By Virinia H. Downham PUBLISHED BY: Virinia Downham on Smashwords Autism Decoder Your Ultimate Guide To Autism For The Parent And Professional Copyright ©2010 by Virinia Downham All rights reserved. This is a work of non-fiction. This ebook is licensed for personal use only. This ebook may not be resold or given away to other people. If you are reading this ebook and you have not purchased it please contact author at Thank you for respecting my rights as the author of this work.

***** AUTISM DECODER YOUR ULTIMATE GUIDE TO AUTISM FOR THE PARENT AND PROFESSIONAL ***** CONTENTS Introduction 12 Fallacies of Autism What Causes Autism? How is Autism Diagnosed? Tests for Autism Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) Vaccination and Autism Treatments An Overview Helpful Hints Know Your Rights Recommendations My Story Contacts Conclusion

Bibliography ASD Behavior Checklist


INTRODUCTION Autism is a term used to describe a broad spectrum of developmental disabilities. The exact reason or reasons why Autism occurs in roughly 4 or 5 people in 10,000 is not yet known? In a time when everyone in countries like America Australia and the United Kingdom believe themselves to be tolerant of people with disabilities Autism remains one of the most misunderstood and misdiagnosed conditions. As a parent of an Autistic child I have been branded “a bad mother”. I was accused of medicating my son for no reason and I had to go to court. I have been treated like an “outcast” because I could not control my son’s aggressiveness. I have been blamed for my son’s behavior and called a “cold” mother who does not love her child. The truth is I love my son deeply. James was diagnosed with High Level Autism in 2005. James is a lovely boy but he cannot understand the world in the way that “normal” children seem to. He has aggressive outbursts that I cannot control and he lives every day of his life being treated by other children and adults as “the troubled boy.” I want a better future for my son, one of hope and happiness. But if there is to be a positive change in my son’s life it begins with the understanding of what Autism is. The aim of this book is to provide parents and professionals who deal with Autism a simple and accurate guide to what Autism is and how Autism is currently being treated. It gives the parents of an Autistic child a Plan of Action to follow. The Autism Decoder has 419 addresses for parents who need help in the USA, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, South Africa and the UK. Finally, the Autism Decoder also provides an ASD Behavior Checklist with 267 Autistic Behaviors. The ASD Checklist is designed to give a quick overview of a child’s problem behaviors at any one given time. It is a useful tool designed for both parents and professionals. All the behaviors listed are on the Autistic Spectrum. It should be stated that the author is not a doctor. I am a qualified Librarian with a Double Major in Psychology. While some of my observations are based on personal experience, most of the information presented in this book has been gathered from doctors and researchers. (See Bibliography). I am the mother of a boy who has journeyed on a long road to find the answer to the question Is my child Autistic?

This book is dedicated to my son James and to parents of Autistic Children everywhere.


Although the causes of Autism have not yet been determined some things are known about the condition. Autism is a life-long disability. While there is no cure for Autism there are therapies that can and do have a positive impact on the progress of an Autistic child. Autism occurs four times more frequently in boys than in girls. If parents have a child with Autism, there is an increased likelihood, estimated at 5% to 8%, that their future children will also develop Autism.

12 FALLACIES ABOUT AUTISM 1. Your child can look me in the eye so they are not Autistic Some Autistic children can look you in the eye. What is wrong with this quick assessment is that children who are on the higher level of the Autistic Spectrum for example High Level Autistic, or Asperger children, may have less noticeable problems. An Autistic child may be able to look you in the eye but how long can they hold the gaze? Does the social interaction cause stress? What exactly is the Autistic child seeing? 2. Autistic children don’t speak. Many Autistic children can speak. The child may be able to answer a simple set of questions. But what is their actual comprehension? How much of what the child says is rote learning or parroting? It is not so much the child’s ability to speak as what questions they ask. How does the child use words to describe concepts, problem solving and an understanding of generally accepted norms? 3. All Autistic children are the same. Like all children, autistic children are unique. No two Autistic children will ever be exactly alike. 4. There are 2 problems every Autistic child has. Because Autism is a spectrum disorder the level of severity will be different for every child. Just because a child can do some things doesn’t rule out the possibility that the child is on the Autistic Spectrum. And because every child is different there are no two indicators that every Autistic child has at the same level of severity.

5. The child is Autistic because the mother hasn’t bonded with the child properly. This was a common held belief in the 1950’s and 60’s advocated by people like Bruno Bettelheim who wrote The Empty Fortress: Infantile Autism and the Birth of the Self in 1967 . Unfortunately it is a belief that some professionals still have. Even though research in 1997 by Richard Pollack revealed that Bettelheim the greatest advocate of this idea did not base this theory on sufficient evidence. Subsequent studies have proven that problems with the mother-child bonding process is not due to the mother’s coldness but rather due to the child’s inability to socialize and respond normally. (see My Story). 6. Autism is caused by bad parenting. The Child’s psychology and family environment do not cause Autism. Autism is an organic brain disorder. However it is true to say that parenting an autistic child is a lot more challenging than raising a “normal” child. And like most children, an autistic child will develop some bad behavior patterns if they find that those behaviors get them what they want. Parents of Autistic children need far more help and guidance in teaching their child how to behave acceptably. The social and medical services needed to help parents raise an Autistic child are just not there for many parents. 7. Autistic Children are not aggressive. Some Autistic children, noticeably High Level Autistic children can be very aggressive. Many Autistic children have no impulse control, if they feel angry they lash out with no thought to consequences. For Autistic children on the higher end of the ASD spectrum aggression may be used as a means of controlling their environment. As an ASD child’s level of empathy for others may be impaired an Autistic child will not stop being aggressive and lashing out even if they physically hurt someone. This kind of antisocial behavior is not simply due to “bad parenting” the aggressive ASD child requires psychological and sometimes medical help. (see My Story). 8. Autistic Children do not have self-injurious behaviors. Research proves that most Autistic children perform some kind of self-injurous behavior. The reasons why a child performs a self injury may differ greatly or be a combination of reasons like frustration, a form of control, an obsessive compulsive disorder to name but a few. 9. Sensory Integration Dysfunction – there’s no such thing. Sensory Integration Dysfunction has been studied in America since the 1950’s. It is a term most Occupational Therapists recognize and few other professionals. Imagine having to deal with an overload of sensory messages to the brain with no way to slow down or halt the continual flow of sensory traffic? Every day has to feel chaotic, the child's ability to concentrate or stay calm are severely impaired. This sensory problem has been scientifically proven and yet so many professionals keep denying it. One can only assume it is because they are ignorant of current research findings? For a professional working with children not to understand the important role Sensory Integration Dysfunction plays in contributing to the child’s “abnormal behavior” is a huge problem. It is I think one of the major reasons that so many Autistic children are not being properly assessed today. 10. Autism is caused by malnutrition.

Malnutrition does not cause Autism. Food allergies can occur in many Autistic Children. Some Autistic children may be very fussy eaters due to the touch texture color or taste of different foods. If a child refuses to eat certain kinds of foods, let’s say all orange foods, this may lead to a poor diet as Vitamin rich C and A foods may not be eaten. So in some cases it is true to say that Autism can cause malnutrition. 11. Many people believe that being Autistic coincides with being a genius in some way. While it is true that some Autistic individuals have extraordinary math, music, computer and/or art skills, this number is nowhere near the majority — in fact, relatively few autistic people function outside of the normal range in any skill. This stereotype is perpetuated in the movies and in other forms of media, because the story of a talented person fighting disadvantages (such as Autism) makes a good plot. However, this is not the norm. 12. Autism is a form of mental retardation. Some Autistic people are mentally retarded as well, but most are not and should not be treated as such. Intellectually disabled children have delayed language whilst the language in many autistic children is both disordered and delayed.

I have listed the above fallacies first in this book because they reveal a common mistake that both professionals and ordinary people make when talking about Autism. People latch on to one or two indicators which can test for Autism and use them as the yard stick by which they measure all Autistic children. This is a blatant oversimplification of Autism and it is clearly wrong. Not only is every Autistic child different, the level of their disabilities may differ widely. A child may have one area of disability that is severe while they may be able to function normally in other areas. Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) is a relatively new phrase. It is used as a collective term to express the diversity of autistic behaviors which fall under the autistic umbrella. At one end of the spectrum are the children least affected by autistic disabilities. This group includes High Level Autism, Asperger’s Syndrome and Pervasive Developmental Disorder - Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS). Other Pervasive developmental disorders include Rett’s Disorder and Child Disintegrative Disorder (CDD). At the other end of the spectrum are the children whose autistic disabilities are more severe. This group includes Classic Autism and/or Kanner Autism. A further complication in getting a proper diagnosis of Autism is that there are a number of other conditions which have similar symptoms to Autism, these include LaudauKleffner Syndrome, Phenylketonuria (PKU) and Fragile X Syndrome. Despite the great diversity of disabilities on the Autistic Spectrum many people tend to have a preconceived idea of the Autistic child as someone who is on the lower end of the spectrum. This is largely due to ignorance of what Autism is. Misinformation is a major problem for any parent when trying to get a proper diagnosis of whether or not their child is Autistic. As one doctor who failed to diagnose my son’s Autism argued – “there is no one test for Autism."

WHAT CAUSES AUTISM? There are many links between Autism and the brain. Most people with Autism have larger brains and their brains are “wired” differently than a typical brain. Differences occur in many parts of the brain, so it cannot be targeted to one specific brain malfunction, but rather a brain malfunction in general. However the frontal lobe is one major part of the brain that has been found to function abnormally in all Autistic people studied so far. Autistic children also show signs of an immune deficiency. But how this plays a role in Autism is not yet understood? Overall, there is strong evidence that genetics plays an important role in why a child is born or develops Autism. In 1977 a twin study by Drs. Susan Folstein and Michael Rutter first revealed a genetic basis for autism. Although Autism is not the parents’ fault, it is most likely that Autism can be found elsewhere on the parent’s family tree, and it is not uncommon for parents to raise more than one Autistic child. Autism may also be linked to vaccinations, this is still being studied. However the benefits of vaccinations greatly outweigh the risks of them causing Autism, so you should not deprive your child simply because you are fearful. Talk to your doctor if you have concerns about vaccinations. Some parents are adamant that their child was normal until they were immunized. I will talk more about this later HOW IS AUTISM DIAGNOSED? Autism occurs at a young age, rather than being a disorder an older child might develop. It is usually detected before the age of three. The first signs of Autism are usually delays or regression in speech communication. Another early sign is abnormal behavior in group play situations and other social situations. The first step to diagnosing Autism is a thorough physical examination as well as a review of family history by a Specialist. Your regular Pediatrician should be able to spot unusual behavior, though this is not always the case. If you suspect that your child is Autistic you need to seek help from someone who specializes in Autism and other related conditions to make sure your child is properly diagnosed. Do not assume, as I did, that every Pediatrician will know how to diagnose whether or not your child is Autistic. Testing to see whether or not your child is Autistic is not a simple or straight forward procedure. There are however some things you can do to help in the diagnosis. Make sure that your child has hearing tests. Sign language and social skill delays could be due to inadequate auditory sensations. There are two types of auditory tests, one records the tones a child can hear and the other requires sedation and measures the brains’ response to certain tones. Of course, the first method is preferred, since it does not require any use of a sedative. After auditory testing, your doctor may encourage testing your child for Fragile X syndrome, which often times goes hand in hand with Autism. Your child’s metabolism can also be evaluated. To do this, your doctor will need a blood or urine sample to analyze DNA. An MRI or CAT scan can also be helpful in diagnosing

Autism though it is my experience that it is very hard to get these done. MRI and CAT scans are expensive and if your Pediatrician doesn’t know what to look for they will be even more reluctant to have them done. The important thing is to work with doctors you trust but be realistic, you wouldn’t expect a heart specialist to know all about bone cancer so don’t assume that just because a Pediatrician is great with asthma that they will also be an ASD specialist. Only an ASD specialist will know whether or not a MRI or CAT scan will be useful in your child’s diagnosis. Autism is difficult to diagnose and even more difficult to treat, so remember that you should begin to learn as much as possible about Autism even if your doctor or you suspect that your child might be on the Autistic spectrum. Hopefully Autism Decoder will tell you more about what Autism is and direct you towards professionals who can properly assess your child further. If you have yet to speak with your doctor about abnormal behavior in your child, do so immediately. By detecting Autism early, you give your child a better chance at becoming a high-functioning individual with more opportunities in life. If as in my case you believe that there is something wrong with your child do not allow doctors to fob you off. Be proactive and find doctors or specialists who understand and treat ASD. It is up to you to get your child to “Autism Experts" Hint. If a doctor tells you one of the 12 Fallacies of Autism they are not the people to be dealing with your child. Because Autism can effect so many areas of a child’s ability to function normally a multidisciplinary approach must be taken to assess a child’s level of functioning. As well as a Pediatrician who specializes in Autism, you may also need to see a Speech Pathologist, an Occupational Therapist and an Audiologist. If you cannot find a Pediatrician who specializes in Autism or you don’t agree with their findings I suggest you take your child to a Hospital that has a Child’s Psychiatric Unit and have your child assessed there. See the Contacts section of this book to discover an ASD specialist near you. As there is no set test for Autism yet and because doctors base their assessments on the behaviors that they are presented with, if you have a child like James with High Level Autism the doctors may not see the Autistic behaviors. (see Recommendations). James saw his first Pediatrician when he was eleven weeks old but up until the time he was assessed in the Melbourne Royal Children’s Hospital at the age of six, all the Tasmanian Specialists who had seen my son claimed that James was normal. Even now that my son has been diagnosed with Autism the Tasmanian Doctors and at least two Psychologists all claim that James is a normal child. Why? In my opinion it is because they do not understand that Autism is a Spectrum Disorder and they are not well informed about current findings on Autism. (see Recommendations). There are currently two main viewpoints on how to assess Autism in a child. The first assessment looks at four main criteria. 1. Communication. Is there abnormal development in the child’s verbal and nonverbal skills?

2. Does the child interact with other people in a “normal” way? Is there a way to confirm this abnormal social interaction through testing? 3. A restricted unusual and/or repetitive number of activities or interests. Is there a lack of imaginative play? 4. The symptoms occurred from birth or during the first 30 months of life. The second assessment looks at 6 main groups where testing is and can be done. These include; Communication Social Interaction The ability to Process information through the senses. (Sensory Integration Dysfunction) Adaptability Imaginative Play Intelligence At the end of this book I have a checklist that parents and professionals can work through. This checklist identifies the main areas of function affected by Autism. And it will give a good indication as to whether or not a child is on the ASD Spectrum. (see ASD Behavior Checklist). Let’s look at the main areas of disability in more detail.

COMMUNICATION Here is a list of ASD behaviors that fall under the Communication umbrella. Remember that an ASD child will have some of these behaviors but probably not all of them. The level of severity will range from mild through to severe. Verbal and Non Verbal Language Children with a marked communication disability lack any kind of verbal communication. Their development and understanding of communication is poor. Often they will not be able to understand gestural systems (sign language) or picture-based forms of communication. An ASD child who is non-verbal often will not try to communicate through sign language or pictures even if they know them. I have had many Specialists tell me that my son can speak therefore he is not Autistic. However it is wrong to say that a lack of verbal communication is the only sign of Autism. Children on the ASD spectrum may show delayed or abnormal development of verbal language. My son James spoke when he was 11 weeks old. I thought that this was normal as he was my first child. James was able to use language appropriately. His first words (clearly spoken) were “Hello Mommy” “Mom” and “Hurry up”. About week fifteen James stopped speaking altogether and he did not speak again until he was two. Today James can speak well and because of this most people believe that he is functioning at a much higher level than he actually is. Many children with Autism like James have difficulties with verbal communication that are subtle and well disguised. ASD Children have trouble coping with complex or abstract concepts. For example James cannot always put in to words what is upsetting or

worrying him. His ability to answer questions reliably fluctuates on a day-to-day basis. James is always asking me if what is happening is real? James cannot easily distinguish between what is fantasy and what is actually happening. In my opinion it is not the ability of an Autistic child to answer questions that needs to be studied in more detail, it is the questions that they ask. The questions a child asks can help us understand better the way that the Autistic child is seeing and processing the world around them. ASD Children often find it hard to make or express choices. If James is forced to make a choice he will often get upset and say he doesn’t know what to do? Some children with ASD speak with an unusual tone or pitch. They may speak too loudly or too softly or in a deadpan voice. An ASD child often speaks too fast or too slow. There is immediate or delayed echolalia. The child continually repeats words or phrases. Many ASD children make repetitive sounds. James will let out a high pitched squeal often when he walks or when he is feeling any emotion strongly. As he is getting older this is getting more pronounced. When I ask James why he does it he tells me that he doesn’t know that he is doing it half the time. Another sign of a communication deficit is when the ASD child asks the same question over and over. James can carry on a conversation however after awhile he will continually ask questions. I use to think that he was just very curious. It wasn’t until recently that I worked out that even though James can carry on a conversation he often forgets what you are talking about and the questions are his way of trying to figure out what the conversation was initially about? He will also get caught up on one detail. For example you might say “The Tasman Bridge looks pretty when the lights are on at night”. James will ask how the bridge was made. He will demand a step by step description. He will ask the same question over and over even when you have explained how the bridge was made. James can’t accept that you don’t know the answer to a question. He will ask the same question again and again. Often the questioning can go on for forty five minutes or longer. If I don’t know the answer to something I make it up. It’s cheating I know but otherwise James will get upset and highly agitated. ASD children tend to lose their ability to communicate verbally when they are stressed. Instead of using speech an ASD child may resort to guiding someone by the hand towards a desired object. Or rather than speak, the child will try to obtain the desired object by going to get the object themselves. Some ASD children will go without something they want rather than try to verbalize that they want it. Often children who find it difficult to communicate verbally resort to non-verbal means of communication which are inappropriate. The ASD child may resort to violence as a way of letting people know how they feel or what they want. Using violence to get what they want can be a very effective form of control once the ASD child realizes that it works. It can be a difficult behavior to stop. James will resort to violent rages or self injury if he is not given something he wants quickly. James’s ability to verbalize diminishes the more upset he gets. From early childhood James would head bang for hours when he was upset. Now that James is 11 the number of outbursts have diminished but there are still times when James gets frustrated and angry when he can’t explain what he wants. James still head bangs although now it is only on rare occasions. Sometimes

James will hit himself in the face or around the head. When James is going through a bad patch he will punch kick spit and throw things. James is most violent at home. When asked why he hurts his family he shrugs and says that he’ll get in to trouble if he hits other people. Because James can pick and choose where he explodes this suggests that James has some control over the way he expresses his anger. But at the moment we are still trying to find strategies for helping James to redirect his aggression. James has to learn self discipline and self awareness as well coping strategies that work for him so that he can channel the way he expresses anger in to more socially acceptable outlets. For example – Hit a pillow, leave the room, count to 10 etc. I am using the 123 Magic program (see and while this is helping during the times that James is “On air”. The program is not effective when James is raging. James has no impulse control when he is really upset and it is because of his rages that I eventually had to make the hard decision to have James removed from our home. (see My Story). ASD children often have difficulty understanding speech. They do not pick up on non verbal communication cues like facial expressions gestures or body language. I never cease to be surprised at what James doesn’t understand. It is amazing how much non verbal and verbal language (especially tone of voice) that James doesn’t register. If I exaggerate the expressions or raise my voice the result is James shuts down. James’s behavior is often misinterpreted by myself and his teachers as rude, when in fact James is not conscious that there is a problem. As a parent this is something I have only recently discovered. James says “When you shout at me I don’t understand what you say.” I am trying to cut out the shouting but I am a very verbal person and it’s hard. I get upset when James is violent and my shouting is only adding to the problem. I know this on a mental level but in practice I usually still find myself shouting. Changing behaviors can be hard for us adults too! Some children with ASD can speak using complete sentences but they cannot initiate or carry on an interactive conversation. ASD children often reverse pronouns. They will use “you” instead of “I" ASD children have trouble following verbal directions. James tends to get hyperactive and loses concentration if he has to follow too many verbal directions at one time. James’s ability to follow verbal directions fluctuates depending on whether he is having a good or a bad day. ASD children take things literally. James does not understand sarcasm or figurative speech. If you say something like “If you don’t wash your hands you won’t get any dinner.” James believes that he won’t get dinner ever again and he gets upset. As James is getting older he is starting to understand more but you still have to be careful how you word things.


Here is a list of ASD behaviors that fall under the Social Interaction umbrella. Remember that an ASD child will have some of these behaviors but probably not all of them. The level of severity will range from mild through to severe. It is a misconception that Autistic children do not wish to interact with other people. It is another fallacy that ASD children are incapable of feeling affection. Children with ASD show a marked impairment in many non-verbal behaviors which impact on the way they socially interact. The ASD child may be reluctant to do the following; - make eye contact, - smile, - join in shared activities It is true that even though an ASD child may have feelings towards a person they often show a lack of social and/or emotional reciprocity. This will give the impression that the ASD child doesn’t care about the people around them. The truth is that children with ASD do want to socialize and they do care about people but they do not have any idea how to express these desires and emotions. The ASD child will often fail to pick up on subtle non-verbal cues which indicate a person wants to talk to them. Because an ASD child fails to convey the right non verbal or verbal messages, people assume that the ASD child wants to be left alone when the exact opposite is usually true. James hates to be left alone. As a small child James would scream and head bang chronically if I was not holding him. This need for me was obsessive. James still hates having to share my time. He likes one-on-one time all the time. It has been a major cause of much of James’s aggression. James will choose which parent he wants to be with and he will attack the other parent or his sister until they leave the room. An ASD child may not act as if they differentiate between people who are familiar to them and other people who are strangers. However some ASD children can be terrified of strangers and even relatives. The child will cling to one person or run off by themselves. The whole scenario about being around other people in shopping centers, on buses, in crèche is just too much for the ASD child to handle. James would head bang chronically whenever he was in a supermarket or when he was taken to town. I persisted in taking him out with me because I believed in the flooding technique. The more James was exposed to the outside world the more he would eventually be able to cope with crowded social environments. Today James can go to the shops and the supermarket. He still gets very hyperactive and he likes to go to the same places in the same order. For example, the post office, the health food shop, the video store and the supermarket. In the supermarket James likes to start in the vegetable section. If I try to walk straight to the deli James will remind me that we have to get some apples first. An ASD child does not understand that other people have emotions desires beliefs or needs that are separate and different from their own. If something does not directly effect them they don’t care. My son James will hit me and I will say, “Don’t hit me James it hurts.” James will reply. “It doesn’t hurt me.”

This lack of empathy is not deliberate even though as a parent it can be soul destroying to see that your child does not care if they upset you. I have had doctors tell me that James’s lack of empathy was due to my coldness, James was mimicking me. I found this a very distressing and hurtful thing to hear. And I knew that it simply wasn’t true. I do love my son with all of my heart. Since I began researching this book I have found that all the research points to the problem lying not with my lack of warmth but with James’s inability to reciprocate affection in a “normal” way. (see My Story) Children with ASD do not deliberately set out to hurt your feelings. They are not selfish people who only care about themselves they are simply unable to grasp the fact that other people do have needs. Without such awareness of other people's feelings and thoughts it is hard to teach an autistic child how to behave in a socially acceptable manner. The task becomes very difficult if they get aggressive like James. An ASD child may treat people as tools or robots. The ASD child may be aware that they need parents, teachers, and other people to do things for them but there is no sense of gratitude or positive feedback. James does not care if you are tired or sick. If he wants you to do something for him he will complain and get aggressive until he gets what he wants. It is an ongoing daily battle as James does not empathize with us at all. He is always “ego centered” or “me centered". ASD children may appear rude as they do not understand social niceties. James will look at a person and say loudly “Boy you’re ugly?” He once said to a group of Bikers “You’re filthy, you all need a bath. Don’t you wash?” The Bikers were not impressed. James did not understand why they were upset with him? Even when his father tried to explain why James should not say things like that James’s answer was “But they are dirty.” ASD children have difficulty taking turns and sharing. This was a major problem at home when James was younger but now that he is growing up a little he has become much more able to share his things. A child with ASD may look like a loner, watching but never joining in social activities. This child is often at a loss to know how to go about making friends. ASD children have trouble co-operating. This is because they do not understand many of the basic building blocks of communication which have to mesh together for social interaction to occur. It is like asking a child to build a Lego building when they do not understand that Lego bricks click together to form walls. Attempts to socialize can often lead to inappropriate aggressive behaviors, this is due to the child’s frustration, they want to be like everyone else they just don’t know how? The ASD child can often be targeted by bullies and teased by other children sometimes it is the ASD child that may use bully tactics. James bullies and hits smaller children. When we ask him why he does it he will say that the children called him names. Children can be cruel and James is aware that he is different. James doesn’t have the language or social skills necessary to laugh off the situation or to avoid confrontations. Many doctors have said that James must have seen the aggressive behavior at home to mimic it. This is not true. I admit that our household has seen a lot of physical violence but the violence occurs when James attacks us. Both my husband and I try to physically block James’s blows and to remove him from hurting his sister. James has always had the

impulse to strike out. I believe that James has enough intelligence to know what he wants but his Autism gets in the way, it blocks his ability to perform a task and this frustrates him. The more frustrated he gets the more he loses control of his ability to perform and this results in a tidal wave of rage. Hint: As a parent it is sometimes necessary to know what your own limitations are. You are not a super mom or dad. Sometimes just getting an unbiased view on how you are dealing with a problem can help you think up new ways of handling a difficult situation. The ASD child has limited play skills often they do not show the ability or the inclination to indulge in imaginative play. Until the age of six James would desperately want a toy but be totally unable to play alone with it. His attention span with any toy was rarely more than a minute. Now that James is able to use Play Station 2 and the X Box Games he is capable of playing independently for long periods of time. James is also happy to play Lego for awhile by himself. James has a fascination for digging holes. He will happily dig a hole for hours so long as someone is watching him. James loves moving heavy furniture about but he hates putting anything back where it belongs. When James lived at home with us it was not unusual to see our house looking like we had had the interior decorator from hell whirl wind through each room. Self esteem is a big issue for children with ASD. Many children with ASD know that they are different. My husband and I always try to praise James for the things he can do. One day after school James said to me “I’m dumb. I can’t do anything.” I recited all the things James could do well. For a child already dealing with a large social world he does not understand, for a child whose level of disability is not understood by others, his self esteem is a fragile thing and it takes a daily battering. PROCESSING SENSORY INFORMATION Children with ASD may suffer from sensory overloads. Their sense organs for sight, smell, touch, hearing and taste are usually in tact but there is a problem in the way that their brain handles the sensory information. The ASD child’s brain is unable to understand and organize the sensory information when it is received. Imagine that the brain is a railway station and the information arriving from the five senses are five trains. Now in a normal child’s brain the train station can control in an orderly fashion, the entrance and exit of the trains. In a child with ASD the train station looks normal but the station signal office cannot control the entrance and exit times of the trains. The result is that all the trains arrive at the terminal at once. What happens? That’s right KABOOMB! I feel that this inability to process information is one of the major problems underlying almost all other problem areas for the autistic child. I have had many doctors and psychologists tell me that there is no such condition. This shows a complete lack of understanding of how vital a deficit this problem is for an autistic child. This sensory processing problem is sometimes called Sensory Information Dysfunction or it may be put under the broader heading of Sensory Disorders. This condition has been studied since the 1950’s in America. For some reason it is a medical condition recognized by Occupational Therapists but it is not widely understood or appreciated by other medical

professionals. Lack of training and an unwillingness to research this area plays a huge part of the problem parent’s face when they seek help from Pediatricians and other health professionals. (See Recommendations). The majority of medical professionals I took James to in Tasmania simply did not know what sensory integration dysfunction was. As one Pediatrician told me disdainfully, “It’s a Mickey Mouse term”. I later found out that 6 other children who had seen this Pediatrician were later diagnosed with Sensory Integration Dysfunction through Occupational Therapists. This same Pediatrician had seen all 6 children, including my son that makes 7, and still he refused to acknowledge that any of them had a medical condition. To this day this Pediatrician claims that my son is a perfectly normal and healthy child. In my opinion to miss a proper diagnosis of Autism for one child is perhaps understandable – to misdiagnose 7? I will let you draw your own conclusions. It is important to note that as in other areas of Autism no two children will have the same Sensory Disorders. Some children may exhibit deficits in vision or hearing but not in motor coordination or touch. Also the severity of the sensory disorder may range from normal, mild, to severe. When hypersensitivity exists it may effect multiple functions. For example if a noise is too loud an ASD child’s sense of hearing may tell him/her that they are in danger. A fight or flight reaction will occur. The ASD child may become aggressive or over anxious. Unless the source of their distress is understood the ASD child may live a nightmarish existence constantly bombarded with “Danger Signals”. This state impacts on the ASD child’s ability to learn. Children with bodies that are under stimulated become inattentive. Children with bodies that are constantly over stimulated become hyperactive. Extreme over stimulation may cause the ASD child to “shut down” as a protective coping mechanism. To understand if an ASD child has sensory problems it is necessary to observe and record the responses of the child in all of the sensory areas. Here is a list of ASD behaviors that fall under the Sensory Problems or Sensory Integration Dysfunction umbrella. Remember that an ASD child will have some of these behaviors but probably not all of them. The level of severity will range from mild through to severe. It should be noted that the checklists are not exhaustive. They are a guide to the sorts of behaviors to look for: TACTILE/TOUCH Here are a list of behaviors which point to hypersensitivity in the ASD child’s sense of touch. The child does not like being touched. The child jerks away when someone tries to touch them. The child looks annoyed and rubs their skin where someone has touched them. My son James hates anyone touching his head. When someone pats him on the head he immediately jerks away and when prompted he will explain angrily that he doesn’t like being touched. The child may show a delayed response to being touched.

The child has a high pain threshold. James fell in to a mass of stinging nettles when he was three years old. I had to pull out the long nettles from his hands, arms and legs. James showed no sign that he was in pain or even in any discomfort. The child can’t stand the feeling of clothes on their body. For James his sense of touch has always been a MAJOR PROBLEM. James would fight violently against having his nappies and clothes changed. He would go in to rages if one of his socks didn’t feel right or his shirt wasn’t tucked in. Often his stress levels were so intense that James would be unable to verbalize what was upsetting him. He would head bang and get very aggressive. Getting James undressed in to a shower, dried and then redressed was a daily battle. At night James would often refuse to wear his pajamas and he would go to sleep in his day clothes. The ASD child will remove their clothes at inappropriate times. James likes to “flash”. As he is getting older this is becoming more of a problem. The ASD child will not wear shoes and socks. James refused to wear shoes and socks when he was small but by the time he was three he refused to take his shoes and socks off. He would often go to bed with his shoes and socks on. If the shoes and socks were removed James would fly in to an inconsolable rage. Every night my husband and I would have our hair torn out, be eye gouged, hit, kicked etc. James’s rages and violence would go all night. James no longer rages like this however he continues to hate it when his feet are bare and he suffers from fungus infections on his feet because he refuses to take off his socks even on the hottest summer nights. The ASD child doesn’t like their hair or teeth brushed. James is starting to like brushing his teeth. I bought him a vibrating toothbrush and he likes the feel of the vibration in his mouth. James has to be nagged to brush his hair. He does not like the way it feels. James does however like the feel of my hair and he will often play with my hair twirling it in his fingers. The ASD child does not like having their nails cut and cleaned. James was until recently a bad nail biter but he is now proud of his long nails. He wants to have false nails so he can wear nail varnish. When I try to explain why he can’t do this he doesn’t understand? The ASD child mouths objects as a way to explore them. As a younger child James was always putting things in his mouth. I still have to watch James as he will pop inappropriate things like paper, hair or play dough in to his mouth. The ASD child will not usually chew food but they may chew non-foods. For example James chews paper hair play dough even fish food. James will often refuse to eat certain foods because of their texture. James may avoid touching non foods like mud, shaving cream, and/or other different objects due to their texture. James loves chewing gum and he will chew bubble gum for hours. The chewing seems to calm him. As James is growing up many of his severe sensitivities are improving. James still has these sensitivities but he has I think learned ways to cope with the anxiety and uncomfortable feelings better. The ASD child can’t sit still for any length of time, they fidget. The longer they have to sit the more they will fidget. Often the ASD child will jump up and start walking or

running around. James has some days when he is more hyperactive than others. The only times when James can sit quietly and still is when he is running a temperature. The ASD child is considered clumsy because they have poor coordination. James has an awkward gait. He moves like “Mr Bean”. Sometimes he will walk oddly for no reason. He has a rigid robotic movement in his arms and legs. Other children at school have teased James mercilessly about the way he moves even in my presence. The child will wash their hands repeatedly even if their hands are not dirty. James goes through periods when he will wash his hands obsessively and then he will do an about face and not wash his hands even when they are filthy. The child walks on tip toes rather than on the soles of their feet. James will have periods when he does this and other times when he will walk normally. The more stimulated he is the more his walk becomes abnormal. James is a heavy walker and this is a common trait in many children with autism. The ASD child shows an aversion or a fascination for water. The first time James was bathed he stopped breathing and turned blue. He screamed in terror and struggled throughout the washing process. James’s hatred for washing remained intense until he was six. After that time James would fight going in to have a shower or bath and then fight equally hard when it was time to get out of the water. James has always enjoyed going to the beach but he will rush in to the water even if he is fully clothed. James has found it very difficult to coordinate his body in the water and even though he has had swimming lessons since he was small he still cannot swim properly. James is currently having private swimming lessons and it is my hope that he will eventually learn to swim. For James it will be a big achievement and one he can be proud of. The child has trouble identifying and understanding patterns. James was very good at doing puzzles when he was 2 and 3 but he is now well below his age group. Having said that James is fantastic with Lego. He can create intricate buildings that vary in size and shape. He works at his Lego quickly and can build whole towns in less than an hour. The ASD child’s abilities may vary greatly from day to day. James is able to recite his ABC’s one day and the next he has no idea what the letters are? This discrepancy in his abilities is something James is aware of and it frustrates him. It is a major reason why his self esteem is so low. Because he can do a task one day and then not the next it is easy for teachers to mistake this for laziness. This varying ability is very characteristic of High Level Autistic children. It is what makes them different from a child with Aspergers. An Asperger’s child’s abilities remain consistent at one level throughout the day. The ASD child’s concentration is inconsistent. James concentrates better after ten in the morning. After 6 at night James becomes increasingly agitated and unable to concentrate. As James grows older there has been a definite improvement in his ability to concentrate. Computer games have helped James find a way to calm down and they also interest him. On the computer James is in total control of what happens and this gives him security. It is also a great way for James to unwind when he is feeling upset. The ASD child is often attracted to things that vibrate. James loves his vibrating toothbrush and foot spa and spa bath. He would use them for hours if I let him.

Toilet training may be very difficult for ASD children. As a toddler James would fight to keep his nappy on even when he had done a poo. James refused to come out of nappies and he was still wearing them when he was three and a half. James would rather wee and poo outside than use the toilet. When James was little he had a morbid fear of the big toilet and he refused to use a potty. I had to hold James on the toilet to ease his fears until he was four. Until James was eight I had to stand outside the toilet and talk to him as he still felt uneasy about being alone in the toilet. At school James would often not go to the toilet all day. When the teachers were made aware of this James was forced to go to the toilet during school time. Now James does go to the toilet during the day but he is still reluctant to go to the toilet by himself and he often suffers from constipation as a result. The ASD child does not seem to feel the heat or cold in the same way as other people. James will often wear jumpers on hot days. I believe he does get hot but he hates to take off his jumper so he puts up with feeling of being hot. However having said that there are summer days when I am melting and James says that he feels cold. On cold winter days James does not shiver like the rest of us he seems a lot less effected by the cold weather than everybody else. When I ask him does he feel cold he shrugs and says, “No I’m fine.”

VISION Children with visual hypersensitivity usually have the following behaviors. Eye–to–eye contact may be actively avoided or only fleeting. James can look you in the eye but not for long. Some ASD children use peripheral vision rather than look at something directly. This gives the impression that the child is not making eye contact when in fact they are. James tends to look to the left or the right of the person he is speaking to but not directly at them unless he is use to the person he is talking to.This different way of looking at people often leads to an incorrect message about the child’s willingness to engage in social activities. People think that the child does not want to communicate. The child is trying to communicate but in an unusual/odd manner. The child holds objects or hands close to their eyes. James likes to hold objects right up close. He will often hold his fingers over his eyes and stare at them. James will flick his fingers in front of his eyes, especially when he is hyperactive. Some ASD children press their fingers against their eyes or poke their eyes. James sometimes presses his eyes so hard that I am afraid that he will hurt himself. James does not seem to feel the pain. The child rolls their head from side to side in an obsessive or repetitive way. James is tending to do this more and more as he gets older. The child focuses on small visual details. When James walks in to a room he notices everything, the floor, the cracks in the walls, the lights, the light switches, pictures, furniture etc. If something is different the next time he enters a room he sees the change and becomes anxious or hyperactive.

The child likes to watch TV up close. Yes I know what you are thinking many children like to do this. The difference with an Autistic child is that they will not respond to you if you tell them to move or turn the TV down. No matter how you try to get their attention the ASD child will filter you out until they decide that they want you for something. Despite seeing small details some ASD children do not see the entire picture. For example the Autistic child may walk in to a library and notice the cracks in a shelf but not see the books on the shelves. It is literally a case of not being able to see the forest for the trees. An ASD child may be attracted to shiny reflective surfaces, especially water. They will filter light through their fingers or look at a mirror fascinated. They will stare at lights. James will shine a torch in to his face and stare at the light. He loves kaleidoscopes. Using a kaleidoscope can help settle James down in the car. He loves the different lights and patterns. James has a fascination with glass and while he lived with us on the farm he constantly broke windows both in the house and on our cars. Some ASD children are sensitive to the light and prefer dark places. The ASD child is fascinated by objects with moving parts. James has always loved trucks especially the way the trailers are connected to the engines. Until the age of 8 James liked to tie toys together with string. He would touch the string and look at the tied up toys for hours as long as I watched him play. If the toys got disconnected or broken by James James would fly in to a rage and expect me to put the toy back together even if it was not possible to do so. Other objects which may fascinate the ASD child are clocks stereo systems computers electrical appliances, wool and string. Even at 11 James will play with electrical wires and he has to be constantly monitored. James is also fascinated by fire and I have to make sure that he can’t get his hands on any matches. Other things an ASD child may be fascinated by are small dust particles. Movements around ASD children upset and distract them. James finds this a big problem at school. It affects his concentration and it is one of the reasons why he is doing so poorly in his school work. The ASD child is fascinated by spinning objects. Often ASD children can spin round and round without getting dizzy. The ASD child constantly turns lights on and off. James does this most when he is hyperactive. He has broken numerous light switches in our home. The ASD child stares through people as if they are not there. James will often tune out when he is forced to have a conversation that goes for a few minutes. This is becoming more and more noticeable as he gets older. Different floor surfaces can upset an ASD child. For example on a black and white tiled floor an ASD child might only walk on the white squares. The cracks in a concrete path may also be upsetting. James has only recently been able to tell me that the cracks in concrete worry him. He cannot believe that I don’t get upset when I walk on the cracks. Watching me walking on cracks gets James anxious but I still walk on the cracks as James has to learn that he can’t control other people. I constantly reassure James that the cracks can’t hurt us. But James continues to have the irrational fear.

The ASD child likes to line up objects. James has always loved lining up objects especially cars. Until James was eight he would want me near to watch him play but if I touched one of his cars he would get upset and often hit me. The ASD child opens and closes draws or doors repetitively. When James is agitated or hyperactive he smashes and/or kicks doors or cupboards until they break. The ASD child moves furniture about incessantly. James likes moving heavy objects about. It is a strategy he uses to calm himself. James hates the mess he creates and he wants the mess dealt with. But James will not help clean up. He will get upset if I try to clean up while he is watching. ASD children who fear escalators often have visual processing problems as they cannot determine when to get on or off the moving stairs. Some ASD children are not able to tolerate fluorescent lights. The movement inside the light and the noise the light makes annoy them. TASTE ASD children often have issues with food. The child may only eat spicy food or bland food. The child may refuse to try to eat new foods. If an ASD child is forced to eat something they do not like they will often gag. James has an intense dislike of cheese and butter. He will gag and even vomit if he is forced to eat them. James does not even like to see them or smell them. Some Autistic children develop a taste for non-foods. This is called Pica. About 30% of ASD children have moderate to severe pica. Non-foods eaten may include paint, dirt, sand paper etc. For example James likes to eat play dough, paper, hair and plastic. He has also been known to eat fish food dog and cat food. SMELL/OLFACTORY ASD children with a hypersensitive sense of smell often display some of the following behaviors. The child smells foods and non-foods. James smells his hands all day. He smells money books and his leather watch band. When James is first introduced to something he smells it. The ASD child is sensitive to body smells. James loves the smell of his own sweat. He cannot stand the way other people smell however. He will often make rude comments about how someone smells funny. Many ASD children are hypersensitive to odors not easily detected by others. For example the odors emitted from large groups of people, perfumes, hair sprays, sweat, cleaning products, paint, plants, grass, cars, other vehicles, kitchen smells. The ASD child gags at the smell of certain foods.

The ASD child smears faeces on walls and furniture. Some ASD children are attracted to both the touch and the smell of poo. James would walk around in a pooey nappy quite happily when he was younger. James still likes the smell of his own poo.

VESTIBULAR (MOVEMENT and GRAVITY) ASD children who are hypersensitive to movement or gravity may exhibit some of the following behaviors; The child shows fear of being held upside down or tipped sideways. The child is stressed if their feet don’t touch the ground. This can lead to major tantrums especially in the car. James would get frantic when placed in his child safety seat in the car. He would scream head bang and fight to get out of the chair for the entire car trip. James could not sit in a high chair at home. I bought a chair that could be set on the ground so that James could rest his feet on the floor. The child gets anxious walking up or down hills or stairs. Moving Water frightens the child or fascinates them. This can prove very dangerous if the autistic child is fascinated by the sea as I found with my son – even though James could not swim he would regularly run fully clothed in to the ocean whenever we went to the beach. There has recently been a case of an Autistic boy doing this and drowning in Tasmania. Gross motor movement makes the child feel calmer. James loves to haul heavy objects. When James was six and younger he would get in his toy tractor and fill his trailer with wood and/or stones and drive all the way home from our shearing shed (a good four hundred meters) with the heavy load. He still loves hauling heavy objects about. The child shows a lack of coordination and balance. James has always had poor balance and coordination. When James is stressed his motor skills become more robotic. The child moves continually. This constant movement interferes with the child’s ability to listen to instructions and to interact. This is especially true in a classroom situation. The child suffers from bad motion sickness. As James is getting older he now suffers from motion sickness. He might well of had motion sickness when he was younger but he could never tell me that he was feeling sick. The child continually jumps bounces or spins. James has elements of ADHD so he is always jumping and bouncing about. His movements are not well coordinated however and James will often look clumsy as he walks. The more excited or over stimulated James gets the more pronounced are his jumping and bouncing behaviors. James does not tend to spin as he falls easily. The child has trouble getting to sleep. James has always had sleeping problems. As a baby he would only sleep when I was walking with him on my shoulder. As soon as I put him down he would wake and scream inconsolably. Lack of sleep is a major cause of night time tantrums, general irritability, violent outbursts and poor concentration. (see Melatonin). As a mother deprived of a good nights sleep for years it had a devastating

impact on my stress levels and my general health. Lack of sleep had to be one of the reasons why James spent so much of his early childhood stressed to the max. The child exhibits stimming (odd behaviors such as arm flapping or repetitive actions). James shows more odd body movements now that he is older. He will also make weird bird-like calls whilst stimming.

PROPRIOCEPTIVE (JOINT, MUSCLE and BODY AWARENESS) This area may be harder to observe sensory deficits than in other sensory areas. Observations made over a period of time are the best indicator of hypersensitivity. The child has difficulty planning and doing a motor task. The child enjoys heavy work lifting, pushing, climbing etc. Some ASD children like being squashed in between pillows. It seems to promote alertness and/or calm them. James always loved this and he still does. (see Hugging). The child has trouble understanding the position of their body in a space. For example crawling through a tunnel may be impossible or very difficult for some ASD children. James would not go in to a tunnel before the age of seven but he has always loved tents. The child jumps constantly. The child enjoys hanging by their arms. James loves hanging by his arms but it was only at the age of 9 that he could do it successfully. James has always been behind in his gross and fine motor skills. The child has odd often rigid body and hand positions. James is showing more rigid robot-like movements as he gets older. He will often hold his hands out from his sides at odd angels. Hand and arm flapping is not uncommon in ASD children. The child rocks repetitively. James would rock backwards and forwards as a toddler whenever he was seated on the ground. Even today when James is upset he will still rock. The child walks on tip toes. The child leans heavily on people or objects. James will lean on you heavily even if you find his weight uncomfortable or painful. He does not register that he is hurting you or making it hard for you to walk about. The child grips a pencil either too tightly or too loosely. The child’s fine motor skills are below their appropriate age group. This includes coloring in objects, picking up small objects, inserting keys in to locks, getting money out of a purse etc. The child’s handwriting is often messy or illegible. James has great difficulty writing on a line. However in Grade 2 he produced an incredible piece of work that looked like a calligrapher wrote it. The teacher used this as an example that James’s usual illegible writing was due to laziness. The teacher failed to understand that James’s usual messy writing resulted from his inability to concentrate and his varying ability to control what he is thinking and feeling due to sensory overload problems. The fact that

James was capable of such beautiful work gives me hope that if one day science and medicine can help find a way to dampen the effects of sensory overload my son and many other autistic children may be able to achieve far more than anyone has ever dreamed possible. The child’s eating habits are rushed and sloppy. Until James left home he would often throw his food. If he didn’t like the taste of something he would spit the food or drink out. James would get upset about where his plate or cup were put on the table and he would often throw them across the room sending food and drinks all over the place. I was stunned to hear that James has never done this in Care? Again this suggests that James has more control over his “tantrums” than I gave him credit for. It makes me angry that although I repeatedly begged for respite giving James a chance to calm down in another environment and then return home I was never able to have this opportunity. In any home when the stress levels of everyone in the family are too high it is an impossible ask to expect the family to go on functioning properly. Obviously what many families with autistic children need is a time out program away from the home where the Autistic child can go and calm down. This is when the parents need the counseling and help, so that they can talk about problems they are having with their autistic child and discuss ways to best help their child respond to life’s pressures in a more positive and constructive way. Also the other members of the family need time to function like a normal family and to decompress. Then when the autistic child returns to the family home everyone will be able to function in a much calmer and happier way and most importantly the parents will have a doable plan and feel like they are not alone in dealing with what they have to face living day to day with their autistic child’s more challenging behaviors. The child plays roughly not aware of how much force to use. James doesn’t register if he is hurting someone whilst he is playing with them. Often he will get too excited and what starts off as a bit of fun will end with James attacking the person to really hurt them. The child breaks things constantly. James is always breaking and smashing things. Sometimes the breakages are deliberate acts of violence but other times the breakages occur because he is clumsy and uncoordinated. There was an absence or delay in crawling or limited crawling. James never crawled. He would head bang incessantly for hours and never try to crawl. At the age of two he just got up and walked. AUDITORY/HEARING Sounds are a part of our everyday life, and so when dealing with an autistic child who has sensory problems, sound is one of the first things you should try to control, especially in a learning environment. Sound can both be hurtful and helpful for an autistic child. Because each autistic individual is different, you must closely observe the child to find out what types of reactions you can expect from auditory sensory stimulation. Sounds can also cause fixation. Some children, for example, constantly hum or seem fixated on the sights and sounds of lawn mowers. Use this fixation to help the child learn. For example, read stories about lawn mowers or use the humming in conjunction with a song.

Below is a list of behaviors that can signify auditory sensitivities. Keep in mind that these are just some examples. Your child may have behaviors which are due to auditory hypersensitivity but they may not be listed. The child reacts violently or fearfully to loud noises. James has always been afraid of and hates the noise of vacuum cleaners. If I try to use a vacuum cleaner James will switch off the machine or get increasingly violent until I switch off the machine. He has broken many vacuum cleaners over the years by kicking them or throwing them down our stair case. The child may appear to be deaf. I took James back to the hospital within a week of his birth. James did not respond to normal sounds around him. The doctor checked his hearing and told me James was fine. I have had James’s hearing tested a number of times since then and James has normal hearing. However even now there are times when James does not respond to sounds around him as you would expect. The child has selective hearing. The child ignores people even when someone is talking to them. It’s hard as a mother to know when a child is choosing to ignore you and when they truly do not hear you. With James I still can’t tell? If I really need to get through to him I keep calling his name or I walk over to him so that he can also see me. I repeat the question and wait for James to answer me. The child may have difficulty hearing auditory details and hard consonant sounds. The child may react violently or fearfully to everyday noises. For example the flushing of a toilet, someone speaking over a microphone, footsteps on hard floors, lots of people talking at the same time, the sound of traffic. Until the age of five James could not go in to town without having major head banging tantrums. In order for him to cope we had to park in the same place, walk the same route and go to exactly the same shops. Any deviations and James would throw himself on to the ground and scream and head bang violently. Once James did this in the Cat and Fiddle Arcade, an eating area in Hobart, and everyone thought that I had hurt my son in some way. At least fifty people starting screaming at me and abusing me. Thankfully a woman serving behind one of the takeaway counters saw the whole thing and came to my defense. This is just one of the many times that I was verbally attacked by people who did not understand James’s over the top reaction to being out in public. The child covers their ears when in public places or when they hear a noise that upsets them. The child will turn to listen to sounds that most people do not worry about. For example the air conditioner, the hiss of a sliding door, the rattle of trolleys. The child likes listening to the TV or their music loud. Yes I know most kids do. But the difference with an ASD child is that they will never show any concern for other people’s feelings. For example if I am on the phone and I ask James to turn the TV or music down because I can’t hear what the person on the phone is saying James will completely ignore me and remain engrossed in his TV show or music. If I walk over and turn the TV or stereo off James will get very upset and it may lead to him hitting punching and throwing things at me for hours.

Background noises upset or distract the ASD child. Foods such as potato chips or apples may be too loud and crunchy and sound like an alarm bell going off to children with over sensitive hearing. This is true for James especially at school. It is one of the biggest problems James faces at school, trying to filter out all the unimportant background noise and concentrate on the important information - what the teacher is saying. I believe that James’s ability to understand what is important and what is not varies on a daily, hourly or sometimes even minute by minute basis. James is constantly being called lazy as he does not seem to apply himself to his school work but James’s inability to screen out what information is important and what is not is, I feel, a major part of his learning problems. The child may focus on certain sounds that they like to an obsessive extent. If James hears a noise he likes he gets irritable and even violent if he is not allowed to keep listening to the sound. The child is unable to be quiet for any length of time. They are usually noisy and speak loudly. Or they won’t speak at all. James has always been noisy. Again it is very hard for James at school as he stands out as the boy who just can’t sit still and concentrate in class. When he was younger James tried to be the class clown as he thought it was better for his classmates to think he was funny than to tease him because he was dumb. As James fell further and further behind in school it became obvious that he just could not cope with his school work and when the children started to tease James James’s self esteem sunk to an all time low. The child has tantrums when they hear a certain sound or sounds. James especially hates clicking noises and he will erupt violently if the noise persists. The child experiences a delay in language or the child’s language development is abnormal. James spoke at 11 weeks but by 15 weeks he’d stopped speaking. James did not speak again until he was two. The child bangs things together even when the noise is distracting or upsetting to others. James will often do this and he can come across as rude and inconsiderate but the reality is for James no-one else’s wants and needs matter or exist. The child crunches paper or tears paper. James tears paper when he is angry or upset. This helps him to calm him down. The child hums or sings to themselves. James will do this at odd times or at inappropriate times. He does not care if he irritates other people. ADAPTABILITY Change is hard for anyone to come to terms with. Many of us resist change however the ASD child finds change even harder to deal with as they do not have the benefit of being able to interpret and process new information easily. Given that many ASD children have more than one or two areas where their senses are hypersensitive and given that the ASD child’s abilities to communicate and to interact socially are impeded by their disability, any kind of change is traumatic. Most ASD children have problems doing the most basic every day activities, sleeping, eating, getting dressed, going to the toilet, getting their hair

cut, going to the doctor or to the dentist, waiting in cues etc. When you consider all the changes that are going on around the child at any one time, people coming and going, unexpected noises blaring, strange smells, seeing and hearing strangers, the ASD child is continually being bombarded with experiences that they cannot handle. Here is a list of ASD behaviors that fall under the Adaptability umbrella. Remember that an ASD child will have some of these behaviors but probably not all of them. The level of severity will range from mild through to severe. It should be noted that the checklist is not exhaustive. It is a guide to the sorts of behaviors to look for. The child resists change and becomes very anxious or aggressive if there is a change in their routine activities or surroundings. Getting aggressive is a coping skill. By keeping people away from them the Autistic child maintains control over their environment. Some ASD children may use aggression to get their own way like James. With a no holds bar attitude this kind of behavior can not only be dangerous but very upsetting for everyone who has to deal with the child. Some ASD children withdraw completely from other people and live in a world of their own. Still other ASD children will have obsessive rituals; they line up toy cars in a row or sniff their hands. Incessant talking about one interest area for example trucks may indicate anxiety brought on by change. The child shows a fear of strangers or of trying anything new. This may aggravate the child’s need to resist or avoid contact with other people. The child is fascinated by certain objects. The child exhibits routines and rituals that do not serve and real purpose and they do these activities continuously. If the routine or ritual is interrupted the ASD child will get very upset. For example When James was younger he would tie toy trains together. If someone touched James’s trains and put them out of line James would get very upset and aggressive. The aggression could go on for hours and sometimes days at a time. The child gets overanxious about new events or schedule changes. For example if a TV show is always on at a certain time James will be upset if the program is suddenly taken off or the time slot is change. When James lived at home this was usually enough to trigger a major tantrum. The child asks repeated questions about an event that is about to happen. For example James asked numerous questions about a sport’s day that was coming up. When pressed if he was anxious about the event he admitted that he was scared about not coming first in his races. My husband and I explained to James that the main thing was to enjoy the events. Talking about the events and preparing James for what to expect helped James deal with the sports carnival when it actually happened. The child gets anxious about not being able to do something perfectly. If James draws a picture and it doesn’t look exactly as it should James will screw up the paper and get upset. I don’t think I realized until recently how much of a perfectionist James is. For a child who is behind his age group in most areas this has to be very stressful. I keep trying to help James understand that no-one is perfect and sometimes just doing something because we enjoy doing it is all that really matters. As long as you do your best you can be proud of yourself.

The child needs to be in control. The ASD child may become a master manipulator of people in order to keep control over a situation. James will do whatever it takes to get his own way at home. Once James gets too angry and too hyperactive I cannot find any “off switch” to stop James’s violent and destructive behavior. This is complicated by James’s lack of empathy. If James hurts me when he is raging he doesn’t care, if anything seeing me upset or hurt makes James’s violence escalate. The child tells lies. This may be another form of control. It is also a way to get attention. For example James will often tell lies if it gets him what he wants. If James is caught out in a lie he will shrug and say “Oops.” like it’s some sort of a game. James will tell you that lying is bad but he doesn’t understand why it is wrong to do it when it gets results.

PLAY One of the indicators professionals use to determine whether or not a child has ASD is to look at how the child plays. There are four main factors which can point to Autism. Lack of imaginative play. The child does not play make believe games. For example having a tea party with their dolls. Lack of independent play. When James was little he could play tea parties in a one on one situation. But if you asked James to play by himself he could only sustain the independent play time for a brief period, a few minutes at most. This lack of independent play is something that has to be observed over a period of time, it isn’t always evident in a brief consultation with a doctor or a psychologist. An ASD child like James simply does not have the imagination or play strategies that will help him cope with independent play time like other children. However I will add that since James has received a lap top he can now play independently for longer periods. He enjoys the control he has over the games he plays. James loves planning cities and shops. The computer has been a godsend to James. James is obsessed with the SIMS games and right now he lives to play in his self created SIMS worlds. Inappropriate play. The ASD child will focus in on a particular feature of a toy and play with that for hours. For example spinning the wheels of a car. The need to connect toys with string or wool even when they are obviously not meant to be connected. Lining up toys just for the sake of lining them up. If one of the toys is taken out of the line the ASD child becomes upset. The inability to learn through imitating. An autistic child does not get the idea that other people can teach them things simply by watching and copying them. If I want James to learn how to write the letter A I have to place my hand over his and help him write the letter A. James cannot learn how to write the letter A just by watching me write. This inability to imitate, especially other people’s body language and ways of talking is one of the reasons why other children at school pick up on the fact that James is different. Most children won’t know why James is different and James certainly does not understand that his inability to copy other children is setting him apart. If you try to explain this to James James just does not get it.

INTELLECTUAL FUNCTIONING The intellectual functioning of ASD children varies greatly. Studies to date have shown that approximately 75% of people with Autism have mental retardation. However this figure is only an approximation as often I.Q. tests which relied on verbal responses were given to nonverbal children. In other cases no form of testing was done at all. Guess work and assumptions have been taken as fact. Parents who wish their ASD child to be assessed for intelligence should ask for nonverbal intelligence tests like TONI (Test for Nonverbal Intelligence). It should also be noted that many ASD children can improve and develop their skill levels given the right therapies and education. Some children with Autism may have an average or above average I.Q. These children, are often misdiagnosed as they can function in an appropriate manner in familiar situations or with activities which interest them. In some cases these ASD children excel in certain areas. For example they may have a great memory for numbers or sports statistics. They may be able to tell you in minute detail about how a truck works or how far the moon is from earth. For this reason many professionals will believe that the child’s limitations are not severe or conclude that the child is perfectly normal. Some autistic children may show a decline in their capabilities as they grow older and this is reflected in a falling IQ. James has shown a worrying trend as his IQ seems to be dropping from average to well below average and in some areas he is showing a marked intellectual deficit. At the moment it is not clear why this is happening? James struggles with his school work and he is at least 2-3 years behind everyone else. At James’s old school his class teacher incorporated James in with the rest of the class rather than provide James with a table all to himself. When I explained that James finds it hard to concentrate when he is seated too close to the other children I was told that James has to learn to fit in like everyone else. James would often walk out of his class room and refuse to even attempt any school work. James has now moved to a bigger Catholic School where I am hopeful that he will receive more help. In Tasmania there are no schools in my part of the state that cater for Autistic children. Up in the north of the state there is a school that helps Autistic children but it costs approximately $16000 AUS a year to send your child there. I cannot afford those kind of fees. Many parents of Autistic children are like me struggling to have our children’s “special needs” recognized in schools where the staff are not trained to deal with autistic children. How does the way James is treated at school effect James? James has seen people’s reaction to the word “Autism”. He can tell it is a bad thing to have. James knows he is not like everyone else. For the Principal and teachers at the school to keep telling him that he is normal leaves James confused. Does it mean that he just isn’t trying to learn to read and write? Is he a bad boy? Is he a dumb boy? Is it his fault that he can’t behave like everyone else? Is he just not trying hard enough to be like everyone else? People who treat an ASD child as if they are normal and expect them to be normal are putting a heavy burden on that child’s shoulders. No-one says to an epileptic child - you have fits because you are bad or lazy. No-one tells the parents of an epileptic child your

child has fits because you didn’t know how to raise them right or you didn’t love your child enough and they didn’t bond with you. So why is there such a stigma for Autistic children and their families? It is only through better educating the general public and the professionals who deal with ASD children that a child with Autism can hold their head high and say I have a disability and I am OK. This is the way God made me. I am not a freak. I am just me. As for the parents of Autistic children wouldn’t it be nice to actually find the support and help that we so badly need so that our children can get the best education and life they can have?

TESTS FOR AUTISM At the time of writing this book there is no one test that can say beyond a shadow of a doubt that a child has Autism. However there are a number of tests that have been successful in indicating that a child probably does have an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Here are some tests that you can look at. CHAT is a checklist of Autism in Toddlers from 18 months onwards. CHAT was designed in the UK where sixteen thousand children were given the CHAT checklist. 12 children failed the test. Ten of these children were later diagnosed with Autism; the remaining two had significant developmental delay. Another 22 children failed some key points of the test. 15 of these children were found to have some kind of developmental delay. You can find the CHAT CHECKLIST here: In the United States there is a program called “Birth To Three,” This program is free and available in every state. To get further information in your area call the National Information Center for Children and Youth With Disabilities (NICHCY) at 800-6950285. Or visit their web site. The program evaluators will assess your child and let you know if they find any significant delays. Here is the web site address. CARS (Childhood Autism Rating Scale). For a sample of this test visit Autism Diagnostic Checklist Form E-2. A sample of this test is available here M-CHAT (Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers.) More information about MCHAT is available at this web site.,_Ph.D..html web/cultures/en-us/productdetail.htm?pid=076-1635-106 ADOS (Autism Diagnostic Observation Scale). For further details visit the web site. bservation_schedule ADI-R (Autism Diagnostic Interview – Revised). More information is available at this web site

The following test is a guideline only but it is a useful tool to check to see whether or not your child falls within the ASD spectrum. Wired magazine’s Autism-Spectrum Quotient test. A French Study has recently found that a region of Chromosome 16 PRKC appears to be linked to Autism. PRKCB1 is found in the cerebellum. Its associated protein helps in transmitting signals that relay messages in and out of the brain. Autistic children have been found to have a low count of PRKCB1 Cells. Dr Jorg Hager and his team are currently working on a test that checks for the presence of 4 genes including PRKCB1. Parents of Autistic children will be able to have their child tested as young as 18 months. If the child’s cheek swab sample is positive it means that the child is at an increased risk of developing Autism. The link below will take you to the article. See also the ASD BEHAVIOR CHECKLIST at the back of this book. I am not a Doctor but I have a double major in Psychology and I am a qualified Librarian. I found that when I went to see many doctors I was too stressed to think properly and often the doctors would not even listen to what I was saying. The aim of the ASD Behavior Checklist is to give you the parent a list of behaviors that you can highlight as a mild to severe problem for your child. All of the behaviors are on the autistic spectrum and they have all been cited as problem areas by other ASD specialists (see Bibliography). This is therefore also a useful tool for any professional person as it can highlight problem behaviors of a child. If more than 12 problem behaviors are noted on the ASD Behavior Checklist then the child should be referred on to an ASD specialist.

AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDERS (ASD) There are six Disorders currently recognized under ASD. 1. Classic Autism or Kanner’s Autism This is the most severe kind of Autism. Leo Kanner first described Autism in 1943. Prior to this time ASD children were lumped together with the mentally retarded or insane. The word Autism had first been used by Eugen Bleuler in 1911. Autism stems from the Greek word “autos” meaning “self”. Bleuler identified Autism as a form of schizophrenia but Kanner was the first person who identified Autism as a separate condition. Children are usually born with this kind of Autism and/or the condition is identified before the age of three. The child with Classic/Kanner Autism has severe problems with social interaction, they are usually non-verbal and they have severe sensory problems. This child has strong rituals and fixations. Children with Classic Autism or Kanner Autism are usually identified more easily by professionals than any other kind of Autism found on the ASD spectrum. 2. Childhood Disintegrative Disorder (CDD) also called Heller’s Disease. The Child’s develops normally for the first 2 years. There is a sudden onset of incontinence both in the bowel and the bladder. After 2 years and before 10 years the

child loses acquired skills in communication, social skills, sensory processing, adaptation play and motor skills. There is also the onset of restricted, repetitive and stereotypical behavior. For example the child will line up objects for hours and get very upset if anyone touches the objects they have lined up. For more information on Childhood Disintegravtive Disorder (CDD) check out the web site. 3. Asperger Syndrome. There is some controversy whether Asperger Syndrome and High Level Autism are the same disability. For the purposes of this book I will identify the two conditions as separate disabilities. Children with Asperger Syndrome do not show any delays in language, cognitive development, self-help skills or adaptive skills. There is however a noted problem in social interaction. The Asperger’s Child will have trouble processing sensory information. These children may exhibit some form of Sensory Information Dysfunction. The Asperger’s Child has stereotyped behaviors and repetitive mannerisms. For example the Asperger’s child may continually wash their hands for no reason throughout any given day. The Asperger’s Child has a Myers-Briggs INTJ personality type profile. This means that they are single minded, not in touch with reality, they can appear unemotional, strongly independent, and they don’t like physical contact. Dealing With Asperger Syndrome. Asperger Syndrome is a relatively mild form of Autism that effects people in different ways. Because it usually does not affect language, many people with Asperger Syndrome go undiagnosed. It is a believed stereotype by many professional people I have met over the years that if a child can speak they are not Autistic. This is completely wrong and until Pediatricians and other medical professionals take the time to educate themselves further about what Autism is many more children on the ASD will go undiagnosed. This is the one form of Autism that is usually not caught at an early age and is instead a disorder that develops later in life. Many famous and successful people like Einstein and Mozart have been thought to of had Asperger Syndrome. A child who has Asperger Syndrome is not mentally retarded in fact, most people with Asperger Syndrome are very intelligent. Although Asperger Syndrome does not effect the mental ability of a child it is true to say that a child with Asperger Syndrome will find it difficult to communicate in social settings. An Asperger Child will have trouble fitting in at school and in other social groups. When an Asperger child goes undiagnosed, these children often face problems in school such as bullying. Most children with Asperger Syndrome are relieved to find out they have a disability instead of just thinking they are odd and a failure. By getting diagnosed, not only can an Asperger child put a name to their particular difficulties it is then also possible to get help so that a better quality of life can be achieved. Symptoms to watch out for if you suspect Asperger Syndrome are some of the same symptoms that people with full-blown Autism experience. This includes social confusion, first and foremost.

Many people with Asperger Syndrome find it very difficult to deal with transition or change, wanting everything to stay the same. An Asperger child will find a quickly changing environment confusing and even terrifying. People with Asperger Syndrome also may say rude or inappropriate things when they don’t mean to do so, and they may not be able to understand others’ thought processes. Another common trait they share with other autistic individuals is fixation, although people with Asperger Syndrome usually have more control over their fixations, which take the form of highly focused interests. This can be a good thing as many Asperger sufferers can excel in areas that are of interest to them. If you suspect your child has Aspergers you need to see your local doctor and ask for a referral to see an ASD specialist. For further information on Aspergers visit the following web site. 4. High Level Autism A High Level Autistic Child shows some symptoms of Autism. These children can function close to normal and as in my son James’s case it is often difficult to get a diagnosis of High Level Autism. Some professionals argue that Asperger children and High Level Autistic children are the same however I tend to side with those professionals who make the distinction between the two conditions. Unlike Asperger’s children, High Level Autistic children do show delayed or abnormal development in language, cognitive development, social interaction, self-help skills and adaptive behaviors. An High Level Autistic child cannot predict how other’s feel or understand how another person will react to something. A High Level Autistic child will have trouble processing sensory information. The level of severity will differ from child to child. The Myers-Briggs personality type is INTP. This means that the child is detached from others and also from their own thoughts and feelings. They are an observer. They like to achieve competency in things that interest them but they will not practice something to get better at it unless they are interested in it. If pushed the High Level Autistic child will stubbornly refuse. Intelligence can range from average to above average. Children considered “gifted” are often High Level Autistic. The High Level Autistic child focuses intensely and for long periods on a difficult problem if they are interested in the problem. High Level Autism does not occur in children with an I.Q. less than 75. James’s IQ varies and there is a worrying trend that he has gone from an average IQ to a below average IQ in many areas. At this point in time there is no way to say why this is happening or if the trend will continue? The High Level Autistic child lacks common sense. For example if James walks in to a room and wakes a baby by yelling and you say to him “You’ve woken the baby James.” James will reply “No I didn’t the baby is awake.” James sees the baby awake but he fails to grasp that his yelling was what woke the baby. A High Level Autistic child does not lack empathy but they cannot express it. James cares about his puppy Sweetie Pie but he has never shown any kind of empathy for anyone else. If someone is injured James will want to know why but he will not show

them any kind of sympathy. James’s current Carer, a wonderful woman who is overtly caring and very supportive would argue that James does show empathy for other people. Maybe as James is growing older he is developing strategies that allow him to convey his concern for other people whereas in the past he was completely unable to do so? Many children with High Level Autism can be aggressive and perform self injurous behaviors. I personally believe that this is because these children have enough IQ to work out that they are different and they need to control a situation. It can also be directly related to sensory overload problems. In my son James’s case I think that James loses control of his temper in some cases because of his Autism but there are times when he uses violence to get his own way. The lack of empathy makes it hard to explain to James why he cannot continue to hurt other people when he gets mad. James has the mind set if it works why can’t I do it? High Level Autistic children fluctuate in their abilities from hour to hour sometimes from minute to minute. This fluctuating ability is a major reason why I think Asperger and High Level Autistic children belong to two separate Autistic groups. Asperger children have constant ability levels that do not fluctuate rapidly or in an unpredictable manner. For further information check out this web site 5. PDD-NOS (Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified) This is a term used to describe children who show some of the autistic traits in the other recognized disabilities but the child does not have sufficient deficits to be classified under any of the above categories. As of June 2005 the Australian Government recognized Asperger’s disorder as a Disability. PDD-NOS is not yet recognized as a disability as the level of disability is not considered disabilitating enough. Since 1994 in the American Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition (DSM-IV) Pervasive Developmental Disorders PDD-NOS were classified as treatable as the long term prospects for positive change are good. However even if a child’s medical condition is not on the list of recognizable disabilities a Carer may still be entitled to an allowance. In Australia Parents or Carers should ask their doctor to have their child assessed using the Child Disability Assessment Tool (CDAT). This test looks at whether the child is functioning at an age appropriate level. The assessment covers language, self-care skills, social and community skills, fine and gross motor skills. Behavior is also taken in to account. This was very important for us as James was not diagnosed as having High Level Autism by the doctors and specialists in Tasmania. However as James’s behavior was not age appropriate we did receive a Carer’s allowance. For more information about PDD-NOS visit this web site

6. Rett’s Disorder Rett’s disorder effects only girls.

The child develops normally in the first few months of life. Between 5-48 months the rate of head growth decelerates. The child loses previously acquired purposeful hand skills. There is an onset of stereotyped hand movements. For example continual hand washing or hand wringing. The child loses the ability to socially engage with other people however social interaction can develop later if the child receives therapy. The child’s physical coordination becomes awkward. For example the child walks with a rigid or uncoordinated walk. The child’s language development is severely impaired. The child has great difficulty expressing themselves or understanding verbal and non-verbal forms of communication. Severe psychomotor retardation becomes evident. For more information on Rett’s disorder visit the following site Other Conditions with similar symptoms to Autism include. Landau-Kleffner Syndrome (LKS) or Acquired Childhood Epileptic Aphasia, LKS is a rare condition which can occur in children with Autism. These children have many autistic-like behaviors. LKS Children have abnormal EEG’s (electroencephalograms). The abnormality can usually only be detected during sleep when the child suffers seizures. LKS children can have seizures which include staring in to space, drooling, odd movements, sleep problems, night terrors, hyperactivity, headdrop seizures (the child’s head falls forward and they appear to fall asleep for a short while). LKS children can have problems with hyperactivity, anxiety, aggression and depression. The LKS child has normal development until regression occurs between the ages of 3-7 years. The child develops auditory agnosia (they cannot understand verbal communications). The LKS child eventually loses the ability to speak. The condition is treatable if diagnosed early. Ask for a referral to a pediatric epileptologist. For more information about LKS visit Phenylketonuria (PKU) A genetic disorder where the body cannot metabolize the amino acid phenylalanine. If the child is not put on a phenylalanine-free diet brain damage occurs causing mental retardation and autistic behaviors. A test is usually done at birth to check for this condition. For more information visit the web site Fragile X Syndrome An abnormality in the DNA molecules of the sex chromosome causes mental retardation. About one-fourth of those children with mental retardation are classified as autistic. Children with Fragile X Syndrome show sensory hypersensitivities in sight, sound, touch, taste and smell. These children have repetitive mannerisms like hand flapping, they avoid eye contact and have a preservative speech. For further information visit the following web site

Autism can occur by itself or with a number of other disorders. Below is a brief list: Intellectual disability Rubella – German measles William’s Syndrome – a genetic disorder found in both girls and boys from birth. Characteristics include distinct facial problems, heart and blood vessel problems, these children find it difficult to gain weight, they have kidney and dental abnormalities, they have hyperacusis (sensitivity to sound) and musculoskeletal problems. These children are overly friendly even to strangers. They usually have developmental delays and learning disabilities. For further information visit this web site Floating Harbor Syndrome. Children with this genetic condition are very small, they have delays in expressive language, they suffer from coeliac disease, they have abnormal facial features and fingers, these children tend to be very hairy. For more information visit this web site Angelman’s Syndrome is a relatively new condition. It was identified 15 years ago. Children with this condition have severe developmental delays, they do not speak but they are happy children. Children with Angelman’s Syndrome walk in a stiff jerky way, they have a protruding tongue and they have seizures. Not much is known about this condition at the moment. If you want to learn more about this Syndrome visit the following web site Tourette’s Syndrome – this syndrome was named after Dr. Georges Gilles de la Tourette, a French Neurologist in 1885. TS sufferers have repetitive body movements or vocalizations that they cannot control called tics. TS occurs more often in boys than girls and the degree to which a person can suffer a tic or group of tics varies from person to person. Some parents of children with TS describe their children having explosive rages. If you want to find out more about TS visit the following web site Epilepsy. A large number of ASD children will develop epilepsy, especially in their teenage years. An indepth discussion on Epilepsy is beyond the scope of this book but if you are concerned about Epilepsy a good web site to visit is

VACCINATIONS AND AUTISM Prior to 1990, approximately two-thirds of autistic children were autistic from birth and one-third regressed sometime after their first year. Around the 1980’s, this trend has reversed — fewer than one-third of children with ASD were autistic from birth while two-thirds of children with ASD became autistic in their second year. Something has happened in our environment to cause this change? Of the thousands of parents of regressed autistic children surveyed most believe that their child was normal until they were vaccinated between the ages of 1 and 2 years.

The MMR Vaccine or mercury-containing vaccine preservatives (i.e. thimerosal) are considered to be the biggest threat. The MMR Vaccine used for vaccinating against measles is under suspicion as evidence of the measles virus has been found in the gut spinal fluid and blood of ASD children. Also there has been a significant rise in Autism since the MMR was introduced in the US in 1978 and the UK in 1988. Thimerosal is a mercury based preservative used in childhood vaccines. It is interesting to note that mercury poisoning in children creates very similar symptoms to that of Autism. Excessive use of oral antibiotics can prevent mercury excretion because of yeast or bacterial overgrowth. If a mother has had exposure to mercury poisoning, or has a mercury dental filling this can predispose the child to ASD. When I was in my twenties I ate a fish that gave me mercury poisoning. At the time I was very sick and the mercury poisoning was still evident in my blood ten years later when I was diagnosed with chronic fatigue. This may be one of the reasons why James was born with High Level Autism? No-one knows. Other environmental factors to consider are exposure to pesticides or other environmental toxins. There are many chemicals in our environment that are bad for humans. Is the growing number of ASD children linked to chemical pollutants in the environment? Ongoing research into vaccinations will hopefully shed some light on whether or not vaccinations are causing some children to develop autistic behaviors. Parents should remember that at the moment not providing your child with the age appropriate vaccinations places your child at great risk, they might even die if they contract measles chicken pox polio etc. If your child needs to be vaccinated ask your doctor for more information about what risks your child faces if you go ahead and vaccinate and what is likely to occur if you do not. There are no easy answers here but I would still advocate vaccinations because at the moment there are no other safe alternatives.

TREATMENTS AN OVERVIEW When dealing with Autism, just as in most other disorders, you will be faced with a number of treatment options for yourself or your child. These include treatments that are educational, behavioral, biomedical, nutritional, and sensory. If epilepsy develops anticonvulsants will need to be prescribed and in some cases where the ASD child is aggressive or depressed a qualified medical practitioner may have to prescribe suitable medication. Unfortunately, for patients who are not affluent or who do not have good medical insurance, the cost of these treatments can be pricier than what they can afford. One way to ensure that you or your child receives the best possible treatment for Autism is to carefully monitor the effects a treatment has over time. By finding out which treatments work and which do not, you can stop paying for the ineffective methods and put more of your money into those which are creating a positive difference.

First, evaluate the abilities of your ASD child before treatment begins. To do this, complete the AUSTISM TREATMENT EVALUATION CHECKLIST (ATEC). The ATEC test is free. You can complete the ATEC test on the internet at or you can obtain a hard copy of the test by writing to the Autism Research Institute 4182 Adams Ave, San Diego, CA 92116; fax: 619-563-6840 When treatment begins the ATEC test should be taken monthly. The ATEC was specifically designed to evaluate a treatments effectiveness. It should be noted that if a slow gradual improvement in any area is noted this may be due to maturation rather than medical intervention. Usually however if a fast improvement is seen after a treatment begins, the treatment could very well be helping. Autistic individuals tend to have increasing functionality as they mature, so remember that some of the positive effects in your child’s life are simply due to the natural growth process. However, after two months fill out the checklist once again and compare it to the first checklist you filled out. Are there any sharp positive increases in your child’s behavior? If so, this is more likely due to the treatment. It is important to begin only one treatment method at a time. If you try everything at once good and bad effects may cancel one another out, or even if the effect is totally positive, you will not know which treatment method is causing it and which are not doing anything? Of course, past studies can help you choose which methods to use, but because Autism is an extremely complicated and individual disorder, these studies are not always helpful. Also, some treatments are so new that the studies done are only on short-term effects, which is usually unhelpful. Instead, it is a process of trial and error. Two months is a good amount of time to study the differences within an autistic individual trying a new treatment. After two months, if you do not see positive improvement, you can discontinue your use of that particular method and better invest your money in treatment options that work. Remember that you do not always have to wait two months to make choices about whether to continue or discontinue a treatment method. If the side effects of a medication, for example, are interfering with your child’s life in an unbearable way, then you should discontinue the treatment. You can also make continual treatments based on immediate good reactions— just remember to continually monitor the various methods. Autistic individuals grow and mature just like everyone else, so treatments may stop working after a time. Before trying anything new, consult your ASD specialist to make sure you are being as safe and healthy as possible. There is no cure for Autism but the following treatments are available and some have been found to help optimize an ASD’s child’s chances to recover from some autistic traits and to reach their full potential.


There is no quick fix for Autism but it is true that ABA is by far the best researched and to date the most effective type of intervention in tackling problems that children with Autism face. ABA was pioneered by Dr O. Ivar Lovaas. The ABA program was initially based on the B.F. Skinner’s Behavioral Therapy. In 1938 B. F. Skinner discovered that human behavior could be manipulated through the use of positive and negative reinforcers. For example if you want a child to point towards a desired object you praise the child or reward them in some way every time the child points towards an object. Positive reinforcers can also encourage a child to continue to act in an unacceptable way. For example if the child has learned that by having a tantrum they receive a pay off (attention or a desired object) the child will continue to have tantrums, simply because the tantrums work. The child gets what they want. Negative reinforcers work in the opposite way. They reduce the likelihood of a behavior reoccurring once the child associates the behavior with a certain negative outcome. In the early days of ABA negative reinforcers included physical punishments like spanking and throwing water in a child’s face. Today these forms of negative reinforcers are not recommended or practiced. The idea is to work out what a child values and to remove the valued object or desired outcome from the child. For example if the child craves attention and head bangs to get attention ignore the head banging (Negative reinforcer) But the minute the child stops head banging and tries a less violent approach give the child attention (Positive reinforcer). Initially there is an increase in the undesired behavior, the head banging will get worse as the child tests to see if the parent really means business. The key to success is to stick to your guns. This approach will only work if the parent remains consistent and follows through with the agreed negative reinforcer. For example the child has to know that every time they head bang they will get ignored. In ABA all behaviors can be broken down in to 3 sections 1. Antecedent (A) – what happened before the behavior, or what triggered the behavior 2. Behavior (B) – the behavior witnessed 3. Consequence (C) – what happens after the behavior occurred? What are the benefits or what is the pay off the child is getting from the behavior? The other important factor that must be taken in to account is how frequently the behavior occurs. ABA is highly structured and focuses on the individual needs of each child. Each child is assessed to see where their strengths and weakness lie. The level at which the child is actually functioning at is called the base line. Targeted behaviors or tasks are broken down into smaller more easily learned parts called drills. Each drill has a specific command called an SD (Discriminative Stimulus) and an expected or desired response. If the child responds correctly without being prompted the child is given credit for achieving the requirements of the drill. The next drill will then be tackled. Each response the child gives will be recorded. The idea is that the parent and therapist have a clear and provable idea of where the child’s capabilities are. Drills last from 30 seconds to 10 minutes depending on the age and abilities of the child. The instructions given are kept to a minimum and aim at teaching the child how to learn. This is called metacognition.

Another part of ABA therapy is that the learning situation is at first strictly controlled in one room with one teacher, but as the child progresses through a series of drills different people and different surroundings can be incorporated in to the program. By doing this the child learns to generalize the learned behaviors so that they can perform the behaviors in any number of different everyday situations. This therapy is also called the DTT Method or Discrete Trial Training (DTT). ABA can help improve an ASD child’s attention span and ability to imitate. It can help to eliminate self-injurious repetitive aggressive or disruptive behaviors. ABA can improve language both verbal and non verbal, help the ASD child learn social skills and play skills. ABA is also helpful in teaching self–help skills or adaptive behavior such as going to the toilet, having a wash, dressing and cleaning teeth. ABA has also been useful in helping ASD children to learn academic skills. Research shows that ASD children who receive intensive ABA therapy between the ages of 2-5 years may completely overcome the effects of Autism. This does not mean that they are cured but rather that they have been taught how to function in a way that is considered “normal”. This early intervention requires between 35-40 hours of ABA a week with the parents staying committed to the program for the rest of the time. A study by Drs Richard Perry, Ira Cohen and Regina DeCarlo (See Bibliograhy) supports this need for early behavioral intervention using an ABA approach. It was found that before the age of 5 the child’s brain is able to learn and adapt quickly to change. Synapses between neurons are strengthened by repetition of an activity. Lack of activity or of certain behaviors results in the synapse dying. This research highlights the need to use repetitive and intensive therapy while the child is young. Neural circuitry can be improved by this intensive and repetitive therapy. After the age of 5 the brain’s neural circuitry may be permanently damaged due to the death of too many synapses. The three biggest problems with ABA are that ABA is very expensive labor intensive and time consuming. The parents must learn the techniques and apply them throughout the child’s entire day. My own experience with ABA has been pretty heart breaking. (see My Story). But I did learn from this very negative experience. If the Therapist does not know what kind of Autism your child has don’t work with them. If the Therapist says that they can stop any unwanted behavior without knowing the reason behind the triggers for the behavior don’t work with them. If the Therapist does not provide you with proper bills and receipts for payments made do not continue to work with them and complain about their behavior. Despite my bad experience, I support ABA there is too much evidence in its favor. Start your child on an ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) program. The earlier your child begins an ABA program the better. Stay away from psychologists who are strongly against your child being medicated. Psychologists are not doctors. If you have a Specialist put your child on a certain regime of drugs then it is not the place of the Psychologist to second guess the doctor or to tell you that you are a bad parent or even an abusive parent for placing your child on the drugs prescribed. I recommend a few books that go in to more detail about ABA. The first is a How To Do It yourself ABA Book;

Maurice, Catherine, Green, Gina & Luce, Stephen C. (1996) Behavioral Intervention For Young Children With Autism: A Manual for Parents and Professionals. Austin Texas: Pro-Ed The second is a family’s story about their autistic children and what it was like living and working with ABA Maurice, Catherine. (1993) Let Me Hear Your Voice. New York : Ballantine Books Hamilton, Lynn. (2000) Facing Autism. Colorado USA : Waterbrook Press. This book was the first book about Autism that inspired me and gave me hope. This should be the next book you read.

ANIMAL THERAPY There is a growing awareness of the benefit of animals on ASD children. Some parents have found that their ASD child can learn to calm down when they interact with their pets. I think it is a mistake to believe that getting a pet dog or a goldfish will be the answer to solving your ASD child’s temper tantrums however there are currently dogs being trained to help ASD children (very like Seeing Eye Dogs) and these dogs will I think have a positive impact on an ASD child’s life. The only trouble is that it costs roughly $29 000 USD to train each dog, so it’s expensive and it is very hard at the moment to get one of these dogs. If you want to find out more about these specially trained dogs visit this web site Check out this site if you live in Australia Even if you can’t afford a specially trained dog I am a big believer in having pets for children and adults whether they have ASD or not. Pets enrich our lives with their love and companionship. We have many dogs cats fish rabbits, chickens and even pet sheep on our farm. Even if its just a fish I believe your ASD child will benefit from having a pet in their life. Dolphin Therapy has been gaining popularity in the treatment of ASD children however this is very expensive and I believe that most pets will have the same calming effect on an ASD child. Still I think it would be a great experience for everyone in the family and it may be something to consider for a memorable holiday option. If you want to check Dolphin therapy out further visit this web site. Horses may be another great way to teach your ASD child some control over their emotions. Many ASD children love the motion when riding a horse (James certainly does). Grooming a horse may also be a good way for your ASD child to interact not just with the horse but with other “horse lovers”. The one reservation I have is that you have to ensure that the horse your child is around is very placid. Never take an ASD child around a skittish or highly strung horse as these horses tend to spook easily and kick. If

you are interested in learning more about how horses can help your ASD child visit the Colorado Therapeutic Riding Center at this web site.

AROMATHERAPY Essential oils have been used for centuries to help maintain and restore health. Below is a brief list of some essential oils you might like to try. Although these natural oils can be beneficial be aware that you must use them correctly or they may be harmful. Never take an essential oil internally unless it has been prescribed by your doctor. Essential oils are usually sold in very concentrated form. Again unless otherwise told dilute the essential oil. 1 part per 100 for massage 5 drops in a bath or steam inhaler Some essential oils blend well together but you must never use a natural oil for more than two weeks at a time. It is best to have a few weeks break before using them again. Essential oils may be used as hot compresses to relieve muscle pains. Apply for 30 minutes. Cold compresses should be used on sprains, swellings or bruises for roughly 20 minutes. Essential oils can be used in steam inhalers. This method helps relieve colds and sinus problems. But do not use this method if you are asthmatic or have high blood pressure. Scenting a room using an oil burner or scented candle: I use this method as it is easy. Just be careful to place the candles in an area where they cannot cause a fire. And keep out of reach of children. Hand and Foot Baths are great for relieving tension and migraines. They help with poor circulation and if your child has cold hands or feet. Dilute oils even more for creams that will be used on skin. Stop using the natural oil if you see any skin irritation or allergic reaction occur. Asthmatics and Epileptics should seek medical advice before trying any natural oils. I have listed a number of natural oils that should be avoided. Warning: Do not try these Natural Oils on children. Peppermint Eucalyptus Pine Rose Otto Warning: These Natural Oils can induce epileptic seizures. Rosemary and Fennel Sweet Warning: Do not have the following natural oils if you are pregnant. Cedarwood Chamomile Roman Cistrus

Myrrh Cedarwood Peppermint Black Pepper Rosemary Clary Sage NATURAL OILS THAT CAN BENEFIT ASD CHILDREN Keeping the above warnings in mind I have listed a number of natural oils that may be of benefit to ASD children. Acute Anger or Rages Bergamont Clary Sage Lavender Mandarin Roman Chamomile Geranium Petitgrain For Deep Rooted Anger (Sensory Overload, Frustration) Cedarwood Clary Sage Canadian Balsam Cypress Frankincense Ylang-Ylang Helichrysum Marjoram Neroli Spikenard Sandalwood Antibiotic Holy Thistle Anti-Inflamatory/ Anti-Fungal Calendula Chamomile Mood Swings Bergamot Mandarin Roman Chamomile Frankincense Geranium Juniper Berry Lavender

Sandalwood Ylang-Ylang St John’s Wart (good anti-depressant) Jasmine (good anti-depressant) Lemon Balm (good anti-depressant) Sleep Cowslip (good sedative for children but do not use if pregnant or allergic to aspirin) Catmint, (good mild sedative especially for children) Copaiba Cedarwood (Atlas) Chamomile (Roman) Copaiba Cypress Guaiac Wood Havozo Bark Lavender Manuka Myrtle Neroli (Especially good for calming hyperactive children) Ravensara Aromatica Sandalwood Spikenard Vanilla Ylang-Ylang Clary Sage California Poppy ( good for bedwetting too) Goat’s Rue Sweet Marjoram Muscle Pains Amyris, Cabreuva, Cedarwood (Atlas), Chamomile (Roman), Cypress, Havozo Bark, Helichrysum (Everlasting & Immortelle), Lavender, Ylang-Ylang, Coriander, Helichrysum Hyperiam (St John’s Wart)


Art can be a useful way in which ASD children can learn to resolve problems as it reduces stress and helps the ASD child to interact with other people in a non threatening environment. Drawing sculpture pottery photography knitting embroidery computer design just to name a few, are avenues that parents of ASD children can try to help their ASD child develop their own creativity. It is believed by many practitioners that through learning to express themselves in an artistic medium the ASD child will increase their self esteem and self awareness. James has always had an amazing sense of color and he can design and draw beautiful houses. Now that James is eleven he also has his own digital camera. James is addicted to taking photographs. He loves it. It is true to say that while Art Therapy won’t resolve all of your ASD child’s problematic behavior it will give them an interest and help them develop a skill. I have seen first hand how much James enjoys drawing and photography and they both give him a way to self manage his emotions. James loves working on his lap top and he designs towns using the SIMS GAMES. Through these games James is learning how to interact with other people as well as gain an understanding of how money is needed to help people survive. We try to translate what James is learning on the SIMS games in to real life. For example if James wants a computer game he has to behave in a non-violent manner. He has to follow house rules. Finding a currency that work with James (ie. computer games) makes it easier at times to get James to self manage his own behavior. Of course there are times when James is still hyperactive and aggressive but in general there has been a big improvement in James’s behavior. When James is taking photographs or drawing he is calmer and he takes pride in his work. Art Therapy is certainly something I would recommend to parents of ASD children.

