Just a video of a dad and his son having a conversation. Why did dad record and share it? To help people understand the day-to-day experience of communicating with people who have autism.
“There are times when the autistic individual is very able to communicate and have a conversation in their own different way,” says dad.
He hopes it helps increase understanding. Read the rest
At a Buckeye, Arizona park, police officer David Grossman observed 14-year-old Connor Leibel moving his hands rigidly in front of his face, sniffing a piece of yarn, and making other unfamiliar movements. The officer thought the boy was intoxicated, held him on the ground, and handcuffed him. Leibel was simply self-stimulating, "stimming," a very common behavior among autistic people. Read the rest
Welcome to Sesame Street, Julia!
In March, Sesame Street announced plans to bring Julia—a muppet character with autism who’s appeared in books, apps, and other supplemental material—onto its flagship show. And she finally made her official debut on the iconic block this week. In her first appearance, which you can watch above, Big Bird meets Julia for the first time and learns about the many things that make her special and unique. Vox’s Dylan Matthews, who is autistic himself, has a great piece explaining the many subtle but important choices Sesame Street made in how to introduce Julia. And he points out one or two areas in which the show could potentially improve its autistic representation in the future too.
Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at Julia’s creation:
Julia, the muppet with autism, will join the Sesame Street TV show in April. She appeared last night on 60 minutes during an interview segment with Sesame Street writer Christine Ferraro. From NPR:
"The character Julia, she has wonderful drawing skills. She's like a little budding artist," said Rose Jochum, director of internal initiatives at the Autism Society of America, which characterizes itself as the nation's oldest advocacy group for people with the disorder. "You know — autism — it brings wonderful gifts..."
"It's not like there is a typical example of an autistic child, but we do believe that [with] Julia, we worked so carefully to make sure that she had certain characteristics that would allow children to identify with her," (Sesame Workshop executive vice president Sherrie) Westin said. "It's what Sesame does best, you know: Reaching children, looking at these things through their lens and building a greater sort of sense of commonality."
Sesame Street producers hope Julia’s first episode will help the audience understand when a child with autism doesn’t react as they expect. pic.twitter.com/DJCFdksPIk
— 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) March 20, 2017
Scientific American summarized five of Donald Trump's "major moves many see as hostile toward science." They are:
• Trump’s pick for head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has actively battled its mission
"To lead the EPA, Trump appointed Scott Pruitt, the Oklahoma attorney general who has long opposed environmental regulations and has questioned the science behind climate change."
• He chose former Texas Gov. Rick Perry for Energy Secretary
"It is a science-heavy department, and one that (climate change skeptic) Perry—who is not a scientist—had advocated dismantling during his 2012 presidential bid."
• He chose an energy company executive for secretary of State
"Trump tapped former ExxonMobil Chief Executive Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State."
• He met with a vaccine critic while planning a commission on autism
"(Robert Kennedy, Jr) has repeatedly promoted discredited arguments that link vaccines to autism."
• His transition team sought information about Energy Department staff associated with climate change
"In December Trump’s team asked the DoE for the names of employees who have worked on issues related to climate change."
Today a court in London okayed the extradition of a British hacker with autism to the United States, where he will face trial for breaking into high-security U.S. government computers. Read the rest
Researchers examining a possible link between antidepressants and autism found that women who took the psychiatric medications while pregnant were far more likely to have autistic kids.
Women in the study who took antidepressants during the last six months of pregnancy were 87% more likely to have a child later diagnosed with autism. Researchers say the link was most prevalent with women on the class of antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRIs. Celexa, Lexapro, Prozac, Paxil, and Zoloft are some of the more common SSRI drug brand names.
Does the new study prove antidepressants cause autism? No. Correlation is not causation, and science is complicated. But increasingly, autism research is focusing on factors that may contribute to the disorder before birth. Read the rest
At last night's GOP Presidential Debate Theatrical Funtime Special on CNN, a brilliant moment of shining stupidity from the abundantly stupid Donald Trump.
“I am totally in favor of vaccines, but I want smaller doses over a longer period of time. … We’ve had so many instances — people that work for me, just the other day. Two years old, 2 ½ years old, a child, a beautiful child, went to have the vaccine, and came back and a week later got a tremendous fever, got very, very sick, now is autistic.”
Ladies and gentlemen, burn all of the things.
Politico's wrong-o-meter is a good roundup of all the crazy shit these megalomaniacal rich liars said on TV last night, and how wrongfully wrong all of it is.
Donald Trump stuck to a position that’s totally unsupported by medical evidence — that a link exists behind autism and vaccines.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other medical authorities have said repeatedly that science has demonstrated there is no link between vaccination and autism. Giving children multiple vaccinations at the same has also been proven to be safe, the CDC said.
Here's how we felt last night, watching the debate:
How is creativity related to schizophrenia and autism? Psychology professor Scott Barry Kaufman looks at a scientific paper suggesting that "creativity and psychosis share genetic roots" in the context of his own research on how different forms of creativity might relate to the schizophrenia spectrum and the autism spectrum. Read the rest