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How Do We Help Adult Son with Autism Stop Overstuffing His Mouth

March 27, 2015

Telling him to eat “little bites” not enough; advice on making lasting improvement from a therapist in the Autism Speaks ATN

“My adult autistic son habitually over-stuffs his mouth with food to the point of not being able to close his lips. No matter how often we tell him to eat only "little bites,” he goes back to this habit. Any suggestions?”

Editor’s note: The following information is not meant to diagnose or treat and should not take the place of personal consultation, as appropriate, with a qualified healthcare professional and/or behavioral therapist.

Today’s “Food for Thought” answer is by occupational therapist Desiree Gapultos, who practices within  the Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network, at...

Solving Mystery of Foul Breath in Adult with Autism and Down Syndrome

March 13, 2015

Parents ask whether daughter’s habit of bolting food whole could cause breath so terrible it’s hard to get close

“Our 26-year-old daughter has autism and Down syndrome. The most horrible problem is her awful breath. It’s so bad, it’s hard to let her get close to us, let alone kiss us. Her dentist ruled out cavities and infections, and we’ve tried everything from mouthwash to constantly brushing her teeth and tongue. She doesn’t chew her food, but just bolts it down whole. A test for blockages found none. But it found food from the previous day still in her stomach. I asked if that could produce the horrible smell, but the doctor dismissed me. Any insights or advice would be greatly appreciated.

Editor’s note: The following information is not meant to diagnose or treat and should not take the place of consultation, as appropriate, with a qualified healthcare...

Your ATN@Work: Autism-friendly Opera? Yes!

March 10, 2015

The Autism Speaks ATN center at Vanderbilt has added opera to the growing list of Nashville’s autism-inclusive cultural institutions

By Lauren Weaver, coordinator of organizational outreach at Vanderbilt Kennedy Center’s Treatment and Research Institute for Autism Spectrum Disorder (TRIAD). Vanderbilt TRIAD is one of 14 centers in the Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network (ATN).

There are many stereotypes about opera that may strike you as challenging for anyone on the autism spectrum:

Opera’s loud, right? Performances go on forever. Story lines are convoluted. And often as not, it’s in a foreign language!

Despite all these stereotypes, the staff at the Nashville Opera knew they had something wonderful for everyone – including children and adults with...

Your ATN@Work: Comprehensive Autism Education and Support for Families

March 3, 2015

This Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network site exemplifies the network’s mission to support and guide families

By Jeanne Anne Carriere, director of the Chapman Ability Project at The Center for Autism & Neurodevelopmental Disorders, in Santa Ana, California. The center is one of 14 sites in the Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network (ATN).

I’m so pleased for this opportunity to share the programs our center has developed in line with the ATN’s core mission of supporting and educating families. First, let me give you a little background on the Center for Autism & Neurodevelopmental Disorders.

The Center was created through the efforts of our five partners:
* the University of California. Irvine
* Children’s Hospital of Orange County
* Chapman University...

10 Exciting Highlights from our Autism Treatment Network

February 27, 2015

Autism Speaks' Autism Treatment Network (ATN) centers of Excellence see more than 43,000 patients per year. The ATN includes 14 specialty healthcare centers across North America, united in their focus to provide coordinated “whole person” care to children and teens with autism.

Our Autism Treatment Network is a collaboration of 14 specialty centers dedicated to providing families with state of the art, multidisciplinary healthcare for children and teens affected by autism. The ATN was established to provide a place for families to go for high quality, coordinated medical care for children and adolescents with autism and associated conditions.

The Autism Treatment Network centers see more than 43,000 patients per year, and they are united in their focus to provide coordinated “whole person” care to children and teens with autism. 

The ATN delivers training to over 94,000 professionals, students and...

Autism and Obesity: When Exercise and Healthy Diet Aren’t Enough

February 27, 2015

Parents seek advice for helping 8-year-old with autism who is dangerously overweight despite being active and avoiding junk food

“Our 8-year-old has autism and is minimally verbal. His problem is knowing when to stop eating. He’s 4 foot 4 and 125 pounds with a 35-inch waist. We tried giving him smaller portions on a smaller plate. Doesn’t work. He’s very active and exercises – playing basketball, running, swimming and just playing. But he’s still gaining weight. We eat a very healthy diet, no junk food. I don’t know what to do. I’m afraid he’s going to drop dead of a heart attack.”

Editor’s note: The following information is not meant to diagnose or treat and should not take the place of personal consultation, as appropriate, with a qualified healthcare professional and/or behavioral therapist.
 

This week’s...

Your ATN@Work: Families Guiding Research Priorities

February 24, 2015

Families receiving care in the Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network are playing a crucial role in planning the network's medical studies

Families receiving care in the Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network are playing a crucial role in planning new autism studies

By Brian Winklosky, research program manager for the Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network (ATN). The ATN’s research is made possible through its federally funded role as the Autism Intervention Research Network on Physical Health (AIR-P). The ATN includes 14 specialty healthcare centers across North America, united in their focus to provide coordinated “whole person” care to children and teens with...

Autism & Highways: Is Attraction Common? How Can We Safeguard our Son?

February 20, 2015

Insights and advice from a developmental-behavioral pediatrician in the Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network

Insights and advice from a developmental-behavioral pediatrician in the Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network

“We keep reading news reports about both children and adults wandering or running onto highways and getting hit by cars. Is there something about highways that attracts them? We’ve noticed that our teenager likes to stand by the side of the road when cars whoosh by. How can we keep him safe?”

Editor’s note: The following information is not meant to diagnose or treat and should not take the place of personal consultation, as appropriate, with a qualified healthcare professional and/or behavioral therapist.

Today’s “Got Questions?” response is from developmental-behavioral pediatrician Peter...

Parent of Teen with Autism Seeks Help with Narrowing Food Choices

February 13, 2015

Daughter gags at sight of anything but chips and breadsticks; advice from a dietician with the Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network

“My daughter is 16 and at age 2 was diagnosed with PDD-NOS [pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified – a former category of autism spectrum disorder]. She was eating well at that point. But since then, her food choices have narrowed to chips and breadsticks. She has such an intense gag reflex that even looking at or smelling other foods makes her gag and vomit. We need help.”

 

Editor’s note: The following information is not meant to diagnose or treat and should not take the place of personal consultation, as appropriate, with a qualified healthcare professional and/or behavioral therapist.

 

Today’s “Food for Thought” answer is by registered dietician Hope...

The Autism Speaks ATN@Work: So Your Child Needs an EEG …

February 10, 2015

A behind-the-scenes look at the makings of the newest Autism Speaks ATN/AIR-P tool kits for parents and professionals

A behind-the-scenes look at the makings of the newest Autism Speaks ATN/AIR-P tool kits for parents and professionals

By developmental child psychologists Lindsay Washington (left) and Terry Katz, co-authors of the soon-to-be published Autism Speaks ATN/AIR-P tool kits on electroencephalography (EEG) – one for parents and one for healthcare professionals. Dr. Washington works at Rocky Mountain Human Services, in Denver, Colorado. Dr. Katz is with Children’s Hospital Colorado and the University of Colorado School of Medicine.

We are thrilled for this opportunity to tell you about the inspiration and collaboration that went into our co-authoring two, soon-to-be-published Autism Speaks ATN/AIR-P tool kits on encephalography (EEG). One is for parents; the second for healthcare professionals...

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