Autism and Mental Health Resources

 

5 ways to help reduce anxiety in children with autism

Anxiety: children and teenagers with autism spectrum disorder

How can you support your teenager with autism spectrum disorder if they are depressed

Managing anxiety and depressive symptoms in adults with autism spectrum disorder

Managing anxiety in children with autism

Mental health and autism

Mental heath treatment for people with autism spectrum disorder

The deep emotional ties between depression and autism

The essential guide to anxiety and autism

Treating mental health disorders in kids on the autism spectrum

What is Childhood Disintegrative Disorder?

Did you know that Childhood Disintegrative Disorder is  considered part of Autism Spectrum?

Childhood Disintegrative Disorder (CDD) is a condition where a child develops normally and achieves appropriate milestones up to the age of 4 and then begins to regress in both developmental and behavioral milestones and lose the skills they already learned. with a loss o skills plateauing around the age of 10.

Childhood Disintegrative Disorder is rare. It affects 1.7 in 100,000 and affects males at a higher rate than females. It is also known as Heller’s Syndrome and Disintegrative psychosis. The causes are unknown but may be linked to issues with the brain and nervous systems with some researchers suggesting it is some form of childhood dementia.

First discovered by Dr. Theodor Heller in 1908, Dr. Heller began publishing articles on his observation of children’s medical history in which he reported that in certain cases, children who were developing normally began to reverse at a certain age.

Signs and Symptoms

Children begin to show significant losses of earlier acquired skills in at least two of the following areas:

  • Lack of play
  • Loss of language or communication skills
  • Loss of social skills
  • Loss of bladder control
  • Lack of motor skills

The following characteristics also appear:

  • Social interaction
  • Communication
  • Repetitive interests or behaviors

Due to the small number of reported cases, it is included in the broad grouping of autism spectrum disorder in DSM-V under pervasive developmental disorder (PDD).  Although grouped with the autism spectrum disorder diagnosis, there are distinct differences. For example, children with CDD were more likely to be diagnosed with severe intellectual disability, epilepsy and long term impairment of behavior and cognitive functioning.

Resources

NCBI

Summit Medical Group

Neurodiversity in the workplace

Published by: JD SUPRA
Written by: Dentons

It is estimated that 15% of the UK population are neurodiverse. Many workplaces will already be accommodating neurodiverse employees but without the proper awareness and understanding of how best to support these employees

With Learning Disability Week taking place this month we have taken the opportunity to explore neurodiversity in the workplace and what employers should be doing. As a starting point, it is worth noting that ACAS has produced some very helpful guidance for employers, managers and employees.

What is neurodiversity?

Put concisely, people think differently. Neurodiversity is the way the brain processes and interprets information. One in seven people are neurodivergent, meaning that their brain processes information differently to most. Neurodivergence is experienced along a spectrum and has a range of characteristics which vary depending on the individual. There are various forms of neurodivergence but the most common are autism, dyslexia, dyspraxia and ADHD. While there tend to be certain expectations about the effects of each of these, they all cover a wide range of differences. Click here to read the rest of the story.

Law Enforcement and Autism: Why Training is Needed

Published by: Psychology Today
Written by: Katherine Stavropoulos

Although law enforcement is tasked with keeping the public safe, interactions between first responders and those with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or other psychiatric conditions can be contentious—and in some cases, deadly.

A 2012 study conducted by researchers at Drexel University measured how common it was for youth with ASD to be stopped and questioned by police or arrested. They found that by age 21, 20 percent of youth with ASD had been stopped by police, and almost 5 percent had been arrested.

Although the Drexel study focused on those in the U.S., similar findings have been reported from other countries. For example, a study from Swedish researchers found that people on the autism spectrum were at a 31 percent higher risk of having a criminal conviction compared to those without ASD. More broadly, in a study of all civilian deaths during interactions with law enforcement in 2015, researchers found that individuals with a mental illness were over 7 times more likely to be killed by law enforcement compared to those without. Click here to read the rest of the story

Autism And Fragile X Syndrome

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) about 1 in 54 children have been identified with autism spectrum disorder. ASD is reported to occur in all racial, ethnic and socioeconomic groups. ASD is more than 4 times more common among boys than girls. About 1 in 6 (17%) children aged 3-17 years were diagnosed with a developmental disability.

The CDC states that Fragile X Syndrome (FXS) is the most common known cause of inherited intellectual disability and affects both males and females, with females having milder symptoms than males.

Autism is considered a common comorbid condition with Fragile X syndrome- it is estimated that he prevalence of ASD in Fragile X syndrome varies. some studies show a 50% relationship. While there are similar characteristics, the motivation appears to be for different reasons. For example, indiviuals with Fragile X Syndrome appear to avoid eye contact due to social anxiety and shyness while people with autism simply prefer to be left alone.

The following articles provide insightful information:

 

Autism Spectrum Disorder in Fragile X Syndrome– Further Inform Neurogenetic Disorders (FIND)

Autism Spectrum Disorder in Fragile X Syndrome Cooccurring Conditions and Current Treatment– Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics

Fragile X and Autism Factsheet– Synapse

Fragile X is a common cause of autism and intellectual disabilities– UC Davis Health

Fragile X symptoms don’t add up to autism studies suggest– European Fragile X Network

Fragile X Syndrome and Autism– Interactive Autism Network

Fragile X Syndrome and Autism Spectrum Disorder- Otsimo

Fragile X Syndrome and Autism Spectrum Disorder: Similarities and Differences– National Fragile X Syndrome

The Fragile X Syndrome Autism Comorbidity: What do we really know? – National Institute of Health

What can we learn about Autism from studying Fragile X Syndrome?– Developmental Neuroscience

 

Printable Autism Fact Sheet

 

Today is World Autism Awareness Day. It is a recognized day sponsored through the United Nations to bring awareness about people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

The day serves to bring individual autism organizations together around the world to aid in research diagnoses, treatment and acceptance. More than ever in these challenging times we face, tolerance, compassion and acceptance is needed to provide people with autism with necessary support.

