DENVER, CO (Ivanhoe Newswire) - At two she was misdiagnosed as brain damaged. By four she finally learned to speak. She had her first job at 13 and her masters by 28 and is now a bestselling author and scientist. In honor of Autism Awareness month, arguably the most famous autistic woman, Temple Grandin shares tips on how to care for autistic kids at every stage.
Three-year-old Dalton Foreaker, 10-year-old Kerrick Coble, 18-year-old Tyler Pridemore, and 64-year-old Temple Grandin. They're different ages, different ends of the spectrum, and all diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder or ASD.
"On one end of the spectrum you're going to have a brilliant person who's running an important company in Silicon Valley. The other end of the spectrum you're going to have somebody who's gonna remain non-verbal," Temple Grandin, an autistic author and animal scientist told Ivanhoe.
Grandin said no matter where you start, for all infants, early intervention is key. One study found kids placed in intensive programs before their third birthday improved their IQ by 18 points, which in some cases ended up changing the severity of their diagnosis. For toddlers and young kids, one of the most overlooked problems is sensory overload.
"Fluorescent lighting will flicker like a disco tech, flash on and off like a strobe light, and that is one of the worst problems we can have in the classroom," Grandin explained.
Avoid that by using 100-watt lamps for the child's desk. Grandin also recommends using pale colored glasses and printing homework on pastel paper. Students with ASD typically do best with routines. Outside the classroom teens should find interests that create structure and repetition to help them develop job skills.
"Paper routes are the best thing that ever happened to 13-year-olds, especially kids that are kinda geeky and on the spectrum because you gotta do it every day!" Grandin said.
Regardless of where you start on the spectrum.
"Einstein would be labeled autistic today. He had no language until he was three-years old," Grandin concluded.
A little extra attention can go a long way.
When it comes to college kids, she says good majors for visual thinkers are art, animation and design. Those motivated by math should check into computer science and engineering, and word thinkers may find a match with library science or journalism.
BACKGROUND: More children will be diagnosed with autism this year than with childhood cancer, juvenile diabetes, or pediatric AIDS combined. Autism affects millions of children world-wide and can vary between mild and severe cases. Autism is as a pervasive developmental disorder and becomes evident in a child within the first 3 years of life. This disease is a physical condition linked to abnormal biology and chemistry in the brain. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention autism identifies around 1 in 110 American children as being on the autism spectrum, a 600% increase in prevalence over the past two decades. (Source: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov, www.autismspeaks.org)
PREVENT AUTISM: Althoughthe exact causes of these abnormalities remain unknown. The clearest evidence of these autism risk factors involves events before and during birth of the child. They include older parents at the age of conception (both mom and dad), maternal illness during pregnancy and certain difficulties during birth, specifically those involving periods of oxygen deprivation to the baby's brain. It is important to keep in mind that these factors, by themselves, do not cause autism. (Source: www.autismspeaks.org)
SIGNS OF AUTISM: Most parents of autistic children suspect that something is wrong by the time the child is 18 months old. According to mayoclinic.com some common characteristics of autistic children include:
Fails to respond to his or her name
Has poor eye contact
Appears not to hear you at times
Resists cuddling and holding
Appears unaware of others' feelings
LIVING WITH AUTISM: The sooner one starts treatment with their loved the better. Intensive treatment programs will greatly improve the outlook for most young children with autism. Most professional therapists will build on the interests of the child in a highly structured schedule of constructive activities. An experienced specialist or team should design the program for the individual child. Being informed is very important for the family and individuals around an autistic child. Now some hotels are even training their staff to become autism-friendly. One hotel setting the bar isThe TradeWinds Islands Resorts in St. Pete Beach who have chosen to adopt "autism-friendly" practices that reduce negative experiences for those with autism. Families who are looking to travel should call ahead to a hotel and ask if the staff has any Center for Autism & Related Disabilities (CARD) training. (Source: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov, www.philly.com/philly/travel).
FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Temple Grandin School 6446 Jay Rd, Boulder, CO 80301
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