Social Skills

Autistic Brains Grow More Slowly

Source: 
Psych Central
Date Published: 
October 20, 2011
Abstract: 

UCLA researchers have found the connections between brain regions that are important for language and social skills grow much more slowly in boys with autism than in non-autistic children...

UCLA researchers have found the connections between brain regions that are important for language and social skills grow much more slowly in boys withautism than in non-autistic children.

New Finding Provides Insight Into The Psychology Of Autism-Spectrum Disorders

Source: 
Medical News Today
Date Published: 
October 12, 2010
Abstract: 

Researchers from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have isolated a very specific difference in how high-functioning people with autism think about other people, finding that - in actuality - they don't tend to think about what others think of them at all.

The Accuracy Of Autism Diagnosis In Children With Down Syndrome Validated By New Findings

Source: 
Medical News Today
Date Published: 
October 6, 2011
Abstract: 

New findings from a 16-year study confirm that the Diagnostic and Statistic Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), the gold-standard for the classification of mental health conditions, can be used to accurately identify autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in children with Down syndrome, according to research from Kennedy Krieger Institute.

Children With Autism Benefit from Early, Intensive Therapy

Source: 
Science Daily
Date Published: 
September 28, 2011
Abstract: 

A primary characteristic of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) is impairments in social-communication skills. Children and adolescents with social-communication problems face difficulty understanding, interacting and relating with others. University of Missouri researchers found that children who receive more intensive therapy to combat these impairments, especially at early ages, achieve the best outcomes.

Infants Given A Social Jump Start By Early Motor Experiences: Study Indicates Infants At Risk For Autism Could Benefit From Motor Training

Source: 
Medical News Today
Date Published: 
September 12, 2011
Abstract: 

In a new study published in the journal Developmental Science (Epub ahead of print), researchers from the Kennedy Krieger Institute and Vanderbilt University found that early motor experiences can shape infants' preferences for objects and faces. The study findings demonstrate that providing infants with "sticky mittens" to manipulate toys increases their subsequent interest in faces, suggesting advanced social development.

This study supports a growing body of evidence that early motor development and self-produced motor experiences contribute to infants' understanding of the social world around them. Conversely, this implies that when motor skills are delayed or impaired - as in autism - future social interactions and development could be negatively impacted.

Early motor experiences can shape infants' preferences for objects and faces

Source: 
News Medical
Date Published: 
September 9, 2011
Abstract: 

In a new study published today in the journal Developmental Science, researchers from the Kennedy Krieger Institute and Vanderbilt University found that early motor experiences can shape infants' preferences for objects and faces. The study findings demonstrate that providing infants with "sticky mittens" to manipulate toys increases their subsequent interest in faces, suggesting advanced social development.

This study supports a growing body of evidence that early motor development and self-produced motor experiences contribute to infants' understanding of the social world around them. Conversely, this implies that when motor skills are delayed or impaired - as in autism - future social interactions and development could be negatively impacted.

Scientists Reveal That Seeing Eye To Eye Is Key To Copying, With Implications For Autism Research

Source: 
Medical News Today
Date Published: 
August 18, 2011
Abstract: 

In a study published this week in the Journal of Neuroscience, a team of scientists from the University's School of Psychology show that eye contact seems to act as an invitation for mimicry, triggering mechanisms in the frontal region of the brain that control imitation.

The results could be the first clues to understanding why some people, such as children with autism, struggle to grasp when they are expected to copy the actions of others in social situations.

Prevalence and Correlates of Autism in a State Psychiatric Hospital

Source: 
Left Brain - Right Brian
Date Published: 
August 24, 2011
Abstract: 

This study estimated the ASD prevalence in a psychiatric hospital and evaluated the Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS) combined with other information for differential diagnosis. Chart review, SRS and clinical interviews were collected for 141 patients at one hospital. Diagnosis was determined at case conference. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves were used to evaluate the SRS as a screening instrument. Chi-squared Automatic Interaction Detector (CHAID) analysis estimated the role of other variables, in combination with the SRS, in separating cases and non-cases. Ten percent of the sample had ASD. More than other patients, their onset was prior to 12 years of age, they had gait problems and intellectual disability, and were less likely to have a history of criminal involvement or substance abuse. Sensitivity (0.86) and specificity (0.60) of the SRS were maximized at a score of 84. Adding age of onset <12 years and cigarette use among those with SRS <80 increased sensitivity to 1.00 without lowering specificity. Adding a history substance abuse among those with SRS >80 increased specificity to 0.90 but dropped sensitivity to 0.79. Undiagnosed ASD may be common in psychiatric hospitals. The SRS, combined with other information, may discriminate well between ASD and other disorders.

Atypical Neural Networks for Social Orienting in Autism Spectrum Disorders

Source: 
Neuroimage, Greene et al.
Date Published: 
May 2011
Year Published: 
2011

Researchers at UCLA used fMRI to examine the neural mechanisms involved in social interactions in autism spectrum disorders in order to provide insight into the social attention impairments that characterize the disorder. Researchers examined children and adolescents with ASD with social and nonsocial cues. Data revealed that in typically developing individuals, there was greater responsiveness for social cues than nonsocial cues, compared to ASD. The researchers concluded that this difference indicated that the autistic brain does not assign the same privileged status to social cues as assigned in the typically developing brain.

Social Bonding in Prairie Voles Helps Guide Search for Autism Treatments

Source: 
Emory Woodruff Health Sciences Center
Date Published: 
April 28, 2011
Abstract: 

Researchers at the Center for Translational Social Neuroscience (CTSN) at Emory University are focusing on prairie voles as a new model to screen the effectiveness of drugs to treat autism. They are starting with D-cycloserine, a drug Emory researchers have shown enhances behavioral therapy for phobias and also promotes pair bonding among prairie voles. Giving female voles D-cycloserine, which is thought to facilitate learning and memory, can encourage them to bond with a new male more quickly than usual.