What Are The Most Common Autism Spectrum Disorder Symptoms?

The expression “autism” is regularly utilized to portray any of the five separate types of pervasive developmental disorders. These pervasive developmental disorders are aggregately regarded as autism spectrum disorder symptoms. There are numerous hypotheses about how these disorders identify with each other. While a few scientists accept that they are all separate disorders with comparative indications, different analysts say that there is a “spectrum” of intensity that extends from mellow to weakening.

Autism is an endless cerebrum disorder that shows in developmental problems in the zones of social cooperation, verbal aptitudes and correspondence. Assuming that your youngster is extremely introverted, he is lonely to have monotonous and restricted hobbies. What is more, he thinks that it hard to adapt to changes in scheduled nature. He can respond wickedly when any progress happens or if there is an interruption to his ordinary timetable. Sadly, it is not comprehended what causes autism yet a few researchers and specialists accept that it is a hereditary anomaly. Autism treatment depends on the symptoms and conditions that a youngster shows.

The five types of autism spectrum disorder symptoms are listed here. Autism could be distinguished before a youngster turns 3-years of age. Notwithstanding, it may be diagnosed much later than this. Assuming that the kid is diagnosed with autism he will have challenge reaching, have unsettling influences in his social working and being overwhelmingly ingested with himself. However getting him treated at an autism specialist hospital will go a long way in helping him learn social skills.

A few specialists may contend that Rett syndrome is not a kind of autism. In any case, there are still specialists who do surmise that this is a manifestation of autism and these syndrome very nearly only burdens young girls. Asperger Syndrome is like autism in that it has a tendency to appear before the youngster turns 3 years of age. A kid can work at a larger amount than a mentally unbalanced youngster can. However, with some treatment and help, most asperger kids have the capacity to live autonomously when they get older. Most youngsters and grown-ups with this condition happen to lead satisfying lives with a customized mixture of autism treatment and medicine. A standout among the most mainstream techniques for managing this syndrome is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

Youth disintegrative disorder happens a little later. It happens after the kid turns 2 to 4 prior years demonstrating a stamped degeneration in his social, physical, mental and verbal aptitudes. Again, getting treatment from an autism specialist hospital will help the kid gain physical, social and verbal aptitudes. The disorder is distinct in that its side effects normally do not start to show up until three years later of age. In the wake of advancing typically, the kid being referred to quickly relapses, losing parlance, social capacity and locomotive aptitudes. A youngster is diagnosed with a Pervasive Developmental Disorder in the event that he found to have disabilities in social cooperation, stereotyped conduct and correspondence. Notwithstanding, this disorder would just apply assuming that he is not inside any of the above other four specified classifications.

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The Most Commonly Believed Causes of Autism

There are many theories about what causes autism. However more and more studies seem to show that genetics are a major factor. In fact, 20 percent of autistic cases have been tied to genetic abnormalities as well as chromosomal mutations. Here are some of the most common theories of what causes the signs of autism and the studies that help support them.

Fragile X

Fragile X, an inherited intellectual disability illness, is the number one known cause of autism. 15-30% of children with Fragile X have autism and 2-6% of autistic children have been diagnosed with Fragile X. Fragile X can be diagnosed with a blood test which will show the cause of the disease, the full mutation of the FMR1 gene. Other genetic and chromosomal mutations include SHANK3 mutations and Phelan-McDermid Syndrome. These known mutations have encouraged researchers to create further testing at at least 30 other genes that are believed to cause autism in children.

Environmental Influences

Environmental influences are still more of a theory. There are many varied environmental influences that have been studied from household chemicals to perfumes worn during pregnancy. This is one of the reasons many products such as nutriceuticals and chelators have been used to less the signs of autism. It has always been believed that older parents, particularly fathers who can produce spontaneous genetic errors in their sperm, are believed to heighten the risk for children showing signs of autism. Infections during pregnancy as well as poor nutrition have also been considered environmental factors that can contribute to a child with autism.

Children Born Closely Apart

Studies have shown that 7.5 in 1,000 children born with less than two years between siblings shown signs of autism compared to 2.5 in 1,000 children born more than three years apart. One of the theories behind these statistics is that mothers who have children so close together have a lower supply of folate during their second pregnancy. Mothers can also spot differences between children close in age than those with several years between them. This could mean this allows them to report issues to their doctors more often than mothers who may have forgotten the exact milestones of their older children.

Premature Babies

Premature babies born before 33 weeks are twice as likely to show symptoms of autism as those who are taken to full term. But they are also more likely to have developmental issues including mental retardation. Because of this it makes it difficult to say for certain that low birth weights and early birth is the cause of autism. Autism were discovered in premature girls more frequently than boys.

