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Archived News: In Research and Intervention
April 2013

Advancements in ASD Research Noted

In a recent article in the Huffington Post (April 2, 2013), Geraldine Dawson, the Chief Science Officer at Autism Speaks, noted ten significant advances in our knowledge about ASD over the last year. Dr. Dawson highlighted the best of ASD related research by starting with evidence that suggests early intervention can actually improve brain functioning, and may contribute to many children improving so much they often no longer meet the diagnostic criteria for ASD later in life. Other advancements of note include research that suggests siblings may often have developmental delays (but not ASD); peer training improves a student’s success with social skills; bolting or wandering is a common problem among individuals with ASD; and prenatal folic acid plays an important role in reducing the risk of ASD. Promising results from initial studies also indicate progress in regards to ASD related medications and ASD related products and services. To view the entire article and access the results from these research studies, please click here.


Research indicates that Nonverbal Individuals with ASD may Develop Language Later

According to Autism Speaks (March 4, 2013), a new study by the Scientists at the Center for Autism and Related Disorders in Baltimore suggests that individuals with ASD who are nonverbal at a young age may still develop language later in life. In a study of over 500 children with ASD, who had not acquired language before the age of 4 years, 70% later learned to speak in simple phrases and 47% developed fluent speech. The study also suggests that cognitive aptitude and level of social ability are two factors influencing the development of speech. However, the level and intensity of repetitive behavior and restricted interests appeared to have no impact on language development. For more information, please click here.


CDC Releases Results of Parent Survey

According to the CDC (March 2013), a new study suggests that 1 in 50 school-aged children is now being diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. The results represent a significant increase from the last CDC study in 2008 that suggested approximately 1 in 88 children had an autism spectrum disorder. The study, a phone survey of over 95,000 parents of school-aged children under the age of 17, has created considerable concern among the public regarding the increase. The CDC believes the increase does not necessarily mean that autism is occurring more often, only that physicians are diagnosing autism more frequently. It is important to note that various studies have shown a wide variety of prevalence rates. For more information regarding the study, please visit the CDC website.


The $100 million BRAIN challenge

According to The White House Blog (April 2, 2013), President Obama has released a new BRAIN initiative, or Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies. The BRAIN initiative seeks to advance cutting edge science and technologies regarding brain development in an effort to treat, prevent, and even cure disorders such as Alzheimer’s, Schizophrenia, epilepsy, traumatic brain injury, and autism. The scope and challenge of the BRAIN initiative is being compared to the Human Genome Project, and the President’s 2014 budget is pushing for over $100 million in research funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and the National Science Foundation (NSF). To find out more about the President’s Grand Challenge BRAIN initiative, please visit The White House Blog here.


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