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News

A Public Health Approach to Autism, in Philadelphia

September 22, 2014
Sure, the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute just receives $3.6 million from an anonymous donor, but this isn't your regular, everyday autism grant.  It's more about empowering folks with autism to live positive lives. 

A.J. Drexel Autism Institute Receives $3.6 Million Gift to Launch Life Course Outcomes Research Initiatives

August 10, 2014
The A.J. Drexel Autism Institute at Drexel University has received a grant of $3.6 million from an anonymous donor to launch four major initiatives of its Life Course Outcomes research program, focused on understanding and improving quality of life issues for people on the autism spectrum at all ages. This program is led by Autism Institute professor Paul Shattuck, PhD, a nationally recognized expert on these issues.

EXEL Magazine Special Report:  Autism Research Update

July 15, 2014
Exel, the Drexel University research magazine, published a special report on the state of autism research. 

Do People with Autism Struggle with Driving? First Study Asks Autistic Adults about Real-World Driving Experiences

June 26, 2014
Drexel University researchers piloted a survey to assess the difference in self-reported driving ability and driving behaviors in adults with autism versus adults without autism.  Paul Shattuck describes the importance of this type of study for the provision of supports for individuals with autism to increase ability for community contribution.  

Trends in U.S. National Autism Awareness from 2004 to 2014:  the Impact of Autism Awareness Month

June 11, 2014
Autism Institute Fellow Brian Lee coauthored a brief report on the trends of autism awareness in the U.S. over the past 10 years.  The research suggests that autism awareness month and televised reports on autism promote online search interest in autism.  

Mapping Collaboration Networks in the World of Autism Research

May 21, 2014
Autism Institute Fellow Brian Lee coauthored a paper in which they sought to provide an overview of the world of autism research.  The article was published in Autism Research: Official Journal of the International Society for Autism Research.

Autism Speaks Guest Blog - Costs of Autism: A Call for a New Mindset of Investment and Innovation

June 10, 2014
Dr. Shattuck and Ms. Roux just published an editorial on a landmark Autism Speaks-funded study on the economic costs of autism to families and society. Our research on young adults with autism finds that poor outcomes remain common even though we, as a nation, spend billions of dollars a year on childhood interventions for autism. Of course, childhood services are essential. But we need to do a better job tracking what is being done with whom and with what impact.

The Need for Investment and Innovation to Improve Autism Outcomes: JAMA Pediatrics Editorial by Paul Shattuck and Anne Roux

June 9, 2014
Buescher and colleagues have broken new ground in their article “Costs of Autism Spectrum Disorders in the United Kingdom and the United States” by comparing costs for children vs adults, by estimating costs by sector, and by comparing estimates across countries. This accomplishment is especially remarkable given the challenge presented by a profound lack of infrastructure for routinely monitoring costs and outcomes in people with autism spectrum disorders. We wish to reflect further on the conceptual and measurement advances needed to reach a point where we can meaningfully link investments in services to life course outcomes.

The article by Beuscher et al. can be found here, in which they estimate that it costs $2.4 million to support an individual with autism throughout his or her lifetime.  

More coverage of the article and the editorial can be found at:

Paul Shattuck Weights in on Outcomes in Adults with Autism

June 9, 2014
In an anecdote about two young adults with ASD, Paul Shattuck discusses the lack of services and opportunities many adults with autism face.  Two years after graduation from high school, more than half of individuals with autism are not employed or seeking higher education.  

In Utero Exposure to Antidepressants May Influence Autism Risk

June 2, 2014
A new study from researchers at Drexel University adds evidence that using common antidepressant medications during pregnancy may contribute to a higher risk of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in children, although this risk is still very small.

Mobile REACH Event Receives Community Support

May 29, 2014
The Autism Institute held an unveiling event for Mobile REACH today, receiving huge community support.  Faculty from the Autism Institute, Drexel President John Fry, School of Public Health Dean Ana Diez Rouz, and Christina Weiss Lurie spoke about the uses and opportunities of Mobile REACH.  

ABC 6 Action News story
KYW coverage
CBS Philly story

Many Health Woes Common in Autistic Adults:  Study

May 14, 2014
"This new study makes a vitally important contribution by helping to map this little-explored territory," said Paul Shattuck, a Drexel University autism researcher who was not involved.

