Autism Spectrum Disorder Research

CEHD Blog Compilation: Autism Spectrum Disorder Research

A primary goal of the University of Minnesota’s College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) is improving lives locally, nationally and globally. One of the most important research subjects at CEHD is Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), a complex condition in the brain that unfolds over time. Contributions from CEHD research have ranged from breakthroughs in early detection, preparing teachers for students with autism, and community outreach for families touched by ASD.

Below is a compilation of blog posts, highlighting both the complex issue of ASD and the efforts of CEHD to improve the lives of those impacted by it.

Breakthrough Autism Research in Early Detection

Author: Jed Elison / Date Posted: 2/17/2017

This study was funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health, the Simons Foundation, and Autism Speaks and these findings represent a major breakthrough in autism research. The findings provide evidence that patterns of brain development differentiate high-risk infants who go on to receive a diagnosis of autism as early as 6-12 months of age. The earlier we can identify children at high risk for autism, the earlier we can implement interventions that have been shown to improve outcomes for these children.

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Autism Education Prepares Teachers and Students for Success

Author: Veronica Fleury / Date Posted: 10/16/2015

More than almost any other disability, autism presents a wide range of symptoms and aptitudes among students. The key to autism education is gathering data on students in a variety of settings and at a variety of developmental levels. While there are many different approaches to autism education that are appropriate to different settings in and out of school, the common goal is that we’re all working toward helping these students achieve their maximum potential. To do this, we need our research here at CEHD to continue to develop our understanding of best practices for autism education.

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Studying Brain and Behavior to Better Understand Autism

Author: Jason Wolff / Date Posted: 4/3/2015

ASD is a developmental phenomenon. By studying brain and behavior in children at risk (this includes children who have an older sibling with ASD) we are able to better understand autism and the complex manner in which it unfolds. We hope to make accurate predictions not only about the existence and progression of autism, but also how certain brain features might impact a child’s ability to respond to interventions. This would enable us to better understand autism, how and why some children develop it and possibly provide very early or even preventative interventions.

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Autism Spectrum Disorder: Researching Early Identification to Prevent Symptoms

Author: Jed Elison / Date Posted: 4/4/2014

The primary goal of my research is to identify brain and behavioral markers that anticipate the expression of ASD symptoms. In order to study the early development of ASD, my colleagues and I, along with several other research groups, reach out to families with “infant siblings” of children with autism and watch them develop during their first three years of life. Numerous studies show younger siblings of a child with ASD, especially boys, are at higher risk for developing the disorder.

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Autism Friendly Spaces Improving Lives for Families Impacted by Autism

Author: Gizem Tanol Date Posted: 4/12/2013

Based in New York City, our mission is to enhance the quality of life for those with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and their families. We work to create opportunities for families to participate more actively in the community, and work to make spaces such as Broadway shows, restaurants and museums more acceptable and enjoyable for families.

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Minneapolis Somali Autism Spectrum Disorder Prevalence Project

Researcher: Amy Hewitt

The Minneapolis Somali Autism Spectrum Disorder Prevalence Project was developed to answer the question, “Is there a higher prevalence of ASD in Somali children who live in Minneapolis versus non-Somali children?” The project looked at information on children who were between the ages of 7 to 9 during the year 2010. At least one parent was required to have been a resident of Minneapolis in 2010. The project began in July 2011, and was completed in December 2013.

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Be sure to come back to to learn about the continuous, important research being conducted by CEHD – expect new data in the spring of 2018!

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