Browsing Posts in Autism

The interface of man and environment is still, the most intriguing mystery yet to be understood by us. We do not comprehend the human mind, utterly and wholly. That basic breach, in our basic understanding have either left us helpless, or have stretched our ‘research-instincts’ to realms forbidden for long, yet encroached upon for the sheer need of it.

When we are discussing ‘cognitive neuroscience’ (behavioural sciences), we ought to make up our minds to delve into the deepest realms. When we are referring to autism, we need to refer to something called the ‘autism spectrum disorders’ or ASD. Now, let’s understand what ASD denotes. It denotes a group of symptomatically associated disorders pertaining to defective cognition in human beings due to biochemical discrepancies in the human neurology. These include Autistic disorder, Asperger’s disorder, Child Disintegrative Disorder, Pervasive Developmental disorder and Rett Syndrome. Cognitive delays, repetitive behavioural tendencies and social deficits are marked features of ASD.

The onset, if at all has to take place in an individual appears within three years of his/her birth. Parents may get the indications of their child being autistic roughly around 18 months, when the child exhibits typical speech disabilities. Now, reasons to such a neurological anomaly are a vast area of mystery, but certain, probable causes are, Chromosomal abnormalities (this being the most obvious of reasons), digestive tract disorders, inability to metabolise vitamins in the body, mercury poisoning, vaccine sensitivity etc. Many consequent dysfunction is observed (from the neurological aspect), which may include, Fragile X Syndrome, mental retardation and tuberous sclerosis and seizures. In a more layman way of putting things, your child could be autistic when you find him or her responding (or not responding at all) to general stimuli around him.

The brain development is markedly hindered; or they unfold in exceptional patterns that cannot be synced with the said ‘normal’ environment. The diagnostic technique is based on 6 symptoms, two each, on qualitative impairment of social interaction and communication, and one each in restrictive and repetitive behaviour. Tools, for research, Childhood Autism rating scale (to measure severity), Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised (based on parental interviews) and Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule, based on the interactive capability of the child and observation of the same. Various research organisations namely, Autism Research Institute, Autism Speaks, Autism Society of America, Autistica etc. Are dedicated towards intensive medical researches and can be communicated with for relevant, practices that you might wish to consult for treatment, advancements etc. Yes, alternative therapies are coming upfront as well, along with hard-core medical applications and expertise in computer programming, educational computer-based games etc. Autism resources after they were known, and observed in many individuals, gave rise to experimenting and testing knowledge to diagnose the severity of autistic cases and apply respective treatment procedures.

Autism is a very complex disability that affects developmental skills – mainly in the areas of communication and social interaction – and is most often diagnosed before the age of three. Autism sometimes called Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) because there are no specific set of behaviors that diagnose this disability. No two cases are exactly alike, although they all generally resemble. Cases range from mild (like Asperger’s syndrome) to severe and are becoming more prevalent in today’s society than ever before.

Symptoms of autism that are most commonly seen include:

  • problems in communication,
  • social interaction,
  • obsessive routines or extremely repetitive behaviors.

– A person with autism struggles with holding conversations with others, or since symptoms are often seen by the age of 18 months, they may not ever even learn to talk.
– They also have problems with their nonverbal skills, such as making eye contact, smiling, and politeness.
– They are often unable to understand emotions, and often repeat actions over and over or obsessively follow routines.
Autistic behavior is often described by outsiders as just generally “awkward”.

There is no cure for this disability; individuals live with this disorder for their entire lives. The many treatment options for these children can help lessen the symptoms of autism, maximize learning and hopefully help them lead as normal lives as possible. Treatment options include behavior therapy and other therapies such as speech-language, and physical therapy. There are some medications that can lessen the difficulties associated with autism, but cannot treat the disorder itself. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI’s), anti-anxiety, anti-psychotics, and stimulants are a few that a doctor might prescribe for the symptoms.

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Although you might hear a lot of people say that vaccinations cause autism, there is currently no reliable study that has shown a link between the two. However, numerous genes seem to be involved, some of which may make a child more susceptible, and others may be responsible for the severity of the symptoms. Some seem to be hereditary, others happen unexpectedly. Since many other health problems are the fault of both genetic and environmental factors, studies are currently being done on such factors like viral infections and pollutants and their link with autism.

