Monday, May 7, 2012

ASD, PDD-NOS, OCD, ADHD, High Sensory

Under the umbrella of ASD

What is ASD? "Autism Spectrum Disorder". Why is ASD called a disorder? Because all children who are born under the umbrella of ASD have a neurological malfunction in either the "left" or "right" side of the brain that effects everything from; sensory to touch, taste, smells, lights, noises to speech, hand flapping or sudden triggered movements which are called; repetitive behaviors,  fixed on one particular item daily and can't seem to do anything else but that enjoy that one fixed item, picky at eating, and there is more. You get the just of what it is not; a "normal" child who enjoys, doing just about anything during the day, one who sleeps, interested in all sort of things, objects, people and places, isn't bothered by sights, sounds, touch, taste or smells.

Lets take a quick test to see how much you know about ASD.
Autism Quiz

How did you do on the above test? Perhaps you know of someone in your direct family or a friend that is under the umbrella of ASD, taking the test above will be able to help you understand more of the child who is suffering from ASD and help you relate better to the child.

I know during the test, they said there is a "cure" for ASD if caught early. I personally do not feel that the word "cure" as in a pill or magic potion that can "fix" ASD. Children under the umbrella of ASD are all different, and what works within or for one child, does not mean it will "work" for another child under the umbrella of ASD.

Parents know their child, family members are usually very helpful in more ways then one when dealing with an Autistic child, no matter where that child is under the umbrella. Moral support and just being there for any mother under the Autism umbrella can bring more of a blessing, than really anything else. Parents who have a child under the umbrella of autism are over 50% greater of filing for divorce- just the financial drain alone can cause additional problems to an already strained marriage. Why the strain? Receiving a diagnosis takes time, money and can be very confusing for any parent who has a child under the umbrella of autism. Today alone, the autism spectrum has grown in massive confusion because the spectrum has widen so greatly over the last 10 years. Receiving a proper diagnoses might take several trips to see different specialist and this can become confusing to parents and as well be stressful.

Lets talk about educating yourself on what this umbrella of autism really looks like. For this I have included a complete fact sheet: Autism Fact Sheet once you have read the fact sheet, do you see your child on this list?
With so much knowledge at your fingertips (internet) it is always best to arm yourself with knowledge so you can speak clearly and effectively to any doctor you meet concerning your child. 

Parents who have children that have eating disorders under the autism umbrella, suffer daily in trying to figure out ways to help this children eat. Children who have oral sensory and oral sensitivities to; touch, taste and smell have to usually get outside help with idea's, special skills and ABA therapy. Some insurances such as state insurance do not always cover the therapy needed for feeding through ABA for both oral sensory and oral sensitivity these children can not be forced to eat.  Feeding is a huge control issue to each child under the autism umbrella- regardless if the food is too hot, not hot enough, usually has to be cooled to the right touch, or perhaps your child only eats; crunchy, salty and sweet- perhaps you have a child that only likes everything green, not cooked. Under the autism umbrella these children face a daily challenge of eating. Most restaurants are loud, play music and the dishes banging or clanging, people talking, walking and just the noise alone can set off a major meltdown, or toss off the inner sensory panel that the brain is therefor unable to respond to. Eating for yourself is not a big deal, but when you are under the autism umbrella, eating anything can become a huge stress for the child and parents as well. Some parents are told to try things, but this can become frustrated too when attempts are shot down and attempt just increase more set backs for the child.

Stick together as parents, your child is going to need both of you for a lifetime because autism does not go away- yes, symptoms do improve or can improve with age, but there are children whom symptoms will never improve with age. There are children who are on the spectrum and go in and out of reverting back to what they "feel" most comfortable with inside. Some children can revert along with puberty, causing a lashing back of all sort of symptoms that are old and new- some children enter through puberty and nothing changes.

What side of the brain does autism effect your child? Why is this so important to know? Understanding which side of the brain effects your child has a great impact on the outcome of the proper therapy for your child. An MRI can determine which side of the brain has been affected neurologically. Remember, each side of the brain reports to the other side- when one side can't or signals are mixed up, then the transmitters are then subject to going no where to be read or just bouncing back off. If you have a child with autism under the umbrella than you will see your child; bouncing, jumping, flapping, rocking, banging the head, etc all to try to get body to stop feeling so out of control. Think of yourself on any allergy medication, the one that makes you feel as if your hair is crawling or you might experience your head feeling like its floating off your body- this is how an autism child feels every single moment of every single day.  This feeling does not stop or does this feeling go away. Can you imagine !

