Sunday, May 27, 2012

CranioSacral Therapy (CST) For Children With Autism

CranioSacral Therapy(CST) has been proven to be one of the helpful alternative therapy for autistic children. It uses gentle hands-on touch to decease counteract stress and strain on central nervous system. This CST Therapy must be administered by trained experts, like chiropractors, massage therapists, or physical therapists.
Cranial Osteopathy was developed at the beginning of the 20th century by Dr. William Garner Sutherland, an osteopathic physican, who founded himself in the year of 1872. The Cranial Therapy was not accepted by people for 40 years until some highly sensitive computerised medical diagnostic equipment confirmed that Dr. William Garner Sutherland has been right.
The Therapy is based on the idea that the entire nervous system of human body is in constant rhythmic motion, once some of the movements are restricted, symptoms like headaches or depression would raise. While working with an kid with autism, the initial focus often is on the cranium to locate an area that has the greatest motion response to the craniosacral rhythm. Delicate release and pumping techniques are used to create more motion in that area.
Each treatment will take about one hour, and it's best to be administered once a week at the beginning. Don't expect that the CST could "cure" autism in the end, well, it can't. However, according to the parents of autistic children, this therapy do make things better, such as improved socialization, speaking ability, ability to connect with others, increased eye contact and so on.
CranioSacral Therapy(CST) enhances the body's natral healing process, in the mean time, it combines well with other forms of treatment that work for ASD, such as animal therapy, electric shock therapy, gluten and casein free diets, music therapy, occupational therapy, Live Cell & Stem Cell Therapy, Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy and Nutritional Therapies.
CST also works well in the treatment of ADD(attention deficit disorder), ADHD(attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), Asperger's Syndrome and PDD-NOS(pervasive developmental delays, not otherwise specified).
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Saturday, May 26, 2012

Asperger's Syndrome in Adults Living With Your Adult Child

There are many issues involved in dealing with Asperger's syndrome in adults that you would not necessarily have with other adult children. The issue of readiness to live alone at 18 or 21 is one of them.
Many young adults without neurological disabilities are also living with their parents after graduating college or high school as well. The press has even given them the name "boomerang kids." Still, living with your adult Asperger's child does have its special challenges. So how do you make sure it works for both of you?
1. Set Clear Boundaries
To start with, you need to set clear boundaries and rules as to the living situation, and what will be expected of all people in the household. This is a good idea no matter whom you are living with. But if you are dealing with an adult child with Asperger's syndrome this has extra importance. Why? Because these adults crave clarity and direction. They completely flounder without it. They do not have the ability to read between the lines and understand what is expected of them. You have to spell it out.
2. Make Rules Clear
You can save yourself a lot of resentment in the future by making these rules clear ahead of time. Do you want your adult child to help with the chores around the house? Pay rent? Come home by a certain time of night? Limit the amount of people they have over? Then tell them in very explicit terms.
Never assume "Oh, a reasonable person would know to put the dishes away without being told" or "Anyone would know it's impolite to have friends over after 11pm" or whatever it may be -- and then get mad at your child when they break these invisible rules!
Common sense is not a strength of a person with Asperger's syndrome. Mostly, they march according to their logic, which makes perfect sense to them. But if you explain to them why you want something a done a certain way or why a certain thing is important to you, then they are perfectly capable of, and usually even eager to, follow the rules.
3. Pay attention to Emotional Maturity, Anxiety and Level of Detail
It can be a hard transition for anyone who is leaving the relatively sheltered world of education to whatever comes next. When dealing with Asperger's syndrome in adults, though, going from a structured existence where there were clear goals and ways to accomplish them to an aimless existence in which none of this exists can be very hard. You also have to remember that emotional maturity levels of this age group will be behind typical kids, due to the nature of developmental disabilities.
The Experience of a Young Woman
One young woman reveals the following about her experiences living with her parents after college.
When I lived at my parents' house after college, I was an extremely frustrated person. I had absolutely nothing to do with my time, and no way to get out of the house except for perhaps once a week. I didn't drive, and we lived far from town. I had no control over my life whatsoever.
I would go to my parents for sympathy but they'd just get mad at me. They would go out for dinner, and I'd spend the whole evening resenting that they were able to leave the house and I wasn't.
When they'd come home late at night, they'd ask me why I hadn't done the dishes or some other chore, and I'd explode at them about how lucky they were and get mad at them for asking me to help.
It is clear that I had very little emotional maturity at that time. I was drowning in self-pity and didn't even realize it, and it made me a pretty selfish person at that time in my life. I had no way to feel like I had any control over my life, so had no way to get out of it.
I should have been grateful for a place to stay and helped out around the house in return, but no one had made it clear to me that this was what I was expected to do. And I was so deep in my own feelings of remorse for the life I wanted to have that I couldn't see it.
What Would Help This Situation
In retrospect, there are a few things that would have made this situation better. When she came home from college, there should have been an in depth, very detailed explanation of "We're glad to help you out for a little bit and let you stay here, but we expect some things in return. We know the (circumstances of your life that brought you to this place) are very hard, but we still need you to help out." Then list the specific chores she would be responsible for, or at least the specific things she should make a point to look for to see if they needed to be done. Make a chart. Make it visual, make it stick, and most of all, do it at a time when no one is defensive and it's being done out of love rather than resentment.
The Method of Communication Matters for Adults with Asperger's syndrome
Telling someone to do something in a tone of voice that implies you are angry at them will not have the effect you want when dealing with Asperger's syndrome in adults. Adults with Asperger's syndrome are very sensitive to emotion, despite not always being able to display it.
They will pick up on the anger in your tone and be so overwhelmed by it that they will not be able to process what you are saying. The anger is scary to them and makes them go into "survival mode" or at least get very defensive. This takes all their mental energy, and they will totally not remember what you are saying.
Therefore, the mistake will be repeated again and again and again until tensions escalate to unbearable levels. Each party is just trying to do what seems right to them, but both parties fail to see that a lack of proper communication is causing all this resentment. It matters how you communicate.
Be Aware of Each Other's Emotions, and Pay Attention to Detail
The level of detail also matters. Telling your adult child to "help around the house more" is a very ambiguous statement. Adults with Asperger's syndrome do not do well with ambiguous statements. Telling them "You should know to do this without us asking" is not helpful either. The feelings of guilt and inadequacy that it creates gets in the way of any helpful message getting across. If they knew to do it, they would be doing it. Most adults with Asperger's syndrome are eager to please.
Be specific on what chores you want done when, how many friends is a "few," what time "by night" means, or any other ambiguous statement. You may think "They're so smart, they should know this stuff," but remember, adults with Asperger's syndrome have uneven abilities. They seem very smart in some areas, but can be quite clueless in others.
In most cases, it is not a case of laziness. It's a case of having no idea what one is supposed to do, or having too much emotional baggage or anxiety to pay attention to anything but the thoughts in their head. In either case, specific direction can work wonders.
There are many other issues involved when dealing with Asperger's syndrome in adults, and living with your adult child. Many are covered in detail in my book, Thriving in Adulthood with Asperger's Syndrome. But we cannot stress enough that the most important issue is communication, and communication in a way that your child can really understand. Asperger's syndrome in adults can present many issues, but with a little understanding of these issues, they can be easily overcome. For information about adults with autism see the site
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Autism 101 - The Link Between Being The Second Child And Autism

