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   Madore Family's Autism Resource Site 

 


WHAT IS AUTISM & PDD?
Autism is a pervasive neurological and/or immunological disorder that impairs language development, communication and social interaction. It is more prevalent than multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy or Down syndrome. Autism affects more than 1 in 150 children
Jenny McCarthy & Toni Braxton are two of the newest moms being challenged to solve their child's autism.
Autism will affect over 22 new babies born today and every day in the US.
Without effective treatment, its sufferers often require lifelong care. Early diagnosis and intensive early intervention have been shown to influence that outcome. Healing medical/biological problems can improve pain and/or symptoms.

Autistic children have difficulties in three areas but the degree of difficulty varies.
First, they have problems using and understanding language.
Second, they have problems in understanding how to interact with others or to make friends.
Third, their toy play is sometimes unusual or immature with limited pretending, some show unusual repetitive movements, some have a strong preference for doing things the same way,
many have limited interests and some have limited diets. Often, motor abilities and the ability to learn by watching how things are done are normal. Individuals with autism have to painstakingly learn normal patterns of speech and communication, and appropriate ways to relate to people, objects, and events, in a similar manner to those who have had a stroke.

People describe the difference between Autism and PDD differently.  The two most common descriptions that I hear actually have totally different meanings.
The first is - That PDD is the "HOUSE" and in that house there are many rooms.  Some of these rooms are: Aspergers, PDD-NOS (Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified), PDD (Pervasive Developmental Disorder), Regressive Autism, Infantile Autism, ect..
The second is - Autism is the Umbrella.  Under that umbrella are different varieties that may meet less criteria, such as: Aspergers, PDD, High Functioning Autism, etc..
I can see both of these as being correct so I don't get too hung up on it unless one of the "labels" allows my child more privileges or denies them of something.  I just want the best care for him no matter what the diagnosis.  I do know that most of our kids have a lot of medical issues that families need to test for and then treat.  

The only thing I knew of autism before his diagnosis was from watching movies such as:
Rain Man, & Mercury Rising. They were a little deceiving and since Autism affects people so differently that it is hard to catch the true essence of the spectrum.

What I do understand is that this disorder is reaching families everywhere.
Most people know of someone with autism.
Doug Flutie, Sylvester Stallone, Jenny McCarthy, Toni Braxton, Holly Robinson-Peete, Didi Conn and Dan Marino are just some of the parents that have autistic children. Senator Dan Burton works diligently in Congress fighting for the rights of our children and his grandson with autism. Yes, this disorder knows no boundaries.

The Doug Flutie Jr Foundation, founded by Doug Flutie and his wife, have made it their lifetime commitment to make life easier for Autistic children and their families.

In 1982, Sylvester Stallone's son Seargeoh (with wife Sash Czack) was
diagnosed as autistic. Today, at 22, Seargeoh is "high-functioning."
"He spends a great deal of time with his mother. He lives 200 yards away."
"I can actually yell from my house to his," said Stallone.

Didi Conn's autistic son is 8 years old. She has appeared on
the Montel William's Talk Show to talk about autism.

The Dan Marino Center was initiated by Dan Marino,
former NFL quarterback, who also has a recovered son. His story is a very moving and inspirational one since his son did not begin to show improvements until age 4 and did not begin inclusion until the third grade.
He has endowed Miami Children's Hospital, providing a center for Neuroscience.


Joe Mantegna's 14-year-old daughter is autistic. "Mia is high functioning and attends a mainstream regular classroom.  That was a big decision because we had to weigh the benefits of a regular class versus special education. It was very intuitive it felt right so we did it," says Mantegna, 54.  

Autistic Disorder causes impairments in social interaction, communication, and imaginative play prior to age 3 years. You will see a variety of stereotyped behaviors, interests and activities.
Asperger's Disorder characterized by impairments in social interactions and
the presence of restricted interests and activities, with no clinically
significant general delay in language, and testing in the range of
average to above average intelligence.
Pervasive Developmental Disorder- Not Otherwise Specified (commonly referred to as atypical autism). A diagnosis of PDD-NOS may be made when a child does not meet the criteria for a specific diagnosis, but there is a severe and pervasive impairment in specified behaviors.
Rett's Disorder a progressive disorder which, to date, has occurred only in girls. Period of normal development and then loss of previously acquired skills, loss of purposeful use of the hands replaced with repetitive hand movements beginning at the age of 1-4 years.
Childhood Disintegrative Disorder characterized by normal development for at least the first 2 years, significant loss of previously acquired skills.
(American Psychiatric Association 1994)
Other related disorders or syndromes are:
Angelman Syndrome
Apraxia
Attention Deficit Disorder
Fragile X Syndrome
Landau-Kleffner Syndrome
Hyperlexia Web Page
Prader-Willi Syndrome
Williams Syndrome

Autism is a spectrum disorder. In other words, the symptoms and characteristics of autism can present themselves in a wide variety of combinations, from mild to severe. Although autism is defined by a certain set of behaviors, children and adults can exhibit any combination of the behaviors in any degree of severity. Two children, both with the same diagnosis, can act very differently from one another and have varying skills. Therefore, there is no standard "type" or "typical" person with autism. Parents may hear different terms used to describe children within this spectrum, such as: autistic-like, autistic tendencies, autism spectrum, high-functioning or low-functioning autism, more-abled or less-abled, mild, moderate, or severe. More important to understand is, whatever the diagnosis, children can learn and function productively and show gains from appropriate education and treatment. The Autism Society of America provides information to serve the needs of all individuals within the spectrum.

