Archive

Archive for February, 2012

An Evening with the Stars – and YOU Can Be There!

February 24, 2012 1 comment

We don’t know about you, but we have Awards fever! The Chicagoland Chapter of Autism Speaks is hosting an awesome event, ‘An Evening With the Stars.’ Unfortunately we can’t all physically be there, but you can VIRTUALLY be there! Throughout the night we will be giving updates on Facebook, Twitter, and our newly created Tumblr account! Please be sure to follow along and have some fun this Sunday!

Coverage starts at 6pm EST – so be there!!

Categories: Awareness, Fundraising

Weekly Whirl – Sibling Love!

February 24, 2012 1 comment

If anyone knows how hectic life can get – WE DO! That’s why we have created the Autism Speaks Weekly Whirl to fill you in on all of the highlights of the week! The last thing we want is for you to be left out of the loop! Please share with friends and family to spread the word about all of the exciting things going on in the autism community. Keep in mind, these updates aren’t limited to Autism Speaks — we will be featuring news from across the community.

We know how hard it is to balance the needs of all of your children and to celebrate each of them individually! Well for our Whirl we want to honor our siblings and share some of our favorite posts! We would also like to share a guide created by our Family Services Team – A Sibling’s Guide to Autism

The CovenantDiary of a Mom

Treasure What You HaveLena Rivkin

Voices of Autism: A Brother’s Perspective - Andy Shumaker

I’m Moving Out – Ali Dyer

Autism, Siblings, and the Art of Unconditional Love: An Interview With Lindsey Nebeker

Categories: Why I Walk Tags: ,

Autism in the News – 02.24.12

February 24, 2012 1 comment

Change in definition of ‘autism’ has parents worried they’ll lose critical services (Hartford, Conn.)
When Caleb Geary was diagnosed with autism at age 3, he had never spoken or eaten solid food. Read more.

Autism Is Jim Calhoun’s Biggest Opponent (Hartford Courant)
Jim Calhoun, like many coaches, is superstitious. He might have a lucky tie or piece of jewelry he must wear to end a losing streak, or keep a winning streak going. Read more.

Boy’s art graces book on autism (Indy Star)
Noblesville Griffin Nickels, 15, is a freshman at Noblesville High School. He is autistic. He is also artistic. Read more. 

Autism Clean-Up Bill Passes House of Delegates (The State Journal)
Parents of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder can breathe a little easier now that the West Virginia House of Delegates has passed a bill regarding insurance coverage for those children. Read more. 

Basic police work ignored in autistic patient’s suspicious death (News10)
Six days before he died, Van Ingraham was found on the floor of his room. His neck was broken and his spinal cord was crushed and disfigured. The injury was so severe, medical experts said it looked like he’d been put in a headlock or hanged. Read more. 

Autism Speaks’ daily blog “Autism in the News” is a mix of top news stories of the day. Autism Speaks does not vet the stories and the views contained therein do not necessarily reflect Autism Speaks beliefs or point of view.

Categories: Autism in the News Tags: ,

What behavioral therapies can help someone with autism and severe anxiety?

February 24, 2012 36 comments

Today’s “Got Questions?” answer comes from clinical psychologist Jeffrey Wood, Ph.D., of the Center for Autism Research and Treatment at the University of California, Los Angeles. The recipient of three Autism Speaks grants, Wood has extensively studied anxiety in elementary school and adolescent children with autism.

Anxiety is common among children and adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Research suggests that at least 30 percent of children withASDalso have an anxiety disorder such as social phobia, separation anxiety, excessive worry/rumination, obsessive compulsive disorder or a phobia such as extreme fear of spiders or loud noise. Indeed, many of the children involved in our ASD research suffer multiple anxiety disorders.

It’s important to remember that anxiety can range from fluctuating, mild and completely understandable to unremitting, severe and irrational. Most people experience some form of anxiety on a regular basis, and this generally involves some degree of physical discomfort as well as negative mood.

Moderate levels of anxiety can actually be a positive, motivating force to increase one’s level of effort and attention when working or socializing.  However, research on how children adapt to different settings (academic, athletic, social, etc.) suggests that high levels of anxiety can interfere with academic and social success.

Several types of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) have been developed to address anxiety in children with ASD, with promising results from several clinical research centers. Techniques include challenging negative thoughts with logic, role-play and modeling courageous behavior, and hierarchical (step by step) exposure to feared situations.

We and others have developed programs using modified versions of CBT that was originally developed for typically developing youth. These directly address problematic levels of anxiety in children with ASD. Several of these programs incorporate “special interests” to motivate children to engage in treatment activities during weekly sessions. For example, the therapist may use favorite cartoon characters to model coping skills, or intersperse conversations about a child’s special interests throughout the treatment sessions to promote motivation and engagement.

Depending on the program, these treatment sessions usually last 60 to 90 minutes each and extend over a course of 6 to 16 weeks. Most treatment plans also require parent involvement and weekly homework assignments.

Results from our randomized clinical trial, case studies and related reports indicate that most children with ASD who complete such programs experience significant improvements in anxiety as well as some improvement in social communication skills and other daily living skills. 1-9

We and others continue to conduct research on these and related behavioral interventions for relieving anxiety. At present these intensive and scientifically studied treatment programs are available primarily at a small number of autism treatment centers. We hope that further research and dissemination efforts will make them become more accessible to families throughout North America and elsewhere.

