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Spectrum: Autism Research News

INSAR Community Newsletter: Tweets & murmurs from Day Three

by  /  13 May 2022
Speech bubble formed by a network of communication

Illustration by Laurène Boglio

Enthusiasm for seeing people face to face continues unabated on Day Three of the 2022 annual meeting of the International Society for Autism Research (INSAR) in Austin, Texas — particularly when it comes to putting faces to names seen in journal articles, tweeted Alexandra Hickey, research specialist at the University of South Carolina in Columbia.

Autism researchers on Twitter were still talking about yesterday’s keynote by Damien Fair, professor of pediatrics at the University of Minnesota and director of the Masonic Institute for the Developing Brain in Minneapolis. Rosa Hoekstra, reader in global perspectives on neurodevelopmental disorders at King’s College London in the United Kingdom, applauded Fair’s willingness to “share lessons learnt,” and in a thread noted that she had previously pitched the idea of a “how I fail” session for INSAR.

Sue Fletcher-Watson, professor of developmental psychology at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and incoming editor-in-chief of the journal Autism, reported her reactions to a panel session on the Lancet Commission yesterday in a thread with more than 25 tweets. “Overall, lots to like in the Lancet Commission. Wish there was more on systemic and societal change. Important to hear autistic responses to it & foreground those,” she summarized.

Kristen Bottema-Beutel, associate professor of special education at Boston College in Massachusetts, tweeted a proposal from the conclusion of today’s keynote by Liz Pellicano, professor of educational studies at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia — namely that non-autistic people may need interventions to support ‘autistic flourishing.’

And in another tweet, Bottema-Beutel commented on the panel on minimally verbal people with autism, suggesting that “minimally speaking” might be a more accurate term.

To advance research on those who speak few or no words, INSAR tweeted about a new publicly available “dataset of over 7,000 nonverbal vocalizations collected in the home environment,” created by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Boston Children’s Hospital.

The Autism Science Foundation tweeted a video of John Constantino, professor of psychiatry at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, who remarked on the importance of a panel discussion at the meeting that focused on reducing severe and challenging behaviors in children and adults with severe autism.

To share a taste of the poster hall, Jason He, research associate at King’s College London, ran around like a “weird uncle,” snapping shots of people’s sensory-related presentations.

And here’s a suggestion from staff writer Laura Dattaro for poster presenters that took off on Twitter: Add an email address to your poster to make it easier for anyone who wants to discuss it to find you. Kelly Coburn, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, retweeted the idea, with others chiming in to suggest QR codes.

That’s it for today’s INSAR Community Newsletter! Follow our ongoing news coverage this week.

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