Occupational Therapy for Autism Is Highly Beneficial for Children

There are several benefits associated with occupational therapy for autism. Children that suffer from characteristics for autism are suffering from a developmental based disorder that is considered to be highly complex, according to medical professionals. Children that suffer from characteristics for autism often experience varying to severe complications with basic communication tasks, developmental progress, and relating to other people on a social level. Furthermore, they may experience severe limitations when it comes to their interests, the activities that they enjoy engaging in, as well as playing as typical children play. Through this autism spectrum disorder guide, you will learn about occupational therapy for autism and the benefits associated with this form of therapy.

Occupational Therapists

If you have a child that you believe will benefit from occupational therapy for autism, it is crucial that you consider the role of the professional that specializes in this form of therapy. Individuals that work in this field and specialize in those that display characteristics for autism place their studies on growth as well as development. They have a lot of knowledge on the effects of autism on an individual. These effects may include the child's social activity, their emotional state, as well as the physiological aspects that characteristics for autism cause. Once they understand the effects that autism has had on a child, they work with other professionals in the child's life, as well as the child's family, in order to set goals. The goals are commonly related to how a child performances academically, their behavior, as well as their developmental progress. This is why occupational therapy for autism is so beneficial for children that suffer from characteristics of autism.

The Initial Evaluation

When you elect for your child to engage in occupational therapy for autism, the professional working with your child will conduct an initial evaluation. The first part of this study is to determine if the child is completing tasks and engaging in behaviors that are considered to be age specific. This often involves detailed observations and spending time interacting with the child. This helps the therapist determine what the child needs the most. It also helps identify the strengths that the child has. The therapist will pay special attention to the child's play skills, their stamina level, how well they pay attention, their response to touch, the motor skills and several other important aspects of their physiological and psychological development. Once the therapist determines exactly what the child may need, they may encourage them to indulge in several activities, such as:

· Occupational therapy for autism will often encourage the child to engage in physical activities that may assist in the development of certain gross motor skills such as coordination. Examples may include playing with a ball, jumping rope, or simple exercises.

· Children with characteristics for autism may be asked to engage in activities that allow them to play with and socialize with other children. This will enhance both their communication skills and their social relation skills.

Occupational therapy for autism will often assist in helping a child learn basic skills such as bathing, brushing their teeth, and tasks that are similar in nature.

Conclusion

As you can clearly see from the information contained in this guide, there are many benefits associated with occupational therapy for autism. If you are a parent of a child that exhibits characteristics for autism, you should consider how this type of therapy may assist your child. Unlike traditional forms of therapy, this type is often engaging and entertaining for a child. In addition to using an occupational therapist, you may also perform at-home occupational therapy for the child showing characteristics for autism. Encouraging them to play with toys that will enhance their gross motor skills, or perform activities that will help them develop certain cognitive skills are both considered to be appropriate courses of action. Even if your child does not attend outside therapy, they may still benefit from occupational therapy for autism activities performed at home.

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A Parent’s Guide to Alternative Treatments for a Child With Autism

Does the old fashion medicine man or witch doctor still exist? Remember the stories of the charlatan selling snake oil by the side of the road? Have you been told about someone who can 'cure' your child with Autism? Have you been contacted by someone claiming they can reverse the progress of your child's disorder? Have you found a website that promises new and exciting treatments that will “fix” your child's condition?

As a parent of a child on the Autism spectrum, all of these assertions may sound enticing and something you unfortunately want to believe in. It is bad enough when we are personally affected with an illness or a disability of our own but when it affects our most prized possession, our child, we are apt to do just about anything to eliminate the disorder and the challenges it brings.

Accepting a diagnosis of autism for your child is a difficult pill to swallow and finding a cure, or at least the best treatment option, becoming a parent's immediate focus and mission. Just as the degrees of disability on the Autism spectrum are so wide and varied so are the numbers of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) treatments available.

The vast abundance of therapies and remedies offered out there can be overwhelming and confusing to any parent. In addition to the long list of traditional treatments that exist, there are innumerable alternative treatments that are being promoted everywhere you look.

Many of these alternative treatments are not covered by insurance and spending out-of-pocket money for something that does not work or could even exacerbate your child's condition is not going to help anyone. There may be some non-established treatments out there that could help your child but rushing into them without doing your homework first is not the best way to approach what might be a health or financial risk. So what is a parent to do?

Here are some suggestions to keep in mind as you consider alternative treatments for your child:

Buyer beware! – Ask questions and get informed. Do as much research as possible in order to become a sensible consumer and make the most knowledgeable decision possible. Time may be of the essence but rushing into an alternative treatment may turn out to be a waste of your time in the long run – so making efficient and effective use of your time should be a priority. When dealing with any health related issue, it is always important to determine the potential risks and weigh them thoughtfully against the promised benefits.

Evaluate the resources you find . – Look to see who is responsible for the information and what qualifications the person or organization has. If it is an Internet site, determine who sponsors the site and assessment for credibility. Universities, medical schools, government or public agencies and peer-reviewed journals tend to have the most objective sites. Be wary of sites that simply present an opinion. Before you accept it as fact look for some convincing evidence to back it up.

Look for quality references. – If you are reviewing a website, search for links or other references to legitimate scientific organizations, books and papers. If the site mentions other professionals, take the time to find ways to contact them or connect with their own websites to get a feel for the authority or standing they have as a professional within the autism community.

Ask for a testimonial. – If a provider is not willing to put you in touch with someone who can give you a testament to the effectiveness of the services they received from them I urge you to think twice before you commit. If they do present you with a person to contact, make sure they are not frauds being enticed to give false positive reports. Asking many detailed questions that only a recipient of the treatments would know is a good way to ferret out imposters.

Request evidence. – If claims of a cure or miracles are being made, take notice. Usually the more spectacular or flamboyant a declaration is, the less likely they are to be accurate. If there is a scientific explanation provided as to how the treatment works, does it make sense? Because this is difficult for most nonprofessionals to discern, ask for concrete evidence in the form of a publication or a study.

Find a doctor you can trust. – Being comfortable with your child's pediatrician is most important. Finding a doctor that is open to discussing all treatment possibilities and is not exceeded by your desire to get a second opinion is a good indicator that he or she has your child's best interest at heart. If you want to verify a physician's ability to practice, their professional standing or conduct, be proactive and look them up by going to the licensing board for doctors in your state. The website DocFinder makes looking up any physician easy.

