Browsing: Autism

How to Stop the Dangerous Practice of Self Harming

Of course to the normal person the act of self harm can be mysterious why would anyone want to cause themselves pain and harm. However with autistic children the act of self harm is very common. There is a lot of different reasons as to why children with autism would want to cause self harm. There are of course many things that you can do to stop this harmful practice.

A big reason that autistic children resort to self harm is because they are not able to communicate with others in the same way as other children can and it can annoy them that we do not always understand what they are saying. So in order to release some of the pain that they are experiencing they will resort to practices of banging their head to try and get the attention of others, usually doing things that can not be expressed in words. self harm is a way to get a persons attention. The frustration that an autistic child experiences goes arm in arm with them wanting some kind of attention. By causing self harm, they will get some kind of attention from someone, and of course that person will work to try and understand what the child wants.

The link of frustration and attention is something that has been studied for a long time. Studies that have been carried out show that the self harm that person carries out relieves come of the stress that a person could be experiencing. The pain that is experienced can help the autistic child to temporarily forget the pain that they are experiencing in their lives. Of course this pain is addictive and if done enough the pain associated with self harm is not felt anymore.

Some professionals and doctors say that the best way to overcome a Child's problem of self harm is to ignore the practice. However this is very hard for a parent to do. Drugs and communication therapy are another method by which the frustration of an autistic child can be relieved. The drugs that help release endorphins in to the system that replicate what the body naturally produces from causing self harm, and so help to reduce the behavior of self harm. There are also natural supplements that are said to work, such as vitamin B6 and calcium that are said to help veryly.

For the close family members a good solution would be to take communication classes so that they can learn how to communicate with their autistic child more effectively. Communication with an autistic child is a completely different endeavor and not something that is easily done as we are used to communicating with body and words. It will take some time but it will be worth it. One of these solutions will help to overcome the problem that the autistic child is experiencing.

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Bad Sheep in the Family

When family members hear the fact that a new born individual is born with a problem like autism, it is often met with a variety of different reactions. While in the magical fantasy world that some wish we lived in where all the family members even those who are distant would be supportive of such a situation in reality family members often react by being disappointed or disgusted. Is it true that a family person looks at a automatic child in a bad way all the time? Do they look at your autistic child in an infinite way? Do you expect your family people to treat the autistic child in the same way that they treat all other normal children in the family, even when there are situations where they should not? These are situations where you can tell that family members are not aware on how to act with the autistic child or the environment. So for a person that has a automatic child it is important to be aware of these issues.

In most cases family members both close and distant to you just do not know how to react to a situation of an autistic family member. This is because they do not understand how to react to a situation like this. Most often see autism as mental retardation, however they fail to see that most of the autistic individuals are very intelligent and just are not able to communicate with others in the same way as other would be able to. A way to overcome this is to spend time with the clueless family member and get them to spend time with you and your autistic child. Give them a chance to understand your situation and how you accept with it.

If the family member is still being rude or unsupportive of your situation even after you try to help them understand then ask them why they are acting in such a way. Perhaps they feel they may hurt the child in some way. Perhaps they are worried about the extra commitment to looking after the child. Maybe they feel guilty or embarrassed by the situation. If you are able to see why the family member is acting unsupportive you may be able to help them through it and get them to support you.

You may find that even after trying to help the family member understand your situation you just can change them and they continue to act unresponsive. No matter how much you try, you just wont be able to change these negative individuals to see how life is so good with your child with autism and everything. The best option may not be easy but could be the best thing for your child and you, to let that negative person go and avoid them at all costs, as the negative energy will bring you down for no reason. In this hard situation you need all the positive energy that you can get. Try to focus your energies on those family members that are supportive of your situation as the positive will help you to make the best of the situation. Try to get even more support from those experiencing similar situations as you by joining support groups that involve parents of autistic children. Just surround yourself with positive people that will help you with your situation and give you the much needed support.

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Autistic Child – 3 Recommended Daily Activities

Is your child suffering from autism? Do you know of anyone having problems with autistic children? Well, to let you understand further, autism is a distinct developmental disability. This is a neurological disorder that affects the brain functions. It delays some intellectual, physical and some other skills. The autistic children also have some communication problems and exhibit social interaction difficulties. Even how they appear so normal, they are bound to have behavior difficulties or disabilities.

Most autistic children can not do some activities like any normal children can do. There are some things or activities that needs to be avoided, because sometimes, it might be harmful for them. Well, suddenless, this article talks about autism and the three recommended daily activities for them:

  1. Reading or story telling – Reading is one of the recommended daily activities for autistic children. This is an excellent tool to develop social and interaction skills of an autistic child. This activity would be very harmless and it prevails an autistic child from so much trouble. It follows the child from activities that may cause injury. This is an educational activity, yet fun to do.
  2. Singing songs and listening to music – Rhythmic songs can be very catchy to the ears of the autistic child. Music may be soothing to their ears. Autistic children love to sing and listen to all kinds of music. This may be a safe and a pleasant activity as well. This is very much recommended for autistics.
  3. Painting or drawing – This activity can let the autistic child explore and try different things through art or drawing. This is one way to express their selves. This is one way to enhance their adventurous minds and sometimes isolated minds. They would have the chance to express their creativity through the colorful crayons they have. This is one of the great activities for autistic children.

