Autism Spectrum Disorders: Research Trends Although many teenagers enjoy and often spend excessive time hanging out with their friends, those with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are much less likely to take part in this important part of teenage life, according to a Washington University study. Researchers examined data from the National Longitudinal Transition Study ... Research in Brief
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Research in Brief  |   January 01, 2012
Autism Spectrum Disorders: Research Trends
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Special Populations / Autism Spectrum / Research in Brief
Research in Brief   |   January 01, 2012
Autism Spectrum Disorders: Research Trends
The ASHA Leader, January 2012, Vol. 17, 19. doi:10.1044/leader.RIB.17012012.19
The ASHA Leader, January 2012, Vol. 17, 19. doi:10.1044/leader.RIB.17012012.19
Teens With ASDs Less Active Socially
Although many teenagers enjoy and often spend excessive time hanging out with their friends, those with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are much less likely to take part in this important part of teenage life, according to a Washington University study.
Researchers examined data from the National Longitudinal Transition Study 2 and reviewed responses from 11,000 students enrolled in special education.
In this group, which included students with ASDs, learning disabilities, intellectual disabilities, and speech and language impairments, teens with ASDs were significantly more likely never to see friends out of school (43.3%), never to get called by friends (54.4%), and never to be invited to social activities (50.4%) when compared to those in the other groups.
“One mechanism for promoting social relationships is by fostering participation with peers in group activities such as clubs, scouting, or sports,” said Paul Shattuck, autism expert and assistant professor at the Brown School at Washington University. “Only one-third of adolescents with an ASD are accessing such opportunities, and there is an obvious need for greater supports and services to promote community inclusion for this population.” For more, visit the PLoS One website (search “Shattuck”).
Regressive Autism Brains Are Larger
According to a new study from the University of California, Davis MIND Institute, 3-year-old boys with regressive autism tend to have larger brains than their typically developing peers. The study, the largest examination of brain development in preschoolers with ASDs to date, found that boys with regressive autism (autism that appears after several months of typical development) show a different form of neuropathology than boys with early-onset autism. Researchers studied 180 children ages 2 to 4: 114 with ASDs and 66 with typical development. Of the children with ASDs, 54% were diagnosed with the regressive form and 46% were diagnosed with early-onset ASD. The researchers performed magnetic resonance imaging scans on all 180 participants at age 3 and compared the results to head circumference measurements taken when they were 18 months. The results indicated that accelerated head growth and brain enlargement were consistently observed mainly in the subset of children diagnosed with regressive autism; 22% of boys with regressive autism, as opposed to 5% of boys with early onset autism, had enlarged brains. Visit the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America website.
What Social Reputation?
People with ASDs may not care what you think about them, according to a recent study. Although it’s widely accepted that people with ASDs often have difficulties in their social interactions in everyday life, researchers from the California Institute of Technology wanted to determine the specific difference between how people with high-functioning ASDs think of other people and how they feel about their own social reputations.
Researchers asked two groups of people (one with ASDs, one without) to make monetary donations to UNICEF under two conditions: alone in a room or while being watched by a researcher. They found that although the group unaffected by ASDs donated more money when they were being watched by another person, the participants with ASDs gave the same amount of money regardless of whether they were being watched.
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January 2012
Volume 17, Issue 1