A new technique documents real-time action in neurons by harnessing the changes in light that take place when they fire.
A new intervention that teaches toddlers skills in a real-world environment — a playgroup rather than a one-on-one interaction with a researcher, for instance — more than doubles their ability to imitate others, according to a January study in The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.
Most studies define high-functioning children as those with an IQ above 70 or 80, but this is problematic for a number of reasons, say some scientists. The assumption underlying the use of high IQ as a synonym for high functioning is suspect because social and communicative abilities may have a far greater impact on an individual’s daily interactions.
Positive reinforcement can help children with autism break out of repetitive patterns of play. Results from a study broadly suggest that behavioral intervention can improve creativity in these children.
Researchers are exploring the iPad and other touch-screen devices for their potential to help people with autism communicate more effectively. Until studies prove their efficacy, however, some experts hesitate to recommend their use.
A new wave of genetic tests for fragile X syndrome, the leading cause of inherited mental retardation and the most common genetic cause of autism, may make it possible to routinely screen pregnant women and newborns for the syndrome.