The following fact sheet provides information on facts, prevalence, timeline, co-occurring disorders and the definition.

 

Download Fact Sheet Here

 

 

Teaching Counting to Special Needs Students

Teaching individuals to count is an early prerequisite to working on money skills. Before starting to work on a counting goals, students should be able to count numbers 1- 100. Make sure to break any counting activities into short, easy-to-manage steps and provide clear expectations.

6 methods for teaching money counting-Thought Co.

7 ways to teaching counting to 100- Raising Da Vinci

10 tips to teach numbers and alphabets to children with autism– The Learning App

Counting Strategies– National Council of Teachers of Mathematics

Easy way to teach preschool children to count– VeryWell

Math: Counting and Comparing– The Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity

Skip Counting for Autism– Autism Educators

Teaching Counting- The Autism Helper

Teaching Counting Skills– The Autism Helper

Teaching Counting– National Center on Intensive Intervention

10 Valentine’s Day Fine Motor Activites

Here are some fun fine motor activities to do with your students. Children and adults with special needs often face challenges with coordination of the small muscles that affect writing, and grasping objects. These activities will help students both strengthen and maintain abilities in fine motor control and dexterity. For these activities, you will need the following supplies:

  • scissors
  • construction paper
  • glue or paste

50 Easy Valentine’s Day Crafts and Activities- From the Thrifty Kiwi

Brain-Building Valentines Activities– From Integrated Learning Strategies

Heart Bunny Rabbit Craft– From Crafty Morning

Valentine’s Day Fine Motor Activity– From No Time For Flash Cards

Valentine’s Day Fine Motor Activity– From The Resourceful Mama

Valentine’s Day Fine Motor Activity for Preschool– From Pre-K Pages

Valentine’s Day Fine Motor Sparkle Craft –  From The OT Toolbox

Valentine’s Day Tree Paper Craft– From Housing a Forest

Valentine’s Day Scissor Cutting Practice Tray– From I heart Crafty Things

Valentine Heart ORCA Whale Craft- From Crafty Morning

What You Should Know About GERD and Developmental Disabilities

Feeding problems are common in people with an  intellectual/developmental disability. For example, it is reported that 37% of individuals with diplegia or hemiplegia and 86% of individuals with quadriplegia experience GERD. It is very common in people with cerebral palsy and can show up as anemia, failure to thrive and reoccurring infections.

It is usually missed by people who have been feeding and serving food to individuals with disability due to its subtle signs.

What is Gastroesophageal Reflux? (GERD)

GERD occurs when the muscle connecting  to the esophagus is weak and opens under pressure, allowing the stomach contents to flow back into the esophagus. It is the acid from the stomach to the esophagus. this will irritate the lining of the esophagus and causes heartburn. Without treatment, GERD can cause complications.

What causes GERD?

GERD is usually caused by inflammation from the exposure of the esophagus to the stomach acid. The following can cause GERD:

  • diet such as fatty foods, coffee, peppermint and chocolate
  • decreased muscle tone
  • overweight
  • backup in blockage of the intestinal tract.

There are many reasons for the high incidence of GERD in individuals with intellectual disability including immobility and positioning, abnormal postures, medication use and excessive drooling.

What is a developmental disability?

A developmental disability is described as an assortment of chronic conditions that are due to mental or physical impairments or both. For example, you may have a child or an adult with an intellectual disability or perhaps a person diagnosed with cerebral palsy and an intellectual disability. It is also considered a severe and chronic disability that can occur up to the age of 22, hence the word developmental. A developmental disability can occur before birth such as genetic disorders (i.e. cri du chat, fragile x syndrome,) or chromosomes ( i.e. Down syndrome, Edwards syndrome); during birth (lack of oxygen) or after birth up to the age of 22 (i.e. head injuries, child abuse or accidents).

For people with limited communication, the following are possible signs of gastroesophageal reflux:

If you suspect GERD, make arrangements for the person to be evaluated by a physician.

Inside Dollywood’s ‘Incredible’ Calming Room for Children with Autism

Publisher: Yahoo News
Written by:Rachel DeSantis

A day at the Dollywood Family Amusement Park is filled with enough sights, sounds and colors to overstimulate anyone ⁠— especially those with autism.

That’s why Dollywood safety manager Judy Toth, who noticed an influx of families with children on the spectrum at the Tennessee park, decided to take action to help make their trip all the more memorable.

The result? A first-of-its-kind calming room that serves as a refuge of sorts for families seeking a break from the non-stop hustle and bustle of the 150-acre theme park.

“[It’s] sensory overload when you come to a theme park,” Toth tells PEOPLE. “And I couldn’t quite grasp at the beginning, you know, why are they coming? Knowing that something could potentially trigger their child. But realistically, it was just that they want their child to do what any other child does.”

The calming room first opened in the spring of 2016 after Toth observed that families with children on the spectrum were having to either end their trip early or slip someplace quieter, like a bathroom or a first-aid tent. Click here to read the rest of the story