[Reading-For-Healthy-Families] Autism Article and websites
anderson_katie at oslmac.osl.state.or.us
Wed Jan 6 08:54:06 PST 2010
Hello! I just read the following article from NPR which again didn't find any conclusive cause of autism. However, their findings are interesting. Those of us who work with parents who didn't finish high school, who are not white, and who don't have access to autism services are much less likely to get their children diagnosed.
These are the parents most of us work with. If these parents don't have older children in school, we may be their primary link to information about autism. Remember, recent research shows that about 1 in 100 people are diagnosed on the autism spectrum so chances are very high that you will encounter a parent or child with the disorder.
Now might be a good time to take a look at the information on the RFHF website about working with children with special needs: http://www.oregon.gov/OSL/LD/youthsvcs/rfhf.special.topics.shtml#Children_with_Special_Needs
Don't forget these websites:
-First 100 Days Kit: A tool kit to assist families in getting the critical information they need in the first 100 dats after an autism diagnosis http://www.autismspeaks.org/docs/family_services_docs/100_day_kit.pdf
-Autism Society of America http://www.autism-society.org/site/PageServer
-National Autism Association http://www.nationalautismassociation.org/
-Libraries and Autism: We're Connected http://www.thejointlibrary.org/autism/resources.htm
-Programming for Children with Special Needs (Association for Library Services to Children) http://www.alsc.ala.org/blog/?p=800
If the links don't work, try cutting and pasting the URL into your browser or cutting and pasting the title into your Google search box.
Katie Anderson, Library Development Services
* Youth Services Consultant * Oregon Center for the Book Coordinator *
Oregon State Library, 250 Winter St. NE, Salem, OR 97301
katie.anderson at state.or.us, 503-378-2528
Autism 'Clusters' Linked to Parents' Education
by Jon Hamilton
January 6, 2010
Clusters of children diagnosed with autism tend to occur in places where parents are older, more educated, and white, according to a study by researchers at the University of California, Davis.
Enlarge 2010 UC Regents
Locations of "clusters" of autism found in California by researchers at UC Davis. They are located in areas where parents have higher-than-average levels of education.
The study found no link to local pollution or chemical exposures — which some consumer groups have cited as possible causes of autism clusters.
The results suggest that areas in California with apparently high rates of autism spectrum disorders are probably just places where parents are more likely to obtain a diagnosis for their child, the researchers say.
"It doesn't necessarily mean that higher education causes autism," says Irva Hertz-Picciotto, one of the study's authors and a researcher at the UC Davis MIND Institute. "It gets you the diagnosis more frequently."
Enlarge 2010 UC Regents
Autism "Cluster" found in North LA County. Autism rates here were roughly double that of surrounding areas.
The UC Davis study looked at the geographic distribution of about 10,000 children who were born in California from 1996 through 2000 and later diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder.
A cluster was defined as a community in which the proportion of children diagnosed with autism was a least 70 percent higher than in surrounding areas.
The study found that differences in parents' age, education and ethnicity explained the cluster most of the time.
Higher Education More Diagnosis
For example, it found that children of parents who finished college were at least four times more likely to be diagnosed than children of parents who didn't finish high school.
Children were also more likely to be diagnosed if they were born in a community near a regional service center for people with autism.
Hispanic parents were under-represented in all 10 of the clusters, according to the study. That could be because some parents are reluctant to seek help from a state agency if they have a member of the family who is undocumented, Hertz-Picciotto says.
No Evidence Of Environmental Risk
The study may be most interesting because it did not find any environmental explanation for higher autism rates, says Steven Novella, a neurologist at Yale University.
"You can't prove a negative," he says. But the results of this and other studies suggest that "If there are environmental factors, they're small," Novella says.
The California results also show how widely autism diagnosis rates can vary from place to place, Novella says. In some areas of the state, children were four times as likely to be diagnosed as in other areas.
That suggests that in many areas there are still a huge number of children with autism spectrum disorders who are slipping through the cracks, Novella says.
Related NPR Stories
Teaching Kids With Autism The Art Of Conversation Jan. 15, 2009
DVD Helps Kids With Autism Read Faces, Emotions Jan. 27, 2009
Writing Study Ties Autism To Motor-Skill Problems Nov. 11, 2009
Coping With An Autistic Brother: A Teenager's Take Jan. 1, 2009
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