Education Week: Autism Research, Parent-Training Centers Get Cash Infusion

Nine sets of researchers will split $100 million in grant money from the National Institutes of Health to research different aspects of autism.

The awards, spread out over the next five years, are part of the Autism Centers of Excellence research program. This year, the research will expand to look into children and adults who have limited or no speech, links between autism spectrum disorders and other genetic syndromes, potential treatments, and the reasons why these disorders are more common among boys than girls, said Alice Kau, Ph.D., of the Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Branch at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. That’s one of the five National Institutes of Health entities funding the Autism Centers of Excellence Program.

via Autism Research, Parent-Training Centers Get Cash Infusion.

TEDTalks (video): Ami Klin: A new way to diagnose autism

TEDTalks (video)

Early diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder can improve the lives of everyone affected, but the complex network of causes make it incredibly difficult to predict. At TEDxPeachtree, Ami Klin describes a new early detection method that uses eye-tracking technologies to gauge babies’ social engagement skills and reliably measure their risk of developing autism.

via TED: Ami Klin: A new way to diagnose autism – Ami Klin (2011).

Education Week: Electrical Activity in the Brain Can Distinguish Children With Autism

Tests that measure the electrical activity in the brain can distinguish children with autism from children with typical brains as early as age 2, researchers at Boston Children’s Hospital have found.

Researchers compared raw data from the electroencephalogram tests, or EEGs, of 430 children with autism and 554 other children ages 2 to 12. They found that children with autism had consistent EEG patterns showing altered connectivity between different parts of the brain—generally, they showed reduced connectivity compared with the other children’s brains. Their study was published this week in the online journal BMC Medicine.

This altered connectivity stood out in the left side of the brain, which controls language. Researchers focused on children with autism who had been referred for EEGs by neurologists, psychiatrists, or developmental pediatricians to rule out seizure disorders. Children diagnosed with seizure disorders, those with Asperger syndrome and other high-functioning children with autism were excluded from the study.

via Electrical Activity in the Brain Can Distinguish Children With Autism.

Daily Republic: Solano educators honor Fairfield student who came ‘out of his shell’

FAIRFIELD — Teachers at Golden Hills Education Center’s Adult Transition Program do not know all the details about Philip Marecek’s childhood, but they know enough to know it was tough.

Marecek, who has autism, lost each of his parents at an early age. When his mother died, he came to Fairfield from Florida to live with his sister, attending Armijo High School for a brief period to earn a certificate of completion and later attending the Adult Transition Program.

Teachers and administrators are in awe of his turnaround. For it, they honored him Monday as part of the Solano County Chapter of Association of California School Administrator’s Every Student Succeeding initiative.

via Solano educators honor Fairfield student who came ‘out of his shell’.

TIME: When Teachers Bully Children

By Lawrence J. Cohen and Anthony T. DeBenedet, M.D.

With more than 4.2 million views and counting, Stuart Chaifetz’s YouTube video is drawing attention to a situation no child, especially not one with special needs, should ever have to face: bullying by a teacher.

via When Teachers Bully Children.