Preparing a Child With Autism for Summer Vacation

How to prepare your child with autism for the summer break

People all over the Northern Hemisphere are getting excited about getting ready for summer. Whether your family enjoys the beach, cookouts, ball games, or barbecues, you are certainly ready to ditch Old Man Winter and enjoy some summer fun.

For a child with ASD, though, summers can be a challenge. With their need for consistent schedules and routines, some summer activities may present difficulties. Kids with sensory issues may have a tough time with the bright sun and with loud music at the beach. Others may have difficulties adjusting to new surroundings while they are on vacation.

With a few tips from experienced therapists, though, you can help your child enjoy his or her summer vacation as much as the rest of your family.

1. Keep your child's routine as close as possible to that of the school year : When your children are in school, they usually wake up at a given time, leave for school at a certain time, and have a regular schedule while they are in school. They return at the same time almost every day, do their homework, eat dinner, play, take a shower, and then get into bed. Try to get your children up at the same time as they do during the regular school year. Provide structured activities to fill the time during which your child would have normally been in school. Make an effort to keep the rest of the schedule as similar as possible to that of the school year. Be sure to ask your child's therapist for more ideas tailor to your child's needs.

2. Stay on Top of the Heat and the Bugs: For kids with sensory issues, summer heat, bug bites, and poison ivy can be doubly annoying. Make sure that your kids get plenty of water and that they come inside the house when they feel sticky and hot. Encourage them to take showers or jump into the pool when they feel sweaty. Make sure that your children use sunscreen and bug spray properly. Have plenty of medications to take care of bee stains and poison ivy exposure. If you can be proactive in dealing with summer's minor annoyances, your kids will be more comfortable and less likely to exhibit inappropriate behavior.

3. Plan Vacation Activities From Your Child's Perspective: Visiting relatives, going to a crowded beach or theme park can overwhelm children with autism. If your children have difficulties adapting to these situations, there are several things you can do. Those sensitive to loud noises can wear noise-blocking headphones or ear plugs. If they are sensitive to touch, prepare your child for Grandma's hugs beforehand. You might want to prepare Grandma to receive less than an enthusiastic hug in return. Assure her by saying something like the following, “Yes, Grandma, Johnny loves you very much. As best as you can, try to keep your child's regular routine, even when traveling. For many kids with autism, a travel bag helps to keep them entertained. In the bag you can put water bottles, books, travel-sized games, snacks, toys, and other items that will keep them busy. By keeping them busy, they are more likely to exhibit appropriate behavior.

If you prepare wisely for your child's summer vacation, your family can look forward to making the kinds of memories that hold a family close together even during difficult time. If you need more information about getting your child adjusted to his or her summer schedule, be sure to ask your child's therapists.

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A Look at Autism Through the Parents’ Eyes

This week in the Huffington Post, a mom with a child who has autism wrote about her experiences with the devastating illness. The most harrowing part was the lack of connection to her child. She can never know exactly what is going on in her child's mind because she has no point of reference.

The best way she can understand him is to just ask him more questions and encourage his creative output. Unfortunately, there is so much that we still do not understand about this disease.

First and foremost, there is the question of how it's caused. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, scientists can not confirm what exactly causes autism spectrum disorder, but they agree that genetics and environment probably have something to do with it.

You may have heard news about the debate over whether or not aluminum and other toxic substances in vaccines are to blame. Led by Albert and Claire Dwoskin , the Dwoskin Family Foundation and CMSRI have steered the discussion towards vaccines. Time will tell what comes from this debate and ongoing research.

In regard to symptoms, this depends on the severity of the case and the child. The most severe version of the autism spectrum disorder is autism. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 88 children will have some form of autism spectrum disorder, and boys are four times more likely to have it than girls. The number one symptom for most children with autism is some form of social irregularity. This could mean not responding to his or her name or speaking in the third person. Most will not know how to interact with other children.

If these symptoms are there as early as age 1, parents should certainly speak with their doctors to get a diagnosis. Children who are diagnosed with some form of autism spectrum disorder are usually treated with a combination of behavioral therapy and medication. Although there is no cure as of this moment, many do go on to live normal lives with improved symptoms. While it can be difficult – as described by the mother in the beginning of this essay – parents must do everything in their power to help their children overcome the challenges and difficulties inherent with this disease.

While we do not know everything yet about the disease, we are learning more each day and will hopefully one day have a cure.

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Accommodating Children With Special Needs

Imagine an ostrich egg. Now, hard-boil it, and slice it in half with a perfect stroke that cuts the shell as cleanly as the cooked egg. As you look at half of the egg, you see layers: the shell, the white, the yolk. Now take a large ruby ​​of the kind you might put on a ring, and stick it right in the middle of the yolk. You've just created a very decent model of what a typical school's special education needs look like.

The shell, and a significant area outside of it, represents the greater student population – a large mass of students that are 'normal', and make it through their own schooling without really raising the question of disability.

Supports

The albumen – the white of the egg – represent students that have a known disability. It may be ADHD, or dyslexia, or social anxiety disorder … whatever it is, they are thought to be 'beyond' it, or to have a variation of it that does not require special effort to work through. Much like there's more white to an egg than yolk, these kids actually represent more than half of the 'kids with disabilities' in any given school.

