Matching Items (56)

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Autism Awareness: A Focus on the Effects of Autism Spectrum Disorders on the Family

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The purpose of this paper is to bring awareness to autism to those whom may not be familiar with the disorder, or may know someone that has been diagnosed and

The purpose of this paper is to bring awareness to autism to those whom may not be familiar with the disorder, or may know someone that has been diagnosed and is looking for references. Another purpose of this paper is to identify possible effects or strains that a family can face when there is a child diagnosed with autism. Research shows that an array of stressors can be experienced by the family. Stressors include marital strain or divorce, additional stress or relational strains with siblings, the diagnosis process, as well as the subsequent therapies and treatments that will be received after the diagnosis. Research shows that mothers are especially susceptible to stress, depression, and strain from various doctor's appointments. The method used for this research was a single case study. An interview was conducted with the mother, as well as a short interview with the adult child that asks questions concerning his view of autism and how it has affected him personally. The interview did allow a view of how autism can affect the family through stress and differences in sibling and parental relationships. The interview also lends some insight into possible prognoses for children with autism. The mother discusses the positive attributes of her son also. The case study shows that there is stress on the whole family, and in their case how little personal and medical support through the process contributed to that stress.

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  • 2017-05

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Analysis of Yeast and Fungi in Children with ASD vs. Neurotypical Controls

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The gastrointestinal (GI) tract is home to a complex and diverse microbial ecosystem that contributes to health or disease in many aspects. While bacterial species are the majority in the

The gastrointestinal (GI) tract is home to a complex and diverse microbial ecosystem that contributes to health or disease in many aspects. While bacterial species are the majority in the GI tract, their cohabitants, fungal species, should not be forgotten. Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often suffer from GI disorders and associated symptoms, implying a role the bacterial and fungal gut microbiota play in maintaining human health. The irregularities in GI symptoms can negatively affect the overall quality of life or even worsen behavioral symptoms the children present. Even with the increase in the availability of next-generation sequencing technologies, the composition and diversities of fungal microbiotas are understudied, especially in the context of ASD. We therefore aimed to investigate the gut mycobiota of 36 neurotypical children and 38 children with ASD. We obtained stool samples from all participants, as well as autism severity and GI symptom scores to help us understand the effect the mycobiome has on these symptoms. By targeting the fungal internal transcribed spacer (ITS) and bacterial 16S rRNA V4 regions, we obtained fungal and bacterial amplicon sequences, from which we investigated the diversities, composition, and potential link between two different ecological clades. From fungal amplicon sequencing results, we observed a significant decrease in the observed fungal OTUs in children with ASD, implying a lack of potentially beneficial fungi in ASD subjects. We performed Bray-Curtis principal coordinates analysis and observed significant differences in fungal microbiota composition between the two groups. Taxonomic analysis showed higher relative abundances of Candida , Pichia, Penicillium , and Exophiala in ASD subjects, yet due to a large dispersion of data, the differences were not statistically significant. Interestingly, we observed a bimodal distribution of Candida abundances within children with ASD. Candida's relative abundance was not significantly correlated with GI scores, but children with high Candida relative abundances presented significantly higher Autism Treatment Evaluation Checklist (ATEC) scores, suggesting a role of Candida on ASD behavioral symptoms. Regarding the bacterial gut microbiota, we found marginally lower observed OTUs and significantly lower relative abundance of Prevotella in the ASD group, which was consistent with previous studies. Taken together, we demonstrated that autism is closely linked with a distinct gut mycobiota, characterized by a loss of fungal and bacterial diversity and an altered fungal and bacterial composition.

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  • 2018-05

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Hope and Dreams: Insight into Autism Art Benefit Exhibition

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Abstract Hope and Dreams: Insight into Autism Art Benefit Exhibition Megan H. Tollefson Hope and Dreams: Insight into Autism was a social outreach project benefiting autism research in the Phoenix

