Research: Diminished Attention to Eyes and Autism

“Mechanisms of Diminished Attention to Eyes in Autism” 

Am J Psychiatry. 2017;174:26-35, 1-2.

J.M. Moriuchi, A. Klin, W. Jones

The reduced attention to other people’s eyes in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is due to passive insensitivity to social signals in others’ eyes, rather than gaze aversion, conclude US investigators in findings that could ultimately point to novel therapies for the condition.

In two experiments, researchers showed that children with ASD did not look away faster than typically developing children from direct gaze but reacted less to implicit social cues for eye-looking.

“These results contradict the hypothesis that children with ASD actively avoid looking at the eyes in early life. Instead, the results are consistent with gaze indifference and indicate passive insensitivity to social signals in others’ eyes coupled with intact sensitivity to nonsocial, physical cues,” the investigators, led by Warren Jones, PhD, assistant professor of pediatrics, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, write.

 –excerpted from Medscape Medical News

Terrific Opportunity for Early Interventionists in Birth to Three!

LAST CALL  – ONLY 4 SLOTS REMAIN.    NEED TO CONTACT Gabriella Freye by WEDNESDAY, January 18th!!!      The University of Connecticut, Mary Beth Bruder, is offering a course including a series of 3 modules on early intervention.  The course will allow for graduate credit or a stipend, as well as attainment of the CT. Birth to Three Early Intervention Specialist Credential after successful completion of  the 3 modules.   Please contact Gabriela Freyre-Calish, MSW at 860-679-1563 or   Here’s what your colleagues are saying:
“This course provides early interventionists with the essential tools needed to understand and apply the research that guides how we provide services to young children and their families.” – Mary Beth McLaughlin (ASD)
“I have grown so much with the knowledge this course has provided me. I thought I was making a difference in the lives of families before, but nothing like I am doing now.” – Desirae Murphy (Beacon)

Activity Based Teaming: Training and TA

Applications have gone out to program directors for the two-day training in April 2017 and follow-up TA for 6 months.  The training will be on Evidence-based practices in Early Intervention by national experts, Dathan Rush & M’Lisa Shelden.  Program Directors should submit the application for their team by January 24, 2017.  Contact Linda Bamonte for more information.

Natural Learning Environments Training – February 2017

Going Deeper Into Natural Learning Environments, a one-day training, has been added to the calendar for February 22, 2017 (Snow Date February 24th).  This is an essential training for anyone providing Early Intervention to families and a pre-requisite for any teams applying for the Activity-Based Teaming Training and TA with Rush & Shelden in April.  Register on the Birth to Three Calendar.

Draft 15-16 SPP/APR available for review

This is a link to the final draft of the combined State Performance Plan / Annual Performance Report.  It is due to the US Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs by February 1, 2017.  For more information about the SPP, click here.  Indicator (11), also known as the SSIP will be completed for an April 1, 2017 submission.

If you have any questions or comments please email no later than January 20, 2017.

EHDI Family Partners – request for proposal

LEGAL NOTICE:   Request for Proposal (RFP)

RFP # 2017-0903- Early Hearing Detection & Intervention (EHDI) Family Partners

The Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) is seeking proposals to establish a formal partnership with a statewide, family-based organization(s) that provide family support to families/parents/caregivers of infants who are deaf or hard of hearing (D/HoH). This organization will support the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) program’s goal to improve family engagement, partnership, and leadership within the program and statewide EHDI system.

The Request for Proposal is available in electronic format on the State Contracting Portal at or on the Department’s website at A printed copy of the RFP can be obtained from the Official Contact upon request:

Name:       Amy Mirizzi

Address:  410 Capitol Avenue, P.O. Box 340308, MS# 11 MAT, Hartford, CT 06134

Phone:     860-509-8175  Fax: 860-509-8132    E-Mail:

 Deadline for submission of proposals is March 3, 2017.

This information can be shared widely.


Webinar – Partnering With Diverse Dads: Challenges and Successes

Join an informative Webinar where experts will discuss strategies and tips for engaging diverse dads in all types of settings, including pediatric practices.  This free 90 minute webinar on Monday, January 9, 2016 at 12:00 PM (Central) hosted by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) FamilY Partnerships Network (FPN) and Committee on Psychosocial Aspects of Child and Family Health (COPACFH) is a follow-up to “Don’t Forget the Dads: The Important Role of Fathers in Child and Family Health”, held in May 2016, and in direct response to participant comments requesting practical strategies for engaging dads of diverse backgrounds. Register.

Support for Using Naturalistic Interventions in Autism

This open access article “Naturalistic Developmental Behavioral Interventions: Empirically Validated Treatments for Autism Spectrum Disorder” discusses support and evidence for use of naturalistic interventions, generalization to everyday activities, and parent involvement when working with families who have children on the autism spectrum.

Transition Updates in SDE Bureau Bulletin

Below is a link to an important blog post by the CT State Department of Education Bureau of Special Education.  It clarifies expectations for LEAs when children from Birth to Three are referred for Early Childhood Special Education.

Birth to Three Transition Update

Please read it.

Thank you to the Birth to Three Program Directors and Maria Synodi for addressing this important time in the lives of many of the families we support.

To subscribe to the CSDE Bureau Bulletin after you click on the link above (and read it) click on the white Home link in the black menu bar at the top, then scroll down until you see this on the right: