Comorbid Conditions

Many other medical conditions may coincide with autism. These comorbid conditions are also important in determining the diagnosis of autism. The comorbid conditions may be used to indicate autism; however, they do not have a direct effect in causing disabilities associated with autism. Autism is firmly diagnosed as a cognitive disability that starts in early childhood, continues through adulthood and has an effect on the development of imaginative, communication and social interaction skills.

Over 40 comorbidities have been associated with ASD. (Zafeiriou, Ververia, & Vargiamia, 2007) Some of the most common comorbid conditions are:

Anxiety Disorder

Anxiety disorders apart from those that are included in the autism disorders may occur, however it is difficult to say it is a comorbid anxiety problem.

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is also known as manic depressive disorder. It may have other comorbid conditions in itself.

Bowel Disease

Gastrointestinal symptoms are known to affect a large percentage of children with autism. Constipation and inflammation of the intestines are among the common bowel diseases that are comorbid with autism disorders.

Depression and other Psychopathological Disorders

Various phobias, depression and some psychopathological disorders are known to occur with autism, though this has not been examined systematically.

Fragile X Syndrome

This has an effect on two to five percent of the population with autism. In this condition one component of the X chromosome is defective, and therefore looks fragile when viewed under a microscope. If a child has Fragile X, then there are high chances that his or her sibling will have Fragile X.


Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may co-occur in children with autism. The co-diagnosis of ASD and ADHD is prohibited by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th edition). ADHD treatments are not very successful among children with ASD. Other kinds of medication and therapies are required for its treatment.

Mental Retardation

Some individuals with mental retardation are reported to also have autism.

Neuroinflammation and Immune Disorders

Many comorbid conditions linked to autism may be triggered by some immune disorders. Recent findings have shown that neuroinflammation and immune disorders are present in the brain and cerebrospinal fluid of some patients with ASD.

Non-Verbal Learning Disorder

This is typified by a significant difference between greater verbal scores and lower performance scores in IQ tests. Disabilities related to motor, social and visual-spatial skill are also noted.

Motor Clumsiness

Children with autism frequently have low levels of motor handiness and they acquire motor skills in a delayed period. Coordination may be poor which may affect their posture, handwriting, etc. Conceptual learning skills are also affected by this.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Recurring obsessive thoughts and actions may affect a child with autism. These are stereotyped repetitive behaviors that are not particularly enjoyable.

Tourette Syndrome

Tourette syndrome affects 6.5% people with autism. It may occur due to genetic factors or serotonin, glutamate and dopamine abnormalities.


Seizures occurring in one in four children with autism. It is caused by irregular electrical action in the brain, which can cause short-term unconsciousness, staring spells and body convulsions.

Sensory Problems

Sensory problems apart from the sensory symptoms of autism may occur as a comorbid condition. For instance damaged tactile perception is known to affect children with autism more than adults. Related motor problems such as poor motor planning may also occur.

Tuberous Sclerosis

This is an uncommon genetic disorder that causes benign tumors in the brain and other vital organs. One to four percent of people with autism are known to have tuberous sclerosis. 25 to 61% people with tuberous sclerosis may be diagnosed with autism.

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Coping With Autism at Home

Having a child that is diagnosed with autism is not just hard for the parents but also for all members of the family. The parents, siblings and even grandparents have to share in the responsibility of supporting a child with special needs. Not only can it be financially draining and physically exhausting, but it can also be a source of emotional stress to everyone involved.

Naturally, the greatest weight is transported on the shoulders of the parents. To begin with, parents must agree with the shortcomings and excesses in behavior of an autistic child. Most autistic children can not express verbally nor through gestures what they want, so parents are left with a constant guessing game as to what their child needs. Social life is also significantly violated, as a child with autism might not be accepted or understood by other people, forcing at least one parent to stay with the child at home at all times. And there are also feelings of helplessness about the child's future. It is heart wrenching for parents to imagine how their autistic child will be taken care of after they are gone.

Siblings of autistic children are stressed, too. It can be due to feelings of embarrassment for having a sibling that is not normal, they can also be stressing about being the target of aggression, or they can even have a feeling of envy for all the attention their autistic sibling is getting.

It Is OK To Take A Break

The reality of having a child diagnosed with autism is hard and full of challenges. But life does not have to be all stress. There are ways to de-stress and maintain a harmonious and loving family life. Parents need to give themselves a break from time to time. A parent may have feelings of guilt for leaving a special child behind, but a few hours of being away from him or her from time to time may offer the chance to recharge and regroup for the daily challenges ahead. Parents should not be afraid to ask for a little support from other family members, such as the child's aunt or uncles or grandparents. They may look after the child for several hours a week to give the parents time off and take care of themselves. This will prevent parents from “burning out” and can be essential in keeping the family's relations strong.

Parents also need to spend quality time alone with their other non-ADS children, without the autistic child present. This reassures them and lets them know that the parents love them as much as their other sibling, even if most of the attention is geared towards the one with special needs.

Remember, life with an autistic child is hard already, so there is no need to make life even harder for everyone else in the family. When times get tough … breathe. Taking a few hours off for yourself and for your other children is the best way to get you through the worst of it all. (Aviram, 2009)

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5 New and Fun Ways to Use Token Boards

A token economy or system can be a great way to help your student focus and allows you to set manageable goals from them to attain. If you are not familiar with token boards in general, take a look at “How to Create a Token Board” for more information on the basics.

Your main goal with any token system should be to make it fun! The best way to do this is by individualizing your system to each student. Their age, likes and dislikes and comprehension level should all play a part in how you choose to proceed. It's important to note that higher functioning students can benefit from token economies as well; a good imagination and more complex approaches work well here. Let's take a look at five examples of token systems that you can use to help your student succeed.