Abstract Hope and Dreams: Insight into Autism Art Benefit Exhibition Megan H. Tollefson Hope and Dreams: Insight into Autism was a social outreach project benefiting autism research in the Phoenix Valley via an art exhibition. Autism is a widely discussed disorder that affects more than 1.5 million people in the United States. It has had a significant personal impact on my life, as I have two cousins with the disorder, as well as o the lives of millions of others. The project aimed to educate the public on autism, support families dealing with the disorder, and raise funds for essential research to better understand, treat, and prevent autism. The variety of paintings in the exhibition was meant to be representative of the many facets of autism while inspiring hope for viewers. The project also intended to advocate the arts as a viable method for communicating for collective community pulse in the face of increasing autism prevalence. The project process hoped to speak as a visual, social and most importantly, a human commentary on the current state of autism in America. My artwork was selected as the winner for the Sally A. McKenna memorial exhibition for spring 2008, and the exhibition took place in the Step Gallery in the heart of Tempe. The paintings I created and the marketing for the event allowed me to create a meaningful thesis project and combine my interest in business and the arts. I was also able to donate several thousand dollars and one of the paintings to the Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center.

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  • 2008-05

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Optimized Prenatal Supplement for Preventing Autism

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Vitamins and minerals are, by definition, essential substances that are necessary for good health, and needed by every cell and organ to function appropriately. A deficiency of any one vitamin

Vitamins and minerals are, by definition, essential substances that are necessary for good health, and needed by every cell and organ to function appropriately. A deficiency of any one vitamin or mineral can be very serious. Although a very healthy diet rich in vegetables, fruits, and protein can provide sufficient amounts of most vitamins and minerals, many people do not consume an adequate diet. During pregnancy, there is an increased need for vitamins and minerals to promote a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. Prenatal supplements are intended to supplement a normal diet to ensure that adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals are consumed. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has established Recommended Dietary Allowances for total vitamin/mineral intake from food and supplements, but they have not established recommendations for prenatal supplements. Therefore, there is a very wide variation in the content and quality of prenatal supplements. Many prenatal supplements contain only minimal levels of some vitamins and few or no minerals, in order to minimize cost and the number of pills. This results in insufficient vitamin/mineral supplementation for many women, and hence does not fully protect them or their children from pregnancy complications and health problems. Therefore, we have created our own set of recommendations for prenatal supplements. Our recommendations are based primarily on four sources: 1) FDA's Recommended Daily Allowances for pregnant women, which are estimated to meet the needs of 97.5% of healthy pregnant women. 2) FDA's Tolerable Upper Limit, which is the maximum amount of vitamins/minerals that can be safely consumed without any risk of health problems. 3) National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), which evaluates the average intake of vitamins and minerals by women ages 20-40 years in the US 4) Research studies on vitamin/mineral deficiencies or vitamin/mineral supplementation during pregnancy, and the effect on pregnancy, birth, and child health problems. In summary, the RDA establishes minimum recommended levels of vitamin/mineral intake from all sources, and the NHANES establishes the average intake from foods. The difference is what needs to be consumed in a supplement, on average. However, since people vary greatly in the quality of their diet, and since most vitamins and minerals have a high Tolerable Upper Limit, we generally recommend more than the difference between the RDA and the average NHANES. Vitamins generally have a larger Tolerable Upper Limit than do minerals. So, we recommend that prenatal vitamin/mineral supplements contain 100% of the RDA for most vitamins, and about 50% of the RDA for most minerals. However, based on additional research studies described below, in some cases we vary our recommendations from those averages.

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  • 2017-05

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Diagnosing Autism Spectrum Disorder: Implications for Research, Medicine, and Patients

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Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a lifelong neurodevelopmental disorder that is becoming increasingly common. Autism does not yet have a known etiology, nor a definitive diagnostic test, thus making diagnosis

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a lifelong neurodevelopmental disorder that is becoming increasingly common. Autism does not yet have a known etiology, nor a definitive diagnostic test, thus making diagnosis a difficult and rarely uniform task. Currently, ASD is behaviorally diagnosed based on criteria defined by the American Psychiatric Association in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). Recently, a change was made in the criteria from more lenient criteria in DSM-IV-TR, to more narrow criteria laid out by the DSM-V, which supersedes the DSM-IV-TR. This drastic change raised many questions and debates about which set of criteria are better. The more lenient criteria offers a more inclusive diagnosis giving greater access to therapies; while the narrow diagnostic criteria excludes some individuals, creating a more uniform diagnosis that's easier to use in research. This thesis analyzes the change in diagnostic criteria from the DSM-IV-TR to the DSM-V and the effects of these changes on the practices of diagnosis. In addition, it explores the implications of this change for the families of children with autism and for those involved in autism research, examining their respective opinions and interests pertaining to narrow verses broad diagnostic criteria. Building on this analysis, the thesis offers recommendations about diagnostic criteria should be set. It argues that the wellbeing of patients takes priority over the interests of researchers, and thus diagnosis should be done in a way that offers the best prognosis for all children who suffer from autistic symptoms.

