N.A.S. (Surrey Branch)
Journals, Research Articles, and other papers
Note that all the articles in this section are provided for information only and may not reflect the views of the NAS Surrey Branch.
Further article on Semantic Pragmatic Disorder
- Autism: recognising the signs in young children by Jennifer Humphries.
Interesting article discusses some of the early indicators that researchers have found to be present in babies later diagnosed with autism. Written for health visitors and nurses, the article also stresses the importance of early diagnosis and intervention.
Mike is a chartered Educational Psychologist and has written widely (see catalogue). He has many years experience of working with children with Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and many of these papers summarise the current research findings on ASD. Please note: from 1st April 2008, Mike's research papers are only available on a subscription basis. No new articles from Mike will be posted here. To find out more about obtaining Mike's latest papers please email him.
- Autism and Asperger Syndrome: Overview and Classroom Strategies by Mike Connor.
An Educational Psychologist provides lots of helpful advice aimed primarily at teachers of children with Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD) in mainstream schools. The article is a useful introduction for any teacher unfamiliar with ASD.
- Children on the autistic spectrum: Guidelines for mainstream practice by Mike Connor.
Similar to the Overview and Classroom Strategies Paper, but covers the topic in much greater detail.
- Autism and Asperger Syndrome : The State of Play by Mike Connor.
A summary of a 1998 review article by Patricia Howlin which looked at current information concerning the nature of Autism and Asperger Syndrome, and of the various intervention strategies that have been used.
- Intensive Behavioural Intervention with Autism: A case study by Mike Connor.
These notes are a summary of a case study where a Lovaas programme was implemented with a child of 6 1/2 years. The outcomes suggested that this approach can achieve positive outcomes despite (a) a level of intervention below that deemed apparently necessary according to initial studies, and (b) initiation of the programme at a child age well above the pre-school level recommended for maximal benefits.(1998)
- Early Intervention in ASD: Continuing Thoughts by Mike Connor.
This set of notes describes the outcome of a survey of parents' perceptions of the ABA approach, highlighting the usefulness of direct parental involvement, but also noting the significance of training and experience of those organising the programme. The SE Regional Group Study is then described with reference to initial findings concerning the apparent effectiveness of ABA and of nursery attendance, with discussion of the non-direct relationship between time on input and outcomes as well as confirmation of the significance of training and qualification among tutors. The final section simply highlights how themes and emphases change over time, with the corresponding need to examine cases in the here and now when seeking to unravel the significant factors within the interaction of child, circumstances, and intervention most predictive of success.
- Early Intervention In Autistic Spectrum Disorders (Lovaas): Baseline and Follow-Up Assessment by Mike Connor.
Some notes following discussion at a working group established to advise on a consistent approach to early intervention. What would be considered good practice in terms of initial assessments and of gaining baseline data by which to measure change over time? Some of the difficulties are set out; advice is quoted from professionals with much experience in this field; and suggestions are made for the actual means of assessment.
- Early Intervention in ASD: Continuing Evidence and Pointers by Mike Connor.
This short paper provides some more thoughts about the efficacy of intervention with young children with autism, reinforcing the desirability and efficacy of early intervention, the need for individual planning of component elements, the significance of parental partnership, and the dangers in assuming that a programme reported to bring about significant improvements in some children will be equally effective among others. (2005)
- Early Behavioural Intervention in Autism : Further Thoughts on Effects and Effectiveness by Mike Connor.
The first part of these summaries concerns the question whether behavioural approaches bring about true play in children, or simply evoke responses which have been attached to specific stimuli. The next section concerns the impact upon the family functioning as a whole in the case of a child receiving intensive behavioural intervention, with implications for variations in such impact according to the pressures, benefits, and existing family resources. There follows a revisiting of earlier research (now formally published) which compared the effectiveness of behavioural intentions, specialist nursery provision, and Portage in promoting intellectual, educational, and adaptive gains. The final section describes an intervention, relevant to a number of developmental disabilities or behavioural problems, including autism, designed to help parents to manage and alleviate the observable symptoms of those conditions (2007).
- Autism: Current Issues No 4 by Mike Connor.
Covers: Social perception deficits or attention deficits in Autism; the theory of mind skills and language maturity; patterns of language development in Autism; family studies of autistic probands; spectrum of needs and spectrum of necessary provision. (1998.)
- Autism: Current Issues No 5 by Mike Connor.
Covers: A review of behaviours linked to absent Theory of Mind; guidelines for dealing with educational and behavioural problems in the classroom; bio-medical (dietary) aetiology and interventions; some implications from a Lovaas tribunal.(1998)
- Autism: Current Issues No 6 by Mike Connor.
Covers: A review of "Executive Function", and further reference to eye gaze direction, and their association with developing theory of mind; the cues for the nature of autistic disabilities from the analysis of communication breakdown; developmental trends and patterns in Autism; the use of "Circles of Friends" with autistic children and peers; and the possible link between Secretin and symptom remission. (1998)
- Autism: Current Issues No 7 by Mike Connor.
Covers: Reference to some emphasis on psychological and physiological assessment as opposed to instructional levels of assessment; the possible link between Autism and various medical conditions; Autism and extreme versions of typical male behaviour; the Jordan et al review of current educational interventions. (1998)
- Autism: Current Issues No 8 by Mike Connor.
Covers: History of research findings and clinical practice; executive function; central coherence and hierarchisation; comorbidity of Tourette Syndrome with Autism; and the viability of diagnosis before 3 years of age. (1999)
- Autism: Current Issues No 9 by Mike Connor.