Many of them have thick files full of IEPs and full records of all of the efforts that were required in preschool, kindergarten, and sometimes into elementary school – efforts to get them where they are today. But by and large, an outside observer would never guess that these kids were once considered 'special needs.' If these children need anything at all to get by – say, an ADHD kid taking a supplementary dose of their medication at lunchtime – these minor aids are referred to as 'supports,' but unfortunately, that word is also often used as an umbrella term that also includes the two categories below as well.

Accommodations

The yolk of the egg represents the students that currently require 'accommodations.' These are students who are mostly able to deal with the material as-is, provided that it is presented in a manner that operates within their sphere of competency. The most extreme example is a deaf student, who is completely competent scholastically, but can not receive information from lectures, standard classroom videos, and so on. Most 'special needs' students can function at or above grade level given adequate accommodations, and schools are legally required to provide accommodations for students who need them.

Modifications

The ruby ​​in the middle – that tiny bit of the huge egg – represents the students whose needs are greater than 'mere' accommodations will compensate for. These are the kids who require what are called 'modifications'. Children with profound disabilities such as cerebral palsy, severe autism-spectrum disorder, or oppositional defiant disorder need coursework that is almost completely different from that used by the core students. These modifications are designed to provide material that correlates to what the rest of the school is learning, but presents it in a way that is accessible to the children that fit in this small group.

The important thing to know about these need levels is that:

• Supports generally do not involve any change to the material or the teaching style, and are simply tools to help the student access the material as easily as a 'normal' student would.
• Accommodations involve changes to presentation, but generally not the material itself.
• Modifications are changes that affect both presentation and the curriculum material itself.

Examples

To clarify, let's look at a few examples of each:

Supports:

• Medicine – prescribed or OTC – taken on a schedule that allows the child to maintain function. The most commonly-used is Adderall, but that is one of many examples that cover a wide variety of disabilities.
• Dietary modifications that avoid specific allergens or other potential food-borne toxins that can cause complications with some disabilities (for example, avoiding MSG for children with ADHD.)
• Altered seating arrangements to account for minor disabilities like low-level myopia or touch-averseness.

Accommodations:

• Pacing Changes, such as shorter lessons, longer lessons, or more breaks within lessons.
• Environmental Changes, such as putting certain students in the front of the room, or teaching in a room with curtains over the windows and minimized distractions.
• Presentational Changes, such as the aforementioned adaptation for deaf students, or providing 'pre-instruction' for certain children on certain difficult subjects.
• Adaptive Technology, for example braille printers, large-print books, large-button calculators, and so on.
• Behavioral Adaptations, such as applying strong positive reinforcement, requesting parental enforcement at home, and utilizing behavioral contracts.

Modifications:

• Occupational Therapy Intervention, for children who can not control their bodies and impulses get up and move.
• Oral Testing, for children who are unable to hold a pencil or operate a keyboard.
• ESL Teaching, for children who are not progressing in English at a school-relevant speed.
• Assignment Truncation, or allowing a special needs student to turn in an assignment with less than a standard workload in order to achieve the same grade.
• Curriculum Slowing, such as allowing a given student to spend an extra several days on a given subject while their peers move on.

If it sees as though students that require modifications probably also require a lot more work than those that require accommodations, who in turn require a lot less work than the surely 'supported' – you're absolutely right. Fortunately, the Federal government provides schools with extra funding based on the number of students in each category, so for most schools, the system works passably well.

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Educating Special Needs Children

Educating a child with special needs is an awesome topic – worthy of several books – but we'll cover the basics here today.

The Most Important Part of Special Education

By far, without any question, is realizing there's a problem and resolving the problem. If a child makes it to kindergarten without anyone nothing anything dramaticly wrong, it's easy to cover the problem is something minor. (Sometimes, it actually is – we know of at least one child that was diagnosed with profiled ADHD when his actual problem was nearsightedness; he wandered around the classroom not because he could not focus, but because he was trying to get a better view of the activities.)

Further complicating the problem is the fact that many special-needs diagnoses are interrelated, or very similar in symptoms. For example, ADHD is strongly correlated with dyslexia, dyscalculia, and some similar diseases – but it's not associated with the autism spectrum even though it shares far more symptoms in common with mild autism than it does with any of the dys- conditions. A child that does not like to talk may be autistic, or they might have apraxia, or social anxiety disorder, or they might have a bad stutter … or they might be deaf and unable to hear you when you try to provoke a conversation. The point here is that special educators, no matter how skilled, can not help a child if they're using tools and techniques designed for the wrong disorder.

Special Needs is Not 'Remedial.'

The next thing to remember is that there is a large difference between 'special needs' and 'poor scholastic performance.' Remedial education and special needs education have some overlap, but they are two different subjects – because 'special needs' can include scholastic affective disorders like dyslexia, but can just as easily include educating a brilliant but deaf student or a student with Asperger's Syndrome that is an amazing mathematician and geographic wizard, but has trouble understanding the basics of social play and turn-taking. A good special needs program understands how to deal with gifted children – because being gifted is a special need – as well as those requiring remedial assistance. Recognizing strengths has to be part and parcel of every special child's education.

In fact, there is a special design in special education – '2E' – for those kids that are 'twice exceptional,' and require accommodation in both directions. A girl that is reading three grades above the rest of her classroom, but is also significantly affected by ADHD and requires constant attention to stay on task – that's 2E. A boy that is dyscalculic and can not perform mental arithmetic, but is also a musical prodigy that masters new songs within days – that's 2E. And these children are more common that most people understand.

