Welcome to Autism Fundraising Guide. I focus on therapies, treatment, advice, trends and personal anecdotes based upon my experience as a parent of a sixteen year old with Autism Spectrum Disorder. I have seen this disorder go from relatively obscure when my child was diagnosed thirteen years ago, to a very maintream epidemic today.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Teaching Others to Interact Positively With Your Autism Spectrum Child

One of the most important jobs of a parent with an Autism Spectrum child is to be positive. It is important to teach others how to interact positively with your child. If you are positive toward your Autism Spectrum child, others will naturally be also. Here are a few tips I have learned from rearing my nineteen year old with Autism Spectrum.

  Highlight the Child's Areas of Strength
    When interacting with others, go ahead and make some statements in front of the child about how good he is at something. This is not bragging but is making the child feel that you notice and appreciate his strengths. Also, make positive statements directly to the child as well. This is also true with completely non-verbal children with Autism.

 Stop Negative Speech
  It is sad to say that as a parent I had to stop the negative speech of professionals a variety of times. This does not mean that you are in denial and unwilling to hear of any areas that need improvement. It means that negative remarks about the child should never be made in front of the child. This seems obvious, but an astonishing amount of times professionals spoke about my child right in front of him as though he was not there. This is unacceptable. If there is anything negative to say, let them say it when the child is not present.
Visualize a Positive Future When you have an Autism Spectrum child, it is all too easy to begin to imagine awful futures. Do not waste valuable energy with such thoughts as, "What if he never gets married?" and "What if he never talks?" These are destructive and irrelevant thoughts. Just concentrate on improving the situation at hand with therapy, diet, supplements and possibly medication. Do not get ahead of yourself. Keep a Gratitude Journal This is one thing I did for years. With an Autism Spectrum child it can often seem that progress is slow or difficult. By keeping a gratitude journal and writing down anything unusually great that my son did that day, I was able to notice that in fact there were a number of great milestones over the years. Keeping a gratitude journal provides perspective, positivity and clarity. On difficult days you can get it out and read it over to get yourself back up and in the saddle again. These are some of the ways that I have learned to be more positive and teach others to be positive with Autism Spectrum children. By highlighting the child's areas of strength you make the child feel good about himself. Through stopping negative speech in its tracks you demonstrate that the child's dignity is important to and protected by you. Visualizing a positive future for your child is essential. Finally, keeping a gratitude journal can help restore a parent's positive outlook when tough days happen.

Does Your Autism Spectrum Child Make a Scene?

One of the most difficult parts of parenting children with Autism is how they occasionally make a scene in public. This can lead to a feeling of helplessness on the part of the parents. Also, people in public stare and make the parents feel uncomfortable when this occurs. Here are some strategies I have found useful over the years for taking my Autism Spectrum child in public.

  Go During Off- Hours
    One of my primary strategies for taking my Autism Spectrum son out in public is to go places during what is known as "off- hours." In other words, if I want to go to Carl's Jr. ( a hamburger chain) I do not go at twelve noon. If I were to go in there right at noon, a whole variety of problems that I don't want to deal with would occur. Basically, I avoid crowds, as they heighten the difficulty of operating in public places with an Autism Spectrum child.

 Bring a Reinforcer Bag
   Sometimes, the place we are going in and of itself is reinforcing to the child. As in the above example, he likes Carl's Jr. and wants to go there in the first place. This makes it easier. Sometimes we need to go to a place that is not reinforcing naturally. Examples of this would be the dentist, doctor, government offices, airports and other places where "waiting" will be necessary. In these instances, I always bring along a bag of toys or edibles to engage him. It is best if he hasn't seen the objects in the bag previously- they are new items purchased particularly to make this outing go smoothly.

  Choose Seating Wisely
   When going to places such as a fast food restaurant, always choose seating wisely. Do not sit directly next to people if possible. Some children with Autism make sounds or movements that others do not expect. To avoid having others be startled I have found it best to sit a bit apart. The other day I forgot my own rule even though I have been doing this for nineteen years. I was in a rush and hastily seated us directly next to a woman. My son turned around to look at her in a way that others wouldn't have. Alarmed, she quickly got up and moved. I briefly found this hurtful until I realized it was my fault: I had forgotten my own rule. Give others a little extra space.

  Consider Noise Level
    I find the noise level of a place I am in to be very significant. If it is a noisy place I usually don't go. If it is unavoidable and I must go, I then bring headphones for him to wear.

  These are some of the ways I help my Autism Spectrum child cope and be successful in public. For the vast majority of the time we are successful. I go out during off- hours. I bring a reinforcer bag. I select seating wisely and consider the noise level of where I am going. These are the basic elements of success,

Taking a Road Trip With an Autism Spectrum Child

It can be a very rewarding experience to take your Autism Spectrum child on a road trip. It does entail a certain amount of planning and patience to ensure that the trip is fun and an overall success. Autism Spectrum children do just fine on road trips when there has been enough forethought. Here are some of the things I have done to make road trips with my Autism Spectrum child successful.

    Naturally, you will want to be sure that you have enough medication to take on the trip. In fact, it is wise to bring a lot more than you will need. I have had the unfortunate experience of dropping a large bottle of liquid anti- seizure medicine on the ground while I was unpacking the car at a hotel. It is best to bring a spare bottle.

  Car Modifications
    Do everything possible to have the car really comfortable for the Autism Spectrum child. This is achieved by purchasing sun shades and applying them to the windows. Leave space for him or her to look out, however. Also, get cup holders and a "t.v. tray" style of small table so the child can have things in front of him.

   It is a good idea to have CDs for the car CD player of the music that the child likes. Many Autism Spectrum children are greatly calmed and reassured by music and having familiar music in unfamiliar surroundings helps. Also, consider having headphones and portable CD players on hand. Some people also use DVD players in the car but I cannot figure out how this is done without running down the battery. If you know how to do this, having them watch DVDs in the car could be ideal.

  Shorten Driving Time
    When taking a cross-country or long car trip with Autism Spectrum children, it is optimal to shorten the driving time. Whereas you as an adult could probably drive eight hours a day straight through, the child is probably not going to be able to "take it" that long. I find that four hours of driving a day is our limit. There is no point in pushing the driving time to the point of exhaustion for all concerned. Remember: it is supposed to be fun, so keep driving time short.

  These are some of the guidelines I keep in mind when driving cross- country or on long trip with my Autism Spectrum child. Safeguard medications well. Make sure to have all the helpful car modifications. Bring helpful media along such as CDs, DVDs and headphones. Finally, keep the daily driving time short for all concerned.

The Real Deal on Having an Autism Spectrum Child

When parents get a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder for their child, it opens them up to a new world of fear and worry for the future. Also, it is natural to wonder if the family will be healthy and if the parents can be happy in this situation. My son is nineteen and I have faced all these fears and more. Here is what I have discovered to be the real deal of having an Autism Spectrum child.

  Autism Spectrum Disorder is Challenging.
    There is no doubt that Autism Spectrum Disorder is challenging. I have compared it to a hydra, a snake with many heads. At times, it seems that as soon as one of the challenges of Autism Spectrum is defeated, another problem rears its head. Autism Spectrum Disorder is a formidable foe indeed but I feel that it can be defeated.