Covers: Teaching pretend play; social stories; Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy and Autism; and savant skill development and the relationship with Autism. (1999)
- Autism: Current Issues No 10 by Mike Connor.
Covers: The nature of attentional deficits; areas of neurological dysfunction; planning school placement; and strategies for managing (behavioural) symptoms. (1999)
- Autism: Current Issues No 11 by Mike Connor.
Covers: Differentiation of Asperger syndrome from high functioning autism; Asperger syndrome and later psychiatric disturbance; the use of personal construct approaches; characteristic perceptual style or deficits in autism; facilitating vocalisations. (1999)
- Autism: Current Issues No 12 by Mike Connor.
Covers: Teachers' beliefs and knowledge about autism; parental experiences; assessment by the educational psychologist; executive function and the subtlety of 'markers' for autism. (1999)
- Autism: Current Issues No 13 by Mike Connor.
Covers: The use of secretin; the significance of 'pervasive developmental disorder'; school provision to match the autistic spectrum; the need for ongoing 'practitioner' research into interventions. (2000)
- Autism: Current Issues No 14 by Mike Connor.
Covers: The Early Origins of Autism; Early Identification; Autism and the MMR Vaccination; Autism and Face Perception; Auditory Integration Training. (2000)
- Autism: Current Issues No 15 by Mike Connor.
Covers: Peer Interactions and Loneliness among High-Functioning Children with Autism; Intensive Interaction and Autism; Signalling in Communication (Social Strengths of Non-Speaking Children); Asperger Syndrome vs. High Functioning Autism. (2000)
- Autism: Current Issues No 16 by Mike Connor.
Covers: Perceptions and Asperger Syndrome: Deficit in Central Coherence or Hierachization; Voice Processing, Autism, and Specific Language Impairment; Promoting Prosocial Behaviours; Enhancing Social Skills of Young Children with Autism Using Peers as Tutors; Promoting Peer Understanding in the Secondary School; Footnote about Autism and MMR. (2001)
- Autism: Current Issues No 17 by Mike Connor.
Covers: Establishing a Base for ASD Students in a Secondary School; Inclusion of Children with ASD; Communicating to Children and Young People with Asperger Syndrome; Planning an Educational Visit. (2001)
- Autism: Current Issues No 18 by Mike Connor.
Covers: Incidence of Autism (and the [non]significance of the MMR vaccine); Dietary Issues in Autism; ASD and the Prefrontal Cortex; Early Intervention for Children with ASD. (2001)
- Autism: Current Issues No 19 by Mike Connor.
Covers: Early Identification; Aetiology; The experience of Autism. (2001)
- Autism: Current Issues No 20 by Mike Connor.
Covers: Focussing Attention; Medication; Diet; Immunological Treatment; Metabolic Approaches; Developing Communication; Dealing with Repetitive Thoughts and Behaviour; Facilitating Socialization. (2001)
- Autism: Current Issues No 21 by Mike Connor.
Covers: The Use of the MMR Vaccine; Secondary School Integration; Social Understanding: Eye Gaze as a Measure of Insight. (2002)
- Autism: Current Issues No 22 by Mike Connor.
Covers: Attentional Processes; Brain Structure; The Perceived Ineffectiveness of Secretin in Treating ASD; (2002)
- Autism: Current Issues No 23 by Mike Connor.
Covers: The Temporal Binding Deficit Hypothesis; Differentiating Autism from Mental Retardation in 1 Year Old Infants; Behaviour Problems in Autism and Parental Efficacy; Possible Aetiological Factors; (2002)
- Autism: Current Issues No 24 by Mike Connor.
Covers: Motor Impairment in Asperger Syndrome; Conversational Style of Children with Asperger Syndrome; Understanding of the Mental States of Other People; Neurocognitive Function and Joint Attention Ability; (2002)
- Autism: Current Issues No 25 by Mike Connor.
Covers: Incidence of Autism; Mainstream School Inclusion and Children with Autism; Medication (Risperidone) in Children and Young People with Autism; (2002)
- Autism: Current Issues No 26 by Mike Connor.
Covers: Incidence Rate; Genetic Studies; Asperger Syndrome : Making a Pathology out of a Difference; Attention Style in Asperger Syndrome; Immune Factors; Facilitating Social Interaction; (2003)
- Autism: Current Issues No 27 by Mike Connor.
Covers: Prevalence; Predicting Outcomes in High Functioning Children with Autism or Asperger Syndrome; Joint Attention Training for Children with Autism; All Party Parliamentary Group on Autism; (2003)
- Autism: Current Issues No 28 by Mike Connor.
Covers: Further Evidence against the MMR Hypothesis; Self Report Data (School Experience and Self Esteem); The Metabolic Hypothesis of Autism; Nervous System Research; Imitation in Young Children with Autism; (2003)
- Autism: Current Issues No 29 by Mike Connor.
Covers: Deficits in the Spread of Visual Attention; Joint Attention and Shifts in Young Children with Autism; Executive Functions in a Natural Setting; Social Stories and Disruptive Behaviours; Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for Anxiety in Asperger Syndrome; (2003)
- Autism: Current Issues No 30 by Mike Connor.
Covers: Challenges in Diagnosis and Management; Incidence of Autism and Vaccinations; Current Reports from BPS Conference Proceedings; (2003)
- Autism: Current Issues No 31 by Mike Connor.
Covers: Aetiology; Adult Outcomes; The Adjustment of Siblings of Children with Autism; (2004)
- Autism Current Issues 32 by Mike Connor.