Remember, you always want to approach any large outlay of cash for medical intervention just as you would any other major financial investment. Using caution and good sense is the best thing one can do when investing in your own or your child's health and future.

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Beyond The GFCF Diet – So Many Autism Diets to Choose From – Which One Do I Need?

Frequently Dr. Neubrander is asked what diet is the best or in what order the diets should be added. The following article was written by Dr. Neubrander to address this issue.

Please note that diets are an individualized thing and there is no simple answer. A few general rules that will apply to most patients the majority of the time (with major exceptions, of course!) Are as follows: Begin with the GFCF diet first and observe for clinical benefits. The next diet is usually the SCD followed by the diets that eliminate special foods (elimination and rotation), food chemicals, eg phenolics, salicylates, glutamates, excitotoxins, etc. This can be followed by a “limited” low oxalate diet (not yet strict), the Body Ecology diet or the GAPS diet (Gut and Psychology Syndrome diet). The last diet many parents move to is a very “strict” low oxalate diet. NOTE THAT THERE IS NO 'PERFECT ORDER' AND DIFFERENT CHILDREN WOULD DO BETTER TO SWITCH THE ORDER. This is something that parents and their clinician could do together, though more often than not parents experiment on their own as they watch what works and what does not work for their child.

As stated, there are reasons that a child may need to skip over “the next usual diet to be added” to go farther down the list. These “skips” or “exceptions” are usually based on a child's symptoms, a discussion too big and too specific to be covered in this comment. Trial and error is the tried and true method. Lab tests are very often misleading and confusing. In addition, lab tests are not always available for many of the different “mechanisms of action” that may be operative. Even if a lab test was possible to do, because there are so many different lab tests to look at all the different mechanisms – IgE “true” food allergy, IgG non-allergic “delayed” hypersensitivity, difficulty breaking down peptides, gastrointestinal enzymatic deficiencies , cytotoxicity, direct chemical reactions, toxic or intolerance reactions to food components or contaminants, etc – it is financially impossible and impractical to do them all. Therefore, the CLINICAL TRIAL IS THE BODY'S BEST LAB TEST, but only if done in a systematic and progressive manner.

In general the casein-free, gluten-free diet helps over 60% of children on the autism spectrum according to ARI data. Although such a diet has been historically mocked by our detractors as unproven, unhealthy, and ineffective, as time marks are appearing in respectable journals documenting this diet works for a significant subset of the children on the spectrum. The reasons discussed in the published papers why this diet works has a spectrum of its own varying all the way from “unknown but definite” to “gastrointestinal” all the way to “immunological” reasons. One recently described but definite reason that milk may be playing a negative role in children on the spectrum is because of a cerebral folate deficiency. In the “absolute” deficiency syndrome there is an autoimmune reaction where the body produces antibodies against the folate receptors found at the chloroid plexus, thus blocking the body's ability to get reduced folic acid molecules across the blood brain barrier into the cerebral spinal fluid and extremely into the neurons. It is becoming apparent that every child does not need to meet the criteria to be diagnosed with an “absolute” cerebral folate deficiency to be suffering similar negative neurological symptoms due to a “partial or incomplete” blockade of the same biochemical pathway. Cerebral folate deficiency studies show that when milk is present, the blocking antibodies rise, that when milk is taken out of a child's diet the blocking antibodies fall substantively, and that when milk is reintroduced, the blocking antibodies once again rise very quickly! Research also shows that the longer one is exposed to milk, the higher the antibody levels become. Of special interest at the time of this post (August 2011) is that out of the 120 children we have tested so far in our clinic for folate receptor autoantibodies, 2/3 of them (65.8%) have been positive to either the blocking and / or binding folate receptor autoantibodies. Of even greater interest is that we can often do something to treat the problem effectively, sometimes even to the 'Wow-degree'!

What is not well understood is that there are many different “mechanisms” as to why a certain food may cause problems in different subsets of individuals that look alike and have the same types of symptoms. Let's use casein as one good example. Some patients can not tolerate casein well because of the “OPIOID” MECHANISM which causes a drug-like reaction. This opioid-like phenomenon is due to the inability of “specific” enzymes that break down key bonds that occur between the molecules holding together certain parts of a casein molecule [also certain parts of a gluten molecule]. Therefore, “if” a patient lacks this specific enzyme, DPPIV [“DPP-four”], casein may not be broken down into its smallest common denominator (single amino acids named “peptides”) and then remain as polypeptides or “dipeptides, “which are then absorbed and subsequently” misread “by the body's opioid receptors with which they cross react as opioids [morphine-like drugs]. This “OPIOID REACTION” to casein / milk products is only “ONE SPECIFIC MECHANISM” to a host of mechanisms why may not be good for a certain subset of children. The “ADENOSINE CONNECTION” is “ANOTHER SPECIFIC MECHANISM” whereby dairy products from milk (not eggs), acting through the DPPIV pathway, blocks the effectiveness of methyl-B12.

“ANOTHER SPECIFIC MECHANISM” why some children will do better without dairy products is because the child may have “TRUE FOOD ALLERGIES”, eg the IgE antibody response [accepted by all conventionally trained physicians]. Still “ANOTHER SPECIFIC MECHANISM” why some children will do better without child products is because the child may have “FOOD SENSITIVITIES / INTOLERANCES” eg the IgG antibody response [accepted by most alternative medicine practitioners but only a small percentage of conventionally trained physicians]. “ANOTHER SPECIFIC MECHANISM” would include AN ABNORMAL CYTOTOXIC RESPONSE when the nuclei of cells are directly incubated with casein. When this is done, the nuclei “get angry” by taking in a lot more blue dye and the nuclei look just like the sky before a thunderstorm instead of a pretty blue sky on a summer day. Still “ANOTHER SPECIFIC MECHANISM” would include LACTOSE INTOLERANCE wheree “a different enzyme” than the one described above can not break down milk sugar. When this happens, the undigested milk sugar bypasses absorption in the small intestine and travels down to the large intestine where bacteria and yeast say, “Yippee, beer and pretzel time!” and have a party on the front lawn of the large intestine. Unfortunately the byproducts of bacteria and yeast being “overfed” is the production of hydrogen and methane gases resulting in the child feeling bloated, having flatulence, and possibly abdominal pain.

