Preparing For Your Dental Visit
Preparing children with autism for their trip to the dentist well in advance can be very helpful in easing anxiety and having a calm and successful visit. Many offices will allow you to schedule a tour in the weeks or days ahead of your actual appointment so your child will feel more comfortable in that setting. Be sure to discuss your childs individual needs, concerns, or challenges with the dentist or staff before the appointment.
A visual schedule, or social story, may be very helpful in preparing children for their visit to the dentist. As with the sensory avoidance routine, it will help to practice each step until your child understands and feels comfortable with each part of the process before moving on.
You may find it helps to break the process into smaller, repeatable steps. For instance, you and your child may make the trip to the dentist, meet the front-desk staff, and sit in the chair without receiving treatment, then go home with a prize. This gradual approach may be helpful in alleviating anxiety and promoting familiarity.
Treating Autism With Medication
If behavioral and educational interventions arent sufficient, medication may help an individual with autism to better manage his symptoms. Three main classes of medication are used with ASD patients: stimulants, antidepressant and anxiety medications, and atypical antipsychotics.
Stimulants are the most common class of medications used to treat ADHD. ADHD and ASD commonly co-occur, and its important to get ADHD symptoms under control when treating a child with both conditions. Children with ASD can be more sensitive to side effects, and should be monitored carefully when prescribed stimulants. A pediatrician may refer a child with ASD to a psychiatrist or a psycho-pharmacologist as the dose is increased.
Antidepressant and anxiety medications can help people with ASD deal with the common challenges of persistent anxiety and obsessive behaviors. Symptoms like running away from new situations, compulsive checking or washing, or anxiety from strict black-and-white thinking can present big obstacles in day-to-day life. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors such as sertraline or fluoxetine can sometimes help with mood, anxiety, obsessive thoughts, and compulsive behaviors1. They are used off-label.
1National Institute of Mental Health. Medications for Autism. PsychCentral. . Web.
Fecal Transplant May Improve Autism Symptoms For At Least 2 Years Study Shows
About half a million people on the autism spectrum will become adults during the next 10 years, but the country lacks the resources to assist or care for them, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Effective treatments for ASD include behavioral therapy, speech and social therapy, psychiatric medications, and dietary and nutritional approaches. However, no medical treatments have been approved to treat ASDs core symptoms, such as social communication difficulties and repetitive behaviors.
However, the gut microbiomethe collection of microbes in our intestines that affects digestion, the immune system and perhaps even brain communication and neurological healthshows promise as a treatment with long-term benefits.
Research from Arizona State University, Long-term benefit of Microbiota Transfer Therapy in Autism Symptoms and Gut Microbiota, found that a special type of fecal transplant, microbiota transfer therapy , offers long-lasting improvements in gut health and autism symptoms. The study was recently published in Science Direct, an online, open-access journal published by the same people behind the journal Nature.
Roughly 30%-50% of all people with autism have chronic gastrointestinal problems, primarily constipation and/or diarrhea that can last for many years. That chronic discomfort and pain can cause irritability and negatively affect attention spans, learning capabilities and behavior.
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What Social Skills Does A Child With Autism Need
Children with autism need the same level of social skills as their neurotypical peers. Social skills are important for a child to develop confidence, form friendships, and get along with people around him/her. Author and autism advocate Temple Grandin, who was diagnosed with autism as a toddler, strongly believes children should be taught social skills to help them become more independent.
In an Autism Parenting Magazine interview, Grandin explains that too much alone time for a child on the spectrum is not advisable. I had a tendency to become a recluse in my room and that wasnt allowed. If I wanted to play outside for hours experimenting on my kite designs then that was fine. I was not allowed to stay in my room, she said.
According to Grandin, social skills are not just important for building relationships, but to develop life skills that kids need as adults. They need to know how to show up on time, learn discipline and responsibility, she said.
On a social level, a child with autism should learn to:
- Play with others
- Talk to others
- Manage emotions
- Solve problems
Once these basic skills are identified, its easier to come up with a plan to improve a childs social skills.
Treating Gastrointestinal Problems In Autism
It is common to find gastrointestinal problems in people with autism spectrum disorder. Treatment involves diagnosing and treating the underlying issue which is causing the gastrointestinal distress.
Exclusion diets, such as not eating gluten or casein, should not be used unless the person has a specific gastrointestinal problem, and dietary changes are recommended by a doctor. A large study found that, on the whole, children with autism that are given vitamin supplements do not need these supplements and may develop too-high levels of vitamins such as vitamin A and folate.
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What Kind Of Music Is Best For Autism
In the case of a child with autism who is becoming anxious or agitated, our Mendability therapy coaches recommend playing classical music in the room. In addition to the change in brain chemistry occurring in the brain when the music is played, the child will feel calmer and happier, and so will the entire family as a result.
