Do Autistic Children Get Better

Do Children With Autism Spectrum (AS) Get Better?

Children diagnosed early on with an autism spectrum disorder may appear to get better as they get older. This is especially true of children who didn’t or couldn’t speak and then through several hours of speech therapy learned to speak fluently and clearly. However, a child who really has AS does not “get better”; this is a physical, mental, social and emotional developmental disability that stays with a child for life.

This is often a question presented by parents who are hearing this diagnosis for the first time. They are hoping there is an instant cure, like antibiotics for strep throat. It’s difficult to hear that your child is different and that all the hopes, dreams and expectations you had of raising wonderful children to adulthood are taking a detour. It takes time for you to adjust to all the modifications you have to make to accommodate your child who has autism spectrum disorder, and that’s completely normal.

You should be comforted by the fact, though, that although children with ASD aren’t cured or get better, you can help them adapt. With the help of really good teachers, you can show your ASD child how to get along with others, recognize others’ feelings, make friends, excel academically, be responsible for their actions, and get physical therapy if they need it. With a more positive approach, your child will grow into a well-adjusted adult, still with special needs, but less noticeable for the time and effort you put in as a parent to encourage their growth as a person.

In the next fifty years, the cause as well as some incredible treatments for ASD will no doubt come to light. Your child can’t wait that long. You can help him or her now by showing through examples and encouragement and consistent techniques on how to deal with their ASD.

Vaccines and Autism

There have been several arguments in the last decade over whether or not the current vaccines that most children receive cause autism. There is an incredible amount of hype to this with no solid proof.  While the prevalence of autism has increased in the same time frame, little has changed about the vaccines used in children as part of their regular health checkups and maintenance. One does not necessarily cause the other, i.e., correlation does not equal causation without substantiated proof.

The real problem here is that proof cannot be obtained without exposing healthy infants and toddlers to the suspected vaccines. Medical ethics prohibits this and no mother in her right mind would ever allow  it. It is also a problem because those who believe it is the source of the autism diagnostic rise continue to perpetuate the conspiracy theories and hype such that mothers are declining the vaccines that might  otherwise save their child from needless illnesses that could kill them. Infant mortality rates will also rise because of these unsafe decisions to not vaccinate children, throwing the entire medical community  back one hundred years.

While it is a parent’s right to choose not to vaccinate their child, wouldn’t it be better to err on the side of caution rather than to take the risk of death or hospitalization? After all, it has been proven that there is at least a genetic link to autism that predisposes children born to sets of parents to developing this developmental disorder, and if your child has it, they will develop it anyway. Only parents who might not want to face that possibility might be looking for an excuse to evade it, thinking they can keep their children safe from something that isn’t caught like a disease or introduced to the body as a foreign organism that needs to be fought.

Another flip of the coin, here, is the other theories on how autism occurs. There is a genetic link of some sort in families, as more than one child is affected. Interestingly enough, siblings can be affected,  but apparently first cousins cannot. Scientists are pursuing every avenue as a cause, but have long since dropped the theory that vaccines are responsible. Children whose parents chose not to vaccinate still develop the disorder, and their parents placed them at risk for childhood illnesses because of the fear around vaccines as the probable cause. This has proven that vaccines aren’t to blame, because these children still ended up with autism.

A more recent theory suggests that a mother under extreme stress and duress while pregnant introduces elevated biochemicals to her baby in utero. Our society places a lot of pressure on women to  be superhuman, and when a woman is pregnant, that goes against the human biological nature to just rest and nest. Fetuses that have been lost to miscarriage present with high levels of these chemicals,  suggesting that a woman’s response to stress while pregnant is a matter of self preservation. While this is also just a theory, it does explain the altered brains and the altered brain development of children
with autism a lot better than vaccines as the cause.

