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Pediatrics publishes research & guidelines on autism-related health issues

Authored by researchers with the Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network in its role as the federally funded Autism Intervention Research Network on Physical Health
February 01, 2016

Today, the journal Pediatrics published a special supplement on medical, mental health and behavioral issues commonly associated with autism. The issue provides important autism-specific practice guidelines for the nation’s pediatricians.

Like the journal’s first autism supplement – published in 2012 – the work was conducted primarily through the Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network (ATN) serving as the federally funded Autism Intervention Research Network on Physical Health (AIR-P).*

The new and much-expanded supplement includes treatment recommendations for such autism-associated health issues as

* anxiety,

* depression,

* disturbed sleep and

* severe irritability and problem behaviors.

It also includes much-needed guidance on

* the special needs of adopted children who have autism,

* transition plans for teenagers with autism as they move from pediatric to adult healthcare systems,

* autism-tailored hospital care plans and

* autism-sensitive emergency room procedures.

“The supplement brings together in one place a rich and diverse compilation of clinical research and practice improvement related to the care of children and youth with autism and related neurodevelopmental disorders,” write Drs. Lonnie Zwaigenbaum and Marji Erickson Warfield in the special issue’s introduction. Dr. Zwaigenbaum co-directs the Autism Speaks ATN center at the University of Alberta and Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital, in Edmonton. Dr. Warfield directs the Starr Center on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities at Brandeis University, in Waltham, Mass.

Much of the research behind the reports was made possible by the ATN Patient Registry – which in turn is made possible by the voluntary participation of families receiving care at one of the 14 ATN centers across the U.S. and Canada.

Below is the supplement’s full table of contents. Readers can access links to summaries of the articles on the Pediatrics website here.

* The work of the ATN/AIR-P is carried out at the Autism Treatment Network’s 14 autism specialty clinics across the United States and Canada under the guidance of the Network Clinical Coordinating Center at Massachusetts General Hospital for Children, in Boston. The ATN’s role as the AIR-P is funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service.

* Learn more about the Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network 

* Learn more about its role as the federally funded AIR-P


* Find the ATN center nearest you