Autism United http://www.autismunited.org/blog Mon, 27 Jan 2014 17:11:10 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.5.1 Child Wandering Tips & Tricks For Parents http://www.autismunited.org/blog/child-wandering-tips-tricks-parents-802854.html http://www.autismunited.org/blog/child-wandering-tips-tricks-parents-802854.html#comments Mon, 27 Jan 2014 17:09:06 +0000 Annette http://www.autismunited.org/blog/?p=2854 Wandering is the tendency for an individual to try to leave the safety of a responsible person’s care or a safe area, which can result in potential harm or injury.  This might include running off from adults at school or in the community, leaving the classroom without permission, or leaving the house when the family [...]

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Wandering is the tendency for an individual to try to leave the safety of a responsible person’s care or a safe area, which can result in potential harm or injury.  This might include running off from adults at school or in the community, leaving the classroom without permission, or leaving the house when the family is not looking.

This behavior is considered common and short-lived in toddlers, but it may persist or re-emerge in children and adults with autism.  Children with autism have challenges with social and communication skills and safety awareness. This makes wandering a potentially dangerous behavior.

Wandering may also be referred to as Elopement; Bolting; Fleeing; Running.

  • Nearly half of children with autism engage in wandering behavior
  • Wandering occurs across all settings, under every type of adult supervision
  • Increased risks are associated with autism severity
  • Half of families report they have never received advice or guidance about wandering from a professional
  • Accidental drowning accounts for approximately 90% of lethal outcomes

Last year there has 22 deaths related to autistic children and wandering or elopement behaviors.

  • A 12-year-old boy struck and killed by a car on a busy interstate, after he wandered away from his Houston home at night.
  • A 4-year-old boy who drowned in a nearby quarry after wandering away from his Franklin, Ohio, home in late September.
  • A 3-year-old boy whose body was found in a lake near his Smith County, Texas, home in mid-September, a day after he was reported missing.

Nearly half of children with ASD were reported to engage in elopement behavior, with a substantial number at risk for bodily harm. These results highlight the urgent need to develop interventions to reduce the risk of elopement, to support families coping with this issue, and to train child care professionals, educators, and first responders who are often involved when elopements occur.

Dangers associated with elopement include: Drowning; Exposure; Dehydration; Hypothermia; Traffic Injuries; Falls; Physical Restraint; Encounters with strangers; Encounters with law enforcement.

From AWAARE here are 6 considerations for your home and your child’s safety:

1. Secure Your Home
Consider contacting a professional locksmith, security company or home improvement professional to promote safety and prevention in your home. You may find it is necessary to prevent your loved one from slipping away unnoticed by installing secure dead bolt locks that require keys on both sides, a home security alarm system, inexpensive battery-operated alarms on doors, placing hook and eye locks on all doors above your child’s reach, fencing your yard, adhering printable STOP SIGNS to doors, windows and other exits, etc.

2. Consider a Tracking Device
Check with local law enforcement for Project Lifesaver or LoJak SafetyNet services. These tracking devices are worn on the wrist or ankle and locate the individual through radio frequency. Various GPS tracking systems are also available.

3. Consider an ID Bracelet
Medical ID bracelets will include your name, telephone number and other important information. They may also state that your child has autism and is non-verbal if applicable. If your child will not wear a bracelet or necklace, consider a temporary tattoo with your contact information.

4. Teach Your Child to Swim
Swimming lessons for children with special needs are available at many YMCA locations. The final lesson should be with clothes on. Remember: teaching your child how to swim does not mean your child is safe in water. If you own a pool, fence it and if neighbors have pools, let them know of these safety precautions and your child’s tendency to wander. Remove all toys or items of interest from the pool when not in use.

5. Alert Your Neighbors
It is recommended that caregivers plan a brief visit with neighbors to introduce their loved ones or provide a photograph. Knowing your neighbors can help reduce the risks associated with wandering.

6. Alert First Responders
Providing first responders with key information before an incident occurs may improve response. Informational handouts should include all pertinent information and be copied and carried with caregivers at all times. Circulate the handout to family, neighbors, friends and co-workers, as well as first responders.

