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Autism

 

Autism

 

The topics listed are individual websites on autism that can be accessed only by members of The National Association of Parents with Children in Special Education (NAPCSE).  If you are not a member of NAPCSE, and would like to join, click here to register. Members of NAPCSE, please log in above (member login and password) to activate these, and all other websites, in our database. 



Autism Topic Categories

 


Introduction to NAPCSE Autism Page

 

Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorder-NOS (not otherwise specified) are developmental disabilities that share many of the same characteristics. Usually evident by age three, autism and PDD-NOS are neurological disorders that affect a child’s ability to communicate, understand language, play, and relate to others.

In the diagnostic manual used to classify disabilities, the DSM-IV (American Psychiatric Association, 2000), “autistic disorder” is listed as a category under the heading of “Pervasive Developmental Disorders.” A diagnosis of autistic disorder is made when an individual displays 6 or more of 12 symptoms listed across three major areas: social interaction, communication, and behavior. When children display similar behaviors but do not meet the criteria for autistic disorder, they may receive a diagnosis of Pervasive Developmental Disorder-NOS (PDD not otherwise specified). Although the diagnosis is referred to as PDD-NOS, throughout the remainder of this fact sheet, we will refer to the diagnosis as PDD, as it is more commonly known.

Autistic disorder is one of the disabilities specifically defined in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the federal legislation under which children and youth with disabilities receive special education and related services. IDEA, which uses the term “autism,” defines the disorder as “a developmental disability significantly affecting verbal and nonverbal communication and social interaction, usually evident before age 3, that adversely affects a child’s educational performance. Other characteristics often associated with autism are engagement in repetitive activities and stereotyped movements, resistance to environmental change or change in daily routines, and unusual responses to sensory experiences.” (In keeping with the IDEA and the way in which this disorder is generally referred to in the field, we will use the term autism throughout the remainder of this fact sheet.)

Due to the similarity of behaviors associated with autism and PDD, use of the term pervasive developmental disorder has caused some confusion among parents and professionals. However, the treatment and educational needs are similar for both diagnoses.

 

ABA and Autism

 

  • ABA Resources for Recovery from Autism-Behavioral intervention (ABA) is a teaching method to help children with autism and related disorders develop to their maximum potential. Links to research, service providers, support groups, curriculum, and legal and special education information
  • ABA approach to Autism-The Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies offers a section of their web site to educating parents and other interested persons about the ABA approach.
  • Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and Autism: Much publicity has recently surrounded the Applied Behavior Analysis approach to the treatment of Autism. But what exactly is ABA? How do you know if an intervention program works? Read more...

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Accommodations/Modifications

  • Suggested modifications - For students with Autism Spectrum Disorders: strategies and general principles for planning interventions for students with Autism.
  • Classrooms that work - There are as many educational techniques and settings that work for kids with PDD-NOS or atypical PDD as there are children with these diagnoses. There are some settings that have a marked record of success, however, and that parents would love to see replicated.
  • Maladaptive behavior and PDD - Pervasive Developmental Disorders: Effective Teaching Strategies: various adaptations and treatment strategies used in classrooms to accommodate those with learning difficulties as a result of pervasive developmental disorders.
  • Teaching students with autism - To provide effective instruction for students with autism, some general considerations should be addressed
  • Curriculum planning for an inclusive classroom - Many general educators believe that they need specialized strategies to teach students with disabilities.For most teachers using an inclusive pedagogy will simply involve expanding strategies and approaches already used in the classroom. While there is no recipe for expanding these strategies and approaches, a few simple guidelines can help educators plan lessons appropriate for the inclusive classroom.
  • Classroom environment and educational programming-preschool: general modifications and accommodations when dealing with preschool children with Autism.
  • Classroom environment and educational programming-middle and high school: general modifications and accommodations when dealing with middle and high school students with Autism.

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Adults with Autism

  • Understanding autism in adults: Understanding autism can be very difficult, even for individuals with personal experience living with it as a part of them. These resources are designed to give you a deeper understanding of autism in adults.
  • Transition to the world of work: first hand experience from a professor involved with students with Autism transitioning from school to the world of work.
  • Choosing the right job:Jobs need to be chosen that make use of the strengths of people with autism or Asperger's syndrome. Both high and low functioning people have very poor short-term working memory, but they often have a better long-term memory than most normal people.
  • A parent's support group: dedicated to raising awareness of services and supported living arrangements needed for the entire spectrum of adults with autism through developing and implementing educational programs
  • Adults on the Autism Spectrum: Children grow to be adults and adults have different needs. There are many adults on the autism spectrum in our society and over the next few decades those numbers will grow substantially. Meeting the needs of those adults will determine how successful their lives are.
  • Autism community resources by state: an excellent state by state listing of available community resources for adults with Autism.
  • Adolescents and adults with Autism: a complete resource directory, advice and support phone contact, books and articles from The National Autistic Society.

