Our Home Is Safety Proofed
Youre probably familiar with baby proofing a house. But while most families can take down the safety gates and doorknob locks once the child ages, families with children on the Autism Spectrum often have these items and more protecting their child from their homes inherent dangers. This is because many children on the Autism Spectrum are prone to behaviors that can bring about self injury.
Vaccination And Autism Statistics Reaffirm That Vaccines Dont Cause Autism
A significant number of studies have reaffirmed again and again that there is no link between vaccines and ASD. A 2013 CDC study, in particular, looked at the number of antigens from vaccines in the first two years of life. The results showed that the total number of antigens from vaccines was the same between autistic and non-autistic children, drawing a clear line between autism facts and myths.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Asd
Every person with ASD is unique, so the timing and severity of the first signs and symptoms can vary widely. Some children with ASD show signs within the first few months of life. In others, symptoms may not become obvious until 24 months or later. Some children with ASD appear to develop normally until around 18 to 24 months of age and then stop gaining new skills and/or start losing skills.
During infancy , a child may show symptoms that include:
- Limited or no eye contact
- No babbling
- Appearing not to hear
- Playing with toys in an unusual or limited manner
- Showing more interest in objects instead of people
- Starting language skills but then stopping or losing those skills
- Showing repetitive movements with their fingers, hands, arms or head
Up to 2 years of age, there may be continuing symptoms from infancy. A child may also:
- Focus only on certain interests
- Be unable to have reciprocal social interactions
- Move in unusual ways, such as tilting their head, flexing their fingers or hands, opening their mouth or sticking out their tongue
- Have no interest in playing with other children
- Repeat words or phrases without appearing to understand them
- Have behavioural issues, including self-injury
- Have trouble controlling their emotions
- Like to have things a certain way, such as always eating the same food
Possible signs of ASD at any age:
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Speech And Language Therapy
People with ASD may need help with communication skills. Some are very vocal while others may not speak at all.
Knowing many words does not mean that someone with ASD can communicate in a way that is easily understood. And knowing only a few words may mean that someone with ASD communicates in their own way.
Some people with ASD are well spoken when talking about their favourite topic. However, they may be unable to communicate effectively in other areas.
A speech-language therapist can help people understand and use words to:
- ask for help
- look at books and tell stories
- start, stop or take turns in a conversation
A speech-language therapist can also help people understand and use gestures to communicate. They may:
- work directly with the person using a personalized program
- teach the family, caregivers or teachers helpful skills
Talking About Sexual Subjects May Prove Difficult
People with Aspergers Syndrome may get fixated on one particular topic or person, and this can lead to some miscommunications or socially awkward moments in sexual interactions. The special interest may get in the way of sexual interaction if it is too all-consuming. If the special interest is a possible partner, the partner may find the intensity off-putting. In both cases, the person with Aspergers must make a conscious effort to keep boundaries in mind working with a therapist can help as well.
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Im Not Someone To Pity Simply Because My Child Has Autism
Autistic children are writing books, making films, creating blogs, and making all sorts of other groundbreaking achievements. Yet, when a parent tells someone their child is autistic, they are usually met with an unnecessary apology or look of pity. Autism is not something to be pitied, and our societys outlook should change to reflect that.
How Is Autism Spectrum Disorder Treated
There is no cure for autism, but treatment can make a big difference. The younger kids are when they start treatment, the better.
Doctors, therapists, and special education teachers can help kids learn to talk, play, and learn. Therapists also help kids learn about making friends, taking turns, and getting along.
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Severe Versions Of Autism Symptoms
To qualify for an autism spectrum diagnosis, a person must have symptoms significant enough to impair daily life. Every autistic person must have social, communication, and sensory challenges that make life more difficult/
Even so-called “high functioning” autism can be very challenging. But those challenges rise to a very different level for people with “severe” autism.
Parents Of Kids With Autism More Likely To Have Autistic Traits
02 July 2014
Parents of children with autism are more likely to have some of the traits associated with autism than parents whose children don’t have the disorder, according to a new study.
Among families in the study, those in which both parents scored highly on a test of autistic traits had an 85 percent increased risk of autism in their children, the researchers said. And among families in which one parent had a high score, the risk rose by 52 percent, compared with families in which the parents had lower scores.
Some of the traits that the researchers found to be more common in the parents of kids with autism included subtle difficulties with social skills, a tendency to isolate themselves from other people and repetitive thinking, said study author Dr. John N. Constantino, a professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.