Whatever ages your autistic child may be, always remember activities that are appropriate for them. They should be indulging with fun activities and at the same time educational. They need activities that will enhance their skills and knowledge to make them better individuals of their disabilities.

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How to Change Behavioral Patterns in Autistic Children

When he was young, our autistic son, Scott, had a significant behavioral problem: he was obsessed with only using one door of our house. Our home had two front doors, and he adamantly refused to use any other door but the one he preferred. I am sure many of you parents what I am talking about. The “things” can extend to foods, only wearing a certain kind of clothing, watching only one DVD, hearing one song …… the list goes on and on, until you crave a retreat to a hotel, ALONE, to retreat. You get the picture.

One day I decided I had had enough. Not only was this driving me nuts; it was a dangerous situation for our then 3-year-old son. If there was a fire in the house, and he refused to leave from any entrance other than the one he preferred, he would perish. Change was necessary!

I knew from long experience with his screaming tantrums to steal myself for a confrontation, so I prepared for the battle. I set aside three 2-hour block afternoons, bought a pair of earplugs, and went to talk to the neighbors.

They were informed that a battle was about to ensue, and the enemy was not going to go down without a fight. Everyone within a 2-house radius was told that they should not be worried. Although his lung power was great and his willpower even greater, he had found a stubborn equal in his mother. He was going to look for a fight, and who was I to disappoint him ??

The next day the battle began. He went for his favorite door, and I gently picked him up and moved him to the hated alternative. The first reaction was panic. If I had not known any better, I would have assumed that he thought I was throwing him into the deep end of a pool when he did not know how to swim. The panic almost instantly changed to dismay …. How COULD you, Mom? I thought you loved me! When that did not change my mind, he escalated it to the next level. Surely that would work! Now the screaming began. The confrontation had begun in earnest.

I reached for my earplugs and curiously watched to see what he would do next. I did not have long to wait. He ran for the other door, and I followed him. Thankfully, I was prepared with some good running shoes, anticipating that I was going to get some exercise. Back and forth we went, from one door to the other. Each time he tried to go out, I picked him up and took him to the other door. All the while, I responded to his screaming with soft tones, telling him that he needed to try the other door. This first battle tactic lasted for 45 minutes.

Finally, he decided that was not going to work, so Surely throwing himself on the floor while simultaneously trying to burst my eardrums would be effective. He tried that, while occasionally halting the screaming to see if I would notice that he was in extreme distress. Then he became very creative. He roled himself all the way to the top of the basement stairs, right next to the despised door, and stopped just short of rolling down. Then he looked at me to make sure I knew he could seriously injure himself if I did not do something! I calmly picked him up without saying a word and put him down again.

After 2 1/2 hours, with sweat pouring down his face and exhaustion in his scream, he finally let me take him out the front door. I had won! He let me hold him, and we both collapsed on the couch.

Note: This battle occurred for three more days. The next day lasted one hour, the second 45 minutes, third fifteen, and finally, on the last day, he went right out the formerly hated door. I had won for good! His prize? A nice walk to the park, out the new door, of course!

The moral to this story: If you stand your ground, you can help change the behavior of a child with autism.

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Autism and Social Impairment

Children with Autism usually display a severe socialization defect. This means that they lack social skills and the ability to interact appropriately with others on all social levels.

Children with Autism usually fail to develop social empathy or Theory of Mind – that is they do not see anyone else's point of view and they can not guess what you might be thinking. Eg if you kick your toe and start to cry, they will not understand why you're crying.

At times they may appear rude because of their inability to use the more minority aspects of social interaction. We must remember though that for children with autism social interaction is a cognitive process, rather than being intuitive as it is for the rest of us.

However this does not mean that children with autism lack the desire to have friends or be included socially. They do, they usually just do not know how to go about making friends or being included. Often children with Autism can be observed on the “fringe” of social activities – observing the interactions / play but not physically or verbally joining in.

These friendship skills need to be directly taught to children with autism and role play or video taped scenarios are good tools for teaching these skills. Children can be involved in a guided discussion about what worked and what did not when trying to be included or make a friend.

While children with autism are thought to lack empathy towards others, this does not mean that they lack feelings of their own. They seem to know when they make a social “faux pas” but do not have the social or emotional ability or the communication skills to repair the situation. Often they'll retreat, hide or meltdown to cover their anxiety over making such a social mistake.

If your child with Autism displays: –
• Inappropriate behavior choices with unfamiliar people
• Rude / inappropriate language
• Difficulty taking turns
• Aggression in an attempt to be social
• Being on the “fringe” of activities
• Confusion with social “rules”
then direct coaching of social skills and social play may need to be taught. Start with one simple concept and slowly build their social “vocabulary”.

Nelle Frances © 2008

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Thinking About Autism As a State of Dissociation – The Individual With Autism’s Dilemma

Through the lens of an Incomplete Attachment. I have described that the autistic child is experiencing dissociated states. What does this mean? From my perspective, the child has many parts of himself that have not become integrated as a whole. These aspects of the self have not been validated and recognized by “an other” so the child, in turn, can not use and see himself. Thus the different parts of this child become dissociated and can not work together to the benefit of the child. We can say that this child does not have the ability to go from one part of himself to another. The child also can not go within himself to retrieve these dissociated parts.

How can I recognize dissociation in an autistic child? Dissociation is easy to recognize. We all have aspects of dissociation, but it is more substantially seen in Autism Spectrum Disorders. The following are examples of dissociation:

1) reduced sense of pain – the child may burn himself, but not demonstrate any outward behaviors that say, “I am hurting.” The pain is there and he feels it, but he is split off from his ability to claim it and name the feeling.

2) Exceptional savant skills – such as extraordinary ability to remember days of the week of birthdays and dates associated with events, ability to do mathematical calculations that others can only do with the help of a calculator or great musical and artistic abilities. These abilities seem to coexist with what appears to be sever disabilities. Most people observing such a mixture of behaviors would be confused and conclude that there must be something “wrong” with a person who on the one hand has great musical ability or artistic ability, but can not talk. I would say this is an example of dissociation in that the emotions are split off from the intellect of the person.

3) Can not shift thinking from one subject to another – this is an example of not being able to go from one part of the self to another. The individual is demonstrating on the outside of himself what is occurring on the inside of him. In other words, his inability to go from one part of himself to another.

4) the child can think through mathematical problems, but can not think through and understand social interactions – the child has access to his intellect, but no access to the emotional parts of himself. The emotional side is harder to access if you have never had an attachment. It is through an attachment that one feels understood and seen and in turn can talk and have access to the emotional parts of one's self.

These are only a few examples of what I think about when observing the autistic person through the lens of dissociation and an Incomplete Attachment. When one thinks about autism from this perspective than one can have hope that the child can develop into an integrated person. The work with the person with autism is to help him to become more conscious of the split off parts. This includes helping him to name his feelings along with the development of a trusting relationship with another person. As he becomes more conscious of himself his dissociated parts will begin to work together.

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DVD ABA Training Can Benefit All School Employees

Autism spectrum disorder is a term that encompasses a number of different diagnoses, and it is a term that many educators are faced with on a daily basis. The diagnosis rate for these disorders is surprising, yet few schools seem properly prepared or equipped to teach these children in a manner that allows them to learn as well as they should. ABA therapy is an excellent way to help teach students with autism, and DVD courses help to make the training affordable to virtually every school district.

ABA, or Applied Behavior Analysis is one of the oldest forms of treatment for autism, yet it is still considered the most successful. In fact, it is the only form of treatment that many insurance providers will cover. ABA uses prompts, repetition, reward, and other techniques to help teach ideas, concepts, and behaviors to students with autism. DVD courses that teach ABA work to instruct teachers how to employ these methods in a successful manner, and they also serve to teach educators why using these specific methods is so important. In order to understand why you need to teach differently, it is important for educators to understand why some students learn differently.

DVD ABA training can provide great benefit to your entire school district. While many people believe that the training is necessary only for special education teachers, the fact is that many children with an autism spectrum disorder are very high functioning. ABA can help discourage negative behavior patterns and can increase critical and emotional thinking skills so that these students are able to perform better in a general classroom setting. Guidance counselors, principals, and general education teachers can gain great benefit from ABA training and can provide a much higher level of care and education for these students after they have received it.

If you have students who are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder within your school system, a DVD ABA course is the best thing that you can do to help them. These materials are easily affordable and can easily be used to train new educators or to provide refresher courses as needed. This means that you can purchase a lasting tool that can benefit students for years to come. The diagnosis rate for autism is remarkably high, and it affects a number of students within every school. With this in mind, it simply makes sense to ensure that your staff members are trained to ensure that they receive the quality of education that they are entitled to.

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Is ABA the Right Approach For School Systems Teaching Autistic Children?

Children are very diverse. If you walk into any classroom and ask students to tell you what they most enjoy doing, you are going to get a very wide range of responses. What most of these children will have in common, however, is the ability to easily learn concepts taught by their educators. For children with autism spectrum disorder, even this basic ability is hampered by the fact that their brains simply work differently. In order to learn in a classroom, they must first work on learning how to learn. ABA therapy is a proven method of doing just that.

