Autism is one of the fastest rising illnesses in young children. It is estimated that 1 in 88 children have been shown to have signs, symptoms or confirmed cases of Autism. The Autism Spectrum Disorder, or ASD, is seen in all races but is 5 times more common in males than females. Despite the growing concerns of Autism and the rapid rate of growth Autism has shown in the past few years, there is still a growing misconception about the illness.
This guide will cover the facts related to Autism, myths surrounding the illness, ways for parents to cope with Autistic children, illnesses associated with Autism and health options available to children living with Autism.
Facts Related to Autism
For families facing the reality of an autistic child, there can be an overabundance of information online and in doctor’s offices. There are books, pamphlets and physician information related to the facts regarding autism. There are also many myths circulating autism. The following are a few facts related to autism that parents should be aware of when their child may be diagnosed with autism or may have already been diagnosed with autism or autistic tendencies.
Who is Effected
The first question many parents ask regarding autism is who can be affected by autism. Autism affects every race, culture and nationality. However, autism is more prevalent in male children than female. In fact autism and autistic related issues or autistic tendencies are five times more likely to occur in a male than in a female.
In 2009 the CDC reported that one in 150 children were diagnosed with autism or showed autistic tendencies. However, in 2012 the CDC updated the report to show that it is now one in 88 children who show signs, symptoms or have been confirmed as a child with autism. The statistics seem to increase each year with new findings of what is autism and what may be labeled as an autistic tendency.
There are several parents and physicians organizations that believe that autism and the autistic tendencies related to autism can be caused by environmental factors rather than medical or biological factors. Certain environmental factors that may spawn autistic tendencies or may be directly connected to autism can include chemicals in the environment, metal exposure, various antibiotics, infections that occur during the pregnancy, and certain drugs or food additives. These environmental factors have led some parents to believe that vaccinations should be closely monitored or that certain vaccinations should not be given at all due to the fact that they believe there is a link between the chemicals in these vaccinations and autistic tendencies. This particular form of environmental factor has not been proven in any study but is still a common belief among parents and certain pediatricians.
There have been several early intervention programs put in place over the last few years. These early intervention programs are designed to help children three years old and younger who may have shown developmental delays or who may have shown possible signs of autism. These services are generally free and may include various forms of physical therapy and speech and language therapy.
A reduction in pain for children who have exhibited autistic tendencies or who have been diagnosed with autism is common. Many of the children with autism do have a reduced sensitivity to pain however may have an extra sensitivity to touch, sound or such stimulation.
There are hundreds of facts related to autism, autistic tendencies and asperger’s syndrome. For more information on a full list of facts related to autism and autistic tendencies in use please see the following website http://facts.randomhistory.com/2009/09/21_autism.html.
Myths Surrounding Autism
For as many facts regarding autism that are available, there are hundreds of myths surrounding autism. These various myths can range from environmental to medical myths surrounding what causes autism and how autistic children should react. The following are a few of the myths that are currently surrounding autism and the truth regarding each of these myths.
Difficult to Love
There is a huge myth among several communities that autistic children do not show love, are incapable of love or do not show any kind of outward affection. The truth related to this illness is that many children who suffer from autism or have autistic tendencies actually have social skill problems or have developmental issues when it comes to various forms of social skills. Instead of handling shyness or fear in a “normal fashion,” a child with autism will tend to completely shy away or shut off the outside world. This disconnect can sometimes appear to be a disconnect with emotion when in fact the child does not understand how to cope with the social issue facing them.
One of the biggest myths regarding autism is that a child with autism is intellectually challenged or developmentally challenged. This is not necessarily true and definitely not true in all cases of children with autism or autistic tendencies. In fact, it has been noted that children with autism or autistic tendencies will tend to focus on a particular form of intellect and may have much higher than normal IQs. When a child with autism excels at music, math or art they will focus on what they excel at. This does not necessarily mean that they do not excel in other areas. It simply means that they have chosen to focus on the one area they excel in the most.
Autism is a Phase
The myth that autism is a phase is a common method that does have some basis in fact. For some children the severe autistic tendencies may move out of their system by the time they reach high school years. In fact, if a child is considered to be 3 to 4 years behind developmentally due to autism this particular issue will tend to correct itself as the child becomes older and enters adulthood. There will still be autistic tendencies such as OCD related tendencies or tendencies to focus on one particular topic at a time.
