Startup Touts Unique Talent Pool: Workers with Autism

Tech startup Daivergent connects contractors on the autism spectrum with clients in need of their skill sets. Alexis Prendergast, a Brooklyn 25-year-old who has autism spectrum disorder, is the first to admit there are skills she hasn’t mastered. “Mostly it’s social stuff. I miss some cues,” she says. Her wiring also lends unusual strengths, like an ability to focus for long stretches on tasks requiring great attention to detail. Happily, she found an employer looking for someone just like her. The full story can be found here  

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New biomarker panel could accelerate autism diagnoses

Investigators have identified a group of blood metabolites that could help detect some children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). These findings are a key step toward developing an ASD biomarker test. Investigators at the UC Davis MIND Institute and NeuroPointDX, a division of Stemina Biomarker Discovery, have identified a group of blood metabolites that could help detect some children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Part of the Children’s Autism Metabolome Project (CAMP), the largest metabolomic ASD study ever attempted, these findings are a key step toward developing an ASD biomarker…

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Ford Looking To Hire Workers With Autism

A major American automaker is looking to tap the potential of workers on the spectrum. Ford Motor Company said it is launching a pilot program this week designed to employ people with autism. Through the initiative dubbed “FordInclusiveWorks,” the company said it will establish five new positions in product development that were “created to suit the skills and capabilities of people with autism.” If successful, participants in the pilot program will ultimately enter Ford’s standard recruiting process, company officials said. Read the full story here… And more here…

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Reveal fitness tracker records stressors for children with autism

Fitness trackers are great, but their applications could go far beyond simply tracking how many steps you take. For example, they could be used to seriously help people who need it — like children with autism. That’s the idea behind a new health tracker from a company called Awake Labs, which has just launched an Indiegogo campaign for the Reveal — a fitness tracker that’s aimed squarely at helping kids on the autism spectrum. So how does the Reveal help these kids? Reveal essentially measures the wearer’s body’s response to anxiety, helping understand…

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Autism with intellectual disability linked to mother’s immune dysfunction during pregnancy

From Science Daily: Pregnant women with higher levels of inflammatory cytokines and chemokines, proteins that control communication between cells of the immune system, may be at significantly greater risk of having a child with autism combined with intellectual disability, researchers have found. The research also suggests a potential immune profile for the differentiation of autism combined with intellectual disability, as distinct from either autism or developmental disability alone. “Inflammation during the second trimester in the mothers of children with autism who also have intellectual disability was significantly greater than in…

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People on the Spectrum 66% less likely to get Cancer

      A reprint of the Bullet Points People with autism had more variation in genes known to cause cancer Yet they were 66% less likely to be diagnosed with the disease, study found Experts: Findings could pave way for new treatments for both conditions Scientists already studying whether cancer drugs could help treat autism   People with autism are significantly less likely to suffer from cancer, a study has revealed. While they have more gene mutations known to cause cancer, they are 66 per cent less likely to be…

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Brain Scan Software can spot Adults with Autism

“THERE HAVE BEEN NUMEROUS ATTEMPTS BEFORE. WE FINALLY OVERCAME THE PROBLEM.” A computer algorithm called a “classifier” can distinguish between adults with and without autism by studying brain scans. The software found 16 key connections that allowed it to tell, with high accuracy, who had been traditionally diagnosed with autism and who had not. The team developed the classifier with 181 adult volunteers at three sites in Japan and then applied it in a group of 88 American adults at seven sites. All the study volunteers with autism diagnoses had…

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Pesticide effect on cells may resemble signs of autism

A class of fungicides used on crops can produce changes in mouse brain cells that look strikingly similar to those seen in the brains of people with autism. The findings, published 31 March in Nature Communications, support the use of ‘transcriptomics’ — a rapid method of analyzing gene expression in cells — for identifying chemicals that trigger patterns of gene expression like those seen in autism. The method could flag chemicals that contribute to the condition1. “It provides a rational way of finding environmental risk factors,” says study leader Mark…

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Apple’s short film on Autism proves that accessibility features matter

Apple has released a couple of videos over the weekend starring Dillan Barmache, a 16-year-old kid who is autistic and non-verbal. These two films are powerful and also make a strong point in favor of accessibility features, specialized apps for autistic people and more. Autism affects social and communication behaviors. Autistic people have a hard time communicating with the world. But it doesn’t mean they don’t have things to say. It’s easy to shut yourself away when you have this disorder because you have a hard time talking with people around…

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Eye-gaze tracking may offer objective tool for detecting autism in children

Methods for detecting early signs of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are primarily observational, spanning from parent reports to clinical evaluation. But researchers at Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital have found remote eye-gaze tracking technology may be a more effective tool for spotting signs of ASD. In research published Friday in the Journal of American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, study authors observed the technology helped identify children with autism from children without autism but with other developmental issues like ADHD, anxiety and intellectual disabilities. “Abnormal eye gaze is a hallmark…

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