A few factors that make a child more like to be autistic are things like their sex. Males are 3 to 4 times more likely to develop autism than girls. Also, families who have a history of autism, or another child with it, are at a higher risk for birthing another child with the disorder. Paternal age may also be a factor. Having a father that was 40 or older at the time of conception seems to put a child at a higher risk.

There is no way to prevent autism. It can be treated, though, with symptoms often minimized, and improvement in social and behavior skills. But since no two cases are alike, no two treatments are alike – it may take several different treatment options before finding the best combination that is going to work for that child. But it is very possible for many individuals to live normal lives – even with autism.

In recent years, medical professionals have combined autism and music therapy in order to determine if there are any advantages associated with this type of treatment. Music is often regarded as the most ancient form of communication among individuals worldwide because of the fact that it is considered to be common among all cultures, in all locations of the world. Due to the amazing popularity of music and the effects that it seemed to have on individuals that were subjected to it, many researchers developed what they refer to as “Music Therapy”. Since the initialization of this form of therapy, it has been established that it has the ability to assist those that suffer from many different types of cognitive and physiological problems. Today, the use of music therapy is becoming increasingly popular for children that suffer from autism. Throughout this health guide, you will learn many interesting facts on autism music therapy.Certified Music TherapistsThe individuals that focus on autism and music therapy are known as “Certified Music Therapists”. If your child has autism, it is absolutely imperative that you choose a therapist that has an extensive education and valuable experiences in the field of music based therapy. The professionals will be identified as “Music Therapist-Board Certified” or “MT-BC”, and commonly work in educational settings, clinics that specialize in developmental disorders, and private practices. These professionals use an assortment of music types in order to assist in building skills in the autistic child. Furthermore, it has been found that the music may be used to enhance communication skills. Many studies also indicate that these specialists are highly effective at helping an autism patient experience lower anxiety levels.

Benefits of Autism Music Therapy

Autism and music therapy works to address the most common problems experienced by those that suffer from this condition. These problems include communication difficulties, issues with behavior that is considered to be aggressive or inappropriate, as well as social interaction issues. Autism therapy using music combines many different types of elements in order to enable the autistic child to communicate effectively and openly express their true feelings. While many forms of therapy have been used to assist children suffering from autism, music based therapy is the one treatment that shows the most promising results.

The following highlights the benefits associated with autism and music therapy:1. Autistic children that have participated in this form of therapy have been found to be successful at building relationships with others. As a result of this development, the children are motivated to learn and master behaviors that are considered to be socially acceptable.

2. Since autistic children often have high functioning cognitive abilities, many have learned to engage in musical activities such as playing an instrument. Not only is this wonderful for cognitive development, but it is beneficial for their academic and social growth.

3. Many songs that are designed for autism and musical therapy sessions include catchy lyrics that instruct a child how to behave appropriately or engage in certain activities. By being exposed to these catchy lyrics, children with this disorder are more likely to learn rapidly and progress in their development of basic skills.

Conclusion

While there are many productive forms of therapy for autism, autism music therapy is considered to be one of the most effective. Unfortunately, this type of therapy is not offered in many locations. You should not let that stop you, though. If you have an interest in autism and music therapy, you are fully capable of creating an at-home autism music therapy program. Simply purchase items such as musical DVDs or CDs that are designed for children. These often include lyrics that are catchy, easy to remember, and instruct on proper behaviors and how to engage in basic skills – such as buttoning clothing or brushing the teeth. You will quickly discover just how engaged your child becomes. By exposing your child to autism music therapy, you will be able to see their cognitive growth and development. Autism and music therapy sessions seem to go hand in hand. Many rewards are reaped by families that engage in this type of therapy.

Proactive autism recovery and prevention techniques that show the best results focus on eliminating exposure of a pregnant woman to chemical pollutants, pesticides and heavy metals. These molecules can change the cerebral structure of a baby, developing severe autism or a mild form of autism. Pregnant mothers should get their vitamin D3 level tested and consider doing their homework.

In the event that your child already has ADD, ADHD, mild or severe autism, consider the following suggestions:

Step 1
Because chemistries either attract or repel, the excess metals from vaccines and other sources bind and chelate the cellular mineral supply. This in turn damages the key supply of ingredients the body needs to manufacture the DNA correctly within the body.

In Jenny McCarthy’s book Healing and Preventing Autism, co-authored by Dr. Jerry Kartzinel, M.D., a successful autism recovery doctor, these are the key supplements that are recommend and that are being used in successful autism recovery programs: chromium, zinc, calcium and magnesium, selenium. Other important natural foods and supplements include camels milk, colostrum, Vitamin E, and cod liver oil.

Step 2
Remove pasteurized milk from the child’s diet. Be sure to include all dairy products like yogurt, ice-cream and whey. A gluten free diet can be helpful in the beginning, yet as the child recovers these foods can be re-introduced once again. What is important is to avoid these sensitive foods, and do a full candida cleanse for 6-12 months, this is one very important step to autism recovery. The child will have cravings for bread, pasta, cereal, and sweets. Don’t cave in or your wasting your money on the cleanses. Try millet, buckwheat, quinoa, aramath, and other unusual grains. These grains are typically healthier, non-allergic, and have less molds in them, so make them a staple of the household diet for everybody – not just the child with autism.

Step 3
Abstain from high fructose corn syrup or corn sugar, aspartame, monosodium glutamate, anything you can not pronounce.
So, buy whole foods instead of packaged or processed foods for autism recovery is greatly encouraged. Also – “natural” and artificial flavoring in food must be avoided. Anything that is unnatural may chelate and further damage the minerals and prevent a further building up a mineral supply within the body.

Step 4
Let your child have enough sunlight exposure. There is an obvious link between vitamin D3 deficiency that’s parallel to sever autism. Vitamin D supplements are very inexpensive and can even be sent to you for free for your entire family for the rest of your life if you just pay a small shipping fee. Fresh air is another added benefit of being outdoors. Consider moving to a warm climate to be outdoors year-round.

Step 5
Take good care of the child’s emotional tension as soon as possible.
Powerful emotional tools like Thought Field Therapy (TFT) is excellent in releasing stored negative emotions and in reducing sugar or bread-cravings. Another technique that we offer are free sessions of The Emotion Code by Dr. Bradley Nelson. Eliminating stress during pregnancy and early childhood also play an important role to autism recovery. Conflicts between the two spouses is best avoided as that imprints to the womb or child in a negative way that can help trigger severe autism.

Step 6
Another autism recovery method is to lower the child’s toxic burden. If the person is old enough, consider doing some cleanses like full body, liver cleanse, full fat cells.
When the liver is overburdened by stress, it will be difficult to properly eliminate the toxins with the mineral supplements that he or she will be using.

Step 7
Eliminate electromagnetic field (EMF) exposure within the child’s home and bedroom. EMF is not just harmful to the child but especially so to a pregnant woman. Please take special care to this autism recovery step because EMF can facilitate severe autism symptoms by trapping heavy metals inside of nerve cells hindering toxic clearance. There are many pendants on the market that the child can wear that will counteract the effects of EMF exposure.

When Dr. Tamera Mareia, the practicioner and owner of Internal Balance detox clinic in Middle, Tennesse, started putting these pendants on autistic children and within their homes, consistently the families reported a huge reduction in symptoms:

At the end of three days, the mother can not stop crying by the result of the changes that we are witnessing. For the first time the child goes to his mother and gives her a hug.

Advocates ask us to consider that it may not be the high levels of mercury and other metals that is the problem, but that the bodies constant stress from EMF is causing the cells to tighten up and hold on to the toxins. Once a child is taken out of an EMF environment, we observe they are naturally helping the body with detoxing the metals.

Upon further testing, Dr. Mareia confirmed higher levels of mercury being excreted by the stools of the children in her study on autism recovery. She says that the EMF devices help the children to sleep, and “When the children can sleep, the body can repair and eliminate.

When taking the supplements – it is best they be in the most natural-state. Instead of synthetic vitamins and minerals, they must be in a form that the body can use properly and identify as a food source. If these supplements are not appearing to help, you may want to get further advice to find out if your supplements are synthetic or from whole-foods and organic.

Unique — Brilliant — Different — Beautiful

All individuals are unique; it is the way God created us. To emphasize the difference, His plan ensures that every person has a physical appearance that is distinctive, and no two minds work exactly alike! As of 11:59 p.m. on February 15, 2011, there were 7,086,773,664 people alive in the world! It is astounding that with more than 7 billion people alive on that date, every person is exclusive in both appearance and thought! Of these, 310,830,868 people call the United States home! And in this country, latest estimates reflect that 1.5 million Americans have been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, ASD. And each of these individuals is unique!

