Alternative Cure for Autism

Other than normal medication and behavioral therapy, natural therapies like Ayurveda can help cure autism, making a painful disease easy to cure and with no side effects.

A neuro-developmental disorder, autism affects people and can appear during the first years of a child's life. Impairment in speech and social activities are few of the common symptoms to identify autism in a child. A range of symptoms like Asperger syndrome, Autistic Disorder, Rett Syndrome, Pervasive Developmental disorder, Childhood disintegrative syndrome come under the Autism Spectrum Disorder.

The causes of autism have not yet been concluded, though scientists and doctors attribute it to environmental and genetic factors. Exposure to environmental toxins during pregnancy can increase the chances on giving birth to a child with autism. A mishap during early foetal brain development also leads to autism. And the cure is found in behavioral therapy sessions and therapy workshops. Ayurveda has tried to find a solution to this disease.

Those diseases that are not genetically linked can be treated by Ayurvedic practices. Dietary modifications, changes in lifestyles and intake of Ayurvedic medicines can cure certain diseases.

1. What you eat determines how your body will react. Diet is the main important treatment point for autistic patients, or for that matter for any person. Certain foods like alcohol, meat and junk processed foods should be strictly avoided. Fresh and green vegetarian foods should be ingested. Pulses, milk and lots of leafy vegetables are a plus point.

2. To treat the autism spectrum disorder, detoxification therapies to cleanse the metabolic system has been suggested. Few popular ones are Purgation and Fomentation therapies.

3. The other way through this cure is through medications. Internal medicines and external treatments like massages are prescribed for autistic patients.

Other methods of autism cure is based on increasing symptoms of autism. One of the common symptoms in autism patients is insomnia. Melatonin, the hormone that regulates sleep-wake patterns in people can be orally given. Melatonin supplements if given to autism patients can reduce insomnia. To treat hyperactivity and repetitive behavior, omega-3-fatty supplements can help. Autism patients have certain nutritional deficiencies that can be corrected with respective supplements. Multivitamins can come to the rescue and must be given in moderate doses. be eating a well-rounded diet.

Autism in children can be disheartening to see and must be treated with love and attention. Autism schools educate children with autism and take care to make them independent. Education for autistic children is different from that of a normal child. These children need to be handled with patience and love. Communicating in pictures is the key. These children respond well to pictures and story-telling concept is the way towards educating these children. Thanks to many autism schools in Mumbai, parents have a way to educate their children. The fear of the disease can not stop their children from moving forward in life.

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So Who Has A Chiari 1? A WHAT?

Exactly … few of us probably know what that is.

How sad, since every parent and doctor dealing with autism should know and be aware of it's symptoms, it's presentation and it's incidence rate in children with autism. Sadly, this is not the case.

The intent of this article is to bring awareness to the existence and prevalence of this malformation, to increase screening, diagnosis and extremely improve the lives of many children.

So now I share with you my son's story, which includes my never ending lack of confidence in the “system”, so try to bear with my sarcasm!

At the age of 6, fully immersed in the world of autism my son was very sick. Along with all of the fun attributes of autism we were dealing with, we were now adding seizures (diagnosed as epilepsy) and some new very bizarre behaviors. This included constantly touching his feet and quacking all day. Yes, quacking like a duck ALL day!

A discussion regarding these behaviors led his neurologist and another specialist to diagnose these behaviors as stims. Peeeelease …

Beyond skeptical with this interpretation, I turned to my DAN doctor and expressed my opinion. Thankfully he still considered me to be sane and he listened to me and agreed with me. Instead of diagnosing purely based on my verbal explanations, he ordered an MRI. He and I shared the opinion that the other doctors were less than thorough. Chiari 1 malformation is seen on MRI scans in people of all ages.

After the MRI, Brett was diagnosed with a Chiari 1 malformation.

After he was diagnosed, our DAN doctor advised us to see “the best” doctors in the field of Chiari. Following his advice, we went to the Chiari Institute of New York.

After about a three hour wait, a session with a neurologist and filling out papers, we met with the surgeon. He confirmed that Brett did indeed have a Chiari 1 malformation and reviewed the details and pictures of his Chiari 1 malformation. After this brief confirmation of what I already knew, he said to me “yes he has a Chiari 1 malformation, but I will not operate on him because surgery is not a cure for autism.” And with that, he walked out the door.

After two weeks of sobbing and basically existing in disbelief as to what actually took place in that office, I came to a realization. He (the surgeon) was wrong! To make a long story short, I contacted our DAN doctor late in the evening. I said to him “he's wrong”, and he agreed and told me he would be back in touch with me in a little while. Well, within less than an hour, not only was my fabulous doctor back on the phone with me but he had arranged for me to talk with Dr. Neil Feldstein, director of pediatric-neurosurgery at Columbia Presbyterian. Within 3 weeks of that evening, Brett had surgery.

Dr. Feldstein did not know what effect the surgery would have on Brett's autism. What he did know was that Brett had a brain malformation that needed to be operated on. The deciding factor for us was that there was a very significant chance that Brett was in pain. If Brett was in pain and it could be relieved then we owed it to him to tie the pain.

The surgery was a success and Brett's malformation was corrected through a decompression procedure. In my terms, Dr. Feldstein removed some of his skull bone, approximately the size of a woman's fist. This procedure allowed for the proper amount of space for his cerebellum and for the blood and cerebral spinal fluid to flow properly to and from the brain.

