News In Research and Intervention

Risk of Underestimation in Children with Little Spoken Language

School-age children with little to no verbal abilities may be underdiagnosed with autism. These children are often considered untestable. A recent study of 39 children with autism and very low verbal abilities between the ages of 6 and 12 showed that these children can still be assessed. Assessments that proved successful included Raven's Colored Progressive Matrices board form, visual search and the Children's Embedded Figure Test. Findings indicate that even children with severe language deficits can be assessed for autism, therefore improving the risk of undiagnosis in these children.

Click here for the study, Autistic Children at Risk of Being Underestimated: School-Based Pilot Study of a Strength-Informed Assessment.


iPads and iPods Yield Results for Students with ASD

A review of 15 different studies that have been conducted indicates that iPads, iPhones and other such devices are effective for use with individuals with autism spectrum disorder and other disabilities. The studies used the devices across a number of domains including academic, communication, employment, leisure and transitioning across school settings. In these studies, the devices were used to deliver interventions or help individuals request items and communicate as opposed to serving as an intervention themselves (for instance, teaching math or teaching spelling). Although further research is needed, the devices show great promise in that they are relatively inexpensive, effective, readily available and are easy to operate.


Study Considers Presentation Differences in Girls with ASD

Findings of a recent study suggest that girls who go on to be diagnosed with ASD present with very different symptoms than boys. This may explain why there are differences in the rate and age of diagnosis of girls with ASD as opposed to boys. There is evidence that girls use more strategies to manage their social delays and focus on different types of restricted interests. More specifically, girls seemed to be more driven to want to fit in with their peers. As a result, they often mimic the social behaviors of others. In addition, behaviors of girls with ASD were considered less problematic, and therefore less likely to be addressed through further study. Results seem to indicate a need to continue to study the differences in presentation amongst girls and boys to prevent delays in diagnosis for girls.

To read more on this study, click here.


Naturalistic Developmental Behavioral Interventions for Young Children

As children with autism are being diagnosed earlier and earlier in their lives, more children are receiving services for autlsm as toddlers. Although these services have a number of different names, most fall under the realm of Naturalistic Developmental Behavioral Interventions (NBDI). In some ways NBDI's differ from the structured course of ABA therapy. They are more child-directed and often incorporate family members in the process. But as they have grown and developed, they have proven to carry through traditional ABA principles. Researchers suggest that coverage for ABA therapy should be extended to these NDBI's so that services can begin at younger ages. To read more about the NBDI's and their use, check out this journal article.