The brain of a child with autism spectrum disorder works very differently than the brain of most children. Essentially the neural pathways that help children make connections between behaviors and consequences are simply not there. One thing that science has taught us, however, is that the brains of these children are not simply stuck in this state. With proper ABA therapy, these connections can be developed and these students can often learn to perform as well as or possibly even better than their peers in a classroom setting.

So, why ABA therapy? There are a number of different therapies available for students with autism, after all. The difference, however, is that ABA is proven to work on many levels. Not only does it teach the fundamentals of learning, but it can help to condition behavior, teaching these students how to act in a social setting and what to do in a certain scenario. These are skills that will have a lifelong impact on your child. With ABA therapy, your child can learn how to react to other students, what to do if they ever get lost, and even how to form social bonds with new people.

Applied Behavior Analysis has been around for a few decades and is considered to be the most effective form of treatment for autism. While other methods show success in some areas, studies show that children taught using ABA therapy at a young age exhibit greatly improved social and educational skills well into their adult lives. In other words, ABA is about permanently teaching children with autism spectrum disorder. While many methods offer temporary solutions, teaching ABA in schools can equip students for a lifetime of learning. The use of DVD training programs and classroom materials can be a highly effective way for any school system to provide educators with the tools necessary to give these students a head start on the rest of their lives.

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Applied Behavior Analysis Offers an Excellent Teaching Tool For Schools

Whether you are a teacher, guidance counselor, or school administrator, the simple fact is that you will encounter students with an autism spectrum disorder. The diagnostic rate for these disorders suggests that schools probably have a surprising number of students who suffer from varying degrees of autism. Unfortunately, studies also show that most schools are ill equipped to teach these children. Students with autism are typically highly capable and can often learn as well as their peers, but different teaching methods are needed to help in the process. Applied Behavior Analysis is an excellent technique that has shown success rates for decades.

ABA therapy is the only autism treatment covered by many insurance plans, and the reason for this is that it is the only treatment that has such a high success rate. Implementing ABA therapy into schools can provide great benefit to educators and students alike, yet many schools have made little effort to do so. The belief that ABA training is unaffordable is certainly not true, and school systems will find that there are DVD courses that can help generate excellent results for students who have an autism spectrum disorder.

When you implement ABA into schools, you offer students with autism the chance to learn in a different manner. Essentially, autistic children need to learn how to learn. The behaviors and techniques taught through ABA teach these children how to break down and understand certain concepts and also teach positive patterns of behavior that are applicable for the rest of their lives. In short, the therapy equips these students with the skills and tools needed to learn and adapt in our world. By implementing ABA therapy into the school system, especially for younger students, you greatly increase the chances that they will be able to learn and study alongside their peers for the rest of their lives.

Applied Behavior Analysis therapy utilizes a number of different techniques and teaching tools in order to help children learn to complete complex tasks without reminders or prompts. There are also techniques designed to help foster positive behavior. Punishment and scolding can actually serve to make negative behavior worse for autistic children, and ABA teachers methods that can break these behavior patterns. If your school system is ill equipped to teach autistic children and you are seeking an effective and affordable way to change this, ABA courses can certainly be the right choice for your educators.

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Applied Behavior Analysis Therapy Can Help Teachers Work Better With All Students

When your school system is looking for a method of teaching that can help students diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder better interact with their peers and learn to function within a classroom setting, there is no doubt that research and historical performance will point you towards ABA therapy. Applied Behavior Analysis is by far the most proven and successful means of teaching children with autism. It can help increase learning ability, boost IQ, and improve relationships among students. One thing that many school systems overlook, however, is just how versatile the programs can really be.

While most school systems teach their staff members ABA training methods only as a means of dealing with autistic children, the simple fact is that these lessons and teaching methods can actually benefit many students. ABA is a method of teaching that is about changing and creating behavior patterns. Many teachers who have been educated in the method have found that these skills are actually quite beneficial in teaching students to break negative patterns of behavior, regardless of whether they have been diagnosed with autism or any other behavioral problem.

The simple fact is that all behavior patterns are learned, both positive and negative. Applied Behavior Analysis gives teachers the skills and techniques that they need to help shape the behavior of all of their students by allowing them to break a complex behavior down into smaller simple steps. By doing this, the negative step in the chain can be isolated, allowing teachers to understand where the student needs to learn to change. This is a very effective teaching school and can actually make a significant difference in early pattern breaking with children exhibiting an array of behavior problems.

It goes without saying that ABA therapy is a groundbreaking treatment for autism that even after decades still remains the most effective means of teaching behaviors and learning skills. What school systems can benefit from understanding, however, is that teaching these methods to all educators via DVD classes or other instructional methods can be quite affordable while giving teachers extra tools to help teach children proper behavior. Kids do not enter school with a perfect set of behavioral skills no matter how well they are taught, and programs like ABA can really make a difference that will impact these children for the rest of their lives.

