Human psychology is a weird thing… We are not afraid of the darkness itself, but afraid of what could be hidden in it. We are not afraid of height but we are afraid to be fallen and die. When you … Continue reading
There is a law enforcement response training for police officers (ALERT), organized by Stephanie Cooper in Florida and Louisiana. Looks like Los Angeles supported this initiative and arranged a test for Sheriff’s deputies. A group of LA Sherieff’s deputies took … Continue reading
One of the hallmark traits of Autism Spectrum Disorder is hypersensitivity, which is an abnormally intense sensitivity to a particular substance. This hypersensitivity can be found in relation to smells, textures, tastes, sounds, and lighting. A major component of Autism … Continue reading
Boys are more likely to get diagnosed with autism–four times more likely. Scientists, however, and many others in the autism community are still debating whether this gender difference is due to biological causes or that girls have symptoms that they … Continue reading
Sally Rogers, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of California-Davis MIND Institute, conducted a study that looked at treating subtle but telling signs of autism in babies. The findings, recently published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental … Continue reading
With Hanukkah beginning next week, parents might be looking for ways to make the holiday season as enjoyable and problem-free as possible for their child with ASD. The Institute for Behavioral Training (IBT) has released a list of tips that could help.
IBT Director Cecila Knight says that children with autism usually having “a tough time coping with change,” and are often sensitive to “loud sounds, bright lights, and even touch.” Knight offers these tips to help reduce holiday-related stress:
- Make a daily schedule using pictures and words ahead of time to minimize bad reactions to unexpected activities. Include time for breaks and rest.
- Have your child help in this list of daily events. For example, grocery shopping, decorating, etc. This will give your child a sense of control over their day.
- Avoid too much boredom. A day trip to a museum or a venture sight-seeing offers a nice break.
- If there is a long commute or waiting period, make sure to bring along a toy or some type of entertainment.
- Remember to bring along visual cues, like a written schedule or AAC devices, wherever you go.
- Try to avoid staying at a family gathering too long, as large events can produce stress. Pick what part you’d like to stay for, like the meal, and stick with that.
- Utilize holiday craft activities to entertain your child at home.
- Pick your battles. Focus on the larger holiday things like social interaction and manners rather than the little things.
- Be consistent with your schedules i.e. lunch time, nap time, etc.
- Identify holiday stressers ahead of time. For example, if the endless hugs from family will upset your child, then practice the interaction ahead of time or set up a reward system.
Recent research, conducted by Saudi Arabian Neurologists, found that children with autism have significantly lower levels of vitamin D—the sunshine vitamin—than their typically developing counterparts. These findings are another piece in the puzzle of causation and treatment for ASD and all the more reason to have some fun in the sun with your kids this summer! The study compared vitamin D levels of children with autism and typically developing children, finding that typically developing children showed no significant relationship to vitamin D while 40% of the study population with autism was vitamin D deficient. More strikingly, vitamin D deficiency and severity of autism symptoms appeared intrinsically linked—as vitamin D deficiency increased, so did the severity of ASD symptoms. The researchers contextualize these findings in recent literature linking vitamin D with autoimmunity disorders, suggesting further research into the relationship between autism, vitamin D, and the other known complications of vitamin D deficiency.
With safety precautions taken in the last few decades to prevent too much sun exposure and new research as to the importance of the sunshine vitamin, it is easy to get contradicting directions. We suggest meeting with your pediatrician to figure out the right amount of day play for you and your family!
“MNN – Mother Nature Network.” MNN – Mother Nature Network. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 May 2013. <http://www.mnn.com/health/fitness-well-being/blogs/is-there-a-link-between-autism-and-vitamin-d>.
New research published in the Journal of Neuroscience this April demonstrates how children with autism spectrum disorder perceive motion at twice the rate of typically developing children, suggesting that perception of motion may be responsible for autism symptoms such as painful sensitivity to noise and bright lights, as well as social, behavioral deficits.
The study compared the motion perception processes of children diagnosed with ASD with those of typically developing children by having each subject watch video clips of moving black and white bars and indicate the direction of motion—left or right. When researchers increased the contrast of the bars, both groups performed better, but the autistic children significantly improved, surpassing the typically developing children in motion recognition. The worst performing subject of the autistic group for the increased contrast portion of the test responded on par with the combined average of the typically developing children. With each correct answer, researchers would shorten the length of the clip making the motion harder to distinguish. With the greater contrast, the autistic group was able to identify motion at twice the rate of the typically developing children.
The researchers suggest that the pain and disturbance that autistics often experience with sensory dense situations—like crowded malls—may be attributed to this heightened perception of motion. Additionally, many of the social and behavioral symptoms of autism—like communicative ability and face recognition—could be understood through the lens of motion perception.
At Shema Kolainu – Hear Our Voices we pay attention to our children’s response to their sensory environment and accommodate their needs. We are happy to see conclusive research findings that may help to explain and ultimately alleviate the complications of the autistic experience. Until then, we utilize our Snoezelen room to control the sensory stimulus our kids encounter and calm them when they are overwhelmed. Some children need this more than others or at unanticipated times, so we do our best to identify how often and when a child needs sensory relief. We have recently experienced particular success with the Snoezelen room! One of our children, who experiences ADHD as well, had been acting out extremely, jumping from chair to chair, and was generally upset and overwhelmed. We increased his Snoezelen visits from once a day to three times a day, accompanied by an Occupational Therapist. After just a week of more Snoezelen stress-free time, he was noticeably happier, able to pay attention, and less restless.
Share your sensory-overload stories or relief strategies here!
Foss-Feig, Jennifer H., Duge Tadin, Kimberly B. Schauder, and Carissa J. Cascio. “A Substantial and Unexpected Enhancement of Motion Perception in Autism.”Journal of Neuroscience 33.19 (2013): 8243-249. Http://www.jneurosci.org/. 8 May 2013. Web. 10 May 2013. <http://www.jneurosci.org/content/33/19/8243.abstract?sid=24797967-4ff0-4f50-8b03-9b295b1c7dca>.
“Why Some Autistic Kids Are Painfully Sensitive to Noise and Bright Lights.” DNA. Www.dnaindia.com, 9 May 2013. Web. 10 May 2013. <http://www.dnaindia.com/health/1832630/report-why-some-autistic-kids-are-painfully-sensitive-to-noise-and-bright-lights>.