Tag Archives: Environmental Factors

Question?: Autistic Disorder

David asks…

Autism reported to get worse with a patient?

I have been talking to care staff that work with an autistic man, who is siad to be getting worse autistically.

The mans mother claims that in the past, he was able to ride a bike, go out for walks, run, play and so on when he was a child.

However, his mother claims that it is because he is on medication today and that this is why his behaviour has got worse with time.
She would like him to come off medication.

His dose of medication has been reduced, but not much of a behaviour difference has been observed by the staff.

As I understand it, AS and Autistic disorder remains unchanged in its magniture through out life. But there are variables that can make its effects more or less noticable, such as adolescence and becoming an adult.

In many cases, as such people grow to become adults, I hear reports of a decline in such behaviour.

Can this condition become more or less severe in terms of brain structural damage?
If so, why?

admin answers:

Autism is not caused as a result of brain damage. Scientists are still trying to make a determination of cause, but they think it is probably a genetic predisposition triggered by environmental factors. There are degrees of severity. Many people on the autism spectrum are not mentally retarded. However deficits in communication and social skills make it seem as if they are developmentally challenged.

In my career as a special education teacher, I have observed that puberty DOES present behavior challenges to people on the autism spectrum. But then again, been around any typical kids going through puberty lately? *grin* Puberty can adversely effect the best of us. The issue is just compounded when the person has severe expressive and receptive communication problems.

Some questions you may want to ask are:
Does this person have preferred activities (puzzles, movies, lining up books, etc.)? If so, are these activities built into his daily schedule? Does he have a visual schedule over which he has some control (during a free time activity period, can he choose from 2 or 3 different things)? During his day, does he participate in meaningful age appropriate activities (helping pick up trays, sweeping the floor, straightening books or magazines, etc.)? A visual prompt system may be necessary for his participation in meaningful activities, such as a sequence of pictures showing scattered magazines, then hands picking up those magazines, then a neat stack of magazines.

Basically, any person, no matter their disability level, needs to have scheduled periods of useful activities interspersed with fun activities throughout their day. The challenge is two-fold: finding something useful they can do successfully, and discovering what it is that they consider ‘fun’.

Thanks for being concerned and willing to help a fellow human being. Good luck and best wishes!

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Question?: Autism Symptoms In 7 Year Old

Chris asks…

what is autisme exactly about?

i have a sister, she cannot talk even she’s 7 yearold. some doctor said that she is hyperactive, but, other said that she is autisme. what is autisme exactly about? i’m very confused!!!

admin answers:

Autism -brain disorder that often interferes with a person’s ability to communicate with and relate to others.

Signs of autism almost always develop before a child is 3 years old, the condition is sometimes not diagnosed until later. Parents first become concerned when they notice that their toddler does not begin to talk or does not respond and interact like other children of the same age. Toddlers with autism do not usually develop speech normally and may seem to be deaf although hearing tests are normal.

Autism also affects how a child perceives and processes sensory information.

Severity of autism varies. Some ppl need assistance in almost all aspects of their daily lives, while others are able to function at a very high level and can even attend school in a regular classroom. This is a lifelong condition that uaually results in some degree of social isolation, treatment can make a major difference in the lives of people with autism. Early diagnosis and comprehensive treatment has resulted in increasing numbers of people with autism being able to live independently as adults..

What causes autism?
Autism tends to run in families, suggesting a genetic link. Because people with autism can be vastly different, scientists suspect a number of genes are responsible. Ongoing research is targeted at pinpointing these genes. Some experts also believe that environmental factors may play a part in causing autism, although scientists have studied several factors, including vaccines, and have yet to identify such a cause.

Brain scans of people with autism have shown abnormalities in several areas of the brain, including those responsible for emotion and social relations. Other studies suggest that people with autism have high levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin, a chemical that sends messages in the brain. However, these findings are preliminary, and ongoing studies seek to explain the brain and autism.1

What are the symptoms?
All people with autism have difficulty with social interactions and relationships. Parents often describe their child with autism as preferring to play alone and making little eye contact with other people. Other symptoms of autism include:

Difficulties with verbal and nonverbal communication. Language development in children with autism is almost always delayed.
Limited, repetitive, and overused (stereotyped) patterns of behavior, interests, and play. Many typical behaviors-such as repetitive body rocking, unusual attachments to objects, and holding fast to routines and rituals-are driven by the need for sameness and resistance to change.
There is no “typical” person with autism. Although autism is defined by the above characteristics, people with autism can have many different combinations of behaviors in mild to severe forms.