We were very fortunately to be a highly successful case. Brett's “stuns” disappeared as did his seizures. It was as if Brett had been wearing black opaque sunglasses, they had been removed and the floodgates were opened.

Now, to temporarily interrupt this story, I need to fill you in on what else was happening.

At that time in my life, I was pretty involved in the autism world. I was working with several groups on a volunteer basis. During our meetings we would always discuss what was happening with our children, what treatments our children were undergoing, what interventions we were using and results.

Well, one night at a volunteer meeting, I told this group of people – strangers to me about Brett's surgery. The parents of five other autistic children were at that table. Of the five children, Three had chiari 1 malformations. None of their children had been operated on. I do not think this was a coincidence! I later shared this with Dr. Feldstein and he was stunned. He said that the odds of all of these children having a Chiari 1 were like a million in one (actually I think it was a higher number). Basically this indicated that many children with autism have this malformation but it is going undiagnosed and untreated!

To date there is no scientific data published concerning the incidence of Chiari 1 malformation in children with autism. As a result, awareness of Chiari 1 malformations is very low and so is the screening. In my conversations with parents over the years, most of them had never heard of it.

I have spoken with parents which children have been diagnosed with the malformation but their doctors did not believe that it had any effect on the child. I continue to be amazed by such assumptions. With autism being a neurological disorder, how could anyone assume that something as serious as a brain malformation would have of no significance and have no effect on the child?

Here on Long Island, word of Brett's success spread and many children had the surgery to correct the malformation. I know that some were very successful and that some returned more positive results than others in terms of lessening the symptoms of autism.

I hope that many people read this article and spread awareness. At the bare minimal, all doctors treating children with autism should be aware of the symptoms and prescribe an MRI for screening. Oh – and also have a competent diagnostic reading the results and specifically looking for the malformation.

Please do not think this is a cure – it is not! For my son, it was a very big problem. For other children, it may not be. As we all know, autism presents differently in every child.

Indeed, the evidence does indicate that this malformation is a serious medical problem that children with autism may have. For that reason, it should be screened for! In addition, it should be treated. Do not be afraid to ask for screening and get a second opinion!

To briefly update you, ten years later, Brett is mainstreamed in 9th grade. He still has autism but I personally consider him to be 90% recovered. As I said, the surgery is not a cure. Since age 4, I have been teaching Brett through video and during the last 14 years, we have done so much that I am quite sure I do not even remember all of it. I am very thankful that I had such wonderful doctors who believed in me and who were willing to go against the common beliefs. It takes strength to do that and that is exactly what is required to be a great parent! … to any child. Be that “Warrior Mom” ​​as Kim says!

There is a great deal of information on the internet and I encourage you to read up! The footnote link is a great place to start.

Footnotes

1 http://www.mayfieldchiaricenter.com/chiari.php

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Facilitating Play-Dates for Autistic Children

Before I became an autism parent, I saw a play-date as a parent coffee break. I envisioned my son playing board games or superheroes with a buddy, and begging to stay just five more minutes. The reality is that autistic children frequently struggle to sustain social interactions with their peers, and need more support and structure than the occasional suggestion from a latte-sipping parent. A facilitated play date – a planned, supervised social interaction with a peer – is a relatively simple and low-cost way to support an autistic child's developing social skills.

If you need time to yourself or feel uncomfortable taking on the facilitator role, you can hire a therapist or other professional to conduct a play date. But if you enjoy this type of play or want to save a little cash, you can provide the appropriate structure and support by following a few simple guidelines.

* Carefully consider how the temperament and interests of your child's intended playmate will affect you and your child.

* Contact your intended playmate's parent or guardian to discuss your plan. Be clear that this particular play date is not an opportunity for the parents to socialize, and ask if he or she can stay to provide additional support if needed.

* Establish a specific end time for the play date. You want both children to leave the play date wanting more, not eager to get away from one another. Thirty minutes is a good place to start.

* Plan activities and have backups. For 30 minutes, a list of five to ten activities should provide a good safety net.

* Think structure. Instead of planning “play with cars for 10 minutes,” set up a towel, a bowl of soapy water and a few different scrubbers for a car wash.

* If your child is prior to anxiety about “what happens next,” try a picture schedule for the play date, including answering the door and saying good-bye.

* When your child consistently wants to have more time with a playmate, you can go in one of two directions: Extend the play-date by 10 or 15 minutes or allow the children 5 to 10 minutes of free choice at the start. Begin with one of these options, and wait for it to be consistently successful before adding the second.

* Before you schedule the play-date, try a couple of practice runs with a parent or other familiar adult as the playmate. This can highlight the areas your child finds more challenging, and help you adjust accordingly.

* Remember that you're not teaching a political candidate how to network. You're introducing your child to new ways to have fun.

For many autistic children, play can feel like work: My son enjoys time with his friends, and also finds it exhausting. I've learned that the more I honor his need for alone time, the more willing he is to engage with friends when the opportunity presents itself. As with many aspects of the world of autism, play dates might look different than what you expect, but that does not mean they have to be any less fun.

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Exercise for Autistic Individuals

Exercise is the cure for everything, including autism. The most inexpensive of all treatments, exercise promises to keep you disease free the rest of your life, yes including the dreaded autism.

