Motor Development: How Autism Affects Motor Skills

Motor development
Website:Profectum
Written by: Serena Wieder

Moving our bodies throughout our day to day lives is something most of us do without giving it much thought — but it actually takes a considerable amount of skill.

The central nervous system controls both fine and gross motor skills. Fine motor skills include small movements, such as writing and drawing. Gross motor skills include larger movements such as walking and throwing a ball.

Motor development in autistic children has been the subject of study for years. The reason why is because autism is a neurological condition without any defining physical characteristics. Differences in brain functioning in autistic children are not easy to detect, so professionals will often observe behavioral patterns such as those exhibited by the development of motor skills.

Professionals also find it beneficial to observe motor development in autistic children because it can be measured over time, and results of testing can be easily reproduced. Observing motor skills can help professionals discover brain functioning differences, even in cases of high functioning autism. Click here to read the rest of the story

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Classroom Accommodations for Austistic Students


A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to speak to a parent who voiced her frustration with her daughter’s school. Although her daughter is diagnosed with autism, she falls on the mild range of the spectrum meaning her deficits are ignored. This becomes challenging for a teacher who may not recognize the signs and symptoms of an autistic child.

Girls, in particular, often develop the ability to disappear in a large group. Imagine the amount of energy it takes to pretend you hold the same characteristics of others.  This leads to both depression and anxiety in children with autism. There are also sensory challenges a student with autism may face including auditory, visual and tactile.

Reading non-verbal cues forces a child and even some autistic adults to work harder everyday which causes exhaustion and can possibly lead to anxiety.

There are a number of ways to accommodate  a student with autism. If you are a teacher, read as much information as you can on autism. each child is different so it will help to get feedback from parents who can help provide the right accommodations.

The following articles provide great information on both modifications and accommodations  which can be put into the child’s IEP:

10 tips for making middle-school work for kids with autism

14 possible IEP accommodations for children with autism/ADHD

20 classroom modifications for students with autism

23 classroom accommodation suggestions for kids with autism and Asperger’s syndrome

Accommodations and supports for school-age students with autism

Asperger syndrome/HFA and the classroom

Common modifications and accommodations

IEP considerations for students with autism spectrum disorder

Recommendations for students with high-functioning autism

Supporting learning in the student with autism

The Power of Paws: The Therapeutic Benefits of Dogs for Autistic Students

Guest Blogger, Jeremy Divinity

The classroom is a social environment where student success is dependent on the ability to interact well with others. Whereas, 72% of students on the autism spectrum have additional mental health needs that cause challenges in the classroom.

Although the learning disabilities that are associated with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) are unique to each child many autistic students share the same development problems: social interaction, language, and behavior.Autism can hinder a student’s ability to communicate and share experiences with others. Compared to their peers, autistic students are four times more likely to need extra learning and social support. This lack of social-emotional competence leads to a decrease in their connection to the learning environment and academic performance.

ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) treatments for autistic children have proven that the behavior of autistic students can be changed. Studies have demonstrated that ABA techniques produce improvements in communication, social relationships, and school performance.With the right accommodations, including proper modifications to the educational environment, along with the addition of positive reinforcement, autistic students can overcome the many barriers to learning.To put in place effective ABA techniques, educators need a better understanding of autism and how it may affect learning. Teachers are being called upon to be innovative and creative due to the unique challenges that students with ASD provide, this includes modifying their education programs.

One ABA treatment that is growing in popularity is the use of therapy dogs. If you are unfamiliar with therapy dogs and the benefits of therapy dog treatment, here is a brief history lesson: Smoky, a Yorkshire terrier, and World War 2 veteran was the first official therapy dog whose service on and off the battlefield would pave the way for future therapy dogs. Injured soldiers relied on Smoky, their canine companion, for entertainment to boost their morale. Today, therapy dogs act as a safety net, guardian, and friend who are trained to respond to a child’s most repetitive behaviors. Due to their calming influence, therapy dogs are becoming popular in the autism community. The special relationship between the therapy dog and child stimulates positive changed behavior. For children with ASD, their furry companions are not only their best friend but also offer therapeutic benefits.

Teachers and therapists have found that therapy dogs not only act as “social catalysts” that promote social interaction but also increase the activity levels of autistic students. In a study of 22 children, kids who engaged in therapy dog sessions were more talkative and socially engaged, while also less aggressive.The calming demeanor and influence of therapy dogs aid autistic students in managing the sensory challenges of the school environment. Therapy dogs can mitigate the impact of autism in the classroom by providing stability in what may seem like an unfamiliar environment.The relationship a therapy dog has with a child extends deeper than just companionship, therapy dogs can provide both practical and emotional support. Here are some of the most common therapeutic benefits that therapy dogs provide for autistic students:

Companionship

Therapy dogs show unconditional love, and often times, a loving friendship develops. Both therapy dog and patient enjoy each other’s company in nonverbal ways which assists with everyday life. For example, therapy dogs de-escalate emotional meltdowns by gently interrupting any self-harming behaviors.

Social Interaction

The biggest challenge faced by students with autism is social interaction with peers. When introduced to the classroom, therapy dogs can increase a child’s participation and functional level. After interacting with their canine companions, students with ASD transfer over their new-found social relationships with other students.

Behavior Management

Another benefit of therapy dogs is that they can assist with behavior management by their comforting and calming demeanor. Many therapy dogs are specifically trained to decrease inappropriate behavior by acting as a source of comfort, such as leaning against a child or gently across their lap.

Academic Performance

The most important benefit that therapy dogs can provide for students is an improvement in academic performance. After introducing therapy dogs, you will find that your students are more attentive. While also being better behaved with a new-found self-confidence – which is key to academic success. Autistic students face many challenges in the classroom. To help autistic students overcome barriers to learning school administrators, teachers, and parents must be equipped with the right accommodations. Therapy dogs mitigate the impact of autism and assist in managing the sensory overload of the school environment, and provide students with autism with the stability needed to be successful in the classroom.

Resource Articles

Autism and Pets: More Evidence of Social Benefits

Dogs de-stress families with autistic children according to research

How dogs help children with autism

Pets may help improve social skills of children with autism

 

 is an education blogger for Teach.com and freelance writer from Los Angeles. Read more at http://www.JeremyDivinity.com.

 

Autism Family Resources


Here are some family autism resources for both families and educators.

15 Behavior Strategies for Children on the Autism Spectrum

 

How to Create a Backyard Sanctuary for Kids with Disabilities

 

For Educators: Strategies for Working With Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder

 

Helping Asperger’s Teens To Survive and Thrive: 15 Key Steps

 

Creating a Home Atmosphere of Solitude to Help Cope with Adult Autism

Autism Timeline: A History of Autism

In the 110 years since Swiss psychiatrist Eugen Bleuer coined the term autism, much has changed over the years. The journey of understanding autism continues to grow and while the autism has changed over the years, there are still many more things to discover. Hopefully we are moving from awareness to getting to a place of simply accepting people who bring special gifts to the world.

1908- Swiss psychiatrist, Eugene Bleuer is the first to use the autism to describe individuals with schizophrenia who lost contact with reality.

1912- Dr. Bleuler publishes “Das Autistische Denken” in a journal of psychiatry and presents his thoughts on how a person with autism experiences the world.

1938- Dr. Hans Asperger presents a lecturer on child psychology. He adapts Bleuler’s term “autism” and uses the term “autistic psychopathy” to describe children showing social withdrawal and overly intense preoccupations.

1938- Beamon Triplett writes a thirty-three page account of his 4 year- old Donald’s unusual behavior and sends it to Leo Kanner.

1943- Dr. Leo Kanner describes a childhood disorder involving social and language impairments and the presence of restricted or repetitive behaviors. The account of 11 children leading to a distinct syndrome.

1944- Dr. Hans Asperger reports on 4 children with a pattern of behavior he terms autistic psychopathy- behaviors include reduce empathy, difficulties with forming friendships, impairments in the ability to maintain reciprocal conversations.

1952- The first edition of DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual) is published.

1959- LSD is used as treatment for autistic schizophrenic children.

1962- The National Autistic Society was created- The first autism organization.

1965- National Society for Autistic Children was founded.

1966- South African psychologist, Victor Lotter publishes the first prevalence study on autism in England.

1966- 4.5 in 10,000 are diagnosed with autism in the United States.

1966- Childhood autism rating scale introduced.

