Autism and Sleep Disorders

Autistic and children and adults usually have more than one co-disorder. For some, it is having difficulty with sleeping. 40% to 80% of autistic children and adults suffer from insomnia and other sleeping disorders.

Autistic children and adults experience insomnia at high levels. Insomnia is characterized by difficulty in falling and staying asleep which is caused by anxiety, stress and depression. Autistic children and adults have high levels of both anxiety and depression. There is also evidence that children with autism spectrum disorder are reported to experience high levels of Parasomnias, defined as a group of sleep disorders involving unwanted events displayed by complexed behaviors during sleep. This includes:

  • Bed Wetting
  • Sleep Hallucination
  • Nightmares
  • Night Terrors
  • Sleep Walking

Bedtime Tips (Autism Research Institute)

Autism Spectrum Disorder and Sleep (Tuck)

Helping your child with Autistic get a good night’s sleep (WebMD)

How to get kids with autism to bed (Sleep Advisor)

How to get children with autism to sleep (Scientific American)

Sleep problems in autism explained (Spectrum)

Sleep problems linked to more severe autism symptoms (Interactive Autism Network)

The link between autism and sleep issues (VeryWell)

The ultimate guide to improving sleep in autistic children (HARKLA)

Wide Awake: Why children with autism struggle with sleep (Spectrum)

Reference

Denani, P., & Hegde, A.(2015). Autism and Sleep Disorders. Journal of Pediatric Neurosciences 10(4)

 

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For Many With Autism, Running Is A Sport That Fits

Published By: Runners World
Written By: Alison Wade

Tommy Des Brisay had an insatiable need to move when he was a child.

He began walking at 8 months old. He would bounce on his backyard trampoline for hours and climb heights fearlessly. He slept only three hours a night until he was 7. As he grew older, he would go on long tandem bike rides, cross-country ski, and lead his father on walks that would leave them stranded miles from their home in Ottawa, Ontario.

And when he was stressed or upset, Des Brisay—who was diagnosed with autism when he was 2 and a half—would run. This posed a danger, because he didn’t understand what could harm him: traffic, exposure to weather, strangers. Click here to read the rest of the story

Autism Facts and Statistics

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a complex neurodevelopmental disorder that impacts social, speech, behavioral and motor skills. It is a spectrum disorder meaning it varies from person to person. No two people have the same symptoms. It is estimated that 1% of the population is diagnosed with autism.

Prevalence

About 1 in 40 children has been identified with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

1 in 42 boys are diagnosed with autism

1 in 189 girls are diagnosed with autism

100 individuals are diagnosed everyday

ASD is reported to occur in all racial, ethnic and socioeconomic groups.

ASD is 4 times more common among boys than girls.

Studies in Asia, Europe, and North American have idendified individuals with ASD  with an average prevalence of between 1% and 2%.

About 1 in 6 children diagnosed with autism also have a developmental disability.

Parents who have a child with ASD have a 2%-18% chance of having a second child diagnosed with autism

Almost half (44%) of children diagnosed with ASD has average to above average intellectual ability.

ASD commonly co-occurs with other developmental, psychiatric, neurological, chromosomal and genetic diagnoses.


Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Facts

Children and adults with Autism have significant problems in socializing with others, emotions, intense preoccupation with one or two topics, repetitive routines and motor skills.

Tend to be sensitive to sensations of sound, light or touch.

It is a common myth that autistic children can perform amazing skills such as memorizing birthdays and telephone numbers.

30% of autistic children have a seizure disorder

40% of children with autism do not speak

25-30% of children with autism have some words at 12 to 18 months, and then lose them.

Between 60% and 80% of children with ASD have a sleep-related disorder

Females tend to be more likely to show accompany intellectual disabilities.

Studies show that parents notice a developmental problem before the child’s first birthday

Lorna Wing, a psychiatrist and mother of a child with autism termed the word Autism Spectrum to describe a concept of complexities rather than a straight line from severe to mild.

Victor Lotter was the first person to  measure the prevalence of autism in a population.

Autistic Women and Girls

Stimming

  • It is also prevalent among people on the autism spectrum.
  • In fact in many cases, it is part of the diagnosis due to the repetition of stimming.
  • Stimming is often used as a means to self-regulate, self-calm and for self-expression.
  • The movements are repetitive and are used to self-stimulate the 7 senses.
  • It is often described as a repetitive motor behavior that can disrupt academic and social and other activities.
  • One of the theories behind stimming is that beta-endorphrins are released in the brain casuing an euphoric feeling which is generally a response to pain.
  • Stimming behavior. based for self-soothing and to help a child or an adult regain emotional balance.
  • Sensory Overload. Too much sensory information can lead to stress, anxiety and eventually a meltdown.

Wandering Statistics

  • Nearly half of children with autism engage in wandering behavior
  • Increased risks are associated with autism severity
  • More than one third of children with autism who wander/elope are never or rarely able to communicate their name, address, or phone number
  • Half of families report they have never received advice or guidance about elopement from a professional
  • Accidental drowning accounts for 71% of lethal outcomes, followed by traffic injuries at 18%
  • Other dangers include dehydration; heat stroke; hypothermia; falls; physical restraint; encounters with strangers
  • Accidental drowning accounted for 91% total U.S. deaths reported in children with autism due to wandering.

Image result for wandering autism

 

Reference

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

National Autism Association

Spectrum News

Best Ways to Prepare Your Child With ASD for the Workplace

Published By: Autism Parenting Magazine

Luke is one of 500,000 US teens that are anticipated to ride the crest of a wave of people with autism exiting the public school system within the next 10 years, a tsunami that society and employers alike are not ready for. According to the AFAA, or Advancing Futures for Adults with Autism, just over 50 percent of young adults on the autism spectrum worked for pay eight years after they finished high school. Ninety percent of adults with autism are either unemployed, or under-employed, and under 16 percent have full-time jobs.

Luke’s main issue is an inability to express himself verbally. That, coupled with limited social skills, got an “autism” label smacked on him, where he has joined company with 1.5 million other Americans. Click here to read the rest of the story.

What you should know about severe autism

Media is slowly getting better in it’s portrayal of people with autism in both movies and television, while many still hold onto to the perception of “Rain Man”, I do believe we are moving in the right direction. Still, little is discussed or talked about when it comes to children and adults with severe autism. Some may refer to severe autism as “low functioning when in fact autism is a spectrum in both symptoms and behaviors and varies from person to person.

Children and adults with severe autism often display the following signs :

  • Impaired social interaction
  • Difficulty in communicating- both expressive and receptive
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder
  • anxiety
  • aggressiveness
  • self-injurious

According to the 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), there are 3 levels of severity based on social communication impairments, restricted, and patterns of behaviors. The severity level (Level 3) is defined as requiring very substantial support. For example the person may exhibit very limited initiation of social interaction and extreme difficulty with coping and change. signs may include an indifference in others, using negative behavior to communicate, very little or echolalia, sensory sensitivity will vary from severe to none, may be self-injurious and have an intellectual disability.  Below you will find articles on understanding severe nonverbal autism:

5 nonverbal children that found their voices

Autism: How do you communicate with a non-verbal child

Helping nonverbal kids to communicate

I have nonverbal autism…Here is what I want you to know

Nonverbal autism: Symptoms and treatment activities

Missing brain wave may explain language problems in nonverbal autism

Overview of nonverbal autism

What makes severe autism so challenging?

Why being nonverbal doesn’t mean being non-capable

Why children with severe autism are overlooked?

 

Autism and Visual Impairments

Studies show that a small subgroup of individuals with visual impairments are also diagnosed with autism. The following articles are a great read in understanding visual impairments and autism.

A cross disability: Visual impairments and autism

Autism assessment in children with optic nerve hypoplasia and other vision impairments

Autism and sight or hearing loss

Autism and visual impairments

Could my visual impaired client be on the autism spectrum?

Is my blind child autistic?

Literacy ideas for students who are visually impaired with autism spectrum disorder

Visual impairments: Its effect on cognitive development and behavior

Visual impairment and autism

Visual impairment and autism spectrum disorder

500,000 teens with autism will become adults in next 10 years. Where will they work?

Published By: Houston Chronicle
Written By: Suzanne Garofalo

When Olivia Shanks landed in the hospital, it changed her life.

She didn’t arrive as a patient, though — she came to work. The 21-year-old, who has high-functioning autism, has struggled to get places on time. Some basic workplace tasks stressed her out. Dependence on others dinged her self-confidence.

Her work in Memorial Hermann Southwest Hospital’s food-services department came via one of Houston’s nonprofit groups providing job training and support for a population that’s exploding but finds few opportunities to live as fully as possible. Click here to read the rest of the story.

Miami Lakes Deli Opens Its Doors Employing Adults With Autism

deli

Published by: South Florida Reporter

Mayor Cid had the idea to open his own Mayor’s Café while having breakfast at the popular Mayor’s Café in Pembroke Pines. During his visits, he often met Miami Lakes residents enjoying a sit-down breakfast.

“There was a big need for this type of breakfast venue in Miami Lakes,” he said. Cid partnered with two local residents, Danny Delgado and Jeffrey Rodriguez, to open Mayor’s Café. Click here to read the rest of the story

Developmental Disability Facts and Statistics

Developmental disability is a diverse group of chronic conditions that are due to mental or physical impairments before the age of 22. A developmental disability can occur before, during or after birth. Common well-known developmental disabilities include autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy and Fragile X syndrome. Here are some facts and statistics on developmental disabilities.

  • Developmental Disability is a severe, long-term disability that affect cognitive ability, physical functioning or both.
  • 1 in 6 or about 15% of children aged 3 through 17 have one or more developmental disabilities.
  • Between 2014 and 2016 the prevalence of developmental disability among kids ages 3 to 17 increased from 5.76 percent to 6.99 percent.
  • Prevalence of autism increased 289.5%
  • Prevalence of ADHD increased 33.0 %
  • Males have a higher prevalence of ADHD, autism, learning disabilities, stuttering and other developmental disabilities.
  • Children from families with incomes below the federal poverty level had a higher prevalence of developmental disabilities.
  • 10% of Americans have a family member with an intellectual disability.
  • Intellectual disabilities are 25 times more common than blindness.
  • Every year 125,000 children are born with an intellectual disability
  • Approximately 85% of the intellectual disability is in the mild category.
  • About 10% of the intellectual disability is considered moderate
  • About 3-4% of the intellectual disability population is severe.
  • Only 1-2% is classified as profound.

 

Resources

National Institute of Health

10 Steps to the IEP Process

The Individualized Education Program (IEP) is a federal law, part of the Individual with Disabilities Act. The IEP must be written at least annually for all children with disabilities. Below are the following steps to an IEP.

Step 1. Child is identified as possibly needing special education and related services.

“Child Find.” The state must identify, locate, and evaluate all children with disabilities in the state who need special education and related services. To do so, states conduct “Child Find” activities. A child may be identified by “Child Find,” and parents may be asked if the “Child Find” system can evaluate their child. Parents can also call the “Child Find” system and ask that their child be evaluated. Or —

Referral or request for evaluation. A school professional may ask that a child be evaluated to see if he or she has a disability. Parents may also contact the child’s teacher or other school professional to ask that their child be evaluated. This request may be verbal or in writing. Parental consent is needed before the child may be evaluated. Evaluation needs to be completed within a reasonable time after the parent gives consent.

 

2 Step 2. Child is evaluated.

The evaluation must assess the child in all areas related to the child’s suspected disability. The evaluation results will be used to decide the child’s eligibility for special education and related services and to make decisions about an appropriate educational program for the child. If the parents disagree with the evaluation, they have the right to take their child for an Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE). They can ask that the school system pay for this IEE.

 

3 Step 3. Eligibility is decided.

A group of qualified professionals and the parents look at the child’s evaluation results. Together, they decide if the child is a “child with a disability,” as defined by IDEA. Parents may ask for a hearing to challenge the eligibility decision.

 

4 Step 4. Child is found eligible for services.

If the child is found to be a “child with a disability,” as defined by IDEA, he or she is eligible for special education and related services. Within 30 calendar days after a child is determined eligible, the IEP team must meet to write an IEP for the child.

 

5Step 5. IEP meeting is scheduled.

The school system schedules and conducts the IEP meeting. School staff must:

  • contact the participants, including the parents;
  • notify parents early enough to make sure they have an opportunity to attend;
  • schedule the meeting at a time and place agreeable to parents and the school;
  • tell the parents the purpose, time, and location of the meeting;
  • tell the parents who will be attending; and
  • tell the parents that they may invite people to the meeting who have knowledge or special expertise about the child.

 

6 Step 6. IEP meeting is held and the IEP is written.

The IEP team gathers to talk about the child’s needs and write the student’s IEP. Parents and the student (when appropriate) are part of the team. If the child’s placement is decided by a different group, the parents must be part of that group as well.

Before the school system may provide special education and related services to the child for the first time, the parents must give consent. The child begins to receive services as soon as possible after the meeting.

If the parents do not agree with the IEP and placement, they may discuss their concerns with other members of the IEP team and try to work out an agreement. If they still disagree, parents can ask for mediation, or the school may offer mediation. Parents may file a complaint with the state education agency and may request a due process hearing, at which time mediation must be available.

 

7 Step 7. Services are provided.

The school makes sure that the child’s IEP is being carried out as it was written. Parents are given a copy of the IEP. Each of the child’s teachers and service providers has access to the IEP and knows his or her specific responsibilities for carrying out the IEP. This includes the accommodations, modifications, and supports that must be provided to the child, in keeping with the IEP.

 

8 Step 8. Progress is measured and reported to parents.

The child’s progress toward the annual goals is measured, as stated in the IEP. His or her parents are regularly informed of their child’s progress and whether that progress is enough for the child to achieve the goals by the end of the year. These progress reports must be given to parents at least as often as parents are informed of their nondisabled children’s progress.

 

9 Step 9. IEP is reviewed.

The child’s IEP is reviewed by the IEP team at least once a year, or more often if the parents or school ask for a review. If necessary, the IEP is revised. Parents, as team members, must be invited to attend these meetings. Parents can make suggestions for changes, can agree or disagree with the IEP goals, and agree or disagree with the placement.

If parents do not agree with the IEP and placement, they may discuss their concerns with other members of the IEP team and try to work out an agreement. There are several options, including additional testing, an independent evaluation, or asking for mediation (if available) or a due process hearing. They may also file a complaint with the state education agency.

 

10 Step 10. Child is reevaluated.

At least every three years the child must be reevaluated. This evaluation is often called a “triennial.” Its purpose is to find out if the child continues to be a “child with a disability,” as defined by IDEA, and what the child’s educational needs are. However, the child must be reevaluated more often if conditions warrant or if the child’s parent or teacher asks for a new evaluation.

IEP Articles and Links

8 steps to a successful IEP meeting- Great Schools

10 things to cover at your child’s IEP meeting- Autism Support Network

17 things autism moms want you to know about IEP’s and your child- Living Well Mom

All about the IEP- Center for Parent Information and Resources

How can an IEP help someone with autism?- Applied Behavior Analysis

How are IEP’s designed for students with ASD?– Applied Behavior Analysis

IEP FAQ- Wrightslaw

IEP Guidelines- Down Syndrome Association of Ontario

Individualized Education Program for Autism- WebMD

Individualized plan for a student with cerebral palsy- Knoji

Learning about IEP’s– Understood

Learning Disabilities and IEP’s-Focus on Family

The short and sweet IEP overview- The Parent Center Hub

Understanding IEP’s– Understood

What is an IEP? – Great Schools