Reducing Exposure To Toxins
The scientific community has discovered evidence that environmental factors often play a role in developing autism. One Harvard study found that children born to mothers exposed to high pollution levels had twice the risk of ASD. Pregnant women can limit airborne toxins by wearing masks, filling their gas tank after dark, and staying indoors when air quality is low. Its best to avoid areas with high traffic, especially when exercising. For the duration of pregnancy, women should eliminate alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine. Switching to green personal care products is wise to lessen exposure to potentially harmful chemicals. Some doctors also suggest avoiding canned foods, plastic water bottles, and excessive cell phone use.
Autism Employment Choices Should Be Self
Some autistic adults know exactly what kind of work they want. Others are flexible, and others have no idea. But just like everyone else, adults with autism have both the responsibility and the right to direct their own lives. Even if a person has limited verbal skills, it’s important to know that the work they are doing suits their interests, abilities, and sense of purpose.
To help determine an individual’s best career choices, school counselors and agency personnel can use tools such as vocational and aptitude tests. A student’s vision is then made part of the transition plan which, in turn, makes it easier to plan for training, internships, and vocational opportunities.
Increase: The Body Isnt At A Healthy Number
Most women do not like discussing their weight, and while pregnant most women gain at least twelve pounds. Researchers claim that going into pregnancy at an unhealthy weight as well as gaining too much weight during pregnancy can both be linked to autism. In fact, for every five pounds of extra baby weight a mama gains she increases her kiddos chance of autism by one percent. This is a very easily avoidable issue. Before trying to conceive it is always a promising idea to meet with the doc to see if your body is healthy enough for pregnancy. Starting a good eating and exercise regimen can set yourself up for an excellent lifestyle during pregnancy. Losing as much weight as recommended before pregnancy is a sure-fire way to avoid your baby becoming autistic. While pregnant, gaining weight slowly and at the recommended amount is also a good idea.
Also Check: Do Autistic Adults Go To College
You May Like: What Type Of Mutation Causes Autism
Tip : Find Help And Support
Caring for a child with ASD can demand a lot of energy and time. There may be days when you feel overwhelmed, stressed, or discouraged. Parenting isnt ever easy, and raising a child with special needs is even more challenging. In order to be the best parent you can be, its essential that you take care of yourself.
Dont try to do everything on your own. You dont have to! There are many places that families of children with ASD can turn to for advice, a helping hand, advocacy, and support:
ADS support groups Joining an ASD support group is a great way to meet other families dealing with the same challenges you are. Parents can share information, get advice, and lean on each other for emotional support. Just being around others in the same boat and sharing their experience can go a long way toward reducing the isolation many parents feel after receiving a childs diagnosis.
Respite care Every parent needs a break now and again. And for parents coping with the added stress of ASD, this is especially true. In respite care, another caregiver takes over temporarily, giving you a break for a few hours, days, or even weeks.
Why These Behaviours Happen
Many autistic children have difficulties with communication, which can affect their behaviour.
Some things that can cause these behaviours include:
- being oversensitive to things like bright lights or loud noises
- being undersensitive to things like touch or pain
- anxiety, especially when routines suddenly change
- not being able to make sense of what’s going on around them
- being unwell or in pain
These behaviours are not your or your child’s fault.
Also Check: How To Make A Visual Schedule For Autism
How To Deal With A Meltdown
As no two kids with ASD are the same, there is no one-size-fits-all strategy on how to handle meltdowns. Not all meltdown strategies are guaranteed to work on every child on the spectrum. However, there are some general techniques that can be customized to your childs behavior and personality.
The best way to prevent your child from having a meltdown is to predict and avoid triggers. This can be avoiding crowds, establishing a set routine, and planning ahead.
However, when a meltdown is already happening, you can try the following approach:
- Leave the room or location to help your child calm down
- Use calming devices like a fidget toy, noise-canceling headphones, or a weighted vest
- Choose a good time when your child is receptive to learning and teach breathing exercises, meditation, and counting from one to ten
- Prevent injuries to your child or others during a meltdown by being in a safe place
- Keep yourself calm as your child can feel your frustration and worsen the meltdown
- Keep your face and voice neutral and be at arms length in case the child reaches out
- Children who are in a meltdown cant be reasoned with so dont rely on logic
Autism Therapy Aimed At Infants May Reduce Likelihood Of Later Diagnosis
Study suggests tailored therapy could help some children develop social skills before school age
Doctors have shown for the first time that a new therapy aimed at infants can reduce autistic behaviour and the likelihood the children will go on to be diagnosed with autism before they reach school age.
Infants who received the therapy after displaying early signs of potential autism, such as avoiding eye contact and not responding to their name, were one-third as likely to have autism diagnosed at the age of three, compared with those who had standard care, the researchers found.
