Thursday, October 30, 2008
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Friday, October 24, 2008
Apparently, he wanted me to run out to the store and buy it the minute I got the text from him. Seriously?!?!?! What am I, his do-girl, honey-do, no, I don't think so. When he got home, he sat there and argued with me saying "Mom, you know I never ask you for anything..." (oh yeah, like earlier this week you didn't ask me to get him a new hair color), "...and when I do ask you nicely, you don't do it for me...." (as if I NEVER do anything nice for him, like, uh, I don't know...perhaps coloring his hair for him so he doesn't look like a madman with ya ya eyebrows) "...I wanted you to pick it up before I got home..." and get this rationale... "so I wouldn't be up all night playing it if you got it after you got home from work..." (as if he wouldn't have done that anyway! Pishaaa!)
After about 20 minutes of back and forth, Kyle interjected with "Will you two stop arguing! I'm trying to play my game here!" Oh, yes, I love to be told what to do by my 6 year old. I turned and told him that he was not to talk to me that way, he stopped (he's so good at that...stopping when I ask nicely!) Finally, I told Tim that I would do things for him when it was convenient to ME and not when HE wants me to and he was just going to have to live with it. If he didn't like it, I wouldn't get him the game at all, even if he had earned the money to buy it.
OOOPPPPSSS!!! What was that?!?!? Sounded to me like the changing of a tune... hmmmm could it be??? We crunched his chore allowance numbers and figured that he had saved just enough money for the game. Ok.
So, as I left work last night, I was on my way home and I swear that child has radar! I had just got on the causeway toward home and bling! a text message..."are you going to get it?" from Tim. Oh shit!!! I really forgot. Well, I guess I do need to buy some groceries so my children don't starve over the next couple of days while I'm at work. Now I have to turn around and go to Walmart. (Yes, I rationalize too.) Off to Walmart I went. I didn't get a buggy because I thought I would just get a couple of dinners for the kids and Tim's game (of course). All the meanwhile, I'm texting him telling him to go to bed. (I'm so mean! I didn't tell him I was at Walmart. He thought I was just leaving work...he he he) Next thing you know, I have a 10 pound bag of sugar in my arms (because sugar is my favorite food and that is one thing I won't run out of), a pair of pants for work, 6 boxes of frozen dinners for my little ones (need some variety so they can choose the one they want...seems to work better at getting them to eat) AND Tim's game. $110.00 later and I'm broke again and back to saving for Halloween (yes I know it's right around the corner, but damnit, if he's going to ask me to pay him for his chores so he can get this game, then he can wait to get a costume!).
Off to work again tonight... maybe I'll make $40....that would cover um, let me see..... GAS!!!
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
This is, of course, before we dyed his hair black...again... I'll take more pics and show you what it looks like in his "frohawk."
Why do teens like to argue with parents ALL the time. Tim was complaining how the things we tell him to do don't make sense (like unloading the dishwasher, sitting in the bathroom with Meryck while he's taking a shower, take the trash out, you know, all those confusing things...) My husband broke down and told him that nothing we tell him is going to make sense for him at this age. Apparently, THAT made sense because Tim has been less argumentative! (At least for now...)
Here is Meryck in last years costume.
This year he's going to be a knight.
We went to his nephrologist yesterday and things look pretty good right now. We have to get an ultrasound of his kidneys and some more bloodwork next week. That's when we'll have a better idea of what is going on. With him, no news is great news!
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Here's another picture that gives a better view of his eyebrows, but the flash really washed out his face...
Needless to say, he didn't want to go to school the next day. Well, since he wanted to do it himself and didn't have the patience to wait for me, guess what...the next day, off to school he went. When he came home, he told me he was PODO'd (I have since found out that it means Property Of the Dean's Office). He didn't get into trouble, but was told that he had to change his hair color to a "natural" color, which we will be doing this weekend.
Welp, I've got to get ready for work...another day another dollar. I've gotta pay for some "natural" hair dye now, so...off I go.
Until next time...
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
This picture was taken this morning before he left for school. As you can see, he's not a morning person and was like Aww Mom!!! when I told him I wanted a picture. We decided to wait to see how the bleaching turned out before we dye it the raspberry. That may be coming tonight. Woo Hoo!!
Yesterday I cut Kyle's hair. He wanted his hair to look like his father's, short military cut with a small fade on top. Kyle has very thin, naturally bleach blonde hair and already has a receding hairline. I got the clippers out to buzz the back of his head, made him look down, began to buzz ...and out of nowhere he said to me "What are you trying to do, make me bald woman!" I couldn't believe it. It was all I could do to not fall on the floor laughing and the only words I could utter out of my mouth were "Excuse me?" What does Kyle do in all his literal-ness? He repeated exactly what he said. I couldn't help but laugh! Later, Tim was being a typical older brother and started teasing Kyle, telling him that he would shave Kyle's eyebrows off while he was asleep. Kyle, in a very calm and controlled voice, told Tim "Well, you won't be able to find my eyebrows because they are the same color as me." What a great response! My little Kyle - what a character!
We were decorating for Halloween yesterday and I got some window stickers for the kids to put up. They had a blast. Some were glow in the dark, so they put them on the bathroom mirror, would go in the bathroom, close the door and scream like they were scared. The best part about putting up the decorations was when Tim and I put up this spider that is sound and motion sensitive and drops down on a string when activated. When Meryck came home from school, he walked inside and when the door slammed, the spider went off. Meryck about jumped out of his skin! He was so afraid. As the awful mother that I am, what did I do?? I laughed so hard at him. Tim took the spider down and I tried to get Meryck to touch it and he completely freaked out. He was screaming at the top of his lungs and clawed to get away from it. Meryck wouldn't even walk down the hallway that the spider was in, he would walk around the kitchen so he wouldn't have to walk under the spider. Then Kyle came home and the same thing happened with him. They both thought the spider would come down and get them. After quite some time (and a lot of reassurance from me that it was fake), they would stand under the spider and scream "BOOO!" to activate the spider. It was really funny at first, but after about an hour of hearing two little voices screaming at this spider, I realized that I must've been out of my mind to buy this thing. Happy Halloween!!!
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Then, my husband tells our teen to mow the lawn. It needed mowing and if he didn't have it done yesterday my husband was going to pay the kid across the street to do it. (Remember, Tim has a big case of the L-A-Z-Y's -- and he gets PAID for chores!!) So what does this ingenious child do...he knows that he gets paid $20 for mowing, found a couple of his friends and told them that he would pay them $15 to mow the lawn!!! I couldn't believe it. Tim called it being an entrepreneur...I called it lazy, so as the mean, awful, witch of a Mom I am, I only paid Tim $15 (which he gave to his friends) to mow. The best part about it...his friends didn't do a thorough job and Tim had to go over some spots and weed eat - for FREE!!!! WOOOOT!
So, I've been recovering from hernia surgery and my little people decided to lay with me. My belly was growling, you know the growl from when you drink only water...well, my wonderful son, Kyle, thought he'd enlighten me about growling stomachs. This is what he said - "You know when you feel something wiggly in your belly Mom? It means that it will come out your butt as a toot." I thought to myself, how in the world does a 6 year old pay attention to such detail and asked him where he learned that bit of information. He told me he had figured it out himself. Talk about being tuned in to your own body!
Then there was a commercial on TV about A/C filters and dust mites. Kyle felt he had to explain to me about dust mites. He said "Dust mites eat dead skin and are on hairy backs." Hairy backs??? What that has to do with dust mites, I may never know.
I told Kyle several times that it was time for him to sleep, since his brother was already passed out and it was way past his bedtime. He was having a hard time, which is usual for him. I asked him why he was having such a hard time falling asleep and his response was that he was like a sloth, so slow to go to sleep. Within 15 more minutes, a head rub and snuggle and he was out.
Friday, October 10, 2008
So, I guess a little history for this first post would be appropriate…here we go…
I am a military wife and mother of four (I suppose the husband doesn’t count) three monsters, uh, lovely children, all boys. Two of which are special needs. My youngest monster, I mean child, has a very rare disease called Prune Belly Syndrome. His name is Meryck and he is 4 years old. He is missing some of his stomach muscles, does not feel his bladder, had one kidney fail and the other is failing as well. Doctor’s appointments are four hours away and we go bi-monthly. Even with all this going on with him, he is the most loving, cuddly, caring monster child I have ever seen. I call him my little cling-on because that is exactly how he is with me. As an example, when we wait on the porch for Kyle (his brother) to get off the bus, Meryck will hide behind me clinging on to my legs thinking that Kyle will not see him. Now, let me tell you that I am a whole 100 pounds soaking wet, and if the wind blew hard enough, I would blow away. I could pretty much turn sideways and disappear, so how this young one could believe that standing behind me would in any way provide an adequate hiding spot is beyond me.
My middle child, Kyle, who is 6 years old, has a high functioning autism. If anyone is a hoot, it is him. He is extremely intelligent and some of the things that come out of his mouth just floor me. One of my favorite things to do to him is when he asks if he can do something and it is not the appropriate time, I tell him “Sorry Charlie.” Without fail, in a frustrated tone, Kyle will look at me and tell me as-a-matter-of-factly that his name is not Charlie, his name is Kyle. Oh, and one night, at about 2:00 in the morning, Kyle, who had been sound asleep, came downstairs to inform me that he needed a “midnight snack.” A midnight snack??? Are you kidding me??? We don’t use that phrase in our home so I asked where he learned it from and his response was that he learned it from Chowder earlier that day. (For those of you that don’t know, Chowder is a cartoon.)
My oldest child, Tim, is a teenager. Oh the joy of owning, uh, parenting a teenager. He is pretty typical as far as teenagers go. You know, the whole world revolves around me; I am all that matters, me, me, me, “Emo” without the problems, kind of teenager. I’ve allowed him to dye his hair black; he MUST have his bangs cover one eye. He’s the smart stupid kind. This monster child will find a loophole for EVERYTHING, so I must be very careful how I tell him to do things. Like, “Please wash the dishes Tim.” What will he do….he will open the dishwasher and without turning on the faucet, begin to load the dishwasher with food stuck on the plates and utensils, then turn the dishwasher on. Then doesn’t understand why the dishes aren’t clean when it’s time to put them away. He is pretty good in the intelligence department, only he chooses not to apply himself. In other words, he has a bad case of the L-A-Z-Y’s. He’s been grounded off the computer for a year because of grades. Yes, I said a whole year! I know, I know…what an awful parent that makes me, but hey, when it comes to teens and you want something from them, hit them where it hurts to get what you want. Any other way isn’t effective (at least not with mine, and I have tried!!).
My fourth child, I mean my husband is in the military. He takes good care of us and I love him dearly. That’s all I have to say about that subject (at least for right now).
Oh, yeah, and me, I almost forgot…. I am a domestic engineer. The end.
I promise to get the hang of this blogging thing and will be a lot funnier (I hope). I just wanted to introduce myself, no I mean my family so that there is a little history established…
More to come…
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
There are different types of autism, and they are grouped together under the term Autism Spectrum Disorder, or ASD. This term describes a number of developmental disabilities, all of which can be traced to a problem within the brain. The types of autism include: Autistic Disorder, Pervasive Developmental Disorder - Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS), Asperger Syndrome, Childhood Disintegrative Disorder (CDD) and Rett Syndrome.
Each ASD has specific symptoms that make diagnosis possible. Autistic disorder, most commonly referred to as autism, is the form of ASD that is seen most frequently in America today. Following is a list of the types of autism and their basic characteristics:
Types of Autism: Autistic Disorder
Autistic disorder is the most prevalent form of ASD and is what most people associate with the term autism. This disorder varies widely in severity from very mild to extremely disabling, sometimes requiring institutionalization. Autistic disorder affects behavior, communication, social interaction and learning abilities.
Types of Autism: Pervasive Developmental Disorder - Not Otherwise Specified
PDD-NOS is a milder form of autism and serves as a catch-all group for developmental disorders that don't exactly fit within any other category. Symptoms of PDD-NOS are the same as for autistic disorder, but they are milder. An individual with PDD-NOS is able to communicate more effectively, has fewer problems learning and is more successful with social interaction.
Types of Autism: Asperger Syndrome
Individuals with Asperger Syndrome are mildly affected by the usual autistic symptoms, and oftentimes they appear perfectly ordinary. The biggest difference between Asperger Syndrome and Autistic Disorder is in language development. People with Asperger Syndrome exhibit no delay in learning to speak. In fact, they generally have good to excellent language skills, although they may use language in a unique way or have an interesting way of speaking.
Asperger Syndrome does not have the same level of cognitive disability found in Autistic Disorder. In fact, as part of its medical definition, those with Asperger syndrome must be of average to above-average intelligence and suffer from no "clinically significant" delay in cognitive development.
Types of Autism: Childhood Disintegrative Disorder (CDD)
The diagnosis of CDD is given to a child who reaches their developmental milestones and appears normal for several years, but then loses the skills they have learned and begins to exhibit typical autistic behavior. The skill loss exhibited with CDD can range from complete loss of abilities to just a partial loss of certain skills.
Types of Autism: Rett Syndrome
Rett Syndrome occurs only in girls and is thought to be genetically based. A child with Rett syndrome begins development on a normal schedule but starts to decline in social skills and communicative abilities between one and four years old. At this point, autistic symptoms including repetitive hand movements begin to appear and overtake the child's previous behaviors.
Taken from here
Autism statistics released by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) indicated that cases of autism spectrum disorder have risen over the past several years. Autism spectrum disorder, or ASD, is the term used to describe a number of developmental disabilities that stem from a problem within the brain.
Autism is the most common form of ASD, and it is now prevalent in 1 out of 150 children in America, according to the CDC's 2007 autism statistics. This number is even higher for boys, where nearly 1 out of 94 have autistic disorder. And those numbers are rising, as is evidenced by autism statistics provided by the CDC and other organizations. Here are the facts and figures that have been discovered over the past several years:
• Autism is usually diagnosed before a child turns three years old, but symptoms have been noted as early as four months.
• Autism is a lifelong disability and life expectancy of autistic individuals is normal.
• Anywhere from 10-20 out of every 10,000 people are affected by autism.
• Estimates show that 1-1.5 million Americans have some form of ASD.
• Autism is currently the fastest growing developmental disability in the United States, with an annual growth rate of 10-17 percent.
• In the United States, a new case of autism is identified almost every 20 minutes.
• In the past 10-15 years, cases of autism have risen 172 percent. In this same amount of time, the U.S. population grew 13 percent, and cases of disabilities rose 16 percent.
• Care of autistic individuals costs approximately $90 billion per year. This dollar amount is expected to more than double, or even quadruple, over the next five years.
• Early diagnosis of autism can cut down on costs for lifelong care by about two-thirds.
• About half of autistic people score less than 50 on IQ tests; 20 percent score between 50 and 70, and 30 percent get a score over 70. Only a very small percentage of people with autism are savants, showing genius-level abilities in a particular area.
• About 17 percent of all children have some type of developmental disability.
• Autism became a special education exceptionality in 1991, and it is the sixth most commonly found disability acknowledged in public schools today.
• Autism is diagnosed more frequently than Down syndrome, cystic fibrosis and all forms of childhood cancer combined.
Autism statistics are always changing as research and observation is completed and shared. The growing numbers have led to some societal concern, and hopefully this will lead to new treatments and eventually a cure.
Taken from here
What causes Autism is something every doctor hears when they tell a parent their child is Autistic. There is not one definite answer to this question. There are several thoughts on what causes Autism. Some of the causes of Autism are thought to be genetic. Doctors think there are several genes that cause Autism, but have yet to locate them. They now feel that some people are born with the predisposition to be Autistic. Then they have some type of environmental trigger and they become Autistic.
We have omitted irrelevant information from this composition on Autism as we though that unnecessary information may make the reader bored of reading the composition.
Just as a book shouldn’t be judged by its cover, we wish you read this entire article on Autism before actually making a judgement about Autism.
Autism is more common in boys that girls. Some studies show a connection to environmental factors and Autism. They think that the pollution and toxins in the air can contribute to a child having Autism. Studies have shown small towns with high cases of Autism. The towns had one thing in common, a high pollution source. Usually the source is a factory of some sort that release a lot of toxins, and chemicals into the air.
Make the best use of life by learning and reading as much as possible. read about things unknown, and more about things known, like about Autism.
A majority of people believe Autism was caused by the Mercury, or Thimersal in vaccinations. This was due to the fact that Autism was first diagnosed about the same time as vaccinations were given.
There has been a lot of studies an research about vaccines causing a child to become Autistic. So far there has been no evidence to suggest the connection between vaccinating your child and Autism. There could be more risks from not having the vaccinations.
The facts on Autism mentioned here have a consequential impact on your understanding on Autism. This is because these facts are the basic and important points about Autism.
Some studies have shown children being exposed to high levels of Mercury were more likely to have Autism. This was a fear with the vaccinations, but the majority of shots these days do not contain any mercury or Thimersal. If they do contain Thimersal it is in very trace amounts. High levels of Mercury can be contributed to eating a lot of fish, and industrial emissions. Researchers think there could be a connection to pregnant women being exposed to Mercury and their children having Autism. There are new studies testing pregnant women to see how much Mercury is in their systems and testing the babies at birth. They can then monitor the babies with high Mercury levels and see if they have any problems later on.
You will learn the gravity of Autism once you are through reading this matter. Autism are very important, so learn its importance.
There are theories that Autism is caused from an underlying health issue. Certain diseases make a child more likely to develop Autism. Some of these diseases include Fragile X syndrome, and congenital Rubella. Others believe Autism is caused by a metabolic imbalance.
Perfection has been achieved in this article on Autism. There is hardly any matter left from this article that is worth mentioning.Perfection has been achieved in this article on Autism. There is hardly any matter left from this article that is worth mentioning.
It used to be thought that Autism was caused from an early emotional trauma. They also thought bad parenting was to blame. Doctors tried to blame mothers for not giving their children enough attention and love. These theories have been found untrue. Much more research is needed to identify the true cause or causes of Autism. Until a definite answer is found no one will know what cause a child to be Autistic. These theories are all just that, theories. Someday hopefully doctors will understand what causes a child to be Autistic, and they can work on a way to prevent, or cure it.
We had thought that producing some matter on Autism would be an impossibility. However, once we started, there was no turning back.
by Jerry Durham
Myths and Facts about Autism
"If you've heard the stories about autism..."
Myth: "Autism or ASD is the result of bad parenting."
Fact: Although autism is a recognized mental disorder it is still badly understood by the majority of people. Despite the fact that the causes of autism aren't fully understood, it is clear that a strong genetic basis may be involved. The condition on the increase and occurs all over the world. Autism occurs in one in 250 babies and four out of five children with autism or ASD are boys. Autistic spectrum disorder affects more children than cancer, cystic fibrosis and multiple sclerosis combined.
Myth: "All children with autism have learning problems"
Fact: Autism manifests in different ways in different people. The disorder's symptoms can vary significantly and although some children have severe learning problems, others are very intelligent and can cope extremely well with difficult learning materials and often do well in subjects such as maths. Children with Asperger's syndrome for instance, often do well at school and develop into independent adults.
Myth: "Autism is the result of childhood vaccination."
Fact: Between 2000 and 2001, three expert reviews unanimously concluded that the data that were available at the time of these claims did not support this association. A large-scale study in 2002 also reported no association. Expert review panels also reached similar conclusions with regard to thimerosal exposure or the mercury-containing preservative used in childhood vaccines, although fewer data are available.
Myth:"Children with autism need special foods."
Fact: It is true that many children with autism suffer from intolerance to certain foods such as dairy products or foods containing gluten. Other foods, such as sweets or foods containing lots of sugar or acids, may affect the child's behaviour. It is important to discuss nutrition with healthcare professionals, as altering your child's diet may improve your child's wellbeing and behaviour.
Myth: "Children with autism can't go to school as they behave badly."
Fact: Provided suitable programmes are developed for a child with autism, it is often possible for a child with autism to function in a classroom as their behaviour can be improved. In some cases children can even cope in conventional schools. On the whole children with autism will benefit tremendously from being integrated in classroom life. Only the severest cases won't be able to cope in a classroom setting or their behaviour may be harmful to other children.
Myth: "It's simple; once a child with autism is prescribed medication, it will be cured."
Fact: To date there is no treatment that cures autism and medication is only prescribed to treat a number of the associated symptoms of autism. Medication will also be prescribed if the child suffers from other mental disorders. However, the best outcome will be achieved when a developmental programme is developed that focuses on the child's strengths and weaknesses and that is complemented by medication where symptoms can't be treated with psychotherapy and developmental programmes alone. To date not much scientific research is available to demonstrate the benefits of medication in children with autism. Parents and caregivers should be closely involved in the decision to use medication.
Myth: "It's just a phase, he'll grow out of it."
Fact: Children with autism will never be cured. However, many children with milder forms of autism such as Asperger syndrome will be able to end up living independent lives provided they have been given appropriate support and education. Other children with more severe forms of autism will always require help and support and won't be able to live fully independent lives. This causes considerable worry to parents, especially when they realize that they might not be around to support their child throughout adult life. It is important that you discuss this with your local support teams as an appropriate solution will need to be found for your child if s/he won't be able to live an independent life in adulthood."
Myth: "Autism never occurs more than once in a family."