DON'T GIVE UP HOPE!!
There are many children that are making great strides.

See the Surgeon General's Report on Autism
http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/library/mentalhealth/chapter3/sec6.html#autism

HOW TO DETERMINE IF SOMEONE YOU KNOW HAS AUTISM
I have listed 2 different methods below that are used.

DIAGNOSTIC CRITERIA FOR 299.00 AUTISTIC DISORDER* *
Source: The American Psychiatric Association: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Washington D.C., American Psychiatric Association, 1994.

A. A total of at least six items from (1), (2), and (3), with at least two from (1), and one each from (2) and (3):

1.Qualitative impairment in social interaction, as manifested by at least two of the following: marked impairment in the use of multiple nonverbal behaviors such as eye-to-eye gaze, facial expression, body postures, and gestures to regulate social interaction. failure to develop peer relationships appropriate to developmental level a lack of spontaneous seeking to share enjoyment, interests, or achievements with other people (e.g., by a lack of showing, bringing, or pointing out objects of interest) lack of social or emotional reciprocity

2.Qualitative impairments in communication as manifested by at least one of the following: delay in, or total lack of, the development of spoken language (not accompanied by an attempt to compensate through alternative modes of communication such as gesture or mime) in individuals with adequate speech, marked impairment in the ability to initiate or sustain a conversation with others stereotyped and repetitive use of language or idiosyncratic language lack of varied, spontaneous make-believe play or social imitative play appropriate to developmental level

3.Restricted repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behavior, interests, and activities, as manifested by at least one of the following: encompassing preoccupation with one or more stereotyped and restricted patterns of interest that is abnormal either in intensity or focus apparently inflexible adherence to specific, nonfunctional routines or rituals stereotyped and repetitive motor mannerisms (e.g., hand or finger flapping or twisting, or complex whole body movements) persistent preoccupation with parts of objects

B. Delays or abnormal functioning in at least one of the following areas, with onset prior to age 3 years:

(1) social interaction,
(2) language as used in social communication, or
(3) symbolic or imaginative play.

C. The disturbance is not better accounted for by Rett's Disorder or Childhood Disintegrative Disorder.

CHAT-Checklist for Autism in Toddlers
The original CHAT paper was first published by Simon Baron-Cohen in 1992.
He has since published a follow-up paper (Br J Psychiatry 168:158-163).
As described in the abstract, he tested 41 18-month-old children "at genetic risk for autism" (they had older siblings with autism) and 50 randomly selected 18-month-olds. The CHAT identified 4 children and all 4 were later diagnosed with autism. This is a very small sample and it is difficult to establish the
validity of the CHAT based on it.

Section A - Ask Parent:

1) Does your child enjoy being swung, bounced on your knee, etc?
2) Does your child take an interest in other children?
3) Does your child like climbing on things, such as up stairs?
4) Does your child enjoy playing peek-a-boo/hide-and-seek?
5) Does your child ever pretend, for example, to make a cup of tea using a toy cup and teapot, or pretend other things?
6) Does your child ever use his/her index finger to point, to ask for something?
7) Does your child ever use his/her index finger to point, to indicate interest in something?
8) Can your child play properly with small toys (e.g. cars or bricks) without just mouthing, fiddling, or dropping them?
9) Does your child ever bring objects over to you, to show you something?

Section B - GP's observation

i) During the appointment, has the child made eye contact with you?
ii) Get child's attention, then point across the room at an interesting object and say "Oh look! There's a (name a toy)!" Watch child's face. Does the child look across to see what you are pointing at?
NOTE - to record yes on this item, ensure the child has not simply looked at your hand, but has actually looked at the object you are pointing at.
iii) Get the child's attention, then give child a miniature toy cup and teapot and say "Can you make a cup of tea?" Does the child pretend to pour out the tea, drink it etc?
NOTE - if you can elicit an example of pretending in some other game, score a yes on this item
iv) Say to the child "Where's the light?" or "Show me the light". Does the child point with his/her index finger at the light? NOTE - Repeat this with "Where's the teddy?" or some other unreachable object, if child does not understand the word "light".To record yes on this item, the child must have looked up at your face around the time of pointing.
v) Can the child build a tower of bricks? (If so, how many?) (Number of bricks...)

Characteristics of a child with autism may include:

-Little or no speech
-Little or no understanding of language
-Stereotyped and repetitive idiosyncratic language
-Little or no eye contact
-Little or no ability to relate to or communicate with others
-A lack of affection toward or attachment to others
-Lack of make believe or play or imitative play
-Inappropriate toy play or odd attachment to objects
-Adherence to nonfunctional routines or rituals
-Stereotyped and repetitive mannerisms
-Self-injurious behavior, aggression, or tantrums
-Hand/arm flapping
-Walking on tips of toes

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