Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Autism and Obsessive Behavior

Another characteristic of autism is that children affected by this disorder will become fixated on certain repeated activities or behaviors, getting "stuck" on a particular object or activity. Autistic children also have difficulty adjusting to a change in routine. Because autism affects the way a child's brain processes sensory input, their fixation on repeated activities interferes with imaginative play.

Physical Manifestations of Obsessive Behavior

Repeated motions, called stereotypies or self-stimulation, set children with autism apart from other children. Some children with autism may spend hours flapping their arms or flicking their fingers, or rocking back and forth. Some may suddenly freeze in one position, while others repeat certain actions over and over - turning lights on and off, or touching or arranging a set of objects over and over.

Still other children may become fixated on specific objects, developing a fascination with particular objects and amassing collections of things such as rocks or bottle tops.
A demand for consistency in the environment is another manifestation of autism. Autistic children may, for instance, insist on eating the same foods at the same times, sitting at the same spot at the table, over and over. A minor change in routine or in placement of a familiar object can be very upsetting for autistic children.

Pretend or imaginative play is an important developmental stage, and most children use their imaginations to pretend to feed a doll or to take on the role of someone else. Autistic children rarely engage in this make-believe play. Instead of pushing around a toy car, for instance, they may instead hold it and spin the wheels for hours.

Explanations for These Behaviors

Although great strides have been made in autism research, there are not yet concrete explanations for these behaviors. Researchers theorize that perhaps the sameness and order that obsessive behaviors bring foster some stability in a world of otherwise confusing sensory stimulations. Autism seems to cause an imbalance in the senses: if a child cannot process his environment through his senses, the world is a confusing place. Routine, then, is comforting.

Focused behaviors may help block out painful stimuli, or perhaps these behaviors are linked to senses that work either well or poorly. The child who smells everything, for instance, may be using his stable sense of smell to explore, or perhaps he is trying to stimulate and strengthen a weak sense of smell.

One of Many Symptoms

Obsessive or repetitive behavior is but one of many signs of autism and autism spectrum disorders. If you suspect that your child's behavior is indicative of autism, voice your concerns with your pediatrician, who can assist you in further diagnosis and treatment of this disorder.

For more information on Autism behavior characteristics of autism or Signs of Autism please visit us at

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Physical Activity As a Therapy For Autistic Children

While parents and educators of autistic children often realize the benefits of education and routine, quite often the benefits of physical activity and sports are overlooked. Some parents might think that their child is simply not capable for participating in a sports program. Or they might just feel too busy and overwhelmed with the daily routine of taking care of an autistic child, and think the time spent on sport is not as valuable as other programs. However, physical exercise has been shown to greatly improve the lives of autistic children and to improve their behaviour as well.

Autistic children, like all children with a disability are more prone to avoid sports and thus run the risk of obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes. Perhaps the greatest risk however, is simply not having the opportunity to reap the benefits that regular physical exercise can provide, such as improved endurance, a chance to develop fine and gross motor skills and a self-confidence boost. A right exercise program can also introduce the autistic child to a social environment and a chance to interact with his peers. Physical exercise is a proven way to help autistic children (and even non-autistic ones) to burn off excess energy and be able to focus better on their school work or other learning opportunities.

Many autistic children might not be able to participate in a team sport, due to limited social ability or the fear of physical contact with others. Individual sports might be more suitable to them. Parents have found their autistic children to love and excel in swimming, tennis, golf, skating or bike riding. You know your child best and what physical activities would be best suited to his/her individual temperament and interests. Exercise also allows the autistic child who has problems with self-control to have the opportunity to yell and get out any built up energy.

Autistic children often have trouble with sensory input. Sports naturally help to unite the senses, by provided many natural opportunities to run, climb, balance and touch. To encourage your child to begin enjoying his body and exploring his senses a good idea is to create simple obstacles and sensory items right in your home. Things like crawl-through tunnels, ball pits and ceiling-mounted swings are relatively inexpensive and provide a much-needed release for the autistic child. If you are looking to create a "sensory room" for your autistic child to enjoy physical exercise right in your home, there are many products available for that purpose. Things like monkey bars, indoor therapy gyms, rock climbing walls or simple gym rings all provide many opportunities for exercise right at home. The physically active autistic child is better focused, more self-controlled and better able to deal with sensory stimulation.

As busy as parents with autistic children are, the importance of regular physical exercise and sports should not be overlooked. Rather, think of it as yet another form of therapy, make it fun and participate right along with your child to improve the health of the whole family!

Do your kids use your living room as a gym? DreamGYM™ indoor therapy gym lets them stay active all year long right in your home! They'll develop agility, flexibility, balance, coordination & strength.

Read latest news from kid's indoor gym blog.

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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Connie Hammer, MSW, parent educator, consultant and coach, guides parents of young children recently diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder to uncover abilities and change possibilities. Visit her website to get your FREE resources - a parenting ecourse, Parenting a Child with Autism - 3 Secrets to Thrive and a weekly parenting tip newsletter, The Spectrum.

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Monday, August 29, 2011

Autism Breakthrough - Can Music Therapy Speed Up Learning in Autistic Children?

Autism music therapy has been the topic of great recent interest due to its surprising yet positive effects on autistic children. For autistic toddlers and young children between the ages of 3 to 6, music therapy seems to help connect the dots in terms of emotional and physical behavior and learning.

Abbey Monroe, age 4, is a shining example of what happens when music therapy is introduced to a child with autism.

Abbey's mother Sarah Monroe, often sings to her and chants short rhythmic phrases to get Abbey to comply and play along while she moves throughout her day from one activity to the next; activities ranging from changing her clothes, to eating a meal, to taking a bath.

Autism Music Therapy at Work in the Classroom

Abbey, who previously lacked verbal skills due to severe autism, is now able to talk and communicate much more effectively after being enrolled in Crenshaw Elementary School where she gets special attention from a highly specialized staff of autism experts and educators. Abbey has been able to overcome many social and behavioral issues thanks to Mrs. Linda LeFante, a veteran autism specialist and strong advocate of music therapy.

"All children with autism respond to music, and Abbey's no different. I believe you can teach your child basic life skills using music as a tool to help make things easier, both for you and your child," Mrs. LeFante explains.

"Abbey, like all the other children in my classroom, need to learn the basics for living like changing her clothes, brushing her teeth, and adjusting to different social situations. And music makes the entire learning process much easier and more enjoyable."

