“Mental health problems are diagnosable, treatable and
people can recover and lead full healthy lives”
Dr. Ruth Perou, CDC May 2013
Last week, the Centre for Disease Control in the USA released their latest epidemiological figure: 1 child in 5 suffers from a neurodevelopmental condition: autism, conduct disorder, ADHD, social emotional disturbances.
Experts in the field now agree the increase in the number of children affected by autism is real.
The Changing the Course of Autism Conference on the 12th and 13th June gives YOU the opportunity to hear vital information from professionals regarding the successful treatments of autism and related mental health disorders.
This is an exciting, invaluable opportunity to hear from Harvard neuologist, Professor Martha Herbert MD PhD, Columbia University Professor Mady Hornig MD, MA and many other leading professionals in the field of Autism.
On the evening of June 12, Treating Autism is sponsoring a dinner event for delegates, exhibitors and speakers from 6:00 pm to 11:00 pm at The Jam House, Edinburgh, only 100 yards from the conference venue. You will be served a three course dinner including a glass of wine/soft drink for £25 per ticket. This is a casual event–dress in any way you feel happy–and enjoy spending time with old friends and new. Tickets are available to people affiliated with the conference only. Tickets are limited and sales end midday Wednesday June 5.Follow the link here!
Dear Parents and Autism Professionals
Our conference programme is out! TA-ATT conference 2013 schedule May 2013.
For the speaker’s biographies and synopsis, please view the full programme here: TA-ATT conference 2013 biogs May 2013.
Early Bird Registration Ends 30th April!: £25/day for parents and £130/ day for professionals.
The conference is CPD certified for medical doctors, psychologists, occupational therapists, speech and language therapists and nutritionists.
Speaker Programme Wednesday 12th of June
Speaker Programme Wednesday 12th of June
9:15 Welcome Hamish Mair, Chairman, Autism Treatment Trust (ATT)
9:30-10:15 Prof Martha Herbert MD PhD, Harvard Medical School, USA
Taking a Fresh Look at Autism: Chronic Dynamic State, not Fixed Trait
10:15-11:00 Prof Mady Hornig, MD, MA, Associate Professor of Epidemiology and Director of Translational Research in the Jerome L. and Dawn Greene Infectious Disease Laboratory at the Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University.
Inflammation, Infection, Auto-immunity in Autism
11:00- 11:30 Coffee Break
11:30-12:15 Dr Nicola Antonucci, Biomedical Centre for Autism Research and Treatment, Bari, Italy
A Clinical Approach to Treating Autism
12:15-12:45 Q&A – Morning Speakers, Anita Kugelstadt, Chair, Treating Autism (Moderator) 12:45-14:00 Lunch/ Exhibition hall
14:00-14:45 Prof Martha Herbert MD PhD, Harvard Medical School, USA
The Biology of Brain Change in Autism: A Whole-Body Approach to the Brain
14:45-15:30 Prof Mike Snape, Autism Therapeutics Ltd
NNZ-2566 in Rett Syndrome and Autism Spectrum Disorders – Role and Update
15:30- 16:15 Dr Dario Siniscalco, Department of Experimental Medicine, Second University of Naples, Italy
Stem Cell Therapy in Autism
16:15-16:45 Coffee Break
16:45-17:30 Dr Alex Richardson, Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Evidence-Based Intervention, University of Oxford; Visiting Research Fellow, Dept of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics, University of Oxford; Founder Director of FAB
Research Nutrition and Mental Health
17:30-18:00: Q&A- Afternoon Speakers and Lorene Amet, Research Director, Autism Treatment Trust (Moderator)
Please click here for full programme: TA-ATT conference 2013 schedule May 2013.
Iimproving short-term memory skills in children and adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Short term memory, or working memory, is a system equivalent to a “Post It Memo”, that helps people keep information readily available to respond to a given situation. It enables individuals to encode, decode and manipulate information for a short amount of time (Baddeley, 1996). Research indicates that working memory is a good predictor of academic achievement, better in fact than IQ itself. Skills such as reading comprehension, writing and problem solving all require working memory capacity, and the better this capacity is, the more academically successful the student will be (Alloway et al. 2008). Evidence suggests that individuals with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have reduced working memory capacity compared to typically developing individuals. These difficulties add to the social, communication and motivational problems ASD individuals present with and can further impact negatively on their school performance as well as self-help and independent living skills (Alloway et al. 2008). Our project aims to identify simple and enjoyable ways to strengthen these working memory skills in children with autism by assessing the potential benefit of two main types of “games” activities, using a set of selected cognitive and psychometric evaluations.
We propose two main interventions: (1) ‘Fast ForWord’ (FFW), a computer-based programme well known in the ASD field for its potentials in improving the processing of language (Scientific Learning, 2003, Strong, 2011), and (2) a range of pre-selected iPad applications, showing good promises in terms of their learning potentials for ASD individuals (Neely et al., 2013). Our aim is to compare the benefits of these two approaches.
Each individual participating in the project will either be enrolled in a FFW programme, or received an iPad-based programme, over an 8 week period, for 30 minutes per day, 5 days a week. The child’s improvements will be monitored using a set of cognitive tests administered both before and after the intervention period. These tests include; word reading, reading comprehension, attention, working memory and a test of nonverbal intelligence.
We aim to start the study at the end of May 2013, and are seeking 8 participants aged between 10 and 18 years, who have a diagnosis of High Functioning Autism/ Asperger Syndrome. The study will require participants to travel to Autism Treatment Trust in Edinburgh for evaluation both pre and post-test.
The participants will be followed on a weekly basis by our lead researcher in order to evaluate and support individuals in their programme.
The study is conducted with the support of Autism Treatment Trust and Edinburgh Napier University. Access to FFW programme and iPad interventions will be free to participants.
For more information, please contact:
Alessio Albanese (Napier University Student) firstname.lastname@example.org
Autism Treatment Trust, email@example.com.
- Alloway, P. Gathercole, E. Kirkwood, H. Elliott, J. Holmes, J. Hilton, K. (2008). Attentional and executive function behaviours in children with poor working memory. Learning and Individual Differences. 18 (3), 214-223.
- Baddeley, A. (1996). Exploring the central executive. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 49(A), 5-28.
- Neely, L., Rispoli, M., Camargo, S., Davis, H., Bales, M. (2013). The effect of instructional use of an iPad on challenging behaviour and academic engagement for two students with autism. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders. 7, 509-516.
- Strong, G. Torgensen, C. Torgersen, D. Hulme, C.. (2011). A systematic meta-analytic review of evidence for the effectiveness of the “Fast ForWord” language intervention program. The journal of child psychology and psychiatry. 52 (3), 224-235.
- Scientific Learning Corporation. (2003). Scientifically based reading research and the Fast ForWord Products: Research implication for effective language and reading intervention. MAPS for learning: Research report, 7, 1-7.
Dear parents and autism professionals
As you are undoubtedly aware, the cost of autism—both human and financial—is enormous. The rate of ASD has continued to rise for more than two decades, now affecting one child in 50 in the USA and 1 in 64 in the UK. The increased rates can no longer be attributed to better recognition, and current scientific evidence demonstrates that ASD is medical in nature and treatable. Tragically, as headlines and the lived experience of thousands of families will attest, the medical needs of this population are often overlooked, misunderstood, or actively ignored. A paradigm shift is currently taking place in the scientific and medical community, offering greater potentials for intervention. On this upcoming Autism Awareness Day, this message needs to be shared with families of children with ASD, teachers, health workers, government officials and all tax payers in the UK: that the new paradigm of autism as a treatable condition offers tens of thousands of people a better chance for an improved quality of life.
We are sending you a copy of our scientific review, ‘Medical Comorbidities in Autistic Spectrum Disorders’, which can also be viewed here:
Treating Autism Trustees and Autism Treatment Trust Trustees
- Severe health issues in autistic population largely ignored by medical professionals
- Deaths caused by epilepsy, gastrointestinal conditions and respiratory disorders much higher amongst autistic population
- 80% of parents say concerns for health not properly investigated
2 April 2013
London, UK –‘Medical Comorbidities in Autistic Spectrum Disorders’ a review prepared by British charities Treating Autism and Autism Treatment Trust, and officially launched on Autism Awareness Day, has been welcomed by medical and research professionals in UK, EU and USA. It details current research into health problems commonly experienced by people with autism, which are, however, routinely overlooked by the medical profession. It has far-reaching implications for the treatment of medical conditions existing simultaneously with autism (comorbidities).
