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Clinicians & Researchers

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Autism Speaks ATN Center Reaches Out to Somali Community

September 9, 2014

At Ohio’s Nationwide Children’s Hospital, staff are expanding autism outreach with sensitivity to immigrant culture and language


Post by Amy Hess, site coordinator for the Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network (ATN) center at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, in Columbus, Ohio. Ms. Hess is also a parent of a child who has autism.

At our Autism Speaks ATN site, we emphasize outreach and education for families and healthcare providers in Columbus, Ohio, and surrounding communities. This includes free educational sessions on autism-related medical care through our Families with Autism Medical Lecture Series. Hundreds of parents and medical professionals have attended these popular talks.

I’d like to tell you...

Your ATN@Work: A New Blog Series from Autism Speaks

September 2, 2014

Meet the parents and clinicians of the Autism Speaks ATN as they make a difference in communities across North America and the world

This month we’re excited to introduce a new weekly blog series featuring the families and healthcare providers of the Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network (ATN).

In the coming weeks and months, we’ll be taking you behind the scenes to meet the parents and professionals who are passionately fulfilling the ATN’s mission of improving the health and quality of life of those affected by autism, both in their communities and around the world.

This month also brings Autism Speaks’ newest funding cycle for our ATN. With a three-year investment of $7.5 million, Autism Speaks is redoubling the network’s focus on medical research that delivers more-effective treatments for...

Helping our Teens with Autism Sleep

June 9, 2014

Beth Malow, a member of our Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network, discusses a brand new tool kit for our community.

This post is by child neurologist and sleep specialist Beth Malow, MS, MD, of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, a member of the Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network.

When young children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) don't sleep well, it affects how they function during the day as well as the entire family. Teens (and their families) are also affected by not sleeping well! The Sleep Workgroup of the Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network has developed a new sleep tool kit aimed at parents of teens with ASD. This tool kit, entitled "Sleep Strategies for Teens with Autism Spectrum Disorder," guides...

Sleep, Glorious Sleep (or lack thereof!)

June 3, 2014

This is a post from mom and blogger Kim McCafferty, about her positive experience with a sleep study with her two boys with autism.

This is a post by Kimberlee Rutan McCafferty, mother to two sons on the autism spectrum and an Autism Family Partner at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). Kim is also the author of a blog about her two children with autism, at Kim's book Raising Autism: Surviving the Early Years is on sale on Amazon here. Kim's two sons are participating in a sleep study at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia through the Autism Speaks Autism Treatment...

New Pica Tool Kits from the Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network!

May 30, 2014

The AS-ATN is excited to launch new guides to pica, a common eating disorder among people with autism, for parents and professionals!

This is a post by David B. McAdam, Ph.D., an Associate Professor in the Department of Neurodevelopmental & Behavioral Pediatrics at the University of Rochester Medical Center, an Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network site.

Pica is the frequent eating or mouthing of things that are not food and is a common eating problem in children with autism.  Children with pica may eat things like paper, clothing, paint chips or plants.  There are several common signs of pica that you should look for in your child. These include frequently putting small items such as small toys in his or her mouth, frequently searching for non-food items to eat or place in...

Is There a Connection between Autism and Bipolar Disorder?

May 22, 2014

This week’s “Got Questions?” answer comes from psychiatrist Jessica Hellings and psychologist Andrea Witwer, of Autism Speaks ATN

This week’s “Got Questions?” answer comes from psychiatrist Jessica Hellings, MD, and psychologist Andrea Witwer, PhD, program directors at Ohio State University’s Nisonger Center, which is part of Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network.

For those of you not familiar with bipolar disorder, it’s a mood disorder once known as “manic depression.” Persons with bipolar disorder alternate between a frenzied state known as mania and episodes of depression. While some individuals experience only the manic episodes, many affected individuals rapidly alternate between these two states and experience great irritability.

As with...

New Tools to Get You Ready for Trips to the Eye Doctor!

April 4, 2014

Susan Connors, MD, shares the importance of preparing for visits to the eye doctor and the new tools from the ATN/AIR-P that can help!

This is a post by Susan Connors, MD, mother of a young adult with autism, instructor at Harvard Medical School and physician at the Lurie Center for Autism at Massachusetts General Hospital, an Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network site. Dr. Connors created the new tools from the ATN/AIR-P on Preparing for Successful Vision Exams.

As the mother of a 22-year-old son with autism and a physician at the MGH Lurie Center for...

Your Dollars@Work: Empowering Parents to Help Children Sleep

February 13, 2014

More than 12,000 families are sleeping easier thanks to your support

By neurologist Beth Malow, of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, and psychologist Terry Katz, of the University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine. Both centers are part of the Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network.

We all know how cranky and unfocused we feel when we haven't had a good night's sleep. For many children with autism and their families, sleep problems can be downright crippling.

That’s why the Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network* supported our study gauging the effectiveness of our "Sleep Basics" educational program for parents of children with autism. The Journal of Autism and...

Autism & Eating Challenges: You Are Not Alone!

February 7, 2014

Feelings of isolation are common; here's expert advice on finding the emotional and professional support you need for the journey

“After reading this and realizing that I'm not alone, I'm literally crying because I carried the burden of thinking that I did something wrong with my 4 year old daughter who is on the spectrum and will only have liquids. I tortured myself thinking I was a bad mom even though I've been doing everything possible … you have no idea how much you have all just helped me." – from Facebook comment thread on the launch of the Autism Speaks ATN/AIR-P Feeding Behaviors Tool Kit, 10 Jan 2014

Today’s “Food for Thought” response is by pediatric psychologist Jayne Bellando, co-author of the Autism Speaks ATN/AIR-P tool kit ...

A Story About Giving

December 31, 2013

Wendell Williams of Koons Annapolis Toyota selected Autism Speaks to benefit from Koons 25 Days of Giving in honor of his son Kennedy

This post is by Ann Gibbons, regional director for Autism Speaks, who recently visited a local supporter.

Wendell Williams, general manager of Koons Annapolis Toyota in Maryland, selected Autism Speaks to be one of the beneficiaries of Koons Automotive Companies 25 Days of Giving throughout Northern Virginia, Maryland and Delaware. Wendell recommended Autism Speaks in honor of his son Kennedy, who has autism. Wendell presented us with a $5,000 check just before Christmas. He also shared with us the story of his son—a fraternal twin, now ten years old, who likes nothing better than to spend the day with his dad, running errands, eating out, and attending Baltimore Ravens’ games. Although Kennedy doesn’t speak, he clearly communicates his love for his family.

December has...