Saturday, October 30, 2010

Autism - Children and Learning Disabilities

There has been an overwhelming increase in the number of children faced with perceived and real neurobiological-based dysfunctions resulting in an estimated 5-15% of our nation's children on medications for a variety of learning, mood and behavioral issues. IT should be noted, however, that other factors may create inattentiveness, lack of focus, impulsivity and hyperactivity which contribute to a misdiagnosis of ADD/ADHD. For example, food, chemical and environmental allergies can effect attention, focus and concentration.

Dr. Donald W. Miller, Jr. blames the high rates of neuro-dysfunction on the modern rushed vaccination schedule to which very young children are subjected.

Dr. Miller explains the problem: "The brain has its own specialized immune system, separate from that of the rest of the body. When a person is vaccinated, its specialized immune cells, the microglia, become activated (the blood-brain barrier notwithstanding). Multiple vaccinations spaced close together over-stimulate the microglia, causing them to release a variety of toxic elements - cytokines, chemokines, excitotoxins, proteases, complement, free radicals - that damage brain cells and their synaptic connections."

What is Autism?
Autism is an early-onset biological disorder that causes severe deficits of higher mental functions, as well as behavioral manifestations. There is no single, clear-cut cause and no complete cure for autism. Causally speaking, immune factors, neuro-chemical factors, genetic susceptibility factors and environmental factors (such as microbial infections and chemical toxicity) have been implicated. Autism is a very complex, multi factorial disorder.

Many parents believe that a mercury-based preservative in the vaccines, as well as severe exposures, are indeed contributing factors to autism.

1. Autism involves a gender factor, affecting males about four times more than females.

2. Autism often occurs in conjunction with a family history of autoimmune diseases, e.g., multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, etc.

Autism Rates
Some put autism rates at 1 in 100 children. That's astounding. Even Tom Insel, head of autism research at the National Institutes of Health, said: "There is no question that there has got to be an environmental component here." Still, the medical community at large, especially the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) and its related agencies, attribute the rise solely to better diagnosis. Health Freedom Alliance says the CDC is guilty of spinning numbers in its denial that rates are up because of legitimate factors like environmental pollution. The organization scrutinized the latest report from the CDC released just before this Christmas when no one was watching and point to exploding rates in highly polluted states like New Jersey, as just one example (Arizona and Missouri rates also boomed).

Autism and the Immune System
Vijendra K. Singh, PhD. (Source: Department of Biology & Biotechnology Center, Utah State University, Logan Scientific Board Member, Autism Autoimmunity Project) believes that up to eighty percent of the cases of autism are caused by an abnormal immune reaction, commonly known as autoimmunity. The autoimmune process in autism results from a complex interaction between the immune system and the nervous system.

He believes that autism can be treated successfully using some of the therapies proven effective in treating other autoimmune diseases, specifically the role of autoimmune factors, (e.g., viruses, autoantibodies, T cells, and cytokines) because they serve as the prime targets of therapy with immune-modulating agents. He says there is enormous potential for restoring brain function in autistic children and adults through immunology.

Learning Disabilities & Neurodevelopment
An interesting process called brain mapping can actually be used to rule out autism and better pinpoint the source of learning disabilities. A complete assessment procedure which includes a FDA QEEG brain map, cognitive abilities assessment, neurodevelopment assessment, auditory processing and visual processing assessment and when indicated a communication assessment would be able to indicate which regions of the brain may be adversely affected. After the collection of data, a report of findings is put together and based upon those findings, a specific neurodevelopment program that targets your child's specific imbalances and deficiencies would be recommended.

The neurodevelopment program ensures that any missed stages of neurological development can be corrected so that the child can engage completely within his or her learning and social environment. Auditory processing therapy works with hyper- and hypo- acoustic issues (over-sensitivity to sound or apparent lack of hearing certain sounds). Social and behavioral issues would also addressed. Home based programs are outlined so that parents may work with their child at home and in between sessions.

J Bartell, M.A. is a behaviorist specializing in Left-Right Brain behavior modification using subconscious conditioning. For more information on brain function and brain mapping, visit

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A Personal Overview of Sensory Integration Dysfunction

My young son, Joseph, was born in September 2006. I was delighted to know he'd be joining our family, but we needed to have an emergency C-section. I had been pushing for two hours and he was starting to show signs of distress. He was born at 2:11 am, nice and pink with a "Harry Potter" scar on his forehead that went away after a few days. Unfortunately, what might have occurred during his birth was some neurological damage which left him with Sensory Integration Dysfunction.

I didn't notice something was wrong until Joe was about eighteen months. He met all his physical milestones - in fact, he made them earlier than my first son. At eighteen months though, Joe wasn't talking. He didn't seem to know "Mommy" or "Daddy." He threw toys for no reason, as if he needed to throw them. He also covered his ears with his hands often, which we didn't understand. He hardly got sick or had ear infections. We knew he wasn't autistic, but we also knew something wasn't quite right. Our pediatrician recommended us to our Regional Center, in charge of Early Childhood Intervention. (Every state should have an Early Childhood Intervention Program.) Joseph was evaluated with severe cognitive and speech delays. He was twenty-months-old at the time of the evaluation, but presented with the cognitive skills of an eight-month-old. My husband and I were stunned. Joe began receiving child development, speech, and occupational therapies. At twenty-seven months, he began group therapy.

After six months, Joe had closed some rather daunting developmental gaps. A re-evaluation at twenty-nine months showed him at twenty-two months cognitively. Still, we had no idea what was the cause. Joe's occupational therapist review had the clues we needed to determine what he had - Sensory Integration Dysfunction.

Known as SID or DSI, (so as not to confuse it with Sudden Infant Death Syndrome SIDS) Sensory Integration Dysfunction is where the brain perceives sensory input normally, but misinterprets the information. This misinterpretation leaves the child in a hypo or hyper-active state. Hypoactive is an under stimulation to sensory input and hyperactive is an over stimulation to sensory input. In Joe's case, he's more hypo than hyper-active.

There are multiple causes for DSI, and in fact, it often presents with autism, but it can also present by itself. In my son's case, it was presenting with cognitive and speech delays.

Joe's occupational therapist report documented several sensory seeking behaviors. (As opposed to sensory avoiding/hyper-active behaviors.) He loved to jump, spin, and swing over the norm that children with no sensory issues do. He had a high tolerance for pain and had a high activity level. Joe is also easily distracted by other things. I did a Google search on sensory seeking behaviors and it led me right to Sensory Integration Dysfunction.

To my surprise, I discovered there are seven senses - yes, seven! Hearing, sight, smell, taste, touch, we all know, but there is also the vestibular sense and proprioception sense. The vestibular sense refers to the sense of balance and gravity. Without that sense, we'd be clumsy or awkward in our movements. Proprioception refers to the impacting/compacting of joints. Signs that your child might be sensory seeking in these areas are running, jumping, spinning more than normal (vestibular) and throwing toys just for the sensation of the impacting/compacting of the joints. (proprioception) This was Joe to a "tee."

Other signs of DSI include covering one's hands over their ears, (something Joe used to do a lot, but now rarely does. It was his one sign of sensory avoiding, hyper-active behavior) unusually high or low activity, and very picky eating. (In Joe's case, he needs crunchy, chewy foods to help provide the stimulation he needs to get the proprioception sensation of the jaw's joints impacting and compacting.) More signs involve tip-toe walking (because their feet are highly sensitive to touch), hand flapping (for the proprioception effect) speech delays, cognitive delays, poor balance, unusually high or low tolerance for pain, acting impulsively, and an unusually high or low activity level. There are many other symptoms which you can research online. There's also a wealth of information on the Internet regarding DSI and there are several well written books on the subject alone.

An occupational therapist is essential in helping the family with a DSI child. They can help identify DSI behaviors and establish a "sensory diet" for a family to use when their child shows signs of sensory seeking or avoiding behaviors. In fact, A. Jean Ayers, an occupational therapist, was the one to identify the dysfunction.

DSI is a dysfunction, not a disease. It can't be cured, but managed. Though early childhood services, my son is thriving and we're managing his DSI now. It's still an adventure for us, but recognizing DSI symptoms early will help your child get the services he or she needs.

Steph B likes to read many books and a variety of different genres. Steph B is an author at which is a site for Creative Writing.

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Sensory Integration Therapy

Over the years, many studies have demonstrated a link between sensory integration therapy and improving the quality of life for autistic people.

Sensory integration therapy is a valuable tool to teach autistic children how to interact with their environment. One of the main difficulties autistic children face is how they perceive the environment. Oftentimes, their sensory impulses are contradictory to what is expected by society.

Autistic children often have severe difficulty managing their sensory perceptions and a host of seemingly self-destructive behaviors or actions that are perceived to be senseless is the result. Autistic people sometimes cannot perceive their own physicality and must resort to these behaviors to "feel" something. For instance, some autistic children may bang their head against a wall or spin around in circles. Others have been known to self harm or crash into objects. These behaviors are the direct result of sensory integration impairment.

The process of sensory integration therapy seeks to mitigate these behaviors by teaching how to incorporate information gathered through the senses: smell, taste, touch, hearing, and vision, and combine these stimuli with what is already know to produce proper responses.

As with levels of severity of autism, there are also different levels in which autistic children experience sensory integration dysfunction (SID). These levels range from mild to severe and can either manifest in a lack of sensitivity to the environment or a constant state of over-sensitivity.

Sensory integration therapy seeks to teach the nervous system how to process stimuli in a normalized fashion. A. Jean Ayers, Ph.D., was the first to research the process known as sensory integration therapy. She built the foundation of the therapy that has been instrumental in helping autistic children all over the world. Using a variety of sensory and motor exercises for the central nervous system it is actually possible to teach the brain how to accomplish this.

Typically, an occupational therapist or physical therapist is the professional that practices sensory integration therapy. Using various techniques it is possible to improve concentration, listening skills, physical balance, motor functioning, and impulse control in autistic children.

While it is not successful in 100% of cases, sensory integration therapy has been shown to be a valuable tool for helping those with autism cope with their environment and lead a better, more adjusted life. Each autistic child has different symptoms and it is necessary to devise a plan for each individual when initiating sensory integration therapy.

If you wish to find a sensory integration specialist for your child, there are a number of ways you can go about it.

First, you can ask the guidance department at your local public or private school. If you know someone else who has an autistic child in sensory integration therapy, it is always recommended to get a word of mouth referral.

In addition, there is contact information for leading organizations that deal with sensory integration therapy and autism.

Sensory Integration International, located at 1602 Cabrillo Avenue, Torrance, CA 90501, is an excellent place to begin. Their phone number is (310) 533-8338. If you are looking for an actual practitioner, try the American Occupational Therapy Association, located at 4720 Montgomery Lane, P.O. Box 31220, Bethesda, MD, 20824. You can contact them by phone at this number: (301) 652-2682.

It is important to keep a positive frame of mind when dealing with autism. There is constant research and valuable studies that are shedding light onto this disorder and finding new and innovative ways to treat it.

Sensory integration therapy should not be used as a standalone treatment. Diet, nutrition, and fun methods of learning can all help autistic children interact with the social world in a more productive fashion.

Sign up for Rachel Evans' free Autism Newsletter - dedicated to uncovering autism facts and discover more about the various autism treatments available, all of which are covered in Rachel's comprehensive E-book available at

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Monday, October 18, 2010

The Three E's of Applied Behavior Analysis

These three important "E's" are a great way to remember a few important concepts which are commonly used in ABA. As is the case, while these concepts are particularly helpful in teaching students with autism, they can also be generalized to almost any circumstance in your daily life.

Environmental Factors

Without a doubt, the environment is one of the most common aspects which can drastically affect behavior. The world around us is constantly providing new and also familiar feedback which shapes our behavior patterns. The presence or absence of certain environmental factors can have a huge impact on how we act. Staying 'in-tune' with these factors can have a positive impact on your understanding of your students' behavior. This is especially true when considering non-verbal students or those displaying challenges with expressive language.

Extinction Bursts

You've tried everything! You are spending less time attending to disruptive behavior and positively reinforcing the actions you want to see more of from your student. It seems unbelievable that you are actually seeing an increase in your child's undesired behavior! What is going on?

This may be an example of what is called an extinction burst. Putting a behavior 'on extinction' often refers to a teacher/parent ignoring a certain behavior and, subsequently removing the reinforcing aspect, i.e. in many cases the attention for that action. Sometimes, this can actually cause an increase in the intensity of the original behavior or even the short-term development of new and more challenging behavior. In this scenario, it is extremely important to stay the course because this increased rate of inappropriate behavior actually indicates that your technique is working!

Also, if you do capitulate after crying becomes kicking, for example; next time, your student may be more likely to skip crying and head straight to kicking! After a certain amount of time, these behaviors will most likely dramatically disappear or drastically reduce in frequency - in effect, bursting, after you put them on extinction.

Exaggerate/Understate Your Responses

1. Exaggerated Responses

In the world of ABA, your response to certain behaviors that you want to see more of should be exaggerated in a positive manner. The extent to which you amplify your response depends on many factors including;

The student's age/developmental level

Typically, responses to younger students' positive behavior should be more outwardly exaggerated. Older students can still be reinforced appropriately using a more appropriate individualized reinforcement system.

The nature of the behavior

If your child has never previously said hello to a teacher, independently, and did so just now, this would warrant a big increase in the level of your response. Hopefully, this will send a clear message that this behavior results in positive results and therefore, will become more prevalent. Consequently, a commonly occurring or mastered skill would not require such a response to maintain it.

2. Understated Responses

On the other side of the coin, undesired behavior should be 'put on extinction' or ignored by understating your response to this specific behavior as described in the previous section.

About the author:
Mr. Jeffrey Young is the President and Founder of Innovative Piano, Inc. Mr. Young has published over 17 books dealing with music and autism. To learn more about the author and the program please visit

Innovative Piano, Inc.
Offering piano lessons for students with autism - Nationwide!

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Autism Benefits For New Jersey Residents

There is good news in New Jersey for parents of kids with autism. On January 14, 2010 the New Jersey Department of Insurance and Banking issued a letter to all hospitals, medical health services and insurance companies to implement special benefits for the treatment of autism and other developmental disabilities.

The directive, known as chapter 115 requires that insurance companies offer:

  • 1. Payment for expenses incurred in screening and diagnosing autism or other developmental disabilities.
  • 2. Coverage for expenses incurred for medically essential physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy services for the treatment of autism or another developmental disability.
  • 3. Coverage for expenses incurred for medically necessary behavioral interventions based on the principles of applied behavioral analysis (ABA) and related structured behavioral programs for treatment of autism in individuals under 21 years old.
  • 4. A benefit for the coverage of the Family Cost Share expense incurred for certain health care services obtained through the New Jersey Early Intervention System (NJEIS).

In addition, carriers must provide the coverage without consideration of whether the services are restorative or have a restorative effect.

The New Jersey Developmentally Disabled Rights Act defines the regulation to include a severe, continual disability of an individual which is attributable to a mental or bodily impairment or combination of mental or physical impairments. It is applicable to those who were diagnosed before the age of 22 and are to be expected to continue their condition forever.

Coverage would be for those who are limited in self-care, expressive language, learning, mobility, self-direction and capacity for independent living. Developmental disability includes severe disabilities such as mental retardation, autism, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, spina-bifida and other neurological impairments. The state interprets "autism" to mean autism and associated conditions also known as "Autism Spectrum Disorder." This would include conditions classified under "Pervasive Developmental Disorder".

The New Jersey autism law requires that carriers provide coverage for expenses incurred by someone who is under 21 years of age and diagnosed with autism for medically necessary treatments of the autism based on ABA, an acronym for applied behavioral analysis. The ABA method of behavioral intervention strategies includes functional analysis and assessment, communication training, imitation training and procedures designed to reduce challenging and dangerous behaviors. Also included are reinforcement systems, including differential reinforcement, and strategies to promote generalization.

Most states, including New Jersey, have no professional license for ABA practitioners. The National Behavior Analyst Certification Board does provide credentials that practitioners of ABA may obtain upon satisfaction of their sets of standards.

The Legislature limits coverage of ABA services for persons under age 21 that has autism spectrum disorder to $36,000 per calendar year Chapter 115 establishes limits for the Family Cost Share expense benefit, as follows: Carriers are only required to provide a benefit for the Family Cost Share expense associated with the provision of occupational therapy, speech therapy, physical therapy, and behavioral interventions based on ABA or related structured behavior services. Carriers are only required to provide a benefit for the Family Cost Share outlay when the service in question is provided to a child diagnosed with autism or other developmental disability. Carriers cannot deny payment for the Family Cost Share cost on the basis that treatment with any of the Chapter 115-identified therapies is not curative.

Allen Bree writes articles for The NJ Autism Center, a NJ Autism resource that specializes in the ABA program. Their website is

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Autism Foundations

1. Doug Flutie, Jr. Foundation They have Proudly served the autism community for 10 years. "Our primary goal is to promote awareness and support families affected by autism spectrum disorders. We are committed to funding organizations that provide direct services, family support grants, education, advocacy and recreational opportunities with the purpose of improving the quality of life for individuals with autism and their families. " "Your support makes a difference to the Northeast Arc in a big way, especially to the many children, adolescents and adults who rely on our services to help them learn, live, work, socialize and thrive." said Gerald M, Executive Director.

2. California Autism Foundation It is to provide people with autism and other developmental disabilities the best possible opportunities for lifetime support, training and assistance in helping them reach their highest potential for independence, productivity and fulfillment.

3. The Northwest Autism Foundation (NWAF) It hopes that families of those with autism will use this site to find resources that might aide them in caring for their autistic loved one. The Northwest Autism Foundation, which was founded in 1997, is a non-profit organization whose goal is to provide education and information for free or at a nominal cost to families, caregivers and professionals of autistic children.

4. UK Autism Foundation This is, a new autism charity for a new generation was launched at a community dinner and auction in Woodford Green, Essex. The charity came from the work of the Autism Awareness Campaign UK founded by autism campaigners Ivan and Charika Corea in 2000. The Autism Awareness Campaign has the support of the Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Leader of the Opposition David Cameron and Leader of the Liberal Democrats Nick Clegg.

5. RT Autism Awareness Foundation This is an organization devoted to making people aware of Autism and the effects it has on children and their families. The diagnosis of Autism is an emotional one for families, and the RT Autism Awareness Foundation wants people to know that they are not alone. It is the organization's desire and dedication to promote events for Autism Awareness so that present and future children, along with their families who face this battle will have strong support.

6. Autism Delaware Autism Delaware is a nonprofit, 501(c)3 organization dedicated to serving people and families in Delaware who are affected by autism. Our mission is to create better lives for people with autism and their families in Delaware. Autism Delaware was started in 1998 by a group of families who became friends through their common experience with autism. They realized that by working together they could provide service and support to the autism community in the state and have a much stronger voice in Dover, in the classroom and wherever else advocacy for the autism community was needed.

7. Utah Autism Foundation It is a non-profit organization formed to identify and support research on both a local and national level into the caruse, prevention, and potential treatment of autism. The foundation was started by David R. Spafford and his wife Susan, after their son Joey was diagnosed with autism, a severe cognitive disorder that affects approximately one out of every 166 children in the United States.

8. Parker Autism Foundation It is a non-profit 501(C)(3) organization dedicated to serving NORTH CAROLINA (USA) children with autism spectrum disorders and their families.

9. Grant a Gift Foundation It is a non-profit 501(c)(3) public charity that benefit's children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, or suspected to have ASD, and the people who care for them. Our foundation will work hand-in-hand with the community and other local organizations that support Autism. We are currently accepting donations to start operations and service scholarship funding in Spring of 2010.

10. Lowcountry Autism Foundation, Inc This is a local, volunteer based, non-profit corporation dedicated to supporting individuals and families living with autism in Beaufort County, Jasper County, Hampton County, Colleton County and surrounding areas.

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Friday, October 15, 2010

Behavior Characteristics of Autism

According to Wikipedia, it is a brain development disorder that impairs social interaction and communication and causes restricted and repetitive behavior, all starting before a child is three years old.

Another definition states that it is a neurodevelopmental disability, which in normal language is a condition that affects the normal growth of the brain so that the individual has difficulty with day-to-day living.

Autism is one of the five pervasive developmental disorders (PDD), which are characterized by widespread abnormalities of social interactions and communication, and severely restricted interests and highly repetitive behavior.

Asperger syndrome is another and is a milder form of autism. The main difference in autism and asperger syndrome is that asperger syndrome has no substantial delay in language development.

Autism is defined by a certain set of behaviors, which may or may not be evident in infancy (15 to 24 months). Usually these behaviors will be more obvious during early childhood (24 months to 6 years).

The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) lists some behaviors that might indicate further evaluation is recommended.

These are:

  • Your child does not babble or coo by 12 months
  • Does not gesture (point, wave, grasp) by 12 months
  • Does not say single words by 16 months
  • Does not say two-word phrases on his or her own by 24 months
  • Does not want to cuddle or be cuddled

Below you will find some of the Characteristic Behaviors that are more obvious in children 24 months and older.

Significant difficulties with social interactions:

  • Has difficulty developing relationships with peers
  • Lack of interest in playing with other children (prefers being alone)
  • Has difficulty making eye contact with others
  • Shows little body language or facial expressions when interacting
  • Seems uninterested in sharing experiences
  • Engages less in give-and-take social interaction with others
  • Inability to share with others

Speech, language, and communication impairments:
  • Lack of conversational reciprocity
  • Inability to understand or use facial expressions and body language
  • Lack of speech, impaired speech or unusual speech
  • Echoes words or phrases (echolalia)

Significant difficulties in the development of play:
  • May use only parts of toys
  • Lines up or stacks objects
  • Obsessive attachment to objects
  • Lacks the ability to pretend play

Unusual responses to normal environmental sensory stimulation (hypersensitivity or hyposensitivity), involving sight, hearing (auditory), taste, smell, touch (tactile), proprioception and vestibular senses are quite common and prominent in autistic children.

These senses are known as sensory integration dysfunction. In sensory integration dysfunction also known as the sensory processing disorder (SPD), the senses are not correctly interpreted by the nervous system. In this situation, the world is perceived differently for this child than it actually exists for neurotypical individuals.

Because the nervous system tells the body how to react to this incorrect information, the behaviors are inappropriate for the given situation.

Some examples of these might be:


  • lack of eye contact
  • distracted by clutter
  • agitated with patterns or too many colors

  • needs a visually stimulating environment (objects that spin and move)
  • tends to look directly into the lights

Hearing (auditory):
  • Easily bothered by noises that may even cause an experience of intense pain

  • May not respond to sounds, including hearing their name when called
  • May make lots of noises (humming, tapping, etc.)
  • Might be insistent on the TV or radio being very loud

  • Gags easily
  • Prefers not to mix foods
  • Has difficulty with certain textures

  • Tends to constantly have something in the mouth (fingers, objects, or food)

  • May cause nausea, vomiting, and headaches
  • May cause agitation

  • Desires strong aromas
  • May sniff people and other objects inappropriately

Touch (tactile):
  • Needs large personal space
  • May be sensitive to some fabrics, seams and even tags
  • May have a dislike of touching certain textures
  • Dislikes being touched
  • If bumped or pushed, could become unusually angry

  • Prefers small spaces
  • May not notice if they are hurt or injured

Proprioception :
  • Seems clumsy and uncoordinated

Vestibular :
  • Due to gravitational insecurity, will have difficulty on stairs or escalators
  • May develop motion sickness easily

  • Will seek movement and be in constant motion (rocking, spinning or swinging)

Repetitive stereotypic behavior known as stimming (may involve any or all of the senses to various degrees in different individuals)
  • Shows interest in very few objects or activities and plays with them in repetitive ways
  • Performs repetitive routines and resists changes in these routines
  • Spends time in repetitive movements such as waving a hand in front of his/her face, rocking, spinning or pacing

Below are some examples of these:

  • Visual - staring at lights, blinking, gazing at fingers, lining up objects
  • Auditory - tapping fingers, snapping fingers, grunting, humming
  • Smell - smelling objects, sniffing people
  • Tactile - scratching, clapping, feeling objects, hair twisting, toe-walking
  • Taste - licking objects, placing objects in mouth
  • Proprioception - teeth grinding, pacing, jumping
  • Vestibular - rocking, hand waving, twirling, spinning, jumping, pacing or other rhythmic, repetitive motions

Difficulties in managing the child:
  • No real fear of dangers
  • Tantrums or no apparent reason
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Self-mutilation/injurious behavior such as head-banging, self-biting, and self-hitting
  • Laughing and/or crying for no apparent reason
  • Showing distress for reasons not apparent to others
  • Apparent insensitivity to pain
  • Inappropriate response or no response to sound
  • Non-responsive to verbal cues - acts as if deaf

The child's development and abilities will seem very uneven - very poor skills in some areas, and exceptional abilities in others, such as music, memory, arithmetic, calendar arithmetic, drawing or manual dexterity - in the manipulation of puzzles and mechanical objects. Those displaying such skills are sometimes referred to as Savants.

There are two other characteristics found in children with autism. These children will tend to have issues with sleep and with stomach problems that can cause chronic constipation or diarrhea.

Now, having any of these characteristic behaviors does not mean your child has autism. It is, however, recommended that a child displaying any of these behaviors should be seen by a professional who is knowledgeable about autism.

For more information on Autism, please visit my website, found below. You will find pretty much everything you will want or need to know about autism and how to deal with it via the many resources, articles as well as videos found there.

Saylor Niederworder


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Autism and Meltdowns: What Does the Person Experiencing the Meltdown Feel?

Does a person with autism know, that is understand what is going on during a meltdown? Note: This scenario is very close to my heart so to personalize the experience "G" represents a person with Autism.

When G is upset she goes into her own little world, (a corner so to speak). She is so overstimulated or angry or mad that she is unable to feel anything at this point. She feels no pain (this is when G can pull out her toe nails and not even be aware of it). This is why aggressiveness happens, she has to get feeling back, The accepted terminology to "slap out of it", by doing self-injurious things, (slapping own face, beating head, pulling out toenails, punching self). At this same time if another person gets in G's face she may slap, push, or punch that person not even being aware that she is doing this.

My experience is that she does know she is out of control and is unable to regain a grasp on reality, without intervention. During the meltdown itself, I am of the impression that she possesses no knowledge of her surroundings or of pain. As the parent I take steps to intervene and stop the meltdown before self-injury occurs.

Because she is unaware of what she is doing, I distract her by making a very loud noise; a whistle or striking two metal pan lids together works very well. Another effective way is using a gentle spray of water landing in such a way that the mist is felt, but she is not drenched. Other tricks that have worked for me to stop a meltdown is to start laughing out loud at something, not her. I like to use a comic or magazine ad, my laughter piques her curiosity and the meltdown stops as she joins in the laughter. As a last resort, I throw a tantrum, the shock of my behavior and that spark of interest in my silliness will stop her quite quickly. Once the meltdown stops it does not resume.

Without a doubt the best strategy is to prevent the meltdown in the first place. Although it is not always possible, when I first notice that she is tuning me out, and getting agitated I need to take action. One method I use is to start singing-she does not like my singing, but it moves her attention from whatever was bothering her to my singing which short circuits the meltdown. Another method is to ask her a question such as what in the world is that on her arm? Of course she looks and sees nothing abnormal and then I will say that it must have been a shadow but I was sure that I saw a dog on her arm, she then will tell me how funny I am, but the meltdown stops.

Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor or a licensed therapist. I am the mother of a child with an autistic Spectrum Disorder. Although I have spent many hours doing research and could cite many authoritative research papers, I am using my own personal experience in dealing with my daughter and the many, many other children I have met during the past 25 years.It is from these encounters that I am basing my article.

Patricia M. Hines invites you to visit her blog at This blog is about motivation, positivity and information about Developmental Disorders (Autism, Rett Syndrome, Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), Childhood Distegrative Disorder and Aspergers Disorder), other Neurological Disorders plus my own personal reflections on life. Please feel free to add comments or suggestions on the blog. Thank You.

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Saturday, October 2, 2010

Autism or The Next Consciousness?

I have discussed Indigo children as being an indication that humans are evolving to the next level of consciousness - Christ consciousness. These Crystal children often get diagnosed as ADHD. There is another sector of these new kids that are being diagnosed with a more complex condition. One the medical profession calls PDD or pervasive development disorders. Better known as autism.

Autism, according to the Autism Society of America, affects approximately 1.5 million Americans and is growing at a startling rate of 10-17% a year. So why is this so prevalent now. Is it because it was misdiagnosed or is there another reason. We love to put people in a box and have a label for conditions and disorders that are outside the norm. Could it be that these children are really just examples of the new humans who are merely wired differently.

Do these children have the ability to see other dimensions. Possibly they communicate in a non-verbal way. Do they have the attributes of the new human that I have described in previous articles. Is there perspective on life just different. Does this "neurodiversity" make them disabled. Who gets to judge what typical is?

Autistics, as they are called, have been reported to be super intelligent, many having photographic memories. Even some adult autistics sometimes speak of themselves as being a superior species. I would call it an evolved species. There are lots of stories about great things being accomplished by people that have been diagnosed with autism. Maybe they are just being the bridges between the two levels of consciousness that I have described. They are more entrenched in the new consciousness, making it harder for them to function in the old one. Maybe they are on a different wavelength. We label them as different or as having an disorder because they don't behave in the typical manner. Are they simply a different way of being a human.

These descriptions sound very similar to the description I have given of Indigos. They act differently because they are wired differently. They have a different perspective on how life is to be lived. In duality consciousness, with our penchant for judgment, we will judge behavior like autism as "not normal" and treat the individual as such. We administer drugs like the ones given to children judged as ADHD and even lock them away from society under the premise that it is for their own good.

The new children's "different" behavior fits the characteristics of autism perfectly. On the National Institute of Neurological Disorders web site they list the characteristics of autism to be.

1. Impaired social interaction - What is the definition of social interaction. Is it maybe they can't relate to our behaviors that, to them, seem out of harmony with nature and often times frivolous?

2. Problems with verbal communication - Who doesn't have problems with verbal communication. Verbal communication is imperfect. There is so much room for misinterpretation. The shortfalls of verbal communications are played out every day in families, schools, workplaces, governments and media worldwide. The different languages that we have developed makes verbal communication with humans from other parts of the earth difficult if not impossible. Verbal communication, I believe, is an attribute of the old energy. In our ascension to the next level of human evolution we will practice non-verbal communication. It is much more exacting. Actions are much truer than words. Feelings, intuitions and possibly telepathic communication will replace the spoken word. Problems with communication? No, autisitics are just ahead of us.

3. Repetitive behaviors of narrow obsessive interests - I laugh at that one because how many "normal" people have narrow obsessive interests. Some autistics can look at a wall or a speck of dust and stare at it for hours. What are they seeing. Maybe a whole world that we can't see that is much more interesting than the world that we as normal humans create. What about staring at a TV for hours on end. If someone from 500 years ago saw us today staring at a box they might consider locking us up. Obsessive interests? Again, another judgment of normal that doesn't hold true in the new consciousness.

An interesting article I read on non-verbal communication relative to autism was about Amanada Baggs. She is a non-verbal autistic who did a film on You Tube about her life called In My Language. She used voice-dictation technology to describe what was in her thoughts. She was extremely intelligent and articulated her inner feelings with great clarity. Some didn't believe she was autistic. Part of the film showed her rocking back and forth humming a long note. She described it as "about being in constant conversation with every aspect of my environment." Sure sounds like the understanding of the concept of unity with all things. The understanding that we are one with everything in our environment and therefore can communicate with all aspects of it. Her video has been viewed over 300,000 times and gives us a view into her amazing non-verbal world of autism.

In my opinion, a lot of the new kids are being diagnosed as autistic just because they are wired differently. Labeling them as having disorders because they don't behave the way we perceive as normal is one way to look at it. The startling increase in the number of children we are labeling as being autistic gives me more validation that the shift is happening now. If we look at these children as a glimpse into human behavior for the next level of consciousness and not as a blight on society that needs fixing, the insights that they offer are amazing. I have said that this new earth would bring a complete redesign of the human being. A complete shift in how we experience life. It is possible that the children who are now judged as existing in a different world may soon be recognized as the living bridges to help us cross into theirs.

Seth Garrison is a certified Overlight Facilitator and creator of the energy healing system called "Back to Perfection". Overlight is a spiritual psychology that is designed to identify the root source of their dis-ease, be it mental or physical, and create a space for them to feel comfortable enough to heal themselves. More topics from Seth can be found at

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Autism - Is it Curable?

A Biomedical Autism Doctor Explains The Difference Between Being "Cured" From Autism And "Recovering" From Autism.

"Is Autism curable?" This is a question that is has been asked for years in the medical community as well as the autism community. The question of 'cure' is a good one, but needs a deeper explanation. To fully understand this concept of cure more clearly we need to make a distinction between what would commonly be called 'cured' (which indicates to return to a previous state of health before a change had occurred) and 'recovery' (which indicates the act of regaining health that was previously lost).

Traditional medicine, and even those in the biomedical community realize that there is no known cure for autism, although there are many different types of treatments, including biomedical autism interventions, that can help tremendously. Treatments include, diet (including the gluten-free and casein-free diet, and the specific carbohydrate diet), nutritional support (including multivitamin/minerals), Methyl-B12, hyperbaric oxygen, detoxification, anti-fungal therapy, and more, as well as non-biomedical intervention such as applied behavior analysis (ABA), speech and occupational therapy. Even traditional medicine has treatments which are mostly drug oriented such as Risperidal to suppress aberrant behavior. However, none of these treatments are curative.

Personally, I do not use the word 'cure' in my writings, lectures, consultations, or internet postings when discussing the various biomedical treatments available for autism spectrum disorders. Instead, the more appropriate word to use is 'recover.'

The simple analogy is this: If you had an accident and fractured your arm or leg, and over time your limb fracture healed to the point that movement in your arm or leg was restored and appeared indistinguishable from before the accident, this would indicate a recovery from your injury. However, your bones would still have suffered the injury and therefore an absolute cure from the accident is not possible. You still had the fracture. However, normal function in your arm or leg has been regained.

A similar concept can apply to autism. Children are not cured from their autism. Instead some children can recover, losing their diagnosis, and appear indistinguishable from their peers. In these cases their autism was reversed, most or all symptoms of their disorder have disappeared, and they now function typical of other children, but they will always have had what is classified as autism.

Don't let ANYONE tell you there is nothing you can do to help your child. Autism really is treatable! Start your child down the road to recovery from autism. Biomedical Autism treatments and therapies have resulted in many, many children improving - even losing their autism-spectrum disorder diagnosis. For more information and a free ebook on biomedical autism treatment go to

Dr. Kurt Woeller is an autism biomedical specialist, with a private practice in Southern California for over 10 years. He has helped children recover from autism, ADD, ADHD, and other disorders, and has the information you need to help your child. Get his ebook, "7 Facts You Need To Know About Autism (But Probably Weren't Told)." You can download it right now for free at

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Friday, October 1, 2010

Sandy - My Spiritual and Inspirational Friend With Autism

Sandy, a nonverbal student with autism, displayed significant sensory, movement, and auditory processing problems. Expecting competence and talking to him at a soul level seemed to have a profound effect. In contrast, he continued to demonstrate difficulty following basic concrete verbal directives. He remained dependent on visual cues such as pictures, signs, and/or gestures.

Early on, Sandy pulled my hand to point to simple choices in his communication book. He could not make these selections on his own. When Sandy began working from a field of choices, initially, he would hold my hand and take me to the correct response. One day, instead of holding my right hand with his right hand and using me as a tool to aid his selection, he grabbed my right hand with his left hand, as he made selections, unaided with his right hand. He still needed physical contact with me, but he did not need me to hold the hand he was selecting the correct answers with anymore. Eventually, he let go of the left hand too. If he was sitting in close proximity, he could accurately select appropriate word cards by name, by function, and as a response to questions asked. Often he would give me the correct response before I had time to finish asking the question.

His answers were accurate and instantaneous when selecting responses in words. He was less accurate if the response was in picture format. The most errors were made when he was expected to choose three-dimensional objects. Did it occur because words are constant, but pictures are more varied, and three-dimensional objects differ even more? Is it possible that sending the image of a three-dimensional object is perceived differently between sender and receiver? (E.g. Like many others, if I were seated and asked him to give me the word "ruler," he would be fast and accurate. But if I asked him to hand me a picture of a ruler, his accuracy, although still good, was somewhat diminished. If I asked for the actual ruler, he would have the most difficult time. To further complicate issues, if I asked him to get up to get a ruler on my desk a few feet away, as soon as he stood up, he would be lost-unless I showed him a picture of the ruler or gave it to him as he was walking there.) When gross motor movements were involved, all circuits seemed to shut down.

Sandy learned to use PECS (Picture Exchange System) and voice output communication devices independently during snack time. Also, he was fluent when making basic requests based on routines, nonetheless, responding to questions demanded "agent" proximity. In addition, he could not write or draw on his own, however, he could move my hand to do so if I held the writing utensil.

As Sandy's motor skills improved, he could type letter for letter and word for word what I was consciously "sending" him if I held the keyboard. When we "joined" in what I refer to as "conscious surrender". Sandy's messages were often spiritual. It was difficult to determine where the information was coming from. Individuals I have used FC with or supported by holding the keyboard as thy hit the keys independently seem to share my vocabulary and knowledge base, but not my writing style.

One morning, I was astonished during the morning talk; I asked Sandy what day it was as I held out a keyboard. I expected him to type "Friday". Instead, he typed Frank Logan, the name of a deceased parent of a former student of mine. The student had been in my class eight years prior in a different state. (His father had died suddenly. His son was a student in my classroom at the time and his mother had requested that I try to explain it to him.) After Sandy typed the letters "f r a n", of the name, admittedly this man's name popped into my head as Sandy continued to type "Frank Logan". Sandy typed a message about his son.

Stunned, I asked another nonverbal student who was sitting next to Sandy if he could explain what had just occurred. I held the keyboard as he typed, "Sandy is a catalyst for dead people." I then asked, "How about you?" He replied, "No, that is Sandy's thing." I then held the keyboard in front of Sandy. Remembering, that on several prior occasions, he had typed "Jesus", I muttered, " You don't channel Jesus, do you? As close as I can remember, he typed, " No, Jesus great friend, I can step aside and let the great heart of Jesus speak through me just as you can step aside and let me speak through you. It is just a matter of stepping down of vibration."

Since Sandy, like many others had repeatedly proven that he was sensitive to my mental prompts, I once again was unable to determinable as to what was coming from him, what was coming from me, what might have come from joining our subconscious minds, what might be coming from Spirit/higher levels of consciousness/the universal cognitive field. Nonetheless, I am humbled and impressed with anyone of the possibilities.

Lessons learned from Sandy:

o Many children may use your hand as a tool for selection.

o Many children need physical contact or close proximity with the agent/facilitator in order to communicate.

o Some children need visual prompts when a child has to move even if he seems to understand you while seated, yet he is lost while moving.


o Some students may be gleaning information from the memory banks of others. Examine possibilities of the effect that your anticipatory responses may have.

o Some messages may be coming from the subconscious, spirit world, or a universal cognitive field.

o Saying all information is "definitely" coming from the person who types without any outside influence is not true in my experience. I cannot speak for others.

The emphasis of my anecdotes and articles is on anomalies and phenomena that I have experienced working with these magnificent and intriguing souls. I believe they have much to teach us about the potential of human consciousness.