The Same is True at Home

If it's not obvious, these two overarching principles apply just as much to all of the lessons you teach your child at home as well. If you refuse to acknowledge that your child is different than the others, or if you assume that the problem is one thing without getting an expert diagnosis, you're making a dire mistake. Similarly, learning that your child has dyslexia or ADHD does not mean you have to treat them like they're not as smart as a 'normal' kid – they are, they just have an issue they need your help overcoming.

Special Education Tools

Here are the largest, broadest tools of special education, and how they relate to those principles:

The Individualized Education Plan (IEP)

The keystone of modern special education, IEPs serve as record-keeping, as a source of information for future educators, and as a tool for assessing the child's progress. Each IEP contains information about the child's diagnosis, known expressions thereof, and a record of every technique and tool used in the attempt to educate the child. Without an IEP, there is no individualization – and then, there is no special education.

Your child's doctor and / or the school's specialists will tell you if they've been diagnosed with a condition that puts them in the 'needs an IEP' category. Not all children with a given diagnosis do – there are plenty of kids with ADHD who get in main school with no IEP, for example – but there are absolutely those who require special effort even if they receive and properly use a prescription such as Concerta or Adderall. Deciding whether a given child can cope with the school system 'as-is' or whether they require legitimate specialized education is part and parcel of the process.

The Special Education Crew and Room

Dealing with one special needs child at home can be quite difficult – imagine dealing with six, eight, or fifteen in a classroom setting! There's simply no teacher, no matter how expert, who can predict how the kids will interact. When the ADHD kid jumps through through an assignment because he decided that spinning around in a circle is more fun than addition, and in his spinning he quite accidentally smacks the child with Oppositional Defiant Disorder in the back of the head, what will happen?

Will she scream at the top of her lungs and scare the autistic student into having a bathroom accident? Will she attack the ADHD boy and leave him wondering why he's suddenly on the ground and bleeding from a scratch across the cheek? Or will she just upend her desk and get the entire room breaking down into a chaotic melee?

That's why almost every special education classrooms features a 'safe room,' with padded walls and noise insulation a child can retreat to when they know they can not cope. It's also why every special educator comes with a squadron of assistants. Some of them are specialized therapists, like the speech pathologist or the occupational therapist; others are 'simply' other educators that are trained to deal with the occasional full-classroom breakout and keep control.

Take-Home Lessons

As a parent, you can learn from these realities. Of course, you already individualize the attention you give your child – but do you keep a record of problems you encounter, solutions you attempt, and how well they succeed or fail? Can you see how that will be useful within a month or two? Do you have a 'safe space' the child is allowed to retreat to when overwhelmed? Ask your child's teacher what tools they use that have worked for your child, and how you can implement similar strategies at home. Special education does not have to – and should not – stop just because your child left the classroom.

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Coping With a Special Needs Diagnosis in Preschool or Elementary School

Your baby was perfect at birth – for years, no one had the slightest idea there was anything wrong. Walking, pointing and squealing and playing … everything seemed just fine. Then, someone noticed something was wrong. Why were not they … talking? Reading? Smiling? Responding? So you took your baby to an expert – or maybe the school did – and suddenly, there it was: your baby is not perfect anymore. They have a label. 'Dyslexic,' they say, or 'Autism-spectrum,' or 'ADHD,' or worse.

What now?

You Can Grow Into Your Role

The first thought any parent has in this situation is simple: “Can I handle this?” The answer is always yes. First, let yourself experience the emotions that hit you when the diagnosis came down – and let them motivate you. Any emotion can become a motivation; let yourself feel them and let those feelings sublimate into a drive – the drive to become the person your child needs you to be. It might not seem like it now, but stability will return, and if you learn everything you can about your baby and their condition, it can return under your control.

You have to do the feeling – fortunately, there are many resources available to help you learn. Here are some of the best:

Talk to the People who Know

• Your doctor, your child's doctor, and any relevant specialists they can refer you to.
• The school's special education staff.
• Any local groups of people who suffer from the particular condition in question.
• Any local groups of parents of people who suffer from the condition in question.
• Indirectly, through books, blogs, and other stories written by any of the above.

Finding information you can respect and people who can help – whether through expertise, empathy, or both – will be a huge support in moving forward with the proper attitude and information.

Find Services That Offer Aid

EIS – Early Intervention Services – can help address the needs of infants and toddlers with disabilities. If your child gets diagnosed in kindergarten or preschool, they may qualify – but more importantly, you may qualify. Ask the experts above where you can find a service to put together an IFSP – that's an Individualized Family Service Plan – to help all of you in the most appropriate manner.

Your Baby is Still and Will Always Be Your Baby

No matter how many special needs your child has, they are still a child. They will still go through the same stages of development – maybe not at the same age, rate, or to the same heights – but they still need all of the same things. Often, they need more – more attention, more detail, more love, maybe even more independence or more responsibility.

In particular, it can be hard to recognize when a child you know has unique needs is ready to take on more – but it's by taking on more that a child learns to feel pride and to feel competence. Both of those things are absolutely critical for special needs children – so do not ever forget that nudging them to grow is loving them.

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An Examination Of The Range Of Disability With Aspergers Syndrome

Aspergers syndrome is considered one of the disabilities included in the autism spectrum disorders or personality pervasive disorders. Often times it is classified as a high functioning form of autism because these sufferers will have normal or above average intelligence and normal language development.

Individuals who suffer from aspergers syndrome will have more difficulty with communicating with others and have a triad of symptoms which include poor social imagination, poor social interaction and poor social communication. In many cases they are unable to maintain eye contact and do not read and react to social cues that most of us do subconsciously.

Some question whether or not aspergers syndrome is truly a disability but should rather be termed a difference in ability. The fact is, a great number of individuals who suffer from the symptoms also have special abilities that can not be ignored. These abilities often fall in the realm of math or music. This should not be confused with the individual who has autism, but a highly developed skill or talent and considered a savant.

The difference lies in the individuals language development and intelligence level. Individuals with aspergers can have a chance to become very productive functioning people in society if the right steps are taken to help them develop strategies and coping mechanisms to attempt to overcome their symptoms.

The symptoms and condition of aspergers syndrome has no known cure. At this time researchers believe that it is the result of a neurological deficiency in the brain which manifests itself as a difficulty in social interactions. Because the functioning and structure of the brain can not be changed individuals must learn to develop coping strategies that will help them interact with society and decrease their frustration level.

The range of abilities and disabilities of individuals who have aspergers syndrome is very wide. There are some who have the same behavioral issues that face those who have autism while others appear to be quite at ease in social situations and exhibited only some mild obsessive-compulsive disorders or ritualistic behavior.

Frustration sets in for both the individual and their family members when the sufferer may refuse to seek any kind of help because of a lack of being able to see the future and have any hope for the future.

A diagnosis of aspergers syndrome in childhood often occurs after the age of three while autism is usually diagnosed prior to the age of three. There is no guarantee of the future for those who suffer the symptoms of aspergers syndrome but it has been found that individual counseling to help people develop coping strategies and family counseling to help family members comply with behaviors that are not intentional is the best answer to increase the ability of an individual to function in society.

Family members and parents often have questions of what the future will hold for their child and sibling after the diagnosis of aspergers syndrome. Unfortunately, doctors and psychologists are on able to give an accurate picture of what the future will look like because of the wide range of disability that an individual may experience through their lifetime. All that can be assured is that their family member can now receive care and treatment that was not available prior to 1994 when the diagnosis was first entered into the DSM-IV. Although it is a small consensus, research continues to delve into causes and treatments that can help those individuals who have aspergers syndrome or high functioning autism.

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Tragedies – Limited Understanding and Secrecy Surrounding Supported Typing Strategies

A father, was arrested and jailed for 80 days on a sex-abuse charge involving his daughter. His wife, was charged with severely mentally and physically abusing her children and forced to wear an electronic tether. The girls thirteen year old brother was also named as a perpetrator. The daughter was nonverbal and autistic. The charge against her father was typed to an aide at school. She was given arm support as she typed these horrific allegations.

A mother was suspected of manslaughter for the death of her nonverbal 8-year old autistic son. It was described as a failed murder suicide attempt. According to the mother, her son reported horrendous sexual abuse at the hands of her second husband, the child's biological father. He indicated to his mother that he wanted to die because of the abuse. The distraught mother thought her first ex-husband was trying to kill her and feared if this happened the child's biological father would get custody. The mother viewed the killing of her son as an altruistic mercy killing. These accusations were made by the boy on a blackberry as his mother lightly touched his upper arm.

Supported typing usually falls into two categories. FC-Facilitated Communication, a process, where hand or arm support is given to a nonverbal person as he types. RPM-Rapid Prompting Method-is a form of partnered communication that encrypts nonverbal individual to hit the letters on his own as his partner holds the device or sets next to him, usually looks at the keyboard and focusses on what is being typed.

These are just two horrific examples in the news in the past year. Many other unfounded cases of abuse and misconduct have occurred. Wrongful decisions have been made on behalf of the nonverbal person. I believe that many of these incidents occurred and continue to occur because there is so little understanding of the process of supported typing.

I have shared in supported printing activities for over twenty-five years with multiple partners, both adults and children. I offered both physical support-FC and provided RPM strategies. Neither of these strategies is “ego” independent typing. Both require energetic support. I can hear the words in my mind before they are typed. It is energetic, soul connection, a form of telepathy that has complexities and restrictions not present in basic image sending, or what is typically think of as telepathy. As my partners help me expand, so does my understanding.

This inspiring process needs to continue without inflating harm on these sensitive souls or those who serve them. Unfortunately, only those who have experienced the process can begin to understand it, and many of those partners seem unable or unwilling to forgive its significance.

In my experience, I suspect the severely autistic person hitting the keys has weak control over his “conscious” mind and “bodily” movements. One of my partners described himself as being in a dream state much of the time. Typing partners can unknowingly influence the information coming from the severely autistic person. As one of my autistic partners recently typed. “Purest partners are unattached to outcome. God's truth flows through writing when communication partner listens and does not judge.”

Unfortunately, in the above mentioned horrific situations of false incarceration and murder, this was not the case. I propose the facilitators' own fears and biases may have affected communication content without their awareness. If the partners, had the knowledge of the energetic linking that occurs, these tragedies and others would never have happened or continue to happen.

When accusation against others or life changing decisions are made, multiple forms of communication and behavior should be used.

