This blog is intended to clarify the case studies about autism, the significance of this syndrome for parents of autistic and special children around the world, in various places that the human imagination could go.

sábado, 30 de julho de 2011

Autism disorder

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Posted by Sylvia on Wednesday, November 26, 2003 (12:20:25)

By David Whitney - Bee Washington Bureau 21/11/2003

WASHINGTON - Autism, the perplexing brain disorder that has been the personal tragedy of thousands of families, is spreading so fast that it is creating a huge financial liability for the government, California experts told a national summit here Thursday.

Rick Rollens, co-founder of the UC Davis MIND Institute for research into autism, told the first-ever Autism Summit Conference that since January the state has been adding an average of 11 a day to its list of severely autistic children qualifying for state-financed services.

At an average lifetime cost of $4 million each, Rollens said the growth rate represents $44 million a day in long-term state liability.

"In the first nine months of 2003, over $1 billion in taxpayer liability has been added," said Rollens, the former secretary of the California Senate who now is a leading national advocate for the autistic, including his 13-year-old son, Russell.

Autism typically affects a person's ability to communicate, form relationships and respond appropriately to the external world. It has a wide range of symptoms, sometimes so mild as to allow a child to function in a regular classroom with special services and at other times so severe that a child cannot speak and is institutionalized. It is three times more prevalent in males.

Four years ago, Rollens shocked Congress in reporting on a state study that found the incidence of the disorder was up 300 percent in a decade. Its spread has more than doubled since then, he reported Thursday.

Rollens spoke at the national summit on autism that drew people from around the country. Among the speakers were Education Secretary Rod Paige and Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson.

But in sessions dealing with the grim details of the worldwide epidemic, researchers said they were no closer to knowing why so many more children are being afflicted with the disorder now than a decade ago, a year ago and even a few months ago.

Rollens' figures from California show a continuing upward trend just since December when there were 20,377 receiving assistance for the severest form of autism through the state Department of Developmental Services. Today the number is over 22,000.

Judith Grether, a Berkeley researcher for the state health services department, told the conference that what's happening in California appears to be a phenomenon throughout the industrialized world.

But she said there is no scientific certainty behind any of the numbers because there is no single source for the data.

The MIND Institute in Sacramento is one of the leading centers studying autism. The name is an acronym for the Medical Investigation of Neurodevelopmental Disorders. Grether said the institute has begun a large study that will help identify what may be behind the escalating numbers, but that task is complicated because it is unknown whether autism is prenatal, triggered by environmental factors or neither.

A leading suspect is preservatives in serums used in inoculations against childhood diseases, but Rollens said the evidence for that is mostly coincidental because the rapid increase in autism began about the time the state began requiring proof of inoculations before children could enter public schools.

The cause also could be linked to household chemicals or chemicals that make their way into common foods. And although there is agreement that the earliest intervention by behavioral psychologists can make a dramatic difference in a child's prognosis and future care needs, in some children the first evidence of the disorder doesn't appear until age 4 or 5.

"We have to develop tests that can be given at birth that tell us to start treatment now," said Kathleen Berry of Elk Grove, an advocate for Families of Early Autism Treatment with two autistic children of her own. 

quarta-feira, 27 de julho de 2011


By Karen Defelice, Natural Solutions magazine
The pounding went on all day and all night. My son was a chronic head-banger from early on. Our efforts to help him resolve this and other debilitating problems, such as extreme sensory sensitivities and socialization difficulties, led us down many roads. Enzymes provided one of the key paths.
In the past five years, enzyme therapy has emerged as one of the most successful treatments for autism-related conditions, based on a new understanding about how closely the digestive, nervous, and immune systems function together and on how to use specific enzymes. Since taking them, my older son, who was diagnosed with an autism spectrum condition (ASC), no longer bangs his head on the floor 10 to 14 hours a day. He now interacts with others around him and communicates well. His sleep and sensory problems have also improved. The rest of us took enzymes as well, and my younger son’s reflux and bowel problems faded away and my chronic migraines disappeared.
My family isn’t the only one to experience these outcomes. After tracking results for more than five years, I’ve found that 90 to 93 percent of people with ASC see improvements after trying a good-quality enzyme product. Benefits appear in a wide range of behavior, language, cognitive, and physical issues, and older children and adults experience these benefits as much as younger kids.
Food Intolerances and Allergies
Autistic children often suffer from numerous kinds of food intolerances and digestive problems. My son was so sensitive to dairy, he would begin banging his head hard on the floor about three hours after eating it. While this reaction occurred with other foods and stimuli, we knew that dairy was a specific trigger. To resolve it we found a product containing several proteases including one known as DPP IV, which breaks down dairy and gluten proteins.
Unlike many drug therapies, enzymes are a quick and relatively inexpensive option to try, with a high probability for success. You will usually see results within the first four weeks, and often with just one bottle. While we found success by focusing on specific enzymes, some ACS children respond equally well to a broad-spectrum enzyme product that focuses on the digestion of carbohydrates and fats in addition to proteins. As you plan out a course of enzyme therapy, think in terms of categories: Children who have trouble digesting proteins need proteases; amylases break down carbohydrates; problems with candida yeast respond well to fiber digesting enzymes; and those with dairy intolerance benefit from lactase and DPP IV enzymes. Ascertain which category applies best to your child’s particular problem and then choose among the enzyme products within this category. Most families with children who have developmental delays tend to get best results using one of the broad-spectrum products at all meals along with one of the strong protease products.
The Bug Connection
Many children with autism related conditions also suffer from candida yeast or bacterial overgrowth in the gut. To resolve the problem try yeast-targeting products with high levels of fiber-digesting enzymes (like cellulases) to break down the outer walls of yeast cells. The product should also contain a high level of proteases to help clear out pathogenic yeast and reduce any die-off reactions. Consider combining a yeast-controlling herbal supplement such as grapefruit seed extract or oregano with the enzymes for a synergistic effect.
Underlying persistent viral infections also seem prevalent in autistic children, and when these are addressed, the children show some permanent improvements in language, socialization, behavior, and cognitive ability. Several autism specialists are turning to Valtrex, a prescription antiviral medication that provides good results. Another alternative, ViraStop, is a specialty blend of enzymes used between meals at high therapeutic doses (12 to 15 capsules per day). Two preliminary investigations using ViraStop resulted in a program that has delivered excellent results. Combining this with other supplements that have antiviral properties, such as olive leaf extract, vitamin C, or monolaurin, increases its effectiveness against viruses.
While the exact mechanisms of enzyme therapy remain obscure in the case of autism, it clearly works on underlying causes, not just symptoms. Even though not all my son’s sensory problems have disappeared, he has became much more social, his grades have improved, and his general anxiety has gone away. Now when people ask me how my son is, I’m thankful I’m able to say, truthfully, “He’s fine!”

Read more:

terça-feira, 19 de julho de 2011

Autism - Symptoms

Autism - Symptoms

Core symptoms

The severity of symptoms varies greatly, but all people with autismhave some core symptoms in the areas of:
  • Social interactions and relationships. Symptoms may include:
    • Significant problems developing nonverbal communication skills, such as eye-to-eye gazing, facial expressions, and body posture.
    • Failure to establish friendships with children the same age.
    • Lack of interest in sharing enjoyment, interests, or achievements with other people.
    • Lack of empathy. People with autism may have difficulty understanding another person's feelings, such as pain or sorrow.
  • Verbal and nonverbal communication. Symptoms may include:
    • Delay in, or lack of, learning to talk. As many as 40% of people with autism never speak.1
    • Problems taking steps to start a conversation. Also, people with autism have difficulties continuing a conversation after it has begun.
    • Stereotyped and repetitive use of language. People with autism often repeat over and over a phrase they have heard previously (echolalia).
    • Difficulty understanding their listener's perspective. For example, a person with autism may not understand that someone is using humor. They may interpret the communication word for word and fail to catch the implied meaning.
  • Limited interests in activities or play. Symptoms may include:
    • An unusual focus on pieces. Younger children with autism often focus on parts of toys, such as the wheels on a car, rather than playing with the entire toy.
    • Preoccupation with certain topics. For example, older children and adults may be fascinated by video games, trading cards, or license plates.
    • A need for sameness and routines. For example, a child with autism may always need to eat bread before salad and insist on driving the same route every day to school.
    • Stereotyped behaviors. These may include body rocking and hand flapping.

Symptoms during childhood

Symptoms of autism are usually noticed first by parents and other caregivers sometime during the child's first 3 years. Although autism is present at birth (congenital), signs of the disorder can be difficult to identify or diagnose during infancy. Parents often become concerned when their toddler does not like to be held; does not seem interested in playing certain games, such as peekaboo; and does not begin to talk. Sometimes, a child will start to talk at the same time as other children the same age, then lose his or her language skills. They also may be confused about their child's hearing abilities. It often seems that a child with autism does not hear, yet at other times, he or she may appear to hear a distant background noise, such as the whistle of a train.
With early and intensive treatment, most children improve their ability to relate to others, communicate, and help themselves as they grow older. Contrary to popular myths about children with autism, very few are completely socially isolated or "live in a world of their own."

Symptoms during teen years

During the teen years, the patterns of behavior often change. Manyteens gain skills but still lag behind in their ability to relate to and understand others. Puberty and emerging sexuality may be more difficult for teens who have autism than for others this age. Teens are at an increased risk for developing problems related to depressionanxiety, and epilepsy.

Symptoms in adulthood

Some adults with autism are able to work and live on their own. The degree to which an adult with autism can lead an independent life is related to intelligence and ability to communicate. At least 33% are able to achieve at least partial independence.2
Some adults with autism need a lot of assistance, especially those with low intelligence who are unable to speak. Part- or full-time supervision can be provided by residential treatment programs. At the other end of the spectrum, adults with high-functioning autism are often successful in their professions and able to live independently, although they typically continue to have some difficulties relating to other people. These individuals usually have average to above-average intelligence.

Other symptoms

Many people with autism have symptoms similar to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). But these symptoms, especially problems with social relationships, are more severe for people with autism. For more information, see the topic Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
About 10% of people with autism have some form of savant skills-special limited gifts such as memorizing lists, calculating calendar dates, drawing, or musical ability.1
Many people with autism have unusual sensory perceptions. For example, they may describe a light touch as painful and deep pressure as providing a calming feeling. Others may not feel pain at all. Some people with autism have strong food likes and dislikes and unusual preoccupations.
Sleep problems occur in about 40% to 70% of people with autism.3

Other conditions

Autism is one of several types of pervasive developmental disorders (PDDs), also called autism spectrum disorders (ASD). It is not unusual for autism to be confused with other PDDs, such as Asperger's disorder or syndrome, or to have overlapping symptoms. A similar condition is called pervasive developmental disorder-NOS (not otherwise specified). PDD-NOS occurs when children display similar behaviors but do not meet the criteria for autism. Also, other conditions with similar symptomsmay also have similarities to or occur with autism.

segunda-feira, 18 de julho de 2011

Dear Future,
I have to be honest, I don’t know you very well.  I don’t know if I can count on you or how reliable you’ll be. I’d like to think that you have only good intentions and that you’ll only get better, but I’m not naive. I know that you’re just as uncertain as I am and quite frankly, that scares me.
You see, my child has autism and as such, the past has presented me with a lot of fears as well as challenges that I’ve had to learn to overcome. I’ve also had to learn how to teach my child to overcome them. The past tends to remind me of those that turned their backs on us, had nothing left to help us with, gave us a lot more questions than answers and basically dropped a bomb on us before leaving us to the cold. To put it mildly, the past has not been too kind to my family. I’d much rather forget the past and move on, which is where you come in.
Dear future, I’m coming to you with an open mind. I know you’re not perfect and that there is already a lot of demand being placed on you. But I have to make you understand that I have a lot riding on you as well. I need you to be kind and compassionate. More so, I need you to have a lot of understanding and to be very accepting.
You see, I don’t know how much longer I’ll be around to take care of my child. And my child needs me so very much. Autism has made my child and I feel very alone in this world. We are looking to you to pick up where I will eventually leave off. I will be depending on you to be there for my child when I no longer can be and I’ll be depending on you to be bright and loving.
I am doing the best that I can now to prepare my child for you, but that’s a daunting task for the best of us. Since my child has autism, it’s just so very much harder. My child needs more guidance, more support, more understanding and more acceptance. The present provides some of these things and it has been helpful. But if I wasn’t here, it wouldn’t be enough.
The present is very nice and friendly but to be honest, I feel like I’m in a dentist’s waiting room and the present is the receptionist. I’m asked a lot of questions to which I answer, but have no idea what any of it means. I’m made to feel welcome with some magazine articles to read and the present even makes some small talk that resembles information sharing. But again, gives me no real answers.
For what seems like forever, I sit and stare at the present while they are constantly writing things down, filing things and taking phone calls from everyone and no one, while I sit there trying to keep my child calm. We’re waiting for you… the future.
Dear future, I’m going to need for you to be prepared. I need for you to do more than just wait until I get to you. The past gave me an awful lot of questions for which the present had no answers to. I will be needing you to provide those answers.
I can’t imagine what life will be like for my child if you don’t have those answers. Answers such as where my child will live, and with whom. Will my child job have a job waiting? Will there be better medications and treatments available that offer more consistent results? Will there be love waiting for my child with the possibilities of a family as well?
I have no one else. You’re it. I’m sending you my child whether you like it or not… for better or worse. Dear future, if you’re not ready for that, please do whatever it is you have to do to be ready. My name will be called soon and my child will be needing you. So I’m needing you right now. Please be ready.
“In Their Own Words” is a series within the Autism Speaks blog which shares the voices of people who have autism, as well as their loved ones. If you have a story you wish to share about your personal experience with autism, please send it to Autism Speaks reserves the right to edit contributions for space, style and content. Because of the volume of submissions, not all can be published on the site.

This “In Their Own Words” is by Stuart Duncan. His son Cameron has autism and was diagnosed at two and a half. Stuart lives in Toronto, Canada. Check out his Facebook and Twitter.

SPREAD AUTISM CASE: A special request, an Autism Birthday Wish

birthday cupcake

My birthday is coming up, June 5th, and I wanted to ask a special request of you.
No I don’t want presents or money. I don’t really even want anyone to know that it is my birthday to be honest. I’m quite content with just going about my business.
However, there are a few things that I’d like for you to do for me, if you’d be so inclined. I’ve listed them below and I ask that you do one or more or all of them.

Donate to the charity of your choice

It would mean even more to me if it’s an Autism charity but it’s not necessary. If you have a favourite charity that improves peoples lives, that really helps people and is working hard to make a real difference, please make a donation.
I’m not asking for any specific amount, nor for you to do it in my name. I’m not even giving you a charity or list of charities to choose from. But to just do it because I asked you too.

Volunteer your time

Much like charity, donating your time is a wonderful way to help out and make a difference. It need only be for a few hours, it can be in any place that works to benefit people.
Just set aside some time one day and dedicate a little time to volunteering at a place that will have you. It doesn’t even have to be on June 5th. You can do it one long week-end where you get an extra day off anyhow.

Don’t let the negativity out one time

This is something that I practice as much as I can and it really does make a difference in your own personal life.
What I do is, each day, I catch myself before I say, write, share or even think one negative thing. Whether it’s me thinking that I can’t do something or being upset with someone else for what they said or did… I stop myself, realize what it is that I’m doing and stop myself.
Instead, I think I can do it, I am not here to judge and I don’t have to get into an argument just because someone on the internet was wrong (that one is hard!).
One time, when you feel down on yourself or get mad at someone in the next few days, or each day if you can…. think about me and think about how I asked that you not do it.