BIOMEDICAL TREATMENTS Some autistic behaviors may be due to metabolic disorders. In January 1995 a report was developed during the Defeat Autism Now Conference (DAN). This report identifies the metabolic problems autistic children are most effected by. The Autism Research Institute in San Diego, California and Dr Paul Shattock from the University of Sutherland have expanded the findings found in DAN and come up with a list of tests best used to help pin point biomedical disorders in children with ASD. The following list is available through They include tests like Red Blood Cell Fatty Acid Profile Test Urinary Organic Acids test Fragile X Food IgG mediated sensitivities (including Gluten, Wheat and dairy) Extended faecal microbiology examination see The web site also provides a list of professionals who advocate the DAN approach to treating Autism. They have a list of professionals in the

USA and overseas. If you are hesitant about using medications I strongly suggest you visit this site and start to investigate biomedical approaches to treating Autism. ARI's Call Center - English: 1-866-366-3361 Some of the major interventions suggested by DAN! Practitioners include: Nutritional supplements. The need to look at vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and essential fatty acids in the ASD child. Special diets totally free of gluten (from wheat, barley, rye, and possibly oats) and free of dairy (milk, ice-cream, yogurt, cheese etc.) Testing for food allergies, and avoidance of allergenic foods. Treatment of intestinal bacterial/yeast overgrowth.Detoxification of heavy metals like mercury. As Autism effects so many areas of a child’s development no-one can expect one treatment or one approach to cure autistic characteristics. Here is a good link for further information on medical testing and treatment. email Jim Adams ( for more information. Below are just some of the Biomedical Interventions currently available. I should say here and now that I do not endorse all of them but some of them are definitely worth pursuing. Candida Albicans (Yeast Overgrowth) Yeast overgrowth in the gastrointestinal tract can make an ASD child’s autistic behaviors get worse. When a person takes an antibiotic good and bad bacteria are killed but the yeast organisms are not. Increased levels of yeast release toxins in to the body which can damage the immune system and the central nervous system. Dr William Shaw author of Biological Treatments for Autism and PDD argues that increased levels of yeast in the gut produces harmful enzymes which attack the lining of the intestinal wall. If the enzyme count is high enough it can lead to a leaky gut. (see Leaky Gut). Chelation Chelation, also called detoxification it is something that is advocated by a growing number of professionals however it is still highly controversial and it can be potentially dangerous. Chelation usually tries to detoxify a body by introducing chemicals or substances that are thought to be lacking. I have personally experienced a form of Chelation when I was suffering from Chronic Fatigue. I was placed in a special unit where everything was purified the air, the water etc. I was taken off food for a week and it was an experience that was torturous. After a week one food was introduced at a time and it was noted whether or not I had a reaction to the food. I stayed in the unit for 4 weeks. When I came out of the unit however my autoimmune system collapsed altogether and I nearly died. I had to go back in to the unit for another 4 weeks. The good thing was that I discovered what foods were making me ill, the down side was that it took years for my health to get better. It is the main reason why I moved to the country. Today nineteen years later I still have chemcial sensitivities and food allergies but I can now spend periods of time in a city without getting ill. Would I put my own ASD child through this? No way.

Digestive Enzymes Digestive enzymes are proteins that help the body to break down foods so that the body can absorb the nutrients. Some people believe that digestive enzymes can help ASD children especially in areas of communication. However there needs to be more research done in this area. Feingold Diet Supporters of the Fiengold Diet argue that some additives, especially synthetic colorings, flavorings and preservatives as well as foods containing salicylate (a natural plant toxin) exacerbate an ASD child’s autistic behaviors. James gets very hyperactive whenever he eats red or green sweets or soft drinks. I recommend that all the foods highlighted as potential problem foods should be tested individually on your child. For example apples make some ASD children more hyperactive while in others there is no marked behavior or health change. James loves apples and he does not get hyperactive after eating them. Foods Foods can be beneficial to assisting the body to heal itself. Below is a list of foods that may help ASD children. As with any food be on the look out for allergic reactions and do not introduce more than one new food at a time. Note down how your child reacts to the food. If no adverse reactions are seen like hyperactivity, irritability or skin irritations, then after a couple of weeks (about 2 weeks), include a new food and continue the process. Be aware that if you use one food too often the child may develop allergies to it so it is advisable to rotate the foods your child receives. Check with your doctor or see a Dietician for help in this area. Brain Food Foods which help the brain to function are especially important for ASD children. I am a firm believer that you are what you eat and these foods will help your child’s brain to function in the healthiest way possible. Bananas, currants, dates, figs, grapes, olives, plums, asparagus, radish, tomatoes, avocado, garlic, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cucumber, lettuce, parsley, watercress, lemons, apricots and grapes. Digestion Many ASD children suffer from sensitive digestive systems. Foods which help promote digestion are apples, pears, asparagus, green beans, cabbage, celery, leek, parsley, spinach, strawberries, cucumbers, carrots, lettuce, peaches, prunes, garlic, onions, bananas, currants, grapes, melons, olives, papaya, plums, beetroot, broccoli, pineapple, chives, cherries and lettuce. Be aware that your ASD child may not be able to tolerate all of these foods but try to incorporate at least some of them in a rotating roster throughout the week. You will see a marked improvement in your child’s digestion once you have worked out which foods from this list suit your child best. Constipation

Many ASD children go through periods when they suffer from constipation. Foods that help to alleviate constipation include; apples, pears, plums, prunes, pumpkin, leek, apricot, banana, strawberries, grapes, lemons, carrots, spinach, cabbage, beetroot, raspberries, grapes, grapefruit, oranges and raisins. Eyes Foods which promote healthy eyes are apples, cherries, figs, papaya, peaches, onions, capsicum, spinach, asparagus, brussel sprouts, carrots, cucumber, garlic, lettuce, watercress, peaches, pears, bananas, berries and grapes. These foods will not cure visual perception problems your child has but they will help to ensure that your ASD child has a diet that is keeping their eyes as healthy as they can be. Muscles Foods that help promote healthy muscles are avocado, grapes, dates, lemons, olives, oranges, pineapple, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, leek, parsley, peas, apples and plums. It is important to remember that no foods can replace the goodness of regular exercise. Memory Foods that help memory are currants, dates, olives, figs, lettuce, berries, potatoes, apricots, parsley, avocado, carrots, asparagus, spinach, apples, pineapple, raisins, beetroot, bananas, beans, peaches and pears. Try to incorporate at lest some of these foods in your ASD child’s daily diet plan. To see which of these foods is best helping your child to think clearer keep a record of how your child behaves after they have eaten one of these foods. If you see a noticeable improvement either straight away or within an hour or so after eating the food then this is one food that you know can help your child maximize their chances of having a good day. Do not try your child on two or three foods from this group at a time as then you won’t be sure which food is having the best results with your child. Also if your child happens to react badly to one of the foods listed above you will know exactly which foods to avoid giving your child. Central Nervous System (CNS) The Central nervous System of an ASD child has to be kept as strong as possible. By giving your ASD child foods that keep them physically strong and healthy you are giving your child a better chance of achieving as much as they are capable of doing. Foods that help strengthen the CNS are apples, avocado, cherries, bananas, dates, figs, grapes, melons, olives, papaya, oranges, peaches, pears, plums, tomatoes, asparagus, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, cucumber, lettuce, onions, parsley, peas, capsicum, spinach, lemons, pineapple and apricots. Stress Being Autistic is stressful. Being a parent of an ASD child is also stressful so make sure that everyone in your family has at least some of these Foods in their daily diet. Try eating some of the following Stress busting foods: melons, papaya, lettuce, watercress, blackcurrants, spinach and cherries

Food Warning For Hyperactive Children The following foods can sometimes cause an increase in hyperactivity. To see if your child is reacting to these foods eliminate all of the foods listed below for about 4-8 weeks. Reintroduce the foods one at a time. If you get a hyperactive response eliminate that food from your child’s diet. Salicylate-Containing Fruits Almonds, apples, apricots, peaches, plums, prunes, oranges, tomatoes, tangerines, cucumber, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries, cherries, currants, grapes and raisins. Avoid tinned fruit in heavy syrup. Avoid raw potatoes. Avoid tinned vegetables, frozen peas and beans that have been treated with EDTA. EDTA removes trace minerals from vegetables before they are frozen. Do not eat twice cooked meat. Avoid tinned meats which contain sodium nitrate, monosodium glutamate and meats that have preservatives in them. Avoid dyed breadcrumbs and batters. Avoid processed cheeses. Avoid tinned evaporated milk and any kind of dried milk. Avoid margarine, shortening, artificial colors and flavors, preservatives BHA and BHT. (All of these prevent fatty acids from being properly assimilated in to the body.) Gluten and Casein Gluten is a substance found in many common food products, with wheat, rye, and oaks being the main culprits. Casein is found in dairy products, such as milk. Gluten and Casein have been found to play a role in Leaky Gut Syndrome and they are common allergies found in many ASD children. It is wise to have your child tested for Gluten intolerance. I am Coeliac (gluten intolerant). James has been tested for Coeliac Disease and the test came back inconclusive. For the most part James is on a gluten free diet but I do allow him to have gluten foods at times. James will not eat dairy products, except for ice cream and yoghurt. I give him soya milk as he seems to tolerate that better. The difficulty in digesting both gluten and casein comes from an inability to digestively handle the peptides in these substances. Since they are not broken down as in a normal body, these extra peptides are absorbed into the blood stream. Elevated levels of peptides disrupt major brain functions, contributing to the effects of Autism. By cutting foods containing gluten and casein out of your child’s diet, you can help the body with the process of breaking down the peptides present in the body. To see if you or your child has a high absorption rate of these peptides, your doctor can administer a simple urine test.

Speak to a nutritionist or doctor before making any major changes in your child's diet. If you decide to cut gluten and casein from your diet, do not attempt to do this all at once. Cutting anything from your child's diet suddenly is unhealthy, and your child's body could go into withdrawal. Instead, slowly begin reducing the amounts of breads, grains, and milk products until you are eating none. Your doctor can provide you with a complete list of all the foods containing gluten and casein if you truly want to cut them all from your child's diet. If you or your child are found to be Coeliac you cannot eat any foods with gluten as they will make you ill. A Coeliac is essentially allergic to gluten. Your doctor should be able to provide you with more information about Coeliac Disease. It may be necessary to get the nutrients that you find in gluten and casein products in another way, such as with dietary supplements. Leaving gluten and casein products out of you or your child’s diet may help control autistic behavior, so it is an option that should be considered, but eating a healthy diet altogether is the best way to keep you and your family healthy. Glutathione Glutathione protects the body from toxins especially toxic metal poisoning. It is believed that metal toxins like mercury poisoning can exacerbate some autistic symptoms especially an ASD child’s ability to communicate. Studies are on going but it is thought that by raising glutathione levels in the body some ASD behaviors may improve. Immune Globulin Some people believe that problems with the immune system may cause autism-like behaviors. Immune Globulin given either orally or via injections is thought to rectify this. However there is no real evidence that immune globulin therapy works, quite the contrary, immune globulin can cause serious health problems if taken in to large a dose or too frequently. This is one therapy I would not currently recommend. Further long term research is needed on immune globulin before its true benefits to ASD children can be properly assessed. Ketogenic Diet The Ketogenic Diet is a high fat, adequate protein and low carbohydrate diet. It is believed to help ASD children who suffer from bad seizures and it is believed to help other “autistic behaviors” to improve. However the long term effects of this diet have not yet been done and it is a diet that mimics biochemical changes in the body that are associated with prolonged starvation. I would not recommend that parents undertake this diet without strict medical supervision. Leaky Gut Syndrome Leaky Gut Syndrome in conjunction with Autism is still being researched; a number of studies are under way to better understand how the syndrome starts, why it can be prevalent in autistic children, and how to treat it. Simply, Leaky Gut Syndrome is the inability of the intestinal wall to keep out large, unwanted molecules. The intestinal wall is altered to become permeable.

Leaky Gut Syndrome in autistic children may occur because of increased sensitivity or allergies. Leaky Gut Syndrome is problematic for one’s health because it allows molecules and substances (such as proteins) that are normally filtered out of the intestinal tract into the intestines. Because these molecules are not usually allowed inside the gut, the body misinterprets these non-harmful substances as a virus or infection and begins to produce antibodies to attack them. In turn, this creates a process where one’s body recognizes certain foods, as well as any of the body’s regular molecules that are similar to these foods, as harmful, causing an auto-immune disease where the body attacks itself. These are merely two possible outcomes with Leaky Gut Syndrome. Others include the transportation of bacteria normally found within the intestinal tract to move into the bloodstream and cause an infection anywhere in the body as well as a weakening of the liver, which causes more toxins to circulate throughout the body, leading to a number of medical problems. What can cause Leaky Gut Syndrome? Researchers are still working to more fully understand the causes, but current medical diagnoses suggest that a diet high in alcohol and caffeine intake, certain drugs like ibuprofen and antacids, or a diet high in carbohydrates can decrease the thickness of the intestinal wall. Because of the sensitivity of the digestive system with Leaky Gut Syndrome, many parents of autistic children find that putting their child on gluten and casein-free diets can help. Both gluten and casein are proteins, and a diet with these proteins may irritate and inflame a leaky gut. You may also treat Leaky Gut Syndrome by avoiding alcohol, caffeine, ibuprofen, or spicy foods – all of which can cause irritation in the intestines. A leaky gut can effect the amount of secretin produced in the body and increase the likelihood of allergic reactions occurring. Many doctors are beginning to see the correlation between yeast infections and exacerbations in Autism. Warning signs for yeast overgrowth are Diarrhea Hives Eczema Psoriasis Confusion Hyperactivity Short Attention Span Lethargy Irritability Aggression Gas Constipation Stomach Pains Head Aches Muscle Aches Skin Irritations Rashes If your child is found to have a yeast overgrowth try an anti-yeast diet. To increase the number of good bacteria in the gut include products with probiotics. Two common probiotics are Lactobacillus acidophilus found in yogurt and Bifidobacterium bifidum. Try to include a few different types of probiotics products as this will help prevent the gut from developing further sensitivity problems. You will need to discuss this with your doctor. Melatonin Melatonin is a hormone. It can stabilize and promote normal sleep as well as our daily bodily rhythms. At the moment no-one is sure whether ASD children manufacture either too little or too much melatonin? Melatonin is produced naturally in our bodies in the pineal gland. It is interesting to note that Serotonin is involved in its production. When melatonin is in high concentrations we feel sleepy and when it is low in our systems we feel wide awake.

Melatonin is not only a powerful inducer of sleep; it helps control brain maturation, the onset of puberty and strengthens our immune responses. Melatonin has been found to retard the growth of some cancers; it can also alleviate certain forms of anxiety and depression. Most remarkably, given in drinking water, it has been found to increase the life-span of various experimental animals by about 20%. Melatonin should be given once a day half an hour before the child’s normal sleep time. Tablets usually come in 2.5 or 3 milligram (mg) tablets. A young child should have one third of this amount. The more tablet consumed the deeper the sleep. However although melatonin is safe large doses of melatonin in a young child’s body may cause the child’s body to have difficulty responding normally during the day. They may appear sleepy and unresponsive. Some ASD children develop a tolerance for melatonin. If you find that the dosage is no longer working stop giving your child the melatonin for a week or a month. Then resume using the melatonin again. ASD children who have melatonin regularly not only have improved sleep patterns, they are able to concentrate better. For years I had a nightmare trying to get James to sleep. I repeatedly begged for help from the doctors. I was told by one doctor that he would report me for child abuse as my son was too young to be drugged. During the course of researching this book I discovered Melatonin (Homeopathic dosage). It has worked wonders for James. James can actually go to sleep and enjoy a good nights sleep every night. If your child won’t sleep get Melatonin. I highly recommend it. In Australia the laws regarding Melatonin have to be changed. Currently Chemists and doctors are not allowed to prescribe parents melatonin for their children. However you can use a homeopathic dosage of melatonin. The big question is WHY? (See Recommendations) Nutritional Supplements Nutritional supplements are of benefit to people in four ways - when someone has a poor or restricted diet - they promote healing - they target an inbalance in the body and rectify it. - vitamins and minerals help antioxidants to neutralize the harmful effects of free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules in the environment. Free Radicals constantly attack our bodies and eventually cause illness and disease as well as aging. Antioxidants replace the stolen electrons that the free radicals have taken. Thus Antioxidants can help keep the body healthy and restore health to diseased areas of the body. Some nutritional supplements are safe to buy over the counter others can be harmful if they are misused. Before starting your child on any medication always check with your doctor to see how best to handle the medicine regime for your child. Here are how nutritional supplements can benefit ASD children. B6 and Magnesium

Since the 1960’s B6 and Magnesium have been found to have many benefits for autistic children. Magnesium helps nerves transmit messages to muscles in the body and promotes the growth and repair of body cells. B6 (pyridoxine) helps the central nervous system to remain healthy. While taking B6 and Magnesium improvements have been seen in the following areas for ASD children language improves, especially the ability to respond to the spoken word - the amount of eye contact made - general behavior, children are calmer. Aggression decreases. - the child's immune system works better. Deficiencies in Magnesium result in an increased number of infections, muscle twitches, cramps, people get too emotional and irritable. Magnesium deficiency has also been found to be associated with an increase in sound sensitivity. Magnesium supplements are safe and can reduce sound sensitivity in some individuals. The recommended dosage is 3 to 4 milligrams per 10 pounds a day. Deficiencies in vitamin B can lead to depression, lack of concentration, inability to sleep, mental breakdowns. These are two supplements that are safe to explore on your own. However it is useful to know that when B6 is used without Magnesium there are side effects, Irritability, bedwetting, sensitivity to sound and increase in hyperactivity. Also when B6 is introduced in to the body in high doses it can deplete the amount of magnesium normally made by the body which can lead to further health complications. Kirkman Labatories in America have designed a multivitamin for ASD children called Super Nu-Thera. It is available in pill, powder or liquid form. Dosage: 8mg of B6 3mg of Magnesium per pound of body weight. Visit this web site for more information ID@1.aspx Some people see results as quickly as in a week but for most children allow at least a month. B6 is found in the following foods. Brewer’s yeast, wheat germ, bran, molasses, kidney, peanuts, heart, mushrooms and potatoes which do not require peeling. Magnesium is found in the following foods. Nuts, soya beans, green vegetables and whole grains. Bioflavonoids Bioflavonoids help to keep blood vessels healthy. Foods containing bioflavonoids include citrus fruits, grapes, blackcurrants and rosehips. Warning. Hyperactive children may react to these foods so it is best to follow an elimination diet first to see which foods your child reacts to. (See Food Warning For Hyperactive Children ) Calcium Calcium is vital for bone growth, healthy heart muscle function, muscle contraction and healthy body cells. Benefits to ASD children.

- helps cognitive function - helps mobility - helps physical strength A calcium deficiency may cause painful joints, brittle bones, poor teeth and arthritis. ASD children with Calcium deficiencies have been found to be more violent and are more prone to self injurous behavior. Foods containing calcium include milk, cheese, apples, bananas, oranges, green vegetables, eggs, potatoes, carrots, whole grains, fatty fish (sardines, salmon) Copper Copper plays a vital role in brain development and function. It also assists the absorption of iron. The body only requires a small amount of copper. However ASD Children have been found to have very low amounts of copper in their systems. There is need for further research on Copper to understand if it will help improve the ASD child’s ability to function better. DMG (Dimethylglycine) DMG is not actually a vitamin it is a food substance. Benefits to ASD children have been found in the following areas; - Behavior in general but especially Obsessive-Compulsive behavior. - Decrease in seizures - Increase in language Dosage: Half a tablet a day for preschool age children. 1- 4 tablets per day for older children. 4-8 tablets a day for adults 1 tablet = 125 mg DMG is safe to use and no adverse effects have been found even at high doses. Fatty Acids The following Fatty Acids are good for the body, Cis-linolenic acid (Cla), alpha linolenic acid (ALA), gamma linolenic acid (GLA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and arachidoinic acid (AA) Benefit: Fatty Acids provide a crucial ingredient in body tissue membranes. Lack of fatty acids may cause leaky gut and complications with undigested foods entering the blood stream. This may result in the immune system breaking down. The following symptoms may be due to fatty acid deficiency. Hyperactivity, eczema, migraines, immune deficiency, excessive thirst To see if your child is deficient in omega-3 fatty acids it is advisable to check for pancreatic function. If the pancreas is not working properly this must be seen to first before beginning fatty acid treatment. Many people believe that have too much omega-6 fatty acid and not enough omega-3 fatty acid may actually cause autistic-like symptoms. There is evidence that fatty acids do impact on ASD children’s ability to communicate but even diets rich in the right kinds of fatty acids won’t necessarily “cure” ASD children of their Autism. Further research needs to be done in this area. Fatty Acids can be found in flaxseeds, flaxseed oil, evening primrose oil, borage oil and fish oil.

Folic Acid This is a non toxic B vitamin. Folic Acid has the following benefits to ASD children - helps repair nucleic acids the building blocks of human RNA and DNA. - decreases depression - decreases anxiety - prevents some birth defects. - helps during pregnancy - helps regulate the central nervous system, - decreases hyperactivity Folic Acid works best when it is combined with B12 and vitamin C. A word of warning: If you have Frederix Ataxia (a motor neuron disease) in the family do not take any Folic Acid until after you have checked it with your doctor. People with Frederix Ataxia cannot absorb the Folic Acid properly and it can build up in your body actually causing miscarriages. Folic Acid is found in milk, nuts, green vegetables, brewer’s yeast, liver and kidneys. Iron Iron helps to oxygenate blood and provides energy. For ASD children with concentration problems it is essential. Foods containing iron include brewer’s yeast, wheat germ, whole grains, egg yolks, fish, red meat, liver, raisins, dried fruit and green vegetables. Manganese Manganese helps bone growth and brain function, especially memory and concentration. Hyperactive children and epileptics have been found to have very low amounts of Manganese in their bodies. Manganese levels in ASD children need to be studied further to see if any benefits can be gained through an increase in dosage. Foods containing manganese include; nuts, whole grains, dried fruits, green vegetables, seeds, bran, brown rice, oats, buckwheat, onions, strawberries, bananas, apples, pineapples, green beans, liver, poultry, seafoods. Vitamin A Vitamin A helps keeps the eyes and the internal membranes of the body healthy. Vitamin A also promotes growth. Vitamin A has been found to help ASD children in the following areas; - language improves - the ability to speak more often and clearer. - big increase in eye contact and vision. - improves the gut wall and therefore digestion. - improves the immune system. - improves learning and memory. Warning: Large doses of Vitamin A can be toxic to humans. You will need to ask your doctor’s advice about safe dosage levels for your child.

Vitamin A is found in the following foods: meat, dairy, egg yolk, liver, kidneys, sweetbreads, fatty fish, fish-liver oils, chard, kale, spinach, broccoli, string beans, carrots, tomatoes, marrow, red peppers, apricots, peaches, sweet potato. Vitamin A is destroyed by strong light and slow cooking. Vitamin C Vitamin C is necessary for healthy cells, as it promotes the function of collagen in the body. Vitamin C helps blood circulation, healthy bones, teeth and gums. Benefits to ASD children are; - increase in cognitive function. Vitamin C helps combat fatigue thus making the child better able to concentrate. - improves the immune system - aids in detoxification - fights viruses and bacteria Foods which contain Vitamin C are citrus fruits, guavas, peppers, pimentos, rosehips, tomatoes cabbage, fresh strawberries, salad greens, brussel sprouts, broccoli, apples, bananas, lettuce, potatoes, peas, blackcurrants, sweet corn , melon and grapes. Dosage: This is a safe supplement. Large doses however can cause diarrhea. Vitamin D Vitamin D helps the body to absorb magnesium and calcium. Vitamin D is essential for ASD children as it promotes both cognitive ability and body strength. It helps reduce violent behavior. Foods containing vitamin D include butter, cream, milk, fatty fish, eggs and fish-liver oils. Direct sunlight on the skin also helps promote the production of Vitamin D in the body. Vitamin E Vitamin E helps to keep skin healthy. It improves muscle tone and promotes the strengthening of the stomach lining. Vitamin E assists ASD children both in movement and posture. It can help in detoxification thus promoting better digestion and a decrease in infections. Foods containing Vitamin E include. Wheat germ oil, wheat, milk, egg yolk, unrefined vegetable oils, pears, green vegetables but especially lettuce and avocado. Vitamin E is also great for protecting the skin from the sun’s harmful rays. It is best used as a cream and applied after being out in the sun. Vitamin K Vitamin K helps the blood to clot. This is an essential for good health in normal and ASD children. It is found in the following foods. Cauliflower, spinach, kale, alfalfa, soya bean oil and pig’s liver. Zinc Zinc helps cell multiplication it is therefore vital for mental and physical growth. Zinc also helps in the healing of wounds, hair growth and fighting infection.

Benefits to ASD children are; - promotes brain development - helps balance imbalances in the body Dosage: If you can taste the zinc in water you don’t need it. Check with your doctor to find a safe way to include zinc in to your child’s diet. Foods which contain zinc are. Raw green vegetables especially peas, carrots, nuts, fruit, liver, chicken, whole grains, bran, oatmeal, eggs, milk and oysters. Nystatin Nystatin is a safe antifungal very little of it is released in to the bloodstream almost all of it is eliminated through a user’s faeces. There are no serious side effects for the drug. The amount of Nystatin needed will differ according to whether the child is on an anti-yeast diet. Children not on an anti-yeast diet must eliminate vinegar and malt from their diet or a bacteria called clostridia increases. Clostridia can cause toxins which may effect the guts ability to function properly. Natural foods which help kill yeast are Garlic, Cranberry, Black walnut, Caprylic acid, Sustained release oregano oil, MCT oil, Grapefruit seed extract, Goldenseal, Lactoferrin, Tanalbit Oxytocin Oxytocin is a hormone that helps to induce labor by making the uterus contract. It also plays a role in controlling blood loss after childbirth. What makes it interesting to parents of ASD children is that Oxytocin has also been found to help promote social behavior and social understanding. For example Oxytocin plays a role in helping people to remember important relationship like “Who is my mother?” Most social behavior is learned by watching how the people around us interact. Normal children learn how to imitate other people and to memorize certain social behaviors that are acceptable in their societies. ASD children have abnormal levels of Oxytocin and some specialists believe that this contributes to the ASD child’s inability to mimic and learn appropriate social skills. Low levels of Oxytocin are also thought to contribute to the ASD child’s need to complete repetitive behaviors over and over and it may play a role in why so many ASD children handle stress poorly. Oxytocin can be injected or inhaled. There needs to be further studies done to verify just how useful Oxytocin really is for ASD children and to qualify what if any long term effects taking Oxytocin may have on ASD children. Secretin Secretin receptors in the brain and in the Central Nervous System stimulate the neurotransmitter serotonin. Secretin also helps the pancreas to function. Porcine secretin is used to test how well the pancreas is working. In April 1996 an infusion of porcine secretin was given to an autistic child Parker Beck. The result was little short of miraculous many of Parker’s autistic traits disappeared or improved dramatically. Parker’s irregular bowel movements normalized, he began to make eye contact, he started to sleep, a facial tic disappeared and he spoke for the first time in over two years. It seemed almost like a miracle cure!

Since Parker other ASD children have had secretin infusions and in about 70% of cases there was some kind of noted improvement in the child’s condition. The Autism Research Institute in America is gathering more data even as you read this. At the moment no-one is sure why secretin has such a positive effect on children with ASD? It is important to note that not everyone believes secretin is the miracle cure for Autism. Dr Karl Reichelt has concerns that antibodies against porcine secretin may develop in some patients and that this may detrimentally effect secretin which is produced naturally in the body. However Dr Sidney Baker has given over 400 infusions of secretin at a recommended dose of 1.5 to 2 CU per kilogram of body weight. Higher doses of porcine secretin injected may cause hyperactivity. Rashes are common for a few weeks after receiving secretin. At the moment there is controversy over whether or not children known to have seizures should be given secretin. Secretin may be injected but transdermal applications (through the skin) are also being investigated. Homeopathic sublingual drops (taken under the tongue) are being studied as well. Homeopathic remedies are known to be non-harmful and I would recommend this approach initially. Specific Carbohydrate Diet The Specific Carbohydrate Diet is a very strict grain-free, lactose-free and sucrose-free diet. It is aimed at promoting normal gut functioning for people with Crohn’s Disease and Coeliac Disease but some professionals also argue that it is helpful for ASD children as many parents of ASD children have reported that their Autistic child has improved in behavior, cognitive and language development on this diet. I was on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet for many years due to complications with my Coeliac Disease and Multiple Chemical Sensitivities. I can tell you first hand that the diet is hard to follow as an adult I would not recommend it for a child. However I would argue that certain foods do aggrevate Autistic behaviors and I believe that the best course of action for any parent of an ASD child to take is the elimination process to the child’s diet. Seek a dieticians help and work out with them a suitable program for testing where your child’s sensitivities to food are. You may find that your child reacts to wholegrain breads but is fine with plain white gluten bread. For further information about the Specific Carbohydrate Diet visit this web site Testosterone/Estrogen A drug called Leuprolide can reduce the amount of testosterone and/or estrogen in your body. The drug was initially designed to help prostate cancer sufferers. Some people believe that by giving ASD children injections of Leuprolide they will stop ASD children becoming sexually active. Other professionals claim that Leuprolide helps to reduce the toxicity of mercury in the body. These professionals believe that Autism is caused by mercury poisoning. However I would not personally recommend using Leuprolide because it can permanently damage your child’s ability to function sexually as an adult.

Leuprolide is also very expensive certainly beyond the reach of ordinary families. Furthermore, there is no real evidence that Leuprolide is helpful to ASD children.

COGNITIVE BEHAVIOURAL THERAPY (CBT) Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is based upon the old Buddhist belief “With our thoughts we shape the world.” It is the belief that how we think and feel will effect how our bodies function. For example if a person is depressed they are more likely to have sick bodies. CBT can be used to help ASD children become more aware of how they think. Teaching an ASD child to think in a different way will eventually lead to a change in behavior. CBT has I feel a lot of merit but there is still a general lack of knowledge about how to use it properly and it is one area that needs a lot more work done. If you can find a qualified practitioner of CBT I would definitely support following up this kind of treatment for your ASD child. For further information check out y.aspx

COLOR THERAPY The idea that colors can help promote physical benefits to the body has been practiced for centuries. There are two ways you can use color therapy for your ASD child. The good thing about color therapy is that it cannot hurt you. Some traditions use distilled water. You just add the color desired and then leave the bottled water in bright sunlight for three to four hours. This water may be used in compresses. (DO NOT DRINK). If you are planning to decorate then think about using a particular color that may have psychological benefits to your ASD child. Below is a list of some colors and their benefits. Blue is a cool soothing color. Violet helps insomnia and emotional upsets Purple/Indigo helps calm the nervous system Yellow helps balance the brain, it is also a happy color good to help alleviate depression Green is a mild sedative do not use if the child/person has depression. Red is an angry color and should only be used around ASD children if they have paralysis or anemia. Orange is a color that is good luck and promotes self esteem. Pink is the color of love, it is warm and comforting. DIR METHOD The DIR Method is a therapy that has yet to be fully tested but it aims at teaching ASD children the grass roots of communication, relating to other people and to the world around them and thinking strategies. The program works around a series of “Floortime”

exercises where a Carer actively plays with the ASD child in spontaneous and fun activities that are developed around the individual child’s interests. DRAMA THERAPY Drama Therapy is thought to help some ASD children learn about communication and social interactions by helping the child through story telling, role playing and mime. Drama Therapy can also help ASD children moderate their tone of voice or lack of emotion in their voice. This may not be for every ASD child but it is certainly a form of therapy that is low risk and has the potential of really helping your ASD child feel like part of a group. Many ASD children can enjoy working with props as this can also include art work like painting and drawing. James has shown an interest of late in drama and I am encouraging him to do drama at school. For further information about Drama Therapy visit or you can contact address The National Association for Drama Therapy, Inc. 5505 Connecticut Avenue NW Washington DC 20019 Telephone: (202)966-7409 ECHOLIA Some ASD children are able to repeat back an entire TV commercial or tell you word for word what you’ve just said. This is called 'echolalia.' Echolalia is a good sign because it indicates that the child's brain is processing language even though the child may not be understanding the meaning of the words. With help your child can learn to associate words with objects. If your child says the word banana immediately give them a banana. Or show the child a picture or photograph of a banana. Do this every time the child says the word banana and eventually the child will learn to associate the word banana with an actual banana. This is how an ASD child learns language. Echolia helps ASD children to build up their vocabulary by using pictures and words to make cognitive links with concrete objects. EDUCATION Teachers and parents should be aware that a child with ASD will have problems in the following areas; Following Directions. The ASD child finds it hard to process new information; Sensory Disorders may cause inattention if the child is understimulated and hyperactivity if the child is over stimulated. Extreme over stimulation may cause the ASD child to “shut down”. Things in the classroom which may over stimulate an ASD child are background noise, activity, light, changes in routine, other children talking, bells going off etc. It is largely for this reason that James had his desk separate from the other children in his class until he was ten. James is very sensitive about his personal space but he also finds being too close to the other children distracting and annoying. Since James has been seated with the

other children in his class he has constantly walked out of the classroom refusing to stay in class. The ASD child’s inability to understand non-verbal messages will make it harder for them to follow what is being asked of them. The ASD child finds it hard to handle a changing routine. They need and do best with a rigid routine. The ASD child finds it difficult to organize themselves. Putting things in to sequence is very hard for an ASD child. Generalizing and concept development are impeded by the ASD child’s inability to emphasize what is important and what is not and to process this information. ASD children have trouble working out relevant information and focusing on the information they need to learn. ASD children often are not able to understand how to apply themselves to the task at hand. They have trouble understanding what is required of them. ASD children will have trouble socializing with their classroom peers and teachers in an appropriate way. James does not get on well with the boys in his class. He has trouble playing with more than one or two people at a time. James hates group activities unless he can control the whole event. The ASD child’s ability to make judgments and to reason will be effected by their level of disability in communication, social interaction and I.Q. ASD children with auditory sensitivities may be scared of the public address system, the school bells or fire alarms, because these sounds hurt their ears. Children with milder hearing sensitivity can sometimes learn to tolerate hurtful sounds when they know when they will occur. However, ASD children cannot tolerate unexpected loud noises. Autistic children with severe hearing sensitivity should be removed from the classroom prior to a fire drill. Sometimes sound sensitivity to a particular sound, such as the school bell, can be desensitized by recording the sound on a tape recorder. Allow the child to play the tape and encourage the child to gradually increase its volume. This way the child feels that they have control of playback of the sound. Repeat this until the child’s fear and anxiety levels decrease. Teachers should be aware that ASD children learn best when their environment and routines are consistent, predictable and organized. Things like school excursions are very difficult for the ASD child to handle as the ASD child will lose their much needed safety zone of predictable locations and routines. In some cases where the ASD child is known to get very upset or disruptive a one-on-one Carer should be provided for the child whenever they leave the school grounds. Teaching ASD children has to be a group approach from within the school. Every teacher who comes in contact with the ASD child should have an understanding of the kind of Autism the child has and what the child’s particular autistic traits are. As every autistic child will have a different set of strengths and weaknesses the teaching program may have to include some or all of the following; signing, symbols, printed word, photos and/or verbal communication. A good teacher needs to tailor his/her teaching method to

the child. To be successful, the teacher has to be gently insistent, be aware of the child’s vulnerabilities and autistic profile and help the child develop within the given limitations of their abilities. Many ASD children are visual thinkers they think in pictures not language. For this reason it is usually easier to teach an ASD child nouns as they can picture the object in their mind. To learn words like "up" or "down," the teacher should demonstrate them to the child. The ASD child thinks in a very concrete black and white way. If the child is fixated on planes you can attach the word “up” on the plane and then show the child the plane flying up in to the air. To teach the ASD child the word “down” show the child the same plane but attach the word “down “ on the plane and then show the child the plane flying back down to the ground. Some ASD children do not know that speech is used for communication. The child needs to learn that by asking for things concrete things will happen. The ASD child learns that their words are wrong because they do not get the object that they want. For example if the child wants their toy car but asks for their toy plane give the child the toy plane. And say did you mean you want the toy car? The ASD child cannot follow long strings of verbal instructions. This is partly because an ASD child usually has trouble remembering a sequence. Do not use more than three directions at a time for an ASD child. If the child is able to write get the child to write down longer instructions so that they can refer back to what you have said. Many ASD children are good at drawing, art and computer programming. These talent areas should be encouraged. Once a teacher recognizes a particular talent they should encourage the child to learn more about their gift. Use concrete visual methods to teach number concepts. For example show the ASD child an apple and cut it in half show the child the written number ½. Now cut the apple into a quarter. Show the ASD child the number ¼. From this the ASD child will learn the concept of quarters and halves. Many ASD children have problems with motor control in their hands. They are usually messy writers. One of the reasons that James does better work on the computer is that he doesn’t have to worry about forming perfect written letters so he can concentrate on the task at hand. It is important for the teacher to realize that often the ASD child is not lazy they are genuinely finding the task of writing difficult. Some ASD children will learn reading more easily with phonics, and others will learn best by memorizing whole words. Flash cards and picture books can help the ASD child associate words with pictures. It is important to have the picture and the printed word on the same side of the card. When teaching nouns the child must hear you speak the word and view the picture and printed word simultaneously. Do not use line drawing as some ASD children do not understand them. To teach an ASD child a verb demonstrate the verb. For example show the child the written word jump and then jump. Some ASD children are 'mono-channel' they cannot see and hear at the same time. They either have to look at something or they have to listen. If this child is forced to look and

listen they will have a sensory overload and shut down. This type of child may respond best when the teacher whispers quietly in a dimly illuminated room. As sequencing is very difficult for ASD children you have to teach the child using their strongest senses touch and movement. For example an ASD child cannot learn how to slide down a slide just by watching other children do it, they have to be taught by physically moving their bodies and helping them to perform each stage of the task. To help the child learn to put on their shoes the teacher needs to help the child feel each stage of putting a shoe on a foot. Place your hands on top of the child’s hands and move the child’s hands over their foot so they feel and understand the shape of their own foot. The next step is help the child feel the inside and the outside of their shoe. To put the shoe on, the teacher needs to guide the child’s hands to the shoe and, help the child guide their foot in to the shoe. Many ASD children will respond better and have improved eye contact and speech if the teacher interacts with them while they are swinging on a swing or rolled up in a mat. Some ASD children respond better if words and sentences are sung to them. ASD children with extreme sound sensitivity will respond better if the teacher talks to them in a low whisper. This of course is not practical if a teacher has a large number of children to teach. However if an ASD child does respond better to softly spoken directions time should be set aside to instruct the ASD child quietly by themselves after the rest of the class has being given a task to complete. One way to teach an ASD child letters is to let them feel plastic letters. The ASD child learns best if they are allowed to feel objects a few minutes before a scheduled activity. For example, fifteen minutes before lunch give the child a lunchbox or spoon to hold. ASD children will learn more easily if the computer key-board is placed close to the screen. This enables the child to simultaneously see the keyboard and the screen. It can be hard for an ASD child to remember details if they constantly have to look up. Many ASD Children have difficulty understanding hard consonant sounds such as 'D' in dog and 'L' in log. Try to drag out the consonant sound for example dddd –og. Llll-og. Try using the closed captions on the TV as this can help ASD children to learn to read. Some ASD children find it easier to read if black print is printed on colored paper to reduce contrast. Try light tan, light blue, gray, or light green paper. Avoid bright yellow. Irlen colored glasses may also make reading easier. (see Irlen Method) ASD children find it hard to understand generalizations. To teach ‘you cannot run on the grass’. You have to show the child all the places where they are not allowed to walk. If you show the child just one location they will think that the rule only applies to that one particular spot. Incidental Teaching is where a teacher has a set of preplanned learning objectives but structures their classes learning opportunities around the interests of the individuals in their grade. For example John may have autism and he loves trucks. The main objective is to get the children to count to twelve. John can count how many wheels are on his truck. Mary does not have autism but she loves dolls. Mary can count twelve dolls. The teacher encourages each student to learn more about the trucks or the dolls by asking

questions about them. The teacher may want to encourage the child to communicate or name an object. The best way to do this is to put a “desired object” just out of reach so the child has to communicate with the teacher explaining that they want it. An ASD child may not be able to verbalize but they can point or show a picture of the desired object. Verbal children will be encouraged to name the object. Incidental Teaching has been found to be an effective teaching method with both ASD and other children in a normal classroom situation. LEAP (Learning Experiences An Alternative Program for Preschoolers and Parents). This program teaches ASD children in a normal classroom situation. The other children in the class are trained to help their autistic classmate to learn skills. The trouble with this program is that unless the program is carried out in a very structured way the ASD child might find it stressful. I do not personally believe that ASD children should be put in to main stream classes unless they have adequate help from aides. The child is all too often left out of classroom activities that are deemed to hard for them. Few schools cater for children with Autism. Even fewer teachers understand the needs and limitations of autistic children in their class. With limited resources and a hectic lifestyle most teachers are just too darn tired to investigate Autism. And what they learn about Autism only helps to make one thing crystal clear - teaching an ASD child is a challenge. And every ASD child is going to present with a different set of problems. Working with the parents closely is a great way to learn what strengths and problem areas an ASD child has. Three great resources for Teachers and parents to look at that will help the ASD child in school are Language flash Cards to help Autistic Children Learn To Read. Visit this web site The TEACCH (Treatment and Education of Autistic and Communication-Handicapped Children) Program is a site that every parent and teacher with Autistic children should look at. The Program is based in North Carolina USA. It is highly regarded and is an invaluable approach to teaching children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. Visit this website for more information The Boston Higashi School, this specialized education program is offered in Japan, the UK and the USA. These schools emphasize physical activity in promoting communication, self management and skills development. A lot of research suggests that ASD children do well within this kind of school structure. The way these schools work to help reduce an ASD child’s level of anxiety is well worth a parent or teacher investigating. Visit this web site for further information or write to Boston Higashi School 800 North Main Street Randolph, MA 02368 U.S.A.

