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
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.
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.
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:
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
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
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.
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
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.