Autism News Update # 2

Autism News in the United States:

  • The Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) is a government group mandated by the Combating Autism Act (CAA, 2006) to make suggestions (and update them annually) for the National Institute of Health’s strategic plan for the support of, and conduct of autism research. Last week, the IACC met in Maryland to discuss the strategic plan for 2010. In yet another example of the contradictory autism information wars, there has been, and continues to be controversy about whether or not the IACC included autism-vaccine-connection research as part of their strategic plan suggestions.

    Autism Speaks put out a press release stating that they were “encouraged by yesterday’s decision of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) to include vaccine research studies in the objectives of the updated Strategic Plan for Autism Research”. The Autism Science Foundation posted this on their blog: “Autism Science Foundation President and Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee member Alison Singer joined her colleagues on the IACC in voting to eliminate references in the autism strategic plan that could imply that vaccines cause autism or that call for additional vaccine research.” Hopefully this confusion will be cleared up at the next IACC meeting on Dec. 11th, 2009.

  • In San Diego, The Community Coaching Center (CCC) and Daniella deVarney Photography partnered to facilitate an awesome program called Through the Lens of Autism. 90 kids with autism got to learn about photography, and take photos of their community.
    Check it out

  • Older but important news: Based on Specialisterne (a company that employs a lot of people with autism as software specialists), Harvard Business School published an article on employing people with autism as specialists in general. Currently a few similar business models have popped up, including Autelligent Laboratories, indicating a trend towards appreciating (financially) the skills that many people with autism possess.
  • Interesting Autism Studies:

  • Genes Related to Sex Steroids, Neural Growth, and Social–Emotional Behavior are Associated with Autistic Traits, Empathy, and Asperger Syndrome
  • Clinical and anatomical heterogeneity in autistic spectrum disorder: a structural MRI study. This study is interesting, especially in light of the upcoming decision about whether or not to include Aspergers as a separate diagnosis in the DSM V.
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