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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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Separating sensitivity to sensory stimuli from the response to the stimuli may help scientists understand the root cause...
04/28/2020
We need precise measurements of sensory traits related to autism

Separating sensitivity to sensory stimuli from the response to the stimuli may help scientists understand the root cause of sensory traits in autistic people. #SpectrumViewpoint

Separating sensitivity to sensory stimuli from the response to the stimuli may help scientists understand the root cause of sensory traits in autistic people.

In this week's #SpectrumViewpoint, Shannon Des Roches Rosa from The Thinking Person's Guide to Autism writes about how t...
04/28/2020
How to help autistic children cope with pandemic lockdowns | Spectrum | Autism Research News

In this week's #SpectrumViewpoint, Shannon Des Roches Rosa from The Thinking Person's Guide to Autism writes about how to accommodate autistic loved ones during a pandemic in ways that respect their needs and their style of managing stress.

Sheltering in place is especially hard for autistic children who dread changes in routine and who may have learned to repress their ways of managing stress. Here are tips to help them cope.

Most community clinicians do not deliver care that is in line with the latest evidence — and they are not improving over...
04/27/2020
Community delivery of autism therapies lags far behind evidence

Most community clinicians do not deliver care that is in line with the latest evidence — and they are not improving over time. #SpectrumViewpoint

Most community clinicians do not deliver autism therapies in line with the latest evidence -- and they are not improving over time.

The team found that sensory underreactivity in the toddler years is associated with autism traits, including severe rest...
04/27/2020
Autistic children's repetitive behaviors linked to sleep, sensory problems

The team found that sensory underreactivity in the toddler years is associated with autism traits, including severe restricted and repetitive behaviors, at preschool ages.

Toddlers who sleep poorly or overreact or underreact to sensory stimuli have more repetitive behaviors and other autism traits later in childhood.

Cut off from clients by the coronavirus pandemic, clinicians are turning to video conferencing and other technologies to...
04/27/2020
Remote diagnosis, support could aid families during lockdown

Cut off from clients by the coronavirus pandemic, clinicians are turning to video conferencing and other technologies to diagnose children with autism.

Cut off from clients by the pandemic, clinicians are turning to video conferencing and other technologies to diagnose children with autism.

Mikle South spends his days teaching classes, studying the relationship between anxiety and autism, and coping with livi...
04/26/2020
Beyond the bench: A conversation with Mikle South

Mikle South spends his days teaching classes, studying the relationship between anxiety and autism, and coping with living in a conservative state. #BeyondTheBench

Mikle South spends his days teaching classes, studying the relationship between anxiety and autism, and coping with living in a conservative state.

A Utah program provides comprehensive care for autistic people across the lifespan and engages families in the decision-...
04/25/2020
Medical ‘home' programs offer coordinated care for autistic people

A Utah program provides comprehensive care for autistic people across the lifespan and engages families in the decision-making. #SpectrumViewpoint

Comprehensive care for autistic people across the lifespan and engaging families in the decision-making are priorities for a Utah-based program.

Autistic children are twice as likely to have trouble sleeping as typical children. Their poor sleep has been linked to ...
04/25/2020
Autistic children's repetitive behaviors linked to sleep, sensory problems

Autistic children are twice as likely to have trouble sleeping as typical children. Their poor sleep has been linked to severe traits including severe repetitive and restricted behaviors.

Toddlers who sleep poorly or overreact or underreact to sensory stimuli have more repetitive behaviors and other autism traits later in childhood.

People tend to believe that, regardless of the treatment, more is always better. But is it? #SpectrumViewpoint
04/24/2020
How much behavioral therapy does an autistic child need?

People tend to believe that, regardless of the treatment, more is always better. But is it? #SpectrumViewpoint

How much behavioral therapy does an autistic child need? People tend to believe that, regardless of the treatment, more is always better. But is it?

Studies have shown that 47 to 53 percent of children with autism are securely attached, compared with about 65 percent o...
04/24/2020
Infants' interactions with parents may predict autism

Studies have shown that 47 to 53 percent of children with autism are securely attached, compared with about 65 percent of typical individuals.

In younger siblings of children with autism, insecure attachments to their caregivers increases the odds of being diagnosed with autism.

In this #BeyondTheBench, Annie Ciernia describes the greenhouse origins of her scientific career and why a unicorn makes...
04/23/2020
Beyond the bench: A conversation with autism researcher Annie Ciernia

In this #BeyondTheBench, Annie Ciernia describes the greenhouse origins of her scientific career and why a unicorn makes a good lab mascot.

Autism researcher Annie Ciernia describes the greenhouse origins of her scientific career and why a unicorn makes a good lab mascot.

Mice with mutations in a gene called DLG2 are anxious and asocial; they also sleep poorly and overgroom themselves, acco...
04/23/2020
Gene linked to schizophrenia tied to autism-like behaviors

Mice with mutations in a gene called DLG2 are anxious and asocial; they also sleep poorly and overgroom themselves, according to a new study.

These characteristics resemble those seen in some autistic people.

Mice missing a protein central to neuronal activity are anxious, sleep poorly and overgroom themselves.

“Differentiating autism from intellectual disability is as old as the condition. It was a major concern, right from the ...
04/22/2020
The blurred line between autism and intellectual disability | Spectrum | Autism Research News

“Differentiating autism from intellectual disability is as old as the condition. It was a major concern, right from the beginning.” #SpectrumDeepDive

Doctors often conflate autism and intellectual disability, and no wonder: The biological distinction between them is murky. Scientific progress depends on knowing where the conditions intersect -- and part ways.

