Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Coping With Autism and OCD

After yet another display of lining up toys or endlessly performing the same behavior over and over it's not unusual for parents to wonder if their child may have not one but two disorders - autism and OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder).
OCD is a neurological disorder that causes obsessive thoughts and behaviors and can greatly disrupt a person's life. There are two main elements to OCD, thoughts or obsessions and compulsions or behaviors.
The obsessions are experienced as thoughts, images or impulses and can be persistent. Whereas compulsions are repetitive behaviors that the sufferer feels compelled to carry out whether they want to or not. The performance of the repetitive behaviors is usually done to reduce distress or to stop a particular event.
It is common for people with an autism spectrum disorder to also display repetitive behaviors and have repetitive thoughts, comparable to those who suffer from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). OCD is a condition that generally makes sufferers feel uncomfortable with their symptoms, and wish that they could get rid of them. On the other hand children with autism are usually unconcerned with their various obsessions or behaviors and may even see them as comforting, increasing the frequency during stressful situations as a calming mechanism.
There are two possible treatments for autism and OCD-like behaviors: behavioral therapy, and medication. Frequently, these two forms of therapy are prescribed together.
The most common kind of medication prescribed for treating OCD behaviors in autistic individuals are SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors). SSRIs are antidepressant medications that have also shown to be helpful in reducing OCD behaviors. However, they can come with some serious side effects including an increased risk of suicide. Parents' whose children are on SSRIs should monitor behaviors closely and report anything out of the ordinary to a medical professional.
Behavioral therapy can be another way to reduce repetitive behaviors, however there is not one treatment that has been found to be consistently effective for all cases of autism. This is due to the fact that no two cases of autism are exactly the same.
Therefore, before a behavioral therapy is selected to deal with autism and OCD symptoms, an IQ test and/or functional cognitive level test will usually be administered. Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) works well for lower functioning children or younger children, and Cognitive Behavioral therapy can show good results for higher functioning, more verbal children with autism.
To ensure best results it is often recommended that behavioral treatments and medication be combined. The medication is usually prescribed to help the child become more open to the behavioral therapy. Since behavioral therapy can be challenging - especially as most children don't see their OCD behaviors as undesirable - medication can make the difference in encouraging children to be open to the suggested changes.
While autism and OCD can occur in the same individual, it is much more common for children with autism to simply display behaviors that are similar to those of OCD, but that are in fact a part of their autism symptoms and not a separate case of obsessive compulsive disorder. Nonetheless, it is believed that autism and OCD based repetitive thoughts and behaviors are quite similar in the early stages of development, but become dissimilar over time as they often serve different functions within the two disorders.
Dealing with autism and OCD at an early age should be prioritized to ensure that regular childhood and life experiences such as early education occurs more smoothly. The fewer obsessive-compulsive symptoms a child with autism has generally, the more positive their educational and life experiences will be.
If you believe your child is suffering from OCD contact your doctor to discuss diagnosis and treatment options.
Grab your free copy of Rachel Evans' brand new Autism Newsletter - Overflowing with easy to implement methods to help you identify autism characteristics and whether your child could have autism and OCD. For more information please visit The Essential Guide to Autism.
Article Source:

Article Source:

Monday, September 24, 2012

Managing Your Life With an Autistic Child

Life with an autistic child can be confusing and challenging as well as a joy and pleasure. Autism is short for autistic spectrum disorder, which is a neurological disorder. There are various levels and forms of autism. These levels may vary from a mild case of high functioning autism called Asperger's Disorder, to more severe levels such as Rett Syndrome, which most often affects females on to a rarer form of autism called childhood disintegrative disorder or CDD.
Since every individual is different, symptoms of autism will vary from child to child. The most influential factor of being an autistic child is that of communication, both verbally as well as non-verbally, while other core symptoms may include problematic social relationships and interactions, intense focus on a specific object as well as limited interests in activities and play.
Although autism is present at birth, diagnoses of most children occur within the first three years of life. Adolescent and teenagers may seem to fall behind in their abilities to understand and relate to others, while they may also develop problems with anxiety, depression, or epilepsy. Autistic adults may or may not be able to live and work on their own, depending upon the severity of their condition.
There is an estimation of one out of every 150 children with autism; boys are more likely to have the disability with 1 in 94 boys with autism. With new cases, being diagnosed approximately every twenty minutes or 67 children per day. However, pinpointing a specific cause of autism is still a mystery and there is no known cure.
Living with an autistic child can at times be frustrating and challenging, however children with this disorder do function better when keeping with a regular schedule or routine within a safe environment. Sometimes language skills are problematic, at those times it is best to remember that issues such as repeated phrases have meaning for the child and not spoken to agitate the parent.
At times, it may seem that there are no strong emotional attachments concerning these children, but at these times keep in mind that autistic children simply have problems with these situations and should be encouraged to join in, while respecting that they become uneasy when large crowds and noise confront them. It is much easier to cope with autism if you remember that these children are different in their personal perception of the world we live in. Coping means trying to remain patient, while communicating with them simply and clearly, and although they may not seem to notice some things, they just might be paying more attention than is perceivable by others and that they have feelings as well as anyone else.
There are various means of coping with your own feelings while raising an autistic child. Some things you might like to try are allowing yourself the time to heal; talking about your feelings to someone you trust or even keeping a journal. Maintaining your own schedule is

vital as well as joining a support group. There are various types of therapies that are helpful for relieving the stress felt by the child and its family.Every autistic child has some individual level of difficulty relating to interacting with others, communicating or behavioral problems, which influences them in various ways. However, with early intervention and various treatments or programs, some of them are able to function independently while others may always need support in their working and living environments.
For more insights and additional information about how to manage your life with an Autistic Child please visit our web site at
Article Source:

Do You Think Your Child Has Autism?

Do you think your child is autistic?
Years ago, almost 47, my daughter was born. For whatever reason, she was born very fast and her lips, fingers, and toes would turn blue. She was put in an incubator for the week-end to be monitored. Not finding anything wrong with her, she was released from the hospital the first of the week. We continued to watch her with the pediatrician's guidance. She had a hard time swallowing her formula and became colicky.Sleeping during the day and crying all night.
About this time my pediatrician recommended I take her to Boston for testing, and every doctor in Boston diagnosed her with their particular specialty.
She was diagnosed as aphasic, autistic, retarded, just to name a few labels.
We started to see a psychologist in Boston for play therapy.
We would drive the 90 minutes every Monday afternoon. Did it help? I don't know.
My other children were completely normal, so I was not sure what was happening to my little girl. We enrolled her in a nursery school for retarded children near our home, where she started to develop some social skills. But she did not talk. She would point if she wanted something and seemed to understand commands. She used to rock in her crib and in the car. She would also drool a lot. But she did not look different. She did not get toilet trained until she saw that her younger brother was not wearing a diaper any more and then she trained herself in 2 days. She also had a very hard time eating her food; everything had to be very soft.
After a couple of years, her teacher told me that she did not think she was retarded because of her ability to do certain things, but would not talk. At that time a local couple was starting a school in our town for children with speech problems. Fortunately my daughter was accepted as a student. She attended school there until the school closed down, about eight years later.
In the meantime I had heard about a psychologist in the local area that did great work with children with problems. I was not happy with the results received from the doctor in Boston, so I made an appointment with this doctor in the local area. He worked with the children through school work, Mostly through reading and math.
In the beginning he worked with my daughter and myself, 3 and 4 sessions a week, sometimes 2-3 hours at a time. After the language school closed, from lack of funds, she was mainstreamed into public school, and the teacher was told to babysit her like some of the very challenged children, but our doctor got involved and wanted her in regular classes. He thought she would learn more from osmosis by being with regular students rather than being segregated.
This doctor had a very unique way of working with these children, sometimes going to a mall, sometimes taking them to a park or zoo. He even took them in groups to ride horses. All the time teaching them independence and giving them confidence in their ability to be successful.
After working with my daughter for 14 years he felt that she had come a long way. Through him I learned not to shelter and protect her as much. I also learned that she was much more capable than I had given her credit for. This is a little of the history of my daughter to help you have hope for your child. This was many years ago, long before very much had been known about autism. I'm still not sure if my daughter was autistic or emotionally disturbed. I'm just thankful that she has progressed so far.
I will continue to write more articles about autism, but to bring you up to date, my daughter has done very well. She graduated for high school, has a driving license and works two part-time jobs. She has fit into society and now has a few friends.
Article Source:

Tips on Surviving Society With an Autistic Child

Peoples Perceptions:
Most people are ignorant of the troubles of childhood Autism. I suppose it's not their fault, they just don't understand what Autism is, and this can bring up some hurtful times for the parents, carers and guardians of an autistic child.
It's a sad fact to face but most parents, carers and guardians feel is that their autistic child just doesn't fit into society, and that's because of the total lack of understanding about child autism on both sides of the fence.
But believe me; being frustrated and confused is not the answer. The information contained within this article is going to help you overcome these awkward situations and save you from the upset and loneliness associated with surviving society with an Autistic child.
I have come in contact with this situation many times in my life, and have heard from many other parents/guardians of an autistic child that have been suffering with this needless burden.
It's hard work leaving the house with an autistic child, always feeling trapped by what might happen and wondering how long it will take before people start to talk about them.
But all problems are there for solving. You as a carer of an autistic child don't need to feel like this anymore, just like me, I don't let these problems affect me and my family anymore, and our life has changed for the better.
The Solution:
As you well know, an autistic child is on a whole different plain than a child without autism. You most likely have wracked your brain trying to figure out the best approach to use to get the most from every situation.
For surviving society with an autistic child the solution is very simple.
1. You must first understand exactly what makes your autistic child tick, this is of utmost importance.
2. You must know how your Autistic child acts to certain things in society, and why they are doing this
3. And also you must know how to get them to do certain things on a constant and regular basis, thus creating a pattern for them to follow.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Autism Information and Alternative Care

Chiropractic care as a complementary and alternative strategy for care for individuals with autism. Unfortunately there is limited high quality research into alternative methods for autistic individuals in general. That being said, there is significant anecdotal support for non-conventional care with parents reporting improvements in behavioral issues such as tantrums, outbursts, repetitive actions and sleep, for example.
The message of chiropractic is that the body has a remarkable ability to self-heal and repair. The power that made the body is the power that heals the body. The body innately knows what to do to heal a scratched finger, to mend a broken bone, to fight off infection... It's truly amazing when you think of it! Chiropractic itself doesn't directly heal you, but it mediates the process by allowing the nervous system to communicate more freely. Chiropractic adjustments to misaligned or hypomobile vertebrae puts the body into better balance physically and neurologically such that the body can do what it's supposed to do at its best. Also, chiropractors recognize that what you put in your body really does matter. Whatever you eat, do and think makes a difference in your overall health.
For the record, chiropractors do not diagnose or claim to cure autism. Instead, they seek to maximize one's inherent healing abilities by addressing physical, chemical and emotional stressors that influence overall well-being. Chiropractors play an important part of the team approach to care along with conventional therapies.
As in any individual, physical factors play a role in well-being. Chiropractors will evaluate posture, ranges or motion, tightness/tenderness in muscles and/or joints, spinal alignment and overall function. Traumas can result in pain, irritability and outbursts in those with autism, which affects quality of life. Chiropractic care is hands on, gentle and effective at addressing physical concerns. There is also some preliminary research demonstrating benefits in behavioral problems as well as attenuation of sensorimotor issues among autistic individuals following chiropractic care.
Chemical factors are anything that is eaten or breathed in. Diet plays a huge role in health and is particularly important in individuals with autism due to the gut's role. Dietary suggestions for those with autism include probiotic support and a generally clean, healthy diet. This means reduce or eliminate refined sugars, fast foods, preservatives and artificial colors/sweeteners/flavors. Home-cooked meals are best and should include whole foods, vegetables and healthy fats. Food allergy/sensitivity testing may also be beneficial. Avoiding foods that one is sensitive to may improve overall digestion and reduce inflammation. If allergy testing isn't feasible, one can try avoiding foods that are commonly problematic - for example: wheat, dairy, corn and soy. Whatever you do, don't make immediate, drastic changes as this can be both upsetting and challenging. Phase things in and out so that the change is more gradual and then try to maintain the diet for at least a month to determine if there is improvement.
Emotional factors play a role both in the autistic individual as well as the household. Children with autism are more prone to anxiety disorders, feelings of anger and difficulty in adapting to change. These may manifest as behavioral issues as well as musculoskeletal signs and symptoms. For the family, challenges in raising a child with autism commonly results in emotional stress as well as strain on family finances. Stress can present as aches, pains and headaches as a result of tense muscles and joints. Families of autistic children may also benefit from chiropractic care as a means of relieving pain as well as stress.
Physical, chemical and emotional stressors are all inter-related. By looking at the big picture of one's health, overall health and well-being can be maximized. Even if a child goes from 20 tantrums per day to five, it's worth it. Or if a child can finally sleep through the night when under chiropractic care, it's worth it. A trial of chiropractic care may make all the difference.
Dr. Serbinski is a chiropractor practicing in North York, Ontario. She has a holistic approach to health and witnesses the benefits of chiropractic every day. For pain relief, correction of mechanical problems of the musculoskeletal system and for general wellness, chiropractic works. For more information, please visit Dr. Serbinski's chiropractic website at: or her Google Places page at:
Article Source:

Monday, September 10, 2012

Autism In The Newborn Child

When having children, new parents should be aware of common disorders that may affect their child's development, and to know how to recognize certain symptoms. Autism is a common disorder, being the most common amongst the Pervasive Developmental Disorders, or a category of disorders that are recognized by delays in the development of such functions as socialization and communication. In 2003, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that about 1 in 250 births were affected, meaning that about 1.5 Americans today may have some form of autism.

Since autism is generally diagnosed within the first three years of life, parents can learn quickly whether their child is affected. As characterized by the Pervasive Developmental Disorders, autism is a neurological disorder which affects the social interaction and communication areas during brain development. Common symptoms involve the child's lack of ability to interact or communicate with others, as well as the child's ability to reason. For example, some autistic people, in having different world views from others, are able to solve certain kinds of puzzles more quickly, since they are able to view problems in different ways.
However, parents should be aware that autism may be difficult to detect in certain individuals, since it is a spectral disorder, meaning that there is no single way in which a person is affected. Some experience symptoms more strongly than others, and there are a range of other disabilities that are often found in conjunction with autism.

Additionally, researchers have not pinpointed a single cause for autism, but have instead generally accepted that abnormalities in brain structure of function are at fault, especially since brain scans show physical differences between autistic and non-autistic brains. Researchers are currently investigating possible causes, though, such as heredity, genetics, and medical problems. They are also looking into pregnancy or delivery defects, as well as environmental factors, including viral infections, exposure to environmental chemicals, and metabolic imbalances.

Researchers have also determined that individuals who have medical conditions such as tuberous sclerosis, Fragile X syndrome, congenital rubella syndrome, or untreated phenylketonuria (PKU) are at higher risk for autism. Additionally, while autism is found equally in all populations, boys are affected four times more than girls.

Since autism occurs alongside abnormal brain development, there is no cure for it. But parents may employ educational approaches and treatment that could help to reduce some of the symptoms. Education to teach self-help skills can train autistic individuals to become more independent, and intervention can help to reduce disruptive behaviors. But just as there is no single cause for autism, and since autism comes with varying degrees of symptoms and severity, no single method of treatment is suitable for all affected individuals. Once parents determine the severity of their child's symptoms, they can then learn about their treatment options, and can determine proper training and educational methods that will best benefit their child.
PregnancyRx cover topics from Signs of Pregnancy to Pregnancy and Eating Disorders

Principles Of Excellent Autism Care And Treatment

As an autism consultant I've observed families struggle with the overwhelming amount of information and treatment options recommended for their child. While I don't believe that any approach addresses all of a child or family's needs, I have seen the effects (both positive and negative) of enough approaches to appreciate the principles that seem to lead to the best results. In my quest to get to the 'root' of my client's obstacles to progress, I've trained and achieved certification in several complementary modalities over the past several years. This list is a summary of some of my observations of what is most helpful working with families through a variety of developmental approaches:
1. Treatment is Heart-Centered - all caregivers (parents, babysitters, therapists) and service providers should ideally be coming from a place of supportive, loving energy. (Not to be confused with celebrating for no reason).
2. Family Priorities are established in the intake process to guide treatment objectives.
3. Treatment goals are directly related to functional improvements in Quality of Life for the child and the family. (A child in Florida does not need to know what a sheep is when he doesn't know another person is in the same room with him.)
4. Spontaneous independent demonstration of skills and behavior is how progress should be measured - it does not matter what a child is doing when prompted if we don't see spontaneous generalization and use of skills.
5. Instill in parents that they don't have to do everything at once, nor do they have to do everything before the child turns 5 years old. The medical establishment unnecessarily stresses parents by drilling this false notion into their psyche. People grow and develop throughout their whole lives. Otherwise none of us would have learned to drive a car.
6. Don't believe "conventional wisdom". Science is important and critical thinking is imperative. However, be aware that it takes decades before the cutting edge research is distilled into textbooks which are used to train the next generation of therapists. The majority of professionals diagnosing autism and making treatment recommendations have little real-world experience in the homes of families who live with an autistic child. In addition, it is rare to find a diagnosing professional who has a good idea of the pros and cons of various treatment modalities. Just because a PhD or MD says ABA is the 'only' effective autism therapy does not mean it is true (it is not). It just means it is the only one they have heard much about and they probably learned about it in their doctoral or medical school program at a continuing education seminar.
7. Autism can be thought of as a disorder of Regulation - therefore, treatment priorities should emphasize 'bottom-up' as well as 'top-down' processing modalities that support regulation of the brain and nervous system. Self-regulation and Co-regulation can be addressed through a combination of various body-mind (i.e. HANDLE® and MNRI®) and cognitive-developmental approaches (i.e. RDI® and Miller Method®) that are very successful at getting to the root of many of the processing challenges children with autism tend to have.
8. Teaching skills (i.e. academics, ABA, etc.) should be addressed after Self-Regulation and Co-regulation are in progress or developing. (Self-regulation is not to be confused with "Compliance", which often happens in place of mindfulness and self-regulation.)
9. Parents should be taught as soon as possible about the concepts of regulation, co-regulation, and experience-sharing communication. Co-regulation is rarely talked about in most autism therapies, aside from RDI®. It is critical that families understand this concept, because it is a foundation to communication and independent functioning, and is often non-existent with individuals with ASD. Instead a pattern of compensation develops and 'pseudo-coordination' or 'pseudo-conversation' ensue.
10. Watch out for the tendency to 'over-therapize' the child with autism. Remember that children with autism are children first.. It is not 'normal' for a child to spend dozens of hours each week in one-sided therapeutic interactions (which much of autism treatment can be without understanding co-regulation, which is mentioned in #9). It is important that children with ASD are provided with competent roles and participate in family life like their siblings. We hope for children with autism to turn out 'normal' as adults when much of their childhood does not provide 'normal' experiences if they are over-therapized.
11. Pay attention to how the child spends his time. The brain changes itself and organizes itself through experience. This means every waking hour the child with autism is practicing and rehearsing building neural pathways, digging 'grooves' deeper and deeper. Think about the child's interests and how much time he spends engaging in repetitive, "mindless" activities (to reference Dr. Steve Gutstein), how much time he spends watching television or playing a video game. Parents can significantly alter the course of the child's brain development by becoming educated on autism deficits, and making simple adjustments to daily interactions to build opportunities for mindfulness, social engagement and creative thinking. The brain does not stop self-organizing after age 5, and parents can make a significant difference in brain development if they are aware of a few key strategies.
April Choulat from Pathways Developmental Learning Center, Inc. For useful tips and information on educational programs for autism remediation, visit us today at
Article Source: