Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Autism - Tests and Diagnoses

According to the Autism Society of America (ASA), "autism is defined by a certain set of behaviors and is a 'spectrum disorder' that affects individuals differently and to varying degrees."
So, not only is there no concise definition of this disorder, there are no hard and fast rules governing the manifestation of the disorder, but there are screening processes that can help parents help their health care practitioners get an earlier diagnoses and earlier treatment. What, then, are the ways in which children are tested for, and diagnosed with, autism?

Screening and Observation

While there is no medical test for detecting autism, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that autism spectrum disorders can be detected as early as 18 months of age; signs of autism generally manifest themselves when children are under age three.

Autism is treatable, and, like other disorder, early detection is key to obtaining timely and effective treatment. The ASA offers several signs to look for in children, including "lack of or delay in spoken language; repetitive use of language and/or motor mannerisms (e.g., hand-flapping, twirling objects); little or no eye contact; lack of interest in peer relationships; lack of spontaneous or make-believe play; and persistent fixation on parts of objects."

The first place to start is with your child's regular visits to the pediatrician. Screening can "help identify children who might have developmental delays," according to the CDC. Screening cannot, however, "give sure evidence of developmental delays, and . . . cannot be used to make a diagnosis." Developmental screening during a regular check up will determine if a child needs more intensive evaluation in the form of developmental surveillance.

Developmental surveillance consists of observing a child and accurately recording observations regarding his development. More information about developmental surveillance is available here.
Screening for high-functioning autism or Asperger's syndrome can be performed on school-aged children; these disabilities are often present in the absence of language delays.
Comprehensive Diagnostic Evaluation

The next step is for a child to undergo a diagnostic evaluation to determine if he has autism. This may consist of a comprehensive developmental history, parent interviews, psychological evaluations, speech and language evaluation, and possibly genetic, physical, and neurological testing. The CDC cautions that, because of the complexity of autism, "no single tool should be used as the only basis for diagnosing autism." Diagnostic tools rely on direct observation of a child as well as information reported by a parent or caregiver.
What Parents Should Do

Parents should know the developmental milestones appropriate to their child's age. The CDC's "Learn the Sign. Act Early" site offers a concise overview of what a child should be doing at ages three months through five years.

If you suspect your child has a developmental delay, discuss that with your pediatrician. He or she may refer you to - or you should ask for a referral to - a developmental specialist. Knowledge is power, so be sure to consult the CDC and ASA websites for more information.

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

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Importance of Early Detection of Autism Signs

Autism signs manifest themselves by the ages of two and three. A significant degree of awkwardness in certain developmental stages is the first signs that a child may be suffering from a developmental disorder within the autism spectrum. The child may seem not affectionate, antisocial, stubborn, and obsessive-compulsive. Usually the child suffering from autism sees the world in a different way. This disorder, like others, affects brain growth and development. It affects it from the time of birth and onwards. There is no cure for this disorder, in fact some people see it as more a difference than a disease of any sort. There are, of course treatment and therapy options that will allow the child to build the necessary skills for coping with the life they will be facing.

Signs of autism include the inability to effectively communicate with other people. This includes parents, teachers and peers. The reason being is that a child with symptoms of autism does not react or understand otherwise intuitive cues from environmental, emotional, and social stimuli. These children see the world in black and white. They are very literal in their understanding of things. Unfortunately, with all of the nuances and gray areas of communication and feeling this will often lead to misunderstandings and confusion. Overstress such as these can cause an autistic child to seem irritable, willful, and stubborn. They may throw tantrums and otherwise act unmanageable. This simply stems from their fear and confusion over something. Thus, this factor and their need to have a stable routine that is unhindered with change.

High functioning autistic experience the same symptoms but to a lesser degree. These individuals can pretty much live their lives as normally as possible with only the need and guidance from outside sources in some cases. Individuals with high functioning autism often only seem a little different and can fit in well amongst the crowds. The more severe the symptoms of autism, the harder it will be for a child or even an adult to live a normal life. This is why detecting signs of autism early is so important. The sooner we know about a child's problem the sooner we can begin helping them to cope and live with it.

Treatment is available for people with autism and other disorders in that spectrum. There is not a cure, but therapy and special education classes can help a child learn skills and coping methods to handle his/her disorder throughout life. Acceptance of a child's difference, patience and understanding with his difficulties, and an open mind at his/her view on life is essential for helping these children feel comfortable with the world around them. Feeling safe and comfortable with who they are and confident in how they can interact with other people is one of the most important aspects of dealing with these developmental disorders. And because autism signs present themselves early, it means that someone with this disorder will have quite a long time to develop these skills. Living with autism is difficult for everyone involved, but it is manageable.

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

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An Enigma Called Autism - Its Causes and Cures

The human brain is so complex that man is incapable of deciphering the intricate way it is wired around. A minuscule disorder in the brain renders him incapable of normal behavior, leading scientists and researchers to give it several names like autism, the Asperger's syndrome, multiple personality disorder, schizophrenia etc., based on varying degrees of brain disorders.

Millions of dollars have been spent on research and diagnosis, but autism still remains a puzzle and an enigma because the autism spectrum covers diverse forms, ranging from acute behavioral, social and communication disorders to violent mood swings, hypertension coupled with precocious talents and high-functioning skills, on account of which it is hard to understand the root causes.

Cause for autism is mostly genetic and is sourced from the human brain, which scientists have been unable to conclusively prove otherwise. There is wide speculation about geeks who are brilliant tech people to be 'on the autistic spectrum' as they usually appear to lack social niceties, like Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, the stereotypical geek, who appears unmoved by his girlfriend's obvious frustration with his obsessive personality.

Heritability is another cause, when one of the parents is autistic, there is a risk of siring an autistic child though it is not clear which genes could be responsible. Complicated childbirths, like a messed up forceps delivery, is also considered responsible in rare cases. In recent studies, the MMR vaccine has been linked to the cause of autism though there has been no scientific evidence of the same, although it is a cause of great concern that autism in the US has increased to colossal proportions.

Whatever may be the case, if a child is diagnosed early with autism there are many proven physio, phycho and socio therapies that can be effectively applied, to help children lead fulfilling lives free of social stigma. Autistic children interact differently that may appear awkward, clumsy or even offensive. They avoid eye contact and appear lost in a world of their own.

Timely and appropriate therapies can do wonders to their disposition and behavior, as well as develop their motor skills. There are a range of treatments, to name a few are music, drama and art therapy, that is creative and fun-filled. Occupational, Speech-language and Behavior therapy to treat specific symptoms, Development therapies and the Tomatis Auditory therapy that uses an 'electronic ear' in order to stimulates the brain-ear-voice connecting sensors. These therapies help autistic children to follow social norms that are considered important in a regular world, as well as show them ways of expunging their feelings, whether violent or otherwise.

To know more about these therapies and select the best option for your child, visit my blog http://childmotorskills.blogspot.com

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Autism Treatment - Leaky Gut, Part 2 of 3

In my previous articles I have discussed the issue of leaky gut, what happens to make the gut leaky and what problems it can cause such as inflammation and over active immune response. Now I want to go over some of the ways caused and some helpful ways to diagnose as well. There are several different causes of leaky gut, trauma is one. A traumatic injury to the gut can include things like chemical insult or chemical injury. Even our food can cause it. A diet right in foods high in oxalates can also contribute to leaky gut. Oxalates are compounds found in many leafy greens and other foods. A chemical imbalance can be caused by absorption of too many oxalates and can disrupt the normal gut function. And of course inflammation is a very large cause. Anything that can perpetuate inflammation, including infections, food sensitivities, and even auto immune disorders like ulcerative colitis and Crohn's can lead to leaky gut. They all stress and wear down the digestive tract which leaves it inflamed and prone to syndrome.

