Tag Archives: Puzzle

Question?: Autism Signs In Children

John asks…

What age did your child put together jigsaw puzzles?

My son is 4 and loves to put together 150-200 piece puzzles. He will sit for hours on end and focus only on his puzzle. He was treated for speech problems at age 2-3. Is this normal for a four year old to concentrate so long? Do you think he is on the autism spectrum? Thanks.

admin answers:

This one sign alone would not cause me to think he might be on the spectrum, although it is very unusual for a 4 year old to be interested in 200 pc puzzles for hours without wanting help/getting frustrated. I have an almost 5 year old who happens to be ahead of her peers intellectually, but she would NEVER spend hours on one puzzle. However, her sister who is 2 years younger and not nearly as ahead at this age, is MUCH better at puzzles than she is!

Have you googled it and looked for other signs of autism or autism spectrum disorder? I understand your concern, but he could just be a very cognitive little boy! Apparently, my brother was playing chess with my dad by age 5 and was very good at it! He’s not at all autistic, just very, very intelligent and very in to “mind” games (AKA the intellectual type). Maybe you just have a little “genius” on your hands!

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Question?: Treatment For Autism

Daniel asks…

How effective are the treatments for Autism?

Does it get better on its own without treatment?

admin answers:

As a medical professional that has researched autism for 2 years I think treatment is part of the puzzle. You need speech ot aba diet and B12 injections. These all work for my child as well as many supplements

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Fishing For Answers To Autism Puzzle

Main Category: Autism
Article Date: 22 Jun 2012 – 0:00 PDT Current ratings for:
‘Fishing For Answers To Autism Puzzle’
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Biologists take a new approach to deciphering the roles of genes associated with autism.

Fish cannot display symptoms of autism, schizophrenia or other human brain disorders. However, a team of MIT biologists has shown that zebrafish can be a useful tool for studying the genes that contribute to such disorders.

Led by developmental biologist Hazel Sive, the researchers set out to explore a group of about two dozen genes known to be either missing or duplicated in about 1 percent of autistic patients. Most of the genes’ functions were unknown, but the MIT study revealed that nearly all of them produced brain abnormalities when deleted in zebrafish embryos.

The findings should help researchers pinpoint genes for further study in mammals, says Sive, a professor of biology and associate dean of MIT’s School of Science. Autism is thought to arise from a variety of genetic defects; this research is part of a broad effort to identify culprit genes and develop treatments that target them.

“That’s really the goal – to go from an animal that shares molecular pathways, but doesn’t get autistic behaviors, into humans who have the same pathways and do show these behaviors,” says Sive, who is also a member of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research.

Sive and her colleagues described their findings a recent paper in the online edition of the journal Disease Models and Mechanisms. Lead authors of the paper are Whitehead postdocs Alicia Blaker-Lee, Sunny Gupta and Jasmine McCammon.

A logical starting point

Sive recalls that some of her colleagues chuckled when she first proposed studying human brain disorders in fish, but it is actually a logical starting point, she says. Brain disorders are difficult to study because most of the symptoms are behavioral, and the biological mechanisms behind those behaviors are not well understood, she says.

“We thought that since we really know so little, that a good place to start would be with the genes that confer risk in humans to various mental health disorders, and to study these various genes in a system where they can readily be studied,” she says.

Those genes tend to be the same across species – conserved throughout evolution, from fish to mice to humans – though they may control somewhat different outcomes in each species.

In the Disease Models and Mechanisms paper, Sive and her colleagues focused on a genetic region known as 16p11.2, first identified by Mark Daly, a former Whitehead researcher who identified a type of genetic defect known as a copy number variant. A typical genome includes two copies of every gene, one from each parent; copy number variants occur when one of those copies is deleted or duplicated, and can be associated with pathology.

The “core” 16p11.2 region includes 25 genes. Both deletions and duplications in this region have been associated with autism, but it was unclear which of the genes might actually produce symptoms of the disease. “At the time, there was an inkling about some of them, but very few,” Sive says.

Sive and her postdocs began by identifying zebrafish genes analogous to the human genes found in this region. (In zebrafish, these genes are not clustered in a single genetic chunk, but are scattered across many chromosomes.) The researchers studied one gene at a time, silencing each with short strands of nucleic acids that target a particular gene and prevent its protein from being produced.

For 21 of the genes, silencing led to abnormal development. Most produced brain deficits, including improper development of the brain or eyes, thinning of the brain, or inflation of the brain ventricles, cavities that contain cerebrospinal fluid. The researchers also found abnormalities in the wiring of axons, the long neural projections that carry messages to other neurons, and in simple behaviors of the fish. The results show that the 16p11.2 genes are very important during brain development, helping to explain the connection between this region and brain disorders.

Furthermore, the researchers were able to restore normal development by treating the fish with the human equivalents of the genes that had been repressed. “That allows you to deduce that what you’re learning in fish corresponds to what that gene is doing in humans. The human gene and the fish gene are very similar,” Sive says.

Genes with impact

To figure out which of these genes might have a strong effect in autism or other disorders, the researchers set out to identify genes that produce abnormal development when their activity is reduced by 50 percent, which would happen in someone who is missing one copy of the gene. (This correlation is not seen for most genes, because there are many other checks and balances that regulate how much of a particular protein is made.)

The researchers identified two such genes in the 16p11.2 region. One, called kif22, codes for a protein involved in the separation of chromosomes during cell division; another, aldolase a, is involved in glycolysis – the process of breaking down sugar to generate energy for the cell.

In work that has just begun, Sive’s lab is working with Stanford University researchers to explore in mice predictions made from the zebrafish study. They are also doing molecular studies in zebrafish of the pathways affected by these genes, to get a better idea of how defects in these might bring about neurological disorders.

Sive is a member of the Simons Center for the Social Brain at MIT; this research was funded by the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative.

Article adapted by Medical News Today from original press release. Source: Written by Anne Trafton, MIT News Office
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Why Is Eye Contact A Puzzle Among Autistic Children?

The ability to make eye contact among autistic children seems to have created a puzzle with a challenge. This puzzle has not yet been resolved or put together, at the present time. This is one of the common symptoms that occurs with the disorder of autism.

Do you wonder why this remains to be an unsolved puzzle with autistic children? I have discovered, that there has been no conclusive way to prove exactly why the symptoms of not having visual contact, is often diagnosed with children who have the disorder of autism.

There have been numerous tests taken from the brains of autistic children, who seem to struggle and do not have proper contact with their eyes. Researchers have many theories, but they do not understand or have proof of why this happens.

After viewing the tests, the researchers have discovered, that autistic children may feel threatened by the faces of people they know. In addition, the familiar faces they trust. This gives them different levels of discomfort. It creates an unsolved puzzle and causes the individual to look away from the person, rather than focus on the eyes of the other person, when interacting with a conversation or listening.

Researchers doing studies, on why autistic children are not making contact with their eyes, have indicated there seems to be a limited understanding, of what the professionals and doctors know about the way the brain, of an autistic child functions and develops.

Have you noticed that many children who have autism, may also have social problems and other disabilities, which could be related to their disorder? This includes the puzzle of not having contact with their eyes to focus, when other people are trying to carry on a conversation with the person who has autism.

There could be a feeling of being threatened when a child tries or wants to make eye contact. This is another puzzle. Many researchers believe part of the puzzle for not creating contact with the eyes, of children who are autistic is, they may be concentrating on another subject, being preoccupied by other things, that are taking place around them.

Scientists have given speculation that there might be some indication of certain mood and anxiety disorders that could have a part in the puzzle of autistic individuals who do not have eye contact.

Professionals are now trying to train children at an early age to develop contact with their eyes, focus and develop concentration. They are doing more and more research on this subject, but have not yet determined why this is such a puzzle.

