Tag Archives: Social Communication

Question?: What Is Autism Spectrum Disorder

Betty asks…

How will Asperger syndrome and PDD be Diagnosed in the future once the definition is Changed?

I heard that instead of 3 being diagnosed with High Functioning Autism (aspergers syndrome), PDD-NOS and Autistic disorder there will only be one type
but, what if the child have mild symptoms of Autism just like Aspergers, how will they be diagnosed? How will Aspergers syndrome and PDD-NOS be diagnosed differently under the dsm-5 if they have symptoms of an autism Spectrum disorder?

admin answers:

Actually there are currently 5 subtypes…also childhood disintegrative disorder and retts

instead of labeling by subtype–they will just use one label for all groups

Autism Spectrum Disorder

Must meet criteria A, B, C, and D:

A. Persistent deficits in social communication and social interaction across contexts, not accounted for by general developmental delays, and manifest by all 3 of the following:

1. Deficits in social-emotional reciprocity; ranging from abnormal social approach and failure of normal back and forth conversation through reduced sharing of interests, emotions, and affect and response to total lack of initiation of social interaction,

2. Deficits in nonverbal communicative behaviors used for social interaction; ranging from poorly integrated- verbal and nonverbal communication, through abnormalities in eye contact and body-language, or deficits in understanding and use of nonverbal communication, to total lack of facial expression or gestures.

3. Deficits in developing and maintaining relationships, appropriate to developmental level (beyond those with caregivers); ranging from difficulties adjusting behavior to suit different social contexts through difficulties in sharing imaginative play and in making friends to an apparent absence of interest in people

B. Restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities as manifested by at least two of the following:

1. Stereotyped or repetitive speech, motor movements, or use of objects; (such as simple motor stereotypies, echolalia, repetitive use of objects, or idiosyncratic phrases).

2. Excessive adherence to routines, ritualized patterns of verbal or nonverbal behavior, or excessive resistance to change; (such as motoric rituals, insistence on same route or food, repetitive questioning or extreme distress at small changes).

3. Highly restricted, fixated interests that are abnormal in intensity or focus; (such as strong attachment to or preoccupation with unusual objects, excessively circumscribed or perseverative interests).

4. Hyper-or hypo-reactivity to sensory input or unusual interest in sensory aspects of environment; (such as apparent indifference to pain/heat/cold, adverse response to specific sounds or textures, excessive smelling or touching of objects, fascination with lights or spinning objects).

C. Symptoms must be present in early childhood (but may not become fully manifest until social demands exceed limited capacities)

D. Symptoms together limit and impair everyday functioning.

Aspergers and PDDNOS CAN fit into this definition….instead of listing different types—there will just be one type…they won’t be diagnosed differently.

Powered by Yahoo! Answers

Question?: Rett Syndrome In Boys

Ken asks…

what are difference between autism, Asperger’s syndrome, and Rett syndrome.?

please list similarities and differences, thank you

admin answers:

I have been diangnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome.It’s a type of high functioning autisim.Here is some information I have found on all three conditions.