  You Will Learn What Matters.
    People who do not have a family member or child with Autism Spectrum Disorder are often unconsciously caught up in what others think of them. Like the way a butterfly sheds the chrysalis outwardly, you will quickly shed the restrictions of caring for others' opinions. In short, you will concentrate on what really matters (your child) and realize that what others think is largely irrelevant. This is quite freeing.

  No Family is Perfect.
   Over the years of having an Autism Spectrum child and facing those challenges, you will see something that will astonish you: other people's families are not "perfect," either! In fact, there is no such thing as a perfect family, except in that the love that a family shares is perfect. Often times you may wonder what "normal" is. The truth is though, that all families have problems- with or without Autism Spectrum Disorder.

  One Day the Journey Will End.
    One fine day you will look up and realize- it is over! I have actually reared my Autism Spectrum child to be an adult. At the end of the journey you will find that you are proud of your family, your Autism Spectrum child and yourself. It is kind of odd to realize that your child is no longer a child anymore, but again this is "normal" in the sense that all parents face this. Did you do your best? Did the challenge bring strengths out in you that you did not know you had?
 The above is in my opinion the real deal of having an Autism Spectrum child. Try not to stress the journey too much and don't take yourself too seriously like I did. There will be challenges and hardships but eventually everything will be well in the end. Do your best as a parent and at the end of it remember to help those who come after.


Children With Autism How to Improve Sensory Integration

Autism Disorder presents a variety of challenges. One of the most complex is sensory integration for children with autism. According to The Autism Encyclopedia, sensory integration is the ability to organize sensory information. Quite a bit remains to be explored about sensory integration for children with autism but the main therapy for this problem is called Sensory Integration Therapy. Following are some suggestions to improve sensory integration in children with autism:

  1. Obtain vibrating massagers
  Many children with autism find that vibration provides them with very pleasing sensory input. Vibrating massagers are sold in many different designs and styles. Massagers can really help children with autism to calm down and relax. Children normally like the fact that they can turn a vibrating massager off and on all by themselves. It is a good idea to always have several types of these on hand to assist the child in relaxation in stressful environments, such as public places. These massagers can also be given to children as a reinforcer for behaving well.

  2. Purchase balls in different textures
  Balls of all different textures are sold in specialty catalogs. Some of these balls are squishy. Some are balls made out of string. There are even "bead balls" and fuzzy balls. There are also balls of slime and balls that turn inside out. The balls are nontoxic and very fun and squeezable. Having fun this way relaxes children and provides positive sensory input. These balls also make great reinforcers for behaving well.

  3. Explore oral motor tools and toys
  There are many oral motor devices such as "chewy tubes" for children to chew on. These offer a nontoxic surface for biting and chewing. The purpose of these devices is to provide input to the jaw, which many children find pressure- relieving. These should always be used with a professional speech and language pathologist and occupational therapist. There are also vibrators for oral motor stimulation and textured spoons.

  All of these devices are not necessary fo obtain for every child with autism. Children are all different an their likes and needs are highly variable. The above ideas however, are suggestions that could be discussed with professionals on the child's therapeutic team. Speech and language pathologists and occupational therapists are in the best position to recommend the appropriate sensory integration tools.

  These tactics may assist in sensory integration for children with autism. Being unable to process and differentiate among the sensory input coming at a child makes learning an uphill task. The above program offers the great benefit of helping a child make sense of the world.

Children With Autism How to Help Your Child Make Friends

One of the most troubling aspects of autism spectrum disorder is the apparent isolation of the children due to their difficulty communicating. Parents usually really want their children with autism to have friends. How can this be achieved when language is so difficult for the children? Special methods can be used to help children with autism learn how to have friends. Children are all different and what works for one may not work for others. Following are ways to facilitate and encourage children with autism to have friends:

  1. Obtain Social Skills Training
  Children with autism usually find social interactions difficult. This is because the "rules" of being social often involve complex language skills which children with autism often do not have. Social skills must be learned therefore in order for children with autism to have a greater chance of making friends with others. In addition to the child's regular therapies, the child should be enrolled in social skills training groups. These skills work on skills such as taking turns, not invading another person's personal space, and sharing. It is important to seek out and find a social skills group in your area. If there isn't one, start one yourself with the help of a speech and language pathologist. The possible rewards are great: your child's first friends ever may come from this group.
  2. Use Social Stories

 Children with autism often experience anxiety in relation to social situations. One way to alleviate this and help your child have friends is to use social stories. Social Stories were invented by Carol Gray and are available at The Gray Center at www.thegraycenter.org. The Social Story is a written and illustrated tale of what is going to happen in a social situation. You read it with your child and then they have some idea of what to expect in an upcoming social situation.

 3. Use Alternative Ways Such as Videos to Explain Social Skills
  There are videos that explain social rules. Also some parents videotape their child in social situations and then review the video with the child later. Always emphasize the positive in the video of the child. In other words, praise what they did correctly. Children often enjoy watching videos of themselves.

  4. Enroll the Child in Classes Related to His Special Interest
  Many children with an autism spectrum disorder have a special interest. These special interests are often very intense. Parents occasionally become exasperated with the special interests as they can take on a very obsessive quality. Nevertheless, special interests provide parents with an opportunity. If the child is enrolled in a special class related to his interest, he will have a chance to make friends with others who share his likes. If the special interest happens to be technology- related (photography for example,) then there will be less language necessary to interact with others. Attending a photography class gives the older language- challenged child an alternative means to communicate. He could show other people his pictures and use his interest in images to make friends.

  The above are four ideas to assist children with autism in having friends. Having friends can really enrich an individual's enjoyment of life. It is a worthy goal.

  Ozonoff, S. A Parent's Guide to Asperger Syndrome & High Functioning Autism. (2002) New York, NY: Guilford Press

Children With Autism Does Your Child Wait Patiently?

One of the skills most desired by parents of children with autism is that of learning to wait patiently. Of course, it is difficult for any child to develop patience. However, in order for children with autism to learn to wait patiently it is often necessary to teach this skill with a "waiting program." Waiting is a particularly desirable skill. Without the ability to wait patiently it is difficult to go in public places such as restaurants, stores or any place where standing in line is necessary. Children with autism may learn to wait patiently by mastering a program like this one by PECS (the Picture Exchange Communication System) that follows:

  In order to begin the waiting program, the parent will simply state "wait" in a calm tone. The parent will then hand the child a large red oval- shaped card with the word "wait" printed on it. The child will accept the card and hold it in his hand briefly. This will be for only one second at first. Then the parent praises the child and takes the card back. This is practiced in the house at first, not in social environments for quite some time.

  As the waiting program is practiced each day the parent will gradually lengthen the time. This will occur systematically, as in one second the first day, two seconds the second day. Also, in addition to praise the parent may offer the child some other small prize as the waiting time becomes longer gradually. Each day the parent is able to lengthen the waiting time, the red oval-shaped "wait" card should be cut down smaller and smaller. Ultimately, it will be an inconspicuous little red dot. At this point, the parents can venture into McDonald's (not during the lunch rush obviously.)

  It is best to accustom the child to restaurants in off- hours when the restaurant will not exhibit so much noise and distraction that could be scary and distracting to the child. When skills like learning to wait quietly are mastered, it is a great triumph for the child and the family too. Life becomes far less restrictive. Many children with autism can and do venture into restaurants and stores and behave appropriately. In addition to going to stores and restaurants during off- hours at first, also make sure the total duration of the trip is not too long for the child. In other words, it may be fine to stop in for a quick dinner but the child may become overwhelmed if the meal has too many courses. Use discretion so the child does not become overwhelmed. A quick successful trip out to dinner is way better than a long one that ends on a bad note.

