Spectrum Newsletter and Newsletter Archive

Current Issue of Spectrum, the ADDRP Newsletter

Spectrum informs ADDRP Newsletter subscribers about the latest ADDRP activities, reviews recent studies in the field of autism and developmental disorders, and lists any available educational opportunities through Lucille Packard Children's Hospital and Stanford University.


Welcome! This, the fifteenth issue of our newsletter, Spectrum, is being sent to provide you with updated information on the activities of the Autism and Developmental Disorders Research Program at Stanford University. The research program is under the direction of Dr. Antonio Hardan. We appreciated the feedback that we received about our previous issues and look forward to hearing your input on this and future issues. We hope that you will find this newsletter helpful and informative. Please feel free to share this newsletter with family and friends.


Special Educational Activity

Autism Spectrum Disorders Parent Education Program

This program is designed to provide parents and caregivers with information about the various community services including Early Intervention, Special Education (IEP process), 504 Plans, Regional Centers and Medical/Mental Health Services. The program will be divided into two groups depending on child's age. Please come to learn about community services, ask questions and share experiences.

Topics Include:
  • Understanding social deficits and teaching social skills
  • Managing disruptive behaviors and building social, communication, and emotion regulation skills
  • Navigating service systems (Early Intervention, Special Education, 504 Plans, Regional Centers, Medical/Mental Health Services)
  • Date: June 7, 2014 will be rescheduled to the Fall of 2014. Please check back at the site below for a new date in the future.

    Time: 9:00AM - 12:30PM

    Location: Stanford Child Psychiatry, 401 Quarry Rd, Stanford, CA

    Cost: $30 per person

    How to Register: Online at the Stanford/LPCH Parent Education Program Page or by contacting Maura Chatwell at (650) 721-6327 or chatwell@stanford.edu

    Future Program Dates: TBD

    other events

    Autism Parent Support Group

    Parents of children with autism face a unique set of challenges. Connecting with other families can be a valuable form of support. Discussion topics include:
  • Advocating for your child
  • Dealing with impact on family
  • Navigating school and learning issues
  • Investigating treatment options and resources

  • Upcoming meetings:
  • June 12th, 2014

  • Location: 401 Quarry Road, Room 2209, Stanford, CA

    RSVP: Maura Chatwell, (650) 721-6327 or chatwell@stanford.edu

    Walk-ins are welcome!

    For the latest information please go to http://childpsychiatry.stanford.edu/autism.html

    Web and facebook pages

    Visit our website and "like" us on facebook!



    Issue 15, JUNE 2014


    Predicting young adult outcome among more and less cognitively able individuals with autism spectrum disorders (Anderson et al., 2013; Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry).

    The range of outcomes for young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and the early childhood factors associated with this diversity have implications for clinicians and scientists. This prospective study provided a unique opportunity to predict outcome 17 years later for a relatively large sample of children diagnosed with ASD at 2 years old. Diagnostic and psychometric instruments were administered between 2 and 19 years with data from 2, 3, and 19 included in this study. Clinicians administered tests without knowledge of previous assessments whenever possible. Caregivers provided additional information through questionnaires. Significant intelectual disabilities at 19 were predicted by age 2 about 85% of the time from VIQ and NVIQ scores together, though prediction of young adult outcome for youths with average or higher intelligence was more complex. By 19, 9% of participants had largely overcome core difficulties associated with ASD and no longer retained a diagnosis. These youths with very positive outcomes were more likely to have participated in treatment and had a greater reduction in repetitive behaviors between age 2 and 3 compared to other cognitively able youths (VIQ =70) with ASD. Very positive outcome youths did not differ phenotypically from cognitively able ASD individuals at 2 but both groups differed from cognitively less able individuals (VIQ < 70). These findings suggest that those most at risk for intellectual disabilities and ASD can be reliably identified at an early age to receive comprehensive treatment. This study also suggest that some cognitively able children with ASD who participate in early intervention have very positive outcomes. However, replication with randomized, larger samples is needed. Finally, in order to improve understanding of very positive outcomes in ASD, future research will need to identify how variations in child characteristics and environmental factors contribute to the nature and timing of growth across individuals and areas of development.

    Parental age and risk of autism spectrum disorders in a Finnish national birth cohort (Lampi et al., 2013; Journal of Autism Developmental Disorders).