Autism
Autism is classified as a neurodevelopmental disorder that manifests itself in markedly abnormal social interaction, communication ability, patterns of interests, and patterns of behavior.
Although the specific etiology of autism is unknown, many researchers suspect that autism results from genetically mediated vulnerabilities to environmental triggers. And while there is disagreement about the magnitude, nature, and mechanisms for such environmental factors, researchers have found at least seven major genes prevalent among individuals diagnosed as autistic. Some estimate that autism occurs in as many as one United States child in 166, however the National Institute of Mental Health gives a more conservative estimate of one in 1000[1]. For families that already have one autistic child, the odds of a second autistic child may be as high as one in twenty. Although autism is about 3 to 4 times more common in boys, girls with the disorder tend to have more severe symptoms and greater cognitive impairment. Diagnosis is based on a list of psychiatric criteria, and a series of standardized clinical tests may also be used.
Autism may not be physiologically obvious. A complete physical and neurological evaluation will typically be part of diagnosing autism. Some now speculate that autism is not a single condition but a group of several distinct conditions that manifest in similar ways.
By definition, autism must manifest delays in “social interaction, language as used in social communication, or symbolic or imaginative play,” with “onset prior to age 3 years”, according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The ICD-10 also says that symptoms must “manifest before the age of three years.” There have been large increases in the reported incidence of autism, for reasons that are heavily debated by researchers in psychology and related fields within the scientific community.
Some children with autism have improved their social and other skills to the point where they can fully participate in mainstream education and social events, but there are lingering concerns that an absolute cure from autism is impossible with current technology. However, many autistic children and adults who are able to communicate (at least in writing) are opposed to attempts to cure their conditions, and see such conditions as part of who they are.
There is a great diversity in the skills and behaviors of individuals diagnosed as autistic, and physicians will often arrive at different conclusions about the appropriate diagnosis. Much of this is due to the sensory system of autistics, which is quite different from the sensory system of other people, since certain stimulations can affect an autist differently than a non-autist, and the degree to which the sensory system is affected varies wildly from one autistic person to another.
Nevertheless, professionals within pediatric care and development often look for early indicators of autism in order to initiate treatment as early as possible. However, some people do not believe in treatment for autism, either because they do not believe autism is a disorder or because they believe treatment can do more harm than good.
Social development
Typically, developing infants are social beings—early in life they do such things as gaze at people, turn toward voices, grasp a finger, and even smile. In contrast, most autistic children prefer objects to faces and seem to have tremendous difficulty learning to engage in the give-and-take of everyday human interaction. Even in the first few months of life, many seem indifferent to other people because they avoid eye contact and do not interact with them as often as non-autistic children.
Children with autism often appear to prefer being alone to the company of others and may passively accept such things as hugs and cuddling without reciprocating, or resist attention altogether. Later, they seldom seek comfort from others or respond to parents’ displays of anger or affection in a typical way. Research has suggested that although autistic children are attached to their parents, their expression of this attachment is unusual and difficult to interpret. Parents who looked forward to the joys of cuddling, teaching, and playing with their child may feel crushed by this lack of expected attachment behavior.
Children with autism often also appear to lack “theory of mind”, the ability to see things from another person’s perspective, a behavior cited as exclusive to human beings above the age of five and, possibly, other higher primates such as adult gorillas, chimpanzees and bonobos. Typical 5-year-olds can develop insights into other people’s different knowledge, feelings, and intentions, interpretations based upon social cues (e.g., gestures, facial expressions). An individual with autism seems to lack these interpretation skills, an inability that leaves them unable to predict or understand other people’s actions. The social alienation of autistic and Asperger’s people can be so intense from childhood that many of them have imaginary friends as companionship. However, having an imaginary friend is not necessarily a sign of autism and also occurs in non-autistic children.
Although not universal, it is common for autistic people to not be able to regulate their behavior. This can take the form of crying or verbal outbursts that may seem out of proportion to the situation or self-injurious behaviours. Individuals with autism generally prefer consistent routines and environments; they may react negatively to changes in them. It is not uncommon for these individuals to exhibit aggression, increased levels of self-stimulatory behavior, self-injury or extensive withdrawal in overwhelming situations.
Sensory system
A key indicator to clinicians making a proper assessment for autism would include looking for symptoms much like those found in sensory integration dysfunction. Children will exhibit problems coping with the normal sensory input. Indicators of this disorder include oversensitivity or underreactivity to touch, movement, sights, or sounds; physical clumsiness or carelessness; poor body awareness; a tendency to be easily distracted; impulsive physical or verbal behavior; an activity level that is unusually high or low; not unwinding or calming oneself; difficulty learning new movements; difficulty in making transitions from one situation to another; social and/or emotional problems; delays in speech, language or motor skills; specific learning difficulties/delays in academic achievement.
One common example is an individual with autism hearing. A person with autism may have trouble hearing certain people while other people are louder than usual. Or the person with autism may be unable to filter out sounds in certain situations, such as in a large crowd of people (see cocktail party effect). However, this is perhaps the part of the autism that tends to vary the most from person to person, so these examples may not apply to every autistic.
Communication difficulties
By age 3, typical children have passed predictable language learning milestones; one of the earliest is babbling. By the first birthday, a typical toddler says words, turns when he or she hears his or her name, points when he or she wants a toy, and when offered something distasteful, makes it clear that the answer is “no.” Speech development in people with autism takes different paths. Some remain mute throughout their lives with varying degrees of literacy; communication in other ways—images, visual clues, sign language, and typing may be far more natural to them. Some infants who later show signs of autism coo and babble during the first few months of life, but stop soon afterwards. Others may be delayed, developing language as late as the teenage years. Still, inability to speak does not mean that people with autism are unintelligent or unaware. Once given appropriate accommodations, many will happily converse for hours, and can often be found in online chat rooms, discussion boards or websites and even using communication devices at autism-community social events such as Autreat.
Those who do speak often use language in unusual ways, retaining features of earlier stages of language development for long periods or throughout their lives. Some speak only single words, while others repeat the same phrase over and over. Some repeat what they hear, a condition called echolalia. Sing-song repetitions in particular are a calming, joyous activity that many autistic adults engage in. Many people with autism have a strong tonal sense, and can often understand spoken language. Some children may exhibit only slight delays in language, or even seem to have precocious language and unusually large vocabularies, but have great difficulty in sustaining typical conversations. The “give and take” of non-autistic conversation is hard for them, although they often carry on a monologue on a favorite subject, giving no one else an opportunity to comment. When given the chance to converse with other autistics, they comfortably do so in “parallel monologue”—taking turns expressing views and information. Just as “neurotypicals” (people without autism) have trouble understanding autistic body languages, vocal tones, or phraseology, people with autism similarly have trouble with such things in people without autism. In particular, autistic language abilities tend to be highly literal; people without autism often inappropriately attribute hidden meaning to what people with autism say or expect the person with autism to sense such unstated meaning in their own words.
The body language of people with autism can be difficult for other people to understand. Facial expressions, movements, and gestures may be easily understood by some other people with autism, but do not match those used by other people. Also, their tone of voice has a much more subtle inflection in reflecting their feelings, and the auditory system of a person without autism often cannot sense the fluctuations. What seems to non-autistic people like a high-pitched, sing-song, or flat, robot-like voice is common in autistic children. Some autistic children with relatively good language skills speak like little adults, rather than communicating at their current age level, which is one of the things that can lead to problems.
Since non-autistic people are often unfamiliar with the autistic body language, and since autistic natural language may not tend towards speech, autistic people often struggle to let other people know what they need. As anybody might do in such a situation, they may scream in frustration or resort to grabbing what they want. While waiting for non-autistic people to learn to communicate with them, people with autism do whatever they can to get through to them. Communication difficulties may contribute to autistic people becoming socially anxious or depressed.
Repetitive behaviors
Although people with autism usually appear physically normal and have good muscle control, unusual repetitive motions, known as self-stimulation or “stimming,” may set them apart. These behaviors might be extreme and highly apparent or more subtle. Some children and older individuals spend a lot of time repeatedly flapping their arms or wiggling their toes, others suddenly freeze in position. As children, they might spend hours lining up their cars and trains in a certain way, not using them for pretend play. If someone accidentally moves one of these toys, the child may be tremendously upset. Autistic children often need, and demand, absolute consistency in their environment. A slight change in any routine—in mealtimes, dressing, taking a bath, or going to school at a certain time and by the same route—can be extremely disturbing. People with autism sometimes have a persistent, intense preoccupation. For example, the child might be obsessed with learning all about vacuum cleaners, train schedules or lighthouses. Often they show great interest in different languages, numbers, symbols or science topics. Repetitive behaviors can also extend into the spoken word as well. Perseveration of a single word or phrase, even for a specific number of times can also become a part of the child’s daily routine.
Effects in education
Children with autism are affected with these symptoms every day. These unusual characteristics set them apart from the everyday normal student. Because they have trouble understanding people’s thoughts and feelings, they have trouble understanding what their teacher may be telling them. They do not understand that facial expressions and vocal variations hold meanings and may misinterpret what emotion their instructor is displaying. This inability to fully decipher the world around them makes education stressful. Teachers need to be aware of a student’s disorder so that they are able to help the student get the best out of the lessons being taught.
Some students learn better with visual aids as they are better able to understand material presented this way. Because of this, many teachers create “visual schedules” for their autistic students. This allows the student to know what is going on throughout the day, so they know what to prepare for and what activity they will be doing next. Some autistic children have trouble going from one activity to the next, so this visual schedule can help to reduce stress.
Research has shown that working in pairs may be beneficial to autistic children. Autistic students have problems in schools not only with language and communication, but with socialization as well. They feel self-conscious about themselves and many feel that they will always be outcasts. By allowing them to work with peers they can make friends, which in turn can help them cope with the problems that arise. By doing so they can become more integrated into the mainstream environment of the classroom.
A teacher’s aide can also be useful to the student. The aide is able to give more elaborate directions that the teacher may not have time to explain to the autistic child. The aide can also facilitate the autistic child in such a way as to allow them to stay at a similar level to the rest of the class. This allows a partially one-on-one lesson structure so that the child is still able to stay in a normal classroom but be given the extra help that they need.
There are many different techniques that teachers can use to assist their students. A teacher needs to become familiar with the child’s disorder to know what will work best with that particular child. Every child is going to be different and teachers have to be able to adjust with every one of them.
Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders typically have high levels of anxiety and stress, particularly in social environments like school. If a student exhibits aggressive or explosive behavior, it is important for educational teams to recognize the impact of stress and anxiety. Preparing students for new situations by writing Social Stories can lower anxiety. Teaching social and emotional concepts using systematic teaching approaches such as The Incredible 5-Point Scale or other Cognitive Behavioral strategies can increase a student’s ability to control excessive behavioral reactions.
There is a great diversity in the skills and behaviors of individuals diagnosed as autistic, and physicians will often arrive at different conclusions about the appropriate diagnosis. Much of this is due to the sensory system of autistics, which is quite different from the sensory system of other people, since certain stimulations can affect an autist differently than a non-autist, and the degree to which the sensory system is affected varies wildly from one autistic person to another.
Nevertheless, professionals within pediatric care and development often look for early indicators of autism in order to initiate treatment as early as possible. However, some people do not believe in treatment for autism, either because they do not believe autism is a disorder or because they believe treatment can do more harm than good.
Social development
Typically, developing infants are social beings—early in life they do such things as gaze at people, turn toward voices, grasp a finger, and even smile. In contrast, most autistic children prefer objects to faces and seem to have tremendous difficulty learning to engage in the give-and-take of everyday human interaction. Even in the first few months of life, many seem indifferent to other people because they avoid eye contact and do not interact with them as often as non-autistic children.
Children with autism often appear to prefer being alone to the company of others and may passively accept such things as hugs and cuddling without reciprocating, or resist attention altogether. Later, they seldom seek comfort from others or respond to parents’ displays of anger or affection in a typical way. Research has suggested that although autistic children are attached to their parents, their expression of this attachment is unusual and difficult to interpret. Parents who looked forward to the joys of cuddling, teaching, and playing with their child may feel crushed by this lack of expected attachment behavior.
Children with autism often also appear to lack “theory of mind”, the ability to see things from another person’s perspective, a behavior cited as exclusive to human beings above the age of five and, possibly, other higher primates such as adult gorillas, chimpanzees and bonobos. Typical 5-year-olds can develop insights into other people’s different knowledge, feelings, and intentions, interpretations based upon social cues (e.g., gestures, facial expressions). An individual with autism seems to lack these interpretation skills, an inability that leaves them unable to predict or understand other people’s actions. The social alienation of autistic and Asperger’s people can be so intense from childhood that many of them have imaginary friends as companionship. However, having an imaginary friend is not necessarily a sign of autism and also occurs in non-autistic children.
Although not universal, it is common for autistic people to not be able to regulate their behavior. This can take the form of crying or verbal outbursts that may seem out of proportion to the situation or self-injurious behaviours. Individuals with autism generally prefer consistent routines and environments; they may react negatively to changes in them. It is not uncommon for these individuals to exhibit aggression, increased levels of self-stimulatory behavior, self-injury or extensive withdrawal in overwhelming situations.
Sensory system
A key indicator to clinicians making a proper assessment for autism would include looking for symptoms much like those found in sensory integration dysfunction. Children will exhibit problems coping with the normal sensory input. Indicators of this disorder include oversensitivity or underreactivity to touch, movement, sights, or sounds; physical clumsiness or carelessness; poor body awareness; a tendency to be easily distracted; impulsive physical or verbal behavior; an activity level that is unusually high or low; not unwinding or calming oneself; difficulty learning new movements; difficulty in making transitions from one situation to another; social and/or emotional problems; delays in speech, language or motor skills; specific learning difficulties/delays in academic achievement.
One common example is an individual with autism hearing. A person with autism may have trouble hearing certain people while other people are louder than usual. Or the person with autism may be unable to filter out sounds in certain situations, such as in a large crowd of people (see cocktail party effect). However, this is perhaps the part of the autism that tends to vary the most from person to person, so these examples may not apply to every autistic.
Communication difficulties
By age 3, typical children have passed predictable language learning milestones; one of the earliest is babbling. By the first birthday, a typical toddler says words, turns when he or she hears his or her name, points when he or she wants a toy, and when offered something distasteful, makes it clear that the answer is “no.” Speech development in people with autism takes different paths. Some remain mute throughout their lives with varying degrees of literacy; communication in other ways—images, visual clues, sign language, and typing may be far more natural to them. Some infants who later show signs of autism coo and babble during the first few months of life, but stop soon afterwards. Others may be delayed, developing language as late as the teenage years. Still, inability to speak does not mean that people with autism are unintelligent or unaware. Once given appropriate accommodations, many will happily converse for hours, and can often be found in online chat rooms, discussion boards or websites and even using communication devices at autism-community social events such as Autreat.
Those who do speak often use language in unusual ways, retaining features of earlier stages of language development for long periods or throughout their lives. Some speak only single words, while others repeat the same phrase over and over. Some repeat what they hear, a condition called echolalia. Sing-song repetitions in particular are a calming, joyous activity that many autistic adults engage in. Many people with autism have a strong tonal sense, and can often understand spoken language. Some children may exhibit only slight delays in language, or even seem to have precocious language and unusually large vocabularies, but have great difficulty in sustaining typical conversations. The “give and take” of non-autistic conversation is hard for them, although they often carry on a monologue on a favorite subject, giving no one else an opportunity to comment. When given the chance to converse with other autistics, they comfortably do so in “parallel monologue”—taking turns expressing views and information. Just as “neurotypicals” (people without autism) have trouble understanding autistic body languages, vocal tones, or phraseology, people with autism similarly have trouble with such things in people without autism. In particular, autistic language abilities tend to be highly literal; people without autism often inappropriately attribute hidden meaning to what people with autism say or expect the person with autism to sense such unstated meaning in their own words.
The body language of people with autism can be difficult for other people to understand. Facial expressions, movements, and gestures may be easily understood by some other people with autism, but do not match those used by other people. Also, their tone of voice has a much more subtle inflection in reflecting their feelings, and the auditory system of a person without autism often cannot sense the fluctuations. What seems to non-autistic people like a high-pitched, sing-song, or flat, robot-like voice is common in autistic children. Some autistic children with relatively good language skills speak like little adults, rather than communicating at their current age level, which is one of the things that can lead to problems.
Since non-autistic people are often unfamiliar with the autistic body language, and since autistic natural language may not tend towards speech, autistic people often struggle to let other people know what they need. As anybody might do in such a situation, they may scream in frustration or resort to grabbing what they want. While waiting for non-autistic people to learn to communicate with them, people with autism do whatever they can to get through to them. Communication difficulties may contribute to autistic people becoming socially anxious or depressed.
Repetitive behaviors
Although people with autism usually appear physically normal and have good muscle control, unusual repetitive motions, known as self-stimulation or “stimming,” may set them apart. These behaviors might be extreme and highly apparent or more subtle. Some children and older individuals spend a lot of time repeatedly flapping their arms or wiggling their toes, others suddenly freeze in position. As children, they might spend hours lining up their cars and trains in a certain way, not using them for pretend play. If someone accidentally moves one of these toys, the child may be tremendously upset. Autistic children often need, and demand, absolute consistency in their environment. A slight change in any routine—in mealtimes, dressing, taking a bath, or going to school at a certain time and by the same route—can be extremely disturbing. People with autism sometimes have a persistent, intense preoccupation. For example, the child might be obsessed with learning all about vacuum cleaners, train schedules or lighthouses. Often they show great interest in different languages, numbers, symbols or science topics. Repetitive behaviors can also extend into the spoken word as well. Perseveration of a single word or phrase, even for a specific number of times can also become a part of the child’s daily routine.
Effects in education
Children with autism are affected with these symptoms every day. These unusual characteristics set them apart from the everyday normal student. Because they have trouble understanding people’s thoughts and feelings, they have trouble understanding what their teacher may be telling them. They do not understand that facial expressions and vocal variations hold meanings and may misinterpret what emotion their instructor is displaying. This inability to fully decipher the world around them makes education stressful. Teachers need to be aware of a student’s disorder so that they are able to help the student get the best out of the lessons being taught.
Some students learn better with visual aids as they are better able to understand material presented this way. Because of this, many teachers create “visual schedules” for their autistic students. This allows the student to know what is going on throughout the day, so they know what to prepare for and what activity they will be doing next. Some autistic children have trouble going from one activity to the next, so this visual schedule can help to reduce stress.
Research has shown that working in pairs may be beneficial to autistic children. Autistic students have problems in schools not only with language and communication, but with socialization as well. They feel self-conscious about themselves and many feel that they will always be outcasts. By allowing them to work with peers they can make friends, which in turn can help them cope with the problems that arise. By doing so they can become more integrated into the mainstream environment of the classroom.
A teacher’s aide can also be useful to the student. The aide is able to give more elaborate directions that the teacher may not have time to explain to the autistic child. The aide can also facilitate the autistic child in such a way as to allow them to stay at a similar level to the rest of the class. This allows a partially one-on-one lesson structure so that the child is still able to stay in a normal classroom but be given the extra help that they need.
There are many different techniques that teachers can use to assist their students. A teacher needs to become familiar with the child’s disorder to know what will work best with that particular child. Every child is going to be different and teachers have to be able to adjust with every one of them.
Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders typically have high levels of anxiety and stress, particularly in social environments like school. If a student exhibits aggressive or explosive behavior, it is important for educational teams to recognize the impact of stress and anxiety. Preparing students for new situations by writing Social Stories can lower anxiety. Teaching social and emotional concepts using systematic teaching approaches such as The Incredible 5-Point Scale or other Cognitive Behavioral strategies can increase a student’s ability to control excessive behavioral reactions.
Asperger’s Syndrome
Asperger syndrome (sometimes called Asperger’s syndrome, AS, or the more common shorthand Asperger’s), is characterized as one of the five pervasive developmental disorders, and is commonly referred to as a form of high-functioning autism. In very broad terms, individuals with Asperger’s have normal or above average intellectual capacity, and atypical or poorly developed social skills, often with emotional/social development or integration happening later than usual as a result.
Like other conditions classified as autism spectrum disorders, Asperger syndrome appears to be more prevalent among males than females, with males making up approximately 75–80 percent of diagnoses. Many clinicians believe that this may not reflect the actual incidence among females; well-known Asperger syndrome expert Tony Attwood suggests that females learn to better compensate for their impairments because of differences in socialization (Attwood, pp 151–2). Some preliminary evidence for this is found in the Ehlers & Gillberg study, which found a 4:1 male to female ratio in the people they thought definitely had Asperger’s but a much less lopsided 2.3 to 1 ratio when merely suspected or otherwise borderline cases were included.
The overwhelming majority of available information on Asperger syndrome relates to children; there is currently more conjecture than hard evidence on how it affects adults. It is thought that most people with Asperger syndrome learn to cope with their social impairments later in life. However, there is no “cure” as such, and some people, including prominent clinicians such as Attwood and some of those diagnosed with Asperger’s, would strenuously argue that a cure is neither possible nor desirable (see “A gift and a curse” and “Culture” below), mainly pointing out that the syndrome is a hereditary trait and attempts to “cure” or eliminate it would be an example of eugenics. Organizations such as Cure Autism Now disagree; this remains a highly controversial area.
The most common and important characteristics of Asperger syndrome can be divided into several broad categories: social impairments, narrow but intense interests, and speech and language peculiarities. Other features are commonly associated with this syndrome but not always held to be necessary for diagnosis. This section reflects mainly Attwood, Gillberg, and Wing’s thinking on the most important characteristics of Asperger; the DSM-IV criteria (see below) represent a slightly different view.
Social impairments
Although there is no single feature that all people with Asperger syndrome share, difficulties with social behavior are nearly universal and are perhaps the most important criteria that define the condition. People with Asperger syndrome lack the natural ability to see the subtexts of social interaction (sometimes resulting in well-meaning remarks that may offend and so on, finding it hard to know what is “acceptable”) and also tend to lack the ability to broadcast their own emotional state.
Non-autistics, often colloquially called neurotypicals, are able to gather a host of information about other people’s cognitive and emotional states based on clues gleaned from the environment and the other person’s facial expression and body language, but people with Asperger syndrome have an impairment in this ability, sometimes called mind-blindness. To be mind-blind is to find it difficult or even impossible to figure out things a person implies but does not say directly (more colloquially, to “read between the lines”). This is not because they cannot imagine the answer but because they cannot choose between the possibilities; the mind-blind person cannot reliably gather enough information to do so or does not know how to interpret the information that they do gather.
Along with this difficulty in reading the nonverbal communication of others, most people with Asperger’s have difficulty expressing their own emotional state via body language, facial expression, and nuances as most people do. Some such people have emotional responses as strong as, or perhaps stronger than, those of most people, although what generates an emotional response might not always be the same; the difficulty is in expressing these feelings, although it sometimes comes across as lacking them. And some such people do truly lack, or have reduced levels of emotions. For example, many people with Asperger syndrome have difficulty with eye contact. Some make very little eye contact because they find it overwhelming, whereas others have unmodulated, staring eye contact that can cause discomfort to other people. Similarly, the use of gestures may be almost nonexistent or may seem exaggerated and differ from what would normally be considered appropriate for a situation.
It is worth noting that because it is classified as a spectrum disorder, some people with Asperger syndrome are nearly normal in their ability to read and use facial expressions and other subtle forms of communication. However, this ability does not come naturally to most people with Asperger syndrome. Such people must learn social skills intellectually, delaying social development.
Some people feel that much of the social difficulties in Asperger Syndrome are more accurately characterized as “mutual misunderstanding”, in that neither the “aspie” nor the neurotypical understands each other. Some autistics assert that they have a much easier time reading body language of other autistic people, and that neurotypicals have difficulties interpreting autistic body language. Comparing the nonverbal communication problems that often occur between people from different cultures is a common defense given for this theory.
Narrow, intense interests
Asperger syndrome can involve an intense and obsessive level of focus on things of interest. For example, one person might be obsessed with 1950s professional wrestling, another with national anthems of African dictatorships, or another with building models out of matchsticks. Particularly common interests are means of transport (such as trains), computers, maths (particularly specific aspects, such as pi), astronomy, geography, and dinosaurs. Note that all of these last items are normal interests in ordinary children; the difference in Asperger children is the unusual intensity of their interest.
Sometimes these interests are lifelong; in other cases, they change at unpredictable intervals. In either case, there are normally one or two at any given time. In pursuit of these interests, the person with Asperger’s often manifests extremely sophisticated reason, an almost obsessive focus, and great memory for apparently trivial facts (occasionally even eidetic memory). Hans Asperger called his young patients “little professors” because he thought his thirteen-year-old patients had as comprehensive and nuanced an understanding of their field of interest as university professors.
Some clinicians would not entirely agree with this description; for example, Wing and Gillberg both argue that there is often more rote memorization than real understanding of these areas of interest, despite occasional appearances to the contrary. However, such a limitation is not required for diagnosis, even under Gillberg’s criteria.
Children and adolescents with Asperger syndrome often have little patience for things outside these areas of interest. During the school years, many are perceived as highly intelligent underachievers or overachievers, clearly capable of outperforming their peers in their field of interest yet persistently unmotivated to do regular homework assignments (sometimes even in their areas of interest). Others, in contrast, may be hypermotivated to outperform peers in school. This adds to the difficulties of diagnosing the syndrome. In more serious cases, the combination of social problems and intense interests can lead to unusual behavior, such as greeting a stranger by launching into a lengthy monologue about a special interest rather than introducing oneself in the socially-accepted way. However, in many cases adults can outgrow this impatience and lack of motivation and develop more tolerance to new activities and meeting new people.
Speech and language peculiarities
People with Asperger syndrome often are noted for having a highly pedantic way of speaking, using language far more formal and structured than the situation normally would be thought to call for. A five-year-old child with this condition may regularly speak in language that could easily have come from a university textbook, especially on his or her special area of interest.
Literal interpretation is another common but not universal hallmark of this condition. Attwood gives the example of a girl with Asperger syndrome who answered the telephone one day and was asked “Is Paul there?”. Although the Paul in question was in the house, he was not in the room with her, so after looking around to ascertain this, she simply said “no” and hung up. The person on the other end had to call back and explain to her that he meant for her to find him and get him to pick up the telephone (Attwood 78).
Many people with Asperger syndrome also make idiosyncratic use of words, including new coinages and unusual juxtapositions. This can develop into a rare gift for humor (especially puns, wordplay, doggerel, satire) or writing. Another potential source of humor is the eventual realization that their literal interpretations can be used to amuse others. Some are so proficient with written language as to qualify as hyperlexic. Tony Attwood refers to a particular child’s skill at inventing expressions, e.g. “tidying down” (the opposite of tidying up) or “broken” (when referring to a baby brother who cannot walk or talk) (Attwood, 82).
Other characteristics
Those affected by Asperger’s may also manifest a range of other sensory, developmental, and physiological anomalies. Children with Asperger’s may evidence a delay in the development of fine motor skills. In some cases (although with many exceptions) people with AS may have an odd way of walking, or display compulsive finger, hand, or arm movements.
In general, orderly things appeal to people with Asperger’s. Some researchers mention the imposition of rigid routines (on self or others) as a criterion for diagnosing this condition. It appears that changes to their routines cause inordinate levels of anxiety for some people with this condition (Attwood 100).
Some people with Asperger’s experience varying degrees of sensory overload and are extremely sensitive to touch, smells, sounds, tastes, and sights. They may prefer soft clothing, familiar scents, or certain foods. Some may even be pathologically sensitive to loud noises or strong smells or dislike being touched; for example, certain children with Asperger’s exhibit a strong dislike of having their head touched or their hair disturbed. Sensory overload may exacerbate problems faced by such children at school, where levels of noise in the classroom can become intolerable for them. Some are also unable to block out certain repetitive stimuli, such as the constant ticking of a clock. Whereas most children stop registering this sound after a short time and can hear it only if they consciously listen for it, the child with Asperger’s can become distracted, agitated, or even (in rare cases) violent if the sound is not removed.
Additionally, people with Asperger’s exhibiting severe symptoms may frequently be diagnosed with clinical depression, Oppositional defiant disorder, ADHD, General anxiety disorder, Bipolar disorder, Obsessive compulsive disorder, or Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder. However, while elements from all of these conditions are associated with Asperger syndrome, the cause is usually Asperger’s itself and not a separate condition. While there may be a correlation between them, the disorders are in fact distinct from one another. There is research which indicates people with Asperger’s may in fact be far more likely to have the associated conditions, but for now the connection is largely one of resemblance.
Asperger syndrome usually leads to problems in social interaction with peers. These can be severe, especially in childhood and adolescence; children with Asperger syndrome often are the target of teasing and bullying at school because of their idiosyncratic behavior, language, interests, and their lowered or delayed ability to perceive and respond in socially expected ways to nonverbal cues, particularly in interpersonal conflict. A child or teen with Asperger syndrome often is puzzled as to the source of this mistreatment, unaware of what has been done “wrong.” Those who are aware of their condition may come to recognize such errors, but almost never immediately upon making them. The social alienation of children with Asperger syndrome can be so intense that they create imaginary friends for companionship (although this is certainly not specific to Asperger syndrome, since non-autistics may do the same). Even later in life, many people with Asperger’s report a feeling of being unwillingly detached from the world around them.
Bullying and other reasons were cited as a cause for William Freund’s rampage in October 2005.
One example of this sort of bullying: non-Autistic students will pretend to befriend those with Asperger’s syndrome by using sarcasm and intense use of “sexual phrases” which many children with Asperger’s syndrome may not recognize as such. The Asperger’s child is unaware he is being bullied and believes he has a true friend, while the “normal” child and his friends are laughing at him.
Children with Asperger syndrome often display advanced abilities for their age in language, reading, mathematics, spatial skills, and/or music, sometimes into the “gifted” range, but this may be counterbalanced by appreciable delays in other developmental areas. This combination of traits can create problems with teachers and other authority figures. (It may be relevant here that one of the social conventions many people with Asperger’s syndrome ignore is respect for authority. Attwood notes a tendency to feel that everyone should be treated much the same regardless of what social position they occupy; the student with Asperger’s syndrome may not give respect to an authority figure until he or she feels it has been earned, an attitude many teachers either do not understand or take strong exception to.) Like many other gifted children, a child with Asperger’s might be regarded by teachers as a “problem child” or a “poor performer.” The child’s extremely low tolerance for what they perceive to be mundane and mediocre tasks (such as typical homework assignments) can easily become frustrating; the teacher may well consider the child arrogant, spiteful, and insubordinate. Meanwhile, the child sits mutely, feeling frustrated and wronged and often having no idea how to express these feelings.
However, Asperger syndrome does not guarantee one will have a miserable life. The intense focus and tendency to work things out logically, a characteristic of Asperger syndrome, often grants people with the syndrome a high level of ability in their fields of interest. When these special interests coincide with a materially or socially useful task, the person with Asperger’s often can in fact lead a profitable life. The child obsessed with naval architecture may grow up to be an accomplished shipwright, for instance.
Although many people with Asperger’s are not considered socially successful by common standards – and there are many who remain alone their entire lives – it is certainly possible for them to find understanding people with whom they can have close relationships. Many autistics have children, in which case their children may or may not have an autism spectrum disorder. Also, many people with Asperger syndrome recognize that there is a problem and try to adapt to living among people without the syndrome, even if they are unaware of the term “Asperger syndrome” itself or believe it does not apply to them. It is possible with training and self-discipline for a child with Asperger’s to end up as an adult who, though still having Asperger’s, is able to interact well with others. However, because of their delayed social development, it is not unusual for people with Asperger’s to feel most comfortable with people much younger or older than they are.
However, not showing affection (or not doing so in conventional societally-acceptable ways) does not necessarily mean that he or she does not feel it. Understanding this can lead the significant other to feel less rejected and be more understanding. There are usually ways to work around the problems, such as being more explicit about one’s needs. For instance, when describing emotions, it can be helpful to be direct and to avoid vague terms such as “upset” when the emotion being described is anger (some individuals with Asperger’s would interpret “upset” as mere annoyance, or even nausea). It is often effective to lay out in clear language what the problem is and to ask the partner with Asperger’s to describe what emotions are being felt or ask why a certain emotion was being felt. It is very helpful if the family member or significant other reads as much as he or she can about Asperger’s syndrome and any comorbid disorders. In a minority of situations the opposite problem occurs; the person with Asperger’s is unusually affectionate to significant others and misses or misinterprets signals from the other partner, causing the partner to get annoyed and leave the person with Asperger syndrome feeling depressed and alone.
Experts generally agree that there is no single condition called autism. Rather, there is a spectrum of autistic conditions, with different forms of autism taking different positions on this spectrum. But in certain circles of the autism community, this concept of a spectrum is being questioned. If differences in development are purely a function of differences in skill acquisition, then attempting to distinguish between degrees of severity may be dangerously misleading. A person may be subjected to unrealistic expectations, or even denied life-saving services, based solely on very superficial observations made by others in the community.
In the 1940s, Leo Kanner and Hans Asperger, working independently in the United States and Austria, identified essentially the same population, although Asperger’s group was perhaps more “socially functional” than Kanner’s as a whole. Some of Kanner’s originally identified autistic children might today get an Asperger syndrome diagnosis, and vice versa. It is a mistake to say that a “Kanner autistic” is a child who sits and rocks and does not communicate. Kanner’s study subjects were all along the spectrum.
Traditionally, Kannerian autism is characterized by significant cognitive and communicative deficiencies, including delays in or lack of language. Often it is clear that these people do not function normally. On the other hand, a person with Asperger’s will not show delays in language. It is a more subtle condition, and affected people often appear only to be eccentric.
Researchers are grappling with the problem of how to divide the spectrum. There are many potential divisions, such as autistics who speak versus those who do not, autistics with seizures versus those without, autistics with more “stereotypical behaviors” versus those with fewer, and so forth. Some researchers are trying to identify genes associated with these traits as a way to make logical groupings. Eventually, one may hear autistics described as being with or without a specific gene, with or without changes to a certain chromosome, etc.
Leo Kanner identified another form of autism around the same time as Hans Asperger.
Some clinicians believe that communicative or cognitive deficiencies are so essential to the concept of autism that they prefer to consider Asperger’s a separate condition from autism. This opinion is a minority one. Uta Frith (an early researcher of Kannerian autism) has written that people with Asperger’s seem to have more than a touch of autism to them. Others, such as Lorna Wing and Tony Attwood, share in Frith’s assessment. Dr. Sally Ozonoff, of the University of California at Davis’s MIND institute, argues that there should be no dividing line between “high-functioning” autism and Asperger’s, and that the fact that some people do not start to produce speech until a later age is no reason to divide the two groups because they are identical in the way they need to be treated.
A gift and a curse
With the increase of Asperger syndrome diagnoses, its image continues to shift from that of a disease to a more complex view of a syndrome with both advantages and disadvantages because there are adults diagnosed with Asperger syndrome or autism who have become quite successful in their fields, possibly as a direct result of intellectual gifts and above-average focus and motivation associated with the syndrome. For example, some prominent Asperger-diagnosed people include Nobel Prize-winning economist Vernon Smith, comedian/actor Dan Aykroyd, industrial rocker Gary Numan, Craig Nicholls, frontman of the band The Vines, as well as Satoshi Tajiri, the creator of Pokémon. BitTorrent inventor Bram Cohen is widely cited as having Asperger syndrome, although he appears to have made this conclusion without consulting a medical professional. [1][2]
Speculation about recognized people who may have Asperger syndrome
It has been speculated that Albert Einstein had what is now considered Asperger syndrome.
Recently, some researchers such as Simon Baron-Cohen and Ioan James have speculated that well-known figures of the past, such as Albert Einstein and Isaac Newton, had Asperger syndrome because they showed some Asperger’s-related tendencies or behaviors, such as intense interest in one subject, or social problems. A chapter of the aforementioned Gillberg book is devoted to this subject, including a detailed case study of philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein concluding that he met the criteria for the condition. However, such posthumous diagnoses remain controversial.
The specific arguments alleging that certain famous people might be on the autistic spectrum vary from person to person. Some claim that Albert Einstein (one of the more frequently cited figures of the past as possibly autistic) was a loner as a child, had violent temper tantrums, repeated under his breath sentences he uttered, and needed his wives to act as parents when he was an adult, factors that are stereotypical of autistic people. Isaac Newton stuttered and was epileptic. Many of these suspected historical Asperger cases might have been quite mild, but some skeptics believe these people may have had a few autistic traits but not enough for an autism spectrum diagnosis. Finally, many critics of historical diagnosis claim it is simply not possible to diagnose the dead, so nothing can be said definitively regarding the Asperger status of historical figures.
Such speculation may simply be an attempt to create role models for autistics to demonstrate that they can be exemplary contributors to society. Autistic rights activists often use such speculative diagnoses to argue that it would be a loss to society if autism were cured. However, others in the autistic rights movement dislike these arguments because they think autistics should be able to value their uniqueness without the desire for a cure, regardless of whether people such as Einstein were autistic.
Shift away from view as a disease
The speculated social contributions of autistic people have contributed to the shift in the perception of autism spectrum disorders as complex syndromes rather than diseases that must be cured. Proponents of this view reject the notion that there is an ‘ideal’ brain configuration and that any deviation from the norm must be considered pathological. They demand tolerance for what they call their neurodiversity in much the same way lesbian and gay people have demanded tolerance for theirs. Views such as these are the basis for the autistic rights and autistic pride movements.
A Wired magazine article called “The Geek Syndrome” suggested that Asperger syndrome is more common in the Silicon Valley, a haven for computer scientists and mathematicians. It created an enduring notion popularized in the media and self-help books that “Geek Syndrome” equals Asperger syndrome and caused an explosion of self-diagnoses in part because it was printed alongside Simon Baron-Cohen’s 50-question Autism Spectrum Quotient Test. Like some people with Asperger syndrome, geeks may exhibit an extreme professional or casual interest in computers, science, engineering, and related fields and may be introverted or prioritize work over other aspects of life. However, no determination has yet been made of whether the “Geek Syndrome” personality type has a direct relation to autism or is simply a “variant normal” type that is not part of the autistic spectrum.
Regardless, societal acceptance of Asperger or Asperger-like traits is still rare, as many people in the autistic spectrum will confirm.
Rett syndrome
Rett syndrome (Rett syndrome, Rett’s disorder) is a progressive neurological disorder. The symptoms of this disorder are easily confused with those of autism and cerebral palsy. The gene is recessive and can therefore lie dormant for generations. The clinical diagnosis specifies a small head and small hands and feet. Stereotypical repetitive hand movements such as mouthing or wringing are also included as diagnostic signs. Symptoms of the disease include learning disorders and a total inability to socialize. Girls with Rett syndrome are very prone to seizures and GI disorders. They typically have no verbal skills, and about 50% of females are ambulatory. Rett syndrome (symbolized RTT) is X-linked dominant, affecting almost exclusively girls. Development is normal until 1 year of age, when language and motor milestones regress and acquired microcephaly is seen. Hand wringing and sighing are characteristic, and they develop autistic behavior. Rett syndrome is usually caused by a mutation in the gene encoding methyl-CpG-binding protein-2 (MECP2). MECP2 is found on chromosome band Xq28, near the long end of the X chromosome. Rett syndrome can also be caused by a mutation to the gene encoding cyclin-dependent kinase-like 5 (CDKL5). Rett syndrome affects 1 in every 12,500 female live births. Most individuals with Rett syndrome are female. One explanation given for this was that the genetic defect that caused Rett syndrome in females caused embryonic lethality in males (that is, males with pathogenic MECP2 mutations died before they were born). While a plausible hypothesis, more recent research has contradicted this explanation. Most males with a pathogenic MECP2 mutation suffer from neonatal encephalopathy and die within a year or so of birth. Males who have two X chromosomes and a Y chromosome (often called Klinefelter’s syndrome), one with a mutated MECP2 gene, follow a similar development path to females with Rett syndrome. Males who have somatic mosaicism also have symptoms like females with Rett syndrome. Infants with Rett syndrome typically develop normally until they are 6-18 months old. Physioneurological development tends to plateau after this brief period of normal development, and is followed by deterioration of the high brain functions. Psychomotor and cognitive abilities rapidly decline between 1-2 years of age. Symptoms that develop are similar to those of autism, including mental retardation and poor growth. It is, hence, easy to mistakenly diagnose Rett syndrome for autism, or cerebral palsy.
Symptoms of Rett syndrome that are similar to autism:
•screaming fits
•panic attacks
•inconsolable crying
•avoiding looking into other people’s eyes
•lack of social/emotional reciprocity
•general lack of interest
•marked impaired use of nonverbal behaviors to regulate social interaction
•delay of linguistic development
oloss of speech

