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"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil,
to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11 (NKJV)

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Friday, August 1, 2014

New study out on brain flexibility

Hi folks! It's been a busy, busy summer. Some great new research just came out and I wanted to share. Another piece in the puzzle...

Less Flexibility Seen in Brain Wiring of Kids With Autism: Study

Scans reveal differences that might explain why transitions are difficult
Tuesday, July 29, 2014
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TUESDAY, July 29, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- When most children take on a task, various brain connections fire up. But scans showed less of this neuro-boosting activity in kids with autism, according to a small new study.
Moreover, children with more severe symptoms of autism displayed even less of this "brain flexibility," the researchers found.
"This reduced flexibility often causes difficulty when children with autism are faced with new situations," said study lead author Lucina Uddin, a neuroscientist and assistant professor of psychology at the University of Miami in Florida. "Knowing how the brain responds differently in these scenarios can help us to make transitions easier for these kids."
The finding -- published July 29 in Cerebral Cortex -- won't immediately lead to improvements in prevention, diagnosis or treatment of autism, which is estimated to affect one in 68 children in the United States. Still, it may provide more insight into the mysterious workings of the brain in autism.
People with autism have trouble interacting with others because they can't interpret many social signals that humans send to one another. They also engage in repetitive behaviors, such as obsessively focusing on one topic, or repeating the same action over and over.
"Based on our recent findings of overconnectivity in the brains of children with autism, I wanted to test the idea that a flexible brain is necessary for flexible behaviors," Uddin said.
In the new study, researchers performed brain scans on 34 children with autism and 34 typically developing children while at rest and while performing a task -- either solving math problems or distinguishing faces from one another. The idea was to include tasks that would -- and wouldn't -- significantly challenge kids with autism.
The kids with autism did as well as the others on the tasks. However, "across a set of brain connections known to be important for switching between different tasks, children with autism showed reduced 'brain flexibility' compared with typically developing peers," Uddin said.
The researchers also found a connection between the severity of restricted and repetitive behaviors and the degree of inflexibility.
In the big picture, "the findings may help researchers develop new therapies that target brain flexibility through strategies, tools and games that improve task-switching, for example," said study co-author Kaustubh Supekar, a science research associate with the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University School of Medicine.
Jose Perez Velazquez, a senior scientist with Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children, cautioned that just because the brains of people with autism work differently doesn't mean that they work in a worse way. When it comes to behaviors, "which ones we want to label pathological or deviant is, many times, a matter of taste," said Velazquez, who wasn't involved in the study.
SOURCES: Lucina Uddin, Ph.D., assistant professor, psychology, University of Miami, Florida; Kaustubh Supekar, Ph.D., research associate and scientist, department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine, Palo Alto, Calif.; Jose Perez Velazquez, Ph.D., senior scientist, neurosciences and mental health, Hospital for Sick Children, and professor, department of pediatrics and the Institute of Medical Science, University of Toronto, Canada. July 29, 2014, online, Cerebral Cortex

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

We're living proof!

People ask me all the time how I got my little man to talk. I usually answer, "prayer!" But, seriously, we attribute 95% of his speech development to getting his iPad soon after he turned 3. We found a great app on there called VAST Autism 1- Core, which shows a human mouth articulating single sounds, then combined sounds and continues to increase gradually to phrases and short sentences. I believe the reason he took so well to this program is that it's a human mouth but no eyes. I know, that sounds crazy, but the eyes are the part of the face that transmit most of the non-verbal emotional cues and for a lot of kids on the spectrum, it's too much. Taking away the eyes, and, thereby taking away the emotion, was the magic combination for him. Now, this research just came out this week showing the link between the use of iPad/tablets and speech development. I couldn't wait to share it with all of you!

iPads May Help Boost Speaking Skills in Kids With Autism: Study

Combining use of device with therapy sessions helped minimally verbal children talk, interact
Tuesday, July 1, 2014
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Related MedlinePlus Page
TUESDAY, July 1, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Adding access to a computer tablet to traditional therapy may help children with autism talk and interact more, new research suggests.
The study compared language and social communication treatment -- with or without access to an iPad computer tablet -- in 61 young children with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and found that the device helped boost the effect of the treatment.
"All the children improved, but they improved more if they had access to the iPad," said Connie Kasari, professor of human development and psychology and psychiatry at the University of California, Los Angeles' Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior.
The children used the iPad when they were engaged in play, she said. "It focused on helping them initiate conversation, using the iPad to comment on what they were doing. The iPad worked because it is a visual stimulant with auditory feedback," she explained. For instance, children would mispronounce a word, hear it pronounced correctly on the iPad, and then learn to say it correctly, she said.
But, Kasari emphasized, "The iPad is just a tool." It worked because it was used within a treatment aimed at helping improve the children's communication skills, she noted.
The study was published in the June issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. Autism Speaks, a research and advocacy organization, funded the study.
Autism spectrum disorders are a group of developmental disorders. Communication and social problems are hallmarks of ASDs. As many as one in 68 U.S. children has an autism spectrum disorder, according to estimates from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Children in the study were between the ages of 5 and 8. All were considered "minimally verbal," which experts define as speaking fewer than 20 functional words, Kasari said. "The majority had far fewer." About 30 percent of children with an autism spectrum disorder are minimally verbal, she said, sometimes even after years of treatment.
For the first three months, all of the children received two sessions a week, totaling two to three hours a week. At the three-month mark, nearly 78 percent of children in the iPad-added group had an early response, but just 62 percent of those in the group without it did, the investigators found.
An early response was defined as an improvement of 25 percent or more in half of the 14 measures, such as the number of spoken words and the use of new words, Kasari said.
If a child was not progressing at the three-month mark, the researchers added the tablet. But adding it later was not as effective as using it from the start, Kasari's team found. The researchers followed the children for three years.
"The idea of using an iPad is a novel approach," said Dr. Ruth Milanaik, an attending physician at the Cohen Children's Medical Center in New Hyde Park, N.Y. Milanaik treats children with autism and reviewed the study's findings.
"The idea of technology being used to help children who really need different approaches is so important," she said. It's crucial, however, she agreed, to understand that the iPad "was simply a tool" and that it was an adjunct to the traditional interventions that aimed to improve communication and other developmental advances.
While a 25 percent improvement -- the measure used to define response -- may not seem like much to some, Milanaik said that "every small step, for the parents of an autistic child, is monumental."
Kasari and her team are continuing to study the iPad, planning to enroll about 200 children in four cities during a planned five-year study.
If the research continues to bear out, the hope would be to use the iPads in school programs and to train parents in its use at home, both experts agreed.
SOURCES: Connie Kasari, Ph.D., professor, human development and psychology and psychiatry, University of California, Los Angeles, Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior; Ruth Milanaik, D.O., attending physician, Steven and Alexandra Cohen Children's Medical Center, New Hyde Park, N.Y.; June 2014, Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
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Friday, June 20, 2014

Someone near and dear to me had a hand in this...

