UW is Funded $3.9 Million Used for Early Autism Detection Program


The University of Washington was recently granted $3.9 million from the National Institute of Health to continue a program that uses tablets as a way to detect early Autism, a condition that now affects one in every 68 children. Continue reading

Early intervention leads to better outcomes

Impaired social behavior and lack of eye contact is a trademark characteristic of autism spectrum disorders (ASD).

CLEVELAND, Ohio— Though most children are diagnosed by age 4, many researchers feel the earliest signs of autism can be detected in babies as young as six to 18 months old. Early intervention and identifying the signs early leads to better outcomes.

Because it can be difficult, especially for parents to identify the earliest signs of autism, the Kennedy Krieger Institute and other research groups have produced simple online videos comparing the behaviors of children with suspected autism to those of typically developing infants and toddlers.

Autism has shown a dramatic increase in the past decade in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, currently autism affects one in 88 children.

In a current long-term study of babies from birth to age 3 differences shown in eye contact as early as the second month of life when the babies watched videos showing actresses as caregivers. A study conducted by Emory University in Atlanta, researchers identified declines in eye contact beginning as early as between 2 and 6 months of age in children who later developed autism.

Pediatric neurologist and autism specialist Dr. Max Wiznitzer from the University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital, said earlier work by the same group of Emory researchers also showed that children with autism spend more time focusing elsewhere, often on the mouth and less time focusing on the eyes when someone is speaking.

Impaired social behavior and lack of eye contact is a trademark characteristic of autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Other symptoms can be difficult to spot, especially at a young age and vary widely.

Dr. Rebecca Landa of the Kennedy Krieger Institute helps explain in the institute’s 9-minute tutorial video some of the ASD behavioral signs in one-year-olds in six video clips comparing toddlers who show no signs of the disorder to those who show early signs of autism.

Though Wiznitzer indicates that parents should be cautious and not drawing any conclusions about their children from video alone, he states the video is particularly helpful because it lays out the behaviors to watch out for before each video clip. In typically developing children, these include sharing enjoyment by smiling at others while playing, sharing a toy with a parent or other adult, and imitating the motions of others while playing. Behaviors that are related to autism include an unusually strong interest in a toy or object, no engagement with other people during play, and no response to hearing his or her name.

“[The videos] can show you some of the early features of autism, but some of these behaviors can be seen in other developmental disorders, so if you have any concerns it’s important to have an expert evaluate your child,” he said.

For more information on early intervention and the signs and symptoms of autism, please visit: http://blog.hear-our-voices.org/category/early-intervention/


1 in 88 children are estimated to have symptoms of autism

In a survey sponsored by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, as reported by David Brown of Health & Science, the latest evidence states that about 1 in 88 children in the United States has autism and the prevalence of the condition has risen nearly 80 percent over the past decade. Continue reading

Siblings and Autism

For any child, the arrival of a sibling with autism can be a big adjustment.

A 2007 Harvard Review of Psychiatry article mentions studies that document “distressing emotional reactions such as feelings of anxiety, guilt and anger” and “more adjustment problems” as well as research noting that “some siblings benefit from their experience, others seem not to be affected.” The studies used different methodology, but even so, the difference perhaps should not be surprising.  Just as no two people with autism are alike, no two siblings are alike in how they adjust to their family situation. Continue reading

Autism: Still on The Rise

autism still on the riseIf you float in online autism circles you may be well aware of the new autism figures released by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) yesterday.  While it has been evident for many years that the number of those with autism is steadily rising, yesterday’s announcement that the number of cases has risen 78 percent in the last ten years is a sobering reminder.

The number of autism cases in the United States has reached one in every 88 children, the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports. The figures vary wildly between girls and boys with one in every 54 boys affected, five fold the prevalence in girls: one in 252. Continue reading