Archive for July, 2011
Early educational intervention is vital for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Complementary therapies including art, music, and interactions with animals can aid in a child’s development. These therapies help increase communication skills, social interactions, and sense of accomplishment. They further help in establishing a positive relationship between child and therapist.
Music is a particularly great treatment for Autism. Music helps stimulate speech development and language comprehension. Art is also a good way for a child to express themselves. Animal therapy, like horseback riding, helps with motor development and coordination, as well as fostering self-confidence.
Chances are you’ve heard about chelation, at least in passing, but don’t fully comprehend what it is. Simply put, chelation is the process in which a synthetic amino acid detoxamin bonds to minerals and metals in the bond. This bond is known as a chelate.
The immune system recognizes metals like lead and mercury as they are naturally occurring in the body; however, the immune system does not recognize the manmade amino acid detoxamin. The immune system attacks the chelate and in the process reduces the metal to waste. When the chelate passes through the kidneys, the excess metal is flushed out of the body. Chelation therapy, therefore, can be useful in balancing the body.
I often peruse other blogs and websites that are concerned with autism in the U.S. I and other bloggers picked up on a recent article that outlined the abysmal classroom aid available to autistic children in Mississippi. Basically, in Mississippi special education teachers are not required to go through autism training, even though the rate of autism in the state and country has dramatically risen.
After doing some digging, I found another site that was equally shocking: only six states require their special education teachers to receive autism training. It is absolutely mind boggling that autism education is not a requirement for teachers who will work with these children five days a week for 13 years. States argue that autism education simply isn’t in the budget, but the truth of the matter is that getting autistic children the therapy they need saves money in the long run because if autistic children can learn to function more independently in society then they will not need as many state sponsored services as they grow older.
It always warms my heart to learn about communities that champion acceptance for individuals with autism and their families. One such community is located in Westminster, MD. Pathfinders for Autism and Denny’s have teamed up for an Autism Awareness Night.
The event, to be held later this month, has been specially planned with the needs of autistic people in mind. For instance, the background music will be much softer and a quiet area will be set up. Staff will be trained in autism sensitivity. As icing on the cake, ten percent of the evening’s profits will go to Pathfinders for Autism, which was founded in part by Baltimore Orioles Hall of Famer B.J. Surhoff and his wife Polly.
In the Tampa Bay area, increasingly more parents are claiming religious exemptions to vaccinations required to start school. As a result, seven cases of measles have been reported this year, the most reported in 14 years. In each case, except for one, the child stricken had not been vaccinated.
Many parents who choose the exemption are believed to do so over fears that thimerosal can lead to Autism. What parents fail to realize is that thimerosal has never been used as a preservative in measles vaccine (which also vaccinates against rubella and mumps). Ironically, past vaccinations have worked almost too well, in that many doctors have difficulty diagnosing measles because so few have seen the disease in person. Still, the threat is real and rising; one in 1,000 children who get the measles will develop a brain infection that can be permanent, if the child survives, as one or two in every 1,000 will die. This simply reinforces the case for parents to research vaccinations and determine which ones they are comfortable being administered to their children.
If a product seems too good to be true, it probably is. Case in point: the Food and Drug Administration announced that Howard Sousa of the Artery Health Institute LLC has agreed not to market his Advanced Formula EDTA Oral Chelation capsules as a drug. In other words, the manufacturer can no longer promise that its products cure or prevent diseases.
As part of the agreement struck with the FDA, Sousa will use an outside expert to review claims he makes about his products. Steep fines will be levied against him if he fails to comply. This is a warning for all parents to research the chelation products they buy. Look for multiple reliable references that back claims made by manufacturers and sellers.
A study that examined twins found that environmental factors may be as important as genes when it comes to identifying what causes autism. Researchers did not identify specific environmental factors, but experts agree that this study sheds light on factors outside of genetics. The researchers looked at 192 pairs of identical and fraternal twins. In each pairing, one twin displayed classic symptoms of Autism and the other had Autism spectrum disorder, like Asperger’s syndrome.
Autism research concerning twins is important because identical twins share 100 percent of their genes and fraternal twins share 50 percent. This set up a clear control: if all the genetic material is the same, why does one twin develop more “severe” autism than the other? Mathematical modeling suggests that only 38 percent of the instances of autism studied in the twins can be attributed to genetics, meaning that there is a high likelihood of environmental factors as the root cause.
It seems like every other day that Autism news hits the airwaves. The latest news surrounds a study that suggests that mothers who take antidepressants during pregnancy are more likely to have a child that develops Autism. A study was conducted involving 1,800 children, of whom less than 300 had Autism Spectrum Disorder, and their mothers.
Of the group studied, women who were taking selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (found in Prozac, Paxil, and Zoloft) in the year before giving birth were twice as likely to have children with ASD in comparison to mothers who had not taken antidepressants. Women who took antidepressants with SSRIs in the first trimester were four times more likely to have a child who developed Autism or a related disorder. Still, experts caution that it is not clear whether the SSRIs or the underlying depressive condition is to blame for the increased odds. That being said, this study may lead women who experience depression during pregnancy to seek alternative means of therapy before resorting to antidepressants.