Vaccinated Children

The doctor who led the study that autism was linked to vaccines was later shown to have falsified his findings yet the damage was already done. Some parents today still believe that the link between the two is possible and therefore refuse vaccinations even though there has been no real connection between vaccines and autism.

Environmental impacts combined with genetics are both plausible causes for autism in children. The more researchers learn about the causes the better the chances of finding ways to combat autism and help improve the quality of life for autistic children. You can benefit from many products available from special formula supplements combined with occupational training such as Spectrum Nutraceutical designed to assist your child as well as parents with autistic children as well as many games and books designed to help autistic children with developmental and social challenges.

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Can Chiropractic Treatment Help Patients With Autism-Related Seizures?

Would not you love to be able to go to chiropractic school and then make an overwhelming difference in someone's life? There is a growing amount of research to suggest that certain chiropractic techniques can less or even eradicate some symptoms of autism and autism spectrum disorders.

We all know that to be in good health, you must have a normally functioning nervous system. This is especially important for the spine and the nerves. From the spine, you have a mass of nerves, extending from the spine to all parts of the body. Chiropractic is based on the idea that many diseases are caused or at least initiated by body not being able to adapt properly to its environment. There is some evidence to suggest that autism-related epilepsy and other symptoms are a result of this. Chiropractic aims to restore the balance and health to the musculoskeletal system.

Autism is a developmental disability and is life-long. There are multitudes of ways in which people are affected by autism. However, most people with autism seem to suffer from difficult interaction, communication impairments and critical thinking skills. There is no known cause of autism and there are virtually no agreed-upon explanations for it. One of the most troubling symptoms of autism and autism spectrum disorders is that of epilepsy. More than 15% of patients with autism experience mild to severe epileptic seizures.

A study by Aguilar et. al carried out a series of chiropractic spinal adjustments on 26 autistic children over a period of nine months. Outcomes from the study were varied. They included the normalization of deep tendon reflexes, an increased cervical range of motion and the reduction or eradication of a slew of other health problems such as epileptic seizures. A portion of the children had drastic improvements in concentration and mood and were taken off Ritalin.

The authors of the study believe that the neurological interaction that the chiropractic helped to relate was to their diagnosis of autism-related symptoms. The authors believe that proper chiropractic care can improve local neurological function.

While there are still very few studies on the subject, there is enough evidence to at least generate a buzz and push for more research. If you're thinking about starting a chiropractic career , then you could be getting in on the ground floor of an exciting new development in the field of chiropractic and autism research. There are a wealth of new theories and ideas to explore, and with the right chiropractic school you could be there, following along with the trends, testing out theories, and making a difference.

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Autism In The Classroom – What Strategies Do Teachers Use

At present, around one in every 150 American children is being diagnosed with autism. Some have a severe form of the disorder, while others are still able to lead relatively normal lives. They can attend regular schools and as such, they receive a formal education just like all the other children at school. Nonetheless, going to school can be very disturbing for an autistic child, especially in the beginning.

There is also a lot of concern as to whether or not autistic kids are receiving the sort of attention they so badly need. By its very nature, autism makes learning new things very difficult, and as is to be expected, this can be immensely frustrating for teachers who also have an obligation to all the other kids in their class.

Are Teachers And Schools Ready For The Inevitable?

With 1 in every 150 children born this year likely to be diagnosed with the disorder, it's inevitable that schools across the United States are soon going to see an influx of autistic kids entering into the education system. Many doctors as well as parents are concerned about whether or not schools and teachers are going to be able to cope with autism in the classroom when this influx occurs.

Some schools are admittedly taking action in order to be prepared for this, and of course there are a number of schools that already have a good reputation for working with children that have autism. Many of their teachers have already had special training for dealing with autism in the classroom, and they've adjusted their teaching techniques accordingly.

One very noticeable challenge for teachers is the fact that a large percentage of children with this disorder never speak. As a result, teachers have to employ special techniques in order to try and establish at least some two way communication. Even with special training, this can be extremely challenging.

Autistic children also often develop a fixation for certain objects, even though they may be of no interest at all to the other kids in the classroom. Most of the other kids will never even have witnessed such behavior, and this often leads to the automatic child being shunned by their classmates. Kids with autism typically do not want to interact with other kids, but they still know and realize they are being shunned if and when it happens.

One of the first things schools will have to do is employ more staff since autistic children generally only flourish if they receive one on one instruction. Also, one has to take the teachers into consideration as well. Teaching these children can be very taxing, so teachers should ideally be given a break each day.