These summaries focus on two issues. Firstly, there is reference to the nature and pattern of the commonly-observed regression in skills among a significant minority of children with ASD around the middle of the second year. Secondly, reference is made to the importance of play skills for ongoing (social) development, with an example of a particular strategy found to be effective for fostering skills in pre-school children with ASD. (2004)
- Autism Current Issues 33 by Mike Connor.
Covers: Autism and Attachment; Temporal Processing and (High-Functioning) Autism; Shifting Attention; Voice Perception; Extracts from the Proceedings of the British Psychological Society (2004);Underlying Factors; Biological Bases of Autism and Language Disorders; Thinking Skills; (2004)
- Autism Current Issues 34 by Mike Connor.
Covers: Further Evidence for the Non-Association of MMR Vaccination and Autism; (2004)
- Autism Current Issues 35 by Mike Connor.
Covers: The Reality of Autism; Language and Interaction Intervention; Further Use of Social Stories; Risperidone and Autism; Parental Phenotypes; (2004)
- Autism Current Issues 36 by Mike Connor.
Covers: Early Identification; Autism Risk; Cognitive Characteristics or “Style” among Individuals with Autism and ASD; Advocacy, and the Expression of the Individual’s Opinions and Wishes; (2005)
- Autism Current Issues 37 by Mike Connor.
Covers: Parents’ and Professionals’ Views on What Facilitates Successful Inclusion; Eliciting Imitation and Different Types of Actions; Classroom Behaviour and Alternative Seating; ASD and Video Interactive Guidance; Autism First-Hand; (2005)
- Autism Current Issues 38 by Mike Connor.
Covers: Incidence; Autistic Risk; Clinical Review; Parental Perspectives; (2005)
- Autism Current Issues 39 by Mike Connor.
Covers: Review of Evidence for the Non-Significance of MMR Vaccination; MMR and Crohn’s Disease; Screening for Autism at Birth?; (2005)
- Autism Current Issues 41 by Mike Connor.
Covers: Status of Research; Further Evidence For Autistic Regression; Screening for Autism at Birth?; Toxin Effects : Essential Mineral/Vitamin Effects; More Evidence for Central Coherence Deficiencies in ASD; Self-Report (Temple Grandin); (2005)
- Autism Current Issues 42 by Mike Connor.
Covers: The Extreme Male Brain Hypothesis; Outcomes of mainstream and Special School Placements in Children with ASD; Ongoing Debates : 1.Vaccines and ASD 2. ASD, ADHD and Stimulants; (2006)
- Autism Current Issues 43 by Mike Connor.
Covers: Further (Brief) Thoughts on Inclusion; Identification; Aspects of Autism; Interventions/Strategies; (2006)
- Autism Current Issues 44 by Mike Connor.
Covers: a recent review of evidence concerning the issue of gastro-intestinal factors and perceived links with autism; the relationship between language and executive functions; the pattern of (more severe) autism beyond adolescence; and educational interventions with Asperger Syndrome.(2006)
- Autism Current Issues 45 by Mike Connor.
Covers: Brain Chemistry; Paternal Age and Autistic Risk; Inner Speech Deficits and Autism; Effects of (Severe) Food Faddism; Asperger Syndrome and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT); Grandparents and ASD.(2006)
- Autism Current Issues 46 by Mike Connor.
Covers: Autism/ASD and Reactive Attachment Disorder; Parental Coping Strategies; Enhancing Social Perception and Communication; (2006)
- Autism Current Issues 47 by Mike Connor.
Covers: Genetic Links; Further Indications of the Neural Basis for ASD (Amygdala and Hippocampus); Parental Age and Risk for Autistic Spectrum Disorder in Children. Anomalous Functioning : Changes over Time Predictors of Communication Development Sex Differences in Preschool Children with Autism (2007)
- Autism Current Issues 48 by Mike Connor.
Covers: Differentiating Autism/ASD and Other Developmental Disorders; Early Social Communication and Response-to-Name Research; Dysfunctional Mirror-Neuron Systems and Empathy Deficits; Reading Mental States; Understanding of Idiom; Predictors of Optimal Outcomes in Young Children Diagnosed with ASD (2007)
- Autism Current Issues 49 by Mike Connor.
Covers: Audiovisual Speech Integration in Autism; Enhancing Theory of Mind by the Style of “Narrative” Input; Hyperlexia and ASD; (2007)
- Autism Current Issues 50 by Mike Connor.
Covers: Early Detection/Screening; A Further Risk Factor (“Trigger”?) : Exposure to Agricultural Pesticide; Hyper-responsive Sensory Patterns; Repetitive Play and Behaviour; Early Predictors of Autistic Symptoms in Adulthood; (2007).
- The nature of Autism and Autistic Spectrum Disorders by Mike Connor.
These notes were prepared to provide a brief introduction to the characteristics of Autism and ASD and their management for inclusion in the Surrey LEA Handbook on Special Educational Needs.(2003)
- Autism and the Amygdala by Mike Connor.
These short notes set out to provide a brief re-introduction to this issue, highlighting the significance of such brain areas for the regulation of social awareness and reactivity, and of damage therein for the possible aetiology of characteristic social signs and symptoms of autism.(2003)
- Neurophysiological Correlates of Autistic Social and Emotional Dysfunction by Mike Connor.
