Autism Myth 1: Vaccines cause autism

Autism Myth #1: Autism is caused by vaccines.

The grandest myth about Autism is that the disorder is caused by vaccines. This stems from research published in 1998 by former British gastroenterologist and medical, Andrew J. Wakefield, which linked the MMR Vaccine to Autism and bowel disease. This research created a kind of mass hysteria -- a hysteria that was further perpetuated by celebrity moms such as Jenny McCarthy, who publically blamed vaccines for her son's autism.

Truth: There is no link between autism and vaccines.

Vaccinate Your Child
Latest Health Axioms card, illustrated by Sarah Kaiser.

We can't overstate this enough: "There is no link," says Michael Rosenthal, Ph.D., a pediatric neuropsychologist who specializes in autism at the Child Mind Institute in New York City. "Every good study we have showed that there was no science behind this claim."

In fact, Dr. Wakefield's paper has been officially retracted and he lost his job and his medical license. Still, the vaccines-can-cause-autism myth has proven surprisingly durable: "I think it hangs around because parents are scared and desperate," Dr. Rosenthal explains, noting that "there is also a timing issue because we first see signs of autism around the same time these vaccines are administered. But it's simply a coincidence." In fact, new research has pinpointed lack of eye contact as a warning sign of autism in babies as young as 2 months--before they've received most of their shots.

 

It may be possible to detect Autism with a blood test

A news study shows that it may one day be possible to detect [yadawiki link="Autism Spectrum Disorder" show="Autism"] with a blood test. Shaun Heasley tells how researchers may have discovered unique identifiers in blood that signal Autism may be present in the subject.

Autism May Be Detectable In Blood
Arkansas Children's Hospital
Arkansas Children's Hospital (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The study involved blood samples collected from 83 children with autism and 76 neurotypical children ages 3 to 10 at Arkansas Children’s Hospital. Rather than examining one particular gene or a single biomarker, researchers used big data techniques to take a broader look in order to find statistically significant patterns.

View the entire article here.

This could be a major breakthrough in detecting Autism earlier in children. Time will tell if this will be effective. What is your opinion? Share it below in the comments.

The Spectrum Buzz for 10 March 2017

Many children with Autism are seem to explore their world differently than their non-autistic piers. The following article looks into this.

Autism and the Drive to Explain and Explore

A new study looks at whether kids diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder and those without differ in how they explore and seek explanations in physical and social domains. Tania Lombrozo explains.

As with all children, we should encourage exploration and explanation of the world around them. Parents of ASD children are in for a real treat with this behavior, just have patience.


More genetic level studies are being done to try and discover the keys to the Autism puzzle.

Mapping Of Genomes Leads To Breakthrough Study On Disorder
Gene Sequence
A computer screen displays a genetic sequence in Baltimore, September 3, 2009.

A new study on Autism released Tuesday reveals 18 new candidate genes.
...
The study, published in Nature Neuroscience, was the largest study of whole genomes ever done. More than 5,000 people were studied who either had autism or had a child or sibling that did. In other words, the researchers looked at the genes of people who are in families with autism spectrum disorder, according to the study.

Read the full article on International Business Times

With every new study, we get closer to solving the puzzle. We need to encourage scientists to explore every avenue in the search as well as have our children on the Spectrum take part when feasible.


You need to see this!

This man is an insperation

This gentleman is an inspiration to all on the Spectrum and their parents. Sure, not everyone with ASD will be able to accomplish this, but it is great to see that there is potential for those that are higher functioning.


I'm sure every parent with a child on the Spectrum has heard all of these at some time. What is great is that the article offers those unfamiliar with our challenges alternative statements to use.

Things Not to Say to Parents of Children with Autism
Autism Road Sign

Autism CC BY-SA 3.0 NY| Road sign with the word Autism written in white on a green background set against the sky.

Autism and picky eating usually go hand-in-hand, but it's caused by much more than a parent simply not making a child eat certain foods. A clinical study focused on sensory processing and eating problems in children on the spectrum estimates that about 80 percent of children with developmental difficulties, including autism spectrum disorder (ASD), struggle with selective eating.

Read more at Reader's Digest

Be sure to share this article with your friends and family. It does well in explaining why these questions are not the greatest to ask us.


Learn more about individuals with Autism

Autism is a very difficult disability to understand. Usually, there are no outward signs pointing to an individual having the syndrome. Autism is also not a "one size fits all" syndrome, it is a spectrum of disorders that have to do with developmental, social and behavioral issues. An organization has put together some very useful tools to help others understand what you and you autistic loved one are going through.

English: A little autistic girl.
English: A little autistic girl. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In an effort to ease the fears of and provide encouragement to all people with individuals with autism in their lives, Autism Speaks has created four support tool kits, each designed specifically for the following groups:

Parents | Siblings | Grandparents | Friends

The purpose of each kit is to help teach family members and friends more about autism and its effects on families, and provide resources and support to enable them to lead happy and successful lives with their loved ones with autism. 

