By the time your child is diagnosed with Autism you’re already exhausted and anyone who knows will tell you the real work lies ahead of you. You know you need to get your child help and you need to get it quickly. You don’t have time to reinvent the wheel or to search out the cause of Autism. You need an intervention that has been proven scientifically effective, one that takes your child’s individual strengths and deficits into consideration. You need something that can quickly begin to build your child’s skills while at the same time diminish your child’s challenging behaviors. In short, you need a really good ABA therapy program.
ABA stands for Applied Behavioral Analysis which was first introduced in 1957 when Skinner wrote Verbal Behavior. In the ’80’s Lovaas first used ABA with children on the spectrum to see if the principals of ABA could have a long term affect on Autism. His results were astounding. In 1987 he published his findings, after 2 years of intensive ABA therapy 47% percent of the children in the study were largely indistinguishable from their neuro-typical peers, the rest of the group showed considerable improvement. Since that time there have been several studies that have replicated Lovaas’ initial study. It is for this reason that the scientific community has embraced ABA as the only treatment for Autism proven scientifically effective. Insurance companies, who for years claimed they did not have to pay for Autism Treatments because nothing had been proven effective, are now beginning to pay for ABA programs.
The science is important, crucial to getting an ABA program funded, but ask any parent who has a child in a quality ABA program what the benefits are and they will tell you simply, “I’m getting my child back!”
This week on Everyday Autism Miracles we are going to talk about ABA therapy, parent to parent. What is it really like? Is it worth it? What does it mean for the family and how can you get it? Tune in to hear host Shannon Penrod describe what she calls “The Autism Miracle in My Living Room.”
By Shannon Penrod
When your child isn’t meeting all of the their developmental markers it seems counter intuitive to take away their favorite foods, maybe even cruel. It seems that way but it isn’t. The truth is that food is sometimes part of the problem. If your child was recently diagnosed with Autism, you may have been told there are some dietary interventions that prove very effective with some children. You may also have been told that it doesn’t work for all kids, or even that it doesn’t work at all. I can’t speak for all children, but as a parent I can tell you that my child started speaking again when we took milk and wheat in all forms out of his diet. If that isn’t compelling enough, it also changed his behavior so greatly that I was able to walk down the sidewalk and hold his hand for the first time. It was so clear in our son’s case that milk and wheat made his symptoms of Autism worse that we were highly motivated to keep it out of his diet.
I remember my mother saying to me, “Isn’t he ever going to get to eat ice cream?” I looked at my chubby cheeked three year old and told her, “He can have ice cream, he just won’t be able to talk or communicate for days afterward. Ice cream is great but I’m going to choose being able to talk over ice cream.” My mother looked like I’d slapped her, but she really “got it”. I’m sure kids who have peanut allergies wonder what it’s like to have a peanut butter sandwich or to eat our without fear of contamination, but who would choose peanuts over breathing? Or ice cream over speaking. In our case it was a no brainer. Unfortunately, it isn’t always as cut and dried with other kids.
There is one efficient way that I have found to predict if your child could benefit from one of the dietary interventions for Autism: Look at what and how your child currently eats. Is your child addicted to colorful candy? They don’t want to eat meals they just want to snack on colorful sweets? Chances are that your child could benefit from a version of the Feingold Diet. Does your child live on crackers and milk, or mac and cheese and chicken nuggets? They don’t want juice, but they crave milk? Your child is a prime candidate to improve on the gluten free, casein diet. Is your child in love with potatoes? French fries for lunch, tater tots for dinner, mashed potatoes at restaurants and potato chips in the car? They don’t want water, but they love juice and crave fruit of all kinds? Odds are your child could benefit from at least a modified version of the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. Does it all sound scary and overwhelming to you? You aren’t alone.
In this week’s show we are going to talk about dietary interventions, what to try, how to do it with very little fuss and what it can mean for your child and your family. Have questions or want to tell how dietary intervention helped your child? Call in during the live show on Friday at 2pm EST, 11am Pacific Time at 877.864.4869.
If it hasn’t happened to you then chances are it has happened to a friend, a family member or a co-worker. Autism is on the rise and more and more parents find themselves hearing the words, “You need to get your child tested for Autism.” While it is terrible for parents to hear that, if their child does have Autism getting a proper diagnosis, as soon as possible can begin a world of improvement. We know now that from the time a parent first has concerns about their child’s developement to the time that intervention takes place is too long. It’s hell for the parents and it is wasted time for a child who needs help.
For the next six weeks Everyday Autism Miracles is going to focus on what a parent or caregiver can do before during and right after Autism diagnosis to speed the process and to begin healing. This week our topic is Diagnosis. We will be talking at length with experts and parents about who to go to for diagnosis, what tests should be done and what the results mean. We’re going to answer all the questions you have about PDDnos, Aspergers and Autism and what separates them. We’ll give tips on what to do while waiting for your child to be tested and how start helping your child NOW.
Have questions? Or want to tell your diagnosis story? You can email Shannon at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can call in to the live show at 877.864.4869
Everyday Autism Miracles airs live every Friday at 2pm Eastern Standard Time, 1pm Central Time, Noon Mountain Time and 11am Pacific Time on Toginet Radio. Free podcasts of the show can be downloaded at www.toginet.com/shows/everydayautismmiracles and on Itunes.