Many main stream supporters of partnered typing, have neglected to accept or publicly disclose reports of extra-sensory or paranormal aspects of the phenomenon. In actuality, the FC, and RPM communities even disassociate from each other, and while seems overly enthusiastic in regard to their partners using independent communications in conjunction with partnered typing.

Some discovered partners embrace this “telepathic resonance” but some who do, seem to feel the nonverbal child's communications is absolute truth, and there is no need to investigate. They do not see, or sometimes even suspect they too may influence typed communication by their own bias or ego interference.

I have used supported communication techniques for many years and continue to grow in my understanding of its benefits, to both the nonverbal person and myself as his partner. It is a fascinating road to discovery, an amazing gift of continued spiritual and multidimensional understanding. As enthusiastic as I am, I strongly believe parents, caregivers, and the public need information on this possibility of unintended impact.

I see all the information I receive as intelligent and insightful. I am deeply inspired by all my friends, who have partnered with me over the years, yet, because I am part of the process, I do not take it as absolute truth. It is more like a deep intuitive knowing, a mutual connection, a tempered conversation with my higher self. In my experience, the process benefit the autistic person in terms of balance, comfort, behavior, and understanding of linear thought and language. In turn, it has broadened my understanding of consciousness. This enticing, exciting, fascinating, mind-boggling process should be acknowledged and explored in all its ever-expanding complexity. The only people who can possibly understand and help the public and researchers get a glimpse of what is occurring are those who partner in the process, and continue to explore it in its entity. We are just beginning to get a minute understanding of this ever evolving mystery. More parents and groups of people are coming to the fore who are experiencing and admitting the atypical elements of the process.

Because of the many tragedies and miscommunications on the part of the nonverbal souls, I love, I ask those who have experienced this process to come forward and engage in meaningful dialogue. When physical or energetic support is given, something out of the ordinary is occurring, please step forward, and speak the truth of your experience. Do not let this amazing process become stagnant or fall by the wayside! At the same time, please take responsibility for the gift you have received. Lets talk about it in joy and in love, find some common ground and move forward. Full disclosure is needed to parents and support staff that influence can occur. The purity and intelligence of the autistic soul is limitless. What needs attention is partner awareness and growth.

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Why Embrace Autism?

What can all of humanity can learn from Autism? I believe Autism has valuable lessons for all if we are willing to listen. Embraceing Autism is not a popular way of being, many parents will put up walls right here and stop reading this article at the thought of embracing something that can be so challenging. I agree, it can be a difficult challenge for many parents initially, especially when our children are so hypersensitive to the energy that surrounds them. It is not my intention to force another to see any way of life in the way I do but to simply share my experience, my process, my perspective. I did not always overlap Autism, it has been a long and difficult road but if I may offer hope to one parent, to be the person I was searching for after Connor's diagnosis, to gently whisper to you, the life that is available to you … can be wonderful. At one time, Autism represented a life that was racked with STRUGGLE, daily discomfort, tantrums, obvious physical discomfort for our son and the ripple effect on our family was mighty! I was in my own hell of despair and depression, no longer wanting to live my life and I blamed autism. I no longer blame Autism or our precious son, now 15, for the monumental growth I have experienced and this is available to all of us if we are willing to let down our guard and argument for just a moment of preventing. Autism is an important part of who Connor is.

Just like his amazing artistic ability, his infectious laugh, his gorgeous blue eyes, his beautiful lips, (totally biased mommy) I would not want to change any part of who he is. As I came into the awareness that sometimes this precious child came forth to be different on purpose, he began to release more and more discomfort he was expressing which was simply a reflection of the discomfort I was carrying within. I became willing to become his student. As I began to accept and embrace Autism as part of who he is, the difficult parts of what many experience of autism seemed to melt away. Autism is not about tantrums, disruptive behaviors or because something went wrong along this child's physical path. It is not about diets, therapies and trying to cure or change your child, it is about an opportunity to BEcome more tuned in to the life that is waiting for us when we release what is slowing us down. The more authentic I became / become within, the more easy followed within our lives.

Connor has taught me so much about being the person I never knew I wanted to be and yet I feel as though it is who I wanted being all along. Perhaps if more of us begin to consider the reason so many children are coming forth with Autism is not because something has gone wrong rather, it is a clarion call to become more conscious, more aware, more authentic and mindful. A way of being that will not only serve anyone person touched by the word Autism but a way of life which will serve all of humanity. That is my prayer for each of you, we have been blessed to learn a way of life that will forever shift a way of BEing for humanity.

LOVE, Tracie

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A Look At The Treatment For Asperger Syndrome

Asperger syndrome is a neurobiological condition that affects children and adults. Many people feel it is a form of high functioning autism and it falls in the group of conditions of spectrum disorder or pervasive personality disorder. It affects the ability of the person to socialize and communicate effectively with others. Individuals often exhibit social communication, social interaction and social imagination.

At this time doctors and researchers have not found a cause or cure for Asperger syndrome. There has been some research to indicate that individuals who suffer from this condition have had permanent changes to their frontal lobe. These changes make a difference in the ability of the brain to process social activities.

In 1944 Hans Asperger labeled this disorder autistic psychiatry and published a paper describing the symptoms and behaviors. However it was not until 1994 that the disability was recognized in the DSM-IV. Through those years, and the many different research studies which have been performed, the exact cause of this disorder has never been found.

While there is currently no cure for Asperger syndrome there are treatment protocols that help both adults and children to learn how to interact more successfully in social situations. Treatment which may be recommended will depend upon the individual's level of adaptive functioning. Just as with autism, there is a range of disability or functionality of individuals who have Asperger's.

Resources that are available for children and adults with Asperger syndrome are communication and social skills training which help individuals to learn the unwritten rules of socialization and communication. These are often too difficult for children in much the same way that students learn to speak a foreign language. This is because for children and adults with Asperger syndrome learning these social communication skills is a foreign language.

It is possible for children with Asperger syndrome to learn how to speak using a natural rhythm as well is how to interpret communication such as gestures, eye contact, tone of voice, humor and sarcasm which typically fly right over the top of their heads.

Another behavioral therapy that may be recommended is cognitive behavior therapy. This technique is aimed at its decreasing problem behaviors such as interrupting, obsessions and angry outbursts. They also focused on helping children and adults to recognize a troubled situation, such as a new place or events, and then be able to select a specific strategy to cope.

While there is no medication specifically aimed at treatment of Asperger syndrome there are some symptoms that can be controlled, such as anxiety, depression or hyperactivity using medicines. Most commonly, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, antipsychotics and some stimulants are used to treat these problems.

Treatment outlook for individuals with Asperger syndrome is usually heavily correlated with the measured IQ. Those who have a high IQ will fare better and show greater improvements in social function than those who have a below average IQ.

Children who experience the symptoms of Asperger syndrome will also require a bit of assistance in the school system. Schools who have a communications specialist with an interest in social skills training, opportunities for social interaction and structured settings, a concern for teaching real-life skills and a willingness to individualize the curriculum are best suited to help individuals who have Asperger syndrome. Parents should stay informed of what is happening in the child's bedroom and maintain frequent communication with the teacher.

Even though a specific pill is not available for treatment for Asperger syndrome, and there is no cure, individuals who have this condition have a degree of adaptability to the environment when they are tapped coping strategies and have a good support system in their relationships.

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The Importance Of Testing For Asperger Syndrome

Asperger syndrome is on the mild end of spectrum disorders or pervasive personality disorders. Because of the characteristics and criteria for diagnosis of Asperger syndrome it is related to autism. Many times it has been considered a silent disability because it was only after 1994 when it was recognized in the DSM-IV and even later than that before professionals and parents recognized the condition.

Some consider Asperger syndrome a developmental condition because the majority of individuals have normal intelligence and normal language development, but what falls short is social interaction. At this time there is no one specific comprehensive diagnostic tests used to determine if an individual has Asperger syndrome. Instead diagnosis and testing is done between the physician, a child's teacher and parents. At times, a psychologist is brought into the picture to evaluate peer relationships, reactions to new situations and the ability to understand feelings or other types of indirect communication.

In an effort to increase the social awareness of individuals who suffer from Asperger syndrome, and therefore the acceptance of these individuals, there has been some development of individuals tasks which help to point sufferers in the direction of a potential diagnosis. While these tests are often found online, they may not be completely accurate. However, they do help to point individuals in the direction needed in order to find how for their social situation.

These online tests are more accurate in adult situations than they are in the pedagogical population. In other words, most of them are designed to ask questions which relate to adult activities and not to those experienced in the classroom. Children are best served by an assessment with their primary care practitioner, psychologist and with the assistance of their parents. Growing up with this disorder leaves children at higher risk to bullies and cruel teasing by their peers.

Children are more at risk because those with Asperger syndrome will find that they are unable to interact socially with their peers in the way that their classmates are capable. Individuals with Asperger's often have difficulty with social communication, social interaction and social imagination. This basically means that, although these children have normal or above average intelligence and normal language development, they are often unable to participate in social interaction with their peers which sets them apart for teasing.

One Asperger syndrome quiz that may help individuals to determine their risk factor for this diagnosis can be found online.

Adults who suffer from Asperger syndrome find they are never really able to grasp conversations that involve small talk and would rather sit with the computer then with an adults. When adults approach their doctor for a diagnosis the testing usually starts with an IQ test.

Doctors may also administer an autism diagnostic observation schedule for high-functioning verbal young adults. Both tests allow a doctor to look at social communication skills and behavior.

Online tests should never be considered an alternative for a diagnosis by a licensed physician or psychiatrist.

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Caring for Children With Autism

Parents are the biggest influencers in the lives of an Autistic child, learning about Autism and getting involved in the treatment can help in great measures towards the development of the child. Following a strict method can make life much easier than the child and the parents. For an all round development of self and social areas of the child, there are a few points that all Autism care givers must follow. The parent's reactions to the child's behavior can calm or aggravate the situation, since proper understanding of the child's needs and personal preferences must be known to the parents, teachers or care givers. Keep a close eye on the likes and dislikes of the child, identify their areas of interests and nurture those interests.

Home is the place the child will spend most of its time. Make sure the home is modified to suit the taste and likes of the child. Safety proof the house to ensure the child's tantrums do not cause an self inflammatory injury. Create a special space for the child where they can unwind, relax and feel secure. Autistic children have a good response to visual cues; mark your home with bright tape to set boundaries. These will help in the training for the child to understand the importance of each area of ​​the house and the set of rules that need to be followed in these spaces.

Positive reinforcement can bring great joy to Autistic individuals. Reward small victories and make them feel appreciated when they do something good or learn a new skill. Speak to them about the good they are doing and why you are rewarding them; give them a physical reward, minor items like a sticker or a small toy could serve the purpose.

Make efforts to find the best school for autism, as education and support for Autistic children at an early age creates a strong foundation for them and prepares them to be open to learning new skill and opening up to new experiences or people. Make sure the child is getting the deserved special attention and get involved with the training programs the school has to offer for parents. Each child in the Autism spectrum is unique and has their individual likes and dislikes and strengths and weaknesses. Every child needs a tailor training plan and that can only be achieved with the cooperation of the parents and the teachers. Support for Autistic children is a lifelong commitment and must be followed through.

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Identifying Signs of Autism

According to Statistics by CDC, one in every 88 children today is born with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) against a ratio of one in 110 few years back. 1 in 68 children in the US is diagnosed with Autism. With the number of cases increasing each year we must come to understand and accommodate the needs of the Autistic individuals. In developing countries like India the pressure on children to perform well in school is very high. With a rigorous education system and lack of individual attention children are left out and left behind if they can not keep with the rest of the class.

Most of the time an Autistic child is considered to be a shy and slow learner. Failing to forgive what is taught in class and a lack of social interaction with classmates can further damage the confidence of an Autistic child. Parents are related to have their child termed as mentally unfit and take the harsh decision of making their child continue in a normal school. As Autism is linked to being a hereditary disease some families are quick to pick up from the early signs but there are many who fail to notice these.

Symptoms of Autism usually start from the age of 6 months and become more clear by the age of 3.

Communication:

Delayed babbling in early childhood. The lack of natural speech for daily communication in the second and third years. No sharing of emotions or experiences, repeating words said by others.

Repetitive Behavior:

Repetitive behavior in the form of hand flapping, head rolling or body rocking. Stacking of objects or arranging them in a line.

Social Interaction:

Autistic individuals respond far less to social stimuli as compared to other children their age. Lack of emotion, eye contact and facial expressions can also be noticed. Autistic children may not respond to their own names when called out.

Aggression:

In some cases early aggression, destruction of property and frequent tantrums could have been linked to the Autism spectrum Disorder.

As Autism can not be completely treated the main goal in treatment is to less the social and interaction shortcomings of the individual. Education for Autistic children should be entrusted to trained individuals who are keen in the development of the child and offer Autism Parent training. It is important to look out for the early signs in children to ensure the child receives timely help and support. If not started early, an Autistic child will find it excessively frustrating to cope with their surroundings.

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Moving Beyond Acceptance

Once again World Autism Day, recognized on April 2ND annually, is quietly approaching. In recent years, the entire month of April has been viewed as Autism Awareness month. There is little doubt the gains made as a result of promoting autism awareness have been significant. Lives have been transformed as enlightenment has been granted to the masses with regards to understanding the nuances of autism. While there is a long way to go, there have been some incredible achievements in the areas of education, technology, health care, and therapeutic interventions. Acceptance of autism is now generally practiced within most circles, with the hope of total inclusion as the ultimate goal. However, despite the monumental achievements made, the future of autism progress is based on action directed towards change. It is impossible to mandate attitudes, but we can influence decision making by demonstrating proactive measures leading to equality.

Positive action should occur early in the lives of children as they start the educational journey. Identifying children on the spectrum as early as possible is a wonderful start as providing essential interventions is vital for future growth. Taking the process a step further could include targeting key areas of interests or innate abilities and developing those areas through the child's IEP. Having real time interactions with adults working and studying in the areas of the student's previously identified “gift” will only serve to reinvigorate and motivate future success. Moreover, this is an excellent forum for the student to learn firsthand the finer details of his or her desired occupational choice. In addition to mentoring programs, having internships designed with the unique challenges adults on the spectrum face in the workplace would fill a huge void. Special needs internships could provide potential employers an opportunity to assess strengths and evaluate an intern's capacity to navigate the work environment from a social standpoint. Conversely, the intern has the chance to determine if the area of ​​potential employment is the right “fit” for them. But the greatest benefit is the mutual exchange which internships provide – without some of the restrictions of a formal employment agreement.

There is an exciting transition taking place in corporations around the world involving international employers and members of the autism community. Large corporations are increasingly more receptive to hiring employees on the autism spectrum. This certainly bodes well for the autism community as unemployment rates have consistently hovered around the 80% level. The game changer, however, is an employer's recognition of the importance of having job coaches involved in the work life of autistic employees. Job coaches, or transitional coaches as they are sometimes called, serve as a liaison between companies and special needs employees in matters related to socialization and navigating office politics. Having an advocate is such an important piece of the employment puzzle for autistic employees, as many struggle with the nuances of corporate culture and appropriate interaction with co-workers. Talent and ability to perform certain types of jobs is usually not the issue for most people on the spectrum. In fact research indicates with proper training, autistic employees have proven to be productive, loyal, conscientious, and dedicated. The problem lies in not having mastery over “soft skills” such as conversing, social interaction, making eye contact, and a preference to work alone as opposed to embracing a team concept. Job coaches are invaluable in bridging the communication gaps that occur all too often when working with employees on the autism spectrum. With continued growth in tolerance and broader diversity, the future workplace will evolve in striving to incorporate the unique talents and perspectives of those with autism.