New studies indicate that autism may be related to birth order. And not necessarily the way you may think. The research points to second children being born in under two years difference from their siblings may be at a higher risk of autism. This can be alarming to many parents whose sweet little ones were born close in age.
The reasons why are not well documented yet. It seems age and race of the parents does not matter at all, it is still presenting higher prevalence in all second born children.
Some researchers believe it has to do with the mother's body simply not having enough time between pregnancies to recuperate enough vital nutrients such as folic acid.
Folic acid is an integral part of a child's development in the womb. A lack of it can lead to developmental delays, as well as preventable deformities in embryos.
Could this explain the increase in autistic children?
As woman move more into the work force and out of the home, the age which a woman becomes pregnant is getting later and later. And with those later in life pregnancies the pressure to have another child soon after is increased.
No parent wants to think the timing of their child's birth could play a role in whether or not they have autism, but this new study could indicate exactly that.
By not allowing our bodies to fully recuperate after a pregnancy, we are robbing our bodies and our next child of the needed vitamins and minerals that they need for proper development.
Some others argue that the reason for the rise of autism in the second child, is that we simply have a control child to compare them to. Little Will isn't hitting milestones at the same time his older brother did. And the red flag goes up.
With our first child, there is no one to compare them to on a daily basis. Therefore, they may be slipping through the cracks, as children who could have been diagnosed at an earlier stage in life but wasn't simply for our own lack of education and knowledge of developmental stages.
No matter what is causing the autism in our children, one thing is certain, autism is on the rise, and we need to find out why if we are to help those severely affected by this disorder.
Now we all love our children irregardless, but finding the reason autism is here, and on the rise should be on the forefront of all our minds. Only with research and education will we be able to find the source and help children affected.
Autism can be difficult to deal with. For more tips on autism, click here!
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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Our Savant-Like Ability to Decipher Hue Renders Rainbows (and Everything Else) In the "Key" of Red

The autistic savant paradigm
When autistic savants graciously demonstrate their outstanding skills for us, be they musical, mathematical or artistic in nature, we find their talents spectacular. We do not know how they can retrieve information or solve problems with such ease and rapidity. Nor do they know. Take for example the autistic twins John and Michael, who have I.Q.s well below the average, and are unable to understand basic mathematical operations such as multiplication or division. In spite of these and other limitations, they are adept at making lightning calendar calculations, and are able to simply see prime numbers of a surprising order without even using pencil and paper.
Dr. Oliver Sacks has had the opportunity to work with John and Michael, and in that joyous blend of inquisitiveness, wit and charm, The Man Who Mistook his Wife for a Hat, he shares some of his clinical observations regarding their ability to mentally calculate very large prime numbers. He tells how the twins quickly reduce any number thrown at them to shambles, factoring it and sifting out the decomposable elements. The prime number kernels that remain seem to be favoured as perceptual events that have a higher reality value for them: they find them as remarkable and awe inspiring as we do the process itself.
Unconscious algorithms
What process permits such intuitive feats? Dr. Sacks suggests that these calculations are arrived at with the use of an unconscious algorithm. He says that the twins "must have 'sense' in their numbers-in the same way, perhaps, as a musician must have harmony", and he quotes Leibniz who said that "the pleasure we obtain from music comes from counting, but counting unconsciously." It is generally accepted, especially amongst musicians, that music is closely related to mathematics, but what of color now? Could the pleasure that we derive from juxtaposing "harmonious" colors also be satisfying our love for counting? When I read Sacks' remark that these savants have a 'Pythagorean' sensibility and that "what is odd is not its existence, but that it is apparently so rare", I thought that this kind of sensibility might actually be commonplace but unnoticed. I have long suspected that colors might be perceived according to the Pythagorean laws that explain our understanding of scales and harmony in music, and DR. Sacks' comment reminded me of some numbers that I had played with while studying color in television broadcasting.
Rational colors
To understand how harmonics may be applied to color vision, consider the analogy of music. If you pluck a guitar string and then place your finger lightly at its midpoint, you will hear the same pitch sounded one octave higher. All natural harmonics occur at whole integer fractions of their fundamental. The smaller the denominator of the fraction, the more harmonious the harmonic sounds to our ear. In fact, the first harmonics to appear in the series above a given fundamental give a pure major triad. Getting back to the octave for a moment, recall that a frequency that is exactly the double of the other will be recognized as having the same abstract pitch. Doubling the frequency or halving the wavelength amounts to the same thing. If we consider the visual field as ranging from 750nm at the red end of the visible spectrum to 380nm at the violet end, it will be noted that the octave of red (requiring half the wavelength of the deepest red, or 375nm) is not quite reached. Nevertheless, we feel that violet tends towards red, and we have even invented the color wheel to express this subjectively felt continuity.
In spite of the fact that the visible spectrum falls just short of encompassing a whole octave, I believe that our brain has learned to tackle this wave phenomenon with the same software (perhaps located in the thalamus) that it uses to make sense of sound, a phenomenon that actually encompasses several octaves. It is not so farfetched to imagine that by recognizing patterns of relationships between visual data--patterns that it has already seen in auditory phenomena--the brain would be capable of organizing such data in a similar fashion. To verify that these harmonic relationships do exist, we will be justified in using a virtual fundamental lying outside of the visual field to appreciate the unconscious algorithms that the brain utilises to determine color hue and to appreciate visual harmony.
More specifically, I have found that a scale or rainbow of colours may be generated mathematically by considering the visible range of colours as a series of harmonics beginning at the 16th partial above a given fundamental red. For the purposes of conscious (and more laborious) calculations, a particular red wave length may be thought of as the brain's virtual color yardstick. This might vary amongst individuals but would always be exactly four octaves below a visible red perceived as a discrete hue by the individual. By using scalar ratios to calculate the harmonics, it is not necessary to worry about octaves, however.
Scalar ratios
The scalar ratios lie between 1 and 2, including 1 but not reaching 2 since dividing a wavelength by 2 would again bring us to the same abstract pitch. Scalar ratios may be used to quickly calculate the wavelength of a given partial. Now the 16th partial, being one of the octaves of the fundamental, will use 1 as its ratio because it has the same pitch as the fundamental when we disregard octaves. To build a color scale out of harmonics that would have a 652nm wavelength red as its 16th partial, we simply calculate the 17th partial by dividing 652nm by 17/16 (or 1.0625), which is about 614nm and is perceived as orange. The 18th partial then very neatly falls on 580nm, which we perceive as yellow. The next color in this scale is a yellow/green, followed by green, aqua, light blue, blue, indigo, and so on.
Primary colors
If we could see the entire range of colors in the lower octaves that serve as a virtual scaffolding for our single octave vision, we could note that someone using 652nm as a visual yardstick would first encounter an octave of the same RED as the 2nd partial; the 3rd partial (equivalent to the 5th degree in a musical scale with just intonation) would be BLUE; the 4th partial would be another octave of the fundamental (the same red); the next new color to appear (the 5th partial, equivalent to the 3rd degree of a musical scale) would be GREEN. I find it fascinating that these colors, equivalent to the major triad in music, happen to be the three colors that are used as primary colors in visual applications that use additive color, such as the television. An individual using a larger wavelength as the preferred yardstick might have a different subjective feeling for these colors. If one uses a (scalar) fundamental red of 725nm as the yardstick, then the first new colors to appear in this harmonic series are RED, BLUE and YELLOW, exactly the colors that are preferred by children and that are used as primary colors in the subtractive approach to color. In all cases, the resulting scale rests on a fundamental from the red end of the spectrum, and this is why I say that we perceive our world in the key of red.
Visit my spotlight page on the Lulu site at to see what is new from my Dreambox Press, or go to and search for Michelle Arpin.
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Accidental Genius

