Patients often ask me why other medical disciplines are not looking into these types of concepts such as neuroplasticity. In fact, they are, it will just take a while for these types of approaches to become more mainstream. This link will connect you to a post that is a little bit ” thick ” in that it may be difficult to understand, however it does show how others are using the concepts of neuroplasticity, right and left hemisphere, and primitive brain and Neo cortex. It is not specifically regarding autism and the spectrum or Hemispheric Integration Therapy however I wanted you all to see that others are grabbing these concepts from neuroscience and attemping to apply them.
Although our greatest notoriety is for treating children with autism, many don’t realize that we treat more high functioning children with conditions such as A.D.D /A.D.H.D and learning disabilities including dyslexia. Whenever I can find free help for families out there with a need, I am happy to share that information. That may include resources such as governmental and not profit organizations and/or parents, blogs with tips. This link will take you to an article with information relating to the American Dyslexia Association located in Sarasota. I hope this will benefit readers of this site.
Here is the link to an editorial regarding children on the autism spectrum and bullying in schools. This is a negative aspect of life but is something that is realistically occurring and parents as well as others need to be made aware of the situation. On the positive front, this article shows that there is more awareness regarding this subject and that possible legislation and political pressures are coming to bear on the situation. My hope with this post is to perhaps open some eyes regarding this subject and possibly motivate the more politically active to follow-up with what is going on in Massachusetts. Here is the link
My name is Melissa Winter, and my oldest child is Autistic.
We were lucky enough to find an amazing school for him and he is thriving! He and so many other children like him are able to learn how to function despite the barriers of Autism because of centers like the one we found.
I am passionate about the work being done in the world of Autism and wanted to be able to make a difference, so I designed this glass puzzle piece necklace to help do just that. (See picture attached) A portion of our profits will be donated to The Slomin Family Center For Autism and Related Disabilities; http://dreambuilderscampaign.com and to Autism Speaks; www.autismspeaks.org
The wholesale price of our necklace is $10.00, with the suggested retail price of $20.00. Your school makes a $10.00 profit from every necklace sold! Not many fundraisers offer this kind of return! Please share this with your PTA President and the sponsors of any other club within your school that would participate in fundraising.
Please visit our website to learn more about “The Puzzling Piece” and how we can help your school grow too. www.thepuzzlingpiece.com. I can be reached for further information at 201-602-0547 or my e-mail address is email@example.com.
“The Puzzling Piece” reminds me that I am not alone, and that we all can make a difference! There are so many pieces to the puzzle of Autism. Our necklace represents one of those pieces, and specifically how important all the pieces are.
I look forward to talking with you and exploring how “The Puzzling Piece” can be a “piece” in your school’s fundraising plan.
It’s not just art; it’s a statement!
The Puzzling Piece
This is the case of a six-year-old child who presented with a diagnosis of Asperger’s syndrome. He is also hyperactive. He has tantrums and can become aggressive. He has difficulty with social situations. He can be very intelligent in particular with regard to things that he enjoys such as dinosaurs and maps. He is a picky eater. He has some sensitivity to sounds and dysgraphia.
Incidentally noted was a misalignment of the eyes. But was this misalignment of the eyes really just an incidental finding or was it really a great clue as to where this child’s functional lesion originated from. We know that the number one comorbidity associated with autism spectrum disorders is in coordination. We know that the cerebellar and vestibular systems are intimately involved with balance and coordination. We see that many children on the autism spectrum in fact do have functional vestibular lesions as part of their problem and presentation.
So we can evaluate the child’s neurologic system as well as his vestibular system? Here are some things that we might look for . Are his eyes misaligned at rest? Is there any change in the alignment of his eyes with eye movement? Is there any involuntary movement of his eyes? Are his eye movements smooth and not ratchet like? Is his head tilted or rotated? Does the tilt and/or rotation improve when he closes his eyes? Does the child get dizzy easily? If you spin him in various directions, does he have an appropriate vestibular response?
By assessing function and determining where the issue lies, we can begin to formulate a treatment plan that will stimulate that pathway that is under functioning using the concepts of neural plasticity. In this case, we determined that the muscle was functionally short. We determined that there was an issue with the neurologic feedback system and the neurologic control of the length of the muscle. There was an issue with all the neurologic inputs to the muscle that help determine what it’s normal resting length should be. By addressing this functional vestibular lesion as well as other associated neurological dysfunction that we were able to pick up on his examination, the child has made other improvements which are more in line with what his parents brought him in for. So we know that the eye misalignment was not his primary complaint or what was a the greatest concern to his parents. However, it is an interesting and observable window into the physiologic changes that can be made with the appropriate functional treatment of his nervous system. That is to say, we cannot see the strengthening connections from his vestibular nucleus to his cerebellum for example but we can see the alignment of his eyes improving. This is what functional neurology is all about, observation, understanding, application and observation again. There was another clue in this child’s history that made it apparent that this was a functional lesion. This child had had three surgeries to correct the misalignment of his eyes. That is, they would operate to address the length of the eye muscle. The misalignment would correct temporarily and then return. This occurred three times. This is a simple clue to the functional neurology practitioner that indicates that the misalignment was not in fact a structurally short eye muscle but a functionally short eye muscle. That is, that the muscle was shortened due to faulty neurologic integration.
What else are we seeing with this child? His hyperactivity has improved, his temper tantrums have improved and he has not had a bowel or bladder accident in several weeks. His teacher relates that this past week was the first time that the child was able to do his writing work at school. He wrote seven words. The teacher states that he is having improved attention. He also played ball with his father for the first time in his life.
To explain how the vestibular system may be interrelated with issues such as hyperactivity, tantrums and social deficiencies is beyond the scope of this article. However, you can be aware that vestibular issues are common in children with autism spectrum disorders. Manifestations of vestibular malfunctions such as misalignment of the eyes may be related neurologically to symptoms being expressed as autism spectrum disorder and not an unrelated incidental finding. And now hopefully this is something you are aware of and can observe.
Every once in a while I run into someone who expresses their feelings frankly regarding autism and how it affects lives and families in a way that I think others can relate to. Living with, or having a loved one affected by an autism spectrum disorder is a lifestyle and culture within itself. As it affects children, it is a highly emotional entity by its very nature. I thought this post reflected wonderfully the feelings of frustration and the feelings of love. I hope you all can relate to it.
One of the most common biomedical interventions for autism spectrum disorders is the gluten free diet. The following link takes you to a website that allows you to plug-in zip code and/or city, the application will then provide a list and a map of all the gluten free restaurants in the selected area. There are links to the individual restaurant websites. I thought this might help in the event that you are in a pinch and need to find somewhere to eat quickly. It also may be helpful if you are planning a trip out of town. In any case, it is a nice application for someone that is relatively Internet savvy. Since this a website that is on the Internet, I assume that you are fairly Internet savvy and that this may be able to help those of you on the gluten free diet sometime in the future. The link is preset to Tampa as an example as this where we are based. But you can easily select any way that you would like. Http://www.specialgourmets.com/index/show-results-list/requester/list/searchType/3/searchCity/Tampa%2C+Florida%2C+USA/searchDiet/0,1,3,2,4,5,6/searchEstType/0,1,2,3,4/searchChains/0/advanced/