Movie theaters around the country are now welcoming Asperger’s and autistic customers. Traditionally movie theaters can be over-stimulating and confining for people with Asperger’s and autism. These Asperger’s and autism inviting movie theaters schedule monthly sensory-friendly movie showings. During these showings the lights stay on and the sound stays low.
Nearly 20% (1 in 5) of high school age boys in the United States and 11% of school aged children overall have received a medical diagnosis of ADHD according to new data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These rates reflect a marked rise over the last decade. Check back tomorrow for the surprising statistics.
SOCIAL CHALLENGES and LONELINESS – Some kids have a hard time in large groups and/or making friends. If this is the case for your child, the school day can be a place of isolation, awkwardness and sadness. It makes sense for one to hate being trapped 6 hours a day in a place that feels so awful.
There are many ways certain theater productions are becoming Asperger’s and autism – friendly. They welcome these patrons and address the sensory overload that usually would deter people with sensory problems from attending. Theaters keep the house lights on but just dimmed. The play’s noise is reduced. Actors are introduced to the audience out-of-character before the show begins. Audience members have stress balls to squeeze during the performance. People with Asperger’s or autism are free to get up and move around during the show. If the music feels too overwhelming, they can escape to a designated quiet room. Some shows offer a downloadable book telling them about the show before the day of the performance so they will know what to expect ahead of time.
A great pleasure in life is having your student do what others including the know-it-all “experts” say your student cannot do.
Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.
Students with Asperger’s or autism commonly experience anxiety. They can be overwhelmed by the world around them. Many have sensory problems in which they feel, hear, and see more sharply. For example a doorbell might sound like a cannon and a clothing label may feel like a porcupine. This can easily lead to stress.
Slowing down, limiting stimuli, and training to better handle sensory stimulation can make a big difference for people with these challenges research suggests. In future Y3K Tutor In Your Home Blog posts, we will offer advice on how to limit stimuli at home by creating a calming environment and how to better deal with situations traditionally over-stimulating such as at a theater. If you have suggestions of what did or did not work for your child, please share with us so that we may post to help thousands of parent readers.
Intensive early behavioral therapy may normalize the brain activity in children with autism when they look at faces and improve their social skills according to a recent study. This is on top of what was previously known that it could help develop language and thinking skills. Researchers looked at 48 autistic children between 18 and 30 months. Half of the children were treated with a new type of therapy called Early Start Denver Model for 20 hours per week for 2 years. After 2 years, researchers used electroencephalograms to measure the brain activity of the children with autism as well as of children without autism while they watched faces and toys. The majority of autistic children treated with the Early Start Denver Model showed greater brain activation when looking at faces rather than objects (a response common to children without autism). The opposite was found among the kids with autism who received other interventions.
The autistic children with increased brain activity at the sight of faces also had better social and behavioral skills. The study is the first to find underlying changes in brain function along with behavioral changes after early therapy. The full study can be found in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, November 2012.
By now you have probably heard the rumor that childhood vaccines can cause autism. Lets take a closer look at how this idea came about. In 1998 a British gastroenterologist published a paper in a medical journal theorizing a link between the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine and autism. His research was based on interviews with parents based on TWELVE children!! The press ran away with the story that vaccines cause autism.
Since this global panic, a mercury-based preservative thimerosal has been removed from all vaccines. This was to just to be safe just in case the observed autism was in fact mercury poisoning. Throughout the past decade there have been dozens of studies that have collectively drawn on data from millions of children. These studies have consistently found no connection between vaccines and autism. In 2010 the original British medical journal retracted their original 1998 paper and the UK’s General Medical Council revoked the British gastroenterologist’s medical license.
Although we recommend all children get vaccines as scheduled there are still a few parents that swear that it was in fact vaccines that caused their child’s autism. What do you think? Please share your experiences and thoughts with us.
Tourette’s syndrome is commonly misunderstood to be a behavioral or emotional condition. It really is a neurological condition.