Yale Child Study Center

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"An officer's response to children who have been exposed to violence can be critical to their recovery and a key factor in ensuring their resilience," said Hanson, whose announcement was made during a special Congressional briefing as part of National Police Week. "This toolkit will help officers identify and minimize threats to child safety and foster closer engagement between law enforcement and youth." Officers trained in biological, neurological and psychological responses to trauma will be better prepared to recognize and identify these symptoms in their encounters with children and family members, and will be equipped to respond in ways that maximize both officer safety and positive outcomes for children and families. "When children are not identified and supported in recovery following exposure to violence, they are at greater risk for a range of negative outcomes. Officers' contact with those children can be crucial in how children recover following exposure to trauma," said Eileen M. Garry, OJJDP's Acting Administrator. "Now we have a framework that enables law enforcement to plan, train and respond to help children re-establish a sense of security and stability that is essential to recovery." The toolkit was developed under a cooperative agreement between the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the Yale Child Study Center and OJJDP. For additional information about the Enhancing Police Responses to Children Exposed to Violence: A Toolkit for Law Enforcement, visit http://www.theiacp.org/children-exposed-to-violence. The Office of Justice Programs, headed by Acting Assistant Attorney General Alan R. Hanson, provides federal leadership in developing the nation's capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice and assist victims. OJP has six bureaus and offices: the Bureau of Justice Assistance; the Bureau of Justice Statistics; the National Institute of Justice; the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; the Office for Victims of Crime; and the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering and Tracking (SMART). More information about OJP and its components can be found at www.ojp.gov. To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/office-of-justice-programs-releases-toolkit-to-aid-police-response-to-children-exposed-to-violence-300459543.html


News Article | June 14, 2017
Site: www.sciencedaily.com

A collaboration between the Center for BrainHealth at The University of Texas at Dallas and the George Washington University created a protocol to predict individual treatment effectiveness for adults on the autism spectrum. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), the researchers identified certain brain regions that significantly correlate with an increase in social abilities following a virtual environment based training program. Adults on the autism spectrum who showed greater activity in the social brain network prior to the training improved more in emotion recognition than those who showed less activity. "We found that when participants showed more brain activation in certain regions within the social brain network, while viewing digitally represented biological motion -- motion that symbolizes something a human might do, such as playing pat-a-cake -- the intervention was more beneficial to the participants," explained Dr. Daniel Yang, assistant research professor at the George Washington University and Children's National Health System. "Whereas if these social brain network regions did not show much activation, we observed that the person may not benefit from the intervention at this particular time but, as the brain is constantly changing, could benefit in the future, for example, by increasing pretreatment activation in these regions." The U.S. Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) named Dr. Yang's finding utilizing this predictive method with pediatric populations in a separate study one of the top 20 advances in autism research of 2016. "This study advances us one step closer toward the goal of targeted, personalized treatment for individuals with autism," said Dr. Yang. "We are very happy that this predictive method may be potentially able to help children, as well as adults on the spectrum, know which training might be worth their time and money based on their current brain function." For the study, seventeen participants between the ages of 18 and 40 years diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder were recruited from the Center for BrainHealth and the Yale Child Study Center at Yale University where Dr. Yang worked at the study's inception. Participants completed a five-week training program that met twice a week for one hour. The clinician-led, strategy-based intervention allowed participants to role play social interactions in a virtual environment. "The training focuses on three core social strategies: recognizing others, responding to others and self-assertion," explained Tandra Allen, head of virtual training programs at the Center for BrainHealth, who provided the trainings. "We use avatars to make the complex social situations such as dealing with confrontation, job interviews, or a blind date feel more approachable to practice while still drawing on the same emotions that a person would experience in the real world." Before the 10 hours of training, participants underwent brain imaging. While in the fMRI scanner, the participant passively viewed a series of animations. Some of the images represented a human in motion, such as a person playing pat-a-cake, while other images were scrambled and did not represent something a human would do. Two clusters of activity stood out as significantly correlating with training success. The first is an area on the left side of the brain responsible for language processing, specifically conflicts in meanings. The other resides on the right side of the brain and is responsible for processing non-verbal social-emotional cues, for example, being able to look at a person's facial expression and ascertain emotional states such as fear, anger or joy. Treatment effectiveness was measured by behavioral changes in two distinct domains of social abilities: 1) emotional recognition, or the change in socio-emotional processing abilities and 2) theory of mind, or the change in socio-cognitive processing abilities. "There is very limited intervention research for adults on the autism spectrum, so being able to help make a leap forward in creating individualized treatment programs for them is very important to the field," said Dr. Yang.


Diehl J.J.,University of Notre Dame | Paul R.,Yale Child Study Center
Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders | Year: 2012

In research, it has been difficult to characterize the prosodic production differences that have been observed clinically in autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Moreover, the nature of these differences has been particularly hard to identify. This study examined one possible contributor to these perceived differences: motor planning. We examined the ability of children and adolescents with ASD to imitate prosodic patterns in comparison to a group with learning disabilities (LD) and a typically developing (TD) comparison group. Overall, we found that both the ASD and LD groups were significantly worse at perceiving and imitating prosodic patterns than the TD comparison group. Similar to previous studies using non-imitative speech, participants with ASD showed a significantly longer duration of utterances than the two comparison groups when attempting to imitate an intonation pattern. The implications of differences in duration of utterances are discussed. This study also highlights the importance of using clinical comparison groups in studies of language performance in individuals with ASD. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.


Preston J.L.,Haskins Laboratories | Brick N.,Southern Connecticut State University | Landi N.,Yale Child Study Center
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology | Year: 2013

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of a treatment program that includes ultrasound biofeedback for children with persisting speech sound errors associated with childhood apraxia of speech (CAS). Method: Six children ages 9-15 years participated in a multiple baseline experiment for 18 treatment sessions during which treatment focused on producing sequences involving lingual sounds. Children were cued to modify their tongue movements using visual feedback from real-time ultrasound images. Probe data were collected before, during, and after treatment to assess word-level accuracy for treated and untreated sound sequences. As participants reached preestablished performance criteria, new sequences were introduced into treatment. Results: All participants met the performance criterion (80% accuracy for 2 consecutive sessions) on at least 2 treated sound sequences. Across the 6 participants, performance criterion was met for 23 of 31 treated sequences in an average of 5 sessions. Some participants showed no improvement in untreated sequences, whereas others showed generalization to untreated sequences that were phonetically similar to the treated sequences. Most gains were maintained 2 months after the end of treatment. The percentage of phonemes correct increased significantly from pretreatment to the 2-month follow-up. Conclusion: A treatment program including ultrasound biofeedback is a viable option for improving speech sound accuracy in children with persisting speech sound errors associated with CAS. © American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.


McPartland J.C.,Yale Child Study Center
Current Opinion in Neurology | Year: 2016

Purpose of review Despite significant progress in recognizing the biological bases of autism spectrum disorder, diagnosis and treatment rely primarily on subjective evaluation of behavior. This review highlights the challenges unique to neurodevelopmental disorders that have limited biomarker development. Recent findings The field of neurodevelopmental disorders requires objective quantification of biological processes to enable designation of subgroups likely to benefit from specific treatments, index diagnostic status/risk, demonstrate engagement of targeted systems, and provide more rapid assessment of change than traditional clinical observation and caregiver report measures. Summary Useful biomarkers for neurodevelopmental disorders must be reliable across development, evident at the individual level, and specific to a unit of analysis, be it diagnostic status or functional process. The ultimate value of biomarkers for neurodevelopmental disorders will relate to their ease of use, cost, scalability, sensitivity, and methodological objectivity. © 2016 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.


Stover C.S.,Yale Child Study Center
Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law | Year: 2013

Factors that predict custody and visitation decisions are an important area of research, especially in the context of high-conflict divorce. In these cases, youths are at significantly higher risk for exposure to ongoing conflict, violence, and triangulation in their parents' disputes. What variables courts and evaluation clinics use to make custody decisions and whether they are the most salient requires further study. The work by Raub and colleagues in this issue extends our understanding of important factors considered by the courts and custody evaluators in high-conflict divorce and points to directions for future research in this area.