Helping Your Child With Autism Thrive Tip : Provide Structure And Safety
Learning all you can about autism and getting involved in treatment will go a long way toward helping your child. Additionally, the following tips will make daily home life easier for both you and your child with ASD:
Be consistent. Children with ASD have a hard time applying what theyve learned in one setting to others, including the home. For example, your child may use sign language at school to communicate, but never think to do so at home. Creating consistency in your childs environment is the best way to reinforce learning. Find out what your childs therapists are doing and continue their techniques at home. Explore the possibility of having therapy take place in more than one place in order to encourage your child to transfer what he or she has learned from one environment to another. Its also important to be consistent in the way you interact with your child and deal with challenging behaviors.
Stick to a schedule. Children with ASD tend to do best when they have a highly-structured schedule or routine. Again, this goes back to the consistency they both need and crave. Set up a schedule for your child, with regular times for meals, therapy, school, and bedtime. Try to keep disruptions to this routine to a minimum. If there is an unavoidable schedule change, prepare your child for it in advance.
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Fecal Microbiota Transplantation Improves Gi Symptoms And Asd Symptoms
During the follow-up phase, we found that children after FMT showed obvious improvement on symptoms like abdominal pain, constipation, or diarrhea, some children relived a lot from reflux as well. The overall GI symptoms of participants after treatment were measured using the GSRS. The average GSRS scores of ASD children decreased 35% after 4 weeks of FMT treatment and last for the next 8 weeks , indicating that symptoms including abdominal pain, reflux, indigestion, diarrhea, and constipation were significantly improved after FMT. The Bristol Stool Form Scale and Daily Stool Record were used to evaluate changes in stool properties. The occurrence of no stool, hard stool , and soft/liquid stool was significantly decreased at the end of treatment compared to baseline, and this improvement persisted 8 weeks after FMT .
Table 2 The percent of stool style of ASD is based on the daily stool record and the Bristol Stool Form Scale .
Moreover, FMT was generally safe and only induced minimal adverse effects, including hyperactivity and aggression. Nausea/vomiting, major changes in blood chemistry, or long-term adverse effects were observed during follow-up , suggesting that FMT was well tolerated. Thus, our data implied that FMT could improve GI symptoms and ASD symptoms without eliciting any severe complications and that the beneficial effects were gradually lost within a few weeks of the end of therapy, suggesting that extended treatment with FMT is needed.
Social Communication And Interaction Skills
Social communication and interaction skills can be challenging for people with ASD.
Examples of social communication and social interaction characteristics related to ASD can include:
- Avoids or does not keep eye contact
- Does not respond to name by 9 months of age
- Does not show facial expressions like happy, sad, angry, and surprised by 9 months of age
- Does not play simple interactive games like pat-a-cake by 12 months of age
- Uses few or no gestures by 12 months of age
- Does not share interests with others
- Does not point or look at what you point to by 18 months of age
- Does not notice when others are hurt or sad by 24 months of age
- Does not pretend in play
- Shows little interest in peers
- Has trouble understanding other peoples feelings or talking about own feelings at 36 months of age or older
- Does not play games with turn taking by 60 months of age
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How Can I Help My Child Sit Still In Class
1. Understand the time your child should be able to attend to a seated task.
1 year: 1 minute
5years and up: 15 minutes
2. Give your child plenty of sensory/movement breaks throughout the day.
In todays world, children are not given the breaks they need to function to their fullest potential. Allowing children to move around throughout the day will give them opportunities to let their energy out and ideally focus better when they are sitting. Running, climbing, jumping, and participating at recess is one of the best sensory motor activities a child can do at school. However, if the child needs more breaks or more structured activities during the day provide the following:
3. Provide proprioceptive input/heavy work through the school day.
Proprioceptive input activities involve heavy resistance and input to the muscles and joints. Engaging in these activities may help regulate a childs arousal level, concentration, and ability to sit still/attend to a task.
· Wall/chair push ups
· Animal walks like crab walks
· Jumping up and down
· Complete activities in prone/on belly
· Chew on tougher consistencies, chew tubes, or hard candy
· Drink water through a straw
· Play oral motor games with straws during breaks
· Eat crunchy foods at meal times
· Apply a weighted blanket
· Wear tighter clothing
· Pushing/pulling heavy objects
7. Reflex Integration Testing
Gut Microbiota Changes After Fmt
We first evaluated alpha diversity and found that there were no significant differences in alpha diversity between TD and ASD groups at baseline . To examine the differences in the microbiota between the two groups, we calculated beta diversity and found significant differences in beta diversity between the two groups . At both the phylum and genus levels, the microbiota composition of patients with ASD differed from that of the TD controls . To further identify the bacterial taxa with differential abundance between the ASD group and TD controls at baseline, we performed LEfSe analysis and identified eight genera with significant difference, we found that the abundance of gut microbiota in ASD children differs from TD controls, children in ASD group had a relative higher abundance of Christensenellaceae, Akkermansiaceae in family level, and Christensenellaceae R 7 group, Akkermansia, Coprococcus 2, Eisenbergiella, and Tyzzerella 3 in genus level, while TD cohorts had a higher abundance of Peptostreptococcaceae in family level, and Romboutsia, Fusicatenibacter, Eubacterium eligens group in genus level .
Model & Practice Desired Behaviors
All children learn behaviors by watching. They often see a behavior and mimic it. Parents can teach children how to behave in social situations by showing them how.
With autistic children, parents will typically need to take this a step further. Autistic children often do not understand what they are witnessing, so they need help interpreting the behavior. If parents break down the social interaction and explain it to them, autistic children can get a better grasp on learning these skills.
Roleplaying can be a great way to help autistic children practice social skills and interactions. Parents can design a situation and then walk through it with the child ahead of time to help them understand what to expect and how to socialize appropriately.
Roleplaying can also offer your child the chance to experiment and learn in a low-risk situation. You are right there to offer suggestions and corrections as needed without the stress of a public environment.
When roleplaying, take turns. If you are roleplaying a particular peer-to-peer interaction, it can be beneficial for the autistic child to play the role of their peer. This can help them gain a better understanding of others and the interaction in general. You will need to talk them through how their peer may be feeling in this situation.
Examples of simple games that can help with social skills include:
- Passing a ball back and forth.
- Simon Says.
- Simple card and board games.
- Hide and seek.
What To Do Next
- Attend one or more parent support groups, or join a parent email listserve: Parents can be a wonderful source of support and information.
- If you dont already have one, get a proper diagnosis you will need it to secure appropriate services. Some practitioners will give you a softer diagnosis in order to spare your feelingsthis is not actually a kindness, because it will impede your ability to get the services your child needs and is entitled to.
- Contact your states Developmental Disabilities program and apply for services. Be persistent.
- Contact your local school district and ask about school programs. See what they have to offer.
- Find a local physician who offers an integrated medical approach to autism. Some physicians will be open to medical and nutritional testing and medical and nutritional treatments, but others will not find one who is willing to help your child, as opposed to just monitoring the severity of your childs problems. Do not take your child to a physician who does not support you or respect your viewpoint.
- Attend the Autism Research Institutes free online webinars and continuing education events.
- Make sure you still find some time for your other children and spouse/significant other. Having a child with autism can result in many challenges, and you need to be prepared for the long term.
- Continue trying to learn all you can. Good luck!
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Do People With Autism Listen To Music
Music is a preferred medium for children with ASD to engage in activities, and it can be a great way to engage in their social interaction. Music fulfills this need for structure and routine, and children with ASD seem to enjoy musical experiences because they are often good at it. First of all, children with ASD seem to thrive within structure and music fulfills this need for structure and routine.
Supplements To Help Improve Autism Symptoms
In addition to vitamin D3, here are ten supplements that are known to improve the symptoms associated with autism:
- Calcium A must for those on a dairy-free diet. Taking an additional supplement is necessary since multivitamins typically dont contain enough calcium.
- CoQ10 This heart-healthy supplement helps to convert food into energy and is also a powerful antioxidant that fights free radicals.
- DMG/TMG Helps with methylation by improving speech production and behavior patterns.
- Folate An essential vitamin that plays a vital role in DNA synthesis and repair by encouraging cell and tissue growth.
- L-carnitine Plays a crucial role in the production of energy in cells and increases mental focus.
- Magnesium Is used as a sleep aid and can also relieve anxiety.
- Omega-3 fatty acids Essential for brain development, omega-3s can also help to reduce depression.
- Probiotics These microorganisms are a benefit to the immune system and gut function.
- Vitamin B6 As one of the B complex vitamins, B6 is a metabolic aid that maintains healthy nerve function.
- Vitamin E Boosts the immune system and helps to detoxify the body.
- Zinc Supports a healthy appetite and strengthens the immune system.
Autism is a multi-faceted and misunderstood condition. Amen Clinics can help decipher the right treatments and protocols. If you would like to learn more, please visit us online or call 1-888-288-9834.
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Tuberous Sclerosis Complex And Autism
Tuberous sclerosis complex is a rare genetic disorder that causes benign tumors to form in various organs, particularly the brain. Tumors in the brain can lead to seizures, developmental delays and learning difficulties. One study found that approximately 1 percent of children with autism also have tuberous sclerosis complex.
Vitamin D Deficiency And Autism
Gestational and early childhood vitamin D deficiency is linked to autism . Vitamin D is a neurosteroid that is active in brain development. The ideal range for vitamin D3 levels is between 50-80 ng/ml. Vitamin D3 is created in your skin in response to sun exposure.
There are numerous dietary sources of vitamin D such as wild-caught salmon and fatty fish, cod liver oil, grass-fed butter and raw cheese, egg yolks, mushrooms, and beef liver. Supplementing with vitamin D may improve the core symptoms of autism. In fact, studies show that about 75% of autistic children had improvements in symptoms with high doses of vitamin D.
Another study showed that vitamin D supplementation during pregnancy of 5,000 IUs a day and during infancy and childhood of 1,000 ius a day reduced the incidence of autism from 20% to 5% for mothers who already had one autistic child.
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