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Archive for the ‘Asperger's Disorder’ Category

The Washington Post (http://tinyurl.com/autism-classes 12/3, Brown) reports, “As the number of children with autism has ballooned nationwide, so has the population of children who…are capable of grade-level academics,” but who lack “social and emotional skills they need to negotiate school on their own.”  Many of these youngsters “spend the bulk of their day in mainstream classes supported with a suite of special education services.”  Now, “many parents of this growing group worry that” mainstreaming “children…this way fails to teach them what they need to navigate the world independently and instead imbues them with a sense that they’re unacceptably weird.”  The article goes on to discuss alternative programs started by Washington, DC-area schools to assist children with mild autism acquire social skills.

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The Chicago Tribune (http://tinyurl.com/autism-alternatives 11/23, Tsouderos, Callahan) reports, “Thousands of US children undergo” alternative “therapies…at the urging of physicians who say they can successfully treat” some “children with autism.” However, “after reviewing…scientific studies and interviewing top researchers in the field, the Tribune found that many of these treatments amount to uncontrolled experiments on vulnerable children.” Some therapies include vitamin and supplement regimens, oxygen chambers, hormones, and even “chelation,” even though “last year, the National Institutes of Health halted a controversial government-funded study of chelation before a single child with autism was treated” after finding that “rats without lead poisoning showed signs of cognitive damage after being treated with a chelator.”

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The AP (http://tinyurl.com/abilify-for-autism 11/21) reported that the FDA “has approved top-selling Abilify [aripiprazole] as a treatment for autism-related irritability in children from the ages of six 17…Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. said Friday.” The agency’s “latest approval allows the” medication “to be used to treat symptoms associated with autism, such as aggression toward others, deliberate infliction of self-injury, tempter tantrums, and moodiness.” Bristol-Myers and Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., collaborators on the development and distribution of Abilify in the US and Europe, “said in a statement that it was intended to be used as part of a more comprehensive treatment program that includes educational, psychological, and social aspects.”

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autism_ribbonOn the front page of its Science Times section, the New York Times(11/3, D1, Wallis http://tinyurl.com/eliminating-aspergers) reports that “experts who are revising” the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders “have proposed to eliminate” Asperger’s syndrome “from the new edition, due out in 2012,” folding “Asperger’s syndrome and another mild form of autism, pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified…into a single broad diagnosis, autism spectrum disorder.” These “proposed changes” are “part of a bigger overhaul that will” see “psychiatric disorders…as a continuum, with many degrees of severity,” with the goal of developing “severity measures within each diagnosis,” according to Darrel A. Regier, MD, “research director at the American Psychiatric Association and vice chairman of the diagnostic manual’s task force.”

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