Are autistic girls being misdiagnosed?

A new study from the University of Exeter has found that boys are more likely to be diagnosed with ASD than girls, even when the symptoms are equally severe. An article about the study is here: This raises interesting questions. Are boys more likely to be diagnosed autistic because it's a 'male disorder'?

Can You Really Know if Your Child is Autistic with a 15 Minute Test?

But the biggest issue is this: according to the study (or more accurately, according to my attempt at navigating the dense, scientific jargon laced pages), 80% of the non-autistic control group were correctly classified as non-autistic.That may sound pretty great, but a 20% false positive rate is a nightmare. 

What to do when you're flying with your autistic child

One common question I get is: "What should parents do when traveling with their autistic child on an airplane?"Here are four quick thoughts:  

Meet Elijah, part 2

Elijah is a 16 year-old who goes to a special needs school for high functioning children. When he was four years old, I worked with Elijah and his parents using the Son-Rise Program. At the time he was completely non-verbal. Elijah recently found me on Facebook. He is now verbal and agreed to an interview. Part 2 is below. Read part 1 here.JL: What are your dreams/goals for yourself?Elijah: Well since I... 

Meet Elijah

JL: Do you remember when you were non-verbal? If so, what was it like?Elijah: I remember a lot of my childhood actually since my long-term memory is better then my short-term memory. (And by the way, I was diagnosed with PDD-NOS and wasn't so socially avoidant and was more BEHAVIORAL and socially inappropriate.) I remember everything seemed hard and confusing for me, was beyond exhausted (I still am but not as much as I use to be - it's due to my medication), and constantly cried and had tantrums and I recall throwing everything all over the place.   

What would you ask a formerly nonverbal autistic person?

Next week I will post an interview with a young adult who is on the autistic spectrum. He used to be non-verbal and almost completely in his own world. He now attends school, talks, and writes extremely well (he posts more to Facebook than almost anyone I know).I worked with him and his family back when he was five and non-verbal. He recently found me on the aforementioned Facebook and has...

Crossing Over

Yet, even as we deeply believe we know what is best for an autistic child, we clearly do not. No method has proven to be consistently powerful enough to effectively banish other methods. Put another way: last I checked, most folks who were once autistic are still autistic.

4 Quick Reactions to the MMR/Autism Study Retraction

CNN and everybody else is reporting that the 1998 study linking the MMR vaccine to autism published in the medical journal The Lancet has been retracted.Four quick thoughts / reactions to the story:

We can focus amid Tiger Woods and Facebook. Not everyone can.

Facebook has 350 million users. Photos of Tiger's latest mistress are now online. They apparently are making another Twilight movie.  

A Study to Avoid

When I came across this article I blinked several times, wondering if I was seeing things that simply were not there.

I'll Pay You Ten Dollars to Throw That Apple

Mostly, children with autism (and really, most any child) don't care about the seemingly invented concepts of right and wrong. Instead, they care about what is entertaining and what isn't, what gives them power and what doesn't. In that way, they are like pretty much everybody else.


With the astonishing news that the incidence rate of autism in the U.S. has risen (from one child in 150 to one in 91), it seems like a good time to answer one of my most asked questions:"Why are so many kids diagnosed autistic?"Here are three thoughts.  

What happens when a person with autism commits murder?

A judge ruled Monday that an autistic teenager is not competent to stand trial in the fatal beating of his doting mother and should remain in the treatment facility where he has been living for several months.What should happen when person with autism commits murder? 

The Essence of Autism

I worked with a 15 year-old patient at an autism treatment center many years ago. He shook my hand and looked me in the eyes. He spent the first fifteen minutes talking about his favorite television shows, smiling appropriately, always with great eye contact. He interacted with tremendous skill. I couldn't spot any developmental delays. I thought to myself, "Why are you here?"

Put Down the PSP and Slowly Back Away...

This scene plays out in countless households each day: kids on the autistic spectrum get caught up in video games, DVDs, and computers. It allows them to leave the world behind for hours at a time in a socially acceptable way. In the days before the PSP, kids flapped their hands, lined up cars, and did other stims that allowed them to live in an exclusive bubble. But people often bothered them. As technology advanced, many autistic children and adults learned to watch TV, operate computers, and play video games. Other people rarely disturb them as they do these activities because the children look age appropriate in their play and we tell ourselves ‘C'mon, every kid loves video games.'

Dustin Hoffman ruined everything

Before Rainman, many people had never heard of autism. That movie and subsequent news stories about real children with autism focused on the autistic superman: Children and adults with the ability to memorize the phone book, play a concerto with zero training, and see mathematic equations float in a way similar to Russell Crowe's Beautiful Mind.