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Applied Behavior Analysis Should Be Started Early

It is often said that no child is too young to learn. This is certainly true, and the prevalence of child prodigies helps to prove and highlight this fact. For children with autism spectrum disorder, however, the age of diagnosis can vary greatly. One thing that remains the same no matter what is the sooner a diagnosed child is started in ABA therapy, the higher their chances of developing higher cognitive, social, and academic skills will be. Because of this, it is imperative that school systems integrate early Applied Behavior Analysis therapy.

So, what is ABA and why is it so important? To understand why ABA is necessary, it is important to understand that the brain of an individual with autism spectrum disorder operates differently than the average brain. While most people easily associate cause and effect and understand large concepts, the autistic mind processes information differently. These children must be taught, through the repetition and prompting used in ABA, how to break a task into simple steps. By doing this over and over, the brain is able to develop the neurons needed to help put together larger concepts and ideas.

Another thing that is important for school systems and employees to understand is that the brain is shown to be much more capable of learning new tasks and developing new pathways when treatment is started at an earlier age. Essentially, the sooner ABA therapy is started, the higher the success rate. Studies show that children treated with ABA during preschool and elementary school years tend to be the most successful at carrying the skills and behaviors learned with them through their adult lives. This certainly helps to highlight the importance of early ABA treatment.

For school systems where budgetary restrictions make it infeasible for educators to receive personal and individual ABA training, DVD instructional courses can be remarkably effective. A well designed course will provide a number of lessons that can be easily integrated into a classroom environment. Educators will also find themselves with access to classroom materials such as picture cards that can help them teach the technique more effectively. Treating autism as early as possible through Applied Behavior Analysis provides children with greater opportunities for the rest of their lives. With a proper DVD instructional course, school systems can educate an unlimited number of staff members, ensuring that everyone knows how to act and react when it comes to a student with autism spectrum disorder.

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Applied Behavior Analysis Therapy Uses Prompts to Teach Behaviors

Autism is one of the most commonly diagnosed learning disorders in children, yet it is one that schools most often fail to address or properly treat. In fact, many schools seem to treat autistic children as though they are incapacitated of learning and treat negative behavior patterns as though the children themselves are simply “bad”. The truth of the matter is that children with autism learn much differently than other children, and these skills and behaviors must be taught differently. Applied Behavior Analysis therapy is an excellent tool that school systems can use to help teach autistic children.

One of the most important tools in ABA therapy is the prompt. Prompts are used to help encourage a child to produce a certain response or to engage in a certain behavior. Because concepts and behaviors must be broken down into smaller steps and learned repeatedly, prompts are an excellent tool in helping children to learn to mimic and eventually initiate these behaviors. Over time, prompting is reduced and ever eliminated and the child will be able to provide the answer, behavior, or response without the need to be prompted. This is a very helpful tool for educators with autistic students.

Prompts can be verbal, such as giving a child a particular answer or a certain command, but they can be nonverbal as well. Guiding a child to make a certain gesture or response or offering a visual cue can often be the proper method of prompting in order to initiate a certain response. In many cases, performing the desired behavior can also encourage imitation and can help those children who learn by mimicking to perform certain tasks. Whatever the type of prompting used, however, studies show that ABA and prompting can be highly effective teaching tools.

There is no doubt that ABA therapy works for students. The problem for most school systems, however, is funding. Sending even a competent of educators to training seminars can be too costly for many school systems to afford. For these systems, it is important to recognize that there are affordable options available. A DVD course with training materials can be highly affordable for virtually any school system and can make it easy for systems to provide educators with the training that they need. Autistic children are often highly capable of learning within a standard classroom, and implementing ABA therapy as soon as possible can help ensure that they are afforded that opportunity.

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An Autism Story – One Family’s Struggle

The first thing that stuck me about David was his beautiful eyes framed with incredibly long lashes (every girl's dream). After that first glimpse I severely saw his eyes again as he bounded and jumped around his home playing with a bright colored ball he held tight by the elastic hanging from it, he was obviously happy and took little notice of us, his Mum's visitors. We had been invited over for afternoon tea but David did not interact with us at all.

Once Mary sat with us and we were enjoying our tea (Mary was up and down attending to David), I asked her some questions about raising a child with autism. This is their story.

The Diagnosis
Like the majority of children with an autism spectrum disorder, David has impaired communication- but it was not always that way. While many children with autism do not develop language as babies, Mary recalls: “David's language was developing quite normally.

David was initially diagnosed with 'Semantic Pragmatic Disorder' because his language appeared to be developing quite normally. With the initial diagnosis of SPD, after taking the 'Griffiths Test' *, David was diagnosed with autism just after his third birthday.

Mary vividly recalls the pediatrician's comment: “David has autism and he will have it for life”. For Mary, it felt like a death sentence. What followed was months of darkness – despair, shock and disbelief. In a cruel twist of fate, by the time David was four, he had lost all ability to communicate verbally. David now only makes noises, a 'happy type squeal' to indicate happiness and a type of whining sound when he is unhappy or upset. He is like a toddler who never grow up, in need of constant supervision against the dangers of the world.

