Study results point to genetic causes for autism

by Harmeet Kaur- Genetics plays more of a role in the development of autism than environmental causes, according to new research published Sunday in Nature Genetics. The study found that 52% of autism risk comes from common genes, while only 2.6% are attributed to spontaneous mutations caused by, among other things, environmental factors. “These genetic […]

Common genes are a big risk factor for autism

by Jane C. Hu – Few topics in science are as divisive as autism. The disorder affects roughly one in 68 children, and more children than ever are receiving the diagnosis. In 6- to 17-year-old children, autism diagnoses increased by almost 1 percentage point between 2007 and 2012.* Symptoms typically don’t emerge until age 2 […]

How adults on the spectrum fare with employment

by Laura Shumaker – A few weeks ago I raised the topic of employment options for people with autism spectrum disorders, because wouldn’t it be great if the the intense interests of people with autism translated into jobs–even careers? I followed up by conducting an informal survey with followers of my Facebook Page–a reality check […]

Gardens as employment sources for young adults with autism

by Amy Rutledge – Nestled on the city’s west side, in the middle of the Illinois Medical District, an unexpected garden cultivating futures as well as flora. “We’re growing everything from tomatoes, pumpkins, summer squash, onions, kale, collards beans and watermelons.” Gwenne Godwin is head grower and farm manager of the Growing Solutions Farm, an […]

High school kids caught in “immunization war”

by Eryn Brown – Every school day, students at Carlsbad High tune in their classroom televisions to a news show produced by its award-winning broadcast journalism program. Airing from a well-appointed studio on campus, the report covers topics ranging from final exams to nearby wildfires, delivered by a teenage staff that typically goofs around until […]

ABA can cause a life-changing effect

Tracy and Freya Holliday.

by Lucy Benyon – When interior designer Tracy Holliday was told that her daughter Freya was autistic, she wasn’t surprised. What did  astound her was the lack  of support available for her child.  “Freya, who has a twin Chloe,  was different from the start,” recalls  Tracy, 43. “She was difficult to  settle and found it […]

Autism research is more collaborative than ever

by Helen Tager-Flusberg – Science is, at its heart, a collaborative process. This is especially true for research addressing complex problems, and autism is certainly complex. For example, to tackle fundamental questions about causes and to move toward targeted treatments, we need to collaborate across disciplines. Another key reason to collaborate is that autism’s enormous heterogeneity requires large samples […]

Farms as workplaces for individuals with autism

by Christina Scotti – In the middle of the English countryside, Lydia Otter has made it her life’s mission to work with people like Peter Griffin, a 26-year-old with severe autism. Griffin can hardly speak, but he has flourished at Pennyhooks Care Farm, a farm community focused on therapeutic agriculture, taking up woodworking and working […]