Common Signs In Tactile Difficulties

Tactile difficulties occur when the nervous system dysfunctions and the brain is unable to process information through the senses. Some children and adults with this form of sensory processing disorder will be over sensitive to touch. Between 5 to 13 percent of the population is diagnosed with sensory processing disorder.

Common Signs of Tactile Difficulties
  • Difficulty with having nails cut or teeth brushed
  • Becomes upset when hair is washed
  • Dislikes any clothing with tags including clothes, hats, shoes, and complains about the type of fabric and the style
  • Dislikes getting their hands dirty or messy
  • Overreacts when they are touched by other people
  • Oversensitive to temperature change
  • Over or under reacts to pain
  • Prefers deep pressure touch rather than light touch
  • Avoids messy textures
  • Prefers pants and long sleeves in hot weather
  • Picky eater
  • Eyes may be sensitive to cold wind
  • Avoids walking barefoot
  • Avoids standing close to other people
  • May be anxious when physically close to other people
Strategies for Handling Tactile Defensiveness
  • Use deep pressure
  • use weighted items including blankets, vest and backpacks
  • Seek out an OT
  • Utilize a sensory diet
  • Minimize time expected to stand and wait in line by having the child go first or last in line
  • Allow the child to wear a jacket indoors
  • Encourage the child to brush his or her body with a natural brush during bath time
  • Create activities using play doh or silly putty
References

Autism Parenting Magazine

Kids Companion

Sensory Processing Disorder.com

Chu, Sidney (1999), Tactile Defensiveness: Information for parents and professionals

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Epilepsy and Autism: What You Need To Know

Studies show that epilepsy are more common in individuals with autism than the general population. Studies show that in some cases, 20% of people diagnosed with autism also have an epilepsy disorder. Other studies indicate epilepsy prevalence estimates between 5% to 46%.

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.

Epilepsy is a brain disorder which occurs when neurons in the brain experience a brief interruption causing a seizure to occur. Seizures vary from mild to severe and affects over 3 million Americans. There are different types of seizures:

  • Generalized Tonic/Clonic- A seizures where the whole brain is affected.
  • Absence Seizures- Generally start without any warnings. It affects children and last only for a few seconds.
  • Myoclonic Seizures- Are abrupt jerks of the muscle groups which originate from the spine.
  • Partial Seizures- The person may look as though he or she is in a trance.

There are many unanswered questions as to why epilepsy is more common in people with autism. There is some evidence the common underlying cause may be both are related to genetic and environmental causes and are both related to some type of brain disorder. Evidence does shoe however individuals with autism and epilepsy have worse behavioral and social outcomes than individuals diagnosed with autism only including issues with motor and daily living skills.

Signs for parents to look out for
  • May be difficult to determine especially in children diagnosed with severe autism spectrum disorder. Red flags include, staring episodes, stiffening of the body and shaking movements.
  • A medical evaluation will include brain imaging and an electroencephalogram (EEG).
Teaching Strategies

If you are an educator, be aware that after a seizure, the student will become tired. Allow the student an opportunity to rest.

Reference

Epilepsy Foundation

Medical News Today: Epilepsy and autism: Is there a link?

Neurologist Disorder Treatment. Epilepsy in patients with autism: Links, risks and treatment challenges. Frank McBesag- Published online 2017 Dec 18

Synapse- Autistic Spectrum Disorder Factsheet

 

Autism and Noise Sensitivity: 7 Tips for Kids With Sensory Activity

Source: Meraki Lane

If you’re looking strategies and products that help with autism and noise sensitivity, you’ve come to the right place.

While no two children with autism are the same, and the range and intensity of symptoms varies from person to person, certain characteristics tend to stand out when interacting with children on the autism spectrum. Communication challenges, an inability to express emotions and understand the emotions of others, difficulty with transitions, poor impulse control, and problems with self-regulation are all common struggles for kids on the spectrum.  Click here to read the rest of the story.

Halloween Tips to Avoid Meltdowns!

Source: Lori Lite’s Stress Free Kids

Halloween Tips to Avoid Meltdowns with Kids! Enjoy these TRICKS to make sure your child’s Halloween experience is a TREAT! You and your children will benefit from these tips and most of them can be applied to children with special needs. Children with Aspergers, Autism, SPD, and general anxiety orders can enjoy Halloween with a few adjustments.

  1. Be flexible! Do not make your definitions of a fun Halloween define your child’s expectation of fun.  It is not necessary for children to have the full blown experience in order for them to have a good time.  If your child wants to answer the door and hand out candy, then let them do that without guilt. If your child wants to sit on the porch and costume watch, then let them. If they just want to go to bed……  Trust me it will not matter when they go to college!
  2. Decide and let children know ahead of time how many pieces of candy they are allowed to eat while trick-or-treating and after. Let them keep the wrapper to keep count. When they ask for more…ask them to count how many wrappers they have and let them answer their own question. Click here to read the rest of the story.

8 Proven Stategies To Attract And Retain Job Candidates On The Autism Spectrum

Published by: ERE Recruiting Intelligence
Written by: Samatha Craft

Here are several strategies for attracting and retaining autistic job candidates, based on my experience working as a job recruiter and community manager for a U.S. technology company that provides employment for individuals on the autism spectrum.

Understand autism from different perspectives

Take time to read up on autism, including cultural and historical context by respected journalist. Examples of two well-received books are: NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity and In a Different Key: The Story of Autism. Consider professional accounts from well-known experts in the autism field, such as psychologist Tony Attwood and job coach Barbara Bissonnette. Click here to read the rest of the story.

Children With Autism and Breaks In Routine

Published by: Kid Companion
Written by: Lorna dEntremont

A child with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) may have greater difficulty in accepting changes of routine. This may be due to their greater need for predictability or difficulty when a pattern of routine is disrupted. Vacations, family visits, or field trips can be over-stimulating and distressing for the child with autism. If this is the case with your child, prepare BEFORE a scheduled change in routine occurs like before school breaks and for summer vacation. Click here for the rest of the story

Autism and Post-Secondary Education

According to the U.S. census, over a half million autistic students will turn 18 over the next decade/ Further studies show that many students diagnosed with autism are not prepared for the transition. Some and their families are opting towards a college education. More colleges are offering support services to autistic students including social, academic, and life skills.

The following resources provide information and articles on autism and college preparation:

11 tips for students with autism who are going to college (KFM)

20 great scholarship for students on the autism spectrum

College Autism Network (CAN)

College planning for autistic students (USC Marshall)

College students with autism need support to succeed on campus (Spectrum)

Families: Learn how to find autism-friendly colleges (U.S. News)

Going to college with autism (Child Mind Institute)

Helping students with autism thrive: College life on the spectrum (Madison House Autism Foundation)

Neurodiversity and autism in college (Psychology Today)

The transition to college can be tough, even more so if you have autism (Washington Post)

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

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.

 

Signs of Autism and Down Syndrome

Studies show that 5 to 39% of children with Down syndrome are also on the autism spectrum. There are overlaps in some of the symptoms which delays the signs and symptoms of autism. This observation is slowly growing and informing parents to look for specific signs and symptoms.

The importance of getting the diagnosis
Most often children with Down syndrome are treated for the characteristics of having Down syndrome which overlooks giving children the appropriate treatment for Autism such as social skills and sensory issues. A child or young adult with both diagnosis will likely experience aggressive behaviors, meltdowns, and show signs of regression during their early development. The following are signs and symptoms to look for in your child, or student:
  • Hand flapping
  • Picky eater
  • Echolalia
  • Fascination with lights
  • Staring at ceiling fans
  • History of regression
  • Head banging
  • Strange vocalization
  • Anxiety
  • Seizure Disorder

If you suspect your child is dual diagnosed, make an appointment for a medical work up which should include:

  • audiological evaluation
  • lead test
  • complete blood count (CBC)
  • Liver function test
  • EEG