Mrs. LeFante's confidence in music therapy is based on 14 years of teaching children with autism. Parents of children under Mrs. LeFante's care attest that her methods are undeniably effective. There are over 60 children with autism enrolled at Crenshaw Elementary where Mrs. LeFante teaches. The children are divided into classrooms of 7 to 8 children with a special education assistant assigned to each child.

Although a huge support staff is on hand, the overwhelming success of the students at Crenshaw Elementary can mostly be attributed to Mrs. LeFante's music education program which follows the core curriculum. This ensures that every student with autism gets what they need in terms of a complete education.

Music Therapy for Autistic Children - Approved by Parents and Professionals

Judy Morrow, mother of 5 year old Albert Morrow who is also a student at Crenshaw Elementary, recently shared her thoughts on the impact of music therapy, "My son Albert had the toughest time learning due to autism. But now he's able to recite the alphabet. He also learned to say the names of his favorite animals. He's even counting which totally caught me off guard. I'm thrilled at how quickly he's learning. Linda LeFante is an absolute miracle worker."

To shed further light on the topic, Mrs. LeFante responded by saying, "Music can be the anchor to help your child stay grounded while they learn. I never pressure my students. I never force anything on them. All of the children in my care just naturally gravitate towards music therapy when they witness me and other students enjoying the process. Furthermore, I believe music therapy belongs in the home as much as it does in school. I believe you can teach literally anything using music as a tool."

The Future of Autism Music Therapy

While there is still much research ahead in the field of cognitive neurology (brain sciences) and the effects of music therapy on children with autism, there is substantial real-life data pouring in from parents and teachers alike in regards to the impact of music therapy in the classroom and at home; positive reports that music unquestionably helps children with autism learn much more effectively, and efficiently, while enjoying both the outcome, and the process.

What if your child is missing out on the learning they need to overcome the toughest challenges associated with autism?

I know how hard it can be to try and make your child understand the basic life skills they need that most of us take for granted. But if you truly want to help your child reach their full potential, you'll need to learn a single method that works amazingly well.

This method is simple to pick up and it doesn't take much practice. You can read how to do it in my free report here: Music Therapy And Autism Simplified

Don't give up hope, it's NOT impossible. Discover more ways to help your child learn faster with Autism Music Therapy by clicking the link.

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Sunday, August 28, 2011

Understanding Kids With Autism Disorder

Autism Spectrum Disorders

Autism Range Disorders (ASD) refers to a group of neurodevelopment disorders that are characterized by disabled social interaction, repetitious body movements (such as rocking, wringing of the hands, and banging of the head) and communication issues. Children and persons diagnosed with Autism Range Disorders will process information and facts in his or her human brain differently than others without autism. Persons having ASD could react to several social situations and stimulations in different ways. Children having Autism Range Dysfunction may behave, learn and react abnormally compared to other babies with out Autism Range Dysfunction. The affects of ASD are usually special to every individual with the disorder. The signs and symptoms of theRange disorders can range from mild to extreme.

Autism Range Disorders Statistics and Data

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that 1 in 110 kids have got some form of autism. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, boys are four times extra likely to develop Autism Range Problem than girls.

The Primary Trigger of Autism

The underlying cause of autism is still unknown to health experts. It's assumed that both genetics and environment may equally contribute towards the result in of Autism Range Condition; nonetheless, further study and scientific studies are essential in order to properly recognize the main cause of the disorders. A few research indicate that some families are more genetically susceptible to autism and Autism Range Disorders than the rest. Scientists have found that family units which have a single kid with autism have a significantly more risk of any additional children also obtaining autism. Further research and studies of twin kids have discovered that if one twin has autism, there exists a Ninety % possibility that the second baby will as well have autism.

Risks and Medical Conditions Associated with Autism and ASD

children with autism seem to have an heightened threat with regard to particular co-occurring medical disorders, like Tourette syndrome, Fragile X syndrome, epileptic seizures, tuberous sclerosis, learning disabilities, and attention deficit dysfunction (ADD). Some studies specify that 20 to Thirty percent of children having autism may develop epilepsy at some point in the course of their adult years.

3 Kinds of Autism Range Disorders

You will find three recognized forms of Autism Range Disorders:

1. Autistic Disorder
2. Asperger syndrome
3. Pervasive Developmental Disorder - Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS)

1. Autistic Disorder

Autistic Disorder is regarded as the most severe of all Autism Range Disorders. Kids diagnosed with autistic disorder normally have got significant language speech and communication delays, considerable social issues disabilities, and engage in repetitive, stereotypical conduct. Individuals with autism might furthermore have certain intellectual disabilities. Individuals with autistic condition do not typically adapt properly to change in plan or routine. They may possibly also display obsessive inclinations in their own matters of interest.

2. Asperger Syndrome

The signs or symptoms linked with Asperger syndrome are a lot more mild as compared with indications attached with Autistic Disorder. Persons identified with Asperger syndrome may well have a few special social traits and also demeanors; however, they do not normally have communication or intellectual disabilities.

3. Pervasive Developmental Disorder - Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS)

Pervasive Development Disorder - Not Otherwise Specified (PDD - NOS is also called "atypical autism". People with a few, but not all, of the criterion for autism condition or Asperger syndrome may be diagnosed with PDD-NOS. Normally signs or symptoms and severity of signs or symptoms are much more mild in persons with PDD-NOS than those with autism or Asperger syndrome. Communication and social challenges are frequently encountered by people with PDD-NOS.

Autism Treatment Options

Even though there is not presently a therapy for autism or Autism Range Dysfunction, early treatment and intervention has been recently demonstrated to greatly contribute the developmental growth of the diagnosed child. Pills might can be approved by a qualified doctor to cure symptoms like depressive disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder and anxiety. In addition, medicine may well be given in order to address severe behavior problems.

You can find a lot of assistance groups available for persons with ASD as well as families which have a loved one with ASD. Support groups might be beneficial in spreading experiences and info, as well as providing mental help through trying times.

Get Support for Parents and Kids With Autism.

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Understanding Autism - Autistic Spectrum Disorder

According to statistics, there are about 400,000 autistic children in the united states!

Early diagnosis of autistic children can aide in the increased development of their social skills and the ability to better take care of themselves on a daily basis. Though autistic children are generally highly intelligent, autism impairs them by affective their communication and interaction with others, and the way they respond to external stimuli. Autistic children can often be identified by their difficulty in expressing themselves, or understanding others

Autism is more commonly known in the medical community as "autism spectrum disorder". It was not until the middle of the 1900's that science able to put a lable on something that was affecting so many people, especially children. Although autism is present at birth, signs of this disorder can be difficult to identify during infancy.