Many similar mechanisms are occurring with a child that may be better on a gluten-free diet, eg the DPPIV opiod-mechanism, the IgE and IgG mechanisms, and the cytotoxic mechanism. An ADDITIONAL MECHANISM comes into play with gluten, that being the AUTOIMMUNE PHENOMENON known as CELIAC DISEASE. In this disorder the body makes an antibody against its own intestinal mucosa. The mucosal lining becomes damaged and therefore the absorptive surface becomes compromised which impairs the body's ability to absorb. This can be pictured by opening one's hand to observe the fingers and knuckles which we will define as absorptive surfaces. When antibodies destroy the surface lining, picture this by making a fist. Now compare the two – the first one has a stunning surface area while the second one has very little. So it is with celiac disease.

A popular diet right now for children on the autistic spectrum is the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD). The “mechanism” at work in this diet is still another enzyme deficiency – a specific class of enzymes that are expected to break down starches or “two-part, two-molecule sugars.” The food classification known as “carbohydrates” are comprised of individual biochemical units known as sugars [these are “biochemical sugars” that are not the same as the lay term “sugar”]. These biochemical sugar molecules have common names, eg glucose, fructose, and galactose. Biochemically these individual units of biochemical sugars are called mono [“one”] saccharides [“sugar molecule”]. When two of these individual sugar molecules are combined, they are now called dissacharides [“two” “sugar molecules”]. When a single “glucose” biochemical sugar molecule combines with a single “galactose” biochemical sugar molecule, the result is the disaccharide lactose, commonly known as “milk sugar.” When a single glucose biochemical sugar molecule combines with a single fructose biochemical sugar molecule, the result is the disaccharide commonly known as “fruit sugar.” When a single glucose biochemical sugar molecule combines with another single glucose biochemical sugar molecule, the result is the disaccharide commonly known as a “starch.” Clinically it seems that there is a subclassification of enzymes that is unable to break down the “starchy” disaccharides [names like isomaltase – a disaccharidase; palitinase – a dissacharidase, etc]. These types of disaccharidases are especially hard on the intestinal tract [remember “ase” added to the end of a word just means an enzyme that digests the similarly named substrate, eg lactase digests the substrate lactose, etc.]. By simply removing these “reliably hotter disaccharides” from a child's diet, the child may improve significantly.

Other diets include elimination diets based on “true allergy tests – IgE tests,” on “tolerance / sensitivity allergy tests – IgG tests,” “cytotoxic sensitivity tests – lymphoblastic activation,” or “chemical reactions to food substances,” eg the Feingold diet and other similar diets, “metabolic disorders,” eg avoidance of foods containing items like phenols, sulfur pathway offenders, tyramines, nightshades, the oxalate diet, etc. Each of these diets may work because of single mechanisms or alternately because of combined synergistic mechanisms working together.

PLEASE NOTE THAT THE SINGLE MOST VALUABLE LABORATORY TEST is a child's specific reaction to the introduction, restriction, and then reintroduction of a potentially offending substance. Therefore, When In Doubt, Cut It Out of the child's diet and obsessively clinically for results. Understand that the removal of an item may not give clinical results that are easily observable. However, with the reintroduction of the food, symptoms or decomposition may then occur.

The only real exception to the general principle stated above is to the “big baddies,” things that are known to be life-threatening, things like peanuts, shrimp, etc. These are true IgE allergies and could have serious consequences if not respected. To these substitutes one should not consider reintroducing them just to see if the child has improved or can tolerate the substance or not. The problem is that if reintroduced, two things could happen. With the first reintroduction after being off the food for a period of time, the body may not have an outward reaction, although internally the body will lose what was a “temporary amnesic response” because it had avoided the food for a long period of time while it sets itself up for a serious reaction should the food be ingested again within a relatively short period of time. The second thing that could happen is that the child may react to the first reintroduction of the food and have a potential life-threatening anaphylactic emergency.

Remember that each child is different and that each diet is different. The best way to determine when to start and when to stop a diet will be different, one child to the next. Therefore I always recommend professional help in these matters. As is standard for my practice, if I believe a result to starting a diet could be “very important,” or have significant benefits or side effects, I will recommend that the diet be started at a time when no other variables are being added or removed from the child's program. The same general principle applies to the discontinuation of a diet.

Diets are very frustrating, no doubt. They are not “The American Way”! The right diet is not easy to find. And no diet is ever easy to do. It takes commitment by the parents and alters the family's lifestyle, one of the hardest things for all of us to do – change! However, diets are worth investigating by every parent because when the correct diet is found, many of the troublesome symptoms associated with the autism spectrum will diminish or disappear completely ~! Good luck on your journey. We are here to help you in any way we can along the way.

James A. Neubrander, MD

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Inflammation and Autism Spectrum Disorders

The immune system is a tightly controlled network of cells that at all times tries to maintain immune homeostasis, an exclusive balance. Since the immune system interacts with virtually every organ system and biochemical pathway in the body, it is important that it stay in a state of homeostasis.

The walls of intestines have immune system components in them called gut-associated lymphoid tissue (GALT) and they are among the largest concentrations of immune cells in the body.

There is a class of immune cells called B-cells, which produce large immune proteins called antibodies. Antibodies, also called immunoglobulins or Igs, are produced in response to the body's exposure to pathogens. The antibody will attach to the specific organism, attach to it, and trigger it for destruction by other immune cells. Antibodies can circulate through the body for years protecting it from infection from the initial pathogen. Depending on their role, antibodies in humans are of 5 different classes, IgA, IgD, IgE, IgG, and IgM.

More antibody-producing cells are found in the digestive tract than anywhere else in the body. Their embedded immune B cells, plasma cells, produce more specialized antibody, immunoglobulin IgA, than all other immunoglobulin types combined. Since the mouth is the main route by which pathogens enter the body, the fact that 75-80% of the immune system is represented in the gut is forutnate.

Autism spectrum disorders, ASDs, are conditions which involve interactions of the gut, hormonal, nervous, and immune systems. Research suggests that there may be a strong association of immune, brain, and gut involvement in autism. Sometimes this is referred to as the “immune-brain-gut triangle”. Disorders of the immune system, such as a lack of response to pathogens, too much inflammatory, and / or autoimmune responses may contribute to autism spectrum disorders.

Levels of inflammatory and anti-inflammatory cellular immune factors, nitrous oxide, specific antibodies to antigens, and autoantibodies differ from those seen in controls. Other studies show that infection may disturb brain cells which becomes part of the immune-brain-gut interaction.

Additionally, autistic children have a high degree of intestinal infection including colitis. Treat their digestive problems and frequently their behavioral issues are positively affected.

