Stories about: intensive behavoiral therapy for autism

Autism advocates and families celebrate new bill

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While there’s currently no cure for autism spectrum disorders, experts agree that intensive behavioral therapies, like applied behavioral therapy (ABA), can make a huge difference. Research shows it needs to be intensive to be effective, to the tune of 20 hours a week. But in Massachusetts, insurance companies often don’t cover ABA and families must pay out of pocket for expensive therapies.

Now, the new autism insurance bill, signed by Governor Deval Patrick today, hopes to remedy that. “I really see this as a civil rights issue,” says Carolyn Bridgemohan, MD, of Children’s Hospital Boston’s Developmental Medicine Center. “This bill validates the rights of people with special needs to have fair and equal access to the health care that they need.”

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Children's on Good Morning America: autism and the science of reading a face

ABC’s Good Morning America features autism and facial recognition research being done by Charles Nelson, PhD, and colleagues in the Laboratories of Cognitive Neuroscience at Children’s.

Click image to view the video
Click image to view the video

Below, see one of the experiments in in real-time as a baby reacts to fearful, happy and neutral facial expressions.

Click image to view the video
Click image to view the video

Click here to see more video of facial recognition studies in the Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience.

In other autism news, a new intensive therapy program for autistic children  is reaping high rewards. The Early Start Denver Model requires in-home therapy four hours a day for five days a week and can be used for children as young as 18-months old. It’s costly and requires a great amount of time and effort by parents and therapists, but the study reveals that toddlers with autism who participate in this intensive therapy program show greater improvements in language skills and scored higher in measures of social skills. Here, you can read a Children’s article about a sibling study that’s finding clues about this complex condition.

For more information on the lab, or if you’d like to enroll their children in a study, visit wherekidshelpkids.org.

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