In 1955, when Darold Treffert, MD, (1989) reported for his first position as an attending psychiatrist, among his first patients there were several autistics with special abilities. Young David had memorized the bus schedule for each stop in every major city in Wisconsin. Then Billy could stand on the free throw line of the hospital's basketball court and NEVER miss a shot. During his career Treffert discovered that approximately 10% of all people diagnosed with autism in the state of Wisconsin had some type of savant-like abilities.
One of the most notable of the cases reviewed by Treffert was Kim Peek, a prodigious savant of phenomenal ability who began reading at 2 and can, among other amazing abilities, quote verbatim from over 12,000 books. Medical research has indicated that Peek's brain does not function normally. Specifically, the corpus callosum and the anterior commissure - the two structures that connect the left and right hemispheres of his brain - are missing. He also was born with macroephaly and damage to his cerebellum. (Kim Peek was the subject of the Rainman movie. Peek's character was played by Dustin Hoffman.)
Treffert's research into prodigious savants (i.e. people with diagnosed both as having the savant syndrome and the most remarkable abilities) led him to several conclusions. The main one is what he calls the "tyranny of the left brain." This means that once the rest of the brain - and especially the right brain - is free from interference from the left, then phenomenal abilities emerge. Secondly, the memorization ability of the savant predominantly involves implicit memory - that is, memory devoid of meaning. These savants tend to have unfathomable memory and calculating capability. However, as there is a disconnection between the semantic facilities of the brain and their explicit memory formation, the practical value of their ability is largely negated.
What this does underline, however, is that the expanse of implicit memories, calculating abilities, and musical abilities is allowed to emerge because of a lack of interference. This leaves open the door for the possibility that these potentials could be tapped in ordinary individuals. Treffert's recent writings - which may be found on the Wisconsin Medical Society's website - highlight his concept that there may be an accidental genius within everyone. This reflects his research into several cases where an otherwise normal person develops savant-like symptoms soon after experiencing brain trauma or an illness.
At this point, Treffert's research establishes that the there are two criteria for unleashing potentials hidden deep within the human substrates. First, a person would need to be born with a neurological defect or the defect would have to occur during the first couple of years of their lives - this implies that increased abilities can occur due to a destruction of mental capacity. This leads to the obvious question as to whether enhancements can occur without the cost created by diminished mental functioning. While it may be a long time before clinicians and scientists can recreate savant-like abilities in normal people (i.e. non-savants), by conducting an evidence-based study of hypnosis subjects and reviewing Transcranial Magnetics (TCM) research literature, one could logically infer the high probability of mental enhancement.
Treffert's second criterion was that once detected, the ability needed to be nurtured. He noticed that once a prodigious savant's special ability was discovered it began to flourish once it was encouraged through praise and other recognition. However, when the interest waned or was removed - sometimes for the good of the patient - then the ability diminished. (Treffert objects to the misguided removal of such nurturing.) Additionally, it was discovered in the analysis of Kim Peek that once one savant ability was uncovered others could arise. For instance, Peek's ability to memorize books came first; his ability to memorize symphonies, later.
Tim Brunson, PhD
The International Hypnosis Research Institute is a member supported project involving integrative health care specialists from around the world. We provide information and educational resources to clinicians. Dr. Brunson is the author of over 150 self-help and clinical CD's and MP3's.
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How Adults With Autism or Asperger's Syndrome Can Land a Great Job

When you have Asperger's syndrome, a form of high functioning autism, the job search and especially the interview can be markedly more difficult than for typical peers. You may be a smart, experienced candidate with great work ethics, but how are you supposed to get that across to the interviewer?
Some people on the autism spectrum have trouble looking others in the eye, they may fidget during job interviews or they may come across as if they are not serious and engaged. They may have trouble communicating in a way that shows the employer just how much they are really capable of. Here are some tips that might help.
Adults with Asperger's syndrome - 7 Job Search Tips
1. The Internet can help especially for adults with Asperger's syndrome
These days, a lot of advertisements for jobs are posted on the Internet. This eliminates the need for a daily paper or more complicated ways of searching (although you still should use those to complement your Internet searches if you don't find something right away).
Use the Internet to make an initial list of jobs that look good to you, and then start calling or filling out applications. The Internet in many cases means you don't have to send out physical applications, streamlining and making the whole process a lot easier. Make sure you look at which lists job opportunities by city.
2. Consider a job where you can telecommute
For an adult with Asperger's syndrome, there are many advantages to a job where you telecommute versus a traditional office job. The most obvious one for adults with Asperger's syndrome is that body language, and reading other people's non-verbal language is rarely an issue. Many telecommuting jobs even let you interview over the telephone, which allows your best traits to come out. No worrying about looking the interviewer in the eye, fidgeting, or where to put your hands.
There are many jobs that allow for telecommuting, from writing and artistic endeavors to computer programming. There are some companies where most employees telecommute... that is, they will send you whatever equipment you need to do your job, and you do it from home. That is quite useful because you can apply for national jobs no matter where you live.
Not having to deal with office politics, at least as overtly, and being in an environment where you don't have to worry about sensory issues are also other advantages for adults with Asperger's syndrome. You can try to use Google to find these jobs.
A few websites list a wide variety of jobs where companies post listing, you respond over the internet and are hired over the internet. There is no actual in-person communication. A great site which lists many jobs in writing, computer programming, website work, and graphics design (all great jobs for adults with Asperger's syndrome) is Another is
3. Take advantage of every opportunity in your area
If you can find recruiters to interview with that might be able to hook you up with a good job, then go for it. A recruiter (or "head hunter") may be able to help an adult with Asperger's syndrome navigate the challenge of the interview process. Most recruiters make a commission if you are hired. And they will talk directly with the hiring company, on your behalf, to try and explain or overcome issues that the company may have with you in order to get you hired.
If your local employment center offers networking classes or events, then try them out. If you have access to any sort of interview preparation programs either on the computer or in person, then practice, practice, practice. There may be some government assistance offered to those with a formal diagnosis of autism so ask at your local employment office. Even though it may seem pointless or fruitless in the short term, leave no stone unturned in your effort to find a job and successfully apply for it.
4. Practice, practice, practice
It goes without saying that the interview is the most important part of this process.
Find someone who will practice interviewing with you. Practice over and over again, until you can answer interview questions in your sleep. Look up common questions on the Internet.
Common questions include those about your strengths and weaknesses, particular instances of times when you delivered superior performance or used problem solving skills to solve a unique and difficult problem in your previous job.
When asked about your weaknesses, minimize them. Say something like "Some people say I take my work too seriously." You don't want them to know what your actual weaknesses are, but you don't want to say nothing, either.
5. Adults with Asperger's syndrome are visual so video tape your practice interviews
Adults with Asperger's syndrome are often very visual. If you could see yourself as you practice interview, you can see ways to improve. If you have a video camera, or if your phone takes videos, have a friend or family member video tape you while you practice your interview. Watching the video can help you see ways to improve. You may see that you are fidgeting or picking at your nose! Things that you did not realize as you practiced.
6. Don't worry - you can succeed!
The job search and interview process will drive most people crazy sooner or later. Adults with Asperger's syndrome, in particular, often have high anxiety levels and worry a lot. You may feel that there is so much to worry about... Did I do this right? Could I have done this better? Did I say the wrong thing? And so forth.
Find some ways to let off steam after an interview. Do something you enjoy. Hopefully you have people who can listen to you and give you support during this process. Remember, it's not easy for anyone. Don't isolate yourself...reach out for help.
7. Other Tips
Research the company ahead of time so you can appear knowledgeable about what they do.
Try to look the interviewer in the eye if possible, or look at the tip of his or her nose if looking the person in the eye is uncomfortable. Most with Asperger's syndrome have a nearly impossible time looking someone in the eye. But this is very important. At least look at the tip of the interviewer's nose...they will never know the difference.
Ask someone for tips on how to dress appropriately. You might even want to go into the office ahead of time to see what style others are wearing, and try to copy it.
Practice being short and to the point, and not going on for too long.
On your resume, don't feel compelled to put every miscellaneous job you have ever had (unless you haven't had much job experience.) Only put the most relevant things, and only put jobs where you are fairly certain you would get a good reference.
Remember that as difficult as this is, you will get through it. Many have been in your shoes. Somewhere out there, there is a match for your talents, interests and skills. You just have to be patient and try not to lose hope, and meanwhile keep practicing those interview skills!
And for further tips and techniques to help an adult with Asperger's syndrome live a happy and fulfilled life, go to the web site and There you will be able to sign up for the free Asperger's and Autism newsletter as well as get additional information to help your loved ones thrive on the autism spectrum.
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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Types Of Assessment Tools For Children With Autism

Autism Spectrum Disorder is not diagnosed using biological tests like medical conditions; instead a child is assessed using objective and subjective observations. This includes the looking at the child's developmental history, ability to process information, speech, language and behaviour. Rating scales are useful because they clearly describe the child's behavioural pattern at the time of the assessment. This provides a baseline that can help measure the child's progress over the years. Autism assessment tools are commonly used by Occupational Therapists. However there are some assessment tools available that can be tested by teachers and other health professionals. There are many different types of assessment tools because each one has a different focus.
The Merrill-Palmer Scale of Mental Tests
The Merrill-Palmer Scale of Mental Tests (MPSMT) assesses visual-spatial skills in children from one and a half years through to six years old. The test is also non-verbal. Children with autism often have problems with visual-spatial skills, and verbal expression. This test is helpful for testing children who have difficulty expressing themselves verbally.
The Test of Nonverbal Intelligence (2nd ed.)
The Test of Nonverbal Intelligence (2nd ed.) (TONI-II) is also a non-verbal test that assesses the ability for children to think and problem solve. The assessment is used from age five years and up. It takes 10-15 minutes to administer the test, and from this it is possible to assess intelligence and reasoning skills of the child. This test can also be used for people with hearing impairments because speech and hearing is not required.
How to find the RIGHT help for your child: Child of Mine connects parents with services for children. It is Australia's largest video-based directory for parents. Its free, informative and enjoyable. Visit []
Eileen Simoni
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Comorbid Conditions

