New study examines social isolation of young adults with autism spectrum disorder

Young adults with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are more likely to never see friends, never get called by friends, never be invited to activities and be socially isolated. That’s the finding of new research released online in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders that studies the social outcomes of young adults with an ASD. The study is part of a pioneering program of research on adolescents and adults with autism led by Paul T. Shattuck, PhD, associate professor at the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis. Lead author is Gael I. Orsmond, PhD, associate professor at Boston University and an expert on the social development of adults with an ASD.

WUSTL study on young adults with autism in the workplace continues to get recognition

With awareness ever increasing about young adults with autism transitioning into the workforce, a 2012 study by Washington University in St. Louis researcher Paul Shattuck continues to get national recognition. Shattuck’s June 2012 study “Postsecondary Education and Employment Among Youth With an Autism Spectrum Disorder” was one of 20 selected for inclusion in the 2012 IACC Summary of Advances in Autism Spectrum Disorder Research.

Fragile X makes brain cells talk too much

The most common inherited form of mental retardation and autism, fragile X syndrome, turns some brain cells into chatterboxes, scientists at the School of Medicine report. The extra chatter may make it harder for brain cells to identify and attend to important signals, potentially establishing a parallel at the cellular level to the attention problems seen in autism.

Some autism behaviors linked to altered gene

Scientists have identified a genetic mutation that may underlie common behaviors seen in some people with autism, such as difficulty communicating and resistance to change. The mutation disrupts levels of serotonin, a chemical messenger produced by a limited number of neurons (red) in the brain.

Youth with autism gravitate toward STEM majors in college — if they get there

More students with an autism spectrum disorder gravitate toward science, technology, engineering and math majors in college than other students. But they have low college admission rates because of gender, finances and other barriers, finds a new study, co-authored by Paul Shattuck, PhD, assistant professor at the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis.

Adolescents with autism spectrum disorder at risk for bullying

A new study suggests an estimated 46.3 percent of adolescents with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) were the victims of bullying. The study originated at the Brown School and is part of a pioneering program of research on adolescents and adults with autism led by Paul T. Shattuck, PhD, assistant professor. Lead author Paul Sterzing, PhD, assistant professor at the School of Social Welfare of the University of California, Berkeley, completed this study when he was a student at the Brown School.

Youth with autism face barriers to employment and education after high school

Compared with youth with other disabilities, young adults with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) face a disproportionately difficult time navigating work and educational opportunities after high school, finds a new study by Paul Shattuck, PhD, assistant professor at the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis. “Thirty-five percent of the youth with ASDs had no engagement with employment or education in the first six years after high school,” Shattuck says. “Rates of involvement in all employment and education were lower for those with lower income.”

Study of half siblings provides genetic clues to autism

When a child has autism, siblings are also at risk for the disorder. New research from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis shows that the genetic reach of the disorder often extends to half siblings as well. The discovery is giving scientists new clues to how autism is inherited.