Monday, November 7, 2011

Autism Spectrum Disorders

Hello, In today's world so many Parents have to worry about this disorder because it is now effecting approximately 3 out of every 1000 children. I hope that someday soon we can get to what is the root cause of this disorder and stop the increase in it's numbers. I have worked in two residential communities with adults who have
intellectual and related developmental disabilities which included Autism. Within that time I had the privilege of working one to one with a man with Autism for about 5 yrs. It became so much more than work, it was a life altering experience for me. As I was teaching him skills for life, I learned so much about life from him too. Everyday that I would go into work thinking I had an issue or two to deal with in my life, there he would be happy and grateful just to see me and it would make all my problems go right out the window. I learned from him that if he could get up everyday and smile, just be happy to be, with all he had working against him, then I could too. Through the years with unconditional love and support I saw him grow in so many ways. I saw the person he was come through more and more as he developed trust. He continues to grow to this day from what I hear. I often wish I was still there working with him, but sometimes life takes us on different paths. I know without a doubt, I am a better person for having had him in my life. He will always be in my heart. If you ever cross paths with someone with ASD please remember that these children and adults are just like you and me inside. Do not treat them any different because of this disorder, unless you are told otherwise because of specific issues. They just simply learn and grow differently than you and I. Their brains are just wired a little different so to speak. They deserve and need the same amount of love and respect as you and I. There is so much information on this disorder, that this is just part 1. I will continue to post further information in the coming weeks.
Thanks for visiting,
Janet :)

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What Are the Autism Spectrum Disorders?

The autism spectrum disorders are more common in the pediatric population than are some better known disorders such as diabetes, spinal bifida, or Down syndrome. A recent study of a U.S. metropolitan area estimated that 3.4 of every 1,000 children 3-10 years old had autism. The earlier the disorder is diagnosed, the sooner the child can be helped through treatment interventions. Pediatricians, family physicians, daycare providers, teachers, and parents may initially dismiss signs of ASD, optimistically thinking the child is just a little slow and will “catch up.”

All children with ASD demonstrate deficits in 1) social interaction, 2) verbal and nonverbal communication, and 3) repetitive behaviors or interests. In addition, they will often have unusual responses to sensory experiences, such as certain sounds or the way objects look. Each of these symptoms runs the gamut from mild to severe. They will present in each individual child differently. For instance, a child may have little trouble learning to read but exhibit extremely poor social interaction. Each child will display communication, social, and behavioral patterns that are individual but fit into the overall diagnosis of ASD.

Children with ASD do not follow the typical patterns of child development. In some children, hints of future problems may be apparent from birth. In most cases, the problems in communication and social skills become more noticeable as the child lags further behind other children the same age. Some other children start off well enough. Oftentimes between 12 and 36 months old, the differences in the way they react to people and other unusual behaviors become apparent. Some parents report the change as being sudden, and that their children start to reject people, act strangely, and lose language and social skills they had previously acquired. In other cases, there is a plateau, or leveling, of progress so that the difference between the child with autism and other children the same age becomes more noticeable.

ASD is defined by a certain set of behaviors that can range from the very mild to the severe. The following possible indicators of ASD were identified on the Public Health Training Network Webcast, Autism Among Us.

Possible Indicators of Autism Spectrum Disorders:
Does not babble, point, or make meaningful
gestures by 1 year of age
Does not speak one word by 16 months
Does not combine two words by 2 years
Does not respond to name
Loses language or social skills

Some Other Indicators:
Doesn't smile
Poor eye contact
Doesn't seem to know how to play with toys
Excessively lines up toys or other objects
Is attached to one particular toy or object
At times seems to be hearing impaired

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