There are a number of treatments available nowdays which can greatly reduce the severity of autism symptoms, and both parents and schools are going to have to take action if these kids are ever to succeed in life.

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Tools for Parents of Children With Signs of Autism

When you first started to notice the signs of autism in your child it took a lot of strength to face your fears and speak to your doctor. Now that you have the information you need and possibly a diagnosis confirming your child has autism there are a few things you can do to help you cope with the challenges so you can spend less time worrying and more time enjoying your family.

Structure to Ease the Signs of Autism

Depending on the age of your child you may have noticed some of the signs of autism are more prevalent when changes are made in your schedule. It is important to learn that consistency is very important to children with signs of autism. They are creatures of habit, as are most children. Any sudden changes in their schedule will make it harder for both of you. The stricter a routine you follow the better sense of security your child will feel. Try to come up with a routine that suits the family and try to adhere to it as best as possible. In the case of unavoidable changes such as doctor's appointments, PA days without school or even times you might be home instead of going to work let your child know in advance about the change when possible. This actually works very well to prepare them for the change, but it may cause them to become obsessed with the upcoming event. A good book to help you deal with the signs of autism is “A Parents Guide to Living with ASD”. Picture schedules and Portable Picture schedules are also very effective to help kids visualize their day and they come with pockets so you can change things if required.

Safe Zones to Deal with the Signs of Autism

As with any child positive reinforcement teachings your child the benefits of appropriate behavior. You can use a number of rewards such as high praise or even have a sticker board they can put stickers on each day for every step they handle correctly. You can combine it with your schedule boards and allow them to place a sticker on each step such as getting dressed and brushing their teeth if these are areas of struggle each day. You can also be certain you have a safe area in the home if your child is sooner to tantrums and / or destructive behavior where they can tear things down and throw objects. Have a cuddle loop, a weighted vest or weighed blanket and ear phones for them to help them feel safe and secure in cases where they might feel unhappy or angry. Another good book for parents is “The Essential Guide to Autism”.

Nonverbal Communication Signs of Autism

If one of your child's signs of autism is nonverbal communication using visual aids will help you communicate. Tablets, mobile phones and the use of Apps specifically designed for dealing with nonverbal signs of autism are becoming an indispensable tool for parents. An excellent book that lists the best Apps is “Apps for Autism” which lists over 200 Apps ideal for kids with autism. You will also learn to read the cues your child might be sending with sounds, facial expressions and gestures. Another tool that you can use is picture collections that allow your child to point to photos for things they want. You can look for sets made specifically for kids with autism. There are also conversation boards children can use to communicate and electronic communication tools that work very well for many parents.

Many parents have also used chelators to remove heavy metals from their children's systems with great success. Having access to the proper tools and information will make each day become easier and happier for both you and your child.

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Sensory Integration for Children With Signs Autism

Sensory integration plays a key role in helping children with autism learn to cope with their environment. For most of use we experience our senses at the same time smelling, seeing, hearing, touching and sometimes tasting. We know how to handle our senses, but a child with autism experiences each sense in a very different way making them extra sensitive to light, noise and odours. They also have difficulty dealing with different textures and moving through rooms or other areas when unfamiliar. Because senses play a key role in the signs of autism using sensory integration therapy to help autistic children deal with their senses is very important.

Sensory Integration Therapy and Signs of Autism

One of the signs of autism is a difficulty with senses and being able to cope with them all at once. The understanding that this plays a key role for most children with autism has led to treatments that help children learn to deal with their senses instead of developing negative habits when trying to deal with their surroundings. This technique is known as Sensory Integration Therapy (SIT) which is provided with an Occupational Therapist. SIT is designed to teach children how to interact with their environment and in turn with others using a series of approaches. The therapy is based on elements that include neuroscience, developmental psychology, occupational therapy and education. Therapy takes place in a sensory integration room to teach the child about their senses with different types of sensory stimulations. Some families have found it works well in hand with other treatments such as using chelators to remove heavy metals from the child's system.

Four Basic Principles of SIT

There are four key principles to SIT designed to teach autistic children to cope with their surroundings:

1. Challenge: Challenges are presented through play to test the child's ability to succeed.

2. Adaptive Response: Teachers strategies to change their behaviors to deal with sensory challenges they face.

3. Active Engagement: The child is encouraged to engage in activities that are fun.

4. Child Directed: These activities allow the child to lead with their preferred therapeutic experiences that work best for them.

