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Congress delays hearing on autism bill

2 Aug

The Santa Monica Dispatch is reporting that committee hearings on the Combating Autism Reauthorization Act have been pushed off to September:

e U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee has just announced that it is postponing a meeting on the Combating Autism Reauthorization Act (CARA) until September 7. The meeting had been scheduled for this Wednesday August 3, but Congress is apparently so exhausted by its represensible behavior during the debt ceiling debate that it’s giving itself a five-week recess. With pay.

http://www.santamonicadispatch.com/2011/08/congress-delays-hearing-in-autism-bill/

The Combating Autism Act reinstated the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) which creates a strategic plan for autism research in the US. More importantly, the CAA authorizes congress to appropriate money for autism specific research.

The CAA is set to end (sunset) on September 30. This leaves very little time from committee hearing to any potential vote by the legislature.

Letter to Massachusetts DDS Commissioner Urging Elimination of Electric Shock, Other Aversives

19 Jul

The National Council on Disability (NCD) has sent a letter to the Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services Commissioner on electric shocks and other aversives. Massachusetts is the home of the Judge Rotenberg Center which uses electric shocks as a main part of their program.

July 18, 2011

Elin Howe, Commissioner
Department of Developmental Services
500 Harrison Avenue
Boston, Massachusetts 02118

COMMENTS OF THE NATIONAL COUNCIL ON DISABILITY IN SUPPORT OF PROPOSED AMENDMENTS TO REGULATIONS ON BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION AT 115 CMR 5.14[i]

The National Council on Disability (NCD) is an independent federal agency charged with advising the President, Congress, and other Federal agencies regarding laws, policies, practices, and procedures affecting people with disabilities. NCD strongly opposes the use of aversive treatments and accordingly submits these comments.

NCD has a longstanding history of opposing aversive treatments.[ii] As stated in NCD’s 1995 Report Improving the Implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act: Making Schools Work for All of America’s Children,

While it is possible to understand the desperation of these parents, to share their exasperation with ineffective programs and treatments, and to sympathize with them in their frustration to locate appropriate programs, there are limits to what society can permit in the name of treatment. There are those in our society who would advocate for severe physical punishment or even the mutilation of prisoners convicted of what everyone would agree are heinous crimes. Yet these prisoners are afforded protection under the law from this treatment, even though there are those who would claim that such treatment would “teach them a lesson.” Students with severe behavioral disabilities are not criminals, and yet present law allows them to be subjected to procedures which cannot be used on the most hardened criminals, or, in some cases, even on animals.[iii]

NCD applauds the Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services (DDS) for taking steps toward drastically restricting use of aversive punishment, and we urge complete elimination of such methods. The use of electric shock is not a legitimate method of treatment for any person. Such measures – whose use against non-disabled individuals is already recognized as illegal and immoral – are contrary to the letter and the spirit of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act. We urge the Department of Developmental Services to protect both future students and current ones from the use of contingent electric shock and all other such aversive techniques.

In light of the effect on children and youth and with disabilities nationwide, NCD is gravely concerned by the use of aversive treatments at the Judge Rotenberg Center (JRC), in Canton, Massachusetts — the only known school in the United States to provide such treatment. We are aware that students from an estimated 17 other states and the District of Columbia attend JRC and are therefore potential recipients of such aversive treatments.[iv] As such, NCD views this as a significant issue of national importance.

The treatment being provided at JRC is contrary to federal policy and the findings of mental health research. The 2003 President’s New Freedom Commission on Mental Health stated that restraint will be used only as safety interventions of last resort, not as treatment interventions.[v] Similarly, the US Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse (HHS) and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) has found that seclusion and restraints are detrimental to the recovery of persons with mental illnesses.[vi]

The practices of JRC are equally contrary to the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act (DD Act) which states in part:

“…The Federal Government and the States both have an obligation to ensure that public funds are provided only to institutional programs, residential programs, and other community programs, including educational programs in which individuals with developmental disabilities participate, that… meet minimum standards relating to- provision of care that is free of abuse, neglect, sexual and financial exploitation, and violations of legal and human rights and that subjects individuals with developmental disabilities to no greater risk of harm than others in the general population… and prohibition of the use of such restraint and seclusion as a punishment or as a substitute for a habilitation program…” (emphasis added).[vii]

