Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), For Adults With Asperger’s Or Autism

Managing emotions can be especially difficult for adults with a diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome or autism. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, commonly called CBT, can be an effective means of coping with mental health issues, including difficult emotions such as depression, repetitive thoughts, or anxiety.

Many individuals with Asperger’s, autism or an Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) dread the idea of seeing a psychotherapist. The thought of analyzing past relationships, talking about early childhood experiences, and dwelling on emotions can seem dull, pointless or painful. They may imagine a therapy session as something like what Freud did, or Woody Allen on a couch and the therapist nodding and asking about dreams. Or, they picture a stereotyped TV therapist, asking “How did that make you feel?” over and over. With these images of therapy, it’s not surprising that many individuals may choose to live with their emotional pain, rather than see a therapist.

But, there are other options!

Therapy can be much more practical and goal oriented than these images may lead you to believe, and that’s just what many individuals with Asperger’s or autism are interested in. And that’s where CBT comes in.

CBT is based on the idea that our thoughts (or cognitions), our emotions, and our behaviors are intertwined. By becoming aware of our thoughts, examining them, and analyzing them, we can determine how these thoughts are triggering depressed or anxious feeling or behaviors. The ideas behind the thoughts can be tested for false logic or incorrect generalizations. Since many individuals with autism or Asperger’s excel at logical thinking, examining their own thoughts for illogical patterns can seem very natural.

CBT does deal with emotion, but in a concrete way. Emotions are discussed and often explained in depth, so they can be better understood. Many CBT therapists have their clients rate and measure their emotions, as a means of being better aware of them. How the emotion is experienced in the body may be explored. The idea is that better understanding of emotions, how they feel, and what functions they serve, can allow people to manage them more easily. Again, this practical and precise approach can feel very natural to those on the autism spectrum.

Please don’t confuse CBT with ABA. ABA, or Applied Behavior Analysis, is often referred to as Behavior Therapy, but it’s not Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. ABA is a specific therapy, often used with autistic children, to teach new behaviors. It is not psychotherapy, it doesn’t deal with emotions or issues like depression, anxiety or repetitive thoughts. CBT may incorporate a behavioral theme, such as setting up a regular exercise program as part of the symptom management, but it’s not about giving adults little rewards every time they follow the therapist’s requests. There’s also some confusion about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy versus Cognitive Therapy. Strictly speaking, Cognitive Therapy is one type of therapy, that falls under the umbrella of more general types of CBT. In practice, most therapists use the words “Cognitive Therapy” and “Cognitive Behavioral Therapy” interchangeably.

Ready to give CBT a try? Most therapists don’t list themselves as CBT therapists, since they will use other techniques when appropriate. It’s probably more important to find a therapist who is familiar with Asperger’s and autism, and one who really enjoys working with individuals on the autism spectrum. Tell your potential therapist that you’re interested in a more concrete, practical approach, define the goals you’re looking for, and ask of they use CBT regularly.

You can be feeling better soon!

Source by Patricia J. Robinson

Symptoms Of Autism – How Do You Know If Your Child Has Autism?

Children with autism are usually diagnosed at around the age of three or before. Sometimes, it the signs and symptoms of autism can go unnoticed by the parents if they are not very obvious. High functioning autism types like Asperger is one of those autism types that do not show signs that are very obvious. Other than that, the classic autism symptoms are rather apparent. Regardless of which type of autism the child has, there are some ways to pick up these signs and symptoms of autism. Parents should be more informed about autism to know how to diagnose it as early as possible.

Most of the time, parents are the ones who notice the symptoms of autism, although sometimes, it may be the doctors who pick up the signs before the parents do. Symptoms of autism can be seen as early as the age of one. Children with autism may display symptoms like being slow in communication or not speaking at all. They may use repetitive motions and play alone. They are also very sensitive to touch and sound. Any over or under stimulation will trigger a tantrum. They also display a dislike for change and any small changes may just make them cry. They seem oblivious to people and the environment around them as well, often ignoring people and avoiding eye contact with strangers. They may also be slow in their movements.

