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					 One man is deaf; another is blind
No one alike in the race of mankind
Not one should we judge, whether
  they are wrong or they’re right
 What’s going on may not be what
      we thought at first sight
Look here at this boy, what a sweet
              little grin.
  He’ll push and he’ll pull and will
         wear someone thin
Then an angel shines through with
         a hug and a smile
 Knowing Eric this way makes it all
           worth the while
He’s loving and sweet, kind, funny
             and smart.
Look past autism, and see a kid full
               of heart
   Written by: Lori Schiavone, Our Guardian Angel
                         What is Autism?
• Autism is a complex developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life
• It is widely recognized as a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects the functioning of the brain.
• It is a spectrum disorder
• Children with autism are unable to interpret the emotional states of others, failing to recognize anger, sorrow or
manipulative intent
• It impacts the normal development of the brain in the areas of social interaction and communication skills
• Children and adults with autism typically have difficulties in verbal and non-verbal communication, social interactions,
and leisure or play activities
• Stereotypic (self-stimulatory) behaviors may be present
• In some cases, aggressive and/or self-injurious behaviors might be present
• It is not a behavioral, emotional or conduct disorder
• It is not a mental illness
• There are no medical tests that can be used to diagnose autism
 1 in 1,000 individuals are diagnosed with “classic” autism.
 1 in 500 individuals are within the Autism Spectrum including Pervasive
Developmental Disorders
 1 in 200 individuals are within the Autism Spectrum including both PDD and Asperger’s Syndrome

 Autism is four times more prevalent in boys than girls

 Every day, 53 babies are born in the United States who will later be diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders

 It has no racial, ethnic or social boundaries

 Family income, lifestyle, and educational levels do not affect the chance of autism’s occurrence
 Research shows that 50% of children diagnosed with autism will remain mute throughout their lives.
 Approximately 10% of autistic individuals have savant abilities
         Symptoms of children with autism
        Communication                                                                        Social relationships

                                                                              • Act as if unaware of the coming and going of others
    • Avoid eye contact
                                                                              • Are inaccessible, as if in a shell
    • Act as if deaf
                                                                              • Fail to seek comfort
    • Develop language, then abruptly stop talking
                                                                              • Fail to develop relationships with peers
    • Fail to use spoken language, without compensating by gesture
                                                                              • Have problems seeing things from another person’s perspective, leaving
                                                                              the child unable to predict or understand other people’s actions
                                                                              • Physically attack and injure others without provocation

      Exploration of Environment

•    Remain fixated on a single item or activity
•    Practice strange actions like rocking or hand-flapping
•    Sniff or lick toys
•    Show no sensitivity to burns or bruises, and engage in self-mutilation
•    Are intensely preoccupied with a single subject, activity or gesture
•    Show distress over change
•    Insist on routine or rituals with no purpose
•    Lack fear
What causes autism?
A specific cause is not known, but current research links autism to biological and neurological differences in the
Studies of twins in the UK confirm that autism has a heritable compound but suggest that environmental influences
play a role as well
•By examining the inheritance of the disorder, researchers have shown that autism does run in families, but not in a
clear-cut way
•Siblings of people with autism have a 3 to 8 percent chance of being diagnosed with the same disorder

It can be safely said that:
 Autism is not caused by bad parenting or ‘refrigerator mothers’ as was suggested by psychiatrist Bruno
 Bettelheim in the 1950s.
                      Treating Autism
•Behavioral Interventions – research suggests that early, intensive behavioral interventions may improve
outcomes for children with autism and help the children achieve their maximum potential.

•Sensory Integration – integration and interpretation of sensory stimulation from the environment enhances

•Diet – people with autism are more susceptible to allergies and food sensitivities than the average person.
The most common food sensitivity in children with autism is to gluten and casein.

•Vitamin Therapy – parents have reported that they have tried B6/magnesium and/or DMG, often with
good or even spectacular results.
Teaching Tips for Children with Autism
•Use visuals
•Avoid long strings of verbal instruction
•Encourage development of child’s special talents
•Use child’s fixations to motivate school work
•Use concrete, visual methods to teach number concepts
•Let child use a typewriter instead of writing
•Protect child from sounds that hurt his/her ears
•Place child near a window and avoid using fluorescent lights
•Use weighted vests to calm nervous system
•Interact with child while he/she is swinging or rolled in a mat
•Don’t ask child to look and listen at the same time
•Teach with tactile learning materials (e.g., sandpaper alphabet)
•Use printed words and pictures on a flashcard
•Generalize teaching

To learn more go to
Parenting a Child with a Disability
    •Seek the assistance of other parents
    •Rely on positive resources in your life (e.g., church, counselors)
    •Take it one day at a time
    •Learn the terminology
    •Seek information (e.g., internet, support groups, library)
    •Do not be intimidated
    •Maintain a positive outlook
    •Find programs for your child
    •Take care of yourself
    •Decide how to deal with others
    •Keep daily routines as normal as possible
    •Know that you are not alone
    •Most importantly, keep your sense of humor
Things to watch for in this video:
 •The use of visuals, such as schedule, choice boards, communication books and boards
 •Eye contact
 •Scanning the environment (such as in marching around the room)
 •The use of manipulatives
Imitation and Interaction
    • (Center for the Study of Autism)
    • (Autism Society of America)
    • (Autism Research Institute)
    • (National Institute of Mental Health)
    • (My website with other links)

        •Children with Autism (A parent’s guide) by Michael D. Powers
        •Autism & Pervasive Developmental Disorders by Karyn Seroussi
        •Behavioral Intervention for Young Children with Autism
         (A Manual for Parents and Professionals) by Catherine Maurice
        Visual Strategies for Improving Communication by Linda Hodgdon
        Solving Behavior Problems in Autism by Linda Hodgdon

   Support Groups and Services
         •Saginaw/Bay Autism Society (989) 781-3755
         •Guardian Angel Adult Day and Respite Care (989) 753-0824
         •Children’s Therapy Corner (989) 835-6333
     April Is
Autism Awareness

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