Researchers developing communication app for children with autism
July 31, 2013

University of Kansas researchers have received a $1.2 million grant to test whether an iPad voice output application can help children with autism. Similar apps have previously been developed for adults with autism. In June 2012, 60 Minutes interviewed a 27-year-old man with autism who uses the keypad on the iPad to type out letters, words and phrases. A robotic voice then reads the words on the screen, giving a voice to an intelligent young man who previously struggled to communicate.


Addictive gaming more common with autism and ADHD
July 31, 2013
Children with an autism spectrum disorder spend about twice as much time playing video games as kids who don’t have a developmental disability, according to a new study. Researchers also found that children with an autism spectrum disorder or attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are at an increased risk of gaming addictions, compared to children without the disabilities.


10 Factors Linked to Autism
From air pollution to a father’s age, researchers have found possible connections to the rise in autism
Air Pollution
Pregnant women living in areas high in air pollution could be twice as likely to have a child with autism, according to a new study from Harvard University published in June. While the study did not prove pollution was a cause, it did show that the association is there, according to lead researcher Andrea Roberts, research associate at the Harvard School of Public Health.


Surveying the Best iPad Apps for Special Needs Students
July 29, 2013
While iPads and touchscreen devices are impacting virtually every level of educational instruction, apps designed for special needs students are particularly transformative. These five apps for students with autism, dyslexia, Attention Deficit Disorders and speech issues are among the best of hundreds of worthy titles available.


Ten things your student with autism wishes you knew
July 29, 2013
When my article ‘Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew’ was published in 2004, I could scarcely have imagined the response. Readers around the world wrote to tell me that the piece should be required reading for all social service workers, teachers and relatives of children with autism. ‘Just what my daughter would say if she could,’ said one mother. ‘How I wish I had read this five years ago. It took us such a long time to learn these things,’ said another. With such widespread response, I could only conclude that the resonance came from the voice of the piece, a child’s voice, a voice not heard often enough. There is great need — and increasing willingness — to understand the world as children with autism experience it.


Camp for kids with autism taking off
July 24, 2013
A couple of years ago, a lack of summer programs for children with high-functioning autism got an area group of parents talking. They wanted a place where students could get the skills they needed, but could also have fun and be with children like themselves. Now that vision is reality. A fledgling, but successful, summer camp, run by the Blue Ridge Autism and Achievement Center and held at HopeTree Family Services, is in its second year.


Autistic man breaks through the silence
July 15, 2013

The last word Watson Dollar spoke before autism erased his ability to do so was “lights.” The chubby cheeked toddler lay in his father’s arms as anesthesia, administered for an ear-tube surgery, dimmed his consciousness. Head lolling back, body going limp, Watson gazed at the fluorescent lamps above him, uttering the one-syllable noun. Then he closed his eyes and never spoke again. That was 20 years ago.


Training program meets ‘critical need’ for earlier autism identification
July 11, 2013
A Vanderbilt research program that trains community pediatricians to diagnose autism within their individual practices may lead to more effective treatment of the disorder that now affects an estimated one in 88 children. Vanderbilt University Medical Center researchers released today in the journal Autism the results of a three-year study that evaluated the effectiveness of a training program designed to enhance autism spectrum disorder (ASD) identification and assessment within community pediatric settings across Tennessee.


Jacob Barnett Who was Diagnosed with Autism Exceeds Einstein’s IQ
July 5, 2013
When he was two years old, the doctors of Jacob Barnett declared his childhood to be “very difficult.” They also said that the boy might not be able to know how to tie his own shoes. Today, Jacob is considered a genius – a physics prodigy who surpasses the intelligence quotient (IQ) of the revolutionary physicist Albert Einstein. Jacob was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, a condition within the autism spectrum. Yet, the 14-year old is currently working his way to a master’s degree in quantum physics and is on a path that might lead him to win the Noble Prize.


Autism Linked to the Gut, Study Finds
The gut bacteria of autistic children is much different than that of typical children, according to a new study.
July 3, 2013
An autism breakthrough may be sitting in your gut, according to a new study published in the journal PLOS ONE. The gut bacteria of autistic children is vastly different than that of typical children, and researchers say that bringing their gut bacteria into line with that of a typical child could help doctors better treat autistic kids. “One of the reasons we started addressing this topic is the fact that autistic children have a lot of GI problems that can last into adulthood,” study author Rosa Krajmalnik-Brown, PhD, a researcher with Arizona State University, said in a statement. “Studies have shown that when we manage these problems, their behavior improves dramatically.”