FACILITATED COMMUNICATION Some people believe that ASD children who are non-verbal can communicate by someone else pointing to what they want for them. However this method is not I think very useful. For one thing how does the non-verbal Autistic child communicate what they want to their designated pointer? However I do think that teaching your ASD child to point at what they want is a good strategy as I know that when James gets upset he isn’t always able to verbalize what is wrong or what he wants. Teaching James to point at what he is after has reduced my son’s level of stress in some instances. GENTLE TEACHING There are a number of studies that promote Gentle Teaching with ASD children. Every parent wants to treat their ASD child in a gentle and loving way but this is not always easy especially when your ASD child is hitting you, head banging, or throwing things at you. I believe that there needs to be more therapists who can teach parents of ASD children how to handle their ASD child in a gentle and safe manner when their ASD child is being difficult. I know as a parent I often struggle with James when he is out of control. I want to be able to hold him and calm him and tell him that everything is going to be OK. But how do you reach a child who cannot hear or understand what you say when they are over stimulated or shut down? Therapists need to train parents how to make their child feel safe, they need methods to show how to engage their child in social interactions and to feel loved. James can see how people behave when they love someone but he cannot feel or understand that love in the same way that normal children do. As a mother I find it heart breaking that my child cannot fully comprehend how much I care for him. Many psychologists have said that James has attachment problems to me because I was a cold unloving mother who didn’t bond well with my son when he was a baby. I find this highly offensive and hurtful. I love my boy but James’s inability to feel the normal range of emotions that other children feel has made it difficult for James to respond to me in a “loving” way. Therapists who dish out this kind of judgment only prove one thing they do not understand how cut off emotionally many ASD children are. I am like many other parents of an ASD child I want to break through that wall of incomprehension in my child and help them to experience the wonder of being able to feel love. For a good place to start understanding better ways to deal with your ASD child in a gentle way visit this web site or contact Bremmerlaan 3 3431 GV Nieuwegein Netherlands Phone: 31302938878 e-mail:

HOLDING THERAPY When I first saw Pediatricians and other health specialists about James’s aggressive behavior I was told to hold James tightly until he stopped tantruming. I soon learned that this technique did not work. For one thing James would tantrum for hours and he would head bang against my chest. As I have MS I could not physically hold James for any length of time and he would often break free and head butt me in the mouth and/or nose. He would pull my hair and eye gouge me. James has two scars on his left cheek which where caused by my fingernails scraping against the side of his face as he broke free from my arms. After the second time I refused to keep holding James and I was told that I wasn’t really serious about stopping James from tantruming. Since investigating this book I have found that I am not the only parent who found the Holding Technique dangerous both to my son and to myself. The other issue I have with the Holding Technique is that it sets up a negative relationship with the child afterall the parent has to use their size and their strength to subdue their child. What does this teach the child? To enforce your will use brute strength? The Holding Technique does not teach the child to self regulate their behavior it is in my opinion setting the child up to fear their parent. It is very hard for a child who has been physically held against their will to view their mother or father’s arms as a place to run for comfort. This may be a technique that works on small “normal” children but with an ASD child it is a complete waste of time.

HOMEOPATHY Homeopathy has been practiced for thousands of years but modern homeopathic treatments are based upon Samuel Hahnemann’s theory that substances which can be harmful to people can also help cure a person if given in tiny doses. The idea is that the small amount of harmful substance will stimulate the body’s ability to heal itself. The beauty of homeopathic treatments is that they can be used without fear of bad side effects. They cannot cause harm. I would strongly advise any parent to consider homeopathy as a possible tool to combating some of the problems ASD children face. Here is a list of useful Homeopathic treatments. Biochemic Tissue Salts Derived from minerals such as rock salt and quartz. The idea of Biochemic Tissue Salts as a means of helping the body to rebalance itself was developed by a German Homeopathic Doctor Wilhelm Schuessler in 1873. Schuessler argued that a lack of a particular mineral in the body resulted in specific symptoms. Minute doses of the required salt helped to put the body back in to balance again. Supporters of Sulphination

claim that low levels of Sulphate exacerbate some ASD symptoms especially in communication and difficult to manage social behaviors. There are 12 tissue salts. ASD children may at one time or another derive benefit from using these Biochemic Tissue Salts. These salts are not harmful and they are a useful tool to combat some of the ailments your ASD child will get from time to time. Calcium Fluoride (CALC. FLUOR.) This is good for Circulatory problems and dental problems. When James gets toothache he gets irritable which is natural enough. I add a little Calcium Fluoride to his diet and this has helped James cope with his toothache until he can see a dentist. Calcium Phosphate (CALC. PHOS.) This helps indigestion, chillblains, colds and catarrh. James and I both have sensitive stomachs and I have found Calcium Phosphate great for getting our digestive systems back in balance. This also works well if you feel a cold is coming on. If you already have the cold the Calcium Phosphate will help you get over it quicker. Calcium Sulphate (CALC. SULPH.) This is great if you have skin problems. Calcium Sulphate also works well if your ASD child or anyone else in your family is slow to heal. Neuralgia, kidney problems can also be helped by taking Calcium Sulphate. Iron Phosphate (FERRUM PHOS.) Iron Phosphate is great with fevers but it can also help Rheumatism, hemorrhages and respiratory problems. Potassium Chloride (KALI. MUR.) Helps Ear infections and congestion on the lungs. Potassium Phosphate (KALI.PHOS.) Good for nervous tension, depression, headaches, incontinence, shyness. (This is an especially useful tissue salt to try for ASD Children. If you only try one biochemic tissue salt this is the one to try.) Potassium Sulphate (KALI. SULPH.) This helps with skin problems but it can also be useful for Palpitations and Menstrual Problems. This is perhaps one to consider if you have an ASD daughter. Magnesium Phosphate (MAG. PHOS.) Good for cramps, flatulence, hiccups, menstrual pain, neuralgia. Sodium Chloride (NAT.MUR.) Good for depression. James has suffered from depression since at least the age of seven. Depression runs in my family both my sister and I have depression and I believe my mother had it to. It is hard to say how much of James’s depression comes from genetic factors and how much is due to his Autism. Sodium Chloride is also useful if your ASD child suffers from cold sores, mouth ulcers and dry skin.

Sodium Sulphate (NAT.SULPH.) Good for digestive problems and hayfever. Sodium Sulphate can also be useful if your ASD child suffers from water retention and/or liver problems. Silicon Dioxide (Silica) Good for anyone with Neurological disorders. Silicon Dioxide can also help your child if they lack energy or if they suffer from boils and styes. Silicon Dioxide is good for any problems with nails. Sulphur Some professionals argue that if your ASD child has low sulphate levels they should avoid eating tomatoes as tomatoes contain high levels of phenol. Phenol is found to deplete sulphur levels in the body. Although Biochemic Tissue Salts are not going to cure your child’s Autism they can be a useful complimentary tool in helping you to maximize your ASD child’s health. I highly recommend you try at least some of them as they cannot harm your child in any way and you may find benefit from your child taking them. Always seek advice from a doctor who specializes in homeopathic medicine before you place your child on any kind of medication. Calming Below is a list of homeopathic remedies that are useful in helping to calm your child. Note that you should consult a homeopath about the quantity that is right for your child. Argentum Nitricum (Arg Nit) Cocculus Orbiculatus (Cocculus) – Good for nerves and exhaustion from lack of sleep Valeriana Officinalis (Valerian) – for hyperactivity, Anacardium Occ. Argent. Nit. (especially good for phobias. May help calm the need for ritualistic behavior) Baryta Carb. (especially if over anxious), Conium Gelsemium (nervous exhaustion, may help adjustment to change by decreasing anxiety levels) Lycopodium Constipation As James will not go to the toilet regularly during school time and he sometimes does not drink enough liquids he can get very constipated. I have found the following homeopathic remedy works well. Nux Vomica Silica Opium (Remember this is the homeopathic opium not the hard drug. Never use opium in any other form other than the homeopathic kind.) Cramping Pains

Cramping pains are something I suffered badly from and so it seems does James and Emma. I have found the following homeopathic medicines to work wonders. Magnesia Phosphorica (Mag Phos) Verbascum Thapsus (Verbascum), Cactus Digestive Problems James has always had a sensitive stomach and he has trouble digesting his food well. There is also the added complication that even at the age of 11 James does not like to go to the toilet and he often gets constipated. I have found the following homeopathic remedies work best with James. Carbon Sulph. Arsen. Alb., Carbo. Veg. Ferrum Met. Lycopodium (especially digestive discomfort), Nat. Mur., Sepia, Silica, Sulphur (especially in boys). Irritability/Over Sensitivity If your child suffers from a sensitive system and shows signs of sensory problems try thes homeopathi medicines. Hepar Sulphurus, Calcareum (Hepar Sulph) Matricaria Chamomilla (Chamomilla) Mercurius Solubilis also called Mercurius – (Good for restlessness as well) Theridion Hepar Sulphurus Calcareum (Hepar Sulph) Joint Pains James is always complaining of muscle aches I have found these two homeopathic remedies work well to ease his joints. Calc. Carb. Staphisagria Nightmares If nightmares are a problem for your child try Paeonia Sleep You may wish to try each of these to see which one best helps your ASD child. Don’t expect a miracle cure right away but these three homeopathic remedies do work and you should begin to see a difference within a week. These three homeopathic remedies also help to calm the child. China, Nux Vomica


HUGGING One way Autistic children can cope with sensory overload is through the use of pressure. Pressure can have a calming effect on an Autistic child if the child in question can decide how much pressure they need to feel and for how long they want to feel it. If a parent or another person hugs the Autistic child this can often be traumatic and frustrating for the child. The reason the ASD child gets so upset is because they are not in control of the situation. The person hugging them may hug too tight or not tight enough and they might hug for too long. The hug machine was created by an Autistic woman. Her robotic hug machine puts the Autistic person in charge of how much pressure and time a hug will be. The hug machine is sometimes called the hug box or the squeeze machine. The hug machine has two padded sideboards connected near the bottom of the boards to form a V-shape. A lever helps push the sideboards together to create pressure; the lever also allows the autistic child to control the amount and length of pressure they want at any given time. At the moment it is not understood why hug machines work? Some researchers argue that the pressure from the hug helps the ASD child to concentrate on the feeling of the pressure thus blocking out other unwanted stimuli. I think blood pressure and in an indirect way temperature may also play a role? Anxiety can be crippling for many autistic children and adults. If anxiety levels are high frustration levels are also high and these uncomfortable feelings both make social interaction with other people that much harder to do. The hug machine provides the ASD child a way to reduce their level of anxiety and frustration which in turn makes it easier for the child to interact with other people in a calmer and more meaningful way. If you cannot afford to buy a hug machine you can replicate the hugging machine best by wrapping your ASD child in a blanket and allowing the child to determine how tight the blanket is wrapped around them. Hug machines won’t cure an autistic child of their autism but they are a great way for an Autistic child to reduce their anxiety levels. Knowing that they do have some way to control their feelings will help the ASD child cope better with negative emotions and give the child a way to calm down all by themselves.

IRLEN METHOD Visual Perception Treatment for Autistic Children Autism is a condition that effects every child differently. There is no one set treatment that is guaranteed to cure every Autistic child. Half the battle is working out what problems your Autistic child has and then finding treatments that might help them. One

thing that effects some autistic children (though, not all) is problems with visual perception. The good news is that visual perception can be improved. You can give your child the ability to see the world more clearly, making learning and comprehension easier and possibly help reduce some behavior problems as well. Let’s face it. If you can’t see the world around you properly then it’s bound to cause frustration fear and anger. Earlier I talked about sensory problems. Difficulties with vision are not just an Autistic problem and many treatments are available. For example I am very short sighted without glasses in fact I am clinically blind but with the right lenses I can see as well as anyone else. For an Autistic child the way they process aspects of their vision may cause them difficulties. It is not uncommon for Autistic children to have problems with light, colors, contrast, shapes, and patterns. The levels of stress they have may vary dramatically and that is why some ASD children become angry, violent and out of control while others shut down and retreat in to their own little world. This is sometimes a genetic condition that is simply enhanced by the Autism, so if the child’s parents have trouble with reading or have been otherwise treated for visual perceptive problems, there is a good chance that the child will need help as well. I have a kind of dyslexia that makes it hard for me to read numbers properly. This condition seems to have a genetic component as one of my brothers (now deceased) had it and his two sons also suffer from it. At 13 James has a reading age of a 7 year old, it is hard to say how much the Autism has effected James’s ability to read and do maths as he too seems to have the family dyslexia? The Irlen Method is one effective way to treat visual perception disorders. This method uses color to create a more harmonized world. You may have heard of these methods if anyone has ever suggested using a color filter over a computer screen to reduce headaches in the work place. Colored filters can also be placed over pages in a book making the letters easier to identify and read. This method is proven to work, and if your autistic child is at an age when they should be starting to read you may want to try these color filters to see if there is a difference in how fast your child can pick up letters and words and build on their comprehension of words. Colored filters have been found to help some autistic children in all aspects of their daily lives, not just reading. Special glasses have been made using colored lenses so that the ASD child can benefit from the soothing effect of the colored filters. Not every child responds the same way to every color, so it is a process of trial and error to find out which color is the color that best works as a filter for your child. Another way you can help your child is by using colored light bulbs in your home especially in places like your child’s bedroom, the toilet and bathroom. Choosing a light that gives off a pink or blue glow for example may have a calming effect on your child. Florescent lights and bright sunlight have been found to upset many ASD children and Irlen lenses have been found to reduce the amount of bad behavior and stress these ASD children have. In summary then Irlen lenses can help your ASD child in 4 areas: depth perception, social interaction, learning, and physical well being. The colors help the ASD child decide how far they are from an object, this improved depth perception helps the child to see their

world in a more three-dimensional way. Feeling calmer and being able to see people’s facial expressions helps the ASD child to socially interact better. The Irlen colored filters have been found to help ASD children to read and understand what is being written on the board by their teacher and the Irlen colored lenses have also been found to improve a child’s ability to concentrate. Irlen colored lenses reduce headaches and dizziness. If they can help your ASD child function better and make them feel more at ease in my opinion Irlen lenses are well worth checking out. For more information on Irlen Lenses go to or Phone:1-800-55-IRLEN Mailing address Irlen Institute International Headquarters 5380 Village Road Long Beach, CA 90808

JOINT ACTION ROUTINES (JARs) By using the same language every time a daily routine is performed, for example at bed time the parent kisses their child and always says. “It’s time to go to sleep now honey. Sweet dreams.” The ASD child learns that this is the thing mummy or daddy says before I go to sleep. This predictable script is just one of many that will go on throughout the day. These predictable scripts are called Joint Action Routines (JARs). JAR’s help the child to feel secure and safe, they also encourage the child to do a desired behavior. I have found JAR’s work. ASD children love routine and structure. Use the JARs in conjunction with photographs so that your child continues to get both visual and verbal cues about what is going to happen next in their day. For more information visit

LUMATRON OR PHOTON LIGHT STIMULATOR Some professionals believe that by having an ASD child look at a series of colored lights produced by a Lumatron or Photon Light Stimulator that this will increase brain activity which in turn will help to balance the nervous system and regulate the ASD child’s internal body functions. Benefits to the ASD child include better eating and sleeping habits as well as emotional/mood stability. It should be noted however that there has not been sufficient evidence to back up these claims and long term studies are needed to confirm the real usefulness of the Lumatron for ASD children.


As with any illness, disease, or disorder, there are a number of medicine options available to help control ASD symptoms. It is important to remember that none of these medications will “cure” Autism; they simply help control some of the effects of the disorder. There are advantages and disadvantages to each drug, as they all have side effects as well as benefits. When choosing medicines to effectively treat Autism, your doctor can make recommendations, but since Autism is a disorder which varies from person to person, you should use drugs very carefully, watching to see how the body reacts to the treatments. First, consider the safety of the drug. Some drugs cannot be used in children or in people under a certain weight. Make sure the dosage is easy to understand and before you choose one medicine or another find out how it is administered (pills, injections, liquid, etc). This is important if you are not comfortable with certain methods, such as injecting your child. Also find out how safe the drug is to individuals who do not suffer from Autism. If you have small children in the house, you’ll want to be sure that the drug is not lethal if it gets into the wrong hands. Find out what to do in case this happens, just to be on the safe side. Also consider the side effects of the drugs. While they may be very good at controlling aggression, responsiveness, hyperactivity, or other autistic tendencies, they may also cause sedation or other side effects such as nausea or dizziness. Weigh your options carefully before beginning one of these treatments, or you could find your self with ten bottles of pills, each taken to counteract the side effects of another. Also remember that medications may have long-term effects. Will your child become dependent on the drug? Will they be tolerant? How else will it affect their body over time? These are all important questions to ask your doctor before beginning any medication. Anyone who reads my story as a parent of a child with ASD will probably not believe how bad things got for me and my family when I made the decision to medicate James. Am I the only parent accused of overmedicating or medicating a child for no reason? The truth of the matter is I was totally ignorant of how effective drugs would be in helping to control James’s behavior. I can say I delayed giving James any drugs until he was nearly 4. Too many professionals were eager to tell me that the drugs were not the way to treat James. But these same professionals were the ones who misdiagnosed my son. In the end I resorted to medications because I could no longer control James. With little or no sleep for almost four years I was a wreck. I felt guilty agreeing to medicating James and it is one of the greatest ironies that I was accused of child abuse because I did. During the research of this book I have found some interesting facts about the various medications available. I strongly advise you to check through this list before you decide to medicate your child. I would also encourage you to try a biomedical approach first before you resort to any drug. Having said that I am a firm believer that for some ASD children medication is the way to go. I guess it comes down to a question of quality of life. If a drug “cures” one ASD symptom but robs your child of any enjoyment out of life you have to ask yourself is it worth it? On the other hand you have to ask yourself “What is everyone’s quality of life in the family like if your ASD child isn’t on a drug that can help them? I can’t answer this question and neither can any doctor. This is a judgment call that every parent of an ASD child must make.

For instance Ritalin is one of the most frequently prescribed drugs for autistic children and yet there are no studies that support its effectiveness with ASD children. As you will see below many parents have actually argued that their ASD children suffered more negative effects than positive effects while using Ritalin. There are no psychiatric medications for Autism. There are however many psychiatric medications used for treating specific symptoms often found in Autism. Aggression, selfinjurous behaviors, anxiety, depression, obsessive/compulsive disorders, and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) just to name a few. Most of these medications alter the level of neurotransmitters (chemical messengers) in the brain. Part of the problem with medication is that there is no one medical test to determine whether or not a medication is called for. It is very much a case of your medical professional making a judgment call on the child’s symptoms. How much medication to give the child is also a matter of “trial and error”. Dosages may need to be adjusted a number of times for each child. It has been found that many of the drugs used to control aggression or anxiety are not as effective for ASD children as compared to a normal population of children. Furthermore one medication may be ineffective or have negative effects while others are helpful. Anti-depressants increase the activity of neurotransmitters in the brain. Antidepressants have been found to reduce repetitive behaviors of Autistic people however it is not yet clear what kind of negative long term effects anti-depressants may have on ASD children? Antidepressants (SSRI drugs), such as Prozac (Fluoxetine), Zoloft (Sertraline) etc. may work best for ASD children at only one-third of the normal starting dose for other patients who do not have Autism. Too high a dose may cause behavioral problems to increase or insomnia. The effectiveness of Antipsychotic drugs like Risperdal (Risperidone) varies greatly between individuals. The best course of action is to start on a low dose and monitor the effects the drug has on the child. Drugs, like anticonvulsants, will usually require the same doses that are effective in normal individuals. Anticonvulsants also called anti-epileptic drugs. Lamotrigine and Levetiracetam can help conditions like bi-polar disorder as they are mood stabilizers. Anticonvulsants are also used in the treatment of migraine headaches. These drugs may be considered if your ASD child is highly aggressive, impulsive, irritability, or has a repetitive compulsive behavior. Lamotrigine should only be used as a last resort as it has been found to have serious side effects like rashes, it can cause further mental disabilities and it has been known to kill. Sodium Valproate another anticonvulsant drug has been found to damage the liver in some people, and in some cases it too has been lethal. Topamax is another anticonvulsant that is commonly prescribed for seizures. Although it is known to be a mood stabilizer and it prevents migraine attacks further studies need to be carried out on how this drug effects ASD children over a period of time.

Some doctors recommend Anti-psychotic drugs, also called neuroleptics or major tranquillizers, for Autistic individuals with out of control aggression, irritability, hyperactivity self injurous behavior and repetitive compulsive behaviors. There are two kinds of anti-psychotic drugs older drugs like aliphatic phenthiazine, butyrophenone (Haloperidol or Haldol), chlorpromazine, fluphenazine, molindone, piperidne phenthiazine, triflouperazine, thiothixene and trifluperidol.There are also newer Anti-psychotic drugs available which your doctor may wish to subscribe for your ASD child. These include aripiprazole, olanzapine, pimozide, quetiapine, risperidone and ziprasidone. Olanzapine has been found to be effective as a short term medication but it increases drowsiness and weight gain so it should not be given lightly to your ASD child. Atomoxetine belongs to a class of medicine called selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors. These drugs increase the level of norepinephrine in the brain. Norepinephrine helps ASD children to concentrate better, they also decrease impulsive behavior and hyperactivity and are commonly subscribed by doctors to control ADHD behaviors. Amphetamines like Adderall, Methylphenidate and Dexedrine are stimulant medicines that can help ASD children with problem behaviors like hyperactivity, impulsivity and inability to concentrate. Opioid antagonists like Naltrexone act like morphine blocking the effect of endorphins in the Central Nervous System. Endorphins are the ‘happy’ chemicals that our body creates when we have exercised. Naltrexone is helpful in reducing self injurous behaviors hyperactivity and compulsive or ritualistic behaviors in ASD children. One of the major concerns for using Psychiatric medications widely to treat the symptoms of Autism, is that there is little research on the long-term effects of their use, for ASD children. Also the medications merely treat the symptoms, not the underlying biomedical causes of Autism. So every parent is faced with the difficult decision do I medicate and do I understand that medicating my child can have bad or dangerous side effects, even death? For example Fenfluramine Hydrochloride was taken off the market in 1997 because it was believed to contribute to cardiac valvular disease and yet prior to this doctors had been using this drug to treat ASD children. The simple truth is many of the drugs used to treat symptoms of ASD today may have unknown long term effects that may even be deadly. A drug should have an obvious positive effect to make it worth the risk. In order to observe the true effect of a drug, do not start a drug at the same time as you start some other treatment. In 1999 the Autism Research Institute (4182 Adams Avenue San Diego CA 92116 ) asked parents to rate the effectiveness of a number of drugs on their child’s behavior. I have summarized the basic findings placing the drugs in to drugs that have been found to help ASD children and Drugs that have not been found to help ASD children. For a detailed report on these drugs visit this website DRUGS WHICH HAVE BEEN FOUND TO HAVE MORE NEGATIVE EFFECTS ON ASD CHILDREN THAN BENEFITS

Amphetamine, Anafranil, Antibiotics, Chloral Hydrate, Clozopine, Cylert, Dilatin (increased behavior problems but can help seizures), Haldol (hardly ever used now), Mysoline (increased behavior problems but can help seizures), Phenergon (can cause hyperactivity), Phenobarbital (increased behavior problems but can help seizures), Ritalin, Thorazine, Valium, Zarontin (increased behavior problems but can help seizures), Zoloft Keep in mind that this is only a summary for further details visit DRUGS WHICH HAVE BEEN FOUND TO HAVE POSITIVE EFFECTS ON ASD CHILDREN Aderall, Diflucan, Nystatin, Benadryl, Beta Blocker, Buspar, Clonapin, Clonidine, Cogentin, Deanol, Depakene ( good for behavior and good for seizures), Desipramine, Dilantin (good for seizures not behavior), Felbatol, Fenfluramine, Lithium, Luvox, Mysoline (good for seizures not behavior), Naltrexone, Paxil, Phenobarbital (works for seizures but it can cause behavioral problems to increase), Prolixin, Prozac, Risperdal, Tegretol (can help behavior but better for seizures), Zarontin (helps seizures but can cause behavioral problems to increase). Keep in mind that this is only a summary. For further details visit To evaluate whether or not a medication is working use the Autism Treatment Evaluation Checklist (ATEC) see which I have discussed before. Also before any medication is started you should seek medical advice from your ASD Specialist. Never attempt to use any medicine without first checking on what side effects to expect and confirm what is the right dosage for your child. Another means by which the effectiveness of a medicine can be evaluated is by informing the child’s school and other people who are involved in your child’s life. Ask them to note any changes in your child’s behavior. If a common number of behavioral improvements are seen then this is a good indicator that the medicine is having a positive impact on your child’s life. It is also important to remember that some medications may help some ASD children but not others. This happens because every ASD child has their own unique problems and disability profiles. I’m afraid there are no easy answers. But please do not give up hope. Accept that medication may be part of the solution and keep an open mind. No-one tells the parent of an epileptic child that they shouldn’t medicate. Autism unfortunately seems to be one disability where everyone has a strong opinion on whether to medicate or not. I am of the mind that if a drug can help improve the quality of my child’s life I will investigate it. Considering that I was taken to court for medicating my child for “no reason” some people might be surprised that I still recommend parents look at medications for the treatment of Autism. The reality is that I was falsely accused and the people who made the accusations were ignorant of how effective some drugs can be in

helping deal with certain types of behaviors that are associated with ASD children. I am not of the opinion however that you should bombard your child with drugs. Nor should you have the viewpoint that the drugs will “cure” your Autistic child. A word of warning: It is my experience that many doctors don’t know enough about Autism to actually prescribe any medication for the condition. Be confident that your doctor is a recognized expert in dealing with ASD children before you allow them to medicate your child. If you notice any drastic negative changes in your child think twice about keeping your child on the medication.

MUSICAL THERAPY Musical therapy is a relatively new treatment method for ASD children. Children who receive musical therapy often show great improvement in temperament and learning skills. The reason why Music helps Autistic children is that it connects to the non-verbal part of the brain, making it a perfect therapy for Autistic children who have trouble communicating. Musical therapy is effective because it can be used in conjunction with learning social skills. Music is a very non-threatening medium for children though if your ASD child is hypersensitive to sound there may be certain kinds of music your child will not like. For example your child may respond well to songs but get upset when they hear violins or drums. Learning what kind of music your child responds best to will allow you to use that music in games, this in turn will help your child to learn social skills like maintaining eye contact, reading facial expressions and learning how to join in to group activities as they interact with other children playing along or singing to the music. Musical therapy has been found to be very useful helping Autistic children to develop speech skills. Music connects the verbal and non-verbal functions in the brain. Autistic children can have many kinds of speech problems some can only hum, grunt, or make other non-word noises, while others babble nonsensical phrases or shriek at odd unexpected times. Some children like my son James have the capability to put together phrases and sentences to communicate and musical therapy has been found to improve things like tone of voice. Many ASD children speak in a monotone fashion, musical therapy can help these children vary their level and pace of pitch. There is an old saying “Music tames the savage beast” now I’m not saying my son or your child are savage beasts but there are times when the behavior of an Autistic child can be pretty darn close to unbearable. In these times when nothing else seems to be able to calm your child try music. My son James likes heavy rock music. I’m not sure how it works but it can soothe James’s bad temper at times. Your child may well have another form of music that calms them - the only way to find out what music will work best with your child is to experiment. Another great thing about music therapy is that most children can participate in musical therapy regardless of whether they can talk or not. A child can feel part of a group activity simply by clapping hands to a rhythm or humming along. If your ASD child is verbal they might enjoy doing simple echoing songs.

Many Autistic children are good at music. Some, for instance, have perfect pitch. Others can play a particular instrument very well, with little instruction. Even if an ASD child shows no genius in musical ability by normal standards, it is common to find that the child’s ability in music far exceeds their abilities in other areas. A musical therapist can use music as a way to link the ASD child’s ability in music to other kinds of learning, not only as speech development and social behavioral development as previously discussed, but also as a way to communicate emotions and develop memory. In music therapy ASD children listen to modified music. Some of the high and low frequencies in a piece of music are removed and the volume is controlled so that the child does not find the music threatening or upsetting. Gradually new sounds are added to the music and in this way the ASD child gradually learns to become less sensitive to certain sounds and volumes. If your ASD child needs help communicating or learning social skills, or if they suffer from a sensitivity to sound (hypercusis) music therapy can be of benefit. Remember the more your child learns and finds themselves capable of achieving the better their self image and self esteem. Other Auditory Treatments include: Berard Auditory Integration Training ( called Berard AIT or AIT). AIT has the best proven results in helping ASD children improve their auditory processing, it decreases or eliminates sound sensitivity and reduces behavioral problems. AIT involves listening to processed music for a total of 10 hours (two half-hour sessions per day, over a period of 10 to 12 days). Visit this web site for further information or write to Berard Auditory Integration Training 690 Boyd Rd. Leicester, NC 28748 Tel. 828-683-6900 Three other auditory interventions to investigate are Tomatis, the Listening Program, and the SAMONAS method. These interventions are still being investigated. Information about these programs can be obtained from the Society for Auditory Intervention Techniques’ see Some Computer-based auditory interventions have also been found to be useful for children who have delayed language or difficulty discriminating between speech sounds. They include Earobics visit and Fast For Word

Earobics costs less than $100 but appears to be less powerful than the Fast For Word Program which costs over $1,000. Some families use the Earobics program first and then later use Fast For Word.

NEUROTHERAPY Neurotherapy also called Neurofeedback, tries to change the dysfunctional brainwave patterns of the ASD child to help them become more normal. Neurotherapy has been found to improve cognitive deficits, concentration, impulse control, depression, anxiety and seizure disorders. It has been especially useful combating ADHD as well. Research of electroencephalographic (EEG’s) over the past 35 years has found that many ASD children have excessively slow brainwave activity. In the early 1970’s Prof. Barry Sterman at UCLA and later Prof. Joel Lubar at Tennessee University developed Neurotherapy. Neurotherapy or Neurofeedback uses one or two sensors on the scalp and one on the ear lobe. These sensors give immediate audio and visual feedback about brainwave activity. Normally we can’t influence our brain waves because we cannot see them. However with Neurofeedback it is possible not only to see your brainwave activity but to influence and change them. This is called “operant conditioning”.At first the changes to the brainwave activity are short lived but the more neurofeedback the ASD child has the longer the reconditioning holds. The child is taught to change their brain wave patterns from abnormal to normal. Neurotherapy is a therapy I believe is worth following up on.

PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System) This is a system where an ASD child is taught to exchange a picture card or flash card for something they want. The pictures help to reinforce the labels or names of objects in the ASD child’s world and also gives the ASD child a useful way to communicate with their teacher parent or care giver. The advantages of PECS is that it is easy to use and cheap so many schools can afford to use PECS in their classrooms. For further information visit one of the following web sites USA United Kingdom Australia

PHOTOGRAPH FILE Try to develop a large photograph file or picture file of all sorts of objects that the child may come in to contact with during their day. For example take a photograph of all the foods your child usually eats, take photographs of their clothes, their tooth brush, their hair brush etc. Include the written name of the object underneath each photograph. These handy self made flash cards will help your child to associate the spoken word with the printed word and the picture. Keep the photographs handy and in an indexed file so that you can easily pull out the photograph you are looking for whenever your child says the objects’ name. This is a great system that you can use with verbal or non-verbal ASD children.

PIVOTAL RESPONSE TRAINING (PRT) Pivotal Response Training (PRT) is the belief that at certain times in a child’s development crucial elements must come together if the child is to be able to progress. These crucial elements are called Pivitol areas. Examples of Pivotal areas are motivation, ability to start performing a task independently, self-management, and the ability to respond to the environment around us. Specific pivotal areas are developed by working on developmental target skills which include speech, social behavior, challenging behavior, attention and play. PTR is often incorporated in to other models and approaches For example the Early Start Denver Model uses PRT as a key element in its structure. For further information and Pivotal Response Training visit this web site or download this pdf booklet here Training.pdf

PLAY THERAPY Many ASD children do not understand how to play independently or with other children. Play is a vital learning tool that teaches children how to interact with other people in social settings and it also allows the child to explore who they are as a person. Play promotes creative thinking which in turn helps a child to approach problems in a creative more flexible way. Specialists who are trained Play Therapists have been found to help ASD children to develop social, emotional, behavioral and educational skills. For further information on Play Therapy visit this web site

or contact Jane Marshall Features Editor BrainSkills Daresbury Point Green Wood Drive Manor Park Cheshire, WA7 1UP Email:

SELF CONTROL Undesirable behaviors may include inappropriate outbursts or habits that can be potentially dangerous, such as being aggressive towards others or acts of self harm (chronic head banging) etc. To prevent these and other behaviors, one technique parents and educators can use is self-management. Giving the child power over him or herself is often the key to keeping control over violent situations and may be a positive step towards learning other behaviors as well. However self-discipline is a skill that most autistic children have trouble acquiring. Self-management can work because the child is no longer fully controlled by others. By teaching self-management during specific times of the day, such as while the child is at school or therapy, the child will be more likely to continue to practice self-control during all times of the day. The key is to implement a program in which the ASD child monitors his or her own behavior and activities. Begin with short amounts of time, and continue to monitor the child from a more passive standpoint. Every ten to fifteen minutes remind the child that he or she is in control and needs to monitor and be aware of their good and bad behavior. This monitoring is a form of self-evaluation. When a child is in control, he or she may think more closely about their behavior. Set clear goals with the child — for example, an afternoon with no aggression towards others or a day at school with no self-injury. You have to have flexibility when setting the goals. For some children the goals may have to be very short term - 15 minutes without hitting someone or throwing something. Every fifteen minutes ask the child how he or she is doing. Is the goal being met? If the answer is no, perhaps the child is not ready for self-management, or perhaps the goals are too unattainable. You want to make sure that the goals are easy to reach at first, and then move the child towards more difficult goals in the future. The 123 Magic Program works along these lines and I am starting to see some positive changes in James’s behavior see Of course, an important part of self-management is a rewards system. Have the child come up with his or her own reward. Reinforcement will make these good behavior goals more clearly marked in the child’s mind, and by choosing and rewarding him or herself, the child will feel completely in control of the self-management system. Choose simple rewards to start with, such as smiley faces for every goal met and sad faces for every goal not met, and work up to a larger goal, such as a special activity or new toy when a certain amount of smiley faces has been attained.

These types of programs do not develop overnight, so it is important that you and the child have enough time to devote to a self-management experience. If your autistic child is mature enough, this could be a good treatment program to try.

SIGN LANGUAGE Sign Language has been found to be very useful as a means to communicate with your ASD child. My son James is verbal but there are times when he is too excited or to upset to communicate verbally and Sign Language can be a useful tool to get James to try and communicate with me about what is wrong. James went to Special School from the ages of 2-4 years and that’s where both James and I picked up some useful hand signals. The good thing about Sign language is that it offers the parent and the ASD child another way to communicate and I highly recommend that if your child is Autistic you begin to learn some simple signs. A great place to start is at the American Sign Language web site Be aware that if you live in another part of the world other forms of sign language may be used. For example in the UK the British Sign Language is used. See the web site In Australia AUSLAN is used. A good web site to help your ASD baby or child learn sign language is

SOCIAL STORIES Social Stories were invented by Carol Gray and have been found to help many ASD children. Stories that target reducing unwanted behavior and increasing positive social interaction are a good way to help your ASD child learn more about what kind of behaviors are socially acceptable. These stories work best when they are tailored to suite your own child’s interests and experiences. A good place to find some useful social stories is at this web site Jason M. Wallin has a great web site with American social stories at

SON-RISE PROGRAMME This is an excellent home-based programme in the US with a one-to-one approach. The programme is based upon the concept that the best way to help an ASD child is to build the ASD child’s communication and interaction skills around the child’s interests and preferred activities. This is I believe, what every parent of an ASD child needs one on

one help within the home. Many parents who have experienced the Son-Rise Programme have nothing but praise for it. Call 1-877- 766-7473 or 413-229-2100 to speak with a Family Counsellor. Also visit the Son-Rise programme web site for further information

THEORY OF MIND Theory of the Mind training programs aim at helping ASD children to recognize thoughts beliefs desires intentions and emotions both in themselves and in other people. Once an understanding of how people think is explained the ASD child is encouraged to try and predict what kind of action will happen if a person feels angry or happy etc. Drawing happy and sad faces is a good way to start your ASD child learning about how our actions and thoughts are interrelated. Parents can start to work with their child at home making up stories that your child has to predict an outcome. It’s a great tool to start helping your child learn that other people’s feelings do matter. For further information visit

VIDEO MODELING Video Modeling teaches ASD children about behavior skills by watching a video where a person models or demonstrates the behavior or skill. I like the idea of Video Modeling. This is an easy way parents can teach their ASD child about how to behave. This is particularly useful for children like my son James who is very happy to watch a video on the computer. I believe that this is an area which needs further expansion. Parents can watch these videos and make their own home movies. Themes like “How To Get Mom’s Attention When She’s Busy” Work out what you want your child to do more of - for example Use Words instead of tantrums. Make a video of what usually happens and then make another video of what you want to happen. The great thing about home videos is that your child can be the star of the show! And you can replay the videos over and over. I highly recommend Video Modeling as a tool parents can use in the home, it is visual and all the more powerful because the child can see what they are doing wrong and learn what they need to do to get along better with everyone else in the family or other social groups that they are involved with. For example you could go to your child’s school and make videos of how to behave at school, video your local supermarket - anywhere your child has to go. Show a video of your child or another child behaving well in these places before you have to go there and this is a good way to help your child learn what is expected of them. For more information visit the following web sites


VOICE OUTPUT COMMUNICATION AIDS (VOCA’s) or SPEECH GENERATING DEVICES (SGD’s) VOCA’s are electronically designed pieces of equipment to help non-verbal ASD children to communicate. At the most basic level you might have a pre-recorded message like “Yes” and “No” All the ASD child needs to be able to communicate is to push the right button, for example the red button for No and the green button for yes. VOCAS might be a useful tool to help even your verbal ASD child in times when they are too overstimulated and they lose the ability to use words. For further information about VOCA’s visit the following web site

WEIGHTED VESTS There is growing evidence that weighted vests can help an ASD child to overcome anxiety and make them feel more comfortable. Some hyperactive autistic children who fidget all the time will often be calmer if they are given a padded weighted vest to wear. Pressure from the garment helps to calm the nervous system. For best results, the vest should be worn for twenty minutes and then taken off for a few minutes. This prevents the nervous system from adapting to it. More research needs to be done in this area but don’t be surprised if in the foreseeable future a whole new range of specially designed ASD clothes become available on the market.

HOPE FOR THE FUTURE Researchers from America and Europe have discovered that when humans see an action performed parts of the brain respond as if the human observing the action has actually performed the action themselves. These subsets of neurons involved have been called “mirror neurons”. These “mirror neurons” are believed to be a crucial part of the building blocks necessary for us to learn to imitate other people’s reactions. Mirror Neurons play a vital role in helping us to understand a person’s behavior (their intentions) and how the person might be feeling (empathy). The “mirror neurons” also play a role in the way humans acquire new skills. For doctors who argue that there is no identifiable area of brain dysfunction in ASD children this research is proving them wrong. Reduced mirror neuron activity has been found in the inferior frontal gyrus, part of the premotor cortex as well as in the insula and

anterior cingulated cortex. Furthermore children with ASD have been found to have structural problems in the cerebellum and the brain stem. An electroencephalogram (EEG) can test for mirror neuron dysfunction by analyzing mu waves. Mu waves are blocked whenever a person makes a voluntary muscle movement. For example when someone opens and clenches their fist. These mu waves are also blocked when we see another person opening and clenching their fists. By analyzing muwave suppression or lack of it, in ASD children, researchers can assess mirror neuron abnormalities. Researchers are working on biofeedback techniques where an ASD child is attached to a computer via electrodes. The child can see their mu-waves on a computer screen. By using visual feedback the ASD child may be taught to suppress their mu-waves. It is hoped that once an ASD child learns how to suppress their mu-waves they may be able to understand other people’s behaviors better, they may also hopefully learn to imitate and to empathize better. Another theory that works hand in hand with “mirror nerons” is the Salience Landscape Theory. In humans the sensory information we receive from the outside world is relayed to a part of the brain called the amygdala. The sensory information is filtered through the amygdala into the limbic system and through the limbic system to the autonomic nervous system. As ASD children have cortex and frontal lobe dysfunction the way their brains integrate and interact with the amygdale, the limbic system and the autonomic nervous system are all effected. Due to a never ending onslaught of confused messages through the child’s senses and brain, the ASD child’s autoimmune nervous system is constantly overreacting or under reacting. Evidence for this autoimmune system malfunction has been supported by the findings that when an ASD child has a fever their symptoms of Autism seem to get better. This is because the fever dampens the autoimmune system. I see this happen with James. When James has a fever he acts like a “normal child”. He does not head bang, he is calmer and we have hardly any temper tantrums. Researchers are looking at how temperature manipulation may be used to help ASD children. I believe that this is one area where parents may take hope. It would be wonderful if science could somehow reproduce the “fever effect” without making the child feel ill. The Salience Landscape Theory can explain why some ASD children perform selfstimulation behaviors. For example repetitive rocking and head banging. Researchers have found that self-stimulation behaviors have a calming effect on the ASD child. They have also found that there is a measurable reduction in skin conductance. Current research is looking at using a measure of skin conductance as a way to predict whether or not an ASD child is going to go in to sensory overload. Squeeze vests, ( a vest worn by the child that gently tightens around the chest acting as a form of self-stimulation and therefore comfort) will be somehow connected to the portable skin conductance monitors. When an ASD child’s skin conductance reduces due to autoimmune arousal the vest will trigger.

While neither “mirror neurons” or ‘the salience landscape theory” are offering a miracle cure for Autism they are encouraging signs that researchers are making head way to understanding how ASD children can be helped to lead more normal lives. If you would like to know more about “mirror neurons” or “ the Salience Landscape Theory read these two medical reports. Ramachandran, Vilayanur S and Oberman, Lindsay M. (2006) Broken Mirrors: A Theory Of Autism. Scientific American. November. 39-45 Rizzolatti, Giacomo, Fogassi, Leonardo and Gallese, Vittorio. (2006) Mirrors In The Mind. Scientific American. November. 30- 37.

HYPERBARIC OXYGEN THERAPY (HBOT) Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) is a new therapy that has been seen to have beneficial effects on children and teenagers with Autism. The therapy is relatively simple you have to breath 100% oxygen at pressures (baric) greater (hyper) than sea level atmospheric pressure. HBOT has been found to boost the body’s natural-healing process and it has been used for people who have been badly burnt, soft tissue infections and decompression sickness. Research is still being done so it is impossible to say right now that HBOT definitely will improve Autistic behaviors but the results look encouraging so far. Most ASD children who are having HBOT are being pressurized to 1.3 ATA and this has been found to have few if any side effects. For further information contact Hyperbaric Medical Centre of New Mexico on the following web site

HELPFUL HINTS HOW TO GET AN ASD CHILD TO EAT FOODS THEY DON’T WANT TO Place the child’s favorite food in front of them right next to the food they do not want to eat. Say to the child that they can eat the food they want to eat only after they have eaten some of the food that they don’t like to eat. The X Number Rule: Tell your child that they have to eat X number of mouthfuls on their plate. For example “If you eat 5 mouthfuls of your dinner you can leave the table.” Remember that your child is not going to starve if they do not eat up all of their dinner. I’ve found the “X Number Rule” a good way to deal with my children when they don’t want to eat. Turn off the television when it’s meal time as the TV can be too big a distraction. The child will be more willing to comply with the “X Number Rule” if you tell them they can watch TV afterwards.

TIP: Put your child’s dinner on a bigger plate so that it looks like they have less food.

