Essential Reads

The Controversy Around Autism and Neurodiversity

April is autism month. For some it's about acceptance. For other's its about awareness. Some want a cure and others just want to be left alone. And What about neurodiversity?

Solitude Is the School of Genius

Great scientists in the past have not only tended to be autistic, but also to be socially isolated.
"Picking Grass at the Bus Stop"/Charlene Croft/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Who Speaks for Autism?

By Barb Cohen on March 31, 2017 in Mom, Am I Disabled?
I would not want someone else to speak for me; to decide what I want and what I need; to judge whether my life is worth living. But autism is a family affair. We all need a voice.

Cerebellum Stimulation Influences Frontal Cortex Functioning

Stimulating the cerebellum normalizes frontal cortex activity in lab rats with abnormal dopamine processing, a new study reports. These findings could have many human applications.

More Posts on Autism

Swimming: The Key to Extending the Life Span in Autism?

By Mark Borigini M.D. on April 28, 2017 in Overcoming Pain
They may wander toward a body of water, perhaps drawn to the calming effect, touching it and then wading into pools, ponds, or rivers. And some will never wade out.

Scans Reveal Diametric Differences in More Detail

A followup study to a previous one that showed striking diametric differences between autistic and psychotic brains also reveals similarities in the so-called social brain.

Divorce and Autism: Familiarity, Stability, Consistency

Children with autism thrive on familiarity, stability, and consistency. In divorce, work to maintain your child's relationships in the neighbourhood, school, and family.

Disney Research Pioneers New Frontiers Using Virtual Reality

Walt Disney researchers are fine-tuning virtual reality (VR) technologies that could be used to improve athletic performance and many other "proprioception-based" daily activities.
Zach Hyman/Sesame Workshop

Sesame Street and Autism: The PG-Rated "Extras"

By Barb Cohen on March 22, 2017 in Mom, Am I Disabled?
Young children accept any playmate who is not hostile. It is the parents who usually communicate discomfort, caution or pity, and it is the parents who have the most to learn.
"Lime Butterfly"/giovzaid85/CC BY 2.0

When Is Reimagining the Past a Sign of Emotional Health?

By Barb Cohen on March 17, 2017 in Mom, Am I Disabled?
For counterfactual thinking to be functionally beneficial, we need a coherent story of cause and effect that makes us an essential actor in the story.

Harvard Study Finds Genetic ‘Toggle Switch’ for Sociability

Researchers at Harvard Medical School have pinpointed specific neuronal circuitry and a 'toggle switch' that can turn a mouse's sociability "on" and "off" in the laboratory.

The Great Aspie

Loving a partner with Asperger’s can be both challenging and rewarding

An Autistic Saint?

Modern understanding of autistic spectrum disorders may shed light on the eccentric behavior of the Hindu saint, Ramakrishna Paramahamsa.

Why Not Circumcise Your Boy? Risk for Autism

By Darcia Narvaez Ph.D. on February 19, 2017 in Moral Landscapes
New research raises new questions.
Erik Hans Krause in employ of WPA/PD-US-not renewed

"Refrigerator Mothering" Is Dead but the Blame Game Lives On

By Barb Cohen on February 16, 2017 in Mom, Am I Disabled?
The mother—and now the father too—are still suspect. Suspected of what? Nobody knows for sure, but whatever it is, we are expected to defend ourselves against it.

Early Brain Over-Growth Is Indicative of Autism as Predicted

The imprinted brain theory links brain growth to autism, and a new study confirms the association.

Data, Not Ideology (Part 2)

By Amy S.F. Lutz on February 16, 2017 in Inspectrum
Instead of pushing ideologically-based options, why aren't policy-makers investing in evidence-based approaches to increasing happiness in the severely cognitively disabled?
"Brain Clock"/bzztbomb/CC BY-NC 2.0

Autism, ADHD, and Executive Functioning: Parenting Insights

By Barb Cohen on February 09, 2017 in Mom, Am I Disabled?
We have tried visual strategies; we have tried planning discussions; we have tried scripts' we have tried first/then; we have tried IEP goals; and we have tried threats.

