Ask an Autism Researcher

Ask a researcher – Does echolalia always indicate Autism?

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Does echolalia always indicate Autism, even when functional and age appropriate speech is present?
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Ask a researcher – Teens in Transition

Woman and younger man at a computer

My son completed high school last year but was only recently been assessed with ASD. He has absolutely no idea what to do next. University does not seem an option. Any suggestions?

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Ask a researcher – ABA and wellbeing in adults

Has any research been done regarding wellbeing and self-esteem (preferably self-reported rather than objective) in teens and adults who received ABA or similar?

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Ask an Autism researcher – Is it possible to teach adults with autism to speak?

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Thank you very much for submitting this question. Unfortunately, the simple answer is that we don’t know because there is no research evidence that tells us one way or the other. There are reports of individuals which indicate that it may be possible (see for example http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/apr/29/unlock-secrets-autism-national-project), but what works for one individual may not work for another. Because of that we cannot make any predictions about particular individuals.  However, it is important not to assume anything. Experiences through work, reading of the research literature, and listening to the personal stories of people with autism and their families lead us to think that we can’t predict what individual people with autism can or cannot learn, and we shouldn’t give up trying to help them to learn skills. We shouldn’t be surprised by surprises.
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Ask a researcher – Is there research to investigate the inner voice?

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Has any research been done to investigate the inner voice (internal monologue) in people with Asperger’s Syndrome?

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Ask a researcher – What is the evidence basis for sensory processing interventions?

Boy in ball pit

Image courtesy of Suri Nualpradid at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

If a child appears to present with sensory processing difficulties such as discomfort in noisy environments, mouthing of objects, picking at skin; is there any benefit to seek therapy for sensory processing. If so, can you suggest any particular therapy?

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Ask a researcher – When to tell a child she or he has ASD

Mother and son

Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Question:

My four year-old child has just been diagnosed with high functioning autism. She knows that something is happening (doctor visits, tests, etc). How and when should she be told about her ASD?

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Ask an Autism Researcher: Are Autism Assistance Dogs effective in supporting children with ASD?

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Are Autism Assistance Dogs suitable for children of all ages?

When should an Autism Assistance Dog be introduced to a child with autism?

These questions, coupled with an increase in interest by families in acquiring a dog for their child and ASD researchers attempting to assess the effectiveness of dogs in support of a child and family. However, it is not yet possible to conclusively state that assistance dogs (also called service dogs) are effective companion for a child with ASD, let alone make recommendations as to the desired characteristics and training of dogs or suitable child and family characteristics (e.g., child age, level of functioning, behavioural issues; family type and dynamics). This is because the studies published to date have many limitations.

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Ask an Autism Researcher – Home-based programs for adults

Education

By Dr Mirko Uljarevic, OTARC – CRC Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Question:

Hi, I am running a home based 1:1 program for my 29 year old autistic son and hoping to combine this with a couple of carefully chosen group programs in the near future. We want to keep giving him more enriching activities than he has had in the past ten years in day services and I am especially interested to know if anyone anywhere (in the world!) has attempted to develop or modify ABA for use past early childhood, and if so, if such a program has been evaluated?

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Ask a Researcher: Have any studies have been done on diet change for children with ASD?

Boy banana Blog

Answer:

Complementary and alternative treatments such as the gluten and casein-free diet (GFCF), while not recommended in national and international guidelines on autism intervention, are extremely popular among families of children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), with a reported use between 52% and 95%. Casein is a protein found in dairy products, and gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, and some other grain products; therefore, individuals on a GFCF diet cannot eat common foods such as bread, milk, cheese, or ice cream, and the GFCF diet involves challenges such as increased preparation time, increased food-related expenses, and children refusing to eat the dietary selections.

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