When the intestines, brain, and immune system return to homeostasis, to their appropriate levels of balance, many parents report that their children start to exhibit significant differences in their behaviors, focus, cognitive abilities, and grades.

Hyperimmune egg has been clinically shown to help the body support and modulate immune and digestive homeostasis, and exploring the use of these natural ingredient may make a difference in the quality of life of individuals with ASDs.

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Where Can Adults With Autism or Asperger’s Find Friends?

OK, we all know that adults with autism or Asperger's syndrome have trouble making friends – and if you are an adult with Asperger's, this is probably sounding pretty familiar by now! But let's now talk about ways to resolve all of the problems of building friendships.

Yes, it is hard to make friends if you are an adult with Asperger's syndrome. Yes, it's lonely. But there ARE things that can help. There are organizations that can help; and tools and strategies that can help. Let's talk about some of them.

Local Asperger's Support Groups

The first line of defense, so to speak, for adults wanting to make friends should be Asperger's groups and organizations dedicated to such things. This is because Aspies will tend to get along better with other Asbies as a general rule. It is wonderful to meet other people who think the same way you do, act the same way you do, talk the same way, and just generally understand you. Now, there is diversity in the Aspie population just like in the rest of the world. You will not automatically get along with every Aspie in the world, but you do have a much, much better chance. You can find someone who shares your interests, someone who wants to “be” and interact in the same way that you want to.

Many of these organizations run support groups for adults with Asperger's; some can put you in touch with others with Asperger's syndrome.

Find a Group in Your City

Many cities have their own Asperger's groups and meetings. These are definitely worth finding. Washington, DC, for example has a very large group called “Asperger Adults of Greater Washington,” or AAGW. It has almost forty people come to meetings every month. Most groups are not near that big. They meet in one corner of a tea cafe once a month. At the beginning, they have social time for their members to talk with each other-then they sometimes have a speaker or a discussion topic, and more free form social time at the end.

Every group for Asbies is run differently. Some focus on just free time for conversation, some are all speakers, some discussion based, some are more therapy oriented. Some only have as few as 4 members; others, like AAGW, could have as many as forty.

The wonderful thing about these groups is people are usually very nonjudgmental. You can feel safe there, safe to be yourself. If you fidget a lot and can not look anyone in the eyes, no one will care. If you talk about trains all day, they will understand. If you have too much anxiety to talk but just want to sit and listen, they will be glad to have you there. Whatever your level of functioning and way of being in the world, at an Aspie group you will be greeted sincerely. Most people are very friendly, although of course it depends on the person and group; and you will feel welcome. You will recognize yourself in others. You will feel less alone.

The OASIS website maintains a great list of local support groups in all fifty states. A lot of these are for parents but there are some for adults with Asperger's syndrome too.

Also, try using Google to find local groups, or email a national Asperger's email group to ask if anyone there knows of local groups (Examples are grass.org groups, ASAN at autisticadvocacy.org, Autistic Daily living Yahoo group, etc.)

National Asperger's Advocacy Groups

In addition to all the local groups, there are a few national or regional Asperger's organizations that run support groups for adults with Asperger's. These are all very useful groups to know about.

GRASP, or the Global and Regional Autistic Self Advocacy Network, runs support groups for adults in several different states but focuses on the New York City region. Their current list of support groups include locations in California, Colorado, Iowa, Illinois, Michigan, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Virginia, New York and more. There are several based in the New York City area.

ASAN, or the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, runs groups in several different states as well. These are run by people on the autism spectrum and are often focused on political issues (such as advocating for rights for people on the spectrum, and how to work to reduce the number of negative messages about people with autism in the media, how to educate people about autism spectrum disorders, etc.).

ASAN's website talks more about the goals of the organization. It was started by two young men in their 20s, both with Asperger's. One was just starting college, one in grad school; both with a vision to create an organization for people with autism spectrum disorders; An organization run by people who had the same disorder in order to create a welcoming place of support and also to create an organization that would fight for the rights of people on the spectrum.

A third organization is the Asperger's Association of New England, or AANE. They provide support groups in most of the six New England states. They are based in Boston, and have several groups in that area. They have social activity groups, where members go to various places together (bowling, out to dinner, to see a lecture), as well as support groups and social skills groups. A full listing of groups can be found at aane.org.

A great website to find support organizations and support groups which lists groups broken down by US state is: aspergersyndrome.org

The listing of support organizations here is extensive. While these listings are not necessarily all oriented for adults, with a little work, you can likely find a support group that will meet your needs.

How Else Can Adults with Asperger's Find Friends?

It's useful to meet other adults with Asperger's, but sometimes you just want to be able to make friends with the people around you. How can you accomplish that? How can you develop more friendships in your life?

Work on your social skills

One option is always to get counseling to help work on your social skills. A good counselor can tell you where you're going wrong and work with you to help change the weak areas. They can identify those areas in which you need help, and model proper social skills. They can role model with you what to do and say in social situations. By working with a skilled therapist, you can be more aware of the way you come across, and gain more friends with your new, improved skills.

Seek out people you are compatible with!

But you still need a place to meet the right people. All the social skills in the world are not going to help you get along with just anyone. People have very different personalities, interests, and communication styles. You need to meet people who are compatible with you.

But how do I do that, you ask? Well, look around you. Decide what you have an interest in. If you like to read, join a book club. In the process of discussing the Great Gatsby, you just might stumble upon a kindred soul. Like to swim? Join a swimming club. Many Aspies make friends much better when they are DOING something with a person instead of just talking to them. They need something constructive to do while being with a person; that way the focus is on the activity instead of the conversation.

If you like history and World War II, join a historical preservation group. Maybe you can get involved in Civil War reenactments.

If you're into sports at all, join a sports club; non-competitive sports are probably more likely to spur friendships than competitive, but you never know. If you like to sing, join a choir. If you like to write, find a writing group. The list is endless. The important thing is to match your skills and interests to a group of like-minded people. You may still have social skill issues, but you'll have a common interest with these people and be much more likely to develop friendships. Just be patient and know that developing friends takes time; it does not happen overnight. Go slow and try not to rush things. Trying to rush into things will put pressure on the other person and make them much more likely to end the burgeoning friendship prematurely. It is hard to wait, yes, but worth it in the end.

Eight Places to Find Potential Friends

1. Intellectual interest groups

Book clubs, political discussion groups, moral and ethical discussion groups such as Socrates Cafe, MENSA are all good places to look.