The findings suggest intervening in the first year of life, when autism may be suspected but far from certain, can boost social development in autistic children, with long-term beneficial knock-on effects for their broader lives.
This is the first worldwide evidence that a pre-emptive intervention can reduce autism behaviours and the likelihood of a later diagnosis, said Prof Jonathan Green at the University of Manchester.
We think this is a landmark finding because it suggests intervention at this early time can have this substantial effect. It may well change the way services provide support to a large number of children worldwide.
The clinical impact that could be immediate is really gobsmacking, said Whitehouse. To date, no therapy has shown such positive effects on development that it has influenced childs diagnostic outcomes.
Also Check: Signs Of Low Functioning Autism
Increase: The Diet Stinks
Everyone has an opinion on what others eat. Prepackaged food is loaded with unnatural colors, arsenics and chemicals that are not really meant for consumption. There is a lot of chatter about how a child is fed and behavioral problems. There is talk that certain eating habits and chemicals can increase the risk for autism in kids. For pregnant women, the same risk is there. Prepackaged foods can put a womans unborn kiddo at a risk for autism. Of course, we all know the best foods to eat are natural foods and fresh fruits and vegetables. Going with organic is not a bad idea because they are not sprayed with the yucky chemicals that non-organic foods are. It can be hard to know what foods increase the risk of autism, so the best bet is to do thorough research and have the family eat as healthy as possible.
Is There A Link Between Gestational Diabetes And Autism
An April 2015 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that mothers-to-be who are diagnosed with gestational diabetes by their 26th week of pregnancy are 63 percent more likely to have a child with autism. That means for every 1,000 women with gestational diabetes, seven of them may have a child with autism. Researchers speculate that in utero exposure to high blood sugar may affect a baby’s brain development and heighten the risk for developmental disorders.
Earlier studies also have shown a possible connection between high blood sugar during pregnancy and autism risk. The key factor may be how high blood sugar levels get. Interestingly, the JAMA study found that babies born to mothers who had type 2 diabetes before getting pregnant didn’t have a higher risk of autism, perhaps because the women were taking medication to control their blood sugar levels.
Gestational diabetes poses a number of problems for infants, including preterm labor, large birth-weight and an increased risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes later in life. Moms-to-be have a higher risk of developing high blood pressure, preeclampsia and type 2 diabetes, as well. “All expectant women should strive to keep their blood sugar under control, regardless of these study findings,” says Dr. Wilms Floet.
RELATED: We Cured Our Son’s Autism
Recommended Reading: Is Level 2 Autism High Functioning
Could Earlier Treatment Have Prevented My Childs Autism
This weeks Got Questions? answer comes from psychologist Sally J. Rogers, Ph.D., whose research at the University of California-Davis focuses on early intervention for autism spectrum disorder
I have a question as a mother grappling with guilt. I read about an Autism Speaks study on the development of early interventions for babies who dont yet have the full syndrome. Does this mean that, had my son received earlier intervention, today he would not have autism?
This is such an important question and one that more and more parents are asking as we develop earlier interventions with proven benefits.
We know that good early intervention with toddlers and preschoolers has powerful effects and improves function as well as long-term outcomes. Based on our understanding of early intervention with toddlers, we have reason to hope that interventions with babies may offer additional benefits.
However, at the present time we have no evidence that the interventions we are trying in infants have beneficial effects, let alone whether they might prevent autism in some children.
We must continue to follow these infants as they mature. We must also apply great scientific rigor to evaluating the extent of any benefit. The entire early childhood period is a time of massive brain development and maturation. However, new learning continues to stimulate brain development throughout life, even for adults.
Can An Epidural Increase Autism Risk
A 2014 French study conducted on mice and published in the journal Science suggests that the use of spinal anesthesia during labor results in higher concentrations of chloride or salt in the brains of newborn mice. The authors hypothesize that this may increase the risk of autism in humans.
High chloride levels are essential to a baby’s brain development while in utero. During labor and delivery, a baby is exposed to oxytocin, the hormone that brings on contractions. Oxytocin acts as a diuretic and naturally lowers an infant’s chloride levels. Researchers believe epidurals may interfere with the release of oxytocin causing chloride levels to remain high after birth.
The study seems to support earlier findings from a 2012 clinical trial of 60 children with autism who saw some improvements in their behaviors after taking a diuretic that lowered their chloride levels. However, the Science study on epidurals and chloride was conducted solely on mice. While animal studies are important, the findings don’t always translate to people.
“For one thing, animals don’t have symptoms of autism in the same way that people do,” says Susan Hyman, M.D., division chief of neurodevelopmental and behavioral pediatrics at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York and chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Council of Children with Disabilities Autism Subcommittee.
