Friday, August 26, 2011

Clinic Notes: Marriage Patterns and Autism

I see thirty or forty children diagnosed with autism in my clinic each week. The children are a good sample of the spectrum ranging from low functioning non-verbal to high functioning very verbal. The children at the high end of the spectrum are usually diagnosed with Asperger’s, a diagnosis that will not appear in the next DSM because it has been voted out. Hmm. These children with Asperger’s—excuse me—High Functioning Autism are very interesting—remarkable talents in tech areas, but not up to par in conversation and social skills. It is clear that more females are showing up in this category over the last several decades. This can be seen in the number of female college graduates in math, science, and engineering. Well, what would happen if the male High Functioning Autism met a female with High Functioning Autism. Perhaps love and marriage and a meshing of genes that would produce offspring that could account for the growing number of children diagnosed with autism over the last decade according to well known autism researcher Simon Barron-Cohen of the Autism Research Center at the University of Cambridge. An interesting hypothesis that needs data.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Clinic Notes: Something Nice

Okay I know that I usually blog about clinical and research issues concerning kids on the Spectrum, but this was just too nice to pass up. The Theater Development Fund has said that it will present “The Lion King “in an autism friendly presentation on Broadway. The usual visual and auditory stimuli that would be too much for a child with autism will be toned down and a guide for families will be sent out prior to the performance so the child will know what to expect. This will be the first Broadway show in history to play to present a special performance for children with autism. The October 2 matinee tickets will be reduced for the autism audience.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Clinic Notes: Who Should Be Licensed to Do ABA?

ABA has established itself as the treatment of choice for autism and with the rates of autism becoming epidemic pressure is on private insurance companies to pay providers for ABA. Virginia and California have passed laws to require insurance companies to pay, but the question of licensure is standing in the way. Many Psychologists who are licensed as health care providers by the state are providing behavior therapy and ABA are getting reimbursed. Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA) are sometimes reimbursed by insurance companies, but they are not licensed by state health boards. Their program is a certificate program administered by their organization. Some “providers” of ABA are self-taught perhaps attending a workshop or two and are not reimbursed by insurance companies. So what should a parent do? On my website,, I tell caregivers that the ABA provider for their child should at least be a BCBA. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.