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Advocacy Information

  • Comprehensive list of advocacy sites: a list of over 75 state and national advocacy resources for children with autism and disabilities of other types.
  • Articles on advocacy: Successful advocacy depends on having accurate information and knowing how to use it. There are four sections in the Advocacy Library:  Advocacy Articles: FAQs- Letters to Wrightslaw, Newsletter Archives, and Advocacy Tips 
  • Advocacy tips: general tips to follow in becoming your child with Autism's advocate.
  • Autistic advocacy: a good review of topics and articles on Autism advocacy.
  • Autism community-Dedicated to sharing ideas on alternative living arrangements for autistic people.
  • Autism Network International-An autistic-run self-help and advocacy organization for autistic people.
  • Autism Information-Provides information to parents, doctors, teachers, tutors, caregivers, and anyone interested in learning more about autism and autism spectrum disorders.
  • Autism Community-Community for parents, caregivers and educators of people with autism.
  • Autism support community: Support community for parents and families, news, photo-art gallery, information and interactive features.
  • Autism Advocacy-Positive support and information regarding autism, pdd, asperger's and all disorders under the spectrum. Siblings, spouses, ABA and other therapies, IEPs, Beginner's Guide to Autism, message board and online club.
  • Autism and self-advocacy-Developing self-advocacy for people living with Autism.
  • Autism and families-A nonprofit organization dedicated to providing information and advice to families of More advanced individuals with Autism, Asperger's syndrome, and Pervasive developmental disorder (PDD).

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Asperger Syndrome

 

  • Asperger's Disorder: throughout the life span- Diagnosis and multimodal treatment of Asperger's Disorder in different age groups.
  • Asperger's Syndrome links- An informational page with links.
  • Asperger's Syndrome, by: Lars Perner, Ph.D.-Brief introduction to this condition on the high functioning edge of the autistic spectrum and links to other resources.
  • Asperger Syndrome Coalition of the U.S.-The Asperger Syndrome Coalition of the U.S. is a national nonprofit organization committed to providing the most up-to-date and comprehensive information on Asperger Syndrome and related conditions
  • Asperger Syndrome Videos - Videos to help people who support individuals with Asperger Syndrome, on the high functioning end of the Autism spectrum
  • A resource site for Asperger's Syndrome
  • The Asperger Room-Contains information, news, message board and more from Ben a 22 year old UK male with Asperger's Syndrome.
  • Families of Adults Afflicted with Asperger's Syndrome (FAAAS) -A support group that is aimed at the families of those afflicted with Asperger's Syndrome. Especially those whose relative has not been correctly diagnosed until they are well into adulthood.
  • NINDS Asperger Syndrome Information Page-Asperger Syndrome information sheet compiled by NINDS, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
  • Online Asperger Syndrome Information and Support -Includes research papers, support groups, clinicians, research projects, educational resources, message board/chatroom, and contributions from individuals and families.
  • Asperger Syndrome- A resource for people with Asperger's, their families and professionals who work with them.

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Assessment

  • Purpose and procedures: Considering the heterogeneity of characteristics associated with autism spectrum disorders, it is not surprising that questions often arise about how best to evaluate children with this diagnosis.
  • Professional issues: individuals assessing children with pervasive developmental disorders need to be familiar with diagnostic criteria and be prepared to use alternative assessment procedures to compliment traditional standardized testing in order to accurately make a diagnosis. This article will address several key issues in assessing children suspected of having autism.
  • Lists of tests: a very thorough list and explanation of tests used to assess children with Autism.
  • Diagnostic and assessment instruments: The following instruments are used by educators, clinicians, and researchers to assess children suspected of, or previously diagnosed with, a pervasive developmental disorder.
  • Lists of tests used in assessment: a list of tests often used to assess children with Autism
  • Screening tests for autism:Screening tests for autism are often used if there is a heightened concern about possible autism, or as part of a general assessment of a child's development. Screening for autism is often done prior to a more specific in-depth assessment for autism.

