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Spectrum The home of autism research news and expert analysis.
We provide comprehensive news and analysis of advances in autism research. Through our work we hope to catalyze new collaborations and perspectives on autism. More information at: spectrumnews.org/about (PS. We are not a cable company.)
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Motor problems are hugely overlooked in autistic children. 35% of autistic children have significant movement difficulti...
11/11/2019
Motor problems in autistic people may be grossly underestimated

Motor problems are hugely overlooked in autistic children.

35% of autistic children have significant movement difficulties, but only 3% of those have a diagnosed movement condition. "We were quite alarmed," says one scientist involved in the study.

At least one in three autistic children has significant movement difficulties, according to a large study.

There's a theory that a lack of flexibility in how the body regulates physiological states could explain many autism tra...
11/10/2019
Getting at the heart of autism

There's a theory that a lack of flexibility in how the body regulates physiological states could explain many autism traits. We investigate what evidence exists to back this idea up.

Cardiac activity could reveal autism's physiology and confirm a hunch many clinicians share: that people with autism experience great stress.

Researchers still find the idea of autistic women as sexual beings hard to accept, and still perpetuate misunderstanding...
11/10/2019
Why it’s time to be honest about autistic women and sex

Researchers still find the idea of autistic women as sexual beings hard to accept, and still perpetuate misunderstandings, writes autism sexuality advocate Amy Gravino.

Misinformation about autistic women and sex is common in the scientific community. A study published this year is a case in point.

Everything I am, I am autistically'—autist, poet, and writer Joanne Limburg muses on the pros and cons of her traits i...
11/09/2019
Is my autism a superpower?

Everything I am, I am autistically'—autist, poet, and writer Joanne Limburg muses on the pros and cons of her traits in an essay.

Greta Thunberg, Chris Packham, Jack Monroe and others credit their Asperger’s with giving them the focus to get things done. Here, poet, writer and ‘autist’ Joanne Limburg wonders if the condition has helped her, too

Being raised bilingual does not hurt autistic children’s language development, and may even help with social communica...
11/09/2019
Bilingualism in Autism Spectrum Disorder: Finding Meaning in Translation

Being raised bilingual does not hurt autistic children’s language development, and may even help with social communication and receptive language.

In the United States, 12 million children primarily speak a language other than English at home.1 This represents about one in four children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) being raised in a bilingual environment. The old notion that bilingualism could “confuse” a child has long been refuted...

3-year-old Owen is autistic but did not flag as possibly autistic on his 18- or 24-month autism screens and his insuranc...
11/09/2019
Owen’s odyssey: The difficult path to an autism diagnosis | Spectrum | Autism Research News

3-year-old Owen is autistic but did not flag as possibly autistic on his 18- or 24-month autism screens and his insurance twice denied coverage of autism therapy.

“I always knew something was up, but no one believed me,” his mom says.

This is part 1 of the story of one boy's long journey to an autism diagnosis and therapy. Part 2 will track Owen's progress later this year.

How is autism related to cardiac activity? What if much of the behavior we call autism stems from the body being in a pe...
11/08/2019
Getting at the heart of autism

How is autism related to cardiac activity? What if much of the behavior we call autism stems from the body being in a perpetual state of defense?

Cardiac activity could reveal autism's physiology and confirm a hunch many clinicians share: that people with autism experience great stress.

A new CRISPR method scans gene expression in live cells and could help scientists study genes linked to autism.
11/08/2019
CRISPR technique tracks genetic activity in real time

A new CRISPR method scans gene expression in live cells and could help scientists study genes linked to autism.

A new method scans gene expression in live cells and could help scientists study autism genes.

Some autistic children and young adults in the United Kingdom are detained in mental health institutions inappropriately...
11/07/2019
Kids with autism in UK detained in 'horrific' conditions

Some autistic children and young adults in the United Kingdom are detained in mental health institutions inappropriately, a British Parliamentary committee report found on Friday.

A British Parliamentary committee says many young people with autism or learning disabilities are being detained under "horrific" conditions and is calling for an urgent overhaul of the system

The animated short film “Mind My Mind” explores the inner thoughts of Chris, an autistic man contemplating romance. ...
11/07/2019
‘Mind My Mind’ Director Floor Adams Offers Window Into Mind Of Autistic Man With Awards-Contending Animated Short

The animated short film “Mind My Mind” explores the inner thoughts of Chris, an autistic man contemplating romance. Its neurotypical director, Floor Adams, won Best Animated Short at the Indy Shorts International Film Festival.

