Aspiration Precautions

Children and adults with developmental disabilities often face challenges with eating, drinking and swallowing disorders than the general population. It is estimated that adults with intellectual disabilities require support from caregivers during mealtime. It is common among people who have a diagnosis of cerebral palsy, intellectual disability, physical  disability and muscular dystrophy.

Dysphasia is a medical term used to describe any person having difficulty swallowing foods and liquids taking  more energy and time to move food from the mouth to the stomach. Signs of dysphasia may include:

  • Drooling
  • Food or liquid remaining in the oral cavity after swallowing
  • Complaints of pain when swallowing
  • Coughing during or right after eating or drinking
  • Extra time needed to chew or swallow
  • Reflux of food

Dysphasia can lead to aspiration. Aspiration is defined when food, fluid, or other foreign material gets into the trachea or lungs instead of going down the esophagus and into the stomach. when this occurs, the person is able to cough to get the food or fluid out of their lungs, in some cases especially with children and adults with disabilities may not be able to cough. This is known as Silent Aspiration.

A complication of aspiration is Pneumonia which is defined as inhaling food, saliva, and liquids into the lungs

According to the Office of People with Developmental Disabilities Health and safety Alert, factors that place people at risk for aspiration include:

  • Being fed by others
  • Weak or absent coughing, and/or gag reflexes, commonly seen in people with cerebral palsy.
  • food stuffing and rapid eating/drinking
  • Poor chewing or swallowing pills
  • GERD- the return of partially digested food or stomach contents to the esophagus
  • Providing liquids or food consistencies the person is not able to tolerate such as eating whole foods.
  • Seizures that may occur during eating and/or drinking.

How to recognize signs and symptoms of Aspiration:

  • Choking or coughing while eating or just after eating
  • Drooling while eating or just after eating
  • Eyes start to water
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fever 30 minutes after eating
Intervene immediate if there are signs of aspiration:
  • Stop feeding immediately
  • Keep the person in an upright position
  • Call 911 if the person has difficulty or stops breathing and no pulse
  • Start rescue breathing

Minimize aspiration from occurring by serving the appropriate food texture and liquid consistency. If you are not sure of the right consistency, check with your health care provider. The following are pictures of food consistencies.

Courtesy of OPWDD

Courtesy of OPWDD

Whole. Food is served as it is normally prepared; no changes are needed in
preparation or consistency

Courtesy of OPWDD

1 ” Pieces cut to size. Food is served as prepared and cut into 1-inch pieces
(about the width of a fork).

Courtesy of OPWDD

1/4 Pieces Cut to Size. Food is cut with a knife or a pizza cutter or placed in a food
processor and cut into ¼ -inch pieces (about the width of a #2 pencil)

Courtesy of OPWDD

Ground. Food must be prepared using a food processor or comparable equipment
until MOIST, COHESIVE AND NO LARGER THAN A GRAIN OF RICE, or relish
like pieces, similar to pickle relish. Ground food must always be moist. Ground meat
is moistened with a liquid either before or after being prepared in the food processor
and is ALWAYS served with a moistener such as broth, low fat sauce, gravy or
appropriate condiment. Hard, dry ground particles are easy to inhale and must be
avoided.

 

Courtesy of OPWDD

Pureed. Food must be prepared using a food processor or comparable equipment.
All foods are moistened and processed until smooth, achieving an applesauce-like or
pudding consistency. A spoon should NOT stand up in the food, but the consistency
should not be runny. Each food item is to be pureed separately, unless foods are
prepared in a mixture such as a soup, stew, casserole, or salad.

Aspiration Precautions

  • Make sure the person eats slowly and takes small bites of food
  •  Ensure the person takes small sips of liquids
  • Focus on the person’s swallowing
  • Make sure the person remains upright for a minimum of thirty minutes after eating
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13 Amazing Artists on the Autism Spectrum You Need to Check Out

Source: The Mighty

Art is a cathartic outlet for many reasons. It’s a way to express feelings that you can’t easily articulate, advocate for a cause or a belief and, for some, it can also be a means of making a living. This can especially be important for people on the autism spectrum, some of whom have difficulty with communication. In Mighty contributor Kate Smith’s article, “How the Arts Gave Me a Voice Before I Knew I Have Asperger’s,” she wrote:

What I did know from an early age was that the arts were my everything — my way to express myself, my way to feel connected and my way to feel truly alive. … Art became my lens through which I saw the world, and it seemed to be the only way I could express myself in it.