The objectionable practices at JRC have not only attracted national attention but have also been scrutinized internationally. According to the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, “. . . the term torture means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted . . . for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity.”[viii]

In April 2010, Disability Rights International (formerly Mental Disability Rights International) issued an urgent appeal to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture concerning the practices at JRC.[ix] Subsequently, in June 2010, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture stated that the practices of the Judge Rotenberg Center in Canton, Massachusetts equate to torture and urged the US government to appeal.[x] The US Department of Justice (DOJ) is now investigating these, and other, allegations.[xi]

The regulations proposed by the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) send a strong message that aversive treatment should not be readily provided, but they must go further. It is critical that the DDS address the concerns identified here and supplement its regulations accordingly.

Thank you for considering our comments and recommendations. NCD stands ready to assist you in ways that our collaboration can best benefit students with disabilities and their families while promoting safe learning environments for all students across America. We are available to discuss these matters at your earliest convenience. Please contact me through NCD’s offices at (202) 272-2004.

Respectfully,

Ari Ne’eman
Policy and Program Evaluation Committee Chair
National Council on Disability

[i] With thanks to NCD Council Member Marylyn Howe and NCD Staff Robyn Powell for their invaluable support and assistance in research and drafting.

[ii] National Council on Disability, From Privileges to Rights: People Labeled with Psychiatric Disabilities Speak for Themselves (2002), available at http://www.ncd.gov/publications/2000/Jan202000; National Council on Disability, Improving the Implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act: Making Schools Work for All of America’s Children (1995), available at http://www.ncd.gov/publications/1995/09051995.

[iii] Id.

[iv] CNN, New York Education Officials Ban Shock Therapy (2006), available at http://articles.cnn.com/2006-06-21/politics/shock.therapy.school_1_shock-therapy-electric-shock-geds?_s=PM:EDUCATION.

[v] Mental Disability Rights International, Torture Not Treatment: Electric Shock and Long-Term Restraint in the United States on Children and Adults with Disabilities at the Judge Rotenberg Center (2010), 12, available at http://www.disabilityrightsintl.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/USReportandUrgentAppeal.pdf.

[vi] Id.

[vii] 42 U.S.C. § 15009(a)(3)(B)(i-iii) (2000).

[viii] UN General Assembly, Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Article 1(1), 10 December 1984, United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 1465, p. 85, available at http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/docid/3ae6b3a94.html.

[ix] Mental Disability Rights International, Torture Not Treatment: Electric Shock and Long-Term Restraint in the United States on Children and Adults with Disabilities at the Judge Rotenberg Center (2010), 12, available at http://www.disabilityrightsintl.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/USReportandUrgentAppeal.pdf.

[x] ABC News/Nightline, UN Calls Treatment at Mass. School ‘Torture’ (2010), available at http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/shock-therapy-massachussetts-school/story?id=11047334.

[xi] US Department of Justice, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division Thomas E. Perez Speaks at the National Council on Independent Living Annual Conference (2010), available at http://www.justice.gov/crt/opa/pr/speeches/2010/crt-speech-100719.html.

Upcoming Joint Conference Call of the IACC Subcommittee on Safety and IACC Services Subcommittee

3 Jul

The Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee will hold a conference call for the Safety and Services subcommittes on July 11. Should the Combating Autism Reauthorization Act (CARA) not pass (or another bill to continue the IACC), this will likely be the final IACC meeting.

The conference call is only 2 hours. It is worthwhile, in my experience, to listen in on what subjects are being discussed and how priorities are being set. Safety and services subcommittees will likely discuss topics such as wandering, which has been a recent focus of the IACC and the subcommittees.

Here is the announcement:

Joint Meeting of Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) Subcommittee on Safety and IACC Services Subcommittee

Please join us for a conference call of the IACC Subcommittee on Safety and the IACC Services Subcommittee on Monday, July 11, 2011 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET to discuss issues related to seclusion and restraint and autism spectrum disorder (ASD).  The Services Subcommittee will also discuss plans for the upcoming IACC Services Workshop/Town Hall that will take place on September 15-16, 2011 in Bethesda, MD.

The conference call will be accessible by the phone number and access code provided below.  Members of the public who participate using the conference call phone number will be able to listen to the meeting, but will not be heard.