2. Athletic Pursuits

Look into local groups for soccer, basketball, swimming, or any sport that you have an interest in.

3. Creative Activities

Arts and crafts, photography, painting, writing, and other creative arts; people meet to share work, discuss technique, or engage in said art during group time with others.

4. Religious Organizations

Churches and synagogues can be great places to meet others. Often they hold their own discussion groups, choirs and activities.

5. University Groups

If you have a college or university near you, they may hold special interest groups that are open to the public that you could join.

6. Science and Technology

Do you like computers? Science fiction? Medicine? Find like-minded people in a group dedicated to these topics.

7. Your Workplace

Sometimes you can find like-minded people in your workplace, or at least people to go out to a baseball game with. A lot of times this does not happen, but it can occasionally.

8. Activity Groups

People may meet to play board games, chess, Scrabble, go hiking, or do any way of activity together.

While it may be difficult for an adult with autism or Asperger's syndrome to easily make friends, it is possible with a little thought and energy.

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How Can I Know If My Child Has Autism?

We are seeing more and more about Autism in the news right now. A number of celebrities have made it public that they have Autistic children. People in general are becoming more aware of Autism, and the question often comes up as to whether their child is Autistic. None of us wants to think that our children have anything wrong with them. However, when we see a news report, or hear reports about children who have Autism, we may begin to have questions about our own children.

There are many symptoms of Autism, and they will be different for each child. Even though you see some of the symptoms of Autism in your child, you should not assume that they are Autistic. Other medical conditions have some of the same symptoms. Many begin talking when they are around one year old. This is one of the developmental milestones. However, some children reach this developmental stone later. Each child has his or her own rate of development. The fact that your child does not begin talking by the time he or she is one year old could be a sign of Autism, but it does not necessarily mean that they have Autism.

If you are concerned about your child's rate of development, you should talk to their primary care provider. They will be able to advise you as to if further testing is indicated. It can be a big mistake for parents to try to self-diagnose their children. Several qualified medical professionals are needed to accurately diagnose Autism in a child. One appointment at the child's pediatrician will not be sufficient. A team of health care professionals will be necessary to properly evaluate your child. It is important to have your child evaluated, and earlier evaluation will give a better chance of identifying the right treatment to help the child.

Remember that your child is an individual and try not to make comparisons of your child with other children. Children grow and develop at their own individual rates. A child may reach some milestones later than others, and they may reach some earlier than others. Sometimes parent feel instinctively that something is wrong. If you feel that gut instinct that your child has problems, but the child's doctor does not agree, do not hesitate to get a second opinion. Parents know their children better than anyone and it is up to them to be the voice for their child.

Learning wherever your child is Autistic can take time. It will likely be a life changing experience for both the parents and the child. When you have found that your child is Autistic, you will be able to begin the process of finding the right course of treatment. If you find that Autism is not what is causing your childs problems, still you will be better able to determine what kind of help is needed.

Some of the indicators that your child needs further evaluation include:

1. Little or no eye contact

2. Poor or no communication. This can include sounds, or words.

3. Little or no demonstration of emotions.

4. Does not pretend play.

5. Tends to use repetitive motions.

6. Schedule changes cause problems.

7. Does not respond with words or looks when you talk to them.

8. Does the same things over and over again.

9. Loses skills they once knew.

10. Develops attachments to certain foods, or smells, or has other sensory issues.

Talk to the doctor if you observe signs such as these in your child. It is very important to get a diagnosis and establish a plan for treatment. But do not be overly concerned about little things. Remember, it just takes a little longer for some children to develop and reach the miles.

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Asperger Syndrome And Its Symptoms

Asperger Syndrome is a developmental disorder that holds a child back from interacting with others. A child may feel so awkward when they are put on the spot or when they must speak to others out loud. Some children are just shy this way but when you have Asperger Syndrome this is one of the main symptoms. There are also other symptoms that resemble symptoms of autism and include a preferred routine and have poor socialization skills. The difference from autism is that a child can start to talk before the age of two even with Asperger Syndrome.

Once someone has been diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome they will have it for a lifetime. When a child reaches adulthood they may be able to understand what they can and can not do and can work on improving their communication and socialization skills.

Symptoms of Asperger Syndrome

Asperger Syndrome is usually diagnosed in children above the age of three and because the symptoms are so large in range, no two children displaying the exact same symptoms. However here are the most common symptoms:

* Requires a fixed routine with little to no change at all.

* Can not relate to others, can not socialize, and make eye contact when talking

* No tone, pitch, or accent in their speech. It may seem as though their speech is a formal style and may sound older than they are.

* May exhibit signs of being clumsy or uncoordinated. They may have poor body posture or gestures

* May have poor handwriting, may have trouble riding a bike or any other skill that requires balance.

Diagnosing Asperger Syndrome

When you begin to notice a change in your child's behavior and a consistency in the symptoms listed above, you will need to make an appointment to speak to your doctor about further diagnoses. Your doctor will order a few tests that include speech and language, IQ testing, social and motor skills, and other developmental milestones that your child should have already completed. The earlier Asperger Syndrome is diagnosed the quicker it can be treated.

Treatment

Your doctor, school teacher, and counselors can work with you to improve your child's behavioral skills caused by Asperger Syndrome. Your child may be placed on certain medications in order to control some of the behavioral issues. Keep your child interested in fun things that allow your child to explore their interest. Focus on a schedule that you know you can do all the time with minimal adjustment. When a child is able to keep routines they feel safer and secure. Work with your child's teacher in order to make learning a positive experience. Together you can help him or her live with Asperger Syndrome.

Children with this Syndrome sometimes display other behavioral symptoms such as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or ADHD. Allow your child to use visual aids when learning to help them stay focused and concentrate on their lessons. As your child grows older, they may even show interests in sports and games that keep their imagination flowing freely.

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Can Parents Help In Special Education for Autism?

If your child has been diagnosed with autism there are a few changes you are going to need to make in order to help your child through this. One change begins with unique education. This is a critical time for learning and a child needs both parents and teachers to work together in special education. Parents can prepare their autistic child at home before they begin special education classes in the fall.

Routines are Important

Someone who suffers from autism relies on routines and may have difficulties if the routine is changed in any way. When school starts, your child will need to readjust to the new routine of getting up and getting ready for school, eating breakfast, going to special education class, and then returning home. In order to make the transition easier, you may want to start this routine a few months earlier. If you do not work or take your child to a sitter during the day, go through the routine of driving to the school. There are many summer activities for children to get into the area so check into these activities to see if your child shows some interest in them.

