Signs and Symptoms of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) according to the National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome describes the range of effects that can occur in an individual whose mother drank alcohol during pregnancy. These affects may include physical, mental, behavioral, and/or learning disabilities with lifelong implications.

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders is not a diagnosed rather, it is a term that is used to describe a wide-range of effects on a person whose mother drank alcohol during her pregnancy. Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, show in three areas: abnormal facial characteristics, slowed growth and the central nervous system.

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders affects each person differently. Signs and symptoms include the following:

  • Abnormal facial features including a smooth ridge between the nose and upper lip
  • Small head size
  • Shorter than average height
  • Poor coordination
  • Hyperactive behavior
  • Difficulty with attention
  • Poor memory
  • Difficulty in school
  • Learning disabilities
  • Speech and language delays
  • Intellectual disability or low IQ
  • Poor reasoning and judgement skills
  • Sleep and sucking problem
  • vision and hearing problems
  • Seizures
  • Processing information
  • Problems with the heart and kidneys
  • Poor concept of time
  • Trouble getting along with others
  • Staying on task

Beyond Fire Drills and Shirt Tags

Source: Psychology Today

Hearing…..Sight…..Smell…..Taste…..Touch

These are what usually come to mind when we think of the Senses-The Five Senses.

Notably, it was Aristotle who defined the senses in this way. He even gave them a name: “The 5 Outward Wits.” The idea stuck and even today we often think of the senses as these 5 independently operating systems that arise from our interaction with the world outside of ourselves. However, a growing body of research demonstrates that the senses are much more varied and complicated than once thought.

Understanding the workings of our sensory system is crucial if we are to properly understand and support children on the autism spectrum. Difficulty with regulating sensory input is a common occurrence in autism. When the brain cannot effectively filter or organize sensory input, the sensations can break through in a manner that is experienced as harsh and overwhelming. This results in sensory sensitivities.  Click here to read the rest of the story.

How Reflective Supervision Sessions Help Teachers Cope with the Stress of the Job

Source: KQED News

It was a Friday morning in early May, just before Mother’s Day, when a group of preschool teachers settled onto oversized pillows and colorful beanbags for a conversation that would lead to tears, frustration and — eventually —  a sense of clarity on a delicate matter involving a child.

Karen Massingille, a preschool behavioral health therapist, sat on a tiny child’s chair, looking at the nine women seated around her in a cozy, carpeted corner of the sunlit room.

She took a few deliberate breaths, then started to speak.

“It’s Mother’s Day,” she said. “Anybody have any plans?” Click here to read the rest of the story.

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

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.