With her first animated short, Mind My Mind, Floor Adams hoped to offer a glimpse into the mind of a person living with autism, who relies on social scripts to make his way through the world. A fil…

A study this year on autistic people’s sexual experiences has flaws in its assumptions, and many of its conclusions do...
11/07/2019
Why it’s time to be honest about autistic women and sex

A study this year on autistic people’s sexual experiences has flaws in its assumptions, and many of its conclusions do not reflect Amy Gravino’s experience as an autistic woman, she writes.

Misinformation about autistic women and sex is common in the scientific community. A study published this year is a case in point.

The United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union would endanger continent-wide autism research collaborations.
11/07/2019
Brexit threatens progress of large autism studies

The United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union would endanger continent-wide autism research collaborations.

The United Kingdom's exit from the European Union would endanger continent-wide collaborations.

Companies seeking to hire neurodiverse employees must attend to hiring and career development practices.
11/06/2019
Study explores benefits of workplace neurodiversity

Companies seeking to hire neurodiverse employees must attend to hiring and career development practices.

Historically, companies have asked employees to 'trim away' their irregularities; it's easier to fit people together if they are all perfect rectangles. But 'fit' often required employees to leave their differences at home.

Dozens of apps are marketed to people with mental health conditions, including autism, and many violate the users’ pri...
11/06/2019
Privacy concerns about mental health apps highlight need for regulation | Spectrum | Autism Research News

Dozens of apps are marketed to people with mental health conditions, including autism, and many violate the users’ privacy.

Some researchers are finding a better way, with transparency and plain-language privacy statements, and some are calling for governmental regulation.

Dozens of apps are marketed to people with mental health conditions, including autism, and many violate the users’ privacy. Some researchers are finding a better way.

After Owen's autism diagnosis, his family’s health insurance company twice declined to cover the cost of therapy. Part...
11/06/2019
Owen’s odyssey: The difficult path to an autism diagnosis | Spectrum | Autism Research News

After Owen's autism diagnosis, his family’s health insurance company twice declined to cover the cost of therapy.

Part One of Owen's long journey to an autism diagnosis—Part Two will follow up with Owen later this year.

This is part 1 of the story of one boy's long journey to an autism diagnosis and therapy. Part 2 will track Owen's progress later this year.

What might explain the overlap between autism and epilepsy, and what does it reveal about autism?
11/05/2019
The link between epilepsy and autism, explained

What might explain the overlap between autism and epilepsy, and what does it reveal about autism?

Autism and epileptic seizures often go hand in hand. What explains the overlap, and what does it reveal about autism’s origins?

What Ehlers-Danlos, a syndrome involving hypermobility, can teach us about autism. An intriguing expert opinion from a s...
11/05/2019
What Ehlers-Danlos syndrome can teach us about autism

What Ehlers-Danlos, a syndrome involving hypermobility, can teach us about autism. An intriguing expert opinion from a scientist with hypermobility.

Not much is known about the connection between autism and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, a condition that affects collagen. But preliminary work provides clues.

Misinformation about autistic women and sex is common in the scientific community. Case in point: A study this year on a...
11/05/2019
Why it’s time to be honest about autistic women and sex

Misinformation about autistic women and sex is common in the scientific community.

Case in point: A study this year on autistic people’s sexual experiences has serious flaws in its assumptions, writes Amy Gravino, and many of its conclusions do not reflect her experience as an autistic woman.

Misinformation about autistic women and sex is common in the scientific community. A study published this year is a case in point.

Critics say New York City public schools have a flawed two-tiered system for evaluating kids for special ed services, in...
11/04/2019
A Tale of Two Special Education Evaluation Systems in NYC Schools

Critics say New York City public schools have a flawed two-tiered system for evaluating kids for special ed services, in that families who can pay for a private neuropsych evaluation have a leg up.

“It hurts my heart that not every kid can get [a neuropsych evaluation] who needs it — because they are very expensive," says a former NYC public school developmental neuropsychologist.

Critics say the city’s inability to fully assess kids’ needs leads parents with means to seek private help while many others have nowhere to turn.

Motor problems are hugely overlooked in autistic children. 35% of autistic children have significant movement difficulti...
11/04/2019
Motor problems in autistic people may be grossly underestimated

Motor problems are hugely overlooked in autistic children.

35% of autistic children have significant movement difficulties, but only 3% of those have a diagnosed movement condition, a new large study finds. "We were quite alarmed," says one scientist involved.

At least one in three autistic children has significant movement difficulties, according to a large study.

What do Rett syndrome and autism have in common? What can studies of Rett syndrome tell us about autism? Here's what you...
11/03/2019
Rett syndrome’s link to autism, explained

What do Rett syndrome and autism have in common? What can studies of Rett syndrome tell us about autism? Here's what you need to know about these two conditions.

