What is Autism


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Markers, genetic and behavioral as well as environmental triggers less understood.

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What is Autism

  1. 1. NJ Prol
  2. 2. <ul><li>In the National Health Interview Survey, 83% of parents who reported their child had autism also reported that their child had difficulties with emotional symptoms, conduct, hyperactivity and/or peer relationships </li></ul><ul><li>Affects twice as many boys than girls </li></ul>
  3. 4. <ul><li>ASD may be a disorder of connectivity in the brain. </li></ul><ul><li>Part of genetic load in autism may reflect gene– </li></ul><ul><li>environment interaction </li></ul><ul><li>May be a multi-system disorder: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>gastro-intestinal (GI) tract </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>immune system </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sensory systems. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Behavioral research and treatments aid management </li></ul>
  4. 6. <ul><li>Live measles virus reportedly found living in the gut of children with autism; </li></ul><ul><ul><li>British researcher Andrew Wakefield, UK, claims a connection between this and gastrointestinal problems in children with autism (1998) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Subsequent research found original research lacking </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>&quot;The whole premise by Wakefield, that the measles component of [the] MMR vaccine caused a chronic intestinal inflammation that allowed harmful proteins to enter the bloodstream and ultimately the brain, causing autism, has not one shred of scientific evidence in its support“ </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>- Dr. Paul A. Offit, Director of the Vaccine Education Center and chief of infectious diseases at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia </li></ul></ul>
  5. 7. <ul><li>Mercury found in thimerasol, a mercury-based vaccine preservative used in the MMR vaccine </li></ul><ul><ul><li>given to children during the age of 12-15 months. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mercury is just one of many heavy metals whose impact is being researched by the autism research community. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Subsequent research does not verify this connection. </li></ul></ul>
  6. 8. <ul><li>2006 Combating Autism Act U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services forms Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) </li></ul><ul><li>2007 IACC mandated to develop and annually update a strategic plan for the conduct of, and support for, autism spectrum disorder (ASD) research, including proposed budgetary requirements. </li></ul><ul><li>November 2008 Draft Strategic Plan rebutted by major Autism Stakeholder groups who request: </li></ul>
  7. 9. <ul><li>(a) The plan fails to communicate a sense of urgency reflecting the alarming increase in prevalence and autism as a national health emergency. The beginning pages of the plan should embody urgency and the critical need of the government to apply the resources to address a crisis situation. </li></ul><ul><li>(b) The plan fails to allocate commensurate resources. The CAA authorized $645 million for NIH research over five years. The plan falls short by close to $200 million. Given the urgent situation, we consider the CAA allocation to be a minimum requirement for federal agencies and feel that even greater resources are needed. </li></ul><ul><li>(c) Research on the environment, gene-environment interaction, and treatment are underrepresented in the draft plan. The plan should apply additional resources to these areas. </li></ul><ul><li>(d) Provisions for accountability and evaluation for the research spending are absent. Adoption of oversight, review and evaluation mechanisms, such as an Autism Advisory Board and a Department of Defense grant review model, should be added to the plan. </li></ul>
  8. 10. Stakeholders of NIMH Strategic Plan
  9. 11. <ul><li>Slow development or regression by 18 months in physical, social and learning skills. </li></ul><ul><li>Child may: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Have feeding difficulties: sucking, taking solid food, diarrhea. Later may have food sensitivities or extremely limited preferences </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Not look at you or follow your gaze to show interest </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Move away from familiar people rather than towards to engage interest </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>repeat newly learned skills like turning lights off and on, flushing toilet, turning doorknobs and do these with unusual tenacity </li></ul></ul>
  10. 12. <ul><li>Immature rhythms of speech, limited understanding of ideas and the use of words without attaching the usual meanings to them. </li></ul><ul><li>Child may: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Not respond or turn to mother’s voice or their name </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Stiffen their body when picked up or held </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Communicate in high-pitched scream or uniform tone of cry or babbling </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>May not progress from babbling to single phonemes </li></ul></ul>
  11. 13. <ul><li>Abnormal ways of relating to people, objects and events. </li></ul><ul><li>Child may: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Play with toys in a non-meaningful ways , e.g, pushes same button repetitively; lines up cars instead of rolling them; collects blocks without stacking </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Have no motivation to share objects or events </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Show extreme behaviors with strangers by either overreacting or not reacting or differentiating between familiar people and strangers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Difficulty stopping enjoyable activities to attend to another activity, eg,. screams when interrupted with sifting sand through fingers to go eat lunch </li></ul></ul>
  12. 14. <ul><li>Adams, A. (2007). Schism in media, scientific explorations of autism. Stanford Report. Retrieved November 13, 2008, from </li></ul><ul><li>http://news-service.stanford.edu/news/2007/january31/med-autism-013107.html </li></ul><ul><li>Hughes, J.R. (2008). A review of recent reports on autism: 1000 studies published in 2007. Epilepsy and Behavior, 13 , 425–437. </li></ul><ul><li>Puzzle of Autism. (2006). National Education Association. Retrieved November 10th, 2008, from Puzzle of Autism. (2006). National Education Association </li></ul><ul><li>Stagliano, Kim. (November 13, 2008). Autism Community “United in Expressing Our Disapproval” of the NIH Strategic Plan for Autism Research. Age of Autism . Retrieved November 13, 2008 from http://www.ageofautism.com/. </li></ul><ul><li>Steyaert, J., De La Marche, W. (2008). What’s new in autism. European Journal of Pediatrics (2008) 167, 1091–1101. </li></ul>
  13. 15. <ul><li>The information studied, shared and researched through this module is just a crack in the iceberg that lays before those involved with individuals with autism. As each layer melts we get closer to understanding the complexity of autism. It is allowing us to get closer to it, to get closer to those affected by it through teaching and sharing the burden and the triumphs that come with every step. What is clear is that collaboration is key. Collaboration and healthy debate. It is easy for desperate parents to chase after new ideas, but it is our responsibility as caregivers and those in charge of directing them in education and services to counter “reports” with logic and research to support claims. </li></ul>
  14. 16. <ul><li>The media is doing its job to hightlight what has become a disorder of seemingly epic proportions, but we must refrain from rushing to judgement based on biased media claims and points they choose from a myriad of issues to emphasize. </li></ul><ul><li>We know what autism looks like and through educational efforts, research and very big hearts we have come close to taming it and shaping it for each individual affected. </li></ul>