Archive for December, 2011
Have you noticed that the mainstream media is paying a lot more attention to autism nowadays? And not just research, but really delving into the lives of people living “on the spectrum.” One extended feature piece recently published in the New York Times particularly caught my attention.
The piece focused on two individuals with Asperger’s Syndrome in a romantic relationship. One part that struck me was when one of the people interviewed for the story pointed out that a lot of autism education focuses on coping in the classroom, learning to control outbursts, and fostering friendships, but little time – if any – is dedicated to helping young adults with autism navigate romantic relationships. Too long it has been assumed that people with autism don’t have the same desires as everyone else, but some things, like wanting to find a life partner, are universal.
DPT is shorthand for the vaccine that immunizes against diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus. The vaccine was first made available as a combination in 1946. Prior to the advent of the vaccine, thousands of people died each year from these now preventable diseases.
There are risks associated with the DPT vaccine, namely, vaccine damage. Though doctors theorize that children who are susceptible to vaccine damage from DPT would also have serious reactions to the actual diseases, many parents worry. It is best to consult a doctor for all of the facts when making a decision to vaccinate a child.
Children with autism may not get a lot of joy out of the season’s hot new toy. Knowing that, many parents of autistic children struggle with what to buy their child. Fortunately, a new San Francisco based autism awareness website has some stellar suggestions.
At the top of their list is the iPad. Yes, it’s pricey, but it can be loaded with games and activities that autistic children respond to. Unsurprisingly, Legos, video games, and sensory toys like stuffed animals are also appropriate.
Loud noises, twinkling lights, and long lines can be overwhelming. For a child with autism they can be unbearable. That’s why my heart was warmed when I came across a story about a sensory-friendly Santa Claus event as I was browsing the web for articles on autism.
The event was sponsored by the Lawyer’s Autism Awareness Foundation in Tampa, Florida. Two Hillsborough County circuit court judges traded off playing the role of the patient jolly man in red. No twinkling lights or loud music was played in order to make the children more comfortable. Appointments were scheduled to ensure each child had one-on-one time with Santa without having to wait in long lines. What a great holiday story!
Thimerosal had been used since the 1930s as a preservative in hundreds of drugs and vaccines. The FDA has since worked with vaccine producers to eliminate the use of thimerosal in favor of mercury-free preservatives. As of October 2010, the only vaccine for children containing thimerosal is the flu shot; the flu mist is thimerosal-free.
If preservatives are still a concern for parents, but they want to make sure their children are protected from deadly diseases, then they should look into preservative-free vaccination. The child’s physician should be able to recommend places to obtain a preservative-free vaccination. Failing that, contact the local pharmacy or urgent care centers for information.
Though thimerosal usage in vaccines has largely been discontinued, there are some adult sprays and prescriptions that contain the bacteria killing preservative. Some adults are allergic to thimerosal. Some of the symptoms of a thimerosal allergy include swelling, redness, itching, burning, and discomfort at the site of the injection.
A test known as Thin-Layer Rapid Use Epicutaneous (TRUE) is used to see if an adult has a thimerosal allergy. Topical and oral antihistamines can relieve some of the symptoms. If an adult knows that they have a thimerosal allergy, then they can request alternative vaccines that use Cipro, Afrin or Fluzone.
As we’ve discussed before on this blog, some bacteria are good and others are harmful to the body. Antibiotics are useful in killing off the bad bacteria, but unfortunately, the medication can also kill off beneficial bacteria. To counteract the loss of good bacteria, probiotics are recommended.
You can take probiotics like BC-30 and Lactobacillus GG while on antibiotics; the probiotics will not interfere with the antibiotics’ efficiency. Supplements should be taken twice daily at mealtime. Continue to use the probiotics several days after your antibiotic regimen is over to help restore the bacterial balance in your digestive system.
Whenever trying a new supplement, it is important to ask questions. With PCA-Rx one question that frequently comes up is: “Will PCA-Rx cause liver congestion?” The answer is no.
PCA-Rx actually encourages healthy liver function. It has been used effectively by patients who suffer from various liver ailments. Think of PCA-Rx working in conjunction with the liver – your body’s natural filter – rather than against.
An Autism diagnosis is never an easy one regardless of where your child falls on the spectrum. No two children are alike, and, for that matter, no two families are alike. Parenting a child with autism is not easy.Whatever approach to parenting you and your spouse choose needs to be the one that works best for your family.
Only a few pieces of advice will ring true for most families. First, educate yourself and your immediate family and friends. This will help you feel more in control of an uncontrollable situation, and it will also help you and your loved ones learn how best to interact with an autistic child. Second, seek help for your child as soon as possible, but also seek help for yourself. Taking care of an autistic family member is stressful and you’ll want a strong support network to lean on from time to time.