Swing Therapy For Autistic Children

Most of us have no problem combining all our senses. For autistic children (and grownups) however, it’s a mighty challenging task. Processing stimuli from the senses of sight, smell, sound, touch, taste, balance and body is overwhelming. Those suffering from autism will often withdraw to avoid over stimulation, or try to sort out the input from their senses with self-developed soothing mechanisms and repetitive behaviours.

A significant amount of occupational therapy for autism focuses on sensory integration through specially designed programs. Some of the greatest tools for sensory integration therapy for autism type disorders are various types of swings. People with various autism spectrum disorders such as Autism, PDD, ADHD, Asperger’s, proprioceptive dysfunction and tactile defensiveness will benefit from using swings as part of their therapy.

Additionally, children and adults with Sensory Processing Disorders (also called Sensory Integration Disorders), especially those with proprioceptive or vestibular dysfunction, should definitely have swings or therapy hammocks as a crucial element of their treatment.

The benefits of the hammock can be two-fold. Children who find the smooth, swaying motion soothing, will relax and unwind while using it. However, children who have a vestibular dysfunction will feel uneasy while in the hammock and might initially protest its use. For them, hammock therapy is more about regaining equilibrium and learning to tolerate vestibular stimuli.

The motion of swinging restores balance to the vestibular system, provides proprioceptive input (deep pressure) and generally helps autistic-spectrum children feel more “in balance”. The soothing motion of swinging soothes, relaxes and increases concentration. Children who have trouble focusing on tasks such as reading or math, might find it easier to concentrate sitting in a hammock chair, their bodies engaged in a soothing motion.

Setting up a swing in the home is easy and does not require a large investment. A hammock, hammock chair, hanging bag or a therapy platform swing are all relatively inexpensive, easy to find and do not take up a lot of room. Making a platform swing out of a hammock is an easy do-it-yourself project, with instructions available in our blog. Put one in the child’s room, playroom or family room for a retreat or a therapy corner for an autistic child.


Source by Marina Mironov

Why the Autism Diet Does Not Work – And How it Can

Many families of children with autism provide their children with a gluten-free or gluten-casein-free diet. Some believe that children with autism experience a specific digestive problem which relates to autistic behavior.

This year, the medical journal Pediatrics reported that no rigorous evidence could conclude that special diets work for children with autism or that children with autism experience more digestive problems than other children.

Many parents report anecdotal evidence that these types of diets do help their children. Medical experts have concerns that children on these specialized diets may encounter nutritional deficiencies.

It is the belief of this author that many children who begin showing the symptoms of autism between the ages of two and eight years of age, have just that, a nutritional deficiency.

In fact, most Americans are at risk for any of 900 nutritional diseases. The problem is not with the “autism diet,” it is how it is administered without the needed 90 essential nutrients and some of the items the diet includes.

When childrens’ brains are developing, they need all of the essential nutrients and raw materials for their brains to make neurotransmitters. In typical American society, a child goes from being weened from breast milk or an infant formula to cereals and juices.

Examples are instant oatmeals, sweet fruit cereals, grape or apple juice, sweet toaster products, and sweet punches. As you can tell I am trying hard not to name product names, but you can imagine the different brands of cereals, etc. that could be on this list.

Childrens’ brains cannot develop on carbohydrates and sugars. Not only can this limit brain development nutritionally, but evidence itself in behavior. This is where the gluten-free diet can come into play. A gluten-free diet can help with digestive problems and can be healthy if a child also receives the right supplementation.

Another of the deadly nutritional errors we make in America is providing fried foods to our children. Can anyone say “chicken nuggets?” Eggs are a food that are excellent for the brain. Not fried of course, but scrambled, poached or soft boiled. Squash and sweet potatoes can be on this diet. If your child is not allergic to milk, you can put butter and milk in them. Rice, millet, flax, and buckwheat along with meat for protein and vegetables are also healthy choices.

The problem I have with some “autism diets” is the amount of carbohydrates and sugars I see in them. These are the most important things to avoid. Unfortunately fruit and fruit juices are sugars which may be problematic for these children. Supplementation must come into play here. That is why the medical review team from the study published in Pediatrics expressed concern about nutrition.