Eratosthenes came close to a precise estimate of the circumference of the earth around the year 240 BC. His accomplishment depended on a verifiable tenet among his contemporaries: the earth was a sphere. At Syrene, the sun cast no shadow at the summer solstice. On that day, Eratosthenes measured the angle of the sun's shadow in Alexandria over 700 kilometers to north, at 712′ or 1/50th of the circumference of a perfect sphere. Read the full article at doi: 10.1111/jcpp.12461 © 2016 Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health.


Steiner A.M.,Yale Child Study Center
Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions | Year: 2011

Despite the ubiquitous nature of parent education in autism treatment, relatively few studies directly address how parent education should be conducted. Given that the literature on parental well-being suggests that treatments that facilitate positive parental adaptation to their child's disability may be beneficial, this study examined the impact of a strength-based approach to parent education. An alternating treatments design was used to compare the effects of therapist statements that highlighted the child's deficits versus those that emphasized strengths. These two approaches were evaluated on the following measures: parent affect, parent statements regarding child behavior, and the quality of parent-child interactions. Results indicate that parents displayed improved affect, made more positive statements about their child, and also exhibited more physical affection toward their child during the strength-based approach. Findings have implications for autism programming, parental coping, and parent-child relationships. © 2011 Hammill Institute on Disabilities.


Lebowitz E.R.,Yale Child Study Center
Journal of Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders | Year: 2013

Despite the efficacy of E/RP and pharmacotherapy for OCD, many children do not respond adequately to therapy. Furthermore, many children exhibit low motivation or ability to actively participate in therapy, a requirement of E/RP. Research has underscored the importance of family accommodation for the clinical course and treatment outcomes of childhood OCD. Recent studies highlighted the potential of family involvement in treatment to enhance outcomes for challenging cases. These interventions however still require child participation. The goal of this clinical report is to describe an exclusively parent-based intervention and present preliminary indications of its acceptability, feasibility and potential efficacy. The Supportive Parenting for Anxious Childhood Emotions (SPACE) Program is a manualized treatment focused on reducing accommodation and coping supportively with the child's responses to the process. The theoretical foundation of the intervention is presented and its practical implementation is illustrated, with excerpts from the treatment manual and a clinical vignette. Preliminary results from the parents of 6 children, who refused individual therapy, are presented. Parents participated in 10 weekly sessions and reported high satisfaction and reduced child symptoms. Research is required to investigate the potential of SPACE as a complement or alternative to other evidence based interventions for childhood OCD. © 2013 Elsevier Inc.


McPartland J.C.,Yale Child Study Center | Reichow B.,Yale Child Study Center | Volkmar F.R.,Yale Child Study Center
Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry | Year: 2012

Objective: This study evaluated the potential impact of proposed DSM-5 diagnostic criteria for autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Method: The study focused on a sample of 933 participants evaluated during the DSM-IV field trial; 657 carried a clinical diagnosis of an ASD, and 276 were diagnosed with a non-autistic disorder. Sensitivity and specificity for proposed DSM-5 diagnostic criteria were evaluated using field trial symptom checklists as follows: individual field trial checklist items (e.g., nonverbal communication); checklist items grouped together as described by a single DSM-5 symptom (e.g., nonverbal and verbal communication); individual DSM-5 criterion (e.g., social-communicative impairment); and overall diagnostic criteria. Results: When applying proposed DSM-5 diagnostic criteria for ASD, 60.6% (95% confidence interval: 57%64%) of cases with a clinical diagnosis of an ASD met revised DSM-5 diagnostic criteria for ASD. Overall specificity was high, with 94.9% (95% confidence interval: 92%97%) of individuals accurately excluded from the spectrum. Sensitivity varied by diagnostic subgroup (autistic disorder = 0.76; Asperger's disorder = 0.25; pervasive developmental disordernot otherwise specified = 0.28) and cognitive ability (IQ < 70 = 0.70; IQ ≥ 70 = 0.46). Conclusions: Proposed DSM-5 criteria could substantially alter the composition of the autism spectrum. Revised criteria improve specificity but exclude a substantial portion of cognitively able individuals and those with ASDs other than autistic disorder. A more stringent diagnostic rubric holds significant public health ramifications regarding service eligibility and compatibility of historical and future research. © 2012 American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

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