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Assistive Technology

  • Good overview:This article will discuss how various modes of technology (including technology designed as augmentative communication systems), can be used for children with autism
  • Assistive technology and augmentative communication: selective links to assistive technology and augmentative communication resources for children withAutism and other disabilities.
  • Autism, speech, and assistive technology:a first hand account of the trials and tribulations of an individual with Autism and assistive technology.
  • Curriculum wide integration: The Center for Technology in Education (CTE), a partnership of Johns Hopkins University and the Maryland State Department, is developing a hybrid paradigm that involves infusing technology-based instructional and behavioral supports into existing curriculum activities to help promote gains in communication, social skills, academics, as well as to increase the children's overall involvement in classroom activities.
  • High tech assistive technology strategies: There are two "high"-tech strategies which have proven very effective in focusing on various skill areas for children with autism: video taping and computers.
  • Case study-literacy needs and assistive technology: the use of assistive technology with a young child who has literacy problems and also has Autism.
  • Assistive technology sites: a thorough list of assistive technology sites
  • Extensive site with over 250 assistive technology websites:this is a wonderful and comprehensive list of the various assistive technology sites.

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Audio/Video Tapes

  • A partial list of audiotapes on Autism
  • The Regional Autism Services Program, a cooperative activity of the Department of Education and  Child Health Specialty Clinic offers audio tapes on loan to interested persons who provide service to individuals with autism spectrum disorders.
  • Extensive list: a very long list of audio and video tapes
  • Seected list: a short but excellent choice of video tapes on all aspects of Autism
  • Video and film documentaries
  • Variety of subjects:a list of video tapes and DVD's on all aspects of the Autism Spectrum Disorder

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Autism Educator Information

 

  • Autism discussion group-Autism Educators discussion group is open to practitioners involved in the education of children with ASD who share two perspectives: firstly, that the world-view of people with autism is one that deserves to be respected and valued; and secondly, that no single teaching approach or technique is appropriate for teaching most or all children with ASD. The aim is to exchange practical teaching ideas and experiences.
  • Efficacy of Autism treatment- The Center provides information about autism to parents and professionals, and conducts research on the efficacy of various therapeutic interventions. Much of our research is in collaboration with the Autism Research Institute in San Diego, California.
  • Teaching Social skills to children with Autism-Teaching Social Skills to children with autism This hands-on manual provides information on using ABA approaches, and social skill checklists to develop comprehensive and systematic strategies to teach social skills.
  • Home-based child centered programs for Autism- The Autism Treatment Center of America? teaches parents and professionals caring for children and adults challenged by Autism, Autism Spectrum Disorders, Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), and all other developmental difficulties how to design and implement home-based/child-centered programs enabling their children to dramatically improve in all areas of learning, development, communication and skill acquisition.

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Books and Publications

  • Facing Autism: Giving Parents Reasons for Hope and Guidance for Help
  • Reports From My Life with Autism
  • Toilet Training for Individuals with Autism and Related Disorders
  • Let Me Hear Your Voice: A Family’s Triumph Over Autism
  • A Medical Treatment Guide for Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Unraveling the Mystery of Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorder: A Mother’s Story of Research and Recovery
  • Activity Schedules for Children with Autism: Teaching Independent Behavior
  • My Friend with Autism: A Coloring Books for Peers and Siblings
  • Autism: What doe I do?
  • A Treasure Chest of Behavioral Strategies for Individuals with Autism
  • Educating Children with Autism
  • Overcoming Autism
  • Embracing Play-Teaching Your Child with Autism
  • Enzymes for Autism and other Neurological Conditions
  • Solving Behavior Problems in Autism
  • The Everything Parent’s Guide to Autism
  • Autism and the New Law
  • Inclusive Programming for Elementary Students with Autism
  • list from TEACCH Program
  • books on autism and Asperger’s Syndrome
  • non-fiction books
  • non-fiction by topic
  • fiction
  • children’s autism books
  • autism resources-bibliography: books and articles-extensive
  • journals and periodicals
  • journals that often carry articles on autism
  • selected articles
  • diagnostic and assessment references

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Causes

  • General article including causes: It has been over 50 years since Dr. Leo Kanner, a psychiatrist at Johns Hopkins University, wrote the first paper applying the term 'autism' to a group of children who were self-absorbed and who had severe social, communication, and behavioral problems. This paper provides a general overview of the complexity of this developmental disability by summarizing many of the major topics in autism.
  • Excellent overview of various theories of autism: Some experts believe there are bio-chemical reasons for autism; others suspect that it is a psychiatric disorder. Some believe that a combination of the wrong foods and too many antibiotics and environmental toxins can damage the colon and lead to physical and behavioral problems, including autism.
  • General article including causes from the National Institute of Mental Health: All these disorders are characterized by varying degrees of impairment in communication skills, social interactions, and restricted, repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behavior.
  • Search for autism’s roots: A marked rise in the number of people diagnosed with autism sparked controversy over the safety of certain vaccines. As the furore dies down, Kathleen Wong talks to researchers seeking the real causes of this unsettling condition.
  • Excellent overview: everything you ever wanted to know about Autism.
  • Genetics and autism: The first thing Dr. Cook wanted to clarify about genetics is that, finding genetic evidence of autism does not mean that that person's fate is sealed.
  • Theories and causes: There is no theory of the cause of autism which everyone has found convincing. There may be multiple causes. Thus we will review some of the proposed causes.