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Do You Love Someone With Autism? http://www.autismunited.org/blog/love-someone-autism-803024.html http://www.autismunited.org/blog/love-someone-autism-803024.html#comments Thu, 16 Jan 2014 17:57:59 +0000 Admin http://www.autismunited.org/blog/?p=3024 If you’re here then the likelihood is you DO love someone with Autism and we do as well. Here at Autism United, we’ve developed a community over the years of others from caretakers, parents teachers, to individuals on the spectrum themselves. Our community has grown to become this beautiful, supportive community and we want to [...]

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If you’re here then the likelihood is you DO love someone with Autism and we do as well. Here at Autism United, we’ve developed a community over the years of others from caretakers, parents teachers, to individuals on the spectrum themselves. Our community has grown to become this beautiful, supportive community and we want to continue to grow and continue to raise awareness and understanding.

We’ve always talked about having apparel that we could use to help raise awareness but also to help give back at the local level to charities working in the trenches to support individuals. Now we can happily say we reached our goal and have a Limited Edition Autism United tee available!

“I Love Someone with Autism”

Limited Edition Autism United tee

http://teespring.com/autismlovesomeone

 

Oh ya we do! We love many with Autism. We love the supporters of Autism. We love all of you. For a LIMITED TIME ONLY you have the chance to get yourself this Limited Edition AutismUnited tee or hoodie, or whatever style you’d like that we’ve made available.

For every sale we make we will be donating 25% of proceeds to a local non profit charity our community will nominate.

Only Available for Short Time!

We are limiting the length of time these shirts are available as our first product for sale here at Autism United. Why? Because we have a lot of ideas up our sleeves. Lots!

How to Order? 

Ordering is very simple. Here is what you’ll do:

  1. Go to http://teespring.com/autismlovesomeone
  2. Select shirt style
  3. Select quantity
  4. Select shirt size
  5. Add another style if you’d like other styles or sizes
  6. Check out now either with Paypal or using available payment methods

When we reach a total of 100 shirts sold, we will then begin shipping out. We do however have to reach this goal before time runs out or we will not send out the shirts (and you won’t be charged).

Why Set a Goal? 

We set a goal for ourselves to help make it exciting. We know that it will take work from our fans as well as ourselves. However we truly believe in the greater good of helping local charities in need but also promoting such an amazing message. I LOVE SOMEONE WITH AUTISM. There is no greater message then being proud of someone you love and are proud of. We get to promote this while generating a substantial donation that will be given in such an exciting way. Fan Nominated!!

Now do you love someone with Autism? Wear it proud and let the world know, and buy one of our Limited Edition Autism United tees!

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Susan Boyle Diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome http://www.autismunited.org/blog/susan-boyle-diagnosed-asperger-syndrome-802940.html http://www.autismunited.org/blog/susan-boyle-diagnosed-asperger-syndrome-802940.html#comments Wed, 15 Jan 2014 15:12:43 +0000 Annette http://www.autismunited.org/blog/?p=2940 Susan Boyle is part of autism’s ‘invisible generation’ By Steven Brocklehurst BBC Scotland news website Scottish singer Susan Boyle has been diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome, a form of autism. She is one of thousands of people who have the condition but were not diagnosed earlier in life. The National Autistic Society (NAS) Scotland recently warned [...]

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Susan Boyle is part of autism’s ‘invisible generation’

By Steven Brocklehurst BBC Scotland news website

Scottish singer Susan Boyle has been diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome, a form of autism. She is one of thousands of people who have the condition but were not diagnosed earlier in life.

The National Autistic Society (NAS) Scotland recently warned that there is an “invisible generation” of older people with autism.

The charity said there was still a tendency to associate the condition with children but it estimated that one in five people with autism were over 60.

Until a generation ago, the condition was often misunderstood and misdiagnosed.

Susan Boyle, who is 52, is typical of many, having spent years believing she suffered slight brain damage at birth.

Robert MacBean, from the National Autistic Society Scotland, said a “good diagnosis experience” was very important, regardless of a person’s age.

He said: “A good experience leaves you understanding yourself, understanding what has been happening to you and also allows you to develop your own coping strategies.

“Unfortunately not everyone gets that experience. Some people, if they manage to get a diagnosis, it is after years of waiting and quite often they are left at the end with a leaflet and as they leave they are told ‘don’t worry about having a label’. That’s all the support they get.”

