News & Events

August 17, 2020

Recommended Autism Screenings Occur About 50% of the Time Per AAP Guidelines

A new study published in Pediatrics reported that autism screenings recommended at 18 and 24 months per American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) guidelines take place only 54% of the time. This lower than predicted percentage rate may be due to screening gaps found in two populations: Hispanic children and children who see family practice physicians instead of pediatricians.

August 17, 2020

LA Times Finds Extensive Regression in Special Ed Students Since March

“Stalled progress,” “loss of skills,” “no semblance of education,” “helpless,” “frustration,” “huge regression,” “inconsistent,” ”not sufficient,” are just a few terms parents, teachers, advocates, and therapists used in a recent front-page Los Angeles Times article to describe special education services provided to California’s 760,000 students with disabilities since COVID-19 shutdown schools.

August 17, 2020

Could Oxytocin be the Key to Normalizing Social Behavior in Autism?

Swiss researchers have discovered that a mutation of the neuroligin-3 gene disrupts the hormone oxytocin’s signaling pathway in the brains of mice causing reduced social interactions in the rodents. When the study’s authors repaired the oxytocin system of the mice using a pharmacological treatment their social behavior normalized. This exciting new finding may point to new pharmacological treatments focusing on improved social behavior for individuals with autism.

August 17, 2020

Conveying Educational Needs Via Remote Learning Proves Challenging

School closures have provided students in special education with lessons that are reduced to just minutes a day, coupled with isolation from peers, these students have experienced weak educational programs and loneliness via home learning. These students aren’t the only ones in distress. Special education teachers with advanced degrees and specific certifications feel unprepared and unqualified to instruct via remote education. Parents are frustrated as well, maintaining that in person instruction is critical for their child’s progress. Could there be hope for these groups to adjust to remote learning this fall?

August 10, 2020

School-Based Mindfulness Program Shows Promise for Children with ASD

Many individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are faced with an additional challenge called executive dysfunction. A properly working executive function system provides a person with the ability to plan, problem solve, use working memory, monitor impulse control, manage inhibitions, make decisions, manage time, and initiate and scrutinize actions. However, these skills are typically missing in children with autism. Without proper executive functioning skills, classroom learning becomes especially difficult.

August 10, 2020

Autism Severity Can Change During Childhood

Does the degree of severity of autistic symptoms remain static during preschool and early elementary school years? If a change in severity is experienced, could the degree of variation be influenced by initial severity levels, sex, IQ or level of adaptive functioning? These thought-provoking questions were recently posed by a new study out of the MIND Institute at UC Davis.

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