I read a whole lot. Here I intend to post links to articles about
dating, social skills, cognition, autism spectrum disorders, psychology,
or really anything that I think might be relevant and/or interesting to
people like me.
Toddler Brain Difference Linked to Autism
posted by Teach on Tuesday, May 5, 2009 at 10:26 pm
Researchers at the University of North Carolina have just
published a study showing that
the amygdala is, on average, 13 percent larger in toddlers
with autism. The enlarged amygdala is correlated with joint attention
difficulty, a key characteristic of autism.
Changing IQ Scores in Preschool Children with ASD
posted by Teach on Sunday, April 26, 2009 at 7:22 pm
My wife just sent me a link to the following paper, published
in the September 2007 issue of European Child &
Adolescent Psychiatry (Vol. 16 Issue 6, p405-410, 6p).
Unfortunately, the full article isn't available for free,
but if you're interested, I'm sure you can get a copy at your
local library. I think it's safe for me to post the abstract,
so here it is.
Abstract: To investigate cognitive development in preschool-age
children diagnosed with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD; N = 39)
compared with that of children diagnosed with mental retardation
(MR; N = 14) and normally developing children (NC; N = 36). In a
prospective longitudinal study, cognitive development was tested
at age 24 months (T1; SD = 6 months) and 43 months (T2; SD =
5). Group IQ scores were stable between T1 and T2 as evidenced
by high correlations ( r = .81, P < .01) and consistency of
average group scores. At the same time however, about a third of
children with ASD showed an increase of cognitive scores of 15
points or more. This increase of IQ was correlated with lower
scores at the early screening of autistic traits (ESAT) at T1,
higher IQ level at T2 and higher expressive language skills at
T2. Intensity of treatment was not related to IQ increase. High
correlations between cognitive scores in preschool children with
ASD suggest that measurements of cognitive function are valid
at this age. We found indications of both stability and change
of IQ scores. Findings suggest that some children with ASD show
catch-up intellectual development. To the best of our knowledge,
this increase in IQ scores cannot be attributed to treatment
Title: Stability and change of IQ scores in preschool children
diagnosed with autistic spectrum disorder.
Claudine; Swinkels, Sophie H. N.; Buitelaar, Jan K.; Van Daalen,
Emma; Van Engeland, Herman
Alienating Women in the Software Community
posted by Teach on Saturday, April 25, 2009 at 11:52 pm
Audrey Eschright just wrote a post entitled
Fellow Rubyists about sometimes feeling marginalized as one of
only a few females programming in the language Ruby. She writes
"I don't want to have to 'act like a guy' in order to be
here. I am very frustrated that the Ruby and Rails leadership
is male-dominated and does not seem to view the lack of female
participation as a significant threat to the health of the
technology (as well as the community)."
What If Vitamin D Deficiency Is a Cause of Autism?
posted by Teach on Saturday, April 25, 2009 at 12:56 am
Scientific American just published What
If Vitamin D Deficiency Is a Cause of Autism?, which raises
an as-yet-untested idea based on a study of Somali immigrants to
both Stockholm and Minnesota. The incidence of autism spectrum
disorders among the children with a Somali background was three
to four times that of non-Somalis. In summer sun, light-skinned
people produce about 1000 IUs of vitamin D per minute, while
those with darker skin synthesize it more slowly.
Intuitive Equals Familiar
posted by Teach on Friday, April 24, 2009 at 8:23 pm
In the 1994 article
Equals Familiar, the late human-computer interface expert Jef
Raskin argued that "it is clear that a user interface feature is
'intuitive' insofar as it resembles or is identical to something
the user has already learned. In short, 'intuitive' in this
context is an almost exact synonym of 'familiar.'"
In light of my own difficulty picking up on "obvious" social
norms, I find this a fascinating discussion.
The Nonverbal Dictionary
posted by Teach on Monday, April 13, 2009 at 10:51 pm
Since many aspies have trouble reading facial expressions and other
forms of non-verbal communication, I've often recommended
Nonverbal Dictionary to my students.
Note: the original location of this resource is no longer available, so I've linked
to a copy on the Internet Archive. Hopefully this will continue to work until I can
find a more permanent link.
Why Nerds Are Unpopular
posted by Teach on Monday, April 13, 2009 at 10:25 pm
Paul Graham is a programmer, author, venture capitalist and dotcom
millionaire. In high school, however, he was just a nerd.
Why Nerds are Unpopular is a
2003 essay with a nerd's perspective on popularity in American public
A Look Tells All
posted by Teach on Monday, April 13, 2009 at 10:17 pm
A person's face will always reveal his true feelings -- if you are
quick enough to recognize microexpressions.
A Look Tells All,
from the October 2006 issue of Scientific American Mind, explains
the work of psychology professor Paul Ekman, who is also the basis for the
character Cal Lightman of the television series Lie to Me.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time
posted by Teach on Monday, April 13, 2009 at 9:45 pm
Mark Haddon is an excellent author, to be sure. He teaches creative
writing and as a young man worked with autistic individuals.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
is a superb work of fiction written from the point of view of an autistic
teen. More than just an enjoyable read, however, the book also does a good
job letting you see the world from a different perspective. Not only did I
really like this book, I identified quite a bit with the protagonist. Highly