HOW TO TOILET TRAIN AN ASD CHILD Two major reasons why it may be difficult to toilet train an ASD child are either that the child is afraid of the toilet or they do not know what the toilet is for. Children with severe hearing sensitivity may be terrified of the toilet flushing like my son James. The sound may hurt their ears. James is 11 and he will not go to the toilet all day sometimes because he still hates the toilet. We have encouraged James to play his favorite music while he is on the toilet to keep his mind off where he is. At the moment this strategy seems to be working. Some ASD children can be toilet trained using a potty chair so long as the potty is located away from the frightening toilet. Some ASD children continually flush the toilet and yet they are not toilet trained. To teach an ASD child how to use the toilet you have to actually show them what to do. If your child is afraid of the toilet leave the door open and stay within your child’s vision. Some ASD children cannot accurately sense when they need to use the bathroom. If they are calm they may be able to feel the sensation that they need to urinate or defecate, but if they are upset or experiencing a sensory overload they cannot feel it. This is why ASD children will sometimes use the toilet correctly, and other times they will not. ASD children often recognize familiar objects in their environment by small non-relevant details. Thus they may not recognize a toilet at school as a toilet. For example Some ASD children think all toilets must have a black toilet seat. Trying to get the child to verbalize how they identify an object can be a tricky business. Try to get your child to draw a toilet and you will get a better idea of what your child understands a toilet to be. Once you know this you can draw other kinds of toilets or take photographs of them and talk to your child explaining that toilets can look different but they all do the same thing. Never yell at your child if they wet themselves or their beds. The best course of action is to treat the whole event as a non-event. Explain to your child that if they feel like they need to go to the toilet to go straight away and not wait. Watch your child’s body language if they start to look uncomfortable ask them straight away “Do you need to go to the toilet?” Follow through by taking your child to the toilet and remaining where your child can see you. Remember that if you get stressed about them wetting themselves or bedwetting, your child will also become anxious. The more anxious your child gets the harder it is for them to realize when they need to go to the toilet. Do not treat the wetting/bedwetting as a big deal, be willing to take your child to the toilet for as many times as they need to go. Stay with the child so that they can gain confidence in using the toilet. My son James still hates going to the toilet and there are times when he can still have accidents but he can now go to the toilet independently. The most important thing any parent can do during toilet training their child is to have lots of patience.

HOW TO MAKE THE ASD CHILD’S FIXATION HELP THEM TO LEARN If your ASD child is fixated for example on trucks try to incorporate educational or social activities that include trucks in to your child’s daily program. Tell your child’s teacher what your child is fixated on so that they too can use your child’s fixations to help them broaden their knowledge base. For example you can have the child add up how many trucks are in a row. Describe what color the trucks are. Draw a truck etc. Include the history of trucks, encourage your child to read magazines or books about trucks. James is fixated on trucks and we have tons of cheap second hand truck books and magazines from charity shops, garage sales and markets. Reading a book about trucks is a great way to share some quality time with James and to help him identify words. What James likes most about trucks is that the trailer connects with the truck. We try to broaden James’s knowledge about the world around him by talking about what other kinds of vehicles connect together or carry and pull things. By doing this James now also has an interest in trains, rockets, buses and boats. Use a similar approach with your ASD child replacing “Trucks” with their particular “Fixation”.

HOW TO GET YOUR ASD CHILD TO WEAR DIFFERENT CLOTHES My son James hates changing his clothes. When he was younger he refused to wear pajamas socks or shoes. When James turned three he refused to take his socks and shoes off. If we insisted that he change his clothes he would not sleep and he would rage uncontrollably for hours. For some ASD children like James materials can feel like sand paper against their skin. Soft cottons are the best. For James it is not so much the feel of the different materials as the fear that the materials will hurt. Also the act of changing in to and out of clothes is fear laden. This fear and anxiety usually brings on a sensory overload and James will get violent. One way to help the ASD child is to show the child photographs of their clothes. Make up a Feel Book for them with all of the materials that they have to wear. Check your child’s reaction to the different materials. Is there a particular material that your child likes? Is there a particular material that your child hates? Try different colors in the materials your child likes. See if the child does not like a particular color? For example your child might like the feel of a light cotton. But if you show them a piece of blue light cotton they will get upset? If you show them a red or yellow piece of light cotton they do not get upset. By using these “material feel books” you may get a better understanding of what materials your child can feel happiest in. With shoes show the child a series of photographs of all kinds of shoes. There may be one kind of shoe that your child likes. Once you know what kind of shoe your child likes try to show that shoe style in a number of different colors. By doing this and by observing

your child’s reactions you may be able to work out what kind of shoes your child will wear. Use clothing and shoe catalogues and your own photographs to create a Dressing Book with all of your child’s favorite clothes and shoes.

HOW TO GET YOUR ASD CHILD USE TO GOING IN THE CAR The most reliable sense for many ASD children is their sense of touch so allow your child to hold a toy car about fifteen minutes before they need to get in your car. This gives your child time to process the fact that they will soon need to get in your car and go for a drive. Also as many children with Vestibular (Movement and Gravity) sensitivities cannot stand to have their feet dangling in the air make sure that your child’s safety seat has some place for your child to rest their feet. Ensure that your child is seated snugly in to the child’s seat. Wrap a tight cotton blanket around your child so that they can feel comforted from the pressure. Music may be a good way to distract your child whilst the car is moving. Even at 11 James still needs to have the music blaring loudly whilst we drive as it helps him to sit through the car ride. James continues to be fidgety and hyperactive whilst in the car. I give James chewing gum as the vigorous chewing motion is a way that James can help to calm himself. Another way I help James to calm down in the car is give him a kaleidoscope. James loves the changing colors and patterns as we drive along.

HOW TO SURVIVE A FAMILY VACATION WITH AN AUTISTIC CHILD Family vacations can be wonderful times that families can look back on and enjoy their happy memories. Breaks are good and necessary if people are to relieve the boredom of their daily lives. Getting into a rut is easy when you have an ASD child as Autistic children do best when their lives are regimented and their routines are not tampered with. So how can you ensure that your family holiday is going to be fun at least some of the time? The key to having a successful holiday is to plan ahead first. You know your child’s likes and dislikes better than anyone else so do not plan a holiday skiing if your ASD child hates the color white, people wearing goggles or hates the cold. Try to pick places where your child is not always going to be surrounded by other people. Being surrounded by strangers all making their own noises and smelling their own smells can be upsetting for many ASD children. If you are planning to visit a crowded tourist spot be sure to have a quiet hotel room where your child can retreat to. If your child feels calmer when surrounded by certain colors, like for example yellow, ring around the town you wish to visit to find a hotel that has a yellow décor. Pack your child’s favorite pillow toy and book.

If your child hates to sleep with other people but wants to know that you are near try to find a hotel that has a connecting door between the hotel rooms. When we travel as a family we always stay in the same hotels that we have visited before. We usually have a room with two double beds and a bathroom. I try to stay at hotels that have a pool as James loves swimming. We eat at the same restaurants and we visit places like the zoo because James loves animals. The only really disastrous holiday we’ve ever had was when I tried to take James to Melbourne Australia and we stayed at a different hotel to the one we usually stay at. James went ballistic and the Police were almost called because James started to trash the room. Beaches can make great vacation spots but try not to pick the beaches where thousands of people flock to. Playing in the sand and splashing in the sea can be therapeutic for everyone. However if your ASD child is fascinated by water NEVER LEAVE YOUR CHILD UNATTENDED AT THE BEACH. Many ASD children will suddenly run in to the water and if there is a strong current there is a real danger that your child may drown. Try to select hotels that have good children’s facilities like a play area. James loves swinging and swinging can be a great way to help your child calm down. If you take your holidays in the slow season there will be less crowds to deal with, it’s cheaper and the pace of life will be far more relaxing. Pack an activity box full of things your ASD child loves to do for the times when the weather turns bad and you are stuck inside. When you choose a vacation spot know how far away it is and more importantly how long its going to take you to get there. How are you going to travel? Does your ASD child suffer from travel sickness? Make sure you go to a chemist and get some travel sickness pills before you start the trip. If you are going by plane remember that your child will have to be searched and maybe even touched by airport security. Explain to your child what will happen before you get to the airport so that your child will understand what to expect. If possible try to go to the airport for a visit before you actually go on your trip. This way when it comes time to take the plane trip your child will have a better idea of what is going on around them. Seeing other people looking at your ASD child with incomprehension and sometimes disapproval can be very hard. Even today I can go out with James and have people tell me off for letting my son misbehave. It can be tough trying to explain to people that you have an Autistic child. Most people think of an Autistic child as someone who doesn’t speak and rocks in a corner. Few people understand that Autism is a spectrum disorder and they are quick to make judgements like “What your child needs is a good telling off”, or “You need to teach your child some discipline.” Try to be understanding of their ignorance — but also stick up for your child if he or she is being treated unfairly. Know your child’s constitutional rights. Sometimes it is a matter of grin and bare the criticism, other times I do get upset and I leave places where my son and I have not been made welcome. When this happens I have to keep telling myself that in time people will understand more about Autism and when that great day happens the general community will be more tolerant of children who exhibit behaviors that are not “normal”.

To be the parent of an ASD child is to learn the true meaning of the word compromise. For example, if a restaurant is reluctant to serve you after your child caused a scene there previously, explain that your child is Autistic and ask if it would be possible to take your food to go, even if this is normally not done. It is my experience that even though there are a lot of rude and unhelpful people about there are other people who do have good hearts and compassion for your child’s disability. So to summarize if you want your family holiday to be a success plan ahead choose your location based on your autistic child’s needs, try to do things that everyone in your family will enjoy, make sure you have some time out just for you and/or your partner and be flexible because even the best laid plans can be upset by unexpected hiccups. The main thing to remember is that a holiday can still be fun with your ASD child and every day is precious if for no other reason than you are all together as a family.

HOW TO HANDLE RELATIVES THAT ARE NOT SUPPORTIVE OF YOU AND YOUR ASD CHILD. When most people learn that your child is Autistic they will react sympathetically. They will say things like “Oh no, I’m so sorry. How terrible for you.” And things along that line. The truth of the matter is that most people don’t even know what Autism is. Many see Autism as a mental retardation which it is not. Others understand that it is a disability and there is no cure for it. While all family members, even extended, would be supportive in an ideal world, the sad truth is that many people you know will react negatively towards both you and your ASD child. Some people will be bitterly disappointed and make you feel like you have cheated them of a healthy perfect family life while others may even be disgusted and play the blame game - “There’s never been any Autism in our family. It must come from your side of the family.” You may find a family member treats you the same but they may scold the autistic child often? It is not uncommon for many family and friends to be of the opinion “There’s nothing wrong with your child you’re just not firm enough with them.” Or say things like “They have to obey the family rules like everyone else because that’s how it is in the real world. Everybody has to learn how to fit in.” So what can you do with unreceptive relatives and friends who simply do not understand what Autism is or what it means for your child and your immediate family? First try explaining to them what Autism is and what kind of Autism your child has. Get this person to spend some time with your child and your family so that they can see first hand how you cope with your ASD child. If the family member or friend continues to be unsupportive or refuses your explanation, ask yourself why? Are they scared of hurting the child? Are they worried about the added responsibility when spending time with the child? Perhaps they feel guilty or embarrassed? If you can pinpoint why a family member is having a hard time coming to grips with the fact you have an ASD child, you can better

address the issue and hopefully help this person to change their viewpoint and their attitude. There are some people who will reject you and your ASD child out of hand and I know how hard and painful this can be. There is no easy way to handle this situation other than to restrict the amount of time you spend with that person or if they are very abusive and hurtful, eliminate them from your life. This may sound drastic but it will also rid you and your child of this family member’s negative energy and personality. If you find yourself in this position do not give up hope. Remember that other family members, relatives and friends will continue to be supportive most of the time. Strengthen your support network by participating in parent support groups for autistic children and children with other disabilities. You have to be proactive but with the right mind set you can surround yourself with those people who do accept and love your child — There’s a saying you can’t pick your relatives but you can pick your friends. I have had people I considered good friends snub me after James was born and people who were strangers who have become good and true friends. The important thing is to reach out, you are not alone there are many people just like you looking for someone to enrich their lives. You can be that person for someone else and you and your family can find the love and acceptance you need. All you have to do is pick up the phone and start meeting people. Life is wonderful that way, it is always full of hope. But unless you make the first move you will remain alone trying to deal with your ASD child with little or no support. You don’t have to do that but it takes courage to get out in the world and meet people, do it for yourself and for your family. I promise you a good friend can make even the bleakest day seem not so bad.

STRATEGIES FOR DEALING WITH TANTRUMS As every parent can tell you dealing with tantrums can be a real headache. Here are some techniques that can help you teach your child not to tantrum. First have a Behavior Chart somewhere visible in the house, I use my fridge. Write down the House Rules for your Child. I call them “The Rules Of Conduct”. Leave room beneath each rule. I use the sticker system so that every time my child follows the rule of conduct they get a yellow sticker. If my child does not do the right thing they get a red sticker. Make sure that one of your Rules of Conduct is NO TANTRUMS. Decide upon a certain number of yellow stickers that will mean your child gets a reward. If your child gets that same number of red stickers they will receive a punishment. Punishments are not designed to cripple your child emotionally or physically but to act as a deterrent. I find money works well – If you get 5 red stickers in one day you lose $1 of your pocket money. Time is also a good punishment tool. OK you lose 10 minutes of your television time because you were naughty. These are just examples but you get the idea. If your child is old enough negotiate the rewards and punishments with them. The children will be more inclined to follow the rules once they know what they are and what they can get something out of it if they are good. If you do not wish to include your child

in the rewards/punishments decisions then select punishments and rewards that focus on things that your child values. For example if Bobby really loves basketball when Bobby gets 5 yellow stickers play a game of basketball with him. If Bobby gets 5 red stickers then tell Bobby that he can’t play basketball today. You know your child’s loves better than anyone so use this knowledge to work out what your child is most likely to respond to. It is important that you set achievable Rules of Conduct. Don’t expect your child to drop and give you 60 push ups every morning to keep them healthy. Try to set the Rules of Conduct around behaviors that your child is capable of achieving. For example No Throwing Toys is something most young children can do. When it comes to tantrums in places like supermarkets try to devise a Rule of Conduct that your child can achieve. If your child has always had major tantrums in the supermarket they will not stop having them just because you have a Rules of Conduct stuck to your fridge. So give your child a do-able rule. I will not have a tantrum in the freezer section. If your child is good in the freezer section give them a yellow sticker for it even if they were really bad everywhere else in the supermarket. The aim is to help your child see that they can get rewarded for good behavior. Once they can go through the freezer section without causing mayhem write another rule of conduct. I will not tantrum in the vegetable section. That way when your child goes to the supermarket there are now two chances to get a yellow sticker. By breaking down the supermarket in to areas the child has a better chance of being good in each area if they can see a reward at the end of it. You can do this for anywhere you have to go with your child. For example if you have to take the bus make one Rule of Conduct that says No tantrums when we first get on the bus. Once your child can do this write more Rules of Conduct. No tantrums before we get to the bridge. Once the child achieves this keep building on your Rules of Conduct until your child can go all the way in to town without having a tantrum. This system can take some time to work but it will work if you stick to it. The other thing to remember about your Rules of Conduct is keep it simple and say what you mean. Children have short attention spans so make sure they understand what their Rules of Conduct mean. With ASD children there are times when your child will tantrum and it may be due to a sensory overload or that they are over tired. Try to pick your battles, if there is a physical reason for your child’s bad behavior it is better to deal with the root of the problem. For example put your child to bed if they are tired. Do not try to reason with your child when they are clearly out of control because they won’t listen to a word you say. At these times it is best to act and talk about their behavior later when the child has calmed down. The “I’m going to Count To 10” is a good old stand by. You merely say to the child I’m going to count to 10 and you had better stop tantruming.” This can work with some children well. If you use the 123 Magic Program you only have to count to 3! (See 123 Magic Program Use a Bribe Box or Magic Box. The purpose of the Bribe/Magic box is to comfort and/or distract your child. Do not confuse this with rewarding bad behavior. The way the

Bribe/Magic Box works is if your child is upset and heading for a tantrum say “Hey why don’t we look in My Magic Box and see what we can find to make you feel better.” Or “Hey why don’t we look inside My Magic Box because you’ve been a good girl/boy and you might find something interesting to do while I make dinner.” Don’t use the Bribe/Magic Box to reward bad behavior. Do not say. “Here take something out of my Magic Box.” just to stop your child tantruming. If you reward the bad behavior you will get more bad behavior. Time out can work with your ASD child but if your child is a chronic head banger like my son James then you have to make sure that your time out spot has foam on the walls and mattresses on the floor. It is a good idea to work out a safe place in your house where your child has to go when they are in Time Out for bad behavior. Make sure that your time out spot is an empty space with nothing immediately around it. For example do not make the time out spot next to a bookshelf as your child will more than likely start throwing books around. The idea behind the time out spot is that the child receives no attention and no kind of pay off for being there. Do not make your child’s room the time out spot if your child’s bedroom looks like Disneyland complete with toys books and TV. If you have a spare room with nothing in it but a bed this is a good time out spot. The toilet or bathroom can also be good time out spots. If you don’t have a big house try the time out chair. This works on the same principles as the time out spot but you use a chair. Make sure that the chair isn’t facing the television or looking at other people. Facing the chair in to an empty corner is a good idea. If you don’t have a suitable chair just pick the quietest most boring corner in your house and make that the time out corner. The child has to sit in the time out corner for a few minutes. How long do you leave your your child in the time out spot? I use their age as a guideline. If your child is 3 they must sit in the time out spot for 3 minutes, if they are 5 they must sit in the time out spot for 5 minutes. (This is taken from the 123 Magic Program ) If you have two or more children who are misbehaving make them both sit in a time out spot - just not the same time out spot or they will just fight. Time out spots can be a good way to give your child an immediate punishment when they are misbehaving. Remember you must be consistent. If your child keeps leaving the time out spot take them back to it and tell them that their time out won’t start until they are quiet. This can be a very draining on you as a parent when you first begin but follow through with the time out spot every time your child misbehaves and it will work eventually. There are no quick fixes to reduce or eradicate severe behavioral problems that some ASD children have. By severe behavioral problems I mean self–injurous behaviors, aggressiveness, severe tantrums and destructiveness. So what do you do when your child is out of control? Here are a few tips.

ASD children can occasionally have a behavioral problem that occurs at home but not at school or vice versa. In James’s case he is by far more aggressive at home. When he is asked why he thinks it’s OK to hit his parents he says, “Because I can get away with it.” When James is asked “Don’t you realize that you hurt your parents when you hit them?” James will reply, “But it doesn’t hurt me.” If you have a school that is both sympathetic to your child’s condition and to you as a parent you can sit down together with your child’s teacher and decide what strategies seem to work best in handling your child. In an ideal world the Rules of Conduct for your child should be the same no matter if the child is at home or school. To give your child an incentive to behave something that your child really likes should be taken away or withheld if your child is acting up. Likewise clear achievable goals should be given to your child so that they understand if I misbehave I’m not getting the good things I want but if I do the right thing I will receive a reward I want. Finding the currency that works best with your child may be a matter of trial and error. Also be aware that over time what your child's values will change. The secret ingredient to success that I have learnt the hard way folks is you have to be consistent. If you allow your child to beg and plead or nag their way out of a punishment and give them the thing they want even though they have been misbehaving then you lose your power over the situation. That’s why when you are making “the Rules of Conduct” for your child make sure that you stand firm by your rules. Falter even once and you will have to find another way to combat your child’s behavior for awhile. If you do fail and lets face it most of us parents will because we are human and we all have days when we just don’t have the energy to put up with yet another out of control tantrum - when this happens to you DON’T PANIC. Wait until you feel stronger and your child is calm. Then go over “the Rules of Conduct” with your child again - add the clause “If you nag me or argue about your punishment I will take another dollar off your pocket money Replace pocket money with what currency works best with your child, it might be computer time or TV time, it might be time on a swing or play time with your child and their favorite toy or sport). The idea is if your child acts up and tries to make you cave in and not go through with their punishment they will lose more of what they value most. Conversely stress to your child “But when you are being good you will get a reward you want. For example 10 extra minutes on the computer, an extra dollar etc. Have a wall chart clearly visible in your home. Even if your child can’t read use a happy smiling face for when they follow the rules and an unhappy smiling face when they break one of the rules. You can replace the smiling/unhappy faces with colored stickers or whatever you wish. The idea is your Autistic child will respond to the chart if you stick by your guns. Now I know what you are thinking this won’t work with my child. All I can say is give it a try. There are times when James is out of control and raging and this system doesn’t work then but other times when he is “on air” the system does work. When James was younger I tried versions of this reward good behavior punish bad behavior system but it failed to work. The reason it failed was because I didn’t follow through with the punishments. I had my excuses I was tired, my MS was acting up but in the end when I

caved in and didn’t follow through with a punishment I was setting James up for failure. James learnt very quickly that Mom could be manipulated. My second mistake was not rescheduling a time to talk with James about his “Rules of Conduct” when we were both calm. Is it hard to do? Yes. When your child is aggressive, and/or willing to do just about anything to get their own way you have to expect some hellish tantrums. This is normal. your child will test how serious you are. When you feel like its all getting on top of you count to ten inside your head and think of this - if you do not enforce the punishments you are giving your child license to behave in any way they wish. Believe me your child’s behavior will get worse if you allow it to. So grit your teeth, work out what your child’s “Rules of Conduct” are and enforce them. Do it because you love your child and you want them to be with you. Your job as a parent is to help teach your child how to behave in our society. I failed my son and the reason I failed was because I didn’t understand that every time I thought “ I’ll give in to him this one time, it doesn’t really matter”, it did matter. James’s behavior got so out of control that I could no longer live with him in our home. As much as I hope that one day James will return back home to live with me I have to live with the knowledge that I failed my son because I didn’t step up to the plate and follow through with the punishments. Stay firm and after a time your child will understand that you do mean business. It may take a few weeks of hell but you will see a positive change in your child’s behavior. They might never be perfect but then none of us are perfect. What I can promise you is that this system works a lot of the time. If you want your child’s unacceptable behaviors to decrease and more socially acceptable behaviors to increase this system will deliver if you hang in there. Be aware that your ASD child might be acting up due to exposure to cleaning solvents and to florescent lighting. Treatment: Try not to use chemicals in the home water with bicarb of soda is a great way to clean your home. Studies have found that ASD children who are sensitive to chemical fumes act up a lot less when their physical contact with stronger chemicals is kept to a minimum. Many adult Autistic people have complained how much florescent lighting upsets them. They can see the flicker of the 60-cycle electricity. Studies at U.C.L.A. have found that repetitive self stimulatory behaviors like head banging, rubbing, scratching and hyperactivity all increased under fluorescent lighting compared to incandescent lighting. To check to see whether your child’s behavior is effected by florescent lighting arrange for the child to be in a classroom without the florescent lights on for a few days. If there is a notable improvement then the ASD child may be sensitive to florescent lights. An inability to communicate using expressive language is thought to be one of the major reasons ASD children develop difficult or self- injurous behaviors. I know that James’s inability to tell me what is wrong often leads to tantrums and aggressive head banging. The ASD child must be taught to communicate using a number of communication strategies. For example the Picture Exchange Communication System which uses speech and sign language at the same time. In James’s case, James can speak well but he loses the ability to verbalize when he is upset or over stimulated. Trying to get James to verbalize what is upsetting him before he loses control is something that we are having

some success with. Repeating “James tell us what is wrong? Point.” This has been a useful way for us to figure out what has triggered James’s over stimulation. James also feels some measure of control as he is often able to get his message across. Difficulties in receptive language may also cause behavioral problems with ASD children. Many ASD children have poor auditory processing skills. The ASD child may hear words but they cannot understand what the words mean. This can be both confusing and frustrating. It wasn’t until recently I realized that James has a real problem in this area. Because he can speak I have always assumed that he can understand what I am saying to him. Often when James is being aggressive I will explode and find myself yelling at him to stop. One day after a particularly bad day James told me before he went to bed that when I am yelling at him he can’t understand what I am saying. I still yell (hey I’m only human) but when I catch myself yelling I try to remember that James doesn’t hear what I am saying to him. It’s all just noise adding to his already over stimulated brain. So I try to lower my voice or stop speaking and walk away. The visual cue that I am walking away has a stronger effect on James. James will follow me and after a few minutes he can usually calm down enough so that I can ask him what is really upsetting him. Visual cues can be useful in teaching ASD children what is expected of them and what is suppose to happen next. At home and school set up a Photograph Flow Chart of your child’s day. Show your child waking up in bed in their pajamas getting out of bed washing their face and brushing their teeth your child getting dressed having breakfast going to school in a car, bus or train At school have a similar photographic flow chart of what happens to your child during their normal school day. Back at home have a photographic flow chart for what happens in your home in the afternoon and the evening. Have a photograph of your child having afternoon tea with you your child playing your child watching TV eating dinner having a bath or a shower going to the toilet getting in to pajamas getting in to bed. Mom or Dad sitting on the bed reading a book to your child who is in bed listening happily. Mom or Dad saying goodnight ie. kissing the child on the forehead or cheek etc Mom or Dad turning off the light Your final photograph should be of your child sleeping in their own bed.

Don’t assume as I did, that because your ASD child can speak that they don’t need a photographic flow chart. Have one in your home and at your school. The ASD child will find these photographic flow charts reassuring.

AROUSAL LEVELS Understanding your ASD child’s level of arousal is important when working out a way to treat unwanted behaviors. Is your child over stimulated? Why? Are they sensitive to sound? Light? Movement? If your ASD child is over stimulated then look at calming techniques. Vigorous exercise. At home we have a stationary bike. James will often get on the bike and pedal as fast as he can. He is always happier and calmer when he has been on the bike. James also likes swinging (see Vestibular Stimulation). I have bought a large swing that all the family can sit on. Slow swinging on this family swing often calms James down. The only trouble is James would swing for hours if I let him. Another way I have found that works to calm James down is using deep pressure. James loves to be placed between pillows and hugged tight. (See Hugging) In some ASD children behavioral problems may be due to low levels of arousal. This child needs to be kept busy. Vigorous activity is the best way to help increase your child’s arousal level. Food allergies can definitely effect your child’s behavior. If your child has red ears, red cheeks or dark circles under their eyes these are often signs that your child has some kind of food allergy. The most common food allergies are dairy, wheat, food preservatives and food coloring. It is always a good idea to have your ASD child tested for food allergies. If your child does react to a particular food then that food should be eliminated from their diet. As I am a Coeliac and I have multiple food allergies I know only too well how much food can effect your health and your moods. For an ASD child who may have trouble communicating how they feel it is up to us the parents to work out whether or not our children have food intolerances (See Food Warning and Food). Safe nutritional supplements like Vitamin B6 with Magnesium and Di-methyl-glycine (DMG) have helped many autistic children who present with difficult behavioral problems. These safe supplements have been found to have a better effect than strong drugs like Ritalin which many doctors prescribe for the same behaviors. (See Food) and (see Medications). Some research is pointing to aggression occurring due to seizures. James has some violent outbursts that can go on for days. Nothing seems to work when he is like this. James is simply in “attack mode” and he will keep on attacking us at home over and over. This kind of uncontrollable violence can sometimes have a trigger. For example I brought a mouse for James and James let the mouse out in the car while we were driving home

from the pet shop. When I couldn’t retrieve the mouse James started attacking me with bottles once we arrived home. The violence continued for 3 days culminating in me going to hospital with a broken bone in my nose, a broken cheek bone and a broken front tooth. James continued to attack me once I returned home from hospital. In the end I had to leave the home with my then 3 year old daughter Emma until James calmed down. This kind of violence is the reason why James had to be removed from the home. I have no control over James when he is like this. But I have to question whether James is having some kind of seizure or seizures that make it impossible for him to control his rage? What supports this theory is that James is starting to stare in to space for longer periods of time. This is becoming more and more noticeable. This staring in to space has been identified in research as a form of seizure. I have repeatedly asked for James to have EEG’s but the medical people in Tasmania that I have seen have always refused. My gravest concern is that James will continue to have seizures and that they will lead to further brain damage. If your child has these sorts of aggressive outbursts or uncontrollable rages ask your ASD specialist for your child to have an EEG overnight in the hospital. This EEG can pick up whether or not your child is having seizures. In summary if your ASD child is aggressive you need professional intervention FAST. You can do a Functional Analysis yourself. Make sure that whoever you see has a good understanding of the ASD child. If you cannot locate a professional in your area opt for psychologists who deal with aggression management and stress that you need strategies that can be used for both a non-verbal and a verbal child. Even if your child can speak discovering non-verbal ways to communicate when they are angry will increase your child’s arsenal of coping skills. Remember the sooner you seek help the faster your child will learn better coping skills and hopefully the aggression levels will drop. If your ASD child continues to be highly aggressive then further research needs to be done, is there a physical or chemical problem that is causing these aggressive outbursts? Do not give up or allow any professional to put the reason for your child’s aggression back on you. Yes there are cases when a child will mirror violence if they see it in the home but if as in my case there was no physical violence to mirror then the problem lies within your child. Keep looking for help. You are doing the right thing.

HOW TO STOP SELF INJURY When I explained James’s chronic head banging to many of the doctors I have seen over the years I was always told that head banging was not part of Autism. I was treated as an abusive mother who was inflicting the bruises on my child. You can imagine my distress and disbelief! In short no-one seemed to believe me that a small child as young as two could self inflict such terrible self injuries from constant head banging. Since researching this book I have discovered that some autistic children do head bang chronically. However as no two autistic children are ever alike you may find that your autistic child may practice some other form of self-injury, that is both painful and dangerous. For example, biting, hair pulling, cutting themselves, kicking, punching both themselves and others etc.

What is clear from the research is that many autistic children do have self-injurous behaviors. Self-injurous behaviors refer to any act committed by the child which results in tissue damage, bruises, redness, open wounds, head banging, hand-biting, scratching and rubbing. Though no-one can really say for sure why any ASD child presents with a self-injurous behavior two schools of thought persist. The child does the behavior for psychological reasons or for physiological reasons. Physiological Reasons For Self-Injurous Behaviors One school of thought is that the self-injurous behaviors release beta- endorphins in the child’s brain. Beta-endorphins or “happy hormones,” are released in to the child’s system. The endorphins provide a release for the autistic child, allowing him or her to temporarily forget about his or her frustration and pain. Furthermore, it is believed that if one practices self-injury enough, the endorphins will begin to help mask any pain associated with such behavior, making it an addictive action. Treatment. Give the child Naltrexone, a beta-endorphin inhibitor. The idea being that without the beta-endorphin pay off the child will eventually stop performing the self-injurous behavior. It should be noted that some countries may not allow you to use this drug. If this is the case for you I strongly recommend you look at homeopathic medicines that calm the child down. Genetics may also play a part in self-injurous behavior of ASD children. Three other genetic disorders where self-injurous behaviors occur are Lesch-Nyhan Syndrome (biting around the mouth area and fingers), Fragile X Syndrome (self-biting especially lips and fingers) and Cornelia de Lange Syndrome (self biting and face hitting). Self-injurous behaviors may be caused by sub-clinical seizures. Although these seizures are not like conventional seizures they will show up on an EEG. Chronic head-banging or ear hitting may be caused due to a middle ear infection. The ASD child should be checked by an ear specialist to rule out that there is any physical problem with the ear. My son James went to a number of ear specialists and nothing was found to be wrong with his ears. Yet James has been a chronic head banger since he could move. Now at the age of 13 James will only head bang when he is in an uncontrollable rage and he will only head bang a few times as he does register pain from hurting his head now. This however only fuels James’s rage and frustration and he will go on to hit out at his family members. Low levels of serotonin induced by the drugs reserpine and chlorpromazine or high levels of dopamine (caused by amphetamines and apomorphine) have been found to initiate self-injurious behavior. Interestingly, ASD children with low levels of calcium (i.e., hypocalcinuria) were found to poke themselves in the eye. When the children were given calcium supplements, the eye-poking decreased substantially. In addition, language functioning improved.

Some ASD children perform self-injurous behaviors as they are self-stimulatory and the child has adopted the behaviors as part of a ritual. These rituals are usually repetitive by nature. The pay off for the child is performing the ritual. Treatment: The ASD child requires Sensory Integration Therapy to normalize the senses. Over arousal caused from frustration, anger fear, pleasure, pain etc may cause the ASD child to commit self-injurous behaviors as a form of release. (I think my son James’s chronic head banging falls in to this category). With these children it is imperative to reduce the child’s general arousal level. Ways to reduce arousal include teaching the child to relax, the use of visual imagery, deep pressure and exercise. I don’t rule out hypnotism as hypnotism is a way to help your child relax and to deal with their inner turmoil. If you do opt for a session with a Hypnotist make sure that you are present during the session to ensure that your child is not stressed by the procedure. It goes without saying that you should do some research on the hypnotist you are considering to visit. Make sure that they have a good reputation and that they have the proper qualifications. Psychologcial/Social reasons for Self-Injurous Behavior The child performs self-injurous behaviors as a way to get attention from other people. An autistic child’s frustration goes hand-in-hand with wanting attention. For instance, by scratching oneself until one bleeds, the autistic child will immediately get someone’s attention, and this person will work to understand what the child wants or needs. The self-injurous behavior is a form of control. The ASD child may engage in self-injurous behavior to obtain an object or event. For example a child may request a toy but not receive it, so they engage in self-injurous behavior. In order for the child to feel that they are in control of their environment they are willing to hold their families/teachers etc to ransom. This sounds crazy but it is I feel part of the reason why James is willing to be outrageously violent both to us, our belongings and to himself. If your child is exhibiting aggressive or self injurous behavior like my son James my advice is do not try to handle the situation by your self. You need help. Finding help can be difficult but don’t give up. This book will give you a list of places where you can turn for further help. (see Contacts) Treatment For Self Injurous Behavior If an ASD child is committing a self injurous behavior to essentially get their own way, the parent or care giver should not give anything to the child during or following an episode of self-injury. If the parent sometimes gives in and allows the child to have what they want the child will continue to perform the self injurous behavior. Ignore the self-injurous behavior. The child will learn that they are not getting the desired attention and they will cease to perform the self-injurous behavior. If the child’s head banging becomes dangerous, for example the child head bangs on concrete or bricks (James will do this) you should minimize contact with the child displaying little facial expression (neither approving nor disapproving). My experience with James is that the head banging is sometimes for attention and yes ignoring the head banging at these times does reduce James’s head banging. But there are

other times when James is not in control of his head banging, he is just too over stimulated and at these times he cannot be left to head bang as he will really hurt himself. You have to use good judgment. If your child is no longer in control of their behavior you have to step in and prevent the child from hurting themselves. Again seek help for this dangerous behavior as only a professional person who deals with these difficult kinds of behaviors will have treatment plans available. Try Naltrexone, a beta-endorphin inhibitor. This may help reduce the aggression. However you need to seek medical advice about this drug and how suitable it is for your child. It may not be available in certain countries. Be consistent in how you deal with the aggression. DO NOT SHOW ANY EMOTION (This is sooo hard to do. I am still working on it), DO NOT SPEAK. I am using the 123 Magic approach to discipline. You say 1, you wait for the count of 5, then you say 2, then if the child continues to act out you say 3. The child loses a privilege that they value. (see 123 Magic.) James has High Level Autism and this system is having an impact on his behavior when he is on air. Nothing works however when James is over stimulated. I am hoping that in time James will learn self control over his emotions to the extent that he can redirect his anger and frustrations in to less antisocial/violent behaviors. For example leave the room and dig a hole in the back yard etc. Every child is different but if you have a child like my son James then try to find a physical activity that requires lots of action so that your child can vent their anger in a way that everyone can live with. At no time is it OK for your child to hit you. You should not lash out at your child but you do have the right to defend yourself. Remember that the child will model the way that you handle aggression. When you have been living in a highly aggressive environment for a long time it is easy to lose sight of how important a role we parents have. Get help in the early stages. I tried but as James’s Autism was never identified I had no idea who to turn to or what to do? The result is that James continues to be highly aggressive and he’s eleven now. Your child will not grow out of their aggression you have to be proactive. If you have a highly aggressive child and no-one is supporting you get someone to film your child’s behavior. If the doctors/psychologists etc. still try to tell you it’s all your fault or just bad parenting contact your local TV station and newspaper. Go on the internet and join forum groups tell as many people as you can what you are going through. I winded up in court being accused of child abuse because I didn’t have any proof that James was acting out so aggressively at home. Get the proof. Then find specialists who work with ASD children in your area and a specialist who deals with aggression. Do not try to go this alone. Some problems are just too big for any one person to handle. (See Develop an Action Plan) Some ASD children commit self-injurous behavior to escape or avoid doing something that they do not want to do. Treatment. The child should be asked to perform the task that they do not want to do.

Hypersensitivity to sound may also be a reason why an ASD child resorts to self-injurous behavior. Treatment. Auditory integration training may help the child accept noises that they cannot stand.

FUNCTIONAL ANALYSIS The best way to discover why your child may be performing a potentially dangerous and upsetting behavior is to conduct a Functional Analysis or detailed description of how the child actually causes injury to themselves. Find out who was present at the time of the self injury? What happened before the self injury occurred, what happened during the self injury and what happened immediately after. Here is an example of what your Functional Analysis should look like. What is the self injurous behavior? What happened just before the self injury occurred? When did the self injury happen? Where did the self injury happen? Who was present when the self injury occurred? What happened immediately after the self injury occurred? By using Functional Analysis a pattern of behavior may become apparent. If however there is no clear reason for the self injury and if the social/psychological reasons cannot sufficiently explain the behaviors then the physiological causes should be investigated. What you are trying to do is find a connection or possible reason why the child is performing the self-injurious behavior? Be aware that there may be a number of reasons why the ASD child is hurting themselves. For example head banging may be a reaction to sensory overload whereas wrist biting may be due to frustration. Try to be very specific about which behavior you are looking at. Select head banging and do a functional analysis on that. Do a separate functional analysis for any other self-injurous behavior like wrist biting. An example of a functional analysis of a self-injurous behavior should include the following: the frequency, the duration and the severity of the behavior. record where the activity took place. the setting (home, school, playground, car etc.) what kind of lighting (natural light, incandescent, fluorescent) what sounds could be heard (washing machine, TV, footsteps, loud speakers etc.) The names of everyone in the child’s environment, (Mum, Dad, sister, brother, teacher, class, crowd, friend, aunt, uncle, granddad, nanna etc.) Record the time of day that the behavior was witnessed and the day of the week. For the family members involved, learning how to communicate with an autistic child is extremely important. Because normal adults, and even children and teenagers, are so accustomed to communicating through easily recognizable words or body language, they have to learn that communicating with an autistic child requires a completely different process.

Using functional analysis methods may provide answers to why an autistic child is performing self injuries. Once an understanding of why the practice is occurring is made steps may then be taken to help the autistic child and their family to overcome this distressing practice. The Autism Institute has an information package on self-injury. If you would like to obtain this packet visit this web site

AUTISTIC TEENAGERS For most parents, the teenage years of their child are challenging. When puberty hits, children go through serious changes in their bodies and minds, and parents often feel like they have little or no control over their once easy to manage child. In an autistic child, puberty is no different. Although your autistic child is not experiencing and reacting to puberty in quite the same ways as others his or her age, major hormonal and body changes still occur. Parents of Autistic teenagers report that their child’s behavior improved dramatically or that their Autistic child has gone out of control. One of the scariest side effects of changes in an autistic person’s body is the onset of seizures. Seizures occur in the frontal and temporal lobes. Many autistic individuals experience seizures from birth to adulthood, but even if your child does not suffer from these episodes, he or she may begin to experience seizures during puberty and afterwards. The seizures are thought to brought on by the increased levels of hormones in the teenager’s body. These seizures can range from mild gazing into space for a few seconds, (my son James does this and it is becoming more and more noticeable), to severe, grand mal seizures. Behaviors often associated with seizures include: head banging, slapping ears and/or head, hand-biting, chin hitting, scratching the face or arms, and, in some cases, knee-toface contact. Seizures may be triggered by too much physical stimulation for example the lighting or too much social stimulation, for example telling your child off or asking your child to do something. Foods may also induce seizures. Almost a quarter of autistic children experience seizures, but many go undetected because they are not textbook versions of seizures. If you recognize that your child is experiencing a seizure, you can do something about it, inform your ASD specialist and they will be able to better treat your child. However, if the seizures are subconsciously happening, you and your child may not realize it. The result of these small hidden seizures can be a loss in function, which can be devastating, especially if your child was improving before puberty. Anticonvulsants may be required if your teenage autistic child develops epilepsy. As your ASD child’s body matures you may find that your child can now do things that they were not capable of doing previously. I am already seeing James now capable of dressing himself and showering independently. James is also developing the ability to play by himself as he enjoys playing SIMS games on his computer. Many parents report

that their ASD child’s behavior improved in their teenage years and that learning in social settings was easier. The important thing about puberty is to watch out for how your child is handling their new found sexual identity. Some autistic children may have to be taught that it is not socially acceptable to touch themselves in public or try to touch other people around the breasts and genitalia. Ask your doctor if you have any concerns in this area. Also check out how other parents are handling their teenage Autistic children by visiting Autistic forums on the internet. Think back to your own teenage years, I know I groan when I think of some of the things I got up to when I was in my early teens. Remember that puberty is a difficult experience for any young adult, and it can be an even more difficult time for someone with Autism. Be patient with your ASD teenager and above all build up your child’s self esteem. As ASD children grow up they become increasingly aware that they are not like other people. Bullying and teasing may be hurtful especially when you add in the complications of handling all the changes that are going on inside the ASD teenager’s body. It is important to set boundaries and rules for your ASD teenager though it is a good idea to try and involve your teenager in the process especially when it comes to what rewards and punishments will be chosen. Remember that as far as your child is capable help them to grow as a person. What the parent of an Autistic teenager wants is pretty much what every parent wants - to see their child grow up in to a happy and fulfilled adult.

DEVELOP AN ACTION PLAN Part 1 My Child is Autistic — and I don’t Know what to Do? Discovering your child has Autism is a distressing ordeal, and unfortunately, time is of the essence. As a parent, you do not have the time to consider why or how this happened, only what to do next. The most important thing to remember is that you are not alone in your struggle. By researching the disorder and finding others going through similar situations, you can help your child while still dealing with your own emotional response. Join a support group for parents with Autism. In the US you can find these support groups by contacting the National Autism Society of America. From there you can find local branches, many of which offer support groups for parents and families with an autistic child. I have provided a list of support groups in the US, Australia, the UK, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, Europe and Internationally. (see Contacts). Being in contact with other parents in a similar situation can not only help you feel less alone, but it can provide you with a myriad of resources. A parent support group will also help point you in the direction of the best doctors, intervention programs, and workshops for both your child and your family.