Conference Call Access
USA/Canada Phone Number:
888-391-6569
Access code: 3061094

Individuals who participate using this service and who need special assistance, such as captioning of the conference call or other reasonable accommodations, should submit a request to the contact person listed above at least seven days prior to the meeting.  If you experience any technical problems with the webcast or conference call, please e-mail IACCTechSupport@acclaroresearch.com or call the IACC Technical Support Help Line at 443-680-0098.

Please visit the IACC Events page for the latest information about the meeting, including registration, remote access information, the agenda and information about other upcoming IACC events.

Contact Person for this meeting is:
Ms. Lina Perez
Office of Autism Research Coordination
National Institute of Mental Health, NIH
6001 Executive Boulevard, NSC
Room 8185a
Rockville, MD 20852
Phone: 301-443-6040
IACCpublicinquiries@mail.nih.gov

Upcoming IACC Full Committee Meeting – July 19, 2011

2 Jul

The Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee will meet again on July 19. Should the Combating Autism Reauthorization Act (CARA) not pass (or another bill to continue the IACC), this will likely be the final IACC meeting.

The meetings are long, but I have found them to be very worthwhile to listen in or review later (when audio/video is posted on the NIH website). It is interesting to see how the process works and what topics are discussed and prioritized.

Here is the announcement:

Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) Full Committee Meeting

Please join us for an IACC Full Committee meeting that will take place on Tuesday, July 19, 2011 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. ET in Bethesda, MD. Onsite registration will begin at 9:00a.m.

Agenda: The IACC meeting will feature invited speakers and discussion of committee business items including the 2011 IACC Summary of Advances, subcommittee activities related to seclusion and restraint, and an update on plans for the Fall 2011 IACC Services Workshop.

Meeting location:
The Bethesda Marriott – Map and Directions

5151 Pooks Hill Road
Bethesda, MD  20814

The meeting will be open to the public and pre-registration is recommended. Seating will be limited to the room capacity and seats will be on a first come, first served basis, with expedited check-in for those who are pre-registered.

The meeting will be remotely accessible by videocast (http://videocast.nih.gov/) and conference call.  Members of the public who participate using the conference call phone number will be able to listen to the meeting, but will not be heard.
Conference Call Access
USA/Canada Phone Number:
800-369-1814
Access code: 7791752

Individuals who participate using this service and who need special assistance, such as captioning of the conference call or other reasonable accommodations, should submit a request to the contact person listed above at least seven days prior to the meeting.  If you experience any technical problems with the webcast or conference call, please e-mail IACCTechSupport@acclaroresearch.com or call the IACC Technical Support Help Line at 443-680-0098.

Please visit the IACC Events page for the latest information about the meeting, including registration, remote access information, the agenda and information about other upcoming IACC events.

Contact Person for this meeting is:
Ms. Lina Perez
Office of Autism Research Coordination
National Institute of Mental Health, NIH
6001 Executive Boulevard, NSC
Room 8185a
Rockville, MD 20852
Phone: 301-443-6040
E-mail: IACCpublicinquiries@mail.nih.gov

This is happening now

13 May

In my town, in my county. The same county that has David Cameron amongst its MP’s.

Ageing in autism

6 May

A new paper highlights the issue with geriatric populations in autism.

At present, one of the major challenges is that the majority of the currently older individuals with ASD has not received a formal diagnosis of ASD, and this would be dif?cult to establish using the currently recommended diagnostic assessments, because for many of them, neurodevelopmental history would be hard to obtain. The diagnosis of ASD in children involves both the parents and the child contributing…

You see, nobody working the field of geriatric psychology has any doubt that there is a large population of autistic people within the geriatric population:

Many adult and older subjects with ASD remain undiagnosed and thus are largely unknown to specialist services. [M]any have survived childhood and adulthood by either being fully supported by their family or holding jobs in
protected environment, enabling them to function ‘normally’, and thus escaping the ASD diagnosis. In support for this are the three recent case reports on diagnosing older people with ASD indicating that the standard clinical screenings used in childhood had to be modi?ed and adapted for ?rst?time diagnosis of ASD in older individuals.

As also published recently, it is becoming clearer that there is in fact, no ‘autism epidemic’ and that, in point of fact, research shows:

…nearly one percent of Britons older than 16 years have autism, a rate that is similar to that seen in children. Younger people were no more likely to be affected than older ones, however, which would have been expected if the condition were truly on the increase.

