Autism

News and updates about autism, health and medicine.

Isaiah Seibert/Side Effects Public Media

Yvonne Martin keeps detailed notes of two years in her life. It starts on March 1, 2016. That’s the day her son, Daniel, first ran away from the family’s home near Evansville, Ind.

He was 13.

The Indiana Repertory Theatre has performed “A Christmas Carol” for almost 30 years. But this year’s final performance starts a little differently.

Sherry Alvarez says she knew there was something different about her son since he was about 9 months old. Back then Sherry says his pediatrician told her there was nothing to worry about, " 'Boys are a little slower than girls, so let's just wait until his second birthday.' " We aren't using Sherry's son's name to protect his privacy.

By her son's second birthday, Sherry says she was getting desperate. She didn't know why he wasn't talking yet or showing affection like other kids. At 2 1/2, he was referred to Children's Hospital Los Angeles.

State Insurance Mandates For Autism Treatment Fall Short

May 25, 2016

Forty-four states and the District of Columbia have laws on the books requiring health insurers to cover autism treatments. But research evaluating these insurance mandates suggests the efforts are failing to help many children get needed therapy.

The state requirements have increased the number of children by about 12 percent, according to the research presented Wednesday at a major conference on autism spectrum disorder.

Johnathan Casserly has autism spectrum disorder.
Ana Casserly / submitted photo

Autism spectrum disorder, better known as autism, is a condition where an individual struggles to engage in two-way communication, especially in social situations. 

There is no "cure" for autism, and the cause may come down to hundreds of interacting factors, but we do know it is critical for people with autism to get the earliest possible diagnosis and get access to appropriate educational and medical resources.

Combined Effects Of Maternal Obesity, Diabetes ‘Substantially’ Raise Autism Risks

Feb 1, 2016

While the incidence of autism spectrum disorder has increased in recent years, what’s behind it remains relatively mysterious and even controversial. But a major study could shed new light on some of the maternal health factors that may increase children’s risk of developing the condition.

Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder marked by difficulties with communication and social interaction as well as repetitive or obsessive behaviors. The range and severity of symptoms can vary widely.

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A new study that associates antidepressant use in pregnancy with autism is no silver bullet.

Researchers in Quebec published findings in JAMA Pediatrics that found a slight increase of incidence of autism in children of women who used antidepressants during their pregnancy.

A leading obstetrician at the University of Rochester Medical Center says pregnant women should not be alarmed.

A New Study Raises Old Questions About Antidepressants And Autism

Dec 14, 2015

Taking antidepressants during the second or third trimester of pregnancy may increase the risk of having a child with autism spectrum disorder, according to a study of Canadian mothers and children published Monday in JAMA Pediatrics.

But scientists not involved in the research say the results are hard to interpret and don't settle the long-running debate about whether expectant mothers with depression should take antidepressants.

Surrounded by stacks of packages in a brightly lit room, Michael Palone gingerly folded a box and taped it shut. His eyes averted, he shuffled to the front of the warehouse to retrieve scissors, skirting by people and tables in his path.

Palone, 26, has mild autism originally diagnosed as Asperger's syndrome. That makes it nearly impossible for him to socialize with others and adjust to the constant changes of a full-time job. Instead, he assembles packages with about 40 others at a Union City, Calif., work center run by The Arc of Alameda County.

In 1938, an Austrian pediatrician named Hans Asperger gave the first public talk on autism in history. Asperger was speaking to an audience of Nazis, and he feared that his patients — children who fell onto what we now call the autism spectrum — were in danger of being sent to Nazi extermination camps.

As Asperger spoke, he highlighted his "most promising" patients, a notion that would stick with the autistic spectrum for decades to come.

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