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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.
What Can Be Done To Improve Poor Health And High Death Rates In Autism
Recognising the physical problems in individuals with autism can be challenging. The paper explains the main reasons why and how to overcome them.
One of the barriers to effective identification of physical issues in autism is that their expression can be atypical. Individuals with autism often respond to pain and discomfort with what the others see as odd or challenging behavioursfor example aggression or self-injurious behaviour in individuals with autism can be the primary symptom of a hidden physical condition.
However, the largest roadblock to better recognition and treatment of health problems in autism, as identified by the authors of this paper, is the framework within which most healthcare professional operate, and how they view their patients with autism.
In many cases a healthcare professional will erroneously believe that autism is solely a behavioural dysfunction. He or she will not be familiar or not even aware of the mountain of scientific data on the intrinsic connection between autism and physical health.
Symptoms such as grimacing, appetite disturbances, insomnia and strange postures are not core features of ASD. A considerable volume of scientific evidence points to the possibility of an underlying physical cause to such behaviours. To avert diagnostic overshadowing, screening for physical conditions should be initiated when such behaviours are observed.
Recent Autism Science & Research News
Signs Of Autism In Older Children And Teens
Although autism spectrum disorder can reliably be diagnosed from the age of two or three years old, many children do not receive a diagnosis until they are older. Milder symptoms in children with autism spectrum disorder who are higher functioning may not be recognized until they are in school.
Autism is a spectrum condition, which means that children will have different experiences of day-to-day living. Children who are more than five years old and on into their teenage years, who have mild symptoms and are towards the higher functioning range of the autism spectrum, may:
- Develop a narrow range of interests or obsessions with certain topics
- Engage in repetitive behavior such as hand flapping, twirling or snapping a rubber band
- Not make eye contact
- Use formal language rather than the slang of their peers
- Place great importance on routines and rules
- Develop strong preferences for certain foods, clothes or objects
Children who have more severe symptoms and are towards the lower functioning range of the autism spectrum may:
- Not use speech at all
- Become extremely distressed at changes to routine
- Exhibit challenging behavior, such as being aggressive or banging head on wall
- Need assistance with everyday living, such as bathing and dressing
- Engage in repetitive behaviors, such as rocking
- Insist on rules and routine
- Develop rigid preferences for certain foods, clothes or objects
- Need specialized diets
Also Check: Self Diagnosis Autism
How Long Do The Effects Of Tms Treatment Last
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation is a promising therapy to alleviate symptoms of several mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety. If you or a loved one are planning to undergo TMS treatment its normal to have questions.
How many TMS treatment sessions are needed? How long until the TMS treatment starts working? How long do the effects of TMS treatment last?
These are all reasonable questions and its good to remain informed. The more educated and prepared you are for TMS treatment, the better the experience may be.
Keep reading for answers to your questions about TMS treatment.
Signs Of Asperger Syndrome
People with Asperger syndrome are generally considered to be on the higher functioning end of the autism spectrum. It is still a form of autism and is a lifelong condition.
Signs and symptoms that are typical of people with Asperger syndrome include:
- Very narrow and highly focused interests
- Great importance on rules and routines
- High standard of language skills, potentially very formal in expression
- Monotonous or repetitive speech
- Making the same noise repeatedly
These behaviors provide the person with a form of sensory input that the person finds appealing or helpful. There are various reasons why someone could be engaging in self-stimulatory behavior:
- They find it enjoyable
- It provides something to focus on, thereby reducing the effects of other, nearby stimuli
- It is soothing and helps with anxiety
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Who Resolution On Autism Spectrum Disorders
In May 2014, the Sixty-seventh World Health Assembly adopted a resolution entitled “Comprehensive and coordinated efforts for the management of autism spectrum disorders ,” which was supported by more than 60 countries.
The resolution urges WHO to collaborate with Member States and partner agencies to strengthen national capacities to address ASD and other developmental disabilities.
Level : Requiring Support
A person who meets the criteria for level 1 may face social challenges that require some support.
They may find it difficult to:
- initiate conversations with others
- respond as others would expect
- maintain interest in the conversation
As a result, it can be hard to make friends, especially without the right support.
The person may also:
Also Check: Can Mild Autism Be Outgrown
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People With Autism Cannot Get Full
For people with an ASD, professional success often depends on finding a position where they can best leverage their strengths. Many people with autism are making significant contributions in a variety of fields including science, engineering, technology and the arts. Check out our post on great career paths for teens with autism for examples of prominent people with an ASD and occupations that may be a great fit for individuals on the spectrum.If you are the parent or guardian of someone with autism, resources are available to help them achieve their full potential. Lexington Services offers a variety of educational, behavioral and social support services for people with autism and their families. to learn more about our services, or contact us to schedule a tour.
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The Flower Pot Rocket For Stage Two Attention Autism
You need two small plastic flower pots, parcel tape and mouldable foam soap
In advance tape over the holes on one of the flower pots with parcel tape.
When you are ready to do the activity cover the taped pot with foam. Then place the other pot over it quickly so the foam spurts out the top like a rocket.
For more stage two ideas I have a great post on 17 different attention builders.
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.
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Signs Of Autism In Girls
The ratio of boys to girls diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder is 4:1. However, there is some evidence that autism is going undiagnosed in girls, particularly those who are at the higher functioning end of the spectrum.
There is discussion around whether girls and women with autism may display different symptoms to boys and men, and that the current diagnostic criteria may be biased towards boys and stereotypical male behavior. Girls and women may also be better able to mask difficulties with social interactions than boys, and this may delay a diagnosis. New diagnostic criteria may be needed to assess ASD in girls and women. Past theories, including controversies such as the extreme male brain, may have led to under-referral and under-diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder in girls and women.