I was unnerved by the message supposedly from Frank Logan and typed by Sandy. Mainly, because, I was unsure whether I somehow influenced Sandy when Frank Logan's name popped into my head. I have faith in Sandy and the many other students who have typed for me but lack trust in my own ability not to anticipate and taint the communication. Therefore, I stay away from prophecy. I also stay clear of anything remotely accusatory toward another person. I am always honest with parents about my limitations.

I am only speaking about the limitations of my own competence. I keep an open mind and fully realize others might be experiencing something different and even more profound than I have.

For better understanding, see: "Matching Vibration" and "Sending, Joining, and Receiving."

M.A. Harrington

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Teaching Children With Autism to Read

Teaching your child the skills to read and being patient with the development can be quite painful and also a daunting task. The parents have to put more efforts multiple times the normal case in case the child is suffering from autism. These children are weak and take time to grasp the texts and understand them. They are slow to read and absorb the meaning of alphabets and combine them as words and this where the parents have a role to play.

Teaching Children with Autism to Read: Understanding Your Child's Unique Needs

It is very unfortunate for few children to suffer from autism. They face with touch challenges since they are not able to express their feelings of thoughts. Their way of communication and their social interaction lags behind and this forms the biggest hurdle in their life. However, there are few special characteristics they are gifted with that serves as their strength. You must be very patient and interactive when you are teaching such children.

a) The child might be frustrated and highly discourages and often feel inferior in the society. They find it difficult to perceive things in and around the world.
b) They also lack the common social skills which is the biggest barrier.
c) They fear in facing people and often feel disconnected from the entire world and this is why they feel reluctant to appear in public.
d) They get irritated easily and it is difficult for you to fix any schedule for him. They follow their own needs and have their own specific wants.
e) Few children are also not comfortable with physical contact. They need the extra support and constant push for their activities.

To help them to learn and be able to comply with the society, you need a lot of patience and understanding.

Teaching Children with Autism to Read: The Importance of Reading Comprehension, Learning Words and More Tips!

It is quite evident that the reading is one of the weakest fields for the children suffering from Autism. They are not able to perceive and never feel comfortable with the letters. It is tough for them to understand and assimilate things properly. Even if they read the letters with difficulty, they find it very difficult to join the letters as words and understand the information they are reading. According to experts, the best way to interact with the children is to use stimulating and cheerful activities. Few songs and interactive books with touch and feel with mix of music is much more interesting for them.

You must learn to demonstrate the words and explain the real meaning though pictorial images since this is the way they understand better. If you know how to express the gestures and use the body to effectively pronounce the words or digest the meaning, it is more useful for the child.

These learning techniques are not generic for all the children. They may differ with others and you should be patient to find the right approach. It is quite unlikely that you can teach them with conventional teaching style. Few children find pictorial images to be more interactive, while others find pronunciation to be more helpful. The best way is to try different approaches and find the right method and apply the technique in teaching. Try to understand what the child expects and what is amusing for him. If you are expecting something realistic, you are going wrong.

They might also forget things and find it difficult to recollect past incidences or learning. So, you must put in habit of repetition and help them with learning so that they develop the art of remembering and applying thoughts. If you are able to act the words, it might be more helpful and useful for the child. Reading the words and trying to impersonate or describing them will help them a lot. Go slowly and try to figure out if they understand the words. For these children, learning should be more of a fun activity rather than a mandatory exhaustive exercise.

Uncover the insider treatment to autism in the developing child as well as tips on communication barriers for children with autism when you visit

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Fish Oil and Its Influence on Autism

We live in a very ignorant and pessimistic world, where we are quick to stigmatize people for medical conditions and then sideline them in every way. This is also the plight of children suffering from 'Autism', as the society considers them mentally weak, retarded and incapable of performing any activity.
However the truth is, autistic children are not retarded nor are they incapable of socializing. Autism can be best described as a neurological disorder that affects the functioning of the brain, and impairs a child's communication and creative skills. Health practitioners and researchers have attributed the growing incidence of Autism, to the lack of Essential fatty acids in children.
Several studies have been conducted on children suffering from Autism, in order to identify the ways in which their brain and its composition differs from that of a "normal" child. Most of these studies have shown a clear lack of DHA (one of the omega 3 fatty acids) in autism-affected children.
Omega 3 is the name given to a group of Essential fatty acids that are critical for a healthy brain and nervous system. But these fatty acids cannot be synthesized by our bodies, which is why we need to obtain omega 3 fats through our diet. However, most people do not get enough of these fats and end up suffering from a variety of health disorders.
In children Omega 3 deficiency is manifested in the form of various disorders such as Autism, ADHD, ADD etc. Emotional problems like depression, psychosis, anxiety etc can also be attributed to lack of DHA fatty acids. Thus it is absolutely essential that your kids get adequate amounts of Omega 3 fatty acids either through their diet or through supplements.
Benefits of Fish Oil for Children with Autism
Regular consumption of Omega 3 supplements can help your child in many ways. Some of the most significant benefits include -
  • Improvement in cognitive abilities and communication skills
  • Increase in memory and learning abilities
  • Better concentration levels
  • Increased attention span
  • Remarkable development in Speech and Intellectual capacity
  • Enhanced Quality of Sleep
  • Reduction in Hyperactivity and Aggression
  • Improved Emotional and mental health
  • Better Adaptability and Enhanced social skills
If your child is autistic, fish oil is definitely the most important supplement you should be giving them regularly.
Omega 3 fatty acids can increase the quality of life of your children as well as improve their ability to learn and adapt to new environments. Just ensure that you buy the purest form and give your child the right dosage of omega 3 for maximum health benefits.
If you would like to know more information on fish oil benefit for children, please visit my blog at, this will give you a compiled comprehensive list of omega oil benefits for the young ones.