Category Archive Special Needs

ByAnxious Minds

Medicine used to Treat Autism

There are many types of medications used to treat Autism. These medications will fall into different categories based on the type of problem that is being dealt with. Medication will not cure the Autism, it just helps with some of the problems associated with it. Here are some of the medications used when treating an Autistic child.

Antipsychotic

This type of medication is used to treat behaviour problems in children with Autism. They can also be used to treat insomnia and aggression. This type of medication should be used if behaviour therapy is not working. Some times an Autistic child will try to harm their selves. Antipsychotic medicines can help control this.

Anticonvulsant

Some Autistic children have seizures. This type of medication is used in controlling or preventing the seizures.

Depression and Anxiety Medications

A large portion of Autistic children deals with depression and anxiety. They need medication to help control these feelings. These medications are found to cause suicidal thoughts in some kids. Be aware of changes in your child’s behaviour.

Sedatives

Children with Autism sometimes have a hard time falling asleep at night. They are given a sedative to help them sleep. There are natural alternatives that can be used in place of sedatives. They will not make your child dependant on them to fall asleep.

Stimulant

Stimulants are used in treating kids with hyperactivity. They are also used in children that have a hard time paying attention or concentrating. These medicines can help the child focus longer. This can be useful for a school-age child who is having problems paying attention in school. They can help a child who is having trouble staying focused on their school work. This can mean a difference in passing or failing.

Medications can help treat the problems found in Autistic children. Parents need to be careful when using any medications with their children. Some of these medications can have terrible side effects. Each child will react differently to the medicine. If you notice the medicine is not helping consult your child’s doctor. Medications need to be combined with other types of therapy to successfully work in treating Autism. Always use the lowest effective dose of the medications. Do not start or stop a medication without talking to your child’s doctor first. Some Autistic children do not speak so it is important to be aware of changes in their behaviour. If they begin acting in an unfamiliar manner they could be having a reaction to the medicine, and need to see a doctor.

Medication should be a last resort when treating Autism. If it must be used, combine the medication with other forms of therapy for better results. Remember the medicine is not a cure for Autism. The medicine just helps to lesson some of the symptoms the child is experiencing. Always be sure of the correct dosage of medication to give your child. Talk to the doctor about any long terms side effects caused by the prescription. Also, make sure to ask about any interactions with other medications your child is taking. Sometimes medication will be the only thing that helps your Autistic child. Just make sure the child is monitored for any side effects.

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ByAnxious Minds

Let your Autistic Child be a Child

Many parents with autistic children are afraid to let their child be a child. They get so wrapped up in their child’s treatment they forget to let them have fun. They focus on keeping them safe and become too protective. The child’s life becomes full of doctors, or therapy appointments. They get little time to just enjoy being a child. While it is important to keep your child safe it is also important to give them time to do things they like. Here are some things you can do to make sure your child gets to be a child.

  1. Give your autistic child a certain time each day to do whatever they want to. If they have a toy or game they like to play let them. Everyone needs a break from doctors appointments and such.

  1. Arrange activities for your child that they like. This could be something like a trip to the park once a week, or a meal at their favourite restaurant. Let the child pick the activity. Maybe they would like some time to spend with grandma or grandpa.

  1. Let them run and play like the other children. Children like to run and play in the dirt. This will not hurt them. Let them be a child and have fun. Keeping them sheltered will not help them. It will make them more afraid of being around other children. If they show an interest let them play with the other children. Let them get dirty. They will come clean with a bath.

  1. Do not teach your child to be a victim. Just because they are autistic does not mean they can not have a normal life. They need to be taught to not let their condition stop them in life. Teach your autistic child they can do anything they set out to do.

  1. Do not let your child’s diagnosis of autism become an excuse. Give your child consequences if they do something wrong. Do not let them get away with things simply because they are autistic. Children learn pretty quick that the excuse of their condition can get them special treatment. This will not help them later on in life.

  1. Give your autistic child chores. Make sure they are chores the child is capable of doing. This will give the child the pride of knowing they can accomplish something. Give them rewards for completing the chores. The chores could be as simple as making their bed or picking up their toys.

Do not lower your expectations for your autistic child. Teach them to always do their best. Having a medical condition should not give them a reason to not try. If they do not try they will never know their full potential.

Children get hurt. They get dirty. That is all a part of being young. They will be much happier. Do your part and watch over them, but allow them to have some freedom. Even though your child has special needs allow them the chance to be a child.

www.anxiousminds.co.uk

ByAnxious Minds

Doctors and Diagnosing Autism

When a doctor first suggests that your child has autism, your immediate reaction might be disbelief and the urge to seek a second, third, or even fourth opinion. Because autism is so different in every child, it is a tricky disorder to diagnose. However, there are a few key ways in which doctors can efficiently identify autism in children, and if your infant or toddler is showing any of these signs of autism, you should visit your paediatrician immediately to express your concerns.

Autism occurs at a young age, rather than being a disorder an older child might develop. It is usually detected before the age of three, and many times much earlier. The first signs or autism are usually delays or regression in speech communication. Another early sign is abnormal behaviour in group play situations and other social situations. The first step to diagnosing autism is a thorough physical examination as well as a review of family history by a specialist. Although your regular paediatrician will be able to spot unusual behaviour, you’ll want your child to be examined by a professional who specialises in autism and other similar diseases to make sure your child is properly diagnosed.

The next step includes hearing tests. Sign language and social skill delays could be due to inadequate auditory sensations. There are two types of auditory tests, one of which records the tones that a child can hear, the other requires sedation and measures the brain response to certain tones. Of course, the first method is preferred, since it does not require any use of a sedative. After auditory testing, your doctor may encourage testing your child for Fragile X syndrome, which often times goes hand in hand with autism. Metabolism can also be evaluated. To do this, your doctor will need a blood or urine sample to analyse DNA.

An MRI or CAT scan can also be helpful in diagnosing autism. The important thing is to work with doctors you trust. Second opinions can be very helpful, but when your child has been diagnosed, stick with one doctor so that treatment is uniform and so that your child will get used to this person.  Autism is difficult to diagnose and even more difficult to treat, so remember that you should begin to learn as much as possible about the disorder as soon as your doctor identifies it. If you have yet to speak with your doctor about abnormal behaviour in your child, do so immediately. By detecting autism early, you give your child a better chance at becoming a high-functioning individual with much more opportunities in life.

www.anxiousminds.co.uk

ByAnxious Minds

Early Signs of Autism

With all the recent publicity of Autism in the news you might be wondering what the signs of autism are. What follows is a list of signs that can be associated to autism. If you see these signs in your child speak to their doctor about having them evaluated. The sooner that autism is discovered the better the chances are at treating it.

  1. Does not reach developmental milestones on time. Each child develops differently. Some children will crawl at four months while others will not until they are several months older. This can be perfectly normal. The problem starts when every milestone is much later than usual. If your child is not meeting the developmental stages talk with their doctor.
  1. Child does not talk. Children learn to talk at different ages. Some will start talking very young while others will just start blurting out whole sentences one day. This can be very normal. However if your child does not have any babbling type talk by the age of one this could be a cause for concern. Most children will says some words by the time they are sixteen months. If your child is not ask their doctor if they think an evaluation is necessary.
  1. No eye contact. Most babies and children will look at you when you are talking to them. Autistic children will often not give you eye contact. It will appear they are looking off into a daze instead of paying attention to you. They will not point to objects. They will not look at something you are trying to show them. Instead they look past it.
  1. Child does not show emotion. Autistic children often do not show any emotion. They do not smile back when a person smiles at them. They do not show any cares when someone around them is expressing pain, or crying. The autistic child does not usually like to be held or cuddled. They will not reach up for their parents to hold them.
  1. Prefers to play by themselves. The autistic child usually will play alone. They feel more comfortable being by their self. They have a hard time making friends. They do not know how to relate to other kids. They do not understand when another child is joking with them. They take everything said to them literally.
  1. The child loses skills they previously knew. The child may have learned to talk and then it may seem as if they forgot how to. They can learn a new skill and then a week later have no idea how to do it. Autistic children often lose skills they have learned.

These are just a few of the signs of autism. If you notice any of  them in your children talk to their doctor. All children with autism will not have every sign. Getting them diagnosed as soon as possible will allow treatment to begin sooner. Getting your child evaluated as soon as you suspect a problem is very important. Even if there is nothing wrong it is better to be safe. The earlier treatment can be started the better for the child.

www.anxiousminds.co.uk

ByAnxious Minds

Dairy Free Diet to Treat Autism

Parents are turning to their child’s diet to when treating  Autism. Some believe that Autistic children have a food sensitivity. They believe dairy, also known as Casein, is one of the foods to cause problems with Autistic children. Removing all dairy from your child’s diet can at first seem very difficult to do. Most kids love cheese and ice cream.

Most people following a dairy free diet also remove Gluten from the diet. The ingredient in dairy that it thought to cause problems is Casein. Casein is a protein found in dairy products such as milk, cheese, yogurt, butter, and some hotdogs. It is very important to read all labels on food the child will be eating.

If you are going to try the dairy free diet with your child you will need to make sure they are getting enough calcium. This can be done with vitamin supplements, or milk substitutes. Many types of food are including calcium.

It is thought that the Casein reacts in the Autistic child’s body causing the unwanted behaviours. They think if the dairy products are removed some of the behaviours will leave. It should take a few months  to know if the diet is working for your child. If you are considering removing Gluten from the diet too it is advised to try removing dairy first. The dairy is removed from the body much faster than the Gluten. Gluten can take ten months or more to be completely removed from the body.

Following a Casein free diet can be expensive. Most milk replacements cost double the price of regular milk. Not all stores will carry the dairy free products. They can usually be found at specialty, or health food stores. You can find Casein free products on the internet for mail order. There are also lots of Casein free recipes available online. To save on the cost of Casein free foods some families find another family in their area using the same diet, and share the cost of ingredients by buying in bulk. They then split the foods.

If you choose to try a Casein (dairy) free diet with your Autistic child remember to allow enough time to see if the diet is helping. It can be helpful to keep a journal while trying the diet. Keep a record of behaviours your Autistic child has. Then you can see if the number of behaviours is dropping. If you have not removed Gluten from your child’s diet you may want to consider this if your child is not improving from the dairy free diet.

To find out if your Autistic child has a sensitivity to dairy (Casein) have them allergy tested. This will tell you if you should remove any other foods from the diet. If you are wanting more information about Casein free diets visit your local library. You can find many books that deal with dairy free living. The internet is also a great source of information.

A Casein free diet might be helpful in treating your child’s Autism. It is not a cure for Autism though. It will only help treat some of the symptoms.

ByAnxious Minds

Childhood Treatment options for Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder, or manic depression, has in past years only been found in adults, while children with similar symptoms have been mistakenly diagnosed as have attention deficit disorder (ADD), or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).  However, in recent years, psychiatrists and pediatricians have found that bipolar disorder definitely rears its ugly head in childhood as often as it does in adolescent or adult years.

Diagnosis of bipolar in childhood increases the chances for bipolar patients to have successful treatment and ordinary, uninhibited lives as adults.  However, treatment options of bipolar in childhood is a controversial subject.  Many doctors wish to medicate first, and regulate with therapy in addition to medications.  However, many parents and some psychologists disagree with these methods.

Overall, many parents discover that once their child has been put on bipolar medications, the child seems to lose some of their personality traits that endear them to the parents.  Children, and adults, who have been overly medicated or medicated when not absolutely necessary lose a sense of who they are.  Some medications can make children overly despondent, seeming “out of it” or “spacey.”  This causes concern for parents and doctors, and raises the question of whether or not the child is really better off on medication.

Play therapy can be quite effective in helping children with bipolar disorder live more successful childhoods.  This play therapy typically involves placing children in various hypothetical situations in which they must work out a logical and emotionally healthy solution.  While play therapy is very successful in some children, it is not enough for others.  In certain childhood cases of bipolar disorder, the mood swings and symptoms are so severe that the child is not able to control their actions or emotional reactions to stimuli and situations.

Cognitive behavioural therapy is a fairly new method of therapy for bipolar patients in which the patient learns to recognise symptoms of their illness, triggers for mood swings and inappropriate behaviour, and alternatives to inappropriate behaviour.  Cognitive behavioural therapy also allows the patient to discover what he or she can do to avoid manic or depressive episodes, and how to manage the episodes more effectively.  In adults, this treatment option is very viable, and works well both in conjunction with and without medication treatment.

However, cognitive behavioural therapy requires a level of problem solving and critical thinking that is not often present in childhood.  For this reason, it is not commonly used in children with bipolar disorder under a certain age or maturity level.  Some believe that the techniques learned through cognitive behavioural therapy could be equally viable in treating childhood bipolar disorder if the exercises and learning could be geared toward children.  This, however, could prove difficult.

In the end, treatment options must be discussed with pediatricians, psychiatrists, psychologists, parents, and teachers.  Everyone involved in childhood must be involved in the treatment process in order for it to be successful.  If a parent or teacher has concerns about the effects of childhood treatment for bipolar disorder in their child or student, those concerns should be expressed immediately so that changes in treatment can be made.  Additionally, parents should not be afraid to change doctors if they feel their child is not benefiting from treatment or medication.