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Spectrum: Autism Research News

Tag: learning

September 2021
Mother and child playing with small colored blocks on the carpet.

Uncertainty clouds test of ‘preemptive’ therapy to ease autism traits

by  /  24 September 2021

Experts question data showing that an experimental therapy that parents deliver to babies with early signs of autism can lessen the intensity of the children’s traits and lower their chances of diagnosis at age 3.

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May 2021
Humorous photograph shows a young man with plastic sunglasses on that match the patterns around him, surveys a tabletop scene of patterned objects.

Finding strengths in autism

by  /  12 May 2021

Autism comprises a set of difficulties, but growing evidence suggests that certain abilities also define the condition.

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Boy in front of colorful constellation or universe, studying the realms of outer space.

The benefits of special interests in autism

by  /  12 May 2021

Researchers are studying how the intense passions of autistic people shape the brain, improve well-being and enhance learning.

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April 2021
Micrograph comparing locus coeruleus of 16p11.2 mutant mice and control mice show less active noradrenergic neurons in mutant mice.

Circuit flaw underlies motor learning issues in autism mouse model

by  /  12 April 2021

Mice missing a copy of chromosomal region 16p11.2 are slow to learn motor tasks and have dysfunction in a brain circuit associated with stress and movement, according to a new study. Normalizing this circuit’s activity corrects the learning deficit.

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February 2021

Advancing early interventions for autism

by  /  9 February 2021

Some therapies use play and other activities to reinforce skills that autistic children often find challenging. Trials show these methods can change a child’s trajectory for the better, but the evidence base remains thin.

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white mouse looking at something out of frame

New tool captures dynamic changes in decision-making

by  /  4 February 2021

A new open-source software package makes it possible to model changes in human and animal behavior over the course of an experiment.

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November 2020
Owen leaving his home for a bike ride, followed by his therapists and teachers.

Owen’s odyssey: A year and a half after an autism diagnosis

by  /  25 November 2020

This is part 2 of Owen’s story. It tracks his early progress in treatment for autism. Part 1 described his difficult path to a diagnosis.

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SYNGAP1 protein between neurons.

Reactions from the 2020 SYNGAP1 Scientific Conference

by  /  25 November 2020

Spectrum is covering the 2020 International SYNGAP1 Scientific Conference, which took place virtually because of the coronavirus pandemic. Here we’re highlighting researchers’ reactions to noteworthy presentations.

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October 2020
Illustration depicts mother and child facing a field of doors: some are dark and some are light

Low standards corrode quality of popular autism therapy

by  /  28 October 2020

Rapid growth and inadequate standards in the ‘applied behavior analysis’ industry may put vulnerable children in the hands of poorly prepared technicians.

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Illustration shows a student struggling with a classroom task.

How the striatum is linked to autism

by  /  9 October 2020

The repetitive behaviors seen in autism may originate in the striatum, a cluster of neurons involved with initiating and executing movements.

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