Can I give my autistic child up for adoption

The Difficult Autistic Child and Delayed Adoption: Can You Do It?

My friends have an autistic child they cannot handle. She asked me, “Can I give my autistic child up for adoption?” There isn’t a parent on this earth that doesn’t think to themselves, “Is it too late to give my child up for adoption?”, especially when they have just gone through a really horrible day with their kids. Although it may be a fantasy for some, for a few parents who have children on the spectrum, it seems like the best idea ever. Unfortunately, there are some legal barriers to adoption once your child is way past the five-day-old mark. There are alternatives instead, but none of them may be what you would consider responsible or compassionate, so be careful about what you decide to do.

Can I give my autistic child up for adoption

Option number one is probably the least favored of all, because it makes you look like an unfit parent and because the county in which you live will try to get you to surrender custody of your other children as well. In this option, you contact your local Human Services Department and inform them you want to surrender all parental rights to your child with autism. They will want to know why, try to schedule a home visit, and go out of their way to help you keep your child at home. If you are absolutely adamant that you need to give him or her up, then you have to go through a lengthy court process that severs all ties you have with your autistic child. You will never be allowed to see him or her again, but you will also never have to worry about how to manage him or her or take care of him/her. It is not a pretty way to handle your situation, and it is one you would eventually and deeply regret.

Option number two allows you to retain your parental rights to your child, but your child is then placed in a group home with other children like him or her. The majority of challenges you presently face you leave with better trained staff and nurses, while affording you the ability to have your son or daughter come home to visit once in a while or you can visit him/her at the group home. It relieves a lot of the emotional and physical burdens you presently feel while placing your child in what you know is a very safe environment for him or her.

Option number three is to ask a close, trusted friend or another family member to take full guardianship of your child. This is like adoption in that this friend or family member legally agrees to take over for you and takes full parental responsibility. This is done more often when a parent is a recovering alcoholic or drug addict and knows he/she cannot take care of a child on the spectrum until long after he/she has been through detox and rehab. However, extenuating circumstances can and do allow for perfectly healthy parents to grant full legal custody of their children to another family member.

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How much melatonin can I give for my autistic child to sleep?

melatonin dosage for kids with autism

How much melatonin can I give to my autistic child

Melatonin and the Autistic Child: What Is Safe?

If you have a child with autism and he or she can’t simply settle down and go to bed at night, you might be wondering what you can give your child to make him or her more calm and eventually go to sleep. First things first—consult with your pediatrician, especially if your child is already on some form of medication for hyperactivity, seizures or attention deficit disorder. Giving your child an OTC without consulting with your pediatrician first could seriously backfire.

How much melatonin can I give to my autistic child

Secondly, if your pediatrician cannot tweak the meds your child is on, then he or she would give you permission for the dosage of melatonin you can use. With neuro-typical children, a single dose of gummy melatonin chews consists of a single piece. For adults and children on the spectrum, it is two pieces, or 5mg. Any more than that and you could damage the body’s own hormonal regulation system, which produces its own natural melatonin. In rare cases where a child with autism cannot settle down or has trouble falling asleep because he or she is on a twelve-hour dose of Ritalin or some other stimulant, then a pediatrician might grant you permission to give your child a dose and a half of the adult dose, or 7.5mg. However, DO NOT give your child this much without first consulting your pediatrician.

Thirdly, and finally, do not expect melatonin to be the cure. Just as kids on the spectrum are all different, they will all react to melatonin differently. Simply put, some kids on melatonin get hyped up by it rather than calmed down. If, after three nights of dosing your child he or she is more hyper than before or has an even more difficult time falling asleep or staying asleep, discontinue its use. It is safe to discontinue melatonin on your own because it is an OTC and not a prescribed medication.

Autism Registry: Scary Government Tracking or Helpful Research?

Autism registry

Autism Registry: Scary Government Tracking or Helpful Research?

