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.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

LEGOS Improve Social Skills In Children With Autism; Cell Types + Regions Of The Brain Identified In Autism

The Benefits Of LEGOS For Children With Autism

Recent research at the University Of Cambridge found that LEGOS play therapy improves social skills in children with autism. The researches found LEGOS therapy groups encourage collaboration, pretending and non-verbal communication.
Autism Daily Newscast

Yale University And UCSF Pinpoint Cell Types And Brain Regions Affected By Autism Gene Mutations

Historically, it's been difficult to target the genetic causes of autism considering several hundred genes have been linked to autism spectrum disorders.

But a new study by researchers at Yale University and UCSF claim to have pinpointed the cell types and brain regions affected by genetic mutations associated with autism. Their findings suggest that new targeted treatment approaches could provide answers.

"Identifying gene variants that boost risk is the step of unraveling disease," said Dr. Daniel Geschwind, an expert in human genetics, neurology and psychology. "We need to figure out where genetic changes occur in the brain...Only then will we understand how mutations cause autism," he added.
Red Orbit

Dr. Doreen Granspeesheh, Ph.D. To Host Free Seminar

Dr. Doreen Granspeesheh, a noted author and expert in autism, will be hosting a free two-hour seminar in Ft. Myers on December 5, 2013, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Edison State College, 8099 College Parkway.

Dr. Granspeesheh's topic will be creating a comprehensive and individualized treatment program for a child with autism.

Contact: D.Plump@centerforautism.com Seating is limited.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

New Blood Test Hopes To Diagnose Autism Early; Motor Development Important; Hit The Pool

New Blood Test In Diagnosing Autism Early

The average age of children diagnosed early with autism is now 4. This may soon change. Diagnosing children earlier can get children treatment earlier. The earlier the treatment; the better the outcome.

Emory University researchers in Atlanta, GA, and 20 other universities nationwide have recently joined clinical trials to evaluate blood tests that could diagnose autism as early as 12 months to 2 years old.


Importance Of Motor Development

Studies published in Research In Autism Spectrum Disorders found toddlers and pre-school children with autism having better motor development were better in socializing. In addition, their communication skills were also often better. The researchers studied 233 children between the ages 14 and 49 months.

Hit The Pool

Monday, September 16, 2013

Unique Web Sites + Resources For Parents Of Children With Autism; The Physical Effects Of Bullying; Siblings + Autism

Web Sites + Resources For Parents Of Children With Autism

The resources for parents of children with autism are many. Below is a unique list parents should find helpful for information, research, news, latest products and support (from Friendship Circle):

The Physical Effects Of Bullying

We've known about the emotional effects of bullying from depression to anxiety for a long time. But what about the physical effects or manifestations?

According to a review of the literature, the University of Padua in Italy analyzed 30 studies of 219,000 children and adolescents. They found those bullied experienced more headaches, stomachaches, bedwetting and sleep difficulties.

The results of this review indicate psychosomatic effects tied to bullying "are very real." The researchers advise parents to take these symptoms seriously.
Huffington Post

7 Times More Likely To Be Diagnosed

Monday, August 12, 2013

Back To School Tips; Can A Simple Blood Test Confirm Autism In Infants?; Noteworthy Autism Sites

Getting Ready For School

Preparing to return to school after a long summer vacation can be challenge for both parents and students, especially children with autism. A little preparation can go a long way to make the transition more uncomplicated. Follow some of these tips:
  • Schedule appointments with your family physician for required physicals, health forms and immunization records.
  • Start preparing your child with new bedtimes, waking up earlier and adjusting to new morning routines.
  • Get organized a week before school begins.
  • Meet with your child's new teacher. Review the current IEP. Ask questions now.
  • If your child will be attending a new school, visit the school before school starts with your child. Ask for a tour of the school.  Familiarize your child with his/her new surroundings including classrooms.
  • Remind school officials and teachers you are available to meet with them prior to the beginning of school and after classes begin.
  • When your child returns home after the first day of school, ask him/her how it was in school today. Ask about the teacher. Ask about friends. Ask about the school schedule.
  • Carve out some of your time to help your child with homework.
  • After a week or two, contact your child's teacher and ask the teacher how things are going including problems encountered.
  • Every child adjusts to school differently. It's your job to make that adjustment a smooth one and to help alleviate any anxiety on the part of your child.
Oakland County Moms,  Crozer-Keystone

Can A Simple Blood Test Confirm Autism In Infants?

A research team at the University of San Diego's Autism Centre For Excellence recently announced a breakthrough in the detection of the genetic signature of autism.

