Keeping weight off is difficult for 26-year-old Cassidy Bauer, who is only 4-and-a-half-feet tall. But Bauer and her mother say they’ve had help from UMass Medical School’s Health U weight loss program for people with intellectual disabilities, which has taught them about proper nutrition, exercise and lifestyle changes, according to an article in the Telegram & Gazette Aug. 26.
Children who overfocus on one small part of a picture, word or face may have difficulty with such life skills as reading or recognizing people. UMass Medical School’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center has been studying visual attention in children and adolescents with intellectual or developmental disabilities to develop teaching methods to reduce the problem.
UMass Medical School is one of two American universities to serve as a host institution for a European-Union-funded research program focused on developing new technologies to help individuals with autism spectrum disorders and intellectual disability.
A large population study is needed to find the true links between autism and obesity, Carol Curtin, MSW, a research assistant professor at UMass Medical School, told SFARI Autism News.
“Most large nationally representative datasets do not include children with autism," said Curtin, who has focused some of her work on the association between disabilities and weight. Existing studies rely on limited data from parents, she said.