Every kid needs a certain form of exercise for the physical and emotional wellbeing; children with autism are no less different. In fact, research points out that exercise is one of the most effective treatment strategies for autistic individuals. Kids generally receive their dose of exercise from playing with other kids, however autistic children shy away from such social interactions and they need to look at elsewhere.

If you take a look at the symptoms of such kids, you can see a clear link between exercise and autism treatment. Motor skills, sensory problem, hand-eye coordination can all be treated with proper exercise regimes. Simple forms like skipping, jumping on a trampoline or a bouncing ball help to improve the child's sense of position. Complicated moves like somersaults and dancing help their coordination and balance. Hitting a ball, or playing a sport improvises the hand-eye coordination. With constant practice, the child's motor skills take a leap ahead. And before you know it, the child develops an inclining towards sport and begins to enjoy social company.

Exercise also leads to the growth of new brain cells in the hippocampus area (the area that affects attention and impulse control), and hence leads to speedy recovery of autistic symptoms. Aerobic exercises in particular need to be encouraged in children with autism, and following a regime of three days a week is beneficial. Being repetitive in nature, these exercise tend to be more favorable to kids, and are provided to replace a child's negative self-stimulating behaviors. Vigorous and strenuous workouts decrees hyperactivity, aggression, self-injury and destructiveness by providing a channel for emotional outburst.

Autistic children are overweight compared to their peers, and exercise keeps this problem at bay. Apart from low self-esteem, being overweight can risk autistic children with numerous health problems. Gastrointestinal problems, depression and anxiety can only worsen in overweight individuals.

However, jumpstarting to exercise is itself a tedious process for autistic kids because of their limited motor functioning, lack of social interaction motivation and difficulty in planning. However if implemented appropriately, exercise can help overcome many challenges in the life of autistic children.

Autism spectrum disorder can also benefit from exercise and must be encourage to all adults and children. A combination of a myriad of symptoms, the Autism spectrum disordercan be tackled effectively with introduction of aerobic and other exercise forms.

Wow, with exercise reaping lots of benefits, it's a no brainer why parents and teachers encourage it badly. Being inexpensive, safe and healthy, it's no wonder why parents and doctors should not recommend this treatment form.

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How Google Glass Can Help Fight Autism

Google Glass is one of the latest devices that is creating ripples in the world of gadgets and technology. One of the most interesting twists or recent developments that intrigued medical researchers is this gadget's contribution in the field of autism. Recent reports state that people can benefit, especially the autistic kids, with the help of this glass. Are you wondering how the above statement got validated? Paul Louden is one of the most dominant figures as a Google Glass explorer, who suffers from the Asperger Syndrome. It is actually his quest to find out how his invention can help the victims of this disorder.

What is the Google Glass?

The Google Glass looks like an eyewear and it is an electronic device that can get connected with your Smartphone or Bluetooth. This gadget has a small camera, touchpad, display, microphone and a battery, attached neatly inside the narrow frame. The frame spreads from one ear to the other. It is easily wearable and is also very comfortable. Clearly, this gadget is here to stay because of the kind of comfort it provides to its users.

The Views of the Medical Researchers

Medical researchers grabbed the opportunity offered by Google Glass. This device works in ways that prove useful for the people suffering from disabilities like vision, hearing and mobility. Not just autism, but this gadget can also help in curing other health problems as well. In case of poor health conditions, this glass can help in curbing the effects, if not preventing it completely. It is a great find in the field of medical science, broadening the scope of the medical researchers to explore more.

Google Glass – Its Uses in the Field of Autism

Some researchers went a step forward in trying to incorporate the facial recognition software into the Google Glass. This software mainly asserts the autistic people to easily find or even understand the emotions of people around them. With the help of the facial analytics, this Glass can scan the face. After the scanning is complete, it sends out signals wherever the person finds you interesting or not. As signals, this device flashes different colored lights. These signals help autistic people understand whether they should continue a conversation or not

Another major problem among autistic people is their tendency to forget what they should do next. This device helps to remind them about their next course of action all the time. By doing so, this glass acts as a constant guide they need, till a time when these actions become a habit that no longer needs a reminder.

Final Thoughts

Google Glass is one of the latest advances in the field of technology that managed to touch people from all walks of life. It is a revolutionary glass, especially for the disabled. Why is it so? This is because this device assures to either benefit or cure the autistic people in more ways than one.

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Educating and Motivating Students on the Autism Spectrum

Read this article, and you will learn something new and useful.

Hopefully, the previous sentence activated your nucleus accumbens, a structure located deep in your brain that plays a key role in reward and learning mechanisms. Whether you're playing a videogame, listening to music, eating chocolate, or learning something new and interesting, the nucleus accumbens supports all of these experiences. Learning and engagement are, in fact, intricately woven together by specific regions in the brain. Yet the relationship between learning and engagement often gets short shrift – as if fun can dilute the content of an education. Current research is showing us, however, that learning and entertainment go hand in hand: in fact, edu-tainment may be the future of teaching and learning.

Ed • u • tain • ment (content) is content with a high degree of both educational and entertainment value that is designed to teach something – using games, computers, films, or other media

We know that engagement and interest in academic tasks create positive educational experiences for children, which can spark curiosity and fascination for learning. And for children with autism, motivation and engagement are essential. However, many school-aged children – kids with ASD included – are often given academic tasks that can be overwhelmingly challenging and mostly unengaging. Research suggests that mundane, uninteresting tasks can lead to behaviors, which can impede or interfere with learning. On the other hand, recent research has shown that having fun can improve learning: even abstract, complex information.

