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iBASIS autism video-based therapy babies research

Video-based therapy shown to be effective in babies at risk of autism

A study published today and funded by Autistica has used video-based therapy for families with babies at risk of autism and shown improvements in infants’ engagement, attention and social behaviour.

Previous research has found that the earliest indicators of autism such as a lack of attention to a parent, reduced social interest or engagement, and decreased eye contact, may be present as early as a child’s first year of life, but until now no treatment trials have assessed the possibility of providing support for these early differences with the aim of improving the longer term development of the child.

Method & aims
In this study, a specially adapted Video Interaction for Promoting Positive Parenting Programme (iBASIS-VIPP) was delivered over 5 months to infants aged 7 to 10 months, who had a higher chance of developing autism because they had an older sibling diagnosed with the condition. The aim of the programme was to reduce the full onset of symptoms prior to diagnosis, by optimising the babies’ social and communication skills during the first year of their life.

Outcomes
After 5 months of the intervention, families who received video therapy showed improvements in infant engagement, attention and social behaviour. For example, in the group that received the intervention there was a reduction in behaviours associated with an autism diagnosis, which was not seen in the group who received no intervention. There were also changes in parents’ behaviour, such as being less directive in their interactions whilst increasing their infants’ attentiveness. The results were not universally clear, however, and there was a possibility of nil or negative effects on language and communications skills, which obviously needs further research.

Simon Wallace, Research Director at Autistica says, “This project is an important step towards gaining a better understanding of how interventions for the very early signs of autism in “at-risk” groups can be used to support the development of social and communication skills. Autistica is responding to people with autism and parents who believe that early intervention is key. It is important that research continues on a larger scale to test approaches like iBASIS-VIPP in partnership with families, before they are delivered in clinics and homes.”

For a summary of the findings, read Autistica’s press release here: iBASIS video based therapy for autism

The full article published in the Lancet Psychiatry journal can be seen here: http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanpsy/article/PIIS2215-0366(14)00091-1/abstract

BASIS research with baby 10 Scientific Highlights Autistica Autism Research 2014

Autistica’s Scientific Highlights

Autistica Research Strategy 2015-2020 front cover2014 has been an incredible year for Autistica. Not only did it mark our 10th birthday, but in June we launched our Ageing with Autism Programme at Newcastle University and just last month we published our new Research Strategy 2015-2020.

Looking back at autism research over the past ten years since our founding, there have been significant advances in our understanding of autism and Autistica has been at the heart of funding projects, young scientists and the UK research infrastructure. In total we have funded in excess of £4m in autism research projects and initiatives which have led to important findings being published and leveraged greater investments from large institutional funders. Research takes time for findings to reach individuals with autism, families and professionals, but as we move into the next phase of our Research Strategy, Autistica will also promote and fund more applied research and deliver information and resources which will help individuals and families now.

We have pinpointed ten highlights achieved by our researchers over the past ten years and would like to say a huge thank you to all of the researchers and supporters who have made these projects such a success.

  1. In 2006 we funded Professor Anthony Monaco at the University of Oxford who was an investigator on the Autism Genome Project. This is one of the largest international efforts to understand small differences in the genetic architecture that underlie some cases of autism.
  2. In 2008, with partners, we funded the Welsh Autism Research Centre at the University of Cardiff. Professor Sue Leekam is the head of the centre, which is increasing research capacity in Wales, as well as engaging individuals, families and professionals in research and sharing findings.
  3. In 2009 we funded the Brain Bank for Autism at the University of Oxford. This initiative was established to store the brains of individuals with autism who have died and then carefully distribute sections of them for use in research. The Brain Bank has now formed a partnership with a larger bank in the US so that this precious resource can grow and inform our understanding of autism.
  4. Also in 2009, Autistica funded Professor Declan Murphy at Kings College, London to investigate how genetic differences may affect the brain chemistry of people with autism. They identified important differences in brain chemicals like GABA that helped them lead a European-wide autism research grant for almost £30m.
  5. In 2010 we announced the funding of four research projects that came out of our first competitive call for proposals. By holding this open competition for the research community we also successfully applied for membership of the Association of Medical Research Charities, a kite mark of excellence in research funding.
  6. In 2011 we funded with partners a research study of one of the earliest interventions for autism in the world called iBASIS, led by Professor Jonathan Green at Manchester University. This project assessed the impact of professional guidance given to parents in the way they communicated with their infant child at risk for developing autism. The project team published initial positive findings in 2013 and we will hear the full findings in early 2015.
  7. In 2012 the British Autism Study of Infant Siblings (BASIS) research funded by Autistica and led by Professor Mark Johnson, was published.  The team identified differences at 10 months of age in the brains of infants who go on to have an autism diagnosis when they look at faces. These important markers of difference may help with earlier identification of autism and better diagnosis. The findings were featured on the BBC News as well as other mainstream media. 
  8.  In 2013, Autistica published our One in a Hundred Report based on the findings from a consultation with individuals on the autism spectrum and parents. We consulted on experiences with the health service as well as priorities for research and this formed the core of our future research strategy. We were delighted that our publication was shortlisted as ‘Best Print Publication’ at the Association of Medical Research Charities Communication Awards.
  9. In 2013 we saw the thousandth family recruited to the Autism Spectrum Database-UK project led by Dr Jeremy Parr at Newcastle University. We funded this project to make it easier for individuals and families to be recruited into research and for them to hear about research findings.
  10. This year we launched our programmes of research in adults and ageing at Newcastle University and of mental health at Kings College, London. These will form two key themes in our Research Strategy 2015-2020, which will also include researching interventions to be delivered in the period after diagnosis.

