Today we discuss the topic of twins and autism with Dr. Sara Jane Webb, Associate Professor at the University of Washington and Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Seattle Children’s Research Institute
Lynn: If one identical (monozygotic) twin has autism, what is the likelihood the other will? If one fraternal (dizygotic) twin has autism, what is the likelihood the other will?
Dr. Webb: Concordance in ASD diagnosis (the probability that both will have it) is observed in monozygotic (MZ) twin pairs at rates of 60-90%, whereas rates among dizygotic (DZ) twins are estimated at 3-31%. (Bailey et al., 1995; Folstein & Rutter, 1977; Hallmayer et al., 2011; Ronald & Hoekstra, 2011; Rutter, 2005). The wide range for each reported rate may be attributable to differences in how ASD was defined and diagnostic measurement differences. That is, some studies used clinical diagnosis of autism as conceptualized in the 1970s and others used specific diagnostic criteria and Read full post »
Kids with Autism and Their Parents
I recall a provider telling me, years ago, that kids with autism have parents who have traits of the disorder themselves. I didn’t question him but I did take offense at that statement. This was back when I was still wrestling with worries that I somehow contributed to or caused it for her.
I also recall at her initial evaluation, as we were asked about our own developmental and family history, telling Dr. Cowan that I had been a painfully-shy, worry-wart child/teen/young adult. At annual conferences, my parents were told that I was a good student but I wouldn’t come out of my shell. I couldn’t decide if Sister Gregory thought I was a turtle or a nut and my mom couldn’t reconcile that at home I wouldn’t shut up but at school I barely spoke a word. Read full post »
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 »
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 »
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.
Yes, 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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
We often get queries from parents about research studies they hear about in the media. Often they relate to potential treatments and parents wonder if it is something they should try for their child.
In order to help parents better understand various studies, TheAutismBlog will post from time to time on studies we think worth mentioning. We’ll translate the scientific language found in peer-review journals and provide more depth than media sound bites, aimed at grabbing attention.
Today we share with you two studies focused on possible treatment for autism. Read full post »