If not, at least get your child on a routine of going to bed and getting up at a particular time. You may want to go online and pull some lessons off of the computer and have your child learn by sitting at the kitchen table or a desk. As you go through your lessons tell him that this is what he will do when he goes to school. Special education lessons are listed online and can help prepare your child for learning this fall.

When the new school year starts, go to school and introduce your child and yourself and keep in touch with your child on a weekly basis. Working together in special education is vital. Your child is going to spend the day with the special education teacher and it is important that he feels comfortable with her. If not, he may have some set backs that you will need to work out before he can feel safe enough to stay and learn.

While your child is in special education classes you want to avoid attending school and disabling the class. If your child sees you there he may think that it is okay to go home when he still has more time in school. Ask the teacher if your child can carry a picture of you with him or something that belongs to you in case he needs to feel secure at some point in the day.

Special education courses will vary depending on the school, the teacher, and the grade that your child is in. However, you can strengthen the learning process by reviewing what the teacher went over that day over a snack. Special education courses take time to help the child learn in their own unique and individual way. The more you work with him at home the more he will feel comfortable in learning.

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Signs and Reasons of Autism

There are many reports out there on the increased number of cases of autism. This makes people wonder what is autism and how do they know if their son or daughter has it. Autism is a brain disorder that can prohibit a child from socializing and communicating with others around them. The area in the brain that controls the socialization skills does not work correctly. When someone requests what is autism doctors will explain that different sections of the brain have an important part to do and when something is not working correctly the brain still functions but it can hinder other jobs that the brain is responsible for.

When you want to know what is autism you also want to know what causes it. One important factor that doctors have noticed is a pattern in the family and when one person has it, everyone else in the family may be ahead to it as well. Although there is no definite cause of autism determined so far, there may be an answer to that ever. There could be a link found in a child's close environment that may be causing autism to develop. It may even be from a medical problem as well. Parents may even wonder if a child's vaccinations may be causing the development of autism.

When you are finding out more information on autism you need to know what symptoms to look out for too. There are many symptoms that mimic other disorders. For example, when a child has Asperger's Syndrome they have problems socializing and this is one of the main symptoms of autism. Other symptoms include:

– Parents may notice a delay in talking or a child with autism may not talk at all.

– A child may seem as though they can not hear but when tested their hearing is normal

– A child may display repeated behaviors over and over such as rocking back and forth, carrying around a certain object at all times, and becoming unexpectedly upset when their daily routine is changed.

When you want to know what is autism you need to consider that medical professionals notice that no two children have the exact same symptoms. One may display all of the symptoms while others may have on or two. There is also the concern of these symptoms also being the symptoms of other disorders making it even harder to answer what is autism.

If you or your doctor notices changes in your child such as social interaction, not being able to make eye contact, does not react to someone's pain or sadness, the same phrases do not want to repeat play with other children, can only focus on one toy or part of a toy then the doctor may want to do further testing.

When you want to know what is autism the best place to learn it is through parents who have children already diagnosed with it. Understanding autism is not difficult. It is a disorder that will change your life and your child's life. He will need all the love that you can give him.

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Your Child With Autism – 5 Tips for School Success

Starting a new school year is always difficult for any child with autism or Asperger's syndrome. The change from the routine of summer to the new routine of the school year can lead to meltdowns, anxiety and other problems. Let's face it, our loved ones with autism spectrum disorders like routine … the same processes over and over again. The same faces. Getting up at the same time. Wearing the same clothes. Eating the same food … and seeing the same familiar faces.

But as a new school year starts, these things change. Wow do they change!

Many children, whether autistic or not, have challenges adjusting. But for a child on the spectrum the adjustment can be overwhelming.

How to Ensure a Successful Start of the School Year for a Child with Autism

Here are 5 tips to ensure a smooth transition and start to a new school year.

1. Communicate

  • Ensure open lines of communication. Speak with teachers, guidance counselors and the principal. If possible, contact your child's teacher well in advance of the first day of school. Also meet with your child's aids or counselors and the principal. Ensure that they understand who your child is and know what your child's special needs are.
  • Help in the classroom. It is always important to understand just what issues a child with autism is facing and how well he or she is coping. Many teachers are open to having a mom help out in the classroom … as long as you are not disruptive. Find something useful to do … grading papers, filing, putting books back on the library shelves. Find something that allows you to be around your child and help the teacher. This way you will have the opportunity to see how well your child is progressing first hand, even if it is only once every two weeks.
  • Set correct expectations regarding communication . Tell your child's teacher how you want to be listed with. How often. By email or in-person visits. Set this up at the very beginning of the school year to ensure that you have a steady stream of information on how your child with autism is doing.

2. Build Familiarity

  • Establish routine. Nearly all children with autism crave routine. They want to know what will happen and when … and they want to know this in advance. If the school year is about to start, establish this routine now. Set a bed time. A time for doing homework. A time to leave for school and a method of getting there. Make sure your child understand, in advance, these steps.
  • Visit school at least a week in advance . Tour the school. Look at the classroom. At the desk in which your child will sit. Work with the school to get these issues handles in advance for the first day of school.
  • Go to the school more than once . Visit the school two weeks in advance. Then one week in advance. Then the day before school starts. Allow your child to get used to this new routine and establish familiarity with the new school, classroom, and teacher.
  • Wander the halls . Work with the school administration to allow your child to wander the halls before the first day of school. Allow him or her to understand the lay of the land. Visit the gym, the cafeteria, the playground, the library. Ensure that there are no areas of the school that will be a surprise to your child the first time they go there once school has started.
  • Take photos . This is often a great way for a student with autism or Asperger's syndrome to establish familiarity and get used to the school environment in advance of day one. Take photos of the school … his or her classroom, their desk, the cafeteria, the gym. Allow your child to view these photos and make a photo scrapbook so that they are comfortable with the setting before school starts. This way, the only new aspect of the school that your child will not have seen before school starts is the student body.

3. Develop Routine

  • Develop a set schedule in advance. Before the first day of school establish the entire school year routine. Where will your child sleep, eat, play? What about chores? Get this all established before school starts.
  • Allow your child to have input. Depending on the age of your child with autism, allow him or her to contribute to the establishment of the routine. Let them have input. What time will they do their homework? What time is bed time? Where will they sit to do their homework? The more input your child with autism has on these issues the more comfortable and cooperative they will be.

