Clinical Implications And Future Perspectives
When autism was first described, it was hypothesized to be an environmentally caused disease. Decades of research have since revealed that autism is a highly heterogeneous and extremely complex genetic condition. Even though great progress had been made in identifying hundreds of risk genes, very little is known about the different types of modifiers that may exacerbate or ameliorate disease severity. Such modifiers could include epigenetics, sex-linked modifiers, CNVs, double-hit mutations, or environmental factors .
Figure 1. Genetic modifiers in autism spectrum disorder. Autism is estimated to be 4080% heritable. However, both genetic and non-genetic factors modulate the penetrance of risk genes, resulting in a highly heterogeneous disease phenotype for similar pathogenic variants. Examples of genetic modulators include CNV, epigenetics, and double-hit mutations. Examples of non-genetic modifiers include environmental exposures and sex-linked modifiers.
Age Limit For Autism Development
Older children, teens, and adults do not develop autism. In fact, to qualify for an autism spectrum diagnosis, you must have symptoms that appear during early childhood .
Thus, if you know an adult or older child who has suddenly, out of the blue, developed behavioral or social communication issues, you are not seeing someone who has acquired autism after a period of normal development.
People who appear to suddenly behave in an “autistic” manner may have developed any one of a number of other mental health issues, some of which do most commonly appear in early adulthood.
Autism-like behaviors may result from a wide range of disorders from social phobia to generalized anxiety to obsessive-compulsive disorder. These are serious disorders that have a significant impact on an individuals’ ability to function effectively, make or keep friends, or hold a job, and they should be treated. But they are not autism.
Focus On The Details In Recruiting
To encourage neurodiverse people to apply for jobs, be as detailed as possible with every step in the hiring process. Neurodiversity trainer and educator writes that barriers faced by applicants include:
- uncertainty about the details to include in their resumes.
- being discouraged by abstract descriptors in job descriptions.
- interpreting job postings too literally.
- inferring that their skills and experience must match the job description exactly.
Be precise and literal in the job description and avoid abstract language. Also state directly in the job description that people who are neurodiverse are encouraged to apply. Provide candidates with a recruiting process outline that details each step in the hiring process, including timelines and contact persons at the company.
Aspect Employer Recruitment Support
Aspect Employer Recruitment Support provides support to your organisation to successfully hire and manage staff on the autism spectrum. With our support your organisation can access our talent pool of skilled candidates through our placement program to match our candidates to your specific requirements for internships or permanent positions.
TBC Contact us to find out the date and topic of the next workshop
- Identify as someone on the autism spectrum
- Currently, or soon to be or hoping to soon be, employed including paid or unpaid employment
Variety of locations across NSW, Victoria and South Australia.
Contact us for more information.
Aspect Head Office, Frenchs Forest:
Building 1, Level 2, 14 Aquatic Drive, Frenchs Forest 2086
- Public Transport: Regular bus services to and from Chatswood and the city
- Parking: Street parking is available
Fireside Chat: Bridging The Delta
Three weeks after I enrolled my youngest child in a neighborhood nursery school in Brooklyn, I got the call. An administrator and my childs lead teacher urgently wanted to meet with my husband and me.
Our daughter, it turned out, was wandering out of the classroom. She wasnt making eye contact. She didnt respond to her name. She couldnt carry on a conversation with her teachers or classmates. She had poor fine motor skills. She didnt play with toys like others did. Most alarmingly, she wasnt socializing well or at all with other children. In short, it was impossible to teach her in a regular classroom setting.
We were baffled. Those observations didnt square with the ebullient, extremely verbal child whose pediatrician had never raised any red flags about her social or emotional development. But at the schools urging, we had her evaluated through New York Citys Department of Education. Looking for a diagnosis something the DOE doesnt give for preschoolers we also sought the advice of a developmental pediatrician, who confirmed what no one else would tell us: Our daughter was on the autism spectrum.
But at about the same time, something extraordinary happened. In February 2019, Bill Gross, christened the Bond King for his phenomenal multidecade winning streak as a co-founder and portfolio manager at PIMCO, revealed in an interview with Bloomberg Television that he had recently been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.
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Late Recognition Of Symptoms
Next, it’s important to distinguish between a late recognition of symptoms and late onset of symptoms. According to the DSM-5 diagnostic criteria: “Symptoms must be present in the early developmental period .”
In the case of high-functioning autism, for example, it’s not unusual for a child to receive a diagnosis much later than most children are diagnosed with autismbut that’s not because symptoms suddenly developed. Rather, the symptoms are so subtle that it’s only with time that their impact becomes obvious.
“Masked” symptoms are particularly common among girls, who are more likely to, for example, follow others’ lead or become very passive in order to avoid being identified as “different.”
Expression Profiling Of Autism Candidate Genes During Human Brain Development Implicates Central Immune Signaling Pathways
Affiliations Laboratory of Clinical and Developmental Genomics, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, United States of America, Medical Scientist Training Program, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, United States of America, Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience, National Institutes of Health-University of Cambridge Biomedical Scholars Program, Cambridge, United Kingdom
Affiliation Laboratory of Clinical and Developmental Genomics, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, United States of America
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Understanding Your Autistic Employee
I have difficulty picking up social cues and difficulty in knowing what to do when I get things wrong. Autistic person
If an autistic person seems aloof or uninterested in talking to colleagues, or often says the ‘wrong’ thing, remember that this is probably unintentional and is likely to be due to communicationchallenges.
If an autistic person tries too hard to fit in and irritates colleagues by seeming to interrupt a conversation, be patient, and explain the boundaries if necessary. Other staff may also need reminding that their attitudes may have a strong impact on the job performance of their autistic colleague.
If an autistic person becomes anxious for any reason, try to find out what is causing the problem. One-to-one sessions are probably the best situation for doing this. You may need to think laterally. For example, the stress may not be caused by a difficulty in the job but by a colleague not being explicit in their instructions, by things not working efficiently , or by difficulties in getting to their work. Trying to think around the immediate issue may help, as well as supportively asking the employee specific questions to try to get to the root of the problem.
There may be occasions where problems do arise for an autistic person, particularly in social interactions, where communication can break down. If you become aware of any of these problems, try to deal with them swiftly and tactfully, and make colleagues aware of the potential for misunderstanding.
Get Support From A Disability Employment Specialist
If all the above seems a little daunting, there are free, disability employment specialists that you can partner with to help you find the perfect staff member. Working directly with a DES provider can help your business set up an interview process that allows candidates with autism to demonstrate their skills and capabilities in a comfortable, accessible setting.
EPIC Assist regularly works with businesses to adjust the interview process so that it helps you discover the best person for the job, not just the best interviewer. We help businesses line up interviews with job-ready employees with autism and other disabilities that are the right fit for the role and then help you break down barriers to hiring a diverse and inclusive team.
If you are ready to make diverse hiring a priority this autism month and need some help finding and onboarding the perfect staff member, contact EPIC Assist today.
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Our Autism At Work Programme
Through this programme, we support employers across a wide range of industries to create accessible job opportunities and to support candidates to access those opportunities. These opportunities could be in the form of:
- paid internships
- paid roles
We also support candidates to prepare for, and succeed in their employment.
Remove Sensory Distractions From The Room
Something as small as the scent of permanent marker or bright lights can cause sensory sensitivity and distract candidates with autism from answering all the interview questions. Making the interview setting accessible could mean selecting a quiet space without visual distractions, heavy scents, or fluorescent lighting. Face the candidate with their back to the window to minimise distractions and remove unnecessary objects and clocks that tick.
If you notice any symptoms of agitation, ask whether there is something you can do to make the interview more comfortable, or if something is bothering the candidate. People with autism will usually answer very honestly. You may or may not be able to change the situation, but it makes you aware of what is impacting the candidates ability to answer the questions.
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The job interview, in particular, can be problematic since people with autism often struggle to understand unstated communication and social norms. Their difficulties in these areas can result in poor ratings during interviews, even when the candidate would be an excellent fit for the job, which puts both the candidate and employer at a disadvantage.
Some simple tactics can help lessen the likelihood of this happening.
Levels Of Severity Of Autism
The level of autism severity greatly influences which jobs will work well for someone on the spectrum. The latest edition of the Diagnosticand Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders redefined a group of similar developmental diagnoses into a single diagnosis now called autism spectrum disorder.
The new comprehensive diagnosis highlights autism as being a spectrum. There are three identified levels of autism. They help to clarify how severe symptoms are in the domains of social skills and restrictive or repetitive behaviors.
The level of autism that someone has greatly impacts their ability to perform different jobs. Some people with Level 1 ASD have symptoms that are unnoticeable to the people around them. They can complete complicated jobs with minimal support or by using their own coping strategies.
More severe cases of autism have a greater impact on what jobs can be successfully completed. Again, however, there is a wide range of jobs available and many programs in search of people with ASD who can bring unique skills to the workplace.
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Support In London And The Home Counties
Applicants for our placements in London and surrounding counties are supported by our expert and friendly team throughout the process.
We help candidates every step of the way from careers guidance to advice with applications to on-the-job training and support.
Each young person who takes part in one of these opportunities can expect:
- to receive careers support in preparation for applying for a work placement, including CV development
- support with applications, interview preparation and during the interview process
- pastoral support in the form of information, advice and guidance
- support with planning for the future, through careers support if not matched to a role or when a placement ends.
