Tag Archives: Autism

Treating Autistic Children – 5 Time-tested Alternative Methods

As more research is done on autism, a brain development disorder, doctors and researchers are finding alternative ways to treat it. Medication used to be the only recourse and can have nasty side effects. Parents are looking for different, natural ways to treat their autistic children.

There have been some alternative methods in treating autism that are more common than others. Some work alone while others are used in combination. There is no telling which method will work best for your child. Speak with your doctor to learn about alternative treatments for autistic children.

1. Music Therapy: Autistic children have been found to respond to music in a number of ways. Sometimes the music makes them happy and they want to move around, helping with their motor skills. Other times children sing along to the words of the song, helping with speech therapy. This has been seen in children who do not even talk. Music therapy is a natural way to help autistic children.

2. Sensory Integration: Everyone, autistic or not, has a certain smell that reminds them of something happy. Or the touch of a certain cloth will invoke specific feelings. This holds true for some autistic children as well. Researchers have been using sensory skills to get autistic children to react. The autistic children rely more on their hearing, touch, taste and smell to understand and communicate. This is also used to calm autistic children down by using specific odors or textures.

3. Nutritional: An autistic child’s diet can have an effect on the way they react. There have many different diets that doctors have been using. Some of the popular diets are gluten-free, which is no wheat products, or removing dairy from the diet. Certain ingredients in foods make autistic act out or have bad reactions. Learn what they are and eliminate them from your child’s diet.

4. Omega 3: Omega 3 is a fatty acid that has been found to have health benefits, which includes better sleep patterns, better social skills and better general health. All of these are positive attributes to a child with autism. While you can buy Omega 3 at many nutritional stores, discuss with your doctor the benefits of trying Omega 3 in your autistic child’s diet. Omega 3 and other essential fatty acids are needed in a child’s normal growth pattern. However, no major studies have been done on the benefits of fish oil for autistic children.

5. Play Therapy: Play therapy works well because it doesn’t feel like work. Autistic children are in a more relax atmosphere and have a chance to react naturally. When a therapist begins playing with the autistic child, this will give the therapist and the child a chance to bond. The child will learn to trust the therapist through playing and make the sessions easier. By helping to create bonds through playing, autistic children can learn to play well other children their own age.

Good treatment plans may use some of these alternatives along with medication or you can try them out before resorting to medication. Every child is different, so some of the alternatives therapies could work well for one autistic patient while not work for another. Don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t work for your child. Just look for ways to keep your child happy while giving your child the best care.

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Problems With Autistic Children in School

 

Chances are an autistic child who is in mainstream education will not require special education, which means they are unlikely to have obvious learning disabilities. But that said they will still have special needs.

The first thing as a teacher you should do is to speak to other members of staff and the SENCO in your school. Make sure that everyone understands what autism is and that they are aware of how this will affect the child’s behaviour.

Sometimes it is helpful to explain to the other children within the class about autism. This will help to prepare them for the autistic child starting school. It will be helpful to explain that the new class member may act differently or strangely – for example they may shout out unexpectedly or laugh at inappropriate things.

You ought to explain that although the autistic child may act inappropriately that this is not intentional and they too have feelings like everybody else. This is an important thing to stress as it will be very easy for the autistic child to become, the focus of taunts, bullying and teasing if the other children in the class and school do not understand the autistic child’s behavior and mannerisms.

Probably one task you should undertake before the autistic child begins in your class is to take a note of all the classroom accommodations.

Autism classroom accommodations to consider:

Makea note of the autistic child’s special need’s for example going to the bathroom, with autism going to the bathroom can be an issue, find out how the child copes with this and if necessary add signs at the bathroom, (small picture cards with text) to avoid embarrassment and allow the autistic child to identify the bathroom.

Ask the parents for a meeting and try to identify the autistic child’s strengths and weaknesses. You can build on the strengths and encourage these.

Sometimes it may be necessary to appoint a helper (LSA) or classroom assistant, to help the autistic child within the classroom.

The autistic child’s helper’s role should be to encourage the child to be more independent, work on task’s and to mix with other children.

It will probably especially at first to keep an eye on the child at break times and during recess, when they might spend a lot of time on their own.

Autistic children tend to like prefer their own company, however older children and teens may feel left out or lonely. Sometimes it can be helpful to structure breaktimes to avoid any problems.

Try and avoid metaphorical speech, for example “wait a minute”, autistic children tend to very literal and will not understand. Avoid sarcastic language, or exaggeration, and nick names, both when you are speaking to the child and to the class as a whole. Always be aware of what you are saying and how it might be misunderstood by the child.

You may need to repeat yourself during lessons and keep checking the autistic child is still listening, their attention span can be short especially when something is not of interest to them.

When you are talking to a group, make sure you have the child’s attention. Especially young children they may not understand that they are included in the group, so you may need to include them by talking to them directly ie by saying their name or talk first, then to the whole class.

As with listening to a foreign language or something you really have no interest in, we all tend to shut off to it. An child with autism is no different, as soon as a couple of sentences go over their head they will shut down their auditory system and stop listening reverting back into their own world.

Try using visual aids when teaching a subject that requires abstract thinking. You could maybe use photographs or pictures to help keep the autistic child’s attention.

Even at secondary school, it is still possible to use visual aids for example illustrations or diagrams could be added to worksheets.

Visual timetables are used with a great success, the autistic child can quickly recognise what is happening as has a visual cue for the various different times of the day, like break times, recess, pe lessons, hometime etc.

You may want to include time for the bathroom as this is a confusing time for most children with autism.

You may also want to think about the use of autism social stories as a tool for helping the autistic child keep on task and understand what is expected of them throughout the day and what they should expect from other’s.

Autism social stories are used with great effect in classrooms and can be like a favorite friend to an autistic child, and teacher a like! Used in conjunction with a visual timetable and set behavior plan, autism social stories will become invaluable.

 

A good source for social stories is your OT or alternatively you can obtain autism social stories on line at www.autismsocialstories.com/school for school related social skills stories
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Difficulties of an Autistic Adult

That’s right, autistic kids grow up. This entire text has been devoted to the autistic child, but what about autistic adults? What kinds of difficulties do autistic adults have when they are in our society, at the workplace, or raising a family of their own? Many autistic adults work, go to school, and live a semi-normal life. There are autistic professors at universities, autistic doctors, and there are some autistic adults that work at Burger King. Remember each autistic person is an individual and has different abilities according to their autism.

One of the challenges the autistic adults have the face is assumptions about their ability to do a task. An employer or co-worker will not assign a specific work related task to an autistic adult employee because it is assumed that they cannot do the task or will not do it correctly. These assumptions are picked up by the autistic adult and emotional pain is felt when they are judged by their peers. They have a want and a right to try any task that is put before another peer and not be prejudged.

The world also has trouble with the autistic adult not being able to initiate a conversation or other social interaction. Most autistic adults have trouble giving eye contact and in the work place there are people that do not understand this and will be offended because of it. Shaking hands and other social gestures are sometimes difficult for them. Some adults will even avoid using the bathroom because the interaction in a closed public restroom is to much for them to bear. The employer should be educated on the behaviors of their autistic employee and precautions should be put in place to avoid embarrassment and miscommunication.

Hygiene is another problem for the autistic adult. Some autistic adults have a hard time combing their hair or brushing their teeth. Sensitivity in these areas cause them to avoid grooming or bathing all together. Some avoid and some just give up. They know they have problems and after awhile it is easier to ignore them than to face them at all. Simple chores like laundry may be ignored and the employees and other adults in the workplace can make some pretty cruel comments about the cleanliness of the adult.

Eating and nutrition are sometimes a problem for the autistic adult. They will refuse any food that offends their senses or gives them a bad feeling. Sometimes they will not know how to prepare food and will eat less nutritious foods in substitute. The act of deciding what too much food is and what is to little is another issue. Sometimes an autistic adult will gorge themselves when eating, while another individual will eat just enough to stay alive. Some autistic adults have quirks about what and how they eat. Foods sometimes need to be separated from other foods or a mixture of foods will cause a bad reaction.

If you have an autistic child that is an adult or you are an autistic adult reading this, the only way that the uninformed public to understand what autism is and how it affects the individual is awareness and education. Hopefully the world will learn and understand the special nature of an autistic child and adult and they can embrace the uniqueness and understand their issues.

Information on autism symptoms can be found at the Autism Diagnosis site.
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Ain Shams University Faculty of Arts Department of Psychology the Relationship Between Marital Adjustment & Personality Traits in Autistic

Introduction:
The marital adjustment provides the chance to a happy family and helps both the husband and wife to cope successfully with the changing situations despite the contradicting aspects in the personality of both the husband and wife. Of the situations that need coping and adaptability is the presence of an autistic child as a member of the family; Autism is one of the childhood disturbances which is characterized by an inability in the social interaction and an inability in the communication and the imaginative playing, and a decreased extent of activities and interesting which usually appears before the third year of age the agreement and understanding among family members, especially the parents, is a principal factor in the development of this child in the training program which is very important for the autistic child and his parents in which the child is been trained to depend on its self to be autonomic and developing his skills at general which the stress of parents as aresult of the child’s development degree may be affected by the nature of the marital adjustment between parents and the nature of the parents’ personality traits (depression, anxiety, or obsesses )

The study problem:-
The study problem is determined within responding to the following questions:-
1- Are there statistically significant differences between mean scores of the autistic children group on training program utilized in pre and post test?
2- Is there statistically significant relationship between marital adjustment in the autistic child’s parents and its developmental rate in the training program?
3- Is there statistically significant relationship between personality traits (depression, anxiety & compulsive obsessions) of the autistic child’s parents and the development degree of the autistic child in the training program?
4- Are there statistically significant differences between mean scores of children of martially adjusted parents and maladjusted parents in the post – test of the training program.
5- Are there statistically significant differences between mean scores of children of high and low in personality traits (depression, anxiety. & compulsive obsessions) in post – test of the training program.

The study importance:
The importance of the study lies in the study of the relation ship of marital adjustment & personality traits (depression, anxiety & compulsive obsessions) in autistic child’s parents and the developmental degree of autistic child in training programs in which our understanding increases about autism, as well as, enriching the researches in this field, specifically, where there is a rarity in researches, which handled programs of developing autistic child skills in the Egyptian Society, specially, self – caring programs .

Childhood examination in the current study aims to recognizing its problems and demands, as well as, the family which is the society nucleus, in addition to, demonstrating its relationship with the marital adjustment which is the nucleus of the upbringing of children with healthy socialization.

Study aims:

The study aims is represented in the following points:-
1- discovering the effect of training program in developing some self-caring skills in autistic children group.
2- discovering the nature of relationship between the marital adjustment in the autistic child’s parents and the developmental rate of the autistic child in the training programs.
3- Discovering the nature of relationship between the personality traits (depression, anxiety & compulsive obsessions) in autistic child’s parents, and the developmental rate of the autistic child in training program.
4- discovering the nature of differences between the children of martially adjusted and unadjusted in the post – test of the training program.
5- discovering the nature of differences between children of high and low in personality traits (anxiety, depression & compulsive obsessions) in the post – test of the training program.

Hypotheses:-
1- There are statistically significant differences between mean scores of autistic children group in the training program at pre – & post – test in favor of the post – test in some self-caring skills
2- There is a statistically significant relationship between the score of marital adjustment of autistic children’s parents and the progression degree of the autistic child in the training program.
3- There is a statistically significant relationship between personality traits (depression, anxiety & compulsive obsessions) in autistic child’s parents and the progression rate of the autistic child in the training program.
4- There is a statistically significant relationship between differences between mean Scores of the martially adjusted and maladjusted in the post – test of the training program .
5- There are statistically significant difference between mean scores of the children of high and low parents at personality traits (depression, anxiety & compulsive obsessions) at the post – test of the training program.

* The study terms:
The study is lined out by the participants, of the study, as well as, the Egyptian population from which this sample is selected, and by study variables as measured by tests and measures used and the statistical techniques employed.
* Study procedures:
(A) participants:-
1- Autistic children group: A number of 23 autistic child aged 6 – 12 years old , selected from “ Abaa wa Abnaa “ center for mentally retarded care, and from “ Al Ebn Al Khas “ center for caring children of mental special needs.
2- Autistic children’s parents group: A number of 46 participant who are originally the parents of the autistic children group; (23)mother & (23) father, aged 30 – 50 yrs. Old)

(B) Study tools: – the study has used the following tools: –
1-Marital adjustment questionnaire:
Authorized by: Moors Manson & Arthur Learner, translated and standardized into Arabic by Adel Ezz El din El ashwal (1989)
2- Beck depression inventory (short form ) Authorized by : Beck Translated and prepared by Ghareeb Abd – El fattah (1990)
3- Taylor manifest anxiety scale Developed by tylor, translated by Ahmed Mohamed Abd – El Khalek .
4- Autism diagnosis criteria in DSM IV for mental disorders (1994)
5- Arabic scale for compulsive obsessions; Developed by Ahmed Mohamed Abd – El Khalek (1992)
6- Family socioeconomic status scale; Developed by Abd – El Aziz El shakhs (1995 A. D) second edit
7- Goddard shapes board test for measuring intelligence
8- Autistic child scale developed by Adel Abdullah Mohammed (2001A.D)
9- Primary data and developmental history sheet Developed by the Author
10- Entrance to the Autistic child sheet developed by the Author.
11- Program of developing some self caring skills for the autistic child developed by the author

* Statistical manipulation: –
The following statistical procedures have been employed
1- Spearman rankings correlation coefficient
2- WilKockson test (w)
3- Mann – Whitney test (U)

The study results: –
By responding to the hypotheses, the study results have been represented as follows :-
1- There are statistically significant differences between pre – test and post – test in the autistic children group at the training program in favor of the post – test .
2- There isn’t any statistically significant relationship between personality traits (depression, anxiety & compulsive obsessions) of autistic child’s parents and at which extent the autistic child is progressing in the training program .
3- There isn’t any statistically significant relationship between personality traits (depression, anxiety & compulsive obsessions) in the autistic child’s parents and the progression degree of the autistic child in the training program.
4- There are statistically significant differences between mean scores of children of maritally adjusted mothers and mean scores of children of maritally maladjusted mothers, meanwhile, There weren’t any statistically significant differences between mean scores of children of the martially adjusted and maladjusted parents at the post –test of the training program.
5- There aren’t statistically significant differences between mean scores of children of those high and low in personality traits (depression, anxiety & compulsive obsessions) in the post – test of the training program.

 
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Autism Anxiety Overload

The renowned autism expert Tony Atwood is fond of putting it this way: “Autism is anxiety looking for a target.” Autism and anxiety go hand-in-hand. Autism affects a person’s ability to communicate with others or to understand the world around him, and that’s bound to cause anxiety and panic sometimes.

Anxiety becomes even worse when there is a change in the autistic child’s routine. Even positive and “fun” changes, like a school field trip or a visit to the zoo, can increase anxiety and aggressive behaviors.

For parents, the best course of action is to anticipate upcoming changes and help your child prepare for them. Many parents find it helpful to use stories and pictures to prepare children for impending disruptions. If it’s a field trip to the zoo, for example, use pictures to show your child what he’ll see at the zoo, what the zoo will be like, and what sort of things to expect. Do this each day for three or four days prior to the trip. That way, when the trip actually happens, the child won’t be entirely out of his element, but will already understand and appreciate some of what will be happening.

Other changes in the routine are less enjoyable but still necessary. Getting a new teacher can be traumatic, as can moving to a new house. If at all possible, try to spread out the major changes. If you move to a new house, try to do it during the summer, so that your child won’t have to deal with the added anxiety of getting a new school and new teacher mid-year.

You can also introduce your child to the concept of “change” in a positive way by practicing with non-negative things. For example, just for practice, give him a little extra TV time instead of homework time one night, to show that changes in the routine can often be fun and good. Then practice with a neutral change (homework after dinner instead of before dinner), then with a negative one (changing play time into chore time). This process can help your child grow accustomed to the idea of change and learn to adapt without becoming anxious.

For continual, ongoing anxiety, many parents have begun using anti-anxiety medications for their autistic children. Usually, the medications are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), and are also used for obsessive-compulsive disorder and depression. Prozac, Luvox, Zoloft and Anafranil are all common for anxiety in autistic children.

For behavioral problems, antipsychotics such as Haldol, fluphenazine and chlorpromazine can be prescribed. These can reduce aggression in autistic kids, but sometimes also cause sedation and muscle stiffness.

All patients are different. You and your doctor should monitor your child’s progress very closely, using the lowest dose of medication possible, to see if what improvements it makes and whether there are any adverse reactions. Medication should be the last resort for autism, not the first one. There are a number of natural remedies available if you don’t want to go down the drug route. But try behavioral and dietary modifications first, to see what improvements can be made naturally.

There are many more resources and information about diagnosing, controlling and treating Autism in, The Essential Guide To Autism – for more info – Click Here