RELATED: The ABCs of Asperger’s Syndrome
Read Also: Slightly Autistic
You Can And Should Tap Into Informational And Advocacy Resources
There are a number of organizations that make it their business to inform people who ask about services. The challenge, of course, is to ask the right questions of the right people at the right time. Depending on where you’re located, you can read publications, speak to advisors, attend conferences, or tap into webinars presented by such organizations as:
Armed with the information about what’s available, you can start to put your ducks in a row so you’re ready for the transition when they turn 22.
Break Large Tasks Into Small Chunks
Some people with autism struggle to perform tasks because they have a hard time planning the order and deciding what to do first. If you cant figure out what part to do first, the task may seem insurmountable, leading to frustration and a great potential for meltdowns. You can minimize the risk of meltdowns in this situation by teaching your child how to break down big tasks into small component parts.
Practice with easy or familiar projects and work with your child to determine what steps are involved in the process and what should come first. Making a sandwich, for example, starts with getting out the right ingredients, and figuring out what comes next gets easier after accomplishing that step.
Recommended Reading: What Is The Life Expectancy Of People With Autism
Communication And Interaction Tips For Asd
There are no hard-and-fast rules on how to communicate with a child with ASD. But many family members have had success with these tips:
It can be challenging to interact with a child or grandchild with ASD. But it is one of the most important things you can do to help that child learn. Research shows that early, frequent, and loving involvement of family members is one of the best ways to help children with ASD.
Im Pregnant What Can I Do To Avoid Environmental Risks
As researchers discover more environmental risk factors for autism, our community justifiably wonders if any are preventable. First its important to note that when scientists speak of environmental risk factors, theyre talking about more than exposures to toxic chemicals. By environmental, were referring to pretty much any influence beyond inherited genes. Preterm birth with low birth weight, for example, is an environmental risk factor for autism spectrum disorder . Unfortunately, low birth weight often results from unavoidable exposures.
Less clear is the association between autism risk and a mothers exposure to heavy metals and other potentially toxic chemicals during or even before pregnancy. There is reason to be concerned about high levels of exposure to toxic chemicals in our environment. For this reason, Autism Speaks continues to support research to better understand the effects of chemical exposures during pregnancy.
We have preliminary evidence that pesticides may increase risk of autism. But we cannot, at this time, say that avoiding exposure of pesticides or any particular chemical will reduce autism risk in a child or future child.
We want to emphasize that, we cannot say whether reducing exposure to these chemicals will lower the risk of autism in a future child. However, we do know that avoiding exposure to these particular chemicals may improve the overall outcome of the child throughout the entire life.
Read Also: Does Stephen Hawking Have Autism
There Are More New Job Opportunities Than Ever Before
Many large corporations have begun to see the value of hiring employees on the autism spectrum. The accounting firm Ernst & Young, for example, has a neurodiversity program that reaches out to autistic adults who have the math skills and focus others may lack. Other companies with autism-specific outreach programs include SAP and Ford.
In addition, quite a few smaller companies are building their business around autistic strengths and abilities. Rising Tide is a carwash company in Florida that has attracted a lot of attention for its autism focus, but it’s by no means alone.
It’s worthwhile keeping an eye on autism employment news, as opportunities are popping up all the time.
Tip : Find Nonverbal Ways To Connect
Connecting with a child with ASD can be challenging, but you dont need to talkor even touchin order to communicate and bond. You communicate by the way you look at your child, by the tone of your voice, your body language and possibly the way you touch your child. Your child is also communicating with you, even if he or she never speaks. You just need to learn the language.
Look for nonverbal cues. If you are observant and aware, you can learn to pick up on the nonverbal cues that children with ASD use to communicate. Pay attention to the kinds of sounds they make, their facial expressions, and the gestures they use when theyre tired, hungry, or want something.
Figure out the motivation behind the tantrum. Its only natural to feel upset when you are misunderstood or ignored, and its no different for children with ASD. When children with ASD act out, its often because youre not picking up on their nonverbal cues. Throwing a tantrum is their way of communicating their frustration and getting your attention.
Don’t Miss: How To Make A Visual Schedule For Autism
Decrease: Eat Only The Good
While pregnant, everything a mama puts into her body impacts the baby. Eating healthy can benefit baby on so many levels as well as prevent many issues. To decrease the chance of having a child with autism, mama can consume more linoleic acid found in vegetable oils, seed and nuts which reduces the autism risk by 34%. Those who consume low levels of omega 3 fatty acids are more likely by 53% to give birth to an autistic child. Eating healthy is beneficial for baby and mom on so many levels. It can be easier to reach for a pop tart in the morning instead of an egg and spinach omelet, but the consequences just are not worth it. Eating healthier can reduce the risk of autism, remember- fueling the body with the good stuff during pregnancy can be a game changer. Maybe spinach is not your favorite, but throwing it into a smoothie with bananas and oranges could make it bearable!