FACE autism research lab launched

By Dan O'Brien 
April 14, 2014
For the purposes of a photo demonstration, a 12-year-old girl (who is not a patient) is outfitted with reflective markers that help autism researchers in Emerson's new FACE lab examine facial expressions. (Photo by Kelsey Davis '14)
Emerson’s Communication Sciences and Disorders Department (CSD) has established a new laboratory specifically for autism research with the help of a $1.5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) awarded to Assistant Professor Ruth Grossman.
The four-year grant has provided for state-of-the-art equipment that tracks eye gaze and facial movements with astounding precision. The grant also supports a postdoctoral fellow, Darren Hedley, and a research assistant in Emerson’s new Facial Affective and Communicative Expressions (FACE) Lab, on the second floor of the State Transportation Building, overseen by Grossman.
This federal funding for the autism-focused work ofGrossman and other researchers in CSD comes as a new U.S. Centers for Disease Control study shows one in 68 children has autism.
Grossman’s research will focus on interpretation and production of nonverbal cues, including facial expressions, by adolescents with high-functioning autism.
“The reason I am interested in studying this particular population,” Grossman said, “is that they have all the cognitive and verbal skills to be successful members of society. But they fall short of achieving their potential because they are often perceived as awkward and therefore have difficulties with their peers at school, or with getting and keeping a job. If we can find a way to help them over this hurdle of social awkwardness, it will be a tremendous benefit for this growing population.”
Grossman hopes to make progress in this area with the help of the FACE Lab’s new motion-capture equipment that can measure how different parts of the face move and interact with each other by tracking the motion of 32 reflective markers applied to the faces of participants.  
In addition to reflective markers on their faces, research subjects will respond to stimuli on a video screen using video game controllers in the FACE lab. (Photo by Kelsey Davis '14)
“I want to use this technique to try to quantify ‘awkward,’” Grossman said. “If we can understand how the faces of kids with autism move differently from those of their typically developing peers and how that causes this perceived awkwardness, we will be one step closer to designing treatment approaches aimed at improving the social integration of these kids.” 
FACE Vicon
The Vicon motion-capture cameras in the FACE lab are decorated with knit caps, children's drawings, and other playful items to make the technology seem less daunting to children enrolled in the studies. (Photo by Kelsey Davis '14)
The six infrared Vicon motion-capture cameras in the lab are decorated with knit caps, children’s drawings, and other playful items to make the technology seem less daunting to children enrolled in the studies. The equipment is capable of recording three-dimensional coordinates of each marker at up to 515 frames per second. 
The young participants may be asked to use a video game controller to indicate whether images on the screen make them feel happy or sad, or will simply have to repeat a sentence or expression they see on the screen while their facial expressions are being recorded by the Vicon cameras. There is also a microphone to record their verbal responses.
In this demonstration, a girl responds to stimuli on a video screen in the FACE Lab at Emerson. (Photo by Kelsey Davis '14)
“We will also analyze their prosody, or tone of voice, as well as their vocal quality,” Grossman said. “We’ll record their voices to determine whether they are portraying the correct emotion, sound natural, and what types of pauses and rhythm they use when speaking.” 
Much of the analysis of the motion capture and voice data will be done in collaboration with researchers at other institutions, including the University of Southern California and the University of Aarhus in Denmark.
In addition to the motion capture projects, Grossman will use an infrared Remote Eye-tracker made by SensoMotoric Instruments that can take up to 500 snapshots per second of a person’s eye movement.
“Typically developing individuals tend to focus on the same areas on faces at the same time, but children with autism spectrum disorders often show significantly different gaze patterns,” Grossman said. “We want to investigate those patterns, so we can better understand what type of communicative and emotional information these kids are potentially missing by looking at the wrong places at the wrong time.”
FACE Darren
In this photo demonstration, Darren Hedley, a postdoctoral fellow who recently began working in the FACE Lab, uses a picture book with a 6-year-old girl (who is not a patient) as part of a standardized test to examine language and cognitive abilities. (Photo by Kelsey Davis '14)
Additionally, the FACE Lab will use some less technologically based techniques to work with research participants, including standardized tests to characterize the language and cognitive abilities of participants with and without autism.
The NIH grant is one of two that faculty members in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders received this year to aid in autism research. Rhiannon Luyster, together with three CSD colleagues, received a $41,000 grant from the National Science Foundation that aided in the purchase of a second SensoMotoric Instruments infrared eye tracker.
The FACE Lab is holding an open house for the Emerson community on Monday, April 28, from 4:00 to 6:30 pm, at its location in the State Transportation Building, second floor, Room 225. 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Autism research worth reading

