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Current Autism Research


The causes of autism spectrum disorders have been an area of intense debate. Our current scientific knowledge indicates it is likely a largely genetically based syndrome, but that environmental factors before and during birth do effect whether or not those genes are expressed. The genetic portion is predominately based off of deletions or mutations in several genes, meaning there are usually many different genetic causes for each case of autism. We can say with certainty that autism is not caused by parenting style and research has clearly indicated it is not a result of common childhood vaccinations. For a reliable database on research on autism, see sciencedaily.com at the following link.http://www.sciencedaily.com/news/mind_brain/autism/

Clinical Features

The latest estimates indicate autism is diagnosed in approximately 1 out of every 88 children in the United States. The current diagnostic criteria include impairment in social functioning, communication, and restricted patterns of interest and behavior. Other specialists in the area argue the three core deficits include theory of mind, central coherence, and executive functioning difficulties. Autism is many times diagnosed along with other neuropsychological conditions, in fact approximately 22% of those diagnosed with autism are also diagnosed with epilepsy.


Many treatments have been put forward to help those with autism diagnoses, some even claim to be a "cure" for the diagnosis. Most of these treatment claims do not have research backing, and many have a significant risk for harm. The fact is that there is no cure for autism, but therapies can significantly increase functioning in many of the core deficit areas. Cognitive and behavioral therapies including early intensive behavioral intervention have been proven by research to be effective. Medication interventions can help with corollary symptoms like depression and anxiety, but there are no medications to treat the core deficits of autism. Diet based interventions have anecdotal evidence from parents but very little research backing currently. See researchautism.net through this link for research based treatment information. http://www.researchautism.net/autism_treatments_therapies_interventions.ikml Autism Advantage only recommends and utilizes treatment with current research backing.


The transition between living at home and functioning under the public school system and living independently and seeking postsecondary educational opportunities is a key time in the life of someone with autism and is something parents should plan for in advance. Several resources exist to help with this transition period, but probably the most comprehensive are the services provided through College Living Experience at many centers throughout the United States. See their website through the following link for more information. http://www.experiencecle.com/home.aspx

Current innovators reported to have autism spectrum conditions