Often overlooked in intervention studies, it is becoming increasingly clearer that adaptive behavior, the “will do” vs. the “can do” of functioning, should receive more focus. In people with autism and high IQ, cognitive ability, the “can do” is higher than adaptive behavior, the “will do”. Why? The key in new research from the National Institutes of Health may be social abilities. Another study this week from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in adult with high IQ demonstrates that social motivation may be the key to improving social skills and socialization in people with ASD.
Paid support staff are critical to helping individuals at all ages with autism. Unfortunately, they are mostly poorly paid, and exhibit high levels of burnout. What psychological constructs are most important, and can they be targeted for services to help provide better services for those with ASD? As it turns out, more important than preventing burnout is building up psychological capital, which helps deal with the effects of burnout. In addition, a new important feature of autism has been identified: intolerance to uncertainty. Previously linked to ASD through anxiety, now it is shown to have direct connections to ASD diagnosis and symptomatology. Is this a new core feature?
Unfortunately this podcast does not really provide an answer, but does highlight data published over the holidays which shows in another dataset, that the prevalence of autism seems to be leveling out, rather than continue to increase as it has done for the past several decades. It isn’t the final word and clearly there may be exceptions, but now two national datasets have shown no further increase in autism prevalence in the last few years of looking. Is it 1:68 as reported in one study or 1:39 in another? Is it somewhere in between? Still to early to say, but white boys seem to be the most likely to get a diagnosis no matter where you look. Also, folic acid proves to show an effect on the probability of not just an autism diagnosis, but autism symptoms. This is especially important for women taking anti epileptic medications for seizures and bipolar depression. Welcome to 2018!
Here are links to the articles. Some of them are open access!