Mitochondrial Disease And Autism
Mitochondria are cellular components that turn sugar into energy. Mitochondrial dysfunction interferes with proper cell functioning within various systems of the body, including the brain. In the Federal court case of Hannah Poling, mitochondrial disease was found to be the underlying condition that led to autism after she received double doses of the MMR vaccine. It is important to note that not every case of mitochondrial dysfunction manifests as autism, and not every person with autism has disease in the mitochondria.
Increased Stress For People With Autism
Other research has suggested that the general population tends to have better overall health than people with autism.
There are connections between autism spectrum disorder and other medical conditions, like gastrointestinal disorders and heart disease. One of the connections may be stress, resulting from discrimination and bullying because of the autism, distress from sensory overload, and alienation due to the socio-emotional and communication limitations caused by the autism.
Many people who have autism experience being in a chronic state of âfight or flightâ when it comes to situations that would be considered ânormalâ for neurotypical individuals. Everything from having a job interview to attending a social engagement can be mentally debilitating, causing a number of physical and medical problems. Some adults struggle with stress and anxiety for the rest of their lives, even as they deal with the realities of living with autism.
Resources For Autistic Children 8
Teach your autistic child to understand how like and love is expressed in the family and with friends to set them on a course of better relationships through life.
Attwood, T. & Garnett, M.S. . From Like to Love: Teaching Affection to Children on the Autism Spectrum. JKP: London.
Within this book is a 6-session programme that can be run with an autistic child or group of children to demystify the social and emotional expressions of liking and love that strengthen human relationships, but cause so much confusion for autistic children. The programme can be run by a psychologist, social worker, speech pathologist, occupational therapist or counsellor.
Attwood, T. & Garnett, M.S. . Learning How to Express Affection: A Cognitive Behaviour Therapy Programme for Teaching Affection to Children on the Autism Spectrum. JKP: London.
For Parents and Professionals:
Our autistic children can experience very strong emotions such as anxiety and anger that can increase their own suffering and the suffering of people around them. Strong expressions of anger and anxiety can lead to exclusion from meaningful activities such as school, family and community activities. These two programmes were developed to assist a parent or health professional teach an autistic child how to understand and manage their strong feelings of anger and anxiety.
Attwood, T. Exploring Feelings: Cognitive Behaviour Therapy to Manage Anger. Arlington, TX. Future Horizons.
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Medical Testing And Treatments
Routine medical tests are usually performed by traditional pediatricians, but these exams rarely reveal underlying medical problems that are often associated with autism, such as gastrointestinal problems, nutritional and metabolic deficiencies, toxic metal burden, and immune dysfunction. Unfortunately, many physicians believe, though incorrectly, that the only useful medical treatments are psychiatric medications to reduce seizures and behavioral problems.
Genetic testing for Fragile X syndrome can help identify one possible cause, and this testing is typically recommended when there is IDD in the family history.
The Autism Research Institute supports an integrative medical approach to treating individuals on the autism spectrum. This approaches often includes:
- Thorough medical evaluation for undetected underlying disease
- Nutritional support
Increasing Health Factors For People With Autism
One way that this problem can be addressed is by educating parents, caregivers, and health care professionals to recognize the signs of depression in individuals with autism as early as possible while continuing to improve their social relationships and skills.
Treating social anxiety disorder can also help people manage the limitations they experience with social development and help them control their compulsion to avoid social situations, like scheduling a doctors appointment. This can further teach people with autism how they can cope with the feelings of isolation and frustration that naturally arise from having autism spectrum disorder. If suicidal ideation arises, they have a system in place to process those thoughts in a healthy manner and to get support.
Bullying also has to be addressed. Physical and verbal attacks prevent autistic children and adolescents from developing socially, and they can lead to depression and suicidal ideation on their own.
Parents concerned about this can seek out school programs that offer integrated classrooms, where students with special needs are part of the general education classrooms. This naturally helps children with autism who have difficulty fitting in. It also gives non-autistic children a chance to know children with autism, so they are less likely to see those children as targets.
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Autism & Medical Complexities
Scott Wright, a researcher at the University at Utah and editor of a book about autism spectrum disorder in middle age and later life, said that the medical complexities of patients with autism, coupled with their limitations in language and communication, can lead to physicians, hospitals, and the health care system at large not being capable of providing the best level of care. It might be possible that patients with severe forms of autism spectrum disorder dont even seek help for their ailments because they are overwhelmed by the awkwardness of talking with other people about themselves.
Wright suggests that a parent or a caregiver should find a specialist or a primary care physician who has training in working with autistic patients or otherwise demonstrates the necessary awareness and empathy for what the experience must be like for an autistic person. Beyond that, Wright recommended that there be more training for health care professionals so that autism can be recognized and appropriately responded to in a clinical setting.
Problems Processing Physical Sensations
Many individuals with autism have sensory difficulties. They may find specific noises, tastes, smells, or feelings intolerable. Noisy public places can lead to emotional distress, as can uncomfortable clothing or unwanted touches. These issues can be disruptive and stressful, but according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, autism symptoms can improve over time as children with mild autism learn to regulate their own behavior through work with professionals.
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Build A Support Network
Remember, youre not alone. Build up a support network. This could include a support or social skills group, an autistic friend, a friend or family member who learns about autism with you, an individual therapist who specializes in neurodiversity and can help you process your autism identity. Also, they can help you process any other challenges, such as social anxiety or trauma, and help you reduce the distress in your life. Ultimately, getting this support and learning these skills will improve your quality of life.
Ways To Support A Person With Autism
Autism is the fastest-growing developmental disorder, and according to the latest Center for Disease Control research, 1 in 59 children in the United States are diagnosed with autism. Autism is also four times more common in boys than girls. It’s challenging to acquire exact statistics about autism in children because many adults not diagnosed with autism in early childhood go undiagnosed into adulthood. It’s estimated that there are about 3.5 million Americans living with a type of autism, but all ethnic, racial, and socioeconomic groups worldwide are impacted.
Given these statistics, there’s a high likelihood that you know someone that has autism or a family that is caring for someone with autism. Autism is a complex condition with a variety of signs, symptoms, and severity levels. Currently, there is no blood test or cure for autism, so early detection and intervention with treatment and services are key to improve a persons development and functionality for a lifetime. Given the prevalence and complexity of autism, it’s important to be aware of ways you can support people that dealing with the condition.
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What Is Low Functioning Autism
The difference between high functioning autism and low functioning autism is behavioral. Low functioning autism causes behaviors that inhibit the ability to conduct daily life. Children with high functioning autism have similar abilities to his/her neurotypical peers.
This is especially true when the child receives early intervention therapies. Children diagnosed with low functioning autism need more support. They struggle to communicate and manage their behaviors.
Symptoms are identifiable in infancy or early childhood. Children with autism spectrum disorder will not meet neurodevelopmental benchmarks on time or at all. These children experience delays in learning how to self-soothe, forming bonds, and talking. They usually experience severe communication and behavioral challenges.
Children with low functioning autism struggle to complete activities of daily living. They generally need help with most activities. Children with severe autism are more likely to have co-morbid conditions. These include such as Fragile X syndrome, tuberous sclerosis, and epilepsy.
What Its Like Being In A Relationship With An Autistic Person
With this is mind, I thought it would be a good idea to end todays article with a quick discussion of what its like to actually be in a relationship with an autistic person .
The interview which follows was carried out with my girlfriend and although I am in no way saying that our relationship in the benchmark, I thought it would serve as a solid example of what it can be like.
James: What did you think when you found out I was autistic, bearing in mind that I didnt tell you I was autistic, as I was beaten to the punch by our blabbermouth friend?
Carolyn: I didnt really care but then I didnt understand what autism was either. I had already got to know you at that stage cause we had been dating for at least a few months, so I dont think it would have made a difference even if I did know as much about it as I do now.
I was annoyed that you hadnt told me though, that was what surprised me most. I wish you had wanted to tell me sooner, so you could have been the one to explain how it affected you personally, instead of hearing it off someone else it shouldnt have been something you wanted to keep from me.
James: Would you say I have struggled to understand emotions and how has it affected you?
James: A need for routine has always been a huge part of my autism, how has this affected you?
James: Do you believe you have had to make any adjustments in life to stay with me?
James: MOVING ON.
James: How do you feel about all my hobbies and obsessions?
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How Can Physicians Help Mitigate These Risk Factors
The ADHD-related reductions in life expectancy are impressive, but not unchangeable. Nine of the fourteen risk factors used in the UConn calculator can be altered:
Initiatives to improve overall health will improve life expectancy going forward if ADHD symptoms are under control first, Barkley says. Because ADHD causes underlying problems with inhibition, self-regulation, and conscientiousness, leaving the condition untreated or insufficiently treated will cause most patients to fail in their efforts to live healthier lives.
First, physicians must focus on reducing impulsivity and behavioral inhibition problems with medication or cognitive behavioral interventions. Additionally, they must broaden their assessment lens to acknowledge that patients who fail repeatedly at self-change programs should be evaluated for underlying ADHD.
