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Kathy Marshack News

The Latest Autism Statistics (1 Child in 38) Are Staggering

Monday, May 09, 2011


You may have heard the numbers reported on by the CDC – that 1 in 110 children are being diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder in the United States. According to new research, it could be much higher! The American Journal of Psychiatry will be publishing new research from a study performed by researchers at the Child Study Center at Yale University and George Washington University.

For the last six years, researchers studied 7-12 year old children from the Ilsan District of the city of Goyang, South Korea. They estimate that 2.64% or 1 in 38 children in South Korea have autism. This doesn't necessarily mean that there are now more autistic children than before, but that the method of screening was more thorough.

In the past, the statistics given by researchers came from records of existing autism cases, but it never included children from parents who did not seek out a diagnosis. In the study performed in South Korea, the researchers tried to screen every child from the ages of 7-12. No wonder it took them six years! For more details on this study, read Study Uncovers Higher Rate of Autism.

These numbers can come as quite a shock. It raises the question, if this was done in the United States, would that 1 to 110 statistic change? It is my hope that doctors, parents, and teachers take a more proactive approach to uncovering autism. The earlier autism is detected, the sooner that child can receive the right kind of therapy, training, and schooling. Early detection is vital!

TV Series “Exploring Critical Issues” Delves into Autism and Asperger Syndrome

Wednesday, May 04, 2011


"A little knowledge that acts is worth infinitely more than much knowledge that is idle." - Khalil Gibran

Dr. Robert A. Scott, Adelphi University President, the host of the television series "Exploring Critical Issues" will soon be discussing the topic, "Autism and Asperger Syndrome." The purpose of the segment is to discuss the newest autism research and policies with the goal of bring awareness to this fast growing disorder.

Asperger Syndrome (AS) is much more common than previously realized and many adults are undiagnosed. Studies suggest that AS is considerably more common than "classic" Autism. Whereas Autism has traditionally been thought to occur in about 4 out of every 10,000 children, estimates of Asperger Syndrome have ranged as high as 20-25 per 10,000. A study carried out in Sweden , concluded that nearly 0.7% of the children studied had symptoms suggestive of AS to some degree. Time Magazine notes in its May 6, 2002 issue cover story, “ASD is five times as common as Down syndrome and three times as common as juvenile diabetes." Click here to learn more about Asperger Syndrome.

Along with Dr. Robert Scott is a panel of four autism experts including Dr. Stephen Shore, Assistant Professor of Education at Adelphi University. Dr. Shore wrote the forward to my book, Life with a Partner or Spouse with Asperger Syndrome: Going Over the Edge?. He teaches courses in special education and autism at Adelphi University. In addition to working with children and talking about life on the autism spectrum, Dr. Shore addresses adult issues pertinent to education, relationships, employment, advocacy, and disclosure as discussed in his many books.

This one hour broadcast will air:
Sunday, May 8th
Sunday, May 15th
Tuesday, May 10th
Tuesday, May 17th
Thursday, May 12th
Thursday, May 19th

"Autism and Asperger Syndrome" can be viewed online at www.telecaretv.org.

Do Women have Asperger Syndrome?

Monday, April 04, 2011


Yes, women do have Asperger Syndrome (AS). It is true that the bulk of those diagnosed are men, there are many girls and women with AS. Women with Asperger's may lead more complex lives than men with Asperger's. To some extent, males with Asperger’s are more accepted because their behavior is viewed as "extreme male thinking." But women with Asperger Syndrome are viewed as cold, uncaring, and selfish because the cultural expectation is for women to be more aware of the needs of the relationship, something which is extremely difficult for most Aspies.

Men around the world are in relationships with women who have Asperger's. Even though the disorder is the same, there are unique differences between a relationship with an AS woman and an AS man. Just like NT women, NT men need to be able to learn about Asperger Syndrome and be able to talk about their experiences.

In order to fill the need that NT men have, I have created two message boards on the Asperger Syndrome: Partners and Family of Adults with ASD webpage specifically for male member. Of course, men do not need to be confined to male only sites, but their experiences are specific and so are their needs. If you are a man in a relationship with a women with ASD or have a family member, please feel free to join our message boards whether it is male only or any others that fit your circumstances.

My book, Life with a Partner or Spouse with Asperger Syndrome: Going over the Edge? can be a valuable resource for both men and women in Asperger relationships. Click here to download a free sample chapter.