Whatever the cause, which is still out for debate, vaccines aren’t it. Until proven otherwise by the medical community, vaccinating your children helps them fight off disease that could kill them or  debilitate them far worse than autism can. Again, it’s still up to individual parents to make that call, but the risks of life versus the highly unlikely risk of autism development seems like a pretty easy call to diary of the daily activity level and moods of your child. After about a month to three months, you can present it to a behavior analyst who works with children with autism. The behavior analyst will be able to tell you even more than a pediatric psychiatrist can tell you about what’s going on with your child.

Other resources to consult on this difficult to diagnose matter, when your child is non-verbal, are the local chapters of NAMI for mental health, as well as the parent support groups. The parent support  groups for autistic children may have a parent or two who has been through a similar situation, and can offer helpful advice on how to deal with your situation.

Who Diagnoses Asperger’s? How to Diagnose Asperger’s in Children?

A team of concerned parents take their child to a pediatrician, a psychiatrist and a applied behavior analyst, and possibly even a pediatric neurologist to make an Asperger’s diagnosis. Because this diagnosis doesn’t come as early on in life as other developmental disorders and their diagnoses, a solid memory on the part of the parent or parents is necessary because there are traits that clearly define Asperger’s from autism, even though they are on the same spectrum.

In most cases, a parent will notice certain social deficits or communication deficits in their child. The communication deficits are not from the inability to speak, but rather from not being able to adequately understand. Academic issues in reading and writing will also be apparent. Taking them to a psychiatrist who has experience with children and possibly even special needs and developmental disorders is the first step. If these traits go unchecked, aggression against peers due to a lack of understanding in idioms and other common expressions in speech is the next thing to surface. Again a parent would probably take their child back to a psychiatrist for a closer evaluation at why his or her child is aggressive and almost toddler-like in behavior. At this point, things will start to unravel and become clearer. Evaluations from pediatricians from early on in the child’s life come into play, and the child might be referred to an applied behavior analyst who will conduct the testing and make the diagnosis solid.

Depending on the age of the child, the next step in the procedure is to find them additional daily help to cope and adjust and understand their peers and surroundings better. Services for these special needs children are generally paid for by the government. The younger the diagnosis is made the more positive the outcome towards adulthood.

Autismo

Autismo no afecta sólo a caucásicos o los niños con padres pobres. Autismo no conoce límites ni diferencias de clase social, raza o etnia. Los latinos e hispanos también tienen hijos de autismo, y saber cómo lidiar con esto en ese entorno cultural particular es tan importante como ayudar al niño con autismo.

Familia es muy importante en estas culturas, como es la comunicación. No poder aprender su lengua nativa y conectar con los miembros de la familia es especialmente difícil en el niño con autismo hispanos o latinos. Ayudar a las familias a entender las necesidades especiales de su hijo y déficits les ayuda a superar cualquier supersticiones tienen sobre sus hijos así. Tener un miembro de la familia que habla tanto en inglés y en español o un profesor/traductor que es muy eficaz para ayudar a estas familias. Porque quieren puede el niño hablar su lengua nativa, servicios adicionales son necesarios si se encuentra que el niño aparece alto funcionamiento suficiente para aprender a hablar.

El orgullo de su cultura es importante y debe respetarse. Cuando se encuentra con un niño que no puede o no hablar como lo hacen es difícil esa brecha, por lo que los servicios extra están ahí para ayudar al niño a aprender primero sobre su familia y su idioma y, a continuación, después de enseñarles a inglés. A un niño autista tratando de enseñarles ambos idiomas a la vez es abrumadora y no debe intentarse. Otros hermanos en el hogar pueden ayudar a lenguaje de modelado y ayudando a este niño a aprender palabras cuando un ayudante adicional o el terapeuta no está disponible.

Es importante también ayudando a las culturas hispanas y latinas comprender el impacto que sus hijos autistas tienen sobre ellos. Puede no han oído de autismo antes de tener un hijo con el trastorno. La educación juega un papel importante en cómo perciben a su hijo extraordinario y cómo se tratan los problemas especiales que surgen.

Childhood Disintegrative Disorder

Often Misdiagnosed Or Missed Altogether

One of the most closely associated and often co-diagnosed with autism disorders is childhood disintegrative disorder(CDD). When this particular disorder begins to manifest itself, the child is often much farther along in their years and development and it makes it more difficult to diagnose. More extreme cases start earlier and look like autism, until the disorder progresses.

What is Childhood Disintegrative Disorder, precisely?

While it belongs to the same family of disorders and some doctors even classify it as part of the autism spectrum, it’s much more severe in its affects. It may begin as early as age 2, or start as late as age 10. The affected child grows, develops and hits all milestones normally, and then, suddenly begins to regress at a very rapid rate. Social skills, communication, and behavioral issues are at the heart of the disorder, although some physical regressions are possible too. Essentially all the child has gained over the first few years of life disintegrates, and it’s entirely lost. They return to an earlier state of life, some almost to the point of infancy. (It’s very heartbreaking and tragic for parents because you can’t see it coming and you can’t stop the train wreck as it’s happening).

Why is it on the autism spectrum?

Autism spectrum disorders are largely classified as Pervasive Developmental Disorders(PDD), the class of disorders that affect young children and keep them from growing and maturing into adolescence and adulthood in the same way as their peers. Because many of the developmental areas that are affected are the same between autism and childhood disintegrative disorder, and both fall under the main diagnostic category of PDD, doctors place them all on the same spectrum. There are a few doctors who disagree, however, because of the rapid declination and reversal of growth makes childhood disintegrative disorder appear to be a unique disorder all on its own and not part of the spectrum.

Is CDD known by any other names?

Yes. It’s also referred to as Heller’s Syndrome, named, obviously, for the man who first recognized it for what it is. Austrian educator Theodor Heller wrote about his dementia infantilis in his journals in 1908. With all the research in the past two decades on autism, Heller’s research and records are receiving recognition.

How is it diagnosed?

That is the most difficult part of the disorder. Because certain physical disorders lead to its development, doctors try to rule these out first with blood work and neurological scans. In the event that this evidence isn’t present, a thorough history is taken from the family and psychological tests are performed to rule any psychoses out as well. Because of the long and intensive process of trying to find the “right” diagnosis and the rarity of CDD, most doctors just assume the child has autism or asperger’s instead. Persistent parents can make sure that whatever diagnosis they receive is the right one, instead of just accepting the face value of what they’re given. Autism and asperger’s do not continue downhill, and that is the major significance for parents looking to get their child the proper diagnosis and treatment.

Is there a cure?

No, just like autism and all other PDD’s, there is no cure. There is also no way of knowing the disorder’s true causes or origins as autism itself hasn’t been genetically mapped out yet either. There are only some reasonably effective treatment plans available for handling the challenges the disorder presents.

Does it affect boys and girls equally or one more than the other?

The disorder is even more rare than autism itself, such that many doctors confuse it for autism because not enough cases have been seen to know the difference. Approximately 1-2 out of every 100,000 children have CDD, and of those, more than half are boys. It would seem that it is somehow connected to the Y chromosomes, which are responsible for turning female fetuses into boys in the womb, but it’s difficult to prove at the moment.

What kind of delays or signs should I look for?

Parents usually don’t even know what’s happening until it’s already begun. As previously stated, the child will grow at a perfectly normal rate, and then things just start happening that are out of the ordinary. The child may begin to vocalize concern over what is happening to them, or they may talk to or about things that aren’t present in the room to others. Healthy interactions with friends or peers will dissipate to the point that they act like a child with autism, and communication could return to babbling, confused speech, loss of comprehension in what is said, etc. Behaviorally, they will become erratic and irrational, physically aggressive, and even hostile. If they are older, they may not be able to dress themselves, clean up after themselves and may even lose the toilet training they had gained only a few years before. In extreme cases the child may even lose the ability to walk or stand, relying on assistance from the parents or assistive devices to get around. In some children the decline is a torturously slow process, taking them into their teen years before it stops. With others it could be a week or a month before the clock has been wound all the way backwards. That is why the disorder is perhaps the most frightening of all for parents who suspect their child has it.

What kind of treatments are available?

Behavior modification/ therapy, physical therapy, and some medications have been proven to help. Stimulants like caffeine and other “up” drugs only make it worse. Anticonvulsants are used with children who have experienced seizures as a direct effect of the disorder.

What should I look for in a doctor for my child?

Applied Behavior Analysts can do a majority of the testing, but in the event that CDD is suspected, a neurologist will have to be consulted as well. A full panel of tests is needed to get to the point where you know what kind of therapy to get your child the help he/she really needs.

Learn about,”Respite Care for Children with Autism“.

Hyperlexia

Hyperlexia And Other Coinciding Diagnoses/Traits

Years ago, cases of autism were considered rare. People who exhibited traits of this developmental disorder were often misdiagnosed or not diagnosed at all when their signs and symptoms were so slight. Those that were diagnosed as having autism were typically extreme, often exhibiting splinter skills that made them seem almost genius in some areas, but severely deficient in others. These particular autistic children and young adults were then referred to as “autistic savants”.

Today, even the most high-functioning of autistic children still exhibit these exceptional abilities. Doctors are diagnosing these “gifts” as coinciding diagnoses and traits. The most common are the following.

What is Hyperlexia

Taken from the two latin words, “hyper” which means more than usual, and “lexic” or “lexia” meaning the ability to read and understand the written word, hyperlexia then means a child is advanced in their reading and comprehension skills. Parents who report that their autistic children could often read and understand long before they could speak receive this coinciding diagnosis for their children. While quite common globally, in the U.S. it hasn’t as of yet completely caught on that this is a special skill exhibited by special needs children, although the occasional behavior analyst will recognize it.

Photographic/phonographic memory

This one is still up for debate because children with autism will fixate on a certain subject and learn absolutely everything there is to know about it. They will then recite, verbatim, what they have learned. While this is typical behavior for these children, if they go above and beyond and seem to recall everything they have heard and seen, they might have a photographic and/or phonographic memory.

Mathematical skills at a genius level

Some autistic children display an amazing ability to do difficult calculations in their heads or visualize three dimensional objects with specific dimensions. While this is indeed astounding to witness, these children might also have difficulty with simple multiplication or subtraction. Think “Rain Man” and the dropped box of toothpicks in the restaurant scene.

Art and Music

Studies have shown a definitive link between autism and giftedness in art and music. These creative areas of the brain originate in the right temporal lobe, where emotion also exists. Why this is, scientists still have to pinpoint, but these children can draw, paint, play an instrument, or sing as if they were born to do so.

True prodigies

Only ten percent of all children with autism exhibit true prodigy talent. This declaration occurs when an autistic child can play complicated pieces of music after only hearing it once or painting masterpieces without any formal training. In all other areas of their development and lives they lack the skills that most of us take for granted.

On the flip side…

Every spectrum has an up side and a down side. Many children with autism suffer with emotional problems, individual expression, meaningful communication if and when they are verbal, and even psychological disorders.

Anxiety

Because many autistic children are easily overwhelmed, anxiety is a quite common trait or co-diagnosis.

Depression

These children often struggle with expressing how they feel and with making meaningful social connections. As such, some develop depression.

Personality Disorders

Trying to cope in a world that doesn’t make sense to them, autistic children look for other ways to cope. If their parents are lacking in knowledge as to how best help them learn to cope in a healthy fashion or the school teachers haven’t made the effort, personality disorders might also become part of the package of issues.

Best approach, regardless

Remember, as a parent you can act for your child and with your child. It makes all the difference in the world to them.

Babysitters And Your Special Needs Child

Shopping for a babysitter when you have special needs children

What’s more extraordinary than the mind of a child with autism is the parent who loves and cares for him or her. However, that child can still press your buttons, and adult company and some time away helps you be a better parent when you have to face the challenges that come with your special needs child. The problem here, is not when or how or where to go for a break, it’s who’s going to look after your child and his/her challenges while you’re out?