The publication of the study is forthcoming in the Journal of Attention Disorders.
This Story Is Part Of A Group Of Stories Called
First-person essays and interviews with unique perspectives on complicated issues.
On March 21, 2017, CNN on a new study from the American Journal of Public Health that found the average life span of an autistic person is 36 years. I wasnt shocked by this news. I know how dire things can be for so many of us on the spectrum, but that number struck me for a very specific reason. I had just turned 35 the previous month.
Since I learned this news, Ive been anticipating the milestone of turning 36 with a mix of confusion, dread, and a host of other feelings I cant quite articulate. Ive had more existential episodes than usual, brooding about the meaning of life. Its been a lot like a midlife crisis except that my own midlife might have happened as long as half my life ago. The average age of death for autistic people who live to adulthood might be older than 36 . Still, the figure from the research journal haunted me.
At some point between that moment and now, I made a pair of promises to myself:
1. I had to make it to 36.
2. Once I did, I needed to do something to mark this morbid accomplishment perhaps writing something to help the next generation of autists approach their own birthdays just a little easier.
The good news is that I have officially, as of 8:35 am Eastern on February 7, made it.
Turning 36 scared the shit out of me. I want the fact that autistic people die so much earlier than the average American to scare the shit out of you too.
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Is There A Cure For Autism
No, currently autism has no cure. Early intervention during the preschool years can help the child manage their behavioral issues.
Treatment options include
- Behavioral therapy: This focuses on reducing problem behaviors. Children are taught how to behave in social situations and communicate better with others. It also involves counseling the parents and teaching them ways to reach out to their child.
- Educational therapies: Children with autism spectrum disorder respond well to highly structured educational programs. Successful programs consist of various activities to improve social skills, communication and behavior. Speech therapy to improve communication skills, occupational therapy to teach activities of daily living and physical therapy to improve movement and balance may be beneficial.
- Medications: Specific medications can help control symptoms such as hyperactivity, extreme anxiety and severe behavioral issues. Some kids may also have medical issues, such as epilepsy, poor sleep and constipation that need medical management.
Autism Love And Marriage: Can A Person With Autism Be In A Relationship
Believe it or not but one of the most Googled autism-related questions is can someone with autism get married?. To some, this may seem strange and even outdated. However, it has created an interesting discussion which todays article will be centred on: Not can someone with autism get married? but why do people question whether someone with autism can get married?.
First things first though. If you are here looking for the answer to Can someone with autism get married?, then let me quickly say YES. People with autism can not only marry, but there are many autistic people who already are married. Like every relationship there are bound to be ups and downs and, just like people who are not autistic, some on the spectrum may have difficulty finding their true love. However, speaking from both an ethical and legal standpoint, then yes, people with autism can get married.
But with that out of the way lets get onto todays more interesting topics. In particular, why do people think autists cant get married? And what does being autistic actually affect when in a relationship?
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Autism Lifespan And Life Expectancy
Autism spectrum disorder is often thought of as a childhood condition, with public attention focused primarily on children and the importance of early detection and intervention. However, autism is a lifelong condition, and the available, necessary supports and treatments change as people on the spectrum move through major life phases.
Autism itself doesnt impact life expectancy. Lifestyle does. And the great thing about autism is that once you get into a healthy lifestyle, you are inclined to stay in it. It really depends on peoples lifestyles and how severe the persons autism is.
Like everyone else, people on the autism spectrum move through significant life changes. Their quality of life depends not only on the foundation provided in childhood but also on ongoing supports that are specific to their educational, medical, social, recreational, family and employment needs.
Low life expectancy is not only a problem faced by people with severe cases of autism, where completing everyday tasks is difficult, but also for those who have a high-functioning form of the condition, and who can live and work autonomously despite their diagnosis.
When you have high-functioning autism, you are acutely aware of the shortcomings in your life compared to other people you know who dont have autism. These challenges often give rise to anxiety and other mental health difficulties.
The Life Expectancy Of People With Autism
A Swedish study on 27,122 autistic peoplefound that they tend to die about 16 years earlier than the general population. The study also found that autistic people with learning disabilities had a worse life expectancy and died about 30 years earlier than people without autism.
The sad reality is that people with autism are nearly three times more likely to die than their counterparts without autism. These tragic figures highlight the unfavorable outcomes for autistic people in our communities and call for special attention to improve autistic health care services.
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Teaching Life Skills At Home
You can try several strategies to teach life skills at home by following a general three-step approach: