Pubmed du 19/05/20

mardi 19 mai 2020

1. Adamson J, Kinnaird E, Glennon D, Oakley M, Tchanturia K. Carers’ views on autism and eating disorders comorbidity : qualitative study. BJPsych open. 2020 ; 6(3) : e51.

BACKGROUND : Patients with co-occurring anorexia nervosa and autism respond differently to eating disorder treatments. Previous interviews with patients with both conditions and clinicians working in eating disorder services has highlighted service and treatment adaptations might be beneficial and could improve outcomes for these individuals. AIMS : The aim of this study was to explore carers’ experiences of current treatment approaches for people with autism who have anorexia nervosa, and their views on how these can be improved. METHOD : Ten carers of a loved one diagnosed with autism and anorexia nervosa were interviewed using a semi-structured interview schedule and the transcripts were analysed with thematic analysis. RESULTS : Four key themes emerged from the interviews : the role of autism in anorexia nervosa, carers’ problems with clinical services, the impact on carers and suggestions for future improvements. CONCLUSIONS : Carers agreed that autism played a significant role in the development and maintenance of their daughters’ anorexia nervosa. However, this comorbidity does not appear to be appropriately addressed in current treatment provisions. They described several difficulties, including problems getting an autism diagnosis and the perception that eating disorder services did not accept or adapt around the condition. This resulted in feelings of frustration and isolation for families, a scenario exacerbated by a perceived lack of support or specific resources for carers of individuals on the autism spectrum. Clinical recommendations on the basis of the current and previous studies are outlined.

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2. Cardillo R, Vio C, Mammarella IC. A comparison of local-global visuospatial processing in autism spectrum disorder, nonverbal learning disability, ADHD and typical development. Res Dev Disabil. 2020 ; 103 : 103682.

BACKGROUND : Research on visuospatial functioning has revealed cognitive challenges for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), nonverbal learning disability (NLD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). These disorders are characterized by some overlapping symptoms, making their diagnosis a challenge. AIMS : The study aims to clarify the role of visuospatial abilities in their neuropsychological profiles by investigating different visuospatial domains and their interplay with the local-global processing. METHOD AND PROCEDURES : Participants (N = 150) with ASD, NLD, or ADHD were compared with typically-developing (TD) children on visuospatial processing speed, visuo-perceptual abilities, visuo-constructive abilities, and visuospatial working memory. Generalized mixed-effects models were performed and receiver operating characteristic curves were estimated to express the usefulness of a local-global processing index in discriminating groups. OUTCOMES AND RESULTS : The NLD group was impaired in all domains ; children with ADHD revealed a heterogeneous profile, with greater impairments in visuospatial processing speed ; ASD and TD groups were comparable. The local-global processing index had predictive power in discriminating among groups in visuo-constructive task. CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS : The study of visuospatial abilities of children with ASD, NLD and ADHD might help to understand strengths and weaknesses in their neuropsychological profile and to differentiate between them. Clinical implications of these findings are discussed.

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3. Delafield-Butt JT, Zeedyk MS, Harder S, Vaever MS, Caldwell P. Making Meaning Together : Embodied Narratives in a Case of Severe Autism. Psychopathology. 2020 : 1-14.

Shared understanding is generated between individuals before speech through a language of body movement and non-verbal vocalisation, expression of feeling and interest made in gestures of movement and voice. Human understanding is co-created in these embodied projects, displayed in serially organised expressions with shared timing of reciprocal actions between partners. These develop in narrative events that build over cycles of reciprocal expressive action in a four-part structure shared by all the time-based arts : "introduction," "development," "climax," and "conclusion." Pre-linguistic narrative establishes the foundation of later, linguistic intelligence. Yet, participating in social interactions that give rise to narrative development is a central problem of autism spectrum disorder. In this paper, we examine the rapid growth of narrative meaning-making between a non-verbal young woman with severe autism and her new therapist. Episodes of embodied, shared understanding were enabled through a basic therapeutic mode of reciprocal, creative mirroring of expressive gesture. These developed through reciprocal cycles and as the relationship progressed, complete co-created narratives were formed resulting in shared joy and the mutual interest and trust of companionship. These small, embodied stories enabled moments of co-regulated arousal that the young woman had previous difficulty with. These data provide evidence for an intact capacity for non-verbal narrative meaning-making in autism.

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4. Deng L, Rattadilok P. The need for and barriers to using assistive technologies among individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders in China. Assistive technology : the official journal of RESNA. 2020 : 1-12.

A large number of people in China have been affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs). However, different factors associated with current barriers to accessing external support by ASD individuals in China have been identified. Assistive technologies are believed to help address the barriers. To obtain an in-depth understanding of the need and barriers of Chinese individuals with ASD in using assistive technologies, this study surveyed parents of ASD children, ASD professionals, as well as technology developers in the field. This study found that people in China have lower awareness and utilization of assistive technologies but similar demands for technologies when compared to those in the United Kingdom. Monitoring and informing systems, therapeutic recommendation systems and social skill training applications are major forms of assistive technologies desired by the participants in the interviews. Concerns about affordability, public exposure, confidentiality breaches and possible side-effects are considered as barriers that may prevent ASD individuals in China from using assistive technologies. The paper further discussed potential orientations of assistive technology development in China. Considering Chinese individuals may suffer intense stigma and heavy financial burden on mental disabilities, affordable mobile applications that help reduce the stigma would be more acceptable by Chinese ASD individuals.

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5. Feaster D, Franzen A. From stigma to acceptance : Intellectual and developmental disabilities in Central China. Journal of intellectual disabilities : JOID. 2020 : 1744629520923264.

Children with intellectual and developmental disabilities have historically been at high risk for social exclusion and other vulnerabilities. The Western world has shifted away from institutionally-based services and toward community-based services that allow for greater social inclusion as well as for meeting individual developmental needs, and China is beginning the process of exploring how to make this shift. In 2014 and 2015, a situation analysis examining the lived experiences of parents of children with disabilities in Zhengzhou, Henan, China, was undertaken. Perceptions of strengths, needs, opportunities, and barriers experienced by parents of children in intact families (i.e. families where children with disabilities remain in their birth families) were explored by means of parent interviews and focus groups. Families identify experiences of stigma and acceptance related to traditional and alternative social constructions of intellectual and developmental disabilities, and how they use social networks and information-sharing to help develop community-based services.

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6. Friedman L, Lorang E, Hilvert E, Sterling A. "Are We Done Yet ?" Question-Asking in Boys With Fragile X Syndrome and Idiopathic Autism Spectrum Disorder. Journal of speech, language, and hearing research : JSLHR. 2020 : 1-13.

Purpose Question-asking serves as a tool to learn new information and is important in both academic and social settings. Boys with idiopathic autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and boys with fragile X syndrome and comorbid ASD (FXS + ASD) have similar social communication deficits, which may have downstream effects on their question-asking ability. This study examined question-asking in school-age boys with idiopathic ASD and FXS + ASD, including the role of ASD severity, expressive grammatical complexity (measured by mean length of utterance [MLU]), and IQ. Method Twenty-five boys with FXS + ASD and 21 boys with idiopathic ASD (ages 9-16 years) were included in this study. Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule assessments were transcribed and coded for the frequency, function, and appropriateness of spontaneous questions asked. We examined group differences in these aspects of question-asking and relationships between question-asking and ASD severity, MLU, and IQ within each group. Results Boys with FXS + ASD asked more questions than boys with idiopathic ASD, although boys with idiopathic ASD asked a higher proportion of appropriate questions. Boys with idiopathic ASD also asked the examiner more personal questions than the boys with FXS + ASD. ASD severity and MLU were related to the proportion of clarification questions in FXS + ASD, and ASD severity was also related to the proportion of personal questions in this group. For the boys with idiopathic ASD, ASD severity was related to the total number of questions asked. Conclusions Our findings highlight similarities and differences between boys with FXS + ASD and idiopathic ASD in their spontaneous question production and indicate that ASD severity and grammatical language are differentially important for question-asking. This study has implications for targeted treatment in question-asking skills for boys with FXS + ASD and ASD.

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7. Gudbrandsen M, Mann C, Bletsch A, Daly E, Murphy CM, Stoencheva V, Blackmore CE, Rogdaki M, Kushan L, Bearden CE, Murphy DGM, Craig MC, Ecker C. Patterns of Cortical Folding Associated with Autistic Symptoms in Carriers and Noncarriers of the 22q11.2 Microdeletion. Cereb Cortex. 2020.

22q11.2 deletion syndrome (22q11.2DS) is a genetic condition accompanied by a range of psychiatric manifestations, including autism spectrum disorder (ASD). It remains unknown, however, whether these symptoms are mediated by the same or distinct neural mechanisms as in idiopathic ASD. Here, we examined differences in lGI associated with ASD in 50 individuals with 22q11.2DS (n = 25 with ASD, n = 25 without ASD) and 81 individuals without 22q11.2DS (n = 40 with ASD, n = 41 typically developing controls). We initially utilized a factorial design to identify the set of brain regions where lGI is associated with the main effect of 22q11.2DS, ASD, and with the 22q11.2DS-by-ASD interaction term. Subsequently, we employed canonical correlation analysis (CCA) to compare the multivariate association between variability in lGI and the complex clinical phenotype of ASD between 22q11.2DS carriers and noncarriers. Across approaches, we established that even though there is a high degree of clinical similarity across groups, the associated patterns of lGI significantly differed between carriers and noncarriers of the 22q11.2 microdeletion. Our results suggest that ASD symptomatology recruits different neuroanatomical underpinnings across disorders and that 22q11.2DS individuals with ASD represent a neuroanatomically distinct subgroup that differs from 22q11.2DS individuals without ASD and from individuals with idiopathic ASD.

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8. Hoogman M, van Rooij D, Klein M, Boedhoe P, Ilioska I, Li T, Patel Y, Postema MC, Zhang-James Y, Anagnostou E, Arango C, Auzias G, Banaschewski T, Bau CHD, Behrmann M, Bellgrove MA, Brandeis D, Brem S, Busatto GF, Calderoni S, Calvo R, Castellanos FX, Coghill D, Conzelmann A, Daly E, Deruelle C, Dinstein I, Durston S, Ecker C, Ehrlich S, Epstein JN, Fair DA, Fitzgerald J, Freitag CM, Frodl T, Gallagher L, Grevet EH, Haavik J, Hoekstra PJ, Janssen J, Karkashadze G, King JA, Konrad K, Kuntsi J, Lazaro L, Lerch JP, Lesch KP, Louza MR, Luna B, Mattos P, McGrath J, Muratori F, Murphy C, Nigg JT, Oberwelland-Weiss E, O’Gorman Tuura RL, O’Hearn K, Oosterlaan J, Parellada M, Pauli P, Plessen KJ, Ramos-Quiroga JA, Reif A, Reneman L, Retico A, Rosa PGP, Rubia K, Shaw P, Silk TJ, Tamm L, Vilarroya O, Walitza S, Jahanshad N, Faraone SV, Francks C, van den Heuvel OA, Paus T, Thompson PM, Buitelaar JK, Franke B. Consortium neuroscience of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder and autism spectrum disorder : The ENIGMA adventure. Hum Brain Mapp. 2020.

Neuroimaging has been extensively used to study brain structure and function in individuals with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) over the past decades. Two of the main shortcomings of the neuroimaging literature of these disorders are the small sample sizes employed and the heterogeneity of methods used. In 2013 and 2014, the ENIGMA-ADHD and ENIGMA-ASD working groups were respectively, founded with a common goal to address these limitations. Here, we provide a narrative review of the thus far completed and still ongoing projects of these working groups. Due to an implicitly hierarchical psychiatric diagnostic classification system, the fields of ADHD and ASD have developed largely in isolation, despite the considerable overlap in the occurrence of the disorders. The collaboration between the ENIGMA-ADHD and -ASD working groups seeks to bring the neuroimaging efforts of the two disorders closer together. The outcomes of case-control studies of subcortical and cortical structures showed that subcortical volumes are similarly affected in ASD and ADHD, albeit with small effect sizes. Cortical analyses identified unique differences in each disorder, but also considerable overlap between the two, specifically in cortical thickness. Ongoing work is examining alternative research questions, such as brain laterality, prediction of case-control status, and anatomical heterogeneity. In brief, great strides have been made toward fulfilling the aims of the ENIGMA collaborations, while new ideas and follow-up analyses continue that include more imaging modalities (diffusion MRI and resting-state functional MRI), collaborations with other large databases, and samples with dual diagnoses.

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9. Hu Q, Chandrasekhar T. Meeting the Mental Health Needs of College Students with ASD : A Survey of University and College Counseling Center Directors. J Autism Dev Disord. 2020.

An increasing number of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are enrolling in post-secondary education. Though many students may use services provided by university and college counseling centers (UCCCs), little is known about the landscape of care for students with ASD in this setting. UCCC directors (n = 79) completed an online survey to assess current utilization, clinician experience with ASD, and campus collaborations. While the majority of directors (69.7%) reported an increase in students with ASD requesting mental health services at their centers, the survey identified a discrepancy between their intention to improve services and current reported levels of expertise, training, and resources. Directors identified barriers to improving UCCC services to students with ASD, providing direction for future improvement.