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Characteristics

  • General article including characteristics: Many autistic infants are different from birth. Two common characteristics they may exhibit include arching their back away from their caregiver to avoid physical contact and failing to anticipate being picked up (i.e., becoming limp). Read more.
  • Common characteristics: The symptoms and characteristics of autism can present themselves in a wide variety of combinations, from mild to severe. Although autism is defined by a certain set of behaviors, children and adults can exhibit any combination of the behaviors in any degree of severity.
  • Excellent overview: contains an excellent section on characteristics of Autism.
  • Characteristic behaviors: a lengthy list oif characteristics of Autism

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Childhood Disintegrative Disorder

  • Overview of Childhood disintegrative disorder : Childhood disintegrative disorder is a condition occurring in 3- and 4-year-olds who have developed normally to age 2. Over several months, a child with this disorder will deteriorate in intellectual, social, and language functioning from previously normal behavior.  
  • Criteria and clinical features  : This rather rare condition was described many years before autism (Heller, 1908) but has only recently been 'officially' recognized. With CDD children develop a condition which resembles autism but only after a relatively prolonged period (usually 2 to 4 years) of clearly normal development
  • Overview : a very thorough overview of childhood disintegrative disorder.
  • Symptoms  :Although apparently rare the condition probably has frequently been incorrectly diagnosed. The following is prominent with the condition...
  • The DSM diagnostic criteria for CDD : the criteria from The Diagnostic and Statitistical Manual on the diagnosis of childhood disintegrative disorder. 
  • Contrast DSM criteria for CDD with the other PDD disorders: Doctors are divided on the use of the term PDD. Many professionals use the term PDD as a short way of saying PDDNOS. Some doctors, however, are hesitant to diagnose very young children with a specific type of PDD, such as Autistic Disorder, and therefore only use the general category label of PDD. This approach contributes to the confusion about the term

 

                           Research on Childhood Disintegrative Disorder

  • Autism and PDD research at the Yale Child Study Center
  • Want to know how to evaluate research studies?
  • Ask the Editor: What is childhood disintegrative disorder, how is it different from autism, and what is believed to be its cause? (2000, April). Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 30(2), 177-177. (Abstracts of journal articles are available online at this site.)
  • Malhotra, S., & Gupta, N.. (1999). Childhood disintegrative disorder. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 29(6), 491-498. (Abstracts of journal articles are available online at this site.)
  • Volkmar, F.R. (1992). Childhood disintegrative disorder: Issues for DSM-IV. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 22, 625-642. (Abstracts of journal articles are available online at this site)
  • Volkmar, F., Klin, A., Marans, W., & Cohen, D. (1997). Childhood disintegrative disorder. In D. Cohen. & F. Volkmar (Eds.), Handbook of Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorders (2nd ed.) (pp. 60-93). New York:Wiley.
  • Zwaigenbaum, L. (2000, April). Case report: High functioning autism and childhood disintegrative disorder in half brothers. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 30(2), 121-126. (Abstracts of journal articles are available online at this site.)


                     Organizations That Can Help (Childhood Disintegrative Syndrome)

  • Autism Organizations: Given the CDD is one of the disorders along the autism spectrum, with symptoms quite similar to autism itself, you may also find useful information, assistance, and connection to local resources at any or all of the autism-related organizations.

 


                   Teaching Students with CDD

  • Educating students with Autism: As was said above, it's very difficult to locate information specific to CDD, let alone materials about educating students with this rare disorder. Since CDD is one of the disorders along the autism spectrum, with symptoms quite similar to autism itself, appropriate educational interventions will be those similar to what's used when educating students with autism.

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Classifications or Types of

  • Is there more than one type? : Several related disorders are grouped under the broad heading "Pervasive Developmental Disorders" or PDD
  • Types: Individuals who fall under the Pervasive Developmental Disorder category in the DSM-IV exhibit commonalties in communication and social deficits, but differ in terms of severity.
  • Pervasive developmental disorder: The diagnostic category pervasive developmental disorders (PDD) refers to a group of disorders characterized by delays in the development of multiple basic functions including socialization and communication.
  • Excellent overview: Several related disorders are grouped under the broad heading "Pervasive Developmental Disorder" or PDD-a general category of disorders which are characterized by severe and pervasive impairment in several areas of development
  • Overview of Asperger’s Syndrome: Asperger Syndrome is a neuro-biological disorder named for a Viennese physician, Hans Asperger, who in 1944 published a paper which described a pattern of behaviors in several young boys who had normal intelligence and language development, but who also exhibited autistic-like behaviors and marked deficiencies in social and communication skills.
  • Autistic savant: The autistic savant is one of the most fascinating cognitive phenomena in psychology. "Autistic savant" refers to individuals with autism who have extraordinary skills not exhibited by most persons.
  • Autism and Aspergers- Index of online information and resources on autism and asperger's symdrome. In addition to the list of links, the site has a FAQ memo and a bibliography.
  • Autism Spectrum Disorders-Full article on the full spectrum of autistic disorders, and how to sort them out.