If you have a great support network in your family, then a sibling or your parents might be willing for a couple of hours. If not, you have to shop around for sitters who don’t mind the challenge and are knowledgeable in your son or daughter’s diagnosis. Chances are, that’s not going to be a teenager who lives down the street unless that teenager has a sibling with special needs too. It’s a real catch-22; get out and take care of yourself so you don’t crack under pressure, but find someone who can be an adequate stand in while you’re out or you have to stay home. While it’s very noble to do the latter, most parents even with “normal” children need a break and a moment of sanity, and you might be surprised to find that , while reaching for sainthood, a break or two is exactly what will boost you up.

Where do you turn then?

While it’s not allowed legally for teachers from school to babysit, daycare providers are allowed a little more flexibility. If any of your other children find themselves in daycare, you could ask around to see if any of the teachers there have the training and the will to take on a few extra hours for a little extra pay. (I’d highly recommend that you check to make sure they have taken courses in child development and special needs children, at the very least). If any of them have an Associate’s degree in child development, and seem to have a good rapport with children, those are the people who should be on the top of your list to ask first.

If that should not be fruitful, there are a few websites out there that are very good. Many sitter sites screen all of their applicants before allowing them to place an ad for hire on their site. Some of them even have search engines that allow you to type in the area where you live and the specific nature or reason for your search. One of the best out there is http://www.sittercity.com. No matter where you are in the U.S., this site can find you mother’s helpers, nannies, sitters, and even au pairs that are qualified to handle your special circumstances with your special needs child. All you have to do is connect by email, interview, and choose which one or more work for you. http://www.sitter.com is another, although you will have to do your own background screening and references with this one as it’s more of a “Craigslist” for babysitters than anything else. However, it will post sitters fairly close to you, which may be helpful if you don’t want to run a babysitter to and from long distances.

Nanny agencies are also good places to find the help you’re looking for. Generally, a nanny has had many years experience with just a few families, and those that are hired by an agency are run through rigorous testing to make sure they are drug-free, have no criminal history, and clean driving records. Agency nannies tend to be pricey, so you might want to use this as a last resort.

Get “Respite care for children with autism“.

How to Manage Behavior in Children With Autism

Out of the norm behaviors come with the territory of autism, but how can a parent manage them? First, it is necessary to understand the behavior; what causes it, what prompts it to continue, and how to safely decrease its occurrence if not eliminate it altogether. You don’t need a degree in psychology to navigate this, because it’s really just common sense. A child development or autism therapy specialist may be able to assist you, if you’re unsure how or where to begin.

In the meantime, the majority of behaviors in a child with autism usually occur with reason. Their are different approaches a parent can take to help their autistic child in this department. They are:

  1. Ignoring: obvious, of course, is this technique because if your average child was throwing a tantrum you know enough to ignore the behavior so they stop. It works with children with autism too, who may be exhibiting an unwanted behavior for attention seeking, shock, or to get something they want. If the child is in a safe place and away from anything that can cause them harm, then this technique when used consistently, will help eliminate a negative behavior.
  2. Positive reinforcement: when your child is having a good day or a good moment, even, lots of praise reinforces in even a non-verbal child that what they are doing appeals to mom and/or dad and they should continue to act that way. Small treats or special outings/ events for accomplishing good behavior over a longer period of time are also examples of positive reinforcement.
  3. Environment: This one is not so obvious to many parents, but a child’s environment does effect the way they behave. If you set up the surroundings such that the child is able to control what they do or don’t do, rather than having to constantly be in control of the child and stop them from doing what you don’t want them to do, that teaches them that they can have some control, but you are in charge. E.g., placing the furniture in the room so as to break up the space and keep the child from running in circles or using everything as a trampoline or jumping off platform ensures that these behaviors stop. Used in conjunction with redirection to a more appropriate area, like outside play equipment, definitely helps.
  4. Warnings, timers, and transitions: warnings can be used with any child that has autism. It is simply vocalizing what you plan to do next and how long the wait is before you plan to do it. It creates and expectation for them that they will follow your plan and that they get to participate in what you’re planning. Timers and transitions are more often used with higher functioning children to get them to understand limits and periods of moving on to the next thing, or transitioning, to the next activity.
  5. Redirection: This is a big one. Bad behaviors turned good is the name of the game. You take away the power and focus of the unpleasant behavior by redirecting the child to something more positive. They want to punch because they’re mad? Give them a bop-it bag toy or some play-doh at the table and let them diffuse in a way that doesn’t hurt anyone. They want to climb and jump on the furniture? Take them outside to run off the energy and climb the playground equipment in the backyard. Simple but conscientious substitutions make all the difference.

