Tag Archives: children

Interrelated Health Issues Experienced By Children With Autism: Anxiety, GI Problems, Sensory Over-Responsivity

Main Category: Autism
Also Included In: Anxiety / Stress;  GastroIntestinal / Gastroenterology;  Pediatrics / Children’s Health
Article Date: 21 Sep 2012 – 1:00 PDT Current ratings for:
Interrelated Health Issues Experienced By Children With Autism: Anxiety, GI Problems, Sensory Over-Responsivity
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One in 88 children has been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A new study by a University of Missouri researcher found that many children with ASD also experience anxiety, chronic gastrointestinal (GI) problems and atypical sensory responses, which are heightened reactions to light, sound or particular textures. These problems appear to be highly related and can have significant effects on children’s daily lives, including their functioning at home and in school.

Micah Mazurek, an assistant professor of health psychology and a clinical child psychologist, found in her study of 2,973 children and adolescents with ASD that nearly one-fourth also had chronic GI problems, such as constipation, abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea or nausea. The results also showed that children with chronic GI problems were more likely to experience anxiety and sensory problems.

“These problems can have a very real impact on daily life. Children with anxiety may be distressed or reluctant to engage in new activities, and those with sensory problems may have trouble paying attention or participating in over-stimulating enviornments,” Mazurek said. “These children may also suffer uncomfortable GI problems that they may not be able to communicate about to adults.”

Clinicians should be aware that anxiety, GI problems and sensory sensitivity often co-occur in individuals with ASD. Effectively managing these concurrent issues may improve children’s quality of life and their responses to treatment, Mazurek said.

“Parents need to be aware that these problems may underlie some of their children’s difficulties, so if they notice any symptoms, they should talk to their doctors or therapists about treatment options,” Mazurek said. “Practitioners who work with children with ASD need to be mindful that there is a pretty high rate of these problems, so if children are treated for one issue, it may helpful to screen for these additional symptoms.”

This is the first study to examine the relationships among anxiety, GI problems and sensory over-responsivity in a large, nationally representative sample of children and adolescents with ASD. Participants in the study were enrolled in the Autism Treatment Network, a network of 17 autism centers throughout North America that are focused on best practices for medical treatment of children with ASD.

Article adapted by Medical News Today from original press release. Click ‘references’ tab above for source.
Visit our autism section for the latest news on this subject. The study, “Anxiety, Sensory Over-Responsivity, and Gastrointestinal Problems in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders,” was published in the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology. Mazurek is an assistant professor in the Department of Health Psychology in the MU School of Health Professions and a clinical child psychologist at the MU Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders. Mazurek’s coauthors from the School of Health Professions include Stephen Kanne, executive director of the Thompson Center and the William and Nancy Thompson Endowed Chair in Child Health in the Department of Health Psychology; and Lee Ann Lowery, director of the MU Pediatric Occupational Therapy Clinic in the Thompson Center and a clinical associate professor in the Department of Occupational Therapy. Several experts external to MU also contributed to the study.
University of Missouri-Columbia Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:

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‘Interrelated Health Issues Experienced By Children With Autism: Anxiety, GI Problems, Sensory Over-Responsivity’

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a place where children grow wings

~

There is a place.

A magical place.

A place where children grow wings.

It sits on a tiny spit of land in the middle of the Sea – on a bandstand overlooking a park overlooking the sand overlooking that sea.

It is a place where imagination is King and children are chomping crocodiles and lumbering, stomping dinosaurs and monkeys swinging from vine to vine.

It’s a place where they are last-second game-winning baseball players and brave astronauts and beautiful, spinning ballerinas.

It’s a place where the ground is hot, hot sand and then wavy, mermaid-inhabited ocean, then just as quickly, dense, wet, sticky jungle. Then, with a switch of the CD, it’s a dark, thick forest and then a ride on an eagle’s back to a cool, clear mountain top. Until blast off, of course, when it becomes the farthest reaches of outer space.

It is a place with no limits.

It is a place where children are free.

It is a place where there is never, ever a hint of judgement.

It is a place overflowing with acceptance. No, not acceptance, celebration. And respect. And love. And light. And warmth. And gratitude.

It is a place where joy mingles with peace and things – incredible things – happen.

It is a place where an eleven year-old girl can still dance with five year-olds and not care who’s watching because ‘it would be wonderful if you could stay to help the younger kids. Ya know, if you’d like to.’ 

It’s a place where her autistic sister is engaged, alive, open, happy, and deliciously FREE. It is a place – the place – where she is more fully herself than anywhere else on Earth.

It is a place where a mother runs with a camera, zig-zagging across the stage in a frenzy, darting in and out of children moving this way and that, dodging arms stretched to the sky and legs kicking pretend soccer balls, determined to capture precious moment after precious moment. A place where she takes pictures to convince herself that that much joy was real. Because she knows she’ll need to remind herself later that it is possible.

Because of a woman, an amazing woman, a dance therapist by training and a pure, beautiful, generous spirit by nature, who has dedicated her life to sharing the sheer joy of movement with kids like mine …

There is a place.

A magical place.

A place where children grow wings.

Thank you, Miss Marjory.

Thank you.

*

Ed Note: For more information on the incredible lady who brings this magical place to life, click HERE. 

littlemamaundun

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Routine Developmental Screening Essential To Identify Hispanic Children With Developmental Delay, Autism

Main Category: Autism
Article Date: 30 Aug 2012 – 1:00 PDT Current ratings for:
Routine Developmental Screening Essential To Identify Hispanic Children With Developmental Delay, Autism
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Hispanic children often have undiagnosed developmental delays and large numbers of both Hispanic and non-Hispanic children who first were thought to have developmental delay actually had autism, researchers affiliated with the UC Davis MIND Institute have found.

The study, one of the largest to date to compare development in Hispanic and non-Hispanic children, is published in the journal Autism. The results lead the study authors to recommend increased public health efforts to improve awareness, especially among Hispanics, about the indicators of developmental delay and autism.

“Our study raises concerns about access to accurate, culturally relevant information regarding developmental milestones and the importance of early detection and treatment,” said Virginia Chaidez, the lead author and a postdoctoral researcher in the UC Davis Department of Public Health Sciences when the study was conducted. “Autism and developmental delay tend to go undiagnosed when parents are not aware of the signs to look for, and the conditions are often misdiagnosed when parents don’t have access to adequate developmental surveillance and screening.”

Developmental delay is diagnosed in children who lag behind others in reaching important mental or physical milestones, while autism is characterized by deficits in social interactions and communication behaviors. The symptoms of both disorders can be improved with targeted interventions, with the greatest improvements seen when interventions begin early in life.

In conducting the study, the researchers used data from the Childhood Autism Risk from Genetics and the Environment (CHARGE) Study, a population-based study of factors that increase risk for autism or developmental delay. The current study included 1,061 children living in California who were between 24 and 60 months of age. They were divided into three groups: children with autism, children with developmental delay but not autism, and children with typical development. All diagnoses were confirmed or changed based on evaluations by MIND Institute clinicians.

The evaluations of Hispanic children were conducted by bicultural and bilingual clinicians in Spanish or English, depending on the primary language used at home. The results for children with at least one Hispanic parent of any race were compared to the results for children of non-Hispanic white parents.

“Our goal was to use the CHARGE Study to help fill the gaps in research on autism for Hispanics so we can better understand what autism is like for this growing U.S. population,” said Irva Hertz-Picciotto, professor of public health sciences, researcher with the UC Davis MIND Institute and principal investigator of CHARGE. “No other study of autism has included such a large proportion of Hispanic children.”

When the outcomes for Hispanic children were compared to non-Hispanic children, the results revealed more similarities than differences in terms of autism profiles, including diagnostic scores, language function, whether or not children lost acquired skills and overall intellectual, social and physical functioning.

A striking outcome, however, was that 6.3 percent of Hispanic children enrolled in the study who were selected randomly out of the general population met criteria for developmental delay, compared with only 2.4 percent of non-Hispanic participants, which is the expected percentage. This raised concerns among the researchers that many Hispanic children with developmental delays may not be getting the services they need.

For both Hispanic and non-Hispanic children, there was a high percentage (about 19 percent overall) of Hispanic and non-Hispanic children recruited for the study with developmental delay who actually met criteria for autism, raising concerns about adequate access to accurate developmental assessment.

When the analysis was restricted to bilingual children, a significant relationship also emerged between secondary language exposure (when a child was spoken to 25 to 50 percent of the time in a language other than English) and lower scores on standardized tests of receptive and expressive language. This resulted in lower overall cognitive scores for this group.

“Our results emphasize the importance of considering cultural and other family factors such as multiple language exposure that can affect development when interpreting clinical tests, even when they are conducted in the child’s preferred language,” said Robin Hansen, chief of developmental-behavioral pediatrics at UC Davis, director of clinical programs with the MIND Institute and a study co-author.

Hansen, the MIND Institute clinical team and the Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities at the MIND Institute have worked hard to provide accurate, current and evidence-based information about developmental disabilities to parents, educators, therapists and health-care specialists through an annual conference, website resources and community outreach.

“That so many children are slipping through the cracks is disheartening,” Hansen said. “The differences between developmental disabilities can be subtle but important and involve distinct treatment pathways. We need to make sure that all children are getting routine developmental screening, early diagnosis and intervention so they can achieve their fullest potential.”

Article adapted by Medical News Today from original press release. Click ‘references’ tab above for source.
Visit our autism section for the latest news on this subject. The study, titled “Autism spectrum disorders in Hispanics and non-Hispanics,” is available at http://aut.sagepub.com/content/16/4/381. The research was funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (grants R01-ES015359 and P01-ES11269), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s STAR program (grants R-829388 and R-833292) and the UC Davis MIND Institute.
University of California – Davis Health System Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:

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30 Aug. 2012. APA

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‘Routine Developmental Screening Essential To Identify Hispanic Children With Developmental Delay, Autism’

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Diagnosis Often Missed For Hispanic Children With Developmental Delay

Main Category: Autism
Also Included In: Pediatrics / Children’s Health
Article Date: 29 Aug 2012 – 2:00 PDT Current ratings for:
Diagnosis Often Missed For Hispanic Children With Developmental Delay
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Broader outreach on developmental milestones needed

Hispanic children often have undiagnosed developmental delays and large numbers of both Hispanic and non-Hispanic children who first were thought to have developmental delay actually had autism, researchers affiliated with the UC Davis MIND Institute have found.

The study, one of the largest to date to compare development in Hispanic and non-Hispanic children, is published in the journal Autism. The results lead the study authors to recommend increased public health efforts to improve awareness, especially among Hispanics, about the indicators of developmental delay and autism.

“Our study raises concerns about access to accurate, culturally relevant information regarding developmental milestones and the importance of early detection and treatment,” said Virginia Chaidez, the lead author and a postdoctoral researcher in the UC Davis Department of Public Health Sciences when the study was conducted. “Autism and developmental delay tend to go undiagnosed when parents are not aware of the signs to look for, and the conditions are often misdiagnosed when parents don’t have access to adequate developmental surveillance and screening.”

Developmental delay is diagnosed in children who lag behind others in reaching important mental or physical milestones, while autism is characterized by deficits in social interactions and communication behaviors. The symptoms of both disorders can be improved with targeted interventions, with the greatest improvements seen when interventions begin early in life.

In conducting the study, the researchers used data from the Childhood Autism Risk from Genetics and the Environment (CHARGE) Study, a population-based study of factors that increase risk for autism or developmental delay. The current study included 1,061 children living in California who were between 24 and 60 months of age. They were divided into three groups: children with autism, children with developmental delay but not autism, and children with typical development. All diagnoses were confirmed or changed based on evaluations by MIND Institute clinicians.

The evaluations of Hispanic children were conducted by bicultural and bilingual clinicians in Spanish or English, depending on the primary language used at home. The results for children with at least one Hispanic parent of any race were compared to the results for children of non-Hispanic white parents.

“Our goal was to use the CHARGE Study to help fill the gaps in research on autism for Hispanics so we can better understand what autism is like for this growing U.S. population,” said Irva Hertz-Picciotto, professor of public health sciences, researcher with the UC Davis MIND Institute and principal investigator of CHARGE. “No other study of autism has included such a large proportion of Hispanic children.”

When the outcomes for Hispanic children were compared to non-Hispanic children, the results revealed more similarities than differences in terms of autism profiles, including diagnostic scores, language function, whether or not children lost acquired skills and overall intellectual, social and physical functioning.

A striking outcome, however, was that 6.3 percent of Hispanic children enrolled in the study who were selected randomly out of the general population met criteria for developmental delay, compared with only 2.4 percent of non-Hispanic participants, which is the expected percentage. This raised concerns among the researchers that many Hispanic children with developmental delays may not be getting the services they need.

For both Hispanic and non-Hispanic children, there was a high percentage (about 19 percent overall) of Hispanic and non-Hispanic children recruited for the study with developmental delay who actually met criteria for autism, raising concerns about adequate access to accurate developmental assessment.

When the analysis was restricted to bilingual children, a significant relationship also emerged between secondary language exposure (when a child was spoken to 25 to 50 percent of the time in a language other than English) and lower scores on standardized tests of receptive and expressive language. This resulted in lower overall cognitive scores for this group.

“Our results emphasize the importance of considering cultural and other family factors such as multiple language exposure that can affect development when interpreting clinical tests, even when they are conducted in the child’s preferred language,” said Robin Hansen, chief of developmental-behavioral pediatrics at UC Davis, director of clinical programs with the MIND Institute and a study co-author.

Hansen, the MIND Institute clinical team and the Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities at the MIND Institute have worked hard to provide accurate, current and evidence-based information about developmental disabilities to parents, educators, therapists and health-care specialists through an annual conference, website resources and community outreach.

“That so many children are slipping through the cracks is disheartening,” Hansen said. “The differences between developmental disabilities can be subtle but important and involve distinct treatment pathways. We need to make sure that all children are getting routine developmental screening, early diagnosis and intervention so they can achieve their fullest potential.”

For information on developmental milestones, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “Learn the Signs” website , which is available in English and Spanish at. Parents with concerns about their child’s development should work with their health-care provider, school district and California Department of Developmental Services regional center to identify appropriate services.

The research was funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (grants R01-ES015359 and P01-ES11269), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s STAR program (grants R-829388 and R-833292) and the UC Davis MIND Institute.

Article adapted by Medical News Today from original press release. Click ‘references’ tab above for source.
Visit our autism section for the latest news on this subject. “Autism spectrum disorders in Hispanics and non-Hispanics”, Virginia Chaidez et al.
Autism March 7, 2012, doi: 10.1177/1362361311434787

Source: UC Davis MIND Institute

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29 Aug. 2012. APA

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‘Diagnosis Often Missed For Hispanic Children With Developmental Delay’

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Father’s Age Linked To Risk Of Autism In Children

Editor’s Choice
Academic Journal
Main Category: Autism
Also Included In: Schizophrenia;  Genetics
Article Date: 26 Aug 2012 – 0:00 PDT Current ratings for:
Father’s Age Linked To Risk Of Autism In Children
3 and a half stars4 stars
Older fathers are more likely to pass on new mutations to their offspring than older mothers, researchers from Iceland reported in the journal Nature today. They added that this could partly explain why a higher percentage of children today are born with an autism spectrum disorder, went on to be diagnosed with schizophrenia, or other potentially hereditary syndromes, illnesses or conditions.

Previous studies have pointed to several common factors which raise the risk of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and autism.

At the time of conception – when the sperm fertilizes the egg – the single largest contributor to passing on genetic defects comes from the father’s older age, and not the mother. The scientists explained that their study examined the world’s largest whole genome sequencing project which linked diseases with uncommon defects in the genome. The genome refers to all the genetic data a living being has. Each creature has a different genetic makeup or genome. A bacterium’s genome is different from an ants’, the human genome is slightly different from a chimpanzee’s.

Genome sequencing is putting the four letters we used (A, C, D and T) into the right order of DNA nucleotides or bases in a genome. The human genome consists of approximately 3.4 billion sequences of these genetic letters.

Lead author Kari Stefansson, M.D., Dr. Med., CEO of deCODE Genetics, said:
“Strikingly, this study found that a father’s age at the time a child is conceived explains nearly all of the population diversity in new hereditary mutations found in the offspring. With the results here, it is now clear that demographic transitions that affect the age at which males reproduce can have a considerable impact on the rate of certain diseases linked to new mutation.”

Decode Genetics, a company based in Reykjavik, Iceland, is a world leader in analyzing and understanding the human genome.

The team gathered data on 78 families with children which had had a diagnosis of schizophrenia or autism. All the families lived in Iceland. The average age of the fathers in this group was 29.7 years. They sequenced their genomes, as well as the genomes of another 1,859 Icelandic citizens (a larger comparative population).

Below are some of their highlighted findings: For every extra year in the father’s age, there was a two-mutation per year rise in offspring
They also identified the genetic characteristics associated with autism and schizophrenia in the genomes of families with diagnoses of schizophrenia or autism
In an autism patient subgroup, they identified two defective genes – EPHB2 and CUL3Dr. Stefansson said:

“Our results all point to the possibility that as a man ages, the number of hereditary mutations in his sperm increases, and the chance that a child would carry a deleterious mutation that could lead to diseases such as autism and schizophrenia increases proportionally.

It is of interest here that conventional wisdom has been to blame developmental disorders of children on the age of mothers, whereas the only problems that come with advancing age of mothers is a risk of Down syndrome and other rare chromosomal abnormalities. It is the age of fathers that appears to be the real culprit.”

The average Icelandic father today at the time of conception is about 33 years old; much older than in the past. The authors explained that epidemiological studies carried out in Iceland have demonstrated that schizophrenia or autism risk in offspring is considerable greater the older the father is.

Previous studies have linked genetic mutations with autism spectrum disorders. Experts say that several genes are involved. A team of researchers in Seattle earlier this year identified three gene mutations – AKT3, PIK3R2 and PIK3CA – which were linked to enlarged brain size, autism, epilepsy, and cancer.

Increase in autism diagnosis
Chart showing growth of autism diagnoses in the USA from 1993 to 2003

Written by Christian Nordqvist
Copyright: Medical News Today
Not to be reproduced without permission of Medical News Today

Visit our autism section for the latest news on this subject. “Fathers bequeath more mutations as they age”
Ewen Callaway
Nature, 488, 439, (23 August 2012), doi:10.1038/488439a Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:

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posted by Tom H on 25 Aug 2012 at 3:34 pm

The metal iron is known to buildup in our bodies as we age. Age-related iron accumulation.
“Iron accumulation in tissues is believed to be a characteristic of aged humans”
Women are less effected because women have menses which allow them to lose much of this iron , until they reach menopause , at which point they begin to load iron JUST like men because they no longer lose the iron in their monthly blood loss .
“Women have lower iron levels than men, both in the periphery and in the brain, particularly in white matter (WM), possibly due to iron loss through menstruation”
Men though have no way to lose this iron. This ‘age-related iron accumulation’ causes rust / oxidation which causes mutation.
“Oxidative DNA damage”

“Sperm DNA damage can be efficiently treated with oral antioxidants administered during a relatively short time period”

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posted by Dr. Goldman on 24 Aug 2012 at 1:03 pm

I suggest we leave books that are thousands of years old out of modern genetic study discussions.

My message to the person who wrote: “Abraham had Isaac when he was around 90”
Shall we now argue that humans have only been around for 7,000 years as well?

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posted by SciBard on 24 Aug 2012 at 12:51 pm

I see the chart with the rise in autism. This seems pretty simple. If you have a condition that can be a factor in an issue, then you would see if the rise in the condition corresponds to the rise in the issue.

IF older father are a cause, where are the number showing that in this year there were xx number of older fathers but in 2012 that number rose in a rate similar to autism. Where is the chart that corresponds to the findings? How about a paragraph with the facts that correspond.

The article says: “The team gathered data on 78 families with children which had had a diagnosis of schizophrenia or autism”, OK, how many had older fathers.

YES older father have higher mutation rates.. now show me how someone connected the dots.. or are there no facts to connect the two?

The headline should be “Mutation linked to older fathers” That would be factual.

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posted by Autistic on 24 Aug 2012 at 12:48 pm

Correlation equals causation? I mean come on people, the constant crying about how all us autistics are a disease to be wiped out to the last man, woman and child is offensive as it already is.

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posted by Etidorhpa on 24 Aug 2012 at 12:31 pm

Abraham had Isaac when he was around 90, so if schizophrenia and autism is hereditary after a certain age, why are the Jewish people so prosperous?

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posted by Joe Cash on 24 Aug 2012 at 12:27 pm

It may be true that older fathers pass more mutations to their offspring, but is this just a consequence of aging?

My conclusion is that the influence of toxic substances absorbed over time contribute to mutations. Therefore, the longer you live, the more crap you are exposed to and ingest and the more mutations you will have.

Ultimately, the people who introduce this stuff into our environment are responsible for the rise in autism.

Fathers are as much victims as their children

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‘Father’s Age Linked To Risk Of Autism In Children’

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Autism: Children in Their Own World, Parents in the Dark

About two years ago, our oldest child was diagnosed with Autism. Without knowing it for sure but suspecting it, my husband tried for about a year to prepare me to the possibility of our son being Autistic. He read and did a lot of research on Autism Spectrum Disorder. As a teacher, I refused the diagnosis as I was afraid of labeling him. As I was a late bloomer myself, I thought that he just needed a bit more time to learn how to walk and talk but as the time went by, I started to have concerns of my own.

During the summer of 2003, I have noticed some negative comments about my son’s behavior by people in the park or at the pool. One mother even approached me about the possibility of Autism. At first, I refused this possibility but since then, the idea of Autism started to eat me alive. After all, I knew so little about Autism but just the thought of it sounded just like a prison sentence.

Was it possible that my son’s lack of speech was not related to timidity but to Autism? What kind of future would my baby have? What did I do to cause him to possibly be affected by this disorder? Did I do something wrong during my pregnancy? As time went by, questions drowned my mind to the point where I could not take it anymore.

For my son’s sake, I needed the help of medical specialists to discover why my son never said the word: “Mommy” to me yet. Either way, I needed to know what was going on and how to help him and make him happy, no matter what the diagnosis would be. I owed that much to my child.

As he had his annual check up with our family physician, I shared my husband’s concerns and mine with her. A few weeks later, we received a long and detailed questionnaire about our son’s behavior, weaknesses, habits, etc. Then a month or so later, the appointment was given to us. From then on, both my husband Kevin and I went on an eternal roller coaster ride until that day, not knowing what to expect, how to deal with it and more importantly, how would it affect our son’s life?

On December 17, 2003 I went to the appointment with my son as Kevin was caring for our young daughter at home. Both my mind and my emotions were a mess. What would this specialist on Autism tell me? How would she test him? When would I find out the results of her tests and observations? Little did I know that on this day, both my son’s and family life would change forever. Following a series of tests and observations, done through play while being observed by other medical staff and advisors, the doctor shared the results: “Mrs. Leochko, your son has Autism.”

My first reaction was to break down in tears. What had I done to cause my son to be affected by this disorder? The only things that I knew about Autism were that children live in their own world, losing touch with reality and also, like most people, I had seen the movie. Was my son a little “Rain Man”?

Realizing that I needed to know more about this disorder, my next question was: “What is Autism?” This question was then followed by: “What can we do to help my son?” and “What are the services that can be put in place for him and how do we proceed?” Like any parents newly hit by this diagnosis, several questions followed as well as a shower of answers which were not all assimilated as well as desired since my mind was racing at high speed.

The next step was to inform my husband. He was not surprised and was a lot calmer than me. He comforted me and asked me to look at our son while he was playing, enjoying himself and laughing out loud. He made me realize that we could help our son and that our main goal was to ensure his happiness. On December 22, 2003 two ladies came to meet us to start things rolling to get the services in place as soon as possible for Dasan. As they explained to us, early intervention is crucial as it gives our son better chances in life.

As time went by, services were slowly but surely put in place. Little did we know that our one year old daughter would be also referred and a year later, also diagnosed with Autism. Kaylee is situated higher on the spectrum because of her milder level of Autism while our son Dasan ranges from moderate to severe. It made us realize the difference on the spectrum. In a way, Dasan’s diagnosis, help us identify our daughter’s Autism at an earlier age: two years old. This way, the services have been put in place even earlier which gives her better chances of progression and a higher quality of life.

Since our son’s diagnosis, I must say that both my husband and I have learned a lot about the Autism Spectrum Disorder also known as ASD. As parents of Autistic children, we did not only learn but also have decided to share this precious information with other parents, relatives, teachers or other people involved with individuals affected by the Autistic disorder. How did we do that? By researching information, ideas and also by using our own experience, ups, downs and tips on blogs and websites.

We are no experts and we certainly have no medical degree but as parents which have been living with Autism twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, we thought that at the beginning of this “adventure” all we knew and felt was: “Children in their own world, parents in the dark…” and now we see the light as there is one for everyone.

Autism is a disorder and affects our dealings with individuals with a different perception of life but let me tell you that it does not change the fact that our children are special in more than one way and that we do not only love them as they are but also, we would not change them for the world. The best gifts that we can give them are: love, patience, understanding, support and all the resources and services that can make a difference in their life.

My name is Sylvie Leochko. I am the mother of two children affected by the Autism Spectrum Disorder. If you wish to learn some facts and other information, I invite you to visit our websites: http://autism-spectrum-disorder.com or http://autism.findoutnow.org

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Children With Autism May Benefit From The Introduction Of A Pet Into The Family

Main Category: Autism
Article Date: 03 Aug 2012 – 0:00 PDT Current ratings for:
Children With Autism May Benefit From The Introduction Of A Pet Into The Family
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The introduction of a pet can have a positive effect on autistic children’s behavior, as reported in research published in the open access journal PLOS ONE.

The authors of the study, led by Marine Grandgeorge of the Hospital Research Center of Brest in France, found that participants who received a pet scored higher in two categories, “offering to share” and “offering comfort,” a few years after the pet arrived than they did before having a pet. Participants who had lived with pets since birth, on the other hand, showed generally weaker relationships with their pets.

Both of these categories reflect prosocial behaviors, suggesting that individuals with autism can develop these types of behaviors in the appropriate context, the authors write.

Article adapted by Medical News Today from original press release. Click ‘references’ tab above for source.
Visit our autism section for the latest news on this subject. Financial Disclosure: The Adrienne and Pierre Sommer Foundation gave the financial support for this study. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. The authors declare that they have no financial interests.
Competing Interest Statement: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.
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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 http://www.autismsocialstories.com/school for school related social skills stories, for all other social stories visit their well stocked social stories site.

For detailed information on autism social stories visit us at:

http://www.autismsocialstories.com

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http://EzineArticles.com/?Problems-With-Autistic-Children-in-School&id=1377719

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6 Benefits of Exercise for Children With ADHD and Autism

A special diet is critically important for children with autism and ADHD to promote a healthy digestive system and heal the gut. But it is only one part of the puzzle.

Exercise is just as important and the following reasons explain how it can help your child:

1. Immune System – The more active children are, the stronger their immune system. They will have fewer colds, allergies, and other diseases like cancer, heart disease and diabetes. A stronger immune system will help our children with autism and ADHD recover more quickly from leaky gut issues and strengthen the effects of a healthy diet.

2. Stress Reduction – Regular exercise reduces the amount of stress hormones in the body. Children with autism and ADHD live with a greater amount of stress because they must constantly adapt and fit into a world not set up for their needs. Exercise will help decrease the buildup of stress hormones and their negative effects on the body.

3. Hyperactivity and Energy Release – When kids are wound up and have difficulty staying calm, a round of exercise is often the perfect solution. Before sitting to do homework or study, have your child do something physical to release any pent up energy. Request exercise or movement breaks for your child during school if your child struggles with sitting still in class. Be sure that the teacher does not take away recess time as a classroom consequence!

4. Brainpower – Exercise increases the transport of oxygen and nutrients to the brain due to increased blood flow throughout the body. This literally means you can think quicker, with increased focus and concentration. The brain functions optimally with regular exercise.

5. Sleep – The more active children are during the day, the more energy they use and the better they will sleep. It will be easier to fall asleep when they are tired out from plenty of exercise.

6. Mood – Hormones called endorphins give us a “feel good” feeling and are associated with happy, positive emotions. Exercise is known to increase the amount of endorphins in the body and contribute to better moods and emotions.

Neurotransmitters like serotonin are also increased due to exercise. These chemicals act as messengers that transmit signals between brain cells. Low serotonin levels are associated with depression and increased levels maintain calm moods and are known to aid in sleep and learning.

Interestingly, only a very small amount of serotonin is present in the brain. 90% of the serotonin in our bodies is found within the intestines! This is part of what is known as the gut-brain connection and a key to why a healthy digestive system is so important for a properly functioning neurological condition.

While diet is key for children with autism and ADHD, exercise is an important boost to your efforts and should not be overlooked.

If you’re a parent of a child with ADHD, ASD and other special needs and are looking for natural methods to help your family, visit Stephani McGirr’s http://www.nourishingjourney.com/ to receive a free twice monthly ezine full of tips, tools and recipes to help you move from struggle to success while creating a peaceful home life your family loves.

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Autism – The Effects On Siblings Of Autistic Children

Oftentimes it is true that the child that makes the most noise, gets the most attention.
This is true in a lot of families and moreso in families with children with Autism.
Autistic children also require a lot more time and attention.
In a family with more than one autistic child, it is doubly so. 

This could lead to a greater risk of sibling rivalry. Not for the challenges usually associated with these words but for attention.
With the care that Autistic children need, it would be easy for the unaffected child in the family to get a little lost in the shuffle.

Over time, this could lead to the unaffected child feeling resentful of their Autistic siblings and to begin a little attention getting of their own or behaviors.

In time, the stress involved with this internal family conflict could lead to a rift that may take a lifetime to heal. There are several methods to deal with this potential problem before it gets out of hand.

Each Autistic child is different and each regular child is different and therefore the way that you would handle each child is going to depend on their age and personality.

Time needs to be set aside for the sibling of an Autistic child.

Their “alone” time with their parents.

You may need to hire a caregiver or find a friend or family member to watch over the Autistic child during this time.

The unaffected sibling needs assurance that although their brother or sister gets most of the attention, that they are going to get a share.

It important that you keep your appointment with the child.

The outing doesn’t have to be anything spectacular, just something that the two of you can share. It can be done with one parent at a time or with both.

It is by doing this that you are demonstrating that no matter how busy or hectic things are at home, that he or she is just as important to you.

Another simple way of reassuring the child is to tell them that you love them. Three little words that mean a lot, but that children need to hear.

A special touch or hug that the two of you can share to let them know that you do think about them.

The occasional note under their pillow or in their lunchbox to assure them that even when they are not with you, they are in your thoughts.

These things take but a moment of your time but could mean the world to a child who already feels that they have so little of your time.

Another thing that you can do if your children are of school age is to ensure that the work that they bring home from school is not destroyed by their Autistic sibling.

Unfortunately, due to the behaviours that some children with Autism have, some artwork especially is attractive to them and it may get ruined.

Make sure that you do have a special place that it can be put where it is out of harms reach.

The other thing that you can do is obviously talk to them about Autism in an age appropriate manner. Explain as best you can why their brother or sister does the things that they do.
Encourage them to be open about their feelings.

It is okay to dislike something that the Autistic child does, but that doesn’t mean that they have to dislike the Autistic child.

Encourage participation in the fun things that the family can do as a unit. If the child with Autism is unable to handle outings, have a picnic complete with cloth and picnic basket on the lawn in the backyard.

Be creative.

By showing the sibling of a child with Autism that the family is important and by having them understand that their status in the family unit is by no means undermined by the fact that you need to spend more time with their siblings, the stronger and more secure the child will become.
And the less resentful.

This is extremely important. The sibling of a child with Autism will quite possibly become the decision maker for that Autistic child at some stage in the future.

Donna Mason has been a Registered Nurse for the past 16 years. She is the mother of 6 children, 3 of whom have varying degrees of Autism. For more information on Autism signs and symptoms, and to learn more about this mother’s battle in the fight against this misunderstood condition, visit us on the web at: http://www.autisticadventures.blogspot.com

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