Monday, January 30, 2012

Autism Healthcare

The United States has a fragmented healthcare system made of many private health care facilities that are largely owned by the private sector. Primary care doctors are usually the first point of entry when there are any health concerns before referrals to any other appropriate health establishment if necessary. There are thousands of insurance companies that cover private health insurance and up until fairly recently it has been very hard to get health insurance to cover autism because it is risky and treatment is very expensive. This has recently changed due to new legislation but availability can depend on whether a particular State has enacted autism insurance legislation or coverage for government funded health programs such as Medicaid.

The causes of autism are not readily known or available. The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that autism and related disorders are more common than previously thought. There is an increase in those being diagnosed and 3-4 times as many boys than girls are affected. On average one in 110 children born in the U.S. have autism. One in 70 boys and one in 315 girls are affected. It is thought by professionals that the increase is due to a wider definition of the spectrum.

It is essential to get an expert diagnosis in order to access the different services and treatments that may be available as it is beneficial to begin an early intervention program. An evaluation and assessment of the child may be done by a multidisciplinary team of professionals. Doctors who specializes in autism will observe the child, ask parents questions about the child's development and behavior and do a variety of tests such as intelligence tests to evaluate the child's strengths and weaknesses.

The following are some examples of the types of people and places listed by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) of whom to go to that will make a referral to, or provide diagnostic and treatment services (NIMH):

Family doctors
Mental health specialists such as psychiatrists, psychologists and counselors
Community mental health centers
Health maintenance organizations
Hospital psychiatry departments and outpatients clinics
State hospital outpatient clinics
Local medical and/or psychiatric societies

Once diagnosed, the quest to find affordable health insurance coverage to cover autism can begin. Around half of states currently have enacted autism insurance legislation which makes healthcare insurance coverage for more available, though it can be expensive. Recent laws have increased coverage for government funded health programs such as Medicaid for those on low incomes and disability is covered if it comes within the disability guidelines, so more families now qualify for assistance.

There are all kinds of treatments and interventions available and a treatment plan can be devised and tailored towards the individual child. Different teams of specialists can evaluate such things as speech, communication and motor skills. The main ways of treating the child can be through:

Behavior Therapies and other types of therapies

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) can be used to shape and modify behavior. Occupational Therapy is available to work on fine and gross motor skills, for example, and there are other therapies such as Speech Therapy.

Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for school age children

Parents are encouraged to be involved with teachers in setting targets or goals to be reached within the particular school year and describes any special support required in meeting them.


Currently, there are no medications available to treat autism, but there are supplements that can treat and manage some of the symptoms. Ritalin, for example, can be used to treat impulsivity and overactivity and there are other drugs that can be used to treat behaviors such as aggressive behaviors or repetitive behaviors.

Though healthcare is fragmented in the United States, there is a wide range of therapies and interventions available for children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. Accessing these can depend on the child having an expert diagnosis on autism and on what health insurance coverage the child has.


CDC. How Many Children Have Autism? Retrieved 29 March, 2011, from

NIMH. Nimh, How To Find Help

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Proprioception and Sensibility

Our sensory system conveys the information we need to our brains so we can make the right decisions in daily life. Huge amounts of information flow in to our brain at all times and we must decide the importance or otherwise of this. Hearing, touch and sight are clearly used by use to manage our responses to the challenges of normal life but there are other sensory modalities which are just as important in our mobility. The feelings coming in from all our bodily structures such as our muscles, ligaments, discs and joints are very important for normal movement function. Joint position sense is more specifically related to our joints and is also called proprioception.

Have you ever woken up in the night to find you have a numb and dead arm? I woke up on my back to find an arm laid across my chest so I lifted it off to the side. Very soon it came back. I moved it again, this time with a bit more speed. It came back. Gradually waking up I felt up the arm until I got to my shoulder. It was my own arm! Since I had laid on my arm, cutting off the blood supply to the nerve or compressing it, all sensory input to my brain from the arm had been cut off. My arm did not exist as far as by brain was concerned and when I gripped and moved my arm I had no sense that it was mine. As far as I was concerned the lack of feeling coming in meant that the arm had to be someone else's.

Compression of the nerves in the arm or cutting off their circulation in the same manner can completely interrupt the incoming messages to the brain, making the brain think that the area of the body does not exist at all and therefore has no movement function. The brain is unable to picture the limb and its position so is cannot plan any useful movement for the limb either. Working as a physiotherapist for over twenty years has left me with a clear view of the importance of sensory input in our management of normal movement.

Sensory input, the constant incoming signals to the brain from the various parts of the body, informs us what is going on and where we are in space. This is much more important than we realise. Losing muscle power is difficult but people adapt and manage well but losing sensory information from a body part makes it extremely difficult or impossible to use the part. Losing sensibility is more troublesome than losing muscle power, although both are important.

The loss of movement is the most obvious disability we see when we observe a stroke patient, but what we don't see is the loss of accurate sensory input, an impairment which may be more disabling overall. The joint position sense (JPS), also called proprioception, is the ability which allows our system to understand at any point where our joints are, what stresses are acting on them, how fast they are moving and how much muscle effort is being expended.

Monitoring of the positions, stresses and effort being exerted through all our joints is streaming in to our brains all the time from the joint position sense and other sense organs in our muscles and tendons. We need all this incoming information to make sense of where our limbs are so that we are in a position to do the next actions we desire. Accurate JPS information is essential if we are to be able to plan our next movement.

The loss of the ability to feel any part of our body accurately can have profound consequences, reducing our functional independence in many normal daily activities. Typical conditions include stroke, paraplegia and direct nerve damage but more surprising injuries can reduce JPS input. A sprained ankle or ruptured anterior cruciate ligament reduces the accuracy of joint position sense and requires rehabilitation. Physiotherapists are skilled in the rehabilitation of proprioceptive ability in multiple conditions.

Jonathan Blood Smyth is Superintendent of a large team of Physiotherapists at an NHS hospital in Devon. He specialises in orthopaedic conditions and looking after joint replacements as well as managing chronic pain. Visit the website he edits if you are looking for physiotherapists in Brighton or elsewhere in the UK.

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Biomedical Autism Treatment - Intervention For Autistic Children

What is Biomedical Autism Treatment?

Biomedical autism treatment is the practice of treating the medical problems that can trigger autism and other disorders. Many children, teenagers and adults with an autism-spectrum disorder (ASD) have a true, underlying medical condition that includes genetic susceptibilities, detoxification imbalance, immune dysfunction, nutritional deficiencies, dietary sensitivities, biochemical abnormalities and more as causative factors in their ASD condition. A biomedical autism treatment approach comes from the awareness that ASD for many individuals is NOT just a psychological condition with no hope for improvement or recovery, like some say. It is, instead, a medical condition that has the potential to be reversed. Biomedical autism treatment for someone with an Autism-Spectrum Disorder works! It should be considered essential for any comprehensive program you are implementing to improve the health and quality of your child's (and your) life.

Basic Overview of Biomedical Autism Treatment:

* It is more than just a neuro-developmental disorder. Autism and other autism-spectrum disorders are truly a medical condition.

* It is the knowledge that the majority of autism-spectrum children (as well as teenagers and adults) are dealing with an underlying biological (aka. medical) disorder.

* Biomedicine can help children with attention-deficit (ADD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and other neuro-developmental problems even if they are not diagnosed with autism.

* Heavy metals, food sensitivities, nutritional deficiencies, chronic infections, immune dysfunction and genetic susceptibilities are at the core of their health problems. When these health issues are identified and treated many children's autism condition either improves or goes away.

* Biological problems involving the brain, immune, digestive, hormone and biochemical systems are at the root for many children on the autism-spectrum. The key is to recognize that autism is reversible for many children.

