Autism, Positive Natural Solutions - Part Two
Scientific studies have not found a causal relationship between childhood vaccines and autism, although some parents still feel strongly that this is the case. So it has become an emotional issue in the field of autism.
So while much research has been done at the present time, special education and positive involvement by parents, some lifestyle changes, and a number of therapies, are about the most definite answers for parents who have children with autism.
Television and Children's Cartoons, Movies Some of the other principles on this site may be of help for parents with children who have autism as well. Many children with autism are highly visual. Their minds might process information differently than other children, and might be susceptible to sensory overload much more easily than children without a disorder. The stimulation of television and television cartoons might be something that effects the mind of some children, and parents might consider doing without television and movies as entertainment for children with autism.
Video games, in a way, mirror the thinking that is characteristic of autism, repetitive, sudden stops and starts, for some children. Children in general easily become obsessed and addicted to video games, and some experiences of children with autism, show how the autistic mind can become, like with other children, obsessed with video games.
Some autistic children can become obsessed with numbers, certain subjects in science, the functioning of a specific mechanical device such as a vacuum cleaner. The autistic child needs help to 'come out of his shell,' in some cases, as autism is associated with social withdrawal in some cases.
The electronic world has a tendency for even children without a disorder to crawl into their shell, so, this can be especially true of autistic children. Autistic children also can overreact to loud or sudden noises, it being unbearable for them. TV and movies are filled with such sounds, as well as cartoon violence. This can contribute to sensory overload and make it more difficult for a child with one of the autism spectrum disorders to make progress.
This has been especially so in the past 28 years, since Sesame Street introduced the first children's programming. It was designed to be 'attention grabbing' through rapidly changing 'sound bite' type of visual effects. This is true of children's cartoons today, many of which are also overtly violent or have underlying violence. e.g. Bugs Bunny, with fast-paced, or underlying violence. 8 out of 10 Saturday cartoon characters are said to be violent in one 1994 survey.
And children's program in the past few years has become excessively violent as well as what children are being exposed to through parents and older siblings, programming not necessarily designed for children.
One child with a form of autism was especially attracted to Monsters Inc., and while such children's movies can keep children busy for an hour or two, it might also contribute to confusion in the mind of a child with autism, who might have a more difficult time separating reality and fantasy. So attention to this might be one area where children could benefit from sensory stimulation that is more positive and gentle in nature.
Art and Gentle Music Some educational organizations sponsor art summer camps, which some teachers involved in special education of children with special needs feel is of value in helping autistic children to open up and learn to focus. One such teacher related the story of an autistic boy he taught who he felt benefited from art therapy and who went on to hold a full time job when he grew up. The teacher felt that the art was helpful for the boy to learn to focus. (Paterson, NJ).
Additionally, gentle music in the house or car is of value, rather than highly stimulating music which might also be more than the mind can handle for a child with autism. Some special education classes feature only gentle classical music, which seems to give the children more peace of mind.
* A neurologist or developmental specialist such as a child psychologist should diagnosis autism in children.
Spirituality is also an area of consideration with autism. Attention to spiritual needs of both parents and children is of importance, as is mental and spiritual hygiene. This can help parents to be able to handle the many pressures that come with having an autistic child, to respond positively, as well as helping some autistic children as well. Reading positive and loving, compassionate stories can help some children.
Exercise: Regular exercise for autistic children is also of value, as well as attention to a healthy diet. In one school for handicapped children in Newark, NJ, a swimming pool is part of the program, within the school premises, that provides healthy and gentle stimulation and recreation for autistic children. If it is possible for an autistic child to be taken for regular walks in the park, this also can be of value and calming for the mind.
1. Coalition Against Institutionalised Child Abuse
Behavioural modification vs. medicine
2. Talk About Curing Autism.
Behaviour and teaching methods.
Talk About Curing Autism is a one stop portal for autism related issues.
3. Talk About Curing Autism
Children with autism get day in court
by Andrew Bridges, AP
4. Autism Spectrum Disorders Pervasive Developmental Disorders Department of Health and Human Services National Institute of Health. NIMH. (2004) www.nimh.nih.gov
About the author: John Samuels has taught science and health in the Newark, NJ public school system, as well as worked in special education with autistic and other children with disabilities. He works in public education in Newark and writes on the subject of children's issues and mental health.