Archive for the ‘Asperger’s Syndrome’ Category

Recess is Important for Special Needs Students, Too

Sunday, September 25th, 2016

An Open Letter to School Officials

There are developmental states between having autism and having had it. It’s analogous to the ‘pins-and-needles’ feeling following a limb injury, for example, but preceding a more complete recovery.

During that healing phase, there may be muscle weakness and nervous incoordination; dysfunction about which little can be done, other than being patient. So it appears to be with children who have achieved useful speech and a degree of socialization that enables them to join the general student body.

Leftover signs and symptoms may include immaturity (difficulty transitioning to non-preferred work, impatience, non-compliance, etc.), ADHD conduct, and aggression. It is not uncommon for pupils affected with residual ASD, therefore, to display unacceptable behavior. In a Gen-Ed setting, meltdowns may tax and even infuriate staff.

When asked about their favorite activity at school, most children answer, “Lunch,” or “Recess.” Since students can’t be denied the former, personnel may turn to withholding the latter from those who misbehave, in order to instill respect and compliance. That may be a big mistake.

Indoor activities and distractions have become the norm and consume large chunks of time. iStuff, therapies, homework, tutoring, etc. all keep youngsters out of the sun and fresh air. Physical isolation with limited calorie-burning is the last thing that children with language delay and difficulty sitting still need. Who gains from such punishment? Some kids prefer to avoid the anxiety of outside play. Perhaps, bullying is precipitating a breakdown? Others do not appear to object, at all, by such censure.

Techniques to instill self control that may have been successful in previous centuries no longer apply to a neuro-diverse student body. Parents and professionals must collaborate to make sure that a proper and appropriate plan of action follows a display of maladaptive behaviors. Strategies that are more likely to be successful – and less detrimental – can be developed. Methods should be individualized, with the help of appropriate staff. Such an approach helps assure a more productive academic season.

Access to recess should be as important as lunch; maybe even more so, since so many children with challenging behaviors are on special diets and picky eaters, anyway. Just kidding, of course (but not really).just-kidding-jpeg

Processing Disorders and Autism

Sunday, September 18th, 2016

EEGleftThere are a number of newly-minted diagnoses that have been invented to explain many of the symptoms of the modern epidemic that covers autism.

They include:

 Sensory Processing Disorder
→ Visual Processing Disorder
→ Auditory Processing Disorder
→ Oppositional Defiance Disorder
→ Attention Deficit Disorder
→ Hyperactivity Disorder

→ Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder
→ Anxiety Disorder
→ Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
→ Explosive Disorder
→ Social Processing Disorder

Diagnosis:
These conditions frequently display such similar general patterns that, depending on a practitioner’s inclination to be a ‘splitter’ or a ‘lumper’, the available treatment regimens could vary widely. For example, AD and HD are usually treated as ADHD, with stimulant medications, even though inattention, poor focus, distractibility and hyperactivity may arise from a variety of physiological conditions.

Likewise, aggression, obsessive – compulsive behaviors, and opposition are usually prescribed anti-anxiety medications, such as Risperdone, Abilify, Intuniv, or even Prozac and Zoloft.

pd1©TheAutismDoctor.com

Some are more or less related, and others may be merely due to immaturity, therefore patience and time will yield preferable results.

Treatments:
It is not difficult to imagine that processing difficulties in vision, hearing, touch, and the other senses, can lead to signs, such as repetitive behaviors or ‘stimming’, to alleviate the sensory overload. Supplements, such as magnesium, turmeric, epsom salt baths, essential oils and even HBOT could address those issues, in addition to traditional therapies. Most parents of children with ASD own at least one trampoline.

Restricted interests and repetitive behaviors are core problems in patients with autism. They are not OCD, and the usual medications are rarely effective, even though the diagnosis prompts traditional physicians to prescribe higher, more frequent doses, and/or a combination of pharmaceutical preparations.

