Browsing: Autism

How Children With Autism Think


“The Theory of Mind” which means how we infer mental states such as beliefs, desires, intentions, imagination and emotions that cause behavior or actions. It means that children and adults can reflect on what is going on in their own and others' minds.


Difficulty understanding others' minds is a feature of development for autistic children. Simon Baron-Cohen at the University of Cambridge, England describes several questions children with autism have been asked in studies that reveal this difficulty. Generally the questions are asked to four-year-olds because children without autism can answer these questions readily. Here are a few examples.


Children with autism above the chronological age of four do not mention any mental functions of the brain compared to typical children who report the brain causes us to dream, want things, think, and keep secrets. Autistic children do, however, point out physical functions of the brain like typical children who say the brain makes you move and helps you stay alive.


Four-year-olds are able to distinguish between appearance and reality when objects appear in misleading ways. For example, when a four-year-old sees a candle in the shape of an apple, they tell us. “It looks like an apple, but it's really a candle.”

An autistic child may say, however, that it really is an apple, an error about realism. Or, they might say, it is really a candle, not being able to capture the two identities of the object at the same time. How do you think about something objectively or subjectively is too difficult.


As seen in the video of my last post, four-year-olds are capable of thinking of others' points of view, unlike most three-year-olds. Autistic children like the youngger children have difficulty taking another's perspective. They only speak of what they know, not what others' know. They assume others think what they think.


If an autistic child sees one person look inside a box and another person just touch a box, they will be unaware on who knows what is inside the box. In contrast, a typical three-year-old recognizes the seeing-leads-to-knowing principle: “The person who looked inside the box knows what's there. The other person does not.”


The vocabulary of autistic children while looking at picture stories are more likely to include verbs like “jump,” “eat,” or “move.” They are less likely to include words that describe what is going on in a person's mind such as “think,” “know,” “hope,” “pretend,” and “imagine.”


This lack of using and understanding such language language corresponds to the infrequent use of pretend and make-believe play. This could be due to the young autistic child not spontaneously thinking about what they imagine. They may not realize that what we feel can have to do with not only what happens, but also what goes on in our minds. So an autistic child may recognize them “feel happy” when they are eating ice-cream, but not recognize them either “feel happy” when they are just imagining or thinking about eating ice-cream.


Meet some children with Asperger Syndrome.

It has been found that children with Aspergers who are at a high functioning level on the autistic spectrum without intellectual impairment, as well as a proportion of those with autism in general are able to consider what another person thinks- “Lin is thinking she is hungry. ” However, they do so when they are between five and a half and nine-years-old, an older age than typical children

More difficult thinking such as, “What does crazy think about what Todd is thinking?” which can be done by typical children at age six can be reached children with Asperger Syndrome by their teens.



When Dr.Greenspan introduced the floor-time approach ( ) to parents, playing with autistic children on the floor to stretch their interpersonal abilities, he achieved great success. These children learned to play with one another, engage each other in conversation, think about each other, and become much more capable to be a part of the social world.

“Floortime meets children where they are and builds up their strengths and abilities through creating a warm relationship and interacting. It challenges them to go further and to develop who they are rather than what their diagnosis says. child to excite her interests, draw her to connect to you, and challenge her to be creative, curious, and spontaneous-all of which moves her forward intellectually and emotionally. (As children get older, Floortime essentially morphs into an exciting, back- and-next time of exploring the child's ideas.) ”


I am hiring that as parents use Parental Intelligence that they will advance their high functioning autistic children's ability to understand others' points of view by playing pretend with them, using feeling language, and reading stories often asking what different characters think and feel.


Parental Intelligence focuses on parents working hard to understand what is going on in their child's mind. When understanding your child's mind is a focus of family life, children become accustom to thinking about what is on their siblings 'and parents' minds as well.

Everyone becomes interested in others points of view. I'm hiring when mothers and fathers use Parental Intelligence, it will help children with high functioning autism or Asperger Syndrome engage with others.

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Eating Sugar Can Lead To Autism (and Dumping Sugar Can Reverse It!)

Good results are always inspiring, but sometimes they can be gratifying beyond words. I started working with the son of a long-standing nutrition client several years ago. The process of working with her son took a while to take full effect, but the information she sent me a few weeks ago appeared almost miraculous.

I had worked with the mom (“Felicia”) for various reasons: to improve stamina for endurance events, improve digestion, eliminate symptoms of low blood glucose, improve sleep, and diminish symptoms of seasonal allergies.

Even with all of that, Felicia's greatest concerns were for her son (“Tim”). He was born with a congenital heart defect that Felicia and her husband learned was one aspect of a chromosomal defect called VCFS. As Tim entered addiction, he began showing a variety of symptoms: bipolar disorder, autism, ADHD, perseverative speech, and more. Tim was seen by doctors at university hospitals across the US, participating in NIMH studies, and was under the care of an intensive team. The team included psychiatrists, neurologists, psychologists, pediatricians, speech therapists, geneticists, and several different specialists.

