[Reading-For-Healthy-Families] Autism Article and websites

Katie Anderson 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


             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



http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=122256276&ft=1&f=1001 


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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