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Classroom Management

  • Treatment and education: While there is no cure for autism, there are treatment and education approaches that may reduce some of the challenges associated with the disability. Intervention may help to lessen disruptive behaviors, and education can teach self-help skills that allow for greater independence.
  • Effective approaches: Evidence shows that early intervention results in dramatically positive outcomes for young children with autism. While various pre-school models emphasize different program components, all share an emphasis on early, appropriate, and intensive educational interventions for young children.
  • Current interventions in autism-brief analysis: an excellent overview on the differences and similarities, goals, and methods of ABA, the Lovass method, TEACCH, PECS, Greenspan and Inclusion.
  • Lovaas Institute: The UCLA Model of Applied Behavior Analysis was created and developed in the Psychology Department of UCLA under the direction of Dr. O. Ivar Lovaas. It is based on extensive clinical experience and more than 40 years of scientific research.
  • Institute for Applied Behavior Analysis- ABA
  • All about TEACCH
  • Educational methods: There are a number of methods & techniques used in the education of autistic children. Many teachers use a variety of combination of methods. Some teachers attempt to identify an individual student's learning style and modify curriculum and materials to suit the student's learning style.
  • Recommendations for students with high functioning autism: 19 great and fully explained strategies for working with children with Autism.
  • Learning styles: Parents and professionals are well aware of the difficulties children with autism have in many educational settings. In response they have developed alternative programs and intervention strategies. Although some of these have been useful, most emphasize remediating behavioral difficulties to improve educational functioning. Another aspect of the problem, however, has received less attention: the specific learning needs of this unique population
  • Guidelines for mainstreaming: With the momentum for (mainstream) inclusion of children with special educational needs and the growing realisation that it may not always be in the best interests of children with autism or Asperger syndrome to be grouped together in classes, it is likely that many children at the higher functioning and more verbal end of the continuum of need, who might previously have attended specialist schools, will now be educated in their local, mainstream schools.
  • Social behavior: One of the most characteristic symptoms of autism is a dysfunction in social behavior. Numerous reports written by parents and researchers have described this problem, and it is thought by many to be the key defining feature of autism. The social problems can be classified into three categories: socially avoidant, socially indifferent, and socially awkward.
  • Stimulus over selectivity: Stimulus overselectivity is a term used to describe a phenomenon whereby a person focuses on only one aspect of an object or environment while ignoring other aspects. Many autistic individuals appear to have this 'tunnel vision.' This phenomenon was first described in 1971 by Lovaas, Schreibman, Koegel and Rehm at U.C.L.A.
  • Attention and behavior problems: One reason why some autistic individuals engage in behavior problems is to obtain attention. That is, they may have learned that by ‘acting up,’ they will receive some form of attention (i.e., reinforcement). Even though the attention given to them may be negative, such as a caretaker saying ‘Stop that,’ the child may still interpret the interaction as positive.
  • Music therapy and language: Since autistic children sometimes sing when they may not speak, music therapists and music educators can work systematically on speech through vocal music activities.
  • Sensory integration: Children and adults with autism, as well as those with other developmental disabilities, may have a dysfunctional sensory system. Sometimes one or more senses are either over- or under-reactive to stimulation.
  • Teaching tips: Good teachers helped me to achieve success. I was able to overcome autism because I had good teachers. At age 2 1/2 I was placed in a structured nursery school with experienced teachers. From an early age I was taught to have good manners and to behave at the dinner table. Children with autism need to have a structured day, and teachers who know how to be firm but gentle. QA first person account.
  • TEACCH and Autism-Frequently asked questions about autism from TEACCH.
  • Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and verbal behavior: ABA generally assumes that appropriate behavior – including speech, academics and life skills – can be taught using scientific principles. ABA assumes that children are more likely to repeat behaviors or responses that are rewarded (or "reinforced"), and they are less likely to continue behaviors that are not rewarded.
  • Introduction to discrete trial: The discrete trial is the primary teaching method for a number of the behaviorally-based interventions used in teaching children with autism. In fact, Discrete Trial Training (DTT) is often synonymous with Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), though that is a practice that should probably be discouraged, as they are two very different beasts.
  • Complimentary approaches to the treatment of Autism: While early educational intervention is key to improving the lives of individuals with autism, some parents and professionals believe that other treatment approaches may play an important role in improving communications skills and reducing behavioral symptoms associated with autism. These complementary therapies may include music, art or animal therapy and may be done on an individual basis or integrated into an educational program.
  • Behavioral and communication approaches to the treatment of Autism: The behaviors exhibited by children with autism are frequently the most troubling to parents and caregivers. These behaviors may be inappropriate, repetitive, aggressive and/or dangerous, and may include hand-flapping, finger-snapping, rocking, placing objects in one's mouth, and head-banging. Children with autism may engage in self-mutilation, such as eye-gouging or biting their arms; may show little or no sensitivity to burns or bruises; and may physically attack someone without provocation.
  • Treatment and education: Discovering that your child has autism can be an overwhelming experience. For some, the diagnosis may come as a complete surprise; others may have suspected autism and tried for months or years to get an accurate diagnosis. In either case, you probably have many questions about how to proceed.

