Archive for October, 2008
The parents of autistic children don’t have it easy. Though they love their children and want the best for them, it is often a struggle to deal with the day to day actions of an autistic child. Autistic children often cannot communicate verbally. It may take them several years to learn how to talk when it takes other children only a couple of years. Sometimes autistic children use screaming as a form of communication.
Think about it … if you had no words to communicate with what would you do? Parents of autistic children shouldn’t ignore the screaming, but they should also not reinforce it. The best thing to do it is to practice alternative forms of communication with your child and reward them as they learn. In the meantime it may be helpful for parents to attend a support group and to learn what autism information is currently available.
There’s a good reason doctors tell women not to eat large amounts of fish when they are pregnant. Pollution in our lakes, streams and oceans has led to fish becoming saturated with toxic levels of mercury. Mercury is especially damaging to fetuses, babies and children. Mercury is seeped into our water supply by emissions from power plants and other industrial activity. Americans are then exposed to mercury when they eat fish.Women who are exposed to high levels of mercury while they are pregnant should know that their health as well as their baby’s is threatened. Mercury can do serious damage to many parts of the body, including the nervous system, the kidneys, vision, and hearing. Babies who are exposed to mercury while in the womb can experience severe damage to the nervous system and die. They may also develop brain damage, hearing loss and learning disabilities. Birth defects mercury poisoning aren’t worth the brief pleasure of eating fish.
Many women may be surprised to learn that the cosmetics they use may contain mercury. Even though in the United States it is illegal to use mercury in cosmetics, it is not in many other countries. And, products containing mercury are often illegally imported into the U.S. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, skin-whitening products sometime contain high levels of mercury.
These lotions are popular among women of Asian descent. And, many women who have in the past used these lotions now suffer from mercury poisoning. In 2002 researchers in Hong Kong found that two well-liked skin whitening products contained between 9,000 to 60,000 times the recommended doses of mercury.
Parenting is a difficult endeavor as it is, but parenting a child with autism comes with a whole other list of difficulties. Here are some tips from parents of autistic children, that may make the process a little easier, according to myaspergerschild.com:
1. Cope with the grieving process: it’s natural and healthy to grieve over your child’s illness, but don’t focus on it and the negatives. Stay positive and capable, for your child and your family.
2. Look after yourself: Caring for an autistic child takes time, but if you don’t spend any on yourself, you’ll have nothing left to give. Takes some time out to exercise, make sure you eat properly, and even try to find some alone time.
3. Adapt routines: Autistic children thrive on routines, and become distressed when those routines change. It’s also important to adapt a routine that works for the child, instead of just fitting him/her into yours. Find a schedule that suits everyone.
4. Arm yourself with knowledge: The more you know about the condition, the better you will be able to deal with it.
5. Get support: A support system is crucial. And not just a family and friends system, but a group of people who are familiar with autism and may be able to help you out with the intricacies of the condition. People who understand exactly what you’re going through will be extremely helpful.
Science has yet to find a way to effectively prevent autism, but there are many preventative steps that can be taken both during and after pregnancy, based on the results of past studies. It has also been shown that treating and diagnosing an autistic child as early as possible may better help the child socialize and learn communication skills. So while the causes of autism are still relatively unknown, here are some rules of thumb to follow:
• Insist on early autism screening if any behavioral problems (such as not using language as a form of expression) are noted before two years old. Typically-developing children should be babbling and using hand gestures by 12 months, using single words by 16 months, and beginning to string words together by the second birthday.
• Ask for genetic testing if the child has a lack of social or verbal development before age two.
• Schedule metabolic testing to prevent the onset of autism; heavy metal poisoning has been linked to autism, so a child’s bloodstream should be checked for metal toxicity.
• Look into the possibility of vaccinations containing trace amounts of mercury causing autism; but remember that the evidence for these claims is inconclusive. Consider these studies with caution.
• Avoid eating foods that may have an unsafe level of mercury, such as seafood, when pregnant.
A new study by UC Davis researchers about important autism news may have discovered why autistic children have trouble imitating others; they spend less time looking at the faces of people who are modeling new skills.
The study employed eye-tracking headgear and software that measures the point at which a child is looking when learning a task, according to medicalnewstoday.com. The study showed that autistic children focused on the action that was being demonstrated (and rarely looked at the face), while typically-developing children looked at the face often to check for information about what to do, or how to respond. The finding is considered significant because autistic children have trouble learning from others, and this may be a key as to why.
We know there’s a host of things you can’t eat or drink or do when you’re pregnant – and for good reason. One of the most important things to avoid, though, is anything that could contain mercury. Which often times means raw fish or shellfish. Women who are exposed to mercury in pregnancy have given birth to children with serious birth defects due to mercury poisoning.
In utero mercury exposure can lead to Minamata disease, which has symptoms such as ataxia, numbness in the hands and feet, general muscle weakness, a narrowed field of vision, and damage to the hearing and speech. In extreme cases, the disease can cause insanity, paralysis, coma and death after just a few weeks of the onset of symptoms.
Heavy metal detoxification has become a fairly popular method among the health-conscious in recent years. The detoxification helps remove mercury and other disease-causing metals from the body.
But for those with autism, a heavy metal detox is more of a necessity than a fad. Mercury, which can cause neurological disorders, sensory impairment, disturbed sensations and a lack of coordination, is believed to be a cause of autism. Autistic children can take medications such as PCA-Rx for mercury poisoning. The removal of the toxic heavy metals from their systems can alleviate some symptoms and help autistic children improve their social skills.