In addition to being a way for people to express complicated emotions and thoughts. Click here  to read the rest of the story.

What is Hydrocephalus?

Some people refer to hydrocelphus as ‘water on the brain.” The name is taken from the greek words “hydro” meaning water and “cephalus” referring to the head. Hydrocephalus is actually a build up of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) within the cavities in the brain inside the ventricles. The purpose of the Cerebrospinal fluid is to serve as a protective cushion surrounding the brain and the spinal cord.

The fluid moves in constant circulation and is then absorbed into the blood stream. Hydrocephaly occurs when the fluid begins to build up in the cavities causing excess fluid to increase in the ventricles adding pressure on the brain which can cause damage to the brain tissues.

Types

There are two major types of hydrocephalus:

Congenital. In this case, a child was born with it. The cause could be due to both genetic or environmental factors during the early stages of fetal development such as an infection or a birth defect or rubella.Through advanced technology, hydrocephaly can now be diagnosed through ultra sound testing

 

Acquired.  Occurs when it is developed after birth. It may be due to a brain tumor, stroke, head injury or meningitis

Communicating.  (Obstructive) Occurs when the CSF becomes blocked after leaving the ventricles

Non Communicating. (Non-Obstructive) occurs when the craniospinal fluid becomes blocked after leaving the ventricles.

The Most Supportive States for Raising a Child With Autism

Source: Autism Parenting Magazine

Being a parent is challenging in its own right, and parenting a child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) brings its own unique challenges. All parents want what’s best for their children, and it takes time, effort, and money to develop the whole child. However, navigating systems of support for children in the US can be complex, to say the least. From deciding which daycare is best for your child and then finding a school that suits his/her needs, to securing a job with a salary that pays enough to support a family and also provides adequate healthcare, it is a real struggle for many parents in the US to make ends meet. Add a $50,000 bill to pay for Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy for your child with autism, and that struggle can become an insurmountable obstacle without outside support. Click here to read the rest of the story.

Data and Statistics- Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD)

  • Fetal alcohol disorders range from mild intellectual and behavioral problems to extreme disorders that lead to profound disabilities or premature death.
  • FAS are not heredity: they are 100 percent preventable the sole cause is prenatal alcohol exposure.
  • Of the children heavily exposed to alcohol before birth, about 40 percent are estimated to exhibit fetal alcohol disorders, with 4 percent affected by full blown fetal alcohol syndrome.
  • Women who give birth to a child with FAS are 800 times more likely to give birth to subsequent children with the syndrome than are women who have never given birth to a child with the syndrome.
  • Each year, there are four times as many infants born with fetal alcohol disorders as there are infants born with muscular dystrophy, spina bifida and Down syndrome combined.
  • 15 out of 100 women of childbearing age do not know that drinking alcohol during pregnancy is dangerous.
  • FASD affects about 40,000 newborns each year
  • A survey of pediatrician reported in the journal Pediatrics revealed that only 13 percent routinely discussed the risk of drinking during pregnancy with their adolescent patients.

  • According to the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, 1 in 9 pregnant women binge drink during the first trimester.
  • FASD are 100% incurable
  • 60% of individuals with FASD find themselves in legal trouble at some point in their lives.
  • There is a high prevalence of epilepsy (5.9%) in individuals with FASD compared with individuals who did not have the disorder.
  • 94% of individuals heavily exposed to alcohol in the womb are diagnosed with ADHD
  • It is estimated a lifetime cost for one individual with FASD is 2 million
  • 50% of adults with FASD were clinically depressed

SEPTEMBER IS FETAL ALCOHOL SPECTRUM DISORDER AWARENESS MONTH

School Accomodations for Students Diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) describes Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders as a group of conditions that can occur in a person whose mother drank during pregnancy. The effects of the fetal alcohol disorders includes many learning challenges including hyperactivity, poor attention span, memory issues, coordination challenges, anxiety, speech and language delays, problem-solving issues, difficulty staying on task, behavioral challenges and social interaction.

Some children with FASD have co-occurring disorders or are often mis-diagnosed.

