Our understanding of autism is constantly evolving, and May was no exception. From films that are breaking the Hollywood stereotype of autism, to toys designed to help people concentrate, these are some of the biggest news stories and highlights from May.
Autism in the News May Highlights
Fidget Spinners
Early this month, the world was introduced to fidget spinners. These spinning plastic disks became an instant hit among kids of all ages. But, did you know that they were originally designed to help children with ADHD, social anxiety, and autism concentrate? Typically, kids who fidget will tap their pencil, shake their legs, or bite their nails — actions that can distract them and others. While some claim that fidget spinners are toys just like any other, many people are hailing them as a useful tool for people with anxiety or social disorders.


Early Autism Diagnosis
Two years ago, the University of North Carolina studied the brains of infants who were at a high risk for having autism, with the use of an MRI. Recently (once the children turned two years old), researchers discovered that 80 percent of the infants they suspected would have autism were in fact diagnosed with autism. Researchers are hoping that this is the first step in understanding the physical affects of autism on the brain, and will one day allow them to diagnose autism in utero.


Keep the Change
For years, film directors have made movies about people on the autism spectrum. Though movies like Rain Man and I am Sam were considered realistic adaptations about people on the autism spectrum at the time, they all had one thing in common — none of the actors actually had autism. That is what inspired Rachel Israel to create a new kind of film. Israel’s film follows Brandon Polansky, a friend with autism that she met while in art class at Florida Atlantic University. Keep the Change has been praised for its honest and authentic representation of what it’s truly like for people on the autism spectrum to live and find love in New York. Recently, the film won numerous awards at the Tribeca Film Festival.


Spectrum Strategies is focused on training children and young adults on the Autism Spectrum to accomplish life and career goals, no matter how big or small. Founder of Spectrum Strategies and professional coach Debra Solomon believes that through determination and commitment, every client has the ability to succeed given the proper tools and techniques.