- If successfully matched to a role can expect on the job training and support, a team who have been trained by us and who will understand how to make adjustments and provide the right support
Do A Work Trial Instead
If the candidate is applying for a position that does not involve talking, it may not be appropriate to assess their capabilities through a typical interview. It may be more telling to skip the traditional interview and consider an alternative method of assessing the candidates capabilities and job fit.
Work trials or samples of work can act as a better assessment of a person with autisms suitability. These could be used instead of or even in conjunction with a formal interview.
A disability employment specialist can help you organise a half-day trial, or even a two-week work experience period, depending upon what is best for the candidate. Some people with autism take longer to adjust to change. This means that while they may struggle immensely on the first week of their work trial, by the second week they could be flying through their job tasks.
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Provide Training And Monitoring
Clear and structured training is invaluable. This can be provided informally on the job, by a manager, colleagues or a mentor, or may take the form of more formal training. Various organisations and schemes offer job coaches, and funding for this form of training may be available from the Department of Work and Pensions. OurEmployment Training Servicecan provide more information.
Can Autism Make Me A Diversity Hire
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I am an academic barely making a living by working as an adjunct for five or six classes a semester. I realize that while the arc of history bends toward justice, as Barack Obama said, paraphrasing Martin Luther King Jr., this doesnt hold true in individual cases. The movement for greater faculty diversity can mean that I, a white male in the humanities, am less likely to get a full-time job no matter how well I teach or how much I publish. A colleague suggested I use the idea of neurodiversity to qualify as a diversity hire. I have several problems with this: First, while I am obsessive about my chosen subject and was probably on the spectrum as a child and young adult, I dont believe this diagnosis fits me. Second, this would be a sort of blackface: I would be claiming to be part of a protected class for my own benefit. Finally, I dont think that a hiring committee would look favorably on someone who came out as on the autism spectrum.
Would using an ex post facto diagnosis on the job market give me an unfair advantage? And should neurodiversity be included in affirmative-action hiring? Name Withheld
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Pcr And Sanger Sequencing
Primer pairs listed in were used to amplify coding exons of CNTNAP2, including intronic flanking regions, from genomic DNA with a standard polymerase chain reaction over 35 cycles with a 56.7°C annealing temperature. PCR reactions were performed using 100ng of DNA, 50ng of each primer, 1X IQ Phusion mix containing buffer, dNTPs, and Taq polymerase. PCR products were purified on 1% agarose gel using the GE Healthcare® DNA purification kit. DNA was then screened for mutations by unidirectional direct sequencing using the BigDye® Terminator v1.1 Cycle Sequencing Kit . Mutations were confirmed with an independent PCR and bidirectional sequencing.
Table 4 Primer sequences for amplification and sequencing of CNTNAP2 coding exons.
Can A Person Develop Autism After Early Childhood
Steven Gans, MD, is board-certified in psychiatry and is an active supervisor, teacher, and mentor at Massachusetts General Hospital.
There is no official diagnosis called “late-onset autism.” In fact, the DSM-5, which lists and describes all developmental and mental disorders states that the onset of symptoms is in the early developmental period.
Still, there are plenty of articles out there about children who appear to regress after developing normally throughout their earliest years. And there are plenty of people who seem to develop autistic symptoms as teens or even adults.
So does regressive or late-onset autism actually exist? What do we know about it so far?
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Autism Symptoms In Adults At Home
Other peoples feelings baffle you. You have a collection of figurines on your desk that must be in the same order at all times. These, and other common manifestations of ASD, may be apparent in adults at home:
- Your family members lovingly refer to you as the eccentric professor of the family, even though you dont work in academia.
- Youve always wanted a best friend, but never found one.
- You often invent your own words and expressions to describe things.
- Even when youre in a quiet place, like the library, you find yourself making involuntary noises like clearing your throat over and over.
- You follow the same schedule every day of the week, and dont like unexpected events.
- Expressions like, Curiosity killed the cat or Dont count your chickens before they hatch are confusing to you.
- You are always bumping into things and tripping over your own feet.
- In your leisure time, you prefer to play individual games and sports, like golf, where everyone works for themselves instead of working toward a common goal on a team.
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Aspect Employment Mentoring Program
The Aspect Employment Mentoring Program offers guidance and advice to assist adults on the spectrum move into the world of work with ease and confidence. Our Employment Mentors are experienced in offering specialist employment support, so we understand your unique strengths and the barriers faced when making the transition into employment. We will work with you to uncover your untapped capabilities to fulfil your potential in the workplace and find meaningful employment.
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