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.