The doctors prescribed an antipsychotic drug for Tim that had a strong effect on both his food preferences (he began eating junky foods that contained little nutrition) and his appetite (he never seemed satiated and would keep eating and eating if left on his own).

Tim was finally taken off the medication because it was black-labeled for patients with heart conditions. It was then that Felicia asked me to meet with him.

Felicia seemed surprised that I was able to create a rapport with Tim, and I'll admit it was not easy. But Tim had started playing golf and was becoming enthusiastic about athletics, and I was an athlete, so that became our common ground and starting point.

My nutrition suggestions were simple and easy to follow. The great part is Tim followed them. He also became my email buddy, sending frequent questions to me over many months, which has given me more and more opportunities to help him go beyond the suggestions in our first few appointments.

Felicia said Tim added nutrition to the list of topics that fascinated him. She told a couple of amazing, emotional stories about how he changed from “a monster in the house” to a son they could communicate with, and how he called her one day to ask her her day was and told her – for the very first time – that he loved her.

The end of this story continues to be wonderful. Tim is currently working as a certified personal trainer at a reputable fitness club, and his last psychiatric exam showed “no evidence of mental illness.”

This astonishing transformation was made possible by increasing protein in Tim's diet, eliminating sugar and white flour, and increasing healthy fats (particularly omega-3s). Other changes along the way helped, too, but these were primary.

Tim's story is fantastic, of course. It's also possible to reverse metabolic disorders in pregnant women and stop autism before it starts.

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The Various Significant Treatment Procedures Used for Autism Therapy

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) refers to a group of complex disorders related to the development of the brain. While the unfortunate reality is that there are no remedies to cure this disorder completely, early treatments can certainly bring down the level of impact it can make in the lives of autistic individuals. Appropriate medicines and treatment approaches during the early stages can unduly help these individuals lead a better and more meaningful life.

However, not all treatment procedures and medications make the same impact on individuals. It is highly important to consult a health care professional to know the most appropriate medications in individual cases. It is the task of the parents and the health care professionals to monitor closely the response of the children to each treatment procedure to recognize the one that's most suitable for them.

Let us discuss some of the treatment procedures available for autism therapy:

Behavior and Communication Management : Behavior and communication management focusses on bringing about improvements in behavior and communicating skills through self-help, social skills training and positive reinforcement. Behavior and communication management includes various treatment methods such as Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), Treatment and Education of Autistic and Related Communication Handicapped Children (TEACCH) and sensory integration.

Specialized therapies : Specialized therapies include occupational, speech and physical therapies. These therapies are important parts of autism management, and must be included in the various treatment programs for autistic children. Speech therapy focuses on the development of communication and social skills and help children on the autistic spectrum communicate more effectively with other people. Physical therapies are meant to bring about improvements in motor and coordination skills. Occupational therapy helps an autistic child to obtain information in a more processed way from the senses, such as sight, smell, sound, hearing and touch.

Meditations : While there are no medicines that can cure autism, they can be used to treat various behavioral conditions associated with autism, such as anxiety, depression, hyperactivity and obsessive-compulsive behaviors.

Sleep disorder is a common problem in children on the autistic spectrum, which can be treated by maintaining a healthy routine that includes going to bed and getting up at the same time every day.

Apart from the conventional therapies, music therapy is also recognized as an established health care profession that is known to be extremely effective in the treatment of autism. Musical sessions are created in a way to be extremely fun-filled and stimulating. They aim at allowing autistic children to express themselves freely and joyfully to help them develop social and communication skills. According to researchers, children are found to respond enthusiastically to music when they refuse to respond to anything else. Musical sessions are fun to them that they are not forced to participate in. They take part in those sessions spontaneously, thereby developing communicative skills and the ability of self-awareness. Music, with its healing powers, is considered as an effective tool for autism therapy.

Although it is not possible to cure autism completely, early treatments are extremely important to help these children relate better with the world around them and lead a more fruitful life.

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Autism: What Do We Measure With IQ Tests?

Some autistic individuals are said to have intellectual disability. This claim is based on the results of standard IQ tests. The key word here is 'standard': the IQ tests are designed to determine whether a person is developing within 'normal' range or is 'slow' or 'stuck' in his or her development. However, as autistic individuals follow a different path in their development, they are not 'less developed versions' of non-autistic people but rather persons who have developed, sometimes substantively, along a very different track from non-autistic people, while acquiring a whole range of adaptations, compensations and strategies on the way. The problem with standard IQ tests is, they do not identify 'autistic intelligence'. (This is very unfortunate, because if carers and educators had the knowledge of the 'inner abilities' and mechanisms autistic children have recognized that they could better teach them and help them function in non-autistic world and, surely, they could score a higher IQ .

The abilities of individuals with autism, while 'invisible', are so unusual that no existing test can measure them. As autistic individuals have different information processing strategies and styles, they may struggle with tasks presented in a conventional non-autistic way. It is the same as testing the IQ of a blind child by asking him to name the colors of the objects he was given. Even using his hands he would not be able to pass the test successfully. What do we really measure with IQ tests if they do not take into account perceptual and cognitive differences? No wonder there are so many people with labels of 'intellectually disabled' or 'retarded'. If someone behaves differently from the 'norm' people are quick to doubt the person's intelligence.