    The aim of the study was to examine the associations between maternal and paternal age and risk of autism spectrum disorders (ASD), separately for the three main DSM IV subtypes, namely childhood autism, Asperger's syndrome and pervasive developmental disorder, not otherwise specified (PDD). Data were based on the FIPS-A (Finnish Prenatal Study of Autism and Autism Spectrum Disorders), a case-control study with a total of 4,713 cases with childhood autism (n = 1,132), Asperger's syndrome (n = 1,785) or PDD (n = 1,796), which were ascertained from the Finnish Hospital Discharge Register. Controls were selected from the Finnish Medical Birth Register. The main finding of the present study is that maternal and paternal ages were differentially associated with subtypes of autism spectrum disorders. Advanced paternal age (35-49 years) was independently associated only with the outcome of childhood autism, whereas high maternal age was independently associated with both Asperger's syndrome and PDD (35 years or more and 40 years or more, respectively). Moreover, teenage motherhood (19 years or less) was associated with PDD in offspring. The finding that high paternal age was associated with autism in offspring is consistent with at least five population-based studies from other countries. The results of this sutdy further substantiate the finding that advanced paternal age has an independent effect on the development of autism in offspring. Advanced maternal age was independently associated with Asperger's syndrome and PDD. Explanations for the association include age-related genetic factors, higher risk of pregnancy complications and the role of personality traits. This may be the first population-based study reporting an association between teenage motherhood and PDD. This finding adds to the previous literature showing that teenage motherhood is associated with psychiatric outcomes in offspring, such as externalizing behavior problems including inattention, hyperactivity and aggressive behavor. These types of disorders are often comorbid with PDD. One posible explanation for the association between teenage motherhood and PDD is that certain risk behaviors of teenage mothers during pregnancy, such as smoking, are greater than in older women. Maternal smoking has been associated with several risk factors e.g. low birth weight, hypoxia, premature birth, pregnancy complications, that have been associated with ASD in some studies. However, research findings regarding maternal smoking and ASD have been inconsistent.

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    Below we have highlighted just a few of our studies that we are recruiting for. For a complete list of all currently recruiting research studies please visit our new website at autism.stanford.edu

    Vasopressin research treatment trial for social deficits in children with autism

    Stanford University researchers are currently recruiting children with autism spectrum disorders to participate in a research study which tests the effects of intranasal vasopressin on social functioning.
    In order to participate in this research study your child must:
    • Be diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder
    • Be between the ages of 6 and 12 years
    • Be willing to take an vasopressin nasal spray for at least 4 weeks and provide blood samples
    • Be willing to participate in behavioral and cognitive testing
    • Have no serious medical problems

    You will also receive generalized results regarding your child's cognitive and behavioral assessments. Please contact us at (650) 736-1235 if you are interested.

    For additional information, please refer to the following press release for the study.

    ICATS - Imaging California Autism Twins Study

    This study compares twins with Autism Spectrum Disorder to typically developing twins
    Subjects must be a same-sex twin pair:
    • Where one or both have been diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
    • Where both are typically developing and in good medical health
    • Between ages 5-14 years old
    • Willing to complete behavioral testing and a brain-imaging scan

    Each twin will receive $100 for completion. Please contact us at (650) 723-7809 if you are interested.

    Treatment in targeting language skills in young children with autism

    Researchers at Stanford University are currently recruiting children with Autism Spectrum Disorders to participate in a research study examining the effectiveness of pivotal response treatment in targeting language skills in young children with autism.
    In order to participate in this research study your child must:
    • Be between the ages of 18-months and 5 years
    • Have a diagnosis of an Autism Spectrum Disorder
    • Meet inclusion based on behavioral screening assessment
    • Be willing to complete a 24 week research treatment program including visits at Stanford University and in-home treatment

    There is no cost to participate in this research study. For more information, call (650)736-1235

    Children and Adolescents are Needed to Participate in Research Studies

    We are actively recruiting children who are typically developing or who have one of several neuropsychiatric diagnoses for many of our studies. We are looking for individuals who are or who have one of the following:

    • Typically Developing
    • Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnosis
    • Developmental Disability diagnosis
    • ADHD diagnosis
    • Same-Sex Twins
    • Born Prematurely

    Please contact us at (650) 736-1235 if you are interested.

    Emotional Reactivity and Regulation in Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders

    This study looks at how youth with autism experience their emotions, and to what extent they use emotion regulation strategies to change specific emotions and thus alter the way they feel about a given situation. We hope that our research will lead to changes in increasing the effectiveness of current autism therapies.

    In order to participate in this research study your child must:

    • Between the ages of 8-21 years old in good medical health with or without an ASD diagnosis
    • Be willing to participate in psycholophysiological and neuroimaging experiments
    • Be willing to come to Stanford Hospital and Psychophysiology Lab up to four times

    Each participant will be paid $30 for each completed session. For more information please call (650) 353-5777

    Editorial Staff:
    Sean Berquist, MS

    Estefania Millan, MS

    Antonio Hardan, MD

    Let us know what you think!
    Comments and suggestions are welcome. 

    Send feedback to autismdd@stanford.edu.

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    Autism & Developmental Disorders
    Research Program
    Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences
    401 Quarry Rd., Stanford, CA | 94305-5719
    Website: autism.stanford.edu Email: autismdd@stanford.edu
    Research: 650-736-1235 | Clinical Services: 650-723-5511