Autistic children who have impaired executive functioning skills can face challenges at school

Published by: News Medical Life Sciences

Researchers from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) have found that children on the autism spectrum who have impaired executive functioning skills, which help control thoughts, emotions, and actions, can face challenges at school that are different from the ones they face at home.

Additionally, as children experience adolescence, problems with executive functioning can worsen, suggesting the need for more intervention supports. This is the first study of its kind to examine how these skills are impacted specifically in a school setting. The findings were published in the journal Autism.

Executive functioning skills encompass a variety of key abilities like keeping information in mind, flexibly shifting focus or breaking from a routine, and ignoring irrelevant information. These skills are often impaired in children on the autism spectrum, and the extent of impairment can predict how they perform in school and their ability to carry out daily activities such as hygiene or keeping their room clean.

While caregivers have identified significant executive function challenges in the home setting, there are no large studies where school personnel rated executive function skills for children on the autism spectrum. Click here to read the rest of the story.

Impact of Tourette Syndrome on School Measures in a Nationally Representative Sample

Introduction

The purpose of the study was to determine the impact of Tourettte Syndrome and co-occurring conditions on school methods.

Methodology

Data was taken from information reported by parents from the Natioanal Survey of Children’s Health. Children with Tourette Syndrome were compared with those who never had Tourette Syndrome on school  measures

Findings

  • Tourette Syndrome severity and co-occurring conditions are associated with school challenges and educational service needs.
  • Awareness among health care providers, teachers and parents of the potential challenges related to both Tourette Syndrome and co-occurring conditions would help to support the child’s education.

Reference

Claussen, A.H.; Bitsko, R.H.; Holbrook, J.R.; Bloomfield, J.; Giordano, K.; (2018). Impact of Tourette Syndrome on School Measures in a Nationally Representative Sample. Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics. 39(9) 335-342.

Do I Have ADHD? 8 Subtle Signs in Adults

Published by: PsychCentral
Written by: Gia Miller

If you’ve ever wondered whether you have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), you’re not alone.

When many people hear the term “ADHD,” they often think of how it presents in children. They may not even know that ADHD also impacts adults.

In fact, the misconception that it doesn’t affect adults is part of the reason why ADHD is not effectively diagnosed after childhood. People with ADHD might not realize that the symptoms can be present into adulthood.

In fact, studies have shown that 50% to 80% of children with ADHD carry it on to adolescence, and another 35% to 65% then carry it into adulthood.

It was a common belief that ADHD disappeared in adulthood, and this was probably because ADHD looks different in adults than it does in children, and its symptoms were overlooked. The truth is, researchers believe that at least 75% of adults who have ADHD don’t even know that they have it.

So, what does it look like? Here are some of the subtle signs you may have ADHD.

1. Having an altered sense of time

One of the hallmarks of ADHD is “living in the now.” People with ADHD find it hard to keep track of time. They’re often late for appointments, can’t accurately estimate how long it will take for them to complete a task, and leave complicated tasks until the last minute. This is referred to as “time blindness.”

The reason this happens, according to researchers, is that the brain’s prefrontal cortex — which is responsible for executive functioning — doesn’t work as well at managing focus and behavior in adults with ADHD.

This is also the part of the brain that helps you plan for the future. It’s what allows you to prepare yourself for what’s coming next and plan how much time you have to realistically complete tasks.

If that part of the brain isn’t functioning properly, then you’re unable to accurately look into your future.

As a comparison, think of people who are nearsighted: They can only read things that are near to their face. Similarly, people with ADHD sometimes have difficulty anticipating and preparing for future events. The farther away an event is, the harder it is to deal with it.

2. Lack of executive functioning skills

For people with ADHD, time management isn’t the only difficulty. Other executive functioning skills can be challenging too, making it hard to manage the details of your life.

A person with ADHD will find it difficult to organize their thoughts and manage their schedule. You’ll likely also struggle with planning and prioritizing the order of tasks that you’re supposed to do, which can make it hard to meet deadlines.

While the level of executive functioning will vary from person to person, all folks with ADHD will find some challenges in each of the following categories when it comes to doing tasks or assignments:

  • organizing, prioritizing, and getting started
  • concentrating and staying focused, as well as shifting your attention to a new task
  • staying alert, maintaining the same level of effort, and understanding what you’re doing
  • managing your frustration and emotions
  • holding and using multiple pieces of information at once, and remembering things you’ve read or learned
  • controlling your actions

Dyslexia-friendly books with cream pages and clearer text released for adults with reading problems

Published by inews
Written by: Katie Grant

Alistair Sims, who runs the Books on the Hill store in Somerset, has published the Both Press series of books adapted to help dyslexic adults enjoy reading.

Alistair Sims loves running a bookshop but never intended to set up a publishing company. After years of waiting for existing publishers to bring out titles aimed at adults who like himself have dyslexia, however, he decided to blaze a trail.

In his independent store, Books on the Hill in Clevedon, North Somerset, Mr Sims has always stocked a range of books by Barrington Stoke, a Scottish publisher which specialises in titles for children and teenagers who are dyslexic, or lack confidence in reading.

But with around 6.3 million dyslexic people in the UK – about 10 per cent of the population – it never sat right with Mr Sims that dyslexic adults were so poorly catered for. Click here to read the rest of the story.

What is spinal muscular atrophy and why does it require an Dh8m treatment?

Published by: UAE
Written by: Gillian Duncan

Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a debilitating condition that affects around one in every 10,000 children.

Zolgensma, the most effective treatment, is also the world’s most expensive drug.

A single one-time infusion of the drug costs Dh8 million.

But why does it cost so much?

The National explains.

What is SMA?

SMA is a hereditary disease caused by a missing or faulty gene that the body requires to make a protein essential for motor neuron cell survival.

Without sufficient levels of the protein, the motor neurons – which are nerve cells in the brain stem and spinal cord that control activities such as speaking, walking, breathing, and swallowing – die, leading to muscle weakness and atrophy. Click here to read the rest of the story.