Some states have recently formed an autism registry. If you are not in a state that has such a registry, you may be wondering what this is, what it’s for, and if you should register should your state ever start something similar. Parents who are very protective of their children may be very wary at first—after all, a state registry that tracks who has autism, where they live, and documents information about the mothers and their children seems a little invasive and scary. However, there are some positive points to registering your children with autism and registering important information about your family.

Autism registry in NJ

Autism research is a very important and positive reason for adding your family to the registry. All of the information the researchers gather about autism, where it seems to be most highly concentrated, the age of both parents when they conceived a child that was later diagnosed with autism, etc., is kept confidential, but it helps determine if there are any common factors. The common factors can then steer researchers in a direction that has not been explored before, as they try to find a cure or a preventive measure and help reduce the frequency with which autism is discovered and diagnosed.

Another reason for registering is so that when there is a cure, a treatment or a preventive measure found, your family can be one of the first ones to hear about it. Researchers who compile the list of names and data can present their findings to you and your child to see if you would like to reverse the disorder (should it ever be possible), or if you would like to remain as you are.

Government planning for the future welfare and financial needs also relies on this collected data. Social Security Administration will have to fairly and accurately predict the number of group homes, nursing homes, special care attendants, disability benefit amounts per person, and life expectancy for healthcare for every autistic child in America. Since the current number of autistic children is growing at an unprecedented rate in human history, there is no data bank to assist the government with these tasks, at least not without the help of the willing and volunteering families and the state registries.

Currently, many states on the East and West coasts of the U.S. have autism registries. Some require that mandatory reporters who discover and diagnose children with autism register your child and your family without your permission. Other states give you the option, while letting you know that if you do volunteer your information, you may be offered more public assistance and referred to extra programs that can help you raise your special needs child.

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Summer camps for students with autism

Summer camps for students with autism

Summer Camps for Kids with Autism: Why You Should Send Your Child

Summer camps exist for both neurotypical and special needs campers across the U.S. The fact that many communities have taken notice of the fact that kids with autism need a very different sort of program speaks to the fact that these communities are doing their part to be inclusive of every child, regardless of where he or she falls on the spectrum. If you are thinking about sending your child to a summer camp for autistic kids, there are several reasons why you absolutely should.

Summer camps for students with autism

REASON #1: The camps are highly organized and very structured. Kids with autism, as you know, love structure. It helps them feel safe and less anxious or nervous knowing the exact itinerary each and every day. There is nothing that will cause your child to run willy-nilly and get injured or cause injury to someone else.

REASON #2: Socialization. Seriously, you have to get the kids out to socialize during the summer, but you do not have to let it all fall on you. There will be other kids at autism camp that will have similar interests and skill levels as your own child, and he or she will absolutely love finding somebody else to talk to about Minecraft or Shopkins, ad nauseum.

REASON #3: It’s fun. The groups are always small, do tons of arts and crafts, play outdoors, explore new things (like yoga!), and go on a couple of field trips to places kids with autism would love to go. The staff tire the kids out for you by keeping them so busy all day, and the kids are happy and content when you pick them up (usually—there’s always one in the bunch that might be having a meltdown about going home, but it won’t happen every day).

REASON #4: It’s very, very safe. There are at least two camp “counselors” to each child, unless your child is very low functioning and needs assistance sitting up, standing, etc., then there are three counselors to a child. Everyone makes sure the kids are participating or getting a needed break and all the counselors go through a rigorous screening process before they are hired. Most of them are actually college students who plan to teach special ed!

REASON #5: Because you absolutely deserve a break. Hey, don’t feel guilty in the least if you cop to this reason—all parents of special needs kids need a break, and we don’t always get one. Autism camp during the summer gives you a week long break you can feel good about because you know your child is safe, having fun, and is in very good hands.

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Extracurricular Activities and the Autistic Child

Extracurricular Activities and the Autistic Child
Obviously, we are talking about the high-functioning autistic child here, since most kids on the opposite end of the spectrum would not be able to participate in after-school activities with their peers. Although you want your child to experience all the world has for them to experience and want to support their interests completely, there is a parental learning curve here. Involving your child in a sport after school is great, but if the practices are too much or too long, your child will not have what he or she needs to maintain an even emotional keel for very long. That results in aggressive behavior, outbursts and meltdowns. Likewise, involving your child in too many after school activities will have the same effect.