I don’t need anything for myself. What I really want is for people to stop fighting, for people to work together and for people to pitch in a few of their off hours or a little money.
You don’t have to tell me you did it and you don’t have to do it in my name. Just do it and feel good about doing it.
That’s what I like to see most.

domingo, 17 de julho de 2011


The Language Of Life

I know you’d rather talk instead the things inside your head, but everything, everything
that I overheard, tells me you just dont’t have the words. Cause you never learned to speak the language
of life, and here you are a grown man who can’t talk   to his wife. And the children you don’t understand.
You think you’ve come on pretty far, still got the job, the house and the car. But there’s one
thing, one thing that you never get - a grip on life’s sweet alphabet. Cause you never learned to speak the  
language of life, and here you are a grown man who can’t talk to his wife.
And when things get out of hand, and the kids you don’t understand - love is a foreign land. Over
words you have no command, you have no command.         But it’s not that you don’t care - admit it
baby, and you’re half way there. Cause you know, you know that you feel much more than you ever have the words for. Cause you never learned to speak the language of life, and here you are a grown man who  
can’t talk to his wife, and the children you just don’t understand.

Written by Ben Watt & Tracey Thorn
Sung by Everything but the girl

sábado, 16 de julho de 2011

SpReAd AuTiSm: Allergies and Food Sensitivities

SpReAd AuTiSm: Allergies and Food Sensitivities

Allergies and Food Sensitivities

Written by Stephen M. Edelson, Ph.D.
People with autism are more susceptible to allergies and food sensitivities than the average person; and this is likely due to their impaired immune system. I have provided a brief discussion of allergies and food sensitivities below.
An allergy is the body's overreaction to a foreign substance. When a substance causes the body's immune system to overreact, this substance is referred to as an 'allergen.' When an allergen, such as a plant pollen, is inhaled, it is identified by the body as an intruder. As a response, the body produces an antibody called 'immunoglobulin E,' or IgE, to destroy the intruder. The antibodies then attach themselves to mast cells which are located in tissues and basophils and are located in the blood stream. When the IgE also attaches to the intruder, the mast cells and basophils release histamine. Histamine causes swelling of the lining in the nose and causes extra mucus to form. Consequently, the person can suffer nasal itching and congestion, sneezing, and inflamed, irritated, and/or itching eyes. Due to one's immune system, some people are more sensitive than others to foreign substances.
Numerous tests are used to identify which foreign substances are allergens. These include skin prick tests, blood tests, x-rays, and nasal endoscopy. There are also many treatments which may alleviate symptoms associated with allergies. Interestingly, giving an extremely small dose of an allergen may desensitize a person to the foreign substance thereby its status as an allergen. This procedure usually involves receiving an 'allergy shot.' One can also purchase sublingual drops from a nutrition store. Vitamins and other nutrients, such as Vitamin C, are also used by many people to reduce allergy symptoms. While not used to desensitize a person to a foreign substance, allergy symptoms can be treated by taking medications such as cromolyn sodium (administered using a nasal spray) or taking antihistamines. These medications sometimes have side-effects, such as drowsiness and dryness. Another method to relieve the suffering associated with allergies is to reduce allergens from one's surroundings, such as using an air conditioner and/or an air filter in the home.
Food Sensitivities. There is growing evidence that many people with autism are sensitive to certain food products. The most common food products to which this sensitivity develops are grains (e.g., wheat, rye, oats) and dairy products (e.g., milk, cheese, whey). Other foods, which are often consumed during the spring and summer, are strawberries and citrus fruit. Food sensitivities are considered by many people as allergies in that one's immune system is overly reactive to these substances. Food sensitivities may be responsible for numerous physical and behavioral problems, such as headaches, stomachaches, feeling of nausea, bed-wetting, appearing 'spaced out,' stuttering, excessive whining and crying, sleeping problems, hyperactivity, aggression, sound sensitivity, temper tantrums, fatigue, depression, intestinal problems (i.e., gas, diarrhea, constipation), muscle aches in the legs, ear infections and possibly seizures.
Sometimes the person will have changes in physical appearance as a result of a food sensitivity. These can include: pink or black circles around the eyes, bags under the eyes, rosy cheeks or ears, rapid heartbeat, shallow breathing, fluid in the ears (a cause of ear infections), and excessive perspiration. However, it should be mentioned that these behavior and physical symptoms may not necessarily be a result of a food sensitivity and can be due to other causes as well.
A reaction to a certain food may occur immediately after exposure or may take up to 36 hours or longer to manifest itself. In addition, reactions usually occur after a meal rather than before a meal. If behavioral problems occur before a meal, the problem may be hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Interestingly, people often crave the very foods to which they are sensitive. At the present time, we do not know why this is so.
There are several ways to determine whether a person is sensitive to a specific food substance. The easiest way is to eliminate completely the suspected foods from one's diet. If a person is sensitive to the food, one would expect an improvement in how a person feels and/or behaves once these products are no longer in the person's system. One way to test for a food sensitivity is to remove the substance from the person's diet for approximately one or two weeks, and then give it to him/her on an empty stomach. The food must be totally eliminated; even a trace amount might be too much for some individuals. In most cases, a food sensitivity reaction, if it occurs, will do so within 15 to 60 minutes; however, it may take several hours to notice some reactions, such as bed-wetting and fluid in the ears. Another way to test for food sensitivities is to rotate food items in one's diet every four days. If the sensitivity exists, then one would expect a reaction to occur every fourth day. Another method used to determine a food sensitivity is to provoke a response with an extract and then neutralize the response by using a diluted form of the food substance. This can be done by having a qualified physician inject the substance into the person via a needle or placing food extracts under one's tongue. When a reaction is observed, then a dilution of the extract is given to stop or neutralize the reaction. For some, a dilution of the food substance will desensitize the person to the allergen itself.
The best way to stop a reaction to a particular food substance is to remove that food from the person's diet. Other treatments include taking nutrients to strengthen the immune system and giving the person sublingual drops, i.e., very small amount of the substance.
In general, it is important that people realize that allergies and food sensitivities can affect one's health and behavior, but these problems are treatable.
The Autism Research Institute distributes an information packet on
vitamins, allergies, and nutritional treatments for autism.