4. Organize for Success

  • Get your child organized . With most children with autism, chaos reins in their heads all the time. It is essential to help your child stay organized … especially now that school is starting.
  • Set a specific place to do homework. Ensure that the right school supplies (pencils, erasers, paper, etc.) are there and have their organized place. Lighting and noise are often sensitivities that children with autism struggle with. Make sure your son or daughter have an appropriate light and that their study spot is quiet.
  • Eliminate noise . Ensure the home environment as well as the place that you set aside for your son or daughter to work is quiet and appropriate for studying. Make sure the TV and radio is off in the house and that other siblings are not running around causing commotion when your child with autism is trying to study.
  • Establish a timeline . Once your child is home from school a good idea is to allow some down time … maybe 30 minutes. Then it is time to do homework. Establish a specific time for play, for homework, for down time … and stick to this schedule.
  • Allow your child to learn and develop scheduling skills . One issue that plagues many children with autism is poor organizational skills. Allow your child to help establish an organized plan for the new school year. By doing this your child with autism will learn a valuable organization lesson that will help through his or her life.

5. Advocate

  • Develop self-advocacy. You are your child's best advocate. You will help them with homework, help them get to school; make sure that they receive the resources that they need to succeed in school. But, over time, your child needs to learn self-advocacy. As your child gets older, perhaps as a teenager, they will need to understand that the “squeaky wheel gets the grease.” They will have to understand what their rights are and begin to stand up for them.
  • Allow more responsibility over time. In the middle school years and especially in high school, your child should learn what he needs to be successful and practice getting these resources. After all, what is school for? It is to help your child transition into young adulthood. While it is important for you to fight for resources for your child, you can not always be there. This is the time when you need to help your child help themselves.

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Are Symptoms of Autism Different From ADHD?

Autism is affecting more children today and doctors still do not know exactly what might be causing this disorder. Some of the symptoms of Autism can vary and may resemble other types of disorders out there and this could possibly lead to misdiagnoses. Learning the symptoms now will help you better understand how Autism works.

Every person diagnosed with Autism does not have all the same symptoms. That is why it is difficult to sometimes diagnose. Every person acts differently. You may see one person who is bright, seems controlled, and can carry on with every day tasks. Others may be withdrawn, does not like to talk to others, and prefers to be on his or her own instead. The main symptom that every person diagnosed with Autism does share is the disabilities, delays, or challenges that involve socialization.

Diagnosing Autism

As mentioned before, Autism is not easy to diagnose. That is why doctors follow a certain type of manual that helps them to diagnose this disorder.

Social Interaction

A child may use nonverbal behavior that would include any body postures, gestures, facial expression, or just staring into your eyes while you talk to them. This is a way that they regulate how they socialize with others. A child may not develop relationships with their peers at the right developmental level. A child may not show any interest in sharing achievements, enjoyment, or interest. Instead, they keep to themselves as they do not want any attention at all. They may not reciprocate emotions or social interaction.

Communication

When a child does not communicate, most parents take this as a sign that something could be wrong. You may overlook socialization hesitation but communication is a definite warning sign. A child may not speak, or is delayed in speaking when they are young. When spoken to, a child may not keep the conversation going with clear answers. He or she will try to avoid conversations with anyone. A child may use repetitive language or vocabulary. They may not play make-believe or be creative at the developmental level.

Behavior

When it comes to behavior, there are certain times when a parent wonders if something is wrong with their child or is it normal behavior. When trying to diagnose Autism, a child may display one or more of these symptoms.

The child may seem preoccupied with patterns or focus on abnormal things. They may repeat the same routines day in and day out instead of changing anything. They may flap their hands, twist their hands, or move their body in the same way. They may pay excessively preoccupied with parts of an object.

Before the age of three, if your child is showing some type of socialization delay, trouble with basic language skills, or they do not use their imaginations with play you may want to discuss this with your doctor. Sometimes a child may need a little more time to develop and that is okay. At least your doctor is aware of the situation and if things do not change you can go back for further testing.

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Learning About Autism Spectrum Disorder

Maybe your child was just diagnosed with it or maybe your sister had a child who has it. Autism Spectrum Disorder is occurring in children more now than ever. What is the reason for it? Where does it start? Is it preventable? Is it contagious? These are just some of the questions parents ask themselves when confronted with this disorder. It's time to get more information on this disorder and the time is now.

What is it?

Autism is a word that is used to describe a series of developmental brain disorders that are known as Pervasion Developmental Disorders, or PDD. There are more pervasive developmental disorders called PDD-NOS or not otherwise specified. Others include Rett Syndrome, Asperger Syndrome, and Childhood Disintegrative Disorder. This complete group of Pervasion Developmental Disorders is often referred to as Autism Spectrum Disorders because it covers a wide spectrum of disorders.

It is estimated that for every 110 children, one will be diagnosed with autism. These statistics are more common that juvenile diabetes, pediatric AIDS, or childhood cancer. The numbers have increased over time and the reason for that increase is not positively known right now. These estimates are for children in the United States alone.

What is the cause of Autism?

There is no real answer for this question. Most cases for autism is unknown because it simply has not been discovered yet. It's not as simple as saying either your child has autism or they do not. There are varying degrees of this disorder from mild to severe. This leads professionals to believe that there may be multiple reasons why a child has autism. It could be genetic or it could be due to exposure of something but there is no simple answer or solution known today. Timing includes before the child was born, during childbirth, and after birth. Some scientists wonder Autism Spectrum Disorder is due to genetics. Could it be due to an infection or an environmental agent?

Symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder

Again, since there are so many varieties of this type of disorder symptoms can vary as well. The main united symptom is that Autism can affect the way that the child sees and understands the world and it can make communicating with that child difficult and it can make the social skills of the child difficult as well. Because the child has difficulties communicating and does not see the world in the same way, not every case of autism is going to be the same.

The symptoms of this disorder can last through the entire life of that person. Individuals who have mild cases may have a certain symptom that can be seen from time to time but they can lead a normal typical life. A person with severe symptoms may not be able to speak or even take care of themselves.

What can you do?

The best way to handle Autism Spectrum Disorder is to learn all you can about it and become an advocate. You can not change the disorder but you can learn how you can live with it. Acceptance takes time so be patient. Meantime, join a support group and if there are none around you, form one. You would be amazed at how many people are affected by this disorder in some way; a child, neighbor, babysitter, co-worker, niece, nephew, cousin or other family member.

