Prominent Genetic Scientist and Pediatrician shares Findings on Causes for Autism


There is so much information about autism that it’s often overwhelming, so I try to post content that I think are differentiated, and not likely found on other autism websites.  This presentation made by Dr Wendy Chung at a recent TED 2014 conference, offers the clearest, best explanation yet on a complex subject : What Causes Autism?

Dr Chung, pediatrician, geneticist and researcher, is Director of the Clinical Genetics Program at Columbia University Medical Center in New York as well as the university’s fellowship program in clinical and molecular genetics. She is the principal investigator of the Simons Variation in Individuals Project (VIP), launched by the Simons Foundation,’s parent organization. The project aims to identify and study individuals with an autism-associated deletion or duplication on chromosome 16p11.2.  Of her impressive bio, the descriptor I like best is “genetic sleuth” as here, she articulates scientific findings in layman terms on what causes autism.

“Autism isn’t a single condition. It’s actually a spectrum of disorders,” says Chung. “And like it is a spectrum of disorders, it has a spectrum of causes.” For a summary, check out this link

This is a MUST VIEW video for not just parents of ASD kids, but anyone who seeks to understand children with this condition, because most likely, you would know such a child.  Each of us can make a more tolerant and helpful environment for them.  Within my own tiny social circle, I know of ten boys/ young men, and the number keeps growing, because yesterday there were nine.

Also Read : Temple Grandin : The World Needs All Kinds of Minds


Kate M

Reformed Corporate Workhorse. Reuser / Recycler. Blogger. Reader. Singapore Girl. San Diego Mom. Believer.

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Temple Grandin’s Talk, “The World Needs All Kinds of Minds”

428px-TempleGrandin-2 I recently found this presentation that Temple Grandin made at a TED conference.  TED is an annual conference of the world’s leading thinkers and doers, bringing together people from three worlds : Technology, Entertainment and Design.  It is described as a “4-day journey into the future, in the company of those creating it.”

The talk was done in 2010, but still compelling and very relevant, nonetheless.  She discusses how the autistic brain works, and why it may be a gift.  While my son will never be a Nicola Tesla, this talk is authentic, personal, laced with Grandin’s dead pan humor and gives me comfort and a tiny measure of hope.

Grandin : my mind works like Google for images

CNN interview, Why Autism is a Gift :

Kate M

Reformed Corporate Workhorse. Reuser / Recycler. Blogger. Reader. Singapore Girl. San Diego Mom. Believer.

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BBC Documentary on America’s Medicated Kids


This BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) documentary produced by Louis Thereoux puts a spotlight on ‘America’s Medicated Kids’. It is a full length documentary, but worth the time if you can watch it in its entirety.

Here, the camera goes into the homes of several families to give us a sense of what it is to raise a child who’s “Autistic”, “ADHD”, “bi polar” or suffers from some form of mental disorder. We learn about ten year old Hugh and other kids, how the families came to the decision to medicate, and how they live, day by day with a child with this condition.

I felt less alone, but not any more comforted.

Also Read :


Kate M

Reformed Corporate Workhorse. Reuser / Recycler. Blogger. Reader. Singapore Girl. San Diego Mom. Believer.

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Study on Complementary and Alternative Treatments


Parents of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) will try just about anything that might help their child, much like a hiker desperately seeking water in the desert.  I must have tried just about everything I hear that has worked for another child : vitamins, amino acids, neurofeedback, psychotherapy, diet changes, natural cures, allergy elimination etc etc.  Often, these are based on recommendations and personal research, generally not supported by most psychiatrists. Imagine my excitement when a guest blogger, whose husband is a psychiatrist, shared this article with me, about complementary and alternative treatments (CATs) from the March 2013 issue of Psychiatric Times. This is a medical trade publication written for an audience involved in the profession of psychiatry, distributed to about 50,000 psychiatrists monthly.

Not all of the information is new, but it offers “scientific evidence for 19 CATs” from experts leading the review.

Here are excerpts from the article:

“CATs considered “acceptable” for trial were vitamin B6 and magnesium, folic acid, omega-3, L-carnosine, probiotics and GI medication (as needed), iron supplementation (as needed), and chelation (on confirmation of heavy metal toxicity from reliable testing). Acceptable externally administered CATs included acupuncture, exercise, music therapy, and animal-assisted therapy.”

The authors recommended a thorough diagnostic evaluation before administering treatment.

Some other orally ingested CATs included melatonin for its sedating effect, and Omega-3s which “are thought to have a neuroprotective effect and help neurons grow in a healthier way.” The study cited results from a random trial for Omega-3 fatty acids.

The authors also noted that since evidence suggests that ASD kids with autism seem to have low levels of Vitamin D, that “it is worth checking those levels and giving them 2000IU/d” which could possibly “improve the core symptoms of autism, including sociability, eye contact, anger outburts and sleep”.

There were CATs that were not recommended because “they failed to show positive effects across several randomized control trials”

Read the full story on If you get a pop up window, just close it.  Because this is a back issue in March, you will need to do a Search for “complementary and alternative treatments for autism spectrum disorder”. This will pull up the complete article, which is worth reading.

Also Read : Neurofeedback Treatment : Myth or Medicine?

Kate M

Reformed Corporate Workhorse. Reuser / Recycler. Blogger. Reader. Singapore Girl. San Diego Mom. Believer.

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