AMRC Autistica Scientific Highlights UK Brain Bank for Autism Autistica Scientific HighlightsASD-UK Autistica Scientific Highlights

Wales Autism Research Centre Autistica Scientific Highlights

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amman's Christmas Letter Give a Gift Autistica

Amman’s Christmas Letter

Amman and her brother Arvind after the raceThe Autistica team want to say a huge thank you to one of our incredible supporters, Amman, who ran the British 10k this year and raised an amazing £1,700. In the run up to Christmas, Amman discusses her personal connection with autism and why she feels it is so important to support autism research.

Dear Friend of Autistica,

I am writing to ask for your support.

I first came into contact with Autistica because my brother Arvind was diagnosed with autism in 2009. At the time I had no idea what autism was and quite frankly most people I speak to remain unaware of what it really is. I am aware of how challenging it is to live with someone who has autism and how it can affect your life.

We are very lucky that my brother Arvind was diagnosed at such a young age as it enabled us to get as much help for him as possible. It allowed us to assist his development by getting him all the additional support he needs.

Ever since I have discovered what autism is and how it affects each person so differently, I have become determined to do everything I can to help and support others who face similar challenges. It is for this reason that I actively sought out Autistica and decided to do everything I could to raise funds particularly to help improve early diagnosis and intervention, as I believe that the earlier autism is diagnosed, the more we can do to help. I also want to raise awareness to increase our understanding. I can honestly say that from my perspective Autistica is the leading charity that will make the most difference for people and families living with autism, because of their focus on research and understanding. So in July this year, I ran in the British 10K to raise money for Autistica’s important work and help make a difference.

The festive season is a time for generosity and for thinking about others. For this reason I am asking you, in the run up to Christmas, to support Autistica. Autistica is a really wonderful charity that I am very passionate about. They are unique in that they fund world-class medical research which offers real hope for families like mine. They fund research to understand the causes of autism, improve diagnosis, and develop new interventions. Autistica is the UK’s leading autism medical research charity, so I can assure you that your donations will be well invested. They are particularly focussed on research into early interventions, mental health, and ageing with autism crossing the lifespan of the condition. My brother will always have autism and he will need support throughout his life.

Autistica want what I want and what I imagine so many other families want: to ensure that the key difficulties that families are faced with every day are addressed and people with autism have the best in life from childhood through to old age.

Please give whatever you can this Christmas to this wonderful charity. You can donate really easily by clicking here.

I hope you all have a Happy Christmas and New Year.

Amman

Autistica welcomes our new Communications Manager!

Rebecca Sterry Autistica Communications Manager 2014The Autistica team are delighted to introduce our new Communications Manager, Rebecca Sterry. Rebecca joins us from the National Migraine Centre, where she worked for four years, most recently as their Communications and Operations Manager. Prior to this, Rebecca was at a direct marketing company after completing a degree in English Language and Literature where she undertook units on media relations and the language of marketing. She also volunteers for a charity local to her – The Hackney Pirates, supporting young people with after-school literacy support.

Rebecca has a passion for communication on all levels and loves to travel widely, learn new languages and experience different cultures, mostly through her love of food, music, and design.

Rebecca joins Autistica at an exciting time, having just launched our new Research Strategy for 2015-2020. She says:

“The charity has an ambitious 5 year plan in which reaching out to new audiences is key to it’s success. I am looking forward to building these links to raise awareness and funding for valuable autism research and to meeting our loyal existing supporters along the way. It is a privilege to join the organisation in this new role at such a significant time in their development.”

Autistica's 10th Birthday Fundraising Event Superstar Supporters

10th Birthday Superstar Supporters – balloon dog

balloon dog superstar supporter Autistica pro-bonoIt’s Autistica’s 10th Birthday this year and we want to use this as an opportunity to look back and thank our amazing supporters! You have helped us enormously in reaching this milestone; it would have been impossible without you. In the run up to Christmas, we are featuring some superstar individuals, companies and groups who have supported Autistica in a variety of ways. You have enabled us to fund vital research into autism, which will benefit individuals and families living with the condition for generations to come. We are hugely grateful to you all – thank you!

balloon dog balloon dog is a marketing agency that has supported Autistica pro bono for the last two years. The team have provided their expertise and time to rebrand the charity and redesign all of our marketing and information materials. All members of the balloon dog team are so enthusiastic about working on our projects and are key to our success. The latest design they have completed for us is our Research Strategy which you can read here. Three of their staff, Nathan, Kayleigh and Sophie also supported Autistica by running the British London 10k race in 2013, which we are hugely grateful for. balloon dog’s incredible support has enabled us to achieve so much and we cannot thank the team enough!

If you would like to get involved in raising funds for Autistica through your company, please click on the following link corporate support. For other ways to get involved check the following links challenge eventsOne in a Hundred Club or to make a general donation. If you’d prefer to contact one of the team, you can reach us on 05601 183 601. Thank you.

Autistica's 10th Birthday Fundraising Event Superstar Supporters

10th Birthday Superstar Supporters – Alex’s Sky Dive

Alex Hardy Sky Dive Challenge Events Autistica Superstar SupporterIt’s Autistica’s 10th Birthday this year and we want to use this as an opportunity to look back and thank our amazing supporters! You have helped us enormously in reaching this milestone; it would have been impossible without you. In the run up to Christmas, we will be featuring some superstar individuals, companies and groups who have supported Autistica in a variety of ways. You have enabled us to fund vital research into autism, which will benefit individuals and families living with the condition for generations to come. We are hugely grateful to you all – thank you!

Alex’s Sky Dive
In May 2014, Alex fearlessly took on the Tandem Sky Dive Challenge. He fundraised beforehand and managed to raise over £2,000; an incredible amount! Here, Alex explains the event in his own words:

“A gorgeous Summer day, up at 4.30 with a strangely enthusiastic 16 yr old daughter and off down the M3 to an airstrip in Wiltshire. Instructors milling, mumbling of wind speed; induction, dozens of unblinking novice eyes barely masking sober panic….. And the first plane up. Two miles high, side panel door bangs open. Big unfriendly air. First pair move forward, legs curl around the outer fuselage, and then gone as if yanked by a rope. Now me. Tumbling windrush, blasting through nostrils, a noise you would only ever hear in a disastrous situation; then somehow spread eagled. Ecstatic, phenomenal, supersensual…… And then bang, a horrible arrest and queasy, over slow descent, far too much time to think about consequences, and desultory banter with the other guy. I’d do it again. In a while.

Alex Hardy Superstar Supporter Sky Dive AutisticaI have a gorgeous 8 year old boy who is severely autistic, and I want to know much more. Autistica is dedicated to raising money for the kind of research which can make a genuine difference to the lives of autistic people. Can’t think of a better cause.”

We want to thank Alex for his bravery and dedication in raising invaluable funds for autism research. It is because of supporters like Alex that Autistica is able to achieve so much for families living with autism.

If you would like to get involved in raising funds for Autistica in a challenge event, please click on the following link challenge events. For other ways to get involved check the following links corporate support,  One in a Hundred Club or to make a general donation. If you’d prefer to contact one of the team, you can reach us on 05601 183 601. Thank you.

 

2014 DMA Breakthrough Award Autistica

Autistica inspire the brief for the Direct Marketing Association Breakthrough Award, powered by GRT

Photo (front left-right): Stephen (GRT), Kerry (Bucks Ad School), Freya (Bucks Ad School), Roj (GRT)
Photo (back left-right): Loanne (Bucks Ad School), Charlotte (Autistica), Grace (Bucks Ad School), Julie (Bucks Ad School), Gina (Bucks Ad School), Megan (Bucks Ad School)

Autistica were delighted to be chosen as the brief for students from Buckinghamshire New University’s Advertising School competing for the 2014 DMA Breakthrough Award. This Award is powered by the Graham Robertson Trust, who partner with a different school each year to seek out fresh, creative talent and act as a launching pad for creative careers.

DMA Breakthrough Award 2014 Freya and Gina WinnersFourteen teams of students designed campaigns intended to increase awareness and funding for Autistica. Our very own Charlotte Bignell of the Autistica team sat on the judging panel, acting as the client, along with Stephen and Roj, two of the GRT Trustees and Ewen and George, who previously won the Award and now work in the marketing industry. The work was of an exceptionally high standard, and after much discussion, the final three teams were chosen. Congratulations to Freya & Gina, Loanne & Grace and Megan & Kerry for being shortlisted. Acting as the client, it was important for us to see exciting, original ideas but which also had the right sensitivity towards autism, which all three pieces of work did.