There are diagnostics test out there that show whether or not leaky gut is probable or not. However, from a diagnostic standpoint, a 100% certain determination is not always easy to obtain. But there are tests out there that indicate whether this is a likelihood or not through the use of a urine test that can measure the absorption of certain chemicals. It is very important for me to make you aware that leaky gut is a real phenomena. And this is individual and can happen to different people in varying degrees. It also is not just associated with Autism. This can happen to people on the Autism spectrum, it can happen to people who suffer from other neurological disorders, it can happen to people who suffer from chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia. Leaky gut is an issue that we commonly discuss in regards to digestive problems. Inflammation of the digestive tract and underlying infection contribute to this very real problem called leaky gut. And in part 3 of my series I will cover how it can be treated.

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 http://www.AutismRecoveryTreatment.com.

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 http://www.AutismActionPlan.org.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Dr._Kurt_Woeller

Autism Treatment - Leaky Gut, Part 1 of 3

I want to cover the topic of leaky gut. Leaky gut is something that isn't well recognized in the traditional medical field but in complementary medicine, it has been recognized for many, many years. To understand this leaky gut you have to think about the epithelial lining of the digestive tract, or what is known as the mucosal layer, breaking down where holes begin to form. These holes are very small, microscopic, and lead to the issue of leaky gut. Leaky gut allows things like food proteins and toxins from pathogens such as yeast and bacteria to get through the mucosal lining when they normally would not. They manage to get into the lymphatic system, they get into the bloodstream and they wreak havoc by stimulating inflammation and causing the immune system to be hyper activated.

This topic can be a controversial one. Many physicians and scientists disagree with the idea that holes can develop in the gut. And they are correct to an extent, there are not holes exactly. It helps to understand the way we get nutrients into our bodies to get a better idea of this process. Vital nutrients are absorbed through the cell surface and then excreted out the other side. Those cells that line the digestive tract are normally tightly grouped together, allowing what should be absorbed in and keeping harmful things out.

When someone suffers from leaky gut, things can get through between the cells as well. The tight junction is the chemical process by which the cells are attached to each other. A good example for this is Velcro, so the cells are velcroed together. This occurs when you begin to have a breakdown in the Velcro structure and those tight junctions begin to breakdown. What happens is that you have microscopic gaps between cells and this is the process that we call leaky gut. So then food proteins and toxins can flow across the mucosal lining. Those proteins and toxins can then enter the bloodstream as a result of the breakdown in the tight junction and the leaky gut.

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 http://www.AutismRecoveryTreatment.com.

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 http://www.AutismActionPlan.org.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Dr._Kurt_Woeller

Monday, November 28, 2011

Teaching Autistic Children to Be Independent

Not all autistic children will become independent when they grow up. However, if you as a parent or teacher do not help them achieve that independence than you will never know and your autistic child will never attain his or her full potential.

By itself, teaching children is a difficult task. Now teaching autistic children is a lot difficult than teaching normal children. You need to understand that autism is a learning disability! Of course, teaching them is not impossible, but just rather a different kind of challenge. You need to change your perspective in how they learn when teaching them. Learning disability in the case of an autistic child does not mean that they can not and will never learn, but rather it means that they just think differently.

So your goal as a parent or teacher is to help your autistic child find the right balance between learning and routine for them to live an independent and normal life. Lets face it! Life is unpredictable and anything can happen to you.

So teaching autistic children you need to find out what methods of learning best help them. You should also know the habits of your autistic child and use that to your advantage. As you might figure out, they tend to repeat things and have certain daily routines. Use those routines and repetitive behavior as part of your learning method. Learning is repetition! The challenge with teaching autistic children is to incorporate new material in to their repetitive nature to eventual make that new material part of their daily lives.

Please keep in mind that forcing anything to an autistic child will result to unwanted behavior and could be violent in nature. Even though,you will be introducing new material for the good intention of helping your child become more independent, please do introduce those material when the child is in a positive and good mood. This will insure that your autistic child will be more receptive to the lesson.

Should also realize that it will require a lot of patience teaching autistic children, since you will surely need to repeat a lot of things before your autistic child will be able to learn. Also keep in mind that they are mostly visual learners and that pictures and symbols are good for them. But please keep the learning environment, clean from visual distractions. If you remember your days in grade school with all those fancy illustrations, well please avoid that for your autistic child. Since this fancy learning tools are easy distractions for them and a pretty big source of stress for you. So keeping the room where you will be teaching autistic children is key to get their attention and focus.

The writer wishes to provide assistance to those parents and educators involved with children who has autism. Teaching Autistic Children

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Christopher_K

Teaching Autistic Children - Schedules, Symbols, and Cards You Can Make to Help Your Child Learn

Increasing an autistic child's comprehension of activities and daily tasks that need to be performed daily or even occasionally is one of the most essential needs to build skills such as organization, self help tasks, how to follow directions, and build correct social behavior. As a result this method of autistic teaching of skills helps the child become more independent and increases his or her self confidence. Many of the strategies are simple and straightforward. Here are a few "low tech" support strategies you can use to help your child comprehend and build such skills.


It is very helpful to provide your child with a daily, visual schedule. This will help organization skills and develop independence and confidence. A schedule can be made with a 3-ring binder type layout, a clipboard, a whiteboard, or even a poster board that you create together. It should detail what is happening and when and what is next in the schedule. Pictures and words combined make the best schedule so that your child can learn to correlate the words and images to form a connection between the whole word and the picture of the activity.

Picture Communication Symbols

Picture Communication Symbols consist of over 10,000 simple line drawings designed to represent words and short phrases to support children and adults with communication challenges. PCS, which was developed by Mayer-Johnson and is available on their website, is used to improve comprehension skills and encouraged appropriate behavior in autistic teaching of children. You can find them for sale on their site but you can also find some free printable versions on the internet too. If you print out the symbols be sure to use a color printer or color them yourself and laminate for durability.

International "No" Symbol

The international "No" symbol is the red circle with a line drawn through it. It is a very abstract concept of "no" for an autistic child. You can use the "No" symbol to convey several visual behavior management cards. For example, you can use the symbol as a card to place on a door that the child should not go out of. You can also place it over an activity on the child's schedule to convey that the activity is not occurring that day or you can keep a "No" symbol card handy to display to your child whenever he or she begins to behave or act inappropriately.

Steps Directions

Certain tasks require a number of steps to be completed. For example, washing hands, getting ready for bed, getting ready for school, cleaning up after play, and brushing teeth. Using the task of "washing hands" as an example you can create a card that has images and words for:

Turn water on

Put soap in hand

Rub soap all over hands

Rinse hands

Turn off water

Dry hands

Make images with text for each of these and paste these on a card. Laminate it for durability.

There are many simple yet effective strategies you can use to help your child develop comprehension skills and improve behavior.

Learn to help your autistic child embrace the world with his or her own special abilities and challenges. For more information, resources, and ideas for teaching autistic children visit [http://autistic-teaching.com]

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How to Deal With Negative Autism Social Skills

Autism social skills greatly affect the behavior of autistic individuals in social settings. Autism itself can create problems for individuals in their speech, language, or behavior. For some with autism, language may be delayed, speech may be difficult for them, and there are often other behaviors noted such as hand flapping or head banging.

A person's symptoms will depend on many factors. For some individuals the effects of autism may result in less obvious problems, they may speak normally and may exhibit wonderful mastery of language. It may only be in social behaviors that the extent of their autism is truly noted.

Children who have autism and autism spectrum disorders (ASD) have problems in most of their social interactions. This is difficult for the children and for the parents who want their kids to be integrated into many different social settings. Even though these children have some great qualities to offer to the world and other people, their autism social skills often holds them back and some of these kids may never learn to develop true friendships. The autism prevents them from assimilating the normal, fluent "give and take" behaviors of conversation in a regular, everyday setting.

For most people interacting with others, making friends and developing relationships all happen effortlessly. Children with autism social skills suffer utter failure with many of their attempts at any social skills. They truly do not understand what they are supposed to do or say and they are hurt when their attempts at being part of a group are met with failure or ridicule. With autistic children part of the problem lies with their own deficits such as avoiding eye contact, lack of empathy or a diminished ability to infer what is of interest to others.

Some people think that these children are not interested in interacting with others, but this is not true. It is just their inability to work within the typical framework of our social settings that is creating obstacles for them. These children with autism social skills often suffer from increased anxiety when they have to speak with others or discuss something in class. This type of anxiety can be overpowering to the children and often leads to even more pronounced inhibitions on their part.

Most people figure out what creates unbearable stress and we try to avoid situations that create high levels of stress. For people with autism almost every social setting can be fraught with these very stressors. This means that many of them will try to avoid the problem of stress by avoiding all social activity.

When a child continually avoids social encounters, they are also foregoing the opportunity to acquire social interaction skills. With some autistic individuals, social skill deficits will then lead to negative interactions with their peers. Many of these children are met with rejection and they suffer from isolation, anxiety, and depression.

Having a way to help children learn social skills and actually be taught how to make friends and create friendships will help. Parents and teachers need to teach these skills, not just address them with words, and then they must make certain that there are peers around who will accept and understand these overtures from autistic individuals. Through more social interaction with teaching and environmental modification, these children will begin to gradually learn the same social skills that most people take for granted.

The best way to help people with autism social skills is to recognize the problem they are having and gradually introduce them to social settings, very small groups at the start, teaching them that they have nothing to fear. Over time, the size of the group and the length of the social setting can increase as their confidence grows, but it is something that cannot be rushed or forced.

For more insights and additional information on coping with Autism Social Skills as well as finding a wealth of additional resources related to autism, please visit our web site at http://www.autism-explained.com

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Teaching Autistic Children - Using Art to Break Down the Barriers

It seems there is a new angle to teaching autistic children. The idea comes from autistic children themselves. The parents of autistic children only want the best and any latest findings that may work for them; they should be made aware of it.

For those children with Autism Spectrum Disorder there is a new safe and intelligent way to give them a voice which has been silent. It gives them a bridge to the outside world and lets them speak. Teaching Autistic Children through Art actually invites you into their world. Their need to draw to visualize their non verbal expressions gives them that voice.

Many autistic children from the ages 12 and up have come forward and given an inspirational testimonial which is amazing in itself. But the autistic community is actually listening like never before. And there is something to listen to, and consider because it is actually working.

By Teaching Autistic Children through Art, it demonstrates its effectiveness by changing your child's behavior. This therapy is a clinically-sound and safe treatment option with so many benefits, such as an increase in self awareness, developing problem solving strategies, the feeling of a safe environment and the accomplishment of their own creative thinking and self accomplishment. The development of social skill in a group or with parents is good feeling for all that participate.

Teaching Autistic Children through Art is a therapy that both parents and therapists can have a goal as they both want the child to succeed. In groups the therapists can offer many social skills and interaction with others through art techniques for certain autistic needs. The self accomplishment to create an art product would be a safe forum for emotion and self-expression. For non verbal autistic children this way of communicating is an awareness to express so many feelings which otherwise you would not "hear".

The art visual activity provides the social skills with group integration giving a strong feeling of peer support and can be a lot of fun. Of course the social skills benefit, as they are related with recreation and leisure which are developed through the interaction.

Of course safety is an absolute when working with any art supplies. Depending on the age and comprehension of the child, the use of pencil, clay, paint, collage or even glue should be closely watched. With the building of trust you can reap great rewards and encourage communication which in the long run makes for a happier child. There may be many goals reached, so depending on the age of the child and what they are interested in see what rewards you can gather.

If you have a child with autism then you no doubt realize there are many challenges facing you as the child grows up. One of these such challenges facing parents and care givers alike is teaching autistic children.

Our site is dedicated to providing you with the information that will help you face these challenges now and in the future. Visit our site at http://www.all-about-autism.com to find out more.

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Some Ideas For Teaching Autistic Children

Teaching children is a difficult enough endeavor on its own. Throw in an autistic child with learning disabilities, and the task can seem overwhelming. However, the task is not impossible. By following some simple guidelines, you may be able to see a marked improvement. Whether you're a parent home schooling your child or a teacher with an autistic student in your class, these tips should prove helpful.

The first thing you may want to keep in mind is that autistic children are generally very dependent upon routine. Rather than fighting this, it is a good idea to incorporate it into the learning process. In a classroom setting, routine is already well established, but it can be more difficult in a home setting. The key, though, is to stick to a schedule, and to not deviate based on convenience or other factors whenever possible.

It can also be beneficial for an autistic child to learn in an environment that is as simple and uncomplicated as possible. Autistic children are easily over-stimulated, too many decorations or visual aides can serve to be a major distraction from the lesson being taught. An area free from distractions, loud noises and bright lights is what you should be aiming for.

Another interesting idea is to incorporate multiple methods of delivery into your teaching lessons. While many children respond differently to different mediums, this difference is much more distinctive in autistic children. They may respond best to visual images, so incorporating simple illustrations or symbols that represent learning concepts can be a valuable teaching tactic. Experiment to find the method of delivery that is easiest for them to learn from.

Offering an autistic child a choice is another great way to get them involved in the learning process. Rather than presenting a child with an answer and asking him or her to figure out if it is correct or incorrect, present a series of options and let the child choose the option that seems best to him or her. This is a great way to create an interactive teaching environment, and to stimulate thought and cognitive response from a child. It is also a good way for them to feel more in control, lessening the chance of a frustration outburst or negative associations with a particular lesson or idea.

A key point to remember is autistic children are extremely resistant to changes in their environment. Because of this, you should meet their expectations whenever you can. Introduce new ideas gradually. Introduce new learning methods when the child is having a good day or is in a positive mood. Adhere to routine as much as possible, as this is what your child expects and desires, and what will facilitate the most effective learning environment.

It's true that teaching an autistic child can be difficult. But it is not impossible. It takes a little hard work, a little patience, and significant understanding of the needs of the child and the teaching methods and strategies that will be most beneficial to them. If you follow these simple guidelines, you'll have a great start on teaching autistic children effectively.

By Rachel Evans. Sign up for a free newsletter for more information on autism. In the newsletter you'll find more information on teaching autistic chidlren.

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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Parenting Tips - What is Applied Behavioral Analysis and Can it Treat My Child With Autism?

Are you the parent of a young child with autism? Did you know that
there is a behavioral treatment for autism, called applied behavioral
analysis (ABA)? This article will educate you about ABA, so that you
can advocate special education personnel for this effective therapy.

Applied behavioral analysis is a well documented and effective
teaching method for many children with autism. This method involves 1
on 1 instructional sessions and utilizes educational tasks that have
been developed for autism.

This method was designed by O.I. Lovaas. His study in 1987, in
Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology showed "90% of children
substantially improved when utilizing the Lovaas Model of ABA compared
to the control. Close to half of the group attained a normal IQ and
tested with in the normal range on adaptive and social skills."
Several follow up studies also showed major improvements in most
children with autism, that have received ABA.

For ABA to be most effective the child needs to start as close to age
3 as possible, or at least by age 5. The ABA program needs to be 1 on
one for 30-40 hours per week. The child should continue receiving the
intense ABA program, for at least 3-4 years. The cost is high,
$30-50,000 per year. This is why many parents set up the program at
home, and seek reimbursement from their school district. Check out ABA
caselaw at http://www.wrightslaw.com

While some states have passed autism specific private insurance
mandates, only three states specifically require payment for ABA.
These states are: South Carolina, Texas, and Indiana. Florida has
pending legislation as of April 24, 2008.

It is critical that the person that designs the program is a
professional in behavior analysis with a masters or doctorate degree.
This person should also have experience in working with children with
autism. This person is also responsible for supervising the teacher
assistants, training and meeting with them to go over your child's

A wonderful book on ABA is "Behavior Intervention for Young Children
With Autism" which is edited by Catherine Maurice and Co edited by
Gina Green and Stephen C. Luce.

There are many organizations that have information on Autism and
Applied Behavioral Analysis. Some of these organizations are: Defeat
Autism Now, Cure Autism Now, and Autism Speaks.

By understanding what ABA is, how it can be used to treat children
with autism, the positive outcome for most children receiving it, you
will be able to advocate for your own child. It may be a fight with
special education personnel, but your child is worth it!

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: JoAnn@disabilitydeception.com For more information on the book, testimonials about the book, and a link to more articles go to: http://www.disabilitydeception.com

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State Mandates Autism Family Health Insurance Coverage

Many families struggle with autism. Autistic people have a neurological condition that causes them to have trouble with communication and social interaction. The best chance of success for intervention is during early childhood. Various programs increase the probability that a child on the autism spectrum will be able to live a normal life.

Unfortunately, such treatment can cost tens of thousands of dollars annually. The vast majority of parents don't have that kind of money laying around. Most health insurance plans don't cover it, either. That is about to change in one state.

Missouri recently passed a bill that requires many health insurers to cover autism. The legislation, passed by the State Senate, mandates those plans to cover up to $45,000 annually worth of applied behavioral analysis (ABA) therapy for children under the age of 18 from licensed providers. (The bill would also create a new state licensing process, to make sure that the money is not paid to fraudulent specialists.) If signed by the governor, the new rules would become effective on January 1st.

The bill is a boon to families with one or more autistic children, especially since it includes an annual adjustment of the cap based on inflation. However, there are some catches. The law would only apply to those group health insurance plans regulated by the state: mainly those purchases through small- to medium-sized employers. Large corporations who self-insure - paying out their own claims, and only hiring an insurer for administrative duties - are not subject to the mandate, because they are regulated federally. Small businesses with under 50 employees may also get an exemption if they can prove that the requirement caused their rates to rise by over 2.5% over the year before.

What if you are looking to buy individual or family health insurance on the open market? Options that include autism coverage for diagnosis and treatment will be available, but it will not be required of all plans sold in the state.

Proponents predict that Missouri health insurance premiums will only rise by a fraction of one percent, which they consider a small price to pay for so much benefit. After all, early intervention reduces the chance that the state will have to pay to care for people on disability and unable to live or work independently.

Yamileth Medina is an up-and-coming expert on the health insurance industry. She strives to provide balanced facts about health care reform and other issues in an easily understood manner. Yamileth lives in Miami, Florida.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Yamileth_Medina

Air Quote Autism Reinvented: Evidence For Psychological, Neurological And Political Quandary

Air quote treatment of the label autism was given much attention in the popular media during the last election cycle. Many who have been in the autism battle long enough understand how ill defined autism can be. The occasional disdain for any label should not serve to prove an intention of lack of respect for families in the struggle. What follows are some feelings with regard to the autism struggle and all of our best made plans. Such is provided only because we are approaching another very important election cycle.

Autism, the label, does not go so far as to define or establish a definite medical cause for presentation of developmental deficits and behavioral excesses that are exhibited by those affected. The professional considerations about autism have incrementally developed a many times awkward zigzag between psychology and neurology. The term autism, is unfortunately utilized to represent a vast population. A population that displays differing levels of intellect, ability and classic features. So much so as to make the general label somewhat moot, if a label in its best sense is intended to adequately inform.

It appears that the general label of autism is used by various media and some special interests and non-profits to motivate actions and emotions in people. The groups really seem to want to suit a social or political agenda while limiting the autism discussion to that which suits their special interest's ends. Families of children affected by autism are simply left with the resulting real life scraps from differing agendas. The families will live a lifetime with their loved one's needs, and eventually understand that there exists no simple absolute beyond trying things, observing outcome, and then finally accepting what can and cannot be changed.

Autism, the label, seems to be seldom utilized in popular media in an effort to educate and inform in the broadest sense with regard to the all encompassing and very complicated issues. It appears the autism label is many times utilized in order to incite emotion, actions, and an immediate rush to judgment or confused conclusion.

Many reports hold back with regard to presenting the entirety of information needed to make a more informed conclusion on the complicated issues. In truth, popular media shares great culpability when it comes to the presence of air quote autism. But then again, most people are satiated with a fifteen minute story that has a happy ending and the popular media recognizes this. Give the people what they want, right?

One politician who air quoted autism presented the problem that many have with the growing number of mandates, including mandates for the vast spectrum of autism. The ugly truth is that the autism label is given to children by some in order to game the overall system and acquire money from it. I have realized how overwhelmingly large the autism spectrum has become. Many professionals agree the label is being used with great excess, and psychiatric guidelines that have evolved over the years have contributed to the increase in children receiving the label.

I also observe, with concern, as the most recent parent group of newly diagnosed autistic children might be taken for the ride of their life by some prominent professionals. This is because these professionals have represented their emphasis of Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) as a downright imperative in autism treatments. Their overly bright and unsubstantiated proclamations about future savings enjoy no validation. The way in which they spin ABA treatments will actually result in disallowing the better good over the longer term.

As a mother of a severely autistic daughter (18yrs), I find it interesting that popular media bias over a couple decades is to interview a family or two who has a toddler or elementary school aged child about how much Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) has improved their child's functioning. Therefore it is crucial to the overall development of every child who is affected by this vast thing called autism.

In actuality, no long term studies have been completed that determine the affects of ABA type treatments over an entire childhood into early adulthood. Additionally, there have been studies that indicate an affected child's autism onset patterns and initial IQ are important factors that offer some prediction of lifelong outcome. Various interventions that are utilized have yet to offer any scientific prediction of lifelong outcome. All early interventions simply and realistically offer a hope of better outcome.

Is the current autism discussion reality one that is representative of our prominent autism experts theorizing and presenting their theory or hope as fact? ABA is supported as an empirical methodology, even by heads of education. They say ABA is the most efficacious method for autism intervention, even as this has not really been scientifically validated throughout childhood experience into early adulthood.

None have endeavored to describe ABA type treatments in all of their glory. Nor have a preponderance of the autism experts tried to elucidate so that the popular media and newly engaged parents might grasp the complexity. ABA is not a set program, and group studies can only allow for degrees of meaningful interpretation as far as results.

ABA types of therapy are the vehicles utilized to insist upon autism intervention mandates funded by insurance. What exactly is ABA, if indeed, there exists no set formula or program that churns out a set result? ABA is an applied science of human behavior that must be uniquely applied for each autism affected individual. There is no set or uniformly agreed upon procedure, practice, or curriculum that defines ABA.

Many studies that have attempted to ascertain efficacy of autism interventions, coined as ABA or behavioral type, might be called into question. How many times have educational and psychological research endeavors into ABA been based upon the group research model, which de emphasizes individual differences in autism affected children? Thus making an assumption that a conclusion based upon overall group response average provides a truthful or scientific result. It does not.

ABA in the truest form is intended to be the sole scientific study of an individual child, using that autism affected child's unique patterns of behavior as the lone scientific control. Studying the child and his or her responses to differing methods in this way results in a very unique prescription of intervention. Unique because it is comprised of a variety of approaches that are tailored according to the child's own efficacious response. The child's response to the differing procedures, practices and curriculum utilized and studied for that child alone are evaluated in a constant, ongoing fashion.

The above is a process that has been utilized for years within school districts. Some schools have become quite a bit better at it than others. School districts already have a mandate to offer education to autism affected children, and usually teach them under individual education plans when warranted.

ABA in its truest form is not intended to be part of group politics nor is it intended to be represented by group result. Even as many continue to try and make it so. The essential component to ABA in proper form and function would be the continual, almost omnipresent attention of the child's expert. An expert who has an in depth understanding or view into the child's very psyche. One who has hands on experience and knowledge with regard to the multifaceted interventions available. Even more-so the child's expert will need to be vigilant in determining possible medical concerns, when and if they arise.

So what of the aforementioned blur between psychology and neurology? How does the zigzag between the two disciplines factor in to the autism intervention discussion? Or relate to identification of the most efficacious interventions? As neurological findings for autism affected individuals begin to help us understand why affected individuals manifest the autistic features that they do, we might have little reason to interpret the exhibited behaviors as strictly social, or done by conscious choice. The behaviors are not strictly a psychological concern of volition that can be completely extinguished via behavioral therapy.

As a for instance, we need to better understand that just because we prompt a child with the "hands down" or "quiet voice" command during a discrete trial, it doesn't necessarily mean that compliance by the child is easily applied. It might mean that we are offering more stress to a child who may or may not be able to control the behavior -- according to many factors that might present to do with situation and environment, and even time of year. Many things to do with situations, environment, and time of year can exacerbate already existing neurological conditions of medical origin.

When one considers the possibility that a child has not particularly chosen to engage in stimulatory behavior or some other autistic feature, it allows for the idea that some methods that have been utilized historically in various ABA type programs might do harm of the psychological kind. For those with more complicated thought disorder, ABA might even contribute to behavioral problems due to the autistics' many times reported atypical use of memory and thought, especially related to highly charged experiences (akin to PTSD).

Imagine developing a strictly behavioral intervention for a child who has been labeled autistic, but who has as yet to be identified catatonia. The behavioral intervention will insist that the child perform in spite of the stupor her or she is experiencing. When in fact the child cannot, because he or she is experiencing a very difficult neurological condition. The child has not received treatment or even empathy for that condition under the strictly social interpretation for the behavior. It is like telling a person with a broken leg to get up and walk, insisting repeatedly that they do so.

"An unfortunate bias presents once a child is given a label of autism. Once the label autism is applied, a social interpretation of behavior is assumed and neurological interpretation usually denied." *

"Leary and Hill (1996) analyzed the literature on symptoms associated with established movement disorders and those associated with autism. The greatest difference among these disabilities was the interpretation of the symptoms. In Tourette syndrome, Parkinson's disorder and catatonia, there was a neurological interpretation of symptoms. A social rather than a neurological interpretation was applied if the person had a label of autism. That which is called a "tic" in a person with Tourette syndrome is most often assumed to be a "behavior" (and often a conscious choice) in a person with autism". *

Sensory and movement differences are given important emphasis in Rethinking Autism; Implications of Sensory and Movement Differences. The differences are comprised of motor problems, sensory problems, inertia, apraxia, dyspraxia, echoalia, mutism, behavior disorder, catatonia and just plain clumsiness. These are all things that are observed in autism, but are also expressed in neurology as medical symptoms that require careful thought with regard to treatment.

The neurologist might never say that the aforementioned listed physical symptoms are engaged upon by choice of the non autism affected patient, and might never insist that an intervention must be solely comprised of behavioral therapy in their case. On the other hand, a neurologist many times might ignore the symptoms if a patient seeking help has already received the autism label. Throughout my daughter's lifetime, and her experiences in the ebb and flow of autism over almost eighteen years I have seen the dismissal of her symptoms due to her already present autism label. A label she received at three years of age.

Anne M. Donnellan, David A. Hill, and Martha R. Leary have presented worthy food for thought in their Rethinking Autism; Implications of Sensory and Movement Differences.

With regard to the autism affected individual's ability to relate and participate in social interactions.

"A neurological view of symptoms possibly affecting autistic individuals will help us to understand further the nature of differences experienced by these individuals. While the psychological impact is very real as experienced first-hand by participants in such interactions, it is useful to suspend social interpretations of the symptoms so as not to mistakenly ascribe intent and volition to individuals whose behavior may be contrary to what really is intended to be communicated. *

Since sensory and movement differences are described in autism but are also evidenced in many other disorders where neurological cause is acknowledged as a fact, we need to test the status quo thought processes which have lent preponderance to the ABA teaching made popular, but not necessarily backed by anything beyond continuing theory. Theory that is presented as empirically supported.

If the sensory and movement features of autism are acknowledge to be from neurological cause, the features become an acknowledged medical concern that insurance will cover. The better researchers become at finding the neurological discrepancies via diagnostics, the less we will all have to argue about with regard to education services and medical care.

I have been where the newly engaged parents are right now, fighting tooth and nail for my affected child's "recovery". I have fought with the school district so that all might be trained in particular methods of intensive autism intervention strategies, simply because I had seen what was felt to be initial good response to the intense treatments. I have also experienced the pain of consequent worsening that remains a part of the ebb and flow of autism for many, no matter the initial endeavors of intervention.

In reflecting upon my daughter's response to various treatments throughout the years I was able to identify that some of the ways in which our programming was applied of might have contributed to worsening thought disorder for her -- simply because I insisted upon staying the course of interventions that initially worked and were emphasized by me as the only possible hope.

While behavioral treatments provide differing approaches that fulfill the goal of reaching a child, it is unlikely that these behavioral approaches eliminate the neurology behind a child's autism. The neurology will likely remain, running a different course for each affected individual, even if experts ignore the medical aspect. While it is important to keep trying, it is also very important to include wisdom in the autism argument.

How wise is it to let autism get caught in a social or political agenda? How wise is it to allow the popular media to control the autism argument? No matter the result of these intrusions, families are left with the real life scraps -- the truth behind all that is autism.

What remains, when all has been said and done thus far for our daughter, is the fact that she has understood life all along in sometimes vastly different terms. She is different, but she is worthy of the same grace that we all require on a day to day basis. Alongside our failure to normalize her by rewiring her brain via intensive therapies, we have understood the implications behind true humanity in its most extreme sense.

I can only hope that families in general will be able to grasp the grace and display the extreme humanity many times required in the autism journey when the various temporary hopes that are being presented to them right now by many experts might eventually be revealed as what they are -- ideas and theories that have good intentions but do not pan out as expected, once the scraps of reality begin to present.

Has enough been done with regard to the whole truth about autism. Scores of professionals have seem to opt for pushing political and social agendas, that in the end will make little difference in overall outcome and are based on short term hope based on theory. These professionals have heaped significant burden upon families.

In the cases where insurance mandates do happen, I would hope to see mandated coverage based upon what the public schools are not already able to adequately provide. Especially given the fact that schools have already had the mandate to provide autism intervention and education -- and have received funding for such.

There are parents who are happy with the education that their autism affected loved one is receiving via public schools. But, for some reason we don't hear very much about those instances. I have recently been pleased with my daughter's public school placement, but I cannot attribute her betterment to one particular intervention. In the end it has been grace, space, and time that has allowed her happiness.

Implementing any further intensive therapies upon her is out of the question.


About our journey with autism. At the very beginning I figured no big deal, we'll get our daughter normalized in no time and pretty soon she would be asking for the car keys. It didn't quite work out that way and as my entire family and I continued to work through the ebb and flow of her unique walk, we fell madly in love with her in all her glory. This articles are just an outreach in case the information is helpful to anyone.

For a real life look at one case of severe autism, just Google "Hello, Dr. Wells". It is a sixteen year account of autism that turned to schizophrenic like psychosis. The biographic muse is doing really great now.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Valerie_Ann_Dunham_Bruce

Autism Intervention

Even though no cure for autism has been found till date, individuals with the condition however, can be significantly helped. To speak of practically, there are several different approaches which can be applied to autism intervention. The individuals can be helped by involving them in IEBI or Intensive Early Behavioral Intervention.


Autism has been in research for some 40 years now but the concept of autism intervention was only brought in light by psychologist Lovaas and his colleagues whose research in 1987 and 1993 made some true developments in the field.

Present scenario

With better education system, increased awareness and improved diagnosis methods, the scenario is changing for the good as more and more parents are coming out with their autistic child to for treatment. Training programs are now being provided to the parents also to help them understand and cooperate with their child better and this is having a tremendously positive impact on the affected child and the entire family. However, challenges are still faced on this front as there is a lack of trainers in this field and Government seems to be investing for on finding out the cause of the disorder than making any progress in the treatment field.


o Educational interventions: This is an attempt to assist the children not only in gaining academic skills but also improving their communication skills and enhance spontaneity. Their social skills are nurtured and cognitive skills are improved, reducing the disruptive behavior at the same time.

o ABA-based interventions: This type underpins a vast array of behavioral analysis techniques and focuses on one-on-one teaching. This method uses the various behaviorist principles of stimulus, reward and response and evaluated the observed behavior.

o Naturalistic interventions: This type of intervention includes the Pivotal Response Therapy or PRT and targets at the child's development through pivotal areas. These include motivation therapies, self-management, responsiveness to multiple cues and social initiations.

o Communication interventions: These attempt to improve the communication skills of an individual through language and speech therapy.

o Parent mediated interventions: These methods are provided as support to parents of the affected children and offer them practical advice.