Symptoms of Rett syndrome that are also present in cerebral palsy:
•short stature
•severe dementia
•mild learning disability
•hypotonia
•Delayed or absent ability to walk
•gait/movement difficulties
•ataxia
•microencephalopathy – abnormally small head, lack of head growth
•some forms of spasticity
owringing of hands
oChorea – spasmodic movements of hand or facial muscles
odystonia
obruxism – grinding of teeth

Symptoms may stabilize for up to a few decades before complications set in, such as epilepsy or seizure and spastic paraparesis (spasticity or paralysis of the lower limbs).
Depending on the severity of psychomotoral and cognitive impairment, 2-15% of patients may achieve a nonretarded level of functioning through various rehabilitation methods. Marriage, success in achieving employment and independent living can be achieved during adulthood. Currently there is no cure for Rett syndrome.
Males with pathogenic MECP2 mutations usually die during infancy stage from severe encephalopathy, unless they have an extra X chromosome (often described as Klinefelter’s syndrome), or have somatic mosaicism.
Females can live up to 40 years or more. Abnormal lab data values on Rett disorder may show:
•EEG abnormalities from 2 years of age
•atypical glycolipids
•elevated levels of beta-endorphins and glutamate
•reduction of substance P
•decreased levels of nerve growth factors
Mortality rate among children with Rett disorder is approximately at 1.2% per year.
High proportion of deaths are abrupt; due to:
•heart conduction problem – abnormally prolonged QT interval on ECG
•spontaneous brainstem dysfunction
•respiratory arrest

