Research

All Articles in the Category ‘Research’

Study Shows PRT Taught to Parents in Group Setting Benefits Kids with Autism

Dr. Mendy Minjarez

Researcher and clinical psychologist at Seattle Children’s Autism Center, Dr. Mendy Minjarez, along with researchers at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford, show in a recent study that parents, in a group setting, can learn Pivotal Response Training (PRT) to effectively increase motivation and language skills for their child with autism. Typically, PRT has been taught to parents in individual therapy sessions, but this research demonstrates that it can be just as effective when taught in a group setting.

In a previous blog, Minjarez describes PRT as a naturalistic behavioral intervention. She explains, “PRT utilizes the principles of ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis), such as reinforcement, but also incorporates developmental principles, such as following the child’s lead in intervention. Rather than applying ABA principles in a highly structured way, as in discrete trial training, in PRT parents are taught to embed ABA teaching principles into interactions with their child to enhance learning.”

To read more about the study and PRT, please see Seattle Children’s blog On the Pulse.

Autism and Broccoli

broccoliYes, you read the title of this blog correctly. My colleague Katrina forwarded me an article with this headline: Broccoli Extract May Reduce Autism Symptoms. Being the discerning parent/provider that I am, I thought it was just another wacky autism-treatment idea so I didn’t run out to buy a boatload of broccoli, but I did go to one of my most trusted sources for all things autism to get his read on things. Here’s what the good doctor Raphe Bernier had to say.

Lynn: Tell us Dr. Bernier, what is your first impression of this study?

Dr. Bernier: Well, many of the intervention studies in autism have methodological flaws that make drawing conclusions difficult. This makes sense, conducting studies is costly and difficult. I’m not excusing, just explaining. However, this study addresses many of those methodological flaws: there is random assignment to a treatment or control group, there is a placebo condition, there are outcome ratings that are judged by raters who are naïve to Read full post »

Breakthrough in Autism Research- CHD8 and Autism

An interview with Raphe Bernier, PhD…

We haven’t heard much lately on The Autism Blog from our beloved clinical director, Dr. Raphael Bernier. I caught up with him today (if you know Dr. Bernier, you know that requires a good pair of running shoes and a good sprint) to find out what’s new in the world of autism research. Here’s what he had to tell us:

Lynn: Parents wake up every day hoping there is promising news about autism research. Is there anything new to report today?

Dr. Bernier: Yes, there is! As I was preparing my BBQ fixings for the big day tomorrow, I was reflecting on one of our studies that published today.

Our study reported that a new subtype of autism has been identified using a genetics first approach. Read full post »

Girls and Autism

We’re excited to post the following blog on a topic we don’t hear much about – girls and autism. Because they are in the minority when it comes to autism diagnosis, girls have not received attention as a unique subset of people with autism. That seems to be changing! Here’s what two of our colleagues at the University of Washington Autism Center, Sara Webb, PhD, and Katy Ankenman, MSW, shared with us about their study on girls and autism.

It is common knowledge that autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is diagnosed more often in boys than girls. Current prevalence rates tell us that boys are at higher risk of ASD as the ratio of boys to girls with ASD is about 4.5:1. The Read full post »

Autism and Gastrointestinal (GI) Issues

What if you were granted one wish to change one thing for your child with autism?

However, the wish could not be taking away autism?

What would you wish for?

Better sleep? Better skills in communication? Better mood or behavior regulation?

For us, it would be resolving the GI issues that are a daily source of discomfort and an ongoing hindrance to progress in so many areas of her life. Be warned: this blog may sound like the television commercial that begins with that perky lady, asking “anyone here have constipation, diarrhea, gas?”  Read full post »