Many other medical conditions may occur along with autism. These comorbid conditions are also important in determining the diagnosis of autism. The comorbid conditions may be used to indicate autism; however, they do not have a direct effect in causing disabilities associated with autism. Autism is firmly diagnosed as a cognitive disability that starts in early childhood, continues through adulthood and has an effect on the development of imaginative, communication and social interaction skills.
Over 40 comorbidities have been associated with ASD. (Zafeiriou, Ververia, & Vargiamia, 2007) Some of the most common comorbid conditions are:
Anxiety Disorder
Anxiety disorders apart from those that are included in the autism disorders may occur, however it is difficult to say it is a comorbid anxiety problem.
Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder is also known as manic depressive disorder. It may have other comorbid conditions in itself.
Bowel Disease
Gastrointestinal symptoms are known to affect a large percentage of children with autism. Constipation and inflammation of the intestines are among the common bowel diseases that are comorbid with autism disorders.
Depression and other Psychopathological Disorders
Various phobias, depression and some psychopathological disorders are known to occur with autism, though this has not been examined systematically.
Fragile X Syndrome
This has an effect on two to five percent of the population with autism. In this condition one component of the X chromosome is defective, and therefore looks fragile when viewed under a microscope. If a child has Fragile X, then there are high chances that his or her sibling will have Fragile X.
Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may co-occur in children with autism. The co-diagnosis of ASD and ADHD is prohibited by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th edition). ADHD treatments are not very successful among children with ASD. Other kinds of medication and therapies are required for its treatment.
Mental Retardation
Some individuals with mental retardation are reported to also have autism.
Neuroinflammation and Immune Disorders
Many comorbid conditions connected to autism may be triggered by some immune disorders. Recent findings have shown that neuroinflammation and immune disorders are present in the brain and cerebrospinal fluid of some patients with ASD.
Non-Verbal Learning Disorder
This is typified by a considerable difference between greater verbal scores and lower performance scores in IQ tests. Disabilities related to motor, social and visual-spatial skill are also noticed.
Motor Clumsiness
Children with autism frequently have low levels of motor handiness and they acquire motor skills in a delayed period. Coordination may be poor which may affect their posture, handwriting, etc. Conceptual learning skills are also affected by this.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Recurring obsessive thought and actions may affect a child with autism. These are stereotyped repetitive behaviors that are not essentially enjoyable.
Tourette Syndrome
Tourette syndrome affects 6.5% people with autism. It may occur due to genetic factors or serotonin, glutamate and dopamine abnormalities.
Seizures occur in one in four children with autism. It is caused by irregular electrical action in the brain, which can cause short-term unconsciousness, staring spells and body convulsions.
Sensory Problems
Sensory problems apart from the sensory symptoms of autism may occur as a comorbid condition. For instance damaged tactile perception is known to affect children with autism more than adults. Related motor problems such as poor motor planning may also occur.
Tuberous Sclerosis
This is an uncommon genetic disorder that causes benign tumors in the brain and other vital organs. One to four percent of people with autism are known to have tuberous sclerosis. 25 to 61% people with tuberous sclerosis may be diagnosed with autism.
References: Zafeiriou, D. I., Ververia, A., & Vargiamia, E. (2007). Childhood autism and associated comorbidities. Brain and Development, 29, 257-272.
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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Treatment For Fragile X Syndrome

Fragile X syndrome is a type genetic disorder that causes limitations in the physical, behavioral, intellectual and emotional development of the child. It is also known as Martin-Bell syndrome. A single mutation of gene is passed on from one generation to the next and that is how this syndrome manages to find its way into every generation. Also, this particular syndrome is prevalent among all races and ethnicities.
This particular mutant gene makes the body incapable of producing the proteins required for brain cells to develop and function normally. The lack of proteins causes several developmental defects in the brain leading to retardation.
Fragile X affects the intelligence, emotional and behavioral growth of a person. Also, several people tested for this syndrome showed extremely low levels of IQ. In addition, the facial features of the person will be elongated with long and/or protruding ears.
There is no precise cure for this particular disorder. Although there is no treatment plan available, one can use several methods to control the symptoms of the condition. Also, it is very important to lead a normal life when a person has this type of syndrome. The Federal law states that people with this disorder can actually get education in public school systems. However, the progress that the child is making should be evaluated frequently. If they need additional help in coping with their studies, it should be provided through special education.
Fragile X is not a disease but a condition and there are several ways to manage the condition with the help of psychotherapy, language therapy, speech and behavioral therapy and physical therapy. These services can be provided to the person along with school education and the condition can be easily managed.
Kum Martin is an online leading expert in medical industry. He also offers top quality articles like:
Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Bipolar Disorder Symptoms
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Have You Heard of Fragile X Syndrome?

The most common characteristic of Fragile X syndrome is mental retardation, which is also true of kids with Down syndrome and autism. In fact, Fragile X is said to be the leading cause of Autism. More specifically, Fragile X is caused by a faulty genetic code that fails to pass on protein synthesis information.
Physical features like large heads, prominent foreheads and chins, loose joints, large testicles and protruding ears, may not develop until puberty. In some cases, the parents are carriers of this mutation but it doesn't necessarily mean the symptoms will show up or that they will be passed on to their children.
Physical characteristics of Fragile X resemble signs of Down syndrome, with features like pronounced chins and foreheads, large heads and long ears that protrude from the head. Long faces, connective tissue problems, flat feet, ear infections, being double-jointed, having enlarged testicles and problematic menstrual cycles are other common physical symptoms.
These features are more common for males over 10 and women who have gone through puberty. The classic long face, prominent ears and enlarged testes is said to only be present in 60% of cases. At least 10% of cases show only intellectual impairment.
To treat moderate or severe cases of Fragile X syndrome, emphasis is placed on education, therapy and sometimes medication to treat behavioral side effects. Thanks to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (1997), parents can obtain free educational services and devices for their children from age 3 until high school.
The law further mandates that children be taught in an individualized environment, so a combination of one-on-one tutoring, small group work and classroom instruction may all be used. Often, Autism, Fragile X and Down syndrome education are very similar, with an emphasis on early speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy to improve coordination and behavioral therapy.
If a woman is diagnosed with Fragile X syndrome, then she has a 50% chance of passing the gene on to her children. Yet a male carrier has 100% chance of passing the gene on to his daughters, who always inherit his X chromosome, and no chance of passing the gene onto his sons, who only get his Y chromosome.
If the number of protein repeats stays the same when passed down, then the child will be another pre-mutation carrier that may show no symptoms; however, if the number of repeats exceeds more than 200, the child will have the full mutation. Boys tend to suffer more of the symptoms of Down syndrome type retardation and physical expressions.
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The Autism Myths (ASD) - Twelve Reasons for the Autism Epidemic

1. The Cause of Autism is Not Known
It appears far more likely that they have not been able to identify a medical or environmental cause(s) for autism. There is no evidence that research over the past forty years has been directed at identifying the cause for autism or finding a cure. Obviously, what you don't look for you won't find! I believe the cause has been known for many years. To identify the cause would lead to prediction and over time, prevention.
2. Autism is a Medical Problem
Autism is being treated as a medical problem when there is clear evidence that the major risk factor for autism has been shown to be the lack of a proper diet. Nutrition is not considered a medical problem. For this reason the cause for autism has eluded research efforts.
3. Genes are the Cause for Autism
Genetic changes have been found in some children with autism. Fragile X is one example but the literature has not shown what causes these genetic changes. I would argue that these changes are the result of factors that cause autism rather than the genetic changes causing autism. Understanding the difference is critical to defeating autism. Billions of dollars have been invested in research on autism. It appears that more than half the autism budget has been for genetic studies while I have not found a single grant that considered nutritional inadequacy to be a risk factor in autism.
4. Nutrition Has Little or Nothing to Do With Autism
Autism has not been shown to be caused by any virus, bacteria, etc. but rather belongs in the category of chronic disorders. History has clearly shown that most all chronic disorders are caused by any one of several nutritional deficiencies. This would include the vitamins, minerals, amino acids, fatty acids, and cholesterol to name a few. A few examples of disorders prevented or cured by these nutrients include scurvy, spina bifida, pellagra, rickets, goiter, various birth defects, skin disorders, pernicious anemia, etc. Nutrition or the lack thereof has almost everything to do with autism!
5. Vaccines are the Cause for Autism
The basic question that should be answered is what is different about the children that experience autism shortly after being vaccinated compared to those who do not experience the symptoms? There are far too many children vaccinated that do not develop the symptoms and that makes it difficult to blame vaccines as the cause. The level of resistance to factors in vaccines may well depend upon the adequacy of the diet. The small percentage of children that develop symptoms following vaccinations may share common nutritional deficiencies, but to my knowledge this has not been evaluated or studied.
6. Environmental Toxins are Causing Autism
Environmental toxins are without a doubt a risk factor for autism but common sense says that this must be a very low risk since research efforts have not revealed a smoking gun in fifty years. I consider this to be nothing more than a diversion that makes for interesting headlines and is a good concept for seeking research grants, but in the end is like "The Bridge to No Where." In the meantime children are suffering and families are left to live with the problems of autism.
7. Older Parents Increase the Risk of Autism
Recent studies have suggested that older dads pose an increased risk of the child having autism. The problem that I see with this research is that it did not consider the dietary practices being followed by those individuals. Neither were their attitudes on "healthy foods" included which could have a significant impact on the foods their children would be offered. Age for either parent would appear to be a very minor risk factor.
8. Older Siblings With Autism Increase the Risk for Newborn Children
Recent studies have reported an increased risk (25-35%) for newborn children developing autism if they have an older sibling with autism. The variable that will dictate the level of risk is believed to be in their respective diets. If the dietary practices are identical for both, I believe the risk is more than 90% because the one with autism is lacking an adequate diet. If the newborn eats a different diet that is nutritionally adequate, the risk would be less than 2%.
9. Applied Behaviour Analysis is the First and Best Treatment for Autism
There are several types of therapy for children with autism such as physical, speech, occupational, and behavior. The ABA therapists recommend 25-40 hours of therapy per week starting as soon as the child is diagnosed. Medications or the many forms of therapy provide nothing for the nutritional deficiencies present in children with autism. Nutritional therapy to confirm the adequacy of the child's diet, should be the first step taken to ensure the diet provides for proper brain development. When the diet is right, one needs a lot less therapy or medications.
10. Medications Are the Best Way to Treat Autism
Most medications simply treat the symptoms, not what is causing autism. The best way to treat autism is to eliminate that which is causing it. If, as with other chronic disorders, the cause is poor nutrition, then the best treatment is to eliminate the deficiencies. This may or may not cure the problem. There is no known medication that will cure autism.
11. There Is No Way To Predict Autism
To accurately predict if a child will develop the symptoms of autism is a challenge. Recent studies have shown that a poor diet is the greatest risk factor for developing autism. By identifying those risk factors very early in life, before symptoms are present, will afford an opportunity for an early intervention to totally eliminate the risk identified.
12. There is No Way To Prevent Autism
There is no known or proven way to prevent autism at this time. However, it appears that prevention will be possible through early prediction as described above. Proving the prevention of autism with the elimination of known risk factors is not an easy task. This will require thousands of individuals for adequate proof which may not be possible. It is expected that the incidence of autism among newborn children will be significantly reduced as prevention becomes possible. This will require testing for these risk factors in the early months of life and where risks are identified, intervention is used to eliminate the risks. There is always hope.
It appears that these twelve myths block the path to eliminate autism and other neurological disorders. So long as the association of adequate nutrition is overlooked or avoided in autism research, we can expect the results of research to continue to go in a circle with no real progress that benefits children or parents. We will simply continue the escalation in the number of children affected and a significant growth in the professions providing services for these children. Of necessity this will place a greater financial burden on tax payers to provide for these services, the cost of which would bankrupt most families. These costs have been estimated to be $50,000-$250,000 per child per year with many families having multiple children being affected.
Dr. Rongey is a Food Scientist & Nutritionist. His niche is in identifying the cause of chronic disorders. Parents of children between 0-5 months of age, with or without an older sibling diagnosed with autism are asked to contact Dr. Rongey if interested in his free screening test for risk factors. The cause of chronic disorders has been researched for the past sixteen years and autism for almost five years. Several books concerning the cause of autism or other chronic disorders are available in ebook or paperback format. For more information on his research or the availability of the books on autism or healthy living, you can contact him as follows:
Harold Rongey, Ph.D. email: Phone: 858-740-7272 or his web site at
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What It's Like to Be the Sibling of Someone With Autism

In this article I am going to discuss what it is like being the sibling of someone with autism. The reason I chose this topic is because siblings as a group can tend to stay very much in the background in a family where one person has autism.
This article addresses
  1. What are the needs of a sibling of someone with autism?
  2. What can parents do to support siblings?
  3. What support services are there for siblings?
Firstly the needs of siblings remain the same as other siblings and does not differ just because there is someone with autism in the house. They need to be seen as an individual, be treated fairly, get the same rights as other children, not be seen as less important than the person with autism, and get to spend quality time with their parents.
Unfortunately their needs often remain unmet simply due to the amount of time taken up with the sibling with autism. The autistic sibling will need more hands on parental involvement to attend therapies and interventions, more parental supervision and more time spend overall with the person to help them evolve and develop to their full potential.
There are a number of things that parents can do to support siblings. Firstly siblings need to grow up in a house where they feel loved and appreciated and not taken for granted. They need to be seen as individuals that also have good days and bad days.
They may need more from there parents when things are not going well for them and at these times they may need parental advice and support. Parents need to be in tune with their siblings emotions so they will be able to help them in whatever way they can.
Even though they may feel exhausted, it is not the siblings fault, so parents cannot take their feelings out on them when the sibling may ask a little more of his or her parents.
Siblings can also find support from outside the home. Friends, extended family and also dedicated groups for siblings of children with autism will provide support for siblings who have an autistic brother or sister.
Friends and family are especially good as they will have more time to interact and listen to siblings. Support groups have their own advantages in that everyone there is a sibling of someone with autism and so they will be able to understand the needs of other siblings in the group when there is a sibling with autism.
Some siblings form strong bonds with others they meet in groups and meet for friendship and support outside the group setting.
Do you want to learn more about special needs parenting? If so, download my free guide here: Orla Kelly is a special needs parenting coach, and can help you help your child.
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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Autism Behavior Checklist - The Tell-Tale Signs of Autism