* Some of the biomedical autism treatments include dietary intervention such as the gluten and casein-free diet, vitamin and mineral therapy, detoxification treatment including the removal of heavy metal toxins, digestive support therapy including bacterial and yeast eradication, hyperbaric oxygen therapy for ongoing neurological inflammation and poor oxygen circulation and more.

* It is totally false that there is no hope for recovery - Autism Is Treatable. Many children have the potential to improve and in some their autism can be reversed. Biomedical autism treatment can also improve the effectiveness of other therapies such as speech, occupation therapy and Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA). Many parents see a dramatic improvement in their child's response with these "traditional" autism interventions once they begin biomedical intervention.

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

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

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Biomedical Autism Treatment - What to Do to Help Your Autistic Child Recover

Biomedical autism treatment for a child with an autism-spectrum disorder (ASD) is a journey that can reap huge rewards to you as you watch your child improve or even completely recover from his or her disorder. Although no guarantees for complete reversal and recovery can be made, parents and caregivers who are most successful in implementing biomedical autism treatments for their children are those who are fully committed to the process.

I have seen hundreds of patient families dealing with a child with an ASD and this experience has given me insight as to how parents can maximize the effectiveness of their child's treatment. I thought it would be helpful to take key aspects from successes I have had with families and offer them as tips for how to best engage in biomedical autism treatment. Attitude Understand that the goal of a biomedical approach to ASD is to optimize your child's health potential with the hope that recovery is achieved. In many kids their condition IS reversible. Believe that recovery is possible. No one can convince you that the biomedical approach for your autism-spectrum child is worthwhile. You must come to this conclusion for yourself. If you do not believe that a biomedical approach to treating ASD has merit, then you ultimately will not be successful in helping your child with this approach. Get Informed - read, listen, and do research.

Be involved 100% - You know your child better than anyone. You are ultimately responsible for your own health and your child's health care. Planning Keep notes. Make a running list of supplements, medications, a calendar of therapy implementation, and reactions to therapies. Be prepared to make a plan and then follow through with the plan. Be consistent and persistent in your approach. You will also need to maintain some flexibility as things will likely change as your child responds to different therapies. Plan to be busy implementing biomedical autism treatment for your child. An aggressive complementary biomedical approach is necessary for most children if complete healing is the goal. Many natural and complementary medicine programs fail because not enough therapies are done simultaneously. Be open to all possibilities such as detoxification therapy, methyl-B12 injections, homeopathy, herbal medicine, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, etc. Let your doctor know if you have issues with any recommendations. Hope Realize that biomedical autism treatment works.

The facts are indisputable, and the smiling, happy faces of parents who have has success attest to that. There is no longer a need to listen to any doctor or "naysayer" trying to discredit biomedical autism treatment. These people create nothing but fear, doubt and confusion (the 3 remedies for failure). Believe in yourself as a parent to help your child heal. Understand that YOU have ultimate control about how and when biomedical therapies will be implemented EDUCATE and EMPOWER YOURSELF! You can start a basic program - TODAY!

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

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

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Biomedical Autism Treatment - Does it Really Work?

Doctor Reveals The Truth About The Effectiveness of Biomedical Autism Treatment:

What is Biomedical Autism Treatment?

The basic, short answer is this; biomedical autism treatment is the practice of treating the underlying medical problems that can trigger autism and other disorders. Many people with an autism-spectrum disorder (ASD) have a very real medical condition that could include genetic susceptibilities, detoxification imbalance, immune dysfunction, nutritional deficiencies, dietary sensitivities, biochemical abnormalities and others. These medical conditions can become causative factors in their ASD condition. A biomedical autism treatment approach comes from the awareness that Autism-spectrum disorders for many individuals is NOT just a psychological condition with no hope for improvement or recovery, like some say. It is, instead, a medical condition that has the potential to be reversed.

Does Biomedical Autism Treatment Really Work?

Yes...with a caveat. Like any other therapy, biomedical autism treatment results can vary depending on a number of factors. These include the severity of the disorder, the cause of the disorder, how quickly you administer biomedical autism treatment after your child's diagnosis, and how well you implement the therapies. The results, too, will vary form child to child. Some experience a full recovery with little or no obvious signs of their disorder. Some children respond only slightly. Luckily the big dramatic results seem to outweigh the little advances. The only way to see how well your child will respond to biomedical autism treatment is to try. You have really have nothing to lose, and the possibility of a greatly improved quality of life for your child.

Can It Hurt My Child?

Biomedical autism treatments are basically putting your child's body chemistry back to where it should be. It is a matter of finding out what your child's body has too much or too little of, and adjusting those levels. This is done with certain diet, supplement and vitamin intervention. There are no experimental drugs, or voodoo medicine. These same therapies could be given to a child without an autism-spectrum disorder, and that child could see no difference in their behavior, however, the child who is lacking certain elements or whose body is making or retaining to much of another, could experience a dramatic improvement.

Why Didn't My Child's Doctor Tell Me About Biomedical Autism Treatment?

Unfortunately, there are many in the medical field who believe autism spectrum disorders are only a neuro-development disorder and stop there. Some are unwilling to look at the overwhelming results that have been seen with biomedical autism treatment, simply because it falls outside of their education or specialty. The sad part is, they have nothing else to offer. It's not like they are saying "don't do that stuff, do this instead...They just say "don't do that", without anything else to offer. Your child could benefit greatly from biomedical autism treatments. What really do you have to lose in trying biomedical autism treatment...maybe a few dollars if the results are minimal. But what if the results are dramatic, like so many other children experience? Doesn't your child deserve such an opportunity at a better quality of life? I urge you to get educated in this powerful therapy and to take action now!

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

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

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Sensitivity to Lights and Sounds in Vehicles

Children with sensory integration disorder or sensitivities to light and sound, can resist going out for a walk, playing on the playground, and even going for a ride in the car. Sensory integration disorder is when the brain doesn't understand the information it is receiving from the senses and misinterprets it.

When a child is sensitive to the brightness of light or sound that it is either too loud or high-pitched, they may overreact and exhibit a variety of behavioral challenges, such as crying, screaming, having headaches or stomachaches. As onlookers, we interpret this child as being temperamental or having a bad day. The way the parents respond, if they are not aware of this sensitivity, is to do a number of things to calm or stop the child's behavior. Most people have not heard of sensory integration disorder, although it is on the rise, primarily due to the frequency of diagnosis and quantity of people having the same or similar sensory issues.

Sensory integration disorder can coexist with Autism spectrum disorders, other learning disabilities or disorders. The book, "The Out of Sync Child," by Carol Stock Kranowitz, discusses and explains what this disorder is and how to adjust events in your child's life so that your child can be more comfortable. Checklists on the web do not fully understand the disorder, and try to attest their validity by making blanket statements, with black and white conclusions. Many children exhibit sensory issues, but parents and therapists may not recognize all the symptoms. Symptoms may occur one day and not the next two days or new ones may surface. Some days a child may be overly sensitive to sound or light, and other days they may be under sensitive.

Some children are okay with having sunglasses on, to protect their eyes from the light. Those who do not like to have things on their face or who are too young to wear eye protection, can typically shield their eyes with a hood or cover. Vehicles that have darkly tinted windows in the backseat are perfect for these children. Some people find that tires that do not have a specific expiration mileage will produce more sound and noise than tires that that last for just 50,000 or 100,000 miles, for example. These types of tires are firmer due to the amount of rubber that is spun tighter around the tire.

Some of the newer vehicles, have features that auto adjust mirrors so light is either reflected or muted and won't glare or bounce off other reflective objects in the car. Additionally, there are muted colored lights throughout the car that given an amber, blue or red glow to light the console or dashboard.

If you are unable to purchase a newer vehicle, there are ways to adjust the interior of your car to reduce the glare or brightness. Private investigators use black curtains hung near or around the windows to prevent the light from glaring in. The same curtain can be used to hang from the inside of the car's window, using the window to hold it up. Using white noise machines, video games, or soft music helps with irritating or aversive sounds.

Observe your child's behavior on a daily basis to see how or if the amount of light is bothersome. Ask your child questions and help them become more comfortable. Traveling in a car with your child in car can be a pleasant experience; most importantly, it needs to be safe so the driver is not distracted and the passengers are safe.

Julie Callicutt is the owner of Ferko Therapeutic Group, a company specializing in providing intensive rehabilitation therapy to children with disabilities, specifically those on the Autism Spectrum. Julie's services include 1:1 intensive therapy, coaching/mentoring of caregivers and making herself available to speak at local and national early childhood conferences. If you would like more information, please visit,

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Autism Treatment - Stopping Biomedical Treatments and Autism

I want to discuss the issue of starting and stopping biomedical therapies and what the normal protocol is. I am often asked a question like "Dr. Woeller, if my child is taking B12, or my child is on various supplements or medications like Diflucan or maybe Nystatin, should I be weaning my child off of these supplements or can they just be stopped all of a sudden?". In my experience, and this applies to the majority of the biomedical therapies that we use, if your child reaches a plateau where you are no longer seeing improvements, and if your doctor is in agreement on this, it is my experience that you can stop these therapies all at once without seeing any negative reactions.

And certainly when you look at other medications for other medical issues like certain steroid medications or certain anti-depressant medications and various types of psychiatric medications that often times do need to be removed slowly, where you are backing off slowly from one dose to a lower dose. But when we are talking about vitamin therapies like B12 or anti-fungals or even most supplements, in my experience there is no need to wean your child off. And this again is something that you would still want to run by your own doctors but in my opinion there is no weaning process for these types of therapies. But a very common question I get in my practice is whether someone can stop B12 with their child suddenly or whether or not their child needs to be weaned off. With B12, in my experience, if it is time to stop that therapy you can just do so immediately and if you want to resume that therapy at a later time then you can.

So when we are discussing biomedical treatments, many of the therapies are the same way. You are not usually going to see dangerous reactions occurring, we are not using highly toxic substances and they are not highly stressful medications either. There are definitely medications that do require weaning and this is still an issue where you would always want to work with your own physician on this. But, for the most part, the biomedical therapies that we traditionally use like anti-fungals, supplements, etc. can many times be stopped without a need to wean a child off of them.

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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Friday, January 27, 2012

Is Your School System Offering ABA Therapy?

If you are an educator, guidance counselor, or other school faculty member, then you understand the commitment you have made to providing every student that steps into your hallways with the best education possible. With that in mind, what treatments does your school system offer for children with autism spectrum disorders? Are they herded into classrooms for students with special needs? Are they frequently punished for behaving in ways outside of the norm? Sadly, these are the most common treatments in today's schools, despite the fact that offering ABA therapy could make a real difference in behavior and learning.

ABA therapy is more than just a bunch of memorization and mimicking. While these are certainly integral aspects of the therapy, they are designed to help the brains of autistic children form new neural pathways and to literally develop the ability to understand larger concepts. Intensive ABA therapy is shown to help kids learn not only acceptable behavior patterns and specifically taught concepts, but the ability to learn new things in much the same manner as their peers. This is certainly remarkable, and with thirty years of evidence to support the treatment, the real question is why more schools don't offer ABA.

One of the biggest hindrances to offering ABA in school systems is that training is largely cost prohibitive. Sending every educator within a school system to special classes or seminars is unaffordable for most school systems, and educating only one teacher will prove largely inefficient. Many schools see this as a sign that they simply cannot offer ABA therapy, but this is not the case. Through the use of a well designed and well implemented DVD course, it is possible for entire school districts to learn how to provide ABA therapy for autistic children.

While the notion of a DVD course might be surprising at first, it actually makes sense. A well designed course will come with all of the materials needed for both learning and providing ABA therapy. It will also include information on how to contact someone with questions or to get clarification on different aspects of the therapy. One of the best things about a DVD course, however, is that it doesn't just offer one-time training. It can be used time and again to ensure that new teachers are also taught this method. Ensuring that everyone in your school system knows how to handle autistic children is the key to proper educating, and a DVD course in ABA therapy can make that goal attainable.

Garrett Butch is the father of a 6 year old with autism and the founder of Maximum Potential Group.

Maximum Potential has developed courses that train parents and school systems how to work with children with autism.

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ABA Therapy is Effective For All Levels on the Autism Spectrum

While typically considered a way to ready moderately autistic children for introduction into a school environment, ABA Therapy can actually prove remarkably beneficial for children on all levels of the autism spectrum. In fact, children who are mildly autistic show remarkable results with the method while children who have sever symptoms frequently experience signs of moderate to full recovery. ABA Therapy is not a cure for autism, but it is a remarkable means of treating a disorder that many people once thought to be untreatable.

ABA Therapy has existed for decades, and has consistently been the most successful and most recommended treatment for autism. It is the only treatment utilized by a majority of school districts as well as the only treatment covered by many insurance programs. There are many years worth of studies to back up the results of ABA Therapy, with results showing improvement for children on all degrees of the autism spectrum.

Studies show that people with all ranges of behavior disorders can benefit from ABA Therapy. In addition, further study on some of the earliest patients shows that the progress made through ABA Therapy carried through into adulthood, with a large percentage of the patients having very successful jobs and working lives. Even those who had heavy disability despite intensive ABA treatment carried their progress into adulthood and found themselves better equipped in social situations such as stores and public transportation systems.

ABA Therapy is something that can be applied across the autism spectrum, but it must be tailored to a child. While a child with mild symptoms may benefit from only a few hours a week, children with more severe symptoms will require intensive training that lasts upwards of forty hours a week. Each child is different and therapy must be tailored to the child and their needs in order to be successful.

In all, ABA Therapy is by far the best available treatment for Autism Spectrum Disorder. Until a cure for autism is found, ABA continues to be the most effective way to help these children lead lives that are as similar to those of their peers as possible. Children of all ability levels who have an ASD can see remarkable benefit from ABA. ABA Therapy may not be a cure, but for many children it offers the best hope for recovery and the best chance to truly live up to their maximum potential.

Garrett Butch is the father of a 6 year old with autism and the founder of Maximum Potential Group.

Maximum Potential has developed courses that train parents and school systems how to work with children with autism.

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ABA Therapy at Home Offers Hope to All Families

While a diagnosis of Autism is an emotional burden for any family, for many families it also presents a serious financial burden. Many parents find themselves faced with the choice of paying for treatment by picking up extra jobs and giving up family time or spending time at home and providing minimal treatment. For all families in this situation, neither answer is fair and neither is entirely correct. It is for families experiencing this that home ABA Therapy programs were designed.

Home ABA Training courses teach parents all they need to know in order to provide proper ABA Therapy for their own child. While there is a cost for the program as well as a small cost for replacement data collection materials, the costs are tens of thousands of dollars lower annually than the cost of hiring a professional to administer intensive ABA Therapy. In addition, many children ease into learning much easier when they are able to do so in the comfort of familiar surroundings.

With that said it is important to make clear that providing ABA Therapy requires a significant amount of time and dedication and can be difficult. In the beginning many children are averse to a drastic change in routine and can cry, throw fits, or even hurt themselves. It is very important to react to this in a way that is consistent with ABA methods as long as the child is not in danger. Responding to negative behavior only furthers associations between the behavior and attention, and ABA Training is focused on rewarding only positive behavior with attention as part of the process of training appropriate responses.

While difficult and intensive, home ABA Training can be quite rewarding. Because the therapy is designed only to prepare these children for school, where they will receive training as well as participating in classes with their peers, many parents find great reward in watching their children reach significant learning and behavior milestones. Because these parents have seen their children in the depths of Autism and in many cases unable to communicate, they have a stronger understanding of how remarkable each of these milestones truly is.

In short, ABA Therapy at home is an excellent alternative for many parents. By purchasing a proper training program and offering their child all of the same methods they would obtain from a hired professional, parents ensure that their child has truly gotten the best care possible. There is no license or certification requirement to provide ABA Training, only a dedication to helping children reach their maximum potential. With that in mind, parents of children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder should give consideration to ABA, which after many decades is still the only Autism treatment covered by most insurance companies and relied on by most school systems.

Garrett Butch is the father of a 6 year old with autism and the founder of Maximum Potential Group.

Maximum Potential has developed courses that train parents and school systems how to work with children with autism.

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Medicaid Waivers for Children With Special Needs

Special Needs children can present a whole host of challenges completely aside from their actual physical or mental impairments. They may present a physical danger to themselves that requires constant supervision or they may need living assistance to help them with daily activities such as eating. Often these children have significant difficulties communicating and moving about their environment which then results in significant anxiety disorders. Physical and mental delays can be further exacerbated by the sensory disorders that often accompany the original disorder.

Autism, which is one of the leading disorders among children with disabilities, affects 1 in 110 children, or currently 730,000 children (up to the age of 21). Autistic children and those considered to be in the spectrum, face sensory challenges that prevent them from learning alongside other typical children. An aversion to sound for instance can cause that child to shut down when placed in a noisy school environment and as a result block out any potentially beneficial input. In the case of intellectually challenged children, just wandering out of the house could be disastrous. They often don't know their own strength and can present a danger and challenge to potential caregivers - so the typical avenues of childcare and daycare become out of the question. In these situations, a special care facility, or in-home provider often becomes necessary.

The costs for this type of care and accommodation can be exorbitant if not prohibitive. This is where the Medicaid waivers come into play. While the usual category of Medicaid eligibility for children is a parent who is below a particular federal threshold of poverty, special needs children are assessed on need alone if they personally have no income or assets/resources. The family financial status is not a factor.

There are three main waivers that generally apply to special needs children including the ID, DD, and the EDCD waivers. Each of the waivers exist to provide an alternative to institutional care. The DD Waiver is for the developmentally disabled child and would include children with physical disabilities that limit their functioning. The DD waiver is a first-come first-served waiver that can take many years to be implemented. These waiting lists are a sticking point for many individuals simply because if the child needs services today, then why are they not getting them for many years? The reason is funding.

The ID waiver is also known as the MR waiver, Intellectually Disabled and Mentally Retarded. This waiver requires an IQ test result of below 70. There is another test that can sometimes be used in its placed called the Adaptive Behavior test. The ID waiver too has a waiting list; however this waiver is applied based on need and emergency need will trump those waiting on the list. Again, due to funding the wait can be many years.

Lastly is the EDCD waiver (Elderly or Disabled with Consumer-Directed Services) which was originally designed to provide services and benefits to the elderly who would otherwise have needed institutionalization. However, children (re: children, not family) that meet the financial criteria can apply as disabled if they meet the skilled nursing and physical supervision requirements of the Waiver. The consumer directed services aspect of the waiver allows for the client or clients guardian, to direct the care by hiring the care-givers themselves without agency intervention. There are guidelines, and the provider cannot be a parent, or someone that lives in the home and they must meet state licensing requirements. Most qualifying children in need fall into this Waiver category and it is implemented immediately. Services begin as soon as paperwork is completed unlike the two previous waivers which can have extremely long waiting lists.

The Medicaid waiver system is administered by the states and their individual agencies. This is an important fact to consider as moving from one state to another will negate the clients status and the client would have to reapply and wait on a new list. As the administrators, the states individually determine the types of services that they offer. These services can change from one legislative period to another based on budgets and of course politics. Check with the local DSS, heath department, or consumer directed services bureau in your area to find out more information regarding these Waivers.

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Financial and Medical Assistance for Families with Autistic Children

Having a child with Autism can be financially draining for the family.
Insurance is expensive and some insurance companies do not allow predisposed conditions in their coverage.

The cost to a family who have children with Autism can be staggering . Between treatments, specialized child care (if both parents are employed), or lost income, not to mention any medical conditions associated with their Autistic child, the cost is estimated according to channel 7 news to run over 3 million dollars for the lifetime of the child.

Trying treatments to relieve the signs and symptoms of Autism have to be borne by the family as no insurance company will pay for any treatments that are not approved by a physician.

There may be some financial relief for some families who have children with Autism. A way for them to receive free medical care and some help with supplements and basic needs.

As soon as the diagnosis of Autism is received from a Doctor or Psychologist, the family should contact Social Security to obtain medical assistance for their children with Autism.

The paperwork can be lengthy as is the waiting for determination, but the long term benefits can be worth it.

They will require confirmation of the Autism diagnosis from the physician. In addition they will send you forms to fill out which basically tells them what the functioning ability of the child with Autism is.
Questions include safety issues, social issues and basic activities of daily living as well as attestations as to the Autistic child's social skills and mental capacity.

They will also require the same form to be completed by another person, preferably in a teaching or care giving capacity that echoes your assessment of the child's abilities.

Determination is not made on the diagnosis of Autism, but rather on the level of functioning that the child can achieve.

The monetary compensation is calculated on the family's income and is paid monthly to the child if capable mentally and is of age, or to a surrogate, usually the child's parent or caregiver.

If Social Security does approve your application for medical assistance for your children with Autism, this automatically puts them on Medicaid which can be a lifesaver for parents who are struggling to find adequate insurance coverage.
Medicaid also pays for incontinence products and for those that live in an area where this is available respite care which can help relieve a little of the stress associated with raising an Autistic child.

It is definitely worth the time and energy to apply to Social Security for medical assistance for your Autistic children as it can help relieve the financial burden that you will carry for the years to come.

Financial assistance for families with Autistic children may be obtained, you just need to know where to look for it. Visit us at for a little light at the end of the tunnel. Written by Donna Mason, the mother of 3 Autistic children looking for a way to survive and help her children.

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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Is There a Link Between Autism and Diet?

An article about autism in a major newspaper says it all with just one headline: "Science disputes autism's diet link." This one headline conveys that there may be a connection between diet and autism, and that some scientists have rejected the idea.

The article features Tina Szenasi, a mother of three boys in Barrie, Ontario. The article implies that all three of her children are autistic. According the the article, her sons improved within weeks of starting an elimination diet - a reasonable time frame to expect.

Many parents with autistic children feel that by changing their child's diet (specifically, eliminating wheat and milk, the GFCF diet), they can notice a difference in their child's behaviour. Results reported by parents and teachers seem to vary from subtle to dramatic.

"Farfetched" a doctor in the article is quoted as saying. But are trained to recognize symptoms that can be masked or eliminated by surgery or a prescription. Many doctors are weak on nutrition, and prevention in general.

Since an elimination diet does not make money for either the medical industry, or the pharmaceutical industry, there is little incentive to recommend eliminating wheat or milk from an autistic child's diet, or to study it in detail (given that most medical research these days seems to be funded by the profit-making medical industry).

According to the article, "most mainstream scientists remain skeptical of the gut-brain connection in autism". Most scientists of course, do not study such a connection, so it is a little hard to understand what this statement means, other than the newspaper shying away from the anecdotal evidence supplied by parents.

The article mentions one study, published in March 2006 in the the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders which is unable to find a "significant" improvement for children on the GFCF diet. It would be helpful to know what their definition of significant is, and for how long the children remained on the elimination diet.

It is also possible that autism is a complicated disease with more than one cause, depending on the child. A small study would see this as "noise", but if wheat and milk really are responsible for autism in some cases, and your child is one of them, the diet just may work for you.