1) Photographs as Puzzles
Sometimes, pairing tokens with a reward can be challenging. This approach can be a great way to accomplish this. If, for instance, your student likes dinosaurs, why not incorporated this into your system. By finding a picture of a dinosaur and breaking it up into pieces, you can deliver each piece individually. Laminating these pieces after you cut them up will make them sturdier. You've now made the token board into a puzzle for the student that they can interact with each time they earn a token!

2) Point Systems
In the example above, each token delivered representations an equal achievement towards a goal. Teachers and parents can benefit from varying the significance of each token depending on what the student accomplishes. For instance, if a learner read a sentence correctly, teachers can deliver a 5 point token. If a whole page is read independently a 20 point token can be delivered. With this system, you can offer increasingly rewarding items or activities depending on how many points are attained in a given period.

3) Dollars and Cents
Here's an example we can all relate to! This is a wonderful opportunity to teach to the life skill of earning and spending money. Any “play money” can be used and usually found at local toy stores or you can create your own money system (just do not get too realistic!). Caching-in on different items or activities can be left up to the student here and can encourage long-range goals and reinforcers (a $ 100 trip to an amusement park for instance). A dry-erase board with items / activities to earn can easily be adjusted depending on what the student is working towards.

4) Teaching Opportunities
Since tokens should generally be delivered on a fairly regular basis (to help highlight positive responses) teachers can use this as a way to cover basic concepts being taught to. For instance, if arithmetic is being reviewed, the “tokens to earn” section can be made up of equations (such as small card reading 4 x 4 =). Below this section, in the “earned tokens” area, the appropriate answer would be the landing zone for this particular token (ie 16). Having the student deliver the token himself will teach and reinforce at the same time!

5) Time Based Systems
While the previous examples large focus on learning items or activities, teachers can also create a time based system. Each token could represent a certain amount of time that the learner earns that extremely allows access to an item or activity. That way, the better a student does (ie more time tokens earned) the greater the amount time they can spend with the item. This concept can also be stretched-out to represent weekly or even monthly goals. For instance, a board with each day of the week could be used to keep track of how many times a student practices piano, for example. Setting a goal of three practice days and helping learners refer to this system can foster independence and reinforce longer-term goals.

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A Look at When ADHD and Autism Strike Simultaneously in Preadolescent Children

Millions of parents have heard about ADHD and autism, and they are aware of some of the signs and symptoms a parent should be on the lookout for. Perhaps their own kids have been diagnosed with one of these disorders, or sometimes they have friends who have an ADHD child. What many people do not realize however is that a child can have both of these disorders simultaniously.

In fact, the number of American children with ADHD and autism has been steadily rising, and it's been rising quickly enough to have warranted further research funding by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Just recently, the NIMH awarded an additional three million dollars to a team of researchers at the University of Pittsburgh in order to conduct further studies regarding treatment for autistic children who also have symptoms of ADHD.

As any psychiatrist or child psychologist will attest to, ADHD symptoms can be extremely similar to the symptoms of autism. Autistic children who also have ADHD are often only treated for one of these disorders. The problem with this type of approach is that kids who have both these disorders rarely respond well to regular ADHD stimulant drugs, and this is actually what often alerts a specialist in the first place, that a child might have both disorders.

In the study mentioned above, researchers recruited 144 children between the ages of five and thirteen in order to carry out a safety assessment of two types of treatment:

* Atomoxetine (non-stimulant norepinephrine uptake inhibitor)

* PMT (Parental Management Training)

The results of the study were quite promising, at least in terms of safety. Prior to 2002 when atomoxetine was first approved by the FDA (Food and Drug administration), stimulant drugs were the order of the day, and used almost exclusively for treating these types of disorders. Unfortunately however, the most commonly prescribed stimulant drug has been linked to several deaths; it's known to be highly addictive (the DEA has it in the same class as cocaine and morphine), and it has a long long list of possible side effects, many of which are extremely serious, such as suicidal tendencies for example. The biggest downside to atomoxetine is the fact that it alters brainwave activity, as do stimulant drugs, and this is exactly the type of thing many parents are expecting to avoid.

Parental Management Training aims to teach parents how to intervene in undesirable behavior, but in a positive way, rather than in a clinical manner. While this is of course the best possible form of treatment, it's simply not feasible in all cases for a number of reasons. To begin, in many households, both parents work, and therefore they are not able to invest the necessary amount of time. Also, many parents simply do not have the amount of patience this type of treatment calls for. In order to treat a child using this form of treatment, one quite literally needs to have the patience of a saint.

It seems, at least for the time being, that the natural homeopathic remedies are still one of the best choices parents have for treating ADHD and autism. This is especially true if, like millions of others, they do not want their kids taking powerful mind altering stimulant drugs.

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Knowledge About Early Signs of Autism

Whether you're new parents that have just had their first child or you have recently added one more sibling to the family group, at some point in time, being concerned about Autism may have crossed your mind. Roughly one out of every 150 infants that are born today is autistic, so it is imperative that the disorder be detected early in order to treat it properly. If you are unfamiliar with the disorder, it is important to educate yourself about it and learn about the early signs of Autism.

First and foremost, Autism is a neural development disorder that is characterized by the impairment of communication, language skills, and social interaction as well as repetitive or restricted behavior patterns. In most cases, these different characteristics appear by the time the child has reached three years of age. Autism affects how the brain processes information by altering the way that the nerve cells connect with and organize the synapses.

It is one of three different types of Autism disorders found on what is referred to as the Autism spectrum. The other two are Asperger's Syndrome where cognitive development and language skills are lacking and PDD-NOS or Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified. This disorder is usually diagnosed should the criteria involved in the diagnosis for either Autism or Asperger's Syndrome not be met.

What to look for

What you want to remember above everything else when you are concerned about the possibility of your infant being autistic is that recognizing the early signs of Autism may be the difference between diagnosing the disorder properly and missing it completely. The earlier the disorder is diagnosed, the sooner you can start treatment and increase your chances of having a better income for both you and your child.

