Videos From Autism Science Foundation Annual Day of Learning

Videos From Autism Science Foundation Annual Day of Learning

The Day of Learning at the Autism Science Foundation (ASF), is a TED-style science conference that brings together leading autism researchers to present new findings to members of the autism community. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, this year’s Day of Learning was held virtually. Over 800 people from across the world took part in the event.

Below are links to recorded presentations paired with ways to learn more on topics on the INformation Network website.

Do We Need New Terms for Autism? – Dr. Catherine Lord – School of Medicine at UCLA

Dr. Lord called for a new term: “profound autism.” Announced publicly for the first time at the Day of Learning, the term is intended to help individuals with the highest level of needs gain access to appropriate services and to increase research participation by this understudied subpopulation.

Read More: What is ASD?

Autism Research in 2020: What Do We Know? What Do We Need? – Dr. James McPartland – Yale Child Study Center

Dr. McPartland explains that many of the advancements made this year amid the pandemic will benefit individuals on the autism spectrum long after the current crisis is over.

Read More: About the Diagnosis, What is Evidence-Based?

Developing Personalized Social Interventions for Adolescents with Autism – Dr. Matthew Lerner – Stony Brook University

Dr. Matthew Lerner explained how he and his team are moving toward an “evidence-based menu” of interventions to develop social skills in adolescents with autism, which will allow families to take more targeted actions to improve outcomes.

Read More: Transition

Is ABA Passe? – Dr. Melanie Pellecchia – University of Pennsylvania

Dr. Pellecchia outlined some of the historic problems of applied behavioral analysis (ABA) and showed how increased knowledge of childhood development has significantly improved the practice in recent years, with a greater emphasis on fun, play-based therapy sessions and a de-emphasis on “teacher-led, didactic” sessions.

Read More: Applied Behavior Analysis

Research on Adults with Autism in Natural Settings – Dr. Vanessa Hus Bal – Rutgers University

Dr. Hus Bal argued that while support for adults with autism often focuses on the transition to adulthood and associated milestones, there is not enough being done to provide adults with ongoing support throughout their lives.

Read More: Adulthood and Aging

Robots as Autism Therapy Partners – Dr. Brian Scasselatti – Yale University

Dr. Scassellati demonstrated the powerful effect that robots can have as autism therapy partners and explained what parents should look for in evaluating these solutions.

Read More: Technology

Seniors with ASD

What information is available on how to support seniors with ASD?

Currently, not much information is available on how to support seniors with ASD. However, we know that age and severity of autism are tightly linked, where the severity of autism tends to grow with age across such situations as social communication, coping with change or generating new ideas or solutions (Charlton, 2016). But here are some resources:

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)

On this page, you can explore the following topics (click on the topic of interest):

What is ABA?

Applied Behavior Analysis, or ABA, is a research-based philosophy of working with individuals of different abilities, not just individuals with ASD. ABA encompasses a range of strategies and methods based on standard behavioral principles designed to address reduction of behaviors by encouraging positive or desired behaviors and discouraging negative or unwanted behaviors in order to improve a variety of skills. Behaviors are considered to be a form of communication that can be addressed by teaching appropriate skills to support the reduction of undesired behaviors across settings.

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Examples of ABA methods include, but are not limited to:

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  • Incidental Teaching: Creating a learning environment based on an individual’s interests or motivations

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  • Social Stories™: Using words and/or pictures to describe what to do in various situations that may challenge or provoke anxiety within an individual (developed by Carol Gray)

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Additional Resources

Autism Speaks: Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) www.autismspeaks.org/what-autism/treatment/applied-behavior-analysis-aba

Behavior Analysis Certification Board (BACB): About Behavior Analysis www.bacb.com/about-behavior-analysis/

HANDS in Autism® Interdisciplinary Training & Resource Center: Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). What is it? HANDSinAutism.iupui.edu/autism.html 

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Mental Health

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On this page, you can explore the following topics (click on the topic of interest):

Introduction

It is not uncommon for individuals with ASD to have a co-occurring mental health disorder. Sometimes, these mental health disorders can go undiagnosed because the symptoms and resulting behaviors may be incorrectly attributed to the individual’s ASD diagnosis.

Information about specific mental health disorders may be obtained through credible sources such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), but the information below is designed to provide individuals and families with facts about mental health and ASD as well as available resources across Indiana to help intervene and support individuals with co-occurring disorders.

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Can Individuals with ASD Also Have Other Mental Health Disorders?

Yes, research has indicated that individuals with ASD exhibit an increased risk of developing psychiatric disorders compared to the general population. Some disorders, such as anxiety, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), communication disorders, intellectual disabilities, and others share particular symptoms and challenges with ASD.  This makes identification and interventions a bit more complex, necessitating involvement of professionals trained to work with this population.

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What Resources are Available for Individuals with ASD and Mental Health Issues?

Resources and appropriate treatment options vary based upon the individual’s specific needs, as well as geographic location. Speaking with a:

  • family physician,
  • pediatrician,
  • developmental neurologist,
  • psychiatrist, and/or
  • licensed psychiatrist

will help you determine how to find the best specialist to assist your family member with ASD and a co-occurring mental health disorder.

In addition, the Autism Society of Indiana’s Autism Resource Network of Indiana (ARNI) is a useful tool to find and access resources and provider information related to mental health treatment across the state of Indiana. The Indiana Psychological Association and National Register of Health Service Psychologists both offer tools to find psychologists and mental health professionals in a particular area. Similarly, Indiana’s System of Care (SOC) Network is designed to connect families, organizations, and providers within and across communities to improve service deliveries for individuals and families seeking resources related to mental health. HANDS in Autism® is part of a continuum of services within the Department of Psychiatry at the IU School of Medicine and with a focus on ASD and mental health. Finally, The Arc of Indiana Insurance Advocacy Resource Center may assist with determining which treatments or providers are covered under particular insurance plans.

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What Resources Are Available For Families Managing Stress Related To Having A Family Member With ASD?

Having a family member diagnosed with ASD can be a stressful time for caregivers.  Support groups can help assist individuals in managing their personal stress levels associated with the ASD diagnosis.  Numerous support groups exist within the community that are comprised of professionals, primary caregivers, medical professionals, educators, social service workers, and others.  For a list of local support groups in your area, visit some of the resources noted below.

For more information, go to the page on ASD & Families.

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 Available Resources

National and Nationwide Resources:

State Resources:

References

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Early Childhood

On this page, you can explore the following topics (click on the topic of interest):

Introduction

While ASD can  be detected as early as 18 months or younger, diagnosis is considered very reliable by the age of 2 (Lord et al, 2006). However, many children fail to receive a diagnosis until much later, which may prevent them from getting the help they need right away.

Learn about the “red flags” by CDC.

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What Can Parents Do?

As a parent, you know your child and can spot warning signs of autism early on.

  • Monitor the development of your child. Keep an eye on how your child is developing socially, emotionally, and cognitively. While developmental delays do not equate to autism, they can indicate a risk.
  • If you are concerned, take actions. If you have any concerns or have questions, talk to your doctor right away.
  • Trust your instincts. 

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ASD Screening Poster by HANDS in Autism®

Download a screening poster and a checklist from the HANDS in Autism® Website

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More Resources

Resources for childcare providers

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