There are a few ways to test if the child is autistic. First of all, a hearing test is done to make sure that the child is not speaking due to hearing problems. Once that is done, there is also genetic testing to check for any explanation for the delay in the child’s development. The child may also be tested for seizure disorders.

When all of the above tests have been done and shown negative, then autism is diagnosed by behaviors. The type of autism can be determined by a study of the child’s behaviors, communication and social patterns. This will help to diagnose if the child is high functioning or low functioning and the appropriate treatment and care can be given to the child.

As soon as parents see any possible symptoms of autism in their child, they should get it diagnoses as soon as possible. An earlier diagnosis can help the child get treatment at an earlier age and improve the child’s life. Usually children with autism are diagnosed by the age of four, though some may be earlier. Although there is no cure for autism, an early treatment is best for both the child and parents.

Source by Jen Miller

Types of Autism – Learn the Differences Between Kanner’s Autism, Asperger’s and Rett Syndromes

The five types of autism, all of which are neurodevelopmental disorders, all exhibit similar symptoms, but each one is slightly different. The five types of autism are Kanner’s Autism (the most common one), Asperger’s Syndrome, Rett Syndrome, Childhood Disintegrative Disorder and Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified.

Rett Syndrome is the most different from the others. For one thing it favors girls just about entirely, while all other types of autism seem to have more male sufferers.  It’s quite rare with only one affected out of every ten to fifteen thousand children. The baby begins to develop normally, but somewhere between six and eighteen months this all changes and the child not only stops progressing but also they begin to regress, losing any of the progress she has made. She will no longer cuddle, and if she had been babbling or even had a few words, she will lose them. She can no longer control her feet and will wring her hands. Researchers do not as of yet understand these last symptoms.

Childhood Disintegrative Disorder is similar in that it too is a regressive disorder.  This favors boys and does not begin to show symptoms before three to four years. By this time the child has meet many of their early milestones. They are walking, potty trained, affectionate and will be speaking.  They’ll enjoy playing with their peers.  Then it will begin without warning and over the space of just a few months all this progress will stop. The child will lose whatever language they have and will no longer be able to control their bowel or bladder. They may begin to have seizures and will usually have a low IQ. This is the most dramatic of all the types of autism as the once sunny smiling child will turn sullen, uncommunicative and lose all they have learned.

Asperger’s is the mildest form of autism.  Although this follows all the other symptoms of autism they are in a milder form. Some people say that Asperger’s is autism at a higher functioning level.  The child still has impairments, their communication skills often come with difficulty and they are still very awkward in social situations. They usually have a very narrow field of interest and have been compared to “little professors” as children.  Although many of their interests are common among children those with Asperger’s will obsess on that which interests them.

Kanner’s autism, commonly referred to as autism disorder, is the most common form of autism. It is believed to affect one child in one hundred and sixty six. This has the three major areas of symptoms; difficulties with social interactions, difficulties with imaginative play and repetitive behavior and difficulty with verbal and non-verbal communication.  

The final form of autism is Pervasive Developmental Disorder not Otherwise Specified. This is exactly what it sounds like.  It is the name used for people who have many of the symptoms of autism but not enough of one kind to be labeled with it and so they are put in this general category. The person may have most of the symptoms, a very few or almost none. It is not a diagnosis of a disorder but merely a term to cover off the symptoms of an unknown neurodevelopmental disorder.

Source by Robert Boyd

Alternative Treatments For Autism, Asperger Syndrome and Autism Herbs

Asperger’s Disorder (commonly misspelled as asberger’s) is a milder variant of Autistic Disorder. Both Asperger’s Disorder and Autistic Disorder are in fact subgroups of a larger diagnostic category. This larger category is called either Autistic Spectrum Disorders or Pervasive Developmental Disorders (“PDD”).