References:
1. Wood JJ, Gadow KD. Exploring the nature and function of anxiety in youth with autism spectrum disorders. Clinical Psychology: Research and Practice. (In press)
2. Wood JJ, Drahota A, Sze K, Har K, Chiu A, Langer DA. Cognitive behavioral therapy for anxiety in children with autism spectrum disorders: a randomized, controlled trial. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. 2009;50(3):224-34.
3. Sze KM, Wood JJ. Enhancing CBT for the treatment of autism spectrum disorders and concurrent anxiety: a case study. Behavioral and Cognitive Psychotherapy. 2008;36:403-9.
4. Chalfant AM, Rapee R, Carroll L. Treating anxiety disorders in children with high functioning autism spectrum disorders: a controlled trial. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. 2007;37(10):1842-57.
5. Lang R, Regester A, Lauderdale S, Ashbaugh K, Haring S. Treatment of anxiety in autism spectrum disorders using cognitive behaviour therapy: A systematic review. Developmental Neurorehabilitation. 2010;13(1):53-63.
6. Reaven JA, Hepburn SL, Ross RG. Use of the ADOS and ADI-R in children with psychosis: importance of clinical judgment. Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry. 2008;13(1):81-94.
7. Scarpa A, Reyes NM. Improving emotion regulation with CBT in young children with high functioning autism spectrum disorders: a pilot study. Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy. 2011;39(4):495-500.
8. White SW, Albano AM, Johnson CR, et al. Development of a cognitive-behavioral intervention program to treat anxiety and social deficits in teens with high-functioning autism. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review. 2010;13(1):77-90.
9. Sofronoff K, Attwood T, Hinton S. A randomized controlled trial of a CBT intervention for anxiety in children with Asperger syndrome. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatiry. 2005;46(11):1152-60.

Read more autism research news and perspective on the science page.

Autism – 2.23.12

February 23, 2012 Leave a comment

All mental health disorders should get insurance coverage, not just autism, coalition says (Lansing, Mich.)
Legislation that would require insurers to cover autism treatments unfairly singles out one condition, says a coalition that wants coverage for all mental health issues. Read more.

‘Growing out of autism’ claim unfounded (Littlehampton Gazette)
Can some children simply “grow out” of autism? The Daily Mail certainly thinks so, and today reported that new research by a “prestigious American university” claims that “not only is this possible, it’s also common.” Read more.

Bill would require insurance coverage for autism (NECN)
The Alaska Senate has passed a bill requiring insurance coverage for autism spectrum disorders. Read more.

Sally Bercow: ‘My son has autism, and I’m very proud of him’ – video (UK)
Labour activist Sally Bercow talks to disability campaigner Nicola Clark about her eldest child Oliver, who’s autistic. She tells of how she found out about her son’s condition and how it has affected her life, and why she supports TreeHouse school in north London, Ambitious About Autism’s flagship project that educates autistic children. Read more. 

Manchin visits Autism Training Center (The Parthenon)
United States Senator Joe Manchin visited the Autism Training Center on Tuesday at Marshall University. The Autism Training Center at Marshall provides students who are underneath the autism spectrum with support in academic and social situations. It serves individuals at Marshall and at statewide level. Read more.

Autism Speaks’ daily blog “Autism in the News” is a mix of top news stories of the day. Autism Speaks does not vet the stories and the views contained therein do not necessarily reflect Autism Speaks beliefs or point of view.

Categories: Autism in the News Tags: ,

Autism Journal Offers New Podcast on Gender Differences

February 22, 2012 Leave a comment

ImageThe international journal Autism released a new podcast in its Autism Matters series. Sven Bölte, Ph.D., director of Sweden’s Karolinska Institute Center for Neurodevelopmental Disorders, discusses his research on gender differences in cognitive function among high-functioning persons with autism spectrum disorder. Autism Matters podcasts are hosted by University of London psychologist Laura Crane, Ph.D.

The series is designed for a broad audience and aims to showcase the latest research published in the journal with an emphasis on real-world relevance.

Lorri Unumb to Host “My Child Has Autism: How Do I Get Insurance?” Webchat

February 22, 2012 19 comments

Please join us Monday February 27th for our first webchat featuring the Government Relations team: “My Child Has Autism: How Do I Get Insurance?” The webchat will be hosted by Lorri Unumb, Esq., our Vice President for State Government Affairs.

Held at 8 p.m. Eastern (7 Central/6 Mountain/5 Pacific), this “office hour” will connect families looking for answers about their health insurance with Ms. Unumb, who is regarded as one of the nation’s pre-eminent experts on health insurance and coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of autism. Ms. Unumb wrote groundbreaking autism insurance reform legislation enacted in her home state of South Carolina in 2007 and has since led the way for the enactment of similar laws in 27 other states. Her most recent honor was the 2012 Leadership in Advocacy Award presented by the California Association for Behavior Analysis.

Ms. Unumb welcomes your questions about how autism insurance coverage works in your state, understanding self-insured policies and the impact of the new federal health care law on autism coverage. However, the guidance provided on the webchat is not meant to substitute for the information provided by your employer’s human resources department, your insurance agent or attorney.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,056 other followers

%d bloggers like this: