Join CafeMom Today! Autism Spectrum Disorder: Treatments: January 2012

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Monday, January 30, 2012

Allen Frances: DSM 5 Will Lower Autism Rates

Allen Frances: DSM 5 Will Lower Autism Rates: "The people working on DSM 5 have difficulty getting their story straight. First they said they didn't care what impact DSM 5 would have on prevalence rates of the different mental disorders. Their indifference was so profound that the expensive DSM 5 field trials omitted the simple and obvious step of systematically comparing what rates would be using DSM 5 versus DSM IV.

Last week, the New York Times ran a front page story reporting that DSM 5 changes would dramatically reduce rates of autism. This produced an uproar in the autism community and instigated a petition against DSM 5. A more narrowly defined diagnosis, it was feared, would likely result in much reduced school and mental health services."

'via Blog this'

Monday, January 23, 2012

Impact of Revised Autism Definition on Treatments

Revised Definition Could Make Autism Diagnosis, Treatment More Difficult - Health News - redOrbit

U.S. health experts are reportedly considering changing the definition of autism which would likely reduce the rate at which the disorder is diagnosed, while also possibly reducing some individuals’ access to the treatment and social assistance they currently receive.

According to a Thursday report by Benedict Carey of the New York Times, a panel of experts appointed by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) is considering narrowing the definition of the disorder as part of revisions planned for the forthcoming fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).

The DSM, Carey says, “is the standard reference for mental disorders, driving research, treatment and insurance decisions. Most experts expect that the new manual will narrow the criteria for autism; the question is how sharply… The psychiatrists’ association is wrestling with one of the most agonizing questions in mental health — where to draw the line between unusual and abnormal — and its decisions are sure to be wrenching for some families.”

One possibility, according to UPI reports, is that autism and related disorders such as Asperger’s syndrome and “pervasive developmental disorder, not otherwise specified” would be combined under one category, identified as “autism spectrum disorder.” The latter two disorders would then be individually stricken from the manual.

“Under the current definition, a person can qualify for the diagnosis by exhibiting six or more of 12 behaviors. With the new definition, one would have to exhibit three deficits in social interaction and communication and at least two repetitive behaviors — much narrower criteria,” according to experts, UPI reported.

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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

P.L.A.Y. Project: Play and Language for Autistic Youngsters

Easter Seals and Autism » Blog Archive » Studying the P.L.A.Y. Project

The P.L.A.Y. Project (Play and Language for Autistic Youngsters) is conducting a two-year, randomized, controlled, and blinded clinical trial on the effectiveness of The P.L.A.Y. Project model of intervention. We at Easter Seals Peoria-Bloomington are pleased to be one of the five Easter Seals affiliates participating.

With research-design guidance from Michigan State University, and community-outreach support from Easter Seals, the study compares the outcomes of 60 children who participate in The P.L.A.Y. Project with the outcomes of 60 children who receive standard, community interventions, making it the largest study of its kind.

Before and after the 12-month intervention, each child is assessed with a battery of tests to measure developmental level, speech and language, sensory-motor profile, and social skills. Year one preliminary results are very promising for the first 60 children involved in the study. Parents participating in The P.L.A.Y. Project reported 15-20 hours per week engaged interaction, and recorded observations demonstrate that the parents:

  • were responsive to child’s cues,
  • followed the child’s lead, and
  • effectively elicited back-and-forth interaction.

An added benefit: parents involved in the P.L.A.Y. project suffered less stress and depression over time. In respect to child-specific progress, scores on the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule, or ADOS, showed significant improvement in the intervention group’s severity of autism symptoms. That said, there were little significant differences in IQ scores between the study and control groups.

Year two of The P.L.A.Y. Project study will end later this spring, and additional study results will be available in the next year. Until then, if you have questions about our participation in The P.L.A.Y. study, you can contact Easter Seals in Peoria at 309-686-1177 or Bloomington at 309.663-8375.

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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Bacteria in the gut of children with autism different

Bacteria in the gut of autistic children different from non-autistic children

Bacteria belonging to the group Sutterella represented a relatively large proportion of the microorganisms found in 12 of 23 tissue samples from the guts of autistic children, but these organisms were not detected in any samples from non-autistic children. Why this organism is present only in autistic kids with gastrointestinal problems and not in unaffected kids is unclear. More @

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Meadowlands hospital neuroscientist fired over controversial autism treatment |

Meadowlands hospital neuroscientist fired over controversial autism treatment |

SECAUCUS — The neuroscientist who would have overseen a controversial therapy for children with autism has been fired by Meadowlands Hospital Medical Center in Secaucus and, in a separate action, his nomination to a state commission on brain research has been delayed.

Philip DeFina was part of an ambitious plan by Meadowlands to offer hyperbaric oxygen therapy to children diagnosed with autism. The therapy, typically used to treat burns and other wounds by energizing dying tissue, required approval from the state Department of Health and Senior Services. Meadowlands would have been the first hospital in the state to offer the experimental treatment.

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