The following are the most common disorders:

  • Oppositional Defiant Disorders (ODD)
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactive/Inattentive Disorder (ADHD)
  • Learning Disabilities
  • Speech and language delays
  • Anti-Social Personality Disorder

The following are Accommodations that will help students succeed:

  • Use a multi-sensory approach to learning
  • Allow extra time for testing assessments
  • Chunk the test into parts
  • Reduce distractions by using preferential seating
  • Allow the student to take breaks
  • Use oral test
  • Provide oral instructions
  • Use a checklist for the student to use
  • Allow the student to use a timer
  • Use repetition
  • Check in with the students for understanding and provide feedback
  • Teach calming strategies
  • Use assistive technology
  • Use social stories
  • Teach social skills

Researchers devise a more ‘child-friendly’ test for autism

Source: Medical News Today
Written by: Maria Cohut

The current methods of diagnosing autism in children use questionnaires and psychologist evaluations. However, these methods can be stressful for those at a young age. New research now suggests an easy, more stress-free test that simply tracks the gaze.

“The current approaches to determining if someone has autism are not really child-friendly,” notes Mehrshad Sadria, who is currently pursuing a master’s degree at the University of Waterloo in Canada.

Sadria and colleagues have been busy looking for an alternative means of diagnosing autism — which specialists refer to as autism spectrum disorder (ASD) — early on in life. Click here to read therest of the story.

The Effectiveness of Visual Schedules for kids with Autism

Source: Autism Parenting

Everyday tasks can prove to be a challenge with an autistic child because they need constant reminders.  Transitioning from one task to another can cause anxiety or a meltdown to occur.  However, social stories, visual schedules, and reminder strips can help alleviate the stress and anxiety associated with the everyday tasks that so many of us do with ease.

To many parents, hearing the word “schedule” can be overbearing.  When it was first suggested that I create a picture/visual schedule for my autistic child, I thought that it wouldn’t be helpful. I mean, if my child is already so rigid with the order of things – wouldn’t creating a schedule make her even more dependent on everything being in order all the time?  I came up with many excuses to avoid making the first picture chart.  I found it intimidating to create charts and schedules, but at the same time I understood that no one could make the chart for us.  Since every family has their own routine, it must be created for the individual.  Of course, there are some tasks that need to be performed everyday such as waking up, going to the bathroom, getting dressed, eating breakfast, brushing teeth, combing hair, and putting on shoes.  However, on weekdays “putting on shoes” would be followed by “put on coat” and “get on the bus.”  The problem is, my child wasn’t attending school every day of the week and was too young to understand the days of the week.  So then I would have to deal with meltdowns when the weekend came or if there was a cancelation of school because of inclement weather. Click here to read the rest of the story.

Sensory-Friendly Home Modifications for Autism and Sensory Processing Disorder

Source: Big Rentz
Written by: Lior Zitzman

When you have a child or family member on the autism spectrum, creating a safe and functional home environment is an important task. Autism can have a huge impact on an individual’s development, lifestyle, and social connections. People on the spectrum can be particularly sensitive to lights, sounds, and other stimuli. Many crave order and routines to make sense of the world. Safety can be a concern for those who wander, are drawn to water, or are prone to head banging or self injury.

According to the Autism Society, about 1 percent of the world’s population has autism spectrum disorder, and the condition affects about 1 in every 59 children born in the United States. This means that in America, 3.5 million people are on the autism spectrum. This number is growing as diagnostic criteria are becoming better understood.

Children and adults with autism often struggle with sensory integration, the neurobiological process of  interpreting and managing the sensory input they receive. It can be hard for them to make sense of sights, sounds, smells, and other sensory information.There are three main sensory systems that may be affected when an individual has autism. Understanding these three sensory systems is key to understanding individuals with autism and how they interact with their home environments: Click here to read the rest of the story

How to design a neurodiverse workplace – simple tips from inclusivity experts

Source: Telegraph
Written by: Sian Phillips

For a significant minority, including those with ADHD, autism and dyslexia, background noise and bright lighting in the workplace is a problem. But there are ways to improve the working environment

Maybe it’s a colleague’s booming voice, a garish, ill-chosen mural or the persistent pong of garlic from the canteen, but every workplace has its irritating quirks.

While most people can ignore such annoyances, for a significant minority it is impossible and keeping them out of work.

Background noise is commonly a problem for people with dyslexia, ADHD and autism – so-called neurodivergent conditions – while bright lighting can also be a source of stress that can be particularly acute for some people. Click here to read the rest of the story.