a Social Gamechanger for...

    September 21, 2016 "Google Glass Could Be a Social Gamechanger for Kids on the Autism Spectrum"- Stanford University team is using Google Glass to help children with Autism be better able to read social cues. They have name this developing technology, Autism Glass, and the current study is nearing completion. They are working to prepare for a larger clinical study with a goal of launching it later this year.

    • Sep 22 2016 09:51 AM
    • by National Autism Network
  7. Words say little about cognitive abilities in a...

    September 6, 2016- "Words say little about cognitive abilities in autism"- Study published in the  Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry reveals that children with autism who speak few or have no words have cognitive abilities that far exceed their verbal skills.

    • Sep 08 2016 08:47 AM
    • by National Autism Network
  8. Waiting List Placements May Violate ADA

    August 30, 2016- "Waiting List Placements May Violate ADA"- Have you been on a waiting list for community-based services? This may be enough evidence to file a claim that the individual's rights have been violated according to the Justice Department in a statement of interest filed this month.

    • Sep 01 2016 08:37 AM
    • by National Autism Network
  9. Imaging database for autism aims to outgrow qua...

    September 1, 2016- "Imaging database for autism aims to outgrow quality concerns"- The largest bank of brain imaging data (Autism Brain Imaging Data Exchange) has had mixed reviews because researchers believe the collection to be too small and variable to spot signals and noisy data. ABIDE's creators are doubling down on their effort to fix this by adding more than 1,000 new scans and eight new sites.

    • Sep 01 2016 08:37 AM
    • by National Autism Network
  10. Autism and Snorting: Parents Seek Help with New...

    August 19, 2016- "Autism and Snorting: Parents Seek Help with New 'Stim' Behavior"- Occupational therapist Moira Pena lends her expertise to a family inquiring about what steps to take to help curtail or replace the newly developed “stim” of snorting. The parents believe the constant snorting may stem from a sensory stimulation, but, as Moira Pena suggests, it is important to rule out all potential causes with the assistance of a medical professional. It is suggested that the parents address the issue by trying to get at the heart of the problem, while keeping a log of the behavior to track frequency and intensity. The article concludes with strategies on how to gradually quell or replace the behavior.

    • Aug 19 2016 11:32 AM
    • by brian
  11. Researchers Flag Hundreds of New Genes that Cou...

    August 4, 2016- "Researchers Flag Hundreds of New Genes that Could Contribute to Autism"- In a first of its kind research effort, researchers from Princeton and the Simons Foundation developed a machine-learning program that scoured the whole human genome to predict genes which may contribute to ASD. The results of the programs analyses yielded a trove of 2,500 candidate genes. According to this article, many of the newly implicated genes have never been studied for possible roles in ASD. Researchers are confident that  top-ranked autism-risk gene predictions from the machine-learning program can be used to direct future genome sequencing studies and to prioritize individual genes for experimental studies.

    • Aug 07 2016 12:09 PM
    • by brian
  12. Timing of Autism Diagnosis Tied to Choice of Tr...

    August 5, 2016- "Timing of Autism Diagnosis Tied to Choice of Treatment"- A new study suggests that families of children diagnosed with autism before age 4 are more likely to seek out behavioral therapy and less likely to treat their children with drugs than those diagnosed later on. The study observed 722 children between the ages of 6 and 11 with autism. On average, their parents discussed developmental concerns with a health care provider when the child was just over 2 years old, and the average age of diagnosis was more than 4 years of age. Children diagnosed before age 4 were more likely to receive behavioral therapy. Those diagnosed later were more likely to be treated with medications. Furthermore, the use of complementary and alternative therapies was nearly twice as likely when more than two years had elapsed between initial discussion and diagnosis.

    • Aug 07 2016 11:53 AM
    • by brian
  13. Hearing Test May Predict Autism Risk Sooner: Study

    August 1, 2016- "Hearing Test May Predict Autism Risk Sooner: Study"- Researchers from the University of Rochester say they have identified an inner-ear problem in children with autism that may impair their ability to recognize speech. For the study, researchers tested the hearing of children between ages 6 and 17 with and without autism. Those with autism had hearing difficulty in a specific frequency that is important for processing speech. Moreover, the degree of hearing impairment was associated with the severity of autism symptoms, according to the study.

