Browsed by
Tag: calm

AQUATIC THERAPY AND AUTISM

AQUATIC THERAPY AND AUTISM

Water has many healing qualities but have you considered aquatic therapy for your autistic child? Clinicians who have studied aquatic therapy reported a substantial increase in swim skills, attention, muscle strength, balance, tolerating touch, initiating/maintaining eye contact and water safety. Studies have also shown that children who exercise at least 20 minutes a day, 3-4 times a week, saw a reduction in hyperactivity, self-harm and injury, aggression, and destructiveness, and repeated self-stimulatory behaviors that are often associated with children on the spectrum. Here are three ways that swimming can act as a form of therapy for children with autism:

1. Water is comforting: Any physical activity in the water can help relax muscles and ease tension. Water reduces body weight and therefore decreases the stress and impact on the body — which is great for children who sometimes feel like their own body is too much to handle. Many children are even able to tolerate touch much better after aquatic therapy.

2. Social Skills: Group swimming can promote social skills. Swimming lessons allow children to interact with their teacher as well as other students/parents in the class building skills that can be used in alternative situations.

3. Improve focus: Simply taking a class can help improve attention span and learning. Being in a learning environment that allows for physical movement will help for future moments in the classroom. Blowing bubbles in the water and learning to regulate their breath can also improve oral articulation.

4. Better Balance: Aquatic therapy helps strengthen muscles, which increases balance and develops better range of motion.

As an added benefit, your child could become a better swimmer who is less at risk near water and it allows for a fun activity with your child. With summer fast approaching, let’s plan for some pool time!

Halloween and Autism

Halloween and Autism

With all the spooky costumes, scary decorations, eerie noises, and an explosion of sugar, Halloween can be overwhelming for any child and particularly for children with special needs.

Here are some tips for a safe and enjoyable Halloween for your child:

1. Select a costume that combines comfort and fun – Let your child practice wearing their costume at home. This gives you time to make any last minute modifications and time for your child to get used to the costume.

2. Prepare – Many children with special needs do better with a schedule or routine. Write a narrative describing what your child will do on Halloween and visually track where you will go. Read the story several times before Halloween so your child has time to get used to the plan.

3. Practice – Practice trick or treating in a familiar environment. Visit friends and family, if possible, even neighbors.

4. Review positive behavior – Review expectations, such as saying, “Trick-or-Treat!” and “Thank you” and not going inside the home.

5. Have a backup plan- In case there is melt down, consider letting siblings (that might want to go longer) go trick or treating with a friend.

6. Gradual change – If your child has difficulty with change, you may want to decorate your home gradually.

7. Remember, Halloween looks different for every child and you know your child best. Happy Halloween!

How Will Your Autistic Child Look as an Adult?

How Will Your Autistic Child Look as an Adult?

You may feel frustrated right now that your child is not hitting the milestones that you see other children reaching. Will my child ever sleep through the night? Will my child ever speak? Will my child make connections with other peers? Rest assured that your child will not be the same down the road as he/she is today. Age two is vastly different from age 12 and age 12 is very different from 24.

We all grow and change with maturity and autism does not prevent a child from developing and changing over time; they simply may not do it as quickly as a neurotypical child. Autism involves several developmental delays; delay does not mean it will not happen but simply not on the “normal” developmental time frame.

Developmental delays in verbal communication can be especially frustrating. The National Center of Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities states that 25 to 30 percent of children diagnosed with autism will speak some words by 12 to 18 months. However, those children may have a diminished capacity for, or lose the ability altogether, to communicate verbally. Nearly 40 percent of children diagnosed will never be able to speak at all. The remaining percentage of children may be able to communicate verbally at a much later age. Keep in mind that verbal challenges seen at age 3 will look very different at age 15 and will also look very different as an adult.

Connecting socially is also important and we want our children to connect with peers. Children with autism often times do not have the social skills to make connections and developmental delays can compound the problem. Children with autism are often socially and emotionally at a much younger age than their peers. At a young age this divide can be huge but as they age this gap gets smaller.

Be patient, being in the “waiting room” is never easy but continue to relish your child’s victories and continue to encourage and support them.

A Natural Alternative to Adderall

A Natural Alternative to Adderall

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common childhood neurobiological disorders. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that as of July 2015, close to 6 million, American children between the ages of 4 and 17 have been diagnosed with ADHD at some point in their lifetimes. Symptoms of ADHD include: aggression, excitability, fidgeting, hyperactivity, impulsivity, irritability, lack of restraint, or persistent repetition of words or actions.

Despite the risk of using amphetamines in children, Adderall is one of the most commonly prescribed drugs for children diagnosed with ADHD. Side effects of Adderall include:

Nervousness                              Fear
Restlessness                              Anxiety
Excitability                                Agitation
Irritability                                 Tremor
Agitation                                   Weakness
Dizziness                                  Blurred vision
Headache                                 Sleep problems

Stimulant drugs like Adderall are addictive and using them recreationally may increase the chances of developing a psychological and physical dependence on them. Long term use of Adderall may also include physical damage to the brain and internal organs.

Adderall increases the levels of certain neurotransmitters in the brain, but what if there was a way to do that naturally without any harmful side effects? Cognition Focus works by providing the key precursors that are involved in memory and cognitive processes. They cross the blood brain barrier and produce the neurotransmitters that are vital in this process.

The major ingredients in Cognition Focus are L-glutamic acid which is a major neurotransmitter that provides fuel for the brain and stimulates mental alertness and memory. It also contains choline bitartrate and N-acetyl L-carnitine which are able to cross the blood brain barrier and work at the level of the neural synapse. Calm Focus works by providing the key precursors that are involved in the sleep process. Calm Focus also helps to combat the effects of oxidative stress which is an imbalance between the production of free radicals and the ability of the body to detoxify their harmful effects.

Using Cognition Focus during the day and Calm Focus at night provides a synergistic balance between the sympathetic (fight or flight) and the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest), allowing you to stay focused and calm for a productive day.

Looking for an Autism Friendly Summer Camp?

Looking for an Autism Friendly Summer Camp?

A common right of passage for many children is the experience of summer camp and for children with autism that may not be an easy task. Fortunately, there are many camps that are specifically geared for children on the spectrum.

Here are a few items to consider in finding a camp that is the right fit for your child:

1. Is your child ready for camp? Is it just for the day, weekend or a sleep away camp?
2. What is the age range of the campers?
3. Does the camp have special needs standards?
4. What is the safety policy?
5. Are there any therapeutics activities such as equestrian therapy, behavior management, social skills groups or sensory integration?
6. What percentage of the campers have autism?
7. What is the camper to staff ratio?
8. Is an aide permitted to accompany a camper?
9. Are medical professionals available on site?
10. What are the fees and are scholarships available?

Check out the link below for camps in your area and start preparing for a fun and relaxing summer with your family.

https://www.mysummercamps.com/camps/Special_Needs_Camps/Autism/

Do You Know the Early Signs of Autism?

Do You Know the Early Signs of Autism?

No one wants to receive the diagnosis of autism and recent statistics reveal that autism is on the rise with 1 in 68 children now being diagnosed with autism. While diagnosis is on the rise, most children are not diagnosed until age 2. All evidence points to early detection and intervention as the most successful treatment option, but do you know the early signs of autism? Below are common signs that may indicate your child may be autistic and require further observation.

1. Delayed motor development – Parents love the milestones that their children achieve such as rolling over, crawling and walking. Any delays may warrant further investigation.

2. Repetitive or obsessive behavior – watch for unusual body movements with the hands or arms and unusual body postures.

3. Disinterest in other family members – Does your child look to you for comfort (eye contact) and extend their arms to be picked up? Lack of interest in bonding at an early age may lead to difficulty relating to others as they mature.

4. Unresponsiveness to their name and environment– Is your baby hard of hearing or simply not responding to verbal cues? Is your baby imitating sounds, smiles and facial expressions?