Medical personnel often use evaluation tools to determine the types of symptoms in a patient and these symptoms' relationship with those that are prevalent among autistic individuals. Often, a good starting point is a checklist that can rule out the presence of symptoms of other conditions. One such checklist is provided below to help parents determine if their kids show the classical symptoms of autism. This autism behavior checklist is based on the triad of symptoms that is characteristic among patients - impaired social development, problems with communication, and repetitive behaviors.
Social Development
The first sign that a parent should look for if he suspects that his kid has autism is how the child responds to a social stimuli (examples: smile, touch, and hug). Failure to give proper responses could be a sign of a delay in social development or a brain development disorder like autism. Other signs include:
- Does not demonstrate eye contact;
- Does not begin or maintain conversation;
- Tendency to make very few friends;
- Inability to recognize faces or emotions; and,
- May display aggressive behaviors.
The first three years of a child's life are marked with accelerated developments in the brain which are critical to the development of speech. During this period, the brain is very absorbent to languages and the nuances of communication. Thus, a normal child will reach milestones in speech development during this time at a very fast rate. But, for children with autism, these developments are somewhat impossible to attain. While they may start babbling at the age of six months, most of them may be stuck at that until a few months later. The following communication impairments should raise a flag:
- Failure to babble or to produce repetitive syllables at the age of six months
- Development of unusual gestures
- Parroting of other people's vocalization or echolalia (Although echolalia is a typical milestone of speech development, normal children tend to outgrow it. Autistic children don't unless their speech follows a normal development.);
- Use of reverse pronouns or misapplication of pronouns (Reverse pronouns is a condition whereby an autistic child refers to himself using his proper name or pronouns like "you", "she", or "he". This condition is closely related to echolalic speech);
- Inability to properly perform joint attention (This is a condition wherein the usage of nonverbal cues or gestures calls another person's attention towards a particular stimulus. Autistic children do not have this capacity. It is common for them to look at the finger that points the object instead of look at the object that is being pointed-at. They also lack the ability to point at objects.);
- Diminished responsiveness (Children with autism do not respond well to most stimulus.); and,
- Because they lack the skills that can help them communicate with people, they cannot share their feelings or demonstrate their ideas.
Repetitive Behaviors
There are many forms of repetitive and restrictive behaviors that are associated with autism. These include:
- Compulsive behavior or intense focus on sticking with a certain rule or routine;
- Tendency to stick with a pattern of behaviors, otherwise known as ritualistic behavior;
- Tendency towards sameness (Children with autism do not like being disturbed or seeing their things removed from their usual places.);
- Performing repetitive movements such as head rolling and spinning ;
- Tendency to perform behaviors that can injure oneself or another person; and,
- Intense focus or concentration on a particular object
It should be noted that an autism behavior checklist is far from becoming a diagnostic tool. It is, nevertheless, very helpful for many parents to confirm whether their kids have autism or not. If your kid zeroed in the checklist, congratulations. However, if you have a feeling that your child's behaviors are somewhat suspicious, you should start considering seeking expert advice.
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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Relationship Between Autism and Antidepressants

Autism is a disorder that affects a child's ability to communicate and interact with other people. The long list of proposed autism causes includes genetic and environmental factors. Some recent studies also show a link between autism and antidepressants.
What are the signs of autism?
Autism symptoms often start showing when a child is around six months old. They become more apparent at the age of 2-3, and continue up to adulthood. Autism has three general symptoms, all of which need to be present for a child to be called autistic.
- Impaired social interaction-Children with autism do not have the basic social instincts many people take for granted. Autistic children do not respond to their own names as often as normal children would, and rarely make eye contact with those speaking to them. They also have difficulty expressing themselves with hand gestures, such as pointing.
- Impaired communication-Most autistic children have difficulty developing enough speaking skills to communicate. Children who babble or speak in patterns completely different from their caregivers are most likely autistic. As they grow older, autistic children usually repeat others' words instead of speaking on their own.
- Repetitive behavior -Autistic children display repetitive or restricted behaviors. These include stereotypy, or repeated movements and gestures; compulsive behavior, such as arranging objects in lines or stacks; and ritualistic behavior, or daily repetition of the exact same activities.
What causes autism?
Autism is a complex disorder, and most studies on it are incomplete. There are several proposed theories regarding autism causes. Genetic factors are the most common, but it remains unclear which genes affect a child's probability of developing autism. A child whose parent had autism will not always develop the disorder, but the chances of it happening are high.
Environmental factors a child is exposed to while in the mother's womb also affect the development of autism. One common cause is the mother's own immune response to viral infections. If triggered during early pregnancy, this immune response has a negative effect on the development of the child's brain and nervous system.
Some studies propose other factors that can cause autism to develop shortly after the child is born. These include mercury poisoning, certain vaccinations, viral infections, and exposure to opiates.
Autism and antidepressants
According to laboratory tests done on animals, the intake of antidepressant substances called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) in high amounts resulted in autism-like behaviors. Further studies show exposure to SSRI increases the probability a child will develop autism up to four times. This means women taking antidepressants containing SSRI during pregnancy risk increasing the chances their child will be born autistic.
Like most of the research done on autism causes, the studies linking autism and antidepressants are still incomplete. Despite this, many doctors advise pregnant mothers to be aware of the potential risks involved when taking SSRI drugs during pregnancy.
If you were taking antidepressants during your pregnancy and your child developed autism, you can look for an autism attorney to help you acquire compensation from the company that produced the drugs.
Adriana knows all about autism causes, and possible link between autism and antidepressants.
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Autism Diet - How to Break the Food-Hyperactivity Connection

Can an autism diet really make a positive difference in an autistic child's daily life?
Jean Genet is a neuroscientist specializing in brain mechanics (how the brain works).
He believes hyperactivity can be reduced and even eliminate by neutralizing the chemical imbalances caused by toxic reactions of childhood vaccinations.
One Of The Major Culprits
Any form of sugar triggers the chemical that initiates hyperactivity.
Non-autistic children are not immune to this, however, sugar really ramps up the autistic child due to the very fact how the autistic child reacts to sugar caused by his or her's own personal levels of toxins left behind by these vaccines.
Sugar Cravings
The hunger response is initiated by the brain when it is low on blood sugar. Blood sugar is the fuel the brain uses to manage mental, physical, and emotional well being. Without proper levels of blood sugar the child or adult will have trouble mentally focusing, experiencing hyperactivity, and quick emotional upsets.
More times than not the issue of hunger is resolved by eating something sweet like a candy bar, cookie, etc. When sugar is introduced into the blood stream it provides enough fuel to quiet the hunger response for up to twenty minutes. From that point on there is not enough fuel left to manage the mental, physical, and emotional responses so the system crashes and takes the child/adult with it.
What Is A Parent To Do?
Refined sugar and processed foods are products of "modern civilization", foods the human body was never
designed to process which is very evident in our Western society today.
Of course hunger is resolved by eating foods without processed sugar disguised on labels as fructose or corn syrup. Natural fruit should be eaten to resolve the immediate hunger issue, followed up by food groups that do not only contain sugar but wheat along with dairy.
Genet is an autism survivor and has eliminated all processed sugar from his diet.
Can You Child Benefit From Jean Genet's Byonetics Autism Treatment? Hundreds Of Parents Around The World With Autistic Children Have. Find Out If Your Child Qualifies With This Autism Therapy.
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Highly Effective Natural Treatments For Autism

Autism is a mild to extreme neurological disorder, is something that appears in children within the first couple of years of their young lives, and the disorder is associated with a number of unexplained outward behaviors, which are common marks of Autism. Autistic children tend to have great difficulties with socialization, and such children may display and lack of or absence of eye contact, social gesturing, and normal facial expressions which are present during social interaction. Children that develop Autism might also illustrate issues with language development, might display ritualistic behaviors, and also display an obsessive interest in specific areas or activities.
As of this date, the origins of Autism remain unknown. Many theories about the causes of Autism exist and such theories surround the idea that some children are predisposed to having Autism due to genetic factors. Other experts are looking into whether viral infections and problematical pregnancies might be at the root of Autism, and there are still others that believe that vaccinations might have something to do with the onset of the disorder. Further, there are still others that assert that Autism may have everything to do with toxins within the environment. At this point, it is very important to note that Autism is not a form of mental illness and the parents of an autistic child are not to be blamed for the disorder.
There are several natural treatments for Autism that parents turn to in an effort to help autistic children live productive, happy lives. Natural treatments for autism include things like educational assistance, therapy, and dietary adaptations. The key to utilizing successful natural treatments for autism is identified in implementing the earliest intervention possible. The minute a child is diagnosed with autism the child should begin treatment for the issue in order to have the best chance for the best possible development. Let's examine some of the natural treatments for Autism in greater detail.
Children with autism have unique educational requirements and need special assistance while receiving an education. Preschools which offer intervention-based therapies are an excellent place for parents to start in terms of educating a child with autism. There are special schools that the child can attend early on so that they can receive speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, and the child is taught through behavioral modification approaches as well. Parents should plan to implement such therapies for the long term as none of the therapies offered provide a super fast solution to the issue at hand.
Parents of autistic children can assist the child by providing a proper diet, by minimizing sugar intake, by making an effort to eliminate red dyes or other artificial dyes used in foods, and by providing the child with the correct amount of vitamin supplements. Some theories assert that Autism may have something to do with the way the body absorbs certain nutrients too. There have been a number of studies conducted which reveal that nearly half of all children that display Autism also have some form of upper gastrointestinal issue.
For more information on autism, please visit Robin's Wellness Resource Center "Your go-to source for natural health and wellness information" at
Robin Reichert has been studying natural health for the past 10 years. She is certified as a Nutrition and Wellness Consultant and holds a Master of Science degree in Natural Health. Her passion is lifelong learning and educating others about natural health.
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How To Determine The Best Autism For Your Special Needs Child