Currently, educators have effective strategies to help children with autism engage in a task and learn critical new skills – such as using a child's “special interest” to connect to material, giving choices to promote involvement, reinforcing responses during a task, working for a reinforcer, and interspersing both easy and challenging tasks to mediiate frustration. Combining these strategies as a “package” has been shown to improve motivation and engagement – while, at the same time, decreasing behaviors that negatively impact learning.

New mobile devices can help educators and therapists engage children on the autism spectrum, using the power of edutainment. With mobile technology – iPad, iPhone, tablet, and apps that literally fit in the palm of one's hand – students on the autism spectrum are edutaining themselves and learning like never before. As a matter of fact, studies have found that mobile technology not only motivates but allows children with autism to concentrate during learning and demonstrate what they have learned.

The concept of edutainment is not new, as a matter of fact. In the past, we have been edutained by a number of now-famous shows – Schoolhouse Rock, Sesame Street, Bill Nye the Science Guy, and Smart Songs – to teach topics such as math, science, social skills, and history. Board and video games have also been used to teach social skills and academic concepts.

Edu-tainment and apps – how do we employ the powerful principles of edutainment to engage students in academic tasks and improve performance, using apps on mobile devices? Choosing a great edutainment app is more than just picking a math or reading app; here are a few tips on choosing apps that use edutainment to effectively teach important skills such as communication, social behavior, or academics:

  • Use the apps yourself prior to giving them to your children or students.
  • Choose apps that can be customized with the child's information or picture.
  • Find apps that include reinforcers (verbal or sound).
  • Emphasize apps that have a point system or levels.
  • Pick an app that engages as many of the senses possible.
  • Download apps that use various themes and are not repetitive.
  • Encourage your child to “help” choose the app.

Technology is increasingly accelerating the educational system giving students with autism access to tools that stimulate critical areas of the brain responsible for learning and entertainment. Whether at home or in school, engagement and learning can go hand in hand.

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Tips to Know Which Room Color Will Suit Your Autistic Kid the Most

There are times when understanding the world of the autistic kids become difficult for parents as well as peasants because our brain does not function like their. Kids termed “on the spectrum” need to have a very relaxed and laid back surrounding because that suits them the most since it allows them to stay stress free. Trying to figure out what stress they have? Well, they always feel that they are less compared to other kids their age because of certain flaws and shortcomings that they have due to autism. But there is a silver lining behind the dark cloud of autism and this silver lining is the proper use of right room colors for your kid since these colors have a good impact on your child.

Tips to know the Right Room Color for your Kid Diagnosed with Autism

As parents we always take great care while designing our kid's room keeping their likes and dislikes in mind. When your bundle of joy is down with autism then the care to design their room doubles up because the concentration is less on the “look” of the room and more on what will best suit them keeping their mental health in mind.

So when it comes to designing your kid's room and you do not know from where to begin, well, it is simple, start with the room color because that goes first. So here are some of the most “friendly” colors for the kids “on the spectrum”. Take a quick look at them and do not forget to merge them in your kid's room as well:

  • Tranquil blue, purple or green – Carolyn Feder, the famous interior designer vouches for these color trends because the tranquil hues, the pale blues, the muted purple and even the soft greens bring a calming effect on your child's demeanour. These colors act as a big stress reliever and relaxes your child. The key to giving a dash of color to your child's room is to go for the softer shades and not the bright colors that tend to hit your eyes.
  • Pale pink – Pink is the color most suited for girls and it has almost become the thumb rule that the girl's room is all about pink walls and the walls of the boy's room should stand smart in shades of blue. But interestingly, in case of autism both gender groups respond very well to this color and burst out into giggles at the sight of this color. To confirm this statement, University of Minnesota has claimed that the softer shades of pink have undertones that create a subdued and non distracting environment.
  • Light colors – Kids have their own set of favorite colors but you as a parent can not give them all that they need specifically if it does not suit their health. One such case is the kids preference for dark colors. If they are adamant on getting a dark shade of a particular color, settle down for that color but a few shades lighter. Light colors help tremendously in maintaining the tranquil state of mind of the kids.

These are some of the basic color patterns that you should opt for to give your child the mental peace that they need all the time because of the constant peer pressure and the flaws that they have due to autism.

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Give Me 5 – A Game For Your Autistic Child

There was a time when game designing was only meant for fun, to entertain kids and give them a welcome break from their other mundane life of doing homework and cracking it to the top spot in academics. But in today's time and age, to make education a tad bit interesting games have played an important role in admission education. A lot of games and apps designed that not only makes studies fun but also eases out the tussle between parents and kids to teach them the right thing.

For today our focus is autism and how a special game named “Give Me 5” help kids to have a better life and fight the odds that this disorder throws at them. This game is a lot like Trivial Pursuit, not only does it insure fun but is also extremely challenging.

So what is 'Give Me 5' all about?

This game is doing the rounds since last fall and has created a stir specifically among parents who aspire to design a better life for their autistic kids. Let us throw some more information on the kind of game it is and how it helps.

  • There is a total of eight categories, each category has different levels of social skills that the kids need to cross, by playing the game. This game is a nice mix of colors and skill set that the kids need to develop as they go ahead in the game and cross each level.
  • This game lets the kid with autism go through several levels, each level placing a question to them and the right answer takes them to the next level. The questions framed focoes on their skill set and how well they can brush up those skills along with their ability to work on the other areas that demand attention when stuck with autism.
  • The game deals a lot with social situations and how kids will respond in such a scenario. The ability to play well in those levels help them to better their reaction when they actually bump into such situations in life.
  • The growing popularity of this game has left people wanting more of it. That is the reason this game is now available as an app. Tablets and other such gadets are the latest that the kids fancy a lot and reports have also pointed out that they are more attracted to these gadgets and like to stay glued in them. So if the games are now available in the form of apps then it is more accessible to the kids.
  • Another reason for the buzz surrounding this game is because kids are able to relate with this game in life when they face such situations. It becomes easy for them to know what they should do or how they should react because they have already done that while playing the game and also earned brownie points for doing so. Playing the game helps them to get into the mode of the way they should be in life as well.
  • This game is a must for your kid if he is “on the spectrum” because it helps them to know how they should be and how they should respond to situations. It is more of a training in the form of entertainment that allows your kid to have a better life and all this at a humble cost of $ 39.99, the app however comes at $ 7.99. This sure is not much considering the benefit it will have for your child.

Education is therapeutic and if you can get it for your child in the form of fun and games then that is the best way to craft your child's life for their good future.

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The Impact of Music Therapy for Children With Special Needs

As a music therapist, I feel so fortunate to be able to work with children with autism and other special needs. These kids amaze me with their fortitude and tenacity. So many things are challenging and frustrating in their lives, but I get to see them at their best. In music they can be expressive, creative and daring. I'm always chasing to create a safe and trusting environment for my clients to push themselves in new ways. My clients work hard on improving their developmental skills, but before this happens, a solid foundation for the work has to be established. This foundation is a strong, trusting bond between myself and my clients and one of the best ways to create this bond is through music.

It's hard to explain, but there's something special about creating music with others. It's a type of experience that helps create a kinship that is quite unique. As a music therapist, I am trained to create success-based musical activities for the children I work with. Part of my job is to raise their self-esteem by making them feel successful and accomplished. By following a child's lead during a musical activity, I'm able to connect with them and reflect their creative expressions. This in turn leads to a defect connection. For example, if my client is playing a drum, I'm going to play my guitar in a way that matches their tempo and reflect the dynamics of their playing. If they play loud, I'll play loud, if they play soft, I'll play soft and if they suddenly stop, I suddenly stop. As you can see from this example, the bond between therapist and child is developed without speaking the language. As Hans Christian Anderson once said, “Where words fail, music speaks!”

Once this bond is established, the work begins. As a treatment for autism, music therapists address many different goals. Here are a few examples of how music therapy approaches, some of these goal areas.

  • Social skill development – During individual sessions and music therapy groups, clients practice greetings, turn taking, eye contact, requesting, collaboration, etc., through musical activities. A music therapist may lead a sharing song and with a musical cue, such as playing a chime, the kids have to pass their instrument to each other.
  • Social-Emotional – Musical activities and songs are used to teach a client how to identify feelings and how to use coping strategies when they are feeling overwhelmed. Musical social stories can also be used to teach these skills.
  • Speech and communication – Musical activities are used to increase the use of verbal language, ie “I want the shaker.” Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) methods and devices are used to improve non-verbal communication, ie using sign language or an AAC app to make choices between instruments and musical activities.
  • Behavioral – Captivating music is used to help a child sustain attention during an activity. Dramatic musical changes such as a sudden stop, can be used to pull a child's wandering attention back into the activity.

Music therapy effectively addresses these goals through research-based interventions, but it also builds up a child's self-esteem and feeds their spirit. With all of the struggles that children with autism face, I believe that it's my responsibility to support them in this way. I'm always chasing to make sessions so fun and musical, that my clients do not realize how hard they're working. It's amazing what a child can accomplish when their work feels like play!

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Music As A Positive Avenue Towards Autism Therapy

Autism

Autism is a complex developmental disorder that is characterized by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and non-verbal communication and repetitive behaviors. These symptoms appear in the first 3 years of a child's life. In addition to these symptoms, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) can cause intellectual disabilities, difficulties in motor coordination and attention and physical health issues such as sleep and gastrointestinal disorders. Although there are many challenges with autism, some children with ASD have excellent visual, music, math and art skills.

What is Music Therapy?

I am often asked the question, “What is Music Therapy?” This may occur at a professional event, social event or even chatting with someone in line at the store. If I just gave the following answer, most people would have confused: “Music Therapy is a research-based health care profession that uses music to help clients to reach their therapeutic goals.” Wait! What exactly does that mean? Let's break it down.

“Research based” points to the fact that standardized research on the effectiveness of music therapy is being done at many schools, hospitals and institutions throughout the world.

“Health care profession” means that music therapy is used to address various medical, psychological and developmental goals, and as a profession, it is similar to fields such as physical therapy, speech therapy, and occupational therapy.

“Uses music to help clients reach their therapeutic goals,” meaning that music therapists are helping clients work on measurable goals that are typically found on an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or an Individualized Transition Plan (ITP). For example, a music therapist working with a child with autism might be addressing a social skill goal of improved turn taking. The music therapist can use musical activities that include turn taking with an instrument in order to address this goal in a fun and stimulating way.

