From Autism Research

Wandering and Elopement

This survey will help researchers document and understand elopement behaviors and will hopefully lead to the creation and implementation of effective state and federal policies that will provide public awareness, help, and support to parents and caretakers.

Cultural Differences in Endorsed Symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorders

In a recent study, Dr. Johnny Matson and colleagues identified cultural differences in endorsed symptoms of autism spectrum disorders (ASD). While it has been reported that diagnostic criteria and behavioral manifestation of ASD is virtually the same worldwide, cultural differences may impact how ASD symptoms are interpreted around the world. For this reason, Dr. Matson and colleagues set out to investigate cultural differences in reported ASD symptoms across four countries including Israel, South Korea, the United Kingdom (UK), and the United States (US).

Four of the Many Strengths Associated with Autism

I can’t pretend to speak to why the rest of the autism community focuses on the difficulties associated with autism, but I can speak to why it may appear that we at CARD, and other people in the applied behavior analysis (ABA) community, focus on areas of difficulty. Put simply, it’s because these are the areas that people ask us for help with. No one goes to a treatment provider and asks for help dealing with what’s great about their child— they don’t need to, they simply appreciate it every day. But it’s quite true that there are thousands of strengths associated with autism. Any attempt at a list is going to sound like I am stereotyping people, which would be ridiculous. But here are a couple strengths that come to mind.

A Review of Assessments Used to Select Content for EIBI Programs

With the current pool of available assessments, clinicians are left to run a battery of tests in order to identify target skills to include in treatment. Furthermore, to fill in the gaps, clinicians are likely to rely on clinical judgment derived from individual preference, experience, and expertise rather than a thorough assessment of the child’s development. Although extensive research has shown EIBI to be an effective treatment for ASD, research has also revealed great variability in program design and treatment effectiveness across service providers. Current clinical practices in assessment and program design likely account for much of the variability seen in the quality of EIBI services today.

Preference for Geometric Patterns Identified as a Possible Early Sign of Autism

Participants included 110 children, ages 14-42 months. Of the participants, 37 had ASD, 22 had developmental delay, and 51 had typical development. The participants’ preference for geometric patterns versus social images was measured using eye tracking technology. The participants were shown a minute long video, in which the screen was divided in two halves. One half of the screen displayed social images of children dancing and doing yoga while the other half displayed geometric patterns. Eye tracking technology measured how long each participant looked at each half of the screen.

Challenging Behavior and Symptom Severity in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

In a recent study, CARD researchers Jina Jang, Dr. Dennis Dixon, Dr. Jonathan Tarbox, and Dr. Doreen Granpeesheh found a relationship between symptom severity and challenging behavior in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Children with ASD are often reported to display challenging behavior (e.g., aggression, tantrums, self-injury, stereotypy, etc.); however, research examining the prevalence of challenging behavior in this population is limited. The purpose of the current study was to explore the incidence of challenging behavior and the relationship between symptom severity and challenging behavior in children with ASD receiving early intensive behavioral intervention (EIBI) services.

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By FRANK URQUHART Scottish scientists have paved the way for potential new treatments for autism after discovering a link between the condition and abnormalities in a gene important for learning and memory. The link was established by researchers at Aberdeen University following a study of four children with severe autism in the North-east of Scotland. They discovered that the children each had a rare re-arrangement of chromosomes that had disrupted a gene known as EIF4E. A spokesman for Aberdeen University said: “The resulting imbalance makes the brain more prone to the repetitive thought processes seen in autism. “The detection of…

NIH to Spend $60 Million in Stimulus Funds on Autism Research

By Emily P. Walker, Washington Correspondent, MedPage Today WASHINGTON, March 25 — The National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced it will devote $60 million of its $10 billion in economic stimulus money to fund research on autism. It’s the largest chunk of research dollars ever devoted to the disorder and will be split into four grants to support broad research into autism spectrum disorder, according to NIH. Topics of research might include developing and testing screening tools for various populations; assessing risk from prenatal or early life exposures; and treatments for older children, teens, and adults with autism. Grant recipients…

Help Get the ABLE Accounts Act Passed

Dear Autism Advocate, The ABLE Accounts Act of 2009 – or Achieving a Better Life Experience Act – has been introduced in Congress. S.493 and H.R. 1205 will encourage individuals with autism and other disabilities and their families to save, tax-free, for disability-related expenses. Similar in many respects to existing 529 college savings plans, these accounts will be exempt from federal taxation, provided certain rules are met. Robert Casey (D-PA), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), and Christopher Dodd (D-CT) introduced S. 493, with Senators Richard Burr (R-NC), Edward Kennedy (D-MA), and Sam Brownback (R-KS) signing on as the bill’s original co-sponsors. Senator…