So how do you choose what is right for your child? Most parents of “normal” kids figure it out by first limiting the number of activities their kids are involved in, and adding more as the child gets older or seems able to handle more activity and responsibility. However, the neuro-typical child has a filter that helps them block out excess environmental stimulation that ASD kids cannot.

So, simply put, if your son or daughter wants to experience an activity, like dance, soccer, music or art lessons, try it for short durations. The best time to enroll your child in a short-term experience is in the summer. It keeps him or her from getting bored and helps both of you figure out if the activity is a good fit . If your child wants to continue the activity once school begins again, he or she is already settled into the routine of the activity and can expect it with the same frequency as he or she did in the summer. It is best to try one activity at a time, and add only one more activity if your child requests it. If there are dramatic shifts in behavior or mood, then you know that two or more activities is too much, and you and your child will have to decide which one is most important before dropping the others.

Middle schoolers and High schoolers will have tons of opportunities and endless options for after-school activities. Although your child may be eager to try them all, you have to rein him or her in, because you already know what your child can manage and what is too much for him or her. Although your child may be heading to college and need those extracurriculars on his or her college application, most colleges are also forgiving and understanding of applicants who have ASD or other qualifying disability. What is more important is that your child finds out what he or she likes and sticks with it, rather than trying everything and sticking with nothing.

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Physical Placement and Custody of an Autistic Child

Autism And Depression In Teenagers
Divorce is hard on kids, but much more so for kids with ASD because they cannot process why Mommy and Daddy won’t live in the same house anymore. Since they already have a difficult time with social interaction and personal relationships, it becomes especially confusing to the ASD child when parents split. If parents are not careful about making custody and placement decisions, the ASD child will suffer more than usual during and after a divorce.

More and more judges and lawyers are becoming familiar with autism and autism spectrum disorders. They are recognizing the impact it has on children who need consistency and stability in their lives in order to feel more secure. Parents who fight over where their child with ASD is going to live are actually jeopardizing that child’s sense of security. The ASD child will begin to lash out, become aggressive and stressed, be emotionally charged and have more frequent meltdowns. To them, their whole world is falling apart and now they are expected to go to Daddy’s on certain days and times and live with Mommy the rest of the time, or vice versa. Although this isn’t the best option already for kids who are not on the spectrum, it is the worst for kids who are.

If you, as a parent, are going through a divorce and are worried about your child with ASD, you need to fight really hard to keep your child living in one location to maintain consistency. That is not to say you should deny your ex of his or her rights to see your child, but instead offer liberal visitation and shared custody. Primary physical placement with one parent is the ideal situation for these children, but they need both parents in order to continue growing socially and emotionally. This is a very difficult thing to do, since some parents are quite insistent that children should split their time and living quarters between parents, but it isn’t a suitable option for kids on the spectrum, especially those who are high-functioning enough to understand some of what is going on.

If you are having difficulties with custody issues and your soon-to-be-ex, make sure you hire a lawyer who has experience with disability cases who can also schedule a hearing with a judge who is equally experienced and familiar with autism and ASD. Whatever your ex’s argument is regarding physical custody, the judge should be able to persuade him or her that it may not be in your ASD child’s best interests to toss him or her to and fro between two residences. Also, if you can prove that your child does not adapt well to change and has issues with transitioning between homes and transitioning in and out of other locations and situations, that may help solidify your case to keep your child in one home or the other consistently.

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Fun and Function : Early childhood break box

Soothing Kits for Kids on the Spectrum

Calming toys for special needs children

No doubt that as a parent of a child with ASD, you have witnessed your fair share of meltdowns. Other people who are not aware of your child’s diagnosis might accuse you of bad parenting or that your child is a spoiled brat. What they fail to understand is that your child is currently overstimulated, and needs to be soothed but not coddled.

Mental health therapists who meet with higher-functioning kids on the spectrum often suggest a soothing kit. Usually within the first two or three meetings, kids discuss with their therapists the different things they find comforting. Some kids like really soft objects to brush up against their skin, while other kids really love fidgets, a type of toy that lets them putz and explore but still helps them focus.

Using a rundown of sensory experiences, your child’s therapist will come up with different things you can put into a soothing kit for him or her. There should be at least two different objects for each sense in the kit, e.g., two objects for touch, two for sound, two for smell, etc. The only sense you might want to avoid is taste, because you will have to replace it far too frequently. Many kids on the spectrum already stick everything in their mouths for oral stimulation, so actual edibles in the soothing kit is discouraged. It is also discouraged because you do not want your child to learn that eating is a healthy way to soothe one’s feelings when it is not.

The other thing you want to keep in mind is that not all children on the spectrum will appreciate soothing items for sound or light, but if your child naturally gravitates towards certain objects and finds them comforting, in the kit they go. Because of their high distractibility, kids with ASD will move out of meltdown mode if given something pleasing and soothing to their currently raw nerves.

Special needs retailers, such as Fun and Function, sell a wide variety of sensory soothing kits and items small enough to throw into a Rubbermaid tote to create a kit. It can be a real trial and error process, especially if you do not have anything at home that your child already responds to positively. Whenever possible, take your child to an educational toy store and head for the special needs toy aisles. Being able to touch and play with fidgets and sensory toys helps your child have a say in what goes into the kit, even if he or she is non-verbal. Once you have a well-stocked kit, keep it close by at all times. If you want to travel with it, then putting your son’s or daughter’s favorite soothing items in a backpack will ensure a more peaceful trip for all.

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GPS Tracking Devices for Kids with Autism

Autism Tracking Devices

Because children with autism have no fear of their surroundings or the dangers of sexual predators, they put their parents in a terrifying position every time they wander off in public. If this sounds like your situation, you know exactly what that is like, and how difficult it is trying to explain to a sales clerk that your child isn’t going to respond to a loudspeaker announcement to come to the service desk. It is so hard to accomplish your errands when you have children with autism, but would you seriously want to
imbed a tracking device in your child?

That is a recent development, one which wealthy parents have chosen to do even with their non-autistic children. Parents ease their discomfort when their children wander off by tagging them like the family dog or cat, then use a special app or a handheld device which works something like a GPS locator. Although it is very effective at finding your lost child, it brings up many questions regarding ethics and physical pain.

Tracking devices for children with autism

There are also devices that do not go under the skin but over it. These tracking devices are less invasive than the chips some parents have decided to use. The devices look very much like criminal anklets or bracelets, and your child cannot remove them without a code. The biggest concern here is that a child with autism might find the bracelets or anklets very uncomfortable or they might obsess with chewing on them. There is also the potential for the bracelets and anklets to be cut off if a child predator can get
the autistic child alone long enough to cut the device off. Still, it is a better option than asking your doctor to implant a computer-tracking chip under your child’s skin.

If you want to keep track of your child and keep him or her from wandering off in a public place, less expensive and simpler devices are available. Mini-backpacks with detachable leashes are more ideal than a tracking device because you can hold onto the leash while still allowing your child room to explore around you. These mini-backpacks also have a small pocket in them that would allow you to put personal information in the pocket along with your child’s health conditions and diagnosis if someone
kind and decent finds your child and tries to help. This low-tech way of keeping your autistic child close to you could allow you to place a high-tech tracking device in the pocket which will not interfere with your child in any way, and thus the combined solution would lead you to your child and allow others to bring your child back to you.

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Rapamycin for Autism

Autism and Tuberous Sclerosis , How is it linked to Rapamycin

There is some fairly new drama surrounding a drug and its potential for causing autism. Like most things, it is all hype, and you may or may not have heard about rapamycin anyway. If your child has a dual diagnosis of autism and tuberous sclerosis, then you do know why rapamycin is. It is the drug that helps shrink the tuberous growths throughout your child’s body.

The argument comes from a government study that examined the effects of this drug on lab rats. That’s right, lab rats. They were researching what the drug did for tumors, and instead concluded that it made the animals more social. It, like so many other drugs, alters the brain chemistry and some of its physiology such that the rats seemed more attractive and approachable to other rats. The key word here is seemed, since you cannot actually ask other rats what they think of their cage mates when the
cage mates were on this drug.

As with all drug research and development, lab rats are a long way from human trials, and it takes a lot of proof and study to be sure that the drug has no negative side effects on humans before a human drug trial can begin. The hope of the researchers is that rapamycin will make people with autism less socially awkward and facilitate better social interaction with their non-autistic peers, but it is years off from being tested in this fashion.

Meanwhile, parents and teachers of children with autism have to be the facilitators of social interaction for these children. It requires a lot more effort because everyone has to model social behavior and help the children with autism learn how to interact with others. There is no short cut here, and it is hard work, but many children with mild to moderate autism learn how to act, interact and react to what others say and do in correct ways, something which they would still have to do if they were taking
rapamycin.

The conclusion here is that there is no quick fix and no cure just yet. There is still the overwhelming task of teaching kids and adults how to interact even if there was a quick fix, and parents of children with autism would have to make the decision to place their children on this drug for life. If your child already takes it for tuberous sclerosis, then the decision is a simple one because your child really needs it. If not, then it becomes a choice between forcing your child to change and become social, or remain in his or her own quiet, little world.

The effects on children with moderate to severe autism are even more of an unknown, since most of these children do not want to be touched nor do they seek out affection. Given that there are so many medical hurdles to cross before anyone can find out, you do better by your child teaching him or her how to respond to others. That is better than any pill you can make him or her take.

Is there a link between pitocin induction and autism

Autism and Pitocin

What is Pitocin

Most women have had to take pitocin during the birthing process, either because labor is not progressing as it should, or because the baby is in danger if the mother cannot push the baby out on her own. Sometimes, when the mother has requested induced labor rather than wait for birth to start on its own, doctors use pitocin throughout the birthing process. Pitocin is man-made and mimics the natural chemical, oxytocin, which the mother’s body produces at the onset of labor and continues to produce until the afterbirth has been ejected from her body.

pitocin autism

Does pitocin cause autism

Recently, some people have argued that the use of pitocin causes autism. This is a wholly and completely unfounded argument for several reasons. First of all, there are limited studies on the subject, all of which have had the same result—pitocin does not affect brains of children during childbirth.

Secondly, the pitocin a child experiences during the birthing process is short-lived. By the time the child is born, usually within eight to ten hours after the first IV of pitocin has been administered to the mother, the baby’s brain has only been exposed to the chemical for that period in time. Its brain has not undergone any serious changes because it was not developing or growing during the birthing process.

Third, after the child is born and the cord is cut, the baby wheedles the pitocin out of its little system just as it would any other drug through its urine and its bowels. It does not linger and begin destroying brain cells, as these people might contend. Finally, the baby is not exposed to the drug after birth, although a very small amount might appear in the mother’s milk with the first feeding, but after a couple of days when the mother’s milk comes in, there is nothing left in the mother’s system to cross over in the milk.

Ergo, pitocin does not cause autism, nor can it have a significant impact on the brain of a baby in the birthing process. It simply is not feasible, and there is no significant correlation. Again, as any good biologist will tell you, even if there was correlation, it does not prove causation.

As an added note here, AutismSpeaks is conducting research on a drug that delays premature birth. This drug does affect the oxytocin receptors in a baby’s brain, although no one is certain just yet how much of an impact it has. If you would like to follow the study and learn more about the research they are conducting in relation to this particular labor drug, you can read up on it here. “http://www.autismspeaks.org/blog/2012/06/01/autism-pitocin-connection

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