ATPlus Twitter


Publications from AT+

Posted by: | Posted on: May 11th, 2014 | 0 Comments

Screen Shot 2014-05-11 at 20.56.00

In the past few months two papers reporting of the activities conducted at ATPlus were accepted for publication.

One of these papers reports of the “Changing the Course of Autism” conference organised by ATT and Treating Autism last June in Edinburgh. The paper summarises each speaker’s presentation and stresses the urgency to understand why so many children are being diagnosed with autism today. Autism is a neurodevelopmental condition now affecting 1 child in 50 in the USA and 1 child in 66 in the UK. For the last two decades, the numbers of affected children have continued to rise world-wide, without any sign of reducing. Identifying the environmental and genetic factors at play is essential to develop effective remedial and preventive intervention strategies. The condition is commonly associated with a range of health problems with the most commonly encountered affecting the immune and digestive systems as well as metabolism. These can be identified through appropriate biomedical testing and clinical investigations. Treating these abnormalities can lead to significant improvements in the child’s health, development, social communication skills and behaviour. The current state of scientific and medical understanding of the condition enables to propose a convincing paradigm to explain the pathologies and developmental features of the condition. The paper can be downloaded in full here.

The second paper “Holiday, What Holiday: Vacation Experiences of  Children with Autism and Their Families” aimed at identifying the types of holiday experienced by families of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The study involved 35 families of ASD children and 25 control families of children with Down’s Syndrome (DS) living in Scotland. In both groups, a significant proportion of the families had not taken any holiday away from home more than once in the last 3 years and there was limited use of children holiday centres. Families of ASD children who had been on holiday expressed overall less positive impressions of their experiences and showed limited use of public places such as restaurants, cafes, cinemas and hotels normally accessed by typical families whilst on vacation. Five areas were identified as influencing the quality of their experiences: 1-child’s disability, particularly with regard to behaviour, 2-lack of suitable holiday structures, 3-financial limitation of the family, 4-lack of empathy from surrounding communities towards the disabled child and his or her family, 5- general state of exhaustion of the parents. The paper further describes two pilot holiday community experiences organised with 10 families with ASD children in an attempt to address some of the issues hereby identified. A retrospective analysis of these experiences and surveys suggests that amongst all five identified barriers, the issue of the child’s behaviour is the most significant difficulty encountered by these families. Supporting families in understanding and improving their child’s’ behaviour is needed to enable families to maximise their experience on holiday. Increasing the understanding of the condition, improving access to leisure activities and some financial aid would equally be beneficial. The paper is available in full here.


Amet , L. E., Hornig, M., Antonucci, N, Herbert,M, Snape, M, Stejskal, V, andD. Siniscalo.Changing the course of autism: The Science and Intervention. Autism Open Access2014 Jan 10;2(1):1.

Amet, Lorene. “Holiday, What Holiday? Vacation Experiences of Children with Autism and Their Families.” Autism-Open Access (2013).



Leave a Comment