Autism is a severe developmental disorder that begins at birth or within the first two-and-a-half years of life. Most autistic children are perfectly normal in appearance, but spend their time engaged in puzzling and disturbing behaviors which are markedly different from those of typical children. Less severe cases may be diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) or with Asperger's Syndrome (these children typically have normal speech, but they have many "autistic" social and behavioral problems).
It used to be thought that autism is just a fate that you accept.The good news is that there are now a wide variety of treatment options which can be very helpful. Some treatments may lead to great improvement, and others may have little or no effect, but a good starting point would be the parent ratings of biomedical interventions, which presents the responses of over 25,000 parents in showing the effectiveness of various interventions on their own child.
ARI's Diagnostic Checklist, Form E-2, was developed by Dr. Bernard Rimland to diagnose children with Kanner's syndrome (which is also known as 'classical autism'). Many parents and professionals have also used the E-2 checklist to assist in the diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). You can print out, complete the checklist, and then mail it to ARI for scoring. Our staff will analyze the responses and send you a score along with an interpretation. The checklist is available in 17 different languages. There is no charge for this service.
How Common is it? For many years autism was rare - occurring in just five children per 10,000 live births. However, since the early 1990's, the rate of autism has increased exponentially around the world with figures as high as 60 per 10,000. Boys outnumber girls four to one. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that 1 in 110 children is diagnosed with an ASD.
What is the Outlook? Age at intervention has a direct impact on outcome--typically, the earlier a child is treated, the better the prognosis will be. In recent years there has been a marked increase in the percentage of children who can attend school in a typical classroom and live semi-independently in community settings. However, the majority of autistic persons remain impaired in their ability to communicate and socialize.
ARI Webcasts - information about effective treatments and the latest research presented by speakers from around the world
Frequently Asked Questions
Behaviorial Signs of Autism
Physical Signs of Autism
First Steps
Related Disorders