Barnsley Aspergers Parents Group -
Newsletter June 2005
Kids Computer Club
The kids loved it! Some were mostly interested in playing games (which is fine, of course), but
it was a great chance for them to spend time with other kids swapping good sites, etc. Others are
more interested in learning to write html and build their own web pages. Whatever works! If
you’d like to book a place for your child(ren) please contact James (see contacts below)
Future Guest Speakers
In the last year we’ve heard from a great range of speakers, including: Educational Psychologists,
Sheffield Hallam Autism Centre, Dietician, Thorne House, Paediatrician, Child Psychiatrist,
Psychologists, and Connexions. Do you have any requests for future speakers? Please let any
of the Steering Group know of your suggestions.
Our Aspergers Library
We’ve added some more books – too many to list here. But they’ll be available at the next
Parents Meeting to browse.
Funworld Play Session
The next session at Funworld is planned for Sat 25th June, 4:00 to 5:30pm. It's open to all the
children of BAPG parents and their friends. The cost is only £2.50 per child. The normal
height restrictions don't apply for this private event. Please note that parents remain responsible
for the children they bring.
In different ways, we’ve probably all experienced the limitations of the local services to help our
children and support us as carers (lack of resources usually being the key). Many of us will have
ideas about what could be done to improve things. For instance, you may have be ideas of how to
improve the delivery of the existing services, or perhaps you know of something available in
other areas which you’d like to see in place here. Do you think BAPG could help? There are
certain grants available that we could apply for to set up something (as other local AS groups
have done), or perhaps by appropriate lobbying we can raise awareness our kids needs. Please
let us know what you think.
Parents Meeting held on 18th May 2005
The speaker at this meting was Dr Ravi, a Consultant Paediatrician. She aimed to offer a
paediatrician’s perspective on Asperger’s Syndrome. She does not have many clients with AS,
as her role is usually confined to diagnostic work-up, rather than ongoing behavioural support.
She recognised that parents have an expertise in their children’s condition, and the weaknesses in
local provision for children with Autistic Spectrum Disorders (‘ASD’). Dr Ravi suggested that
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parents should lobby for improvements, and that they might obtain a better response than the
Commonly Associated Conditions
Epilepsy – also a neurological condition
Other brain dysfunctions eg Fragile X and Retts syndromes.
Dispraxia, tics, ADHD and Tourettes syndrome.
These are a common paediatric problem, and more common where there is a also neurological
problem. It is difficult to generalise, as the issues which affect other children also impact on
children with ASD. The first steps in treatment are to look at sleep hygiene – e.g. bedtime
routines, family behaviours, environmental factors (noise, bedrooms etc)- and then to implement
Medication can be looked at when these methods aren’t successful. Sedatives can have a
short-term effect, but can be paradoxical in children with developmental disorders. Underlying
issues causing sleep problems e.g. anxiety and depression can be treated with medication.
Treatment with the hormone melatonin has been found, in small-scale studies, to help in
normalising sleep patterns, and to help get a child off to sleep. It is less effective where the
problem involves frequent waking. Melatonin has not been sufficiently well researched to
permit it to be licensed, and due to lack of knowledge about long-term effects its use should be
restricted to 6-9 months, with the child’s growth being monitored. It may not be appropriate for
Dr Ravi often sees children whose diet causes problems. Children with ASD often have
restricted diets, and management of this requires an individual approach – sometimes with the
involvement of an educational psychologist or dietician. Sometimes supplements are necessary
to maintain normal development, although a behavioural approach is key to a solution.
Some parents are interested in a gluten-free, casein free diet (gf/cf diet), and there has been some
research suggesting a link between children with autism and dysfunction in the metabolising of
gluten. However this evidence is not considered sufficient to enable NHS staff to prescribe a
gluten-free (or diary-free), diet to children with ASD. Although dieticians can advise parents
whose children’s diet is gluten-free because of coeliac disease, the national policy is that they are
not permitted to give this advice where parents of children with ASD chose to remove gluten
from the child’s diet.
Research is producing encouraging findings relating to the benefit of dietary fish oils in
improving neural networks. Omega 3 has a role in maintaining cell membrane integrity and as a
communication medium between cells. It may help improve behaviour and learning skills, and
helps with the symptoms of AS and ADHD. Long-term safety is not yet established, although
there is no evidence of harm. Some parents at the meeting knew of cases where GPs have
prescribed fish oils.
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Eye-Q is a commonly used brand, but Dr Ravi pointed out that it contains evening primrose oil
which is not recommended for epileptics. Ruth Coppard suggested that any beneficial effect
from fish oils should be apparent within 3-4 weeks.
Dr Ravi does not recommend the use of mega-doses of vitamins – this is sometimes suggested for
Vitamin A and Vitamin B6. There is some evidence that Vitamin B6 (and magnesium) can be
useful for developmental/ neurological problems. Zinc may also be useful, although it is
important to check for age limits.
Normal doses of multi-vitamins were recommended for any child, but particularly those with
limited diets. Dr Ravi felt there was no harm in taking pro-biotics (eg Yakult). She was very
wary of yeast-free or low-sugar diets.
Next Parents Meeting
Wed 15th June, 6:30 to 8:00pm at Priory Campus, Lundwood.
Our guest speaker this month will be Christine Metcalf of Barnsley Parent Partnership. This is an
impartial service funded by the LEA, available locally to parents of children with Special Needs.
Following meetings are planned for every third Wednesday of the month, i.e. 20th July, 17th
August, 21st September, 19th October, 16th November, 7th December 2005.
CONTACT INFORMATION: www.bapg.ik.com
Steering Group: Joanne 01226 380695 or firstname.lastname@example.org, James 792571 or
email@example.com, and June 718019 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
General enquiries to InfoBAPG@aol.com; Comments and contributions to WebEditorBAPG@aol.com;
Membership to JaneChantal@aol.com
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