There has been much research done over the past 20 years on Autism, PDD, and Asperger’s. These conditions bear many similarities, yet they each have some significant distinguishing characteristics, as well. Recently, the medical world has begun to group these disorders under the heading of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Consider the number of children diagnosed in America; these children have parents, siblings, and extended family. These children and families interact daily with many others in society through school, work, church, social organizations, and day-to-day activities.

In the center of a beautiful blossum is the child with ASD. This child is the carpal of this flower, and the petals are each touched and connected in varying degrees to its strength and beauty. Parents and siblings lovingly surround and protect the child with ASD as the petals immediately surround the carpal of this bloom. It is the connectedness of these inner petals that give the other petals, the extended family and the community, the vitality needed to enhance and add further splendor to this entire blossom. What once started as an exceptional seed has become an exquisite flower!

Temple Grandin’s mother coined the phrase, “Different, Not Less” in reference to her daughter. And, the impact and blessing of Temple Grandin’s life and legacy has touched millions! Spend a few minutes with a family member of someone diagnosed with autism, and you will note the respect, love, and pride they exude when talking about their loved one with this condition!

Shannon’s nephew, Brandon, is 15 years old. Diagnosed at an early age, Brandon’s family was uncertain as to what the future held. Through love, acceptance, and persistence, he continues to flourish. Today, Brandon attends a public high school where he touches lives every day, he plays the pipe organ on Sundays for the congregation at his church, and he enjoys a full, rich life where he is both blessed and a significant blessing to others!

Each of us was created to interact and make a difference in this world. We are all different, yet not one of us is less important than another! As we learn to appreciate and respect this truth, the lives of those diagnosed with ASD and the lives of those with whom they interact will flourish beyond what was once thought imaginable!

At Dallas Brain & Wellness Institute, our desire is to walk alongside the ASD child/adult and their family. Autism cannot be cured. However, neurofeedback is a very effective form of treatment that compliments and works in conjunction with other therapies to enhance the potential for those struggling with this disorder. Ongoing research continues to indicate both children and adults with ASD show significant improvements in communication, cognitive function, and interpersonal relationships with neurofeedback therapy. Regardless of where on the autism spectrum the diagnosed client is today, studies consistently support a 40-70% improvement in overall functioning for those who undergo neurofeedback therapy! This is exciting news! ASD children and adults are different, not less. And now, like those without this disorder, these individuals have an even greater opportunity to become all they were created to become!

In order for an autistic adult to live a fully functional life on their own they need to have a detailed autistic friendly education as a child. When an autistic child is given one on one instruction they become more able to function outside of specialized care homes, though sometimes with the right childhood teaching to get a child with autism ready for the real world they sometimes do end up with their parents or in a full time care home as adults.

People who are given the diagnosis of autism do have a hard road ahead of them, it is a very hard disease to live with. Much debate has happened pertaining to the right care for every case of autism, because the disease is such a large spectrum disease. Each person who is diagnosed with autism treats their diagnoses with a different reaction.

There are different levels of care needed by autistic patients, some can lead fairly independent lives and are brilliant in a few areas, while some others have to have long term personal care. Across the United States there are specialized groups to help adults with this diagnosis to help them cope with living outside of a care home. Research shows that adults who live with autism work well in jobs where they can use their individual strengths.

The majority of adults who have autism have very little short term memory, but have outstanding long term memory so they can work exceptional in a job that plays on their individual strengths. Even though services are needed some of the time to assist autistic adults to perform day to day tasks, most patients can live quite well on their own outside of a care home. Sometimes even patients who are living in full time care homes can live a majority of their lives without much help.

A majority of adults with autism can work outside of their home and live very fulfilled lives. The biggest worry that adults with autism have is that they will be viewed as weird by other “normal” people in the world. Being unable to react in the right way to different social settings is not the fault of the patient it is simply part of the disease.

A large number of adults with autism in the world today have educated themselves to the point of getting college degrees, these patients are considered exceptional in their certain fields and have overcome any social disturbances in their lives because of the disease. Lastly it is crucial that people educate themselves on everything that is associated with the disease.

Although medicine has made great strides in other fields it has not been able to stop the diagnosis of autism from rising to one in a hundred and sixty six children. Since the numbers are so high pertaining to the diagnosis of autism, almost everyone will have someone in their life that has been diagnosed with the disease.

Unfortunately care homes geared to autistic patients are not abundant in the United States and a lot of adult autistic patients are still living at home. Just like any other person with a handicap or disability autistic people have a lot of special needs. Although people with autism can be drastically different then other people, with the right care and teaching they can lead very independent and fulfilling lives.

You may know that teachers and educators are usually obliged to take ongoing classes or courses. This might fall under the description of continuing educational units, or even help them to qualify for an advanced degree. Interestingly enough, educators and even many parents can benefit tremendously from alternative training too. Just consider the immense value of school Autism training.

This is an organized way for educators to learn the best policies and practices for supporting their students with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorders). School Autism training will usually help educators to understand the alternative approaches necessary for students with any of the Autism disorders. Remember, Autism is not a standard condition and it is found in a diversity of forms and levels of severity. Some students may have only a mild range of symptoms and others may have a wide range of difficulties with communications, socialization, and repetitive behaviors.

Clearly, the student who cannot learn in the same manner as a majority of the other students in a classroom is going to need teachers and classroom staff with additional skills. Because the standard guidelines for most schools are geared towards inclusiveness, it means that school Autism training can be easily seen as relatively essential.

A lot of teachers and educators worry, however that school Autism training will be too difficult to manage or too comprehensive to demand of their already busy teachers and staff. Fortunately, there are training systems that utilize today’s most convenient technologies. For example, video instructional courses, printed manuals and workbooks and online access to questions and answers are all part of the best programs.

It is also important to note that a very good or high-quality program will make itself available to more than just the teaching or educational industry. For instance, many parents of children with ASD simply cannot afford the kind of extracurricular or advanced teaching and training that would be so beneficial to their child or their children. A good training system, however, will make all of the materials available to parents as well as teachers. In fact, some of the best actually design specialized courses for parents who hope to intervene as soon as a diagnosis is made.

This is actually one of the critical issues where ASD is concerned because the sooner the child begins to learn how to overcome the symptoms of their condition, the better the results. This usually means that parents who deal with pre-school age children are the most likely to have success, and a home-based program is a very powerful tool for them to use.

I remember when we had our worst fears confirmed – your child has Autism!

It can be a devastating blow, and you are left wondering – what now?

Well as hard as it may be, you need to make light of it, because feeling bad or blaming yourself or others will only make matters worse, there is no question about it.

There are so many paths you can take when considering “what can we do for our child with Autism?”

Early intervention, Biomedical treatments, DIR Floortime, RDI, SON Rise, Pharmaceutical treatments, the list goes on.

There are certainly many Autism treatments and learning methods and it can all be very overwhelming.

We recall that one of our worst anxieties was “are we doing enough” and “are we doing it soon enough”. There is certainly much evidence to suggest that our brains are much more plastic (malleable) up until the age of 5 or 6 years old, and so a child with Autism needs to have intensive treatment and learning at the soonest possible time.

However you can only do what you can do. There is an immense amount of pressure on parents of children with Autism to seek out, research and administer the most amount of treatment in the soonest amount of time – the clock is ticking!

In hindsight now we can only recommend one very important factor that most of us at a time of having our world turned upside down by Autism tend to overlook. A happy, loving, secure and fun environment for our children – with or without Autism.

How can you be happy, secure and have fun when you child has just been diagnosed with Autism?

Well, things could always be worse – is the glass half empty or half full? And how could being scared, miserable, stressed and unhappy possibly make things better?

There is no doubt that our mind controls every aspect of our physical being. There are other environmental factors, but the main controlling factor is how we feel and think mentally.

A child with or without Autism will always thrive and learn better in a happy secure fun environment, it is only common sense!

It can be difficult, however it is not impossible. There are many ways you can turn things around and see the positive side of everything in life and Autism! As Barry Kaufman points out in one of his books – Happiness is a choice! And it really is!

You think about it, your child has Autism – that you can not change, but you can choose to be happy or you can choose to be sad – it is your choice!

And… which choice will your child with or without Autism most benefit from?
Hi, my name is Isabella, Isy for short. I was born in mid 1997 and was diagnosed with autism at the age of two.

My parents originally started Isabella’s Autism Pages and Isybee Autism web pages to help other parents in similar circumstances, and to give recognition to other people and organisations who have helped them help me.

We hope to cover a lot of ground writing articles and providing information and resources for families and persons affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).

Autism

Autism is undoubtedly one of the most painful problems ever to confront a family. The birth of a child is usually the gleeful and most expectant of moments – unless the baby fails to develop the usual behaviors that will attach him or her to the world. In autism, there is no social smile, no need to cuddle or be held, a seeming reluctance in human communication, and a failure to recognize caregivers. It seems as if the baby is in a world of its own, so unresponsive that you wonder if it has been born deaf.

Children with autism exhibit severe and sustained developmental impairments that start shortly after birth and remain profoundly disabling throughout life. The child is disinterested in social interactions, indifferent to human warmth and affection, and rarely takes notice of other children. He is unable to form peer relationships, seldom engages in play with children, and prefers solitary games that involve other people only to the extent they serve as a tool or aid. Older individuals with autism may come to have more interest in social interaction, but they lack interpersonal understanding and have difficulty respecting other people’s boundaries.

A person with Autism is ultra-sensitive and rigid to surrounding changes and will insist that things be done repetitively following just exactly the same routine day after day for an entire lifetime. He eats only a few select foods cooked and served in a particular way at a particular time on a particular dish. He becomes agitated if any difference occurs from the usual pattern.

Do not presume that your child may have autism if any of the normal developmental skills such as smiling, walking, talking or interacting with friends take a bit longer than usual. Most kids will catch up and eventually do just fine. It is also not uncommon for normal children to become transiently fixated on one or two things, such as eating from the same bowl. Furthermore, some children are just not by nature very affectionate and cuddly. This does not mean that they have autism. Autism describes really marked delays in developmental milestones mixed with intense behavioral oddities and a lack of communication skills. Social interaction in autism is so impaired that the child lacks any substantial interest or pleasure in relationships with others. The recurring behavior patterns occur over and over and for a lifetime, almost to the exclusion of all other things.

Austism is a challenge faced by millions of people, a challenge of tremendous significance to our collective futures, a challenge that is essentially of pandemic proportions, the challenge posed by the condition known as Autism.

Autism, a word that officially became part of my family’s life in February of 2008, with the “diagnosis” of our 3 year old son. It truly shook our family to it’s very core.

While the condition is mentioned fairly often today, there is very little media discussion about the latest “facts”. A special thanks goes out to a terrific friend and mentor for his research and support.

For your contextual knowledge, please review the following:

  • Autism is a complex neurobiological disorder that typically lasts throughout a person’s lifetime.
  • It is a part of disorders known as the Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). The spectrum has broad ranges across multiple varieties.
  • Autism occurs in all racial, ethnic, and social groups and is four times more likely to strike boys than girls.
  • Autism impairs a person’s ability to communicate and relate to others. It is also often associated with rigid routines and repetitive behaviors.
  • More children will be diagnosed with Autism this year than AIDS, diabetes, and cancer COMBINED. A recommended and highly effective treatment for children diagnosed with Autism is a strict Gluten and Casein-free (GFCF) diet.
  • A leading theory is that individuals with Autism have sustained damage to the intestine (“leaky gut”) thus prohibiting Gluten and Casein from being digested normally. Gluten and Casein form substances that act like opiates in their bodies. “Leaky Gut” causes immediate release through the intestinal wall where Gluten and Casein travel immediately to the brain.
  • These opiates dramatically affect the individuals behavior.
  • The latest statistics show that 1 in 110 children will be diagnosed with Autism. (Note: there are calculations that say 1 in 93) 1 in 70 boys will be diagnosed. (Note: there are calculations that say 1 in 53) A new case will be diagnosed almost every 20 minutes.
  • Autism costs the United States over $35 billion per year, a figure expected to increase significantly in the next decade.
  • There has been a 600% increase in the last two decades. (Yes, 600%)

The causes of Autism are a source of much debate and controversy. It is indeed a very complex puzzle with theories ranging from genetics to vaccines to the withholding of parental affection. I have my own opinion on a correlation between vaccines and the issue.