This review highlights some of the findings from brain imaging studies about the structure and function of brain regions and their interconnectivity in autism, with evidence for a range of anomalies both in specific sites and within neural systems in the brains of individuals with autism. The significance of brain volume and impaired neurotransmission is emphasised. There follows a summary of a further description of biological bases of autism, with particular reference to genetic influences, notably an impairment of genes clustering on the X chromosome.(2003)
- Autism and Nutritional Intervention by Mike Connor.
These notes were stimulated by an earlier request for information about the possible benefits of dietary interventions for individuals with autism and ASD. The converging view is that there may be positive benefits for many children from carefully supervised dietary elements (supplements and exclusions) within a programme of intervention; but that there is currently reliance upon anecdotal or small scale studies hence the need for caution in generalising available evidence and in establishing expectations.(2003)
- Asperger Syndrome (Autistic Spectrum Disorder) and the Self-Reports of Comprehensive School Students by Mike Connor.
A sample of students diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome are interviewed about day to day school issues; and the experience of the SEN Co-ordinators is tapped. It is concluded that, even among students in mainstream schools whose autistic disorders are towards the mild end of the spectrum, the potential or actual difficulties should never be underestimated. (2000)
- Promoting Social Skills among Children with Asperger Syndrome (ASD) by Mike Connor.
These notes provide a summary of the nature of social deficits among children with ASD, plus a collating of advice from a range of sources concerning how to enhance social skill development and to reduce anxieties or communicative disabilities which stand in the way of positive interaction. (2002)
- Interventions to Facilitate Social Interaction by Mike Connor.
Following a further reminder of the desirability of early diagnosis (and some means of differentiating ASD from other conditions) in order that interventions can also be initiated optimally early, reference is made to two projects designed to increase shared attention and engagement of children with autism. A common link is the need to enter the child’s world by seeking to share/imitate his or her activities as opposed, in the first place, to seeking to evoke a particular behaviour. (2005)
- Interventions to Facilitate Social Interaction by Mike Connor.
This set of notes begins with further consideration whether high functioning autism and ASD can be differentiated. There follows a report of the outcome of a single case study involving interviews with an adolescent diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome and with his mother (with the suggestion that there is no lack of desire for friendships, but that there may be inadequate understanding of how to initiate and maintain relationships, or an inability or reluctance to apply any understanding that has been gained). The final section explores the matter of face processing, and considers whether there is some fundamental and neurological anomaly which inhibits successful face processing, or that the anomalous performance arises as a result of limited experience/motivation in this area of functioning.
- Attention Deficit Disorder by Mike Connor.
A brief overview of ADD and ADHD. (1996)
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Research Update 41 by Mike Connor.
Covers: Identification; Neurological Structure; Intervention (Reinforcement Schedules); An Alternative Intervention. (2006).
- ADHD - Educational Issues (Text for Conference Presentation by Mike Connor.
These are the notes made for a recent presentation made by the author. (2005)
- Attention Deficit (Hyperactivity) Disorders - A review of Identification and Intervention Issues by Mike Connor.
Covers: Introduction; Identification; Age of Onset; ADHD - Gender Effects; Co-morbidity; Neuropsychological Profiles; Causal Pathways; Intervention; Diet and Symptoms of Learning or Behavioural Difficulty. (2005)
- Attention Deficit (Hyperactivity) Disorder : Genetics, Triggers, and Trajectory by Mike Connor.
These current summaries concern, respectively, confirmation of the major significance of genetic factors in ADHD; the significance, too, of environmental factors (with foetal alcohol syndrome as an illustration); particular situations, at home, where the ADHD difficulties will be most evident; and the link between childhood-diagnosed ADHD and later anxiety or depression.
- Autism (ASD) and ADHD: Overlap and Comorbidity by Mike Connor.
A description is provided of the way in which Autistic Spectum Disorder and Attention Deficit (Hyperactivity) Disorder may share certain symptoms, or co-exist, with implications for the gathering of accurate epidemiological data as well as for the planning of interventions. (Reference is also made to the domain of language usage and understanding as an area where symptoms converge, with Central Auditory Processing Disorder as a condition that may be confounded to some extent with ASD or ADHD.) (2008).
- The (Educational) Needs of Children with Comorbid Autism and Deafness by Mike Connor.
A description is offered in these notes of the frequency of the association of autism and deafness. Reference is made to the complexity of evaluating hearing deficits among children who are autistic, and to two assessment measures based upon evoked neural activation. There follows a sampling of observations or concerns expressed by professionals and parents concerning the means of determining the relative effects of autism and of deafness (and their confoundability), and of planning intervention. The conclusion highlights the significance of a series of consultations and reviews involving multi-contributions by which to monitor progress and modify strategies on the basis of observed responses to the treatment for the hearing deficit and to the initial autism-oriented educational provision. (2008).
- Epilepsy: General Thoughts by Mike Connor.
A brief overview of Epilepsy and the implications for schooling. (1996)
- Epilepsy: Nature, Management and Memory by Mike Connor.
The impact of Epilepsy upon cognitive functioning and in particular to memory in individuals affected. (1994)
- Angelman Syndrome by Mike Connor.
These notes provide a description of the symptoms involved, (genetic) aetiology, and management strategies.(2001)
- Dyspraxia : General Information and Guidelines by Mike Connor.
These notes were prepared in response to a request for information concerning the nature of dyspraxia, its signs and symptoms, and the effects of the condition upon day to day activities including classroom performance.(1996)
- Early (Intensive) Behavioural Intervention in Autism: Variables and Outcomes by Mike Connor.
Recent reports of research into the Lovaas model conclude that positive outcomes can he achieved with fewer than the 30 or 40 hours per week considered by some to be a necessary minimum. Also that greater positive change appears to be associated with the timing of the intervention (children below 3 years of age rather than above 3 years), and the extent of improvement appears predictable from the overall duration (months) of the implementation of the behavioural programme.(2001)
- The Lovaas Approach Re-visited by Mike Connor.
These notes represent a search through research evidence in an attempt to gain new information concerning the effectiveness of intensive behavioural intervention with young autistic children. (2000)
- Inclusion of Children with SENs: Some Questions and Concerns by Mike Connor.
This paper contains summaries of recently published papers or articles which explore the issue of inclusion. There continues to be a consensus that inclusion is an ideal but concerns exist that the idea has still not been matched by organised research into what constitutes effective practice, by training, and by resourcing. There also remains concern about the possible difficulties, under current criteria for evaluating a school's performance, of reconciling policies about inclusion with policies about raising academic standards. (2001)
- An Autistic Child In The Family by Mike Connor.
This paper focuses upon the experiences of siblings of children with autism and their interactions with parents and upon the cognitive coping strategies that may be adopted by mothers when facing the demands of bringing up a child with autism. (2002)
- Peer, Sibling, and Self Perspectives on Disability or Difference (Including ASD) by Mike Connor.
This review includes a summary of findings concerned with children’s understanding of psychological problems among pre-school or school-age peers; the development of interaction between children diagnosed with ASD and their siblings; and the opinions and experiences of pupils with ASD attending mainstream secondary schools (which suggest some discrepancy between the ideals of inclusion and the reality). (2008).
- Autism and the effect on Parents and Siblings by Mike Connor.
This review of studies begins with a reference to resilience in the families of children diagnosed with autism, and the identification of specific processes by which resilience may be achieved. There follows a description of the involvement of siblings with a brother or sister with autism, and the evolving relationships and responsibilities during adulthood. The next section concerns the needs, experiences, and coping styles of parents following the diagnosis of autism in a child. Finally, there is a summary of the reported experiences of a sample of parents of children with various disabilities who had recourse to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal.
- AProviding for Children with Autism : Sibling, Parent, and Peer Issues by Mike Connor.
This review concerns, firstly, the development of siblings of children with autism, with the results of a study suggesting that psychosocial and emotional skills are typically enhanced, but the risk of unfavourable impacts becomes greater as the number of demographic disadvantages increases. The subsequent section refers to evidence for poorer communication skills in such siblings, with possible implications for a broader autistic phenotype. There follows a study of the impact of inclusion upon classmates, and of the value of peer awareness-raising programmes upon their attitudes and actions. This links to a study of the effects of awareness raising programmes concerning a range of intellectual disabilities. The final section describes the parental perspectives concerning the impacts upon the family, positive and negative, of childhood developmental disability.
- Autism and ASD: Making and sharing the diagnosis by Mike Connor by Mike Connor.
These notes cover references to the increased prevalence rates (linked to more sensitive diagnostic practices?) and to the apparent range of aetiological routes. A summary of a practitioner review concerning good practice in diagnosis with an implication for seeking increased provision to match the needs identified and a diagnostic "package" is described. The final section summarises advice over the difficult question of if or how to share a diagnosis with the individual concerned, and with siblings, peers, and significant others. It focuses upon the experiences of siblings of children with autism and their interactions with parents and upon the cognitive coping strategies that may be adopted by mothers when facing the demands of bringing up a child with autism. (2002)
- Autism and ASD: Perceptions of Diagnostic Processes by Mike Connor by Mike Connor.
The numbers of children diagnosed with autism or autistic spectrum disorder (including Asperger Syndrome) has shown a marked increase over the last 25 years. Reference is made to the debate concerning whether this reflects a real increase in prevalence or changes in the diagnostic criteria and enhanced screening for autistic symptoms. Whatever the aetiological route, there is converging evidence for the significance of early intervention in achieving the most positive outcomes, with the implicit need to establish early and accurate diagnoses. There follows a description of a small scale survey seeking the perceptions of professionals in Health and in Education concerning diagnostic processes. Themes are outlined and implications set out. (2007)
- Autism : Miscellaneous Thoughts on Nature and Aetiology by Mike Connor by Mike Connor.
These notes begin with a reference to genetic risk for autism and the possible significance of a single X chromosome, which would also provide some explanation for the uneven male-female ratio in diagnosed cases of autism. Reference is then made to additional evidence or opinion on the MMR issue further indicating the lack of any MMR-autism link. The final section refers to work which gives a further perspective on the nature of autistic mentalizing, involving the dimensions of systemizing and empathizing, with further implications for the “extreme male brain” theory of autism. (2004).
- Pupils with ASD: Teaching Approaches and Literacy by Mike Connor.
This set of notes provides a summary of the particular needs among children with ASD in respect of the development of literacy skills. There is also reference to hyperlexia, which is commonly but not uniquely found among individuals with ASD, with a discussion of the characteristics of this condition and the needs in terms of classroom practice.
- ASD and Literacy : Characteristic Styles or (Specific) Deficits by Mike Connor.
These summaries explore, firstly, the nature of decoding and of comprehension abilities among children with ASD; and, secondly, the matter of visual impairments or over-sensitivity, and the reported benefits of coloured overlays for use when reading passages of text. A brief mention is also made of auditory stress or processing difficulties for which benefits from auditory integration therapy have been claimed.
- Students with Autism and ASD in the Community by Mike Connor.
This brief set of notes was stimulated by the possible dilemma between enabling young people with autism and ASD to have as full an opportunity for community participation, including work experience, as their normally-developing peers, and ensuring their safety. General advice about planning such activities is summarised, with some emphasis upon work experience where maximal communication and information-sharing with the potential employer are seen as crucial. (2004)
- Asperger Syndrome And Autism - Further Thoughts On Similarities And Differences by Mike Connor.
These notes are a summary of one (major) paper which has explored whether or not Asperger Syndrome can be seen as a unique diagnostic category and differentiable from high functioning autism. The current conclusion is that the evidence would not support such a differentiation, although research outcomes may yet emerge to the contrary. The need for caution is reinforced by the finding of common methodological questions and criticisms. The advice is for the use of the term “autistic spectrum disorder” unless or until the viability of Asperger Syndrome as a diagnostic category is established.(2004)
- Asperger Syndrome : More on its Nature and its Differentiability from Autism by Mike Connor.
These notes return to the theme of specific and diagnostic characteristics of Asperger Syndrome citing recent evidence that there are distinctions between Asperger Syndrome and (high functioning) autism in respect, for example, of the associated signs and symptoms of anxiety which may be greater among Asperger samples. The two conditions are not distinguishable in respect of varying degrees of externalising behavioural problems or motor impairments. While it has been argued that a central feature of Asperger Syndrome is a lack of empathy, it is reported that the capacity for empathy may exist but that the recognition of the feelings of other people and, therefore, the demonstration of empathy in natural setting is limited, so that observable behaviours may give the impression of an uncaring style. The final section describes adaptive functioning with the conclusion that weaknesses in those skills such as communication, self-care and life skills, and socialisation, which enable individuals to adapt to day to routines and demands, may be a central characteristic of Asperger Syndrome and out of accord with measured cognitive abilities.
- Early Diagnosis in Autism and Asperger Syndrome by Mike Connor.
This paper describes ongoing work in the evaluation of early assessment materials but highlights, too, the difficulty of identifying any one measure that would be equally sensitive towards all children given the range of behaviours and of levels of severity of symptoms that exist within the population of children who are or who might be diagnosed with autism. The final section also highlights the critical significance of language development in terms both of early identification of autistic symptoms and of the impact upon the course of development in a range of domains.(2005).
- Intensive Interaction by Mike Connor.
These notes provide a reminder of the nature and scope of Intensive Interaction as an intervention to engage individuals with learning disability and/or autism, and to promote communication and the establishment of a reciprocal relationship. The background is described followed by a selection of evaluative findings which suggest the usefulness of this approach, perhaps particularly as one component of a programme of strategies for use in a range of settings.
- Imaginary Friends by Mike Connor (...with a little help from Myrtle).
These notes were stimulated by an initial article in the national press concerning the frequency with which young children have an imaginary friend (or more than one imaginary friend). A search among other resources confirmed that this kind of behaviour is common among pre-school children, especially around 3 or 4 years of age, and does not seem to be linked to particular circumstances such as the extent to which the children in question are isolated from like-aged peers. Further, the existence of imaginary friends is not perceived as a reflection of some developmental anomaly, but can be associated with enhanced emotional resilience and advanced communication skills (2005).
- Inclusion and ASD by Mike Connor.
A brief set of thoughts concerning the ideals of inclusion, but also the difficulties which may be associated with the mainstream inclusion of some children and young people with ASD, and some basic criteria by which to judge the likely effectiveness of inclusive educational provision. (2006)
- ASD : Further Thoughts on Inclusion (Junior or Secondary School, and University) by Mike Connor.
These summaries return to the theme of assisting children and young people to achieve meaningful academic and social inclusion at school and in higher education. The common principles concern the sharing of information, focusing upon abilities rather than upon disabilities, and planning ahead thus to anticipate and to avert or reduce difficulties associated with individual profiles of strengths and weaknesses and anxieties. (2007)
- Continuing Thoughts on Social Inclusion and (High Functioning) Autism by Mike Connor.
These notes refer to only two recently published articles but may be considered salient in the light of the apparent increase in the prevalence of children and young people who are being identified with autism and ASD, of whom a significant number will be part of mainstream classes both during statutory education and during higher/further education. The first concerns social networks in mainstream schools and the extent of involvement of children with ASD where observations may not match self-reports about inclusion, raising questions about differentiable meanings or expectations applied to friendships on the part of the target sample and typically developing peers. The second returns to the theme of preparing for admission to college and the means of addressing and compensating for the social and other difficulties or anxieties that may be anticipated among students with autism and ASD.(2007).
- Autism and Applied Behaviour Analysis (Lovaas): An Update by Mike Connor.
These notes represent a summary of two further sources of information and observation. Firstly, conference presentations at ABA Ireland and, secondly, a paper describing a replication of a longitudinal study of ABA intervention with two matched groups differing in the level of intensity of input and frequency of supervision. The common conclusions highlight the benefits of the ABA approach for some, but not all, young children with autism; and there is reference made to variables which appear to have predictive validity in determining which children will make rapid and positive progress and those whose progress will be limited. (2006)
- Autism and ASD : Individuality and Interventions by Mike Connor.
