robots
How Robots Could Help Autistic Children Improve Their Social Skills

As excited or terrified as we might be by the latest advances in robot technology, they’re still far from being the ubiquitous helpers portrayed in science fiction. But a new study published Wednesday in Science Robotics does seem to offer a glimpse of their potential in assisting children who have communication differences due to autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Its findings suggest that a month of robot-aided lessons might just help these children learn to communicate more effectively. Read More >>

shopping
Morrisons Introduces ‘Quieter Hour’ For a Calmer Shopping Experience

Supermarket Morrisons has announced that it will be rolling out a nationwide weekly 'Quieter Hour' to 493 of its stores. The Quieter Hour is intended to benefit customers with autism and those who are affected by sensory stimulation. Read More >>

science
Vaccines Don’t Give Dogs Autism, Veterinarians Shout Into the Void

The debunked idea that vaccines cause autism is one that, judging by my inbox alone, continues to endure. But veterinarians in the UK and elsewhere are now being forced to contend with antivaxxers going to the dogs. Read More >>

history
Pioneering Psychologist Hans Asperger Was a Nazi Sympathiser Who Sent Children to Be Killed, New Evidence Suggests

The term “Asperger’s syndrome” will never be heard the same way again, owing to new research showing that Hans Asperger—the Austrian pediatrician for whom the disorder was named—was an active participant in the Nazi eugenics program, recommending that patients deemed “not fit for life” be sent to a notorious children’s “euthanasia” clinic. Read More >>

health
Many Children With Autism and Their Siblings Aren’t Getting Vaccinated

Decades of research has shown that vaccines do not cause autism spectrum disorder (ASD). But the fear of that connection continues to linger. And a new study published today in JAMA Pediatrics suggests that it’s scaring families affected by autism into not getting their children vaccinated. Read More >>

science
23andMe Data Shows That Kind People Might Have Empathy in Their Genes

Scientists have long been interested in understanding the underpinnings of empathy. Being able to share the feelings of another person plays a critical role in our inner lives, how we behave towards others, and the way human societies function as a whole. Harnessing the power of empathy, some suggest, could go a long way toward solving problems like racism and sexism, and help us better understand non-neurotypical people. At the same time, another corner of the research world worries that constant immersion in technology is making it harder for today’s kids to empathise. Read More >>

science
Researchers Say They’ve Created a 90% Accurate Blood Test for Autism

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complicated neurological condition caused by a variety of risk factors, including our genes and environment (but no, not vaccines), that interact in ways we still understand little about. Its symptoms are varied, too—from problems with social interaction to being unable to speak or process sensations normally. This complexity extends all the way to how it’s diagnosed: Children can start to show visible signs of autism by the age of 18 months, but there is no single medical test that can diagnose it, and it often takes years to confirm a suspected case, potentially delaying treatment. Read More >>

gaming
This Teen Wanted People to Understand His Autism, So He Made a Video Game

In late 2016, Brad Hennessey made one of the toughest decisions he'd ever had to make. He took the game he'd spent two years of his life on and he trashed it. He wanted to make something different. Something that mattered. He wanted to make a game that reflected his life experience as a young man living with Autism. Read More >>

animals
Some Bees Hate Being Around Other Stupid Bees

Scientists looking at bees for something to do have found a subset of the group that appear to hate interacting with other bees, suggesting that these unusually antisocial bees have a similar genetic profile to people who suffer from disorders on the autism spectrum. Read More >>

science
Scientists Are Now Using AI to Predict Autism in Infants

Despite all the headway that science has made in understanding autism in recent years, knowing which children will one day develop autism is still almost impossible to predict. Children diagnosed with autism appear to behave normally until around two, and until then there is often no indication that anything is wrong. Read More >>

science
Google is Hunting for an Autism Gene

Google is on a mission to pinpoint the genetic causes of autism. The company is using its cloud-based genome database, Google Genomics, to sequence genomes from 10,000 people on the autism spectrum, along with their family members. The plan is to host and index the genomes so that researchers can look for the genetic origins of the developmental disorder. Read More >>

computers
The Heartwarming Story of an 11-Year-Old’s New Technological Friend

For most of us, Siri or Google Now (or Cortana, if you swing that way) is a minor help at best, a first-world solution to the first-world problem of not being able to text and drive. But as Judith Newman illustrates today in a heartfelt and heartwarming piece in the New York Times, Apple's digital assistant has become a lifeline for her autistic son. Read More >>

science
Scientists Find New Genetic Link for Autism and Schizophrenia

Despite all the years of research that have gone into them, cognitive conditions like autism and schizophrenia are still largely a mystery. Here's one nice step toward figuring them out though: Researchers from UCLA have discovered a specific genetic trait in a small community in Finland that might have some clues. Read More >>