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  1. 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
  2. The Link Between Mosquito Spraying and Autism

    April 30, 2016- "The Link Between Mosquito Spraying and Autism"- A new study has found a correlation between the aerial spraying of pesticides to kill mosquitoes and an increased risk of developmental delays and autism among kids. In the new study, researchers looked at the rates of autism and developmental delays from eight zip codes in a region of New York that is exposed to yearly airplane pesticide spraying. They compared those to the rates in 16 zip codes where the pesticide spraying does not occur. The researchers found that kids living in zip codes where the spraying was done each summer had around a 25% higher risk of an autism diagnosis or developmental problem compared to kids living in areas without the aerial spraying. However, because this study only supports a correlation between autism and aerial pesticide spraying, the researchers state that the findings are not enough to change mosquito control practices.

    • May 02 2016 08:25 AM
    • by brian
  3. Early Motor Problems Linked Language Delays in...

    February 5, 2016- "Early Motor Problems Linked Language Delays in Autism"-  Children with autism who have trouble learning to sit up, crawl, or walk also tend to have difficulties learning to speak and understand words. The finding indicates that early motor deficits may hinder language development in children with autism. Some researchers assume language problems among children with autism stem from a failure to understand. But studies hint that language grows in part out of our ability to move. Large movements allow children to explore their environments, creating opportunities for social interaction, and studies of typically developing children show that early walkers tend to be early talkers. The article goes on to discuss this study in detail and further explores possible links between motor skills and language.

    • Feb 08 2016 02:51 PM
    • by brian
  4. Evidence of Autism Shows Up in the Brain's...

    December 17, 2015- "Evidence of Autism Shows Up in the Brain's Blood Vessels, Study Finds"- Previous studies have focused on the neurological structure and function of the autism brain, but researchers recently found evidence of the disorder in the vascular system, suggesting that this could be a new target for treatments. They discovered evidence of autism in blood vessels in the brain, and certain defects or malfunctions in these vessels could serve as a new basis for detection. According to one researcher, the participants with autism have unstable blood vessels which disrupt proper delivery of blood to the brain. In the typical brain, blood vessels are stable, thereby ensuring a stable distribution of blood. However, the researchers found that in the brains of people with autism, the cellular structure of blood vessels continually fluctuates, which results in circulation that is fluctuating and, ultimately, neurologically limiting.

    • Dec 17 2015 10:35 AM
    • by brian
  5. Young Hero: Autistic Student Saves Classmate fr...

    November 5, 2015- "Young Hero: Autistic Student Saves Classmate from Choking"- Brandon Williams is a 13-year-old seventh grader with autism who is a big fan of the TV show Spongebob Squarepants, but nobody ever thought his affinity for the show would one day lead to Brandon saving the life of a classmate. When his classmate Jessica Pellegrino was choking on an apple in cafeteria, Brandon jumped to his feet and performed the Heimlich maneuver, dislodging the piece of fruit from her windpipe. Brandon later told his father that he learned the maneuver by watching episodes of SpongeBob. Brandon was rewarded with a little party and when word spread of his heroism some adults thought they should reward Brandon with a medal, but in true heroic fashion Brandon insists he does not need a medal for his quick thinking and actions.

    • Nov 06 2015 09:53 AM
    • by brian
  6. Training Aims to Help NYC School Aides to Kids...

    October 10, 2015- "Training Aims to Help NYC School Aides to Kids With Autism"- In the wake of the death of Avonte Oquendo, a 14-year-old boy with autism who wandered from a NYC public school in 2013, legislators pass Avonte’s Law – legislation requiring audible alarms on doors as well as additional training to stop kids from eloping. Last year, there were 14,600 children with autism in NY city schools, up from 6,000 in 2008. These students work with paraprofessionals, who are not required to have a college degree and typically earn $30,000 a year, which is about $20,000 less than the minimum New York City teacher. This training is designed to provide these paraprofessionals with the some of the same tools used by well-paid private therapists.

    • Oct 13 2015 10:39 AM
    • by brian
  7. Broadway Star Takes a Compassionate Stand After...

    September 25, 2015- "Broadway Star Takes a Compassionate Stand After Child With Autism Disrupts His Show"- Kelvin Moon Loh, who is currently in Rogers and Hammerstein’s “The King and I” took to social media after a child with autism had an outburst during a recent matinee performance of the play. The post, which begins “I am angry and sad,” has been shared thousands of times. Readers of this life-affirming post, which is included within this article, will certainly celebrate the message behind Loh’s understanding words.

    • Sep 28 2015 01:38 PM
    • by brian
  8. What Causes Autism? Half of Autism Cases Likely...

    September 23, 2015- "What Causes Autism? Half of Autism Cases Likely Caused by Spontaneous Genetic Mutations, Not Vaccines"- Recently, researchers looked at spontaneous, or de novo likely gene-disruptive mutations (LGDs), mutations in genes deemed “vulnerable” and how they played a role in ASD development. They also looked at whether these gene-disruptions transferred between generations. Surprisingly, researchers found mutated genes that sometimes contribute to the development of ASD actually have less mutations than most other human genes. This runs contrary to the idea that more genetic mutations lead to worse health.  Starting with a list of 500 likely gene candidates, researchers were able to narrow down the list to 200 of the most likely genes related to autism.

    • Sep 25 2015 10:37 AM
    • by brian
  9. Gluten-Free Diet Has No Benefit for Children Wi...

    September 14, 2015- "Gluten-Free Diet Has No Benefit for Children With Autism, Study Finds"- A new study of a popular alternative diet for children with autism, the gluten-free, casein-free (GFCF) diet, found what many experts in the field are saying is “perhaps the highest-quality evidence to date that eliminating proteins found in wheat and dairy doesn’t improve autism symptoms. Although an unproven treatment, many families try GFCF diet because of anecdotal evidence as they strive to try whatever they can to improve their child's symptoms. Experts worry that children on this restrictive diet do not receive necessary nutrients, such as calcium and vitamin D, once major food groups are eliminated. The study, which was conducted on 14-children who were put on a GFCF diet for 30-weeks, is discussed in great detail for the bulk of this article.

    • Sep 17 2015 09:21 AM
    • by brian
  10. Autism-Friendly Play is NYC's Hottest Ticket

    September 3, 2015- "Autism-Friendly Play is NYC's Hottest Ticket"- In what is being dubbed as NYC Lincoln Center’s “first production created specifically for those on the autism spectrum, and their families,” the play Up and Away centers around the “1000th flight of the Fogg Family Balloon Society.” To help immerse the crowd into setting of the play, theatregoers sit in oversized wicker baskets and imagine a hot-air balloon ride. To learn more about this event and other autism-related events, visit our Events Calendar.  

    • Sep 09 2015 01:51 PM
    • by brian
  11. Woman with Autism Wows with Amazing Voice

    July 16, 2015- "Woman with Autism Wows with Amazing Voice"– In an attempt to find her daughter’s calling in life, Pat Titus enrolled her daughter who is on the spectrum, Annie, into weekly voice lessons at the Community Music School in Buffalo because Annie has always had an affinity for music. To hear her sing, which is something she has only been doing for seven months, is mind-blowing. Annie says that finding her voice has changed her life. Experience Anne’s incredible singing talents for yourself in a video clip within this article.  

    • Jul 20 2015 12:23 PM
    • by brian
  12. Proposal that Would Help Individuals with Autis...

    April 27, 2015- "Proposal that Would Help Individuals with Autism in the Workplace"- A proposal in New York by Assemblyman Santabarbara attempts to get proper job placement for individuals on the spectrum. According to the Assemblyman, the proposal was first brought to him by two University of Albany students with firsthand experience of the difficulties that can accompany autism. The Assemblyman praised the initiative of the Puzzles Bakery, which is helping lead the way regarding employing individuals with autism. He hopes that more businesses will follow suit regardless of whether or not the legislation is passed.

    • Apr 28 2015 10:46 AM
    • by brian
  13. Autistic Children More Likely to Have GI Issues...

    March 25, 2015- "Autistic Children More Likely to Have GI Issues in Early Life"-  Researchers report that children with ASD were two-and-a-half times more likely to have persistent GI symptoms as infants and toddlers than children with typical development. The study is based on a large longitudinal survey of Norwegian mothers who were asked about their child’s GI disturbances during the first three years of life. The authors found that the children with ASD had higher odds of their mothers reporting constipation and food allergy/intolerance in the 6- to 18-month-old age range. Although the connection between GI problems and autism remain unclear, the presence of GI issues in early life may serve as an identifier for autism and help researchers determine the underlying nature of the disorder for this subgroup.

    • Mar 26 2015 12:30 PM
    • by brian
  14. Growth Hormone Improves Social Improvements in...

    February 19, 2015- "Growth Hormone Improves Social Improvements in Those with Linked Disorder"-  A growth hormone can significantly improve the social impairment associated with ASD in patients with a related genetic syndrome, according to a pilot study. The study results focus specifically on the ability of IGF-1 to treat Phelan-McDermid syndrome, a disorder caused by a deletion or mutation of the SHANK3 gene on chromosome 22. Individuals with this syndrome typically experience developmental and language delays, motor skill deficits, and also commonly have ASD. Researchers enrolled 9 children aged 5-15 years who were diagnosed with Phelan-McDermid syndrome in a placebo-controlled, double-blind, cross-over design study. All participants were exposed to three months of treatment with IGF-1 and three months of the placebo, in random order. Compared to the placebo, the IGF-1 phase was associated with significant improvement in social withdrawal and restrictive behaviors as measured by two standard scales.

    • Feb 23 2015 10:50 AM
    • by brian
  15. Northport's Mikey Brannigan is SI's Feb...

    February 12, 2015- "Northport's Mikey Brannigan is SI's Feb. High School Athlete of the Month"- Mike Brannigan, a track athlete from NorthPort High on Long Island who has autism, was named Sports Illustrated’s High School Athlete of the Month for February.  The article profiles how Mike excels at track and how his abilities in the sport led to greater self-confidence. Mike’s mom described the positive effect of his running as “like dominos,” meaning as he excelled at running, he developed self-confidence, which led to the respect of his peers, doing better at school, and culminated with greater all around acceptance from his peers. Be sure to check out our blog section in the coming days for an article detailing the importance of exercise on the spectrum.

    • Feb 13 2015 10:19 AM
    • by brian
  16. Diverse Autism Mutations Lead to Different Dise...

    December 23, 2014- "Diverse Autism Mutations Lead to Different Disease Outcomes"- A large-scale analysis of hundreds of patients and nearly 1,000 genes has started to uncover how diversity among traits can be traced to differences in patients' genetic mutations. Researchers observed both male and female members of the spectrum and found that genes mutated in females generally had greater activity throughout the brain than those in males. Very damaging ASD mutations in girls on average are found in genes that are almost twice as active as typical genes in normal brains. The article concludes with a summation of how different neurons are affected in the brains of individuals with autism and how identifying the circuits involved is the next big step in autism research.

    • Dec 26 2014 11:04 AM
    • by brian
  17. "Master Regulator" Gene -- Long Tied to...

    December 21, 2014- ""Master Regulator" Gene -- Long Tied to Autism Disorders -- Can Stimulate Other Genes Involved in Early Brian Development"- This fairly complex article discusses an important genetic discovery, chemical modifications to DNA’s packaging, known as epigenetic changes, can activate or repress genes involved in ASDs and early brain development. Researchers found that these epigenetic changes in mice remove the blocking mechanism of a protein complex long known for gene suppression, and transitions the complex to a gene activating role instead. Researchers say their findings represent the first link between this role reversal and the presence of an important protein whose encoding gene, AUTS2, has long been tied to ASDs. They also claim their study offers a novel theory about how ASDs develop through widespread unraveling of traditional brain pathways.  These findings offer strong supporting evidence that if ASDs can be tied to widespread disruption of gene networks from multiple genetic lesions, then finding potential therapies could rest on research into repairing these gene network interruptions, according to senior study investigator Danny Reinberg, PhD.

    • Dec 23 2014 09:45 AM
    • by brian
  18. Bill on Autistic Placements is on Governor'...

    November 20, 2014- "Bill on Autistic Placements is on Governor's Desk"- A bill on Governor Andrew Cuomo’s desk would let parents appeal decisions to bring adult children with autism back to New York for special residential placements. Currently, the state Office for People with Developmental Disabilities has been bringing people it is responsible for back to residential centers of homes in New York state. However, if a child with autism is brought back to the state, his or her parents have the ability to contest that before an administrative law judge. That isn’t the case, however, with the approximately 103 adults who fall into the “transitional care” category. This bill would let guardians of these individuals also contest their transfers back to the state.

    • Nov 24 2014 01:37 PM
    • by brian
  19. Lawsuit Alleges Autistic Man 'Crushed to De...

    October 29, 2014- "Lawsuit Alleges Autistic Man 'Crushed to Death' by Untrained Aide"- A lawsuit filed by the sister of a 33-year-old man with autism alleges that her brother was crushed to death by an untrained caregiver in August of 2012. According to the suit, the victim had been restrained in a fatal prone position by an untrained aide and two others.  Read our article about Seclusion & Restraint in Schools to learn more about these techniques and just how common they are in our nation’s schools.  

    • Oct 30 2014 12:58 PM
    • by brian
  20. Higher Risk of Autism Found in Children Born at...

    September 24, 2014- "Higher Risk of Autism Found in Children Born at Short and Long Interpregnancy Intervals"-  A recently published study found that children who were conceived either less than 1 year or more than 5 years after the birth of their prior sibling were more likely to be diagnosed with autism than children conceived following an interval of 2-5 years. Utilizing data from the Finnish Prenatal Study of Autism (FIPS-A), a group of researchers analyzed records from 7,371 children born between 1987 and 2005 in Finland. Roughly a third of the children had been diagnosed with autism, while the rest were drawn from other births occurring at similar times and locations. The study found that the risk of an autism diagnosis among children conceived less than 12 months following a sibling’s birth was one and a half times as high as those conceived following an interval of 24-59 months. Children conceived following an interval of 60-120 months were almost 30% more likely to be diagnosed with autism. For intervals of more than 120 months, the risk of autism was over 40% higher.

    • Sep 25 2014 09:47 AM
    • by brian
  21. A Brain Wave Test Could Diagnose Autistic Kids...

    September 22, 2014- "A Brain Wave Test Could Diagnose Autistic Kids More Accurately -- and Earlier"- According to a recent study, the brains of children and adolescents with severe autism react differently to certain audio-visual stimuli than children and adolescents without autism. These findings have the potential to lead to a more objective and accurate diagnostic tools for the disorder. The researchers found that a electro-encephalography brain wave test shows promising signs of being an accurate biomarker for autism. This is promising research because autism symptoms can be present in children as young as 6 months, but current diagnostic testing cannot accurately diagnose a child at that age. Also, autism symptoms vary dramatically by individual, and the subjective nature of diagnostic tools currently available to clinicians leaves plenty of room for error. The article concludes with details from the study and its findings.

    • Sep 24 2014 08:33 AM
    • by brian
  22. Roots of Language Troubles, Autism Traits May D...

    September 15, 2014- "Roots of Language Troubles, Autism Traits May Diverge"- According to a study of 3,000 pairs of participants, the genetic and environmental factors that underlie difficulties with language differ from those that influence other autism traits. The study suggests that difficulty with language is not a core symptom of autism. Research over the past twenty years has indeed shown that individuals with autism have the capacity for large vocabularies, can produce sentences, and identify meanings of words. The article goes on to discuss how the study was conducted and the impact of the results.

    • Sep 16 2014 10:55 AM
    • by brian
  23. Elite High School Runner with Autism in Pursuit...

    August 11, 2014- "Elite High School Runner with Autism in Pursuit of College Dream"- Michael Brannigan is an elite high school runner who was officially diagnosed with autism at the age of 2. Brannigan competes on the national level as a runner, has won national events, runs 60 miles a week, and running has been a way for Michael to improve communication and sociability. According to his mother, running and competing has made Michael a better overall person and he recently made nationals, but his dream of running for a Division 1 school is being halted by his grades. His mother explains that because of his learning disability, Brannigan does not have the grades and test scores to make the cut and requires a lot of extra tutoring.

    • Aug 12 2014 05:15 PM
    • by brian
  24. Researchers Explore Using Service Dogs for Autism

    August 6, 2014- "Researchers Explore Using Service Dogs for Autism"- Despite the decades of anecdotal evidence demonstrating the efficacy of therapy animals, there has been little evidenced based research conducted on the subject. Researchers are now studying what happens when certified therapy dogs are placed in therapy sessions groups of children who have autism. The researchers hope to observe the animals to determine if children are more eager to attend therapy sessions, if the children are better able to concentrate, if the animals will be a distraction or of assistance to therapists, and how the presence of the dogs may improve socialization.

    • Aug 08 2014 10:14 AM
    • by brian
  25. Council Unanimously Approves School Safety Bill...

    July 24, 2014- "Council Unanimously Approves School Safety Bill Named for Avonte Oquendo"- New York City Council recently passed a unanimous bill to help protect kids with autism from wandering. While the current bill won’t result in any policy changes, the Department of Education will thoroughly examine the need for security measures on school campuses.  Additionally, the DOE will install audible alarms on doors for a list of schools and will annually report on the safety and security training provided to faculty and staff.

    • Jul 28 2014 12:31 PM
    • by brian