The focus in these notes is on the idiosyncracies of the learning and social needs among children with autism and the corresponding need for interventions to be based not only upon a general awareness of the triad of core autistic characteristics but also upon their particular manifestation in a given child. The implication is for establishing a relationship by which to gain an understanding of the child’s own perceptions and anxieties and motives. The value of eliciting and examining the child’s own reports and expressed feelings is underlined if one is to understand the basis for observable behaviours. The final sections refer to the common problem among children with autism of gaining the overall theme or gist of what they read (with implications for teaching style); and contain a further reference to the question whether there really has been a major increase in the incidence of autism as opposed to a change in the way diagnostic categories have been applied. (2006).
- Behavioural Interventions and Young Children with Autism by Mike Connor.
The issue of the benefits and costs of applied behavioural treatment of children with autism is revisited in these summaries of recent findings. Includes Effects of Low-Intensity Behavioural Treatment; The Experience of Behavioural Interventionists; Video Modelling Interventions; High Court Case; Interim Research Report (Southampton); (2007).
- Interventions in Autism : Social, Communication, and Behaviour by Mike Connor.
These notes begin with further evidence and advice about the promotion of social interaction among pre-school children with autism, emphasising the role of the adult in following and imitating the child’s lead. The next section summarises advice about enhancing adaptive behaviours among older children with particular regard to communication and socialisation. There follows a section on the use of (atypical) medication in managing and reducing autistic behaviours and symptoms. The final section concerns the nature and management of stereotyped behaviours where intervention appears most effective when a (functional) assessment is followed by a combination of strategies. (2007).
- Attention Deficit Disorder Research Update 39 by Mike Connor.
These summaries start with a reference to the management of very young children and the likely concerns over medication. There follows a mention of the possible confounding of sleep problems linked to medication or to the ADHD itself. Next, there is a reminder of the potential value of computer-based working. The issues of the long term nature, and of possible changes in ADHD symptoms over time, or of later onset of symptoms, are discussed. The final section briefly describes a different perspective upon ADHD where a self- regulation deficit is seen as the critical element.(2006).
- ADHD: Ongoing Thoughts on Aetiology, Intervention, and Rating Outcomes by Mike Connor.
This set of summaries begins with a questioning of the genetic, brain-condition based, view of ADHD and a focus, instead, upon nurture and environmental issues. There follows a description of an intervention which involves exposure to outdoor and green environments. The emphasis in the rest of the notes is upon the use of rating scales … consistency between child and adult ratings (of quality of life); teacher ratings and performance in visual search activities; and the need to base the identification of ADHD upon more than one classroom session on more than one day, and to have regard to the context as well as the match between teachers’ ratings and independent observations of positive and negative behaviours.
- Autism (ASD): More on Incidence, Nature, Comorbidity and Impact by Mike Connor.
This paper offers some information on the prevalence of autism across a population as a whole, indicating the appropriateness of the spectrum or continuum concept. Reference is then made to the continuing issue of head size as an early diagnostic indicator, and to the possibly greater than chance association of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy with Autism. The final section is concerned with the impact of autistic symptoms upon the parents/ carers/teachers, where the major source of stress seems to be located within externalising behaviours. (2006).
- Autism and ASD : More Evidence about their Nature and Symptomatology by Mike Connor.
The topics covered here include sleep patterns among children with autism or ASD and among adults with autism and learning difficulties; sensory integration and perceptual experience; motor symptoms as a possible means of differentiating high functioning autism from Asperger Syndrome; and family environment (expressed emotion) and symptoms in adolescents and adults with autism. (2006).
- Autism and ASD : Reducing and Managing (Behavioural) Symptoms by Mike Connor.
This set of thoughts, summarised from recently published papers, begins with a description of a purpose-built centre for children with ASD and learning difficulties, designed to compensate for characteristic (sensory) problems and to enhance day to day functioning. On a similar theme, the second section is concerned with the possible use of colour schemes by which to enhance performance among autistic children in providing a link between thinking, feeling, and willing (a sense of self-efficacy). Reference is then made to the management of hyperlexia, and the use of particular areas of good language competence in developing skills in other areas such as oral interchange and comprehension. The final section concerns the enhancement of attention to, and understanding of, facial (emotional) expressions via explicit guidance. (2007).
- Autism and ASD : Interventions for Reducing Maladaptive Behaviours by Mike Connor.
This review concerns, firstly, assessment and intervention in respect of stereotyped verbal responding. The following section returns to the theme of video models for fostering appropriate behaviours; followed by a description of the way in which TV viewing could be used as a learning device for individuals with ASD. Basic but tested strategies for enhancing behaviour, and increasing participation within mainstream class activities, are set out. The final section highlights some concern about the use of medication among children and young people with ASD (and co-morbid conditions). (2007).
- ASD and Inapproriate (as perceived) Sexualised Behaviour by Mike Connor.
The ideas and information summarised in these notes concerning the meaning and motives of behaviours, of an apparently over-sexualised nature among teenagers diagnosed with ASD, were collated to provide some background guidance to inform the review of a student at a specialist and residential school whose behaviour has become the source of concern. (2007)
- Autism and Pollution by Mike Connor.
This brief report is concerned with only one set of research results (plus reference to some existing studies and to reactions) but it highlights a further aetiological hypothesis …. with implications for that view of autism and ASD as conditions with multiple causal pathways and influences.(2007).
- Depression in Children and Adolescents: Current Thoughts by Mike Connor.
Although it is not directly concerned with Autistic Spectrum Disorder, there are possible inferences concerning ASD arising from the contents. Covers: The Prevalence of Depression in Young People; Risk Factors for Depression in the Preschool Years; Gender, Interaction, and (Mild) Depression; Attention Difficulties and Ruminative Style in Adolescents with Depression. (2007).
