A New Web Resource Announced

This week, the company that brought us Zac Browser announced a new autism resource website –  The objective of this resource according to it’s president and CEO John LeSieur “…is to unite the expertise of people around the world and make it freely available to anyone in touch with autism…our goal is to provide important information and ways to better work with professionals.”

The Autism Advisory Board is comprised of over 90 volunteers from around the world including individuals with ASD, parents, teachers, therapists, advocates and leaders in business.   An expert or parent moderates each discussion topic and topics include: New to Diagnosis, Parenthood & Siblings, Behavior Support, Communication Skill Development, and Technology.


Strategy: Thought and Speech Bubbles

It’s well known that people with ASD are often very concrete in their understanding and use of language. That means that when communication is subtle, abstract, or metaphorical, the intent of the message is likely to be missed entirely, ignored or misunderstood.

Unfortunately, most people don’t realize how much of their communication is based upon embedded or hidden messages. There is an implication when we say, “I’m cold” that the person with us will make some suggestion to alleviate that by saying such things as, “Do you want to go inside?” “Do you want my jacket?” “Should I close the window?” just to name a few examples. In fact, it is a skill that develops in most of us by around the age of four.

Being Proactive in Therapy and Research

Being proactive means to address something before it happens, rather than waiting to react to something after it has already happened.

As a rule, I have found that most people are not proactive in their lives. It just seems to be human nature to react rather than plan ahead.  You see it in politics, health, education, business and any number of places. However, when it comes to working with children on the spectrum or those with any number of challenging behaviors, being proactive is a key to success.

Preventing negative behaviors before they occur is always favorable to having to manage them after the fact.  Here are a few reasons why:

Early Signs of ASD

One of the irrefutable facts that everyone seems to agree upon is that early intervention can make a huge difference in the life of a child diagnosed with ASD. Therefore, recognizing the early signs and symptoms becomes extremely important.

Some of the current research that people find so fascinating about early identification of children with ASD is really just documenting what we already know about normal development.  Recent studies that indicate children with ASD seem more interested in looking at geometric patterns than people or not pointing at things (specifically for the purpose of shared attention with another person) are typically contrary to what children do if they do not have an ASD.

Utilizing Strengths and Interests: What’s New is Old

I recently read an article about a school in Florida that is being promoted as using a unique method to teach children with autism. So, naturally, I wanted to read more.  Imagine my surprise when I read they were using children’s individual interests and strengths to engage and teach children.

This isn’t new! We have known for years that if you engage a child on the autism spectrum in their area of interest (or some might say, obsession), your connection to that child will be enhanced. Actually, I would say that goes for most people not just individuals on the spectrum.

The Ipad: Communication and More

What’s 9.5 inches high, 7.5 inches wide, 0.5 inches thick and weighs 1.5 pounds?  It may be a connection to the world for many children on the autism spectrum.  I’m talking about the ipad.

We have known for years that pictures are a way to help children communicate who are on the autism spectrum.  In the mid 1980’s,  Andrew Bondy, Ph.D. and Lori Frost, M.S. developed the

Vaccines Still in the News

In the past week there have been news reports from both sides of the vaccine controversy.  CBS Evening News recently reported on the “First ever vaccine-autism court award” and from Reuters an article appeared yesterday entitled “No link found between vaccine mercury and autism.”

The controversy about vaccines and autism started over 10 years ago when Andrew Wakefield along with others published their research in The Lancet. The authors described a population of individuals who had bowels symptoms with autism spectrum disorders and they suggested a possible link with the MMR vaccine. Since that time, The Lancet has retracted its article under claims of ethical violations, which Dr. Wakefield denies.



The amount of information on the subject of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) has increased exponentially in the past decade. The concept of information overload is more relevant these days than ever before.

From books, to DVDs, professional services, therapy products, treatment programs, websites dedicated to the topic, personal stories from individuals on the spectrum and from those who live with people on the spectrum, organizations, blogs, conferences, webinars, newsletters, magazines, support groups, and more… It is easy to see how people may be overwhelmed with all the information.

Welcome to my new blog Autism, Asperger’s & Beyond

Welcome to my first blog on PsychCentral.  My name is Diane Yapko.

Working with children on the autism spectrum is a challenge I have enjoyed for more than a quarter century. When I saw my first client with autism in 1980, I knew very little about autism. But, as a speech-language pathologist, I knew about language development and disorders and, specifically, I knew about pragmatic language problems or difficulty with social language. I was trained in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s when ‘pragmatics’ was the emphasis of a speech-pathologist’s education in the United States.

That pragmatics orientation was the beginning of learning to see my clients and the problems they presented as occurring within a social context. Over the years, I have come to appreciate the importance of understanding how the context or specific situation including the people, the environment (including all the sensory issues), and the expectations we each bring to a situation affects our work with clients and affects their success.