Autism Spectrum Disorder Specialist Jeffersonville IN
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11-12 Grade,9-10 Grade,Adult
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Preschool,Kindergarten,1-5 Grade,6-8 Grade
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Healing the Many Faces of Autism
By Sheldon Lewis & Linda Sparrowe
Nicky’s daycare teacher Elise brought it to Kara’s attention first. “Your son’s not really interacting with the other kids,” she told her. Every day when he comes in two-and-a-half-year-old Nicky must walk a particular path in the exact same way before he can acknowledge anyone in the room, Elise said. He carefully lines up all his toys, always in the same manner, but he never plays with them. He doesn’t look at anyone else, but even the slightest noise or a gentle touch can immediately cause him to scream in terror. Doctors soon confirmed what Elise and Kara expected: Nicky was autistic. Their recommendations: speech and occupational therapy, but beyond that, they cautioned, there wasn’t much anyone could do.
Kara immediately began learning all she could about autism and discovered that there were, indeed, plenty of avenues to explore and approaches to try. They ran the gamut from changing Nicky’s diet to using behavioral modification techniques, from giving him weekly massages and high doses of vitamins to introducing him to martial arts. “What I did discover,” Kara said, “was that not every therapy works for every kid. And a combination seems to work the best.”
More than one disorder
The problem, of course, is that autism isn’t any one thing, nor does everyone exhibit the same characteristics of the condition. First discovered in 1943 by Leo Kanner, a physician at Johns Hopkins Hospital, autism is a developmental disability that typically manifests within the first three years of a child’s life. Four times more likely to affect boys than girls, autism’s symptoms include the inability to communicate with and relate to people, unusual or very limited interests, severe gastrointestinal problems, and hypersensitivity to any of the senses. Sometimes autistic children will also exhibit self-destructive behavior.
Around the same time that Kanner discovered autism, a German scientist, Dr. Hans Asperger, identified what he called an “autistic” condition, which later became known as “Asperger’s syndrome.” People with Asperger’s tend to be highly intelligent and very verbal—the opposite of those with “classic autism” who are often nonverbal and socially isolated—and may have a compulsive interest in, and encyclopedic knowledge about, a specific topic or special interest.
Today both conditions are classified as Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), a header that includes Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) or atypical autism, Rett Syndrome, Childhood Disintegrative Disorder (CDD), and some say Attention Deficit Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD/ADHD) as well.
And the cause is?
Although the cause or causes remain elusive, we do know what autism is not. It is not a mental illness nor is it a behavioral problem of unruly kids, and it does not have a clear-cut, direct genetic link.
In 1964, Bernard Rimland, a psychologist and father of a son with autism, wrote a book, Infantile Autism...
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