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Teenager with autism obsessed with visits to favorite places

April 8, 2016

Parents ask, “Should we stop taking him at all?” Our experts have strategies for making transitions and deflecting obsessions

“Our son is 19 with pretty severe autism. He enjoys going to amusement parks and swimming pools. However, he becomes so obsessed afterward, not wanting to leave, crying and throwing tantrums the whole way home. Then this obsession continues for weeks. He keeps asking to return, showing us photos of what he wants and refusing to engage in other activities. He can become quite aggressive to us and himself with head butting and the like. Should we refrain from taking him at all when it causes so much strife for him and us afterward? He’s already on quite a bit of behavioral medication, but it doesn’t seem to help.”

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Your ATN@Work: Autism training for healthcare providers and educators

March 29, 2016

The Thompson Center has developed a model program for promoting best practices among professionals who work with those who have autism

The Thompson Center has developed a model program for promoting best practices among professionals who work with those who have autism 

One of the core missions of the Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network is to provide autism education and training to professionals and community members beyond the doors of the network’s 14 sites.

One such model program is Training Experts in Autism for Missouri (TEAM), a state-funded project of the University of Missouri...

Teen with autism reluctant to drive; should this parent push?

March 18, 2016

Our expert provides points to consider in helping parent and teen decide if he’s ready to safely get behind the wheel

“My son, who has autism, is not sure if he wants to learn to drive. He’s nervous about getting into an accident. He follows laws, is very careful and has driven go carts. His coordination is clumsy in games like catch or basketball. But he has good balance. I’m encouraging him to be open about the idea. What are your thoughts?”

Today’s “Got Questions?” answer is by psychologist Cathryn Lehman, of the Center for Autism and Developmental Disorders, at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. The medical center is one of 14 sites in the ...

Your ATN@Work: Personalizing hospital care for children with autism

March 15, 2016

A Q&A with the lead author of an Autism Treatment Network study that helped develop a model program for tailoring in-patient care to support kids with autism

A Q&A with the lead author of an Autism Treatment Network study that helped develop a model program for tailoring in-patient care to support kids with autism

While hospital admission is difficult for anyone, autism can add the stresses of sensory issues, communication challenges, food aversions and more. In 2011, a team led by pediatrician Sarabeth Broder-Fingert, of Mass General Hospital for Children, began developing a model program to improve the hospital experience for children who have autism. To carry out the project, she enlisted a multidisciplinary team that included doctors, therapists and families at Mass General...

Developing a parent manual to prevent autism-related wandering

March 8, 2016

Thanks to support from Autism Speaks, this ATN behavior therapist is developing a manual to help families safeguard children prone to wandering

Thanks to support from Autism Speaks, this ATN behavior therapist is developing a manual to help families safeguard children prone to wandering

By child psychologist and behavior analyst David McAdam of the University of Rochester Medical Center. The medical center is one of 14 sites in the Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network (ATN). McAdam is also a faculty member in the division of neurodevelopmental and behavioral pediatrics at the Strong Center for Developmental Disabilities. Jill Aldrich, his study coordinator, helped with the preparation of this post.

Today, I’m pleased to be able to...

New findings on regression in autism: A researcher's perspective

March 4, 2016

Pediatrician and "baby sibs" researcher Lonnie Zwaigenbaum answers questions about the surprising results of recent studies into regression, or loss of skills, in autism

Pediatrician and "baby sibs" researcher Lonnie Zwaigenbaum answers questions about the surprising results of recent studies into regression, or loss of skills, in autism

Developmental pediatrician and autism researcher Lonnie Zwaigenbaum recently helped organize a day-long international workshop on regression in autism, sponsored by the National Institute of Mental Health, in Bethesda, Maryland. Regression involves the loss of developmental skills – most noticeably...

Your ATN@Work: Improving emergency care for children with autism

March 1, 2016

Q&A with the authors of a new Autism Treatment Network study focused on improving emergency care for children who have autism

A Q&A with the authors of a new Autism Treatment Network study focused on improving emergency care for children who have autism

As many of our readers know first-hand, the environment of a busy hospital emergency department can overwhelm children – and adults – who have autism-related sensory issues. Adding to the emotional challenge are the unpredictability and long wait times that are typical of an emergency room.

On Feb. 1, the journal Pediatrics published a special supplement...

Parents seek advice: Our 3-year-old packs food in mouth till he gags

February 26, 2016

Our autism expert has strategies to help overcome this child’s dangerous tendency to overstuff his mouth and hold food in his cheeks

“Our son, who is 3, is awaiting an autism evaluation. Meanwhile, we’re having serious issues with his aversion to certain food textures. Rather than swallow, he’ll hold it in his cheeks until he vomits. Other times this happens when he’s full, or even when we’re sharing a food he really likes. He’ll shove handfuls into his mouth to keep others from getting them! Then he looks like a chipmunk and keeps chewing until he gags and vomits. Help!

This week’s “Food for Thought” answer is by pediatric psychologist Elizabeth Pulliam, of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and...

Your ATN@Work: Exploring the links between autism, sleep and behavior

February 23, 2016

Researchers at Missouri’s Thompson Center explore the association between autism-related sleep disturbances and daytime behavior challenges

Researchers at Missouri’s Thompson Center explore the association between autism-related sleep disturbances and daytime behavior challenges

By child psychologist Micah Mazurek, of the University of Missouri’s Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disabilities, in Columbia. The Thompson Center is one of 14 sites in the Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network.

I am really happy for this opportunity to tell you about the results of our recent sleep and behavior study. The...

Help! Preschooler with autism won’t stop throwing things when upset

February 19, 2016

Tips for teaching more-helpful behaviors from experts in the Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network

“Throwing things. This is how our 3-year-old son [recently diagnosed with autism] shows anger or disappointment. It is hard to redirect him or encourage him out it. Any advice?”

Today’s “Got Questions?” answer is by developmental pediatrician Amanda Bennett and behavior analyst Megan Carolan Tomkinson. Dr. Bennett is the director of the Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network site at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, where Ms. Tomkinson also practices.

Editor’s note: The...

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