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Can A Traumatic Event Cause Autism

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First Response To Traumatic Events: Helping Autistic Children Feel Safe And Calm

Can Past Trauma Cause Autism?

Helping autistic children feel safe and calm is the most important aspect of a first response to traumatic events. Here are some ideas:

  • Spend time with your child. Reassure them that you and other people are there to look after them.
  • If you can, let your child use the safe space or routine that usually helps them when theyre feeling distressed. It might be a quiet corner, under a table with a cushion, or a locker room at school. Or they might have a special song, count cars or recite a favourite script.
  • If the environment around your child is distressing, think about what you can do to change it. For example, if your child is sensitive to sounds or bright lights but there are a lot of emergency vehicles and sirens outside, noise cancelling headphones might help.
  • Encourage your child to focus on the things around them, rather than on the thoughts and feelings that are distressing them. Mindfulness or a grounding exercise can help.

After a traumatic event, your autistic child might be very upset, anxious, withdrawn or disoriented. If your child cant use their usual calming techniques, you could try other options like helping your child to do a slow breathing exercise.

Pantry Full Of Packaged Foods

Food and what goes into our food is an extremely popular and controversial topic. Prepackaged foods are wrought with chemicals, arsenics and other poisons which a person would not normally consume. The link between what are children eat and behavioral problems is well know. When a pregnant woman consume prepackaged foods she is putting her unborn child at a higher risk for developing autism. While pregnant the best foods to eat are natural ones. Fresh fruits and vegetables are great, but should always be thoroughly washed to help prevent chemicals from pesticides from affecting the fetus. Organic produce and meats are the safest to eat. While studies are ongoing on this, avoiding prepackaged foods while pregnant will help decrease the risk of autism.

Influence Of Gender And Autistic Traits

The gender by trauma type interaction was not significant = 2.94, P = 0.06, partial 2 = 0.09) and gender was not found to be associated with exposure to DSM-5 trauma types = 2.39, P = 0.13, partial 2 = 0.04). However there was a significant difference between males and females in exposure to non-DSM-5 trauma F = 4.95, P = 0.03, partial 2 = 0.08), with males reporting more non-DSM-5 traumas than females . Gender was not found to be associated with PTSD symptom severity = 0.21, P = 0.83) or cutoff , following DSM-5 trauma. Similarly, gender showed no association with PTSD symptom severity = 0.67, P = 0.51) or cutoff =0.038, P = 0.85) following non-DSM-5 trauma.

Autistic traits, as measured by the Autism Quotient questionnaire, were not found to be significantly associated with PTSD symptom severity =0.18, P = 0.074) or cut-off following DSM-5 traumas, nor PTSD symptom severity =0.078, P = 0.26) or cutoff following non-DSM-5 trauma. There was a significant difference between males and females in the severity of autistic traits females rated themselves as showing more ASD traits on the AQ than did males .

Recommended Reading: Lifespan Of Autism

Incorrect Theories About The Causes Of Autism

While we don’t know exactly why most autistic people are autistic, we do know that at least some of the theories are flat out wrong. Here is the truth about some of the theories that we know to be incorrect.

  • You can’t catch autism: Some people are nervous about allowing their children to come into contact with autistic peers out of anxiety over contagion. But autism is not an infectious disease it can’t be passed from person to person through a virus, a bacteria, or any other means . Even if your child is constantly in contact with a child on the autism spectrum, he or she cannot “catch” autism. You may notice a typically developing child copying the mannerisms of an autistic peer, but no one can become autistic as a result of physical proximity.
  • Poor nutrition doesn’t cause autism: Many parents have put their children with autism on gluten and casein-free diets . That does not mean that they “caused” their children’s autism by feeding them wheat or dairy . Research suggests that some children with autism have gastrointestinal issues that can cause discomfort, and removing the cause of that discomfort is very likely to improve behavior, attentiveness, and mood. Thus, while a change in diet may improve autistic symptoms, poor nutrition doesn’t cause autism.
  • How Often Does Misdiagnosis Happen

    Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

    Some people might hope that misdiagnosis is a rare occurrence. Im afraid not. The adverse childhood experience study carried out on 17,000 people in the United States, found that if you have experienced several ACEs, you have a high chance of being diagnosed with ADHD, conduct disorder or being on the autism spectrum .