5. Lack of smiling – Does your child smile back and laugh? This should be normal behavior by six months of age.

With any condition, your physician or a specialist can help you determine if further care is needed. With early detection and treatment children on the autism spectrum have the potential to lead full and rewarding lives.

GOT SLEEP?

GOT SLEEP?

We all want a good night’s sleep and if our children don’t sleep well that means parents don’t sleep well. Researchers estimate that 26 percent to 32 percent of typically-developing children experiences sleep problems. An even larger portion of children (estimates range from 53 to 78 percent) with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) experience the same issues .

One theory contributes the over-arousal of the sympathetic nervous system and under arousal of the parasympathetic nervous system for the sleep and concentration issues that are seen in children with autism. It is also common for children with autism to have higher levels of anxiety. Higher levels of anxiety often occur as the child matures and sleep disturbances improve but daytime anxiety increases. In one study by Kushki, children with autism demonstrated atypical responses to stressful tasks and had higher levels of anxiety compared to the control group.

Sleep is essential and is necessary for restorative processes to take place in the body. When we don’t sleep well, we don’t feel well and have trouble concentrating. Establishing a healthy sleep routine as well as the use of Focus Formulation products to balance the two parts of the autonomic nervous system may be the key to a restful night’s sleep.

Routine is also important in developing any sleep routine but this is of particular importance for a child with autism.
 Set an age appropriate bed time
 Allow time to wind down with low key pleasurable activities 20 minutes before
bedtime. This may consist of bath time and story time.
 Keep the room free of light and sound distractions
 Maintain a comfortable temperature in the room

The use of Cognition Focus during the day to help over stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system and the use of Calm Focus during the night to support healthy sleep may be the first step to a restful night. Visit us at FocusFormulations.com to learn more and share your story, we would love to hear from you.

Malow, B.A., Byars, K., Johnson, K., Weiss, Shelly, Bernal, P., Goldman, S.E., Panzer, R., Coury, D.L., Glaze, D.G. (2012). A practice pathway for the identification, evaluation, and management of insomnia in children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders. Pediatrics, 130(2), 106-124

Kushki A, Drumm E, Pla Mobarak M, Tanel N, Dupuis A, Chau T, Anagnostou E. Investigating the autonomic nervous system response to anxiety in children with autism spectrum disorders. PLoS One. 2013;8(4):e59730. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0059730. Epub 2013 Apr 5.

Causes of Autism and New Therapies

Causes of Autism and New Therapies

Although there are numerous theories on the cause of autism, a number of studies have recently reported atypical changes at the level of the peripheral nervous system that point to a dysregulation of the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) [8]. The autonomic nervous system consists of the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight) and the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest). When there is an imbalance this may lead to an inability to sit still and focus and/or a disruption in sleep patterns often seen in autism. Focus Formulations products provide a proprietary blend of neurotransmitter precursors that cross the blood brain barrier to provide therapeutic treatment where it is needed….in the brain. Other supplements are unable to cross the blood brain barrier and are essentially eliminated by the body.

ANS function is closely linked to behavior, cognition, and emotion processing [9] and an imbalance in its function have been associated with differences in areas of the brain affected in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) [10] such as social behavior [11], emotion regulation [12], attention [13], response inhibition [14], and adaptive functioning [15]. Anxiety disorders are also commonly seen in children on the spectrum [16] and may exacerbate the core symptoms associated with ASD [17].

ASD and anxiety are often found to occur together and present with similar symptoms such as repetitive and restrictive interests, lack of social and emotional reciprocity, avoidance behaviors, and speech difficulties [18, 19, 20]. Symptoms of ASD along with anxiety are often associated with over firing of the sympathetic nervous system and inhibition of the parasympathetic branches of the ANS.
Cognition Focus and Calm Focus provide the nutrients that support healthy functioning of the ANS. By providing ingredients that produce powerful neurotransmitters the body can more effectively regulate circadian rhythm, support cognitive processes and calm the response to stress. Cognition Focus and Calm Focus provide the optimum balance of ingredients to promote neurotransmitter production to help balance and regulate the firing of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems and may significantly reduce symptoms associated with ASD.