The Deafening Silence of My Anxiety: ADHD and Sound Sensitivity in Lockdown

Published by: ADDitude
Written by: Cynthia Yoder

Social workers are poised to help Latino children get autism evaluations

Published by: Spectrum News

Autism can affect anyone, and yet there are stark disparities in how children of different races, ethnicities and income level are diagnosed and treated1.

Latino children are often overlooked in the United States. They comprise one-fourth of all children in the country under age 18 and are expected to make up one-third by 2050. However, U.S. prevalence data have consistently shown that fewer Latino children than white or Black children are diagnosed with autism2. Other research indicates that Latino children tend to be diagnosed later than white children3.

These findings are concerning, given the importance of identifying autism early and intervening to enhance a child’s social-communication skills. Researchers and clinicians need to consider the cultural factors that may influence autism diagnosis and treatment, develop new assessment tools and programs dedicated to the Latino population, and explore other means to lower the disparities. Click here to read the rest of the story.

Sensory networks overconnected early in autism

Published by: Spectrum News

Toddlers with autism have unusually strong connections between sensory areas of the brain, according to a new study1. And the stronger the connections, the more pronounced a child’s autism traits tend to be.

Overconnectivity in sensory areas may get in the way of an autistic child’s brain development, says lead investigator Inna Fishman, associate research professor at San Diego State University in California. “Their brain is busy with things it shouldn’t be busy with.”

The findings add to a complicated field of research on brain connectivity and autism, which has shown weakened connectivity between some brain areas, strengthened connectivity between others, or no difference in connectivity at all. Click here to read the rest of the story.

Going Back-to-School Presents Unique Challenges for Children with Autism

Published by: 9 & 10 News
Written by: Chloe KipleJosh Monroe

Every parent is concerned and anxious to hear what’s going to happen when the new school year rolls around.

The 2020-2021 year will be unlike any other because of coronavirus concerns. While every student will be impacted by changes, it will be an especially unique situation for children with autism.

Parents like Ashley Bursian are curious to see how any changes after her son.

7-year-old Ari has autism and is nonverbal. Bursian says he thrives off his daily routine: going to school, then to behavioral therapy. The stay-at-home orders disrupted his schedule.

“After the first month, I noticed his behavior changing a little bit, he seemed a little more nervous, a little unsure, why we were stuck at home all the time,” she said. “That led to a lot more tantrums, and meltdowns, and interfering behavior.” Click here to read the rest of the story

As schools reopen, pandemic forces hard choices for special needs students

Published by: Tampa Bay Times
Written by: Rebecca Torrence

Tommy Steele’s first two virtual school lessons in the spring went great. His mom felt optimistic. Then Friday rolled around.

Tommy, a rising third-grader with Down syndrome, opened his brother’s Macbook on the kitchen table at 9 a.m. Peggy Steele sat beside her son to coax him through the day’s lesson: 45 minutes of reading and math, taught over Zoom.

Within minutes, Tommy slumped over the table. Forearms folded in front of him, he buried his head and fixed his gaze on the floor.

When he finally lifted his head, he refused to speak, but the message was clear.

No more learning for today.

Children with special needs face many roadblocks in their education, like trouble focusing on a task or communicating their thoughts. Special education programs are created to address those hurdles. But their solutions, which often rely on face-to-face interaction with teachers, may be lost during the coronavirus crisis as more families and school systems turn to virtual learning. Click here to read the rest of the story

Mom equips ambulances with ‘sensory kits’ to help children with autism like her son

Published by: MLive
Written by:  Melissa Frick

MUSKEGON, MI – As the mother of a child with severe autism, Amber Horton sees firsthand the challenges that kids with sensory issues face in their everyday lives.

Everywhere the Muskegon mom goes – from the mall, to the grocery store, to the hospital – she sees ways that her son, Max, could potentially get overstimulated by the sights and sounds, leading to a sensory meltdown.

“You start seeing a need for awareness and the education about the autism spectrum everywhere in the public,” Horton told MLive. Click here to read the rest of the story.

Is It Just ADHD? Comorbidities That Unlock an Accurate Mental Health Diagnosis

Published by: ADDitude Magazine

A mental health diagnosis is based almost entirely on the discussion of symptoms between a patient and his mental health provider. You might think being the diagnosis expert is your doctor’s job alone, but if you don’t thoroughly understand the diagnosis for yourself or your loved one, you may not get the treatment you need. You want to understand everything you can about how your diagnosis is made, and what it means, so you can communicate well with your prescriber and therapist.

For many people with attention deficit disorder (ADHD or ADD), understanding a single diagnosis isn’t enough. Many present with symptoms of two or more conditions. We call this “co-occurrence.” Great. Just when you thought nothing else could be wrong, you realize (or find out) you may have another psychiatric diagnosis. Click here to read the rest of the story


Losing sleep: How researchers miss a key contributor to autism

Published by: Spectrum

Most people with autism — up to 86 percent — have trouble sleeping1. Their sleep problems often include the hallmarks of insomnia: difficulty falling asleep, waking up multiple times during the night and getting less sleep than average. Animal models of autism display these same signs, suggesting that sleep problems may arise from fundamental mechanisms conserved across species2. But scientists do not yet know what these mechanisms are, much less why insomnia is so prevalent in autistic people.

Autism researchers and clinicians commonly refer to insomnia as a comorbidity, meaning that it only accompanies autism. However, we suggest that doctors and scientists may need to consider it as an integral part of the condition and begin to study sleep in more rigorous ways — for instance, using technology in place of surveys and questionnaires. Click here to read the rest of the story.

Neurodiversity in the workplace

Published by: JD SUPRA
Written by: Dentons

It is estimated that 15% of the UK population are neurodiverse. Many workplaces will already be accommodating neurodiverse employees but without the proper awareness and understanding of how best to support these employees

With Learning Disability Week taking place this month we have taken the opportunity to explore neurodiversity in the workplace and what employers should be doing. As a starting point, it is worth noting that ACAS has produced some very helpful guidance for employers, managers and employees.

What is neurodiversity?

Put concisely, people think differently. Neurodiversity is the way the brain processes and interprets information. One in seven people are neurodivergent, meaning that their brain processes information differently to most. Neurodivergence is experienced along a spectrum and has a range of characteristics which vary depending on the individual. There are various forms of neurodivergence but the most common are autism, dyslexia, dyspraxia and ADHD. While there tend to be certain expectations about the effects of each of these, they all cover a wide range of differences. Click here to read the rest of the story.

Law Enforcement and Autism: Why Training is Needed

Published by: Psychology Today
Written by: Katherine Stavropoulos

Although law enforcement is tasked with keeping the public safe, interactions between first responders and those with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or other psychiatric conditions can be contentious—and in some cases, deadly.

A 2012 study conducted by researchers at Drexel University measured how common it was for youth with ASD to be stopped and questioned by police or arrested. They found that by age 21, 20 percent of youth with ASD had been stopped by police, and almost 5 percent had been arrested.

Although the Drexel study focused on those in the U.S., similar findings have been reported from other countries. For example, a study from Swedish researchers found that people on the autism spectrum were at a 31 percent higher risk of having a criminal conviction compared to those without ASD. More broadly, in a study of all civilian deaths during interactions with law enforcement in 2015, researchers found that individuals with a mental illness were over 7 times more likely to be killed by law enforcement compared to those without. Click here to read the rest of the story