Published by: Science Alert
Written by: Mike McRae
For many people with autism, avoiding eye contact isn’t a sign that they don’t care – instead, it’s a response to a deeply uncomfortable sensation.
Researchers have discovered a part of the brain responsible for helping newborns turn towards familiar faces is abnormally activated among those on the autism spectrum, suggesting therapies that force eye contact could inadvertently be inducing anxiety.
Autism spectrum disorder is a term used to describe a variety of conditions that make communicating and socialising a challenge, and is often accompanied by restricted and repetitive behaviours.
A defining characteristic of autism spectrum disorder is a difficulty in making or maintaining eye contact, a behaviour that not only makes social interactions harder, but can lead to miscommunication among cultures where eye contact is taken as a sign of trust and respect. Click here to read the rest of the story
It’s hard to imagine a time when children with disabilities did not have access or the rights to an equal education as those students without disabilities. Prior to 1975, many children with disabilities were living in large institutions or went to private schools.
President Gerald Ford signed into the Education For All Handicapped Children Act (Pubic Law-94-142) now knowns as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The purpose of IDEA is to protect the rights of infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities and to provide equal access to children for children with disabilities. The following list describes the 13 categories of IDEA eligibility including the definition below:
A child with a disability is defined as a child evaluated as having an intellectual disability, hearing impairment (including deafness), a speech or language impairment, visual impairment (including blindness), a serious emotional disturbance, an orthopedic impairment, autism, traumatic brain injury, an other health impairment, a specific learning disability, deaf-blindness, or multiple disabilities who need special education and related services.
Autism means developmental disability significantly affecting verbal and nonverbal communication and social integration, generally evident before age 3, that adversely affect a child’s educational performance. Other characteristics often associated with autism are engagement in repetitive activities and stereotyped movements, resistance to environmental change or change in daily routines, and unusual responses to sensory experiences.
Deaf-blindness- defined as having both visual and hearing impairments. The combination of which causes such severe communication and other developmental and education needs that they cannot be accommodated in special education programs.
Deafness- a hearing impairment that is so severe that the child is impaired in processing linguistic information through hearing, or with or without amplification, that adversely affects a child educational performance.
Emotional disturbance- a condition exhibiting one or more of the following characteristics over a long period of time
Hearing impairment- an impairment in hearing, whether permanent or fluctuating that adversely affects a child’s performance but that is not included under the definition of deafness.
Intellectual disability- significantly lower general intellectual functioning, existing concurrently with deficits in adaptive behavior and manifested during the developmental period, that adversely affect a child’s educational performance.
Multiple disabilities- A combination of impairments (such as intellectual disability-blindness or intellectual disability-orthopedic impairment). The combination causes severe educational needs that they cannot be accomplished in special education program solely for one of the impairments.
Orthopedic impairment- a severe orthopedic impairment that adversely affects a child’s educational performance. The term includes impairments caused by a congenital anomaly, impairments caused by diseases (e.g. Poliomyelitis) and impairment causes (e.g. cerebral palsy, amputations, and fractures or burns that cause contractures)
Other health impairments- having limited strength, vitality, or alertness including a heightened alertness to environmental stimuli that results in limited alertness with respect to the educational environment that is due to chronic or acute health problems such as asthma, ADHD, diabetes, epilepsy, heart condition, sickle cell anemia and Tourette syndrome which adversely affects a child’s education performance.
Specific learning disability- a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language spoken or written that may manifest itself in the imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell or to do mathematical calculations including conditions such as perceptual disabilities, brain injury, dyslexia and developmental aphasia.
Speech or language impairment- a communication disorder such as stuttering impaired articulation, a language impairment, or a voice impairment that adversely affects a child’s educational performance.
Traumatic brain injury- An acquired injury to the brain caused by an external physical force, resulting in total or partial functional disability or psychosocial impairment or both. Traumatic brain injury applies to open or closed head injuries resulting in impairments in one or more areas, such as cognition, language, memory, attention, reasoning, abstract thinking, judgement, problem-solving, sensory, perceptual motor abilities and information processing and speech.
Visual impairment including blindness- an impairment in vision that, even with correction, adversely affects a child’s educational performance. The term includes both partial sight and blindness.
Adelphi students with autism or nonverbal learning disorders will have even more resources at the University this year, thanks to a $50,000 grant awarded to the Bridges to Adelphi program.