What “Counts” for Autism Has Been Dropping: Is That Good?

By David Rettew M.D. on February 08, 2017 in ABCs of Child Psychiatry
Compared to decades past, the diagnosis of autism now encompasses many more children with “milder” behaviors. This likely underlies much of autism’s apparent increase in rate.
"La Mama de los Politos"/Jorge Elias/CC BY 2.0

Incubating a Political Conscience

By Barb Cohen on February 01, 2017 in Mom, Am I Disabled?
Figuring out when asserting yourself reflects courage and when it reflects imprudence takes, for many of us, a lifetime.
Abraham Lincoln/CC BY SA 3.0

Abraham Lincoln Tops List of Famous Jewish Swimmers!

By Barb Cohen on January 23, 2017 in Mom, Am I Disabled?
"Famous people with autism" lists are not created primarily to motivate our children. They exist to motivate us adults to adjust our own beliefs about autism.

Ideology, Not Data

By Amy S.F. Lutz on January 22, 2017 in Inspectrum
Some disability advocates and policy makers want to force adults with I/DD into small, dispersed residences. But studies actually suggest size is not the determining factor.
"Johnathan Meath as Santa Clause"/Jonathan Meath/CC BY-SA 2.5

Learning to Tell a Lie

By Barb Cohen on January 12, 2017 in Mom, Am I Disabled?
Lying through your teeth requires more social awareness than most of us appreciate.

Autism and Screen Time: Special Brains, Special Risks

By Victoria L. Dunckley M.D. on December 31, 2016 in Mental Wealth
Is your gut telling you that your child with autism has too much screen time? Here are 11 reasons why ASD kids are more vulnerable to screen time effects, including addiction.

“Obese” Mothers and Autism: Not As Simple As It Seems

Maternal BMI is a simplistic measure—particularly when related to the complex issue of the cause of autism.

Autism and Creativity

By Barb Cohen on December 18, 2016 in Mom, Am I Disabled?
Autism is associated with rigid thinking, restricted interests, and a literal interpretation of speech and behavior. How could a person with these traits possibly be creative?
James Coplan, MD

Perfectionism, Part 2

Do you have gremlins below decks, countermanding the captain's orders?

Hormones and Brain Regions Behind Eye Contact and Empathy

Clues to the hormonal and brain correlates of eye contact and empathy have been provided by studies of people with autistic symptoms.
"Wish List"/Sam and Barb Cohen

A Wish to Be an Aspie

By Barb Cohen on December 11, 2016 in Mom, Am I Disabled?
If your child needs the space to get up and walk around the classroom, what difference does it make if that need arises from AD/HD or ASD?

When Autism Parents Are Hesitant to Share the Diagnosis

By Darren Sush Psy.D., BCBA-D on December 05, 2016 in All the Pieces
How inappropriate speculation related to Donald Trump’s son, highlights the concerns of many parents of children with autism about how and when to share their child’s diagnosis.

Special-Needs Parenting and the Lowerarchy: Part Two

By Barb Cohen on December 04, 2016 in Mom, Am I Disabled?
The lowerarchy is more than a boundary; it is an edifice of alternating comfort and despair, always at the expense of other people and their children.
Looking downward/Barb Cohen

The Lowerarchy of Special-Needs Parenting

By Barb Cohen on November 27, 2016 in Mom, Am I Disabled?
Instead of using the rhetoric of “better than,” we shift to “not as bad-off as,” as in “my kid is not as bad-off as yours. "We’ve created a lowerarchy.
"Copenhagen broken bike"/Jens Cramer/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

"Mom, Am I Disabled?"

By Barb Cohen on November 18, 2016 in Mom, Am I Disabled?
Identifying a person as disabled entails locking that person into a world of very limited expectations. Having a disability describes all of us.

How Does Brain Symmetry Influence the Workings of Your Mind?

By Christopher Bergland on November 18, 2016 in The Athlete's Way
Is symmetry between the 'left brain-right brain' a good thing? It depends. New research suggests that a blend of symmetry and asymmetry between various brain regions may be ideal.