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10. Mills AS, Vimalakanthan K, Sivapalan S, Shanmugalingam N, Weiss JA. Brief Report : Preliminary Outcomes of a Peer Counselling Program for Parents of Children with Autism in the South Asian Community. J Autism Dev Disord. 2020.

Peer volunteers have been found to be effective in delivering psychosocial interventions when they come from the same culture and share similar experiences as participants. We examined the clinical utility (feasibility and preliminary effectiveness) of a community-based, manualized, peer-delivered group counselling program to address the need for culturally responsive counselling for parents of children with autism in the South Asian community. Sixty-three parents (M(age) = 43.7 years, 68% mothers) participated in the program, and reported high stable program satisfaction across sessions. Further, parents reported improved mental health and quality of life following involvement in the program, with changes noted even after the first session. Further research is warranted to assess the efficacy of this kind of parent support intervention.

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11. Noel JP, Lakshminarasimhan KJ, Park H, Angelaki DE. Increased variability but intact integration during visual navigation in Autism Spectrum Disorder. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2020 ; 117(20) : 11158-66.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a common neurodevelopmental disturbance afflicting a variety of functions. The recent computational focus suggesting aberrant Bayesian inference in ASD has yielded promising but conflicting results in attempting to explain a wide variety of phenotypes by canonical computations. Here, we used a naturalistic visual path integration task that combines continuous action with active sensing and allows tracking of subjects’ dynamic belief states. Both groups showed a previously documented bias pattern by overshooting the radial distance and angular eccentricity of targets. For both control and ASD groups, these errors were driven by misestimated velocity signals due to a nonuniform speed prior rather than imperfect integration. We tracked participants’ beliefs and found no difference in the speed prior, but there was heightened variability in the ASD group. Both end point variance and trajectory irregularities correlated with ASD symptom severity. With feedback, variance was reduced, and ASD performance approached that of controls. These findings highlight the need for both more naturalistic tasks and a broader computational perspective to understand the ASD phenotype and pathology.

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12. Ochi M, Kawabe K, Ochi S, Miyama T, Horiuchi F, Ueno SI. School refusal and bullying in children with autism spectrum disorder. Child Adolesc Psychiatry Ment Health. 2020 ; 14 : 17.

BACKGROUND : Few studies have explored school refusal in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), despite being considered a serious problem. One of the leading causes of school refusal is bullying, which is defined by the feelings of students who are bullied or not, and psychological suffering caused by a psychological or physical attack. This study investigated the characteristics of school refusal in children with ASD. METHODS : A total of 94 outpatients with school refusal and ASD and 143 outpatients with school refusal without ASD aged 6-18 years were included. Chi squared tests and Mann-Whitney tests were used to compare the characteristics of school refusal in children with and without ASD. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses were performed to analyze the reasons for school refusal in children with ASD by sex. RESULTS : School refusal significantly occurred earlier in children with ASD than in those without. In addition, "bullying" was significantly associated with school refusal in both boys and girls with ASD. CONCLUSIONS : These findings suggest that school refusal should be monitored early in children with ASD. The importance of recognizing bullying among children with ASD should be highlighted as an opportunity for early intervention.

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13. Patton SR, Odar Stough C, Pan TY, Holcomb LO, Dreyer Gillette ML. Associations between autism symptom severity and mealtime behaviors in young children presented with an unfamiliar food. Res Dev Disabil. 2020 ; 103 : 103676.

BACKGROUND : Feeding problems are common in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and there are associations between parent reports of child ASD symptom severity and feeding problems. The current study further explores this association between ASD severity and family mealtime behaviors using directly observed naturalistic mealtime interactions. METHODS AND PROCEDURES : Seventy-three children (M(age) = 5.42 years) were presented an unfamiliar food during a videotaped but otherwise typical home meal. Mealtime behavior was assessed through coding of the videotaped meal using the Dyadic Interaction Nomenclature for Eating (DINE) and parent report (Brief ASD Mealtime Behavior Inventory ; BAMBI). ASD severity was assessed with the clinician-completed Childhood Autism Rating Scale-Second Edition (CARS-2). OUTCOMES AND RESULTS : Greater ASD severity was associated with fewer bites of the unfamiliar food, greater disruptive behavior during meals, and greater parental commands to take bites during meals. We found negative associations between limited food variety and food refusal (BAMBI subscales) and child bites of the unfamiliar food, with higher levels of limited food variety and food refusal associated with fewer bites of the unfamiliar food. CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS : Children with more severe ASD may eat less and be more disruptive during meals, despite parent redirection. We also found associations between the BAMBI and DINE which suggest the BAMBI may be a sensitive measure of mealtime behaviors such as food flexibility and food refusal.

