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Affects of Healthcare Mandate on Autism/ Special Needs

Over the past year or so I have been trying to find a very politically correct way to inform families that the new health care mandates have a very negative affect on families with special needs and autism.  Unfortunately, there is no politically correct way to do this because the mandate is not at all PC.  And beginning in January,  two of the line items in the Mandate will begin to drastically affect all of us.

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Here are the two biggest concerns for families with medical and special needs:

 

Of the twenty new or higher taxes in Obamacare, below are the five worst that will be foisted upon Americans for the first time on January 1, 2013:

The Obamacare Medical Device Tax – a $20 billion tax increase:  Medical device manufacturers employ 409,000 people in 12,000 plants across the country. Obamacare imposes a new 2.3 percent excise tax on gross sales – even if the company does not earn a profit in a given year.  In addition to killing small business jobs and impacting research and development budgets, this will increase the cost of your health care – making everything from pacemakers to prosthetics more expensive.

The Obamacare “Special Needs Kids Tax” – a $13 billion tax increase:  The 30-35 million Americans who use a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) at work to pay for their family’s basic medical needs will face a new government cap of $2,500 (currently the accounts are unlimited under federal law, though employers are allowed to set a cap).

There is one group of FSA owners for whom this new cap will be particularly cruel and onerous: parents of special needs children.  There are several million families with special needs children in the United States, and many of them use FSAs to pay for special needs education. Tuition rates at one leading school that teaches special needs children in Washington, D.C. (National Child Research Center) can easily exceed $14,000 per year. Under tax rules, FSA dollars can be used to pay for this type of special needs education. This Obamacare tax provision will limit the options available to these families. (John Kartch, ATR)

These are important issues to take note of so that you can plan for ongoing therapies and services.  And if your child needs a medical device that can currently be paid for with funds from your medical accounts, you will want to do so now.  We wish the media had picked up on these important oversights earlier; however, since they have largely chosen not do so, we wanted to make you aware.

Becky Cash.

Owner

Asdperspectives.com

Cameras in Special Needs Classrooms

I recently made a post on our facebook site that really caught a lot of buzz.  The topic was, cameras in classrooms with special needs children and those with communication issues.  I would argue that all children will have communication issues when fearful, but none the less, the topic was special needs.  Our response was huge.  We had about 50 unique posters and 94% stated that cameras should be placed in our children’s classrooms.  Interestingly, even the teachers were in favor of the cameras and said, “bring it on.”

So why on earth would parents and teachers feel so strongly that it is time for cameras in our schools?  Each commenter had different reasons and so i would like to discuss several of those reason here.

Bullying

Look, we simply cannot pretend that bullying is not a huge issues in schools.  It IS!  In fact, studies show that 75% of children on the autism spectrum are victims of bullies.  They are easy targets.  Low functioning and non-verbal children, with autism, cannot fight back and tell on the bullies and high functioning children do not often have the social knowledge to determine who and when to tell.  There are rampant stories about children being verbally harrassed daily, trained to do inapropriate tasks for the amusement of the bullies and even being physically hurt by other children.  the more subtle bullying, the bullying that can do the most harm, happens in the classroom when the teacher is present but cannot hear.  One very high functioning child shared that the girls in the classroom all hated her.  Every time she would look up, another girl would give her a nasty look and tell her to stop staring.  In the line, they would back away from her and tell her that she was gross.  Although she had no mannerisms that would construed as gross, bathed regularly and was kind to everyone, she was being harrased daily.  Cameras in the classroom, that were randomly pulled and watched would have detected this so that this child would not have to fear and hate going to school.  Typical children face this kind of bullying every day.

Teacher Abuse

Look, we hate to say it also.  No one wants to believe that there are a few bad teachers out there.  But it does happen and we see it in the media.  Special Needs children are in even more danger of being abused because they are harder to work with, teachers may get less prase and because they do not tell.  in addition, teachers and aides have more opportunity to be alone with special needs children.  In addition, frustrated teachers, even in regular classrooms, will verbally abuse students.  But lets look at this from the other side, too.  More than one teacher and parent commented that cameras in the classrooms would also PROTECT our teachers from false allegations.  Right now, everything comes down to he said/ she said.

Parent/ Teacher Education

More than a few parents would really like to know how their child is learning, being interacted with and how they are progressing.  When my daughter was in an ABA center, we really wanted to know how to do ABA at home.  We had been told that this would be part of the program, but we also knew that we could not observe her when she knew we were watching.  She did not react the same way when we were present.  We were not afraid that she was being abused and we knew that other children were not bullying her.  We genuinely wanted more that a therapist showing us her statistical improvements.  Having her videotaped in the classroom would have really helped us to work with her at home.