  The above program is highly recommended and is available at www.pecs.com. PECS program offers the great benefit of teaching children with autism to wait patiently. It is the beginning of freedom for the child, because as this skill is mastered, the child may successfully venture into more fun and social environments.

Children With Autism Does Your Child Have Trouble at the Dentist?

Would you love for your child's visit to dentists to be more successful? Regular dental checkups are very important for the health of teeth. Children with autism must get regular dental visits and these visits are often so stressful for both parent and child.

  Let's examine three tips for more successful behavior at the dentist. If all three of these tips are taken, the angst that accompanies dental visits for children with autism will be a thing of the past.
  1. Preview the Dental Office Before the Appointment Without the Child
  Make at least one trip to the dental office without the child in order to assess the waiting room situation. Is the waiting room child-friendly? Does it have the kind of toys your child likes? If there is any paperwork you can fill out in advance of the visit, do it now. It will be far easier to fill it out a day early. That way, you can focus your attention on your child when you come in for the visit.
  2. Obtain the First Early-Morning Appointment of the Day
 It is best to schedule the first early morning appointment of the day for any situation that could be potentially difficult for children with autism. There are various reasons for this. First of all, medical offices commonly overbook the dentist, causing half-hour to hour wait times all day long. Children with autism generally do not wait well. Hence, it is best to be seen first. Second, children's medications are usually fresh in the morning which hopefully will help with their anxiety.

  3. Bring a Carefully Packed Bag of Reinforcers
  Carry along a tote of things the child finds comforting. This could include a small toys that spin or light up. Maybe a book or a blank pad of drawing paper and pencils or crayons would be good suggestions. Eating is usually prohibited in medical offices and dentists often will be performing a cleaning, so there is not much point to bringing snacks. A musical toy could be useful provided that it is not too loud. Also, if noise is a problem for the child, consider bringing headphones and books on tape. Any quiet activity that is calming will be fine. Also, do not forget "sensory" type items. Examples of this include a small light blanket for comfort or Play-Doh to squeeze for anxiety.

  The above are three tips to make trips to the dentist easier for children with autism and their families. It is really the unfamiliarity that makes the first times the hardest. Children with autism will become accustomed to the dentist in time as all children do.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Lessons Learned from Having an Autism Spectrum Child

As many readers are now aware, I am the parent of an autistic child. My own son is 20 now, so we have made it through the early childhood and elementary years journey all the way into adolescence. My feeling is that having an autistic child teaches the parent many lessons. The following are some of the lessons I have learned through having an autistic child.

  Communication is More Than Talking

  Initially during his early childhood I was pained and dismayed that my child was unable to speak. It seemed that he would not be able to go through life without this skill. I could not really imagine having a nonverbal child, yet that was the situation that I had. My son underwent many years of speech and language and behavior therapy and did ultimately develop some rudimentary speech. Ultimately, I branched out from only focusing on the narrower goal of speech to focusing on the broader goal of communication. I purchased a talk- type device called DynaWrite for him and he was able to type his communication into a computer like device with a synthesized voice. Hence, the "talking machine," as we call it, is his voice for more complex utterances.

  I learned that language includes four aspects: talking, listening, reading and writing. There is certainly more to communication than speech and my son often writes and types his language.

  Go With Your Instincts

  Another lesson that I learned from being a parent of an autistic child is the absolute value of my own instincts. You have heard it all your life: Go with your gut. This could not be more true when it comes to making big decisions for an autistic child. If something "feels" wrong, then understand that that is intuition guiding you as a parent. When my child received a diagnosis of autism, I felt confused and lost. Today, however I know that when I made decisions all along the way I was guided. Intuition is a form of non- linear intelligence and should be respected. As parents, we know what to do. Trust yourself in making decisions for your autistic child.

  Develop and Hold a Vision

  Throughout the years of therapy and the often depressing meetings and doctor appointments, I continued to hold a vision for my child. I am not saying that I was fully convinced of my vision; the opposite is true. Often, my vision and goals for my autistic child seemed like pipe dreams. I urge all parents in this situation to have bold goals for their children. Although he is not fully recovered, I am now seeing the realization of some of my vision for my autistic child that I developed a full decade ago.

  Having an autistic child has taught me these lessons in life. However, I believe these lessons apply to many life situations and goals, not just autism. Perhaps helping an autistic child improve helps us improve as human beings in the long run.

Ways to Prepare Futures for Autism Spectrum

Somewhere during high school, parents of students with Autism Spectrum Disorder begin to ask, "What's next?" Parents desire some aid with devising ways to prepare a future for young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Students have typically enjoyed some form of assistance throughout their school careers from therapists, tutors and teachers. A plan is essential to prepare for the future of young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder. The young adult will need support within the community. The following are some ways to help students with Autism Spectrum Disorder to plan for continuing assistance so that some can have jobs and continue studies:

  Work With a Job Coach
  It is very important that the young adult with Autism Spectrum Disorder work with a job coach. Job coaches receive special training in order to help pinpoint appropriate vocations for people of various skills and educational levels. A job coach can offer invaluable insight in the form of various tests that can ascertain promising career directions for the young adult student with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

  Obtain a Mentor
 Mentors serve as positive role models that students with Autism Spectrum Disorder may pattern career moves after. Mentors can offer encouragement to students and families and can offer practical career advice. Mentors also often know people within their fields and can serve as a human resource by introducing the young adult to others. By following a mentor, the young adult may avoid many early career mistakes and gain tremendous guidance.

  Leverage Special Interests
 Many young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder have a very special interest. These interests are often pursued to a very intense, almost obsessive degree. The student has often been hyper focused on one interest for many years, if not for his entire childhood. Nevertheless, these special interests are often clues to successful future career directions. Why not harness the natural interest of the young adult? It is best to acknowledge and use these interests rather than attempt to stifle them down as being, "too obsessive."

  By using the above methods, parents are better able to help their young adult with Autism Spectrum Disorder prepare for adult life. As in early childhood and elementary, preparation is the key to success for preparing for adult life. Young adults may have promising lives and achieve encouraging milestones.

  Carley, M. (2008) Aspergers from the Inside Out. New York, NY: Penguin Group

  Koegel, L. (2009) Growing Up on the Spectrum. New York, NY: Penguin Group

  Sicile- Kira, C. (2004) Autism Spectrum Disorders. New York, NY: Berkley Publishing Group.

Top 5 Priorities For Autism Spectrum

When children are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders, parents are often overwhelmed with a variety of emotions. Some of these emotions include grief, denial, anger and confusion. Some parents even experience relief because now the challenge children face has a name: the Autism Spectrum Disorders. Parents always wonder where to go from the point of diagnosis. The following are five top priorities to pursue when children are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Find an Autism Spectrum Disorders Doctor That Practices the DAN Protocol
DAN is an acronym that stands for Defeat Autism Now. Doctors that practice the principles in the DAN protocol can put children with Autism Spectrum Disorders on the right track.

Put Children on Autism Spectrum Disorders Waiting Lists
Put your child's name on every state and government waiting list possible. Remember, these waiting lists are for services your child needs and these services cost money. Put your child's name on the list so that he can access services when his turn comes.

Educate Yourself About Therapies for Autism Spectrum Disorders
To date, the two most studied general therapeutic approaches for Autism Spectrum Disorders include ABA therapy (Applied Behavioral Analysis) and Floortime Therapy. They are each very different, but good in their own way. Learn both and get some therapists in your home to help your child. Start therapy immediately.

Consider Individual Symptoms in Autism Spectrum Disorders
Instead of seeing your child's overall behavior as "Autistic," begin to break the behavior down into components. Does he always rub his nose? See an allergist. Does he have reflux? Address this specifically with a physician and a specific medication. Is speech lacking? Get a therapist to work with this issue. You see what is being described. You must be like a detective and examine clues from what the child does. Since at the time of this writing, there is no one single "autism medicine," parents must take note of individual symptoms and address them one by one.

Use Alternative Learning Strategies With Autism Spectrum Disorders
Really take a look at your home environment. Is there any way to make it more educational? Buy some toys that teach skills and have them accessible to the child. Use videos and music. There are catalogs that sell toys and educational supplies specially made for children with autism. www.difflearn.com

  Having children with Autism Spectrum Disorders requires a massive amount of learning and trying different things on the part of the parent. Have a vision for your child, educate yourself about the best methods and follow in the footsteps of other families that have gone before you. Don't be afraid to blaze your own trail as well. You are not alone. Also listen to your inner guidance. If something feels wrong, it is. No one knows the child like the parents do. Good luck on this path. I know you can make it.

Autism Spectrum Is There Hope for a Cure?

One of my fellow writers at Associated Content messaged me with the following question: "Is there hope on the horizon for a cure to Autism Spectrum Disorder?" It was a question that really made me think. I believe more strongly than ever that the answer to this question is yes. Yes! There is hope for our kids with Autism Spectrum Disorder and I believe that the answer to the puzzling dilemma that Autism Spectrum Disorder presents is coming.

  I remember when my sixteen year old son with Autism Spectrum Disorder was diagnosed fourteen years ago. I was told that he had something rare, and that I would have to special order a book about it from one certain company. I was twenty three years old at the time, and it was difficult to find any information at all to help him. Hardly anyone had ever even heard of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Now, I marvel as I see that two whole shelves at Barnes and Noble are full of Autism Spectrum Disorder books. The same is true at Borders and other booksellers.

  When he was four years old and still largely nonverbal except for a single word here and there, I used to have very vivid dreams that we were sitting on a brick wall together and having a long conversation. Daniel could talk in these dreams and he was talking with me very animatedly. "Don't wake up! Don't wake up!" I would warn myself on some level in the midst of the dream. But then I would wake up with tears streaming down my cheeks, not from sadness but from desire.

  Even in those dark moments, I had hope. During those times people such as Temple Grandin, PhD gave me hope through her inspiring story of having overcome Autism Spectrum Disorder to the point that she could be a scientist, inventor and professor. She still considers herself to have Autism Spectrum Disorder yet I was impressed by her accomplishments in life. Also, I used to be encouraged by Raun Kaufman's life. Raun was diagnosed as severely Autistic and mentally retarded yet ultimately was retested with an IQ in the very superior range. By all accounts, Raun lives a normal life. Back then, hope was scarce but the stories of these people who beat the odds buoyed my hope.

  I know that more and more daring physicians will put their medical training in research to good use and rise to the formidable challenge that Autism Spectrum Disorder represents. That gives me tremendous hope for a cure in the future as does the courage of the families and the children themselves.

  "Hope sees the invisible, feels the intangible and achieves the impossible."Anonymous

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

What Doctors Are Essential for Your Autism Spectrum Child's Team?

Throughout their childhoods, children with Autism can benefit from the help of many physician specialists. every child is different and it is hard to tell which specialist will make the most positive difference for the Autism Spectrum child. I consulted with many doctors during my nineteen years of bringing up my Autism Spectrum son. Here are some of the specialists who made a positive impact.
The Neurologist is normally the first person to diagnose the child, and this was the case with my son. Neurology is mostly useful for diagnosis purposes but they also order tests and can manage medication. If the child has seizures in addition to Autism Spectrum or develops them in adolescence, then Neurology is the main specialist for that. In the case of my child, when he was young there was not much use for Neurology apart from achieving a diagnosis. However, when he developed seizures at the onset of puberty, the Neurologist had a more central role.
Speech Language Pathologist 
Although they are not usually technically doctors, Speech Language Pathologists are medical professionals who specialize in communication and language. Since children with Autism are usually language impaired to one degree or another, the Speech Language Pathologist is invaluable. My child could not speak at all when he began at speech therapy. Speech Language Pathologists also use what are called "Alternative Communication Devices" to teach communication to those children and adults who are totally unable to voice.
Psychologists are also able to diagnose Autism Spectrum. They usually administer Intelligence Quotient (IQ) tests to the child. They also have behavior indexes that measure how the child acts in relation to others of his or her age group. My child had a secondary diagnosis from a Child Psychologist after getting a diagnosis from a Neurologist. It is good to get second opinions in order to be sure.
At various times during an Autism Spectrum child's life, they may become very agitated or have other Autism symptoms that may be helped by a Psychiatrist. We used a Child Psychiatrist and found this specialty to be really helpful. The decision of whether to have an Autism Spectrum child on medication is a personal one that must be determined in conjunction with a great physician. I was very loath to have my child on medication but ultimately it was necessary. To my great surprise and relief, it was immensely helpful.
Children with Autism are very sensitive to a variety of things that they eat and come in contact with. It is hard to see many times just what it is that is disturbing them. Luckily, there is a specialty that deals with this and that is Allergy. In our case my son was allergic to cat, dog and dust with no food allergies. (He was already on a special diet, so that may be why.) He did do the whole course of allergy shots and they were immensely beneficial. Today we have three dogs and he loves and deals well with them all, thanks to the allergy shots.
The above are some of the specialists that may help children with Autism. Autism Spectrum children can benefit from Neurology and Speech Language Pathology. Also, Psychologists, Psychiatrists and Allergists contribute to the improvement of the child. Generally, it is a good idea to form a team of specialists that can deal with the various troubling aspects of the disorder. This team approach really attacks the disorder on all fronts, giving the Autism Spectrum child a real chance to improve.

Should Your Autism Spectrum Child Use An Alternative Communication System?

Many parents of Autism Spectrum children are undecided about using augmentative communication systems. This is because parents believe that these systems will become a crutch and the child will not learn to talk. This is not usually the case as augmentative communication systems enhance children's communication overall.
Start When Young
The worst case scenario occurs when an Autism Spectrum child gets to the age of four with no ability to communicate whatsoever. Normally, frustration behavior and meltdowns occur with this situation. That is why it is best to have something in place in the event that speech therapy fails or is working, but too slowly. PECS is one option and sign language is another.
Full Family Integration
If an Autism Spectrum child has an augmentative communication system in place, it is easier for him or her to fully participate. This is true in home and family life as well as school life. Children with Autism can have their augmentative communication system present at the dinner table and in other group scenarios. For school the augmentative system can allow them to communicate better with teachers and their own aide as well.
PECS stands for the Picture Exchange Communication System. For those who have never seen it, it is pictures that the child places upon a stick. The stick with the pictures on it is then given to an adult with whom the child desires to communicate. The communication on the stick may form words, groups of words or sentences, depending upon the Autism Spectrum child's level. Kids often think PECS is fun and they enjoy the interaction.
"Talking" Computers
There are a number of computer programs that can voice for a child. The child normally needs to be able to spell single words to operate the more complex ones. There are more basic systems however that are picture based. The child only needs to touch the correct picture and the word will be voiced. Many of the systems will simultaneously print out a text version of the child's communication as well.
These are some of the aspects of augmentative or alternative communication systems. It is best to start using a child's system while he or she is still quite young. Augmentative communication systems allow for more full participation in family life. Both the PECS system and computers that "talk" are both great choices and can allow Autism Spectrum children a more satisfying, enjoyable life.

Where Can You Get Materials for Your Autism Spectrum Home School?

There is a growing trend for parents of Autism Spectrum children to take their children out of school and home school them. Still others choose to have their child attend school and be home schooled to catch up in their after-school hours. Either way, it is necessary to get quality materials to work with in order to teach children with Autism. Here are some suggestions.
Online Catalogs 
The beauty of online catalogs is wide selection. There is a vast array of educational and speech language products. Also, it is possible to read product reviews which allow parents to make informed choices. One negative is the necessity of paying shipping fees which raises the overall cost of purchasing materials.
Specialty Education Stores 
In the past few years, many specialty education stores have sprung up. Usually located in major cities, these stores are often frequented by teachers who obtain materials there throughout the school year. Parents homeschooling Autism Spectrum students can certainly also shop at these stores. The materials at these stores tend to be diverse, colorful and engaging.
Book Conventions 
Home school curriculum companies often offer book conventions throughout the year. Parents of Autism Spectrum children can go to the convention and look at these materials. The obvious advantage of doing this is the ability to look at the materials in person and judge whether the books are appropriate for the child. There are usually sales representatives available to take orders on the spot at these book conventions.
Make Them Yourself 
Some parents who are experiencing financial restraints opt to make materials themselves. This is not difficult with the help of the public library. It may seem an overwhelming task but many parents have done it. The downside of this is the time investment necessary. The upside is the material cost being far less or nearly free.
These are some good places to obtain materials for home school children with Autism. Online catalogs abound and they list materials and price. Specialty education stores sell quality educational materials. Book conventions offer home school texts. Finally, creative parents can make their own materials for their Autism Spectrum home school. 

Autism Spectrum- How to Improve the Full Inclusion Aide

Some children with Autism are mainstreamed into regular classrooms with an aide. This is often quite effective yet the parents wonder what is going on at school since they are not there to see. This is where good communication with the Autism Spectrum aide is essential. Here are some strategies to improve the performance of and communication with the full inclusion Autism Spectrum aide.
Daily Written Log 
A very useful tool for helping the full inclusion aide help the Autism Spectrum child is the daily written log. This log is a written account of how the child did in each period or class and it is filled out by the aide and sent to the parent. This can help parents to be quickly aware of any problems as they come up. The parent will also know which classes the child is doing particularly well in. The child should not see the log- remember, some children with Autism can read. The log is for the parent's eyes alone.
Phone Conferences 
It is a good idea to regularly schedule phone conferences between the parent and the full inclusion aide. These do not need to be long and they can just highlight any questions that have come up from the daily written log. The purpose is to be sure that behavior is fine and academics are going along as well. Parents can prepare questions before the weekly call in order to have them ready and be efficient.
Communication With Other Parents 
It can be quite helpful if the parent of an Autism Spectrum child can be friends with other parents in the class. Many times other parents make observations that are useful or can shed some light on classroom situations. Of course, other parents can't solve your child's challenges but sometimes the other parent can comment on what they have seen or heard going on in the classroom. Naturally, it is good social progress if the Autism Spectrum child and the typically developing child can be friends as well.
Teacher Parent Communication 
Any good school already has well established teacher parent communication. Normally, the teachers send out weekly notes and have regularly scheduled parent teacher conferences. This is true in most schools. Follow the teacher's lead- he or she may have extra phone conferences with parents of special needs children.
These are some strategies to improve communication with a full inclusion aide of an Autism Spectrum child. There should be a daily written log between the aide and the Autism Spectrum parent. The aide and parents should have regularly scheduled phone conferences. It is helpful for the parents of an Autism Spectrum child to make friends with the other parents in the classroom. Finally, follow the teacher's lead and participate in all teacher parent communication opportunities. 

Why You Should Consider Homeschool for an Autism Spectrum Child

More and more, parents of Autistic children have begun to consider home schooling their children. As the parent of an Autism Spectrum child, this is the choice I made. At first, it does seem to be an overwhelming thought. Yet many parents have achieved a quality education for their special needs child at home. Here are some of the benefits to home schooling a special needs child.
Language Concentration
Most day schools do not offer intense language concentration. Yet, this is exactly what Autism Spectrum children need so badly. In day school, a student is considered lucky to have Speech Therapy two or three times weekly. This is not adequate to sufficiently address the language problems that most children with Autism have. When home schooled, a special needs child can receive extensive help in this important area.
Behavior Concentration
Many times, children with Autism have behavioral challenges. This is mainly due to difficulty with communication and social problems. Teachers in day school settings simply do not have the time or resources to properly handle this. At home, behavior can be treated more consistently.
Sensory Work
The sensory processing needs of children with Autism are often great. This is an area of study that wasn't even known about until fairly recently. Work with an occupational therapist is often quite effective, yet there isn't much time for it in a regular day school schedule. At home kids have a chance to get more attention to sensory needs.
Extensive Tutoring
Children with Autism are often quite behind on their school work. All the above challenges simply make learning difficult in many cases. Autism Spectrum children are far more able to concentrate on their studies when they learn in a quiet home environment. They have the opportunity to work with tutors on any subject they are behind in.
These are some of the great benefits to be gained from home schooling an Autism Spectrum child. Home schooling gives the child an opportunity to have a concentrated, language- oriented curriculum. Likewise, any behavior problems can be addressed thoroughly. The child will have an opportunity for sensory work and extensive tutoring time. Intense study in these areas can result in a better education than a child can get in a day school in many cases.

Do You Feel Isolated From Your Child's Autism Spectrum?

One of the least discussed aspects of Autism Spectrum Disorder is how isolating it is for parents. As the parent of a 20-year-old with Autism Spectrum, I have struggled with loneliness and isolation for many years. It can be hard to put yourself into social situations when you know your Autistic child will have difficulty. It is far easier to just stay home and avoid social situations. Many parents cause their social lives to vanish due to this challenge. Here are some ways to overcome Autism-related isolation.

Go Places That Are Easy for Your Child.
Even in the most severe cases, there are at least a couple of places that are possible to go to. One of these for our family has always been public parks. Since my son has no physical challenges, I found I could always go to a park. Start wherever you can because it is essential to get out of the house. Fast food restaurants such as McDonald's were also pretty "do-able" even in the early years.

Join Groups Solo
Join groups that have interests similar to yours. It is certainly not necessary to tell every person you meet that you have an Autistic child. I used to blurt this out unnecessarily even when it was not relevant. Try to join some groups by yourself that have nothing to do with Autism. It is important for parents to get out and have respite care come in so that parents may have some relief.

Join Autism Groups
One of the easiest things to do from a social standpoint is to join Autism groups. No one in these groups judges you or the child and it is a pretty accepting situation overall. The difficulty comes with facing the fact that you have this situation. Some people are in denial and don't want to join the groups that could help them. This happened to me, in fact. With the perspective of time I can say that I should have joined more helpful groups than I did but I just couldn't face it.

Develop Relaxing Hobbies
One of the best things to do from a self- care standpoint is to get reliable child care and go out without the child. An exercise class would be absolutely ideal as it would allow the parent to work off stress. Take in a daily exercise class outside the home for a refreshing change. Also good is a spiritual class or trip to a place of worship.

The above are some of the options for decreasing isolation for parents of Autistic children. Go to places that are easy for the child. Join groups solo and then incorporate the child later as appropriate. Join Autism groups as well. Go to places that are healthy. Decreasing feelings of isolation is possible but it will take planning and effort.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Focusing on Practical Skills for Autism Spectrum Children

Many children with Autism Spectrum are involved in home education therapeutic programs. It is often difficult to determine what types of skills should be the focus of these programs. This is a matter that should be discussed between the person directing the program and the child's parents. Here are some suggestions.
It is astonishing how many Autism Spectrum programs waste valuable time teaching skills that are useless. Useless skills are those which have no practical application in the real world. Although some say these skills, "teach children how to learn," in many cases these programs are just a waste of time. Remember, many children with Autism are delayed, so time is of the essence.
Easily Measurable 
Considering how often Autism Spectrum children are tested, it is wise to concentrate on easily measurable skills. For instance, either the child can tie his shoe, or he cannot. Apart from being practical, this type of easily measurable skill can get children with Autism some "points" on tests. Developmental exams are often language focused and tough for Autism Spectrum children to score well on.
Often Tested 
Why not focus on skills that are often tested? For instance, colors, shapes, numbers and letters are definitely going to be on Kindergarten readiness tests. Give the child something he or she can succeed in. Of course reading readiness will be tested so therapy should be slanted in this direction prior to testing.
I think it is kind to request a non-verbal IQ test for a non- verbal child. Although this seems obvious, it is amazing how many times "limited verbal" or non verbal children are subjected to verbal IQ tests. In fact, unless the parent specifically asks for a nonverbal IQ test the "defacto" choice always seems to be a verbal one. This upsets and frustrates children with limited verbal abilities. Giving a non- verbal or limited verbal child a verbal IQ test is a bit like giving an IQ test in a foreign language that the child does not speak. It is unkind and unfair.
These are some of the skills and testing tips that work for Autism Spectrum children. Children with Autism should be taught useful skills. These skills should be easily measurable. It is important to focus on skills that are tested often so as to give the child the best chance. Also, make sure the test is effective by being sure that non-verbal or limited verbal children are given a non-verbal IQ test to ensure fairness. 

Which Curriculum is Best to Homeschool an Autism Spectrum Child?

Once a family has made the decision to home school an Autism Spectrum child, they must select a curriculum. This leads naturally to the question of which type of teaching is best for children with Autism. Each child is different so there is no one correct answer. The following are some of the options:
Catherine Maurice Program 
There is a book titled Behavioral Intervention for Young Children with Autism. This book is a great place to start. It includes both a curriculum and a teaching method. Some children have "recovered" from using this program but of course there are no guarantees. It is worth exploring to see if this program or some elements of it are right for your Autism Spectrum homeschool.
Speech Language Curriculum 
Speech Language Pathologists have many different companies from which they purchase their materials. Many of these materials are very useful for homeschools of Autism Spectrum children. This is because the materials are speech and literacy based which are important domains for Autism Spectrum children to master. Just obtain the speech language catalogs and look through to see which cards or books would be appealing.
Adapted Regular Education Curriculum 
It is usually possible to go to the local public school and ask what series of books the district uses. Then, simply obtain the books and adapt the curriculum by teaching it in a one-to-one setting. You may also wish to teach it more slowly if necessary. Do not feel compelled to teach it a whole chapter at a time- just go little by little.
Integrated All of the Above 
The best Autism Spectrum homeschools are both laser-focused and well-rounded. This may seem like a contradiction on the one hand and impossible on the other. It is difficult because with Autism Spectrum Disorder there are so many areas that require remediation and all at the same time. Certainly communication is a vital domain as are literacy and academics. Behavior and social skills are the other two crucial areas. Do not forget to address sensory processing needs as well. One option is to use all of the above curricula.
It is not easy to select the proper curriculum for an Autism Spectrum homeschool. Some form of behavioral learning approach is recommended. Speech language professionals also have access to useful materials. Some parents have modified the public school curriculum. Finally, a possibility is to do an inclusive model that uses all of the above materials. 

How to Hire Therapists for Autism Spectrum Homeschool

Many Autism Spectrum children are home schooled fully or at least for part of the day. Increasingly, parents are having to pay for the cost of this which represents a significant expense. This leads to the hiring of paraprofessionals to work in the home and training them to make the expense less. Here are some ways to get started to obtain candidates to be para- professionals or therapists for an Autism Spectrum home school.
Place an Ad at Universities 
One of the first actions to take is to place an advertisement for the position at a local university. There is normally no cost for this as the university encourages students to get practical life experience. Sometimes there is an office of student employment and it is possible to go directly in and talk to staff. Tell them about the Autism Spectrum home school that will be set up and how they can help.
Ask for Recommendations 
When looking for good candidates to train for an Autism Spectrum home school, it is surprising how many good people are around you already. Your place of worship is a good place to start. There are many members there who would like to help a child. Also, babysitters can easily be trained in therapeutic techniques as well.
Psychology Majors 
Many Autism Spectrum home schools have used Psychology students. This is because Psychology students are often interested in working with and specializing in Autism Spectrum Disorder. Much of the research that is helpful with Autism Spectrum Disorder originates in the field of Psychology. Go directly over to the Psychology Department and post flyers is allowable.
Medical Profession Students 
There are certain specializations within the medical field that are very useful with Autism Spectrum. One of these is Occupational Therapy. Occupational Therapy knowledge can be very useful for Autism Spectrum students as OT focuses upon practical life skills. Another medical professional that is useful for Autism Spectrum home schools is Speech Language Pathology. This is because children with Autism have speech language difficulties. It would be ideal to recruit college students from these diverse fields.
The above details how to find therapists to hire for Autism Spectrum home schools. Place an advertisement on university campuses. Ask for recommendations from kind people you know. Consider using Psychology majors as well as students from other medical specializations.

Is One to One Teaching Better Than Group for Autism Spectrum?

Parents of Autism Spectrum children want to obtain the most effective education for their child. To this end, certain decisions have to be made. Many parents wonder if one-to-one teaching for Autism Spectrum children is preferable to group instruction. Here are some considerations.
For the actual quick mastering of cognitive skills, one-to-one learning is usually fastest. This is important because many Autism Spectrum children are already behind. Thus, this may be remedied by having a high number of one-on-one therapy hours. This can either bring them up to speed with their skills or at least lessen the gap between them and their typically developing peers.
Social Skills 
Social skills are not learned most efficiently in the one-to-one setting however. This is because social skills must be generalized to group settings after being learned. Therefore, the Autism Spectrum child must spend at least some time in a small group setting. This will help them make friends and get used to the higher noise level to be found in groups.
Integration of Tutoring and Group 
Each Autism Spectrum child should have extra opportunities to be in small groups as well as have the benefit of one-to-one tutoring. The tutoring may be used to teach concrete skills. The small group can be used to generalize those skills. There will be opportunities to form real friendships or at the very least get accustomed to being part of a group. If the child is very sensitive they will have to be integrated into the group little by little.
Classroom Setting 
Even larger than the social small group is the full classroom setting. Children with Autism must get used to being in a class unless they are going to be fully homeschooled. The Autism Spectrum child may require an aide at first in order to be successful in a classroom setting. The aide may be phased out in the future over time.
When selecting the best education, parents of children with Autism must consider all the options. It is true that cognitive skills are often learned more quickly in a one-to-one method. However, one-to-one tutoring will not teach social skills which are vitally important for Autism Spectrum children. Likewise, children with Autism need to get used to classroom behavior as well. Some integration of small group, one-to-one and classroom setting experience would be ideal for children with Autism. 