Powered by Yahoo! Answers

Question?: Pdd Symptoms

James asks…

Is there a pyschological condition or symptom that means you are unable to detect sarcasm?

I really am so gulible and cannot understand sarcasm for my life. Its so bad! It even gets me in trouble at school with teachers who use sarcasm and i acually follow through with it and they get very angry at me. At the moment i cant find an example but i hope you understand what im talking about.

I have ADHD, which may contribute to the unable to read facial expressions part but seriously is this a condition?

admin answers:

Yes, there is a DSM-IV-TR condition that is a social communication disorder and makes sarcasm, idioms, puns, reading facial expressions all very difficult. Taking things literally is another classic symptom of a PDD. It is an autistic spectrum disorder that is dx autistic disorder 299.00, asperger’s syndrome 299.80 or PDD.NOS (atypical autism)

ADHD/ADD is considered to be part of the autism spectrum according to many neurologists though the DSM-IV-TR hasn’t been updated and many feel its outdated. These disorders do tend to run together (co-morbidities) and in families.

Sometimes when one dx is made (either ADD/HD, or a PDD which is an autisitc spectrum disorder) the other issues are largely ignored resulting in a late dx.

Http://www.asplanet.info
go under AS symptoms/AQ test

This i find pretty indicative, my score is a 42, over 32 is significant for asperger’s syndrome, and an average female score is 15

Powered by Yahoo! Answers

Question?: Asperger Syndrome Test

Jenny asks…

Asperger Syndrome: What are the necessary assessments carried out by a school?

I was just wondering if anyone could provide me with any information or references for the necessary steps taken by a school to ensure they are able to meet the needs of a child with Asperger syndrome.
Thankyou.

admin answers:

First it is included in Autism Spectrum Disorder.

What evaluation items are used can depend on the age of the child but here is a general outline:

1 – the student has to have some educational need (not they are getting B’s and should get A’s.) could be work completion, interacting with peers, blurting, etc.
2 – a multidisciplinary team would look at some or all of the following:
– IQ – a variety of tests are possible – this gets to intellectual capacity, difficulties in processing speed or working memory.
3 – academic testing – Woodcock Johnson is the most common.
4 – perhaps some Language pragmatics or social communication assessment tools.
5 – probably a Behavior Assessment Scale or Social Skills inventory.
6 observations by teachers in different settings
7 interviews with student – parent etc
8 independent work skills checklist possibly.
9 Review of any behavior reports, academic status, review of outside reports.

That gives the team a good idea of what is interfering and what style of intervention or assistance would be needed.

Powered by Yahoo! Answers

Question?: Rett Syndrome Research

Lisa asks…

Does anyone know what exactly autism tendencies might mean?

I’ve just been told that my 6-year old son, who is in kindergarten is showing some autism tendencies. What could this mean for his future? Is it genetic, like a learning disorder? I want to learn as much as I can regarding this.

admin answers:

Hey 🙂 i work with children with severe autism. Autism is a developmental disorder and is the most common developmental disorder in a group called the autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). Other ASDs include Asperger syndrome, Rett syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder, and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified .

Tho each child is individual most people with autism have impairments in social interaction, social communication, and imagination. This is referred to as the triad of impairments.

I dont belive there is any direct research which shows autism is genetic, i think they are unsure about the cause.

