7 People With Less Visible Disabilities Talk Misconceptions and Stigma

Source: Teen Vogue
Written By: Paula Akpan

Some disabilities are more immediately apparent than others, particularly if the person uses an aid such as a wheelchair. Others, however, aren’t as obvious. The Invisible Disabilities Association defines invisible disability as “a physical, mental, or neurological condition that limits a person’s movements, sense, or activities that is invisible to the onlooker.” As a result, not only do people with invisible or less visible disabilities have to make day-to-day adjustments to exist in the world around them, but they must also navigate misconceptions about their condition —including the idea that they aren’t disabled “enough.” Click here to read the rest of the story.

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Nowhere to go: Young people with severe autism languish weeks or longer in hospitals

Source: Washington Post
Written By: Christina Jewett | Kaiser Health News

Teenagers and young adults with severe autism are spending weeks or even months in emergency rooms and acute-care hospitals because of a lack of community treatment programs able to deal with their outbursts, according to interviews with parents, advocates and physicians from Maine to California as well as federal and state data.

These young people — who may shout for hours, bang their heads on walls or lash out violently at home — are taken to the hospital after community social services and programs fall short and families call 911 for help. Once there, they sometimes are sedated or restrained for long periods as they wait for beds in specialized facilities or return home once families recover from the crisis or find additional support. Click here to read the rest of the story.

Could motor problems be one source of autism’s social difficulties?

Source: Spectrum
Written By:

For 6-year-old Macey, lunchtime at school is not so much a break from reading and math as it is an hour rife with frustration.

Here’s how Macey’s mother, Victoria, describes Macey’s typical lunch break: In her special-education classroom an hour north of San Francisco, Macey’s classmates gather at a big square table, chattering away and snatching one another’s food. Macey, meanwhile, is sequestered away at a small white table in a corner, facing a bookshelf. She grabs the handle of a spoon using the palm of her right hand, awkwardly scoops up rice and spills it onto her lap. She wants to be at the big table with her peers, but she sits with an aide away from the other children to minimize distractions while she eats. (Victoria requested that we use her and Macey’s first names only, to protect their privacy.)

After lunch, the children spill out onto the playground. Macey, wearing a helmet, trails behind, holding her aide’s hand. She can walk, but she often trips on uneven surfaces and falls over. She tends to misjudge heights, and once pulled a muscle while climbing on playground equipment. When she was 3, she tripped and fell headfirst out of a sandbox, scraping her face, chipping one tooth and dislodging another. Click here to read the rest of the story

Antipsychotics and Autism: Weighing the Benefits, Eyeing the Risks

Source: Interactive Autism Network
Written By: Marina Sarris

Children and adults with autism are sometimes prescribed an array of psychiatric drugs for hyperactivity, poor attention, or challenging behaviors. One type of medication, called antipsychotics, has become something of a “go-to” treatment for the most severe behaviors. According to the latest studies, one in five or six youth with autism has taken them,1,2 along with 43 percent of adults with autism, on average.3 Antipsychotics are the most frequently used type of psychiatric drug in autism.3

That may be because two antipsychotics are the only drugs approved specifically for certain behaviors in children and teens with autism.1 The U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave its stamp of approval to aripiprazole (brand name Abilify) and risperidone (brand name Risperdal) for “irritability” in autism – namely self-injury and aggression – almost a decade ago. More recently, the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality weighed the scientific evidence on those medications. It found significant benefits and also “harms,” or bad side effects.5 The drugs reduce challenging and repetitive behaviors when compared to no treatment. They also are associated with significant weight gain, sedation, tremors and movement disorders, it noted. Click here to read the rest of the story

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)

 

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.

Click Here to download PDF article

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