SITS and the Sensory Integration Room

A sensory integration room contains many wonderful activities for the child to experience. The therapist encourages the child to lead the way and take part in activities in which they feel comfortable. Activities offer stimulation of the senses that would normally be avoided by children with autism. Children are encouraged to participate in activities that they might otherwise avoid keeping them to learn self taught behavior strategies to use in play and interaction with others. Some of the activities can include:

• Swinging in a hammock to experience movement in space.

• Dancing to music to understand how sound affects them.

• Boxes filled with items such as dried beans to teach them to experience touch.

• Hand eye coordination is learned through hitting swinging balls.

• Balancing on a beam improves confidence in movement as well as balance.

• Crawling through tunnels addresses both touch and movement.

The integration of senses becomes fun and if there are negative responses the therapist will calm the child and offer assistance when needed. This allows the child to feel safe returning to the therapy.

SIT at Home

If your child has autism you can create a sensory integration room or area for your child at home. You can look for sensory tools such as On the Go Swings, Multi-sensory Somatron Ball Pools and Vibrocoustic furniture or start with some sensory toys which address all aspects of the senses from sight to chewing and touch to sound. When your child shows signs that they are not enjoying the experience it is important to allow them to stop so they do not associate the area with negative feelings or fear. SIT will help your child learn to cope with their surroundings improving their quality of life.

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Facts on Autism

Whether you have a child with autism, know a friend or family member with autism or are concerned your child might have autism, we are here to offer the information you need to learn more. Autism affects 1 in every 88 children which means you are not alone.

What is Autism?

Autism is a complex developmental disability that affects a person's social and communication skills. Autism is a broad spectrum disorder which means that no two patients will have the exact same symptoms. The severity of symptoms will vary from person to person allowing some to function reliably “normally” and others to require care givers for their own lives. Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is any developmental disabilities that have been caused by a brain abnormality that also affects a person's social and communication skills. Parents with autistic children or children with ASD face many different challenges due to the unusual signs of autism and ASD.

Signs of Autism

The earlier you can identify signs of autism the better it will be for your child. Knowing the normal developmental milestones your child is expected to make in their 24 months of life will help you identify the absence of them. If these millions are not met you should be certain to mention it to your doctor at your baby's check ups. If the signs of autism are not heard early on and you have concerns as your child reaches the age of three or four there are some behaviors you can watch for including speech and language issues, non-verbal communication issues, inflexibility, difficulty adapting to change , obsessive behavior and self-stimulatory behavior.

Causes of Signs of Autism

There are many factors believed to contribute to the risk of children having Autism including:

• Fragile X, an inherited intellectual disability illness, is the number one known cause of autism. 15-30% of children with Fragile X have autism and 2-6% of autistic children have been diagnosed with Fragile X.

• Environmental impacts such as household chemicals, older parents, infections or poor nutrition during pregnancy have been considered environmental factors that can contribute to a child showing signs of autism.

• Studies have shown that 7.5 in 1,000 children born with less than two years between siblings shown signs of autism compared to 2.5 in 1,000 children born more than three years apart.

• Premature babies born before 33 weeks are twice as likely to show symptoms of autism as those who are taken to full term.

• Signs of autism were discovered in premature girls more frequently than boys.

• Vaccinations were believed to cause autism. However, the doctor who led the study was later shown to have falsified his findings.

Signs of Autism and Teens

As your child reaches puberty they will be faced with new challenges. There are many books to help them address issues such as hygiene, sexuality and new dynamics of socializing including dating that will help them to navigate the very overwhelming world of teen life. They will also need special attention to help guide them into adulthood and helping them build their self-esteem as well as to have confidence in their talents that will help them make the best decisions for

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Recognizing the Signs of Autism in Older Children

Autism is a complex developmental disability. The sooner the signs of autism are identified the greater the chances are that your child will be able to live a fulfilling, functional life. Many children are diagnosed with autism as early as 18-24 months. Here are some of the signs of autism that might be easier to identify as your child approaches pre-school age.

Pre-school to School Age Signs of Autism

If the signs of autism are not spoken early on and you have concerns as your child reaches the age of three or four there are some behaviors you can watch for including:

• Speech and language issues
• Non-verbal communication issues
• Inflexibility
• Unable to break routines
• Difficulty adapting to change including their surroundings and daily schedule
• Obsessive behavior repeated over and over again
• Self-stimulatory behavior such as movements, head banging, rocking or arm flapping
• Repeating words or noises
• Staring at objects
• Lining up toys or objects

Social Signs of Autism

Because autism affects a child's ability to relate to others and even how they deal with their environment there are many social signs of autism you can watch for in your child. One of the biggest challenges for many autistic children is connecting with others. If you notice your child is unable to make friends and is even upset when approached by children and adults this could be one of the signs of autism. Children with autism may show little interest in those around them or even the area around them. They will not seek out friends or want to play games with other children. They will not play games that other children might enjoy playing on their own such as using their imagination and acting out scenarios with dolls and toys. If your child does not appear to notice someone who is speaking to them this is also one of the common signs of autism. Not sharing, not engaging in play and not showing pleasure with something they have accomplished are also social elements that most children will display at pre-school age. A child with autism will not demonstrate this type of behavior.