And the problem is, 'normal environment' is built to the specification and limitations of a normal human perceptual system that may not be very suitable for autistic people. What's to be done? Some say, “They [autistics] are in a minority. Others cry out, “Society must accommodate and adjust the environment to the needs of autistic people! Who is right? – Both and neither. The fact of the matter is, different autistic individuals have different needs, sometimes contradictory to each other. For example, one person may love the sound of running water and another would find it nearly impossible to tolerate. How can you accommodate these two in one and the same environment?

There is another solution of this situation: One side would try to take into account different ways of functioning and adjust the environment to make it easier for autistic people to access. For example, fluorescent lights are not a necessity, or non-autistic people could teach their non-autistic offspring good manners and supervise them on public places. The other side could seek and get help to overcome treatable difficulties (eg hypersensitivities can be addressed via different exercises, tinted glasses, earplugs and so on). Both, both sides have to educate them about differences and learn to respect each other.

We all have different abilities. Some can do certain things much better than others, but be useless in other areas. Why can not we appreciate each other for what they can do well, and help with areas they struggle with?

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What Is Asperger’s Syndrome

Asperger syndrome, or Asperger disorder, is actually a form of autism. It is a lifelong disability that affects how an individual processes information from the world and relates to other people. Autism is also described as a “spectrum disorder” because of the variety of ways in which it affects other people. Asperger syndrome is a piece of that puzzle.

Individuals with Asperger syndrome often have normal or above normal intelligence and language development but also autistic like behaviors and marked deficits in social and communication skills. The disorder was originally named by a Viennese physician, Hans Asperger, who published a paper in 1944 describing a pattern of behaviors. Despite the publication it was not until 1994 that the syndrome was added to the DSM-IV and only recognized in the past few years by professionals and parents.

By definition, individuals who experience Asperger syndrome have a normal IQ and potentially exceptional skill or talent in the specific area. These individuals are often viewed as eccentric and are easily the victims of teasing and bullying. On the surface, their language development appears normal but they often have deficiencies in pragmatics. This means they have difficulty understanding the intended meaning in speech.

Individuals with Asperger syndrome were once considered to have a hidden disability. This meant that an outsider may not understand their condition because they were able to function within society. However, they have difficulties in social communication, social interaction and social imagination. While they do not have the learning disabilities associated with autism the condition can be associated with dyslexia and dyspraxia or ADHD.

Individuals who suffer from Asperger syndrome find it difficult to express themselves emotionally and socially and have difficulty understanding facial expressions or differentiating tone of voice. It is difficult for them to know when to start or end a conversation and how to use complex words and phrases. Individuals often want to be social but have difficulty initiating social relations and may struggle to make and maintain friendships. Individuals with asperger syndrome do not get the social rules which most pick up at an early age without thinking. They see others as unpredictable and confusing and because of this, can become withdrew and appear uninterested in other people.

While individuals may be incredibly imaginative and creative, accomplished authors, artists and musicians-they can also have difficulty with social imagination. This means that they find it difficult to predict outcomes to situations or interpret other people's thoughts or feelings that are expressed by facial expression and body language.

Other related characteristics include feeling certain comfort in routines as well as developing an intense and somewhat obsessive interest in a specific hobby or collection. Some individuals also develop sensory difficulties which can occur with one or all of the senses. The degree of difficulty varies between individuals, but most common way is a sense that is either intensified or underdeveloped. For instance, bright lights or loud noises may cause anxiety or pain for an individual who suffers from Asperger syndrome.

Using some advanced brain imaging techniques researchers have found structural and functional differences in specific areas of the brain. These differences are likely caused by the abnormal migration of embryonic cells during development, while the child is still in the womb. A variety of studies have shown differences in brain activity when children to have Asperger syndrome are asked to respond to specific tasks. Although researchers believe there is a genetic component because of the tendency to run in families additional evidence is needed to link genetic mutations and asperger syndrome.

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My Child Has Autism, What Should I Do?

Knowing that your youngster has autism may be a troubling trial, and lamentably, time is of the quintessence. As a guardian, you do not have sufficient energy to consider why or how this happened, just what to do next. The most essential thing to recollect is that you are not alone in your battle. By looking into the issue and discovering others experiencing comparative circumstances, you can help you youngster while still dealing with your emotional state.

Join a help support network for folks with a mental imbalance. You can discover these by reaching the national Autism Society of America. From that point you can discover neighborhood extensions, huge numbers of which offer support support networks for folks and families with an extremely introverted youngster. Being in contact with different folks in a comparative circumstance can help you feel less alone, as well as it can give you a bunch of assets. A guardian help support network will additionally help point you toward the best specialists, mediation projects, and workshops for both your kid and your crew. Discover a help support network for another kids you have too. Numerous people overlook that they are not by any means the only ones who must figure out how to live and speak with an extremely introverted kid. By finding a help support network for your other kids, you can bail them from carrying on or acting against the mentally unbalanced kid by teaching them about the disease. As a guardian, you must make a strong environment for the whole family keeping in mind the end goal and to appropriately deal with your child's disease.

Consider marriage advising in the event that you are hitched. An extremely introverted kid can put genuine strain on you marriage, prompting heightened contentions, disregard of one another, and even perhaps reprimanding one another for the circumstances. Marriage guiding from the earliest starting point can help a couple through this revelation and unsuccessful move, and help assemble a superior strong environment for your kids. Your marriage bought not end as a consequence of having a mentally unbalanced youngster, however the miserable reality is that a considerable lot of them do. Keep this by utilizing each other for backing and by understanding that you may need help to manage each other now and later on.

Above all, begin on the way to turning into a master. Ordinarily pediatricians or therapists are not masters on extreme introvertedness, which can prompt dishonorable analyzes or mistaken treatment alternatives. As your youngster's best promoter, you must know all that you can about extreme introvertedness. Folks of Autistic Children could be an extra asset; this association offers preparing and workshops. The ASA has a bulletin which furthermore offers a variety of data, from diagnosing to treating. As always, never forget that a helping network of people with extremely introverted youngsters can furnish you with books and research that concentrate on the reality of the situation. Teach yourself and those around you to give the most gainful things to your youngster which is adoration and direction.

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When ABC Doesn’t Work

There is a very popular ABC (Antecedent – Behavior – Consequence) approach when the carer / the teacher is supposed to find the trigger (Antecedent), define the Behavior and provide the Consequence for this (often called inappropriate) behavior – ignore / time out / etc. In autism this approach does not always work. Sometimes the antecedent can not be easily identified, because it can be either 'present but invisible', or 'possible future', or 'past' antecedent. Let me explain.

Present but invisible antecedent

Sometimes we can not see / hear / feel certain stimuli as our senses are too 'normal'. For example, the child may be disturbed by the sound of the microwave oven two rooms away. As the carer can not hear it, any 'challenging behavior' displayed by the child would have been interpreted as 'out of the blue'.

Possible future antecedents

Not only certain stimuli but also any sudden unpredictable stimuli can be painful. The fear of the stimulus that 'hurts' is often the cause of challenging behaviors. The antecedents can not be easily identified because they are 'possible future antecedents'. Some autistic children may try to break things (for example, telephone or alarm clock) that can produce unpredictable painful sound. They do it as a protective reaction. For instance, Alex, a 9-year-old child with classic autism could not tolerate the sound of babies crying. Even when a baby was asleep he would try to attack (hit or kick) it. The trigger (antecedent) was 'in the future'. It was easier for Alex to tolerate the cry, when he was prepared for it and could see the source of it. This explains his 'challenging' behavior – to initiate and be in control of the painful sounds, make them predictable, instead of jumping out of his skin when the baby starts crying and he does not expect it.

Past antecedent

Sometimes any stimuli (not only sensory but also emotional ones) may bring memories of pain, or anger, or panic (happened in the past). As any memory brought to the surface (Ie to consciousness) becomes very much 'present', the child may react the way he or she reacted in the past, when the bad experience happened. What can provoke anger, fear, anxiety, panic attack? Anything! From smell to emotionally colored intonations. For example, some smells can bring pleasurable memories, and other odors remind one of unhappy ones. Or take another trigger – an emotional aspect of the word. Some words have emotional coloring that can be negatively charged. In autism, the conventional interpretation often does not matter. If something unpleased happened when the child heard the word 'sorry', for example, he would connect this word with the experience. Any time the child hears 'Sorry!' he may react with rage – the experience repeats itself.

The 'last straw' antecedent

Sometimes there are no definite triggers whatever. The cause of the challenging behavior may be overloaded , Ie if the child has been struggling already, anything can be last straw. Their sensory perceptual inconsistencies and differences can make dealing with the environment very difficult. If they continue to try to process all the information coming in, respect their ability to keep up with it, it may result in hypersensitivity that historically bring anxiety, confusion, frustration and stress, that in turn lead to tantrums and difficult behaviors.

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Essential Factors In Down Syndrome Treatment

Down syndrome is a genetic disorder that can not possibly be cured permanently. However, there are a number of factors than can contribute to a better and more meaningful life for children with Down syndrome. Some of the essential aspects that can help these children towards a healthier life include:

  • Early intervention programs to offer adequate support to the children and appropriate information to parents.
  • Treatment courses involving a team of health care specialists.
  • A healthy family environment with loving and supportive parents.
  • Support groups to provide appropriate education and information to parents and friends regarding possible Down Syndrome treatments.

All children with Down syndrome do not need to exhibit the same symptoms, and have the same requirements. They are all unique in their own ways, possessing their own set of talents, drawbacks and inhibitions. Here it would be extremely wrong to assume that the same course of treatment would work for all of them. On the contrary, it is extremely important to follow treatment procedures based on individual symptoms, requirements and behavioral patterns.

Whatever treatment approaches are followed, they have to be started as soon as the disorder is diagnosed. Mostly, Down syndrome can not be diagnosed until a child is born. However, as soon as it is identified in a new born baby, a series of therapies, exercises, medications and activities need to be started in order to help the child's head towards a healthier and and more independent life.

Early intervention programs have been recognized worldwide as being highly beneficial for children with learning disabilities and developmental disorders. These programs are not only helpful for an all-round development in children with special needs, but are also beneficial for parents and family in obtaining adequate information on the subject.

Children with Down syndrome have difficulty verbalizing owing to their smaller mouths and bigger tongues. Moreover, they have poor muscle tone, making it difficult for them to walk around independently. Early intervention programs include effective speech and language therapy to help them communicate clearly and with ease, along with physiotherapy to help them become more independent. Participating in early intervention programs can be beneficial for parents and families as well, since it gives them an opportunity to meet other parents in similar situation and learn more about the syndrome.

Down syndrome treatment requires a team of health care specialists including:

A Primary Care Pediatrician : A pediatrician specializing in treating children. They treat children with special needs for general health problems.

A Speech and Language Therapist : Speech and language therapists use various therapeutic methods to help children with Down syndrome articulate clearly, thereby encouraging them to communicate with people more effectively.

A Physiotherapist : A physiotherapist engages a child with Down syndrome in various physical exercises and activities such as rolling over, sitting up, walking, etc. to improve their muscle tone and help them walk around independently.

An Occupational Therapist : Occupational therapists help these children lead an independent life and become a part of the society by developing in them self-care abilities, motor skills and interaction skills.

Other specialists needed for Down syndrome treatment include:

  • A dietitian
  • An audiologist
  • An ophthalmologist
  • A cardiologist

For an effective treatment for Down syndrome, it is extremely important for doctors, therapists, educators, parents and family to work together strongly and dedicatedly.

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Music – A Significant Tool For Autism Therapy

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) can be treated through various treatment procedures and therapies. Although there can be no permanent cure for this disorder, effective and appropriate therapies during the early stages can actually help autistic individuals lead a comparatively better and meaningful life.

While there are various conventional therapies used for the treatment of autism, there's actually nothing that can work on everyone equally. Since different autistic individuals have their own set of abilities and disabilities, it is extremely important to treat them according to their individual requirements. Some of the common autism therapies include:

  • Speech therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Sensory integration therapy
  • Behavioral training
  • And more.

Apart from these, the one that describes a mention is music therapy. Music has the power to impact everyone regardless of age, sex and intellectual abilities. While it can be helpful for anyone with easing emotional problems such as stress, anxiety, hypertension, etc., it can be especially beneficial in treating children with special needs to develop in them cognitive, social and behavioral skills.

It has been found in various studies and researches that music therapy can effectively improve social behaviors and develop better communication skills in children and adolescents with ASD. Music can also effectively help in improving focus and attention, ease anxiety and develop body coordination. During times when nothing else can draw the attention of autistic individuals, they have been found to respond spontaneously and enthusiastically to music, making music a valuable therapeutic tool.

Let us discuss some of the ways music can be effectively used for autism therapy:

Develop Social Skills : According to various therapists, autistic children are found to interact much more positively and willingly during music therapy sessions than during sessions that do not involve music. Fun-filled and inspirational music sessions consisting of various activities like music-making, moving to the rhythms of music, playing instruments, passing and sharing instruments and many more help children learn social skills and interact more spontaneously. This helps them immensely in realizing their self-worth and their hidden potentials.

Improves Behavior : Autistic individuals attending music therapy sessions on a regular basis are found to show remarkable improvements in their behaviors. Music has the power to improve the ability to focus, and likely ease behavioral problems such as hyperactivity, restlessness, aggression and disorderliness.

Improve Communication Abilities : A majority of autistic children have difficulty communicating with others. While many of them are non-verbal, some of them are incapable of following verbal commands and understand body languages. Music therapy makes use of various creative activities like singing, dancing, drama, etc. to create a connection between sounds and actions by combining music with action, thereby helping them to relate to the words in the songs. This helps immensely in developing in them the ability to understand verbal commands better.

Creates a Fun-Filled Environment : The best part of music therapy is that it creates a fun-filled and delightful environment for autistic individuals. The learning process does not seem to be a work for them. They can learn enthusiastically and spontaneously while having fun. This helps them learn more effectively and successfully.

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Prevalence of Autism Across The Globe

According to a cross-ethnic study conducted by Mayada Elsabbagh et al., The global prevalence of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is about 62 per 10,000. Latest reports by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveal that one in 68 children have an autism spectrum disorder in the United States. The number of diagnosed cases has increased steadily over the last two decades – mainly because pediatricians have access to better tools now than before to detect the early signs.

While America tops the list of countries that are most affected by autism, Canada comes next. Latest studies reveal that one in 147 Canadian children is diagnosed with an ASD. Venezuela is among the few other countries in the Americas with an official estimate of autism prevalence. According to a 2008 report, the rate of autism prevalence in the South American county is 17 per 10,000 people. A recent study in Brazil found 27 cases of autism per 10,000 people.

The prevalence of autism in Asia is significantly low compared to the West. Saudi Arabia has an occurrence rate of 18 per 10,000 people, while 17 in 10,000 under-15 children in Hong Kong are diagnosed with an ASD. With a priority rate of 190 per million people, Israel is one Asian country that has been able to put up a tough fight against autism.

It is not fully clear if ignorance combined with a fear of social rejection could be behind the lowvalence of autism in Asia. There is a not-so-distinct line between autism and mental retardation in many Asian countries. Autistic students often attend the main classrooms where they do not need to receive the same level of individual attention and quality of education that they would have gotten if they were enrolled in special needs programs. Obtaining accurate data becomes problematic as many cases of autism go undetected.

Autism research in Europe has advanced a great deal since the early 1980s. However, data collection methodologies are still arcane and complicated. The diverse demographics in Europe make it all the more implausible for therapists to deploy a set of consistent data collection methodologies without which intervention can not be delivered. Apps for special education are not as broadly in use in Europe as they are on the other side of the Atlantic. Various studies have suggested that Germany has a higher rate of autism prevalence (140 in 10000) than other European countries.

Data relating to the prevalence of autism across the globe is subject to rapid change. As new technologies and diagnostic tools emerge, cases of autism are likely to be seen in previously 'safe' population. On a positive note though, an increase in the number of autism diagnoses should allow scientists to study more cases in order to discover its risk factors.

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Food and Autism

Next month, I'm giving a talk at a conference on autism and food. This brief post focuses on a link that I found unexpectedly while doing some quick research on PubMed.

Appropriately, autism is now referred to as autism spectrum disorder, a concept that developed as a result of the widely varied symptoms that may be involved. The disorder is absolutely not my field; I was asked to speak on sugar as a limiting factor in health. (I'm quite comfortable with that topic.)

While researching and preparing the talk, however, I ran across several articles in different science journals that describe a link between maternal metabolic conditions and the risk for autism spectrum disorder, developmental delays, and impaired development in their children.

The metabolic conditions investigated including diabetes, reduced insulin sensitivity, hypertension, high triglycerides, low HDL (good) cholesterol, high fast insulin, and high fast glucose. The presence of these conditions in pregnant women makes their infections more likely to develop disorders in the autism spectrum.

Researchers have concluded that increasing rates of obesity among the US population could make these finds significant and quite serious in terms of public health concerns.

For my part, I'm aware that obesity can and does cause insulin resistance, but it's certainly not the only cause. A number of factors can lead to insulin resistance (IR), including diet. In fact, diet can play a major role, both as cause and in successful risk management, or even reversal. The metabolic conditions are the same and can occur no matter which factor triggers IR.

(As it turns out, research on lab animals has shown a link between poor-quality maternal diets and insulin resistance, but, for obvious reasons, that kind of research could never be done on pregnant women.)

Needless to say, I'll let the conference attendees know about this link I just read about between maternal metabolic conditions and the autism spectrum, and also about the link between diet (emphasis on sugar that day) and those metabolic conditions.

Let's say you have a friend who is overweight or has any of the above metabolic conditions. If she is, or is planning to become, pregnant, it would be wise for her to work with a nutritionist. (Obviously, I'm not suggesting working with nutrition at the expense of medical care.

My point is that eating better and getting the metabolic conditions under control as soon as possible could make a big difference for both mother and baby, and that's clearly worthwhile.

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ABA Overview – Benefits of ABA Training For Children With Autism

Around the world, the prevalence of autism has seen its rise. In the UK alone, it is estimated that 1 out of 100 kids or adults may have autism. In the US, it is estimated by the CDC that 1 out of 6 kids are diagnosed with the disorder. The autism disorder ranges from being mild to serious disabilities that can hamper them the rest of their lives. If your kid or someone you know is currently battling with this problem, you might want to take a look at ABA training or the use of Applied Behavior Analysis to help patients diagnosed with autism to improve their motor skills as well as learn significant social behaviors and help them adapt to the real world.

ABA Overview

Kids learn naturally from the world they move in, more often than not, with minimal intervention from parents or other social factors. Children who are afflicted with autism find it harder to learn especially if their condition is considered as serious disability. This is where ABA or Applied Behavior Analysis comes in. ABA deals with focusing on the behavior that one wishes to be demonstrated and applies several techniques or principles to ensure that such positive behavior is repeated by the patient. Sample of this technique includes the use of positive reinforcement or rewards after a desired behavior or action is performed. The ABA training also helps patients to reduce unnecessary interference or aggressive behavior that is not conducive in helping the patient lead a productive life.

As autistic individuals learn more easily from a structured learning environment, the ABA therapy focuses on foster normal human skills such as looking at the action initiated, listening and imitating the same action. Patients with mild autism may also be taught other higher level skills such as being able to read, communicating with others and developing an understanding of other people's ideas and being able to respond.