Autistica were invited to attend the DMA Awards last week to see the winners announced. It was a brilliant evening and the Autistica team were so thrilled to meet the students behind the fantastic marketing campaigns. Huge congratulations to Freya & Gina who won the Breakthrough Award!

We are so grateful to have been chosen as the brief for this Award. This has been an amazing opportunity for Autistica; we have met some incredibly talented individuals in the marketing industry who we very much look forward to staying in contact with. Thank you to GRT and DMA for making this possible.

Autistica's 10th Birthday Fundraising Event Superstar Supporters

10th Birthday Superstar Supporters – Community Concert

It’s Autistica’s 10th Birthday this year and we want to use this as an opportunity to look back and thank our amazing supporters! You have helped us enormously in reaching this milestone; it would have been impossible without you. From now until Christmas, we will be featuring some superstar individuals, companies and groups who have supported Autistica in a variety of ways. You have enabled us to fund vital research into autism, which will benefit individuals and families living with the condition for generations to come. We are hugely grateful to you all – thank you!

Community Concert
David kindly nominated Autistica to benefit from a charity collection at the Harrison Sisters’ Players concert in September 2014. David heard about Autistica after attending a talk by our Founder, Dame Stephanie Shirley at the Cambridge Society in Sevenoaks. David runs the recital group, the Harrison Sisters’ Players. At their performances, they always collect funds for charities and we greatly appreciate their support in choosing us.

The performance was held at Underriver House, a beautiful place just south of Knole Park in Sevenoaks. £700.00 was raised for Autistica and a wonderful evening was had by all.

If you would like to get involved in raising funds for Autistica, please click on the following links for  corporate support, challenge eventsOne in a Hundred Club or to make a general donation. If you’d prefer to contact one of the team, you can reach us on 05601 183 601. Thank you.

 

Autistica's 10th Birthday Fundraising Event Superstar Supporters

10th Birthday Superstar Supporters – Imberhorne School

Imberhorne School Superstar School Supporter Autistica FundraisingIt’s Autistica’s 10th Birthday this year and we want to use this as an opportunity to look back and thank our amazing supporters! You have helped us enormously in reaching this milestone; it would have been impossible without you. From now until Christmas, we will be featuring some superstar individuals, companies and groups who have supported Autistica in a variety of ways. You have enabled us to fund vital research into autism, which will benefit individuals and families living with the condition for generations to come. We are hugely grateful to you all – thank you!

Imberhorne School
The Sixth Form students from Imberhorne School in West Sussex very kindly nominated Autistica to benefit from one of their non-uniform days in 2013. All students were invited to dress in their casual clothes for a voluntary donation of £2. In the end, they raised over £2,200 which is an amazing amount for just one day! The school’s community and charity support is phenomenal, with fundraising being a regular occurrence. Raising funds is extremely important but raising awareness about autism in schools is also hugely beneficial, so we are incredibly grateful!

We want to say thank you so much to the students at Imberhorne School for their generous fundraising and support!

If you would like to get involved in raising funds for Autistica, please click on the following links for  corporate support, challenge eventsOne in a Hundred Club or to make a general donation. If you’d prefer to contact one of the team, you can reach us on 05601 183 601. Thank you.

 

Autistica's 10th Birthday Fundraising Event Superstar Supporters

10th Birthday Superstar Supporters – Argus Media

Argus Media Autistica Longest Standing Corporate SupporterIt’s Autistica’s 10th Birthday this year and we want to use this as an opportunity to look back and thank our amazing supporters! You have helped us enormously in reaching this milestone; it would have been impossible without you. From now until Christmas, we will be featuring some superstar individuals, companies and groups who have supported Autistica in a variety of ways. You have enabled us to fund vital research into autism, which will benefit individuals and families living with the condition for generations to come. We are hugely grateful to you all – thank you!

Our longest standing corporate supporter
Argus Media staff members have selected Autistica as one of their annual charities each year since 2007. Argus is Autistica’s longest standing corporate supporter and their commitment and funding has been instrumental in our development and growth over the last seven years.

Christine Swabey, Chief Executive of Autistica says: “We hope every single member of staff at Argus knows how amazing it is that we are chosen each year. Your loyal support enables us to plan for the future and invest in cutting edge autism research.”

Adrian Binks, Chairman and Chief Executive of Argus Media says: “This partnership means a great deal to the staff at Argus. We love working with Autistica and think very highly of the team and the important work they do.”

If you would like to get involved in raising funds for Autistica through your company, please click on the following link corporate support. For other ways to get involved check the following links challenge eventsOne in a Hundred Club or to make a general donation. If you’d prefer to contact one of the team, you can reach us on 05601 183 601. Thank you.