Children with Autism Choose Inanimate Objects Over Faces

A new study using eye-tracking technology has provided insights into the way children with autism observe social interaction.

Researchers tracked eye movements as the children were shown movie scenes of school-age children in age-appropriate social situations.

Investigators discovered children with autism were less likely than typically developing peers to look at other people’s eyes and faces, and were more likely to fixate on bodies and inanimate objects. Continue reading

Recent Findings in Medication Use in Children with Autism

Recent Findings in Medication Use in Children with AutismIn a recent study, Yale investigators and their colleagues discovered that parental training, in addition to medications, provided a better result for children with behavioral problems than medication alone.

Scahill and his team completed a federally funded trial on 124 children ages 4 to 13 with autism spectrum disorders at three U.S. sites including Yale, Ohio State University and Indiana University.

For six months, children in the study were randomly assigned either medication alone or medication plus a structured training program for their parents. Continue reading

Sixth Grader Enlightens Classmates about Asperger’s Syndrome

Sixth Grader Enlightens Classmates on Asperger's SyndromeBeing dropped off at school in the morning is less of a problem for 11 year old Jack Lebersfeld of West Boca now.  Since Jack gave a speech to the entire sixth grade about his Asperger’s syndrome and explained what it means he has been regarded in much higher esteem.

Previously Jack was being “isolated and picked on,” in the words of his friend Spencer Kusel.  Now he is somewhat of a celebrity among his classmates and their families. “People treat him differently now,” one admirer commented. Continue reading

African-American Children Receive Autism Diagnosis Later

African-American Children Recieve Autism Diagnosis Later than OthersA study by a Florida State University researcher has shown that African-American children tend to be diagnosed with autism later than other children, which can have a negative impact on their treatment outcomes.

“Intervention for any autistic child needs to start around age 3, so we can get the child to begin to learn how to eat right and develop normal, healthy routines, which will result in a better developmental outcome,” Martell Teasley, an associate professor in Florida State’s College of Social Work said. “Later intervention will result in a poorer developmental outcome that can have a lasting impact on the child’s and family’s quality of life.” Continue reading

Easing the Pain of the Dentist for Children with Autism

Easing the Pain of the Dentist for Children with Autism

A new Tool Kit For Dental Professionals has been made available for free download this week.  It is designed to assist dentists, dental hygienists and their office staff to feel prepared for interacting with patients with special sensitivities and medical issues associated with autism.

A visit to the dentist can be a very frightening experience for a child with autism for a variety of reasons. Dentistry involves bright lights, loud instruments and touching a very sensitive part of the body.  One mother commented, “My son fainted at one point after half an hour of screaming. The dentist had me pin his head in between my knees. There was something inhumane about the whole appointment.” Continue reading

25 Words to Determine if Your Child is a Late Speaker

25 words to determine if Your Child is a Late SpeakerResearchers have compiled a list of twenty five words that every toddler should know by age two. While being slow to talk is not necessarily a cause for concern, in some cases it can be a sign of greater problems from deafness to autism.

The words and phrases identified by the scientists, which cover toys, food, animals and, of course, include ‘mummy’ and ‘daddy’ and ‘bye bye’ are designed to detect children who may be late speakers or have more serious issues with speech.

The 25 ‘must have’ words are part of a much larger list that are designed to be ticked off in 10 minutes by parents to determine their toddler’s vocabulary. The average child will know 150 of the words in the Language Development Survey but scores of 75 to 225 are normal. Continue reading

Augmented Play Helps Children With Autism

Augmented Play Helps Children With Autism

A team of researchers has been investigating ways to make play sets more interactive in order to benefit children with autism.

William Farr and Nicola Yuill of the University of Sussex, UK and Steve Hinske of ETH Zurich, Switzerland, explain that children with autism often have difficulties with social interaction and also have an impaired understanding of the way objects interact. Continue reading

Autism, Not Hereditary Traits, Affects Motor Skills

Researchers from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have discovered that autism, not hereditary traits, is the cause of impaired motor skills in those with Autism.

The study was conducted by studying 144 children from 67 different families where at least one child had a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder with at least one biological sibling in the same age group. Children were tested by observing them performing various tasks like placing pegs in a pegboard, cutting with scissors, copying forms, imitating movements, running, throwing a ball and doing push-ups. Continue reading

One Mother’s Quest Inspired Autism Programs to Help Other Families

Karen Neary

When first receiving a diagnosis of autism, parents can become overwhelmed by the variety of treatment options and the pressure to act as soon as possible.

One Waterloo mother knows this feeling all too well. “All I know is I’m panicked now,” Karen Neary said. “You’re obsessed with starting instantly, but you don’t know what to do.”

When she received her son’s diagnosis Neary was working as an X-ray technician but she went back to school to gain a PhD in developmental psychology. Continue reading

Explaining Death to Children with Autism

Explaining Death to Children with Autism

There are many complicated questions that your children may ask as they grow. Explaining the concept of death can be one of the most difficult things to explain – especially when your child has autism.

While there are some stereotypes about children with autism being less emotional and more matter of fact than their typically-developing peers, this is not the case. The death of a family member or friend can be emotionally devastating to children with autism. It is important to prepare them for these situations and do your best to help them along the process. Continue reading