Complementary And Alternative Medicine Treatments
To relieve the symptoms of ASD, some parents and healthcare professionals use treatments that are outside of what is typically recommended by pediatricians. These treatments are known as complementary and alternative medicine treatments. CAM treatments refer to products or services that are used in addition to or instead of traditional medicine. They might include special diets, dietary supplementsexternal icon, chelation , biologicals , or mind-body medicine .
Many of these treatments have not been studied for effectiveness moreover, a review of studies on chelation found some evidence of harm and no evidence to indicate it is effective in treating children with ASD . Current research shows that as many as one-third of parents of children with ASD may have tried CAM treatments, and up to 10% may be using a potentially dangerous treatment . Before starting such a treatment, talk to your childs doctor.
To learn more about CAM therapies for ASD, go to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicines Autismexternal icon webpage. The FDA has information about potentially dangerous treatments hereexternal icon.
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Losing Control Of Emotions
Children with autism often lose control of their emotions and experience meltdowns . In autism, meltdowns are almost always the result of either sensory assaults, anxiety, frustration, or a combination of all three.
In a child who has not been diagnosed with autism, however, the symptoms may look like oppositional defiant disorder which is considered a behavioral disorder.
Children with higher-functioning autism may also receive a range of inappropriate diagnoses before receiving their autism diagnosis. Some of the most common include ADHD, hyperlexia, learning disabilities, and speech delays.
It’s important to note that some children with very high functioning autism may not be diagnosed until they are well into their teens or even adulthood. When that happens, it can be tricky. Developmental disabilities usually appear in childhood, and it may be necessary to dig into an individual’s past to unearth signs that disabilities existed prior to adulthood.
If childhood information isn’t readily available, it may be impossible to provide an autism spectrum diagnosis even if it is the most appropriate diagnosis based on symptoms and behavior.
Level : Requiring Substantial Support
The communication issues that a person with Level 2 ASD may face include:
- noticeable issues with verbal and nonverbal social communication skills
- social issues being apparent despite supports in place
- limited initiation of social interaction
- reduced response to social interactions from others
- interactions that are limited to narrow special interests
- more significant differences in nonverbal communication
The repetitive behavioral issues a person with Level 2 ASD may face include:
- inflexible behavior
- struggling to cope with change
- restricted or repetitive behaviors that are obvious to a casual observer and interfere with functioning in several contexts
- difficulty changing focus or action
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What Conditions Are Considered Spectrum Disorders
Until recently, experts talked about different types of autism, such as autistic disorder, Aspergerâs syndrome, pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified . But now they are all called âautism spectrum disorders.â
If you still hear people use some of the older terms, youâll want to know what they mean:
Asperger’s syndrome. This is on the milder end of the autism spectrum. A person with Asperger’s may be very intelligent and able to handle their daily life. They may be really focused on topics that interest them and discuss them nonstop. But they have a much harder time socially.
Pervasive developmental disorder, not otherwise specified . This mouthful of a diagnosis included most children whose autism was more severe than Asperger’s syndrome, but not as severe as autistic disorder.
Autistic disorder. This older term is further along the autism spectrum than Aspergerâs and PDD-NOS. It includes the same types of symptoms, but at a more intense level.
Childhood disintegrative disorder. This was the rarest and most severe part of the spectrum. It described children who develop normally and then quickly lose many social, language, and mental skills, usually between ages 2 and 4. Often, these children also developed a seizure disorder.
What Is The Difference Between Autism And Autism Spectrum Disorder
The term autism was changed to autism spectrum disorder in 2013 by the American Psychiatric Association. ASD is now an umbrella term that covers the following conditions:
- Autistic disorder.
- Pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified .
- Asperger syndrome.
People with ASD have trouble with social interactions and with interpreting and using non-verbal and verbal communication in social contexts. Individuals with ASD may also have the following difficulties:
- Inflexible interests.
- Insistence on sameness in environment or routine.
- Repetitive motor and sensory behaviors, like flapping arms or rocking.
- Increased or decreased reactions to sensory stimuli.
How well someone with ASD can function in day-to-day life depends on the severity of their symptoms. Given that autism varies widely in severity and everyday impairment, the symptoms of some people arent always easily recognized.
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How Is Autism Spectrum Disorder Treated
ASD is most often a life-long condition. Both children and adults with autism benefit from behavioral interventions or therapies that can teach new skills to address the core deficits of autism and to reduce the core symptoms. Every child and adult with autism is unique. For this reason, the treatment plan is individualized to meet specific needs. It is best to begin interventions as soon as possible, so the benefits of therapy can continue on throughout the course of life.
Many people with ASD often have additional medical conditions, such as gastrointestinal and feeding issues, seizures and sleep disturbances. Treatment can involve behavioral therapy, medications or both.