Language and Non-verbal Communication Signs of Autism

Communicating is very difficult for most children with autism and they will display signs of autism that demonstrate their ability to communicate both in language skills and non-verbal skills. They will often not make eye contact and make faces that do not seem to match their emotions or what they are trying to say. They will also not respond properly to questions or conversations people are trying to have with them. It is common for children with autism to repeat the same words over and over again as well as to speak in an odd manner with unusual intonations such as sounding like everything they say is a question. They also will not refer to humor and may react violently to touching, gesturing or even unexpected sights, smells or sounds. It will also be difficult for them to follow even the simplest directions. A lack of affection and not wishing to be hugged and cuddled are also signs of autism and can be one of the most difficult for loving parents to understand.

With autism affecting 1 in 88 children it is comforting to know you are not alone. There are many treatments including nutriceuticals and chelators to help your child. Books such as “TIPS: Raising a Child with Limited Verbal Skills”, “A Parents Guide to Living with ASD”, or “The Essential Guide to Autism” and games such as “Blunders” that teach autistic children expected behavioral and social skills will help you assist your child deal with their disability.

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Prognosis for Children With Signs of Autism

Autism is a broad spectrum disorder which means it affects each patient in different ways. The prognosis for autism varies based on where a patient sits on the spectrum. Although there is no known “cure” for autism intervention and treatment can change the severity in signs of autism and even make a big enough impact on a child to move them off the spectrum altogether.

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Ideal Reading for Your Autistic Teen

Autistic teens have compounded issues which means as a parent you need some proven techniques to help you and your teen cope with the adolescent signs of autism. A great way to help handle the challenges is to provide your teen with some reading to help them understand their potential as well as the changing social world they now have to navigate.

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Strategies to Help Your Child Cope With Signs of Autism

Many parents might be surprised to know that 1 in 8 children are affected by an anxiety disorder. If your child is autistic you might have noticed that some of the signs of autism seem to stem around nervousness and anxiety. The coping skills that help many children with anxiety disorders can often work for autistic children as well. Here are a few ideas to help your child cope with the signs of autism.

Understanding the Signs of Autism

Being prepared to try to listen and understand what your child needs is very important. Although it can be frustrating responding with anger or showing your exasperation can only make things worse. Knowing yourself to stay calm and open yourself up to finding out what is troubling your child will help teach them to talk about their emotions and that when they do you will listen. Sometimes using tools to help them show what they are feeling can help. Games such as How Do You Feel Puzzles can help them to understand what each emotion is and help them explain it to you more clearly.

Validate Your Child's Feelings

By listening to your child you will be able to help them by letting them know their feelings are understandable. Validation shows your child sympathy for their situation which will make your child feel more trusting that you are willing to listen to them. Let your child know it is okay to feel what they are feeling and that you are not angry with them for feeling that way. This can be hard, but it will help resolve the situation. Books such as “Let's Talk Emotions” may assist you in learning how to deal with your child's anxieties better.

Coping with Change

It does not take long to learn one of the signs of autism is inflexibility and a resistance to change. Having a strict schedule you adhere to daily makes things run more smoothly. However there will be times when the schedule must change. It can be a PA day, holiday or doctor's appointment. Any change you know about in advance gives you the opportunity to let your child know change is going to happen and when. This will make a world of difference when the day arrives. If it is a new experience use pictures and story books to prepare them for things like doctor or dentist appointments.

Maintain Sensory Balance

You will begin to recognize what causes stress for your child especially in their own environment. Making adjustments to your home will help keep them feeling safe and stress free. Take note of things that upset them from sounds and smells to lights they find too bright. Adjust your home to accommodate their needs. If the television or music in the home is too loud you can opt to keep things toned down or offer your child head phones to block out the noise so that other family members can still enjoy television and music. If lights are too bright install affordable dimmer switches to make the lighting comfortable for your child. Look for games to help stimulate their senses and find sensory toys for them as well. Your doctor may have recommendations based on your child's specific needs.

