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Autism awareness

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Joined: 13 May 2005
Posts: 93
Location: Fort St. John, British Columbia, Canada

PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2005 7:15 pm    Post subject: Autism awareness Reply with quote

A few decades ago, autism was a rare word in the medical vocabulary. Unfortunately that's not the case anymore. The incidence of autism has increased from 1-10:10,000 to 1:500 in this decade and its still on the rise. Various factors are being blamed and studied but none has been proven to be the cause. On the top of the list are early childhood vaccinations, prenatal viral infections, genetics, enviromental pollutants and toxins. One factor that is out of the list however is parental neglegence.

Almost everything about autism is complex and mind boggling, from diagnosis, to therapeutic interventions and prognostic outcomes. While majority of the severe autistics are still considered unteachable, aggressive and voilent and are destined to ending up in institutional homes, we have wonderfull examples of people like Dr. Temple Gardin, a PhD. vetenarian, Dr. Shirin DeSilva, a medical doctor and an occupational therapist and hundreds of other well educated autistics who have proven their initial prognosis to be wrong and have given lots of hope to the parents of autistic kids.
Totally impressed by their acheivements and my own son's potentials, now I am dedicated to increasing autism awareness and educating professionals and parents about the early recognition of the condition and therapeutic interventions as that can impact the child's future in a very positive way. I am currently reside in British Columbia, Canada and I am working as Behaviour therapy consultant for autistic kids here. As travelling to Pakistan is not an option for me due to my own son's needs, I will really appreciate your comments and suggestions about how I can best achieve my objective in Pakistan regarding this matter, thanks.
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Joined: 13 May 2005
Posts: 93
Location: Fort St. John, British Columbia, Canada

PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2005 2:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear parents,

Helping an autistic child is like solving a comlicated has lots of pieces and every little piece helps. I will try to summarize it for all of you as if you get into only one aspect too much...then it doesn't work out well and all the energy and time is lost. Not everything works for each child so its important to look at the bigger picture and take small steps to see whats working best for the child and then individualize the treatment / therapy plan.

1. Relaxing sensory play and one on one interaction oppurtunities, about 2-3 hours everyday.

To learn how to develope interaction with your child....I recommend the parents to familiarize themselves with the book, "More Than Words". Also make a list of your childs favourite activities and get involved with your child by taking his lead in what he tries to do. Keep verbal communication to the minimum, but use gesture, funny sounds and faces, along with exaggerated expressions and cheering. You will be pleasently surprised by not only increased alertness in the child, but will also notice a better appetite and sleep pattern, along with reduced hyperactivity.

2. Treatment of Candidiasis...

use of nystatin and probiotics, and sometimes special diets( avoiding casein and glutein). This is more recommended for kids who haven't responded well to a couple of months of sesory and child directed play set up.

3. Supplements....minerals and vitamins. esp. Mg, iron, calcium, Vitamin A , B6 , B12 , C , E . essential fats, omega 3 & 6 (nuts and cod liver oil) .

Majority of the kids are picky eater and deficient in nutrients and vitamins. Lots avoid taking meat and are anemic. Those on gfcf diets are not taking in enough calcium. If the appetite is not improving after the play set up and treatment of candiada, try to start supplementing your child. It's come to my knowledge that parents have been importing minerals from states ...they don't have to. Talk to a well aware family doctor / nutritionist ...discuss your childs intake and ask about the supplements. Needs are no different than that of a typical child who would have an appetite like this ASD one.

4. Detoxification / chelation therapies .

This ia a hot issue for most parents, esp. the iv chelation. I have a whole list of parents who contact me in a panic and need more info. about expenses, should they immigrate for this reason...etc, etc.

My advise is, try step 1-3, if the child hasn't started improving, than consider improving your child's natural excretory system to get rid of the excretants.. First of all try increasing your child's fluid intake, juices, water, sport drinks....., along with ample oppurtunity of vigrous activities.
Then consider trial of epson salt baths to the child, this alone takes care of lots of toxins and is a non-invasive treatment before moving on to more complex chelations. The inhaled and skin patch chelations are still safer than the iv ones.

5. Use of melatonin,

a natural harmone versus anxiolytics for a better sleep pattern.

6. Building fun activities out of home,

like oppurtunity to spend time in pool / bathtub, climbing , jumping , running...scheduled within the daily routine.