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  • 2016-12

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Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction and its Application on Behavior Modification in Adolescents with High Functioning Autism

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Asperger's syndrome is a high-functioning subset of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Diagnosed patients often lack refined social skills but possess a normal level of cognitive skills without delay in language

Asperger's syndrome is a high-functioning subset of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Diagnosed patients often lack refined social skills but possess a normal level of cognitive skills without delay in language development. These deficient social skills can impact the ability to find and maintain a job, which can be burdensome for all individuals involved in the patient's life. Although the causes of this condition are largely unknown, a wide variety of social and cognitive therapies have been used to reduce symptom severity, one of which is Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). Mindfulness is the act of being aware on purpose to whatever is being experienced in the present moment with non-judgment and receptivity. MBSR has been used to bring greater awareness to sensations, thoughts and emotions with the result being reduced reactivity and increased purposeful responsiveness. It is therefore the aim of this study to address the use of an 8-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction in adolescents with clinical Asperger's Syndrome to reduce reactive tendencies. This study will utilize a randomized control group of waitlisted participants given MBSR informational material and a practicing MBSR group. Post-MBSR Parent Global Impressions-III (PGI-III) and Social Responsiveness Scale scores are hypothesized to be improved in MBSR group and unaffected in the control for behavioral markers with no change in core autistic symptoms. Daily average cortisol response is also expected to decrease in the experimental group with unaffected levels in the control.

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  • 2017-05

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Motor system integrity in older adults with autism spectrum disorder

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Background: Gait disturbance, clumsiness, and other mild movement problems are often observed in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) (Maurer and Damasio 1982). As the brain ages, these symptoms may

Background: Gait disturbance, clumsiness, and other mild movement problems are often observed in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) (Maurer and Damasio 1982). As the brain ages, these symptoms may persist or worsen in late adulthood in those diagnosed with ASD. This study focused on older adults with ASD to study motor behavior and underlying brain integrity. Using a finger tapping task, motor performance was measured in a cross-sectional study comparing older adults with ASD and age-matched typically developing (TD) controls. We hypothesized that older adults with ASD would show poorer motor performance (slower finger tapping speed). We also hypothesized that underlying brain differences, measured using MRI, in regions associated with motor function including the primary motor cortex, basal ganglia, and cerebellum, as well as the white matter connecting tracts would exist between groups and be associated with the proposed disparity in motor performance.

Method: A finger oscillation (Finger Tapping) test was administered to both ASD (n=21) and TD (n=20) participants aged 40-70 year old participants as a test of fine motor speed. Magnetic resonance (MR) images were collected using a Philips 3 Tesla scanner. 3D T1-weighted and diffusion tensor images (DTI) were obtained to measure gray and white matter volume and white matter integrity, respectively. FreeSurfer, an automated volumetric measurement software, was used to determine group volumetric differences. Mean, radial, and axial diffusivity, fractional anisotropy, and local diffusion homogeneity were measured from DTI images using PANDA software in order to evaluate white matter integrity.

Results: All participants were right-handed and there were no significant differences in demographic variables (ASD/TD, means) including age (51.9/49.1 years), IQ (107/112) and years education (15/16). Total brain volume was not significantly different between groups. No statistically significant group differences were observed in finger tapping speed. ASD participants compared to TDs showed a trend of slower finger tapping (taps/10 seconds) speed on the dominant hand (47.00 (±11.2) vs. (50.5 (±6.6)) and nondominant hand (44.6 (±7.6) vs. (47.2 (±6.6)). However, a large degree of variability was observed in the ASD group, and the Levene’s test for homogeneity of variance approached significance (p=0.053) on the dominant, but not the nondominant, hand. No significant group differences in gray matter regional volume were found for brain regions associated with performing motor tasks. In contrast, group differences were found on several measures of white matter including the corticospinal tract, anterior internal capsule and middle cerebellar peduncle. Brain-behavior correlations showed that dominant finger tapping speed correlated with left hemisphere white matter integrity of the corticospinal tract and right hemisphere cerebellar white matter in the ASD group.

Conclusions: No significant differences were observed between groups in finger tapping speed but the high degree of variability seen in the ASD group. Differences in motor performance appear to be associated with observed brain differences, particularly in the integrity of white matter tracts contributing to motor functioning.

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  • 2017-05

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The Rest Egg Smartphone Connection: Accessibility, Utility, and Ease of Use via Mobile Application Support

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This document introduces the need for the Rest Egg system and defines an accessible method of smartphone integration. Excessive noise can prevent recovering patients and special needs persons from resting

This document introduces the need for the Rest Egg system and defines an accessible method of smartphone integration. Excessive noise can prevent recovering patients and special needs persons from resting correctly. The Rest Egg was designed for these people- people who are in critical need of quality rest but are often unable to eliminate stressors themselves. This system ensures their environment is calm by alerting caretakers' smartphones if noise reaches abrasive levels. Smartphones were the preferred device due to the wide spread of such devices in today's market. After making open sourcing a goal, something ubiquitous and affordable \u2014 yet usable and dependable \u2014 was necessary for the alert system. These requirements lead to the election an online alert service: Pushover, a trademark and product of Superblock, LLC.

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  • 2016-05

A Pilot Study: Using Visual Supports to Teach Algebraic Problem Solving Skills to Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders

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My Barrett Honors Thesis Paper synthesizes three components of my Thesis Project, which demonstrates the process of developing strong research from the beginning stage of investigation of a problem to

My Barrett Honors Thesis Paper synthesizes three components of my Thesis Project, which demonstrates the process of developing strong research from the beginning stage of investigation of a problem to implementation of an intervention to address that problem. Specifically, I engaged in research on the topic of mathematics and students with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). My review of the literature demonstrated a current dearth in the knowledge on effective interventions in math for this population of students. As part of my project, I developed and implemented an intervention to address the problem and help improve the knowledge base in the fields of autism and mathematics. Through the initial research process it was determined that students with autism spectrum disorders are being included more frequently in the general educational setting, and are therefore increasingly expected to access and master core curricular content, including mathematics. However, mathematics often presents challenges to students with ASD. Therefore, the first part of my Thesis Project is a comprehensive literature review that synthesized eleven studies of mathematics intervention strategies for students with ASD. Researching the current literature base for mathematics interventions that have been implemented with students with ASD and finding only eleven studies that met the inclusionary criteria led to the writing of the second part of my Thesis Project. In this second portion, I present how three research-based practices for students with autism, self-management, visual supports, and peer-mediated instruction, can be implemented in the context of teaching a higher-level mathematics skill, algebraic problem solving, specifically to students with ASD. By employing such strategies, teachers can assist their students with ASD to benefit more fully from mathematics interventions, which in turn may help them strengthen their mathematics skills, increase independence when completing problems, and use acquired skills in community or other applied settings. As part of the second portion of my Thesis Project, I developed a visual support strategy called COSMIC (a mnemonic device to guide learners through the steps of algebraic problem solving) to help aid students with ASD when solving simple linear equations. With the goal of contributing to the current research base of mathematics interventions that can support students with ASD, for the final part of Thesis Project I worked with a local middle school teacher to assist her in implementing our COSMIC intervention with her student with ASD. Results indicated the student improved in his algebraic problem solving skills, which suggests additional interventions with students with ASD to be recommended as part of future research.

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  • 2015-12

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Vineland II Evaluations of Children and Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder

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This is a study of the adaptive behaviors of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder using the Vineland II Adaptive Behavioral Scale (VABS-II). This scale was used to determine the overall

This is a study of the adaptive behaviors of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder using the Vineland II Adaptive Behavioral Scale (VABS-II). This scale was used to determine the overall functioning level of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder at the beginning, and will be used at the end, of a year-long study beginning at Arizona State University. This larger study is determining what the effects are, if any, of a combination of nutritional and dietary treatments in individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder. However, this paper only examines the VABS-II results of forty-three participants in the study, as well as their hand-grip strength. It was found that individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder are substantially delayed in all four domains (communication, daily living skills, social skills, and motor skills) of adaptive behaviors measured by the VABS-II, particularly in communication. This study will be completed in May 2013, when it will be determined what the effects of these treatments are, if any.

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  • 2012-05