Reduce Stress that Increases Signs of Autism

Keeping a log book of what causes stress for your child will help you avoid situations that will lead to stress and anxiety. You should also note things that provide your child comfort from toys to blankets or even gestures that appear to be self-comforting. You can also look for stress relieving aids specifically designed with children with autism in mind. You are certain to find things that will make your child feel safer and comfortable most of the time. Learning how to do this will allow you to enjoy time with your child more and more day by day.

There are also many books available to help children learn how to manage their anxiety as well as for parents to assist with coping. Some parents have also used chelators to remove harmful toxins from their child's systems. Helping your child learn to cope with the signs of autism will help you in turn feel more and more comfortable with providing them the attention and care they need.

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The Importance of Recognizing the Early Signs of Autism

As you watch the progress of your baby you wait with anticipation to celebrate each milestone. From the first time they raise their head, to the very first time they roll over to watching as they cautiously make their way onto their knees in preparation for their first crawl your baby is constantly changing and progressing. There are millions that your doctor will also be watching and when the two of you notice potential developmental issues it can be very discouraging. One of the important things to keep in mind is that when it comes to signs of autism the earlier you can try to identify them the more chance there is you can help address them to help your child overcome their disability.

Early Signs of Autism in Babies and Toddlers

The earlier you can identify signs of autism the better it will be for your child. Knowing the normal developmental milestones will help you identify the absence of them. Here are the expected milestones your child should be reaching:

• Six months: signs of emotion, smiling and laughing

• Nine months: shares smiles, makes sounds and engaging facial expressions

• 12 months: responds to their name, makes baby talk and babbles, starting points, weaving and copying your gestures

• 16 months: speaks some words

• 24 months: uses two word phrases

If these millions are not met you should be certain to mention it to your doctor at your baby's check ups.

Regression one of the Signs of Autism

Even if your child meets each of the expected millions one of the most discouraging signs of autism is regression. Some children with autism may begin to regress between the ages of 12 and 24 months. They may stop communicating or using the few words they have mastered. They may seem to lose interest in games and making actions. They may not want to wave or blow kisses any more and even stop their chatty babbling. All of these are key milestones that mark your child's social skills and if they are beginning to regress this can be one of the most defining signs of autism.

Further Early Warning Signs of Autism

Lack of affection is another one of the warning signs of autism. Children will naturally begin to respond to hugs, cuddles and kisses and even gesture to be picked up when distracted or when a loved one enters the room. If your little one does not make eye contact especially during feeding this is also another one of the early warning signs of autism. It can be hard to identify these signs as many mothers enjoy having a baby they feel well well behaved with little crying or complaining. If you notice your child does not seem to have as the other babies around them take note of what differences and mention it to your doctor.

Make sure that if more than one person points out potential issues you listen carefully and watch your baby. It can be hard to admit something might be wrong with your child, but having the strength to recognize the signs of autism will allow you to move forward and get them the help they need. You will find hundreds of helpful tools, toys, books, nutraceuticals and products to help you care for your child.

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What Is Autism and Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Autism is a complex developmental disability that affects a person's social and communication skills. Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is any developmental disabilities that have been caused by a brain abnormality that also affects a person's social and communication skills. Autism is known as a broad spectrum disorder which means that unlike many conditions and illnesses no two patients will have the exact same symptoms. As well the severity of symptoms will vary from person to person allowing some to function relatively “normally” whereas others will be completely dependent on care givers for their own lives. Parents with autistic children or children with ASD face many different challenges due to the unusual signs of autism and ASD.

Signs of Autism: Feelings and Social Skills

Many people are under the impression that children with autism or ASD are unfeeling and uncaring. This is large due to their inability to express emotions and interact on the same social level that most people expect. Children with autism are just as capable of love and feelings as those without disabilities but have difficulty showing them or expressing them. Autism affects a child's social skills. Most children learn the necessary social skills to speak appropriately and edit their comments and observations. Children with autism or ASD do not have this skill which means they can often blink out exactly what they are thinking without understanding it can offend someone. Children with autism will also rarely make eye contact and this can be unsettling for some people who regard this as distrustful behavior or even rude. As well those with autism are not great conversationalists and will often not even answer questions when being spoken to by others. This can be difficult for parents for children with autism as the signs of autism can make a child seem unlovable. Often people will react negatively towards them when they do not understand the reason for their behavior. There are many books such as “How to Teach Life Skills to Kids with Autism or Aspergers” and software such as “Functional Living Skills / Behavioral Rules” that parents can use to assist their children with becoming more social.

