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Science & Society

From funding decisions to scientific fraud, a wide range of societal factors shape autism research.

Features / Special Reports
Illustration shows autistic teen stimming while a policeman reaches for handcuffs.

When autism and law enforcement meet

26 November 2020
As many headlines attest, encounters between autistic people and first responders become fraught far too often, leading to violence and lasting trauma. In this special report, we explore what research tells us about these interactions and training to improve them, as well as the challenges autistic people experience in the criminal justice system.
News
Illustration shows person talking to boy with autism sitting on the curb while parents or other community members talk to police.

Why autism training for police isn’t enough

by ,  /  26 November 2020
Inconsistent and underfunded training programs may hurt more than they help, experts say.
Opinion / Viewpoint
Young boy looking upset, sits on couch with crossed arms.

Errors of omission: Why we are deeply concerned about research on autism therapies

by , , ,  /  24 November 2020
Studies of autism treatments rarely report adverse events, and the scientists involved often fail to disclose their conflicts of interest.
November 2020
Illustration shows woman in profile with her voice forming a large diverse group of people including those with disabilities.
Opinion / Viewpoint

Autistic people are coming into their own as political players

by  /  17 November 2020

With the election of Jessica Benham and others to U.S. state legislatures, autistic politicians stand poised to advocate for policy and research on priorities that matter most to them.

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illustration shows isolated figure alone in the prison yard, watching other inmates exercise and socialize.
Features / Deep Dive

Autism behind bars

by  /  11 November 2020

Prisons are often ill-equipped to handle autistic inmates, who are at risk for mental health problems and abuse.

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hands with a red and blue string puzzle.
Opinion / Reviews

Book Review: ‘The Pattern Seekers’ links human invention — past, present and future — to autism traits

by  /  10 November 2020

Simon Baron-Cohen’s new book is essentially a 272-page argument for his hypothesis that all human innovation stems from the ability to discern and manipulate causal patterns.

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Smiling teenage boy showing mobile phone to friends on sofa while studying at home
News

Some autistic people report poor quality of life, but many do not

by  /  6 November 2020

Autistic people vary widely in how they describe their quality of life. Anxiety and depression may account for that range more than traits of autism do.

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Illustration shows black researchers sharing data with diverse group.
Opinion / Viewpoint

How to support Black scientists and clinicians in autism research

by ,  /  3 November 2020

To address racial disparities in autism diagnosis and outcomes, we need more Black autism researchers and clinicians. Here are some tips to help recruit and train them.

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

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 young woman surrounded by the confusion of puberty and body changes.
Opinion / Q&A

Puberty may arrive early for some autistic girls

by  /  27 October 2020

Girls with autism tend to start puberty earlier than their peers do, which may intensify their social difficulties and put them at an increased risk for bullying and mental health conditions such as depression.

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William Mandy at train station
Opinion / Q&A

Beyond the bench: A conversation with William Mandy

by  /  20 October 2020

William Mandy talks about the golden hours for writing and why — when there isn’t a pandemic — he likes attending conferences in new parts of the world.

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Ilustration shows a young women with pillows, pies and records flying around her.
Opinion / Reviews

Book Review: An autistic writer recounts the fun and futility of trying to fit in

by  /  13 October 2020

In “I Overcame My Autism and All I Got Was This Lousy Anxiety Disorder,” Sarah Kurchak weaves together jagged honesty, funny anecdotes and occasionally painful doses of self-awareness.

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Young woman during birth.
News

Epidurals linked to slightly higher autism odds, but connection is unclear

by  /  13 October 2020

Women who receive epidural anesthesia during labor have an elevated chance of having a child with autism, a new study has found. But it is too soon for doctors to recommend against epidurals, experts say.

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