Coping with adult children’s autism, parents may face ‘least bad’ decisions
July 26, 2014
Adult twins with autism locked in a barren basement room every night. No lights. No bed. Their parents charged with abuse. The criminal allegations against Janice and John Land that erupted last week in Montgomery County have captured the attention of many — but no group more so than other parents who are caring for the growing number of autistic children entering adulthood. “We can’t condone their choices,” says Mark Bucknam, a professor at the National War College who lives two miles from the Lands. Court papers say that the young men were kept in a room with no working lights and a comforter on a bare tile floor.


New playground intended to help autistic children build social skills
July 25, 2014
Inviting a friend to play on a tire swing can be difficult for autistic children, but with special kinds of playgrounds cropping up in Maryland and around the country, it may become easier. The Shafer Center, a school in Owings Mills for autistic children ages 2 to 8, recently installed a playground intended to help children with social interaction and motor skills.


How Pet Therapy Can Help Autism
Man’s best friend can truly be your child’s best friend, according to some studies on the interaction between pets and autistic children. Many parents are surprised to see the connection between their autistic child and animals. You might see it happening spontaneously — just when you are wondering how to help improve your child’s communication and social skills, you notice that he acts playful, happier, and more focused when around a friend’s pet.


Advice for parents of children just diagnosed with autism, from those who’ve been there
July 30, 2014
I was talking to a friend last week about her son, who was recently diagnosed with autism. He’s 8, and she is feeling frustrated and overwhelmed — not by her son, but by the challenge of figuring out what to do next. Once you have that diagnosis in hand, the questions start piling up. What services does he need, and what will insurance cover? What really works, and what is just a hopeful shot in the dark? How can she get the most out of the public school system?


‘Love Hormone’ Oxytocin May Help Some With Autism
July 29, 2014
Treating certain adult autism patients with just a single dose of the hormone oxytocin quickly improved their ability to judge facial expressions and emotions, Japanese researchers report. Known as the “love hormone,” oxytocin has been shown to play a role in emotional bonding between lovers, and between mothers and their children.


Loneliness and WEll-Being in Adults with Autism
July 28, 2014
Individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) experience significant difficulties in social functioning, including deficits in core social abilities and problems establishing and maintaining peer relationships. These social and interpersonal problems generally persist and sometimes worsen in adulthood, contributing to functional impairment. Despite the steady increase in ASD prevalence, few studies have focused on the experiences of adults with ASD, or on the factors that may relate to their social and emotional functioning.


Mothers of children with autism benefit from peer-led intervention: study
July 23, 2014
In a first-of-its-kind study, researchers from Vanderbilt University examined two treatment programs in a large number of primary caregivers of a child with a disability. Participants in both groups experienced improvements in mental health, sleep and overall life satisfaction and showed less dysfunctional parent-child interactions.


Catching autism early
July 21, 2014
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that 1 in 68 children will be diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. It’s five-times more common among boys. That number is 1 in 42.  The American academy of Pediatrics recommends that all children be screened for autism twice before age 2. However, the average age of diagnosis for a child with autism is five-and-a-half. Experts say that’s way too late.


Early detection and intervention are key in autism treatment
July 14, 2014
With as many as 1 in 68 children, more boys than girls, being diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, as well as autism’s high profile in media of all types, parents of small children are often concerned about whether the disorder may affect their families. Autism is a developmental disability typified by a combination of communication, behavioral and social-interaction challenges. As a “spectrum” disorder, individuals with autism can have symptoms that range from mild to severe.

Five ways to help your child with autism cope with summer’s relaxed schedule
July 7, 2014
Summer. Those precious sun-soaked, school-free weeks are, to most kids, a nectar. And let’s face it: We parents don’t mind the lighter load that comes with no homework or after-school activities. But that same relaxed schedule can be a challenge for children with autism and their parents. Those kids often rely on—and thrive in—the structured environment that the school year provides. At least five days a week, they know exactly what is going to happen, and when, for the most part. That helps them make sense of a world that can be overwhelming with its constant barrage of sounds, smells and transitions.

Tips for celebrating the Fourth of July with a child with autism
July 3, 2014
The Fourth of July brings fireworks, barbecues, patriotic band music and lots of flag-waving crowds. For families of some children with autism or sensory processing difficulties, all of that holiday “fun” can be a recipe for a meltdown. The noises, smells and crowds can be overwhelming and send a child with autism into sensory overload, said Aviva Weiss, a mom of six and an occupational therapist in Merion Station, Pa.


iPads May Help Boost Speaking Skills in Kids With Autism: Study
July 1, 2014
Adding access to a computer tablet to traditional therapy may help children with autism talk and interact more, new research suggests. The study compared language and social communication treatment — with or without access to an iPad computer tablet — in 61 young children with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and found that the device helped boost the effect of the treatment.


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