Source; The Mighty
Written by: Melissa McGlensey
or some people on the autism spectrum, making eye contact can be a stressful, distracting and sensory-taxing experience. Far too often, though, outsiders view avoiding eye contact as “rude” or “antisocial,” when this isn’t the case at all.
In an effort to better understand how this experience feels for many on the spectrum, The Mighty asked our readers with autism who find eye contact difficult to share a description of what it’s like.
This is what they had to say:
1. “It’s abstract to me and can be draining. Looking at someone else in the eye means I am taking in everything about them as a person, and I become overloaded. It’s a constant stream of extra sensory or processing information on top of what I’m already trying to sort through in my head. It can disrupt any thought or speaking process I have going on and zaps my energy quickly.” — Laura Spoerl. Click here to read the rest of the story.
Source: Think Inclusive
Written by: Sara Bell
From 1994 to 2013, natural disasters killed 1.35 million people. While not all natural disasters can be predicted, the best way to protect yourself and your family is to prepare for the worst ahead of time. For parents of children with special needs, this is especially true. Knowing how to take swift action is the best way to ensure their safety in any natural disaster.
Here are a few ways parents of children with special needs can prepare.
Prepare an emergency kit. Pack an emergency kit, which includes clothes, bottled water, etc., for each member of the family. As Disabled-World.com notes for a child with special needs, you’ll want to be sure to pack medicines and other needed medical supplies, wheelchair batteries, food for service animals, and any other regularly used items that won’t be readily available in the aftermath of the disaster.
Practice your getaway plan. Some natural disasters may require that you and your family leave your home and take shelter elsewhere. As this guide on wildfire safety notes, it’s best that people with disabilities practice their evacuation plans ahead of time to ensure they can get to safety as quickly as possible. If your child has mobility issues, you may even want to designate an alternate route for getting out of the home, in case your planned path is blocked.
Pinpoint the safest areas of your home. Depending on the natural disaster, different areas of your home will be the best places for you and your family to ride out the event. Make sure you find places in your home that can accommodate your child with special needs. In its guide on disaster preparedness, the Red Cross offers advice on what people with disabilities can do to protect themselves in different kinds of natural disasters. For example, in an earthquake, you’ll want to be sure your child can get under a sturdy piece of furniture. If that isn’t possible and your child is in a wheelchair, lock their wheels and cover their head with a hard object. In a tornado, the Red Cross recommends getting yourself and your child to the “lowest floor or below-ground area of your home.” Click here to read the rest of the story.
Source: Spectrum News
Written by” Sarah Deweerdt
Jack Craven has superpowers. When his mother, Lori, misplaces an item in the house, she asks the 12-year-old to “look in your head,” through the rich catalog of visual information he seems to assemble without effort. Jack always finds the lost object. His astonishing memory for faces enables him to pick out someone he’s seen only once or twice before from a sea of strangers in a crowded school gymnasium. His sharp hearing makes him an excellent vocal mimic. Request that he sing a Beatles tune and he’ll ask if you want it sung in the style of Lennon or McCartney.
But great powers, as any superhero narrative goes, come with great challenges. He endures, rather than enjoys, the arcade birthday parties popular among tween boys in suburban Atlanta where he lives. They’re just too noisy, too busy, too overstimulating. Jack’s hearing is so sensitive that he can’t always eat at the table with his family, because the sound and sight of them chewing might make him throw up. As an infant, he never slept for more than four hours at a stretch, and had to be held upright the whole time, his stomach pressed against his mother’s chest and her palm pressed atop his head.
Jack has sensory processing disorder (SPD), a condition that includes people who are overly sensitive to what they feel and see and hear, but also those who are undersensitive, and still others who have trouble integrating information from multiple senses at once. SPD is not an official diagnosis. It isn’t included in the newest edition of the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders” (DSM-5). Still, it is widely used as a catch-all by clinicians, and some studies suggest that it may affect between 5 and 15 percent of school-age children. Children with the clinical label SPD also have a lot in common with children diagnosed with autism, up to 90 percent of whom also have sensory difficulties. Click here to read the rest of the story.
Source: Verywell Health
Written by: Lis Jo Rudy
Common knowledge says that parents, upon receiving an autism diagnosis for their child, should run—not walk—to the nearest early intervention center.
Early intensive intervention, it is said, is the key to “optimal outcomes” for children with autism. Scientists have long known that the brain grows quickly between the ages of zero and three, which suggests that early intervention would be an ideal way to treat a childhood disorder.
Can Early Intervention Cure Autism?
At least one study suggests that about 14% of children with autism who undergo two intensive years of a program called the Early Start Denver Model will improve radically. In fact, those children would no longer qualify for autism diagnoses if they were being evaluated at a later age. A similar program called LEAP had similar outcomes. There is even some evidence that these programs can change the way the brain functions. Click here to read the rest of the story
There are, however, a few caveats to this finding.
- First, of course, is the fact that the vast majority of children who undergo intensive early intervention do not improve radically. Yes, their symptoms may improve, but they may still have very significant delays and challenges.
- Second is the finding that even those children whose autism symptoms improve radically are left with developmental and/or behavioral challenges. In fact, those children are often diagnosable with disorders such as ADHD, learning disabilities, intellectual disability, and so forth.
- Third, an accurate autism diagnosis is, by definition, a lifelong diagnosis. Symptoms that are difficult to identify in a 6-year-old can become serious challenges in a 20-year-old. Problems with pragmatic speech, anxiety, and repetitive behaviors often emerge as people are exposed to more complex and challenging situations.