Research

All Articles in the Category ‘Research’

Autism 200 Series 2015 Line Up

autism 200

This month kicks off a brand new line up of Autism 200 Series lectures for 2015. This month’s lecture will be held Thursday, January 15, 2015, 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.

Join clinical psychologist, Raphael Bernier and speech pathologist, Jim Mancini, from the Seattle Children’s Autism Center for our annual “State of Autism in 2015” presentation. They will discuss: advances in research from genetics to broccoli sprouts; changes to statewide systems including DDA, updates on ABA and neurodevelopmental therapy coverage and trends affecting the statewide education; and how has autism spectrum disorder been covered in the Read full post »

Autism Spectrum Disorder and Down syndrome

Most people have heard of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Down syndrome (DS) but many do not know that a child can have both. Today we discuss this dual diagnosis in an interview with providers and parents of children with both ASD and DS. 

Lynn: What do we know about the genetics of ASD and DS? Are kids with DS any more at risk for ASD than others? How common is the dual diagnosis? 

Raphael Bernier, PhD: You know, Lynn, I think what gets tricky when we talk about the genetics of ASD and DS is that the DS diagnosis is made (or can be confirmed) by genetic testing which reveals the presence of the third chromosome 21. In contrast, the ASD diagnosis is made strictly on behavioral observation. There are currently no genetic tests for ASD. 

However, we’ve made massive gains in our understanding of the genetics of ASD in just the past 10 years so this does provide some insight into the relationship between ASD and DS. For example, a couple of genes that keep popping up as ASD risk genes are located on chromosome 21 in the DS critical region suggesting a genetic connection between ASD and Read full post »

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 »