Posted on: November 26, 2008 Posted by: Nicole Harding Comments: 2

A smart little boy lives with his parents, two sisters, three brothers, three dogs and an aquarium in the heart of Silicon Valley. He likes science and math, and is an honor student in his class. He is also very much fascinated with video games. He knows everything about Transformers and Animorph toys.

While his parents may be amazed by their son’s characteristics, these traits are also their problem. His fascination with toys can be a problem. When he doesn’t see his toys around, he starts pretending to be like one, transforming into robots, cars or trucks. He exhibits this behavior in school, church, mall — almost everywhere. His parents then bring him to a doctor where he is diagnosed with autism.

Autism refers to a disorder in the child’s brain development, where his or her communication and social interaction skills are impaired. Before a child reaches the age of three, he or she can already be seen with symptoms like repetitive and restrictive behavior. Various techniques are employed to help children recover from autism.

All Eyes on Autism

Prescription Medication –Autistism is treated with anticonvulsants or psychoactive drugs that include antipsychotics, stimulants and antidepressants. Among these three, only antipsychotics have shown efficiency. Because of this, research eventually became focused on antipyshotics, particularly risperidone, that demonstrated efficacy when it came to minimizing tantrums, aggression, self-injury and irritability. Risperidone is widely used in the United States in treating irritability in children with autism.

Some drugs used in treating autism are prescribed off-label in the United States, like olanzapine, aripiprazole, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, dopamine blockers and methylphenidate. Among all these, only methylphenidate has shown impressive results.

Supplements – Nutritional supplements and vitamins are given to children in an attempt to alleviate the symptoms of autism and to treat it. Among the most popular alternative medicine choices for autism is any nutritional supplementation with a high dose of magnesium and vitamin B6 or pyridoxine. Meanwhile, dimethylglycine is known to reduce autistic behaviors and improve a child’s speech. Vitamin C, on the other hand, has limited popularity because when taken in high doses, it causes diarrhea, kidney stones and gastrointestinal approach. Vitamin C is still used because it is found in many fruits and vegetables, and is undeniably acquired easily.

Probiotics are hypothesized to minimize yeast overgrowth happening in the colon. Melatonin manages developmental disorders by managing sleep problems. Omega-3 fatty acids reduce hyperactivity. Other supplements include zinc, vitamin B12, thiamine, tyrosine, trytophan, omega-6 fatty acuds, metallothionein promoters, glutathione, folic acid, D-cycloserine, cyproheptadine, cholesterol and carnosine. All these minimize autism symptoms although they all lack reliable evidence when it comes to safety and efficiency in treating autism.

Diets – About three-quarters of children who are suffering from autism have a typical eating behavior, to the extent that it is considered a indicator for diagnosis. Autistic children have extremely poor appetite, but this does not result in malnutrition, although some children eventually suffer from gastrointestinal problems because of food refusal.

Metabolic products of casein and gluten like casomorphine are hypothesized as causes of autism in the early 1990s. Because of this, diets that did not include casein and gluten were encouraged. Children who observed diets without casein and gluten were noted to have better verbal and social skills.

After this discovery, other elimination diets were proposed. Simple sugars, yeast, food dyes and salicylates were soon eliminated from the diets of affected children.

Scientists are conducting more studies about elimination diets because of these flaws. For example, children who eliminated casein in their diets developed thinner bones. A casein-free diet results in vitamin D and calcium deficiencies.

Chelation Therapy – Since there was speculation of heavy poisoning triggering autism symptoms, parents resorted to medical practitioners who offered chelation therapy under detoxification treatments. Some parents do not engage their children in chelation therapy because when it’s done incorrectly, cardiac arrest may occur.

Studies show that TTFD, also known as thiamine tetrahydrofurfuryl disulfide, acts as a chelating agent. A 2002 pilot study confirmed that TTFD indeed has a beneficial clinical effect.

Craniosacral Therapy – The theory suggesting that constraints at the skull’s cranial structure influence rhythmic impulses through cerebrospinal fluid gave birth to craniosacral therapy. Naturopathic physicians, medical physicians, osteopaths, dentists, chripractors and physical therapists hypothesize that mild pressure on outer areas can enhance the balance and flow of cerebrospinal fluid to the brain, alleviating symptoms of autism and other health conditions.

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy – Hyperbaric oxygen therapy, also referred to as HBOT, makes up for the decreased blood blow by enhancing the body’s oxygen content. While HBOT is hypothesized to relieve autism’s core symptoms, scientific evidence is still lacking.

Prosthetics – Neurocognitive prostheses, unlike the conventional ones, modulate or sense neural function to physically recondition cognitive processes like language and executive function. While there is no currently available neurocognitive protheses at this moment, implantable neurocognitive brain-computer interfaces are being developed.

Affective computing tools, especially those with the capability to recognize voice and image, have been proposed to assist children with autism in improving their social and communication skills. Robots are also known to be educational aids for children with autism although these have yet to be developed commercially.

Pivotal Response Therapy – Pivotal response therapy, also known as PRT, targets the pivotal areas in the development of a child, instead of individual behaviors. Pivotal areas include social initiations, self-managements, receptiveness to multiple cues and motivation. A specific behavior is developed with the use of rewards. For example, if a child wants a stuffed toy dog, he or she gets a stuffed toy dog, not any unrelated reinforcer like a piece of candy.

TEACCH – TEACCH is also known as structured teaching which is employed in organized physical environments. With TEACCH, structured work, visually structured activities and sequenced activities are used to help a child practice different tasks. TEAACH is encouraged to be done at home, where parents play a big role in helping their children get rid of autism. In 1998, TEACCH became a home-based program known to be more effective in treating autism than control groups.

Communication Interventions – Communication interventions are needed because autistic children have difficulties when it comes to the effective use of language and proper social skills. Communication interventions can be done by language and speech therapists or by peer mediation strategies. Social-skills groups, a circle of friends, visual cuing, direct instruction, video modeling, pivotal response therapy, self-management, social games, story-telling and peer tutoring are the targets of communication intervention for development.

Hope Floats

Aside from helping a child get rid of autism, family distress should also be lessened. Dealing with a child with autism can be stressful but don’t fret. Therapies are here to increase functional independence and quality of life.

There is hope. As long as there are therapies to be employed and cases known to be successful, then these methods will continue to be practiced by parents and medical institutions around the world.

Click here for more information on how to get rid of autism.

2 People reacted on this

  1. 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. You are born with Autism and it can not spread .

  2. Yes, but even if a person is “born with autism” (which by the way is still disputed, as many studies show it’s ‘acquired’ through God knows what), a person’s life can be vastly improved with a plethora of carefully, and I DO STRESS carefully chosen therapies targeting specific signs and symptoms. For instance, if the person has severe self-injurious behavior, there is no drug to cure this, but a combination of specific drugs prescribed for the persons’ unique and individual brain functioning, have shown progress. The problem is most psychiatrists, neurologists, etc…are just guessing which drugs will help. Consequently, that leads to years of senseless suffering, as families are given drugs, told to “wait and see if it works,” and come back in 3 months. Given the myraid of drugs available and confusion within medical and research community about which drugs are helpful, this often leads to years wasted. It seems logical, therefore, to consider SPECT scans, etc…to map brain and gather a better clinical evaluation of what’s going on in brain to increase the probablity of successful treatment. Just a thought.

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