However, it should be noted that autism in younger children that is considered to be low functioning will not eventually even out. In fact, if a child is considered to be low functioning autistic there are several other illnesses and issues that will complicate their growth and developmental phases. This guide will discuss those particular illnesses associated with autism that could in fact stunt the growth or stunt the developmental phases within the child.
All Autism Issues are Covered Under Insurance
There has been opposition and debate in recent years over free programs related to autism. There is a common myth that autism and all autistic, Asperger’s and autistic tendency related issues are covered under insurance and therefore free programs are not necessary. This is entirely untrue. Many insurance companies do not offer any type of special insurance or coverage for children with autism. In fact, due to the complexities of autism and illnesses related to autistic tendencies, many insurance companies feel that it is a larger liability to offer any kind of coverage for children with these issues rather than to not cover them all. In these cases certain programs developed by the United States government and by other organizations are the only ways for children with autism or autistic tendencies to receive any type of care.
Ways for Parents to Cope with Autism
Parents are faced with the reality of a child with autism or autistic tendencies may not understand or be able to cope with that reality. There are several ways for parents to cope with autism and cope with an autistic child. These methods have worked for many families and can be developed to work with particular situations and adjusted to work with particular levels of autism and autistic tendency care.
Patience is the first step in dealing with a child with autism. Depending on the level of autism and autistic tendencies the child has, there may be various levels of emotional issues. Some autistic children have no emotional outbursts at all whether they be happy, sad or angry. However, some children display autistic tendencies may show anger management issues or frustration issues that can be misinterpreted as anger and violence. A parent dealing with an autistic child must have the patience to understand and to cope with the child enough to figure out what they are trying to convey with their outbursts or lack there of. There are several organizations and support groups that can help parents learn to deal with the autistic outbursts that their children may have and to find ways to learn patience in dealing with children even during the most difficult situations.
Guidelines and Rules
Guidelines and rules or discipline should not be shied away from simply because the child has autistic tendencies or has been diagnosed with full autism. In fact, many pediatricians and autistic professionals state that guidelines, rules and strict scheduling actually work better with children who exhibit autistic tendencies or have been diagnosed with autism. Remaining on a schedule, keeping the guidelines and rules and disciplining children when they do not follow the schedule and rules can be a huge help for parents trying to cope with an autistic child. It has been shown in several studies by the CDC and other organizations that children with autism tend to latch onto scheduling and have fewer outbursts when schedules are followed and maintained.
Support groups are another way for parents to cope with autistic children. There are several support groups in many larger cities and support groups online that can help parents who are coping with autistic children or coping with the reality of various illnesses related to autism. These support groups, offer forums, chats and may offer weekly meetings for parents. These meetings generally allow for parents to bring their children with them and for socialization of the children while the meeting is occurring. This makes it increasingly easy for parents who may otherwise not be able to attend support groups or find support groups in their area due to lack of babysitting.
Community groups and efforts are also increasingly popular with parents trying to cope with an autistic child. These community groups integrate parents who are coping with autistic children, parents of children with autistic tendencies, and the children themselves. These community groups are run by community efforts, volunteer organizations, autistic organizations and by church groups. If you are interested in trying to find a group in your area or start a group; websites such as Meetup can help you locate the different organizations in your area and find one that fits your family's needs.
Socialization with Others
Socialization with other autistic children can be increasingly helpful for the child as well as the parent. When children with autism socialize with others it tends to help form bonds that are necessary for social growth and development. These socialization skills can help at home and can offer an outlet when life becomes stressful due to autism. Socialization and socializing organizations can be found at schools, community groups, support groups and with volunteer efforts for children who are living with autism.
Illness Associated with Autism
Autism is not a standalone illness. In fact, many children who have been diagnosed with autism or show autistic tendencies may actually have associated illnesses that complicate the mental and emotional growth. These illnesses are treatable, however may be difficult to diagnose or maybe the first sign of autism and the autism itself may be left undiagnosed for years due to the first illness being diagnosed. The following are a few the most common illnesses associated with autism and autistic children.