Hormone Levels in Womb Tied to Autism Risk in Boys: Study

Experts caution that finding is preliminary, with no current implications for treatment or prevention
Tuesday, June 3, 2014
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TUESDAY, June 3, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Some boys with autism may have been exposed to slightly elevated levels of certain hormones in the womb, a new study suggests -- though it's not clear yet what the finding means.
Researchers found that of 345 boys with and without autism, those with the disorder had somewhat higher levels of steroid hormones in stored samples of their amniotic fluid. Specifically, they had elevated levels of four sex hormones, including testosterone and progesterone, and the stress hormone cortisol.
Experts said it's not yet clear what to make of the results, published online Tuesday in Molecular Psychiatry. And, it's important to note that the study doesn't prove that the elevated hormone levels caused autism, only that there appeared to be a connection between autism and higher levels of steroid hormones.
"This doesn't say anything about the role of steroid hormones in autism development," said Alycia Halladay, senior director of environmental and clinical sciences for the advocacy group Autism Speaks.
But the findings do raise questions for further research, according to Halladay, who was not involved in the research.
It's possible that steroid hormones, themselves, are the culprit, since research suggests they affect fetal brain development, according to Simon Baron-Cohen, the lead researcher on the new study.
"Elevated steroid levels could directly change gene expression in the brain," said Baron-Cohen, who directs the Autism Research Center at the University of Cambridge in the U.K.
On the other hand, he said, the hormone elevations could be the result of some other, unknown factor.
Autism spectrum disorders refer to a range of neurodevelopmental disorders. These disorders are characterized by social difficulties, communication problems and repetitive behaviors, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. In the U.S., an estimated one in 68 children has been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
For the study, the researchers used stored samples from a large pool of Danish women who underwent amniocentesis between 1993 and 1999. Amniocentesis involves drawing a small amount of fluid from the sac around the fetus; it's typically offered to women who are at increased risk of having a baby with a birth defect.
Baron-Cohen's team compared samples from 128 boys who developed autism with those from 217 boys without autism. They said they excluded girls because only a small number had autism, and other factors made it too difficult to compare steroid hormone levels between those girls and typically developing girls.
Among the boys, those with autism tended to have higher prenatal steroid hormone levels.
Still, Halladay noted, the average difference between the groups was small -- and it's hard to know the possible significance. But, figuring out why there was a difference at all might give insight into some causes of the disorder, according to Halladay.
She said that certain environmental exposures may affect steroid hormone levels -- including "endocrine-disrupting" chemicals found in plastics, metal food cans and other everyday products.
But so far, Halladay said, studies have failed to find a link between those chemicals and autism risk.
Both Baron-Cohen and Halladay stressed that the current study's findings have no practical use for now.
"This doesn't mean pregnant women should ask for amniocentesis to have their hormone levels measured," Halladay cautioned.
And, Baron-Cohen said, there are no grounds for treating autism with hormone-blocking drugs.
Another autism expert stressed that the disorder is thought to arise from a complicated mix of genetic vulnerability and environment.
"It's extremely complex, and it's not going to come down to just one factor," said Dana Levy, an assistant professor of child and adolescent psychology at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City.
Scientists have already linked a few hundred genes to autism, and studies are investigating potential environmental factors -- from toxic chemicals to infections during pregnancy.
"Researchers are coming at this from every angle to try to understand what is happening in autism," Levy said.
Boys are at particular risk, being affected almost five times more often than girls. And that is one of the big mysteries of autism, Levy noted.
Baron-Cohen speculated that his findings hint at one explanation. The elevated hormones in this study included not only testosterone, but precursors to testosterone.
However, everyone said more studies, including studies of girls with autism, are needed before any conclusions can be made.
For now, Baron-Cohen said the results can be seen as more evidence that the origins of autism go back to the womb.
SOURCES: Simon Baron-Cohen, FBA, director, Autism Research Center, University of Cambridge, U.K.; Alycia Halladay, Ph.D., senior director, environmental and clinical sciences, Autism Speaks, New York City; Dana Levy, Psy.D., clinical assistant professor, child and adolescent psychology, NYU Langone Medical Center, New York City; June 3, 2014 Molecular Psychiatry online


