According to a report released by the journal Nature, the first signs of autism may be visible as early as the first month of a child's life.  Researchers focused on babies’ ability to make eye contact with caregivers, since lack of eye contact is one of the hallmarks of autism. Among typical children, interest in the eyes increased steadily with age. But for children with autism, interest in the eyes waned starting between 2 and 6 months of age


Researchers followed 110 children from infancy to three years of age. Half of those children were at a high risk of developing autism (because they had siblings with the condition) while the other half weren't. Using eye-tracking technology, the team routinely evaluated how often the babies looked into the eyes of a caretaker on video, and how long they held the gaze. When the children were three, and underwent autism screenings, researchers found that those whose eye engagement lagged during infancy were more likely to be diagnosed with the condition.


Though the study was small, the same team is now conducting more research on a larger group of children. They also caution that the sorts of ultra-subtle eye moments tracked in this research can't yet be replicated at home and without equipment. But if these findings are further validated, they could point towards earlier diagnosis and maybe even more effective interventions for at least certain infants.

More than 50,000 runners took to the streets for the 43rd annual New York City Marathon including identical twins Alex and Jamie Schneider.  Alex and Jamie are both autistic, but found a joy for running. 


Both boys have to run with the assistance of a guide and have run about 130 races, from 5Ks to marathons.


“I'll explain to people, there's not a lot I can share with him, but when we're running, it's an unspoken language," Allan Schneider said of running with his son. "It's been wonderful."


The twins are running for the Association for Science in Autism Treatment to raise money and awareness for the non-profit dedicated to the education and care of people with autism.


Watch the inspiring story from abc news.

A recent article in The Washington Times pointed out that Autism rates in British children appear to have plateaued while U.S. data shows that the disorder is still rising in this country. 


The authors of the new study in BMJ Open, an “open-access” medical journal put out by an arm of the British Medical Association, said that it was possible that increased public awareness and expanded diagnoses for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) led to increased diagnoses in the 1990s that are now leveling off.

Data showed that while the British autism rate rose significantly in the 1990s, it “reached a plateau shortly after 2000 and has remained steady through 2010,” the researchers wrote.  The U.S. autism prevalence rate rose 78 percent between 2004 and 2008, the CDC said, even as British rates apparently remained flat.

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Pictured (L-R) is DDI Executive Director John Lessard alongside Grand Marshals Nathan Holmes, Morgan Zajkowski, Liam Kenny, Michael Sardone and John Kenny.


DDI hosted its “Walk, Run & Ride for Autism,” on September 29th at the Holtsville Ecology Center. DDI raised over $47,000 to help fund the vital programs and services DDI provides to over 5,000 families served by their educational and residential programs, adult day training and medical services.


“This event is all about coming together as a community and helping those who cannot help themselves,” said Co-Chairman of the event Brian Brunjes.  “This year we not only met our financial goal, but we exceeded it.  It is inspiring to see the generosity of a community come together and lend themselves to help benefit thousands of families who need services for their loved ones.”


Hundreds of Long Islanders came out for the fun filled day.  The day kicked off with the Matthew Stansky Memorial Run followed by a scenic 5K Walk through Suffolk County’s Holtsville Ecology Park that featured activities for the entire family along the way. For the second year in a row, the event included a Motorcycle and classic car run sponsored by Hansen Home Designs.The day was capped off with a festival in the park complete with picnic lunch, music, games, a petting zoo and more.


This years event Grand Marshals are six recent St. John’s University graduates who spent one week walking 128-miles in the blistering heat this past May from the Brooklyn Bridge to the Montauk Lighthouse in order to benefit DDI.  Raising over $22,000, Nathan Holmes, John Kenny, Morgan Zajkowski, Michael Cunniff, Liam Kenny and Michael Sardone have proved to be worthy honorees. 


“We would not be able to help the over 5,000 families that DDI services if it wasn’t for our tremendous sponsors,” commented Co-Chairman Charley Hudson. “While the list of supporters is long, there are a few people whose efforts cannot go unmentioned including our Grand Marshals. These are six amazing and talented young individuals who deserve to be applauded.”


This years sponsors include The Matt Stansky Memorial Fund; A Friend of DDI; Hansen Home Designs; Tobay Printing; Gallagher Benefit Services; Amagansett Super Saver; Vested Business Brokers; DGM Construction Management; the Kiridly family, Lawrence Worden, Rainis & Bard, P.C.; Apple & Eve LLC; the Crane family; Driscoll Foods; the Prestia family; Yorkshire Foods; Ginny and Bill Kacin; Shore Pharmaceutical; Coca-Cola Refreshments of Hauppauge; Bozzuto’s; Creekstone Farms Premium Angus Beef; Florence Building Supply; Kravet Inc.; Rich Dodge Photography; Magic Vinnie; Family Melody; Panera Bread of Hicksville; Got DJ; S&D Distributors; Broadway Dairy; On the Border Mexican Grill & Cantina; Christ Church-Georgetown; the Escaldi family; National Waste Services; Kaufman Enterprises – McDonalds; John Willis Inc.; the Spiegel family; the Brunjes family; and the Hudson family.

DDI, the leading service provider for children and adults with Autism on Long Island, Starting Early Program will be hosting yoga for preschoolers.  The “hands-on” interactive workshop will be full of resources
and activities specifically designed for the preschool population.  The conference will be held on Tuesday, November 5th from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at DDI’s Starting Early Preschool located at 25 Little Plains Road in Huntington.


“Numerous studies have documented the significant positive effects in children’s physical, educational and behavioral growth through the practice of yoga and mindfulness,” commented DDI’s Director of Starting Early Linda Whitaker, Ed.D.  “Professionals working with children are noticing the overwhelming increase in stress, attention, behavioral, and sensory related disorders affecting the development of our students. Yoga and mindfulness provide creative and potentially effective methods to address these needs.”


The course is designed for anyone who works with preschool aged children (no yoga experience necessary). It is focused on empowering teachers, therapists, or caregivers to identify their role as an agent of change, balance, and support for their students. Participants will learn effective, creative, and easy-to-use tools to immediately implement into the classroom, home or therapy.


The workshop will be conducted by Allison Morgan, MA, OTR, who has been working with children of all abilities for over 2 decades in hospital, school and home settings.   Allison is the founder of Zensational Kids, LLC, a NY/NJ based company integrating yoga into therapeutic services to address student goals and incorporating yoga into preK-8 classrooms.  In addition, Allison is a consultant to the International Association for School Yoga and Mind- fulness. She is a facilitator for the Radiant Child Yoga Teacher Training Program training directly with its founder, Shakta Kaur. Allison teaches throughout the country and internationally on various yoga, mindful- ness, and therapy topics.


For further information or to register online visit  Registration will be $120 for all participants.  Participants should dress comfortably and bring a towel or yoga mat for lab sections of the course.