A study conducted by researchers at Waterloo University, in Canada, found that children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are able to scan a person’s face a little differently than children who are neurotypical. Due to these findings, researchers have created a new technology that takes the child’s gaze into consideration to see how a child’s eyes transition from person to person. 

So you might be thinking, what is the purpose of this technology? Well, this new technology was created to eventually be used to survey other children in order to determine whether they’re on the spectrum or not using the typical vision patterns of the surveyed group. This new diagnostic test will make it less stressful for children while being tested for autism but will also make it harder for doctors to receive false positives when testing children for autism. 

This new diagnostic test will also make early intervention a lot easier for families because false positives won’t be an issue anymore and neither will be going through many years of uncertainty trying to figure out what’s going on with their child. 

To develop this new technology, researchers took it upon themselves to survey about 17 children who are on the autism spectrum as well as about 23 neurotypical children. Each participant in the study was shown 44 photos of people’s faces on a 19-inch screen that had an eye-tracking system integrated into it.


The programing was then able to identify the locations that stimulated each child’s eye and could tell where each child was looking at each photo, using the reflection wave from the child’s iris. 

The photo’s sections were labeled with the following: under the right eye, right eye, under the left eye, left eye, nose, mouth, and other parts of the screen. This was to see what part of the face the child preferred to look at the most and which areas they avoided. Researchers also wanted to know the importance each child put on each area of the face when exploring the photo’s different features. 

The initial phase of the research would determine how the child eyes would move from one portion of the face to another. The second portion of the research would determine how frequently the child’s eye would scan multiple parts of the face while moving from one feature to another. The third portion was used to determine how fast each child would move from one feature to another, and finally, the last portion would determine the importance the child’s eye would place upon certain areas of the face.

At the moment, the most typical ways of determining a child is on the autism spectrum or not is by conducting a questionnaire tailored to ASD or an evaluation from the child’s psychologist. Questionnaires may be a little tedious for children on the spectrum because they may stop paying attention to the questions being presented to them — it’s much easier to show the child a photo of someone’s face or an animated figure that the child will actually pay attention to see how their eyes move around. 

The idea is to try analyzing how the child looks at everything, not just one thing and with this new technology, a child’s primary care provider can easily determine where the child lies on the spectrum or if they’re even on the spectrum at all.

This new technology could really change the way children are diagnosed with autism.
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A new study conducted by researchers from Penn State University found that atypical eating patterns in young children are linked to autism diagnoses in kids. 

The research was led by Professor of Psychiatry, Susan Mayes, and she and her team found that unusual eating habits were present in about 70% of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). According to the study, that percentage makes picky eating among children on the spectrum about 15 times more common in those with ASD as with those who are neurotypical. 

In the study, researchers surveyed about 2,102 children between the ages of one and 18 to see how they measured up to the original idea of the study. Of the children sampled, 1,462 had ASD, 327 of the children had other disorders, and finally, 313 of the children were neurotypical. 

Some of the unusual behaviors noticed in children are very limited food preferences, hypersensitivity to food textures or temperatures, and pocketing food without swallowing. These signs, along with other autism indicators, all point to autism in children. If a child’s doctor notices those symptoms early, due to their picky eating and other symptoms, a doctor can help that child seek the therapeutic interventions they require. 


Woman Goes Above And Beyond To Find Only Dress Autistic Girl Is Willing To Wear

The Term ‘High-Functioning’ Has Become Taboo Here’s Why You Should Stop Using It

Some of the early intervention that is used to help these children cope with their daily lives are applied behavior analysis (ABA), occupational therapy, speech therapy, and physical therapy, just to name a few. Children who are on the spectrum, before they are diagnosed, usually stick to eating a narrow diet that typically involves a lot of grains like pasta and bread — these children also have a diet heavy in processed foods like chicken nuggets. 

Children with ASD dislike change and it’s usually difficult to transition to trying different foods most of the time sticking to a specific brand, shape, or color. This new discovery is something physicians have always predicted but now, they know that there is a real link between picky eating and autism — as well as other disorders like ADHD, language disorders, and a variety of learning disabilities.

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Living in the age of social media can be kind of exhausting with all of the negativity that people spew but sometimes social media can bring different kinds of people together over a heartwarming story. A woman took to Twitter to find a dress for her friend’s autistic daughter and the feedback and cooperation she received was outstanding. 

Deborah Price was sad and tired of seeing her good friend’s autistic daughter suffering because she no longer had her favorite dress. Kate Bell, the little girl’s mom, did everything in her power to try and locate the dress so that her daughter would be at ease. If you’re familiar with people on the spectrum, you know that change really doesn’t go over well for a lot of people on the spectrum. 

Naturally, Bell’s daughter wasn’t too happy about not having her favorite dress so Price took it upon herself to try and find it for her friend. Here’s what she Tweeted:

“Friend’s autistic daughter only wears this dress. Don’t judge. Sometimes people can’t cope with certain stuff & it doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things does it. Question is has anyone got this @nextofficial dress from 3yrs ago in age 11plus & if so can we buy them off you?”

Her intention with this entire thing was to find people online who had the dress and who’d be willing to sell it to her, so Bell’s daughter could have different options when the initial dress was being laundered. The Tweet — which was initially sent out on July 6 — has already amassed over six-thousand likes, two-thousand retweets, and over 150 comments.

Some of the comments include one very supportive message by a user named @Marxist100, who said: “I’m autistic, some of us get attached to items, we also like routines and rules. I used stuff to cope to, and my personal life was ok. If you, or your friend ever has questions about us #AskingAutistics is a great hashtag, as others have pointed out.”

Another user named @AprilPreston, said “No reason to judge - fabrics and loved logos/pictures are v important can be grounding for some/vital to some on spectrum. My son finds uniform tricky and it impacts negatively.” 

People were just as excited and willing as Price to find a solution for the dress with one Twitter user volunteering to recreate it themselves. According to CBS news, some users even took to Ebay to try and find the coveted dress — and though they found it, it wasn’t in the correct size for the little girl.  

The initial Tweet got so much feedback that not only did mom get in on it and thanked everyone who was involved in finding the dress in the first place — the shocker was when the company who manufactured the dresses, Next Official, actually reached out to the concerned friend group saying that even though they no longer carried that specific dress in their line, the family should reach out to Next Official to see if there was anything they can do.

This story just further proves that when social media is used for good instead of for bullying, good things can really happen!

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If you’re familiar with the world of autism, you’ve probably heard the terms high-functioning and low-functioning as it relates to the people on the autism spectrum. The terms high-functioning and low-functioning have become taboo in recent years, here are some reasons why you should stop using them too.  

High-functioning autism (HFA) isn’t a term that’s recognized by the science and medical community, nor is it an official diagnosis but HFA is a term that is usually used to describe those who were diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome — before the DSM-5 began labeling all forms of autism on a spectrum which is now called autism spectrum disorder (ASD). 

Someone with HFA is categorized by having mild symptoms of autism — their IQs are usually above 70 points, they can successfully go through a work or school day, these people can also mask their symptoms and pass as neurotypical. People who were previously diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome are not only people who fit the mold for HFA. Those who previously fell under the diagnosis of pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS) were also considered high-functioning autistics.

The term first came about in the 80s as a word to describe people who were on the spectrum but did not have an intellectual disability. HFA has, however, morphed into a term widely used in the autism community but researchers found that it wasn’t that simple. After surveying a large group of children with autism — about 2,225 people ages one through 18.


Half of the kids surveyed had intellectual disabilities and half of them did not. They found that the kids who had intellectual disabilities counted on functional skills that matched their IQ levels but those without intellectual disabilities who had a higher IQ didn’t necessarily count on functional skills that went along with their IQ levels. 

So basically, the term doesn’t really mean anything because its definition isn’t actually factual. The perpetuation of this term is detrimental to people with ASD because it continues the spread the idea that those on the spectrum cannot do certain things because of their condition. It may also inhibit these people from accessing the very services they require. 

HFA is also a term that is kind of excluding to a certain group of people. It’s unfair that those who are deemed lower-functioning or average, on the autism spectrum, often end up getting little or no opportunities in their future due to the label forced upon them.

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Traveling to a new destination can be a lot of fun but the process of flying, making lines at the airport, and just the overall stress of traveling can make the process that much harder. Many parents are forced to send their children on flights on their own — they are typically assisted by a designated airport staff that helps the child get to their gate. A mom sent her autistic son on a flight alone and he quickly made a forever friend

Mom was worried about how her son would fare on the flight alone, so she sent him with a note to give to whomever he ended up sitting next to. In the message, mom wrote her son has a higher functioning form of the neurological condition and that she normally asks “are we there yet?” very frequently. Mom was also gracious enough to include $10 tucked away inside of the note to the person it would be presented so they would be more inclined to help her son out. 

In a statement to CNN, mom, Alexa Bjornson, said: 

“I thought, how do I make it so whoever's sitting next to him won't look at him as a burden but more of like, I can help this kiddo get through the day.”

Landon Bjornson, Alexa’s son, ended next to a man named Ben Pedraza and refused to accept the money because he was enjoying the time he had with young Landon on their flight from Las Vegas to Oregon. 

Pedraza mentioned how the pair was cracking jokes the entire flight and at one point, Landon even asked Pedraza to please stop making dad jokes. The fast friends had such a good time during the flight, they ended their time together with a quick little snapshot to share with mom and let her know everything during the flight was OK. 


Sent the photo he took to mom with the following message: 

“Alexa, my name is Ben. I was Landon’s seat neighbor for his flight to Portland. He did ask if we were there yet several times but he was a great travel buddy. We had a good time and played a few rounds of rock-paper-scissors. He’s a great kid and you’re a lucky mom.”

He also mentioned that he did appreciate the 10 dollars she sent but it wasn’t necessary and he donated it to the Autism Society in Landon’s name. 

Mom was so excited that the flight went well, she posted the photo and a thankful message on Facebook for her followers to see. 

“Today my son took his first flight to Oregon to see his dad. I sent Landon with a letter to give to whoever sat next to me saying he has high functioning autism so he might be nervous and ask you "are we there yet" a lot, and please just make him feel safe and comfortable, with 10 dollars in the note. And this is what I just received ❤❤❤ I am so grateful to this individual, and that there are still kind people in the world who make a difference like I try myself to do as well. Thank you so much Ben!!!!”

The photo has only been up for a few days and it already has 12 thousand likes, over a thousand comments and over 10 thousand shares. It’s recommended for parents who are planning on sending their children on flights alone, to consider booking an aisle seat or bulkhead seat for their little ones. This is according to the Autism Center at Marcus.

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