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…
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children with developmental disabilities were excluded from pain research, but this past month a new (as yet unpublished) study showed conclusively that people with autism exhibit abnormal brain responses when a painfully hot object is placed against their skin.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.
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.”
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.
A good night’s sleep is important. Without it, children can be irritable, struggle with academics, engage in more repetitive behaviours, become easily fatigued, and are more likely to suffer from unintentional injury. Over the long term, poor sleep can lead to adult obesity, anxiety in adulthood, and sleep problems throughout adulthood.
researchers now recommend a place where everything is under one umbrella, where a team of experts can wrap around the child. This can happen in a hospital setting, agency or center. The concept of wraparound services also extends into independent living for adults on the spectrum. As adults leave their parental home, they will need support for medical and dental needs, recreation, employment, nutrition, and daily living skills. How do we best meet these needs simply and under one roof?
A new study, published this May in Autism Research, suggests that medical conditions like seizures, sleep disorders and gastrointestinal problems may be connected to behavioural issues in children with autism. The medical profession has a tendency to focus on symptoms rather than investigating possible underlying causes.
Many individuals with autism enjoy using tech devices such as tablets and the iPhone, but a new study shows that their use at night can cause sleep disturbances due to reduced levels of melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone that typically increases in the evening and helps induce sleepiness.
We’ve known for some time that interaction with dogs can have a positive effect on those with autism and other disabilities. Horses are now being recognized for their psychological benefits by a growing numbers of therapists who work with autistic children. Scientists have found levels of oxytocin, the hormone which promotes social interaction and increases bonding and empathy, increase when interacting with horses and dogs.
It is an overwhelming task for parents to choose the right program for their child with autism. We do our research through media, family, friends, and ask other people in the autism community what is working for them. We then enroll our child in that program only to find it isn’t working for them. So what went wrong?
Receiving an early autism diagnosis remains a concern for parents because new research shows that pediatricians are still dismissing parental concerns about autism.The study found that doctors often reassured patients that their child would grow out of it rather than refer them to a specialist or send them for developmental testing.
A new study published in JAMA Psychiatry on September 25th says there is no link between Celiac disease and the risk of autism. Many children on the autism spectrum experience gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea, constipation, food intolerances, and malabsorption of nutrients. Some follow a GF diet to try and improve health and behavior issues. For some, the diet works; for others there is no change.
Every human being ages. As we age, our needs changes. Approaching the senior years can mean changes in housing, health, and daily care. Policymakers have concentrated on these concerns for neurotypical seniors when designing social supports and models of care. What about the needs of those growing old with autism or other related disabilities? Timothy Baron, one of the first…
The Journal of American Medical Association Psychiatry has just published a study that revealed children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) experience a distinct chemical change in their brain that contributes to developmental delays. “Between ages three and 10, children with autism spectrum disorder exhibit distinct brain chemical changes that differ from children with developmental delays and those with typical development,”…
Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) is prevalent in those with an autism diagnosis; however, it’s never been recognized as a distinct disease. In a new study from UC San Francisco, researchers have found that children affected with SPD have quantifiable differences in brain structure, for the first time showing a biological basis for the disease that sets it apart from other…