The Autism Science Foundation Weekly Science Podcast is a summary of the latest research in autism spectrum disorders. This podcast will discuss new science, research discoveries, meetings and discussions, news reports, and other information important to those affected by autism especially families.
Talk talk talk…..it may make a difference to your infant
Children and infants who later go on to have an autism diagnosis show impairments in communication. Is there anything that parents can do? Yes! Talk. Talk in complicated sentences. Talk responsively and keep it up. This isn’t always an inherent skill, it’s learned, and in this podcast we talk about the biological basis of why infants with ASD are more sensitive to verbal input, how hyposensory features are involved and what you can do to improve your verbal responsiveness that needs to be different for your child with ASD
Don’t say “….all autistic adults”
While there are commonalities across autistic adults on many things, they differ. It might be time to stop saying “…..all autistic adults” when describing those on the spectrum. For example, for the most part, most autistic adults prefer email or text over other methods except when talking to friends and family. It was not universal, but the most preferred methods. This is important for scientists to want to gather the input from autistic adults – use email and online surveys NOT the telephone. But even these online surveys have problems. Large online research studies have the advantage of gathering large sets of data from geographically diverse people in a short period of time, but they may be biased if they don’t report who answered them. Recommendations for how to at least deal with diversity in scientific literature is included.
It turns out that autistic individuals have a higher rate of gender variance than those not on the spectrum. This doesn’t require treatment in the traditional sense, but a better awareness, psychosocial supports, and understanding among clinicians that can provide services and help for those that need it. Today’s podcast focuses on recent studies linking being LGBTQIA+ and autistic, sharing information on mental health issues in this group as well as guidelines to help those with ASD receive the services they are entitled to. As illustrated in one study included in the podcast, shamefully, his does not always happen.
What causes autism? Genetics or the Environment? Or maybe both?
Is it genes or is it the environment? or is it a combination? This question has plagued researchers and scientists and caused a lot of confusion in families about what caused their own or their child’s ASD. This week we review the mechanisms by which de-novo mutations could be the work of gene x environment interactions, and share new evidence of how SSRI’s do or don’t contribute to ASD through gene x environment interactions. We also want to recognize the valuable work of scientist Li-Ching Lee to these efforts. Dr. Lee recently passed away but will be sorely missed.
Why would you not get vaccinated?
There have been a lot of questions about the safety of the COVID-19 vaccine, especially now that it is being offered to everyone 12 and up. At first it was restricted to the elderly, now other groups are eligible. But not everyone wants the vaccine and in fact about 30% of Americans either refuse or have serious questions about it. On this week’s ASF podcast, we interview Dr. Pam Feliciano of SPARK to find out what families affected with ASD think of the vaccine, and answer other questions around the safety of the vaccine vs. the risks of getting COVID. Below is a new article about mortality of COVID in people with ASD.
Eye gaze and real-life early detection tools: An interview with researchers from Duke
What babies look at during development and how much time they spend looking at people vs things has received a lot of criticism from some advocates who feel scientists should be spending less time on differences and more on practical solutions. Those two concepts are getting closer and closer and our early understandings of early autism features are now turning into applications to help better and earlier identification of ASD. This week, we talk to Geri Dawson and George Chang at Duke University who used these findings to piloted an app on an iPad. This app shows early promise of being used in a pediatricians office to support faster referral of toddlers for services and intervention.
A must listen for Parents
I have been listening to this podcast for years and I am so grateful for this resource as a parent of a boy with ASD. Alycia distills the relevant science news and explains it in a manageable yet intelligent way. I also must give her and this podcast credit for helping me make an informed decision on having a second child, which I did, and also the awareness of sibling studies, which I was able to enroll my second son in even before he was born.
Knowledge is important
Thank you for this wonderful podcast! I appreciate how brief, concise, and information loaded this podcast is. I have listened to every single episode and will continue to do so.
Amazingly well done!
Great pop culture references. Theresa Guidice should make a guest appearance.