Having traits of autism is different from having the condition itself. For example, autism is usually diagnosed in the 1 percent of people who score the highest on the test the researchers used in their study, whereas among the parents in the study, those whose children had an increased risk of autism scored in the top 20 percent of people taking the test, the researchers said.
Previous research has also shown that the siblings of children with autism who don’t have the condition themselves still tend to have more autistic traits than the siblings of kids without autism.
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What To Do If You Suspect Bipolar Disorder In An Autistic Person
If you think your symptoms or those of a loved one are the result of bipolar disorder, see a psychiatrist. They can determine whether an acute medical issue is responsible for the symptoms.
If they rule out such a condition, they can refer you to another mental health specialist. While general practitioners are wonderful for many health issues, consulting with a psychiatrist or other mental health expert is best in this situation.
Make an appointment with one of these specialists to review your concerns. Together, you can work to find a diagnosis or an explanation for the symptoms youre experiencing, whether thats bipolar disorder or another condition.
Theres No Need To Tag Us In Every Facebook Article About Autism
Parents of children on the Autism Spectrum are research junkies, and do their best to stay up-to-date with each and every advancement in the autism community. Certainly, they know more than the average person. As one parent put it, Theres literally no Facebook article we havent seen. So, before you share it and tag us because were that friend with the child with autism, take that into account.
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Reflections On Parenting With Autism
Jessica Benz of Dalhousie in New Brunswick, Canada, is the mother of five children. She received her autism diagnosis as a result of seeking answers to her kids’ challenges. Here are her reflections and tips on parenting as an adult on the autism spectrum.
What led you to discover your own autism diagnosis? Do you recommend seeking a diagnosis if you think you might be diagnosable?
My own diagnosis came about as an adult after two of my children had been diagnosed and we began to discuss family history with one of the psychologists we worked with. When I mentioned certain experiences as a child lining up with what I saw in my own children, a light bulb went off.
I pursued further screening and assessment from there, if only to better understand myself as a person, and as a parent. I think that more information is always better, especially about ourselves. If someone feels like autism might be part of the tapestry making up their own lives, it is worth asking about it and asking for an assessment.
Just as we check laundry labels for care instructions, the better we understand what makes up our own lives and selves, the better we can ensure we are using the right settings in terms of self-care and interaction with other people.
Did learning that you are autistic affect your decision to have children? And if so, how did you make the decision?
What kinds of parenting challenges do you face because you are autistic?
My Kid Works Harder Than Any Other Child Her Age
As already mentioned, we do not live in a society that is accommodating to people on the Autism Spectrum. This means that an autistic kid has to work much, much harder to function just about anywhere they go. Behind that hard-working kid are parents, teachers, and therapists who are also working hard to help that child. An autistic child acting like their neurotypical peers has not been cured. Hes simply working 100 times harder to keep up, and thats something we should all keep in mind.
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Girls Have Different Core Autistic Symptoms To Boys
There is no consistent evidence that the core autistic symptoms are different in boys and girls, but there is a trend for girls to have fewer restricted and stereotyped behavioural patterns than boys. Boys, for instance, may line up toys according to size and colour more than girls.
Any differences could have a biological base, but they might also be due to the socialisation of boys and girls. Gender stereotypes dictate that girls are better at communicating and socialising. And expectations that boys will be louder and more aggressive may affect the way the two sexes develop.
Research in this area is yet to tease apart the contribution of nature versus nurture. But any differences are likely to be small. Most studies find boys and girls have similar symptoms, of similar severity.
Dont Wait For A Diagnosis
As the parent of a child with ASD or related developmental delays, the best thing you can do is to start treatment right away. Seek help as soon as you suspect somethings wrong. Dont wait to see if your child will catch up later or outgrow the problem. Dont even wait for an official diagnosis. The earlier children with autism spectrum disorder get help, the greater their chance of treatment success. Early intervention is the most effective way to speed up your childs development and reduce the symptoms of autism over the lifespan.
When your child has autism
Learn about autism. The more you know about autism spectrum disorder, the better equipped youll be to make informed decisions for your child. Educate yourself about the treatment options, ask questions, and participate in all treatment decisions.
Become an expert on your child. Figure out what triggers your kids challenging or disruptive behaviors and what elicits a positive response. What does your child find stressful or frightening? Calming? Uncomfortable? Enjoyable? If you understand what affects your child, youll be better at troubleshooting problems and preventing or modifying situations that cause difficulties.