Signs that a girl may have autism include:
- Difficulties with social interactions however, differences from typical autism symptoms may include:
- Better grasp of emotions and ability to make friends than boys
- May mask lack of intuitive understanding of social situations by repeating role-plays seen in real life or film/television
- May be able to make friends but find difficulty keeping them
Restricted Or Repetitive Behaviors Or Interests
People with ASD have behaviors or interests that can seem unusual. These behaviors or interests set ASD apart from conditions defined by only problems with social communication and interaction.
Examples of restricted or repetitive interests and behaviors related to ASD can include:
- Lines up toys or other objects and gets upset when order is changed
- Repeats words or phrases over and over
- Plays with toys the same way every time
- Is focused on parts of objects
- Gets upset by minor changes
- Has obsessive interests
- Flaps hands, rocks body, or spins self in circles
- Has unusual reactions to the way things sound, smell, taste, look, or feel
Also Check: Autism Cognitive Deficits
Common Signs Of Autism
Some of the more common signs that may indicate a person has autism include:
- Avoiding eye contact
- Delayed speech and communication skills
- Reliance on rules and routines
- Being upset by relatively minor changes
- Unexpected reactions to sounds, tastes, sights, touch and smells
- Difficulty understanding other peopleÃ¢â¬â¢s emotions
- Focusing on or becoming obsessed by a narrow range of interests or objects
- Engaging in repetitive behavior such as flapping hands or rocking
- Children not responding to their name by 12 months
- Children not pointing at distant objects by 14 months
Worried you or someone you know might have some of the signs of autism? The Ada app can help you check symptoms. or find out more about how it works.
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Attention Autism Stage 3 The Interactive Game
This is where the child is to take a turn. It can be a turn of the activity they have just seen in stage two. As the childs skills develop you can increase the length of the activity and complexity of the steps. A simply way to increase the flower pot rocket is to use a spray bottle filled with food colouring. You add in a step where this is sprayed onto the foam. It is important that the child learns to take their turn when asked. Also to see other children taking their turns.
What Are The Support Options
Support for autism focuses on therapies and behavioral interventions that help a person overcome the most difficult symptoms and developmental delays.
Nonspeaking children will likely require daily assistance as they learn to engage with others. Therapies for nonspeaking children will focus on helping them develop language and communication skills. Where possible, healthcare professionals may also try to build speech skills.
Support for nonspeaking autism may include:
- Educational interventions. Autistic children often respond well to highly structured and intensive sessions that teach skill-oriented behaviors. These programs help children learn social skills and language skills while also working on education and development.
- Medication. Theres no medication specifically for autism, but certain medications may be helpful for some related conditions and symptoms. This includes anxiety,depression, and obsessive compulsive personality disorder. Likewise, antipsychotic medications may help with severe behavioral problems, and ADHD medications may help reduce impulsive behaviors and hyperactivity.
- Family counseling. Parents and siblings of an autistic child can benefit from one-on-one therapy. These sessions can help you learn to cope with the challenges of nonspeaking autism.
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What Does A Certified Autism Specialist Do
An autism specialist is someone who works with children who are diagnosed with ASD, which can include a range of behaviors and challenges. Not all children who have been diagnosed on the spectrum behave the same way or struggle with the same issues. Some children with ASD may have extreme sensory processing issues, such as reacting negatively to loud noises or unpleasant smells. Others may have difficulty with social interactions, such as being able to process anothers emotions or using appropriate manners. Children with ASD can have mild or severe neurological challenges.
Autism specialists who get an advanced autism certification learn the specific skills necessary to work with these children and help them meet their goals. They can provide therapy or assistance in a classroom, private counseling, or even at home. For example, Dr. David Rago, the academic program director of the Graduate Certificate in Autism program at National University, said that an autism specialist could help those on the autism spectrum learn social skills through modeling.
It could be learning about visual modeling or peer training, so if theres a specific behavior or social interaction that the student needs to learn, like how to take turns, they could use visual modeling. It could also be in person, in real time, what it looks like to take turns, he says.
What Is The Outlook For People With Autism Spectrum Disorder
In many cases, the symptoms of ASD become less pronounced as a child gets older. Parents of children with ASD may need to be flexible and ready to adjust treatment as needed for their child.
People with ASD may go on to live typical lives, but there is often need for continued services and support as they age. The needs depend on the severity of the symptoms. For most, it’s a lifelong condition that may require ongoing supports.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Through research, there has been much that has been learned about autism spectrum disorder over the past 20 years. There is ongoing active research on the causes of ASD, early detection and diagnosis, prevention and treatments.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 12/29/2020.
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How To Use Attention Autism To Improve Communication
If you want to improve a childs communication the first place to start is with attention. Im not going to lie the first time I heard this I was really irritated. We had waited a long time for our appointment with the complex needs speech and language team. I was pretty disappointed to hear that they wanted to work on attention not speech with my 2 year old. At the time I couldnt see the bigger picture, all I wanted was for my child to speak. However its impossible to teach communication to a child that doesnt pay attention. So attention does need to be the starting point.
How Common Is Autism Spectrum Disorder
Based on most recent CDC report, ASD is estimated to affect about 1 in 54 children, with boys being more likely to have ASD than girls. There were more than 5 million adults in the US, or 2.21% of the population, with ASD as of 2017. Government statistics suggest that the prevalence of ASD has risen 10% to 17% in recent years.
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