Early detection of Autism is critical so the sooner you educate yourself about the warning signs, the better. Here are some basic suggestions for recognizing the early signs of the disorder based on what the child should have accomplished by a certain time in their early development:

o By the time your child is 6 months old, they should be smiling whenever they are relaxed or feel joy for one reason or another.

o Mimicking facial expressions, vocal intonations, and words should be evidenced by the time your child is 10 months old.

o Once the child has reached two years of age, they should be talking and should have at least several words in their ever-growing vocabulary.

Remember that the child may only exhibit one of the early signs of Autism. Even if all the symptoms are not exhibited, your child may still be diagnosed as autistic. One way or the other, you should take your child to their pediatrician to determine if further testing for the disorder may be necessary. Diagnosing the disorder as early as possible in the child's development is critical and could mean treating it sooner that you can prevent complications and avoid more additional negative consequences.

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Dealing With Embarrassing Situations As a Parent of a Child With Autism

Every once in a while parents are embarrassed by their child's behavior or the factual remarks that they make, such as pointing to a person next to you in line and claiming, “she's fat!” Moments like this can be very uncomfortable but fortunately do not occur often, but the risk may be higher if you are a parent of a child with Autism.

All children ever learn how to regulate their behavior and speech but children on the Autism spectrum tend to be slower at acquiring this skill. Children with autism experience the same world we live in but in a dramatic different way and they are limited in their ability to read social situations.

Most children with autism do not even realize that their behaviors are socially unacceptable. Some of these behaviors may include:

1. inappropriate touching or inviting another's space,

2. handflapping, spinning or tuning

3. fascinations with particular objects,

4. extreme displays of affection or the exact opposite.

Some children respond aggressively when least expected and many have sensory issues that produce bizarre reactions to food textures, tastes, light, sound and smells.

Therefore, as a parent of a child on the Autism spectrum the possibility of having your child commit a social 'faux pas' in public is high. Unfortunately, until we are able to create more awareness about Autism and minimize the judicialal reactions of others, parents will have to continue to deal with some embarrassing situations deemed 'socially inappropriate' by onlookers.

Occasionally, you may develop a protective armor from the piercing looks of disgruntled strains that just do not understand but what can you do in the meanime ?

Finding ways to minimize or prevent the number of embarrassing incidents you might have to end is one option. Here are some strategies to consider that might help.

Remember, you are your child's best teacher. Your child may be receiving therapies that work on building appropriate social skills but you are with your child 24/7. Do not overlook potentially arbitrary actions and address them as they occur by telling and showing your child what to do instead, how to do it and when.

Appeal to the way your child's brain works best. Most children on the Autism spectrum are very visual so use pictures, photos, lists or video modeling to communicate with your child. Some may respond better to auditory input, so make a recording for your child with step-by-step instructions for them to listen to. Others may need to be physically manipulated by taking their hand and demonstrating just how much pressure to apply to petting an animal or touching people.

Be persistent. Constant repetition and reinforcement will eventually work to instill more capable behaviors in your child. It typically takes twenty-one repetitions of an action before a new behavior becomes a habit but a brain that is wired differently may take more time – so start early, practice often, practice some more and have patience.

Use distraction. Plan ahead when going out in public and bringing a bag of tricks with you to divert your child's attention when your gut begins sending you a warning that something potentialally unacceptable might occur. Fill a backpack with stress relievers and favorite items that will quickly catch your child's interest.

Give people information. If all else fails, be prepared with a short statement to say to others that will enlighten them. Some parents carry around cards that explain their child's behavior and may even provide suggestions for being helpful or information about websites that educate people about Autism.

Ignore onlookers. It takes time to build up the confidence, courage and a secure sense-of-self necessary to disregard the gawkers and disappearing stars that you may encounter. Begin building your protective armor by forcing yourself to focus on your child who really needs you to respond appropriately in that moment. Try creating a mantra to recite in circumstances such as these that would reassure you and help you concentrate on what is most important – your child.

Most importantly, be kind to yourself . Remember that every child has the potential to call attention to themselves or fall apart and every parent has the capacity to handle it inappropriately at times so do not be hard on yourself after an episode such as this. Tell yourself you did the best you could and use it as a learning experience to gain insight about what you might do differently the next time.

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Autism Treatment for Adults

Despite the fact that decades of research has gone into understanding the different disorders found in the Autism spectrum, there is no known cure in existence to date. It is bio-neurological in nature and urges individuals of all age groups, including adults, from communicating and interacting with the individuals around them in their environment. As a result, the medical community will prescribe one of a number of therapies that help to diminish the effects of the disorder.

One of the important aspects to realize regarding adult Autism is the fact that the public school's responsibility to the afflicted individual once they reach 22 years of age. At this point in time, the parents of the autistic individual are faced with some significant challenges such as employment opportunities and living arrangements for the person. They also have to be concerned with finding facilities and programs that offer support services that will help the autistic individual to achieve their goals.

Effective adult Autism treatment

This also applies to dealing with adult Autism and may involve the use of therapies ranging from behavior modification to dietary and nutritional counseling. In so doing, the effects of the disorder can be diminished while enabling the autistic adult to be contributing and productive individual in social environments. Here are some recommendations for Autism treatment in adults:

o Occupational therapy can help the autistic individual learn how to perform everyday chores and tasks including dressing themselves and following proper hygiene

o Physical therapy is a highly effective form of autism treatment because of regular exercise and how it teaches the individual to control their different body movements

o Behavior modification techniques are extremely effective for diminishing and eliminating those behavior patterns that are labeled as being aggressive, repetitive, and undesirable

o Sensory Integration Therapy poses the autistic adult to a variety of sensory stimuli that teach them appropriate reactions

o Change the person's diet so that foods containing casein (a dairy protein), gluten, oats, and wheat are eliminated as these types of foods are not adequately absorbed by the autistic individual which in turn can affect how their brain functions

Remember that for the best results where adult Autism treatment is concerned, you want to use a combination of several approaches and not just rely on a single one. As no two individuals are ever alike, neither are two autistic adults as they will respond differently to different approaches to treatment.

Another avenue of Autism treatment is treating the disorder naturally without the use of medicines. This is oftentimes preferred by parents as it involves the use of alternative medical approaches and vitamin supplements. Over the past several years, the natural approach has become increasingly more popular. Basically, the natural approach to autism treatment is more commonly referred to as a holistic approach to treating the disorder. It has been hypothesized that Autism may be caused by high levels of toxic metals in the system or vitamin deficiencies.

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How to Help Children With Autism Make Transitions

Autism has been classified as a neural development disorder and developmental disability that is characterized by repetitive and restricted behavior patterns as well as impaired communication and social skills. One of the more critical aspects of the disorder that parents of children with autism are confronted with is transitioning from activity or task to another. The autistic child has a great deal of difficulty with this as it creates anger and confusion for them which oftentimes results in them throwing some hideous tantrums.

Consider the following 6 suggestions for helping your autistic child through these transitions so that it goes as smoothly as possible:

Always plan ahead – make sure that you always have the alarm, hourglass, or timer set up in advance so there is no confusion. You should always insist on consistency whenever babysitters, family members, teachers, or therapists are watching your child. This helps the child to understand the concept better.

Children with Autism need consistency – by using the same amount of warning time and words consistently, the child will have an easier time of adjusting to and understanding the transitions from one activity to the next. The child will also transition easier once they understand exactly what you expect of them.

Employ the reward system – making the transition from the current activity to the next one is extremely difficult for children with Autism. Offer the child some sort of incentive or reward for making a smooth transition between the activities that are on the day's agenda. The reward could be as simple as a favorite activity or one of their favorite foods.

Evaluate situations – if you notice that there is a certain degree of difficulty involving the transition from one activity to the next, you can avoid any major problems (eg temperature tantrums) by first evaluating the circumances surrounding the transition. An example of this is a child's refusal or resistance to transition between activities due to certain sensory issues that upset the child. Simple accommodations or adjustments can help to correct this.

Invest in a timer if you do not have one – make sure that you purchase one that your autistic child will have an easier time of understanding when they should change the activity they are engaged in. If the child is younger an hourglass or sand timer may be easier for them to comprehend whereas an older child might be able to handle a digital clock alarm.

Respect the child's need for being warned – it is extremely difficult for children with Autism to move from one activity to the next especially if they are deeply engaged in the current activity. It's going to take a reasonable amount of time and all the patience you can muster to teach them how to transition between activities. If you gently warn them that a change is coming, it will make it easier for the child to make that transition.

Remember that the goal here is to not only make transitioning easier for any children with Autism but to make them understand why it is necessary as well. Things will go a lot smoother for you overall.

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Motivating Autistic Children With a Variety of Activities

For those parents of autistic children, you are probably aware of how to motivate the child by employing a variety of activities. However, if your child has just been diagnosed with Autism you are most likely not aware of this as you may not have had the time yet to educated yourself about how this affects the individual. Children as well as teenagers and adults with autism have a great deal of difficulty conversing and interacting with others while also having impaired communication skills.

In order to help autistic children develop behavioral, language, and social skills, you have to find ways of motivating them to pay attention and learn from this. The key to developing certain life skills may be an early intervention, but these have become easier to teach thanks to the help of some newer motivational methods that are now available. The following are some suggestions for how to motivate autistic children by employing a variety of activities to accomplish this.

Use play therapy that encourages self-expression, provides a sense of accomplishment, and teaches skills to motivate children with autism.

Allow autistic children to choose the activity that they want to engage in such as dancing or jumping and then be sure that you participate in these activities with them. Keep participating with them in these different activities until they communicate with you spontaneously and make eye contact.

Activites involving scripting or “social stories” should be encouraged as it oftentimes helps the non-verbal child with Autism to become more verbal while learning more appropriate behavioral skills. This also helps to improve their communication skills and has the tendency to decrease social isolation.

Employ positive reinforcement during their learning periods and therapy sessions in order to keep communication going. Praising correct answers or prompting another answer after an incorrect one is an excellent way to motivate them into responding more frequently.

Introduce new drills and tasks while still using familiar ones in order to make learning more fun and interesting. Granted, routine and structure are essential to providing autistic children with a comfort zone and teaching them numerous skills. However, Autism studies have revealed that when tasks are interesting and varied, autistic children are better behaved, give more correct answers, learn quicker, and stay more focused.

Incorporate activities that involve sensory integration. These will decrease or increase the level of sensory stimulation that autistic children receive. When a child with autism is overwhelmed with sensory input, occupational therapists help them to participate in certain activities that help them filter the amount of sensory input they are receiving.

Finally, children with Autism can also be motivated by employing music therapy and singing. In some cases, autistic children who can not speak a single word can sing when they are exposed to tunes with repetitive and simple lyrics or phrases. This actually helps them to develop language skills that are lacking while at the same time helping them to eliminate those monotone speech patterns that are so common with autistic children.

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The Borderline Symptoms of Autism

If there are any truisms regarding disorders of the Autism spectrum, it is the fact that the disorder can not be determined by employing a specific blood test that targets it. In addition to this, an MRI will not reveal that the disorder is present. Interestingly enough, one of two things that typically occurs during the time of diagnosis is that it is diagnosed improperly or misdiagnosed as something else when the disorder actually is present in the child. There is also the issue of borderline symptoms of Autism.

What do we mean by borderline symptoms? Borderline symptoms of autism are the same as the “full-blown” symptoms with two exceptions in that they do not occur with the same frequency or severity that compresses the full diagnosis of the disorder. The borderline symptoms of the disorder include difficulties or problems involving:

o Adaptability
o body use
o developmental and social issues
o language
o making transitions
o social skills

Answers provided by the child's parents and other caregivers (ie the day care center personnel, teachers in school, etc.), directly observing the child, and performing several developmental screenings, are the three components that comprise the diagnosis of Autism.

