What I've been reading — April 2015

I'm very excited about this month's installment: there are some provocative opinions and insights, helpful resources, a technology story, some informative science updates, news, and a few articles about ADHD.  If you like this and find it helpful, please share with others. Thanks!

Opinions and insights

The Best Way I Can Describe What It's Like to Have Autism "There is no doubt that autism makes my life difficult, but it also makes my life beautiful. When everything is more intense, then the everyday, the mundane, the typical, the normal… those things become outstanding." Read more

Normalised, no thanks. "Recently I had the experience of being kicked out of a Facebook biomedical page...Because I spoke up when a mother of an autistic child said that people are talking about Autism like its a gift, it's the new thing, when children with autism actually need to be normalised." Read more

If you are only raising neuro-typical children, you might not know what I’m about to share. "If we consciously leave behind the grass is greener gazing, we are free to be just as we are. If we remember that there are many different ways to do family life, we can let go of our expectations to do it the same as others do. If we are present enough to feel the joy in simplicity - in baking biscuits together, building with Lego as a family, staring at caterpillars and sitting next to each other while we all play with iPads - then we can accept our life as it is." Read more (Google cache)

Helpful resources

Tips for the Future Care of Disabled Family Members - NYTimes.com Extremely important — and useful. Read more

How to Explain Autism to People Helpful tips for sometimes awkward conversations. Read more

"my child has autism" "oh..." What not to say. "I’m always happy to tell people more about my sons autism...I appreciate it when people ask questions! Ask me anything and I’ll do my best to answer or point you in the right direction." Read more

When Aspergers Syndrome goes undiagnosed. "The populations that are most often misdiagnosed or undiagnosed are academically gifted children. Those who are gifted can fly under the radar because they may easily learn appropriate behaviors that can mask symptoms of autism." Read more


Autism researchers eager to use Apple's ResearchKit "A new software-development tool from Apple released to developers on Tuesday offers a shortcut to these apps. Called ResearchKit, it helps researchers create apps by providing templates for components such as mobile surveys and behavioral tests that harness the phone’s sensors." Read more


Genes dwarf environment in autism's origins, study says "The genetic makeup of an individual plays much a bigger role than environmental factors in whether he or she develops autism, according to one of the largest twin studies to date. The findings, published 4 March in JAMA Psychiatry, suggest that genes confer up to 95 percent of the risk for autism — nearly double that of previous estimates." Read more

Standard tests underestimate nonverbal children with autism "Nonverbal doesn’t mean incapable. A pilot study of children with autism who have low or no verbal skills suggests that the right intelligence tests can reveal their hidden potential...when the scientists used a picture-based test called the Raven’s Colored Progressive Matrices, 65 percent of the children scored in the normal range. Ten percent ranked in the 90th percentile." Read more

Another large study shows no link between autism and the MMR vaccine. "...kids who got the MMR vaccine were not more likely to be autistic. It doesn’t matter if their older siblings were autistic or not. So, 'high risk' or not, the MMR vaccine doesn’t increase autism risk." Read more


(UN Secretary General) Ban launches ‘call to action’ inviting commitments from businesses to employ people with autism "At a special event at United Nations Headquarters to mark World Autism Awareness Day, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called today for greater access and work opportunities for persons with autism, saying that while much progress had been made, much more work was needed." Read more

A Swim Team for Teens With Autism Wonderful short documentary: "Team sports are a right of passage for many children, but kids with disabilities often can’t participate." Read more


Love: The Most Powerful Medicine for ADHD "Now, let’s be clear. Treatment for ADHD matters a lot. Scientifically proven treatments can (and should) help your child. From behavior therapy to medication to counseling, there are many, many good options. But love is a key part of any treatment plan. Children who are loved, and who know they are loved, are getting the most powerful medicine for ADHD." Read more

ADHD Is Real Steven Novella takes on an op-ed piece in The Blaze that asserts ADHD is not real. "There is a clear consensus based upon robust scientific evidence accumulated over decades that ADHD is a real disorder. Denying the reality of ADHD, in my opinion, is just like any other science denial, and employs the same suite of methods and fallacies in order to do so." Read more