ABA Training

Pivotal response, discrete trial training, Incidental, Natural environment, Verbal Behavior and other ABA therapies are just some of the therapy techniques that one can find and each one is effective depending on how a patient responses. Parents who have autistic children can also learn how to use these techniques to further support their children especially at home where specialized care is not available. There are plenty of schools out there that offer training programs and comprehensive ABA trainings are also available online.

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The Role Music Therapists Play In Treating Autistic Children

Music therapists play the role of using the power of music to help their clients over various social, behavioral, emotional and physical difficulties. They work with clients of all ages and belonging to all kinds of social and cultural backgrounds. The musical sessions are connected with the sole aim of establishing an interactive relationship between the therapist and the client in order to achieve various therapeutic goals.

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) refers to a lifelong developmental disability affecting the ways in which a person communicates or refer to others around them. It has been shown in various medical studies and researches that music therapy can immensely help children with autism. Autistic children and teens are assisted by the power of music in a number of ways, such as developing social behaviors and communicative skills, enhancing focus and attention, improving body coordination, reducing stress and anxiety and more.

Let us discuss some of the ways music therapists can help children and teens on the autistic spectrum:

Improve Social Skills : In most cases it is found that autistic children respond extremely well and become more expressive and socially active during musical sessions than during play sessions that are devoid of music. Moreover, an experienced and trained therapist can immensely help in developing social skills in these children by engaging them in various musical activities such as moving to musical tunes, passing and sharing musical instruments, dancing around a particular instrument, composing songs and many more.

Reduce Stress and Anxiety : Owing to the inability to filter our provoking stimuli, autistic children are more prone to exhibit anxiety-related behaviors. Music therapy has been found to be extremely helpful in easing stress and anxiety in these children.

Develop Communicative Skills : Most children with autism have a problem communicating with people around them. While some of them are non-verbal, some have problems following verbal commands and some fail to understand body languages. Skilled music therapists conduct therapeutic sessions with various musical activities that help these children learn to relate words with actions. These effective musical activities help in establishing a connection between the motor and auditory sections of the brain, thereby developing in them the ability to understand verbal commands.

Music is Enjoyable : It is easier for autistic children to consistently enjoy the musical sessions due to the simple reason that they do not seem like work to them. The children thoroughly enjoy the musical activities without feeling pressurized or forced to take part in them. It is almost impossible to make children keep working at something unless they enjoy it or find happiness in it. Music therapists can make the therapeutic sessions extremely creative, fun-filled and stimulating, thereby helping them to stick to the sessions consistently.

In order to help children on the autistic spectrum, it is essential for the therapists to appropriately understand their pathological and personal needs. Before starting the therapy, they must engage in thorough discussions with the family of the child regarding the child's behavioral patterns, disabilities and requirements. Only then can the therapist plan the right kind of musical sessions for them.

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Bringing Treatment Into Your Home

Knowing your child is autistic can make you feel puzzled, worried and mostly afraid. But then this should not be the case as there are other families who have experienced this but were able to go past this problem. You can do it as there is no harm in trying. You are simply taking responsibility and facing up to the challenge of taking care of your autistic child.

That is basically the first step-taking responsibility and accepting your child for what he is. Turn this feeling into a worthy challenge that could bring more positive changes in your life.

Find more alternative ways to handle autism by educating yourself, family members and even friends. There are many helpful books and therapies you can use and apply at home.

One of the best ways to treat autism at home is through music therapy. Let your child listen to music and observe which particular music your child sees to attune to. Your child could start humming and create sounds. This is also an effective method to inspire your child to talk.

You can also use play therapy wherein toys are placed on the floor so you and your child can play together. You let your child hold a toy and see if your child will take it. After establishing contact with your child you can let another child to join in. You can always ask a child therapist to do the initial steps so you can learn proper techniques.

You can also change your child's diet by adding more Omega 3's into their foods. You can use fish oil in liquid form and mix it milk or juice. Omega 3's has been found out to improve social interactions, sleeping habits and general health of children with autism.

Show more understanding, patience and compassion to your child. It takes time for your child to understand and do things on their own but it could be all worth it if you have patience on this. Treat it as a learning experience and be consistent with your show of love and attention. Be positive and show appreciation each time your child shows interest in activities like reading or playing.

Continually seek good information and advice from reputable organizations who know about autism. Choose the proper advices applicable to your child and to your home environment. A special teacher could teach your child at home or you can bring your child in a normal school environment that could provide their special needs. Find out more about these special schools and apply their methods in your own home.

Make your child feel that they are a member of the family by including them in regular family activities. Teach other family members to understand the special needs of their sibling.

Home treatment for autism is not always about medication. It would be more of feelings and leaving these feelings to your child that they are loved regardless of their condition. In time, your child would be able to return the same feelings back to you.

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Discipline And The Child On The Autism Spectrum

Discipline is just a way to teach children to act in a social acceptable way and to instill the ethics and morals that parents want their child to have. Without the discipline and the teaching of discipline, a child from birth would develop as his environment allowed. The “spoiled brat” is often thought to be a child who parents did not love him / her enough to use discipline. Discipline is love, and it allows children to learn how to become productive and appropriate adults in the future.