So what can we take from this? Being who I am and having the interests I have I take two main things:

1) Vaccines haven’t caused an epidemic of autism because an epidemic of autism does not in fact exist.

2) There is a large amount of undiagnosed adults with autism who need our help now. They are in community homes (group homes I believe they are referred to as in the US) or living with very elderly relatives. The majority are in situations where their autism is not recognised and not diagnosed. How do we help them?

The University of Newcastle held a Workshop Meeting ‘to reach a consensus on he need for new initiatives in this area.’ and came away with the following points:

1 Prevalence rates of older people with ASD (a prerequisite for planning service needs and placements)
2 Determine life expectancy, behavioural changes and cognitive changes with ageing in ASD
3 Data regarding health problems common in ASD, clinical assessments and treatment of seriously medically ill and frail older individuals with ASD
4 Information whether and how the characteristic clinical symptomatology of ASD change with age
5 Problems diagnosing older individuals with ASD not known to services and development of diagnostic tools for this purpose
6 Diagnosing cognitive impairment and dealing with challenging behaviour in nursing homes
7 Increasing need for advocacy and mental capacity assessments
8 Need to identify services, support and resources for older people with ASD
9 Design of adequate environment for older individuals with ASD
10 Neuroimaging studies in older individuals with ASD
11 Biobanking facilities (cerebrospinal fluid, blood/blood derivates and brain donations) and facilitating research

We should all be aware of the needs of elderly autistic people and try and find a way to help I think. How we should do this is vital. The first step must be the recognition that the idea of an autism epidemic marginalises them.

That’s not for our kids

28 Apr

A recent Guardian Roundtable touched on an interesting subject for those of us who are responsible for children with learning difficulties. The article was written, sourced and published in the UK but I believe it applies everywhere in the world where there are children with learning difficulties.

Just 6.4% of people with learning disabilities are in paid employment and that stark statistic – and the shocking waste of financial (and human) resources behind it – formed the backdrop for a recent Guardian roundtable discussion.

This issue has its root, I believe, in the way we are led to think about our children from birth:

When it comes to setting expectations for a child with learning disabilities, things can start to go wrong the moment they are born. The roundtable heard how health staff use their “breaking bad news” training to counsel parents, leaving them with the impression that there’s not much incentive to look forward to the future.

I remember the day we received the news that our child was autistic with profound learning difficulties. There were 3 calm staff members and a box of tissues on the table. By the time we left, the tissues had been used – and although the staff were gentle, kind and wonderful people who clearly were fond of our child – they too fell into that trap of ‘breaking bad news’ mode. A mode that, by its very tenor, fulfills the expectation of _being_ bad news.

The truth is, in my opinion, that with a little effort from health care agencies we can move from:

staff at one special school who, when the issue of employment was raised, replied: “That’s not for our kids.”

to a de facto position as espoused by agencies like Remploy who are the UK’s leading provider of employment services to people with disabilities.

But we’re not anywhere near that yet. In my own experience too many parents of people with special needs are content to wallow in the comfort of ‘putting it off’ – their children are still young. But consider this – we are far longer a time adults than we are children. Our children need to learn how to function in the world. This won’t be brought about by sham cures and ideaslistic fights against a strawman army. Neither will it be brought about by those who insist on misrepresenting the nature of what autism is to all rather than some.

One speaker summed up the fundamental question underpinning the whole debate: “Do we believe that people with learning disabilities and their families are worth it?”

Are they worth the upheaval and political effort it would take to transform a system that often fails them when it come to finding work?

In any society that claims to be fair, children with learning disabilities surely deserve the same life chances as other young people, the roundtable heard. They should be encouraged to have ambition

Effectiveness of virtual reality using Wii gaming technology in children with Down syndrome

11 Apr

I’ve read a lot about the benefits of the iPad over the past year. And, yes, it is a very good thing to add to the arsenal of tools to help disabled people. But the iPad is not the only new technology gadget on the market, and this was made clear in an article: Effectiveness of virtual reality using Wii gaming technology in children with Down syndrome.

Yep. The Wii. Here is the abstract:

Effectiveness of virtual reality using Wii gaming technology in children with Down syndrome.