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Definition

  • What is autism?: comprehensive overview of Autism and the specific types fornd on the Autism Spectrum Disorder.
  • What is autism: another perspective on the condition known as Autism
  • Excellent overview: everything you always wanted to know about Autism and the Autism Spectrum Disorder.
  • Definition of autism and PDD: Autistic disorder is one of the disabilities specifically defined in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the federal legislation under which children and youth with disabilities receive special education and related services. IDEA, which uses the term “autism,” defines the disorder as...
  • Definition of PDD: Over the past few years, PDD has become a subject of increased attention among parents, professionals, and policymakers across the country.
  • Definition of autism: diagnostic criteria for the diagnosis of Autism.
  • Autistic disorder from DSM IV: the diagnostic criteria used by DSM for Autism is lited.
  • Basic definition: Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorder NOS (not otherwise specified) are developmental disabilities that share many of the same characteristics.

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Diagnosis

  • General article including diagnosis from the National Institute of Mental Health: A detailed booklet that describes symptoms, causes, and treatments, with information on getting help and coping.
  • Diagnosing autism: There are no medical tests for diagnosing autism. An accurate diagnosis must be based on observation of the individual's communication, behavior, and developmental levels. However, because many of the behaviors associated with autism are shared by other disorders, various medical tests may be ordered to rule out or identify other possible causes of the symptoms being exhibited.
  • Diagnostic criteria: The following criterion for Autistic Disorder are from the 2000 Revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Fourth Edition, Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR).
  • Diagnostic criteria for Asperger’s Syndrome: The following criterion for Asperger's Syndrome are from the 2000 Revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Fourth Edition-Text (DSM IV-TR).
  • Tests used in diagnosing PDDs: Hundreds of standardized tests, questionnaires, and observation plans are available for rating behaviors, abilities, and other factors that could be related to pervasive developmental disorders. The lists in the next sections provide a little information about some of the most commonly encountered tests, but they are by no means complete.
  • Interesting website that contains a case study report and all the auxiliary Reports-good reference: an actual clinic report on a child with Autism.

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Floortime and Autism

 

  • Floortime-Overview-A developmental, individual-difference, relationship-based approach (D.I.R.) to intervention--also known as "floor-time." Based on the work of Stanley Greenspan and James McDonald.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • 20 questions and answers: an Autism Primer containg 20 of the most ferquently asked questions about Autism.
  • Common questions: quick answers to commonly asked questions about Autism.
  • Frequently asked questions: 10 basic questions about Autism that give you a good starting point in understanding this consition.
  • Frequently asked questions about Pervasive Developmental Disorder
  • Frequently asked questions: questions and answers from a professor at Colorado State University whi has written a great deal of material on Autism.
  • Autism through the ages: Autism is not a modern problem, even though it has only recently gained vast recognition. It is difficult to discuss the history of autism treatment without paying particular attention to the history of "autism" as a concept and the ways in which autism has been conceptualized and theorized about over the past 100 years.

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Functional Assessments

 

  • Overview of Functional Assessments: Functional assessment refers to a variety of approaches used to gather information about the cause of problematic behaviors to enable the design of effective treatment. Functional assessment approaches include descriptive methods (e.g., interviews, rating scales), direct observations (e.g., ABC, time charts) and functional analysis. Read much more...

