About Autism News and Views

Autism News and Views will provide regular updates on news about Autism. In addition, we have provided important links to a wide variety of web sites that will provide you with information on Education, Health, Safety, Advocacy, Service Providers and much more. Use Autism News and Views as your source for the best information on the Autism Spectrum.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Key Finding Re: Co-Morbidity of Autism + Epilepsy; Common Genetic Cause of Autism and Epilepsy Found; For Parents of Individuals With Autism--What Supports Are Available To Them And Where Are They?; Transitioning To Adulthood Tool Kit

"I do not suffer from autism, but I do suffer from the way you treat me."  Tyler Durdin

  • Autism Speaks, in conjunction with Miami Children's Hospital, is reporting new research that shows mortality rate is increased in persons with autism who also have epilepsy. Data from the Journal of Child Neurology concluded that when epilepsy and autism occurred together, the mortality rates increased by more than 800%. Dr. Robert Tuchman, of Miami Children's Hospital, said "The study highlights the importance of early identification of epilepsy in children with autism and of autism in children with epilepsy." Dr. Clara Lajonchere, VP of Clinical Programs at Autism Speaks, also cautioned, "Sudden, unexpected or unexplained death in autism is often, but not always related to epilepsy, and we need to use caution when interpreting this data." Dr. Lajonchere added that the findings are important in understanding the risk factors that contribute to early death in individuals with autism.
  • The CHUM Research Centre in Montreal reported they've identified a new gene that predisposes people to both autism and epilepsy. According to neurologist, Dr. Patrick Cossette, he reported "the results show for the first time the role of SYN 1 gene in autism, in addition to epilepsy, and strengthen the hypothesis that a deregulation of the function of the synapse because of this mutation is the cause of both diseases."
  • Parents of children and adults who have autism face formidable challenges. These challenges include, but are not limited to, finding appropriate resources and supports, frustration due to financial hardship, difficulty in balancing work life with caregiving and feelings of isolation. So what are these parents to do? The good news is there are a multitude of services available if you know whom to contact (Studies have shown that most urban areas provide good access to services and supports). Depending on what state you live in, it's always good to start with that state's department that provides that information. In some states, it could be the county. However, there is also another good place to start. Contact the admission's office of the nearest service provider and/or agency that provides services to individuals with autism and developmental disabilities. In my long experience in this profession, I've found admission's personnel exceedingly knowledgeable, and they can assist you in navigating through the bureaucracy. In addition, there are a number of advocacy groups that assist parents in finding appropriate services and supports. We've linked to many of those groups on our web site under "Advocacy" and "Resources 4 parents."
  • And since we're speaking of parents, Autism Speaks launched a new tool kit that helps guide families who have a young adult about to transition into adulthood. Anyone can download the tool kit for free. Visit their web site. We have it linked under "advocacy."
  • THE BOOK SHELF: Autism, Seriously Funny by Zidlow Marx and Elijah Marx. The book contains humorous stories and many memories about the interactions between Zidlow, the father and his son with autism, Elijah.

So you want to study autism in college? What colleges and universities will give you the best opportunities in providing you with a comprehensive clinical and educational program? The following schools are a good start in your search:

  • The Yale Autism Program in New Haven, CT
  • University of California at San Diego, CA
  • Edinboro University in Edinboro, PA
  • University of Minnesota, Duluth, MN
  • University of Florida, Gainsville, FL
  • University of Washington, Seattle, WA
  • John Hopkins University, School of Education, Columbia, MD
  • Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas
  • Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia
Conference News:
  • 2011 Minnesota Autism Conference:  May 4-11 at Double Tree Park Place in Minneapolis. Contact Phone Number: 651.647.1083
  • 2011 IMFAR Conference: May 12-14 in San Diego CA at the Manchester Grand Hyatt. Contact Phone Number: 708.469.7694
Jerry J. Komar, M.Ed.