Prognosis of an autistic child is rather poor: typically only one in twenty will display any improvement by adulthood. There is not a specific medical treatment for autism, however, there are quite a few alternative treatments for autism that have shown promise in behavior outcomes.

Vitamin B6 has shown promise in correcting abnormal metabolite excretion from a tryptophan load test. Autism Asperger syndrome given B6 have shown significant improvement overall, with true B6 deficiency present. This alternative treatment for autism may have some minor side effects of irritability, sound sensitivity and bed wetting, however, these can be resolved by giving magnesium in conjunction with B6. If B complex in addition to magnesium is given, better eye contact, less self-stimulating behavior, increased interest in surrounding environment, fewer tantrums and increased speech has been displayed.

As far as autism herbs, the best response I have ever seen is with a flower remedy tincture called Rescue Remedy. During those scary moments of an autism Asperger syndrome tantrum or outburst, applying a few drops of Rescue Remedy under the tongue (if not possible due to combative behavior, applying a few drops of the tincture directly to the center of their forehead) has shown great results in immediate calming behavior. Ginkgo biloba is a powerful free radical destroyer that protects the brain. It also improves function by increasing circulation to the brain and has shown great success as an alternative treatment for autism Asperger syndrome.

DMG (dimethylglycine) has shown great results in enriched vocabulary, construction of simple sentences, overall improved mental state, and improved concentration. The effect is usually seen within the first two weeks of administration, but you are encouraged to wait one month before discontinuing.

The other key factors that need to be addressed as alternative treatments for autism are general bowel detoxification, candida, food allergies and intestinal permeability. Sensitivity to gluten and milk are thought to be the major food allergens in autism Asperger syndrome. Eliminating aspartame and food dyes from the diet has shown great promise in correcting sound hypersensitivity and lessening tantrums. An impaired immune system in autism increases susceptibility to food allergies and sensitivities. Candida overgrowth contributes as well. The autistic individual may show signs of headache, stomachache, nausea, bed-wetting, stuttering, whining, crying, insomnia, hyperactivity, aggression, temper tantrums, gas, diarrhea or constipation, leg aches, ear infections, pink or black circles around the eyes and excessive perspiration. These can all be eliminated by following an antifungal treatment as well as following a food allergy elimination diet. If behavior problems occur prior to meals you may need to address possible hypoglycemia.

Autistic individuals are very special people and offer society great rewards, however, this condition requires specialized behavioral and psychological attention. Often times that autistic individual in your life can be your greatest disappointment but quite often your greatest joy.

Source by Stacy Foster

The Benefits of Music Therapy for Autism

A professional who specializes in autism can suggest different treatment for autistic’s that can have a significant positive effect on their behavior. One such treatment is Music therapy.

Music therapy is a controlled music experience that is used to facilitate positive change in human behavior. Each session of music therapy is carefully planned, carried out, and evaluated to suit the specific needs of each patient. Music therapy can include any of the following musical activities:

o Listening to music and/or musical creation

o Playing musical instruments (any instrument can be used)

o Moving to music

o Singing

As far as autism is concerned, studies have shown that music therapy has a significant, positive influence when used to treat autistic individuals. Participating in music therapy allows autistics the opportunity to experience non-threatening outside stimulation, as they don’t engage in direct human contact.

As was previously mentioned, music therapy is made specific to each individual. This is extremely important, because what may be positively received by one autistic may be negative to another. That being said, let’s take a look at the positive influence music therapy has had on autistic individuals.

Music therapy –

Improved socio-emotional development: In the first steps of a relationship, autistics tend to physically ignore or reject the attempts of social contact made by others. Music therapy helps to stop this social withdrawal by an initial object relation with a musical instrument. Instead of seeing the instrument as threatening, autistic children are usually fascinated by the shape, feel and sound of it. Therefore, the musical instrument provides an initial point of contact between the autistic and the other individual by acting as an intermediary.

Assisted in both verbal and non-verbal communication – When music therapy is used to aid in communication, its goal is to improve the production of vocalization and speech, as well as stimulate the mental process of comprehending, conceptualizing and symbolizing. A music therapist will attempt to establish a communicative relationship between the behavior of a child with autism and a specific sound. An autistic person may have an easier time recognizing or being more open to these sounds than they would to a verbal approach. This musical awareness, and the relationship between the autistics’ actions and the music, has potential to encourage communication.

Another form of music therapy that may help with communication is to play a wind instrument (IE flute). It is thought that by playing such an instrument, you become aware of the functioning of your teeth, jaws, lips and tongue. Thus, playing a wind instrument almost mirrors the functioning required in order to produce speech vocalizations.

Encouraged emotional fulfillment – Most autistics lack the ability to affectively respond to stimuli that would otherwise allow them to enjoy an appropriate emotional charge. Thus, since most autistics respond well to music stimuli, music therapy has been able to provide autistics with an environment that is free of fear, stimuli considered threatening, etc.

During a music therapy session, an autistic individual has the freedom to behave in specific ways that allow them to discover and express themselves when they want and choose. They can make noise, bang instruments, shout and express and experience the pleasure of emotional satisfaction.

Musical therapy has also helped autistic individuals by:

o Teaching social skills

o Improving language comprehension

o Encouraging the desire to communicate

o Making creative-self expression possible

o Reducing non-communicative speech

o Decreasing echolalia (uncontrolled and instant repetition of the words spoken by another)

Keep in mind that although music therapy can have positive effects on autistic individuals, it is vital that an autistic receives such treatment from a trained and experienced musical therapist.

Source by Rachel Evans

The 4 Early Autism Signs in Infants Every Parent Must Know

Autism is a brain development disorder which causes problems in social interaction, communication and the general behavior of the affected child. The early autism signs in infants start to appear as early as six months but typically infants are diagnosed only upon reaching 3 years old.

It is important for parents to be aware of the early autism signs in infants. Early identification is important so that interventions can be implemented and parents can also seek advice and help from experts and from autism organizations. Babies suspected to have the disorder should be observed further and must be checked by pediatricians or autism experts. Early intervention is important to the success of the different treatments for children with autism. This is the reason why it is best for parents to know the early autism signs in infants.

Here are the 4 early autism signs in infants every parent must know:

Unusual interaction with others

This is the most common of all the early autism signs in infants. Autism impairs the social development of a person. Hence, babies with autism have an unusual way of connecting with others. Upon reaching 6 months, normal infants can already interact with others. This is the period when they start smiling, pointing objects of interest, babbling, and making eye contact. On the other hand, autistic infants do not smile as much and have unusual gestures and facial expressions. It is also apparent that they look at other people differently. Their gaze tends to be brief and out of the corner of the eye. They also do not want to be cuddled as much even by their own parents and prefer to be alone than with other infants.

Have a repetitive and restricted behavior

Autistic persons have difficulty in adapting to changes. They like doing things the same way and eat the same type of foods for a long period of time. They also develop a fascination over a single object, toy, or pattern. It is also evident when they display strange repetitive movements. They like banging their head, rocking their body, and flapping their hands. Some of these movements can inflict self-injuries.

Lack of interest in the surroundings

Several studies conducted showed that babies with autism react differently when confronted with certain situations. When presented with a toy, they display less enthusiasm and less effort in grabbing it. Instead they become conscious and stare at the object differently. Other signs include not responding to one’s name and are unaffected by audible changes in the environment. This is why autism is sometimes associated with hearing disorder.

Extremely irritable mood

Infants with autism often have difficulties controlling their emotions. They cry and get irritated a lot. Although they are disinterested in their surroundings, there are times when they easily get provoked even by the slightest sound. They also get irritated even if their parents are cuddling them or even if they are just playing alone.

If you observe most of the early autism signs in infants in your own child, it is best if you consult a pediatrician or an expert immediately. The effects of autism can be minimized by adopting early intervention programs.

Source by Anthony Ezail Travis