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Social Aspects of Sexuality – Helping Our Spectrum Children Understand http://www.autismunited.org/blog/sexual-safety-social-issues-related-sexuality-802946.html http://www.autismunited.org/blog/sexual-safety-social-issues-related-sexuality-802946.html#comments Thu, 09 Jan 2014 15:51:14 +0000 Annette http://www.autismunited.org/blog/?p=2946 Like it or not, if you have a child, sexuality and sexual issues are things you’re going to deal with eventually, either directly (and positively), or indirectly (and most likely negatively) from the imprints made on your child by other people or sources. If your child has autism, this blissful topic gets even more interesting, [...]

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Like it or not, if you have a child, sexuality and sexual issues are things you’re going to deal with eventually, either directly (and positively), or indirectly (and most likely negatively) from the imprints made on your child by other people or sources. If your child has autism, this blissful topic gets even more interesting, or uncomfortable, depending on your perspective.

What you must remember is that sexual behavior in child development is normal and it can be tracked through the developmental stages of your child. You can either ignore it, pretend the issue doesn’t exist, or you can do what the boy scouts always tell us: “Be Prepared!”

Sexuality is an integral part of the personality of everyone: man, woman, and child. It is a basic need and an aspect of being human that cannot be separated from other aspects of human life. Sexuality is not synonymous with sexual intercourse [and it] influences thoughts feelings, actions, and interactions and thereby our mental and physical health” (WHO, 1975)

According to Dr. Peter Gerhardt, an expert in adults with autism and the Director of the Organization for Autism Research, the two most important issues to address are sexual safety and social issues related to sexuality.

Understanding the Social Aspects of Sexuality

Very few programs exist to teach young people with autism about sex and sexuality, and because people with autism are often unaware of social cues and peer expectations, clear, direct education is often critical. For example, says, Dr. Gerhardt, “they need to know they should lock the bathroom stall, and they need to learn how to do it. Sometimes parents think it’s safer if they take their child into the bathroom with them, but the challenge with that is that the person most likely to cause abuse is someone the child knows, not someone the child doesn’t know. And if you don’t teach your son to close and lock the door in a public bathroom, he’s too open to abuse.

Beyond day-to-day hygiene and the issues of bathroom and locker room safety, it’s important to address the social aspects of sexuality. Unlike most youngsters, teens on the autism spectrum are unlikely to learn about sexual norms from peers or even from teachers. So it’s up to parents to pick up the slack.

Some things that almost anyone on the autism spectrum can learn about include:

  • circles of comfort (who may touch you or ask you to undress)
  • good touch/bad touch
  • bathroom and locker room independence
  • reporting of past events such an inappropriate touch

For parents of young people with autism, however, there’s a second level of difficulty: teaching even the most basic social aspects of sexuality. Even masturbation has a social component. Teens need to know when and where it’s okay to touch themselves, and they need to understand the absolute need for privacy.

How can parents begin to think about this issue?

Dr. Gerhardt recommends that parents:

  • Think ahead – be proactive (“pre-teach”)
  • Be concrete (talk about the penis or vagina, not the birds and bees)
  • Be consistent and repetitive about sexual safety
  • Find someone of the same gender to teach the basics of safety and hygiene
  • Be sure to address the social dimension of sexuality
  • Strongly reinforce for all appropriate behavior
  • Redirect inappropriate behaviors. For example, if a child is likely to masturbate in class or in public, give him something to carry or hold, etc.

Children and teens with special needs are sexual beings just like the rest of us. Respecting each child’s dignity, teaching healthy attitudes and expression, while maintaining safety is the job of all parents as well as teachers, and healthcare professional, whether a child has a disability or not.

Adolescence can be a difficult time for many teens and the people who love them. Try not to let your own fears about your child’s changing hormones scare or make them feel that the changes they are going through are scary or bad.

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Autismiles – The Story of Courtney Alexandra Astore http://www.autismunited.org/blog/autismiles-story-courtney-alexandra-astore-802994.html http://www.autismunited.org/blog/autismiles-story-courtney-alexandra-astore-802994.html#comments Mon, 06 Jan 2014 18:28:15 +0000 Christine http://www.autismunited.org/blog/?p=2994 Growing up, I experienced various challenges that I was told would make me a stronger person in the end. I never thought I was different than anyone else, and that my feelings and reactions happen to everyone. From the itchy tag on my shirt to the touch of a person’s hand on my shoulder, I [...]

