Baby’s Gaze May Be An Early Predictor of Autism (study)

Nature JournalA new study is now out (published in Nature) that shows a baby’s gaze—when and how long a baby looks at your eyes—may prove to be an early indicator of autism. Researchers found that children who were found to have autism at age 3 looked less at people’s eyes when they were babies than children who did not develop autism.

As described in this NY Times blog, the study found that babies who later developed autism began spending less time looking at people’s eyes between 2 and 6 months old, and paid less attention to eyes as they grew older.

If this proves to be the case, then it could be the earliest behavioral sign to date of developing autism, and treatment could potentially begin much earlier on.  But researchers are quick to warn that specific technology would be needed to properly track eye movement in babies – and don’t want to create unnecessary concern, noting that if a child isn’t looking them in the eye all the time, it’s not an issue – children look all over the place.

As we all know, early intervention can make a world of difference in the treatment of autism, so this could prove to be a really important finding, helping to bring intervention in as early as possible.

Lynsey, Community Manager

Twin Brothers with Autism Take on the NYC Marathon

NYC Marathon Runners

Just the other weekend, identical twin brothers Alex and Jamie Schneider, both 23 and with severe autism, did something I know I could never do – run in the New York City Marathon. Their proud parents explain in this ABC News article that their sons, who are non-verbal, discovered their love of running at a young age – and the activity has given them joy and relief from the frustrations of not being able to communicate. They found out about a club that offered volunteers to run with individuals with disabilities and the brothers have been gathering awards ever since (they’ve already done about 130 races!).

Racing has become a primary focus – and this is a great story of how celebrating strengths has led this family to discover a way to bring great happiness into their children’s lives. Go Alex and Jamie!

Lynsey, Community Manager 

5 of the ‘Scariest’ Autism Treatments

Know The contributor Emily Willingham came up with what she called the five “scariest autism treatments” – and although the timing of the post was on Halloween, she was using the word “scary” not to associate it to the holiday, but because she feels these treatments really are quite frightening due to the harm they can (and have) caused, and are pursued (and at times strongly defended) by some of those in the autism community. Here is the quick run-down of her list (and click here to read the info in full)

  1. MMS – It stands for Miracle Mineral Solution, taken orally or as an enema – but through her own home science experiment, Willingham cautions it’s really bleach.
  2. Lupron Protocol – It’s a hormone-based therapy that interferes with the production of testosterone or estrogen – Willingham refers to it as chemical castration.
  3. Chelation – This is the process of using a chemical to strip metal from the blood (used, for example, to treat mercury poisoning).  As Willingham notes, it can strip out other needed metals – such as calcium – which keeps our hearts beating.
  4. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy – this form of ‘oxygen therapy’ is the subject of an FDA warning to consumers.
  5. Stem cells – She points out that treatments, like this one, you need to go around the FDA on – you may want to think twice about.

We here at Kyle’s Treehouse understand that there are many different treatments and therapies out there to tap in to – and it’s about finding the right one, or mixture of treatments – that work best for you and your child. And our post here is not necessarily to specifically label the treatments above since we’re not as familiar with these – but it serves as a good reminder that, on a broader scale, there are treatments out there that can cause true harm and are very dangerous, so it’s important to know all the facts before pursuing one that may be associated with potentially negative outcomes/consequences, whether considered small or large. The world of treatments is massive – it’s a lot of information to weed through – but it’s important to do that research because there could be a lot at stake.

Lynsey, Community Manager