Adaptability and making transitions – changing from one activity to the next or not being able to tolerate receiving new clothing are a couple of prime examples involving the difficulties involved with adapting or making changes and transitions. One of the most common symptoms of Autism is the inability to tolerate any type of change in routine.

Language issues – delays in the development of a child's language skills are extremely common with autism spectrum disorders. It can range from slight difficulties encountered with communicating to being completely non-verbal and not speaking at all. Being overly verbal while dominating a conversation or just making strange noises for communication purposes are both common symptoms.

Physical behavior – although they do not occur as frequently and with the same severity as the common symptoms, the borderline symptoms of Autism include certain physical aspects such as behavior that is not normal or unusual. Certain symptoms include:

o butting one's head against a floor or wall
o repetitive hand motions
o rocking and spinning in place

Social skills – no matter what disorder of the spectrum you are talking about, there are borderline symptoms of Autism that relate to the affected child's social skills. The child could be extremely fearful, outgoing and even overbearing, or very shy, or they may display more anger or fussiness than other children.

Other development and sensory issues – other indications of the borderline symptoms of Autism may include negative reactions to color, lighting, smells, sounds, and textures. Less than average or even poor coordination may be evident as well. Interestingly enough, any one of these symptoms on their own does not indicate the presence of Autism. However, if there is a cluster of these symptoms occurring between two to 10 years of age, a team of educational, medical, psychological, and vision professionals should examine and evaluate the child.

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Preventing Autism: Cheap, Simple and EFFECTIVE

There is a simple, cheap, and effective form of Autism Prevention therapy. Here it is:

Less than 1% of all doctors in the USA are even aware that vitamin C takes all minerals, including heavy metals out of the body. It's not true chelation, as vitamin C mixes metabolically, but it's the same result. Take out all, and put back in what is needed. Most doctors even believe that the RDA (recommended daily allowance) of 75 mg is correct for good health, when 4000 mg is the RDA for a 150 pound ape. (Apes are more valuable it looks.)

Mineral analysis of people who use 2000-5000 mg (2-5 grams) per day of vitamin C for a year or so show heavy metals toxicity so low it is immeasurable. We have an epidemic of autism, mostly caused by mercury, aluminum, and / or lead toxicity. This toxicity is increasing in our culture and pregnant women are more and more subject to this environmental poisoning. This is creating infant toxicity before birth such that the infant liver may be near toxic levels, and the addition of vaccines using these preservatives overloads the infant liver and actually kills brain cells. A simple and cheap prevention is to have any pregnant woman start on 4 grams per day of cheap vitamin C (less than $ 30 for 9 months supply at Costco). If she takes 2 1000 mg tablets at breakfast and 2 more at dinner, and then takes pre-natal vitamins and vitamins at lunch, the “shared” blood stream of mother and fetus will be gradually cleared of mercury and other heavy metals.

This allows the birth of a baby that is not near toxic levels in that tiny liver, and now is able to handle further toxic loads after entering the world. Autism is a “bankruptcy” disease to families. Instead of spending millions on “cure”, let's spend a small amount on prevention. But doctors need to be re-educated about vitamin C. Big Pharma has done a job with their refutation of Linus Pauling, and the other scientists work below.

These include Frederick R. Klenner. by Andrew Saulas, the only psychologist in the Orthomolecular Medical Society for many years and a personal friend of Abram Hoffer and Carl Pfeiffer. Dr. Bate has personally taken 4 grams per day of vitamin C (as above), for a number of years, my recent mineral analysis shows only the heavy metals even measurable are aluminum and arsenic, and both are extremely low on the toxic level. (His wife cooks with aluminum, and we get fresh vegetables from possibly insecticide sprayed fields.)

He has also used vitamin C in my former practice to solve many cases of schizophrenia caused by excessive copper using 10 grams per day of vitamin C very successfully. These cases included both the Wilson's family gene, and some women that the birth control pill had been involved in the copper uptake. He has also successfully used vitamin C to push out mercury in cases of depression. This simple and cheap therapy has the potential to stop the current epidemic of autism, and at least bring it back to the 1 case in 10,000, instead of the current 1 in less than 150. Also, simple to test the validity. Find 100-1000 recently pregnant women, and start this regimen. If less than 6 months left in pregnancy, go to 3 grams per dose, etc.

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A Christmas To Forget

In this posting, I'm going to talk about Christmas last year. For most people this is a time to celebrate and reflect back on all the good times we shared through the year. But for us, Christmas 2010 was not like any we'd had before.

It was our first Christmas with the diagnosis of Asperger's. The diagnosis did help explain why Jacob did not like the holiday so much. It was the anxiety and lack of control. Jacob still has gifts from last year he has not opened. The day started out as usual, all of us in the living room, exchanging gifts. It was almost 10AM when I decided to get us coffee. I'm surprised I even go to Timmie's now. When I was coming home I noticed police cruisers had set up a type of perimeter in my neighborhood. I thought what could be happening today? Then I saw the police cruiser by my house. I thought it was for a neighbor or something. It was not until I saw my wife Shannon's face. I felt sick. I knew the tragedy was not happening to a neighbor, it was happening to my family.

I do not think you can tell, but I needed some time to relax after typing that last paragraph. I have not shared those details with anyone outside my family.

I ran past everyone and asked my wife what was going on? She did her best to explain. A knock came to the door and when she looked out she saw a little girl. She thought it was our friend's daughter. It was not. It was a girl she'd never seen before. It was not until she opened our door that my wife Shannon saw the giant pit bull. But it was too late. The little girl had found the pit bull wandering the streets and wanted someone to call the SPCA. She has a friend that lives next door and mixed up the 2 houses. 6 months earlier we had gotten a dog, to help be a companion to Jacob. Dogs are good with kids with Asperger's. So we got a little poodle named Max. He was small and white. He was very smart and very well trained, he was only 2 years old at Christmas.

Another break.