Are You a Survivor of Survivors?

Wednesday, March 02, 2011


How do you describe a person who has been traumatized by another person's trauma? I would describe them as a "survivor of survivors." Whether it is from PTSD, alcoholism, Asperger Syndrome, or something else, the actions of that person will affect their loved ones, sparking a cycle of re-traumatization. This type of cycle is vicious and harmful to say the least.

It's hard to explain why a person will feel traumatized by the behavior of another person, but those feelings are very real and should not be minimized. If those feelings are not addressed, depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem will set in.

The key is to try and stop the cycle so no one else turns into a survivor of survivors. For the cycle to stop, both parties must seek professional help. There are a variety of effective therapies now available. In addition to therapy, joining a support group is an excellent way to gain comfort and strength from those in a similar situation.

If you have a family member with Asperger Syndrome and live in the Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA area, I invite you to join Asperger Syndrome: Partners & Family of Adults with ASD. On March 19, 2011, we will be discussing "Are You a Survivor of Survivors?" and exploring this topic in detail.

If your loved one is suffering from another type of trauma or disorder, please contact my office for more information. Do not delay in stopping the cycle!

Parenting with an Asperger Spouse in Real Life vs. Hollywood

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


With as many as 1.5 million Americans having some form of autism, including milder variants, autism is a hot topic.  In 2009, the movie “Adam" highlighted the difficulties of falling in love with someone who has Asperger Syndrome and currently NBC’s “Parenthood” has a character with Asperger Syndrome. When I talk to couples in these difficult relationships, they’re not that interested in Hollywood, they’re looking for real life solutions.

With so much emphasis being placed on Asperger Syndrome, many are left wondering, how can someone co-parent with an Aspie partner? What about the children of an Asperger parent? How can a child thrive when his or her parent has so little empathy?

I’ve been moved to investigate these sensitive and unique issues especially after writing “Life with a Partner or Spouse with Asperger Syndrome: Going over the Edge? Practical Steps to Saving You and Your Relationship." As many of you know, I am currently writing a new book entitled, “Parenting with a Spouse or Partner with Asperger Syndrome: Out of Sight, Out of Mind.”

I have found that when you live with Aspies it’s the ordinary things of life that cease to function properly – like getting enough sleep, or asking your spouse to pick up a child from soccer practice. When co-parenting with an Aspie these ordinary things become strained and turn into not-so-ordinary moments leaving the Neuro-typical (NT) partner feeling drained, unnerved, and tense. In fact many NT spouses/partners report a variety of psycho-somatic and immunodeficiency illnesses such as migraines, arthritis, gastric reflux and fibromyalgia.

If you find yourself in this situation, you are not alone. There are answers to this dilemma and I will continue to write about those answers. I encourage you to download a FREE
sample chapter of Parenting with a Spouse or Partner with Asperger Syndrome: Out of Sight, Out of Mind.” I will continue to keep you updated on any news about the book and when it will be available. 

Give Your Autistic Child Positive Reinforcement

Sunday, October 31, 2010


In a recent blog, I wrote about the value of learning the early signs of Autism Spectrum Disorders. The benefit of early recognition is that specific training can begin immediately. One type of training is to instill positive reinforcement when working with your child. When you reinforce their good behavior, it will help them to understand what is the right way to act.

This actually works whether or not your child has ASD. However, as parents it’s so easy to fall into only commenting on bad behavior. In order to give positive reinforcement, you have to be looking for the good behavior and good qualities that they are exhibiting and be quick to commend them. When giving commendation, be specific. Explain what they did that you liked and why you liked it. Did they do a good job making eye contact? Did they use the right language? Even a little thing can be a good thing to reinforce.

Another way to do this is to offer rewards when they have done something positive. Make sure that the reward fits the child otherwise it will not mean anything to them. The reward can be verbal or something tangible. The goal is to help them to make the connection that their good behavior equals positive reinforcement.

Each child is different, so different things work for different children. So be patient and focus on the positive. For more information on positive reinforcement, read Being Proactive in Therapy and Research.

If you are parenting with a spouse with Asperger Syndrome, download a free sample chapter from my newest project Parenting with a Spouse or Partner with Asperger Syndrome: Out of Sight, Out of Mind.

 

 

Be Proactive - Learn the Early Signs of ASD

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


According to the CDC, 1 in 110 children in the United States are being diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder or ASD. With the numbers rising, it is of high importance that parents be proactive and learn the early signs of ASD. Early diagnosis is vital! This knowledge will make an enormous difference in the life of the child and the parent. Once the diagnosis is made, then training can begin.

The Centers for Disease Controls and Prevention is taking note of the delayed diagnosis of ASD and is now working to educate parents on the early signs of ASD. They have a wide variety of tools available on their website. For example, one tool enables parents to keep track of milestones in the early development of their child and what they should be looking for. They also discuss what to do if you are concerned, how to talk to your doctor, where do go for an evaluation, free resource kits and much more.

I encourage you to take advantage of the many resources that are available. Don't delay! This could greatly impact your future and the future of your child. To learn more about parenting with a spouse with ASD click here.

New Studies Report No Link Found Between Autism and Vaccines

Friday, September 17, 2010


There’s a lot of speculation about possible causes of Autism Spectrum Disorder. One such speculation pointed to thimerosal-containing vaccines. According to a new study from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), there is no increased risk of autism after receiving a vaccination as an infant or while in the womb – around 20 studies found no such link.

With this new information, CDC Director of Immunization Safety and study researcher Frank DeStefano, says that the focus should be to look for other possible causes. To read more about these findings, read CDC Study Shows No Vaccine, Autism Link

With an estimated 1 in 110 children in the United States now being diagnosed with ASD, it can be disconcerting not having a clear reason why these numbers are rising. As a psychologist, even though unsure of the cause, I focus on how to cope with living with ASD or living with someone with ASD. If you are in a relationship with someone with a high-functioning form of autism or Asperger Syndrome, you may be striving to understand how this disorder impacts you and your relationship. My book, Life with a Partner or Spouse with Asperger Syndrome: Going Over the Edge?, emphasizes the importance of fully understanding Asperger Syndrome and then taking a close look at how it impacts their lives. Without insight and tolerance gained from understanding, many spouses end up feeling misunderstood, frustrated, isolated and unloved.

I am also writing a new book about co-parenting with an Asperger partner. Click here to download a free sample chapter of Parenting with a Spouse or Partner with Asperger Syndrome: Out of Sight, Out of Mind.

 

High Divorce Rates for Parents Raising a Child with Autism

Thursday, September 02, 2010


Will the marriage survive once an autistic child grows up? Researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Waisman Center decided to focus their attention on this particular subject. According to their research, couples are more likely to divorce when their autistic child becomes a teen or adult than couples who have children with no disabilities. Sigan Hartley, a UW-Madison assistant professor explains, "Typically, if couples can survive the early child-rearing years, parenting demands decrease and there is often less strain on the marriage. However, parents of children with autism often continue to live with and experience high parenting demands into their child's adulthood, and thus marital strain may remain high in these later years." For more information on this study, please read Study Details Autism's Heavy Toll Beyond Childhood on Marriages.

If you find yourself in a similar situation, it is vital that you seek help for your marriage as well as help to cope with your autistic loved one. There are many different avenues that one can take to get support. Find a mental health care professional that can offer guidance in the marriage as well as dealing with an autistic child. You may want to look for a local support group that focuses on relationships with a ASD family member. If you live the in the Portland, Oregon area check out Asperger Syndrome: Partners or Family of Adults with ASD. If you do not live nearby, you can join us online where we have many group discussions on our forum.

If you are parenting with an Asperger spouse, please download a free sample chapter of my upcoming book - Parenting with a Spouse or Partner with Asperger Syndrome: Out of Sight, Out of Mind.”

New Brain Scan for Diagnosing Adult Autism

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Experts have been searching for easier methods to diagnose adult autism. Current methods can be lengthy and expensive. Scientists at King's College London are in the process of developing a brain scan to diagnose autism.

The Medical Research Counsel performed a study on 40 different individuals – 20 with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) and 20 without ASD. They first diagnosed their patients using previously known methods and then performed a 15 minute MRI. Small differences in the brain were identified. They had a success rate of 90% according to the Journal of Neuroscience. For more detailed information on this study, read BBC News - New Brain Scan To Diagnose Autism.

These experts are hopeful that this test will become a widely used method for diagnosing ASD. Then the patient will be able to get immediate attention from a professional who can assist them with coping techniques. This is also exciting information because it may help us learn more about brain abnormalities and ASD.  

For more information on adult Autism Spectrum Disorder, visit Asperger Syndrome Frequently Asked Questions.


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