Asperger's and Autism
If you're noticing your child isn't reaching age-appropriate milestones or is reaching them much later than is considered "normal," seek the advice of a professional.
Autism is a broad spectrum of related disorders and Asperger's is considered an autism-spectrum disorder. Autism is a developmental disorder that affects communication and social skills and usually presents with an IQ below 70.
Asperger's is related, but communication and language skills are not affected and can in fact exceed peers by several grade levels. However, children with Asperger's still have some inappropriate or "delayed" social skills.
- Inappropriate emotions in social situations, such as shying away from a high-five after a basketball game
- Narrowed interests in a specific topic such as baseball statistics, the weather or dinosaurs
- Clumsiness and poor coordination, such as a noted delay in learning to ride a bike
- Difficulty changing voice volume in different situations
- Not reaching developmental milestones
- More on behaviors
Genes, environment, physical activity and diet have all been put forth as possible causes. However, new research may indicate environmental factors and a brain disconnection. According to Dr. Melillo, a Functional Disconnection Syndrome (FDS) causes Asperger's. Genes are turned "off" and need training to be switched "on."
In his research, factors that negatively influence brain development and cause FDS are a lack of physical activity, obesity, environmental toxins, poor nutrition and a stressful pregnancy. It's important to reiterate that vaccinations have been shown by research study after research study not to be implicated as a cause of autism. In fact, the researcher who originally suggested this link has been discredited and stripped of his medical license.
Consult with a professional from your child's school or your pediatrician if you suspect Autism or one of its related disorders. They will be able to guide you about how to get an evaluation and what resources might be available. Ensure the professional is an expert in diagnosing autistic disorders.
Schools are mandated to customize your child's education to help your child succeed when a diagnosis is made and you do not have to move your child to a new school unless you want to. Many small changes can be made to aid in the success of your child and help control negative behaviors.
These accommodations might include activity breaks, a sensory diet if they have sensory integration issues, visual aids for class work and daily schedules, small group (rather than large group) work, an individual aide to assist in behavioral outbursts and sitting near the teacher to be close to materials.
Educate yourself and family members on Asperger's with online resources.
Dr. Melillo's program helps parents develop skills to meet the needs of their child. Reconnected Kids' focus is to turn "on" the genes stuck in the "off" mode through cognitive, physical and dietary changes. Treatment options include social skills training, cognitive behavioral therapy, occupational and physical therapy, and speech and language therapy. Empowerment is key to helping your child.
Six tips to remember
- Watch for milestones
- Seek professional help for diagnosis
- Educate yourself and family members
- Collaborate with teachers
- Connect with support groups
- Attend programs focused on family approach
Read more on autism
Special diets for special kids: Autism and casein- & gluten free diets
Signs of autism and everyday life with an autistic child
10 Things you should know about autism