“The best way out is alw…

“The best way out is always through”

Written by Robert Frost. In order to conquer every trial and tribulation you come against, you must face them head on.

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Understanding Sensory Integration Disorder

The slightest change in our brain processes can influence how we manage things that come into the brain, and are then processed. It is a neurological disorder that affects daily living, academic progress and social interaction. Some of the signs that you may see in a child with SID are:

– acute awareness of background noises

– fascination with lights, fans, water

– hand flapping/ repetitive movements

– spinning items, taking things apart

– walking on tip-toe

– little awareness of pain or temperature

– difficulty with transition

– self-injury, or aggression

– fearful in space (ie on swings, seesaws or heights)

– avoidance of physical contact with people or certain textures

– child may have a short attention span and becomes easily distracted

– may react strongly to stimuli on face, hands and feet

– A strong dislike of certain grooming activities

– unusually sensitive to sounds and smells

– frequently adjusts clothing (ie socks, pant legs)

Some of these things effect Malik now, some in the past, and I’m sure some are still to come. Right now the things that I currently deal with and make me nervous are the fact that Malik does not feel pain (or if he does, it is very little) or temperature. It doesn’t seem to matter how cold or hot something is, whether it is food, water or temperature outside. They have no effect on Malik. As well as pain, I can count on one hand where I actually can remember him crying out because something “hurt” him. Even then, I wonder if he was reacting to the shock, more so than actual physical pain. There is minor self-mutilation. Malik out of frustration and over stimulation bites his right hand, and has for about two years. I really hope that there isn’t any permanent damage from this. Living in Las Vegas makes his light obsession a little hard. He wants to stop and STARE at any moving or flashing lights and brushing his teeth is a serious daily task.

So what can be done to help with this overload that our kids are experiencing? We need to help them get to a better place where there is less sensory over load. This can be done by providing vestibular and proprioceptor input. Swinging and bouncing are two very simple ways to provide vestibular input. Malik has a therapy swing in his room that his Mimi (grandma) bought for him a few years ago, as well as a trampoline in the back yard. He started on a little mini one in his room because he was so small, and now has graduated to the large one in the back yard. Another request that Malik makes often is water play. Whether its going swimming, playing with the hose in the back yard, or as simple as a bath, all of these forms will help him get the proprioceptor input that he needs.

Malik is my little cuddle bear. He loves to receive compressions, especially when trying to fall asleep. Needless to say, him and Mommy sleep together a lot.

If you need ideas on how to help regulate your child with SID let me know, I’d love to help.

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“Hope is like the sun, w…

“Hope is like the sun, which, as we journey towards it, casts the shadow of burden behind us”

When dealing with your child and ASD, there are many milestones that you must go thru on your road to recovery. As every step is accomplished, you can put it in the past and no longer have to think of it as a struggle you and your child must over come.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Special Diets

Malik eats a very selective diet. He is very sensitive to textures, so it makes his food choices a little difficult. He is definitely a protein boy. If he could, he would eat it all day. His diet consists of any kind of cooked turkey sausage, peanut butter and jellies, fig newtons, Z bars, some cookies, and a few other items once in while. This lack of variety makes it very difficult for him to get his vitamins and nutrients. Which makes for a weak immune system and susceptible to being sick often.

They recommend a GFCF (gluten-free, casein free) diet for kids on the spectrum. This means that the selection of allowable foods is very limited. Gluten is in more than you think and having your child on this type of diet is both time-consuming and expensive.

First I’d like to explain what gluten is and what effects it has on the brain. Gluten is the binding agent found in processed foods from wheat and related grains. It provides elasticity and allows products to rise. It’s reported that over 1% of the population suffers from a gluten intolerance, known as Celiac Disease. It is considered to be the most common human affliction, yet is very often misdiagnosed. People with a gluten intolerance, when it is introduced into the body,  causes neurological dysfunction, lack of focus, memory loss, chronic headaches and developmental delays.

Casein is the main protein that is found in both milk and cheeses. It is found in mammals milk. Research shows that people with ASD have an abnormal immune response to the protein in casein.

After researching a great deal, we decided to try the GFCF diet for Malik. We had read stories about how non-verbal children after weeks, even days some times had just blurted out sentences. First week passed, and I waited. They said that if the child didn’t respond to the diet within 4-6 weeks, then there wasn’t a gluten intolerance. Unfortunately after 6 weeks of trying and no words from Malik, we took him off the diet.

Don’t let our outcome keep you from trying the GFCF diet with your child. I’ve heard of some people having amazing outcomes with their children. If you need any ideas, recipes or names of some excellent products let me know and I can steer you in the right direction. 

 

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“Storms makes oaks take …

“Storms makes oaks take roots”

Proverb. Only the strong, who are willing to hold on tight can weather the storm of life. The storms that my life has put me through have made me a very strong individual.

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My little “Weather man”

The correlation of the changing weather and my sons behaviors wasn’t clear to me right away. There was such an increase in the amount of vocal stemming, later bedtimes, more aggressive  behavior and he just seemed very unsettled. These behaviors were occurring right before a storm hit and would last as long as the storm did. So for anyone who knows me, that’s right Google :-). Even though it seemed as though there were no exact answers, I saw many stories of parents having similar difficulties with their Autistic children when a storm was going to hit.  Because Autism is neurological, it only made sense that the change in barometric pressure would affect my son. Depending on how instantaneous the drop in pressure was, determined how much my son was effected.

Every child is different and they find comfort in different things. Some of the things that help Malik calm down and allow me to get to bed before 4am on stormy nights are:

– Lavender baths

– Calming Cd’s

– Favorite movies

– Low, to no lighting

– Foot massage

– Squeezing and applying pressure to all limbs and head (if in the mood :-))

Another treatment that I have heard about, but it is not covered by my insurance is Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatments. These are where you are placed in a chamber where the oxygen inside is at a greater level of concentration. Since 75% of autistic children are said to have hypofusion (reduced blood flow to the brain), you can see how treatments with higher levels of concentration could be helpful. This treatment allows more oxygen to transfer to the tissues, and most importantly the brain. Sessions average $200 per hour and they are recommending anywhere from 20-40 sessions. So obviously a very costly treatment, but if it truly works in helping our children, then it’s worth it!

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“The best way to predict…

“The best way to predict your future is to create it”

The Author of this quote is unknown. It has always been one of my absolute favorites. The truth about having children with disabilities is that it makes things more challenging and difficult to deal with, but I focus on the positive. My kids are so happy, healthy, absolutely gorgeous little people..the best thing that ever happened to me. We make everything an adventure 🙂

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