1967- Bruno Bettlheim publishes infantile autism and the Birth of Self becomes bestseller; blames mothers for autism.

1969- Dr. Kanner exonerates parents of responsibility for their children.

1970- Lorna Wing uses the term autistic spectrum to describe a concept of complexity rather than a straight line from severe to mild.

1972- Dr. Eric Schopler founds Division TEACCH  at the University of North Carolina.

1977- National Society for Autistic Children added sensory processing as one of the definitions.

1979- Autism spectrum first used by Lorna Wing and Judith Gould

1980- The prevalence is estimated 4 in 10,000

1980- Autism added to DSM-III

1980- Autism is listed as a mental disorder for the first time in the DSM.

1986- Temple Gradin publishes Emergence: Labeled Autism

1988- The movie Rainman popularized and awareness of the disorder increases among the general public.

1991- Sally Ozonoff suggested executive functioning impairs individuals with autism.

1994- The American Psychiatric Association adds Asperger’s disorder to DSM.

1996- Australian sociologist, Judy Singer coins the term Neurodiversity

1998- Andrew Wakefield reports an association between autism and MMR and bowel disease.

2000- 1 in 50 children according to the CDC are diagnosed with autism

2006- Autistic Self-Advocacy Network founded. A non profit organization run by and for autistic people.

2009- 1 in 110, children according to the CDC are diagnosed with autism

2012- 1 in 88 children are diagnosed with autism.

2013- Asperger’s disorder is dropped from the DSM-5

2014-1 in 68 children in the U.S. have autism.

 

Children with ADHD and Autism Are More Likely To Develop Anxiety

Website: News Medical Life Sciences

The study, which compares comorbidities among patients with ASD and ADHD, and ASD alone, is one of the largest of its kind.

A team of researchers from the Kennedy Krieger Institute used the data from a cross-sectional survey of children aged between six to seventeen years old with ASD. The study included 3,319 children, 1,503 of which had ADHD and were monitored by the Interactive Autism Network between 2006 and 2013. Click here to read the rest of the story

25 Facts About Cerebral Palsy That You Did Not Know

How much do you really know about cerebral palsy? Here are 25 interesting facts about cerebral palsy:

Is a group of neurological disorders that affects body movement and muscle coordination.

Is caused by damage to the brain which controls movement and balance

Affects the motor area of the brain that directs muscle movement.

The symptoms of cerebral palsy differ in type and severity in each person.

Is the leading cause of childhood disabilities.

Cerebral Palsy is not progressive meaning it does not get worse overtime.

Cerebral Palsy prevalence is 3.3 children per 1000.

There is no cure for cerebral palsy

Cerebral Palsy is not contagious

Risk factors for cerebral palsy include pre-mature birth, infections during pregnancy, exposure to toxic substances and mothers with excess protein in the urine or a history of having seizures.

Cerebral Palsy can also be caused by complicated labor and delivery due to disruption of blood and oxygen to the brain(hypoxia) and babies in a breech position (feet first).Spastic cerebral palsy is the most common type affecting 80% of people with cerebral palsy.

Ataxic cerebral palsy affects balance and depth perception

There are more boys born with cerebral palsy than girls.

Stroke in a baby or child less than the age of 3 results in cerebral palsy.

One in nine with cerebral palsy have features of autism

One in three children with cerebral palsy cannot walk

One in four children with cerebral palsy cannot feed themselves

There are 17 million people with cerebral palsy worldwide.

58.2% of children with cerebral palsy can walk independently, 11.3 walk using a hand-held mobility device and 30.6% have limited or no walking ability

Speech and language disorders are common in people with cerebral palsy

Pain is common among children with cerebral palsy

Harry Jennings, an engineer built the first modern folding wheelchair

Sir William Osler write the first book on cerebral palsy

Dr. Sigmund Freud was the first to state that cerebral palsy might be caused by abnormal development before birth.

Cerebral palsy doesn’t necessary mean learning difficulties.

References

www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/cp

http://www.cerebralpalsy.org/

https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/

How Anxiety Leads to Disruptive Behavior


Website: Child Mind Institute
Written by: Caroline Miller

A 10-year-old boy named James has an outburst in school. Upset by something a classmate says to him, he pushes the other boy, and a shoving-match ensues. When the teacher steps in to break it up, James goes ballistic, throwing papers and books around the classroom and bolting out of the room and down the hall. He is finally contained in the vice principal’s office, where staff members try to calm him down. Instead, he kicks the vice principal in a frenzied effort to escape. The staff calls 911, and James ends up in the Emergency Room. Click here for the rest of the story

30 Resources for World Down Syndrome Day

Today is World Down Syndrome Day. A campaign designed to create a single voice for advocating for the rights, inclusion and well-being of people with Down Syndrome. Resources on this page include information on inspiring articles and facts on people with Down Syndrome.

Post From Special Needs Resource Blog:

20 Facts You Should Know About Down Syndrome

Down Syndrome Characteristics

Facts About Down Syndrome (Infographic)

Mosaic Down Syndrome Resources

Signs of Autism and Down Syndrome

Top Books On Down Syndrome For Parents and Professionals

Down Syndrome Organizations
Band of Angels: http://www.bandofangels.com/-

Established in 1994, Band of Angels provides support for individuals with Down Syndrome and their families. The website offers links on Down Syndrome support groups and a litany of topics including, adoption, autism and education.

Down Syndrome International https://www.ds-int.org/

A U.K. based international organization comprising a membership of individuals and organizations from all over the world. Disseminates information on Down Syndrome including prenatal diagnosis, early intervention, education, medical, health, employment, aging and human rights. Down Syndrome International also promoted World Down Syndrome Day (March 21) as a day dedicated to people with Down Syndrome.

Global Down Syndrome http://www.globaldownsyndrome.org/

Provides fundraising, education and governmental advocacy for the Linda Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome. Resources available on the website include, information on research, medical care and facts on Down Syndrome.

International Down Syndrome Coalition: http://theidsc.org/

Dedicated to helping and advocating for individuals with Down syndrome from conception and throughout life. Offers support to parents who are new to the Down syndrome diagnosis by connecting parents to each other.

National Association for Down Syndrome http://www.nads.org/

NADS is the oldest organization in the United States serving individuals with Down syndrome and their families. Also provides families with information and resources that will enable them to access appropriate services and educates the public about Down syndrome.

National Down Syndrome Congress http://www.ndsccenter.org/

The purpose of the NDSC is to promote the interests of people with Down syndrome and their families through advocacy, public awareness, and information. When we empower individuals and families from all demographic backgrounds, we reshape the way people understand and experience Down syndrome.

National Down Syndrome Society http://www.ndss.org/

NDSS provides resources to new and expectant parents and offers a toll-free helpline and email services. NDSS also focuses on transitions , wellness and education

 

The following are articles highlighting stories around the country on Down syndrome:

Clemson Student With Down Syndrome To Compete In Pageant

Couple with Down Syndrome Celebrate 22 Years of Marriage

Displaying The Myths of Down’s Syndrome

First Person With Down Syndrome Finishes Local Half-Marathon

Funny Down Syndrome Ad Will Change The Way You Feel about “Special Needs”

Gerber Baby 2018: Lucas Warren is the company’s first spokesbaby with Down Syndrome

Get To Know Madeline Stuart, The World’s First Supermodel With Down Syndrome

Swimmers with Down Syndrome Find Empowerment in the Pool

Walgreens Features Model With Down Syndrome

Woman With Down Syndrome Starts Her Own Bakery

Inspiring Video’s

Decoding The Overlap Between Autism and ADHD

Written by: Ricki Rusting

Published By: Spectrum

Every morning, Avigael Wodinsky sets a timer to keep her 12-year-old son, Naftali, on track while he gets dressed for school. “Otherwise,” she says, “he’ll find 57 other things to do on the way to the bathroom.”
Wodinsky says she knew something was different about Naftali from the time he was born, long before his autism diagnosis at 15 months. He lagged behind his twin sister in hitting developmental milestones, and he seemed distant. “When he was an infant and he was feeding, he wouldn’t cry if you took the bottle away from him,” she says. He often sat facing the corner, turning the pages of a picture book over and over again. Although he has above-average intelligence, he did not speak much until he was 4, and even then his speech was often ‘scripted:’ He would repeat phrases and sentences he had heard on television. Read the rest of the story here