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.

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Impressive Diversity in Autism Services, Supports and Resources; New Study: Genetic Mutations & Autism; Latinos and Autism

"...research demonstrates that autistic traits are distributed into the non-autistic population; some people have more of them, some have fewer. History suggests that many individuals whom we would diagnose today as autistic--some severely so--contributed profoundly to our art, our math, our science, and our literature."--Morton Gernsbacher, parent of a child with autism.

In doing extensive research on the resources found on this blog,  I'm often amazed and impressed with the diversity in services, supports and advocacy. Some examples:

  • 4 Paws for Ability: This is an organization that provides service dogs to individuals with disabilities world-wide. These dogs enrich their lives. In addition, they provide companionship and help promote independent living. www.4pawsforability.org/
  • Athletes Helping Athletes: Their mission is to connect local special needs athletes with mainstream student athletes in the spirit of friendship for their mutual benefit and inspiration. www.athleteshelpingathletesinc.com/
  • Autism Siblings: This is a charity that helps the siblings of children with autism including adults. www.autismsiblings.org/
  • Bullies2Buddies: The mission of Bullies2Buddies is dedicated to reducing bullying and agression by teaching wisdom. Their overall mission is to reduce hostility and promote peace in schools, the workplace, home and wherever people have to co-exist. www.bullies2buddies.com/
  • Kid Power: They are a charitable educational non-profit that helps people create cultures of caring, respect and safety for all. They offer a variety of workshops in personal safety. www.kidpower.org/
  • Grandparent Autism Network:  GAN informs grandparents about autism, and the medical, educational, legal and social issues that affect their families. www.ganinfo.org/
  • Parent 2 Parent: Parent 2 Parent programs across the country provide emotional and informational support to families who have children with special needs. They do this by matching parents seeking support with an experienced and trained "support parent." www.p2pusa.org/
  • Tin Snips: This is a special education resource that strives to share a variety of specialized teaching tools, techniques, worksheets and activities with teachers of students who have autistic spectrum disorders and related developmental disabilities. www.tinsnips.org/
  • The Fathers Network: Their mission is to celebrate and support fathers and families with special health care needs and developmental disabilities. www.fathersnetwork.org/
  • Mom Fighting Autism: This is an online support group for families who have children with autism. They also provide teleseminars where experts speak on autism and answer questions for 2 hours from participants. www.momsfightingautism.com/

The Future is Looking Up!: Studies of more than 1,000 families by Yale University reported that autism is not caused by one or two gene defects, but most likely by hundreds of different mutations.  The studies show autism as very complex genetically and involving many potential changes in DNA. These changes may produce different forms of autism. Dr. Mathew State, associate professor of psychiatry at Yale, said, "For the first time we're getting a sense of how many areas of the genome are likely to contribute to autism." The good news about this study is that as we gain more understanding of genetic causes of autism, we will be able to diagnose better (Neuron, the journal). Folks--the pieces of this puzzle are starting to come together. Rejoice!

Latinos and Autism:

Several issues ago, we reported on African Americans and autism. In short, autism in African Americans is often under diagnosed and often much to late. It appears the Latino community faces some of the same issues. While approximately 1.5 million Americans have ASD, no one really knows the precise numbers for the Latino community.  Liz Mineo, The MetroWest Daily News, wrote in May of 2009, "Experts also said Latino children with autism tend to be diagnosed later than non-Hispanic children." In addition, she points out that in many cultures there appears to be shame involved with autism and developmental disabilities.  Therefore, families are hesitant to ask for assistance, especially families who also have a language barrier to overcome. This also adds to a feeling of being isolated from support systems. What lesson do we all learn from this?---we have to start doing a better job of reaching out to the Latino and African American communities.
Conference News:
  • The Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD) is hosting their summer conference on Saturday, June 25, 2011, at the Radisson in New Rochelle, NY. Information is available at: 818.345.2345, ext. 270.
  • The Autism Support Center is launching a program for children with autism entitled, Artistic Expressions for Kids on the Spectrum. The program assists with areas such as imagination, spatial thinking, sensory regulation, emotions, self-expression, developmental growth, recreation, leisure skills, and visual and spatial deficits. Groups will target children ages 6-13 who are on the autism spectrum. Classes will run for six weeks at a cost of $250.00. For more information, visit: http://www.autismsupportcenter.org. (Courtesy: MORC June Bulletin).