Wuang YP, Chiang CS, Su CY, Wang CC.

Department of Occupational Therapy, Kaohsiung Medical University, 100 Shih-Chuan 1st Road, Kaohsiung 807, Taiwan. yeepwu@cc.kmu.edu.tw
Abstract

This quasi-experimental study compared the effect of standard occupational therapy (SOT) and virtual reality using Wii gaming technology (VRWii) on children with Down syndrome (DS). Children (n = 105) were randomly assigned to intervention with either SOT or VRWii, while another 50 served as controls. All children were assessed with measures of sensorimotor functions. At post-intervention, the treatment groups significantly outperformed the control group on all measures. Participants in the VRWii group had a greater pre-post change on motor proficiency, visual-integrative abilities, and sensory integrative functioning. Virtual reality using Wii gaming technology demonstrated benefit in improving sensorimotor functions among children with DS. It could be used as adjuvant therapy to other proven successful rehabilitative interventions in treating children with DS.

Here is a big section of the discussion section of the paper. Basically, Standard Occupational Therapy (SOT) helps Down Syndrome (DS) kids do better on fine and gross motor skills. Using Virtual Reality Wii seems to help even more. Gotta love that.

Of the two intervention groups, children who received VRWii therapy demonstrated the largest increase in post-intervention scores on the BOT-2 gross motor subtests. Significant improvement in gross motor function may be accounted for by the accumulated effects from a series of training steps that are structured, progressive, goal-directed, and interrelated. For instance, once the child initially learned to maintain equilibrium on VRWii Sports items, more challenging dynamic tasks such as jumping, striking and catching balls were introduced. VRWii could allow the child to interact with a computer-simulated environment and receive near real-time augmented feedback on performance. After mastering the VRWii tasks, the child was better able to use body feedback to understand the movement outcomes (feedback), anticipate upcoming events (feedforward), and plan alternative strategies (Brooks, 1986). Simultaneously, the child was encouraged to rely more on internal feedback and self-evaluation of performance than external feedback from others and environment. By adjusting the difficult level of Wii Sport items, more mature patterns of motor control emerged from better use of feedback and feedforward mechanisms.

The VRWii group achieved the greatest progress primarily in the BOT-2 fine motor subtests as well. A probable explanation is that success with skilled fine motor tasks relies upon sophisticated motor control and higher-level motor planning. The nature of VRWii therapy promotes an optimal sensory intake by allowing the child to actively explore and organize diverse sensory inputs. An overall improved organization of sensory input may subsequently enhance motor planning and sequencing ability, thereby leading to the improvement in fine motor skills (Humphries, Wright, Snider, & McDougall, 1992). In addition, the improvement in hand function also depended on the child’s ability to modify the patterns of grasping Wii handle according to the different somatosensory input from diverse VRWii Sport items. An essential component of all extremities movements experienced in VRWii Sports is proactive visual and somatosensory control ([Augurelle et al., 2003], Jeannerod, 1986 M. Jeannerod, The formation of finger grip during prehension: A cortically mediated visuomotor pattern, Behavior and Brain Research 19 (1986), pp. 99–116. Abstract | PDF (1331 K) | View Record in Scopus | Cited By in Scopus (130)[Jeannerod, 1986] and [Jeannerod, 1990]), which is responsible for the correct execution of limb movement and the coordination between limbs and vision ([Johansson, 1996] and [Whitney and Wrisley, 2004]). Therefore, tasks involved with visual motor integration of VMI and BOT-2 were also improved by VRWii.

Unexpectedly, the VRWii group alone demonstrated larger increase in all TSIF subtest scores post intervention than SOT that included sensory integration therapy. This result offers direct evidence that children with DS are able to benefit from VRWii therapy to optimize the integrated processing of sensory cues and motor responses. VRWii itself could provide constant opportunities for children to integrate visual, vestibular, and proprioceptive inputs. In particular, significant gains in emotion and behavior subtest of the TSIF after VRWii intervention implies that the playfulness inherent in the VRWii items was able to tap into the children’s inner drive to engage with VRWii therapy. By actively participating in the goal-directed and enjoyable activities, the therapeutic effects could be maximized ([Larin, 2000] and [Parham and Mailloux, 2010]), and the psychosocial needs of children were fulfilled as well (Tye & Tye, 1992). The principle of Wii by using self-initiation, meaningful, and challenging activities in increasing neural plasticity coincided with the principles of sensory integration theory proposed by Ayres ([Ayres, 1972] and [Jacobs and Schenider, 2001]).