Genetic 'Networks' May Play Role in Autism

Finding might provide new targets for drugs to treat disorder, researchers say
By Mary Elizabeth Dallas
Friday, June 6, 2014
HealthDay news image
FRIDAY, June 6, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Three new gene networks that appear to have important roles in the development of autism have been found, researchers report.
One of the autism-related gene networks also affects some patients with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and schizophrenia, the study authors noted.
These gene networks offer potential targets for new medications for these conditions, according to the researchers.
Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) can cause restricted behaviors as well as problems with children's social interaction and communication. ADHD is a disorder that affects impulsivity and attention.
In general, the symptoms and the genetics of these disorders are often different, according to study author Dr. Hakon Hakonarson, director of the Center for Applied Genomics at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
"However, the common biological patterns we are finding across disease categories strongly imply that focusing on underlying molecular defects may bring us closer to devising therapies," Hakonarson said in a hospital news release.
The genome-wide association study, published online June 6 in Nature Communications, involved more than 6,700 patients with an autism spectrum disorder. These patients were compared to more than 12,500 people who did not have autism.
Researchers found three gene networks, which include a family of proteins that regulate cell signaling and neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are substances that help cells communicate with each other. Another gene network implicated is involved in cancer development and may help explain the reported link between autism and certain forms of cancer.
The researchers also focused on a pathway involving a family of genes that affects the neurotransmitter glutamate. They explained that glutamate plays a significant role in certain brain functions, such as memory, learning, thinking, attention and behavior. The researchers noted these are all processes that are relevant to autism.
Previous studies have shown that at least 10 percent of patients with ADHD also have changes in this pathway. Scientists have also suggested that these gene defects are linked to schizophrenia.
The study's authors are planning a clinical trial to test a drug that activates this pathway on certain ADHD patients.
"If drugs affecting this pathway prove successful in this subset of patients with ADHD, we may then test these drugs in autism patients with similar gene variants," Hakonarson explained.
The study authors noted that larger studies are needed to investigate the genetics of autism, particularly the brain's glutamate signaling pathway.
"Even though our own study was large, it captures only about 20 percent of genes causing ASDs," said Hakonarson.
SOURCE: Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, news release, June 6, 2014

Friday, April 25, 2014

Triple A!


the state or condition of being awarehaving knowledge;consciousness;being informed; being alerted to

the act of taking or receiving something offered.
favorable reception; approval; favor.
the act of assenting or believing: acceptance of a theory.
the fact or state of being accepted or acceptable.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.  Link To awareness Link To acceptance

Triple A! No, not the emergency roadside service or minor league baseball. April is Autism Awareness month. I'm choosing to call it Autism Acceptance month. After reading the definitions stated above, would you not agree? As you saw in my last post, the new statistics on autism prevalence in the US were published last month by the CDC. This was all over the news!!!! You couldn't avoid reading about it. So, it seems like the general population is pretty "aware": informed, alert, has knowledge. But do we want to world simply to be "aware" of our loved ones with ASD, or do we want our loved ones to find "acceptance": favorable reception, approval, favor, fact of being accepted?

You'd think my Triple A is for the letters underlined in the previous paragraph. However, the triple A I am so excited about is my mission for this April: I will be sharing the stories of some Amazing Autistic Adults! I posted a new one on Facebook each day of the month of April (or at least I hope to do so). For the sake of brevity, I will list each of these triple As with a brief description and a link if you want to lear more about them. ASD is not a death sentence. We need to let the world know that our loved ones CAN be a part of society WHEN they are given a chance, when they are accepted into the world of others! Read about these triple A's and may you feel peace as you read that success in life is not unattainable...


My List of Triple A's: Amazing Autistic Adults-- I meant to make a list of 30, one for each day in April, but just had to keep going! Hope you take the time to read about each one!
(listed in alphabetical order to avoid confusion regarding importance)

1. Alexander "Alex" Plank- autism advocate, filmmaker, photographer and founder of Wrong Planet. Alex is also a consultant to the FX TV show, The Bridge, in which actress Diane Kruger plays Sonya Cross (a police detective who happens to have ASD): http://alexplank.com/

2. Alexis Wineman- Miss Montana 2012 and Miss USA 2012 America's Choice award winner: http://www.cnn.com/2013/01/17/health/wineman-autism/

3. Amber Black- former fitness model, wellness expert, licensed paramedical aesthetician and owner/founder of Avinash Wellness in Houston, TX: http://avinashwellness.com/about/

4. Anthony Ianni- American former college basketball player for Michigan State University and autism advocate: http://statenews.com/article/2013/10/former-msu-basketball-player-starts-autism-anti-bullying-campaign

5. Ari Ne'eman- autism advocate, first openly autistic White House appointee {appointed by US President Obama to the National Council on Disability (NCD), a panel that advises the President and Congress on ways of reforming health care, schools, support services and employment policy to make society more equitable for people with all forms of disability}http://www.wired.com/2010/10/exclusive-ari-neeman-qa/

6. Chris Varney- Australian autism advocate and education specialist, Melbourne TEDx lecturer: http://chrisrvarney.com/

7. Dan Aykroyd- Canadian actor/screenwriter/comedian/singer, best known for his roles in Ghostbusters, Saturday Night Live, The Blues Brothers and Dragnet: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2521032/Dan-Aykroyd-I-Aspergers--symptoms-included-obsessed-ghosts.html

8. Dan Harmon- creator and writer for TV series Community: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Emo-OT3RzQc

9. Daryl Hannah- American actress, best known for her role in the movie Splash (directed by Steven Spielberg and co-starring Tom Hanks): http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20739235,00.html

10. David Byrne- musician, best known for being head and lead singer of the band Talking Heads: http://www.autismkey.com/david-byrne-another-talented-indvidual-with-autism/

11. David Noll- American singer/songwriter from Texas: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/davidnoll/from/greatindiemusic

12. Dawn Prince Hughes- American anthropologist and author: http://www.amazon.com/Songs-Gorilla-Nation-Journey-Through/dp/1400082153

13. Derek Paravicini- British pianist/musical prodigy: http://www.sonustech.com/paravicini/

14. Donna Williams- Australian writer, artist and singer (and comedienne in my opinion!): http://www.donnawilliams.net/about.0.html

15. Grant Manier- American artist best known for his "eco art": http://www.grantsecoart.com/

16. Henriett Seth- Hungarian writer, artist and poet: http://archive.today/BIcps

17. Jack Robinson- American public speaker and co-host of the online show Autism Talk. His father is John Elder Robinson (#17 below). See this amazing video about him and his girlfriend named "Navigating Love and Autism." AMAZING!!! http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/26/us/navigating-love-and-autism.html?pagewanted=all

18. James Durbin- American singer/performer and former American Idol contestant: http://content.usatoday.com/communities/idolchatter/post/2011/03/james-durbin-tale-of-adversity-fuels-me-to-do-better/1#.U03RMyhWIsp

19. Jason McElwain- American basketball player best known for his amazing performance in high school: http://www.cnnsi.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1172585/index.htm. Now also known for running the Boston Marathon in less than 3 hours! Go J-Mac! http://www.huffingtonpost.com/caurie-putnam/boston-marathon-jason-j-mac-mcelwain_b_5188636.html?utm_hp_ref=sports&ir=Sports

20. Jessica Applegate- British Paralympic swimmer and gold medalist. Here are her swimming stats: http://www.swimming.org/britishswimming/para-swimming/womens-world-class-pathway-podium/jessica-jane-applegate/15428/ More on Jessica: http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/disability-sport/21785389

