Mall Offers Sensory-Friendly Shopping for Autistic Children

One in 68 children are thought to have autism spectrum disorder, according to the Centers for Disease Control. The disorder varies widely in severity. But one common trait is the tendency to get overstimulated by noise, lights, and other trappings of modern life. A recent effort tried to bring down the sensory stimulation — just in time for back-to-school shopping.

Novel Highlights Autism

Autism affects an estimated one out of 250 children in the United States. That’s a ten-fold increase from just 20 years ago. Autistic children are limited in their social and communication skills — they may appear disconnected from their environment, or find their environment overly stimulating. Now, there’s a new mystery novel out by Amherst author Cammie McGovern. Eye Contact centers around a murder witnessed by a 10-year-old autistic boy. In real life, McGovern has a son with autism. WFCR’s Karen Brown has the story.

Seeking Breakthroughs in Autism Research

Researchers at the University of Massachusetts are conducting a study to determine how children with autism learn speech and language. Autism is a development disorder characterized by cognitive and social impairment. In the wide autism spectrum, some children can talk, others can’t — or at least, not meaningfully. The new study will give autistic children a battery of tests in language acquisition. Lead researcher Shelley Velleman, of the UMass School of Public Health says improving speech might help improve the prognosis for autistic children.