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Autism: Ten Ways to De-Stimulate Those ‘Stims’

Children with autism invariably demonstrate what are called ‘self-stimulatory behaviors’. These are compulsive rituals and behaviors that can be quite challenging to squelch; including hand-flapping, rocking, jumping, squealing, pacing, echoing, and obsessing. To manage these behaviors, parents must first realize that we all ‘self-stimulate’ to one degree or another; hopefully, we do so in more socially acceptable ways. Take a look around you, and you’ll see finger, pencil, and foot-tapping, pacing, biting fingernails, chewing on a pencil, rocking in a rocking chair… These are outlets for our anxiety and energy. It’s also important to note that, equally often, these behaviors tend to be self-soothing as opposed to stimulating. So, with those considerations in mind; here’s what to do: Determine the underlying purpose of the behavior. For example, is your child rocking after an over-whelming day (self-soothing), or pacing when bored (self-stimulating). Find more appropriate or less noticeable avenues of expression. ...

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Asperger’s and Social Outings: Don’t leave it to chance

Written by Dr. John Carosso The Challenge In my work with parents, it’s all too common to hear the concern that their child, with high functioning Autism/Asperger’s, initially tends to ‘fit-in’ but, invariably, peers begin to notice peculiar tendencies, and social immaturity, and then shy away from their child. Of course, this causes distress, sadness, and frustration for everyone involved.  The Dilemma Parents want to promote their child’s independence, and give them opportunities to socialize. Consequently, they’ll let their children play in the neighborhood, or participate in a sport or activity. However, again, invariably there are problems and the child feels distressed. The Answer It is vital and necessary to encourage social opportunities for children with high functioning Autism and Asperger’s. The key is to “success” is four-fold: 1.) Provide ongoing, child-friendly, rehearsal of social skills, and preparation for the social encounter. 2.) Monitor the social situation. The ‘monitoring’ is ...

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Just Another Autism Study…..

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What do we have here boys and girls, another Autism study. Week after week I read all of these studies, some of them make the news, while some make me bust out laughing. I often think, who in the HELL funds some of these? Do some of these places have a bottomless checkbook?  Or lack any and all common sense!?  As a parent of 3 children with different forms of Autism, sure I would like to know the cause, but at what cost? Lets say we do find the silver bullet, direct cause of Autism, then what? If it is purely genetic, we are MANY years away from gene therapy. Lets stop and think about some of these studies…. A woman who is overweight has a high chance of having a child with Autism. Really? What’s a few extra fat cells have to do with Autism? I know that I’ve been holding onto a few extra ...

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Let Us Take A Look At ‘PICA’…….Shall We Demystify?

Pica: A Guide For Professionals – free download. http://www.autismspeaks.org/sites/default/files/docs/sciencedocs/atn/pica_professionals_guide.pdf   Also check out Dr. Carosso’s blog on this topic (Pica) at on our website and in the free download of my ‘Best of Blogs’ Manual at autismcenterofpittsburgh.com): http://www.autismcenterofpittsburgh.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/TheBestofDrCBlogswithCover.pdf         Demystifying ‘Pica’ First, what is it, and what’s with the name? Pica is an unusual compulsion to eat nonfood items. It goes beyond ‘mouthing’ objects to actually swallowing; most common items include dirt, clay, paint chips, chalk, baking soda, feces, hair, glue, toothpaste , and soap. However, the list of potential items is endless. The condition most often occurs in two to three year old children with developmental delays, autism, people with epilepsy, pregnant women, and those with brain injuries. The condition must persist for more than a month to be diagnosable. The name is Latin from the Magpie, that bird with an indiscriminate appetite. What causes it? ...

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Autism: Facts and Fallacies Lets clear some things up:)

First: “autism” is not a diagnosis, but a term used to describe the wide spectrum of autistic disorders, ranging from Autistic Disorder, to Asperger’s, to Pervasive Developmental Disorder NOS. Second: children with “autism” are, far more often than not, loving, affectionate, and empathic (to one degree or another) especially with their family members. Third: These children are typically not mentally retarded but, rather, intelligent. However, their language deficits often interfere with learning. Fourth: the “epidemic” is among the higher functioning types of autism. The rates of children with ‘Autistic Disorder’ have always been, and remain, at about 1-2% of the population. The reason for the increase in rates for these ‘higher functioning’ kiddos (often those diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder or Asperger’s) may be due to some environmental toxin and that practitioners are now diagnosing children who would have ‘slipped through the cracks’ years ago. Finally: we don’t know what ...

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