Author Archives: AutismCenterPgh

Preparing Your Kids For ‘Back to School’

Back to School tips

Written by Dr. John Carosso

Yes, it’s that time

It’s that ‘back to school’ time. Yes, it’s sad to see the summer coming to a close and definitely time to get back to the school routine.

Summer vs. School Routine

Need I mention the difference between summer and school-year routines? If you start about 2-3 weeks out, it’s much easier to ship your kids into shape. Otherwise, it’s a culture-shock for your child, and not too pleasant for you either.

Read More…

Study: Does the Immune System Have a Role in Battling Autism?

New study finds mice may need infection-fighting molecules to socialize.

Molecules that protect the body from infection may be needed for mice to socialize with their peers, according to a study published today in Nature. This double duty could help safeguard the health of animals that live in close quarters.

The findings bolster an emerging link between the immune system and conditions such as autism, says lead researcher Jonathan Kipnis, professor of neuroscience at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. “Whether we like it or not, there is a piling up of evidence that the immune system has a major impact on brain function: The brain is not isolated from the rest of the body,” he says.

Read More…

Autism: Dealing with Aggression and Tantrums

Written by Dr. John Carosso

The question:

I was recently asked an excellent question from a parent with an adorable, nonverbal child with autism. The concern is that the kiddo does not seem to understand consequences such as time-out, and loss of privilege has little impact. The aggression reportedly often stems from, for example, a sibling being in close proximity, not getting what she wants, or related frustrations.

Read More…

How do People with Autism Experience Empathy?

I decided to write about this as a result of an article I posted on SNJ’s social media a while back about autism and empathy. It had such a great response from all our readers that it’s clearly an emotive subject.

Many people posted about how their own children or themselves experience the feeling of others. One comment was, “You can’t taste the food if you don’t open the wrapper,” and another parent commented (about their child), “If he sees suffering of others on TV he gets really upset and even sends his pocket money in appeals to help others.”

There is a lot of information on the web about whether people with a diagnosis of autism experience empathy. Although I haven’t read them all in depth (I would be there forever), I have looked through many of the articles, the summaries and conclusions of some peer-reviewed articles as well as some of the blog/information-type posts.

Read More…

Autism Behavioral Therapy: Still The Best Method To Help Reduce Autism In Children Today

A child with Autism syndrome is one of the most challenging obstacle any parent can have. Seeing your child acting differently is something you can barely see. How you wish, you can put a stop to it , however it is a sad fact that even with all the upgrades in technology, the fact remains that there’s still no permanent cure for autism in children. However, the most common type of treatment is the behavioral and speech therapy, yet for every autistic child, treatment is not all the same and it depends upon the gravity of the situation.

Read More…

Study: Insurance Mandates Lead to More Children Diagnosed and Treated for ASD

While a positive outcome, researchers believe this increase represents only a fraction of the children in the United States living with autism spectrum disorder.

PHILADELPHIA –State mandates requiring commercial health plans to cover the cost of services for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have resulted in an increased number of children being diagnosed and treated for ASD, according to new research from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. The findings will be published in the July 11th issue of JAMA Pediatrics.

Read More…

Why Empowering Students with Autism Pays Dividends for Tech Companies

People on the autistic spectrum offer genuine benefits to the workforce that tech companies are picking up on.

We know that career opportunities for people with autism are limited. As Helen Dyer from CASPA told me, some 85% of people with autism are not in full-time employment. The reasons for this aren’t hard to understand from a societal perspective: the way we hire people has a comical overreliance on one-one-one rapport and social cues – something that people with autism typically struggle with, to varying degrees of severity. The path to employment relies less on being able to perform a job well and more on being able to banter about doing a job well. In that respect, people on the autistic spectrum are at a natural disadvantage before they even enter the interview room.

Read More…

Autistic Workers Make Good Employees

I’ve noticed a recent trend at businesses including Schnucks and Trader Joe’s — their transparency and pride in hiring autistic employees. The fact more companies are striving to have an increasingly diverse and inclusive workforce makes me smile. Hiring individuals with autism is just another indicator of how we are progressing as a society, recognizing all individuals have a place to contribute and add value.

Read More…

ADHD drugs lacking in safety studies, Boston researchers find


Nearly 1 in 9 children have been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, but drugs they take to treat symptoms — which include methylphenidate (Ritalin) and amphetamine/dextroamphetamine (Adderall) — have not been investigated in drug clinical trials to determine whether they’re safe to take long term, according to a new study by Boston Children’s Hospital researchers. The study’s authors emphasized that this doesn’t mean ADHD drugs pose safety risks but that the initial approval trials — which made the drugs available to thousands of children for long-term use — largely ignored the possibility of safety issues

Read More

Enhanced Visual Attention May Be Early Predictor of Autism

Enhanced Visual Attention May Be Early Predictor of Autism

Infants who can quickly recognize unusual visual patterns may be more likely to develop autism symptoms
By Jessica Schmerler | June 11, 2015

The characteristic of “seeing the world differently” may manifest in early infancy.
Approximately one in 68 children is identified with some form of autism, from extremely mild to severe, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. On average, diagnosis does not occur until after age four, yet all evidence indicates that early intervention is the best way to maximize the treatment impact. Various tests that look for signs of autism in infants have not been conclusive but a new exercise could improve early diagnosis, and also help reduce worry among parents that they did not intervene as soon as possibleRead More…