Max went everywhere with Shannon. So of course he was at the door when she answered it. He'd had his first treat out of his new stocking. “The pit bull new he was there.” My wife said. It had him before she could move. She was screaming for help, but it happened so fast there was nothing anyone could do. The pit bull was so big compared to Max, who was 7 pounds. When my wife and I had to go ID the dog, only then did I see it. It was huge. So huge that I did not know if I could have done what my wife did. The pit bull shook Max. Please do not picture it. When I came in there was blood, pee and fecal matter everywhere in my hallway. You could tell by the shifting of all the stuff that something had happened.

My wife is my hero. Since the knock at the door came at Christmas, everyone wanted to see who was there. Even Jacob. My wife had to protect Jacob from the dog, he was only six feet away. She jumped on the back of the pit bull and started to choke it with its own collar. It was wearing one of those choking collars with the pegs that help teach a dog not to pull. My wife said she was on its back and it was so strong. But she was stronger. While strangling the dog she forced the giant pitbull towards the door. The blood from the pitbull's mouth, that came from Max, was smeared on the bench we have in the hallway. She now had to get the doors open to get the pitbull out. Then she pushed the pit bull and it ran off like nothing had happened. But something did happen. My poodle was torn apart right in front of my son, on Christmas day.

Another break, with a walk.

Let me say again, my wife is a hero. What would have happened had Jacob had one of Max's toys like so often before? I can not think about that now. My dear wife put her life on the protect my son. That's a question most men would like to have answered. At first, I on the other hand, did the unthinkable. I accused her. Did not she look? Did not she see the dog? It did not matter. I felt so bad later. I've apologized a million times since then. I saw my poodle laying in the kitchen, still breathing with red on his white fur. I did not know what to do. I then thought of Jacob. He had run too his room. He was in the corner of his room, on the bed rocking and sobbing. He would not let me near him. So I went back down stairs. The police, animal control and paramedics had been there asking questions. I had some questions too.

I'm going to take a break after each paragraph.

So my wife and I took our dog to the emergency vet clinic. After a few trips and a couple heart attacks, my dog ​​had to be put down. I would have put him down soon, but before we left Jacob asked me to save his dog. I did not want my son to lose his best friend on Christmas day. But he did. I put Max down at 6PM. And we were out over $ 2500 dollars. I did not have to worry about that though. After all they found the dog and I would find out who the owner was, right?

Through the next few few days I received lots of calls from people offering dogs. I told the Spectator our story and we were on CHCH news. “A Christmas Tragedy” they called it. People had no problem finding us and offering support, but we were not ready for a new dog. Then on December 27th we got another call, but this one was different. It was a lady named Nancy. Nancy was a poodle breeder and she was offering us a new poodle. She said that she saw us on the news and had to help. She asked how we were? Did we want another dog? How is your son? I could not speak. I was crying, just like on the news. My wife had to field Nancy's questions. Occasionally we agreed to get a poodle from Nancy.

The new poodle we were set to receive, was not going to be ready until Valentine's day. So while waiting, we set out to find the owners of the pit bull. We went to the police. We did the Freedom of Info search. Both turned up nothing. The city would not reveal the owner's identity. “It was a major invasion of someone's privacy” they said. The city chose to protect the pit bull's owner's and leave us in the cold. Hey, as long as the owner pays the fine to the city, what does the city care if I get our money back? It did not matter to us though, we were getting a new dog.

Valentine's day was upon us before you could blink. What a winter storm in Nancy's neck of the woods. She was from Chatham, ON. Nancy and her husband John grove 2 hours in whiteout conditions to see us and Jacob. We had never met them in person, but we felt so close. They came to us in our moment of need, an event sometimes friends not might be there for you, but they were. And we did not even know what they looked like.

The Spec was there to cover the event. “Chico and the Boy” was the title. That's what we named our little, black bundle. Ironically, I had a black poodle named Chico when I was a boy. Jacob had light in his eyes again. I had not heard him laugh or play like that for a while. Even a year later, as I sit and type this, they are wrestling right beside me, Jacob's been laughing the whole time.

Even during this horrible time, the worst in my life. Something beautiful had happened. My relationship with my wife became stronger, if that was possible. And we became lifelong friends with Nancy and John. All 3 are heroes to me. Now my life is greater than ever before. This Christmas we'll be celebrating Chico's first Christmas with us and we'll be remembering the good times with our old dog Max. And I promise you this. We will not be opening the front door.

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What Is Asperger’s Syndrome And How Does It Affect Adults?

Asperger's syndrome is a development disorder related to the auto spectrum, but at a much higher level of functioning. Unlike those with autism, those who have Asperger's syndrome generally learn the same way average people do, learning to speak at a young age and occasionally attending school in the same classes and at the same age of their peers. Like autism however, those with Asperger's syndrome may have trouble understanding social or communication skills. This often results in being viewed as 'weird' by those around them who are not familiar with the disorder.

Asperger's syndrome is typically diagnosed at an early age, but because those who have it are on the higher functioning end of the autism scale, it can go undiagnosed well into adulthood. This has been especially common in the past when the disorder was not as well known and understood as it has become in recent years. Similar to autism, there is no cure and the exact cause of the disorder is unknown, however, it is possible to manage the symptoms, including clumsiness, obsessive routines, and sensitivity to environment changes. This is done with behavioral therapy, resulting in many adults with Asperger's syndrome appearing mostly 'normal' with the exception of lack of social skills.

The lack of social skills does not mean that all adults with Asperger's appear rude, but rather they have trouble understanding social cues. For example, it's not uncommon for those with Asperger's syndrome to share a deep passion for something, whether it be horses or molecules. They may want to talk about this passion constantly, despite the listener growing visibly annoyed. This is because they do not understand that sighting or looking at a watch means the listener is uninterested.

Due to this extreme passion, many adults with Asperger's syndrome end up excelling in careers involving their interest. It's not uncommon for adults with Asperger's to become CEO's or other high ranking positions, because unlike other employees, they do not spend their time socializing with others, but rather learning as much as humanly possible about their passion.

