Coronavirus Ireland: Being stuck at home is extra stressful for autistic people says Adam Harris CEO of AsIAm

Published by: Irish Mirror
Written by; Marguerite Kiely

The Covid-19 crisis has brought uncertainty into all our lives, with our day-to-day routine severely disrupted.

The autistic community, however, is particularly vulnerable to the huge change, as the loss of structure from their lives can be a source of enormous anxiety and distress.Adam Harris, founder and CEO of AsIAm, has revealed the issues autistic people face at this difficult time and what their parents can do to help.

He explained: “What we have seen over the last few weeks is the complete removal of routine. That’s a real challenge and there is a need to create a new structure as a result.

“For many autistic people going places may be a very important part of their routine. Maybe they go to a certain cafe on a particular day of the week or like to walk in the park every evening.

“All of those opportunities are being removed and it doesn’t just cause upset, it removes the certainty and predictability for the person.” Click here to read the rest of the story.

Everything You Need to Know Before Buying a Weighted Blanket

Published by: Forbes Magazine

It seems like every category of bedding is getting an upgrade these days, whether it’s in the form of memory foam mattresses or custom pillows.

Chances are you’ve heard friends or family discussing these new product types, or maybe even saw someone receive one as a gift this past holiday season. But while weighted blankets have exploded in popularity in recent years, this innovative product isn’t necessarily new — it’s long been used in the special needs community, helping individuals on the autism spectrum, among others. Still, it wasn’t until companies like Gravity Blanket brought their flagship designs to the broader public that people began thinking of it not as a niche medical device, but a general sleep aid for the wider community.

Want to learn what all the hype is about? Here’s everything you need to know about weighted blankets, from their many benefits to how you can find one that perfectly complements your style of sleeping. Click here to read the rest of the story.

Developmental Disability Awareness Ribbons

Awareness ribbons in recent history began when Penney Laingen used the ribbon as a symbol of vigilance ( from the song, Tie a Ribbon Around the Ole Oak Tree) when she tied a yellow ribbon around the oak tree in her front yard when her husband, Bruce Laingen. a top-ranking U.S. diplomat was a hostage during the Iran hostage crisis in 1979. This was followed by the red ribbon during the AIDS epidemic and the pink ribbon bringing awareness to breast cancer.

Ribbons have long been used as a way to bring awareness and raise consciousness for a cause. Ribbons and disability awareness has evolved from brining awareness to various disability topics such as sensitivity, core information, inclusion and advocacy to including information in various formats including resources, activities and print information. People are using social media as a means to promote awareness including using hashtags and setting up Facebook pages specifically for disability awareness.

The Ribbons below in staying consistent with the Special Needs Resource Blog, focus on ribbons that bring awareness to developmental disability and special needs issues. Awareness is only a part of educating and training people on disability awareness. Any training activities should also include acceptance.

Awareness Ribbons

Autism Spectrum Disorder- The Autism ribbon continues to evolve overtime. The puzzle piece was first used in 1963 by a parent and board member of the National Autistic Society in London indicating the puzzling, confusing nature of autism. In 1999, the puzzle piece ribbon was adopted as the universal sign of autism awareness by the Autism Society reflecting the complexity of the autism spectrum. Overtime, the both the puzzle and ribbon have become a symbol for seeing autism as something that is puzzling an needs to be fixed rather than acceptance. A more positive symbol includes the infinity loop used as a symbol for acceptance rather than awareness.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Epilepsy

Cerebral Palsy

Down Syndrome

Purple Awareness Ribbon

epilepsy ribbon

Down Syndrome

down syndrome ribbon

Down Syndrome

Lime Green Ribbon

lime awarenss ribbon

Muscular Dystrophy

Spinal Cord Injuries

Orange Awareness Ribbon

adhd.ribbon

ADHD

Multiple Sclerosis,

Sensory Processing DisorderRett Syndrome

Blue Awareness Ribbon

hydrapany.ribbon

Apraxia,

Cri Du Chat,

Hydrocephalus
Light Blue Awareness Ribbon

Trisomy 18,

DiGeorge Syndrome

Observance Awareness Months

February

Turner Syndrome Awareness

March

Trisomy18

Kidney Awareness

Multiple Sclerosis

Cerebral Palsy

Developmental Disabilities

April

Autism

Auditory Processing Disorder

May

Apraxia

Cri Du Chat

Cystic Fibrosis

Williams Syndrome

June

Dravet Syndrome Day

July

Fragile X Syndrome

National Craniofacial Awareness and Prevention Month

September

Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Day

Hydrocephalus

Sickle Cell Anemia

Spinal Cord Injuries

October

ADD/ADHD

Down Syndrome

Rett Syndrome

Sensory Processing Disorder

November

DiGeorge Syndrome

Epilepsy

 

Struggling to be Understood: A Childhood Autism Meltdown

Published by:Different Brains Blog
Written by: Tim Goldstein

Cover Image - Struggling To Be Understood - A Childhood Autism Meltdown

THE MELTDOWN BEGINS

I was at the Boardwalk in Santa Cruz with my wife this past weekend. We were sitting down eating my all-time favorite junk amusement park food, funnel cake. To the side and a little behind me, I started to hear a disturbance. I turned and looked. It was a boy in the 7-9-year-old range with who I assumed to be his mom.

I missed the start of the meltdown which my wife saw from her side of the table. Another boy had come up to the boy making a disturbance and prepared to punch him in the face. My wife said the boy throwing the tantrum had that distinctive, scary 100% focused level of emotion on his face that she knows all too well from my meltdowns over the year. It is a look of every bit of energy being released in total rage.

The other boy left, and the young boy began verbal outbursts directed at his mom that packed all of his intensity into the words. I recognized this as it is a meltdown pattern I have struggled with. I listened in, it was obvious to me that he was having with I call the “straw that broke the camel’s back” type meltdown. This is one of two types of meltdowns and frequently the more troublesome as it appears to be completely out of line with the event that seemed to trigger it. Click here to read the rest of the story

For Those With Autism, Eye Contact Isn’t Just Weird, It’s Distressing

main article image

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Emotional disturbance- a condition exhibiting one or more of the following characteristics over a long period of time
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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)
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.

On the Autism Spectrum and Career-Ready: How We’re Preparing Students for Life After College

Source: Adelphi University

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

When Autism and Anxiety Go Hand in Hand

Source: Lifestyle Yahoo

Written by: Molly D. Dann-Pipinias

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

Meet the woman fighting to change people’s views of autism

Source: Devonlive
Written by: Charlotte Vowles

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.”

Kids with developmental disabilities are more likely to be overweight, study says

Published By: Action News (6)

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.