Designing a behavior modification plan with a special needs team will help. When everyone’s on board, the behaviors can begin to decrease or disappear entirely.

Behavioral Problems in Children With Autism

Behaviors To Expect When Your Child Has Autism

The difficulties that lay with diagnosing a child with autism depends a lot on a parent’s visual record of their child. The majority of this visual record is about the behaviors the parent has encountered with their child, and the types of responses received versus the types of responses that are typical. While a parent can either keep a journal of these things or relay them to a behavior analyst when the child is being tested, it is still vital to the process.

So what behaviors should you expect if you suspect your child has autism?

Beyond the physical and vocal limitations and slow development in each of these areas how can you tell what’s developmentally approrpriate and what isn’t? It’s a difficult question, because of the level of autism your child may have, but often the behaviors are very noticeable.

  1. Repetitive vocalizations or phrases, if he or she is verbal. It may worry you that your child has something a little more complicated than autism, (such as obsessive compulsive disorder) but these children often appear to like the sound of their own voices and will repeat noises or compulsively focus in on a topic and talk nonstop about it even if it isn’t appropriate or doesn’t fit in with the conversation around or with them.
  2. Repetitive hand movements. Shaking or flapping hands like a bird, wringing of the hands or twisting of the fingers, anything that looks like a bird taking off or self torture. This can also occur with other limbs and parts of the body, and it doesn’t stop without behavior modification and therapy.
  3. Rocking, swinging, swaying, pacing, running from one spot to the next and back again several times. These are all out of character for the average child if they are not purposeful and seem out of context with what is going on in the environment.
  4. Shrieking, screaming, crying, wailing. These sounds are usually the ones that bother parents the most, because they will occur at the drop of a hat or, as is the case with higher functioning autistic children, when something has completely frustrated them and they act out over the top vocally. It’s also very difficult to discover what a non-verbal autistic child wants or needs, because half the time the loud vocalizations come when the child wants or needs something, is in pain, doesn’t feel well, etc. With time a parent can learn intuitively what causes their autistic child to make these loud utterances and how to deal with them.
  5. Biting, hitting, kicking, scratching, punching, and slapping. While these can be typical kid things, in children with autism it’s acting out aggressively because they don’t like the rules, the status quo, the fact someone else has a toy they want, or even if they don’t like their lunch. If these behaviors are present in your child beyond the expected age for them to disappear, special training may be needed. Healthy redirection, quiet time apart from a group, and verbalizing to the child that that type of behavior is not allowed are the best approaches to this kind of behavior. In a child with autism, this is a behavior that they really don’t outgrow, it just has to be modified to occur less and less. In the average child, once they get past age two or three they outgrow it and find other ways to appropriately express themselves.
  6. Tantrums, stripping in public or in front of houseguests, etc. These are usually attention seeking behaviors and can be dealt with by only paying attention to the child when their behavior is acceptable or if you need to remove them from danger. While these may be even more shocking than all the previous behaviors together, you have to remember as a parent that shock on your face is exactly what your child is looking for.

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Sensory Integration Disorder

What exactly is sensory integration disorder?

In defining any disorder, it is important to clearly delineate what exactly are the symptoms, causes of and prognosis of anyone who has received this diagnosis for themselves, or most likely for their children.