In this article I am going to tell you how to determine the best autism treatment for your special needs child. The reason I am going to tell you this is because each autistic child is unique and has different strengths and weaknesses so there is no "one size fits all" when it comes to determining the best autism treatment for your special needs child.
In this article I am going to teach you the questions you need to ask first to determine the best autistic treatment for your child the types of autism treatment for special needs children, and how to determine the most appropriate autism treatment tailored to meeting your child's needs.
When considering an autism treatment, it is important to ask yourself the following questions which will help point you in the right direction.
1. What are my child's strengths and weaknesses?
2. What is the main concern I have that I want to address for my child?
3. What is the main skill I want my child to have, that they are lacking at present?
4. What activity does my child like that could possibly be incorporated into a treatment?
When you can answer all these questions you will then be in a better position to look at an autism treatment that best suits your child.
The types of autism treatment available include Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), verbal behavior intervention, Gluten Free (GF), Casein Free Diet (CF), occupational therapy (OT), Sensory Integration Therapy, Relationship Development Intervention, Speech therapy, PECS, TEACCH, and Floortime.
Some of the above therapies address behavioural issues, developing social skills and communication. Other therapies are for sensory issues, motor skills development, emotional problems and dealing with food intolerances/sensitivities.
To select the best autism treatment for your child, you need to do your research and ask questions of the specialists working in this field. The program you select needs to address what is covered in the numbered bullet points above.
Try to observe a therapy taking place even if it's a video presentation, talk to other parents of special needs children, and ask how the treatment is structured and how progress is measured.
See if this program meets the needs identified for your child and ask for an estimated timescale for achievable targets and objectives. You need to be confident that the therapy selected will fit in with your child's needs and abilities work with their strengths and develop areas in which they are week.
Do not be afraid to ask for feedback and regular progress reports so you can gauge how your child is responding to the autism treatment. This way you can assess whether a different treatment needs to be sourced.
If you would like to know more about being the best parent you can be for your special needs child, download my free guide "Care for the Carer-A Short Guide To Parenting Special Needs Children" at
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Seven Tips for Selecting an Asperger's Syndrome Therapist

It can often be helpful for those with Asperger's syndrome or high-functioning autism to have a respected and knowledgeable therapist to help them process their emotions and understand more social nuances, among other things. People with Asperger's syndrome often have trouble understanding the world around them, and as a result often carry around a lot of frustration. They might have resentment from ways they were treated in the past that they don't understand. But what kind of psychotherapist would be most effective for someone with Asperger's syndrome or high functioning autism?
There are many different types of therapists out there. Many believe that the best therapists tend to be the ones who don't subscribe to any particular theory, but instead use a variety of therapies depending on what they think will help each individual client.
Seek Empathy and a Connection in a Therapist for Asperger's Syndrome
You don't want a therapist that makes you feel like you're talking to a wall and never gives you much of a response to anything. You don't want a therapist whose only contribution is to say "And how does that make you feel?" occasionally. While it's not bad to help you try to get to your emotions, they need to help teach you how to deal with the emotions, too. It's too easy for some therapists to just sit back and do nothing. Most children, teenagers and adults with autism need to be taught and given tips on how to process feelings and improve their communication. Seek a therapist who has this approach.
Top 7 Criteria for a Therapist for treating Asperger's Syndrome and High Functioning Autism
1. Engagement - You do want a therapist who is as engaged with you as possible.
They are asking questions, they are listening to your answers and showing they are listening (perhaps by repeating what you have said or some sort of verbal clue), and they are asking intelligent follow-up questions. Most children, teenagers and adults with Asperger's syndrome need to be constantly engaged in a social interaction in order to stay attentive and interested in what's going on.
2. Experience - It helps if the therapist has an intimate knowledge of Asperger's syndrome.
There are too many therapists who, knowing little or nothing about Asperger's, will attribute your social problems or anxiety to everything but what is really causing it. That's not helpful. In fact, it's a waste of your time. They will also fail to understand when you talk about how you see the world, because in all likelihood, they haven't spent a lot of time looking at the world in that way.
Now, this is not to say that all therapists without experience with Asperger's syndrome patients are ineffective, but they have to be willing to learn. And sometimes, you have to be willing to teach them. Don't stick with anyone who refuses to open their mind to your way of thinking.
3. A therapist treating Asperger's should have high affect/be able to show emotions well.
Most people with Asperger's have trouble reading nonverbal language. So, it only follows that a therapist that uses mostly nonverbal language to communicate is really NOT going to work for a person with Asperger's syndrome.
Most people with Asperger's want one thing -- to be understood. Now, a therapist likely thinks he or she understandings what the person with Asperger's syndrome is saying. But unless the therapist SHOWS it frustration may result.
A good therapist will communicate using exaggerated emotion in his or her voice and face, and by using verbal language such as "I see what you mean" and "You're saying that you feel like X". Unless a therapist uses these active communication methods, most children, teenagers and adults with Asperger's syndrome or high functioning autism will just sit there thinking that the therapist is yet another person who has no clue what their life and struggles are like.
In other words, don't bring your loved one to see a stone faced therapist who never cracks a smile, no matter how smart they are reputed to be. People with Asperger's syndrome want someone who understands what they are going through -- most people in their life won't.
4. The Asperger's syndrome therapist should be able to give advice or suggestions in a very concrete way.
Ideas presented should be short and to the point. They should be as blunt as possible. Nothing ever gets accomplished for a person with Asperger's syndrome or high functioning autism if the therapist is "beating around the bush". A good therapist treating a child with Asperger's syndrome can use visuals if necessary. Humor may help to break the ice. Above all, the therapist needs to be genuine. And no therapist treating a person with Asperger's syndrome should hide behind psychological terms. The therapist must ensure that the person with Asperger's syndrome is able to relate to them.
5. Physical environment of the therapist's office is important.
The physical environment is very important. The seats should be comfortable, the lights not too bright or dim, and there should be no aromatherapy or noticeable scents, as many with Asperger's syndrome and high functioning autism are sensitive to that. The receptionist, if there is one, should be friendly and helpful, as they are the first contact you have upon entering the office. There should be no blaring music. It should not be too difficult to get there. A stressful journey by bus or car will make it harder to get a person with Asperger's syndrome into an open state of mind upon arrival. This is not always possible, but it's one point to consider.
6. Patients should be able to feel some sense of connection or comfort with the therapist.
This goes for everyone seeking therapy, not just those with Asperger's syndrome. There are plenty of therapists out there. Don't stay with one you hate. You want to feel a sense of safety with them. (This may take a few weeks or longer to grow, however.)
7. The Asperger's syndrome therapist should be able to help you understand your own thoughts.
Many people with Asperger's, although by no means all, have trouble expressing their emotions. Children sometimes have trouble figuring out how they feel about a given situation--as do teen and adults. A good therapist will help the client verbalize their emotions, and ask yes or no questions to try to help sort things out.
If you are a parent, these are the qualities you should be looking for in a therapist for your loved one with Asperger's syndrome or high functioning autism. The same goes if you are an adult with Asperger's syndrome.
Finding the ideal therapist to treat may not be quick or easy and may take several tries. If you are having trouble finding a therapist, you may want to go to the Psychology Today site, which has a wonderfully useful listing of all the therapists in your area and what they specialize in. It is super easy to email them and ask questions to figure out which ones might be best for you. But typically the most effective methods to find a great therapist to help a child, teen or adult with Asperger's syndrome or autism is to ask for referrals from an autism society, friends with autism or with autistic kids, or local doctors.
And for further tips and techniques to help adults and children with Asperger's syndrome live a happy and fulfilled life,  go to the web site and There you will be able to sign up for the free Asperger's and Autism newsletter as well as get additional information to help your loved ones thrive on the autism spectrum.
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Monday, May 14, 2012