Studies of Rett syndrome hint at genes, cells and brain circuits that may be involved in autism — and may pave the way to treatments for both conditions.

An entertainment industry executive makes the case for inclusion of people with autism in Hollywood.
11/03/2019
Hollywood's Inclusion Efforts Must Include Neurodiversity (Guest Column)

An entertainment industry executive makes the case for inclusion of people with autism in Hollywood.

Entertainment Industry Foundation CEO Nicole Sexton outlines a new program that aims to "motivate employers to hire, support and promote inclusive workforces and engage the public to advocate for equality."

Autistic children may experience more pain than neurotypical children.
11/03/2019
Pain Twice as Common for Kids With Autism: Study

Autistic children may experience more pain than neurotypical children.

Children with an autism spectrum disorder may be twice as likely to experience pain as kids without autism, a new study suggests.

A single dose of CBD, found in cannabis, eases seizures and improves learning and sociability in mice with an autism gen...
11/02/2019
Cannabis compound improves sociability in autism mouse model

A single dose of CBD, found in cannabis, eases seizures and improves learning and sociability in mice with an autism gene mutation.

A single dose of cannabidiol, a component of marijuana, eases seizures and improves learning and sociability in mice with mutations in an autism gene called CDKL5.

Thousands of brain organoids--miniature lab-grown brainlike structures--from six autistic people may give researchers th...
11/02/2019
Mass-produced organoids hint at diversity of autism

Thousands of brain organoids--miniature lab-grown brainlike structures--from six autistic people may give researchers the potential to rapidly screen drugs and more easily study autism’s biology.

Researchers have analyzed thousands of brain organoids derived from six autistic people, gaining the potential to rapidly screen drugs.

Autism may look different in adults than it does in children, making diagnosing adults harder.
11/02/2019
Autism in adults: Signs, symptoms, and diagnosis

Autism may look different in adults than it does in children, making diagnosing adults harder.

Most autistic people receive a diagnosis in childhood, but many adults also live with the condition. Learn about the symptoms, diagnosis, and more in this article.

People with a genetic propensity toward autism may be at an elevated risk for self-harm and suicidal behavior.
11/02/2019
Childhood trauma, life-time self-harm, and suicidal behaviour and ideation are associated with polygenic scores for autism

People with a genetic propensity toward autism may be at an elevated risk for self-harm and suicidal behavior.

Autistic individuals experience significantly elevated rates of childhood trauma, self-harm and suicidal behaviour and ideation (SSBI). Is this purely the result of negative environmental experiences, or does this interact with genetic predisposition? In this study we investigated if a genetic predi...

What two rare 'social syndromes' reveal about autism — an interesting perspective on Smith-Magenis and Potocki-Lupski ...
11/01/2019
What two rare ‘social’ syndromes reveal about autism

What two rare 'social syndromes' reveal about autism — an interesting perspective on Smith-Magenis and Potocki-Lupski syndromes.

Studying Smith-Magenis and Potocki-Lupski syndromes — two single-gene conditions in which people have trouble reading social cues — may boost our understanding of autism.

11/01/2019
New technique follows single neurons from birth to brain circuit

For the first time, scientists have visualized each neuron throughout the process of building a brain circuit: neurons mature, specialize, migrate to their destinations, and then make connections and networks with other neurons.

A new technique lets researchers watch brain circuits as they're being built, starting from the individual neurons birth.

A vast assortment of monkey brain tissue specimens just went virtual.The digitized macaque brains at MacBrainResource ma...
10/31/2019
Decades-old collection of monkey brain tissue goes virtual

A vast assortment of monkey brain tissue specimens just went virtual.

The digitized macaque brains at MacBrainResource may help researchers study conditions like autism.

A new free online library contains a vast assortment of digitized macaque brain slides.

Is Ehlers-Danlos, a syndrome involving hypermobility, related to autism? And could the biology of Ehlers-Danlos shed lig...
10/31/2019
What Ehlers-Danlos syndrome can teach us about autism

Is Ehlers-Danlos, a syndrome involving hypermobility, related to autism? And could the biology of Ehlers-Danlos shed light on autism? From scientist with hypermobility Emily Casanova.

Not much is known about the connection between autism and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, a condition that affects collagen. But preliminary work provides clues.

Autism and epileptic seizures often go hand in hand. What explains the overlap, and what does it reveal about autism’s...
10/31/2019
The link between epilepsy and autism, explained

Autism and epileptic seizures often go hand in hand. What explains the overlap, and what does it reveal about autism’s origins?

Autism and epileptic seizures often go hand in hand. What explains the overlap, and what does it reveal about autism’s origins?

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