    Take Mary age 8, for example. She has suffered many painful life experiences including being beaten as punishment, living with a mother addicted to alcohol and her father who suffered from anxiety and depression. Mary also witnessed domestic violence. She had an ACE score of six.

    As the number of ACEs increases, so does the likelihood of a child or teenager being given a psychiatric diagnosis. In one study, 100 children were told they had ADHD by school staff. Only three were correctly diagnosed , the rest had experienced multiple traumas .

    Symptomatology of ADHD and several other common child diagnoses is very similar to that to childhood trauma and loss: agitation, difficulty concentrating and hyperactivity. Research shows that traumatised children often have the same over-activation in a key detecting threat system in their brain as soldiers coming back from war-torn countries . This can result in them being hyperactive, on guard and unable to settle to learn. Some of these children are then permanently excluded from schools as a result of their psychological distress presenting itself through their behaviour .

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    Assessment Of Trauma History

    We used the Japanese version of the Child Abuse and Trauma Scale to assess trauma history. The CATS is a 38-item instrument that retrospectively evaluates adverse childhood experiences. Each item is measured on a five-point scale ranging from 0=never to 4=always and divided into five main factors of adverse childhood experiences including Neglect/Negative Home Atmosphere, sexual abuse, Punishment, emotional abuse, and Other. In addition, the sum of scores provides the total score.

    Trauma And Developmental Disabilities

    by PatWilcox | News

    People with DD are more likely to be exposed to trauma AND exposure to trauma makes DD more likely

    While there has been an explosion of information about the impact of traumatic life events and trauma-informed care in the fields of mental health, education, homelessness, and criminal justice, comparatively little has written about these topics related to people with developmental disabilities. Many in the DD field have received little training in psychological trauma. For this reason, the Traumatic Stress Institute is working on an adaption of Risking Connection for people who treat and support people with DD.

    Developmental disability is a very broad term encompassing people with intellectual disabilities to autism spectrum to medically-related impairments. However, research, not surprisingly, has found that people with developmental disabilities have alarmingly high rates of trauma Individuals with disabilities are four times more likely to be victims of crimes as non-disabled prevalence of sexual abuse for children with autism spectrum disorder is 16.6 percent compared to 8 percent for general population the risk of abuse increases 78 percent due to exposure to the disability service system .

    For ideas about using a trauma informed approach with people with developmental disabilities click here:

    Traumatic Stress Institute of Klingberg Family CentersNew Britain, CT, US

    Read Also: Aspergers Life Expectancy

    Can Early Trauma Cause Autism

    In his discredited theory, he blamed the mothers of individuals with autism for having caused their child’s condition through the withholding of affection. The impact of trauma on children with autism any child will tell you that even the kindest and gentlest of dogs will bite you if you yank it ears and pull its tail long enough.

    Can Autism Be Caused By Birth Trauma Top Class Actions

    Trauma : The Basics Of Trauma And Its Impact

    Autism Trauma and PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) – What’s The Overlap?

    By Nellie Galindo, MSW, MSPH, on July 9, 2020

    Trauma-informed Care is a model of care that has long been promoted in many healthcare and social service settings. Despite years of evidence showing the positive impact of organizations adopting a trauma-informed model, there are still many providers who struggle to implement it. Organizations who traditionally dont treat trauma symptoms may especially have difficulty understanding what trauma is and its impact. Trauma is all around us, and it can affect any individual you come into contact with. Current events like the coronavirus pandemic, public images of police brutality, and an economic downturn all contribute to increased stress and traumatic experiences. For this reason, it is crucial that every health and human service provider have a basic understanding of trauma-informed care. First, you must know what trauma involves, and how it can affect the individuals and communities you serve. With that said, lets get into this trauma 101 lesson.

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    Eating Out Of Plastic Containers

    The use of plastic containers has been linked to causing autism. Some of these plastics have been found to have hormone disrupting chemicals, which can lead to neurological problems for a fetus. People who eat out a lot, especially fast food or out of to go containers, are at a 40% higher chance for their child to have autism.

    Phthalates, particularly, which are a group of chemicals used to soften and increase the flexibility of plastic and vinyl are linked to autism. The dangers of phthalates are well known and used to be found in children’s toys, and teething rings. They were removed due to the toxic effects of them. Which makes one wonder why they are allowed in containers we eat out of?

    Treating Autism And Ptsd

    As weve seen throughout this article, theres still a lot to learn about how autism spectrum disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder interact. That means theres not much information about how typical treatment methods can or should be adjusted for patients with ASD.

    TF-CBT is the most common technique, but it can be difficult for a) children with limited speech, and b) children who struggle to identify and understand emotionsissues many kids with autism deal with. Likewise, children on the spectrum might not get much out of support groups if theyre stressed by social situations.

    King and Desaulnier looked at how typical therapies, particularly CBT, might be modified for people with autism or an intellectual disability. According to this article, a counselor could

    • Offer home-based services
    • Use more visual aids, such as gradient scales to describe degrees of emotion
    • Keep appointment times regular and predictable as much as possible
    • Provide sensory toys or allow children to bring their own
    • Emphasize the possibility of a happy ending after traumathis correlates well with the documented effectiveness of social stories, narratives and role-playing in therapy involving individuals with ASD
    • Be mindful of how often society dismisses the emotions of autistic people
    • Involve other trusted caregivers

    and more. Essentially, the therapist should keep the childs unique strengths and limitations in mind at each step and be open to flexibility.

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    Begin Autism Therapy In California:

    We offer a variety of autism therapy services at our autism therapy clinic to help neurodiverse individuals and their families thrive. We can help you cope with the effect trauma has had on your life so you no longer feel like you have to mask your awesome and unique personality and your neurodiversity. To begin autism therapy in California, please follow these steps:

  • Contact us for a free 30-minute phone consultation using this link. You will meet with one of our autism therapists.
  • Like us on On our page, we post useful information about our autism therapy clinic.
  • Trying To Stop Early Labor

    Can Past Trauma Cause Autism?

    In 2011 the United States Food and Drug Department said that injectable terbutaline was not safe for use in pregnant women to stop preterm labor. The drug can cause serious heart problems for the mother, as well as the child. The FDA also said it does not condone the use of the oral tablet for pregnant women either. A study from Duke University found that terbutaline also significantly increased the risk of neurological and cognitive deficiencies in babies whose mother was treated with the drug. The study also showed that the drug predisposed babies to autism. As autism is at an all time high, having risen 172% since 1990, many parents have come to believe this drug is or was the cause of their child’s autism.

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    The Relationship Between Autism And Ptsd

    By Claire Delano, BA

    When most people hear the term post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, they probably picture adult war veterans, abuse survivors, or natural disaster victims. All of these things can cause PTSD, for sure, but sadly, many children face this condition, tooincluding children with autism spectrum disorder .

    Why Might Ptsd Be Mistaken For Autism

    Autistic children may find it hard to communicate with others or struggle to recognise how other people are feeling. They may be sensitive to loud noises or bright lights, and feel anxious in unfamiliar situations. Children with PTSD may behave similarly, but for different underlying reasons.

    Autism researcher Professor Katherine Stavropoulos and colleagues created the below graphic to show the overlap between the signs of autism and PTSD:

    While one in 13 children in the UK are thought to have PTSD, only one in 100 are autistic, so why would the latter be a more likely diagnosis? The answer is usually because childhood trauma goes undiscovered. Children who experience trauma when they are young may display autism-like behaviours that fit the timeline for an ASD diagnosis, which tends to occur around early school-age. In the absence of trauma-informed assessment, autism can sometimes be the default diagnosis. Training professionals to spot the signs is crucial.

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    Treat The Person Not The Dsm

    When clinicians assess trauma and recognize PTSD symptoms, it is important to consider possible non-DSM-5 traumas in autistics. PTSD diagnosis and treatment should not be withheld simply due to the atypicality of the traumatic event.

    In addition, it is important for clinicians to be aware of symptoms that overlap between PTSD and autism, so as not to conflate the two diagnoses. In the criteria below, all symptoms shared between PTSD and autism are italicized.

    Criterion B : The traumatic event is persistently re-experienced, in the following way:

  • Unwanted upsetting memories
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • What Is Masking And What Is Its Relation To Autism And Trauma

    Autism, PTSD and Trauma: what’s the connection?

    Masking and camouflaging are terms used to describe neurodiverse individuals who seek to hide or minimize their autism traits to fit in with the neurotypical world. Individuals with autism, especially ones who have a history of trauma, frequently feel they need to mask their ASD traits in order to fit in. It helps them feel safe from further acts of aggression or misunderstandings. In several situations, masking can actually help an individual with high-functioning autism be successful. For example, masking can help a high-functioning adult with ASD get a job, date, deal with family members, or make new friends. But, in the end, masking and hiding your true self can really take a toll on someone with autism.

    Read Also: Link Between Gestational Diabetes And Autism

    Interventions Can Be Traumatic Even If Well

    Intervention, for the sake of this post, is defined as anything that attempts to alleviate symptoms and barriers caused by autism. Interventions have a long history of inflicting trauma. From institutions to shock therapy, the autistic community has faced an unspeakable amount of trauma from medical professionals, teachers, and caregivers.

    Current day interventions overwhelmingly treat autism as a behavior issue rather than a developmental disability. Positive behavior reinforcement has its benefits. We use it frequently in goal-setting. There are times, however, when it is not appropriate. Autistic kids dont just act out for attention, and attributing these motives is harmful. There is often an underlying reason, such as frustration with social interactions or a sensory issue, that causes a behavioral outburst. We call these meltdowns because, unlike a tantrum, there is no ulterior motive involved.

    Behavior technicians have little training on promoting neurodiversity and self-advocacy. In fact, the only requirements for a behavior technician in Oregon are a high school diploma and 40 hours of training. Sometimes there is no problem with the behavior at all, but its our social norms that dictate the behavior should be changed. We should always look at services through a critical lens. Who is providing the service and what are their goals? Who ultimately benefits from the service?

    Autism Stimming: Causes Management And Types

    Under its standards, someone must have been exposed to actual or threatened death, serious injury, or sexual violence to qualify for a PTSD diagnosis. The person might have

    • Been threatened or harmed directly
    • Witnessed others die or be threatened/harmed
    • Found out that a loved one died or was threatened/harmed
    • according to the DSM, if a loved one died, the event must have been violent or accidental to cause PTSD
  • Been exposed to details of traumatic eventsfor example, a social worker may develop PTSD after repeatedly handling severe abuse cases
  • Exposure by photographs, television, movies, etc. doesnt count, unless this exposure is work-related
  • Also Check: Is Shaun From The Good Doctor Autistic In Real Life

    Asd And The Impact Of Traumatic And Stressful Life Events

    Due to differences among researchers in the way the constructs of stressful and traumatic life events are defined and sometimes conflated, it is necessary to consider both when examining the impact of such experiences on mental health in people with ASD. The DSM-5 distinguishes between traumatic and stressful event , defining trauma as exposure to actual or threatened death, serious injury or sexual violence . Stressful events and stressors represent a broader category and can be associated with loss, work, relationships, ones environment, life transitions, medical or physical struggles, and perceived lack of achievement . The DSM-5 notes that psychological distress associated with stress and trauma is varied and may include anxiety or fear-based reactions, changes in mood, anger, irritability, aggression or dissociation. Although there is a specific diagnostic category for trauma and stressor-related disorders, stress and trauma are identified as risk factors for several other disorders including depression and anxiety .

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