Exposure to environmental pollution in first 2 years of life is linked to greater autism risk

A new study from the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health found that kids who were "highly exposed" to styrene and chromium (two specific air pollutants) while in utero or before age 2 were twice as likely to have autism.This is on the heels of another study from earlier this year that found that pregnant women exposed to pesticides were more likely to have kids with autism....more

If your son has delayed language skills, read this

A new study from the University of Cambridge has found that language delays in males often correlate with smaller brain volumes in certain regions. These regions include the temporal lobe, insula and ventral basal ganglia.On the flip side, the study found that men who had delayed language onset as a child had larger brainstem structures than men without the delays....more

Treating infants with autism may prevent further symptoms

It's a pretty big claim, but one that Infant Start developer Sally J. Rogers stands by.The theory was that the sooner therapy begins, the better the chances of preventing the full onset of symptoms. In this case, the therapy/treatment is provided at home and focuses on interactions between the parent and child during everday routines. ...more

New study on autism and driving

Have you ever been curious what it's like to be on the autism scale and driving? A new study gives us some very interesting insight from this perspective. Researchers at Drexel had adults on the ASD (and a non-ASD control group) do self-resporting on their driving experience. Here's what they found:- Adults on the autism spectrum earned their drivers' licenses at a later age- Adults on the autism spectrum drove less frequently...more

Minority children with autism developmentally regress more

New research presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies annual meeting in May 2014 indicates that black and Hispanic children with autism tend to developmentally regress more often than white children with autism.They define development regression in this case as loss of language, motor or social skills - usually after the child seemed to be developing normally for some time.The study used medical (and demographic) info on 1,353 preschool-age children with autism in Canada and the U.S....more

This may explain why children with autism "withdraw into themselves"

Neuroscientists have discovered that the brains of children with autism generate 42% more information at rest than their non-autistic peers. This may explain why children with autism are less interested in social interaction (which may over-stimulate them)....more

How imaginary helpers improves well-being of children with autism

Researchers have designed a technique that helps children with autism  (especially those who are high-functioning) improve their mental well-being.Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is the basis for the technique, which has the children creating imaginary "homunculi" characters to help them cope with real-life problems.The children are instructed to "recruit" the human-like tiny creatures in the brain and give them problem-solving assignments and gadgets to tackle upsetting feelings, thoughts and behaviors....more

Love and Autism: "I Married An Aspie"

My love and I have not always had the perfect relationship. Oh who am I kidding, we still don't; there's one fairytale that will never ride off the silver screen on a white horse. Sorry ladies. ...more
CaraCreager Oh Cara, there is someone perfectly aligned with you, no doubt about it. We are all ...more

Is it high-functioning autism or NVLD?

A new study from Michigan State University shows that high-functioning autism (i.e., Asperger's) and NLVD (nonverbal learning disability) are NOT necessarily the same thing, as had been previously thought by some.The typical traits of kids with NLVD are normal language skills but below average math skills. They also tend to have a hard time solving visual puzzle and don't recognize social cues like their non-NLVD peers....more

Kids with autism more likely to have synaesthesia than those without autism

On November 13 I wrote about synaesthesia-- the idea of confusing the senses, such as tasting a color or associating a certain color with a number.Today I ran across a new study from Cambridge University that found that while synaesthesia typically only occurs in about 7.2% of the population, it's much higher in people with autism: 18.9%.Why would this be?In both autism and synaesthesia the brain is "overconnected" - and in both cases people are hyper-sensitive to certain things (e.g., noise or taste)....more