The Best of Our Knowledge
11:19 am
Mon August 24, 2009

The Best of Our Knowledge # 988

Albany, NY – AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER: FACIAL RECOGNITION RESEARCH -

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, says it's clear that more children than ever are being classified as having ASD, Autism Spectrum Disorder. But it's unclear how much of this increase is due to change in how we identify and classify autism in people. And how much is due to a true increase in prevalence.

By current standards, ASDs are the second most common serious developmental disability, but still less common than other conditions that affect children's development, such as speech and language impairments, learning disabilities, and ADHD.

The CDC's Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network has found that about 1 in 150 eight-year old children in multiple areas of the U.S. have autism. It estimates about one-half million school-aged children have autism. And that many may not be diagnosed or classified until school-age or later.

Scientists trying to understand and treat autism have discovered that the brains of people with autism function differently than those of normal people when they view pictures of unfamiliar people. However, when people with autism look at a picture of a very familiar face, such as their mother's, their brain activity is similar to that of control subjects.

This facial recognition study was originally done by Dr. Geraldine Dawson, when she was a Professor of Psychology at the University of Washington. Last year, she was appointed Chief Science Officer of Autism Speaks, the nation's leading autism advocacy organization.

Radio Netherland's spoke with Dr. Dawson about her experiments, and why facial recognition is an important factor with autism.

The Research File's, Laura Durnford reports. (2:49)

**(Attention listeners. For more information on ASD, the CDC website link is: http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/
And the Autism Speaks website is: http://www.autismspeaks.org/.)**

A NEW SCHOOL TREATMENT FACILITY OPENS IN KENTUCKY
THE HIGHLANDS CENTER FOR AUTISM -

Next, parents of children with autism face a multitude of challenges, not the least of which is identifying the appropriate therapy for their child. And then finding the right program to carry it out. A new school in Eastern Kentucky is bringing hope to parents and children in that region of the country. TBOOK gets this up close and personal perspective through the eyes of parents and therapists.

Ron Smith reports. (5:27)

**(Attention listeners. For more information on the facilities mentioned in the above story, you may want to visit: http://www.hrmc.org/pdfs/highlands_autism_brochure.pdf.)**

AUTISM: ENTERING THE EDUCATION SYSTEM
THE HILLCREST EDUCATIONAL CENTERS IN WESTERN MASSACHUSETTS

What happens when autistic children enter the educational system in the United States? Our previous report spoke of a new facility just opening in the Midwest. Now, we turn our attention to well-established operations in the Northeast. TBOOK reports on the services provided by the Hillcrest Educational Centers located in Western Massachusetts.

Charlie Deitz reports. (9:27)

**(Attention listeners. For more information on the facilities mentioned in the above story, you can visit: http://www.hillcrestec.org/About/,)**