Join CafeMom Today! Autism Spectrum Disorder: Treatments: 2010

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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Baclofen, STX209 and Autism

Baclofen, STX209 and Autism

One night in 2006, Kathy Roberts rushed her autistic daughter, Jenny, to the hospital. Nothing had been able to stop the young woman, then in her mid-20s, from vomiting. Jenny had recently suffered several major seizures and her entire gastrointestinal system was going haywire.

To try to calm Jenny's GI tract, doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital prescribed baclofen, an antispasmodic drug that is also being studied as a potential treatment for alcoholism and other addictions. The drug relieved Jenny's vomiting, but it did something else too — a completely unexpected and welcome side effect.

"Within 24 hours, I saw a change," says Roberts. "Right away, I saw that it was globally calming. I've always described a state that she would get into where it seemed like she wasn't comfortable in her own skin, and was trying to crawl out. I saw that calmed down."

Roberts, founder of the Giant Step school for children with autism in Southport, Conn., called Mark Bear, professor of neuroscience at MIT and advisory board member of Giant Step. In 2005, Bear had co-founded a drug company called Seaside Therapeutics to develop treatments for autism and other developmental disorders. Roberts told Bear about baclofen's effect on her daughter, and a new line of research was born.

In September, Seaside announced positive results from a phase II clinical trial of STX209, an experimental drug that is chemically related to baclofen. In the trial, which was not blinded or placebo controlled, STX209 led to a reduction in agitation and related emotional outbursts in autistic people. Such behavior is common in people with autism — often, a result of anxiety caused by extreme sensory oversensitivity or frustration over being unable to communicate their needs. To cope, autistic people often develop behavioral mechanisms, include tantrums, social withdrawal or repetitive behaviors like rocking or hand flapping.

STX209, while not a cure, appeared to ease anxiety. "We're seeing reductions in a lot of types of outbursts and irritable behavior, along with increased communication and social behavior," says Dr. Randall Carpenter, co-founder, president and CEO of Seaside.

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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Autism Cybertherapy

Can Cybertherapy Offer More Than Virtual Healing?

5 Assistive Speech Apps for Autism on the iPad/iPhone/iPod

5 Assistive Speech Apps for Autism on the iPad/iPhone/iPod

Monday, November 22, 2010

Friday, November 19, 2010

CM-AT - Curemark's autism treatment

NEW BRUNSWICK — Final testing of a new treatment
for autism is taking place at Saint Peter's University

"We are targeting the symptoms of autism," said Dr.
Joan Fallon, founder of Curemark LLC, a drug-r
esearch and development company located in Rye,
N.Y. The company is testing its new product at 13
locations nationwide.

The testing being conducted at Saint Peter's
involves 170 youngsters, hospital spokesman Phil
Hartman said.

Fallon said the test pool covers children age 3 to 8.
She said she expects results "sometime early next

For competitive reasons, she did not want to
discuss specifics of the product, called for now
"CM-AT," for "Curemark's autism treatment."

She said the testing started about three months
ago. Dr. Barbie Zimmerman-Bier of Saint Peter's, who
is running the study, said: "Subjects heard about it
and they got word from support groups. ... There
was a screening process to see if they were eligible.
They had to be between 3 and 8."

Regarding how children are being tested to see if
the drug works and how frequently they are being
checked, Fallon said, "We use standardized,
validated measures to look at change in their

Zimmerman-Bier reported said children were seen
at the beginning of the study, then at two weeks,
four weeks, eight weeks and 12 weeks.

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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Autism and Hypnosis (Hypnotherapy)

Has anyone ever heard of hypnotism being used on kids with autism? Specifically for issues like potty training, etc?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Integrated therapies help some autistic kids, but academics question the science

For most of his life, 16-year-old Paul Bauer has spoken only gibberish and an occasional repetitive phrase.

