Tag Archives: Developmental Pediatrician

Question?: Asperger Syndrome Test

Ruth asks…

How do i get a diagnosis for aspergers syndrome?

I have always thought there was something awkward and weird about me, and I found aspergers syndrome and researched it and its like all the pieces of the puzzle fit together now. I’m 15, in the uk, how do I get a diagnosis? someone said doctors but I thought that was for illnesses like a cold or an infection etc? And is it certain I would get diagnosed with aspergers? Thank you

admin answers:

Doctors are qualified to diagnose Aspergers and other mental illnesses (depression, etc), although your family doctor may feel more comfortable referring you to a psychologist or developmental pediatrician who do assessments for Aspergers more often than your regular doctor does.

No, it’s not certain you’d be diagnosed. You and your parents will be asked a lot of questions about your symptoms. You will also be observed, and depending on how thorough the doctor is they may do tests and actual assessments (formal tests or simple observations while you’re in their office).

Remember that Aspergers is more than just being awkward, and is a condition which exists from birth. If your awkwardness has only surfaced in your teen years then it’s not Aspergers. Not to say that it isn’t Aspergers – many people do go undiagnosed until later in life if they’re high-functioning, but even more seem to falsely think they have it when they don’t.

Here is the exact diagnostic definition of Aspergers, which may help: http://www.autreat.com/dsm4-aspergers.html

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Question?: Pdd

William asks…

What are the chances of my PDD-NOS preschooler eventually joining the mainstream?

Our daughter, 3.5, has been in therapy for developmental delays since the age of 14 months; we got a diagnosis of PDD-NOS about a year ago. She currently attends a special needs preschool. She is verbal, but her speech is stilted: she cannot have a conversation, and all utterances are either requests or narration. She does not ask any questions yet, and her social skills are extremely delayed, as are her fine motor skills. Gross motor is delayed but not as badly. Focus and attention to task is very hard for her; sensory issues cause her to be in near-constant movement.

In addition to the SN school setting, she receives speech therapy, PT, OT, play therapy, and 10 hours of ABA. We have not tried any biomedical interventions aside from fish oil supplements, as per her developmental pediatrician. We expect her to be in special education for the foreseeable future, but it gnaws at me constantly to think that she may not be able to live independently or someday join the mainstream.

admin answers:

My response to your question is a composite of my own thinking and experience, and research in the field of autism/PDD.

Continuing with effective and intensive intervention programs can make a huge difference in the outcome for your daughter.

The current thinking in the autistic community is that autism is a puzzle to which we do not yet have all the pieces. Our children are also like the pieces of a puzzle which need to be connected together to make a fully integrated, unified child.

YOu are already using ABA to help create structure and meaning and build upon your daughter’s strengths and abilities. The highest levels of success with ABA are achieved when a child receives at least 30 hours a week of one-on-one therapy. ABA- type therapies have been statistically shown to improve the prognosis of virtually all autistic children, so if you can increase ABA I would do it, making sure, of course, that the therapist is a very good one. (I did not really believe in the benefits of ABA until my daughter started working with children and youth with autism.)

Additionally speech therapy is of utmost importance – continue with as much as possible. Prognosis is markedly better for individuals who develop some meaningful verbal language before the age of 5 years.

Keep your daughter as engaged in the outside world and stimulated as much as possible during the day in activities that provide an external structure for building meaning, comprehension and organization. Provide ample opportunities for her to use new behviors she learns in real life situations.

As you know PPD-NOS is a life-long disability. There are no cures, and even those individuals who proclaim themselves “recovered” continue to have difficulties with subtle social processes. The most accurate predictor of outcome is the amount of progress over a period of about 1 year from early diagnosis. However, with advances in education, early intervention, and research, today individuals with Autism/PDD have a greatly expanded range of outcomes as adults. Current trends, based on increased knowledge of how to educate children with Autism and the importance of early education, emphasize building skills and abilities in order to prepare young adults with Autism/PDD to work, to live in the community, and in some cases, to pursue higher education. Outcome appears to depend on both degree of overall impairment and intensity of educational interventions.

Systematic and intensive educational programming can make a huge difference. You will have to specifically teach your daughter many of the things other kids may learn vicariously. But most likely she can learn many of these skills. Unfortunately not enough is known about PDD to accurately predict yet how individual children will progress. As your daughter gets older better prediction will be possible.

Before your child reaches school age search out the best schools to address her needs, as not all schools deal with your daughter’s type of issues well. Try to make sure when she starts school that she is placed in the highest functioning environment possible so that her skills will be enhanced. Continue to focus strongly on the language and social issues.

I am not aware of any findings that suggest biomedical interventions make a difference.

If you are in the US become very familiar with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) to be sure you understand your rights and your daughter’s rights.

Your daughter is very fortunate that she has had such early intervention and a wealth of it.

I have included some links which you may already be aware of. I hope these thoughts are of some help to you. YOu sound like you are an excellent advocate for your daughter. That will make an immense difference to her progress and her life.

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Question?: What Is Autism Disorder

Lisa asks…

Where can I find information on the results of harmful routine changes in children with autism?

My son has been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. I’m attempting a stepparent adoption and trying to terminate his bio father’s rights. He has not seen him for almost a year. His father is bipolar and refusing to take meds. I want to show the court how harmful it can be for him to just pop in and out of my son’s life, but I can’t find anything to use.

admin answers:

I would suggest you find a developmental pediatrician to help you.

My son has PDD (Pervasive Developmental Disorder) one of the many types of ASD’s (Autism Spectrum Disorder). Any type of change, large or small, in his routine greatly affects his behaviour and ability to function day to day.