Because there is no medical cure for autism, parents of autism children rely on therapies like behavioral modification to help their children. Some children are looking to be reached while others are not. However, most of these children have to be dependent on someone, for their whole life. As if raising an child with autism is not challenging enough in and of itself, many parents of find themselves being made targets for doing everything they can to include their children in as normal a family life as possible.

Autistic children are visual learners and need a structured environment. In recent times a growing interest has been directed to teaching sign language to autistic kids who have failed to develop speech. Another more crucial advantage in teaching sign language is that it would lessen some of the learning problems that these kids face. Some severely autistic children have serious developmental delays, and may never speak.

Just looking at children with autism they seem healthy but in social situations when they "melt down", outsiders believe they are just badly behaved and blame the parents. Caring for these children can be difficult, yet there are steps and actions that can be taken by parents to help them deal with the situations that will arise.

Most parents of autistic children grow to recognize what situations may cause an outburst. Many children rock back and forth, do the same motion with their hands continually. Autistic children that display outbursts of temper tantrums and anger, may create a challenge to manage them emotionally and physically. Because they cannot communicate, child feels he or she is not getting adequate attention they may act out by behaviors such as head-banging, biting themselves or scratching at body parts, to try getting some of the focus on themselves. Anxiety becomes even worse when there is a change in the autistic childs routine. Even positive and "fun" changes, like a school field trip or a visit to the zoo, can increase anxiety and aggressive behaviors.

Choose toys based on developmental level before choosing toys for autistic children, it is important to know what types of toys the child would benefit from. These experts agree that one important way to reach autistic children and help them in their development is through play.

Activities should be fun, challenging and should aim at their overall progress. Setting up activities for autistic children can help a great deal in their development. Bright colors for pictures can stimulate brain activity in the thinking process. Since children with autism develop at different rates and there are varying levels of autism, toys should be chosen based on developmental level.

Choose balance and movement toys along with playing with toys that require repetitive motion. Autistic children like to move things themselves in a repetitive way. Many look at these motions as strange, however many researchers tell you that repetitive movements help them to regulate their bodies.

Taking them for a visit to the park, a museum or to another child's house for a party, is an ideal outdoor autistic kid's activity. Outdoor activities should be conducted with all the necessary preparations and make sure that all precautions are implemented before hand.

Parents of autistic children often struggle to get them to sleep, and therefore struggle with their own sleep as well. The following tips are for parents to help their autistic child get to sleep and stay that way until morning:- set a bedtime and stick to it, including the routines that occur before bedtime. While some children respond well to having a nightlight, others require total darkness with a black out blind over the window for blocking the exterior light as well. Many autistic children sleep better when their bed is pushed up against the wall, as they feel more secure; a corner is even better.

Trying to figure out a puzzling condition like autism can be a lifelong challenge. For many parents, the affection issue may be the biggest. Learn to have fun together, sometimes it is not very easy to have fun with children with autism, but you can love your autistic child unconditionally. With patience and learning to go by the child's cues and not your own, you will be able to connect with your child in a deep and meaningful way.

I know the heartache of having a child with Autism. My best friends step brother has Autism, and although he is not severe, there are alot of emotional and physical challenges every day. There is alot of information and resources out there to help people further understand and cope with an autistic child along with autistic teens and adults.

Additional information as well as finding many resources to help you further understand and cope with the autistic child, visit

Cydnie Graff lives in Northern California. She owned a small computerized embroidery shop for 16 years, but due to the growth of her town and the surrounding communities she could no longer compete. She is now spending time with her 12 year old grand son, her 18 lb cat named Cubby and her computer. She is into searching the web for information mostly for affiliate marketing, finding the best soft wear products and developers on the net.

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Saturday, August 27, 2011

Applied Behavioral Analysis - An Effective Autism Treatment for Children

When you talk about autism treatment for children, one name will keep coming up again and again. Applied Behavioral Analysis, or ABA, is probably the most common treatment for autistic children, as well as being the most scientifically backed.

Of course, the decision of what kind of autism treatment to pursue for your children is always a difficult one. There are so many different kinds, and trying to separate what therapies are safe and effective and which are snake oil can be difficult. You also have to consider how much money you have to spend on the therapies that won't be covered by insurance, and how much time you have to spend managing and directing the therapies. Autism is not curable, but it can be improved. Different kids, however, are going to improve at different rates and to different levels.

ABA Breaks Tasks Down Into Simple Steps

ABA is often a good starting point for the treatment of autism in children. It was developed by Ivar Lovaas, and is based on the theory of teaching a child how to do simple tasks in a step-by-step method. With ABA, the child is rewarded for achieving goals, usually quite small goals that get incrementally harder and more complicated as time goes on.

ABA is a behaviorally oriented theory of autism treatment. It is based on the idea that if you want to see a particular behavior in someone, you reward them doing it in incremental steps. As a result, they learn to do it more and more. Behaviorism originally said that negative behaviors should be punished, but it is rare that aversives, or negative consequences, are ever used in autism treatment anymore.

Since children with autism have difficulty learning from their environment, ABA breaks things into little pieces for them.

How ABA Works

The therapist sits with a child in a room, and asks the child to do a task of some sort. For example, ask his mother for a glass of juice. The child is prompted about how to do it, and if he does, he is rewarded (by some chocolates perhaps, or an enthusiastic "Good job!")

If the child does not respond, or does not complete the desired behavior, the request is repeated until the child is able to master it. If the desired task is too difficult, it is broken into smaller steps.

ABA involves keeping a lot of data. The therapist records how many times the child was able to accomplish the stated goal. This data is then used to measure how effective the therapy is.

ABA is meant to be a very intense therapy and usually requires around 40 hours a week for it to work well. This can be expensive as well as rather tedious for many people. Modified versions can sometimes work as well, however.

There are many different forms of autism treatment for children, but ABA is, for many kids, a good place to start.

And parents should learn as much as you can about other forms of treatment for autism. Tips from other parents and professionals can be extremely helpful. A great site that has tips and suggestions for additional treatments is the There you can sign up for their FREE newsletter with tips and info on autism.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

James A. Neubrander, MD

In 2002 Dr. Neubrander accidentally discovered that the methyl form of the B12 family-"methyl-B12"- greatly helps children on the autism spectrum when used correctly. His protocols are now used by thousands of practitioners worldwide and parents universally say that methyl-B12 is one of the best treatments they have for their child. In 2005 Dr. Neubrander began using hyperbaric oxygen therapy for children with autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders. He has developed unique diagnostic protocols that allow parents to document 'undeniable changes' from this form of therapy when used correctly. Dr. Neubrander uses essentially all of the biomedical diagnostic and treatment tools commonly in use today by those considered leaders in this field. In addition to the biomedical treatments, his clinic uses QEEG-directed neurofeedback, and works closely with leading specialists in the field of speech and language, sensory and auditory issues, feeding difficulties, etc.

