Epilepsy study points to promising new uses for existing drugs

Drug repositioning—taking known drugs and identifying new applications for them—is an attractive concept for speeding up the process of bringing drugs to human testing for unmet medical needs. In a new study, published online in Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology, University of Iowa researchers led by Alexander Bassuk, MD, PhD, UI professor of pediatrics and neurology, use a multidisciplinary strategy that combines gene expression profiling and bioinformatics to identify a list of around 90 drugs, all of […]

Is It Common For Children With Autism To Have Sleep Disturbances?

By Lauren Schnell, BCBA Sleep disturbances in children with autism are a common concern for many parents. It has been estimated that approximately 25% of typical children between the ages of one and four struggle with nighttime wakings (Lozoff, Wolf, & Davis, 1985). For children with special needs, the number increases dramatically with upwards of 80% experiencing some type of sleep problems (Lamberg, 1994). Of those who frequently wake at night, the majority end up […]

Diagnosing Depression in Autism

Mark was a boy of few words. He had autism and severe intellectual disability. Sometimes he would bang his head if frustrated and become aggressive if someone tried to restrain him. He could focus on school work for up to 40 minutes at a time. But when he was 9, something changed. He banged his head and became aggressive more often, sometimes for no reason, and he couldn’t do school work for more than 5 […]

Fire Safety for Your Special Needs Child

While every family should have a home fire safety plan, it’s even more critical if you have a family member with cognitive or physical disabilities. These individuals are 2.5 to 6.5 times more likely to die in a house fire. However, there are a number of safety precautions you can take to reduce the risk of injury for your loved ones. Identify exits Assess each room in your home and identify at least two exits, […]

Therapies and Treatments for Autism

“What do I do next?” This is a question that has undoubtedly been asked by every parent of a child with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). In many cases, it comes after the “What is autism?” and “How did it happen?“ Unfortunately, just as with the first two questions, the answer isn’t very satisfying. Although many treatments and therapies are proposed to help, few have been studied enough to know whether they really do (or […]

Preventing Abuse of Your Special Needs Child

Here’s a somber statistic: Individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities are far more likely to be abused by someone they know than a stranger. Abuse is any behavior that is unwanted, intentionally harmful, demeaning or insulting, or causes the victim to be afraid. This may include physical violence, sexual assault, bullying, emotional maltreatment or neglect. Sadly, because an individual with intellectual and developmental disability may be perceived as an “easy target,” the likelihood of abuse […]

Scientists discover genetic ‘missing links’ underlying mechanism of psychiatric diseases

By Sarah C.P. Williams UCLA researchers, in global collaboration, gain new understanding of brain architecture of autism, schizophrenia Since the completion of the groundbreaking Human Genome Project in 2003, researchers have discovered changes to hundreds of parts of DNA, called genetic variants, that are associated with autism spectrum disorder, schizophrenia and other psychiatric diseases. Now, a new, large-scale study has linked many of those changes in DNA to their molecular effects in the brain, revealing […]

Child Bearing and The Challenges of Intellectual Disability

By Lydia Furman, MD, Associate Editor, Pediatrics In a recently released issue of Pediatrics, Dr. Hilary Brown and colleagues from Toronto, Canada ask an important question: are mothers with intellectual and developmental disability (IDD) more or less likely to have their infants placed in protective custody immediately after birth compared to mothers without such a disability (10.1542/peds.2018-1416)? The authors used several large and complete national health information databases to answer their question. A total of […]

A Connecticut Cafe Provides Jobs For Adults With Disabilities

  Adults with intellectual disabilities often struggle to find work. Over 80-percent are under-employed or not working at all, according to an estimate by the Arc, a nonprofit that assists people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. So a group of Connecticut families started a cafe named BeanZ & Co. to tackle the problem head-on. On a recent day, Lauren Traceski took an order from a customer, then relayed it to her boss, who started up […]

Stranger Safety for Your Special Needs Child

When we envision a child with Down syndrome navigating the world without adult supervision, fears about encounters with strangers naturally surface. Many individuals with Down syndrome are friendly and trusting, by nature, and respond warmly to a new acquaintance, a trait that is generally celebrated by those who are privileged to meet them. But, this endearing quality creates a vulnerability that obligates parents to teach them to distinguish between acceptable, harmless exchanges with strangers and […]