Topic: Autism

Take Charge, Take Action on your Infant’s Development

A new study released today by researchers at the Mind Institute and published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders found that early and intensive supportive interaction by parents (not therapists) diminished or took away signs of delay in almost all the children in the study.  Even though the sample size was very small, […]

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The Role of Parents in Developmental Treatment

The intuitive wisdom that parents are essential partners in their child’s growth and development has not always found a place in medical model therapeutic approaches. But in research circles today, when scientists talk about “critical ingredients” or crucial aspects of a treatment that make a difference toward a cure, the parent-child relationship is getting unprecedented […]

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Are Therapies Respectful of Autism?

One of the most powerful position statements in the Autism Self Advocacy Network (ASAN), a national group run by persons on the spectrum regarding health care and the respectful use of therapies is as follows: “Many therapies and products for Autistic children and adults are helpful and should be made more widely available, such as […]

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The Problem with Taking Behaviors at Face Value

One of the misunderstood aspects of autism is that for some individuals, outward behaviors do not match inward intentions or thoughts. Decades ago, I learned from leaders in the field of ASD treatment how profoundly motor planning and praxis (everything from having an idea, planning motor movements, sequencing those movements, executing and then adjusting as […]

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Presuming Competence: Part Two

Valuable information can be gleaned from autistic persons writing about their educational experiences.  A common theme arising from such writings is that all too often,  behaviors are taken at face value and competence is not presumed.  Because the neural circuits connecting the motor system to ideas or intention can be seriously impacted in autism,  taking […]

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Presuming Competence: Raising the Bar for Autistic Individuals (Part One)

Information about the processing differences in autistic children is streaming in from researchers and scientists. Two examples are Elyssa Marco, looking at the sensory processing differences found in children with atypical neurodevelopment, and Stephen Porges, studying stress responses in autism and other conditions.  Researchers are now weighing in on what autistic individuals have been asking […]

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Time to Re-think Treatment Techniques?

  Last week, at Bessel van der Kolk’s Annual Trauma Conference, the number of references to autism intrigued me.  While one would not necessarily expect to find those two words together in a conference, some of the underlying neurobiology found in trauma may be similar to children with autism, including weak or disconnected neural links […]

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Look at me!

Enforcing eye contact is a tricky endeavor in children with autism.  While gently taking a child’s head into your hands and asking him to look at you might seem innocuous, it actually can be very stressful. Parents and professionals alike need to consider the complexity of the brain networks in autism and make sure we […]

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Let’s do away with the term “Non-verbal”

The second annual Profectum conference was again a huge hit with parents and professionals alike.  A touching moment happened when a parent came up after my talk and asked me to repeat something I had said about the inaccuracy of the phrase “non-verbal”.  As Liz Torres, neuropsychological researcher, told us, what we can see (or […]

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