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Autism 101

with Co-Director Amy Goodman Thursday April 5th, 2012

Amys Profile
Amy Goodman, MA Co-Director Autism NOW The Arc 1825 K St, NW Washington DC 20006 1-202-600-3489 Ex. 3734 E-mail: Website: Other social media: Facebook and Twitter

Why did you choose this webinar and what are you expecting to learn from it today?

In the U.S. the prevalence of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) is 1 in 88 children or 1 in 54 boys according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC, March 2012) In England the prevalence of ASD is estimated to be 9.8 in 1000 in adults. The prevalence for adults may be a little skewed because in England the way individuals are diagnosed is different than in the U.S. but also due to individuals being diagnosed later in life.

Family History: If one child is on the spectrum, there is a 1 in 5 chance their siblings will be too. (see article) Parents ages: 30s/40s higher risk of having a child with autism (see article

Famous Parents
Doug Flutie, has a son named Doug Flutie Jr. Sylvester Stallone, has a son named Seargeoh Stallone John Travolta had a son who had autism, unfortunately he died of a seizure disorder Dan Marino has a son with Autism Toni Braxton, a singer, has a son with autism There are many more famous people who deal with autism on a daily basis, this is to illustrate that you are not alone on your journey.


This is what is referred to when a child or adult gets a diagnosis. It is a is a list of all different disorders and disabilities. It is used in the medical field and used as part of the diagnosis so one can get services and supports. The DSM IV will be replaced by the DSM V in the near future. The definition of what constitutes an autism spectrum disorder is going to be changed and it is a hot topic in the news.

Federal Definition
Autism is a developmental disability significantly affecting verbal and nonverbal communication and social interaction, generally evident before age three, that adversely affects educational performance. Signs and symptoms: Irregularities and impairments in communication Engagement in repetitive activities Stereotyped movements Resistance to environmental change or change in daily routines Unusual responses to sensory experiences

State Definition
The definition is exactly the same as the Federal Definition. The only difference is that the definition is broken down more broadly as to what constitutes as autism An individual can be diagnosed as having autism if they meet six characteristics from the following: Qualitative impairment in social interaction; Qualitative impairment in communication Repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behavior Very narrow focus of interest

Under One Umbrella

Autism is defined as a spectrum disorder and this spectrum is all under one umbrella. The spectrum includes classical Autism, Childhood Disintegrative Disorder, Tourettes syndrome, Aspergers syndrome, Rhett's syndrome, PDD-NOS and perhaps ADD and ADHD. Some individuals may have a dual diagnosis-more than one diagnosis, i.e Autism and Down syndrome.

Different Types of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs)

Three most common types of ASDs: Classic Autism Aspergers syndrome Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Other Specified

Classic Autism
Individuals usually have: significant language delays social and communication challenges behaviors interests different for those without autism

Aspergers Syndrome
Individuals usually function at the higher end of the spectrum. They may have social challenges and different behaviors and interests. They typically do not have problems with language or have intellectual disabilities.

Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS)

Also called Atypical Autism. Individuals who meet some of the criteria for autism or Aspergers syndrome, but not all of the criteria Individuals usually have fewer behaviors than those with autism. The behaviors may only be related to social and communication challenges

Characteristics for Infants and Toddlers

Significant impairment in interpersonal interaction Unresponsive to physical contact Rigid when picked up, not cuddly Avoid eye contact

Characteristics for Children

Social impairments, no friends Difficulty relating to other people Prefer inanimate objects Form attachments to objects Insensitive to feelings Treat other people as objects

Characteristics for Children

No or little speech Use of echolalia (repeating what is said back to them) Self stimulation: flicking hands, spinning themselves or other objects, rocking, hand flapping, face slapping, head banging, biting themselves or possibly eating inedible objects.

Characteristics for Children

Resist change Perseverate on problems Not understanding social cues Not relating well to other people in their environment Prefer adults to peers

Characteristics for Adults

Lack of managing appropriate social conduct High Intelligence Anger management problems Controlling feelings such as depression, fear, or anxiety Lack of empathy Inability to listen to others Inflexible Thinking Repetitive routines provides feelings of security

Characteristics for Adults

Stress when their routine suddenly changes Inability to think in abstract ways: Theory of Mind problems, Executive functioning problems Lack of Internal Voice, may read or talk out loud for comprehension purposes Specialized fields of interests May be a visual, or auditory thinker or prefer both modes of learning Sensory Problems/Sensory Integration

Implications and Theories

Many say the biological theory has to do with genetics. but research has not proven any genetic causes as of yet. What we do know is this: that there is a problem in communication between cells in the brain that there are at least 20 or more genes that seem to be associated with autism. that the immune system is an important component

Researchers have not identified any single specific factor that causes autism. There are many theories about autism. None have proven as the one and only correct theory. I will review some of the most likely causes or theories that are in the literature.

Toxics in the environment: mercury poisoning Maternal diet Chemicals such as carpet cleaners and laundry soaps Vaccines: there has not been any scientific evidence that vaccines cause autism Air pollutants

Another possible theory that has been studied is neurological damage to the individual. That would include such things as maternal infections, alcohol abuse, viral infections, and problems during delivery of the baby.

Websites: 0090891%2C00.html

http:/ m/p/autismcauses.htm Referenced Articles autism-odds-siblings/13738/ 09autism.html

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