FYI April is .....
... Autism Awareness Month!!
Please take a few minutes to read and pass on.
What is Autism Awareness Month?
Autism Awareness Month, celebrated every year in April, provides an opportunity for families, friends, and local communities to raise public awareness about Autism. It is sponsored by the Autism Society of America (ASA). Individuals and communities can get involved by participating in activities sponsored by their local ASA chapter or by promoting services related to autism.
What is Autism?
Autism is a complex developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life and affects a personís ability to communicate and interact with others. Autism is defined by a certain set of behaviors and is a "spectrum disorder" that affects individuals differently and to varying degrees.
There is no known single cause for Autism, but it is generally accepted that it is caused by abnormalities in brain structure or function. Brain scans show differences in the shape and structure of the brain in children with Autism versus neuro-typical children. Researchers are investigating a number of theories, including the link between heredity, genetics and medical problems. In many families, there appears to be a pattern of Autism or related disabilities, further supporting a genetic basis to the disorder. While no one gene has been identified as causing Autism, researchers are searching for irregular segments of genetic code that children with autism may have inherited. It also appears that some children are born with a susceptibility to Autism, but researchers have not yet identified a single "trigger" that causes Autism to develop.
Other researchers are investigating the possibility that under certain conditions, a cluster of unstable genes may interfere with brain development, resulting in Autism. Still other researchers are investigating problems during pregnancy or delivery as well as environmental factors, such as viral infections, metabolic imbalances, and exposure to environmental chemicals. Autism tends to occur more frequently than expected among individuals who have certain medical conditions, including Fragile X syndrome, tuberous sclerosis, congenital rubella syndrome, and untreated phenylketonuria (PKU). Some harmful substances ingested during pregnancy also have been associated with an increased risk of Autism. Research indicates that other factors besides the genetic component are contributing to the rise in increasing occurrences of ASD, such as environmental toxins (e.g., heavy metals such as mercury), which are more prevalent in our current environment than in the past. Findings indicate that many children with Autism or those who are at risk of developing Autism have a metabolic impairment that reduces their ability to rid their bodies of heavy metals and other toxins. Build-up of these toxins in the body can lead to brain and nervous system damage and developmental delays.
In February 2007, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued their ADDME Autism prevalence report. The report, which looked at a sample of 8 year olds in 2000 and 2002, concluded that the prevalence of Autism had risen to 1 in every 150 American children, and almost 1 in 94 boys. These numbers are higher than pediatric cancer, diabetes, and AIDS COMBINED! The issuance of this report caused a media uproar, but the news was not a surprise to ASA or to the 1.5 million Americans living with the effects of Autism spectrum disorder. Based on statistics from the U.S. Department of Education and other governmental agencies, Autism is growing at a startling rate of 10-17 percent per year. At this rate, the ASA estimates that the prevalence of Autism could reach 4 million Americans in the next decade. Autism knows no racial, ethnic, or social boundaries; family income levels; lifestyle choices; or educational levels, and can affect any family and any child.
Currently, ASA estimates that the lifetime cost of caring for a child with Autism ranges from $3.5 million to $5 million, and that the United States is facing almost $90 billion annually in costs for autism (this figure includes research, insurance costs and non-covered expenses, Medicaid waivers for autism, educational spending, housing, transportation, employment, in addition to related therapeutic services and caregiver costs).
What are the most common characteristics of autism?
Every person with Autism is an individual, and like all individuals, has a unique personality and combination of characteristics. Some individuals mildly affected may exhibit only slight delays in language and greater challenges with social interactions. They may have difficulty initiating and/or maintaining a conversation. Their communication is often described as talking at others instead of to them. (For example, a monologue on a favorite subject that continues despite attempts by others to interject comments).
People with Autism also process and respond to information in unique ways. In some cases, aggressive and/or self-injurious behavior may be present. Persons with autism may also exhibit some of the following traits:
Know the Signs: Early Identification Can Change Lives
- Insistence on sameness; resistance to change
- Difficulty in expressing needs, using gestures or pointing instead of words
- Repeating words or phrases in place of normal, responsive language
- Laughing (and/or crying) for no apparent reason; showing distress for reasons not apparent to others
- Preference to being alone; aloof manner
- Difficulty in mixing with others
- Not wanting to cuddle or be cuddled
- Little or no eye contact
- Unresponsive to normal teaching methods
- Sustained odd play
- Spinning objects
- Obsessive attachment to objects
- Apparent over-sensitivity or under-sensitivity to pain
- No real fears of danger
- Noticeable physical over-activity or extreme under-activity
- Uneven gross/fine motor skills
- Non-responsive to verbal cues; acts as if deaf, although hearing tests in normal range
Autism is treatable. Children do not "outgrow" Autism, but studies show that early diagnosis and intervention lead to significantly improved outcomes.
For more information, please visit http://www.autism-society.org/site/PageServer
I didn't know about a possible genetic link. Is there in any other family members in your family tree with Autism?
Not that I know of. But then again, I haven't had any contact with my father's side of the family since I was 4 and my mother packed up her stuff and me and left him. So there could be and I just don't know it. I have ADD though and I have heard of a connection between parents that have it and their children being on the spectrum. But that could be speculation as well.
Originally Posted by tnoisaw
Ever look into neurofeedback as an adjunct to treatment?
Never argue with drunks or crazy people.
No we haven't. Right now he's getting Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy, and ABA, in addition to his 6 hours of school a day. Plus we're currently seeing a DAN doctor in VA, going to be getting a second consult with another DAN doctor in FL later this month (one of the big guns of the profession) for his biomedical treatments, which will probably having us start chelation with him and maybe hyperbaric chamber treatments, in addition to all the supplements and GFCF diet he is currently on. All of which means his schedule is pretty full and our bank account is pretty low (since most of this is not covered by insurance). If we don't have to chelate or hyperbaric, or those don't turn out to be effective, it is something to look into though.
Originally Posted by Wandering Man
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