One of the most common illnesses associated with autism is sensory related. Sensory issues and sensory problems are one of the first signs of autistic tendency or autism itself. Where as a child with autism may have reduction in pain sensors, other sensors in the body may be heightened. For example a child may not recognize cold or heat pain but they will recognize the itchiness of a wool blanket, bright lights, noises, loud noises and they may actually recognize higher pitched sound that most adults would hear. The sensory issues can lead to emotional outbursts due to the pain that is inflicted from them. Pain and discomfort related with sensory issues is usually the first sign that many parents notice with their children who may be exhibiting autistic tendencies. It should be noted, that sensory issues are not always related to autism and may not be a sign of autism at all but the sign of another medical condition.
Mental Disabilities and Development
Slow mental development and mental disabilities are also connected to autism. These mental disorders can cause an autistic child to have severe mental development issues in various psychological areas. These mental developmental issues can lead to slow speeds, regression of speech, physical issues related to the mental issues and may also relate to issues in language problems. For example, a child may be talking and walking normally and for whatever reason an autistic tendency that then leads to the mental illness and developmental issues and a child may regress completely to not talking, not walking or not responding normally. In extreme cases, this is the first sign for many parents that something is wrong with the child.
Seizures are very common with children who have autistic tendencies or have been diagnosed with autism. These seizures generally occur in younger children but may occur all the way up to early adulthood. There are seizures of that are caused by abnormal brain activity and can cause a blackout, body convulsion, staring off into space or unusual movements and shakes in the body. The most minor of these is the staring or the unusual shakes with the most major forms of the seizures being blackouts and hospitals needing to be called. EEGs are generally given to determine if the seizure is being caused by certain portion of the body or if there is something that can be done for the seizures. Medications are also given to help children with seizure related complications.
Health Options for Autistic Children
For autistic children, there are several help options to decrease certain issues or to offer therapy for the autism itself. These different options are offered through doctors, hospitals and through programs developed specifically for children who have autistic tendencies or have been diagnosed with autism. The following are a few of the help options available for autistic children. These health options range from medical options to therapy options and even natural options.
There are several medications on the market directly for autistic children or the illnesses related to autism. These medications can be anything from antidepressants to ADHD related medication. The most common forms of medication however are ADHD related medications such as Ritalin and medications for seizures. In fact, most autistic children are on at least 2 to 3 forms of medications to calm seizures or prevent seizures and to cope with ADHD and OCD related issues.
Various forms of therapy are used as a health option for autistic children. Light therapy, music therapy and sound therapy may be of use for children who have sensory issues. Various other forms of therapy such as relaxation therapy, aromatherapy and yoga therapy have also been used. Yoga therapy is one of the most common heard about forms of therapy due to its increasing popularity and its high results with children who have autism or autistic tendencies. In fact, many parents have found that consistent yoga therapy and medication therapy has helped children with ADHD related issues and has virtually reduced or removed the need for Ritalin or other ADHD related medications and antidepressant medications in autistic children.
Biomedical treatments are increasingly popular with many parents who have autistic children or who have children with autistic tendencies. These biomedical treatments used various forms of biomedical techniques in order to determine if certain therapies may help. These biomedical treatments include a modification and diet treatment that excludes gluten and other food substances and additives. Other biomedical treatments may include the introduction of different vitamins and minerals, increased vitamin and mineral supplements, decreased vitamin mineral supplements, Immune system regulators and treatments. Treatment plans using biomedical treatments are generally modified to work with the child and the child's age or response to the biomedical treatments.
Many parents who are concerned with the chemical and environmental exposures to their autistic children may choose a nonmedical treatment plan. These nonmedical treatment plans include vitamins, minerals, supplements, organic foods, reduced gluten and wheat in the diets and various other natural resources. Nonmedical treatments may also include light therapy, music therapy and therapy that does not include any form of chemical or prescription drug. These nonmedical treatments have seen some increase in response from autistic children, however there have been no in-depth studies done on this particular form of treatment for autistic children or children with autistic tendencies.
Regardless of the type of treatment that you use, coping mechanism that you use or doctors that you use for your autistic child there will always be other complications issues along the way. Many autistic children may respond perfectly well to various forms of treatment only to regress later or to stop responding to a particular form of treatment. In these cases new treatment plans will be created to help the child cope and new therapies will be created to help parents cope with the new treatment plans. Studies are ongoing in autistic research. If you would like more information on various forms of autistic research please see the following links in the helpful links section.
Helpful Links and Resources