Meanwhile, there is an industry at the fringes, capitalizing on the possible dietary link between wheat/milk and autism. From specialty foods to specialty tests, there is an economic interest to suggesting an elimination diet. Not all businesses seeking to capitalize on the "autistic market" are necessarily credible, ethical or legitimate. It is a case of "buyer beware".

But do you really have to spend big money on an elimination diet? No. If you avoid prepared foods and cook from basic ingredients, there is no need to consume large quantities of specialty foods. This does take time of course.


Eliminating wheat and milk from anyone's diet, child or adult, is not harmful. The foods you eat instead of wheat and milk could even be more healthy than what they replaced, if you choose carefully (see wheat alternatives).

If an elimination diet has a noticeable effect on your child's health, then it is worth the effort. If it does not make a difference after a couple of months, you can drop it.

Eliminating wheat and milk from your child's diet is a low-risk experiment. It is also non-medical, so don't be dissuaded by your doctor.

It is also possible that in some cases, an autistic child could have more than one problem. Why not autism and a food allergy, making the autism worse?

While not autistic, I am here to tell you from personal experience, that an elimination diet can, in some cases make a huge difference to mood, behaviour, attention span, concentration, sleeping patterns, digestive function, and a whole host of other effects.

Don't get your hopes up. This diet may not work for your child. But by all means try it, and see if it does.

Good luck!

Have a gluten allergy? Find out more: Gluten Allergy

Read more about gluten-free diet

Copyright 2010 Douglas Samuel. May be republished providing above author information is included, and live links are used without the rel=nofollow attribute.

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Universal 3 Point "Guide on How To" When Dealing With an Autistic Person

've seen a lot of these 'guides' floating around, how to be their friends, how to think of them, what they wish they could tell you, etc... some are rather enlightening, many contain pretty common sense stuff that you should apply to everyone, not just someone with Autism.

The ones I find amusing, yet scary, are the ones that try to pad them out to be a nice round number like 10 or to sound like they have a "lot" to share with you by having a high enough number. But what I find even more amusing and scary is that every single one of these people know that no two Autistic people are created equal, therefore generalizing is a tricky thing to do. Not every child will react the same in every situation and thus, guidelines are exactly that, guidelines... not rules. Learn from them, don't take them too seriously. How you interact with an Autistic person will vary.

Anyway, it was after reading a few of these that I summarized all of them into 3 simple points, which I tweeted in well under 140 characters and I think did a good job of summing it all up without generalizing to the point of excluding anyone... although, this will fall into the category of applying to everyone, not just Autistic people. So my apologies if you were expecting some ground breaking new way of thinking that pertained only to Autism.

Don't Tell Me. Inform Me.
Autistic people can't express themselves as well or at all, and they tend to take in information in a literal sense. For example, if you tell them that you feel like a pizza, they'll picture you feeling like dough covered in cheese, sauce and pepperoni. Instead, say "I want pizza for supper."

That being said, they're not just robots that you can feed information into and tell them how to think. I think it's fairly safe to say that if you've had any kind of extended period of time with an Autistic individual, you realize that you can't force them to do anything or to think anything.

Give them the information they require to visualize and conceptualize for themselves and form their own opinions and decisions. My hope is that my son grows up to pick a political party on his own, based on the facts he learns and bases his vote on what he thinks is best. It's not my place to tell him. That brings me to...

Don't Include Me. Involve Me.
I don't think most people realize exactly how much of a difference there really is... I see this happen in regular programs with regular kids that try to "include" special needs children. Most do a good job, but some feel that simply having the child there watching, or sitting close enough to the action, that they're somehow involved.

The really great people are the ones who find a task or a way to get the special needs child involved. For example, there was a video of a boy in the news recently who was the helper of the basketball team. He loved being involved, he loved being an important part of the team and when his time came, he laced up his shoes and became a star! It was because he was involved, not just included. That brings me to the last one...

Don't Judge Me. Accept Me.
I think this one pretty much speaks for itself, not just for Autistics but for all people who feel... out of the norm. For me, when I think of this, I think as a parent would when I am out in public and my son loses his cool and throws a temper tantrum like only an Autistic person could. I see the other parents judge me and I think.. if they knew, it would be different.

Autism tends to lend itself to this very well because on the surface, most people don't and can't recognize there's anything wrong beyond the person just being bad, dumb, silly... crazy even. Perhaps if a puzzle piece shaped scar appeared on children with Autism, this one wouldn't be a big deal.

Stop looking at me, the parent... and stop whispering to the person next to you about how bad behaved my child is. Stop thinking my son is rainman, stop thinking he's retarded.... just stop thinking about everything you're thinking except... there's a man with his son. Because that's all we are.

So there you have it, all of the lists on all of the sites on all of the internet summed up into 3 little points. Autistic or not, young or old... practice these 3 things with the people you know. It's not just a list of nice little words of wisdom, they're the building blocks to friendship, to a community and to peace.

My name is Stuart Duncan and my son has Autism. Like many parents thrust into the situation, I had to find my own way for me and for my son. This is my story.

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How Can You Help Your Autistic Child Create Friendships?

Friends are important to people. Having friends and creating friends for your autistic child could be challenging. How will you be able to accept this challenge and help your child who has the disorder of autism, create friendships?

It is imperative to know your child.Know his or her weaknesses and strengths. Consider the social limitations your child may have. Not only participating with autistic children, but non-autistic children. Each child is unique and may need various kinds of help or coaching for encouragement and to gain confidence.

Some autistic children may have difficulty in expressing their verbal language. In addition, not being able to understand verbal language from other children. This can make it a challenge to communicate and create friendships with other children and autistic children.

Therefore, it is wise to determine the limitations your child may have, before you decide, your child should socialize and create friendships.

By taking this action, you will learn what your child is expressing and what he or she is able to handle. This will determine what kind of friends are appropriate for your individual to socialize with, when trying to create friendships.

Set a play date for that is fun for your child and other children. This could be done at school, or outside of the classroom. Take time to find the right situation for your child and other children to participate in.

When you do find the time that will work for all of the children, and the place, keep the time short and limited. This will eliminate stress, frustration and rejection from other children. By being aware of this and taking charge of the situation, your child will probably want to continue this activity or another one. It will help to create friends at his or her own pace.

If your child does not like crowds, bright lights, loud noises, confusing activities, multiple activities, take this into consideration. Do not force your child to take part in areas, where you know he or she will become upset. What is a fun activity or place for some children, could be extremely overwhelming for a child with the disorder of autism.

Another way you can help your autistic child create friendships is, if you have made many attempts for your child to participate in activities, new places, new times, to socialize and it does not seem to be working, perhaps it is time for you to be creative with a new idea or plan.

If you know your child, you will know if he or she needs more time to adjust to other individuals, activities, new places, etc. Be sure you are not placing an enormous amount of pressure on your child, by having too high expectations for him or her to socialize on your terms and thoughts. Instead, take into consideration each individual is different. You will want to evaluate your motives for encouraging creative friendships and socialization for your child.

If your child feels comfortable with one friend and is having fun, that may be all that is necessary for the present time. You may find you do not need to create more friendships or have your child participate in more social activities. Keep the pace simple for creating new friendships. Do not push your child into new friendships, when one or two friends could be enough and it will avoid unwanted stress.

Bonita Darula operates a web sight==> SIGN up to RECEIVE your COMPLIMENTARY WEEKLY AUTISTIC NEWSLETTER on current TOPICS. For example: How can you help your child create and have friends? Order your Autism updated information from your Complimentary Autistic Newsletter to help your child and you.

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Autistic Residential Schools vs Day Schools

It's difficult for any parent to get used to the idea of sending their children away to school, and perhaps even harder for parents of special needs children, such as those who suffer from autism, to do so. Is your child getting a good education? Are other children treating him or her fairly? Will your child enjoy this new situation? Many schools are now set in place to put these fears to rest by solely devoting their attention towards special needs children, and the concept of sending an autistic child to residential school for autistic children instead of a day school program is becoming more popular among parents. Although it may be difficult to adjust to your child living away from home, this may be where the best care and education is available for you child, so carefully consider the advantages before dismissing the idea of residential school for your autistic child.