Professor Eric Courchesne made the announcement at the Asia-Pacific Autism Conference.

Dr. Couchesne's team scanned the brains and analyzed the blood of 600 children from 12 months to 4 years of age. The team identified several gene networks that are a common thread in the development of autism. In addition, his team identified four gene networks that are a biological signature of autism in babies as young as 12 months. He also announced that a screening blood test is currently being developed.

Catholic Online

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Information And Resources Are At Your Fingertips

Would you like an adventure now or shall we have tea first?  Peter Pan

I usually write about the most recent developments in advocacy for individuals with autism. And since my last posting, there have been some significant studies and interesting reports. For example, a week does not go by with some report of new apps developed to help children with autism both socially and academically. Some of the more recent apps includes Bitsboard,  Model Me Going Places, Aurasma, and Care Circles. Just this past month, I've read more reports of people with autism emerging as an undiscovered workforce. There are other studies showing that girls with autism may need different treatment than boys with autism. WebMD recently reported on research where  new "sensory-focused" treatments are showing a lot of promise.

Instead of reporting on recent developments today, I want to take this opportunity to alert my readers and new readers about the many resources and information available by simply navigating this blog. All too often I hear the same simple question: Where can I get help for my child? Embedded in that question, there are usually several other questions. For example, where can I get funding or financial assistance? Who can help us with our child's inappropriate and aggressive behaviors? What private schools are available and affordable? Can we get in-home services?

Answers to those questions and more can be found on this blog. In addition, the resources on this blog also offer links to countless other sources of information.

Allow me a moment to help you navigate the blog.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Autism 2 Squared: Rapid Recent Developments

"Should Autism Be Treated? Yes. But With Respect." Poster Quote


The developments in treating autism are occurring at a rapid pace.  Let's take a closer look:
  • The new DSM-5 (The Diagnostic + Statistical Manual Of Mental Disorders) was finally published. One of the more significant changes included redefining Asperger's. "Pervasive development disorder not otherwise specified" was omitted as a separate category. Instead, they are now placed into a broader, scale-based diagnosis called Autism Spectrum Disorder. No one NOW will lose their Asperger's diagnosis, but it will be much harder to obtain in the future.
  • The first successful experiment with humans using a treatment referred to as sensory-motor or environmental enrichment documented marked improvement in boys with autism. Science Daily
  • People with autism are finding work in information technology. AutonomyWorks employs only people with autism because of their ability to spot patterns and work well in repetitive jobs. ABC News
  • University of Manchester (UK) reported recently that babies whose growth is at either extreme in the womb---either very big or very small---are at greater risk of developing autism. Science Daily

  • AutistiX is a British rock band whose members all have autism. Their first tour will be in Spain and they plan on putting out an album soon. BBC News
  • Researchers at the University of Toronto are exploring the link between Autism and gastrointestinal problems. Toronto Star

For Your Bookshelf

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Does A Baby's Placenta Reveal Autism Risk?; Ways To Communicate With A Non-Verbal Child; Apps For Children With Autism

Don't Underestimate People With Autism. Try To Understand Them Instead. Author Unknown

Autism Risk In Baby's Placenta?

Yale University researchers reported they now have a tool that can tell who is at risk of autism. They reported "abnormal" folds in the baby's placenta may be the key. Researchers claimed that finding a signature in the placenta may hep them better identify the genetics that set the stage for autism and environmental factors that activate it. USA TODAY

Ways To Communicate With A Non-Verbal Child

Just because a child can't speak does not mean he/she has nothing to say. Even children with special needs who have poor communication skills have the same communication needs as other children. Let's examine some of the strategies we can use to increase communication skills.
  • Ensure every communication involves direct eye contact.
  • Experiment with other means of expression such as drawing, music, dance, painting, singing, use of puppets, etc.
  • Use flash cards and social stories.
  • Encourage play and social interaction.
  • Focus on what interests your child.
  • Use non-verbal communication games that are fun.
Friendship Circle and Autism Speaks

Sunday, March 31, 2013

World Autism Day: What Have We Learned This Past Year?

April 2nd World Autism Day

This week marks the 6th Annual World Autism Day on April 2, 2013.

The intention of designating April 2 is to bring autism to the attention of the world. Events will be taking place across the globe raising awareness. In addition, the designation is also meant to encourage early diagnosis and intervention.

What Have We Learned Since The Last World Autism Day In 2012?


