Autism Awareness Month CEU Special

Autism Awareness MonthApril is Autism Awareness Month, and today (April 2nd) is the 6th annual World Autism Awareness Day. Every April we feature our CE courses that focus on autism with the goal of contributing to autism awareness among health professionals. This year we are offering 25% off all of our autism-related CEU courses for the entire month:

Families who have a child with autism may face new challenges this year when the long-awaited revised version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM5) is published. It is scheduled for release in May 2013. Published by the American Psychiatric Association, the DSM is considered the “bible” of psychiatry because it establishes the criteria mental health professionals use to diagnose their patients. According to Clinical Psychiatry News (Feb. 6, 2013), the new autism requirements in the DSM5 will be more restrictive than those found in the current DSM-IV.
The intent is to make the diagnosis of autism more precise, but one of the real-life consequences will be that many individuals who are currently diagnosed with the condition may no longer qualify under the new criteria. An article published in CNN Health (Dec. 3, 2012) cited research predicting that at least 5% to 10% of patients will no longer meet the criteria for autism.
Other predictions are for much higher numbers. One article, published in the journal Developmental Neurorehabilitation in June 2012, found that over 47% fewer toddlers would be diagnosed under the DSM5 autism criteria than under the current DSM-IV criteria. Whether or not such projections prove to be accurate, there is widespread concern among parents and advocacy groups that individuals who are currently diagnosed and under treatment may lose their benefits.
While it may take several years for these diagnostic shifts to sort themselves out, it is important in the meantime for professionals who work with autistic individuals to monitor the situation closely. We plan to publish new courses as the DSM5 diagnostic criteria are phased in and new research becomes available.

Professional Development Resources is approved by the American Psychological Association (APA); by the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC #5590); by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB #1046); by the National Association of Alcoholism & Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADAC #000279); by the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA #3159); by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA #AAUM); by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR#PR001); and by various state licensing boards. Click here to view all accreditation’s.

Autism and Air Pollution: The Link Grows Stronger


Autism and Air Pollution: The Link Grows StrongerChildren with autism are two to three times more likely than other children to have been exposed to car exhaust, smog, and other air pollutants during their earliest days, according to a new study.

That new research adds to a mounting body of evidence that shows a link between early-life exposure to pollution and autism spectrum disorders.

For the new study, published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, researchers in California analyzed some 500 children living in that state: roughly half had autism and half did not. The kids’ mothers gave an address for each and every home in which they had lived during pregnancy and the child’s first year of life. Researchers took that information — along with data on traffic volume, vehicle emissions, wind patterns, and regional estimates of pollutants like particulate matter, nitrogen oxide, and ozone — to estimate each child’s likely pollution exposure. According to the study, children in the top 25% of pollution exposure (using one of two different pollution scales) were far more likely to be diagnosed with autism than kids in the bottom 25% of the pollution scale.

The researchers stress, however, that their study does not definitively prove that pollution is the root cause of autism.

“We’re not saying that air pollution causes autism. We’re saying it may be a risk factor for autism,” says Heather Volk, lead author on the new study and an assistant professor of preventive medicine at the University of Southern California. “Autism is a complex disorder and it’s likely there are many factors contributing,” she says.

Read more:

Professional Development Resources is approved as a provider of continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB #1046); the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC #5590); the American Psychological Association (APA); the National Association of Alcoholism & Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADAC #000279); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR #PR001); the Continuing Education Board of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA #AAUM); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA #3159); and various state licensing boards.

The following continuing education courses on autism were designed for the educational advancement of healthcare professionals:

Biomarker for Autism May Be On the Horizon

By Rick Nauert, PhD

Biomarker for Autism May Be On the HorizonCurrently, physicians and medical scientists diagnose a child as possessing an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) by observing behavior patterns over the child’s first three years of life.

New research from a Swedish University suggests advanced mass spectrometry can provide a rapid, inexpensive diagnostic method for ASD.

Investigators from Uppsala University have published their study, suggesting particular protein patterns or biomarkers can be used to detect ASD, in the journal Nature Translational Psychiatry.

These would be the first acknowledged biomarkers for autism.

Many diseases are caused by protein alterations inside and outside the body’s cells. By studying protein patterns in tissue and body fluids, these alterations can be mapped to provide important information about underlying causes of disease.

Sometimes protein patterns can also be used as biomarkers to enable diagnosis or as a prognosticating tool to monitor the development of a disease. In the current study, disruptions of the nervous system were in focus when the scientists studied protein patterns in autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Researchers performed a detailed protein analysis of blood plasma from children with ASD compared with a control group. Using advanced mass spectrometric methods, they succeeded in identifying peptides consisting of fragments of a protein whose natural function is in the immune system, the complement factor C3 protein.

The study is based on blood samples from a relatively limited group of children, but the results indicate the potential of the methodological strategy, said researcher Jonas Bergquist, Ph.D. There is already a known connection between this protein and ASD, which further reinforces the findings, he said.

The hope is that this new set of biomarkers ultimately will lead to a reliable blood-based diagnostic tool.


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Encouraging Eye Contact May Disturb Autistic Kids’ Thinking

Encouraging Eye Contact May Disturb Autistic Kids' ThinkingChildren with autism look away from faces when thinking, especially about a challenging problem — just as people without the condition do, according to a recent study.

Avoiding eye contact is a common behavior of people with autism, and children with the condition are sometimes trained and encouraged to meet other’s gazes.

But the new findings show that looking away sometimes serves a purpose, and encouraging eye contact can interfere with a child’s thoughts.

“Although social skills training is important in encouraging eye contact with children with autism,” the new study shows that gaze aversion is helpful in concentrating on difficult tasks, said study researcher Gwyneth Doherty-Sneddon, an associate dean at Northumbria University in England.

“When teachers or parents ask a child a difficult question, and they look away, our advice would be to wait to allow them to process the information, and focus on finding a suitable response,” Doherty-Sneddon said.

The findings are published in the April issue of the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, and were first posted online in Oct. 26.

The study included 20 children with autism and 18 with William’s Syndrome, a rare, genetic condition that typically causes learning disabilities and a distinct, highly social, overly friendly personality. The researchers asked the children carry out mental arithmetic tests.

They found that both groups of children engaged in gaze aversion while thinking, and increased their gaze aversion as question difficulty increased.

The study showed that autistic children follow the same patterns as other children when processing complex information or difficult tasks, the researchers said. Children without autism and adults look away when asked difficult questions, and gaze aversion has been proven in the past to improve the accuracy of responses.

When trying to retrieve information from memory, or solve a complex problem, looking at someone’s face can interfere with the way the brain processes information relative to the task. This is, in part, because faces are such rich sources of information that capture our attention, according to the study.

Pass it on: Children with autism who look away might, in some cases, be thinking hard or trying to solve a problem.


Related Online Continuing Education Courses:

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20% Off Nutritious CE in Celebration of National Nutrition Month

National Nutrition Month CE PromoProfessional Development Resources is proud to join the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics during March in celebrating National Nutrition Month®. This year’s National Nutrition Month theme is “Get Your Plate in Shape” and encourages consumers to remember to include a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and dairy on their plates every day.

Professional Development Resources is offering 20% off all nutrition-related continuing education courses in celebration of National Nutrition Month. To apply the discount, enter coupon code NNM2012 during checkout at Coupon expires 3/31/2012.

Nutrition-Related Online CE Courses:

Professional Development Resourcesis recognized as a provider of continuing education by the following:
* AOTA: American Occupational Therapy Association (#3159)
APA: American Psychological Association
* ASHA: American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (AAUM)
ASWB: Association of Social Work Boards (#1046)
CDR: Commission on Dietetic Registration (#PR001)
NBCC: National Board for Certified Counselors (#5590)
NAADAC: National Association of Alcohol & Drug Abuse Counselors (#00279)
California: Board of Behavioral Sciences (#PCE1625)
Florida: Boards of SW, MFT & MHC (#BAP346); Psychology & School Psychology (#50-1635); Dietetics & Nutrition (#50-1635); Occupational Therapy Practice (#34). PDResources is CE Broker compliant.
Illinois: DPR for Social Work (#159-00531)
* Ohio: Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board (#RCST100501)
South Carolina: Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs (#193)
Texas: Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists (#114) and Board of Social Worker Examiners (#5678)
* Check specific course accreditation statement for approval.


Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs) are required to earn continuing education units (CEUs) to maintain their state licensure, and for their certification with ASHA.

Professional Development Resources is approved by the Continuing Education Board of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) to provide continuing education activities in speech-language pathology and audiology.

The following ONLINE COURSES are ON SALE until October 15, 2010:

The following MAIL ORDER COURSES are ON SALE until October 15, 2010: