Many autistic people and ADHD-ers report using “masking” and “camouflaging” in their lives. This is where people conceal certain traits and replace them with neurotypical ones to avoid being recognised as neurominorities.Read more “What are ‘masking’ and ‘camouflaging’ in the context of autism and ADHD?”
Neurodiversity Toolkit for Higher Education
These factsheets are suitable for university and other higher education staff planning events with an inclusive focus. Each of the factsheets contains tips and guidance for ensuring that higher education activities accommodate neurodiverse students. They were developed by the Neurodiversity Project Officer at La Trobe University, Elizabeth Radulski, in November 2020. Download now.Read more “Event planning for inclusion of neurodiverse students”
We know that most Autistic people, and some non-autistic, have sensory issues. For those on the Autism spectrum, noises that go unnoticed by many can sound like a booming drum. Equally, lights that seem unobtrusive to most can be glaring and extremely bright. And yet, those on the spectrum may also be under-stimulated across the senses, needing more sensory input. During this time when we are all stuck in our homes, I would like to call attention to these sensory issues in the hope that with a little thought, we can help meet our own sensory needs, or the needs of those on the spectrum whom we live with.Read more “Calling all sensory detectives and creators…”
Increasingly researchers are conducting studies looking at mental health among Autistic people. Recent findings have suggested that Autistic adults are more likely to experience several mental health conditions than non-autistic adults. Many Autistic self-advocates are speaking up about their experiences and encouraging researchers to do more work in this field.Read more “Mental Health of Autistic Adults”
Camouflaging, masking, blending in, compensating, impression management; we all do this to an extent. Imagine you’re invited to a work dinner with your colleagues. You get ready, thinking about what’s appropriate to wear, what to bring, and some topics to bring up (and avoid) if there are lulls in conversation. In Autism, the stakes are higher, and the task is more difficult. When social skills do not come intuitively, getting through this event requires cognitive effort, concentration and learning, a bit like doing complex algebra on the fly.Read more “Masking, Camouflaging & Compensating in Autism”
You might have heard that for every female diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (Autism) there are roughly three to four males (Fombonne, 2009; Loomes et al., 2017).
But this ratio changes when you consider the person’s language, cognitive abilities, and even their age.Read more “Autism in Girls and Women”
The idea of neurodiversity is not new but has been gaining more attention recently. The essence of the term ‘neurodiversity’ is that “there is no single way for a brain to be normal,” as explained in a recently-published editorial by Simon Baron-Cohen, head of the Autism Research Centre in Cambridge (see here & here). Looking at autism from a neurodiversity perspective can help promote inclusion and reduce stigma. It means broadening our understanding to see how social systems can change to be more autism friendly, rather than focusing narrowly on the individual. Supermarket ‘quiet hours’ are a nice example of an environmental change that can have a positive impact for people on the Autism spectrum.Read more “Neurodiversity and Participatory Research in Autism”
A very good starting point for comparing different supports is the Raising Children Network’s ‘Parent Guide to Therapies‘ which provides a description of the most commonly used supports in Australia, as well as a rating for research evidence, time commitment required, and cost. Research Autism, based in the UK, provides a similar service and is also well worth a look.
Even when we consider only those interventions for which there is good research evidence, we find that there is currently no single best support program which works equally well for all Autistic children. This is no doubt due in large part to the fact that the individual skills and needs of each child, and his or her family, are unique.
Dr David Trembath
Published July 2019Read more “What is the best evidence-based support for Autistic children in relation to communication skills?”
Can the Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine cause Autism?
It has been shown that the evidence for the causal link between MMR vaccine and Autism was weak at best, and incorrect at worst. Andrew Wakefield, who published this evidence has been exposed as fabricating his data. For a really quick overview and lots of extra reading on this go to his Wikipedia page.
Parental doubt and confusion is caused by the fact that first symptoms (if not diagnosis) are often observed at the time of, or shortly after, the vaccination, so there is a temporal link but not a causal link between vaccination and observation of first symptoms. Current research indicates some brain differences as early as six months in children who are not yet showing signs of autism but go on to do so in the second year of life.
By Dr Elfriede Ihsen
Published July 2019
We are aware of just one study by by Libbey, J., Sweeten, T., & Fujinami, R. (2005, PDF 93.6 KB) has summarised the evidence for a causal link between prenatal maternal Rubella and Autism.Read more “Is there a link between Rubella and Autism?”