Connie Bauer sensed that her son wanted to say more, but she didn't know how to help him find the words locked inside his mind. Since being diagnosed with autism as a toddler, he rarely spoke and made his needs known mostly by pointing at things.

Then, during a trip to the mall, something unexpected happened. Paul Bauer walked up to an attendant at a carousel and asked how much it would cost to ride.

"He had never done anything like that before," said Connie Bauer, of Grand Prairie. "Usually he would have just climbed on the ride."

Bauer credits a 10-hour accelerated sensory integration program, which involves watching spots of light while listening to music, for the change in her son. He is now talking in sentences for the first time.

Sensori-motor auditory visual education, or SAVE, combines three therapies to achieve faster and better results than if they were used separately, said Dr. Mary Ann Block, who developed the program and has been testing it for years on patients in her Hurst office.

Training the visual, auditory and motor senses together helps develop, retain and expand the ability to take in, understand and use information more effectively, according to Block, an author and physician who specializes in a natural approach to health.

"The brain is really elastic and flexible," she said. "Given the chance, it can do amazing things."

To understand how sensory integration works, think about learning to ride a bicycle.

"You don't learn to do it just with your eyes," Block said. "You need all of your senses."

It's the same with SAVE, which Block has used to help people with autism, Asperger's syndrome and other conditions. College students and adults, with or without autism, have also benefited from memory improvements, reading concentration and organizational skills, she said.

Block said she hopes to explore its effectiveness for adults with Alzheimer's disease.

During a session, the client lies on a slowly rotating padded chair while following colored lights on a computer monitor overhead and listening to music on headphones.

"The person just lies there, looks at the lights and listens to the music and it happens to them," she said.

Bright lights affect people with autism in different ways. Some like the lights and show increased interest in high contrast; others find them less interesting or even aversive, said Dr. Susan Hyman, associate professor of pediatrics at Golisano Children's Hospital University of Rochester Medical Center in upstate New York. Young children prefer high-contrast items, so lights may be novel in therapy, she said.

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Friday, November 12, 2010

Autism Replicated in Lab? (Stem Cell)

Autism Replicated in Lab?

Dynavox = Clueless?

Dynavox's stock price has taken a nose dive of late. Sales are down.
For the 13-weeks ended October 1, 2010, net sales were $21.6 million or 11% below net sales of $24.3 million during the 13 weeks ended October 2, 2009. Sales of the Company's speech generating devices declined 8% from the prior year to $17.2 million, and sales of its special education software declined 22%, to $4.4 million, for the first quarter of fiscal year 2011.
They blame lack of government money in a time when government spending is through the roof.
The Company believes that reduced domestic government funding, and particularly more constrained state and local government funding of school budgets, is adversely affecting its product sales in the United States.
How about this? Dynavox won't let me purchase the software to run on a computer or other device which would be a huge benefit for us. We have touchscreen computers and laptops at our house that my daughter loves and it would be great if we could run the Dynavox software could be used elsewhere.

They seem a tad oblivious to the fact that iPads and similar devices are on the verge of cleaning their clock and providing superior products at a fraction of the cost. Wake up, Dynavox. You make your money on the durable devices, drop the paranoia about your software.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Testing Autism Drugs in Human Brain Cells

A method involving pluripotent stem cells could lead to personalized treatment of the disease.

Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2011

Xbox Kinect Perfect for Kids with Autism


The story of developmentally disabled child finally playing videogames with his father is enough to warm my cold, black heart.

Out all of the news that's come to light since Kinect launched last week, this is the story that has affected me the most. John Yan, owner of Gaming Nexus, was unimpressed with the games available for Microsoft's new motion control system, but he went ahead and bought it anyway. As he was hooking it up, his four year old son was extremely interested in playing Kinect Adventures because the box looked fun. The catch is that John's son has autism, and while he often wants to play videogames, the boy is frustrated by manipulating the Xbox 360 controller. Even though John's son repeatedly says, "I want to play with you, Daddy," he usually just ends up watching his father play. That is, until they got Kinect.

