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Archived News: In Research and Intervention
November 2011

Study Finds Teens with Autism Face Many Obstacles to Social Participation

Jessica Martin of Washington University in St. Louis recently reported on a study using data from the National Longitudinal Transition Study 2 (NLTS2) in which researchers reported evidence that only about one-third of adolescents with autism are accessing social opportunities, such as clubs, sports, and scouting. The study, “Participation in Social Activities among Adolescents with an Autism Spectrum Disorder,” can be found in the journal of the Public Library of Science, PloS ONE. Major obstacles found to impede social interaction in teens with autism included low social communication skills and communication impairment. One of the authors of the study, Paul Shattuck, Ph.D., noted, “there is an obvious need for greater supports and services to promote community inclusion for this population.”

The full story can be found here.


Using Technology to Enhance Skills of Individuals with Autism

A recent article in The Marietta Times describes the positive impact iPad applications can have in both learning and communication for individuals with autism. One of the specialists interviewed for the article, Ginger O’Connor, also noted the data and studies that support the effectiveness of using technology with students with autism spectrum disorders. Many of these devices are useful for engaging a child’s attention, in developing skills, and are often used as a tool to help with self-expression. The full story “Ipads & Autism” can be found here.

**Note: Please visit the VCU-ACE Resources Page to gather additional information on the use of Technology, including video demonstrations, when working with individuals with autism.


Recent PBS Documentary Follows 3 Adults with Autism on Journey through Transition Process

According to Pasha Bahsoun, LA Special Education Examiner, it is estimated that in the next ten years 800,000 children on the autism spectrum will enter their adult years in need of some form of support services. Families and schools across the United States are endeavoring to assist in that transition process. A recent PBS Documentary, “Autism: Coming of Age,” follows the journey of three adults on the autism spectrum, and how their families and schools assisted them with finding employment and community integration.

The full article, “Transitioning a Child with Autism into Adulthood” can be found here.


Education Week Blogger Shares Startling Statistics on Obesity in Children with Disabilities

Startling statistics on obesity in children with disabilities were shared in a recent Education Week blog. According to the blog author, a report by, "Finding Balance: Obesity and Children with Special Needs," indicates that children with disabilities are 38 percent more likely to be overweight or obese than their peers. The data analyzed by the authors of the report also suggested that some children and teens with disabilities were more prone than others to be overweight. The blogger reported that “While about 81 percent of children with limitations on their physical activity were overweight, so were 44 percent of children with attention deficit disorder, 67 percent of the teens with autism spectrum disorder, and 86 percent of the teens with Down syndrome.”

Click here to read the entire blog.


National Museum of Dentistry Launches Oral Health Resource for Parents of Children with Autism

The National Museum of Dentistry has created a new resource to help parents of children with autism spectrum disorder succeed in teaching good oral health care. Healthy Smiles for Autism helps parents teach children with autism spectrum disorder how to brush and floss with the help of step-by-step instruction, social stories, and visual sequencing cards that can be used wherever brushing happens. The guide also provides information to help parents prepare their children for a first dental visit. This free guide is available online here.


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