7. Setting up a home teaching system with child specific goals using picture symbols, schedules and text.

8. Setting up a support system

with family / friends / volunteers / hired help to further establish the learning process.

9. Transfer of home learned skills

into a supported school system, which is probably the most difficult of all the steps but can be achieved with group efforts.

10. Having a family and sibling support system

for encouragement, moral support and continuing effort.

If we only concentrate at one piece of the puzzle, the objective will not be achieved. Looking at your indidvidual resources, just take one step at a time and what seems too overwhelming for now, will get easier, esp. as you get to see the differences in the child. See what can be done now and what can be added and worked on later. Always remebeR that your wellbeing is the key to this whole process so take good care of yourself and Inshallallah you will achieve your goals.

Last edited by saima on Thu Feb 23, 2006 3:45 am; edited 2 times in total
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S. Ijaz

PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2006 8:16 pm    Post subject: Is immigration a solution Reply with quote

There is a saying, grass always looks greener on the other side of the fence. In my opinion, there is no autism perfect place yet. While the biggest and most significant difference has come from direct one on one intervention, home based play and work setup is essential. Any place that has a better support system for you, friends and family who want to learn or be a part of the program is an asset. There is definetly lots to learn, but can be done with books, workshops and mostly from the individuality of your own child. So the more time you spend with him / her, the more you will be able to individualize the needs. The recognition of childs strenghts and weeknesses helps in this process too.

Everywhere, there is a level of struggle when it comes to school integration. While there definitely are more educational oppurtunities for the school boards and staff, in the developed countries, my and other parents experience regarding this is that main acceptance comes from the teachers ability to emphathize and work along the parents as a team than the availability of the trainings and workshops. Sometimes there are real willingness on the staff side and if the parents are not ready to carry out some work habbits, system can still fall apart.

When considering a move for child's benefit, try to analyse the pros and cons.....your educational upgrades, finances for the meantime, availability of job, starting career from the scratch sometimes, loss of the existing support system, reevaluation of your childs diagnosis and needs by the doctors, psychologist, integration into the society, affects on the siblings etc. Some develped countries have medical and educational need coverage for the citizens / immigrants, some don't. Again there is a time period after which the services become affective and you have to be able to manage privately untill than.

There is more avalibility of technology help, general awareness, support groups but difference in cultural, religion and ethinic background has its influences too. A lot of humane / charitable events and help is thru churches and therefore is an issue to consider for non christians.

I am giving just my opinion and it might be different from others. My advice is to think where you can be more strong financially and emotionally, so you can handle the challanges together and move on to build an educated social circle for yourself and your child. That circle could just be the parents and a couple of workers or ideally a wonderful supportive extended family

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Joined: 13 May 2005
Posts: 93
Location: Fort St. John, British Columbia, Canada

PostPosted: Sun Mar 05, 2006 12:34 am    Post subject: 3 Ways of teaching an ASD child that all parents should know Reply with quote

For each involved family objectives do begin at a more personnel level and that is our necessity. However the realization that asking and offering support helps us feel better and stronger emotionally so we feel more capable of dealing with our individual a big and an important step!! Untill we are in a situation like this, we live in a world of friends, co-workers and extended family that is more than enough to meet our social needs. However afterwards most families feel at a loss because their earlier connection do not fill up their social needs, some make us feel guilty, others give pity but the bigger message is to move on.....parents go thru phases of denial and depression that results in time wastage. Group discussions like these can help us get past that void and towards more constructive ways of dealing with emotions.

While the short term goals for each family should be setting up a home learning system for their child, with the help of professionals, but more so by educating yourself with the 3 best learning systems at this time. Its exciting that more and more parents are studying the books and sharing the information. To summarize that again for the new parents, these methods are,

1. Floor time

Described also as Hanen,

More than Words, It Takes Two to Talk, Site . If you open the learning resources page, you can access the first book page by page right on the site. It describes the 4 stages of how autistic kids present themselves and how to engage them into activities for each of these stages.

2. Teacch. sites, . My recommended book is 'How do I teach this Kid" by Kimberly A. Henry. This book has been designed for early learners, from ages 2 - 10. and helps is areas like sorting, matching, reading, writing and mathematics.


Early Interventions for Kids with autism, by Catherine Maurice.