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History of the Field

  • Brief history of autism
  • Autism through the ages

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Hyperlexia

  • American Hyperlexia Association 
  • What Is Hyperlexia?
  • Hyperlexia Articles 
  • What To Do?
  • Where to find help?
  • General Information 
  • Books on Hyperlexia 
  • Language systems 
  • Hyperlexia and Language Disorders – Articles 
  • Hyperlexia in Older Children 
  • ABA Resources for Recovery from Autism/PDD/Hyperlexia 

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Incidence

  • Incidence and some causes
  • Tables: state by state of all disabilities

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Legal Issues

 

  • A summary of special education law specific to autism. Subjects covered: Assessments, IEP, Stay Put, Least Restrictive Environment, Autism Services Parent Attachment to IEP, What is a Free Appropriate Education - FAPE, Extended School Year - ESY, Stay Put, Compensatory Education, Damages, Mediation and Due Process

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Medical Issues/Medications

  • Autism spectrum medical issues: a family's personal journey in dealing with thetreatment of Autism.
  • Allergies and food sensitivities: People with autism are more susceptible to allergies and food sensitivities than the average person; and this is likely due to their impaired immune system. I have provided a brief discussion of allergies and food sensitivities below.
  • Vitamin B6 and magnesium: An effective intervention for many autistic children and adults is the use of vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) and magnesium. For over 30 years, parents have given B6 and magnesium to their children and have observed benefits ranging from mild to dramatic. B6 and magnesium are safe and inexpensive.
  • Evaluating the effects of medication: When a medication is being evaluated to modify the behavior of a person with autism, one must assess the risks versus the benefits. The benefits of the medication must outweigh the risks. Some medications can damage the nervous system and other internal organs, such as the liver.
  • Vaccines and autism theory: Current scientific evidence does not support the hypothesis that measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, or any combination of vaccines, causes the development of autism, including regressive forms of autism.
  • Autism from mercury poisoning: Thimerosal is an organic compound that contains mercury, or an ‘organomercurial’ and can cause Mercury poisoning.
  • Autism and element imbalances: Much concern has been raised over the link between exposure to heavy metal toxins and neurological brain damage associated with learning and behavioral disorders in children. Indeed, research shows that exposure to heavy metals such as lead and mercury can impair brain development at very early ages-even at low doses previously deemed "harmless."1-3
  • Autism and amino acids: Clinical and anecdotal evidence suggests that diet and digestive function play important roles in influencing symptoms in many autistic children. Amino acids are the chemical building blocks of key neurotransmitters that act on the brain to influence mood and behavior.
  • Autism and fatty acids: Increasing evidence suggests that essential fatty acids, which are critical nutrients for the brain, may be especially important for children suffering from developmental disorders like autism.
  • Experimental intervention: Three years ago, I began a dietary experiment that has helped my son enormously. Because I spent so much time and energy searching for answers as to why this has helped him, and how to implement this diet, I decided to share it with other parents and professionals.
  • Autism and medical marijuana: Some families have found marijuana (mmj) to be nothing short of miraculous. Some of the symptoms MMJ has ameliorated include anxiety--even severe anxiety--aggression, panic disorder, generalized rage, tantrums, property destruction and self-injurious behavior.
  • Naltrexone and autism: In the past year, naltrexone has received a great deal of media attention. Although there have only been a handful of studies on the effectiveness of naltrexone, these reports are quite encouraging.
  • Biomedical and dietary treatments: While there are no drugs, vitamins or special diets that can correct the underlying neurological problems that seem to cause autism, parents and professionals have found that some drugs used for other disorders are sometimes effective in treating some aspects of or behaviors associated with autism.
  • Autism and secretin
  • Treatment : There is no standard, universally accepted treatment of autism; in fact, every single method has its detractors. General approaches may be summarized as follows...
  • Treatment of PDDNOS: No one therapy or method will work for all individuals with Autistic Disorder or PDDNOS. Many professionals and families will use a range of treatments simultaneously, including behavior modification, structured educational approaches, medications, speech therapy, occupational therapy, and counseling.
  • Dietary Autism treatment-Autism may be aided by a gluten-free, casein-free diet
  • Gluten Free Casein Free Diet and Autism-Explanation of the diet, menus, sources of foods, message board.
  • Quackery and Autism treatment-An excellent site about detecting quackery and health fraud. How to spot quackery, signs of a "quacky" website, and more. Several articles about treatments that are sometimes recommended for autism.

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Organizations

  • Comprehensive list:a very thorough list of state and national organizations and associations dedicated to Autism.
  • National organizations: a comprehensive list of national Autism organizations, online support groups, legal advocacy and more.
  • National autism organizations: a list of national organizations.

