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Category Archives: Advice for Parents of Autistic Children

Special Outdoor Leisure Activities

SOLO provides outdoor winter educational and recreational opportunities for persons with disabilities from St. Joseph County, Indiana in an effort order to:

  • Encourage independence and increase participation in family and community leisure opportunities
  • Educate the community regarding the capabilities of and opportunities for persons with disabilities
Skiing offers a freedom of movement that most persons with disabilities have never experienced. At the same time, it creates an overwhelming sense of accomplishment and unsurpassed confidence. A person who has difficulty walking will find themselves gliding smoothly down the hill with a new found poise and agility.

We welcome both adults and children at least 8 years of age to join us. SOLO is open to students with physical, visual, auditory, or significant mental impairments

Monday, December 1, 2014   6-7 pm
Logan Center   2505 E. Jefferson Blvd, South Bend
Membership and orientation meeting.  All students, families and volunteers should attend. Learn about SOLO’s plan for this year and vote to elect SOLO Board of Directors.

Monday, December 15, 2014   6-7 pm
Logan Center   2505 E. Jefferson Blvd, South Bend
Exercise and training session for students and volunteers. Student registration and medical forms must be turned in by this date.

Monday, December 22, 2014   7-9 pm
Swiss Valley Ski Area   Jones, MI
If Swiss Valley is open, we will conduct an on-slope training session for all new and returning volunteers, which will introduce you adaptive training tools and techniques, and allow volunteers to practice using them. If Swiss Valley is not open yet, alternate date is Monday, December 29, 2014.

Saturday, January 3, 2015   9-10:30 am
Rum Village Park   South Bend, IN
First session for the cross-country skiing and snowshoeing program. There will be a training session for new nordic volunteers immediately following the ski session. The program will run for 6 consecutive weeks. If there is not enough snow, we will do an alternate activity like hiking.

Monday, January 5, 2015   6-10 pm
Swiss Valley   Jones, MI
First session for the downhill skiing program. The program will run for 6 consecutive weeks, unless there is a cancellation due to weather conditions, in which case the program will be extended an additional week. All students and volunteers are welcome to ride the bus that leaves from and returns to Memorial’s Lighthouse Place (Medpoint) in Granger. Call the Snow Line at 574-245-9634 to make sure we are skiing.

 

To learn more click here!

2014 Northern Indiana Autism Expo

The Autism Society of Indiana’s annual Northern Indiana Autism Expo is Saturday, October 25th from 10:00 a.m. till 1:00 p.m. in Mishawaka, Indiana. The expo will take place at Windsor Park Conference Center at 4020 Edison Lakes Parkway, Mishawaka, Indiana.

The expo is free to attend and will feature different exhibitors from across the state providing information, resources and entertainment regarding the happenings of Autism in the state of Indiana. There will be a variety of activities to do and items to buy!

To register for the free event click here.

The Top 9 Signs Your Infant May Have Autism

1.) Lack of smiling

Does your child smile back at you when you give her a warm, joyful smile? Does your child smile on her own? By the age of six months, your infant should be giving you big smiles or happy expressions.

2.) Rare Imitation of Social Cues

Does your child imitate the sounds and movements of others? Does he share expressions back and forth? Infrequent imitation of sounds, smiles, laughter, and facial expressions by 9 months of age can be an early indicator of autism.

3.) Delay in Babbling and Cooing

Is your child making “baby talk” and babbling or cooing? Does she do it frequently? Your baby should typically reach this milestone by 12 months.

4.) Unresponsiveness to Name

Is your baby increasingly unresponsive to his or her name from 6 to 12 months of age? Parents who see this in their child are often concerned it may be hearing loss and are unaware it can be a sign of autism. If you see this behavior in your child, be sure to monitor the signs and consult a doctor

5.) Poor Eye Contact

Does your child make limited eye contact with you and other loved ones? Does he follow objects visually? Severe lack of eye contact as the baby grows can be an early indicator, as it is a form of communication and comprehension.

6.) Infrequently Seeking Attention

Does your son initiate cuddling or make noises to get your attention? Does he reach up toward you to be picked up? Disinterest in seeking a loved one’s attention or bonding is a sign your baby may eventually have difficulty relating to others, which can be a struggle for those on the spectrum as they grow up.

7.) Lack of Gesturing

Does your son gesture at objects or people to communicate? Does he wave goodbye, point, or reach for things? This is a milestone that is typically reached by 9 or 10 months old.

8.) Repetitive Behaviors

Does your child engage in repetitive behaviors such as stiffening his arms, hands, or legs?
Does he display unusual body movements like rotating his hands on his wrists? Does he sit or stand in uncommon postures?

9.) Delayed Motor Development

Has your daughter experienced significant delays in motor development milestones, such as rolling over, pushing herself up, and crawling?

Beware of False or Misleading Claims for Treating Autism

April is National Autism Awareness Month, a fitting time to think about the growing need for concern and awareness about autism.

One thing that is important to know up front: There is no cure for autism. So, products or treatments claiming to “cure” autism do not work as claimed. The same is true of many products claiming to “treat” autism. Some may carry significant health risks.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) plays an important role in warning these companies against making false or misleading claims.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), about 1in 68 children has been identified with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). ASDs are reported to occur in all racial, ethnic and socioeconomic groups, and are almost five times more common among boys (1 in 54) than among girls (1 in 252).

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) describe autistic children as having difficulties with social interaction, displaying problems with verbal and nonverbal communication, exhibiting repetitive behaviors and having narrow, obsessive interests. These behaviors can range in impact from mild to disabling.

“Autism varies widely in severity and symptoms,” says Amy Taylor, M.D., M.H.S., a pediatrician at FDA. “Existing autism therapies and interventions are designed to remedy specific symptoms and can bring about improvement,” she adds.

In addition, FDA has approved medications that can help some people manage related symptoms of ASD. For example, the FDA has approved the use of antipsychotics such as risperidone and aripripazole to treat children 5 or 6 years of age and older who have severe tantrums or aggression and self-injurious behavior. Before using any behavioral intervention or drug therapy (prescription or over-the-counter), check with your health care professional.

The Association for Science in Autism Treatment (ASAT), a not-for-profit organization of parents and professionals committed to improving the education, treatment, and care of people with autism, says that since autism was first identified, there has been a long history of failed treatments and fads.

According to Gary Coody, R.Ph., FDA’s national health fraud coordinator, the agency has warned a number of companies that they are facing possible legal action if they continue to make false or misleading claims about products and therapies claiming to treat or cure autism. Some of these so-called therapies carry significant health risks and include:

  • “Chelation Therapies.” These products claim to cleanse the body of toxic chemicals and heavy metals by binding to them and “removing” them from circulation. They come in a number of forms, including sprays, suppositories, capsules, liquid drops and clay baths. FDA-approved chelating agents are approved for specific uses, such as the treatment of lead poisoning and iron overload, and are available by prescription only. FDA-approved prescription chelation therapy products should only be used under medical supervision. Chelating important minerals needed by the body can lead to serious and life-threatening outcomes.
  • Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy. This involves breathing oxygen in a pressurized chamber and has been cleared by FDA for certain medical uses, such as treating decompression sickness suffered by divers. It has not been cleared for autism, among other conditions.
  • Miracle Mineral Solution. Also known as Miracle Mineral Supplement and MMS, this product becomes a potent chemical that‘s used as bleach when mixed according to package directions. FDA has received reports of consumers who say they experienced nausea, severe vomiting and life-threatening low blood pressure after drinking the MMS and citrus juice mixture.
  • Detoxifying Clay Baths. Added to bath water, these products claim to draw out chemical toxins, pollutants and heavy metals from the body, falsely offering “dramatic improvement” for autism symptoms.
  • Coconut kefir and other probiotic products. These marketed products claim to treat autism and gastrointestinal illnesses associated with autism. They have not been proven safe and effective for these advertised uses.

Coody offers some quick tips to help you identify false or misleading claims.

  • Be suspicious of products that claim to treat a wide range of diseases.
  • Personal testimonials are no substitute for scientific evidence.
  • Few diseases or conditions can be treated quickly, so be suspicious of any therapy claimed as a “quick fix.”
  • So-called “miracle cures,” which claim scientific breakthroughs and secret ingredients, may be a hoax.

The bottom line is this—if it’s an unproven or little known treatment, talk to your health care professional before buying or using these products.

This article appears on FDA’s Consumer Updates page, which features the latest on all FDA-regulated products.