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 seventeenth issue of our newsletter, Spectrum, is being sent to provide you with updated information on the activities of the Autism and Developmental Disabilities 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.

Early Support Program for Autism

The Early Support Program for Autism is a collaboration between Stanford Children's Health and the Children's Health Council to provide supportive services at no cost to families after diagnosis.

The services include:
  • Clinical care coordinator helping families navigate the service system
  • Parent educator teaching parents play-based strategies to elicit engagement
  • Call 650.723.ESPA (3772) for more information or email autismsupport@stanford.edu.

    other events

    Autism Parent Support Group

    Sponsored by the Stanford Autism Center at Packard Children's Hospital
    Parents of children with autism face a unique set of challenges. The opportunity to connect with other families who have been through similar experiences can be a valuable form of support. Please join our monthly support group! The group will meet from 7:00 PM to 9:00PM. Follow signs in the lobby for room location.

    Topics for discussion will include:
  • Advocating for your child
  • Dealing with impact on family
  • Navigating school and learning issues
  • Investigating treatment options and resources

  • Please note that the support group is not intended to serve as therapy or other mental health services.

    Upcoming meetings:
  • September 10, 2015
  • October 8, 2015
  • November 12, 2015
  • December 10, 2015

  • Location: 401 Quarry Road, Room 2209, Stanford, CA (Map)

    Facilitated by Annie Darrow, Leslie Stafford

    Walk-ins are welcome!

    Issue 17, JUNE 2015


    Pivotal Response Treatment Parent Training for Autism: Findings from a 3-month Follow-up Evaluation. (Gengoux G. et al., 2015; Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders)

    This study's objective was to assess maintenance of treatment effects 3 months after completion of a 12-week Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT) parent education group. The primary goal is to assess whether gains observed at the end of the initial phase in language development (week 12) are maintained at week 24 (end of follow-up period) and whether changes in cognitive functioning are observed over the same 6-month period. Families who completed the active treatment (N=23) were followed for an additional 12 weeks to measure changes in language and cognitive skills. PRT is a naturalistic behavioral intervention that combines ABA teaching strategies with a child-led developmental approach. PRT capitalizes on a child's motivation and implements treatment in the natural environment and parents can be taught to effectively implement PRT. Group delivered PRT parent education has recently emerged as an efficient model for dissemination. Results indicated a significant improvement in frequency of functional utterances, with maintenance at 3- month follow-up. Children also made significant gains on the Vineland Communication Domain Standard Score and the Mullen Scales of Early Learning Composite score. The Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales is a measure of adaptive function and includes information across the domains of communication, daily living skills, and socialization. The Mullen Scales of Early Learning yields a total Early Learning Composite score. This score is derived from four sub-scales: Visual Perception, Fine Motor, Expressive Language, and Receptive Language. These results suggest that a brief PRT parent group intervention can lead to improvements in language and cognitive functioning that are maintained 12 weeks post treatment.

    Maladaptive Behavior in Autism Spectrum Disorder: The Role of Emotion Experience and Emotion Regulation. (Samson A. et al., 2015; Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders)

    Maladaptive behavior such as temper tantrums, aggression, sleeping problems, and disobedience are common in individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). However, factors that give rise to maladaptive behavior in this context are not well understood. Traditionally, emotional problems have not been seen as a defining feature of ASD. However, there is mounting evidence that emotional components are affected in this disorder. Indeed, ASD is increasingly viewed as a disorder that involves problematic emotion in frequency and intensity. This study examined the role of emotion experience and emotion regulation in maladaptive behavior in individuals with ASD and typically developing (TD) participants. Thirty-one individuals with ASD and 28 TD participants between the ages of 8 and 20 and their parents completed questionnaires assessing emotion experience, regulation, and maladaptive behavior. Compared to TD participants, individuals with ASD used cognitive reappraisal less frequently, which is an adaptive emotion regulation strategy, resulting in increased negative emotions. The limited use of cognitive reappraisal was in turn related to greater levels of maladaptive behavior. By decreasing negative emotions, treatments targeting adaptive emotion regulation may therefore reduce maladaptive behaviors in individuals with ASD.

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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) 723-7547 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

    Brain Development Study

    Stanford University researchers are currently recruiting children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) for a study about brain development.
    In order to participate in this research study your child must:
    • Be between the ages of 18 months and 6 years
    • Have an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
    • Be willing to complete a MRI of your brain and IQ testing at Stanford

    There is no cost to participate and your child will be paid up to $50 for fully completing this study. For more information call (650) 736-1235

    Editorial Staff:
    Estefania Millan, MS

    Antonio Hardan, MD

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

    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