A developmental pediatrician usually specializes in children with these types of disorders and would hopefully be able to prepare some type of report for you with regard to your son, his ASD and the effects his absent father has on the situation, that you in turn could present to the court. Definitely get a “professional” on your side.

I’m hoping this will help. Having an “ASD child” myself, I understand what you’re going through and I wish you lots of luck!

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Question?: Treatment For Autism In Toddlers

Richard asks…

Autism question: young toddler already showing signs?

I have a young toddler showing some signs of autism already. The pediatrician has brought it up briefly and will prob setup some sort of screening test for it soon. I believe if he has it its not at the highest level.

I personally don’t know a ton about Autism, are there different levels of Autism?

Can it get worse or better with therapy?

What causes Autism and is there any medication to help in the future?

I always thought Autism was another name for a learning disability.

admin answers:

There are definitely different levels of autism. It can range from severe autism all the way to some simple learning disabilities. My son was diagnosed with PDD NOS at age 2, which is a mild form of autism. He basically has speech delays and some “quirks” in his personality as we call it.

The sooner your child is diagnosed and starts therapy, the better they will do later on. I highly recommend asking your pediatrician for a referral to a developmental pediatrician or neurologist. There is testing they can do (even at young ages) to see if your child falls on the autism spectrum, and then will recommend therapies/treatments.

Therapy definitely helps immensely. I have several friends who had mildly autistic children, and with intensive therapy, the no longer carry a diagnosis of autism. Its possible to overcome mild cases, or the diagnosis will change to something like ADD, etc.

There is no known cause for autism, but is mainly thought to be either genetic. Depending on what your child’s issues are, there are some medications out there that can help.

Like I said, I highly recommend getting your child evaluated by a developmental pediatrician or neurologist ASAP. I wish you the best of luck!!

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Question?: Rett Syndrome Causes

Jenny asks…

Is sensory processing disorder on the autism spectrum?

I have a 2-year-old who has been diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder. One developmental pediatrician said it is “on the spectrum.” Another one said it is not. What is the general consensus out there?

admin answers:

It is not on the spectrum, autism is one of five pervasive developmental disorders (PDD) which is a category of neurological disorders characterized by severe and pervasive impairment in several areas of development. The others included in PDD are Asperger’s Disorder, Childhood Disintegrative Disorder (CDD), Rett’s Disorder, & PDD-Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS).
Sensory Processing Disorder/Sensory Integration Disorder is a neurological disorder causing difficulties with processing information from the five classic senses; the sense of movement; and/or the positional sense. Sensory Processing Disorder/Sensory Integration Disorder has its own diagnosis, but it can be linked to other neurological conditions, including autism spectrum disorders, attention deficit disorder, dyslexia, developmental dyspraxia, tourette syndrome, multiple sclerosis, speech delays, among other conditions.

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Special needs parenting: is it time to brush up on your child’s disability?

If you are the parent of a child with special needs, it’s likely that you researched your child’s disability exhaustively during the early diagnosis stage.

Then you got busy, and tired, but now you are thinking it might be a good time learn about resources get caught up on the latest research and treatment. If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, you are in luck. In the next few months there are countless opportunities to learn from renowned disability experts:

EAST BAY

Living with Disabilities: A Family Conference and Resource Fair

Sunday, October 28

Lamorinda Family Center
Lafayette-Orinda Presbyterian Church
49 Knox Drive
Lafayette, CA 94549

Pediatrician and autism expert Dr. Ricki Robinson is Keynote speaker and will discuss treatment approaches for individuals with developmental disabilities through their life.  She is the author of Autism Solutions: How to Create a Healthy & Meaningful Life for Your Child and has been in private practice for over 30 years, specializing in children with developmental delays.

Take part in a fun and informative resource fair that will include interactive booths with:

Dr. Clarissa Kripke (UCSF), Developmental Pediatrician
Dr. Deborah Sedberry, Developmental Behavioral Pediatrician
Nan Arkwright, Occupational Therapist
Dr. Megan Flom, Psychology, Assessment, School Advocacy
Shannon Des Roches Rosa, iPad for Autism Expert

To learn more and to register CLICK HERE

MARIN

The Marin Autism Lecture Series

The first Lecture was this past week, but there are several more left through May.

SOUTH BAY

Peninsula and South Bay Autism Lecture Series

Morgan Autism Center Lecture Series

The Morgan Autism Conference was Saturday, September 22 and it was awesome, but register for the lecture series by clicking the link above.

Future Horizons Autism and Aspergers Conference featuring Temple Grandin

SACRAMENTO

UC DAVIS MIND INSTITUTE DISTINGUISHED LECTURE SERIES

The UC Davis MIND Institute’s Distinguished Lecturer Series is now in its 11th season of public lectures by nationally and internationally-recognized researchers in neurodevelopmental disorders.  These monthly presentations (October 2012 – June 2013) are intended for both specialists and community members.  All lectures are  *free and open to the public* and no reservations are necessary.

SAN FRANCISCO

Support for Families of Children with Disabilities has ongoing lectures, clinics, support groups and workshops. Check them out.

That is all for now. I’m sure I am missing something, and I count on YOU to let me know. But do yourself a favor and pledge to go to at least one of these amazing events. Lets face it, being the parent of a child with a disability can be isolating and these events will not only educate and inspire you, but you will have a chance to connect with parents just like you. I’ve made some of my dearest friends this way.

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Do you have questions? Contact me HERE and I will do my very best to help.

FOLLOW ME on FACEBOOK and TWITTER.

Read the first three chapters of my book HERE.

You’ll be hooked.

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