For More Information Please Visit:

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Pradeep_V

Autism Intervention - How Heavy Metal Testing Helps Your Child

An Autism Intervention Specialist Doctor Explains:

Autism intervention includes the biomedical testing for heavy metals. This article explores the issue of heavy metal diagnostic testing. Testing in an important component of medicine, and the diagnostic tools available for heavy metal exposure and toxicity are important to understand.

There is NO TEST that absolutely tells the exact level of heavy metals stored in your child's body.

You can get an idea about the presence of heavy metals, but no absolute total value is measurable. The reason is, metals are stored in many different places in the body, i.e. brain, kidney, liver.

So why do testing at all? The reason it is important to develop a baseline for any individual on the autism-spectrum to determine the need and progression overtime with biomedical autism Intervention, such as detoxification treatment.


  • Gives an idea of past exposure of metals that have been in tissue circulation for the past 10-12 weeks.
  • Cheap, non-invasive and easy to obtain.
  • Autism-spectrum children generally show lower levels of heavy metals compared to many neuro-typical children, particularly mercury. This could indicate that a child is not excreting the mercury effectively.

FECAL (stool):
  • Gives an idea of environmental exposure via food, air, and water.
  • Levels on fecal test DO NOT necessarily indicate what is being detoxified from inside the body (from the bloodstream into the digestive system).
  • "In through the mouth, out through the rectum" - is most likely what is being evaluated.

  • Normal most of the time unless there is recent or ongoing exposure. For example, many kids have blood serum mercury tests done that are normal. All this indicates is that they have not been recently exposed to mercury. It does not rule out the possibility of mercury storing in body tissue and staying there causing damage.
  • Blood immunology (antibody) testing can give an idea of toxicity - difficult in some kids because production of antibodies is deficient and testing not widely available.

  • Preferred test for provocative challenge testing. This is where a detoxifying agent is consumed and then urine is collected over a period of time to determine the level of metal excretion into the urine. Usually, a baseline urine sample is collected before the challenge test to get an accurate measurement of detoxifying heavy metals.
  • Indicates what is truly coming out.
  • Gives an idea of what the body burden maybe, but not 100% all the time.
  • Porphyrin Urine Analysis - a unique test that does indicate cellular toxicity to heavy metals.

Critical Point: The heavy metal tests listed above indicate that your child has been exposed to a particular metal, and that toxicity is likely a possibility. They indicate what is coming out of the body, but not how much is left behind. No one heavy metal test will provide all the answers.

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 http://www.AutismActionPlan.org

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 http://www.AutismActionPlan.org

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Dr._Kurt_Woeller

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Selective Mutism Or Autism?

My daughter was diagnosed with autism in May 2008. For several months after getting the diagnosis I had a very hard time believing it. Many people told me it can be very difficult to accept your child is autistic but the quicker you accept it, the better off your daughter will be. I decided to go ahead and start the therapy path suggested to me but I continued to feel my daughter's diagnosis may be wrong.

When given the diagnosis, I was told there was nothing I can do for her but to get her help through the state with therapy sessions. It took a very long time to get the therapy set up for my daughter. In the meantime, I started on my own crusade. While researching and talking to people, I learned a lot from so many other parents and teachers who deal with autism every day.

The first mom I ran into told me to try the Gluten Free / Casein Free diet. This diet helped alleviate her obsessive-compulsive behaviors, cut out her 2 hour tantrums, she began interacting with her siblings more, she no longer pulled her hair out and started sleeping through the night.

Another mom told me to take red dye out of her diet. I did this and it helped lessen the tantrums even more: It seemed to help calm her down. I met a dad who told me about a supplement called "TMG" (Trimethylglycine with Folic Acid & B12). This supplement helped level her tantrums as well. When I tested her and took her off this supplement she was less social and more emotional. When I say emotional, she was just not very happy or as happy while on the supplement.

All of the above treatments I mentioned helped tremendously but then I met some people that changed her and my life forever; her special education preschool teachers. They questioned if she was "really" autistic from when they first met her and seemed to think she was a Selective Mute (SM).

SM is considered a rare psychological disorder. It causes high social anxiety in the people who have it. Children and adults who have typical speech in comfortable settings may not say one word or act extremely "shy" in social settings. For instance, some kids will talk freely at home but once they arrive to school they clam up and don't say one word. Or, like in my daughter's case, they only whisper.

Some of these kids get diagnosed with autism because they appear to have autistic characteristics while being evaluated. My daughter would hardly say one word to the psychologist. She would not want to participate in answering their questions because her social anxiety would basically paralyze her. She would not exchange any eye contact. She would pinch her fingers in situations of high anxiety (which we used to think was stimming). When a psychologist would ask question after question, she did not say one word. If we were at home, she would have answered them all without hesitation.

Kids that are autistic can also have high social anxiety. This is where it may become confusing if the person diagnosing your child is not familiar with SM or if they are not thinking outside of the "autism box." You can most likely tell an autistic child from a SM child because most autistic children experience stimming, poor eye contact, sensory issues and repetitive behaviors in any situation. However, as I mentioned above regarding my daughter, she experienced many of these characteristics ONLY in social settings. If this behavior sounds familiar to you then you may want to have your child reevaluated and bring up your concerns of SM. Remember to video tape you child at home so the psychologist can see how they act in a comfortable setting.

The more research I do, the more I believe my daughter had the "perfect storm" and that is what led her to the autism diagnosis. I haven't mentioned a major point in my daughter's story yet. She has a food allergy (Celiac disease) that gave her certain characteristics of autism. The combination of those characteristics and having high social anxiety looks just like autism.

I never bought into her autism diagnosis because she never had the hand flapping or body rocking, none of the physical sensory treatments were working for her (actually had opposite effects), she was always very affectionate (loved to get hugs and being held) and she was very compliant. So many things just didn't fit for me. I always questioned it. I never knew if I was questioning it because I didn't want to believe it or if it was just a wrong diagnosis.

When the teachers first suggested SM I started my research and the more I learned, the more it seemed to fit my daughter like a glove. I finally had a diagnosis that made sense. I could finally get my daughter the correct treatment she needed.

I set off to research treatment plans for SM and found it very difficult to find any information. Over a week's time, I sadly learned there is just not a lot of information available for SM. I posted many posts on this disorder on my blog and received a tremendous amount of feedback from other parents looking for more information as well.

I was very excited when I met a woman online who is a psychologist with a SM daughter. Her name is Shannon Morgan-Gillard, Psy.D. She runs a clinic for SM children; The Brave Center.I asked her what she thought of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT); since this is the treatment I read was the most widely accepted in treating SM. Below are some thoughts and suggestions she gave me:

1. CBT is the right treatment for SM. Sometimes a psychiatrist is needed to find out if medication is recommended. However, Dr. Morgan-Gillard suggests you try CBT for one year before considering medication.

2. Focus on the anxiety. You need to treat the anxiety that lies underneath the verbal issues. Do not try to make your child talk (this may only lead to further anxiety). This is why ABA therapy is one of the worst types of therapies for an SM child. ABA tries to bring the language out. Once ABA therapy sessions began for my daughter, they caused a tremendous amount of stress for her. The therapists did not know it then, but they were making her anxiety worse. This is why it is very important to discover if you child has SM and autism or just SM. I believe in ABA therapy for autistic children but please make sure your child has the correct diagnosis before implementing any type of therapy.

3. Build confidence. Dr. Morgan-Gillard said, For young children, the behavioral part of CBT treatment is what is effective at first, because they do not have the capacity to identify their thoughts or reason with themselves to change their thoughts (that's the cognitive part of the CBT) until about age 7. CBT therapy can be implemented by helping your child complete tasks that cause a lot of anxiety for them. Approach these tasks by pulling them apart into workable phases. For instance, take your child to the grocery store and ask them to place an item on the conveyer belt. Overtime, once they are comfortable with that ask them to hand the money to the clerk. Once they are okay with that, ask them if they want to say "Hello" to the clerk. And so on. It may take a long time before your child will want to talk to a stranger so you never want to push that. The goal to this form of therapy is to make the child gain confidence and a level of comfort in normally high anxiety situations.

Children and adults that have SM are afraid of being judged in a negative manner when they are put into a high anxiety situation. For instance, kids may not talk because they do not want the attention to focus on them. Maybe they are afraid they will say something incorrectly or give the wrong answer. By encouraging your child to talk to people at a young age and ensuring they receive a positive response, you are helping to build their confidence and self-assurance. This is the basis of CBT.

4. Play dates are very important for small children with SM. Dr. Morgan-Gillard suggest you have as many play dates as humanly possible. With SM, the more frequent a repetition of something, the better. If you could have a play date every day, it would speed progress. When the child is in his/her comfortable setting, they can more quickly move to feeling socially comfortable with a peer, and toward talking with that peer. It's best to repeat play dates with the same peer for a while; then add another peer or switch play dates to another peer and repeat with that one, then add two together after a while, said Dr. Morgan-Gillard.

5. Act silly. If you can act silly around your child and be physically active with them, it may help reduce their anxiety level. I actually tried this at a birthday party. All of the kids were playing with the clown and running around acting like farm animals. My daughter ran over to stand by my side and held onto my leg as tight as possible. I took her hand and walked into the middle of the crowd of kids. I started acting like a farm animal too. She looked up at me with complete surprise. The other parents gave me the same look but it didn't faze me. I wanted my daughter to know it is okay to act silly. She jumped right in with me. We played farm animals for quite some time.

6. Don't say they are shy. A tip I learned from my sister was to never call my daughter, "Shy." Previously, this response was second nature for me. I always felt uncomfortable when a stranger would approach us and tell me how cute my child was and then try to ask my daughter a question and she would not respond. When my daughter would hide behind my leg and not say one word I used to come back and say, "Oh. She is shy." My sister brought up a good point and told me not to label her. If my daughter hears me say this over and over, then maybe she will believe she is shy. Now, I just give the stranger and smile and say, "Have a nice day."

These are the tips and therapy suggestions I have found helpful to date. I am always researching and looking for ways to help my daughter. My next target of research is art and music therapy. Although I am still in my learning phase of SM, I felt compelled to share what I have learned because any parent of a child who has been recently diagnosed with SM knows there is not a lot of information available.

I am happy to announce my daughter was re-diagnosed in May of 2009. After one year of questioning her autism diagnosis we finally received a diagnosis that made sense: She is no longer considered autistic and has SM. I stopped the ABA therapy instantly. The state dropped her because she is no longer considered disabled which was bitter sweet. I am now on my own trying to help my daughter with the CBT approach. I feel incredibly hopeful and have seen tremendous improvements in my daughter; so much so that I now consider her to be a "typical" child.

I hope my daughter's story will help educate the public on Selective Mutism. I can't help but wonder how many kids are currently diagnosed with autism that actually have the same "perfect storm" as my daughter had. I believe trying the Gluten Free / Casein Free diet is always a smart thing to do once your child receives any behavioral disorder diagnosis. I know it does not help all children but if it does help your child, it may give them their "typical" life back.

Alicia Preston
Friend In Reach

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Alicia_P_Smith

Autism Improvement Using NT

Only in the past few years have some Neurofeedback (NFB) clinicians worked with autistic children. Success has been rare. Few parents can afford the horrible cost, and few clinicians are willing to take on an autistic child, because of the difficulties involved.

1. How do you attach sensors to an autistic child? Even using a helmet?

2. If you do get a connection, how do you motivate such a child? (A key to success).

3. The cost can bankrupt any family except the very wealthy.

Enter Neuroliminal Training (NT). All three of the above problems above are solved with its usage. There is no sensor attachment needed, nor any helmet, nor is motivation important. Since NT works by using a subliminal messaging technique that works during sleep, or as a background to play or study, It can be done at home using a repeating CD, and at an affordable cost to even a low income family. NT improves autism symptoms gradually over time in the same way as NFB.

Neuroliminal Training (NT) does for autistics exactly the same three things that NFB training does - namely raise the SMR brain wave, lower the Theta brainwave, and increase the brain blood flow. (The latest NFB therapy includes HEG biofeedback which does this by feedback techniques). Hyperbaric therapy has had some known success with increasing oxygen as well, although it's relatively expensive.

With volunteer tests and studies, it has been well proven that success rates are very similar for both NFB and NT. The only real difference is cost. For an average ADHD child to be "cured" (cure being defined in current NFB circles as "sitting still in class, paying attention to study, getting good grades, and in most cases, jumping in IQ scores") costs $4000. For NT, the total cost is $197. (An autistic child requires many more sessions than an ADD/ADHD child).

Although I believe that there is a "continuum" between the simplest ADD child that cannot seem to concentrate on studying and a true non-communicative autistic child, there is one major difference. A person on the autism portion of that continuum may have had actual brain damage, whereas, the ADD/ADHD child has probably had little or none. Thus, a "cure" for ADD/ADHD is possible, but for not for autism.

To improve autism symptoms, simple "baby steps" toward "normal behavior" are what is seen using either NFB or NT. The good news is that continued usage continues improvement. This is a long slow process, and there are several alternate therapies which may be used at the same time. These are described in the NT literature. These include diets, the use of enzymes, probiotics, free allergy tests etc.

This "brain damage" that makes autism such a problem may be caused by various traumatic episodes such as an overload of mercury or other mineral toxicity, a birth or pregnancy injury, continual malnutrition (or drug addiction) by the mother during pregnancy, etc.

Of course, this autism spectrum is large and variable with each individual. Not to mention, the misdiagnosed cases. A high functioning autistic child might easily be thought to be in the ADD/ADHD range. Remember that all doctors have to make a diagnosis that will allow them to be paid from insurance carriers, and this makes the whole diagnostic process a mockery.

The "accepted" average success rate of Neurofeedback (NFB) (aka EEG BF) for
ADD/ADHD is between 85-90%. I suspect that a large part of these 10-15% "failures" are due to misdiagnosis of ADD/ADHD, where there has been brain damage, and the diagnosis should have been autism.

Another portion of these failures has to be due to the failure of the clinicians to be "good motivators of their patients. Motivation is a key to success of NFB.

Almost 40 years ago, it was found that by raising one small brain wave adjacent to the Alpha brain wave (around 13-14 Hz) - since named the SMR brain wave), some almost miraculous things happened. We do not "know" what causes these good changes, but the theory I put forth in 2000 is that "raising the SMR brain wave somehow changes the affect of allergens on the brain". (If you look at the mental problems that are caused by allergens, and compare that list to the NFB cures over the past 30 + years, you can easily see the reason why I came up with that theory..)

In orthomolecular circles, it is well known that allergens, usually unsuspected, are the basic cause of stress causing all mental "disease". There is also a lot of anecdotal evidence that raising the SMR brain wave either "cures" some allergies, or lessens the effect on the patient.

NASA scientists found that lowering the Theta brain wave increases concentration (attention), and they spend hours "brainwashing" jet pilots and astronauts to lower their Theta brain wave. This has become a "standard therapy" for NFB as a result.

However, what most NFB clinicians don't know is that by lowering Theta, we also lower "creativity", or "artistic ability". Of course, in all "attention" cases, including autism, this is not as important as social happiness of the child involved. In the case of the astronauts, concentration on the myriad dials and readouts and controls is critical to their jobs, and artistic ability is easily sacrificed.

In a recent conference, I heard about an autistic girl that was a real savant in mathematics and music. They used an experimental stem cell transplant on her, and it improved her autism symptoms dramatically, but it also cut her savant ability in half.
The Autism CD package does lower Theta, while the SMR plus does not. SMR Plus is the recommended one for all forms of depression, including PTSD, insomnia, epilepsy, Fibromyalgia, etc.

NFB works by a sort of beneficial brainwashing using the conscious mind getting feedback on what the SMR brain wave is doing, and trying by conscious concentration to raise this wave. (Or lower the Theta brain wave at the same time with attention issues).

NT also works by a beneficial brainwashing that raises the SMR brain wave, but NT uses subliminal messaging instead of feedback using the conscious mind.. It also lowers the Theta brain wave if there are "attention issues" (ADD/ADHD/autism). For other brain problems, such as insomnia, depression, epilepsy, PTSD, anxiety, etc there is no useful purpose served in lowering the Theta brain wave, so it is not done. (This is the SMR Plus CD package.)

Dr Bate is a retired orthomolecular psychologist who invented Neuroliminal Training, a simpler and affordable way to change brain wave amplitudes solving ADD-Autism, depression, insomnia, and more.
http://drbate.com, http://Neuroliminal.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Phil_Bate_Ph.D.

How Classical Music Benefits Children With Learning Disabilities

We have long known about the ability of classical music to provide pleasure and stir up deep emotions. Undoubtedly, music has a powerful impact on the brain. Studies have shown that classical music can also help children with special needs through a variety of significant improvements including reduced stress, increased IQ, and improved ability to concentrate. Further, music can make children feel more positive and improve their creative thinking. The bottom line is that classical music can make a huge difference in the lives of those with disorders like autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, ADD and ADHD and mental retardation.

The Mozart Effect and the Power of Music

The term "The Mozart Effect" has gone mainstream, as now there are a variety of products including everything from CDs to toys that use Mozart's music to improve a person's ability to perform mental tasks. A wide variety of experts theorize that listening to Mozart can actually boost intelligence too. Don Campbell who wrote The Mozart Effect: Tapping the Power of Music to Heal the Body, Strengthen the Mind, and Unlock the Creative Spirit has declared that the Mozart Effect is "an inclusive term signifying the transformational powers of music in health, education, and well-being."

An issue of Nature Journal in 1993 published remarkable findings from studies at The University of California at Irvine. In one study, group of students listened to Mozart while a second group listed to a tape with suggestions for relaxation. A third test group just had 10 minutes of silence. When these students were given a test on spatial IQ, those who listened to Mozart showed to have a significantly higher spatial IQ.

Some scientists speculate that complicated sounds like classical music boosts the operation of firing patterns in the brain's cortex. Studies have also shown that those even with Alzheimer's disease do better on spatial IQ tests after listening to Mozart. One of the reasons that classical music is so powerful in contrast to other forms of music is that it has sequences that repeat throughout a musical piece. Often these sequences appear about every 20 or 30 seconds. Due to the fact that brain wave patterns also take place in 30-second cycles, this type of music can provide the most powerful type of response.

The Mozart Effect has very real implications for those with learning disorders. Listening to classical music will not only boost IQ, but it will also help children concentrate better and memorize new information. When a child hears classical music, it can create the ideal conditions for learning and creativity.

One additional boost to the implications of classical music's positive impact on learning and the brain occurred in 1998 when the governor of Georgia Zell Miller included over $100,000 annually in the budget for the state for tapes and CDs of classical music for all of children born in Georgia. He was persuaded to take this bold step due to the various studies that listening to classical music spurs intelligence.

Music Therapy

Classical music can positively impact everything from emotional development to motor skills to cognitive functioning. There is an entire field of psychology called Music Therapy where therapists improve the health of their clients through using music. Professionals like teachers, physicians and psychologists regularly refer children for music therapy. Music Therapists can even help rehabilitate people who have had strokes through the power of music.

Kids with learning disorders like ADD, ADHD, and autism can benefit from Music Therapy, as it will help them to feel calmer and less impulsive. Further, many children will feel more comfortable opening up about their feelings when they are exposed to music. At this point, therapists can help children to overcome their frustrations and assist to boost their self-esteem.

Distractions and Music

One thing that many children with learning disorders have in common is that they are easily distracted. Different noises can take their attention away from a task at hand. However, when classical music is used therapeutically, it changes the way the ear functions and stimulates the brain.

Children with a variety of learning disorders including autism are experiencing positive results from Tomatis Listening Therapy. During therapy sessions, classical music is sent into the right ear and the sound is also vibrated through the bones in the body. One of the goals of this therapy is to get the ears in sync and re-balance the system. The philosophy behind this treatment is that it can allow its recipients to begin performing to the best of their abilities.

Many children have also improved their ADHD conditions through learning to play a music instrument. The act of practicing playing classical music and listening to it at the same time can teach kids to lengthen their attention span.

The Calming Ability of Music

When children with special needs listen to classical music, it provides a positive and relaxing experience. Remarkably, classical music can also reduce stress and ease frustrations. Further, it can reduce muscle tension and slow down the heart rate. When these changes occur, the mind is more open to learning and also to communicating with others.

One study at the Baltimore St Agnes Health Care by Raymond Bahr, MD showed that when doctors played classical music for their heart patients it had the same impact as a 10 mg dose of Valium! The implications of this study for those with special needs are clear. When children with autism, cerebral palsy, ADD, ADHD, and mental retardation are able to relax and calm down, dramatic changes in their behavior become possible.

Listen to a sample of how classical music can help your child with any learning disability such as autism, Down syndrome, or any other special need by visiting http://www.4yourchildssuccess.com.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Jim_R_Ray

Autism and Music Therapy

In recent years, medical professionals have combined autism and music therapy in order to determine if there are any advantages associated with this type of treatment. Music is often regarded as the most ancient form of communication among individuals worldwide because of the fact that it is considered to be common among all cultures, in all locations of the world. Due to the amazing popularity of music and the effects that it seemed to have on individuals that were subjected to it, many researchers developed what they refer to as "Music Therapy". Since the initialization of this form of therapy, it has been established that it has the ability to assist those that suffer from many different types of cognitive and physiological problems. Today, the use of music therapy is becoming increasingly popular for children that suffer from autism. Throughout this health guide, you will learn many interesting facts on autism music therapy.

Certified Music Therapists

The individuals that focus on autism and music therapy are known as "Certified Music Therapists". If your child has autism, it is absolutely imperative that you choose a therapist that has an extensive education and valuable experiences in the field of music based therapy. The professionals will be identified as "Music Therapist-Board Certified" or "MT-BC", and commonly work in educational settings, clinics that specialize in developmental disorders, and private practices. These professionals use an assortment of music types in order to assist in building skills in the autistic child. Furthermore, it has been found that the music may be used to enhance communication skills. Many studies also indicate that these specialists are highly effective at helping an autism patient experience lower anxiety levels.

Benefits of Autism Music Therapy

Autism and music therapy works to address the most common problems experienced by those that suffer from this condition. These problems include communication difficulties, issues with behavior that is considered to be aggressive or inappropriate, as well as social interaction issues. Autism therapy using music combines many different types of elements in order to enable the autistic child to communicate effectively and openly express their true feelings. While many forms of therapy have been used to assist children suffering from autism, music based therapy is the one treatment that shows the most promising results. The following highlights the benefits associated with autism and music therapy:

1. Autistic children that have participated in this form of therapy have been found to be successful at building relationships with others. As a result of this development, the children are motivated to learn and master behaviors that are considered to be socially acceptable.

2. Since autistic children often have high functioning cognitive abilities, many have learned to engage in musical activities such as playing an instrument. Not only is this wonderful for cognitive development, but it is beneficial for their academic and social growth.

3. Many songs that are designed for autism and musical therapy sessions include catchy lyrics that instruct a child how to behave appropriately or engage in certain activities. By being exposed to these catchy lyrics, children with this disorder are more likely to learn rapidly and progress in their development of basic skills.


While there are many productive forms of therapy for autism, autism music therapy is considered to be one of the most effective. Unfortunately, this type of therapy is not offered in many locations. You should not let that stop you, though. If you have an interest in autism and music therapy, you are fully capable of creating an at-home autism music therapy program. Simply purchase items such as musical DVDs or CDs that are designed for children. These often include lyrics that are catchy, easy to remember, and instruct on proper behaviors and how to engage in basic skills - such as buttoning clothing or brushing the teeth. You will quickly discover just how engaged your child becomes. By exposing your child to autism music therapy, you will be able to see their cognitive growth and development. Autism and music therapy sessions seem to go hand in hand. Many rewards are reaped by families that engage in this type of therapy.

This author has an interest in providing parents a source of high quality toys, puzzles, games, and more that enhance their child's emotional, intellectual, and psychological growth. To discover wonderful toys for children visit: http://www.mytoysmart.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Jacquelyn_L_Holl