Oxytocin May Improve Social Skills in Autistic Children

28 Oct

By Katherine Derla, Tech Times

Oxytocin May Improve Social Skills in Autistic ChildrenAn Australian study found autistic children who used oxytocin-laced nasal spray showed developments in their behavioral, social and emotional problems. Oxytocin is a natural-occurring hormone in the human body associated with child-parent bond and romantic connections.

The study involved 31 children with autism, age ranges from three to eight years old. The children were provided nasal sprays laced with oxytocin and parents were advised to use them in the span of five weeks with twice-a-day usage.

After the study period, researchers found that the kids who used the oxytocin nasal sprays showed great improvements in terms of social, emotional and behavioral activities. While there were side effects such as constipation, urination and thirstiness, the improvements were very significant compared to the kids who did not receive the oxytocin nasal sprays.

“What we think it is doing is increasing the salience of social cues, and helping the brain get more effective at understanding and responding to these cues,” said senior author Associate Professor Adam Guastella from the University of Sydney.

Researchers found that oxytocin contributed to changes in the brain part responsible for social behavior. The study’s next phase is to see how oxytocin can modify the brain wiring to change social performance. The team is looking for ways on how to make oxytocin treatment a part of autism therapy in children.

“The potential to use such simple treatments to enhance the longer-term benefits of other behavioral, educational and technology-based therapies is very exciting,” said Ian Hickie, study co-author and University of Sydney’s co-director of the Brain and Mind Center. The team highlighted that their study is a pioneer in showing that a drug treatment has the potential to solve social problems and improve social skills in autistic children.

Health experts expressed cautious remarks on the study findings. Autism Science Foundation’s chief science officer Alycia Halladay said that previous studies of oxytocin and autism made use of injections, a procedure that is not practical for chronic management. Halladay conveyed that oxytocin nasal sprays could make this treatment more manageable for many people, however, it should be noted that oxytocin improves only several symptoms of autism, not all. This could be used in partnership with other autism therapies.

The study was published in the Molecular Psychiatry journal on Oct. 27.


Related CE Courses for Mental Health Professionals

This is a test only course (book not included). The book can be purchased from Amazon or some other source.This CE test is based on the book “Apps for Autism” (2015, 436 pages), the ultimate app planner guidebook for parents/professionals addressing autism intervention. There are hundreds of apps for autism, and this course will guide you through them so that you can confidently utilize today’s technology to maximize your child or student’s success. Speech-language pathologist Lois Jean Brady wrote this book to educate parents and professionals about the breakthrough method she calls “iTherapy” – which is the use of mobile technology and apps in meeting students’ individual educational goals.For those who are new to the wonderful world of apps, worry not! This award winning reference will review hundreds of excellent apps, accessories and features organized into 39 chapters for parents and professionals alike. There are also helpful sections of how to choose apps, evidence-based practices, choosing an iDevice, internet safety, a helpful toolbox and much, much more.
It is well-established by research that many learners on the autism spectrum benefit from the use of visuals. How can we go beyond a basic use of symbols to create and implement individualized visuals that will help our students learn and communicate more comprehensively? Participants will learn about considerations and strategies to take into account in order to put more effective visuals in place for their students on the autism spectrum. Topics covered include: broadening symbol selection, adding layers and additional components to visuals in order to make them more motivating and meaningful, providing visuals for a wide variety of expressive communicative functions, and using visuals for comprehension and organization as well as expression.The course video is split into 2 parts for your convenience: part 1 is 56 minutes and part 2 is 57 minutes.
This is a test only course (book not included). The book (or e-book) can be purchased from Amazon or some other source.This CE test is based on the book “Early Childhood Music Therapy and Autism Spectrum Disorders: Developing Potential in Young Children and their Families” (2012, 304 pages). This text includes the work of many researchers and practitioners from music therapy and related disciplines brought together to provide a comprehensive overview of music therapy practice with young children who present with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The authors present an overview of ASD including core characteristics, early warning signs, prevalence rates, research and theories, screening and evaluation. The book explores treatment approaches and strategies as applied in music therapy to the treatment of ASD. The authors present a wealth of practical applications and strategies for implementation of music therapy within multi-disciplinary teams, school environments and in family-centered practice.
The first section of this course traces the history of the diagnostic concept of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), culminating in the revised criteria of the 2013 version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the DSM-5, with specific focus on the shift from five subtypes to a single spectrum diagnosis. It also aims to provide epidemiological prevalence estimates, identify factors that may play a role in causing ASD, and list the components of a core assessment battery. It also includes brief descriptions of some of the major intervention models that have some empirical support. Section two describes common GI problems and feeding difficulties in autism, exploring the empirical data and/or lack thereof regarding any links between GI disorders and autism. Sections on feeding difficulties offer interventions and behavior change techniques. A final section on nutritional considerations discusses evaluation of nutritional status, supplementation, and dietary modifications with an objective look at the science and theory behind a variety of nutrition interventions. Other theoretical interventions are also reviewed.

Professional Development Resources is approved to offer continuing education by the American Psychological Association (APA); the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA); the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR); the Alabama State Board of Occupational Therapy; the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy, Psychology & School Psychology, Dietetics & Nutrition, Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, and Occupational Therapy Practice; the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board and Board of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology; the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs; and by the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists and State Board of Social Worker Examiners.

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Posted by on October 28, 2015 in General


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