Mary and Geoff are now resigned to the fact that David's condition is for life and they will need to care for him now and in the future.

* Griffiths Test – a measurement of the rate of development from birth to 2 years and up to 8 years.

The treatment
David's parents did what parents do when faced with a diagnosis of autism. They chashed every rabbit down every hole in search of a cure or miracle treatment, all of which cost money and may not be covered by medical insurance.

David received speech therapy, although this was basically play; He was also put on a casein and gluten-free diet (which had no effect), had chiropractic manipulation, 'Connect Therapy' which is physiotherapy based, and an occupational therapist and speech therapist from 'Giant Steps' came to his home to teach life skills such as feeding and toileting. At age 9 David is still not toilet trained and requires assistance with his personal care. Treatments for David had little success. Typical of such a spectrum disorder, there are success stories of varying degrees, but for David it has been a fruitless road so far.

David went to a special education format two mornings per week until he started attending the Aspect Vern Barnett school. There are 5 children in David's class and most of the children at the school are boys. It is well known that Autism disorders affect boys more than girls.

To be able to attend Aspect's Vern Barnett School 5 days per week, David is picked up by a mini bus at 7.45 – 8.00am and returns between 3.30 – 4.00pm. David attends this school, which is exclusively for children with autism, is run by Aspect (Autism Spectrum Australia) and is about 50 minutes from his home. David really enjoys attending school as it gives him a routine, something which is important to him and the family as a whole. Mary needs to rush home on the days she works to be there by 3.30pm when David arrives. It is imperative that David is not left alone at any time.

Mary's work takes her away from home 2 days per week (at a local school), as a qualified teacher / librarian with a Graduate Certificate in Professional Studies (ASD) which qualifies her to teach children with autism.

The issues
School holidays present even more issues as vacation care is not organized by the Vern Barnett school. There are government funded reply centers available but the amount of care a family is allocated depends on the particular government funding available in that year. Most school holidays, Mary is allocated 2-4 days vacation care per week and David loves attending, again, it is a good routine for him and he loves the stimulation. During those days Mary will organize things for Mitchell (aged 6) to do, such as invite friends over, or they spend time together without David. Mary is also able to attend to school duties for one or two days during the holidays.

In the few hours we were in David's home he only sat down for a few minutes to eat some afternoon tea. The rest of the time David just jumped and skipped about everywhere while Mary kept a close watch on what he was doing and he occasionally came to the table to eat more food. Apart from one instance of climbing on furniture David was well behaved and safe during our time there.

With his constant moving and jumping around, we could see how exhausting looking after David is, and he himself must get tired, so he is put to bed at 7pm every night and seems quite happy with this routine. He may not go to bed right away but he stays in his room. The family needs time out and it's also good for Mitchell (his younger sibling) to have some quiet time.

David requires constant monitoring by Mary and Geoff as he will wander into the kitchen and eat all day if allowed. When he is bored he has been known to climb on the kitchen benches or eat toothpaste, soap or other inedible items, so you really have to know where he is at all times.

David has little understanding of his environment, his social world or the risks that other children his age are aware of. Walking on a busy street can be life-threatening for David if he were unsupervised. Basically, Mary or Geoff must always watch David when they are at home and hold his hand when out – it is not hard to imagine how physically and mentally exhausting it can all become and he is still only 9!

The help
Mary is David's primary carer and unless someone is used to an autistic child it is difficult to know how to look after them, so help from family and friends is limited. However Geoff's mother will babysit for both boys if there is a social function to attend. Unfortunately, Grandma is getting older with her own health issues so she is not asked to babysit too often.

David is lucky to be able to attend a reply service at Croydon (a suburb not far from home). The reply includes vacation care and flexible in-house reply. This service allows Mary and Geoff to go out with friends or as a couple once a month.

Recently, David has been approved to attend a reply house for overnight stays – usually weekends. At present they receive 2 nights per month (Friday and Saturday). This provides the family with a great opportunity to spend quality time with their youngest son, Mitchell, and do activities not possible with David. For example, in the school holidays Mary, Geoff and Mitchell were able to camp overnight at Cockatoo Island (in Sydney Harbor) with family friends – something they would never have been able to do with David.

The behavior
David is constantly on the move with something in his hands, usually a ball or tassel, he moves all day. He has a high tolerance to pain. He will often bend down and hold his head so Mary assumes this means he has a headache. Any medicine has to be crushed into some cordial (his favorite drink) and this is given to sedate David when attending the dentist, hairdresser, specialist or pediatric ophthalmologist (David wears glasses). The fear of visits to dentists and doctors is so severe that David needs to be given a general anesthetic for dental and eye examinations.