As previously stated, we can suffer from over 900 nutritional diseases. Dr. Joel Wallach, a pioneer in nutritional medicine, has been treating patients successfully for years with this science. We need 90 essential nutrients for our bodies. 60 Minerals, 16 Vitamins, 12 Amino Acids, and 3 Essential Fatty Acids (Omega 3 & 6 are essential). Over the years, our soils have become depleted of these minerals and plants can’t put into foods what the soil does not give them. This is why we need to supplement with the 90 essential nutrients.

Dr. Wallach suggests that children born with true autism will benefit from a gluten-free diet and receiving the 90 essential nutrients or the “Mighty 90” as he calls them. However, the most important statement from Dr. Wallach comes next. He states that the 85% to 90% that have changed from a normal behavior to autistic can change dramatically with this diet and the 90 essential nutrients.

It is the hope of this author that more awareness can be brought about regarding nutritional deficiencies. Actually treating our diseases instead of masking them with drugs and providing temporary fixes with surgeries can benefit us tremendously, bringing about a better quality of life and longevity. Autism is just one of these nutritional deficiency diseases which can be treated by diet and supplementation.


Source by Brian Sater

Autism – Handling an Autistic Child

Autism appears to be the leading mentally challenged disorder presently. But, exactly what is autism?

Autism, usually rearing its head in children, is described as a developmental disorder that bears impaired communication, emotional detachment and excessive rigidity. There are two types of autism – regressive and non-regressive. Autism, developing in children from about 18-months-of-age, is known as autism when children begin losing language and other developments. Non-regressive autism occurs from birth.

How do I know my child autistic?

When children are born with Down’s syndrome, it is harder to trace autism in them then it is to trace in a non-Down’s syndrome child. Social and emotional developments are delayed in an autistic child. If tracing autism in a Down syndrome child is close to impossible for you, look out for the following.

Autistic loneliness – Generally, children with Down’s syndrome are loveable and enjoy being hugged or love to hug. However a child with autism usually prefers to be by himself. Autistic children consider people as objects rather than people.

Changeless routines – Even a slight change can cause a child with autism to go berserk. Sameness breeds familiarity for them.

Lack of eye contact – Autistic children do not make eye contact, but instead they often look ‘right through’ people.

Repetitive movement – It has been observed that autistic children can sit for long hours while waving an object and staring at it.

How do I, as a parent, handle a child with autism

Autistic children usually display intense emotions. Mrs Pillay is a mother whose 5-year-old son, Somesh, has been diagnosed with mild autism. “Even though it’s just mild autism, he is extremely sensitive and cries over nothing at times. He is in normal day care but when these episodes take place, he has to be separated until he calms down. Sometimes he stares into oblivion for hours,” explains Mrs Pillay about Somesh.

Somesh’s condition for mild autism is nothing out of the usual. Working with an occupational therapist is probably the best for both Mrs Pillay and her son. Autistic children suffer from seizures, ranging from mild to severe, at times. When a child is seizing, never move him unless he is danger of falling down the stairs, etc. Try to gently turn the child on his side and loosen the clothing around his neck.

If a holiday celebration is coming up, plan it wisely. Gifts and toys do not make a difference to a child with autism. Mrs Webber remembers her daughter, Christina now 16, back in the old days when everyone would be busily tearing open their presents on Christmas morning. Christina, then 5, would sit and stare, focused on an ornament hanging from the tree. “She never touched a present and even when we unwrapped her gifts for her, she would merely ignore us, the gifts and just about everything else in the room,” remembers Mrs Webber with a tear. Rather than toys, shower the child with love and attention, which according to most therapists are what many autistic children are lacking in today.

What happens if autism is left untreated?

If left untreated, autistic children’s social skills and speech skills will not develop effectively. The number of children who recover from autism without any help is extremely low.

What treatments are there available for autistic children?

There is no cure for autism but there are many treatments available for autism. However the treatment that suits the child may vary from individual to the next. Listed below are those that are not only popular but have seen good effects as well.

Behaviour Modification – Highly structured and skill-oriented activities that are based on the patient’s needs and interests are carried out with a therapist and extensive caregiver.

