Sunday, March 15, 2009

Avoiding Dairy: A Benefit to Autistic Children?

Parents of autistic children will do whatever they can do decrease the condition’s hold on their kids. For many of them, this means eliminating certain foods from the child’s diet. Most may have heard of getting rid of the gluten, but another sensitivity Autistic children may have is Casein – which is present in pretty much all dairy foods. While this seems a difficult task, it’s entirely possible if the parents are committed and dedicated.

Where to Find Casein Free Foods –

If you are considering placing your child on the casein-free diet, you should know that at first, it will be difficult to adjust. Purchasing casein-free foods can also be more expensive than purchasing regular foods as well. However, it has been proven on several occasions and with many Autistic children that the casein-free diet really helps the symptoms of Autism.

You can find foods with no casein in health food stores and online. You simply need to perform a search for ‘casein-free foods.’ Although a bit of dedication and effort is required for this diet, the payoff can be extreme. Parents have reported a significant reduction in Autism symptoms after a few months on the casein-free and gluten-free diets.

How Long to Remain on the Diet –

This is not a typical diet, so results will probably not be seen within a few weeks or even a month. It is suggested that if you’re considering this type of diet for your Autistic child, to try it for at least 3 months. By this time, you should be able to determine whether it is making a difference in the symptoms of Autism or not. It may help to slowly replace your dairy foods with casein-free products, especially if your child is having a difficult time adjusting to the new types of foods.

Helpful Resources –

Because this can be a challenging change in your life and the life of your child, any resources available can be a great help to you. You can find casein-free recipes online and in cookbooks created specifically for the purpose – those can be found in your local library or bookstore. Many parents use a journal to document the food changes and behavior changes they make so that they can connect the two to determine what is working and what is not.

If you are in any sort of support group for parents of Autistic children or if you are close friends with any – you may consider splitting the costs. If you both decide to place your children on this type of diet, buying foods in bulk and splitting the cost can be a great way to save money and pool resources.

Although the casein-free diet is not a cure for Autism, it can be a great way to help treat the symptoms your child suffers with. Remember that this will be a difficult change – much like any other major change. It takes a strong will, determination and dedication to pull it off. However, as time passes, the transition will be much easier and the payoff can be very well worth it.

Photo: jscreationzs

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Can I Find a Cure for Autism?

Parents of children who have just been diagnosed with Autism usually have a pretty difficult time adjusting to the diagnosis. There are so many questions and thoughts running through your head that it can be difficult to focus. You may even wonder whether or not you can find a cure for your child. If you’re asking yourself, ‘Can I find a cure for Autism,’ you should know that there is no specific cure. However, this should also not discourage you too much, as there are many wonderful treatments for this condition available. Let’s take a look at some of those treatments.

Prescription Medications

Your doctor will most likely let you know the most popular and common prescription medications for autism. Ask questions if you don’t understand – your doctor will not mind explaining what each type of medicine actually is and what affects it will have on your child. The prescriptions that are most commonly given to autistic children do not cure autism. They simply help your child deal with the symptoms of autism and to function more normally than he or she would be able to without the prescriptions. You should know that there are always concerns with side-effects or potentially dangerous reactions to these prescriptions.

Going Gluten Free –

Since many parents feel that their Autistic child has sensitivities to foods that may trigger more symptoms of the condition, many have gone to the diet in order to treat their children. Gluten is one of those foods that most often trigger Autistic symptoms, so this is also one of the most popular treatments. Taking gluten out of your child’s diet can be difficult – however, it can also be very helpful. Visit your local health food store to find gluten-free ingredients and snacks. You can also get some great recipes online and through your local library or book store. Know that you must try your child on the gluten-free diet for a few months in order to see a significant difference, so a few weeks with no results may not mean anything.

Different Forms of Therapy –

There are many different forms of therapy that you can employ to help your child reduce the symptoms of autism. For instance, autistic children typically respond well to sensory therapy – such as noise, textures and smells. This is a great way to calm your child and open them up to be more responsive. Music therapy is a great choice as well. Music has a very calming affect on children and can be a great aid in helping your child to learn behavioral and social skills that are necessary. Speak with your pediatrician about recommendations for different types of therapy.

Although your first thought may be, ‘can I find a cure for autism,’ you should know that there are many different choices and options when it comes to treatment. Although the options above are very popular, there are many more. You will want to do some research so that you’ll be fully prepared to help your child cope with his or her autism.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Parents of Autistic Children: Avoiding Dangerous Treatments

For quite some time, Autistic children have been treated with certain prescription medications. While some of them may have improved many children’s symptoms, awareness is increasing of dangerous side effects and potential reactions to those medications. For parents who want to avoid the dangers of prescriptions and chemicals, there are many alternative treatments for Autism. Below, you will find some more information on avoiding dangerous treatments for Autism.

Cutting Out Certain Foods –

One method that is becoming more popular for parents of autistic children is cutting out certain foods. It is believed that some children with Autism experience sensitivity to certain foods – mainly those containing gluten and casein. These ingredients are most often found in wheat and dairy foods, although gluten can also be found in some spices and artificial flavorings.

Many parents have found that cutting these foods out of their Autistic child’s diet results in reduced symptoms, behavioral problems and other issues. If you want to start your child on a gluten and casein free diet, there are many recipes available – both on the internet and in specialized cook books. Although transitioning to this kind of diet can be difficult, it can also pay off in the long run.

Adding Foods or Vitamins –

Other research has linked reduced symptoms of Autism to certain foods, such as Omega 3’s and Vitamin B-12. This is a treatment parents can try without fearing adverse affects or side-effects from these vitamins. You can get Omega 3’s in fresh fish or you can choose to give your child a fish oil tablet to increase Omega 3’s. Vitamin B-12 is also available in a tablet form so your child can take it quickly and easily.

Vitamin B-12 can be found in foods such as lean meats and fish, seafood, eggs and yogurt. Since these foods are among favorites of children, most parents have no problem giving extra vitamins in this way. However, you will need to research or read labels closely if your child is also on a restrictive diet – such as the casein or gluten free diet.

Play Therapy – Play therapy is becoming more popular as well – and involves only playtime for your child, which makes you feel better. Typically, the play therapy will be watched over by the therapist or the parents of the autistic child and can be a wonderful way to strengthen certain skills and behaviors.

Basically, as the child plays, the parent or therapist learns what the child’s favorite toys and games are. They will play with the child and (in the case of a therapist – build a bond) use different toys and games to introduce new concepts to the child and teach him or her important skills.

The above treatments are a great way for the parents of autistic children to provide help to their children without risking their health with dangerous or potentially fatal side-effects. Do some research and learn what alternative treatments you can use to help your child and make sure to speak with your physician before starting or stopping any type of treatment with your Autistic child.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Diagnosis: Autism

If your child has been diagnosed with autism, you’re probably a little in shock. This is perfectly normal – as are being angry, not believing it at first and being very saddened by the news. You are probably wondering, ‘why MY child,’ and you may even feel like all the dreams you’ve had for your child are shattering around your feet.

What you should know is that your child CAN have a great life – and Autism may be life-altering, but it’s not life-ending. Below, you will find some important information about what steps to take next when your child has been given the diagnosis: Autism.

Speak First with Your Doctor –

As stated above, many parents simply don’t believe that this is happening to their child. If this is the case with you, you may seek a second opinion. If you do, and the diagnosis comes back the same – it’s time to accept the facts. Realize that this is not as bad as it could be and that there are many resources for children with Autism. Talk about possible treatment options with your doctor and what options are available to your child.

Explain the Diagnosis to Your Child –

If your child is at the age where he or she can understand, it’s important to explain to them what is going on. You want to include your child in the loop and let them know that they are going to be alright, but that you will probably need to take very special care of him or her. Don’t make your child feel like a victim or dwell on his or her handicap – just put the diagnosis in terms that he or she can understand and accept. By doing this, your child will learn to trust you more. Being open with your child is important and will help prepare them for some of the coming changes.

Do Some Research on Your Own –

While it is important to speak with your doctor, it’s also important to do some research on your own. This will allow you to get more than one doctor’s educated opinion. In fact, there are many different things you may learn through your own research – such as:

- How important it is to put your autistic child on a schedule.
- What kind of alternative treatment options you have.
- How to take care of yourself while taking care of your child.
- The importance of ‘me’ time.
- How to handle fits, bad behavior and meltdowns.
- And much more.

You can easily research Autism online, but it’s important to use your own common sense as well. While there are many great informative sites about Autism online, there are also some sources that probably shouldn’t be trusted. Take your findings to your child’s doctor and ask for his or her opinion.

Start Making Plans –

Your child’s school will need to be informed of the situation so that they can adequately meet his or her needs. You will probably need to schedule several different appointments and consider starting treatment with your child. You will probably also want to create a daily schedule for your child. There are many things to be done, so start planning now.

Accepting a diagnosis of Autism can be very difficult. However, by following the advice above about what to do next, you can get your child on the path to treatment and a better future. Good luck.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

PDD-NOS in Depth

Often, doctors will diagnose a child with PP-NOS (Persuasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified) if they show many different signs of Autism, but there are not enough signs to officially diagnose the child as Autistic. As a parent, it can be difficult to understand exactly what this is and what it means. Below you will find more information on PDD-NOS that may help you understand it a little more and the implications is has on you and your child.

How Children Are Tested –

Typically, children are tested in various ways, including physically, academically, psychologically and more. This is to try and identify other factors that are causing the child to behave in a particular way.

Physical Testing –

Doctors will typically ensure that no physical problems are causing the symptoms that your child is experiencing. This may include a physical and in-depth assessment to determine the physical health of the child. You may be asked questions about the child’s normal routine, family history and other factors which may come into play concerning the child’s behavior.

Academic Testing –

A lot of academic testing performed by doctors will include obtaining information from the parents of the child, the teachers, childcare givers or others who are in continuous contact with the child. They may determine whether the child is able to do normal daily tasks including feeding themselves, putting their clothes on, taking a bath, etc. Other information may be obtained which concerns your child’s individual behavior or issues.

Psychological Testing –

Psychological testing is a large aspect of a PDD-NOS diagnosis. Typically, children will be examined for any sort of issues regarding cognitive or social functioning as well as other psychological issues – such as depression, anxiety and more. Often times a child with behavioral or developmental problems will be suffering from some form of psychological condition.

Other areas of the child’s life may be looked at as well – including watching the way the child plays or behaves while he or she is engaged in normal daily activity. All of these factors help doctors and physicians rule out other conditions to eventually reach a PDD-NOS diagnosis.

If this diagnosis is reached, physicians and doctors will work closely with parents, caregivers and teachers to determine a method of treatment to ensure that the child is being given optimum care. While PDD-NOS is not actually a form of Autism, the behaviors are often very similar and may require similar treatments of those that autistic children are given.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

4 Secrets to Help Parents of Autistic Children to Cope

Being the parent of an Autistic child is amazing and rewarding, but at times it can also be difficult and frustrating. On those days when things have gone all wrong, you may feel like you’re juggling 50 flaming torches and all you feel like doing is letting them all drop wherever they want. Learning to cope will keep you juggling until the frustration passes and the sun comes back out. Here are 4 secrets to help parents of Autistic children to cope.

1. You Can’t Do It Alone –

Sometimes, mothers and fathers feel as if they should be doing everything alone. Well, at some point it’s time to wake up and realize that you are only human and although super powers would be appreciated, you just don’t have them. Learn how to ask for help. Whether you have your spouse watch your child while you run errands or leave your child with a trusted and responsible sitter for an evening – it’s nice to be able to rely on others at times. When you’re able to get rest and a little time away, it can help you cope much better. Then, you will be refreshed and ready to take on a new day with your child!

2. Get Support –

When you have others around you who just ‘get’ what you’re going through, it can be a huge source of support, tips and advice. This is why so many parents of autistic children join local support groups. Chances are there’s one in your area as well. Even if the idea of getting to know a crowd of people you’re not familiar with makes you apprehensive – it will be a rewarding and fun experience. It’s a great way to learn how to cope and you can get lots of great information and tips.

3. Create a Journal –

Even if you’ve never written in a journal before, it’s important that you try. Being able to get your frustrations out through the written word is very cleansing – and it’s just for your eyes so you don’t have to worry about what other people say or think. Simply write whatever you feel and allow yourself to get your frustrations, worries, fears and other thoughts off your chest. This is a very cleansing and helpful process that can be used for almost anything – and it works wonderfully for parents of autistic children.

4. Talk about Your Needs –

Your family and friends can be your biggest source of support and help when it comes to raising your autistic child. Don’t be afraid to voice your needs – if you need someone to pick something up for you or if you need a sitter for a weekend night. Chances are, your family and friends already admire you for being such a devoted and wonderful parent – they won’t mind helping you out from time to time. If no one knows what you need, you certainly can’t expect them to offer it, right?

Parents of autistic children often feel as if they are learning the largest and most important lessons of their lives as they raise their children – and learning to cope is a wonderful way to ensure that you are prepared to learn each of those little lessons.

Photo: Michelle Meiklejohn

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Benefits of Schedules for Autistic Children

Any parent knows that getting their children on a good schedule is beneficial and helpful to the child. However, this is especially true for children with Autism. Having a schedule gives the child something he or she can rely on – without fail and this is a very big help in every way! By placing your Autistic child on a reliable schedule, he or she will be able to anticipate and count on their daily routines. Below, you will find more information on why schedules are beneficial for Autistic children.

Keeping Up with Appointments –

When your child is on a regular daily schedule, it will become easier for you to keep up with their doctor and other appointments. This helps keep you from missing appointments and eliminates the need to continuously reschedule those appointments. You can also inform your child of what will be happening throughout his or her day. This way, if they really want to do something, you can show them when they will have time to do it and what they must do before they’re able to do the fun things they want. This is a great parent’s helper and will keep you organized!

Informing Your Child –

One great thing to do when placing your child on a schedule is to get him or her involved. You may use words or pictures to help them understand the different things they will be doing throughout the day. Create a large daily calendar you can change and add words or pictures. For instance, you may have lunch at 12:00 and you can write ‘lunch’ or draw a picture of a place setting with food on the plate. This is a wonderful way to get your child accustomed to the routine and to help them understand the different things you will be doing throughout the day.

Avoiding Boredom –

As you go throughout your day with no planned schedule, it’s easy for your Autistic child to get bored and restless. With many children who have Autism, this can lead to disaster. When you have a schedule, you can avoid these problems by ensuring that there is always something to keep your child occupied and happy. Try splitting playtime up into smaller times throughout the day. This will help keep your child from getting bored and possibly reacting badly.

For instance, you might schedule 30 minutes of time for your child to create something artistically between lunch and something else. Then, schedule another 30 minutes for your child to enjoy his or her favorite toy before the bedtime routine starts. This will help eliminate boredom and keep your child happy.

Schedules can truly benefit any child; however they are especially wonderful for children with Autism. Try a schedule with your child today. Create one for tomorrow and explain to your child what you’re doing. It may help to get them excited about the schedule if you allow them to help create it! Good luck.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Parents: Coping with Autism

Taking care of children is never easy – as Mom and Dad, you must be at the beck and call of your children all day, every day. As a parent of a special needs child, you are even more in demand – ensuring that your child is following a routine, making appointments, eating the right foods, etc. It can be very difficult and although you love your child more than anything – at times it can be frustrating. Below, you will find some different ways to cope with Autism and take care of yourself as well.


There’s no doubt that you’re stressed out. On days when everything has gone wrong, it can make you want to crawl in your bed and shut out the rest of the world. However, your child is depending on you to keep going. There are some simple stress-busters you can use to calm yourself and get rid of dangerous stress. Try deep breathing for 5 minutes at a time. Slowly inhale, counting to 10 as you do. Then, exhale slowly, taking the same amount of time as you did to inhale. As you do this, feel the stress draining away and refreshing energy filling your body.

Another great stress buster is writing in a journal. You can trust your deepest secrets, fears and frustrations to the pages of your journal, knowing that it’s only for you and that no one else will read it. Keeping a journal can be very cleansing and can be an excellent outlet for the stress.

Finding ‘Me’ Time:

It’s so important that you are able to cut away small chunks of time that are only for you. Everyone needs a break from time to time and by ensuring that you get one, you will be taking care of yourself. This will make it much easier to take care of your Autistic child. If your child goes to a regular public school, use an hour of your day while they’re gone to soak up some ‘you’ time.

Take a long, hot bath and allow yourself to relax. Watch your favorite show or take a luxurious nap! You should never feel guilty about taking time to yourself here and there – it’s needed and it will refuel your energy so that you’re better able to take care of your family.

Rewarding Yourself:

Any parent has a difficult job – and although being a parent is quite rewarding, who says you can’t reward yourself for doing a great job? Go out to dinner once a month or once every two weeks. Hire a trustworthy sitter or have a friend or family member watch the kids for a night so that you’re able to enjoy yourself with no distractions.

Go to a movie or a show – do something you really enjoy. By rewarding yourself in this way, you will be better able to cope with the stressful and sometimes difficult job of taking care of your Autistic child. Above all, take the time each day to look into your child’s eyes and you will instantly be reminded of why you work so hard to be such a great parent!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Treatment Options for Autism

Many children with Autism are on a prescription medication to help control the symptoms they experience. However, as more and more parents become aware of potentially dangerous and even fatal side effects of prescription medications, the need for alternative treatment options for Autism has grown. Below, you will find some wonderful alternative treatments used for children with Autism.

Changes in Diet –

One of the alternative treatments that are becoming very popular is changes in the diet of Autistic children. It has been found that many children respond to certain diet changes; most commonly excluding gluten and casein from the diet. These are often found in wheat and dairy products and may cause sensitivity in some Autistic children. By eliminating these particular things from the diet of Autistic children, parents have seen a significant difference in behavioral problems and issues.

Another common change in diet includes adding fatty acids like Omega 3’s. This is commonly found in fish and fish oil and can have a profound effect on Autistic children. From being able to sleep better, interacting with others in a more positive way and just increasing the overall health of the child – it’s no wonder this alternative treatment is becoming so popular.

Music and Senses –

A few of the greatest forms of alternative treatment include using music and sounds. Music is a great way of relaxing a child with Autism and some children who will not even speak will sing with the music. This is a great way to further develop speech and to calm Autistic children. Other noises, tastes, smells and textures are also employed as forms of therapy for children with Autism – allowing them to relax, learn and further developmental skills.

‘Funtime’ Therapy –

One of the greatest ways to get Autistic children to learn to play with other children and other things is to employ ‘funtime’ therapy. A therapist or even the parent may start by simply playing with the child and his or her favorite toys until a bond is established and other children are introduced to the funtime activities. This is a wonderful way for a child with Autism to build up trust and learn social skills that are important for them.

There are many different kinds of alternative treatments for children with Autism. When parents do not want to risk dangerous side effects or reactions from chemicals and prescriptions, it’s great to know they have a long list of other options they can rely on for treatment of Autism.

Spend some time talking with your doctor about your treatment options and what your child may thrive with. You may also want to conduct some research on your own so that you can get an entire view of the options available to you. By doing this, you can make the best decision regarding treatment options for your Autistic child. This will give you peace of mind, knowing you’ve made an educated decision to help your child in any way that you can.

Friday, January 16, 2009

How to Place Your Autistic Child on the Gluten Free Diet

The gluten-free diet has gained in popularity since many parents have noticed changes in their child’s behavior and significant reductions in their symptoms. If you’ve been considering placing your child on the gluten-free diet, but you’re just not sure – this article will give you in-depth directions on how to do it! Here is some more information on how to place your autistic child on the gluten-free diet.

How to Get Started:

You will need to begin by finding some gluten-free recipes to cook for your family. Whether or not your entire family will go on the diet is up to you – some families feel as though it’s easier to create entire gluten-free meals rather than trying to prepare foods for only the autistic child. Look for gluten-free recipes online and check your local library or bookstore for gluten-free cook books. This will help you select meals you feel your family will enjoy which are free of gluten and still healthy.

Experiment a little with the different foods and allow your child to try them. Find out the likes and dislikes when it comes to gluten-free cooking. This is a trial-and-error process, so it’s up to you to make it work.

Where to Find Gluten-Free Foods:

You can find gluten-free foods in your local supermarket. However, there may only be a small selection. You can find even more by visiting your local health food store. There are gluten-free baking mixes, snacks and even entire meal ideas. Be sure to read the labels on the different foods you purchase from the grocery store. Gluten can often hide in some unlikely places – such as flavorings and spices. As you become accustomed to searching for gluten-free foods, it will be easier for you.

Things You Should Know about the Gluten-Free Diet:

It’s very important that you know what to expect with this kind of diet. Every sort of diet takes a little adjusting before its smooth sailing. However, if you plan on trying this diet, you need to try it for at least 3 to 4 months. While most people expect to see changes within a few weeks or a month, it takes longer on this diet to see results. While some families may write the diet off as unsuccessful, it could be that they haven’t given it time to actually work when they decide to quit.

So, try the diet for at least 3 months and determine whether it’s working or not. Also, you may want to keep a food journal – writing down what your child eats and what behaviors he or she has. This will help you identify whether or not the diet is making a difference with your child’s autism symptoms.

This is a great diet that has worked for many parents of autistic children. Give it a try and see how it works for you. Remember that it may take a little while to actually show results, but if it does – it will be well worth it. Good luck.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

What is the Gluten Free Diet?

Many parents have placed their Autistic children on the gluten free diet in an attempt to help control the symptoms of the condition. It has been reported that 8 out of 10 children with Autism respond to this diet, experiencing less problems in behavioral and social areas. For this reason, many parents want to at least give this diet a go before ruling it out as helpful for their child. Below, you will learn about the gluten free diet and how to help your Autistic child by using it.

What Exactly Is the Gluten Free Diet?

The diet basically centers on foods that are gluten-free, and although many foods do contain gluten, more alternatives are being made available. Typically, the foods which contain gluten include those containing wheat, barley, oats and rye. It’s important for parents considering the gluten-free diet to check labels of all foods coming into the household, since gluten can be present in many unlikely places. In fact, most foods which contain any sort of artificial flavoring may contain gluten.

Where to Find Gluten-Free Foods –

Although many foods do contain gluten, there are also many alternatives available. Check your local health food store to find gluten-free baking ingredients, meals and snacks. If this is all very new to you, you might want to experiment by cooking a few practice meals that are gluten-free. While it can be frustrating and difficult to become accustomed to eating gluten-free, it can also be worth the effort. If the child does well on the gluten-free diet, the family will eventually adjust and will usually be happy with the foods available to them.

What Foods are Acceptable to Eat?

There are many foods that individuals can eat – even if they are avoiding gluten. This includes but is not necessarily limited to:

- Certain Meats and Fish
- Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
- Nuts
- Eggs

Once you’ve learned your way around a gluten-free kitchen, preparing meals that are delicious and satisfying will not be difficult. Pick up some gluten-free cookbooks or search for recipes online to get started.

Although the gluten-free diet is not considered a cure for autism, it has significantly reduced the symptoms of Autism with many children. It is often easier if the entire family adopts this gluten-free diet rather than expecting only the child to eat this way. It helps in the preparation of meals and snacks as well.

Often times, parents of Autistic children will try just about anything to help the condition and its affects. The gluten-free diet can be a wonderful way to help treat the child’s symptoms and help with behaviors. If you’d like to try it – understand that the diet should continue for at least 3 to 4 months in order to determine whether it is helping or not. A few weeks or a month will not be long enough to assess the results.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Is There a Cure for Autism?

Many parents of Autistic children get discouraged when they hear that there is no actual cure for Autism. However, this certainly doesn’t mean that there aren’t many things you can do to help your child and yourself cope with autism. There are many different treatments that can help reduce the symptoms of autism and this can be wonderful for both you and your child. Below, you will find some of the popular treatments of Autism and how they can work.

Therapy or Counseling –

For individuals with different conditions that cannot be cured, the best thing that can happen is those individuals learning to cope with those conditions. This is exactly what happens when a parent places their autistic child in therapy or counseling. They can receive many different types of therapies which will help them deal with the limitations of autism in their daily lives including school, home, play, relationships, and more. Therapy is a great help to Autistic children and their families.

Holistic and Natural Treatments –

Many parents choose to treat their children with natural products rather than potentially harmful drugs or prescriptions. From herbs and supplements to other treatments, these types of options are very popular amongst families with an autistic child. There are many different natural products which have been proven effective against some symptoms of autism and they do not pose the threat to the individual the way chemicals and prescriptions can. Of course, it’s very important to speak with the child’s physician before starting him or her on any kind of herbal or natural treatment to ensure that it is safe. However, this can be a great resource of treatment for autistic children.

Diet –

Another great method of treatment is taking close look at your child’s diet and nutrition. Many parents have determined that some foods cause sensitivities in their Autistic child and by eliminating them, they can reduce some symptoms. The most common foods that are eliminated include those with gluten, casein and sugars. Although this is a difficult change to make in the life of a child, it can be well worth it if it helps to control issues related to autism.

While there is no cure for Autism, there are a number of things parents can do to help their children cope and live with Autism. From getting help with a therapist or counselor and experimenting with safe alternative treatments – to eliminating certain foods in the child’s diet, you may experience great success with these methods. Although you can’t cure your child’s autism, you can make it much more bearable!

Speak with your doctor today about the possibilities when it comes to treatment for Autism. Your doctor may help you determine the best possible treatment of Autism for your child so you can ensure that he or she is not held back from life with the symptoms this condition brings.

Monday, January 12, 2009

What is Autism? Autism Defined and Explained

Autism is something that affects many children. It is a disorder that affects the central nervous system. When a child has autism, they fell like they want to be left alone and be to themselves. It is important that you know and see the warning signs of autism in a child.

Autism effects verbal and even nonverbal communications. They will have problems using their language, creating relationships, and responding to the world around them. The symptoms may form quite early in life, but a child is typically not diagnosed with autism until around the school age. The reason for this is because children develop at all stages, therefore it may just look like they are a little behind in learning.

There are a number of symptoms of autism, including communication problems, the lack of creative play and language issues. Some people are affected with autism more than others. Some children will have mild symptoms of autism and can go barely affects; others will need constant care for the rest of their lives because it is more severe.

There are over 1.5 million people who have some form of autism in the United States. It affects all different kinds of races and ethnic groups. Boys are more than three times likely than girls to have autism as well. But unlike the past, children with autism are no longer institutionalized as they can live with the care of their family in their home.

While there is no cure for autism, if it is caught early enough the family and doctor can work on the problem so there is a bigger potential that they will be able to integrate into their community as they get older. When the parents get educated about Autism early, they can help their child sooner.

There is not a single gene that is responsible for autism, yet it is the combination of certain genes. If a family has a child with autism, they have a 3-8% higher risk of having another child who is autistic. There are even some environmental factors that may have an increased risk to an autistic child.

It is important that you understand autism and know the warning signs in a child, as it is better to know and understand it in a child sooner than later. The effects on the child can be lessened, and they can grow up to lead a more normal life with less problems.

Common Autism Symptoms

Autism affects many children, and it is important to know the symptoms and signs of autism to be able to look out for it. Some are more significant than others, but it is important to know what and where to look for them to be able to seek medical attention when needed.

A poor use of body language can be a sign of autism. Lack of eye contact and body language are typically big signs that you want to look for.
If they show signs of just wanting to be alone and by themselves, this can also be a symptom that they have autism.

If they are not responding to verbal cues as if they were deaf but aren’t, this could be another symptom of autism. It is as if they would be rather left alone.

They also may not want to cuddle, and would rather be separated from others, it could be a sign.

A lack of imaginary play could be a major warning sign. Watch how a child plays with their toys to see if they use any kind of imagination with their toys and how they work.

A dislike to change is a big symptom of autism. Autistic children like the same routine in their schedule and frown upon any kind of change. Change can be upsetting to them.

Throwing tantrums and aggressive play are common symptoms and signs of autism.

Short attentions spans can be a warning sign of autism. They may not show an interest in a television show or toy for very long, and often seem bored with everything.

Varied eating or sleeping patterns could be another warning sign of autism. They may not sleep as much as normal, or even have a loss of appetite for awhile.

They may fear nothing. If they appear to have no fear in a dangerous situation, it could be a symptom of autism. Climbing to the tallest stairs when they are very little would show that they have no fear.

An autistic child may not want to show affection. They would be rather left alone to do their own thing.

These are just a few of the major warning signs of autism. If you are seeing some of these symptoms in your child, you will want to bring them into your local doctor to discuss the symptoms. They will from there be able to properly test and diagnose your child.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Diagnosing Autism: What Is Involved?

All children develop at different times – any child expert in the world will tell you that. However, if there are continual delays or issues which arise in a child’s development, doctors and parents may start to suspect that there is a condition causing these delays or issues. In the case of Autism, there are many different things which are considered and studied before the child is officially diagnosed with Autism.

The Beginning –

Typically, the parents of the child are concerned about one or multiple things having to do with a child’s development and they bring these issues up to the pediatrician. This will set off a chain of events which starts with the doctor performing certain basic tests or seeking information which will eventually lead to a diagnosis – whether it’s Autism or not. Some of the things the child’s doctor will check out include:

- Evaluating the friendships your child has and the quality of them.
- Determining the level of communication skills your child has.
- Investigating the child’s behavior regarding routine breaks or change and how it affects the child.
- The way your child pays attention and learns in school

There are so many other ways as well. Your doctor will most definitely obtain a lot of information from you as the parents. He or she will want to know a history of behavior with the child and what has changed or what is concerning you about the child’s behavior.

Examinations –

The child will most likely undergo a series of evaluations if the doctor feels that the problems require more research. For instance, all physical problems which could affect the child’s behavior will be ruled out. The child will also undergo a psychological evaluation to determine whether other issues or problems are present – such as depression, anxiety or something similar.

After a series of tests have been completed, the doctor will most likely have a brief meeting to discuss the results of those tests with the parents of the child. This is when the parents will find out whether or not they will get an official diagnosis of Autism for their child.

The Diagnosis –

The diagnosis (if it comes) will come after these tests and the results. Because many children develop at different stages, a parent’s concern about a child’s speech or behavior may actually be nothing to worry about. It’s not uncommon for a parent to be concerned, only to find out from the doctor that their child is perfectly normal and will develop when the body is ready.

However, if there are many different delays in behavioral or social skills which the child must learn – the doctor may diagnose the child as Autistic. He will then discuss the various avenues of treatment and action that can be taken from there.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Your Child Has Been Diagnosed with Autism: What’s Next?

If your child has recently been diagnosed with Autism, you are probably going through an entire range of emotions. You also probably have hundreds of questions floating around in the back of your mind – wondering why your child has to go through this and what you’re supposed to do next. This is a very common reaction and although it will still be a difficult transition, this article will help you know what to expect next and how to deal with it.

Not Believing Its True –

It’s fairly common for parents to have such a difficult time with the diagnosis that they just don’t believe it’s true. Unfortunately, this phase will only prolong the time it takes to get your child started on some type of treatment. If you truly don’t believe that anything is wrong with your child – feel free to have a second opinion. However, once that opinion is confirmed as believing your child is Autistic, it’s important to understand that it’s true. By accepting that your child has Autism and getting in the right frame of mind to cope with it, you will be able to start treatment sooner and also help your child deal with it.

Becoming Angry –

It’s perfectly natural to become angry when you find out that your child is dealing with a condition that a lot of kids don’t have to deal with. You may feel angry at yourself, a higher power or the world – wondering why your child has to be the one to deal with this. While you realize that this is perfectly normal and allow yourself to be angry for a bit – you must also realize that the sooner it’s accepted, the sooner you can deal with it. Talk to other individuals who have gone through the same thing. Find a support network and express your anger in healthy ways.

Sadness –

Another common reaction to finding out that your child is Autistic is feeling sad. You may feel very sorry for your child and sorry that his or her life will forever be changed by this diagnosis. If you are not able to get over this sadness in a reasonable period of time, consider speaking with a counselor or therapist. The most important thing for you to realize is that your child’s life can still be amazing and wonderful – but it’s up to you to create the foundation for that life. Your child needs you, so it’s time to move on and start planning.

Moving On with Your Life –

Once you have finally accepted that your child is Autistic, you’re ready to move on with your life and help your child move on with his or her life. Start researching Autism – what treatments you can rely on, what to expect with your child, whether there are support groups in your area and more. This is the point where you realize that you must be strong for your child and support them rather than feeling sorry for them!

This is also the point when you realize that Autism will not stop your child’s life – and you start looking for answers on how to make it better.

What You Should Know about Your Autistic Child and School

If your child is Autistic, you probably already know that they will have special needs when it comes time to go to school. If your child is already in school, you’ve probably had first hand experience with some of those needs. Even if your child goes to public school, he or she can be accommodated by their school and in fact, the law requires public schools to provide needed teachings or facilities to children with special needs. Below, you will find some more information on your Autistic child and school.

Individuals with Disabilities –

This act was created so that all children are able to obtain a good quality education from public schools – even those with disabilities. Partially in thanks to this law, children who have special needs must have their needs accommodated by their public school if they meet the criteria. Children with autism meet the criteria, so your child should be provided an education by the public school and their needs must be met.

The Right to a Non-Restrictive Learning Environment –

What this means is that your child should be placed in a classroom or setting that allows them to learn and socialize with children that do not have a disability. While the school may place your child in a ‘special needs’ class, they should also be able to interact with children who do not have special needs. Because of this, most schools simply place Autistic children in regular classrooms while implementing modifications that are designed to meet those children’s needs.

Your child will be evaluated to determine whether he or she has special needs – and this evaluation is requested either by you, as the parent or by the school. There are many tests that will be completed during this evaluation, including tests for learning disabilities and mental or behavioral issues that need to be addressed. You will then be notified of all findings and diagnosis.

What is an IEP?

An IEP is basically a statement, listing exactly what your child needs in order to receive a satisfactory education. It will also include what modifications or methods are being used to ensure that your child receives this education. This IEP is created specifically for your child, and may be different from those of other special needs children. It will also be evaluated and considered in evaluations of your child’s improvement and performance in school.

Although many schools will try to get away with anything, most are prepared and happy to help your child receive the education he or she deserves. By knowing you and your child’s rights, you can effectively demand a fair education and help your child receive the learning skills and knowledge that he or she needs.

Must Know Information for Parents of Autistic Students

Upon hearing that their child is Autistic, many parents think that they will be unable to go to typical public schools. However, in most cases this is untrue. In fact, most Autistic children are protected by law when it comes to this topic. Below, you will find some must know information for parents of autistic students.

What Your School Must Do:

Due in part to the Individuals with Disabilities Act, your public school may have to ensure that your child’s special needs are met. As long as the particular child meets certain criteria, the school must ensure that his or her learning needs are met at their school. Autistic children meet these criteria. This means that if your child needs special learning activities, help or assistance, the school must provide it – by law.

This might include extra help when it comes to certain topics or it may include visual aids to help learn certain things. Whatever it is – you can have peace of mind, knowing that your child will be provided those things in order to help him or her learn necessary behavioral and social skills.

Another thing the school must provide, according to the Least Restrictive Learning Environment is the ability for your child to learn in a normal classroom. Although your child may have special needs that are taken care of in class, your child has the right to interact with children that have no disability. This is opposed to sticking your child in a special needs class which contains only children with disabilities.

By allowing your child to be in a classroom with other kids who have no disabilities, he or she can learn a lot simply by observing the behavior between the other children. This is wonderful and your school must follow this act.

What Your Child Needs:

When you start feeling as though there is a problem with your child, or if your child’s teachers feel there are learning disabilities, they will request an evaluation. You can also request the evaluation. Your child will be provided with an IEP, which basically states the different things that your child requires in order to learn. It will also contain information about the learning aids or extra help your child is receiving so that he or she gets a fair education.

It’s very important that parents of autistic children do their research and know their rights. This way, you can effectively provide your child with a fair and appropriate education. Stay involved in your child’s education and meet frequently with your child’s teachers. This will give you and your child the best advantage when it comes to your child’s education.

Photo: Tina Phillips