The Bridges to Adelphi program has helped students on the autism spectrum and those with nonverbal learning disabilities navigate the college experience since 2007. The new funds, from The Disability Opportunity Fund (DOF) of Rockville Centre, New York, will be used to expand the program’s vocational services and better prepare students for their postcollege careers.
The grant allows the program to hire a transition coordinator who will work with seniors and alumni looking for job placements and a community partnership developer who will help recruit organizations interested in making jobs or internships available to Bridges students.
“We need to be out in the community looking to build new partnerships because our graduating classes are growing,” said Mitch Nagler, MA ’06, director of the program. “This May, we’ll graduate 22 students, and this is a huge challenge for us to put them out there and get them into the right place.” Click here to read the rest of the story
Which came first? The anxiety or the autism? For me, anxiety and autism have always gone hand in hand. I have heard from multiple people, including past agoraphobics, that my anxiety is the worst they’ve ever experienced. My anxiety manifests in many different ways. My panic attacks can range from a five-minute crying spree to not being able to breathe correctly for a week. I also have a relatively new type of panic attack that feels like an actual heart attack. I have a lot of trouble with highway driving anxiety as well, especially when I’m going through a difficult time. It can cause me to become disassociated and make me feel unsafe.
When I get anxious, I can get really fixated on things. I need to complete the task or find the object before my anxiety can go away. This can lead me to do the same things over and over again, even when I know it won’t work. I can usually tell when something actually needs to be worried about vs. my irrational anxiety, but I don’t have the capacity to stop the irrational anxiety. Click here to read the rest of the story
Growing up, Heidi Slatter always felt she was different from other children.
Heidi, who lives in Paignton, grew up and went to school in Totnes. Unfortunately for Heidi, school was a traumatic experience, a place where she said she experienced bullying from teachers as well as other pupils. Click here for the rest of the story.
She said: ”I was highly sensitive, intelligent and doing life differently.’
”I had a horrendous time at school. Which has now left me with childhood trauma. I left with no GCSES or qualifications. The school system completely failed me and I suffered intense bullying. I was not being listened to, or got told I was a naughty child.”
Local researchers have turned up an interesting connection between autism and obesity in children.
Teams at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, the University of Pennsylvania, and six others centers found that kids with developmental delays, including autism, were up to 50 percent more likely to be overweight or obese.
And the more severe the symptoms, the greater the chance of being obese.
Doctors don’t know yet why these kids become overweight. It could be due to endocrine disorders, side effects from medication, picky eating, or other factors. Click here to read the rest of the story.
Published by: Stress-Free Kids
Written by: Lori Lite
Children are vulnerable to stress. Thirteen out of one hundred children experience some kind of anxiety disorder and many more are just stressed out! Living a balanced life and reducing stress in kids is a challenge for most families. With very little effort you can offer your children the tools they need to maintain emotional balance. Consider filling your child’s emotional backpack with solutions and techniques they can use for stress management and relaxation. Kids can be active participants in creating their own healthy, calm lives. Click here to read the rest of the story
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
Developing Your Blind Child’s Sleep Schedule– Although this article focuses on the sleep pattern of children who are visually impaired, it is also helpful for children with autism who display an irregular sleeping pattern.
March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness month! Although I blogged the definition of developmental disabilities here, I wanted to give you more information besides the Federal regulation. Quite often, people are confused between the definition of an intellectual disability and 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).
The disability is likely to occur indefinitely meaning the person will require some type of ongoing service throughout their lives. Finally, the person must show limitations in 3 or more of the following areas of major life activities:
Self-care– brushing teeth, hand-washing and combing hair independently
Receptive and expressive language-ability to understand someone talking and to also be understood
Learning– ability to read and write with understanding
Mobilityability to move around without any assistance
Self-direction– time management, organization
Capacity for independent living– requiring no supervision
Economic self-sufficiency – having a job and purchasing what one needs
Here are some examples of a developmental disability:
Does everyone with a disability also have a developmental disability?
The answer is no. there are people with disabilities such as epilepsy and cerebral palsy simply have a disability based on the criteria listed above. However, many people with developmental disabilities quite often have a combination of disabilities. For example a child with autism may also have seizures and an intellectual disability or an adult may have cerebral palsy, intellectual disability and epilepsy. In addition there are many people in the spectrum of autism who also have ADHD and so forth.
So what’s the difference between an intellectual disability and a developmental disability?
A person with an intellectual disability falls under the category of a developmental disability meaning you can have an intellectual disability and a developmental disability. check here for the definition of an intellectual disability, you will see they are quite similar. Below is an infographic created by Centers on Disease Control: