Research develops techniques to help autistic children and adolescents in language learning
Dr. André Augusto Borges Varella
s one of the main characteristics of the autistic is the difficulty of social interaction and communication, five students of the master’s degree in Psychology and three of the scientific initiation work, under the coordination of professor Dr. André Augusto Borges Varella, to identify techniques in the behavioral line that can help and increase learning in this area of children and teenagers with Autism Spectrum Disorder. “We seek to develop more effective treatments, then we identify what happens to these children who cannot develop the language and try to produce interventions that will teach this to
the child, so that it develops the symbolic learning, that is, is able to relate sounds with some object, for example, Andre explained. There are about 20 children and teenagers volunteers who are assisted in specialized institutions such as the Association of Parents and Friends of the Autistic of Campo Grande (AMA), the APAE of the municipality and also in the house where they live. As it is the case of the child mentioned in the beginning of the article, that a year ago is accompanied by the student of the 8th semester that integrates the scientific initiation, Jennifer Vieira de Araújo. “In the method worked with Alice* I used chips that showed three different state flags and other tiles with the map drawing for each state. With this, she learned to associate the state name with each flag and each map, and then linked the map with the flag. There was a great evolution, because she managed to connect the word with the image”, clarified Jennifer. Studies of this kind are carried out
by the team at the Research Laboratory on Autism and Applied Human Behavior of UCDB. In the face of the work already developed, a partnership was signed in 2017 with the Utah State University (United States), which is a reference in the treatment of autism. Based on the work carried out abroad, the aim is to create a center for intervention and research in autism in the School clinic of the Catholic, aiming at assisting needy children and teenagers who have the disorder and also to train professionals who wish to work in the area. “We want to offer better attention to children with autism who depend on public health, because the most needy public, most of the time, is without quality care, and, along with that, there is a great demand in Campo Grande and in Brazil of professionals who know how to do this type of treatment, we intend to train people through the postgraduate so they can work in the area and produce positive effects in the lives of several autism sufferers, “said André.
Data collection aims to map the genome of people with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder
n international initiative of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium — (PGC) aims to sequence the genome of people with schizophrenia as well as bipolar disorder, mental illnesses considered serious. In Brazil, the study is new, and the focus of the research is Afro-descendants. Campo Grande was one of the cities chosen for data collection. The work here is coordinated by the psychiatrist, Professor of the Graduate Program in Psychology, Dr. André Barciela Veras, and involves four masters students, one doctoral student and ten scholars of scientific initiation. “We collected material from three populations: people without pathology, people with bipolar disorder and people with schizophrenia. The volunteers are identified in the Psychosocial Care Centers (Caps), where they already receive free treatment from the municipality, and have the blood removed as if it were for a blood count. Since March, we have already had 67 samples collected in the DECEMBER 2017 2017 12 | INSPIRA | DEZEMBRO
cities involved in the research, until the end of 2017 we intend to reach 100, and in 2019, the year in which the collection period ends, we want to reach 500 samples”, said Professor André. All samples will be sent to a DNA bank in the United States, where they will be analyzed along with the others sent from different places in the world where the focus is different populations, such as Caucasians. The aim is to sequence the genome of these people to identify genes that are related to schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. “These diseases are multidetermined conditions: there is a combination of several genes that, when exposed to a social environment, are modulated and produce these mental disorders in some people. Hence the importance of having populations of different ethnicities and regions in the study. It will be possible to identify the genetic markers that led to the diseases
and path of illness of patients - answers that will help the doctor to have more precision in the medicine and in the therapy indicated for each case and also in the conclusion of the diagnosis”, said the psychiatrist. After the conclusion of the international study, the master’s and doctoral students in Psychology who participated in the research should link the genetic data identified to the studies developed by them in the graduate program. According to Professor André, researches are varied and work on topics such as the cognitive and psychological performance of these patients, in addition to early traumas that led to the onset of the disease.
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