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New Scientific Consensus: Toxins increase risk for autism

Take Action!
 A wide-ranging group of leading scientists from dozens of research institutions in the US, federal agencies and associations of medical professionals have released a simple but powerful statement, “Widespread exposures to toxic chemicals in our air, water, food, soil, and consumer products can increase the risks for cognitive, behavioral, or social impairment, as well as specific neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).”

Of course, parents of neurologically-damaged children have been saying this for decades. The report was released on the Friday before the July Fourth weekend, a day guaranteed to provide no media coverage. Consequently, it is up to us to get this information to federal and state legislators. Please click on the Take Action Link above to send to your legislators a message that contains a link to the report.

The full statement was published in the journal Environmental Health Risks. Please read it here: EHP358/

Autism Genes May Be In All Of Us, Researchers Say
by Shaun Heasley 

Genetic variants responsible for autism exist in varying degrees throughout the population – both in those on the spectrum and among typically-developing individuals – a new study suggests.

Both inherited and spontaneously-occurring genetic differences associated with autism may underlie a wide range of behavioral and developmental traits, with those who have the developmental disorder exhibiting the most severe presentations.


Following Sundance Win, Autism Documentary To Hit Theaters
by Shaun Heasley | February 8, 2016

A documentary focusing on the coming-of-age story of a boy on the spectrum is headed to theaters later this year after picking up an award at the acclaimed Sundance Film Festival.

The film “Life, Animated” is based on the best-selling book of the same name written by Pulitzer Prize-winner Ron Suskind about his son, Owen, who has autism.


Identifying Gaps in Knowledge, Prevalence and Care of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder in Tanzania – a Qualitative Review article

*K.P. Manji1 and M.N. Hogan2 

Autism Spectrum Disorder ...has also been increasingly recognized in many African countries. In Tanzania, we are noticing a large gap in information on the knowledge, prevalence and care of children with ASD

A systemic search and an extensive survey of the existing information about ASD in Tanzania was done using various tools, including interviewing key persons, visiting facilities and identifying potential resources available for improved care of children with ASD. 


More On The Spectrum Training For Tech Jobs
By Arianna Skibell, The Hechinger Report | December 1, 2015
December 1, 2015

NEW YORK – When Joseph Leogrande, 18, rides the subway, his caretaker reminds him to be aware of his body and space, not to stand too close to people. Sometimes it’s hard for Leogrande to concentrate on these directives – his mind is elsewhere. He likes to move to the front of the train and peer into the cab, where the driver sits. “I want to see how everything works,” he said.


For Kids On The Spectrum, Intervention Offers Long-Term Gains
June 15, 2015

A new study is validating the long-term success of an early autism treatment.

The Early Start Denver Model is a nonmedical treatment for children age 12 to 48 months who show symptoms of the developmental disorder. While autism is usually diagnosed in children between the ages of 2 and 3, a growing body of research suggests that diagnosing it early and intervening with one-on-one, parent-led treatment can reduce symptoms in the long run.


Parent-Led Intervention May Lower Kids’ Autism Risk

By MICHELLE DIAMENT I January 22, 2015

Training parents to enhance social interactions with their infant children may reduce the likelihood that kids at risk for autism will ultimately develop the disorder, researchers say.

Families who participated in a video-based therapy program were able to improve engagement, attention and social behavior in their babies, according to findings published Wednesday in The Lancet Psychiatry.


Pets May Boost Social Skills In Kids With Autism
By SHAUN HEASLEY I January 5, 2015

Living with dogs, cats or other pets may help children with autism acquire social skills, researchers say in a new study that finds greater engagement among those with animals in the home.

In a survey of 70 families with children on the spectrum ages 8 to 18, researchers found that those with a pet displayed more pro-social behaviors.

“Children with any kind of pet in the home reported being more likely to engage in behaviors such as introducing themselves, asking for information or responding to other people’s questions,” said Gretchen Carlisle of the University of Missouri who worked on the study published recently in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.


HBO To Air Autism Documentary
By MICHELLE DIAMENT I January 15, 2015

A new film following a group of young people with developmental disabilities as they spend months preparing to tackle the social anxieties surrounding a high school dance is headed to HBO. The documentary “How to Dance in Ohio” will debut on the cable network later this year following its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival Jan. 25.

The 88-minute film tracks a group of teens and young adults with autism in Columbus, Ohio as they spend 12 weeks working on their social skills with a psychologist ahead of a spring formal. Along the way, the individuals learn to overcome their fears as they pick dates and dresses and attempt to understand the unspoken etiquette of a dance.

“This is a film not only for the many whose lives are touched in some way by autism, but also for anyone who can relate to the fraught experience of growing up and trying to understand adulthood,” said director Alexandra Shiva.

Farm Gives Adults With Autism A Chance To Grow


CHICAGO — On a 1.2-acre plot of land on the Near West Side of the city, young adults with autism are getting invaluable lessons — lessons that may soon be replicated around the country. Growing Solutions Farm teaches the 20 or so students, ages 18 to 26, all aspects of farming, from planting and harvesting vegetables and herbs to cooking what they grow.

But it’s much more than that.​

NIH-funded Study Shows Disrupted Cell Layering Process in the Developing Brain

March 26, 2014 • Press Release


The architecture of the autistic brain is speckled with patches of abnormal neurons, according to research partially funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), part of the National Institutes of Health. Published in the New England Journal of Medicine on March 27, 2014, this study suggests that brain irregularities in children with autism can be traced back to prenatal development.


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AUTISM in AFRICA: Awareness and Action​​

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