Attention Deficit Information Network Inc A

Parenting Children With Asperger's And High-functioning Autism

Working with Autistic Children

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nonprofit volunteer organization offering information to families of children and adults with ADD, and professionals, through a network of Attention Deficit Information Network (AD-IN) chapters. AD-IN was founded in 1988 by several parent support group leaders. Today it acts as a community resource for information on training programs and speakers for those who work with individuals with ADD.

The organization also presents conferences and workshops for parents and professionals on current issues, research, and treatments for ADD and makes an annual, postsecondary scholarship award. (For contact information see Appendix I.)

Augmentin An antibiotic that combines amoxicillin and clavulanate potassium to treat infections of the lower respiratory tract, middle ear, sinus, skin, and urinary tract caused by certain specific bacteria. Augmentin ES-600 is a stronger, oralsuspension form of the drug that is prescribed for certain stubborn ear infections if previous treatment has failed to clear up the infections in children two and under, or those attending day care.

A doctor should be consulted before giving Augmentin to any child who is allergic to either penicillin or cephalosporin antibiotics in any form. Children who are allergic to penicillin or cephalosporin may also be allergic to Augmentin, and if a reaction occurs it could be extremely severe.

Side Effects

While Augmentin and other penicillin-like medicines are generally safe, anyone with liver, kidney, or blood disorders is at increased risk when using this drug. More common side effects may include diarrhea/loose stools, nausea, skin rashes, and hives.

autism This complex developmental disorder of brain function causes impaired social interaction, problems with verbal and nonverbal communication, and unusual or severely limited activities and interests. symptoms of autism usually appear during the first three years of childhood and continue throughout life. Although there is no cure, appropriate early educational intervention may improve social development and reduce undesirable behaviors.

The result of a neurological communication disorder that affects the functioning of the brain, autism and its associated behaviors have been estimated to occur in an estimated 10 to 20 of every 10,000 people, depending on the diagnostic criteria used. Most estimates that include people with similar disorders are two to three times greater. The condition is four times more common in boys than girls and is not related to race, ethnic origin, family income, lifestyle, or education.

Autism significantly impairs a child's ability to communicate and socialize with others. While severity and symptoms vary according to age, the disorder is significant and sustained. The mildest forms of autism resemble a personality disorder associated with a perceived learning disability. The most severe cases are marked by extremely repetitive, unusual, self-injurious, and aggressive behavior that may persist and prove very difficult to change, posing a tremendous challenge to those who must live with, treat, and teach these individuals.

children with autistic disorder demonstrate little interest in friends or social interactions, often failing to develop verbal and nonverbal communication skills. Typically, these children function at a low intellectual level; most experience mild to severe mental retardation. About half of people with autism score below 50 on IQ tests, 20 percent score between 50 and 70, and 30 percent score higher than 70. However, estimating IQ in young children with autism is often difficult because problems with language and behavior can interfere with testing.

However, this is by no means true for all individuals with autistic disorder; the condition may be accompanied by average or strong abilities in an isolated area such as reading or computation. A small percentage of people with autism are savants, with limited but extraordinary skills in areas like music, mathematics, drawing, or visualization.

During the course of childhood and adolescence, children with this condition usually make some developmental gains. Those who show improvement in language and intellectual ability have the best overall outlook. Although some individuals with autism are able to live with some measure of partial independence in adulthood, very few are able to live entirely on their own.

Cause

Autism impacts the normal development of the brain in the areas of social interaction and communication skills. Although a single specific cause of autism is not known, current research links autism to biological or neurological differences in the brain.

studies of people with autism have found abnormalities in several regions of the brain, including the cerebellum, amygdala, hippocampus, septum, and mamillary bodies. Neurons in these regions appear smaller than normal and have stunted nerve fibers, which may interfere with nerve signaling. These abnormalities suggest that autism results from disruption of normal brain development early in fetal development. other studies suggest that people with autism have abnormalities of serotonin or other neurotransmit-ters in the brain. However, these findings are preliminary and require further study.

In a few cases, disorders such as fragile x syndrome, tuberous sclerosis, untreated phenylketonuria (PKU), and congenital German measles cause autistic behavior. other disorders, including tourette's syndrome, learning disability, and attention deficit disorder often occur with autism but do not cause it. While people with schizophrenia may show some autistic-like behavior, their symptoms usually do not appear until the late teens or early adulthood. Most people with schizophrenia also have hallucinations and delusions, which do not occur in autism.

in many families there appears to be a pattern of autism or related disabilities—which suggests that there is a genetic basis to the disorder. Although at this time no gene has been directly linked to autism, researchers have identified a number of genes that may play a role in the disorder. scientists think that the genetic basis is complex and probably involves several combinations of genes.

Scientists estimate that in families with one autistic child, the risk of having a second child with the disorder is about one in 20, which is greater than the risk for the general population. In some cases, parents and other relatives of an autistic person show mild social, communicative, or repetitive behaviors that allow them to function normally but appear to be linked to autism. Evidence also suggests that some emotional disorders occur more frequently than average in families of people with autism.

Autism is NoT a mental illness or a behavior problem, and it is not caused by bad parenting. No known psychological factors in the development of the child have been shown to cause autism.

Symptoms

Characteristics of autism can appear in a wide variety of combinations from mild to severe, but the primary feature of autism is impaired social interaction. Although autism is defined by a certain set of behaviors, children and adults can exhibit any combination of behaviors in any degree of severity. Two children with the same diagnosis can act very differently from one another and have varying skills.

Children and adults with autism typically have problems in verbal and nonverbal communication, social interactions, and leisure or play activities.

• Communication Language develops slowly or not at all; uses words without attaching the usual meaning; communicates with gestures instead of words; short attention span

• Social interaction Spends time alone rather than with others; shows little interest in making friends; less responsive to social cues such as eye contact or smiles

• Sensory impairment May have overly sensitive sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste

• Play Lack of spontaneous or imaginative play; does not imitate others or initiate pretend games

• Behavior May be overactive or very passive; throw tantrums for no apparent reason; show an obsessive interest in a single item, idea, activity, or person; lack common sense, show aggression, often has difficulty with changes in routine.

The disorder makes it hard for children to communicate with others and relate to the outside world. There may be repeated body movements (hand flapping, rocking), unusual responses to people or attachments to objects, and resistance to changes in routines. In some cases, there may be aggressive or self-injurious behavior. Autism may affect a child's range of responses and make it more difficult to control how their bodies and minds react. Sometimes visual, motor, or processing problems make it hard for these children to maintain eye contact, and some use peripheral vision rather than looking directly at others. Sometimes touching or being close to others may be painful to a person with autism. Because they cannot make sense of the world in a normal way, people with autism may experience anxiety, fear, and confusion.

In addition, people with autism may have other disorders that affect brain function, such as epilepsy, mental retardation, down syndrome or genetic disorders such as fragile x syndrome or tourette's syndrome.

Symptoms in many children with autism improve with treatment or age. Some people with autism eventually lead normal or near-normal lives. The teen years may worsen behavior problems in some children with autism, who may become depressed or increasingly unmanageable. Parents should be ready to adjust treatment for their child's changing needs.

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