This is a good book to learn how to affectively break down the receptive and expressive language skills.

Majority of the parents working with their child, work with a combination of strategies derived from these 3 ways.

Good luck,

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Joined: 13 May 2005
Posts: 93
Location: Fort St. John, British Columbia, Canada

PostPosted: Tue May 23, 2006 10:20 pm    Post subject: Programs for Enhancing Visual focus and Attention Reply with quote

Dear Members,

Here is a set of 10 programs with initiating ideas to get you going with the playing and learning ideas. Hope this information is usefull.

1. Matching

Matching labelled, b & w and coloured pictures of family members, rooms of the house, familiar places, like home, school, park, child?s favourite treats, snacks, toys, activities.

2. Sorting

Buttons, beads of different colours, shapes, big and little things?.

3. Sequencing & putting in order

Magnetic numbers & alphabets, first with a visual cue and than fading out the cue.

4. Patterns

Stringing beads for kids with better fine motor, using bigger beads and stick for younger kids and ones with difficulty stringing. Use 2 colour or shape of beads and alternately string them.

5. Connecting lines and dots

Connecting broken horizontal, vertical, digital and than curved lines. Later leading this into drawing and tracing letters and numbers.

Dot to dots after child has mastered number and alphabet sequencing without the prompt.

6. Turn taking

Teaching child to stop when its someone turn and act when its his turn. Can be done with any mastered activity and turn taking card. First with physical prompting and than fade out the prompts.

7. Puzzles

Use labels on the insert puzzles. Get puzzles of vehicles, farm animals, foods, clothings. Clearly say the word as the child places each piece to introduce first word vocabulary.

8. Action imitation with fading physical prompts

There are 3 types of actions, fine motor, gross motor and oral motor. Oral motor are best taught by pictures of feeling cards and by making silly faces. Fine motor are taught well by child favourite toys, doll / ball / car etc. Make a simple action and prompt the child to repeat.

9. Picture books
Categorize the matched pictures into people, places, things and actions and make simple picture books. You can add a simple question in the beginning as ?who is this person? Or ? what is this?? to encourage the language concept.

10. Songs and actions

Most of our kids like rhymes, connect nursery rhymes with actions to give meaning to the words. A nursery rhyme site added by Dr. Hoori has a wonderful rhyme collection. Otherwise use your favourite nursery rhyme book for this.

Good luck,

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Joined: 13 May 2005
Posts: 93
Location: Fort St. John, British Columbia, Canada

PostPosted: Tue May 23, 2006 10:23 pm    Post subject: Building Interaction Reply with quote

Dear members,

Playing together is a way of learning, teaching and above all bonding with your child. As an autistic, we are told that our child has minimal or no play skills. No child is born with play skills, they develope it by being attentive to their peers, siblings and than by action imitation. These are the skills we need to initiate for our kids. There are 4 types of playing that we introduce pour kids to.

1. Independent play:

Initially you will have to structure, schedule and reinforce the child to keep him attentive but you will find them quickly catching up to this type of play.

Insert puzzles, shape sorters, pegs, nesting cups, stacking rings, marble works, jigsaw puzzles, simple computer games, duplo blocks.

Once child is playing well in one time, spot...generalize it with others (friend, therapist, family) at another place and treasure it when you go to places where you might be expecting waiting etc.

2. Turn taking play:

Where child needs your help to get started as its an activity thats too hard for him but loves the affect. These are 'the activities' that can be used to make the child communicate to the best of his ability and as parents always be at the look out for what else??

Blowing bubbles, spinning tops, wind up tops, battery operated toys with no battery, sand and water toys, any favourite figure or tactile toys in a zip lock bag / see thru container.

3. Table games:

Bingo, memory or matching games, mr. potato head, boggles, scrabble junior.

4. High activity games:

swinging, chase, t- ball, tag, trampoline, follow the leader, simon says, obstacle course, basketball, ring toss.

5. Interactive Play:.

When child has bonded enough and is showing readiness for action imitation. Continue to label items and actions for the child instead of talking in sentences. Make fun sounds and expressions to keep the child connected. For more please refer to the henan book.

Playsets, building materials, car tracks, dress - up, play dough and cookie cutters, role play, planting seeds, making masks, Puppet play, sing-alongs. Playing with water and cups at sink / bathtub, pails. crafts, music and dance.
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