4:11 am
Tue November 4, 2014

Apple's Siri Helps Autistic Teen With Communication Skills

Originally published on Tue November 4, 2014 11:35 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit



We are about to hear from an author who wrote a love letter to a machine. Judith Newman wrote in The New York Times that a talking phone made life easier for her 13-year-old son, Gus, who has autism. Now Judith Newman brings her story to us.

Read more
Shots - Health News
2:44 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

Scientists Implicate More Than 100 Genes In Causing Autism


Originally published on Thu October 30, 2014 5:51 pm

The hunt to find genes that cause autism has been a long slog, one hampered by a lack of technology and families willing to be tested.

But the effort is starting to pay off. On Tuesday, researchers at more than 50 laboratories said they had identified more than 100 genes that are mutated in children with autism, dozens more than were known before.

Read more
TED Radio Hour
7:35 am
Fri September 12, 2014

Could Genetics Hold The Answer To Curing Autism?

Wendy Chung shares her discoveries about autism on the TED stage.
James Duncan Davidson/TED Courtesy of TED

Originally published on Mon September 22, 2014 11:50 am

Part 3 of the TED Radio Hour episode From Curiosity To Discovery.

About Wendy Chung's TED Talk

Geneticist Wendy Chung describes what it's like to chip away at the mysteries of autism, and the excitement of uncovering tiny but critical clues.

About Wendy Chung

Read more
Shots - Health News
10:19 am
Tue August 26, 2014

Federal Officials Order Medicaid To Cover Autism Services

State Medicaid programs now have to cover a range of treatments for autism.

Originally published on Wed August 27, 2014 7:13 am

When Yuri Maldonado's 6-year-old son was diagnosed with autism four years ago, she learned that getting him the therapy he needed from California's Medicaid plan for low-income children was going to be tough.

Read more
Shots - Health News
2:41 pm
Mon August 4, 2014

Oxytocin Isn't Lacking In Children With Autism, Researchers Say

The hormone oxytocin affects social functioning, but researchers say it isn't commonly lacking in children with autism.

Originally published on Wed August 6, 2014 11:22 am

Scratch one more simple explanation for autism off the list. This time it's the idea that children with autism have low levels of oxytocin, often called the "love hormone" because it can make people more trusting and social.

Read more
Shots - Health News
8:56 am
Wed June 25, 2014

How Connecticut's Change In Autism Coverage Could Make Waves

Many families with children who have autism count on their insurance to help pay for expensive, long-term treatment. But a recent bulletin issued by the Connecticut Insurance Department may undermine existing coverage protections, some advocates say, and they are concerned that other states might follow suit.

Read more
NPR Story
2:29 pm
Wed June 11, 2014

Autistic Young Adults Train In The Movie Business

Director John Martin works with autistic adults on set. (Rebecca Wilbanks)

Originally published on Wed June 11, 2014 1:49 pm

More than 80 percent of people diagnosed with full spectrum autism are under age 21, raising concerns about what will happen to this “great wave” of kids when they reach adulthood.

One new program in Michigan is trying to give young people with autism the skills to they need get a job by training them in the movie business. From the Here & Now Contributors Network, Kate Wells of Michigan Radio reports from the set.

Read more
Health News
2:23 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

Using Disney To Reach A Child With Autism

Through characters in "Aladdin, " "The Lion King" and "The Jungle Book," Owen could express himself and his feelings. (

Originally published on Thu May 29, 2014 8:50 am

When acclaimed journalist Ron Suskind’s son Owen was two and a half, he suddenly stopped communicating: his vocabulary dropped to a single word, “juice,” he would cry inconsolably and had trouble both eating and sleeping.

Owen was eventually diagnosed with autism, and over the next few years, Ron, his wife Cornelia and older son Walt struggled to communicate with him.

Read more
Shots - Health News
2:00 pm
Mon January 27, 2014

Stricter Autism Criteria Unlikely To Reduce Services For Kids

Clinical specialist Catey Funaiock took notes while observing a 5-year-old boy at the Marcus Autism Center, part of Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, in September.
David Goldman AP

Originally published on Tue January 28, 2014 12:55 pm

The clinical definition for when a child has some form of autism has been tightened. And these narrower criteria for autism spectrum disorder probably will reduce the number of kids who meet the new standard.

But researchers say the changes, which were rolled out last May, are likely to have a bigger effect on government statistics than on the care of the nation's children.

Read more
Health News
2:22 am
Fri December 27, 2013

Can A Fruit Fly Help Explain Autism?

A newly discovered neural circuit in the brain of the common fruit fly seems to serve as a sort of "volume control," turning up and down the perception of sound and light.
Nicholas Monu iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri December 27, 2013 9:54 am

For President Obama, 2013 wasn't just the year of Obamacare. It was also the year of the brain.

In April, Obama announced his Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative — an effort to unlock "the mystery of the three pounds of matter that sits between our ears."

Read more