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The Toby Henderson Trusts weekly round up of autism news

Autism News Round-Up: October 20 2016

Older parents more likely to have children with autismRisk of having a child with autism increases with age

Researchers in Denmark have found that people with older parents are more likely to be diagnosed with autism. In particular, those with older fathers, and those whose parents had a significant age difference were more likely to be on the autistic spectrum.

They also found that schizophrenia was more likely to be diagnosed in people whose parents, particularly mothers, had them when they were very young.

Nearly half of children with ASD in the UK have been excluded from school

Nearly half of children with autism in England have been illegally excluded in some way from school, according to the charity Ambitious About Autism. Parents were asked to keep children at home during tests or inspections. Other children were not allowed to go on school trips, or were not given full timetables.

The report also found that nearly three quarters of parents find getting the right support in school for their autistic child. This could lead to an increased likelihood of them being excluded in some way when their behaviour is affected and the school is not able to meet their needs.

New school in Norwich to open for children with autism

Ground was broken literally and figuratively recently with building starting on a new school in Norwich for children with autism. The free school will take pupils from the brightest to those with moderate learning difficulties. The same sort of children who would normally be in a mainstream rather than special school, but whose special needs are not being met.

It also aims to address the problem highlighted by national statistics showing that 86% of people diagnosed with autism are not in full-time employment.

autism underdiagnosed in girls and probably more prevalent ithan thoughtAutism probably more prevalent in girls than previously thought

We’ve all heard that men boys and men are more often diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders than girls and women. However, this view may be skewed.

Women and girls might just be so good at covering up some of the autism symptoms that they are not referred for diagnosis in the first place, according to The National Autistic Society.

People with autism better at making decisions

We are often encouraged to ‘listen to your heart’ when making decisions. However researchers at King’s College London have discovered that because people with autism are often more rational, they may also often make better decisions. Instead of using intuition and emotion like people without autism, subjects in their study did not use emotional information to guide their decisions. The subjects were therefore able to gamble more successfully!

Autism Speaks drops aim for autism cure

Autism Speaks, probably the world’s most well-known autism charity, is also one of the most heavily criticised. Much of this criticism is about how much money they have spent on looking for a cure for autism rather than on ways to treat and support it.

In late September Autism Speaks dropped this aim from their mission statement. The statement now says that the charity is focusing on support and advocacy for individuals living with ASD, increasing awareness and acceptance of the disorder and working to advance research into its causes.

Movie Poster for Ben Affleck film about an autistic hitmanNew film and TV series featuring autistic characters

Ben Affleck’s new film about is about a man with autistic ‘superpowers’. In The Accountant, he plays autistic accountant Christian Wolf. His high-functioning autism makes him not just brilliant at cooking the books, but also a brilliant killing machine. The Washington Post says of the film:

The movie does a nice job of explaining things like sensitivity to certain fabrics, light and sound, and behaviors like stimming, or self-stimulation. “The Accountant” recognizes that the autism spectrum is, in fact, a spectrum, and that it can manifest in different ways, rather than simply turning out taciturn super-geniuses.

The Accountant will be released in the UK on November 4th.

The creator of “How I Met Your Mother” is writing a dark comedy about a family with an autistic son for Netflix. Atypical is a coming of age story which follows Sam, an 18-year-old on the autistic spectrum.

Sam is on a search for love and independence. On the way, he causes chaos for his entire family, forcing them all to grapple with change in their own lives as they struggle to work out what ‘normal’ actually is. The series will star Michael Rapaport and Jennifer Jason Leigh. Filming starts in 2017, so it will be a while before it appears on Netflix!

 Autistic Lucas reunited with lost teddy bear via TwitterBoy with autism reunited with lost Teddy thanks to Twitter

If your child has a favourite comfort object, you’ve no doubt had nightmares about what would happen if it was lost. Or perhaps you’ve even had your child’s favourite thing go missing and know just how stressful that can be.

One mum in Canada had it happen to her. Her autistic two-year-old Lucas lost his favourite teddy bear. Routines and sleep were shot. Replacement bears were rejected. (Nice try Mum!) And Lucas was sad. She thought they’d never find Teddy again. But then she took to Twitter