After setting up the first minigame, John was happy to see his son have fun with Kinect Adventures. "He jumped around and flailed his arms and legs in trying to punch the balls back to the blocks," John wrote. "It was pretty cool to see but the thing that really threw me for a loop was when the game ended." His son was able to navigate the previously enigmatic menus flawlessly:

I said hold out your hand and place it on the button. Without any hesitation, he put his hand up and moved it over the button on the screen and held it there until the circle animation finished, indicating the button has been pressed.

After that initial coaching, he proceeded to move around in the menus without much vocal cues from me. I just stood there and was flabbergasted by what I just saw. Microsoft's design team did such a good job at creating a user interface with Kinect that my son was able to go through each menu to initiate the next round in Rally Ball. It's intuitive enough that I spent barely any time teaching my four year old special needs son how to go about the menu system.

Microsoft probably had no idea that it's motion control system would be suitable for someone with autism, but it certainly makes sense now that you think about it. Navigating a menu by moving or waving your hands is the simplest way to communicate with a computer, short of speaking to it like in Star Trek (something that Kinect also does).

But none of that technical science stuff is what matters, honestly. What makes me feel all warm and fuzzy is the fact that John was able to watch his son laugh and play.

"For the first time, I was able to play something with my son and not spend any time with him being frustrated on not being to do anything or have a character get stuck on the screen," John wrote. "He had fun with all the games and actually did well with them. The joy in his eyes as he was able to complete the tasks and move around in the menus is something I'll never forget."

Neither will I. Thank you for sharing this story, John.

Source: Gaming Nexus

Autism: Working like a dog

For Autistic Children, Therapy on Four Legs By KAREN JONES (NY Times)

SHADOW, a black Labrador retriever, knows how to interact with people without overreacting to them — a necessity for a well-trained therapy dog, said her owner and handler, Ani Shaker.

Considered “bombproof,” meaning she will remain calm in nearly any situation, Shadow, and Ms. Shaker, volunteer at the Anderson Center for Autism in Staatsburg, N.Y., in the Hudson Valley north of New York City.

“As soon as I get her working vest out, she jumps up and her little tail starts wagging,” Ms. Shaker said. “She loves the work. That’s what she lives for, and I can tell she knows she is helping someone else feel good.”

Shadow and Ms. Shaker, an equestrian trainer, are one of six teams that have been volunteering at the Anderson Center for two years. They are part of the Good Dog Foundation, a nonprofit based in New York that provides therapy services throughout the East Coast.

Unlike service dogs who live 24/7 with people with disabilities, therapy dogs visit treatment centers and residential schools. The Good Dog teams go through a nine-week training course, said Susan Fireman, executive trainer and program coordinator for upstate New York, the Berkshires in Massachusetts and Litchfield County, Conn. “These dogs have to be very calm and be able to absorb a certain amount of stress without becoming stressed themselves,” she said.

One in every 110 children in the United States has an autism spectrum disorder, with autism disorder being the most commonly recognized subtype, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Children with autism have mild to severe degrees of difficulty with social, communication and emotional skills. It is usually a lifelong disability with no definitive cause or cure. Autism, which is classified as a developmental disability, is four times more likely to occur in boys.

“We are hearing more and more from families we serve that therapy dogs have had an overall positive effect on their children,” said Marguerite Colston, vice president of constituent relations at the Autism Society, a national grassroots organization.

Because each person with autism experiences it differently, there is no certainty a therapy dog will help, she said, but for certain individuals, a dog “has eased their anxiety and has even helped some to open up to others, as individuals with autism are typically more withdrawn and less likely to socialize.”

The Anderson Center is a year-round residence and school for children and young adults ages 5 to 21 with moderate to severe symptoms, said Dr. Austin Rynne, its director of health and related services. “The children we serve here cannot be served in their own school district,” he said. “They cannot work and have difficulty being managed at home.”

