10 Helpful Resources for Parents of Children with Autism

posted in: Autism | 0

The information contained within this blog post was shared with us by the parent of a current client, “Eric.” Eric was referred to Atlanta Speech Therapy for an evaluation due to a significant loss of words and a regression in social behavior, occurring just before his 2nd birthday, after a bout with RSV.

Though there wasn’t a formal diagnosis, his parents and the assessing therapist observed many red flags associated with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). With the staggering statistic of 1 in 68 children being diagnosed with  ASD, Eric’s parents wasted no time putting the wheels in motion.

Armed with information gathered from Atlanta Speech Therapy’s speech-language assessment and their own behavioral observations, Eric’s parents were very aggressive in establishing a regimen of treatment, which included speech therapy, applied behavior analysis therapy (ABA), special instruction (Babies Can’t Wait), hyperbaric oxygen therapy, and dietary interventions (beyond omitting processed foods, gluten and milk, but included consumption of organic, use of supplements, enzymes, oils, etc.).

Eric’s parents’ belief happens to be, while behavioral therapy is necessary, biomedical and other alternative interventions are worth the effort. Here are the resources Eric’s mom shared with us:

AUTISM RESOURCES

  • M-CHAT, the Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers is a validated developmental screening tool for toddlers between 16 and 30 months of age. It is designed to identify children who may benefit from a more thorough developmental and autism evaluation.
  • TacaNow (Talk About Curing Autism) is where you can find tons of information in forums, parent mentors, and coffee talks with local members. Be sure to check out the Autism Journey Blueprints of dietary intervention, education, finance and more! Additional family resources are helpful as well.
  • Autism Research Institute says dietary intervention is a cornerstone of an evidence-based medical approach and there is convincing empirical evidence that supports the theory of special diets help many with autism. Read Tips for Implementing Dietary Interventions.
  • Nancy Kale is the grandmother of a child with autism, who personally answers questions with a great deal of information via the Autism Research Institute Helpline  Tel:866-366-3361
  • Central Auditory Processing Disorder is a commonly occurring diagnosis made in addition with ASD. TacaNow explains symptoms, testing, and treatment for CAPD.
  • Auditory Integration Therapy involves training centers of the brain, using modulated music tones and frequencies to help those with ADHD, ADD, dyslexia, hearing sensitivities, autism, developmental delays, poor concentration, and a variety of other special needs. There are several programs to choose from. Atlanta Speech Therapy is certified provider of The Listening Program.
  • Centers for Disease Control outlines all approaches of treatment for ASD on their website.
  • Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy may improve stereotypical behaviors, impairments in communication, sensory perception, social interaction and several medical conditions found commonly in children with ASD such as neuroinflammation and gastrointestinal inflammation, immune dysregulation, oxidative stress, etc. Read more via the National Institute of Health.
  • Gut Metabolism Affects Brain Function, as explained by Contemporary Pediatrics, some bacteria within the gut of children with ASD excrete chemicals or metabolites which upset the body’s imbalance, including brain function.
  • Autism Nagivator provides information related to the core diagnostic features of autism, the critical importance of early detection and intervention, and information relevant to the prevalence in the form of a video presentation. Sign up to launch these features.

ERIC’S PROGRESS
Results of Eric’s speech-language evaluation revealed mild delays in pragmatics and moderate delays in play, language comprehension and expression, as determined by the Rossetti Infant-Toddler Language Scale.  At the time of evaluation, Eric sparingly  used a limited number of words, he did not respond to his name, eye contact was fleeting, joint attention was not evident, object fixation was demonstrated (ie. lining up, carrying pairs), an absence of pretend play, and he did not engage with peers or his sibling appropriately, if at all.

Eric’s mom happens to be a pediatrician and will tell you, most of what she learned in medical school related to the treatment of autism is not the be all end all. Standard medical books classify ASD as a psychological disorder and heavily emphasizes the use of behavioral therapy. Eric’s mom has concluded, while speech, ABA, and other modifications are necessary, they should not be your single means of intervention. We agree!

As of today, with the use of therapeutic and biomedical interventions, Eric has made significant progress in communication and interaction in 3 short months! He no longer requires consistent hand-over-hand (using picture exchange & signs) cues to make requests and is doing so using verbal approximations, signs and a single-message alternative augmentative communication device (AAC) when modeled or prompted during structured activities. Use of words have also been reported to occur increasingly spontaneously. Other significant improvements include eye contact, joint attention, appropriate use of objects and toys, imitation of environmental sounds and increasing response to his name and independently joining peers in play. Re-evaluation using the Rossetti Infant-Toddler Scale revealed a 3-6 month improvement in all areas of moderate delay!

In recent weeks, Eric’s parents have began to gather samples of bodily secretions for biomedical testing after a visit to a renown autism researcher, Dr. Jeff Bradstreet. They were instructed to temporarily omit supplements and other dietary interventions in order to gather clean, untainted samples.  During this period of time, when Eric was not participating in his usual dietary interventions, there was a notable decline in  speech-language goal achievement as compared to  previous weeks.  Once all samples were gathered, Eric was put back on his usual regimen.  Within a week, he regained the skills he was already known to have and started demonstrating new forms of social interaction with peers. Coincidence? We don’t think so.

Do you have a child with Autism? What has been successful for him/her?