Autism Essential Reads

Sex, Lies, and Autism Research—Getting Value for Our Money

By John Elder Robison on November 12, 2017 in My Life With Asperger's
In the past decade, we’ve spent over a billion dollars studying autism. Yet precious little has changed for autistic people. An autistic adult asks why, and offers some advice.

The Essential Narcissism of Parenthood

By Barb Cohen on November 09, 2017 in Mom, Am I Disabled?
Telling a parent not to be narcissistic is about as useful as telling a child to ignore a candy store’s display window. Parents are wired to see their babies as perfect mirrors.

26 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Our Love for Pets

By Hal Herzog Ph.D. on October 30, 2017 in Animals and Us
This controversial new book examines the psychology and evolution of our love for animals. (And it explains why you should probably not get a pug if you are looking for a pet.)
Angus Third Pounder/Adam Kuban/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Why Are Most of Us So Good at Deceiving Ourselves?

By Barb Cohen on October 08, 2017 in Mom, Am I Disabled?
Columbus, cognitive dissonance and autism shed light on our coping strategies.

Sex and Age Implicated in Autism-Related Diagnoses

Recent research reveals how sex and age are linked to other disorders which tend to co-occur with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Can Vaccinations Cause Autism in Dogs?

By Stanley Coren PhD., DSc, FRSC on September 26, 2017 in Canine Corner
People who choose not to vaccinate their dogs for rabies don't recognize the risk that they are exposing their pets to.

Neurodiversity and Autism in College

Another way to look at autism, neurodiversity, and how we face diversity as a society and as individuals.

Six Ways to Be More Supportive to Those Closest to You

When the people you care about the most are in need of support, are you ready to be there for them? Based on new research, these 6 tips will help you help them.

What Causes What?

By Paul Thagard Ph.D. on August 24, 2017 in Hot Thought
Deciding whether something causes a spike in disease or a pattern like global warming requires careful inferences.

Male Risk of Autism: No One Expects the Spanish Inquisition!

Stigmatizing autism research as "sexist" for finding a gender difference in risk is not going to help us discover the truth about it.
Arren Aljfe/ Flickr

MRI Scans are Transforming Autism Detection and Treatment

By Barry Southers, M.Ed. on August 09, 2017 in A Clearer Image of the Brain
What are the benefits of earlier autism detection? It can allow the most appropriate treatment to be delivered at a time when a child could benefit the most.

Gulliver’s Travels: Another Classic Portrayal of Autism

Gulliver’s Travels can be read as an autistic’s satire on a society into which he does not fit: neither physically nor mentally.

The Question of Contact

By David Kyle Johnson Ph.D. on July 10, 2017 in Plato on Pop
Can personal experience ever be used to justifiably override scientific evidence or argument?

Theory of Mind: Understanding Others in a Social World

When do we develop an understanding of the beliefs, emotions, and intentions of others? How does this understanding set us up for success in other areas of life?

Neurodivergence

A college student with Asperger's Disorder helps neurotypicals understand and accept neurodivergent people.

Autism, Guardianship, Self Determination, and Housing

There's a controversy brewing over supported housing for autistic people. Are autistic communities supportive or oppressive? Who decides - autistics or parents?

The Autism-Genius Connection

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on May 11, 2017 in The Human Beast
Some people are exceptionally good at focusing on rarefied abstract problems. Some of these have exceptionally high IQ. Some are autistic. Some are both.
"Tender Moment"/Jeffrey Kontur/CC BY-ND 2.0

Are You a Good Enough Mother?

By Barb Cohen on May 11, 2017 in Mom, Am I Disabled?
All parents commit missteps, but the fact is that ours seem more consequential. Is being good, good enough?

The Link Between Autism and Violence Isn’t Autism

A new study that digs a little deeper into the apparent connection between autism and violence finds other disorders to be the missing link.

The Controversy Around Autism and Neurodiversity

April is autism month. For some it's about acceptance. For other's its about awareness. Some want a cure and others just want to be left alone. And What about neurodiversity?

Solitude Is the School of Genius

Great scientists in the past have not only tended to be autistic, but also to be socially isolated.
"Picking Grass at the Bus Stop"/Charlene Croft/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Who Speaks for Autism?

By Barb Cohen on March 31, 2017 in Mom, Am I Disabled?
I would not want someone else to speak for me; to decide what I want and what I need; to judge whether my life is worth living. But autism is a family affair. We all need a voice.

Cerebellum Stimulation Influences Frontal Cortex Functioning

Stimulating the cerebellum normalizes frontal cortex activity in lab rats with abnormal dopamine processing, a new study reports. These findings could have many human applications.
Charles Darwin/Public Domain

Why Does Autism Still Exist?

By Barb Cohen on March 07, 2017 in Mom, Am I Disabled?
Some gene variants associated with autism are also significantly associated with high intelligence. “Smart” genes are advantageous from an evolutionary standpoint, so they persist.

Autism in the South Pacific: A Different Way of Seeing?

By John Elder Robison on February 26, 2017 in My Life With Asperger's
Were Polynesian navigators who settled the Pacific autistic? Americans are used to thinking about autism in the context of disability. Other societies may have seen it different
"drinking water"/darwin Bell/CC BY 2.0

Finding the "Why" of a Special-Needs Child's Behavior

By Barb Cohen on February 23, 2017 in Mom, Am I Disabled?
Behavior is a form of communication, and more often than not, especially in young children, it is not communicating a desire to be non-compliant or troublesome.

Lessons From Luke Skywalker

By Dean Olsher LCAT, MT-BC, MS on January 26, 2017 in A Sound Mind
It is a gift to have a common intergenerational reference that embodies the hero’s journey in the character of Luke Skywalker.

Opposite Genetic Profiles of Autism vs. Schizophrenia

Although both autism and schizophrenia feature symptomatic communication difficulties, genetic profiling reveals them to be opposites as proposed by the diametric model.

No, the Mercury in Vaccines Does Not Cause Autism

By Jordan Gaines Lewis, Ph.D. on January 12, 2017 in Brain Babble
There is no evidence to suggest that the vaccine preservative thimerosal is dangerous, nor that young children's bodies "can't handle" current recommended immunization schedules.

117 Autistic Children and Adults Who Died Deserve Better

By Amy S.F. Lutz on December 20, 2016 in Inspectrum
Legislation targeting wandering behavior in the developmentally disabled is controversial, but it shouldn't be. Here's everything opponents got wrong about Kevin and Avonte's Law.