Denver, Colorado, is one of at least eight cities considering an Oregon program called Crisis Assistance Helping Out On ...
04/22/2020
Taking The Cops Out Of Mental Health-Related 911 Rescues

Denver, Colorado, is one of at least eight cities considering an Oregon program called Crisis Assistance Helping Out On The Streets to decriminalize and improve the treatment of people with severe mental illness — while saving the city money.

Denver, Colorado, is one of at least eight cities considering an Oregon program to decriminalize and improve the treatment of people with severe mental illness -- while saving the city money.

Denver, Colorado, is one of at least eight cities considering an Oregon program called Crisis Assistance Helping Out On ...
04/21/2020
Taking The Cops Out Of Mental Health-Related 911 Rescues

Denver, Colorado, is one of at least eight cities considering an Oregon program called Crisis Assistance Helping Out On The Streets to decriminalize and improve the treatment of people with severe mental illness — while saving the city money.

Denver, Colorado, is one of at least eight cities considering an Oregon program to decriminalize and improve the treatment of people with severe mental illness -- while saving the city money.

To help families with autistic children cope with the loss of professional support due to #COVID19, this team created mo...
04/21/2020
Coronavirus tool kit may aid families with autistic children during lockdown | Spectrum | Autism Research News

To help families with autistic children cope with the loss of professional support due to #COVID19, this team created modules that provide resources, counsel, lessons, schedules and overall aid to families confined to their homes. #SpectrumViewpoint

To help families cope with the sudden loss of professional support during the pandemic, one team in France has created a set of resources and information.

What two rare ‘social’ syndromes reveal about autism. #SpectrumViewpoint
04/20/2020
What two rare ‘social' syndromes reveal about autism

What two rare ‘social’ syndromes reveal about autism. #SpectrumViewpoint

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.

The team identified several regions of the cerebral cortex that are thicker in people with autism than in typical people...
04/20/2020
Brain anatomy differences in autism may vary by age, sex

The team identified several regions of the cerebral cortex that are thicker in people with autism than in typical people; all of these regions have previously been associated with autism.

Several regions in the outer layer of the brain are thicker in children and young adults with autism than in their typical peers.

The findings from two independent studies suggest that early behavioral differences may set the stage for restricted and...
04/20/2020
Autistic children's repetitive behaviors linked to sleep, sensory problems

The findings from two independent studies suggest that early behavioral differences may set the stage for restricted and repetitive behaviors.

Toddlers who sleep poorly or overreact or underreact to sensory stimuli have more repetitive behaviors and other autism traits later in childhood.

Official estimates suggest that 1 in 2,500 to 5,000 people have Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. There may be a connection betwee...
04/19/2020
What Ehlers-Danlos syndrome can teach us about autism

Official estimates suggest that 1 in 2,500 to 5,000 people have Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. There may be a connection between the condition and autism. #SpectrumViewpoint

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

The findings do not suggest that insecure attachments cause autism. But such attachments may signal autism early and gui...
04/19/2020
Infants' interactions with parents may predict autism

The findings do not suggest that insecure attachments cause autism. But such attachments may signal autism early and guide interventions for these ‘baby sibs.’

In younger siblings of children with autism, insecure attachments to their caregivers increases the odds of being diagnosed with autism.

The differences are greatest in girls, in children aged 8 to 10 years, and in those with a low intelligence quotient.
04/18/2020
Brain anatomy differences in autism may vary by age, sex

The differences are greatest in girls, in children aged 8 to 10 years, and in those with a low intelligence quotient.

Several regions in the outer layer of the brain are thicker in children and young adults with autism than in their typical peers.

Many parents resort to unproven — even dangerous — alternative treatments for their children’s autism. What drives them?
04/17/2020
The seekers: Why parents try fringe therapies for autism

Many parents resort to unproven — even dangerous — alternative treatments for their children’s autism. What drives them?

Many parents resort to unproven -- even dangerous -- alternative treatments for their children's autism. What drives them?

The survey probes their emotional health, life satisfaction, cognitive function and overall health, as well as peer and ...
04/17/2020
Autistic people report poor health, low life satisfaction

The survey probes their emotional health, life satisfaction, cognitive function and overall health, as well as peer and family relationships.

Autistic children and adults report having poor physical and mental health and quality of life compared with the general population.

Younger siblings of children with autism who have insecure attachments to their caregivers are more likely to be diagnos...
04/17/2020
Infants' interactions with parents may predict autism

Younger siblings of children with autism who have insecure attachments to their caregivers are more likely to be diagnosed with autism than are siblings with secure attachments, according to the first study to explore this link.

In younger siblings of children with autism, insecure attachments to their caregivers increases the odds of being diagnosed with autism.

Researchers have scanned the brains of autistic people by using technologies such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) an...
04/16/2020
Autism's relationship to head size, explained

Researchers have scanned the brains of autistic people by using technologies such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and have found that those with a large head also tend to have an unusually large brain.

Some people with autism have an unusually large head. What causes the enlargement? And does it have any bearing on outcome?

We’ve compiled information from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to help autism researchers whose work has been s...
04/14/2020
U.S. funding agency offers researchers flexibility during pandemic

We’ve compiled information from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to help autism researchers whose work has been stalled by the pandemic.

The National Institutes of Health is offering autism researchers who are coping with the coronavirus pandemic flexibility with their grant applications, budgets and progress reports.

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