The recognition that processing difficulties underly these unusual behaviors has engendered the protocols that include ABA, PT, OT and other specialty therapies. They require significant resources, but have demonstrated improved outcomes. Certainly this approach is not as risky or potentially harmful as potent medications.

Anxiety appears to be a result of a combination of the other processing difficulties, and social processing disorder is as real as any of the other contrived diagnoses. Early socialization is, therefore, a useful intervention. The fewer pharmacological interventions, the less chance that they will poison the growing brain.

On another hand, certain abnormalities seem to be a result of difficulties in other-than-CNS processing. Aggression, opposition, and explosive behaviors are frequently gut-related. The recognition that autistic behaviors can be ameliorated by restoring the gastrointestinal microbiome has assisted many patients who have been suffering for years.

Conclusions:
The biomedical approach is unique in the treatment of this myriad of medical conditions because the basic assumption is that they are due to a variety of upstream difficulties.

The recognition that, in patients with autism, some neural pathways proceed down the right path, others stumble upon an incorrect route, some thoughts don’t propagate at all, while other symptoms are emanating from elsewhere, goes a long way to assisting patients in their improvement.

Medical Academy of Pediatric Special Needs – Fall 2016

Sunday, September 11th, 2016

This week, the Medical Academy of Pediatric Special Needs held its semiannual conference in downtown Atlanta, GA. This is ‘Ground 0’ for practitioners, researchers and professors from all over the world to meet, learn, explore and discuss a myriad of relevant topics.

Members who have been returning for 100’s of lecture hours generally choose the advanced courses. For some, the conference has become a group of ~50 experienced and knowledgeable practitioners who meet to discuss ‘workups’, basic science, relevant research and treatment protocols for those who are most affected with ASD.

Notes and Observations
Day 1 – Tough Cases
I really enjoyed our lectures by the plain-speaking Dr. John Green, of Portland, OR. Dr. Green not only reviewed those who improved because of his medical expertise, but those who got better in spite of him, those who haven’t gotten better, those who got better but he can’t figure out why, and the most frustrating – patients who improve only to suffer frequent relapses.

Dr. Sid Baker, a pioneer of the biomedical movement, described his early medical experiences in Africa that morphed into his lifelong dedication to treating patients with ASD. He expressed his disappointment that so many conventional colleagues disagree with our practice.

Dr. Baker elucidated how he initiates care with new patients. He discussed increasingly resistant cases, covering topics from severe speech apraxia to the approach to children with injurious behaviors.

The first day was filled with the most frustrating and difficult cases you can imagine. Eminent practitioners Drs. James Neuenshwander, Michael Elice, and Julie Buckley challenged our diagnostic and therapeutic knowledge, attempting to navigate the complicated courses of those who improved and those who didn’t.

Day 2
Dr. Daniel Amen‘s morning lecture was entitled “3D Brain SPECT Imaging”. The takeaway message was that SPECT scans – technology – could/should/will become a mainstay for a multitude of CNS disorders. His manner and stories of research, technical evaluation, and clinical practice, were positively spellbinding and inspirational.

Dr. Theoharides presented his research and extensive knowledge about the important role of allergy in ASD. Dr. Theo continues to publish a mountain of monumental works, not only on the topics of autism and the role of mast cells, but treatments, as well.

Toxins were the subject of the afternoon’s lectures. We learned about the identification of substances in the environment that are dangerous, how they are measured, how damage is done, and the means to control and treat. For the skeptical reader, there was a plethora of supporting scientific evidence of the relationships to autism (and many other modern conditions).

As has become customary, Dr. Dan Rossignol rounded up the day with a roundup of all of the latest scientific research. Rapidly.

Day 3 – Advanced Clinical Cases
Severe behaviors and speech apraxia. For patients who are most resistant to conventional and alternative treatments, essential oils, acupuncture, and even worms were explored as possible solutions.

Throughout the afternoon, cases got even tougher! Lyme, Persistent Lyme, Non-Lyme Lyme, PANDAS, PANS, parasites… an increasing number of reasons to have signs and symptoms that are called autism. Such information extends our knowledge and leads to better diagnoses for our patients, and possibilities for treatment.

