Treating ‘Fragile X Syndrome’ autism symptoms

Published by: ABC News

Holly is her mom’s little princess. But this girl’s fairy tale started with a scare. While pregnant with Holly, Vicki Davis found out she was a carrier of Fragile X Syndrome.

“I had never heard of it. I had no clue what it was,” said Vicki.

It’s a mutation of a gene on the X chromosome that leads to a lack of protein production, critical for development. It’s one of the most common causes of mental retardation.

“Thirty percent of individuals with Fragile X Syndrome have full autism. Another 30 percent have an autism spectrum disorder,” said Dr. Randi Hagerman, UC Davis MIND Institute.

Hagerman says she first met Holly when the girl was just a few months old. The infant’s Fragile X Syndrome was subtle.

But, “She was extremely delayed,” said Hagerman.

As part of a clinical trial, Holly started taking a serotonin medication. Then, minocycline, a common antibiotic normally used to treat acne, was added to her regimen.

“Her developmental testing just improved remarkably,” said Hagerman.

Holly didn’t start talking until she was 2 and a half years old. Vicki says additional minocycline treatments around that time helped her catch up to other kids, and even excel. At just 4 she started reading.

“The medication really helped her create some of those pathways that taught her how to learn,” said Vicki. Hagerman hopes the treatments that helped Holly could do the same for kids with autism. And that could mean a lot more children living happier and healthier lives.

The drugs Holly was treated with have a few side effects, mostly involving the stomach. Hagerman says the drug treatment can be used in older kids with Fragile X Syndrome. However, the results might not be as dramatic. The UC Davis MIND Institute is currently testing other drugs to improve the symptoms of Fragile X for patients up to 25 years old.  Click here to read the rest of the story.

Helping autistic young people take control of their own futures

Published by: Telstra Exchange
Written by: Natalie Falzon

For disadvantaged communities, workplace doors may be frequently found to be more closed than open. The statistics tell us this is likely the case for those on the autism spectrum. Unemployment and underemployment rates for this cohort reveal an uncomfortable truth: there are barriers to autistic young people finding work.

Enter Autism CRC, a partner backed by Telstra Foundation’s Tech4Good Challenge program and driven to empower autistic people to use their strengths and realise their potential. Based on six years of foundational research, they arrived at the conclusion that self-determination is key to improving autistic young people’s employment prospects. So, Autism CRC set out to create a service to encourage and enable this cohort to make informed choices and take definitive action around their own career and education paths.

From the start, myWAY Employability has been designed for and with the autistic community. Initial research indicated that early engagement would be key to establishing a truly relevant service that could factor for a literal spectrum of user requirements. And so, myWAY Employability was developed via a collaboration between Autism CRC and Curtin University that involved more than 300 people (including young people aged 14–30), parents, allied health professionals, disability service providers and educators. A collaborative Human-Centred Design approach, built on learnings and skills imparted by the Tech4Good Challenge’s educational phases, helped the team to explore needs and preferences, identify potential solutions and develop the concept that became myWAY Employability. Click here to read the rest of the story.

ADHD, autism and dyslexia: How companies can help neurodiverse job applicants

Published by: nzherald.conz
Written by: Katie Harris

Neurodiverse Kiwis contribute significant value to the workforce, but structural problems within the interview process mean many can be locked out of the job market. Katie Harris speaks to those on the ground about how to improve interviews for neurodiverse Kiwis.

“Tell me what you’re most proud of?”

For some, this may seem like a simple question to answer, but for many neurodiverse Kiwis its vagueness can throw off even the most well-prepped applicant.

Neurodiversity encompasses neurological differences including dyslexia, autism spectrum disorder (ASD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), dyspraxia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia and Tourette’s syndrome.

The neurodiverse can bring a wealth of creativity, hyperfocus and out-of-the-box thinking that many organisations need, but often interviews can pose as a barrier to success for some.

Autism NZ chief executive Dane Dougan told the Herald the whole recruitment process isn’t set up for neurodiverse people.

Autism NZ employment facilitator Megan McNeice told the Herald a big roadblock for the neurodiverse in interviews is open-ended questions. Click here to read the rest of the story.

Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorders Among Children with Intellectual Disability

Introduction

The study examined the prevalence, stability and characteristics pf ASD in children diagnosed with an intellectual disability.

Methodology

The methodology used to assess the prevalence of ASD in children diagnoses with an intellectual disability identified 2,208 children through the South Carolina Autism and Developmental Disabilities Network. The data reviewed was done in threes phases including screening, extraction and case evaluation. The process included screening each child’s clinical  records, and public school information. Records were abstracted that included information on diagnoses, behavior descriptors and characteristics. The records were then evaluated for both an intellectual disability and autism status.

Findings

  • Rates of ASD in intellectual disabilities were substantially higher than ASD rates reported in the general U.S. population
  • Rates demonstrated elevated and increasing rates of ASD within diagnosis of an intellectual disability.
  • These efforts are warranted to reduce public health costs and support individual well-being for the approximately 24% of people with an intellectual disability who also meet the ASD criteria.

Reference

Tonnsen, B.L.; Boan, A.D.; Bradley, CC.; Charles, J.; Cohen, A.; Carpenter, L.A (2016). Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorders Among Children with Intellectual Disability. American Journal of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. 121 (6). 487-500

Free Download Autism and Epilepsy Factsheet

A person diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, is more than likely to have several co-occurring disorders including seizures. Studies show that an severally autistic person tends to  have a higher percentage of seizures.

Epilepsy is more common in autistic people than the general public.

Download the fact sheet here

You can make copies of the factsheet to share with others or as part of a training course you are developing.