- Further Thoughts on Autistic Spectrum Disorder in Adolescence by Mike Connor.
This short review begins with a reminder that the presentation of ASD or Asperger Syndrome changes over time, and negative features such as stress may be more significant with the increase in complexity of interactions, the continuing experience of feelings of uncertainty or apartness, and the longer-term reactions of others to the autistic “style”. The two studies summarised concern, respectively, the reported efficacy of a programme to develop greater self-understanding among adolescents with ASD, and strategies to increase and enhance written output at school among students with Asperger Syndrome.
- Autism and ASD : Factors Determining Selective Attention, and Processing by Mike Connor.
These notes provide some further analysis of the processes involved when stimuli are selected for attention by individuals with ASD, with support for the view that anomalies are largely concerned with difficulties in switching or disengaging attention. Some challenge to the perceived over-arching effects of weak central coherence is presented. The second theme concerns the pattern, in terms of reaction time and level of accuracy, by which presented items are placed into categories … with some difficulty (now supporting the significance of certain impairments linked to weak central coherence) observed among individuals with ASD in dealing with atypical exemplars. (2007).
- Bullying : Current Data about Prevalence, Forms, and Dynamics by Mike Connor.
The first part of these notes highlights the relative frequency of episodes of bullying among children and young people (with reference to one recent survey indicating that exposure to bullying is particularly common among children with special educational needs towards the severe end of the spectrum). Typical coping strategies are described, along with the significance of whole school approaches to intervention or prevention (which includes the involvement of peers in the planning and implementation of actions). There follows a description of a study exploring the stability and instability of friendship patterns among girls and the possible association with involvement in bullying either as perpetrator or victim; and the final section also concerns the significance of social identity, and interactions within and between groups, for the emergence of bullying behaviour.(2007).
- Autism : Clarifying Core Characteristics and Aiding Diagnosis by Mike Connor.
These notes concern the identification of behavioural, cognitive, and adaptive features which may differentiate autism from other pervasive developmental disorders, and which may assist towards greater accuracy of diagnosis. The first summary describes the use of observed adaptive behaviour for this purpose. Next, reference is made to the patterns of non-verbal cognitive functioning in young children with autism. Sensory anomalies are described in the third summary. The final section concerns problems with (motor) imitation among boys with autism. (2007)
- Autism and ASD : Face Processing, Social Skills, and Direct Training by Mike Connor.
These review notes begin with a summary of work on eye tracking during face processing in which children with ASD differed from controls in their gaze patterns in response to particular forms of stimuli … thus highlighting more specifically the nature of face processing impairments. The next section concerns the inferring of mental states from faces, where the stimuli are presented as static or dynamic images, with the finding that children with ASD do appear able to make judgements from information conveyed in the eyes. There follows a report of work in which brain activity in the region concerned with the processing of social information can show normal activation when the participating children with ASD are given specific instructions to attend to facial expression and tone of voice. The final summaries describe work on social skill programmes for children with autism, highlighting those features which appear significant for effectiveness, including direct teaching.
- Further Thoughts on Autism Disorder Subtypes by Mike Connor.
Notes for the Policy and Performance Department, Surrey LEA. (2007)
- Asperger Syndrome and Crime by Mike Connor.
These review notes explore the question whether individuals diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome have a greater probability than typically-developing peers of becoming involved in delinquent or criminal activity. The alternative perspective under consideration is that the characteristic traits and behaviours associated with Asperger Syndrome (such as poorly developed theory of mind, or obsessionality, etc) may lead to a greater vulnerability to accusations of offending behaviour despite no criminal intent, especially when there appears to be little regard for the effect of certain behaviours upon other people. (2007).
- Parental Stress and Resilience in Caring for Children with Learning Disability by Mike Connor.
This review returns to the theme of the strains and coping strategies relevant to the parental role in caring for children with significant learning disabilities. The first study concerns both objective and subjective strains, perceived inadequacies of support, and the strategies used to enhance coping. The second study is a survey of the emotional dilemmas experienced when a child is identified with a learning disability. The final study in the review describes the findings of a survey among parents of children with autism attending mainstream schools, highlighting the range of feelings along the satisfied - dissatisfied spectrum, with particular reference to communication and responsibility for fostering social skills and relationships.
- The Non-Unitary Nature of Autism and ASD by Mike Connor.
This set of reviews provides evidence that autism is a condition (or a range of conditions?) for which there is no single and simple explanation and aetiology. The first summary concerns the inability to encompass the core characteristics within a single explanatory framework. Further, it appears likely that a number of genes and genetic loci will prove to be implicated in the phenotype of autism. The subsequent sections offer examples of work concerned with individual elements of autistic symptomatology or “style”; and illustrations of the complexity of the way in which the autism is expressed or moderated. The implication is for the lack of utility in maintaining a quest for some single cause and, therefore, for avoiding the placing of trust in one all-embracing intervention.
- “Early Bird” and “Early Bird-Plus” Parent Support Programmes Follow-Up Survey of Parental Experience and Opinion by Mike Connor.
The Surrey LEA began to offer parents of pre-school children with autism the opportunity to join Early Bird Programmes in 2001. Early Bird Plus, offering a modified version of the original programme for parents of children between the ages of 4 and 7+ years, became available later. This survey set out to gain an insight into the opinions of a sample of parents in Surrey who have completed either programme, to highlight the perceived long-term benefits of the programme(s) and other support that has been seen as most helpful, while also gaining an indication of the needs which are perceived as not being met by existing support provision.
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