Signs of Autism: Affection and Actions

An unfortunate myth that affects children with autism is that they do not enjoy affection. Although this can be true of some, many enjoy hugging and cuddling especially with those who feel closest to such as parents, grandparents, siblings and teachers. The actions and gestures of autistic children can be disturbing to many people as one of the signs of autism is going over the same motions repetitively and obsessively. Rocking, arm flapping, hitting themselves and even odd walking on tip toes, hopping and skipping can be worrisome to those who are not used to being around a child with autism. Books such as “Aut-aerobics” teach children with autism about movement using exercise and dance.

Signs of Autism: Learning and Development

The most challenging signs of autism can make living with an autistic child difficult. It can also make it difficult to predict what to expect from their learning and development. Children with autism can often surprise teachers and parents by learning more quickly than classmates especially for skills such as reading. However it can be discouraging as quick as they learn something, they can just as quickly seem to completely forget. They also may choose to do a simple task in the most monotonous and difficult way. Each child is different and parents and teachers must learn how best to deal with their specific needs.

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Online Dating – A Popular Time Pass for the Autistic People

One of the most talked about popular and “in-thing” to do teenagers teens is to date the cutest guy or girl they come across and usually it all starts with casual flirting and exciting sweet nothings. There comes a time when dating is a matter of peer pressure where young teens need to date somebody and have someone tightly wrapped around their arms. But such a common trend often becomes a far cry for the automotive because they lack the social etiquettes to hit it off with someone from the opposite gender. One of the common problems that kids diagnosed “on the spectrum” have is the realization that they can never have a normal lifestyle and do the “cool” things like hanging out with friends, catching up with them over a couple of drinks or even dating , one of the must things to do for them.

How technology solves some of the problems that autistic kids face

We all know that technology is the answer to most of our solutions and it looks to make our life easy within a second. It is natural that this time around yet again technology will give the much-needed solution for the autistic kids in giving them the opportunity to do things that normal kids their age often engage in. This time the magic wand that technology did churn in favor of the autistic kids was to create a platform for online dating so that it becomes easy for those having this neurological disorder to easily start knowing someone they wish to know closely. Some of the benefits that online dating has for these special kids:

  • Easy to start conversation – what the virtual world offers is an easy way to get in touch with someone you wish to have close proximity with. Being physically close to someone often creates an awkward situation but there is no scope for such a thing while chatting online and more so for the autistic. The kids having their own set of neurological problems find it easier to flirt online than meet up with the person face-to-face.
  • The lack of social etiquettes – we know that autistic kids find it difficult to exercise social etiquettes because they fail to understand them let alone practice. While chatting online it is easier to hide the lack of these etiquettes but it is impossible to hide your own awkwardness while meeting your date in front of you. People often categorize the lack of social etiquettes as being ill-mannered and not having the knowledge about how to represent yourself in a social event. Yes, autistic people are subject to being constantly criticized by everyone so this adversely affects their self-confidence making them all the more a recluse, so they fear meeting their dates and prefer online dating.
  • They continue to stay in their comfort zone – we all are aware how much an autistic child prefers to stay within their own comfort zone and feel uncomfortable, even at times claustrophobic if faced with a lot of people or when they are part of any social gathering . Here online dating works brilliantly for them because they get to flirt, date or even have casual chat but at the same time they manage to stay in their shell away from the outside world.

Online dating, again a solution provided by technology helps autistic kids to agree with peer pressure and free themselves from the insecurities that they can not engage in the common things that kids their age can indulge in because if you learn to love technology and be the tech geek then you will be never disappointed.

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Living With Asperger’s Syndrome – Charlie

Asperger's syndrome is a high functioning form of autism, it is a challenging, often invisible, disease. It seems the only time it's funny is the first time your 8-year-old says it – “ASSpergers? Charlie has something wrong with his ASS?” If only it was that simple. When Charlie was a toddler, his parents noticed there was something different about him; thunderstorms made him inordinately frightened and he preferred to stand outside alone than to go into a birthday party. Charlie met all of his development milestones but there were no obvious warning signs until he attended Kindergarten, it was a very difficult year and his teacher did not know how to handle him. The school conducted some testing which were deemed inconclusive and the school was wonder if Charlie was being exceptionally disciplined at home.

According to Charlies Mom, Jen, his 1st grade teacher “made all the difference in the world”. She sensed that Charlie had a defect behavioral issue and pushed for more comprehensive testing. This time the conclusion was that Charlie had Asperger's Syndrome, there was no official diagnosis as he had not seen a medical professional, it would have been a year before they could get an appointment. Imagine having to wait a year to get an appointment? The best doctors for Charlie were in Boston and there are not enough specialists to go around. In the meanime, Charlie was put on an IEP – Individualized Education Plan – and his parents took to the internet to learn more about his pending diagnosis.

When Charlie entered the third grade, things broke down both at home and at school. His teachers did not fully understand his needs and without strong special needs resources, they were at a loss – he was often sent home rather than remedied the behavior in school. The stress overflowed into the home and emotions escalated for all four family members. Occasionally, Charlie's brother Danny, now in the first grade, broke down at school because he was overwhelmed with Charlie's behavior and the pressure his parents were under.

It was at this time that they realized they needed to make more obvious, lasting changes for the entire family – Danny joined a sibling group, Jen and Danny being taking daily walks so he could talk about what was on his mind, and they developed meaningful relationships with other parents who children have Asperger's. Very few people they knew thought Charlie was simply being defiant, Jen and Karl were lucky to have supportive friends and family to help ease the burden. Frankly, I think Charlie is great, he has a kooky sense of humor, whether he realizes it or not, and I certainly do not mind his candor. Being told that I am crazy and I embarrass my kids is nothing I have not heard before. He once told a teacher he did not believe having a test before break was in the holiday spirit, pretty reasonable if you ask me.

The family and the school learned to understand compromise and patience, there were not enough resources to go around and every treatment and behavior change took time. Teaching Charlie self-regulation is a group effort, his tolerance threshold decreases through the day which could result in him yelling and throwing things. He is monitored to teach him when he is approaching his breaking point. This takes cooperation and communication between the family and the school, which is not always easy. Sometimes Charlie forgings his homework, sometimes the school does not tell the parents until there is an IEP meeting. There has been tension and disagreement between the home and the school, until Charlie's family hired an advocate. The advocate helps keep the balance in meetings, she cost money but the family feels the benefit is much more valuable than material things.

As for their personal lives, they have learned that any plan can fall apart at a moments notice. When the family went to Disney, they were given a “fast pass” of sorts to avoid the long lines, children with Asperger's do not have a lot of patience. What became a smooth entry into a ride, turned out to be problematic after the ride and it had nothing to do with patience. Charlie was so excited about the great ride that it took 2 hours to calm him down before he could focus enough for the entire family to relax and enjoy the rest of the day. At his first ballgame, the announcers upset Charlie, he did not know what to expect and it scared him. And let's not forget Blue's Clues, the show appeals to children with Asperger's because they can refer to the list and, apparently, a handy dandy notebook makes a great gift. Charlie loved the show, so much so that his Dad spent a lot of money on tickets and drove over an hour to see the show. The minute the lights went down, Charlie panicked and had to leave, they did not see the show. The darkness and the noise was too much for Charlie. As he attends more functions, he is able to increase his tolerance. Plan all you want, but do not be disappointed when it does not pan out.

Having a special needs child can be very hard on your career. Karl was able to work adjust his situation so that he could meet the kids every day after school, this included working from home part-time. Jen had a more difficult time, despite working overtime and weekends, she was made to feel guilty when she left for doctor's appointments and school meetings. Luckily, she was able to find a place that was much more understanding of her families needs and has worked herself up to Vice President. Jen and Karl also began running for the bodies and minds, Jen has lost 50 pounds over the last 2 years and they both feel great.

Some of their biggest challenges are still related to school, it's like being a kid in the parent-child relationship. Charlies parents can tell the school what they feel might work or be best for Charlie but the school does not always listen and would rather learn through trial and error. The have learned restraint and the proper use of advocacy. Jen and Karl are partners in their parenting, they always provide a united front and have the same parenting styles, of which I am envious. They realized that they could handle a lot more than they thought and have developed a deep appreciation of the simple things in life, like Charlie getting 100% on his Math quiz, his worst subject. Those moments can be tear-jerker for Jen. Her advice to other parents? Put one foot in front of the other, you will get there a bit at a time. Do not think about the big picture, some results are years in the making and are amazing to see.

They worry about Charlies future – will he have a fulfilling job and relationship? 30 years ago, the answer would have been different, but today they have hope that Charlie will have a happy life. They do not yet know what the definition of a happy life is for Charlie, nor does Charlie, but I suspect he will have one. They are a great and loving family and Charlie has come a long way since I met him 5 years ago. The first time I met him, he was standing on my couch because he was afraid of the dog and it took some doing to get him down, including standing right up there with him. When I left his house this weekend, he hugged me. I do not remember Charlie ever hugging me before. I guess that's and example of a result that has been years in the making.

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