Archive for March 2017

Monthly Archive

Targeted Treatment and Autism

One of the biggest challenges parents face after receiving an autism diagnosis is what their child’s treatment plan should include.

Taking into consideration the time, money, effort, commitment, and hope parents place in any number of therapies and interventions, providers are still unable to reliably predict which treatments will be effective for which children.

This often leads parents to simultaneously employ various treatment options without any assurance that they have a good fit for their child. We’ve reported that there are current studies underway toward this end and want to share one such study with you today.

In this study of twenty young children with autism, scientists used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to measure changes in brain activity before and after receiving sixteen weeks of Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT), a play-based, evidence-based behavioral treatment focused on development in core deficits associated with autism.

The researchers wanted to know if they could predict which children would show improvement with the PRT treatment by looking for neurobiomarkers – measurable objective characteristics in the brain. They did indeed identify a number of characteristics in brain regions associated with social information processing and social motivation that predicted the success of PRT.

This study is a step towards being able to answer the question: How do we know if a child will respond to treatment?  Having the ability to predict whether a child will respond to a particular treatment will allow for the child to receive the intervention that they will most likely respond to, which will save families resources, time, and frustration.  It also allows for treatments to be analyzed and possibly distilled down into the core features that make them successful for children, increasing a treatment’s effectiveness and usefulness to families.  

A copy of the original study can be found here.

 

Making Friends on the Playground: Social Skills Support in School- This Month’s Autism 200 Class

This month’s Autism 200 Series class  “Making Friends on the Playground: Social Skills Support in School” will be held Thursday, March 16, 2017 at Seattle Children’s Hospital in Wright Auditorium from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

These classes are designed for parents, teachers and caregivers. The topics associated with the majority of classes are applicable to all age ranges and for a wide variety of children diagnosed with autism.

Ever wonder what your child does at recess? Or with whom he/she plays? Social impairment is one of the most challenging core deficits affecting children with autism. Jill Locke Ph.D will discuss how social impairments manifest in schools, their implications with peers, and the steps educators can take to facilitate positive peer engagement. Both caregivers and educators are encouraged to attend this lecture! 

Mindful Monday – How Do You Know if You’re Being Mindful?

People sometimes ask me how to know whether they are being mindful or not. Good question! It might sound as easy as saying “if you are, you’ll know it” or “if you aren’t, you’ll know it” but I don’t think that’s always the case. Here’s my quick checklist to help you decide.

 

Do you often find yourself:

  • Thinking “I wish . . . ”, meaning you wish things were different than they are
  • “I wish I could lose 10 pounds.” or “I wish my life wasn’t so hard.” or “I wish I had a better job.”

 

  • Thinking about the past and what you might’ve done differently
  • “I should have studied something different in college.” or “I shouldn’t have wasted so much time on that project.”

 

  • Thinking about the future, with some degree of anxiety
  • “I have so much I need to do!” or “I’m worried this won’t turn out ok.”

 

  • Thinking judgmental thoughts of yourself and others
  • “Nothing looks good on me!” or “I can’t believe she wore that.”

 

  • On auto-pilot, going through the motions with reduced awareness of your experience
  • “I don’t even remember driving home.” or “I do that with my eyes closed!”

 

  • Characterizing life/your day in an “either-or” way, i.e.: all good or all bad.
  • “I had a horrible day!” or “My life is a hard one.”

 

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you’re in good company! We live hectic lives in an increasingly complex world where information comes at us from more sources than ever before, all vying for our attention. It’s no surprise we’re not more present, more fully aware.

The Autism Blogcast with Jim and Raphe – March Edition

News Flash: The March edition of The Autism Blogcast, featuring autism experts Raphael Bernier, PhD and James Mancini, MS, CCC-SLP.

In an effort to keep you up to date on the latest news in research and community happenings, we welcome two of our favorite providers best known as Jim and Raphe, the autism news guys.

These two have too much energy to be contained in written format so our plan is to capture them in 2-5 minute videos that we’ll post the first week of each month. We welcome your questions and comments. Tell us what you think of our dynamic duo!

In this edition of the Blogcast, our reporters discuss evidence based treatments for autism and anxiety disorders, as well as helpful tips to manage anxiety in the current political climate.