Fact: Although no exact cause is known for autism, there are clear indicators that genetic factors play a role. Studies have revealed that autism is likely to affect both identical twins or that siblings of a child with autism are at an increased risk of having autism.
Myth: "My child has autism. I can cope by myself and don't need any help."
Fact: Dealing with an autistic child poses a very heavy burden on parents and the rest of the family. Left untreated, your child's condition is likely to worsen and it is important to seek a diagnosis as early as possible. This will improve your child's outcome as the right programme can be developed for your child. Your child's wellbeing will improve and you will get the support you need to deal with your child at home as well as get quality time with the rest of the family and the other children. Trying to deal with your child on your own will not only deteriorate your child's wellbeing, but your life and that of the rest of the family will become increasingly stressful and get out of control. Seeking help and having your child diagnosed will improve the wellbeing of the whole family and ensure that the necessary support is available when required.
Taken from here.
MYTH: “Children with autistic spectrum disorders can not form loving relationships, or can not love with the same degree of warmth and intimacy as others.”
FACT:With a comprehensive, affect, relationship-based approach to intervention, children can learn to enjoy closeness, warmth and intimacy, and can love others very deeply. When autism was first identified as a disorder in the 1940’s, it was thought that the fundamental problem in autism was an inability to form intimate, warm relationships. This concept has persisted in all the subsequent definitions of autism. But clinical work with children diagnosed with ASD has shown that when we apply the DIR/Floortime approach, following the child’s lead to focus on the child’s natural pleasures and build interactions off the child’s pleasures, we see that the first element that responds is the sense of relatedness. This sense of relatedness, in the shared smiles, shared joy, shared pleasure and the deep sense of mutual belonging to one another, comes in relatively quickly with appropriate treatment.
Children with ASD can love as deeply as any other child, and many can love even more deeply than most because if they are in a proper program, we’re providing them a lot of warmth and love and a lot of interactive opportunities, even more than the average child gets. We believe that the primary challenge for children diagnosed with ASD is in the communication of their emotions, not in the experience or feeling of warmth and intimacy.
MYTH: “Children with autistic spectrum disorders can’t learn the fundamentals of relating, communicating and thinking, so the best you can do is try to teach them to change their behaviors.”
FACT: Many children with autistic spectrum disorders can learn the fundamentals of relating, communicating and thinking. This requires hard work with a comprehensive treatment approach that focuses on each child’s individual processing differences and on helping the child master the basic building blocks of relating, communicating and thinking. Helping children master these foundations is more effective at helping them move beyond symptoms or behaviors than focusing on symptoms alone. Our study of 200 children diagnosed with ASD and treated intensively with an approach that worked with their individual processing differences and focused on the fundamentals of relating, communicating and thinking (the DIR/Floortime approach) showed that a high percentage could master these foundations for healthy emotional and intellectual growth. (See Research on the DIR®/Floortime Approach)
Autistic spectrum disorders should be viewed as a dynamic, not a static, process. When we think of a static process, we think of something that is fixed, no matter what the environment, the context, or the circumstances. A child who has blue eyes is unlikely to change his blue eyes from one circumstance to another, between today and six months from now. We may perceive his blue eyes differently, depending on the lighting, but his blue eyes are likely to remain relatively stable. On the other hand, dynamic traits have to do with many of our feelings or emotions. They are changeable from one day to another and certainly changeable over months or years of time. The processes at the core of autistic spectrum disorders - the ability to relate with intimacy, the ability to exchange emotional gestures and signals, and the ability to use ideas meaningfully and with emotion - these are dynamic, not fixed, processes. These can and do change, more for some children than others, and more with treatment programs that are individualized to meet the child’s needs and focus on developing the core capacities of relating, communicating and thinking. In our systematic observations of 200 children having access to such an approach, almost all the children showed significant gains in their ability to relate with warmth and intimacy. A subgroup of children not only became warm and intimate, but also very verbal, empathetic and reflective.
MYTH: “Children who exhibit certain autistic-type behaviors, such as perseverating (e.g., lining up cars over and over again), self-stimulating (e.g., staring at a fan or spinning), or repeating words in a scripted way (e.g., echoing what someone else says) necessarily have an autistic spectrum disorder.”
FACT: These symptoms are secondary symptoms in autism and should not be used as the primary criteria for making a diagnosis. These symptoms are seen in a number of other kinds of developmental challenges, not simply autistic spectrum disorders. They are not specific to autism, and therefore do not characterize the disorder. A child who has difficulties with sensory processing, such as under-reactivity and over-reactivity to sensation, or with motor planning can become perseverative or self-stimulatory when overwhelmed or stressed.
The core, or primary components of autism involve difficulties in the areas of relating, communicating, and thinking. Parents and professionals should consider the following:
Is the child having trouble establishing true intimacy and warmth; seeking out those adults they are really comfortable with like the mother, father, or key caregiver? Can he show some warmth in that relationship?
Can the child communicate with gestures, with emotional expressions? Can she get into a continuous flow of back-and-forth emotional signaling with smiles, frowns, head nods and other interactive gestures?
When the child uses words, can he use them meaningfully in emotionally relevant ways? In other words, are the words invested with emotion or affect so it’s “Mommy, I love you” or “I want that juice please” rather than “This is a table”.
If these three components are not present – the capacity for intimacy, the capacity for exchanging and reciprocating different types of emotional gestures in a continuous way, and the capacity for using emerging words or symbols meaningfully with good emotional intent, then we should consider that the child may be showing a form of an autistic spectrum disorder.
MYTH: “Children with autistic spectrum disorders cannot empathize with others; they do not have “theory of mind” capacities.”
FACT: When working with a relationship-based affect approach tailored to the child’s individual differences, as a child’s language and cognitive abilities improve, so do his theory of mind and his ability to empathize. The children who have done very well following a DIR/Floortime treatment program are very capable of high levels of theory of mind (the ability to understand that other people have independent minds of their own, which allows a child to think about other people’s perspectives, as well as his own),and high levels of empathy. In fact, we have a subgroup of children originally diagnosed with autistic spectrum disorders, many of whom are described by parents and teachers as having probably a little better empathy than their age peers who never had developmental challenges in the first place. They are highly warm, empathetic, caring individuals with friends and they are also doing well academically. This is only for a subgroup, but it is a significant subgroup. It shows what is possible with the proper program.
MYTH: “Autism is a fixed biological disorder based on a single genetic pattern.”
FACT: Current research suggests that there is no single cause of autism, but rather multiple causes working together in a cumulative way, and multiple paths leading to the disorder.
There are clearly genetic components and genetic susceptibility, but this genetic susceptibility may also make certain children more vulnerable to other risk factors. These risk factors may be cumulative, so that the presence of one may make a child more vulnerable to the effects of others later. Depending on the child’s particular susceptibility, these risk factors may be more or less destabilizing and lead to developmental problems.
The other piece of the model has to do with multiple paths. For example, some children are sensory over-reactive; some are sensory under-reactive; and others have severe motor planning problems. And some children have combinations of these challenges. These are all very different biological pathways that may result in difficulties of relating and communicating.
In summary, current research suggests a complex model for understanding the causes of autism. It is likely that there are a number of different paths, each with different cumulative risk factors associated with them, that lead to autism.
MYTH: “Children with autistic spectrum disorders can’t read the emotions of others.”
FACT: The research that has supported this assertion is open to major questions by more recent research. A recent study suggested that children with ASD process facial expressions in a different part of the brain than those without the disorder. But Professor Morton Gernsbacher and colleagues at the University of Wisconsin found that in the original study, the children may not have been looking at the face, so that the reason they appeared to not be processing the emotions of the face in the areas of the brain that normally process emotion was because they weren’t actually looking at the face. So in a replication of the original study, Gernsbacher et al encouraged the individuals to actually look at the face, and their finding was that then the individuals with autistic spectrum disorders processed the emotions in the exact same areas of the brain that those without ASD did.
The human face provides an enormous amount of information and can be overloading, especially for someone with sensory processing difficulties. Just like a shy person at a cocktail party may look down at your ankles or look away until they warm up, similarly children, or adults, who are sensory over-reactive may need a little warm-up period before they can look at your face. This doesn’t mean they can’t look at the face or that they process emotions from the face differently; it just means that they find it stressful to look at the face too quickly. When Gernsbacher and colleagues measured the emotional reactivity of these individuals, they found that when they did encourage them to look at the face, the physiological measurements suggested some degree of stress response. In conclusion, they found that the individuals were processing emotion in the same way as everyone else, but that they had a preference for not looking at the face because it was overloading and somewhat stressful.
Taken from here
At Autism Speaks you can find a wealth of information, or at Autism Society of America.
I will post more information at this blog post as I research more.