As I've written often, the puzzle pieces keep falling into place when it comes to better understanding autism. So what have we learned in just the past year? Some of these include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Just this past week, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that now 1 in 50 U.S school children has autism. This translates into about one million children with autism.
  • The Journal of the American Medical Association reported last month that women who took folic acid four weeks prior to conception and eight weeks during pregnancy were 40% less likely to have a child with autism.
  • The Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry reported antiepileptic drugs taken during pregnancy increases the risk of autism.
  • More and more airports are making every effort to make the skies friendlier for people with autism, especially children. Air Tran, Continental, Frontier, Emeriates, and Southwest now offer "mock" boarding experiences for individuals with autism. These programs help allay the anxiety associated with the flying experience. In addition, many airports are now involved in these programs.
  • Recently, New York University reported that yoga is beneficial in reducing behaviors in children with autism.
  • Law enforcement officials throughout the country are now training their officers in how to approach individuals with autism.
  • Researchers at the University of SC reported brain imaging may catch autism earlier.
  • Studies from CDC and Harvard Medical School suggest women abused in childhood are more likely to have children with autism.
  • A study just published by the Journal of Pediatrics reported that there is no evidence of a link of autism to vaccines. To date, approximately 20 studies have shown no such link. For those parents who have concerns regarding vaccines, we urge them to consult with their pediatrician for advice.
  • U.C. Davis reported if parents have one child with autism, the risk of having a second child with autism is approximately 20%.
  • Prematurity and low birth weights have been associated with autism.
  • Autism Speaks reported the cost of raising one child with autism is now $1.4 million over the child's lifetime.
  • More and more studies (most recently the University of Queensland in Australia) are now finding that pet therapy significantly increases positive behaviors in children with autism.
  • We have seen an explosion in Apps for autism helping children better communicate.

For Your Library


Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Puzzle Pieces Keep Falling Into Place

"See the person not the label."... Dr.Temple Grandin

List Of Recent Developments In Autism Research And News

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Folic Acid: One Answer To the Puzzle + Eat Your Spinach; Sodium Valproate Linked To Autism; Flying High With Autism Conference

"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." Plato

Folic Acid--One Answer To Lower Risk Of Autism

The Journal of the American Medical Association reported women who took folic acid four weeks before conception and through eight weeks into their pregnancy were 40% less likely to have a child with autism. And 27% were less likely to have a child with any autism spectrum disorder.

The results of the study confirmed earlier findings. Doctors have long encouraged women to take folic acid before and during pregnancy to reduce the risk of birth defects.  In addition, other findings have found that children whose mothers took folic acid were less likely to have language delays.

For these reasons, physicians recommend all women of childbearing age take 400 micrograms of folic acid a day. Folic acid (Folate) is also found in lentils, spinach, black beans, peanuts, orange juice, romaine lettuce and broccoli.

Reuters, LA Times, USA TODAY

Sodium Valproate, An Antiepileptic Drug, Linked To Autism

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Yes Parents, There's An App For That; Resources I Discovered On Social Media

Extraordinary circumstances should not prevent you from living an extraordinary life.

"My Socius" An App For Parents Of Children With Autism

"My Socius," an app designed for parents of children with autism, was designed by Keith Allen, professor of psychology at the University of Nebraska.

"My Socius" is designed to be a digital tutor for parents seeking ways to help motivate their child who is uncommunicative to begin using words. Professor Allen makes it clear this app is not designed to replace professional therapies. It's designed to reinforce and add to them.

"My Socius" helps to get children communicating themselves not letting the app communicate for them. In fact, it's a coaching tool not a communication device.

Those interesting in obtaining this app should call 402-423-2444. The present cost is $24.99.

Social Media's Resources For Autism

Monday, January 7, 2013

How To Support People With Autism?; iSTAR; Can Do Canines

Never allow any diagnosis to define who you are...Jerry Komar, editor, Autism News and Views

How To Support People With Autism?

That question is often asked when any parent, teacher, advocate, etc. is faced with supporting and serving an individual or individuals with autism.  The following will help answer that question:

  • Explain at every stage what you are about to do, what will happen next and why.
  • Give the individual enough time to understand the information you are sharing. Wait for a response if you do not get one immediately.
  • Questions must be clear and direct using language that is easy to understand. Use photos and/or pictures when needed.
  • People with autism will often take what you say literally. Be careful with words that have double meanings. Be careful with using humor.
  • Maintain a routine.
  • Repetitive behaviors may be coping mechanisms.
  • People with autism are particularly sensitive to their environment such as lighting, sounds, smell and touch.
  • Try to keep the immediate environment as calming as you can.
  • Always ask the person/parent or advocate what support they might need.
University of Oxford

The iSTAR Program: University of Utah