Autism and music therapy

Music therapy uses music interventions to help clients learn and improve developmental skills such as speech / communication, motor, behavioral and social skills. Research on the benefits of music therapy with children with autism has demonstrated the following:

  • Increased attention
  • Improved behavior
  • Decreased self-stimulation
  • Enhanced auditory processing
  • Improved cognitive functioning
  • Decreased agitation
  • Increased socialization
  • Improved verbal skills

The literature shows that most children with ASD respond positively to music. In addition, kids with ASD often show a heightened interest and response to music. It is for these reasons that music therapy should be considered when deciding on what course of autism therapy to take.

What Do Music Therapists Do?

Music therapists typically start with an initial consultation with the parents in order to learn more about the child's strengths and challenges. For school-aged children, a music therapist typically reviews their IEP and connects with the team of educators and therapists who work with the child. A music therapist will design a treatment plan with the therapeutic goals after observing the child and assessing their behavioral, emotional, psychosocial, cognitive, academic, communication, perception, sensory-motor and musical skills. From here the work and the play begin and the music therapist will use musical interventions to address the treatment plan goals.

Music therapists will continue to adapt their approach to the strengths and challenges of the child and will document client responses, conduct ongoing evaluations of progress, and make recommendations. Music therapists will collaborate and consult with the parents and autism therapy team members so that others can generalize the gains achieved in music therapy. Music therapists can also offer excellent music-based special education resources to the treatment team.

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4 Benefits of Exercise on Autistic Kids

Gyms are the latest hubs for the youth today, if for the girls it is to get that hour-glass figure that makes them look slender and sleek helping them slip into that cocktail dress, then for the boys it is to pump up their muscles and make the girls drool over their physique. All this just leaves you baffled thinking that, for the youth gym is the place to exercise not to stay fit but to get that enviable figure. Little do people know that hitting the gym is not just about getting that svelte figure nor is it about the pumped up muscles. On the contrary it is all about keeping fit and staying healthy, if these are terms very vague to you then the time has come to wake up and accept the real reasons why you should land up in the gym. Gym caters to all kinds of people and is the answer to all your health problems. Did you know that in this list of health problems autism has also managed to grab a place. Yes, you read it right, autistic people also have a set of exercise that helps them yield a lot of health benefits which in turn also paves way for the emotional benefits.

Highlights of Exercise on Autism Affected Kids

Stephen M. Edelson director of Autism Research Institute claims that exercise has the potential to treat autism well and keep the effects of it under control. There are a few special set of exercise only for the kids with autism that helps them to better their current situation and also allows them to improve their communication skills and behavioral practices. Autistic kids are shorter to low muscle tone, not to mention the sensory problems. The hand-eye co-ordination skills are also areas that are pretty weak and it is only through strict exercise regularly that these areas will show signs of improvement. Weight is a major reason in case of a few autistic kids. The recent scenario show us that many of the kids either have overweight or underweight issues. However, we can guess that both these issues are not at all suited for kids so here are a set of exercise that helps them keep all these things under control. Let's have a look at them and well, make sure that our kid's practice it as well.

  • Behavioral Traits – Certain exercises designed helps children to improve their behavioral drawbacks of autism. Exercise patterns mostly focus on improving the growth of brain cells in the region called the hippocampus, it is that part of the brain that is responsible for attention, empathy and control of your impulses. Special need` for the aerobic exercises and doing them three days a week is a must.
  • Weight Problems – Recent reports stated by Autism Speaks say that 19% of the autistic kids fall under the overweight bracket. And a whooping 36% run the risk of weight problems. If you are wondering why the numbers are on the rise then here is the reason. Autistic kids are introvert and do not engage much in any kind of physical activity with their peers and at such a young age sitting idle without any kind of activity yet having proper meals, you run the risk of gaining weight.
  • Stereotypical Behaviors – Adding more of stereotypical exercise in your regimen helps you to control your self-stimulating behaviors. The list of aerobic exercise includes riding on horsesback, swimming and jogging. The kids love these activities because there is a certain amount of thrill and adrenaline rush involved.
  • Improving Balance and Co-ordination – The problem that kids face is the lack of co-regulation, that is an important issue that has its own set of exercise to keep things under control. The most common exercises are jumping on the trampoline, this is something that kids love doing. If you see them doing it, it will amaze you to see the peal of laughter that they break into while jumping. Skipping, swings, merry-go-round, somersaults – all of this seem to help them to improve their co-ordination skills.

We must always remember that exercise is therapeutic so the more we urge our kids to actively get involved in it, the better it is for them.

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Oxidative Stress and Autism

Autism is a condition that affects 1 in 88 children in the United States alone, and these numbers are increasing annually. Current statistics released by the United States government show Autism or ASD diagnosis increasing by 10-17% annually. Nobody has an answer as to why these numbers are increasing so rapidly, but it is figured that we may soon reach a level where 1in 5 children will be diagnosed with some form of ASD.

Due to the fact that symptoms of ASD present themselves differently in every child it is difficult to diagnose and then treat. For many other disorders or conditions once it has been diagnosed, medical professionals can follow a regimen to ensure treatment. This is not the case with ASD. Traditional medical approaches do not work. Many children are placed on medications to help control elements of the ASD, but these methods way too often present the child with other side effects that are worse than the ability to cope with the condition itself.