Communication Therapy – Autistic patients who are unable to communicate verbally , communication therapy is used to initiate language development.

Dietary Modifications – At times, altering the diet, digestion may be improved and food tolerances or allergies may be eliminated and therefore behavioural problems (caused by these tolerances or allergies) may reduce.

An autistic child can be as different or similar as a normal child, depending on how you look at him and treat him. At the end of the day, he is your child and will always be. No amount of denial or leaving him for long hours in special needs schools will change that. It’s time for every parent to make a difference and embrace the child for who he is rather than for what he is.


Source by Sangeetha Nadarajan

What is the Difference Between Apraxia and Autism?

Apraxia and autism are two entirely different neurological disorders which can occur in a child independently of one another, or together in the same child. While autism’s symptoms can impact and impair many different systems, behaviors, and thought patterns, apraxia occurs when the child struggles to plan and carry out voluntary physical movements.

In terms of gross motor skills, apraxia may impact a child’s capabilities to stand up, sit in a chair, or catch a ball and with fine motor skills, a child may not be able to zip up a jacket, button a shirt, write or print, or even point at an object.

Children with apraxia may also struggle to produce sound patterns to make words, or even coordinate the various speech mechanisms to make the individual speech sounds such as the difference between a “g” and a “b” sound, or the hum of an “m” sound. Even when a sound is modeled, a child with apraxia may not be able to mimic the same sound.

However, though these symptoms may also cross over into autism, there remain important differences between the two conditions. For example, when a child has only apraxia it is only the motor functioning and not the social and emotional skills that are impacted, as is often not the case with autism.

Apraxia and autism can become difficult to tell from one another when the child is exhibiting symptoms of verbal apraxia (officially known as oral-motor apraxia). The reason for this is that children with either condition can be very aware of their struggle to communicate verbally, and therefore they may choose to avoid having to talk by staying away from social situations. However, in the case of verbal apraxia, if you play with your child and don’t demand speech from him or her, you may find that they begin playing actively and engage others in their play.

The child usually experiences relief from being able to socialize and have contact with others without being required to talk, which is frustrating for them and can create a fear of failure. Often, with these children, when they are allowed to select the type of play and are allowed to go without having to speak, the relief and comfort they feel can make them more open to accepting the slow introduction of new sounds and syllables, which may eventually bring about simple words into their favorite games and play. Encouragement to vocalize or verbalize should be gentle in both apraxia and autism, and should be gradual, tailored to the pace of success rather than to a schedule.

In both motor apraxia and autism, children show social interaction problems, but in the case of motor apraxia, this is normally because they are not always capable of performing the physical movements that allows them access to others. However, motor apraxia won’t usually make a child want to avoid social interaction altogether, such as failing to make eye contact, or specifically moving away from other people.

It is easy to see why there is so much confusion between apraxia and autism spectrum disorders. Especially considering children with these conditions can also both exhibit signs of over-reactivity to sensations. However, there are differences between the two and it is important to speak to your doctor or a specialist if you are unsure. Your doctor will be able to determine which condition your child may have, or if both are present.


Source by Rachel Evans

What You Should Know About Allergy Induced Autism

Allergy induced autism has only been recognized by scientists and doctors for a relatively short time since the “discovery” of autism. Since being recognized, its presence has become increasingly common; in line with the increase in autism cases.

Those who are at the highest risk for allergy induced autism are children who have regressive autism – that is, those children who develop normally and start regressing at around the age of two years – and children with behavioral and neurological problems in combination with extreme digestive issues (such as intractable constipation).

Such children are generally incapable of metabolizing (digesting) important common food proteins; specifically casein and gluten. Casein is one of milk’s main proteins and is also commonly utilized in the manufacturing of foods. Gluten is a protein found in wheat and several grains and is often added in the manufacturing of food.

In some children with autism, gluten and casein aren’t digested in the normal way. Instead, they are metabolized only partially and become a substance quite similar to morphine, which can pass through the wall of the digestive tract and enter the blood stream.

