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.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Study: Early Disagnosis Is The Key, Riding and Walking 4 Autism, Dental Tool Kit

"Our purpose was to help her, not to fix her. Our purpose was not to create a whole new child, it was to let her be herself--because she's a wonderful child." {Mother of a young girl with autism}

Key Study and Findings:

A new report published in the Journal of Pediatrics clearly demonstrates the importance of early screening tests for autism. The old adage, "the earlier, the better," is shown to be true once again when it comes to detecting signs pointing to autism in children as young as 1 year of age. The findings and implications of this study include, but are not limited to, the following:
  • Pediatricians need to start systematic screening of all children at routine well-baby checkups. Few do it now. (A 24 item checklist is now available online from Autism Speaks).
  • The study shows it's possible to get reliable test results from children as young as 18-24 months. Currently, the average age of an autism diagnosis is 5.
  • Most children are eligible for screening services in most states.
  • The screening test used accurately diagnosed about 75% of the children.
(USA Today also reported on this study)

Strong Suggestion from the editor of Autism News and Views: Advocate medical schools do a better job in the teaching of screening techniques for autism in children as young as 1.

Spotlight On Upcoming Events:
  • Bridges Ride For Autism. This charity bike ride for autism is set for Sunday, July 17, 2011. Starting time will be 8 AM. Don't have a bike? No problem. There will also be a 5k walk over the Brooklyn Bridge starting at 8:30 AM. The event will begin at the South Street Seaport. Check-In time will be 7 AM. Registration information is available at: www.bridgesrideforautism.com/
  • Autism 5K Walk/ Run on Saturday, May 21, 2001. The event will be held at Lake Calhoun in Minneapolis, MN. Contact: info@autism5k.org.
  • Step Up For Autism Walk on Sunday, June 26, 2011. The event will take place at the Naperville Riverwalk in Naperville, Ill. Contact #: 630.355.6533. Registration begins at 10:30 A.M.
  • North Dakota Autism Center is sponsoring A Walk For Autism on Saturday, May 14, 2011. The event will be in West Fargo, ND.  Registration starts at 9 A.M. Contact 701.277.8844 for more details.
  • Contact Autism Speaks for a listing of all of the Walk Now For Autism Speaks events scheduled around the country.
Upcoming Conference News:
  • Milestone's 9th Annual Autism/Aspergers Conference. Tuesday, June 21, 2011. 8:30 A.M. - 5 PM. Mayfield Hgts., Ohio. Contact #: 216.464.7600

Monday, April 25, 2011

Summertime Safety Tips, Siblings and Autism, Jobs 4 Autism, Research You Can Use, Risks of Wandering and Elopement

"I never set out to be weird. It was always other people who called me weird."--Frank Zappa

Summer will arrive very soon, and there are preparations that need to be made to ensure children are safe. This takes on added significance with individuals with autism. Take a few minutes to review the following safety tips when going on vacation or summer camp:
  • Make sure each child and young adult carries the proper identification. Many states issue wearable ID cards.
  • Keep important information about the individual handy, i.e. home address, addresses of closest relatives, the name and address of the family physician, type of medications the person is using,  the person's diet,  medical issues, etc.
  • Teach individuals with autism how to swim. Your local YMCA can help with lessons. Drowning is the leading cause of death among children with autism (Source:National Autism Association).
  • If the individual has a tendency to wander, there is technology available to help locate missing persons, i.e. Project Lifesaver, local law enforcement. If you plan on attending a family event, make sure some member of the family is appointed to look out for the individual(s) with autism (See recent study below re: risks of wandering and elopement)
  • If the individual goes to camp ensure camp counselors have been trained in First Aid and CPR. They should also have training in working with people with autism and developmental disabilities.
  • Don't forget the sunscreen!
Quick Recommendation: Visit Autism Hangout.com. It's an online community and a great source of news, discussion forums, resources and much, much more. We've linked to it under "Advocacy."

Key Studies and Findings:

The Interactive Autism Network (IAN) released a report recently that shows that half of children with autism wander and elope. The behavior appears to peak at about age four. Dr. Paul Law, director of the IAN project, said, "This survey is the first research effort to scientifically validate that elopement is a critical safety issue for the autism community." Elopement puts individuals at risk. For example, the study found 2 in 3 parents reported their children had a close call with a traffic injury.  32% of parents reported a close call with possible drowning.  In addition, elopement also has a significant effect on families. The report found 40% of parents had suffered sleep disruption due to fear of elopment. Some of the reasons parents attributed to wandering included children enjoying exploration; heading off to a favorite location; escaping demands and escaping sensory discomfort.

Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis recently reported on interesting findings regarding siblings of children with autism. Dr. John Constantino, MD said, "Researchers presume one child is affected, and the other is not, but our findings suggest that although one child may have autism while the other does not, it's very possible both children are affected to some degree by genes that contribute to autism." He also noted that siblings of children with autism have sub-clinical traits of autism, for some reason, they do not develop autism. In short, the findings provide a greater insight into the inheritance patterns of autism and its associated traits (Source: American Journal of Psychiatry).