21. John Elder Robinson- American self-taught sound and electrical engineer now owner of the largest independent foreign exotic car restoration companies. He's an author and autism advocate, as well as being the designer and builder of the famous flaming guitars used by the band KISS in the 1970's: http://jerobison.blogspot.com/p/about-john-elder-robison.html

22. Jonathan Young- American business analyst for Goldman and Sachs: http://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/mar/08/autism-career-ladder-workplace

23. Kim Miller- American artist: http://www.thegirlwhospokewithpictures.com/main.html

24. Ladyhawke (Phillipa Margaret Brown)- Award-winning New Zealand musician, artist, singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ladyhawke_(musician)

25. Lance Rice- one of my FAVORITES!!!! American beer historian known internationally for Lance's Brewery Tour. A truly outstanding man with an incredibly loving family: http://lancesbrewerytour.com/project/the-beginning/

26. Larry Wall- American IT expert, writer and developer of Perl computer programming language: http://www.perl.com/pub/2004/08/18/onion.htmlhttp://www.wall.org/~larry/

27. Liane Holliday Willey- American professor, author and equestrian. An incredibly impressive woman: http://www.psychologytoday.com/experts/liane-holliday-willey-edd

28. Lizzy Clark- British actress best known for her role in the TV show Dustpan Babyhttp://www.dontplaymepayme.com/page_10.html

29. Lucy Blackman- Australian author, non-verbal college graduate. Had a hard time finding a comprehensive description to such an amazing woman. You should google her to learn more: http://www.makers.com/blog/14-amazing-women-autism/3

30. Matt Savage- American music prodigy: http://www.bostonconservatory.edu/bio/matt-savage

31. Paddy Considine- British actor, movie writer and director : http://www.digitalspy.com/celebrity/news/a313837/paddy-considine-reveals-aspergers-diagnosis.html#~oC11F0ObSnaUpb

32. Penny Andrews- Library specialist at Leeds Metropolitan University- watch the video: http://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/mar/08/autism-career-ladder-workplace

33. Richard Wawro- (deceased) Scottish artist: http://www.wawro.net/

34. Rio "SoulShocka" Wiles- American artist/rapper: http://soulshocka.com/

35. Satoshi Tajiri- videogame inventor/creator, most famous for crating the Pokemon game and empire: http://kotaku.com/5806664/how-pokemon-was-born-from-bug-collecting-and-aspergers-syndrome

36. Steven Shore- author, autism advocate, professor at Adelphi University, musician- great video: http://www.autismasperger.net/
His faculty bio: http://www.adelphi.edu/faculty/profiles/profile.php?PID=0476

37. Susan Boyle- British award winning singer and Britain's Got Talent alumnus: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/04/09/exclusive-read-susan-boyle-s-essay-on-her-secret-struggle-with-asperger-s.html

38. Temple Grandin- it was hard to pick a link for this one, with SO many good ones out there. I chose her official website. Temple is a leading expert in the field of livestock management, she's an author, professor, lecturer and leading autism advocate: http://www.templegrandin.com/

39. Tim Burton- British screenwriter, movie writer/director/producer is rumored to have Asperger's Syndrome: http://neurodiversity.com/bio_burton.html

40. Trevor Pacelli- American author and autism advocate: http://www.cnn.com/2013/04/02/health/iyw-growing-up-autistic/

41. William Thanh- non-verbal adult employed at PAUL's Bakery in London. This one made me cry!!! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VnPPbAWzUuU

42. Valerie Paradiz- autism education consultant (Ph.D.), international speaker and autism advocate. She's also an autism parent: http://www.autismselfadvocacy.com/

43. 50 Tyson- American rapper: http://espn.go.com/espn/page2/index?id=6395499

YIKES!!! I'm sure there are PLENTY more. Please feel free to leave a comment if you know of another you'd like me to add.