Dr. Green discussed biomarkers. Though these ‘labs’ are not specific to ASD, per se, this will become a necessary next step to document level of involvement and response to treatments.

A brand new treatment, repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation was presented by Dr. Arun Mukherjee. The jury is still out on this expensive intervention.

Conclusions
One important reason that I return to this meeting, is simply that I feel at home among like-thinking practitioners. Members don’t agree on every subject, but we are respectful and actually enjoy our practices.

In traditional medicine, conferences are basically show-and-tell affairs, where researchers report their data, previously published in medical journals. When doctors think outside the box, practitioners with diverse skills, who are scattered over the globe, discover improved results by networking in this fashion.

Patients, parents, and families can feel confident that progress is being made (slowly), as serious, dedicated doctors continue to try to unravel this modern mystery.

Finally, I am proud to report that, at this meeting, I was awarded Fellowship status in the Medical Academy of Pediatric Special Needs.

Home Schooling Children with Autism Issues

Monday, September 5th, 2016

Home schoolADHD, aggression, bullying and being bullied, meltdowns, oppositional, auditory, visual and other Sensory Processing Disorders, are among the many challenges of modern school-aged children who are recovering from the conditions that are categorized under Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Individualized educational plans have gone a long way toward providing an increasing number of affected youngsters with a more appropriate academic environment. Yet, there remain numerous educational situations in which young children face significant obstacles.

Considering such challenges, an increasing number of families have chosen to home school their neuro-diverse offspring. Here is some of the valuable information that parents have provided about the decision to undertake such a situation.

What are the common characteristics of families who choose to home school?
The most disruptive children require additional medication, and/or one-on-one supervision. Sometimes, only a family member or therapist can achieve control, performed at home (or equivalent).

Families live in locations where there is an serious shortage of appropriately trained personnel.

The IEP and associated adjudication of services do not appear adequate to meet their child’s need. This could involve a lack of classrooms with ‘higher’ functioning individuals, or not enough services for those who have more troubling signs and symptoms of autism.

Parents concerned that, inattention, lack of focus, and hyperactivity in the neurotypical academic environment – by their own child and others – will likely negatively affect performance, grades, and self esteem. Indeed, the psychological profile scores are usually ‘all over the place’, indicating that processing is affected, not IQ.

Sometimes, the choice is influenced by the reluctance to administer stimulant and/or anti-anxiety medication, especially in the youngest students.

What are the biggest challenges?
Relationships with affected children, neurotypical siblings, and blending teaching with family activities, takes a quantum leap in patience, time and effort.

The discipline to prepare lessons and implement the required syllabus is a full-time job.

The outcome of all of this work requires evaluation to assess whether avoiding a traditional program is the preferable course. Has it been worth it?

Caretakers need to determine the best means to ensure exposure to others, and additional ways to foster socialization.

Ultimately, there needs to be a decision if/when to merge the children into a traditional academic environment.

Conclusion
Home schooling enables the ‘teacher’ to maximize learning by individualizing. Caretakers notice when affected children are ‘present’, or allow the necessary time to ‘get the jitters out’. If a youngster is able to avoid taking a test on a particularly squirrelly day, their score will probably be higher. Self esteem improves and anxiety abates.

For those under the age of 6, any suggestion that medication will ‘improve the academic situation’ should be carefully scrutinized. When there is a stay-at-home-parent, additional help, and other resources, home schooling may be the better option, especially for those who are most affected with ASD.

Though it’s not for every parent, or child, this path does provide some families with the most optimal opportunity to guide their offspring to their highest potential.

A More Complete Special Needs Practice

Sunday, August 28th, 2016

SherryjpgIn order to achieve optimal outcome in a world of constantly changing complex medical problems, a modern practice needs to embrace the benefits and safety of natural interventions.

Towards that end, The Child Development Center of America welcomes Dr. Sherry Eshraghi of Natural Health Power Works.

Sherry, a mother of a child with autism, has a Doctorate and PhD in Natural Medicine*, and is certified by the Board of the American Alternative Medical Association. She is an expert in autism and associated disorders and uses a natural, holistic approach to improve health and well-being.

This insightful and empathetic professional will complement our services by interviewing and counseling the family as a whole, providing additional health and lifestyle advice.

Sherry writes:
In order to improve the special needs child’s wellness, parents need to be healthy – physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

Families with autism spectrum disorders experience certain underlying conditions, such as allergies, depression, diabetes, gastrointestinal and/or autoimmune problems, toxic overload, and more. In natural and preventative medicine, the aim is to reduce the chances of those disorders manifesting themselves by providing specific diets and lifestyle changes. The modalities used are:

  1. • Nutritional counseling for the whole family, such as specific foods to be added, or avoided, in the daily diet. Bio-individual, nutritional assessment, and practical advice can be provided, in order to get our kids to eat what is good for them, taking into account that so many are extremely picky eaters.
  2. • Mind/ Body medicine that addresses, but is not limited to, stresses in the family that arise from caring for a child with special needs.
  3. • Detoxification, orthomolecular therapy, environmental health: when our body’s natural detoxification pathways are impaired, we need to detox in order to restore the body’s natural ability to get rid of toxins by itself. With orthomolecular therapy, we adjust deficiencies and excesses of minerals and vitamins in the body. In addition, we can identify possible toxic environmental exposures.
  4. • Herbal medicine: in natural medicine, you can often avoid harsh chemical drugs with herbal remedies that have less side effects. Plus, they can be used for longer periods of time and heal root causes, instead of simply suppressing symptoms.
  5. • Homeopathy and essential oils: many homeopathy protocols and essential oils can help the body heal itself.

To set up a meeting with Dr. Eshraghi, please call our office at 954 873 8413 or 305 720 9099

Rebecca Sherry Eshraghi, DNM, Ph.D.
www.naturalhealthpowerworks.com

*DISCLAIMER: Natural/ holistic health care is not intended as diagnosis, prescription, treatment or cure for any disease, mental or physical, and is not a substitute for regular medical care. Rebecca Sherry Eshraghi is a certified Doctor of Natural Medicine, not licensed in the state of Florida.

Digital Devices and Autism

Sunday, August 21st, 2016

iphonepuzzle2Nearly every day, a family enters our office and, within moments, the child obtains some type of digital device. A parent then admits, “I have to give him the iPhone.”

For affected infants, toddlers, and youngsters, this behavior only appears to be obsessive – compulsive disorder. Restricted interests and repetitive behaviors are part of the fabric of Autism Spectrum. Some children draw pictures, play a musical instrument, bang on a table, line up toys, or bounce a ball, for example.

iStuff takes these habits to another level, entirely.

The Good
There is a wide selection of programs, such as Proloquo2Go, Communicate Easy, and GoTalk NOW that can be an invaluable aid for the apraxic child. They streamline effective communication, where before the PECS tended to be kludgy and restricted. The addition of electronics means that the children get to hear words, or even observe lip movement.

Parents will often discover that their child has learned to read by utilizing digital media. Many patients even display an ironic ability to learn another language. “I didn’t know he could do that!”

Hidden abilities, such as videography or photography can take shape. Drawing and other design-assisted skills encourage artistic expression.

Plus, playing games is always fun.

The Bad
Digital stimming promotes OCD behaviors. Older adults may remember their talking childhood doll, Chatty Cathy. Pull the string and she would randomly repeat 1 of ~12 cute phrases. However, after just a few days, the child would be less likely to use the dolly’s cord, and more likely to talk for the doll. It got boring. On an iThing, there are infinite choices.

A parent may point out their child, engrossed in Angry Birds, and inaccurately observe that, “She’s very good with that iPad.” Repetitive behaviors and restricted interests can lead to a great deal of frustration – and aggressive behaviors – when the battery runs out.