I believe eye contact is important. I also believe and have seen, some children with autism develop better contact with their eyes, focus, have better concentration with other individuals, as they get older with age.

I feel it is important not to push your child to have eye contact. It is wise to have your child examined by a professional, to find out if lack of visual contact could be related to some other disorder, that may be present in your child.

Always encourage your child to make eye contact. But, keep it simple, without causing it to become stressful. In addition, be patient.

Bonita Darula operates a web sight==> http://www.autismintoawareness.com/ SIGN up to RECEIVE your COMPLIMENTARY WEEKLY AUTISTIC NEWSLETTER on current TOPICS. Take action. Learn about the puzzle of eye contact in autistic children. UPDATED information from your Complimentary Autistic Newsletter.

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5 New and Fun Ways to Use Token Boards

A token economy or system can be a great way to help your student focus and allows you to set manageable goals from them to attain. If you are not familiar with token boards in general, take a look at “How to Create a Token Board” for more information on the basics.

Your main goal with any token system should be to make it fun! The best way to do this is by individualizing your system to each student. Their age, likes and dislikes and comprehension level should all play a part in how you choose to proceed. It’s important to note that higher functioning students can benefit from token economies as well; a good imagination and more complex approaches work well here. Let’s take a look at five examples of token systems that you can use to help your student succeed.

1) Photographs as Puzzles
Sometimes, pairing tokens with a reward can be challenging. This approach can be a great way to accomplish this. If, for instance, your student likes dinosaurs, why not incorporate this into your system. By finding a picture of a dinosaur and breaking it up into pieces, you can deliver each piece individually. Laminating these pieces after you cut them up will make them sturdier. You’ve now made the token board into a puzzle for the student that they can interact with each time they earn a token!

2) Point Systems
In the example above, each token delivered represents an equal achievement toward a goal. Teachers and parents can benefit from varying the significance of each token depending on what the student accomplishes. For instance, if a learner read a sentence correctly, teachers can deliver a 5 point token. If a whole page is read independently a 20 point token can be delivered. With this system, you can offer increasingly rewarding items or activities depending on how many points are attained in a given period.

3) Dollars and Cents
Here’s an example we can all relate to! This is a wonderful opportunity to teach to the life skill of earning and spending money. Any “play money” can be used and usually found at local toy stores or you can create your own money system (just don’t get too realistic!). Cashing-in on different items or activities can be left up to the student here and can encourage long-range goals and reinforcers (a $100 trip to an amusement park for instance). A dry-erase board with items/activities to earn can easily be adjusted depending on what the student is working toward.

4) Teaching Opportunities
Since tokens should generally be delivered on a fairly regular basis (to help highlight positive responses) teachers can use this as a way to cover basic concepts being taught to. For instance, if arithmetic is being reviewed, the “tokens to earn” section can be made-up of equations (such as a small card reading 4 x 4=). Below this section, in the “earned tokens” area, the appropriate answer would be the landing zone for this particular token (i.e. 16). Having the student deliver the token himself will teach and reinforce at the same time!

5) Time Based Systems
While the previous examples largely focus on earning items or activities, teachers can also create a time based system. Each token could represent a certain amount of time that the learner earns that ultimately allows access to an item or activity. That way, the better a student does (i.e. more time tokens earned) the greater the amount time they can spend with the item. This concept can also be stretched-out to represent weekly or even monthly goals. For instance, a board with each day of the week could be used to keep track of how many times a student practices piano, for example. Setting a goal of three practice days and helping learners refer to this system can foster independence and reinforce longer-term goals.

Mr. Jeffrey Young is the President and Founder of Innovative Piano, Inc. Mr. Young has published over 17 books dealing with music and autism. To learn more about the author and the program please visit http://www.innovativepiano.com/

Innovative Piano, Inc.
Offering piano lessons for students with autism – Nationwide! http://www.innovativepiano.com/

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