Unfortunately, many marriages end in divorce or separation. This statistic rises even higher for partners who have an autistic child. Consider marriage counseling if you are married. An autistic child can put serious strain on a marriage, leading to escalating arguments, neglect of each other, and even perhaps blaming each other for the situation. Marriage counseling from the very beginning can help a couple through this discovery and rough transition, and help build a better supportive environment for your children. No matter how loving and understanding you both may be towards your child, the truth is that having an Autistic child places a tremendous strain on a marriage and it is not uncommon that couples will contemplate divorce. By trying to stay positive about your situation, and by working to keep your marriage healthy, you and your spouse can avoid marital problems and hopefully survive the trying times of raising an autistic child. Work together with your partner to help your child, instead of fighting with one another. There will be times when you will have different ideas about what to do in certain situations, so be prepared to compromise and always seek professional help before making any medical decisions for your child. Remember what is most important to the both of you - that your child gets the best help available and that your child grows up in a loving and caring environment. Ask yourself why did you marry your partner? Focus on the good things in your marriage. Be realistic, when you are stressed you tend to snap at one another and even small problems can seem like too much to handle. What you need to do is give you and your partner time to de-stress. Find ways to enjoy one another’s company the way you did at the beginning of the relationship. This may include spending some time apart from your children. To do this you need a support network. your marriage should not end as a result of having an autistic child, but the sad fact is that many marriages do. My own marriage has been under huge pressure dealing with James’s aggression as well as his Autism. Another complication has been our health. I have MS and my husband Greg has had serious blood clot problems. Some days we are like the walking wounded in our home. But regardless of how ill we are James’s Autism and aggressive behavior never takes a break. Even if you are both healthy there will be times when you are ill run down or just plain depressed. You need to have a support group to lean on in these times. You also need to develop a network of friends who will be willing to help look after your children in the times when you are unable to do so. Even an hour away from your child or children can be a blessing. You need time to look after yourself. Do not soldier on as you will only endanger your own health and you need your strength and your wits about you. Remember to do one nice thing for yourself every day. This is not being selfish this is merely looking after yourself in a sensible way. You are not a failure as a parent for reaching out for help. I know what it can feel like to be alone and trying to cope with something you don’t understand or have the first idea what to do? It’s scary - really scary. There will be times when it all seems too much and that’s OK. When you had your child you didn’t suddenly develop super powers that’s why there will be times when you really need a friend. Don’t shut other people out of your life embrace them. Gather people in to your life that can help you to stay sane and optimistic. Find a family member or friend who will be willing to look after your ASD child for one night a week. If you can’t find anyone hire a baby sitter- make this a priority

because you need to have some fun in your life and having fun with your partner will help you keep your problems in perspective. If you are like me and live in an isolated place with no relatives and friends who are willing to help you I suggest making contact with other people who have Autistic or disabled children. Set up a co-op and help each other out taking turns minding the children. It is my experience that other parents who have children with disabilities are far more sympathetic to the strains you as a parent of an ASD face each day. If nothing else they are a great shoulder to cry on because many of them know what you are going through. Part of any successful marriage is spending some time apart to focus on individual needs, and it is no different when you have an autistic child. However, if you find that you and your partner are not happy unless you are spending time alone, you should reevaluate the situation. A family or marriage counselor can help you and your partner get back on the right track to a happy life together. Remember that you are not alone, and by making an effort to keep your marriage happy, even when you are stressed with the task of raising an autistic child, you and your partner can ensure that your marriage does not end in a messy divorce. If you separate or divorce you will have to take in to account that your ASD child will need extra help during the transition. This period is hard enough for “normal” children to handle. An ASD child lacks the coping skills necessary to pull through such a difficult time. Get counseling for your ASD child and yourself Remember you are not infallible. You will need help. I have found that Centrecare in Australia has been wonderfully supportive. Whilst they cannot wave a magic wand and make everything that’s wrong in your life right they can provide you with help and advice. (see Contacts) Don’t Forget your other children. Raising an Autistic child is hard work and don’t let anyone tell you any different. Your marriage will be placed under a huge pressure and your other children will have problems living with your ASD child. Often your other children will be neglected because your Autistic child can be a handful to deal with. Make time for your other children. Let them know that they are loved and special. Give them your undivided attention some time during each day even if it’s just for twenty minutes. Often, siblings of an autistic child may feel neglected by parents or jealous of the autistic child who is now receiving more attention. Also, they may find their peers constantly teasing them about having an autistic sibling, which can add more stress. This may lead to behavioral issues, with the sibling acting out and becoming a “problem child” to receive attention. In some cases, the sibling may even try to hurt the autistic brother or sister in an attempt to remove him from the family environment. It can also be the case that the Autistic child can hurt their siblings as in my family situation. (see My Story). Find a support group for any other children you have. Many parents forget that they are not the only ones who must learn to live and communicate with an autistic child. By locating a support group for your other children, you can help them from acting out or acting against the autistic child by teaching them about the disability. As a parent, you must create a supportive environment for the entire family in

order to properly manage your child’s autism. Provide the most beneficial things for all your children — love and guidance.

DEVELOP AN ACTION PLAN Part 2 Start on the path to becoming an ASD expert. Many pediatricians or psychiatrists are not experts on Autism, which can lead to improper diagnoses or incorrect treatment options. As your child’s best advocate, you must know everything you can about Autism. Parents of Autistic children can be a great resource as they can provide you with books and research material that focuses on the reality of your situation. Educate yourself and those around you about Autism and become an advocate for your child. Regardless of where you live in the world contact the Autism Research Institute 4182 Adams Ave, San Diego CA 92116 fax: 619-563-6840 .You can request a free parent pack giving you much needed guidance on what to do now that you know that your child is autistic. Visit their website: You must see an ASD Specialist to have your child tested. For me I found this the hardest thing. Here are some pointers to remember. If a specialist says one of the 12 FALLACIES OF AUTISM thank them for their time, get up and leave. Specialists who tell you these things do not understand what Autism is. Find a new specialist. Remember that the earlier a child is properly diagnosed with Autism the sooner the child can start working in programs that can help them. It is my experience that many specialists will not freely admit that they have limited knowledge of Autism. Do not be naïve or too trusting. your job is to help your child. Before you even go to see a doctor make an enquiry as to whether or not the doctor is a recognized ASD specialist. If the answer is no do not waste your time. I cannot stress this enough so I will say it again – YOU NEED TO FIND A DOCTOR WHO SPECIALIZES IN ASD. Do not listen to any professional who tells you to wait and see if the condition disappears. The earlier a proper diagnosis of Autism is made the sooner treatment can begin. It has been found that with early treatment children with Autism have a better chance of improving than those who are not identified. The argument that a child might be diagnosed with Autism when they are in fact normal is a valid one. But it is the responsibility of the professionals who are evaluating your child to have extensive experience in the diagnosis of Autism. Your job as the parent is to track these professionals down and to ask for their help. No-one knows a child better than its parents. If you know that something is wrong with your child then fight and keep on fighting to get the help you and your child need. If you don’t stand up for your baby and their right to have the best possible life that they can have who else will? Treatment Money Tip

Treatments can be costly. Before you start any expensive medical treatments check to see if your Health Insurance Company will cover the expenses. Many insurance companies will not cover Autism. However they may cover things like speech therapy if they are not aware that the child is receiving the therapy because they have Autism. The bottom line is do your homework if your current Health Insurance Company is not going to help you much then check out what other Insurance Companies have on offer. Parents of Autistic children have to gain a whole new approach to how they budget their money. Every cent you can save is a bonus so even if you have never worried about Insurance Policies before do it now because unless you win the lotto you might not be able to afford the help your child is going to need.

DEVELOP AN ACTION PLAN Part 3 All the research points to the need for early intervention. The sooner your ASD child begins to get help the greater their chance of improving or sometimes even removing certain autistic behaviors or traits. There is no miracle cure but certain therapies have been found to drastically improve the quality of an ASD child’s life. Having said that be careful of who you turn to for help. The Psychologist that was recommended to me was suppose to be the “expert” on Autism here in Tasmania. I discovered the hard way that not only did the Psychologist not know what High Level Autism was they were instrumental in my child being removed from my care for thirteen months. (See My Story) So what should you do? First, determine what if any other health problems your ASD child has. Find a good local GP, preferably one who is familiar with Defeat Autism Now (DAN). Plan out a series of medical tests and treatments with your doctor. I have been blessed with an excellent GP, Doctor Sue Fricker. Dr Fricker has had extensive experience dealing with children with difficult behaviors. Without her support I don’t think I would have been able to write this book. Do not take your child to a physician who does not support you or respect your viewpoint. Your child should be assessed by your doctor for the following: Does your child need essential vitamins and minerals supplements? Especially look at vitamin B6 with magnesium, DMG and vitamins A and C. Lack of the following essential minerals may be important: zinc, magnesium, iodine, lithium, and potassium. Several dramatic improvements in speech have been found using nutritional/biomedical approaches especially dimethylglycine (DMG), vitamin B6 with magnesium, and the gluten/casein-free diet. Have your doctor look for gastrointestinal problems. For example leaky gut, yeast overgrowth, viral infections, high levels of heavy metals (like lead and mercury) in your child’s blood, food sensitivities and/or allergies. Chronic constipation or diarrhea. Most autistic children have at least some of these problems.

Look for Biomedical Options to treat your child rather than opting for drugs like Ritalin, Risperidal or Prozac. (See Medications). Use melatonin to help your child sleep and improve their concentration. Try the homeopathic dose first. Any Naturopath should be able to give you the right dosage and concentration. Start an ABA program with an expert. If you don’t get along with the therapist leave them and find someone else. You have to have confidence in your therapist. It goes without saying but as I made the mistake I will emphasize the point - make sure you get proper receipts for every session you pay for. If the therapist does not have a proper receipt system leave them. If your child does not talk or talks very little have your child tested to see if they are having seizures. Your child will have to have an EEG (electroencephalogram). An EEG measures brain wave activity. An abnormal EEG will indicate whether or not your child is having a seizure. If it is found that your child is having seizures then start your child on vitamin B6 and DMG right away. Treatments for helping speech include; Sign language; it is easy for parents to learn a few simple signs and to use them when talking to their child. This is called ‘simultaneous communication’ or ‘signed speech.’ Teaching with the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) is another invaluable tool for learning speech. PECS involves pointing to a set of pictures or symbols on a board. Use Pictures or photographs in daily schedules even if your child can speak. You should have a picture board at home and at school showing your child’s daily routine. Other ways to encourage your child to speak are to get them to sing along with a videotape or audiotape and/or swing your child on a swing (vestibular stimulation) while teaching them speech. Relationship Development Intervention (RDI) This is a relatively new intervention developed by Dr. Steven Gutstein for teaching children how to develop relationships, first with their parents and later with their peers. It directly targets the development of social skills and friendships. The child is taught how to participate in emotional relationships through exercises like passing a “hot potato” or copying facial expressions. RDI also helps an ASD child to adapt to new and changing environments and benefits their concentration. Because this therapy is so new there has not been enough research gathered to support the claims that RDI will benefit all ASD children but I believe that it is a good therapy to try. For further information see Some other effective interventions for ASD children include structured teaching programs and social stories that explain how the world around your child works. Investigate the Greenspan Method, see this web site For the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) visit this web site

and for Grodin’s relaxation/visual imagery techniques visit their web site here Investigate computer software that can help ASD children . One major provider is Laureate. See Combat sensory hypersensitivities by Auditory Integration Training for hearing sensitivities, Vision sensitivity: A 1-2 year Vision Training Course has been found to help with ASD children’s short attention span, excessive eye movements, difficulty scanning or tracking movements, inability to catch a ball, being cautious when walking up or down stairs, bumping into furniture, and even toe walking. The training program involves ambient prism lenses and performing visual-motor exercises. For more information visit this web site More information on vision training can be found at the College of Optometrists in Vision Development see this web site See also this web site Get your child in to a sensory integration program for sensitivities in vestibular/tactile/proprioceptive areas. Ask to be referred to an Occupational Therapist as they understand the problems associated with sensory hypersensitivities. Here are a list of treatments that are currently used to help ASD children. Not all of these treatments are useful and many of them are as yet unproven. For more details on each treatment refer to the Treatments section of this book. Animal Therapies with dogs, dolphins and/or horses Aromatherapy Art Therapy Biomedical Treatments. (These include Candida Albicans (Yeast Overgrowth), Chelation, Digestive Enzymes, Feingold Diet, Foods (Brain, Digestion, Constipation, Eyes, Muscles, Memory, Central Nervous System (CNS), Stress, Food Warning For Hyperactive Children (Salicylate-Containing Fruits), Gluten and Casein, Glutathione, Immune Globulin, Ketogenic Diet, Leaky Gut Syndrome, Nystatin, Nutritional Supplements (B6 and Magnesium, Bioflavonoids, Calcium, Copper, DMG (Dimethylglycine), Fatty Acids, Folic Acid, Iron, Manganese, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Zinc, Melatonin, Oxytocin, Secretin, Specific Carbohydrate Diet, Testosterone/Estrogen) Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) Color Therapy Drama Therapy Echolia

Facilitated Communication Gentle Teaching Holding Therapy, Homeopathy Hugging Hypebaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) Joint Action Routines (JARs) Lumatron or Photon Light Stimulator Medications (Anti-depressants, Anticonvulsants, Anti-psychotic drugs selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, Amphetamines, Opioid antagonists) Musical Therapy Neurotherapy Pivotal Response Training (PRT) Play Therapy Self Control Son-Rise Programme Theory of Mind Video Modelling Voice Output Communciation Aids (VOCA’s) or Speech Generating Devices (SGD’s) Weighted Vests You may find that one approach works better with your child than another. My advice is go with what you find works and always be ready to try something new. Remember that ASD children have the potential to grow and improve. Autism is treatable. Amazing results have been achieved with some ASD children. Do not give up hope or lose heart. Educate yourself and know what problems your child has. Knowing what you are dealing with is half the battle. (see my ASD BEHAVIOR CHECKLIST). Do not allow anyone to make you feel like a bad parent because you do not agree with their views on Autism. As the parent of your child you know your child better than anyone. You love your child and you always want what’s best for them. Remember that if you do not agree with a Specialist leave. Look around until you find a Specialist you feel comfortable with and who understands the kind of Autism profile your child has. Visit the Contacts section of this book to find a list of organizations that might be helpful to you and your family. Browse through the internet to see what the latest updates are on Autism in your area. Attend local and/or national Autism conferences. New developments and research about Autism are going on all the time. Keep trying to learn all you can. And never never give up hope.

I know just how bleak and depressing life can be when you are looking after an ASD child. Anyone who has “normal” children cannot understand what it is like for a parent of a child who presents you with challenging behaviors constantly. It is my experience that people generally are not very supportive. Many people will accuse you of bad parenting and being a bad mother or father because you cannot control your child’s behavior. I am telling you right now I know that you love your child. We parents of ASD children go that extra mile for our children every day. Do we get tired and stressed? Of course we do. We are humans, we cannot always be wonder parents. The main point to remember is and yes I know I’m repeating myself – you cannot effectively parent your ASD child without a support group. Your child needs therapies, you need support to keep your self healthy and emotionally strong. If you can’t find help by yourself hopefully this book will give you a few places to start finding the help you need. You can always email me at I don’t have all the answers but I’ll do whatever I can to help you. Finally when all hope deserts you pray. God is with you and he is the rock. Call on him for love, help, guidance and healing.

KNOW YOUR RIGHTS: LAWS AND AUTISM A good site that covers your legal rights and Autism in many counties is In America If your child has Autism, you need to educate yourself about your rights as a parent and the rights of your ASD child. Every American citizen is protected under the constitution, and there are special laws that have been passed to help protect people with Autism and other disabilities. By knowing the laws that protect you and your ASD child you can legally act against any person or company that you feel has discriminated against you and/or your child because of their disability, race, gender, and/or ethnicity. It is sad to think that even today there are people who are so intolerant of others that they may try to rob you of treatments or services that you and your child are entitled to but I can tell you from personal experience that you cannot afford to be naïve and think that you won’t ever need to worry about legal problems. (Read My Story). Your first duty to yourself and to your child is to protect yourselves from harm. Knowing your legal rights is a powerful form of protection. The first law with which you should become acquainted is I.D.E.A., or the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. The I.D.E.A. covers children ages 3 to 21 and provides autistic children with the special educational programs they need. I.D.E.A. gives parents the right to be involved with education decisions concerning their child made by the school. your child first needs to be assessed to qualify under I.D.E.A., and this is best done by a private professional. In the end, your child has the right by law to receive a free public education that is

appropriate for his or her skill level. If your public school has no such program, they are required to find one or create one at no cost to you. Also become familiar with and knowledgeable about the American Disabilities Act. Under this act, discrimination due to disability is prohibited in the workforce, as well as with state and local government, public accommodations, the United States Congress, public transportation, and telecommunications. For example, if your autistic child has the skills to do a certain job, an employer cannot refuse your child the job because they are Autistic. Other laws provide rights for people with Autism so that they are constitutionally equal to others. One such law says that people with Autism have the right to vote, and that services should be provided so that it is possible for them to do so. Another law says that autistic individuals cannot be refused housing based on disability. Others provide equal rights in all other aspects of life, and these should especially be studied if your Autistic child is in a health care institution. By knowing the law and how it applies to you and your ASD child , you can be sure that justice is upheld. If you have questions, local law officials should be ready and willing to answer you or provide you with material to answer your questions. Remember that ignorance of the law is not a valid excuse for anyone, so be an advocate for yourself and your ASD child to prevent mistreatment. In America typical state services for people with Autism include respite, rehabilitation, speech therapy, and occupational therapy. In order to qualify for services, children or adults must be diagnosed with Autism (not PDD or Asperger’s, these do not qualify) by a licensed psychiatrist or psychologist with training in childhood development. Furthermore, the applicant must meet three of seven functional limitations: self-care, receptive and expressive language, learning, mobility, self-direction, capacity for independent living, economic self-sufficiency. Contact your local ASA chapter to obtain more information about the developmental disabilities services in your community. In America contact the local chapter of the Autism Society Of America (ASA) in your area. Ph: toll-free 800-3-AUTISM. In some states there are waiting lists for services while in other states you can access whatever service you need almost straight away. (See Contacts for further information) Australia For help I would recommend the Association For Children With A Disability (ACD). This service helps Parents/family members, professionals and service providers who are looking for information or advice on any issue regarding a disability. Victoria Phone: 61 03 9818 2000, Free call 1800 654 013 (rural callers), or visit their web site at NSW PO Box 141 Northmead NSW 2152 Email: Ph: 1300 851 603 Visit their Web site at Tasmania Ph: 1800244742 (free call) Visit their Website at Queensland Visit their Website at Another source of information regarding your rights is Australian Association For Families Of Children With A Disability (AAFCD). Visit their web site at

United Kingdom The best source to turn to for legal advice is at this web site

FINANCIAL AID FOR DISABILITIES America Families on an income $25,000-$35,000/yr can apply to the Social Security agency for financial support to help your ASD child. The amount of money you receive will depend upon the size of your family and your family assets. Call your local social security office on 1-800-722-1213 Children who have assets over approximately $2000 are ineligible to receive state and federal services. They must spend their money first. However, with a “special needs trusts” the guardian of the ASD child can decide how to spend the money on the child. This is the best way for relatives to leave funds to the child, because these monies do not count against the child when determining their eligibility for government services. For more information, contact a lawyer who specializes in special needs trusts. In addition to working out the financial details, it is very useful to write up a description of suggestions of how you want your child cared for and/or supported. MetLife (visit their

web site at also has a special program for children with developmental disabilities. Australia To apply for a disability pension for your ASD child or to apply for a Carers’ pension visit your local CENTRELINK office or check online at their website United Kingdom Get all the advice you need about disability pensions and carer pensions at The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). Visit their web site at this address

RECOMMENDATIONS I realize that we do not live in a world where people with disabilities are given the highest priority. Defense, sport, entertainment all get a bigger piece of government spending money. But the fact remains that autistic children teenagers and adults all have special needs that are not simply going to disappear. National programs should be developed in the US, Australia and the UK where children with disabilities like Autism or any developmental delay are picked up in hospitals by specially trained professionals who understand what to look for and test for. In these special units children with suspected disabilities should be observed over a period of days so that the way they interact and behave can be properly recorded and studied. These units should be available to parents free of charge. The doctors who work in these units should have a proven understanding of ASD and be able to implement a cohesive treatment program for each child. Once a child is identified with a disability the parents and the child should be introduced in to an ABA program where the parents, child and a trained group of professionals all work together to help the child reach their full potential. The child gets the help they need and the parents get the support training and advice they need. Fewer parents like myself would have to place their child in to Child Protection or live through years of private hell. These units should be funded by the Governments with a unified body overseeing the entire system in each country. Sounds good doesn’t it? But it’s not going to happen unless parents of children with Autism stand up and fight for it. The argument that such programs would cost too much just doesn’t hold water. Studies of Adult Autistic children in America have shown that many undiagnosed Autistic children end up in jail. Many more are unable to lead independent lives. The Governments in the US, Australia and the UK could actually save millions of dollars if they helped fund the diagnosis of Autistic children in the first 3 years and provide free medical programs for all autistic children during their formative years. At the moment too little is being done to help Autistic children.

Too few doctors and specialists are trained to deal with the diagnosis of ASD children. Even fewer specialists are out there who know how to help ASD children grow to their full potential. Pediatricians should be required to have at least a general understanding of the latest findings on Autism. It should be compulsory for Pediatricians who are not ASD Specialists to refer a child with suspected Autism on to an ASD Specialist. The DSM4 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) Edition 4 a handbook used by many medical professionals needs to be updated so that Sensory Integration Dysfunction is acknowledged as a real disability that ASD children have. The definition of Autism needs to be revised so that it better acknowledges that Autism is a spectrum disorder. Many of the doctors and psychologists I have seen have claimed that James is “normal” because according to the DSM4 Edition 4 James does not meet all the criteria to be properly identified as Autistic. James and countless other ASD children are not being given the help they need because their disabilities are not understood or acknowledged by critical medical references like the DSM4 Edition 4. This has to change. A massive overhaul of the way Autism is diagnosed has to be done in countries like the US the UK and Australia. Government Departments like Child and Family here in Tasmania need to be restructured so that ASD children and other children with disabilities are properly catered for and not lumped under the “adused children” umbrella. Further investigations need to be done in to the medications currently being used to treat Autism. Melatonin should be readily available to parents no matter where they live in the world because it helps promote sleep and concentration with no bad side effects. Ritalin one of the most common drugs used to treat Autism has not been found to be all that effective and many parents of ASD children claim that there are more negative effects than positive ones for their child. Isn’t it time that the “drug problem” was really attacked by chemists and doctors? The parents of ASD children need drugs that can help alleviate their children’s symptoms. No parent of an ASD child should be told that they are a child abuser because their child was put on a drug by their doctor. More research has to be done in this area and doctors have to be better educated in the drugs that are available. More research has to be done in natural therapies and these should be included in an overall treatment plan of each ASD child. I know from my own experiences with James that whenever James has a temperature and a virus he acts like a normal child. I believe that more research should be done on how temperature and blood pressure effects ASD children. If a “virus” drug could imitate the effects of a virus without making the ASD child sick this could be a break through for all ASD children. I strongly encourage further research in this area as I can see first hand how dramatically James’s behavior and abilities improve when his temperature is high.

MY STORY Let me start by saying that I have made many attempts to put in to writing my story as a mother of an Autistic child. This is by far the hardest chapter of the book. Why? Because James is one of my greatest joys and yet also my greatest heartache. Mothering James has

been the biggest challenge of my life and it is true to say that there are times when I am just not up to the challenge. Let me make one thing clear – My love for my son never wavers but there are days when I don’t want to have to face the nightmare of dealing with his Autism. Any mother of an Autistic child will know what I’m talking about when I say that it is impossible for a parent of a normal child to understand what it is like to face day in and day out the constant battles that a parent has to face when their child has a disability like Autism. My story is not over; it is an on going battle. I am by nature a quiet reserved woman but circumstances have forced me to stand up for what I believe in, to fight with every ounce of my being for justice and to hope and pray that one day I will be able to live a happy and rewarding life with my son. The Beginning I have Multiple Sclerosis, multiple chemical sensitivities (now under control) and I triggered as an adult Coeliac in 1989. I was a healthy woman until I caught Glandular Fever in 1988. I suffered nine miscarriages before I had James and no real reason for my multiple miscarriages was ever found. James was my tenth pregnancy and my ‘miracle baby’. James survived a difficult pregnancy. I nearly had a miscarriage at 11 weeks. At the time I lost a lot of blood. (Many studies support the finding that a large early blood loss during pregnancy may be one of the factors involved in a child being born Autistic.) After this scare I remained in bed until around 24 weeks when James nearly came early a number of times and I was in and out of hospital. In the end James arrived in to this world on the 4 May 1998 his predicted due date. The birth was relatively easy with only a five hour labor. The only complication was that James was born with faeces in his mouth, however he was given a good bill of health by the doctor. As James was my first baby I think it’s safe to say that I had no idea what to expect. In the hospital James cried constantly and the nursing staff kept telling me that I had to respond to my child’s needs better. My baby was crying because something was wrong. Did the baby have a wet nappy? Was the baby hungry? Did the baby need burping? Was I holding the baby enough? Was I trying to get the baby in to a routine? I left for home feeling that I was failing as a new mother. Weeks went by. James continued to scream all day and night. The only time he cat napped for a few seconds was when I held him and I walked. I had no help from my husband. Greg never changed a nappy or looked after James to give me time to rest. This was partly because Greg was working hard long hours on our farm and also I think because he didn’t have a clue how to handle James. Like many new fathers he opted for the easy option – you’re the mother the babies your responsibility. With no rest, no help and no clue what I was doing wrong I was exhausted and getting increasingly desperate. The Nursing Mother came to our home and explained that I wasn’t getting James in to a proper routine. The baby needed to be wrapped tight and left to sleep.

I went to a Parenting Centre to get help but they just told me that James was tired and needed to learn how to sleep. I was given a book and told to read it. I read the book and I tried to implement the strategies for getting a child to sleep. Nothing worked. At 11 weeks James spoke his first words. “Hello Mummy” and “Hurry up.” I thought this was normal until I told the other mothers in my mother’s group that James was talking. Everybody laughed and told me that babies don’t speak at 11 weeks. Something was definitely out of the ordinary. And by now I was at the end of my tether. I took James to see a Pediatrician. For legal reasons I cannot tell you the name of the Pediatrician so I will call him Pediatrician 1. The Doctor took James in his arms. James looked up at the doctor and said “Hello.” I could see the stunned expression on the doctor’s face. Thank God, I thought, I have proof that my child is talking. I naively believed that Pediatrician 1 would know what was going on with James and that he would tell me the best way to handle James’s difficult behaviors. Pediatrician 1 muttered something about “What amazing parroting” then he never referred to James’s talking again. He treated James as if he were a normal healthy baby suffering from Colic. As the weeks and months went by I look back now and remember it only as a period of pure hell. As James grew bigger he started to head bang. He would head bang and scream all day and night. James would struggle violently whenever I had to change his nappy or his clothes. He would hold his breath until he turned blue and nearly pass out whenever I bathed him. Taking James anywhere in the car was a struggle. James would scream inconsolably and go rigid. With my MS I found it almost impossible to get him in to or out of his car seat. As James grew bigger he would thrash about in his car seat and head bang so uncontrollably that I was terrified he would kill himself. When James was 15 months I had a MS episode and I collapsed. I went in to hospital for a week and James went to day care for the first time. When I got out of hospital I took James on a plane to see my sister in Melbourne. James was inconsolable on the plane both head banging me and lashing out with his tiny fists that within a few minutes after take off he had broken my glasses. I am blind without my glasses so you can imagine how it was. I was on a plane with a baby who was screaming and struggling and I couldn’t even see him. Thanks to the kindness of one male flight attendant I managed to survive the trip. At my sister’s home James head banged chronically. My sister observed that I was too stressed and perhaps the baby was picking up on my stress? As for the head banging – that was just a bad attention seeking habit that I had to break by ignoring it. The flight home was not much better but I flew without my glasses so that James couldn’t break them again. I got back to Hobart wishing that I had never come out of hospital. Back home James attended crèche on a daily basis. The woman in charge made it obvious that she thought I was an abusive mother as James had bruises and bumps all over his forehead from his constant head banging. I was told off for not teaching my child any disciple. “Your child doesn’t understand the word no!” When I tried to explain that I had been trying to teach James what was naughty and what was good behavior I was treated as if I was lying.

James would head bang chronically and scream the whole time if I took him to the supermarket or in to town. I would often have mothers come up to me and tell me what an awful mother I was for hurting my child. When I tried to explain that James head banged himself and that I was trying to stop him from doing it no-one believed me. At home my husband’s attitude was “You wanted a baby.” He seemed to agree with everyone else I was a bad mother. At this point I was physically and emotionally drained. There was only one thing that kept me going – the love I had for my son. I took James to an Early Intervention Center. After James’s initial period of talking, James stopped talking altogether until the age of 2. James was observed by another Pediatrician, (Pediatrician 2) who checked James for bruises and then told me matter-offactly that James did not have anything wrong with him. He just needed to be in a very regimented routine. The Occupational Therapist at the Early Intervention Center however diagnosed James as having Sensory Integration Dysfunction. I returned to Pediatrician 1 and told him about the diagnosis. Pediatrician 1’s response was that there was no such medical term. I returned to the Occupational Therapist and told her what Pediatrician 1 had said. She explained that she knew of 6 other children, all with sensory integration problems that Pediatrician 1 had failed to diagnose. I was appalled. Why was Pediatrician 1 telling me that Sensory Integration Dysfunction didn’t exist when the Occupational Therapists knew exactly what it was? I started to do some research whilst James was in crèche. Sensory Integration Problems have been studied in America since the 1950’s. It is a recognized condition of ASD. By this time the penny finally dropped. I wasn’t going to get any help from Pediatrician 1 or Pediatrician 2. I insisted that James be enrolled in a Special School and with the help of the Occupational Therapist and my GP James was accepted. James was at the Special School for 3 years. In the last year he was there it was made clear to me by his teacher that she did not believe that James had any kind of Autism. James could speak and he could look you in the eye therefore he was not autistic. I was just a bad mother. This was the attitude I continued to get from James’s crèche. Up until this time I was in agreement with everyone. I was the problem. My child was normal and I was doing such a bad job of mothering that James was playing up. Then something happened that opened my eyes to the truth. A Carer from the crèche saw me in the street one day and told me that James was a nightmare at crèche and he was head banging. She told me that James had broken a window and one glass door there through his head banging. Both occasions had been hushed up by the woman in charge. To this day I still don’t know why? Soon after this bombshell was dropped on me the woman in charge left the crèche and the Carer who told me about the head banging incidents no longer worked at the crèche. The Carer insists to this day that she lost her job because she told me what had been going on. This is of course denied by the Council who runs the crèche. It was on learning that James was head banging at creche that I finally realized the truth. I wasn’t the mother from hell that everyone was painting me to be – James did have a problem. What it was at this stage I wasn’t sure? It’s an awful feeling facing the fact that your child “isn’t normal”. But it’s also true to say that I was angry at all of the professional people I had seen over the years who had been so quick to label me

a bad parent instead of deal with the truth – that James had some kind of physical or psychological problem. By the time James was 4 he was increasingly violent to both myself and my husband. Even though he was getting a big boy James would insist that I carry him everywhere and be with him all the time when he was home. If I went to have a shower or go to the toilet James would head bang on walls or the floors and/or kick on the doors until I could give him my undivided attention again. James still went to creche but I was told that he could only stay for a few hours at a time and I would often receive phone calls to come and get him because he was too uncontrollable. As James grew older he would pull my hair and eye gouge me if I didn’t immediately give him what he wanted. He would throw toys, plates, food at me, anything he could get his hands on. James seemed to need to hurt me physically and he showed no remorse if he did hurt me. If I cried he would only get more violent. There were often times when James was in such a state that nothing could appease him. The tantrums and violence would go on for hours, sometimes all night. I was advised by one doctor to put James in time out. But James smashed his cot to pieces, tore his mattress apart and when he was older he‘d kick the walls in and start to pull out the electrical wiring. I could not leave him alone to be in time out. I tried to use the “thinking chair”. But James would refuse to sit in the chair and when he was big enough he’d actually tip the chair up or try to throw things through the windows, or at me. James has broken thousands of dollars worth of furniture and household belongings over the years, including 4 whole sets of crockery, 3 dining settings, 22 wooden chairs, a one thousand dollar chandelier, a $2000 stereo system, 4 vacuum cleaners, countless mops and brooms and then there was my car which he trashed. My second new car has also received huge dents where James has punched in the metal on the bonnet and sides of the car. James has also broken the window of his father’s ute and truck and damaged countless pieces of farm equipment. If I was outside with James he would throw rocks at me or Greg, sometimes without any warning. James was out of control and I had no idea how to stop all of his aggression and constant tantrums. I took James to see a Psychiatrist. The Psychiatrist refused to believe that James was acting up as I described. When I insisted that something was wrong with James the Psychiatrist tore a strip off me. He said he wouldn’t medicate a child just to placate the mother and added that he should notify the Police that I was an abusive mother. I begged the Psychiatrist to work with my child and he reluctantly agreed. After nearly a year of seeing him the Psychiatrist believed that James was acting up because I was a “cold mother” and James was stressed that I had MS. I begged this Psychiatrist to come to the house when James was out of control one day (James was breaking my dining room chairs and trying to push the dining table out the window). The Psychiatrist could hear James screaming in the background. All the Psychiatrist said was “I don’t make house calls.” And then he hung up on me. I turned to another place for help. It is supposed to help parents who are having difficulties with their children. (For legal reasons I can’t state it’s name). There I was told what I had heard over and over – James was perfectly normal I was the problem. Was I really causing James to head bang and be violent? No. I could not accept that. James was

head banging at creche and his behavior there was every bit as challenging as it was at home. I am not a perfect mother but I am a loving mother. And I am not abusive. The only times I have hurt my son is accidentally when I’ve tried to hold James to restrain him from head banging and attacking me. Because of the MS I have weak arms and I can’t physically hold James when he is struggling and fighting me. After I accidentally scratched him twice on the face I no longer attempted to hold James when he flew in to a rage as I feared hurting him again. I stood my ground and told Pediatrician (3) that she was wrong – James did have a problem and it had nothing to do with my parenting. Pediatrician (3) was put out that I refused to accept her diagnosis and she refused to discuss James’s case any further. Tasmania is a small island state in Australia and all the Specialists here seemed to be of the same opinion. James was normal I was a cold and bad mother. It was time to look elsewhere for help. In the end help was only a phone call away. I rang up the Royal Melbourne Children’s Hospital and told them I suspected that my son had ADHD or some kind of Autism. I was referred to the Children’s Psychiatric Unit. I got a referral from my GP and flew to Melbourne with James. James was hyperactive and barely controllable. I was worn out emotional and physically and I was sobbing my heart out when I met the doctor who eventually diagnosed James with Autism. My sister Deborah came with me to the hospital and she was a real brick. James was tested for two days and then diagnosed as having frontal lobe damage and High Level Autism with elements of ADHD. Up until that point I had never heard of High Level Autism. I remember being relieved to hear a diagnosis but it broke my heart to have my suspicions confirmed. James was Autistic. James was prescribed two medications to help him sleep and to moderate his hyperactivity and aggression. I returned to Tasmania with James and informed the Principal of James’s school. Far from being supportive the Principal was unsympathetic and disbelieving. James did not have Autism, no way. Medicating James was tantamount to abuse. The Principal was also of the opinion that I did not have MS as I could walk. I kept James at the school despite the Principal’s hostile attitude towards me because James did start to receive special funding and teacher’s aid time for Autism. I am also a Catholic and I wanted James to receive a Catholic education. As we live out in the country on a farm the nearest other Catholic school is a good hour away. I might also point out that James’s class teacher in grade 1 and 2 was very loving towards him and I knew that James liked her. His academic ability however remained at least 2 years behind that of his classmates. The teacher would leave James eating paper at his table while she taught the other children. This teacher would often say to me “It’s a pity that James has not had a proper diagnosis for his behavior.” I would reply “A proper diagnosis has been done in Melbourne. James has High Level Autism.” The teacher and the Principle of the school were always quick to point out that no Tasmanian specialists had found James to be Autistic. So the Melbourne specialist and his team had to be wrong. I decided that it didn’t matter what the teachers thought about me or that they questioned James’s diagnosis. As long as James was happy and getting some level of help I believed that the advantages of having a Catholic education outweighed the negative attitude that

the teachers at the school had of me. Looking back now I should have gone straight to the Catholic Education Board and made a formal complaint about the way I was being treated at the school. As I did not I was labelled a “bad mother” by most of the teachers and I still am to this day. At home the medication was helping James to sleep but there were still times when James was uncontrollably aggressive. I remained in phone contact with the Melbourne Specialist to keep him abreast of the situation. He agreed that James needed some kind of behavioral intervention. I took James to see a Psychologist who supposedly knew how to help my son. I had been to the Psychologist once before but she was very expensive and as I was on a disability pension I couldn’t afford to take James there on a regular basis. I ended up taking some of my Super out so that James could get the therapy that he so desperately needed. We did not get off to a good start. The Psychologist made it clear that she did not agree with medicating Autistic children. My attitude was - you are not qualified to make that call. I pointed out that I had had James diagnosed at the Royal Melbourne Children’s Hospital by a leading Australian team not some backyard medico who had just given me a heap of drugs because I’d asked for them. Looking back I should have said goodbye and moved on. But I didn’t believe that there was anywhere else to go. And I knew how important it was for James to get the behavioral modification therapy. James spent the next few months visiting the Psychologist and her team. James’s violence towards the family, especially me, went from bad to worse. He would often pull my hair and repeatedly punch me on the way to a session. (Usually because I wouldn’t go to the shop and buy him whatever he wanted. If I went to the shop to buy James an ice-cream he’d still attack me because he’d wanted two ice creams.) I would arrive at the sessions bedraggled, upset and yes very very angry. The Psychologist who was working with James pointed out to me once “Why are you always so angry?” Hello hadn’t this woman been listening to a word I’d said? Even at the age of 7 James would take over an hour to get dressed or have a shower in the morning. He would attack me continually throughout the whole process. James’s aggression towards his baby sister Emma was becoming alarmingly more frequent. Emma was born when James was 6. James had initially been excited about having a baby sister but once Emma arrived James would attack me every morning usually when I was breast feeding the baby. James did not differentiate between me and Emma. He would try to belt Emma too. So I would have to physically take his kicks and punches while I got Emma in to her cot and then got James out of the room away from his sister. This happened every morning. If I locked James out of the room he would scream kick and punch the door until it was nearly off its hinges. The noise was deafening and I was at a loss what to do? This behavior wasn’t good for James or Emma and as a mother who loved both her children it was breaking my heart. It should be pointed out that unlike James Emma immediately settled in to a routine and she was a “normal” baby. Unlike James Emma was able to settle and to sleep. The same techniques that had failed to help settle James in to a sleep pattern and a routine worked like a charm for Emma. I asked the Psychologist to visit our home. Admittedly the house was a mess. My MS was getting worse and I could hardly walk. My husband Greg refused to lift a finger in the

house regardless of how bad things were getting although in his defense he was working hard on the farm trying to pay the bills. James was continually trashing the house and breaking things every day. I just couldn’t keep up with the cleaning. I think it’s safe to say I was in survival mode. Dealing with James and my small baby took all of my energy and my focus, not spending hours making sure that the house was neat as a pin. On the day that the Psychologist visited us I went with her and bought a new bed and furniture for James’s bedroom (over $1000 worth of furniture). The Psychologist argued that James’s aggression was not due to the Autism but to the bad home environment. The Psychologist argued that Autistic children are not aggressive. (In my research I have since found that this is not right. High Level Autistic Children are usually aggressive, it is the norm.) The relationship between myself and the Psychologist remained cordial. At this stage my marriage was not good and I had decided to leave my husband. The Psychologist agreed that this would be best for James Emma and myself. Everything changed drastically however when I discovered that the Psychologist tried to double bill me for over three months worth of sessions. I had been paying cash for each session and often I would not get a receipt. James’s behavior was so disruptive that I was usually ushered out of the Psychologist’s rooms quickly and told I’d get a receipt next week. As I usually arrived with James having just attacked me I more often than not was not even thinking about getting a receipt. I was incredibly naïve to trust the Psychologist. On a few occasions I would get a receipt on a scrap of paper, hardly ever on a proper receipt. The long and short of it was I found, to my horror, that I was expected to pay nearly two thousand dollars. That amount was reduced only for the times that I could present a receipt. I complained to the Psychologist and she agreed to a meeting. At the meeting the Psychologist’s attitude had changed from cordial to down right rude. She told me that I was a bad mother and James should not be in my care. Being the person I am I didn’t just stand there meekly and take it, I tried to explain that I would not pay for the sessions I had already paid for. The Psychologist said if I could not produce receipts I had to pay for the sessions again. I left the place swearing that James would not go back there again. James was very upset when I told him that he would not be going back to see the Psychologist and her team. He became so agitated that I stupidly took him back. It was a case of trying to put my son’s needs first. I was desperate to get help for James and this Psychologist seemed to be someone he wanted to see. I ended up paying for nearly half the sessions again but I insisted on receipts after that. Yes I know what you’re thinking why was I so stupid? In my defense I was living in constant hell. I was lucky if I got two or three hours sleep a night. Because of my MS I hardly ever had a deep sleep. The physical demands of combating James’s violence on a daily basis had me worn down. I was desperate, sleep deprived, depressed and yes even suicidal. I think it’s safe to say that I was not thinking straight. James’s violence was escalating at home. If I showed Emma any kind of attention James would attack me throwing toys plate’s knives etc at me. It was my biggest fear that James would turn his aggression on Emma instead of venting his anger on me. One night things got way out of hand. James attacked me throwing a tin of soup at my head. The soup tin hit the side of my head and then carried on through the kitchen window. James then turned his aggression on his baby sister. Emma was in her play pen. I rushed to save

Emma from James. James was trying to punch and grab at Emma. I had to bend down to get Emma out of her play pen and keep James off us both. I raised my leg to keep some distance between him and us. This is something I had often done in the past as I cannot hold Emma with one hand and fend James off with the other. (Believe me I’ve tried but I just can’t). In the process of trying to fend James off James received a small bruise on his back. A few days later people from Child Protective Services came to see me about the bruise on James’s back. I later found out that the Psychologist had made a complaint about me viciously attacking my son. She argued that I shouldn’t be allowed to have children. I told the Child Protective Services what James was doing to us and they left assuring me that I would get some help. It wasn’t long after that that I went blind from the MS and James attacked me. James then attacked Emma and I couldn’t see to protect her. I rang Child Protective Services and asked for help. I asked for respite because I was at the end of my tether. James was taken away from the home and I agreed to voluntarily let him go. My understanding was that it would just be for a few days so that I could have some respite. A few weeks later I was informed by the Department that James would not be coming home and that they were going to go to court to get an order to keep him in their care. I couldn’t believe it! I didn’t want my son to be taken from me for a whole year. I wanted help within the home so that James would not go on attacking the rest of the family members, especially his baby sister. I went to court completely unaware of what I was about to face. When I got to court I was told that I would need a Lawyer. I didn’t have one. (Looking back that was really dumb on my part but I still believed at this point that there had been a huge misunderstanding and that what was needed was some kind of respite as well as some help within the home. After all I hadn’t done anything wrong. It was all a huge mistake.). In court I was accused of drugging James for no reason. I was also accused of viciously attacking my son. The Psychologist argued that I wasn’t a fit mother. The Principal of James’s school agreed that James was being drugged unnecessarily. The Vice Principal of the school wrote that based on her years of experience James did not have Autism he had ADHD. The Pediatricians and Psychiatrist I had been to in the past in Tasmania painted me as an unstable character who was seeking attention. James was a normal boy and I was trying to make out that he was Autistic when he wasn’t. It was suggested that I did not have MS and that I was making that up to. I realized then that I was in BIG TROUBLE. I flew to Melbourne and saw the Doctor who had diagnosed James with Autism. He made it clear to me that James did have Autism but he had received phone calls from Hobart from people who to use his own words “really hated me.” I reiterated what I had already told Children’s Services, I had at no stage given James any medication that had not been prescribed by the doctors at the Royal Melbourne Children’s Hospital. Whilst in Melbourne I also saw a Neurologist in the Royal Melbourne Women’s Hospital who confirmed through a MRI that yes I did have MS. I flew back to Tasmania convinced now more than ever that I was going to get my son back.

In the end I was not charged. However James was taken away from me for a year. I didn’t have the funds to fight the decision but I also had to agree that I could no longer control James. (I still believe that if James had remained at home he would have killed Emma during one of his violent outbursts.) I was assured that James would receive the proper medical help he needed whilst he was away from me. James was placed in Child Protective Services for one year. The Department never admitted that James had High Level Autism. Though they did agree that he had behavioral issues that needed to be addressed. For most of the time that James was away James stayed with a woman in a group home. The lady was able to help James and we started to see a definite improvement in his behavior. She admitted to me that there were times when she just could not handle James either but he was never as aggressive to her as he was to us his family. Many people have said to me why is it that James only attacks you? James admitted to one psychologist that he knew he was hurting us when he hit us but he didn’t care. He hit us because we are his family. He didn’t hit other people because he’d get in to trouble. Although I found it hard for James to be out of my care I felt that he was changing for the better. At this point I had hope that when James returned to us he would be less aggressive. However when the lady went away for a holiday James was almost sexually molested by one of the older boys staying at the group home. James ran away from the home at night around 8 o’clock. He was wearing his pajamas. James walked for miles trying to get home to us. When a car pulled up beside him James ran in to some bushes. Thankfully a bus driver picked James up. I did not find out the truth behind James’s running away until I had a meeting with his psychologist a few weeks later. I insisted straight away that James not be put in the same bedroom with the older boy who had tried to molest him. It took 6 days to hear anything back from the Child Protective Services. All that time James was left in the same house with the boy who had tried to abuse him. James was eventually moved. I was told that James was going to a place where he would receive one to one care. I was not told that he was being placed in a home with a delinquent boy. The boy repeatedly bashed James and I eventually had the boy charged by the Police. I pleaded with Child Protective Services over and over to move my son from the house to a safer place. That never happened. James was returned to our home at the end of April 2007. Within one week I was ringing the head of Child Protective Services asking when we were going to get the help in the home that we had been promised? James was lighting fires all over the farm, spitting in our faces, hitting us and swearing at us. He would wind down the window whilst he was driving in the car with me and yell out abuse at people. In short his behavior was worse than before. I was told that a referral had been made and we would get the help for James in the home. Nothing happened. I continued to see the Psychologist James had been seeing when he was in care. James hated her and I could see little head way was being made. The Psychologist kept telling me to be firmer and to set guidelines. I was and nothing was working. Many people have said that James hates me and I do not love him. This simply is not true. When James is calm he is a helpful and happy boy. We have a good relationship. He is very much a mother’s boy. One example of James being my little hero was when I had a fall in the lounge room trying to pick up a toy. I lost my balance and fell. I tore the

hamstring in my right leg and I couldn’t move. I was in agony on the floor. James rang the ambulance and got help. He was a brave boy and it just goes to show you that he can and will rush to my aid if I have an accident. I was in hospital for 9 days and James was very worried about me the whole time. The problem we have with James is that his ability to control his impulses disappears when he is anxious, angry depressed overstimulated or understimulated. At these times he has learnt that his aggressive behavior makes him feel better and it makes him feel like he is in control. The problem escalates because James has little or no empathy and if he causes any physical damage to someone he doesn’t care or understand that his violence could end up killing someone. When James sees me bleed from one of his blows it over stimulates him all the more and it results in James trying to hit me again and again and again. In July 2007 James got upset when Emma asked me to sit with her to watch TV. I had been playing with James for over an hour. I told James it was time for me to spend some time with Emma. James threw a basket ball in my face and broke my glasses. Blind without my glasses I was trying to find one of the lenses when James attacked Emma and pulled out all her hair in the front. I called the Police because I was very upset. I had also been advised to call the Police if James attacked Emma or myself by my lawyer. I hoped that seeing the Police would make James realize that what he was doing was unacceptable behavior. The Police were not very sympathetic and they said James’s behavior was not their problem. They didn’t like being called out because we could not control our 9 year old son. I should point out that Greg was furious that I had called the Police but at the same time Greg had done nothing to help me control James’s behavior. I took Emma to the doctor the next day because I was worried that her hair might not grow back. I was also upset about James. What was I going to do with him? I called the Psychologist and she blamed the incident on me inferring that James’s behavior was going backwards since he had come home. The truth is James’s behavior had gotten worse since he had been in Care. Largely because the Department placed James in a home with delinquent boys who bashed him. I found out that one of the boys I had charged later tried to burn the group house down and that a Carer who had been looking after him was receiving counseling. This is the environment that was supposed to be best for my son’s welfare? Is it any wonder that James has more issues with violence than ever before? What kind of a role model did Child Protection show my son? In my opinion Family and Child Services failed in their duty of care to my son and they have to date never been held accountable for that. With no help the family soldiered on. James continued to have blow ups sometimes on a daily basis. The house was trashed, and we lived in fear of what would happen the next time James blew? On the 20th December James started to attack me with rocks and toys. I called for the Police to come as James was out of control. I got the same Policeman on the phone that had come to our house when Emma’s hair was pulled out. The Policeman called me a “Silly Bitch” and hung up on me. An hour later James split my head open when he threw a large tin at my head. I had to get myself to hospital and I spent the night there. The next day I saw a Social Worker. The Social Worker rang Child Protection and reported back to

me that somehow our referral for home help had “fallen through the cracks.” She told me the obvious – I couldn’t keep living with James in the house when he was so violent. In January James threw a bottle at Greg and Greg claims that the bottle bounced off him and hit James in the forehead. James had a large bruise on his forehead. As my marriage was very much on the rocks I left Greg and took the children to a shelter. At the shelter James bashed Emma up every day. He put a hole in his bedroom wall and damaged a fly wire screen. My MS kicked in and I returned to the farm as I had nowhere else to go. Greg was supposed to move out of the home but he stayed to look after the children. Greg was not supportive of me in any way. I am well aware that James had picked up on the fact that Greg has never shown me any kind of emotional support and Greg blames me for James being removed from our home. I have been told by many people - “just move out.” But I have no money, no support system that was prepared to take James on. My sister in Melbourne cannot deal with James’s behavior and none of Greg’s family have ever been supportive in any way. The Police have often told me that I am not doing enough to help myself but I have MS and I can go blind. I can’t work in a full time job because of my health and the pension is just not enough to survive on and support my children. Especially not when James would trash any home I took him in to. I was trapped. I was expected to walk out the door with nothing and somehow magically have enough money to keep a roof over my head and my children. I couldn’t do it. So life continued on as before. James would attack each member of the family and cause more damage around the home when he was out of control. When James was good, he was a lovely boy. It was like living with an autistic version of Jekyll and Hyde. One good thing happened out of going to the shelter, a woman called Jayne from Centrecare came to do home counseling. James seemed to be making progress with her. For the first time that I can recall James left the room rather than attack his sister when he got very angry. I thought we had finally got through to James. Perhaps at long last we had turned the corner? My elation was short lived. On the 4 April 2008 I brought James a mouse from the local pet shop. James opened up the box while we were driving home and the mouse jumped out. When I got home and I could not find the mouse James started to throw objects at me. He hit me in the right kidney with a large plastic bottle of lemonade, he hit me on the left side of the head with another small plastic bottle and he threw rocks that hit my back and shoulders. I rushed Emma inside the house and Emma and I stayed locked in my study until Greg came home. James kept bashing my car leaving big dent marks in the front left hand panel of the bonnet. When Greg arrived home he took Emma and James out to the shops. James was fine with Greg he was just angry at me. I moved my car and parked it down in the bush so that James could not continue to hit it. I went back home and locked myself in my study. I pretended that I wasn’t home. James got back to the house and fell for the ruse. He went to bed believing that I had gone out. The next day was my birthday. James started to attack me again. I took Emma and fled the house. James picked up a garden hoe and raised it to hit me with it I screamed at him and thank goodness he decided not to hit me. If he had hit me with the hoe I would probably be dead now. As it was James threw rocks at me and Emma all the way to my car. I got Emma to the car and drove off. We returned back home later that evening.

James got on his scooter and drove it at Emma full bore. He kept doing it and I yelled at him to stop. James then road his scooter in to my legs really hurting my already injured right leg. I yelled at James “Right I’ve had enough!” James ran upstairs and I limped up the staircase after him. James picked up a ginger beer bottle to throw it in my face. Greg yelled at him “NO!” James put the bottle down. I went to go in to his father’s room after James. In hindsight that probably wasn’t the smartest move. James threw a plastic bottle half full of black current juice in my face. (I never knew what hit me Greg identified the object). In shock I found that I was bleeding profusely from the nose and it felt like my whole face had been punched in. James ran down the staircase laughing and yanked the phone from the wall. I yelled at him to get out of my way. I managed to get the phone reconnected and called an ambulance. The ambulance refused to come when they heard what had happened. I had to call the Police to come and fetch me. James continued to attack me and I had to go to my car and lock myself in until the Police arrived. The Police took me down to the Police Station and the ambulance picked me up from there. At hospital I was told that I had a bone fracture in the top of my nose and my left cheek. My front tooth was also broken from the blow and I had a huge black eye. All I could think of as I lay in hospital was this could have been Emma. The next day Greg arrived at the hospital with James and Emma. James was excited by the fact that he had hurt me. By that evening he was again throwing bottles in my face and I was again locking myself and Emma in my study. James showed no remorse for injuring me. Worse still he seemed to be getting a power surge from the whole nasty episode. I rang the Department of Child and Family to request that James be removed from my home for a brief while. The Department did not act immediately and in the following days James tried to hit me in the face with a bottle 5 times. He constantly hit Greg with rocks and he punched Emma in the stomach and thumped her around the head. When James punched me in the stomach and again tried to hit me in the face with a bottle I took Emma and stayed in a caravan park for the weekend. My mind was made up. James could no longer live with us. He needed time away from the family to give him time to calm down and to give the family respite. Putting James back in to Care was not the ideal answer. I knew from past experience that the Department would not help his behavior but leaving James in the home was now out of the question. Emma’s life my own life and even Greg’s life were at risk. James was taken in the worst kind of way. I took James to school and said goodbye. When I got home two people from Child Protection accompanied by two Police came to collect James’s belongings and to hand me a warrant. The Department wanted to take James in to care until he was 18 years old. I was appalled. It was pointed out to me that I requested that James be removed from the home. I argued yes that was the case but I had asked for James to be removed only for a few months possibly a year. James needs to get therapy so that he stops attacking his family. The Department argued that James is “normal” and that Greg and I are just bad parents. Sounds familiar doesn’t it? The nightmare goes on. The Policeman who came to view Emma’s ripped out hair and called me a “silly bitch” claims that Emma’s hair was not pulled out but that in his opinion I had cut the hair and blamed James for the incident. Child and Family investigated whether Emma should

remain in our home. Greg and I had to go for psychiatric evaluations. Emma had to see a pediatrician and the pediatrician told us that Emma is healthy and normal. (This is something I already knew. Emma has never been injured by Greg or myself. Emma has empathy. She is a normal little girl.) The Department dropped their case against Emma after a few months. Our lawyer convinced us that trying to fight the Department was useless. The bottom line was I could not control James when he was raging. And I firmly believe that if James returns home now that he will continue to be a danger to every member of our family. So at the time of writing James has being taken out of our home until he is 18. I am not an abusive parent. I love James and Emma. I have never hurt my children. My children have always been well fed and cared for. James has never had to go to hospital for an injury. The only person that has been hospitalized due to violence in the home is me. Who was the person who put me in hospital? James. Since being in Child Protection for a second time James was severely bashed by a 16 year old boy who was sharing a Care home with James in Battery Point. When James showed us his bruises Greg made a complaint to the Police and he was told by the Police Officer who took the call that they would not intervene, it was a Child Protection Problem not there’s. The Carers of James did not take James to hospital or even to a doctor until the bruises had cleared up. However when the 16 year old attacked one of the Carer’s the16 year old was thrown out of the Carer’s home. In September 2009, James came to our home complaining of a sore foot. When we checked the foot we discovered severe bruising across the whole top of James’s foot, including all the toes. When the Carer was notified the Carer tried to rub the bruises saying that they were caused by sock dye. I pointed out to the Carer that they were real bruises and James should have been taken to a doctor. James was never taken to a doctor and the Department did nothing about this even when they were made aware of it. James has had many things broken by the other children in his Carer’s house and his Christmas present a $198.00 DS went missing along with $40. The Department has done nothing about it. The Carer claims that James lost the DS or it’s at our house. James was with a family who were wonderful to him. The parents showed a genuine concern for my son and like us, his parents, they only wanted what was best for James. Unfortunately James’s behavior has been too taxing for them and as I write this the Department is currently looking for another place for James to live. The Department is still denying that James’s behavior is the reason why he cannot stay at this family’s home. It is my hope that James’s Autism will finally be recognized by Child Protection and he will be placed with the family who genuinely cares about him. Many people believe that I favor Emma over James. Emma is certainly easier to handle. But I love my two children and I want to have James back with me one day soon. He will always be my child and a piece of my heart is always missing when he is away from me. The reality is I need help for my son, and his “violence”. It is not enough to modify my parenting skills James needs therapy to help him handle his aggression better.

I believe that there is a genetic component to James’s violence. I have a violent family history. My father and mother were first cousins and both of them were physically and emotionally abusive to me. I still carry cigarette scars where my mother put out cigarettes on my arms. My mother was mentally unstable for much of my late teens and early twenties and I would return from university hearing her head bang on her bedroom wall. I have often wondered if James’s chronic head banging is somehow connected to my mother? Is there a genetic component? James only met my mother when he was a tiny baby so he could not have learned the behavior from her. My father was a cruel and abusive man and I was frequently belted by him. He put me in hospital when I was ten because he smashed my head against a plastered wall repeatedly. But there were many more beatings that went unreported over the years until I finally managed to sever all contact with him when I was twenty five. I had one brother who died of Frederick’s Ataxia the day before his eighteenth birthday (Jason was a sweet natured boy) and a second brother Adam, who was murdered because of his violent nature. He was shot in the back of the head after threatening a man. Right now there is no way to say for sure how much of James’s aggression and chronic head banging are due to his autism and how much has been influenced by his genetic make-up? Perhaps we will never know? My elder sister and I have a loving relationship but we both have emotional and psychological scars because of the way we were brought up. One of the reasons I have had to turn to Child and Family is because I have no family support. My sister cannot handle James’s behavior and although she loves James she cannot have him stay with her. I did Psychology at University to get some answers to why I was abused? What I learned has helped me deal with my own emotions and reactions to James’s violent outbursts. I know that when James is attacking me he is not thinking clearly and his lack of empathy is due to his autism. It is ironic that I have been labeled an abusive mother by Child Protection and other people. An abusive parent makes a conscious choice to hit or to hurt their child. I made a conscious decision when my son was born that I would not repeat the cycle of abusive behavior that I had experienced as a child and as a young woman. I yell when I am upset and I hit a pillow or two but I do not hit my son or my daughter. If I am really angry I leave the room. Have I defended myself against James’s blows? Of course I have or I wouldn’t be here. But I have never hated James or hurt him. Do I hate James’s violent out bursts? Yes I do. I have seen how violence destroyed my brother Adam’s life and I do not want that kind of future for my son. I will continue to work with Child and Family towards helping James to develop a consistent way of handling his aggression. I placed James in Child and Family Protection because I simply had no choice. Having James at home was placing my daughter Emma at too high a risk. And on a selfish level I had reached my breaking point. I didn’t want to be hit by my son again and again. If I have learnt anything from my past it is that no-one has the right to hit you. It breaks my heart that I couldn’t find a way to stop James’s violence and that I had to make the decision to put him back in Care.

A lot of people have called me a “Bitch” for giving up my son for the second time. But the reality is I had no other choice. What if James had hurt Emma the way he was hurting me? What if he put her in hospital or worse still killed her in one of his violent rages? I have been painted as a bad parent for years. When the truth of the matter is I have been let down by the medical system in Tasmania. I have been treated as a scapegoat. I have been falsely accused of harming my children. I am innocent. My only crimes are that I had the misfortune to have a son born with Autism I have MS and I am guilty of remaining in a loveless marriage. Without James in the home our life now is relatively normal for Emma. Emma has the stability of both her parents in her life and she is in her own home. Greg and I sleep in separate bedrooms and I still plan to leave Greg but I have to earn enough money to make that possible. People who have started to investigate our case have called it “a conspiracy” and a “Witch hunt”. It has been argued by Child Protection that Greg and I are obsessed about “Autism.” Any parent who receives a diagnosis from a reputable hospital noted as one of the leading hospitals for children in Australia would take the diagnosis seriously. As loving parents Greg and I have made it our business to find out all we can about Autism. For the record James does not just have Autism. James has frontal lobe damage, elements of ADHD and Oppositional Defiance. All these conditions add to the complexity of handling James. Normal parenting techniques will not work with James all the time, though they do sometimes. To take the word of Tasmanian Specialists who did not test for Autism over a highly respected Hospital (Royal Melbourne Children’s Hospital) that actually did test for Autism is something that I feel the general public should be made aware of. Is this is a just decision? I don’t think so. None of the Tasmanian Specialists who have seen James have been qualified to judge whether or not James has Autism. Furthermore all of the Tasmanian Specialists James has seen over the years have verbally admitted to me that Autism is not their area of expertise. So why has Child Protection repeatedly refused to acknowledge the Victorian diagnosis of Autism? Recently a new medical body of professionals who are qualified ASD specialists have set up in Tasmania. I wanted James to see them but Child and Family have refused my request. Could it be that they do not want anyone who are qualified ASD specialists to see my son? What have they to fear? If they truly believe that James does not have Autism surely they would want this confirmed by ASD specialists here in Tasmania? To deny that a child has a disability is a form of child abuse. To leave that child without proper treatment is child abuse. To blame the parents for the child’s behavior which is largely effected by his disability is to blame the parent for the child’s disability. No parent of an epileptic child is told that their bad parenting is the cause of their child’s epilepsy. Of course the Tasmanian professionals who did not test for Autism and clearly should have will deny that James is Autistic. It is not in their interests to admit that they are guilty of medical negligence. All the research says that if a child’s Autism is not identified and treated before the age of 3 the damage is permanent. James saw his first

Pediatrician when he was just 12 weeks. If the Pediatrician had identified James’s Autism then James might have been a happier and better adjusted child today. Nothing will ever compensate my family for the pain and suffering it has endured. Greg and I have been labeled bad parents and our marriage is over. The truth is neither Greg or myself are bad people we are parents of a child with a disability. James’s disability has been denied and the treatments he so badly needs have also been withheld. The truly devastating news is that our family is not unique. There are many other families living a daily life that is pure hell. As one Politician I spoke to pointed out very few Autistic children have been identified in Tasmania. This is a small island state and there just isn’t the demand for ASD Specialists. My reply to that was there are Autistic children here in Tasmania and all over the world who are not having their Autism recognized by their communities for two reasons. Firstly there is a chronic shortage of ASD Specialists who know how to test for Autism and secondly there is no proper support set up or available to many people who have ASD children. Thus a parent who has an ASD child faces the huge problem of firstly getting their child’s ASD recognized and secondly finding medical professionals who can work with them and their child. Tasmania Departments like Child and Family have not got the proper inner structure to deal with children with disabilities like my son James. It is far easier to argue that James is normal because by arguing that James is normal we his parents can be blamed for James’s behavior. The Department is set up to deal with abused children it is not structured in such a way that it can properly deal with ASD children so rather than sit down and restructure the way they handle children with “Challenging behaviors and/or disabilities” it is easier and cheaper to keep the system the way it is. I have been repeatedly told by the Department of Child and Family that everything they do is in James’s best interests but this is clearly not true. The Department is denying my son his fundamental human right to have his disability acknowledged. It was the Department that placed my son in a home where he was almost sexually abused and in another home where he was bashed and exposed to delinquent behavior. My son is currently in a home with good Carers but even so the message James gets every day is that he is “normal”. So is James 2-3 years behind in his school work because he is lazy? As James grows up it is becoming clearer to other children around him that James is not “Normal”. James is now at a new Catholic school and while his Carers are doing what they can to support him James is hearing conflicting stories about why he is in Care. James does not remember hitting me in the face with a bottle and putting me in hospital. So my son is faced with trying to define himself as a young boy. Is he normal? And if he is then why isn’t he like everyone else? Why does he struggle to comprehend so much of the world around him when other children his own age can do so many things that James can’t? Do his parents love him and if they do then why is he in Care? How will all this effect my son in the future? I speak to James every day on the phone and I tell him that I love him. The truth is I desperately want to find a way that I can live with my son so that he can have a positive and loving environment to grow up in. Can I provide him with that at the moment? The answer is no. I cannot do it alone. Will I give up trying to find a way to help my boy? Never.

Some people have said that I have a “victim mentality”. This is not true. I have been a victim of violence but I am in my soul a fighter and a survivor. If that was not the case I would not still be here. My driving force is my love for my children and my soul deep conviction that writing this book will help other parents like myself. When it comes right down to it, life isn’t meant to be easy but God is always with us and when my life has seemed unbearable it is God’s love that has sustained me. Also if I do not continue to fight for my son who will?

CONTACTS One of the greatest problems I faced when James was born and I realized that James wasn’t “normal” was that I didn’t know who to turn to for help? I have written a comprehensive list of places that parents can look up on the internet. I have categorized the sites by the countries that they originate from but you can glean a lot of useful information from many of these sites so browse through them. This is not an exhaustive list of all the Autism sites out there on the internet and new sites on Autism are always popping up. Think of these sites as a starting place for you to begin your education on Autism. I have tried to list sites that will give you the best up to date information and help on Autism so that you can make the most informed decisions about how you wish to proceed identifying and treating your child’s Autism. The following are useful contacts in America; The Autism Connection. Information and resources about Autism to the community. Autism Information Center (USA) for more enquiries email Autism Meet Up Autism News Autism News Journal The Autism-PDD Resources Network This web site gives further information on diagnosis and treatment options for Autism. The site also provides a state-by-state directory of schools that specialize in helping children with learning disabilities. Visit their web site at or write to them at Autism-PDD.NET 14271 Jeffrey #3 Irvine, CA 92620

Autism Online Autism Research Institute - founded by Bernard Rimland. Invaluable resource for up to date reports and research in to ASD. Visit their web site at or write to them at Autism Research Institute 4182 Adams Avenue San Diego, CA 92116 USA ARI Autism Resource Call Center: English: 1-866-366-3361. Autism Resources Provides several articles and information on autism in all fifty states of the US. This web site provides information and links about autism and Asperger’s Syndrome. email John Wobus: Autism Society of America - the official site of the biggest US Autism Spectrum Disorder organization. You can write to the Autism Society at this address Autism Society 7910 Woodmont Avenue, Suite 300 Bethesda, Maryland 20814-3067 Phone: 301.657.0881 or 1.800.3AUTISM (1.800.328.8476) Autism Today.Visit their web site at or you can write to them at these addressess United States Office: Exceptional Resources, Inc. 1425 Broadway #444, Seattle, WA 98122 Toll Free: 1-877-9 AUTISM (928-8476) Phone: 1-780-416-4448 Baby Bumble Bee Resources. or write to them at Mailing Address: Baby BumbleBee, Inc. 409 South Pinellas Ave. Tarpon Springs, FL 34689 Toll Free (888) 984-5500 or (727) 938-8799 Fax Number (727)-938-8939 BBB Autism Online Support Network

email: Behavior Analyst Certification Board email: Behavior/Education - Families for Early Autism Treatment Families for Early Autism Treatment write to them at P. O. Box 255722 Sacramento, CA 95865-5722 Biomedical Approach - Defeat Autism Now! (DAN!) see Autism Research Institute Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies Provides information on behavioral research and techniques related to autism email: The Center for the Study of Autism (CSA) now Autism Collaboration Provides comprehensive information about autism, including a discussion of intervention methods and a description of disorders related to autism. Visit this web site or write to them at the following address Autism Collaboration P.O. Box 4538 Salem, OR 97302 Disability Information – huge resource for families with disabled children in the US. email: Requests for disability benefits. The Web site is or ring toll free number (1-800-772-1213) for specific disability programs ph 1-800-3334636 Look up FEATNT online and search for therapists who deal with Autism in the USA or you can write to them at the following address FEAT-NT Resource Center & Library 7286 Glenview Drive Richland Hills, Texas 76180 817-919-2228 FRAXA Research Foundation Web Site Up to date information on Fragile X research, and contact information for FRAXA membership. or you can write to them at the following address FRAXA Research Foundation 45 Pleasant St., Newburyport,

MA 01950 Phone: (978) 462-1866 Fax: (978) 463-9985 Email: Free Autism/ABA Resources including activities that can be printed out. email: Future Horizons Publisher of Autism books. Visit their web site at or write to them at Future Horizons 721 W. Abram St. Arlington, TX 76013 Phone: 817.277.0727 Toll free: 800.489.0727 Hyperbaric Medical Centre of New Mexico. phone at (505) 955-8560, email: Mailing address: Hyperbaric Medical Center of New Mexico 404 Brunn School Rd. Suite E, Santa Fe INFEAT - Families for Effective Autism Treatment Information about Autism relevant to parents, teachers, special educators, and care givers. See Information and support service for individuals and families by someone with ASD The International Rett Syndrome Association visit them at their web site or write to them at The International Rett Syndrome Association 9121 Piscataway Road Clinton, MD 20735 800-818 RETT 301-856-3334 FAX: 301-856-3336 Lasard Autism Training Modules email:

Lovaas Institute for Early Intervention. Ivar Lovaas’s behavioral intervention program for young children with Autism. Focuses on ways to help the ASD child develop language and communication, social/play, pre-academic, and independent living skills. or you can write to them at one of the following addresses West Headquarters Los Angeles Office 11500 West Olympic Boulevard Suite 318 Los Angeles, CA 90064 Phone: (310) 914-5433 Fax: (310) 914-5463 E-mail: East Headquarters Cherry Hill / Philadelphia Office 57 Haddonfield Road Suite 110 Cherry Hill, NJ 08002 Phone: (856) 616-9442 Fax: (856) 667-3563 E-mail: National Autism Association Email: or call toll free at 877-NAA-AUTISM (877-622-2884). National Fragile X Foundation. or write to them at National Fragile X Foundation P.O. Box 190488 San Francisco, California 94119 800-688-8765 or 510-763-6030 FAX: 510-763-6223 Local Ph: 925-938-9300 Toll-free Ph: 800-688-8765 The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) Autism Information page. Visit their web site here or write to them at this address NIH Neurological Institute P.O. Box 5801 Bethesda, MD 20824 To find an Autism school in America check out these web sites

email: Autism Support Network. Write to them at this address Autism Support Network Box 1525 Fairfield, CT 06824 (USA) Tel: (203) 404-4929 Supplier of educational and communication materials for Special Needs Children. Visit their web site at TEFRA (Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act) or “Katie Beckett” option. This helps parents of ASD children with significant medical expenses. Parents receive Medicaid coverage for home and community-based care. Family income is not taken in to account. To receive funding the child must meet the disability definitions set out in the SSI or Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) programs and the child must be cared for at home. The following states used the TEFRA option:Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New, Hampshire, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. Source: And Note: Changes to insurance are currently effecting the way each State in America is handling payment benefits to parents of ASD children. Contact your local Chapter of the Autism Society of America for further information. "Woodall Foundation" was created by a wife who lost her husband on 9/11. This very generous lady has set up a fund in Coppell USA to help parents with costly therapies for their ASD child. Although the program is run in the US anyone with an ASD child can ask for financial aid no matter where they live in the world. Visit the web site Email at or you can write to the following address Woodall Foundation 4428 Park Lane Dallas TX 75220 (214) 902 7888 Yellow Pages for Kids with Disabilities

email: In America contact the local chapter of the Autism Society Of America (ASA) in your area. Ph: toll-free 800-3-AUTISM. Join your local support group. You can find out this information through your ASA chapter in your area in America. Here are a list of web sites State by State that may be helpful. ALABAMA Alabama Autism Assistance Program provides scholarships to children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders for behavioral therapy. Visit their web site at or you can write to them at Alabama Autism Assistance Program 300 Shadow Wood Park Suite 100 Hoover, AL 35244 PH. 205-332-2542 Alabama Resources. Visit their web site at or write to them at Autism-PDD.NET 14271 Jeffrey #3 Irvine, CA 92620 Autism Society of Alabama visit their web site at or write to them at Autism Society of Alabama 4217 Dolly Ridge Road, Birmingham, AL 35243 PH: 1-877-4 AUTISM Email: Autism Spectrum Disorders Diagnostic Clinic

ALASKA Autism Alaska. Visit their web site at or write to them at Autism Alaska 4360 N. Wyoming Drive,

Wasilla, AK. 99654 Email: Alaska Resources Autism Society of Alaska - ASA Anchorage, Alaska Toll Free: 800/ 3 AUTISM Center for Human Development. Visit their web site at or write to Center for Human Development 2702 Gambell Street, Ste.103 Anchorage, Alaska 99503 Phone: (907) 272-8270 Toll Free: 1-800-243-2199 Email: Early Intervention Services for Autism in Alaska Northwest Autism Foundation Alaska. Visit their web site at or write to them at Northwest Autism Foundation - NWAF 519 15th Street, Oregon City, OR 97045 Tel: 503/ 557-2111

ARIZONA Arizona Autism Coalition Arizona Autism Resources Autism Resources S.E.E.K Arizona. or write to them at S.E.E.K Arizona 1830 S. Alma School Road Suite 130 Mesa, Arizona 85210 480-902-0771 Northern Arizona Chapter of the Autism Society of America (NAZASA). or write to them at

Northern Arizona Chapter of the Autism Society of America (NAzASA) P.O. Box 2014 Flagstaff, AZ 86003-2014 The Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center in Phoenix or write to them at Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center Campus for Exceptional Children 300 N. 18th Street Phoenix, AZ 85006-4103 Phone: (602) 340-8717 Fax: (602) 340-8720 E-mail: VSAN or the Valley of the Sun Autism Network. It is a resource for parents of kids with autism who live in the Phoenix metro or its surrounding areas in Arizona.

ARKANSAS Arkansas Autism Email: Autism Resource Center of Arkansas or write to them at this address Community Connections 2740 College Avenue Conway, Arkansas 72034 (501)-329-5459 Arkansas Resources Autism Speaks Arkansas Email :

CALIFORNIA Autism Society of California. or write to them at this address Autism Society of California,

P.O. Box 1355, Glendora, CA 91740 800-869-7069 California Autism Resources CALNAA : California Chapter of the National Autism Association. or write to them at this address CalNAA P.O. Box 1264 El Cerrito CA 94530 Email Aria at Healing Thresholds California Talk About Curing Autism TACA

COLORADO Colorado Autism Resources Autism Society of Colorado Colorado Resource Guide

CONNECTICUT Autism Society of Connecticut Connecticut Magazine. Guide to agencies and programs serving adults and children on the autism spectrum The Center for Children with Special Needs in Glastonbury, Connecticut. Connecticut Resources

DELAWARE Autism Delaware Center For Disability Studies – University of Delaware Resources Delaware Resources The Lower Delaware Autism Foundation The Sun Has a New Look

FLORIDA Autism Society of Florida Florida Autism Center. Florida Autism Connection. Family Centered Intervention for Autism. Florida Autism Resources Miami Institute for Human Genomics

GEORGIA Autism Resources in Georgia Georgia teacher who works with ASD children, Barbara Gaertig. North Georgia Autism Center (NGAC)

HAWAII Autism Society of Hawaii Autism Bridges Maui Autism Speaks Hawaii Hawaii Resources Hawaii State Department of Education (DOE)

IDAHO Healing Thresholds Idaho Idaho Autism Association visit their web site at or write to them at Idaho Autism Association Cheryl Nickels PO Box 2550, Idaho Falls, ID 83303-2550 Tel: 800/ 695-0285 Fax: 208/ 336-4946 email Idaho Center for Autism Idaho Resources Learning Disabilities National Information Center for Children and Youth with Disabilities – NICHCY of Idaho or write to them at

National Information Center for Children and Youth with Disabilities – NICHCY of Idaho PO Box 1492, Washington, DC 20013-1492 Tel: 800/ 695-0285 Northwest Autism Foundation – NWAF or write to them at Northwest Autism Foundation – NWAF 519 15th Street, Oregon City, OR 97045 Tel: 503/ 557-2111 Autism Education Special Education Section Department of Education Supervisor Nolene Weaver Post Office Box 83720, Boise, ID 83720-0027 Tel : 208/ 332-6317 University of Idaho or write to them at UAP Center on Disabilities And Human Development Executive Director : Julie Foder, PhD 129 West Third Street, Moscow, ID 83843 Tel: 208/ 885-5599 Fax: 208/ 885-3628 email

ILLINOIS Autism Illinois Illinois Autism Training and Technical Assistance Project (IATTAP) Healing Thresholds Illinois Illinois Resources Social Stories fact Sheet

INDIANA Autism Society of Indiana Indiana Autism Education and Training Center Indiana Resource Center for Autism Indiana Resources Northwest Indiana Autism Support Group

IOWA Healing Thresholds Iowa The Autism Society of Iowa Iowa Resources University of Iowa Information and Referral for autism services in Iowa

KANSAS Healing Thresholds Kansas Autism Resources Kansas Early Autism National Autism Association : Kansas Chapter.

KENTUCKY Kentucky Autism Kentucky Autism Training Center – University of Louisville Kentucky Resources Living with Autism in Kentucky STAR Treatment Center

LOUISIANA Autism Society of America The Louisiana Autism Chapter Autism Resource Guide Human Development Center Louisiana Autism Spectrum and Related Disabilities. Autism Training Modules - Module Registration ..collaboration with the Louisiana Department of Education. Louisiana Resources North East Louisiana Chapter

MAINE Ability Maine Jacks Friends Autism in Maine

Autism Resources The Autism Society of Maine

MARYLAND Autism Connect Maryland Chapters of the Autism Society of America. Maryland Resources Pathfinders For Autism

MASSACHUSETTS Advocates for Autism for Massachusetts (AFAM) Autism Alliance of Metro West is a non-profit organization based in Natick, Massachusetts. Massachusetts Resources New England Center for Children (NECC) is a nonprofit autism school

MICHIGAN Autism Michigan Easter Seals Michigan – Disability and ASD resources Healing Thresholds - programs and places to go to meet people who understand what it means to have an ASD child.

Michigan Resources Mid-Michigan Autism Resources Intermountain Center for Autism and Child Development in Meridian, Idaho . University of Michigan

MINNESOTA Autism Society of Minnesota Lionsgate Academy school for ASD children Minnesota Autism Center (MAC) Minnesota has the highest number of ASD children in America Minnesota Resources

MISSISSIPPI Ask Deb about Autism Autism-Mississippi or ASD-Mississippi Easter Seals – Disability and ASD resources s_mississippi Ellen Hill, a MS special ed teacher has got a sensory integration room for children with autism Mississippi Resources TEAAM Together Enhancing Autism Awareness in Mississippi

MISSOURI Autism in Missouri. Missouri Autism Coalition Missouri Resources Northwest Missouri Autism Alliance

MONTANA Montana Autism Society of America Northwest Autism Foundation or write to them at the following address Northwest Autism Foundation - NWAF 519 15th Street, Oregon City, OR 97045 Tel: 503/ 557-2111 Resources in Montana Services for Autism in Montana

NEBRASKA Autism Action Partnership Autism Society of Nebraska Feat of Nebraska Resources in Nebraska

NEVADA Act Now Nevada Autism Coalition of Nevada Nevada FEAT Northern Nevada Chapter of the Autism Society of America! Resources in Nevada The University of Nevada's Early Childhood Autism Program.

NEW HAMPSHIRE Autism Society of New Hampshire Autism Speaks New Hampshire The DRM Regional Resources Directory Disability Resources in New Hampshire Resources in New Hampshire

NEW JERSEY Autism Center of New Jersey Medical School Autism New Jersey New Jersey State Resources For Autism

NEW MEXICO Autism Services in New Mexico Hyperbaric Medical Center of New Mexico New Mexico Autism Society New Mexico Resources Providing support for families living with an Autism Spectrum Disorder in Northern New Mexico

NEW YORK Autism Research in New York Autism Society of America - York, PA Chapter Gersh Academy. This school caters for children between Grade 3 – 12. The school uses the I Am I Can Program which has a cognitive behavioral approach where students are taught to self manage and regulate their symptoms. Gersh Academy is located in Melville, New York, Ph. (631) 385-3342. The Learning Spring Academy located in the Chelsea area of New York City, caters for elementary age ASD students. Recognizing that ASD children have special needs the school also has social and emotional programs, there is speech–language therapy and sensory integration therapies. For more information on the school, please Ph. (212) 2394926. You can visit their web site at this address New York Autism Resources The New York Autism Meetup Group The NNY Autism Center, located in Northern New York at 103 South Main Street, Black River, New York 13612

The Y.A.L.E. Schools use an Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) approach to teach ASD children. Schools are located in Cherry Hill, Northfield, Medford Lakes, Voorhees, and Williamstown, New Jersey. Some of the schools deal with different disabilities. For example Y.A.L.E. School Central (Mansfield Twp) Provides programs for students with Asperger's syndrome. For further information contact

NORTH CAROLINA Autism Society of North Carolina Chapel Hill, North Carolina operates a team of therapists and teachers in their autism satellite classrooms. Visit their web site at this address Disability Resources North Carolina Division TEACCH Eastern North Carolina Autism North Carolina Resources

NORTH DAKOTA Autism Services in North Dakota Autism Society of North Dakota Healing Threshold North Dakota North Dakota Resources

OHIO The Autism Society of Greater Cleveland

Autism Society of Ohio National Autism Association - Northeast Ohio Ohio Autism Resources SEO-ASA : Southern Ohio Chapter - Autism Society of America

OKLAHOMA Aaron’s Bridge – ASD Resources in Oklahoma Autism in Oklahoma Oklahoma Autism Alliance Oklahoma Resources

OREGAN Autism Society of Oregon The CDRC Autism Program provides services to children with established or suspected symptoms of Autism. Oregon Health and Science University. Healing Thresholds Oregon Oregon Resources Northwest Autism Foundation Oregon Administrative Rule (OAR) for Autism Spectrum Disorders The Autism Research & Resources of Oregon (ARRO)

PENNSYLVANIA Autism Support of Pennsylvania Pennsylvania Autism Resources Pennsylvania Resources

RHODE ISLAND Autism Project of Rhode Island Autism Speaks Rhode Island Rhode Island Autism Family Network Rhode Island Resources

SOUTH CAROLINA South Carolina Autism Society South Carolina Resources Therapy Center in South Carolina Promotes Artistic Talents of Youngsters with Autism South Carolina

SOUTH DAKOTA Autism Services in South Dakota Autism Speaks South Dakota autism care provider, Children's Care Hospital and School in the Sioux Falls, Rapid City area. South Dakota Resources University of South Dakota center fosters research, training, evaluation of ASD children USD-Center for Disabilities

TENNESSEE The Autism Foundation of Tennessee (AFT) Autism Society of Middle Tennessee Tennessee Resources

TEXAS Behavior Innovations in Dallas Texas-Autism-Advocacy, Family Support & Networking Texas Autism Resources Heart of Texas Autism Network/What’s New The Wayman Learning Center in Plano The Ziggurat Group is a private practice located in Plano, Texas. Drs. Aspy and Grossman provide psychological services and specialize in autism assessment

UTAH Healing Thresholds Utah Utah Autism Coalition Utah Autism Foundation Utah Resources

VERMONT Autism Society of Vermont Vermont Autism Task Force Vermont Resources

VIRGINIA Autism Society of America: Northern Virginia Chapter. Commonwealth Autism Services The West Virginia Autism Training Center Marshall University College of Education and Human Services , NCATE The Virginia Autism Resource Center (VARC) Virginia Resources VTCC


Autism Guidebook for Washington State Autism Recovery Resources of Washington Autism Society of America - Washington Chapter. Visit them at their web site or write to them at this address Autism Society of America - Washington Chapter. PO Box 310, East Olympia, WA 98540-0310 Tel : 360/ 943-2205 Fax : 360/ 330-5707 Autism Society of Washington, Tri-Cities Chapter Center on Human Development & Disabilities Email: FEAT of Washington or write to them at this address FEAT of Washington 5700 Sixth Ave. S, Suite 208, Seattle WA 98108 Tel : 206/ 763-3373 206/ 499-3328 Fax : 206/ 763-3373 National Information Center for Children and Youth with Disabilities NICHCY of Washington or write to them at this address National Information Center for Children and Youth with Disabilities NICHCY of Washington PO Box 1492, Washington, DC 20013-1492 Tel : 800/ 695-0285 Fax : 202/ 884-8200 Northwest Autism Foundation - NWAF. or write to them at this address Northwest Autism Foundation - NWAF 519 15th Street, Oregon City,

OR 97045. Tel : 503/ 557-2111 University of Washington. or write to them at the following address Executive Director : Michael J. Guralnick, Ph. D Box 357920, Seattle, WA 98195 Tel : 206/ 543-2832 Fax : 206/ 543-5771 Washington Assistive Technology Alliance. write to them at 606 Sharp, Sokane, WA 99201 FAX: 509/326-2261 Washington Protection & Advocacy System Washington Resources

WEST VIRGINIA Academy of Special Needs Answers WV. your resource for special needs planning, as well as for finding an attorney that can help in your area. Autism Society of America West Virginia. Visit them at their web site or write to them at the following address Autism Society of America West Virginia 7910 Woodmont Avenue Suite 300 Bethesda, Maryland 20814-3067 WV 301 657 0881 800 328 8476 Autism Speaks West Virginia Healing Thresholds West Virginia Heroes with Handicaps Improving the Lives of Military Children with Autism WV

IAN Project The Interactive Autism Network WV, is an online project designed to accelerate the pace of autism research by linking researchers and families. When you become part of IAN's online community you get up to date information on autism. The site provides feedback. It is a site where you can make your voice heard. Mainstream Services. or write to them at the following address Mainstream Services 4757 C Route 152 Lavalette, WV 25535 Ph 304 522 1945 Fax : 304 522 1946 Mountain State Centers for Independent Living Various Locations WV Resource Networking in West Virginia. Russell Nesbitt Services. or write to the following address Russell Nesbitt Services 519 Fulton Street Wheeling, WV 26003 Ph. 304 232 0233 800 372 0233 Fax: 304 232 1819 West Virginia Autism Registry The West Virginia Autism Training Center West Virginia State Resources

WISCONSIN Autism Society of Northeastern Wisconsin Autism Parents of SE Wisconsin

Autism Society of South Eastern Wisconsin Autism Society of Wisconsin Healing Thresholds Wisconsin Waisman Center Wisconsin Parents of Children with Developmental Delays /Autism Wisconsin Resources

WYOMING Autism News Wyoming Autism Services in Wyoming Wyoming Resources

AUSTRALIAN CONTACTS Here is a list of ASD contacts that you may find useful if you live in Australia. Association for Children with a Disability Australian Advisory Board on Autism Spectrum Disorders (formerly the Autism Council of Australia) - formed by the state and territory Autism associations to provide a national face to Autism Spectrum Disorders in Australia Autism Awareness ISADD (Intervention Services For Autism & Developmental Delay) Australian Asperger Syndrome Information Centre

Autism Asperger Advocacy Australia. A web based parent help group Autism Behavior Intervention Association (ABA) - supporting families who choose Applied Behavior Analysis intervention for their child Web site offering support for siblings of people with a disability yourshout/ Australian Federal Government Centrelink provides financial assistance for children with disabilities. Apply for a carers pension. The following are a list of ASD contacts by state in Australia. AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY Autism Association of the Australian Capital Territory AUSTRALIAN NORTHERN TERRITORY Autism Association of Australian Northern Territory NSW Autism and Aspergers Support Group Autism Applied Behaviour Analysis ABA NSW Autism Behavioural Intervention (ABI NSW) Autism Spectrum Australia (Formerly Autism Association of New South Wales) children’s services NSW Autism Association. or write to them at Autism Spectrum Australia 41 Cook St (PO BOX 361) Forestville NSW 2087 Phone 02 8977 8300 Fax 02 9877 8399 NSW Speech Pathology specialize in communication disorders. Children with ASD, Down Syndrome and intellectual disabilities This web site explains video modeling and why it is such a powerful teaching tool for children with an ASD NSW Chapter of the Early Childhood Intervention Association Child Behaviour Strategies for Children with Special Needs ADHD Autism ues.htm Giant Steps Sydney NSW Department of Education and Training The Centre for Autism and Related Disorders QUEENSLAND AEIOU is a charitable organization, dedicated to providing a highest quality, full time early intervention educational program for children with Autism Asperger Syndrome Support Network - parent support Autism Behaviour Intervention Queensland Autism Regional Queensland. Contact Raymond or Joanne Ward (Mobile: 0418 186 294 (W) 47537 508 (H) 47 239 650) Email ; Autism Queensland. You can join Autism Queensland. When your child is a client they will be able to access a wide range of services. Autism Queensland’s Therapy and Education Centre Queensland book specialists that deal with Autism SOUTH AUSTRALIA Autism Association of South Australia. Visit their web site at or write to them at the following address Autism Association of South Australia 3 Fisher Street, Myrtle Bank, 5064 Postal Address: PO Box 339, Eastwood, 5063 Tel. 8379 6976

ISADD (Intervention Services For Autism & Developmental Delay). Visit their web site at In Adelaide contact: Kerri Harris, Coordinator, Ph 0419 857 417 email: TASMANIA ATAC (Action For Tasmanian Autistic Children) Aurora Disability Services. Provides vocational training, basic education, learning and life skills as well as respite for families and/or carers. This organization has not helped my family in the past because we could not get a Tasmanian Specialist to confirm that James is autistic. Ph: 62730916 Autism Advisor Service Autism Tasmania: Autism Advisors Karen Mason Team Leader & Autism Advisor Mon-Fri Phone: 03 6344 1212 Mobile: 0400 974 637 Email: or write to Sam Hooper Autism Advisor Phone: 03 6224 9070 Mobile: 0448 320 835 Email: Anita Killick Autism Advisor Phone: 03 6224 9070 Mobile: 0458 375 604 Email: Autism Spectum Disorder Assessment and Diagnosis Team has just begun in Tasmania. At the moment they are only screening children up to the age of 7 years. Within a year this organization will be screening children for Autism up to 17 years. For further information contact John Nehrmann on 62 334 772 or Jill Curtis on 0488 206 485 Autism Tasmania Autism Tasmania Family Support Co-ordinator: Contact: Rose Clark Ph/Fax: 6423 2288 or 0407 320 048 Email In Tasmania, Agencies which offer a multidisciplinary assessment include: Calvary Health Care Tasmania,

31 Tower Road, New Town 7008 Phone: 03 62381801 Child Development Unit,13 Mulgrave St Launceston 7250 Phone 03 63362134 Child Development Unit 35 Mace St Burnie 7320 Phone 64346201 You can ring up any of the above agencies (with parental permission) by any involved person (eg. Child health nurse; general practitioner, teacher; carer or parent). The agency contacted will send a referral and consent form can then be posted to the parent to apply. These agencies were not available when James was born but if you live in Tasmania you might like to check these units out before going to the Royal Melbourne Children’s Hospital. ISADD (Intervention Services For Autism & Developmental Delay) Tasmanian contact Amelia Bishop, Coordinator, ph. 0418 580 491 VICTORIA In Tasmania I found very little support for my son’s Autism and I had to go to Melbourne to the Royal Children’s Hospital Child Psychiatric Wing to get James diagnosed properly. James was assessed for 2 days and I was told that James had High Level Autism. You will need a referral from your GP and you will need to get yourself and your child to Melbourne. But the cost of the plane fare and a hotel are well worth it. You need to know if your child is Autistic and this diagnosis is free. The diagnosis is performed by a team of people who are experts in ASD. James had been seeing Tasmanian Specialists since he was twelve weeks old and none of them picked up that he had High Level Autism. Here is the address to contact. The Royal Children’s Hospital Academic Child Psychiatry Unit Ground Floor South East Building Gatehouse Street Parkville VIC 3052 PH: (03) 9345 4666 Fax: (03) 9345 6002 Email : For General Statewide Autistic Services ACT-NOW. Offers training/consultancy programs for workers who deal with early intervention of Autism. Alpha Autism. Operates in the Melbourne Area. Provides day services for Adults with Autism. AUTIES. A web site for individuals with an Autism Spectrum Disorder to help market their skills and expertise Autism Help Information Site Autism Victoria Ballarat Autism Network for parents and professionals Barwon & SW region of Victoria Better Health Channel ment Carers Association Victoria Community Building. This website aims at helping Victorian communities grow stronger. er+communities Department of Education & Training Disability Online Early Childhood Intervention Services Irabina Childhood Autism Services Melbourne Coordinates Therapy Services - supplier of books and equipment PECS Program. Picture Exchange Communication System Speech Pathologist Help Site

Victorian Advocacy League for Individuals with a Disability (VALID) Victorian Asperger Syndrome Support Network for parents. Victorian Chapter of the Early Childhood Intervention Association Victorian Parenting Centre Western Autistic School WESTERN AUSTRALIA Autism Association of Western Australia Perth supplier of books, games and software ISADD (Intervention Services For Autism & Developmental Delay). or write to them at PO Box 255 Kelmscott 6991 Western Australia PH: (08) 9397 59 70

UNITED KINGDOM Autism Awareness website housing and support to people with disabilities across the UK Autism Independent UK leading charity for training and information for people with moderate to profound Autism. Autism Society. Started by parents of a boy with Autism. The site links to resources in the U.K. and throughout the world that provide information on Autism Choosing an autism school in the UK and Wales Friendly Days Out For Autistic Children Information about Residential and day care facilities for people with Autistic Spectrum Disorders National Autistic Society (UK). This is one of the largest organizations who deal with Autism Spectrum Disorders Promoting the best possible education, care, support and opportunities for people of all ages with Autism in Scotland. Research Autism. Visit their web site at or write to them at Research Autism, Church House, Church Road, Filton, Bristol BS34 7BD. Phone: 020 82928900 Email: UK Young Autism Project. Teaching Autistic children

INTERNATIONAL CONTACTS Autism Information in different languages Autism Network International World Autism Organisation

CANADA Autism Canada Foundation a comprehensive guide to Autism in Canada Ontario Adult Autism Geneva Centre For Autism Organizations that provide treatment, educational, management and consultative services to people with Autism

Autism Today. or you can write to them at these addresses Canadian Office: Autism Today 2016 Sherwood Dr Suite 3 Sherwood Park, Alberta, T8A 3X3 Phone: 1-780-416-4448 Fax: 1-780-416-4330

EUROPE Autism Europe

FRANCE Autism France

INDONESIA Yayasan ISADD Indonesia (YISADDI) provides services in Jakarta and several regional centres.