A recent study even documents the effect on sleep when children have screens in their bedroom. The loss of proper rest often adds to frustration, a short fuse, confusion and fog.

broken iPhoneThe Ugly
No imagination. For most of the apps, everything is there to entertain children of all ages and all levels of skill. There may be little incentive to go to ‘the next level’, as the present state of perseveration is sufficient. The toy talks to the child, rather than the other way ’round.

No socialization. Individuals can spend hours doing the same iActivity over and over. Whereas the Pong TV Game of the previous century was more interesting when played with another human being, the computer is an engaging opponent. Sharing, which is part of neurotypical development, is rarely promoted, because the scenes are short-lived and mostly interesting in real time. With many games and adventures, there is nothing to show.

Conclusion
Digital devices are not only here to stay, their complexity and power to invade our lives will increase. After watching thousands of patients and talking to their parents,

TheAutismDoctor’s advice is to limit electronics to
the time that is absolutely necessary
for the parent to have a life.

Cooking, caring for siblings, driving, and other chores, often demand the full attention of the adult. Those should be the most acceptable, defined periods of time to offer, or allow, the use of electronic toys. In order to achieve such control, parents should start utilizing such a strategy at the earliest possible age.

Finally, get outside as much as possible.

School Preparation for Special Needs Students

Sunday, August 14th, 2016

Boy in streetBoundless advice is offered on all forms of media that suggests the best ways to handle the coming school year. Here are some tips that may help your not-so-neurotypical youngster who faces the challenges of the next academic season.

  1. ◊ Don’t wait to begin a daily routine; sleep time, awakening, toileting, dressing and morning breakfast should be consistent. Try to make that First Day as mundane as possible. Resist the urge to gush over the child, since such shows of affection may add to anxiety.
  2. ◊ Get sleep under control now. Consider warm epsom salt baths, essential oils, and special quiet time, especially free of digital devices. Melatonin should be considered. It is safe and effective; so, as the commercials say, “Ask your doctor today.”
  3. ◊ If there has been a lapse, re-start the supplements and medications a week or two before The Day. In addition, be prepared for the Fall stressors that may make parents want to re-think the medication schedule, and try to persevere, rather than get on the stimulant +/- anti-anxiety merry-go-round.
  4. ◊ When school starts, make sure that the child’s day includes some type of exercise, even if it’s just walking for a half hour. Sometimes, substituting traditional after-school interventions with social activities, such as marshall arts or hippo-therapy, can be quite helpful to the bigger picture.
  5. ◊ Double down on previously helpful diets. Consider trying safe supplements, such as probiotics, magnesium, or 5-hydroxy-tryptophan.
  6. ◊ Practice reading, math, etc. Those non-preferred activities are not going to get easier on their own. Your child is not lazy, dumb, or forgetful; continued difficulties with processing create challenges beyond those of typical peers.
  7. ◊ If necessary, construct easy-to-use, easy to institute, readable lists for teachers, administrators, school nurses, and kitchen staff.
  8. ◊ Consider whether the IEP created 3 months ago matches your child’s present skill set. Children who are recovering from autism often experience better improvement when placed in the company of neurotypical role models, rather than aggressive, non-verbal peers.
  9. ◊ Meeting the staff, and introducing the child to those individuals can be a great stress reliever. When starting at a new institution, just visiting the school, or even simply driving by, may assist in reducing First Day Anxiety.
  10. ◊ Especially in the early part of the semester, pay more attention to behaviors than grades.

Of course, many of these suggestions could assist the neurotypical child, as well.

To NEBA or Not to NEBA? That is the ADHD Question.

Sunday, August 7th, 2016

EEGleftThe traditional method of achieving a diagnosis of Attention Deficit – Hyperactivity Disorder has involved reviewing the patient’s clinical history, utilization of a variety of scales and psychological criteria, and the exclusion of other medical problems.