What is the Asperger syndrome diagnostic scale?

The Asperger Syndrome Diagnostic Scale, also known as ASDS, is a tool used to screen for children who may meet criteria for Asperger's Syndrome. This quickly administrated standardized test only takes approximately 15 minutes to complete. It is appropriate for children ages five through 18 years old. Autism experts Brenda Smith Myles, Stacy Jones-Bock, and Richard L. Simpson first published the ASDS in 2000.

The screening tool is standardized and uses percentiles to give an AS Quotient. This score anticipates the likelihood that a child or adolescent has Asperger's Syndrome. The test covers behaviors across multiple domains, including cognitive, maladaptive, social, sensory, motor, and language. The behaviors addressed are those behaviors typically seen in children with Asperger's, as well as behaviors that are seen in children without an Autistic Disorder. The test contains 50 questions, all which are answered with a yes or no to indicate whether the behavior occurs.

The Asperger Syndrome Diagnostic Scale has an administrative qualification level of B. This means that individuals who administrate the ASDS must have a degree from an accredited four-year college. This degree must be completed in psychology, counseling, or speech and language pathology. The individual must also have completed coursework in test interpretation, psychometrics, educational statistics, or measurement theory or a license indicating appropriate training in the ethics and competency required for using psychological tests.

The respondent for the ASDS can be one of several individuals who are very familiar with the child or adolescent being tested. Parents and siblings are often the primary respondents. The child's service providers, such as speech and language pathologists, therapists, and teachers can also act as responders.

The Asperger Syndrome Diagnostic Scale can not be used in isolation to provide a diagnosis of Asperger's. The ASDS is a screening tool to indicate the likelihood of the individual having Asperger's. The AS Quotient can be used to indicate whether a professional should further evaluate the child in order to receive an official formal diagnosis.

One concern with the ASDS is that it has not been shown to reliably differentiate between Asperger Syndrome and the other subtypes of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Since the symptoms of Asperger are also similar to the symptoms of PDD-NOS and Autistic Disorder, a qualified team of autism professionals must do further evaluation. This can help determine what subset of Autism Spectrum Disorder the individual has.

A benefit of the ASDS is that it not only provides an overall AS Quotient, but it also gives scores for each of the individual domains on the test. The individual results in the cognitive, language, social, maladaptive, and sensorimotor subscales can assist the professional in determining specific areas of deficit and difficulty in the child. These scores can be especially helpful in treatment planning and determining areas for further testing.

The results of the ADSD also have other non-clinical purposes. They can also be used to help draft goals for the child's IEP or school intervention plan. The test can also be given annually as a way to measure growth and progress across the different domains in an individual already diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome.

What types of Asperger's tests are available for adults?

Like previously stated, Asperger syndrome is a pervasive developmental disorder characterized by significant adverse events in social interaction and stereotyped patterns of behavior. What distinguishes Asperger Syndrome from other Autism Spectrum Disorders is the lack of any significant delay in language or cognitive ability. Asperger Syndrome is not as easy to diagnose as other disorders of the Autism Spectrum, so it is quite common for a person with Asperger to receive the diagnosis as an adult, even though the problems began in childhood. There are several tests and evaluations that are designed to determine whether an adult has Asperger Syndrome or one of the other Autism Spectrum Disorders.

The ADI (Autism Diagnostic Interview Revised) is an interview-based assessment that is used to ask questions of a parent, or if the parent is not available, some other person who knew the individual as a child. The questions are designed to determine whether the adult had problems with social interactions as a child, and to rule out other forms of autism. The ADI is effective, but it is limited since the parent may no longer be available, and it takes about three hours to administrator.

The AQ (Autism Spectrum Quotient) is a much shorter screening device used to identify adults who may have Asperger Syndrome or Autism. This instrument contains 50 questions that refer to the areas of social skill, attention switching, attention to detail, communication and imagination. The subject responds to each question with “definitely agree,” “slightly agree,” “slightly disagree” and “definitely disagree.” The responses to these questions show the degree to which the subject has features typical of people with Autism or Asperger Syndrome.

Another Asperger screening instrument is the EQ (Empathy Quotient), a 15 item questionnaire used to determine the degree to which an individual can not understand the feelings and thoughts of others. Although this is a really short assessment that focuses on only one area of ​​development, it has a very strong correlation with the presence of Asperger Syndrome.

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Autism Healthcare

The United States has a fragmented healthcare system made of many private health care facilities that are largely owned by the private sector. Primary care doctors are usually the first point of entry when there are any health concerns before referrals to any other appropriate health establishment if necessary. There are thousands of insurance companies that cover private health insurance and up until fairly recently it has been very hard to get health insurance to cover autism because it is risky and treatment is very expensive. This has recently changed due to new legislation but availability can depend on whether a particular State has enacted insurance insurance legislation or coverage for government financed health programs such as Medicaid.

The causes of autism are not readily known or available. The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that autism and related disorders are more common than previously thought. There is an increase in those being diagnosed and 3-4 times as many boys than girls are affected. On average one in 110 children born in the US have autism. One in 70 boys and one in 315 girls are affected. It is thought by professionals that the increase is due to a wider definition of the spectrum.

It is essential to get an expert diagnosis in order to access the different services and treatments that may be available as it is beneficial to begin an early intervention program. An assessment and assessment of the child may be done by a multidisciplinary team of professionals. Doctors who specializes in autism will observe the child, ask parents questions about the child's development and behavior and do a variety of tests such as intelligence tests to evaluate the child's strengths and weaknesses.

The following are some examples of the types of people and places listed by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) of which to go to that will make a referral to, or provide diagnostic and treatment services (NIMH):

Family doctors
Mental health specialists such as psychiatrists, psychologists and counselors
Community mental health centers
Health maintenance organizations
Hospital psychiatry departments and outpatients clinics
State hospital outpatient clinics
Local medical and / or psychiatric societies

Once diagnosed, the quest to find affordable health insurance coverage to cover autism can begin. Around half of states currently have enforced insurance legislation which makes healthcare insurance coverage for more available, although it can be expensive. Recent laws have increased coverage for government funded health programs such as Medicaid for those on low incomes and disability is covered if it comes within the disability guidelines, so more families now qualify for assistance.

There are all kinds of treatments and interventions available and a treatment plan can be devised and tailor towards the individual child. Different teams of specialists can evaluate such things as speech, communication and motor skills. The main ways of treating the child can be through:

Behavior Therapies and other types of therapies

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) can be used to shape and modify behavior. Occupational Therapy is available to work on fine and gross motor skills, for example, and there are other therapies such as Speech Therapy.

Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for school age children

Parents are encouraged to be involved with teachers in setting goals or goals to be reached within the particular school year and describes any special support required in meeting them.


Currently, there are no medications available to treat autism, but there are supplements that can treat and manage some of the symptoms. Ritalin, for example, can be used to treat impulsivity and overactivity and there are other drugs that can be used to treat behaviors such as aggressive behaviors or repetitive behaviors.

Although healthcare is fragmented in the United States, there is a wide range of therapies and interventions available for children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. Accessing these can depend on the child having an expert diagnosis on autism and on what health insurance coverage the child has.

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Helping Your ASD Child Survive A Sensory Sensitive Holiday

The holidays are a time of great joy, laughter, learning experiences, sensory awakenings, and fabulous opportunities. Unfortunately, maintaining a holiday atmosphere full of merirement and cheer is not possible to sustain twenty-four hours a day, every day of the week, especially when you have a child on the autism spectrum.

It's that time of year when candy, lights, sounds, new foods, family, and butter chaos can easily over stimulate your ASD child if you are not paying attention. Keeping up with your child's sensory needs may seem difficult to do in the middle of holiday mayhem but it is the most important thing you can do to make the holiday season in your family more peaceful.

Sensory overload is very common during the holidays, for parents as well as children. It's a time of school field trips and parties, family visits, decorations galore and holiday shopping, when the stores are busier than ever. All of this activity makes it easy to get kept up in the hustle and bustle and more difficult to maintain the status quo.

Here are a few strategies and ideas to help the whole family get through this season with lots of pictures of smiling people and as many joyful memories as possible.

For the child who is sensitive to light:

Traveling sunglasses – If your child is sensitive to bright lights you should always be prepared with a set of sunglasses. Dropping in on Uncle Jim who is optimistic to have the best-lit house on his block may be too much for anyone's eyes to adjust to. Always have a supply of cheap yet fun sunglasses on hand to shade your child's eyes from glaring department store lights or the Christmas tree blinkers. You never know where you will find them.

For the child who is sensitive to touch:

Handling holiday huggers – This one is very difficult to address, especially with grandparents that just want to hug their grandchild to bits and pieces out of sheer love and joy. Some children love the deep pressure and will spend many happy times getting squeezes and cheek-pinches. Other children might flinch, back away or freak out or even hit, especially if started by the touch.

Teach your child how to politely let people know they do not want to be touched. Either with a non-verbal signal, such as outstretched hand in STOP signal mode or with words, such as, “No, I do not want to be hugged, but I will shake your hand.” This allows your child to experience a feeling of control and hopefully success in communicating.

Dressing for comfort – Many parents want their children to look their best for the holidays, especially for those photo sessions. But who can have fun and relax when they're uncomfortable? The most important thing for your child to be wearing during the holidays is a smile. Be willing to make compromises and respect your child's honesty when she says, “This itches too much.”

Arguing with her statement will only risk a potential meltdown later in the day when she absolutely can not stand it anymore – if you were even able to get her to wear the itchy item in the first place. Feel free to cut off tags, turn clothing inside out so they do not feel the seams, or even wear a special pair of pj's. It's a holiday and kids are cute, you can get away with it!

For the child who is sensitive to sound:

Minimizing noise – Many children benefit from wearing earplugs or headphones during big family gatherings or at busy stores. They will not block out all the noise but will dull the noise enough to help. If you choose to use noise cancelling headphones just remember that you will have to work harder at trying to get their attention.

Scout out a place of reply – Wherever your travels take you during the holidays, be it grandma's house, the airport or shopping, find a nice quiet space away from everyone for a possible get-away. Bring your child's favorite snuggly, blanket or feel-good object for extra comfort. Do not be afraid to say to relatives, “His body needs some quiet time” and brings him to the previously identified place of reply so he can relax and regroup. Whether you stay with him or not, you or he will know when it is time to rejoin the group.

For the child with sensitive tastes or delicate tummies:

BYOF- Bring Your own food – Holidays provide a great opportunity to try new foods. Taking a bite of cranberry for the first time can be a delight or a nightmare. If you know your child is not going to eat what your host has served, be honest. Definitely let them know of any allergies ahead of time and if the list of your child's taste sensitivities is too long, bringing an alternative food and do not apologize for it.

If the only thing your child will eat is a bologna sandwich for Thanksgiving dinner, so be it, as long as the reason for it is a legitimate sensory issue. Giving in to a child's minor dislikes too easily will develop an expectation for future requests to be honored and you will be contributing to the picky eater syndrome.

For the child with a sensitive nose:

Develop scent awareness – Be cautious of scents that you place around the house during the holiday season. A child with a sensitive nose may not react well to different smells. Potpourri, air fresheners and photographed candles in particular can carry very intense odors that could be responsible for contributing to an outburst. Consider purchasing unscented products and stick to natural aromas. Be careful though, even the wonderful smell of a fresh cut Christmas tree might be overwhelming to the senses of some children on the autism spectrum.

As parents, you know your child as well as anyone and most of these sensitivities are well known to you but as children develop, new sensitivities can arise. Paying attention to clues and noticing new reactions right from the start can go a long way towards preventing unnecessary meltdowns due to sensory overloads. Do not let something as avoidable as this put a damper on your holiday celebrations this season.

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