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US Autism & Asperger Association
August 17, 2011

Welcome to USAAA WeeklyNews, an email newsletter that addresses a range of topics on Autism Spectrum Disorders including Asperger's Syndrome.

A Full Spectrum of the Arts:
An Evening of Autistic Expression

call for artists

wandering soul
"Wandering Soul"
photographer: Forrest Sargent

The Autism Society of Washington (ASW) is presenting a dinner and creative arts program Saturday evening, October 29, in conjunction with the US Autism & Asperger Association 2011 World Conference: "Autism Education and Treatment: A Road to Wellness", October 27-30, 2011 at the Holiday Inn Seattle-Seatac International Airport.

Artists with autism spectrum disorder are invited to exhibit visual arts in a juried and judged show at the conference on Friday and Saturday, October 28-29, 2011.

"Artists with autism spectrum disorder are invited to exhibit visual arts in a juried and judged show at the USAAA 2011 World Conference.

Expressive artists will also be featured in the dinner program on Saturday including essays, poetry and music. Family members and care providers are also invited to contribute poetry and essays. Contact the Autism Society of Washington for more information on the expressive arts program or if you have an interest in presenting a musical performance.

ASW is seeking submissions for the art show that can be sold in a live auction with a portion of the proceeds going to the artist and a portion as a fundraiser to ASW - a valuable opportunity for emerging professional artists. Or, art may also be donated 100% to ASW in support of our on-going programs, mission and goals.

CALL FOR ARTISTS submission details.

To leave comments, go to our Blog.

News of Heightened Risk of Autism in Siblings of ASD Kids: Not So New

Commentary by Phillip C. DeMio, MD, Chief Medical Officer, US Autism & Asperger Association and Executive Director, American Medical Autism Board

dr. phillip DemioIn a recent article ("Siblings Face High Recurrence Risk for Autism," as published in the USAAA WeeklyNews, August 15) that cited a study out of UC Davis’s MIND Institute determined that there is a “15 to 20% rate,” (almost one out of every five) say the authors, of a baby born after an older autistic sibling of developing autism. That’s right, born after an autistic child. If more than one preceding child has autism in that family, the rate in their study is 32%, i.e., almost one of every three become autistic.

"What the current study in the news doesn’t include are those families where children who are neurotypical precede the ASD child.

Again, they only looked at babies born after the ASD kids came first. The study’s authors state that these rates have risen from those previously reported. They waited until each study subject was age 3 years old to finalize the diagnosis in such cases, mentioning also that, “the earliest indicators’” are at about a year old, basically stating that we can’t tell if there is autism before that age. They state, “we’ve found that the behavioral signs are actually not evident in very early infancy.” Boys are more frequently affected than girls, about 2.7 times more so, which is not as big a male/female disparity as in other studies.

As with most any study, many concepts and pieces of information can lead to many conclusions and camps of interpretation. So let me first say that as a parent and practitioner, I am appreciative of such a study. It makes the public more aware of ASD’s, and it gives us food for thought with the hopes that we can better advise ourselves and our patients.

"I discussed much of the above in a recent interview done by a major newspaper at their request, but they published none of it, simply stating the party line above. So the scholarly study may not have added much that’s new. And the news hasn’t been let out yet about the biomedical basis of ASD’s and about prevention.

So let’s discuss some points. These rates are 20-30 times the 1 in 100 rate so often quoted. It means there is more of a risk than the general population’s families if you already have autism in the family. Sounds familiar, because we in the autism community have definitely known that all along. These same authors reported back in 2007 a 15% - 20% rate of autistic features in younger siblings of ASD kids. Again, a familiar finding. I and most workers I know of in the autism field also believe that cousins, etc., have higher ASD rates, too. Ditto for OCD/PANDAS, Asperger’s, ADHD, etc. We have cases where there is clear-cut autism as early as 7 ½ months of age.

Full Story.

To leave comments, go to our Blog.

Dr. DeMio will be presenting at the US Autism & Asperger Association 2011 World Conference in Seattle, Washington, October 27-30. Dr. DeMio, along with Dr. Jerry Kartzinel and Dr. James Neubrander, will be teaching an extensive one day Biomedical Overview Course for health care practitioners, health professionals, residents, medical students and nursing students during the conference in Seattle. For more information on the course, contact the American Medical Autism Board.

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