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Common Signs of Autism

Some children will show certain signs as early as infant age but others may not show signs of Autism this soon. It may appear later on when they should be walking, talking, or learning. When things do not seem just right, you may take them to the doctor only to discover that they have been diagnosed with Autism. Before that happens, learn the signs so you will know.

Socializing

One of the first things parents teach their child is to recognize their name. You may call him or her to get their attention at first first. However, when a child sufferers from Autism they will not respond when you call their name even after a certain age. A child with autism may not be able to make little to no eye contact, seem as though they can not hear you sometimes, does not want to be cuddled or held, does not sympathize with other peoples feelings, and prefers to play alone.

Communicating Verbally

When a child has Autism they can not communicate verbally as well as other children their age. You may want to take your child to the doctor if you notice any of these symptoms.

  • They are not talking at the age of two
  • You notice other delays in development at this age
  • Your child began to speak and learn a few words but now it looks as though they can not recall these words now
  • When you ask your child something they can not make eye contact
  • Uses abnormal tones when talking or making sounds
  • Does not start a conversation and can not carry on a conversation
  • Repeats words and phrases they hear

Behavior is also a concern for parents with children of Autism. That is because behavior looks like it can not be controlled. Some behavioral signs of Autism include:

  • Child may rock back and forth, sit and spin, or flap their hands
  • May develop and repeat their own routines and rituals
  • When this routine and ritual is disrupted they become disturbed
  • Child must move constantly with no breaks
  • Can be mesmerized by parts of an object
  • May show symptoms of being sensitive to light, touch, and sound

It's hard to share experiences with a child who suffers from signs of Autism. As a child matures, some will become more socialized with others while other children may show worse symptoms. Some may need continuous help for the rest of their lives while others may function on their own and capable to control their situation, communication, and behavior.

Children who have Autism are very intelligent. They learn things quickly but they can not communicate with is how most people learn, discuss, or argument. They will not do these things. Although children learn things at their own pace, you should see a doctor when you begin to worry or have doubts. Sometimes talking to your doctor will ease your worry or it will verify what you have been worried about. If your child is diagnosed with Autism, it is best to start treatment as early as possible. Your doctor will discuss all the options. Today there are many ways to handle Autism in children. Be sure to find a support group for yourself as well. You can become inspired and feel better about this disorder with others who are going through it as well.

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Defining Autism Spectrum

Autism Spectrum is a neurological disorder that can affect certain areas of the cerebellum. The main function of the cerebellum is to regulate the motor control of the body. When the cerebellum is affected by something happening in the body it may not be able to process the information that comes and goes. When someone is diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder they will more than likely have this disorder for the rest of their life. It is usually completely full blown by the age of thirty-six months.

Autism Spectrum disorder is more common in males than it is females. The cause of this disorder is not clear but there could be many factors that play a role such as genetics, environmental, physical, and medical. Since there is no real cause found yet this makes it hard to accept and to live with. As a parent you may wonder if you are doing the best that you can, consulting with enough doctors, or trying something different.

Autism can affect an individual's behavior and how they socialize. It also affects the way they learn but a child with Autism can learn and in fact are very intelligent despite the disorder. When a child is in school, they would be able to learn but there are still things that can not understand such as homework, socializing with others, and more. When they feel stress they tend to act out by biting, kicking, tantrums, or just closing off everyone and everything. These are just examples of some behaviors demonstrated by more severe cases. These are not common for those who have mild symptoms of Autism Spectrum.

The symptoms of this disorder can range from mild to severe. Some children go on to lead normal life while others required care around the clock. There is no set pattern or symptoms to follow to indicate how severe the child's Autism Spectrum Disorder is.

Doctors and medical specialists alike view Autism as a complex neurological disorder that only time will help to understand. Symptoms can range from simple to difficult. A child may not make eye contact or does not speak at a young age. A child with Autism spectrum may rock back and forth, does not want to be touched, is sensitive to light, or may not want to socialize with anyone. Sometimes they may act out at appropriate times such as laughing out loud at a funeral. Again, this all depends on how severe the symptoms are.

A child who supers from Autism Spectrum should not be kept away from socialization. Instead they should still be able to socialize. Parents of children with autism should join support groups and learn all there is to know about this disorder. Joining support groups will encourage and inspire. It will also educate all the parents on something that they may not understand very well. Autism is something that everyone involved needs to learn to cope with. Laugh when you can, cry when you need to, and reach out for help. Keep a journal for you and your child. Record some of the good days and the bad days. This may eventually be a learning tool for other parents as well.

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The Spiritual Message In Autism

With so many children being diagnosed every day with Autism Spectrum Disorder, it is easy for someone to feel hopeless, shame, guilt, anger, or resentment. The lessons from our upbringings have taught us that anything that is not considered to be normal was wrong in some way. So, when a parent listens to a doctor deliver the diagnosis, these feelings come forward in a fevered rush, and oftentimes, a sense of abandonment jumps on for the ride.

But what if there was actually more to autism than what we believe there to be? What if these children came forth to help expand consciousness to a new level? What if …

As a parent to a son who was diagnosed with autism over 5 years ago, I've experienced many of these emotions and more. I found myself going inward, wallowing in my own feelings of self-pity, and not seeing him at all. Many times, I even thought that I was being punished in some way, or that my wild days had come back to haunt me through this diagnosis I knew nothing about.

Like many parents of newly diagnosed children, I found myself looking for answers and support online, but with over 1,000,000 references, I was left feeling more hopeless and overwhelmed.

My perception of my son's mysterious world now fills me with a sense of wonder, and I am in awe of his gentle and joyful disposition. At times, I am dumbfounded by this precious soul who, more often than not, awakes with a smile on his face and laughs himself to sleep. He is so happy, so content, so “in the vortex” as Abraham would say.

Could autism be “the key” that so many people were seeking?

What if … I tried it his way? What if … he came into this life to help me? What if …

My son may have the “autism” label, but it does not define who he is as a person. Like all of us, he's here to experience life and, through it, expand to a greater sense of awareness, purpose, and meaning. He's a gifted little artist with a great sense of humor who gives love freely to anyone who wants to receive it.
Autism very well might be a catalyst to shifting us towards a better world filled with more compassion, empathy, understanding, and love. Byron Katie says there are A Thousand Names for Joy, and I believe autism is one of them.

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