    • Aug 04 2016 12:28 PM
    • by brian
  14. The Genes Underlying Autism are Coming Into Focus

    August 1, 2016- "The Genes Underlying Autism are Coming Into Focus"- The introduction of this article discusses how researchers found that CHD8 is one of the now recognized genetic subtypes of autism, while the bulk of the article delves deeper into the world of genetics and autism. Aside from a wealth of information on how genes are systematically linked to autism, this article includes a breakdown of about a dozen or more genes and how they directly impact the development of autism, from affecting chromatin structure to neuron motility.

    • Aug 02 2016 09:01 AM
    • by brian
  15. Technology May Help Doctors Learn To Address Au...

    July 29, 2016- "Technology May Help Doctors Learn To Address Autism"- A new program called ECHO Autism evaluated whether practicing pediatricians could be trained to screen for an treat autism in a series of remote training sessions. Over a period of 6 months, a dozen physicians participated in biweekly videoconferencing sessions where learned how to spot autism and address the disorder's medical and psychiatric impact. After participating in the training, doctors were twice as likely to screen their patients for autism in accordance with professional recommendations.

    • Aug 01 2016 09:59 AM
    • by brian
  16. In First, Insurer to Offer ABA Coverage Nationwide

    July 22, 2016- "In First, Insurer to Offer ABA Coverage Nationwide'- UnitedHealthcare, the nation’s largest health insurer, will include coverage of applied behavior analysis in every group plan it offers starting next year. In a recent statement, the company announced they “will be extending ABA benefit coverage to new and renewing fully insured small and large group plans in the few remaining states that do not mandate ABA coverage.” Additionally, ABA benefits will be part of all self-funded plans administered by UnitedHealtcare unless companies explicitly choose to opt out. The decision has been deemed an unprecedented move for a large insurance company and is expected to impact at least 250,000 individuals affected by autism.

    • Jul 25 2016 10:58 AM
    • by brian
  17. For Children with Autism, Multiple Languages Ma...

    July 25, 2016- "For Children with Autism, Multiple Languages May be a Boon"- Traditionally, pediatricians, educators, and speech therapists have advised multilingual families to speak one language, the predominant one where they live, to children with autism or other developmental delays. The reasoning behind this is that children on the spectrum often struggle to learn language, so focusing on a single one is for the better. However, there is a no data to support this notion. This article discusses a handful of studies demonstrating that children with autism can learn two languages as well as they learn one, and might even thrive in multilingual environments.  

    • Jul 25 2016 10:56 AM
    • by brian
  18. Toilet Training Dilemma: Our 6-Year-Old Fights...

    July 22, 2016- "Toilet Training Dilemma: Our 6-Year-Old Fights Going Near the Bathroom"- Behavior analyst Daniel W. Mruzek and graduate student Angeles Nunez tackle the predicament one family finds themselves in trying to toilet train their 6-year-old on the spectrum. First and foremost, they recommend ruling out any medical conditions by visiting with a pediatrician. Once a medical condition has been ruled out, they recommend working to discover the “why” of the child’s aversion to the bathroom and offer some advice for easing the training experience. Interested readers can also visit our blog section for our article on Toilet Training Tips.  

    • Jul 22 2016 11:19 AM
    • by brian
  19. Paths to Autism: One of Many?

    July 19, 2016- "Paths to Autism: One of Many?"- A new meta-analysis of behavioral and imaging studies challenges the widely held assumption that stems from impairment specifically in social brain networks. According to this article, past research into autism’s origins have primarily focused on social behaviors, based on the assumption that abnormalities in social brain networks arise early in life and compound throughout development. However, the new research examining infants at risk for autism demonstrate evidence for general abnormalities during the first year of life, including delayed motor maturation, higher level of perceptual sensitivity, and poor attention flexibility. The authors also point to brain imaging studies that provide evidence for widespread alteration throughout brain networks, rather than focal deficits in social networks.

    • Jul 20 2016 12:15 PM
    • by brian
  20. Autism Gene Wires Social Reward Circuits in Mou...

    July 14, 2016- "Autism Gene Wires Social Reward Circuits in Mouse Brains"- Mutations in SHANK3, a leading autism candidate, cause mice to become solitary creatures rather than socialize with their peers. This is because SHANK3 wires the newborn mouse brain to seek social contact, according to a new study. The findings lend support to the theory that, starting at an early age, children with autism are not motivated to seek others’ company. This in turn may limit their opportunity for social development. Moreover, nearly 1 percent of people with autism carry mutations in SHANK3. The study point to the possibility of treating these people with molecules that target the receptor for glutamate, which mediates excitatory signals.

    • Jul 15 2016 09:07 AM
    • by brian
  21. Legislature Passes Bill Establishing Network fo...

    July 11, 2016- "Legislature Passes Bill Establishing Network for Excellence in Autism"- The Delaware Legislature recently passed Senate Bill 93, which establishes the Delaware Network for Excellence in Autism at the Center for Disability Studies.  The network will function to make more resources available to schools, allow for more children to be appropriately educated in their home districts, create a more efficient statewide system of services, and address the issues raised in the “Blueprint for Collective Action” report. These include early identifications, diagnosis and educational classification, pre-professional training, transitions to adult life, family support, and more. The bill currently awaits the signature of Gov. Jack Markell.

    • Jul 13 2016 10:02 AM
    • by brian
  22. Machine Learning Puts New Lends on Autism Scree...

    July 12, 2016- "Machine Learning Puts New Lends on Autism Screening and Diagnostics"- Researchers from a number of institutions recently collaborated to explore whether machine learning might play an important role in helping screen for autism and guide caregiver and practitioner intervention. Study authors looked at two established industry tests: the Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised (ADI-R) and Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS), both exams in which parents are interviewed about their children’s behaviors. The scholars then applied machine learning techniques to analyze how parents’ responses on individual items and combinations of items matched up with the child’s overall clinical diagnosis of ASD vs. non-ASD. By using machine learning to analyze thousands of caregiver responses, the researchers were able to identify redundancies in the questions asked to caregivers. By eliminating these redundancies, the authors identified five ADI-R questions that appeared to be capable of maintaining 95% of the instrument’s performance. The authors also believe they can use “machine learning to provide another lens on autism, offering a picture that is clearer, more distilled, and overall more data-informed for caregivers and practitioners.”

    • Jul 13 2016 08:35 AM
    • by brian
  23. Insurance Mandates Boost U.S. Autism Diagnoses

    July 11, 2016- "Insurance Mandates Boost U.S. Autism Diagnoses"- A new study has found that children are getting diagnosed and treated for autism in states that require commercial health insurers to cover these services. However, there are still a great number of children who have gone undiagnosed and still aren’t receiving therapy. To assess the effectiveness of state insurance mandates, the Penn researchers analyzed inpatient and outpatient health insurance claims from 2008 through 2012 for more than 1 million children aged 21 and younger. Over the course of the study, just over 154,000 kids were diagnosed with autism. Overall, the mandates result in a 12.7 annual increase in diagnoses, according to researchers. Furthermore, the longer these laws were in police, the mote children were identified, with an 18 percent jump noted in the finals years of the study.

    • Jul 11 2016 02:59 PM
    • by brian
  24. Single Microbe May Restore Social Behaviors in...

    July 7, 2016- "Single Microbe May Restore Social Behaviors in Mice"- A new study may help explain the elevated autism risk in children born to obese women. They may also hint at a possible connection between a pregnant woman’s diet and the gastrointestinal problems seen in many children with autism. The study found that a single species of bacteria reverses autism-like features in mice exposed to a high fat diet in utero. The finding suggests that this microbe, Lactobacillus reuteri, is the missing link between diet during pregnancy and autism-like behaviors in the pups. However, some researchers are highly critical of the findings, stating they have limited relevance on actual people with the condition.  

    • Jul 08 2016 09:23 AM
    • by brian
  25. Study Released on Effects of Supervision Variab...

    July 5, 2016- "Study Released on Effects of Supervision Variables in Treating ASD"- Researchers at the Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD) and Chapman University released a recent study which analyzed a pool of more than 800 children from ages 18 months to 12 years. The study focused on the effects of variables in treating ASD and found important determinations in regards to supervision. For example, being a Board Certified Behavioral Analyst (BCBA) and the years of experience an analyst has have a significant direct impact on the individual with autism’s treatment success rate, while increased hours of supervision above the standard ratio and caseload of the BCBA do not. These findings will help guide those who treat individuals with autism better plan, allocated time, and direct resources accurately toward treatment plans.  

    • Jul 07 2016 09:05 AM
    • by brian