MALAYSIA Early Autism Project Malaysia Hua Ming Autism Society

NEW ZEALAND Altogether Autism

Autism New Zealand . Autistic Association of New Zealand Inc. Information, articles, and products. ISADD (Intervention Services For Autism & Developmental Delay). See website at In New Zealand contact: Rebecca Claire, Coordinator, (04) 384 3272 email:

SINGAPORE Autism Singapore Liz Barrett. Educational support and Behavior Consultancy List of resources in Singapore

SOUTH AFRICA Autism South Africa

OTHER SITES RELATED TO AUTISM 1-2-3 Magic: Effective Discipline for Children 2-12 is a book by Dr. Thomas W. Phelan, Ph.D. Tony Attwood - author, psychologist and international speaker about Autism Spectrum Disorder Autism Aspergers Digest - a Future Horizons publication Bakewell, Colin. ASD news and articles General Information site on ASD Language Flash Cards to Help Autistic Children Learn To Read OASIS Online Asperger Syndrome Information and Support Powerful In-Home Therapy Strategies Revolutionary New Autism DVD's The TEACCH Program is a site that every parent and teacher with Autistic children should look at. The Program is highly regarded and is an invaluable approach to teaching children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. Temple Grandin - author, "Autism as I see it". Wendy Lawson – author consultant and international speaker about Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Williams, Donna - author, consultant and international speaker about Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Wrong Planet

CONCLUSION I am the mother of a boy who has journeyed on a long road to find the answer to the question “Is my child Autistic?” My son James has High Level Autism. He has frontal lobe damage, elements of ADHD and Oppositional Defiance. Unless he receives help he will have no chance for a bright and happy future. Even though I cannot live with James at the moment I will never give up fighting for my son’s right and other children like James, to have their disability recognized so that they may receive the help that they so desperately need. It is my dearest hope that this book will help demystify Autism. If you are a parent of an Autistic child my prayers are with you. Never give up hope. Scientific advancements are being made even as you are reading this. As our understanding of how Autism works grows children like James have a better chance of leading a life that is fulfilling and happy. And we the parents will one day have the support from our communities that we so desperately need. For other books by Virinia Downham check out my website And also here

Have a productive happy and fulfilling day! Warmest regards Virinia Downham BIBLIOGRAPHY Baumeister, A. A., & Rollings, J.P. (1976). Self-injurious behavior. In N.R. Ellis (Ed.), International review in mental retardation (Vol. 9). New York: Academic Press. Bettelheim, Bruno, (1967). The Empty Fortress: Infantile Autism and the Birth of the Self. New York: Free Press Carr, E.G., Newsom, C.D., & Binkoff, J.A. (1976). Stimulus control of self-destructive behavior in a psychotic child. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 4, 139-153. Cautela, J. & Groden, G. (1978). Relaxation: a comprehensive manual for adults, children, and children with special needs. Champaign, IL: Research Press. Coleman, M. (1994). Clinical presentations of patients with Autism and hypocalcinuria. Brain Dysfunction, 7, 63-70. DAN see For more information on the Biomedical Approach see Defeat Autism Now! (DAN!) de Lissovoy, V. (1963). Head banging in early childhood: a suggested cause. The Journal of Genetic Psychology, 102, 109-114. DiChiara, G., Camba, R., & Spano, P.F. (1971). Evidence for inhibition by brain serotonin of mouse killing behavior in rats. Nature, 223, 272-273. Dollard, J., Doob, L., Miller, N., Mowrer, O.H., & Sears, R.R. (1939). Frustration and aggression. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. Durand, V.M. (1986). Self-injurious behavior as intentional communication. In K.D. Gadow (Ed.), Advances in learning and behavioral disabilities (Vol. 5). Greenwich, CT: JAI Press. Durand, V.M. & Crimmins, D.B. (1988). Identifying the variables maintaining selfinjurious behavior. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 18, 99-117. Dyer, K. & Larsson, E.V. (1997). Developing functional communication skills: alternatives to severe behavior problems. In N.N. Singh (Ed.), Prevention & treatment of severe problems: models and methods in developmental disabilities. Pacific Grove: Brooks/Cole Publishing Company. Edelson, Stephen M. Ph.D. How to Determine If a Treatment Really Helped. Center for the Study of Autism, Salem, Oregon ( The following article by Edelson can be found at Edelson, Stephen M. Ph.D. (1984). Implications of sensory stimulation in self-destructive behavior. American Journal of Mental Deficiency, 89, 140-145. Edelson, Stephen M. Ph.D. (1995) Self-Injurious Behavior Center for the Study of Autism, Salem, Oregon (The following articles by Edelson can be found at )

Edelson, Stephen M. Ph.D. Edelson, Stephen M. Ph.D. Treating Autism: Parent Stories Of Hope And Success. (2003) San Diego, CA: Autism Research Institute Edelson, Stephen M. Ph.D. (1996) Temple Grandin's 'Hug Machine' Center for the Study of Autism, Salem, Oregon (The following article by Edelson can be found at Edelson, Stephen M. Ph.D. Treatment Tips: A Brief Overview of Common Problems and Fixes. Center for the Study of Autism, Salem, Oregon (The following article by Edelson can be found at ) Edelson, Stephen M. Ph.D. Understanding and Treating Self-Injurious Behavior Center for the Study of Autism, Salem, Oregon (The following article by Edelson can be found at Edelson, Stephen M. Ph.D. What I Would Do If I Were a Parent of An Autistic Child: Recommendations Based on 25 Years of Research Experience. Center for the Study of Autism, Salem, Oregon (The following article by Edelson can be found at ) Edelson, S.M., Arin, D., Bauman, M., Lukas, S.E., Rudy, J.H., Sholar, M., & Rimland B. (1999). Auditory integration training: a double-blind study of behavioral, electrophysiological, and audiometric effects in autistic subjects. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 14, 73-81. Edelson, S.M., Edelson, M.G., Kerr, D., & Grandin, T. Physiological and behavioral changes of deep pressure: A pilot study investigating the efficacy of Temple Grandin's Hug Machine. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 53, 145-152. Edelson, Stephen M. Ph.D. & Rimland Bernard, PhD. Recovering Autistic Children (2006, 2nd edition). San Diego CA : Autism Research Institute Edelson, S.M., Taubman, M.T., & Lovaas, O.I. (1983). Some social contexts to selfdestructive behavior. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 11, 299-312. Gascon, G., Patterson, B., Yearwood, K., & Slotnick, H. (1989). N, N dimethylglycine and epilepsy. Epilepsia, 30, 90-93. Gedye, A. (1992). Anatomy of self-injurious, stereotypic, and aggressive movements: evidence for involuntary explanation. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 48, 766-778. Gedye, A. (1989). Extreme self-injury attributed to frontal lobe seizures. American Journal on Mental Retardation, 94, 20-26. Gerlach, E.K. (2000). Autism Treatment Guide. Second Edition. Arlington, TX: Future Horizons. Gillingham. Gail. (1998) Autism, Handle With Care. Nedlands Western Australia: Tactic Publishing. Book deals with the sensory issues often seen in people with Autism Grandin, Temple & Scariano, Margaret M. (1986) Emergence: Labeled Autistic. Boulevard Novato CA: Arena Press Grandin, Temple. (1995) Thinking in Pictures. My Life With Autism. New York: Vintage

Grandin, Temple. (1998) Frequently Asked Questions about Autism. Fort Collins CO: Colorado State University USA Grandin, Temple. (Revised: December 2002) Teaching Tips for Children and Adults with Autism. Fort Collins, CO: Colorado State University USA Greenberg, A.S. & Coleman, M. (1976). Depressed 5-hydorxyindole levels associated with hyperactive and aggressive behavior. Archives of General Psychiatry, 33, 331-336. Gualtieri, C.T. (1989). The differential diagnosis of self-injurious behavior in mentally retarded people. Psychopharmacology Bulletin, 25, 358-363. Gutstein, Steven E. Ph.D. and Sheely. Rachelle K. (2002) Relationship Development Intervention with Children, Adolescents and Adults. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers. An excellent book on developing social skills. Hamilton, Lynn. (2000) Facing Autism. Colorado USA: Waterbrook Press. This is one of the first books parents should read. It tells how one mother helped her child “recover” from Autism, and it gives a good overview of testing, treatments, and resources. Herman, B.H., Hammock, M.K., Egan, J., Arthur-Smith, A., Chatoor, I., & Werner, A. (1989). Role for opioid peptides in self-injurious behavior: Dissociation from autonomic nervous system functioning. Developmental Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 12, 81-89. Jones, L.J., Singh, N.N., & Kendall, K.A. (1991). Comparative effects of gentle teaching and visual screening on self-injurious behaviour. Journal of Mental Deficiency Research, 35, 37-47. King, L.J. (1991). Sensory integration: an effective approach to therapy and education. Autism Research Review International, 5, 3&6. Kranowitz. Carol Stock. (1998) The Out Of Sync Child: Recognizing and Coping with Sensory Integration Dysfunction. New York: Perigee Trade Lewis, Lisa. (1998) Special Diets for Special Kids. Arlington TX: Future Horizons. Recipes for wheat-free, dairy-free foods. Available from Leaf, R., & McEachin, R. (1999). A Work in Progress: Behavior Management Strategies and a Curriculum for Intensive Behavioral Treatment of Autism. New York: DRL Books. Lovaas, O.I. (2002). Teaching Individuals with Developmental Delays: Basic Intervention Techniques. Austin, TX: Pro Ed. Lovaas, O.I., Freitag, G., Gold, V.J., & Kassorla, I.C. (1965). Experimental studies in childhood schizophrenia: analysis of self-destructive behavior. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 2, 67-84. Lovaas, O.I. & Simmons, J.Q. (1969). Manipulation of self-destruction in three retarded children. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 2, 143-157. Maisto, C.R., Baumeister, A.A., & Maisto, A.A. (1978). An analysis of variables related to self-injurious behavior among institutionalized persons. Journal of Mental Deficiency and Research, 22, 27-36. Maurice, Catherine. (1993) Let Me Hear Your Voice. New York : Ballantine Books. A story of how one mother helped her autistic child with ABA.

Maurice, Catherine, Green, Gina & Luce, Stephen C. (1996) Behavioral Intervention For Young Children With Autism: A Manual for Parents and Professionals. Austin Texas: Pro-Ed McCandless, Jaquelyn. (2007. 3rd edition). Children with Starving Brains: A Medical Treatment Guide for Autism Spectrum Disorder. NJ: Bramble Books (This is probably the best book on the medical conditions of people with Autism and how to treat them. Available from Mueller, K., & Nyhan, W.L. (1982). Pharmacologic control of pemoline-induced selfinjurious behavior in rats. Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior, 17, 957-963. Mueller, K., Saboda, S., Palmour, R.A., & Nyhan, W.L. (1982). Self-injurious behavior produced in rats by daily caffeine and continuous amphetamine. Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior, 17, 613-617. Pangborn, J.P., & Baker, S. (2002). Biomedical Assessment Options for Children with Autism and Related Problems. San Diego: Autism Research Institute. Panksepp, Jaak Ph.D. (2004) Melatonin - The Sleep Master: An emerging role for this over-the-counter supplement in the treatment of Autism. Bowling Green, OH: Bowling Green State University USA Perry, Richard, Decarlo, Regina & Cohen, Ira (1995) Case Study: Deterioration, Autism and Recovery in Two Siblings. Journal of American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 34, 2: 232-237 Phelan, Dr. Thomas W. (2004 3rd ed. ). 1-2-3 Magic: Effective Discipline for Children 212. Illinois : ParentMagic Pietz, J., Benninger, C., Schafer, H., Sontheimer, D., Mittermaier, G., & Rating, D. (1993). Treatment of infantile spasms with high-dosage vitamin B6. Epilepsia, 43, 757763. Pollack, Richard (1997). The Creation of Dr D: A Biography of Bruno Bettelheim. New York: Touchstone Ramachandran, Vilayanur S and Oberman, Lindsay M. (2006) Broken Mirrors: A Theory Of Autism. Scientific American. November. 39-45 Rapp, D. (1991). Is this your child? Discovering and treating unrecognized allergies. New York: William Morrow and Company. Recommended series of tests and treatments for autistic individuals and those with related disorders. Available from the Autism Research Institute 4182 Adams Ave., San Diego, CA 92116, Rimland, B. & Edelson, S.M. (1994). The effects of auditory integration training in Autism. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 5, 16-24. Rizzolatti, Giacomo, Fogassi, Leonardo and Gallese, Vittorio. (2006) Mirrors In The Mind. Scientific American. November. 30- 37. Roach, E., & Carlin, L. (1982). N, N-Dimethylglycine for epilepsy. New England Journal of Medicine, 307, 1081.

Romanczyk, R.G. (1986). Self-injurious behavior: Conceptualization, assessment, and treatment. In K. Gadow (Ed.), Advances in learning and behavioral disabilities. Greenwich, CT: JAI Press. Sandman, C.A., Datta, P.C., Barron, J., Hoehler, F.K., Williams, C., & Swanson, J.M. (1983). Naloxone attenuates self-abusive behavior in developmentally disabled clients. Applied Research in Mental Retardation, 4, 5-11. Seroussi, K. (2000). Unraveling the Mystery of Autism and Pervasive Develop-mental Disorder. New York: Simon & Schuster. Discusses one mothers successful search for interventions for her child, with a focus on wheat-free, dairy-free diets. Shaw, William, Ph D. Biological Basis of Autism Available from Great Plains Laboratory (913) 341-8949, Covers many biological issues and treatments, including yeast/bacterial infections and casein-free/gluten free diets. Simmons, Karen L. (1996) Little Rainman. Autism Through The Eyes Of A Child. Arlington TX: Future Horizons Wacker, D., Northup, J., & Lambert, L.K. (1997). Self-injury. In N.N. Singh (Ed.), Prevention & treatment of severe problems: models and methods in developmental disabilities. Pacific Grove: Brooks/Cole Publishing Company. Woodham, Anne & Peters, Dr David (1997) Encyclopedia of Complementary Medicine. London: Dorling Kindersley

ASD BEHAVIOR CHECKLIST This is a checklist of behaviors found in Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Note that this checklist is not all inclusive but it does cover 267 behaviors that ASD children have been found to exhibit. The way it works.You will see 12 Main Categories. Each Category will list a number of questions. Please circle the letter that best describes your child’s behavior. Where A = A Mild Behavioral Problem B = A Moderate Behavioral Problem C = A Severe Behavioral Problem For example For Category 3 Social Interaction Question 43 says My Child is Terrified of Strangers. If your child is not terrified of strangers do not circle any letter. If your child is only a little afraid of strangers circle the letter A. If your child can be very frightened of strangers circle the letter B. If your child screams or reacts violently or runs away from strangers circle the letter C. Remember this is how you view your child’s behavior to be. Do not answer every question unless it relates to your child. The aim of this ASD Behavior Checklist is to give you, the parent, and/or you the professional a better understanding of what a child’s behavioral problems are at any

given time. As children can present with different problems at different stages this is a useful tool to use every 6 months or so. Parents: Before you go to your Pediatrician fill out the ASD Behavior Checklist and then both you and the professional people you are dealing with can discuss your child’s behavior honing in on your child’s problem areas quickly. If you find that your child has some of these behaviors it does not necessarily mean that your child is Autistic. However if your child has more than 12 problem behaviors that are moderate or severe you definitely should be seeking to have your child assessed by an ASD specialist Professionals: The ASD Checklist is not meant to be the only tool by which a diagnosis of Autism is made. Its value lies as a quick reference tool highlighting behaviors that an ASD child can have. The severity of any one behavior can quickly be ascertained. Photocopy the QUESTION BOOKLET and the ANSWER SHEET. Put your answers on the Answer Sheet only. DO NOT WRITE ON THE QUESTION BOOKLET. OPTIONAL: Use the SUMMARY SHEET to highlight the behaviors that your child is having a problem with at the moment. Remember to repeat the ASD Behavior Checklist every 6 months to see if there has been any progress or changes in your child’s behavior.

ASD BEHAVIOR CHECKLIST QUESTION BOOKLET CATEGORY 1 COMMUNICATION: VERBAL 1. Does your Child Have Trouble Verbalizing? (ie. Speaking) 2. My Child Currently Has Abnormal Speech. (ie. Baby Talk, lisps etc.) 3. Did your Child Have Delayed Speech? 4. Does your Child Have Delayed Speech Now? 5. Does your Child Make Repetitive Sounds? 6. Is your Child’s Voice Pitch Too Low? 7. Is your Child’s Voice Pitch Too High? 8. My Child Speaks Too Fast. 9. My Child Speaks Too Slowly. 10. My Child Can’t Initiate A Conversation. 11. My Child Has Trouble Carrying On A Conversation. 12. My Child Repeats Words Or Phrases. 13. My Child Reverses Pronouns (Uses You Instead Of I). 14. My Child Has Trouble Following Directions. 15. My Child Asks One Question Over and Over. 16. My Child Asks A Lot Of Questions.

17. My Child Loses The Ability To Speak When They Are Upset. 18. My Child Takes Everything Literally. 19. My Child Screeches.

CATEGORY 2 COMMUNICATION: NON VERBAL 20. My Child Has Trouble Understanding Pictures. 21. My Child Can’t Point To An Object. 22. My Child Has Trouble Understanding Sign Language. 23. My Child Kicks Holes In Walls. 24. My Child Punches Holes In Walls. 25. My Child Smashes Windows On Purpose. 26. My Child Breaks Things On Purpose. 27. My Child Damages My Car. 28. My Child Breaks Lights On Purpose. 29. My Child Breaks Expensive House Hold Items (Stereo, TV etc.) 30. My Child Throws Food/Drink When They Are Angry. 31. My Child Obsessively Tears Paper. 32. My Child Fidgets A Lot. 33. My Child Stares Into Space. 34. My Child Has Problems Concentrating. 35. My Child Head Bangs. 36. My Child Opens And Closes Doors Constantly. 37. My Child Opens And Closes Drawers Constantly.

CATEGORY 3: SOCIAL INTERACTION 38. My Child Does Not Make Eye Contact. 39. My Child Is Reluctant To Make Eye Contact. 40. My Child Makes Eye Contact But He/She Will Not Look At You Directly. 41. My Child Does Not Smile. 42. My Child Doesn’t Differentiate Between Family Or Friends. 43. My Child Is Terrified Of Strangers. 44. My Child Does Not Understand Other People’s Point Of View. 45. My Child Lacks Empathy. (Doesn’t seem to understand that other people have their own feelings and thoughts). 46. My Child Never Shows Gratitude. 47. My Child Does Not Interact Socially. 48. My Child Doesn’t Understand Body Language (Smiles, Scowls etc). 49. My Child Has Trouble Understanding Social Verbal Cues Like “Hello”. 50. My Child Says Rude/Inappropriate Things.

51. My Child Never Gives Any Positive Feedback. 52. My Child Has Difficulty Taking Turns. 53 .My Child Has Difficulty Sharing. 54. My Child Is Teased A Lot. 55. My Child Has Trouble Making Friends. 56. My Child Dislikes Crowds. 57. My Child Has Trouble Getting Along With More Than One Person At A Time. 58. My Child Has Trouble Cooperating. 59. My Child Kicks Other Children/People. 60. My Child Hits Me. 61. My Child Throws Rocks At Me. 62. My Child Throws Rocks At Cars, Motorbikes etc. 63. My Child Throws Toys At Me. 64. My Child Has Attacked Me With A Knife. 65. My Child Has Put Me In Hospital Because Of Their Violence. 66. My Child Will Continue To Hit Me Even If I’m Hurt And Bleeding. 67. My Child Kicks Me. 68. I Am Afraid Of My Child’s Violent Behavior Towards Me. 69. I Am Afraid Of My Child’s Violent Behavior To Other Family Members. 70. I Am Afraid Of My Child’s Violent Behavior To Other People. 71. My Child Refuses To Follow My Rules. 72. My Child Lies. 73. My Child Lies To Make Me Look Bad. (For example he/she tells people that I haven’t given him/her school lunch when I have.) 74. My Child Is Not Doing Well In School. 75. My Child Refuses To Do Homework. 76. My Child Refuses To Go To School. 77. My Child Has Trouble Understanding Facial Expressions. (For example smiles, frowns etc) 78. My Child Will Lead Me To An Object Rather Than Ask For It. 79. My Child Bullies Other Children. 80. My Child Gets Frustrated When They Can’t Communicate With Me. 81. My Child Gets Upset If Someone Moves An Object My Child Has Placed In A Line. 82. My Child Head Bangs To Get Attention. 83. My Child Head Bangs To Get Their Own Way. 84. If My Child Hurts Someone They Don’t Stop Rough Playing. 85. My Child Is Withdrawn.

CATEGORY 4: SENSORY PROBLEMS: TACTILE 86. My Child Does Not Like Being Touched. 87. My Child Likes Tight Clothes. 88. My Child Likes Being Massaged. 89. My Child Looks Scared When Touched.

90. My Child Refuses To Wash. 91. My Child Shows A Delayed Response To Being Touched. 92. My Child Has A High Pain Threshold. 93. My Child Does Not Like The Feel Of Clothes On Their Body. 94. My Child Removes Their Clothes At Inappropriate Times. 95. My Child Refuses To Wear Shoes And/Or Socks. 96. My Child Doesn’t Like Their Hair Brushed. 97. My Child Doesn’t Like Their Teeth Brushed. 98. My Child Doesn’t Like Their Nails Cut Or Cleaned. 99. My Child Puts Things In Their Mouth All The Time. 100. My Child Does Not Chew Food. 101. My Child Chews Non-foods (Paper, Play Dough, Plastic etc). 102. My Child Has Trouble Changing Clothes. 103. My Child Refuses To Let Me Take Off Their Nappy. 104. My Child Has An Aversion/Fear Of Water. 105. My Child Avoids Touching Certain Objects. 106. My Child Washes Their Hands Repeatedly. 107. My Child Fights When I Try To Put A Nappy On Them. 108. My Child Is Attracted To Things That Vibrate. 109. My Child Does Not Feel The Cold. 110. My Child Is Having Trouble Being Toilet Trained. 111. My Child Does Not Feel The Heat. 112. My Child Is Fascinated By The Feel Of Water. 113. My Child Had Trouble Being Toilet Trained.

CATEGORY 5 SENSORY PROBLEMS: TASTE 114. My Child Will Not Eat Spicy Foods. 115. My Child Will Only Eat Spicy Foods. 116. My Child Will Not Eat Bland Foods. 117. My Child Will Only Eat Bland Foods. 118. If Forced To Eat Something They Don’t Like My Child Will Gag. 119. My Child Likes To Eat Strange Non-Foods (Play Dough, Rocks, Paper, Plastic etc). 120. My Child Refuses To Eat Certain Foods Because Of Their Color. 121. My Child Will Not Eat Certain Foods Because Of Their Texture (ie. lumpy, crunch, smooth etc).

CATEGORY 6 SENSORY PROBLEMS: SMELL 122. My Child Smells Food. 123. My Child Smells Non-Foods (Books, Dirt, Paper etc).

124. My Child Is Sensitive To Body Smells. 125. My Child Is Hypersensitive To Odors Other People Can’t Detect. 126. My Child Gags At Certain Food Smells. 127. My Child Smears Poo On Walls Because They Like The Smell Of Their Own Poo. 128. My Child Does Not React To Bad Smells. 129. My Child Smells Their Hands Constantly.

CATEGORY 7 SENSORY PROBLEMS: VESTIBULAR (MOVEMENTS AND GRAVITY) 130. My Child Shows Fear At Being Held Upside Down. 131. My Child Shows Fear At Being Tipped Sideways. 132. My Child Gets Stressed If Their Feet Don’t Touch The Ground. 133. My Child Gets Anxious/Cries Walking Up Hills. 134. My Child Gets Anxious/Cries Walking Down Hills. 135. My Child Gets Anxious/Cries Walking Up Stairs. 136. My Child Gets Anxious/Cries Walking Down Stairs. 137. Stimming – My Child Has Odd Repetitive Behaviors (Rocking, Twitching, Blinking etc). 138. Gross Motor Movements Make My Child Calmer (Running, Jumping etc). 139. My Child Has Poor/Clumsy Coordination. 140. My Child Has Poor Balance. 141. My Child Is Constantly On The Move. 142. My Child Suffers From Bad Motion Sickness. 143. My Child Jumps Continually. 144. My Child Bounces Continually. 145. My Child Spins Continually. 146. My Child Has Trouble Getting To Sleep

CATEGORY 8 SENSORY PROBLEMS: PROPRIOCEPTIVE (JOINT MUSCLE BODY AWARENESS) 147. My Child Has Trouble Planning And Doing Motor Tasks. 148. My Child Enjoys Pulling Heavy Objects and Loads Of Toys etc. 149. My Child Enjoys Climbing. 150. Squeezing My Child Between Pillows Calms Them. 151. My Child Is A Heavy Walker. 152. My Child Enjoys Hanging By Their Arms. 153. My Child Has Rigid Body And Hand Positions. 154. My Child Flaps Their Arms And Hands. 155. My Child Walks On Tip Toes. 156. My Child Repeatedly Rocks.

157. My Child Leans Heavily On Objects Or People. 158. My Child’s Fine Motor Skills Are Below Their Age Group (Coloring Objects etc). 159. My Child’s Handwriting Is Messy. 160. My Child’s Handwriting Is Illegible. 161. My Child’s Eating Habits Are Rushed And Sloppy, Often They Won’t Chew Their Food. 162. My Child Does Not Know How Much Force To Use (Doesn’t Understand How Hard They Can Push etc.) 163. My Child Breaks Things Constantly Due To Clumsiness. 164. My Child Did Not Crawl. 165. My Child Crawled Late. 166. My Child Grips A Pencil/Pen Too Tightly. 167. My Child Grips A Pencil/Pen Too Loosely. 168. My Child Will Not Crawl Through A Tunnel Or In To A Tent. 169. My Child’s Abilities Fluctuate Hourly. 170. My Child’s Abilities Fluctuate Daily. 171. My Child’s Abilities Fluctuate. There Is No Set Pattern. 172. My Child’s Abilities Fluctuate Between Morning And Afternoon. 173. My Child Loves To Dig

CATEGORY 9 SENSORY PROBLEMS: VISUAL 174. My Child Avoids Eye To Eye Contact All The Time. 175. My Child’s Eye To Eye Contact Is Fleeting And My Child Looks Uncomfortable When They Do Actually Look You In The Eye. 176. My Child Uses Peripheral Vision Rather Than Looks At You Directly. 177. My Child Has Trouble Following A Moving Object. 178. My Child Holds Objects/Hands Close To Their Eyes. 179. My Child Rolls Their Head From Side To Side. 180. My Child Focuses On Small Details But Can’t Seem To See The Entire Picture. 181. My Child Is Attracted To Shiny Reflective Surfaces Like Water. 182. My Child Avoids Shiny Reflective Surfaces Especially Water. 183. My Child Filters Light Through Their Fingers. 184. My Child Stares At Mirrors. 185. My Child Hates The Light. 186. My Child Is Fascinated By Dust. 187. My Child Is Fascinated By String. 188. My Child Is Fascinated By Wool. 189. My Child Is Fascinated By Objects With Moving Parts (Clocks, Trucks etc). 190. My Child Is Obsessed With Tying Up Things. 191. My Child Gets Upset By Movements Close To Them. 192. My Child Pokes Their Eyes. 193. My Child Gouges Their Eyes When They Are Upset. 194. My Child Presses All Their Fingers Against Their Eyes

195. My Child Spins Without Getting Dizzy. 196. My Child Is Fascinated By Spinning Objects. 197. My Child Turns Lights Off And On Constantly. 198. My Child Stares Through People As If They Are Not There. 199. Different Floor Surfaces Upset My Child ( For Example My Child Will Not Walk On Black Tiles Or Cracks In Concrete). 200. Fluorescent Lighting Effects My Child’s Behavior. 201. My Child Obsessively Peels Paint. 202. My Child Obsessively Peels Wallpaper. 203. My Child Is Fascinated By Electrical Wiring. 204. My Child Has Trouble Identifying Patterns. 205. My Child Has Trouble Doing Jigsaws.

CATEGORY 10 SENSORY PROBLEMS: AUDITORY 206. My Child Reacts Violently To Loud Noises. 207. My Child Reacts Fearfully To Loud Noises. 208. My Child Head Bangs And Screams When They Hear Loud Noises. 209. My Child Has Selective Hearing (Sometimes They Will Hear A Noise Or A Question, Sometimes They Won’t.) 210. My Child Reacts Violently To Everyday Noises (Vacuum Cleaner etc). 211. My Child Reacts Fearfully To Every Day Noises (Washing Machine etc). 212. My Child Reacts Violently To Every Day Noises In Public Places (Elevators, Loud Speakers, Voices, Foot Steps, Traffic etc). 213. My Child Reacts Fearfully To Every Day Noises In Public Places (Elevators, Loud Speakers, Voices, Foot Steps, Traffic etc) 214. My Child Head Bangs And Screams In Public Places. 215. My Child Covers Their Ears In Public Places. 216. My Child Covers Their Ears When They Hear Noises That Upset Them. 217. My Child Sometimes Appears Deaf. 218. My Child Listens To Sounds Most People Ignore (Sliding Doors Opening, Toilets Flushing etc). 219. My Child Likes The TV Loud Even When It Bothers Other People. 220. My Child Likes Loud Music Even If It Makes Other People Upset. 221. My Child Ignores People Who Talk To Them. 222. Background Noises Distract My Child Easily (Fan Humming etc). 223. My Child Focuses On Some Sounds Obsessively. 224. Background Noises Make My Child Impatient/Angry. 225. My Child Is Always Loud. 226. My Child Is Unable To Be Quiet In Places Where You Need To Speak Softly (Church, Library etc). 227. My Child Doesn’t Understand That Their Actions Can Sometimes Upset Other People. 228. My Child’s Language Is Slurred.

229. My Child’s Language Is Incoherent. 230. My Child Crunches/Tears Paper. 231. My Child Hums/Sings To Themselves. 232. My Child Does Not Understand Directions.

CATEGORY 11 ADAPTABILITY 233. My Child Resists Change. 234. My Child Becomes Anxious/Cries If There Is A Change In Their Routine. 235. My Child Becomes Anxious/Cries If There Is A Change In Their Surroundings. 236. My Child Gets Angry/Has Tantrums If They Have To Travel Anywhere. 237. My Child Becomes Angry/Has Tantrums If There Is A Change In Their Surroundings. 238. My Child Becomes Angry/Has Tantrums If There Is A Change In Their Routine. 239. My Child Gets Anxious/Cries In The Car. 240. My Child Tantrums/Gets Violent In The Car. 241. My Child Tantrums/Gets Violent On Buses. 242. My Child Gets Anxious/Cries On Buses. 243. My Child Head Bangs In Cars. 244. My Child Head Bangs On Any Kind of Public Transport. (ie. Buses, Trains, Ferries, Planes etc) 245. When Anxious My Child Has An Obsessive Ritual (Lines Up Objects, Toys etc). 246. My Child Is Afraid To Try New Things. 247. My Child Gets Very Anxious About An Up And Coming Event (Sports Carnival etc). 248. My Child Won’t Attempt A Task Because They Are Afraid Of Failing. 249. My Child Needs To Do A Task Perfectly Or They Give Up. 250. My Child Gets Depressed. 251. My Child Has Poor Self Esteem. 252. My Child Gets Anxious/Cries In The Supermarket/Shops. 253. My Child Gets Aggressive/Tantrums In The Supermarket/Shops. 254. My Child Head Bangs In The Supermarket/Shops. 255. My Child Breaks Things In The Supermarket/Shops. 256. My Child Is Uncontrollable In The Supermarket/Shops

CATEGORY 12 PLAY 257. My Child Does Not Have Any Imaginative Play. (Tea Parties With Toys etc). 258. My Child Plays In An Inappropriate Way (Focuses On A Part Of The Toy Rather Than The Whole Toy etc). 259. My Child Cannot Imitate Others.

260. My Child Has Trouble Imitating Others. 261. My Child Cannot Play Independently. 262. My Child Plays Too Roughly. 263. My Child Has Trouble Swinging On A Swing. 264. My Child Has Trouble Sliding Down A Slide. 265. My Child Cannot Play Team Sports (Football, Basketball etc). 266. My Child Gets Aggressive At Swimming Pools/Beaches. 267. My Child Cannot Swim Because They Are Afraid Of The Water.

ASD BEHAVIOR CHECKLIST ANSWER SHEET CIRCLE THE APPROPRIATE LETTER Where A = A Mild Behavioral Problem B = A Moderate Behavioral Problem C = A Severe Behavioral Problem

IF YOU MAKE A MISTAKE PLACE A CROSS THROUGH THE WRONG LETTER AND CIRCLE THE RIGHT LETTER. USE A PENCIL OR PEN. 1. A B C 2. A B C 3. A B C 4. A B C 5. A B C 6. A B C 7. A B C 8. A B C 9. A B C 10. A B C 11. A B C 12. A B C 13. A B C 14. A B C 15. A B C 16. A B C 17. A B C 18. A B C 19. A B C 20. A B C 21. A B C 22. A B C 23. A B C

24. A B C 25. A B C 26. A B C 27 A B C 28. A B C 29. A B C 30. A B C 31. A B C 32. A B C 33. A B C 34. A B C 35. A B C 36. A B C 37. A B C 38. A B C 39. A B C 40. A B C 41. A B C 42. A B C 43. A B C 44. A B C 45. A B C 46. A B C 47. A B C 48. A B C 49. A B C 50. A B C 51. A B C 52. A B C 53. A B C 54. A B C 55. A B C 56. A B C 57. A B C 58. A B C 59. A B C 60. A B C 61. A B C 62. A B C 63. A B C 64. A B C 65. A B C 66. A B C 67. A B C 68. A B C 69. A B C

70. A B C 71. A B C 72. A B C 73. A B C 74. A B C 75. A B C 76. A B C 77. A B C 78. A B C 79. A B C 80. A B C 81. A B C 82. A B C 83. A B C 84. A B C 85. A B C 86. A B C 87. A B C 88. A B C 89. A B C 90. A B C 91. A B C 92. A B C 93. A B C 94. A B C 95. A B C 96. A B C 97. A B C 98. A B C 99. A B C 100. A B C 101. A B C 102. A B C 103. A B C 104. A B C 105. A B C 106. A B C 107. A B C 108. A B C 109. A B C 110. A B C 111. A B C 112. A B C 113. A B C 114. A B C 115. A B C

116. A B C 117. A B C 118. A B C 119. A B C 120. A B C 121. A B C 122. A B C 123. A B C 124. A B C 125. A B C 126. A B C 127. A B C 128. A B C 129. A B C 130. A B C 131. A B C 132. A B C 133. A B C 134. A B C 135. A B C 136. A B C 137. A B C 138. A B C 139. A B C 140. A B C 141. A B C 142. A B C 143. A B C 144. A B C 145. A B C 146. A B C 147. A B C 148. A B C 149. A B C 150. A B C 151. A B C 152. A B C 153. A B C 154. A B C 155. A B C 156. A B C 157. A B C 158. A B C 159. A B C 160. A B C 161. A B C

162. A B C 163. A B C 164. A B C 165. A B C 166. A B C 167. A B C 168. A B C 169. A B C 170. A B C 171. A B C 172. A B C 173. A B C 174. A B C 175. A B C 176. A B C 177. A B C 178. A B C 179. A B C 180. A B C 181. A B C 182. A B C 183. A B C 184. A B C 185. A B C 186. A B C 187. A B C 188. A B C 189. A B C 190. A B C 191. A B C 192. A B C 193. A B C 194. A B C 195. A B C 196. A B C 197. A B C 198. A B C 199. A B C 200. A B C 201. A B C 202. A B C 203. A B C 204. A B C 205. A B C 206. A B C 207. A B C

208. A B C 209. A B C 210. A B C 211. A B C 212. A B C 213. A B C 214. A B C 215. A B C 216. A B C 217. A B C 218. A B C 219. A B C 220. A B C 221. A B C 222. A B C 223. A B C 224. A B C 225. A B C 226. A B C 227. A B C 228. A B C 229. A B C 230. A B C 231. A B C 232. A B C 233. A B C 234. A B C 235. A B C 236. A B C 237. A B C 238. A B C 239. A B C 240. A B C 241. A B C 242. A B C 243. A B C 244. A B C 245. A B C 246. A B C 247. A B C 248. A B C 249. A B C 250. A B C 251. A B C 252. A B C 253. A B C

254. A B C 255. A B C 256. A B C 257. A B C 258. A B C 259. A B C 260. A B C 261. A B C 262. A B C 263. A B C 264. A B C 265. A B C 266. A B C 267. A B C ASD BEHAVIOR CHECKLIST SUMMARY SHEET Summarize your findings for the ASD Behavior Checklist below. Note that 12 Categories are listed. In the spaces provided list any behaviors you recorded as an A B or C for each Category. To save time you can focus on the B (Moderate Behavioral Problem) and C (Severe Behavioral Problem) behaviors. You may find that you have a large number of problem behaviors in one Category but hardly any in another Category. This is normal. For example: In Category 1 if you answered question 12. MY CHILD REPEATS WORDS OR PHRASES and marked it as a C write the information like this. CATEGORY 1 COMMUNICATION: VERBAL A B C MY CHILD REPEATS WORDS OR PHRASES While it is not essential that you complete the summary sheet it will provide you with an easy reference guide as to what problem behaviors your child has. I strongly recommend you fill it in. CATEGORY 1 COMMUNICATION: VERBAL

A = A Mild Behavioral Problem

B = A Moderate Behavioral Problem

C = A Severe Behavioral Problem


B = A Moderate Behavioral Problem

C = A Severe Behavioral Problem


A = A Mild Behavioral Problem

B = A Moderate Behavioral Problem

C = A Severe Behavioral Problem


B = A Moderate Behavioral Problem

C = A Severe Behavioral Problem


B = A Moderate Behavioral Problem

C = A Severe Behavioral Problem


A = A Mild Behavioral Problem

B = A Moderate Behavioral Problem

C = A Severe Behavioral Problem


B = A Moderate Behavioral Problem

C = A Severe Behavioral Problem


B = A Moderate Behavioral Problem

C = A Severe Behavioral Problem


SENSORY PROBLEMS: VISUAL A = A Mild Behavioral Problem

B = A Moderate Behavioral Problem

C = A Severe Behavioral Problem


B = A Moderate Behavioral Problem

C = A Severe Behavioral Problem

CATEGORY 11 ADAPTABILITY A = A Mild Behavioral Problem

B = A Moderate Behavioral Problem

C = A Severe Behavioral Problem

CATEGORY 12 PLAY A = A Mild Behavioral Problem

B = A Moderate Behavioral Problem

C = A Severe Behavioral Problem

Thank you for taking the time to read Autism Decoder. Please feel free to contact me Email me at or write to me via snail mail Virinia Downham 4286 Tasman Hwy Runnymede Tasmania 7190 Ph. 61 03 62 650 662. For other books by Virinia Downham check out my profile at Smashwords Have a wonderful happy and healthy day. Warmest Regards Virinia Downham.

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