Children with developmental, processing, or learning disabilities must learn through the process of discipline and life lessons on how to have in society just as any other child would. Many use the terms ABA or Behavior Modification, but to me they are just a discipline and being a parent. Discipline is the job parents like the least that is necessary for our children. If your child / teen at ten has the mature or mental age of a five year old, then discipline should be age specific as activities that the child can and will tolerate.

Discipline must be appropriate. When a two year old is about to touch a burning fire, a quick slap of the hand to stop him may be appropriate or a slight slap on the behind. At this moment for the toddler stops the behavior that would bring them harm. For that is what discipline is about safety and teaching behavior to allow a child to grow up into a safe along with productive adult. Spanking as a form of punishment is not acceptable behavior and other forms of behavior modification should be used that age specific. If your seven year old destroys a toy, then the punishment is to not replace the toy. The seven year old will then learn the life lesson: if he does not take care of his toy, he will not have a toy. If a teenager has a party while parents are away, and the home is wrecked, they will be responsible for replacing those things. A spanking can not teach the lessons and can never be appropriate. Punishment needs to teach a life lesson, so the child understands the consequences of their action. A slap on the hand to the toddler is only a way to keep the child safe for that moment and gives the child no lesson on why they should stay away from the fire. A parent can not let the toddler get burned and find out why-they need to keep the toddler safe so the slap on the hand or behind serves the purpose.

Children with disabilities need to learn life lessons with discipline. A parent needs to keep the child safe and to teach them how to act in society. Much time with Aspergers I hear: well he is just blunt, and that that the way he handles his world. This may be fine behavior for his world; when out in public it is not the child's with Aspergers' world, it is everyone world. I am overweight, and I know that I am. Anyone who looks at me can see that I need to lose weight. Still I would be very offended if a child with Aspergers because he is blunt, and I did not know him nor his parents, came up to me and said “your fat why.” It is a logical question, but not a question that an adult woman would not want a stranger asking. I would consider this rude. I would consider this person to be a bully, and his behavior would hurt me. Many would consider me to not be “autism aware or tolerant.” And, I ask you: why should I have to be tolerate of this behavior from someone I do not know, who bullies me about a flaw I have?

The child with Aspergers needs to learn the lesson that they can not just say what they want to others. This lesson may take time to learn and with an apology from the child's parents, I can let the incident pass. The child with Aspergers to function in our society in our society needs to learn how to: keep their thoughts to themselves to function in society without hurting others. This child needs to learn not to be a bully, and it will be the job of the parent to reinforce the consequences. With a child with Aspergers, this will take patience and time. The parents could start by explaining to the child why he can not call someone fat when he first meets them and why this is bully behavior. Use an incident when a child with Aspergers was hurt by a bully. Then make the child apologize to me directly. After enough times and the building of empathy relating this when the Aspergers child being bullied, he will begin to understand that not all thoughts and observations should be said out loud. A life lesson learned through discipline to correct the behavior that is part of Aspergers, but needs to be retrained to be socially appropriate and not offend people to become socially acceptable.

The meltdowns of autism are a big problem in social situations. Many feel that they should take their child anywhere and if they have a meltdown, others should have to tolerate the behavior. Most are kind and will especially if the parents say “oh, my child has autism.” When a child is young, this can be okay, and many will tolerate the behavior. As the child grows older even when others are told they have autism the behavior is less acceptable, and many wonder why you would bring the child to an event if you are unable to control the child's or teen's behavior at a social function. It is important to work with occupational therapists and your primary care doctor along with the child's school team to develop a consistent program for discipline on meltdown behavior. The child need to learn other ways along meltdowns to cope with the sensory world. It will take patience and professional involvement but can be accomplished as the sensory dysfunction of autism is compensated for by the child. The child needs to learn the lesson that screaming will not make the sensory issue go away, but asking mom to take them out of the movie that is too loud will. A parent may be upset that they have to leave the movie, but the child will learn that if a noise irritates them they should leave. As the child grows older and can compensate for more sensory input, they may not have to leave at every sound or may learn that they can not leave for everything that irritates their senses. A 2nd grade Christmas concert. All the kids sing off key. The person with autism can not just walk out during a concert as their family member sings, and will need to learn to develop empathy. If the person with autism does choose to walk out, they will have to hear the young child cry, as they tell the second grader that the concert was terrible, and your ears could not tolerate the noise. That would be the behavior of a bully. Hurting the young child in the person with autism life would be the consequence that they may not want to live with and may learn to bring their I phone discreetly listen to it and not the second graders.

We all need to be autism aware and tolerate. Those who are care giver or on the spectrum need to be socially tolerate and learn to act in acceptable ways. Child on the spectrum can learn to do this with the love of discipline by their parent who teach them to be considerate towards others. Also, caregiver should learn what their child / teen / young adult with autism limits are for sensory input and keep them from those events, till they are able to tolerate the sensory overload of these events. Consistent discipline will help our child with autism and disabilities of autism to function in society bring their talents forward to solve world problems as they are able function socially and morally conforming to proper social rules. Cheryl Zmijewski RN

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