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Growing up, I experienced various challenges that I was told would make me a stronger person in the end. I never thought I was different than anyone else, and that my feelings and reactions happen to everyone. From the itchy tag on my shirt to the touch of a person’s hand on my shoulder, I felt it, but the feelings would daunt me. I have sensory processing disorder, which in my case, is Hyper – Sensitive. This actually has affected all of my sensory processing from touch, smell, taste, and audio. During my late elementary years I would feel apprehensive about switching my routine and limited as much “change” as possible in my life. Anything new to my senses would cause me much discomfort and anxiety. Not only did I have trouble balancing my sensory issues, but in school I struggled, sometimes doing very well, and sometimes doing very poorly in the same subject.

I was after additional testing diagnosed with Auditory Processing Disorder, with Tolerance Fading Memory and Integration issues. I could read an entire page, watch a movie, or listen to my teacher and have limited idea about what I just watched or read or heard. School was a challenge, but my parents exposed me to endless amounts of love, support and therapy to aid in my difficulties in my continued life’s journey.

My name is Courtney Alexandra Astore and I am now 17 years old, a junior at Cardinal Moony High School, in Sarasota, Florida. I have experienced and achieved things already beyond my expectations in life, and know now that anything is possible, that to conquer your fears, and put forth the focus and energy to overcome or achieve anything worthwhile in life… it is all possible. I have maintained honor role academics, received multiple awards and scholarships, been involved in rowing at a varsity level with Sarasota Crew (www.SarasotaCrew.org), experiencing State & Regional Gold Medals, and placing in the 2013 US Rowing Youth National Championships.

After a roller coaster of experiences thus far, I am now sitting here, on my nice and soft bean-bag (sensorial approved) with my beautiful dachshunds, CC & DJ, ready to share my journey and passion.
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Going back in time…

Since 5th grade I have been working on science fair projects. Science being my favorite subject, since who knows when, has lead my inquisitiveness into directions I would have never thought of, if it weren’t for my past personal experiences. From my 5th grade hamster project on food behaviors, to my 8th grade project associating with why people don’t make complete stops at stop signs, to the in-depth high school projects focused on autism since 9th grade, I would say my interests have changed and developed me into an aspiring researcher and young scientist. After placing in 8th grade at my local county science fair, I knew right away that I had discovered a passion for this type of research. Today, I am looking forward to adding a new chapters to my life’s journey. My parents have always told me “do what you love, and you will never work a day in your life”. My love is fulfilled by helping others overcome their challenges by researching and finding ways to help them.
By the time my freshmen year in high school rolled around, I knew that I wanted to pursue a career in the category of behavioral and social sciences with a focus on neurosciences. Unsure of my endless possibilities, I decided to start volunteering in therapy sessions with the speech language pathologist that I previously worked with, Jennifer Columbo, of Therapeutics Potentials (www.tpikids.com ). After observing that many of her patients had autism, I instinctively was reminded of my sensory processing disorder. Right then and there, I knew where I wanted to focus my research. After discussing my interests with Jennifer, she described how several of her “kiddos” tend to chew on their shirts and other non-preferred objects.

After extensive research, I came up with the idea of developing a prototype sensory shirt. The shirt has a removable bib that can attach preferred sensory objects to it. I competed with this project at my county science fair and was awarded 1st place in the high school behavioral and social sciences category.The project was also recognized by the American Psychological Association award, the ASM Materials Education Foundation Certificate of Recognition, along with the Omar Cooper Student Achievement Award. I was overwhelmed with the recognition I received just for trying to better these childrens lives. Through this project, I became even more aware that there was much more to be learned and do to benefit all those affected by Autism.
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After my first year of researching autism, I wanted to dig deeper into the root. I realized that communication was a challenge for most of the children with Autism. As I kept this in mind through my volunteering days that summer, I observed how the therapists would teach the kids how to improve their communication skills. They would use various techniques, but the one I found most interesting was the augmentative device “Proloquo2go” by AssistiveWare. I saw this device right as I was about to leave on one of my volunteering days. Another therapist invited me to come observe while she used the Proloquo2go with one of her kiddos. It truly amazed me how much more this child communicated with the use of this augmentative device. I decided to do a research project to investigate the value and benefit of this application.