For the past few years, an additional diagnostic tool called the Neuropsychiatric EEG-Based Assessment Aid (NEBA), has become available. It is a specific type of electroencephalogram (EEG) that focuses on certain brain waves associated with children who are diagnosed with ADHD.

Advantages:
1) NEBA can be done in any doctor’s office. The reading is accomplished via computer evaluation of specific brain wave patterns. Results are interpreted by professionals, then transmitted to the practitioner.

2) It is relatively simple for some children, aged 6-18 years, to sit still for ~15 minutes, watching a video or being read to by Mom.

3) The FDA approved test has supporting scientific literature, which adds to validity.

4) It may assist parents who are uncertain about the diagnosis or treatment.

Disadvantages:
1) The cost is ~$450. In South Florida, patients have rarely succeeded in obtaining medical insurance coverage. The company does offer helpful resources.

NEBA 22) There are more than a few patients who cannot sit still while the electrodes are applied and the test is administered.

3) There are experts who feel that NEBA testing is not fully proven, and/or necessary.

4) It doesn’t take the place of a formal EEG, and if a patient has other neurologic signs or symptoms, such as staring spells.

Discussion
All the FAQs about NEBA, plus supporting literature, can be found at their website.

One opposing point of view was offered by the director of the Center for Children and Families at Florida International University. Dr. Pelham asked, “What’s the point? We’re not going to run out and buy one of these machines to do diagnoses, because it is totally unnecessary.”

Clinicians do not purchase the equipment. It is rented at a reasonable cost on a monthly basis. The physician receives a portion of the payment for administration and interpretation.

There are options. A thorough medical evaluation may reveal nutritional deficiencies or gastrointestinal conditions that correct signs and symptoms that are falsely diagnosed as ADHD. Getting sleep under control is essential for proper focus and attention.

In younger patients, patience may provide the best outcome. Certain diets can be quite effective. Supplements, such as 5-HTP, magnesium, and essential oils may provide enough relief.  Mild medications, such as guanfacine (Intuniv®), Vayarin®, or even caffeine, can buy a symptomatic child more time without stronger pharmaceuticals.

Without performing formal testing, a trial of one kind or another of stimulant medication is often attempted. Since there are so many types of meds, in so many different forms, with a wide range of therapeutic dosing, this approach can be hit-or-miss.

Conclusion
Without a more reliable objective test, ADHD remains an elusive condition. Parents often feel better when there is more evidence, especially when exploring the possibility of strong stimulant medications.

NeBa 3As a doctor caring for so many patients who present with this diagnosis, I have appreciated the format in which the results are provided to the pediatrician. Based on the score, we are presented with 3 categories; confirmation, support for further testing, and support for testing other conditions. The clinician and the family then discuss additional evaluation and treatment options.

With caveats, and at a cost, this technology represents an additional opportunity to get more complete information about your child’s development.

Scripting and Autism

Sunday, July 31st, 2016

lettersFrequently accompanying the emergence of language in children with speech apraxia, are parental concerns that easy questions are only repeated back, or that the child merely recites phrases from videos, etc. They wonder, “How can we fix this?” Well, maybe, it doesn’t need to be fixed.

Definition(s)
It is interesting to note that, one meaning of the word, as it relates to autism, is as a treatmentScripting involves presenting learners with a verbal and/or written description about a specific skill or situation that serves as a model for the learner.”

An end-of-the-century research paper described scripting as, “…high rates of delayed echolalia.” A previously desired goal has been the extinction of that form of language, in order to help the patient appear more ‘normal’.

Described by one speech pathologist is the more commonly accepted definition, “Reciting lines from movies, commercials, books, etc. is a common occurrence… Some experts predict it is a coping mechanism that is used during high stress periods, hence, a form of ‘stimming’.”

Amythest Shaber (“Ask an Autistic”) presents her insightful point of view, by describing two types, echolalial and social scripting. The former is referred to as “TV talk”, while the latter represents language that the individual entrains to express their thoughts about an emotional or complicated situation. Both are forms of communication or opportunities for potential socialization.