Do any other conditions occur with autism?
Although it is difficult to determine, studies show that below-normal intelligence occurs in about 70% of children with autism.2 Teenagers with autism often become depressed and have increased anxiety, especially if they have average or above-average intelligence. In addition, about a third of children with autism develop a seizure disorder (such as epilepsy) by their teen years.3

How is autism diagnosed?
Your health professional will use diagnostic guidelines, established by the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP), to determine whether your child has core symptoms.4 A child may also have hearing and other tests to make sure developmental delays aren’t the result of another condition with similar symptoms. Early diagnosis and treatment of autism is important to make the most of the child’s potential.

How is it treated?
Behavioral training, speech and occupational therapy, and parent education and support can often improve a child’s problem behaviors, communication skills, and socialization. Medications are sometimes helpful as well. A child with autism responds best to a highly structured, specialized educational program tailored to his or her individual needs. However, specific treatment varies depending on the range of individual symptoms, which can combine in many different ways and change over time.

Parents, school staff, and health professionals are usually all involved in planning a child’s treatment.

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Question?: Schizophrenia In Children

Lisa asks…

Can mental illnesses such as autism and schizophrenia be passed on to children?

My fiance and I both of family members who suffer from these ailments, my sister has autism, and her mother has schizophrenia. When we decide to have children of our own, is their a higher chance that they might suffer from these conditions? Also, is my soon to be wife at risk of becoming schizophrenic herself? She is 19 and currently in good mental health.

admin answers:

Unfortunately neither of those conditions are particularly well understood.

It is true that there are believed to be genetic influences in both of them, but there are also many other factors that researchers are looking at. Exactly how much genetic influence is not clear at all, and a genetic history certainly doesn’t mean that children will develop them.

On the positive side, there is no evidence whatsoever that autism is influenced by vaccinations – something which has become internet folklore and has been disproven by recent large-scale scientific studies. Also early diagnosis of autism is becoming better, and autistic children who get early intervention therapies are showing great improvements.

Schizophrenia normally doesn’t develop until adulthood. Its cause is pretty much a mystery but research is concentrating on brain development. It certainly seems to have a genetic component, but research suggests that its onset can be signficantly affected by environmental factors like psychological stress.

With one known case in your family of each (and on different sides), and yourselves being presumably healthy, it doesn’t sound like the genetic risk is very significant for any children you might have. Remember also that these two conditions, while both affecting the brain, are unrelated so the risk is not increased by having one of each in the family.

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Question?: Asperger Syndrome Causes

Robert asks…

What are the social factors in the causes of Aspergers Syndrome?

This is the one part of my report that is giving me writers block. I know that there are a lot of theories on the causes, it is mostly biological though. Please help, there has to be someone who knows this.
what about the psychological factors in the causes of Aspergers? This is for my report.

admin answers:

Asperger’s, just like autism, is not caused by social factors. The child is born with the condition. Although the conditions have a genetic component, environment also plays a role. However, the environmental factors occur when the child is still in the womb. Usually, social factors are discussed in the context of how children with Asperger’s of problems in social area.

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Question?: Treatment For Autism In Babies

Lizzie asks…

Why do older parents increase the risk of child abnormalities?

Why does the risk of having a baby with a chromosome abnormality increase as maternal age increases?

admin answers:

There are 2 sets of factors, they are not mutually exclusive, and both may well be important. One set of factors involves biological changes that occur as men and women get older and that can affect the outcome of the pregnancy. Down syndrome would be an example of an outcome we know is sometimes related to maternal age. For women, as they get older, the hormonal balance of the womb changes in some ways, and older women are more likely to have infertility. There has been speculation that the hormonal changes that contribute to infertility, or the treatments for infertility, may increase the risk for autism, but we don’t have very good data yet. As a woman ages, she will have an increased cumulative exposure to chemicals and toxins in her environment that may affect the neurodevelopment of the fetus. Again, there are not very much data there, but it makes good biological sense to conduct research on environmental factors to which the mother is exposed before or during pregnancy that may affect fetal neurodevelopment.

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Question?: Autistic Definition

Lizzie asks…

Why are there so many autistic kids nowadays?

I know a mother who has 2 autistic children, boy and girl. There’s also a lot of autistic kids in my little sister’s school. Is there a reason why? I know the definition of autism is more open now but I don’t think that’s the reason. Why would someone have 2 different children and both have autism?

admin answers:

As far as I’m aware, nobody really knows. If I had to guess I would put my money on a combination of these factors:

– More kids get diagnosed as the definition of autism changes to include a wider group of people who would previously not have been diagnosed
– More kids get diagnosed as we become better at identifying signs of autism
– Environmental factors like pollution or chemicals in our food
– IVF, which allows people who otherwise wouldn’t have had biological children to have them (sorry to say folks but if you can’t get pregnant naturally, maybe that’s a sign that you shouldn’t either)
– More people have kids later in life (folks, eggs and sperm don’t stay perfect as you age)
– More people self-diagnosing their kids through the internet. In such cases, the kids may or may not ACTUALLY have autism, but they are presented to others as having it.

The previous “research” indicating that vaccines cause autism has been debunked and the doctor who conducted the “research” has been outed as a fraud. In addition, research in places like Japan has shown that even changing the ingredients in vaccines doesn’t seem to have an impact on the number of autism cases.

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Question?: What Is Autism

George asks…

What is the best current explanation for autism?

I asked my psychology professor about what causes autism from a neurological perspective, and he said that if he could answer that question, he’d get a Nobel Prize. However, there must be many hypotheses regarding this question, so which one is the most plausible?

admin answers:

It’s principally genetic, (but not one single “gene for autism!) though there seems to be some variation which requires the influence of environmental factors.
The two most considered at present are variations in womb temperature, and in foetal steroid and non-steroid hormones,
(not toxins or infections, diseases etc.)
Neither of these strands have progressed beyond hypothesis, unless my reading is out-of-date.

I’m working from information in Simon-Baron Cohen’s Autism and Asperger Syndrome (2009)
He cites six strands of evidence pointing to genetics as the major and critical component.

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Question?: Autism Signs In Toddler Girls

Mary asks…

does autism in the family?

I am adopting a child who’s mother is mentally retarded, she also has another kid who has autism. What are the chances of this baby having autism or anything else. What are signs of it?

admin answers:

Yes, autism does run in families. The current thinking is that a sibling has a greater chance of developing autism with a close relative with the disorder, but there may be contributing environmental factors. Some of these factors might be exposure to high levels of mercury, digestive problems such as enzyme deficiencies, perhaps a virus, etc. There are some things you can do to lessen the odds of your baby developing full-blown autism, and I’d be happy to list a few.

1. Consider a delayed schedule for routine immunizations. There is some evidence that children at risk for autism may not be able to process the mercury present in vaccinations very well, which may affect the brain development.

2. Try a gfcf diet for a few weeks if you have a toddler, and see if his general behavior becomes more social and healthy. This is especially important if the child has frequent diarrhea. This is a sign that he is not digesting his food properly, which can seriously impact his development and behavior! There is a lot of info on the gfcf diet online for you. For an infant, consider soy formula, which is slightly less allergenic to these kids than dairy.

3. Stay away from large amounts of artificial and dyed foods. Autistic kids tend to be very sensitive to red dyes in particular.

4. Be aware of early signs of autism at around 12-15 months, such as the child not communicating through grunts or gestures, not pointing at things he wants you to see, and having a lot of trouble winding down at night or when stressed out. Feel free to email me if you need more help at that point, or have any questions.

5. Autism is four times more common in boys than girls. There is no real probability out there for siblings, but I’ve heard 1/32, 1/20, etc. I’d say that many siblings would be “sensitive” to developing autism, but for some reason, not all of them do.

I am the wife of a man with Asperger’s syndrome, (a form of high functioning autism) and the mother of three kids, one of whom has moderate-severe autism. We caught it early and he is making huge amounts of progress with proper treatment, so early intervention is key. Explore the use of digestive enzymes, which are a food product and are very safe, and don’t be afraid to ask other moms with autistic children for advice. Oftentimes, they know a little bit more than the doctors do when it comes to play therapy of nutritional supplements that can be helpful. Try the autism research institute and Dr. Bernard Rimland for a balanced perspective on the disorder.

Feel free to email me for more info.


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Signs and Symptoms of Autism

Autism is becoming more and more prevalent in our children. This disease is known for abnormal biology and chemistry in the brain. No one knows why but males are affected 3 to 4 times more than females.

