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Psychiatric problems common in siblings of people with autism

A new study investigating mental health outcomes in siblings of children with neurodevelopmental disabilities (e.g., autism) reported increased risk of mental health problems in siblings of individuals with autism. We are currently studying similar questions in ongoing work in the NDL where we are examining whether mood, executive functioning, and parental stress may be related [...]

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A Single Species of Gut Bacteria Can Reverse Autism-Related Social Behavior in Mice

A new project in our lab builds on exciting findings from researchers at Baylor College of Medicine, who reported that the absence of one specific species of gut bacteria causes social deficits in mice reminiscent of symptoms of ASD in humans. Additional research has revealed the reporting of gastrointestinal problems in individuals with ASD.  In [...]

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NDL collaborating to help high school students with disabilities obtain jobs: New team of Interns graduate from Project SEARCH Collaborates for Autism

Our lab helped to launch the Project SEARCH initiative at Northwestern, and we have been thrilled to have an intern in our lab each year since its inception. Project SEARCH is a now-global network of programs aimed at training young adults with autism to secure employment and excel in the workforce. Its outcomes fill an ever-growing need as [...]

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‘It’s Changed His View of Life’: Companies Find Hiring Autistic Employees Has Vast Benefits

Williams, CEO of suit-maker Hart Schaffner Marx, seeks to accommodate the communication and sensory needs of individuals with autism in the workplace setting by implementing repetitive and structured tasks which include visual cues. Additional companies (e.g., Microsoft) are following suit by launching pilot programs to hire individuals with autism. Our research lab collaborates with Project [...]

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Researching the “Loss” of an Autism Diagnosis

A recent investigation of individuals with autism who subsequently lost their diagnosis over time found evidence that these individuals were able to make such substantial gains in language and communication because they may have developed alternative pathways to process language in the brain. These exciting findings support the promise of a new project in the [...]

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Autism is Not Just a Disorder of the Brain, Mouse Study Suggests

Published June 9th in Cell Press, a mouse study revealed aspects of ASD inclusive of touch perception, anxiety, and social abnormalities linked to defects in peripheral nerves. Our research studies seek to investigate social language (pragmatics) use and how certain subtle social and language features may run in families and be tied to the genes implicated in [...]

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Stress Exposure During Pregnancy Observed in Mothers of Children with Autism

A recent study highlighted the important influence that stress may have on health –to both children with autism and  their mothers.  Our own lab is contributing to these questions through a study examining the types and severity of parenting stress experienced by mothers of children with fragile X carriers to better understand how the FMR1 [...]

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Talking Sense: What Sensory Processing Disorder Says About Autism

Discusses the importance of highly individualized treatment plans for individuals with autism and other neurodevelopmental disabilities; our research studies explore various profiles (assessment of the Broad Autism Phenotype) occurring in families with autism and the influence of pragmatic language abilities and social characteristics.

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Through Play, Children with Autism Can Hone Thinking Skills

Cognitive abilities, language skills and executive functioning can influence the development of play skills in individuals with autism. Our research seeks to investigate these aforementioned domains (e.g., language use) in families of children with both autism and fragile X.

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Questions for Elizabeth Berry-Kravis: Dodging Mouse Traps

View our colleague and collaborator, Elizabeth Berry-Kravis, professor of child neurology at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago discussing the challenges of assessing cognitive problems in fragile X mice. We collaborate with Dr. Berry-Kravis on studies to develop more sensitive and appropriate assessemnts of cognition that can be used outcome measures in treatment studies, and [...]

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