Sunday, January 22, 2012

More than origami...

January 22, 2012

Dutch artist Ingrid Siliakus makes shapes out of folded paper, but she's not just another origami hobbyist. (Although she can probably whip off a pretty awesome crane in no time.)

 Instead, Siliakus makes incredibly detailed and fantastical cityscapes, which look like pages from the most amazing pop-up book you can imagine.

Some of Siliakus's work will be on display until February 29 at Erve Kots in the Netherlands.








Friday, January 20, 2012

Autism Definition Could Change in New DSM-V

As an art therapist who works with some teens diagnosed with Asperger's Disorder or high-functioning Autism, this could make a big difference in the field of psychology:

Proposed changes to the definition of autism might make it much harder for a person to be diagnosed with the disorder. The change would likely slow the rapidly increasing rate of autism diagnoses but also spark fears that some children with autism would no longer fit its definition, excluding them from services and treatments they depend on. 

A panel of experts from the American Psychiatric Association re-evaluating the definition currently published in the “bible” of psychiatry, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, which is used to determine treatment, insurance coverage and access to services for a variety of mental illnesses. 

That definition includes a number of disorders under the umbrella of autism spectrum disorder, including autism disorder, Asperger’s disorder and pervasive development disorder not otherwise specified, which usually includes people who don’t fit neatly into the other categories of autism. Currently, people must show at least six out of 12 possible behaviors to be diagnosed as autistic. 

According to a report published Wednesday in the New York Times, proposed changes to the definition for the new DSM edition, slated to be published next year, would exclude Asperger’s and PDDNOS and consolidate autism diagnoses under a narrower category of autism. The person would have to show three deficits in social interaction and communication and two repetitive behaviors, a stricter set of criteria. 

Many autism experts support the proposed changes, saying they will make it far easier to diagnose autism. 

“Distinctions between the current subtypes are difficult to make, and do not necessary have differential implications for treatment. The line between PDDNOS and autism is often blurry, as is the line between Asperger’s disorder and ‘high functioning’ autism,” Wendy Stone, director of the University of Washington Autism Center, told ABC News. “Even well-trained researchers and clinicians using standardized measures may not agree on which side of these ‘lines’ an individual may fit.” 

Experts say the changes will probably also arrest the rate of autism diagnoses, which have been rising sharply in recent years. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that one in 110 children in the U.S. has autism under the old definition. 

Dr. Fred Volkmar, director of the Child Study Center at the Yale School of Medicine, led a team of researchers who analyzed data from a 1994 study testing the criteria used in the current edition of DSM. According to a statement from Yale University, the researchers found that half of the people diagnosed with autism in that trial would no longer merit a diagnosis under the new proposed criteria. In the statement, Dr. Volkmar emphasized that these preliminary findings suggest that “only the most cognitively able” would be excluded from an autism diagnosis. 

Lori Warner, director of the Hope Center for Autism at Beaumont Children’s Hospital Center in Royal Oak, Mich., told ABC News that these cognitively able, ‘high-functioning’ autistics still require a number of treatment and support services. “People tend to think that the more severely impacted children need the most services. But often these high-functioning individuals with enough help could either move out of the spectrum or live more functional lives with dignity,” Warner said. “If the Volkmar group is correct, I’m very worried for that segment of families.” 

If patients lose their diagnosis status, they might not be able to get the treatments and services provided for autistic patients and their families, which often require a diagnosis to qualify for insurance coverage, special education and other assistance. “Really, in a lot of states, you need that diagnosis in order to have treatment covered. If you don’t have that diagnosis, you’re going to try to pay out of pocket or you have no access to these services,” Warner said. “It could be devastating for a lot of families.”

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Monday, January 09, 2012

HRH The Duchess of Cambridge becomes Royal Patron of The Art Room

Today I discovered that The Duchess of Cambridge (nee Kate Middleton) narrowed down her selection of 4 charities to include an art therapy program in the UK, inspired after visiting an art therapy suite in a Montreal hospital. 

Art therapy 
Despite protests outside, Kate and William were all smiles as they arrived at Montreal's Sainte-Justine University Hospital. They visited a 10-year-old kidney transplant patient in the art therapy suite. 

We are delighted to announce that HRH The Duchess of Cambridge became Royal Patron of The Art Room on 5 January 2012. Director and Founder Juli Beattie said, “On behalf of all of our Trustees and staff and the children and young people we support, I want to thank the Duchess for choosing The Art Room. It is a fantastic endorsement of the work we do and the role that art and creativity can play in helping children and young people whose start in life has been difficult.”

Click here to read more about The Art Room and the Duchess' Patronage.

 Kate Middleton is greeted by dozens of cheering children as she arrives at The Art Room charity, which uses art therapy to tackle issues such as low self-esteem and Asperger syndrome in young people. The Duchess who became patron of The Art Room in the new year, met staff from Rose Hill Primary School, Oxford. Also waiting to greet her was Mark Thompson, director-general of the BBC and a trustee of The Art Room. Juli Beattie, founder and director of the charity, which celebrates its 10th anniversary next month, said the organisation had been “absolutely overwhelmed” by the Duchess’s decision to support it. She said: “The Duchess is a highly-intelligent young woman who wants to make a difference. We wrote a letter asking for her support, but she had already done her own research into art therapy before that.”

Thursday, January 05, 2012

True That!