In summary, the review shows that:
- Recent large-scale studies confirm that certain medical conditions are significantly more prevalent in people with autism compared to typical populations. A detailed assessment conducted by the CDC shows that children with autism had much higher than expected rates of all of the medical conditions studied, including: eczema, allergies, asthma, ear and respiratory infections, gastrointestinal problems, severe headaches, migraines, and seizures.
- Mortality is significantly increased in autism, with death rates far higher than the norm; most deaths resulting from epilepsy, gastrointestinal conditions and respiratory disorders. Deaths from gastrointestinal and respiratory disorders have been shown to be approximately 40 and 25 times higher, respectively, in moderately to severely affected patients versus typical peers.
- The failure to identify and treat comorbidities is due in part to communication impairments, but widespread underdiagnosis is also the result of assumptions that aberrant behaviours and symptoms are ‘just a part of autism’. There is no evidence supporting the attribution of behaviours such as head banging, night waking, aggression and posturing to the pathophysiology of autism. Behaviours in the ASD population are often physical in origin, identifiable through investigation, and treatable or manageable through appropriate medical care.
- Abnormalities found to date in ASD include, but are not confined to, neuroinflammation and immune dysregulation, abnormal gut flora, autonomic dysfunction, oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction.
- Accumulating scientific evidence challenges the previously held belief that autism is an in-born and unchangeable condition: numerous studies confirm that a significant percentage of previously typically-developing children regress into autism, and so far no genetic model has been proposed to account for the loss of pre-existing social skills and new emergence of health impediments. Furthermore, some children present with decreasing symptoms, or even complete recovery from autism.
- Specific medical problems are associated with the severity of ASD. The severity of the medical problems experienced relates to the severity of the ASD behavioural symptoms. Successfully addressing comorbidities often leads to significant improvement in overall functioning.
- Children and adults with autism have a greater need for paediatric and/or specialist services than the general population, both for their core functional deficits and concurrent medical conditions. Appropriate and individualised medical assessment must be carried out in all cases, including a documented clinical examination.
- Appropriate treatment is a human right currently denied to many people with ASD in the UK. Correctly identifying and addressing medical comorbidities in autism will help reduce the immense emotional, physical and financial burden on families and carers, and is fiscally responsible to the wider society.
Dr Lorene Amet, from the Autism Treatment Trust, commented:
“We have received numerous reports from parents of children with autism stating that chronic medical problems are widely overlooked by health professionals. According to these reports, symptoms are rarely investigated, but are instead often ascribed to the umbrella diagnosis of ‘autism behaviours’. In a survey carried out by our charity, more than 80% of parents felt that their concerns for their child’s health had not been thoroughly investigated.
“It is extremely worrying that the medical needs of such a vulnerable group of people are being routinely neglected. In the wake of recent health care scandals, such as the abuse at Winterbourne View, we cannot afford to be complacent about the treatment of people with learning disabilities.”
In order to raise awareness of the needless suffering caused by the neglect of treatable medical issues, the charities are making this document freely available to all medical and health care professionals involved in the care of people with autism, as well as to many policy makers and politicians.
For further information and to arrange interviews with Dr Amet, please contact:
Dr Lorene Amet, D.Phil (Oxon), M.Ed (Autism)
Autism Treatment Trust
29A Stafford Street
Edinburgh EH3 7BJ
Tel: 0131 558 7444
Mob: 075 90 69 87 80
For hard copies of the document, please contact:
International House, 221 Bow Road, BOW, London E3 2SJ
Treating Autism is a UK charity representing nearly 1000 families affected by autism. It is run entirely by volunteer parents of children with autism.
Autism Treatment Trust is a charity which assists individuals with autism and their families to access diagnosis services and medical and educational interventions. ATT is also conducting some research in the environmental causes of autism.