With symptoms growing and doctors having so many hands in the diagnoses, it still concerns me why pediatricians do not place posters in the waiting room of the, "symptoms of autism" so parents might be able to read these and understand more about autism. Many who are not educated in the autism world or who do not have any family members with autism- or know someone with autism really do not know much about autism at all. Then you have family members who personally know someone but really don't know that much about autism, then you have a direct family who has a family member with autism and the other family members don't really understand or can they support. Autism is a very wide spectrum and can effect children differently and it does not matter about race. Autism is autism and under this umbrella there are different amounts of symptoms, so it can be very confusing for any parent.

Night time; perhaps you have a child that does not sleep, walks the floors at night, bangs head, or rocks, can't close the eyes- children under the autism umbrella can't self sooth themselves to sleep. A parent can restrict a routine but the child is still going to do the above. Ever had too many cups of coffee? This is how an autism child feels at night- wired, can't rest, can't close the eyes and sometimes have such horrible dreams that to an autism child, these dreams are almost real like. If your child is a baby, then it's trail and error in what works best for you and your child. If you have a child whom is old enough to really talk to you about this, don't be afraid to ask what they need to help them. Communication is the key and trial and error along with patience and a lot of reassurance is key here. No matter what, keep trying - stress can play a huge role in trying to fall asleep- try to create a stress free room outside of the child's bedroom. Only the child is allowed to enter into this room. Why, because any outside tension can cause stress and will not help the child when trying to relax.

Here is a Gen and she has Aspergers, this is how she feels:

Author: Gen
I am now 37 and was finally correctly diagnosed with Aspergers when I was 34, even though I have had it my whole life. Much of it because I am female. I have struggled with sensory issues all of my life too. Puberty was awful and that is when the eating disorder started. Even eating disorder programs were difficult for me because no one understood me and I couldn't really connect with the others.  If I gain even a few pounds, my brain seems to "sense" it as if I had gained 20 and I feel like I want to crawl out of my skin. It is such an awful feeling. Clothes doesn't fit right, seam in clothing seem to catch where they used to not. I was always told to "trust my body" in these programs, but how can  you trust your body when what you feel is not what your brain is telling you. When I had kids, I hoped for boys so they wouldn't go through what I went through and am still going through. My oldest of two sons, now 11 is has NF autism, the regressive type. He also has sensory inte
gration dysfunction.

Other writers comments and concerns:

 My son also has PDD-NOS. Part of it is super sensitive tastebuds and things tasting “weird” to him sometimes. I would absolutely talk to his doctor before removing him from his meds. It can be dangerous. You do need to express your concerns and get some answers, though. My 11 year old has recently started eating some new things. Hang in there! It will get better!
My son just turned 11 and is 4 ft tall and weighs 60 lbs. He eats only food with pasta, nothing solid or hard. I add a varity of things to his milk so he gets the nutrients and vitamins he needs. He has severe allergies to fruit, some veggies and latex. He also has Pica, he eats wood, paper, plastic, rocks, dirt, anything but food. lol It’s a challenge but there has been a large inprovement in behaviors. He is in a controlled environment, even goes to school via the computer. All things that spark melt downs have been removed and at this point, he never goes out to stores or places that trigger melt downs. Hard, but he is worth it.

My son is 6 years old and autistic, he has never bit or chewed any food, his diet consists of 3 different baby foods (lump free), and forular bottles, he loves to lick chrips and chips as likes salt however will not eat them. He goes to a mainstream school and is doing well. Does anyone else have any similar issues or ideas to help him eat?

My son’s opposite, won’t eat anything smooth. Everything has to crunch.

Omg, Susan! I just wrote a blog entry about this exact same issue. And it’s not the first one. My son is 5’2″ tall and weighs just 89 pounds. To me he looks skeletal, but all the doctors and the BMI charts say he’s a healthy weight. I get so tired of people telling me I should just “make him eat.” I do see the similarities between Autism eating issues and anorexia.
@Jennifer, what a horribly insensitive (and ignorant!) thing for your pediatrician to say to you! The last thing children with autism want to do is go to the grocery store with you! Too many strange sounds and smells coming at them. Too much sensory input! That’s a recipe for a meltdown. I’ve learned to leave my son at home. He eats what he eats. I’m just happy that he eats!

Remember, you are not alone- many who have children under the autism umbrella have feelings, concerns and worries concerning the child they love with all their heart.

I hope my own words have helped someone who is reading this information today. Being educated is key to everything as well as offering moral support to each parent and understanding.

Find support groups online through doing a "search" into your browser. There are so many online groups and information that it would be impossible for me to list them all or suggest just a few, leaving other suggestions out or recommend one group and not another groups.

Blessings to you !


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