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14. Singh NN, Lancioni GE, Medvedev ON, Hwang YS, Myers RE. A Component Analysis of the Mindfulness-Based Positive Behavior Support (MBPBS) Program for Mindful Parenting by Mothers of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Mindfulness. 2020 : 1-13.

OBJECTIVES : Mindfulness-Based Positive Behavior Support (MBPBS) has been shown to be effective in reducing stress and burnout in parents and professional caregivers of children and adolescents with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The aim of this study was to assess the comparative effects of the mindfulness (MB) and positive behavior support (PBS) components against the MBPBS program for mindful parenting. METHODS : The study utilized a three-arm randomized controlled trial design, with a 10-week pre-treatment control condition, 30 weeks of intervention, and 3 years of post-intervention follow-up. Mothers of children with ASD were randomly assigned to the MB, PBS, and MBPBS conditions and provided 3 days of training specific to each condition. The effects of these programs were assessed on the mothers (i.e., training attendance, meditation time, perceived psychological stress) and spillover effects were assessed on their children with ASD (i.e., aggression, disruptive behavior, compliance with mothers’ requests). RESULTS : Mothers in the MBPBS condition reported greater reductions in perceived psychological stress, followed by those in the MB condition, and with no significant changes reported by those in the PBS condition. Reduction in the children’s aggression and disruptive behavior followed a similar pattern, with most to least significant reductions being in MBPBS, MB, and PBS condition, respectively. Significant increases in compliance (i.e., responsiveness to mothers’ requests) were largest in the MBPBS condition, followed by MB, and then PBS. Changes across all variables for both mothers and their children were maintained for 3 years post-intervention. After time and training type were controlled for, meditation time was a significant predictor in reducing aggressive and disruptive behaviors, and in enhancing compliance of the children with mothers’ requests. CONCLUSIONS : Positive outcomes for mothers and their children with ASD were significantly greater in the MBPBS condition, followed by the MB condition, and least in the PBS condition. MBPBS appears to be an effective mindful parenting program on the assessed variables.

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15. Smith ZZ, Kubiak RA, Arnold MR, Loupy KM, Taylor JA, Crist TG, Bernier AE, D’Angelo HM, Heinze JD, Lowry CA, Barth DS. Effects of immunization with heat-killed Mycobacterium vaccae on autism spectrum disorder-like behavior and epileptogenesis in a rat model of comorbid autism and epilepsy. Brain, behavior, and immunity. 2020.

Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) and epilepsy are often comorbid. The basis for this co-occurrence remains unknown ; however, inflammatory stressors during development are a shared risk factor. To explore this association, we tested the effect of repeated immunizations using a heat-killed preparation of the stress-protective immunoregulatory microbe Mycobacterium vaccae NCTC 11,659 (M. vaccae) on the behavioral and epileptogenic consequences of the combined stress-terbutaline (ST) rat model of ASD-like behavior/epilepsy. Repeated immunization of the dam with M. vaccae during pregnancy, followed by immunization of the pups after terbutaline injections, prevented the expression of ASD-like behavior but did not appear to protect against, and may have even enhanced, the spontaneous epileptogenic effects of ST. Maternal M. vaccae injections transferred an anti-inflammatory immunophenotype to offspring, and repeated injections across development prevented ST-induced increases in microglial density at early developmental time points in a region-specific manner. Despite epidemiological comorbidity between ASD/epileptic conditions and shared environmental risk factors, our results suggest that the expression of ASD-like behaviors, but perhaps not epileptogenesis, is sensitive to early anti-inflammatory intervention. These data provide support for the exploration of immunoregulatory strategies to prevent the negative neurodevelopmental behavioral effects of stressors during early critical periods.

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16. Totsika V, Hastings RP, Dutton Y, Worsley A, Melvin G, Gray K, Tonge B, Heyne D. Types and correlates of school non-attendance in students with autism spectrum disorders. Autism. 2020 : 1362361320916967.

Our study aimed to describe school non-attendance in students with autism. We conducted an online survey. Parents of 486 students (mean age : 11 years) indicated which days their child had missed school (over a period of 1 month). If the child had missed a day, the parent was asked to select a reason from a list of 15 possible reasons (this is a measure of types of school non-attendance called SNACK (School Non-Attendance ChecKlist ; Heyne et al., 2019)). On average, students missed 5 days of school of a possible 23 days. Missing over 10% of school is known as persistent absence, and in our study, 43% of students experienced persistent absence. Older students, who attended mainstream schools, who did not live in a two-parent household and whose caregiver was unemployed were more likely to miss school. Looking at the reasons for absence, school refusal was the most frequent reason, accounting for 43% of absences. Nine percent of absence was due to school exclusion. Nine percent of absence was due to school withdrawal. Truancy was almost non-existent. A final reason describes non-problematic absence that is mostly due to medical appointments and illness. This type of absence accounted for 32% of absences in our study, and it was more likely in student with intellectual disability. School refusal was more likely among older students. School exclusion was more likely among students from single-parent, unemployed and well-educated households. Findings from this study help us to understand better the difficulties students with autism experience attending school.

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17. van Tiel B, Deliens G, Geelhand P, Murillo Oosterwijk A, Kissine M. Strategic Deception in Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder. J Autism Dev Disord. 2020.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is often associated with impaired perspective-taking skills. Deception is an important indicator of perspective-taking, and therefore may be thought to pose difficulties to people with ASD (e.g., Baron-Cohen in J Child Psychol Psychiatry 3:1141-1155, 1992). To test this hypothesis, we asked participants with and without ASD to play a computerised deception game. We found that participants with ASD were equally likely-and in complex cases of deception even more likely-to deceive and detect deception, and learned deception at a faster rate. However, participants with ASD initially deceived less frequently, and were slower at detecting deception. These results suggest that people with ASD readily engage in deception but may do so through conscious and effortful reasoning about other people’s perspective.

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18. Vyshedskiy A, Radi K, DuBois MC, Mugford E, Maslova V, Braverman J, Piryatinsky I. Novel linguistic evaluation of prefrontal synthesis (LEPS) test measures prefrontal synthesis acquisition in neurotypical children and predicts high-functioning versus low-functioning class assignment in individuals with autism. Appl Neuropsychol Child. 2020 : 1-16.

In order to grasp the difference between "the cat on the mat" and "the mat on the cat," understanding the words and the grammar is not enough. Rather it is essential to visualize the cat and the mat together to appreciate their relations. This type of imagination, which involves juxtaposition of mental objects is conducted by the prefrontal cortex and is therefore called Prefrontal Synthesis (PFS). PFS acquisition has a strong experience-dependent critical period putting children with language delay in danger of never acquiring PFS and, consequently, not mastering complex language comprehension. In typical children, the timeline of PFS acquisition correlates with vocabulary expansion. Conversely, atypically developing children may learn many words but never acquire PFS. In these individuals, intelligence tests based on vocabulary assessment may miss the profound deficit in PFS. Accordingly, we developed a test specific for PFS - Linguistic Evaluation of Prefrontal Synthesis or LEPS - and administered it to 50 neurotypical children, age 4.1 ± 1.3 years and to 23 individuals with impairments, age 16.4 ± 3.0 years. All neurotypical children older than 4 years received the LEPS score 7/10 or greater indicating good PFS ability. Among individuals with impairments only 39% received the LEPS score 7/10 or greater. LEPS was 90% correct in predicting high-functioning vs. low-functioning class assignment in individuals with impairments.

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19. Watkins L, Tomeny T, O’Reilly M, Sillis KH, Zamora C. A Naturalistic Behavioral Intervention to Increase Interaction between Siblings with and without Autism. Behav Modif. 2020 : 145445520920813.

Research suggests that including typically developing siblings in interventions for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may be beneficial. However, studies have predominantly involved only participants with mild symptoms of ASD and have not also reported outcomes for the typically developing sibling. The purpose of this study was to address these gaps by replicating and extending an intervention package consisting of structured, interest-based play activities, adult instruction and modeling, and response to child questions. A reversal design across two sibling dyads was used to demonstrate the effects of the intervention on the social interaction behaviors of the child with ASD and typically developing sibling. Social interaction increased for both sibling dyads, results generalized for one dyad, and multiple measures indicated a high level of social validity. Recommendations for practitioners and caregivers working with children with ASD and potential areas of future research are discussed.

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