OT WebGems- Autism Edition

Welcome back! It's time for more OT-related WebGems! I'm still hoping that this phrase is not copyrighted! As I have previously acknowledged, I and everyone else have a lot that we need to learn about autism. Hats off to the millions of parents who know far more about what works and what doesn't from their practical experience than I do from books and work. Here's a few newsclips about some up and coming autism research.

Genetic social skills- These researchers looked at the social skills of parents who had children with autism. 15% of the parents were classified as "socially aloof," and the researchers wonder if this is a genetic link to some of the social skills deficits in children w/ autism. I just hope it doesn't bring back the "refrigerator mom" theory.

Early Intervention- Researchers from the University of Michigan have started a 5 year study looking at how early intervention can effect social skills and language development of toddlers with autism. Study participants get 25 hours/week of therapy for 2 years, including ABA treatment and parent training.

Fever as a productive time- Researchers studied children with autism before and after having a fever, finding improved concentration, language skills and eye contact immediately following a fever. They offer this as "an exciting lead" in autism treatments, and offer anecdotal evidence for this reaction as well.

Robot Playmates- A group of engineers studied how children with autism interacted with a robotic playmate that was equipped to blow bubbles. This was a very small study, but an interesting lead. A little odd, but interesting nonetheless.

Susan Senator- This woman has raised 3 children, including a child with autism. She is the author of "Making Peace with Autism," which I would like to read. Here are two of her essays- one on kids using the word "retarded" in an inappropriate way, and one on the difficulty of choosing a residential school. I know that if I would have used "retarded" as a putdown, my mother would have taken in out on me as if I had used the N-word, F-word, etc.

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