Cause(s)
Children are exposed to constant prompting and repetition by therapists, teachers and family. It’s natural. This is one reason that siblings are often so helpful, because they seem to be the ones who best understand their brother or sister, without demanding or correcting.

There is frequent exposure to digital media. Often, an affected child may view just one section of a video over and over. Without constraints on the volume or frequency of viewing time, how can they not have these songs or scenes playing in their head?

You won’t see a 28 month old scripting. Children acquiring language in their second year are not able to observe and recall details like an intelligent 4 year-old. The timing of language acquisition is altered and so the patterns are transformed.

It is the manifestation of limited expressive language. If an individual has only 1/3 of the possibilities for output, repeating a phrase 3 times makes up the difference, regardless of the meaning.

Discussion
In Life, Animated, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ron Suskind, chronicled his success in reaching his son by encouraging this form of communication.

Likewise, the Son-Rise program advises ‘joining’ your child when they display repetitive scripting behaviors, so that they may be more likely to let the parent into their world.

Parents wish to understand whether such a strategy can be generalized to the ‘real world’? At The Child Development Center, we counsel that this is a good start to useful communication, leading to more coherent speech.

Conclusion(s)
Viewed through the lens of a patient who is recovering from ASD with verbal apraxia, scripting (frequently accompanied by echolalia) represents an expected developmental phase.

Taken one step further, communication reduces frustration and inspires confidence. This encourages more contact with the outside world, and maturity. Parents can then believe in their child’s abilities to enjoy a wider variety of experiences.

When scripting is considered in this light, other new strategies, and successful present ones, should be formalized and tested, in order to help the next generation of patients with ASD to achieve their highest potential.

Top 10 Annoying Comments to Parents of Children with Autism

Sunday, July 24th, 2016

MeasureParents of children with special needs are frequently challenged by friends, relatives, acquaintances, social and other media. Sometimes, it is well-meaning advice, but there are comments that can be especially thoughtless, or even unkind.

Here are the most outstanding remarks that families have experienced, and their answers (or thoughts), mostly delivered with grace and love:

10. Polar white littleGod only gives us what we can handle.

Polar Black littleWe have no choice but to carry on. Should that make us feel better?

9. Polar white littleWhat is your autistic child’s special talent?

Polar Black littleIs that because, if you’re autistic, you must have one?

8. Polar white littleWe don’t want to get him that same gift every year… what else can we give?

Polar Black littleHow about, what he really likes, not what makes you feel better?

Polar white little7. You’re wrong, ignorant, and/or misinformed. Childhood vaccinations have been proven safe.

Polar Black littleNot for our child. Not for all children. And, I’ll bet you wouldn’t say that if your child had ASD.

Polar white little6. That gluten free- casein free, specific carbohydrate, paleo, etc. diet is stupid.

Polar Black littleYou didn’t ask if it worked.

Polar white little5. Did you see Rain Man?

Polar Black littleIs that how you think the child will grow up? That was last century.

Polar white little4. Is your child high functioning?

Polar Black littleIs yours?

Polar white little3. We don’t want to invite your child to the birthday party… we don’t think that he will fit in.

Polar Black littleWho is uncomfortable, the parents or kids? Could you be any crueler?

Polar white little2. I heard it’s not really an epidemic, we just called it ‘retardation’ in the past.

Polar Black littleA condition whose prevalence rises from less than 1/2,500 to 1/68 in a few decades is an epidemic.

Polar white little1. Can’t you handle your (misbehaving) child?

Polar Black littleHe’s autistic, you #*$%&$][ ! (That’s in the thought bubble).

Life is not black or white. Neurodiversity is here. As we understand this phenomenon called ASD, we learn about how all of our brains work.

In the meantime, let’s become more educated
and kind to each other.

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Brian D. Udell MD
6974 Griffin Road
Davie
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Email bdumd@childdev.org
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