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Medical - Blog

Everything from how to deal with wrap around services for your child with autism, to how exercise and yoga benefits those with ASD. This section contains all the blog posts and articles pertaining to medical health, treatments and services for those with autism.

The New “Normal”- ASD in the Post COVID-19 World

We are seeing out first glimmer of hope after weeks of bad and frightening news -the COVID-19 curve is flattening.  Our communities are going to reopen, albeit in stages and at different times and rates depending on regional data. It is exciting to be able to move about again, to have some shops open, and resume enjoyable activities. There are…

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Autism-Related Catatonia: Shut Downs, Mobility, and Speech Difficulties After Early Childhood

I can remember vividly the first time I heard about autism-related catatonia. It was at my Saskatoon, Saskatchewan conference in October 2017. Dr. Ruth Aspy spoke about it in her presentation on self-regulation. I had only heard of catatonia being associated with schizophrenia. Her explanation and description of autism-related catatonia got my mind turning about the parents whom I’ve talked…

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Autism, Immunity and Gut Health : New Study Continues the Link Between ASD and Health

The connection between autism and gut issues has been known about for over a decade, but until now, while the connection has been clear, the causes have been unknown. Up to 70 percent of those with ASD have gastrointestinal (GI) abnormalities at some point during childhood or adolescence. They are also more likely to have constipation or chronic diarrhea than children…

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Does my baby have autism? Infant behaviours that may predict ASD

The first year of a child’s life is normally a non-stop daily or weekly celebration of “firsts” – first smile, first crawl, first steps, first words…first full night’s sleep (with any luck). But what if your baby doesn’t seem to be reaching these milestones? Every child is different, and meets these milestones at different times, so when should parents start…

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How do you know what therapy is right for your child with ASD?

If you have a child who is newly diagnosed with autism, or are thinking of starting a new therapy program for a child with ASD, I highly recommend reading the article, What Kinds of Therapies Actually Help Autistic Kids? by Shannon Des Roches Rosa. The learning curve for therapies to help your child with ASD can be daunting. Not every…

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High Functioning Girls With Autism Often Go Undiagnosed

A topic that is getting a lot of coverage in the news this past year is the discovery that autism research may have gender-skewed results leading to high functioning girls on the spectrum going undiagnosed. The main reason for this discrepancy is that girls and women haven’t been represented sufficiently in scientific study, and so the diagnostic benchmarks have been set by boys, and then assumed to be the same for girls. This assumption has been dramatically questioned in the past year through research that began to look at the brain development of boys and girls on the spectrum separately. Below are the three main ways that girls with autism have slipped through the cracks, and gone undiagnosed.

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The Three Main Causes Of Early Death In Autism

A new study from the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden recently published in The British Journal of Psychiatry, revealed that the risk of premature death is about 2.5 times higher for people with autism spectrum disorder than for the rest of the population. The mean age of death for someone with autism is 54 compared with 70 for the general population. For…

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What is Neurodiversity?

As most of you know World Autism Awareness Day was on Saturday, April 2nd. Every year, the United Nations determines a theme for this day and this year it is Inclusion and Neurodiversity. Most people understand the concept of inclusion, but neurodiversity is a relatively new topic that is gaining traction. What is Neurodiversity? Neurodiversity is the concept that humans don’t come…

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Repetitive Training Not Helping Children With Autism

I’ve written about the difficulties I have had getting my own children to recognize and use washrooms that are not the ones from our home. It can be a real challenge for a child with autism because there is a tendency to represent, understand, and remember things in an extremely specific way. This tendency towards specific or inflexible learning is…

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How Do You Know When A Child With Autism Is Feeling Pain?

Historically children with developmental disabilities were excluded from pain research, but this past month a new (as yet unpublished) study showed conclusively that people with autism exhibit abnormal brain responses when a painfully hot object is placed against their skin. The brain’s response to pain has three phases – early, intermediate and late. In an experiment with 17 people with autism and 16 people without, a small piece of metal was taped to the skin and heated to the point of causing discomfort/pain but not injury. The people without autism were still responding to the pain ten seconds after it stopped, but the people with autism had no brain response after the ten seconds.

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Are Current Self-Advocacy Skills Only For The Middle Class?

I am an avid reader of Judy Endow’s blog because she highlights issues that many of us are not even aware of. Her recent post about the differences in self-advocacy if you are poor or middle income was eye-opening.

Judy has been both poor and middle income as an autistic adult and has observed that “self-advocacy is typically geared toward middle-income status. This could be problematic since many autistic adults live in poverty.”

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Too Many Meds: Medications Are Overprescribed To Those With Disabilities

Many of us have had uncomfortable moments when a person with autism “acts out” or does something inappropriate. Sometimes these behaviours can be aggressive and downright scary for a parent or caregiver. While it might be easier to imagine that prescribing a drug could minimize these events or make them stop altogether, new research out of the UK suggests that many people with intellectual disabilities are overprescribed medications in an effort to treat problem behaviours such as aggression and self-injury, despite there being little evidence of any benefit from these medications.

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