These children also often have a “mutant” form of protein in their urine after ingesting casein or gluten. This protein is believed to be the byproduct of the creation of the morphine-like substance; the result of which is “spacey” behavior in children and a virtual addiction to foods that contain casein and gluten.

Due to this improper digestive functioning, these children are also incapable of eliminating many of the chemicals within their environment and their food. These can include pesticides, pollution, detergent additives, artificial colorings and flavorings, chemical food additives, and other substances that can become toxic when built up to unusually high quantities.

The symptoms of autism will typically present themselves within a child’s first three years. While some autistic children may have intolerance to chemicals in food, other substances can impact other children. The most common “culprits” are believed to be corn, sugar, wheat, and citrus fruits. Symptoms may be completely unnoticeable, however, it is common for children with the disorder to experience low blood sugar, excessive sweating (particularly at night), bloating, diarrhea, incapability to regulate body temperature, rhinitis, a redness in the face and/or ears, and under-eye circles.

The reduction or elimination of problem substances from a child’s diet will not cure their autism, but it can help with some of the symptoms of allergy induced autism. And this approach has been found to be effective in many children and adults. The improvements reported have been significant in some cases, but for many children, who appeared to be severely autistic, restricting their diet has reduced their symptoms only as long as they don’t deviate from the strict dietary limitations.


Source by Rachel Evans

Signs of Mild Autism – A Guide For Parents

If a child is showing symptoms and signs of Autism, the symptoms will be apparent before the child reaches age three. The symptoms will manifest themselves in three different ways: First, the child will have a hard time communicating and relating to others. Second, the child will have a hard time learning to speak and keeping conversations. Third, the child will have a lot of withdrawn or repetitive behaviors. If a parent notices any mild signs of autism, they should take their child to a doctor as soon as they can so the child can be evaluated. The sooner Autism is diagnosed and treated, the better life will be for the affected child and his or her family.

First, let’s talk about the social symptoms and signs of Autism. An Autistic child will make poor eye contact with others. Even if they do make eye contact, they will not hold it for very long. If spoken to directly, a child showing symptoms and signs of Autism usually will not look, even if their name is called. They may seem like they are not paying attention to the person speaking, or they may seem like they are unaware that person is present.

Children displaying mild signs of Autism often seem like they are in their own world. They often do not pick up on body language. Children displaying symptoms and signs of Autism have trouble comprehending different emotions. They have no sense of other peoples’ feelings. Children exhibiting mild signs of Autism will turn inward. They do not like to be touched, hugged or held. This is because they are very sensitive to people or things touching them.

Next, let’s discuss the symptoms and signs of Autism that deal with speaking and language. Children who are displaying mild symptoms of Autism are way behind their peers in acquiring speaking skills. If children don’t babble by the time they are 12 months old or say phrases made up of two or three words by the time they are two years old, they may be demonstrating symptoms and signs of Autism. Another common symptom of Autism happens when children forget words or phrases they could say earlier.

Another symptom shows up in the child’s tone of voice. Children showing symptoms and signs of Autism will often times talk like a robot, saying everything in the same tone of voice. Other times, they may sound like they are singing everything they say instead of saying it. Children who demonstrate signs of mild autism have a lot of trouble beginning a conversation. Even if they are able to start one, they will be unable to sustain it.

Another mild symptom of Autism is to repeat certain words over and over again. These words may be completely insignificant. The child often doesn’t even know what these words or phrases mean or understand how to use them in a sentence. Lastly, let’s outline the symptoms and signs of Autism that pertain to withdrawn or repetitive behaviors. One of the most frequent symptoms is called “flapping.” This is when a child flaps his or her hand or an object back and forth very quickly in front of his or her face.

Autistic children may become infatuated with ordinary objects, especially if they spin, move quickly, or have shiny colors. Autistic children also tend to rock back and forth a lot, especially when they get anxious or when they are experiencing emotions that they don’t understand. They form specific routines that they do not waver from. When the routines get interrupted for any reason, the child gets very agitated. Children who display signs and symptoms of Autism may be very bothered by bright lights, certain sounds, like the vacuum cleaner, and things that touch their skin. They have a very high tolerance for pain.


Source by Justin Parrish