David is classified as low registration which means he needs a lot of sensory input to become excited, thankfully this makes for a placid personality but he requires medication to allow him to sit for periods of time. A simple haircut becomes a nightmare without it.

As routine is extremely important to David and any change in routine becoming upsetting, school holidays can be difficult without he is kept constantly busy by attending vacation care, going out or going on holidays. As food is his main motivation, going out for dinner or out to cafes with the family is good for David. As long as there is food around he will sit for a short amount of time. In addition to looking out for David's safety, another issue Mary has taking David out is how people react to him and having to explain his disability constantly to others.

Mary explains that living with a child with autism is like being on a roller coaster. There are highs and lows. The unpredictability of his behavior is exhausting and often limits the family's social life. An escape plan always needs to be thought of, and ways to calm down David if he becomes upset. The daily stress of looking after David takes its toll and there is always the fear of the future that never really leaves you – who will look after David when his parents are gone?

Mary says “Even though looking after David is challenging and unpredictable, he has given us so much joy. He has allowed us to let go of false self-images and beneficial goals and desires. has fostered compassion, depth and understanding. We are better people because of David. ”

There are many families just like Mary and Geoff's who struggle every day doing what is needed to try and have a reliably normal life, they have mixed emotions about their circumstances but most do a fantastic job of just getting on with it because nothing will change if you complain or become depressed. That does not help anyone. Mary and her family do their utmost to ensure David is happy and safe. From the time I have known Mary she has always been strong, energetic and confident of a positive future, which is a credit to her.

Mary says “I would just be so happy if David was toilet trained and could speak a few words to tell me what he wanted”. Life for this family is not very easy and they deal with things one day at a time.

More funding is needed to research the causes of autism and its related disorders. As well as funding for research, the families affected by this disorder need assistance, care and understanding, so extra funding and more resources are needed for them as well. Families like Mary's never know how much reply hours that they will receive each year until the Government allocates funds to care providers. The care provider must then divide this up among all the families registered to their service. So reply hours will vary from year to year. This adds even more difficulties to daily life as the amount of reply hours changes each year, sometimes disabling routines, which are so important to children with autism.

For further information contact Autism Spectrum Australia or the local ASD organization in your country.

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Autism – A Positive Perspective on Treatment

In honor of World Autism Day (in April) and every and every day, we want to let every one know that there is a new field emerging in the area of ​​nutritional support for brain development – so pertinent to children on the autistic spectrum.

It begins with a special home-collection urine test for neurotransmitters or brain chemicals. This is now covered by most PPO insurance companies. There are very specific nutritional products and protocols for enhancing the neurotransmitters of the brain that can supply the missing pieces to the puzzle.

Autism, a complex neuro-biological and developmental disorder, now affects 1 in 166 children. It encompasses a group of disorders known as autism spectrum disorders (ASD). ASD can usually be diagnosed by age 3 but very early detection can help build on well child development. Awareness is Key!

Some Symptoms May Be:

  • Does not babble, point or make gestures by age 1
  • Does not speak one world by age 1 1/2
  • Does not respond to name
  • Poor eye contact
  • Seems distant
  • Does not smile
  • Might be attached to one particular toy

Autism Causes

Autism is caused by multiple factors:

  • Allergies
  • Antibiotic overuse
  • Infections (intestinal, sinus, ear, respiratory)
  • Low cellular immunity
  • Poor digestion and nutrient absorption
  • Stress
  • Toxic chemicals-environmental

Some people believe autism is caused by vaccinations – particularly the mercury-containing, measles-mumps-rubella vaccine (MMR) and flu shots, as well as multiple vaccinations received on the same day. Heavy metals, preservatives and other toxins in the vaccines can interfere with proper neurotransmission. Interesting that autism does not exist amongst populations such as the Amish, who do not vaccinate their children.

Each cause has an impact on the brain chemicals or neurotransmitters. Children on the autistic spectrum with allergies may have high histamine or glutamate levels, causing inflammatory issues with the brain. Those with digestive problems and poor nutrient absorption may have protein or amino acid deficiency, which can affect all neurotransmitters.

Neurotransmitters are made from amino acids. Keep in mind that many of the neurotransmitters are manufactured in the intestines, so a healthy GI tract is imperative for keeping the brain balanced. Most autistic children have an imbalance of serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine or GABA neurotransmitters.

Neurotransmitter Imbalance

Neurotransmitters, affecting mental function, emotional balance, and learning, can be assessed by measuring their metabolites. If your child shows early signs of autism, neurotransmitter testing can help to find what is out of balance.

Neurotransmitters are also necessary for thought processes, emotions and other essential body functions including sleep, energy and response to stress. If a child's neurotransmitters are too high or too low, these factors may be an issue:

  • Behavioral problems – compulsion, reclusivity or aggression
  • Feelings of sadness
  • Feelings of anxiousness
  • Disrupted sleep
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Learning disabilities

Help for the Brain

The good news is that neurotransmitters can be measured and treated with special foods and nutritional supplementation. There are now products developed specifically for enhancing brain chemical function for children and adults, and we have found them to be very effective. Neurotransmitter spray products are especially simple to administrator to children.