Friday, July 11, 2014

Children With Autism- 3 Mistakes Parents Make

Parents of children with autism are under a great deal of pressure. Hence, it is easy to make some mistakes that can easily be avoided. The following are some mistakes that are made with children with autism and how to correct these situations:
Mistake #1: Discussing Children With Autism Right in Front of Them
When children are nonverbal, often parents and professionals will discuss the child's progress right in front of the child. This is not proper. No one should assume that simply because a child cannot speak, that they do not understand. Indeed, children with autism often do understand quite well what is being said about them. It is not beneficial nor is it appropriate to discuss a child right in the presence of the child whether the child is nonverbal or verbal.
Mistake #2: Believing Everything Experts Say About Their Child
Specialists, doctors, teachers and other experts do have a base of knowledge. That knowledge should be listened to, thought about and carefully considered. However, no one knows the child as well as the parents do. Therefore, it is imperative that parents ultimately use their own brains and think for themselves when it comes to making decisions for children with autism. Experts can only make recommendations based upon their training and learning, but the parent is the one that understands the unique personality of the child.
Mistake #3: Not Providing Enough Explanations of Events
Sometimes when children with autism are nonverbal, parents gradually stop explaining things to them as much. This is because the child is unable to ask questions directly and the parents do not know that the child requires clarification about upcoming events. Parents of children with autism should adopt the habit of over- explaining rather than under- explaining just in case the child has questions that he is unable to voice. Just because children with autism often cannot voice questions, does not mean that explanations are not important.
The above are some examples of mistakes that are made with children with autism. In order to not make these mistakes, parents may avoid discussing the child in his presence. Parents should also keep an open mind when reviewing with specialists the progress of children with autism. Also, parents can make a habit of providing explanations of events to the children, even when the children cannot ask questions.

8 Best Therapies for Children With Autism

Autism is a puzzling disorder. As of this writing, the cause and cure remain unknown and mysterious. Yet several different types of therapies have emerged as being potentially useful in treating autism spectrum disorder. Children are all different so it is difficult to predict the best therapies for children with autism. Parents must try and decide for themselves. Following are some of the best therapies for children with autism:
1. Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Applied Behavior Analysis is a very widely used therapy in which complex skills are broken down systematically into a series of simpler tasks. Positive reinforcement is used to teach children complex skills like language.
2. Dietary Interventions. Many children with autism are on one or several of various choices for special dietary interventions. These special diets often entail gluten- free, casein- free or specific carbohydrates. For more information contact the Autism Network for Dietary Intervention (ANDI.)
3..Augmentative Communication. Some children who are nonverbal or only limited verbal can be taught to use augmentative communication devices such as the DynaWrite. DynaWrite is a keyboard with a language engine inside it that can voice what is typed- a kind of "talking computer." Some nonverbal autistic people have gone to universities and colleges with these enormously helpful devices. For more information on obtaining the DynaWrite contact www.mayer-johnson.com
4.. Floor Time Therapy. The Floor Time model of therapy emphasizes development of receptive and expressive language and relationships. It was developed by Stanley I. Greenspan, MD. For more information contact the Interdisciplinary Council on Developmental and Learning Disorders.
5. Son Rise Program. The Son Rise program at the Autism Treatment Center of America Option Institute teaches families how to implement a home based child centered program based on acceptance and "joining." Parents are taught to recruit and train a support team. For more information www.son-rise.org
6. DAN! (Defeat Autism Now) Conference. The DAN! Conference is an annual conference at which the DAN! protocol for treatment of autism is discussed by parents and professionals. The conference is put on by the Autism Research Institute. For more information contact www.autism.com/ari/
7. Fast ForWord. Some parents and speech language pathologists have used a software program called Fast ForWord with their children. Fast ForWord generally slows speech sounds down and then gradually speeds them up again so that children can learn to process them. For more information contactwww.scientificlearning.com
8. Auditory Integration Training. Some children with autism experience hyperacute (painful) hearing. This does not have to do with deafness at all, rather the sounds are heard at distorted pitches which causes pain for the child. Some children put their hands over their ears. Auditory Integration Training attempts to address this.
Those are eight of the best therapies for children with autism. Hopefully one approach if not some combination of approaches will produce improvement for a child over time.

Software Programs for Children With Autism

Some children with autism really like and respond well to technology. Fortunately there are good software programs for children with autism. These programs produce wonderful benefits in children with autism in the area of developing language and skills for school. Excellent software programs for children with autism can be an important step for an overall therapeutic approach. Following are some examples of software programs for children with autism:
The first software series of interest is called Earobics Home. Earobics Home is very important for auditory development. It can also be beneficial for speech and reading and spelling. There are also some software programs for vocabulary. One is called My First Incredible Amazing Dictionary. Another is the Great Action Adventure. Other recommended software for vacabulary is the Visual Foods Photo Collection and the Picture This series.
Some software programs for school include School Routines and Rules. There is also Functional Living Skills and Behavioral Rules. There are special software programs just for beginning writing. There is also Transitional Fonts for Beginning Writing. Also, there is a software program to help with reading. It is called Read On. It helps children be successful with reading without too much need for teacher input. There is also a program for one- handed typing called Five Finger Typist 2.1. It teaches a skill that is practical and can be used throughout the child's lifetime.
As far as software to improve language, there is Writing With Symbols 2000. It helps parents and teachers to adapt written materials with symbols. Also, Communicate in Print 2. This would be a great program for making books, newsletters or visuals. Another great program is Communicate By Choice. This has multiple choice and question and answer activities. There is also an amazing software program Communicate Webwide that allows people to view webpages in symbols to make web content less complex.
Finally, there are some fun programs for music and art. Music Factory allows children to make their own original compositions. Revelation Natural Art stimulates creativity in children and allows relaxing recreation. By using the above software programs for children with autism, there will be an opportunity for promising gains. Children all respond differently as they are individuals, but software programs for children with autism can produce encouraging results.
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Auditory Challenges in Children With Autism

Autism Spectrum Disorder presents many difficulties. Some of the most mysterious are auditory challenges in children with autism. Children with autism are often seen covering their ears, but other than that many are unaware of auditory challenges in children with autism. The following strategies should only be implemented with the assistance of a speech language pathologist as not all suggestions are appropriate for all children. Following are some suggestions to help counter the auditory challenges in children with autism:
1. Obtain an assistive listening device. An assistive listening device is designed to help the user hear better in busy or disruptive environments. This may help the child better hear the teacher's voice. However, the child should not use the device in all environments or they could become too used to it and dependent upon it.
2. The child should take notes in class and be seated in a position to be able to clearly see the teacher's face. Ideally, the teacher is using repetition and visual strategies in the classroom. The chalkboard is good but there should also be a variety of visuals throughout the class.
3. Request preteaching materials. This is when the student with special needs obtains access to all or part of the lessons in advance of when the lesson is actually taught to the class. This gives the student with special needs a head start on learning the work. They can do it with tutors or behavioral therapists at home.
4. Use Fast ForWord. This program is conducted at home on the computer with headphones. The program generally slows down speech sounds and then gradually increases them again as the student gains competency. The company uses data based upon individual student performance in order to know when the student is ready to progress to harder levels.
5. Use Earobics. Earobics is also a computer based program and helps a variety of challenges. It is beneficial for the student to do it one hour a day, five days a week for six weeks.
6. Do Auditory Integration Training (AIT.) AIT is based upon the idea that the child has hypersensitivities to some sounds. The child listens to music through headphones that filter selected frequencies. This therapy purports to strengthen muscles in the inner ear and is considered an experimental therapy.
The above strategies may remedy some auditory challenges in children with autism. If their symptoms are improved, children may experience great relief and improved learning.
Berris, T. (2002) When the Brain Can't Hear New York, NY: Simon and Schuster.
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Dietary Interventions for Children With Autism

Hello and welcome to Day 2 of our series on The Best Therapies for Children with Autism. Today's topic is Dietary Interventions for Autism Spectrum Disorder.
It is very important to at least try the dietary interventions for Autism Spectrum Disorder. Some children have really improved from such diets as the Gluten Casein Free Diet. This is because a certain subset of the Autism population also has Celiac Disease. People who have Celiac Disease cannot digest the protein gluten, hence the need to go on a gluten- free diet. If children with Celiac Disease eat foods that contain gluten, it causes them very terrible stomach pain, including gas, bloating, even vomiting and complete inability to digest their foods.
What is a gluten- free diet? Gluten is found in many common foods. Wheat, rye, barley and oats all have gluten and children with Autism Spectrum Disorder cannot eat foods with those ingredients. Unfortunately, this rules out many common types of flour, which impacts upon the child's ability to eat most store- bought breads. Children with autism spectrum disorder who are on the gluten free diet may eat bread made of rice flour.
These days, it is pretty easy to find a cookbook with recipes for gluten- free foods.
My son has been on this diet since he was four years old (about twelve years on the diet.) Back then, when we started it, we had great difficulty discovering anything he could eat, let alone would eat. Also, the substitutions back then were fairly disgusting. The gluten- free breads at that point were so incredibly heavy; they were almost inedible. Also, he needed a non- dairy substitution for cheese as well. The soy based cheeses back then were horrible.
I am pleased and delighted by how far these foods have come in recent years. It is now fairly easy to get a good quality soy- based cheese and there are also a variety of good gluten- free breads now as well.
Based upon our experience on the diet, I would say if your child with Autism Spectrum Disorder has stomach distress or pains at all, why not try the diet? See if it works for your family.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

What Qualities Do You Want in an Autism Spectrum Therapist?

It takes a special kind of person to be an Autism Spectrum therapist. Parents know this, yet it is nerve-wracking to know that in many ways the child's fate is in the therapist's hands. It is necessary to select Autism Spectrum therapists wisely and well. Here are some qualities that are desirable in an Autism Spectrum therapist.
Anyone who works with children should have patience. This is true of typically-developing children and even more so of children with Autism. The therapist must be able to patiently teach the child no matter how long it takes. Everyone wants to have a patient teacher and children with Autism are no exception.
Most children with Autism see many therapists and teachers in a day. When even one of these people is late, it sets everyone back. Also, many children with Autism have an internal sense of time and it annoys them when their teachers are late or for that matter too early. Therefore, it is a strict requirement that teachers and therapists must be on time.
It is so bothersome and disruptive in a therapeutic program when therapists or teachers start and then stop. Unfortunately, this happens commonly. It is probably because many of the people working as therapists are students and their schedules change. That is why longevity is an outstanding quality for any therapist or aide to have. Staying with the child a long time gives the therapist an opportunity to make more progress with the child.
Self Starter 
Being a therapist or teacher for an Autism Spectrum child is the ultimate self starter job. Many times parents work outside the home in their own jobs. The last thing they want to do is hawk over the therapists all day when they have their own jobs to worry about. So, therapists must be motivated self starters.
The above are some suggestions for qualities to look for in potential Autism Spectrum therapists. Patience is a must. It will be difficult for the Autism Spectrum child to stick to his or her schedule without therapist punctuality. Longevity is a great quality in an Autism Spectrum therapist because the children get attached to their therapists. Finally, a therapist that is a self starter is perfect because most parents don't have the time to sit in the therapy room all day. 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Easy Work at Home Jobs for Moms of Children With Autism

Taking care of children with autism is a very absorbing situation that often makes it difficult for moms to work outside the home. Some families are in need of work at home jobs for moms of children with autism. If children have in- home therapy programs ongoing, then the need for work at home jobs for moms of children with autism is even greater. How can parents work outside the home full time and still conduct intensive home- based therapeutic programs? The following information for work at home jobs for moms of children with autism can provide at least some income for mothers and families.
1. WAHM- www.wahm.com This is an online magazine for work at home moms. On the left there is a listing titled "Work at Home Jobs." They have a searchable work at home job bank. They also have an excellent forum for moms covering all sorts of topics of interest to work at home moms.
2. iFreelance- www.ifreelance.com On this one, over to the right it states "Need Freelance Jobs?" and there are many freelance jobs listed. You are able to post your profile on this site for employers to contact you. Under "provide services" click "Find Projects" and then you can break the search down by your job category of interest.
3. Direct Sales Moms- www.directsalesmoms.com If you are interested in sales, or if you think you could begin selling something, this is an excellent place to start. Direct sales moms is dedicated to support you in a direct sales career with a flexible lifestyle. There are many featured businesses, like candle sales, book sales and sales of wine or makeup. Check them out.
4. Elance- www.elance.com To start, click on "Provide Services." You must sign up under "Become a Provider." Then they have a number of opportunities from writing to sales, finance and legal. It also depends upon what your background and interest is.
5. Internet Based Moms- www.internetbasedmoms.com This is a great place to network and find support for yourself in home jobs. This website has a great deal of information on it. It explains ezines, newsletters, blogging, direct sales, how to build a website and more. If you click "Work From Home," they have good message boards too.
6. Sologig- www.sologig.com Here you can register and search based upon your location and category of job interest.
7. Get a Freelancer- www.getafreelancer.com This website has jobs mostly in programming, web design and copywriting.
8. Flipdog- www.flipdog.com This is a searchable database where you just type in the kind of home based job you want and the location where you live.
9. MyMommybiz- www.mymommybiz.com My mommy biz is full of resources. It contains business ideas, home party plans,loans, telecommuting, mystery shopping, paid surveys and more.
10. Walletboosters- www.walletboosters.com Walletboosters has hundreds of extra income opportunities. The categories include data entry, merchandising, mystery shopping, telecommuting and transcription. There are also sections entitled "get paid to write" and "get paid to take photos." I love walletboosters because of the sheer variety of truly great opportunities. There is something for everyone.
11. Freelance Mom- www.freelancemom.com This is a free resource. When I clicked, "Work From Home Jobs," there were many categories to choose from. The listings include programmer, translation, writing and editing, administrative and customer support, bookkeeping and accounting.
Taking care of children with autism and somehow making a living at the same time is more easily said than done. The above resources could be a starting point to provide assistance to work at home jobs for moms of children with autism.