A message for MLK’s birthday and a better way diagnose anxiety

Happy MLK day – a day when we recognize a man for his contribution in justice, tolerance, equality and service, I highlight a supreme court case which affects how those with special needs are fighting for justice and equality.   Also, over the holidays, Dr. Connor Kerns from Drexel University published how a new tool to diagnose anxiety in those with autism was validated, setting the stage for its use by physicians and clinicians who don’t have a lot of experience with autism to help better understand the symptoms of their patients.

Moving away from genes OR environment towards genes AND environment

On Thursday October 1st, Autism Science Foundation, Autism Speaks and the Escher Fund for Autism co-organized an online symposium which examined the possibility that early mutations in cells that pass along genetic information from generation to generation (sperm and egg and cells that make the sperm an egg) has a role in the causes of autism.  This symposium is on the ASF podcast feed, but a quick summary is presented on this week’s podcast.  Jill Escher from the Escher Fund for Autism and Mat Pletcher from Autism Speaks provide their perspective.  Also, a quick rundown on the study that caused so much monkeying around in the press.

The sad realities behind educational services and ASD

Whoops, Donald Trump did it again.  During the Republican debates, comments around vaccines and autism were made that could cause more confusion.  This at a time when the matter should be settled in the minds of the public.  ASF president Alison Singer comments on what people should know.  Also, a new analysis examines the types of services people with developmental delay and ASD receive in the educational system.  Here’s a not-surprising sneak peak:  they are getting less than they deserve and have to go elsewhere despite laws stating otherwise.  Finally, an older drug for depression, called Effexor, may both relieve behavioral problems associated with ASD and lower the doses of anti anxiety drugs and antipsychotic drugs needed to calm irritability and aggression.