Parents and care givers struggle to help their child or children live with the effects of ASD, this is easier when the child is considered high functioning, but weighs heavily on those dealing with severely Autistic children. The mental and emotional strain is sometimes unbearable. All we want is for our child to have a normal and functioning life, whatever that may be.

We sit with great expectation waiting to hear that science has had a breakthrough on a treatment for ASD. Much research has been done and continues to be done trying to pinpoint a cause so that a treatment or cure can be developed. Until then we continue to wait with great anticipation.

One such study that was conducted which discovered a correlation between oxidative stress and autism. The findings are published in a book entitled, “Autism: Oxidative Stress, Inflammation, and Immune Abnormalities”. The authors show that when a group of Autistic children were treated to lower oxidative stress levels their symptoms improved dramatically. Their summary was that in some cases Autism is the result of some form of stress which the child was exposed to either during pregnancy or during birth. The body compensates for this and a deficiency arises.

Recently another research paper was published in the which the researcher discovered a correlation between oxidative stress and the digestive and breathing difficulties experienced by those diagnosed with ASD.

This is not to say that reduction of oxidative stress is a cure for ASD, but it is a step in the right direction in determining the causes and reasons as to why there may be an increase in ASD in children. Oxidative stress has been determined to be an underlining cause in many ailments effecting people today, from cancer to aging difficulties. It's presence is destructive to the human body, and its reduction has proven to improve the lives of many people.

This research has opened the door to discoverning some underlining factors causing complications that children with autism have to deal with, from digestive disorders to emotional disorders. As more research is conducted on the effects of oxidative stress on the human body and more specifically as research is furthered on the corralation of the incidence of oxidative stress in children with ASD we hope to move closer to a cure. Until then we can find encouragement in these and many other studies that have led to the improvement in the lives of our children.

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PA Behavior Specialist License – 5 Tips for Completing the Coursework Section of the Application

The application process for the Pennsylvania Behavior Specialist License may seem like a daunting task. Indeed, each section in the application does require a good amount of attention to the details. But from personal experience, completing the verification process of the 90 hours of evidence-based coursework was quite time-consuming and challenging. I've provided five tips that may hopefully help you as you complete this section of the application. Of course, the best thing to do is to review the application instructions within the application.

* It should be noted that the information provided below is from my personal experience through the licensing process. It should not be considered official in any capacity. If you have any questions relating to the licensing process, you should contact the PA State Board of Medicine (see link at the bottom of the article).

90 Clock Hours

It's important to remember that the license requires 90 clock hours not 90 credit hours. Think of clock hours being similar to most continuing education credits (ie 1 clock hour equals 1 CEU). On the other hand, 1 credit hour will usually equate to around 15 clock hours.

Talk to your school ASAP

For some of you, the coursework you completed to earn your Master's degree may actually cover everything. I found this possibility to be more reflective for people who have a degree in Applied Behavior Analysis or with a concentration in autism since many of those courses are similar to the content areas required for the license. However, without contacting your university, you're unintentionally to know if you fall into this scenario right away. Moreover, even if you have a Master's degree in a related field, your university is a major deciding factor in whether your coursework will count towards the 90-hour requirement. Fortunately, over the last year with licensure applications on the rise, it's very likely that colleges and universities are becoming more aware of the coursework requirements for licensure. This means that your University just might have a plan already in place in how they match their courses with the requirements laid out by the licensing board.

One of the first things you should do is to contact a university representative in your respect department to see if they do have a something already in place. If they do not, hopefully you can get them to start the review process as soon as possible. You may find it best to work with them along the process, such as going through each course you took and to pass along your thoughts about what content area the course would fit into. In addition to getting you to think about where you may have some shortcomings so you can plan accordingly, it may just make them a little more willing to get all of your documentation completed in a timely fashion.

Utilize the Free Coursework

If you fall short on getting all 90 hours through your Master's program, you do have several options for reaching that requirement. The Bureau of Autism Services (BAS) offers free online coursework and trainings that will cover every hour that you need. The online registration process is fairly straightforward, and you can easily browse the course catalogs, which are broken down into the 8 content areas. In addition to the courses being absolutely free, once you pass the course, you can print your certificate right from your home or office.

Talk to Your Agency

If you work for an agency, you may have already taken trainings that have been approved by the BAS. I would advise that you speak with your training coordinator to see if any courses have gone through the approval process. If they have, make sure you get a certificate since you will have to include a copy in the application. If they have not, you may want to encourage them to look into it. In my opinion, it's a great way for the agency to be a little more competitive, with minimal effort.

Alternative Coursework

For Board Certified Behavior Analysts, the licensing board accepts continuing education credits from the Behavior Analyst Certification Board that can go towards the 90-hour requirement. Remember, it is your responsibility to provide supporting documentation with your application. There are a number of great providers that offer these CEUs, but I would recommend the Florida Institute of Technology, as they have an entire section of online trainings devoted for the PA Behavior Specialist License. The price comes to about $ 11 per clock hour and all courses are taught by some of the most revered behavior analysts in the field.

http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/state_board_of_medicine/12512/licensure_information/599413

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Tips to Provide Support for Adults With Autism

Toys are an extraordinary approach to empower autistic kids, yet there should not be support for adults with autism. All autistics, paying little heed to their age or level of autism oblige care and backing. That being said, despite the fact that high working autistics do oblige help, they do not dependably require steady mind like the individuals who have low working autism. High working autistic people may be extremely prolific and live generally usual lives. They can work, mind, and help themselves, live autonomously, and in a few cases, even have a team. In any case, to be perfectly autonomous an autistic grown-up must have had the correct instruction growing up.

