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Issue No. 11
December 2015
Autism Dispatch
A Publication of the Center for Autism Research

As we wind down a busy Fall  here at CAR and head into the holiday season, we want to pause to thank you for your support this year. By participating in research, attending our events and workshops, donations to CAR, and sharing our work with friends and colleagues, you have helped to make it an exciting year!

For our last Dispatch of 2015, we've gathered the latest CAR news & research (psst... Huddle Up is back!) to keep you up-to-date into the New Year.

We wish you and your family a warm and happy holiday season!  
The Attention-Social Skills Link in Autism Spectrum Disorders
Difficulty interpreting social information is one of the defining characteristics of autism spectrum d isorders (ASD), but we have a lot still to understand about the root causes of these social differences.
In this issue of Dispatch, we take a deeper dive into a group of CAR studies that are beginning to unlock some answers as to how social attention develops in autism. 
New Research Finds Attention and Gaze Hold Clues to Social Development in Autism
CAR psychologist Benjamin Yerys, PhD , studies attention, impulsivity, and distractibility in ASD, as well
as in ADHD and anxiety. A pair of his studies contribute to our understanding of how children with ASD prioritize and respond to social information in their environment.     
"Why on Earth Would I Do That?": The Social Motivation Theory of ASD

In the last few years, the Social Motivation Theory  of autism has gained broad acceptance. It indicates that  individuals with ASD might be able to engage with social cues, but are less motivated to do so than their neurotypical peers. This framework provides important clues into developing novel treatments that target reward pathways- rather than focusing on teaching social skills.

CAR Founding Faculty Member Elected to American Academy of Arts & Sciences

Dr. Ted Abel is Director of the Biological Basis of Behavior Program at the University of Pennsylvania and a founding member of CAR. He was named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science ( AAAS ) this month for his work using mouse models to study genetics and the biological basis of behavior in ASD and other psychiatric disorders.

A TV Star with Philly Roots Drops By CAR ...with Some Generous Gifts!

Holly Robinson Peete returned to her hometown and paid us a visit to make a very generous donation of Puzzlepiece tablets, "My Brother Charlie" books, and toys for our Center! Holly and her husband, former Philadelphia Eagles QB Rodney Peete, created the HollyRod Foundation to support families affected by autism spectrum disorders  after their son, RJ, was diagnosed with ASD. Here are a few great shots from our visit!

Read More
In This Issue
Huddle Up 2016 
Date Announced!

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CAR in the News
A selection of news features you may have missed:

CBS3- CHOP OT on Sensory-Friendly Holidays


Help Us Learn More About ASD!
A number of research studies are currently enrolling infants, children and teens at CAR. Sign up for autismMatch to be notified about rese arch opportunities personalized to your family.
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