Autism, Health & Safety

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Results from a national survey indicate that over a third of the children with autism, over a fifth with mental retardation, and over a fifth with other types of special health care needs had problems obtaining needed care from specialty doctors in the preceding year. The most common problems included getting referrals and finding providers with appropriate training. Children with unstable health conditions, autism, or those whose parent was in poor health were at greater risk for problems.
Marty Wyngaarden Krauss, Stephen Gulley, Mark Sciegaj, and Nora Wells
Molecular and Clinical Genetics for the Practicing Pediatricians; Gene Defects and Kids' Heart Disease; Vaccine Dialogue; Infections in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit; What's New in the Red Book? The Developing Brain; etc.
Judith G. Hall, Terrie Inder, Karin Nielsen, Frederick P. Rivara
Tragedies such as this occur all too frequently in the Autism community because of the tendency for children with Autism to wander away from safe surroundings and into the path of danger.
Adelle Jameson Tilton
Whether they're concerned about the risk of abduction or simply trying to keep tabs on their young ones, parents now have some high-tech options to track their kids. "When you look around your house and you can't find your child, you go to the mall, you go to a park and your kid's missing and you get that gut-wrenching feeling for 30 seconds or five minutes, 'I can't find my child,'" said Bob Frank, the chief executive officer of Bluespan, which makes a child tracker called "ionKids."
ABC News
A population-based survey was conducted among 152,732 Finnish children and adolescents aged under 16 years and living in northern Finland. Diagnoses and associated medical conditions were derived from the hospital and institutional records of this area. One hundred and eighty-seven children with DSM-IV autistic disorder were identified. Associated medical disorders or associated disorders of known or suspected genetic origin were found in 12.3 percent, including tuberous sclerosis, Down syndrome, fragile X syndrome, Klinefelter syndrome, XYY syndrome, chromosome 17 deletion, chromosome 46, XX, dup(8)(p) and mitochondriopathy. Other associated medical disorders identified were epilepsy, hydrocephalus, foetal alcohol syndrome and cerebral palsy. Hearing impairments were found in 8.6 percent and severe impairment of vision in 3.7 percent of the individuals with autistic disorder. Medical disorders seem to have a special impact on the genesis of autistic disorder and need to be thoroughly examined in each child with autistic disorder.
Marko Kielinen et al
Inadequate asthma control may contribute to a greater risk of asthmatic children residing in urban areas being placed in special education. School health programs should consider targeting low-income urban children with asthma at risk for enrollment in special education through increased asthma interventions and medical support services.
Jeanette A. Stingone, Medscape
Evaluate very carefully for burns, injuries, broken bones. Remember children with autism may not be able to tell you they are hurt or they may simply not want to deal with it. Keep them calm, comfortable and contact parents or an expert immediately.
Bill Davis
Every child needs to be kept safe. Children with autism need twice the protection. Issues addressed: Home safety, personal safety, outside safety, preschool safety.
Christina Adams
There are a lot of precautions which must be taken with a child with ASD. Some are for the protection of property, but property can be replaced if damaged. Much more important is the protection of the child from illness or injury.
Adelle Jameson Tilton
Recent research by Ray Miltenberger and his colleagues has demonstrated the effectiveness of teaching children to respond to four types of "lures" that a stranger might use: a simple request ("Please come with me"); an authoritative statement ("Your mother told me to pick you up"); an appeal for assistance ("Please help me look for my puppy"); and an offer of an incentive ("I have some candy in my car").
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Robert Hsiung
Canada's national network of health information providers. Website gives you easy access to health information you can trust from over 600 organizations across Canada.
Abduction is an issue that perhaps weighs a bit more heavily on the mind of a parent who has an ASD child. "Elopement"* or being a runner, is a very common quality that ASD children demonstrate. This of course increases the risk.
Adelle Jameson Tilton
Where organized sports are often not viable for the AS child, aikido most often involves structured work with a single partner. Not only may issues of AS kids be addressed via practice, but also classes may incorporate AS kids with peers.
Martha Levenson
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Provides social stories that may help your child understand what to do when confronted with an emergency and what exactly emergencies are.
Beattie Center for Children with Autism
Other members of the family should know how to escape and reach the assembly point, but your child might not. Therefore, if a fire starts, someone should make certain that your child is located quickly and removed from the structure first.
Adelle Jameson Tilton
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Provides comprehensive information on psychological disorders and psychiatric medications from both a consumer and expert point of view.
Autism is a developmental disorder caused by either structural or neurochemical alterations in central nervous system functioning. Theories abound, including left cerebral hemisphere dysfunction, cerebellar pathology, and limbic system pathology.
Joanna Dalldorf
If this child did not have autism and exhibited insensitivity to normal levels of pain, then this problem would likely be treated as serious; and there would be much concern about treating the problem.
Stephen Edelson
...when police cars and canine units searched for (Andrew) him after he vanished, he panicked and came running home with blood streaming out of cuts he got in the woods. triggering a four-day search involving about 600 people. Ultimately, rescue workers walking on a gravel road found Andrew Monday night, laying on his back behind a stone wall.
Emma Stickgold
Medscape offers specialists, primary care physicians, and other health professionals the Web's most robust and integrated multi-specialty medical information and education tool.
Mitochondrial diseases are the result of either inherited or spontaneous mutations in mtDNA or nDNA which lead to altered function of the proteins or RNA molecules that normally reside in mitochondria.
David Hirsch, Robert Naviaux, David Coulter, David Finegold, Jess Thorne, Edwin Naylor, Douglas Wallace, Jennifer Gwynne, Richard Haas, Salvatore Dimauro, Georgeirene Vladutiu
In the present study, we rediagnosed and followed a clinical sample of 341 children with related pervasive developmental disorders for an average of 24 years (current mean age of 31 years; range 14-48 years). Twelve patients had died. For the whole group crude mortality was 3.5 percent (95 percent Confidence Interval 1.8-6.1 percent). The standardized mortality ratio was 1.9 (95 percent Confidence Interval 1.0-3.4). For the diagnostic subgroups crude mortality was: infantile autism 3.4 percent, autistic-like conditions 3.4 percent, borderline childhood psychosis 2.5 percent and disintegrative psychosis 15.4 percent. Mortality was related to intelligence in a U-shaped fashion, with both severe retardation and normal intelligence being associated with a relatively high risk of death. The distribution between natural causes and unnatural causes of death (accidents, suicide) resembled the pattern seen in a background population of adolescents and younger adults. Five of the 12 deaths were related to epilepsy.
Torben Isager et al
NIMH is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the principal biomedical and behavioral research agency of the United States Government. NIH is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
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A person with a developmental disability who has impaired communication skills (or is possibly nonverbal) may at times communicate his pain through dangerous or socially inappropriate behaviors.
Ellen Arcadi
Developmental-behavioral pediatrics online community.
List of general behavioral issues
The condition of obesity has become a significant public health problem in the United States. In children and adolescents, the prevalence of overweight has tripled in the last 20 years, with approximately 16.0% of children ages 6–19, and 10.3% of 2–5 year olds being considered overweight. Considerable research is underway to understand obesity in the general pediatric population, however little research is available on the prevalence of obesity in children with developmental disorders. The purpose of our study was to determine the prevalence of overweight among a clinical population of children diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Retrospective chart review of 140 charts of children ages 3–18 years seen between 1992 and 2003 at a tertiary care clinic that specializes in the evaluation and treatment of children with developmental, behavioral, and cognitive disorders. Diagnostic, medical, and demographic information was extracted from the charts. Primary diagnoses of either ADHD or ASD were recorded, as was information on race/ethnicity, age, gender, height, and weight. Information was also collected on medications that the child was taking. Body mass index (BMI) was calculated from measures of height and weight recorded in the child's chart. The Center for Disease Control's BMI growth reference was used to determine an age- and gender-specific BMI z-score for the children. The prevalence of at-risk-for-overweight (BMI >85th%ile) and overweight (BMI > 95th%ile) was 29% and 17.3% respectively in children with ADHD. Although the prevalence appeared highest in the 2–5 year old group (42.9%ile), differences among age groups were not statistically significant. Prevalence did not differ between boys and girls or across age groups (all p > 0.05). For children with ASD, the overall prevalence of at-risk-for-overweight was 35.7% and prevalence of overweight was 19%. When compared to an age-matched reference population (NHANES 1999–2002), our estimates indicate that children with ADHD and with ASD have a prevalence of overweight that is similar to children in the general population.
Carol Curtin et al
Project Lifesaver International, the worlds most reliable program for locating missing persons, providing safety through a proven, rapid response system with the most practical, affordable and successful solution for bringing loved ones home and peace of mind to the care givers.
What to do if your charge: wanders away; doesn't fear danger; is upset by new situations; makes public outbursts; can't I.D. self or explain what's wrong; has dangerous obsessions; is a crime victim or a crime suspect.
South Carolina Autism Society
PMS and other menstruation-related disorders can affect all women, but the symptoms are more difficult to interpret in women with autism, particularly those who have difficulty communicating their discomfort.
Margaret Kyrkou
File every single piece of paper you get from your doctors, therapists, insurance company, service agencies, and school. This includes assessments, evaluations, diagnostic reports, report cards, test results, IFSPs, IEPs, etc.
Mitzi Waltz
Can I Play, too? Choosing a Community Recreation Program; Evaluating Inclusion in Community Recreation: A Checklist for Parents Does Inclusion STOP During the Summer? The ART of Leisure Recreation and Leisure Resources
Stuart J. Schlein, Linda Heyne
This article addresses environmental and safety modifications that can be made in the home as well as steps that can be taken to prevent unsafe or inappropriate behaviors.
An understanding of the complicated nature of school problems, the methods used to assess, diagnose and treat them, and the resources available to support the child and family are essential to successful management.
Debra Phillips, Shirley Longlett, Christopher Mulrine, Jerry Kruse, Rhonda Kewney
Serotonin levels that are either too high or too low may disrupt the production of new connections in the brain during childhood, a process called synaptogenesis.
Anna Nidecker
New evidence indicates that sex differences at biological and genetic levels may have an important impact on our understanding of brain functioning and on the clinical use of psychopharmacological agents.
Pavel Hrdina
Some autistic children become almost normal when they have a fever, experiencing increased alertness, a decrease in social isolation and self-injurious behavior, an increase in verbal behavior, and an attempt to reach out and communicate with adults.
Gary Brown
The authors investigated the effects of an intervention package to support five high school students with extensive support-needs to initiate and engage in recreational activities with general-education peers in their physical education classes. The intervention components were (a) assessing participants' recreational activity goals, (b) teaching self-prompting using a picture book, (c) programming common stimuli, and (d) asking participants to assess daily performance and evaluate daily goal achievement. The intervention was associated with increases in participants' initiation of and engagement in recreational activities with general-education peers, as well as increases in ratings of quality of interaction. In addition, participants typically assessed with accuracy their performance of recreational activities and whether they had achieved their recreational goals. Findings are discussed with respect to future research and practice.
Carolyn Hughes et al
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The literature on the health of adults with disabilities focuses on one disability compared to a comparison group. This study allows cross disability comparisons with the hypothesis. Adults with disabilities had higher odds of having common health conditions, compared to adults without disability in the same practice. A retrospective record review of 1449 patients with disability and 2084 patients without disability included individuals with sensory impairments (n = 117), developmental disabilities (n = 692), trauma-related impairments (n = 155) and psychiatric impairments (n = 485). The only two health conditions with statistically significantly increased odds for all groups with disabilities were dementia and epilepsy. Patients with developmental disabilities were less likely to have coronary artery disease, cancer, and obesity. Those with sensory impairments had increased odds for congestive heart failure, diabetes, transient ischemic attacks and death. Patients with trauma disabilities had increased odds for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and depression. Finally, psychiatric patients had increased odds for most of the investigated condition. In conclusion, there were many similarities in the risk for common health conditions such as asthma, cancer, coronary artery disease, depression, hypertension, and obesity, among patients with and without disability. Some of the conditions with increased odds ratios, including depression, seizures, and dementia are secondary to the primary disability.
Suzanne McDermott, Medscape
Investigations have focused on exercise as an intervention with individuals with autism. The purpose of this investigation was to conduct exercise-training programs following standard guidelines with individuals with autism to stimulate future researchers to implement such programs. Aerobic and muscular strength training programs (MST) were con-ducted. Aerobic fitness increased 33%, 50%, and 33% for the 3 participants. For the MST, bench press increased 19% and 28%, low row increased 47% and 21%, and leg press increased 29% and 12% for the 2 participants. Future directions are discussed with regard to using exercise-training programs to not only enhance physical health but also the psychological well-being of individuals with autism.
Marc Lochbaum, Debbie Crews
Preventing obesity through an active lifestyle, nutrition education, and emotional support from family and friends is the ideal answer. In a perfect world, this begins in early childhood. Great idea, but not always easy to put into practice.
Joan E. Medlen

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