This is just a starting point in helping others to understand the Autism Spectrum Disorder, I encourage you to use these resources and grow in your understanding of the disability.

Photo by hepingting

Autism has become known as the “cute” syndrome

Thanks to , has become the "cute" syndrome, but is this a true reflection of those on the spectrum?

 Autism and popular culture have had a complicated relationship for a long time. In 1988 the film Rain Man introduced the disorder to the general public. After its release diagnoses in the United States skyrocketed, and so did the presence of autistic characters in pop culture. In the 1980’s there were only two films starring autistic characters. In the next decade there were thirteen. The older the movie or book or show, the less autistic the characters often seem, some of them carry the label ‘autistic’ but with very few symptoms. Instead, the characters are inflicted with some generic mental disability, which when labeled as autism sells more tickets.

Rain Man, however, was nuanced. I’ve always appreciated the story, not just on a personal level, but also as a writer. It told a story set in a time when the common way to deal with a diagnosis was to send it away, to a mental institution. The filmmakers show the institution as a welcoming, safe, comfortable place for the character Ray, but in reality, these places were often run terribly, and kept up worse. A real life Ray would have found his handicap intensified by such a place. Many autistic children born in this era grew up to have severe mental deficiencies because so little of their nature was understood. Dustin Hoffman showed immense respect in his performance, painting a multifaceted character that felt human, but because of his place on the spectrum he is often a nuisance to the story, or worse, a vehicle solely there to move the plot forward. I don’t mean to bash Rain Man, which I consider a great first step, but it’s just that; the first step.

There is more to Autism than the savant and this should be seen more in popular culture.

Read more at The “Cute” Syndrome: A Survey Of Autism In Popular Culture « The "Cute" Syndrome: A Survey Of Autism In Popular Culture - Wrong Planet Wrong Planet.

Header Photo by hepingting

April is Autism Awareness Month

is a developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life. It is the result of a neurological disorder that affects the functioning of the brain, and occurs in about one out of every 68 births. Autism is four times more prevalent in boys than girls and knows no racial, ethnic or social boundaries.

Take some time this month to learn more about Autism and what you can do to help someone you know affected by it.

Learn More About Autism

Kids Health: a website that explains autism in simple language for kids.

Growing Up Together: a printable 4 page brochure, explains autism and how to be friends with someone with autism,  from Autism Society

Growing Up Together: Teens with Autism: a printable brochure for Teens, from Autism Society

First 100 Days Kit: a printable tool kit to aid families in getting the critical information they needed in the first 100 days after an autism diagnosis from Autism Speaks.

Learn about autism with an online autism 101 course/tutorial from Autism Society

Printable Crafts, Bookmarks, Coloring Pages, and Activities for Children

Autism Awareness Ribbon
Autism Awareness Ribbon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)



Autism Awareness Ribbon Symbol

Autism Awareness Bookmarks and Pencil Toppers

Autism Awareness Door Hangers

Autism Awareness Pinwhe
el

“I Love Someone with Autism” Paper Dog

“I Love Someone With Autism” Paper Car


Autism Awareness Symbol Coloring Page


Autism Awareness Word Search


Autism Awareness Crossword Puzzle


Puzzle Piece Butterfly

Early Intervention Offers Long-Term Gains For Kids On The Spectrum

Children who participated in an early intervention designed to target symptoms at very young ages are continuing to see benefits from the treatment years later, a new study finds.

The Early Start Denver Model is a nonmedical treatment for children age 12 to 48 months who show symptoms of the developmental disorder. While autism is usually diagnosed in children between the ages of 2 and 3, a growing body of research suggests that diagnosing it early and intervening with one-on-one, parent-led treatment can reduce symptoms in the long run.

This seems to be a very promising development. Will be interesting to see what further research will hold.

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Sex differences take center stage in autism special issue

Autism
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of the most consistent findings in autism, and perhaps the most perplexing, is that it affects about four boys for every girl.

In the new study, researchers analyzed two large genetic databases of girls with and without autism and found no evidence for such a DNA hotspot.

Researchers used a scanning method called diffusion tensor imaging to compare the corpus callosum in 112 boys and 27 girls with autism, and 53 boys and 29 girls without the disorder, all aged 3 to 5 years.

Compared with the controls, boys and girls with autism show different patterns of fibers projecting to the brain’s frontal lobe.

The researchers saw no difference here between girls with and without autism.

In girls with autism a smaller section of the fiber bundle connects to an adjacent region, the anterior frontal cortex, than in typically developing girls.

It’s unclear how these differences might affect the workings of the brain, but the researchers speculate that they could contribute to the apparent resistance of girls to autism.

Read full article @ SFARI