What Autism Changes Mean for You and Your Children

Contributor: Thomas Frazier, II, PhD  Nearly a year ago, the world of autism diagnosis changed. When the American Psychiatric Association published the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) in May 2013, the way we identify autism was one of the biggest changes by far. Since then, DSM-5 has brought its share … Read More

What Record-High Autism Rates Mean for Your Family

The numbers are in: More American children than ever have an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) diagnosis. One out of every 68 children has an ASD diagnosis, according to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Below, get insight on what the numbers mean for kids — and for the … Read More

Study Looks Into the Eyes of Autism

When diagnosing children with autism, the eyes are an area of focus. That’s because the tendency to let eyes wander and avoid eye contact is a hallmark of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). And according to recent research, this hallmark may appear earlier in children than previously thought. In a study published in the journal Nature, … Read More

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Video Games and Autism: Watch for Overuse

Contributor: Thomas Frazier, II, PhD  With their rapid-fire action and constant reinforcement — through points and level progress, for example — video games can be more engaging and engrossing than everyday activities. A  study from the University of Missouri finds this is especially true for boys diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) or attention deficit-hyperactivity … Read More

Mapping the Autistic Brain

Bruce Trapp, PhD, is shining new light on the autistic brain. Literally. Years ago, Dr. Trapp, Chairman of Neurosciences at Cleveland Clinic’s Lerner Research Institute, found a way to make astrocyte cells — the star-shaped cells that help synapses in the brain connect — glow fluorescently. This has allowed him to study how the brains … Read More

5 Ways to Help A Child With Autism Learn Social Skills

Contributor: Thomas Frazier, II, PhD  No parent likes to watch a child struggle. For parents of high-functioning children with autism, that struggle often takes place in social situations: in a classroom, on a playground or during a simple conversation. There are ways to help your child learn social skills, though. The work often starts in … Read More

Future Mothers: What the Valproate-Autism Link Means

Expectant mothers who take the drug valproate to control seizures may face an unexpected side effect: an increased risk of autism for their babies. A new study shows that the risk of autism increased threefold for children whose mothers took valproate, an anticonvulsant and mood-stabilizing drug, during pregnancy. If you are taking valproate and thinking … Read More

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Autism and Genetics: A Q&A About What We Know

There’s good news coming from autism researchers at a rapid pace. Almost monthly, we hear about new genes tied to autism spectrum disorders. Still, our understanding of the genetics of autism is years behind our understanding of how genetics affects cancer, for example. With that in mind, I sat down with my colleague and autism … Read More

7 Surprises About People With Autism

Contributor: Thomas Frazier, II, PhD  If your assumptions about autism come from popular culture, you may not have the full picture. Stereotypes don’t fit people with autism any better than they fit the rest of us. When we talk about autism spectrum disorders (ASD), spectrum is an important word. ASD covers a wide range of … Read More