Early intensive behavioral treatments involves the entire family and possibly a team of professionals. As your child ages and develops, treatment may be modified to cater to their specific needs.
During adolescence, children benefit from transition services that promote skills of independence essential in adulthood. The focus at that point is on employment opportunities and job skill training.
We Dont Need Autism Awareness We Need Autism Acceptance
Youve probably seen the bumper stickers, Facebook posts and the t-shirts calling for Autism Awareness. But as parents of children on the Autism Spectrum continually insist, our society is aware of autism. Its autism acceptance that we need. Though one in 68 American children are now diagnosed with autism, our society still treats autistic individuals and their families as social pariahs. To become a more inclusive society will take advancements in access to services, affordable health care, employment opportunities, Medicaid expansion, fair pay, and more opportunities for quality education.
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What Are The 5 Types Of Autism
Autism refers to a wide range of neurodevelopmental disorders. If your child is living with autism, it is important for you to understand the various types of autism and the symptoms presented by each.
Understanding the unique challenges presented by each type of autism will guide you in helping your child cope with the disorder. There are five major types of autism which include Aspergers syndrome, Rett syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder, Kanners syndrome, and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified.
Diagnosis In Young Children
Diagnosis in young children is often a two-stage process.
Stage 1: General Developmental Screening During Well-Child Checkups
Every child should receive well-child check-ups with a pediatrician or an early childhood health care provider. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all children be screened for developmental delays at their 9-, 18-, and 24- or 30-month well-child visits and specifically for autism at their 18- and 24-month well-child visits. Additional screening might be needed if a child is at high risk for ASD or developmental problems. Those at high risk include children who have a family member with ASD, have some ASD behaviors, have older parents, have certain genetic conditions, or who were born at a very low birth weight.
Parents experiences and concerns are very important in the screening process for young children. Sometimes the doctor will ask parents questions about the childs behaviors and combine those answers with information from ASD screening tools, and with his or her observations of the child. Read more about screening instruments on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.
Children who show developmental problems during this screening process will be referred for a second stage of evaluation.
Stage 2: Additional Evaluation
This second evaluation is with a team of doctors and other health professionals who are experienced in diagnosing ASD.
This team may include:
The evaluation may assess:
- Blood tests
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Why Is Autism Awareness Important
April 2 is World Autism Awareness Day. April has also become known as Autism Awareness Month in the United States. However, many community advocates have rightly called for the need to increase awareness about ASD year-round, not just during 30 select days.
The Autism Society of America and other advocates have even proposed that April be designated Autism Acceptance Month instead.
Autism acceptance requires empathy and an understanding that ASD is different for everyone.
Certain therapies and approaches can work for some people but not others. Parents and caregivers can also have differing opinions on the best way to advocate for an autistic child.
How Common Is Autism
An autism diagnosis occurs in one of every sixty-eight births. An early intervention program can be helpful when autism is discovered in younger children. In some cases, with the right treatment program, a child can even outgrow some of the issues associated with autism and begin to display better social and communication skills.
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How Is Autism Treated
There is no cure for ASD. Therapies and behavioral interventions are designed to remedy specific symptoms and can substantially improve those symptoms. The ideal treatment plan coordinates therapies and interventions that meet the specific needs of the individual. Most health care professionals agree that the earlier the intervention, the better.
Educational/behavioral interventions: Early behavioral/educational interventions have been very successful in many children with ASD. In these interventions therapists use highly structured and intensive skill-oriented training sessions to help children develop social and language skills, such as applied behavioral analysis, which encourages positive behaviors and discourages negative ones. In addition, family counseling for the parents and siblings of children with ASD often helps families cope with the particular challenges of living with a child with ASD.
Modern Interpretation Of Types Of Autism
Each type of Autism demonstrates a degree of difficulty that a patient faces with verbal, social and communicative interactions. Just as a shade in rainbow overlaps and blends to the next one, so does the autism spectrum thus turning it into a challenging exercise for physicians to determine where one range in the spectrum starts and where it ends, comments Mary Alexa, autism therapy specialist.
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Repetitive And Restrictive Behaviour
With its unwritten rules, the world can seem a very unpredictable and confusing place to autistic people. This is why they often prefer to have routines so that they know what is going to happen. They may want to travel the same way to and from school or work, wear the same clothes or eat exactly the same food for breakfast.
Autistic people may also repeat movements such as hand flapping, rocking or the repetitive use of an object such as twirling a pen or opening and closing a door. Autistic people often engage in these behaviours to help calm themselves when they are stressed or anxious, but many autistic people do it because they find it enjoyable.
Change to routine can also be very distressing for autistic people and make them very anxious. It could be having to adjust to big events like Christmas or changing schools, facing uncertainty at work, or something simpler like a bus detour that can trigger their anxiety.
Read more about repetitive behaviours and dealing with change here
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.
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Clinical Development And Diagnoses
Leo Kannerearly infantile autism
The word autism first took its modern sense in 1938 when Hans Asperger of the Vienna University Hospital adopted Bleuler’s terminology autistic psychopaths in a lecture in German about child psychology. Asperger was investigating an ASD now known as Asperger syndrome, though for various reasons it was not widely recognized as a separate diagnosis until 1981.Leo Kanner of the Johns Hopkins Hospital first used autism in its modern sense in English when he introduced the label early infantile autism in a 1943 report of 11 children with striking behavioral similarities. Almost all the characteristics described in Kanner’s first paper on the subject, notably “autistic aloneness” and “insistence on sameness”, are still regarded as typical of the autistic spectrum of disorders. It is not known whether Kanner derived the term independently of Asperger.
Kanner’s reuse of autism led to decades of confused terminology like infantile schizophrenia, and child psychiatry’s focus on maternal deprivation led to misconceptions of autism as an infant’s response to “refrigerator mothers“. Starting in the late 1960s autism was established as a separate syndrome.
What Is Autism Spectrum Disorder Previously Called Autism And Pervasive Developmental Disorders
Autism spectrum disorder is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by the following:
- Difficulties in social communication differences, including verbal and nonverbal communication.
- Deficits in social interactions.
- Restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests or activities and sensory problems
Many of those with ASD can have delayed or absence of language development, intellectual disabilities, poor motor coordination and attention weaknesses.
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If Your Child Does Any Of The Following He/she May Have Asd:
- Avoids eye contact, unlike other kids.
- Delay in language development.
- Echolalia persistent repetition of words or phrases.
- Focused on restricted interests, hence obsessing over one toy.
- Changes in routine are often met with resistance or anger.
- Repetitive behaviors such as spinning, rocking, hand flapping.
- Reacting to sounds, lights, smells, taste or colors in an unusual way.
- Prefers to be alone often in spite of other playing nearby.
- No understanding of other peoples feelings and non-expression of their feelings.
- Imaginary play with toys or dolls in non-existent.
How Is Autism Diagnosed
Doctors check babies and little kids for signs of autism at every checkup. A parent may think that something is wrong and tell the doctor. Maybe the child is old enough to speak but doesnt. Or a kid doesnt seem interested in people or plays in unusual ways.
When a doctor thinks a kid might have autism, he or she will work with a team of experts to see if it is autism or something else.
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Bringing Up A Child With Autism
Getting a diagnosis
If you notice any of the symptoms of Autism and are concerned about your childs development you should discuss this with your G.P. They can arrange for your child to have a specialist assessment to see if they need a diagnosis if necessary.
If you have had a diagnosis of Autism, you should be referred to see a paediatric consultant who can talk to you more about the input your child will need to support them at home, at school and with their social life.
Children with Autism may need help from several different specialists to support their development, including a speech and language therapist, to support their communication and social skills, an occupational therapist, to help suggest techniques and equipment to make their physical environment easier to cope with, and a child psychologist to help them cope with any anxiety or behavioural issues they might have.
If your child is given a diagnosis of Autism, it can leave you feeling upset, shocked and concerned. It may be helpful to remember that your child is still the same person and that nothing has changed. Giving children the label of Autism can just be considered as a way for professionals to be able to signpost and provide appropriate support for your child. The better support your child receives, the more they can thrive, be happy and achieve their potential.
Connecting with others in the same situation and being able to talk through your feelings and concerns can be very helpful.
Problems With Communication And Social Interaction
ASD can involve a range of issues with communication, many of which appear before age 5.
Heres a general timeline of what this might look like:
- From birth: trouble maintaining eye contact
- not responding to their name
- not displaying facial expressions reflective of their emotions
- : not engaging in basic interactive games, like peek-a-boo or pat-a-cake
- not using hand gestures, like hand-waving
- not sharing their interests with others
- not pointing or looking where others point
- not noticing when others appear sad or hurt
- not engaging in pretend play, like caring for a baby doll or playing with figurines
- not playing turn-taking games, like duck-duck goose
Additionally, autistic children might have trouble expressing their feelings or understanding those of others starting at 36 months.
As they age, they might have difficulty talking or very limited speaking skills. Other autistic children might develop language skills at an uneven pace. If theres a particular topic thats very interesting to them, for example, they might develop a very strong vocabulary for talking about that one topic. But they might have difficulty communicating about other things.
As autistic children begin talking, they might also talk in an unusual tone that can range from high-pitched and sing-songy to robotic or flat.
While hyperlexia does not always accompany autism, research suggests nearly 84 percent of children with hyperlexia are on the spectrum.
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