The overall consensus, among teachers, parents and professionals that we talk to is that cameras in the classrooms are long overdue.  We realize that there are legal issues with privacy; however, many day cares and private schools have open door policies and cameras.  And more than a few have systems that allow parents to log on from work.  It is time to put the safety of our children and teachers as priority.

Juvenile Diabetes and Autism

I have a child with Juvenile Diabetes.  She is 7 years old and was diagnosed at 16 months. I watched her entire personality change in the days after she was released from Pediatric ICU.

I love this child more than life itself.  I love her when she is happy and when she is angry.  I love her when she is laughing and when she is raging.  I love her when she is in pain and when she is playing.

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I love every bit of her, from the top of her head to the bottom of her little toes.  I cry for her every time she has to get a new insert.  I hurt for her when she is raging out of control because of the trauma, because of the constant low and high blood sugars, because diabetes sucks and because we can’t make it better.

Some days, my daughter screams all day.  Some days she swares worse than a drunken sailor.  Some days she hits and kicks and is out of control.  Other days, she is the sweetest, kindest child.  She only wants mom and dad and fights change.  But I love her just the way she is.  On the other side, I hate Juvenile Diabetes and everything about it.  It will make my daughter and I stronger, but I still hate it and live for the cure.  I will never stop looking for that cure even though I love her just the way she is… see all the gifts that have come through her and her diagnosis and know that we are better people for having walked this road.

I feel the same way about Autism and my children with Autism.  I love every bit of my children with Autism.  And even though I know that we are better people for having walked the Autism Journey I will never stop looking for a cure, striving to help them reach their potential and helping my children get through the storms.

There is no cure for Juvenile Diabetes!  There is also no cure for Autism!  But I owe it to my children to never stop looking.

Autism Supplement and Diet Program

We receive many, many inquiries on starting a supplement and diet program for children on the autism spectrum.  Everyone wants to help their family members on the spectrum, without wasting time and money.  Let’s face it, time is all we have and going into bankruptcy, while chasing ideas, will not help our families get healthier, or more sane.

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In my almost 10 years of working in nutrition consulting and in my persistent seeking as a mother of three children on the autism spectrum, I have seen what works, what may work and in some cases, what simply does not work.  We like to start simple, use actual research and to go with the endless hours of work and experience other parents and professionals have had with their own patients and children.  In addition, you simply do not have to go broke to help those you love and in many cases, those are the wild goose chases that will not get you where you want to go.

Over the decades, there has been much research into biomedical interventions into autism.  (That is a fancy word for nutritional approaches).  There are a couple diets and a handful of supplements that we recommend for all of our families, that we consult with.  For some it will be life changing and for others it will be a starting place, but for almost everyone, you should see a real difference.

Diet:  The Gluten Free/ Casein Free Diet is by far the most tried and true diet for children and adults on the Autism Spectrum.  In some cases, you will see such a big difference with the Gluten Free, alone; however, because the proteins in gluten and casein are so similar int he body, it really is advised to do both gf/cf at the same time.  Research from the Autism Research Institute showed that over 60% of families reported significant improvements on this diet.  (It is recommended to supplement with calcium and vitamin d on this and most diets).  The GF/CF diet is safe and we tend not to see any weaning issues, as long as the child or adult will eat a variety of other foods.

Another diet intervention is to determine food allergies and intolerance.  A functional medicine doctor will do blood work for allergy sensitivities and then can help create a rotation diet.  Depending int he severity of the sensitivities, a food may be completely eliminated, temporarily eliminated or simply limited.  In our experience, the GF/CF is worth trying first because it has very good results and will prep the person for other eliminations.

Supplements:  When we work with families,w e are able to better pinpoint specific supplements to help with behaviour and symptoms; however, there are certain supplements almost universally recommended for people ont he spectrum.  We are simply going to recommend the top 4 here.

Multi Vitamin/ Mineral:  For children, the Ocean Wonders or Incredivites Chewables.  These are complete children’s’ vitamins that taste good and fill in lost nutrients.  (We are not fans of gummy vitamins, unless a last resort.  many dentists also warn against gummies).

Optiflora Pre and Pro Biotic–  This is a triple encapsulated probiotic capsule that is very tiny and easy to swallow.  For young children, it can be soaked to soften or chewed if needed, but we find that a spoonful of applesauce easily gets it down.  It is triple encapsulated to guarantee delivery to the digestive tract.  The pre-biotic is a tasteless powder than can be mixed into any drink or applesauce.

Omegagard– Full spectrum Fish oil Supplement. Omegagard is a pharmaceutical grade 7 spectrum fish oil supplement that guarantees NO MERCURY CONTAMINATION.  Fish oil helps with brain function, inflammation, digestive swelling and many other issues our loved ones face, not to mention focus and behavior.

Calcium Magnesium–  Calcium Magnesium helps to calm the heart rate and thus helps with hyperactive behaviors, inability to sleep and just generally helps to calm one down.  For children, the chewable calcium magnesium can be used; while Osteomatrix is great for anyone who can swallow.

If we can answer specific questions for your family, please feel free to contact us at info@asdperspectives.com

 

 

Inspiring Abilities Expo- March 10th

ASDPerspectives and ASDAdvocates will once again be sponsoring the Annual Inspiring Abilities Expo in Greenfield, Indiana on March 10th.  This is the third year that we will both be attending and sponsoring this incredible day for families of children with Special Needs.  The event grows each year and is put on by FUSE.  If you or those you know are in the Indiana Area, please help us get the word out.  And be sure to stop by our table so we can get to know you.

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Autism and Sleep Issues

Sleep can be a major issue for both those with autism and those that love them.  It can become a vicious cycle, especially with children.  It works like this….  A child on the autism spectrum typically needs a greater level of care than other children.  When they do not sleep, their parents, grandparents or caregivers do not sleep, thus causing sleep deprivation in everyone involved.  It does not take long to figure out that this is cause for great concern.  However, many families have found relief.

Traditional sleep advice is behavioral in nature.  You have likely heard many of the tips, and they are all good.  Some of them include….  (quoted from University of Michigan Health System)

  • Make bedtime a special time. It should be a time for you to interact with your child in a way that is secure and loving, yet firm. At bedtime, spend some special time with your child. Be firm and go through a certain bedtime routine that your child is used to. At the end of that routine the lights go off and it is time to fall asleep.
  • Put some thought into finding your child’s ideal bedtime. In the evening, look for the time when your child really is starting to slow down and getting physically tired. That’s the time that they should be going to sleep, so get their bedtime routine done and get them into bed before that time. If you wait beyond that time, then your child tends to get a second wind. At that point they will become more difficult to handle, and will have a harder time falling asleep.
  • Keep to a regular daily routine—the same waking time, meal times, nap time and play times will help your baby to feel secure and comfortable, and help with a smooth bedtime. Babies and children like to know what to expect.
  • Use a simple, regular bedtime routine. It should not last too long and should take place primarily in the room where the child will sleep. It may include a few simple, quiet activities, such as a light snack, bath, cuddling, saying goodnight, and a story or lullaby. The kinds of activities in the routine will depend on the child’s age.
  • Make sure the sleep routines you use can be used anywhere, so you can help your baby get to sleep wherever you may be.
  • Some babies are soothed by the sound of a vaporizer or fan running. This “white noise” not only blocks out the distraction of other sounds, it also simulates the sounds babies hear in the womb. Small, portable white noise machines with a variety of different sounds are now available.
  • Make sure your kids have interesting and varied activities during the day, including physical activity and fresh air.
  • Use light to your advantage. Keep lights dim in the evening as bedtime approaches. In the morning, get your child into bright light, and, if possible, take them outside. Light helps signal the brain into the right sleep-wake cycle.

These are all very good tips, though we know many families who have done all of these with little results.  We would also recommend looking into some alternative solutions as children on the autism spectrum seem to have biomedical issues contributing to sleep.  Some of these may include anemia, improper zinc levels, digestive issues that cause irritability, and other nutrient issues.  Some solutions that our families have found, in addition to testing for these deficiencies, include a couple supplements.  They include:

Calcium Magnesium close to bedtime.  Research has shown that Magnesium slows the heart rate, thus calming children.  This may also help a child, who is either physically or mentally hyper, during the day.

Melatonin helps many children fall asleep faster.  Melatonin is a hormone naturally produced in the brain; however, many of our children (and adults) need an extra boost.  1 to 3 mg is a listed safe dose in children.  Please consult with your neurologist, pediatrician or other medical professional in determining dosage.  Melatonin can often be found in a flavored, chewable at various health food stores.  (We have found that, in some children with aspergers, melatonin has been reported to cause nightmares.)

Gentle Sleep Complex is quickly becoming a favorite among many of the families we work with.  Many report that while melatonin gets their child to sleep, they still wake in the middle of the night.  Gentle Sleep Complex seems to help many of these children (and adults) stay asleep.

If you would like more information on dealing with sleep issues, safe and cost effective biomedical testing or autism consultations, please contact us at info@asdperspectives.com

Becky Cash is a Nutrition and Autism Consultant; as well as, the mother of three children at varying points on the autism spectrum.

Allergy Free Pumpkin Pie

Look, I don’t know about you, but Thanksgiving just does not seem right without a Pumpkin Pie.  Unfortunately, for those of us with children and family members with allergies, this time of year can be stressful.  How do we take our children to grandmas house and then tell them they can not eat all the fixins?  And if your parents are like mine, they also stress out not knowing how to cook right.  So, while I know the pie will not solve all the food, allergy and autism issues overnight, I wanted to share this ALLERGY FREE recipe with you.  It comes from the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Website.

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Pumpkin Pie

M, E, P, S, N, Gluten Free

Ingredients:
2 cups canned pumpkin
3/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1-1/2 cups water
6-1/2 T cornstarch
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. ginger
pie crust*
1/4 cup brown sugar (optional)
1/4 cup coconut (optional)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375° F. In medium saucepan, combine all ingredients but brown sugar and coconut. Cook over medium heat until mixture begins to thicken, stirring constantly. Pour into pie crust. Bake for 30 minutes or until firm. If desired, sprinkle coconut and brown sugar on top. Bake 5 more minutes.

*To make this recipe gluten-free, use your favorite gluten-free pie crust recipe.

Key:
M=Milk-free; E=Egg-free; W=Wheat-free; P=Peanut-free; S=Soy-free; N=Nut-free

 

On a side note, I want to mention that The actual recipe simply called for Wheat free.  Wheat free does not always mean Gluten Free so We- At ASDPerspectives- emphasize that you need a crust that states gluten fee on the package.

Wishing you and Your Families a Blessed Thanksgiving!

Becky Cash- Owner/ Founder

 

 

Welcome to Holland

I read this poem today and hope that it touches our readers.  You can also “view” a video of the poem below…  Hope you all enjoy Holland!

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Welcome To Holland
by
Emily Perl Kingsley
c1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley. All rights reserved.

… I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability – to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It’s like this……

When you’re going to have a baby, it’s like planning a fabulous vacation trip – to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It’s all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, “Welcome to Holland.”

“Holland?!?” you say. “What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I’m supposed to be in Italy. All my life I’ve dreamed of going to Italy.”

But there’s been a change in the flight plan. They’ve landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven’t taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It’s just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It’s just a different place. It’s slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you’ve been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around…. and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills….and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy… and they’re all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say “Yes, that’s where I was supposed to go. That’s what I had planned.”

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away… because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.
But… if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things … about Holland.

Apple Cinnamon Spice Energy Tea (for parents)

Dear Friends-

With Fall upon us, I thought a fun and healthy Energy Tea for those of us caring for children and adults on the Autism Spectrum would be fun!  We actually recently gave the teachers at our children’s school Energy tea, as a gift.  It is a yummy way to gain energy, while getting healthy.  the link to the product is in the recipe or can be found at www.autism.myshaklee.com.  Enjoy!

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Apple Cinnamon Spice Energy Tea


Apple Cinnamon Spice Energy Tea

Ingredients:

1 stick Cinch Energy Tea Mix

6 oz. hot water

2 tbsp. unsweetened apple juice

1 tsp. orange juice

Dash of cinnamon

Directions:

Heat water and mix with one stick of Energy Tea Mix unsweetened. Add apple juice, orange juice, and cinnamon. Stir and sip.

Nutrition Information:

Calories: 22 Protein: 0g Carbohydrate: 4g Fat: 0g Fiber: 0g

 

autism.myshaklee.com is owned and supported by ASDPerspectives.  Please feel free to contact us for input of supplements for your child or yourself.

TACA Indiana Presentation

TACA (Talk About Curing Autism) is an organization that believes that we must TALK About the possibilities if it can ever become a reality.  This is a national Organization that has local meeting all across the country.  To find a chapter in your area, go to www.tacanow.org.

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INDIANA CHAPTER MEETING

How Compounding Pharmacies Can Help Your Child With Autism

Wednesday,           September 28, 2011
7:00 – 9:00 PM, with speaker(s) starting at 7:15 PM
1291 N Airport Pky
Greenwood, IN 46143
Driving             Directions

Speaker: Scott Popyk, RPh MBA FIACP

Come learn about what compounding pharmacies can do to help your child.  What is the difference between a traditional pharmacy and a compounding pharmacy?You will learn what the major differences are between compounding and traditional pharmacies, what are the two critical things to know when selecting a compounding pharmacy and how a good compounding pharmacy can improve the treatment of autism.

Read more about Scott Popyk here.