Developing Social Stories for Children With Autism/Asperger's Syndrome/PDD

Social stories have proven successful when working with students on social skill development. Social stories have helped many children develop behaviors that are more appropriate to given settings. Social stories may also help the child understand why certain behaviors are necessary in different situations. But what exactly is a social story and how can it be used in a way that will be helpful and supportive? A step-by-step guideline on how to develop a social story is provided.
First it is necessary to prioritize what behaviors you are seeking to change or develop. Select one behavior at a time. For example, if your child/student has difficulty walking into the library quietly, target this particular activity. Write the story in the first person "When I walk through the door of the library I need to be quiet!" For some children, it is also helpful to include drawings or photographs of the event. Many children may be able to participate in the development of the social story. This involvement encourages "buy in" and a better understanding of the expectations.
Explain the situation that presents difficulty. "On Tuesdays my class goes to the library."
Include a description of the child's behavior along with a description of the desired behavior. "When we walk into the library the room is very quiet. I feel a little nervous because we have left the classroom where I feel safe. I also am excited when we go to the library. Sometimes I yell. When I yell, I like the sound my voice makes and I feel good. It is okay to get excited, but is not okay to yell in the library."
Continue by explaining why this behavior is unacceptable and by describing the desired behavior. "When I yell it bothers other people in the library. It makes it hard for them to work. Even though I like to yell in the library, I need to be quiet because the library is a quiet place. It is not the place to yell."
End the story with a description of the acceptable behavior. "When I walk into the library I will not yell or make any other loud noise. I will walk quietly through the door, smile at the librarian, and sit down quietly on the carpet and wait for directions. When I walk into the library quietly it makes my class and teacher happy. I can yell when I'm on the playground."
Following is a sample of a social story:
Social Story: Going to the Library
"When I walk through the door of the library I need to be quiet! On Tuesdays my class goes to the library. When we walk into the library the room is very quiet. I feel a little nervous because we have left the classroom where I feel safe. I also get excited when we go to the library. Sometimes I yell. When I yell, I like the sound my voice makes and I feel good. It is okay to get excited, but is not okay to yell in the library. When I yell it bothers other the other people in the library. It makes it hard for them to work. Even though I like to yell in the library I need to be quiet because the library is a quiet place. It is not the place to yell. When I walk into the library I will not yell or make any other loud noise. I will walk quietly through the door, smile at the librarian, and sit down quietly on the carpet and wait for directions. When I walk into the library I will try to be quiet because it makes my class and teacher happy. I can yell when I'm on the playground."
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Tips For Improving Social Skills in Autistic Children

Developing the child's communication and social skills before the age of two prevents the atrophy of any latent skills he already possesses. Using intensive therapy strategies from an early age alleviates communication problems somewhat, allowing the child to develop near-normal social and communication skill levels.
There are many ways to teach autism social skills, and tips for improving the child's social skills are a valuable starting point in the home environment. For example, using pictures to represent what he wants - a toy, his shoes, something he likes to eat - helps connect the external environment to his inner world. The picture represents a concrete object.
A good tip for improving a child's social skills is teaching him how to understand emotions, perhaps the one of the most important areas. Being able to read and interpret facial expression and body language is one of the basic human social skills. These could be taught through the use of pictures previously mentioned, gradually building on this foundation with appropriate verbal cues.
The next most important tip in improving the child's social skills would include developing his conversational skills as a follow-on from the more physical aspects just discussed. Awareness of personal space, listening skills, and staying on a particular topic are natural progressions. Being able to recognize a friend and knowing what is a friend is leads into group integrative play, and so forth.
There is one interesting caveat there, though. Children with autism often have the challenge of generalization to overcome when they are learning social and communication skills. This means, in essence, that the child may learn a social skill at home, but may not be able to make the connection between the skill and a different environment. Thus, a very important tip in improving a child's social skills is to teach him the same skill in different environments, or at least show him that he can tie his shoes in two different situations.
This tip is a key in improving an autistic child's social skills across the spectrum. By developing his or her skills in as many different places as possible, or helping him connect different people with different skills and surroundings, he builds significant connected concepts and steps "out of the box" of his mind.
Whatever the concept that is being taught, it should be done during a time of low stress. The child will be able to focus more successfully and will be less likely to have a meltdown over a secondary issue not associated with learning a social skill.
There are many more resources and information about autism signs, symptoms, treatments, and cutting edge medical research in, Autism: Everything Parents And Caregivers Should Know About The Disorder
Wondering What Autism treatments Work Best? Here's a comprehensive guide about autism to help parents and caregivers avoid a fruitless and frustrating journey when raising an autistic child Knowledge is power! No disorder is as confusing to understand and as complex to diagnose.
To learn more go here now [].
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Social Skills and Autism - Where's the Best Place for Socialization?

Your child has autism and you've been told that social skills deficits are to be expected. So what can you do to help your child learn how to behave properly, make friends, and get along in the world?
Like me, you may have been told that your child needs to be in a school setting with other children to be socialized. Let's consider for a minute what kind of social skills a child with autism may learn in school.
1. In a school or classroom setting, your child is exposed to both positive and negative socialization. This isn't really debated by any of us who have been in school. The question is whether or not the "good" socialization outweighs the "bad" socialization.
2. There are typically two placements for children with autism when it comes to schools. Each comes with its own drawbacks as far as social skills are concerned.
For those who are lower-functioning, there is the special ed classroom. If your child is placed in a special ed class, they may actually pick up negative behaviors from the other students. Children who have never said a bad word in their lives come home with all sorts of words that the parents know they didn't teach their child. Or maybe a child who wasn't aggressive previously starts imitating the hitting, biting, or screaming of a classmate. That's not what I think most parents are hoping for when they are told to put their child in school to learn social skills.
If your child is higher-functioning, they may be mainstreamed in a regular ed classroom. Will the typical behaviors of their peers be the positive socialization you hoped for? Unfortunately, many times children with autism become an easy target for bullies who cause them physical and emotional harm. Other classmates, who may be nice enough themselves, may still go along with cruel jokes or name calling at the expense of a child with autism just because they don't want to be ostracized from their peers. Whether it's bullying, teasing, or isolation, children who are "different" and don't possess the same social abilities as their peers often experience great difficulties just trying to survive a day at school. These children often exhibit signs of tremendous stress and anxiety, depression, and some even contemplate suicide.
So are there any alternatives? Families who are concerned about the educational and social well-being of their children often choose to teach them at home. Home-schooling offers a better opportunity for positive socialization while drastically limiting the possibility of negative social experiences. Home-schooled children are not isolated or "unsocialized". Home-schooling simply provides the opportunity for parents to expose their children to a variety of social situations when they feel their child is ready to handle them. Most communities have home-school groups that offer park days, sports teams, special classes or lessons, as well as informal get-togethers for home-schooled children.
It must be noted that children with autism do not learn social skills simply by being with typical peers regardless of the setting -- school or home. In order to master social skills, autistic children require specific instruction and opportunities to practice skills first in settings with one other child, then with two children, then in small groups, and then in large groups. To place a child with autism into a classroom situation (or any group situation) and assume that they will learn beneficial social skills just because other children are present is not supported by research or real life (See point #4 in the open letter from Dr. Ivar Lovaas, autism expert, at
Common sense tells us that we don't teach a child with autism to swim by throwing them into the deep end of a swimming pool and telling them to start swimming. Likewise, if we want children with autism to "swim" in the social world, we can't just put them in a situation that virtually ensures their failure. We must teach them step-by-step and give them plenty of time to practice their social skills in a supervised setting. We can accomplish this via one-on-one play dates with peers, social skills small groups, sibling/parent relationships, community outings, etc.
So the next time someone suggests that you should put your child with autism in school simply because of their need for socialization, consider exactly what that means for your child. There's not much compelling evidence to suggest that inclusion in school settings is accomplishing positive socialization or excellence in education for most children, especially children with autism. We can do better at home.
Mary Gusman is an educational consultant and an expert in the area of home-schooling children with autism. With over 8 years of personal experience home-schooling her own son with autism, she offers nationwide educational and home school consulting services to families with special needs children. Mary can be contacted via her website at
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