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Common Misunderstandings Regarding Persons With Autism

Pervasive Myths about Autism

More than one percent of all American children have autism. That is no myth. In 2010, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that one out of every 68 children that year were diagnosed with autism. That is over two times the number of children that were diagnosed eight years earlier.

What we do not know is whether the increased numbers are a result of more public awareness, and that more people are seeking a diagnosis, or whether the numbers reflect a risingvalence of the condition.

Regardless of which scenario is the case, it is hard to combat many myths that have arisen along the increased public awareness of autistic spectrum disorder. Often the media's portrait of autistic individuals gives people a skewed perspective on autism. On one hand, it is good that the public has an increased awareness of autism. Yet on the other hand, the public needs to be able to separate fact from fiction so they can make more informed decisions about public policy and in their relations with people affected by autism. Here are some of the many misconceptions about autism:

People with Autism Are All the Same

People without autism are not all alike. Even close relatives, such as identical twins, can be astonishingly different in their beliefs, attitudes, and outlook on life. Just as no two people who have diabetes are the same, no two people with autism are affected in the same way by their condition.

Autism, like many neurological disorders, is on a wide and varied spectrum. Some people with autism talk enthusiastically with others, particularly about areas in which they have a keen interest. Others are completely nonverbal. Some may sing or rock to quiet themselves. Others have hypersensitivities to physical touch.

Many people with autism have difficulty deciphering social cues. Often that difficulty causes them to have an emotional barrier between themselves and others that takes time and patience to cross. Although it may take an extra effort to get to know someone with autism, the effort will prove well-worth the challenge.

People with Autism are Savants

This myth, fueled by human interest stories by well-meaning journalists about children with autism who are prodigies in various fields, causes the uninformed public to characterize all people with autism as savants. That is not at all the case. Only a few individuals on the autistic spectrum have talents in the arts or sciences that would characterize them as savants.

People with Autism Have Violent Tendencies

This misconception causes a lot of unwarranted fear on the part of people who are ignorant about autism. It is more the fear of the unknown that causes people to believe such patent nonsense. If people see a person with autism overreacting when her or his personal space is violated, they may believe that the person is violent. They are not. They simply are trying to communicate their discomfort in the best way they are capable.

On the other hand, misinformed people fear nonverbal autistic people out of another pervasive myth, “it's always the shy ones.” The facts say otherwise. Violent tendencies in people with autism are no more pervasive than in any other group of people.

People with Autism Have a Mental Disability

People with autism have a neurological disorder. It is a disorder that is caused by abnormalities in the structure of the person's brain. There is no direct correlation with intellectual disabilities. Although many people with autism have a difficult time communicating through language and social cues, it is no indication that they are unable to process complex concepts. In fact, many people with autism perform above average in tests of intellectual ability, once they have accommodations that compensate for their difficulty in communication.

People with Autism Can not Have Long-Term Relationships or Careers

Many screenwriters portray autistic people as having no feelings for others. Although many people with autism have great difficulty expressing their feelings in a socially acceptable way, that by no means indicates that they do not have empathy with others. Many individuals with autism have formed close bonds with others, have fallen in love, have gotten married, and have raised families. Many people with autism have had successful careers in fields for which they have a genuine passion, provided they have a work environment in which it they can thrive.

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Stem Cell Treatment For Autism Disease

Lack of interests, reduced social interests or engagements are the key risk marks associated with the disorder. On a generalized note, the onset of the autism occurs in the mother's womb itself, however, most of the children will start showing symptoms before 3 years of their age. These symptoms may not be responding to their name or not pointing at the objects to indicate their interests, etc. The rehabilitative approach such as improved communication, physiotherapy, improvement in concentration etc. are only used as a current treatment term. Although these methods are just a temporary solution and not the permanent alternatives.

Autism is the developmental disorder, of brain development. Although the characteristic symptoms associated with the disorders are variable, they are primarily difficulties in social interactions, problems in verbal and nonverbal communications and repetitive unusual behavior. There is not a single cause of autism that can be pinpointed. Scientists have identified that variety of genetic mutations and environmental factors are responsible for the same in combination. The clearest evidences of autism risk factors that take into account events during the time of the birth, such as advanced parental age at the time of conception, certain illnesses during pregnancy, deprivation of oxygen, vitamin and folic deficiency etc.

Unfortunately, none of the current treatment approach could address the root cause of oxygen deprivation and other inflammatory problems, although stem cells can. According to the research and clinical trials that are taking place worldwide, doctors could now possibly say that stem cells can regulate the immunological obligations of the body and reverse the damage. Stem cells are the master cells of the body, that can be differentiated into any kind of cells as and when required. This remarkably unique ability of stem cells has been exploited by the medical science to treat a variety of degenerative disorders including autism. These magical cells remain dormant in the mature organisms through the life of an individual. The technology has allowed to extract these cells from any of the known organs, most commonly Bone Marrow or Adipose Tissue. These cells are processed in the laboratory for the enrichment and can be infused back into the body of the individual. The entire procedure can be completed in two different steps, firstly doctors will simplify the body to be prepared for further actions. This will allow the secretion of growth factors and cytokines to create a microenvironment that will help the resident stem cells to multiply and start differentiation and secondly the supplementary dose of stem cells is given to boost the process of regenerations.

Up till now many people are not aware of the stem cells as the possible therapeutic approach, however internet and scientific publications are full of their positive benefits on terraating disorders like Autism .

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