Researchers are a step closer to answering one of the critical questions about the brain – how neural networks in the organ perform the computations necessary for higher-level brain functions.
Dr. Mandy Rispoli, Associate Professor of Special Education in the Department of Educational Studies, along with co-authors Marjorie Charlop and Russell Lang, published Play and Social Skills for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder which discusses the deficits in the development and presentation of play behavior and social skills that are considered central characteristics of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). [Read more…]
In 2008, based on a sample of 8 year olds, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported that the prevalence of autism had risen to 1 in 88 in American children. By 2010, using a similar sample, it was announced that the incidence had climbed to 1 in 68. Based on these latest numbers, 1 in 42 boys and 1 in 189 girls are being diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Three years ago in a national telephone survey of 100,000 families, the incidence was projected at 1 in 50. The CDC just released new incidence numbers based on input from 11 states. The incidence remains stable at 1 in 68. (Note: Different data collection methods will often yield differing results.)
So, what does this mean for Indiana? Since no database currently exists in Indiana with the actual number of people on the autism spectrum, either statewide or by county, the only real figure comes from the December 1 child count data collected by the Indiana Department of Education, Department of Special Education. These data are collected from all public school districts across Indiana. The chart at the end of this article illustrates the increasing incidence of ASD since 1999.
According to the child count data from December 2012, the number of children served under the diagnostic category of ASD was 13,020; and with the December 2013 data, the number had grown to 13,675. By December 2014, this number had grown to 14,179 and by December 2015 there was an increase from the previous year of 1,112 for a total of 15,291. Last year’s child count data (December 2016) was 15,815 for an increase of 524 students ages 3-21. This year’s child count data (December 2017) for children ages 3-21 was 16356 for an increase of 541.
The number of students enrolled in Indiana’s public and non-public schools during the 2017-2018 school year is 1,139,822. Using this data and the child count data from December 2017, approximately 14.35 per 1,000 students in Indiana have a diagnosis of ASD. Last year’s identification rate was 1 in 72. This year’s identification rate is 1 in 69.69. The child count data does not include children who are not on special education service plans, are home schooled or are in non-public schools. All who have either an IEP or special education service plan are counted.
The other reality is that many of these children come with complex issues and support needs. According to the CDC, ASD commonly co-occurs with other developmental, psychiatric, neurologic, chromosomal, and genetic diagnoses. The co-occurrence of one or more non-ASD developmental diagnoses is 83% and maybe as high as 90%. The co-occurrence of one or more psychiatric diagnoses is 10%. The potential impact on our schools and other service delivery systems continues to be tremendous. Education services and an array of community supports are needed to successfully support children and adults on the autism spectrum.
Pratt, C. (2018). Increasing incidence of autism spectrum disorders in Indiana. The Reporter, 22(11). Retrieved from https://www.iidc.indiana.edu/pages/incidence-of-autism-spectrum-disorders-in-indiana
Indiana Resource Center for Autism
Indiana Institute on Disability and Community
Indiana University, Bloomington
1905 N Range Road, Bloomington, IN 47408-9801
A long-distance telehealth study at Purdue University could help researchers identify autism symptoms in infancy, which could ultimately help children receive targeted therapy earlier.
Bridgette Tonnsen, PAC member and an assistant professor of clinical psychology, who studies autism in high-risk infants, is leading the five-year study which is focused on prospective surveillance of autism symptom emergence in high-risk infants with fragile X and other neurogenetic syndromes. The nearly $1 million study is funded by the National Institutes of Health. Tonnsen is a member of the Purdue Autism Cluster.
“While we have made a lot of progress in autism as far as understanding what the symptoms look like, and how to treat and support families, we are still lacking reliable markers of autism before the first year,” said Tonnsen. “The brain changes rapidly during the first year of life, so if we are not detecting children until they are three or four we are missing a great opportunity to support their development. We certainly don’t want to rush a diagnosis, but having some pre-diagnostic interventions could significantly help these children for the long-term.” Read more…
Bridgette Tonnsen, 765-494-6754, firstname.lastname@example.org
Congratulations to cluster member Dr. Alex Chubykin, who recently received an R01 from the National Institute of Mental Health entitled “Neural Mechanisms of Predictive Impairments in Autism.” The project aims to understand, at the circuit and systems level, how impairments of circuit connectivity may lead to changes in perception and learning in autism.
Dr. Bridgette Tonnsen and colleagues have received a $913K grant from the National Institute of Mental Health to conduct a new study on autism in infants and toddlers with neurogenetic syndromes. This five-year project, “Telehealth Assessment of Syndromic Autism Risk in Infants”, aims to develop a novel telehealth-based framework to study very young children with understudied neurogenetic conditions such as fragile X and Angelman syndromes. The study will include several phases of research projects launched both locally and nationally (via telehealth) from our Neurodevelopmental Family Lab here at Purdue.
Purdue Developmental Studies Laboratory
1202 West State Street
West Lafayette IN 47907
Phone 765 496 2780
This research experience will include in-home and laboratory visits during the spring/summer of 2017. Sessions will involve observing you interact with your child, as well as providing you with evidence-based practices to target your child’s social development. Activities will be structured around daily routines, such as mealtime and indoor play.
We are looking for infants/toddlers under 36 months of age who are showing signs of a developmental delay, or concerning behaviors. All younger siblings of children with a developmental disorder, language delay, a diagnosis associated with developmental concerns (e.g., autism), or low birth weight are eligible.
If interested in participating, please contact us by phone or email!
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 1 in 68 children in the United States has been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder.
Research being done at Purdue aims to improve the tools for diagnosis and reduce the average age of diagnosis.
Kids on the autism spectrum have difficulty with social interactions and communication, and parents can start looking for evidence of struggles in those areas from the time kids are 7 months old. IU Health Arnett pediatrician James Bien says a red flag is the progression of social interaction and speech development skills, which then seem to fade.