IAN Network Launches Critical Survey on Autism & Wandering

6 Apr

I received the following message from the Autism Science Foundation. The message discusses the survey to collect data on wandering by autistics. To participate, you need to register at the IAN Project website.

Today, the Interactive Autism Network (IAN) with support from leading autism advocacy groups including the Autism Science Foundation, launched the first major survey to study the experience of wandering and elopement, or escaping, among individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). The tendency of individuals with ASD to wander or “bolt” puts them at risk of trauma, injury or even death, yet information on this critical safety issue is lacking.

Since 2007, the IAN Project, www.ianproject.org, has connected thousands of individuals on the autism spectrum and their families with researchers nationwide to accelerate the pace of autism research through an innovative online initiative housed at the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, Maryland. With more than 36,000 participants today, the IAN Project has the largest pool of autism data in the world.

“Although similar behavior has been studied in Alzheimer’s disease and autism advocates identify elopement as a top priority, virtually no research has been conducted on this phenomenon in ASD,” said Dr. Paul Law, Director of the IAN Project at the Kennedy Krieger Institute. “The new survey will provide vital information to families, advocates and policy makers alike as they work to keep individuals with ASD safe.”

The survey will help researchers begin to answer important questions:

* How often do individuals with ASD attempt to elope? How often do they succeed? Under what circumstances?
* Which individuals with ASD are most at risk? At what age?
* What burden do efforts to thwart elopement behavior place on caregivers?
* What can be done to protect individuals with ASD and support their families?

To understand elopement and wandering behavior in ASD, researchers need information both from families of individuals who do and do not wander and elope. In order to determine who is at risk, all families in the U.S. autism community are encouraged to participate in the survey, whether or not their loved one engages in these behaviors. Survey participants must be enrolled in the IAN Project (to register, visit www.ianresearch.org) and be the parent or guardian of a child or dependent adult with ASD.

Due to the urgent need for this information by the autism community, preliminary data will be made available on April 20, 2011, provided the necessary sample size is reached for the research survey.

This survey is funded by the Autism Research Institute, Autism Science Foundation, Autism Speaks and Global Autism Collaboration. The IAN Project is also supported by the Simons Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.

Release of the IACC Summary of Advances in ASD Research and Updates on Autism Awareness Month Activities

1 Apr

Below is a copy of the email the IACC sent out today with research advances and updates on Autism Awareness Month activities.

The Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee and Office of Autism Research Coordination are pleased to announce that the 2010 IACC Summary of Advances in Autism Spectrum Disorder Research was released and posted to the IACC website today in conjunction with Department of Health and Human Services celebration of “National Autism Awareness Month” and the United Nations designated “World Autism Awareness Day” on April 2, 2011. The 2010 IACC Summary of Advances is a collection of brief summaries covering the twenty research findings and associated publications that the IACC felt made the most significant contributions to autism biomedical and services research in 2010.

Please feel free to visit the pages below for more information on the IACC Summary of Advances and National Autism Awareness Month activities.

IACC and Department of Health and Human Services information:

-IACC Home Page: http://iacc.hhs.gov/

-IACC News Update on Release of the 2010 Summary of Advances

The 2010 IACC Summary of Advances in ASD Research

-Blog: IACC Chairman, Dr. Thomas Insel, highlights recent progress in honor of National Autism Awareness Month

-Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’ Statement on National Autism Awareness Month

-Department of Health and Services homepage spotlights Autism Awareness Month: http://www.hhs.gov/

Release of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Report to Congress on Activities Related to Autism Spectrum Disorder and Other Developmental Disabilities Under the Combating Autism Act of 2006 (FY 2006-FY 2009)

-Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Announcement for Autism Awareness Month

Upcoming IACC Full Committee Meeting April 11, 2011, featuring special presentations in recognition of National Autism Awareness Month

Additional Autism Awareness information:

United Nations’ Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Statement Regarding World Autism Awareness Day

We wish everyone the best as we reflect this month on the significance of our work together to improve the lives of people with autism and their families.

Sincerely,

The Office of Autism Research Coordination