What Causes Autism?
No one knows the exact cause of this disorder. It is thought that environmental factors may be a contributing cause which includes diet. More and more chemicals are being used to produce our food. Genetic factors play a role as studies have shown that identical twins are more likely to both have autism whereas fraternal twins may only have one child with it. Many parents think that vaccinations are the cause of autism although this is not proved. It is thought that due to the high levels of mercury in multi-dosage vaccinations is a cause to not only autism but ADHD as well. One of the problems with this theory is that third world country children are born with this disorder and they are not vaccinated. It is thought that the child with autism cannot properly use vitamins and minerals, therefore autism occurs.

Signs and Symptoms
If you are a new parent you will probably see signs and symptoms in your child compared to other children if he or she has this disorder. For example, if you get together with parents in your neighborhood to enjoy a play-group for socializing, you may notice that your child does not act or do the same things that the other children do. Your child probably has a difficult time interacting with the other kids. Your child may line up his or her toys. He or she may constantly stack toys. Repetitiveness is a huge indicator of autism. When your child’s schedule or normalcy changes he or she will most likely become very upset. Your child may not have as large of vocabulary as other children. If he or she does have a large vocabulary you may notice that he/she can recite a TV show verbatim over and over. Your child may shake his/her hands in a flapping motion quite often. Many children with this disorder do not make eye contact at all or very little. By the age of eighteen months you will be able to notice the signs and symptoms. Your family physician can help diagnose if your child is autistic.

As with any disorder every symptoms may not show up in your child’s behavior. Depending on the severity of your child’s autism will depend on his or her abilities and symptoms.

How Can You Help?
If you are knowledgeable in this disorder you can help educate others by attending meetings for support groups, heading up fundraisers or supporting them and making others more aware by wearing a high quality made silicone wristband.

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Autism In The News, 2012 Week 16

Autism Autism—GDS Infographics (Flickr.com)

Autism Cares Foundation Launches Cutting Edge iPad Program – Albany Times Union

Autism In The Newsnews.google.com

The Autism Cares Foundation (ACF) launched the nation’s first innovative iPad program, which builds on each child’s interests by toggling between teaching opportunities and motivating interests.
The iPad program offers participants an alternative way to communicate and teaches how to use several applications that will allow people with autism to flourish in tremendous ways.
Through this program, ACF is providing individuals with autism the opportunity to communicate, gain independence, improve daily life skills and so much more. Most importantly, the iPad gives those without a voice the chance to be heard.

UW work helps pinpoint autism indicator in infants’ brains – The Seattle Times

Autism In The Newsnews.google.com

UW work helps pinpoint autism indicator in infants’ brains
In what appears to be the earliest biomarker for autism, researchers at the University of Washington and other study sites found differences in brain “wiring” of children just 6 months old.

In search for autism’s causes, experts see progress – Pioneer Press

Autism In The Newsnews.google.com

Autism In The News

More than $1 billion has been spent over the past decade researching autism. In some ways, the search for its causes looks like a long-running fishing expedition, with a focus on everything from genetics to the age of the father, the weight of the mother, and how close a child lives to a freeway.

That perception may soon change. Some in the field say they are seeing the beginning of a wave of scientific reports that should strengthen some theories, jettison others and perhaps even herald new drugs.

“I do think over the next three to five years we’ll be able to paint a much clearer picture of how genes and environmental factors combine” to cause autism, said Geraldine Dawson, a psychologist who is chief science officer for the advocacy group Autism Speaks.

Rain or shine autism event walks on Burlington Hawk Eye

Rain or shine autism event walks on. Burlington Hawk Eye. By WILLIAM SMITH Heidi Swenson was hoping for a big turnout at the first BTown Autism Walk on Saturday morning but unrelenting April showers made her understandably apprehensive. She needn’t have worried. More than 200 people spent five straight hours Hundreds walk for autistic family members awarenessNews-Press Now. all 2 news articles.…

April is Autism Awareness Month Austin Herald

April is Autism Awareness Month. Austin Herald. We depart from history this week to honor Autism Awareness Month with facts about Autism Spectrum Disorder ASD The Center for Disease Control announced in March that the incidence of ASD is on the rise. The CDC now estimates 1 in 88 children has.…


Autism Checklist

Autism Treatment

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