Research Digests

  • European experts develop a new framework to screen early ASD

    Early detection of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) can improve outcomes for children, yet the effectiveness and validity of universal screening methods has been questioned. Now, researchers have created a new framework to generate a valid early ASD screening method using a novel approach based on “face and content validity”.

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  • Early social communication intervention reduces autism severity in young infants

    The first, very early social communication intervention for infants at high risk of autism shows promise to reduce the overall severity of early symptoms and a capacity to positively enhance parent–child social interactions.

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  • The challenge: Getting research interventions into community where they are needed

    This article is a summary of the paper published in JCPP – Hybrid implementation model of community‐partnered early intervention for toddlers with autism: a randomized trial.

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  • Parents should keep talking to boost infant language development

    Children from low socioeconomic status (SES) backgrounds tend to have poorer language skills when starting school than those from higher SES backgrounds. Now, data shows that increasing the amount of “contingent talk”— whereby a caregiver talks about objects that an infant is directly focusing on — within an infant’s first year of life promotes a wide vocabulary later in infancy.

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  • Language stability in primary school-aged children hinders catch up for those with language disorders

    In 2017, the Journal of Clinical Psychology and Psychiatry published the latest results of the Surrey Communication and Language in Education Study (SCALES), in which Courtenay Frazier Norbury and colleagues investigated language growth and stability in a population cohort of children with varying degrees of verbal and nonverbal cognitive abilities and a wide range of additional diagnoses.

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  • The quality of autism intervention studies must improve to ensure validity

    The past decade has seen a rise in the number of international reviews of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) interventions, but confusingly, many of these reviews come to different conclusions or only assess selected forms of intervention.

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  • Early ASD intervention promotes academic achievement

    Rigorous screening for learning difficulties is required for adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), as a significant minority of affected individuals with average cognitive skills show academic delays, according to a new study.

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  • Compensating for ASD: masking the truth?

    “Compensation” is a phenomenon by which individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) show improvements in overt symptoms, namely their understanding of others (“theory-of-mind”, ToM), despite persisting deficits at the cognitive and neurobiological levels.

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  • Processing speed determines dyslexia risk

    Males exhibit a lower average reading performance than females, according to new data from Anne Arnett and colleagues. The researchers devised a framework to first validate the apparent sex difference in prevalence of dyslexia and then determine which cognitive correlates may underlie this difference.

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  • The early ASD screening debate continues

    The debate about screening and providing early treatment for young children with, or with high likelihood of, autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is ongoing, but limited data are available to support either side of the argument. Now, a systematic review of randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of interventions for children ≤6 years with (or with high likelihood of) ASD has concluded that the available data is currently insufficient to support the argument for early intervention.

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