Autism Risk Increases in Children Born to Older Women, Drexel Study Finds

April 24, 2014
Why autism strikes certain kids -- and not others -- has puzzled scientists for half a century. But one trend is clear: having older parents seems to increase the risk. Now, a study from Drexel University adds two more wrinkles to the story.

Drexel's Autism Institute Hits the Road

April 23, 2014
The A.J. Drexel Autism Institute at Drexel University is going mobile. The institute has outfitted a mobile clinic to extend its autism outreach and clinical research activities into the community. Drexel’s Mobile REACH (Resources and Education for Autism and Community Health) clinic will be used to conduct psycho-social, behavioral and neuro-psychological evaluations of people of any age at any location. It will also be used to help people learn about the resources, services and support available at Drexel for autism patients and their families.

Drexel Revs Up Autism Efforts with a Custom Outfitted Van for Outreach and Clinical Assessments

April 21, 2014
The A.J. Drexel Autism Institute at Drexel University can’t contain its efforts within the walls of a building – so it is now hitting the road with a custom-outfitted van, called Mobile REACH, to extend autism outreach and clinical research activities into the community. 

Autism Experts at Drexel Are Available to Comment for Autism Awareness Month

April 4, 2014
Experts at Drexel University are available to comment for news stories about autism for Autism Awareness Month in April and throughout the year. The University’s A.J. Drexel Autism Institute, focused on a public health science approach to autism, continues to grow and add expertise in critical areas including life course outcomes and employment for adults on the autism spectrum.

"Museum Stories" at the Academy of Natural Sciences Offer Assistance to Visiting Children on the Autism Spectrum

February 20, 2014

For people on the autism spectrum, going to an unfamiliar place can be challenging. In a new initiative aimed at making a visit to the science museum as stress-free, fun and educational as possible, the Academy has begun implementing several programs designed specifically for children on the spectrum. 

Study Suggests Community Colleges Provide Advantages for Young Adults with Autism

November 1, 2013

New research finds community colleges may play a particularly important role in fostering transition into productive lives for individuals on the autism spectrum.

Nearly Two-Thirds of Kids with Autism on Meds

October 21, 2013

Despite limited evidence supporting the practice, researchers say that nearly two-thirds of children with autism are taking at least one psychotropic drug. In a review of medical and pharmacy claims data for 33,565 kids with autism between 2001 and 2009, researchers from Drexel found that 64 percent of children on the spectrum were prescribed at least one psychotropic medication.

Parents Create Custom Jobs for Adult Kids with Autism

September 28, 2013

Lori Ireland and a handful of other parents in Chapel Hill, N.C., had a simple dream: They wanted their teenage children to be able to have jobs someday. Sitting around with nothing productive to do would be unsatisfying and frustrating for their kids, not to mention expensive. But they also knew the dismal truth: It's tough for someone with autism to get a job.

Young Adults with Autism Less Likely to Have Jobs, Live Independently

September 18, 2013

Young adults with autism are less likely to find work or live on their own than their peers with other kinds of disabilities, two new studies show. The first study, with author Paul Shattuck, focused on employment. Researchers found that only about half of those with autism had ever held a job since high school, and only about a third were currently working.

A.J. Drexel Autism Institute Boosts Research on Adults with Autism

September 15, 2013

Autism research tends to focus on the causes of this developmental disorder, and on early interventions for children affected by it. Philadelphia's A.J. Drexel Autism Institute is now making an effort to better understand how to help adults with autism.

First Small Business Town Hall Held in Philadelphia

September 13, 2013

Autism Speaks held its first Small Business Town Hall meeting, hosted by the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA. Over 130 people participated in the event, including adults with autism and their families, small business owners, employment service providers, and local politicians.

Training in Autism Friendly Protocols Help to Improve ER Care

September 5, 2013

A Pennsylvania emergency room doctor and three professors from Indiana University of Pennsylvania have created a training manual and DVD to help ER clinicians deal more effectively with patients on the autism spectrum. Funded through the Bureau of Autism Services of the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare and Autism Services, Education, Resources and Training (ASERT), the training protocols are currently being promoted in hospitals across Pennsylvania, and the manual’s authors say the expanded goal is to incent health systems and medical professionals nationwide to better prepare practitioners to treat the rising prevalence of patients with autism spectrum disorders (ASD).