The testing is also simple: a simple in-home urine collection that checks your or your child's levels of serotonin, dopamine, GABA, epinephrine, norepinephrine, glutamate and other neurotransmitters. This is the first step.

This innovative test can reveal a host of information about behavior, moods, focus, memory, sleep, cravings and energy. It is a gift.

* All PPO insurance programs (not HMO's) will provide coverage for this test, as long as you have met your deductible. For further information or to order your test kit, call our clinic at: 760-448- 2722 / 800-608-5602

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The products recommended, are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Please check with your health care practitioner for your best health options.

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Climbing Kilimanjaro – Raising Autism Awareness to New Heights

Jackie Knechtel left home last August to travel the world. What began as the adventure of a lifetime will end up supporting a worthy cause as Knechtel climbs the world's tallest freestanding mountain to raise money and awareness for Autism Speaks.

At 19,340 feet, Mt. Kilimanjaro commands attention-attention that speech pathologist and world traveler Knechtel believes is due autism and those affected by it, and so on July 24, 2010, she will begin her trek to Kilimanjaro's summit to raise much-need research funding for Autism Speaks.

When Knechtel made the decision to make the climb, she chose a cause close to her heart. For the last ten years, she has been working with special needs children, but she found her calling when she was still in high school. “Actually,” she recounted in a recent interview, “I think it might have even been eighth grade.” Teaching religious education in an after school program, Knechtel worked with a little girl with Downs Syndrome. “Our time together was really special and we formed a very strong bond.

When she started her trip, climbing Kilimanjaro was not on the agenda. Knechtel was simply wanted to seize the day, after the realization that life is fleeting hit home following the death of her brother in February 2009. “I got to thinking about my life and what I wanted to do with it. the world that would make me happy, regardless of obstacles and difficulties, I decided that taking a trip around the world would be the thing that would make me that happiest. ” By August, she had sold her apartment, her car, put her practice on hold and was headed for Peru to visit Macchu Picchu.

Although Knechtel had planned to visit Africa for the World Cup and to go on safari, it was not until a friend asked her if she wanted to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro that the idea first came up. “My initial response was no, '” she related with a laugh. “I wanted to go sailing in Greece.

But after spending a sleepless night in an airport on her way to Brazil, the notice kept creeping into her thoughts. “I just kept thinking about it. All these ideas were just swirling in my head. charity. ”

To that end, Knechtel contacted Autism Speaks. Founded in February 2005, Autism Speaks has become the country's largest autism advocacy organization. According to their Web site, Autism Speaks is “dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism; increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders; and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families.”

The site also provides some pretty staggering statistics: one in every 110 children in the United States is diagnosed with autism. According to Knechtel, in Australia, the number is one child out every 100. Statistics also show that autism is more precalent than childhood cancer, juvenile diabetes and pediatric aids combined. Knechtel's goal is to raise $ 10,000 in contributions for Autism Speaks.

Knechtel's trek will take place over seven days, moving through five climates. “It's not an actual 'climbing' mountain,” Knechtel explained. Even though the climb does not require much mountaineering skill, Kilimanjaro is still considered technically difficult due to the severe altitude and unpredictable weather conditions. Located in northern Tanzania near the Kenyan border, Mt. Kilimanjaro is the tallest freestanding mountain in the world.

To prepare for her climb, Knechtel has been training on the road. “I've been training wherever I can, which is not always easy when you're traveling.” I did a couple of pretty intense hikes in New Zealand. Unfortunately the weather was not cooperating. There was an unusual amount of rain at the time and the trails were closed. ” Instead, she opted to attend a health retreat. “I decided to eat really well and do a detox sugar-free, salt-free, caffeine-free diet.

Back on the road, Knechtel has been fitting in fitness training wherever she can. “I bought a jump rope. That's pretty portable, so I can get in a good cardio workout, and I go for walks and runs whenever I can.

“It's important to take it slow,” she explained, as taking the journey too quickly and not giving your body adequate opportunity to acclimate to the higher altitudes that can result in acute mountain sickness. “If you start to feel nauseous and light-headed, you need to turn back,” she said, stressing again the importance of keeping a slow and steady pace.

“The climb is really a hike at a consistent incline except for the last three hours.

More than a metaphor for hardship and hope, Knechtel sees her climb as an opportunity to raise awareness around autism and its effects on individuals and their families as well as the chance to raise money to be used for critical research. “Our goal is to raise $ 10,000, but really, I would like to blow that out of the water and raise $ 19,340-a dollar for every foot. happy with anything we've raised. ”

To help Jackie meet her goal, visit her page on Autism Speaks.

For more information on autism awareness and research, visit Autism Speaks .

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