Dont give up. Its impossible to predict the course of autism spectrum disorder. Dont jump to conclusions about what life is going to be like for your child. Like everyone else, people with autism have an entire lifetime to grow and develop their abilities.
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Training For Parents Families And Caregivers
Parents, family members, caregivers, teachers and peers can receive training so that they can help support a person with ASD. Many of these skills are meant to help caregivers:
- learn how to deal with self-injuring behaviours
- learn how to communicate with someone living with ASD
- recognize and deal with situations that cause upset
- learn supportive routines and behaviours that bring comfort and promote success
Im Not An Autism Expert
If you want to learn more about autism and what its like to be autistic, there is one reliable source: a person on the Autism Spectrum. Parents of autistic children can tell you what it is like to live with a person on the Spectrum. They are experts on their own child. But the only person who can tell you what its like to live with autism is an autistic person himself.
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The Unexpected Plus Of Parenting With Autism
Having autism as a parent might seem impossibly challenging. But a generation of parents with the condition is showing that it can be an advantage even when their child does not share the diagnosis.
Its going on 8 p.m., and Kirsten Hurleys house in West Cork, Ireland, is a scene of happy chaos. The children Alex, 9, and Isla, 4 have been promised chocolate if they stay out of their mothers hair while she talks with a journalist via Skype.
But the bribe doesnt seem to be working at least not with Isla, who climbs up her mothers back and somersaults over her shoulder, cackling with delight.
This is something that drives me nuts, Hurley says. The nonstop and often intense sensory inputs that come along with being a parent being grabbed at, being climbed on, listening to the drone of Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom can be difficult for her to handle because she has a mild form of autism sometimes known as Asperger syndrome.
Hurley was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome at age 23, when her son was about 14 months old. Alex received his own autism diagnosis about a year later.
Autism can pose challenges for parenting, their stories indicate. In addition to dealing with sensory overload, helping a child learn social skills can be difficult for people who struggle with social interactions themselves, for example. But autism can also provide valuable parenting skills, especially with a child who is also on the spectrum.
How People With Autism Forge Friendships
Most autistic people want to and can make friends, though their relationships often have a distinctive air.
by Lydia Denworth / 1 April 2020
It is lunchtime on a Sunday in January. At a long table inside a delicatessen in midtown Manhattan, a group of young people sit together over sandwiches and salads. Most of them have their phones out. One boy wears headphones around his neck. But there is less conversation than you might expect from a typical group of friends: One of the boys seems to talk only to himself, and a girl looks anxious and occasionally flaps her hands.
The young people in this group are all on the spectrum. They met through a program organized by the nonprofit Actionplay, in which young people with autism or other disabilities work together to write and stage a musical. Each Sunday, the members refine characters and the script, block scenes and compose songs and then some of them head across the street to have lunch together. You meet other people just like you, says Lexi Spindel, 15.
Theres a lot of swinging and missing, but when do connect, it goes out of the park. Brett Heasman
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They Have Unusual Eating Behaviors
Unusual eating behavior is a common occurrence in most people who develop autism. Autistic kids have extreme sensitivities and preferences when it comes to food choices. This can be frustrating to deal with. Yet it is a problem that if you are aware of, can save a lot of heartache. However remember that in this age of diets, we all have at some point developed unusual eating habits.
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Children With Autism Have Distinct Facial Features: Study
Scientists may not agree on what causes autism, but a new study that looked at kids’ facial characteristics might help researchers understand the origins of the developmental disorder.
The study found that children with autism have distinct differences in facial characteristics than typically developing children.
“There is no clear answer about whether autism is caused by genetics or by environmental influences,” study author Dr. Kristina Aldridge, assistant professor of anatomy at the University of Missouri School of Medicine, said in a . “If we can identify when these facial changes occur, we could pinpoint when autism may begin to develop in a child.”
For the study – published in the Oct. 14 issue of Molecular Autism – researchers compared facial features in 64 boys with autism with faces of 41 typically developing boys, all 8-12 years old, with a 3-D camera system. After mapping out 17 points on faces, the researchers found significant differences between the two groups.
The study found children with autism had wider eyes, and a “broader upper face,” compared with typically developing children. According to the study, children with autism also had a shorter middle region of the face – including the nose and cheeks – as well as a wider mouth and philtrum, the divot above the lip and below the nose.
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