Dr. Neubrander's Homepage

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Friday, August 26, 2011

The Effects of Speech Therapy on Behavior at Home, School, and in the Community

Children with autism not only have trouble communicating socially, but may also have problems behaving. The goal of speech therapy is to improve all aspects of communication. For example, sometimes children with autism have trouble understanding when it is acceptable to use bossy or polite requests. Speech therapy can help children to learn what sort of tone they should use when speaking.

Speech therapy sessions will vary greatly depending upon the therapist and the child. Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) is one type of speech therapy that is used for children who do not imitate the sounds of others. For these children, several speech therapy methods may help them learn to speak. AAC is often the first strategy to help them learn enough communication to be able to have some social interactions. There are five other methods that may also help these children:
1) avoid pressuring children to speak, and using puppets and play as encouragement instead;
2) imitating the child and they may start imitating others;
3) using exaggerated sounds and speaking slowly;
4) using visual feedback and touch to help teach skills; and
5) adding exercises for mouth movements that are specific to speech.

Speech Therapy Improves Behavior

Many scientific studies demonstrate that speech therapy is able to improve the communication skills of children with autism. In addition, many children also show improved behavior after speech and language therapy. A 2009 survey of the parents of 210 preschool children asked the parents about their expectations before speech and language therapy, and then asked about any improvements in their children after therapy. Parents said play, social skills, and confidence, as well as speech, improved after therapy. The child's behaviors at home, in school, and in public were also better. While these improvements in behavior are not generally used by speech therapists to indicate success, they can be very meaningful to the child and parents.

Speech Therapists Enter the Community

Speech therapists can also be a wonderful resource for people offering services to children with autism. For example, Aprile Mickeys at Haircuts for Peanuts in Rochester, New York specializes in cutting the hair of children with special needs. Haircuts for Peanuts has always been a fun place for children (and even their older siblings), complete with a circus-theme and lots of toys. All of the stylists have been trained by speech and occupational therapists to work with children with autism and other special needs. Each of the hair cutting stations has toys especially for children with special needs and the stylists have learned techniques to calm children who might be anxious.

Learning More About Speech Therapy

Autism is a condition covered under the United States' Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) of 2004. The cost of speech therapy is often covered by the government through this act.

Please visit Healing Thresholds to learn more about speech therapy and other autism therapies.

Lara Pullen, PhD is the co-founder and CEO of Healing Thresholds Autism Therapy is a free website and email newsletter dedicated to healing the lives of families touched by autism. They provide comprehensive therapy fact sheets, daily updates of autism therapy research and news, and a global directory of autism-related therapists and services. A comprehensive fact sheet about speech therapy -- plus research summaries, news, and comments -- is available at

Lara is a former research scientist in the field of immunology. She has been a medical writer since 1999 and has written on a wide range of topics from Alzheimer's disease to diabetes. She is the mother of three children, the youngest of whom has Prader-Willi Syndrome.

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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Autism Diagnosis and Treatment in Infants

Those concerned with autism treatment often want to know how early you can legitimately diagnose a child or infant with autism. Now, opinions are certainly split, and there is no definitive answer, but some do say that there are some signs to watch for in your infant.

Autism is hard to diagnose before 2 years of age, but babies can start showing symptoms between 12 and 18 months of age. Mostly, you want to be aware of what the developmental milestones for each age are, and pay attention to make sure they attain them. Missing milestones is a good clue to potential problems.

If your infant does not respond to cuddling, and seems to stiffen in your arms and try to get away from you, that could be a possible sign (or you could just have a finicky baby). If your infant doesn't look at you when being fed, or reach out to be held, these are also signs.

Other Possible Warning Signs of Autism In Infants

Here are some other early signs of autism in babies and toddlers:

  • If your baby does not smile at you when you smile at him
  • Your infant does not respond to cuddling or they do not reach out and want to be picked up
  • Not looking at you when you are feeding her
  • Not responding to his name or to the sound of a familiar voice
  • Won't follow objects or focus on them with his eyes as you move them around
  • Not using gestures such as pointing or waving goodbye
  • Not recognizing gestures you use such as not looking at an object that you point to
  • Not realizing that if he makes noise, he will get your attention
  • Lack of imitation of facial expressions or lack of imitation of your hand or body movements
  • When you pick her up she does not reach out to you to express the desire to be held

If by a year old, your baby does not respond to their name, does not babble or engage in "baby talk," and does not point to things to show you, then this also warrants an evaluation by a doctor.

Is there such a thing as autism treatment for infants?

Well, some researchers think so. One of the most important elements of the infant experience is the mother-child bond. If an infant is not attuned to this bond or is trying to avoid the bond because of certain sensory issues, then they could miss out on important social development steps later on.

So what can you do to help your autistic infant gain social development skills?

You can change the environment so that it promotes interaction, such as eye contact and babbling. You make the infant feel as comfortable as possible. That means it needs to be as quiet as possible, no bright lights, mobiles and other such things may be visually overwhelming, fragrances could be overwhelming, and start slow.

Assume that your infant is being bombarded by sensory information, and try to minimize that so they can focus on you instead of it. Touch your infant very gently and slowly. If you do this, there is a greater chance the infant will be learning the social information that they should be attuned to.

Diagnosing and treatment of autism in infants is hard to do, but not impossible.

And parents should learn as much as you can about infants and treatment of autism. Tips from other parents and professionals can be extremely helpful. A great site that has tips and suggestions for additional treatments is the There you can sign up for their FREE newsletter with tips and info on autism.

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The 4 Early Autism Signs in Infants Every Parent Must Know

Autism is a brain development disorder which causes problems in social interaction, communication and the general behavior of the affected child. The early autism signs in infants start to appear as early as six months but typically infants are diagnosed only upon reaching 3 years old.

It is important for parents to be aware of the early autism signs in infants. Early identification is important so that interventions can be implemented and parents can also seek advice and help from experts and from autism organizations. Babies suspected to have the disorder should be observed further and must be checked by pediatricians or autism experts. Early intervention is important to the success of the different treatments for children with autism. This is the reason why it is best for parents to know the early autism signs in infants.

Here are the 4 early autism signs in infants every parent must know:

Unusual interaction with others
This is the most common of all the early autism signs in infants. Autism impairs the social development of a person. Hence, babies with autism have an unusual way of connecting with others. Upon reaching 6 months, normal infants can already interact with others. This is the period when they start smiling, pointing objects of interest, babbling, and making eye contact. On the other hand, autistic infants do not smile as much and have unusual gestures and facial expressions. It is also apparent that they look at other people differently. Their gaze tends to be brief and out of the corner of the eye. They also do not want to be cuddled as much even by their own parents and prefer to be alone than with other infants.

Have a repetitive and restricted behavior
Autistic persons have difficulty in adapting to changes. They like doing things the same way and eat the same type of foods for a long period of time. They also develop a fascination over a single object, toy, or pattern. It is also evident when they display strange repetitive movements. They like banging their head, rocking their body, and flapping their hands. Some of these movements can inflict self-injuries.

Lack of interest in the surroundings
Several studies conducted showed that babies with autism react differently when confronted with certain situations. When presented with a toy, they display less enthusiasm and less effort in grabbing it. Instead they become conscious and stare at the object differently. Other signs include not responding to one's name and are unaffected by audible changes in the environment. This is why autism is sometimes associated with hearing disorder.

Extremely irritable mood
Infants with autism often have difficulties controlling their emotions. They cry and get irritated a lot. Although they are disinterested in their surroundings, there are times when they easily get provoked even by the slightest sound. They also get irritated even if their parents are cuddling them or even if they are just playing alone.

If you observe most of the early autism signs in infants in your own child, it is best if you consult a pediatrician or an expert immediately. The effects of autism can be minimized by adopting early intervention programs.

Autism should not be a reason to burden your family. Although there is still no cure for autism, early detection can really make a big difference. Visit Early Autism Signs in Infants and learn more about its causes, symptoms, and how to handle it. Reviews on the top 3 books online about autism are also available.

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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Autistic Children Need Schedules

Schedules are an important part of every child's life. This is especially true when dealing with a child of special needs like Autism. Having a schedule will help the Autistic child feel a sense of structure. Children with Autism often have anxiety issue they are dealing with. Having a schedule helps the levels of anxiety to drop. They know what to expect on a daily basis. They know at a certain time of the day what they will be doing.

If there is no schedule or structure in an Autistic child's daily life things will be very hectic. They have lots of doctors and therapist appointments. Sometimes there will be more than one appointment a day. Keeping a schedule can help you and your child to make sure they do not miss any appointments.

Some Autistic children have trouble with reading. You can use a visual schedule. Have pictures for all the daily activities. This allows them to see what is coming next. Having a schedule for your child will help avoid some breakdowns. Keep the schedule posted where your child can see it. If you have to change the schedule explain the changes to your child. They like routines, and a change could throw their whole day out of whack.

Schedules can be a help when trying to get the child to do something they do not want to do. Simply show them that after they do this they will get to move onto something else. Tell them they cannot move on until this activity is completed.

There will always be things that come up. Try to stick to the schedule as much as possible. When things come up try to get back on schedule as soon as you can. This includes weekends . If your child is used to getting up at seven in the morning continue to do so. Keep their bedtimes close to the same time each night. Your child will be happier when they have had enough sleep.

Schedules will make life much easier you and your Autistic child. Keep them posted for your child to see, and stick to the schedule the best you can. An example of a schedule you can use if found below.

7 AM Wake up, get dressed and ready for the day

8 AM Breakfast

9 AM Therapy Appointment at home

11 AM Free time/ Play time

12 PM Lunch

1 PM Outdoor Play

2 PM Arts and Crafts

3 PM Free Time

5 PM Dinner

6 PM TV time

7 PM Bath time

8 PM Bed Time

This allows the child to know what is going on during the day. Include doctors, or therapy appointments on the schedule. An older child can still benefit from a schedule. It has to be adjusted for school time, and any extra curricular activities. You can include homework time, and chores into the chart. Once you start using a chart for your Autistic child you will see a improvement in the flow of your day. This also leaves little time for boredom. There is always something planned to do.

By Graham Williams. If you are interested in finding out more about Autistic Children [] Or Autistic Child Behavior [] Then click on those links for the LATEST INFORMATION you can get on Autism. While your the don't forget to visit my home page and claim your 3 FREE HEALTH BOOKS.

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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

What Is Autism or Aspergers?

So, you find out from the doctor the dreaded diagnosis that your child has Autism, Aspergers, or one of the similar related to autism. You want to know, what does it mean to be autistic? You are very overwhelmed, very lost, and ask the question what is autism? Where do I start? Where do I find information on how to help my child get better?

This is dedicated to help parents of children with autism to find some answers. We have a daughter with autism and have been in your shoes as parents. Over the last 6 years we have tried a lot of different approaches and treatments to helping her improve.

Many have heard the word autism in the news over the last few years, but many are unfamiliar with what autism really is. Autism affects how cells and the brain communicate, and how information is organized. How this happens and what really goes wrong in people with autism is still a mystery, as there is not a pill or cure-all for autism.

Autism is a range of disorders on the autism spectrum. Think of autism as a large umbrella with smaller subcategories underneath it. Some subcategories being:

  • Asperger syndrome
  • Autism with Developmental Delay
  • Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified
  • ADD (attention deficit disorder)
  • ADHD (attention deficit hyperactive disorder)

The autism society and many specialist in autism report it to be a neurological disorder that occurs to varying degrees in individuals who express characteristics of the disorder. Characteristics include difficulties with verbal and nonverbal communication, social interactions, difficulties with everyday activities, and may demonstrate repetitive behaviors. The autism spectrum ranges from severely impaired to fully functioning.

These characteristics appear in early childhood development and are typically diagnosed on average around the age of 2 years. Parents will usually notice signs of autism in the first year or two of their child's life when things just don't seem right. Signs of autism usually develop over a period of time, and many autistic children first will have typical development which then leads to regression in many or all skill areas. Go with your gut instinct and get the help you need.

Researchers continue to investigate the potential causes of the disorder, including genetic and environmental factors. It is estimated that at least 1 out of every 110 children born today has some form of autism, and the ratio is 4 times higher in males than females.

No two people have the exact same characteristics of autism. So with that, there are several factors that will determine the extent to which an individual has autism. There will most likely be an underlying genetic predispositions. Other factors include environmental causes (such as heavy metal exposure, toxins in everyday household cleaners, pesticides, and vaccinations) to the food they eat and lack of certain nutrition that may be causing harm.

Autism Spectrum Aspergers is to help you understand the basics of what autism is. How can you help your child with autism? Click on this link to learn more about how you can help minimize some of the problems associated with Autism Spectrum Aspergers.

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Sensory Integration Dysfunction - What Is It, Diagnosis, And Treatment

Is your child with autism over responsive to sensation which shows by withdrawing from touch, or getting upset by loud noises? Or is your child under responsive to sensations which shows by hyperactivity, unawareness of touch or pain, and likes loud sounds? Your child may have sensory integration dysfunction, which could be affecting their education and life. This article will discuss what sensory integration disorder is, and also about diagnosis.

Sensory integration refers to our ability to take in information through our senses (touch, movement, smell, taste, vision, and hearing), interpret that information, and respond to it. Sensory Integration Dysfunction (SID) is the inability of the brain, to correctly process information brought in by the senses. People with SID may misinterpret everyday sensory information such as touch, sound and movement.

Below are a few symptoms of SID:

1. Loves to spin, swing, jump-this may calm them down,

2.Complains that some clothing feels scratchy, or doesn't like tags,

3. Picky eaters-doesn't like how some foods feel in their mouth,

4.Over sensitive to smells or sounds-may sniff people or food-will frequently cover ears to sounds,

5. May have high pain tolerance,

6. Can be impulsive or distractible.

The Star Center puts out a checklist for Sensory Integration Dysfunction. The Star Center calls it Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). Below are a few items on the checklist:

1. Difficulty eating,

2.Resists cuddling or holding,

3.Easily startled,

4.Over sensitive to stimulation,

5.Difficulty learning new motor tasks,

6.Constant movement,

7.Overreacts to touch noise or smell,

8.Appears clumsy and stumbles a lot, and

9.Avoids visually stimulating environments.

SID could be affecting your child in many different ways. There are two separate types of SID: Sensory Avoiding and Sensory Seeking. Children with sensory avoiding do not like to be touched or cuddled, they are fearful of fast movement, are cautious and unwilling to take risks or try new things, are very pick eaters and do not like to be in loud or busy environments. Children with sensory seeking can have hyperactivity, unawareness of touch or pain, take part in unsafe activities, enjoy sounds that are too loud.

Children with Sensory Integration Dysfunction may also have motor skill problems. These children may have: 1.Poor fine motor skills, 2.Poor gross motor skills, 3.Difficulty imitating movements, 4.Trouble with balance, and 5.A preference for seating activities, such as video games.

To determine if your child has SID, they should be evaluation by a SIPT qualified occupational therapist (OT). Many school districts hire occupational therapists, but may not be SIPT qualified, and therefore not qualified to test in this area. You may need to advocate for your child to have them tested by a SIPT qualified OT.

Treatment for SID is occupational therapy, by a qualified therapist. Check with your school district to see if there OT has experience with Sensory Integration Disorder. If they do not, consider getting an Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE) with a SIPT qualified OT. Make sure that the evaluator makes specific recommendations on amount of therapy needed, goals and objectives.

By understanding what Sensory Integration Dysfunction is, how it is diagnosed and treated you may help your child. SID can negatively affect your child's life, but with proper treatment you child can reach their potential.

JoAnn Collins is the mother of two adults with disabilities, and has helped families navigate the special eduation system, as an advocate, for over 15 years. She is a presenter and author of the book "Disability Deception; Lies Disability Educators Tell and How Parents Can Beat Them at Their Own Game." The book has a lot of resources and information to help parents fight for an appropriate education for their child. For a free E newsletter entitled "The Special Education Spotlight" send an E mail to: For more information on the book, testimonials about the book, and a link to more articles go to:

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Monday, August 22, 2011

Are New Faces a Struggle For Autistic Children?

Socialization skills are a challenge for autistic children. In addition, what about recognizing new faces? Are autistic children considered to be shy if they do not recognize a face, or do they find it a struggle to know who the faces are? If this is true, why?

Learning from my years of experiencing various autistic children with their levels of developmental functions, have indicated to me, autistic children seem less likely to feel comfortable around unfamiliar faces.

My brother, was a perfect example of this kind of behavior, who was autistic.

Individuals, whether they are adults or children who do not have autism, memorize faces and features without realizing it.

An average face is what we think and feel and it tends to make a picture in our mind of what people look like.

What about new faces, that are not familiar to autistic people? These faces could be a struggle for them, because they are not able to identify the variations of the unique features new faces have.

For example: The different shapes of faces, hair color, skin color, hair that has a perm, faces may be round, oval, long and thin, or round and fat. In addition, if the individuals wear hats for different types of seasons. These variations can change the appearance of the new faces. This could be a struggle for autistic children.

I have discovered by observing my brother, he does not experience face identification in the same way children do without having autism. This is a challenge for autistic children to adapt to new faces.

Autistic children feel comfortable with their surroundings of familiar faces.

For instance, my brother could relate and identify faces with our family, his parents, siblings and relatives, when they were present in his environment.

When my brother was placed in a new location or a different place, with new faces, he struggled to adapt to them. He had a difficult time identifying who they were and did not understand that the faces were other people who had unique personalities. He could not comprehend the variations.

Therefore, I have come to the conclusion that, some autistic children have a harder time relating to new faces. The reason for this could be their brain is not quick to understand that a face, which is different from what they see and interact with, is not normal to them.

This is a struggle and a challenge for the autistic individual, as well as the parent(s), caregiver(s).

What can you do about the fact that autistic children may struggle with viewing and relating to new faces?

Have your child participate in more social activities, if possible. Have your child identify new and old faces, that would help your child see the similarities of new faces and the differences.

You can do this by using flash cards, drawing faces, playing games and relating to your child the variations and the descriptions faces have. Be creative.

Bonita Darula's informational web sight==> is where you SIGN up and RECEIVE your FREE WEEKLY NEWSLETTER about many Autistic TOPICS. For example: Does your child feel comfortable with new faces? NEW E-Books to identify symptoms of Autism and treatment options.

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Treatment of Low Blood Sugar for Autism

Low blood glucose levels on blood tests is something I have seen from time to time in children on the Autism spectrum. Glucose is a fuel source, in the form of simple sugar, that our body and brain need to function appropriately. And while most test results come back in the normal range, which is between 80 and 100, occasionally they do come back higher, 105 to 110, and periodically I do see them in the 60's.