There are lost of usefull websites on autism, and the autism awareness society.

Http://www.autism-society.org/site/PageServer
http://www.nimh.nih.gov/publicat/autism.cfm
http://www.learningdifficulties.org.au/autism.htm

hope you find them helpful, all the best faerie rainbow dust x x x x x

Powered by Yahoo! Answers

New TV project uses comedy to help kids on – or near – the autism spectrum

Ever since Christa Dahlstrom’s eight year old son was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, he’s benefited greatly from extra support at school for those things that just don’t come naturally for him, particularly the unspoken rules of social interaction.

One thing that does come naturally for her son is engaging with, acting out and creating stories. “One of his favorite activities is enlisting the whole family to act out scenes from movies and TV shows. He has memorized entire episodes and can recreate them perfectly or combine elements from different stories to create something all his own.”

Dahlstrom, who lives in Oakland, found herself wishing there was a way to incorporate the ideas about perspective taking, give and take in conversations, or managing emotions into the shows her son loved. And she wondered why there wasn’t a television show to help teach social skills, the way other shows helped kids learn to read, or do math or learn about science.

So she decided to make one herself.

Dahlstrom teamed up with Jordan Sadler and Liesl Wenzke Hartmann, experts in social communication with a wealth of experience working with children on these issues. They too had been looking for lively and engaging ways to help families reinforce the learning from therapy sessions and social groups they conducted with kids with social communication challenges.

The result is Flummox and Friends, off-beat, live-action comedy that helps kids navigate the social and emotional world. The Bay Area-based team just released the pilot episode, which was funded in part by a grassroots Kickstarter campaign. I watched the pilot, loved it and enthusiastically recommend it.

The lighter side of social skills

“There are products targeting social emotional teaching on the market,” explains Hartmann, a San Francisco speech and language therapist. “But it’s hard to find something that adults and children can really enjoy together. This show gives families kid-friendly language to demystify and normalize social challenges, showing that everyone is ‘flummoxed’ by social rules at one time or another.”

“I wanted to create a show that really connects with kids’ intelligence and sense of humor,” said Dahlstrom. “I hope families will think of this show first and foremost as a comedy. If kids enjoy the jokes and the characters, they’ll watch it again and again and the educational messages will sink in naturally.”

The program focuses on the adventures of three quirky inventors and their neighbors. The show intersperses musical and animated segments with the live-action storyline.

Families and educators can watch or download the pilot episode for free from the Flummox and Friends website. They can also download companion guides – for families or professionals – that have ideas for ways to integrate ideas from the show into conversations and activities at home and in the classroom.

The Flummox and Friends team hopes the pilot episode will generate sufficient viewership and enthusiasm for investors and broadcasters to take notice. “We want to turn Flummox and Friends into a series, and I think our pilot will show there is a large audience that’s been waiting for this kind of show.”

“We are already getting a lot of effusive feedback from parents and educators – and kids! – through social media.” says Dahlstrom. “One parent wrote to tell us, “I’ve been wishing, hoping, praying for a show like this for my daughter. THANK YOU!”

You can watch the pilot episode of Flummox and Friends and find out more about the show at www.flummoxandfriends.com.

Watch a trailer for the show
More about the show

***

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.

View the original article here

What Are Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)?

ASD is a group of developmental disabilities that greatly affect a person’s social, communication and behavioral abilities that a person typically deals with throughout their lifetime. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimate the rate of autism occurrence is 1 in 100 children in the United States. This high number of occurrences makes ASD more common than pediatric cancer, diabetes, and AIDS combined. There is not a blood test or x-ray that can detect autism. It is generally diagnosed through observation in the areas listed below. Autism has a wide range of symptoms and looks differently with each child, but typically includes difficulty in one or more areas each category listed:

COMMUNICATION:

* Poor or limited eye contact

* Limited language skills, both receptive and expressive, verbal and nonverbal.

* Repetition or echoing of phrases in place of normal language usage

* Loss of language skills as a toddler

* Lack of reciprocate language skills when language is present

SOCIAL SKILLS:

* Lack of shared attention with others

* Inability to play with other children, parallel play may exist.

* Not showing an interest in other people, sometimes even significant others such as parents.

* Not able to understand and learn social cues most children pick up on naturally.

BEHAVIOR:

* Unusual reactions to the way things smell, taste, feel or sound.

* Little or no fear of common things.

* Unusual or unrealistic fears.

* Craving physical contact or avoiding physical contact.

* Restricted or limited interests; repetitive patterns of behavior.

* Difficulty with changes in routine.

* Insistence on things being done the same way.

* Using behavior as a means to communicate needs.

* Using people as objects to get things done.

ASD is a complicated disorder and affects 1 in 100 children according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). It affects boys 4:1 when compared to girls. Most children are diagnosed as young as age 3 by a pediatrician, neurologist or developmental specialist. Some children will show signs of autism but not be diagnosed. The key is know what to look for and be sure all areas listed above have at least one or more characteristic observable in a child. If as a parent you feel certain that something is going on with your child and the doctors won’t listen, or feel you are being over protecting, get a second opinion by someone trained in autism. Most of the time, parents are generally accurate in their assessment of their child. After all, a parent knows their child better than anyone else.

Kerri Duncan has been supporting families with children diagnosed with autism. She aims to increase awareness and educate those involved in the lives of individuals diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. If you need more information and support, click here to see how she can help you and your child reach a brighter tomorrow.

For more information on ASD, contact Kerri Duncan, Ed.D., BCaBA 417.860.7640 or go to http://www.facebook.com/hart4autism.

View the original article here

What Is Autism? Explore Different Types of Autism

What is Autism?

Often we come to know an individual (children or adults) who find it difficult to communicate or build relationships. Without knowing the actual reason and being so judgmental, we consider them rude or introvert. But that might not be the case with few individuals as it can also be a disorder commonly known as Autism.

Autism is a disorder where one, especially a child, finds it difficult to learn and develop the basic skills. More often than not the problems associated with Autism results in social communication. Their behavior appears restrictive and it is one of the severe outcomes of blockage of information processing in mind. Though there has been tremendous research regarding real cause of autism, but no big success has been achieved in this regard. It is believed that in maximum cases autism starts appearing within first three years in a child. Bear in mind it is a neurological complexity which results in malfunctioning of brain. It ultimately results in incapability to communicate and make relationships.

Different Types of Autism

Though both girls and boys can develop this disorder at any time, but it has been seen that boys have more chances of developing it than girls. As far as the question how common is the problem of autism than the answer is, approximately 10-20 people develop this habit among 10,000. Have a glance at the sub types of autism. These are based on severity of the situations and also the age factor.

Classic Autism is considered as the most dangerous types of this order. People suffering with this problem are those who find it difficult even to talk and their social communication is one the lowest side. They are extremely sensitive regarding few certain smells, sounds and signs. Their behavior may become repetitive about few TV shows or food items.

Few patients do have the same problem but language is not a barrier for them, fall under the category of Asperger’s Syndrome. Others may find their behavior unusual as its patients are odd, when it comes to following the social rules.

In few cases it has been seen that a child was completely normal till 2 years of age and then suddenly he/she start behaving abnormally. It is called as “childhood disintegrative disorder” and children start showing some unacceptable signs such as problem dealing with potty rules or playing.

Rett Syndrome is another type of childhood developmental disorder which is seen in girls in early age. This common syndrome stops physical and mental development of a girl child. There are four main stages of Rett Syndrome and its severity differs from child to child.

More details can be found on “Autism Spectrum Disorders”.

View the original article here

The Asperger’s Checklist

Named after Hans Asperger, Asperger’s Syndrome, also known as AS, is a lifelong disability that is manifested by different symptoms associated with autism but still exhibits normal intelligence and language development. There may be a lot of similarities between a person with autism and one with AS, however they are completely different.

What is AS?

Asperger’s Syndrome is a lifelong disability that belongs in the autism spectrum. The autism spectrum is a classification of autism-like symptoms that vary from a combination of symptoms and severity. One person with AS, may exhibit intense aloofness while another may not.

AS was discovered by Hans Asperger while noticing that most of his patients exhibit symptoms of autism. Individuals with AS still have the normal capacity or intelligence of an average person, and language development. It is estimated that approximately 2 out of 10,000 children have AS and it is more prevalent in males.