... more

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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

First Then Visual Schedule

First Then Visual Schedule - Good Karma Applications
First Then Visual Schedule - Good Karma Applications

First-Then visual schedule application is designed for caregivers to provide
positive behavior support for those with communication needs. This application provides an affordable and convenient audio-visual prompting tool for use on the iPhone or iTouch. The portability of the iPhone and iTouch and ease of use of the application make it perfect for use at school, home or in the community.

Visual schedules provide positive behavior support through the use of
images that show daily events(i.e. morning routine or therapy schedule) or steps needed to complete a specific activity, (i.e. using the restroom).
For individuals with communication needs, developmental delays, spectrum disorders or those who benefit from a structured environment; visual schedules serve to increase independence and lower anxiety during transitions through different activities. Visual schedules help set a
child up to be successful with clear expectations by promoting understanding
of upcoming events.

First-Then application is unique in that it is completely customizable. User
can *record their own voice*, *add their own images* from their computer or
iPhone camera, or simply use images from the application’s stock library to create a schedule. This customization allows the application to be unique to the user and their needs. This also allows for schedules to be created “on-the-go” to help transition through unexpected changes in a routine.

First Then Visual Schedule - Good Karma Applications
First Then Visual Schedule - Good Karma Applications

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Kick that Dynavox to the Curb on a budget with Grace

Kick that clunky Dynavox to the curb ... on a budget.

Grace - Picture Exchange for Non-Verbal People - Steven Troughton-Smith
Grace - Picture Exchange for Non-Verbal People - Steven Troughton-Smith

A simple picture exchange system developed by and for non-verbal people allowing the user to communicate their needs by building sentences from relevant images. It can be customized by the individual using their picture and photo vocabulary with the user taking photos and saving pictures to the app.

The application works in real time and allows the user to select their preferences, then rotate the device to present a full sized sentence to the listener - who will read it with them and respond to their request.

The beauty of Grace is that it ensures the interaction of the user with the listener, and mutual understanding of the user's real needs help to increase communication opportunities and build trust.

Grace is now available for iPhone and iPod touch, and version 1.0.1 and beyond fully support iPad at no extra charge.

Grace - Picture Exchange for Non-Verbal People - Steven Troughton-Smith
Grace - Picture Exchange for Non-Verbal People - Steven Troughton-Smith

Proloquo2Go: Time to Dump that Dynavox to the Curb?

Proloquo2Go - AssistiveWare
Proloquo2Go - AssistiveWare

Proloquo2Go - AssistiveWare
Proloquo2Go - AssistiveWare

Proloquo2Go™ is a new product from AssistiveWare that provides a full-featured communication solution for people who have difficulty speaking. It brings natural sounding text-to-speech voices, up-to-date symbols, powerful automatic conjugations, a default vocabulary of over 7000 items, full expandability and extreme ease of use to the iPhone and iPod touch.


Proloquo2Go is now available also on iPad, Apple’s revolutionary new tablet device. Now you can use it on an iPad at home, at work or at school and use it on an iPod touch or iPhone when going to the movies, a restaurant or hiking.

iPhone and iPod touch

Proloquo2Go is a custom designed, full-featured communication solution for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. Never has AAC been so portable and affordable.

How does it work?

If you know how to use an iPhone or iPod touch you know how to use Proloquo2Go. While Proloquo2Go has a lot of advanced features the basics are extremely simple and easy.


Proloquo2Go includes natural sounding text-to-speech voices, up-to-date symbols, powerful automatic conjugations, a default vocabulary of over 7000 items, full expandability and extreme ease of use.

The vocabulary: VocaSpace™

The basic structure of Proloquo2Go is made to utilize the best of both worlds: word based construction and powerful phrases. So whether you are chatting with a friend, answering a question about a current event, or constructing a story to tell later in the day, the system is designed to be easy and effective for a broad range of individuals.


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