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Posts Tagged ‘Autism Awareness Month’

New Health Screening Detects Signs of Autism in Babies

Saturday, April 30th, 2011

Can a simple questionnaire pick up signs of autism in your baby?

A 5-minute screening test could warn you if your baby has any of the signs of autism or autism spectrum disorder, from as early as 12 months of age, which, on the heels of Autism Awareness Month, is good news for parents everywhere.

Scientific study buys parents and children more time to get treatment


Recently, researchers tested a questionnaire designed to diagnose autism on 10,500 children in San Diego, California.

  • The study was led by Dr. Karen Pierce, neuroscientist at the University of San Diego School of Medicine, and involved 137 pediatricians in the San Diego area.
  • Parents who brought their children in for their 12-month checkups were asked to fill out a 24-part survey which inquired about their children’s emotional health, communicational abilities and eye contact.
  • Out of the 10,500 toddlers tested, 32 were diagnosed with autism or autism spectrum disorder.
  • Also, 100 children were diagnosed with language-related disorders or delays.
  • Children whose parents participated in this study were able to begin treatment as early as 19 months of age.
  • According to the Journal of Pediatrics, most children don’t begin to show noticeable signs of autism such as eye contact avoidance until the age of 2 or 3. Another study suggests that autistic children don’t usually get diagnosed before the age of 5 or 6.  This simple checklist means that autistic children will be able to be diagnosed and start receiving therapy for autism as many as 1 to 5 years earlier.

Also read: Support for Parents of Autistic Children

What kinds of questions were used to detect autism?

In this study, parents of toddlers were asked to answer questions such as:

  • Do you know when your child is happy and when your child is upset?
  • Does your child do things just to get you to laugh?
  • Does your child wave to greet people?
  • When you call your child’s name, does he/she respond by looking or turning toward you?
  • Does your child smile or laugh while looking at you?

What symptoms of autism were included in this test?

The checklist given to parents of 1-year-olds was designed to detect autism, autism spectrum disorder, delays in communication and other developmental issues. Symptoms of autism include:

  • difficulty communicating, both verbally and nonverbally
  • low attention span
  • obsessive compulsive behavior, such as fixations on certain objects, repeating words or phrases, body rocking and hand flapping
  • difficulty being in a group or social gathering
  • avoidance of eye contact
  • difficulty bathing, grooming, feeding and dressing oneself

How effective was the survey at diagnosing autism?

According to Dr. Pierce, the survey was wrong only 1 out of 4 times- meaning it was 75% accurate at diagnosing children with autism, autism spectrum disorder or other language problems. Currently, approximately 1 out of every 110 children exhibit some of the symptoms of autism or autism spectrum disorder.

Treatments for autism

Many researchers and physicians confirm that vitamin B12 supplementation is an effective treatment for some of the symptoms of autism, including anxiety, depression and digestive disorders.  Numerous studies have indicated a high correlation between vitamin B12 deficiency and autistic behaviors.

For more information about the benefits of vitamin B12 for treating autism, read: Autism, B12 and Your Child

Also read:

10 Great iPad Apps for Autistic Children

Top 10 Children’s Books Which Raise Autism Awareness

Equine Therapy and Autism: They’re Not Just Horsing Around


US News, WebMD, Businessweek, Wall Street Journal, LA Times, Livestrong

Equine Therapy and Autism: They’re Not Just Horsing Around

Monday, April 18th, 2011

Autistic children who have difficulty interacting with peers have been finding comfort in a radical new therapy: hippotherapy, also referred to as equine (horse) therapy.

Children who have been diagnosed with autism, including Asperger’s Syndrome, are developmentally delayed in many areas, including communication and social interaction.


Support for Parents of Autistic Children

Symptoms of autism include:

  • difficulty communicating, both verbally and nonverbally
  • low attention span
  • obsessive compulsive behavior, such as fixations on certain objects, repeating words or phrases, body rocking and hand flapping
  • difficulty being in a group or social gathering
  • avoidance of eye contact
  • difficulty bathing, grooming, feeding and dressing oneself

What is horse therapy?

Equine therapy and therapeutic riding involve many different types of interactions with a horse or pony under supervision.

  • patients are taught to observe the rhythmic motion of the horse’s gait, which is similar to our own
  • students are taught various sitting positions for horse riding, including sitting upright, laying forward or backward, leaning sideways, riding while standing up in stirrups and riding without holding onto the reins.
  • horse therapy is used by speech-language therapists, occupation therapists and physical therapists to work with autistic children and with teenagers who also have developmental or psychological difficulties

Autism, B12 and Your Child

The philosophy behind horse therapy

Most horse riding camps and equestrian areas offer equine therapy for children who are autistic or otherwise developmentally disabled. Therapists have found that interaction with horses releases a hormone called oxytocin; quite literally, there’s something about the smooth rocking motion of riding on a horse that relieves anxiety.

Autistic children who refuse to look a peer or social worker in the eyes have no qualms about staring a horse in the face while gently petting its bristly mane. For some, communication with horses becomes their first attempt at forming words or phrases.

What are the benefits of horse therapy?

Riding a horse is a multi-sensory experience which has many positive impacts on an autistic child’s physical and emotional development. Some benefits of horse therapy include:

  • relaxing the muscles
  • improved balance
  • increased muscle strength
  • improved hand/eye coordination
  • increased sense of body awareness
  • gives self confidence and control
  • builds communication and socialization skills
  • improves attention span
  • teaches patience
  • increased fine motor skills coordination
  • builds sensory integration

Want to help an autistic child get horse therapy? The Horse Boy Foundation raises funds to send low income families with autistic children to therapeutic riding centers.

Also read:

Celebrities for Autism Awareness Month

10 Great iPad Apps for Autistic Children


The Telegraph, Daily Mail, Healing Thresholds

Celebrities for Autism Awareness Month

Friday, April 8th, 2011

This Autism Awareness Month, celebrities all over Hollywood are doing their part to help fund research for autism; for many celebrities, autism is a personal battle, as some of their own children have been diagnosed with symptoms of autism.

Here is a list of celebrities who have been touched by autism:

Celebrities reaching out to spread autism awareness


Kate Winslet authored a collection of celebrity self-portrait photos by Ben Stiller, Jude Law, Christina AguileraMeryl Streep and many others.  Proceeds from The Golden Hat will go to Winslet’s charity for autism research organization, The Golden Hat Foundation.

CELEBRITIES FOR AUTISM AWARENESS MONTH, WWW.B12PATCH.COMThe Lindt Gold Bunny Celebrity Auction on eBay gave people a chance to bid on a signature porcelain gold bunny signed by one of many celebrities. 100% of proceedings went to Autism Speaks, a non-profit organization which funds research, prevention and awareness efforts for children with autism. Celebrities who contributed include Jennifer Garner, Orlando Bloom, Celine Dion, Gwyneth Paltrow, Reese Witherspoon and many others.

Celebrities who have autistic children

Actress and Playboy model Jenny McCarthy‘s son Evan was diagnosed with autism; McCarthy is an outspoken activist against vaccines, believing that vaccines are responsible for giving her son autism.CELEBRITIES FOR AUTISM AWARENESS MONTH, WWW.B12PATCH.COM

R&B singer Toni Braxton‘s son Diesel was diagnosed with autism; Ms. Braxton is now an advocate for parents of children with autism.

Sylvester Stallone’s son Seargeoh was diagnosed with autism after his father noticed that he was having speech delays. Stallone organised the National Society for Children and Adults with Autism, a foundation for research on autism.

actress Holly Robinson Peete’s son RJ (Rodney Jackson) was diagnosed with autism; she and husband NFL quarterback Rodney Peete have set up HollyRod, a non-profit organization which helps parents of autistic children.

Celebrities who have been diagnosed with autism

Millionaire Bill Gates was diagnosed with Asperger’s as a child; many sufferers of Asperger’s experience social awkwardness but find comfort in focused hobbies such as math and computer science.

CELEBRITIES FOR AUTISM AWARENESS MONTH, WWW.B12PATCH.COMActor Dan Aykroyd, famous for Ghostbusters and his Saturday Night Live skits was diagnosed with Tourette and Asperger’s syndrome. He has spoken openly about the struggles he faced as a child because of his neurological impairments.

Actress Darryl Hannah, best known for her shy, yet demure demeanor in films such as Splash and Blade Runner, was diagnosed as borderline autistic as a small child.

Albert Einstein, renowned genius and world-famous winner of the Nobel Prize in physics, would undoubtedly been diagnosed as a sufferer of Asperger’s had he been born today.

Also read:

This Autism Awareness Month, Embrace a Special Person

10 Great iPad Apps for Autistic Children


Bright Hub, Celebrities with Diseases, Associated Content, Autism Speaks, The Golden Hat Foundation, The Lindt Gold Bunny Celebrity Auction

This Autism Awareness Month, Embrace a Special Person

Friday, April 1st, 2011

April 1, 2011- Director Todd Drezner, in an interview published in today’s  Huffington Post, suggests that for this month of April, Autism Awareness month, we do more than just call attention to autism- that we embrace autism for all its worth.

This Autism Awareness Month, Embrace a Special Person, www.b12patch.com

It’s fair to say that we are all “aware” (a term used all too offhandedly these days) of autism, and most of us know at least a few people who have autistic children or know a functioning autistic adult.  And in case you haven’t noticed, having a child with autism is not the tragedy that anti-vaccination and pro-eugenics activists make it out to be.  Many autistic children amiable, receive plenty of love and attention from their parents, and do reasonably well in school. Not that they have it easy- but neither do all non-autistic children. And there are plenty of functioning autistic individuals who lead happy, meaningful lives.

Take, for example, 12-year-old  Jacob Barnett, diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, who made news recently when he developed his own theory of relativism. With an IQ that soars over Einstein‘s, he taught himself  calculus, algebra, geometry and trigonometry in one week’s time.

Wouldn’t it be convenient, if all pregnant women carrying a fetus determined to be at high risk for autism, could peek into the womb and see if she’s carrying tomorrow’s autistic, yet highly functioning child prodigy genius?

Wouldn’t we all, for that matter?

But that’s not what Autism Awareness month is supposed to be about, says Todd Drezner, who filmed Loving Lampposts, a film about embracing the affectionate nature of autistic children- a film he was inspired to create after his own son was diagnosed with autism.

Loving Lampposts takes a holistic look at autism, acknowledging the trials faced by autistic individuals and their caretakers, but also shining a light on the many ways autistic children have touched lives through acceptance, bare-boned innocence and kindness of nature.

Truly embracing autism goes beyond tolerance (another term we could live without), it means being able to say to an autistic child or adult, “you are special because of your autism” and meaning it.

Learn more about autistic children at Autism Speaks.

If you liked this, you will also like 10 Great iPad Apps for Autistic Children and Autism, B12 and Your Child.

Huffington Post, Daily Mail, CBS News, Fox News, USA Today, Autism Speaks

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