Nov 22, 2013, DisabilityScoop.com: Concerns Raised About Overlapping Autism Research
Nov 21, 2013, New Haven Register: Yale researchers find genetic links to autism
Nov 21, 2013, St. Louis Today: Giant Steps offers specialized school for children with autism
Nov 21, 2013, Albany (GA) Herald: Autism spectrum disorders subject of Albany workshop
Nov 21, 2013, Fox News: People with autism more likely to hear colors, see sounds
"Most federally-funded autism research is 'potentially duplicative,' according to a new government report that finds coordination and oversight lacking.
"No less than 12 federal agencies allocated $1.4 billion for autism research, awareness projects, trainings and other related activities between 2008 and 2012. In many cases, however, the efforts of these agencies may have overlapped. . . .
"The finding was based on a review of how projects aligned with goals identified in a strategic plan outlining priorities for federal autism research. The plan is produced annually by the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee, or IACC, a federal advisory panel comprised of government officials and members of the autism community.
"In one case, the GAO found that five agencies funded 20 projects all focusing on improving dissemination and implementation of interventions and services in diverse community settings. Collectively, the projects cost over $15 million. . . .
"At the same time, the investigative arm of Congress also found that there's little oversight to ensure that waste does not occur."
This is a report card on IACC. I'm still waiting for the committee charged with coordinating autism efforts in the U.S. to do anything that adds to our understanding of autism or improves the life of a single autistic child. In truth, IACC was created to conduct autism busywork. They pretend to care about autism while wasting time and money.
"12 federal agencies allocated $1.4 billion for autism research. . . " Seriously? And not one dime for a simple vaccinated/unvaccinated study that could settle the most heated controversy in pediatric medicine: Do vaccines cause autism?
"Scientists have identified which types of brain cells ...are affected genetic mutations linked to the disorder which could result in new treatments. . ."
Do these Yale scientists seriously think autism is merely the result of genes gone wrong? And why is the goal just to have "new treatments"?
WHEN WILL WE HAVE ANY ANSWERS?
A once rare disorder is now so common that everyone knows someone with an affected child and health officials have no idea what causes it. When a healthy, normally developing child suddenly and dramatically gets sick, loses learned skills and regresses into autism, doctors are helpless. Are we to believe that bad genes did this?
Autism now affects one in every 50 U.S. children. Among boys alone, it's one in every 31. The most important thing about this rate is that it's based on studies of children. No one has ever found a comparable rate among adults, especially adults with classic autism whose symptoms are obvious to all. Autism is undeniably an epidemic and since there's never been a genetic epidemic in human history, I think research money may best be spent elsewhere.
Anne Dachel, Media editor: Age of Autism
St. Louis Today
"A second-grade boy plays with building blocks, puts together puzzles and practices counting. When he gets home from school, his mother gets a full report on how he spent his day, but not from her son. Nick is nonverbal.
"Nick is one of about 30 students who attend Giant Steps of St. Louis, a therapeutic school for children with differing degrees of autism. The school also offers a six-week day camp that serves more than 70 children each summer.
"Giant Steps celebrates its 20th anniversary next year. It began in 1994 as the project of a group of parents with young autistic children who sought to offer both a tailored education and secure care under the same roof.
"Students at Giant Steps enroll when a typical school setting proves to be a poor fit. A common characteristic of autistic children is Sensory Processing Disorder, a neurological syndrome that affects the ability to filter and prioritize the constant stream of information gathered by the senses. Thus the sights and sounds of the average school can be overwhelming, and many school districts do not have the means to offer the necessary accommodations to these students.
"That's where Giant Steps enters the picture. With a 1:1 student to teacher ratio, each child gets the assistance and attention they need and deserve."
Schools for autism, autism friendly movies, sensitive Santas, training EMTs, police and fire fighters about autism---it's how we're all adjusting to the "mystery of autism."
A school for 30 students with a 1:1 teacher-student ratio? I wonder what the cost is. It's not talked about.
Albany (GA) Herald
"In response to a need, a pediatric psychiatrist from Atlanta was in Albany Thursday to help increase awareness regarding the symptoms and treatment options of autism spectrum disorders through a workshop conducted at Phoebe Northwest.
"The workshop featured Dr. Felissa Goldstein, child and adolescent psychiatrist with the Marcus Autism Center - which is now associated with Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. . . .
"'We discovered several years ago that anyone (in contact with) children with developmental disabilities needs workshops because of the lack of specialists in the area,' Rowland said. '(With) the rise in ASD (autism spectrum disorders) there is such a huge need; it is the most requested. (For Thursday's workshop) there were 100 registered, and we had to start a waiting list; it was such a huge response.' . . .
"All of this is to help meet what officials describe as a growing need for autism spectrum disorder services, in part because parents and guardians have become more aware of what signs to look for.
"'There is an increasing number of children with developmental disabilities, so there is an increased need for services,' Goldstein said. 'There are still a lot of parents who have known something was wrong with their child since they were 6 months old, and they have been told by (their doctors) that they will grow out of it.
"'(Autism spectrum disorders) are becoming more prevalent. I'm booked out until February, and there is a constant need for more services My perception is that I cannot get (to) all the services children need.'
"Rowland said the trend she has seen regarding increased awareness has been similar."
Dr. Goldstein makes her living off the autism epidemic. Notice the increasing demand for services, but no one is worried about why it's happening, especially Goldstein. Notice also that we're subtlety told that it's because of increased awareness.
Abnormal is the new normal. I posted two comments.
"People with autism may be more likely than others to have synesthesia, a condition in which people experience a mixing of their senses, such as hearing tastes and shapes, and seeing numbers in colors, a new study from Europe suggests.
"Researchers tested 164 people with autism and 97 people without autism by giving them online questionnaires designed to evaluate whether they had synesthesia. They found synesthesia occurred in about 7 percent of people who didn't have autism a figure within the range of previously reported rates.
"In contrast, 19 percent of people with autism appeared to have synesthesia, according to the study published yesterday (Nov. 19) in the journal Molecular Autism.
"The findings may provide new insights into common factors that underlie brain development in these separate conditions, said study researcher Simon Baron-Cohen, a professor of developmental psychopathology at the University of Cambridge in the U.K. . . .
"This idea would give researchers 'an exciting new lead' to search for genes that are shared between the two conditions, and which might play a role in how the brain forms or loses neural connections, said Simon Fisher, another researcher in the study, and director of the language and genetics department at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, in the Netherlands. . . ."
Five years ago, one of my daughters did a project a high school project on synesthesia. At the time I thought it sounded like something that could be a factor in autism. I didn't much care because it's such a non-issue when dealing with an epidemic that we officially know NOTHING about--except that vaccines don't cause it.
What an insult to parents living with a disabled autistic child. Instead of learning anything significant about autism, money is wasted on this research. It does nothing but promote the idea that autism is genetic and merely a medical curiosity. Is anyone in the media ever embarrassed about this kind of garbage.?
Maybe doctors should start testing autistic kids for synesthesia. I'm sure it would be very helpful--not! How appropriate that Simon Baron Cohen is cited here.