There is not a documented and validated “cure”. However, consistent therapy and other nutritional actions can have a sustainable impact.

The experience with my son has taught me many things about life, about how to be a better father, how to enable greatness for my children, how to be a stronger leader for my family, how to face a considerable challenge.

The following comments are truly “Lessons From My Son”:

When faced with a challenge, Your FAITH will be rewarded – God has a way of sending messages to us when we least expect them. For about 6 months after the diagnosis, we experienced the full range of emotions – denial, sadness, anger, confusion, calm, etc. However, we held strong to our belief in The Creator. Our Faith was ultimately reward when our son painted this image in school… as a 3.5 YEAR OLD. It was a “gift” from our son to his loving parents and to the world.

It was inspired by the Great Spirit as a message that our son was brilliant, that the labels of society were irrelevant, that we were making progress, and that our boy’s future was bright. A special “Guardian” from above would ensure our son’s greatness. An amazing friend once told me to see these special moments as “trophies” given to us by The Father in recognition for our faith and good works.

I have seen every point of progress, every word spoken, every hug, every sign from above as a Trophy, something to always be cherished and be thankful for. Please see the positive moments in your life as fuel for achieving YOUR destiny. When faced with a challenge, Avoid making comparisons to others, focus on YOUR situation – Many of us look at the “good fortune” of others when we have a roadblock.

These comparisons only serve to degrade our spirits and ultimately, take away from the greatness ahead of us. We need to be happy for others while focusing on our own situation and actions. My family was comfortable with our son’s glorious gifts and stayed relentlessly focused on his progress. When faced with a challenge, remember that “Your resolve is greater than your circumstances”.

Do not ever underestimate your capacity to withstand tough times or your potential to rise above the circumstances. Draw upon your self-confidence as well as those that you love to give you courage. Lao Tzu’s quote is timeless – “Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” Since we were fighting for our son’s future, for the legacy of our family, we leaned into multiple therapies that methodically addressed our son’s issues, step by step. His therapists have been incredible. The supplements have made a difference. My wife has been an amazing rock for the family. So how can you help in the movement to address Autism? There are several ways for you to make a difference.

Build Your Knowledge – Ensure that you are well versed on the topic. Share your insights with others, especially those with young children or about to have a child. “Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew” by Ellen Notbohm is a 108 page summary that is very powerful.

Be A Resource – If you know someone with a child that has Autism, be there for them. Let them know that you care by providing moral support, praying for them, and sharing in the life of their child. My wife and I were blessed to have family and friends that wrapped their arm’s around both of our boys. On a personal note, my parents and brothers have made a big difference for me in this journey. Also, realize that there are many adolescents and young adults that are on the Autism spectrum. Many of them are driving forward courageously thru their challenge and leveraging their strengths. These young people will positively impact the future of our world. If you know of one, support him/her to achieve their dreams. We will all be enriched.

Don’t Judge Behavior – There have been times when my son has acted out in public against his affliction. Some people have looked at us with an understanding glance while others were obviously judging my child. They made themselves look incredibly insensitive. The old biblical saying that warns against judging until we have “walked a mile in a person’s shoes” truly does apply in these instances – trust me.

Serve As An Advocate – Please ensure that our school boards, our elected officials, and our community leaders are committed to improving the effectiveness of our school systems on this topic. Too many children are marginalized in systems that don’t understand their challenges or appreciate their gifts. We have been blessed that every one of our son’s teachers has been amazing. However as an additional challenge, there are still many states and insurance companies that provide sub-optimal benefits support. Please push for autism insurance reform legislation with your representatives.

Donate Money To The Cause – There are dire financial needs in the efforts to solve the Autism puzzle. The funds allocated for Autism Research by our government have ranged from 80-120 MM (approximately.3% of the National Institute of Health budget) dollars a year with about another 45-50MM driven by significant efforts by private agencies. Certainly, large amounts of money but not enough to address an issues of these staggering proportions (remember 1 in 110 children). If you are inspired to donate, there are terrific organizations like The Thoughtful House, Autism Speaks, and the Autism Research Institute that are making great progress. My family has been blessed to have had the financial resources to support our son. However, there are so many that can’t provide the support necessary for their children.

The cause needs your help. Thank you for your time and attention. Our son is progressing by leaps and bounds as he is now in grade school.