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March, 2010:

Autism Stats increasing

Autism stats continue to increase.  I heard today that 1 in 8 women will get breast cancer and I was shocked.  I am thrilled that the word is getting out, that women are getting screened, that research is being done (albeit a bit biased), but I am left with a simple question….  “Where is the autism research, where are the government studies, where are the national studies…?”  Oh, I know the answers.  It is simply not profitable for the government or the pharmaceutical companies to do these studies-  But, we are losing an entire generation of children.  1 in 117 children and 1 in 70 Boys are diagnosed on the spectrum.  This is a National Epidemic of staggering proportions.

I would love to hear what your area of the country/ world does to be heard int he community.  What companies do you see doing fund-raising or making a difference?  What has your state done to make a difference?  We live in Indiana and our State actually passed a mandate requiring insurance companies to cover all services for children with autism.  This only applies to companies in Indiana, but it is known as the “SuperBill” and a giant step for our children.

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Fish Oil Supplements- Mercury

Just what we do not want to read when we think of fish oil supplements- Mercury.  As parents with children on the spectrum, we spend so much time watching out for mercury and other heavy medals and contaminants that our children are so sensitive, too.  And yet, a lawsuit has been issued against 8 of the nations leading producers of fish oil.  It gets scarier because these are brands that are very common…  as reported by both CBS and ABC news,

“The lawsuit targets eight supplement manufacturers or distributors:  CVS , Rite Aid, General Nutrition Corp., Solgar, Twinlab, Now Health, Omega Protein and Pharmavite.”

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It is very important that children with ASD use supplements that are mercury and contaminant free.  Fish oil, probiotics and multi-vitamins are just three of the most common supplements recommended for children on the spectrum.  We recommend Shaklee supplements to our clients and friends because of the results we saw from these products.  In addition, they do over 83,000 tests a year for product puritiy (over 82,000 tests more than any other comapany we know of) and they are published in over 100 Peer Reviewed Medical Journals.

When choosing supplements, ask the company what tests they do for purity, how they prove their supplements absorb and for information about efficacy and potency.  Not all supplements are created equal and it is important that the foods and supplements we put into our children help without hurting.

FASE Expo, what we learned… you need to know

FASE, a family support group for those with special needs and differing abilities in Indianapolis, hosted their annual expo on Saturday, March 13th.  ASD Perspectives (under A to Z Nutrition and Wellness) was thrilled to be one of many sponsors.  More exciting was the incredible opportunities I had to talk with and share the stories of so many families.

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One family asked many questions and listened attentively as they worked to figure out symptoms that may lead to their sons diagnosis.  Another lady dragged her friend over to our table to learn more about supplementation and consultations for families on the Spectrum.  We were greeted with open arms by families, professionals and event presenters alike.

I learned a bit myself.  Do you have a will for your children?  I know- not a fun topic and for those of us with special needs- a down-right scary topic.  The majority of families do not have a will because they do not know who to chose as a guardian.  But there a very big reasons why you need both a Will and a Special Needs Trust for your children.  That’s right- A special needs trust.  i learned yesterday, that a trust is not good enough for those of us who have children on the spectrum.  A special needs trust ensures that our children are taken care of, and yet STILL qualify for Medicaid (which has income caps.)  The last thing we want is to leave life insurance for our children only to find that that insurance was not distributed in a way that protects them.

If you have not already, I encourage you to contact a financial planner (who is well versed and specializes in estate planning for special needs children).  Contacting an Autism Support Group or center in your area can link you to these providers or upcoming seminars.

Do not despair….

What a funny way to start a blog post, but I was inspired to do so by a book I am reading.  My daughters therapist, after a discussion about books on parenting, sent a book home with my daughter.  The book is called, “Christlike parenting,” by Dr. Glenn Latham.  She recommended the book because Dr. Latham is well respected in the world of behavior analysts.  Truly, I wish I had been given this book 10 years ago when our oldest was born.

Never the less, thank you Janine for this book and here is the message I have gotten from the first couple chapters.  “Do not despair.”  All too often, especially those of us with special needs children, blame ourselves when things go wrong.  We contemplate where we went astray and convince ourselves that had we done a better job…. well things would be different.  We walk around defeated on some days and our kids KNOW it.  But Dr. Latham tells us to stop blaming ourselves.  He even goes so far as to say that if we were judging parents on how our children turn out, even God would have failed.  WOW… that is very eye opening.  Now this is not to say we need do nothing, except to say that we need to do the best we can and not despair when something goes wrong.

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I highly recommend Dr. Lathams’ book to people of all faiths.  My daughters’ therapist is not a christian and I am so touched that she gave this book to me….  If you are looking for a non-drug approach or a supplement to medication, this book gives very straight forward information on how to raise our children in a positive way.

Never stop reaching…

In the absence of a cure or even an accurate prognosis of a child’s future, do not be afraid to believe in a child’s potential. Most children with autism will benefit from intervention. Many, if not most, will make very significant, meaningful progress. – Autism Speaks

I could not resist posting this quote from the Autism Speaks website.  It sums up about everything we do.

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Is there a cure for autism?  At ASD perspectives, we believe there are some children who have had such success with biomedical treatments as to render them undiagnosable.  Having said that, our own children have good days and really bad days.  We know that bio-medical approaches (namely exstensive sensory integration, OT and natural supplement) have given our children the chance at a normal life.  Our therapists have been amazed at progress.  However, other days we wonder if we will ever get through.

Today my 8 year old said to me, ‘ autism is not so bad…  you don’t get ignored… people have to take notice.”  So yes, in the absence of a cure… we will never be afraid to believe and work towards a child’s absolute potential- knowing that potential can surpass our own.

When you are blogging about Autism…

When you are blogging about autism… where do you start.  Do I start with my story?  Do I start with my purpose?  Do I start with a vision or an article or….?

If you are caught up in the crazy, wild, entertaining, thought provoking, seemingly never ending world of autism spectrum disorders, you understand that question.  Where do I begin?  Maybe you are a teacher, therapist, aunt, uncle, doctor (we would love for you to be here) or… even more likely, a parent.  My journey with autism started as a high school babysitter, then a nanny, then a parent and now a nutrition consultant, too.  But most importantly, I am a mom with children on the Autism Spectrum and I council families, daily, on how to use natural approaches to get their children happier and healthier.

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I created ASD Perspectives to help other families, professionals and caring people start to sort out this wacky world and make sense of the “spectrum.”  Please join in the fun.  (I do not mean to make light of a serious topic, but you all know that we can wake up every day defeated or ready to make this world a better, more educated place for our children and families.  Children and adults on the spectrum make up a larger portion of the population than most want to believe and, with our help, they will make a huge difference in this world.

This is my ASD Perspective at this moment and I would love to hear yours.  Oh, and be sure to contact me with questions, research topics and your ASD perspective.  (Sigh- a tear rolls down my eye as I am so overjoyed to have launched this site.)