First let us ask what are the symptoms that characterize sensory integration disorder?
Sensory integration disorder is a neurological problem. Simply put, it is the brain’s inability to put together (integrate) the signals it gets from the five senses. Hearing, sight, touch, taste and smell are commonly thought of as the senses. All children to some degree during their development have issues with sensory integration, but this does not necessarily mean that they have this disorder. As children mature, they begin to make sense of the world using their senses. It begins with their ability to smell their mother’s breast as a way to get nutrition so they can thrive. Even before they can visually focus, infants can differentiate between the smell of their mother and that of other females.

Sensory integration disorder is an inconsistent disorder. There are days where the child affected is able to effectively communicate with his parents, but not at school. There are times the child is a well behaved, non impulsive, compliant person and others when the child cannot sit still, pay attention or get along with his classmates. Another characteristic of sensory integration disorder often is the lack of desire to eat. Food holds no pleasure for these children, they eat only when forced to, and then they can be characterized as picky eaters.

All new parents worry (especially first time parents), that their newborn is “normal”. Using the criteria that they have read in all those baby books, they go to the pediatrician for those well baby visits and it is there that they have the opportunity to express their concerns about their child. If the child’s sensory, motor development does not fall within certain guidelines; the parents are concerned that something is wrong with their child. The “failure to thrive” syndrome, where the child just is not of normal height and/or weight compared to other infants their age, is often the first marker that perhaps their child is not “normal”. Testing of infants with sensory motor difficulties is not unheard of, in order to placate the parents that this infant is not mentally retarded.

If the tests show, that the infant is of delayed development, there are steps the parents can take at home and with specialized therapists to try to assist the child. The child is sometimes labeled as language delayed or even autistic and these diagnoses are alternative ones to the larger sensory integration disorder diagnosis. Many physical therapists and occupational therapists, do not classify children with the sensory integration disorder, without ample observation, in varied settings.

The big issue for many parents is can this child thrive in a society that often has zero tolerance for people who are “different”. Can this child go to school? Interact with other children? Not be a behavior problem? All of these questions run through a parent’s mind, when they think that that there is something “off” with their child.

Schools are not totally insensitive to the inclusion of less than adept students from attending their institutions. Often an IEP (Individual Education Plan) is drawn up clearly delineating goals, and services that will have to be provided this child to achieve these goals. Perhaps the child stutters, or has problems with the pronunciation of certain vowel sounds, and then a language therapist might be assigned to work with this child. Similarly if the child has problems with fine motor skills, an occupational therapist would be assigned to this child.

When the real problems occur, is if the child’s behavior is totally inappropriate for his age level. If he is still wetting himself at the age of 10, during the day, if he routinely bangs his head against the wall, then it is unlikely that a mainstream school is the best place for him. Special education classes have certain criteria for inclusion, if the child does not fit the criteria, often a special school; geared to his “disability” or the parents will opt to try to manage him at home. Sometimes, despite all good intentions, parents often have to make the hard choice to send this child to an institution, in order that the family can remain intact.

Sensory integration disorder children are stressful for the parents to deal with. There are different degrees of sensory integration problems; the more overt the difficulties, the more stressful the lives of the parents can become. By and large, people, even well meaning medical professionals are judgmental to a degree. They want to find out for themselves if their advice is being followed by the parents, they may do surprise visits, if they are a social workers, to assess the degree of compliance by the parents. Their only concern really is the child’s adjustment into a more “normal “existence.

If the issues of sensory integration are not addressed when the child is young, there is a distinct possibility that their sensory integration will only get worse when they mature into adults. There are syndromes that present themselves in adults that have their roots in sensory integration difficulties. Asperger’s syndrome which is characterized by the inability to pick up social clues from those around them is linked to autism and problems in sensory integration.

Often these adults eschew social situations, because they cannot effectively function in them. They intentionally isolate themselves from others in order to have a measure of peace in their lives. They often suffer from sensory overload, and cannot handle too many people or too much noise in their immediate worlds. They generally cannot form close relationships with other people. Because they do not care to and they feel ostracized by others, due to the way they deal with the world. They are of higher than average intelligence, but keep themselves away from others for their protection.

Also check out, “Financial And Community Supports For Children With Autism