Young Adults on the Autism Spectrum Face Tough Prospects for Jobs and Independent Living

September 4, 2013

Two newly published studies show precisely how stark the situation is for finding success in employment and independent living among young adults on the autism spectrum, compared to their peers with other types of disabilities. The researchers emphasize the need to strengthen services to help adolescents and young adults and their families with transition planning.

Paul Shattuck, PhD joins the AJ Drexel Autism Institute

September 1, 2013

It is with great pleasure that the AJ Drexel Autism Insitute annouces that Paul Shattuck, PhD will be joining Drexel University as an Associate Professor and Leader of a Research Program Area in Life Course Outcomes based in the Autism Institute.

Study Aims to Capture Autism's Transition into Adulthood

August 26, 2013

Adjusting to adulthood can be difficult for any young person, but for adolescents with autism or other developmental disorders, the transition can be especially difficult.

Who Will Care for Children with Autism When They're Adults?

August 23, 2013

The vast majority of youngsters with autism will grow up to be adults with autism. An estimated one of every 88 children in the United States has an autism spectrum disorder, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That means that 45,000 to 50,000 kids with autism turn 18 each year, says autism researcher Paul Shattuck.

New (Questionable) Claims for a Cause of Autism

August 13, 2013

Every so often a science news story comes along proclaiming that we are on the cusp of a revolutionary new understanding of autism spectrum disorders. 

Autism Risk-Factors Database Could Aid in Epidemiological Studies of the Disorder

August 6, 2013

A new database pools health registry data from seven countries, dramatically boosting potential sample sizes for epidemiological studies of autism.

Newschaffer and Phoebe Jones, MPH'14, Travel to Israel for Autism Research

August 6, 2013

Current MPH student Phoebe Jones traveled to Israel in June with Dr. Michael Yudell, an associate professor, and Dr. Craig Newschaffer, a professor and director of the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute.

 

Movement and Learning in Autism:  Dr. James Connell Weighs in on Discrete Trial Trainings in Individuals with ASD

August 4, 2013

Elizabeth Torres, a computational neuroscientist at Rutgers University, thinks many experts are making a mistake when they focus only on what’s malfunctioning in the brains of people with autism.

Dr. James Connell on CNN’s “The Next List” Talking About Adults with Autism and Employment

July 9, 2013

Dan Selec has a revolutionary idea: teach adults on the autism spectrum how to code so they can create apps and video games and make a living in the tech industry.

A Drexel University Collaborative Team including Dr. James Connell Awarded $250,000 to Develop Behavioral Health Management Tools

June 20, 2013

Two teams of Drexel researchers, led by Drs. Evan Forman and Brian Daly of the psychology department, have been given seven monthly and $250,000 each from Shire Pharmaceuticals to develop a self-management tool that will aid patients with behavioral health disorders.

The A.J. Drexel Autism Institute Contributes to New Autism Resources in Pennsylvania

May 31, 2013

The Pennsylvania Autism Services, Education, Resources & Training Collaborative (ASERT) has announced the launch of a statewide resource center to provide streamlined access to information for the estimated 30,000 Pennsylvanians living with autism.

 

Q & A with James Connell: Checking in with the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute

April 17, 2013

The A.J. Drexel Autism Institute formally launched at Drexel in 2012 as the first autism research center in the country focused on public health science.

 

 

Science and the Senses at the Museum: Academy of Natural Sciences Gets More Autism-Friendly

April 17, 2013

From the iconic T-Rex at the entrance to the active fossil prep lab tucked away in the back corner, Dinosaur Hall at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University is a delight for the senses of many fans of Earth’s mightiest extinct creatures.  Except when a sensory experience isn’t such a delight.

Guest blog: Inflated prevalence?

April 12, 2013

On 20 March, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released the results of a parent survey suggesting that two percent of children in the country are diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder.

Building an Autism-Friendly Space: A Tour of the Drexel Autism Institute's Future Home 

February 20, 2013

“We’re going to need an autism-friendly building.”  Dr. Jennifer Plumb, a clinical social worker, made this comment mid-way through a tour of the future home of the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute on Market Street in University City, Philadelphia.

Dr. Craig Newschaffer and Team Receive Autism Speaks Grant

January 23, 2013

Dr. Craig Newschaffer, a professor at the Drexel University School of Public Health (SPH), recently received a $300,000 grant from Autism Speaks to study the association between autism risk and prenatal exposure to flame-retardant chemicals.