 

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Overview and General Information

  • Autism/PDD
  • Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified
  • an inside view of autism
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder-Original articles, links, discussion board, and chats about autism spectrum disorders.
  • Autism-What is It?-Essay, with references, on the history and current knowledge of autism.
  • Beyond Autism- Links to scientific articles and news stories.
  • Autism overview-National Institutes of Mental Health publication on the definition, diagnosis and treatment of Autism.
  • Autism information page-Brief description with some resources and links, compiled by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

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Parent Information

  • Comments from parents of children with Autism and PDD
  • Home treatment
  • parent resources
  • getting a diagnosis: starting with a pediatrician
  • what I would do if I were a parent of a child with autism
  • parent's questions
  • extensive links to numerous other autism sites
  • Comments from Parents
  • Autism and parenting-Helping parents learn how to heal their child's Autism naturally.
  • Autism experts and services-The largest collection of experts and services for the Autism Community.
  • Parent's guide to Autism-A guide to the diagnosis, treatment and education of children with autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorder. Information on diet, teaching methods, links, a message board, and book guide.
  • Growing Minds Autism Programs-Specializes in training parents whose children have autism, pdd, and other autism spectrum disorders. Offers 5-day programs with continuing distance support.

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Pervasive Developmental Disorder

 

  • PDD guide-Pervasive Developmental Disorder guide written by Dr. Rami Grossmann.
  • PDD briefing paper-NICHCY briefing paper, discussing how Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS) fits into the category of Pervasive Developmental Disorders.
  • PDD Overview-Provides introduction, and information related to: clinical, differentials, workup, treatment, medication, follow-up, etc.
  • PDD information pages- From the Yale Developmental Disabilities Clinic.
  • PDD and your child-Find out all about PDD and autistic spectrum disorders. University of Michigan Health System (UMHS) can help you find all kinds of resources, including local support groups.
  • What is PDD-If you are confused about PDD, this should help answer some of your questions.

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Prevalence

  • list of statistics: a comprehensive list indicating all the statistics on Autism
  • definition and prevalence: Sixteen studies of the prevalence of autism in childhood, using epidemiological methods in defined populations in Europe, the USA and Japan, in English or with English summaries, were found in the published literature
  • increasing incidence-fact or fiction: Each year, the IRCA reports on the incidence of autism spectrum disorders in public schools in Indiana. Ten years ago, commonly accepted incidence rates ranged from 2 to 5 individuals per 10,000. Today, the Centers for Disease Control believe that the incidence may be as great as 1 in 166 for those diagnosed with autism, Asperger’s syndrome, and other pervasive developmental disorders.


 

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Rett Syndrome

  • What is Rett Syndrome? 
  • Overview of Rett Syndrome 
  • General symptom summary 
  • Stages of Rett Syndrome 
  • Making the Diagnosis 
  • Revised diagnostic criteria for Rett Syndrome
  • Rett Syndrome in Boys 
  • The Man Who Gave Rett its Name: Profile of Dr. Andreas Rett 
  • Glossary of terms 
  • Rett Syndrome Fact Sheet 
  • Kids ask about Rett Syndrome 
  • Frequently Asked Questions 
  • Rett Syndrome Fact Sheet 
  • Description, Links and Sites 

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Sensory Integration Dysfunction

 

  • How to help children with sensory integration dysfunction- including tactile and oral defensiveness, pain tolerance and mealtime issues. Discussion lists, articles, and research
  • Interview with LornaJean King, OTR, FAOTA -One of the pioneers of sensory integration therapy, international lecturer on this topic, and founder and director of the Center for Neurodevelopmental Studies, Inc. in Phoenix, Arizona. Interview was conducted by Stephen M. Edelson (SE).
  • Sensory integration dysfunction articles-A series of articles written by parents and professionals on some of the most pressing issues for these children. Links to additional resource sites included.
  • Sensory Integration Article by Cindy Hatch-Rasmussen, MA, OTR/L –The author has written a thorough paper on sensory integration dysfunction. Includes links for those who want or need more information.
  • Sensory Integration Dysfunction in Young Children – An article by Linda C. Stephens. Also includes useful links to resources and associations related to article.
  • Sensory Integration Resource Center-Provides a broad range of information and services on sensory integration. Includes sections for parents, children, physicians, educators, therapists, families, and frequently asked questions. Resource, research, and donations links are also included.
  • Sensory integration treatment-New Clinic that helps kids with Sensory Integration and Autistic Spectrum Disorders. Uses teachings of Dr. Tomatis.
  • Sensory integration and parenting- Approaches sensory defensiveness (and its treatment, sensory integration) through a variety of articles aimed at helping parents raise and treat sensory defensive children
  • Sensory Integration Links- Section of the Sharon (Massachusetts) Special Education Parents Advisory Council that deals specifically with sensory integration. Contains a wide range of articles, interviews, resources, and links on the subject.

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