As a parent, you have likely read books or heard stories of children who “recovered” from autism or made significant gains using a particular treatment. These anecdotal (based on personal observation, rather than scientific investigation) reports can be both a blessing and a curse as they inspire hope, but may also lead to disappointment when they fail to provide the hoped for results. We don’t yet know the cause(s) of autism; therefore, there is no definitive treatment protocol. What seems to work for one child may not work for another.
With 1 in 110 children diagnosed today, autism is in the news more and more. You may have seen recent news coverage on several articles in the Journal of Pediatrics that looked at studies of the efficacy (effectiveness) of treatments for autism and concluded that that there was little to no evidence that the treatments evaluated were effective for children with autism. But the brief news blast didn’t report the entire summary of the studies. Bryan King, MD, psychiatrist and director of Seattle Children’s Autism Center, points out that “The absence of evidence does not mean that treatments don’t work. I believe the lack of evidence points out the need for more information.”
Read full post »
Seattle Children’s recently received a tweet from the parent of a child with autism asking about strategies for support when the news makes their child anxious. This question comes up frequently in our clinic. The following general tips may be helpful. As usual, they should not be viewed as clinical advice and should not replace advice from your mental health or medical provider. Read full post »
Social communication is an essential component of daily interactions. It influences how people perceive a message and formulate an appropriate response. However, in children with autism, this can often be a challenge. To help address these challenges, Jim Mancini, MS, CCC-SLP with Seattle Children’s Autism Center, shared common communicative deficits and strategies designed to encourage communication development at the Autism 205: Social Communication— Making Connections presentation. We attended the lecture and have recapped some of the key takeaways. Read full post »
Today is National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day, which raises the question: Is autism a mental health diagnosis?
When my daughter was diagnosed a dozen years ago, her developmental pediatrician referred to it as a neurodevelopmental disorder. Later I heard it described as “neurobiological”. Yet I was told there is no medical test for autism and that it was diagnosed based on observation of behavior. Still later, I read about autism as a psychiatric disorder and many of the therapies I researched were based in psychology. Read full post »