April is Autism Awareness Month

    April is Autism Awareness Month, and HEC-TV is “lighting up blue.” Here are some stories we have covered dealing with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), ranging from new studies suggesting stress during pregnancy may lead to ASD, to world-renown Autism spokesperson Temple Grandin speaking of her experiences with Autism.

    Stress During Pregnancy Observed in Mothers of Children with Autism

    Stress during pregnancy has been linked to instances of autism spectrum disorder. Now, researchers at the University of Missouri School of Medicine have observed a variant of a stress-sensitive gene and exposure to stress during pregnancy among two groups of mothers of children with autism. The researchers believe the finding could be a step toward helping identify women who have greater risks for having children with autism when exposed to stressors during a specific time window during pregnancy.

    Temple Grandin Goes Public With Her Experience with Autism

    Temple Grandin is widely celebrated as one of the first individuals on the autism spectrum to publicly share insights from her personal experiences. She visited Warrenton High School to interact with FFA students, sign books and speak to a standing room only crowd about what she calls her “gift of Autism.”

    Let’s Talk About: Technology, Truth, and the Public

    Author and New York Times National Correspondent Amy Harmon will share her experience covering the intersection of science and society and the divide between public opinion and scientific data. Amy writes about the impact of science and technology on American life. Current topics of interest include math culture, GMOs, race and gender inequality in science, climate change, autism, gene drive, open science and longevity research. The conversation is moderated by Jim Carrington, Ph.D., Danforth Center President.

    Easter Seals Midwest’s Look at Living with Asperger Syndrome

    A recipient of the prestigious Mental Health Champion award given by the Missouri Department of Mental Health, Aaron has found an opportunity to share with the world how the autism mind works through his position as Easter Seals Midwest’s Autism Ambassador. Having been diagnosed later in life, Aaron is committed to “the race for autism awareness and understanding,” advocating for early intervention services and helping our community better understand autism—how it feels, how individuals face unique issues and challenges, and how to interact with someone with autism. His inspirational message is full of laughter, tears and hope, and promises to leave a lasting impression on all ages.

    Telehealth Reduces Wait Times, Improves Care for Children with Autism

    Long wait times have been a persistent issue for families waiting to see an autism specialist, with waits often exceeding a year. Additionally, children with autism living in rural areas have added costs associated with traveling long distances for health care. To address these issues, ECHO Autism, a University of Missouri program, has been training primary care providers to diagnose and manage autism spectrum disorders. ECHO Autism is now expanding to new communities, states and countries.

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