Motor Development and ASD

In 2012 Flanagan and colleagues presented evidence that infants’ head lag during a pull-to-sit task at age six months was significantly associated with a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder at 36 months. The authors acknowledged limitations of the study, including a relatively small sample and the absence of a comparison group of infants with idiopathic…

Toddlers and the ADOS

There are indications that the emphasis on early diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder has produced important positive changes in screening and diagnostic practices. Universal autism screening leads to earlier referral for evaluation, earlier age of diagnosis, and earlier initiation of appropriate, autism-specific interventions (Valicenti-McDermott, 2016). Along with these changes have come questions about how early…

ASD in Multilingual Families

In an increasingly multicultural country, clinicians and educators in the US are often confronted with autism spectrum disorder in children from bilingual or multilingual families. A persistent concern has been raised as to whether the language development of children with ASD is further delayed or disrupted because of exposure to two (or more) languages in…

Re-examining a Breakthrough

A recent report published on-line by Lancet (Pickles et al., 2016) maintains that a parent-mediated intervention for children with autism has produced the first “long-term symptom reduction after a randomized controlled trial of early intervention in autism spectrum disorder” (p. 1; on-line version). The follow-up study examined a range of outcomes for 121 children who participated in…

TMS and Autism

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a relatively recent technology that has been FDA-approved for the treatment of depression and migraine with aura. TMS uses a magnetic field to stimulate specific areas of the brain. In recent years, there has been interest in applying TMS to treat other conditions, including Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), on an…

Asperger’s Lost Tribe

Hans Asperger is a forgotten genius whose rightful place in the history of autism was pre-empted by the wrong-headed, self-serving plagiarist, Leo Kanner. So goes the alternative narrative put forward by Steve Silberman in his fascinating account of the evolution of the condition we call Autism Spectrum Disorder. Silberman’s book, NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and…

What Causes Autism?

The etiology of autism has been an open question since the identification of the syndrome over 70 years ago. Leo Kanner (1943) wrote: “We must, then, assume that these children have come into the world with innate inability to form the usual, biologically provided affective contact with people, just as other children come into the…