Residential school programs are often no different than day school programs, but here the student has the opportunity to interact with others outside of a classroom setting. This is sometimes exactly what an autistic child needs to learn socialization skills with people outside of the family.

These schools are also very safe and organized in a way that is conducive to learning. For example, Franklin Academy in Connecticut, which specializes in teaching non-verbal students, has a three to one student to teacher ratio and an average class size of six students. They also plan small-group field trips to public places, so your child has an opportunity to interact in public places.

This is as opposed to day schools, which typically have larger class sizes and therefore cannot handle public outings. Even if the day school specializes in teaching autistic children, they simply may not have the resources and time during the school day for field trips.

Another advantage over day schools, whether public of private, is the living aspect. Although the students who attend these schools are greatly supervised, they learn living skills that they will need in an adult world. Whereas you may feel obligated or want to do things for your child at home, at a residential school, your child will be encouraged to live more independently. At Brehm Preparatory School in Illinois, students learn time and money management and are in charge of simple home maintenance (chores), study time, and recreational activities. Here also, the emphasis is on family.

Family is an important thing to consider with any type of residential school. While your child is learning valuable social skills, he or she may become more distant from his or her immediate family. At schools like Brehm, including Hampshire Country School in New Hampshire, have parents' weekend often to so parents can visit their children. Consider also the stress this may relieve for you and your family. Since you will need to spend less time helping your autistic child with learning everyday life skills, you can devote more time to enjoying their company when you see them. Spend time on your marriage and with your other children, activities that would normally be hard to achieve or ignored with an autistic child at home.

However, it is important to note that residential schooling is not for everyone. Typically, your child needs to be high functioning to handle this school atmosphere. You will need to consider cost, since tuition , room, and board for residential schools can be quite expensive. Remember, residential school is not for everyone, but you should definitely consider the option. Research this type of program so that you can make the best decisions possible for your child's education.

Grab your copy of Rachel Evans' free Autism newsletter overflowing with ideas about which teaching strategy for a child with autism is best. Plus, more information on autism education. Sign up at

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Monday, January 23, 2012

How To Teach Children With Autism Speech and Language

Teaching an Autistic child speech and language can be difficult. Each child on the Autism spectrum can differ greatly with their learning abilities, however most seem to have difficulty grasping language and communication.

Here is a method my parents used to teach me to speak, read and eventually to write. My mum has also used this method successfully with other Autistic children that had no language or speech skills.

Before I was diagnosed with Autism, my parents thought I might have had a speech developmental delay, and so I was seeing a speech therapist when they suggested I get checked out for Autism, as in their opinion I was showing some classic traits of ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorders).

Not long after I was diagnosed with Autism my mum went to America to participate in the SON-RISE program. On her return they set up a therapy room and began intensive Early Intervention / ABA style work with me.

My dad put together a computer for use in the therapy room, as they noticed that at the special school I was attending a few days of the week, I really enjoyed interactive learning programs and looking at pictures on the computer. At that point they had an idea and dad started to make up some Flash Card style PowerPoint presentations I could view and interact with on the computer.

PowerPoint was a good way to make up interactive Flash Cards that he could add sound to. They found that by using pictures that I liked and adding colourful letters and words with the sound of their voices, I was really intrigued and wanted to look at the Flash Cards, so much so that I thrashed them.

The first set they made up were of the alphabet with each colourful letter popping up in succession along with the phonetic sound of the letter which my dad recorded. The interactive Flash Cards progressed onto words then stories. I absolutely loved them and that had a huge impact on my speech and language learning.

For most Autistic or ASD children and children with special learning needs this is a good way to teach them basic language skills, particularly the phonetic alphabet and how those sounds are used to create words.

Unlike videos and or classroom type learning, they can control the learning themselves by interacting, going back and forward as they need, with the Flash Cards with sound. It is also important to make the learning fun, and when they see pictures of things they like and you make them colourful with sounds and voices they recognise it makes them want to learn even more.

Just recently we converted some of the PowerPoint Interactive Flash Cards to the Adobe Flash Media format so they can be viewed on an internet browser. This makes them much easier to view on all computer platforms and easier to share.

So, in summary the Interactive Flash Cards with Sound can be made in a variety of ways either by using PowerPoint style software, including Open Office Impress or with Adobe Flash Media which has the advantage of being easier to share and completely cross platform.

To see a demonstration of the Interactive Flash Cards with Sound visit:

Hi, my name is Isabella, Isy for short. I was born in mid 1997 and was diagnosed with autism at the age of two.

My parents originally started Isabella's Autism Pages and Isybee Autism web pages to help other parents in similar circumstances, and to give recognition to other people and organisations who have helped them help me.

We hope to cover a lot of ground writing articles and providing information and resources for families and persons affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).

Please visit my website for more information and resources: - Autism ASD ABA information and resources.

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Teaching Children With Autism - Know Your Options

Teaching children with autism can be very challenging, but very rewarding. It definitely takes a different skill set to teach children with autism, and a supportive school system to do it well. While many public schools have excellent special education schools, many do not. This is why there are also many great private schools that exist to fill the needs of autistic children in search of a personalized education.

Traditional Classrooms May Not be the Best Way to Teach a Child with Autism

A lot of kids with special needs, including autism, have real problems succeeding in a traditional classroom. Very often, they will need one-on-one instruction to be able to learn. Kids with autism often are distracted by sensory issues and many other things in a traditional classroom. Frequently, they are the target of bullying, which can create self-esteem issues and, of course, greatly affect the child's concentration and learning.

Individualized Education Programs for Kids with Autism

Many autistic kids require individualized learning programs that public schools often are not able to give. Parents usually try to make public schools work for their kids before looking somewhere else, but sometimes there is no choice. Hence, the rising number of private special education schools for kids with autism.

These schools make teaching children with autism into a whole different kind of journey. They have different theories, smaller classes, and more individualized programs. There is usually a 1:1 or 1:2 student to teacher ratio. There are several kinds of special education schools, from day schools and boarding schools, autism only schools and schools that accept kids with a wide range of disabilities.

Choose a Teaching Style that Fits Your Child with Autism

Teachers in some schools will analyze a child's learning style, behaviors, strengths and weaknesses to create a teaching style that works well with that child. Other schools have a more one-size-fits-all approach, using theories of behaviorism or applied behavior analysis (ABA) for all kids, without much variation in manner in which they are used.

Specialized Autism Schools

Specialized autism schools usually include the various therapies that they offer in the price and curriculum. Such therapies can include speech, occupational and physical therapies. These therapies, as well as the individualized attention for the kids come with a hefty price tag, however. Schools can often be up to $50-$75,000 a year. However, parents can sometimes get special schools paid by their local school districts as long as they can prove that their local school is not able to meet their child's needs.

To find these schools, you may want to do an Internet search for them, or ask your local autism society. Most of the time, public schools do an excellent job teaching children with autism but it is important also to know of the other options that are out there.

Parents can often learn which schools are good and which are not from other parents. Let's face it, information from other parents can help in all areas of raising your child with autism. And a great site that has tips and suggestions for helping to raise your autistic child is the There you can sign up for their FREE newsletter with tips and info on autism.

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Friday, January 20, 2012

How to Ensure That an Effective IEP Is Developed and Implemented

What frustrates parents the most about dealing with the school in relation to their special needs child?

When parents call me to say that they need help to advocate at a school meeting, it is because their child's educational needs aren't being met at school and they don't know what they can do to change things. When I ask the obvious question; does your child have an Individual Education Plan in place? They say 'Yes, but it is not being followed'. And THAT is what frustrates parents. They've followed the process of requesting an IPRC meeting to identify their child as exceptional and to determine the correct classroom placement, which finally led to the development of the IEP. The IEP is a document...a plan that should guide teachers on the steps to take in order to meet the educational needs of the student. So why is the student still having so much difficulty at school? You can't MAKE a teacher teach a certain way, or provide the modifications and accommodations that are in the IEP. So what is a parent supposed to do?

Perhaps the reason that the IEP is not being followed is that it is too general - it is not specific to the individual student. Perhaps it was processed in isolation as part of a procedure rather than being developed with input from a multidisciplinary team of professionals with each of the student's needs as the focus of the IEP.

I suggest that the parent request an IEP meeting to include all the key players, which is anyone who can provide input and suggest teaching strategies and accommodations to meet the needs of the child. The principal, because ultimately the principal is responsible for ensuring the implementation of the IEP; the classroom teacher and the educational assistant, because they will be the ones providing the teaching and the accommodations that are in the IEP; the special education resource teacher because he or she is the lead person in the development of the IEP; if the child has motor skills difficulties make sure an occupational therapist attends; if the child has language difficulties make sure a speech and language pathologist attends; if the child has behavior difficulties make sure a behavioral consultant attends, if the child has autism spectrum disorder (ASD) make sure someone from the ASD support team attends, and so on....

At the meeting, the first step will be to clearly define the strength and needs of the student. Then go through the IEP step by step to make sure each need is thoroughly addressed, and that the goals and expectations are specific and measurable. Make sure that any equipment accommodations are readily available and can be provided immediately. Identify who is responsible for what service and how often. And finally, request that all school staff who have dealings with the student, are aware of the accommodations in the IEP.

At the end of the meeting, schedule a follow-up meeting in one month to evaluate what is working in the IEP and what is not working. This is not to evaluate the student per se, but rather the effectiveness of the IEP and whether or not it is being implemented successfully. Make the necessary changes to the IEP, and schedule another follow- up meeting in one month. Do this as many times as is necessary.

This is the best strategy to ensure that the IEP is effective and it is being implemented as written.

Karen Robinson at AFASE at school provides special education advocacy training and consulting services to parents and guardians whose children are challenged by autism and other developmental disabilities.

I develop my clients into informed, proactive advocates for their children's educational needs. They are empowered by current, customized information that enables them to articulate their children's needs to school staff and school board administrators in a way that is both assertive and collaborative.

Browse through my website to learn more and sign up to receive free advocacy tips and news.

Looking Ahead - Autism and Employment

"Why should we hire you?" "Where do you see yourself in five years?" "What is one of your weaknesses?" Job interviews can be a stressful and (in these times) difficult thing to come by. Interviewees on the autism spectrum can face additional and largely subjective hurdles. No matter how confident you are, job interviews can be an arduous task. After all, the employer most likely has your resume or pertinent job skills - so they are there to judge you, your personality and your ability to answer tough questions.

Employment in the autism community is a pressing social and economic consideration for all of us. According to one study by The National Autism Resource and Information Center, only 32.5% of young adults on the autism spectrum currently worked for pay versus an average of 59.0% for all respondents. There was only one disability group with a lower percentage than this. When you consider the unemployed searching for work, only 29% of those on the spectrum indicated that they were looking for work (as opposed 48% of typical individuals). Because these numbers are viewing all of "those on the spectrum," the vast majority of those working or looking for work are most likely more mildly affected by autism.

It's hard to quantify the impact of earning a living wage. The internal, psychological benefits associated with employment are more transparent. Realizing the outward, sociological benefits as well as the effects on others perceptions when it comes to autism in general, is another thing to consider. Like it or not, a large factor in our perception of others is based on their profession, trade skills or accomplishments. How many times have you used the ice-breaker, "What do you do?" to get to know someone. When an individual with autism (on any level of the spectrum) is gainfully employed, the publics' view on their capabilities and their general place in society may become more developed. Beyond these considerations, one must consider that over the lifetime of an individual with autism, costs associated with treatment and living arrangements can amount to over 3 million dollars.

In any job market, employers are usually choosing between several qualified candidates to fill their needs. Often times, candidates' attributes, awards, skills and non-job related interests become key factors in landing interviews. Imagine yourself as an employer browsing through dozens of resumes which all, more or less, are identical. A brief list of these skills or interests may just get your resume sorted into that elusive 'to interview' stack. When it comes to more challenged individuals, early and proactive actions to help to build these 'resume padding' items is the best approach.

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

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

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Divorce and Autism: Making the Best of an Unfortunate Situation

The myth that families of children with Autism have an 80% divorce rate was proven false by researcher Brian Freedman, PhD, clinical director of the Center for Autism and Related Disorders at the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, as this article, Autism Families: High Divorce Rate Is a Myth, states. Despite the fact that parents of a child with an Autism Spectrum Disorder experience more stress, the rates of divorce remain similar to those of parents with neuro-typical children. Unfortunately, that does not mean that parents of special needs children do NOT get divorced.

So what is a parent of a child with Autism to do when they suddenly become an every other weekend dad or mom? The answer is the same I would give any other divorced parent; find a way to co-parent constructively. When couples with children divorce it becomes necessary for them to mindfully redefine their relationship. Remember that there are no ex-parents, only ex-spouses. Despite the fact that the marriage has ended the parenting connection will continue forever.

The best gift any parent can give their child in this situation is to make a conscious effort to redesign their roles, without conflict and negativity. This means:

1. Putting the needs of the children first.

2. Separating parenting issues from personal issues.

3. Establishing new boundaries.

4. Discovering a way to effectively communicate with one another.

This is much easier said than done but here are a few suggestions to keep you on track.

- Communicate regularly with your ex about the therapies your child is receiving and find out how you can reinforce them during your time together. Consistency is important for children on the spectrum and keeping schedules and routines as similar as possible between houses will help.

- Pay attention to your environment and try to look at it from your child's perspective. Taking your child's sensory sensitivities in mind try to create a space for him that will be predictable and comforting in order to make her feel secure in their other home.

- Be mindful of how your child handles the transitions when moving from house to house. Coping with a new situation takes time. Keep in mind that it will take her a while to settle in when first arriving from the home of your ex.

- Don't let guilt run the way you parent. Remain in charge. Your children need to know the boundaries and how to be responsible for themselves more than ever. Loving, positive rules create emotional order, which in turn allows character and love to grow.

- Create your own family rituals, they make great memories. This can be as simple as having regular family meals with candlelight, making bedtime a predictable routine with storytelling, or creating traditions for holidays and special events.

- Remember that love is not about externals. You don't have to be a Disneyland dad or an overindulgent mom. Spend your time, not your money, on making genuine connections that create secure relationships with your children. This will reduce the need your children may have to search for outside 'things' to feel valued and important.

- Manage your new home with the same close attention you give your job/career/ business. Remember, in this job, you are the boss and you run the household. Keep in mind how you would rate yourself on a performance evaluation.

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 e-course, Parenting a Child with Autism - 3 Secrets to Thrive and a weekly parenting tip newsletter, The Spectrum.

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Monday, January 16, 2012

Finding a Dentist for Special Needs Kids

Good dental hygiene can be almost impossible for some special needs kids. The daily routines of life can make it easy to forget about brushing and flossing, and some kids with sensory integration issues may be very resistant to the activity.

Finding a good dentist may help. Dentists and their staff can help educate children about dental health and encourage children to brush, floss, and rinse. Parents may be able to learn tips on how to help their children take care of their teeth.

When seeking out a dentist for your child, keep in mind the uniqueness of your child and his or her needs. Here are some helpful questions to ask as your seek out a dentist.

Are your familiar with my child's disability?Many dentist offices will express their willingness to see patients with disabilities. However, as many parents know, sometimes "disabilities" are all "lumped together." There are many types of disabilities, each with unique characteristics. Successful dental appointments depend upon the dentist's and the dental staff's willingness to learn about your child's specific needs.

May we tour your facility before we visit? Going to the dentist can be scary! Touring the facility ahead of time will eliminate some of the "unknown" and perhaps ease some of your child's fears. He or she can sit in the dental chair (and maybe even make it work), look at the tools, and maybe even get a free toothbrush before the scheduled appointment. Receptionists and other staff will also be familiar with your child before the appointment. Meeting the dentist and staff ahead of time is especially helpful. However, scheduling and multiple locations may limit staff availability.

If touring is not practical, check out the office's website. Some have pictures and bios of the staff, as well as virtual office tours.

Do you have a private room for your special needs patients? In many dental offices, patients are seen in one big room, perhaps partitioned by cubicles or curtains. Kids with sensory issues could be overwhelmed by sounds such as drills, cleaning tools, or by other children. Some offices provide a calmer atmosphere in private rooms for their special need patients.

How do you handle tantrums and refusals of treatment? Pediatric and adolescent dentists are well-acquainted with these issues. The best prevention of tantrums is educating or preparing the parent and child before a procedure. Some kids will refuse to have their teeth polished. Find out if there is an alternative to the cleaning tools, such as simply brushing the child's teeth.

Do you provide anesthesia for dental work? If your child is already fearful of strangers and dentists, or has severe oral sensitivities, anesthesia may be an option for cleaning and dental work.This may be found on the dentist's website. If so, familiarize yourself with the different options they offer.

Is dental work done under anesthesia performed in the office or elsewhere? Some offices offer general anesthesia for major dental work, provided by an anesthesiologist. This might be done at an out-patient surgery center. If the child needs a filling, root canal, or crown, general anesthesia might be a good option. While the child is "under," the dentist may also provide a thorough cleaning.

How do you prepare your special needs patients for the procedures? Some dentists show the tools, demonstrate on dolls or their own teeth, or even have pictures of procedures. The dentist may have suggestions for preparing the child at home, too.

Will my child see the same dentist at every visit? For people with developmental disabilities such as autism, this may be important for continuation of care. The more interactions the child has with a dentist, the more trust builds.

Do you take Medical Assistance? Many dentists do not take medical help. However, if financially feasible, paying out of pocket for a dentist that fits the child can be worth it in the long run.

Finding a good dentist can be a long process. The search is worth it!

Elizabeth Givler and her husband raise three kids, two of which are on the autism spectrum. Elizabeth has a passion for equipping other special needs families to live as "normal" lives as possible. Elizabeth consults for non profit and faith-based organizations regarding inclusion and natural supports. Currently she teaches clarinet lessons to students with and without special needs and assists families with special dietary needs through her Wildtree business. Read her blog at or contact Elizabeth at

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Understanding Autism and Irrational Fears: 5 Ideas You Can Try Today

The following are 5 common fears suffered by autistics, and how you can effectively handle the situation to create a more positive experience for your child.

1. Fear of the dentist - Many autistic children are afraid of the dentist. This shouldn't be too surprising, considering the dentist can be hard to take for the average person.

Understanding autism and fear of the dentist is a matter of introducing your child to the right dentist. You need to find a dentist who is experienced with children with disabilities, particularly autism. If you have trouble finding a dentist with such experience, your best option is to choose one who has compassion and a willingness to learn.

Overcoming the dentist fear is about slowly introducing your child to the environment. The first few visits should only consist of getting your child to sit in the chair and the dentist looking in his/her mouth. Furthermore, distractions such as TV can help make the process easier to take. This process can take several months.

2. Fear of the dark - Many autistic children fear the dark because they can't control it and fear the unknown.

To help your child overcome this fear, try a game of peek-a-boo with the blanket, allowing your child to move from dark to light at their control. Other methods that may work in understanding autism fears of the dark include providing your child with a flashlight, lamp or nightlight.

3. Fear of loud sudden noises - Loud sudden noises such as a fire alarm or thunder, often startles and upsets autistics. Sensitivity to sound may be desensitized through sound recording. Provide your child with a recording of the sound that upsets him/her and allow them to start the sound and slowly increase its volume. Having control over the playback of sound can help the child become familiar with the noise, allowing them to recognize it when it occurs.

4. Fear of looking at people - Many autistics don't look directly at others. Many researchers believe this is because autistics cannot accurately interpret expressions and emotions. Thus, autistics generally find it disturbing to look at people's faces.

New studies on understanding autism have found that autistics respond well to cartoons that feature trains and cars that have people's faces superimposed on them. These particular cartoons known as "The Transporters" have been particularly successful at helping autistics learn about emotions.

5. Fear of socializing - One of the biggest autistic fears is socializing. This means that it is often difficult for them to make friends. The following are ways you can help encourage them to socialize with those their own age:

- Encourage your child to get phone numbers of some of his/her schoolmates and bring them home so you can make calls.

- Schedule a playtime or invite another family of a fellow schoolmate over to your home for brief interaction (2 hour limit)

- Don't rely on the friendship of only one child. Invite more than one child over.

- Ask your child what he/she wants to do when the friend comes over. Create a list of activities so things remain entertaining. Just remember, you need to teach your child to be flexible and accept suggestions from others. This can take time.

The more knowledge people have in understanding autism, the easier it will be for your child to make and keep friends.

By Rachel Evans. Sign up today for a free newsletter and discover how understanding autism can help you help your child. On the site you'll find more information about high functioning autism and methods for learning to cope with autism symptoms.

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Alternative Remedies For Autism

Usually the first therapy mentioned for Autism is medicine. This is changing. More men and women are open to trying different remedies. Treatments might have terrible side effects, so more people are looking for natural products. Here are some alternative treatments used for Autism.


There are several diets that can be used when treating Autism. They range from eating Gluten free items to eliminating dairy from the diet plan. Some Autistic children have a sensitive reaction to certain ingredients in food. These ingredients will help with behavioral problems, or meltdowns when consumed.

Omega 3's

Omega 3 has been discovered to be of assistance in treating Autism, in addition to a few other disorders. People utilizing the Omega 3 have discovered better sleep patterns, social interaction, and over all health of their child. People needing to try this alternative treatment can add fish oil to their children's diet. Fish oil can be found in capsule for or fluid. Some kids have trouble swallowing the capsule. The fluid form can be located in a flavorless type that is mixed in a drink.

Music Therapy

A number of studies have discovered music therapy to be very beneficial to the Autistic child. Now and again an Autistic child will sing together with music while they won't speak. This is one means of working on the child's speech. The music may be relaxing to an Autistic child. It can settle them down enough to participate in an activity with others.

Sensory Integration

Kids with Autism can be very understanding of noises, tastes, textures, and smells. Sensory integration therapy helps their youngster to deal with whatever it is causing them problems. It can likewise be employed to calm a youngster with something like a certain smell or texture.

Speech Therapy

Speech therapy is a must for any child with Autism. Kids with Autism commonly misuse words. They often times have a difficult time comprehending the significance of words like few or many. Speech therapists can can assist in teaching gestures and correspondence skills to nonverbal children. They can help their child to quickly learn how to read other individuals body language.

Play Therapy

Play therapy can be be extremely helpful when treating an Autistic child. Play therapy allows their youngster to relax and center on things they like. A therapist working with an autistic child will play on the ground with the youngster. They will give the child various toys and see if the child takes a liking to one of them. If their child starts to play the therapist will then endeavor to interact with their child. After the therapist has created a relationship with the youngster they might bring some other child into play therapy. This can sometimes be a good way to have the Autistic child to play with other children. Usually a therapist does the play therapy, still the mum or dad can do the therapy after they have learned the techniques used.

These are just a a couple of the numerous alternative treatments obtainable for Autism. Medication does not need to be a first resort. These can also be mixed with medication for a better remedy plan.

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