Assuming that a high function autistic youngster is successfully taught and comprehends acknowledged behaviors and social reactions, when they attain adulthood, they can live like other people. Obviously, not all high working autistics are autonomous, and even those that are at present, combat with discovering suitable occupation and end with social communication. Consequently, those with high working autism need support for adults with autism to carry on with the best life they can live.

Low working adult autism implies that these people are unable to measure up to societal gauges and can not work autonomously, paying little respect to how they are well versed as kids. Along these lines, these autistics ordinarily inhabit home with their guardians or in extraordinary living arrangements where their necessities could be ceaselessly tended to. Incidentally, because of the way that private offices or aggregation homes are excessive, a lot of people with low working autistic live with their families. There are distinct therapies for autism to help the caregivers or guardians to adapt to grown-up autism.

The point when Autism Spectrum Conditions is diagnosed it is vital that everyone take in all there is to think about the condition and how they can provide support to adults with autism . It is vital that the families understand the intensity of the condition and how it can definitively change the life of everyone included in doctrine; mother, father, grandparents, close relatives and uncles, kin, neighbors, and instructors. Autism spectrum is not just a condition that influences youngsters in adolescence. In any case, it does influence them another way, as they get older and attempt to structure relationships. Side effects may not be as intense, they may rationally have the capacity to handle things more, and they do figure out how to standardize as long as they appropriate consistent backing from the individuals who appreciate them with the end goal they should feel good when they are around others. These children and adults need exceptional affection, care and cleanliness from their family and additionally the social order. In the event that your youngster is Autistic then you must provide for them him some therapies for autism so he / she might be unified with the social order. There are distinct types of Autistic therapies that are offered by different health establishments that will definitely help your autistic kids or adults to strengthen themselves.

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Autism and Its Treatments

What is Autism?

Autism is a disability that causes developmental situations in areas such as talk, play, and being socially active. The severity of the symptoms may vary from person to person. Symptoms of Autism may appear any time between infancy to early childhood. According to the article “Autism Symptoms and Early Signs” published on HelpGuide.org, the true causes of Autism are not yet known, but health professionals agree that the disability originates from environmental factors or genetics. It is very normal to want to know why your child is Autistic, but it is much more important to focus on the treatment rather than the cause.

Know the Signs of Autism

The first step to helping your child cope with autism is to learn as much as you can about the disability and its early signs. As a parent, educate yourself about your child's development milestones and know what to expect with each age. If you feel that your baby is off when it comes to a developmental milestone, then seek treatment right away. Your child is more likely to respond better to the treatment earlier than later.

Diagnosis for Autism

A diagnosis for Autism is based on behavioral and developmental observations. From birth up to at least 36 months, your child should get a development milestone screening test during his or her regular routine checkups. If your child's pediatrician raises any concerns, he or she will refer your child to a specialist for early intervention and evaluation.

Autism Treatments

Because there are different types of Autism, there are different types of treatments. Treatments for Autism center mostly on therapies that attempt to revert behavior. Your doctor will recommend the treatment that best suits your child. Some treatments may include:

• Behavior and Communication Therapy. Within this therapy, there are different types of programs, depending on your child's symptoms; some programs will focus on reducing problem behaviors and teaching new skills, hence yielding to self-help. Other programs will focus on teaching children how to communicate with others and how to act in social situations (Treatments and Drugs. Nd).

• Occupational and Physical Therapy. This type of therapy can help your child develop stronger coordination and motor skills. This therapy may also help your child learn to process sensory information such as sight, touch, hearing, sound, and smell (Autism-Treatment Overview, 2008).

• Medication. Autism does not have specific medicines that can cure the disability; Rather there are medications for symptoms that are associated with autism such as antidepressants, psychoactive medications to reduce hyperactivity and withdrawal, and anti-anxiety drugs to reduce panic disorders (Autism Overview: What are the treatments for autism? 2007).

Toys for Children with Autism

As mentioned above, autism affects language, therefore help your child develop or improve his or her skills through fun games that will get through to them. Check out Children Succeed for a list of games that focus on language development, emotional development, developing eye contact and facial expressions, and much more. Remember to learn about your child first by finding out what areas your child needs strengthening in and what type of learner your child is.

Research has also proved that Lego helps autistic children become more creative. Since autistic children have a hard time adjusting to new experiences, Lego helps autistic children get out of their comfort zone and become more comfortable with trying new things.

Autism Support

If you have a child who suffers from autism, know that you are not alone and reach out for support. There are many online support groups that you can sign up for free. Autism Support Network offers information about autism along with support. Autism Speaks also allows you to join support groups by connecting to others in your state. This site also offers services such as early intervention, financial and legal resources, health services, and much more.

Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), you and your child may be eligible for free services such as psychological services, speech therapy, physical therapy, parent counseling, and much more (Helping Children with Autism, nd). Visit IDEA for more information.

References

• Autism Overview: What are the treatments for Autism? (2007). Retrieved on May 17, 2013.
• Autism-Treatment Overview. (2008). Retrieved on May 17, 2013.
• Helping Children with Autism: Autism treatment strategies and parenting tips. (nd). Retrieved on May 12, 2013.
• Treatments and Drugs. (nd). Retrieved on May 17, 2013.

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