A checklist of Symptoms

Since Aspergers Syndrome is considered to be a spectrum disorder, it may be hard to classify them based on the symptoms. However, there are three areas where individuals with AS have a main problem with. These areas are social communication, social interaction and social imagination.

In social communication, though individuals with Aspergers have no deficiency in language development, they have a hard time in communicating their thoughts and feelings. They also have a difficulty in understanding other people’s thoughts, expressions, gestures, tone of voice and sometimes people’s rationale. They are able to learn and use complex words and they may use it in a sentence but, they will fail to understand the meaning of the word or sentence they just said. People with Aspergers will also fail to recognize jokes, sarcasms and idioms, for they will take it literally which will eventually confuse them.

Many individuals with Aspergers try to be sociable, but most often they fail to establish and maintain relationships. They would struggle to interact and make friends. If they succeed in making friends they would fail to maintain them. They have little understanding about social rules and boundaries. They are oftentimes withdrawn and would prefer to be alone. People with AS behave in a peculiar manner and perceive others to be unpredictable, thus, a fear of socializing manifests.

In social imagination, people with AS find it hard to predict and understand other people’s thoughts and actions. Common sense isn’t that common to them. They have a limited imagination, thus inhibiting creativity and produce more repetitive and rigid activities. The checklist above can be use to determine the likelihood of person having Aspergers syndrome. Not all of the items of the checklist are necessary but they do serve as indicators.

Is There a Cure?

As of the meantime, no cure is known to treat Asperger’s Syndrome. However, there are therapies and interventions available for people with this disability. Early diagnosis with the use of an Autism Spectrum Quotient or AQ test may help in early intervention. These interventions and therapies can help these individuals to reach their optimum growth and potential, for them to live their everyday lives. People with AS may grow to become responsible adults, and can have regular jobs, have a family and lead normal lives, with the help from therapies and especially with support from their families.

Mark Henry Blakey is a blogger and contributor of the Aspergers Test Site. He regularly contributes and writes on the subject, helping others to understand the nature of Aspergers Symptoms. Check out the website for more resources and articles on Aspergers.

View the original article here

Children With Autism – Recognizing the Signs

1. What is autism?

Autism is considered a spectrum disorder because symptoms and severity vary from individual to individual. Autistic children express differently from each other. Autism is characterized by failure of the child to develop communicative language or form proper social communication. But they show motor and other skills far beyond that of a mentally retarded child.

Autism is characterized by varying degrees of impairment to develop communicative language or form proper social communication. Some of them are obsessively pre occupied with inanimate objects such as lights, running water or spinning objects, and also by repetitive behaviors. Symptoms range from mild to severe. Some of them gradually develop extreme talents such as in mathematics and these are retained mostly throughout the life. Studies of people with autism have found abnormalities in several regions of the brain which suggest that autism results from a disruption of early fetal brain development

There is a milder form of the disorder known as Asperger’s Syndrome. Other developmental disorders that fall under the Autism Spectrum Disorders are Rett’s Syndrome, PDD-NOS (Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Not Otherwise Specified), and Childhood Disintegrative Disorder. If you have concerns about your child’s development, don’t wait: speak to your doctor about getting your child screened for autism.

2. What is meant by “On the spectrum”?
Autism is considered a spectrum disorder because symptoms and severity vary from individual to individual. Though the Autistic children show similar traits they are individual and express differently from each other. one child may have not developed speech and have difficulty in learning how to read and write, where as another child can easily read and write and can be attending normal school. Some children may display hypersensitivity to touch noise and other may have no sensory issues at all.

3. How common is autism?
According to the survey by Centers for Disease Control, autism affects as many as 1 in every 100 children and it is rising by 10-15% every year. It is the most prevalent developmental disorder in today’s time. Boys are more susceptible than girls to develop Autism but it is seen that girls manifest a more severe form of the disorder that the boys.

4. How do I know my child is Autistic?
No two children with autism are alike, each one managing a different set of symptoms. But there are some signs and symptoms that are common and may be recognized as early as the toddler years, or even sooner. They usually do not have or do not sustain eye contact and have trouble communicating with other people or they may communicate in ways that others cannot easily understand. They may hardly speak and even if they speak it’s just babbling and not coherent. They’re also prone to repetitive behaviors like flapping their hands constantly or uttering the same phrase over and over again. They may also be over sensitive to sights, sounds and touch.

Criteria for Autism
A total Of 6 or more items of the following with at least 2 from [1], and one each from [2] and [3] are satisfied by the patient:

[1] Qualitative impairment in social interaction:

Marked impairment in facial expression
Failure to develop peer relationships
A lack of spontaneity in sharing interests
Lack of social or emotional reciprocity

[2] Qualitative impairment in communication:
Marked inability to initiate or sustain conversation with others.

[3] Restricted, repetitive and stereotyped pattern of behavior
Encompassing preoccupation with one stereotyped and restricted pattern.

5. How did my child develop autism?
No one is yet able to point to a probable cause. Though a disorder as common as autism would have a known cause, in many ways it’s still quite mysteriously not known. Recent studies have suggested a strong genetic basis for autism. There are about 20 sets of genes that may play a part in the development of autism. Genes are not the only one responsible for all the cases; there are other triggers which are yet not discovered.

6. Does vaccination cause autism?
Many studies have been conducted to determine if a link exists between vaccination and increased prevalence of autism, with particular attention to the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine and those containing thimerosal. These studies have not found a link between vaccines and autism It remains possible that, in cases, immunization might trigger the onset of autism symptoms in a child with an underlying medical or genetic condition.

As this is a sensitive topic it is best to discuss it with your healthcare provider who will guide you and ensure the optimal well-being of the child. Establishing open communication and trust with a physician who understands each child and his or her family is the best strategy for keeping a child healthy.

7. What help my child needs if He/She is Autistic?
Do not Panic first understand and learn about Autism from the right source that can be your doctor. You will need a good team of doctors, therapists, psychologists and teachers who understand and have experience with autism and can respond to his needs appropriately. Your healthcare provider can guide you toward various intervention programs and suggest complementary therapies. It also helps to associate with the existing network of parents facing the same challenges as you.

8. How to I deal with the diagnosis of Autism?
It is difficult to come to terms with the diagnosis that your child is having Autism but there is always a brighter side to every adversity. As we know the Autistic children have some special capabilities which the normal kids may not process. For e.g. some of the children we saw one was having an extraordinary power to memorize things only after reading once, one of them was brilliant in drawing and another in playing musical instrument. So do not blame your self or feel sad or hopeless. Take the right steps understand the disorder and if take care from your healthcare provider who will guide you with the exact nature of the disorder and how to deal with it. Keep the faith.

9. What therapies do I need for my child with Autism?
There are various therapies that are useful some of them are –
• Speech Language Therapy (SLT)
• Occupational Therapy (OT)
• Sensory Integration
• Physical Therapy (PT)
• Social Skills
• Picture Exchange Communication system
• Auditory Integration Therapy

10. What role Homeopathy plays in Autism?
Homeopathy is a holistic treatment and it plays a vital role in treatment of Autistic children. With the Constitutional Homeopathic treatment we can achieve increased level of concentration, decrease in hyperactivity and channeling of the energy in a constructive method. Homeopathic remedies act at the level of the Psycho Neuro endocrinal axis. Homeopathic treatment is safe and without side effects.

11. Can Autistic children become independent?
Yes Autistic children can become independent with the right intervention programs, therapy and proper care from the early stages once the child is detected with Autism. A sustained effort is needed to achieve the desired outcome from therapy and treatment. As Autistic children are having special capabilities which when nurtured properly can be a great asset in making the individual independent.

Dr Santosh Joshi graduated from the University of Pune India in the year 1999-2000.
With a firm grounding in classical homeopathy and the experience achieved by working with senior Homeopaths. He was an active participant in the seminars organized in Pune during his college years. He has also given case presentation on Homeopathy.He practices Homeopathy in the city of Mumbai India and he treats his global patients via the Online treatment procedure.

You can call him on: +919819155780
Email: tosh116@gmail.com

For more details visit us at: http://www.homeopathyclassical.blogspot.com/

View the original article here