It was very rewarding to find a positive result in the usage of the Proloquo2go. After competing in my local science fair for this project, I was awarded 1st place in the high school behavioral and social sciences category. In addition, I was recognized with the Dart Foundation Inspiration Award, the American Psychological Association Award, and was selected to be an Intel International Science & Engineering Fair (Intel-ISEF) Finalist representing my region, one of 1,500 students from over 80 countries around the world! My excitement was overwhelming for this was a dream for me. Spending my time trying to help others through research is one of my major goals.
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Intel ISEF 2013 was the experience of a lifetime and I learned so much not only by the event but also by the young scientists that participated from all over the world with me. I came home with a high expectation of myself and this year’s aspirations for my project and continued research. My goal this year is to help shed some light and explore the commonalities in symptoms and causations of Autism. Only time will tell… with your help.

Thanks for allowing me to share my story & passion with you,

Courtney Alexandra Astore - www.Autismiles.org

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Treating Autism Symptoms With Parasitic Worms http://www.autismunited.org/blog/treating-autism-symptoms-parasitic-worm-802970.html http://www.autismunited.org/blog/treating-autism-symptoms-parasitic-worm-802970.html#comments Fri, 27 Dec 2013 03:53:36 +0000 Annette http://www.autismunited.org/blog/?p=2970 Adults with autism who were intentionally infected with a parasitic intestinal worm experienced an improvement in their behavior, researchers say. After swallowing whipworm eggs for 12 weeks, people with autism became more adaptable and less likely to engage in repetitive actions, said study lead author Dr. Eric Hollander, director of the Autism and Obsessive Compulsive [...]

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whip worm

Source: Foxnews.com

Adults with autism who were intentionally infected with a parasitic intestinal worm experienced an improvement in their behavior, researchers say.

After swallowing whipworm eggs for 12 weeks, people with autism became more adaptable and less likely to engage in repetitive actions, said study lead author Dr. Eric Hollander, director of the Autism and Obsessive Compulsive Spectrum Program at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City.

The whipworm study is one of two novel projects Hollander is scheduled to present Thursday at the annual meeting of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology in Hollywood, Fla.

The other therapy – hot baths for children with autism — also was found to improve symptoms, Hollander said.

Inflammation caused by a hyperactive immune system, which is suspected to contribute to autism, is the link between the two unusual but potentially effective treatments.

Researchers believe the presence of the worms can prompt the body to better regulate its immune response, which reduces the person’s inflammation levels, Hollander said.

Meanwhile, hot baths can fool the body into thinking it’s running a fever, prompting the release of protective anti-inflammatory signals, he believes.

Autism is estimated to affect one in 50 school-aged children in the United States, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. People with the developmental disorder have impaired social and communication skills.

The whipworm study involved 10 high-functioning adults with autism who ate whipworm eggs for 12 weeks, ingesting about 2,500 eggs every two weeks. They also spent another 12 weeks on an inactive placebo medication.

Unlike deadly whipworms in dogs, these whipworms don’t harm humans, Hollander said. “The whipworm doesn’t reproduce in the gut, and it doesn’t penetrate the intestines, so it doesn’t cause illness in humans,” Hollander said. The gut clears itself of the worms every two weeks, which is why patients had to be retreated.

Use of the worms relates to the “hygiene hypothesis,” which holds that some autoimmune disorders might be caused by a lack of microbes or parasites present in the body during earlier, less hygienic times, Hollander said. These bugs might help regulate the immune response in the human body.

In this case, it was found that the adults receiving the worm treatment became less compulsive and better able to deal with change.

The bath study involved 15 children with autism who alternated days soaking in a 102-degree hot tub versus a 98-degree hot tub.

Researchers found that the kids had improved social behaviors on days when they soaked in the 102-degree tub.

The findings verify earlier reports that about one-third of people with autism show an improvement in symptoms when they suffer a fever, the researchers said in background information.

Rob Ring, chief science officer of Autism Speaks, said such outside-the-box treatments may seem unusual but can provide important lessons.

“My own general mantra is to be agnostic about where new ideas come from, but religious about data,” Ring said. “It’s important for the field of autism to develop new approaches.”

Some Whipworm facts:

Whipworm (Trichuris trichiura) is an intestinal parasite of humans. The larvae and adult worms live in the intestine of humans and can cause intestinal disease. The name is derived from the worm’s distinctive whip-like shape.

Whipworms live in the intestine and whipworm eggs are passed in the feces of infected persons. If the infected person defecates outside (near bushes, in a garden, or field), or if the feces of an infected person are used as fertilizer, then eggs are deposited on the soil. They can then mature into a form that is infective. Roundworm infection is caused by ingesting eggs. This can happen when hands or fingers that have contaminated dirt on them are put in the mouth, or by consuming vegetables or fruits that have not been carefully cooked, washed or peeled.

Infection occurs worldwide in warm and humid climates where sanitation and hygiene are poor, including in temperate climates during warmer months. Persons in these areas are at risk if soil contaminated with human feces enters their mouths or if they eat vegetables or fruits that have not been carefully washed, peeled or cooked.

Sources:

By Dennis Thompson
HealthDay Reporter

http://health.usnews.com/health-news/news/articles/2013/12/12/could-a-tiny-worm-help-treat-autism

http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/whipworm/gen_info/faqs.html

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Sensory Overload For The Holidays – Prevention Tips http://www.autismunited.org/blog/sensory-overload-holidays-prevention-tips-802852.html http://www.autismunited.org/blog/sensory-overload-holidays-prevention-tips-802852.html#comments Fri, 20 Dec 2013 03:45:17 +0000 Annette http://www.autismunited.org/blog/?p=2852 The sights and sounds of the holidays can be exciting but also overwhelming; especially for a child with sensory issues.  Awareness of these sensitivities is the key to preventing your child’s meltdowns.  People with sensory issues have a super-sensitive central nervous system (CNS).  Clothing tags, sock seams, scratchy fabrics, loud noises, crowds, buzzing florescent lights, [...]

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The sights and sounds of the holidays can be exciting but also overwhelming; especially for a child with sensory issues.  Awareness of these sensitivities is the key to preventing your child’s meltdowns. Holiday Sensory Overload Prevention

People with sensory issues have a super-sensitive central nervous system (CNS).  Clothing tags, sock seams, scratchy fabrics, loud noises, crowds, buzzing florescent lights, unusual smells, or too many things happening at once can really throw things into a tailspin.

Since these sensitivities can cause kids to lose focus or seem fidgety, they are often mislabeled as “ADHD”(with or without hyperactivity), or sensory integration disorder (SID).  Others have received labels such as LD (learning disabled) or ODD (oppositional defiance disorder).

What is really going on is that all of the above issues act as stressors to their central nervous system.  This, in turn, stresses out their adrenal glands, causing a “fight or flight” response which results in “ADHD” or behavior issues.

Tips for Coping with the Holidays

The holidays can amplify these issues so here are 10 tips, to help you and your child cope better:

  1. Avoid large crowds and noisy stores – Get a sitter or swap babysitting with a friend or relative.
  2. Keep your kids busy with arts and crafts – Keep art supplies handy, so your kids have something creative to do. Bring pads or coloring books to church and other gatherings.  Let your kids help with wrapping and baking, depending on their ages of course.
  3. Play soothing music - Classical, jazz, or holiday favorites.
  4. Allow them to blow off steam -  Run around outside, play with the dog, play a musical instrument, swim some laps; whatever works for them.
  5. Keep holiday visits to a minimum –  Large gatherings generally do not work, unless the kids can go to a separate room to play or read.  If you sense your child is getting agitated, react quickly.
  6. Watch the sweets - This one is tough during the holidays but all that sugar and food dye’s may increase autistic symptoms.
  7. Keep  healthy snacks handy – Fruit, cheese, nuts or peanut butter (unless there are nut allergies ), low-sugar protein bars, trail mix, keep on hand just in case there isn’t other options available other than those sugary treats.
  8. Church and other gatherings – Be aware of the crowd. Sit in the back or on an aisle, in case you need to exit quickly. If at all possible, do not sit near anyone who is wearing too much perfume or cologne.  This can aggravate anyone, imagine a child with sensitivity.
  9. Seating – Be careful who you sit your child next to. If you know he’s bothered by hard chairs, bring a cushion. If you have hard kitchen chairs at home, buy cushions. This is the #1 reason these kids sit with 1 foot tucked under their bottoms.
  10. Clothing –  Super-soft fabrics, such as brushed cotton. No wool or scratchy sweaters! Either cut out the tags or find tag less clothes and underwear. Seamless socks do exist.  Don’t force your child to wear something uncomfortable. When at home let your child remove their socks or uncomfortable clothing.

Changes to regular routines; flashing, sparkly decorations and lights; people gathering together; lots of voices talking and laughing loudly; meals that require a longer time sitting still; long rides in the car to see relatives; excitement interspersed with periods of boredom from the long time away from school; lots of surprises and stimulation; sensory and activity overload -– the holiday season is here!

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Increased Risk Of Autism http://www.autismunited.org/blog/increased-risk-autism-802827.html http://www.autismunited.org/blog/increased-risk-autism-802827.html#comments Wed, 20 Nov 2013 01:40:32 +0000 Annette http://www.autismunited.org/blog/?p=2827 Women who become pregnant within a year after giving birth could be putting their next child at increased risk of autism, researchers’ say, published in the respected medical journal Pediatrics (study was done back in 2011) , looked at the incidence of autism among 663,000 second-born children in California born between 1992 and 2002. Such babies are three [...]

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Women who become pregnant within a year after giving birth could be putting their next child at increased risk of autism, researchers’ say, published in the respected medical journal Pediatrics (study was done back in 2011) , looked at the incidence of autism among 663,000 second-born children in California born between 1992 and 2002.

Such babies are three times more likely to have the developmental disorder, according to researchers.  People with the disability have problems communicating, socialising and empathising with other people.  The causes of autism remain a mystery, but is thought to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors – particularly when a baby is developing in the womb.

Annals of Neurology, finds a four-fold increase in autism among women who had very low levels of a key thyroid hormone, called thyroxine.  A growing number of studies now link autism to a variety of things that can compromise the health of a pregnancy.  Researchers are increasingly looking at prenatal risk factors for autism, because this period plays a key role in brain development.  Studies have found that children are at higher risk for autism if they are born early or very small; if they are in medical distress during delivery; if they have older mothers or fathers; or if they are born less than a year after an older sibling.

They say that women’s bodies need time to recover from a pregnancy and that children conceived too quickly after childbirth may be deprived of vital nutrients.   A recommendation of two years, since it takes this long for your abdominal muscles to fully return to their pre-pregnancy state as well.

Three big factors that can prevent recovery, causing an abdominal distention are:

  1. Having two babies within two years (or falling pregnant within two years of the last pregnancy);
  2. Gaining a large amount of weight during pregnancy;
  3. C-section (C-sections can cause internal scarring or adhesions which can add to abdominal distention).

The findings, based on a study of more than 600,000 California families, adds to the growing evidence that closely spaced pregnancies can be harmful.  Second-child conceived within a year of an elder siblings birth were 3.4 times more likely to have autism than a typical child of the same age.  Babies conceived 12 to 23 months after the first child’s birth were 1.9 times more likely to have autism, while the risk was lowered to 1.2 times after a gap of two to three years between pregnancies.

Previous studies have shown that women with two closely spaced pregnancies are at risk of premature births and low birthweight.

Of course doctors don’t want women to panic over the study and stress that the chances of autism remained low for any baby.  Autism now affects 1 in 88 children and 1 in 54 boys (March 2012 statistic).  Among girls (1 in 252).  About 1 in 6 children in the U.S. had a developmental disability in 2006-2008, ranging from mild disabilities such as speech and language impairments to serious developmental disabilities, such as intellectual disabilities, cerebral palsy, and autism.

It is advised that mothers leave at least a year’s gap between having a baby and getting pregnant, for themselves and recovery as well as the development of their next child in the womb.

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First American Child Ever Diagnosed With Autism http://www.autismunited.org/blog/first-american-child-ever-diagnosed-autism-802833.html http://www.autismunited.org/blog/first-american-child-ever-diagnosed-autism-802833.html#comments Mon, 28 Oct 2013 18:18:21 +0000 Annette http://www.autismunited.org/blog/?p=2833 The year was 1938, and Donald T. would later become the first American child ever diagnosed with autism. For decades afterward, it was believed that the condition was rare. Times have certainly changed. Today, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly 1 in 88 children are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders, or ASDs, and [...]

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The year was 1938, and Donald T. would later become the first American child ever diagnosed with autism. For decades afterward, it was believed that the condition was rare. Times have certainly changed.

Today, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly 1 in 88 children are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders, or ASDs, and it’s four to five times more likely to occur in boys than in girls.

When he was a toddler, Donald didn’t seem to care whether his parents came or went. Before turning 2, he’d already memorized Psalm 23 (“The Lord is my shepherd…”) and could recite the catechism from memory, but never paid attention to a fully costumed Santa Claus during the winter holidays. He soon became obsessed with watching spinning objects and would have explosive temper tantrums if he was interrupted.

Worried, Donald’s father sent a 33-page typed letter recounting these and other unusual behaviors to a young psychiatrist named Leo Kanner at Johns Hopkins Hospital, in Baltimore.

Donald T. was not like other 5-year-old boys.

leo kannerLeo Kanner knew that the moment he read the 33-page letter from Donaldʼs father that described the boy in obsessive detail as “happiest when he was alone… drawing into a shell and living within himself… oblivious to everything around him.” Donald had a mania for spinning toys, liked to shake his head from side to side and spin himself around in circles, and he had temper tantrums when his routine was disrupted.

When Kanner met Donald, his suspicions were confirmed. In addition to the symptoms the letter described, Kanner noted Donaldʼs explosive, seemingly irrelevant use of words. Donald referred to himself in the third person, repeated words and phrases spoken to him, and communicated his own desires by attributing them to others.

Kanner described Donald and ten other children in a 1943 paper entitled, Autistic Disturbances of Affective Contact. In this initial description of ‘infantile autismʼ, which went on to become a classic in the field of clinical psychiatry, Kanner described a distinct syndrome instead of previous depictions of such children as feeble-minded, retarded, moronic, idiotic or schizoid.

Kanner borrowed the term ‘autismʼ from Eugene Bleuler, who had coined it to describe the inward, self-absorbed aspects of schizophrenia in adults.

“Auto” means self and “autism” literally means into oneself.  Although the term had previously been used in reference to schizophrenia, Dr.Kanner was the first to use it to describe children who were nonverbal and appeared to avoid social contact.

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Young Adults With Autism – What Does Their Future Hold http://www.autismunited.org/blog/young-adults-autism-future-hold-802799.html http://www.autismunited.org/blog/young-adults-autism-future-hold-802799.html#comments Mon, 07 Oct 2013 15:31:32 +0000 Annette http://www.autismunited.org/blog/?p=2799 Of course we can’t predict what the future holds for any of us, but a young adult with autism is already getting the red light from employers, housing, and even further education.  Young adults with autism are less likely to find employment or live independently than young adults with other kinds of disabilities. With roughly [...]

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Of course we can’t predict what the future holds for any of us, but a young adult with autism is already getting the red light from employers, housing, and even further education.  Young adults with autism are less likely to find employment or live independently than young adults with other kinds of disabilities.

With roughly 50,000 kids with autism graduating from high school each year, we need to address where these young adults are going to end up.

autism employment

The Depreciating Earning Brackets 

Kids with autism who do find work, make less money. On average, young adults with autism earn $8.10 an hour, while those with other kinds of impairments — including low IQs, learning disabilities, and trouble speaking and communicating — are paid between $11 and $12 an hour.  And only 17 percent of young adults with autism, who are between 21 and 25 years old, had ever lived on their own.

By comparison, 66 percent of kids with learning disabilities like dyslexia live by themselves, as had 62 percent of those who were emotionally disturbed, a category that includes anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, bipolar disorder and eating disorders. Even those labeled as intellectually disabled, meaning they had a low IQ and slower mental processing, are about twice as likely to live on their own as young adults with autism.

These numbers come from study author Paul Shattuck, an associate professor at the Drexel University School of Public Health, in Philadelphia.

An estimated one of every 88 children in the United States has an autism spectrum disorder, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and there is a shortage of necessary programs for adults with autism already unfortunately. It is likely to worsen as the increasing number of children who are being diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders grow into adults.

Individuality Makes Things Difficult

One of the biggest challenges in providing services to people with an autism spectrum disorder is that the needs change from individual to individual.  Those who are profoundly affected by autism generally end up staying with their families. Expensive, private options are often available but out of reach for many families.  Autistic children see the world differently than most, the world can hold dangers that we don’t perceive.  Many have problems communicating how they feel and perhaps lack social skills.  And what about the parents of these autistic adults that are still living at home.  Those parents are aging and concerns arise of what will happen to the autistic adult’s future, where will they go when their parents pass on.

For families with children on the autism spectrum, it is never too soon to start thinking about getting the child ready for the transition to adulthood. Start a conversation with your child’s special education team at school during 8th or 9th grade to allow adequate time to investigate available resources.

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