Hypoglycemia or low blood glucose, can be a temporary issue or it can be an ongoing, debilitating issue. Of course people with diabetes have the situation where their blood sugar goes very high and then goes very low when they have imbalances in insulin. Low blood sugar can impact many things in an individual including cognition, attention, focusing, it can even affect behavior and mood. If you see that your child gets moody throughout the day when they don't eat frequently, they may have reactive hypoglycemia or low blood sugar issues.

Now there are quite a few things you can do to help. One of the simplest things to do is to make sure your child is eating enough and eating frequently. This is especially true during times of growth spurts and their appetites have changed and they need more food. A snack is needed when there is a long stretch in the day between meals, like 3 to 4 hours. If your child goes to school then the school should be notified that your child requires a snack every half hour to every 2 hours to maintain their blood sugar level. Adults can do the same thing, just eat smaller meals more frequently. Another important thing is to stay away from many sweet treats and juices with lots of sugar. Insulin is released is response to the sugar and then you get a drop in blood sugar which can be problematic.

So really it comes down to balancing more carbohydrates with fats and oils and proteins to appropriately maintain blood sugar. Dietary interventions can also be very helpful to aid with insulin sensitivity. The mineral chromium can be helpful at 100 to 200 micrograms per day. And a multi-vitamin, multi-mineral and antioxidant supplement can also be helpful too.

But really the focus should be cutting back sugar, balancing proteins, balancing carbohydrates, balancing fats and balancing simple and complex sugars. Snacks in the morning and afternoon between meals allows your child to eat more frequently and that is helpful as well. So if you see this kind of behavior, big fluctuations with mood, focusing or attention, you may be seeing the manifestation of a blood sugar problem. And basically, your child just needs to eat.

Autism really is treatable! Biomedical Autism treatments and therapies have resulted in many, many children improving, or even even losing their autism-spectrum disorder diagnosis. For lots more free biomedical autism intervention information and videos from Dr. Woeller, go to

Dr. Kurt Woeller is an biomedical autism Intervention 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. Download his free ebook at

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Back to School Routines for Special Needs Parents

Children with ADD, ADHD, autism, learning disabilities and other special needs often have difficulty with the social or academic aspects of school and they can be reluctant to return to the demands of the educational environment. Parents who build in support with routines established and maintained during the summer help their child feel safe and secure as they venture back to the world of school and friendships.

Begin the transition process early

At least a month in advance, show your child on the calendar when school will start. Include a little drawing of something that symbolizes fun to your child, such as a kickball or an artist's palette-something that he connects with school.

Back plan from that date, writing into the calendar times to go shopping for clothes, school supplies, and a cool new book bag.

Also plan ahead for end of summer fun experiences such as a day at the beach or a barbeque with friends. Be sure your child knows these great events are coming up and looks forward to them.

In fact, start this year by establishing a special celebratory event as an end-of-the-summer-custom that will ease your child's transition back to school in the years to come!

Remind your child of some favorite fall activities such as football games, apple picking and Halloween, and connect the return to school with these favorite activities.

While you're looking at the calendar, be sure to show your child times for relaxing and being with family and friends, such as weekends and holidays.

Children need routines to be at their best

We often relax bedtimes and other routines during the summer, but August is the perfect month to begin the gradual transition back to the structure of academic life.

Start now to put more structure into the schedule-don't wait until the week before school resumes, or your child will have much greater difficulty getting into the flow.

Make bedtime a bit earlier each week, until your child is going to bed at the "school bedtime" by the third week of August-children's bodies need to make the new bedtime a habit in order to adapt and be ready for learning.

Be sure to have structured academic time each day. This can be a couple of hours in the morning or in the afternoon, but it's important to give your child the structure of learning. Making academic gains is often more difficult for our kids-they can't afford to fall behind. For tips on fun ways to practice academic skills (at any time of year!) download free audio files from my website.

Be sure to discuss the structure that will be in place for homework time when school starts. Before school starts is a good time to talk with your child about the homework rules of the house. It's best to develop these rules in collaboration with your child so you both feel they are fair. Discuss homework time as part of your child's job as a student.

It is vital to find a few moments everyday to give each of your children undivided special attention. Treat yourself and your child to exclusive, one-on-one time together each day. Develop joint interests and pursue them passionately.

Children with special needs can be fearful and uncomfortable with transitions, making it important for parents to give special consideration and care to the back to school season! With careful attention to routines and advance planning, our kids can handle transitions with calm security.

Dr. Kari Miller is a Board Certified Educational Therapist and Director of Miller Educational Excellence, Educational Therapy in Los Angeles. She began her career almost twenty-five years ago as a special education resource teacher. She has worked with students in a vast array of capacities, including special education teacher and educational therapist. Dr. Miller has a PhD in Educational Psychology and Mathematical Statistics, a master's degree in Learning Disabilities, Gifted Education and Educational Diagnosis, and a bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Education and Behavior Disorders.

To contact Dr. Miller
Phone: 310-280-9813

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Sunday, August 21, 2011

Autism Treatment - Causes of Regression

I want to cover the issue of regression, and particularly since the holidays are over, the issue of regression after the holidays. There are several children that I see in my practice who have been very impacted by regression and it is very disturbing for their families. When you have a child who is progressing, has good eye contact, language and socialization and suddenly regresses, losing eye contact, language and is now engaged in more self stimulatory and sensory seeking behaviors, you must ask what is going on?

With the holidays there are always special concerns to address regarding regression, the first is dietary infractions. Maybe over the holidays a child has gluten or dairy that they are not used to eating and that is contributing to regression. Another dietary issue over the holidays is increased sugar and artificial ingredients intake and that can also contribute to regression. Between school parties, parties at friends house, etc, there are more opportunities for dietary infractions that can all add up to regressive behaviors. And if your child has a yeast sensitivity, increase sugars can contribute to yeast overgrowth, leading to issues with eye contact, self stimulatory behaviors and sensory issues.

With the holidays also come changes in schedule and routine that can impact regression. School schedules change with holidays, there is a lot of excitement, maybe even travel involved. That change can make a big impact on a child with Autism and can even cause regression for some kids. And when school starts back up for school aged children after having a few weeks off, that can also cause regression. And when school aged children have to return to school after being off for a couple of weeks, that transition can also spark regression. And if therapy schedules had to be altered during the holidays, that can cause regression as well. The holidays can be very overwhelming and any combination of these things can all increase the possibility of regression. So it may take a parent looking back over a time period to see what has changed in their child's diet, routine or environment to find the cause of their regressive behavior.

Autism really is treatable! Biomedical Autism treatments and therapies have resulted in many, many children improving, or even even losing their autism-spectrum disorder diagnosis. For lots more free biomedical autism intervention information and videos from Dr. Woeller, go to

Dr. Kurt Woeller is an biomedical autism Intervention 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. Download his free ebook at

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Living With Autism and Other Special Needs: Back to School Tips

Most parents look forward to the end of August because it is back to school time.

Back to school time for parents with children who have special needs can be a mixed blessing. Transitions and change are difficult for all children, but particularly children with autism.

Here are some tips for parents to help make back to school time more pleasant for you and your child with autism.

  1. Begin getting into the school routine early. Make a picture schedule of the morning routine and start following it. Start getting up a little bit earlier each day and going to bed earlier at night. This will make thing easier instead of waiting until the night before school starts and saying, "School is tomorrow. You need to go to bed at 8:00" when your child has been staying up until 10:00.

  2. Think twice before purchasing new school clothes. In my experience children with autism do not generally like the feeling of new clothes. To send a child to school with all new scratchy clothes might be a bit of sensory overload. Instead, consider buying used clothes or washing them several times before school starts. Encourage your child to wear his new clothes and shoes at home.

  3. Consider getting a haircut early. Some children with autism don't like getting haircuts and if they start to associate haircuts with school it will add to their anxiety.

  4. Glasses If your child wears glasses, and he doesn't wear them during the summer (which I don't recommend), have him wear them at least a week prior to school starting.

  5. Read books and watch t.v. shows about going back to school.

  6. Make a social story featuring your child and read it to him every day. Social stories are helpful for children with autism because it helps them prepare for things that are going to be different. You can include photos if you wish. Here is an example:

  7. Summertime is almost over. Kevin is getting ready to go back to school. On August 24 th Kevin will ride Bus 456 to "Canyon Elementary School." "Kevin's" teachers this year are Mrs. Brown and Mrs. Jones. Kevin's Dad bought him new shoes for school. Kevin's Mom bought him new clothes for school. Kevin is getting ready to go back to school.
  8. Use a calendar to mark down the days until school starts. Put a picture of a school bus on the date of the first day of school.

  9. Make plans to meet the teacher ahead of time. For tips on meeting the teacher, read my article Meeting the New Teacher.

For more information on teaching and parenting children with special needs, go to

Kristin Whiting has over 20 years experience in the field of education, including teaching and administrative experience. She is currently doing what she loves best - teaching. She is a Special Needs Preschool Teacher. She loves to write and in addition to her two blogs, she is a regular contributor to Yahoo Contributor Network,, Squidoo and Hubpages.

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Saturday, August 20, 2011

5 Tips For Making Back to School Easier

It's that time of year again; time to go back to school. While many children are excited about returning to school, children with autism often experience a great deal of stress and anxiety during this time of year. Even if your child is going to the same school building they attended the previous year, this still means change for your child as there will most likely be new children, there may be a new teacher, and possibly a new classroom. Because these things can cause children with autism to have some major melt downs at the beginning of the school year, this article will outline five tips to help make this transition go more smoothly for you and your child.

1. Get Prepared

A few weeks before school starts, talk to your child about the coming end to the summer routine. Start talking about how things will change when they go back to school. Talk about what things will change for them such as will they have a new babysitter, will they ride the bus etc. Try to help them understand that their daily routine will be different soon and then explain to them how.

2. Meet with Team Members

It may be important for you to meet with the members of your child's team. This includes the principal, therapists, teachers, assistant teachers etc. Doing so will give you an opportunity to share with them your child's strengths as well as their weaknesses. It will also give you a chance to give them some tips on how to help your child work through difficult moments that may happen during the school day. You can also share or revisit the IEP so that everyone is familiar with your child's goals. This will also give the school staff a chance to ask you any questions they may have. This meeting can be beneficial for everyone involved.

3. Take Your Child to Visit the School Building and the Classroom

A couple weeks before school starts, if at all possible, take the child to visit the school building and the classroom. It's ideal if the new teacher will agree to meet you there so your child gets to see him/her ahead of time. It may also be helpful for your child to meet the principal and other office staff as well as any other important staff in the building. You can also take a picture of these staff members to use in your social story. Even if your child is not changing school buildings this is often helpful so that they know what to expect and can adjust to the change in classroom teachers or just a change in routine.

4. Use Social Stories

Social StoriesTM were developed by Carol Gray of the Gray Center for Social Learning and Understanding in Grand Rapids, Michigan. A social story is a short simple story, often with pictures, that talks about an event or situation. You can write your own social story or use one that someone else has already written, but it is always good to personalize the story so your child feels like it applies to them. You can use your child's name, the name of their new teacher or teachers, and/or the name of their school as well. Because most children with autism are visual learners, a social story will often help ease their anxiety. For more information about social stories or Carol Gray you can visit

5. Use a Visual Schedule

A visual schedule is another strategy that's often helpful for children with autism. You can use pictures or symbols or simply words to let your child know what is going to be happening. Use a picture for each activity your child will be doing during the day. For example, getting out of bed, getting dressed, eating breakfast, getting on the bus, etc. You can also use a schedule to get the child through the school day. Often visual cues will go a long way towards easing the stress and anxiety and will help the child know what to expect.

No matter which of these steps you use, or whether you use any of them at all, the important thing is to find some way to help ease your child into the new school year. Three months is enough time for any child to lose touch with the school year routine, but because children with autism thrive on routines, readjusting to the structured school day can be even more challenging. Once summer has come to an end, it's important that the readjustment process be as easy and comfortable as possible for both you and your child.

Michelle Wagner is an Early Childhood Intervention Specialist and has a Master's degree in special education. For the past ten years, she's worked with children who have special needs and her passion lies in helping these children and their families adjust to, and overcome, the many challenges that autism brings about.

In 2007 Ms. Wagner started The Autism Connection; a support group and website in Marion, Ohio for families whose children are affected by autism and other disorders on the spectrum. Recently, she has expanded The Autism to include an extensive resource library as well as a listing of upcoming workshops and events related to autism.

If you'd like further information or have any questions about coping with autism, please visit Michelle's site at:

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Friday, August 19, 2011

Are Symptoms of Autism Different From ADHD?

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

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

Diagnosing Autism

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

Social Interaction

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


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


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

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

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

For the latest videos and training information on child development as well as books and curricula please visit

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