Bloomberg’s Elizabeth Lopatto reports that per a newly released Nature study, autistic children have altered genes controlling their brain development:

“The discovery gives scientists targets to perhaps begin developing treatments, said study author Gerard Schellenberg, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, in Philadelphia. “When we think about treatments, those target molecules and you have to know what to target,” Schellenberg said in a conference call with reporters today. “This is a major jump in terms of knowing what we need to look at.”

Encouraging news. In the meantime, Schweitzer Fellows are working hard to bring resources and health care access to underserved autistic children and their families/caregivers.

One of our incoming North Carolina fellows, Carrie Sacco of the Fayetteville State School of Social Work, will be working with the Autism Society of North Carolina to create and implement an adapted physical education program for children with autism. She’ll be supported by the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust, and she’ll be following in the footsteps of several of her peers: Natalie DeSouza and Rita Sridaran, 2007-2008 North Carolina Fellows, organized a social training summer program for autistic children and their siblings through TEACH (Treatment and Education of Autistic and Communication-Handicapped Children) and the Pitt County Chapter of the Autism Society of North Carolina.